A roll in the hay? I can’t even…
So, Owen has known all along who I am, who my dad was. And honestly, I’m feeling a little pissed off at him for having me checked out.
I mean, who does that, apart from people on TV shows?
“You actually had me checked out?”
“Yes.” He doesn’t look ashamed of the fact.
“Why?” I exclaim a little angrily.
“Because I love my son and because I’m his manager. His career, to a big extent, is in my hands. You know his profile. Who he dates matters. Especially if she matters to him. It’d be big news. I knew you mattered, so I had to know if there were any skeletons in your closet that could potentially damage him.”
I mattered to Carrick.
“And did you find anything?”
“No. But you know that already. But when I did find out that your father is William Wolfe, that presented a whole other problem for me. Not to Carrick’s career. If anything, that would have been great press for him. No, what concerned me was you. Your dad’s accident…I know you were there when it happened, Andi…and you were so young. It’s bound to have affected you, left a mark. And Carrick doing what he does for a living…I foresaw problems. I know you’ve never had a boyfriend that has lasted beyond a couple of months. You have a tough exterior, and you’re hard to get to know. And I know because of who Carrick is, if he cares about someone, actually lets that person in, then it’s all or nothing with him. I figured you sat somewhere in the middle. Emotional attachments don’t seem to be your thing, so I paid attention.”
“I really don’t want to talk about this,” I snap, turning my face away.
“Andi…I didn’t come here to upset you.”
“Then, why did you come?” Swinging my eyes back, I glare at him.
“I came because what I said that night to you in the restaurant…I was wrong.”
“Well, apparently, you were right. As you foresaw, I left him.”
“No.” He shakes his head. “I mean, I was wrong when I said that you should leave him sooner rather than later—before he got in too deep with you. I was wrong because he already was in too deep…still is. And I think you are, too.”
“Are you foreseeing things again?” I’m being a bitch, but I don’t care.
This guy has been nothing but an arsehole to me from the moment I met him, and now, I find out that he’s been invading my privacy. I’m bloody livid.
“I deserve that,” he says. “But no. I saw your face the other night when you saw Carrick outside the hotel. You’re in love with him, and that was when I knew you’d left him, not because you don’t care enough, but because you care too much, and you can’t handle it. You think you can’t be the person he needs.”
Is this guy a bloody mind reader? Or a psychologist in disguise?
“Carrick has never loved a woman in his life—until you. And the way he loves you…that’s not something you want to throw away. I’ve never seen him in a better place than when he was with you. And surely he’s safer in that place than the place he’s in now. He’s not doing well without you. You not being around…I know my son, and it’s killing him.
“It bothers me, what he does for a living, Andi. Of course it does, every time he’s out there on the track. He’s all I have, but I can’t stop him from doing what he loves, and I wouldn’t want to. Instead, I make sure that I’m there to keep him as safe as I possibly can.
“Don’t stay away from him because you’re afraid of what might happen. It’s a waste, and I know all about wasting time. Don’t make the mistakes I made in life. Don’t live a life filled with regret. Because regret does ugly, terrible things to people, and I don’t want that for you or my son.”
All I can do is stare at him, stunned.
I’m taking it there’s a lot more to Owen Ryan than I’ll probably ever know.
“Here we go.” My mum comes in with the coffees and puts the tray down on the table.
“I’m sorry, but I’m afraid I’m going to have to rush off.” Owen gets to his feet. “I didn’t realize the time.”
“Oh, no problem,” my mum replies. “I’ll see you out.”
I can’t seem to move. I’m frozen in place.
“Oh, Andi…” Stopping, he turns back. “There’s something I want to return to you.” Owen puts his hand in the inside of his suit jacket, pulling out my access pass for the Prix.
I left it behind in Carrick’s hotel room in Singapore.
“How did you get this?” I blink up at Owen. My hand curling around the pass, I take it from him.
“Carrick’s been carrying it around with him since you left. I thought it was time you had it back.”
And I’m left holding the pass, clutched to my chest, as my mum sees Owen Ryan from our home.
IT’S HALF AN HOUR BEFORE THE RACE STARTS.
Thirty minutes before Carrick climbs into his car and pulls out onto the track at the Autódromo.
I’m pacing my living room, wearing a tread in the carpet. I have my Prix pass in my hand, fingers clutching around, while I chew on my thumbnail.
I didn’t get a wink of sleep last night after seeing Owen. My mind has been reeling, bouncing back and forth on what to do.
Do I want to see Carrick? Of course I do. I want to see him more than anything in the world.