Welcome back to Austen Promises!
Here is the rest of Chapter 5. It’s a little over 1,000 words and brings us to the end of that chapter. We’ll read a bit about the hauler parade that happens before every race, and see a bit of Jane and Bingley.
For those who missed the first post, you can find it here.
The second post is here.
Post #3 is here.
Post 4 is here.
Post #5 is here.
Post #6 is here.
Post #7 is here.
Post #8 is here.
Post #9 is here.
Post #10 is here.
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The following weekend’s race was at a short track in Virginia. Will and Liz flew up to the track on Thursday morning. Liz settled them into their RV, which had been driven up the night before, washed, and set up by their driver. Will hopped into his truck, which had been hauled to Virginia behind the RV, and headed to the local town to make sure DRI’s haulers had made it to the staging area and had a wash in preparation for the hauler parade. Locating the hauler driver, a new hire named Jack Dawson, Will made sure the man understood what was going on.
“How’s it going, Jack?” Will asked as he strolled up to the driver, who was polishing the wheels of the tractor.
Jack stood, moving his rag to his left hand and extending his right to his boss. “Good. The other drivers have kind of helped me along in some areas, but driving this big rig is much the same as any other.” He glanced back at the shiny trailer. “A lot cleaner, though.”
Will laughed. “Yeah, we do like shiny things around here. I wanted to go over this evening’s activities with you, for my own piece of mind.”
“Sure, boss.” Jack leaned his hip against the corner of the trailer and settled in.
“Since I’m the reigning champion, you’ll line up behind the cops and the pace cars and lead the parade. Did Paul fill you in on where to be and when?”
“He said to use the shopping plaza at the city limits and to be there by 6:00.”
Will nodded. “Perfect. When you get finished here, head up there. I’m sure the others will go out about the same time you do. Once the parade starts, turn the running lights on and be prepared to blast the air horn off and on. Look for fans and signs with my colors and number on them, especially if it’s kids. The idea is to build up excitement for the race and give fans a chance to cheer for us.
“Everyone else will follow you. It should take about an hour from the time you start moving until you reach the speedway. Any questions?”
Jack thought for a moment, but shook his head. “Nah, it seems pretty straightforward. I assume we’ll be going slow?”
“Generally, yes, especially through town. They shut traffic off, at least going south; you may see traffic heading the other direction. Most of the spectators will be on your side of the road, so you’ll be able to see them easily. All the rules of the road apply, of course, but you’re only going to be able to go so fast with the four-wheelers ahead of you.”
Jack nodded. “True.” He straightened up. “Once I reach the speedway, I follow the pace cars to the garage?”
“Yes. I’ll be there waiting. We get the first garage bay, but this track is small and tight, and you need to park just so,” Will used his hands to demonstrate the path Jack should take. “The back end of the trailer should be facing the garage, basically. You’ll have that end spot, and everyone else will fill in. The place will be packed with all those trucks in there.”
“Got it. Thanks for going it over with me. See you at the track.” Jack smiled and stuck his hand out for Will to shake.
Will slapped Jack on the shoulder and told him to enjoy the parade, then went to speak to DRI’s other drivers before jumping in his pickup and heading behind the track to the RV.
When he arrived, Will noticed another vehicle parked in front of his trailer and recognized it as Bingley’s. He parked and then got out, bounding up the few steps into the interior of the motor home. Just as he had suspected, Bingley and Jane were sitting on the couch, talking to Liz.
“Darcy!” Bingley jumped up. “It’s good to see you.” He shook Will’s hand. “It feels like forever since we were together like this, though I know it has only been a week.”
“That’s because you’ve been so busy, I suspect.” Will slapped his friend on the back before greeting Jane. “How are the wedding plans going?”
Jane stood and gave Will a hug, kissing his cheek. “They’re going.” She laughed. “Mom has been more of a challenge than usual.”
Liz piped up. “That’s because her most beautiful daughter is about to be married and everything has to be perfect.” She jumped up to hug her husband and accept a kiss. When Will wrapped his arms around her and held her tight, refusing to let go, Liz snuggled into his embrace.
Jane sighed. “I know, but I wish that was not the case. What I would not give to be her least favorite right now.”
Liz laughed. “That is one of the most unforgiving things I have ever heard you say. Since we began seeing Will and Charles, you have been full of negativity.”
The men joined in the laughter as Jane blushed.
“I can’t deny it,” Jane admitted. “I don’t know why it’s so, but I freely admit I have been a Negative Nelly for weeks.” She settled in beside Bingley, allowing him to wrap his arm around her shoulders and pull her in close. “I just want the wedding over with.”
“You can always do what Will and I did and elope. It doesn’t have to be to Vegas. You could go to Gatlinburg or any number of other places.”
“I’ve tried to talk her into that,” Bingley said, “but she doesn’t want to upset your mother any more than she has to.”
“I just hate confrontation and chaos,” Jane defended herself, “and that’s what would ensue if I didn’t do everything exactly as Mom wants.”
“You, my dear sister, are a people pleaser. You’re never going to be able to live your best life until you give that up.”
“I know,” Jane’s demeanor was downcast. “I try, truly I do.”
Will couldn’t stay quiet any longer. “When it means enough to you, you’ll disappoint your mother without a qualm. Someday, it will happen.”
“Yeah.” Jane turned her head into Bingley’s shoulder.
Everyone was quiet for a minute as they thought about Will’s words. Soon, though, the need for food got them all moving and talking again, and the four of them got down to the business of cooking a meal.
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