Beautiful Nightmare – Chapter 6: Tired @ Work

I gave you love

Gave you everything you asked for

And this is what I get

The silence only fills my head with noise



Denny lets out a yawn as he walks through the shop to where he had to be, set for another day of commercials. With hardly any sleep the night before, he was ready to get done as soon as possible so he could go back home.

“Hey, you don’t look like someone who got sleep after I left last night,” he hears and rolls his eyes as he looks over at Kyle.

“Maybe it’s cause I didn’t get that much sleep,” Denny comments as Kyle lets out a sigh.

“I told you that you should’ve come back to my place, or we should’ve talked longer.” Denny continued to ignore him, but figured he was probably right. “So, what was on your mind so much last night?”

“More nightmares of her, obviously. From not recognizing the first signs, to one of our initial fights at the track, to the deal at Bristol last year. It just seems everything keeps revolving around in my head.” Kyle could see that, based on Denny’s actions. He then stopped him as he reached where he was supposed to be.

“Have you thought about what I said in talking to someone?” Denny lets out a sigh, wishing to avoid the discussion. He didn’t feel there should be any need to talk to someone, whether he knew them or a stranger, about some girl. Break-ups happened every day.

“I’m fin-”

“Not sleeping and drinking your pain away is not fine, Hamlin.” Denny lets out another sigh, focusing his eyes elsewhere.

“Listen, we can deal with this later. I have a job to do today.” He then takes a deep breath, heading into the room and set for the list of commercial productions on the docket for the day.

He got through each of them with ease, followed by some on-phone interviews, not saying a single complaint. His focus was kept on them, getting through it as quickly as possible, not letting the thoughts of Diane fill any voids in his mind. He just had to stop thinking about her and all the pain, and everything would be okay.

“That’s all for today,” his PR rep says after awhile and he lets out a sigh. “Thanks for your patience and coming in today.”

“Thank you,” he simply replies as he watches the door to his office close.

He then stands up, glancing at himself in the mirror as he snatches his t-shirt and jeans off the back of a chair. With everything in the books, he could change out of his firesuit back into something comfortable, relax, and work towards getting some sleep that night.

He slips the firesuit off easily, followed by slipping on the jeans accordingly. He then looks up at himself in the mirror, eyes setting in on the scar that remained on his shoulder.

Denny walks into the house, taking a deep breath as he leans back against the door. He walks into the front room, eyes setting on Diane.

“We need to talk,” he tells her as she looks over, confused.

“About?” She questions as he glances down towards the floor.

“Us, and this relationship.” He then walks further into the room, sitting down on the couch. “Listen, I love you, probably will always love you as there are certain things that make me amazed by you. But, I can’t do this anymore. I can’t handle the pain anymore. I can’t handle the late nights, the bruises, trying to pretend nothing is wrong. I can’t handle the lies, and I can’t handle you. I’m through, Diane. You need to move out.” She then gives him a surprised look.

“So you’re breaking up with me, Denny? Haven’t you forgot about our deal?” He shakes his head no with a sigh. He knew it wasn’t going to be pretty if she revealed the truth, but what was he supposed to do? He couldn’t do this any longer.

“Go ahead. Tell everybody. Show everybody. I don’t care. I can’t do this, Diane. We’re done.” He then stands up and goes to leave the room, unable to face her any longer. As much as he hated her faults, he still loved her. It made this extra tough to do. “You can leave now.”

“You’re not getting rid of me that easy, Hamlin.” She then stands up and walks over to him, wrapping her arms around him. He grabs them, placing them off of her as he turns to face her. He had to make sure she knew the truth – it was over.

“I am, Diane. I’m through. Leave or else I’ll call the cops for trespassing.” She then leans in for a kiss, but he backs up at the last minute. She then reaches out, brushing his cheek.

“What about the kisses? What about the love? What about the sex?” He knew he’d miss the kisses and the amazing sex, but it was worth it.

“We’re don-”

“I’ll change, I’ll be better. I told you that I’m going to work at it.” He shakes his head no with a sigh.

“You’ve been saying that for six months. Diane, I can’t do this anymore so leave!”

“You bitch!” She then pushes him when he’s least expecting it, forcing him down on his back as he lets out a groan. “I can’t believe you’d do this to me!” She then gets down to his level, set to pin him on the ground, using the weakness she knew of his knee to her advantage as she went to pin that first. He then pushes her back before she can though, catching a look of surprise. “Oh so that’s how it’s going to be?”

“I told you we were done.” He then goes to reach for his phone, wishing he had of called sooner. Just as his fingers clasp the plastic, he feels a smack, sending the phone sliding across the floor.

“And I told you that we could work it out.” He then lets out a sigh as he sits up.

“We’re far beyond that point, Diane. I can’t keep lying for your sake.” She lets out an aggravated sigh as she stands up, walking towards the front door. “Goodby-”

“You’re not getting rid of me that easy.” She then turns on her heels, picking up a photo from the sideboard and bringing it over to him, where he still sat on the floor. “What about these happy moments? What about this time in victory lane just a month ago? What about the smiles here at Daytona?” He lets out a sigh as he hated the thought of her connected to his lone Daytona 500 win.

“Those aren’t directed to you, but rather the happiness of finally accomplishing my dream to win the biggest race of them all. I forced that smile with you to keep everybody off our case. Now, like I said, go ahead and tell everyone.”

“So that’s all that I mean to you?” She then takes the photo frame, smashing it on the ground. “After everything I’ve done for you, that’s all I mean?” She then stands up, whacking the other photo frames off in one swift motion as he lets out a sigh.

“I’m sorry you’re hurt, but I told you, I can’t do thi-”

“Let me guess – Kristy came back into your life? Or was it Janessa this time, Hamlin?” He then lets out a sigh, wishing he could be with one of them rather than Diane right now.

“There was no other girl that affected this decisi-”

“Oh, so it was Larissa?” She then walks back over. “Or how about Franchesca? I heard she called the other day looking for her favourite lover. Gonna go give her a booty call after I leave?” Denny shakes his head no, knowing he was going to probably be stuck in his own sadness for awhile. “Well, there’s no way that it’s happening on my watch just like that.” She then picks up a piece of the broken glass, chucking it at him as it digs into his shoulder.


“When I get back, get your mind off this trip and know that you belong to me, Denny.” She then grabs her purse, leaving the house as he places his hand over the cut, feeling the blood seep out as pain filled him everywhere.

“Denny?” He snaps out of his thoughts as he looks back towards the door. “Woah man, are you okay?” He then lets out a sigh as he goes back to putting his shirt on as he was.

“I’m fine Wheels,” he tells his crew chief, before turning around to face him. “What’s up?”

“I was wanting to talk a bit about this upcoming weekend at Martinsville if you had some time before leaving.” Denny then shakes his head yes as he walks over to the desk, sitting down in the chair.

“I’m all ears, bud.” Mike keeps walking over, eyes focused on Denny as he sits in the chair before him.

“Are you sure? I mean, you seemed pretty spaced out when I came in here. Everything alright?” Denny shakes his head yes as he fumbles around with some papers on his desk, hoping to get him off the case. “Denny, everybody knows what happened. If there’s something going on, you can ta-”

“There’s nothing going on, Wheels. So let’s just focus on what you want to talk about.” Mike takes a deep breath, knowing there was no way of getting through to Denny. He just hoped that whatever was going on, his driver started to handle it properly sooner than later.


Beautiful Nightmare – Chapter 5: Continued Nightmares

You’re a beautiful nightmare

And nothing can wake me up from you


April 2016

Unable to sleep, he flipped through the DVR and settled on re-watching a replay of the 2016 Daytona 500.

Amidst the chaos of his personal life, he had walked away with the biggest win of his career – the Daytona 500. He had been able to enjoy the week surrounding that with peace. He remembered the fun he had with the team in victory lane, followed by the partying afterwards. He remembered the week’s worth of interviews, trips throughout the United States, and how much fun it turned into.

He couldn’t think of possibly wiping that smile off his face. It was that week he felt free, confident, and set to tackle the year ahead with the ease.

Closing his eyes, he wondered if he could get back to that thought now a couple months later.


April 2015

Denny climbed out of the car under the red flag for rain, biting his tongue as he went to turn his head.

“Denny, are you okay?”  He hears from his teammate, as he goes to turn his head in the voice’s direction. He then lets out another moan as he changes his mind on that.

“My neck is hurting,” he answers simply. “I think I pulled something.” He then walks away from the car with Kyle, heading over to the team’s pit box. “I’m going to go get some ice, some Tylenol, and hopefully it’ll chill out.”

“Hope it works out.”  He then walks away from Kyle, letting out a sigh.

He knew why his neck was hurting. It was obvious based on the past couple of nights. He had thought about telling someone about the deal he made with Diane, and reached out to an old female friend. Well, it turned out that Diane was watching at all times and caught the interaction. She made sure to restate her claim that night, throwing the blackmail back at him. She followed it up by demanding sex, among other things.

He threatened to tell someone, but she said to him, ‘And who is going to believe you?’ The thought rang in his mind so he kept quiet, not stating a single word about what happened. However, thanks to her grabbing him and pulling him back by the shoulder, it was obvious that she had done something based on the amount of pain he was feeling.

Throughout the rain delay, he spent time with the trainers at Joe Gibbs Racing, getting a massage among other things on his neck, trying to cool down the pain. However, nothing worked.

With already having a win a couple weeks later, Joe Gibbs suggested putting Erik Jones in the car for the rest of the event.  Denny, knowing he couldn’t stand the pain much longer, simply accepted.  Perhaps some nice relaxation would heal it, while clearing his mind. Maybe he could then do the right thing with Diane.

“You better not say anything as to why you’re sitting out,” she whispers in his ear as she runs her nail roughly across his neck. He then glances at her, almost like a child frightened by the punishment they could receive.

“I’ve got this under control,” he answers. “I’ll simply tell them that I pulled a muscle or something.”

“Good boy. Then we can get back to our business.” She then gives him a kiss on the cheek  before watching him walk off with the team.


“So you pulled something in the car?” Kyle asks post-race as Denny lets out a sigh.

“TV excuse,” he answers, truthfully. “Diane and I had a fight, and she pulled me back and it’s been bugging me since then.” Kyle then looked at Denny with surprise.

“Dude, really?” Denny lets out a sigh. “So what are you going to do?” Denny thought about spitting out the details right then and there. However, a glance from her in the distance told him otherwise.

“It was a stupid disagreement. We’ve already talked it over. I don’t see anymore issues.”

“That’s fine, but if for some reason you need a place to stay or someone to talk to, come find me.  I’m here if you need a friend.” Denny accepted that, putting that in the memory bank. He knew when he grew enough courage he’d take him up on the offer.


“Ugh!!!” He lets out a frustrated sigh as he sits up in the bed for the third time that night. “Why didn’t you say something that night? Why didn’t you just spill it? Why did you have to let that witch scare you? Why did you have to think you could change her ways? Why did you have to care, or create that damn book anyway?”

He then gets out of the bed, walking to the dresser. He rips it open, taking out the familiar book as he lets out a sigh. He was glad that the police had been quick to find her before she could release the book – he had to admit even speaking with Kyle that he was worried about that being released.

He then walks downstairs, walking out on to the back porch, chucking it as far as he could over the railing. He then turned around, leaning back against it, let his legs give out and sat right there against it.

“Nobody said this was going to be easy,” he starts. “You’ll figure it out, somehow. You just need to forget about her so you can sleep tonight.”

He then yawns, glancing in through the sliding door at the stove. It was already 5 in the morning, which meant he was supposed to getting up in three hours and beginning to get ready for the day.

How was he supposed to make it through everything he had to do?

“Why can’t I think of anything else when I close my eyes?” He questions as he stands up and heads inside. He thought about reaching for where the bottle was stored in the cabinet, but stopped himself a he remembered the conversation with Kyle. “No, I can’t let her win this battle. I can’t let her take over me. I can’t do that.”

He then walks back through the house, returning back to his room as he flopped back in the bed once again. Closing his eyes, he hoped that being dead-tired resulted in finally being able to sleep without a thought of her.

Though he knew that was going to be near to impossible as no matter how much she hurt him, he admitted that he loved her dearly and wished they could’ve had a future together.

Beautiful Nightmare – Chapter 4: Sleepless Nights Con’t

My eyes are closing and I’m scared

Cause I only dream of you


Following the shower, he dries himself on before glancing in the mirror.


Letting out a yawn, he knew that he needed to get some sleep somehow. He had a big day tomorrow – a couple interviews, followed by filming a commercial for a sponsor. There was no way that he could show up to all that feeling as tired as he was.


Though, as he stood there, he noticed the scar that remained on his shoulder from that night. His eyes fixate on it, remembering how the piercing glass through her skin, her trademark left on him, had changed him. It wasn’t as bad as the back spasms that plagued him for months, but it was the turning point. Seeing the blood seep down that night, combined with the rest of the night, he knew the game of survival was a game he wouldn’t win with her. It was why he had called Kyle that night to come, and go get some help.


Shaking his head, he knew thinking about that would lead to nowhere. Instead, he had to focus his mind on something else as he walked down the short hallway back to the bedsroom.


Flopping down in the bed wearing nothing but his boxers, he let his mind think back to one of his most recent on-track wins – the Daytona 500 – and how excited he was. He kept telling himself over and over that sleep would allow that feeling to return because he could go to the track, win races, and use it as a distraction.


He knew it was a good possibility, heading to Martinsville Speedway that weekend, a place that he had won at five times prior. As he heard the familiar clock chime being top of the hour, his eyes drifted closed with dreams of bringing another one through the door.


He walks into the house, taking a deep breath. Despite his thoughts that they’d work out these small disagreements, Diane continued to hold them above his head. Knowing that it was getting to be a distraction on-track, he knew something had to be done.


“Hamlin, you said you wanted to talk?” She says from her vantage point on the couch. She was sitting there, straight-up, legs crossed, eyes locked on him. She knew that something was up and it wasn’t good, and he hated that feeling – so much for using surprise to his advantage.


“Yeah, I do want to talk actually,” he states as he slips his shoes off by the front door. He then walks into the front room, debating between remaining standing, sitting down, or retreating to the kitchen for a drink. “We need to have a talk about the past couple of weeks, obviously. As you’ve noticed, my mood has been shit and it’s affected on-track performance enough that the guys are asking way too many damn questions. Listen, we’ve been having issues here and I think we should call it quits if this is going to continue.” He watches an instant look of surprise form on her face. Perhaps she had thought he was going to say something else.


“You’re serious, right? So because you can’t handle my worries about your past, you’re going to break things off? I mean, you told me that I was the best girl for you, the one that you’ve been searching for. You told me that we connected right away – and we had the most amazing sex that you had ever experienced.” He couldn’t deny that, but knew there had to be another sex goddess out there – with a more understanding personality. A bit of guilt formed in her words, though. Perhaps she was right and he was to blame for the constant questions.


“I get that you’re concerned, and I answered to those concerns right from the beginning – I love you, and don’t want any other girl in my life, so I kissed those hoes goodbye. However, it seems that you can’t understand that – hence the repeated questions that you’ve asked. I can’t take always being questioned about my intentions.” It felt better to get it out there in the open and get the pressure off of his chest. It also made him realize how much he needed to call a shop meeting tomorrow and apologize.


“Oh, okay. I get that.” He watches her stand up, walking towards him. In his mind, he ran through a bunch of scenarios. She could make it easy and just walk out the door, leaving his life forever. Perhaps she was going to kiss him and remind him of the connection they have. Perhaps she was going to slap him for whatever reason. Perhaps she had to just go to the bathroom. “Denny, I trust you – in some ways, but you have to understand where I’m coming from.”


“I do, as I stat-”


“And trust me, I love you so much that it pains me at times at how much I can love you. We have this amazing connection, and the sex is obviously the best part. Besides that, trust me, you’re amazing. I can’t complain about the traveling or shopping, either, too. But hey, I get your reasons for confronting me, but listen, I’m just protecting what’s mine. I don’t want you to stray and cause problems, that’s all. You have to understand what I am doing.” He didn’t know if he liked the tone of words – “protecting what’s mine,” “straying,” and the fact that she hadn’t brought up many reasons why she loved him. Was there more to this?


“What are you trying to get at, because at this moment, I’m feeling a little confused.” He watches a smile form on her face – a smile that would cause any blood to drain from the person on the other side, as he felt himself entering a bit of panic worry.


“You want me to walk out the door and say goodbye? Fine, but I’m taking this damn well with me.” She then holds a small black book, which he knew all too well. Why had he decided to keep the name and numbers in that book? Why not just in his cell phone like any other sane person? Oh that’s right – because he had a tendency of breaking phones and losing them, and didn’t want to be left without a girl one week. “What would happen if this would get released to the world?”


“You wouldn’t do that, would you?” She then shrugs her shoulders as she steps back, placing the book behind her back with that familiar smile on her face.


“What’s stopping me, Dennykins? Besides, it’d be great payback for you ruining what we have. I’d just ruin your reputation. Who would want a cheating little bitch who sleeps around in every city he goes to drive for them? ‘Hey, I’m Denny and guess what? FedEx helps me with all my girls because I can ship them all flowers for a good rate. I also like my teammate Kyle so much because M&Ms are just the perfect thing to give them, too.’ That’s a great advertis-”


“Are you damn well blackmailing me, Diane Chainwood?” The smile only widens and it was that moment that he realized he was in trouble, for certain.


“And by the way, I know Kourtney pretty well. It seems that she doesn’t care about her reputation and proudly handed over the tape of you at her house. Remember that trip in Texas?” Denny feels his blood go cold immediately, as he knew that girl quite well. He had picked her up after Dale had left her to the side, spending the next couple years at her place as his “Texas” girl. He couldn’t have known there was security cameras or whatever she used. “Well?”


“Why are you doing this? Do you want some sort of big pay off? I can write you a check, I guess; it’d be my way of paying for being a dumbass. Give me the reason, Diane.” She then closes the gap between them immediately, tugging on his shirt as she pulls him close to her.


“Because I want to keep the good sex life with you to myself, while taking full advantage of everything else that you come with. Remember, I know people and I always get my way. Just like that you’re reputation could be ruined, among other things. You wouldn’t want that, Denny. However, if you deal with me, I’ll let you continue living your life that everybody knows. What do you say superstar?” He knew in that moment, at that time, he had no choice. He would just have to figure out the rest later, and perhaps plan a strategy to make sure nothing happened and they ended things.


“Deal, I guess.”


He then wakes up, letting out an aggravated scream as he sits up and chucks a pillow across the room at full force.


“You stupid ass!” He tells himself. Why hadn’t he developed a strategy? Why hadn’t he done something sooner? Why did he let it continue on sooner? Why did he subject himself to everything over that? Letting out a sigh, he lays back down. “Come on Denny. Forget about her. Think about Martinsville. Think about Daytona. Think about everything else in your life. She’s just one girl who fucked you over.”


Though as he lets out a sigh, he knew there was no way to stop dreaming of her because it seemed she was the only girl that filled every single thought for him.

Beautiful Nightmare – Chapter 3: Sleepless Night

But when I rest

There is nothing I can do


After getting the tears out, Denny went over to the sink and took a handful of water, washing his face off before turning back to face Kyle.

“Thank you,” he says simply as Kyle just shakes his head.

“I told you that I’d come see you anytime,” Kyle assures him. “We all told you that, Denny. We’re all here for you.” Denny knew that. He remembered the conversation amongst the teammates when word got out what had happened. He remembered their hugs, words of encouragement, and assurance that they’d help him as much as he needed.

“I know…” Denny then takes the glass off the counter, dumping the last bit of alcohol down the drain as he sits the cup in the sink.

“Denny, what are you thinking?” Denny then takes a quick glance at the time, seeing how it was 2am, before looking back at Kyle.

“I’m tired. I haven’t been sleeping well the past week. It’s late. I want to sleep, but I’m scared to sleep.” Kyle shakes his head, understanding. He was glad that his teammate was starting to open up more, piece by piece.

“Why are you scared?” Denny leans back against the counter, thinking back to the past couple of nights when he had tried to sleep, whether up in the bedsroom they shared or on the couch.

“I don’t want to relive what happened. I want to remember what happened. I don’t want to see those images once again. However, as soon as I close my eyes, there she is, and something is happening. Sometimes it’s something good, other times it’s everything I want to forget.”  Kyle had heard that nightmares and flashbacks could happen. It was why talking with a psychiatrist was recommended so he could figure out how to handle those.

“They told you that day if you had any of those issues, you could seek a psychiatrist and he could help you so you could move forw-”

“I’m scared to talk to someone about it, okay? We established that already tonight, Kyle! Let’s just let superstar badass racecar driver who has one of the most cocky attitudes at times walk into some office and say, ‘Hey, I let some woman control and abuse me and now I can’t sleep at night’.  Does that sound right?”  Kyle lets out a sigh, knowing it wasn’t as easy as he had made it.

“I get that it’s not easy. That’s why they said it’s going to take time. I also understand your fears of wanting to open up, telling people in fear that they won’t believe you. However, the officer that night believed you and we were able to get the help you needed. I also understand it’s hard to make yourself feel vulnerable because you’ve been so strong for so long – but Denny, we both know that you have feelings and need to get this out. You can’t go months on end without sleeping. It’s not healthy.” Denny knew that Kyle was right, reminding himself once again of the words spoken earlier.

“I know what I need to do. I just need to keep telling myself what you’re saying and do it.”  Kyle shakes his head, accepting. It was a step in the right direction.

“Say for tonight, why don’t you try a change in scenery? Come over to my place. You can sleep in the spare bedsroom or on the couch.  Then we can worry about everything else tomorrow.” Denny shakes his head no. he couldn’t intrude on Kyle’s house after everything Kyle was already doing for him. Besides, he didn’t want to wake up from one of his nightmares screaming and freak out Brexton and Samantha.

“I’ll be fin-”

“You just said yourself tha-”

“Kyle, I’ll be fine. I’ll deal with it tonight and then take the first step tomorrow.”  Kyle couldn’t do anything but accept his teammate’s words. He wasn’t totally convinced yet, but he was willing to take a chance.

“Alright.  Well, if you’re headed to bed, I’m going to head home – but don’t be afraid to call, even if it is in a couple hours because you can’t sleep, okay?” Denny shakes his head yes as Kyle comes over and gives him a hug. “I mean it, Denny. It’s going to be okay.”

“Thank you. I appreciate what you’ve done, and tell Samantha that I appreciate her patience.”

“She just wants everything to work out for you.”

With a couple more trades back and forth, Kyle headed out to head home while Denny made his way upstairs to the bathroom. Slipping his pants and t-shirt off, he climbs under the blanket in his bare boxers. Considering how exhausted he was feeling, perhaps sleep would be easy tonight.

Denny makes his way into the motorcoach, smiling after putting down a great lap in qualifying to himself up to start third in Sunday’s race.

“Hey Dennykins,” Diane says, using the nickname that she had always used for him from the beginning.

“Hey sweet cheeks,” he replies with a smile, dropping a small kiss on her cheek. He then makes his way by, slipping the top of his firesuit off as he reaches into the fridge.

“Nice run out there. Glad to see that you got the car working.” He looks back with a smile, pleased himself. “But where have you been since then?” His smile immediately fades by the tone of her voice.

“What do you mean?”  She then stands and makes her way over, placing a hand on his shoulder.

“Qualifying was done 20 minutes ago, Hamlin. Where have you been?” He had heard this tone before with her. It started before she had joined him at the track with late phone calls, curious if he was seeing other woman when they weren’t together. It had continued when she made the decision to quit her job so she could be there with him every week. The job quitting had caught him off-guard, but he was totally for it as he didn’t mind being able to spend more time with her.

“I got out of the car, followed my proper media obligations of interviews on pit road, spoke with Wheels about the car, and then spent some time with Kyle comparing notes before coming back.”  The smirk on her face equaled disbelief as she turned him so they were facing each other face-to-face.

“You’re such a liar!” She then gave him a slap across the face, catching him off-guard.

“Diane! What was that for?” She then crosses her arms, keeping her body pressed against his.

“I saw the TV screen. Sure, you did your interviews. But you want to explain the brunette who came over to talk to you?” Denny rolls his eyes, remembering the appearance by Christy.

“Christy Lawre-”

“Oh, so you know her full name as well? That’s just sweet, Denny.” Denny takes a deep breath, sensing where this was going. He had come to expect it with Diane as she had taken this route a couple times.  He understood her motive, though, as he had quite the history.

“She was my track girl here so she came over to see if I wanted to spend some time with her. I explained to her that I had a steady girlfriend, and wouldn’t need to see her tonight. She didn’t take acceptance to that for a bit, but then accepted with goals of hooking up with Kahne.” The look on Diane’s face meant that she didn’t quite believe that Denny had said.

“I don’t believe you, Denny. See, you probably went and had a quick hook up with her before heading back here after qualifying. It’s also why you probably need to leave early tomorrow before practice so you can have a hook up before then. Denny, we’ve talked about this. I told you that I wouldn’t accept cheating. I’m not just another girl.” Denny remembered the discussion, and had accepted immediately. He could honestly see a future with Diane.

“I can tell you with honesty that I didn’t have sex with Christy, or any other girl. I promis-” His words are then cut off by her reaching her hand down his pants, pinching him.

“This raised out after your little discussion while doing the interview tell otherwise.” He bit his tongue, resisting the urge to scream as he reached down for her hand, clasping it with his.

“I can promise you that wasn’t happening. You were seeing thin-”

“Denny oh Denny, your eyes say differently. What have I told you about that?” He lets out a sigh, looking into her eyes.

“Diane Chainwood, I can assure you that I would never cheat on you, ever.” She then relaxes a little. “I love you, a lot. I can honestly see a future with you.”

“I can see a future with you, too.” She then holds him against the wall, pressing her body firmly against his. “So if you ever do cheat on me, I will cut you half and make you watch as I pull your guts out. Don’t be a whore. You told me that bullshit was done.” Denny felt his body tension up at her firm behavior, even tense more as he saw her hand form into a fist, raising above to be level with his shoulder.

“I promise you…” The fist then drops as her lips clash against his, and he picks her up in his arms, carrying her back to the bed, pulling her back. She then assumes her position on top, making her way through the layers of clothing as more kisses come.

The discussion, despite having happened prior, he forgot about. It was just jealousy. It’d just disappear with time. She’d understand that he’d never cheat and those fears would go away, followed by the behavior that came with it.

Denny sits up suddenly in the bed, panting to himself as he shakes his head. Why did he let him believe that? If only he could’ve figured it out then, left her then, he wouldn’t get himself in the rest of the mess that he found himself in.

Scurrying out of the bed, he rushes to the bathroom, turning the shower water on as he strips out of his boxers. He didn’t want to feel her on him. He didn’t want reminders of the awesome, splendid, pleasure-filled sex. He didn’t want to think about her touch against his skin. As he climbs under the hot water, he wanted to wash away every single memory or moment from his thoughts.

Beautiful Nightmare – Chapter 2: Keeping Busy

I did my best
Everyday just keeping busy
To avoid the ghost of you


Denny takes a deep breath as he wanted to continue to divulge more details to Kyle, but he couldn’t find a way to do it.

There was nothing in his mind that said when it started. There was nothing in his mind that said to reveal a certain detail. Perhaps he didn’t want to admit it because he didn’t want to say how he was played, hurt, deceived, and abused. Instead, everything was still a blur as he kept questioning his decisions then and now.

“I don’t know how or why it started, or how I let it become what it was,” Denny starts. “But I knew what it had become within weeks of when it started. I could feel it, even telling her about it. I approached her and said that I wasn’t happy. I was ready to part ways on good terms, but she threatened me. I don’t know how I let her threat over come me like it did, but I felt stuck in that moment.  What if she said something? She’d ruin my reputation.  What if she did something? I wanted to able to just keep living my lif-”

“Instead, you were living a lie and a world that nobody could have even imagined, because of fear,” Kyle finishes the sentence off and Denny shakes his head yes. Kyle could feel the fear and pain in Denny’s voice in how shaky each word came off his tongue. It felt as though the confident teammate he had met was gone forever. “Listen, you don’t need to feel ashamed for being afraid. You don’t need to beat yourself up. Anybody who knew the whole story, understood what she was doing to you psychologically, they’d understand your decision. It’s why myself, your parents, Joe and everybody else isn’t mad at you – but rather proud of you for stepping up and doing something.” Denny had heard those words multiple times from those surrounding him who knew everything. However, it didn’t seem to resonate in his mind at times like these when guilt drove him past his limit.

“I tried to keep myself doing as much as I could – to avoid spending time with her. All the offers to do something together, to the times that I spent playing games, that’s what it was about. I was trying to find my way to survive and that seemed to be working. I just wanted to avoid her at all costs. Why do you think I made up the whole basketball excuse for my leg injury? Why do you think I made up the excuse about why I had those back spasms? I didn’t want to think about it.”

“And that’s understandable because of how much it hurt you, both physically and mentally.  However, Denny, you can’t let it control you. You have to remember that you’re strong because you did survive. You got through everything that she did. You pushed through speaking to someone about it. You got her locked up in prison. Denny, it’s okay now…”  Denny wishes he could believe those words and move forward. However, it didn’t make the voices leave his head, or the pain that he still remembered feeling across his body.

“I want to believe you, I really do. But I can’t.  I still can’t shake everything. Every day is a reminder of it in some way or form, whether in my mind or in front of me. I don’t how to move forward. I don’t know how to make myself feel okay again. How do I open my heart? How do I not worry about being controlled and manipulated? It’s why I still try to outrun her – the ghost of her in these feelings – by continuing what I did before. Keep myself busy and I don’t think, right? Get bored and here I am.” Kyle didn’t know what to say. He wanted to be there for his teammate, but knew he didn’t have the words that someone like Joe or a psychiatrist could offer right now.

“Knowing what you’ve been through, Denny, I know what you’re saying.  I get the explanations and feelings that you’re having. However, you’ve said it yourself – you want to believe, you want to make it better. Please do the right thing and take the right step. Instead of running, why not stop and take a minute? Why not stop, like you did that night, and say something again? Try talking to Joe, or calling the psychiatrist’s number. Put the effort in and maybe you can start living instead of running.” Denny shook his head, knowing that Kyle was right – despite the fears associated with it. It was the same fear he felt walking into the police station, and the same fear he felt talking to Kyle on the first night.  “It’s going to be okay, just like I promised that night.”

Kyle walks into the house, feeling shocked as he sees glass scattered across the front room, followed by a couple pictures thrown to the ground, broken into pieces. He had received a phone call only 20 minutes prior for him to come over.

“Denny?” He calls out, curious as to where his teammate was. Denny hadn’t said any details on the phone, except that he wanted to talk right away about something really important. Hearing the tears and concern in his voice, Kyle immediately accepted the offer. Now looking around the front room, he began to understand the panic.

“I’m in the bathroom,” Denny replies as he sits on the edge of the tub, continuing to push the piece of toilet paper against the cut along his shoulder. “You can come in.” Kyle immediately made his way down the short hallway, turning into the bathroom – only to stand there stunned. His teammate sat on the tub, shirtless, some blood left on his front obviously coming from where the toilet paper was being pressured to. Bruises covered the back of the body, along with the cheek into view.

“What the hell happened?” Kyle immediately rushes in, kneeling before his teammate as he takes in the cut on the shoulder more closely. Given the jagged behavior, he knew that the glass in the front room was the culprit – but perhaps in a forced cut manner. Kyle took his eyes off the cut and dried blood, looking into the eyes of their owner. “Denny?”

“We had a fight – yelling, screaming back and forth. I can’t do this. I can’t take it anymore. I can’t take the pain. I can’t take the orders. I can’t take the agony of it all. I can’t deal with the pain that I feel constantly, daily. I had to say something. She didn’t like that and she….she did this, again.” The short sentences weren’t long, but Kyle found himself quickly putting the pieces together in his mind. He and Matt had talked only a couple weeks ago, wondering if things were alright with Denny and Diane by their actions. He knew the worry expressed by Matt, but knew it couldn’t have equaled this.   

“Keep pressure on that. I’m going to get a bandage out.”  Kyle then reached under the sink, taking out the first aid kit as he went to searching for a bandage to put over the cut. He knew it needed to be looked at, probably requiring stitches, but he couldn’t leave it bare for now. “Denny, I’m going to ask you something and please be honest. Has Diane hurt you before?” Tears leaking out of the corner of the eyes before him, Kyle knew the answer. “How long has this been going on?”

“Months….”  The small tears turned into bigger tears as Denny began to shake a little, tears rolling down his cheeks one after the other. “I didn’t want to say anything – she’s going to ruin me now. But, I can’t do this. I can’t take the pain. I can’t….I’m in so much pain…” Kyle then stopped his search through the first aid kit, reaching up and pulling his teammate close to him.

“It’s okay. I’ve got you, Denny. Let it go. It’s going to be okay…” 

Denny takes a deep breath, slowly breaking off the hug.  The same tears that had fallen that night had returned once again. The thought of being able to escape everything felt like a long shot, and the reminders had caught up again with him as he thought about saying something.

How could he have let someone do that to him? How do you explain what happened, and why? How do you forget the worst pain you could ever imagine and move forward?

He didn’t know how, nor did he know if he’d get through the next couple of weeks with the thoughts continuing to plague his mind. However, he was going to try.

He was going to give it a shot because he knew there was those who believed in him, and felt perhaps that could translate to himself.

Beautiful Nightmare – Chapter 1: Can’t Let Go

I can’t let go
I’m addicted to your torture
I’m a prisoner to the pain
Although you’re gone
All the misery remains


Denny Hamlin glances at his glass, letting out a sigh as he shakes his head in disgust. It still pains him, even a couple months later, everything that he found himself going through virtue of a single brown-haired female.

Running his hands through his hair, he places them both back down on the table before him. His eyes immediately draw to the scar left on his left arm from the one of the many nights that he found himself at her mercy.

He could still hear the loud voices being shouted across every room of the house. It didn’t matter which room he chose to sit in, he was reminded of those moments.

He could still feel the pain that she put him through. There was the ache he felt climbing into the car for each of those weeks, not wanting to show a sign to anyone of what was going on behind the scenes. There was the sharp, direct pain when his arm was originally cut, followed by the pain in getting stitches. Every bit of pain that he felt still haunted him.

The mental pain was there, as well. He found himself reflecting back, thinking of how much she had put him through. He couldn’t let go of the fear that she gave him. He couldn’t let go of the pain that he felt. He couldn’t let go the betrayal and the feeling of being used and controlled.

Short and sweet, it seemed that each day that had followed even though she was gone was met with misery.

What was he supposed to do to move forward?

He looks back at the glass once again, wrapping his hand around it to pick it up when he feels a hand touch his shoulder. He immediately jumps, spinning around on the stool out of fear. He was ready for the attack, ready for the blow that this person was set to deliver.

“Easy Hamlin,” Kyle says quietly as he rubs his shoulder. “It’s just me.” Denny lets out a sigh as he sets the glass down. It wasn’t strange for his teammates to stop by and check on him, worried as to how he was doing.

“You could’ve cal-” He starts as Kyle sits in the stool next to him.

“I tried your cell twice before coming over.” Denny points to the phone sitting over on the charger. It had gone dead earlier in the day, and he couldn’t care less. It wasn’t like he wanted to talk to anybody about anything. “Well?”

“Why did you just come in? You should’ve knoc-”

“I’d been knocking for the past 10 minutes with no answer. I got worried and used the spare key.” Denny reaches for the glass, though Kyle reaches it first and pulls it away, catching his teammate’s attention. “Given your breath and this glass, I take it you were busy.”

“Can’t a guy enjoy a casual drink?” Kyle rolls his eyes, knowing better than that. He knew what Denny had been up to since the break-up. It was why he constantly stopped by the house to check on Denny, and even offered to let Denny stay with him, Samantha and Brexton for a while.

“We both know that’s not what you’re up to, Denny.” Denny lets out a sigh, knowing that he couldn’t lie to his teammate. “You can’t keep beating yourself up and letting it bother you. You need to do something about it.”

“I don’t know what to do…” Kyle could hear the defeat in Denny’s voice, knowing that he was growing frustrated with his own situation. In Denny’s eyes, this was just supposed to disappear with her being gone out of the picture.

“Have you called the psychiatrist’s number that Joe gave you?” Denny shakes his head no, as he threw the number away right after leaving the boss’ office.

“I’m not talking to no stranger. It was hard enough going to the cops that night wit you.” Kyle shook his head, understanding. He remembered the physical pain that he saw Denny was going through when he finally opened up about the issues. He also remembered the mental pain, as it was one of a few times that he had seen his teammate cry.

“Well, why not talk about what you’re feeling to a friend to start, then? I told you that I’m here to listen to you. Matt, Carl and Joe have said that they’re both here for you. I bet there’s others, too. All it takes is to open up to one person.” Denny shakes his head as he couldn’t face doing that. It was hard enough to explain things on that night. How could he explain all the emotions that was going through now?

“I can’t-”

“Stop giving me that bullshit. You need to do something, Denny. This is tearing you apart and I hate to see that as your friend. Please do something to help yourself, anything.” Denny glances up from the counter and looks over at Kyle, thinking it over. Perhaps Kyle was on to something as perhaps it’d help to talk about it.

“Is Sam expecting you home early tonight?” Kyle shakes his head no as he had texted her already that he was going to stop by to see Denny. She knew on those nights, it’d sometimes be 3a before Kyle would walk through the door.

“She wants what’s best for you, too.” Denny takes a deep breath as he gets out of his seat, walking over to the fridge and grabbing a bottle of water. He leans back against the fridge afterwards, unscrewing the cap as he focuses on his teammate. Perhaps the cold water would allow him to keep his cool in reciting details.

“I don’t know why I fell in love with her to begin with. Maybe it was her sweet supposedly charming personality. Maybe I was just fixated on something. But that was a one night stand that I couldn’t get out of my mind because the next four weeks, she was all that I could think about. I just wanted to be able to see her again.”

“I’m guessing the sex was really good…” Denny laughs, though had to believe that Kyle was probably right about that.

“It was different with her. She was more take the lead and get what she wanted, make me do what was needed. It was different than most girls that leave you in control because they want you happy so you’ll call them again. Her taking the lead I guess was a turn on….” Denny takes a deep breath as he glances at his water. “And that should’ve been my first sign of what was to com-”

“You could’ve never known that. There’s many girls that take charge in bed that aren’t like that.” Denny looks up with raised eyebrows as Kyle shakes his head.

“You wouldn’t tell me anyways if it was true so why do I ask? So I called Diane up, and boom – she said that she was open to getting together. It seemed that we found everyway to please each other that we kept calling each other, and eventually after three months of fun, I asked her to move in with me to make it easier.”

“So that’s why you couldn’t wait to leave the shop some nights…” Denny chuckles, thinking back to that as he shakes his head yes. He was so carefree, having success on track and having the time of his life at home. It seemed nothing could go wrong – of course, that didn’t last. “When did she change?”

“I can’t honestly recall a moment that she did, Kyle. I think it was one of those things that happened gradually and grew before I realized what I had gotten myself into. Maybe the couple of orders that she gave in wanting to control what we did together should’ve been a clu-”

“Some people like to have a say in what happens. It doesn’t mean that their over controlling and abusive.” Denny shakes his head, knowing that Kyle was right.

However, as he stood there, he kept asking himself – where did it go wrong? Where did it really begin, and why didn’t he get out of it sooner?