Tragic that his career was cut short before it had barely begun.
“Big racing fan, huh?” Carter says to Jett. “Well, you’re with a racing legend today. That’s gotta be pretty awesome.”
“It is.” Jett grins in Leandro’s direction.
“You like to race yourself?”
“I go karting when I can.”
“You any good?”
Jett shrugs. “I’m okay.”
Carter smiles. “I have a feeling you’re probably better than okay. You should come down sometime and try the tracks out.”
“That’d be awesome.” Jett beams.
“Cool. Well, can I get you guys anything to drink?” Carter asks.
“I’d love a black coffee,” I say on a shiver.
I’m wrapped up warm in jeans, a jumper, and a warm jacket, but the chill is still creeping in.
“Black coffee. Silva, you want anything?”
“Same as India.”
“Cool. Well, why don’t you come and give me a hand in getting the drinks, Jett? Then, I can introduce you to the lads racing today.”
Jett looks at me, checking that it’s okay to go, and I give him a reassuring smile.
I watch him leave with Carter.
“You want to sit down?” Leandro gestures to some chairs near the viewing area.
I walk over and take a seat, and Leandro sits in the seat beside me.
I’m so aware of him right now, and I really wish I weren’t.
“So, Jett seems to be enjoying himself so far,” Leandro says.
“He’s in his element here.” I smile.
I watch as he leans forward, putting his arms on the railing. He looks out at the karts warming up on the track. A sigh that sounds an awful lot like longing comes from him.
“You really miss it.” It’s not a question. I already know he does.
He turns his head to me, resting his cheek on his arm. “How can I miss something with a physical ache and be absolutely terrified of it at the same time?”
“Usually, the things we love most are the things that terrify us.”
He stares at me for a long moment before turning to look back out at the track.
“How did you get into racing?” I lean forward, putting my arms next to his on the railing.
“My dad was a world champion rally driver. Racing was always a given for me. I started in rally, but my interest in Formula One was always stronger. I wanted to go in that direction, and he fully supported me.”
“He must be proud of you.”
“He was.” He gives a sad smile. “He died a long time ago. Just after my first year in Formula One. Heart attack.”
My chest squeezes for him, for his loss. “I’m sorry.”
“It was a long time ago.” He shrugs.
I wish he wouldn’t do that. Brush things off like they don’t matter.
When I look at him, he’s already staring at me.
“What?” I ask self-consciously.
“I had a question, but I’m afraid to ask. I don’t want to cross that ethical line.”
I give him a look. “I said I was sorry for that comment. But it is strictly true. Socializing with you isn’t ethical.”
“The Health and Care Professions Council.”
“Ah, what do they know?” He chuckles.
Too much. They’d be frowning, waving my practice license in my face, if they could see me right now.
“So, that question?” I’m treading dangerous water here, but I feel like I owe him a little of myself. And part of me wants to tell him.
“Jett’s father…where is he?”
My body freezes stiff. I have to force myself to swallow down.
“He isn’t around.”
“Were you married?”
“That’s two questions.” I smile, so I don’t come off as a bitch.
“Fair enough.” He shrugs, not pushing it.
The fact that he does that makes me answer, “No, we weren’t married. I was young and naive. But out of that naïveté, I got the best thing in my life.”
“He’s a great kid.”
“He is.” I smile.
“Okay, I have one last question.”
I give him a look, which makes him laugh.
“Sure. Why not?” I lift my hands in defeat. In all honesty, I’m enjoying talking to him like this.
“The guy you’re dating. Seriously, you could do better than him.”
I frown at the conversation taking an unexpected turn, my hackles instantly rising. “Well, I could say the same for you.”
“What do you mean by that?” His tone sounds about as defensive as mine.
“Kat Whisker. I mean, really?” I have to resist the urge to roll my eyes. “You can do better than her, Leandro.”
Where did that come from? I really shouldn’t have said that.
“Is this you speaking as my therapist?” His tone is suddenly so even that I can’t get a read on it.
Am I speaking as his therapist?
I already know the answer to this, and it’s making my skin prickle with unease. No matter what I say now, I’ll be shooting myself in the foot.
I take a deep breath and put my professional head on. “I shouldn’t have said that. I spoke out of turn.”
“Why do you do that?” he growls, forcing my eyes to his.