Why would this be here?
Did Jett maybe find it and begin reading it?
I go to my wardrobe and pull out the box it was in. Laying it on the bed, I open it. Aside from the book being out, everything else is still there, as I left it.
I stare at the book.
Could this have been…
No. I would have known if Paul were here in London. His tag would have alerted the police to him leaving Manchester. Russell would have called me.
It can’t be him.
It must have been Jett or maybe Kit. Maybe Kit was looking for something and just left it there by mistake.
But, Kit doesn’t know I kept Paul’s book.
I pick up my wine and take a fortifying sip, then, put it back down.
Using my phone, I dial Kit’s number.
“Hey,” he greets me.
“Hey. How’s karting?”
“Good. Jett’s kicking ass out there at the moment. Did you get our note?”
“We won’t be much longer, and then we’ll be heading home. What do you want on your pizza?”
“The usual, chicken and ham…Kit, were you in my room earlier?”
“It’s nothing. There was just a book on my bed, and I’m fairly certain I didn’t leave it there.”
“Maybe it was Jett?”
“Indy…are you okay?”
“Yeah, I’m fine. Just a long day, is all.”
“Okay, well, we’ll be home soon.”
I hang up with Kit and stare at the book still sitting there, mocking me.
Reaching over, I pick it up. My hand is trembling again.
I look down at it, tracing my finger over the cover. Then, I drop it back in the box and put the lid on. Getting to my feet, I put the box back in my wardrobe, and close the door on it, and my past.
“I’M CONSIDERING RETIRING NEXT YEAR. Making this my last season.”
“I’m sorry, what?” Carrick shakes his head as he sits forward in his seat. “I’m not sure I heard you correctly. Did you just say you’re considering retiring?”
“I am more than considering. And please keep your voice down. Ears.” I gesture at the people around us.
We’re in the hotel bar. Carrick is bored because Andi has gone for a night out with Petra, so I’m his date for the night. I would really rather not be here. A couple of women are at the bar, and one of them has been eye-fucking me since I arrived ten minutes ago. Brunette with big tits. The type of woman I would have fucked without a second thought—before India.
Now, I have no interest in other women. I only see India.
“You’re the first person I am talking to about this, so keep it to yourself—meaning tell no one, including Andi— because nothing is definite yet.”
“You haven’t talked to India about this?”
“No.” I shake my head.
“Well, while I’m honored I’m the first you’re telling, can I ask, why the fuck are you considering it?”
“Because…” I shrug.
“Oh, well, that explains it.” He throws a hand up, letting it fall back to his lap. “You just got your career back, and now, you’re considering throwing it away.”
“I’m not throwing it away.” I frown at him. “I am thirty-one years old. This is the last year on my contract. Sure, it’s up for renewal, but I am not sure I want that. I have been behind the wheel of a car since I can remember. I nearly lost my life for the fucking love of it. But things are different now. I’m different. I thought coming back would be everything, but it’s not. Of course, I still love racing. Just not in the same way. And now I have found something I love more.”
“But India’s not asking you to quit, is she?” He raises a brow in question.
“No, she’s not. She would never do that. But come on, Carrick, you know what this life is like. We’re on the road nine months out of the year. I will hardly see her. I hardly see her as it is. And it’s not like it is with you and Andi. She travels with you. India can’t do that.”
“So, hire India to work for you. You’re clearly having another mental break, and you could do with a staged intervention from a professional.”
I give him the middle finger. “Look, even if I did make up some imaginary job and somehow got India to give her career up to come and work for me—which I would never do because I’m not that much of a selfish bastard—she has Jett. He has school. She needs to be in London, and I need to be there with her.”
Carrick slumps back in his chair and takes a sip of his beer. “You’re really serious then?”
“Yes, I’m really serious.” I start to pick at the label on my bottle.
“Just…don’t make any rash decisions. Talk to India first, see what she thinks.”
“I’ll discuss it with her when I get back home.”
“Good. God, it’ll be weird without you around. It was strange last year when you weren’t on the track, bugging the fuck out of me, getting in my way.”
“Love you, too, Ryan.” I smirk at him.
“Yeah, well, don’t expect me to give you a pity win for this championship, so you can go out on a high.”
“Ha! Like you need to. I’m kicking your ass, and you know it.”