Short Track Lovin’ – Chapter 94: Axaltra Pocono 400

Chase walks into the garage area, hearing commotion down in one of the other stalls as he glanced over confused, before looking at his guys.

“What’s going on there?” He questions, catching his guy’s attention.

“Another poisoning incident,” Jared Erspamer states with a shiver of his own as he thought back to his own bout. “One of the Joe Gibbs guys.” Chase looks on shocked as he shakes his head.

“Crazy…. Is he going to be okay?” Alan shrugs his shoulders, not sure yet as they hadn’t heard many details.

“Regardless, the garage has been a fury of activity with cops questioning every single person that they can come across,” Alan states. “So boys, now that we’ve been left alone, can we get to work?” A mix of sighs and head shakes as the boys scatter around the car. Chase remains with Alan, shaking his head. “I think I figured out something that will work today – or at least, I can say that I’ve put in a good effort. I’ve changed everything.”

“Well, you’re not quite there yet,” Chase comments. “You’re still stuck with me.” Alan smiles as he looks over at his driver.

“Look at it this way, then. If we suck today, I say we change the driver next.” Chase looks on shocked as Alan just laughs. “We’ll be fine, kid. Don’t worry. Just be careful, alright?” Chase shakes his head yes.

“Ugh, found him finally!” Sarina lets out as she enters the garage stall, walking up to Chase and giving him a big hug. “I missed you!”

“I missed you too,” Chase says as he keeps his arms wrapped around her. “What do you mean ‘finally’? You could’ve texted me.” She pulls out her phone, hitting the button to turn it on with no power. “You killed your phone, again?”

“I forgot to charge it last night and then I left my bag with the cord and portable charger in the hauler.” He shakes his head in disbelief. “So I landed this morning in Pennsylvania with my brother. He came here pretty shortly after, and my plan was to find you. Well, that didn’t happen right away as I got tied up with Kyle and Samantha, and oh lawdy that was a discussion of everything from here to there. I think Kyle knows every bitty detail that happened in Texas now.” Chase chuckles, knowing how thorough Kyle could be at times.

“It’s what makes him one of the best team owners to drive for, though.” She knew that was right, whether she agreed to the discussion or not. She would’ve rather been cuddling Chase sooner.

“So anyway, after we got done, I went to your motorcoach and no dice. So then I went and saw Ryan because heck, you normally hang out with him and it’s early. Well, no dice there – but he wanted to chit chat about Texas, too. So another 10 minutes wasted and then I made my way to the garage area. I asked my brother if he saw you but that retreated to no avail so after checking two other spots, I found you.”

“Sounds like you had quite the morning.” She shakes her head yes. “Now, does this excitement compare anything to the weekend that was in Texas?” She laughs and shakes her head no.

“That IndyCar race freaking bananas. I mean, I can’t believe the amount of carnage and wrecks as you normally don’t have that. I honestly couldn’t believe what I was watching. By the way, I’m wondering if Tony Kanaan is alright because I think someone may have kicked his ass by now. Did you see what happened with him and Rossi, and then with Hinch?” Chase shakes his head yes, having watched the race.

“Pack racing and IndyCars don’t mix well.” She rolls her eyes, growing old of the ‘pack racing’ excuse for the wrecks.

“Smarter driving would’ve also helped, too. Bu anyways, it was pretty good. The Stadium Super Trucks were great to watch, too. Sheldon Creed had his showstopper nickname for a reason, and it’s always fun joking with Robby for awhile.” She then wraps her fingers around his hand. “But I will admit – I missed you a ton and at some points during yesterday, I wished I had flown my butt here to see you sooner. I love you.”

“I love you, too. I’m glad you’re here for the race today.” He leans in and kisses her lips.

The pair spent the morning – or what they could of it, hanging out and continuing to chat back and forth about their recent experiences. Sarina then reluctantly let him go so he could attend the driver’s meeting, followed by a couple sponsor appearances and then joined him on pit road after driver intros.

A quick wish of success, followed by another kiss, and it was time for the race to begin.

The efforts put in by Alan Gustafson over night to change over the car completely worked as Chase was able to work his way into the top-10, despite starting back in 25th. Throughout the race, he ran amongst some of the fast cars, cracking the top-five mid-way. However, a mix of strategy saw him fall back out, en route to a solid top-10 finish.

That wasn’t the highlight of the day, though, as all eyes had been on his best friend. He couldn’t contain the excitement for Ryan after hearing how well he had worked to get by Kyle Busch, followed by holding off Kevin Harvick to the line for the victory.

After a quick chat with Alan, followed by a quick kiss and hug from Sarina, he made his way to victory lane, immediately giving his buddy a hug and congratulations.

“Awesome job, man!” He says as Blaney just looks back with a pure smile.

“Thanks buddy,” he replies. “Are you coming to the party?” Chase smiles, shaking his head yes. There was no way that he’d miss it.

“I’ll be there – and we’ll have a good ‘ol time tonight.” Ryan laughs as he watches Chase head out of victory lane. Chase catches up with Sarina, wrapping an arm around her as they head back to the trailer together.

“You don’t mind spending some time at Ryan’s party tonight, do you?” He questions and she shakes her head no.

With Ryan’s media obligations, the party did not actually get started till midnight when he was able to finish up, fly home and then get back to the house. Though as soon as he arrived, there was no stopping the fun that ensued. Throughout the house and in the pool, all different drivers and their significant others could be found, living it up and having a ball to celebrate the night.

Chase spent time goofing off in the pool with Bubba and Ryan, including a couple cannon balls, before going to find Sarina and where she had headed off to.

“I thought you got lost,” he comments as he walks up behind her, wrapping his arms around her as he lays his head on her shoulder.

“Nah, me, Amy and Paige have been just kidding around about your antics,” she replies as he gives her a surprised glance.

“My antics? I’m innocent tonight, sweetheart.” She then laughs as she had seen the cannonball into the pool, along with the attempt at karoke.

“Go ask Jack if he believes you….” He then chuckles as he glances over at the bottle of Jack Daniels he had split with Ryan. “Little tipsy there, Elliott? Need me to hold you up?”

“Nah, I’m good.” He then stands up and starts to walk away, wobbling a little as she rolls her eyes.

“Good luck with him tomorrow morning,” Amy comments with a chuckle of her own.

“I wouldn’t be so certain that you won’t be in the same situation,” Sarina replies, pointing to Dale, who jumped off the small mound into the pool for another cannon ball with laughs spewing.

“That, my dear, is a trained party professional. He can handle this.”

“I’ll be sure to remind you of those words when you call me tomorrow whining about his complaining of a headache,” Paige teases as Sarina just laughs. “Why are boys nuts?”

“Because that’s why we love them so much,” Amy reasons as Paige rolls her eyes. “I know this girl is in love and will actually admit it now.” A smile forms on Sarina’s face at the comment as Paige looks over.

“Oooooo, she finally fell for the Elliott charm? Oh my….”

“Oh no, she fell immediately. She was just afraid to tell us that.” Sarina rolls her eyes. “Listen, it’s great, though. Dale even said the same thing I’m going to tell you – we can see it on both your faces. You guys are great together, deserve each other, and make a great couple. I see a lifetime of happiness.”

“Going to the chapel of love, going to get married….” Amy chuckles at Paige’s singing as she glances at the wine bottle.

“I think she’s had her fair share tonight.” Sarina laughs as Paige grabs the bottle, taking another drink, before going to look for Brad.

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Short Track Lovin’ – Chapter 46: Rattler 250 & California

ShortTrackLovin'

Thanks for reading and reviewing 🙂

 

March 2016

Sarina crosses her arms as she watches Chase pace back and forth, rolling her eyes in response.

“Will you just speak up already?” She asks as he glances towards her.

“What difference will it make?” He questions as she shrugs her shoulders. Perhaps he had a point.

Even though the police had stepped up their search following the Hendrick Motorsports plane incident, they had still been unable to locate Harry Butler. With their sabotager still at large, nerves ran through Chase as he realized this was another weekend the pair would head in another direction. He was headed to California, while she was headed to Southern Alabama Speedway for the Rattler 250.

“We listened to their advice and are not flying via anything commercial,” she starts. “Heck, I’m not even stepping foot on a plane because I’m going with Ricky in the hauler.” She then walks over to him, grabbing his hands to stop him from pacing again. “You need to stop worrying. I’m going to be fine. If anybody should be worried, it’s me.”

“Well then if you’re worried, why don’t you come with me?” He asks and she lets out a sigh. Why was this becoming so difficult?

“Because we agreed pre-season that I’d be busy racing late model events for you and we wouldn’t get all this time together,” she starts. “Because I want to race this weekend at Southern Alabama. Someone can’t take all the spoils and be the only one that enjoys it.” He knew that she was right, and her reasons for him to not be worried were right. He let out a thanks on multiple occasions about being glad that this was a close race to home for her this week.

“I guess I better let you go play then.” She then smiles as she wraps her arms around his waist.

“Besides, I may bring you home a snake.” He then lets out a shocked look and shakes his head no. “So you don’t want me to win?”

“If you win that snake, make sure that it goes with Ricky because there’s no way that reptile is coming near me.” She then laughs as she kisses his lips. “Hopefully we’ll both have a good weekend, again.”

“You’re talented. You’re bound to return back to the front after your bad luck at Vegas.”

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

The weekend for Chase worked out in California as he was able to run in the top-15 throughout the entire race en route to a solid eighth career finish. It certainly marked a big personal boost after the issues in Las Vegas.

He also had to be pleased when he glanced at the results from the Rattler, seeing how Sarina had finished second. Ty Majeski was the man of the day, dominating without anyone being able to touch him for the win.

I let Ty win so that way you didn’t have to deal with a snake. See you soon. Xoxo

Chase had to laugh as he read the text from her as he boarded the plane to head back to North Carolina.

Sure, try to make me believe that. We’ll get those cars running a bit better. Love ya. Xoxo.

He then relaxed back in his seat, smiling as he awaited for her response. He admitted that weekends without her with tough, but he was glad that she was having a real successful season thus far.

“Someone is smitten,” he hears and rolls his eyes as he glances over at TJ Majors. He had made the decision to fly home from California with his teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr., Dale’s spotter TJ and Dale’s fiancé Amy. Being able to fly together made sense due to traveling cross country, and he had an extra layer of safety in being with his teammates. He knew Dale’s plane was under the same safety protocol that he was under, given that they’re teammates. “You can just tell by that dorky smile that he’s in love.”

“TJ, don’t pick on the kid,” Amy comments with a small smile in Chase’s direction.

“Why not? While it’s fun to pick on you, it can get boring at times.” Chase just laughed at the pair, knowing that they had the ability to tease each other all the time.

“I think it’s adorable that Chase has a girlfriend,” Dale throws in his thoughts. “I just wish that the damn boy would tell us some details.” Chase rolls his eyes. Everybody seemed to want to talk about it as Ryan and Bubba were teasing him a couple weeks ago.

“There are no details to offer,” he states clearly as Dale gives him an intrigued glance.

“Really?”

“Okay okay, we know you’re not doing the hanky panky – you’re too innocent for that,” TJ starts as Chase’s cheeks begin to go red from embarrassment. “But you have to admit that she makes you happy.”

“Okay, she does…,” Chase lets on as he watches the pair of friends trade glances. This was going to be a long flight.

“Ignore the immature twits and tell me what it is that you like about her,” Amy offers. “You guys have probably gone on a date, or something, right?” Chase glances off to the side as she drops her jaw in shock. “Really?”

“We’ve been too busy with our racing schedules, what happened and just enjoying time together to do that.” She couldn’t help but smile in response. That was at least something to the discussion.

“How serious are you about her?” Dale then questions as Chase looks over at his teammate. That was a question that didn’t need to be asked.

“As serious as I can be,” Chase starts. “I’m not just with her or the fun of it. We’re really enjoy spending time together, and something ahs simply clicked. There’s nothing more than that, though.”

“So when are you going to ask her to do the han-” TJ starts.

“Seriously, shut up!” Amy cuts him off with a playful smack. “Not everybody is like you, Majors.”

“Like I said, we’re just enjoying time together and having fun, and letting it come together as it comes,” Chase states once again as he pulls his headphones out of his bag. “Now, can I be left in peace?”

“You just want to text your girly without comments,” TJ teases as Chase flips him the bird.

“Actually, I want to finally beat this damn level of Candy Crush.” He then puts his headphones in, flipping to his text messages to continue going back and forth with Sarina.

As they went back and forth, the conversation with TJ, Amy and Dale lingered in his mind. Where was their relationship headed? When would they take the next step? What would the next step be?

Since officially getting together in January, the pair had gotten closer over the past two months – mainly out of their fear for each other’s safety. He had watched Sarina open up more to him about their relationship, able to admit more often than not now just how much she loved him. He also found himself caring for her more than he thought.

He had to chuckle at his thoughts, realizing that they had started to take steps in moving forward together. They had arranged living and travel arrangements so they could spend as much time together as possible between Georgia and North Carolina.

Were they more of a couple together than he had admitted?

The Mysterious Girl – Chapters 26 Thru 29

themysteriousgirl

Chapter 26: Jason

“Can you at least change back to human form?” Dale questions as he sits in the middle of a forest, his left wrist in a hand cuff that was connected to the tree behind him.

He couldn’t believe the span of events that had taken place only moments ago. If they hadn’t happened to himself, he wouldn’t had believed that they had happened. It was like something that you’d see in a horror movie.

He remembered hearing the rummaging outside of the motorcoach, thinking that it was some animal causing trouble. It’d certainly been that – but he didn’t expect this kind of trouble. Perhaps he should’ve maybe expected it after Brad’s reveal.

He remembers hearing clawing at the motorcoach door, seeing as though the animal was trying to enter the motorcoach. It was that moment that realization had hit him as to who it could be, and he remembered finding a bat in hopes of knocking out ‘wolf’. He never got the chance, though, as Jason had made sure to launch himself into the motorcoach, snatching the bat and throwing it to the side. From then on, there was no chance for Dale as he felt the paws wrap around his being, and he was carried out, wolf on two feet, by the man.

Once outside, Jason had swapped usage of paws and instead carried Dale out to the hide out in the mouth. The whole time, Dale kept trying to escape, but knew he was in a bind. There was no way to defeat Jason and the wrong move would result in a tooth in him.

Now he was bound to a tree and stuck with a wolf – stranger than fiction, in his mind. It was also annoying as there was conversation happening since wolfman couldn’t talk for some reason, or so it seemed. Jason hadn’t said a single word since they got out to the hide out.

“Can I have a reason for being kidnapped?” Dale questions, hopeful for some sort of conversation for the sake of his own sanity. However, he also wouldn’t mind knowing a reason.

He heard about the trace deal that Juliette and Brad had going. It was meant to keep Jason away under any costs. It was supposed to solve all problems for them moving forward. So why was Jason here right now? Why was he in Jason’s hands?

His question would go unanswered as rather than focus on Dale, the wolf was focused on sniffing out into the woods. It was as if the wolf was expecting someone to be find them. Was he using Dale to lure out someone? But who?

“So who are you looking for?” Dale asks out loud, not expecting an answer though. He hadn’t heard an answer to this point so why was he to believe that he’d get one now?

It just seemed odd considering the pair had been friends for so long. Dale had believed so much in Jason that he was thinking of hiring the young man to work for JR Motorsports in the forthcoming season. So much for that idea. Now he’d need someone else to crew chief for Regan.

Dale then yanks as hard as he can on the cuff, trying to see if it’d by chance break and he could make some sort of escape. However that wasn’t in the cards that night.

“Damn it Jason!” He lets out as he catches the wolf’s attention. “We’re…were friends! I trusted you and you trusted me! We worked together for a couple of years now! This isn’t how you treat friends!”

“That was all a foul play….” Jason finally says something in a deep husky voice as Dale looks at him confused. He had broken through and gotten the wolf to speak. That was something. Perhaps if he could continue what he was doing.

“Oh really? I doubt that as I could tell that you cared. I can give you many examples. There’s no way of downplaying the friendship that we had together, and with Steve.” The wolf slouches down slightly, going off-guard from his post of sniffing as he glances back. Perhaps Jason felt a little bad for what he was doing…but it had to be done. It was wolf law to not touch another wolf’s bait, and Brad had done that.

“So maybe it wasn’t. It doesn’t change what I’m doing tonight.”

“So we kidnap our friends now?”

“Just be glad that I haven’t bitten you yet! I could’ve done that, right?” Dale instantly feels himself go silent as no doubt that was a very true option. He was in the perfect position for that if Jason wanted to go forth. What if that was part of the plan? What if he was waiting for others from his circle?

The thoughts that were swirling through Dale’s mind instantly escaped as he watched a white-silvery colored wolf come flying out from a section of trees, launching himself on to Jason.

Not only was he kidnapped by a wolf, but now he trusted the chance of being saved in another wolf?

When would he wake up from this bad dream and return to reality? This had to be a dream!

 

Chapter 27: Wolf Fight

Upon seeing the brown colored wolf, he pounced without warning. He knew if he got the upperhand, it’d make everything much easier. He then pinned Jason down below him, growling as loud as he could in his face before swiping his paw across the cheek below him. The sharp claws of the paw left a line across the face, but no blood drawn. It seemed he was tougher than Brad would’ve thought or hoped.

“You didn’t need to involve him!” Brad spats as he takes another swipe at Jason, this time drawing blood as a bit of blood trickles from the cheek of the wolf beneath him. It’d only be a matter of time with the blood dripping out that he would be forced back to human form.

“I had to do something to get your attention!” Jason yells back in response as he pushes up harder than Brad was expecting, sending Brad flying back towards a tree behind him. Brad’s back slams off of the tree as he slowly regains his footing on his paws.

The pair of wolves then stand in the woods facing each other, both eyes full of red and anger.

For Jason, it was due to the marking that Brad had placed on Juliette.

For Brad, it was all of Jason’s behavior to this point.

“Why?” Brad questions as he circles around the outer edge of the circular area that they now found themselves in the woods.

“You marked my girl!” Jason yells in response as he walks around in the circle, keeping his eyes on Brad. Both wolves were watching each other, waiting for the opportune time to make a move.

“You hurt her. I had to do whatever it took to protect her!” Brad then begins to pounce slightly, though backs up as he knows that he doesn’t have the upperhand with that planned jump. He had to catch Jason off-guard if he wanted to have enough leverage to pin him again, and make his real attack. The simple swipe of the paw to draw a bit of blood wouldn’t obviously be enough that night. “That doesn’t give you the right to involve Dale!”

“What else did you expect me to do to get you out here for myself?”

“Can’t you just move on?” Jason laughs as he watches Brad closely. If anything, he knew Brad’s flaw in this whole ordeal. While Brad had feelings for Juliette, he didn’t have those.

“You know that’s not possible when you have feelings for a girl.”

“You didn’t have feelings because you hurt her!!” Jason then takes the sitting dog position, getting annoyed of walking around in a circle as he watches Brad.

“You know, she probably would’ve tasted great.”

Those words were all Brad needed to hear as he immediately pounced, jumping up high in the air before landing hard down on Jason, sending him from sitting position to laying down position. With him pinned beneath him, Brad immediately went at biting the other wolf’s ear, tugging on it with every bit of strength that he had. If could’ve went for the nose, that was the original plan but the ear would do fine for now.

Jason lets out a huge yelp as pain centers around the left side of his head, extending down his neck as Brad continues tugging at the fur of the ear. With tug after tug, the pain increased and in a swift motion, the ear would go flying in the air.

“GROSS!” Dale lets out as he watches the ear go flying by him, before glancing back at the pair. Seeing the sight before him now with the ear removed, he immediately glanced away – still wishing that he’d wake up from his nightmare.

The removal of the ear was seemed to be a deafening blow, as it would result in Jason having no ear in human form either. The blood began to seep out, with the cries that escaped Jason’s mouth. Brad also knew that upon changing back to human, it would result in enormous amount of blood loss for Jason, resulting in a good chance at death.

The cries continued as Brad loosened his gasp, seeing the blood that was pouring out. as the cries continued, Jason slowly turned back to human form, laying there on the ground before him. it seemed odd seeing a human with no ear, but yet instead the perfect hole for blood to leak out.

“Your death is within minutes based on that blood,” Brad comments as he creeps down to Jason’s level. “Was it worth it for a chance at a girl? Was it worth it to see me?”

“I….hate….you….” Jason slowly lets out before his body goes limp. Brad then goes in the pocket, grabbing the keys for the cuffs before going over to the tree. He somehow manages to hold them steady in his paws as he unlocks the lock.

“Are you okay?” Dale shakes his head yes as he hears the lock unclick. He then slowly stands up, glancing at Jason with a shivered sigh.

“Is he…dead?” Dale questions as Brad glances over.

“Yeah, pretty much. There’s no way to come back from that, human or werewolf. Come on. We better get out of here.” They then begin to head through the woods, Brad still in his werewolf form. He needed to remain in form to find his way back based on scent, but also would be naked should he changed back.

“Aren’t you going to….become you?”

“Do you want to walk with a pet, or a naked man?” Dale then shivers as he continues walking.

“You can stay as wolfy. Actually, it’s kind of cute. Aww Bad Brad is my little pet now. Does Juliette take you for wal-”

“Don’t push it, Dale.” Dale just grins as he glances down at the werewolf.

“This is just weird, okay? I never thought that I’d ever see you as this, or anybody for that matter.” Dale then pinches himself as Brad glances up.

“You’re not dreaming. This is me. I told you the truth that day.” Dale shakes his head in disbelief.

“So how am I supposed to explain this one to Amy?” Brad stops and lets out a sigh. To anybody, they’d say that Dale was kidnapped by a werewolf due to the wolf being hungry, and Brad had simply saved him. But obviously that wasn’t the truth, and given Amy’s reaction earlier, she would have lots of questions.

“That’s up to you. You can tell her the truth, if you want.” Dale laughs as he shakes his head no,

“Nope, not happening. There’s no way that she’d believe me. I’d be in the looney bin before tomorrow’s race started.” Brad chuckles as he remembers Joey’s reaction when he told him.

“And no, you can’t take me for walks, or hunting, or any of those wolf plans that you have. Don’t even try it.”

“So are you going to go bark up a tree? No wait – you’d pee on a tre-”

“Dale….” Dale shakes his head as they reach the edge of the forest. Brad finds the clothes that he had previously left with Juliette, putting them back on himself. He then slowly turns back in human form, fixing his hair as Dale glances over in surprise.

“Okay that’s just weird how you can just do that.”

“Get used to it, buddy. Wait till you see my vampire girlfriend.” They then continue the rest of the walk back to the motorcoach lot in silence, both mentally preparing themselves for the pack of curious people.

 

Chapter 28: Post Wolf Fight

“We’re back!!” Brad comments as he enters the motorcoach, catching a bunch of surprised glances.

His eyes quickly set on Amy, who was immediately in Dale’s arms and kissing his cheeks. His eyes then shifted to the officer, followed by the pair of shocked teammates and finally….Juliette. With a simple nod of the head, she knew that Brad had found him with Jason and the pair would be having a big talk later.

“Are you oka-” Amy starts as Dale cuts off her words with a kiss on the lips.

“I’m fine,” he assures her as he looks into her eyes. “I’m okay. You don’t need to worry. He didn’t harm me…” Dale then glances back at Brad. “I’m just glad that you found me when you did.” Brad simply smiles, remembering their cover-up story.

“Ms. Reinmen said that you were taken out of here by a wolf?” The officer questions and Dale shakes his head as he keeps his arms wrapped around Amy.

“Yeah, that’s right. He took me to some pack hide-out and praying around me – I guess he wanted me for food for his pack. Luckily, Brad got there and managed to distract him.”

“I have been in the woods before around them so I knew how to get him to run off away from Dale,” Brad offers with a wink towards Dale.

“I’ll have to warn the track about wolves being in the area,” the officer states as he slowly stands up. “Glad to see you weren’t harmed, Mr. Earnhardt. While this will go down as the strangest report ever filed, that’s all that matters. Goodbye.” The officer then leaves without another word, leaving the rest of the group standing there in surprise.

“Do you want a hug, as well?” Dale asks as he glances towards his teammates.

“I’m just…shocked…” Jeff comments as he stands up, giving Dale a quick hug. “But glad you’re alright.”

“I have to agree,” Jimmie adds as he also stands up. “This will be one of those stories that nobody will believe.”

“I barely believe it….but only because it’s coming from you. We better go. It seems someone will want cuddles since she was worried. See you tomorrow.” Jeff and Jimmie then leave, sharing their own shocks and disbeliefs over the story along the way.

As the pair leave, Brad keeps his eyes locked on Dale. He had told Dale that he’d help in telling Amy the truth of the story if he wanted to give her some comfort form the strangeness. He was willing to trust her in learning the information, since Dale trusted her and since the pair had been affected by everything now.

“Thank you…thank you….thank you…” Amy breaks the silence in the room as she walks over to Brad and gives him a hug. “Thank you.”

“Hey, he’s my best friend,” Brad comments as he wraps his arms around her. “I wouldn’t want anything to happen to him.” Amy then backs away as she keeps her eyes on Brad.

“How did you know where to find him and what was going on?” Brad glances at the marks on the wall.

“Claw marks – typical mark of a wolf. Plus, I believed you. I then went to where I figured they’d hang out. I knew waiting for some officers to do something would be too long since they have all this paperwork.” Brad then looks over at Dale, having enough of a time coming up with reasons for this whole thing to be true.

“Well, thank you…” She then walks back over to Dale and sits beside him on the couch, wrapping an arm around him. “I don’t know what I’d do without him. I love him too much.”

“It wasn’t a problem…” He then looks over at Juliette. “We should get going. We both need our sleep due to a race tomorrow. You going to be up for that, Dale?” Dale shakes his ehad yes.

“I’m going to win if you didn’t know already,” Dale comments as Brad simply chuckles.

“We’ll see about that,” Brad replies. “See you tomorrow and oh, if you want to talk…”

“I know.” Brad and Juliette then leave the motorcoach and head back to their own.

They quickly enter and head to the back, lying on the bed as they had planned on earlier.

“Now, do I get to know what really happened?” Juliette wonders as Brad looks over at her.

“Jason’s dead, for starters,” Brad starts as she looks at him surprised. “He took Dale because he wanted to draw me away since he was mad that I marked you since you’re his girl. I bit his ear off in the fight.”

“You have one bad bark there, Mr. Keselowski.” She then pulls him close and kisses his lips. “Nice job tonight…” She then moves back a bit, taking a good look in his eyes. “Thank you…thank you for everything that you’ve done for me. Thank you for saving me from him, for accepting who I am and what you did tonight. You’re truly amazing.” She then leans in and kisses his lips once again. “I can’t wait to have your puppies.”

“Blood sucking puppies – that’d be interesting to see…” She then chuckles at the thought as she could just picture a couple of kids running away, growing fur at night while craving the taste of blood. It seemed like a sick, demented picture, but she knew that she could teach them to behave as she had learned.

It was just another challenge that she was willing to tackle as she was going to do whatever it took to be with the wolf of her dreams

 

Chapter 29: Race Morning

Brad grabbed his firesuit, slipping it on as Juliette sat on the couch in the motorcoach. The pair glanced up as the television returned from commercial, revealing the start of Raceday.

“While we’re here to discuss the race, we do have some house-keeping to do in regards to some breaking news,” they hear John Roberts say as they both glance towards each other, knowing what it was about. Brad’s eyes then return to the television, curiously. “Last night, an individual died in the forest near the motorcoach lot at the speedway.”

“Told you,” Brad states as the pair had debated last night whether Jason would be okay.

“Shut it!” Juliette yells, wanting to hear what the television revealed.

“FOX Sports has learned that individual is the car chief off of the No. 88 National Guard – Jason Burdett,” Roberts continues as Juliette rolls her eyes. “Per the police report, he was attacked by a wolf that was running around the campground last night. Now, police have yet to locate the wolf but speedway officials assure that they have security on the case if he does reappear today.”

“In other words….” Juliette starts with a glance over towards Brad as he puts his hands up.

“I don’t have plans of changing dear,” he offers, knowing where she was going with her point.

“Hendrick Motorsports released a statement this morning saying that they were saddened by the loss and their prayers are with his family,” Roberts adds. “No doubt the No. 88 team will be trying to win this race in his memory.” Juliette and Brad chuckle as they think that over.

“I’m sure Dale will love hearing that one,” Brad comments as she just grins.

“I wonder what the rest of the team knows,” Juliette shares as Brad shrugs his shoulders, sitting down beside her.

“They probably know that he was kidnapped by a wolf and are all playing sympathy – if he said anything at all. He texted me this morning saying that officials were keeping that under the radar. We don’t need Jr Nation up in arms for wolves.”

“Oh no, that’d be bad news. They’d be chasing after you with pitch forks.” She then wraps an arm around him, and kisses his lips lately.

“I’m sure my vampire would save me, right?” She then grins and shakes her head yes.

“I’d suck the blood out of each one of them, just for you, even though I don’t like the taste of it.” Brad then gives her a surprised glance.

“Okay, that’s odd. A vampire that doesn’t like blood?”

“Human blood. Animal blood is a different story…” He then goes to scoot away as she firmly holds on to his hand. “Don’t worry – I don’t want yours. I just want your lips against mine all the time.” She then leans in for another kiss as he keeps her held close.

“Have I told you lately how muc-”

“I don’t need the cliché lines, Keselowski.” He then chuckles as they relax on the couch. “So, are you going to win me a race today?”

“That’s the plan. Do you think I can?” She then raises an eyebrow with a glance his way.

“Have I ever doubted you? 25th is just going to make things a little more challenging.”

“I think we learned that a challenge doesn’t scare me.” He then leans in and kisses her lips once more before standing up. “I’ll see you out on pit road.”

“I’ll be there waiting for those lips, once again.” He then walks out of the hauler, heading to the driver’s meeting.

*************************************

Standing in victory lane, neither of them could believe they were there. Brad hopped off of the car and pulled her close, instantly kissing her lips as she looked into his eyes with a smile. Just like they discussed that morning, he had gone out and captured the race victory in style. There was no way that he was letting some wolf drama keep him out of the championship battle.

“Congratulations!” She lets out after he releases her from the kiss. “I’m so proud of you.”

“I’m glad that you’re here to celebrate with me,” he replies. “Perhaps you’re my lucky charm.” He then kisses her lips quickly once again before turning to do his television interviews.

To the world, they seemed as the perfect couple through the hat dance and gushy love conversation on twitter later that night flying home. However, they were more than that. They were two unique beings coming together to create pure magic. That was a type of magic that Brad had waited for over the years and now that he had it, there was no way that he was letting it go – no matter the reason.

 

THE END

The Mysterious Girl – Chapters 21 Thru 25

themysteriousgirl

Chapter 21: Lurking

Considering that he had gone all the way to Chicago, he knew that he couldn’t leave without doing anything. There was a reason why his anger…followed by his feet had carried him cross the country without any signs of stopping.

Thankfully, he still had his hard card which made access to the garage area easy. There was no way that he could have it taken away as he had not been proven guilty of anything. Oh the naïve behavior by both to drop the charges. If they could be convinced to do that, the rest of this had to be easy….right?

It was nice to have access to the garage, but that didn’t make things easy. He couldn’t sniff out HIS girl and see where she was. That was all gone with the imprinting. He also knew that meant that he couldn’t step within so much distance of her without his strength being drawn away and her noticing a sensation in the mark.

He knew he should’ve gone about the imprinting process himself. He had thought about it and debated as they got closer together, before turning slightly evil. However, that would’ve made making her his prey that much more difficult and he thought that he had things easy.

Keeping himself in the quietest form that he could, he lurked around the garage and kept his eyes out for those that he was curious to see. Even if he couldn’t touch her, he wanted to see her. Beyond that, he wanted to make sure that he had someone staked out so that way they could see each other.

He saw how Brad went about himself, faking the reason to the media and explaining things from his perspective.

“Smooth, real smooth Brad…” were the only words that could slip from his mouth as he watched. Brad would only be smooth for so long, as his smooth lines were going to ware off and result in the end. There was no way that this wolfy was getting away with an imprint.

He also watched as Juliette made her way through the garage and to HIS TEAM and discussed things as if nothing happened. He couldn’t believe his HIS GUYS were simply turning their backs on him and putting full trust in what Brad claimed to have happened. There was no question as to whether maybe Brad had lied, and whether they should take back their car chief.

But that didn’t matter to him. That position was a distraction from the actions that he truly wanted to take and was only accepted to get closer to vampy. He just hoped that they had the worst Chase ever possible.

He then watched as she made her way back down to Brad’s stall and for a second, thought that he had been spotted. A pair of blue eyes glanced his way and landed on him that he had grown used to in the garage and kept their eyes glanced over his way.

This wasn’t part of the plan.

He immediately darted away, hiding behind the first object that he could. He didn’t bother peaking out, but rather focusing on his next spot to continue. Wolfs were tracking animals, good at tracking their pray. He could find his way out of this jam with those instincts as he continued to shift through the garage area.

Once he was out of the garage area, he found a spot to sit. He knew that he wouldn’t be followed as there was practice to be had, which would be required of those blue eyes. They would be buys focusing on the crew and the car that his hiding would work.

He figured that he best use that scenario as a learning experience. If he was going to do any damage this weekend, he had to be more careful. He was going to have to learn to hide out in spots that weren’t visible, and find the best place to track one Mr. Keselowski.

Once the fellow wolf lay in his hands, the plan was simple – shred him and do away with him for what he had done in ruining the plan.

There was only one problem – how do you get a Sprint Cup Series driver all alone?

He knew of the options, whether tracking spots that he’d be, or perhaps luring him in. if he couldn’t lure him with Juliette, there had to be another way that he could possibly do it.

Perhaps blues eyes wasn’t such a bad thought anymore.

 

Chapter 22: Rain

Brad couldn’t figure it out. They had done everything that they had to do during practice to find the sweet spot for the car. They had everything planned as to when they’d go out. Paul was supposed to have the perfect set-up. They were supposed to carry forward the momentum that they had all year.

So why had he qualified 25th for the first race of the Chase?

It was simple – rain. Rain had fallen throughout the season, forcing NASCAR to cancel qualifying and set the field based on practice speeds. Since they hadn’t done any qualifying runs throughout the session, they were set back in 25th.

“Just great…” He muttered to himself as he walks through the garage area, trying to keep his feet dry as he walks with the umbrella in hand. However, it seemed as though luck wasn’t on his side as his foot landed in a deep puddle, resulting in water seeping through his shoes. “Just my luck.”

While he had gotten the girl of his dreams back, it seemed as though everything else was flying apart. He was being bugged by the media for something that wasn’t even in their business as they couldn’t understand the situation that he was in with dropping the charges. He was being bugged by fans over their outage from what happened. Some believed that he purposely got Jason charged to screw with the 88 team, while others called him a pure chicken. Thankfully, there were fans that couldn’t care less, or understood his situation, and still had his back.

If he could combined that with the qualifying and rain, it seemed as though nothing was going right in his world.

Thankfully, that night at the motorcoach would hopefully bring some welcome relief. Juliette had promised to cook dinner and if he remembered right, she was one great cook. A good tasty meal with his favourite girl, along with some cuddles and a possible movie could erase the headache that he was facing.

Besides, he could handle qualifying 25th. It wasn’t about where you started, but where you finished. You could pass easily at Chicagoland with the wide open track and he’d have a fast car that could bring him through the field.

He makes his way into the motorcoach, taking off his wet soaked shoes immediately upon entering, along with the socks. He could only hope that they’d dry out, along with some added heat, by the morning or else that’d be an interesting experience in the car.

He notices Juliette in the kitchen, working at dinner for the night and smiles. This was perfect. This was what he had wanted all along and he was finally glad to have it.

“I’m going to get changed,” he tells her with a quick kiss to the cheek before heading to the bedsroom.

Not even bothering to close the door, he slips off his firesuit and finds a pair of lounge pants and a t-shirt to slip into. There was no need to dress fancy or anything as he wasn’t planning on having any visitors that night or being bugged. A simple night would be better than anything.

He returns shortly after, pulling himself up on the counter as he takes a smell of what Juliette is cooking and lets a smile form on his face. It made had taken them a little longer to get together, but her cooking hadn’t changed in that time. It seemed weird that a vampire could cook better than any other human he knew as it wasn’t like vampires really ate human food anyway. Perhaps their need for good tastey, full-filling blood was what gave them the ability to know the right spices and flavors for dishes. Or, at least that was the only logical explanation that Brad could come up with.

“I could get used to this…” He comments out loud as Juliette looks over with a smile on her face.

“Who says I’m going to cook for you all the time?” She questions as a smirk forms on his face. Now they were truly together, he could have some fun with this…

“I could make it very worth your while and time.” She then rolls her eyes as she turns back to the meat.

“Of course you could, as you’re a ma-”

“Try again…” Juliette takes a deep breath and smiles. She only had to glance at her wrist for a clear reminder.

“Right, you’re a werewolf, which explains this even more. Since you’re a werewolf, you know only a couple things – eating, preying and being fast. That explains you to a key.” Brad then grabs her hand and pulls her over to him.

“And I finally got the prey that I’ve always wanted.” He then kisses her lips once again.

“You better let me go or you’ll be eating burnt stir-fry tonight.” He immediately lets go as a smile forms on her face. “Yeah, that’s what I thought.” She then returns back to the pan as they hear a knock on the door.

“Great…” Brad hops off the counter and goes to the door, opening it as he sees Joey standing there. “Now is not a good time…”

“So you’re already got your claws dug into her that quick?” Joey questions as Brad rolls his eyes.

“I’m not like you; I don’t just take the girl straight to bed. Besides, I’m being patient as she requested…” Joey shakes his head, already understanding.

“So why isn’t right now a good time?” Brad crosses his arms as he closes the door a little, keeping the conversation quiet to him and Joey.

“We just got together, officially. We haven’t seen each other for months and we’ve wanted this for years. Now that we’re together, I’d like to spend some time with her….alone.” Joey puts his hands up and backs away a little.

“Understood. Sorry I interrupted you both. Have a good night…” Joey then leaves the motorcoach as Brad shuts the door, returning to the kitchen.

“Who was that?” Juliette asks as Brad hops back up on the counter.

“Joey,” Brad answers as Juliette looks over with a questioning glance. “He wanted to hang out as we normally do.”

“And?” Brad smiles as he keeps his eyes locked on hers.

“I told him that tonight wasn’t a good night as we were spending some time together.” Juliette smiles as she keeps her eyes locked on his.

“That’s sweet…” She then turns her eyes back to the food, figuring that it was just about ready. “But just because I’m in your life doesn’t mean that we have to change everything. Besides, Joey seems like a cool guy and Brittney would make a good girl to hang out with.”

“Skip-Bo date tomorrow night?” Juliette shakes her head in agreement with a smile. That sounded like a great idea as she thought back to all the times that they played skip-Bo before with friends. “I’ll ask Joey tomorrow afternoon.”

 

Chapter 23: Saturday

It seemed the misery of the day before had quickly disappeared in Brad’s mind as he was able to hit the track on Saturday for a pair of practices, and was fast, real fast. He knew if the pieces fell together quickly, he would have a winning car for Sunday afternoon.

He had also been able to talk to Joey, and he was glad that his teammate had easily agreed to come over and play Skip-Bo. It’d been a while since they had gotten a good game in, so it’d be fun to have a good round. If anything, Joey was super glad that Juliette was back and things were going great as it was good to have his fun loving friend back.

“So, are you ready for a fun game night?” He asks as he sits down on the couch, smile plastered on his face.

“Absolutely,” Juliette answers as she sits down beside him. “I can’t tell you how much I’ve missed these fun crazy nights with you.”

“Well, let’s just say that Joey and Brittney are a little more tamer than Dale’s parties.” She then laughs as she knew that was probably the case.

“Let’s face it – there’s not much that can top of the craziness of a party at Whiskey River.” Brad shakes his head in agreement as he wraps an arm around her.

“So I’ve been thinking. What do you say we get the whole family together at my…our house for Christmas?” She then looks at him surprised as she wasn’t expecting that thought.

“Brad, we just got together. We haven’t even had thanksgiving yet, either. When did you start thinking Christmas?” He then smiles as he keeps his eyes locked on hers.

“Ever since I realized that my girl was back in my life, I’ve been planning my future with her…” He then kisses her lips softly. “Is that a crime?”

“Not at all.” She then lets out a sigh as she knew that’d take something getting used to. She still had her feelings from how things had shaken off before, but she was ready for this future with Brad. She was ready to be with him, but also wanted to take it slow. She wanted to possibly have children down the road – if that was feasible given their situation – and get married. But, she didn’t say that she was ready for all that yet. Though talking about spending the holidays together wasn’t something that made her want to run away as it meant more cuddle time, and more time for them to catch up with each other.

A knock on the door then snaps her out of the thoughts as Brad gets up first and opens it, smiling. He then welcomes the pair in, closing the door behind them.

“Hey,” Joey says with a smile as he walks over to the table.

“Hey Joey,” Juliette replies as she gets up off the couch and sits across from him. The pair had met briefly, but hadn’t had much discussion. She knew that Joey had a bunch of questions that he’d probably want to ask, but could tell that the whole ‘vampire/werewolf’ thing had him nervous.

“You didn’t need to bring your own deck,” Brad comments as he slips in beside Juliette while Brittney sits down with Joey.

“You could cheat,” Joey offers as Brad rolls his eyes.

“There’s no way that you can cheat with the skip-bo deck. Besides, what if you’re trying to cheat?”

“This is why I told him to not bring the deck,” Brittney comments as Juliette just grins.

“Boys – they’re always being pain in the butts, huh?” Juliette questions as Brittney shares a smile with her. Joey hadn’t told Brittney any details, not able to even bring himself to discuss them. It had also been agreed that the secret would stay between Joey, Paul and Dale. They didn’t need to tell anybody else as that’d get weird.

“I think I like you already.” Juliette shares a laugh as Brad wraps an arm around her.

“You girls both like to shop and do your nails and look pretty,” Brad offers as Juliette gives him a glance. The nail polish was actually just a ploy to help hide the truth. “I’m sure you’ll get along great. Besides, maybe she can help with your wedding planning.”

“Wedding planning?” Brittney shakes her head yes as she glances over at Joey.

“We’re getting married this off-season,” she offers as Juliette looks between the pair with a smile.

“Congratulations,” she offers. “It seems Brad left out that important detail.”

“Too caught up in making out and all that?” Joey questions as Brad rolls his eyes.

“Oh Logano, I wouldn’t sit there cracking on the girl…” Brad starts with a wink as Joey looks between them. He had a million different things that he could say, but none of them would make sense in that moment.

“Why not?”

“Because…it may come back to bite you…” Brad watched the shock on Joey’s face and could only laugh as Juliette just shook her head.

“Brad…” She warns with a slight smack on the arm.

“It’s too easy with him,” Brad comments as Joey just rolls his eyes.

“Do I want to know?” Brittney questions, sensing an inside joke between the boys. She knew they had a bunch that they shared together, and also with their other male friends.

“Not really,” Joey offers with a glance Brad’s way. He wasn’t about to bring up vampires. “Can we just start the game?”

“Let’s see if Brad remembers how to count to 12 tonight,” Juliette comments as Brad starts dealing the cards.

They then go through the game, each of them taking their turn and doing a respectful job. It seemed that there was no luck for Joey as he kept getting cards that he could do nothing with and found himself getting frustrated with the piles that sat before him. In contrast, Brad was scoring the lucky breaks, getting cards out one after the other. Those breaks all paid off as he was able to score the victory in round one.

“I win!” He lets out with a smile as he sits back, grinning.

“This game is evil,” Joey comments as he pushes his cards into the center.

“Ahh, what’s wrong Joey?” Joey just rolls his eyes as he takes a couple chips out of bowl.

“The game is all about luck and what cards you get. You got lucky. Congratulations. Just remember if you use all your luck up tonight, I’ll be the one visiting victory lane tomorrow.”

“Just remember who was quicker in practice before you make such bold predictions.”

“Besides, he ahs to welcome me back to the track in style,” Juliette adds as she gives him a kiss on the cheek. “You played a good game, as always.”

“Do I sense some victory presents later?” Brittney teases as both Brad and Juliette glances her way.

“So that’s why Joey is so frustrated….” Brad lets out, not wanting to tackle the question directly. He didn’t know how much Juliette wanted to speak of their inner meanings of the relationship to other people as of right now.

“I don’t need to win to get her affection,” Joey offers as he wraps an arm around her. “I know exactly what to do to get her to cave to me.” He then kisses Brittney’s lips lightly as she looks at him surprised.

“Keep telling yourself that if it makes you happy,” she comments as Brad just grins.

“And who wears the pants in the family?” Juliette questions as Joey rolls his eyes.

“Seriously?” He asks as Juliette shrugs her shoulders.

“You brought that all upon yourself with your comment to Delana.”

“Well, it’s true.” Juliette laughs, but no doubt knows that Joey is right from what she has seen of Kevin and Delana together. That was one person that she couldn’t wait to catch up with either.

“Come on Joey. Play another round. Maybe you’ll get lucky.” Joey lets out a sigh.

“Fine. Let’s do it.”

 

Chapter 24: Wolfman

“And another win for us!” Brad lets out as they finish the fourth round. Brad won the first three games, while Juliette was able to snag the win in the fourth round.

“You got to be cheating – somehow, someway,” Joey complains as Brad laughs.

“Dude – we used your set of cards and my set of cards, and yous till didn’t win.”

“Perhaps you need some practice?” Juliette offers as Joey lets out a sigh.

“Don’t worry baby – you’ll score the big win tomorrow,” Brittney comments as she pats him on the leg. Joey simply smiles as he cuddles up to her, sharing a quick kiss.

“Aren’t they adorable?” Brad shakes his head as he wraps an arm around Juliette.

“We’re two lucky guys with two amazing girls in our lives – finally,” Joey comments and Brad shakes his head with a glance towards Juliette.

“It was worth the wait for what I’ve got right here beside me,” Brad says before sharing a kiss with Juliette.

“I should’ve listened to you from day one and accepted you,” Juliette replies as Brittney looks over with a questioning gaze.

“Say what?” She questions as Juliette looks over at her.

“We dated before while he was at JR Motorsports and I was his PR rep. We dated for a couple of months and it was going great. But, we couldn’t find that compromise together. I wanted something serious, and he was still maturing as they say. Perhaps I could’ve been a little more patient.”

“Or perhaps I should’ve realized that the best thing was in front of me and I needed to show that,” Brad counters as Joey watches the pair with a smile.

“Well, I’m glad that you decided to come back in his life because this guy is a pain in the ass when he’s lonely,” Joey shares as Juleitte laughs.

“I could say something…but I’ll be nice tonight,” she comments with a grin as Brad looks at her surprised. “Listen, boy, I’ve been through everything working with you. Let’s just say that you’re an interesting client, but a stunning lover.”

“It’s getting late and they’re getting a little lovey. Perhaps we should go…” Brittney shakes her head in agreement as the pair stand up.

“Scared to get your ass kicked again?” Brad questions as Joey looks back at him.

“Not at all because I know that you’re cheating,” Joey answers. “Next week – let’s play something else and see what happens.”

“Go Fish? That should be easy enough for you.” Joey then gives him a face as the girls laugh.

“How about twister? Or Crazy Eights?”

“Twister!!” Brittney votes, as shehad played that game a ton of times with her girls and seemed to be the star at winning at it.

“You’re on,” Brad comments. “See you tomorrow.” They all then trade goodbye remarks before Joey and Brittney head out, leaving Brad and Juliette to themselves.

The pair then cleaned up the bowls and cans that were left on the table, along with the cards, before retreating back to the bedsroom. The pair were getting ready for bed when they heard a scream.

“What was that?” Brad questions as he glances out the bedsroom window.

“That sounded like a scream…” Juliette comments as she glances out the window with Brad.

“Hope Joey and Brittney made it back alright.” Brad then takes out his phone, set to text Joey to see if they’re alright when they hear the scream again. the sound instantly causes both Juliette and Brad to perk up as they recognize the female voice immediately.

“Amy!!” They both let out before darting out of the motorcoach – Brad in just his boxers, Juliette in her pajama shirt and jeans. The pair dart across the motorcoach lot, heading straight to Dale’s motorcoach.

Brad makes his way in, finding Amy sitting on the edge of the bed with their pomeranian clutched to her.

“Amy?” Brad questions as Juliette glances around the room. It was obvious to tell that someone had broken in based on the marks….claw marks….

“He’s gone…” Amy lets out as she looks straight at Brad.

“What do you mean? Where’s Dale?”

“Brad, there’s claw marks here…” Juliette lets out, pointing to the marks on the edge of the wood door. Brad’s head instantly whips back, eyes falling on the marks. He knew immediately who they belogned to as he felt his senses perking.

“Werewolf….part man maybe…grabbed….left….” Amy lets out between deep breaths as Brad and Juliette glance towards each other. They both knew the result of this – Jason.

The pair watch as Jeff and Jimmie take their turn running in and with a glance towards each other, know the plan.

“Someone kidnapped Dale,” Brad states. “We’re going to get help. Comfort Amy.”

“What?” Jeff questions.

“Huh?” Jimmie says.

“Someone kidnapped Dale!” Juliette screams. “We’re going to get help!” She then grabs Brad by the arm and drags him out of the room as the pair hurry off, leaving the pair of drivers with Amy.

 

Chapter 25: Kidnapped

The pair exit the motorcoach, before looking towards each other. The look in each other’s eyes said everything.

“There’s only one person that would go near him that would leave claws….” Brad lets out as Juliette takes a deep breath, shaking her head in agreement.

She didn’t want to let the thought of Jason cross her mind. She thought that he was gone, in her past, forever out of her life. Why did he have to reappear now?

Brad pulls her close, wrapping both arms around her as he glances around.

“He’s not going to hurt you, again,” Brad assures her, placing a kiss on top of her head.

“But Dal-” Juliette starts as Brad tips her head up to look at him in the eyes.

“Dale is going to be fine. He’s not going to harm Dale. He kidnapped Dale for a reason.” Juliette takes a step back as she realizes it as well, keeping her eyes locked on Brad.

“Brad, he wants to lure you in….” Brad shakes his head yes as he knew that fact as well.

“He knows that you’re traced. However, that doesn’t stop him from hurting me. If he can get someone that he knows will lure me out, then he can see just me.” It was the only theory that made sense given the current situation that they were faced. Brad knew what Jason wanted and knew that it could happen. If someone was kidnapped, another wolf could easily track the scent as that was one of their strengths.

“We nee-”

“I need to do something. You can’t do anything to help, Juliette. I have to do this.” He knew that she couldn’t go near him based on the trace explanation, so that left everything in Brad’s hands.

“I don’t want you to go alone. What if he hurts you?” Brad looks into Juliette’s eyes.

“Take out your contacts…” She then does as instructed as he gleams into her true silver eyes. “Look into my eyes. You can trust me, Juliette. Everything is going to work out. dale is going to be fine and I am going to be fine.”

“Bu wha-”

“He won’t hurt me, trust me. I have this guy covered easily. You don’t need to worry about me, understood?” She slowly shakes her head yes. “Come…” He then pulls her hand as they run off, heading into a wooded area.

“Is there anyway that you can let me know how things are going?” Brad shakes his head no as he strips off of his shirt first, handing it over to her.

“I need to be total wolf if I’m going to track him down and kick his ass.” Juliette then watches as he slips out his pants, handing everything over to her.

“You’re….What if someone sees you?” Brad glances around as he sees no one around.

“That’s not going to happen. I’ll be gone before anyone notices. I wouldn’t be changing out here if I knew otherwise.” She then sighs as she leans back against a tree. “We can’t let Jeff and Jimmie get suspicious either. Go find an actual officer and report Dale missing. Then tell them that we got separated trying to find someone and….cover for me.” Juliette shakes her head, accepting. If she couldn’t go with him, she would accept that.

“Deal.”

He then closes his eyes, as she carefully watches hair grow out of each body part, covering every inch of previous known skin with fur. She silently wished to herself that he’d do this one nigh and she curl up with him as he looked like a big soft teddy bear right now.

She is then caught off guard as she watches the ears grow into full wolf form, followed by the formation of the face. There was no sweet face anymore that she was used to, but rather that of an animal. If anybody saw him, they’d never guess that he was under there.

The last piece – the claws – come out of the fingers and feet as they officially turn into paws. As she watches the transformation complete, she sees a full wolf before her as her skin starts to crawl slightly.

He then brushes his head against her leg, followed by a brush further up against her body before licking her face. He then stands tall, grabbing something from his discarded jean pocket. She could tell that it was a piece of fabric, probably stolen from Dale’s motorcoach for scent purposes.

He sniffs the fabric, instantly picking up the scent. He then glances around, nose twitching in every direction in search of the scent. Before Juliette can say anything or even flinch slightly, she watches the four paws hit the wood ground beneath them and take off in a hurry. She watches the man that she knew disappear off into the dark.

She could only hope that he found his way back to her later with their friend.

The Street Racing Stig – Chapters 56 Thru 60

thestreetracingstig

Chapter 56: His Frustration
Jimmie’s POV

I walk out of the small area, closing the door behind us. I notice the look on Chad’s face and immediately, I know he’s about to blow a gasket. Rick should perhaps get those cookies ready now.

“Wha-” Chad starts and Ron places his hand over his mouth, glancing between the pair. Okay, that was odd. I thought Ron would let him be put on blast. Let’s face it –Ron hasn’t all been too pleased about this, either.

“Not here in front of the guys,” Ron tells us and I take a deep breath and shake my head, agreeing. Who knows what 10 other guys would do if they heard.

“Can’t go up to the lounge as she’s calling Dom,” I state, quickly processing through some ideas. “We could go steal Dale’s lounge?” Ron shakes his head in agreement as the three of us head out of the trailer, walking up into Dale’s trailer.

“Are you done in the lounge?” Steve looks over and shakes his head yes. “Can we borrow it? Jimmie’s girlfriend is having a personal moment in his.”

“Sure – go ahead,” Steve accepts easily as we all head to the lounge. Ron closes the door once we’re inside and glances between the pair of us. Here it goes.

“What the hell were you thinking?” Chad questions, finishing off his previous thoughts. “Do you realize how much shit you could get in? Do you realize the risk that you’re taking? Hell – forget about the risk for your career, but your life. What if you wrecked? What if you were arrested? You could go to jail!” I take a deep breath, keeping myself calm. It was hard to argue against Chad as he made some valuable points.

“I wasn’t thinking about any of that,” I tell him and he goes to fire off his next shot, but I hold my hand up to stop him. Isn’t a debate supposed to be about letting both sides share their opinion evenly? “I was just thinking that I needed something to get away from the craziness – something to erase what was going on around me for a while. Call it a stress release if you will. That’s all that it was supposed to be. I know it is wrong and I know that I did a very bad thing. That’s why I am done with it now, once this gets cleaned up.” Chad crosses his arms, keeping his eyes locked on me. Obviously that didn’t go over well.

“Cleaned up? How is that supposed to happen? How are you supposed to chase off some guy trying to kill you?” Welp, for starters, that guy doesn’t know who I am. He is more so looking for Candiss to find out who I am.

“The guy that is after me – David Rhodes – is wanted for a bunch of other high criminal crimes. Once this guy named Dom has enough dirt on him, he’s going to arrest him and hand him over to the FBI as Dom is working for Agent Luke Hobbs. That is supposed to happen by the end of this weekend. Once he’s arrested, the whole thing will disappear.” I could see the eye roll before I said those words. There was no way that Chad was accepting this, so far.

“And what about this guy? It’s obvious that he knows who you are, right? What if he ruins your career?” Welp, he wouldn’t do that because he cares too much about Candiss and wouldn’t want to ruin things for her. Yeah, that should go over well.

“He isn’t going to say anything. He’s a close friend of Candiss’ and cares about her and just wants to see her happy. If that’s with me, then he’s fine with leaving me alone. He told me already that he isn’t going to mention my name at all – just Rhodes and who works for him.” Everybody remembers the discussion at the garage, right? That’s what he said and for some reason, I trust him even though I don’t know him. I guess I don’t have any other choice, though.

“Oh, so he cares for Candiss. What if he actually loves her? What if you break Candiss’ heart?” Okay – now this is going to too far in depth here. I thought we were just going to argue about my street racing antics. Shouldn’t that require a bunch more yelling? Why were we discussing Candiss now?

“He doesn’t ‘love’ her like you’re thinking, Chad. They’re just really good friends. He’s married to someone named Letty as Candiss talked about her a little. And I don’t plan on breaking Candiss’ heart because I love her.” Who knows months from now, but I’m committed. There’s something special about her.

“What if that chang-” Ron starts.

“It won’t change so don’t question it,” I cut him off, not even letting the thought go there. “Besides, I told you I was going to end this once things got cleaned up. I thought I could have some fun on Wednesday nights street racing without any other problems. However, that turns out to not be the case. It seems I’ve got myself caught up in something bigger. I’m not taking anymore chance and doing that again.” I’ll just have to find something else to relieve stress. Maybe Candiss will be what I need for that, or perhaps I could take up golf. I hear knocking the snot out of a white ball does wonders for Denny.

“I can’t believe you even did this in the first place,” Chad comments, thankfully getting us back on track. I didn’t wan to talk about Candiss anymore with him and Ron. “This is totally not like you. You are supposed to be the great awesome guy who leads the perfect little life. Remember – vanilla and can do nothing wrong? How the heck does this happen now? It doesn’t make sense!” His statement right there explains everything probably more than he can understand.

“Keeping that perfect straight face and not causing any problems isn’t easy,” I start. “Making sure to always behave and not let the bad days get to me – not as easy as it looks. Not letting the other factors that annoy me about life get to me – not easy. There’s more to my life than at the track, and that can get to me at times. But hey, in front of the cameras, I have to Mr. Perfect. I needed a place to let loose and that was my spot.” That was why I made the decision originally. Okay, so that’s a lie. I got into it in my late teens because of the thrill of going fast. I returned to it in the past couple of years for other reasons.

“So why not go to the local drag strip?” Now there’s an idea for a stress release if I still want to go fast. I’d be curious to see what time the camaro could put down.

“That’s a controlled environment that has set rules. This is an area that is totally loose, no rules and right out there. There’s a certain rush in going to find this back secluded road and making it happen. It adds to the adrenaline that you feel when you’re on the line, and gives the escape that you need because you’re lost in that world.” Now that’s the total truth. That was something that I learned at a young age when Ron and I first started.

“I still can’t believe this….” I then grab his hand, catching his attention. Okay, so it was nice to know that he didn’t believe it. But, that’s not why the discussion was being had.

“Look, I’m sorry to have caught you off-guard like this and I’m sorry for doing what may be viewed as the worst thing ever to do. I know I put all of us at risk, and everything that we worked for. I learned my lesson, okay?” I then take a deep breath, honestly scared of his answer. “Now, are you going to have my back moving forward? Or am I going to be looking for a new best friend?” It was an honest question. These things can change people, and I didn’t want to see this change us.

“I’ll always have your back. Just promise me you won’t do this shit again.” That was an easy promise to commit to.

“I promise. Now, excuse me, while I go see Candiss and whether she got a hold of Dom.” I then go to leave, glancing back at the pair. I debated withholding what I was going to say but decided to anyway. “On the brighter note, Ron can tell you what it’s like to be there. Ask him what he did when he was 18.” Might as well leave them on a discussion note. Perhaps Chad could learn some respect for what I did….okay, so that’s totally wrong. This is going to be harder than I thought.

“Is he serious?” I could already see Ron giving me a glare before I closed the door. Yep, that was worth it. “Malec?”

Chapter 57: Shock

Chad’s POV

A combination of shock and anger – more shock than anything – was all that ran through my veins. Was I hearing this right? Did I actually hear that Jimmie had been street racing? Okay, now there’s a big surprise. I didn’t know whether to be shocked or angry, but we’ll go angry because WHAT THE HELL WAS HE THINKING?

What if someone recognized him? What if whatever cover-up that he came up with was not enough? What if this Dom guy spilled the beans? There were so many possibilities that were going through my mind. All of them circulated back to anger.

His reason didn’t help issues, though, as he said it was a good ‘stress relief’ to be able to go fast and let the car loose. So what happens when that stress release turns into him being dead? I mean, what if he runs off the road and can’t get help in time? What if he is caught by the cops? Did any of this not go through his mind?

Perhaps I should be angry at Ron. After all, he knew for all of this time but stayed quiet, trying to convince Jimmie to stop by himself. When that failed, he should’ve came to me. We’re a band of brothers that always sticks together no matter what. Where did that go?

“So why not go to the local drag strip?” I finally managed to ask, having shifted through all the reasons for my anger. I could ask a thousand questions here, but there wasn’t much time before the second practice. Oh yeah, that’s right – I still had a job to do. I should be using this time to set up the car, not yell at my driver for being an idiot.

“That’s a controlled environment that has set rules,” he states and hence why I am asking the question. “This is an area that is totally loose, no rules and right out there. There’s a certain rush in going to find this back secluded road and making it happen. It adds to the adrenaline that you feel when you’re on the line, and gives the escape that you need because you’re lost in that world.” His reason doesn’t give me any relief, and it just makes my skin crawl that much more. Do I honestly know this guy anymore?

“I still can’t believe this….” He then grabs my hand, catching my attention. Obviously, he had more to say. Perhaps the fact that he found his brain.

“Look, I’m sorry to have caught you off-guard like this and I’m sorry for doing what may be viewed as the worst thing ever to do. I know I put all of us at risk, and everything that we worked for. I learned my lesson, okay?” Okay, so maybe he has found his brain. Meanwhile, he also found some person who stalked his new supposed girlfriend that he met there. “Now, are you going to have my back moving forward? Or am I going to be looking for a new best friend?” He should know the answer to that question. However, it does come with a stipulation. I’m not going through this, again.

“I’ll always have your back. Just promise me you won’t do this shit again.”

“I promise. Now, excuse me, while I go see Candiss and whether she got a hold of Dom.” I could only hope that this Dom dude meant true to his word and could help them out with regards to this stalker. It’s not like I totally trusted this guy yet, either, because I hadn’t even met him. There was no telling whether he could be trusted. What if he said that he’d keep Jimmie’s secret under wraps, but didn’t? “On the brighter note, Ron can tell you what it’s like to be there. Ask him what he did when he was 18.” I then turn away from Ron and glance at him with a surprised look. This can’t be happening. Someone wake me up from this nightmare.

“Is he serious?” I see Ron give Jimmie a glare and that answered my question before anything. Help me. “Malec?” His eyes then turn back to mine, and this should be interesting.

“Jimmie and I both got involved when we were in our teens through a friend in California,” he tells me and I just shake my head, once again in disbelief. It’s nice knowing that I’m working with a pair of street racers. That gives me so much job security. “I was involved in it right beside him through it all. I stopped when we moved out here – we both did. But, as you can see, he got back involved. I didn’t because I told him that I couldn’t do it anymore. I couldn’t risk it.” Humanity is restored and knowing that at least one of them has a brain.

“Suddenly, you’re the smart one here.” I just hoped the other one kept his promise. Remind me to do random checks on him.

“Just don’t hold it against him, alright? Or Candiss. I’ve given her a hard time since meeting her, but she’s not that bad of a girl.” I hadn’t really placed judgment on Candiss, yet. She seemed alright in the time that is pent with her, but I wouldn’t truly judge till she was around for a couple weeks and I got to know her.

“Is she going to give it up, as well?” If things are going to go right, they’re both going to have to. Can’t have the world finding out that Jimmie’s girlfriend illegally street races.

“She says that she’s going to. She has been in some trouble along these roads before, so she’s ready to give it up because she likes what she has with Jimmie. They don’t want to lose each other.” I got to applaud a girl for standing up for her man like Candiss was. Perhaps I could start to like her a little. But, for now, there was one thing for certain.

“Till Dom gets here or whatever, let’s both keep an eye on him. Jimmie is easy to keep an eye on, but when you’re not working on the car – eyes on her.” Ron shakes his head in agreement as they both head out of the lounge. It was the only plan that we had. I didn’t want my friends getting hurt, and knowing that they had the team behind them to protect them should be enough.

I thank Steve and Dale for letting us use their lounge once again, sharing a couple quick notes from practice. I had imputed all the data, but it was always nice to discuss with teammates as there’s things that are always missed in notes. Considering that we’re both fast, it seemed like a reasonable discussion.

I walk over to the hauler, and notice the lounge door open. Obviously Jimmie and Candiss were done discussing whatever they had to discuss in relation to this Dom guy. If he was in North Carolina, it would probably take him time to get here.

“I’m sorry for getting you all involved and worked into this mess,” Candiss instantly apologizes before I can even say anything. The more I heard from this girl, the more I liked her.

“You just keep an eye on that man, stay away from the streets, and stay safe and we’ve got no problems,” I tell her. Even though I heard from Jimmie that he was quitting, and Candiss supposedly told Jimmie that she was as well, I wanted to make my point clear.

“That’s not a problem as he’s a pretty special guy.” I watch as Jimmie pulls her close. In a couple weeks, this won’t be cool new girl. This is going to turn into Chad needing to puke because of too much loviness going on.

“Candiss says that Dom is already on his way,” Jimmie states, immediately grabbing attention. So much for love gawking – back to the seriousness of the matter. “He was set to track them today, but couldn’t find them. Got the phone number tracked and knew they were in the area about three hours ago. He’s already on a plane – jet to be exact – and should be landing this evening. I’ve already gotten Amy to put him as a guest under our team, saying that he’s a friend of Candiss’ – which isn’t a lie.” So the big bad protector will be here this evening. That just leaves us the next three or four hours without protection.

“Well then she’s not going out of eyesight,” I state, surprising both of them. Oh so they didn’t think that I’d do anything. Too bad, Jimmie. You welcomed me into your little world and as a friend, I’m going to do what I have to do to keep you safe. “You can stay with Ron and I on top of the hauler during practice. After practice, you’re not to leave this hauler till Jimmie is done.”

“Yes father,” she replies and I just roll my eyes. Leave it to Jimmie to find someone with sass. Well, at least she can keep him in line.

“We’re having dinner with the teammates tonight so her evening plans are already covered,” Jimmie adds. That should be interesting. The boys will probably be staring at her ass and boobs, but I’d be interested to hear what Ingrid and Amy say.

“Good luck,” I tell them before heading off. I have a job to do, remember?
Chapter 58: Anger

David’s POV

I watch as Clayton drives up in his little Honda Hatchback and gets out of the car, giving me a glance. I could tell by his demeanor that he had saw her, and let her go once again.

Why did I keep this guy around?

“Well?” I question as he walks over to join the group.

“She was at the local Walmart doing some errands,” he tells me and duh, hence why she left the track in the car and went to the mall. Could he tell me something interesting? “I approached her and was set to corner her, but she pushed me away.” As predicted, he let her get away. Why do I trust him with the important business? Why did I keep him around? “I then followed her out of the parking lot till we reached the track. I couldn’t get in to the motorcoach lot because I didn’t have the required credentials.” So in those cases, we’ve all been traded to deal with security accordingly and get a hold of the person that we want. It seems like he missed a whole day of evil man training.

Why was he part of my group again?

“And because you scared her pretty ass off, she probably won’t make any repeat trips,” I state. “So that means that the only way we’re getting to her is getting in that motorcoach lot, or when we get back to North Carolina. Great job Clayton, great job.” I hope he catches the sarcasm because upon landing in North Carolina, he will have nothing to catch. Might as well call the family now and say bye, buddy.

“We could always get the credentials necessary.” Does he not know how NASCAR races work? I’m not a regular follower, but I damn well know that only family and close friends to the drivers get the credentials that allow them that access. How does he expect me to do so? Of course, I normally have a way with finding a leak in every system – but this system is a little harder.

“Those credentials just don’t come to the average person. Better think of something else, clever one.” I honestly couldn’t believe the people that I worked with sometimes. Perhaps I should work alone in the future. I could get a lot more done.

“You can’t get those credentials, but you could get closer to perhaps make your move,” I hear James speak up and give the Frenchman a look. How did he know anything about NASCAR? Wasn’t he only supposed to know about IndyCar and Formula 1, if anything? “You can get pre-race pit road passes. They give you access to pit road before the race. That’s where the drivers are, and she’ll probably be if she stays close to the teams.” That wasn’t a bad idea. I’d have to fork out a couple thousand for the group of us to go, but it would provide the access. If I was right about suspicions earlier that Jeff Gordon was the man with his blue eyes and professional background. That would allow me access to him. Then screw Candiss as I wouldn’t need her services anymore.

“Get on getting those tickets!” I yell at him, throwing a credit card his way. I knew the card had enough space for the purchase. Don’t ask about paying it, though, as that’d only happen if I found another million dollar payday. Although, I heard that fuel truck robberies would probably bring that. steal the truck and offer the gas cheaper than the gas stations in the black market and you could make big money. That was probably my next project. First project – finding this little idiot.

“Who did you say that the Stig could possibly be?” I hear Hillary Evans asks as she goes through some video footage. Considering our dear was at the track, I put her on watch to check every feed available from the NASCAR garage to see if she could be spotted.

“Jeff Gordon fits the profile being blue eyes, California native and professional racecar driver.” I watch as her eyes flip back to the screen, going through something that she’d recorded. At least her and James were doing their jobs.

“Spotted her about half hour into final Sprint Cup Series practice. They were showing what they call ‘the brain trust’ for Jimmie Johnson on top of his hauler – Chad Knaus being crew chief, and Ron Malec being car chief. She’s hanging out with them.” She also boarded the plane with them. That is interesting.

So what if the Stig is Jeff Gordon? Could she found that information out last Wednesday? Now she’s staking her claim to lure him in, as Clayton predicted. To do so, she’s allowing that relationship that was sparked with Jimmie at the diner, per sources anyway, to give her access. If that was the case, I give her credit for her work. However, it’d be nice for her to contact one of my people.

But….if you recall, she pushed away from Clayton. So obviously she is trying to keep her distance from us, covering up something. So she actually knows the identity. That brings me to my second argument – what if is Jimmie? What if that clue was given to purposely throw us off?

Why didn’t I question Malcolm harsher before I left North Carolina?

Either way, I wanted that girl and probably needed one of the Hendrick Motorsports drivers in the process.

“The tickets are confirmed!” Clayton lets out as Jason prints them off. He could’ve let Jason confirm that. Announcing something that he didn’t do to try and get my attention isn’t going to earn him brownie points.

“Thanks Captain Obvious!” I let out as I snatch the tickets out of the printer. “I think this confirms them better than you waking up the dead.”

“Should I cross-check Ron and Chad for anything?” Jason questions, having already tracked down the records for Jeff and Jimmie. Jeff was purely clean. Jimmie, meanwhile, had a speeding ticket to his record back when he was 19 and living in California. Hence why I was starting to believe he fit the profile more.

“Go for it.” I then lounge back in my chair, thinking. “Hilary, you’re done with video. I know enough now. Get a hold of Winston Dumal in California. Ask him if he recognizes the names ‘Jimmie Johnson’ and ‘Ron Malec’ beyond their simple fame.” She shakes her head, getting on that. Winston was a street racing contact that I had in California for when I was out that way. He’d make sure that whenever I showed up in the state, I could get in the biggest street races of the night without question. Let’s just say that he’s been a valuable asset in the past. If he could dig me something on either of those two, that would work even better for my future.

“So what’s the plan for tomorrow?” Clayton asks as I cast a glance his way. The plan was obvious – go to the track, spot them out and somehow go about kidnapping Candiss without sparking off security. We could possibly look at kidnapping a driver, but that’d be a tall order. They probably have their own walking security, right?

“You should know that if you’re in this room,” I tell him, growing more and more annoyed. I wonder if there’s a lake near here that I can drop him off in.

Chapter 59: His Arrival

Candiss’ POV

I look into the mirror, making sure that my hair looks right as I had just finished getting it back up nice and neat. I know Jimmie said that there was no pressure about meeting the teammates that night, but I couldn’t help but make sure that I looked a little extra presentable. Everything was based on first impressions, and I didn’t want to screw that up.

Besides, I had already added too much drama to Jimmie’s life as it was anyway.

I smooth out my t-shirt and jeans, still not sure if this was right. Jimmie told me not to dress up too fancy and just wear something that was relaxing. This was relaxing and looked good – but was I down playing things too much? I couldn’t worry much longer anyway if I wanted to as he was set to be ready in about five to 10 minutes, grabbing a quick shower.

Did you realize how stinky they get in those firesuits?

“You look good, by the way,” I hear and immediately smile as I glance behind me. As soon as I heard the door open to the motorcaoch with the keypad code clicked in, I knew who it was. I had given him the directions, after all. It also seemed like the perfect time that he would get here.

“Thank you,” I reply as I walk up to him and give him a hug. “I’m meeting Jimmie’s teammates tonight with a little dinner so I’m a little nervo-”

“So Clayton was almost able to get his hands on you?” I take a deep breath, shaking my head a little. Leave it to Dom to get straight to business without hesitation.

“Yeah. He approached me when I was leaving Wal-Mart, but I imagined to push him away and get back here.”

“And what did I tell you about going out on your own? You’re supposed to stay safe, Candiss. You’re supposed to lay low with Jimmie.” Not only was he always serious and on point, but he was always looking out for friends. Nothing new.

“Listen, we needed a couple things so I ran to the store. I didn’t think that they’d be in Kansas with us. But anyways, with what happened, I’m not allowed out of sight due to Ron and Chad.” I notice an instant look of confusion on Dom’s face at the mention of the two names. Okay, so I guess I could’ve given him more explanation.

“Chad Knaus is my crew chief, and Ron Malec is my car chief,” Jimmie speaks up before I get a chance. “They’re in charge of my crew. Ron knew about my street racing since I was a young guy, and we figured that we better tell Chad so he knows what’s going on. Don’t worry – they’re going to keep it on the down low.” I see a relaxed expression on Dom’s face as that was probably the right explanation. Perhaps it was best leaving that to Jimmie.

“Those two are good people,” Dom comments. “As far as Clayton and the guys, they probably saw you at the airport or something and followed. That, or caught you on camera during a practice or something. Either way, when I found out they were here, I came immediately.”

“So what’s the plan?” I question as obviously that’s the next step. What else was there to find out?

“You’re going to keep doing what you’re doing. Hobbs should have the information for an arrest put together tomorrow and I can get them off your tails then. You just stay close with Jimmie and enjoy the weekend and Jimmie, you do what you do best.” Jimmie smiles as he wraps an arm around me.

“That’s the plan,” he replies. “Chad has given me a good car.” That was true as he was solid during practice. He wasn’t the quickest, but he was in the top-10 and wasn’t complaining about the car a lot. According to Ron, that means really good news as a good handling car allows you to be in position to capitalize on those who are struggling with their cars being loose or tight.

“So where are you going tonight?” Dom then questions and I felt guilty now. He had come across the country and here we were going to go to dinner without including him. That felt a little rude, I’d say.

“We’re going over to my teammate’s motorcoach for dinner. He offered because he wants to meet my girlfriend. It’s normal teammate behavior. You could come. We’ll just say that you’re a special guest.” I have to admit – it was nice for Jimmie to offer that. It made me feel a little better. However, I couldn’t help but be nervous.

How would they react to Dom? How would Dom react to them? I already had my reactions, and some of it wasn’t as smooth as you’d expect.

This was going to be an interesting dinner.
Chapter 60: Dinner

Jimmie’s POV

“Are you ready, finally?” I ask as I glance over at Candiss. She had returned to the mirror for what seemed like the millionth time to look over her outfit. “Candiss, it’s fine. They’ll love you no matter what.”

“Fine – let’s go,” she finally gives in. we then head out, making the short walk over to Jeff’s motorcoach. According to earlier arrangements, Jeff was to set-up a little cook-out as his place for us all to hang out. It seemed like an easy plan.

I lead the group over, immediately earning some curious glances from others in the group. No doubt they were surprised to see our little tag along. I thought about leaving him back at the motorcoach, but that wouldn’t be nice. He was doing all this work to protect my ass after the trouble that I had gotten myself into. It’d be rude to be impolite and not invite him. Besides, he had a thing for cars – it seemed – and that’d bode well for conversation with the guys as Candiss got to know Amy and Ingrid.

“This is my girlfriend Candiss,” I tell the teammates as I watch their eyes scan over. So far, so good. “Oh, and this is her buddy Dominic. He came down to hang out for the weekend and it didn’t feel right to leave him out.” There – simple as that. Now we wait for the questions.

“It’s nice to meet you both,” Amy states first, holding her hand out. It was honestly surprising that she was the first welcoming face in the group. However, that seemed right based on Dale’s description of her. She was the type of person who liked to do things and was a social butterfly, kind of opposite of Dale’s shy side. It seemed to work well as she complimented him and had honestly brought out a real nice happiness in him. There were times that I was even a little jealous of what they had. Don’t need to be anymore as I can tell you already that Candiss is the perfect fit for me. “I’m Amy.”

“It’s nice to meet you Amy,” Candiss replies, politely. So far, so good.

“Nice to see you,” Dom states, also shaking her hand. See, I had nothing to be worried about.

“That’s Kasey,” I state, pointing over to Kasey who was relaxing at the far side of the group. If only he could settle down a little and find someone that fit. It seemed the girls that he hung with were….well, track material but not long-term material. I think you get my drift. “That’s Jeff, cooking. Don’t worry – he’s a decent chef. We should be fine. Ingrid is his wife. You’ve met Amy, and that’s her dear boyfriend Dale.” I could feel the eyes of the teammates as I introduced everybody. Ah yes, the introductions did seem a little odd. “Candiss wasn’t into NASCAR much before we met, so hence the introductions. Dom…I’m not sure…”

“I’ve watched a couple races. I know a couple faces here.” They say you learn something new each day, and that Dom has more interests outside of street racing and cars. Who knew!

“So, if you weren’t into NASCAR, where’d you guys meet?” Amy asks as the three of us take a seat. That’s a good question. It’s not like we could say the truth, now could we? It’d be a great thing to reveal to all my teammates what is going on. I’m sure that’d go over well.

“You know the diner in town that Tyler Benni-” Candiss starts and I smile. Well played. We did technically meet face-to-face first there, so I guess that works. That started the connection and then it just grew through the streets.

“Everybody knows that place! Their chicken is awesome!”

“Well, I was working as a waitress. Jimmie came in and let’s just say he was a little flirt. Next thing, he asked me if I’d join him this weekend.” That seems fitting. I did flirt with her from the beginning, and I did ask her to join me for a weekend. The only reason she was here was because of David and Clayton, but it fit. It’s technically not lying.

“Jimmie flirting?” Jeff questions with a glance over my way. “Seriously? Where’d that come from?” So yes, flirting was something that I didn’t do often. I’m more the type of guy to stick to business, and hanging with friends – but not girls. I’d rather be having a fun day goofing off with my buddies or wrenching on a car than flirting with girls. It was out of my element to just randomly flirt. What changed that day? Simple.

“I guess her beauty just brought that side out of me,” I comment with a smile as I look over at her. “That, and her genuine personality. It was hard to hold back any feelings.”

“Not to mention the fact that I may have edged him on by not allowing him an inch,” she adds and I can only chuckle. She’s right about that. Between her hardcore attitude in the diner and her hardcore racing style, she didn’t give me any room.

“But yet I still found a way to charm you, didn’t I?” She then chuckles as she ruffles up my hair.

“They’re already doing the adorable thing together,” Jeff comments as he glances towards Kasey. “You’re next! We can fix you up with someone, if you want.” Kasey immediately shakes his head no as I chuckle. Yeah, that may be a bad idea. The last time we fixed someone up on a blind date – I believe it was Ron, actually – the girl turned out to be someone that was wanted by murder. She was arrested while at dinner with him. I didn’t hear the end of that for weeks on end.

“We promise to do a criminal background check first this time,” I add as Jeff chuckles and Kasey rolls his eyes. He heard the story when it happened, and he made us swear not to fix him up with someone.

“It’s hard to find someone that can balance being on the road during the season and dealing with my dirt schedule,” he shares, and I can reason that. It was always a lot to ask for someone to give up their life to be with us on the road for our own selfish reasons. It took a lot to be involved in this world. A glance towards Candiss, and I still wondered to myself if she truly knew that side of it. Could she handle traveling me with weeks on end? Shake my head, I can worry about that later. For now, I got to focus on furthering our relationship and surviving Rhodes.

“We both found it so you’ll find it Kasey,” Dale comments. “It took me some time, but I can’t complain.”

“There’s a soul out there for each person to be matched with,” Dom starts as I glance towards him curiously. “Each person will find their second half in the right amount of time. It just takes finding that person and connecting with them. You’ll find it. I found someone who can take everything that I dish out, so you can find someone that takes your life too.” Perhaps Dom gave away too much in that as now everybody may be curious as to his daily life schedule. However, he made a good point. I knew of the wrongs that he had done, and the ways that he had gone to correct those ways. But through it all, Candiss had told me that Letty had stayed by his side – okay, except for a small period of time but that wasn’t Letty’s fault. That’s a story for another time. Anyways….that takes a lot of guts to do that.

“I could always fix you up with someone from the diner,” Candiss suggests and that’s not a bad idea. Tyler had a great group of girls that worked for him and we knew they were kind at heart.

“For the last time, I do not want anyone playing cupid with my heart,” Kasey states. “Can’t we talk about something else, please?” Let’s just say that Kasey doesn’t like when we pick on his love life. We can pick on him for looking like a teenager and being an ass at times, but his love life was off limits.

“What would like to talk about, Mr. Kahne?” My eyes darted between the pair, watching as their eyes stared at each other. It was like they knew each other. Wait….perhaps they knew each other. See, I knew about Kasey’s stunt with street racing. I heard about the tales and how he worked with some girl. He talked about possibly hooking me up with her, but I avoided that. I hadn’t seen him the past couple of weeks at the strip, or the girl. I wondered what happened there.

“So we heard how you both met. We also know that you’re just getting an interest in NASCAR. What interests do you both have in common?” Yep, Kasey knew exactly who she was and he also knew my side of the coin. This was just going to be….interesting.

“We have similar interests in movies and music,” she starts, which was partially a lie….I guess. We hadn’t discussed that much. “We both understand each other well and can always have a great conversation about anything. Oh, and we both like classic muscle cars.” That line right there peaked Kasey’s interest as that’s what he wanted her to say. What are you doing, Kahne?

“Got a classic car of your own?” If he is trying to get her to say something about what happened….

“I have a ’71 Camaro. It’s a pretty sweet ride. It goes perfect with Jimmie’s Camaro.” I smile as it certainly did. The pair sitting beside each other in the garage just looked beautiful. I wondered what would happen to them when things were over.

“Very nice. Perhaps I’ll have to come see it sometime and you can come see my ride.” If I didn’t have anything nice to say, I’d say that he was flirting with my girl. Doesn’t that sound like flirting to you? That, or he was digging to learn more about her street racing since he knew that she was a street racer. Either way, I was ready to kick his ass by the end of the night if this continued.

“Maybe we can get together and discuss our love for classic cars and show off what we each have,” I break in, wanting to really feel his game. Might as well figure out what he’s up to.

“You read my mind, Jimmie,” Kasey states with a smile. Yep, he wants to know about her street racing and that relates to how we met. Son of a gun! We weren’t supposed to talk about that after….

“Oh, of course I did. I know your love for classic cars.” I then throw an arm around Candiss. Time to cover our butts for this conversation before something slipped. “We always share details about cars and stuff. I had to know that he’d ask since I always told him that if I met a girl, she had to be fine with my love for cars.”

“He honestly had very few requirements for a girlfriend,” Jeff starts and I relax. That’s right – get the conversation back on track. “He told us that she had to be pretty, had to really understand him, share his interest in cars, and….I think that was it.”

“That sounds right,” Dale states as I smile. Candiss fit those requirements and more.

“Seems like I pass the test,” she states with a glance towards me. I can only smile.

“And you were worried about coming over and meeting the guys,” I reply before kissing her lips quick. Perhaps she knew the truth about Kahne beforehand. Maybe that added to her nerves.

“Wait – you were nervous?” Ingrid questions and I shake my head. “Girl, you have nothing to worry about. As long as you’re a sweet person, not a lizard and Jimmie likes you, we are willing to accept you. There’s no special requirements for friendship.”

“Food is ready!” Jeff announces as we all get up and head over to get some food.

So far, so good. Even with the minor crisis surrounding Kasey, I say we’re off to a good start here this evening. I knew she’d be fine once she got to know everybody.