Dangerous Rush(8)

By: S.C. Stephens


I had to force my legs to move toward the table, had to force my eyes to focus on the paper, force them to concentrate on the words written there in an all-too familiar script. My heart was thundering when I was close enough to read what it said, but even then, my stubborn eyes refused to make sense of the letters. I had to close them and inhale a deep breath.

When I reopened my eyes, I wished to God I hadn’t. In bold letters, smudged with dried teardrops, were two sentences that completely tore everything to pieces.

I’m sorry. I can’t do this.

***





CHAPTER 2





~Hayden~


Present day





Shit. Why couldn’t anything good in my life be simple, easy, strife-free? Why was I cursed with complications? Felicia. I hadn’t seen her in four years, not since she’d walked out on me, walked out on everyone. And now that things in my life were just about as great as they could be, she was back to complicate them again. I wasn’t just cursed, I was fucked. Royally, cosmically fucked. Someone up there seriously hated me.

I hadn’t even thought about Felicia in years, not until Kenzie had steamrolled into my life. When I’d first laid eyes on Kenzie, for a full half-second, I’d thought she was Felicia. I’d quickly realized she wasn’t, but those first few encounters with her had been difficult for me—confusing and disorienting. I’d wanted to get closer to her, had wanted to shove her away. Kenzie’s snippy attitude toward me back then had actually made things a little easier. I’d been able to separate the two women into two distinct and individual personalities. And they were most definitely two different people—two very different people. For one, Kenzie hadn’t bailed on me when things got difficult. She’d fought for me, she’d fought for us, and I respected her so damn much for that.

But Felicia…seeing her again yesterday had brought back some baggage I thought I’d firmly stuffed into a small compartment in the very back corner of my mind. When I’d spotted her, standing at my practice track in Benneti gear that matched mine, it was like I’d taken a bullet to the brain. Instant, blinding, painful. I’d felt like I was back at the New Jersey race, and was again smacking into a pile of motorcycles and men at 100 miles per hour. I couldn’t breathe, couldn’t see, and every organ hurt. I’d felt like that lost 19-year-old kid again, hesitant to approach a fucking piece of paper on a table.

The dam holding back my memories had cracked open, and a flood of unrelenting misery had threatened to drown me in grief. But Kenzie had been watching, and I hadn’t wanted her to see the torture inflicted upon me, so I’d shoved the emotions back into their cage, securely locked the door on them, and then ran away with my girl. And I’d keep running away with her if I had to, because Kenzie was all that mattered now. Keeping her, satisfying her, making sure she was happy.

Because if she left me too… I couldn’t survive another piece of my soul being torn away. I just couldn’t. Fuck. Why the hell had Felicia returned? Why now, after all this time, when everything was finally going great with Kenzie? The two of us had gotten over every hurdle keeping us apart, and now this shit. I was such an idiot, thinking things in my life would be easier from here on out. Nothing came easy. Not for me.

I pulled up to the gate at the Benneti Motorsports Practice Track, wondering what today had in store for me. Maybe it wouldn’t hurt as much to see Felicia, now that I knew she was here. It was the shock that had unraveled me before. That was all.

Entering my key card into the slot, I punched in the code and waited for the gate to open before squeezing my motorcycle through the gap. It felt strange to be coming here without Kenzie today, like somehow, I was doing something wrong. We’d bailed early on Keith’s “welcome” party for Felicia yesterday, and had gone for a drive up the coast. Riding along the winding roads with Kenzie had been euphoric and energizing, but it was nowhere near as amazing as it was to race against her. I missed that. A lot. But Kenzie didn’t have a team anymore, and neither one of us was street racing anymore, so the odds of Kenzie and I being able to go full-out against each other anytime soon were slim-to-none. We’d have to be content with casual drives instead. Well, almost casual. We had gone ten to twenty miles above the speed limit at times. Our racing spirit could only be curbed so much.

I’d spent the night at Kenzie’s house and left from her place this morning. I’d asked her if she wanted to come with me today, but she’d wanted to make some more phone calls. She was still trying to get on a racing team. Her father had sort of blacklisted her after his team fell apart at the end of last season. He’d given her an ultimatum—to break up with me or never race again—and she had miraculously chosen me. It still blew my mind. And made me feel really guilty. As much as I loved racing, I think Kenzie loved it even more. It was in her blood; Jordan Cox had been a champion before forming his own team. Kenzie had grown up in the world, and had wanted to be a part of it probably before she could even walk. And I was the reason it had been taken from her. I had no idea how I was going to make up for that fact, or if I even could.

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