Well now, that was a really fun experiment!
For a long time Mitch was leading the vote, but Bruno snuck up from behind and took glory. Only Mason was chosen twice out of the various Other suggestions. I am intensely curious where the idea of Damon Hill came from. Anyway, on with the story.
“Bruno,” Melissa sighed, throwing her hands up in exasperation. “What are you doing?”
“I just wanted to see you,” he said. “I didn’t think you would come if I asked.”
“You’re right, I wouldn’t have. And now I’m going.” She turned and started walking back towards her hotel, but he fell into step beside her.
“I know you’re angry. I’m sorry.” Melissa said nothing, so he continued. “It was just stupid. High spirits, you know? I’m a racing driver, I think racing is the answer to all the world’s problems.” He chuckled a little, but Melissa still said nothing. “I am sorry.”
She stopped and took a deep breath. “Bruno,” she said, strongly. “I’m sorry if I gave you the wrong impression, or if you somehow thought there was more between us than there was, but I’m not interested in going out with you. If you’d won your stupid race, it wouldn’t make any difference. I think you’re a really nice guy, you’re a great interviewee, and one of the best drivers out there, but it’s not going to happen, okay?”
“Because you like Mitch.”
“Maybe. Who knows? That’s not the point. The point is there is nothing between me and you. Do you understand that?”
“He’s turned you against me, hasn’t he?”
“Argh!” Melissa resumed storming along the pavement, leaving Bruno standing there forlornly. “Racing drivers,” she muttered to herself.
She stepped out onto the track, soaking up the late afternoon sunshine. A few of the drivers were milling about with their engineers, discussing the circuit, embarking on or returning from a track walk.
“They’ve done quite well, haven’t they?” a voice beside her said. Melissa looked up, shielding her eyes against the sun to see who was speaking. It was Damon Hill! He smiled at her and indicated the circuit around him. “Of all the new tracks,” he said, “they’ve done pretty well.”
Melissa returned his smile. “If only the crowds could appreciate it,” she said. “If the numbers were better, it would make sense why they chose Bahrain over Australia.”
“You know Bernie,” Damon said, winking at her. He saw someone waving to him and signalled back. “Excuse me,” he said, and crossed the track to his friend.
Melissa stared after him, taking a moment to collect herself. She was reliving the conversation in her head, when another voice broke her thoughts. Mason stepped out of the shadows.
“An eye for the older man now, eh?” he said.
“It’s just nice to talk to a grown up for once,” Melissa said, a little snappily.
“All is not well in the Great Romance?” Mason asked, moving around her so she didn’t have to squint into the sunlight.
“There is no great romance,” she said. “Bruno is an idiot who would risk his life before he would use a brain cell, and Mitch is so full of himself he stirs up trouble without even noticing. I’m seriously thinking about taking up the promotion…” the sentence tailed off.
“Ooh, a promotion,” Mason rubbed his hands together. “Better money, more creative options but none of the travel. Am I right?”
Melissa stared at him.
“Well, here’s an option for you,” Mason said. “Forget the promotion. Forget the idiot and the guy who is full of himself. Come and work for us. Our Head of PR has decided the expanded calendar is too burdensome and has left us. We need someone to liaise with the press, come up with campaigns, just generally be a genius. I know you could do it. I want you to do it.”
“You’re in charge of hiring and firing now?” Melissa asked him.
“I do what I want,” Mason laughed. “My uncle would approve.”
“Well, thanks for the offer, but I can’t just jack it all in.”
“You’re thinking about doing that anyway. The year has hardly started and already we’ve had more bickering than I’ve ever seen. You think that’s annoying but secretly, you know it’s going to be great. Plus, the guy who is full of himself? You’d get to spend more time with him.”
“Stop telling me what I think,” she snapped.
“Well, you tell me what you think then.”
What does Melissa think about the future?