The Mysterious Girl – Chapters 16 Thru 20

themysteriousgirl

Chapter 16: The Imprint

At the request of Edward, the pair of them now sat in Brad’s room, sitting across from each other, gazing into each other’s eyes. Neither of them were 100% sure about the imprinting process, or how things were going to work out, but they knew that they had to give it a shot.

“I believe that we can do this and make it work,” Juliette starts, sensing the nerves from Brad as she reaches over and grasps both of his hands in her own. He wanted to focus, needed to focus – but being this close to her and feeling the heat radiate off of her body after their kiss downstairs and being there together made him want to just pull her close with one thought in mind.

“I believe it will work also – if I only I can focus on that alone,” Brad comments and Juliette lets out a small laugh. She could tell by the way he was gazing into her eyes and licking his lips that he indeed had a thought on his mind in that very moment.

“If this goes well, we will have all the time in the world together to do what you’ve got on your mind, Brad. Focus for this once to be rewarded all the time – when the time is right.” Brad sensed the hesitation in her voice at the thought, and knew what stemmed from. He could understand the tinge of worry that she had diving into another relationship after what happened with Jason, but he wasn’t about to let this opportunity to be with her slip away.

“Are you sure that you’re set with doing this with me after finding out that I’m werewolf? I don’t want to find out later on that your perspective simply changed this day due to what happened with Jason.” She then snaps out of her daze of admiring, in shock that he was bringing that up in that moment.

“I’m absolutely certain. The werewolf doesn’t make the man – the man makes who he is by his actions. I believe that you’re the right person for me, that you truly love me and wouldn’t do anything to hurt me. I hope I am right by those assumptions, am I?” Brad shakes his head yes as he focuses in on her eyes.

“I’ve wanted to be with you, in love, for the longest time. I’d never do anything to risk ruining this with you.” He then leans in and lightly kisses her lips before sitting back in position.

“I believe you – no matter what anybody else may think. If my brother dares to say anything, my opinion is never the same as his and don’t let him chase you away from me.” Brad shakes his head, understanding. He was expecting some talk with Danny in the future, considering how Danny had already given him an interesting discussion at the shop previously.

“Don’t ever think that your brother will change things between us. I can deal with an annoying brother, if you can deal with a couple annoying siblings of my own.” She smiled, having met Brian already. She knew that they couldn’t be that bad.

“I’ve met Brian and he seemed fine. I don’t have a thing to worry about.” Brad begged to differ as he knew that the dynamics were going to be different this time around.

“Don’t forget – you’re a vampire, and they’re werewolves, and we’re dating. That should change things, a little.” She swallows the lump in her throat, knowing that is probably true. However, she wasn’t about to let that chase her away.

“Let them say what they want, Brad. I don’t care what happens outside of us – as long as we’re together.” With the entire basis covered, there was only one question that was left on Brad’s mind.

“Are you ready?” She then shakes her head yes as she takes a careful deep breath. “Then let’s get this over with. Keep looking straight in my eyes no matter what. Don’t move an inch.”

The pair then intently stare into each other’s eyes, set on doing the process as described by Edward and Jacob. As they wait for the stare to become an imprint, they each noticed something intriguing about each other that they hadn’t noticed before.

Juliette began to see the signs of the werewolf coming through, noticing how his eyes dimmed darker in the shadow, as if to warn of a possible change.

In contrast, Brad was intrigued by the silver colored eyes that Juliette had with the contacts removed from her eyes. They shined bright, despite being in shadows, as if to say that they lit the way. Of course, they lit the way for Brad as she was the source of all love. He knew that well some may consider it strange, he could get used to seeing those eyes on a daily basis as they made her look even hotter than the contacts she normally wore.

Seconds ticked by, followed by a couple minutes. The pair wondered to themselves whether something or anything was going to happen, or had happened. What if in some way he had already imprinted her in some past meeting? what if there was no change in movement?

Then it hit her. She felt a wave come over her as she fought to maintain her posture, feeling a jolt through her body as if someone had sent a surge of electricity through. To her, it felt as though an imaginary force was now within her – perhaps that was the deflector for all other werewolves.

She then felt a tingly feeling on her wrist, glancing down moments later to see a very dull, grey-like image etched in. under normal light, there was nothing there. But in the shadows, a slight grey sketch appeared, revealing a werewolf.

With a glance back at Brad and a smile on her face, there was one certainty in that moment – they had done it. She was officially imprinted by a werewolf, and now safe from anybody who wanted to step foot near her.

 

Chapter 17: Post Imprint

“Hello?!?” Edward calls up the stairs as he glances towards the clock.

A whole hour had passed since the pair had gone up the stairs. In that span, nobody had heard anything from the pair and it disturbed Edward. Had something gone wrong? Was he wrong to send them without any advice of any nature? Should he have had Jacob supervise? Was Brad lying when he said that he was a werewolf? Worse, did he actually go after her? Edward debated climbing the stairs and seeing for himself whether they were alright. However, if they were having some intimacy after doing it – feeling it brought them closer together, he didn’t want to be the person to interrupt them.

He knew that everything that they had revealed to each other over the span of the past couple of days had changed their lives forever, and certainly would take adjusting to. For that reason, he was willing to give them the space to possibly talk it out and feel that adjustment.

“Should we go make sure that she’s alright?” Yolanda questions, feeling the same tinge of worry. Based on what they had been told by the ‘experts’, it should’ve been done within the span of minutes. She thought that they’d be gone for 10 minutes and return with happiness due to success.

“I’m going to go se-” Danny starts as he heads towards the stairs, though is stopped by Edward who quickly flashes over, placing his hand across.

“If something was wrong, you would’ve heard a scream,” Edward starts. “Besides, they trust each other so you should trust them both together. They’re probably spending some time getting used to whom they are. I had to get used to Jacob being around once I knew he was a werewolf.”

“She’s my sister! I care about her and I’m going to go see!” Danny didn’t trust Brad one bit, but frankly, he didn’t trust any girl that crossed his sister. He knew how kindhearted and easy trusting that she was. It wouldn’t take much for anybody to take advantage of her, as seen by Jason. Being the big brother, he didn’t want his sister to be taken advantage by yet another werewolf.

“No, you are not! You can just stay right here and wait with the rest of us.”

“Is there a problem down there?” A voice questions as the men look up the stairs, seeing Brad peak out of his bedsroom.

He wanted to spend the quality time that he could with Juliette. Later that night, he’d be leaving for Chicagoland to start off the 2014 Chase for the Sprint Cup. He knew that the weekend would be busy with not only the Chase kicking off, but the media and fan questions surrounding the dropped charges. He knew that once he started off, he wouldn’t get the time that he wanted with Juliette. For that reason, he was cherishing the current time that they had there.

Behind their own precious walls, neither had done anything intimate as Brad was sticking by his word in agreeing to take it slow with Juliette, as she requested. They had just shared stories from growing up as their respective selves, how they came to realize who they were and how they went about dealing with everyday life. Brad explained how he made sure that he didn’t change into a werewolf in front of everybody by using a special drink that was made up for him by a close friend of the family. Juliette explained how the skin cream was developed so vampires wouldn’t be seeked out due to their sparkling tone skin. In a way, they were allowing each other in to truly understand each other. If they ever wanted a future together now, they were going to have to find understanding.

“It seems the worrywart brother is worried that you ate his sister,” Edward mocks Danny’s worry as Danny shoots him a look.

“You can tell pain in the ass that I’m fine!” Juliette yells as she pops her head out of the room with a smile on her face. She could only roll her eyes at her brother’s continued actions. When would he learn?

“See? What did I tell you?” Danny then lets out a sigh.

“I’m her brother,” he starts. “It’s my job to worry. It seems none of you understand that.” He then walks away from the staircase and flops down on the couch. Brad knew that he and Juliette should go downstairs and entertain their guests, but they weren’t up for that at the moment.

“If you get hungry or anything, help yourself to the kitchen,” Brad starts. “We’re going to be awhile.”

“Getting funky up there?” Jacob questions, earning a smack from Yolanda and a glare from both Edward and Danny.

“No – we’re just talking about things. I have a busy weekend ahead and I want to make sure that we have our Barings straightened out.”

“You’re just scared to admit to Dan-”

“Shut up!” Edward cuts off Jacob’s words with a glare, before returning his gaze back up the stairs. “Take all the time that you need, Brad. If you both have any questions, feel free to ask.” Edward then walks away from the staircase, dragging Jacob behind him by the arm.

“Did you seriously have to hit me?” Jacob questions as Edward sits down on the couch.

“Did you seriously have to be so rude and make so many immature comments? Those were totally uncalled for, mister.”

“Besides, she’ll want to take it slow based on what happened with Jason…” Yolanda lets out, knowing her friend really well. She could tell that Juliette was still hurt from what happened, and no doubt that’d play a role in her relationship with Brad. She just hoped that he was patient the whole way through.

 

Chapter 18: That Feeling

Jason glanced around him as he sat near the bush.

He felt different. There was something different about the way he was feeling, but what? Why couldn’t he pinpoint it?

Spying on the house, he saw the people go in and had to wonder who they were. He could tell that they were immediately vampires by the scent, feeling the thirst in his blood boil at the thought of having one for desert.

However, he didn’t care about the majority. There was only one female that he wished to make desert. She was a blond, pretty, stunning female that he had set his eyes on for the past period of months. He had stalked his pray, secured his pray and was playing with set pray. He just wished he would’ve gotten his bite sooner.

Though he wasn’t about to be denied this time as that was why he offered that package deal to her. He didn’t care about the family – just the taste of one. Though once she was gone and if she matched the scent, he may have to break that promise.

The feeling that he wanted and the closeness that he felt was complete bliss about an hour ago. Though now, it was evil. There was like an imaginary barrier with the scent slowly disappearing in the midst of everything. He wondered if those who entered had cast a spell to erase the scent so she couldn’t be tracked.

He also couldn’t believe that there was a werewolf as part of the pack. He thought that her little protective brother would’ve chased away the werewolf. He was even more shocked when he realized that a certain somebody else – Brad – was a werewolf. How did he do such a good job at hiding it? What was his secret? Too bad he hadn’t befriended him before going for his pray.

He wondered if Brad was doing it for the same reasons. Did he want her just for those reasons as well? Let’s face it, her scent was unique and certainly would bring forth the waking of every taste bud in his being.

He couldn’t allow his mind to wander on that any longer. He had to figure out why things were changing, and if he needed to change the plan that he had in mind for Ms. Daniels.

Then he noticed it. He watched as Brad traced his fingers along her wrist, making an outline, before focusing towards smaller details. The details included a pair of small circles, a u motion, followed by some sort of other detail towards the bottom. The outline included pointy tips towards the top….

“He’s a werewolf and he imprinted her….” Jason lets out in a spell of frustration. “He imprinted my JULIETTE!!!”

As the anger grows inside him, he feels the hairs start to grow longer on his legs and arms, lengthening with each passing second and minute. He feels his nose grow out slightly, and a pair of popping noises out of the top of his head.

The anger boiled in him, pushing his body further outward, with the icing on the cake being the tail that stuck out the crack of his butt. He couldn’t control the transformation nor the fact that his self took him a run through the forest in the opposite direction. The anger pushed his wolf self further than it had been pushed before, blasting through the tress at an unseen speed with frustration growls escaping each step of the away.

Unable to pause, unable to slow – purely seeing red, his run took him cross country. He ran across highaways, through trees and neighbourhoods. All of the places that he tried to avoid in fear of a transformation before people – his body carried him without consent. He tried to slow down at parts, but the anger that his PREY was IMPRINTED by another wolf caused him regain the lost speed and keep going.

As the sun rose the next morning, there was no energy to be spent as he collapsed underneath a tree, curling up. With a howl or two, he slowly returned to human form, watching the fur, nose and ears go back away. Glancing at his butt, the tail slipped itself back in his body.

He had no clue where he had gone through that time period. He had no clue why he had done that. He felt like a total lost soul. However, that feeling didn’t last as he glanced up from underneath the tree across the field and only a grin could cross his face.

Chicagoland Speedway lied ahead and with it being Friday, someone would be there. That someone would know that he had messed with the wrong girl by the time the weekend was over.

 

Chapter 19: Chicagoland

“Are you sure you’re ready for this weekend?” Juliette asks as she watches Brad closely from her seat on the couch in the motorcoach. He simply shakes his head yes as he does up the zipper on his suit.

“Just part of the job,” he answers as he heads for the door, though she holds her arm out to stop him.

“Right, we’ll go with that because it’s not like any other driver has been faced with this type of scrutiny before.” She then takes a deep breath. “I just worry about you and what you’re going to face out there. It’s my fault, too.” He then brushes a piece of blond hair out ofher eyes.

“Juliette, its fine. I can handle it. This is a small thing to handle to be with you forever.” He then leans in and lightly kisses her cheek. “I’ll see you after practice. Wish me luck.”

“Good luck, and you may see me before then. I was thinking of heading out to see Dale and the boys. A little reunion.”

“As long as there’s no flirting or kissing involved, it’s fine by me.” She just grins as he heads out of the motorcoach.

While he was playing it cool for her in things being fine, his thoughts told him otherwise. He was about to step into the media conference room and have to face everyone for the first time since the events that happened. What was fine and dandy about that?

He had finally figured out what he was going to say. It sounded like the worst possible thing to say in the situation, but what else was he supposed to say? He couldn’t tell the world the truth. He couldn’t just come out and say that he was a werewolf and Juliette was a vampire and they did what they had to be done to protect her family. There were people that thought he was crazy already. If he said such, he would immediately be sent to the looney bin.

Making his way into the media center, Brad takes his seat and with a deep breath, is set to handle the media questions that come his way.

“Our next media session is with Brad Keselowski, driver of the No. 2 Miller Lite Ford,” Kerry Tharp begins. “Brad comes into the weekend sitting pretty in relative to his championship chances as he is one of your 16 Chase for the Sprint Cup contenders. He is also coming off of a win last weekend at Richmond International Speedway. Brad, your thoughts entering this weekend?

“I think we have a good shot to get another win,” Brad comments with a smile. “We’ve been quick all year on the mile and halves and we’d like no other way than to start off the Chase with a win.”

“We’ll now open the floor for questions.” Kerry then points to one of the journalists in the front row.

“Jeff Gordon said yesterday that he would be satisfied with nine second place finishes going into Homestead because he thinks he can win on consistency,” one of the journalists start. “Do you agree?” Brad had heard the comment and certainly it was a fair point to make. However, he knew that for him, the focus was simply on winning.

“Well, you can win a lot of different ways with this format,” he shares. “I don’t think there is one way you can win or one way you can lose. That is definitely one of the ways you can win but not the only way.”

“So you think someone can make it to Homestead and win the title without winning?” Brad then looks at the journalist, wondering what it would take for him to understand the answer. Wasn’t it obvious?

“Absolutely. We could run through all the hypotheticals but there are so many different scenarios it is really a waste of time in my mind. The reality is you can just go out and perform and let it take care of itself.” The microphone is then passed to another journalist in the room, one of which Brad doesn’t recognize from previous weekends. He knew where this was headed.

“Focusing away from the Chase for a minute, there’s been a lot of talk since you dropped the charges against Mr. Jason Burdett,” the female begins. “May I ask why those charges were dropped?” Brad then takes a deep breath as he knew he had to take care in answering the question, per his thoughts.

“It was going to turn into a his word against mine, and I wasn’t willing to sit through that process,” Brad starts. “I’d rather get focused on the Chase and winning a championship, rather than that….or at least, that was my thought at the beginning of the weekend when I dropped the charges. My perspective has changed now, you know. I wished I would’ve left the charges be because he should get served for what he did. There’s no excuse for any of his actions, and I wish I would’ve let them stick. However, I can’t go back on that now so I can just hope for the future that I go about things better.”

“Can you tell us what happened between yourself and Mr. Burdett?” Brad lets out a sigh and shakes his head no. he wasn’t at the liberty to discuss the details as he knew Juleitte wanted the events to simply disappear, as did he. He was set to move forward with his girl in his arms.

“I don’t think that’s information that I need to share. There’s a police report, it states what is believed to have happened and that’s all I have to say on that topic. Can we move on?” He lets out a sigh as the microphone is passed to a regular in the room, knowing that the questions would get back on track.

“Do you have a different approach for the different rounds?” He hears and smiles. It was good to get back to talking about the Chase.

“Well, I think you have four brackets and all four brackets are going to demand something different out of you,” he comments. “So in some ways you have to have a different approach. The first bracket is going to demand consistency. The second bracket we have seen Kansas and Talladega both be wreck-fests so that will demand survival. The third bracket will take you from eight to four and that bracket will demand performance and then the fourth bracket at Homestead will be about staying cool under pressure. You will have to be clutch at Homestead-Miami. I think all four will require something different out of you which is a good thing and part of the experience.”

“And then on her point, while you dropped the charges and share regret on that, the truth is that it looks at one of those wrongfully charged cases. Those can sometimes bring lawsuits. Are you worried about that? I mean, it was those accusations that resulted in Jason being let go from his jo-”

“As with any legal proceeding, there are no comments allowed during the process,” Brad watches as his PR rep buts into the discussion. “So at this time, I would ask that questions of that nature are removed from the media room. At this time, there is nothing spending but that could change and that’s’ why it’s advised that Brad doesn’t comment. Let’s focus on racing, people.”

“Do you feel the situation will affect the racing on track, namely between yourself and Dale since Jason worked for him?” Brad hears and shakes his head no immediately. He had talked to Dale about things and they were still cool. Dale knew the situation with Juliette and Jason, and understood – somewhat – why Brad had gone about his business as he had. There was also shock from Dale when Brad explained the other details – vampire/werewolf, something that he didn’t think Dale would get used to ever based on his reaction. But still, it felt right to tell him due to obvious reasons.

“No,” Brad answers. “Dale and I have talked and everything is still great between us. I look forward to racing him Sunday without any problems.”

 

Chapter 20: Juliette’s Visit

“Uh oh….she’s back…” Steve lets out as Juliette makes her way into the No. 88 garage and up to where the crew chief was standing with his driver. “Come to steal secrets for your boyfriend?”

“He doesn’t need your secrets to beat you, Stevie,” Juliette states with a grin to Steve’s shock.

“Where’s that sweet girl that would do our PR and kiss our asses?”

“She’s up Keselowski’s ass now,” spotter TJ Majors comments, earning some laughs from the group as Juliette smacks him.

“I see you haven’t changed a bit, Mr. Majors. I’m scared to wonder how much trouble Madelynn is going to cause with you teaching her everything.”

“I was just stating the truth, ma’am. Isn’t that what you always told me to do?”

“So have you come to return to your post as media relations manager?” Dale wonders and Juliette shakes her head no. While she had enjoyed the job and the relationship that she had created with the guys, she was ready to sit back and relax for awhile. For now, it was about being there with Brad and sorting out the odds and ends in her life.

“Nope, as I am fine kicking it back with Brad,” she answers as Dale shakes his head understanding. “Besides, Mike and Laura can handle things. They’re pretty smart.”

“So far things have worked out good. I’m just going to miss picking on you every week.” She then smiles as no doubt the teasing would take place throughout the weekend at all hours.

“Don’t worry – I’ll make sure to visit here and there. I can’t just disappear from you guys.”

“Isn’t that what you did?” Steve questions as Juliette lets out a sigh and shakes her head yes. She knew it was possible to be discussed, but she was hoping that they would just let it go. It wasn’t a topic that she wanted to talk about. There was only one person in the group that could know the truth, no matter how close they all were.

“Yeah….” She comments quietly as she looks away, before returning her eyes to them. “I’m sorry. I should’ve given you guys more warning or whatever. It’s just….I needed to get away. I needed to have some time to myself to think and get through everything. I’m sorry.” Steve takes a deep breath as he wraps an arm around her.

“It’s okay – this time. You had a good reason. Just don’t do that again, and come to us if you need anything.”

“And if Brad pulls the same shit, let us kick his ass for you please?” TJ requests as she makes a glance over his way.

“I don’t think we got to worry about that happening.”

“I’m surprised it took you and Brad this long to realize that you should be together,” Dale comments as Juliette shakes her head, agreeing. “I’m going to go see Jimmie. Got a couple questions. Want to come?” She then agrees as she follows him out of the stall.

In truth, Dale wanted to get her away from the others to talk about her ‘vampire’ state and Brad’s ‘werewolf state. He couldn’t believe what Brad was telling him when Brad told him the truth. It just seemed so movie-like. He thought that perhaps Brad was dreaming, making this up because he still didn’t want to face the fact that she had ran away. It didn’t even hit home when he watched the security footage as he almost felt it had been docked, movie made at some point. Could Brad be making these movies a reality to fill the void?

Though with more conversation and a slight transformation by Brad in his office, Dale was fully convinced. He didn’t know what to say – but he was convinced. That shock carried over as he learned more about Jason as he was left without words for Brad. Who knew that his best friend was a werewolf. Who knew that his car chief was a werewolf. Who knew his PR rep was a vampire.

“I know Brad told you everything so that way you’d understand what happened,” Juliette comments as she glances over at him. “I just hope by what I’ve done, I don’t screw things up for you and Brad.”

“How so?” Dale questions as he glances towards her with a curious eye.

“Jason was your car chief. Everybody is going to have questions for you about him disappearing and questions for Rick about whether he should return due to not being found guilty of anything. It’s going to be the talk of the garage and I don’t wa-”

“You need to stop worrying.” Dale then stops and turns to face her as they stand outside of Brad’s stall. “I care about you. Brad cares about you. We can handle whatever the media and fans throw at us in the next couple of weeks if it helps you. There is nothing that nobody, not even Rick, can say that will change my mind. Understood?” She shakes her head, slightly satisfied, slightly still concerned.

“What has Rick said about this?” Dale glance down the garage, remembering the discussion in Rick’s office, before returning his eyes to Juliette.

“HE would’ve preferred the charges going through. However, he believes you because he knows you. he believes what you’re saying is true because I’m backing it up. He believes based on what he has heard from Brad, as well. Therefore, he’s just letting it slide off of his back. Besides, Jason hasn’t even stepped foot near HMS since.”

“Perhaps he’s scared of TJ and his protective self. I’ll see you later, Dale.” Juliette then heads into the stall as Dale continues his walk down the garage.

As the pair separate, Dale casts a glance around the garage area, almost freezing for a second as he thought he saw a familiar face, a face that he didn’t want to see.

The Bruises – Chapters 21 Thru 25

thebruises

Chapter 21: The Race

Bristol – Saturday Night

Dale and Steve stood by the car, counting down the minutes till the start of the race. Steve was right. They had a bullet. He had managed to qualify on pole. The week had gone according to plan, too, as Jeff held word to his promise. It put a sense of relief in Dale’s mind as it was one week that he didn’t have to deal with the pain. It also had allowed himself some good time to continue to feel better, now ready for the 500 laps that would take place that night.

“We’re going to have a good night,” Steve predicted. “We just got to keep you out of trouble and we got a win on our hands. I just hope that what you’re thinking works. How are you planning on pulling off a win and what you’re thinking?” Dale then smiled as he looked towards his crew chief.

“He’ll be up front late in the race if he can stay out of trouble,” Dale replied. “You’ll see it go down in the final 20 laps if he’s up there where I think he’ll be in the top five. I can’t let this go down without getting a piece of revenge for Daytona for not only myself, but for you and the guys.” Steve then smiled as he wrapped an arm around his driver, looking down the starting grid to see Jeff there with his wife and kids.

“I appreciate that, but it’s not necessary. I just want to see things over with for you, Lindsay and Angelica.” Dale smiled as he looked towards Lindsay and Angelica, who were engulfed in their own conversation with one of the crew guys.

“Just make sure after the race to keep your eyes on them. Tony has my back with his part so you have their back.” Steve shook his head in agreement, knowing how much they both meant to Dale and knowing that Tony would definately have Dale’s back no matter what. “They mean everything to me.”

40 laps to go….

Last round of pit stops didn’t go as planned as Dale came first and went out eighth. According to Steve per the radio, it was due to a hang up on the left rear. Though with fou laps left, there was time to work their magic.

“We’ve ran up front all night so you can get back up there,” Steve encouraged his driver under caution. “24 is leading by the way.” With the plan they had in hand, it seemed it was coming together perfectly. Jeff was up front, as predicted, and it seemed that if it was going to happen, it’d go down better than expected. A look at the scoreboard was also show that Jeff would have his hands full on the restart virtue of Kyle and Tony.

“Top seems to had been better all night, strangly, so this could be to our advantage,” T.J. added. While Bristol was a short banked track, it had been true that most people were making passes to the outside. The outside groove was the quicker way around and if you wanted to pass, the bottom was tough to do it. T.J. sensed that they’d be able to make some quick passes early on the restart and then show their strength continuing to make their way through the field. “I’ll try to get you clear as soon as I can.”

“I’ll leave these final laps to you both but 40 laps, strong car, you can do it buddy!”

As they got near the end of the race, it had played true. Dale had made his way through the field, making some passes high on the restart, some passes low as the laps ticked away. It was a show to watch as everybody was wondering if they could pull off a win after last week in Michigan.

“5 laps.” Steve said across the radio as there were five laps to go and now Dale ran second to Jeff, just a couple car lengths behind. In an amazing feat, their plan was coming together way better than they expected.

“You’re catching him,” T.J. came across the radio, noticing how much quicker Dale seemed to be in the middle of the corners. “Faster in the middle of the corners. No lap traffic around you.”

 

Chapter 22: Bristol Part 2

Bristol – Saturday Night

It marked three laps left and Dale was there, right on Jeff’s bumper coming off of turn two to go down the backstretch. Down into turn four, Dale kept himself right there, giving Jeff a slight tap, knowing that he had to get Jeff thinking about what he would do.

“Two to go,” T.J. said as he crossed the front stretch finish line. “Save move for last lap.” By watching his driver, T.J. could tell there was possibility of a bump and run happening. Steve and Dale hadn’t told T.J. of the plan nor any details, however everybody sensed it by how the pair were racing each other.

“You can do it,” Steve encouraged his driver as he watched them head down the backstretch, biting his lip. The plan haunted him now as he watched the pair. He knew what was coming. What this really the right thing to do considering everything? “Final lap.” He stood up, watching the pair go into turns one and two, just waiting for it to happen. It was only a matter of time now.

Going into turn three, Dale knew that it was time and he gave Jeff the bump, sending him down the banking and for the spin as Dale went on to take the victory. A smile crossed his face in knowing what had happened, though there was a sense of fear building. Maybe the plan wasn’t the best idea.

“I didn’t mean to turn him – just bump him,” Dale came across the radio immediately as he crossed the finish line and Steve stood on the pit box, smiling, high-fiving the guys. He knew that the comment was a total lie, enough to cover for the guys on the 24 team, but it was what it was. “Way to go guys on an awesome car! Steve, this thing was a rocket! Awesome job!”

“Nice job Dale,” they all heard a new voice chime in, knowing that it was the boss’. It was questionable as to whether there’d be a discussion following the race that Rick was thinking of. He had a discussion after Daytona, but it was determined probably in his mind to do it again. Though with what was about to go down, Dale knew that discussion would be a lot bigger.

“Way to go buddy!” Steve came across the radio as he climbed down from the pit box. “You did a heck of a job driving through the field there after that pit stop. Great team effort tonight!”

Victory Lane

Dale smiled as he was surrounded by the crew, everybody drowning each other in any liquid they could find. The smiles on their face proved that this was needed. It felt good to get back to victory lane. It felt good to get their piece of revenge for what had happened in Daytona. Even though the 24 was their teammate, there was some anger still felt by what had happened in the final laps. He looked over to see Lindsay and Angelica smiling, enjoying the moment, and it just seemed perfect. Thinking things over, he knew it was a matter of time before they were completely perfect.

“You son of a bitch!” He heard being yelled and turned to see Jeff standing there, instantly wiping the smile off of his face. He knew that Jeff would probably come pay him a victory lane visit.

“That is what you call payback for what you did in Daytona,” Dale said simply as he turned to go back to the crew, when he felt a hand grab his arm. Tensing up slightly, he knew instantly by the feel of the hand and grip level who it belonged to. “I had to do it for my guys. They didn’t deserve what you did to us in Daytona.” He felt the hand tighten its grip, biting his lip as they both backed away from the crew guys.

“I don’t care what you’re reasoning is; you had no fucking business to do that. For that, I will make sure you pay. For that, I should just send out at least one of the secrets to show you who runs this show. Now what do you think about that?” Dale looked down, not expecting that to come out. He had planned it to meet back at the motorcoach and then bring in the arrest with a total cover-up.

“No – don’t do that, yet.” He saw the confusion in Jeff’s eyes by his words.

“What do you mean ‘yet’? What are you trying to say Earnhardt?” Dale looked down, before turning his gaze back up to Jeff as he could feel a gaze on his back. He knew that belonged to Steve as Steve was the only one who knew the truth behind everything that was in victory lane at that moment. Where was Tony? “What are you thin-”

“Don’t do anything yet. Let me deal with the media in the media center and then I will meet you back at my motorcoach – alone.” Dale knew in a matter of the time he had, he would work it so Tony would be finding the person they needed and Steve would have watch on Angelica and Lindsay. It was a twist to the original plan, but it had to be done.

As he watched Jeff walk away, Dale then turned as he walked over to where Steve stood, now joined by Tony who had made his way over.

“What was that about?” Steve asked as he watched his driver walk over. “Dal-”

“We do media center and then after that, you keep Lindsay and Angelica at bay at the trailer as they know what is going down,” Dale started, knowing they had only a matter of time to plan it out. “He’s going back to my motorcoach – he knows my password to get in by the electronic lock. Tony, you’re in charge of what you were before – get the officer and meet us there. I’ll keep him busy so he doesn’t do anything that we’ll regret. He was going to leak all the secrets out as per the incident, but agreed not to by my words. This is working out according to plan boys.” They both then smiled as Dale then picked the champagne bottle up, going over and dumping it on Lindsay’s head.

Lindsay let out a smile as she felt it run down her body, though felt a bit of concern. She had heard the discussion and the possibility of the secrets being told. What if they were? What if her cover was blown? Was she ready to put Dale and his daughter in harms way?

 

Chapter 23: We Meet Again

Bristol – Saturday Night

Dale walked back to the motorcoach, typing the password into the keypad, surprised the door wasn’t unlocked. He knew what he faced once he was inside, but he wanted to have a talk with Jeff before everything went down. This is why he had planned it out like he had.

Hearing the click of the door, he opened it, walking inside and closing it behind him. As he made his way inside, he saw the one person that haunted his nightmares sitting there on the couch, waiting. By the looks of it, waiting impatiently. Dale couldn’t help it if the media had kept him longer than expected with a crazy list of questions.

“You could’ve helped yourself to a drink while you waited,” Dale commented as he walked up to the individual, eyes focused down him. There was no question that the hatred between them was spewing worse than ever.

“I wasn’t thirsty,” Jeff replied back to Dale as he stood up so their eyes met on even level. It was no question that Jeff’s dark blue eyes equaled anger from what had happened. It was no question that on any other given night this would have ended with torture beyond torture and no ending to it. “I was only hungry for kicking someone’s ass.” Dale crossed his arms, keeping his eyes locked with Jeff’s.

“I thought you would’ve been sick of that by now.” Jeff shook his head, not believing the words that spewed from the person in front of him. Why weren’t they in the bedsroom already?

“I never get sick of seeing the pain written across your face and you know that.” Dale felt Jeff’s fingers wrap around his wrist, having felt this many times, having become immune to it. “It’s a satisfaction that nobody else can give me.” Dale shook his head as he looked down, ready to spew his own thoughts.

“Not even Harvick, right? The funny thing Jeff is that I heard you were cheating behind my back with Kevin for at least a month. In speaking with Kevin about that relationship, Kevin said that you guys did it at least 10 times while I was with you.” Dale then flung his wrist away from Jeff, knowing that he had said what needed to be said. Dale had found the news about Kevin and Jeff being together through Tony when Tony got drunk one night. When Tony was drunk, he turned into super confessional. He spilled the details and Dale then went and confirmed them with Kevin. Kevin said he had broken the relationship off as a result of not wanting to interfere with the family he was starting with Delana. “So you fuck Harvick 10 times behind my back and yet you’re mad at me for fucking Johnson three times? That doesn’t even seem fair at all! Maybe this is over the fact that you have been left out of having a partner and feel the need to take that anger out on me for whatever god damn reason. I mean, after all, I did sleep with the guy who you were brought into the sport because you wanted a playmate.” Seeing the shocked expression on Jeff’s face, Dale shook his head, almost laughing. “It’s kind of funny, isn’t it? You brought Jimmie into Hendrick just as we were starting to get close.”

“You fucking bitch!” Jeff then went to grab Dale, though Dale pushed Jeff back, causing Jeff to fall back on the couch. The secrets were finally revealed on the table. Dale and Jeff got together late 2001 season, the same time that Jimmie was signing his contract. The pair had a good relationship till 2004 when both cheated on each other – Jeff slept with Kevin while Dale slept with Jimmie. Dale and Jimmie broke ties due to Chandra and the kids while Kevin broke tires due to Delana and the family they had coming. Furious with the fact that he had nobody to go with, Dale didn’t want him back and no new fling, he lashed out starting in 2011. Dale seemed to be the easy target due to no kids to mess around in the middle with and due to having the secret with Lindsay that Jeff had run across due to some inside sources.

“You’re just as much as a bitch as I am Jeff for what you did, too.”

“Wait till I get my hands on you!” Jeff then stood up grabbing Dale by the wrist and pulling him close. “Do you not realize what I could do to you? Do you not realize that I could throw your ass into jeopardy so quickly with a simple text message of secrets?” Dale then flung Jeff’s hands off the couch, causing it to break on the floor with a smile.

“Now how do you plan to do that again? I’m sick and fucking tired of what you’ve done to me and I’m sick and tired of dealing with it. I can’t deal with the pain anymore.” Jeff then moved his other hand to Dale’s suit, grabbing a handful of it to keep the pair of them locked right close to each other.

“So what are you going to do then?” Dale then took a deep breath, knowing that Tony would be there soon.

“I’m going to do what I should’ve done a long time ago.” Dale then gave Jeff a punch right to the jaw, causing Jeff to let him go.

“What? Kill me?” Dale then laughed as he heard the door open, seeing Tony Stewart walk in with an officer.

“If it was up to me and legal, I would have you dead in minutes,” Tony commented aloud as the officer walked over to where Jeff sat on the couch, putting in hand cuffs.

“Mr. Stewart told me about what you have done and showed me a piece of video proof,” the officer started. “Mr. Jeff Gordon, you’re under arrest on charges of assault abuse and rape in your behavior towards Dale Earnhardt Jr. You have the right to remain silent.”

“Killing you would be an easy form of torture, Jeff,” Dale comment aloud as he sat back on the couch, letting out a long sigh. It felt good to see things officially end. As he sat there and watched the officer leave the motorcoach with Jeff, he felt arms wrap him, knowing exactly who’s they were.

“It’s over, finally,” Tony simply said as he pulled Dale close, watching the officer return back inside.

“Thank you for your help, Tony.” He then looked towards the officer, who stood there in front of them.

“Mr. Stewart has supplied enough proof with what he has shown and claimed to have on him,” the officer started. “However, we do require you to come down to the station and make a statement.”

“Okay,” Dale replied quietly, knowing that meant telling somebody outside of their circle every single detail there was to know.

“Do you want me to come?” Tony asked, knowing that his friend needed his support. “I want to hel-”

“Yeah, please.” Dale then looked up towards the officer, having a request first. “I’ll be there in about 20 minutes. I need to go see some people.” Dale knew that he had to go talk to Rick about what had happened and he had to go see both of his girls to make sure they were okay.

“Dale, Rick knows virtue of Stevie and Stevie has the girls. Let’s go get this over with.” Tony knew exactly what Dale was thinking, but also knew what needed to be done. “Plea-”

“No, I need to see my girls and Rick first…..oh, and Jimmie.” Dale knew that Jimmie had to find out at least some of the details from him first with what was about to come out. There was also a video still hidden away, too.

“That is fine sir as I understand you’re going through a lot of pain right now,” the officer interrupted the pair. “Take your time, but please do stop by tonight. Oh, and wear a light t-shirt because we will need do some photos to go with the investigation.”

“Okay and thank you for understanding,” Dale replied as he watched the officer leave the motorcoach. He then stood up, making his way to the back of the motorcoach, grabbing a pair of jeans and t-shirt to change into. Who knew! Tonight he was supposed to be celebrating one of the biggest wins of his career at Bristol, and yet now he’d be spending the night explaining his twisted life to a police officer. As he changed, he looked down at his phone, checking the text messages. There were some messages of congratulations, though there was one that stood out.

Dad, where are you? I can’t find Lindsay!

Dale froze at those words, knowing who exactly that message was from as worry filled his mind.

“Steve was supposed to be protecting you guys!” He yelled as he furiously hit reply quickly.

Where are you now, Angelica?

I’m at the trailer with Stevie. He told me you were busy and to wait here. Dale let out a slight sigh as he read the message, though there was still worry.

“Fuck!” He screamed as he went to type back to his daughter.

Is Lindsay there?

No. She ran after the victory lane party – Jason saw her. I was talking with TJ and didn’t know. Dale sat on the bed confused by those words from his daughter. Why would Lindsay run from victory lane? Where would she go? Where was she?

“Tony?” He called out as he walked back into the main part of the motorcoach, feeling an unease come over him as he kept reading the message over and over. He then heard his phone beep, causing him to look down at his phone.

We heard Jeff is arrested. Come to the trailer. I know Angelica is texting you about Linds. She wasn’t kidnapped. She left a note with Jason for you. Hurry man! Dale’s heart broke as he read those words from his crew chief, scared of what the contents of her note contained.

“We need to go to the trailer right now!” He said to Tony before running out of the motorcoach, quickly followed by Tony.

 

Chapter 24: Lindsay’s Note

Bristol – Saturday Night

Dale and Tony made their way to the hauler, seeing Steve sitting on the front steps with a piece of paper folded in one of his hands.

“Rick and Linda are inside with Angelica,” Steve started as he looked up at the pair before him. Dale knew with the arrest happening and probably all over the news, it would only be a matter of time before Angelica knew what was going on.

“What does she know?” Dale asked as he crossed his arms, concerned about his daugther’s thoughts. He knew he could worry about his own later.

“She heard the breaking news so by that she knew that Jeff had hurt you.” Steve then looked up at the pair, keeping himself calm when he really wanted to scream about what was going on. “They left the rape fact out of the public news stream so nobody knows about that except myself, Tony and Rick. Rick has basically told Angelica that Jeff has been hurting you for awhile – no details on the secrets or anything beyond that. She’s just worried about you and Lindsay.” Tony then crossed his arms as he focused his eyes on Steve. Upon hearing the news about Lindsay, he wanted to strangle Steve. Steve was given the order of business to watch over the pair for them.

“Speaking of Lindsay, what’s going on?” Tony asked. “How did she get away from us? You were suppo-”

“She did it while I was in the media center with Dale and Rick,” Steve cut him off, knowing that Tony was going to go off on some unneeded lecture.

“I don’t blame you or Jason as you weren’t there and Jason didn’t know,” Dale interrupted the pair of them in their stare down as he was stuck in thought. He was worried about where Lindsay could be and what the note contained. He was also worried about Angelica and her feelings about him. “Can I have the note please?” Steve shook his head yes as he handed Dale the piece of paper.

“I also spoke to Jimmie, as you requested, and told him about the Angelica threat, the video and what had been going on. He said he’d come by and see ya sometime this week to see how you were.” Tony’s heart cringed at those words as he knew the connection that Jimmie and Dale held from their previous relationship. He wondered if what had happened would re-open Jimmie to that relationship and bring him back in Dale’s life. If that was the case, where would his feelings for Dale end up? “I haven’t touched the note as I didn’t want to interrupt your privacy. I just told Jason that I would pass it along.” Steve then sat there in silence as he watched Dale unfold it, opening it to read the writing inside.

Dale,

I’m sorry. I know of your plan, but I am scared. What if it doesn’t work? What if it works, yet Jeff tells the world my secret? I don’t want to put you and Angelica in harms way because of what I did so I have to do this.

I hate to break your heart. I hate to run away like this without seeing you first – but I have no choice. I couldn’t live with myself if you or Angelica got hurt because of me.

Thank you for the love that you have shared with me and the memories. You have certainly helped me become a better person with everything that had happened in my previous life. You taught me friendship and love, two things that I never knew could be as special as what we have together. Thank you for not judging me by what I had done, hearing my story out, understanding why I did what I did and giving me a chance. Not everybody would do that for me.

I am going to my poppa and momma to explain things and protect myself. I hope you understand, but know that I will always love you forever.

– Lindsay, xoxoxo

Dale folded the note back up as tears streamed down his face, not believing what was happening. With Jeff arrested and hopefully going away for a long time, he thought that his life would get back to normal once again. He thought that he could have the life that he had always dreamed of with Lindsay. However, due to her own fear, due to the possibilities, she was gone.

“Dale?” Steve asked as he saw his best friend standing there crying before them. It was no secret what the note contained by the emotions that were now written on Dale’s face.

“She ran away,” Dale started as he put the note in his pocket. “She ran away because she was afraid.” He then pulled his phone out, turning away from the group, quickly dialing her cell number. He couldn’t lose her like this after everything.

“Please answer him Lindsay,” Tony begged as he wrapped his arms around Dale, holding him as they both waited for an answer.

“Hello?” They both heard on the phone and Dale pulled himself away from Tony, wanting to be alone with his phone call.

“Lindsay?” He said as he walked away from Tony and Steve, heading between a couple of the haulers towards pit road. Tony went to follow, yet Steve grabbed the driver’s arm to stop him.

“Let me go Ste-” Tony started yet Steve just held on tighter.

“Leave him be,” Steve started. “They need to have this talk by themselves. I have a spot you can watch from.” Steve then led Tony over to the stairs that led to the top of the hauler. “Go up there and keep an eye on him while I go tell Rick is going on.”

“Fine.” Tony hated to go up on top of the hauler and peer over Dale, however he knew that Steve was right. This was something that Dale had to do by himself if he wanted to. Depending on what happened, though, Tony knew that he’d be there for his best friend.

Chapter 25: The Phone Call
Bristol – Saturday Night

“Lindsay, can we talk?” Dale asked as he sat down on the pit road wall, knowing that he had to do whatever he could to get her to come back. He had to convince her that things would be okay. “The plan worked. Jeff is arrested and going away.” He then looked down, waiting for a response from her, just wanting to at least have a decent conversation with her about what had happened.

“I’m glad that he’s arrested Dale,” Lindsay started carefully. “But I can’t come back. There’s still a chance that he could release the secret. I can’t put you and Angelica in jeopardy because of my past so I’m sorry but I have to do this. I love you and I don’t know what I’d do if you got caught in the middle of my bullshit. It’d break me apart.” Dale kept his eyes on the pavement, fighting back the tears that were trying to force their way out. How could this be happening? “I know it hurts for me to leave, but I have to do this Dale. Let’s just cut our losses so that way it doesn’t make it worse. I’m sorr-”

“Lindsay, you have to fucking listen to me – please. Jeff is arrested and there’s rules set in about what he can let out before trial. Once trial takes place, we’re going to stress the factors and make sure that he can’t get any messages out.”

“I want to believe that will work, but how do we know that for sure?” Dale shook his head, not knowing what to tell her at this point. How could he change her mind? “We don’t and I can’t take that chance. You have a loving family with your mom, Kelley, Angelica, Tony and Rick – I don’t want to ruin that. I can’t do that to you after what you’ve done for me. I know it’s hard to understand, but I’m sorry.” Dale wiped the tears away, looking up at the start-finish line before him. Just hours earlier he had crossed as the winner and fulfilled the bump and the run. It was the start of fixing everything and making things better. How could the pain continue?

“Lindsay, I don’t give a shit about the worry that you have. I will take that and deal with it over you running away from me. I want to help protect you because I know why you did it and I know that it’s not your fault. You need to stop letting this tear you away from the people that you love the most. I knew when you dropped those words on me what I was in for and I’m not backing out now. Please come home to me.” As she sat on the plane, looking out the window, her heart was broken. This was originally the right thing to do, but now she felt bad for the pain that she had caused Dale in the process. It had made her realize just how much they had grown to love each other and why they badly needed each other. Maybe he was right. Maybe the secret wouldn’t be revealed and all of his plans would work out. But how could anybody know that for sure? Taking a deep breath, she knew she couldn’t chase him away forever.

“Listen, it hurts so much for me to do this to you so let’s make a deal, alright? If everything works out and you can get all these locks put in place, I will come home. The minute they are in place, I will come home. Till then with a chance of a screw up, I am going to have to keep my distance from you in case.” Dale smiled slightly at her words, knowing it was better than nothing. At least there was a chance to fix this. And he knew that it would work because he knew that he would be able to convince the judge to do as he requested after what Jeff had done. “You’re free to text me while we wait things out so that way we can keep in contact. I love you and I don’t know what I’d do without you. That’s why I convinced myself to do this.”

“I love you, too, and don’t worry – it will work out.” She smiled, hoping he was right.

“I hope you’re right babes. Oh, by the way, just so you know – I’m going home to see my mama. I haven’t seen her since I was let out of jail so I can’t wait to tell her about all of the details in my life, especially about you. She’s moved to New York actually and says that her and papa got out of the game. So don’t worry – I’ll be safe with them.” He smiled at her words, glad they could come to some compromise.

“Have fun with your parents then and I hope they approve of me. I’d be scared if they didn’t.” She laughed, though wondered in her mind what they would think of her dating a southern racecar driver.

“You’re a sweet loving, caring, southern darlin’ so I don’t think they will hate you. And if they do, I won’t let them lay a hand near you. Alright – I got to go so I will talk to you later. Text me when you get a chance. Love you and good luck.”

“Love you, too. Bye Linds.”

“Bye Dale.” Dale hung up, still full of mixed emotions as he made his way back to teh trailer. He was glad that they had a compromise and they could keep in contact. He was also thankful to hear that she would be safe while she was gone. Though he also felt heartbroken with the time they’d be apart. Lastly, a bit of fear touched the surface as he wondered whether he could really make this all work out. Would the judge listen to their requests?

“How’d it go?” Tony asked when Dale reached the hauler, having made his way down the steps. From his vantage point, he saw the tears that flowed, but also saw signs of them stopping.

“She’s going to stay with her parents till I make sure Jeff can’t squeal,” Dale answered and Tony smiled. He was glad that the pair had a compromise and knew that they could make the plan work in full force. “Let’s go see these cops so I can head home. I just never imagined celebrating a win at Bristol like this.”

Tony delivered the news to Rick, who sat with Angelica and Linda. It was agreed then that Rick and Linda would head home with Angelica, meeting Dale and Tony at the house once they got back. Rick knew from the sounds of it that Dale was in for a long night in talking about what had happened.

 

Making Memories for a Lifetime – Chapters 21 Thru 25

makingmemoriesforalifetime

Chapter 21: Daytona 500 Ending

With everything that was going on with Angelica and Linsday, it was left to the crew chiefs to hold down the fort. Ron Malec (cc for Kyle Larson), Steve LeTarte (cc for Dale Earnhardt Jr.) and Steve Addington (cc for Tony Stewart) all were to keep quiet and not say anything till post-race. They were notified with about 40 laps to go and were told to keep running the show like normal. Each of them was worried and knew their drivers would be mad with them keeping quiet, but understood that it was the best thing to do.

Now with five laps to go, each of them was running upfront and in contention for the win. It was all about who would have the best run at the end and avoid the big wreck they all knew was coming.

“5 to go – you can do this,” Steve told his driver as he swallowed back his own worry for Lindsay and Angelica. “You’ve done well all day. Just keep that car out front.”

“Will Daddy win today?” He heard a small voice beside him and smiled as he looked towards Chelsea. Chelsea had no idea what was going on with the rest of the family. Steve had said that he’d keep tabs on her and make sure that she kept out of trouble, while avoiding the mess.

“Daddy is going to try his hardest. I hope he wins.”

“Me too. I like to party.” Steve then laughs lightly as he watches the field pass by on the front stretch for four to go with T.J. continuing to spot.

“I like to party too. That’s why I like going to victory lane.” He watched the little girl smile up at him.

“Me too.” He then wraps an arm around her, pulling her close to watch the final laps together, silently praying that Angelica and Lindsay are okay.

Dale led the next couple of laps without any problem and soon it was time for the final lap. He led all the way down the backstretch while the field messed around for position behind him. The jocking for position continued through turns three and four and as the field came to the tri-oval, it looked like one giant glob.

“Shit!” Steve yells as he sees the mess unfold in front of him, watching as contact is made somewhere and results in many of the drivers being wrecked as the field crosses the finish line. Immediately, when the wreck is over, he keys his mic, knowing that they don’t need anything else going on. “Dale, are you okay?”

“10-4 I’m fine Steve,” Dale replies after a couple seconds as Steve lets out a long sigh of relief. “Did we win?” Steve shakes his head as he lets the though go through his mind, while glancing at the monitor.

“The scoring monitor says Larson got it with you second. You did an awesome job all day today.”

“10-4.”

“Sucks to see that happen at the end, though. I guess that’s what we get with this racing.”

“There was nothing you could’ve done different there,” T.J. adds on the radio.

“Come see me once you get checked out,” Steve instructs, knowing he has news to tell.

“10-4,” Dale replies.

Meanwhile, on track, both Tony and Kyle had got out of their cars and made their way to where Dale still sat in his car. Tony looks in, concerned, having not heard the confirmation like Dale’s team had.

“Are you okay?” Tony asks and Dale shakes his head yes.

“Just a little off but I’m fine,” Dale answers and Tony knows what’s going on immediately by those words. “I’ll be fine. Are you okay?” Tony shakes his head yes.

“Sorry about that contact; Keselowski got into me first,” Kyle apologizes as he looks in. “I was like, ‘Aw shit, here we go again’.”

“It’s not your fault, Kyle. I’m not mad at you. It is what it is.” Kyle smiles, having remembered Angelica saying the same words when their wreck happened at Daytona.

“Now I know where your daughter gets her honesty and forgiveness from.” They all then smile as Dale climbs out, knowing that they’d have a long night with what Tony had already suspected from the crash. However , none of them knew the words that they would hear in the next couple of minutes from Ron about those they care about.

 

Chapter 22: Post Daytona 500

“Shouldn’t you be celebrating?” Tony asks as he looks over at Kyle, who is standing with him.

“Not when NASCAR wants me to be checked out and I want to make sure you and Dale are okay,” Kyle tells him. “I can’t celebrate after that mess. That was a disaster.” Tony then looks at Kyle surprised.

“You do realize you just won the biggest race of the season?” Kyle shakes his head yes as Dale looks over.

“Then celebrate because you’re okay, Tony is as best as he can be and I’ll be fine,” Dale tells him as Tony walks over, wrapping an arm around Dale.

“Are you sure about your own words?” Tony asks as he thinks back to earlier conversation. “I know we both have thoughts about what it is, but what if it’s worse? We have to know that before we can even move forward.” Dale rolls his eyes as he knows in his mind that it’s probably a concussion and nothing more. Why did Tony have to continue to worry?

“Tony is right,” Kyle adds as he glances over at the pair of them. “Hey, where are Lindsay and Angelica? I thought they would’ve been here wanting to make sure everything was okay.” Dale and Tony glance at each other confused.

“They’re probably waiting for us back at the coach.” Dale shakes his head in agreement, not worried.

“Maybe Angelica got tired or Lindsay felt sick and they went back to the coach early,” Dale suggests. “You worry too much, Kyle. You got to relax buddy.” Tony pats Dale on the shoulder as they look over at the younger driver.

“He’s still young – he’ll learn,” Tony comments and Dale smiles.

“Just like you did?” Dale asks before kissing Tony’s lips.

“Hey now – I love you too much not to worry.”

“Hense why I’m worried about the girls,” Kyle comments as Tony takes a deep breath. It was odd that neither Lindsay or Angelica had stopped by considering the time they’d been there.

“You are right to worry, but it’ll be fine,” Tony assures him as they watch Steve and Ron walk into the room.

“Please tell me that you’re alright,” Steve requests, knowing that there was enough going on without anymore added on.

“Just doesn’t feel right and you know what that means,” Dale comments and Steve rolls his eyes. He knew exactly what it meant.

“Concussion – don’t know if minor or major yet,” Tony adds as he looks at the confused look on Ron’s face. “They need to send him over to the hospital for a CAT scan to see.” Ron takes a deep breath, knowing that he can’t keep quiet much longer.

“Speaking of the hospital, we have something to tell you three,” Ron starts carefully as all three heads look over curious.

“What’s going on Ron?” Dale asks worried based on the tone of Ron’s voice.

“I don’t like where this is going….” Kyle adds, remembering how Ron acted when things went down with Angelica.

“Did something happen to Lindsay or Angelica?” Tony asks and Steve shakes his head yes as he eyes the floor.

“Lindsay is at the hospital after experiencing some considerable stomach pains during the race,” Ron reveals, remembering what Rick had told him and Steve earlier.

“Angelica is also at the hospital for fatigue reasons as she felt faint earlier.” Dale, Kyle and Tony look at each other concerned, each feeling a lump in their throat.

“Have you heard any other updates?” Dale asks as he looks back over at Steve and Ron.

“That’s all Rick told us,” Steve answers as he looks up at his driver. “I was just talking to him and letting him know what I knew about you three.”

“So he’s there with them?” Steve shakes his head yes.

“He is with Angelica while Linda is with Lindsay,” Ron tells them. “Tony and Kyle, if you want to head over, we’ll stay with Dale here.”

“Fuck that shit – I want to see them!” Dale lets out as he begins to look around for a doctor.

“You need to listen to the doctors Dale,” Tony says as he pulls Dale close to him.

“I’m going to see Angelica,” Kyle lets out, feeling his own worry take over him.

“She needs you Kyle and Tony, go see Lindsay,” Dale instructs, knowing that Tony is right. “I’ll be fine with these two twits.”

“Twits?” Ron asks and Dale gives a little wink. “That’s real nice buddy.”

“You know I love you both,” Dale comments. Tony gives him a quick and a hug before heading out with Kyle. “Why does this keep happening to us? Why can’t we just have things go our way for once?” Steve and Ron both shrug their shoulders.

“We’re going to get through it all – no matter what,” Steve comments as he pats Dale’s shoulders.

“I hope you’re right Stevie. I don’t know how much more we can go through together.” Dale looks down, thinking over things as he shakes his head in disbelief over everything. “Where’s that damn doctor? I want to get this done as soon as possible.”

“He’s coming,” Ron assures him. “Just relax buddy.”

 

Chapter 23: The Baby

“Did you hear from the boys yet on how the guys are?” Lindsay asks as she lies there, shaking her head, not believing the situation that she’s in. “I thought they’d be here by now!”

“Dale may have a concussion and Tony is on his way over here to see you,” Linda tells Lindsay as she sits in the chair beside Lindsay’s bed. “Oh, and TJ has Chelsea.” Lindsay shakes her head, approving. At least the injuries weren’t worse, based on the video of the wreck that she had seen. She also knew that Tony would be a welcome face.

“Okay. I don’t know how I’m going to tell Kyle and Angelica this one.” Lindsay then looks down, feeling tears come to her eyes, only looking up when she sees Tony walk through the door.

“Hey,” he says simply. The last update that he had received was she was there due to stomach pains, but nothing more. He knew that she was pregnant with Angelica and Kyle’s baby, so worry surrounded him as to why her stomach would be sore.

“Hey Tony,” Lindsay says as Tony walks over and she instantly wraps both arms around him.

“I’m going to go see how Rick and Kyle are; I’ll let you both talk,” Linda says before leaving the room and heading to where Angelica was.

“So what do you know?” Tony then sits down, worry increasing by the second as he sees a tear creep down Lindsay’s face.

“Just the fact that you’re here because your stomach was really sore,” Tony tells her, recalling Steve’s words. She then looks down, biting her lip, not wanting to tell him the news herself.

“I lost the baby, Tony….” She lets out as more tears begin to spill from her eyes. She then glances up at him, scared of his reaction. Tony, unsure of what to say, stands up and wraps both arms around her, pulling her close to him as she buries her head in his shirt.

“It’s going to be okay, Lindsay.” She then separates a little from him, shaking her head.

“Angelica and Kyle are going to be mad.” Tony shakes his head no right away, knowing himself how Angelica and Kyle would react.

“No they won-”

“Yes they will! You know how badly Angelica wanted this baby for Kyle.” Tony takes a deep breath, remembering that discussion as he sits on the bed beside her.

“But that was before she knew that she could fight through this. Knowing that she can fight through this and have a baby later of her own totally, she will probably be upset at first, but get over it.” Lindsay shakes her head, totally not agreeing with Tony’s assessment as Tony holds her close to him. “Believe me, Lindsay. We both know what Angelica and Kyle are like and we know that they can’t be mad.”

“Tony…that’s not all, though….” Tony then sits up, now scared of what else she has to say.

“Then what else is there?” Lindsay looks down, feeling scared of saying the words.

“I may never be able to have a baby again, not even one of my own.” The tears then trekked down Lindsay’s face again, not believing the words that she had just spoken, and also scared of the reaction that both Tony & Dale would have. Tony kept her held close, rubbing her back. It broke his heart to hear those words as he remembered hearing Dale and Lindsay talk about having a second child, a brother or sister for Chelsea and Angelica. Though with what she just said, those dreams seemed shattered.

“What was the reason they tol-”

“Something about how my uterus is now shaped as a result of how the pregnancy went with Chelsea.” Tony took a careful deep breath, thinking back to when Lindsay had Chelsea. There were complications that made things testy at times and as he thought it through, it all made sense. “I don’t kno-”

“It’s okay; it’ll be fine no matter what. Sometimes people achieve the impossible and even if you can never have a baby again, be thankful for Chelsea and know that both Dale and I won’t be upset with you. We both love you and nothing will ever change that.” He then kissed the top of her head as she buried her head in his chest.

He continued to rub her back, letting the news sink in. A sense of disbelief washed over him in what he had learned, but he knew he couldn’t be mad. He also couldn’t predict how Dale would react or Kyle or Angelica, but he knew no matter what, they’d get through it.

 

Chapter 24: Angelica

Kyle walks into the room without a word as he sees Rick sitting there beside Angelica’s bed, holding her hand. He looks over his wife and smiles. By appearance, it looks like she’s just sleeping. The color had returned back to her cheeks and she looked much better than earlier, though there was a tinge of worry in his stomach. Why wasn’t she awake? What was going on? A mix of feelings filled his insides based on the words that he had heard from Ron earlier.

“Hey Rick,” Kyle says quietly as he walks closer to the car owner and Rick looks over at him with a slight smile on his face. “How is she?” Rick takes a deep breath, remembering the doctor’s words.

“They said that she pushed herself too hard today with all that she was doing,” Rick explains. “But she’ll be fine; she just needed some rest and get some fluids back into her system.” Kyle shakes his head, relieved, as he sits in the chair beside Rick.

“I told her that she needed to be careful but she didn’t listen. She insisted that she was fine.” Rick shakes his head, a slight laugh escaping his lips.

“Stubborn as always, stubborn like her dad. She was always stubborn when she was younger. I’d tell her to do something but she insisted on not doing it.” Rick smiles as he looks back at the young girl before him, still not believing how much things have changed since he met her back when she was only 10.

As they sit there in silence, Kyle reaches and takes Angelica’s hand in his own, rubbing the back of it before bringing it to his lips and kissing it.

“When she starts her treatments next month, I want to be able to be there with her so she has somebody when you and Dale are busy,” Rick comments out of the blue as Kyle shakes his head in agreement. “It’s not going to be easy for her but she’s a fighter and I believe she’ll come out stronger than ever. That stubbornness will be useful.” Kyle shook his head in agreement.

“I don’t mind that at all Rick,” Kyle comments. “I know how close you two are.” Kyle then looks back towards Angelica. “When Dale asked you, why did you agree to take her in those years ago?” Rick took a deep breath, knowing his answer clearly.

“Because I knew that he’d regret one day letting her go and understood the fear of what his family would think.” Kyle then looks back at Rick, curiously.

“Why didn’t you force him to just tell them? That would’ve been the easy way out. I mean, they’d find out one way or another.” Rick shakes his head in agreement.

“I know what Kelley and Brenda can be like, and I also know what Dale is like. With all that in consideration, I figured helping him till he was ready to tell was the best thing to do at the time. Whether it was the right decision or not, we will never know.” Kyle smiles as he sits back in the chair.

“It was the right decision because look at how things have turned out now.” Rick looks over at Kyle, smiling.

“You’re right as she has someone in her life that loves her deeply and will do anything for her.”

“Ugh…” they hear and both look towards Angelica, watching her slowly open her eyes. Kyle then stands up, brushing her hair out of her face as she looks towards him and Rick.

“Are you feeling better?” Kyle asks and Angelica shakes her head yes, still feeling a little sleepy. “Good, because you should’ve listened when I told you to take care of yourself.”

“Kyle is right Angelica,” Rick adds. “You scared us both and put yourself in a bad situation.”

“Sorry…” she lets out quietly as she looks down. Kyle, feeling bad that she was upset, wraps both arms around her and kisses her forehead.

“Do you want me to go get the doctor?” She shakes her head no as she keeps Kyle held close to her. “Are you sure? I think it may be a good idea. I thi-”

“I’m fine Rick.” She then lies back in the bed, taking a deep breath. Her body still felt weak as she knew that she wouldn’t be doing too much for the next couple of days and they both were right. She should’ve went and laid down for awhile in the motorcoach after driver introductions, though her want to see the Daytona 500 had taken over at that point.

“So I guess we should reveal the good news. You’re looking at the Daytona 500 Champion.” She then looks at Kyle surprised and Kyle shakes his head yes as he sits on the edge of the bed. “Your dad finished second with Tony somewhere in the top five also.” Kyle then took a deep breath, knowing that they couldn’t keep it hidden from her.

“It kind of ended in a messy wreck when someone made a move behind me and Dale, but everybody is okay.” Rick then stands up, knowing what he wanted to do.

“I’m actually going to go see Dale,” he announces. “I’ll see you after sweetheart. Take care of yourself.” Angelica smiles.

“Yes boss,” she whispers as Rick gives her a hug. Rick then leaves the room as she turns back to Kyle. Kyle then scoots on the bed more, sitting up beside her. “So you won the Daytona 500?” He shakes his head yes. “Then why are you here and not in victory lane celebrating?” He then places his hand on top of hers.

“Because I was too worried about you to celebrate.” He then leans in and kisses her lips. “But I guess as the Daytona 500 Champion, I deserve my victory kiss.”

“I’m sorry I wasn’t there to share it with you. Guess we will have to have a party of our own when I’m up to it.” He then smiles as they kiss each other once again.

“I’m fine with waiting for that. As long as you’re okay, that’s all that matters to me. I love you.”

“I love you too.” She then pulls him close, kissing his lips once again. “I can’t get enough of your lips.”

“Then you can kiss me all night if you want.”

“That’s fine by me.” She then lets her tongue roam in his mouth once again, kissing his lips.

 

Chapter 25: Going Home

In a series of events, everybody had been released from the hospital.

Angelica was told to take it easy over the next couple of days and remember how far she could push her limits. Lindsay had lost the baby and would be sore for the next couple of days with some blood still to show up so to wear pads. Dale, meanwhile, had suffered a concussion as a result of the wreck and would be out for a couple of weeks.

Once they got back to the motorcoach, Lindsay had sat down with Dale and told him the news, fully. She told him about losing the baby and the possibility of not being able to have a baby in the future. Due to the sensitivity of the news, Tony had agreed to tell Kyle and Angelica separately.

As Lindsay finished telling Dale everything that the doctor said, she felt hot tears fall down her cheek once again as she sat on the edge of the bed.

“Don’t cry,” Dale tells her as he pulls her close to him. “Everything will be okay.” He then rubs her back as she lays against him.

“What about Kyle and Ang?” She asks. “They’re going to be mad at me. I lost their baby, Dale.”

“They’ll understand.” She then sits up and looks at him.

“I’m glad that you’re okay after that wreck.” She then grabs his hand with hers. “I should’ve been there for you. I’m sorry I wasn’t there. I just can’t believe this happened.” He then pulls her back close to him.

“It’s okay, everything will be fine. I had Steve and Ron there for me and you couldn’t help what happened. We’ll get through this. I promise you that I won’t leave your side through this. I love you.” She then reaches up, kissing his cheek.

“I love you too.” She then lies back with him on the bed. “How’s the headache?”

“Tylenol is helping.” They then glance up when they hear the door crack open, seeing Rick standing there.

“Are you both okay?” Rick asks concerned and they both shake their heads yes.

“If it’s okay with you, Rick, I want to take this week totally off to spend with her,” Dale requests and Rick shakes his head yes approving. “Thanks. I’ll know mid-week more about how long I’ll be out for.”

“When do you have to go see Dr. Petty?” Lindsay then asks curiously.

“Wednesday.”

“Don’t worry about all that – just worry about getting better and helping Lindsay right now,” Rick tells him. “If either of you need anything, don’t hesitate to ask. Linda and I are both here for you.”

“Thanks Rick,” Lindsay and Dale both thank him together before Rick leaves the room.

Over at Angelica and Kyle’s motorcoach, Tony sat across from them on the couch.

“She was scared that you’d be mad at her,” Tony finishes off in telling Angelica and Kyle the news.

“Well I’m upset, I could never be mad at her,” Angelica tells him. “She did this for me. She took a chance on this for me. How could I be mad at her for that? I know it’s not her fault. I know she wouldn’t do anything to put the baby in danger.”

“I’m just telling you her words. That’s what she told me when I went and saw her at the hospital.” Tony then stands up, slowly. “I’m sorry to have to tell you the news….I know how much you were looking forward to the baby. I better go see how they’re doing.” Tony then heads towards the door.

“Tony, thanks for telling me and tell her that I’m not angry.” Tony shakes his head. “I mean it!”

“Thanks for telling us Tony,” Kyle adds as he wraps his arms around Angelica, holding her close as Tony leaves. “Are you okay?” She shakes her head yes, swallowing back her own tears. “We’ll have a baby of our own one day sweetheart.”

“How do you know that?” Angelica asks as she looks back at Kyle. “How can you say that with so much certainty? What if I don’t get better?” Kyle then brushes her hair out of her face, feeling his heart crush by her words.

“I know how strong you are and I believe in you and God damn it you’re going to get through this. You’re going to come out of this deal fine and we’re going to be able to live the life that you deserve.”

“I just want to stay in your arms forever.” She then lies back against him once again, tears falling down her face as he continues to run his hands through her hair.

“You will be able to do that so stop worrying.” He then kisses her cheek as she slightly smiles.

“I wish I could be like you and not worry about it.”

“Then don’t let it consume you. I don’t let the thought enter my mind because I know how strong of a woman you are.” He then kisses her cheek once again before starting to braid her hair.

“When did you learn to braid? I always liked it when Linda braided my hair when I was younger.”

“I learned from my little cousins. Let’s see if I still have the magic touch.”

Making Memories for a Lifetime – Chapters 6 Thru 10

makingmemoriesforalifetime

Chapter 6: The Rest of the Truth

Angelica returned back to her seat, taking a deep breath as she looked between Dale and Tony. They had spent a couple minutes away from everyone, letting their emotions go.

“I first of all want to thank everyone for their patience,” Angelica says as she takes another deep breath. “The fact of the matter is the statement I said earlier is the truth, that is no lie about it. Last month following my wreck at Charlotte, I was required to have the check-up due to everything that had happened before. I went and something was off with how the tests were. They ran more tests and x-rays and it was determined that I have cancer, lung cancer to be exact. The doctor at that time said that I had three months – so till January – to live and that treatment wasn’t an option with how quickly it was spreading.

“With that said, I pushed and pushed for them to let me finish this season. I wanted to finish this year badly and finish off what I started this year going into the Chase and in the Chase. It took a lot of convincing to convince the doctors and NASCAR to let me do this. I want to thank them for letting me do this as it’s been amazing.

“Moving forward, I want to spend these final months the best way possible – living my life to the full extent possible. I don’t want to hide in a hole. I can’t let myself do that. I spent a couple days being upset – you may have noticed in Kansas – but I then determined that I have to live everyday as best as I can and make memories that last forever. Winning the championship this weekend is one of those moments that I am hoping to accomplish. Coming here as the points leader tied with my dad, it’s an honor and I can’t wait to start the race on Sunday.”

“With that said, we’re going to open the floor to questions,” the MC states as she looks around the room. She then points to the first reporter that has his hand-up.

“Marty Jenkins, ESN,” the reporter says. “This question is for Tony Stewart. Have you determined your team’s plans for next season?” Tony then clears his throat as he thinks back to ideas that he has.

“We have been talking with some drivers, but we haven’t set out next year’s plans totally yet,” Tony states as he looks over at Angelica before looking at Marty. “Right now, my number one concern is Angelica and her well-being. That’s what I have been focusing on lately. Everything else will fall in to place, no doubt. We should have an announcement in the next couple of weeks.” Angelica smiles, remembering the conversation that she had with Tony and the driver that was going to take her seat.

“Jenna Slyer, Associated News,” the next reporter says. “Angelica, considering that practice didn’t go well for you today, how do you see your chances on Sunday?”

“I have a lot of belief in Ron and the crew that they will give me a good car,” Angelica tells the reporter with a smile. “We’ve done it before where we’ve sucked in practice, and yet come back and won the race. I feel good about my chances going into the race and winning the championship. I joked with my dad at Phoenix that he better race me hard and not just hand it over. I want to earn this the hard way.”

“Now the question is – will you wreck your dad on the last lap if you need to?” Tony asks, trying to break the ice in the room. Angelica smiles as she shakes her head.

“I would never do that to him and you know that well Smoke. I love him too much to be dirty like that, unlike other people.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” The room then laughs as Dale smiles looking towards Tony, thinking back to a race earlier that year when Tony gave Dale a bump to grab the win.

“He has a short memory.”

“I’m sure the media can remind you of what happened,” Dale comments as Tony looks at him surprised.

“Didn’t you forget about that race?” Tony asks and Dale shakes his head no.

“I’m just waiting for the right weekend to hand you some payback.” Tony rolls his eyes as he looks back out the reporters. He knew that they were both over what had happened.

“Bob Pocker for Sporting Press,” the next reporter speaks as Tony catches Dale’s eyes in a quick glance. “This question is for Tony Stewart. When you found out the news about Angelica, what were some of your thoughts and what are your thoughts on her racing through it?” Tony looks down as he remembers back to that day when he was told the news.

Angelica leads Tony to the back porch, closing the door behind her. He goes and leans against the railing as she sits in the one of the chairs.

“So, there was something that you wanted to tell me?” Tony asks and Angelica shakes her head yes as she glances up at Tony.

“The doctors had some interesting results to tell me today,” Angelica answers. She had gotten back from the doctors’ office two hours earlier after a scheduled appointment. She had gone with her dad and Kyle. When the news came down, she wanted to tell Tony and Rick herself, while Dale would tell Lindsay the news.

“What did they tell you?” Angelica looks down as she takes a deep breath before looking back up at Tony.

“I have cancer.” Tony then looks at her shocked as he watches the tears stream down her face. “They told me that I have lung cancer, Tony. He said that I have three months based on what they saw. It’s spreading quickly and they can’t do anything about it. I….I….I just can’t believe it.” At the instant of those words, the tears begin to pour more as Tony walks over, sitting beside her, wrapping both of his arms around her to hold her, feeling his own eyes get misty.

“I don’t know what to say, Angelica. I can’t believe it either.”

“I was in pure shock when she told me the news, and then especially when she said that she’d finish the season,” Tony tells the media as he opens his eyes out of his own little flashback. “She’s proven that she’s a racer and saying that she’ll finish the year no matter what for personal reasons shows that even more.”

“She’s got in her genes – what else can we say?” Dale says as he wraps an arm around Angelica, pulling her close. As he did that, he shook his head as he thought back to when she was younger and the thought of having nothing to do with the first few years of her life. As much as Angelica kept telling him that there were no regrets to be had, he still regretted it.

“I’m daddy’s little girl in every way possible,” Angelica adds as she gives her dad a quick kiss on the cheek.

They then kept answering questions, fulfilling each of the questions with answers as everybody wanted to discuss the story even more. They all knew that if she was able to pull it off that weekend, it’d be magical.

 

Chapter 7: Post Reveal

The more I write this, the more I am thinking of changing the story idea that I had originally. There is a possibility that she could be fine in some interesting twist. Stay tuned. Not sure if I want to do it quite yet.
Angelica lays out on the couch, letting out a long sigh as she watches the truck race on tv to see how Kyle is running in his one-off deal with Turner-Scott Motorsports. Qualifying had gone really well earlier in the day, as she had qualified pole.

She was then caught off guard by a knock at the door as she got up and opened it, surprised to see Matt Kenseth standing there.

“Hey Matty,” she said as she gave Matt a quick hug.

“Hey Angie,” he replies and she smiles. Ever since crossing paths, Matt had become ‘Uncle Matty’ and had always called it Angie instead of Angelica. She leads him inside as she lies back on the couch. He sits on the couch across from her, eyes focused on her.

“So wha-”

“How can you just continue as if nothing is wrong?” She then glances towards him curious by those words. “With what is lying over your head, I can’t believe that you’re not crying or upset or anything.” She then takes a deep breath.

“If I did that, would it change anything?” She then sits up and faces Matt. “Would lying around, crying and feeling sorry for myself do me any benefit these final two months? No, it wouldn’t. that’s why I quickly made my mind up that I am going to do whatever I can these final months in making them the best months that I have ever lived.” Matt shakes his head in disbelief by her words. ”It-”

“I get it, I understand; I just can’t believe it. I can’t believe this is happening to you after everything that you and Dale have been through. I was hoping that you would both get that quality daughter-father time that you deserve. You both deserve to be happy and spend years together after what you’ve fought through to have the relationship you do have. It pains me to see this happen to you.” Matt then feels a tear trickle down his face as he looks at the ground. Angelica then stands and walks over to the side that Matt is sitting on, sitting down beside him as she wraps an arm around him.

“Matt, I wish it was that way also as I would love that also.”

“Then why can’t it be that way?” Angelica shrugs her shoulders before lying her head on Matt’s shoulder. “It’s just not fair. I hate to see this happen. Everybody was excited to see everyone grow up together, happy, over everything that happened.” Angelica lets out a sigh as she rubs Matt’s back. “Have you got a seco-”

“We’ve had the scans looked over by three different doctors, all with the same diagnosis. Matt, I know you don’t want it to be true and neither do I, but it is what it is and I’m sorry it is that way.” Matt shakes his head as he pulls her into a hug. “Mat-”

“I wish I could do something to change this. I’m sorry but I don’t want to accept it.” He then pulls back away from her. “You’re that little brat that I hate to see let go.” She smiles with a slight laugh. “I’m going to miss you so much. I just had to come see you myself after earlier.” Angelica shakes her head in understanding.

“It’s fine. I understand and Matt, let it go. It’s okay. I’ve accepted it and you need to accept it. It’s all we can do. Before you go, can I ask you something?” Matt then looks at her curiously as she looks down and then back up at him. “As much as Dale and Tony and Kyle keep trying to act like this isn’t going to tear them apart, I know it will. Promise me that you’ll be there for them. I need to know that they’ll be okay.” Matt shakes his head yes as she pulls him into a hug, holding back her own tears.

“I’ll do anything you ask. You’re amazing with how well you’re taking this.” She smiles as she lets him go and he stands up. “I will see you tomorrow. Between you and I, I hope you kick your dad’s ass come Sunday.” She then laughs as she watches Matt head for the door.

“I hope I do too. Bye Matty.”

“Bye Angelica.” Angelica watches Matt leave.

As soon as she hears the door shut, she stands up and slams her fist against the wall of the motorcoach.

“Fuck I hate this!” She yells before letting herself sink down to the ground and let her own tears fall.

Over at Dale’s motorcoach, Dale and Lindsay sat on the couch cuddling while Tony was out at the dirt track with Ricky and Kasey.

“Are you sure you want to do this?” Dale asks for what seemed like the millionth time. Lindsay shakes her head yes, knowing exactly what the question pertained to.

“I can’t deny her this because I know how much it means to her,” Lindsay answers as Dale shakes his head.

“I understand.” He then kisses Lindsay’s cheek and she smiles. She then turns back to him, kissing his lips full of passion. “Thank you for everything that you’ve done for her. I was so scared when I told you about her and everything that happened. I’m just glad that she’s happy now, too. I just wish it was different.” Dale then feels a couple tears trickle down his face as Lindsay pulls him closer.

“I know. I do too.”

Current idea has me carrying through what I had planned till the end of the homestead weekend. After that, we may see a change in my original idea pertaining to Angelica and what happens to her. I know everybody wants her to be okay. That’d be the fairy tale ending. The question is though – will she be okay and if so, how will she be okay?
Chapter 8: Their Love
I understand the iffy thoughts on the baby idea with Angelica, Kyle and Lindsay. No doubt it’s something that’s different, odd, and unnatural. However, the truth behind it is true as there are people that do it in real life. That’s how the inspiration came to be and I thought it’d be perfect for a story of this nature. Just thought I’d explain that so you know how that came together.

Friday Night – Homestead-Miami Speedway

Kyle opens the door and heads straight to the back of the motorcoach, flopping on the bed beside Angelica.

“Congratulations on the win,” Angelica says as she smiles at him.

“Thanks sweets,” Kyle replies before grabbing a quick kiss from her.

“I’m sorry I didn’t come to victory lane. I was just tired from everything today.” She then lets out a sigh as she rolls back on her back and looks at the ceiling. “I don’t know what to do.” Kyle then looks at her confused.

“What do you mean?”

“I just want things to be different, Kyle. I don’t want this to be my final year racing. I want to be a mother. I want to have a life that is full of happiness. I want to be able to spend time with you. I want to be spend time with my dad, Lindsay, Tony and my little Cheeseball.” She then feels the tears trickling down her face once again as Kyle reaches over and wipes them off.

“I wish it was too, but like you said, we can’t change the future.” She then shakes her head as she looks away. “We have to liv-”

“Live now and make the memories that we wish we could down the road. But why is this happening to me?” Kyle shrugs his shoulders, unsure.

“I ask myself that question everyday.”

“I just wish things were different. I hate that things are the way they are. I want to spend more time with you.”

“I can’t change what the doctor said. All I can do is treasure every moment that I have with you and spend as much time as I can with you.” He then kisses her lips with every bit of passion inside of him as she wraps her arms around him, pulling him close to her. She then returns the kiss in every bit of her passion. As they continue to kiss each other’s lips, Kyle reaches and pulls her pajama shirt up, smiling when there’s no bra underneath.

“I don’t want our love to end….” Angelica then pulls down the zipper on Kyle’s firesuit and slips it off of his shoulders. “I love you too much….I never want to lose you…..”

“I never want to lose you either.”

“Then why is this happening?” Angelica feels a couple tears tickle down her face and immediately, Kyle wipes them away.

“Forget about that for now. Let your mind be consumed with our love and how much we love each other. Feel this moment and let your body take over. I need you, Angelica. I need this.” She smiles as she kisses his lips, cutting off any future words out of his mouth, wanting to feel this moment with him also. She then moves her lips down to his chin, followed by down his neck. As he continues to rub her breasts, she moves her kisses to his chest. “God you’re beautiful.” Kyle then moves his hands lightly down her body, slowly slipping off her pajama pants to reveal her pink underwear underneath.

“You’re so sexy…..You’re perfect.” Kyle then slowly pulls down her underwear.

“You’re amazing.” She smiles as she pulls the firesuit the rest of the way down his body to his ankles. “You’re everything I love in a girl and more.” He then kisses her lips once again as she pushes her hips up to him.

“Show me all the reasons you love me, Kyle.”

“As you wish my goddess.” She pulls him down close to her as he aligns himself inside of her, slowly pushing himself in. He slowly then begins pushing himself in and out as she lets out a moan underneath him. “Let me know if it gets to be too much.” With her current condition and her past, he was always careful, never wanting to hurt her ever. “I love you.” He then speeds up a little, letting their hips rock together. “So beautiful……Perfect….”

They keep going till they both cum inside of each other, riding it out fully, Kyle rolling off of her afterwards. He immediately wraps his arms around her and pulls her close as they both fall asleep, tangled in the sheets. As Kyle closed his eyes, he silently said a prayer to himself that in somehow, some shape and way, she’d be okay and this was just a dream.

Chapter 9: Ford 400
Sunday – Homestead-Miami Speedway

“Ready to kick ass today?” Ron asks and Angelica laughs as she rolls her eyes.

“We’ll see,” Angelica answers as she leans back against her car. She then looks out towards the track, smiling. This was everything that she thought it’d be and more. Going for the championship, having a good car to do so in, it was perfect. Dreams were coming true and feeling better than they ever could.

“I believe in my driver.” Ron then looks out towards the track with her as he wraps an arm around her.

“I believe in my fiancé also,” they hear and smile as Kyle comes up behind Angelica, wrapping both arms around her.

“If you have the vote of confidence from the kid that has kicked butt all weekend, then I say you’ll do well,” Ron comments as both Kyle and Angelica smile before sharing a kiss. Kyle had done well so far, winning both the truck and Nationwide race.

“I guess I’ll have to make sure you stay in my mirror all race long,” Angelica comments before stealing another kiss from Kyle. “I love you.”

“Please tell me that you’re going to avoid having a pit road make-out session,” Ron comments as he walks away and they both laugh. Angelica then pulls Kyle even closer to her, kissing his lips once again and winks at Ron as they separate.

“I really love you a lot. Be safe. I’ll see you in victory lane.”

“Gotcha babes,” Kyle replies. “Love you. Be safe. You’ll do awesome today.” Kyle then heads down pit road to his car as Angelica starts getting ready to get inside of her car. She glances down pit road, catching her dad’s eyes smiling. He blows her a kiss and she blows one back before climbing in the car. As she climbs in the car, she smiles as she sees the lucky flower that Chelsea had taped to the dash still there. Wiping the final tears from her eyes, she finishes getting ready to go. It was now or never. The championship was on the line.

*******

For the most of the race, it’d been Kyle, Dale and Angelica trading the lead. Though throwing a curve ball to them all, a caution came out with three laps to go setting up a green-white-checkered finish with Kyle leading ahead of Dale and then Angelica. If the caution hadn’t come out, Dale would’ve had the championship locked up with the gap between himself and Angelica. However with the caution, he knew he was in trouble as she had the quicker car between the pair of them.

“Remember what she said to you,” Steve reminds him and Dale smiles. The pre-race conversation had consisted with Dale promising to race her hard no matter what as she wanted to win it the right way. “Good luck driver.”

“Thanks Steve,” Dale says. “I’m going to see what I can do.”

“Try running a lane up maybe as that’s where she’s been running,” T.J. suggests and Dale takes the suggestion in. He had been running the bottom himself and had planned on getting down as soon as Kyle slipped ahead. However, the offer was there. “It’s up to you and how the car feels.”

“10-4. Let’s see if we can get a good restart and kick some ass.”

The race then restarts and they head into turn one with Kyle pulling ahead (as expected) while Dale is able to hold second on the high-side of Angelica. Heading into turn three, Angelica slips underneath of Dale and is able to grab the position off of the corner coming to the white flag.

The final lap sees her hold the position solidly without letting Dale get back to her bumper.

In the end, Kyle grabs the win, but more importantly, Angelica is able to come home second take home the championship.

“Wooohooo!” She screams on the radio, excitement totally taking her over.

“Way to go!” Her spotter cheers on the radio as she keeps smiling.

“Great job Ron! Great car! Great team! Thank you! Thank you!”

“Way to go sweetheart,” Ron says on the radio as he sits back on the pit box, tears welling up in his eyes. When he made the decision to leave Hendrick and go over to Stewart-Haas to work with her, he never dreamed of a moment like this. However, it had happened and he couldn’t had been happier. “We may have given you a good car, but you drove your heart off. You did an amazing job out there. Congratulations!” Ron then hops off of the pit box as he watches Angelica do a big burn-out down the frontstretch, joined by Kyle.

“Now that’s how you celebrate a frigging wedding to come,” Jimmie comments as he walks up behind Ron, hugging him. “Way to go buddy!”

“She deserved that and she needed that badly,” Ron says and Jimmie shakes his head totally understanding as Ron finds himself wiping the tears away once again. “I just can’t believe we pulled it off.” Ron shakes his head as he heads to the fornt stretch, ready to celebrate with her.

Once the burn-outs are done and she is pulled in on the front stretch, she climbs out of the car, both fists in the air, letting out a huge scream as the crew showers her with whatever they can find. She hops off the car, smiling as she wraps her arms around Kyle who is standing there.

“Shouldn’t be in victory lane?” She asks and Kyle laughs.

“I had to come congratulate my fiancé on the biggest moment of her life,” Kyle says before kissing her lips.

“I don’t want to argue with that decision one bit.” He then picks her up, kissing her once again as the crew cheers behind.

“I love you. I love you with all my heart and will always love you. Congratulations.”

“Gosh I love you so much. I wish I could hold on to you forever.”

“So do I. But we can’t change the future. We can only live in the moment and make these memories now. Go celebrate with your team.” He then lets her go as she smiles, remembering those words all too well herself. She then feels a small tug at her legs, laughing as she looks to see Chelsea is in victory lane.

“Sissy did it!” Angelica then picks Chelsea up, setting her on the roof of the car.

“My flower was lucky!” Chelsea cheers as Angelica smiles.

“Sssh, we can’t tell daddy about our lucky flower,” Angelica comments before letting out a little laugh.

“I gave Daddy one too, but yours was specialer.” Angelica laughs as she hugs her little sister.

“I love you Cheeseball.”

“Love you too, Angie.” Chelsea then looks down a little before glancing back up at Angelica. “Do you have to leave us to see Angels? Does Grandpa really need a buddy?” Angelica feels her heart instantly tugged by those words as she leans back against the car. She shakes her head, trying to hold her own tears back.

“Yes, I do sweetie. But remember what daddy told you. Remember that I will always be here with you, looking over you to make sure you stay out of trouble. You remember that right?” Chelsea then shakes her head before pulling Angelica back close to her. “You’ll always be my sweetie though. I love you Cheeseball.”

“Love you too, Angie.” They both then smile as Angelica looks to see her Dad standing there.

“I’m sorry I had to beat you like that,” Angelica comments as she walks over and wraps both arms around him.

“It’s okay,” Dale tells her. “You deserved it. You did an amazing job this year. Congratulations. And by the way, you’re the best sister that Chelsea could ask for.” Dale then pulls her close, kissing Angelica’s cheek. “I love you. You’re the best daughter that I could ever have.”

“What about me?” Chelsea then asks and Angelica and Dale laugh.

“I love you too sweetheart,” Dale tells her before giving her a quick hug.

“There’s something that we need to do once we get home,” Angelica says catching Dale off guard. “The baby, my wedding, but also a special car.” Dale smiles knowing exactly what Angelica means. “I want to make it perfect for her. I want to keep my promise.” Dale wraps his arms around Angelica.

“I don’t have a problem with that,” Dale tells her before he lets her go so she can join everyone else in the celebrating.

Chapter 10: Uncle Matty
Post Homestead-Miami Speedway

“Shouldn’t you be celebrating?” Kyle asks as he walks out on the porch. “You’re the Champion!” Angelica smiles as she looks back at him.

“It does feel good,” she comments before looking out at the backyard. Kyle then walks over, wrapping both arms around her.

“What’s wrong Ang?” Angelica lets out a sigh as she looks down.

“I should be happy. I should be ecstatic about this. But I can’t be. How can I be when in two months everything will be gone?” Kyle rubs her shoulders, knowing her feelings all too well. It was something that had crossed his mind many times the past couple of months.

“I know what you’re saying. I understand. But like you said – you can’t change the news so you have to live in the present and make the best of it. You’re certainly doing that.” Kyle then kisses her cheek as he spins her around to face him. “That’s why I am trying to spend every moment I can possibly can with you.”

“But it doesn’t change anything.”

“I wish I could change everything; I would in a heartbeat.”

“I know you would.” Angelica buries her head in his shoulder, keeping him held close to her, not wanting to let go. If she could, she would spend the rest of her days like this. However, she knew she couldn’t as there were other things to do. “I love you. I never want to let you go.” Kyle smiles as he leads her inside and through the house upstairs. They head straight for the bedsroom and go inside as Kyle leads her to the bed. “Babes…”

“No, that’s not why I am bringing you up here.” With a long day behind her, he knew that having sex that night was out of the question. But that didn’t mean that the options were limited.

“Then why are we up here?” She then lays in the bed beside him and he instantly wraps an arm around her. She smiles, knowing that he read her thoughts in wanting to be together. “I love you.”

“Love you more. Goodnight sweetheart.”

“Good night.” She snuggles in closer to him and closes her eyes.

Early the next morning, she sneaks out of bed and grabs her cellphone before heading out. Glancing at the time, she realizes it’s 8 in the morning and probably too early for anyone to be up. However, sleep isn’t an option with everything on her mind and there were other things on her mind.

She then goes straight to the garage, opening the door.

“There you are baby,” she says as she looks to see the Legend still tucked in its special spot.

“What are you doing up so early?” She hears, causing her to nearly jump out of her skin. She then turns to see Matt standing there.

“Better question – what are you doing here so early?” Matt laughs as he watches her take the tarp off the Legend.

“I slept over in the western town hotel due to drinks with Brad and your dad. Now answer my question.” Angelica rolls her eyes as she looks over the Legend.

“I couldn’t sleep so I thought I’d get to work on this.” She then moves a couple things out of the way, knowing that she wants to take it outside. Matt, without saying a word, begins helping her move some things out of the way. Since their conversation on Friday, Matt had done a lot of thinking and even done some research of his own. He wasn’t ready to see this happen, knowing that he’d hate to see the same happen to any of his kids. “Thanks Matty.”

“No problem. Do you think it’ll start up?” Angelica then smiles as she climbs in it.

“She always did work for me before.”

“Give it a shot.” Angelica then hits the switch and like a charm, the Legend instantly starts up. She then drives it out of the garage, shutting it off and climbing out smiling.

“She’s everything she was before.” Matt then looks at Angelica curiously.

“So what are you doing with her out then?”

“Two special things.” Matt then leans against the garage, curious.

“What is that?”

“The winter classic and there’s a special girl that I promised this car too.” Matt looks at her surprised as she says the words ‘Winter Classic’. Everyone knew that the Winter Classic was the biggest Legend race of the year, typically held in late December. He thought with the season being done that she was done driving. “Wha-”

“Are you seriously considering running the Winter Classic?” Angelica shakes her head yes as she begins to look over the motor. “Seriously? Have you told anyone about that yet?” Angelica then looks up at Matt with a smile.

“Uncle Matty can keep a secret till I’m ready to tell Daddy and Kyle, right?” Matt shakes his head yes, knowing that he can’t say no right now as she goes back to work. She begins to check each part carefully as Matt stands there watching intently. Shortly after, Angelica stands and smiles. “Everything looks perfect.”

“Why do you want to run the Winter Classic so badly?” Matt then walks over to the side of the car, knowing that Angelica was ready to check the toe. “What is it about that race and this car?” Angelica takes a deep breath.

“In all the years that I ran the Legend, I came so close to winning that race but kept falling short. I want to win it. It’ll complete everything.” Hearing those words, Matt knew that he had to say what he had found.

“Angelica, there’s something that I want to talk to you about. I may have an answer to your problem.” Angelica looks at Matt curiously as she watches him stand up.

“What prob-”

“The cancer.” He then walks over to where she is, wanting to tell her face-to-face. “I know that you were told two months. However, I’ve done my own research and we may be able to do something.”

 

Love & Work: A Combo of Madness – Chapters 17 Thru 20

Chapter 17: Daytona 500 Pre-Race

Angelica leans back against the car with a smile on her face as she takes in the scenes of race morning.

She had been at the Daytona 500 plenty of times before. She went as a fan as a little girl, and been down there plenty of times with the 48 team. Though being in a crew chief for NASCAR’s most popular driver, it all seemed different. Everything seemed to hit a scale that she couldn’t reach in her mind. There was certain electricity in the air, to go with the expectations and pressure that she hadn’t experienced before.

She takes a deep breath, reminding herself that it was just like any other race and she had a job to do on the pit box in calling the perfect strategy. There was nothing different, even if this was her first race as a crew chief. There was nothing different even if this was the biggest race of the season.

“How are you this morning?” She hears, snapping her out of her thoughts as she looks over at the boss with a smile.

“Just taking it all in,” she answers. “Remembering my job at hand. Remembering to treat it just like any other race and mentally going over my notes.” Rick could only let out a small laugh as he patted her shoulder.

“Those words spoken like a true rookie crew chief set to embark on her first year. Greg had about the same thing to say to me last season. Don’t worry – it’s going to work out. Dale and you are going to work together as planned, and you’re going to make the right calls and adjustments to have this car in victory lane.” She smiles, proudly accepting the vote of confidence from the boss. She just hoped that she could match those expectations.

“I’ll try my best, sir.”

“That’s all I expect. Have a good race.” She watches as he walks off down pit road, set to find his next person to talk to. She knew that he’d definitely go see Chase as this was his first Daytona 500, and certainly stop by to wish Jimmie and Kasey both luck. It was Rick’s normal way to see each driver before the race, and very what pit box he sat on each week.

“This doesn’t get old….” She then takes out her cell phone, taking a panoramic photo of the area before tweeting it out on her account. Enjoying the scenery and remembering what made Daytona so special were perhaps the ingredients to calm her back down.

She watches as the crew heads over her way, having expected the boys to join her at the car. She knew that Dale was busy with driver introductions, but would be there soon enough. Then, before she knew it, it’d be time for pre-race ceremonies and the workday would truly begin.

“Hey Angelica!” Matt Tyrrell, the team’s gas man, lets out as he walks up to her and gives her a hug. She could only smile and accept it. She was used to the boys giving her hugs each day as they seemed to be in love with working with her already. “So, can I ask you something? We need to settle this!”

“You’re not going to brin-” Head Engineer Kevin Meendering starts, although he was curious as much as any of them after the stories that Car Chief Travis Mack had shared earlier in the weekend of Angelica’s past with Dale.

“Dude, we’re settling this! You and Travis say it is happening, and William says it’s not. I’m done hearing discussions about it!” Angelica then crosses her arms, looking at the crop of the crew guys curious with her eyebrows raised. What could have them riled up?

“What’s going on?” She asks as Matt takes a deep breath. It was harder to ask than he thought it’d be.

“There’s a rumor going around the garage that you and Dale are together,” Matt starts and Angelica rolls her eyes. “Supposedly, you guys went out on a little date last night and returned together. Travis also shared that it’s a good possibility because you guys used to date.” Angelica then looks at Travis with a death stare as he holds his hands up innocently.

“Hey, I saw you guys together late some nights at HMS due to staying late to work with the other engineers on some notes!” Travis states as Angelica just rolls her eyes.

“It doesn’t mean that you had to tell the world as it wasn’t public knowledge!” She lets out before looking back at her guys. “It’s true – Dale and I used to date. We dated for about three months and then split up due to some differences of opinion at the time. Now, are we back together? No. We went go-karting last night as friends to simply spend some time together and cut loose, and find our friendship boundary. Is that past relationship going to affect things moving forward? Absolutely not as we’ve promised to put it behind us and work together as friends and professionals. Therefore, I don’t want to hear another word from any of you jackasses today or ever!” The boys immediately shakes their heads in agreement, knowing that they better not press the issue. They, though, understood that it’d bring up discussions later when she wasn’t around.

“Is there a problem?” Dale joins in the conversation as he joins them at the car. Angelica then looks back at him and shakes her head no.

“It seems the boys heard a rumor that we went on a date last night and were curious. I set them straight so we shouldn’t hear another word on the topic, EVER.”

“I apologize for their immaturity,” William says on behalf of the other guys as they give him a dirty look.

“Don’t act innocent Will,” Dale comments. “Boys, just because she’s a female doesn’t mean that you are supposed to treat her any differently. That means no spreading rumors or joking about rumors of dating. Just treat her like another crew member.”

“I’m sorry,” Matt offers as he holds out his hand. Angelica then shakes it, accepting the apology.

“Do you know who started the rumor?” She wonders and Matt shakes his head yes.

“Someone on one of the JGR crews told me. I think overheard Dustin and Brandon from Denny’s team.” Angelica could only silently curse, resisting the urge to walk down to Denny’s stall and strangle him in plain sight.

“I’ll handle things with Denny so it doesn’t continue,” Dale offers as Angelica gives him a look. “Guys, can you give us a moment to talk over some strategy?” The boys shake a head walking away as Dale keeps his eyes locked on Angelica.

“I’ll handle Denny as he shouldn’t be someone that you need to worry about,” she informs him as Dale looks at her confused. “Look, he caught up me after practice on Friday and asked how things were going between us. I told him, honestly, how things were going. He questioned whether I was right in forgiving you and such, in which I lectured him back in return. I may have let it slip that we were going out go-karting as friends.” Dale thinks over what she is saying, now wanting to strangle Denny himself.

“So out of spite and perhaps jealousy, he spread the rumor?” She shakes her head yes.

“It would assume so. That’s why I said I’ll handle him, post-race.” Dale shakes his head in agreement as he thinks things over. He knew that the pair went out before.

“Does he still have feelings for you, I wonder?” As the question escaped Dale, Angelica felt her breath hitch in her throat. That would explain his behavior that was out of the ordinary of their friendship.

“It’s quite possible. But, I want to make this clear – I have no feelings for him in return. We’re just friends in my mind and nothing else. If he tries to go beyond that and can’t understand that, then I’m out.”

“Angelica, you don’t need to explain things for me. I get it. You’re honest as they come and would tell me straight up if something was going on with you and Denny. Besides, we’re not together – we’re just friends. You don’t need to explain yourself.” She shook her head understanding his words. It felt good to hear those words from him as it showed he was growing from the previous thoughts that brought forth their relationship issues. However, she still felt it was right in her doing to clear the air – wanting to leave hat door open for the future. “Now, don’t we have a race to focus on?”

 

Chapter 18: Daytona 500

Angelica sat confidently on the pit box, as she watched the race close down to the final laps. She had been able to make the right calls all day, from when to bring him down pit road with a group of cars, to the right adjustments so he could remain up front.

They had watched a couple of big wrecks unfold, taking some of the contenders out of the mix. But yet, he had been able to avoid each of those incidents due to running up front.

With laps counting down, she knew that it was all in her driver’s hands. Given that he was good at Daytona and knew how to draft, she felt confident in their chances.

She kept her eyes firmly locked on the monitor, watching as he continued to fight within the field. She tried to keep herself calm, despite the lap count getting smaller and smaller. However, the moment she saw them split him and he started sliding back, she felt her temper boil a little, punching the pit box with her fist.

“Easy…..,” Travis comments as he rubs her shoulder. “He’s got 20 laps. He knows how to get back up there. Plus, we don’t need you getting injured this early in the season.” She could only chuckle at her car chief’s comments as she looked over her fist. He did have a solid point as there was still time.

“I’m betting that hurt more than you thought it would,” Kevin Meendering offers as he hands her a cold bottle of water. She just holds it against the fingers, shaking her head yes.

“I wasn’t thinking about the possible pain when I did it,” she offers as she glances over, seeing no blood or bruising.

“Careful Trav, we’ll have to be on injury patrol all year.” Travis just chuckles as Angelica gives Kevin a small punch. “Hey! Careful lady. You don’t want to knock me off of here now do you?”

“This is only our second race together and you’re teasing me?” She questions as he shrugs his shoulders. With a glance at Travis, the pair could only smile. Teasing was something that they did often on the pit box to keep things loose so they wouldn’t get too tense with nerves.

“We’re just teaching you our ways, ma’am,” Travis tells her as she rolls her eyes.

However, while she wanted to act annoyed with the pair, she was smiling on the inside. It was nice to see a quick, easy rep developing across the board as that would make working together in the future easily. Combined with the friendship that her and Dale had formed, she had high hopes beyond Daytona.

Their eyes then laid back on the action on track, watching the cars go by on the front stretch and then letting their eyes stay glued to the monitor. They watched as the No. 88 car maneuvered its way through the field, finding the lines that were moving with passes made each lap. As the lap count got smaller, they watched their position continue to improve. There was one thing for certain – they had an amazing car with an amazing driver behind the wheel.

“Five to go,” they heard T.J.’s call over the radio as he continued to act like an air traffic controller, telling Dale where everyone was around him and what line was moving.

Angelica could only smile as she listened. She believed that spotting on a restrictor plate track was a true art form in how much work it took from the spotter to keep the driver informed on where they were. When she worked with Jimmie, Chad and Ron, she’d always sit back on the pit box and listen at awe with Earl’s spotting. She was brought back to that same feeling, but felt more pride in watching Dale in knowing that it was her car with her set-up underneath it.

They watched the final laps play out as Dale continued to try and work his way to the front, though as he got closer to the front, it all died out. The front top-five didn’t want to dice as much as those in the back were, therefore not opening any big doors to allow for a big run to the front.

When the checkered flag flew, she smiled as they crossed the line with a fourth place finish. It wasn’t the victory that they had been hoping for, but it was a good solid finish. That’d mark some confidence and good vibes going into the rest of the season together.

She then glanced down the rest of the scoring monitor, seeing that Kevin Harvick had picked up the win – no surprise with how strong SHR had been the past couple of seasons. It was nice to see Kasey start off his season with a second place finish after the struggles last year, and there was no complaints in seeing Jamie McMurray finish third, either. In honesty, she was more impressed by the day that HMS had as a whole as beyond Kasey finishing second and Dale finishing fourth, they had Jimmie finishing sixth with Chase finishing ninth.

“Fourth place bud,” T.J. calls over the radio. “Solid job out there today. Great job working your way back to the front those last 20 laps.”

“Great job today guys!” Dale tells the team. “Angelica, spectacular job on the car with Travis and Kevin. Great pit stops today, too. I shouldn’t had made the move when I did there.” Angelica lets out a sigh, knowing that perhaps he was right in that comment. However, she wasn’t going that get him down.

“You were doing what you thought you needed to put yourself in a position to win,” she tells him. “Sometimes the move pays off, and sometimes the move back fires against you. In this case, it just didn’t work out as you planned and you fell back. You fought and got back to the front, and I’m proud of you for that. Great job out there today. We’ll take the solid finish and go to Phoenix next week and go after it again.”

“10-4. I think we’re going to have a good season this year.” Angelica smiles, having the same positive vibes with how the week had gone.

“10-4 I think so, too.”

 

Chapter 19: Post Daytona 500

Angelica set her headset down, closing up the notebooks with a couple high-fives for the various crew members. She then headed down the steps, before heading down pit road where Dale was parked. She watched as he climbed out, and began the slew of post-race interviews. She stood back, arms crossed, watching with a smile on her face. It was certainly nice to start off the year on a good note.

“Nice job,” she hears and glances over her shoulder to see the boss standing there.

“Thank you,” she replies as she gives him a quick hug. It was nice to hear compliments, especially from the boss.

“You guys worked well together throughout the race and had a strong finish. I think the best part was listening to you after the race in your comments to him about the move that he made. It’s those uplifting comments and great conversation back and forth that will carry you both forward this year.” She smiles, having not thought much about the comments when she said them. It just came out as part of the job, and was truly how she felt about the situation.

“Thank you, sir, but I think it’ll also take putting together the right set-ups.” He then shakes his head, agreeing.

“I know that you can do that based on the boys have told me. Just stay confident in yourself and your abilities and you’ll be fine.” She shakes her head, agreeing. “And I take it that I don’t have to worry about what you told me previously, right?” She then looks at him a little confused. “The relat-”

“Absolutely not, sir. Dale and I have talked about it and worked it out accordingly.” Rick smiled as he knew that was a great first step and was glad to see the pair getting off on a good note. However, it also left him the curious as to what could happen down the road. He had heard a couple of the garage rumors.

“And what are we going to do about the rumors?” She then rolls her eyes, knowing that she had to go see Denny before leaving the track that weekend and kill him. However, that wouldn’t be the best thing to tell her boss.

“Ignore them because it doesn’t matter to me what they say. All that matters is the performance on track, the fact that Dale and I have a good relationship together, and the fact that the team is working together, as they’re supposed to.” Rick could only continue smiling at that comment as it was refreshing to hear a rookie crew chief put everything behind her.

“That’s the spirit. I’m glad that Chad has trained you well in that sense.” She then laughs to herself, wondering if he’d be thinking the same if she told him the truth.

“Chad and Ron were great teachers. I have no doubt that I have the ability to get the job done this year and put this team in the Chase.” For most rookies, their first season would be about getting solid results and perhaps a win. However, with Hendrick Motorsports, it didn’t work that way. The pressure was on you right away and you had to perform with putting your team in contention on a weekly basis. She then smiles as Dale finishes up his last interview, walking over to where she was standing with Rick. “Nice job today.”

“Nice job on the pit box,” Dale replies as he gives her a hug. “You did a great job, actually.”

“You did a great job behind the wheel, too,” she tells him as she pulls back, looking into his eyes. Even though she had expressed her comments over the radio, she could still see the bit of disappointment in his eyes. “Honestly, Dale, you did a spectacular job. Sure, a couple moves didn’t pan out the way you wanted but that’s the game that you play in restrictor plate racing. Sometimes it goes your way and sometimes it doesn’t. But you did a great job rebounding for a great finish.”

“She’s right,” Rick adds, smiling at their conversation. “It’s a great starting point for you both this year.”

“Thank you sir,” Dale replies as he keeps his eyes locked on Angelica. “I think you’ve found a gem with this crew chief.” Rick could smile, knowing that perhaps there was more than he was letting on.

“I’m glad that it’s working out. Hopefully it blossoms and produces great results.” Dale kept his eyes on Angelica as a smile formed on his face.

“I have no doubt about that.” He then glances away, noticing Mike Davis standing there a little impatient. “I have to go to the media center and continue answering questions since you did such a great job. Do you need me back at the hauler after to debrief?” She shakes her head no, knowing they could do that on Monday at HMS. “Alrighty then. I’ll see you this week.” She shakes her head as she watches him walk away.

“I have other drivers to go see so I will let you go and pack up and do what you need to do,” Rick says as she shakes her head. She then give him one more hand-shake before watching him head off down pit road to see Jimmie.

She then turns on her feet, heading back to the pit box to pack up her stuff while Travis and Kevin pushed the car to post-race inspection area. She knew that it was going to be a long night with the post-race inspection process, but she was willing to accept that. Long nights meant a great result on track, and that was the goal at hand.

“Excuse me – Ms. Lockson?” She hears as she works at putting her things away. She finishes collecting her stuff before climbing down the steps of the pit box to face the reporter.

“How are you doing, Wendy?” She asks with a smile. Wendy Venturini was one of the reporter that she had gotten used to commonly seeing in the garage area, sometimes doing interviews with for MRN.

“I’m doing great,” Wendy offers. “I just wanted to tell you congratulations on a great job today, and hitting the mark as the highest finishing female crew chief in NASCAR history.” Angelica could only smile at those words, but knew in the end that they didn’t mean much. Sure, it was nice to be in the record books for NASCAR, but she wasn’t there to be the best female. She was simply there to do the best job.

“Well, thank you. It’s cool to say that but you know me better than anyone. I’m not here to simply be the best female, but the best crew chief – well, give me a couple weeks or so but you get my idea.” Wendy shakes her head, understanding.

“Trust me, I know what you’re saying. Danica told me the same thing when I gave her the same phrase as best female driver. It’s what the network wants me to tell you, though, as that’s the reason why I am here. Are you willing to do an interview before you head off?” Angelica smiles, knowing that it came with the job. Plus, the boys didn’t need her quite yet as they could start the process without her.

“Go ahead, Wendy.” Wendy then cues back to the broadcast people that she has Angelica ready on stand-by for an interview.

 

Chapter 20: Hammy!!!

Once she was done the interview with Wendy, she thanked her for her time and walked off. She then checked in the boys, seeing how things wee going with post-race technical inspection.

“Everything is going smoothly,” Travis offers as she smiles back in return. “NASCAR hasn’t had a problem with anything so far, and the boys are taking apart what they’ve requested.” She then glances at the list, shrugging her shoulders. It was nothing surprising as it followed NASCAR’s normal list of things to check on the cars.

“So I can go kill someone and not have to worry about you guys?” She questions as Travis looks at her a little concerned.

“Whose body will I be helping you dump in the lake?” She then laughs, though also feels a bit of shock. She hadn’t wanted it to slip that she was going to see Denny.

“Denny. It seems he’s the one that started the rumors, so I am going to go give him a peace of my mind.” Travis immediately rolls his eyes. He wasn’t set for drama starting between teams, but understood her reasoning. Besides, he heard some rumblings that she had a past with Denny.

“Go for it. I got this under control.”

“Thanks Travis.” She gives him a quick pat on the back before heading off towards the motorcoach lot.

She knew that following the race, Denny was the type to get done his interviews and then go back to the motorcoach. He would get a shower, get dressed, pack up the stuff he wanted to take with him on the plane, send a couple of quick text messages, before heading off. If she was timing things right, he’d be there right now packing things up or sending those messages.

Normally, she’d get one of those messages. Given their friendship, she’d text him post-race each week, with each a congratulatory note or a sympathy note, depending on how his day went. He would then send back a note in response, either thanking her or starting up a discussion. However, given her current anger with him, she hadn’t bothered on sending him a congratulatory message. It didn’t matter to her that he had finished eighth on the day.

She walks over to his motorcoach, trying the door handle. In most cases, he wasn’t ‘careful’ and always left the door unlocked, telling her that nobody would ever sneak in and do anything. She always gave him horror stories, and told him to not come crying to her if some crazy dude did indeed sneak in.

As expected, the door was unlocked so she opened it and walked up the steps, glancing around for the driver in question. As she watched the door slip closed behind her, she was glad that they were in a quiet spot as she knew this wasn’t going to be pretty, given her feelings.

“Angelica!” He lets out as he comes out of the bedsroom, curious as to why he had heard the door. He was dressed in a pair of jeans and t-shirt, just about set to leave.

“Hammy!” She yells back in response, knowing how much it irritated him when she called him that.

“You had a good day – your driver finished fourth. Why are you acting like your world has been tipped upside down?” She had to laugh at how he was ignoring the clear fact before him with the mess that he had started.

“Because I want you to tell me what the hell is going on!” He then looks at her confused.

“What do you mean?” She felt herself ready to burst out laughing. Was he for real?

“My own crew came to me today asking whether Dale and I were dating. According to Matt, it so happens that they overheard Dustin and Brandon talking about it. It seems funny considering those two are on your team and we had an interesting discussion that left you unhappy about my current situation with Dale. Now want to tell me the truth, Hamlin?” Denny then looks at her surprised, silently cursing his guys. They weren’t supposed to make it seem so obvious that he had started the rumor.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about, honestly. I had nothing to do with the rumor, Angelica. I wouldn’t do anything to hurt you.” She just laughs as she looks away from him.

“For some reason, I don’t believ-”

“And why not? Is Dale filling your head with stories?” Her eyes immediately land on Denny’s, anger beginning to boil immediately.

“You don’t know nothing about the relationship that Dale and I have, Denny.” Denny then smiles as he closes the gap between them.

“I know that he broke your heart and I was left picking up the pieces.” She then takes a deep breath, trying to keep herself calm and resist the urge to strangle him.

“That’s in the past. Everybody makes mistakes. He made a mistake and yes, it broke my heart. However, I’ve given him the benefit of the doubt and forgave him for the mistake.” Denny then crosses his arms, curious by her words.

“Oh, so you’re back together just like that?” She then shakes her head no.

“No, I’m taking it slow as I told you I was going to the other night, the same night that you told me that I should be careful and you weren’t sure. It’s funny how this rumor surfaces right after that. It’s funny how you act all surprised upon hearing about it, despite everybody knowing. It’s also funny how you thought Dale was the one filling my head with stories, when he hasn’t even mentioned your name. He’s been focused on forming a friendship with me so we can work together as professionals, not acting like a kid and worrying about jealous little freaks like you.” She then takes a step back, taking a deep breath to calm herself down.

It was in that moment that she realized that Denny’s comments the other night weren’t out of worry, but jealousy. Despite him trying to rekindle things with Kendra for the sake of his daughter, he still had feelings for her. It was why he was trying to push her away from reforming a friendship with Dale. It was why he expressed those concerns. It was also why he had started the rumor, in hope of causing issues for the pair.

“I can’t believe you!” She then yells, shoving him back away from her. “I can’t believe honestly believe you. Haven’t you matured at all? Haven’t you realized that playing games isn’t going to get what you want?” Denny knew he could keep denying it, but what was the point of that? She had caught him on everything.

“I can’t deny the feelings that I have for you,” he offers. “I can’t deny that I still love you, Angelica.” She then shakes her head in disbelief. This wasn’t how she pictured this discussion going.

“You’re right – you can’t deny your heart that fact. But if you love someone, is it fair to try and mess up their life? Is it fair to start rumors about them? Is it fair to try and break apart their friendships in hopes of getting what you want? You’re doing the exact opposite of what you should be doing if you truly care about me. Truthfully, you’re acting like a spoiled brat who didn’t get his way. If that’s how you’re going to be, don’t expect me to come around and see you anymore. Till you do some growing up we’re done, Hamlin.” She then turns around and heads for the door.

“Angelica!” She keeps her eyes focused forward as she reaches the door. “Angelica, please. Let me expla-”

“Save your breath!” She then opens the door, walking outside and slamming it back shut as hard as she could before walking away.

She then walks through the motorcoach lot, running her hands through her hair in disbelief, shaking her head.

Coming into the season, she was worried about how her and Dale would handle working together despite their past. They had been able to work it out with ease as professionals, and find the friendship they both dearly cherished during their time together. She was worried about how the performance would go on track and whether she could work with the guys. That had been proven with how solid they were across the weekend, and the chemistry that they had already formed.

Through it all, though, she thought that she’d have her best friend by her side, just like he had been since they met 10 years ago, supporting her and able to share stories along the way. Instead, he was creating a mess for her to deal with and clean up – just because he still loved her and wanted to rekindle the magic that they had.

She shook her head, knowing that she couldn’t go back down that road with Denny. He was a great friend, but nothing in the relationship department clicked. When they tried it, it worked for a couple of weeks – simply because he helped her picked up the pieces of heartbreak. Though beyond that, there was nothing that made it stick and she knew that it wasn’t meant to be. No matter his feelings, she wasn’t going back down the road and that was something that he would have to learn deal with, rather than do stupid things out of jealousy.

“And to think I thought you having a kid would help you grow up and mature some,” she comments to herself with a laugh.

She could only wish Kendra the best of luck, wondering how things were turning out there. Stacey Hamlin was now a year old, and being balanced between a pair of parents who couldn’t find that balance. Kendra still wanted to be one of the track bunnies, while Denny had his mind stuck on other thoughts. She could only hope that Denny started to grow up and do the right thing for his daughter.

However, she wasn’t about to get herself stuck in that mess.

She was done with Denny’s games. Instead, she was going to focus on herself. She had a race team to crew chief for with calls to make and cars to set-up. She couldn’t chase him around and help him straighten things up. That was now his responsibility. He was 34 years old after all.

She also couldn’t help but smile as she looked back at the weekend. From the discussion on the dock by Lake Lloyd, to the night of go-karting, to the random chats in the hauler. Everything this weekend with Dale had gone way better than expected. In fact, it was perhaps bringing back those same butterflies that had them get together in the first place. Perhaps they were meant to be; perhaps he had learned from his lesson and they could make it work this time around.

However, while her heart fluttered at the sound of his voice or a glance into his eyes, she wasn’t about to accept yet. She wanted to be sure this time as she didn’t know if she could handle having her heart broken by him a second time around.

Like Father, Like Daughter – Chapters 16 Thru 20

likefatherlikedaughter

Chapter 16: Aaron’s 499

Talladega Speedway – Sunday Afternoon

It came down to the final laps of the race and it seemed like a repeat of Daytona. Dale led ahead of Tony, Angelica, Kyle Larson, Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch.

“5 to go,” Ron Malec told Angelica as he stood atop the pit box, thinking they were in good shape. “Just stick with your dad and Tony and you’ll be fine. You’ve done an awesome job.” Ron knew that nobody wanted to repeat what had happened at Talladega and if things went down this road, they would have a good solid finish. He also had a good idea that Tony wasn’t going to make a move on Dale as he knew about the relationship that they had.

“Larson is trying to deal with Harvick and Busch, thinking we won’t move,” her spotter warned her. It was exactly what Malec had been thinking. “It’s up to you what we do.”

“I’m sticking with the two people who mean the most to me,” she told them quickly over the radio as she knew that it was her way of staying out of trouble. She just wanted to get out of Talladega without something happening. “Hope the team isn’t mad in lack of effort.” She also shook her head, feeling some soreness through her, knowing that avoiding a wreck with what was happening with Ashton was recommended.

4 to go and everybody still held their line single-file, but everybody knew the move was coming. Discussions across the radios were in full force and no doubt Larson was going to have a plan of his own.

“Larson to go with two to go with Harvick and Busch,” Steve Addington radioed Tony and Tony made note of it, knowing that they were probably safe with having Dale in front of him and Angelica behind him. “Be on the watch Stew.”

“Just stick to the bottom and you should be fine,” Tony’s spotter replied.

“That’s the plan,” Tony replied as he knew what needed to be done. “Tell Dale and Angelica to keep tucked close.”

“10-4. I’ll remind Ang since Dale should know.”

“10-4.” Tony knew it was a good move as whether she was an Earnhardt or not, she was a rookie and reminders were always a good idea at times.

3 to go down the backstretch, contrary to radio reports, Kyle Larson pulled out of the single file line with Harvick and Kyle Busch in toe.

Coming off turn four, Larson was able to get himself up alongside Angelica for third as she tried to keep herself tucked up against Tony’s back bumper.

Two laps to go and keeping the bottom and tucked up draft allowed Angelica to keep in front of Kyle Larson as Larson fell back to end up battling for fourth with Johnson down the backstretch.

With them battling for forth as they came to the white flag, it allowed Dale, Tony and Angelica to gain a bit of an advantage ahead of them as they stayed tucked single-file.

“Tony wants to know if you will work with him,” Ron came across the radio, though he knew the answer himself.

“Does he really think I’d pick him over my dad?” Angelica asked as Ron laughed. “Tell him thanks but no thanks.”

Down the backstretch, Larson and Johnson managed to close the gap that had formed, though couldn’t do anything with it.

Coming around to the flag, Dale grabbed the win with Tony second and Angelica third.

“Heck of a job!” Steve cheered on the radio. “Great job team! Great job driver!”

“Amazing finish!” T.J. Majors agreed as Steve looked over at Lindsay and Chelsea with a smile.

“He needed that,” Lindsay said simply as Steve shook his head in agreement.

“Sissy no win?” Chelsea then asked and Lindsay shook her head no. “Daddy win?” Lindsay then shook her head yes and Chelsea let out a big cheer. “Yay Daddy! Daddy is cool!”

“That he is sweetie,” Lindsay agreed as she helped Chelsea down off the pit box. “You want to go to victory lane and congratulate him?” Lindsay then glanced at her phone, having heard it go off.

Congratulations my dear. Celebration is something that I will enjoy later, Leighanne.

“Bring it on bitch,” Lindsay said as she knew she was ready to take on the world and protect those who mean the most to her.

******
Later that night, Angelica walked into the motorcoach, smiling as she began taking off her uniform. It had been a long day, but she got a great finish out of it and had her favourite two people in the whole world finish in front of her.

“Hey Winnie,” she said to her puppy as he ran up and put his front paws up on her legs.

“Nice job,” Ashton congratulated her. Ashton didn’t have much luck in himself in yesterday’s Nationwide race having been caught up in one of the wrecks. Focusing on her puppy and wanting to keep the good day going, she picked him up and gave him a kiss on the nose. In return, he licked her cheek.

“Thanks,” she finally acknowledged Ashton as she sat the dog down on the couch.

“So think you’re pretty lucky staying out of trouble? You only will be lucky for so long.” His words caught her by surprise as she glanced his way, continuing to change out of her suit into some jeans and t-shirt. “There’s a plan in the midst that you won’t believ-”

“And what is that? Because frankly, I know how this plan goes. You do what you want with me as long as you know that I won’t say a word to protect my family. The minute I squeal, you say everything you want and hope that it all goes downhill from there.”

“So that’s what you think of it?” Ashton then gave her a slap across the face, out of surprise. “You have no fucking idea what is coming to you this week then so I suggest you keep that mouth shut if you want to be lucky.”

“I fucking hate you.” He then slapped her once again as she shook her head.

“I guess the feeling is mutual. I have never loved you, ever. It was all just a ploy knowing what dating the Earnhardt princess would do for me.” She shook her head, not wanting to hear any more of it as she finished changing. How could he say that when she had loved him without question for the past five years till these things started happening?

She watched him walk out of the motorcoach, letting her guard down as she rubbed her cheek, feeling the tears come to her eyes. She knew she wanted to get away from him and this. She knew she couldn’t handle dealing with it. however, seeing how happy Tony, Dale, Lindsay and Chelsea were and also the fear shared when Dale had learned about the text messages, she felt a strong pull to hold back. But how much longer could she take this without anybody knowing?

 

Chapter 17: Darlington…..

Darlington Speedway – Saturday Evening

Angelica walked into the team hauler, chucking her water bottle across the hauler, not caring that it was still full. She was frustrated with what had happened. She was leading. She had led the first half of the race, the whole way. Then the motor blew and up in the wall she was, sliding in her own oil. Another shot at victory cut shot. It just didn’t seem fair.

“Fuck!” She screamed as she sat down on the coach.

“I’ll go and come back later,” Ron told her as he knew she needed some time alone. “You were doing an awesome job. We’ll get that win.”

“When?” She asked as she laid back, flinching slightly. To add to the frustration, her body wasn’t agreeing with her at all. The pain of everything was catching up with her and holding it in, not telling anyone, was becoming harder with each day that passed.

“Soon because you’re a really good driver,” she heard, catching her out of her gaze as she looked up. She was surprised to see Kyle standing there. Why had Ron let him in? “I’m glad to see that you’re okay. Considering what you were saying last night, you don’t need any more headaches.”

Angelica sat up, looking down at the ground. Last night, her and Larson had sat watching the Nationwide Series race together – which Ashton won – having a heartfelt discussion. Larson talked about how his girlfriend of two years cheated on him while she talked about her relationship with Ashton. She didn’t speak of the abuse or threats, but of them having arguments and not spending as much time as they used together. It was at least some relief off her shoulders.

She then looked towards Larson, wanting to tell him more about what they had discussed. She had wanted to tell him about the abuse and everything, in hopes that he may be able to help. However, she was worried about her dad, Tony and Lindsay.

Looking back down, she took a deep breath, knowing that this was just the beginning of another long night. Ashton would be done whatever he was doing and they’d be headed home where she’d have to deal with him.

“Ang, what are you thinking?” Kyle asked as he sat down beside her. He could tell that she was deep in thought and surprised he had received no answer. What was bugging her? “You can tell me. I told you last night that you could trust me with anything. I won’t tell anyone whatever you tell me. What are you thinking?”

“Just give her some time alone please,” Kyle heard as he looked back towards the door to see Ron had returned, with a new bottle of water.

“Actually, there’s something that I do want to tell you Kyle,” Angelica announced as she looked up at him. She was scared about saying the words, but they had to be said. She couldn’t handle it alone anymore.

“What is it?” He asked as he looked back towards her, curious.

“Should I leave?” Ron asked, not knowing whether she wanted him to know. Angelica shook her head no, as she wanted Ron to know also. He had been bugging her about some of her lack of effort in testing and certain things, and now was her way to explain her case. He then sat down on the other side of her, handing her the bottle of water. “So what is it?”

“Angelica, are you pregnant?” Kyle asked, not knowing what she was thinking. Seeing her shake her head no, he let out a sigh of relief. “Well, that’s one thing out of the way.”

“So then what is it?” Ron asked, not able to stand the silence anymore. He knew about the previous things that had happened with her dad and was scared of a repeat.

“It’s Ashton,” she let out slowly, eyes focused back on the white tiles of the trailer floor.

“What about Ashton? Did he cheat on you?”

“Is that what you left out last night?” Kyle added, growing concerned. “Or is it worse than that? Angelica, you can tell us.”

“He probably is sleeping around with some chick, but that’s not the point,” Angelica let out as she knew that Ashton was probably off seeing some girl at this very moment.

“Then what’s going on?” She then wiped the tears off of her face, knowing they had to know. Somebody had to know her pain.

“He’s been hurting me….”

 

Chapter 18: He’s Been Hurting Me….

As the words came out of her mouth, both Ron and Kyle looked at her with shock, not believing them.

“It’s been going on for a couple months now,” she started.

“I’ve been scared to tell anyone. I don’t even know if I should be telling you right now. I’m scared and I don’t know what to do.”

“How has he been hurting you?” Kyle asked as he rubbed her back, trying to calm her down.

“Angelica, you can tell us,” Ron encouraged her. “We won’t tell anyone. You can trust us both.” He wanted to go scream at Ashton, and he wanted to tell Dale and Tony, but he atleast wanted her to first tell him.

“He’s slapped me, yelled me, pushed me and forced me to have sex with him when I don’t want to,” she finally told them slowly, voice quivering.

“I’ll be right back.” Ron then stood up, knowing where he had to go as he had some serious ass kicking to do. “Nobody does this and gets away with it. I don’t care who he thinks he is, he is in for an ass kicking. Kyle, you stay with her.” Ron didn’t know much about Kyle and Angelica’s relationship, but he knew that Kyle cared about her enough to take care of her.

“Ron, please just stay here and listen to me,” she begged as she knew she couldn’t let Ron go see Ashton.

“Why?” She then looked down, taking a deep breath, knowing that he had to know the truth.

“Because he finds out I told someone, he’s going to kill me. He’s also going to spill some secrets that we don’t need unburied.” Ron knew by those words what she meant, but it didn’t do anything with his anger. “He’s not working alone either. There’s someone else involved.” Ron was now desperate for answers as he was ready to kick two butts if necessary.

“Who?” He then turned back to face her, wanting an answer. “Who is working with him, Angelica?” He then walked over, sat on the couch beside her, seeing the fear in her eyes. “Angelica, you can tell me. I’ll listen for now and not go kick his ass. However, you’re going to need to do something about this.”

“Ron, relax a little,” Kyle told him as he pulled Angelica close. “She’s scared. Angelica, we only want to know so we can help you. We both will keep our distance from Ashton, if you want. We’ll both keep it secret if you want.”

“Kyle is right as we want to do whatever we can to help you,” Ron added as he took a couple of deep breaths to calm himself down.

“Please Ang?” Kyle then got a slight glance under her shirt while he rubbed her back, not believing some of the bruises that were there.

“I don’t know who,” she lied as she felt tears come to her eyes. “I just heard him talking with somebody.”

“Angelica, we’ll both take care of you and figure out a way to stop this without the secrets getting leaked,” Ron started. “Can I know what type of secrets there are that he knows? Maybe it’ll help us figure out who is helping him. If we can figure that out, maybe we can think of something.” Angelica knew she could say that much without giving too much away.

“He knows Lindsay’s real name is Leighanne and her back story.” Kyle then looked towards Ron and Angelica, confused.

“Lindsay’s real name is Leighanne?” He asked as Ron shook his head yes.

“Long story that you don’t need to know today kid,” Ron told him as Kyle looked back at Angelica. He was curious as to why the different name, though. But like Ron said, not really important.

“What else?”

“He knows about Jeff and Dale’s deal and has one of the tapes that Tony took to catch Jeff in the act,” Angelica explained as Ron looked on full of shock.

“So this is somebody who’s got a dish on the inside,” he concluded. “Next.”

“The famous sex tape that we’ve heard of at Hendrick. He knows about the relationship between Tony, Dale and Lindsay. Oh, and me getting drunk after prom, which is no big deal really.”

“That’s a lot of dirt.”

“Could Jeff be behind this?” Kyle then asked and immediately saw Angelica shake her head no. “How can you be so sure?”

“I heard a female voice,” she explained as Ron stood up, shocked. There was only one other person he could think of.

“Ingrid?” Ron asked and Angelica shook her head no.

“I know her voice,” Angelica told them as Kyle continued to rub her back.

“How long has this been going on for?” Kyle asked as he pulled her shirt up, showing Ron what he noticed before.

“Ang?”

“A couple months,” she confessed to them as she kept her eyes locked on the floor.

“You need to tell your dad.” She shook her head, knowing he had enough going on.

“No, he has enough with the crazy text messages. I don’t need him worried about me and you know he’d go after Ashton right away. Just please keep it between us. I’m going to figure out something about this on my own.”

“As you wish,” Ron agreed, not wanting to break her trust as he wanted to help her.

“Fine and we’re both here to help you,” Kyle added as he moved back a bit, allowing her to lay back. “I hate to see this happening to you. You don’t deserve it.”

“I wouldn’t wish it on anyone,” she said as Ron flipped on the trailer TV.

“Get some rest – there’s still 40 to go and Ashton probably won’t be looking for you yet,” Ron told her as Kyle rubbed her forehead. She then fell asleep shortly after.

When the race was over, Kyle woke up her up and they got ready to head out. As they were about to leave the trailer, Kyle grabbed her arm.

“If you need me, I don’t care what time it is, call me,” he told her. “I meant it when I said I’d be there for you. I want to help you.” She shook her head yes, giving him a hug.

“Thank you,” she told him as he kissed her cheek.

“There really is something special about you.” She then smiled as she left the trailer, ready to head back to the motorcoach and face Ashton.

 

Chapter 19

Since coming up with this story idea, this chapter has been in my head and playing fits with me. So here it is…..Finally!

Charlotte Motor Speedway – Post All-Star Race

Angelica had the night she could only had dreamed of. She won the Sprint Showdown and went on to win the biggest race of the night – the Sprint All-Star race. The party in victory lane was over the top as everybody was celebrating, screaming and high-fiving.

As she returned home that night, she closed the door, smile plastered across her face. Life couldn’t be any better. She had gotten the burden off her shoulders with the secret and as promised, Larson had been there for her. He had been there to talk about the rough moments and even plan an escape. Ron had also kept his promise for the week following Darlington, which she was relieved. Now all she had to do was get rid of Ashton and her mom and things would be ready to go.

She went into the kitchen, grabbing a bottle of water. She was legal to drink, having had her 21st birthday a couple days prior. She had done her fair share of drinking in victory lane, enjoying more champagne than most drivers would. So with that said, she wasn’t ready to push her boundaries or the night as she knew she would come off her little high soon.

“Winnie, you wouldn’t believe how happy mommy was in victory lane,” she told her six month puppy as she looked down at him.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Fuck!” She then slowly stood up, knowing she had to go find her phone, which she had left in the kitchen after getting the bottle of water. She struggled to her feet, grabbing the banister as she made her way down the stairs. She then made her way up the hall, holding on to whatever she could for comfort.

Once in the kitchen, she grabbed her phone off the counter, leaning on the counter herself and called Kyle. She waited….and waited….and waited…..yet there was no answer. She tried again and got the same response.

“Figures,” she said as she made her way to the fridge. “Everybody is out partying and I’m stuck at home, with a bitch.” She went in the fridge, knowing exactly what was on the door as she grabbed the bottle. Pulling the bottle to her mouth, she began downing it. “If they’re going to party and he’s going to fuck a skank, then fuck this – I’m getting wasted.”

An hour later, she could barely stand up as she was feeling tipsy. One bottle drank, second bottle started, she grabbed her phone, ready to try Kyle again. She hit the call button, hoping he’d answer.

“Hello?” She heard on the other end, a smile coming to her face.

“Kyle baby?” She asked, hoping that he was there for her.

“Angelica? This isn’t Kyle, sweetie. This is Danica. You hit the wrong number?” Danica could tell at her end that Angelica was drunk by the sound of her first words. “Sweetie, are you drinking? I think you need to lay down and lay off your celebration. I’m sure you’ve had enough to sink the Titanic.”

“Dani….I need my Kyle baby….” Danica couldn’t get why she was asking for Kyle. Larson? Busch? What did she want?

“Don’t you mean Ashton? Sweetie, you’re not making sense.”

“Screw Ashton…I want Kyle baby….he loves me Dani and I need him……” Danica then smiled as she felt an idea come to her head.

“How about you go lay down and I’ll make sure Kyle comes to see you? I promise.” Angelica shook her head, growing frustrated with her teammate.

“No….I need him now…..I go find him….” She then stumbled her way down the hall, grabbing her keys off the counter as she opened the door. “I know he house…..I go there.” Danica then looked at Ricky, feeling paranoid. Ricky grabbed the phone, knowing they needed to do something.

“Angelica, you’ve had too much to drink and cannot drive,” he started as he stood up at his house. “Go back in your house and I will drive over there, picking up Kyle for you on the way.” He then motioned for Danica to follow him. “Angelica Earnhardt!”

Though to Ricky’s surprise, all he heard was the dialtone as she had hung up.

“She hung up on me!” He yelled. “We need to find her! Let’s go!” Ricky then ran out the door with Danica in toe. As they got in Ricky’s car, Danica pulled her phone out of her pocket, calling Dale as she knew her dad needed to know what was going on.

Chapter 20: Finding Angelica

Mooresville, North Carolina – Post All-Star Race

Kyle Larson stood there, joking with Kasey and Denny about their previous race on the go-kart track, in which Denny had won. He only stopped joking when he saw Ron Malec coming close to him.

“Excuse me,” he said as he walked away from Kasey and Denny and over to Ron. “What’s up?” Seeing the seriousness on Ron’s face, Kyle felt a sense of worry in his stomach.

“Where’s your pho-”

“It’s on the table. I don’t keep it with me when I’m racing go-karts. Why?” Seeing no response from Ron and the seriousness on his face, he walked over and picked his phone up. As he looked at it, he saw the missed calls from Angelica, a missed call from Ron and a missed call from Danica. “What’s going on?”

“Angelica got drunk tonight and is god knows where with her truck,” Ron told him. “She drunk-dialed Danica before leaving, wanting you and saying she was going to find you.”

“Fuck! Kasey, Denny, I will see you guys later.”

“Important business.” Ron then ran after Kyle, watching the younger driver quickly hop in his car with his car keys in hand. Ron hopped in with him, eyes now focused on Kyle. “Where are we going? We can’t just wander around the city randomly.” Kyle turned the truck on and backed out of the driveway.

“I know the route she takes to my place fro-”

“Her dad is on that route right now.” Kyle clenched his fist, thinking. Where could she be? As he did that, Ron looked down at his phone, reading the latest text message from Ricky.

“Shit.” Ron looked up, silently, shaking his head. It just didn’t seem fair.

“What? What does the text message say, Ron?”

“Ricky and Danica found her and the truck. Go to the hospital.” Kyle quickly switched routes as he kept his eyes focused on the road.

“How bad is it, or did they say?” Kyle glanced towards Ron before focusing his eyes back on the road. “It’s my fault. I should have kept my phone with me.”

“It’s not your fault. You’ve been there for her as you promised. She should’ve been smart enough to either call me when she couldn’t get a hold of you before the drinks, and been smart to not drive. Oh, your question – Ricky says she’ll make it, but she’s going to be sore for a while. Her back and side are hurting pretty bad.” Kyle shook his head, keeping his own tears hidden. As much as Ron told him it wasn’t his fault, he knew it was. He had made her promise at Darlington to be there for when she needed him.

“Ron, we need to tell Dale what’s going on now for sure. Whatever he did after the all-star race must had been bad if she did that.” Ron knew that Kyle was right. There was no time for secrets anymore.

“I was already planning on telling him. Ricky called Ashton’s phone and got some chic-”

“I don’t even want to hear anymore.” Ron could tell by the tone in Kyle’s voice how much he cared for Angelica.

“I know, just saying. Kyle, pull over. Let me drive. You’re upset and shouldn’t be.”

“Okay.” Kyle pulled over and they switched seats, continuing their drive.

“Let me tell Dale, Lindsay and Tony as I know about everything that is going on.”

“Okay. I guess I’ll be explaining things lightly to Danica and Ricky.” Ron shook his head yes.

“Sure, that works. They thought she was cheating on Ashton with you. I told them that Ashton and Angelica are having some issues so you’ve been her comfort rock.” Kyle smiled as he looked back at Angelica’s crew chief.

“Nicely done.” Ron then pulled into the hospital parking lot, quickly parking as they headed inside.

 

Like Father, Like Daughter – Chapters 6 Thru 10

Chapter 6: Crazy Fridays

So Daytona is a way for you get to know the sides of the coin and the five year gap between stories. You’ll get into the “plans” more so past Daytona. Trust me, the ideas that I have are driving me crazy. I just want to get to them haha
Friday – Daytona Int’l Speedway

Lindsay stood on her spot on the trailer, watching practice, totally not thinking about the events of what was happening on track. Instead her mind was focused on the message. Who had sent it? Why had they sent it? What was going on? Nothing seemed to add up. She watched the cars go by again, seeing Angelica lead her dad around the track. She smiled at the pair running together, Dale continuing to teach her the ropes. Angelica had become a daughter of her own sort of in the two years she lived with them before moving out.

“You seem spaced out today,” she heard and looked towards her right to see Steve LeTarte standing there, headset off of his head. Was it that noticable?

“Just nervous about both of them being out there together,” Lindsay lies as she glances down at her phone to see another message had come through.

Life is perfect. All three of your favourite people are doing well. You have the life with him with that everybody dreams about. How would you like that to slip away, Leighanne?

Lindsay slightly cringed at seeing her original name Leighanne in front of her, knowing that this person knew about her past. Who was it? Had Jeff gotten word out? But how had he got word out?

“There’s more going on, isn’t there?” Steve asked as he noticed her reaction when she read the text message. “Lindsay, you can tell me. You can trust me.” She shook her head, knowing that she didn’t need to put this on Steve’s shoulders. Steve had already done enough when the first spell of events happened.

“There’s nothing going on so stop worrying,” she told him turning away, though feeling him grabbing her hand.

“Lindsay McKenzie, tell me what is going on!” She looked straight at him, growing frustration. Why couldn’t he just mind his own business and do his job?

“It doesn’t concern you so butt out!”

“I care about you and Dale so speak up.” She stood there in silence and as Dale pulled off the track, Steve finally let go, turning away to pick up his clipboard. “I’m going to tel-”

“No, please don’t say anything.” Steve then turned to look at her, seeing the concern in her eyes that he had seen a second earlier.

“Then tell me what is going on.” She took a nervous deep breath, showing him the text message.

“Don’t tell him, okay?” Steve shook his head as he read it, reflections of years ago coming back to mind.

“You need to tell him, Lindsay. He has to know what’s going on.” She shook her head as she knew it wasn’t something to bug him about right now.

“No, he’s already got enough on his plate. I’m going to take care of this myself, Steve. I’m going to figure out how someone got my secret in their fucking hands.” Steve shook his head as he climbed down the steps, ready to head to the garage. He wasn’t ready to go through this craziness once again. “Steve!” She then grabbed Steve’s arm, stopping him in his tracks. “Please don’t say anything, please.” Steve took a deep breath, hating that he was about to say the following words.

“I won’t say anything for now because of your words. But you better keep me updated in what the hell is going on.” She shook her head yes in total agreement, knowing that she had to do whatever it took to keep it hidden for now.

“Deal.”

In the motorcoach lot, Ashton sat in the motorcoach with Rebecca Snider, shaking his head.

“It’s driving me crazy to be nice to her!” Ashton spat out. “I fucking love you and want to be with you! But no, I have to be with the crazy Earnhardt bitch because of a bitch.” Rebecca took a deep breath, rubbing Ashton’s back, seeing how frustrated he was.

“Relax,” she told him. “It’ll be over as soon as you follow her instructions. All you have to do is play nice till mid Spring and then you can let out all that frustration in what is planned. I wish we could find a way not to listen to what she has instructed you to do, but we can’t get around that.” If it was up to Ashton, he would dump Angelica that weekend and move on. However, his hands were tied. Someone had found out that he was about to dump her and gotten her claws into him, giving him strict instructions. He was to follow her plan to it’s entirety or else he’d be chopped liver.

Hearing his phone vibrate, he looked down to read the message.

You’re doing good listening to me. Just don’t let her see you with that girl. Also, seems I’m under the skin of Dale’s little fiance so your time is coming soon to do what I said.

“See what I have to deal with?” He yelled as he showed Rebecca the text, shaking his head. He knew by those words that the person was there that weekend, continuing to keep her eyes on their every move.

“That’s just nuts,” Rebecca commented as she handed Ashton back the phone. “Do you know her name?”

“Amber. That’s all she told me that night she saw me at the bar.” Rebecca sat back, thinking that through. Why did that name seem familiar when heard around the Earnhardt name?

“What do you know about her? Besides the threa-”

“Nothing. She didn’t tell me anything. Why does everything about Angelica and Dale and all this have to be so secretive?” Rebecca shook her head at those comments. It was no lie that there were a lot of secrets going around as Ashton had mentioned something about this Amber having a secret about Lindsay hidden. Though she also had one on Angelica, a couple to be exact, and that was their leverage.

The thing was – Angelica hadn’t been totally truthful herself. She hadn’t told Ashton about her mom and her past. She didn’t want the world to know about that as it was a distant memory now that she was living the dream life with her dad.

In the garage, Angelica leaned against her car, having finished practice for the day. The car was really good and she couldn’t wait till Sunday’s 500.

“Let this be a good weekend,” she said aloud as she came out of the garage. “Let us both win.”

“Talking to the racing gods?” She heard and smiled as her teammate Danica stood there next to her.

“Call me cra-”

“Don’t worry, we all do it. Daytona and Talladega is all about luck so we got to do what we got to do.” Angelica shook her head as the girls began to walk the same path together. Angelica knew Ashton back at he motorcoach, while Danica was going to meet Ricky at his hauler. “So do you have a good car? It looked good out there, by the way. Seemed like you and your dad could run better than anyone else.”

“It wasn’t bad. Going to be a crazy race Sunday so we’ll see how I do. How is your car?” Danica smiled at the question, giving Angelica a wink. By that wink, she knew that meant that Danica’s car was really good and they’d be racing each other near the end of the race on Sunday. “Hopefully we’re both there at the end.”

“We could be the first 1-2 girl finish ever.” Angelica smiled at that idea as it did sound great to her.

“That’d be awesome. So how is the married life with Ricky? He becoming a pain in the butt yet?”

“So that’s what you think of me?” Angelica heard, causing her to look up and see Ricky standing there before them. Ricky instantly pulled Danica close, giving her a kiss on the lips.

“Married life hasn’t changed a thing with us,” Danica answered Angelica’s question after the kiss, smiling as she kept her arms wrapped around Ricky.

“Danica Stenhouse does have a nice ring to it, though.”

“Certainly different,” Angelica comments shaking her head at the pair. “I’ll talk to you later. Going to go find my lover boy. Have fun tonight and no bump drafting allowed.” They all then laughed as Angelica went on her way. For a change, she was ready to get back to the motorcoach and see Ashton.

Since their talk, he had this positive attitude come over him in that he was being sweet, caring, loving and doing all the right things. The comments and frustration that were there previously had disappeared. It seemed weird, but it was a good change. She just hoped it’d stay that way.

Chapter 7: Even Crazier Saturdays
Saturday – Daytona Int’l Speedway

Steve knew what time it was – Nationwide Series qualifying. Dale would be busy with the Nationwide Series team and getting ready to qualify that Steve and Lindsay could have some alone time to talk about the text messages that she had received.

“So that was the third text message that I have received,” Lindsay informed Steve as she showed him the three messages on her phone. While she had wanted to keep it a secret, it did feel good to tell someone about what was going on.

“Have you told anyone about it?” Steve asked as he was hoping that Lindsay would do the right thing.

“I called the lawyer and he said that he’d look into things where Jeff is stationed. They told him that Jeff has only sent out letters directed towards Ingrid and the kids – which have been all screened first.” Steve shook his head as she mentioned the kids – Ella and Leo. It broke his heart for them when everything went down then. How could it ever be explained to them what had happened? Ingrid was also stuck in a furry of being forced to face it all, plus take care of the kids. How was that fair?

“I still can’t believe how Ingrid is taking this. She’s been so strong for Ella and Leo.” Lindsay shook her head in agreement as she kept her eyes focused on Chelsea, who was playing with her dolls.

“I could never imagine being put in a situation like she is. I couldn’t bar-”

“So since it’s not Jeff by those counts, what is being done?” Steve knew that he needed Lindsay to tell him what she knew. “Are they investigating it now? Are they going to tell you who is sending these messages? I hate to be fran-”

“I get it, Steve; you’re worried about Dale and I.”

“So what’s being done?”

“They’re trying to determine who it is and where they are located. Trying to track the number, though, has been a problem.” Steve let out a sigh of relief, glad that Lindsay was taking a course of actions about this despite wanting to keep it hidden from Dale.

“Well, I hope they figure it out.” He then smiled as Chelsea walked over to them with two of her barbies, clothes for them in hand.

“Do the barbies need new outfits again?” Lindsay then asked her, smiling. Seeing her daughter shake her head yes, Lindsay took the dolls and began to redress them. “Care to help Steve?”

“Sure.” Lindsay then handed him a doll and a set of clothes, leaving Steve to go through the motions of dressing the doll.

“The fans would pay to see a moment like this. Crew chief turned doll dresser.” Steve then laughed as he handed Chelsea back one of the dolls.

“I do have experience with this after all. I went through the same thing with my girls.” Lindsay then smiled, having seen Steve’s two kids multiple times.

****

Later on that day it was time for the Nationwide Series race and it was down to the final 10 laps. Regan Smith led the field, driving the second car for the JR Motorsports team, while Ashton was second with Dale third. Angelica stood on her boyfriend’s pit box, watching nervously. She knew that Ashton was probably in a bad spot as Regan and her dad would probably partner up in the final laps.

With 9 laps to go, to her surprise, Ashton was able to grab the lead with help from Dale as Regan and his partner James Buescher fell back. She silently cheered inside at the pass, loving the site of seeing them 1-2.

“Is this what you live for?” Ashton’s car owner Steve Turner asked her. “You’d dream of a finish like this. It’s just odd seeing how they’re partnered up.”

“I hear ya,” Angelica replied as she thought the same thing. She had asked herself multiple times why Dale and Regan hadn’t hook up with Ashton and James hooking up.

With 8 laps to go, Ashton and Dale still led ahead of the field while James was leader in their tandem.

“Regan wants to work with you,” T.J. radioed Dale. “Think we can make something work?”

“Tell him I’ve got a partner and he’s got a partner,” Dale replied as he knew he had a plan in store for the kid.

With 7 laps to go, Ashton and Dale did the swap in their tandem, allowing James and Regan to go by.

“Last lap pass gonna happen?” Steve asked Angelica as he watched them nervously.

“It’s going to be exciting,” she answered.

With 6 laps to go, James and Regan got up alongside Dale and Ashton for the lead.

“Regan going to pull the slide now!” T.J. yelled as Dale pulled up to the middle, shaking Ashton off for a second as Regan came up and connected with his bumper. With the momentum, Dale and Regan slipped ahead with the lead, leaving James and Ashton side-by-side behind them. The Turner-Scott teammates shook it out, getting themselves lined up. “Nicely played. Regan said he was going to work with you.”

“10-4 I had my ideas but when he pulled that no choice,” Dale replied. “Nicely spotted. Keep it up for the final five. They’re going to try again.”

“10-4 Regan says he’s tucked up your ass till the end.” Dale laughed at those words.

“Didn’t need that picture, T.”

Four laps to go and Dale called it right as James and Ashton were closing in, looking to the outside of Dale and Regan.

Three laps to go and the pair of tandems remained side-by-side with the rest of the pack chasing behind them.

“Oh my,” Angelica let out as she stood up on the pit box. She was mixed in emotions in who she wanted to win. “Don’t wreck….don’t wreck…”

Two laps to go, James and Ashton pulled ahead of Dale and Regan down the backstretch.

“You’ve got a couple car lengths on the next group,” T.J. radioed his driver, knowing they could make a run coming to the checkered. “White flag.”

Off of turn two, T.J.’s thoughts came true as Dale and Regan got themselves back alongside James and Ashton. They stayed that way going into turn three and off of turn four. With the pair of tandems side-by-side, nobody ducked out of the line and at the line, James was called the winner with Dale second, Ashton third and Regan fourth.

“That was an awesome finish!” Steve Turner cheered as Angelica stood there smiling. She was proud of both her dad and Ashton for how they had ran and it was good to see James pick up another win. However, personally, she had wanted to see one of her boys win.

“Congratulations Steve,” she said before making her way down off of the pit box.

“Thank you Angelica. Should I expect to see you on the pit box for each of Ashton’s Nationwide races this year? Oh, and good luck tomorrow.” She smiled at Steve’s question, knowing her answer already.

“Any Nationwide race that I am not running for my dad, I will be up there cheering for Ashton.” Steve smiled.

“I wouldn’t expect anything less from you sweetie.”

****

Later that night, Angelica had taken her puppy for a walk, making sure that he had his final bathroom break before bed. Though instead of taking her normal route, she headed towards the track. She knew with it being the night before the race, she would find a certain someone out by the track, thinking. She walked up pit road towards turn four, smiling as she walked around, seeing him where she thought he’d be.

“I knew you’d be here,” she commented aloud, causing him to look up. She walked over, clicking the leech off of the dog. She knew that her little bulldog wouldn’t run away as he’d play in the grass at the bottom of the turns. “Are you okay?”

“Just doing a lot of thinking,” Dale replied as he smiled in his daughter’s direction. He then looked down, taking a deep breath. It was no secret that each night before the 500, Dale came out to turn three and let his mind go through it’s mixture of thoughts. There was thoughts of winning the Daytona 500 once again, thoughts of the strategy for the next day’s race, thoughts of how to avoid trouble and thoughts back to his father’s death. In the midst of all that, there were even some thoughts back to what had happened with Jeff.

“Do you want to talk about it?” Angelica then sat beside her dad, looking at him curiously. She knew about what had happened at Daytona – hearing stories since that day. She had also heard of the racecar driver and man that her grandpa was, admiring him for many different reasons. “I can sit here and hear you out if you want. I’m a little girl anymo-”

“You will always be my little gir-”

“I know that dad, but I’m 20 years old. I can take anything that you’re probably thinking.” Dale then shook his head as he laid his eyes on her, still not believing how quickly she had grown up.

“I can’t believe you’re 20!” He then wrapped an arm around her, pulling her close, as they both watched the little bulldog roll in the grass. “You grew up way too quickly in my eyes. I still think of you as that little girl when I first met you when you were five.” She then smiled as she thought back to the memories of growing up with her mom and then spending certain days than with her dad before moving into Rick’s when she was 11. There were some regrets looking back at that time in decisions that were made – her dad’s decision to ignore the first five years of her life and her mom’s decision to totally give up on her when she was 10. However, she had put that all behind her – or at least her dad’s side of things – when she had heard his feelings on things and everything that had happened. She could never forgive her mom as her mom hadn’t been around to even say hi or anything since dropping her off at Rick’s. “I wished I could’ve been there more when you were really little.”

“Dad, you can’t go back on what happened and I’m not mad at you.” Dale looked down, shaking his head at her words. How could she let that go so easily?

“I still can’t believe that when Amber told me she was pregnant, I just tried to push it away. I still feel guilty for that. I don’t know why I did that.”

“You were young and stupid, okay? You were young, living the life of a rockstar, hanging with the babes and living the life that every young bachelor dreams of.”

“It’s still no excuse, Ang.”

“I don’t fault you for it so don’t be mad about it. You at least stepped in and took care of me when I needed you.” All he could do was smile as she said that.

“Yeah, just to have you live with Rick because I was scared of my mom, Kelley and the world.”

“Once again, I don’t blame you for that as I know there are many people that couldn’t get it like we do about why you did what you did.” She then took his hand into her’s. “Don’t think about then. Let it go. There’s nothing you can do about that. Just be glad that we have the relationship we do now and that we will do anything for each other. Also, take those things you’re upset about and change them into positives by being there for our little Cheeseball.” With the fact that Chelsea loved cheese and it was her absolute favourite snack, Angelica had gotten in the habit of calling her ‘Cheeseball’.

“You’re amazing. I hope you realize that and I hope your boyfriend realizes that. I really am proud of how mature you’ve become and the great women you’re growing into.” He then gave her a kiss on the cheek, smiling.

“But don’t worry, I will always be your little girl.” She then smiled as she stood up, walking down the track, putting the bulldog back on it’s lease as she looked up at her dad. It was late – midnight to be exact – and there was a long day ahead of them with the 500 looming.

“Go on back to the motorcoach; I’ll be fine. Get your sleep. You got a big day ahead of you tomorrow.” She blew him one final kiss before walking away as he sat there, just smiling. Everything was perfect. Things were great at home with Lindsay, Tony and Chelsea. Angelica was happy with Ashton. There was nothing to worry about. So why was there a sort of unease over him with what the future had laid ahead for them all?

Chapter 8: Daytona 500
Sunday – Daytona Int’l Speedway

“Man – are you alright?” Dale hears, snapping him out of his thoughts as he looks to his left to see Denny standing there. “Seems like you’re spaced out lately. What’s going on? I mean, if you want to talk about it.”

Dale looks down, twiddling his fingers as he thinks about to his thoughts the night before. He had sat there that night till about 2 am before heading back to the motorcoach and climbing in bed with Lindsay. Though sleep was short lived as he found himself waking up every half hour to hour, shaken by a nightmare, sometimes even screaming and crying. He tried laying with Lindsay, he tried laying with Tony – he even tried laying with them both and nothing seemed to help. He kept thinking of thoughts about what could happen that day and his past with Jeff. While that may had been five years ago, it was something that he found bugging him at times.

“He didn’t sleep well last night,” Tony’s voice filled the silence as he walked over to Dale, leaning against the car with him. Each of the drivers and most of the crew members in the garage knew about the relationship that Dale had with Lindsay and Tony. There were a mixture of opinions from good to bad, but it all didn’t matter. They all managed to keep it a secret, only sharing their thoughts amongst each other.

“Man sorry to hear bud,” Denny commented as Dale looked up.

“It’s alright – typical Daytona at times,” Dale said as he looked away, looking down at his daughter. Shaking his head, he knew one of the many thoughts that flashed through his mind the night before and it had scared him more than anything.

“Everything is going to work out fine,” Tony assured Dale as he rubbed his shoulders. “It was just a dream.” Tony could see where Dale’s eyes were fixed on and he knew what he was thinking. He just wished that he could make the thoughts disappear.

“Good luck today,” Denny wished them both before walking away, feeling odd standing there watching the pair.

“I want to believe you and you’re probably right,” Dale started as he looked towards Tony. “But it’s so hard not to think about it when you know what is possible here. Once I get out there, I’ll be fine.” Dale then looked down at his fingers, seeing they’re interwinded with Tony’s as they locked eyes. They never shared a kiss or true affectionate love on pit road, but this moment as they had it was their way of saying good luck to each other and their final words before race time.

“Good luck,” Tony said before Dale let go and allowed Tony to walk over to his car, knowing that the national anthem was soon.

“You’re going to be okay,” he heard a female voice and smiled as Lindsay wrapped her arms around him, holding him close to her. They stayed that way through the pre-race prayer and national anthem before turning to face each other afterwards. “I love you. Good luck and be safe.” He then kissing her lips.

“See you when it’s over,” he replied before letting go, turning to get his helmet off of the roof of the car.

“See you in victory lane, hopefully.” She then smiled as she walked to the pit box, climbing on top to sit beside Steve. “Ready to kick ass?”

******

The whole race had run clean – no big wrecks – and it was down to the final 20 laps as Tony led the field single-file to the line ahead of Kyle Larson, Angelica, Denny, Danica, Ricky, Kevin Harvick, Dale Jr. and Jimmie Johnson.

“What are we doing these final laps?” Dale asked on the radio to his team, knowing that they had to have a plan. “When does Jimmie want to go? I say with 10 if Danica and Ricky will come.”

15 laps to go and they still ran single-file while everybody worked on making deals for the final laps.

“Ask Larson when he wants to go,” Angelica asked on the radio, debating whether to go when Kyle went or to work with her boss.

“5 to go,” Ron Malec answered as she took it in stride.

“10-4. Still debating what to do, Ron.”

“It’s up to you princess.”

10 laps to go came and as they headed down the backstretch, Denny surprised the field as he pulled out of line, looking to go to the outside of the train. However, nobody went with him as he dropped to eighth.

“11 from fourth to eighth – nobody went with him,” Ron told Angelica as she debated in her mind what to do. She knew either way that she’d be second to someone – so who would be easier to shake in a final dash to the finish? Her boss who had multiple years of restrictor plate experience and was known for being good in the final laps or Kyle Larson who was in his third year of Cup competition?

8 laps to go and down the backstretch, it was Kevin Harvick’s turn to make his move to the high side of the train, though Dale and Jimmie stayed tucked in line with Denny behind them, causing Kevin to fall from sixth to eighth.

“Ask Danica when!” Dale demanded on the radio as he knew they had to do something soon or else they’d be out of laps.

“5,” T.J. replied and Dale knew by that the move would start in the next three laps.

“Larson is going outside of Tony that same lap,” Steve radioed having tracked their radio transmissions. “Should give you all the momentum.”

The next three laps passed with silence across the radios and the single-file line going around the 2.5 mile oval. Soon it was five laps to go and as instructed, Kyle Larson went to the outside of Stewart coming off of turn two. Angelica, having made up her mind, went to the outside with him. Danica and Ricky joined them, followed by the rest of the pack, dropping Tony from first to eighth in the length of the backstretch.

“What the fuck was that bullshit?” Tony asked on his radio.

4 laps to go and now Kyle Larson led ahead of Angelica, Danica, Ricky, Dale, Jimmie, Denny, Kevin and Tony. Angelica knew that she was going to wait till the last lap, unless Danica made a move sooner.

Going down the backstretch, Danica and Ricky ducked out of line, followed by Dale and Jimmie. Angelica made the move to go up with them, knowing that she wasn’t getting hung out to dry. In trying to follow suit, Larson made the move to go with her, yet caught the front nose of Angelica’s car, sending them both sideways. Larson slid down into the grass while Angelica slid up the track, making contact with the outside wall as the rest of the single-file train managed to squeak on through.

Bouncing off the wall, another car hit the left rear of her car, sending her down towards the grass. Once the car hit the grass, it began flipping, including a bounce off of Ryan Newman’s car, before coming to a stop upside down at the end of the backstretch.

“Angelica, are you okay?” Ron immediately came across the radio as he stood up from his seat on the pit box, glancing towards the backstretch. Ron felt a panic as he heard nothing in response on the radio, seeing both Larson and Newman running over to her car. “Angelica!?!?”

“Angelica?” Kyle asked as he laid down on the grass, looking into the car to see if she was alright. “Angelica, are you okay?”

“Is she alright man?” Ryan asked as he joined the young driver there, watching the safety crew begin to rush over.

“Angelica, answer us please.” Kyle then leaned in closer, wanting to catch a glimpse of her eyes, fear rushing through him. It was his fault. He had thrown the block. He started the wreck. “Angelica, are you okay?”

“Kyle, safety crews want in there….” Ryan then put his hands on the young driver, ready to pull him back.

“I didn’t mean for this to happen…..”

“I’m okay….” Angelica finally let out as she opened her eyes, taking deep breathes, feeling a slight panic from being unconscious just moments prior to knowing she was stuck upside down.

“I’m sorry,” Kyle apologized as he felt Ryan tugging at his firesuit.

“Product of restrictor….plate racing.” She knew she couldn’t be mad, no matter how frustrated in the current situation, as it was just a product of the racing. She then let out another deep breath, pain bearing down her side as she just wanted to get out of there as soon as possible.

Chapter 9: Angelica
Sunday – Daytona Int’l Speedway

Lindsay and Ron Malec ran into the room in the care center that they had Angelica in, concerned about her. Immediately following the wreck, Lindsay had rushed off of Dale’s pit box to go see whether she was okay, Steve assuring her that he’d send updates on how Dale and Tony did on the final restart. One of the crew guys also agreed to watch Chelsea to keep her out of Lindsay’s hair for the time being.

“Hey,” Angelica said as she laid back on the bed, holding her side. “I’m alright so don’t bother asking.” Lindsay walked over, pulling her into a hug. While Angelica may not had been her daughter by blood, they had grown a close relationship, sort of mother-daughter like, over the past couple of years.

“Don’t scare us like that again,” Lindsay told her as she pulled out her phone, texting Steve. “I was worried when I flipped to your channel and you didn’t answer Ron. Your dad was panicing on the radio as well. Steve, being the smart one, just came across immediately and said that you said you were fine so he wouldn’t worry the final couple of laps.”

“Ang?” They heard and looked towards the doorway to see Kyle Larson standing there, concern written on the young man’s face.

“I’m fine Kyle,” she told him, holding out her arms to give him a hug. He then walked over slowly, hugging her as requested.

“So what have they told you?” Lindsay asked as she awaited for Steve’s update. “Any serious injuries? Your side seems to be bugging you.”

“Ribs?” Ron asked as he looked at her side, seeing as the shirt she had wore under her firesuit was lifted to reveal them. There was some slight bruising up her side, but nothing too bad.

“Doctor says they’re probably a couple cracked ones,” she replied as she focused her eyes back on Kyle.

“I’m sorry that I tried to slide up like that and bloc-” He then started but she put her hand up, stopping him instantly.

“Kyle, like I said before, it’s a product of restrictor plate racing.”

“Tony won with Dale second!” Lindsay chanted out loud, bringing a smile to both Angelica and Ron’s faces.

“Kyle, I’m not mad at you so don’t feel bad for this,” Angelica continued before picking up the pack of ice to put it back on her side.

“So what else did the doctor say?” Lindsay asked, wondering how long Angelica would be there for. “And sorry, I’m worr-”

“It’s okay. I probably also have a concussion with the fact of this damn headache I have. They’re going to get me to go to the hospital to run a CAT scan and also confirm whether my ribs are cracked or not. They also advised keeping me over night because I was knocked out for a couple of minutes.”

“So that’s why you didn’t answer?” Ron asked as he leaned back against the wall.

“That and the fact the radio cord ripped at some point because I pressed the button when I came to,” she added as she laid back, hating the pain that she was currently in.

“Well, at least you’re okay. Have you seen Ryan yet?” Ron knew their teammate Ryan was involved in the wreck and Ryan wasn’t one for liking flipped cars at all after some of his previous experiences. It was no secret he’d probably be angry with yet another car having landed on him.

“He was the first person to see me besides the doctor. He was glad that I was okay and said he was going to go yell at someone. I assume you know who?” Kyle put his arms up in the air, having not heard a thing from Ryan.

“Yeah, NASCAR. Expect some type of fine on Tuesday to show up at Stewart-Haas.”

“Your dad is on his way over,” Lindsay commented as she sat in the chair beside her daughter. “Mike and Laura tried to get him to do post-race interviews, but he demanded that he come straight here to see you. Steve has Chelsea and warns that he’s a little upset.”

“At that thought, maybe it’s best that you hide for now Kyle,” Ron advised to Kyle Larson who was still standing there with them.

“Ron is probably right – he may be a little mad at you,” Angelica added as she gave Kyle another hug. “I’ll call you sometime this week. Remember, it’s not your fault.”

“I’m going to go tell Tony how you are and congratulate our boss,” Ron spoke up as he went to follow Kyle out of the room. “Feel better soon princess.”

“Tell him I say congratulations.” She watched them both leave, closing her eyes, shaking her head. This wasn’t how she was supposed to start the season. She wasn’t supposed to wreck and possibly mix the next two weeks. How was that fair?

“I think I hear someone,” Lindsay comments aloud as she looks up the hall to see Dale standing there, speaking with the nurse at the desk. “Should I leave or stay?” Angelica didn’t have time to answer as the next thing she knew, Dale was standing there at the door to the small examination room, tears streaming down his face.

“Daddy, I’m okay…” Angelica spoke as she opened her arms wide, motioning for her dad to come over. “Lindsay, can you leave us be please?”

“Of course,” Lindsay replies as she stands up, giving Dale a quick hug before leaving the room.

After Lindsay left the room, Dale walked over to where Angelica laid, instantly wrapping both arms around her tightly.

“Ow…” Angelica let out as she felt him pushing against her ribs, causing him to lessen his grip. “Daddy, I’m okay.” She then looked into her eyes, wiping the tears off of her dad’s cheeks. She knew of what had happened to her grandpa and some of the fears that were centered with Daytona. She could only imagine what was possibly running through her dad’s mind. She pulled him back close, letting him hold her if that what’s he wanted to do.

“When they showed the replay on the big screen and we came around the first time and you weren’t out yet, I just about lost it,” Dale says as he sits down in the chair beside her, keeping a tight grip on her hand. “I immediately paniced on the radio to Steve and T.J., wanting to know anything they knew.” He then looked down as he remembered Steve instantly radioing back that Angelica had said she was fine and the safety crews were just working on helping her out. Running those final laps had been some of the hardest laps as anybody could tell that his heart was in a different place. He just wanted to get them as soon as possible, not caring where he finished. Maybe that was why he decided against making a move on Tony in the tri-oval. “I just feared the wors-”

“Dad, I’m okay so don’t even go there, please.” He then took a deep breath, seeing her holding her side, wondering what the doctor had said. He just wanted his baby girl to be alright.

“So what they did say since you’re still here?”

“Cracked ribs probably and a minor concussion so I’m probably out for two weeks. So they’re transferring over to the hospital sometime shortly and running the necessary scans.” She knew there was more to tell him in why they were transferring her and why she would have to stay over night, but she was scared to say those words after seeing the fear in his eyes moments earlier. However, she didn’t want him to find out from some stranger. She then rubbed his hand, lightly, scared of his reaction. “Dad, there’s one thing that Steve and I both have kept from you.” She took a deep breath, knowing that she had to do this.

“What is that?” Dale was worried. What were they hiding from him now? “Somebody hur-”

“No no, nothing like that. I didn’t quite answer as quickly as Steve may have told you.” Dale felt a panic right through his body as he kept telling himself that she was sitting there before him and okay.

“What are you saying Ang?”

“I was knocked out for a couple minutes so they’re keeping me overnight for observation.” Dale closed his eyes, trying to find a way to keep himself calm. There was nothing to worry about. She was okay. She was sitting there and she was going to be okay.

“Well, at least you’re okay.” She smiled at those words, giving his hand a squeeze. “So where’s your boyfri-”

“He’s gone to get me some things to take with me overnight.”

Angelica was transported to the hospital and it was true – couple cracked ribs and a concussion. She would be out for two weeks and if she healed accordingly, she would be allowed to return to racing at Bristol come early March.

Though all that mattered to everyone was that she was alright and able to get past that wreck.

Chapter 10: The Comeback
Sunday – Bristol Motor Speedway

The two weeks following Daytona felt like they’d never end for Angelica as all she wished for was to heal up and be back in the car. So when it came time for Bristol Motor Speedway, she was through the roof with excitement, ready to hit one of her favourite tracks on the circuit. The concussion was out of the way. Her ribs were still sore, still healing, but she was cleared to race. Strict instructions to wear protective padding underneath her firesuit, she just wanted to get back out there and run hard.

“You ready for today?” She heard and smiled as her dad stood beside her on the grid before the race. She had qualified decent – qualifying 15th. Her dad had qualified slightly better, starting the race seventh.

“Of course,” she replied as she wrapped an arm around him. Since the events of five years ago, Bristol wasn’t the easiest track to go for Dale as it was a reminder of what had happened. Though once he was in the car, that went out the window. However standing on the grid before the race, Angelica could see it as she pulled him close, just wanting to comfort him. She also knew there were probably thoughts of what happened in Daytona mixed in there. “We’re both going to have a great race. I just feel good about this car.”

“Well I made sure to make it perfect seeing this was your week back,” Ron commented as he walked over to where they were standing. The past couple of weeks working with Angelica’s boyfriend Ashton had been interesting on the team. It just felt odd, though that didn’t take away from the results. He had finished 16th at Phoenix and managed a fifth at Las Vegas due to fuel strategy. With those results, they were all surprised that nobody asked Ashton to drive for them this weekend with her coming back. Tony was thinking about it, but he was out of seats with his car, Danica, Kevin and Angelica. “I want to make this the best week back ever.”

“I trust that you would do that Ron,” Dale commented as he knew how hard Ron worked from his work ethic when he was working with Jimmie at Hendrick Motorsports. “I still can’t believe that Tony got you to come work with her. That’s got to be miracle talking!”

“Let’s just say your daughter is special. You better head back to your car soon; we’re getting close to opening ceremonies.”

“I love you,” Angelica told her dad as she pulled him into a tight hug. She then kissed his cheek, wanting to comfort him as much as possible. He then kissed her cheek back in return, slowly letting go. “I’m going to be fin-”

“I know,” he cut her off. “Love you, too.”

“Good luck Daddy.” She then watched him walk to where his car sat on the grid, turning her gaze to her boyfriend Ashton, smiling.

When Dale got to his car, he looked back towards her, before focusing on Lindsay. Lindsay had escaped the text messages with no messages since that weekend in Daytona. The police had no luck in trying to track the number, coming back with no answers.

“She’s going to be okay and you’ll get through this weekend,” she told him as she pulled him close to her.

“I just worry about her,” Dale admitted as he looked back towards Angelica. “I can’t shake Daytona off of my mind.”

“Those types of wrecks don’t happen here, babes.” Left in silence, leaving Dale to think, they stayed that way till it was time for the national anthem.

After the anthem was over, Dale got his helmet and HANS on before climbing in the car, to see a note taped on the dash. He picked it up, reading it with a smile on his face.

Dad,

I love you. I promise to be safe. I know how much you’re worrying. But this is just part of racing. It’ll work out and we’ll both do well today. Relax, focus on winning and see ya tonight. Oh, and forget about Jeff. Turn that anger and pain into driving as hard as you can. Take it out on the track.

Love you and good luck,

Angelica, xoxo

He smiled as he taped back up on the dash, knowing it was staying there the whole race.

“Love you too baby girl,” he said out loud before drawing his focus to the task at hand.

******

The race turned out well for Dale as he would pick up the victory after a last lap pass on Matt Kenseth. Angelica did well as she finished eighth while Tony had found himself in the middle of a wreck early in the race.

Angelica sat in the car after the race, pulling her helmet off, setting it aside as she smiled. It was a good solid finish after missing the previous two weeks and still being a little sore.

“Should I open the roof hatch?” She heard and smiled as she recognized the voice, knowing it was her car owner. They had installed the roof hatch in the car as it was easier for her to climb out, not putting pressure on her side. She shook her head yes and Tony did as requested, opening it. “You did well out there. Very well actually for a rookie.”

“Thanks,” she replied before climbing out through the roof, sliding down off the car as she held Tony’s hand.

“Sore?” Tony then handed her an ice pack that he had brought with him, knowing that she’d probably want it. He held it as she undid her firesuit, slipping it inside on her left side. “You’ll heal up quick and be winning races soon.” She smiled as she watched him walk away knowing he was headed to victory lane to congratulate her dad. She knew that she’d follow suit soon, ready to answer the media’s questions first.

Gonna skip ahead a bit in the next chapter and get into the real idea that I had for this story. These first 10 chapters were a catch-up in emotions and everything so you know all of our wonderful characters. Anybody want to take a guess as to what is planned for Angelica, Ashton, Lindsay, Dale and Tony?