“Nice,” I mutter.
But he wasn’t that way with me. If anything, he was sweet.
“Do you think he likes you?”
I shoot her a look.
Even if he did, it doesn’t change anything.
“Nah, not like that. I mean, sure he wanted to shag me, but beyond that, we’re just friends. He was probably just being nice because I work for him.”
“He wasn’t nice to Amy or Charlotte.”
“Yeah, but they didn’t work on his team. I keep his car running. Maybe he thought I might cut his brakes if he were a bastard to me.” I grin, but I don’t really feel it inside. Honestly, I don’t know what I feel. Just talking to Petra about this has me all rattled and confused.
Petra chuckles. “I doubt that’s why. I don’t know. He is different with you. I’ve seen the way he looks at you. He might really like you, Andi.”
“No.” I vehemently shake my head. “Carrick’s not into me in that way. He just wanted to shag me.”
She stares at me for a minute with a light in her eyes, and then it dims. “Yeah, you’re probably right. Just me and my romantic notions about taming bad boys. I’m getting carried away. I do love a good love story. But you’re right. Carrick’s not the relationship kind.”
I know it’s true. I all but forced her thoughts in that direction. So, why does hearing her say it bother me so much?
“So, you don’t think he’ll be pissed that I snuck out then?”
“Nah, he’ll be fine. Guys don’t get upset by that sort of stuff. It’s us women who freak out if we wake up and the guy isn’t there. We’re more emotional about sex than they are—well, maybe barring you.”
“Hey!” I playfully push her, making her laugh. “What’s that supposed to mean?”
“I just mean, you’re the one who snuck out on Carrick. All the women he’s slept with generally hang in there until the very end, clinging on to the hope that he might offer them a little more.”
“Yeah, well, I’m not like those women. I know who Carrick is and what last night was about. Anyway, I don’t get involved with drivers.” I get up from the bed, and retrieve my phone from my clutch. “I’m gonna hit the shower and then head into the track.”
“Cool. Well, I’m going back to sleep while you have a shower. Wake me up when you’re done, so I can jump in. Gotta go in and prep the food to feed the rich and obnoxious.” She gets up from my bed and climbs back in hers.
I get my necklace from my vanity bag, and take it with me into the bathroom. I shut the door and turn the light on.
I set the shower to hot. Pulling the toilet seat down, I sit on it and stare down at the necklace in my hand.
I might know what last night was, and I might have been the one who left Carrick’s room, but I’m not feeling as easy about it as I just made out to Petra.
It’s affected me. In fact, I’ve never felt so affected by anything…or by someone in my whole life.
Closing my eyes, all I can see is him. I can still smell him on my skin, still feel his touch.
I just wish…
What? What do I want?
I almost laugh out loud at myself.
I’ve been wishing for too many things since Carrick came into my life. That he wasn’t a driver. That I could have him.
This needs to stop.
Taking a deep breath, I steel myself and swipe the screen on my phone, bringing it to life.
Using Google, I type William Wolfe accident into the search engine.
Images of my father’s crash flood my screen.
I feel a pain stab so sharp through my heart that it makes me gasp. But I need to look at these pictures. I need a reminder as to why I can’t have Carrick. He lives a dangerous life, and I can’t go through losing someone I love again.
I can’t risk it.
I need to put a stop to these feelings I have growing inside of me for Carrick.
I can’t fall for him. Because nothing good could ever come of it.
Even still, I fasten the necklace back around my neck and climb in the shower.
After I’ve showered and dressed, leaving Petra as she’s getting ready, I duck out of the hotel, fearing bumping into Carrick. So, I skip breakfast there, and on my way into the track, I opt to grab a toasted bagel from a deli near the hotel.
I’m just not ready to face him yet. It’s going to be awkward, and I don’t know how to handle it, so for now…I’m not handling. I’m avoiding.
And quite successfully so far. I’ve been hiding out in the garage all morning. Carrick doesn’t usually come down until right before race time, so I’m safe. I don’t even dare to go to the restroom in case I see him out there.
I’m being stupid. I know I can’t avoid him forever, but I just need this time to get my head straight before I face him.
I’m under his car, doing a few last checks, when I hear his voice.
My whole body freezes. And the belly of his car disappears from my view as images from last night flood my vision, making my body crackle to life.
I can hear him and Uncle John talking about the problem the car was having during yesterday’s practice. It was oversteering. That was the first thing I fixed when I got in this morning.
“It’s all sorted.” Uncle John’s voice draws closer.
That means Carrick’s coming over, too. Shit.
“Andi fixed it. She’s been here, working on it, since early this morning,” Uncle John says.