Chapter 66: An Appointment with Caroline Bentley
Angelica, Kyle, Dale, Lindsay and Tony each took their seats inside Caroline’s office as she sat in her chair, eyes focused on Angelica.
“Well, we all know why we’re here,” Caroline starts, not taking her eyes off of Angelica.
“I figured it’d be best to address what happened last night with you,” Dale comments as he looks down the row at Angelica.
“You made a good decision as what happened is very serious.”
“She’s lucky that he was there,” Lindsay adds as she keeps her eyes focused on the individual before them.
“I think we should focus on trying to get better and not what happened,” Kyle comments as he doesn’t want to let the thought cross his mind. He couldn’t believe it when he was told as to what happened.
“To get better, though, we have to address it accordingly,” Caroline advises as Lindsay shakes her head in agreement. “Angelica, do you have anything to say?” She shakes her head no as she lets out a sigh. She honestly didn’t want to be sitting there at that moment.
“She’s been real quiet since last night,” Lindsay says and Caroline shakes her head understanding as she makes a note.
“That’s normal. Did you say anything to you last night about it, Kyle?” Kyle shakes his head no. “So the only ones that have shared the words in question and actions are father and daughter?”
“It happened in the garage and I led her back inside and Kyle has stayed with her since,” Dale explains as Caroline makes a note.
“What else do I have to say than what I said?” Angelica questions, surprising them all.
“Maybe it would help your family if you gave them a reason for what you said,” Caroline suggests as Angelica rolls her eyes.
“It’s obvious, Caroline. You’ve dealt with my family for a couple years now so you know exactly what is going on.”
“Somehow despite everything, I don’t have the thoughts that you do though,” Lindsay retorts.
“We’ve been through this together but do you see us giving up?” Tony adds as he keeps his eyes focused on Angelica. “Each of us keep digging down and getting through the obstacles that life throws our way, hoping that things turn out happy one day and we move past it. Life is tough. Nobody said it was easy. This is just part of the journey.”
“We have each other – we can get through anything,” Kyle says as he places his hand on top of hers.
“You don’t have to deal with this by yourself.”
“Angelica, may I ask what you are thinking as you hear these words from Kyle and Tony?” Caroline questions as Angelica rolls her eyes.
“I’ve heard these words my whole life and yet every day has felt like a battle so what do you think miss?” Angelica questions in return.
“But what about the fun moments like spending time with Kyle and being a champion?” Tony throws out there as Kyle keeps his eyes focused on her.
“What about the dreams that we shared?” Kyle adds.
“You wanted to see the kids race the cars. You wanted to get back behind the wheel because of your love for racing. What about all that? Remember all the things that you said a couple months ago?” She then smiles as he looks down at Tony.
“Guess I should’ve became an actress,” she comments to their surprise.
“So that was just an act when you made those decisions and announcements?” Dale questions and Angelica shakes her head yes.
“I did it all with a plan. I wanted the kids to have the chance to achieve their dream and I knew Kyle had the knowhow to help them with that. I wanted to give Karsyn the chance at the Sprint Cup level so that’s why I helped align the sponsor and everything. I knew it’d be easy to change the number come the time.”
“I can’t believe this,” Kyle comments in shock.
“Neither can I,” Lindsay adds as Angelica sits back.
“I told you guys – I can’t do this anymore and I meant it,” she says quietly as Caroline keeps her eyes focused on Angelica.
“Why are you giving up now?” Caroline questions as Angelica rolls her eyes.
“I’ve been through so much pain and heartache and…” She then sniffs back the tears that are threatening to fall. “I can’t take it. I can’t take the pain anymore. I’m done. I’ve been pulled and pushed to every end that I can be and I can’t take the pain anymore. Nobody understands the pain that I have been through. Nobody understands what I’m going through. It’s too much.”
“That’s why you have us to lean on,” Tony says quietly as she shakes her head.
“It’s not as simple as that…” She lets out.
“Then tell us how we can help you,” Dale questions as she looks over at her dad.
“I don’t have an answer to that because there’s no answer to that,” Angelica answers as Caroline looks on surprised.
“How can you say that when we’ve been able to find ways past everything else that has happened?” Caroline questions, causing Angelica to look at her.
“Because all the other solutions haven’t done it. If they had succeeded as you planned Miss, then I wouldn’t be sitting here. Sometimes there is no cure for the pain that someone is in. Ever heard of a person being pushed to their edge and feeling as if there was no return?”
“There is a retur-” Dale starts and Angelica shakes her head no.
“There isn’t no matter how much you try and say otherwise,” she cuts him off as Caroline looks over at Dale.
“Remember what we talked about?” Caroline questions and Dale shakes his head yes. Before Angelica had shown up with Kyle, the pair had a private meeting to discuss things about her so Caroline knew where they stood. “I think we may have to go down that road.”
“What are you both talking about?” Dale takes a deep breath as he stands up. He then walks over to Angelica, kneeling down before her.
“Listen, there’s a lot of emotions there built up inside of you,” he starts carefully as he remembers the discussions with Caroline. “Some of those are easy to let go, while others aren’t as easy to let go. You’re right. Sometimes it becomes too much to handle; sometimes a person is pushed to their edge. But unlike your words, there are ways to help that. There are people that are there, ready to help you. You have family – in the form of Tony, Lindsay, Kyle and myself. I’m not giving up on you no matter what you say. You also have professionals like Caroline and her staff that can help you with those emotions. They can help bring that pain to the surface and help you get through it, whether it takes letting it go or something else.”
“There is no reason to give up,” Kyle comments as he watches Dale take a careful pause as he stands up.
“Give me the papers.” Caroline hands him a couple pieces of paper as he sits down and focuses his eyes to the bottom.
“What are those for?” Tony wonders as Caroline looks at Tony, before turning her eyes to Angelica.
“Adminstance papers for the nearest mental center,” Caroline answers as shock forms on the faces before her. “Those are basically recommendation papers. I have a set that I will fill out and with them, she will go in for treatment. If she agrees, it makes it much easier on us all. If she doesn’t, the recommendation per myself and Dale can be fulfilled through the courts.” Dale signs them and hands them back to Caroline as he looks down at Angelica.
“Seriously?” Angelica questions and Dale shakes his head yes.
“I told you I wasn’t giving up on you and I’d do whatever it took,” he answers as Caroline looks them over before returing her eyes to Angelica.
“You love your family and you had the biggest dreams of anybody that I know,” Caroline starts. “You’ve been through a lot. I can attest to that based on our visits together – post-cancer and before the cancer. Are you honestly ready to give up? Or are you willing to give this a chance? At least give us 30 days – even a week – please.”
Chapter 67: The Decision
Angelica sat looking between Caroline and Dale in disbelief as she couldn’t believe what they were doing. Was this even fair? She knew even if she answered no to Caroline’s question, she’d get stuck in this situation based on those darn papers. Was this even legal?
“Fine – I’ll accept,” Angelica gives in as a small smile crosses Dale’s face.
“You’re taking an important step Angelica,” Caroline comments as Angelica snickers.
“I’m only doing it since the court would probably say I have to thanks to him.” She then looks over at her dad. “Glad to see that you think I’m crazy like my mother.” The smile that had formed on Dale’s face instantly disappears.
“Angelica, I think you need to take that comment back. Just because we’re recommending you do this for yourself doesn’t mean you’re crazy.”
“You’re nowhere near crazy,” Dale adds as Angelica rolls her eyes.
“See?” Caroline says as she hands Angelica a set of papers.
“He’s just saying that to try to make me happy,” Angelica comments as she signs the papers, handing them back to Caroline.
“It’s not fair for you to hold resentment against your father for this.”
“It’s his fault so why shouldn’t I?”
“He’s doing this to help you, not hurt you. You’ll be thanking him in a couple of months.” Dale smiles as he glances at Tony, remembering those words.
“I was mad at Tony when he told me that I should come see Caroline,” Dale starts as he looks back at his daughter. “Now I know that it was the right decision.”
“Whatever,” Angelica snickers back as Dale stands up and walks over to her.
“Please trust me on this. I’m only doing this to help you because I believe in you.”
“Now with the papers signed, I’ll call down Wayne to escort you over,” Caroline announces as she pages Wayne.
“Everything is going to work out,” Dale continues as he kneels down before her.
“Can you just leave now since you’ve done enough?” Angelica questions before looking over at Kyle. “I’ve always loved you – remember that.”
“I will never give up on our love,” Kyle replies as he blows her a kiss. “I will always love you. I’ll be waiting for you.”
“We’ll all be waiting for you,” Dale adds as Kyle smiles.
“Dale’s right as we all love you – no matter what it looks like.”
“Yeah…sure…,” Angelica comments as Dale sits back in his spot. “I hope this makes you just peachy.”
“It does because I know it’ll work out,” Dale replies as she rolls her eyes.
“You’re going to be okay,” Kyle comments as he rubs her hand.
“Why can’t you all just let me swallow myself whole in my self-pity?” She questions as Dale looks over at her.
“Simple – we love you too much to let you do that,” Dale answers as Caroline smiles.
“You should be thankful to have such wonderful people around you at this time,” Caroline comments as Angelica just shakes her head laughing.
“People who are living in a delusional world thinking that the pain will just go away one day,” she says as Caroline takes a deep breath.
“The pain never goes away totally as we can all attest to that. We just find ways to deal with it and handle it so we can enjoy the lovely moments that life has to offer.” Caroline then looks up when she hears a knock on the door, smiling as Wayne stands there. “Ms. Angelica Larson is requiring an escort as per the papers signed.” Wayne shakes his head as he walks over to her.
“Remember what I said,” Dale reminds her as she rolls her eyes standing up.
“Are you ready to go Mrs. Larson?” Wayne asks and Angelica turns to look at the older man. She shakes her head yes and leaves the room without another word as Dale lies his back, taking a deep breath. It wasn’t supposed to feel as bad as it did.
“Why does it hurt so much to let her go like that?” Dale muses out loud as he keeps his eyes focused on the ceiling.
“It’s going to be okay,” Kyle whispers out loud as he feels his heart breaking as he looks back to see her walking down the long hallway with the man.
“Oh I know it’ll be okay, but it still doesn’t help cure how much that hurt.”
“I know what you mean.”
“She’ll be fine as I can assure you that she’s in good hands,” Caroline assures them as the men turn their eyes on her. “During the process, you are free to check in with me as much as you want. It doesn’t bother me if you call me multiple times a day wanting to see how she is and talk about your own feelings. It’s a tough deal on a whole family to go through so it’s understanding that you will all have your own moments.” She then turns her eyes to Dale, taking a deep breath. “I especially know given what you’ve been through together as a family that it may be heightened.”
“Thank you for your help,” Kyle thanks her quietly as Caroline smiles.
“It’s just my job and I love every minute of it. When I see her eyes sparkle once again and that smile return to her face, I will know that I’ve done what I had to do.” Caroline keeps her eyes focused on Dale as she sees the silence written there as she knows he’s thinking. “Dale, what are you thinking?” He opens his eyes surprised as Tony glances towards him.
“She’s going to be okay…” Tony says as Dale lets out a sigh.
“I know she’ll be okay, Tony,” Dale replies.
“Then what’s on your mind?”
“I’m just thinking about everything…”
“Want to talk about it?” Dale shakes his head no as Tony scoots closer. “Dale, it helps to talk about it.”
“I don’t want to talk about it right now so don’t push the issue, Tony.”
“But you’re okay, right?” Kyle asks and Dale shakes his head yes.
“Don’t worry, I’ve got his back,” Tony comments as Caroline clears her throat.
“Kyle and Tony, can you both leave the room?” She requests as Dale looks up at her. “I want to talk to Dale for a minute.” The boys oblige as they both stand up and leave the room, closing the door behind them.
“Caroline, please, not today…” Dale comments out loud as Caroline keeps her eyes locked on his.
“Yes, today, because if you have something on your mind, you have to get it out there,” she replies as he lets out a sigh. These sessions with her were never easy.
Chapter 68: Our Meeting
“Fine,” he states. “Obviously I’m not happy about the way she’s acting.”
“There is no doubt in my mind that you aren’t happy,” Caroline starts. “Anybody could tell by your body language that you weren’t happy. But as Kyle and Tony repeated, you are doing the right thing for her. Do you believe you’re doing the right thing?” He shakes his head yes as he looks across the desk at her.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that I’m doing the right thing. I know that she needs the help based on what’s happened. Anybody can see that. I can also assure that I’d do anything for her. I’ll do whatever it takes to make her see the light. But it doesn’t help how much it hurts to hear her mad at me for it.”
“Talk about that hurt you’re feeling.”
“There’s no way to describe it. When she turned to me with that attitude, it broke my heart totally. I couldn’t believe that she said what she did. I would never put her in that class with Amber. She’s nothing like her mother, Caroline.” Caroline shakes her head, knowing Amber’s history based on previous conversations with Dale and a peak in Amber’s file herself. She also knew more of Amber’s story beyond what had been written and said.
“And you’re saying that line that she said hurt you the most?” Dale shakes his head yes as she lets out a sigh. “You can’t let that hurt you. You know yourself those words are not true. You’ve watched her grow up. You’ve watched the lady she’s become. So why does it bug you so much?”
“Because it hurts to hear her even think that. I thought we were past that and what happened. I didn’t think it’d be an issue. I thought it was dealt with based on her staying with Rick and then growing up with me. I thought that we had gotten past what happened with her. I thought it was just back to us, Tony, Lindsay and Kyle.”
“Whether you want to admit it or not, Amber will always be a part of her life. Amber is her mother and there’s no way to mistake that. There’s also no way to forget what happened that day at Amber’s house. Events like that are what make up the nightmares and fears that we hold. Speaking of nightmares, how are you doing with those?” Dale lets out a sigh as he sits back.
“They’re still there. There’s some nights I wake up in a cold sweat because I think back to what happened. Whether I think about Jeff or Amber, it just makes wake up instantly. There’s no way around that.”
“Then right there you see what I’m saying. Those events are now a couple years done with, yet they still continue to haunt you. Now are we past those moments where you completely freeze up?” Dale shakes his head yes.
“I haven’t had one of those moments for a long time. I think I finally got that comfort back that I had before. Why is this so hard, Caroline?”
“Because these are events that toyed with every emotion in your body. They are events that are unexplainable to the naked eye. The hurt that they cause can’t be comprehended. That’s why the layer is always there. We try to move past it and in most cases do. But sometimes we see the past come back to see us again. Sometimes we also can’t get past it and we need to spend some time getting our emotions out.”
“Just like Angelica, huh?” Caroline shakes her head yes. “I just wish that we’d reach a day when I don’t have to think about the past. I wish we could reach a day where we’re all happy without strings tied.”
“You’ll find that day. It’ll come and when it comes, it mean so much to you. Just remember that I’ve told you many times – what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger and more thankful for the positives in life. Once Angelica works her way through this and you guys get into next year, racing and enjoying life as a family, you will understand what I mean. Till then, you have to work your way through the tough times. You’re doing a great job and I know that we’ll get your daughter on that track also.” Dale smiles as he listens to Caroline. He had argued tooth and nail with Tony before seeing her about not wanting to see her. He didn’t want to sit and spill his thoughts out for some chick that he didn’t know. However, instead, he was seeing the pay-off as a simple conversation helped put every worry at ease.
“I want to thank you for what you’ve done. Not just for me, but for everybody. You’re an amazing person. I appreciate the patience and understanding. Thank you.”
“You’re welcome Dale. I’m just doing my job. The payoff is seeing you guys all happy together. Why don’t you go get some lunch with them and give me a call later and I’ll let you know how your sweetie is doing?” Dale smiles as he stands up.
“That sounds great. Thanks again.” He then shakes her hand before leaving her office as she sits back in her chair and smiles. It was a work in progress, but they were coming along.
Chapter 69: A Little Check-In
It had been a month and a half. Six weeks. 42 days to be exact. That was the count on the mind of one Dale Earnhardt Jr. as he walked down the hall. 42 days ago, he had made the tough decision to do what he felt was right in having Caroline and her staff take his daughter in. He could only hope that he made the right decision.
Drifting into mid-year now, his schedule was busy as could be. However, when Caroline called and wanted him to come in and see her – along with his daughter – there was no saying no. This was to be a special father-daughter session, sort of a check-in to see whether everything had been worth it.
For the first couple weeks, he was constantly calling Caroline, wanting to hear how things were going. Most of those ended with disappointment in results, but yet she kept assuring him that she’d find what she needed to make it better.
Then slowly, those calls became more hopeful as Caroline began to work at the pieces necessary. He could only hope that he saw the payoff that day.
“Dad!” He heard as he entered the doors and sat in the chair beside the little girl…no, lady, that he called his daughter. “I was beginning to think that you wouldn’t make it.” Dale shakes his head as he sits down.
“I wasn’t going to miss this for anything,” he assures her as he looks over into her eyes. They looked a little brighter than he remembered that night. “I wanted to come see how you were.”
“Well that’s why I arranged this meeting,” Caroline speaks up from behind her desk. “So Angelica, should we tell your dad how things have been?” Angelica lets out a sigh as she knew that this wouldn’t be an easy process. “Obviously, you remember how things were when you dropped her off. Well, we’ve seen some steps towards a better tomorrow. She is beginning to see the hope that you know so well. There’s still room for improvement, but I think we’re a lot closer than we originally were. Now that I’ve said my piece, I think it’s time that you both share some needed conversation.” Angelica looks up from the spot that she had focused on the ground while Caroline was talking.
“I’m sorry for getting mad at you originally as you were just looking out for me,” Angelica comments quietly as Dale smiles. He knew the apology was a big step and it meant that Caroline was doing a good job. “I also want to thank you for what you’ve done. It’s been a big help.”
“Maybe you can discuss some of the things that we talked about with your dad. I know there were some interesting discussions a couple weeks ago about childhood.” Dale looks at her concerned as he could only imagine what type of discussions those were based on her words to him before.
“Only if you’re comfortable to talk about it though,” Dale tells her. “As long as Caroline says things are improving and I can see that by your attitude, then you don’t have to divulge into those emotions.”
“Sometimes its best though if the person effected by those emotions talks to the person who is affecting them,” Caroline comments as Angelica looks down.
“You deserve to hear it, whether it’s fair or not,” Angelica starts as she looks up at him. “Just know that I love you no matter how this comes out.” Dale shakes his head nervously as he thinks about what she has to say.
“Let’s talk about your relationship with your father,” Caroline suggests as she sits back in her chair. “Do you have a good relationship?” Angelica shakes her head as she lets out a sigh.
“We have a great relationship,” Angelica tells Caroline. “I feel bad for the way I got mad at him, though.”
“You were frustrated. It happens. I’m sure he will forgive you if things turn out as we all hope. Now those comments – were they off the cuff or were they fueled by something?”
“They were off the cuff, just frustrated by the current situation due to my emotions.” Caroline makes a note before turning back up to Angelica. She had talked to Dale previously about his relationship with Angelica and knew how things had gone in the past. It was that past that he had discussed that she wanted to bring out in Angelica.
“Have you always had the best relationship with your dad?” Angelica shakes her head as she sits back in the chair.
“I don’t think you’d call not wanting any part of me when I was a baby a good relationship, now would you? I also don’t think a perfect relationship states that you keep your daughter hidden from your family and under the guidance of someone else, either.” As Caroline listened to Angelica, she could sense the tension in your voice.
“That must’ve made you angry with him, on both accounts.”
“The first part didn’t really affect me much since I was just a baby then and he came back into my life when I was five. So from that point on, I remember him being on and as a kid, it doesn’t affect you. However, the second part of it – moving in Rick at the age of 11 – that did bug me. I was old enough to comprehend it all then.”
“So talk about how you felt during that time you stayed at Rick’s.” Angelica looks out away as she lets out a sigh.
“I’d rather not as I’d rather focus on how much I am thankful that Rick took me in and helped me while Dad figured out what he wanted to do.”
“Angelica, part of this relies on you to face your emotions. To heal you must face everything that you faced in your past.”
“I was angry at him. I felt as though as I wasn’t good enough to part of the family.”
“But he had you stay with someone that meant a lot to him. Didn’t that mean anything?”
“Oh that meant a lot – trust me. Like I said, I am thankful for Rick every day. But that didn’t change how I felt about my dad at that time. It was like I wasn’t good enough to meet his mom and sister’s approval. It made me feel like I was the mistake child.”
“Did you ever tell him how you felt during that time?” Angelica shakes her head no as she lets out a sigh.
“I didn’t want to screw up the relationship that I did get to have with him.”
“Have you ever asked yourself how he would’ve reacted if you would’ve said something?” She shakes her head yes.
“I would’ve probably done the right thing sooner and just came out straight with my mom and Kelley about it,” Dale tells her as he keeps his eyes focused on her. He couldn’t believe the words that were spewing from her mouth. It broke his heart to hear how she felt during that time. It never occurred to him. Why hadn’t he thought about that? “I’m so sorry for everything, Angelica.”
“You don’t need to apologize as I understand now and I’ve moved on past it,” Angelica tells him. “It’s in the past and I’m glad that we have that special father-daughter relationship now. I love you, Dad.” She then stands up and walks over and wraps both arms around him as he smiles. This was definitely better.
“I love you too.” Angelica then sits back down in her seat as she looks forward at Caroline.
“See, it’s a good thing to get out your emotions, huh?” Caroline questions and Angelica shakes her head yes. “This is exactly what I hoped that I’d see today.”
“It’s great to see that you’ve made a lot of progress,” Dale comments as he pats Angelica’s hand with a smile.
“It certainly is great to see. Now I don’t think we’re done yet but give it a couple more weeks, or maybe a month and I think she’ll be where I want her to be. At that point, I’d be comfortable with letting her free to live her life. Of course, she’d be welcome to come check in with me as you do often.”
“As I’ve always said – talking to you has helped a lot. I can’t thank you enough for what you’ve done. From helping me to Angelica, you’ve done so much. Has anyone told you that you’re amazing?” Caroline laughs as she shakes her head yes.
“As I keep saying, I’m just doing my job and seeing the smiles on your faces is what matters to me.” Dale then looks over at Angelica.
“Well I hope to see a smile on this face and I hope to see it stay there. Can you make me a promise that the smile will be there when I see you again?” Angelica shakes her head yes as a smile creeps on her face.
“That’s a start.”
“Maybe the next time you come by we can talk about the plans of you being an awesome car owner next year,” Angelica comments to Dale’s surprise. The thought of her racing next year was far out of his mind based on what happened. However, given the progress and how she was feeling, it was possible.
“So you have a plan for next year?” Caroline asks and Angelica shakes her head yes with certainty. If there was a chance for a happy ending, there was only one way she wanted it.
“I’m going racing for my daddy. And I plan on kicking his butt once again, but yet in his car. Get ready for the fun to return.” Dale smiles as he can’t believe the improvement in her attitude.
“If you were to beat me to win the 500, you probably wouldn’t smile on my face as I’d be as happy as you.”
Chapter 70: A Success of the Time
“How did you beat me again?” Dale questions as he looks over at Lindsay, shaking his head. It was mid-October and in between racing weekends, they were entertaining their themselves with a video game.
“Maybe you should let her drive this weekend,” Tony teases as Dale flips him off. “She’s a better driver than you after all.” They then hear a knock at the door, confusing them. They weren’t expecting guests that day.
“Who’s that?” Everybody shrugs their shoulders.
“I’ll get it.” Tony then stands up and heads for the door.
“Can I try to beat her?” Kyle asks as Tony disappears out of the room. Tony opens the door and immediately his jaw drops to the floor.
“Please tell me you didn’t plan your escape,” he states as the person before him laughs.
“I didn’t escape without permission,” she states as he pulls her close, wrapping both arms around her. She then backs up, handing him the piece of paper from Caroline. “She gave me my release this morning with a promise that I’d come see her every week.”
“I’m glad to see that you’re doing better.”
“Now where’s my family?”
“Playing Mariokart. It seems Lindsay has figured out some sort of secret.”
“Oh really?” Tony shakes his head yes as they walk down the hallway.
“She has beat us all multiple times.” Angelica shakes her head as she walks into the front door.
“Surprise!” The controllers in the hands of the pair of people before her drop as another set of eyes just stare at her.
“Don’t worry – she’s here with permission.” Tony then walks into the room, holding up the piece of white paper.
“She let you go today?” Kyle asks and Angelica shakes her head yes.
“So things are fine?” Dale adds and Angelica shakes her head once again.
“It’s great to see you,” Lindsay comments as Tony sits down on the couch.
“I think we should go out for dinner tonight to celebrate,” he says as Lindsay looks back at him.
“You’re always looking for an excuse to eat, aren’t you? You got to watch that belly, Smoke.”
“It’s great to see you,” Kyle says as he walks over to Angelica and pulls her into a hug.
“After we eat, you two can play kum-by-ya,” Tony teases as Kyle looks back, shaking his head.
“Thanks for the permission,” Angelica replies before kissing Kyle’s lips.
“I love you so much,” Kyle says as he keeps hold on her.
“Please don’t get gushy in front of us,” Tony continues teasing as he covers his eyes. “Yucky!”
“Are you happy now?” Dale asks as he walks over to Angelica. She looks at him, smile firmly planted on her face as she shakes her head yes. “No more sadness, right?” She shakes her head yes as she lets go of Kyle to hug her dad. “I love you.”
“I love you too,” she replies as she keeps her arms wrapped around him. “Thank you.”
“Awwww,” Tony coos from his spot on the couch.
“I knew you could do it,” Dale tells her as she smiles.
“I’m sorry for what happened that night and for everything…” she lets out before laying her head against him.
“It’s okay. We all have our breaking point. You’ve been through a lot. I’m just glad that you’re feeling better and you’re back home.” She then backs up from him, smiling.
“I had to get better because I have to bring a Daytona 500 win to JR Motorsports next year.”
“You’re going racing next year?” Tony asks and she looks over at him surprised.
“Why wouldn’t I be?” She question and he shrugs his shoulders. “Racing is in my blood. I can’t live without the adrenaline pumping through me. It’s time to make good on that promise.” Tony smiles as he sees the fire in his eyes that has been missing.
“She’s definitely back. We’re in trouble.” They all then laugh as she stands there smiling.
“Remember those words next year.”
“So when do we start testing?” Dale questions as she smiles.
“Whenever you want to boss,” she replies.
“I hope you know what you’re doing when it comes to this team.”
“Trust me, Dad. Believe in your daughter and life be great.” She then leaves the room, heading to the kitchen to get a drink.
Chapter 71: Daytona 500 Dreams Come True
“Woohooo!” Angelica screams as she stands atop her car in Daytona 500 victory lane while being showered in every liquid imaginable. “Best comeback ever!!” She then hops off the car, grabbing her crew chief by the neck and pulling him close into a hug. “Thanks for the best car….ever!”
“You did amazing,” Ron replies before backing away from her so she can receive the next hug.
“Guess you stayed true to your word, huh?” Dale asks as he looks into her sparkling blue eyes and she shakes her head yes. “I’m proud of you.”
“Can I have a hug?” Kyle asks as he joins the group in victory lane and Dale backs away so the pair of lovers can embrace in a hug, followed by a big kiss. “I love you. Congratulations.”
“I love you too,” she replies before kissing his lips.
“That was some amazing driving out there.”
“She gets it from her father,” Dale brags as Angelica laughs. “I didn’t think she’d get by me there.”
“Neither did I,” Kyle comments as she shrugs her shoulders.
“Guess I’m just that awesome,” she says before turning to do her interview with Marty Snider.
“Thanks for letting her do this boss,” Ron says as he walks over to Dale while Angelica is doing the interview. “How does it feel to be a Daytona 500 winning car owner?” Dale smiles as he looks back at Ron.
“It feels absolutely amazing, especially with that smile on her face,” Dale comments as he turns around and gives Ron a hug. “Great job on the car. You two certainly are a dream combo together.”
“I think you’re even sweeter than Knaus-Johnson,” Kyle adds as Ron laughs.
“That’s some high praise there young man,” Ron comments. “Even if we’re even close to how good those two are together, we can make magic happen.”
“Do you see a second championship in your future?” Dale asks and Ron shakes his head yes. “That’s a good thought to have. I think we’ll be dealing with her all year, Kyle.”
“Bring it on,” Kyle welcomes.
“Damn it – where did you put your sweater, Chelsea?” Dale asks as he looks around the motorcoach for his daughter’s sweater. The celebration for Angelica’s big win was continuing and Chelsea had complained that she was getting cold so Dale offered to go back with her to the motorcoach and get her sweater.
When they got back to the motorcoach, Chelsea insisted on finding and wearing her special new JR Motorsports sweater with her mini sprint on the back of it. Kelley had given the kids one each for Christmas, with a special one done up for Dale and Angelica with all the kids’ sprints on it.
“I don’t know daddy,” Chelsea answers as she looks through her drawer. “I threw it ast night.”
The pair of them then hear a knock at the door, which startles Dale. Who would come looking for them? Everybody knew where the party was.
“You better find it Chelsea,” Dale says as he walks to the front of the bus, wondering who it is. Maybe it’s Lindsay and she forgot her key. Maybe it’s Tony and he’d have to knock due to not having his key with him. Or maybe it’s Angelica or Kyle wondering why they’re taking so long.
“I looking Daddy!” Chelsea yells in response as she opens her bottom drawer.
“Hello?” Dale says as he opens the door, confused when he sees a pair of men standing there.
“You’re not Lindsay,” the man comments and Dale looks at him confused.
“Who are you?” Dale asks.
“Find it Daddy!” Chelsea yells from the back and then pulls it over her head as she runs out of the back room, looking around confused. “Daddy?” She then walks towards the open door and comes face to face with a tall man. “Who are you?” She then looks and notices another man is standing there, holding her dad. “Let daddy go!”
“I can’t do that,” the man says as he looks at Dale. “Now where’s Lindsay?”
“She’s at the party with everyone else,” Dale says as he knows if he could get over there, they’d solve all problems that they were having right now.
“Let daddy go!!” Chelsea yells again as the other man grabs her.
“Let her go!” Dale yells as the taller of the two men keeps his hands on Dale.
“Then help me out, Mr. Earnhardt,” he speaks in a deep voice.
“Help!!” Chelsea yells before the man covers her mouth. She then moves around in his grip, though finally stops as she can’t feel any way to escape.
“There’s someone coming…we got to do something…”
“Let’s take him,” the shorter of the two men speaks as he looks over at his partner.
“You’re right. Once she realizes that he’s missing, she’ll come running.” The pair of men remove a pair of rags from their pockets, putting them over the faces of the individuals they’re holding, feeling them go limp in their arms as they smile. Plan accomplished.
The End…..for now