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With victories in hand and school out for spring break, both Chase and Alyssa were welcome to the week ahead.
They each spent their mornings checking in with their teams, taking part in team discussions, which were always fun after winning. They then spent some time with the team through the rest of the afternoon, using it as crucial bonding and appreciation time. The crew members always appreciated having the driver around for awhile as it showed that the driver cared. Alyssa drove the car for the pit crew practice at JR Motorsports, while Chase spent some time in the fab shop at Hendrick Motorsports, overseeing work on one of their next cars.
Following their days at work, the pair met up and went out for a victory dinner of sorts, heading to one of the local restaurants that they had hung at plenty of times before. it was nice to spend the time together on a date, away from the hussle bussle of the race track, and away from the pressure of others. They could be themselves, and having the discussions that they wanted without worrying about others.
Upon returning home that evening to the house, they both knew what the task at hand was. They had agreed to start their discussion period on Monday night and see how far they got, taking time each of the nights for the rest of the week. The project was to address everything accordingly without any fear of holding anything back. The only way that they’d both grow moving forward together and from their experiences was to be completely honest.
“So, what’s the plan?” Alyssa questions as she gets comfy on the couch. Chase walks into the room, setting down a pair of cups on the table before sitting beside her on the couch. “Hot Chocolate?”
“Whenever I’d have one of these sessions with either Regan, Darrell or Ryan, we always got hot chocolate,” he offers. “It was always soothing and calming, somewhat keeping us grounded despite the harshness of the topic at hand. Beyond that, there’s no formal plan. We just let this happen as we want it to happen. One of us begins with whatever we want to begin with, discussing everything that is warranted, and go from there. It doesn’t matter the order, or how it comes out, as long as it all comes out.” Alyssa shakes her head, accepting. It seemed easy enough and without any pressure that she felt in feeling that the world was crashing in on her. She just hoped that things remained that calm for the rest of the night.
“That sounds perfect. Would you like to begin, or should I begin?” He then shrugs his shoulders, not really caring. Normally it’d be ladies go first, but he didn’t want to put on the spot if she wasn’t totally comfortable yet. “I guess I will begin. You know everything that happened from hearing details from my parents, so we can skip that. I figured, though, that in fairness I should share the discussion that me and dad had a couple weeks ago.” Chase shakes his head, understanding.
He knew that they had met up and covered a lot of ground in figuring out the mysterious images from her dreams and how to place them along the way. Since that experience, it had slightly helped in her sleeping patterns.
They had worked at combining the dream technique in always working a way to change your thoughts, to teach yourself something different, but she was still struggling with that thus far. It was understandable, though, and Chase was willing to be patient in that regard. He knew that it had been tough himself to master it when he learned it from the psychiatrist.
“You can start whenever you are ready, and tell me however you want to tell me,” he tells her as she takes a sip of the hot chocolate, before setting it back down on the table. She then curls up with the blanket wrapped around her, eyes focused on Chase. It was now or never, no more letting the fear of saying it out loud control her.
“So when Dad and I met up that night in Las Vegas in the hauler per my request, he told me everything from start to finish in what happened on the plane,” she starts. “As he told me everything, I was able to match it up with images that I had been having, explaining why I was having those images. It actually felt good to be able to do that as I had answers that I did not have before, and understood where they belonged.” Chase could sympathize with that, remembering the comfort that he received in hearing the full explanation from Demi, even if it tore him apart more than he would’ve warranted at the time.
“It gives you reasoning and for the brain, sometimes that’s the answer so that way it’s not left asking a ton of questions. I can relate. I can remember the discussion that I had with Regan, in wanting to answer the question of why the first attack with Mariela on me happened and how it happened as it did. I even questioned why I couldn’t had done something about it, feeling satisfied with the explanations that Regan offered from the outside.” The string of events surrounding Chase’s initial meeting with Mariela intrigued Alyssa, as she had yet to ever hear much of that. She reasoned that it went back to why her parents had never talked about the plane, not wanting to relieve the horror that Mariela had put them through.
“I’m not going to detail everything, as I said, since you know what happened from hearing about it, right?” Chase shakes his head yes, remembering that discussion with Dale. The pair had a confessional night together once before, getting everything in the open as if a way to hopefully make them both feel better in having someone to relate to that understood the pain. “So I’m going to tell you the images that I was having, and how they related. That way you know the dreams that I have been having.”
“That’s a great idea, actually. Perhaps that way I can help you in our project of changing those dreams and eventually erasing them.” It almost felt too good to be true in hearing the words erasing them for Alyssa. Could that be a miracle that could happen after dealing with these for the past eight to 10 years?
“So one of my dreams, I have always seen a scary looking witch – full costume and all right out of the Wizard of Oz movie. I think that’s why I can never look straight at the lady in the movie and always cringe upon the sight or sound of her. Anyways, she’s always standing there with a red glass over my head, pouring it down on me and forcing me to swallow it. I keep telling her that I don’t want it, or I’m not thirsty, but she literally forces me to drink it.” Chase shakes his head, understanding. He could already piece where the image was coming from.
“Translation – you’re recalling when Mariela gave you the drugs that knocked you out in the apple juice, but making it like a potion drink?” Alyssa shakes her head yes. “You could always make out that she’s a good witch and that she’s giving you a fancy strawberry cocktail, or Shirley Temple. I know that you love Shirley Temples.” Alyssa licks her lips, thinking how she hadn’t had one since Christmas.
“Why did you remind me of that tasty drink?” Chase smiles as he sees the reaction on her face.
“Because that reaction would be the magic ticket for the dream. Don’t worry – I’ll satisfy your craving and get the ingredients tomorrow when I’m out so you can have one with dinner.” She smiles and shakes her head in agreement. So far, it was good to discuss things with Chase as he had already possibly solved the first image with ease.
“Oh, so the reason behind the image, is partially due to my parents. They told me that she was a witch and she would be locked away in the dunge-”
“…with the bad wolf, but then sang that song the wicked witch is dead in victory lane at Daytona. That’d explain the image. But hey, how were they to know that the image would stick?” Alyssa shakes her head, having already made that determination and held no grudge against her parents for it.
“I’m not mad at them, but I at least have that reasoning as we discussed earlier.” She then takes a deep breath, thinking to the next image. “Image No. 2 relates to the kidnapping after I had drank the juice. I dream that I’m in a box, and that box continues to shrink smaller and smaller till I can’t move or escape, and I suffocate alive in it. Now as my dad, that comes from being stuck in the luggage compartment as that’s where Stevie found me.” Chase shakes his head, remembering that. He also knew the bond that the experience on the plane had created between Steve and Dale, and how Dale was always thankful for what Steve had done that day.
“So when the box begins to shrink, you can imagine either being a strong warrior and breaking out of the box, or having a key pick in your pocket and busting out of it.” She then laughs and shakes her head no to both ideas. She couldn’t totally turn these dreams into fantasies; there had to be some realism. “Why not?”
“I’m afraid. If I’m afraid, how am I supposed to be a strong warrior and break out of the box? Oh, and having a key to pick the lock – locks are on the outside of boxes, Elliott.” He then lets out a sigh, figuring that solutions would be easy. She then cuddles up closer to him as he finds himself lost in thoughts, trying to think of something. “I have one. I’m afraid, not knowing what to do. What does a princess do when she’s afraid?”
“She calls her knight in shining amour to…save….her….” He then looks into her eyes and smiles, leaning in and giving her a kiss. “I know the knight in shining amour, and I believe I could save you in a flash. Well played, Ms. Alyssa.” She then smiles, feeling satisfied in her solution as it seemed to fit. Chase was the perfect match for her and seemed to help her in solving all other problems that she had, so why not solve that problem within the dream?
“So far we’re two-for-two with ease. Continue as you wish, dear.” She then thinks it over, debating which of the images to go with next. Thus far, she had brought them up in a chronological sense and figured that’d be the easiest way to continue.
“There’s only one more image that we have yet to address yet. There’s a flash of fire, a big flash that looks like its set to close in on me and engulf me. It also comes after a loud bang, which I know now would be a bomb per the explanation from my dad.” Chase cringes upon hearing those details, not wanting to even imagine the instinct of fear that all three – Alyssa, Dale and Steve – felt that day in the plane when the bomb went off. “I thought about grabbing a fire extinguisher and simply putting it out as if nothing happened.”
“You could also think of it as a big firework, lighting up the sky and making you dream.” She smiles as Chase’s idea had a magical sense to it, which would go perfectly in being the princess with a knight to save her.
“That’s a good idea, actually. I’ll keep that in mind and figure what works out better.” He smiles as he runs his hand through her hair. “That’s the last one that I had looking back at what happened.”
“Well that’s not too bad. I mean, it’s obviously enough that it’s affecting you and bugging you, and hard to discuss – but at least it’s not that much more serious.” He then glances into her eyes, seeing a layer that he knew that they hadn’t touched. He didn’t know whether it pertained to her, or thoughts that she had about him and what was to come. “Now that we have the images out in the open, I want you to tell me something. How did it feel once your dad told you everything and you learned the full truth for the first time?”