Kira tugged on Jebb's arm as he reluctantly followed her into a small shop in Atlanta. "Come on, Sweetness. You're not afraid are you?"
"I can't believe I let you talk me into this," Jebb said as he realized that Kira planned to memorialize the occasion with her video camera.
"I didn't talk you into it. It was part of a challenge. A challenge that you lost. Next time you bow out of a dare, you can look forward to another tattoo. Besides, I did let you choose which one you wanted."
"My folks will kill me if they find out I have a tattoo when I go home."
Jebb couldn't believe that he'd actually agreed to this being the penance for arranging it to skip out on having to go to a male strip club and dance after losing the last race. Well, actually, he went; he just called the cops and left an anonymous tip at the precinct that more than just dancing was happening there. Jebb had literally been moments away from taking the stage when the place was raided. He still couldn't figure out how Kira found out that it had been because of him. In exchange of not ratting him out to their friends he had to agree to do one thing without question. He'd never even contemplated that she'd ask him to get a tattoo, though.
"That's your problem. Of course, one way to avoid them finding out is to keep your pants on. And don't sit for a few days in front of them." Kira giggled as Jebb rolled his eyes. Picking up the copy of how Jebb wanted the tattoo to look, she showed it to the camera. "You know, not many people use a tattoo as a form of I.D. After all, anyone who gets to see that should know who you are, Jebb Stewart Duke," Kira said with an emphasis on Stewart.
"Very funny." Jebb rolled his eyes as Kira poked fun of his choice of a tattoo. He supposed that it wasn't very imaginative but he didn't want to risk putting something on him that he'd hate later on. At least his name would remain a constant. "You're not actually going to video the whole thing, are ya?"
Kira put her camera away as Jebb laid down to get ready for the artist to begin. The same artist who had put the phoenix on her back for her at the beginning of the season. He was a friend of Brent's and she knew that he'd help her out with correcting once slight error as she saw it in the tattoo that Jebb had chosen. And, hey, where it was going it wasn't like Jebb would be able to see the change very well.
Sometime later when the artist was finished Kira paid him before documenting the result for posterity's sake. There, bold for the few who would be able to see it, read out Jebb Sweetness Duke.
"You want to see it?" Kira managed to ask without giggling; barely.
"No. It's not like I can change it now, is it?" Jebb grumbled as he got his clothes back into place. He had the feeling that riding back to Placid on his bike just might not be as comfortable as it had been on his trip to Atlanta.
"Good point, Sweetness." Kira bit her lip as she put her camera away. She'll tell him later about the added bit of flair that she'd given his new tattoo.
Kira held the video camera as she recorded some of the latest antics that Jebb and the rest of the crew that they raced with were being conned into. The men had lost a very important bet and now it was time to pay the piper, so to speak.
Not a single one of them, not even Jebb, had believed that she'd win on her first race back out on the track after returning from her long hiatus. It had been an off-track race which is where she excels at. She'd been working hard to get back into racing form ever since she'd gotten her health back after returning to Atlanta. Even before Jebb knew that she had been ready to start riding again. By the time he had felt that she was ready to race again she actually had reached that decision long before he had. In fact, she'd felt ready for months now but Jebb was being his usually over-protective self.
So now, the men in the racing troop were all down to their shorts and wearing their girlfriend's shoes while being forced to make an entire lap around a city block. Kira figured that Jebb had it easy since she had worn her hiking boots instead of the heels that the other girlfriends had worn while out to celebrate. They were still way too small for him but he wasn't having to balance on two pegs like the other men were.
While Kira herself was trying to not laugh too hard so as to not shake the camera the other women behind her didn't bother with trying to hold back their laughter. Many of them were already putting in a request for a copy of the video from Kira to add to their own collections of recorded pranks.
After the men made it to the last corner each of them kicked their girlfriends' shoes off and bolted toward their own bikes or vehicles to get off of the street as fast as possible. Each of them sure that someone had likely called the cops by now. Their only saving grace was that it was so late that the streets were practically deserted. Still, none of them wanted to get up close and personal with the local law officers. Of course Kira figured that they were fortunate that they weren't in a larger city, like Atlanta, because if they were an officer would have already made it to them by now.
The women retrieved their shoes from where the men had left them abandoned before catching up to them. From there everyone split off to their own respective motel rooms for the night. By splitting up they knew that it would be harder for the local law to find them.
Kira stowed the camera into her messenger bag where she had put Jebb's clothes at the start of the evening's activities and hopped onto her own bike as she followed in behind Jebb whom she knew was sulking from the embarrassment. She figured that Jebb needed a reminder to never doubt her again. He was just lucky that when she asked the other women what the payment for the loss should be that they had chosen something as tame as having the men walking around in their underwear while wearing their girlfriends' shoes.
When the two riders pulled up at their motel Jebb pulled off his helmet and quickly said, "Don't say it."
Kira bit back a snort of laughter since she knew that Jebb had already realized where he'd made his mistake. She put on her most innocent looking smile before asking, "Say what?"
Jebb shook his head as he took Kira's bag from her. Since she had his pants he didn't have the motel key on him. "You've been practicing behind my back."
"I did try to tell you that I was ready to get back on the track before now."
"I thought that I said not to say it."
"Ah, come on. You're not goin' to be a sore loser, now are ya?"
Jebb eyed Kira knowing that she was right. She had tried to tell him that he was holding her back during their practice rides while gearing up for the race. Finally he broke and gave her a smile while shaking his head and pulled her close to give her a kiss.
"Alright. Anyway, I'm proud that you won. If I have to lose to anyone I'd rather it be you. Just don't make me try to squeeze back into your shoes any time soon."
The couple made their way into their motel room as Kira pointed out that at least the men had been allowed to all keep their underwear on, this time.
"Yippee," Jebb groaned. "So no one got to see your brand, yet."
Kira laughed. Ever since he'd learned of the change that she'd made to his tattoo he'd taken to calling it a brand. Poking Jebb in the chest, Kira figured that she'd rub just a little salt into the wound. "Well, if you hadn't been holdin' back on the track today you just might have won. Instead by the time you realized that I really was able to win the race it was too late for you to gain ground. Which means that next weekend, I expect a real race, Sweetness."
Jebb held up his hands in surrender and joined Kira in her laughter. "Alright. I was stupid. I should have known that you were holdin' back on me during practice. But I promise, I will win next week."
The smile that crossed Kira's face was one of absolute joy. She was back out racing just as she'd enjoyed for so many years and she had a job that she'd wanted for a long time. One that gave her purpose. Life was good. It was better than good. It was damn near perfect. She couldn't think of any way that her life could possibly get any better than it was in this moment.
Later that night, Kira rested her head on Jebb's shoulder as he slept. Like so many times in the past she couldn't help but wonder what she'd ever done to deserve him in her life. She'd weathered a lot of hazards in her life but she was finally in a good place again. Not only that, but she was in love with a man whom she knew beyond a shadow of a doubt loved her; flaws and all. He knew her, in many ways, better than she knew herself. Even if he did underestimate her at times out on the race track.
Listening to the quiet of the night, she focused on the feel of Jebb's heart beat under her hand along with his rhythmic breathing. As they lulled her off to sleep Kira knew that she couldn't live without that steady symphony that was meant only for her. One day, that melody would play for her every night. It would be at that time that she knew she'd finally have the one thing that she still desired; a home. A home and family.