Jared took the gentleman’s route by slowing down to make the turn after Roman, while the latter plowed ahead. Roman would either win or kill them both. Both cars skidded around the turn, sending a cloud of dust into the air, much to the delight of the onlookers who screamed relentlessly. Forging ahead, Jared caught up to Roman and they proceeded head to head.
Come on, come on. I clasped my palms together to my chest, fingers entwined so tight that my skin felt stretched. I rotated my body to follow their progress, seeing Jared pull back patiently each time to let Roman take the turns first.
My heart pounded, and my stomach was felt tight from the nervousness.
Coming up on the last turn, Jared pulled back behind Roman, but he wasn’t slowing down. As Roman rounded the last corner, he skidded further to the edge while Jared took the inside. Both cars recovered and were neck to neck as they neared the finish line.
The crowd cleared the track in a mad rush, and watched as both engines thundered past. The cars were so close that I couldn’t figure out who’d won.
As both cars slowed to a stop, everyone rushed them in a clustered mess of pushing and yelling. No one seemed to know who’d won.
I twisted my neck around, searching for the Race Master guy. He appeared to be deliberating with a couple of other people, probably trying to come to a decision.
“So did you see who won?” K.C. asked, looking confused as we walked up to the cars.
She shook her head.
“There you are!” Ben sidled up next to me and grabbed my hand. “I guess they’re not sure who won. Awesome race, huh?”
I let out a laugh. “My nails have been chewed into oblivion.”
“Come on. Let’s go see Jared.” K.C. grabbed my wrist, and the three of us trekked up the track.
Approaching the cars, I noticed that the drivers were nose to nose between the vehicles. Their mouths were tight, and they were too close. They looked like they were about to turn the event into a fight.
As we pushed closer, I heard what they were saying.
“You were pushing into my lane!” Roman gritted through his teeth. “Or maybe you just don’t know how to handle your car.” His black hair was slicked back, and his jeans and white t-shirt made him look like a 1950’s reject.
“There are no lanes on the track,” Jared snickered. “And let’s not talk about who can’t handle their muscle.”
Roman pointed his finger near Jared’s face as he spoke. “I’ll tell you what, Princess. Come back after you’ve grown some balls and taken off your training wheels. Then you’ll be man enough to race me.”
“Man enough?” Jared pinched his eyebrows together like that was the most ridiculous thing he’d ever heard. Turning to the crowd, Jared held his hands out to his sides, palms up. “Man enough?” he asked sarcastically.
The trampy brunette from Jared’s party, Piper, walked up and plastered herself to him like a snake. She cupped his cheek with one hand and grabbed his ass with the other. Plunging her tongue into his mouth, she kissed him slow and deep, putting her entire body into it.
The f**king crowd couldn’t scream any louder.
Heat shot out of my nose, ears, and eyes before I looked away.
He’d kissed me like that only two days ago.
I peered over at K.C., whose eyebrows were raised in surprise.
“Are you okay?” I asked. Did I really care? Probably not, but at least it took my mind off the ache in my chest.
“Fan-fucking-tastic,” she snarled. “Liam just saw that. Awesome.”
I almost laughed, realizing that the only thing she was pissed about was Liam’s reaction. If Liam didn’t think that Jared was serious about K.C., then he wouldn’t feel threatened.
She didn’t give a damn about Jared. That was for sure. And that made me feel a little better about kissing him behind her back.
“Okay!” The Race Master cut through the crowd. “Out of the way, out of the way.”
His eyes swept the crowd, waiting for them to quiet down. Piper peeled herself off Jared and retreated back to her friends, wiping him off her lips as she stumbled.
“Listen up. We have some good news and bad news. The bad news is that we’re calling a tie.” Moans and expletives sounded around the crowd. Bets had been placed, and people were upset. “But, the good news is,” he continued, “we have a way to solve the stalemate.”
His smirk scared me. I let go of Ben’s hand to inch closer, now standing at the inside of the crowd. Jared and Roman were both frowning.
“A rematch?” Jared asked.
“Kind of.” The Race Master looked a little too amused. “If you boys want to settle this, then your cars will race again, but…you won’t be the drivers.”
Murmurs could be heard around the crowd, and my eyes darted to Jared to see his stunned expression.
“Excuse me?” Roman inched closer and questioned.
“We know you’re exceptional drivers. The race was close enough to prove that. Let’s see who has the better machine.”
“So who’s going to drive the cars?” Jared all but shouted, his face gone pale.
The Race Master’s face puffed out as he grinned. “Your girlfriends.”
I was sure the laughter at the Loop could be heard all the way to the Benson house. Some people cheered at the Race Master’s innovative solution, while others bitched about their bets. But everyone seemed to agree that a race by two dimwitted teenage girls in high performance machines would be hilarious.