Disclaimer: I do not own Speed Racer, and I do not incur any profits from writing this piece. I do own the OCs appearing throughout this story.
Author's Note: This is the sequel to Our Last Goodbye, and Ruby's Sports Bar and Grille Halloween Contest (or however I named that story . . . I don't remember right off the top of my head). I recommend reading those first, though it really isn't absolutely necessary. It'll just make reading this much easier to understand. ^_^ I've chosen to add this now instead of waiting. That way, the flow of the overall story arc isn't completely shattered.
Thanks for reading and enjoy!
"Good morning there, gorgeous. It's time to wake up and get the day started."
At the sound of that deliciously seductive-sounding purr from his companion, Speed opened his eyes and blinked. Sunlight filtered through the blinds into his room and onto his bed. While it was not enough to truly wake him, it was more than enough to let him know morning had come, and he needed to at least attempt to crawl out of bed. Unable to help himself, he yawned and closed his eyes again. His partner laughed a little, the sound lyrical and melodious.
"It's too early," he moaned in protest. "I don't want to get up yet."
Long, slender fingers touched his arm and trailed to his wrist back to his shoulder. A kiss to his neck and a giggle followed the touch, and Speed opened one eye to gaze at his beautiful and alluring companion. In doing so, he knew that if either Ryan or Torie discovered who he had with him in his bed, he would probably meet a most unfortunate fate, and he resisted the urge to sigh.
The woman in his bed possessed dark eyes, a hint of her Japanese heritage, and long, raven locks cascaded over her bare shoulders. Her forehead reached his chin, when they were standing face to face, and her body reminded Speed of a Greek goddess. Like Lauren, the woman had curves so smooth that he felt he could drive on them with ease and at the rate of speed he desired, her breasts were rounded and firm, and she left him feeling amazing. She was also Ryan's baby sister, Danai, and she was in Philadelphia for a two-week visit. Speed knew she was Ryan's sister because he had asked her if she knew his boss once she told him her full name. He had not meant to take her to bed with him the night before yet there they were, naked and sated from the night's activities. He knew he would have to deal with his boss once the truth was leaked out, and it was not an encounter Speed was anticipating. At least with Lauren, they had an understanding about their relationship, and she would not be quite so upset with him as Ryan would undoubtedly be.
"Who said anything about getting up right away?" Danai asked. "There are . . . other things we can do to pass the time, things I'm sure we can find to be both pleasurable and fulfilling. Or would you rather continue to fret about my brother and what his reaction to us is going to be when he finds out where I'm at?"
"Is it that obvious?" he inquired.
"A little bit, yes," she replied. Her hand continued to caress his arm. "I mean, it's only natural for you to worry about it since you know him and you work for him. But it's my life, and Ryan knows it. He can't stop me from doing what I think is fun and exciting or seeing the people that I want to see."
"I guess that's true," Speed conceded. Her words did nothing to ease his worries, though, or at least not right away. There were times when Speed had seen Ryan's eyes shine like the coldest of ice, and he remembered thinking during those times he did not want to be on the receiving end of Ryan's anger. He could hold his own in a fight, sure, but he had his doubts about fighting his own boss.
Danai leaned over him and kissed him gently on the lips at that moment. The covers slid away from her body, revealing her breasts, as she placed her hands on his shoulders and pushed him back into a laying position. Speed complied with her unspoken commands, his hands gliding along her trim waist. Already, most of his worries were starting to melt away like snow under a warm, spring sun.
"There is no use in worrying over Ryan's reaction to us and what we've done," Danai murmured. "What's done is done, Greg. We can't change it so please stop worrying. I have no regrets about being here with you, and I won't regret what we've done, either."
"That sounds good to me," Speed said slowly, smiling at her. Danai returned the gesture then resumed kissing him. Her legs slid over his waist as she straddled him, and he lost himself within the feel of her flesh and in the heat of the moment where all that mattered was what they were creating together.
A part of Speed still remained worried, though the concern was not so much about Ryan's reaction to him being with Danai as it was about any likely consequences to his actions. This small and rational, yet small and unnoticed, voice of his kept pointing out he was not taking any precautions, that he had not taken any precautions with either Lauren or Danai when it came to sexual activities, and there would be a price for him to pay.
* * *
Janine trembled as another bout of nausea threatened to overwhelm her and leave her retching into the toilet yet again. She did not think it would come, given she had nothing left in her stomach to empty out, but she did not dare to move until she was certain she could stand without doubling over again. Her . . . condition proved to be unique that way.
When the sensations passed and she felt confident enough to move, Janine rose to her feet and poured herself a small glass of water to rinse her mouth out. Her hand covered her slightly swollen stomach after she was done, and she closed her eyes as she thought about how her life was quickly changing.
Janine wanted to curse the day the racing commission told Speed he needed to "retire" for one year. She truly did. In her mind, if they had not forced her friend off the track for the time allotted, she would not be standing in her bathroom, expecting a baby.
It was not just any man's baby, either. Oh, no, it was not. The night Pops told her he was going to have her join his racing team so the Go Team could continue racing, Janine had been elated. It was a dream come true for her, and she wanted to celebrate. The only sour point in the whole affair would be what she thought was Speed's suspension from the whole ordeal, but the young racer would be happy for her and even congratulate her. He taught her well so she had no doubts in her mind about her success and his happiness about the deal.
Since she felt assured of her friend's decision and of her standing with the Go Team, Janine left her apartment that night. At least, she left for a short while. Her celebration would be a private affair, just her and some Chinese take-out and a triple chocolate cake with strawberry crème filling and chocolate frosting. Oh, how she loved those!
It was on her way back to her home that she had met him, the one who ultimately impregnated her. He wanted to know why she was out. He knew she was one of Speed's friends and his only pupil, and he was more than a little dismayed to hear what the racing commission had decided. He was happy for her, however, and he assured her Speed would be, too, should the racing commission live up to its promise of suspending the young man. She had invited him to her home. Janine shivered as she thought of Racer X, of the physical prowess he possessed, and how simply thinking of him made her go weak in the knees. That night . . . that night they ate together and talked and laughed as if they were old friends. Fortunately for her, her roommates were out of town that week so there was no one there to interrupt them just as their physical attraction to each other kicked in and their lips met in a searing kiss.
That night, as the two kissed, the mask (and their clothes) came off, and Janine Trotter knew she was in love for Racer X so strongly resembled Speed. Her heart continued to ache in thinking of the Masked Racer and how he did not know of the child growing within her. She wanted to tell him, she wanted him to know how happy she was to be carrying his child, and she wanted to tell him how she had no regrets about their one night together. Though her racing career was now on hold for a year or so, Janine knew she had no reason to curse the racing commission nor did she want blame them for the gift she had been given. She loved this baby, no matter the reasons for its conception.
Sparky knew about the baby, thought not who the father was. Janine had told him once her doctor confirmed what the home pregnancy test told her. She and Sparky had tried to form a romantic relationship before she discovered her pregnancy, but it was something not meant to be for them. She loved Racer X, and she had a feeling Sparky harboured deep emotions of love for Lilly Marker. It would be wrong of her to keep the mechanic away from the one person who could truly make him happy for the rest of his life.
"Janine? Are you all right?"
At the sound of Calcia's voice, her and Lilly's roommate, Janine flushed the toilet and quickly found a washcloth to wipe her face. It was sweaty from the exertion, yet Janine felt better than she had a few scant minutes ago.
"I'm fine," she replied. "It's nothing worse than usual."
"You sure?" Calcia sounded dubious.
"I'm sure," Janine said, glancing at her friend. She offered the other woman a wan smile. "It should be over soon, the morning sickness."
"It should have been over during the first trimester, from what I understand about all of this," Calcia retorted. "You're in your second trimester."
"Each pregnancy is different," Janine murmured. She rubbed her hands over her belly. "At least, that's what the doctor told me. I just have to take it one day at a time. That's all."
"Hmmm . . . I guess you're right," Calcia said. She then shook her head. "I just wish I knew who was responsible for this. I'd nail his balls to the wall for you."
"Don't worry about it," Janine said with a laugh. "I'm not worried. I'm happy. Happier than what I could have ever imagined. This is the best thing to ever happen to me."
"He still should know he's about to be a father." Calcia paused. "You sure it isn't Sparky's baby?"
"I'm sure," Janine said. "I'm very sure. Like I said, don't worry. I know who he is, and I'll let him know the next time I see him."
"Good. I'm glad to hear that." Calcia glanced at her watch. "I've got to go. I've got a few things to take care of at the museum then I should be ready to go. I'd ask if you're up to traveling, but I already know the answer. I'll be back as soon as I can. Just be ready to leave when I get here, okay?"
"I will," Janine promised. She gazed at herself in the mirror.
'I just hope Racer X will be there.'
* * *
Rex checked the address given to him for a second time before gazing at the tall building in front of him. He wanted to be sure he was where he needed to be.
As of late, there were many things bothering Rex Racer. First and foremost in his mind were his younger brother and Greg's actions. Over a month had passed since the racing commission relented to the demands of fellow drivers and rescinded its decision about the young Racer competing. Speed declined, deciding he wanted to see where his new life was going to take him, and Rex could not blame his brother. Since that day Trixie and Sparky informed Speed of the news, Rex continued to watch over his brother whenever he could afford to take the time.
Until Halloween, his younger brother continued to play things safe. Many of his co-workers were his friends, and they often gathered outside the workplace to either grab a bite to eat or watch a movie. He did nothing to jeopardize his career or his relationship with Trixie (which Rex understood was on hold for the time being).
The night of Halloween, everything changed. Speed met a young college student by the name of Lauren Heathers, and the two . . . well, Rex did not like to think about what happened between his brother and Lauren that night. He knew they were sleeping together, that they had been for the last two weeks, but he did not want imagine precisely what they were doing when the door closed. It was his brother, and there were some things Rex believed should never enter a brother's mind. A younger brother participating in sexual activities was one such thing.
It was not that Rex did not like Lauren. That was far from the truth, really. From what he uncovered, she was a psychology major at the University of Pennsylvania, she volunteered at a local retirement home Wednesday evenings, and she had no criminal background to speak of, not to mention she had the body of a super model. She was an overall good person, someone Rex could feel comfortable with when it came to his younger brother. He just did not want Speed to forget about his relationship with Trixie when the time to move back to Farmington Hills arrived.
Then there was the girl Speed met the night before, and Rex knew this girl could mean trouble for his brother if only because of who her older brother happened to be. Ryan O'Connell tended to be fiercely protective of his only sister. More than one guy tried to take her home with him whenever she visited Philadelphia, and each man found himself face to face with the blue-eyed man before he could make things happen with the girl. Of course, Rex never saw the beginnings of each encounter, but they usually ended the same. The man would be laying on the ground, doubled over from where Ryan (or even Torie every so often) punched him in the gut. If anything, he wanted to protect his brother from Ryan's temper (which would flare bright and hot and long) and from Torie as well, once they arrived to retrieve Danai.
Rex sighed as he shoved the paper into his pocket. He really did not need to look at it, given the numerous times he drove by the Hoopskirt Factory, but Rex found it helped, if only for it to reaffirm his brother had not moved. A part of him felt he should not be interfering in Speed's life as he was trying to do, there was another concern on his mind as well as his brother's well-being, but Rex had to lay his worries about his brother to rest before he could focus on his personal issues. Memories of his night with Janine Trotter entered his mind for a brief moment. Then Rex shook his head.
'I'll worry about that later. Here goes nothing,' he thought as he rang the buzzer.
It took a minute or so for Speed to answer the intercom call, but he did, much to Rex's relief. His brother sounded annoyed to hear it was him (more precisely, Speed was annoyed to hear that Racer X wanted to see him and not his brother Rex), but the younger man allowed him entry. Several minutes later, Rex stood in the foyer of Speed's loft, staring around in wonder. It was the first time he had actually been inside the place his brother was calling home. From the kitchen, Rex heard the sounds of someone – Danai O'Connell – fixing breakfast. Speed greeted him somewhat cordially, or as cordially as someone could when all he was wearing was a pair of pajama pants and looking as if he had just crawled out of bed.
"Racer X," Speed said, nodding his head once.
"What brings you by?" his brother asked. Rex merely shrugged in what he hoped was a nonchalant manner.
"Just thought I'd see how you were doing," he replied, gazing around the loft. It was spacious, probably had at least two bedrooms. Rex understood why his brother liked the place, and it did not surprise him to see pictures of the Racer family adorning the walls.
"I'm doing very well," Speed answered. "I can't complain, anyway."
"That's good," Rex said, finally allowing himself to smile. Speed sounded happy (and obviously very sated – his younger brother had a post-coital glow about him) and he looked happy as well. "I'm glad to hear that." He hesitated for a second. "Do you have any plans for today?"
"No, not really," his brother said. "Not unless Danai wants to do something."
"Can't," the girl called out. "If I don't tell my brother I'm here, he won't be very happy with me."
'That's an understatement,' Rex thought, but he wisely held his tongue. The last thing he wanted was to start an argument with his brother. He also refrained from stating Ryan would not be happy with Speed, either. At least, he would wait until he and his brother were alone to discuss things further.
"Then I guess I'm free," Speed said. "Why? What'd you have in mind?"
"Well . . ."
Rex started to say more, but the buzzer rang out again. When the visitors announced who they were, Speed paled visibly, and Rex stood straight.
It seemed as if Ryan knew where his sister was, after all.
* * *
Ryan felt a light touch to his shoulder as he and Torie stood at the entrance to the Hoopskirt Factory, but he did not look at the one touching him. He recognized her touch, and he felt comforted and relaxed by it most of the time. Ryan also knew why she was trying to comfort him, and he wondered how the hell he got so lucky to end up with Torie. She was beautiful in every way, she understood him like no other, and she knew precisely what to do for him and what to say when he was in a bad mood. At that moment, however, he simply did not feel up to releasing his anger just yet.
"You promised you wouldn't do any damage," Torie said. "You don't know that they've done anything."
"I know. I remember."
"There are worse places for her to be right now."
"Then I'd really have to hurt someone, wouldn't I?" he said. To that, Torie laughed and leaned against him, kissing him on his shoulder.
"She's a big girl, love. She can, despite what you want to believe, take care of herself. Besides, the ones who would try to take her home with them know better than to even attempt anything with her or to ask."
"You're telling me something I already know."
"I know you know," Torie murmured. "And I know why you're upset, too. I don't blame you for feeling that way, and I think you have every right to be angry. Just remember, she had her reasons for not telling you she was here or where she went after she got here."
Ryan turned to face Torie, his arms around her waist and her body pressing next to his in a warm and loving hug. The scent of her soap and her lotion – both were the same, Bath and Body Works' Moonlight Path – invaded his senses, calming him, and he wanted to bury his face in her neck.
"I'll talk to her, okay?" Torie murmured. "I know she won't like it if I do, but I think I can get through to her about this."
"All right," he conceded. "You can talk to her then. At least I know you'll remain calm. I can't say the same about me."
Torie lifted her head so their eyes met. The kindness and warmth and love he saw there overwhelmed Ryan, and he could not help but wonder how he had gotten lucky to find her. Once, she was only a dream yet she was real and in his arms.
"I think we're due, aren't we?" she asked.
"If you mean for getting away from all of this, we're overdue," Ryan replied. "But we can't leave the restaurant with just anyone. Remember what happened the last time?"
"Yeah, I remember," Torie said. She then sighed. "We can't even leave it for a weekend, and we didn't even go there the last time." Her expression became contemplative. "We could ask Greg to act as an assisting manager . . ."
"We'll see," Ryan replied. "Right now, we need to talk to my sister and find out if she's going to stay with us or at a hotel while she's here."
"Or with Greg?"
Ryan closed his eyes. He did not like the thought of his baby sister staying with anyone other than him while she was in Philadelphia, but he knew he did not have a choice. Slowly, he nodded.
"Or with Greg," he confirmed. "If she wants to, that is."
"Naturally," Torie murmured. She stood on her toes and brushed her lips against his, sending a wave of sweet fire coursing through Ryan's blood. Ryan returned the favour, flicking his tongue out to get a taste of her mouth. For breakfast, she had eaten a small cup of strawberry-kiwi yogurt, and Ryan was rather fond of kissing her after she ate such things. They added a unique flavour to her kisses, things he already could not get enough of from her. Reluctantly, he pulled away from her.
"We'll ask Greg about him minding Ruby's," he said. "We need to go there, and soon."
"Good. I think he'll do just fine."
'I hope that he does,' Ryan told himself. 'Because if he doesn't take care of Ruby's, it won't be me he has to worry about should something happen. It'll be you, Torie. You're more of a force of nature than what I could ever dream of becoming.'