A VampWolf Wedding – Chapter 21: “Please hear the plea for forgiveness…”

Brad looked into the eyes –or as much as he could – of the seven-foot creature standing before him under the moonlight, with his hands firmly planted on his shoulders. All he could do was contemplate his life to date, thankful for the memories, and maybe try to hope for the future – the lather not easy when at the hands of this beast.

However, like always, he wasn’t ready to back down. He believed in his love to Juliette, he believed in the family they could have together beginning with Melody, and wouldn’t go back on what he did previously. Every move made had been done for the right reasons, whether this thing wanted to agree or not.

“I don’t think I’m insane, but rather a true friend,” he begins his plead as he tries to focus his eyes on the thing. “A friend was in danger – I saved him. Another friend was being harmed at the hands of someone – I saved her. That’s all I see what I did. Then yes, I confessed my love to a vampire against every righteous belief, but I’d do it again no matter how many times redone. Am I insane? No, but I am in love, and nothing will change how much I love her. It’s only right that she knows how much I love her.”

“Did you know there could be consequences for your actions?” The furry creature questions and Brad nods his head as he tries to keep his calm demeanor.

“Everybody questioned it, and told me about that. I accepted that. I would do anything for her – that’s how much I love her. So therefore, I ask you please hear the plea for forgiveness, and allow us to unite together.”

“Forgiveness?” Brad could hear the anger laced in those words, knowing that maybe he shouldn’t have pushed the boundaries.

“Yes, please, for the sake of our love and the meaning behind that. For the sake of family, love, and everything important. We both respect traditions, hence why we called upon you to oversee the wedding. So please understand our reasons, give us your blessing, and allow this to happen…”

“I promise to follow any requests or reasonings that Brad has within your traditions,” Juliette then adds. “I promise to accept anything that you may say. Like him, I would do anything for what we have together. We’ve fought to get to this point, and I’m not ready to let him go again. So please…” The creature takes his paws off of Brad, looking towards Juliette as he looks her over.

“Marking?” He questions and Juliette nods her head, lifting her dress to show the mark on her skin.

“He truly loves me so he wanted to protect me. I accepted, and promised to offer the same in response. Please….” The creature glances over them both, before making his way over to Melody. “Leave her-”

“Let him,” Brad interrupts, earning an intrigued glance from not only Juliette, but everybody else.

“Baby….” The creature states as he looks her over, before lifting her up in his arms. An immediate howl escapes her lips underneath the moon as her tail and ears fully form, with her eyes looking into his. “Cute baby…” He coos her a couple times, earning some giggles, before sharing a couple howls together. He then hands her back to Yolanda, before turning his eyes back to the couple. “A family is a couple who care about each other no matter what, and are willing to do whatever they can for their child as they grow together. Your daughter is beautiful, despite her vampire qualities.”

“Her fangs are questionable,” Joey whispers, remembering his questionable experience her that afternoon. Hence why he was glad to be sitting opposite side of the circle right now.

“I will give you the chance to be a couple and be together, with a blessing,” the wolf continues. “But if you dare cross the paths of what you’re allowed and not, don’t be surprised if I come back for both of you.” Juliette and Brad both nod their heads.

Just like he came, he was gone as he disappeared into thin air right after their heads nodded together. The pair then glanced at each other, down to the rope, and back to each other.

“Father Montagee is not coming back,” Alice Cullen announces, feeling none of his presence in the air.

“Then how are we supposed to officially be married?” Brad and Juliette question, now feeling let down more than ever. It was nice to be able to say they had a moment with the great all mighty, but they would rather hear the words of marriage.

“Chylder surrounds and has given the power to the one of his choosing….” Alice then looks towards Edward, who glances back at her in surprise.

“Me?” Edward questions and Alice nods her head.

“You helped them become a couple with your experience,” Alice reminds him. “You answered the numerous questions that they faced. If it wasn’t for you, who knows where they’d be. For them to stand here, they needed a guide. The guide gets the right away to marry – only if thee believes the couple is ready for that life together.” Edward knew there was no questioning what their future could hold together as he stood up and made his way into the circle without any hesitation.

“Excuse me if I am rusty while trying to remember the ceremonial words….” He then takes a deep breath, thinking it over a couple times, before placing his hands on top of their right hands. “As both your arms and the cloth form the symbol of eternity, may your love endure through this life and all others. As the Gods and the old ones are witness with those of us present now, I proclaim them Husband and Wife, and thus are they bonded forever. The two are now one.”

Brad and Juliette smile together as it felt amazing to hear those words.

They each then take a ring out of their own pockets, slipping it on each other’s fingers, with their smiles not fading a bit.

Edward then loosens the ties, glancing between them with a smile of his own.

“I present to The Juliette Daniels Forever Bound, Eternally Free!” He speaks out loud. “You are Wife to thee husband now for eternity.”

“Forever?” Joey questions and Alice nods her head.

“We don’t fade away nor do we end our lives, and when you cross paths, you better be certain,” she states as Joey looks at her, a little afraid.

“Or else?” A smile then forms on her face as she pats his shoulder.

“We’ve worried you enough, my friend….”

“You may not kiss – or the traditionally words, you may bite…” Edward says as he backs away from the couple.

Without a drop of hesitation, Brad pulled her towards him, firmly kissing her lips with all of his might, before standing with a smile before her. It felt beyond amazing to finally be able to call her his wife.

THE END

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A VampWolf Wedding – Chapter 20: A Wolf’s Tradition

Dawn smiled as she took her own step forward, eyes focused on her brother and Juliette before her. She couldn’t believe that she once hated the young lady that stood beside her brother now and was the mother of her niece.

How was that possible?

Regardless, she couldn’t wait for what the future held, knowing that the pair were due for a ton of happiness in their future for what they had endured to be together. Glancing back at their daughter being four months now, she knew it’d be fun watching the first vampwolf grow more.

“Ritual beginnings, please…” the father requests as Dawn takes a deep breath.

She begins her first movement of the request, with her and Brian making the circle around the couple. She couldn’t help but glance at the sky a couple of times to make sure the moon was truly full, and even took a glance at her watch to make sure the time was right.

“Is this why we’re here so late?” Brittany Logano questions as she watches.

“The wolves tradition is midnight weddings, and vampire tradition is night time for obvious reasons,” Edward answers as she nods her head.

“Man, if you guys tried a daytime wedding, it’d be fun watching you crystallize as you marry…” Joey comments, earning a stern glance from Edward.

“You realize that we’ve come a long way from that crazy folklore and have developed skin creams and guards? You do realize that you can’t believe every movie that you watch, right?” Joey rolls his eyes as Edward takes a deep breath.

Everybody’s eyes watched as the fire in the center of the circle came to life with a big flame, thanks to the hard work of Brian and Bob. The father then takes an iron vessel that had sat at the side thus far, placing it over the fire. In the vessel, there was a pint of water – as directions specified.

“A substance of question must be added….” The father starts as Brad reaches into his pocket, pulling out a small vile. He hands it over to the father, allowing him to pour it into the vessel. “How do you become of this liquid?”

“I went to one of our religious spots of question, and requested it solely based on the act of love,” he starts, remembering that trip a week ago. “Needless to say, the reaction that I got once they learned I was marrying a vampire wasn’t that kind. However, they said the spirits could determine my fate, as we usually see fit.” Brad takes a deep breath, still remembering how chilling those words were that day. However, he didn’t feel he had anything to fear as a glance towards his daughter thus far showed how the spirits had been – fair, allowing her to grow to her own self. He smiled as he saw the ears pop out a little amongst the blond hair as Melody sat in Yolanda’s arms.

“Thank you….” The father then stirs the liquid accordingly, as Brad and Juliette glance towards each other. Juliette couldn’t help but glance down, saying an extra prayer to herself, as she hoped this wasn’t where everything failed at once. “It is at this time that we pray to the Great Spirit of the Unknowns to allow a union of such unique nature…”

Alice looks around, taking a deep breath, as she tries to read the emotions in the air, curious as to the strength and power that this spirit would bring to the table. She could only wonder with how it’d clash with Chylder.

“Come, spirit so powerful!” Father chants as he places his hands on top of the left hands of Brad and Juliette. “Come, sprit so dread. From the home of the werewolf, the home of the dead. Come, give me thy blessing! Come, lend me thine ear!” Brad closes his eyes, knowing that the moment of truth laid just beyond the horizon. If there was no blessing, then everything they had done to this point was worthless.

“Oh spirit of darkness! Oh spirit so dear! Come, mighty phantom! Come, great Unknown! Come from thy dwelling so gloomy and lone. Come, I bessch thee; depart from thy lair. And body and soul shall be thine.” Juliette remembered the tales she had heard about werewolf homes, and the darkness that clouded their vision in being stuck to who they were. She remembered the tales of how Brad and his family had overcome those. She wondered if the great unknown would give them a break, despite being different, because of that. She wondered if maybe he’d have sympathy from knowing those feelings.

“I, Father Montagee, offer to thee, Great Spirit of the Unknown, this night of July 4 my body and soul, on condition that thou grantest me, from this night to the hour of my death, the power of love. I beg, I pray, I implore thee unparrellled Phantom of Darkness, to bless thee couple.” Brad couldn’t help but keep his eyes closed, fearing the worst, as he didn’t think there could be sympathy given. How was someone so dark and evil supposed to understand what he had with Juliette?

The father then strikes the ground three times with his foot, before taking a couple of the hot simmering liquid and sprinkling it on the circle around Brad and Juliette. He repeats the process until the entire circle is sprinkled.

As if on cue, Brad and Juliette go down to their knees, glancing up, hoping everything falls together as it was supposed to.

“Is this normal?” Edward questions as he looks over at Paul Wolfe, who simply nods his head. “And they call our tradition strange….”

“Don’t bash the tradition – I don’t want to take a chance of offending him,” Paul instructs, as he also had silently prayed to himself over and over that things would go smoothly.

“Do you think it’s going to go smoothly?” Joey wonders and Paul shrugs his shoulders. “What’s that supposed to mean? We should get to know if we’re in danger he-”

“We warned you so hush!” Alice instructs as she looks around the beach, trying to pull from all of the senses. “Feel thee senses….”

As if on cue, a big flame erupts from the fire, seven feet in height, with a spirit like figure forming out of it. Everybody outside of the circle takes a couple steps back, with Joey wrapping both arms around Brittany protectively.

“Ahh yess….” Paul commands as he had grown used to that in previous ceremonies. “The Unknown…” 10 seconds…20 seconds….30 seconds….and then they watch Father Montagee run off as the creature remains. “Oh no….”

“What’s wrong?” Edward questions almost instinctively.

“He’s supposed to disappear after 30 seconds, but he’s not. Instead, he’s forming a sterner shape…”

“What do we do?” Paul shrugs his shoulders.

“He’s angry, he’s frightful, he’s…..” Dawn starts as she watches the shape form more definitely.

“Angry? Frightful?” The clouded shape questions as it’s total formation come to truth.

“Did that cloud shape formed from the fire turn into something real, for real?” Joey questions and Brittany slowly nods her head, fear engulfing her as she fights the urge to scream.

“The Great Unknown,” Brad states, before forcing Juliette to bow down before it with him.  “I bow to you, and accept your presence….”

“Good, because you know my reasons….” He speaks as he circles the couple. “A wolf marrying a vampire in front of fellow wolves, vampires, and humans. Is this actually happening?”

“Yes….” The seven foot tall fury wolf stops, facing Brad directly.

“Do you realize how many rules you have broken?” Brad nods his head, swallowing the lump that had formed in his throat. “So why do you dare present this to me?”

“I love her. I want to be with her for life. I want to be one with her. We have a special connection and I wanted to make it official. Sir, I believe we can make it work together, please.” A great roar escapes in response.

“And who is that?” Brad follows the length of the long finger, swallowing another lump.

“My daughter – our daughter, Melody.” Another big roar escapes as he swirls around them in quick fashion.

“Please, have mercy and understanding….” Kay pleads as she feels all the fears that she had about this wedding coming true in that moment. The seven furry wolf then moves closer to Melody, with Danny instantly standing up and in front of it.

“Don’t you dare touch her!” He yells in response as Juliette’s jaw drops in response.

“Danny!?!” She yells as Brad looks to the binds that held him and Juliette together. He was almost set o break them for the sake of safety, though wondered if this was a test instead.

“I could never harm a child,” the furry man states before turning back to the face the couple. “The pair who formed against wishes and truth, that is another story. After all, this union comes following the killing of a wolf.” Juliette shivers as she thought back to that night.

“He was harming her, threatening the life of a friend – I had no choice,” Brad pleads, remembering how instincts kicked into gear before anything that night.

“You killed a wolf for a vampire and a human….” Brad nods his head. “That is against everything known, but now you plead to me to be happy of this union?” The furry man then walks right up to Brad, placing both hands on his shoulders. “Are you insane?”

A VampWolf Wedding – Chapter 19: Chylder’s Approval…

As the ceremony progressed, eyes focused on the couple and the red band that never covered the band previously wrapped around their wrists.

“I like the flowers and ribbon better,” Amy whispers and Brittany nods her head in agreement.

“Flowers and ribbon symbolize wolves coming together, while red cloth is a vampire tradition,” Edward Cullen whispers over their shoulders. He had chosen to sit behind them, rather than with the usual circle of vampires and wolves, to explain any questions that they may have.

“As they tied that cloth, the waves grew larger…” Brittany observes, glancing out to the ocean underneath the moonlight.

“Aw, that’s the work of Chylder of the Blood. It’s her way of symbolizing her warth over the ceremony, which can be a good thing. While she may not fully approve according to legend to Brad being a wolf, she is at least in attendance and giving them attention. That is something to be thankful for, and wise about. It goes against the nerves of Alice.” Alice glances over at her brother, intrigued by his comment.

“You weren’t supposed to mention,” she whispers as Edwards rolls his eyes. He always believed fair warning was necessary, just to be prepared in danger. He could only imagine if something were to happen without that. Meanwhile, Alice was set on keeping their vampire and werewolf lives secret from humans due to not wanting to disrupt their world.

“Should we be worried?” Amy questions and Edward shakes his head no.

“There’s nerves about a possible disturbance due to disapproval of ceremony and marriage for the pair,” he starts, recalling the discussion had with Brad and Alice previously. “I don’t see that as being a problem, especially if Chylder is here in spirit already.”

“So what would he be saying if it wasn’t a little windy to cause that?” Joey whispers to Paul Wolfe, who could only chuckle lightly. The chuckle earns a stern glance from the others, but they quickly overlook it as focus returns to the ceremony at hand.

“Stand now as ye will stand forever,” the father continues with a glance between the pair. “Like this crimson cloth, your hearts are tethered.” Juliette and Brad didn’t need a reminder of their hearts being together forever – their lives to this point were enough to convince them, otherwise. Besides, a marking left on her skin also represented that better than anything. She laughed when some people believed it was a tattoo. “This goblet’s wine is your blood of devotion, so sup from this dedication potion.”

“With all due respect, your honor, I am not a bloody thirsty vampire,” Juliette states as she looks at the glass. “I am a vampire that will thirst upon packets if need be for survival purposes, but mostly stays on course with a human diet. My dear husband-to-be, also sticks to the human diet and not the blood thirst of an animal chaser. It is how we blend day-to-day with the humans.” The father looks towards the glasses, before his eyes turn solely on Juliette.

“You already know how the church feels about human and vampire interaction, as well as this anti-blood deal.” Juliette nods her head, remembering the lecture received when she was a little girl at eight years old. It almost made her want to run away from the church and vampire life forever, fear of the future and what was to come. However, Father Montagee was one of the founding figures who was willing to let that fact go and give her a chance, only remaining focused on other beliefs. “To break ceremony code is also a vow against what it stands for. Therefore, to break code of ceremony, that breaks code of your marriage. Do you accept the chances you’re taking before thee great Chylder of the Blood?”

“For sake of ceremony and reasoning, I can accept a sip. I just thought honesty of myself and Brad was important before thee wise one.” The father nods his head as he picks up a glass, placing it in her right hand. “Brad, you don’t hav-”

“I respect traditions, rightfully,” he interrupts, holding out his right hand.

The pair each hold their glasses firmly, drinking their glasses fully as Brad makes a couple faces along the way. Through the stages, the tail and ears pop a little out, with animal instincts beginning to fight through. As they do, the waves on the beach become even stronger, with a wind blowing through the middle of the couple’s ceremony.

“Now do you laugh at the legend of Chylder?” Edward questions with a glance towards Joey, who immediately shakes his head no. “That’s what I thought.”

“Is she showing approval or denial?” Amy wonders, having grown more intrigued as she continued to learn more details.

“Jasper?” Jasper glances towards the group, taking a wiff of the air as she tries to read the senses that are swirling around them.

“I feel approval, happiness, acceptance,” Jasper comments. “It’s as if Chylder is approving of them and accepting them for who they are. Perhaps honesty is the best policy, as they say, for at least Juliette was honest in her ways so Chylder was not left guessing and wondering as to Brad’s existence.”

“It’s as if there’s a shift in the universe and premonition that I had a wedding fear dissipating with her warmth,” Alice adds as she glances around the area.

“Chylder thanks you for drinking your glasses in full,” the father states. “Now we shall begin the vows, in accordance to proper vampire tradition….” Juliette takes a deep breath, remembering their sessions spent with Father Montagee going over those.

“I will stand by your side, hunt at your back, and fly within your soul,” Juliette states as she stares into Brad’s eyes. Brad had no denying that she’d do any of those things, having seen her abilities to fly previously, remembering his initial shock of a reaction. “I will stand between you and all which would harm you.” Brad nods his head, having seen her ways of protecting him against those who vowed vampires and wolves should never meet. “I will shield you from the Light of Day with my flesh….well, not really, but you get the idea.” Brad chuckles, knowing she was good at helping his wolf tendencies, as well as Melody’s weird ways right now.  “I will never betray you, for you are my Heart, my Soul, and my Life.” Brad smiles, nodding his head in approval. He knew it was now his turn to say those same words.

“I will stand by your side, hunt at your back, and fly within your Soul,” he begins as she smiles. She knew his hunting instincts were strong, remembering the night that Jason had attacked. “I will stand between you and all which would harm you.” She knew that was true, seeing his protective skills on full display that night. “I will shield you from the Light of Day with my flesh.” She smiles, knowing he was good at helping her follow proper skin rituals. “I will never betray you, for you are my Heart, my Soul, and my Life.”

Father Montagee then picks up the goblet, pouring the drops that remained between the pair on the stone altar. Juliette knew the ceremony was finding a close, and hoped the blessings of Chylder remained.

“Above you are the stars, below you are the stones,” the father begins. Brad couldn’t help but look up and smile as the clouds had cleared from earlier that evening, forming a beautiful sky full of bright sparkling stars.

“As time passes, remember, like the star should your love burn brightly, like the stone should your love be firm. Be close, yet not so close that you restrict one another.” Juliette chuckles, knowing that could never happen as they’d always let each other follow their dreams. She also knew that she could never grow old of spending time with him, still unable to forgive herself for the time they lost apart.

“Possess one another, yet grant each other the freedom to grow. Be understanding and compassionate, and have patience with each other, for storms may come, but they will quickly pass.” Brad nods his head in acceptance, having seen that already, through the incident with Jason and Juliette’s pregnancy. A quick smile trade with Melody, and he could only wonder what was to come as she grew more.

“Be free in giving affection and warmth. Fear not, lest the ways or words of the unenlightened give you unease. For the Lady and Lord are with you, now, and always.” Juliette nods her head, silently saying thank you a couple times as she continued to feel the warmth around her, proud that Chylder had been more accepting than she could’ve originally believed possible.

“With Chylder in approval, it is with our deed that we plead to the Gods of the Wolves, and make sure they are as equally accepting of Ms. Juliette Daniels as the Chylder and the bloods have been of Mr. Brad Keselowski. May the present wolves take a step forward, as we begin the midnight moonlight plea of love.” Brad takes a deep breath, saying his own prayers as he knew they were only halfway there. He just hoped that everything went off smoothly.

Short Track Lovin’ – Chapter 103: “Issues in Paradise?”

Saturday, July 1

Chase glances at the ground, twirling his fingers together, before glancing up as he looks around the small waiting room.

After reading the text message, he had rushed over to the hospital to check on his friend. Thankfully, the poison had been caught early enough so it hadn’t gotten Ryan badly. Erin told him that the doctors assured them that they would be able to catch it all before it got worse, despite Ryan probably feeling pretty sick for the next couple of days.

He had been in to see him briefly, letting him know he was there if need be, though took residence in the waiting room to allow his parents and sisters to be with him instead. He debated going back to the track, but knew he wouldn’t sleep with his mind worried about his friend. So instead, he had curled up in the chair and caught a couple hours of rest through the night.

“Do you want anything?” Sarina asks quietly and Chase shakes his head no. “You need to eat or drink something, breakfast wise. You need to take care of yourself.” She then rubs his back, knowing how worried he was despite assurance that everything would be fine. “Especially if you’re racing tonight on top of this.”

“I’m fine,” he answers as he feels his stomach flip flop once again, letting out a sigh. He knew that she was probably right with her concerns, but how could he stomach something with his worry on edge?

“Did they figure anything out from the previous incidents?” Brad Keselowski comments from his spot in the room. He and Joey had shown up that morning concerned about their teammate, along with a couple members from the Wood Brothers. Chase had given them the same spell that he heard from Erin, with the pair spending a bit of time in the room, before retreating to same spot as Chase.

“They couldn’t pick up any finger prints or anything on what they found. They had some suspect ideas, but never really got to narrowing them down based on evidence.” Chase knew one of those suspects was pretty close to the person sitting beside him, and almost felt like revisiting that topic as thoughts ramped through his mind. He could only wonder where Chris was right now.

“Do you have any idea who is on their short list?” Chase shakes his head no. “Well, I guess that’s for good reason as don’t need people walking around getting falsely accused over random suspicions.”

“There’s already enough of that happening without a true list being released,” Sarina comments as Chase shoots her a look as Brad just looks on curiously.

“Oh really?” Brad questions and Sarina shakes her head yes. Chase could only roll his eyes, knowing this wouldn’t be a good discussion to get into.

“Well, just because someone has a past doesn’t mean that they should be countered by people unfairly.” Chase lets out a sigh as he glances away, only wondering what possible response Brad could have to the comment. Although, admittedly, he was curious as to where this would go based his own perspective.

“Something going on between you two that we missed?” Darrell questions, causing Chase to look over immediately. “I saw the look on your face…”

“There’s nothing going on,” Chase comments as he stands up and heads to the vending machine. Perhaps a snack would be a good idea right now.

“I can go get you something…” Sarina says and Chase just shakes his head no as he inserts a bit of change, letting it disperse a hot chocolate before turning around to face the group. Sipping on the liquid could serve as a good distraction.

“So who was the person wrongfully accused, Sarina?” Brad questions as Chase focuses on the marshmallows in his cup. Darrell hadn’t taken his eyes off Chase the whole time, seeing the quietness forming.

“Your brother, right?” Darrell asks, having picked up on the unease from Chase and Sarina’s definite perspective. He knew how things went the last time these two but heads on the topic of Chris, and could only imagine if it happened again.

“Got your own thoughts to share, Darrell?” She questions, causing Darrell to look on surprised.

“You don’t need to get defensive,” Joey comments quietly from his spot in the room.

“I’m sorry but I don’t appreciate my brother being pinned for something that he didn’t do by people who don’t know anything.” Chase rolls his eyes, knowing that wasn’t fully true, having heard from the comment that Jared made about her brother being around.

“We were just asking based on your comment – that’s all,” Brad states. “Now, let’s just forget the topic came up if it is so touchy for you. Besides, we should be focused on Ryan…” Brad then glances down the hall towards the room that Ryan was in, as Chase glances up from his cup at Sarina.

“Do you want to talk?” Darrell whispers as he walks over, grabbing his own drink from the vending machine. He didn’t want a drink, but figured it was good cover for the offer.

“Nah, I’m good,” Chase replies as he takes another sip of his drink, eyes locked on Sarina.

“Issues in paradise?” Chase shakes his head no. “You’re a liar.” Chase then takes his eyes off Sarina and looks over at Darrell.

“Things are fine between Sarina and I. When it comes to her brother, that’s a different story that I’d rather not talk about right now.” Darrell watches his drink disperse, before grabbing the cup and looking back at Chase.

“Is he behind what happened to Ryan, though?” Chase shrugs his shoulders as he wasn’t sure, quite yet. He hadn’t found the knick of evidence that he knew was needed first.

“If he is, you’ll be one of the first to know about it.” Darrell shakes his head, accepting, before returning to his seat. Chase then drinks the last mouthful before making his way to where Sarina was sitting, returning back to his previous seat.

“We okay?” She questions and Chase shakes his head yes. “I know you’re worried about Ryan, but remember what Erin said. He’s going to be okay….” Chase knew to believe in those words, but it still wasn’t easy seeing one of his close friends in this position. “Now, do you want me to go grab you a bagel or something from the cafeteria?” Chase shakes his head no.

“I told you – I’m fine,” he replies quietly as he takes his phone out of his pocket.

“Well I’m going to grab myself something so text me if you change your mind.” She then gives him a quick kiss before heading out of the room. Considering the curious glances from Darrell and stare from Brad, she didn’t want to stick around in the room any longer.

“Anything to say now that she’s gone?” Brad wonders and Chase looks up, shaking his head no.

“I sympathize with her position as I get how it can be tough to hear people accuse Chris,” Chase starts. “But, I get the reason why after what happened. She’ll be fine…” He then returns his eyes back to his phone, hoping a quick game of something would distract his thoughts.

“Will you be fine?” Chase looks up, caught off-guard by Brad’s concern, though simply shakes his head yes.

“How are we supposed to race tonight as if nothing happened?” Darrell wonders from his corner.

“We just believe that he’ll be alright as Erin assured us, and try to win it for him,” Brad comments. “Have you heard anything about who is driving the car, Joey?”

“You’re really worried about that right now?” Brad shrugs his shoulders.

“Just trying to make light conversation, honestly. The silence was driving me crazy.” Chase actually wished they’d return to that, considering how many emotions the conversation had stirred already.

“I think I heard Ryan Reed is driving the car tonight,” Joey comments as Darrell just rolls his eyes. “Sore subject?”

“Because a guy has a sponsor that’ll kiss his ass and he figured out how to win at Daytona twice means that I’m out of a ride when I’ve beat him everywhere else,” Darrell comments. “But no, I’m fine.”

“It is a little unfair….”

“I still can’t believe you couldn’t find a sponsor,” Brad says as Darrell could only shrug his shoulders.

“It’ll work out bud; don’t worry,” Chase assures him as he gives him a pat on the shoulder.

“I hope you’re right,” Darrell says. “I mean, I’m trying to do what I can in the opportunity that I have till Aric comes back, but I can only do so much.”

“You’re not doing too bad so far,” Brad offers. “Just don’t get caught up in the fact that you’re trying to prove yourself, and overdrive the equipment. It’s better to take that so-so finish rather than a wrecked car.” Darrell shakes his head, knowing that fact already. It was why he was so pissed a couple weeks ago.

“Appreciate the advice.”

“And if all else fails, you could always become a rockstar,” Chase jokes, based on the videos that Ryan and Darrell constantly were sharing of them singing and playing instruments. Darrell could only roll his eyes at the comment, but chuckled.

“Would you attend the concert?” Darrell asks and Chase shrugs his shoulders. “Really?”

“I don’t want a headache….” Darrell rolls his eyes, knowing how Chase wasn’t the biggest fan of scream-o music, but rather a country fan himself.

“I will say that I listened to the Chris Rice CD that you left at the house, and it’s actually pretty good.” Chase smiles as it was certainly some progress.

“Chase?” Erin asks, causing Chase to look up from his seat. “We told Ryan that we were going to grab a quick bite to eat – had to pull dad and mom away but they finally agreed. Anyways, he said he wanted to talk to you alone first before the rest of the group came in.” Chase could only look on confused as he wondered what the topic would be. However, standing up and beginning the walk, he couldn’t deny his best friend a visit.

“I’ll let ya know when we’re done,” he tells the others as he heads down the hall. He crosses paths with Sarina, who stops to face him.

“I’ll com-” She starts and Chase shakes his head no.

“Ryan wants to see me alone before we call everyone else in.” She then looks on confused.

“Why?” Chase couldn’t place the reason no matter what he thought of.

“I don’t know, but I’m listening. I’ll come see you when I’m done.” He gives her a quick kiss before continuing the walk down the hall, giving a hug to both Erin and Emma, before taking a deep breath and heading into the room.

A VampWolf Wedding – Chapter 14: GoBowling.com 400

Brad gets done his media interviews, before making his way through the garage area.

It felt weird without Juliette being there that weekend as normally they’d talk about the night, get ready to head home together, before leaving the track. Though with her being home with Melody, it left him to his own devices.

He was all prepared to get ready to leave, excited to see both his girls once again, though knew he had to make a stop somewhere else first. He makes his way into the motorcoach lot, past his own motorcoach before stopping at his teammates.

He takes a deep breath, knocking, knowing he couldn’t leave without stopping by first. He watches the door open before him, focusing on the eyes before him.

“Hey,” Joey says as he moves back, allowing Brad to enter with ease.

“Hey,” Brad simply replies, knowing nothing else would fit with the somber mood in the room. “I just wanted to stop by and see how you are. That was a wicked crash….” Brad hadn’t seen what happened exactly, but he heard from his team that Joey had something break, causing him to turn into Danica and crash both into the wall. Aric then had nowhere to go, joining the party. He saw the cars as they drove back through the turn during clean-up, shaking his head immediately.

“I’m fine, physically.” Brad shakes his head, easily accepting, as he gives his teammate the once over. He couldn’t help but pick-up on the tone of Joey’s voice, though.

“Beyond that, though?” Joey sits down on the couch, having not talked about it much except to Brittney.

“That shook me up, Brad. I was scared as ever for Danica. I was scared as ever for Aric. It’s great to see her walk away, and Todd said that Aric was talking on his radio. But that scared me probably more than any other wreck has ever, and I was really worried there.” Brad shakes his head, understanding once again. He could see that easily on Joey’s face.

“It’s understandable with how hard each of you hit. We know the risk and danger, but everybody hates to see that happen. Those wrecks are reminders of the danger, and even if we want to kill each other at times, we do care. I would’ve acted the same way, Joey.” Joey then looks up at Brad.

“So why is it that I will be like this now for the next 24 hours, and then put it behind me like nothing happened? It doesn’t seem right…” Brad sits down beside Joey, trying to think back to moments in his career in the same shoes.

“Because that’s what we do. The drive for success, the desire for speed forces us to put everything else out of the rearview. We remind ourselves that everything is as safe as it’s ever been, and the risk is worth it for what we want. That’s how it’s always been. The day a driver can’t do that…..well, we know the result.” Brad then puts a hand on Joey’s leg. “Look, don’t kick yourself in the butt over the change in heart when it happens. It’s the make-up of racer. It doesn’t make you less human or an asshole. It’s just who we are.”

“Yeah, I guess…” Brad then looks up as he watches Brittany walk out of the back, all set to leave, as he stands up himself.

“It’ll make sense. Give it time. You’re still dealing with the initial shock…” Joey shakes his head, knowing that Brad was right.

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

Brad looks in the mirror, adjusting his jacket and tie, before walking through the house.

While Danny stopped by to babysit, the couple was getting to go out for a date night. For both, it was a special night being Sherry’s Catwalk for a Cause. Juliette could recall the days she helped Sherry with the first couple, while Brad always enjoyed seeing the smiles on the kids’ faces.

“Juliette, are you ready?” He questions out loud, knowing that she was in the bathroom, finishing up her make-up.

“Yep!” She replies, coming out of the bathroom. She slips her heels on, before making her way into the front foyer where Brad was waiting for her. As she came around the corner, his jaw dropped immediately as he took in her appearance. “Oh no…” She then glanced down at her dress, wondering if she should’ve chose something different. “It’s the dress, isn’t it?”

“The dress, you – everything together…” Brad was having trouble finding words to say, which was odd for him.

“Is it that ba-”

“Bad? Oh hell no! Let me just tell you that you look absolutely stunning!” A smile immediately forms on her face, as she spins around in a circle. She had chosen to go with a mid-tone red dress that went down to just above the knees. Tank-top style at the top, it tucked in at the waist virtue of a band that blended into the dress being the same color, followed by flaring out a touch in the bottom. She then chosen to go with three simple gold bracelets, along with her gold necklace from her childhood to top it off.

“Why, thank you…” She then walks up to him. “You don’t look so bad yourself, Mr. Keselowski.” She then leans in and kisses his lips as he wraps his arms around her. The pair remain lip-locked as she pushes him back against the wall, hands working their way underneath the edge of his shirt. “You actually take my breath awa-”

“You both realize you’re not alone right?” A voice reigns from the living room. They both immediately separate, trading smiles as they fix their outfits back to perfection.

“Sorry,” Brad apologizes as he glances into the room. “She just looked so stunning…” Danny smiles as he looks over at his sister.

“That dress does look good on her,” he compliments his sister as she gives him a quick nod.

“We’ll be back around 11. If you have any proble-”

“Just go. I’ll be fine.” Brad then takes Juliette’s hand with his, and the pair head out ready for a fun night.

A VampWolf Wedding – Chapter 13: “You look like you seen a ghost…”

Joey walks out of Brad’s office, feeling more stunned than ever by the conversation. He heads down the hallway, in a daze, trying to erase the image that formed in his mind.

“You look like you seen a ghost…” Brittany comments as Joey enters his own office.

“You could say that,” Joey replies as he sits in his chair, still caught off-guard. Brittany keeps her eyes focused on her husband, feeling puzzled herself. It wasn’t like Joey to be stunned.

“Well, what’d you see?” Joey didn’t know whether he wanted to repeat the details or not. He was worried that Brad would be upset if repeated – unsure whether it should be spread, and worried as to Brittany’s reaction. What if that ended the hang-out time they all had together?

“I’d rather not say…” Brittany lets out a sigh as she sits in the chair in front of Joey’s desk. She was becoming a little annoyed over the past couple of days.

“On Sunday, you return to the motorcoach after going to get a band-aid a little awkward and say it was just something strange that you saw, nothing new for Talladega. Then you come to your office and look completely stunned. Something is going on, Joey…” There was no lying that she was right in her comments as a lot was happening around them.

“Well, I can’t tell you, okay?” She glanced away, almost feeling as though her heart had been pulled apart by those words. What happened to total honesty when they got married?

“It’s about Brad and Juliette, isn’t it?” Joey glances up and shakes his head yes. He knew if he continued to give no details that she may freak out on him. “Well, strange and shocking is no surprise with them from what I’ve heard. I mean, what else do you expect when you’ve got a werewolf and a vampire?”

“What is your take on that, by the way?” Brittany shrugged her shoulders, though had to admit she found herself on pins and needles when she was around them at times.

“They’re both great people. I have a nice friendship with Juliette.” Joey knew by her tone that she was avoiding the topic, which made it even more important to keep quiet.

“Brittany, you know what I’m talking about….” She glances away and he knew there was no way that he could pursue the topic further. “With that reaction, I’ll just keep this quiet then.”

“Why?” He knew he was testing waters with big certainty in this discussion.

“Because you don’t need to know.” He then flipped through some of the papers on the desk, wishing they could discuss something else. “Did you hear that the appeal got deni-”

“You’re changing the topic, Logano.” He then froze at the mention of his last name. “Now, what the hell is going on?” He felt himself froze on the spot, debating whether to say something.

“Promise you’re not going to freak out?” She felt herself come over with unease, wondering if she should start running or checking for bite marks.

“I promise….I suppose….” Joey takes a deep breath as he thinks it over.

“Melody tried to bite me on Sunday. My finger was dripping, she tasted the blood and then went for the bite. Brad got me out of the way, while Juliette grabbed her.” Brittany froze at the mention of the words, feeling her own blood go cold and freeze at the thought. So much for game night.

“Do you realize what could’ve happened if she bit you?” Joey shakes his head yes, having been well aware of the fear. It was why he went to see Brad earlier. “I thought they both said there was nothing to fear with them and everything was fine, and no worries of human biting. That doesn’t look that one bit!”

“Brad said that Juliette is trained vampire who doesn’t go for human blood, but rather certain animals – that’s the same case for other vampires that you see, too. However, Melody hasn’t developed that yet. They can’t control her instincts for the first two years. She turns into werewolf when seeing a full man, goes for human blood once scented.  By year two, these go away. By year five and six, they’re taught everything. And you don’t have to worry about me on the weekend because she won’t go after me unless she sees my blood.” Brittany rolled her eyes, knowing that she was supposed to feel comforted by those words. However, she knew that wasn’t possible. While she wanted to lash out at Joey and demand they keep their distance, she knew that wasn’t possible. Joey and Brad worked well together and that was needed for success, and he probably wouldn’t take well to being told otherwise. However, that didn’t mean she wasn’t going to keep her guard up.

“Duty noted. What about today?” It was on the tip of Joey’s tongue, but he knew that he couldn’t say it.

“I was just caught off-guard with the discussion that Brad and I had about it, that’s it.” Brittany shakes her head, accepting, which causes Joey to immediately relax in response.

“Well I held my promise not to lash out and kill you all, so you better damn well promise me to be careful.” He shakes his head, accepting.

A VampWolf Wedding – Chapter 12: Post Bite Scare

Once everybody was done the post-race breakdown meeting, the drivers and crew members split up to their usual spots for a Monday afternoon. Joey was set to head back to his office, though instead made the short walk down to his teammate’s. He knocked on the door, causing Brad to glance up.

“You can always just let yourself in,” Brad says as he motions for Joey to walk in the room.

“I didn’t want to interrupt you if you were busy,” Joey replies as he enters, closing the door behind him. “Besides, I had to make sure Melody wasn’t here.”  Brad then glances back up from his desk, surprised by the comment.

“I thought we were cool about that…” Joey takes a deep breath as he nears closer to the desk.

“We are. I mean, I’m fine. It’s just….” Joey takes another deep breath, trying to find the right words. “It freaked me out a little, okay? I was caught off-guard by that.” Brad could only begin to understand as he knew it was always a surprise when people learned more details of their lives.

“I get that reaction from anybody who sees something a little strange it seems.” Joey had sat nervously, though perked up at the comment. He was worried he had offended his teammate. “Look, I get that it’s not what you’d call normal. It’s something you just see in horror movies, right? It’s a reasonable reaction. You don’t have to dart around the topic with me, Joey. Heck, Juliette expressed concerns about the next time you come over.” Joey felt his stomach flip at that comment.

“Concerns?” Brad shakes his head yes, keeping his eyes focused on his teammate. He wanted to try and make him as comfortable as he could.

“We’d understand if you were nervous around her, didn’t want to hold her, keep your distance. I wouldn’t blame you one bit.” Joey knew that wasn’t quite what he was thinking by concerns.

“What about her behavior? Will she do that again?” Brad couldn’t be 100% certain, but had a perspective gained after discussion with Edward about the meetings he went through with humans, and raising his daughter.

“As long as there’s no blood that she can see or taste, then you’re safe. That’s why she attacked you – she tasted your blood, liked the taste and was set for more. Look at it this way – you know that you have great blood.” Joey knew Brad was trying to be light-hearted, but it just didn’t feel right in this moment.

“Geez thanks Brad. Next time I’m not sure how I’m doing, I’ll just let your daughter check me out.” Brad took his turn with a slight chuckle.

“Hey, vampires only go after good, clean human blood. They won’t touch any with a trace of sickness.” Joey was surprised by the detail, but figured he couldn’t blame them as it was about protecting themselves. “Listen, if you go see her today or tomorrow or anyday, you’ll be fine. You can also hold her without a problem. Just know that if there’s any blood at all from yourself, make sure to keep your distance.” Joey then felt confused by those words, as he noticed Juliette’s reaction.

“Juliette didn’t do anything at the sight of my blood….” Brad sits back in his chair, having grown used to explaining things to people.

“Juliette is a very trained vampire. She doesn’t go for human blood at one bit – actually doesn’t like the taste, strangely. She is only able to enjoy certain animal bloods by what she tells me. But she’s also trained herself to not attach to human blood, stay far off it – same with Edward and the Cullens. With Melody, that’ll come with time as she gets older.” Joey felt his stomach twist and turn as he tried to make sense of everything.

“So she’ll be willing to attack me if she sees blood for a long time?” Brad shrugs his shoulders, having listened to Edward’s explanation.

“For the first two years of her life, we can’t control her instincts at all. She turns into werewolf and howls at the sight of the full moon and around those days, which is this week. She instinctly goes after human blood because that’s what vampires love. As she enters year three of her life, all those go away and disappear under the surface as she continues to grow.” Brad then takes a deep breath, remembering the details. “Our beings grow smarter quicker than a human so by year five and six, we can understand things like control and ability. At that point is when training begins to withstand full moons, how to change on instant like I can, and also how to deal with blood thirst.”

“So for the first two years of her life, you need to keep her guarded because of that?” Brad shakes his head yes.

“That’s why Juliette won’t be there this weekend as we have no babysitter and its full moon week.” Joey finally felt like he was getting an understanding for everything. “Any questions you ever have, don’t hesitate to ask me. I’ll give you the answers that I know.”

“What about your wedding? I heard you’re keeping the guest list real low. Do I want to know what’s up there?” Brad shakes his head no, as he wasn’t quite sure yet either. “That bad?”

“It’s going to have tradition from both sid-”

“You guys are anything but the traditional couple, though.” Brad chuckles, remembering that comment from his siblings and Yolanda.

“We want to honor tradition, though, because it’s who we are. We haven’t quite decided what to include and what to do yet – hence why I can’t say much yet. But, when I do know, I will let you know. Oh, and you’re invited along with Brittany, Paul, Dale and Amy since all of you know.” Joey was about to simply agree, thought felt puzzled.

“Did Juliette somehow tell Dale when she was working for him?” Brad shakes his head no. “Then how does he know?” Brad could only wonder about how to tell that story from Talladega last season. He had to laugh at the teasing jokes from Dale, too.

“Let’s just say that Jason used him as a pawn to get mine and Juliette’s attention.” Joey’s jaw then drops as he thinks back to a year ago.

“So you killed him?” Brad then looks away. “Holy shit…”

“I had no choice. He was either going to hurt Dale, hurt me and go after Juliette and probably kill her. I had to do what was necessary for survival based on what he was doing.” Joey felt himself in total disbelief now, worse than when he entered the office. “I hated every minute of it and wished that we could’ve handled things differently. But that night, it was either him or me or Dale.”

“I get that. I know that’s not you. I know that it’s strange. It’s just….I can’t picture that.” Brad then sits up in the chair.

“Then don’t and forget you ever asked. Besides, that past with Jason is in the rearview and forgot about. As Juliette said, we’re not mentioning that ever again.” Joey just quietly shakes his head yes, letting it continue to soak in.