“I don’t think so.” I sadly shake my head. “They generally take the engines out of these classics to keep them pristine.”
“Shame. Car like this should be driven.”
“I know, right? It’s such a waste for it to just sit around, not being used. He would have hated that.”
Carrick looks back at me, questioning.
And I realize my slip up. Shit.
“I mean, I’m guessing he would have because no racing driver would want to see his car sitting around, not being used, right?” I’m fidgeting, so I fold my arms over my chest.
“Right.” He looks back to the car, staring at it. “This is your favorite type of car, too, right? The Jaguar XK120 M Roadster.”
“Yes,” I say slowly.
“Hmm,” he says.
Hmm. What does that mean?
He’s staring at the car still, and I’m starting to feel a little jittery. Worried that maybe he’s beginning to tie things together.
So, I decide it’s time to make my exit, and really, I should leave him to it. I don’t want to push this too far, ruin this even ground we’ve just found.
Stepping back, I say, “So…I’m gonna go look around. It was great bumping into you…and you know, sorting things out.” I offer a smile. “I guess I’ll see you later.”
“Andressa,” he calls me back.
My body tightens and yearns to reach for him.
As I turn, he’s already moving toward me. “Do you…” He pauses, rubbing a hand over his hair. He looks nervous, which is odd because Carrick never gets nervous. “Would you mind if I come look around with you?”
I hold my breath as my heart leaps into my throat.
I know I said I didn’t want to push things with him, but him asking to be around me right now is a whole different ball game.
“Of course not.” I press my lips into a sincere smile, ignoring the bumpity-bump in my heart at the sight of his face relaxing into that amazing smile of his.
I’M IN MY APARTMENT, finally home. We’re back for the British Grand Prix, which starts in a few weeks. We arrived in England yesterday afternoon, and I now have five days off work before I’m back at Rybell.
I plan on sleeping for four of those five days. All of the traveling and late nights spent working and partying have caught up with me.
I saw Carrick the night before we all left to come home. I was in the hotel bar on my own. Petra had already left, and Carrick was coming back in the hotel. He saw me, came over, and sat down to join me, and we had a drink together in the bar. I had to stop myself from remembering the last time we were together in a hotel bar.
It wasn’t an easy memory to erase.
But that’s what I’ve been trying to do, just like he asked. And we’re doing okay.
Do I still have feelings for him?
Do I still want to rip his clothes off his body each time I see him?
But that gets us nowhere. So I’m focusing on the fact that we’re talking, and I’m happy to have him in my life again even if there is a sense of awkwardness between us.
At times, it’s almost like we’re treading water, figuring out how to be around one another again.
And it’s like he knows I’ve been thinking about him because my phone lights up with his name.
“Hi,” I answer.
“Hey.” His Irish lilt bleeds down the line, making my belly flip. “How are you doing?”
“I’m good. You?”
“Yeah, good. Look, I was wondering if you’re free this afternoon. I’ve just…I’ve got something I want to show you.”
“Sounds ominous. But, yeah, sure, I’m free.”
“Why do you sound so surprised?” I laugh.
“I don’t know. I thought you might be busy or something.”
“The only thing I’m busy with right now is a bar of chocolate.”
“Galaxy, of course.” I smile.
He makes a moaning sound, and it practically has my toes curling.
“Do you want a moment alone with my bar of chocolate? I can put it on the phone if you want. I have FaceTime.”
He barks out a laugh. “Nah, I’m good.”
“So, what is this thing you want to show me anyway?”
“Aw, come on! You can’t leave me hanging. Just tell me.”
“You won’t be hanging long. I’ll be there to pick you up in half an hour.”
“Then, you’ll tell me when you see me.”
“No.” He laughs. “Thirty minutes, Amaro. Be ready to go.”
I glance down at the state of my unshowered-still-in-my-pajamas self. “Actually, can you make it forty? I need to get dressed.”
“Please don’t tell me you’re naked right now.”
“No!” I blush.
“Thank fuck. I’d have had to drive faster if you were.”
“Oi!” I chastise playfully, liking that we seem to be getting over the awkwardness and getting back to us.
“Forty minutes and not a second later.”
And then, he’s gone, and I’m leaping from the sofa, making a dash for the shower.
I’m dressed in skinny jeans and a T-shirt, hair down and almost dry, rubbing balm onto my lips when I hear a car horn beep.