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Alyssa sat there listening closely to each thing that Chase had to share with her from his experience with Mariela at Daytona when he was younger.
As he described emotional pieces from bits of it, she found herself growing a form of sadness in realizing how much pain he had gone through then. She didn’t know it at the time when she was that young, nor could’ve been able to tell in how sweet he was, or how well their times together were. It broke her heart in knowing at times, he was going through a inner battle of emotions from what happened.
It gave her some comfort, though. She was going through her own pieces with nightmares and trying to figure out the right way to make them better – different sleeping strategies. It felt nice to have someone close to her that could relate with having gone through the same experience.
“So what happened after you noticed them?” Alyssa wonders, seeing as how Chase had stopped in waiting for her reaction. He closed his eyes, recounting the events. While it had been beyond tough to describe them before, it seemed easy now to tell the tale. The saying that time healed wounds was true for 99% of everything, he supposed.
“I was hopeful in that moment that I’d be rescued – it’d all be over,” he starts. “I figured I’d go for the door, open it, and there would be my rescue and I’d have nothing to worry about any longer. I reached the door handle – my hand touched it – but she placed her hand on my shoulder and pulled me back, sending me back into the couch, back first. It hurt more than anything that I could imagine at the time – well, that was until I got stabbed in the le-”
“Seriously?” Chase freezes upon hearing her reaction. He thought that she would’ve heard some details, any details from what happened. There was such thing as google. There were other people in her life. Why didn’t she know anything?
“You didn’t know that I stabbed in the leg at some point?” She shakes her head no as she thinks it over.
“I know that you had an incident in a hotel with Mariela’s helper, in he got out on bail and attac-”
“That’d be the stabbing in the leg.” She then shakes her head, putting the pieces together. The details that she had heard about from friends –disbelief in seeing how strong Chase seemed despite what he had gone through – came from hearing something happened previously with regards to a hotel. However, the details of the attack were not depicted in that conversation.
“Okay, that makes sense. It detailed that you were attacked in a hotel room about a week before a trial, but didn’t detail the exact injury.” He then moves the blanket aside, pulling the pajama pants down that he was wearing to reveal just his boxers underneath.
“See the mark on my left thigh?” She then looks over, seeing an inch long scar. “That’s from the stabbing. He came into my hotel room, caught me off-guard, we fought and he grabbed a knife. He was then able to stab me in the leg before I knocked him out.” He takes a deep breath as he looks down at it himself. There were times that it still bothered him to talk about it. “That pain was just unbelievable, more than anything that I’ve ever felt before. They told me that if I hadn’t gotten the help when I did from Ryan and Bubba, I could’ve bled out that night. I’m lucky they were there, and knew what to do.”
“Chase….” She then curls up closer to him, wrapping her arms around him as he wraps an arm around her back. She could feel a touch of hot tears on her cheeks that hadn’t been able to find themselves there before, feeling the pain of that possibly happening and not getting to experience the time that they were having now.
“You don’t need to cry. Hey…” He then lifts her head to look up his eyes, wiping away couple of the tears. “Listen, the good thing is that I made it through the experience and am here with you now. Sure, it was scary and one of the worst experiences of my life. But, I made it through for a good reason – to win races, spend more time with family, and be with you. You don’t need to cry.” She then takes a sniff in as she lays her head back against him.
“I’m sorry. I guess I just got caught up in the thought of it. I remember being that little kid and you having a period of time where we couldn’t play certain games because you had to rest your injuries. I never knew how serious or anything. It just surprises me.” He sits there remembering back to those times in how she was there, always able to light up the room and cheer him up through the tougher times with her charmfulness in being the little sweet kid that she was. He couldn’t count the amount of times that he simply asked Dale to spend time with her to use as a distraction.
“That’s because I didn’t want you to know. You were still young, sweet and innocent. I didn’t want to shock the princess’ fairy tale life with these sorts of things. No kid should know this. Besides, your sweetness helped me. I’d come to you when I was feeling upset, or needing a friend, or a change in pace, to simply play a game or color a photo so that I didn’t have to think about it. I could just focus on that innocence that you had, and how perfect the world could be.” She smiles in hearing those words, remembering how she cherished a bunch of times even now as she had gotten older.
“I still remember when I made you draw 43 racecars, because there are 43 racecars on the track at a time.” Chase laughs as despite being annoyed and not the best racecar artist, he managed to draw each of the cars on a big piece of paper for her.
“That was the most ridiculous request that you ever asked me about. I can’t believe that…” She then laughs.
“I still have that picture as it’s up on the wall in my room if you want to see it.” He then shakes his head as she lets out a sigh. “I’m sorry. I distracted you from your story and what you were telling me. Go on….” He then rubs her back.
“It’s okay. This is all about getting everything out there, and that includes feelings about the stabbing and such. Whenever you want to ask something, just ask, okay?” She shakes her head as he take a deep breath, remembering back to where he left off. “So my mom yells for help, which led me to still believe I was set for safety soon. I started to get up, though I watched her hand reach for her back pocket, thinking that she had a gun, though saw a silver shin-”
“A gun would’ve been…..” Alyssa then lets out a sigh. “I’m not even going to go there.” Chase shakes his head in agreement.
“That’s what me and Regan agreed upon, as well. She was dangerous and insane, but it could’ve been worse. Upon seeing that knife, I felt a state of panic. My mind began to immediately play every horror movie that I had seen, with me being on the wrong end of the blade. While I was panicing, she grabbed me, and brought me close to her, with the knife at my neck. Being in that moment with her – it played over and over in my mind for a whole five years after that attack, and each flashback scared and freaked me out. What if the blade had touched my nec-”
“Remember what you just said – it could’ve been worse, but thankfully it wasn’t and you’re still here for a reason. Focus on that.” He shakes his head, knowing that he had to remember his own words. It had been a long time since he had even thought back to the moment that he had let go of some of the strategies from that time.
“I’m focusing on that – trust me. But in the spirit of emotions, I want to tell you that I dreamed of it over and over – sometimes as myself, sometimes not as myself but a third person. I kept asking myself what I could’ve done differently. We know that I’m a perfectionist – always looking back at every situaton and seeing what I could’ve done better. I’ve always told you that when it comes to your racing – no matter how well the day goes, there’s always something that you can learn from and improve from. That’s how you become a better driv-”
“How did you get over those dreams?” Chase takes a deep breath, remembering the discussion with Regan that he had in June following the attack.
“Regan and I talked through the emotions, and then also the motions. We went through each step of the attack, one by one, talking about each of the things that happened. We talked about what I could’ve done differently, and whether it would’ve worked or not. No matter what, he made me realize that there was nothing else that I could’ve done – she had me trapped, and I had to accept that. Answering those questions, and assurance that it wouldn’t happ-”
“You jinxed yourself again.” He then rolls his eyes with a slight laugh.
“Okay, so I did – but it was reassurance at the time and it made me at ease. Beyond that, my case is one of those strange issues. As far s getting over those dreams, whenever they’d come back – I remembered the strategies. I’d find a way to calm myself down when I woke up, whether cold water face wash or a glass of milk, or calling a friend. I also found a way to change the dream into the fact that I get saved when I’m sitting on the floor and never gotta worry about the knife.” It felt good to hear that the strategies that she had talked about using could actually be successful.
“Chase, how long did it take for you to be successful in those dreams?” Chase wanted to tell her that it came easily and immediately. however, that’d be a lie. That’d erase the reason why he ran away at he end of the year. That’d erase some of the tough moments in his return to Daytona. That’d erase the human element here.
“It took me awhile – a couple of years. It came together slowly, one piece at a time.” He then looks into her eyes. “Alyssa, you’ll find your way and it’ll work out for you. You can do this because I believe in you and you’re one of the strongest people that I know.” She then shakes her head as she kisses his lips.
“No, you’re the strongest person that I know to have gone through all that and still be here to talk about it, and put me first. I love you so much.” She then lets out a yawn as she curls back up against him.
“It’s late. We’ve been talking for hours. Let’s end this here for tonight, and resume tomorrow night. We all week, anyway. I love you.” He then kisses her forehead as he throws the blanket over them both, before wrapping his arms tightly around her. “I love you, and I’m never letting you go.”
I thought I’d be able to fit all of their confessions into three chapters, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. The next chapter will be a small break, but I can promise you that we will return to the confessions in the 98th chapter.