The Runaway – Chapters 26 Thru 30

Chapter 26: His Plan

December 12, 2015

Chase opens his eyes and glances around, surprised by his surroundings. Where was he? The last thing he remembered was the basement and the stairs…attempting to escape on the stairs. The sly bit of pain that crept up his body reminded him of what happened on those stairs. Glancing around once again, he could only be brought forth by surprise – ice. Why was he on the ice?

He glances down at the sled that he sat on, noticing how one foot was tied down a pole on the corner – obviously to prevent escape. But how would one tied down prevent escape? Ah of course, with feeling coming back to him, his hands were bound behind his back. The feeling told him that it was a simple thin tie wrap. Perhaps he could break it and free his hands, then free his foot and escape. Oh wait, that’d be too easy right?

He pulls at his hands, pulling them apart as hard as he can, trying to break the tie, if at all possible.

“Well well…you’re awake,” he hears as he focuses his eyes on Randy. So much for going about his plan in a quiet matter. The plan of freeing himself quietly, knocking out Randy and escaping wasn’t going to work now. “It was getting boring with everything being quiet around here.” An involunteer shiver escapes Chase’s body as Randy shakes his head. “Should’ve worn the coat. At least you have your sweater.”

“I could’ve put on my coat if you hadn’t knocked me out,” Chase comments, still not willing to give in. Being the third time that he was faced with Randy, he wasn’t about to let Randy win this time. He was going to do whatever it took.

Continuing to pull at the bound behind his back, he brings his wrists together, before swinging both arms in the fastest motion that he could muster, hearing the plastic break immediately.

He then freezes, catching a glimpse from Randy, knowing that he heard it. If he heard the sound that meant the action had to come rather quickly. If he could just push it off being a sound of ice cracking or the sled along the ice, he could go about freeing his foot with ease. He was already analyzing the rope that surrounded his ankle, seeing that it was a simple knot. A quick pull at the rope and it’d be easy.

Chase watches as Randy stops the snowmobile that was pulling the little sled that he sat on, obviously hearing more than Chase would’ve hoped. Chase kept his eyes focused forward, knowing that he could punch if needed, and this time he wasn’t missing an inch. He just hoped that the ice was hard enough to not crack beneath them.

Randy slowly gets off the snowmobile as Chase glances around them. He noticed an ice hole not far from where they had stopped. If only he could push Randy far enough that he’d land in the hole. Then he could become a frozen dead man for everything that he had done. It seemed fitting.

Knowing that he needs to do something sooner than later, he brings his arms out from behind his back, reaching for the rope and giving it a quick tug to release his foot.

“Help!” He screams, but feels his chant is useless considering the fact that there was nobody in the near vicinity. He could see a forest off the far west, and perhaps a lodge to the north. Other than that, there was nothing. He then stands up, facing Randy. “I’m done dealing with you.”

“You know, I was going to take you to a place and leave you up there, slowly breaking you piece by piece,” Randy starts as Chase shivers at the thought of the possibilities. “However, considering where we stand now, perhaps there’s a better idea in the works.”

Not wanting to hear what Randy could have in the works, he gives Randy a hard shove backwards away from the snowmobile-sled contraption. He then heads straight for the snowmobile, knowing if he could jump on and head off that he’d be home free.

“How are you going to start it with no keys?” Randy questions from his spot where he had landed on the ice, dangling the keys up in the air as Chase sits on the snowmobile. Chase then looks over Randy’s way, knowing that would make things a little more difficult now.

Before Chase can debate his actions further, Randy grabs his foot, pulling him off of the snowmobile. Chase reaches for any part that he could, not wanting to go any closer to the man, but results in no success as he pulled away from the machine.

“Say goodbye Chasey!” Randy says before pushing Chase back further closer to the ice hole. Chase reaches with his hands, grasping for anything that he can, but nothing can be found for grip on the slippery surface on that side of the hole. Randy gives them him one extra shove and watchhes as the young man goes splashing into the water. “Should’ve behaved.” Randy then hops on the snowmobile, placing the key in the ignition before heading off.

Feeling the ice water around him, covering every inch of his body, Chase knew he had to escape as soon as possible. He splashed in the water as much as he could, making sure to keep his head above water.

“Help! Help!” He screamed, hopeful that someone, anyone would hear him. Somebody had to be ice fishing that day.

Feeling his body grow colder in the ice water, he knew that he had to get out there before he froze and drowned. Feeling helpless, he kept making sure to keep his head above, grabbing an edge of the ice. It felt thick and if he could hold his body there, perhaps he had a chance.

He then noticed on the opposite side of the small hole that there was a pair of silver objects stuck in the ground. Whoever dug this hole for fishing had placed them incase they got stuck in the hole themselves to use to pull themselves out.

He makes his way around the small hole, continuing to hold on to the thick ice, reaching the side where he saw the pair of silver objects sticking out. He reaches his one arm out, hoping to grab hold to pull himself up. First reach – no success. He then tries to add a bit of jump before reaching, and gets closer but doesn’t reach it.

“Shit!” He lets out, glancing around to see if there was any sign of help.

With nobody in sight, he knew that he had to do it himself. Body looking to give up soon with the coldness set to overcome him, he knew he had to give it one more shot.

He then reaches as far out as he can, fingers barely wrapping around the silver metal piece. He then reaches for the second piece, able to grip it firmly in his hands. He then pulls with every bit of strength that he has left, feeling his body rise out of the water. After using every bit of effort he had, he flops on the ice and lets out a sigh.

“Can’t…stay….here…” He lets out, along with a huge shiver as he stands up. The low air temperatures combined with the fact that he was soaked right through were not going to be a good combination. He knew he needed to find help right away, or else he’d be dead due to hypothermia.

Glancing around his surroundings, he catches glimpse of the cabin in the distance to the north. It didn’t seem too far away. Perhaps someone was home and could help him. Even if someone wasn’t home, perhaps there was a fire place that he could light for heat.

Knowing his life depended on it, he took off running, hoping that it was closer than it seemed and he could get there before long.

Back at the police station, detective Anthony Rutz had just gotten off the phone with a police officer. The officer had located Randy in the northern part of Ontario, but without Chase. That officer went forth with questioning, revealing that Randy revealed the young man’s fate.

Anthony glanced in the room at the parents, shaking his head. He knew that it would be hard to tell the parents this news, but it had to be done. Even though they’d be scared, worried, and thinking the worst happened, he knew they deserved to know.

He walks into the room, taking a deep breath as Bill and Cindy look up at him, intrigued by his entrance. They could only hope for good news now.

“I have news….” Anthony starts as Cindy feels her heart sink, immediately. The tone of the detective’s voice told her immediately that something was wrong.

“Where is he?” Bill questions, keeping Cindy clutched close to him.

“Randy says they had an argument on the ice and he fell in a hole…” Cindy immediately buries her head in Bill’s chest, feeling tears come to her eyes immediately.

“Oh no…” She lets out as Anthony takes a deep breath.

“We’ve sent out rescue to find him,” he states. “I can assure you that we work with the best in the business and they will find him shortly.” Anthony then leaves the room, knowing that there wasn’t much more he could say.

It was now a game of waiting.

 

Chapter 27: The Ski Lodge

December 12, 2015

Cindy and Bill sit in the room quietly, arms wrapped around each other, waiting for news. They wanted to hear something, anything, after hearing the previous update that the detective had to give.

Dale and Regan had both returned to the room, each taking a wall to stand back against. Regan had his eyes closed, slightly praying that they got good news soon. Dale, meanwhile, was lost in his own thoughts of the events that had transpired over the past year.

Everybody snaps out of their thoughts as they watch the door click open, with the detective returning to the room. The lack of emotion on his face immediately spelled trouble in Dale’s mind, having seen the same reaction when going through the situation with Marie.

“And?” Cindy questions, not waiting to wait for anymore time to pass. “Well? How is he? Where is he?” The detective takes a careful deep breath, remembering the words from the officer on the phone. The words that she had left him with brought forth an even slimmer chance at hope than the previous call.

“We haven’t found anything….” He starts, knowing that he can’t drag it out any longer

“Keep searching!”

“We are. We’re sending special divers in the ice, but if he’s there, he’d be gone by now…”

“No…no….no….no….that can’t be….” Bill pulls Cindy closer, wrapping his arms around her even tighter if possible.

“They’re going to find him,” he tells her quietly. “He’s going to be okay.” He then looks up at the detective. “Find my son and make sure that he’s alright. If he’s not, then Randy won’t have to worry about seeing a jail cell again.”

Meanwhile back out on the ice, Chase had been making his way across, getting closer to the ski lodge with each step. As he made the journey, it had been further away than he thought at first – or perhaps it was the fact that his movements were growing slower due to the cold taking over his body more. Still, he kept moving, knowing that it was his only chance for survival.

After what seemed like forever, he reached the doors of the ski lodge, pushing on the door slowly and walking inside. He glances around the area, immediately noticing the fire place that sat lit in the corner.

As he moves slowly closer to the fire place, his behavior catches the attention of one of the desk attendants. She watched his low movements and looked down his body, seeing the water drip off his sweater and pants. She then caught a glimpse of his face, before glancing towards a poster that had been circulating since yesterday. Her jaw dropped immediately.

“Call Emergency!” She yells, catching the attention of her fellow desk attendant. “We have the missing man…” She then shoves the flyer across the desk. “He looks soaked and…shit, probably suffering from a bit of hypothermia. Get help here right away!” She then darts out from behind the counter, immediately going over to Chase.

She wraps both of her arms around him, leading him to a small room. He easily accepts, unable to fight against it due to weakness if this was trouble. It felt wrong to be going away from the fire, but perhaps this girl had a solution. She was dressed in a uniform.

She leads him into the room, closing the door behind them. She then lets him go before going over to the closet, shifting through the towels. She knew the blankets were in there and knew that’s what he needed.

“Take your clothes off!” She yells in his direction, noticing the shakes and shivers that were leaving his body. She knew he needed to get the wet clothes off.

“Okay…” He lets out, a little hesitant as she finds the blankets, laying them out on the floor. She then returns her attention back to him, watching as he slowly removes the sweater that adorned his body. “Are you…”

“It’s okay – I’m not going to hurt you nor am I asking for sex. I want to help you.” She then helps him finish taking off the sweater. “Take your t-shirt off, then your pants as well. The quicker you’re out of your wet clothes the better. My partner has called for help so the paramedics should be here immediately to tend to you. Till then, I’ve got a plan to help you get warm.” He slowly shake his head yes as he works on taking his t-shirt off, though the wetness clings to his body. She could tell by the slow reflexes and shivers that he was definitely experiencing early signs of hyperthermia. “Lift your arms up…” He does as instructed as she quickly takes the t-shirt off, before pulling down his pants.

“Underwear too?” She shakes her head yes as she turns to the closet, throwing him a towel. The bit of slurred speech had her concerned, too.

“It’s wet – you need to be dry as possible.” He then takes them off, keeping the towel wrapped himself. She then leads him over to the blankets, pulling a couple back. “Lay down inside the blankets. They’re heated blankets so the warmth coming off of them should help warm you up.” He climbs in the blankets as instructed as she makes sure they’re securely wrapped around him.

“Thank…you…” She then sits down beside him.

“Stay with me. If you start to go unconscious, don’t. I need to stay with me till help gets here.” She watched as the shivers and shakes continued.

“So…cold…”

“You’re going to be okay…”

Once the emergency staff showed up at the ski lodge, they got him on a stretcher and said that they’d be taking him to hospital via air transport. An officer on scene assured him that his parents would be notified, and set to join him when he got there.

That officer got a hold of the detective shortly thereafter, relaying the information that was needed. Anthony could only let out a sigh of relief in knowing that Chase had been found, and was going to hopefully be okay.

With the information in hand, he returned back to the room with Chase’s parents, Dale and Regan. All eyes immediately lied on him, obviously worried that the worst news possible would be shared.

“And?” Regan breaks the silence, hoping that everything was going to work out.

“We found him,” Anthony answers, causing everybody to let out a sigh of relief. If he was found and the detective looked more hopeful this time around, that meant that things were looking positive. “He was at a local ski lod-”

“How is he?” Cindy cuts him off, just wanting to make sure that Chase is okay. The detective takes a deep breath, remembering what he was told.

“They are taking him to hospital as he’s pretty sick due to being wet and the coldness. I have arranged transport for all of you to meet him at the hospital. When you get there, the doctor will obviously have more information to share, and let you see him.” Everybody then gets set to leave as Dale thinks things over. He could only picture an ice hole, and no escape. How do you escape an ice hole?

“The hole…” He lets out, catching the detective’s attention. That was a mystery that the detective couldn’t even answer.

“He clawed his way out and went in search of shelter,” the detective says. “I don’t know how he got out. We’ve never seen this before. I will tell you that he’s lucky.”

 

Chapter 28: Hospital

December 12, 2015

The detective leads the group into the hospital, and up to the desk, which causes the desk attendant to look up.

“May I help you?” She questions as she looks over the group, curiously.

“These people are here to see Chase Elliott,” Anthony states as she shakes her head, understanding. “I was notified by fellow officers that he was brought here.” The desk attendant crosses her arms, continuing to examine the group.

“Relation, please.” The detective looks back at the group.

“Cindy and Bill – his parents,” Dale states, knowing that Cindy and Bill are lost at words out of worry. “Dale – his car ow…well, I guess teammate starting this year at Hendrick Motorsports. And that’s Regan – his ex-teammate, but closest confident through this.” The attendant shakes her head, accepting the information.

“Right…” She then looks down at her own notes before returning her eyes to them. “ID please?” Dale and Regan’s jaws drop in shock as the detective spreads his arms out to hold the pair back. The detective then takes out his badge, flashing it for the attendant.

“Detective Anthony Rutz. I’ve been on this case since the beginning,” the detective states. “They haven’t seen Chase since the beginning of the month. I think it’s safe to say that they’re wanting to see him as soon as possible and find out what’s going on. Now rather than stalling around, why don’t you get up off your ass and do your job?” The desk attendant look at the detective, surprised by his tone. She then places a call through the system, before looking up at him with a smile.

“Dr. Grayson would like to meet with the family and discuss things before they are allowed to see him,” she says. “He will meet them in the meeting room A, which I will get an attendant to lead you, too.” The detective flashes a small smile.

“Thank you for your co-operation.” She then motions towards the door, where an attendant is standing. Cindy and Bill head that way first, with Dale and Regan following.

“Um excuse me – Dr. Grayson said family only.” Bill then looks over at the desk attendant.

“These two are like family and they’re with Chase as much as us,” he states. “They’re coming. They have my permission and that should be enough.” The attendant rolls her eyes.

“Go ahead but don’t shoot me when he chases you out of the room. It seems everybody gets their way around here…”

“If you don’t like your job, why don’t you tell your boss instead of your patient’s family?” The detective advises as the attendant leads Bill, Cindy, Dale and Regan through the doors.

The group follows the attendant through the halls of the hospital, before reaching a small stretch of rooms. Bill takes a far glance, trying to get any glimpse that he could of where Chase could be, while keeping Cindy pulled close to him. The attendant then opens a door, motioning for them to go inside.

“This isn’t his room…” Cindy comments as Bill leads her inside.

“Remember – the doctor wants to speak to us first,” he tells her as he rubs her shoulders.

“Why would he want to do that? What’s wrong?” Bill gets her to sit in one of the chairs as he rubs her shoulders.

“They just want to tell us how he is first. Relax – everything is going to be fine.” Dale then pushes the other chair closer, and motions for Bill to sit in it.

“Sit with her – we’ll be fine,” he comments before going to lean against one of the walls beside Regan. The pair share a glance, knowing that they have to remain as the strong willed ones in the room no matter what is shared.

“I hate this feeling…” Regan whispers as Dale shakes his head in agreement. “It doesn’t get easier.” Dale shakes his head in agreement once again.

“We got to stop doing this.” Regan glances over.

“We could go kill Randy so he can’t ever sneak out of jail again.” Dale shakes his head.

“I couldn’t let you go through with it. I need your ass to help take care of Chase. Besides, Megan would strangle me if she heard that I let you get away with it.” Regan quietly chuckles in agreement.

The pair then freeze up as they watch the door open and watch the doctor enter the room. Regan gives him the once look over, noticing that he’s one of the senior members probably on the staff. That would mean experience, hopefully meaning that Chase was in good hands. It could also mean that things are really serious due to needing a senior…..Regan shakes his head and shakes those thoughts out of mind. Chase was going to be fine and in a matter of days, he’d be heading home with them.

“Mr. and Mrs. Elliott, I’m Dr. Grayson,” he holds out his hand, shaking each of their hands, focusing on the pair. “I’ve followed racing since I was a little boy and am fully familiar with the family. I hate to see us meet under these circumstances.” The doctor then leans back against his desk as his eyes finally travel to the other two occupants in the room. “I said family only, but I assume you both have permission to be here?” Dale and Regan shake their heads yes.

“They’re around Chase a lot and have been by his side since everything started with Randy back in February,” Bill states, catching the doctor’s attention. “I think it’s only fitting that they know what’s going on. Them finding out isn’t going to make Chase or anything.” The doctor shakes his head in agreement.

“I have no concerns because given team relations, I can see how close everybody is.” He then opens the file, glancing over his own notes. “Now, before I go forward, I’m going to start off with the biggest piece of news. While things do look a little serious right now – critical condition as listed, Mr. Elliott is expected to make a full recovery.” Cindy lets out a sigh of relief as that was music to her ears.

“Then why can’t I see my son yet?” She questions as she looks up at the doctor.

“You’ll get to see your son very shortly ma’am,” Dr. Grayson assures her. “I just want you to know everything that’s going on first, okay? Given that he’s sleeping right now, I figured we could talk and get everything out of the way before he woke up. He was awake earlier and asking for you so I can assure you that he can’t wait to see you.”

“Details…please…” Bill instructs, just wanting to hear what the doctor had to share. It was nice to know that Chase was expected to fully recover, but what was dealt in front of them right now?

“Yes, of course. Now, I’m sure the detective and police informed you that Mr. Elliott was in an ice cold water hole on the lake. The normal average body temperature for a human is 98.6 Fahrenheit. When your son was reached by emergency personnel, they determined that is temperature had fallen beneath that level by about 10 degrees. As a result, it appears that the submersion in water brought forth hypothermia. Other signs that were noticed were the sight of shivering, a bit of dizziness as he was being flown to the hospital from the ski lodge, slightly slurred speech and slower reflexes.”

“But you said he’s expected to make a full recovery, so….” Dale tries to add the encouraging thought to the bounce of news, seeing the reaction on Cindy’s face.

“With the warm blankets that he was wrapped in by the ski lodge attendant and the fact that they kept him wrapped up till he arrived here, it allowed that body temperature to increase significantly. That’s a great thing, because that means we were able to keep it at moderate hypothermia versus a severe case. We have continued treatment since his arrival, with the continued usage of a light heated blanket and warm IV fluids to warm his body from the inside. The combination of everything has seen the temperature continue to increase, and we’re almost back to where it should be.” Cindy takes a deep breath, feeling confident in knowing that they had caught it early enough and the improvement the doctor spoke of. She also said a silent prayer of thanks for him getting out of that hole – somehow -, finding that ski lodge and whoever helped him there. She knew that her heart wouldn’t be content with what she was hearing, though, till she was able to wrap her arms around him.

“Now, can I go see him?” Cindy questions as the doctor slowly shakes his head no.

“Easy Cindy…” Bill comments as he reaches over and pats her hand. “The doctor has more that we should know. Patience. Remember – he’s getting some much needed rest right now.” Cindy then glances over at Bill.

“I just want to go see my baby….” Bill shakes his head understanding as the doctor flips through his notes.

 

Chapter 29: Dr. Grayson’s Report

December 12, 2015

Bill and Cindy sat in the chairs, eyes locked on the doctor. Cindy could barely pay attention to what he had to say as she was more focused on getting to her baby.

Dale and Regan took their spot near the back of the room, leaning against the wall listening. They both believed that Chase was going to be fine and were set to handle the formality of hearing the doctor’s findings. Though they also hoped that it went as quickly as possible so they could get the parents to the spot that they belonged right now.

“We also noticed a drug in Mr. Elliott’s system that was most likely used by Mr. Roberts to knock him unconscious,” the doctor continues, catching everyone’s attention. Regan knew based on details so far that there would be a couple of late night discussions to come again. “Now, drug usage can increase heat loss so that had us worried – but as I said, we combated that. The amount of drug left in the body isn’t of worry, though, as it’s lost its effect and will just be flushed out naturally.”

“So there’s no other side effects or anything to worry about from whatever drug that Randy used, right?” Bill questions, trying to stay tuned into everything the doctor is saying. He knew that Cindy wasn’t paying total attention – just focused on wanting to see Chase as soon as possible. That left him to ask the needed the questions and soak in the details.

“That’s correct.” The doctor then glances over his notes. “Now, there’s irony in this – a little. While he was submerged in water and had it all around him, he did suffer from a bit of dehydration. That, though, has since been tackled via the fluids.” The doctor returns his eyes to his notes, before glancing up. “Mr. Elliott also showed signs that he was under some pain. Now, some of that pain could be due to the coldness in his body. Sometimes when the muscles and joints get cold, they ache as if a warning sign to the body. So we’re looking for that pain to improve as he gets warmer. However, we are watching closely with regards to his back as there are a couple marks – as if he was pushed against something.” Regan and Dale share a glance and Regan shakes his head, reading Dale’s mind. The pair knew that Chase didn’t take lightly to what happened.

“He said he wasn’t going to back down if Randy found him,” Dale whispers, remembering their phone conversation a couple nights before Chase was kidnapped. “Pushed against the wall or ground is a possibility.” Regan shakes his head.

“We’re also keeping a close eye on his left thigh as we noticed a scar from a previous injury…” The doctor’s voice trails off as Bill shakes his head, remembering. It was something that he wouldn’t rather remember, though, as the sight of the blood in the hotel room still bugged him.

“He was stabbed in July by, well, you can guess who,” Bill states as the doctor makes a note.

“As I said, we’re keeping an eye on that area,” the doctor states. “If signs of pain continue to remain strong as he warms up, we will address accordingly with the right pain medication. Now with the coldness, he obviously has a bit of your common winter cold – sniffles, cough. With his body being weak due to the fight that it seems he went through for survival, we’re keeping a close eye on his condition to make sure it doesn’t get worse. We’ve also started antibiotics to combat that, too. There is a chance, though, that it could develop into phuemonia.” The doctor then closes the file. “With all that said, we’re going to keep him for at least 48 hours on close watch. If things improve, we will look at when we can release him to head home.” At that comment, Cindy was certain that they had found the end of the doctor’s spell.

“Now, can I go see my son?” Cindy questions as the doctor takes a deep breath.

“There’s one more thing and since you’ve dealt with occurrences like this before, I think it’s obvious where we’re going. There are some psychological concerns in regards to how he’s going to react to what happened moving forward. I have a list of sugg-”

“Like you’ve said, we’ve been through enough to understand what you’re saying – almost too much if you ask me,” Dale cuts him off, stepping forward into the middle of the room as he keeps an eye on Cindy. “I’m sure both Cindy and Bill are aware of that side. We’ve been through it with him.” Dale takes a deep breath, hoping this pays off. “The best medicine for that kid is to be back in the arms of his parents, where he knows he is loved and safe. It’ll help ease everything for him. If I could make a suggestion, let them go forth and go see him. It’ll ease every worry that they’re having right now. Regan and I will stay behind and listen to your suggestions, considerations and whatever else you have in regards to that department. We’ll then share it with them at a later time, but right now – Chase needs them, and they need him.” The doctor then glances at the group and shakes his head in agreement.

“That’s fine,” he accepts. “You can go see him. It’ll be your third door on your left down the hall.” Cindy and Bill quickly stand up and head towards the door as Cindy locks eyes with Dale for a second.

“Thank you,” she says as he pulls her into a hug.

”Go see him and take care of him,” he tells her. “Regan and I will handle what the doctor has to say, the paperwork, bills and then phoning everyone so they know what’s going on.” She then shakes her head, accepting.

“Thank you.” He then lets her go.

“He needs you, Cindy. Go take care of him. Regan and I will be in after.” She then leaves the room with Bill as Regan and Dale focus on the doctor. The pair take the seats before the doctor’s desk, set to listen to what he has to say. “Now, what were you going to say?” The doctor takes a deep breath.

“I going to advise that there will be possible signs of psychological concern to watch for moving forw-” Dr. Grayson starts.

“Ranging from panic attacks, to nightmares, to flashbacks, and probably developing PTSD,” Regan cuts him off, having heard the details as the doctor looks towards Regan. “We’ve heard this spell before. Dale went through it twice after dealing with Marie’s family. We heard it after what happened in Daytona, and then again in July. We know what you’re to say. We’re aware of the situation and everything at hand. It doesn’t make it easier, though.” Dr. Grayson takes a deep breath.

“That’s why I was going to suggest that possibly seeing a therapist or psychiatrist would be advised moving forward. I do have a couple suggested people that you could see, some of which are located here and others that I know that are in the States for when you return home.” Dale then takes a deep breath, wanting to get through this process as quick as possible.

“We appreciate your suggestions, however I can assure you that we have it under control,” Dale assures the doctor. “Hendrick Motorsports has a resident psychiatrist for helping us drivers with situations relative to racing, and non-relative to racing. Beyond that, I have someone that I went and saw a couple of times.” Regan then looks over at Dale surprised.

“When?” Regan questions, curiously as Dale glances over.

“After I got back from Pitronia and dealing Marie’s dad. That, combined with the plane ride, caused a tirade of thoughts. Stevie suggested a friend of his that I could go see. It helped.” Dale then turns his eyes back to the doctor. “Beyond that, we also have other measures in place to make sure that everything is taken care of. Chase knows that he can turn to either of us at anytime and share anything that he wants to share. Heck – he called Regan at 3 in the morning because he couldn’t sleep and they spent a good four hours discussing things. Like he said, we know what you’re going to say and suggest.” Dr. Grayson then crosses his arms, looking between the pair.

“Then what are you expecting me to say next?” He asks as Dale focuses his eyes back on the doctor.

“We know everything that you’re concerned with medically with regards to Chase,” Dale starts. “We know the psychological speech. Please hand over the paperwork that I know you’re requiring and I’ll fill it ou-”

“You’re not allowe-”

“Bill and Cindy will be fine with me filling it out. Besides, I’ll get them to read it over when I’m done to make sure that it’s correct. Oh, and give me the form for the payment information. I’ve got that handled, as well.” Dr. Grayson shakes his head, accepting, as he goes behind his desk to the required forms as Dale looks over at Regan. “Can yo-”

“I’m going to call Starr, Marie, Bubba, Rick and Megan in that order,” Regan cuts him off, already knowing the instruction at hand. “Based on the protocol in place, those five people will make sure that the rest knows what’s going on.”

“You’re good,” Dale comments. “Tell Marie that I love her and will give her a shout later.” Regan shake his head, accepting, as he leaves the room to make the calls.

Dale was standing by his words. He knew that right now, the most important thing for Chase was having his parents beside him. For that reason, Dale was set to handle everything else behind the scenes to make sure the kid got what he deserved for everything that he had been through.

Once everything was handled, Dale knew that he and Regan would take their turn going to say hello to him. He wasn’t worried about rushing that time, though. He knew Chase was going to be okay and they’d have plenty of time to spend together in the future.

 

Chapter 30: The Reunion

December 12, 2015

Bill and Cindy quietly entered the room, both locking their eyes on their son. Cindy had been the emotional one of the pair so far, but a glance at how he looked and Bill felt his heart caving as he shook his head in disbelief.

“He doesn’t look that bad…” Bill summarizes as he walks further into the room behind Cindy. Cindy takes a seat in the chair beside his bed while Bill stands behind it.

There he lied in the bed, both arms tucked underneath the blankets. He totally tucked in, obviously by the doctors to try and get him warmed up quickly. That probably also explained the hat that was on his head. Cindy could tell that the IV ran to the arm further from her, and found her eyes glancing up at the monitors. The constant beep could be considered music to her and Bill at that point.

They both sat there in silence, watching as he continued to sleep. As the doctor had said, the sleep was good for him based on being weak. The pair could only wonder what he had been through over the past couple of days, with Cindy’s mind wandering to the past couple of weeks.

“No…no…” Cindy hears him mumble in his sleep, catching her attention. “No…no…Help…”

“Chase, wake up honey,” she tells him, knowing that he’s having a bad dream by his words. She then brushes her hand across his forehead, wiping a bit of hair away. “Chase, wake up!” His eyes slowly open as he comes out of the dream, eyes locking on his mother. Was this real? Or was he stuck in another dream?

“Mom?” A small smile forms on her face as she shakes her head yes.

“Mom and Dad are here for you now.” He then glances around the room, knowing that he’s in the hospital – where he was upon falling asleep. He then turns his eyes back to his parents.

“I’m not dreaming…am I?” Cindy shakes her head no as she puts her hand on the blankets.

“No, you’re not dreaming. We’re here for you now and we’re not going anywhere.” He shakes his head, accepting, while taking a deep breath. A small tear trickles down his face as he brings both his hands out from underneath the layer of blankets.

“Momma…” He then reaches out for her, in which she accepts immediately as he pulls her close into a hug. “I love you. I missed you. I’m so glad to see you.”

“I love you too, and I missed you.” She then releases back a bit, noticing a couple more tears falling down his cheeks. “Sssh, don’t cry…”

“I missed you so much…” She feels her eyes get wet as she backs up a bit, letting Bill get a hug in with him. “I missed you too.”

“I missed you a lot, but I knew you needed the time,” Bill tells him as he gives him a hug. Bill then lets go as Cindy sits back in the chair. She then clasps back on to his hand.

“I’m not letting you go….” She tells him as he looks over at her with a slight smile.

“I don’t want you to leave me,” he tells her. “I don’t want to be without my momma.” He then lays his head back against the pillow, letting out a sigh.

“How are you feeling?” Bill asks the obvious question of the day. That and the pondering question on their minds about how he got out of the hole. It was something that bugged Bill big time, but he didn’t want to pressure Chase into telling them about what happened yet. He knew that when Chase was ready, he would tell them.

“Cold…still…” He was certainly warmer than he was earlier and could feel everything in the right places as normal. However, he still wasn’t as warm as he would like to be yet, either. At least the shivers had subsided. “My back is a little sore. I feel like I’m going to sneeze my head off in a bit. I feel weak…and tired.” He then lets out a yawn.

“Well, rest up and focus on getting better. If you want to sleep more, than sleep more. We’re not going anywhere.” Chase liked the sounds of that. While it was nice to have some time to himself, there was no where else that he wanted to be at that point than with his parents and being smothered by their love. Their love could help ease every single thought that was on his mind and help him for the time being. However, he couldn’t totally ease yet. There was something bigger on his mind.

“Demi…” He then looks over at his parents. “She’s a girl that I met – Regan probably told you about her. She went out that morning – left a note. Did you hear anything?” Cindy glances up at Bill, both knowing what the detective had told them about Demi. She didn’t want to say it as she hated sharing bad news with him. “You guys did…”

“Chase, perhaps we can talk about that lat-” Bill didn’t want to talk about it quite yet, not sure as to how Chase would react. He figured that they could focus on him getting better first.

“You know something, and there’s a reason that you’re not telling me.” He then takes a deep breath. “Please, tell me.” The beeps on the monitor slightly increased and Cindy and Bill knew that was because his heart rate was rising over the anxiety of wanting to know what they had to say. Bill didn’t want to say anything, but he knew no way around it.

“She helped Randy find you,” Bill reveals as Chase looks at him in shock. “Someone called her saying that you were spotted entering the apartment building late that night. She agreed to leave the apartment early to leave you alone. That’s what the detective told us that she said.” Chase glances down at the bed, shaking his head in disbelief. It couldn’t be true. He had trusted her. He loved her and trusted her. She was his first. Why? “She was a rin-”

“I know, but she said that she was going to help me escape. She told me that Randy was in the area. That’s why I called Dale and we set the plan to meet at the airport.” He glances around the room, shaking the tears that he feels coming once again. “I can’t believe that she’d do that.”

“Chase…honey…” Cindy says as she squeezes his hand a little as his eyes look back to her. “Some people can be deceiving and evil.” Chase lets out a small laugh and shakes his head.

“Don’t I know that better than anyone?” He questions. “She told me she loved me and she’d help me. Figures. I should’ve ran as soon as she said that she was a ring member.” He also knew that he made another big mistake in the process, too – sleeping with her. However, that wasn’t something he was about to tell his parents.

“It’s okay. That’s in the past. The good news is that you’re going to get better, and things are going to be fine.” That was good news to lie his head on, but that didn’t cure the ache that formed in his heart. Tears creeping down his face, he grasps to his mom’s hand as he lies back, trying to relax.

“Don’t leave me. Don’t let go….please.” Cindy feels her heart cave a little at those words as she keeps hold of his hand.

“I’m not going anywhere, Chase. I’ll be right here by your side as long as you need me to be here – I promise.” He swallows the lump that’s forming in his throat, trying to erase that thought from his mind.

“Ryan and Darrell stayed back, but we’ve kept them in the loop as to how you’re doing,” Bill states, changing the topic. He knew that Demi was a sore subject now and one that Chase wanted to avoid. Bill was fine with that, for now. They could address that later, as originally planned. “They were both pretty worried after the phone call, but hearing that you’re going to be okay has eased their worries.” Chase shakes his head.

“When Randy was there, I wanted to find help somehow,” he starts slowly. “I grabbed m phone and hit dial. I would’ve called 9-1-1 but I only had enough time to hit a button. I didn’t care who it called, as long as someone knew what was going on. I hate putting them through hearing that, though.”

“Darrell told me it was fine, as long as he knew that you’d be okay. You don’t need to worry about that.”

“Perhaps after you can Facetime them so they hear it from you,” Cindy suggests as Chase looks over with a small smile. Speaking with friends would certainly help right now.

“Regan and Dale are here,” Bill tells him. “They flew up with us. They’re dealing with phoning everybody but they said they’d come see you shortly.” That was something that could add to the happiness. The more people that he had around him, the better. It gave him the feeling of being secure and loved, and that would help more than anything with the thoughts that were slewing through his mind. He also knew that whether he liked it or not, he was going to have to spend some time talking to Regan, again.

“Oh, and Randy was caught by the police – thankfully. They promised us that they’re putting him in the more secure jail cell that they have in the United States, with his own set of prison guards, so he doesn’t escape again. If he gets through his 30 years in the US, he has another lovely 25 years to serve for what he did to you here.” Chase’s comfort only increased that much more with hearing that. He just hoped that those guards did their job and kept him locked up because he wasn’t set to deal with him, again.

“What are you thinking?” Chase then looks over at his dad, seeing as how Bill was reading his thoughts.

“Just glad to see you guys and everybody,” he tells him. “It’s not home, but it’s a step closer. I just want to go home. I just want to be with everybody.”

He didn’t want to think about what happened with Randy. He didn’t want to think about what happened with Demi.

He just wanted to focus on the positives – thankful that he was alive, and glad to have his parents back by side.

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