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Fuel Season 2: Episode 8 – Celerity Rush

Series: Stories of the Fuel Speedway

After becoming first in the line of succession, Jim Kieck tries to win Brenda's affection again...

Power Boost: Similar to nitros oxide or KERS, power boost is a button that can be used by drivers to gain rapid acceleration. It can only be used by drivers not in the lead position and must be used strategically as it runs out.

27th of October –Season 2

He didn't know what had come over him but he couldn't take his eyes off of her.

Jim Kieck was currently standing in the middle of a crowd of people dancing at a party on the beach. Naturally, there were many a beautiful woman there but none that Jim was interested in right now save for one: Brenda Koek. It had been tough to get her to the party but it was worth it. If only this was love and not infatuation.

 

EARLIER TONIGHT AT THE FUEL SPEEDWAY

"Come on, Brenda it will be fun. I promise."

Brenda looked at Jim, more confidently than he ever had before. "Don't even bother with that crooked smile thing you do. I'm immune to your charms now."

Jim was amused by this but also disappointed. He'd made a point to wait until Doris had left the paddock to talk to Brenda alone but it seemed all for naught. Of course, Jim didn't give up that easily. "Why don't you wanna come? Don't you like beach parties or something?"

Brenda shifted the subject. "Why are you so insistent on me coming?"

"We both won last night. You even more so and I just thought, now that you're a Relay Baroness, you might want to celebrate."

"Then why do I have this nasty feeling that your version of celebrating isn't exactly Pee-Gee thirteen?"

Jim shook his head. "No, Brenda, it's not like that. I know what it means when a woman says she's not interested. But I didn't think that you not wanting to date me meant we couldn't even be friends."

"Oh, so you're just inviting me as a friend, huh?" Brenda continued when Jim nodded. "Then tell me, what other friends are you inviting?"

Oh crap. While this wouldn't have been an issue, to simply name a few people, all the people he considered 'friends' were all female. Jim casually looked around the room. "Jay Vee Zee will be there." When Brenda rolled her eyes, Jim quickly added. "And Touch. Styles will be there."

"Hmm. Interesting that you haven't named a single woman. Almost sounds to me that the only woman you're interested in being there is me. Hmm, I wonder why."

"Don't be ridiculous. Stevie will be there too. I mean, the party is happening right behind the diner her brother owns."

Brenda smirked at him and his effort. "I tell you what. I'll come under two conditions. The first is that I can bring my sister along, you know, to protect me from your advances."

"Which there will be none of, scout's honour."

"And the second is, if you win a bet on a race."

"Let me guess: you want me to win my race against Mandla tonight." Jim had been challenged by Mandla who was upset that he'd replaced him as the new Number One Claimant following the events of last night.

Brenda shook her head. "Nope. We're not betting on any race that features either of us. Instead, we're bet on a neutral contest. Say, the feature race between King Kloof and Thawn Oberhauser."

Jim liked the idea especially since it had a special stipulation: power boost was banned.

 

AT THE BEACH PARTY

"You know you have to get over her, right?" Jim turned to find Stevie standing next to him, pointing at Brenda who was dancing with her sister.

"No. What I have to do is get her alone. Then I can talk to her."

"And tell her what, exactly?" Stevie had a point. "Tell her how beautiful she is? Tell her how good you two are together? Jim, I don't think you've thought this through."

"And don't think a girl who just twenty knows what she's talking about."

Stevie ignored him. "She's a Catholic girl. She's just not into the kind of relationship you're into. She's looking for something deeper."

"I can be deep."

"Please. I bet you'll be making out with one of these other girls by the end of the night."

Stevie then disappeared into the crowd leaving Jim with those words to think about. Admittedly, even he didn't believe his own words about being deep. It was true, it just wasn't his thing. This wasn't love, this was lust. And surely Brenda deserved better than to have a guy like him corrupting her. By the time Doris finally left Brenda alone, Jim had changed his mind. Instead of going to her, he disappeared into the crowd.

 

EARLIER AT THE FUEL SPEEDWAY

Jim was excited as he sped on, leading the race against 'The Steamroller', Mandla Xulu. But it wasn't the fact that he was travelling at over 200km/h that was giving him a rush. It was the idea of the party later in the night. He'd already invited Stevie and JVZ. Unfortunately, when he invited Styles, he insisted on bringing his carpool buddy, Mandla. That was when Jim made another bet: if Mandla beat him tonight, then he could come. As he navigated the bends, he could hear the songs of the crowd.

"Shosholoza, shosholoza. Kulezontaba, stimela siqhamuka eSouth Africa."

Damn they were loud, thought Jim. Up until now, Jim had not given much thought to the ongoing Amandla's Rebellion. But now that he was the new Number One Claimant, it dawned on him that he could now easily be considered the enemy by Mandla's supporters. Indeed, Mandla seemed to feed off of them as he managed to find a gap and overtook Jim. Now no longer in the lead, Jim looked for an opportunity to boost past his opponent.

The new power boost function was an interesting conundrum because while all the racers were eager to use at every opportunity, it was difficult to find said opportunities, at least on the Fuel Speedway. The pay-per-view street circuits were a different story. With long stretches of straight section, there were more than enough opportunities to use a good portion of the juice as King Kloof famously did at Arbour Games. So as Jim searched for the chance to hit the button, he failed to find it and Mandla took the race.

While this was not the race that Jim cared about winning, it was still a substantial blow and certainly not the right way to start his road to possibly becoming Formula-X King. Jim watched as the fandom sung Mandla into the Winner's Circle. Jim wondered if the King would have the same luck later on tonight. The fandom had certainly warmed up to him as of late, if by quietly acknowledging his recent success could be considered warm. He'd have to wait and see if King Kloof could win him the chance to have Brenda at his party.

 

AT THE BEACH PARTY

Jim had never been called a bad kisser, but this was not the best kiss in the world and Jim knew why.

"Well at least now I know you really didn't bring me here to hit on me," said Brenda watching Jim with another woman. "Were you ever into me?"

The woman immediately realized that whatever was going on was heavy and she was too tipsy to be involved and excused herself. "I'm just gonna go."

Jim watched her leave before turning to Brenda who still wanted an answer. "Why are you so upset? I thought you weren't interested in dating me."

Brenda shook her head like Jim didn't know a thing about women. "No Jim, I wasn't interested in dating you. But I was interested in being your friend. I was interested in seeing if you had the potential to grow up and be the man I thought you could be."

Her troubling use of the word "was" bothered Jim. But this wasn't the time to give her mixed signals. "Well, I'm sorry you felt that way, Brenda. But the thing is, I don't think I can be the man who wants me to be. So I figured–"

"You'd hook up with the first hotty you saw?"

"Again, your tone is confusing but I was going to say, I figured I'd cut my losses."

Clearly this was not what Brenda wanted to hear. However this time she wasn't upset, but rather, disappointed. "Well you're right about one thing: you definitely did lose." She then walked off.

While Jim felt bad about upsetting her, he couldn't help but feel oddly proud with how Brenda handled that. Instead of turning into a mess and crying like a teenage girl, she understood that she was a grown woman and didn't need a man to dictate her state of mind. Even though he was in the middle of a lively crowd, Jim felt lonely and melancholy. Somehow, this night that was supposed to be a celebration with the girl he liked had turned into one of the most miserable nights of his life.

 

EARLIER AT THE FUEL SPEEDWAY: THE FEATURE RACE

As Jim watched the big screen in the paddock with eagerness, he felt Doris staring daggers through him. Brenda had told her about the bet and judging from the look on her face, she was not happy about it. She wanted him out of her sister's life. But tonight, that wouldn't be up to either of them. It would be up to King Kloof and Thawn Oberhauser. Jim had put his money on the King based on his performance last night at Hallow's Eve where he defeated Mandla without the use of power boost. Brenda had bet on Thawn due to his success in last week's feature race where he defeated Mandla with power boost banned. It was an even bet.

The race kicked off with Thawn taking control in the early going. King Kloof followed closely behind him, using a slipstream to bypass the dirty air that would have otherwise slowed him down. Jim watched closely, studying the King as he measured Thawn before overtaking him just before the clubhouse bend in Lap 3. While Jim had used the offseason to improve himself in preparation for this season, it occurred to him that King Kloof might have done the same thing.

The F-X King put in a dominant performance as he held onto the lead right into the final third of the race when Thawn managed a beautiful pass around the homestretch bend in Lap 11. Jim noticed Doris subtly jump in her excitement, but noticed that Brenda hadn't. In fact, Brenda seemed indifferent to who was leading. While Jim recognized the irony, he found himself eagerly rooting for his P.P.V. opponent to find a gap, and with no power boost, he was going to have to use pure old fashioned skill. Fortunately, the King had plenty of it as he managed to regain his lead in Lap 14 and hold it for the victory.

As Jim listened to the fandom murmur, still not ready to congratulate the King on his performance, he thought about what this victory meant. It meant that Brenda was coming to the party.

"Okay," she said. "I guess we'll see you there."

This was music to Jim's ears. He didn't care if it was lust and not love, he was going to make this night count. This was going to be the greatest night of his life...

This story is protected by International Copyright Law, by the author, all rights reserved. If found posted anywhere other than storiesspace.com with this note attached, it has been posted without my permission.

Copyright © All stories are Copyright © 2016-2020 by S.T. Kubheka (also known by the pseudonym Bernard "Beesting" Bayede). ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. This story or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the publisher except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.

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