A Vampwolf Wedding – Chapter 2: Las Vegas

AVampWolfWedding

Juliette sat on the pit box, tapping her feet with nerves of anticipation. She couldn’t believe that Paul Wolfe had chosen to stay out while everybody else, except for two others, pitted. She found herself looking at the crew chief throughout the caution period, wanting to question his reasoning.

Though, she couldn’t blame him.

They were caught behind the eight ball with the pit road penalty, and weather was in the area as it had been a crazy day thus far in Las Vegas. Perhaps there was something to Paul’s decision. Maybe that’s why he got paid to make these types of calls.

The nerves continued to build as she sat on the pit box with Melody clutched close to her, counting down the laps as she watched the restart. Sure enough, as she predicted, the call didn’t work out to their favor, with Kyle Busch taking the lead on the restart.

“Let’s just have a solid finish out of this….” She told herself, though jumped a little as she saw the caution flag fly once again, this time for an incident between Matt Kenseth and Chase Elliott.

She watched the series of next laps, watching Keselowski run solidly in third. It wasn’t that bad of a deal as it was a solid finish and quite awesome considering where their day was headed before. Though, a glance at the scoring monitor, she saw his lap times grow quicker than Busch’s and the gap between the pair begin to shrink.

“Come on Brad…”

She watched as with eight laps to go, he made his way by Joey Logano to move up to second. She kept a keen eye on the gap, watching it continue to shrink ever so slowly. Her eyes found their way back to the track as she watched Brad close the gap, making his way by Kyle to take the lead.

The last three laps then seemed to take forever as she waited for them to be over, with a win in hand. As he crossed the checkered flag, she immediately let out a small woohoo as she high-fived Paul. She may have doubted the call, but it had worked out wonderfully.

“Can you believe it sweetheart?” She says as she looks down at their daughter. “You’re going to victory lane with Daddy!”

“Maybe she’ll be our good luck charm this year,” Paul comments with a smile.

The crew then help the pair down off of the pit box, before heading to victory lane together.

Juliette stays back as she watches Brad climb out, with the crew celebrating with every beverage in sight. After jumping off of the car, though, he immediately motions for the pair to come over to him.

She immediately makes her way over, wrapping an arm around him and kissing his lips.

“I’m so proud of you,” she comments as he takes Melody from her hands.

“I love you so much,” he replies with a kiss, before turning his attention to the pit reporter. “I love this rule package,” said Keselowski. “The cars can be really fast at the start of a run, and at the end of a run, and we had speed at the end of a run. At the end, we got that big long run and it wouldn’t get going. I thought the 48 (Jimmie Johnson) was going to get by me, but it got going and I was able to catch the 18 (Busch) and pass him there.”

“It’s gotta be a pretty special win having your daughter here…” the pit reporter says as Brad looks down at his daughter, before looking back up at the reporter.

“It’s truly amazing…more than amazing actually.” He then glances over the pit reporter’s shoulder at Juliette. “There’s nothing that can replace the joy of being with the love of your life, and having a child together. It’s just special standing here all together as a family, especially everything that we went through with Melody. These guys did a great job. I have to thank the entire Team Penske Miller Lite team for their hard work today.”

“That’s Brad Keselowski, your race winner…” The reporter then leaves the area as Juliette walks back over to Brad. Holding on to Melody tightly in one arm, he wraps an arm around her and pulls her close, kissing her lips once again.

“I meant what I said. Having you both here makes this feel even more special. I’d go through everything that we went through to get to this moment all over again.”

“The west coast swing is the hardest part of the season, but I would go through this all over again to be with you out here,” Juliette says with a smile on her face. “I would’ve missed this chance to let Melody experience victory lane for the first time.”

“On that note, why don’t you guys bring her up here on stage so she can get in some photos?” Paul interrupts with the pair with a grin.

The Mysterious Puppies – Chapter 61: Daytona 500

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“That….sucked,” Brad comments as he climbs out of the car post-race. He then looked over at Paul, who simply shook his head in disgust.

It was clear – neither was happy about finishing 20th in the season opening Daytona 500.

“We worked so hard on perfecting the car in the draft that I never thought about handling,” Paul comments as he walks over. “It just stumped me with how loose you got.” Brad could only stand there and agree with the crew chief. They had started off the race real strong, leading laps in the early going. However, through the second half of the event, he faded as they could never get a handle on it.

“It’s not your fault – you weren’t the only one stumped,” Brad states. “We just know what to work on for the next time that we come here.”

“You’re right. It just….sucks.”

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Yolanda twisted the door knob after unlocking the front door, opening the front door wide open, moving outta the way. Juliette then entered the house with Melody in her arms, as Brad followed with the assortment of bags. The pair had gone baby shopping in buying diapers, a diaper bag, blankets, onesies and other things that they hadn’t remembered to buy prior to her being born.

“Does it still feel like home?” Yolanda asks as she watches Brad set everything down while Juliette carefully sits in the lazy boy, cuddling Melody against her.

“It feels even better now with having both my ladies here,” Brad answers as he gives Juliette a kiss. Yolanda couldn’t help but smile as she watched the three of them together. She always wondered whether they’d find happiness – her, Danny and Juliette – and it was nice to see that Juliette had truly found someone for her.

“If you want my opinion, it just looks right in seeing you guys back here again. However, it doesn’t mean that I won’t miss having you all day.” Juliette looked over at Yolanda with a smile. It had been nice to rekindle the spirits from when they grew up, but she also knew that her and Brad needed their own space. Besides, this would give Yolanda some extra space to perhaps convince Danny that they should take the next step after all these years.

“You know that you can visit anytime,” Juliette tells her. “But I think that you’ll be busy in your own ways.” Brad looks over at Juliette with a puzzled look as Juliette simply gives him a wink.

“Don’t worry – I won’t be passing that offer as I want to watch this little one grow.” She then watches as Brad pushes a box into the room, opening it, placing pieces all over the floor. “I was going to leave, but are you sure you don’t need a hand?” Brad shakes his head no.

“I can handle putting together a crib, followed by a change table, a swing and a highchair,” Brad tells her, knowing the list needed to accomplished. He was already kicking himself in the ass for not doing it sooner.

“Are you sure about that?” Juliette questions, knowing Brad with his ways sometimes as he looks over at her.

“I can handle it. Besides, if I get stuck, I can always call Joey.” Juliette looks on shocked and shakes her head no immediately. She could just imagine the pair getting into trouble together in trying to build it.

“I think Paul or your engineers would be a better suggestion.”

“Isn’t that why you have a pit crew?” Yolanda questions as Brad silently kicks himself in the ass. He could’ve gotten the guys to help put stuff together to surprise Juliette with a completed nursery. Then again, he was still arguing with himself on a color scheme for the room.

In his mind, he wanted everything to just perfect for his girls.

As Brad glanced up from the instructions towards Juliette and Melody in the chair, he could only smile. Everything else in his mind vanished completely. The thoughts surrounding the disappointment of the team. The thoughts surrounding the concerns over the rest of the race season. The thoughts of concern surrounding his youngsters in the truck series.

He knew no matter what happened this year and beyond, he would always be happy with a smile on his face as he knew that he’d have his girls to keep him happy.

 

The End

 

Stay tuned for the next story in the series, “A VampWolf Wedding”, which will focus on planning the wedding, the 2016 race season, and their daughter Melody.

 

The Mysterious Puppies – Chapter 60: Can-Am Duels

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February 18, 2016

“I know you stare at your phone a lot, but you’re staring at your phone more than normal tonight,” Paul Wolfe comments as he walks up behind his driver on the grid before the start of the Can-Am Duels.

“Can you blame me?” Brad questions as he shows Paul his phone, displaying his latest video call with Juliette.

Juliette had originally planned to be in Daytona for both Can-Am Duel race day and Daytona 500 race day, however she had changed those plans with Melody being born. She had decided that she’d rather stay back with their daughter and spend time with her.

Brad had hoped that he’d be able to stay with them as much as possible, and was trying to make it work. He came for practice the day before, but had returned back to the cabin at night. He stayed there till around 3p before making his way back to the track, set for his Can-Am Duel appearance that night.

“She’s certainly adorable,” Paul comments as he looks at the video feed. He found himself a little awe stricken by the ears and bit of fur, but had grown to be used to those kinds of things. “So it’s a week before she can appear before humans?”

“I don’t know how to explain it by a week in, everything goes to normal appearance – except when the full moon is out,” Brad says as Paul shakes his head understanding. “I wish I could just stay with her and Juliette all the time. She’s so adorable, and I want to be there for her. I don’t want to miss anything.” Paul pats his driver on the shoulder, simply shedding a smile.

“That’s the effect of fatherhood. But, we also have jobs to do – so it’s time to say goodbye and do what you do best.” Brad lets out a sigh.

“Yes boss.”

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

“Ugh….” Juliette lets out as she watches Brad drop further in line, and looking to have no way to get back up there to challenge for the lead against Dale, Denny and Joey.

“Can I just bargain to say that Brad went too soon?” Yolanda questions from her spot watching with Juliette, which earns a questionable glance from her friend.

“You’re learning….but that is incorrect. He had timed the move right if his bloody stupid freaking teammate would actually go with him, rather than staying with Dale. If they would’ve all went together, it would’ve worked. But no, nobody wants to do that as they’re afraid of being freight trained.”

“Do you always get this uptight when it comes to restrictor plate racing?” Danny wonders from his spot just outside of the room, having heard the frustration expressed from Juliette.

“You don’t want to see me when I’m at the track,” she offers. “I’m worse.” She then glances down at her daughter, though, and lets out a sigh. “But perhaps someone is here to put it in perspective and remind me that it’s not everything that happens is the end of the world. Besides, this is just a qualifier. He is learning for Sunday where it matters, and will do what he needs to do then.”

“…and someone is already having an effect on their mother.” He then walks over, rubbing the back off Melody’s ears a little. “It’s so strange seeing ears on a baby, and yet being so comfortable with it.”

“Welcome to our world, bro.”

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

“Learned a lot – that’s all I will say,” Brad comments as he climbs from the car after the race. “Dale has a good car and it’s going to take some careful drafting to beat him. I shouldn’t had ducked out earlier when I did.”

“Live and learn,” Paul states. “Least you learned it tonight and not on Sunday. We’ll be fine.” Brad shakes his head in agreement.

Sunday was a whole different ball game. It was 500 miles, versus a short sprint; you had to plan your moves over a period of time. He knew that he could plan the right moves, given his previous restrictor plate success.

Now it was just about making the right moves when he needed to on Sunday.

The Mysterious Puppies – Chapter 58: Daytona Dreaming

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Brad couldn’t help but smile as he talked with Paul about the upcoming season. It seemed that the crew chief had everything in place for a successful start to the season in Daytona. The team knew that they had a solid restrictor plate package, given by Joey’s victory a year ago.

Now it was just all about Brad putting the pieces together.

Brad knew how to draft well, as a previous winner at Talladega. He just hadn’t been able to put himself in the right spot when it came to Daytona. Though working on improving the cars, and talking with Joey, he felt that he had the right package together.

“Paul, I can’t take tell you how much it would mean to win in Daytona this year,” Brad offers as they talk about things on the phone. “I know Juliette and I have haven’t been engaged for long, but it already feels amazing and perfect. If you combine that with Melody and how she continues to get better and better, I can’t wait for the season and I can’t wait for the first win.”

“In other words, family life is having a very big effect on you?” Paul questions and the answer to that question was easy for Brad. Short and to the point, it had seemly changed him as a person and his viewpoints on many things.

“I can’t describe it, Paul. It’s just a very magical, special sense that I get as soon as I think about both Juliette and Melody. I want to be able to celebrate with my family in victory lane soon, hopefully in February.” The comments brought forth curiosity in Paul, wondering just how well Melody was doing with her improvement. He hadn’t heard much since Brad told him about her originally in December.

“Am I going to get to meet your daughter then?” The question allowed the smile to simply remain on his face. Melissa had informed them that Melody was progressing quicker than normal, and could possibly get out of the incubator earlier than expected. With that in mind, it seemed quite possible that she’d easily be able to show up during Speedweeks.

“How would you like to meet her later this month? She is going to get out of the incubator soon, and then after a week, it’s fair game.” Paul felt excitement and anticipation in meeting the little bundle of joy. He loved little ones, and it seemed this one had already placed a special effect on his driver.

“That’s great to hear that she’ll be released soon. I can’t wait to meet her….and life to return to normal, if you will.” Brad had to chuckle at the comment. There was no way that their lives would ever turn back to normal as humans seemed to imagine. There were always elements at play in whom they were.

“I can’t promise normalcy, Paul. That’s something that we discussed a long time ago when you accepted the job. However, I can promise regular shop visits and spending time at home once again.” That was all that the crew chief required. He had to admit that they were making this unique arrangement work without too many people getting curious, but it would easy if they could do things like anybody else. Besides, it was hard to always understand what Brad meant on something related to the car via conversations at a distance.

“That’s what I mean by normalcy – normalcy in the job. I know that you’ll never be normal.” Brad rolls his eyes as he watches Juliette walk into the room. She sits down beside him, peaking into the web cam of the computer with a wave at the crew chief. “How’s my favourite vampire?”

“Quenching at the chance to taste your lovely blood,” Juliette says in a quiet, low voice as Paul’s jaw drops in shock immediately. Juliette and Brad both break out into laughter immediately as Paul rolls his eyes. “I’m doing great, thank you.”

“Why do I have a feeling that there could be an evil April Fool’s prank with this out in the open?” Paul questions, causing Brad to look over at Juliette with intrigue. They knew that they couldn’t pull anything on Dale and Amy as things had gone too far there, but that didn’t mean that Joey and Brittany were off limits. “Please don’t make me the victim. This is already enough right now.”

“Don’t worry – Joey deserves a good prank in the near future for his latest escapades,” Brad comments as he thought about some of the pranks that Joey had managed to pull through the years. It’d certainly be nice to get him back for once.

“Joey is also very skirmish. Do you really want to cause that to grow?” Brad shrugs his shoulders. That just meant that the reaction would be that much more entertaining.

“Do you see what I have to deal with, Paul?” Juliette questions as Paul simply laughs.

“No, try working with him while also having Joey and Todd to deal with in competition meetings,” Paul compares as Juliette shrugs her shoulders. Perhaps it wasn’t easy for either of them.

“Thanks for the love guys….” Brad shares as he glances over his latest twitter notifications.

The Mysterious Puppies – Chapter 46: Post-Banquet Party

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Throughout the week in Las Vegas, things had gone smoothly. Brad had attended each of the events that he was required to attend, having fun along the way might we add, but always making it back in due time to be with Juliette and Melody. It seemed that they’d found a balance, and having his friends in his corner helped with those escapes.

 

Everything came together, though, as it wasn’t long before Brad’s Las Vegas week looked to be coming to a close, climaxing with the banquet. The dinner was nice, and conversation with the crew throughout was solid. The entertainment quite entertaining, even with some good jokes thrown in by Drew Carrey. Looking around the room, Brad had to admit – he was impressed by how well it was put together.

 

He also couldn’t hide that there was some emotions on the table, couple tears in the eyes in watching Jeff Gordon say his final speech as a driver. While they certainly had their moment together, there was still a level of respect there and Brad hated to see him leave the fold as a full-time series competitor. Things certainly wouldn’t be the same moving forward.

 

After sharing a couple compliments post-banquet via twitter, he made his way into the post banquet party. He knew that he’d be cutting loose soon, but wanted to at least make an appearance as he felt it’d be wrong to bust out without at least doing that.

 

“You came to the afterparty?” He hears a couple minutes into his appearance, glancing over his shoulder to see Paul standing there.

 

“It’d look pretty bad if I didn’t attend,” he admitted, in which Paul couldn’t help but agree to.

 

“So, how long are you sticking around?” Brad hadn’t totally decided on that, just the fact that it wouldn’t be that long.

 

“10…20 minutes, probably,” he states as he takes a sip of his beer. Paul simply patted the driver’s shoulder.

 

“Totally understandable. Just don’t get into too much trouble before you go, okay?” Brad looks over at him surprised as Paul lets out a sigh, gesturing to the bottle. “We know how things go with you guys in Vegas.” He then walks away as Brad simply rolls his eyes.

 

“What’s wrong with having a single beer?”

 

The short stay soon turned into a long stay as he found himself buried in the jokes from his fellow drivers, as well as bets and more drinks. It wasn’t long till he had a couple more than a few beers, and was starting to feel the effects.

 

“Weren’t you supposed to leave early?” Joey asks partway through, earning a curious glance from Brad.

 

“Dude, I haven’t been here that long,” Brad answers as Joey pulls out his phone, showing his teammate the time.

 

“You’ve been here an hour and a half.” Brad’s jaw immediately drops as he looks at Joey shocked.

 

“Seriously?” Joey shakes his head as Brad looks around with a sigh. “Time flies when you’re having fun. I better bust outta here.”

 

“Hope she wasn’t expecting you early.” Brad shakes his head as he weaves his way through the crowd, leaving the hotel. He walks around to the side, as originally discussed with Yolanda, to see her standing there with her arms crossed.

 

“You’re late,” she states, not budging from her position.

 

“I didn’t know that I had a curfew,” he comments as she rolls her eyes. She didn’t mind doing a favor or two, but she had some standards.

 

“You don’t have a curfew, but there’s such bloody thing called courtesy. You could’ve texted me or something that you were going to be a little longer than planned.” Brad just shakes his head as he glances towards his phone, before returning his eyes back to her.

 

“It was hard to get service in ther-”

 

“How about you spill the truth that you simply forgot amongst your partying? I can smell the alcohol, Keselowski.” Brad crosses his arms as he looks around.

 

“What gives you the audacity to call me out like this?” She then closes the gap between them.

 

“I offer to do you a favor and help you out with your situation. You could at least give me some common courtesy, a thank you and some appreciation. Perhaps next time when you need some help, I won’t help you.” Brad glances towards the ground, her words starting to hit home as he returns his eyes back up to meet hers.

 

“I’m sorry. I should’ve been more respectful. I lost track of time, and forgot till Joey reminded me. I’m sorry, Yolanda.” A small smile forms on her face as she holds her hand out.

 

“We better get you home then before you’re even later.”

 

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

 

Brad walks into the room, smiling as he sees Juliette curled up under the covers. He slips into pajamas quickly, before climbing into the big bed. He then slowly climbs up behind her, wrapping an arm around her as he lightly kisses her cheek.

 

“I’m sorry that I came home late,” he whispers. “I lost track of time and forgot. I’m sorry. I love you.” He then gives her another kiss, though freezes when she moves a little, rolling over to look up at him.

 

“Apology accepted, but not required,” she tells him. “You’re a big boy, a man. You can make your own decisions and do your own thing. Things are fine here with myself and Melody and I can handle some extra time without you here with us. You could spend some time with your boys partying if you want. You deserve it after a great, solid season.” He then smiles as he reaches down to steal yet another kiss.

 

“Nah, I’ll save that partying till the end of next season as we’ll have a true reason to celebrate.” She then looks at him slightly confused as he smiles more. “Didn’t you hear? I’m going to win the Sprint Cup Series Championship in 2016.”

 

“Oh really?” He shakes his head yes as she wraps her arms around him. “Are you sure that you got enough to beat Dale?” He then looks on surprised as she pulls him down, kissing his lips.

 

“I got enough to beat him, as well as everybody else dear.” She then slips her hands underneath the bottom of his pajama top, sliding it up slowly.

 

“I don’t doubt that. I believe in you, Paul and that whole team. But right now, I have something else in mind…” She then slips the top further up while placing more kisses on his lips.

The Mysterious Puppies – Chapter 44: Las Vegas

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“I can’t believe my family acted that way,” Brad comments with a sigh as he lays with Juliette in the bed. “I feel so ba-”

 

“It’s not your fault, Brad,” Juliette cuts him off for what felt like the 100th time. “You can’t control what your father thinks. He may change his mind in time, but you can’t control that. You can just do what you can, and leave it at that.” Brad lets out a sigh as he glances over at her.

 

“I still feel bad.” She rolls her eyes, having forgotten about the spur of events already.

 

“And I told you how I felt so let it go and let’s focus on something more important.” She then pulls her phone out, bringing up the schedule for Las Vegas. “What are we doing for the banquet? I obviously can’t attend or everybody will know.” Brad smiles in return, having already thought of the reasoning for her disappearance.

 

“Let’s just say that you are pregnant and unable to travel, so therefore were unable to attend the banquet as my date.” She smiles, easily accepting the answer.

 

“Now, you have to be there on Wednesday for the Fan Fest, and Thursday all day for those activities. There is obviously Friday and the actual banquet, too.” Brad shakes his head, surprised that Juliette was bringing it all up with him right now. He had already talked to Yolanda about things.

 

“Yolanda has the schedule and will pick me up at the end of each day, as well as deliver me in time to be there in the morning. Anymore questions?” Juliette shakes her head yes as her eyes focused on Brad.

 

“Obviously not being there to party will catch some people off-guard. Don’t you think it’s time that we tell at least a couple of those that you know, closest to you? Since Joey, Paul and Dale know about the werewolf-vampire thing, it’d seem logical.” Brad had been thinking about it for the past bit, and was seriously considering it now. If they knew, they could help in getting him to escape the parties and leave to see Juliette sooner once things were done each night.

 

“You know, you’re pretty smart.” He then leans in and kisses her lips with a smile.

 

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

 

“So there’s something that I have to tell you,” Brad reveals as he sits in the hotel room in Las Vegas, staring at the three individuals before him.

 

“You brought us up to a private hotel room together – I think that’s obvious,” Paul states as Brad lets out a sigh. Figured there’d be wise cracks rather than serious behavior.

 

“We know that Juliette isn’t here due to her pregnancy so does this deal with the fact that you are going to escape each night to see her?” Joey offers, catching a surprise glance from Brad. Perhaps this would be easier to tell them.

 

“That’s exactly what I was wanting to tell you, actually. Her best friend Yolanda will be coming to get me each night, and returning me in the morning.”

 

“Must be nice to have your own vampire airplane.” Brad shrugs his shoulders. It was sometimes tricky flying with Yolanda, but he couldn’t complain when it came to the flights with Juliette. He still found himself locked on that first flight at the shop.

 

“It can be nice, but tricky at times.” Brad then takes a deep breath, eyes drifting down. He knew that he could leave tings how they were with the guys, but felt it was fair to be totally honest. “I actually have something else to tell you about the pregnancy, actually.”

 

“You’re having twins?” Dale predicts and Brad shakes his head no. He knew that one baby was going to be enough to handle.

 

“Is something wrong?” Joey questions, worry filling the room as the question escapes his lips. Brad shrugs his shoulders, causing all the fun static to drop immediately in the room.

 

“The baby was actually born early…..a lot early. She was born back on September 28.” All the jaws drop in the room in surprise at the reveal.

 

“And you’re just telling us now?” Paul asks, shocked that he hadn’t figured it out sooner. It made sense why Juliette wouldn’t meet up for lunch, and why Brad kept disappearing.

 

“Is everything okay?” Joey questions once again, still feeling worry about the baby. It wasn’t the most chilling feeling to hear that the baby was born months ahead of schedule.

 

“I’m proud to tell you that Melody is growing well thus far, and has the doctor impressed,” Brad reveals, causing Joey to let out a sigh of relief. “She has been an incubator since she was born, and as of right now will stay there till February. However, if her growth continues as it has been, she may be released earlier. The incubator has been at Danny’s house and that’s where I have been escapin-”

 

“Why didn’t you tell us sooner?” Paul questions once again, still surprised to hear the reveal now. It would’ve made his worry about everything easier to deal with over the past couple of months.

 

“We were worried about the baby, complications and whether she’d make it, and didn’t everyone to get worried and involved. That’s why we waited for a while to make sure that things were going to be okay.” Brad then reaches into his pocket, smile firmly planted on his face as he places a couple photos on the table. “Does this make up for it?” The photos are immediately snatched up by his friends as they stare the photos in awe, making sweet sounds.

 

“So, is Melody a vampire or a werewolf?” Dale questions following the compliments on the photos. Brad rolls his eyes, having expected the question to be asked. He just didn’t expect Dale to ask it, but more so Joey to ask about that.

 

“We don’t know yet, and won’t know till February,” Brad answers. “We’ll just have to wait and see what happens.”

 

“I think she’s just like her daddy; she’s starting to get the ears.” Brad then looks at the photos closer, noticing the small points on the top of her head. He couldn’t help but smile as he remembered seeing those on his own photos.

 

“I have to agree Dale as she has your face shape, too,” Joey adds with a glance between the photo and Brad.

 

“She’s certainly adorable, and will probably end up being a daddy’s girl,” Paul states as Brad couldn’t help but glance around with a smile.

 

“I don’t have a problem with that,” he tells his friends as he puts the photos away. “Just promise to keep this a secret for now, okay?” The group shakes their heads yes. “Thank you.”

 

“Don’t worry – I’ll make sure that you can escape as soon as you can on Friday night to be with her.”

 

“And we’ll look out for you on Wednesday and Thursday,” Dale adds, though glances over at Joey. “Although, he’s a lightweight so that may be my responsibility.”

 

“He’s actually better at his drinking game than I am,” Brad reveals as Dale looks between the pair surprised.

 

“But yet Miller Lite sponsors you? So weird.” Brad shrugs his shoulders as he kicks back and relaxes.

 

“I guess they feel I’m a better fit for their image by the look. Anyways, enough about me. What have I missed?”

The Mysterious Puppies – Chapters 36 Thru 40

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Chapter 36: Chicago

“Great strategy – just didn’t give you a good enough car,” Paul comments after Brad gets done his final interview following the Cup race at Chicagoland Speedway. Brad had finished the race in the top-10 with an eighth place finish, despite having an ill-handling car mot of the day. “Sorry about that.” Brad shrugs his shoulders.

“Sometimes you have it, and sometime you don’t have it,” he offers. “We did the best that we could and still came out with a top-10. I’m not complaining.” Paul smiles as he watches the crew start loading everything up.

“The first round is about survival. We did that here and we can do that the next two weeks.” Brad shakes his head in agreement, confident going into both New Hampshire and Dover, more so New Hampshire.

“I think we should just notch off another win next week and not have to worry at Dover.” Paul smiles, liking the sounds of that.

“Are you sure that Juliette wants to see another live lobster?” Juliette glances over at the pair and shakes her head no. She wanted nothing to do with being close to the live animal.

“I don’t think it’s nice to torture the pretty girl with live crabby animals, Paul.” He then wraps an arm around Juliette’s shoulders, giving her a kiss on the cheek. “Besides, that may get you a gift that you’re not wanting.”

“No, I’m good. I don’t think I want to be cleaning up any messes.” Juliette and Brad both laugh. “You can head if you want. I got nothing else to say and I know the lady needs to be closely taken care of.” Juliette then rolls her eyes.

“Not you too,” she comments with a sigh.

“Hey, it comes with the territory of being pregnant,” Paul offers. “We all worry about you, sweetie. You should soak it up and take full advantage, demanding full baths and back rubs and any comfort that you desire.” She then looks over at Brad as a smile forms on her face. Perhaps his over-worrying was a good thing.

“Suddenly, things just looked a lot brighter for me.” Brad then looks over at her shoulder at Paul, who laughs.

“Have fun Brad!” Paul then heads off as Brad rolls his eyes.

“Thanks a lot, buddy!” Brad tells him before looking back into Juliette’s eyes. “He’s right, though. I want everything to go perfect these next five months. I’ll do whatever it takes to make you happy, keep you healthy and let our little buddy grow nicely.” He then leans in and kisses her lips. “Ready to g-”

“Brad, can I ask you a couple questions?” Brad hears and immediately freezes, glancing over his shoulder to see his least favourite reporter, Rory Stevens, standing there. brad then takes a deep breath before turning to face him.

“I’m not doing any interviews with you. I did my post-race interviews before you got here. Ford will release quote from the media scrum, which you can use. Have a nice da-”

“Brad, wait….please.” Brad shakes his head no.

“I mean it, Rory. I’m done doing post-race stuff and I’m just about to head out with my girlfriend. Besides, I heard about you sneaking around. I heard about you trying to dig up information on me and Juliette. I heard about you visiting Dale, Joey and calling up others in search of some gossip to make your baby reveal sound that much better. Great job, reporter. We’ll see how many friends that makes you.” Brad then walks over to Juliette, wrapping his arm back around his shoulder as they walk off together. As they walk away, he texts Michael, explaining what happened so the PR rep had a heads-up on what could possibly come.

He knew that Rory was probably there to play it off as doing a story on Brad’s day and ask the typical questions that they were asked post-race. If that was the case, he could use the quotes as Brad said.

However, he also knew what the reporter had been up to and wasn’t about to take any chances when it came to questions or answers about Juliette and their baby. Their business was their business. The media and fans knew enough that they needed to know – her name, the fact that she was pregnant and how they met. Beyond that, the rest didn’t matter for the public eyes as it didn’t concern them. It wasn’t their life and didn’t play affect to being a fan.

To his surprise, though, there wasn’t any story forth coming early that week that pertained to him and Juliette. Despite the supposed digging, nothing had surfaced. Perhaps the reporter was having a change of heart – never. Perhaps the search was coming up empty-handed.

That’d be just nice, though a little surprising as Michael had been waiting for something to surface about Juliette’s previous relationship with Jason Burdett.

The PR rep knew of the relationship as he had seen photos. He also knew of the details to why they broke up, with regards to the police report that Juliette had filed in saying that Jason was abusive. He also saw that it was dropped, pondering whether she was one of those that was after money and trying to set a simple trap. As soon as the suggestion came to mind, he immediately shook his head, knowing that wasn’t the case. Brad would’ve seen through it, Juliette seemed too sweet of a girl and Dale would’ve warned Brad if that was the case. He also heard of Jason’s untimely death as a result of an animal attack at a track, and wondered if it could be related. Shaking his head and perhaps even laughing to himself, he knew he had been in the office too long to even believe that was possible.

With no connections and unable to make things flatter in a way that would make the reporter look good – everybody would sympathize with Juliette and call the reporter a jerk should he try and make some story of Juliette’s past stand out – perhaps everything had dried up and the rest of the year would be smooth sailing.

Then again, this was Brad Keselowski that he was working with and he knew that when it came to Brad, he had to be on his toes.

 

Chapter 37: Concerns….

All I will say about this chapter is the idea came to me rather quickly as I was writing and SURPRISE!!!!!!!!!

 

Brad finished up at the shop, heading home that night. His plans simply consisted of a nice light dinner, followed by packing and getting ready to fly up to New Hampshire for the second race of the Chase.

He entered the house, slipping his shoes off as he closes the door behind him.

“Juliette?” He calls out, wondering where she is. Sometimes he’d come home and she’d be relaxing on the couch watching TV, while other times he’d come home and she’d be doing stuff around the house. There was then the times that he came home and found Yolanda over, which caused him to simply roll her eyes. She was a little crazy, if you will.

“I’m upstairs,” she calls out from the bathroom as she sits on the floor, leaning back against the wall. She lets out a sigh, wishing that she could simply leave the bathroom behind and never enter the room again.

Things with the pregnancy had been going smoothly without any issues, besides feeling a little more tired than she wanted at times. She found herself taking more naps than normal, but other than that had things under control. She just continued to despise having her daily blood drink.

Though this past week, things had taken a turn. Since returning home from Chicago, she had felt worse than ever, spending more time in the bathroom than any other room in the house.

As Brad entered the bathroom slowly opening the door, she could see the concern on his face. That concern had been written on his face all week as he was concerned about the amount of times she had thrown up. They both knew that morning sickness – and sometimes being sick throughout the day – was common with pregnancies. However, at times, both of them thought this was getting a little overboard.

“How long have you been in here?” He asks, not moving far from the door. Depending on her answer, he wasn’t set on moving much further but rather either getting her checked out by their doctor, or at least calling Edward or someone that could help them.

“Most of the day,” she offers as she wipes her face off with a wash cloth for what felt like the millionth time. “I came in here after I got up this morning and had breakfast. I came in here after a short nap. I had my daily drink at lunch, and found myself in here afterwards. I can’t keep nothing down, and I just feel awful.”

“Maybe it’s time that we do some-”

“Brad, it’s just part of being pregnant. Everybody that we’ve talked to had sickness during pregnancy.” She then rubs her stomach as she glances in the mirror. With only being a month and a half pregnant, you couldn’t see any signs quite yet. “I guess mine is just over the top because we’re doing something that you normally don’t do.”

“I still say that we should be safe rather than sorry and check this out.” She rolls her eyes, knowing that the paranoid side of Brad had been present since she had gotten pregnant. Though, truthfully, she was starting to believe that he was right. What was the worse that she could hear?

“Fine. You’re right.” She then lets out a sigh. “We should check in with the doctor.” She then grabs her phone off to the counter, sending a couple of quick texts as Brad looks at her confused.

“Okay. What’s the docto-”

“I already texted her. She said that she’d meet us at my brother’s place.” Brad could only let out a sigh. He knew that’d equal her brother adding some worry to the picture. While he liked Danny, he didn’t need his overbearingness right now – unless it made Juliette realize that she should’ve done something sooner. Perhaps this could be to his advantage.

“Okay. I’m ready to go, even though I don’t think I can’t used to this flying.” She could only chuckle at his comment. Rather than drive, they always flew to her brother’s – not in a plane, but simply pushing feet off of the ground and going into the air. It was a simple trick that vampires knew that’d get them from one place to another within seconds. She wished that she could do that on race weekends, as well, but then realized how odd it’d be for Brad to arrive without a plane. There’d be a lot of questions asked.

“I texted my brother. He’s coming to get you because I don’t have the ability with how I am feeling to hold you up, as well.” She knew stating that was admitting a sign of weakness, but it was what she needed to do. She knew if she tried to fly them both, she’d lose what bit of strength that she had instantly.

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

“How is she?” A new voice fills the room as Edwards walks in the room.

As Juliette set-up, Danny showed up and flew Brad to the house while Juliette followed. Dr. Melissa Shack met them there, and immediately began checking out Juliette. The fact that he was having some trouble got out rather quickly, with Edward and the majority of his family arriving. He had watched Bella go through her problems while pregnant with their child, and could only wonder about Juliette.

“Melissa is checking on her right now,” Yolanda offers from her seat on the couch. She was working her way through a blood cake in an attempt to kill the nerves that had found her. “Brad and Danny are in there with her. Danny said he’d come out with an update as soon as Melissa had one.”

“Did this just flare up or what?” Edward then sits down on the couch, figuring he might as well pass the time with some light conversation. It didn’t seem like they’d be moving anytime soon.

“She said that things were alright till Monday when she got home from Chicago. She started feeling sick then, thinking that it was just part of the process. Brad then made her get it checked on just to be sure. It could be nothing, Edward.” Edward shakes his head, understanding. He remembered being jut as nervous about the smallest things with Bella, just as Brad was being with Juliette. It was love speaking. Sometimes those concerns were warranted, while other times were just normal parts of being pregnant.

“She hasn’t bled-”

“No, and I don’t want to hear any talk of that nature. The baby is going to be fine, Brad and Juliette are both going to be fine and they’re going to live happily ever after.” Yolanda takes a deep breath, thinking back to all the tough times that she had been through with Juliette, from when her parents died to the trouble with Jason. “She deserves this and there’s no other way about it.”

She then relaxes back, not having much else to say as her own worry began to take over. She just hoped that Danny would appear soon with some sort of update.

About 20 minutes later, he walked out of the room, which resulted in both Edward and Yolanda looking his way immediately.

“Things are more serious than she thought,” he offers as he sits down in the chair that sat across from the couch. “Her body is fighting against itself, as having a puppy in a vampire is obviously a foreign concept. Therefore, her body is trying to push the object out of its system.”

“The baby isn’t ready….” Yolanda lets out and Danny shakes his head, agreeing.

“That’s what all of us said in there. However, Melissa says there’s no other choice but to remove the baby from her stomach or else her body will start to eat itself from the inside.” An immediate drop of sadness formed on Edward’s face, as he couldn’t believe the words that he was hearing. Just like that, everything that had worked for was disappearing.

“There has to be something that they can do for the baby, Danny. They can’t just do this.” Danny takes a deep breath, having more to say to them as Melissa had explained only minutes ago to Juliette and Brad.

“Melissa says that the baby isn’t lost, yet, despite having to remove it from Juliette early.” Edward then looks over at him, confused. “They’re going to put the baby in an incubator, just like you do with baby chickens and pigs when they’re first born. They’re also going to hook up other tubes – like breathing aparthis – to allow it to grow. They will leave it there till it’s fully grown and really to be removed, whether when it was supposed to be born in February or before then, or after.”

“So is that happening right now?” Edward wonders and Danny shakes his head yes.

For the next couple of hours, the three of them sat in the room with worry as they waited for someone to emerge from behind the door. During their wait, they heard a knock at the front door, in which Danny answered. A pair of people entered with the equipment that Melissa needed for the baby when it was removed from Juliette’s body, in which Danny simply led them to the room without a comment. Besides that interruption, the room had remained quiet with concern.

With two hours and 45 minutes of waiting time in the books, Dr. Melissa Shack came out of the room with a mall smile on her face. The three of them could only resonate that meant that thing had gone well.

“The baby is in the incubator and responding well to everything,” Melissa tells them. “I’d like you both to meet Melody Daniels-Keselowski, born on Thursday, September 24 at 6:50pm. Given her size and acceptance of the treatment, she should be set to be released to the world in February, as planned. I am also proud to announce that Juliette is doing well, despite having her stomach cut into. She’s currently resting quietly with Brad by her side as they watch the baby.” The group could only smile at the news that they had heard. It was great to hear.

“So what happens now?” Danny wonders as Melissa motions for the group to follow her. She then led them to the room, where they could smile as they look into the incubator. The little girl was so small, barely visible and probably only a couple ounces in weight. They then looked over at Juliette, immediately smile as they saw the look on her face.

“We’ve been looking at Melody’s growth and situation, and the parents have some planning that they’ve done. It’s just a matter of whether you will accept.” Danny and Yolanda then glanced at each other confused, but looking towards Brad and Juliette.

“I can’t just give up racing over the next couple of weeks because that’d just seem odd,” Brad starts. “Everybody knows that Juliette is pregnant. We have talked and she’s going to not come to the races over the next couple of months to finish the season, simply because she’s pregnant and going thru the highs and lows of that. Being the caring mother that she is, she wants to stay here and keep an eye on Melody.” Danny then looks on confused.

“Couldn’t we take Melody to your hous-” Danny starts and Brad immedialtey shakes his head no.

“I have friends that come over that don’t know the truth about…well….Anyways, I don’t need them seeing that and asking questions. Is that fair?” Danny shakes his head, understanding. He had forgotten some of the elements of Brad and Juliette’s life with humans.

“Brad is going to spend his weekends at the track racing, and some days during the week at the shop as he is obligated to,” Juliette continues. “He also has media appearances and such that he has to stick to, as well. He will spend any free time that he has among that, along with his nights, here with me taking care of our daughter. Danny and Yolanda, with that said, I want you to be in charge of his transportation, if you get my drift.” The pair easily caught on, knowing that they’d be flying Brad back and forth accordingly.

“I have no problem doing that for you sis,” Danny offers.

“Besides, she has been trying to get me to go to a race,” Yolanda adds. “I could fly you to a race, check it out as a team guest and then return you here.”

“Can I trust her to not eat my team members?” Brad questions as Juliette laughs.

“I’m sure she’ll be behaved,” Juliette comments. “She’s been behaved so far when (Joey’s fiancé) Brittany has come over.” She then glances back towards her brother and bet friend. “But, are you sure that you’re okay to agreeing to the idea?” The pair shake their heads yes.

“We’d do anything for you,” Danny tells her before giving her a hug.

“Besides, you have a very cute daughter to boot,” Yolanda state as she glances towards the little tiny girl.

“We won’t know how much vampire and werewolf she is till she gets bigger,” Melissa comments. “It just depends if we see some fur, ears and a tail forming.”

“I don’t care what happens as she gets bigger, as long as she’s healthy,” Danny states as both Brad and Juliette smile. “So, when do we tell your parents?” Brad’s smile immediately disappeared. He had thought about telling them right away, but was worried as to their reaction.

“Give it a week and I may let it slip to them,” Brad comments. He had to first figure out whether it was the right decision based on the relationship, and current situation the baby was in. Did he want them wanting to come to Danny’s place? Did he want to risk the progress that they had made already? “Everybody outside of this room and family doesn’t find out till February when they were supposed to meet her.”

“Are you sure you can keep a secret from Paul?” Juliette questions, knowing that Brad told the crew chief everything.

“Trust me – he doesn’t need to know this. I’d be annoyed with a series of questions and need for photos.”

 

Chapter 38: Leaving for Dover

“So I was thinking – maybe we could get together for dinner tonight,” Paul suggests after they finish their normal Wednesday meeting.

As per schedule each week, they’d meet on Mondays to debrief the previous race, and on Wednesdays to look forward to the next race. Considering that a restart penalty and 12th place finish came their way the previous weekend at New Hampshire, Brad was certainly looking for a rebound this weekend in Dover.

Though while it had been a frustrating day at the track, Brad couldn’t help but be in a good mood. Despite the concerns, Melody was doing great under the breathing system and Juliette was feeling stronger as her body healed from the emergency procedure. For Brad, being able to see his daughter and girlfriend each night, it was the best feeling ever. He had almost not come into the shop that morning as he wanted to spend more time with Juliette.

“I got plans for tonight,” Brad simply tells his crew chief, knowing the plan. Yolanda would be by around 5pm when he’d be done for the day. She’d give him his ride back up to the house, where he’d spend the evening and night with his two favourite girls. Life couldn’t get any better than this, right?

“Oh, okay,” Paul accepted as he keeps his eyes on his driver. He could always tell when Brad was hiding something, and it seemed like one of those times again. “I haven’t seen Juliette lately. Everything okay there?” Being the proud father that he seemed to be growing into, he wanted to bolster about Melody’s birth and growth, while showing photos. However, he remembered the agreement with Juliette – nobody would know anything till February. He could tell his parents if he wanted, but nobody else.

“Yeah, everything is going fine.” He knew that he had to tell the crew chief something or else he’d keep bugging. “With how she’s been feeling lately, the doctor advised a strict rest schedule so she won’t travel here on out in making sure she takes care of herself and the baby.” Paul shook his head, understanding. He didn’t know the details of a werewolf-vampire pregnancy, but understood that type of thing from regular human pregnancies.

“Well, glad that she’s doing alright and things are going according to plan. I can understand the doctor’s concerns as what matters most right now is her health.” Brad shakes his head in agreement, simply flashing the crew chief a smile.

“Perhaps we could do dinner next week.” He thought there may be a chance to get Juliette to come home for an hour and play the part. It would be hard to pull her away from Melody as he hated being away himself, but figured she’d do it to help keep the story as is. Besides, a little break wouldn’t hurt as they knew that she was in good hands with Danny and Yolanda.

“That sounds great, Brad. See you later.” Paul then heads out without another word as Brad goes back to his e-mails, smiling. He just hoped hat he could keep up his guard for the rest of the season.

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

“Are you sure about flying out in the morning?” Yolanda questions late Thursday evening as they finish up dinner. Yolanda and Danny had learned some of the human foods, training themselves via recipes and suggestions of what to make via Brad and Juliette. So far, both were satisfied with what they had been able to make, enjoying the tastes. Brad had to also admit that they were both good cooks.

“I have to be there this weekend,” Brad answers, wishing that wasn’t the case.

“But what about this weather? It’s supposed to rain all weekend anyway!” Brad lets out a sigh, having looked over the forecast earlier in the day. With the tropical storm in the area, it was supposed to rain all day Friday and Saturday, with a slim chance of possibly racing on Sunday. Most other tracks had cancelled their shows, or postponed to another date. He wished that NASCAR would do the same, but knew better than that.

“Incase there’s even a small window that we can get track time, they won’t cancel. If they cancel off the day’s activities, though, I’ll be prepared to fly out right away. Besides, I have a media appearance and some sponsor appearances, too.” Yolanda could only roll her eyes at the thought. It seemed purely ridiculous in her mind.

“I’ll make sure to pack my rain gear incase, I guess.” She then takes the dishes out to the kitchen, beginning to rinse them off. “Oh, what’s the plane plan?” Brad smiles, having traded some interesting comments with the pilot and Paul lately.

“I told Paul and the pilot that I had taken a ride with a fellow driver early due to an appearance. The pilot is flying the plane out tonight with Paul only on-board. I will fly back to Charlotte following the race, and you will pick me up from my house.” Yolanda makes a note of the plan while rolling her eyes. She wished that she could simply pick Brad up from wherever she wanted without reservation. Why couldn’t humans just get what they were doing?

“I’ll be there as soon as you arrive back at the house, sir.” Brad smiles as he offers her a quick hug.

“I appreciate everything that you’re doing for Juliette, Melody and I. It means a lot.” Yolanda could only smile in response, while glancing over Brad’s shoulder at her best friend.

“I’ve been close with Juliette since we were toddlers playing together. There was no hesitation in doing what was needed, Brad. Besides, you make her happy – and that’s something that I’m so glad to see.” Brad shakes his head agreeing, knowing Juliette’s background with her parents dying when she was young. That was of course followed by the trail of events with Jason.

“You don’t have to worry, Yolanda. I’m going to do everything in my power to make sure things stay this way.” He then heads over to where Juliette was laying, lying down beside her as his eyes fixate on the incubator that holds their daughter. “I think she’s going to have your eyes as she gets bigger.”

“How could you know that without having a glimpse at them yet?” Juliette questions as she looks over at Brad with a smile, lightly kissing his lips.

“Because she’s so beautiful lying there that I guarantee that she has most of your traits,” Brad answers as Juliette simply smiles.

“Don’t be so sure of that, Brad. I don’t think there’d anything wrong with her picking up some traits from you.” Brad then lets Juliette lay her head on his shoulder as they both keep an eye on their daughter. “Do you have to go in the morning?”

“I have media and sponsors appearances, and I can’t just hide and tell the guys that I’m in the motorcoach all day. I got to make some appearance…” She then lets out a sigh as he brushes a bit of her hair aside. “Don’t worry. I already told Yolanda that if it gets cancelled early, I’m out of there immediately without looking back.”

“I wish I could be there with you. I just can’t see myself leaving our daughter.” Brad shakes his head, understanding. Truthfully, he was fine with that right now.

“Our daughter needs to have one of us here. I can’t be here so you need to be here to take care of us for us both. Don’t worry – I don’t plan on retiring soon so you’ll have lots of races to go to.” Juliette smiles as she knew that was the truth with how much she saw their future growing together. That didn’t mean the future not seem odd at all with the recent announcements.

“I saw Tony’s announcement coming, truthfully, with what happened.” Brad shakes his head in agreement. It was obvious to everyone around that something big was going to happen with Tony.

“He said that the announcement had nothing to do with his injury or the accident. He also added that he plans on racing a lot even past his retirement, just not NASCAR.” Yolanda smiles as that didn’t surprise her. While doing PR for JR Motorports, followed by Dale Jr.’s personal PR, she found herself at race events that Tony was either in charge of, and possibly running to, while her driver was there as a special guest to sign autographs.

“Just promise me that you’ll be careful this weekend.” Brad then looks down at Juliette, giving her a kiss on the lips.

“I promise. I’m going to do everything that I can to win the race and make the next round of the Chase – while being careful, okay?” She shakes her head yes.

“I wouldn’t mind you bringing Miles to visit.” Brad laughs, knowing that’d be a great way to cap off the weekend.

 

Chapter 39: Busy Schedule

Juliette could only let out a sigh as she sat in the bed playing Skip-Bo with Yolanda.

She was feeling better since the baby ordeal and was moving around the house more. She would go take a shower and do some things around the house, but spent a lot of time in her room wanting to keep a close eye on Melody.

So far, things were going alright with Melody. Melissa (the doctor) didn’t have any complaints about the baby’s progress thus far. She was developing according to schedule and progressing towards being set for her normal expected delivery date.

She then lets out a sigh as she glances out the window. The plan had been for Brad to focus on his racing on the weekend, and then spend time with her through the week. He was supposed to do his necessary daily meetings, but would spend every other moment with her. Why was that not happening this week?

“Where did you say he wa-” Yolanda finally questions, seeing Juliette’s annoyance.

“Phoenix, Arizona testing ahead of the race there in November,” Juliette cuts her off, remembering the discussion before Brad had left early in the morning. She understood the reason why he wanted to test there and knew it a necessary. That didn’t mean that she didn’t agree with him going.

“Why does he need to test? I mean, isn’t it same track, same car every week?” Juliette looks over at her friend and can’t help but laugh. There was so much that Yolanda hadn’t learned yet.

“Every track is different in its own way and requires each car to be a little different to work at that track. They also don’t use the same car every wee, but rather different cars suited to different styles of track.” Yolanda shakes her head, understanding.

“Why is this so complicated?” Juliette laughs and shrugs her shoulders as she takes her turn in the game.

“Don’t worry – you’ll get the hang of it as I teach you more.” She then glances over at Melody before returning to the game. “I’m mad at him for going. I want to be able to spend more time with him with our unique situation here. But, I also understand why he needs to test. If he wants to win the championship, he and Paul need to have everything working perfectly. That includes testing to get better at tracks that they still have left on the schedule. That’s why I can’t be mad even though I feel mad.” She then lets out a sigh as she leans back, grabbing her glass of water. “Does that even make sense?”

“Your personal needs require your boyfriend to be here in your arms, however you don’t want to be selfish and understand why that can’t be happening. It makes sense. Welcome to long distance relationships and why they’re stressful. Just be glad that he will be here tonight and you’ll get some time then.” Juliette shakes her head agreeing. Some time was better than no time, and she knew she couldn’t take that for granted.

“Oh, I may go home next week for a day. Brad wants me to check in with Paul so he doesn’t go absolutely nuts in not seeing me. I’ll probably also spend time with Joey’s wife Brittney as we have a nice friendship and she’ll want to see me.” Yolanda shakes her head, understanding. She knew the situation with Melody was going to include balancing being there and watching her grow, while taking into account the rest of their life.

“That’s fine. I can keep an eye on melody and warn you if something goes wrong. I told you that from the beginning. If you take a day every other week, that’ll work out fine.” Juliette shakes her head in agreement as that was her plan. It was just the holidays that she hadn’t worked out yet.

“What about Christmas? Brad hasn’t told his parents or siblings yet about Melody. How are we supposed to do the holidays?” Yolanda sets her cards down, knowing that there were a lot of questions to be asked about the future. She wasn’t even sure herself.

“You’re going to need to talk to Brad about things. Perhaps by then, it’d be a good opportunity to share the news with them. Perhaps something could be worked out so that way they could meet her then. I can’t answer all these questions for you. I can only help you where I can help you.” Juliette shakes her head, knowing that her friend was telling the truth.

It felt fair to tell his parents as they would be curious about the pregnancy. It also seemed that Brad’s sister was just starting to warm up to her, while Brad’s mom and brother loved her.

However, the big of sting left from his dad held her back. If they revealed and wanted to share Melody, which would involve bringing them here while they waited for her to big enough to release her from the unit. Could that be something that she could handle?

“Why do I have to make things so complicated?” Juliette finally questions as Yolanda laughs.

“Because as we’ve said many times – life isn’t just an easy road that you travel without hiccups along the way,” Yolanda reminds her. “It’s all about the journey along the way and teaching yourself more about you, and other lessons to make you a better person. You’ll figure it out. You always do.” Yolanda knew by those words that she needed to have a serious chat with Brad about how they were going to deal with things surrounding Melody moving forward.

“I hope you’re right.”

 

Chapter 40: Family Discussions

Juliette glanced over her laptop, catching up the latest bit of NASCAR news.

Being secluded up in the house had its ups and downs. She was close to her baby Melody without interruptions, but had to spend time away from Brad. She was having a much-needed break after a crazy life over the past couple of years, but was missing in some of the biggest news stories.

The latest? The fact that Brian was going to drive for Brad at Talladega. She had always wondered why the brothers hadn’t been closer in the past, and possibly working together. Though reading both Brad’s blog and a couple articles that Brian was interviewed for, it seemed to make sense now. She knew that she’d be cheering for Brian to have a good run on Saturday.

“So how is Austin doing anyway?” She asks with a glance over at Brad as he had returned that evening after a busy day at the shop. He had spent the morning doing a couple meetings with Paul, followed by an afternoon at BKR finalizing things for Talladega.

“He says he’s feeling better and able to move more,” Brad shares from his latest conversation with Austin. “Everything is going according to plan. He may be able to run some more races before the end of the season.” Juliette couldn’t help but smile. From the times that she had spent with Austin, he seemed like a sweet guy and he had talent behind the wheel to boot. It’d be nice to see him get an expanded opportunity.

“That’s great. Hopefully Brian does well this weekend.” Brad shakes his head in agreement. He knew that anything was possible at Talladega, but he also knew that his brother was good at working the draft. If all the pieces came together, it could be a successful time together.

“I have all the belief in him that he’ll do well.” Juliette only smiled in response as she took a deep breath. While it was fun to keep the discussion light hearted, there were more serious matters at hand, especially after her discussion with Yolanda.

“Speaking of family, we need to have a discussion about things.” Brad then looks over at her curiously as he watches her close the laptop and scoot closer. “We need to figure out what we’re doing for the holidays – thanksgiving and Christmas. We also need to figure out telling your parents, Dawn and Brian about Melody.” Brad lets out a sigh as he was gladly enjoying the avoidance of that topic. He loved his family, but their reservations about Juliette made the discussion touchy. “I think we’re going to need to tell them sooner rather than later, as we originally intended. We can’t come up with excuses around Thanksgiving.”

“So what are you saying? Do you think we should tell them next month?” Juliette didn’t want to control Brad’s life. However, she wanted to try and make the situation as easy as possible.

“Thanksgiving is next month. My family doesn’t really have a tradition for that, but I know that yours does. Your mom will want you there for a big dinner with the family. Now, Yolanda and Danny can watch Melody for us as she still can’t leave then. However, we could mention it to them then.” Brad shook his head no immediately. He knew that upon mentioning it, they’d have 20 million concerns, demand to see the child and question the whole process of the pregnancy.

“It’s still too soon for them, Juliette. I know that you feel that’s right, but it’s too soon.” Juliette could only shake her head in an understanding way. She wanted to believe what Brad was saying as he knew his parents best.

“So when do you think we should tell them?” Brad had thought it over, debating time and time again whether this would be a fitting idea.

“Christmas. Let it be our Christmas surprise. We can reveal that she was born – total truth and explain why we kept it quiet as we had. At that point, they can come see her if they want to – as long as they listen to certain guidelines of behavior.” Juliette shakes her head, seeing as to why Brad wanted to wait till then. It made sense with the concerns and it would make a great gift. “Wait – if you go to Thanksgiving dinner, they are going to see you and see that you no pregnant belly. They’re going to think that you miscarried and demand answers.” Juliette then smiles as she crosses her arms. This was exactly what Yolanda talked about.

“So, now what are you thinking?” Brad lets out a sigh as he knew his back was up against the wall. If they were going to do Thanksgiving dinner properly, it would have to be revealed then.

“We are going to have to tell them. If we try to use your pregnancy and inability to fly as an excuse, they will want to come to my house. Whether I like it or not, we are going to have to reveal it next month.” Juliette felt her breath hitch in her throat at that thought. Could she handle the reaction that she’d receive?

“Yolanda and Danny have said that they wouldn’t mind allowing your family to come see her.” Brad was glad to hear that understanding and appreciated it. However, that didn’t make things perfect at his end. He knew how Dawn and his dad felt about things.

“I’m sure my mom and Brian would welcome that. It’s just about convincing Dawn and my dad.” Juliette knew that Dawn would be easy – she was excited about having a baby sitter. His dad? That was going to be a challenge.

“Well, no matter what happens, it will work out. As long as we have a game plan and understanding, it’ll work out. Melody is growing and nothing is wrong there so everything else is the least of our worries.” Brad could only smile as he glances over the little incubator, seeing how Melody had changed in size in just the past couple of weeks.

“She’s certainly adorable. I can’t wait till we can both hold her in our arms.”