Chapter 16 - 21

Chapter 16

"What you aren't going to kiss it" as the words left my mouth his ice blue eyes met mine and there was a undescribable spark. His eyes were going to be the one thing that would get my in trouble and make coherent thoughts leave my head. The one thing that was constant was the idea that I didn't want to be hurt again. He leaned down towards me. The scent of his clean hair and stubble from not shaving hit by cheek as he kissed my eye with a feather likeness that was so soft and gently. Almost as if I would break into a million pieces if he kissed harder.

This simple action made my heart race. I had to gather my world back together again.This was turning into something that would end up with me in pain from heartbreak. When he pulled back all I was focused on was his waiting lips. I let my hand lace into his hair as I stared into those eyes soon our lips where meeting again. I felt his body weight against mine as he moved and laid down in between me legs as our kiss deepened. Bells and whistles all sounded off as I felt his hand on my cheek sliding behind my neck to deepen the kiss. Our eyes looked as we broke apart.The Earnhardt smile came across his face.

"You better now?" my arms where still around his neck. My fingers playing in his hair. All I could do was nod as he kissed me quick on the lips gently and pulled himself up heading into the kitchen. My mind was mush. I have never felt what I felt in his arms. Before he walked back in I decided I need to get away from him tonight my feelings were starting to get dangerous.

"Junior I am heading up to bed." I called out as I started to stand up when I felt his hands on my hips pulling me back.

"What I don't get a hug before you go." he said biting into a Popsicle.

"Unless you give me some of that." I pointed and moved to take a bite when he lift it up in the air.

"Get your own." he turned as I grabbed his waist to bend around and get a bite causing both of us to fall back on the couch. I moved around laughing ending up on top of him. He moved back against the couch arm. I felt his arm go around my back rubbing it. Then he held down the Popsicle.

"Here" I took the Popsicle in my hand and leaned up on his chest.

"Don't pout cause you gave into my charm." I said smiling holding it out to his mouth. As he ate the last bit of it. There was some orange syrup on the corner of his mouth. I gently went to wipe it off when he went to lick it off causing us both the give a nervous laugh.

"Um Ella can I ask you something." I felt him shift under me then pull me down so my head rested on his shoulder. I knew he was nervous cause he could never play it off. It was all in his speech along with him fidgeting . When he dropped his hand instantly I knew that was sign I needed to sit up. I sat up causing him to also.

"Fire away." I sat there looking at him looking everywhere but at me. He probably was going to tell me the kiss was a mistake and he had some girl who he was madly in love with which in our conversations she hasn't came up yet.

"I was wondering if you would come with me to Kasey Kahne's apartment.He is having a little thing out by his pool complex and it is totally a friend thing not a date or anything I mean unless you want it to be a dat... never mind. Will you go with me as my best friend." he shyness was so damn cute.

"Yeah I will go long as my black eye doesn't embarss you." I laid my feet on his lap.

"Nah it adds to ya." he looked at me then began to tickle my foot sending me into a fit of laugher.


Junior's POV

I heard Ella start to walk down the stairs her flip flops flipping as she came down. I turned around from feeding Buddy. I had to catch my breath when I did. She blew me away. It had never been this hard before to hide my feeling from a girl. Somehow Ella broke the mold. She didn't know how much I had started to need her. I took the sight of her in. She had a peach shirt on with a knee length white lien skirt her hair was curly. Which she never knew but that was my favorite way.

"Wow Fathead you are looking very GQ" I could smell her body spray as she walked up and patted my shoulder then reached for her purse on the kitchen counter.

"You look pretty Ella" wow Junior that was a way to say it.

"Thanks." I had to smile noticing the bright red blush that filled her cheeks.

The ride to Kasey's apartment was silent except for Ella telling me her plans for JR Motorsports. She had finally took me up the offer and was going to move up to the Dirty Mo to work with Kelley. The position she was taking was the position I could picture my wife always having. Some way or another Ella fit that position. As we walked up to Kahne's apartment I felt her hand slide around my arm as we got into the elevator. I slide my arm around her shoulder as the doors opened and we walked into Kasey's apartment with the music already going. Somehow we got shuffled apart but I had my eye on her all the time as she mingled and talked to the others at the party. I smiled when our eyes locked and she headed over to where I was standing.

"Come on Earnhardt dance with me on the next song." she pulled my free hand. As the song started to end.

"I don't dance Ella...I vibe." her laughter filled the air around me.

"Well vibe with me...Please Junior do it for me." she gave me the face that made me melt into a puddle.

"Ella...." I groaned as she tilted her head still giving me the look.

"Junior...I need you please." I just nodded at her telling me she needed me made my heart do something I never felt it do.

"Okay." I sat my beer down and walked with her out to to wear the other people where dancing. As soon as our feet hit the area a slow song filled the air. Just my luck I thought but that also meant I was able to hold her close. As the music began she slide her arms around my neck as we got into the regular high school slow dance position. Her eyes met mine and that shock was there again.

She thinks I walk on water

She thinks I hung the moon

She tells me every morning

They just don't make men like you

She thinks I've got it together

She swears I'm as tough as nails

But I don't have the heart to tell her That she don't know me that well

"Junior this song makes me think of you" she whisper as our eyes stayed together the funny thing was this song instantly made me think of her. I pulled her closer to my body which cause her to lay her head on my shoulder.

She don't know how much I need her

She don't know I'd fall apart

Without her kiss, without her touch

Without her faithful loving arms

She don't know that it's all about her

She don't know I can't live without her

She's my world, she's my everything

And she thinks she needs me

I closed my eyes for a brief second listening to the lyrics thinking the way I felt about Ella.

Sometimes she cries on my shoulder

When she's lying next to me

But she don't know that when I hold her

That she's really holding me

Holding me

I heard Ella singing along as we dance her feet resting next to mine. I memorized her. Every night since she has been with me we ended up in the others arms one way or another never meaning to but always ending up that way. Holding each other together in more ways than one.

She don't know how much I need her

She don't know I'd fall apart

Without her kiss, without her touch

Without her faithful loving arms

She don't know that it's all about her

She don't know I can't live without her

She's my world, she's my everything

And she thinks she needs me

Yeah, now the funny thing is

She thinks she's the lucky one

"God blessed me Junior." she moved her head from my shoulder and pulled back looking at me.

"Huh" I looked in to her eyes.

"He gave me you" she just smiled and touched my cheek with her lips then laid her head back against me.

She don't know how much I need her

She don't know I'd fall apart

Without her kiss, without her touch

Without her faithful loving arms

She don't know that it's all about her

She don't know I can't live without her

She's my world, she's my everything

And she thinks she needs me

She thinks I walk on water

She thinks I hung the moon

As the final notes ended we just looked at each other. The friendship line had become so blurry all that was left there was a love that neither one of us would admit.

Chapter 17

"Ella be careful" Junior told me as we hugged one last time at the airport. He was leaving for the race in Louden and I was heading back home to get everything together ready to change my life again. It scared me cause it felt almost like I was moving just to be with Junior. Be with Junior. I liked the sound of that. We had only kissed two times but each time it rocked me to the core and made me want to be forever in his arms. I looked down at my arm and noticed the goosebumps popping up just thinking about his lips on mine again.

"Promise me you will be safe this weekend. I don't think I will be able to catch the race and I don't like not watching it when you are out there." He smiled when he heard what I had just told him. I didn't hide those words. For the first time they came from my heart.

"So Ms.Gray are you saying that you don't like when you can't watch your best friend when he is racing." he raised his eyebrow as he asked

"Exactly. Now go so I can." We hugged one more time.

"El call me when you get home so I know you are okay." he yelled before he walked to the plane. I just waved and turned back heading to my terminal. I felt to arms come around me and pull close to them. Without hesitation I rolled over and deepened myself in them. In my mind I was still in Mooresville sound asleep cuddled with Junior secretly waiting for when he would go sound asleep and wrap his body around mine. Holding me tight against him our breathing getting in rhythm which each other's. I smiled thinking about how much I loved those arms. But something was different.

"Ella baby your home." my eyes shot open and I jerked out of the arms around me as if I was on fire.

"I told you to leave what are doing here." I pulled down the tank top that had ridden up during my sleep. I was looking at the man who I wasn't ready to deal with.

"I did leave then I drove by and your were home. I want to work us out baby. I love you she didn't mean anything. " He laid his hand on my arm. He still had that touch and I wanted to believe whatt he was saying so bad.

"You cheated on me. I saw you. I saw what you were doing. Do you get that?" I just looked at him wanting to shake him until his head bobbled like a bobble head doll.

"I love you Ella. I can't change what I did."

"No you can't and I can't change not wanting to forgive you." I headed out of the bedroom with Curt right behind me. He reached out to touch my now fading black eye only leading me to jerk back.

"Baby I did I do this." He finally touched me causing me to turn into his hand. I had missed his touch don't ask me why. He had something so did Junior. But my mind and heart had those feeling twisted and torn up in my body. All I could do was nod then fall into his arms as he wrapped them around me.

"Ella I never wanted to hurt you like I did. I love you. I have loved you since I met you I just have been stupid in many ways or blind. Baby please take me back and let me love you the right way. I promise I will never hurt you again." He had tears in his eyes as he whispered to me his feelings. I saw him vulnerable and it scared me but made me start to give in.

"I don't know Curt.I don't know anything anymore." I smelled his scent as he pulled me closer and gently started kissing the top of my head. When I looked up at him our lips met.

"I want to stay. Until you know about us again." He brushed his hand on my cheek. Breaking me more and more.

"Sleep in the guest room tonight." I moved to head upstairs his voice stopping me.

"Ella I am going to love you now like you should have been." I just nodded.

My cell phone rang breaking me from my thoughts as I laid across my bed cuddled up to my pillow.


"Hey Ug you miss me" for the first time I dreaded talking to Junior.

"Yeah. I missed you"

"So you getting everything ready for the move and stuff." He always was eating when he called me.


"Ella "

"I don't know"

"What do you mean you don't know. Did the ass come back." he said in a smart ass tone.

"Yeah. Junior please just don't comment."

"What the hell Ella you are wussying out on me now cause the guy the beat the shit out of you is telling you all this stuff." his voice raising at me for the first time.

"Junior don't you dare go there." my temper started to come out something Junior never had seen or heard before.

"Hell Ella to late I am going there.You are being stupid."

"Well Junior it is my life so when I want to ask you for your opinion on it I will ask."

"Don't get bitchy with me I am not the one that beat the shit out of you. I am just the one you run to and play with like you actual......

"I play like what Junior like what.."

"Nothing never mind I have to go

"That is damn good you just go." with that I heard his end hangup. Instantly I felt like something was missing when Junior hung up we had never fought before and now I feel like I let him down. What worried me more was his last statement about someone I play with. It was more than playing around. I had feelings for him that I am finally realizing.

Chapter 18

Thirty minutes after I hung up with Junior the phone rang again. When I grabbed it I saw Fathead flashing on the screen. I knew he was right and I had to smile just thinking about his comments when I told him.

"Fathead I am so sorry." I apologized before anyone answered on the other line.

"Um.. Is this Ella Gray." the person who was asking me this question definitely wasn't Junior.

"Yes this is she can I ask who this is."

"This is J.R. Rhodes. There has been a accident involving Junior." the words not hitting me at first then they came at full blast.

"Okay who is this really cause this is not funny."

"Ma'mn I am not playing with you. The reason I am calling is because there has been a accident and I was told to call you."

"But I just talked to him not thirty minutes ago and he was fine. Wait what is wrong is he okay.. where is he."


I was almost in a sprint from the parking lot into the local hospital in Louden. When I got to the door of the Emergency Room I had no idea where to go. It seemed like it took forever to get here. All I wanted was to see Junior. I have no idea what is wrong with him if he is okay or broken bones nothing all I know is I needed to hear him and be beside him. I scrambled to get the piece of paper out that I had scribbled the room number on that J.R. gave me from where he called as I landed in Louden.

"Come on Come on" I mumbled as the elevator seemed to lag. I watched as the floors ticked up. 4,5,6,finally it hit the 7th floor. When I stepped off I noticed it was the burn unit. Something in my gut almost made me crave to find Junior.

"J.R." I called out at the man that looked familiar and the only one out in the hallway at 2am. His head was resting on the back of the wall as he stood there. He turned to answer my call.

"Where is he. What is wrong." I felt him lay his hands on my shoulders.

"He is asleep now and is going to be okay just has to heal up."

"Damn J.R. tell me what is wrong with him I am tired of playing this game." My temper was coming out again causing J.R. to give a stiff laugh then he began serious again.

"Junior was at a red light and a car came from nowhere and hit him. The guy driving the other car was drunk. Junior still had his cell phone in his hand they said when the impacted happened because of how he cut up his hands. There was some fire." I just stood there watching as he took a breath before continuing.

"Ella he has some burns but they aren't bad. But he might not be able to race this weekend." I felt like I was going to throw up as J.R. told me he was burned on his neck and chin along with his inner legs.

"Can I see him''

"Yeah.His mom is on her way along with Kelley." I hugged J.R. as I turned and started to open the hospital room door.

"Thank You for calling."

"I did it for Junior. He wanted you."

When I opened the door I had to smile at him he was sound asleep his barefoot sticking out from under the sheet. He didn't look hurt until I got closer to him and noticed the bandage on his neck and chin. I pulled the chair up beside him. I had to hold him somehow. I took his hand in mine and laced our fingers together. I wasn't going to leave his side especially after our fight and not being able to talk to him. The fear of losing him scared me more. The feeling wasn't the fear of losing my best friend it as the fear of losing a man that I might be falling in love with. I laid my head against his side listening to him breath the rhythm guiding me to sleep our hands still together.

"Ugly" my head shot up when I heard my nickname only Junior could call me.

"Damn Ella you look like shit." I was rubbing my eyes and getting the hair from my ponytail fixed before I answered him. When my eyes met his he had that Junior smirk going.

"Well that should tell you something about your importance in my life.I slept beside you all night holding your hand." He moved his hand behind my head gently rubbing my hair.

"I am glad you came. I am sor...."

"June stop I should be apologizing to you. You are just trying to protect me." He just nodded.

"So how are you feeling. You in any pain." I raised up and ran my hand in his hair. He hated when I did that. I was trying to test him see if still had his spunk.

"Ella stop petting me. Like I am damn Buddy." yeah he still had it.

"Sorry grumpy. You look tired."

"I am getting tired again." He eyes closed again. His light pale eyelashes hitting his cheeks.

"Just rest Junior. I will be here when you wake up." I kissed him on the forehead and sat back down. I smiled when he reached out his hand to me again. I woke up around 8am feeling someone running there hand through my hair. When I looked up I saw Junior just laying there looking up at the ceiling.

"About time you wake up." I just smacked him on the stomach.

"I was catching up on my beauty sleep. Since I see the effects of people who are deprived of it you being a good example."

"Hahah very funny." my stomach growled as we both laughed together.

"You getting hungry" I asked him.

"Yeah sounds like you are to."

"I think I will get something to eat after they give you a wonderful meal." As I said that the nurse walked in carrying a breakfast tray as she sat it down I saw the face Junior made looking at the jello on his plate.

"Jello for breakfast" he shook the plate that it was laying on.

"Junior shut up and it eat it. You live off that stuff at home." I open his silverware package for him and the juice carton.

"Thanks Mom" I just flicked him off as I moved to sit down again.

"Um Ella I am hot can you move the sheet." he gave me his pleading eyes that made me melt. When I moved the sheet I saw his legs finally. They where covered in bandages from his ankles to under his boxers. Junior broke me from my thoughts as he started talking again with his mouthful of jello.

"This stuff sucks. I am glad my mom is bringing back some food."

"Your mom" I asked questioningly

"Yeah she came while you where asleep. She said you where pretty."

"She did."

"Yeah she said you were pretty ugly that is"

"Hahah just remember you have to be taken care of when you get home."

"You mean you are going to be taking care of me until I am better?"

"Pretty much." He grabbed my hand and pulled me up close to his face or lips ending up dangerously close.

"That could get interesting.Cause of my upper thigh burns." His eyebrows wiggled as he ran his hand behind my neck.

"This could get interesting" I leaned down to capture his lips when the door opened.

Chapter 19

I pulled back quickly when I heard the door open. I saw Junior smile when he saw who was at the door.

"Mom" I smiled back at the petite lady who looked much like her son as Junior acknowledged her presence.

"Hey baby you feeling any better." I had to hold in my laughter as he sucked up the attention his mom was giving him. She gently kissed his forehead and ran her hands through his hair.

"I just got some pain meds so I am about to feel really good." that caused the whole room to laugh.

"Well here I snuck you in a biscuit from McDonald's and some coke." she unloaded her pockets showing him and the food and a coke can. I have never seen someone unwrap a biscuit that quick before in my life.

"Mom..this best friend..Ella...the one from...Georgia" he said in between chews causing crumbs to come out of his mouth. Brenda and I both reached to wipe them down at the same time.

"Ella is very nice to meet you. Dale Jr has said nothing but good things about you." I reached over Junior and met her hand.

"Is very nice to meet you to." Junior went to reach to open his coke when I reached for it and opened it for him and handed it to him sticking a straw in as me and his mom continued talking not missing a beat.

A few hours had passed and Junior was back sound asleep. The doctor had came in before he went off to sleep and told him he was only allowed to be in race car for one lap nothing more on Sunday. Right after that Junior just shut off. For the first time I saw him go back into himself and deal without wanting anyone to know. As I talked to his mom about everything I instantly felt comfortable with her. During my conversation I felt Junior reach out for my hand much like he had done the night before and this morning. Brenda had told me almost every embarrassing story about a baby Junior.

"I am going to go out and help them get his discharge papers ready and call Kelley since she couldn't make it up."

"I will stay with sleeping beauty." She patted me on the shoulder on the way out.

"Ella you may not know this yet but you are good for my son. All he talks about is you half the time. You and that race car. " she said laughing.

"He has became one of my best friends. I don't know what I would do without him sometimes." I just stared off looking at him sleeping never hearing the door close. I turned my chair so it was facing the door and just sat there watching him sleep. Looking at his burnt bottom lip and the light burns on his chin. He started to move around in his sleep like he was in a dream.

"That is mine and Ella's baby. I have a son." he mumbled. Then tried to roll but he face soon showed pain. He was still asleep totally oblivious to what he had just said. I had to smile he was dreaming about me. Wonder how many people had wished Dale Junior was dreaming about them even if he was under medication.

"Ma'mn they are ready for Mr.Earnhardt to discharge." the nurse told me as she opened the door. Junior still sound asleep mumbling away. I just nodded.

"Do I need to step out. While y'all get him ready." I stood stretching pulling my hand out of his.

"If you don't mine." I just headed out of the room patting Junior's hand on the way out. Causing him to begin to stir.

"Where you going."

"Just outside until they get you ready to head out."

"I am thirsty." I sniffled a laugh.

"I will have you something when you get out. Okay." he just nodded as two other nurses walked into the room.

"I will be outside with your Mom" as I closed the door I could hear him let out a line of words that would make you blush in church as they moved him. Then a huge groan came out of him. I had to walk farther away I couldn't bare to hear him in pain. It ripped my heart out. I found the only Sun Drop within a 100 mile radius for him as I was walking back I noticed that Brenda and J.R. where standing out by the door still.

"He still not ready." they both just shook there heads.

"He is to much pain so they are taking time." Brenda told me as she watched in the window trying to see her baby boy.

"How is he going to be able to race." I asked sitting down against the wall.

"Sucking it up." J.R. commented as the door swung open and a highly pissed off Junior in a wheelchair. His jaw was clenched and his blue eyes iced and frozen over. J.R. just got behind him and started pushing towards the door. The nurses handed me all his personal items. I could smell the burn fabric of his jeans as I held them in my arms. I tossed the jeans and t-shirt in the trashcan at the end of the hall. I would buy him something new. He didn't need to see them or have them. Getting Junior into the Suburban made me hurt for him. The nurses help J.R. get him in. I slide into the back beside him as his mom took the other side keeping him in the middle. As we drove Junior just laid back against the seat.

"Ella honey what are you going to do about your clothes." Brenda asked me as I stared out the window periodical looking back a Junior.

"I haven't gave it much thought. I will probably go bum some clothes off of Junior and Delana when I get to the track." Junior trying to turn his head to look at me but the motion was hampered by his neck bandage.

"Earnhardt don't even try to give me that look I know you want to." When I said that both the other passengers cracked up. He just raised his hand at me shaking it. That was the only part on his body that didn't hurt him to move.

When we pulled up to his motor coach me and his mom got out then J.R. drove to the media center where Junior had to address everyone about the plan of attack for Sunday. Martin was already there waiting on him. Brenda left to head over to the team hotel leaving me with Junior doing night shifts.

"I know you will take care of him. If you need me when he gets to mouthy just call. The numbers are on the fridge."

"Yes Ma'mn." It looked like it was about to storm as we stood out beside the motor coach.

"I am glad you came up it means alot to Dale Junior and the family." she gave me a hug then headed off.

"I wouldn't be any other place than with him right now." I mumbled to myself as I climbed back up into the motor coach. Shana and Delana stopped by to offer any clothing needs I might have. The rain began to fall and they soon left. I was just listening to the rain hitting the roof of the motor home when I heard Junior's voice as he climbed up the steps.

"You need any help."

"No" he went to move and stopped.

"Yeah." he said looking defeated. I walked down beside him. He wrapped his arm around my shoulder and leaned on me for support as he climbed one step at a time. When we got up it was straight to the bedroom for him at 2 o'clock in the afternoon.

"Junior why don't you go ahead and get a shower then go to bed." I told him as he just kinda bombed out on the bed.

"It hurts to much to move right now." he said in the pillow hiding the pain on his face. I grabbed the Advil bottle since it was no more pain killers for him until Sunday after he got out of the car.

"Here take 3" I handed him 3 and some water. He took them and went to get a shower. When he came back I saw his burns for the first time.

"I need you to bandage me up." he asked in a shy tone.

"Just relax. I promised your mom I was going to take care of you. So let me." He just nodded and sat down on the bed. Telling me where his burns where. I had listened while the doctor told everyone how to take care of them.

"Junior why don't you just got without a shirt. It is going to rub this burn." I was sitting on my knees behind him looking at the burn on his neck.

"I will if you can keep your hands off me and my body."

"I think I can manage but it is going to be hard so very hard."

"You know if I wasn't in pain I would get you for that comment."

"Yeah yeah. Come on you sexy beast" he slide his t-shirt off. I heard him wince as I put the stuff on it then wrapped it up.

"Okay now your legs." I said moving around him. He just sat there looking at me like I had four heads.

"Ella they are up kinda high you know."

"Your point" my head tilting to the side waiting on his answer.

"There isn't one." his tone getting pissy as we kept wasting time.

"Then lay down so I can get to work." I said then cracking up as Junior started laughing hard my comment hitting both of our minds that ended up in the gutter.

Chapter 20

I glanced back at the clock it was 8. Junior had been sound asleep since about 3. Dinner was finally done. The doctor said that if he ate alot of high protein foods it would help him heal up. So that is what he had. Our dinner would have made Dr.Atkins smile for the lack of carbs. I had the plate in my hand when I walked back into the bedroom finding Junior sleeping looking very uncomfortable. I sat the plate down and touched his bare shoulder even with his chin burned he was still adorable when he was sound asleep.

"Fathead wake up." I gently spoke to him not wanting to cause him to jump up and strain any of the burns.

"Huh" his sleepy voice answered his eyes still closed.

"Eat some dinner then I promise I will let you go back to sleep." I sat down on his bedside holding the plate. He moved slowly pushing up against the headboard.

"Thanks Ella."

"Not a problem that is what friends are for." I moved up next to him reaching for the remote.

"I ain't watching any chick sappy stuff. Find something worth my time." I just glanced at him and turned it to Lifetime.

"Just for that comment look a Lifetime movie." I stood up and put the remote up by the TV stand. I knew Junior wouldn't get up and change it.

"Please Ella I am in enough pain already don't make me suffer more." He did look pitiful.

"Okay just cause I am nice and you do look horrible." I tossed the remote beside him and headed into the front of the motor coach. I had just turned on the Braves game and started doing dishes when there was a knock at the coach door.

"Tell whoever it is I am dead and not answering." Junior yelled as I dried off my hands and went to the door. When I opened the door I only found someone's back to me.

"Excuse me." I asked stepping down a step. When the guy turned around he looked shocked to see someone near him then he smiled.

"Hi I am Jamie McMurray. I was just coming by to see how Junior was." I took him in as he talked. His pointy blonde tipped hair and blue eyes. He wasn't a hottie in my book but a cutie for sure.

"He is doing better he is resting right now. I can give him a message for you."

"Just tell him I came by. I didn't know he had a girlfriend when did you him start dating. I remember you I think from Michigan."

"Oh we aren't dating at all I am just a friend of his from Georgia. But you are right I was at the Michigan race." There was sure something about Mr. McMurray. I decided that I want to talk to this person a little more but for some reason we just stood there looking at each other in a awkward silence.

"Well it was nice to meet" he flashed a heart stopping smile.

"Ella.. Ella Gray." I reached out my hand to meet his.

"I hope to see you around Ella."

"Yeah same here." I watched as he walked away secretly checking him out. I heard snoring coming from the bedroom. I went back to go check on Junior finding him sleeping sitting up almost his plate on the bed beside him empty. I grabbed the plate and slide it on the beside table turning off the TV and covering him lightly with the sheet. I laid across the couch after taking a hot shower and changing into sweatpants of Junior's and a t-shirt. I quickly fell asleep my thoughts getting filled with the new stranger I had just met.

"Ella sweetie it is time to get up." when I opened my eyes Junior's mom was standing beside me.

"What time is it." I mumbled and stood stretching out my back from falling asleep on the couch.


"How did Junior do this morning. I can't believe I slept through that."

"He didn't do so hot. Pops is taking care of him though with the whole car issue. That is where he is now. He was sound asleep to when I came in." she said smiling turning around and handing me a plate of food she had made.

"Yesterday all he did was sleep. I know he needs his rest so I was glad he was out." as I was chewing there was a knock at the door. I just got up and to answer it swallowing the last bite of food I had.

"Jamie hey." when I opened the door there stood Jamie. In a pair of jeans and a sponsor polo shirt.

"Hey Ella." there was that weird silence again between us.

"Junior is not here he is probably in the hauler."

"I was kinda here to see you." he said smiling causing my own smile to come up.


"Yeah.I know you are taking care of Junior but would you like come and watch the Busch race from my pit." I was torn on what to do.

"She would love to." I turned fast around looking and Junior's mom who was smiling.

"Ella" he questioningly asked me.

"Yeah Jamie that would be cool. Thanks for asking."

"Awesome how about I come back by and get you say around noon"

"Sounds like a plan"

"See ya later"

"Later" I shut the coach door and just leaned against it. What was I going to wear more less what was I going to tell Junior. Junior's mom broke my thoughts.

"Ella stop worrying about my son. He is most likely going to sleep all day. Go have fun. Jamie is cute to."

"What am I going to tell Junior. Sorry that you are burned and I promised to take care of you but a cute driver asked me to go and sit in his pit bye."

"Don't worry about that Ella. I have my mom duty to fulfill so he has me. The hoverer."

"You sure.."

"Yes now lets figure out what you are going to wear. Cause I am sure these sweatpants aren't the best to wear."

10 till twelve I was in the coach bathroom finishing up. With the help of Shana, Delana and Ms. Brenda I had gotten a whole outfit together. I had Shana's jeans a pair of Delana's shoes along with a shirt of hers also. I heard Junior come in as I was walking out of the bathroom.

"Where are you off to." he asked plopping down on the couch opening up a water bottle.

"Umm..Jamie McMurray asked me to watch the Busch Race from his pit box." I just looked at him as he looked at me.

"Okay..I didn't know you knew McMurray."

"I don't he came by last night to see you and then again today while I was eating breakfast. Your mom said it was cool." I felt like I was at home again asking for permission to go out.

"Whatever it is not like you need my permission to go out." I watched him get up and go to the back room.

"Don't worry about him honey is just in a bad mood cause of the pain. You go have fun. When you get back Dale Junior will be his normal charming self."

"Yes Ma'mn." When I opened the door I saw Jamie walking up in his Busch suit. I had to smile at how cute he looked.

"You all ready." he asked. Opening up his arm enough for me to hold on to his bicep as we walked.

"Yeah. Can't wait." Soon we were on a golf cart being drove to the intro's. I just took in everything. Watching the hustle of everyone. When we got to the line of drivers Jamie helped me get off the cart reaching out his hand to me.


"Not a problem" It had been forever that a guy had helped me out of the car or cart in this case. There was no doubt Jamie was a gentleman.

"Would you mind standing with me on pit road." he asked before climbing the steps to walk across and wave to the fans.

"I would be honored."

I stood beside Jamie proudly as the national anthem was sang. Stealing glances at him hoping he wasn't catching me until our eyes met and we both smiled. When it was time for him to get in the car I wished him luck. He handed me his sunglasses and hat to keep during the race. By the end of the race Jamie had been spun out and fought his way back to 22. I didn't know if I was suppose to go meet him by his car or not until his PR director motioned for me to follow him. When we got to Jamie I had forgot I was wearing his sunglasses and casual slided them up on top of my head.

"You did good today. I am impressed."

"Hahah. You don't have to lie. Today sucked." we headed back to the motor coach lot. I just got silent.

"Ella come on you know it did."

"Okay it sucked but you still have Cup and half those guys don't." We stopped right at the point we had to separate to head to the coach's.

"Anyway did you have fun."

"I had a blast. Thanks for asking me."

"Well I know you are taking care of Junior and all but how about later on in the week maybe we could go out." Ah. A date with Jamie. It sounded great the only problem was I wasn't going to be in town.

"Jamie I would love to go out with you but after the race tomorrow I am heading back to Georgia."

"Can I at least get your number."

"Most definitely" as I gave him my number I couldn't help but think this was going to be the start of something that could be bad or good. As I walked away I realized I still had his sunglasses.

"Jamie your glasses"

"Keep em they look good on you." I smiled the whole way back to Junior's coach. When I opened the door. My smile faded when I saw the look on Junior's face.

Chapter 21

"How you feeling fathead" after seeing Junior's face when I walked in I knew it wasn't going to be a very nice answer.

"Like shit" I just sat down beside him on the couch as he laid across using my leg as a prop for his head.

"You eat yet." I moved the sunglasses off my head smiling when I touched thinking about Jamie's comments.

"Yeah mom made me some food changed my bandages then headed out. How was your date with McMurray." He asked moving like Frankenstein to look at me.

"It wasn't a date. But he did ask me out on a date."

"You going" I watched as he bite at his fingers nails that were no existent.

"I would but I am going back to Georgia tomorrow.

"What you aren't staying." He leaned up slowly.

"You got your mom Junior. I am just in the way up here. Plus I need to get everything done so I can move and be in NC working before my pocket dips to low with funds."

"Are you still going to be in the pit or you going to be with McFlurry." he looked at me like he was about to break if I said no. It never crossed my mind to be with Jamie tomorrow. I had promised to be with Junior and support him.

"I promised you I would be there. I would not break a promise to you. You know that." He just nodded as I stood up and went to the fridge.



"I am glad you came."

"Me to Junior. " I hugged him gently then headed back to the back.


"This time Junior come in and we are going to get you out of there" I heard Tony Jr relay to Junior over the radio. I moved from the chair that was for Junior as I sat and watched the screen. It was alot easier sitting down here the camera's didn't pick me up which was the main goal. I had met Martin earlier before the race back at the hauler as me and Ms.Brenda helped Junior get ready for the race. He was very soft spoken but driven guy. Working with him and Josh was going to be really easy. I winched up as the pulled Junior out of the car and he came almost falling over the wall to us. Jade got him and helped him sit down. Five minutes later the attention was finally back on the track and the race.

"You doing okay." I sat down beside Junior on the cement as he was zoning out.

"Yeah." yep he was going to be one answer boy. We sat there in silence for a majority of the race Junior using the top of my head as a arm rest. I began lining up our water bottles in my A.D.D. moments. Causing Hoover to laugh at me as I was beginning to spell out words. Once Martin got spun Junior abruptly spoke up.

"I am ready to go home." Hoover helped pull me up off the ground so me and him both could help Junior.

"I don't need help." Me and Hoover just backed up as he waddled to the golf cart. He was stubborn enough to make Jade park it so he had to walk to show he could. I followed back with Jade as we walked. Once we got to the motor coach. The tough guy imagine faded. After bandaging him up again and getting some good pain meds in him we were on the flight home. I was catching a connecting commercial flight from Concord to Atlanta.

"Fathead take care of yourself okay. I am going to worry about you." I touched his shoulder as we stood there talking before my flight got called his mom standing with us.

"I am good Ella. I got my pain meds until Wednesday by then I will be back to the Junior you know and love."

"You are such a terd." I hugged him as my flights first boarding call began.

"It was really nice to meet you Ms. Brenda" we shared a hug also.

"Same here Ella. Call me when you come up to look for houses we can go to lunch and you can meet Kelley."

"Yes Ma'mn" I headed off to my plane when Junior yelled to me.

"Call me when you get home and don't let that ass play with your mind. I maybe burned but I can still take him out." I just laughed as his mom hit him in the arm for yelling out.

The whole flight home and the drive back I had the three things on my mind. Jamie, Junior, and Curt. There was something about Jamie that made me want to see what could happen with us. He was a gentleman and nice along with he just had that vibe about him of happyness. One the other hand there was Junior. My feeling for him have been up in the air since the day we met. Junior was my type of guy down to the shampoo he used. But I couldn't set myself up to be hurt. I mean Junior could never want me on that level we had to good of a friendship. Yeah we kissed a couple of times but never after that was anything discussed. One thing was for sure I didn't want to be again the only one that cared in the relationship along with ruining something that was already good in the friendship. Curt that was simple it was over all that was left was to official break it off and have our lives start over again. When I got to my front door Curt was standing there waiting.

"We need to talk." I grabbed a diet coke from the kitchen and sat my bags down to head out on the back porch. He followed me out not saying anything. As I sat down I gathered up the strength I had gotten from being around guys who cared all weekend and started.

"I have thought about this over and over and I know what I want. No what I needed to do. Curt you are the first guy I ever loved. We go back years but the thing is I can't stay with you cause I know nothing will ever change with us."

"Ella baby.." he touched my shoulder the familiar comfort still being there.

"Let me finish" I sucked back in the tears that started to fall. I had to stay strong and not let him see this was harder than I told myself it would be.

"I am moving up to Mooresville, North Carolina. I have been offered a job up there to pursue the career I have always wanted working with a race team and I decided that I am going to take it."

"Let me guess who offered you the job. Junior." I knew this was going to be the hard part.

"Yeah it was Junior. But I didn't take because of him. I took it because I want to see what life is leading me to do up there. I have already sent in my resignation with the firm in Atlanta. Micheal and Keith both give me there support along with the people I have met up in North Carolina and at the track." Jamie came to my mind instantly his smile was what was burned into me.

"So I am the last to know." His blue eyes almost pleading with me as he asked.

"You would have known sooner but well you know what happened so. I have forgave you but I can't forget it and I need to move on." I turned my back to him looking over the backyard noticing anything but him.

"So what about us. Are we over."

"Curt you know like I have we have been over for along time even before the major stuff happened."

"If this is what you want then. You got it." Well that was it I was now single without anymore strings.

"It is what I want." He pulled me in his arms.

"I will always love you." he kissed my forehead. A couple minutes later I heard his truck pull out of my driveway. I changed and got showered. Totally forgetting to call Junior until around 8 when I was looking at houses in Mooresville. I dialed his number as I wrote a email to the realtor. Even over the net this house screamed my name. As soon as the phone line picked up Junior's voice was almost yelling in it.

"Ugly you had me a little skeptical for awhile about your life existence." he said in a stern but laughing tone.

"Funny look at you using those big words." I could tell instantly he was in a better mood being home.

"Sounds like you are feeling better." I finished up my email. I began checking my other ones. Several were from the firm saying that got my resignation and the whole thank you for working so long we are going to miss you spill they give.

"I am just glad to be home. So how is the ass he still around." his tone would always change when it came to talking about Curt.

"That is why I am late calling you"

"You are okay aren't you." I heard the concern as he asked.

"Yeah actually I am real good. Me and Curt are no longer." Slash came up laying his head in my lap as I talked.

"Well I can't say I am upset about your decision."

"Didn't think you would be."

We talked a little longer as I told him about the house I had found. Surprisingly it was in the same neighborhood as his mom's. Just a couple streets over. I got the 20 question Jamie McMurray quiz. As soon as we hung up my phone rang again.




"This is Jamie."

That was all it took to led our conversation all the way up to 3 in the morning. When we said goodbye Jamie asked if he could call again which I had no problem with. My life seemed to be looking up. I had a good guy in my life who acted like he wanted to progress into a relationship in Jamie. I had figured out what me and Junior were or what we had to be. Nothing was denying he was my best friend but those other feelings I had to stop cause I knew he had none of the same feelings. The next couple of weeks seemed like they would be the best in my life. Only if that was so.

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