Los Angeles, California, is gearing up to host it's annual freestyle motocross championship, and stakes are high this year. The three top riders are all within five points of each other for overall points; after a twenty point gap between third and fourth place, the remaining seven riders competing are neck and neck as well. It's anyone's ball game at this point, and each rider seems to be pulling out all the stops. Solid FMX will have reporters on hand to keep up with all riders and bring back the dirtiest, dustiest details of what goes down at the LA championship competition …
Brodie Kyle hit the save button on her Word document, then sent the attachment to her mentor and editor, Richard Duke. He had been her Intro to Journalism professor and immediately took the girl under his wing when he realized her love for motorcycles matched his own. Solid FMX was just launching it's first few issues, but Brodie had been writing for them ever since. When she graduated a year ago, Richard made sure she got the raise she deserved and put her in her own office instead of a floor desk. Brodie was reading over some emails when Richard knocked on her door.
"Hey Richard," she greeted cheerfully. "About done for the day?"
"Yes, and you should be, too. You have an early flight to LA tomorrow."
Brodie pulled out her itinerary from a stack of papers on her desk. "Right, we leave Wichita at … seven, right?"
Richard nodded. "Which means I need you there no later than five-thirty."
"Great, I'll be there. Do I need to bring anything other than the usual trip stuff?"
"Laptop, first of all. I want your notes as soon as you can get them to me, then I want you to get started on the article on the championship. We're still negotiating to get you in on a personal interview with whoever the winner end up being."
Brodie jotted it all down. "They'll have a press conference, won't they?"
"Well, yes, but I want a one-on-one. I'm having trouble convincing the reps that we're a significant enough print to get one."
"Ah, I see. Well, I'll get you what I can as soon as I can," Brodie promised, shutting her computer down.
"Oh, and there's going to be an after-party, and I want you and Dusty to be there."
She stopped in her tracks. "Excuse me?"
Richard smirked mischievously. "I know it's not really your thing, but this is one of our chances to get that one-on-one. We've got to start networking with the riders personally, not so much the reps. You're going to do that for us."
Brodie shook her head. "I don't think so. Just send Dusty."
"Oh, I don't think so," Richard chuckled. "You and Dusty are going to the after-party that the hotel where the riders stay at are throwing. You're on the list so you won't need to bring your press badge."
Brodie glared at him and pulled the strap of her laptop bag on to her shoulder before locking up her office. Richard chuckled the entire way to his office, and Brodie just sighed, dreading this trip now. Dusty was a couple years younger than her, but had started an internship for the magazine about the same time as she did, so they were close, but Brodie was afraid he was really only being sent along to babysit her.
Tristan West hung his helmet on the handlebars of his motorcycle and tried to slow his breathing. He'd just taken a practice run over the LA ramps and take-offs, and realized the other riders weren't kidding when they told him that the course was a little challenging. He'd managed to throw a couple tricks, but knew he would have to be more acquainted with the track before he would be confident enough to take the championship. He was sitting comfortable in third place, but if he could win this, it just might bump him to first overall. Tristan stretched his back muscles a little more, trying to loosen up. Alex Higgins finished his run and stopped his bike next to him.
"How you feeling, West?" Alex asked. Alex was fairly new, having just come on to the freestyle circuit a few months back from a ProAm racing team. Tristan had been doing freestyle for years, but he and Alex got along well.
"A little tight," Tristan confessed. "Just have to get used to this track, I think."
Alex nodded. "Understandable. Well, better get a couple more runs in while you can. The press'll be here soon and want their practice pictures."
"Yeah, thanks," Tristan told him. He pulled his helmet back on and geared up to take another shot at it.
Brodie came off the plane feeling better than she did after her talk with Richard the day before. She had accepted the after-party as something she would just have to do for her job, and it would be nothing more than work. Dusty lugged his camera equipment off the plane and tried to keep up with her. The young photographer hadn't ever been to an event like this, and Brodie chuckled at his slight over-preparedness. The rental car counter was fairly easy to find, and Brodie handed the keys to Dusty as soon as things were loaded into the trunk.
"Why am I driving?" Dusty asked.
"Because you're a better driver than I am," Brodie informed him.
"Fair enough," Dusty smiled.
Dusty navigated them around the city and, at Brodie's urging, made it to the venue before even checking in to the hotel. She was anxious to get in and get started on her work, giving Dusty his chance to chuckle at her eagerness. Still, he loaded up just with what he would need and followed her in. They showed their badges to the macho security guard and followed the signs to the press area of the bleachers. Immediately, Brodie's eyes widened and she was like a child in a toy store. It took her several minutes to go back into professional mode, but she managed. She looked beside her and saw that Dusty was gone. Her eyes searching the stands for him, and she saw him already clicking away at the practice runs the riders were taking. Trent Cox, the spokesperson for the competition, appeared before the reporters, and immediately snapped up their attention.
"We're going to do a press meet and greet prior to the competition, and that will start in a few minutes. If you'll all go down to the staging area, we'll have you lined up so our riders can get back to their practicing as quickly as possible. Before you go rushing though, where is Brodie Kyle, is she here yet?"
The reporters murmured among themselves, looking around at each other. Brodie stepped forward with her hand raised, and the crowd around her dissolved. Trent helped her over the gate onto the track where he was standing, and she straightened herself out.
"So you're Richard's wonder child?" Trent smiled at her, holding his hand out for her to shake. She accepted with a smile.
"Yes, I suppose you could say that," Brodie replied. "It's nice to meet you, Mr. Cox."
"Please, call me Trent. Richard and I go back to before any of this freestyle business was a part of motocross. We raced together in Wichita."
"Oh really? I didn't know you were from there."
"Yes, I grew up there. I've got to round up these riders, but I just wanted to let you know everything is good to go with you and Dusty being on the list tonight for the hotel party. If you need anything else, don't hesitate to let me know. Now, if you'll go just straight down that way, you'll be where you need to be."
Tristan was waiting for Alex to finish his latest run when he glanced over at Trent Cox helping a dark-haired, petite girl over the gate onto the track. From that far away, he could tell that she was press, but wasn't sure why she was getting any sort of special treatment. The only other thing he could tell from where he stood was that she made his stomach flip a little; he couldn't have ever imagined that a girl other than Amber would make him feel that way, but here it was happening. Alex appeared beside him and gave him a playful punch in the shoulder.
"What are you looking at, man?"
Tristan shrugged. "Nothing. Come on, let's do this press thing."
Brodie shifted from one foot to the other, searching for Dusty again. He was chatting up a pretty redhead who also held a hefty camera in hand, and Brodie shook her head. Leave it to Dusty to pick someone up on a work trip. She realized she was nearing the autograph table and a distinguished looking woman handed her a glossy 8x10 of all the riders. Brodie looked it over quickly, trying to match the different riders up with the picture. She started at the end of the table, introduced herself, and moved on from there.
Alex saw her coming first. He elbowed Tristan who looked up and saw Brodie inching closer to the end of the table where they sat. Tristan just nodded, trying not to let on to the butterflies doing acrobatics in his stomach. He shook the hand of the reporter leaving the table in front of him, and watched Alex flash Brodie a bright smile. Tristan resisted the urge to kick his friend under the table, and took the picture from Brodie's hand.
"I'm Brodie Kyle, I work for Solid FMX in Kansas," she told him, watching his signature more than his face.
"Nice to meet you, Brodie. I'm Tristan West."
Brodie nodded. "Nice to meet you. Good luck today."
Tristan nodded his thanks and watched her go. He was entranced by the confident, yet still slightly nervous, way she carried herself. He tried to watch where she went, but got another elbow from Alex, bringing him back to the last few reporters in line.
Dusty took to the track with his camera in order to get the best shots during the competition, leaving Brodie to her pencil and notepad, hand moving furiously over the paper, taking specific notes on everything. She had been doing it for so long, she didn't even have to look at the paper to know she was staying inside the lines. The overall first place rider took first for the championship, securing his spot for the time being. Tristan took second, bumping him to overall second place. There were just a few more competitions after this one, and if he could take them, he still had a shot at first. Brodie finished her notes, then flipped the notebook closed and put it in her messenger bag. Dusty appeared suddenly, the redhead in tow.
"Brodie, this is Katherine, she's a photographer, too," Dusty introduced. "Katherine, this is Brodie Kyle. She writes for the magazine I work for."
Katherine held out her hand and Brodie shook it. "Nice to meet you, Katherine."
"She's staying at the same hotel, so she said we can follow her there."
"Great," Brodie smiled. It was a short trip back out to the parking lot, and once everything was loaded back up, they followed Katherine's SUV into the heavy LA traffic.
Brodie settled into her hotel room and freshened up a little bit before she had to meet Dusty in the downstairs lobby for the riders' party. She took a look at the dusty henley she had on opted to change her shirt and put on heels, although she wasn't sure why. Her hair was already straight, different from it's natural curly state, but she went ahead and pulled it into a low ponytail just the same. She made sure she had her hotel key and hurried down to meet Dusty.
"Somebody dressed up," he teased.
"Oh, I knew I should've just left on what I had," Brodie grumbled, turning back for the hotel room. Dusty took hold of her arm before she could get too far and turned her back in the direction of the hotel's banquet room. There were two burly men standing at the front door, each with a clipboard in hand. Brodie and Dusty both gave their names, and Brodie was cleared right away. Dusty though, didn't have the same luck.
"He's supposed to be with me," Brodie explained. "Is Trent Cox in there? Find him and he'll tell you."
"Brodie, it's fine," Dusty assured her. "Katherine said she'd be around tonight, so I'll just give her a ring."
"But --" She didn't even get the chance to argue because Dusty had hurried off to find his latest love interest, and the security guard who checked her name off the list opened the door for her. Loud dance music filled the hall, so she hurried in and surveyed the room. It was apparent that the ten riders, their entire entourages, and at least another hundred people were filling the room. Brodie's breath caught in her throat and she knew she would need at least one drink before she would be able to complete her task. She spotted the bar and, thankfully, Trent Cox seated at a stool there, with an empty one next to him.
Alex Higgins sat with Tristan West and Dustin Kearney, his old friend and teammate from Hoyle Racing. Dustin was riding for Yamaha Pro now, but it was a slow time for him, so he stopped in to visit Alex. Dustin felt Alex grab his shoulder, then point to a girl sitting at the bar. Tristan followed his friend's aim as well and spotted Brodie Kyle. Immediately, the acrobatics began again, and he had a hard time concentrating on what Alex was saying.
"… Don't remember her name, but she's a knockout," Alex assured Dustin. "Writes for some magazine in Kansas."
"Brodie Kyle," Tristan piped up. "Solid FMX is the magazine."
Alex looked at him, smirking evilly. "You've got a thing for her, don't you?"
"No, man. Just think she's hot, just like you do."
"Oh come on," Alex laughed. "You can't hide it, even after I've had several beers."
Dustin laughed along with Alex, and the two of them turned their attentions back to the girls they had been observing before Brodie was spotted. Tristan, however, couldn't keep himself from turning and looking at Brodie. She was in what seemed to be an involved conversation with Trent, and Tristan was trying to think of reasons why the two would be connected, especially after the scene at the competition earlier in the day. His thoughts were interrupted by more taunts from Alex.
"Would you please just go talk to her?" Alex pleaded. "You can't keep up with what we're talking about, and you're going to have her on your mind until you talk to her, so just go."
"No, I'm cool," Tristan assured him, taking a swig of his beer. Alex rolled his eyes and got as close as he could to Tristan without losing any of his manly reputation.
"Amber isn't coming back, dude. She's married, and that's not going to change. This could be your chance, so take it." Alex clapped him on the back, and Tristan didn't react. He merely finished off the beer in his hand, and headed for the bar.
A/N: Yes, I'm being naughty and posting another story before the others are done. I've been on such a roll with this one though … I've already written through chapter three, and I'm still going.
For those that didn't catch it or haven't read my story On Any Day (shameless plug? I think so.) Alex Higgins and Dustin Kearney are characters from that story.
I'm really excited about writing this story since I have gotten so much done on it so quickly, so make sure you review and tell me what you think!!
FRIDAY IS ALMOST HERE!