Love & Work: A Combo of Madness – Chapter 33: The Photograph

Kevin walks into the garage, with Travis in toe. Travis could only roll his eyes as he followed, not believing they had actually pulled this off. He also wasn’t sure if he wanted to see William wearing a coconut bra and hula skirt later that day.

“I have a gift for a certain Mr. Harrell,” Kevin states, catching the attention of the crew.

“Do I trust you?” William asks as Kevin laughs, setting the envelope down before him.

“Look at those and then get sized for your new costume.” William looks back surprised as he opens the envelope, spreading the photos on the table. The crew then gathers around, snatching up one each to look at themselves. “That was last night. As I predicted, those two couldn’t keep off the chemistry for long as they were quite close last night, couple kisses, and a sweet go-karting date night. Any questions, sir?”

“Unbelievable.” William then shoves the photos across the table as Kevin can only sit down and laugh at his fellow crew member. “It’s only March and they’re back together. Why did I even think of giving you to July?”

“You just don’t know our driver as well as you thought you did.”

“They surprised me, if it’s worth anything to you William,” Nick Covey comments as he shakes his head in disagreement.

“Want to take my place in the outfit then?” William questions as Nick laughs and shakes his head no.

“I just wonder if they’re doing the right thing. Like you said, they had a rocky past with what happened previously when she first started working here. I mean, Cameron said they dated five or six months and something what happened – but what? Did she cheat on him with Hamlin? Did they have a fight?”

“What are you getting at?” David Mayo questions as Nick shrugs his shoulders.

“I am wondering whether there’s going to be issues down the road that we’re going to have to separate, and perhaps cause other problems on-track,” Nick comments. “I mean, what if something happens?”

“They’re both professionals,” Travis starts. “They’ll keep it separate from what happens on track. I don’t think we have to worry about that, anyway. They seemed pretty chummy last night.”

“Anybody want to take a bet how long till she’s pregnant?” Kevin questions, as the crew looks on surprised. “I’m barging on this while my luck is hot. I never get anything good around here.”

“I say let’s just be thankful we didn’t get caught this time and leave things alone,” David comments.

“What is this discussion about?” A new voice chimes in, catching the crew members off-guard. They glance up to see Dale standing there. Normally he didn’t come by the garage much till it was closer to practice. It was a surprise for them to see him, but they figured he was there to see Angelica. He then snatches one of the photos off the table. “Where did this come from?”

“It seems you had a pair of spies last night,” William answers, catching a glare from Kevin. “What? If I have to wear a coconut bra and hula skirt, I’m getting you in shi-”

“Coconut bra and hula skirt? Sneaky photos of my night out with Angelica?” Dale then snatches all the photos up as he looks among the guys. “Seriously, what the fuck is going on?”

“We had a bet that you and Angelica wouldn’t get together before July,” Kevin gives in, knowing there was no way around this. “I bet you would, and he bet you wouldn’t. I may have spied last night to get proof for him.”

“Are you fuc-”

“Look, I’m sorry, okay? I know I was wrong and it’s the worst thing to do. I apologize, sincerely.” Dale shakes his head as he looks through the photos.

“And to think that I liked you guys,” he starts. “But yet here everybody is gossiping about me and our crew chief behind the backs of us all. On top of that, you’re spying on us, too. This is high school bullshit and one of the damn reasons Angelica held back, among others. Do me a favor and can this bullshit before I make Rick can every one of you. Now, get to work!” He then walks away with photos in hand as the crew members trade glances.

“I told you he’d be pissed off,” Travis comments as he stands up first.

“You still have to wear the outfit,” Kevin states as William rolls his eyes.

“I’ve never seen him that protective over someone…” Nick says as he walks away from the table, set to focus on some job, any job to get out of the dog house.

“I told you they care a lot about each other.” Nick shakes his head in agreement. “Just wait till he tells Angelica. I might as well start packing now.”

“Was she already mad at you for the questions?” Kevin shakes his head yes with a sigh. “Listen, maybe Dale won’t say anything. I mean, he didn’t seem pleased that he found out about it and I don’t think he’ll want to say something to her.” Kevin hoped that Nick was right, but knew he couldn’t be certain till some time passed.

Meanwhile, Dale stashed the photos away, actually smiling at a couple in seeing how happy they both looked together. As a smile formed on his face, he just hoped the positive vibes continued moving forward – both on-track and off the track.

Advertisements

Love & Work: A Combo of Madness – Chapter 29: Garage Winks

LoveWorkAComboOfMadness

Thanks for reading and reviewing 🙂

 

Following the date arrangements from the night before, it seemed the pair entered the extra day with a bit of extra pep in their step.

Dale was excited for the week to come, set to plan the perfect date night for the pair of them together. Angelica was glad to have the pressure of hiding her feelings off of the plate, but also an understanding with Dale about taking it slow.

With the extra stress off of their shoulders for separate reasons, the pair simply traded a smile, set to focus on the upcoming day and what would come. They couldn’t think about the discussion or what was to come. It was time to focus and get the car working well ahead of Sunday’s race.

The weekend had started off to a good note as beyond the dating arrangements, Dale had qualified the car in the seventh spot. That meant that they’d good track position to start off the day. If they got the car close to good, he could break into the top-five and remain there throughout the day, hopefully finding that extra edge in the closing laps to capture the victory.

“Are we trying the set-up that we worked out last night in the hauler?” Dale questions as he walks in the garage, eyes locked on the familiar brunette that seemed to always capture his attention. She shakes her head yes as Kevin Meendering offers a wink at the crew guys. William Harrell simply rolls his eyes, knowing what Kevin was implying by night discussion in hauler glance, but knew it was probably all work between the pair.

“That’s the one that you believe will feel the best, and I believe will work the best based on yesterday’s practice so that’s where we’re going to start,” Angelica replies as she glances up from her clipboard. She then walks over to him, keeping her eyes locked on his blue eyes. “Unless you want to try something else.”

“Nope, that one sounds perfect.” She smiles as she gives him a pat on the shoulder.

“Good, because practice starts in five minutes so I expect your ass in that car.” She then lowers her tone with the next couple of words so nobody else could hear her. “Don’t expect me to change how I run my garage just because we’re dating.”

“I wouldn’t dare expect that from you. Keep work separate from play, right?” She smiles as she heads out of the garage, set to take her normal stance on top of the hauler. He then puts his helmet over his head, climbing into the car as the crew mates simply trade glances all around.

Once he is in the car and they back him out, set to line-up on pit road, Kevin and Travis head out of the stall to join Angelica on top of the hauler. Kevin takes his spot next to her, loading the timing and scoring on the screen as Travis holds his notebook close to him.

“Mr. Meendering, can I ask you a question?” Angelica asks, catching Kevin off-guard. Normally everybody was referred to by their first name.

“You can simply just call me Kev-” He starts as she looks over at him.

“What was that glance in the garage about? I saw the glance that you offered a bunch of the guys, followed by the roll of the eyes from William.” He could exactly tell why she had given him the last name treatment by the tone of her voice as Travis crossed his arms and looked over in curiousity. It was going to be hard to talk his way out of this one.

“We had taken bets as to whether Dale would accept the set-up that you told us to put in the car, or ask for changes. Considering he listened to you immediately, that meant that I won the bet so I gave him a wink as if to pay me up later.” She could tell that he was lying immediately, and knew that she had to keep an eye on the guys. IT was obvious that they hadn’t gotten the message last week. With the fact that Dale and her were going to truly start dating behind the scenes, it’d mean that they’d have to be extra careful.

“Okay. I was just curious since there’s been some interesting activity around the garage lately.” Travis couldn’t help but smile as he shared a glance with Kevin. If she was worried about small things like that, it meant there was probably more to the story with Dale than she had told them previously.

“I’ve heard the rumors and stories, but I believe when my driver and crew chief tell me that they’re not dating that they’re telling the truth.” She shakes her head in approval as she puts on her headset, set for the day of work.

The practice went off without a hitch with no issues as each run, they were able to make Dale more comfortable in the car while showing good speed on the charts. With the practices over, everybody separated to do their own thing. Angelica needed to run to the store to grab some things, Dale wanted to watch the XFINITY race with his team, and the crew set on having a late lunch together.

Of course, the lunch together brought forth discussions about what happened on the hauler, and whether there was something going on.

“I thin there’s something going on and it’s just a matter of time before one of us figure it out,” Kevin offers after sharing what happened. “Why would she be defensive otherwise?”

“I told you there was flirting at Daytona, and that continued last weekend at Phoenix,” David starts, causing an immediate eye roll from William. “Flirting leads to eventually realizing the feelings. They spend a night in the hauler discussing supposedly, and boom, next thing there’s going to be a date.”

“It wasn’t flirting the past couple of weeks,” William comments. “They were simply working together. All these comments about extra eye glances are for no reason at all. You’re just seeing things that you want to believe for your own suspicions.”

“Then why would she be so suspicious about our actions?” Kevin questions as William shrugs his shoulders.

“The article came out and caused a big mess this week. They’re trying to squash that immediately. She probably was just making sure that we weren’t adding to the mess that was already out there. It’s a reasonable explanation. If the crew is causing more things to be spread, then it causes the rumor to continue.” Kevin couldn’t help but smirk as other theories entered his mind, picturing some deep hearted conversation during their night together.

“What if the rumors are continuing for other reasons?” William lets out a sigh as he rolls his eyes. There was nothing that was going to convince the crew guy otherwise, it seemed. Although, it seemed that Kevin had a good reason to make sure that they ended up together.

“You’re just wishing that because you don’t want to show everybody your weeewee.”

“If we’re having these discussions in March, that gives a good opportunity for magic to happen in three months,” Nick interrupts the pair. “I think you better be selecting the style of bra and skirt that you’re going to wear, William.”

“I already have a couple selections for you to choose from,” Kevin adds with a smile, as he brings up some images on his phone.

Making Memories for a Lifetime – Chapters 16 Thru 20

makingmemoriesforalifetime

Chapter 16: Waiting…

They had been sitting there for two hours without a single word on how things were going.

Kyle sat in the chair, continuing to look at the ground, not wanting to move as he thought about whether she’d be okay or not. He wanted to believe everybody’s thoughts that she would be, but there was a small bit of fear burning inside of him that didn’t feel right.

Dale leans back against the wall, eyes closed, thinking. He had been strong so far believing that she’d be okay, but he couldn’t have the same fear bugging him. It just didn’t seem right that he was still standing there waiting without an update. Shouldn’t they at least get an update after the time that had passed?

“Kyle, are you okay?” Dale finally breaks the silence as he looks over at where Kyle is sitting.

“Yeah I’m fine,” Kyle answers as he looks over at where Dale is. “I just hope she’s okay.” Kyle takes a deep breath as he focuses his eyes back on the floor. “I want to believe that she will be and I know how strong that girl is, but I just don’t know if she will be.”

“You got to believe that she’ll be okay as you need that piece of hope to carry you forward.” Kyle shakes his head in agreement.

“I know I do and that’s what I keep telling myself.” Dale then pushes himself off of the wall and goes over and sits beside Kyle as Kyle glances up at him. Without a word spoken, the pair of them let their eyes meet and tears trickle down both their cheeks. Dale wraps his arms around Kyle and pulls him close as the pair sit in silence.

“She’s going to be okay,” Tony says as he stands on the opposite side of the small room. After dropping Chelsea off at Rick and Linda’s, Tony had returned with Lindsay and Rick to wait out the news. Linda promised to take care of Chelsea and make sure that she was okay throughout everything. She just reminded the group to make sure to send her an update when they had one. “She’s a strong person and she’s fought through a lot. This is just another bump in the road.” They then looked up when they saw the door open to the small room and saw a doctor standing there. “Doc, just tell us whether she will be okay or not. Ease their worry.”

“I can’t say whether she will be okay definitely quite yet,” the doctor says as he sits down in one of the chairs as Kyle and Dale both look over at him. “It all depends whether she wakes up or not. All I can tell you for sure right now is that the surgery went as well as it could given the circumstances. We removed what we could as we discussed before and now will have to see if she wakes up.” Tony looks over at Dale and Kyle before turning his eyes back to the doctor.

“What do you mean ‘if’ she wakes up?”

“There’s a chance that she won’t wake up as that’s part of the risk involved in this whole deal.”

“If she wakes up, then will she be okay?” Dale asks as he holds back his own tears trying to see through the fear that is eating at him.

“That will definitely show an improvement for sure,” the doctor starts. “We will know then that she got through the surgery. From there, it will be about building strength and continuing to get better with each passing day. Once she is strong enough or to the point where we’d like her to be, we will begin the chemo to get rid of the last bit that is left. You may go see her in the recovery room, only a couple of you at a time.”

“Dale and Kyle, you both should go first and then we’ll take turns,” Tony tells Dale and Kyle as he looks towards them.

“May you both follow me please?” Dale and Kyle both get up out of their chairs and follow the doctor down the hall, both worried about what is on the other side. They both wanted to see her for themselves, but could they take the condition she is in? “Don’t mind the tubes when you go in. she is connected to a ventilator till she wakes up and we see where her strength is. We want to give her lungs a chance to heal right now.” The boys shake their heads as they get to the door. “You may both go in when you’re ready. If you have any questions, don’t hesistate to come see me or one of the nurses at the desk.” The doctor then walks away as Dale and Kyle stand outside the door.

“I have to see her no matter what is going through my mind,” Dale comments outloud as he twists the doorknob slowly to open the door. Kyle stands there, taking a deep breath, trying to keep himself calm, also scared based on the doctor’s words and everything that they knew going into this. “Are you coming?” Kyle shakes his head yes before following Dale into the room.

“Besides the tube, she looks like she’s just sleeping,” Kyle says as they walk over to the bed. Immediately his eyes were drawn to the tube in her mouth, which the doctor had discussed both they had walked in. It killed him to see her like that, but he understood why and knew that he had to be strong for her. Kyle sits in the chair beside her bed, taking her hand into his. He rubs it, feeling the warmth that he had grown used to. He notices the IV that in her wrist, knowing it was probably for fluids due to how she was.

Dale stands on the other side of the room, eyes looking across at Kyle before looking down at his daughter, holding back his own tears. Her face was still its normal color and Kyle was right, she looked like she was sleeping. He followed suit, holding Angelica’s other hand as he kept his eyes fixed on her face. He wished that he was dreaming right now and could wake up and not be there. If not that, he wished he could see those sparkling blue eyes that he had grown to love of hers looking back at him.

The pair don’t move for a couple minutes, both feeling shock and content in knowing that she’s right there before them. Kyle knew thought that he couldn’t hold back his own feelings, though, as he reached in and kissed her lips before sitting back in his chair.

“You’re going to wake up,” Kyle tells her. “You have to Angelica.”

“I need you, Kyle needs you and your baby needs you,” Dale adds as he gives Angelica a quick kiss on her hand.

“Your daddy is right. You can’t leave us now.”

 

Chapter 17: Christmas Wishes

Two weeks. They had taken turns over the past two weeks sitting with her and yet saw no improvement. It drove them both crazy as they both wanted her to wake up and everything to be fine. Why wasn’t that happening as they had planned?

As Kyle walked through the lobby once again, he looked at the Christmas tree and shook his head.

“I wish I was home for Christmas with her,” Kyle whispers to himself quietly. “All I want this Christmas is my sweetie.” He then walks down the long hall and turns into the room, seeing Dale and Tony sitting there with her.

“Did you get some sleep?” Dale asks and Kyle shakes his head yes. They both knew that they couldn’t spend every day and night there without a break as they needed their sleep, food and eventually a shower. “Okay.”

“I brought you a Dew.” Kyle then hands Dale the bottle before sitting down. “I just wish she’d wake up.”

“She’s going to wake up soon.” Dale then rubbed the back of Angelica’s hand as he took a deep breath, holding back his own emotions. “I have a feeling that she’ll wake up soon. She’ll want to be with us for Christmas.”

“I hope you’re right.”

“I can’t believe tomorrow will be Christmas,” Tony then comments as he stands up and leans against the wall. “It seems just yesterday we were finishing the season and celebrating.”

“I’m never going to forget the smile on her face when she was crowned the champion,” Kyle says as Dale and Tony both shake their heads.

“I just can’t believe how much she’s grown since she moved in with Rick when she was a little girl,” Dale adds as Tony puts his hands on Dale’s shoulders.

“She’s just like you in many ways,” Tony comments as Dale smiles.

“She’s amazing.”

“I just want to know why she has to go through this after everything,” Kyle speaks up as Dale and Tony look over at him. “It’s just not fair. First things with Jeff, then things with Ashton and now this. How is it fair?”

“It’s not fair,” Tony comments as he looks down. “Life is not fair sometimes, Kyle. Sometimes life likes to be cruel to make you a stronger person.”

“It’s still not right. We all know how strong she is; she doesn’t deserve this.”

“Nobody deserves this.” Tony then straightens up. “I’m going to go grab a quick bite to eat and check on Lindsay & Chelsea.”

“Bring me back a bag of chips please.” Tony smiles.

“Of course.” Tony then leaves the room as Dale and Kyle sit there silently, like they had many times before.

“How are you holding up?” Kyle then looks over at Dale as Dale sits there staring at Angelica’s face, hand wrapped around her hand. “Dale, she’s going to be okay.”

“I know that,” Dale answers simply as Kyle looks back over at Angelica.

“I just wish that she’d wake up already.” Kyle then reaches down and kisses her cheek slightly, though is startled when he sees her eyes flutter beneath him.

“Ang?” Dale asks quickly as he squeezes her hand.

“Wake up for us please,” Kyle begs as he continues to look down at her. As they both sit there nervously, they see her eyes flutter once again as she slightly squeezes Dale’s hand in return. After a little bit, they see her eyes flung open and stare at them as a smile crosses both of their faces. “Welcome back princess.” She then goes to talk, though realizes the tube and pouts. “The doctor said he’d take it out after you woke up and gained some strength. Just relax sweetie.”

“I told you she couldn’t miss Christmas.” Dale then stands up and heads out to find the doctor to tell him that she is awake.

********

After checking her over and some scans, the doctor had a good diagnosis. He said that she’d have to stay there for a couple weeks for observation purposes to make sure her lung continued to heal. However, she was allowed to get the tube taken out as long as she promised to stay relaxed about things.

“So it’s Christmas Eve?” She asks in disbelief after the doctor leaves the room.

“Yes babes,” Dale answers as he sits in usual spot. “You made our Christmas wishes come true.”

“All I wanted this Christmas was you and you’re here so don’t worry,” Kyle adds as she smiles.

“I know how much you loved Christmas as a kid. You couldn’t stand to miss a Christmas now could you?” Angelica then laughs slightly, though quickly stops as she feels a bit of pain.

“No I couldn’t because I love spending time with those I love over the holidays,” she answers.

“Well we’re not going anywhere,” Kyle tells her as Dale smiles, holding her hand again.

“I’m sure we can have Christmas right here with her with everybody,” Dale adds as Kyle looks at him surprised.

“Okay, maybe not everybody. But we have to make sure that Tony, Lindsay and Chelsea are here.” With that, they heard the door open and everyone smiled when they saw Chelsea run in.

“You’re awake Angie!” Chelsea yells as she runs over to the bed.

“She wouldn’t stop asking us to bring her,” Lindsay says.

“It’s fine,” Angelica says as she gives Chelsea a hug. “She can come visit me anytime. I always love to see my little Cheeseball.” Angelica then moves over a little and pats her hand down on the spot beside her. “Come up here with your big sister.” Chelsea smiles as she jumps up on the bed and sits beside Angelica.

“Are you happy to see your sister?” Dale asks and Chelsea smiles.

“Yes,” Chelsea answers. “I love my sister.” Dale smiles as he watches them together.

“How’d I get so lucky to have both of them in my life?”

“Because you’re special daddy!” They all then smile as Lindsay gives Dale a quick kiss.

“Am I really special?” Chelsea shakes her head yes. “Specialer than Angelica?”

“Nope.” Dale then laughs as Angelica pulls Chelsea close.

“Sorry but you’re not her favorite anymore,” Lindsay comments as Dale shrugs his shoulders.

“Oh well,” Dale says. “I’m still special. That’s what matters Lindsay.”

Over the next couple of weeks, Angelica would continue to heal and she would be allowed out in early February. The plan was for her to go to Speedweeks with Tony, Kyle, Dale, Lindsay and Chelsea and then begin her treatments when she got back. Who knew what Speedweeks had in store.

 

Chapter 18: Daytona!

“I can’t believe I am in Daytona!” Angelica cheers out loud as she walks into the Daytona infield with the clan.

“Did I just hear Angelica’s voice?” They hear and smile as they see Matt walking over. Matt had planned on stopping to see her but hadn’t gotten time with his off-season schedule. He immediately pulls her close and gives her a hug.

“It’s nice to see you too, Matt.”

“It’s even more awesome to see you up and walking around.” She then smiles as she looks towards him.

“I have a lot to thank you for as this is due to you and your hardwork.”

“She’s right as I don’t what I would’ve done had you not brought that information forward,” Dale adds as Matt smiles.

“I told you that I couldn’t stand to see that happen without trying something and I’m glad that worked,” Matt comments. “Step one complete. Step two to go. You still have to go for some therapy, right?” Angelica shakes her head yes remembering the doctor’s words.

“Two months of chemo should clean the rest up,” she tells him and Matt shakes his head understanding.

“Well you’ll pull through because you’re a strong young lady.”

“Thanks Matt and I know that I have to pull through so I can kick your ass again.” Matt then looks at her surprised by those words. It was in her typical spew of attitude, but he didn’t really think that after everything they’d see her racing again.

“Oh really?” She shakes her head yes as she looks out towards the backstretch. She knew that once everything was over, she was going to go back to what she loved.

“Well let’s just get through this and then we can look at that,” Dale comments, a ting of worry in his mind. He also hadn’t expected those words or let that thought cross his mind.

“That’s the plan,” Angelica comments as she turns back to the group. She could tell by the looks on everyone’s faces and responses that she had caught them off guard.

“Be careful this weekend sweetheart,” Matt then says before giving her a quick hug. “The girls are probably looking for me. I’ll see you later.” Angelica smiles.

“Bye Matt.” They then watch Matt walk off before continuing on their way.

“Did you mean what you said about going back racing?” Kyle then asks as Dale bites his lip, knowing that may not be the best question to ask.

“Of course I did,” Angelica replies. “Once I’m strong enough, I want to go back to doing what I love. Racing is in my blood and this is what I love to do the most and am born to do.” Tony smiles admiring the determination.

“Well I hope that you get the chance because you’re one heck of a racer,” Tony says and Angelica turns to him smiling.

“Just for now, remember what the doctor said about taking it easy,” Lindsay adds and Angelica shakes her head remembering the words.

“I plan on finding a nice spot to relax, kicking back and taking in the action as a fan and cheerleader for the three most important people in my life,” Angelica comments as she looks towards Kyle, Dale and Tony as they reach the motorcoaches. Kyle and Angelica had their own parked right beside where Dale, Tony and Lindsay would spend their time with Chelsea. “I don’t think that should take too much energy now should it?”

“What about the beach?” Chelsea then speaks up from the back of the group, remembering the promise that she had received from Kyle and Angelica.

“We’ll also make a day to go relaxing at the beach and build some sand castles.”

“Just take it easy sweetheart,” Dale says as he goes to open the door to his motorcoach.

“Your dad is right as we don’t need to cause any trouble down here,” Lindsay adds as she walks inside once the door is open.

“Let us know if you need us,” Tony says as he follows Lindsay inside. Dale and Chelsea then follow suit while Kyle and Angelica head in their own motorcoach.

Once their inside, Angelica lays on the couch, smile crossing her face as she knew that she was in for a week of fun.

“So you’re right running all three races right?” She then double checks as she glances towards Kyle.

“Nationwide and Truck with Turner-Scott and then obviously the 500 with Stewart,” Kyle replies as Angelica shakes her head. It was an odd feeling knowing that her boyfriend was in the ride that she had drove to a championship the previous year. Kyle then glances towards her, noticing the look on her face as he goes and sits beside her.

“What? I didn’t say anything!”

“Your facial expression gave you away.” Angelica then looks down, shaking her head. She didn’t want to come out and say her feelings as she knew that it’d mess things up with how Kyle felt about things for that year.

“It’s noth-”

“You can tell me what it is no matter what, Angelica.” She then looks away, still not wanting to say it as she feels him wrap an arm around her. She then looks back at him, kissing his lips lightly.

“It’s just it’s weird seeing you with Ron and my team after my year last year, okay?” She then looks back down, knowing that she had said enough. “It just doesn’t feel right as I guess I have that feeling that they’re my guys and we should be together.” Kyle wraps an arm around her.

“I understand how you’re feeling and there’s no hard feelings. Remember that they’re always your team and I’m just borrowing them for this season.” Angelica then glances at him, a feeling of worry filling her.

“What about when I’m ready to come back? I don’t just want to say ‘hi, I’m back and they’re mine’. That’s not nice to you!”

“But I’d accept it because I love you and knowing the boundaries here.” Angelica shakes her head.

“No, it still doesn’t feel right. I could never do that to you, Kyle.”

“You could because I’d let you and everything would work out. Somehow, someway, we figure something out so that I’d be with a top tier team and racing too. We always do. That’s why we have your dad and Tony in our court.” Angelica smiles as she knows there were many possibilities.

“Okay, you have a point as they always have a plan. But promise me that no matter what, we won’t let this screw things up with us.” She then kisses his lips as he lays back with her laying on his chest.

“I promise. I could never ever leave you or make you mad.” She then smiles as she rubs his arm.

“I can’t get over how sweet it is to say my name is Angelica Earnhardt-Larson.” Kyle laughs as he shakes his head before she gives him another kiss.

“Are you in a lovey mood, Mrs. Larson?” She then looks up at him surprised.

“Lovey mood? What are we? Teenagers?” Kyle shrugs his shoulders.

“Hey now, we’re just over the teen hump to adults so you can’t fault me too bad.” He then pulls her back down to him and kisses her lips. “Plus, I won’t mind if you are.”

“I’m sorry but a sexy boy like yourself has a magical effect on a girl like me.” He then smiles as he wraps both arms around her, kissing her neck lightly. He only lifts himself up off the couch enough for her to slip his shirt off. “I can’t get enough of the touch of your skin against mine. You just feel way too soft.” She then lays her head back down on his chest.

“I don’t mind holding you close to me every second of the day.”

“I never want to let you go, ever.” She then kisses his bare chest. “I love you, Kyle.” He then rubs her back till she falls asleep on him, content to stay there for as long as she slept. It didn’t matter as all that mattered was that she was still there with him and they could have moments like this.

 

Chapter 19: Daytona Speedweeks

Daytona Speedweeks had gone well so far as Dale won the Bud Shootout while Dale and Tony split the Duels. Kyle Larson managed to score the win in both the truck race and the nationwide race and with the Daytona 500 ahead, he was ready for a three-peat.

“Are you sure you’re okay?” Rick asks Angelica as he walks over to where she was sitting during the driver intros. He knew that she was enjoying her time in Daytona, though he also worried that she was pushing things too far.

“Yeah I’m fine Rick,” Angelica comments as she looks over at Rick. She knew that Rick was always concerned about her well-being and making sure that she was fine. It was all part of their relationship and she wasn’t going to argue with it.

“Okay. Just make sure you’re not pushing things too hard.” Angelica smiles as she looks up at him.

“Trust me Rick, I know my boundaries and will follow them.” Rick then smiles as he gives her a quick hug. “So, do you think dad has the car to win today?” Rick rolls his eyes as she is right back to race mode.

“We’ll just have to see what Steve and him have done this week to get ready.”

“I have faith in Stevie. If that car is like it was on Thursday, the field is going to have a hard time beating him.” Rick then sits down beside her, once again curious as to how she is feeling based on how she looks. However, he didn’t want her to clue into that….just yet.

“Now who do you want to win – your father or your husband?” Angelica smiles as she shakes her head.

“I can’t decide between them and you know that, Rick. I’d be fine with either of them winning.” She then opens the bottle of water in her hands and takes a big sip.

“Are you sure you’re okay, Angelica?” Rick couldn’t hold off asking any longer.

“Yes, I’m fine Rick. Why do you keep asking?”

“I worry about you. Plus, you just seem a little paler than normal. Maybe you should think abou-”

“I’m fine, Rick. Plus, I won’t be up to much today. I’m going to sit up on Kyle’s pit box and enjoy the race with Ron.” Rick smiles, though is also still concerned.

“Okay. But be careful sweetie. I have to go see my drivers. I’ll talk to you later.” Angelica smiles.

“Bye Rick.” Rick then heads off as Angelica stands up and makes her way down pit road to see Kyle.

Already down at the other end of pit road, Dale stood by his car thinking as Lindsay walks over and wraps her arms around him.

“Hey sweetie,” Dale comments as he spins around and looks at her, kissing her lips. “How is my favourite lady doing? And where’s my little munskin?” Lindsay points over to Tony’s car and Dale smiles as Chelsea sits on the ground by the car with Tony, amused in some conversation with him and a couple crew guys. Dale then turns back to Lindsay.

“So how are you?” He then looks her over, concerned by the look in her eyes as he could always tell when she was getting sick.

“I’m fin-” she starts as Dale places his finger over her mouth.

“Tell me the truth.” She then rolls her eyes.

“Dale, it’s noth-”

“Tell me the truth Lindsay.”

“Morning sickness. You can thank Angelica and Kyle for that due to the baby.” Dale rolls his eyes as he remembered watching Lindsay go through it when she was pregnant with Chelsea.

“Hopefully it doesn’t kick your butt like it did the last time.” Lindsay then smiles.

“If it does, can I kick your daughter in the ass?” Dale laughs as he shakes his head.

“She has her own batt-”

“I know, but can I after that?” Dale shakes his head yes as he pulls Lindsay close holding her. “How are you feeling?” Dale then let out a long sigh as he thought back to the previous night.

“You know how Daytona goes sometimes.” Lindsay then backs away and looks at him.

“It’ll be fine, Dale. You’re going to do awesome today. I believe in you and this team. You don’t have nothing to worry about.” Dale then smiles as her words start to relieve some of his thoughts.

“I hope you’re right as that’d be great. I wouldn’t mind winning this race again.”

 

Chapter 20: Daytona 500

50 laps into the Daytona 500, Angelica sat on the pit box beside Ron Malec watching Kyle, Dale and Tony race hard for positions amongst the field. It had been a calm race so far, but everybody knew that there was craziness yet to come.

Angelica wiped some sweat off of her forehead as she sat back, taking in a deep breath. She had been fine so far, but she knew that she’d be in for a nap later. Normally she could handle a day like this, but considering it being soon after the surgery and still healing with more to come, she knew she had to be careful. Rick was right – she should’ve been relaxing back at the motorcoach.

“Ron, I’m going to go lay down for a bit,” she says as she stands up and Ron shakes his head.

“Be careful and take care of yourself,” Ron tells her as he watches her leave the pit box.

She slowly makes her way down the steps and takes a deep breath when she reaches the bottom, knowing that she should’ve gone back to the motorcoach sooner.

“Are you okay?” One of the crew members asks her concerned and she shakes her head yes.

“I’m fine,” she answers before continuing to head back. She continues walking, reminding herself to breathe in and breathe out, really knowing that she should’ve listened to Rick earlier. “Why is this happening to me? I was careful all weekend!”

As she goes to walk by Jimmie’s pit box before turning to head down the path, she feels herself getting faint and starts to lean back when she feels a pair of arms grab her.

“I knew there was reason to be concerned,” she hears and immediately recognizes the voice. He then holds her up as he leads her down the path that she was going to take originally.

“Rick, please, I’m fine,” she tells him, knowing herself otherwise. “I’ll be fine once I lay down for awhile.”

“You should’ve listened to me earlier, Angelica.” She then about falls again, when he strengthens his hold on her.

“Ric-”

“You’re going to the care center whether you like it or not.”

“Rick, I’m fine.”

“Angelica, you’re not and you’re going to listen what I have to tell you. Your body is weak, you’re probably dehydrated and you need to be attended to. Just please listen to me for once.” She then lets out a long sigh and knows that she has no strength to fight with him as he continues to lead her to the care center.

Back out on track, it’s now down the final 20 laps and Steve LeTarte sits on the pit box with Lindsay. Dale had warned him earlier that Lindsay was a little off due to some “morning sickness” and he promised that he’d keep a close eye on her. He glances over at her as the cars run under caution, noticing the same pale complexion that he found himself questioning earlier.

“Oh God,” Lindsay lets out, catching everyone on the pit box off guard as she goes to grab her stomach.

“What’s wrong?” Steve immediately asks concerned as he slips his headset off. “Lindsay? Tell me what’s wrong. Lin-”

“My stomach hurts!” Steve bites his tongue, knowing that can’t be good given everything.

“Why don’t I get one of the guys to take you and get you checked out then? I’ll take care of Dale these final laps. You take care of yourself.” He then motions for Rob and Nick to help her.

“What if something is wrong?” Lindsay asks as she stands up with their help. “What if I lose the baby?”

“Everything will work out Lindsay,” Rob assures her as he helps her down with Nick’s help. “Just stay calm.”

“How can I be calm when this is happening?”

“Just trust us for this once please,” Nick begs as they head towards the care center.

“I don’t know what I’ll do if something happens to the baby,” Lindsay lets out as tears roll down her cheeks.

Love & Work: A Combo of Madness – Chapters 21 & 22

Chapter 21: Office Discussions

Following a strong weekend with a fourth place finish, the office meetings were going smoothly for Angelica on Monday.

She had her sit down chat with the fellow HMS crew chiefs, sharing a couple notes from the race and discussing set-up ideas for the upcoming race at Atlanta. She then sat in the pit crew meeting with their coach Greg Morin, who went through areas where the team could improve based on some minor slip-ups down pit stops. The final meeting on her agenda was a meeting with Dale, Travis and Kevin to discuss things from their perspective with the race, and ideas for Atlanta.

Like the other meetings, it went smoothly with some great discussions across the table. Once the meeting was complete, Travis and Kevin quickly put together their notes and headed out, set to go about their next duty of the day. Travis had to finish breaking down the car with some of the shop guys, while Kevin had an engineering staff meeting.

“Is there a reason that you’re still standing in my office?” Angelica questions as she finally looks up from her notebook after making some final notes from the meeting. She had noticed that Dale hadn’t moved from his seat, keeping his eyes locked on the crew chief.

“Did you talk to Hamlin as you intended to?” He asks and she immediately rolls her eyes. Since leaving his hauler on Sunday night, she was set on forgetting about him and moving forward. She didn’t want to think about his jealous antics for any more seconds. She didn’t want to think about their argument. She didn’t want to think about how their friendship was falling piece by piece because of his attitude. In her mind, she was set to move forward and focus on her job, and possible future with Dale.

“Yeah, I went and talked to him. I can’t promise that he’ll shut up about things, but he knows that I’m not happy with him either way.” Dale could tell by her vague details that there had been things discussed that she was trying to avoid touching upon again.

“Okay, that’s fair. Even if he tries to say anything, the guys know better than to listen to him now. But, do you want to talk about what exactly was said?” She then glances up, catching his eyes. It was easy to be perfectly honest with him as they always had an open relationship. Given how well the weekend had gone, she didn’t want to hold back any secrets.

“Let’s just say that he purposely started the rumors because he’s jealous. He still has feelings for me and wants to be with me. He’s also worried that you’re going to break my heart again because he can’t put the past in the past.” She then lets out a sigh as she sets her pen down, seeing as how the comments had taken Dale back a step. “Listen, Denny and I perhaps went out for a bit. We have a great friendship – or had as of right now – and I thought that he was a great guy. I learned of his little black book games and broke up with him on my terms. He wasn’t pleased as he wasn’t set to let me go. Let’s just say that he still has those feelings.” Dale felt like biting his tongue for thinking about asking the question, but it was worth asking if they were being honest.

“Do you have any feelings for him?” Angelica shakes her head no in return, just wanting to strangle Denny at the current moment.

“He’s just a friend and nothing more, as I told you on the weekend. That’s all he will ever be. He may not even be that if he doesn’t grow up.” Dale shook his head, understanding. There was also the other half of her statement lingering. He knew how much she trusted Denny before with the friendship and his judgment.

“And what about his comments about me?” Angelica shrugs her shoulders, not really caring what Denny had told her.

“He’s still stuck on what happened before. He doesn’t understand the discussion that we had. He doesn’t understand the agreement that we have, and how we’re working at things slow. He can say what he wants in his advice as far as what I should do about you in the future, but that doesn’t matter to me. That’s solely my decision and will be made solely based on my own opinion. You have nothing to worry about, Dale.” She felt like kicking herself in the butt for the final sentence as she felt she had purely admitted her feelings without holding back at all.

“I’m glad. I’m sorry if it sounds like I’m worrying for no reas-”

“It’s fine, Dale. I get the fear and worry because as you told me before, you still like me a lot and feel that we should be back together. You don’t have to apologize. I appreciate you expressing that with me and talking it out, just like I appreciate you giving me the time that I need.” She wanted to emphasize ‘time’ as she knew jumping in before she was ready could quite possibly result in a lot of problems, both personally and professionally.

“Take the time that you need. I know how much I hurt you and I want you to be as comfortable as possible if we do get together. I’ll let you get to work now.” He then stands up and walks to the door, glancing back at her. “Should I bring you dinner later?” She then holds back her urge to say yes instantly and shakes her head no. She had to take things slow.

“I’m good for tonight, Dale. Thanks for the offer though.” He then gives her a quick wave and heads off as she leans back in her chair and simply smiles.

 

Chapter 22: Crew Discussion

The crew guys knew how things stood with Angelica and Dale per the discussion before the race. They also were set on keeping their mouths shut around them to not cause any trouble. However, that didn’t mean that they weren’t a little suspicious and having thoughts of their own.

Throughout the year, the guys would all do some nights together. If you’re always working with the same group of people, you become good friends and end up hanging out away from the work. That was the case as they all went out for dinner following work on Wednesday.

“So what’s this deal that’s been spread about Dale and Angelica?” Jackman Nick Covey asks after they finish eating. Travis, Kevin, William and Matt then look over with curious glances. “While David and I were discussing things on Sunday morning, we overheard your discussion. I’m curious.” William then rolls his eyes, as he had hoped the discussions would lay off.

“The pair used to date in the past,” rear tire carrier William Harrell starts explaining. “It happened during her first year at HMS after her and Dale crossed paths in the shop late one night, according to what Cameron told me. Brandon and Dustin off of Hamlin’s team were trying to start some rumor about them dating, which it seems the other twits began to believe, but it’s not true. Angelica confirmed that they used to date, but they’re not now. They’ve simply worked at putting the past in the past, and working together as friends and employees. If something happens, it happens.”

“Why would Rick put them together if they had dated, though?” Car chief Travis Mack wonders as the crew guys shrug their shoulders.

“They were quiet about their relationship. The only way that Cameron found out was he was there late one night with her because they were working together on the 48 team. They went out for five or six months, actually.” Some of the guys then glance over surprised as a smile forms on Kevin Meendering’s face. From the beginning, he was set on believing that they would end up together at the end of the season.

“I don’t think we’ve seen the last of them dating,” Kevin shares, catching the other guy’s attention. “Have you seen those two around each other? You can tell that there’s something there. It’s just a matter of time.” William rolls his eyes, having grown annoyed of Kevin’s thoughts.

“How long is it going to take to convince you otherwise?” William then questions as Kevin shrugs his shoulders.

“Don’t be surprised if we find them kissing in victory lane later on this year.” William then crosses his arms.

“So what is this spark that you see anyway?” Kevin then smiles, remembering that afternoon in the garage.

“Did you see the way they were on Saturday before practice? The glances from Dale, her smile back in return. They’re showing all the early signs of flirting. Plus, you could also add to pre-race on pit road. The chemistry was there in how they handled the situation surrounding Denny with ease and in sync. I’m telling you that I will be right in the end.”

“That in sync and ease comes from their working relationship,” Travis comments. “Do I need to remind you how easily things went on raceday? They have a good balance.”

“Besides, if it didn’t work the first time around, why try again?” William adds. “And do you think they want to risk taking that next step forward and ruining things and hurting the team?” Kevin tried to think over what the pair were saying, but it still spelled relationship to him.

“If they really like each other enough and think it will work this time, they could try it,” David Mayo offers. “Just because it didn’t work the first time doesn’t mean that the same thing will happen this time. If the feelings are still there, they could use the first relationship as a way to make things better this time.” David then takes a sip of his drink as a smile forms on his face. “Now that you bring it up, Dale has been giving her a keen eye and notice how he stayed back after we all left to talk to her by herself?”

“That’s exactly what I’m talking about!” Kevin states with a big smile as William rolls his eyes.

“It could’ve been for any reason,” he tries to reason. “What if they had some other notes to go over? There were times that he’d stay back to talk to Steve or Greg. I don’t think he was screwing one of them.” Some of the guys burst out laughing as Kevin shakes his head.

“You keep living in denial and I’ll be rubbing the eventual kiss in your face later on this year.”

“So you honestly think that they will end up together by the end of the season?” Travis questions with a glance over at Kevin and he shakes his head yes.

“I tell you what – I bet they’ll end up together by the end of the year – no, by the summer in July, or I will go streaking through the shop,” Kevin declares as some of the guys look on shocked and laugh.

“I don’t know if I want to agree this bet and see that sight,” William comments.

“Fine – that’s write that down officially, and if it happens – I’m recording it to show the world,” Travis states as he marks it down in his phone. “So if they get together by the beginning of July, you’re off the hook. But if they’re not, you are going to be taking those clothes off.”

“And if you get fired, it’s not my fault.” Kevin then crosses his arms with a smile.

“I don’t have nothing to worry about,” he comments. “Now, if they do end up together, you should have to do something.” William shakes his head no as Kevin’s smile widens.

“I’m not streaking.”

“You could agree to have a pie thrown at your face or wear an embarrassing costume for a day,” Matt Tyrrell offers.

“I say if they don’t end up together, you have to dress up in a coconut bra and grass skirt,” Kevin challenges as William shrugs his shoulders. Considering it wouldn’t be happening, he had nothing to worry about.

“Fine – you’re on.”

“This should be fun, if anything,” Nick Covey comments as he finishes his drink.

“And Kevin, no trying to play matchmaker and help them together so you win the bet,” Matt states. “And William, no trying to screw up any chemistry if anything forms. Deal?” Both crewmen shake their heads yes. “In honesty, this doesn’t surprise me. I knew as soon as we started that discussion in Daytona that there’d be a bet formed somewhere.”

“Honestly, what do you guys think?” Kevin questions. “Do you think there is something there? Let’s go around the table, beginning with our esteemed car chief.” Travis then smiles as he thinks it over. He wasn’t 100% sure as he was curious to their relationship, but didn’t know if it went past a simple really good crew chief-driver relationship.

“I think there could be something there, but don’t think it’ll go anywhere,” Travis comments. “I think it’s just a good balance, as I originally told you.” He then glances over at Matt, who simply shakes his head no. As he thought about it more, he couldn’t see the pair of them getting together. “No comment?” Matt shakes his head no.

“Remember – this guy is trying to be the guy that keeps things fair between Kevin and William,” Nick reminds them as he thinks over the question himself. “I think we’re going to get to see just how small Kevin’s wee-wee is by the summer.”

“Seriously?” Kevin questions and Nick shakes his head yes.

“See, I’m not the only one who believes there’s nothing there,” William says.

“Well, I for one believe that there is something,” David starts. “Dale is showing the early flirting signs – as I hinted. It’s just a matter of Angelica accepting them. Considering they were able to put their past in the past, I think it’ll happen sooner than later.”

“It all depends on how far they’ve put the past,” Front Tire Carrier Dustin Lineback starts. “Is it far enough back for a relationship? Or just far enough to work together and be successful?”

“After hearing all of the evidence, I find the accused able to get together,” Devin DelRicco shares. “It’s just a matter of time people, especially if we win a race in the next couple of weeks.”

“So you’re thinking victory sex?” Nick questions and Devin shakes his head yes with a grin. “If we win this weekend and she ends up having a baby in November, oh boy the teasing will be totally fun. Somebody please mark down when we win races just incase.”

“That’d be fun – a baby and a championship trophy,” Kevin comments as William rolls his eyes.

“You’re getting ahead of yourself,” William says. “I suggest you start finding out the quickest way to run around the shop and not get caught by the boss.”

“Well, I suggest you find out what size coconuts you’re going to need.”

 

Love & Work: A Combo of Madness – The Missing Chapters

So currently, I do not have access to the previous spot that I had saved chapters 17 thru 22. With that said, here is the summery of the missing chapters.

The missing chapters saw the pair continue to rekindle their friendship.

There were some rumors spread around about the pair dating as the 88 crew heard of them via someone on Denny’s team. Angelica and Dale explained to the crew that they had a past, but had left it there and were set on just a friendship right now.

Dale ended up finishing fourth in the Daytona 500. He had a real strong car, but just ended up in the wrong line at the end of the race. Angelica was credited with calling a great race, and it gave the crew guys hope moving forward.

Angelica went and saw Denny following the Daytona 500, finding out that the rumors had clearly started from him. it was discovered through an argument that it was done out of jealousy as he still has a crush on her and was finding ways to sabotage their relationship. Angelica told Denny that he needs to grow up, focus on his daughter & Kendra, and left in frustration with thoughts of no future relations.

The crew guys ended up having a night out together that resulted in some bets being formed, as well as sharing their thoughts on the pair. Here’s a summary of their thoughts:

  • Car Chief Travis Mack – curious; says something is there
  • Engineer Kevin Mendering – trying to stick them together – says they’ll be together by July or he’s going streaking through the shop
  • Rear Tire Carrier William “Rowdy” Harrell – serious tone surrounding the pair; set that nothing is going on – says they won’t be together by July and if they are, will wear a coconut bra and grass skirt
  • Gasman Matt Tyrrell – trying to be the balance inbetween but says they won’t get together
  • Jackman Nick Covey – thinks they’ll get together
  • Front Tire Changer – David Mayo – says that he sees the beg stage of flirting from Dale