Backing away from the screens where I’ve been watching my test driver take my car around the track, I tell Patrick, one of my guys, “I’ll be back in ten.”
Then, I head out of the garage, my destination India.
JETT AND I ARE HERE AT SILVERSTONE. We arrived an hour ago. As we found out on arrival, part of the VIP ticket that Leandro sent includes a speech from some retired driver I’d never heard of before, a tour around the garages, watching the practice sessions, and then dinner. We’ll come back tomorrow for qualifying sessions. Then, Sunday is race day.
And I’m glad I had the forethought to book a hotel room for Jett and me to save me from driving the three-hour round-trip for the next three days.
I can relax and enjoy some time with my boy and not worry about Leandro Silva.
Well, I’m going to worry about him, only a little bit.
The thought of seeing him again makes my stomach roil with nerves.
I’m sure he’ll be busy with prepping for qualifying tomorrow, so maybe I won’t see him at all. I ignore the little stab in my heart that I feel at that thought.
I glance at Jett as the speaker yammers on about things I have no clue about. Jett looks enthralled and happy, and that’s what counts. He was beyond excited when I told him that Leandro had sent the tickets as promised. I really need to thank him for them. I should get him a thank-you card.
Yeah, because that wouldn’t be lame at all, India.
I guess if I see him this weekend, then I’ll thank him. And if not, then I’ll send a thank-you note to his house.
And I won’t be heartbroken at not seeing him.
The speaker is rounding up, thankfully.
“So, we’ll go on a tour of the garages now,” our guide tells us.
Along with Jett, I get to my feet, and we follow everyone out of the room.
That’s when I see him leaning against the wall, farther down from us, trying to go unnoticed. But I notice him.
Even under the ball cap, I see it’s him.
He lifts his gaze, and when my eyes meet with his, I feel a jolt in the center of my chest.
Seeing him on TV or in photos online is nothing compared to seeing him in the flesh, being so close to him yet still so far.
My mind is assaulted with images of us together that one time, him moving inside me.
“Mum, Leandro is over there.” Jett tugs on my arm and starts moving in his direction.
Glancing around, thankfully, no one from our group seems to have noticed Leandro standing there, and they are moving away to go on the tour of the garages.
“Hey, Jett.” Leandro does a manly handshake with him. “How are you doing? You having fun so far?”
“Yeah, it’s great. Thank you so much for the tickets.”
“No problem.” He lifts his eyes to mine as I come to stand beside Jett. “India.”
Hearing his voice say my name…the memory assault starts again.
“Hello, Leandro.” I smile, but it feels awkward and clumsy. I’m burning up from the outside in while standing here with him.
“How are you?” he asks.
“I’m good.” I lift my shoulder. “You look to be doing great.” I smile again, this one genuine.
“Yeah, I guess.” He removes the cap, and after running his hand through his hair, he places it back on his head. Then, he pushes his hands into the pockets of his overalls. “So, I just thought I’d come see you both.” He’s looking at Jett now, not me. “And look…I wanted to ask if you both would like to have dinner with me tonight?” On the last part of his invitation, his eyes lift to mine.
My heart starts to beat double time. I part my dry lips to speak, but Jett beats me to it.
“Of course we would!” Jett says brightly.
I laugh lightly, very much loving my son’s forwardness in this moment.
A chuckle escapes Leandro. His eyes lighten, but there’s still the question in them.
He wants to hear my acceptance.
“Yes, we would love to have dinner with you. Thank you,” I say calmly even though my insides are going nuts.
“I’m staying at Whittlebury Hall,” Leandro tells me. “Astons Restaurant there is really nice. We could have dinner there, or I could take you somewhere else?”
“We’re staying at Whittlebury, too, so Astons will be perfect,” I say.
We were lucky to get a room at Whittlebury Hall that close to the Prix, but we managed to get a cancellation. Seems luck was on my side with Leandro staying there, too. A thrill passes through me at the knowledge.
“Great. So, I will reserve us a table. Say seven thirty?”
“Seven thirty is perfect.”
“Should I pick you up from your room or—”
“We’ll meet you at the restaurant.” I smile.
“Okay. So, I will see you both tonight then.” He glances at Jett and then me. “I should get back to the garage.” He thumbs over his shoulder. Then, he seems to realize something. His eyes move to look past me, and he gestures to the now empty hall behind me. “You have lost your group. Do you know where you are going from here?”
Biting my lip, I shake my head.
“No worries. I will get you both back to them.”
He smiles at me, and my insides turn to girlie goo. And I can’t help my feeling of sheer excitement at the prospect of dinner tonight.
OKAY…BE COOL. It is just dinner.
And Jett will be with us, so it is not like I can put the moves on India and fuck this up.