Chapter 76: Daytona!!!
“I can’t believe it….I can’t believe it….” Lance comments over the radio as shock comes over him.
He had done it. He had scored career win #1 in the Camping World Truck Series at one of the biggest tracks on the tour – Daytona. They say dreams come true, but this was beyond even that.
Following a burn-out on the frontstretch as he let the victory still soak in, he headed to victory lane. He couldn’t wait to celebrate with the team, his family that had come down to watch him and best of all – his girlfriend. In one word – everything was “perfect”.
He pulls into victory lane, slowly pulling off of his helmet and HANS device, still shaking his head in disbelief. Was this really happening?
“I told you that you could do it!” He hears a female voice as lips come across his, giving one of the best kisses ever. he then smiles as she backs up a little and he gets a good look into her eyes. “I told you that you could!”
“I can’t believe it happened, though,” he replies back to Emma. “I love you so much.”
“I love you even more.” She then leans in and gives him another kiss, both smiling as widely as they can. “I can’t wait to celebrate with you later tonight.”
“Oh don’t you worry about that, cutie. I’m going to make sure that it’s very special.”
She then moves back as the NASCAR official motions that the cameras are ready to go. He then climbs out, pumping an arm in the air and letting out a huge scream as the crew soaks him with every liquid imaginable.
This was paradise.
He then hops off of the truck, clearing his throat as he focuses on the camera man before him.
“What does it mean to win here at Daytona?” The reporter asks as he tries to put his thoughts in perspective.
“It feels amazing,” he commented. “I can’t begin to say how thankful I am to be apart of BKR. All of these guys made this possible – we wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for him. My teammate, I wouldn’t be here without his teammate. It was outstanding tonight. We got it to victory lane here in Daytona.” As he let the words spew from his mouth, it was just like a dream. He couldn’t believe that everything was actually happening. Was he really standing in victory lane at Daytona?
With a couple more comments shared, the reporter gives him the signal that they’re done before heading off. A couple other reporters join in for comments as well, as he continues to shake his head in disbelief. It was hard to believe something that he had dreamed of since he was a little kid was actually coming true.
“You did a great job out there!” Doug wraps his arms around Lance and hugs him as Lance can only smile. He then glances back at Doug.
“Please tell me this is real,” he states. “Please tell me this isn’t a dream.”
“This isn’t a dream, kid. We’re standing in victory lane at Daytona. Do you need me to pinch you?”
“I can do that for you, Mr. Randolph,” Emma chimes in, before pinching Lance’s butt, causing him to jump.
“It’s reality!” He lets out before spinning around and pulling her close to him once again. “I wouldn’t want to be in victory lane with anyone else, except for you. You’re truly amazing. I’m so glad that you’re here with me. I love you so much.”
“I love you even more – always.” She then leans in and kisses his lips once again. he then glances down at her feet with a smile.
“I think it was the boots. They brought the lucky charm.”
“Nah. It was loving that we did on the truck at the shop.” Lance just laughs as he remembers the fun they had before leaving for Daytona.
“Perhaps we need to go for round two before Atlan-”
“Hey!” Doug lets out, catching their attention with a laugh.
“Ah come on Doug,” Emma starts. “As long as you keep winning races, certainly you can put up with it.” Doug just shakes his head in disbelief as he watches the pair.
“You two are just too much. How am I going to put up with you both all year?”
“By celebrating as much as you want in victory lane a lot,” Lance states with a smile. He came into the year believing that they could win the championship, and this didn’t change his perspective at all. If anything, it showed the world that he meant it.
“I hope you’re on to something,” Doug comments.
They then head up on the stage, set to go through the trophy presentation. As they get up on stage, Lance comes face to face with Brad for the first time since securing the victory. He could smile as he saw a smile equal to his on the boss’ face.
“Thank you for giving me a chance,” Lance comments as he holds out his hand.
“Thank you for bringing this team to victory lane at Daytona,” Brad replies, pulling Lance into a big hug as Lance can only smile. “You and Austin worked great together tonight. I’m proud of you both. Great job.”
“This is only the start of what’s to come this year.” Brad then lets him go and locks eyes with the young man before him.
“While that may be the case, make sure that you truthfully and fully celebrate this win. Make this win a very special memory. It’s your first, and it’ll always mean the most. Don’t let your determination stand in the way of soaking it in.”
Lance then focuses in on the presentation of the trophy. With each motion in victory lane, the moment began to soak in more and more. While he wanted to just accept it as a win and focus forward to the rest of the year, he also knew that this was bigger than that. It was his first truck win. It was everything that he had worked towards. He wasn’t going to let this moment slip through the clouds.
He then starts going through the motions of the hat dance with the team, followed by the solo shots that were required with each sponsor.
“Smile wide and pretty boy!” He hears a voice yell from below the stage and can only laugh. He then looks down at Cameron and gives him a wave.
“Get your ass up here!” He yells down as Cameron shakes his head no.
“This is your moment to shine. Enjoy it. Celebrate it. Take it all in.” Lance then flips the hat off, flinging out to the crowd as he takes a couple steps forward, kneeling down to face Cameron.
“I want a hug from my best friend!”
“I wrecked tonight. This is your mome-”
“Oh stop blubbering and get your ass up here!” Cameron then lets out a sigh as he turns around, hopping up on the stage, back and bum first. He then swings his feet up, standing up on the stage as he looks at Lance in the eyes.
“Is it everything that you thought it’d be?” Lance shakes his head no as he looks around.
“It’s everything, and even much more. It just feels so surreal and so special. I can almost not put it in the words.” Cameron smiles as he gives him a pat on the shoulder.
“I’m proud of you. You did a great job leading that pack all night long. I’m surprised at how well you and Austin co-operated together at the front of the field.” Lance smiles as that was a shocker, too, considering how the teammates hadn’t seen eye-to-eye with his thoughts on Emma.
“Let’s just say that he knows he better co-operate in front of the boss. Besides, he knew what he had to do to stay up front.” Cameron shakes his head in disbelief.
“Smart man….smart man. Way to go. I’m proud of you. I’ll let you continue your hat dance.” Cameron then heads off towards the side steps of the stage.
“You’ll get your win, buddy. It’ll happen before you know it and I’ll make sure that I come congratulate you.”
“You better!” Cameron then heads off as Lance takes a sigh, returning back to his spot next to the trophy to continue his obligations.
This was certainly paradise.
Chapter 77: Atlanta
“Solid run once again,” Doug comments as he walks over and gives Lance a high-five.
Lance smiles as he leans back against his truck. It was a solid run indeed. Another solid top-five finish as he had finished fifth despite a pit road speeding penalty. That darn penalty….a small mistake. He knew that he’d have to eliminate those moving forward.
“I’m sorry about speeding on pit road there,” he says as Doug gives him a look. “We could’ve done much better if I hadn’t done that.”
“You’re young and you’re bound to make some mistakes,” Doug shares. “You don’t need to be so hard on yourself. I’m not mad and the team isn’t mad. Besides, you got that track position back.” Lance shakes his head in agreement as he certainly had to work hard to get back up there.
“Thanks. I just…..I can’t be doing that.”
“So you learn and move forward. That’s all you can do. A trip over to Penske the next couple of weeks could help cure your disappointment.” Lance shakes his head in agreement, knowing that some pit road practice would be a good idea. Perhaps he could work out those bugs. While he had made it back this time, that wasn’t a guarantee for the next time.
“Good idea. Thanks for the good truck. What happened to the boss?” Doug shakes his head in disbelief.
“They stayed out when everybody pitted and then he came down under green and had a penalty. He was trapped a lap down from there on. He finished in the teens.” Lance shakes his head in surprise. He thought that Brad would’ve been up there fighting Matt for the win.
“Everybody knows that you pit every caution at Atlanta.”
“Chad said he left it up to Brad and Brad decided to stay out. Chad believed that based on Brad’s experience. I tried to tell them.”
“They’ll learn – no worries. As you said, live and learn to move on to another day.”
“There’s the spirit. I’ll see you at the shop Monday.” Doug then heads off to help the team pack up as Lance just relaxes.
He then heads for the garage area, wondering as to where Emma was. Normally she’d meet him on pit road after the race and they’d talk. But yet, tonight, she wasn’t there. He then remembered that Ryan was there that weekend watching so perhaps they were chit chatting as siblings do. He then texts her, asking where she is as he makes his way through the garage.
“So how’d you get her to love you?” He hears and glances over, seeing Austin. He rolls his eyes. He honestly thought that they were past this based on how well they worked together at Daytona.
“It just….happened,” Lance answers, not really having any true secret.
“Yeah, well it seems as though you’re changing that girl. Did you hear about her snapping on me a couple weeks ago?” Lance then looks over at Austin, confused. He hadn’t heard of any discussions between the pair lately.
“Well, she told me that she was moving in with you. I wanted to make sure that she was certain of her decision and asked her. That escalated and next thing she’s yelling at me to get out of her business and to get out.” Lance crosses his arms, not surprised. He would’ve had the same type of reaction and was glad to see that Emma didn’t allow Austin to cross the line.
“You should’ve minded your own business, Austin. It’s that simple.”
“Listen, we were close and friends. She was also the sweetest little thing that I ever knew then. Now that she’s with you, I don’t know.” Lance shrugs his shoulders, not really having anything to say. In his mind, she was still the same sweet person that he met a year ago.
“Maybe if you showed her respect, you’d still be friends with her.” Lance then glances at his phone as he reads Emma’s text. “See ya around.” He then heads off to the garage area, finding the bathrooms as she comes out.
“Sorry – I had to go really badly,” she comments as she pulls him close to her. “I love you. Great run tonight.”
“I love you too,” he replies as he keeps his eyes locked on hers. “And thank you. I did the best that I could after that mistake.” She then runs her hand down his cheek.
“Honey, mistakes are going to happen. It’s all about how you overcome them and you did one helluva job.”
“So what’s this deal with you telling Austin off? He told me about it and said that I’m changing you.” Emma then freezes immediately, wanting to haul off and yell at Austin in the face. She hadn’t wanted to bring it up as she was set to leave that in the past. She just wanted to focus on what she had with Lance.
“He butted in my business so I told him where to stick it. I’m not going to stand for him being like that. That’s not what friends do.” He smiles as it was the exact reason that he thought. “And babes, you’re not changing me. I’m still who I am. I’m just growing even closer with each passing day with you.”
“And I can’t wait for that to continue the next couple of weeks. I want to make the apartment perfect for us both.” He then kisses her lips once again before they head off towards the garage area.
Chapter 78: The Off-Weeks
Lance puts the ribs in the oven, pleased with how they looked. He hoped that they turned out as good as they looked. He then makes his way through the small apartment, glancing into what had become Emma’s office.
With the couple of weeks off since the last race, the pair had gotten a lot done on their apartment space. Emma had pretty much moved all of her stuff in, finding places to put her clothes and belongings throughout. She also had worked hard on setting up her little office so she’d have her space to work when she wasn’t at the boutique with her mom.
With Lance doing well on the track and the apartment coming along nicely with Emma, there were honestly no complaints to be had about his current situation.
He then sneaks into the room quietly, sneaking up behind her and wrapping his arms around her, giving her a kiss. She then glances over her shoulder with a small smile.
“And I thought you said that you were well-behaving, sweet cowboy type,” she comments as he laughs, letting her go.
“Hey now – I didn’t start stripping you right here or laying kisses over every inch of you,” he defends his actions with a smile. She then turns around to face him, smiling in return.
“That’s true, I’ll give you that. Perhaps my ways are having a good effect on you.” He then looks at her with surprise.
“You’re good ways? Right….because it’s all my fault that we were caught in the trailer together. I see how it is.” She then crosses her arms.
“I was the sweet innocent big sister keeping Ryan out of trouble till you showed up. That has to be your entire fault and none of mine.” He then pulls her close to him, looking into her eyes.
“I didn’t hear you complaining, did I?” She then rolls her eyes as she escapes his hold, returning to her boxes.
“Did you put the ribs on?” He shakes his head yes as he leans back against the wall, watching her shift through things.
“They’re in the oven and cooking. When are you going to be done unpacking?” She then glances over her shoulder at him, before returning her eyes to the box.
“Only a couple more boxes and I’m done. You should know with me that I’d have a killer amount of clothes and belongings. Call me the typical girl. Now, can we eat the ribs without dying?” He then looks at her surprised.
“So you don’t trust my cooking?” She shrugs her shoulders with a small smile. She had to admit – he was pretty good at times.
“I just don’t you scaring the guests, that’s all.” With the weeks off in a row, Cameron was coming down to visit and spend time with Lance since the pair didn’t see each other much since he moved. With his first night in town, they had also invited Erik, Chase, Darrell and Ryan over to enjoy a night of fun hanging out. Emma knew that meant that she’d be stuck with a bunch of guys, but she’d get some relief in knowing that Shelby was coming with Darrell.
“Don’t worry – I followed the recipe to a key. The ribs should be good.”
“I hope you’re right. My mom said that she cooked them the other night that way and dad was in total love.” Lance smiles, figuring that it was a good seal of approval.
“Well, you’ll be in total love when you taste mine after.” She shakes her head, hoping that’s the case.
“So, what were you saying about next weekend?” Lance smiles, remembering the phone call from his brother yesterday.
“Next weekend is the opening night for my home track back home. I’ve never missed an opening night – no matter what I’ve been racing anywhere. This looks to be the biggest opening night that they’ve ever had, too. Brandon called to make sure that I was coming. I told him that I was. I hoping that you could join me.” Emma thinks it over, thinking that it was a good idea. She enjoyed spending time with his family as they were all very friendly and welcoming, especially his mother – even if she had a fascination with taking too many photos sometimes. She also enjoyed the night that she spent with him at the track the last time, but had a special reason for that since he had picked up a win.
“I guess I’ll have to highly consider that offer.” Lance knew by her words that probably meant she was coming, but knew there was a possibility if things were real busy with the boutique. That was also the Talladega NASCAR weekend, and she liked being there for Ryan. “Are you going to be driving anything?” Lance shrugs his shoulders. Brandon told him that the car was still there – hadn’t sold yet – and was race ready if he wanted to drive it. It was a question whether he wanted to race, or sit back and relax for a night watching. It was nice to do that, sometimes, especially when it came to watching his cousin Grayson.
“Brandon says the car is ready to go. If I told you that I was racing, would that shift the offer to a yes?” She then grins as she glances at a photo as she takes it out of the box. She then places it up on the desk beside her laptop, smiling. It was from that special win that night. His mom had brought the photo, framed, down to Daytona and given it to her. It was one of her special keepsakes now.
“I say you should drive. It’d be interesting to see if you could top that win.” Lance glances at the photo, remembering how magical that night was. It was certainly a special, yet crazy weekend. His brother won the Saturday night, while he had motor problems. They managed to change the motor and on Sunday, he dominated with a beautiful victory.
“I don’t think there’s anything that could top that weekend.” She stands up and glances out to the hallway, seeing the 16×14 photo that hung of the hug that the brothers shared on the Saturday night.
“That hug….that was just magical. There were people in the stands that were about to cry because of how adorable that was. It was just – sweet.” She then looks back at him. “You’re right – nothing would top that weekend, or winning in Daytona. But, I bet you could still make a sweet memory.” He was seriously considering the idea, now. He knew it wouldn’t be easy, though, given the fact that he hadn’t run the car since last summer. He also hadn’t done any upgrades over the winter. That probably equaled a decent disadvantage compared to everyone else that was doing practice laps, and changing things over in their cars.
“I tell you what – I’ll give Brandon a call and tell him that I’m interested in running it. It’ll just depend whether he can do some quick changes to it before the weekend. Either way, you’re going to have fun with my family again.” They then hear a knock at the door and share a smile, knowing that their conversations could wait till later.
Their guests had arrived.
Chapter 79: Canada
“Still feels like home….” Lance comments as he pulls up the long driveway to the house and glances over at Emma with a smile.
“So this is where you grew up?” Austin asks from the backseat as Lance shakes his head yes.
He hadn’t wanted his teammate to join him. He was still at odds with Austin following his comments about his relationship with Emma, and Austin’s past with Emma. However, his brother called saying that they’d need a couple extra hands if they were going to able to allow Lance to run his car while his brother ran his. So for that reason, Lance asked Cameron originally tag along and serve as spotter – but Cameron already had plans in Alberta with his parents. That left Lance asking Austin, and for some reason, he had accepted. Lance just hoped the guy knew something about working on super stocks, and could do a decent job spotting.
“I spent the first 15 years of my life at my mom’s house,” Lance answers. “Then I moved here when I turned 16. I wanted to be closure to the racecar, and closure to my job. My mom accepted because she knew that she could trust that I’d behave and had a policy of checking in on me.” Austin looks around, checking out the area. He could see the small house that went along with the big garage; there was no doubt about there probably being a couple racecars in there. He noticed the surrounding feelings, giving him the feeling that they were out in the country still with being so close to the city. It was somewhat nice.
“So you grew up in a city but have the persona of a cowboy?” Lance shuts the car off as he glances back at Austin.
“Being country isn’t where you live, but rather in your heart. The country persona just seems fits to better. I’d rather be at a bonfire than some club. I’d rather be sitting in the back of a pick-up enjoying a picnic, rather than a fancy restaurant for a date. I’d rather listen to Luke Bryan than Eminem or Jay-Z. Do you see where I’m going?” Austin shakes his head yes as they get out of the car.
Lance glances towards the garage as they hold their suitcases in hand. He knew that it’d be a good idea to throw the stuff in the house, and figure out where Austin was going to sleep for the night. However, he was tempted to go see his car first. He had missed his baby, after all.
“It’s about time!” Lance hears and immediately smiles as his grandpa comes out of the house. Lance goes up on the porch and gives him a hug. “What happened to coming and seeing me at least once a month?” Lance chuckles.
“Life has been busy – I’m sorry,” he replies as his grandpa smiles.
“Oh that’s right because you’re a big superstar now with winning at Daytona – I forgot about that. I thought you told me that you weren’t going to change.” Lance lets out a sigh as Emma joins him on the porch.
“I’m sorry, okay? I promise to stick to my word in the coming months. I’m sure Emma will make sure that I do.” His grandpa’s eyes turn to Emma as a smile forms on his face.
“He’s still treating you right?” Emma shakes his head yes. “That’s a good boy since I know that you’re a good girl. It’s nice to see you, Emma.”
“It’s nice to see you as well,” Emma replies as grandpa looks over at Austin.
“Who is he?” Grandpa asks as Lance looks back at Austin with a smile.
“Brandon called and said I’d need someone else to spot with this weekend being busy,” he starts. “So I asked my teammate. Gramps, meet Austin. Austin, this is my grandpa – who also happens to be the car owner.” Austin walks up the porch steps and holds out his hand.
“It’s nice to meet you sir,” Austin states politely as the older man shakes his hand. The older man gives him a look over before turning to Lance.
“Wasn’t he the one that you compla-” His grandpa starts.
“Grandpa, let’s not talk about that right now,” Lance cuts him off, giving Austin a smile. “We talked and things are straightened out. He knows to keep his comments to himself. Besides, he was the last option that I had.”
“You’re here!!!” Lance hears and turns to the garage door, seeing Laura come running out. She runs up the steps and gives Lance a big hug as Brandon comes out with a smile on his face.
“It’s nice to see you as well.” Laura then glances over at Emma and gives her a hug as well.
“So glad that you could come. I need someone to help calm my nerves when Brandon is racing.” Emma chuckles as she waves to Brandon. “Seriously, how do you not get nervous watching Lance and Ryan?” Emma shrugs her shoulders.
“Been around it my whole life,” she comments. “I guess I’m immune now.” Laura shakes her head in disbelief.
“Ugh, I don’t think I could ever get used to it. I’m always nervous and screaming for him to do better.” Emma lets out a small chuckle.
“Austin, this is my brother’s girlfriend Laura,” Lance introduces them as the pair shake hands. “That’d be my brother Brandon. Guys, this is Austin.”
“How do you get to cross the border with Lan-” Laura starts.
“Let’s not talk about that right now, okay? That’s behind us.” Laura rolls her eyes as she snatches the bags, taking them in the house.
“You guys are upstairs in the normal room. Austin – that gives you the couch.” She then heads inside, secretly hoping one of the springs in the couch would break and stick up Austin’s butt based on what she heard about him to date.
“I hope you’re okay with the couch.” Austin shakes his head.
“It’s fine. No problem there. It’s just nice hearing these great comments from your family, Lance.” Lance lets out a sigh as he looks over at Austin.
“Look, when I have shit going on – I talk it over with my family. That includes my mother, my grandpa, Laura and Brandon. I’m sorry for the comments. I should’ve told them that we straightened things out – well, at least agreed to work professionally without further comments – and asked them to keep their mouths shut. I’m sorry.” Austin shrugs his shoulders.
“Whatever. It is what it is, right? Can’t wait to meet your mom tomorrow if that’s the case.” Lance lets out a sigh. There was merit to that comment as he knew that his mom would chew Austin’s butt out.
“I’ll give her warning first, okay? I’m sorry. Want to go see the car?” Austin shakes his head yes as they head to the garage. they go inside and immediately, Austin’s eyes land on the late model in the garage.
“So this is the car?” Lance shakes his head no.
“That’s my brother’s late model. Pretty quick car, though, as he won a couple features last year. This is my baby…” Lance rips the tarp off of the car, revealing the Monte Carlo underneath. “It’s a super stock, second tier division at the track.” Austin looks over it, surprised.
“Not bad…not bad. So how’d you catch the attention of Brad Keselowski with this?”
“His hard driving style, never give up attitude, the way he handles sponsors and some of his weekends when he drove a friend’s late model landed him the opportunity to go to New Smyrna with BKR,” Brandon answers as Austin looks over at the brother. He could tell that any negative comments about Lance wouldn’t be tolerated as it seemed the group was a tight pack. That was fine, though, as he was set to be professional this weekend.
“That makes sense then,” Austin comments as he continues to look over the car. “So, what can I expect when I get there tomorrow night?” Lance smiles as he leans back against the wall.
“It’s going to be war,” Lance states. “40 cars are registered and will be trying to qualify. 10 of them are decent in the speed department – five, including this car, can win on any given night. We don’t play nice either – this is rough and tumble racing. Any rubbing, bumping and potentially wrecking each other goes. I’ve had tires cut and I’ve been turned purposely. I’ve also been bumped out of the groove. Needless to say, you have to be on your game and ready to fight with the best of them.” Lance then eyes Austin carefully. “As long as you do your job on the spotter’s stand, telling where people are around me and what I need to know, I can handle it behind the wheel.”
“Welcome to his world!” Emma comments as she hops up on top of the car, sitting on the roof.
“Hey – you’re not supposed to do that till victory lane!” Brandon complains as she looks over with a grin.
“I’m just practicing because I have confidence in my baby….” She then tugs on Lance’s shirt, pulling him close and kissing his lips.
Chapter 80: Race Night
“Feeling alright?” Lance asks as he watches the late model time trials finish up. He had watched his brother’s lap closely, pleased with how things went. It wasn’t the quickest, but it wasn’t that far off either.
“It’s crazy how many cars are here, the race format and just….Wow,” Austin comments as Lance chuckles.
“And they say us Canadian boys don’t have nothing on the U.S. racing.” Austin glances around, checking out the variety of cars and the amount of stands in the grandstands.
“It’s not the same for sure. You guys don’t seem as dedicated with it or hardcore about it as we are, and the cars don’t seem as quick.” Lance shakes his head, understanding.
“That’s normally what we here. However, we may not seem as dedicated, but we are. We just like to keep it low key and have some fun while we’re doing it.” He then checks out the final rundown following qualifying. “Brandon will start 15th later. That is going to make it tough.” The pair then head down the hill together.
“So late models….”
“We’ve got 10 to 15 guys that can win any night. If you’re starting in the teens, you have your work cut out for you. The winner will come out the top-five, and I’m just hoping that Brandon can pull a top-five finish off with where he is starting.” Austin shakes his head, understanding.
“What about your division?” Lance glances over at Austin, before pointing to one of the cars.
“That guy is stupid fast usually. He’s the one that you got to really watch for. If you’re quicker than him, you have a real shot. Beyond him, keep an eye on the 76, as well as the 07. The 07 was quick before, but he’s a bit of a madman. Let’s just say that he reminds me of how idiotic Kyle (Busch) would drive at times.” Austin chuckles as he walks back to the pit with Lance.
“So a lot of speed and talent, but no brains?” Lance shakes his head yes as he reaches the car.
“Grab a radio and head back up to the stands. I’m up in a good 10 minutes. It’s tough to find a spot to spot from due to no set spotter’s stand – but there’s normally a couple spots high up that will work.” Lance then focuses on getting set to go as Austin heads off to do as instructed.
It was weird to be getting along so well with his teammate. They hadn’t talked much since their encounter in the shop, or the encounter that Emma had with him in the office. They had all decided it’d be best to not discuss things with each other as it seemed nobody wanted to co-operate. However, so far this weekend, there had been no problems as everybody was getting along well without issues. Better, it seemed as though the pair were forming a bit of a friendship and understanding for each other. Rather than holding a highly appointed opinion, Austin was willing to listen and learn some things. Perhaps the trip had been a good idea, after all.
“Good luck,” Emma interrupts his thoughts as she gives him a quick kiss. “See ya in victory lane.”
“We’ll see what happens,” he replies before climbing in the car. She then heads up the stands, set to watch the racing action.
The first qualifying race of the night started off really well as Lance was quickly able to move up from the second starting spot to the lead and led the rest of the way en route to scoring the victory. A quick photo with the checkered flag, and off the track he was.
He returns to the pits after going through tech inspection, climbing out of the car and looking things over. For the most part, the car handled really well – however, it could be just a touch tighter, if warranted. But still, he was happy with his start to the afternoon.
“Lance!” Lance hears and immediately rolls his eyes before spinning around to face the blond that was running towards him. “It’s so nice to see you! Congratulations!”
“Jessy, it’s nice to see you as well,” he replies with a smile on his face, secretly wanting to kick her ass. “Thank you.” He was even surprised that she was coming up to him. The last time that they had talked, he had told her to screw off and never come near him again. That was at the year-end banquet when, while they were dating, he found her making-out with a rival’s crew member in the hallway.
“I can’t believe the little superstar that you’ve become. I always believed that you’d become famous.” He then sips a water bottle as he heads into the trailer, hoping that she’d disappear.
“The hard work paid off.” He then comes out of the trailer, trying to determine some plan to escape her. “Say, don’t you have some place to be?” She then looks around and shrugs her shoulders.
“No, not really. I wanted to catch up with you.” He then laughs, crossing his arms. Enough games.
“I thought you’d take my advice and screw off. It’s very strange to see you right here close to me, Jessy.” She then smiles as she closes the gap between them.
“What are you going to do, Lance? Call your own precious security guards.”
“Why don’t you go back lizzardville?” Brandon then interrupts the pair as Jessy gives him a look.
“I thought that’s where you got Laura from,” she shoots back, earning a glare from Brandon as he closes the gap.
“Want to say that again?” Lance then steps in between the pair.
“Brandon, don’t touch her,” Lance states as Jessy smiles.
“Awww Lancey is going to protect me!” She lets out as Lance gives her a look.
“Only because I don’t want my brother getting in shit for touching your ass. Now move on out because I call one of the track officials over here.”
“Lance?” A new voice chimes in as Emma heads over towards them with Laura and a couple others.
“I’m going to get you back, one way or another,” Jessy whispers in Lance’s ear before kissing his lips. “I’ll see you later babes. Need to go see how Travis makes out.” She then walks away, shooting Emma a smile as she walks by, before heading up to watch the racing action.
“Yuck!” Lance lets out as he wipes his hand across his mouth.
“What was that?” Emma questions, obviously surprised by the kiss. If she hadn’t seen the disgust written on Lance’s face or Brandon’s anger, she would’ve high-tailed it the other direction immediately. Instead, she was willing to give him a chance to explain.
“That was my ex-girlfriend Jessy. She’s the one that I told you about – the whole banquet deal.” Emma glances back towards the direction the girl headed before returning her eyes to Lance. She did seem like the skanky type.
“And?” Lance shrugs his shoulders.
“She came over congratulating me and I eventually told her off after awhile. She then made a comment to Brandon about Laura, in which I stopped him from kicking her ass as he doesn’t need to get kicked out. She then whispered in her ear that she was going to get me back one way or another before kissing my lips before I could do anything.” Lance then closes the gap between him and Emma. “I wouldn’t ever cheat on you, ever. I love you too much to do that. You mean everything to me. Don’t think that I tried something.”
“I believe you – don’t worry. Just don’t let her lay her paws on you again, okay?” Lance shakes his head yes as he wraps an arm around Emma and holds her close.
Back by the track, Jessy had met back up with one of her fellow track girls.
“Koda, I’m telling you – they’re just disgusting together,” she comments as Koda glances towards Emma and Lance.
“She totally isn’t his type,” Koda says. “He was never someone to go for a goody two-shoes type, anyway. We both know that.” Jessy chuckles, remembering the fun times that they had over the years.
“I told him that I was going to get him back one way or another and kissed his lips right in front of her.” Koda holds her hand up for a high-five, in which Jessy returns easily. “We got to start going to some of his races in the States.”
“You read my mind, girl. I already got us tickets for Kansas and Charlotte.” Jessy smiles. It was going to be a couple of interesting weeks to come as she already had a plan in mind.
“I can’t wait to get down there. In the meanwhile, I say we check out that hot stud that came along with them.” Koda looks over at Austin and simply licks her lips. He was definitely a cutie.
Lance and Emma were quickly able to put the incident behind them as Lance focused on getting the car set for the rest of the night. They certainly had the right set-up as he would go out in the fast qualifiers dash.
Afterwards, they walked over to the tech shed to draw for Lance’s feature starting spot.
“Are you sure that she should pick the number?” Brandon questions as Lance shrugs his shoulders.
“She can’t pick worse than I do,” he answers, normally having picked anything from eighth on back. Emma then sticks her hand in the pail, pulling out one of the poker chips. She then flips it over, revealing a 14.
“Sorry,” she replies to Lance as she hands the chip over to the line-up steward.
“It’s fine. I usually pick around there anyway.” He then wraps his arms around her, kissing her cheek. “I love you and I can still win for you from there. It’s just going to be a little tougher.” She then spins around in his arms to face her.
“I believe in you. You’re my little superstar, remember?” She then kisses his lips before they head back to his pit stall.
When it came feature time, she helped him buckle in and got him set to go out. She then gave him one final kiss before he headed out for the 30 lap feature.
There was no doubt that the car was fast and there was no doubt that he tried as hard as he could. However, when the 30 lap race was over, he came up just one spot short – finishing second.
“You did a good job,” Emma tells him afterwards. “I’m proud of you. That was a heck of a drive.”
“The car was fast – just needed a caution to catch him,” Lance comments as he glances over at his buddy in victory lane. “Dawson has been one of the strongest kids in these cars since he began driving them a couple years ago. For a 15 year old, he’s got a lot of talent.”
“Are you suggesting that BKR sign him to a development deal?” Austin questions as Lance glances over.
“It wouldn’t surprise me as sometimes I think he is better than I am. If I can’t win, I’d rather he win than anyone else.”
“You’re still number one in my books!” Emma comments as she pulls Lance close, giving him a kiss.
Austin had to admit – he was warming up to the idea of them being together. However, he couldn’t totally accept it. Perhaps it was his own feelings for Emma, or perhaps it was the situation that happened earlier with Jessy. What if there was more to that story?