Chapter 16: A Decision
“You came close….” Juliette says as they head back to the motorcoach, both going inside.
“Close is good…” Brad comments as he closes the door behind her, having his mind focused on a different topic already. He had wanted to talk to Juliette about it for the past couple of days.
“Second is a great start as you’re near the front and you get one of those four premium pit stalls. Now it’s about turning that into a win.” He then grabs her hand and swings her close to him.
“And do you believe I can do that?” She shakes her head yes with a smile.
“I’ve already believed in you, Brad. I believed in you from the moment that Dale hired you at JRM, even when you put that car up on the wall at Richmond and people started doubting you. I even stood by your side after Denny chewed your ass out at Charlotte, even though others said you were a punk.” She then wraps her arms around him and kisses her lips. “I’ve always believed in you since day one, as I’ve always been your special girl.”
“Then how I let you slip out of my arms then is a question beyond me. I’m not making that mistake again.” He then picks her up and carries her to the back of the motorcoach, sitting her down on the bed beside him. He knew even with the decision that he was about to tell her that they couldn’t go forth with it yet due to the three month window. However, he wanted this to be personal. “I did some thinking about what you told me. I even talked to Joey – that was a bad idea. He was too interested with the fact of what the baby would look like and what soun-”
“What are you trying to tell me, Brad?” A smile forms on his face as he looks into her eyes.
“I know there are risks involved, but every pregnancy has risks for both the baby and the mother. I know that ours are a little different, and perhaps heightened. However, I’m not going to hold you back from your dreams because we’ve overcome everything else to get to here. I say we go forward and have a chi….well, puppy as you like to call it.” She then looks at her him, eyes wide in surprise as her jaw drops. Of all the things that Brad could say, she wasn’t expecting him to say that.
“Are you serious?” He shakes his head yes. “Absolutely 100% serious?”
“Yes. I thought about it and if you’re willing to take the chance, than I am as well. If anything happens, we’ll deal with it as we go – just like we have so far.” She then wraps her arms around him and kisses his lips.
“Then I say we go out and celebrate!” He then laughs as he stands up, slipping his sponsor shirt and jeans off that he was wearing.
“Oh no, that’s not happening. Remember – you have a foot eating regime that you have to stick to.” He then slips into a pair of comfortable shorts and a light t-shirt. “I’m going to going to cook you something real tasty and healthy tonight as a treat.” She then looks on, slightly worried and even more shocked than before.
“Wait….you cook? Am I sure this is going to be safe to eat?” He then gives her a playful shove.
“I will have you know that I have cooked for myself since moving into the house.” She then crosses her arms, shaking her head.
“That’s impossible, especially from the man that could never cook. What happened?”
“My appetite made me realize that I needed to learn to cook some decent meals. I may have bought a couple cook books, and perhaps asked Danica for some tips.” She then laughs while shaking her head in disbelief.
“This is going to be a treat.” He then heads to the kitchen as she follows, hoping up on the counter. “I want a front row seat.” He then picks her up and takes her over to the small table, sitting her there.
“Then you can sit there. I can’t have you getting in the way while I make you dinner.” He then goes back to counter as she shakes her head, sliding back to kick her legs up.
“Begin the show, Chef Keselowski.”
Chapter 17: Frustration
Brad walks into the trailer and just shakes his head in disbelief. So much for having a good night at Bristol.
“Hey,” Juliette says as she walks in the trailer up behind him, wrapping her arms around him. “Shit happens. It can’t always be your day.” She then kisses his cheek.
“But it’d help if NASCAR made sure the track was dry before we went racing,” he let off as he walked up into the lounge, going inside. He then sat down on the couch, shaking his head. “Or threw the caution when weather hit the area once again. Anyway, why start the race when you’re only going to get 20 laps in?” Juliette lets out a sigh as she enters, closing the door behind her. She expected this frustration from Brad. He was very vocal with his opinion, and this was no exception.
“You don’t know for sure if the track was wet or loss. You may have just gotten loose off of the corner. Perhaps with the car being tight in the middle, you came off a little sideways and didn’t catch it. It happens to the best drivers. Beyond that, the weather hadn’t really hit yet, either. It had just started to barely sprinkle. Oh, and they started the race because you don’t know. You could’ve possibly gotten more laps in if perhaps the storm took a different course than originally projected. It’s the chance that you take.” He then looks over at her, surprised by her explanation. She seemed to cover everything, nicely. It made it hard to continue to be as angry and frustrated.
“It still doesn’t solve the fact that we have two torn racecars, now does it?” She lets out a sigh and shakes her head no, as she cuddles up closer to him.
“Joey understands that you didn’t mean to, and has already accepted your apology. He understands that this shit happens. The beauty of the Chase is that you’re both locked in and you don’t have to worry about this affecting you moving forward, right?” He shakes his head, knowing that she’s right. However, that didn’t solve the then and now.
“The guys still have to fix a piece of shit, though.” She lets out a sigh, knowing that’s true as she pulls out her phone. She sends a quick text back to a friend, before exiting her messaging window and flipping to another screen. “What are you doing?” She then looks over, curiously at him. “I’m looking for a distraction so I don’t think about it.” She then smiles, knowing the distraction was perfect.
“I’m glancing at the calendar. With your decision and the fact that I already started eating like I should, about mid-June is when I should be able to get pregnant. Based on my woman cycles, I have a range of date pin-pointed.” He then looks at her, surprised.
“So you’ve planned a ‘get pregnant’ date already for us?” She shakes her head yes as he rolls his eyes. “Lovely….”
“With a woman’s cycle, there’s a peak set of days that the chances are higher than others. I want to maximize on that for the best chance possible so that’s why I was counting days. Besides, if we don’t maximize it, then we have wait till the next open door of opportunity in July.” He then looks over at her, now not only surprised, but also intrigued.
“Okay, explain this to me….”
“A girl has her period. She then goes through a quiet phase. Then when her eggs are all set to go and be fertilized by a man, that’s when it’s best to try. Then that chance ends and she has her period again. The cycle continues to repeat itself.” He then glances at the calendar, looking over her marked dates.
“So we have to try in this set period to maximize the chances if we really want to do this come June. So no matter what I have going on between Michigan and Sonoma, that’s our period to try.” She shakes her head yes as she changes the calendar view.
“Look it on the bright side – that’s an off-weekend right there.” She then looks at him with a grin on her face. “We got lots of time, Brad.” He then pulls out his own phone, loading up a travel app that he has.
“So I say we take a romantic vacation for two to someplace special. Let’s go to a place that we can be ourselves without your make-up or hiding my fur and truly make this special.” She liked the idea as it felt right to do that. She knew that it’d be the best way as it’d allow them to truly have that intimidate feeling together. There was only one problem.
“And where do you expect to find the availability for that much privacy to allow that to happen?” He then looks over her and shrugs his shoulders.
“I haven’t gotten to planning it out as you have with your calendar there. Give me a couple days to do some research.” He then kicks his feet up as he glances through some possible destinations. “Besides, we have hours to kill thanks to the rain. Might as well make use of it planning a vacation.” She smiles, certainly agreeing. If it was possible to make that dream happen, she was willing to go for it.
“You do that, while I continue to search up some recipes and ideas to keep my eating habits in high gear. I got to find some healthy snack ideas…”
Chapter 18: Happiness
After the frustration last weekend at Bristol, Juliette was quite relieved this weekend. Things had gone much better with a solid finish at Richmond.
She was a little frustrated with the rain, but was glad that NASCAR played it smart this weekend and chose to postpone the event early in the day. The announcement, though, gave the pair the whole evening and night to hang out with each other with no interruptions. They both felt relieved with that as they had planning to do before June.
“What do you think of this place?” She breaks the silence during a commercial as she hands him the iPad. “Yolanda suggested it to me. Even though she still isn’t comfortable with the pregnancy idea, she was all in awe when she heard about us planning for a weekend together. So she gave me a list of places that she normally checks out with boyfriends and has the much needed privacy.”
Brad looks over the photos, seeing that it was a small town in South America. It was in the tropics so it’d be nice and warm. There was a great spot to go swimming, as well as places to relax. The rooms were also nice and spacious. It met the expectations of a relaxing weekend.
“So there’s no one to spy around here?” He questions, still concerned about that. He knew that he had be careful as if spotted by a human, it could get quite interesting.
“That is a Vampire Retreat that you’re looking at,” she answers. “The small island is owned by one of the most richest vampires – Jim Shank. Anyways, he knew that we all needed a place so he created this. Vampires can be in the sun, so he has everything worked out so that way we’re always in the shade – whether in the water or relaxing on the beach. It’s highly recommended.” Brad looks over, pleased with her description. It sounded like the perfect place based on that explanation.
“Okay that sounds great, but I’m not a vampire.” She shakes her head, understanding. She knew that there would be comments to be expected considering the uniqueness of their relationship.
“I know, and that’s fine. The Vampire Retreat allows vampires to bring all sorts of guests – whether vampire, or another type. Edward has taken Bella there and that was before she was a vampire. Nobody judges there as everybody is looking for the same thing – relaxation and no comments to be expressed.” She then reaches over and rubs his arm. “It’d be the perfect spot, Brad. You’d have nothing to be worried about.” He smiles as he hands her back the Ipad. It seemed like she was right about that. He just hoped that her thoughts were on the money.
“It looks great and sound like the perfect spot. I’d be open to going if you were fine with that.” She then slides through a couple pages, smile forming on her place. She was glad to have that straightened out.
“I’ll work on arrangements and let you know what happens.” She then checks a message before going back to her searching. “I’m just glad that this is working out. We’re set to have a baby, the eating plan is working better than I thought and now we have our spot. Could life get any better?” They both knew the answer to that question as that ranged back to discussions with family.
Danny and Yolanda didn’t want her to get pregnant, while his dad and sister still didn’t want her to be part of the family. They hadn’t even suggested to his parents yet that they were going to have a baby of their own. She was scared of the reaction, and Brad hoped they warmed up to her more first.
“So, I was wondering when you’re going to tell your parents that we’re having a kid,” Juliette states, catching Brad off-guard. She didn’t mean to spit it out, but it was on her mind once again.
“I thought about waiting till after you got pregnant, but I was thinking that maybe we could tell them sooner,” he tells her as she glances over, equally surprised. “I thought that perhaps we could let them know our plans. Maybe if they hear how serious we are about being together and having a family of our own, they’ll warm up more to the idea.” Juliette felt her stomach flip flop at that comment. She wanted to be as hopeful as Brad was, but didn’t feel any positive feelings after how the previous meetings had gone.
“I know your mom will be happy as mothers are always happy about grandbabies, and for some reason, she took to liking me right away.” Brad smiles and shakes his head yes, remembering that first meeting.
“She always told me that she’d be happy, as long as the person made me happy. I guess she could tell that you did that.” She shakes her head, understanding.
“I’m glad. If you want to tell your parents, you can go ahead and tell them. I won’t stand in your way. Maybe you’re right – maybe they’ll begin to understand us being together. It’d make family get together much easier.” Brad shakes his head in agreement. It was hard having this agreement with his family as he was close with them.
“That’d be great, if that could happen. I just hope that as they get to know you, they’ll grow to love you as much as I do.” He then relaxes back, focusing on the show as it comes back from commercial.
Chapter 19: Talladega
“I have only one question to ask – why would no one work with me?” Brad asks after changing out of his firesuit following the week.
“Because they knew you had a fast car, you’re a good plate racer and you could beat them,” she comments as he looks over at her.
“Wouldn’t that give them reason to work with me to get to the front with me?” She shrugs her shoulders as she kicks her feet up.
“That’d be a good reason. However, it didn’t seem like anybody wanted to work together – besides the Hendrick cars, a little. Everybody had their own agenda deal going.” He then sits down beside her after getting changed.
“I bet you’re happy with the result, huh?” She looks over with a sly smile and shakes her head yes. “It’s alright. I have no problems with you being happy about Dale winning. He’s a good guy and deserved the win. All congrats to him.”
“I can’t help but be happy when he wins. He’s a good friend. He’ll always be a good friend. Heck, that whole team will always be a friend. I worked with those guys doing their PR for a couple of years and got to know them.” She then lets out a sigh, thinking back to those days. It sucked that she didn’t talk to some of them still. There were some that forgave her after she just got up and left, but there were others that couldn’t find reason to. Even with something going on, they told her that she should’ve told them and they could’ve helped. There were some that still had their thoughts about Jason and her, but it wasn’t like she could tell them the truth there, either.
“Do you miss doing Dale’s PR?” She looks over and shrugs her shoulders.
“There’s times that I do miss it. It was a fun job and I liked handling everything that went with it. However, there’s other times where I’m glad that it’s done with. There was a lot of pressure and crap to deal with, and now I don’t have to deal with that.” She then pulls him closer to her. “Besides, it gives me more time to spend with you.” She then kisses his lips, keeping him held close to her. “If I could, I’d strip you out those jeans right now.”
“What’s stopping you?” She then glances around the trailer before landing her eyes back on him.
“We’ve got no condoms here, and I don’t think I want to leave a mess where the guys hang out.” He then laughs as he knows she has a point.
“Well, why don’t we bust out of this place and head home as soon as possible?” She then stands up and heads for the door. She opens it slightly, before looking back at him.
“Coming?” He then laughs as he gets up off the couch and follows.
“I can tell that you’re excited already for next month.” She then smiles as they walk out together.
“If I could get pregnant this month, I would. I can’t tell you how excited I am to actually truly feel you without any barriers, and match that with getting pregnant. Is it wrong to be this excited?” Brad chuckles and shakes his head no.
“It’ll be here before you know it. Patience, my dear. Remember to fall all advice given.” She then looks over at him in surprise.
“I’m just surprised how on board you are about this and assuring you are despite your thoughts originally.” He then lets out a sigh, remembering that. He was still not totally confident in her getting pregnant, but felt that it wasn’t fair to hold her back either. Besides, it’d be cute to have a baby together.
“I’m growing more about the idea, and want to be there to support you.” She smiles as she was glad to hear that.
The pair then boarded the helicopter a couple hours later, set to fly back to North Carolina. She smiled as she quickly checked her text messages, seeing a couple responses from some of the guys on the 88 team after she sent them a congratulations message. She then puts her phone away as she lays her head on Brad’s shoulder.
“So, have you spoke to Dale since Chicago?” She asks, referring to last year’s incident that ultimately resulted in Jason’s death.
“Of course,” he answers. “Do I think I could go that lon-”
“I meant about you being a wolf and I being a vampire. I was just wondering if you guys actually talked about. I know you discussed things with Paul and Joey, but I was wondering how much he was in the loop.” Brad shrugs his shoulders.
“He’s made a couple cracks and had a couple questions since then, but he hasn’t really discussed it.” He then pats her leg. “Are you worried or something?” She shakes her head no.
“I was just curious – that’s all.” In her mind, it was nice to know who Brad kept closest with. If there was something that she wanted to discuss more his side with someone, she knew that Joey and Paul were good options. Between those two, she’d more than likely head to Paul since she knew him better.
Chapter 20: His Family
“Are you sure you want to do this?” Juliette asks as they reach the door to the house. Brad shakes his head yes as he wraps his arms around her.
“They can say what they want, but I’ll love you no matter what,” he tells her before kissing her head. “They need to know how serious we are about being together. Besides, a little puppy always melts everyone’s heart, right?” She then chuckles as he knocks on the door.
“That depends, Mr. Keselowski. Will our puppy come with the right dose of puppy eyes?” He then glances over at her.
“If he or she takes after daddy, I would say so because you fall for everything that I say.” She then rolls her eyes as they watch the door open, a smile forming on both faces as Kay stands there. If anybody should open the door, the best sight would be his mom.
“Hey!” She lets out, pulling Brad into a hug. “So glad you could both make it for dinner. Come on in…” Brad and Juliette both enter the house together, slipping off their coats and shoes.
“It’s nice to see you as well Kay,” Juliette says as she gives Kay a hug. She could only hope that they could be sweet and loving following the baby discussion.
“I have to say – you’re looking better than ever. New skin tone or something?” Juliette chuckles and shakes her head no. She was still using the same skin cover-up (didn’t want to show off vampire sparkles) as always.
“Been sticking to a good healthy diet to stay in shape.”
“Well, it’s working dear. It’s also nice to hear that you’re keeping Brad looking good.” Juliette smiles as she glances over at Brad, as he is already mingling with the siblings.
“Don’t worry – I care about him and will do whatever it takes to take care of him.” The smile in return on Kay’s face was definitely a welcome sight.
“And that’s why I like you, despite the reasons that Bob may have.” Juliette smiles as she watches her future mother-in-law head off. The happier she could have everybody before the news dropped, the better.
“So what brings you both up to Michigan?” Bob questions as Juliette takes a seat in the living room, joining the rest of the family.
“We thought we’d stop in and say hi after I got done a media appearance for…Ford,” Brad answers, partially lying. He didn’t want to reveal that they had come purposely to the house. “I always like seeing you guys.”
“And you tagged along with him today?” Dawn asks and Juliette shakes her head yes.
“I wasn’t busy and thought he could use the company,” Juliette answers, keeping her eyes locked on Dawn. It always seemed as though Brad’s sister was judging her with each passing second.
“Well I am sure Brad can take care of himself.”
“I can, but it’s also nice to have great company,” Brad replies with a smile. If only he could convince his sister that Juliette was the perfect fit.
“So are the boys ready for this weekend?” Bob asks, changing the topic. He figured it’d be best to avoid anything that revolved around Juliette. After all, Brad would smarten up one day and realize that dating a vampire wasn’t the right thing to do.
“We should have a quick Ford this weekend – possibly a race winner. Tyler and Austin are beyond stoked for this weekend. They’ve been itching to get to the track since Martinsville.”
“Hopefully one of them can win the race.” Brad smiles and shakes his head in agreement.
“I think Tyler has a good chance based on how he ran at Atlanta. Austin – a good solid top-10 finish would be great.”
“I’m sure it’ll be a great weekend,” Juliette adds as she rubs Brad’s leg. She was just waiting for him to drop the bombshell of the evening.
“Are you coming this weekend, Brian?” Brad wonders and Brian shakes his head no.
“I’m busy at the shop getting the car ready,” Brian answers, having been focused lately on the land speed record and an ARCA car they were building.
“Has Jen had any luck finding sponsorship?” Juliette wonders, having heard about the search that she was doing.
“Let her know that if she needs a hand, she can get a hold of me. I’ve got experience in public relations and saw how Hendrick does their sponsor proposals so I could help her put something together.” Juliette figured the comment was worth good brownie points. She had just gotten on Brian’s good side, so it’d add some bonus insurance. Perhaps if she showed some merit to help the family, they’d lighten up on her a little.
“Thank you. I’ll let her know.”
The group went on to discuss a couple other topics, before enjoying a nice meal together. As they finished up eating, Brad knew that they had reached the perfect time to say something. As he caught the eyes of each family member, he could only hope that their reaction wasn’t too wild.
“So, Juliette and I have something to tell you,” he starts as he glances around the room, putting an arm around Juliette. “We’ve been doing a lot of thinking, and talking, and planning. We both want to have a child of our own. After doing some research and finding out the risks involved, we have decided that we’re going to try for a baby.” Another glance around the room revealed a couple surprised faces, jaws dropping to the floor, along with perhaps a glance of anger and perhaps a glance of happiness.
“Are you sure that it’s a good idea?” Brian is the first to speak and Brad shakes his head yes.
“There’s some risks with the fact that I’m a werewolf and she’s a vampire, but they’re not too serious. There’s about a 25% chance that things will not go right and turn terrible for Juliette, but every pregnancy has a risk no matter what so we’re going to chance it. For us, it’s worth the risk because we’re excited to have a child of our own.” Brian glances between them, shaking his head in surprise.
“Okay, I had just gotten used to the idea of you dating a vampire, but now you’re going to combine a vampire with a werewolf? Brad, are you su-”
“It’ll be an animal blood sucking creature. It may have some fur in transformation, possibly with some sparkles. Who doesn’t love sparkly fur? If it has her skin, we’ll just take the approach necessary. I know what you’re trying to say, but we feel confident.” A small smile crept on Brian’s face as he looked between them. His brother’s certainty gave him confidence that things would work out.
“Well, good luck and I hope I have a little nephew or niece to say hi to by the end of the year.” Juliette smiles at his comment. She was expecting happiness out of Kay, but not the rest of the group. However, to hear that Brian was convinced gave her more happiness out of the deal than expected.
“Thank you and I can’t wait for you to meet him or her,” Juliette comments as she glances at Brad with a smile. One down, three to go.
“Thanks Brian,” Brad says before looking between his parents. “Mom? Dad? Dawn?”
“First you bring a vampire in this house and now you want to have a vampire-werewolf baby?” Bob questions as Brad shakes his head yes. “Do you realize the issue of combining two creatures together? Do you realize that you’re not even married? You just started dating this girl! You don’t even know her that well, Brad.” Brad takes a deep breath, having expected this reaction from his father. It was the same type of reaction he received when Bob met Juliette for the first time.
“The combining of two creatures isn’t an issue like you’re trying to make it out to be. You should meet Bella and Edward. They made a human-vampire baby together. There are other forms of combinations going on out there, Dad, and they’re working. Love knows no bounds – age or creature – and you should understand tha-”
“Oh, so I should go let the dog hump the cat?” Juliette felt a crack of laughter escape her lips as Brad let out a sigh.
“No, I don’t mean that. It’s just….please grow to understand. Humans will love any human that they want, no matter age. That also includes the fact that they’ll love anyone they want, no matter physical differences. We’re both aware of what you’re saying, but we’ve moved past that. It’s the 21st century! Long gone are the rules of the past!”
“I also know that we’re not married and it may seem like we’re rushing this,” Juliette adds. “But we’re not. Many couples are having babies before they’re married now. Marriage is just a way of the government and country recognizing your love together. Marriage is just an official way of saying that you share everything. We’ll get married one day when we have the time to plan the wedding and do it like we want. However, for now, we both first want a bab-”
“You just want to trap my son, isn’t that it?” Bob interrupts her as she looks at him surprised and shakes her head no.
“The only way that I was going to have a baby was if Brad was okay with the idea as well. I told him that we both have to agree to it and do it right if we want to do it together. This isn’t a form of trapping him or trying to make him do something that he wants to do. We both want to do this, equally. That’s why he wanted to tell you about it tonight.”
“And well you think we may not have been together that long, we were together for a while I drove for Dale,” Brad reveals, catching everyone’s attention. “We realized then how much we loved each other, but screwed it up. Now that we’ve found each other again, we want to do things right and have the life together that we’ve dreamed of. That starts with having a baby of our own together.”
“Bob, I know you haven’t liked me from day one and I understand why,” Juliette continues. “I just hope that you’ll grow to like me one day and understand that I truly love your son, and want to be with him for the right reasons.”
“Good luck with that,” Bob comments before leaving the table.
“Well I can assure you that I’m excited and can’t wait to meet my grandpuppy,” Kay comments, bringing a smile to Brad and Juliette’s faces. “You have to let us know when you know what you’re having and when. I can’t wait to buy little outfits and take care of him.”
“I knew you’d be happy mom,” Brad replies as his mind swirls with ideas already. He had some thoughts for when the puppy was born and who could help them keep it hidden for the time period allotted. “Dawn?”
“I don’t know….” She admits as she keeps her eyes focused on them. “I’m just not sure about this, yet.”
“That’s fine,” Juliette states. “Take your time. I know you’re the overprotective sister and don’t want your brother getting hurt. Take your time and let us know when you’re ready to accept it all.”
“I still get to meet the baby though right when it’s born, right?” Juliette smiles and shakes her head yes. The warrant to hold the baby immediately upon birth gave Juliette hope that Dawn was slowly coming around.