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Ginny paused and her fingers moved to the zipper of her jumpsuit. She worried the little metal piece, drawing her lower lip between her teeth. 

“Lawson?” she began, her tone oddly subdued. 

Mike looked up from his clipboard at her. The sight of her hit him like a fist to the gut. It was enough that she was the best racer this league had ever seen, and the first woman besides. The fact that she looked like a supermodel did not escape him. Still, it was this vulnerability that endeared him to Ginny Baker, the softness around the sharp edges. He swallowed, pushing these treacherous thoughts away, and focused his attention on what she was saying. 

“What’s up, rookie?” he asked, satisfied that he managed to keep his voice even. 

“When you pictured your career, is this what you’d thought it’d be?” she prodded. 

Outside, he could hear the cheers of the crowd, drunk, rowdy, and anticipating her appearance. Half of them were rooting for her to fail. The more important half knew what Mike knew-- they were all about to witness history. 

“You mean injured, in pain, and covered in grease?” he quipped. 

Her full lips tugged up in the hint of an exasperated smile and her dimple popped for just a moment. 

“I mean,” she began again, “it was supposed to be you out there.”

Mike considered this, watching as she fidgeted. A million words ran through his mind in an instant, but only a simple statement made it to his lips.

“I’m exactly where I’m meant to be, Ginny, and so are you.” 

She startled at her given name. “You think so?”

He set his clipboard down and crossed over to her. Her helmet was smooth beneath his calloused palms as he lifted it, handing it to the rookie racing sensation. 

“We’ve been over this, Baker.” He reminded her. “I’m always right.”

She smiled in earnest this time, clinging to her helmet. “Thanks Mike,” she told him. 

Quicker than she took those hairpin turns on the track, Ginny leaned forward, pressing her lips to the corner of his mouth. His breath caught, but she was already gone, her footsteps echoing as she left the garage. The crowd went crazy at once, clearly spotting her. Mike listened to the roar from inside the concrete walls. 

He took a breath, steadying himself, before picking up his clipboard, and happily following her.