My smile fades a little. “I’m okay. It was a long time ago, and it’s not like I haven’t been back to the tracks since it happened.”
Each time Uncle John was in Brazil for the Grand Prix, he got me tickets to go and watch. Granted, it was a little different, being a spectator in the stands than being a part of it, but I’m sure I’ll be fine.
“I know. I just wanted to make sure that you’re okay before we go in.”
“I’m okay.” I give his arm a reassuring pat.
Uncle John pulls down the private road, taking us to Rybell.
“Here we are.” He pulls into the parking lot outside the building. It’s a big white purpose-made building. Rybell itself is owned by a few major shareholders and headed by CEO Pierce Vose. He was a driver himself back in the day, not for Rybell though. Pierce and my dad drove on the same team in the early days of their racing careers.
Uncle John parks his car, and I follow him inside the building, walking through as he holds the door open for me.
“Morning, Liz.” Uncle John lifts a hand in greeting to the forty-something blonde-haired lady behind the reception desk.
I see the way her eyes light up when she sees him. I think someone has a thing for Uncle John. Understandable. He’s a good-looking guy and in great shape for a man approaching fifty.
“Liz, this is Andi Amaro, our new mechanic.”
“Oh.” Her brow lifts to her hairline. Then, she stands from her seat, reaching over the desk to greet me. “Well, hello, Andi. It’s nice to meet you.” She tilts her head to the side, hands going on her hips, as she assesses me with her eyes. “So…you’re our new mechanic?”
“I am.” I give a tight smile.
“Well, you’re definitely not what I was expecting.”
I see her give Uncle John a look, and he frowns.
“Come on. Let me show you around,” Uncle John says, trying to usher me away by the elbow.
“Andi, can I just get you to sign in before you go through?” Liz says to me.
“Of course.” Picking up the pen from the desk, I scribble my name down on the sign-in sheet.
“Bye, John,” she says in a saccharine voice.
He lifts a hand as he walks toward the door.
“Nice to meet you,” I say to Liz.
I follow through the door that Uncle John is holding open. “What was that about?” I ask him as soon as the door’s closed.
He gives me a confused look. “What was what about?”
“The you’re-definitely-not-what-I was-expecting comment.”
“Nothing.” He looks away, shifty.
“Uncle John.” I put my hand on his arm, stopping him.
“Fine,” he huffs out. “I might have failed to mention to people that you’re a…well, that you’re a girl.”
“I’m not a girl. I’m a woman. And why would you do that?”
“Because I knew Pierce wouldn’t give you the job if he knew you were a woman.”
“Why not?” Jesus, I know Formula 1 can be a little on the sexiest side, but not hiring someone because of their gender would be unethical and a little on the illegal side.
Uncle John blows out a breath. “Because of Carrick. God knows, I love that boy, but…he has an eye for the women.”
“I’m aware of that, as is any other person who reads the news. But just because I’m female doesn’t mean I’m going to shag him.”
“I know that, but Pierce doesn’t. And because of a little incident that happened a few weeks ago, and is still burning up the tabloids here, Pierce will want to keep all forms of possible temptation away from Carrick.”
“What kind of incident?”
“Well, you know how your job suddenly became open?”
“Carrick shagged the last mechanic? No, hang on. Wasn’t he a guy? Does Carrick swing both ways?”
“No, thank God. Otherwise, he’d be a worse bloody nightmare to control than he already is. No, Rich—the guy who had your job—had been with us for three years. When our front-of-house girl left to have her baby, Rich’s girlfriend, Charlotte, got the job.”
I can see where this is going.
“Rich caught Carrick and Charlotte here one night, having—” Uncle John stops short of the word.
“Sex. You can say it. I’m not ten, Uncle John.” I laugh.
His cheeks redden as he chuckles with the discomfort that only a person who still sees you as a kid can.
“So, yeah, Carrick was at it with Charlotte in the director’s suite, Rich caught them, and it was a bloody nightmare. They got into a fight. Thankfully, Owen—Carrick’s dad—and I were still here even though it was late at night. Rich quit, and he dumped Charlotte. She didn’t seem too cut up about it since she thought she was going to get more from Carrick.”
“But she didn’t?”
He lets out a rumbling laugh. “Carrick doesn’t give more. She was lucky to get more than one time with him.”
“So, they were having an affair?”
“Not an affair in the real sense of the word. I think Carrick slept with her a few times, and she thought there was more going on than there actually was. Anyway, Charlotte didn’t take being tossed aside too well, and she sold her story to the tabloids. Safe to say, Pierce hit the fucking roof at the bad press right before the season is about to start. Also, Charlotte is suing Rybell for losing her job. Total bloody nightmare. And I knew Pierce and Owen would be uncomfortable at the thought of having a female mechanic, especially one as pretty as you, working so closely with Carrick.”