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.