Because Taylor is singing about how she’s sorry for that night, how she wishes she could go back, make it all right…make him love her again.
My foot finds the floor again, speeding me up faster than I was before, propelling me down the road, toward São Paulo and to Carrick.
And if I get a speeding ticket, I’m blaming my mum and Taylor Swift.
Slamming the brakes on the car, I skid to a stop in the Autódromo parking lot. I’m out of the car with my pass in hand, and I’m running my way toward the entrance.
Once I’m in, I ask the security guard which garage Rybell is in, to which he directs me.
I start running again, reaching the paddock, and I catch sight of the giant screen, seeing the race well underway. My legs start to slow, my heart beating faster, when I see Carrick’s name on the screen saying that he’s currently in pole position.
Picking up speed again, I start to run toward the garage entrance.
I’m not too far from Rybell when scary thoughts invade my brain, slowing me to an almost stop.
What if he doesn’t want to see me? I know he’s not in there right now, but I don’t want to ambush him in front of everyone.
Maybe I should just hang back here and watch the race on the screen until he’s finished.
Stop being a chicken, Andi, and get your arse in that garage now!
I force my feet to move again, and I’ve only gotten two steps further when I hear the collective gasps filled with, “Oh God,” and, “No,” from the group of people watching the race in the paddock.
And I know. I just know.
My heart skids to a stop. Don’t be Carrick. Please not him.
Spinning on the spot back to the screen, my eyes meet with the sight of a car in pieces on the track, flames coming out of the back of it.
And I’m flashed back fourteen years.
I don’t wait to see any more. I just start running. Toward Carrick.
My heart and mind are racing as fast as my legs.
Please don’t be him. Please don’t be him.
Reaching Rybell’s garage, I burst in through the door. The whole team is there, everyone watching the screens, but no one is speaking.
“Tell me it isn’t him!” I scream out the words in blind panic.
Everybody in the room spins toward me.
“Tell me it isn’t him!” I yell again.
“Andi, it’s okay.” That’s Ben. He’s moving toward me. “It’s not Carrick. He’s okay.”
I almost fall over from the relief. It’s immense. I’ve never felt anything like it before.
“It’s not him?” I’m breathless. I press my hand to my chest, trying to steady my racing heart.
“No. He’s fine. Absolutely fine.” Ben places his hands on my shoulders, steadying me.
“Thank God.” I lift my eyes to his. “Then, who?”
His eyes dim, and my stomach sinks.
“Oh God, no. How…is he?”
He slowly shakes his head. “No one knows yet. They managed to get him out of the car. The medics are with him…but it doesn’t look good.”
How can I hate and love this sport in equal measure?
I hate that it takes great men from us, but I love the man who loves it beyond all reason.
My eyes lift to see Owen walking toward us.
“They’re stopping the race,” Owen tells Ben.
I see the shock on Ben’s face, and it’s mirrored on my own.
It has to be really bad if they’re stopping the race.
“They need to clear the car from the tracks. They’re bringing a helicopter in to take Leandro to the hospital. It needs to land on the tracks as they can’t risk moving him.”
“The race…when will it restart?” I ask Owen.
He looks at me briefly and then back to Ben. “It’s not. They’re stopping it for now out of respect. It’s Leandro’s home country. It wouldn’t be right to continue…not until they know if he’s going to survive.”
My stomach drops, feeling hollow. Stopping a race happens rarely.
I only know of a few, and one was on the day my father died.
Oh God. Poor Leandro. And his family.
I know exactly what they will be going through because I’ve been through the same. My heart starts to ache for them.
But I also feel sick with guilt. Because even through the devastation I feel for Leandro and his family, I’m filled with relief that it isn’t Carrick being airlifted out of here.
“Carrick will be in soon, so get the crew ready,” Owen tells Ben.
“On it.” Ben moves away across the garage, looking somber.
When something like this happens…even if it isn’t one of your own, you feel it.
“So, you came.”
I turn my eyes to Owen. “You didn’t think I would?”
“Hoped, for Carrick’s sake. Believe it or not, I don’t know everything, Andi.”
He gives me a half smile before walking back over to the desk where my Uncle John is sitting. He’s speaking into his mouthpiece, probably to Carrick, but he looks over at me and smiles softly. A hint of sadness is in his eyes, and I know he must be thinking about my dad right now.
When I hear the roar of Carrick’s engine as he pulls his car into the pit, my legs start to tremble, my heart beating in double-time. I’m not really sure how I’m still standing right now.