Short Track Lovin’ – Chapter 164: “Look, are any of you on my side?”

Tuesday, October 31

Chase walks through the house, smiling as he enters the kitchen, wrapping his arms around her from behind.

“Something smells good….” He comments as she just smiles.

“Oh really?” She questions, before turning around to face him, lightly kissing his lips. “Well, I hope it tastes just as lovely.”

“I’m sure it will.” He then lets her go, so she can focus on dinner, going over to the fridge to grab a drink.

“Good day or bad day?” Chase glances over, shrugging his shoulders. Certainly the guys in the shop weren’t feeling peachy after the weekend, but things did go smoothly.

“Meeting goals accomplished, and ready to go kick some ass this weekend. I say it was a good day.” Sarina could see that easily happening, though her mind couldn’t help but wander.

“What about Denny?” Chase leans against the counter with a sigh.

“Not a single word spoken. But, I did receive a text and voice mail from him.” She then looks over surprised. “Something along the lines of an apology….” She then snatches his phone off of the counter, reading over the message, before handing it back over.

“I’m surprised you didn’t respond…” Chase shrugs his shoulders. He had thought about it initially, but there was no way he was going to accept an apology. You don’t lift someone’s tires off the ground by accident.

“Not worth my time, right?” He then walks back over, wrapping his arms back around her. “Besides, I have someone else I can focus on…” She just rolls her eyes.

“Did you get around to reading his apology on twitter?” Chase nods his head as he did load that when he went on to check college football updates.

Other than that, he had stayed away from reading everything else, knowing that the media was going to try and blow up the coverage to the extreme. There was no point getting warped in the midst of that?

“His apology was…umm….interesting….” Chase comments as Sarina immediately laughs.

“So that’s your response?” She questions as he shrugs his shoulders.

“It’s an interesting approach; I’ll give him that. However, Ryan is my hero.” She then looks on intrigued. “I was listening to his podcast and he goes, ‘I can kill an animal and apologize, but it doesn’t make a difference’ or something like that. Perfect! I literally texted him that I owe him ice cream.”

“So it looks like he’s getting ice cream and a basket of his favorite chocolate bars.” Chase shakes his head, not surprised by Sarina’s reaction. “Although Landon was pretty neat in how he broke down the race count factor.”

“Hence the interesting approach….” She just laughs as she focuses on finishing up dinner.

“After we’re done eating, we need to get changed. I did promise Brexton that we’d be dressed up when Samantha brought him by.” Chase nods his head, accepting. He had let Sarina pick out the costume of choice for the night, glad that it was better than what he wrote at Ryan’s party. They were going to simply be Mickey and Minnie for the night. “I still can’t believe Kyle is missing Halloween….”

“SEMA could’ve easily planned the show for another weekend.” Sarina nods her head in agreement.

They hear a knock on the door, both glancing at each other with a smile. They had finished dinner, got into their costumes, and been relaxing. Samantha had sent them a warning text that she was on her way over, and they knew that little knock belonged to a little hand. Sarina opens the door, with Chase popping out from behind her.

“Hey!” Sarina says as she smiles at the costumes by both Samantha and Brexton.

“Wow….” Chase comments in surprise as he looks at them. He never would’ve expected them to be done up based on the movie Psycho.

“Trick or treat!” Brexton says as Sabrina continues looking back, smiling. She then reaches back behind the door, grabbing the giant chocolate racecar, handing it over. “Cool! Thank you!” Brexton immediately gives Sarina a hug.

“You both look awesome,” Sabrina comments as she looks between Brexton and Samantha. “I never would’ve expected that costume…..”

“Kyle and I watched the movie a couple weeks ago,” Samantha explains. “I just fell in love immediately and knew it’d be perfect. I texted Kyle some photos and he’s just in pure joy.”

“I would be too as your make-up is perfect!” Samantha twirls around with a smile.

“You a cutie,” Brexton says as Sarina looks down at him, giving him another big hug.

“You’re always a sweetheart,” Sarina replies.

The pair embarked in some conversation, ranging from Kyle’s messages about SEMA to reflections on Sarina’s big win at Martinsville. From laughs to smiles, everything was going smooth as could be.

“Have you talked to Denny yet?” Samantha then asks mid-conversation, and Chase could only sigh. He figured she’d eventually bring it up given how Kyle and Denny were teammates.

“Sam, I’d rather not talk about this-”

“You know, I don’t think Denny really meant to do it.” Chase rolls his eyes, having expected a comment like that, as well. Being teammates, of course she would see the positives in Denny and believe that he didn’t do anything. Besides, she’d dealt with her fair of controversy in the past, thanks to Kyle. It was never Kyle’s fault when he and Brad got together, right?

“Samantha, you can say what you want. It doesn’t change my opinion on what happened.” Sarina could see the tension in Chase’s voice, and felt bad that their Halloween fun was being ruined by this.

“I think we should change the topic….” Her voice trails off as Chase keeps his eyes locked on Samantha. Instead of just moving on, he knew something needed to be said.

“I don’t mind hanging out with you and Kyle. Actually, Kyle isn’t that bad once you get to know him as we can relate on a couple different levels. But, there’s certain spots to draw the line – and that includes Hamlin. I don’t want to discuss it because we won’t come to an agreement.” Samantha lets out a sigh, though she understood where Chase stood right now.

“Okay, that’s fine,” Samantha accepts as Sarina’s eyes lock back down on Brexton once again.

“I can’t believe how cute he looks!” Sarina lets out as she picks Brexton up in his arms, spinning him around which causes a big smile on his face. “So, are you going around visiting the various driver houses?”

“I figured since it’s just me and little man, and he’d probably get tired if I took him everywhere, that I’d just hit up certain spots.”

“I can’t say I blame ya….”

“You know, it’s strange how even Brad sent a text saying to come by, too.” Sarina and Chase’s jaws drop in shock as they never would’ve expected that. If there was one thing for certain in the garage area, it was that Brad and Kyle just didn’t get along – period, no matter what. Although, admittedly, Brad had tried to soothe things over a couple times.

“Really?” Chase questions and Samantha nods her head.

“Yeah, it’s weird,” she replies. “Him and Kyle still don’t agree on a lot of things – which obviously I get why Kyle is still angry with him. But Brad wants them to come to a truce, in a wa-”

“Sort of like agree to disagree?” Sarina questions, having seen some of Brad’s previous approaches to do so, including his blog.

“That’s what I meant! So he sent me a text saying he wanted to see what Brexton was going to be for Halloween.” Chase just shook his head in surprise, as there was no way to wrap his head around that. He could only wonder what Kyle’s response was.

“That’s strange….” Chase comments as Samantha nods her head.

“That’d be like Denny and Jordan bringing Tay-“ Samantha starts.

“Samantha!” Chase and Sarina cut her off immediately, as Chase just rolls her eyes.

“Sorry, you’re right. I should just let it go…” Chase nods his head, accepting. “Actually, I better get going. We need to make these stops before it gets too late. Thank you for spoiling my prince.”

“Anytime,” Sarina says. They watch Samantha and Brexton head off together as Chase just shakes his head over the whole conversation.

“Do you think Denny put her up to asking us about things?” Chase wonders, catching Sarina’s attention as they head back inside the house.

“No, I don’t think so. I think her heart is in the right place as she’s looking out for her teammate, and friend, but just not realizing where you stand.” Chase could accept that as they reach the kitchen, sitting down across from each other. “I can’t believe I have to leave tonight…”

“Going to miss me?” She then looks over the table, giving him a look full of surprise. She had to leave late that night around 11 to catch a flight as she was taking part in Toyota’s big motorsports celebration day at their headquarters tomorrow. The manufacture was getting all of their drivers together to speak to the crowd of employees and interact with them.

“Obviously!” He smiles back in response, as he places his hand on top of hers.

“Just think – it’s only one day, and then we’ll be reunited tomorrow night before we head to Texas together. It’s just under 24 hours. We can handle it. We’re grown-ups.” She then laughs.

“Are you sure about that?” He nods his head as he leans across the table, kissing her lips.

“I’ll text you constantly if it makes you feel better. Just promise me you won’t kill Denny?” She then laughs even harder.

“I can’t that promis-”

“Sarina!” She then stops laughing, letting out a sigh.

“Alright, fine. I’ll behave.” She then focuses back on their dinner. “I wonder if Bell would offer to pay my bai-”

“Sarina!” She then looks up giggling as he rolls his eyes. “I mean it. I don’t want to hear any complaints from Joe and Kyle because you acted out of line.”

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

Wednesday, November 1

It had been a jam-packed day full of action from top to bottom.

The day started with the entire group assembling on stage, speaking to the crowd about a variety of topics. Sarina then sat and signed autographs for a couple of hours, smiling and taking pictures along the way. It was almost robotic like some employees were just collecting for the sake of doing so, but a couple of them caused bonus moments with some surprised she was a female, as well as some more congratulatory messages for her win. Their day was then completed with a tour of the factory.

With everything complete, the group was let loose and headed off separately, airport bound, ready to take the flight home and get back to their lives. Sarina couldn’t wait to see Chase later on that night, daydreaming about their hugs and cuddles already. Letting out a yawn, those cuddles were going to be perfect…

“Hey Sarina, did Chase get my text message?” Denny’s voice ruins her daydream, as she immediately rolls her eyes. She remembered seeing that message on Tuesday, chuckling to herself at Chase’s lack of response.

“Yeah, I’m pretty sure,” she replies. “You’re talking about the one you sent after the race, right?”

“Absolutely.  I also sent another one on Tuesday.” Sarina could only roll her eyes, as she had seen both of them – not that Denny needed to know that detail.

“Well, if he got the one, then he got the other.” Denny figured that as much, but was caught off-guard by having no response yet.

“Yeah, I guess. I was hoping he would’ve replied by now.” Sarina knew that was not going to happen by what Chase told her. Smiling to herself, it was time to have some fun as Chase hadn’t made her promise to not do that. She had just promised to not kill him.

“Denny, he is in no mood to reply to you.” Denny lets out a sigh, remembering the anger expressed. He had hoped that would’ve faded now three days later with reasoning setting in.

“Can you tell him that I asked, and still want to talk?” Sarina rolls her eyes, knowing that’d fall on deaf ears. She actually couldn’t wait for the laughs when speaking of this conversation.

“Sure, but I don’t see how it’s going to have any point.” Denny then glances over at her, surprised.

“Sarina, you know I’m a good guy. I mean, just ask Kyle.” Sarina then stops, eyes locked on Denny. Was this discussion seriously happening?

“Denny, you’re lucky it wasn’t me that you wrecked or else I would have punched you square in the face on the backstretch. To be honestly, you’re really lucky it was Chase because at least he knows how to be respectful.” Denny rolls his eyes, growing old of the threats. Why couldn’t people see that it was an accident?

“I did not mean to wreck hi-”

“But you basically  lifted his ass entering the corner. As soon as you did that, you had to know what was going to happen. I mean, you’ve been racing long enough.” Denny knew how it panned out, but that was never the intention. Why was it different than what happened between Chase and Brad? Why was it different than moves pulled by other drivers in the past?

“It was just supposed to be a bump and run.” Christopher then stops walking, glancing back at the pair, with a laugh of his own. This was getting ridiculous.

“Really, Denny?” Christopher questions, catching Denny by surprise.

“Oh, so now you’re on her side?” Denny asks and Christopher nods his head. There was no question what happened was wrong.

“Absolutely. That was the dirtiest driving that I’ve seen since Kyle wrecked Hornaday in that truck race.” The whole group stops mid-way down the hall, jaws dropping around the circle as Kyle focuses his eyes on his young driver. Why was he the focus now?

“Hey! That’s ancient history,” Kyle comments. “Can we like refer to Kenseth and Joey instead?” Matt then crosses his arms. He was never part of the aggressive driver discussion, but now he was the second name mentioned?

“Hey! Logano totally deserved that!” Matt replies as Kyle thinks it over. Joey had been acting like an ass for quite awhile….

“Good point….”

“But I mean, Chase got into Brad so really, he’s not innocent as you all may claim, either,” Denny interrupts, working back at defending his actions, as he focuses on Sarina. “I mean, being his girlfriend, you would know whether he’s totally innocent or not.” Jaws drop once again as Sarina resists every urge to punch Denny straight in nose as Christopher and Kyle both put a hand on each of her shoulders. Erik slowly takes his phone out of his pocket, set to record any punch that is thrown if one happens, knowing Sarina’s feisty side from the sort tracks.

“Do you seriously want me to kick your ass right now?” Sarina questions as Kyle just stands there, shaking his head. It was getting harder and harder to stand up for his best friend here…

“Denny, that was uncalled for,” Kyle comments as Denny shrugs his shoulders.

“I was just trying to crack a joke-”

“Very inappropriate.” Denny lets out a sigh, as he glances around the circle of surprised faces. He almost felt like he was on an island right now.

“Alright, fine, I’m sorry. Look, are any of you on my side?” Kyle lets out a sigh, shaking his head.

“I get being aggressive and doing anything for the win because you’re right – it’s ticket to Homestead,” he starts. “Hence why I got into you. It’s just I wouldn’t have done it like you did.”

“In my world, you crossed the line between respect and being an ass,” Christopher adds.

“You don’t want to know my opinion,” Sarina states, trying to calm herself with some deep breathes.

“I guess everything you’re all saying is well deserved,” Denny finally gives in, knowing he wasn’t winning the argument no matter how hard he tried. “Just let Chase know that I asked though, okay?”

“Yeah, whatever…”

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Love & Work: A Combo of Madness – Chapter 27: Hamlin’s Realization

Over at Joe Gibbs Racing, Matt Kenseth and Kyle Busch glanced into Denny Hamlin’s office, seeing the annoyed glance on his face as they glanced at each other. Debating whether to leave their teammate and peace in not, the pair laughed and knew that wasn’t their style as they barged into his office.

“Someone pissed off Hamlin,” Kyle starts first as he flops in the chair in front of Denny’s desk.

“He’s probably not getting it in the sack,” Matt adds as he leans back against the desk. Denny simply looks between his teammates, before rolling his eyes.

“Why hello to you both too,” he states before looking back down at his phone. “What do I owe this honor to?”

“You looked annoyed so we thought we’d stop by and check in on you,” Kyle offers as Denny looks up from his phone, eyebrows raised. He knew how his teammates operated at times.

“So what girl cut your balls off now?” Matt questions, earning an even more questionable look from Denny.

“Really?” Denny asks as Matt shrugs his shoulders.

“We know what you’re like. When it comes to you, you like to get it in and when you’re left on the sidelines, you’re all pissed off. Run out of numbers in the little black book?” Denny shakes his head no as he focuses back on his phone. Perhaps there was some merit to Angelica’s arguments about him and his ways. Perhaps he could use with some maturing. However, that didn’t mean that he had to change everything and fall in line with what she was doing, and it seemed that she wouldn’t be happy till that happened.

“For your information, it has nothing to do with that. It’s….something else.” The jokishly grins leave the teammates’ faces immediately as they hone in on Denny. The last time that Denny got this serious was when he found out that Kendra was pregnant with Taylor.

“Everything okay with Taylor?” Denny shakes his head yes as he stays focused on his phone. If it was up to him, the discussion surrounding Angelica would no come up with his teammates once again, especially after the lecture that they offered the last time. Perhaps he should’ve listened to the advice that they had offered in the trailer that afternoon. “Then what the hell is your problem?”

“Angelica and I had an argument after the Daytona 500 and it’s on my mind, still.” Kyle immediately rolls his eyes as Matt smiles.

“I knew that it had to do with a girl.”

“Let me guess – you started the rumors that have spread like wildfire through the garage, right?” Kyle wonders and Denny slowly shakes his head yes. He knew that he couldn’t lie to his teammates as it’d get spread around via Joe Gibbs Racing with using Brandon and Dustin as ways to get it going. “So she found out, yelled at you and now you actually are feeling somewhat guilty?”

“I have feelings!” Denny states as Kyle crosses his arms.

“That’s questionable at times, considering the things that you do.” Denny then looks at Kyle with a look of surprise.

“So what are you trying to say?” Kyle then sits up a little straighter, leaning towards Denny for emphasis.

“You’ve made mistakes. You’ve gone through the garage with your little black book, sleeping with whom you please. It’s given you a reputation and that has led to certain people having thoughts about you, not so positive thoughts. Perhaps it’s time that you grow up and realize that you can’t play this game forever.” Denny looks back down as he lets out a sigh. It seemed that everybody was saying that in his life now.

“Maybe you’re right. I don’t know.”

“You’re a father Hamlin,” Matt states with the most serious tone that he can manage. “You need to start looking out for your daughter and doing what’s best for Taylor, while doing what you can for yourself in the best light. It’s time to put the childish games to bed.” Denny lets out a sigh, letting the realization sink in. He knew that he loved his daughter a lot and putting her needs first, as long as straightening things out, was probably for the best. However, it was hard to let that sink through in being stubborn with his ways.

“Yeah…..”

“Do what we’ve told you – meet up with Kendra and try to work things out to where you both can be civil and Taylor can be able to see both her parents. I know that you love your daughter and love having her around all the time, but she should also know who her mother is. I know it’s a difficult balance, having learned with Ross, but it can be done.” Denny shakes his head, understanding that. He just hoped that Kendra would be as understanding on the situation as him. “Then you should go and actually apologize to Angelica without holding anything back. Explain what you did and ask for forgiveness. You guys have a good friendship despite everything. Maybe she’ll forgive you.”

“Maybe….”

The Mysterious Puppies – Chapter 53: Testing in Las Vegas

Thanks for reading and reviewing 🙂 A lot of you are curious on the proposal plan, I haven’t even thought about that yet with regards to this particular story, in having to plan two other proposals for two other stories. With that in mind, it may take a couple chapters to think of something perfect for Brad and Juliette….

 

“So why do you have to go do the test?” Juliette questions as she watches Brad pack some things in a bag.

Rather than do the normal travel back and forth each night, Brad was going to stay in Las Vegas over night through the two days of testing. It was something that had given both him and Juliette jitters, since this would be the first night away since the birth of their daughter. However, it was something that he wanted to test the waters right now for, rather than waiting till the actual race season started next month.

“Because of the schedule that NASCAR has set for testing,” Brad answers as he shifts a piece of paper in her direction. She then picks it up, reading the schedule as laid out by NASCAR for testing.

“So why can’t Logano go testing for you?” Juliette wonders as Brad shifts to the next piece of paper, shifting that in her direction. She then picks that one up, reading the detailed schedule as put together by Team Penske for testing. “Oh.”

“And when the captain gives me orders, do you think there’s a way to get out of them?” She shakes her head no as she gives him back both pieces of paper with a sigh. “Listen, it’s only two days and then I’ll be back up here with you.” Juliette shook her head, understanding. It wasn’t bad. It was just 48 hours, not quite but close enough. She could handle it.

“But then media week is the following week, which will take you away agai-”

“For about another 24 hours.” He then stops packing and walks over to her, pulling her close. “I know it’s hard for us to be apart. Trust me, it’s hard to go away for that long without being able to watch our daughter grow and become the little girl that she’s becoming. But we have to grow used to it sooner than later. It’s part of the life that we live in the fast lane.” Juliette knew that he was right as she slowly shook her head.

“That doesn’t mean that I have to be in total acceptance, though.” He then chuckles a little as he kisses her cheek. “Promise me that you’ll call tomorrow night?”

“I’ll text you whenever I can throughout the day, and I’ll video call you tomorrow night so that way we can see each other and Melody. I love you.” Brad then gives her a kiss before backing away and focusing back on packing the rest of the things that he believed that he needed.

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

Following a day of testing, the group of drivers decided to go out to dinner that night together before retreating back to their rooms. The discussion had been fun thus far, with everybody discussing what they did during the off-season.

While Brad and Jimmie didn’t spend a lot of time together, it was nice to hear about Jimmie’s skiing adventures with the family. Brad was fine on the details, not sharing much but that he and Juliette simply spent some much needed time together as the season normally gets busy.

“On that note, I was wanting to ask you guys something,” Brad then starts as he looks between the three drivers. “Juliette and I have grown really close. I was thinking of proposing to her. I have permission from her brother and best friend, since her parents died when she was 14. It’s just planning how to propose.” Brad had been debating a couple ideas, but hadn’t narrowed it down to a single idea quite yet. He figured he could draw on some inspiration from his fellow drivers.

“I did mine while I was on a trip,” Jimmie starts, remembering how he proposed to Chandra. “After we had been dating for a year, I took Chani on a snowboard trip to Colorado. I then asked her when we were at the top of one of the hills. She didn’t believe at first that I was serious, even when I mentioned the photographer. But she said yes.”

“You don’t have to do the big trip, though,” Kurt offers. “You guys are really close and seem that have that quiet bond together where you don’t do a lot of big trips and such.” Brad wanted to rip right into that, but decided that it’d be best to keep things where they were. He didn’t need the friends getting curious as it was enough explaining things to Dale and Joey. “You could do the classic proposal in a restraint. Take the ring with you and offer it someway over dinner, or ask to give a toast and do it that way. Everybody is always going for these big proposals, when a romantic idea could be something so simple.”

“How did you turn into the ultra romance type?” Matt wonders with a slight chuckle. “IT seems odd considering everything with – let’s just not go there, okay?” Matt then looks over at Brad. “As far as proposing goes, do what fits your relationship. Don’t try and do something that’s not true to who you guys are, but still special enough. Is there a place that has a special meaning? Is there some way that you can symbolize it together?” An immediate smile forms on Brad’s face upon Matt’s suggestion as to what he could do.

“I think I have an idea of what to do.” He had the special symbolizing ring. It was just a matter of putting the rest of the pieces together.

Making Memories for a Lifetime – Chapters 56 Thru 60

makingmemoriesforalifetime

Chapter 56: The Results

“I can happily say that everything has been worth it,” the doctor tells her as faces of optimism and happiness begin to appear across the room.

“Is it all gone?” Angelica asks, hoping for the best answer that she could receive ever. The doctor shakes his head yes as the smile on her face grows. She looks towards Kyle, instantly wrapping her arms around him and kissing his lips.

“The scans showed no trace of cancer so you’ve done it. Congratulations.”

“Thank you for the good news.” She then wipes the couple of tears that have formed in her eyes away as she towards her dad with a smile on her face. Seeing no movement in him, she gets out of the bed and walks over to where he stands by the window. “You okay?” He shakes his head yes as he looks at her.

“I just can’t believe that it’s over,” he comments before pulling her into a hug and kissing her cheek. “I love you. You’re amazing.”

“Well, it’s not quite over yet,” the doctor then continues, causing Angelica and Dale to face him, fear and shock written over their faces.

“What do you mean?”

“She still has to work at growing her strength with everything that has happened and that will take time. Till that happens, you’re suggested to take it easy.” She shakes her head yes, agreeing. She was fine with doing that in knowing that everything would be okay.

“Don’t worry, we’ll take care of her,” Kyle assures the doctor.

“Also, I understand that we’re having some diet issues, correct?” Angelica shakes her head yes as she looks towards Tony, remembering his earlier pleads.

“I just haven’t felt like eating,” she answers truthfully.

“That’s normal,” the doctor comments as Dale keeps his arms wrapped around Angelica.

“But it can’t be good for her, though,” Dale says and the doctor shakes his head yes.

“You’re right about that. With chemotherapy, it causes the body to slow down to try to help itself – hence the lack of strength that we’re seeing. In the process, it can sometimes cause the person to be anorexic.”

“Will that improve with me getting better and being done treatment?” Angelica wonders out loud as the doctor thinks it over.

“In some patients it does, while in others it doesn’t,” the doctor starts. “That’s why I am arranging that you meet up with Christine Bentley, who is a dietitian here at the hospital. With her, you can work on continuing to get better, improving your eating habits and talking about things.” Angelica shakes her head accepting as she goes back over and sits on the bed.

“We’re all be there for you,” Kyle assures her as he kisses her shoulder. “I’ll be there for you.” He then kisses her cheek.

“Thank you for the news,” Dale says as he keeps his eyes focused on Angelica.

“You’re free to go,” the doctor tells her. “Your appointment is set up for tomorrow at 1 with Christine.” The doctor then leaves the room as everybody focuses their eyes on Angelica.

“I did it,” Angelica says simply as she gets up off the bed, smile planted on her face. “I can’t believe it but I did it.”

“We knew you would,” Kyle says as they walk out of the room together. “I told you that you could do it.”

“Now will you eat this?” Tony asks as he holds her a package of crackers and cheese.

“He’s not going to smile or hug you till you do,” Dale adds as Tony tries to hide his smile. He was happy that the treatment had worked, though also was sticking to his guns of helping her continue to get better and fight everything.

“Please?” She then grabs it from his hands at they step into the elevator and opens it.

“Happy?” Tony shakes his head yes as he lets the smile show through.

“I knew you couldn’t hide that smile much longer,” Angelica comments as she takes a bite of the cracker before hugging Tony.

“I’m glad you’re going to be okay kid,” he replies as he kisses the top of her head. “Now I suggest you eat when you’re told.” She rolls her eyes as she gets out of the elevator. “I mean it!”

“Now that you’re free, what do you want to do?” Kyle asks as they walk outside. A smile comes to Angelica’s face immediately as they get in the car. “I have a bad feeling about this guys.”

“Can we stop by Matt’s house?” Angelica asks and Dale shakes his head yes. If it wasn’t for Matt, they wouldn’t had done this and no doubt he deserved his thanks. “I want to let him know the news.”

“Let’s go see Matt and his trouble makers.”

“Are you eating those crackers?” Tony asks as they pull out of the parking lot. She then holds up the package, smiling.

“Got plans after we see Matt?” Kyle then asks and Angelica smiles. “Should I be scared of these plans?” She shakes her head yes.

“Angelica….” Dale starts as Angelica smiles.

“Yes Daddy?” She asks.

“What are you thinking?” She then winks at Tony and Tony just smiles.

“Don’t worry about it – I’ve got this handled,” Tony comments as Kyle looks towards him confused.

“Love you Smoke,” she says as she reaches over the seat and kisses his cheek. “Trust me Dad – this will be fine.”

“Las time you said that, you scared the crap out of me,” Dale comments as she laughs. “But if Tony knows what’s going on then I trust you.”

“Thank you.” She then looks over at Kyle. “Then we can have the night to ourselves. I think this calls for a special celebration together.”

“Just as long as you take care of yourself and get back to the tough strength filled chica that we know,” Kyle replies before kissing her lips. “I love you.”

“Love you too.” She then lies her head on his shoulder as they continue the drive to Matt’s house.

 

Chapter 57: Seeing Matt

After a short drive, they had arrived at Matt’s house. As instructed, Matt had joined Angelica on the front porch. She loved Katie and the girls, but she wanted to tell this news to Matt herself.

It was Matt that had suggested the idea. It was Matt that convinced her to go through with the idea. For what it was worth, she had Matt to thank for the life that she now had.

“So what’s up?” Matt asks as he sits on the bench, facing Angelica. She smiles as she thinks about the best way to tell Matt the news that she had just been told minutes prior.

“I have some news for you,” she starts as she looks up to meet his gaze. “I went to see the doctor this morning and they did some new scans to see how progress was. I got the results back already.” Matt felt the butterflies immediately begin to flutter in his stomach as he thought about those words.

“What did the doctor say? Angelica…” She then lets the smile come out and full force as she thinks about the best way to reveal this news to Matt.

“Take a guess.” She then sits back, smile planted on her face as she was seeing a fresh side on things with the news that she had received that morning. “How do you think it went?” Noticing the smile on her face, he knew that it had be good news as he let a smile cross his face.

“You’re in the clear?” She shakes her head yes as she reaches out and hugs him.

“Thank you, thank you, thank you.” She then pulls into a tighter hug as he wraps both his arms around her happy. There were so many thoughts as to whether it would work out. With her there now, saying the words, it sent a feeling of shock through him as in disbelief. She then backs up, smile still firmly planted on her face. “I owe everything to you, Matt.” She then slowly stands up, knowing that she has to get to part two of her plan for the day.

“You don’t owe me anything, Angelica. As long as you live the life that you deserve then I’ll be happy.” She smiles as she remembers the discussion that they had before on life choices and the chance to do whatever she wanted.

“That’s what I plan on doing.”

“That’s great.” He stands up as he looks towards, seeing the happy bunch of men. “So do you plan on fulfilling the first thing that you said you wanted to do once you were in the clear?” Angelica shakes her head yes as Matt looks at her with a worried smile. “Are you sure you’re ready for this?” She shakes her head yes as Matt stands there nervous. He hoped that they all knew what they were doing. She then starts down the steps, glancing back at Matt with a smile on her face.

“Wanna join us? I’d like you to be there as you were a big part in this. It’d mean a lot to me.”

“Let me go tell Katie and I’ll make my way over there.”

“Awesome.” Matt then heads inside as she makes her way down the steps and gets back in the car.

“Ready to go?” Tony asks and Angelica shakes her head yes, knowing the plan in mind as she texts Kasey. He had helped her put together her midget program and was the driving force behind Chelsea’s midget program that was to start next month. She knew that he was the perfect person to get involved in this plan as well.

“Yep,” she answers as they head out.

“Now where are we going?” Dale asks as Tony heads down one of the back roads. “Tony?”

“What do you have up your sleeve?” Kyle asks as he looks towards Angelica.

“Just wait and see,” she answers. “Tony, did you giv-”

“It’s done,” he cuts her off as a smile comes to her face. Everything was in place.

“Thank you Smoke.”

“Can you tell us now?” Kyle asks and Angelica shakes her head no. “So this is going to remain a secret till we get there?” She shakes her head yes.

“Are you sure you know what you’re doing?” Dale asks. “Are you sure this is a good idea? Are you su-”

“Just trust us, please,” Tony cuts him off as he heads down another road.

 

Chapter 58: A Surprise

Tony pulls into Rockingham Speedway as Angelica smiles stays firmly on her face while Dale looks back at her concerned. What was she doing?

“Trust me,” she tells him as she pats his arm while Tony drives through the infield. “I’ve got this under control. I know what I am doing.” Tony then stops the car and everyone glances around to see other cars in the parking lot. “Perfect.”

“What are we doing here?” Kyle asks as they get out of the car.

“Trust me.”

“I’m getting sick of those words,” Dale comments as he looks over the roof at Angelica. “What’s going on?”

“Get ready for her two favorite words,” Kyle warns as Angelica sticks her tongue out.

“Trust us,” Tony speaks up as they walk towards the building and inside.

“What are we doing here?” Dale asks as they walk down the short hallway.

“Angelica has called some ‘friends’ to join us for a special announcement.”

“Like I said – trust me,” Angelica adds as Dale stops frozen in the hallway.

“What type of announcement?” He asks as Angelica turns to face him. “Angelica?”

“Please go inside and take your seat at the front of the room – all three of you.”

“Why?”

“Trust me.”

“When are we going to find out why we’re here?” Kyle wonders as Angelica begins walking in the prepared direction.

“Give me 10 minutes and you’ll find out,” she states.

“Why 10 minutes? Why not right now?”

“Because that’s how this is going to work.”

“Let’s go guys,” Tony interrupts them, grabbing both Dale and Kyle’s arms, leading them through the doors. They go to their seats as both Dale and Kyle glance behind them, surprised at the faces that they see in the room.

“Do you know the full plan that she has up her sleeve?” Dale asks and Tony shakes his head yes as Kasey enters the room and sits beside them. “And you know also?”

“Know what?” Kasey asks as he glances over at Dale.

“Angelica hasn’t told these two yet what’s going on today,” Tony answers as Kasey smiles.

“I don’t like that smile,” Dale comments as Kasey just shakes his head. “Please tell me this is a good idea.”

“This is a good idea.”

“For some odd reason, I’m trusting you today.”

“Good because you won’t regret it.”

Tony knew what Angelica had in store was going to be great. SHR had a full house with Tony, Kyle, Danica and Kevin Harvick while HMS was full with Dale, Jimmie, Kasey and Chase. This seemed like the best option going. Though, that was only just a part of the surprise that was about to happen.

Tony’s smile grows as he watches Kelley walk in and join them.

“She ready to go?” She asks and Tony shakes his head yes as Kelley glances down at her brother, smiling. She then turns back to Tony. “You haven’t told him yet?” Tony shakes his head no. “Do you honestly think this is the best idea?”

“It’s the only option we have if she wants this to work,” Tony starts. “If he knew what she had coming today, you know shit would fly. This way, you have the team that you believe you can have and she has what she needs.” Tony glances at Dale before returning his eyes to Kelley. “Once it’s announced, he won’t have any option. Plus, you asked him the other day about doing this and he said he was open to it if the sponsorship and people were there. Both are there so there’s no issue.” Kelley smiles as she sits back in her seat nervous as they watch the door open and Angelica walks in, changed into a nice light blue dress and clear shoes.

“Damn…” Kyle comments as he takes in her appearance.

“Love you,” Angelica simply says as she walks by Kyle. She then walks to the stage, standing before the assembled crowd. She then looks down to her VIP person section, noticing everybody is there that needs to be there – Dale, Kyle, Tony, Lindsay, Kasey, Chelsea, Kelley, L.W., Karsyn, Kennedy, Wyatt, Matt, Katie, Gracie, Kaylin, Rick, Linda, Ron Malec and a couple others.

 

Chapter 59: Her Announcement

“Hello everyone,” she says as she stands before the crowd at the podium. “I would like to thank you for being here today and listening to what I have to say. I know this was put together with short notice as per my request so it means a lot that you’re here. I first off want to thank Tony Stewart and Kasey Kahne for helping me put this together. I have a lot to cover today so let’s get started.”

She then clears her throat, smiling forming on her face as she thinks about the news from that morning. She had told the people that deserved to know first, so now it was a given right to tell the world. Nothing would make sense without revealing it to them.

“I want to start off the day by stating the best news that I have received in a long time,” she spoke before the crowd that April afternoon. “I am happy to report that after discussions with my doctor this morning, the treatment was a success. The cancer is fully out of my system and I am free to go. I do have to keep tabs with doctors to make sure that we don’t have anything pop up, but we could say that it’s a success without worries.”

She then looks back towards her group, smile firmly planted on her face as she locks eyes with Matt. Their discussion from January stuck in her mind as she thought about the words that she said to him that day. Turning back to the crowd of media before her, she knew that she was doing the right thing.

“Earlier this year, I told someone that means a lot to me that I knew I had to fight for the life that I wanted,” she starts as she turns her eyes to Matt briefly, before turning back to the majority to the crowd. “I told them that I wanted to beat this to be able to have that life that I wanted. Whether that life included racing or not, whether that life was traveling or raising a family – I had to give myself the chance to live it.

“My motto through all of this is you have to take each moment that you have on this planet as your last moment. You can’t take anything for guaranteed. You have to live every moment as if it’s your last, doing whatever you can to fulfill whatever you dream have.” She then looks towards Lindsay with a smile on her face. “Sometimes you have to take those things that they tell you can’t do and try to beat them. Even if someone says you can’t do this, maybe you can; you just need to find that way that’s out there.” Lindsay smiles as she looks down, remembering that discussion that they had a couple weeks ago as Angelica turns back to the crowd. “Always live your life the best way you know how. The motto is – use every moment to make memories for those around you. Make memories that will last a lifetime because you never know when your last moment is here.

“With that said, having a second chance to live my life, I took into thought majorly how I wanted to live that life and that’s why I stand before you. I debated not coming back and racing again. It was a thought. However, I learned something and that lesson came courtesy of my young cousin Wyatt in the form of a trip to the dirt track. Racing is in my blood and no matter what I do, I can’t run away from it. I need it as much as life itself. The feeling of being behind the wheel is second to none. With that said, I’ve called you here to make a thrilling announcement.

“When I thought about coming racing, I knew my options were limited. Hendrick is full thanks to Chase Elliott, my dad, Jimmie Johnson and Kasey Kahne. I then turned to my previous boss, Tony Stewart, though realized he filled that house up with my hubby Kyle, himself, Danica and Kevin. Now, I could kick my hubby out since that was originally my ride and team, but I can’t do that to him. Kyle has done so much for me beyond words that I can speak to you that I’d feel terrible for that.”

Kyle smiles as he thinks over those words, though looks at Tony confused as to where Angelica is going with her announcement. Dale also joins in the confused look as he wonders what plan she has thought of.

“About a month ago, I found myself in a meeting with my dad and Aunt Kelley at JR Motorsports,” Angelica smiles as she glance over at her dad. “They were talking about starting up a Sprint Cup team. Though dad stated a key requirement – he wanted a driver that he knew could win, a crew chief that knew what they were doing and sponsorship. Well, let’s just say that I spoke to Kelley and we came up with a plan. I then turned to Rick Hendrick and he agreed to supply chassis and motors.” Dale then looks over at Kelley surprised as Kelley just smiles back.

“What did you do?” Dale questions as Kelley’s smile widens.

“You listed some requirements and you have always said that I need to take a role in making decisions without requiring your input every day,” Kelley whispers. “This is my first decision and you can’t argue because she fulfilled your requests beautifully.” Dale then turns his eyes back to his daughter.

“My first start will come next year at the Daytona 500,” Angelica continues as she looks at the crowd. “And I’m pleased to announce that we have chosen a car number and have a sponsor. I will be going with my original 25 that I have always ran.” Rick smiles as he remembers when she put the number on her legend having used it throughout the years for sports in school. “I am also pleased to announce that Tesla’s Beauty Clique will be sponsoring the car. Tesla Williams is a brand new clothing designer and make-up designer that is launching her line next week. The dress that I am wearing, as well as the make-up, is part of her collection. I want to thank Tesla for sponsoring me, as well as for this beautiful dress. Without further ado, please welcome Tesla Williams to the stage.”

Everyone then claps as a tall girl with long brown hair makes her way to the stage and stands by the car that is covered by a grey sheet.

“Part one complete,” Kelley whispers as Dale rolls his eyes. How did they do this under his nose?

“At the end of my series of announcements, everybody involved will be allowed to comment and answer questions for you because I know you have some,” Angelica speaks up. “Now with team, sponsor and car number locked down – there was one piece missing. I needed to find that perfect crew chief. Kelley laid out some good options, but I shook my head at them. If I was going to make a comeback, there was only one person that I was doing it with.” She then glances towards Tony and Kyle with a smile on her face. “This took some careful steps because I didn’t want to reveal to Kyle what I had planned. I met with Tony in private and discussed options. He told me that he would try his best to make it work. He was able to get in contact with Jimmy Elledge, who has previously worked with Kyle. The pair got along really well and Tony thought pairing Kyle with Jimmy could produce some serious success. Luckily, it worked out as to that Jimmy agreed, Tony agreed, and Kyle, well, we kept this secret from him.”

She then takes a deep breath as she looks over at Kyle. She knew this was the big moment.

“You told me when I wanted that I could have my team back,” she starts. “Well, I’m holding you to your word, but also not leaving you stranded. Ron came to you and said that he was leaving SHR without stating more terms because of what Tony and I had worked out. I’m glad that you accepted Jimmy Elledge for next year and I look forward to battling you for the championship.”

Kyle smiles and shakes his head, now realizing that all the meetings made sense. She was right though as he didn’t mind being paired with Jimmy and he knew that could equal huge success. It also kept it in the family given the relationships across the board.

“So without further ado, please welcome my crew chief for next year to the front of the room – Ron Malec,” she announces as Ron stands up from the group and joins Tesla by the car.

It felt good to get everything out in the open as he hated having to keep things secret from everyone. As he caught Angelica’s eyes, he couldn’t help but think back to last season when they won the championship together. He knew they could repeat that success if they found that old magic that they had together.

“Part two complete,” Kelley whispers as she looks over at her brother. “Are you willing to accept doing a Cup team now?” Dale shakes his head yes as he smiles.

“I can’t believe you hid this from me though,” Dale adds as Kelley laughs.

“You can blame your daughter. She wanted this to be a surprise.”

“Welcome back Ronnie,” Angelica says as she locks eyes with Ron before returning to face the crowd. “With the help of Tony, we took one of the SHR showcars to wrap up with the paint scheme for next year. Like I said, this took a lot of work to put together. So without any more fancy words from me, why don’t we display my favourite new car?”

She then walks over to the car and looks towards Ron and Tesla. The three of them then pull the sheet back slowly, revealing a bright pink No. 25 Tesla Beauty Clique Camaro underneath. Rick smiled immediately as he notice the small silver stars amongst the pink, realizing that it matched that of her Legend car. They then pose for photos together as Angelica motions for Dale and Kelley to join her. They then join her as the flash bulbs go off, taking photos of the car.

“Are you okay with this?” Angelica whispers to her dad as they pose for photos.

“You’re amazing to put this together yourself,” Dale whispers in return. “But I have no reason to be mad at you. It’s amazing.” He then kisses her cheek.

“I love you. Thank you for being the most amazing dad ever.” She then walks over to the podium as Ron, Tesla, Dale and Kelley take their seats. “Okay, now that we’ve gotten the biggest surprise out of the way, let’s reveal the rest of my plans.”

 

Chapter 60: Her Announcement Part 2

“To go with my return to the Sprint Cup Series, we’re going to do a special promotion,” Angelica continues as she stands there, facing the crowd. As she gets ready to speak of the promotion, Kelley just smiles as she remembers discussing the plans for doing this. “That beautiful bright pink sparkly paint scheme that you saw there will not be running in the Daytona 500. Instead, we have another special surprise.

“Given the fight that I went through, I wanted to give back and help inspire others, while raising money knowing from experience myself. Valentine’s Day is supposed to be about showing love for each other. To show love, you use your heart and for your heart to live, you need lungs. In part of a cross-promotion, the No. 25 Tesla Beauty Clique Camaro will be going red for Daytona Speedweeks with a special hood. The hood and full red paint scheme will be unveiled in Speedweeks. It is meant to honor those battling heart and lung diseases, while raising money.

“Tesla Williams have graciously stepped up to the plate and will be donating 25% of her sales during the Speedweeks time period towards research for treatment of lung cancer. On top of that, we’ve teamed up with Lionel Racing and 25% of proceeds from sales of the diecast will also go towards research. Lastly, special t-shirts will be done up via JR Motorsports to also help collect donations. Once we have a total at the end of the month of February, I will take that total and double it using my own money and present it to three different foundations that I choose at that time.”

Angelica feels tears threaten to fall as she clears her throat. She glances over at her support group, seeing the mixed emotions on their faces. Everybody looks happy about the idea, though she notices the tears in the eyes of some.

“I know the pain that someone goes through,” she starts. “I know the battles those diagnosed faced. After going through the experience myself, I knew that I had to do something to help improve it for other people.”

“Did you know about this?” Dale whispers and Kelley shakes her head yes.

“It was all her idea,” Kelley replies. “She thought of it and went forth with asking permission from everybody to do it.”

“My mother died due to lung cancer so I can relate to what she has been through and when she asked, there was no second guessing doing something to help,” Tesla explains as both Dale and Kelley smile.

“Thank you for sponsoring her and thank you for helping in this promotion. I look forward to working with you and bringing you success on track.” Dale then sits back as he watches Angelica get set for another announcement that she had up her sleeve. “I can’t believe that she’s my daughter.”

“You raised an angel,” Rick comments from his seat behind Dale as he pats Dale on the shoulder.

“I owe you huge for your help,” Dale replies. “I couldn’t had done it without you and Linda.”

“I told you I’d always be there for you and I was glad to help. I’m just glad that everything has worked out for her in every respect.”

“Alright, I got my notes in order,” Angelica breaks the silence in the room as all eyes draw back on her. “This is what happens when I’m excited, nervous and pulling a whole bunch of things together at once.” She then glances over at her family, smile on her face. “Family means the world to me. I was given the opportunity to grow as a racer thanks to Rick Hendrick and Kasey Kahne. For that, I am ready to give back in that respect and help the next generation of racers in our family.

“Karsyn, you’re amazing darling and I look forward to being your sort of unofficial teammate at JR Motorsports. You’re amazing racecar driver and I was proud to say that you’re my cousin when you won your first Nationwide Series race at Atlanta.

“Kennedy, you’ve also grown into an amazing racer. As I was standing with you at Millbridge earlier this year, I couldn’t think of how well you handled that night. From the struggles to working it out to finishing upfront, that showed the trade of a good racer.”

She then motions for Kasey Kahne to join her on stage as Kelley looks towards L.W., Jimmy and Dale with a simple smile on her face. She knew that Kennedy was in for a surprise. Angelica had spoken to Kelley about this a couple weeks ago in asking for a mother’s permission.

“In partnership with Kasey Kahne Racing, I am starting my own sprint team underneath the JR Motorsports banner,” Angelica reveals as Dale’s eyes open in shock as he glances at Kelley before returning his eyes back to his daughter. “The sprint team will be solely my project and ran by myself and my husband Kyle Larson.” Kyle smiles as he stands up and walks to the front, remembering the discussion with Angelica three weeks ago. No matter what happens with her, there were plans to put this team together. “KKR will be supplying chassis and motors, as well as having a technical alliance to help myself and Kyle get up off the ground.

“Kyle will be racing some races in the car when he isn’t running Sprint Cup Series races. Though beyond that, we’re kicking off a quarter midget team.” Angelica then looks over to the little ones of the family as a big smile forms on Chelsea’s face.

“It gives us both great honor to announce that we’ll be running a three-car team,” Kyle continues as Angelica keeps her eyes focused on the three kids. “Kennedy Elledge, Wyatt Miller and Chelsea Earnhardt – congratulations kiddos. Kyle is going to teach you how to race while Angelica is boss!” The three kids look at each other shocked, face their parents shocked before looking at Angelica, Kyle and Kasey shocked. Wyatt is the first one to stand up and walk to the front, standing before Angelica.

“I’m going to race for you?” Wyatt asks and Angelica shakes her head yes. “You’re going to own my car?” Angelica shakes her head yes once again with a smile on her face. “Yay!” The little boy hugs her tightly as Angelica hugs him back.

“Do you want to see your car?” Angelica asks and Wyatt shakes his head yes excited. “Kasey, shall we unveil them?” Kasey shakes his head yes. They then walk over to the big tarp, pulling it off to reveal three quarter midgets.

Kennedy smiles immediately as she sees the No. 8 quarter midget done up to look identical to her boxstock car. She then thanks both Angelica and Kyle as she checks it out.

“Do you know which is yours?” Angelica asks Wyatt and he shakes his head yes as he sets his eyes on the No. 31 quarter midget. It was interesting number choice, though the young child had his reasons. When he started watching tapes of sprint races with L.W. and Jimmy, he immediately fell in love with the number. When he wanted the number on his car, it brought a tear to Jimmy’s eye as he remembered working with Jason Leftler in the Nationwide Series using the same number.

“This one is mine?” Chelsea then questions and Kyle shakes his head yes. The four-year-old walks around the car a couple times, smile forming on her face. Angelica had chosen the No. 25 for the car and did a paint scheme to match that of her Sprint Cup racecar, which in return matched her Legend.

“Remember how you said that you wanted to drive my Legend?” Chelsea shakes her head yes. “Well, you can’t drive it quite yet but I thought that if you had a car identical to it that you’d love it.”

“I do love it!” Chelsea then wraps both arms around her older sister. “Thanks sissy.”

As the family stood together posing for photos and talking, everything seemed perfect in the world. Taking a deep breath, Angelica knew if she finished off the final battle of road to recovery that she’d finally get the life that she had dreamed of for a long time.

Making Memories for a Lifetime – Chapters 46 Thru 50

makingmemoriesforalifetime

Chapter 46: Shopping for Hair

“So have you decided what color you wanted?” Kyle asks as they head into the store.

“Yes I have,” Angelica answers as she goes inside, followed by Kyle. Kyle then follows her, curious as to what she had decided. For him, the hair color didn’t matter. All that mattered was that he had his girl and she was happy.

“Do I get to find out what color you have decided? Or is a surprise?” She then smiles as she looks at the assortment of wigs that are on display. The decision was easy for her after some thought and discussion with Lindsay, Aunt Katie, Uncle Matty and Anut Kelley. She had kept it quiet beyond that as she wanted to surprise everyone else. “Please give me a hint. I at least deserve a hint.” She then laughs as she shifts through the rack.

“Well it won’t be black because I want to change it up. It also won’t be blond because I refuse to have the same hair color as Amber.” As the name escapes her lips, a shiver escapes her body as she thinks back to the crazy things that had happened. Amber may be her mother by DNA, but she was no mother in the mind of Angelica. She was her father through-and-through and if anyone was close to a mother, that’d be Lindsay. “It also won’t be brown because while it looks good, I want something different and I already wore brown. You recall when you first met me?” Kyle shakes his head remembering. He thought she was a natural brown before he saw her roots showing. “My darn roots gave me away. Oh well, it doesn’t matter.”

“So if you’re not going with what’s considered one of the three normal colors, what are you going with?” He then leans against the wall, watching her see the different wigs that are on display.

“This is a normal color so you don’t have to worry. I’m not doing the Halloween transformation on you. I think it’ll look good.”

“It doesn’t matter what you choose, Angelica. You’re beautiful no matter what.” Angelica smiles as she looks back towards him quickly, blowing him a kiss. “Have you decided?”

“I think so.” He smiles as he watches her pick up one of the stereo foam heads. On it sits a long haired wig that seems so real by the appearance. The color is a mid-shade of red that isn’t too bright to make you think Halloween, yet not too dark to make you think of fear.

“I like it.”

“You haven’t even seen it on me yet. How can you say that you like it?”

“I told you that color didn’t matter to me.”

“You’re so great to shop with. Remind me not to take you dress shopping in December.” Kyle’s jaw drops as he hears the words. It was small words, but it meant that was looking forward to being fine by the end of the season and attending the banquet with him. It was improvement from her attitude in Daytona a couple weeks ago. He watches her take the wig off of the head and put it on her own, looking in the mirror. As she fights to get it right, he jumps right in, shifting it into place as he moves some of the pieces of hair. She then twirls around, smiling at her reflection. “What do you think, honestly?”

“You look absolutely stunning and that color fits you nicely.” She smiles as she twirls around once again. The thought of red had occurred to her from seeing it on other people and the thought that some even said her family was known for reddish-brown hair. It just seemed to fit.

“I like it. Let’s go.” They then head towards the cash register.

********

“How long have they been gone?” Tony asks as they sit in the living room waiting. He glances towards Dale and Rick, who were both waiting along with him for Angelica to return home and her big reveal. Matt and Lindsay were there also, but they didn’t count as they knew the color already.

“She’ll be home soon,” Dale answers as he knows he can trust Kyle with her and he knew it was a big decision for her. He remembered the panic that she originally had when they told her that it could possibly fall out. “You have to remember that she’d deciding on style and color here.”

“Don’t worry – it’ll be worth the wait,” Matt assures them as Lindsay shakes her head in agreement. When she had shown him a picture of the color that she was thinking and talked about the length, it had brought a smile to his face. “Just relax, Tony.”

“Can you give us a hint towards the color?” Matt shakes his head no, remembering the agreement.

“She wants to surprise you,” Lindsay comments as Tony lets out a frustrated sigh.

“Why did she tell you two and not us?” Tony wonders as they hear the front door open.

“We’re home!” Kyle announces as he opens the door, leading Angelica inside.

“Told you to be patient,” Dale comments as he glances towards Tony. “Did you find what you wanted?”

“Yes I did,” Angelica answers as she peaks around the banister. “Are you ready to see it?”

“They’ve been dying to know the color,” Lindsay comments as Angelica smiles.

angelica_red“Wow…” Dale says as she slips out from behind the banister and spins around to show off her long new red hair.

“That looks beautiful Ang,” Rick comments as Angelica smiles.

“Perfect color,” Tony adds as Angelica walks over to them.

“Something about someone and his reddish-brown hair inspired me, along with how beautiful this looks,” Angelica tells them before kissing her dad on the cheek.

“You did a nice job.”

“That looks way better than I thought it would,” Matt comments as Angelica smiles.

“It’s beautiful sweetheart,” Dale tells her as she sits down in the chair lying back.

“Are you okay?” Rick asks, worried. She shakes her head yes.

“Just tired – long day,” she answers as she curls up. Matt then grabs the blanket off the footstool, throwing it on her.

“Get some rest sweetheart,” Dale says as they watch her fall asleep.

“Are you okay with the color?” Lindsay whispers to Kyle and Kyle shakes his head yes.

“I told her that color didn’t matter as she is beautiful and I just care about being near her,” Kyle answers Lindsay as Lindsay smiles. Kyle then climbs into the chair, curling up behind her as he holds her close to him.

“Awww…” Matt coos as he watches them together.

“You’re going to be there tomorrow, right?” Rick asks Kyle and Kyle shakes his head yes.

“Good boy,” Lindsay comments before leaving the room and going to the kitchen to start on dinner.

“I wouldn’t miss it,” Kyle assures them. “I promised her that I wouldn’t miss any after missing last week’s.”

 

Chapter 47: Appointment No. 2

Angelica smiled as she laid there in the doctor’s bed, looking over at Kyle. She interwinded her fingers with his, holding his hand tightly.

“I love you,” she tells him. “Thank you for being here.”

“I told you that I wouldn’t miss being here for you,” he tells her before leaning in and kissing her lips. “I love you and I care about you and I want to help you through this.” She smiles as she kisses him back, deepening the kiss.

“What did I do to deserve a guy as special as you?”

“You were just you’re absolutely amazing self.” He then sits back in his seat beside her, continuing to hold on to her hand.

“Thank you for making me feel special.” He rubs the back of her hand as he looks up at her.

“You are special in every way possible; you don’t need me to make you feel that way.” She then looks down, closing her eyes as she takes a careful deep breath. In her life, there were many emotions that she had kept deep down, not wanting to reveal them to anyone.

“So you finally won a race….the one that doesn’t count,” she heard as she gulped down her water, recognizing the voice all too well.

“It still is awesome to win it and it still means something. It proves that I’ve got a good car for the Coke 600.” She then threw the empty bottle out, walking down the hall, ready to go to bed. She knew she had a long day ahead of her on Sunday with some of the post-race obligations. “Can we just go to bed, please?”

“Think I’m going to let you get off that easy?” She then felt a shove, pushing her back against the wall. She shook her head, knowing she should’ve took up her dad’s offer to come back to his house for some post-race partying.

“I have a busy day tomorrow and I thought you’d be nice for once in your right mind.” He then walked over to her, grabbing a fistful of her hair as he picked her up.

“Nice and me don’t mix, and you know that well princess.” She then yanked her hair away from him, thinking maybe it’d be a good idea to cut it.

“I thought you were only doing this because some crazy bitch said to.” She then went to walk away, though didn’t get far as she fell straight down, tripping over her leg. She held her stomach in pain, now really regretting coming home.

“That was only 50% of the reason, Angelica. The other half is my hatred meant for you.” She then held back her tears as she tried to stand up, wanting to get whatever he had for her over with as quickly as possible. She knew he’d leave to go see his mistress and she could get Kyle to come over.

“So what do you have planned for tonight? Might as well get it over with.” He then smiled as he picked her up, pushing her against the wall and locking eyes with her.

“You know how this goes.” She looked down, knowing what he meant exactly.

“Then what are we waiting for?” She then started towards the stairs, knowing it’d be a long crawl up to the bedsroom. “I can’t believe I ever loved you.”

“Face it – I’m charming.” He then followed her as she made her way up the steps. Partway up, he tripped her, causing her to hit the staircase hard as she bit her tongue in pain. “Now that’s for cheating on me for fucking Larson. I saw your little cuddliness. I told you not to play games with me.” He then turned around and walked out the front door, shutting it behind him.

“When I was with Ashton and he used to hurt me, it brought me down so bad. I felt so hurt the whole time and it was the worst feeling that I could ever feel. I remember a couple of the nights that when he’d hurt me, I would accept it without holding anything back. It was what I had grown to know and accept because that’s what you get for being the child that wasn’t part of a true relationship, not accepted by her own mother.” Tears slowly creep out of Angelica’s eyes as she tries to sniff them back, remembering those nights with Ashton and Amber. Kyle then stands up, sitting on the edge of the bed beside her, continuing to hold her hand.

“Ang, don’t do this to yourself; don’t let yourself think that. You have your father, Tony, Chelsea and Lindsay and they love you so much; that’s your family. Who cares if Amber doesn’t as she shouldn’t matter anymore.” Angelica slowly looks up, shaking her head.

“I know that now, Kyle, but when I was going through that, all I could think about was that.” He then pulls her close, rubbing her back as he takes a deep breath. In every thought he had, he wish he could erase what she had gone through. He wished that he’d gone out with her originally and everything would’ve gone right. Though he also knew had that happened, they wouldn’t be as strong as they were now together.

“Don’t let yourself go back and think that then. It’s in the past and that’s where it’s going to remain.” She then pulls back from him slightly, looking him in the eyes.

“I need to thank you, Kyle. When I got through that with Ashton, I felt like the lost little child who could never love again. You showed me that love is there and helped me see the person that I am. I don’t know what I would’ve done without you so thank you for being there, helping me and loving me.” She then lies back against him as he rubs her back.

“I wouldn’t go back and do anything different than what I did, Angelica. I did it because I knew you were something special then and just needed the right person to show you the way. I love you.”

“I love you, too.” She then looks up and kisses his lips lightly.

“I promise to never leave you or let anyone hurt you ever again. I told you that back then and I will continue to tell you that and follow through. You’re my everything. I’m sorry I wasn’t here last week. I don’t know what I was thinking.”

“Don’t worry about it. You’re here now and that’s what matters.”

 

Chapter 48: Las Vegas

“Are you sure you made the right decision flying out with me?” Tony asks as he walks into the motorcoach followed by Dale.

They had just arrived in Las Vegas for that weekend’s race. Dale still wasn’t cleared to race, but had flown out to be with Tony that weekend. They had both promised to make sure that Kyle behaved while Angelica and Lindsay took care of each other and Chelsea. Dale hadn’t told them, but he had also asked his mom and sister to check on them as well.

“Are you sure that the girls will be fine by themselves?” Tony continues as Dale smiles.

“They were last week and Kelley and my mom are going to check on them so you can stop worrying,” Dale assures Tony. “Plus, I can’t stand to be away from you.” Dale then pulls Tony close to him, kissing Tony’s lips. “I love you too much. I can’t sleep without you. You make me feel safe.” He then reaches underneath Tony’s shirt. “I love you.” He then reaches up and kisses Tony’s lips before pulling Tony’s shirt off. “Guess I should help you get changed, right?” Tony snickers as Dale runs his hands down to Tony’s waist. “You’re awfully quiet, Smoke.”

“I’m just mesmerized by the sexy man before me.”

“Oh really?” Tony then smiles as he kisses Dale’s lips as Dale tugs at the waistband on Tony’s pants. Dale then slowly slides Tony’s pants off.

**********

“Are you okay?” Lindsay asks as she peeks into Angelica’s room. Angelica looks up and shakes her head yes as she watches qualifying. “Just wanted to make sure. I don’t want you getting in some sort of trouble now. Call me if you need me.” Angelica shakes her head yes once again as Chelsea runs into the room.

“I take care of sissy!” The little girl calls out as Lindsay and Angelica smile.

“Are you sure you can handle a big girl job like that?” Chelsea shakes her head yes as she sits on the edge of Angelica’s bed. “I don’t know if you can.”

“I think she can,” Angelica comments. “She is a big girl now.”

“Oh really?” Lindsay asks and Chelsea shakes her head yes. “Who says?” Chelsea points to Angelica as Lindsay smiles. “If Angelica says its okay, you can take care of her. But you need to be careful okay? She needs to be taken special care of.”

“She’ll behave, Lindsay. If she doesn’t, I’ll just have to send the monsters to her room and under her bed.” Chelsea looks on in horror as Lindsay laughs.

“That’s not nice! You’re going to scare the little girl. I think I may have to hide some monsters in your closet now, Angelica.”

“Oh no, don’t do that. I am a good little girl, right Chelsea?” Chelsea shakes her head no. “Oh I’m not a good little girl? Why not? Is it because I mentioned hiding monsters in your room?” Chelsea shakes her head yes.

“That not nice Angie,” Chelsea scrowls her. “You need say sorry.”

“She is right Ang,” Lindsay adds with a smirk on her face. “It’s the right thing to do when you’re mean. It’s not nice to be mean. You scared her. That’s not nice.”

“I’m sorry,” Angelica then says. “Do you forgive me?” Chelsea shakes her head yes.

“We play barbies?” Chelsea asks and Angelica shakes her head yes. “Yay!” Chelsea then runs off to go get her barbies as Lindsay stands at the door, shaking her head.

“She’s adorable.”

“Looks like you have a playdate,” Lindsay comments as Chelsea comes running back in the room. “Let me know when she gets to be too much to handle.” Lindsay then heads off as the two sisters begin to play.

*******

Dale walks through the garage. It was Saturday afternoon and time for the series to start their second practice. He had watched the qualifying the day before, which hurt as he wanted to be in his car so badly. He also was surprised when Tony qualified back in 22nd after Tony had practiced so well. Kyle, meanwhile, kept his streak of good luck going as he had scored the pole while Harrison qualified Dale’s car in second.

Dale walked past Tony’s stall, giving a quick wave to Tony, before walking down to his team. He walked into the stall, smiling when he found Steve and Harrison talking about practice.

“How’s the car?” Dale asks as he joins them and the smile on Steve’s face answers the question. “Think the kid can win it?” Steve shakes his head yes as Dale looks towards Harrison surprised.

“I’m going to try my best,” Harrison comments as Dale smiles.

“I have no doubt that you will. You’ve done a good job so far this weekend.”

“He also got pole for the Nationwide Series race later today,” Steve adds as Dale shakes his head in approval. When Harrison started moving up the rank, nobody knew what to expect. Now watching him grow as a driver, they were all happy. “The kid knows how to drive. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s driving for RCR in Cup next year.”

“Me neither by the sounds of it,” Dale comments as he leans against the pit box.

“So are you going to be back for next week?” Dale shakes his head yes as Steve smiles. “As much as I love this kid, I can’t wait for you to come back.”

“I can’t wait to be back. It kills me to watch.” Harrison then goes to get in the car for practice as Dale looks down the garage area to Tony’s stall. Catching a glimpse of Tony, he smiles. He watches as Tony winks back and his own smile grows. “God he knows how to drive me crazy.” Steve then laughs as he walks away as Dale looks up towards his crew chief. “Not funny, LeTarte.”

“It is from my perspective.”

“You’re evil.” Steve laughs more as he walks back towards Dale.

“You know you want to go down there and grab his ass. You can admit it. I won’t hurt you.”

“Screw you.”

“That’s what I thought.” Steve then heads back towards the car to make sure Harrison is alright getting in, laughing.

 

Chapter 49: Las Vegas Part 2

“Chelsea, it’s time for bed!” Lindsay calls into the room.

For most of the day, the two sisters had spent time playing together. They took a break to have dinner and Chelsea listened when Angelica wanted to take a little nap. But beyond that, they had spent the afternoon playing barbies, coloring pictures and even had a game of go-fish.

“You heard your mom – time for bed Cheeseball,” Angelica says as she picks the cards up off the bed and puts them on the nightstand.

“You can play again tomorrow,” Lindsay adds with a smile. “You can even have popcorn and cookies while we watch Daddy, Kyle and Tony race. But only if you listen to mommy.” Lindsay smiles as she watches Chelsea give Angelica a kiss and a hug.

“Love you. See you in the morning.”

“Love you too,” Chelsea replies before walking to the doorway with Lindsay. “Mommy, can we go to the race track next week?” Lindsay shakes her head yes as Angelica takes a deep breath. She wanted to be there also with them. However, she knew that was tough to do considering how she was feeling. Instead of going to the track with them, they had already discussed her spending the weekend with Kelley and her kids. Angelica wanted to talk them into letting her go, but with everything going on, it just wasn’t going to work out. “Ang come with us?” Lindsay shakes her head no as Chelsea looks down. “Why no Ang? I love sissy. Sissy has to come mommy! Please?” Angelica laughs as she listens to Chelsea with Lindsay.

“Angelica is going to stay home and keep Aunt Kelley company,” Lindsay says as Angelica shakes her head yes when Chelsea looks towards her.

“You get to spend every day with me sweetheart,” Angelica then starts carefully. “Aunt Kelley, Karsyn, Kennedy and Wyatt also want to see me, too.”

“But don’t worry – you can call Angelica each night to talk to her, okay?” Chelsea shakes her head yes as she runs off to get ready for bed.

“She’s a sweetheart, Lindsay. I honestly can say that I had a lot of fun with her today.” Lindsay smiles as she looks back at Angelica.

“Are you okay for the night?” Angelica shakes her head yes.

“Bathroom, a phone call to Kyle and then bed for me. Are you going to be okay tonight?” Lindsay shakes her head yes as Angelica smiles. “If you need me, don’t hesistate to yell for me.”

“Same goes for you girl.” Lindsay then heads off as she hears Chelsea yelling down the hall for her.

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

That night in the motorcoach, Dale and Tony laid there together. They had just gotten off the phone with Lindsay and said their goodnight wishes for the night. They heard about the playdate the girls had, Chelsea excited for next weekend and everything they had missed at home. They both missed their girls, but also understood that this was part of life.

“So I heard that you wanted to pinch my ass this afternoon?” Tony breaks the silence as he looks over at Dale. Dale then looks at him surprised as Tony laughs. “Don’t hide it because I have a good source that told me this information.”

“Oh really?” Dale asks, already knowing who the source was. He knew that he’d have to yell at Steve the next day.

“Yep. He said that you were staring at my ass. So is that what you do in the garage area?”

“What else do you expect me to do when there’s something sexy in my presence? I had to take in the view.” Dale then rolls over and faces Tony. “Let’s face it – you’ve done the same thing yourself.” Tony’s jaw drops in shock as Dale laughs. “I’ve caught you a couple of times, Smoke.”

“Oh really?” Dale shakes his head yes as he remembers when he caught Tony last year at Martinsville.

“Yep. Looks like you’re going to think of some new spying tricks.”

“Or I could do this.” Tony then reaches over, and pinches Dale butt, causing Dale to jump.

“That’s not nice, Tony.” A smirk grows on Tony’s face as he does it once again. “You know it goes both ways, right?” Dale then pushes himself towards Tony, pushing Tony on his back so he can tickle him. “I didn’t know that you were so ticklish.”

“Okay…that’s enough….” Dale then stops and Tony uses the break to pin Dale underneath him on the bed. “Revenge is a sweet thing, you know? There are plenty of things that I could do with you right now.” Tony watches as Dale closes his eyes and tenses. “Dale?”

“I just love you so much,” Jeff says as he lies on top of Dale, pinning him on the bed. “There are plenty of things that I could do with you right now.”

“Please no,” Dale begs as he feels his nerves building, knowing that there is pain coming.

“Oh yes baby, that’s how much I love you.” He then fights to get out of Jeff’s grasp, though is unable to. He then feels Jeff’s hand roughly trail down his skin to the waistband on his pants.

“Please no…”

“This is how it works, hun.” Jeff then runs his fingers underneath of the waistband.

“No..no…” Dale squirms as he fights to get out from underneath Tony and Tony instantly sits up.

“Dale!” Tony yells as he grabs Dale’s arm, trying to free him from the memory that has consumed his mind.

“Tony…” Dale whispers as his eyes snap open and he sits up. “Tony…” He then collapses against Tony as he wraps both arms around Tony, tightly. “I’m sorry.”

“It’s okay baby, it’s okay…” Tony then rubs Dale’s back as he holds him tightly against him. “You just had a bit of a flashback.”

“I’m sorry…”

“It’s not your fault, babes. You’re okay. I’ve got you.” Tony then looks down and kisses Dale’s forehead. “I’m sorry for putting you in that position.” Tony then lies down, getting Dale to lie down with him as he continues to rub Dale’s back.

 

Chapter 50: Las Vegas Part 3

“Good morning,” Tony says as he enters the room, opening the closet to take out his firesuit. He smiles as he looks back towards the blue eyed beauty lying in his bed.

“Good morning,” Dale says, slightly groggy as he sits up, wiping the sleep away from his eyes. He watches as Tony gets dressed, grabbing his phone from the table to check the time. Shocked at the time, his jaw drops as he glances back up at Tony. “Why didn’t you tell me it was 11?” Tony shrugs his shoulders as he leaves the room. Dale then unravels himself from the blankets and follows Tony through the motorcoach, smiling when the smell of bacon and eggs hits his noise.

“You needed the sleep so I thought that I’d let you sleep while I took care of sponsor business.” Tony then stops, turning around to face Dale, kissing his lips. “Now eat your breakfast like a good little boy while I go to the driver’s meeting. Then promise to come see me before race time because I want to see that sexy ass of yours. Love you.”

“Love you too.” Dale then sits at the table, beginning to eat as Tony heads out. Tony catches up with Kyle and they head to the meeting together.

“Ready to kick ass today?” The younger driver shrugs his shoulders, catching Tony off guard. Where was the confidence from a week ago? “What happened to being Mr. Race Winner? I liked you better last wee-”

“Last week the car was handling; this week it’s been a bitch all weekend,” Kyle cuts him off and Tony laughs. “It’s not funny! But regardless, I still think I can beat you.” Tony then looks at Kyle surprised as they round a corner. “I mea-”

“I had one of the quickest cars in practice so watch what you say young man,” Tony warns him as Kyle smirks.

“You wouldn’t hurt me even if I said something so wrong to you. You know how much I love Angelica and Dale would kick your butt if you did something to break his daughter’s heart. But you’re right, you were fast in practice so maybe you’ll be closer to me this week than last week.” Kyle then heads inside for the meeting, sitting beside his crew chief as Tony sits in the row behind him with Steve Addington.

********

“Can we watch race together?” Chelsea asks as she jumps up on Angelica’s bed, surprising Angelica and the puppy. The puppy then growls at Angelica before lying back down by Angelica’s feet and going to sleep.

“Got to be careful getting up on the bed like that,” Angelica informs her. “And yes we can watch the race together.” Chelsea then gets comfy as she watches the television, smiling when she hears Winnie snoring once again.

“Tony gonna win today?” Angelica shrugs her shoulders with a smile. She wouldn’t mind seeing Tony win, but her heart was hoping that Kyle would go back-to-back. “Kyle gonna win?”

“Maybe.”

“I think Harrison gonna win. Harrison fast yesterday, mommy said.” Angelica smiles as she remembers how quick Harrison was in the final practice and how he dominated the Nationwide Series race.

“Maybe Harrison will win – maybe Kyle will win – maybe Tony will win. We’ll just have to wait and see.”

********

Tony laughs as he listens to Kevin Harvick tell him and Denny a story about something that Keelan did. He couldn’t believe the trouble that Keelan would get into….then again, he was Kevin’s Mini Me.

Tony then jumps when he feels someone touch his ass, spinning around thinking it’d be Delana (Kevin’s wife) with their crazy ‘pinch ass’ tradition of good luck. Though a smile crosses his face as he realizes that its Dale.

“Get ready for some loving,” Denny teases as Kevin laughs.

“You told me to come see your sexy ass so I did just that,” Dale whispers into Tony’s ears, before giving him a quick kiss and pulling back. “Good luck today sexy. I’ll see your ass in victory lane later today.”

“That’s the plan buddy,” Tony replies as he sticks his tongue out at Denny. “You’re just jealous, we get it.”

“I thought you were the jealous one since my wife always like to pinch your ass,” Kevin comments as Denny looks towards him, confused.

“Wouldn’t that make you jealous because your wife is hitting on another man?” Denny questions as Tony laughs.

“She’s not hitting on him; she’s just showing him what he’s missing.” Kevin then glances towards Tony and Dale. “Then again, you do get the best of both worlds with Dale and Lindsay.” Tony then smirks as he pulls Dale close.

“I’m a spoiled man but I wouldn’t take away from any minute that I get with them,” he says, giving Dale another kiss before letting go. “Tell the spunky kid that’s married to your daughter that I am going to kick his ass today.”

“Got it,” Dale says before walking away.

“Things cool with you guys at home with everything that happened at Daytona and going on Angelica?” Denny asks and Tony shakes his head yes. While it was tough at times, there was no question that he was enjoying life right now. He just hoped that things continued to get better for Angelica. “Oh…so I have to tell you what Taylor did the other day while Jordan was out….”

*********

At the end of the race, it ended up being Denny in victory lane while Tony finished fourth with Kyle fifth. Both were pleased with their finishes and once done talking to the media, they headed home with Dale, ready to see the ladies of their life.

Making Memories for a Lifetime – Chapters 41 Thru 45

makingmemoriesforalifetime

Chapter 41: Comforting Friend

“Are you okay?” Dale asks as he peaks into Angelica’s room. She looks up, nodding her head yes. They then hear a knock at the door and Dale smiles. “Looks like your surprise from Kyle is here.” That Tuesday afternoon he hadn’t been expecting anybody to come over so it seemed logical that it’d be the surprise. “I wonder who he got for you.” Angelica shrugs her shoulders as they both head down the stairs.

“He wouldn’t give me any hints,” she comments as she walks to the door, opening it. as soon as it’s open, a smile immediately forms on her face when she sees Matt standing there with his girls, Kaylin and Gracie.

“Surprise!” He says as he walks inside and hugs Angelica. Dale leans back on the wall, shaking his head. He should’ve known that Matt would be the surprise. It was Matt that had set the wheels in motion for the treatment, showed a lot of care for her and had a close relationship.

“So you’re Kyle’s surprise for her?” Dale double checks and Matt shakes his head yes.

“How did Kyle know that you’d be perfect?” Angelica wonders.

“Because Kyle knows how close we are, he knows I care about you, he knows I wouldn’t let anything happen to you and that you needed a friend.” Angelica smiles, knowing those words are correct.

“We come with daddy to see Chelea,” Gracie then speaks up as Angelica’s smile widen. It was babysitting Matt’s girls with her little sister that perked her interests in wanting to have a child of her own one day. “Is Chelsea home?” Angelica shakes her head yes.

“Why don’t you girls come with me and we’ll go find Chelsea and Lindsay?” Dale then suggests, knowing that Matt and Angelica need some alone time to talk.

“Then after we can bake chocolate chip cookies, if your daddy allows,” Angelica adds, causing both girls to smile.

“Can we daddy?” Gracie then asks Matt and Matt shakes his head yes.

“Come on girls…” Dale then says, ushering the two girls through the house as he leaves Matt and Angelica standing there by themselves.

“Do you want go sit in the living room?” Angelica offers, not sure what to do. “Or should we go out to the garage?”

“It’s up to you,” he tells her. “Whatever you want to do.”

“Garage.” Matt then follows her out towards the garage as she hits the light switch. Matt smiles as he sees the Legend tucked in the corner underneath the blue tarp.

“You still have the Legend?”

“Do you think I’d ever get rid of that car? Plus, I told Chelsea she could have it when she was old enough. The rules state she has to be 11 before she can drive it so she’s still got six more years.” Matt smiles, shaking his head as he couldn’t believe how old Chelsea was or how old his girls were now. It seemed like they were just babies yesterday.

“Is she going to do any racing before then?” Angelica shakes her head yes as he leans against the Legend.

“She’s starting in quarter midgets next year with Kasey.” Matt smiles as he leans against one of the other cars in the garage.

“Good luck with that. Are you going to be racing next year?” Angelica then looks down, taking a deep breath. She knew why Matt had asked the question. It was just for conversation purposes. However, there was deeper meaning. That meant getting through the next couple of months, working her strength back up and making a return. Was that really in the cards? “You haven’t thought about that, have you?” She shakes her head no as she looks back up at him.

“My main focus was doing everything that I could to make the most out of every moment originally. Then you came along and suggested the surgery and the chemotherapy. That changed everything. Now my focus has been on my strength, getting through the surgery and now into what tomorrow holds. I haven’t even given beyond being healed a thought. I don’t want to consume my mind with those thoughts. I’d rather just focus on what I have to do now. If things go according to plan, then we’ll see what’s in store depending timing wise.” Matt shakes his head, understanding as he could see where she was coming from with what she had to say. “Plus, I don’t know if I honestly want to go back racing, either.” He then looks at her surprised as she runs her hand along the roof of the car. He never thought that he’d hear those words from her ever. “I may have other plans.”

“What could possibly make the girl that was so determined to follow her racing dreams say those words to me? All you wanted to do was race as that’s what you worked hard to do while you stayed at Rick’s and then moved up through the ranks.” He then walks over to her, unsure of where she was going with what she wanted to say as she focuses her eyes on the car. Matt’s words were true. Her focus for her entire teenage life had been focused on racing and getting to the top level. Every step of the way it was about being successful at that level to continue to move up the ranks to the Cup Series. It seemed odd to her to even think of her own words now, but she also had a new perspective on everything.

“I don’t want to make my life just about racing. I know it sounds strange and weird coming from me, but things have changed. I was thinking of having a family of my own. I want to know what it’s like to have a little girl or boy of my own. Chelsea and your girls made me realize how much I love kids. If I love other kids that much, how much would I love my own? That’s just one thought. I’ve also thought about other things that I’d like to do in my life, whether it’s traveling around the world to who knows what.” Matt smiles as he wraps an arm around her.

“I think you’d make a wonderful mother and I don’t blame you at all for what you’ve just told me.” She smiles as she looks over at him.

“What will everybody else think though?”

“Who cares what they think as it’s your life and it’s your decision as to what you do with it. Once this is all over, it will be your second chance to have the life that you’ve always wanted with Kyle. Like you’ve always said to us – you have the make the most of it because you never know.” She then pulls Matt closer into a full hug as he rubs her back. “You’re going to be fine princess. I told you that this would work out.”

“Thanks Matty.” She then backs out of the hug.

“Are you ready for what tomorrow holds? Are you confident going into tomorrow?” She then shakes her head no.

“I’m more scared than ever.” He then grabs her hand firmly, catching her attention. “I don’t know what to expect. I don’t know what I am getting myself into and it scares the bloody crap out of me. I feel more scared about the chemo then my first laps at Daytona.” Matt smiles as he keeps a hold of her hand.

“Well you don’t have to go alone. You’ve got your dad, you’ve got Rick coming and I’ve already told Joe that I am taking tomorrow off to be with you. You don’t have to do this alone. We’re all be there, probably just as scared as you.”

“I appreciate that.” Matt then lets go, only to pull her into another hug.

“I told you from day one that I’d be there for you. I wasn’t lying.”

“Thank you.” She then keeps him held close for a couple of minutes before they separated. “I don’t think I could ever thank you enough. I just damn well wish that Kyle could be there tomorrow, too.” She then walks to the other side of the garage as Matt stands there shaking his head. He knew that Kyle wanted to be there, as well, but he had the responsibilities to attend to. If there was any way that he could get out of them, he would do it in a heartbeat. Matt still held close to him hoping that Kyle figured out a way to be there.

 

Chapter 42: Time For Treatment

Angelica sits in the bed as she looks nervously around the room. Every inch of her body craved fear at that moment. She knew that it was simple, nothing that she had to worry about. However, what if it didn’t work? What if something happened? All of the nerves she discussed the day before had hit their peak that day.

She looks up when she sees the doctor walk in, knowing that it is now or never as she glances over towards her left, eying her dad. She hadn’t expressed the fears that she expressed with Matt with him. It was harder to do that because she knew the level of caring that went back and forth between them.

“Are you ready for today?” Dr. Barns asks and she nervously shakes her head yes, wishing that she could numb the fears.

“It’s going to be okay,” Matt assures her as he stands at the end of the bed, leaning against the wall. He had promised her that he would be there as much as he could. It was his idea for her to do this. It was his idea to put her through the extended pain and stress that it would cause in hopes that it would. He couldn’t bail on her now.

Angelica then flinches when the doctor inserts the IV into her arm, as she continues to look straight ahead. She didn’t want to catch a view of it happening at all. As explained to her in a previous visit, the chemo drugs would be inserted into her system through IV. She’d spend the day sitting in the room and be allowed to leave at the end of the day to rest up at home.

“Anybody seen Kyle?” She then asks carefully as she hears the doctor rummaging with things beside her. Everybody shrugs her shoulders as she takes a deep breath. She was hoping that he could be back in time. She had talked to Tony last night and Tony said it was fine by him, but getting out of the sponsor obligations would be up to the sponsor. Kyle promised to beg and ask so with him not there, she knew the answer had been no and that made her mad. Didn’t they know about family? She was glad that Tony promised to keep Kyle’s schedule clear for every Wednesday from now on.

“He may be stuck in traffic,” Matt suggests, not wanting to see her heart broken so early on. “Just hang in there and know that you’ve got us here and he’s here in spirit.”

“Matt is right as we’re going to be here the whole time with you,” Rick adds as he grabs hold of her right hand and squeezes it.

“I’ll yell at him tonight for you,” Dale then comments as Angelica laughs slightly.

“Mrs. Earnhardt, did you read the pamphlet that you were given?” Dr. Barns then asks and she shakes her head yes. “So you understand the risks and given measures?” She shakes her head yes once again. “Have you been drinking lots of water, ginger ale and tea as suggested?”

“Just finished my second bottle of water for the day before I laid down,” Angelica informs him as the doctor smiles in approval.

“That’s good to hear. So the one line will be for the chemo drugs while the other line is strict water to prevent dehydration.” She shakes her head as she watches him run the lines and how the IV is in her arm.

“If she has any other problems, how do we let you know?” Rick then wonders and the doctor looks towards him.

“You can page me and if she’s at home, depending how serious they are, you can bring her in or phone,” Dr. Barns explains as Angelica relaxes. “The main problems that people run into are fatigue, nausea, bathroom problems, cramps, become anorexic or lose their hair. There are other issues that can come up, but those are the main ones to focus on.”

“I love my brown hair,” she comments as she runs her hands through her long brown hair.

“Some people lose their hair, others don’t – we’ll have to wait and see.” She then pouts slightly as she brushes it out of her face.

“I’d scream if it fell out.”

“If it does, relax, because that means we can go wig shopping and buy you a new style for each day of the year,” Matt comments with a smile on his face.

“She could even go with pink to go with Kyle’s pink car in October,” Rick adds as Matt shakes his head yes.

“You’re going to be fine Angelica,” Dale assures her as he rubs her hand.

“I’ll be back in an hour to check on you,” Dr. Barns then speaks up. “Page me if you need me before then.” He then leaves as Angelica grabs her phone.

“Texting Kyle?” Angelica shakes her head yes. “Is he going to be able to make it?” Angelica slowly shakes her head no as she types another message.

“Remind me to kick him in the balls when I feel better,” she comments as she sets her phone back on the table. “Who wants to play Gold Fish?”

“Really?” Dale asks and she shakes her head yes. “Gold Fish?”

“Yes, Gold Fish.” She then pulls a deck of cards out of her purse as Rick sits down on the chair.

“Deal the cards,” he instructs as he looks across the bed at Dale. “I suggest you play with us. She’s the one lying in the bed so she gets to choose the game.”

“Playing Matt?” She then asks Matt and Matt shakes his head yes as he sits on the end of the bed. “Daddy?”

“Come on Dale…”

“Fine,” Dale gives in as he sits down, ready to play.

“How many times have we played this game?” Rick asks as Angelica smiles.

“We did it every night for a whole year at least,” Angelica comments as she deals the cards.

“I remember Ross used to always complain about you beating him,” Matt adds as she laughs.

“She has a horseshoe stuck up her ass when we play,” Rick comments and Matt shakes his head in agreement.

 

Chapter 43: Home Coming

Dale comes down the stairs and peaks into the front room, smiling when he sees Tony lying there watching TV.

“Kyle home yet?” Dale wonders and Tony shakes his head no. Dale then lets out a frustrated sigh as he leans back against the couch. “I swear I’m going to kill that kid. He should’ve been home by now! Hell, he should’ve been there today with her! She needed him!” Dale then stands up, walking over to the bottom of the staircase and sitting down on the last step. “You told him that he could get out of doing that appearance right?”

“Yes,” Tony answers as he looks back towards Dale.

“Then why did he still do it?”

“I don’t know.”

“Is he stupid?” Tony shrugs his shoulders as he sits up, shutting the television off.

“Listen, I told him he didn’t have to and if they gave him a hard time that I’d take care of it.”

“So why wasn’t he there today?”

“I don’t know, Dale! You’re going to have to ask him!”

“Oh you don’t have to tell me not to.” Tony then walks over to the bottom of the stairs, taking a deep breath.

“How is she?” Dale then looks down as Tony sits beside him. Dale wipes the tears that are forming in his eyes away as he shakes his head in disbelief.

“She’s as best as she can be right now given the situation.” Tony then rubs Dale’s back as he takes that in. given what he had heard earlier, he knew that she was pretty tired and wanted to spend the night resting. It was why Matt had given her a piggy back up the stairs when they got back.

“Listen, she’s going to be fine. You just got to believe buddy.” Tony then pulls Dale close. “She’s a strong girl and this is just a step along the way.”

“I know, but I hate to see her like this.” Tony shakes his head in agreement.

“Has she eaten anything?” Dale shake his head yes. “Okay, well that’s good. At least she’s feeling fine in that department. Don’t worry. We’ve got this.”

“I just hope she makes it through.” Dale lies his head on Tony’s shoulder as Tony wraps an arm around him. “Why don’t you go up to bed? You’ve been through a lot today yourself.”

“No – I’m waiting for dickhead to show up.” Dale then straightens up. “I want him to hear what I have to say to him. He deserves to hear a piece of my mind.” They both then glance up when they hear a knock on the door. “Speaking of which….” Dale then gets up and opens the door, crossing his arms. “Hello.”

“Hey,” Kyle says as he walks inside, taking his shoes and jacket off.

“You’re not going up the stairs till I talk to you,” Dale then speaks up, blocking Kyle’s path to go upstairs as Tony still sits on the stair. “Where were you?” He then pushes Kyle back. “Don’t you realize how badly she wanted you to be there?”

“I’m sorry but I had the appearance… I wanted to be here badly with her, Dale.”

“Then why didn’t you skip the appearance like I told you to?” Tony speaks up as Dale crosses his arms.

“I went and told them the situation,” Kyle starts. “They said if I didn’t do this, then to kiss the sponsorship goodbye.” Dale and Tony’s eyes both open wide in surprise.

“I would’ve told them to kiss my ass if they want to be like that. I’m sorry but that’s rude.”

“Don’t they have a contract?” Dale asks and Tony shakes his head. “Then they can’t be saying that crap!”

“They’d pull sponsorship for future years,” Kyle clarifies. “I didn’t want to put you and the team in a tough spot like that, Tony. I knew that Angelica had Dale, you, Rick and Matt today so I went with my gut and did it.”

“Still not good enough reason..”

“He’s right because I don’t care how much they pay, they can kiss my ass for that comment,” Tony starts. “They’re getting a nasty phone call tomorrow.”

“I’m sorry I wasn’t there as trust me, I badly wanted to be there with her,” Kyle continues as he looks into Dale’s eyes. “It killed me to not be there with her. I hated to break the promise that I made her.”

“When you married her, you promised to stick by her side through thick and thin,” Dale starts. “You promised to never break her heart. You promised me that you’d never break my little girl’s heart. You promised that you’d be there with her for each treatment. You promised…ah fuck it! Let me tell you this – do this to her again and I’ll kick your ass.” Dale then walks away and heads to the kitchen as Kyle heads up the stairs.

He walks into the kitchen, putting the kettle on as he leans against the counter.

“Hot coco time?” He hears and smiles when he sees Lindsay standing by the back door.

“Yeah,” he answers as he waits for the kettle to boil. “Do you want one?” She shakes her head yes as she sits at the counter. She then watches him make the two cups of hot coco – including the whip cream – before placing them on the counter. “Are you okay?”

“Yeah.” He then walks over to her side of the counter, sitting beside her.

“You don’t look okay.”

“It still hurts, Dale.” Dale takes a deep breath as he knows that she’s talking about losing the baby. He watches her take a sip of her drink, before dipping her fingers in the whip cream.

“I know it still hurts. I know how you feel, Lindsay.” He then wraps an arm around her. “What do you say we go sit on the back porch and talk about it?” She shakes her head yes as they both stand up and head outside to the back.

 

Chapter 44: I’m Sorry

Kyle walks into the bedsroom, wiping himself off with the towel. He had just come out of the shower and was ready to head to bed with his wife and puppy. As he watched her sleep while drying himself off, a smile crossed his face. She looked so peaceful curled up lying there with her puppy curled up against her. If anybody didn’t know any better, they’d think that everything was fine by how she looked. Kyle grabs his pajama pants and slips them on before climbing into the bed.

“Thanks for taking care of her Winnie,” he whispers to the puppy as he rubs the puppy’s back. The puppy licks his hand in approval. As he scoots closer to her, he is surprised when she rolls over and faces him, eyes wide open.

“Where were you?” She asks without hesitation and Kyle instantly feels guilt as he hears the heartbreak that Dale spoke of in her voice. “You promised me that you’d help me through it. Where were you?” As she hears no response from him, she grabs his hand and squeezes it. “I wanted you there so badly.”

“I’m sorry…” Kyle whispers, tears forming in his eyes as he sees the frustration and hurt in hers. “I know I was wrong for not being there. But when the sponsors didn’t want me to go and were threatening to screw future deals, my vision got clouded.”

“So your racing means more than spending time with your own wife and helping her through the toughest moment in her life? I thought you were going to take care of me no matter what.”

“I know I was wrong, but I thought that you’d be fine with Dale, Rick and Matt there for you.”

“It’s not the same as you not being there!” She then pulls the blanket off of herself and sits up. “You should’ve known better, Larson.”

“I’m sorry…” She then slowly stands up, taking a deep breath as she place her hand on the coffee table by the bed.

“Quit with the apology because it can’t take back what you did.” He then scoots across the bed so he is close to her.

“Where are you going?”

“I’m going to get some ginger tea.” He then sits up immediately, sliding his feet off the bed.

“Let me get it for you so you can relax.” She then looks away as she notices a bit of hair by her hand.

“Fine. I hope one of the reasons you love me doesn’t do with my hair.” He then looks at her confused by her words in more ways than one.

“What do you mean by that?” She then throws the small clump of black hair at him as he looks at it surprised. She then sits back on the bed, defeated by her own frustration and heartbreak with him, strength and the hair.

“It’s starting to fall out already.” She then lies back on the bed, letting out a long sigh as Kyle sits down on the edge, discarding the hair immediately.

“You’re going to be okay, Angelica.” She then looks towards him.

“You don’t know that for sure.” He then takes her hand into his own as he looks into her blue eyes.

“Yes, I do know for that sure because I love you and you’re strong enough to get through this and kick everybody’s ass afterwards.” As he reaches in for a kiss, she immediately captivates herself in his lips. “As for the hair, it is beautiful but I love you for more reasons than that. I love your body, your eyes, your kindness, your caring side and every bit of personality that you have.” She then clutches on to his hand tightly.

“Promise to be not make me upset anymore?”

“Promise.” He then reaches down and kisses her lips once again. As they kiss, she runs her hand down his bare chest.

“Damn you’re sexy…”

“You’re just as sexy as ever…” She then kisses his lips once again as she wraps both arms around him. He then climbs back in the bed lying beside her as he runs his hands down the side of her body. He slips one of his hands underneath her shirt, rubbing one of her breasts as a low moan escapes her lips. “Easy…”

“I want you so bad…” He unbuttons his shirt knowing that he wants her equally as bad.

“I know but are you sure about this?”

“Yes Kyle…”

“Promise to tell me when it is too much? I’ll take it slow.” She shakes her head yes as he slips her pajama shirt over her head. “I don’t want to hurt you.” He then moves his hands down to her waistband. “Slow and just enough to satisfy, but not enough to push you over the edge.” She shakes her head yes approving as he slips her pants off. He then slips her underwear off, slowly. As he does that, she slips his pajama pants off, followed by his boxers. “Don’t push yourself too far. You need to take care of yourself.”

“I’ll be careful sweetheart.”

“Okay.” He then climbs on top of her and slowly inserts himself inside of her.

“Fuck…” She then runs her fingers through his hair as he slowly moves inside of her. “Kyle…God damn…” He picks the pace up slightly as she runs her hands down his shoulders. “Yes baby…” She feels her breathing pick up as her need for him is filled. As he feels her chest rise and fall beneath him at a quicker rate, he pulls out and lies beside her.

“That’s it..” She then regains her composure, smiling as she looks over at him. He smiles as he leans in, kissing her lips. Her smile widens as she accepts the kiss.

“I love you. Thank you.”

“I love you too. I’m sorry for not being there. I promise I won’t miss another one.” He then stands up, throwing his boxers and pants on.

“Where are you going?”

“To get that ginger tea you wanted since I guess I worked up your thirst?” She smiles as she shakes her head yes.

“Yeah that may be a good idea. On the flip side, do you want to go shopping tomorrow?” He then looks at her confused.

“Why do you want to go shopping?”

“I was thinking of trying a new hair style and color.” While Kyle wasn’t sure of the motives behind it, he knew that she would need a wig if it was all going to fall out and keep her look. While some may be bothered about the thought of hair falling out, it didn’t bother him. As long as she was okay by the end of this treatment, he would be fine with everything along the way.

“Shopping it is. Any color or style in mind?” She shrugs her shoulders not sure. She knew that she didn’t want to be a blond – that reminded her of her crazy mother Amber. She didn’t need to be reminded of her mother being a crazy chick or what her mother did to her dad either. She didn’t want to go brown because that reminded her of everything with her ex-boyfriend. That was in the past and she wanted to keep that in the past. She loved her black hair and the look it had with her, but if she was going to play with wigs, why not try something new? “Whatever it is, I’m sure it’ll be beautiful.” Kyle then heads off to get the drink, knowing that it was something that he wouldn’t even worry about. Like he had told her – hair didn’t matter. He loved her for her.

 

Chapter 45: The Baby

Dale and Lindsay sit on the swing as they look out into the backyard. They both knew that they needed to have this talk as it was key to moving on, or at least beginning to move on.

“It still hurts…” Lindsay lets out with a sigh, not knowing where to go from this point. Her words catch Dale’s attention as he looks over at her. She then wipes the tear that has formed under her eye quickly away as she sips on her drink. “I don’t know if it’ll ever stop hurting. There’s just so much that I don’t even know what to say first, Dale.” She then sits her drink down and turns to face him, feeling her heart ready to pour out. “I already felt a connection to the baby. I know it was just an egg that had started to grow, but I felt that connection because it was inside of me.” She then looks down, taking a deep breath as she debates how to continue. The silence from him wasn’t helping either. “I felt like there was an actual baby – a grand baby for us and to see it go, it feels like I lost the real thing. Not just the real thing, but also part of me with it. It one of the worst pains that I’ve ever felt.” Dale reaches out for her hand, wrapping his hand around hers.

“I understand,” he simply says as he digests what she is saying to him. “I know what you’re saying and I feel what you’re saying. We were all excited about the baby and felt that connection to it for them and boom – it’s gone. It hurts like hell.” Lindsay shakes her head agreeing.

“There’s no doubt about that.” She then looks down, sniffing in her own tears. “I just want it to get easier already. They say pain gets easier to handle over time, but when does that happen?” She then looks up at Dale. “When do you get over that?” He shrugs his shoulders not sure as there was no way to tell.

“It’s only been a week so remember to give yourself time to heal.” Having gone through the turmoil that he had gone through, he had learned that letting yourself heal over time rather than pushing it to satisfy your immediate needs was always the better option.

“I’m trying, but it hurts sooo much.” She then sniffs in the tears again, reaching up to wipe her eyes. “I never thought it could hurt like this.”

“It’s okay to hurt because I know the pain that you’re feeling.” She then lies against him as he rubs her back.

“What are we going to do?” She then puts her head on his chest, getting comfy against him. “I don’t know what to do anymore.”

“We’re going to work through the pain and promise each other to get better with each day. Beyond that, we’re going to take on life as we know it. We’ll battle whatever is thrown our way.” He then runs his hands through her light brown hair, holding her against him.

“We got no other choice, right? But what do we do about the future?” Dale knew by those words that she meant not being able to get pregnant. Chelsea would be their final child as a couple, no matter what dreams they had for the future. He didn’t know how to answer. They had talked about wanting to have another child and had brought Tony in on the discussion one night with agreement. What happens to those dreams now? Shattered simply by a one day event? That doesn’t feel right now does it? He didn’t know how to react to it as he hadn’t let his mind process the thought. For the time being, he was focused on Tony, Angelica and getting better himself. Not being in the car was a feeling he hated.

“We take it one step at a time, handle it day by day and know in our hearts that we’ve done what we could and be thankful for those in our lives.” She then looks up, kissing his lips.

“You’re a darling.” He smiles as he reaches down, kissing her back. “I love you. Are you staying home this weekend or going to Vegas with Tony?” Dale was undecided. He wanted to be with Tony. Being with Tony gave him comfort and ability to sleep, plus knowing that Tony could sleep. Perfect world would have Lindsay go with him, but he knew that someone needed to stay home and make sure Angelica was kept well. Being away from Lindsay didn’t sting as much as being away from Tony, but it still hurt. He loved her and wanted to be there to take care of her in this time. “It won’t bug me if you go to Vegas. I’ll just have more time to spend with Angelica, Chelsea and your sister. I think you should go to make Tony feel better and yourself feel better.” She then cuddles back against him, satisfied with her decision being made. She knew if Dale stayed home that both boys would be unable to sleep being away from each other.

“I love you.”

“Love you too.”

“We should head inside to bed.” He then goes to get up, though immediately notices that she has her eyes closed. “Night Lindsay. Thank you for everything.” He then slowly gets up, picking her up and quietly carrying her upstairs. He carefully lies her down in the bed before climbing in next to her. Shortly after, he feels the bed shift slightly and knows that Tony has finished whatever he was doing as he has joined them.

Making Memories for a Lifetime – Chapters 26 Thru 30

makingmemoriesforalifetime

Chapter 26: Home Sweet Home

“Are you busy?” Angelica asks as she looks in the bedsroom after eating breakfast.

“No,” Lindsay answers as she looks up to see Angelica standing there. “Come in.” Angelica then walks into the room and sits on the edge of the bed as Lindsay scoots her legs out of the way. Angelica shakes her head as she looks over at her dad.

“Still sleeping? Somethings don’t change.” Lindsay laughs lightly as she sets her plate down on the night table.

“I figured I’d let him sleep in since Tony said he’d take Chelsea to school before going in to the shop for a bit. Shouldn’t you be sleeping?” Angelica shrugs her shoulders as she looks over at the person who had become more of a mother in her life over the last five years.

“I slept all last night and woke up with Kyle this morning to have breakfast and couldn’t get back to sleep.” Lindsay smiles as she thinks as to how close Kyle and Angelica have gotten.

“So he went to the shop this morning?” Angelica shakes her head yes. “Well then looks like it’s just us till sleeping beauty graces us with his presence.” Lindsay then looks down, as she thinks back to the day before and the sadness that she feels in losing the baby. Angelica notices the change, scooting closer as she closes the gap between them. “I’m so sorry Ang….” Angelica pulls Lindsay close, simply holding her. “I know how much the baby meant to you. I just wish things could be different.”

“I wish they could be too, but we can’t change them. I’m not mad at you so stop beating yourself up over it. It’ll be fine.” Angelica then rubs Lindsay’s back as she holds back her own tears. Well she spoke the words, she didn’t know if they were true as nobody could predict what could happen in the future. “You did what you could and that’s all that matters. So just relax and let yourself move forward.” Lindsay takes a careful deep breath.

“I wish it was that easy, Ang. I just keep kicking myself in the gut over it.” Lindsay then reaches up and wipes her own tears away as they hear a noise from the far end of the bed. “Uh oh….we woke the bear.” Angelica laughs as she watches her dad open his eyes and look at them. “Good morning. Feeling better?” Dale lets out a groan as he sits up, surprised to see Angelica sitting there.

“Headache is still there,” he comments as he rubs his eyes. Angelica then reaches over to the night table, tossing him the Tylenol bottle followed by a bottle of water.

“Before you ask,” Angelica tells him as he looks at her confused.

“Thanks.” He then takes a couple before sitting it down on the night table on his side of the bed. “Shouldn’t you be resting?” Angelica rolls her eyes.

“Kyle left to go to the shop for a couple of hours and I couldn’t get back to sleep so I thought I’d come see Lindsay.”

“Tony gone to the shop for a bit too?” Lindsay shakes her head yes.

“He took Chelsea to school and said he was going for a half day,” Lindsay tells him as Dale slowly sits up.

“He could’ve went for the full day,” Dale comments. “I can take care of you both.”

“You should also concentrate on resting yourself so stop fretting about us girls. We’re fine.”

“That’s why we left you sleeping,” Angelica adds as Lindsay shakes her head.

“Do you want me to go get you some breakfast?” Lindsay then asks and Dale shakes his head no. “No? You’re honestly turning down food?”

“I can get it myself,” he tells her as he gets out of bed. “You’re supposed to be relaxing.” Lindsay then rolls her eyes.

“Are you going to be like this all week?” Dale shakes his head yes as he slips on a pair of pants as Lindsay looks over at Angelica. “Save me.” Angelica laughs as she then watches Lindsay let out a slight groan. “Stupid pains.” Even though things were mostly over with regards to losing the baby yesterday, the doctor had told her there’d be some small pains in the couple of days to follow with a little bit more blood to still come. If the pains didn’t stop by mid-week, she was supposed to check in with her doctor.

“That’s why you should listen to me.”

“I’m fine.” She then lies back, not wanting to argue with him as he goes to leave the room. “It’s actually good for someone to get up and move around after what has happened, too.” Dale then looks back at her surprised. “I’m just saying!”

“I didn’t say you had to stay there all day, now did I? I just want you to be taking care of yourself.”

“And I am doing that sweetheart. Go get yourself your breakfast.”

“He’s just acting like he is because he cares about you,” Angelica comments as Dale leaves the room. “Cut him a little slack. He loves you so it causes him to sometimes go overboard. I should know.” Lindsay then smiles.

“I know, but it’s just frustrating at times,” she comments as Angelica smiles.

“I hear ya. I’m going to go grab a quick shower.” Angelica then heads out of the room as Lindsay lies there, thinking. She wanted to move forward without anymore thought, but couldn’t help being heartbroken about losing the baby or the possibility of not being able to have a second child of her own.

 

Chapter 27: Breaking Point

Everybody has their breaking point, even the strongest person we know. True strength is being willing to admit you’re in pain. It’s easier to not say anything at all.

 

Tony let out a sigh as he put the wet clothes in the dryer. It was Wednesday and the week was slowly going by.

Lindsay’s pains had subsided and she was doing better. The emotional pain was still there and it was evident to everybody. That was why Dale had dedicated to being by her side. With having received the news he’d miss at least two weeks of racing due to the concussion suffered as a result of the Daytona wreck, there was no problem in doing that. Rick had said he’d handle everything in finding a replacement driver for the two races while Kelley held down the fort at JR Motorsports.

Angelica was focused on following her doctor orders to take it easy and not push boundaries. She’d do what she could during the day, but would also relax when she had to. As a result of things with her, Kyle was only going into Stewart-Haas Racing for half days, taking Chelsea to school in the morning for Lindsay and Dale. Angelica and Kyle had their own emotions to handle too, with her fighting the cancer and the baby.

Tony was Tony. Focused on his responsibilities at SHR, picking Chelsea up from school and taking care of the bunch. That’s why he was in the middle of doing laundry when he heard the doorbell ring.

“I’ve got it!” He yelled as he hurried up the stairs. He figured it was probably Rick checking on Angelica and Dale or one of their family members. Either way, he was surprised when he opened the door and saw Kevin Harvick, Matt Kenseth and Elliott Sadler standing there. “Hey guys. Come in.” They each walked in and Tony closed the door behind him.

“We came to see how everybody was,” Kevin said as he slipped his shoes off.

“Nothing much has changed. Linday is upset and a little sore, Dale is taking care of her and doing what he has to do, Angelica is trying to be careful and taking care of her emotions and Kyle is, well, Kyle.”

“And how are you?” Tony then looks over at Kevin as he walks into the kitchen to check on dinner.

“I’m fine. Why would I be otherwise? I’m just holding down the fort.”

“Are you sure you don’t have too much responsibility on your shoulders?” After Kevin had seen Tony at the shop earlier that day, he saw some things that had him curious. That’s why he called up two of his best friends and they all headed over to see Tony and how he was.

“No, I can handle it here and Gene & Zippy have my back at the shop.”

“I just don’t want you to drain yourself out, Tony.” Tony takes a deep breath as he pushes all of his emotions to the side. He knew that Kevin was right to be worried based on everything, but that didn’t matter at that point.

“I’ll deal with it like I have always have, Kevin.” Kevin then rolls his eyes, knowing what that means with Tony.

“And how is that? Pushing it aside, not worrying about it and not caring for yourself?” Tony then pulls the chicken strips out of the oven, feeling his anger beginning to boil with Kevin.

“I have to do what has to be done. I can handle it so why don’t you just leave? If you’ve come here to hassle me about things, I don’t want to hear it!”

“Tony, we care about you and you need to see what I am saying.” Tony rolls his eyes.

“Leave Harvick. Leave before I do something that you’re going to regret me doing. I don’t need this right now.” By those words, Kevin knew he had hit the right button with Tony and the others knew it as well. “I already got enough going on.”

“Then why don’t you open up and let someone help take care of you too?” Matt then wonders out loud as Elliott walks over to Tony.

“We’re here to help you, not make you upset,” Elliott adds as Matt joins him.

“Please Tony.”

“Don’t stress yourself out.”

“Sometimes it gets to the best of us,” Kevin adds as he sees the pair of drivers are getting through to him.

“I….I don’t know what to….,” Tony voice cracks as he slips the oven mitts off, leaning against the counter to face them.

“Let it all out,” Matt tells him once again. “Tell us everything.”

“We won’t judge you,” Kevin adds as Tony shakes his head.

“There’s too much there for me even to know where to start!” Tony says as the tears start to roll down his cheeks. Kevin then pulls Tony close to him, wrapping both arms around him as Tony lets the tears loose.

“Let it go, Tony.”

“I’m upset over Lindsay and losing the baby and that she can’t have another baby……I’m so sick and worried that Angelica isn’t going to make it.”

“Everything will work out fine, Tony.”

“Kevin is right as we’re all here for all of you,” Elliott assures him.

“Why don’t we go talk and you get some rest well Elliott and Matt take care of things?” Kevin suggests, knowing Tony needs a break.

“We’ve got this,” Matt assures him as Kevin leads Tony out of the kitchen.

“I’ll get the food ready; you get the drinks,” Elliott instructs and Matt shakes his head approving. “We’ll take it up to them since they’re all having their moments.”

 

Chapter 28: A Much Needed Conversation

Per Kevin’s recommendation, Dale made his way out to the garage, quietly closing the door behind him to not startle the person he knew was in there. He smiled as he watched the person that he had grown to love working on his favourite hot rod, perfecting some more tweaks and the usual maintenance routine.

Dale sat back, watching without a single word for a while, only moving when he saw Tony coming out from underneath the car and looking up at him surprised.

“When did you get out here?” Tony asks curiously as he thought that he was alone. That evening per Kevin’s recommendations, he got his emotions out and spent some time relaxing. Kevin had told him after dinner to go spend his time doing something to get away as things were a-okay on the home front. “And shouldn’t be inside relaxing?” Dale rolls his eyes, seeing exactly what Kevin had talked to him about.

“Will you please stop worrying about me for a minute and worry about yourself?” Dale asks, a surprised expression showing up on Tony’s face by those words. Dale then looks down, taking a deep breath, knowing this has to be done.

“Let me guess – Kevin talked to you?” Dale shakes his head as he looks up at Tony. “Figures.” Tony then wipes his hands off on a rag and throws it up on the toolbox.

“Tony, he had a reason to talk to me and a reason that we both should be concerned with. Why didn’t you tell me how you were feeling through everything?”

“Because that’s now how I do things, Dale!” Tony then slams his fist against the toolbox, the same frustration he had earlier when things broke in front of Kevin coming back to him. Dale then stands up and walks over to where Tony is. Tony turns away and faces the wall, taking a careful deep breath. Dale then rubs Tony’s back. “Jus-”

“Let me know how you’re feeling, please.” Tony shakes his head as he bites back the tears, not willing to go through confessing it all again. “I love you and I care about you and I hate to see you hurting like this.” Tony then turns to face Dale, tears on his face as Dale shakes his head, knowing they’ve both waited too long for this moment with everything.

“When I was a kid, I’d always hide away everything, putting it to the backburner, not letting it get to me as I put the best face on that I could and kept moving.” Dale pulls Tony close to him, wrapping both arms around him.

“That’s not good for you to do, Tony. No matter what is going on, you have to understand that you can come to me and pour your emotions on me.” Dale then rubs Tony’s back as the pair of them stand there simply hugging each other. “Don’t ever feel the need to hide it again. It broke my heart when Kev came and told me. It’s been hard on us all and it will be for the next bit, but if we stick together, we can all get through it.” Dale then takes a deep back and looks at Tony in the eyes. “But that takes co-operation on your part in telling me and Lindsay when you’re hurting.” Tony then pulls Dale back close to him, holding him tightly as he buries his head in Dale’s neck. “We’re all upset about Lindsay. It kills me to hear that news.”

“I still remember the conversation you two were having the other day while I was outside with Chelsea. That’s why when I learned the news, I just couldn’t believe it.” Dale shakes his head understanding.

“I was shocked also, but I know there’s nothing that I can do. I can just hold her and be thankful for the fact that we have Angelica and we have Chelsea. And Angelica will be fine. She’s a strong girl and things are going to work out. I know it hurts to watch her go through it and I worry about her, too. Don’t let yourself worry about that alone.” Tony shakes his head understanding, not moving an inch from his current position close to Dale. “And I’ll be fine so don’t even start to worry about me buster.” Tony then shakes his head as he takes a careful shaky deep breath.

“I can’t help but worry about you because of how much you mean to me. I don’t know what I’d do without you, Dale.” Tony then kisses Dale’s cheek and Dale smiles.

“I’m not going anywhere so don’t worry about me.” Dale then moves his head so his lips meet with Tony’s and they share one of the most passionate kisses that they had shared in a long time. Tony separates, smiling, though feeling the worry still in his heart.

“I keep replaying that afternoon at Amber’s over and over in my head.” Tony then moves his hand to where the scar lies on Dale’s chest beneath his shirt. “That day I realized I could’ve lost you and I didn’t keep my promise of protecting you and it scared me worse than anything. That’s why I can’t help but put my own emotions aside and take care of you.” Dale pulls Tony back close to him, knowing more tears of coming from Tony’s eyes shortly based on his shaky breath.

“That afternoon has never left my mind either. But you can’t keep your promise to me if you’re not taking care of yourself also and letting me help with that.” Tony shakes his head understanding.

“I know you’re right.” Dale then looks into Tony’s eyes once again.

“Then please don’t do this to me again Smoke.” Tony knows by the look on Dale’s face that he can’t disappoint the person that he loves the most.

“Promise.”

“Thank you.” Dale then kisses Tony’s lips once again and smiles. “I’ve missed our kisses.”

“I’ve missed our long nights out here playing on the cars.” Dale then realizes himself from Tony’s grasp, grabbing a wrench from the toolbox with a smile on his face. “That’s not what I meant, Dale.” Dale then sets the wrench back down in the toolbox.

“Are you saying that Smoke is missing something else? Will he give me a clue?” Tony then laughs as he pulls Dale close to him, kissing his lips once again. As he continues to push his lips against Dale’s, he pushes him back against the Camaro that sits in the garage and on the hood. “God damn….” Dale then runs his hands underneath Tony’s shirt, knowing that this was the perfect medicine to heal the wounds. “I forgot all about this.” Tony laughs as he runs his hands underneath Dale’s shirt, slipping it off as he kisses Dale’s shoulder. “You’re not patient tonight either.” Dale then follows suit slipping Tony’s shirt off. “I love you.” Tony then traces his finger tip along the scar that lies where the bullet hit.

“I’m not losing you!” Angelica yells as she grabs hold of her dad’s hand. “If we go down, we go down together.” Dale then shakes his head, taking a deep breath.

“No, we don’t. It’s my fault for dating her. It’s my fault for bringing her into our lives. Just go, now.”

“Two for one? Yay!” Amber comments with a laugh. She then pulls back the trigger, smile crossing her face. “I only dated you because of you were.”

“I don’t care about that now,” Dale tells her as he looks up at her. “Just don’t kill our daughter.”

“Duck!” Tony yells as he swings a broom handle, hitting Amber square in the head, knocking her down. though as she goes down, her hand pulls back the trigger, sending a bullet off, hitting Dale.

“Dad!” Angelica yells as Dale falls back, Angelica wrapping her arms around him. She then kneels down, immediately placing pressure on the wound.

“Dale?” Tony says as he runs down the steps, joining Angelica.

“No no….don’t do this to us. We need you damn it!”

“Stay with us, buddy.”

“I lov…” Dale lets out as his eyes slowly close.

Tony snaps his mind out of the flashback, holding back the tears in his eyes, thankful for each day that passes by that Dale is still there with him.

“I love you too, more than you’ll know,” Tony replies as he kisses Dale’s cheek.

“Let your mind escape what you’re thinking,” Dale whispers in Tony’s ear before nibbling on it a little. “Let your mind have the night that we need together to get back that passion we originally had for each other.” Tony then smiles, loving the feeling of Dale’s teeth on his ear.

“God I’ve missed this more than you’ll know.” Dale then smiles as he continues to nibble on Tony’s ear, glad to have his Smoke back. He just hoped that Tony kept to his promise from here on out.

 

Chapter 29: Leaving for Phoenix

“I’m going to miss you this weekend,” Tony says as he pulls Dale close to him, kissing his lips. It was Thursday night and Tony was ready to head off to Phoenix with Kyle for the weekend’s race. Dale had stated that he’d stay home with Lindsay and Angelica based on everything that had happened the past week.

“I’m going to miss you also,” Dale says as he kisses Tony back.

“Take care of them and take care of yourself. I’ll keep an eye on Kyle.” Dale shakes his head understanding.

“You have my word, but also, take care of yourself too.”

“I will. I’ll keep my promise to you. I love you.” Tony pulls Dale back close to him. “Oh, who’d Rick get to drive your car this weekend?” Dale smiles at the thought.

“Burton’s son Harrison.” Tony shakes his head, understanding it to be Jeff Burton’s son Harrison. He knew Harrison was into his second year of Nationwide Series racing, having won rookie of the year the previous season. It seemed like a perfect fit since he was the current points leader. “It’s a fine choice by me since we know he’ll be clean.”

“He’s a lot like his dad which is a good thing. I’m glad that Rick could work something out.” Dale shakes his head agreeing as Lindsay walks over.

“Shouldn’t you and Kyle be gone already?” Lindsay wonders out loud as Tony laughs.

“I’m waiting on the kid,” he comments, pointing upstairs. He knew that Kyle was upstairs with Angelica and there was no secret that goodbye could take a while.

“Well why don’t you march your ass up there and tell him you’re waiting? He should know that it’s time to leave.”

“We have time so I’m not worried, Lindsay.” She rolls her eyes as Tony wraps an arm around her. “Plus, it gives me time to spend more time with you and Dale.” He then kisses Lindsay’s lips. “I’ll miss you this weekend.”

“You going to pull the same routine on her as you did with me?” Dale asks crossing his arms.

“And what was that routine?” Lindsay asks as she faces Tony, kissing his lips back.

“Total make-out session, sappy words and promises. Nothing like the Tony that you’re used to.” Lindsay laughs as she wraps both arms around Tony’s waist.

“I don’t have a problem with that at all. As a matter of fact, if they’re busy doing what they’re doing, then why are we just standing there?” She then reaches up, kissing Tony’s lips once again with more passion behind the kiss.

“Should I go get Kyle?” Tony shakes his head no as he pulls Dale close to him and Lindsay. “Why’s that?”

“Because I need my kiss-” Tony starts, though is cut off when Lindsay kisses his lips once again as Dale smiles. They then separate, only for Dale to take Tony’s lips over with his own.

“So you want some love before you go?” Dale asks as Tony looks at him with pleading eyes. “Shall we princess?” Dale then wraps both arms around Tony, slipping his hands underneath Tony’s shirt. “He is asking for it.”

“Only cause it was suggested.” They both then laugh as Dale slips off Tony’s shirt, before Lindsay’s returns her lips to Tony’s. “Damn I feel so spoiled. How did I get this lucky?”

“Woah…okay….” Kyle interrupts as he walks down the stairs, looking at them. Angelica, who is following him, shakes her head laughing.

“So that’s what happens when we’re not home,” she comments as Kyle laughs.

“We just wanted to say goodbye the right way,” Lindsay says as she looks up at the pair.

“Satisfying your needs so you can survive the weekend Tony?” Tony slips his shirt back on while facing her shocked.

“You can admit it in front of us,” Kyle adds as Tony rolls his eyes. “He’s chicken now.”

“Guys…” Lindsay warns as she faces them. She then pulls Kyle into a hug. “Be careful this weekend.”

“I’ll keep my eye on him,” Tony says as he looks over at Kyle.

“You also be careful too,” Angelica comments before hugging Tony.

“I will.”

“Good.” She then lets go, letting Tony return to Lindsay’s arms.

“Remember her words,” Lindsay instructs and Tony shakes his head.

“Good luck Kyle,” Dale says as he and Kyle face each other. Everybody then trades goodbye and Tony and Kyle head out to catch their ride.

“Have fun this weekend you two!” Dale then closes the door, turning back to Angelica.

“You take it easy this weekend,” he tells her and she rolls her eyes.

“Listen to your father,” Lindsay adds before walking past her to go find Chelsea. Dale then pulls Angelica into a hug.

“I’m only telling you that because I worry about you.” He then kisses her forehead. “I don’t need to repeat last weekend.” He then lets her go. “Oh, did Kyle tell you about the fact that he won’t be home till Wednesday night?” Angelica shakes her head yes.

“Something about some appearance that he has to do,” Angelica replies and Dale shakes his head, remembering what Tony had told him already.

“Sponsorship appearances,” Dale says. “Tony told me about the schedule already.”

“Well don’t let it worry you. Kyle said that he has someone special coming over to make sure I’m behaving next week.” Dale then looks at Angelica, curiously. “He didn’t tell me who though. Guess it’ll be a surprise for us both.”

“I guess. I trust his judgment so I wouldn’t worry about it. Oh, I am coming with you on Wednesday, okay?” Angelica shook her head, understanding. She had her first appointment for the beginning of the chemo in hopes to get rid of the rest of cancer that day. “Rick said that he’d probably come by and see you, too.”

“Okay. That’s fine.”

“Remember what I said.” Dale then heads off to go see what Lindsay and Chelsea were up to.

“How can I forget when you’re saying that everytime you see me?” She then rolls her eyes, heading back upstairs. She just wanted to be through it and done with it so she could move on and start enjoying the life she knew once again. Not being at the track this weekend with Kyle was going to be torture.

 

Chapter 30: Phoenix

“I don’t know…it’s loose…it’s tight…..it’s just a mess,” Tony comments as he sits on one of the tires in the garage area. Steve Addington comes and sits beside him, seeing the frustration in his voice.

“You’re going to need to be more exact,” Steve says in a calm voice as Tony rolls his eyes.

“Haven’t I given you enough feedback this practice for you to fix it?” Immediately as the words leave his mouth, he looks over at his crew chief and then looks away, shaking his head. He knew by his behavior that everything was getting to him again. He had to get it out of his mind for the next three days. He had to focus on the task at hand and winning the race. That was goal and that was what his mind had to focus towards. “Fuck, I’m sorry. It’s just frustrating.” Tony then runs his hands through his hair, as he thinks back to the discussion he had earlier that week with Dale. It had helped some, but not totally. The emotions were there and he knew they wouldn’t disappear overnight. “That last run it was loose in one, but tight in three. It felt better the run before that, though. So work with that somehow. Let’s just try and get it to where I can qualify in the top 10.” Steve shakes his head, understanding. “Oh, and sorry if I about bit your head off at all this practice. I just have a lot on my mind.” Steve then rubs Tony’s back as he looks down.

“I know and you don’t worry. I’ll figure it out. You just try and keep yourself in check this weekend.” Steve then stands up and heads to where the crew is, ready to talk adjustments. Tony watches as Steve talks with the crew guys and then heads off to go find one of their teammates.

“You okay?” Tony hears and looks up to see Kevin standing there.

“Yeah I’ll be fine,” Tony says as he sits back a bit as Kevin sits on the tire beside him.

“Want to talk?” Tony shakes his head no, knowing that he didn’t want to go into details with Kevin ,even if he was his best friend.

“Not right now.”

“Tony, remember what we talked about earlier this week….” Tony then lets out a frustrated sigh as he looks away from Kevin.

“I remember and know that you’re right, but I don’t want to talk about it with you right now.”

“You’re just making it worst.”

“I can’t make it better so why even try? It won’t be fine till everything is fine!” Kevin then rubs Tony’s back a little as he knows that Tony is starting to open up to him once again.

“It’s going to take some time for that, but it will be Tony.” Tony shakes his head, knowing otherwise. He saw the look on Lindsay’s face when she received the news. It was heart wrenching and that was something that you couldn’t fix.

“You don’t understand, Kevin.”

“Tr-”

“How would you like it if Delana was told that she could never ever have a baby no matter how much she wanted another one? Let that soak in and then come see me!” Tony then stands up and heads off as Kevin sits there, shaking his head. He knew it was going to be a long weekend.

Kevin looks down the garage area and sees Kyle standing there talking with his crew chief Ron Malec as they debrief how the car was in practice. He could only hope that things stayed on track with him this weekend.

“So I’ve got where it you want it?” Ron asks and Kyle shakes his head.

“Best I have ever had a car here,” Kyle answers as they look at the speed chart and see that Kyle was second in practice to Carl.

“So you think I should leave it for qualifying?” Kyle shakes his head as he looks back at Ron.

“I just don’t see how you can make it any better. I have no complaints.”

“Then we’ll leave it as it is.” Kyle shakes his head in agreement as he watches Matt join them.

“Nice lap there,” Matt comments and Kyle smiles.

“Thanks,” Kyle answers. “We’re still cool for Tuesday right?” Matt shakes his head, remembering the deal that they had made since Kyle was going to be away at an appearance. “Good to hear. I haven’t told her that you’re coming though. It should be a good surprise. I hope it lightens her mood.”

“I hope it does too as I care about her, Kyle. Maybe I’ll bring Kaylin and Grace with me for some laughs.” Kyle smiles, knowing how much Angelica loved Matt’s little girls. It was one of the reasons why Angelica wanted to have a daughter of her own one day. “Keep up the good work this weekend. I’m sure if you’re able to win that’ll help too.”

“That’s the plan.”

“Good because I may spoil it.”

“Now you wouldn’t do that would you?” Matt laughs as Ron walks away to the crew. “That’d be mean. I thought you wanted me to win.”

“I do, but I want myself to win more. Nice to see you smiling, Kyle.” Matt then heads off as Kyle leans back against the pit box. He was happy about how the car was – it was perfect. But it didn’t change what was going on at home, as he let out a sigh, knowing that getting through the weekend without worrying about her would be a challenge.