I sat in the passenger seat of my brothers car, we left early in the morning so I dozed most of the 4 hour drive to the first event of the new race season. I have been racing for five years and yet the first race of each season was always the most nerve racking for me.
"Lace, we're here." James gently woke me and I glanced out the window and saw all the trucks arriving just as we were. Most of them were familiar but there was one I did not recognise.
"New team?" I asked James and pointed to the new truck.
"Seems that way. Better get you to the garage. Are you hungry?" James said. He always looked after me at these event. Mum rarely made it since dad passed away, I think the memories were far too painful for her to be around all of his friends.
"Not really, I think I'll eat after practice" the truth was I was far too nervous to eat, the pit of my stomach was churning and I just wanted to get in the car.
We arrived at the garage and AJ opened the door for me.
"How's it going lace?" AJ asked
"Keen to get out there!" I replied.
"She's all set for practice, go get your race suite on, practice starts in twenty minutes." AJ always referred to my car as 'she'.
I nodded, AJ was James' best friend, they both completed their mechanics apprenticeship together and ever since they had both worked on my car at every race weekend.
I returned to the garage after getting changed and checked the timer on the wall. Less than five minutes until practice. I pulled on my helmet and James helped me into my car. This was my favourite place to be. My nerves were at bay now and all I could picture was flying around the track.
As the last few seconds passed I heard James in my ear. "Easy practice this morning lace, you have plenty of time to push it tomorrow, now you just need to get a feel for the adjustments in the car and tell us what's not working for you. Ok?"
"Got it." I replied. I drove out of the garage and saw my competeion leaving their garage too. I had a few friends who had moved to other races this season but I could still see Tyler's blue car and Peter in his green car. I was the only girl in this division, so I had to fight to be taken seriously, but after taking out the last 2 series titles I had certainly proved myself.
I cruised around for the first few laps, testing the car and its strengths and weaknesses. I was very happy with it. A car I didn't recognise came flying past me on the last corner and it was clear that this driver was not going easy like I had been told to.
I radioed James. "I'm going to give it a hard lap, I'm really happy with the car so far."
"Okay lace, be safe" he replied
I was right behind the car I didn't know when we crossed the start line and we both took off, I made it beside him before the first corner and we both looked at each other and it was clear we were both going to push this lap. I went fast and it felt good to be back were I belong. As we made it down the last straight and planted my foot and we crossed the finish line at the same time. Practice was now complete so we made it back to the garage.
I got out of my car and removed my helmet as the new car pulled into to garage next to me. The driver hopped out of his car and took off his helmet.
His black, curly hair fell into place and sat just above his ears. He looked at me and nodded with a smirk, and went into his garage. I felt heat rush to my face and I went into my garage.
AJ and James were discussing mechanics and I told them I would be back later.
I went to the hotel and had a shower, all I could think about was the new boy in the new car who was fast! I couldn't help but feel excited to have someone who was going to really challenge me and it also didn't hurt that he was terribly handsome.
James and I went to the track and watched some other races and had lunch together. We spent most of the rest of the day in the hotel. He was studying the times from last years races and I was doing math homework. Part of being a 17 year old racecar driver meant homework on the road. We are dinner in the hotel and watched friends re-runs.
There was a knock on the door and AJ asked James to come to the bar down the road with him. James looked at me and I nodded. He told me to get an early night and left with AJ.
After racking my brain on English homework until 11.30, I finally closed the books and crawled into bed.
I woke and my room was pitch black. I checked my phone and it was just after two am. I was too awake to sleep so I grabbed my math books and sat on the balcony to get fresh air.
"Hey there" I jumped out of my seat and turned to see the new driver on the balcony next to mine. "Sorry to scare you"
"No worries, shouldn't you be asleep" I said defensively, I don't know why I felt threatened.
"Shouldn't you?" He said, raising a eyebrow to me.
He was even better looking that I had thought. He had dark brown eyes and tan skin. "I'm Dylan" he said, reaching his arm across the gap in the balconies to shake my hand.
"Lacey" I replied, taking his hand.
"Maths ay?" He asked
"Yer, it's about as fun as it looks at two am" I said.
He smirked and climbed up the rail on his balcony. "Watch out"
I stepped to the side and he leaped across to my balcony and landed like he had done that a thousand times.
We sat and talked for a long time. He helped me with my math and we laughed about life on the road. He was 18 already and hoping to get into the higher division of racing after this season.
Just as the sun came up we said good bye, we both stood and looked at each other, for a few seconds too long but it felt warm and electric, then he lept back to his balcony and went in the door.