Locking myself in a stall, I put the lid down and sit on the toilet, and I let the stupid tears run down my cheeks.
I know I’m being ridiculous. This is how it has to be.
It hurts to see him with other women, and that’s normal, of course. I just…I didn’t expect to see him with another woman so soon.
Then again, this is Carrick Ryan I’m talking about. He doesn’t stay down for long.
And this is good. Seeing him with her, how he was all over her—it’s the reminder I needed of who he is.
Not the man for me.
But still, I sit in there, hiding out in that toilet stall until I feel sure that I won’t burst out into tears if I go out there and see Carrick pawing another woman.
By the time I get back to the garage, the race has already started. I didn’t realize I’d been gone so long.
“Where the hell have you been?” Ben hisses, coming up next to me.
“I’m sorry. I was feeling a bit unwell.” I press my hand to my stomach, feigning sickness. It’s not a total lie. I was feeling sick after seeing Carrick mauling that girl.
Ben eyes my face for a moment. “You do look a bit peaky. Do you need to go back to the hotel?”
“No, I’m fine now.” I force a smile, and then I turn my attention to the screen to watch the race.
Carrick finishes fourth.
It’s a disappointing finish and surprising, seeing as though he qualified first yesterday. It’s just not like him to finish off-podium. It never happens.
And for a sickening moment, I wonder if I’m to blame. Maybe our fight before his race affected his concentration.
Thinking that, I start to hate myself even more for what I said to him.
When Carrick pulls into the garage, I’m determined to talk to him, but he climbs out of his car without a word or look to anyone. He walks straight out of there, heading upstairs to the driver’s room.
I’m just about to follow him when I see Owen going up after him.
Then, I’m pulled back into work, and I don’t see Carrick again for the rest of the day.
Later, when I arrive back to the hotel, after having to prep the car for shipping, the first thing I do before going to my room to clean up is go straight to his room. We need to sort this mess out and get our friendship back on track because I can’t lose him. He’s become too important for me to lose.
When I arrive at his room, I find his door open, and a housekeeper is inside.
“Carrick Ryan?” I say to the woman. “The man who was staying here?” I explain at her blank expression.
“He checked out, ma’am,” she tells me in broken English.
My heart sinks, and it’s in this moment that I realize that maybe Carrick and I aren’t fixable. Maybe last night was the last time I’ll ever be close to him again.
As I walk away from the room, this sickly hollow feeling sinks down on me, crushing me to pieces. And I hate myself just a little bit more.
I HAVEN’T SEEN CARRICK in close to two weeks. When he left Barcelona, he headed straight back home to the UK.
I only know this because, later that night over dinner, I finally broke down and asked Uncle John about what happened to Carrick after the race. He told me that Carrick was in a foul mood because he’d come in fourth and that he caught an early flight home.
The next day after Carrick left¸ I flew out with the rest of the team to Monte Carlo, and it’s where I’ve been ever since.
Monte Carlo is a hard place for me to be. From the moment I signed with Rybell, I haven’t been looking forward to coming here. Monte Carlo is where my life changed forever fourteen years ago.
Circuit de Monaco is the track where my father had his accident.
The place where he died.
Uncle John keeps asking if I’m okay. Before we flew here, he even said to me that I could miss this race. He said I could change my ticket and go back to the UK. It was sweet of him, but I know if I had done that, it would have raised questions, and I don’t like questions. And if I’m to have my career in Formula 1, then I can’t avoid this place forever. Best to get it over and done with.
So here I am.
It has gotten easier the longer I’ve been here, but racing day will probably be a different story.
The first time I went to the track, I came alone, and it was…painful.
Especially afterward, when I went to see the statue commemorating my father in Casino Square.
I stood there for a long time, just staring at it, wondering what my life would have been like if my father had never died.
It’s not that I haven’t had a great life because I have. My mother made the best of what we had left without him, but I’ve felt his loss for the last fourteen years, like a gaping hole in my heart.
And it only fueled to remind me why Carrick could never be the man for me.
I know my mother is worried about me being here. She’s been calling twice a day, every day, checking to make sure I’m okay.
I know it’s hard for her, me being here. It drags up bad memories.
I’ve made sure to keep myself busy. When I’m not working, I’ve been doing touristy stuff and going out with the guys at night, having fun.
Today is Thursday, and racing weekend starts tomorrow. Carrick arrived today, not that I’ve seen him. I just heard he was getting in today, and it’s evening now, so he should be here.
I don’t know where things stand between us.
I haven’t heard from him, not that I’ve tried to get in touch with him either. I did almost crack and text him to apologize a few days after he’d gone back to the UK. I was feeling emotional from being here, and I missed talking to him. I typed the whole text out, but then I chickened out before sending it, and I erased it.