I look down at him. “Yeah…I do.”
“Cool ’cause I’m pretty sure she likes you, too.”
I don’t chance to question him further because India reaches us.
“He didn’t want to join us. He’s eaten already,” she tells us.
“Just the three of us then.” I pull open the door to the pub, allowing India and Jett through first.
The pub isn’t busy. Just a few locals by the looks of it. We grab a table by the window in the back. A waitress comes over, handing us some menus, and she takes our drink order.
“I’m just going to the ladies’ room,” India tells us.
I have to force myself not to watch her walk away. It’s harder than you’d think.
The waitress brings over our drinks.
Lemonade for me. I take a sip and then say to Jett, “So, Jett, you enjoyed karting?”
“Loved it. I mean, I’ve really enjoyed karting when I’ve been with my friends and Uncle Kit, but I never really thought about doing it beyond fun—you know, racing seriously like those lads were today.”
“Karting is where a lot of Formula One drivers start out,” I tell him.
“Is that where you started?” he asks me.
“No, I started in rally driving before moving on to Formula One. My dad was a rally champion.” I’m surprised at how easily I can talk with Jett. I’ve not had much experience around kids. But he does seem mature for his age. “Carrick Ryan started out karting.”
“I think I did know that. He was karting champion at one point, right?”
“Yes, he was. Look, if you’re interested in getting into karting a bit more, I can help. There’s Carter’s place where you can kart, but there are more local places around you as well. Carrick will know a lot, and I know he’d be happy to help.”
I haven’t asked him yet, but I know he would.
“I forgot you were friends with Carrick Ryan. Weren’t you guys, like, rivals once upon a time?” He leans forward with interest.
“We still are, to a degree.” I laugh. I think Carrick and I will always have rivalry, but now, it’s in good humor, whereas we were complete shits to each other before. “We’re good friends now though. Carrick and his wife, Andi, were around a lot after I had my accident. They didn’t have to be—we weren’t even friends then—and it showed me the type of people they were.”
“He seems cool.”
“He is. Just don’t tell him I said so. I’d never hear the end of it.”
Jett laughs before taking a drink of his Coke through the straw. “I think I do want to get involved in karting. Do a bit, and see if I’m any good.”
“Cool. Then, I’ll help. As long as your mom is okay with it.”
“She will be,” he says confidently. “So, your accident was pretty bad, huh? I was watching on TV when it happened. You died for a while, right?”
How is it that kids just have this way of asking questions that make them hurt less?
“It was bad, and yes, I died for a short while.”
“Must be weird, dying like that, and then being brought back to life,” he muses, chewing on his straw. “When you died, did you see a white light and stuff, like people say?”
“No light.” I shake my head. “Honestly, I don’t remember anything about it. Just the crash and then nothing until I woke up in the hospital.”
There’s a short pause and then he asks, “Do you think you’ll ever race again?”
I take a drink before answering him, “I want to race again. And I’m trying to get to that point.”
“I really hope you do. I missed watching you race on TV this last season.”
“Well, hopefully, you’ll watch me next year, and this time, in the stands at Silverstone.”
“That’d be amazing.” He smiles.
“What are you boys talking about?” India asks, arriving back at the table.
“About me going karting. Leandro said he’d help me get into it, as long as it was okay with you.”
India shoots me a look. I see the motherly worry in her eyes.
“It’s safe, low speeds,” I assure her.
“You really want to get into karting?” she asks Jett.
“Yeah, I think I really do.” He smiles at her.
“I’m not saying no, but it’s an expensive sport, Jett. You need to be serious about it.”
“It’s not that expensive, and it’s not like I want you to buy me a kart. I’ll just rent one.”
Is money a problem for India? She has a good job, but London is an expensive place to live, and she is a lone parent.
She stares at him for a long moment. I can see her mind working. It makes me want to help her, take care of her.
“Okay, we’ll figure it out. But no taking up any of Leandro’s time. He’s a busy man.”
Guess that’s me being dismissed from helping.
India and her fucking rules of ethics are pissing me off. I’m getting whiplash from her today. One minute, she’s okay with things, and the next, she’s backing right off.
It’s like one step forward and two massive steps back with her.
An idea sparks to mind.
Well, I might not be able to help Jett with karting, but there is one thing I can do for him.
“ARE YOU OKAY?” I glance at Leandro.
He blows out a staggered breath through clenched teeth. “Yes…no…yes.”