Mayday #9 – Chapters 26 Thru 30

Chapter 26: Post Wake-Up

After being seen by the doctor and assured that there’d be some pain killers given over the next bit, Chase had the low-down in mind of everything that happened the previous night. He knew that he was lucky that the injuries weren’t worse, but wished that there wouldn’t be any at all. Now he was dealt with discomfort over the next couple of weeks, along with no time in the racecar and a mind filled with thoughts.

Just peachy.

Throughout the day, everybody kept conversation to a minimum.

A police officer stopped by to get his statement on the events of Sunday night, in which he explained everything that happened in detail. He left out his own emotions and stuff, trying to keep everything to the point. However, it was evident that it was bugging him. To the point that eh was heading back the path that he took before? Not quite, but still there. He knew there’d be a possible conversation to be had with Regan in the future.

There were a couple discussions with his parents about how he was feeling and if he wanted anything. For the most part, their worry and care was overplayed in his mind as he kept assuring that he was fine and just needed to relax. If he stayed relax and pushed his thoughts to the back of his mind, he was able to actually relax. That wasn’t a common occurrence, though.

In the process of some pleading, he finally able to get his parents to leave the room for a bit – both Cindy and Bill – to go get something toe at for themselves for breakfast and lunch. He appreciated their care and such, but they had to take care of themselves, as well. Besides, he liked his time alone with his friends, too.

With him being down the count and the trial not even in frame of mind due to being hospital bound, he was surprised that both Ryan and Darrell were still in Daytona with him. He told them that they could go and he would keep in touch via phone/text, but neither budged. They wanted to be there for their friend as they knew that he needed some around besides his parents. Besides, they could help break the ice if the edges got rough.

“By the sounds of it, you got in a good punch there,” Ryan breaks the silence after Bill and Cindy leave the room. The comment catches an instant glance from Darrell and Regan, as both shake their heads.

“Really? First words?” Darrell questions as he gives Ryan a smack. “That’s something that I’d expect Dylan to say.”

“Ryan is just filling the void,” Chase comments with a slight grin of his own, trying to keep it light hearted. “I knew that I had to do something so I swung my arm as hard as I could. Guess I can hit if I’m angry enough.”

“Remind me not to make you angry.” Chase then looks over with a slight grin on his face.

“So does that mean you’ll stop wrecking me at the go-kart track? I get very angry when I lose races, too.”

“Good try, but if I have a trophy in hand, I can deal with you kicking my ass.” Chase then lets out a sigh as he thinks over the thought.

The comment sent him back to his spur of emotions. How was he to deal with no racing for at least two weeks? He had worked hard so far that year to fight through everything to build the championship lead – and now had to lay back and watch it vanish away. There went the championship hopes, and everything that he and the team had worked towards.

He then began to wonder who would drive the car for the couple of weeks that he wasn’t behind the wheel. If it was a cup-companion race, probably Dale, Kasey or Kevin – if they weren’t scheduled already. If it wasn’t, probably one of the up-and-coming drivers at JRM, such as Josh Berry. He could only hope that they would produce solid results as the team deserved it for the hard work that they had put in.

“Chase?” Ryan finally breaks the silence in the room, snapping Chase out of his thoughts. He could tell that his friend was thinking about something, and wondered what. “What’s up?”

“Just thinking,” Chase comments as he tries to roll the whole thought off of his back. He didn’t need to worry about that at the moment. He needed to focus on getting better so that way he could be back in the car sooner.

“Want to share?” Regan wonders as Chase looks over at him. No doubt the offer was huge as there was so much that he could share in that very moment, from the pity small worries of not being in the car, to the actual events that happened. Taking a deep breath, there was one small detail from the officer that bugged him since the officer had been there. He didn’t want to bring it up in front of his parents, knowing that wouldn’t result In the discussion he warranted.

“I mentioned Randy entering by using the key card as I remember hearing that ding the door makes. I didn’t think of anything of it then – should’ve as I could’ve done something sooner, but then again, I thought I was dreaming. I mentioned that he must’ve got it from the receptionist, or something. The officer scuffed that off saying it wasn’t so, but didn’t say anymore as he wanted me to simply go ahead with the story…” Darrell and Ryan trade glances with each other, having heard Randy’s statement and knowing the truth to the situation. They both then glance towards Regan, curious as to whether it was right to say the truth.

“Randy told the officer that the key was dropped in the lobby. He said he was hiding out there when you entered with Ryan and Darrell, saw you drop it and made sure to pick it up himself before the receptionist realized.” Chase then lets out a sigh as he knew exactly what that meant. It was his fault that things happened the way they did. If he hadn’t dropped the key card in the lobby, Randy wouldn’t been able to get in his room and things probably would’ve gone much differently. Yet again, it seemed as another mistake on his part was to blame in the events.

“Chase, even if he hadn’t gotten the key that way, he probably would’ve threatened the receptionist into giving him a key,” Darrell starts, seeing as they lost Chase into his own thoughts about it. “He would’ve threatened to kill the guy till he handed it over, or snuck over and got one when the guy was off doing something. Sure, it helped make Randy’s plan easier – but it doesn’t make it anymore your fault. It wasn’t your fault and he would’ve attacked you, one way or another.”

“He probably would’ve pretended to be room service or an annoying person that was partying to get you to come to the door and open it,” Ryan adds, having seen that line played enough in movies.

“I wouldn’t have opened it because I knew there was a threat,” Chase shares as Ryan shrugs his shoulders. He knew that Chase was burying his own hole and set that it was partially his fault.

“You don’t know that, Chase. In the moment when you heard the knock, you may not have thought about the threat at all. You could’ve even believed that it was like Dale, Regan, or Marie coming to see you – or one of us.”

“Besides, like Darrell said, he could’ve gotten a key from the receptionist,” Regan starts as he makes his way over, keeping his eyes locked on Chase’s. “Chase, it wasn’t your fault so I don’t want to hear or see that thought any longer. Just like before, sure things could’ve done differently – but they aren’t your fault, and you can’t beat yourself up over it. You just need to move forward, focus on getting better and put it in the past.”

“Right – I’ll just forget that I handed over my room key to a hired gun that knows how to kill and attack people,” Chase replies with a sharp look. “I’ll just forget that this guy was purposely hired by Mariela because he always comes through. I’ll just forget that I got lucky the punch landed, or else that knife would’ve gone deeper in my leg and I’d be dead.” Chase then takes a deep breath and focuses his eyes back up towards the ceieling as Regan takes a couple steps back, processing Chase’s thoughts.

While the other series of events may have been more traumatic, it seemed as though the combination of them was producing the worst scenario possible before him. Regan could only hope that with himself, Darrell, Ryan, Chase’s parents and the whole support system that they had it would work on finding a way through Chase’s thoughts.

 

Chapter 27: Aftershock

The room remained silent till Bill and Cindy got back a half hour later.

Chase was stuck on his thought about it being his fault. Without a doubt, he had made a critical error and nobody could say different. Sure, things could’ve happened without his error but how they did was his fault alone. He could go with Darrell’s theory, but then the receptionist would’ve called for help and someone would’ve been there sooner. He also knew that he never would’ve opened the door so Ryan’s theory didn’t help.

Regan was still in shock in the response that he was given by Chase. He never would’ve expected that out of him in a million years, but yet so many things had changed in the span of five months. He also I don’t know how to respond as what do you say to that? For the same reason, Darrell and Ryan stayed quiet. If that’s what Chase wanted – silence, then they would deliver.

“Chase?” Cindy questions, seeing the quietness upon entering the room. She had thought Chase was sleeping till she saw open eyes staring at the ceiling. “Is everything okay?”

“Peachy,” Chase answers as he wasn’t about to tell his mom the truth.

“I need some air,” Regan comments before leaving the room. If Chase wasn’t going to talk it out, then he didn’t want to be there. He thought that he would’ve learned from May.

“Regan!” Darrell yells before going after him. Darrell knew that Chase needed Regan there as Regan had gotten through before so he could do it again. There was a certain unwritten trust there.

“What’s going on?” Cindy asks, glancing between Chase and Ryan. The boy’s behavior had thrown her for a fit and she wasn’t about to approve of Chase’s attitude.

“Chase asked a question, Regan answered,” Ryan starts with a sigh. He knew he should have left sooner. “It turned into a confession of Chase emotions, which is good as you should be getting them out there. Then we tried to comfort with possible reasonable explanations and theories, which YOU should think over a couple times. Chase then retorted back a little too harshly for the caring hearted as he forgot to think of our feelings, resulting in awkward silence.” Ryan then glances between the parents. “I’m…I…I’m….

“Leave the room if you want,” Bill offers. He was hoping so as it’d release the tension that was there. Though perhaps with getting Chase back relaxed, Bill and Cindy could find more details and comfort their son. He also knew that if Chase didn’t spill, he’d be paying the boys a visit, too. Ryan then left without a second to spare, letting out a huge sigh upon exit to be rid of that awkwardness.

“Before you even ask – I’m not going to talk about it,” Chase states as he keeps his eyes pointed towards the wall.

He knew that Ryan was right in many respects by what he said. Being able to lay his emotions on the table would certainly help him get over how much it was bugging him – that proved to work before.

However, how do you tell someone how you feel when you can barely bare it himself? How do you make that blame that you feel erase so easily? It wasn’t like he could just wipe his mind clean and move on like tomorrow was another day. He had to live with what happened not only in his mind, but by the way his body felt.

He also knew that perhaps he chose the wrong tone of words in describing how he was feeling and perhaps that had taken a bit of hit towards his friends. he thought about the possibility of apologizing for how it made them feel, and perhaps being more gentler the next time that he was around Regan.

Though in fairness, that wouldn’t be fair to himself mentally. They wanted him to get his thoughts on the table so there they were, laid out on the table. That was how he felt so why should he apologize for how he feels? He thought, too, that Regan would’ve been a little more understanding and perhaps went on to explain and discuss things, as they had done before. Where was that Regan that he met that night?

“Chase, you need to talk about it so that way you can get through it,” Cindy advises as she reaches for his hand, rubbing the top of it. His mom’s light touch gets his attention as he glances over towards her. No doubt she had the mother’s touch.

“I can’t, Momma…” He let out in a quiet voice, knowing that he couldn’t sit and tell his parents how he was feeling. They were already feeling guilt about what happened, among with an overbearing careness. If he went ahead and told them the same words that he told his friends, that would only increase their worries.

“Chase, you need to do it yourself,” Bill steps in, using a more stern voice. “Besides, what was Ryan referencing that you said?” Chase then takes a deep breath. He knew that one way or another, his father would find out as he’d simply go to the boys. He hated to have to repeat the words in front of his parents, but was he left any choice?

“If you want to so badly know what I said, I’ll tell you – I’ll just forget that I handed over my room key to a hired gun that knows how to kill and attack people. I’ll just forget that this guy was purposely hired by Mariela because he always comes through. I’ll just forget that I got lucky the punch landed, or else that knife would’ve gone deeper in my leg and I’d be dead.” The jaws on both his parents drop at the realization of his words. They couldn’t believe that their sweet baby was spewing this after everything that had happened. “Obviously the last line disturbed the pair more than anything, it seems.”

“Chase, honey….” Cindy starts as Chase glances back up towards the ceiling.

“So perhaps it was your fault to have dropped the card in the lobby and maybe things could’ve been different otherwise,” Bill begins, catching both Cindy and Chase’s attention. “Perhaps it never would’ve happened without him getting the card, and perhaps you’re right on your account. So what? We all make mistakes, but rather than dwell on them, we learn from them and move on. Remember? You can’t lay here and worry about the past. You need to focus on getting better and moving forward. In that regard, just remember next time to be more careful.” Chase then rolls his eyes. While his father had a point, there was more than anything.

“It’s not that easy, dad,” Chase replies as he glances over at his father. “This isn’t a simple mistake. This could’ve been a deadly mistake. Do I need to show you my leg right now?” Bill takes a deep breath, having expected a comeback from Chase.

“You need to also realize that things could’ve happened, even without you dropping the card. Perhaps he would’ve pretended to be room servi-”

“I would never have opened the door.”

“He could’ve gotten the key from the recepti-”

“And the receptionist would’ve called for help and someone would’ve been there soo-”

“Not if the receptionist was knocked out, tied up or dea-”

“Someone would’ve noticed him and called for hel-”

“Not if he was hidden away somewhere by Randy.” Chase just shakes his head as he can’t believe how pushy his father is being right now.

“You’re just trying to make up all these scenarios to make me feel better. Well, guess what? It’s not working! It doesn’t change what happened!” Cindy then looks at Chase in shock as she had never heard him raise his voice with Bill. However, she couldn’t fault him totally based on how Bill kept pressing the issue.

“William Clyde Elliott, do not raise your voice with me!” Bill then takes a deep breath as he calms himself down. “Chase, listen, it doesn’t change anything – you’re right. But, it shows that it could’ve happened with or without your mistake so therefore it’s not your fault. It’s also not your fault that some crazy man decided to take the key and do what he did. It’s also not your fault that Mariela hired him. It’s also not your fault that you got mixed up in this to begin with. You need to realize point blank center – it’s not your fault!” Chase then glances down at himself, feeling his eyes water a little as he glances towards his parents. While it may had been harder love than expected, it certainly had broken a barrier, or two, or three, as he felt a couple tears rolling down his cheeks.

“You’re right, you’re right, you’re right. I can’t change it and it’s not my fault. But that doesn’t mean that I just want it to go away and pretend that it never happened.” He then looks over at his parents, tears rolling down his cheeks. “I just want it to go away. I just want to go back to February and pretend none of this ever happened.”

“Oh baby….” Cindy lets out before wrapping both arms around him and pulling herself closer to him as Bill sat back in his chair.

He didn’t want to be so tough on Chase. He wanted to let it go easy and let things happen as they may. He didn’t want to push forward and see how far he could push things, nor did he want to yell in response in anyway. However, it was what was needed. Seeing the tears roll down his cheeks, he knew without a doubt that he had broken through.

 

Chapter 28: Trial

“Attention!” The judge orders as he takes his seat, catching everyone’s attention in the court room.

No doubt the conversation surrounded Chase and how he was doing and what happened the previous night. If anything, Dale and Marie wanted to get what had to be done as quickly as possible to go see him, again.

“Thank you,” the judge says. “Now, is the defendant Randy Roberts present?” Randy puts his hand up.

“I am sir,” he states as the judge’s eyes cast over to him.

“Before we begin, there’s some important business that needs to be mentioned. Following our last meeting in March, you were not to get out on bail. However, that was appealed and you paid bail. Your bail restrictions were simple – stay away the plaintiffs, don’t leave the country, and do not do anything stupid. It is my understanding that an officer of the law found you in the same hotel room of Mr. Chase Elliott. Is that true?” Randy shakes his head yes as he keeps his eyes on the judge. He knew that his fate was written already, but that was something he knew months ago. He just wished that the knife would’ve gone deeper.

“That is true, sir.”

“For that reason, don’t expect to be out on bail anytime soon.” The judge then flips over the page and reads through his notes. “It should also be noted that you pleaded guilty to kidnapping Mr. Elliott in February, which results in a 15 year senten-”

“My client also stated that he was pleading guilty due to being forced by Ms. Mariela Kastona Calantay,” Randy’s lawyer interrupts as the judge looks over at him.

“I wasn’t done yet, and I don’t expect to be interrupted in my court room,” the judge announces sternly. Do that again and you’ll be thrown out for contempt.” The judge then returns his eyes to Randy. “As I was saying, you pled guilty to kidnapping Mr. Elliott in February, which results in a 15 year minimum sentence. However, you also said that you were forced by Ms. Calantay and that is why you pled not guilty to conspiracy in kidnapping Mr. Earnhardt and kidnapping him. It is this court’s responsibility to determine whether you were truly forced by Ms. Calantay on those charges, or whether you did them willingly. Is that understood?”

“Yes sir,” Randy answers after making a glance towards his lawyer to confirm that the terms were correct.

“I also understand that you’re currently pending a second trial for the attempted murder, as well as breaking-and-entering charges that you earned last night. Those charges are not in my docket for you today, and will be handled by a separate court proceeding. I believe that once we’re done today, you get the chance to enter your plea for your behavior. Is that understood?”

“Yes sir.” The judge then looks between both parties as he sits back.

“The events that happened may be brought up in trial, but it should be recognized that Mr. Roberts has yet to plead guilty or be proven of his actions. Therefore, watch how you bring things up. Now, let’s begin the court proceedings.”

The trial began with Dale being called up to the stand. He was asked to recall the events that happened with him and Randy. He recalled Randy leading him from the trailer out to pit road and to the racecar. It was stated clearly that Randy, under no circumstance, gave any sign that he was being forced. There was no subtle hints given, there were no chances of possible help. In reality, as Dale pointed out, it was done as a pure sneaky job and if Randy was truly being forced, he should’ve shared a slight warning with either Jason or Steve before the race. This didn’t set well with Randy or his lawyer, but that was to be expected. As Randy said, he knew his fate – he just used the not-guilty plead to pro-long it for his second shot at Chase.

Steve was then called up to testify, stating how Randy was hired to be on the team and no hint was given in the time of hiring that he was being forced, or was anything but a typical employee. He then explained Randy’s behavior through the week – sneaky, but working hard – again, without warnings of being forced or fear in the works. The nail in the coffin was Steve’s explanation of how Randy refused to give up Chase’s location once he was caught for what he had done.

“If I was being forced by someone to do something and the police caught me, I’d feel bad for the person that I forced the attack on and give up their location immediately,” Steve stated. “After all, I was in the police’s hands and they could protect me from whatever possible threat that was laid down.”

With only two testimonies in the books, it seemed that Randy’s behavior was purely proven without a shadow of a doubt. The next testimony that was supposed to be given was Chase’s. He was supposed to stand up there and explain how Randy lured him to see Dale, not giving him a chance to give any warning. Anybody remember the well-played cell phone threat? However, with his injury, Chase wasn’t available to be in the court room.

The court was explained, by the district attorney who had pressed the charges, the testimony that was supposed to given at that time and why Chase was unable to show up. It was a risky bridge to walk as someone’s word wasn’t allowed in a court room without coming from their own mouth.

“IF you want, sir, we can get Mr. Regan Smith to go up and state what Mr. Elliott would’ve said,” the attorney started. “Mr. Smith was told by Mr. Elliott everything that took place that mor-”

“Hearsay has no bearing in my court room so that won’t be allowed,” the judge cut off the possible theory, before turning his eyes to the jury. “It will be your job to judge what you’ve heard so far, along with the possible outside court room charges to see how you see this fit.” He then turns his eyes to the attorney. “Is that all?” The attorney shakes his head yes. “Thank you.” He then turns to Randy’s lawyer. “You’re up.”

“Your honor, Mr. Elliott being absent poses a probl-” The lawyer starts.

“Caused by your client,” the attorney cuts him off with a smirk as the lawyer takes a deep breath.

“Innocent till proven guilty, remember? Anyways, I had issued a subpoena to Mr. Elliott to testify today to talk about what Ms. Kastona Calantay did to him that day, and we are now missing that testimony.”

“What purpose would that testimony have?” The judge asked before the district attorney could discuss his thoughts.

“To show how ruthless Ms. Calantay was to allow the jury to see the type of person she is.”

“Your honor, even if Mr. Elliott was here, I would not allow that to happen,” the district attorney starts, remembering his conversation with Regan. “The attack resulted in some mental instability for Mr. Elliott, resulting in nightmares and flashbacks that have lasted till this day. We all know how ruthless Ms. Calantay was in her share of the attack, based on the police report and those who witnessed her chokehold. Therefore, I don’t feel it is necessary in proving that you client was forced by her. I motion to have the subpoena dismissed due to no bearing on the case.” The judge then looks between the pair, before turning his eyes to the district attorney.

“Your motion is accepted,” the judge states, before returning his eyes back to Randy’s lawyer. “As he said, we know that she was ruthless, but she is not on trial – your client is. Therefore, it is your duty to prove that your client was forced. Now, I am not here to do your job for you, but I’ll give you a clue as to what that involves. Do you have text messages? E-mails? Or even conversation that your client would like to share stating that threat? Do you have witnesses to the forcing? That is what the jury will be looking for, not some testimony about someone that is not on trial.”

The lawyer then got Randy to take the stand. He then proceeded to tell a tale of how Mariella approached him to help, gave him a forced hand and he was set to go about his duty. It seemed like a legit that story that could possibly convince people.

However, what Randy and his lawyer didn’t know, was the district attorney had another plan up his sleeve. When the tables were turned for the district attorney to question Randy, the district attorney went to the evidence bank and pulled out a cell phone, before approaching Randy.

“Do you recognize this phone?” The district attorney asked as he sat it down before Randy.

“No, I don’t,” he answered as he looked it over, knowing that was a lie.

“Let this be submitted as evidence, please. This phone came from the police as they retrieved it from Ms. Mariela Kastona Calantay’s pocket upon her death.” The district attorney then returns to his bench, picking up a series of papers, before walking towards Randy. “This is a series of text messages that have been printed from her phone. Now, if you would do me the honor, please read the highlighted text messages.”

Randy then proceeded to read each of the text messages, knowing that his story was going down in flames with each message. They were the messages that Randy had sent back and forth with Mariela in planning each stage of her plan in sneaking her into the garage area.

“Those don’t sound like they’re coming from someone who is forced as you seem willing to give up the information,” the district attorney comments afterwards. “So, is your story a lie? Are you just saying that you were forced to get off being charged? I think it’s time that you fess up.” Randy then lets out a sigh as he knew that he was doomed.

“Fine – you win,” he states. “I work for a criminal agency. The agency has recruits like myself that people pay to do their evil deeds. She paid for me to work for her. I was just doing my job. Happy?”

“Nothing else your honor.” The district attorney then sits down back in his seat with a smile on his face.

Everything had gone as planned. He couldn’t wait for the sentence to be delivered in the coming days.

 

Chapter 29: “Friends”

Now, this chapter is taking place the exact same time as the trial took place….
“Regan!!” Darrell yells down the hallway, catching Regan’s attention. Darrell had followed the fellow driver down the winding hallways and as they reached the door to go out to the main waiting room area, he knew that he had the confront the fellow driver.

“I’m not talking about it!” Regan snaps back as he goes out the doorway. Darrell just rolls his eyes, before rushing to follow him outside. Once reaching outside, Darrell glances down at him as he notices Regan gazing off into space.

“So running out of the room is your solution?” Regan then looks over at Darrell with an intrigued glance.

“What else did you expect after that?” Darrell shrugs his shoulders as he wasn’t knowing what to expect when Regan and Chase started the conversation. He was only hoping that it’d be for the best and they could help their friend.

“Listen, I know that he took the wrong choice of words and they hit him pretty hard. But, it doesn’t excuse what you did.” Regan raise his eyebrows. “He trusts you, big time. You’re the only person that could get through to him after what happened the first time. That means a lot as he really trusts in hearing what you have to say, and offering your opinion. For you to run out like you did, no matter the reason, it’s a bigger blow than you realize. That trust barrier that you talked about before he woke up, it’s broken because he’ll feel as if you let him down…” Regan then lets out a sigh as he looks back towards the ground.

“You’re right – I was wrong. I just…I don’t know.”

It went without saying that Regan cared a lot about his teammate, perhaps more than you should normally. It was like a best friend relationship between the pair, or maybe even big/little brother. Either way, the caring feeling went both ways. Regan was willing to do whatever he could to help Chase, and in response Chase had taken him as one of the only people to truly open up to about anything.

Though, that deep caring feeling also had it draw back. In hearing Chase spill those words that he did, it cut to the core for Regan and stunned him. Those were words that anybody wouldn’t have expected to hear. Those were words that you never heard anyone say, especially not the Chase that he knew. It was a big shocker.

It was also a stab in the back in the form of reality. No doubt Chase was right as things could’ve turned uglier in a matter of seconds. Upon hearing the words, that thought flashed into Regan’s mind. It was something that he wished he never pictured, nor thought of, especially for his best friend. It was why he had no response for Chase. It was why he left the room, figuring if he had some space that it’d go away.

“It shocked us all and caught us off guard,” Darrell starts with a deep breath. “It’s why none of us said anything. I may have been harsh, but you had a right to react the way you did.”

“I just…that’s not a picture that I want in my mind,” Regan starts carefully. I want everything to work out for him as much as anybody because I care about him. When he said that, it basically stuck it back in my mind as to what could’ve been.”

“I know….I get it. But, you do realize what I’m saying as well.” Regan shook his head, knowing that perhaps despite his feelings it would’ve been best to stay there so Chase was assured that he had the support from him.

“Oh, I get it. I just needed some space to think things over and I was going right back.” Regan knew that upon his arrival back, it’d equal a good conversation with Chase so he knew where he stood. He didn’t want to the turn of events to play an effect on how things had been between them.

“That’s understandable. I should’ve realized that.” Regan glances over.

“Oh so you thought that I was just going to walk out on him and not bother to care anymore? Thanks Darrell. I appreciate the credit and understanding that you offer.” Darrell lets out his own laugh.

“That sounds ridiculous now that you said it outloud.” Regan then throws his arms up in the air.

“I’m not the one that thought of it, nor did I think of chasing after a guy in the midst of that.” Darrell then lets out a sigh as he leans back against the wall.

“I have to wonder what Bill and Cindy are thinking right now.”

“They were extra curious and demanding of an explanation from me,” a new voice chimes in as Darrell and Regan glance over at Ryan. “Thanks for leaving me there and having to explain things without a word. I appreciate that.”

“Oops,” Darrell and Regan comment together as Ryan walks over closer to them.

“I explained in the best, plainest terms possible what was said. I also played emphasis to Chase on how much what he said hurt us.”

“And?” Regan wonders as Ryan shrugs his shoulders.

“The kid sounded quiet when I left, and that wasn’t going over too well with Bill it seemed,” Ryan offers as Regan lets out a sigh.

“That’s understandable. I wouldn’t know what to do as a father in that situation.”

“You do the best you can – support him and hope that he turns it around,” Darrell shares. “That’s all we can do, as well. Hopefully he’ll see that we’re saying the truth.”

“Maybe next time you guys won’t goof around in the lobby?” Regan questions as Ryan looks at him surprised.

“Hey man, it wasn’t my fault,” Ryan comments as he points to Darrell. “This guy is to blame.”

“Right, because it’s always my fault,” Darrell replies and Ryan shakes his head yes.

“You’re the goofy one of the group.”

“Guys….it wasn’t any of our fault…” Regan breaks the pair of them up as they both shake their heads in agreement. “As we told Chase, it could’ve happened no matter what.”

“Have you heard anything from Dale about the trial?” Ryan wonders as Regan pulls out his phone, reading the series of text messages.

“He says that it went well as Randy ended up confessing on stand to doing it. Turns out, Mariela hired him through some agency to do her deeds and boom – here we are. So looks like Randy will be seeing what some bars look like.”

“He should get more than just that,” Darrell comments, catching their attention. “Sorry, but he’s put Chase, Dale and Marie through hell. He deserves it in return.”

“I can settle with him seeing silver bars for the rest of his life,” Ryan shares. “How long?” Regan then shrugs his shoulders.

“Sentencing isn’t for awhile,” Regan answers. “He’s got 15 years minimum already, and is looking at adding a possible 30 plus years.”

“So in other words, he’ll die in his cell,” Darrell comments as Regan shakes his head yes with a touch of satisfaction. “Alright, come on. We better head back up and see how Chase is.”

The friends then head back inside, taking the all too common walk back to Chase’s room without another word spoken.

Upon their arrival, they found Cindy with both her arms wrapped around him as he was letting some tears out. While they hated to see their friend crying, there was a slight smile in knowing that he was getting some of it out. Now if only they could get through it all.

Chapter 30: Sentencing
Wednesday July 8,, 2015

“Please be seated,” the judge instructs after entering the court room and taking his place. Everybody then sits down as the judge turns his eyes towards Randy Roberts. “As dictated by this court on Monday July 6th, 2015, you were found guilty of three separate charges. Is that correct, Mr. Roberts?” Randy shakes his head yes with a sigh. So much for his plan. He could only smile at the fact that he got some freedom before hand to fulfill a bonus. It was a partial shame that the kid was going to be okay.

“Yes your honor,” he answers, hoping the judge goes easy on his sentence.

“It was also previously determined that you would receive 15 years for kidnapping Chase Elliott. I am going to add another 15 years for kidnapping Dale Earnhardt Jr., along with 10 years for conspiracy in the sort of crimes that were committed. Therefore, your total sentence currently stands at 40 years in prison with no chance of bail as you gave up that opportunity with your plan of attack before.” The judge then flips the page over. “There are also pending charges against you for breaking and entering at the Daytona Beach Hotel, as well as an attempted murder charge against Mr. Elliott. How do you plead to these charges?” Randy knew that there was no way out of those with police evidence and physical evidence. Also, nobody would believe if he tried to say that it was Chase who initiated the center of events. After all, Chase had knocked him out.

“Guilty.” The plead brought forth a smile to the faces in the court room as a glance towards each other and Dale and Marie both knew this was over. They also knew that it’d result in a smile in a hospital room not far from the court house as Chase was watching it live, via the facetime feed that the court graciously allowed.

“That brings forth an additional 30 years for attempted murder, as well as five for breaking and entering, now bringing you to a grand total of 75 years. Needless to say, you’ll be spending the rest of your lives in prison. Court adjourned!”

After a short conversation back and forth, Regan shut off the facetime feed with Dale. No doubt the happiness that was in the court room filled the hospital room on the faces of Bill, Cindy and Regan. Darrell and Ryan, unfortunately, had left the Tuesday night due to having to get back with appearances and business to attend to.

Chase was still in hospital, set to remain there till the weekend. The doctors wanted to keep him for almost a full week for observation as they watched his leg continued to heal. Each day, though, they had been in and getting him to move slightly. Simple small knee bends, followed by lifting the leg slightly off the leg were the order each day. The idea was to get him moving, but not enough to put a lot of strain on it. Given the progress already shown in the couple of days, they hoped to get him on his feet by the weekend.

“Bill and Cindy, do you mind if you leave the room for a couple minutes?” Regan finally broke the silence that had fallen over the room. “I want to talk to Chase about a couple things.” Both parents shook their heads understanding as they stood up.

“We’ll be back in about 10, 20 minutes,” Cindy comments as she heads for the door first.

“Do you want anything?” Bill offers as Chase thinks it over.

“Swiss Chalet?” He questions, causing both his parents to give him a shocked expression. “That, or Dairy Queen. I want some good food. This hospital food isn’t cutting it.”

“I’d take the Diary Queen if I was you,” Regan suggests as Chase smiles. His teammate did have a good point as some nice good, cold ice cream would be soothing.

“Please?” Bill lets out a sigh.

“Diary Queen it is.” Bill then leaves the room as Chase looks over at Regan with a smile.

“I knew that one of them would give in,” Chase comments as Regan lets out a small laugh.

“I thought it’d be your mom before your dad,” Regan replies as Chase shakes his head.

“Nah. Dad knew if he said yes that he’d get some, too.” Regan chuckles as he knew that Chase had a good point. He then takes a deep breath, knowing that this wouldn’t be as easy as thought out to be.

There was a good reason for why he wanted both Bill and Cindy to leave the room. Since their little incident on Monday, the pair hadn’t talked that much. Regan didn’t know whether it was because of some anger, some awkwardness, just due to nothing needed to be said, but he wanted to get through it one way or another. He felt bad for his half of the equation and figured an apology would be a good start.

“Chase, I have something that I want to sa-” Regan goes to finally start.

“Is this about Monday?” Chase cuts him off, snapping Regan out of his planned speech. Regan then slowly shakes his head yes as Chase glances away. “I don’t want to hear it. I’d rather just forget about that conversation.”

“I know, because it’s easier to forget than face what happened. The problem is you never actually do forget – hence why things just go odd and silent between us. I want to get back to where we were befo-”

“That’s not a problem, Regan. We are where we were before. You’re still my best friend and I know that I can go to you no matter what. I understand why you left the room. It made sense to me once Dad snapped me of my thoughts. You don’t need to explain, Regan. Everything is fine.” Regan looks on surprised as he thought it’d welcome a huge discussion. It was also surprising that Chase would be so forgiving and deciding to let it go, based on the fact that everything had been touch and go about things lately.

“So why the quietness?” The explanation from Chase hadn’t set that strong with Regan. He had his questions based on Chase’s recent behavior.

“I haven’t had anything more to say about it. I let it out as to what happened and the only point was the key card. Between you and boys trying to explain, and Dad yelling, its slowly sinking in that I couldn’t had changed what happened and I’m letting go. By seeing that Randy is going to be gone away for a long time, too, that just adds to the healing because I know that I don’t have to watch over my shoulder for him.”

In Chase’s mind, if he stuck to these key points, he was going to be fine moving forward. Now with the court verdict officially complete, he didn’t need to worry about anymore, but rather focus on himself. The first order of business was healing the physical. Then he would worry about healing the mental. He was on the road to doing that via what he said to Regan and the steps taken mid-June, but certainly still had a road to go in his mind. There were still nightmares to erase, and still a touch of anxiety in worrying about someone being there lurking. However, given the progress already made, he had faith that it’d continue moving forward.

“So, who’s driving my car this weekend?” Chase questions, changing the topic. He hated to bring this topic up, though, as he wanted to be in that car more than anything in the world. However, he understood that he couldn’t quite do that this weekend. First he’d get back walking, and then focus on getting back behind the wheel of the car as soon as possible. Perhaps even next weekend.

“With Harvick scheduled to run the 88, the boss said that he’s driving your car,” Regan answers as Chase looks on surprised. He thought that they’d get Kasey or maybe one of the young guns. But to hear that Dale is doing it himself? That came as a surprise. Though with it being Kentucky and a double header weekend, it was understandable as the track was wide, fun and fast, and could offer some set-up help for the Cup car.

“Well, looks like the boss better be on his A-game and get a win this weekend.” Regan then shakes his head no with a smirk.

“That’s not happening because I already told the boss that he has to finish second to me.” Chase then looks at Regan surprised with his own grin.

“Yeah, good luck on that. We’ll see how the Monday morning meeting goes for you.”

 

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