14th of February – Season 3
As Savana sat at the back of the black BMW 320d, she wondered if she wasn't overdressed. She managed a smile thinking about the irony compared to what she was thinking on her first night on Fuel.
Savana looked over at the man who owned the car. Except he wasn't just a man. He was also her lover. He had a dark smile but it was one that lit up something in her; a fire. And while she looked at him, he looked at her.
"Good Lord, you are so beautiful," said Thawn.
Savana smiled sheepishly. "You mean now that I'm all dolled up and not wearing hoodies and sweat pants."
"You give me too little credit. I recognize beauty when I see it. I knew that if I got you a makeover that I'd bring that beauty to light. Now the whole world can see what I saw."
"Huh. That's what I'm afraid of. Thawn, don't you think they're gonna call me gold digger or tramp or whatever. I mean, I don't even own clothes like this."
"Well, now you do. Listen," he said lifting her face up with his fingers on her chin. "You're with me now, okay. And me giving you a gift does not make you a gold digger. It makes you my girl." The words made her smile. "Besides, I have plans for us. Big plans."
"And those plans involve me looking as rich as you, do they?" Said Savana, finding her confidence again.
Thawn smiled, making her swoon again. "They involve making us both look powerful. Now, put your game face on. Because tonight, everything changes. Tonight, the whole series will start revolving around us.
AT THE FUEL SPEEDWAY
By the time they rolled up in front of the entrance doors of the Fuel Speedway, Savana was ready. Thawn had suggested she put on her sunglasses even though the sun was nowhere to be seen and it wasn't until they stepped outside onto a damned red carpet that Savana understood. It was like they were movie stars.
There were people taking photos, microphones being shoved at them with Thawn's driver doing his best to double as a bodyguard. It wasn't until they were inside that they found a moment to breathe.
"Jeez, what was that?"
"That was what you get when you pay off lifestyle magazine journalists with free tickets in exchange for centrepiece articles."
This made Savana curious. She was eager to learn. "Lifestyle magazines? Why not newspapers. Don't they have more coverage?"
"We're playing a long game. And that long game starts with us gaining traction with the little people. Those that read trash. Then we work our way up to celebrity status."
"Well, I think we might already be gaining traction with that. Everyone is staring." Indeed, all the patrons of the speedway were gawking at them.
But Thawn didn't seem to care. "That's all well and good, but we need to aim higher. Let's see how our fellow racers react. Unfortunately, Thawn found himself disappointed as everyone was far more concerned with Moodswing who was already in a bitter mood before the show had even started.
"You see, it's nonsense like this that made me bar Glen from being here tonight," said the Club President talking to Touch Mkhize. "It's because of Glen that you actually believe that you're above reproach. Well, you're not, Mkhize." He then turned to everyone else. "No one is above reproach. I am in charge here. Not you and certainly not Glenwood Jacobs."
Moodswing went on to say that to prove it, he's hired a new face from his past to shake things up a bit and turn the line of succession on its head. It was at that point that the F-X Queen stepped up and tried to reason with Moodswing, calm him down. Moodswing had then led her to a quiet corner which was when everything quietened down.
Savana had been watching this all go down and thought that Thawn was too only for her to see that he had left her side and was talking to Plain Jane Deyi, the Duchess of Drag. Savana could only imagine that he was arranging a race for himself.
Smart choice, she thought. Facing a woman who just headlined a pay-per-view will definitely turn some heads. However, Savana also found herself disappointed that Thawn was only thinking of himself. Although, she was more disappointed that she wasn't thinking the same thing he was, about finding a way to better expose herself. Wasn't this why they were together: to improve their positions. Dammit, I should be trying harder.
Unfortunately, Savana found herself distracted again when she heard a slap and looked around just in time to see Stevie shoving away from Moodswing. Something had clearly happened there. But there was barely time to find out as the show began and it kicked off with a satellite interview with Penny Potgieter.
Just like the previous week, Penny was sitting in a dimly-lit room, her face shrouded in shadow. While her face was hidden, it was clear from her words that the 'Face of the Dynasty' was not in the same spirits as last week. "Look, I'm going to be honest. I'm not really in a good space.
"My face, it looks horrible. Every night I cry myself to sleep. But, I have a strong support system. I have people who care about me and because of them, I'm not ready to give up and let my pity rule me."
While the inspirational words did get to Savana, the guilt got to her more. Even two pay-per-views later, people were still saying that if Penny hadn't crashed, she would have won the Scramble Race. And whatever Savana did or said, she couldn't shake that feeling.
So by the time Thawn returned to her, Savana was convinced that she couldn't do it. She wasn't at Thawn's level. Thawn picked up on her changed mood. "What's wrong."
"I think we made a mistake. Thawn, I'm not at your level. I mean, for Heaven's sake, I'm still green. I think you should have gotten together with someone else."
Thawn was smart and deduced why Savanna's mood had changed. "Like who? Like Penny? Well news flash, I don't want Penny. I want you. I don't want someone who's so selfish they can't even admit that they're navigating a learning curve and need help and instead they crash at the bend. I don't want someone to tell me that they know. I want someone with ambition and drive to learn. I want someone who's hungry. And you can't be hungry if you think your plate is full."
Wow, that was a nice speech. It was unfortunate that Savana did not have something as profound to say. "But I feel like I'm not stepping up, that I'm not doing my part. I mean, you were in the paddock for all of two minutes and you already have a race in mind for yourself." Savana was taken aback by Thawn's chuckle. It was a sexy laugh. "What?"
"The race with Plain Jane was not for me, Savana. It was for you." Savana was speechless. "I thought a race with someone who'd just headlined a pay-per-view would be a good..." Thawn's words were cut off when she planted a mouthy kiss on him.
Savana smiled as her lips worked because, judging from the murmuring from the other racers in the paddock, they were finally getting their attention.
IN THE WOMEN'S CHANGEROOM
A few minutes later, Savana was in the change room. However, instead of holding her bag – which Thawn had repossessed from her – she was holding a box that Thawn had said was a gift. She opened it to find a new race suit.
Tears welled in her eyes as she looked at it. While there was no surprise that it matched Thawn's in fabric and design, what got to her about the sweet gift was that it was in her color scheme of dark green and desert brown. This man is so thoughtful. It's a shame these people can't see him the way I do.
The moment was interrupted when Plain Jane walked into the changeroom. An awkward moment passed as the opponents weighed each other but it passed when Jane looked at the box and then smiled.
"If he wants you to win, it's not gifts that he should be making for you," she said as she began to change into her own race suit.
Savana knew what she was trying to get at and rolled her eyes instead of getting angry. "I'm not a gold digger, Jane."
"Aha," she said sarcastically. "Whatever you say. Then again, you did say that you two were not lovers last night."
"Well, we weren't when I told you that."
Jane simply shrugged her shoulders. "Again. If you say so. But like I said last night, I'm the last person to judge racers sleeping together."
Savana found comfort in Janes words because it meant that she approved, in her own personal way. But Savana picked up on something Jane had said just now. "So what should Thawn be making me if he wants me to win?"
Jane was completely undressed when she spoke, seemingly revelling in the discomfort it caused Savana. And her single word didn't make Savana feel any more comfortable. "Climax."
LATER ON THE RACETRACK
It dawned on Savana that Plain Jane had been trying to rattle her by speaking of lovemaking in the changeroom so Savana put it out of mind. Instead, she focused on the task at hand.
By the time Savana was on the racetrack, the opening race had already ended. It was a race that Solo and Touch had lost. Solo had made a point to walk out with her so that the crowd could see them.
Savana knew what was at stake. None of this budding popularity meant anything if they didn't succeed on the blacktop. The race kicked off with Savana making a point to take the lead early. She knew that winning at the last moment would not xarrry the impression they wanted. She help onto the lead for as long as she could before Plain Jane finally overtook her in Lap 4.
However, Savana was determined to show that what she still needed to learn off the track, she made up for on the track and took back the lead before the fifth lap began. As she cotniued to lead, she thought about what winning this would mean in the eyes of her man. It would mean that he'd know that he indeed had an equal beside him.
Unfortunately, Plain Jane was in a mood to sour Savana's plans and managed to overtake a second time in Lap 7. Savana briefly allowed frustration to seep in, imagining Thawn's disappointed face, seeing what was happening. But then a different emotion took over: determination. It was so overwhelming that once again, Savana took control of the race before the end of the lap and this time, managed to hang onto the lap right until the tenth and final lap.
The elation was astounding as Thawn ran onto the racetrack to hug her. She never knew that sharing this moment with someone could be this amazing. Before they entered the Winner's Circle, Plain Jane gave her a wink as if to say "so he did make you climax after all". Savana simply smiled back: the only answer she was ever going to give.
AFTER MONDAY NIGHT FUEL
For some reason, waiting to be picked up by the BMW was a lot easier than being dropped off in it. Savana now felt far more becoming of the attention and increase in status. But she knew she still had to get used to it.
"So what's next?" she asked. "Are you going to race Stevie or Devì next week?"
Thawn shook his head. "No. Tonight's strategy revealed something to me. I think, if we're going to get everyone's attention then I need to do the heavy lifting off the track while you do it on the track. I'll focus on getting us interviews and exposure while you focus on who your next opponent will be and how you're gonna beat them."
Savana thought about who she could face but knew that Thawn was better suited to picking the right opponents. "Do you have anyone in mind for me to face next week?"
Thawn barely needed to think. "After seeing him lose this week, I'd say you should challenge Solo. A win over him will do wonders for us." Thawn thought for a moment. "Since we're picking each other's brain how about you help me out. What do you think of this as a headline for the articles about us: the Millionaire Affair." Thawn had spoken the words complete with hand gestures.
At first, Savana was a little hurt that Thawn could dare think of their relationship as an affair. But then it occurred to her that Thawn wasn't belittling their relationship, but rather giving people a reason to remember it. She smiled. "I think I love it."