The thought of picking out the perfect gift continued to linger on Chase’s mind as he headed into the following race weekend at Martinsville Speedway.
With the only practice before qualifying complete, he met up with his teammates in the lounge, and it somehow managed to come up as a topic of discussion.
“I’ve always heard it’s best to go with something that’s special,” Cameron Hayley offers from his perspective. “What is something that would mean something between the pair of you? Possibly you could get a certain necklace, or a bracelet.”
“What about those charm bracelets?” Ella suggests as she had always thought they were cute. “You buy the bracelet and then a couple initial charms that mean something to you and her together, like ones that stand for something. Then, as you go forward, you can continue to add to that.” These both seemed like a solid suggestions, and Chase could even picture himself going with the charm bracelet idea. However, the more he thought about Alyssa, she was your tomboy type who didn’t wear a lot of jewelry.
“So I’m going to get jewelry for the girl that doesn’t wear much at all?” He questions as the teammates shrug their shoulders.
“That just seems odd considering that she used to drive us nuts as a kid with that crown,” Karsyn comments, remembering how Alyssa loved dressing up as a princess with her dress and crown.
“That’s the only fancy thing that the girl loves.” Karsyn chuckles and shakes her head in agreement. She certainly had picked up on the lack of jewelry – maybe even jewelry phobia as a whole that her father had. “Okay, so she’s not the dressy girl and more likes to have fun. It seems that she’s always doing these memorable things. What about a way to capture those moments, like a camera? She seems adventurous and getting into photography would be perfect.”
“You could even get a scrapbook kit so that way she can put whatever memorable moments that she captures together in a book,” Cameron adds. “Or you can do up a scrapbook with some memorable photos from through the years of you two together.” Chase shook his head no, immediately, as he wasn’t the creative type and doing that would involve too much creative work. However, the initial thought of a camera and scrapbook kit for Alyssa seemed alright. It seemed right up her alley. He also had to admit that doing up a scrapbook of their special moments together was something he was filing in the back of his mind was a future Valentine ’s Day gift; perhaps he could get creative on that day.
“Camera and scrapbook kit is on the list of ideas,” he offers, making a note on his cellphone. He had come up with a couple other things, though kept asking himself – would she really enjoy the present? Did it fit her perfectly? Was it truly a special gift?
“She seems like she’s busy, lots on her mind – no time for herself,” Ella starts. “What about a spa day? Treat her to a day at the spa getting pampered like no other. I know that would be the perfect gift for me.” Chase had to admit that Ella had a good idea, considering that it would probably help with the other stresses amongst her life. He also wouldn’t mind that himself as things had been a little hectic lately with everything that was going on.
“A spa day together, ending with a special gift – added.” He just wondered if that clashed too much with the idea that he had already put in place with his partner in crime for her actual birthday. Was it really fair to get her to go out twice?
“Are you ever going to decide on something?” Cameron wonders as he glances over the list that Chase has. Chase chuckles and shakes his head no.
“I will probably decide like the day before,” he comments. “I just want it to be perfect and right…and fitting. It’s her 18th birthday. Do you know how special that is? I remember when I turned 18.”
“You’re putting too much pressure on yourself Chase,” Karsyn says. “That girl loves and adores you. She’ll love whatever you do for her. I’m sure whatever else you have planned beyond this gift will be plenty. Just pick something that fits her personality and go with it, and stop fretting over the small details. Besides, don’t you have a race season and Prom planning to already focus on?” Chase lets out a sigh, knowing that Karsyn was right in her own ways.
There was already enough going on with the messages between himself, Darrell, Shelby and a couple others in setting up the NASCAR prom. They had decided on the theme (Old Western Town), the location (Dale’s), a date (May during NASCAR time then), so it was just working out the other small minor details to make it perfect.
“You could always pack some of these ideas together into a special gift basket,” Cameron then suggests after going through Chase’s list. “Get a basket and put in a scrapbook kit, some chocolates that she likes, some of this special chai tea that she likes, the art set that you talk about possibly getting her, and perhaps a couple other things, and then tie off with a fancy bow. It’ll go perfect with what you have planned.”
“Planned?” Karsyn and Ella both ask together, intrigued. Cameron had heard pieces of what Chase was thinking for Alyssa’s actual birthday, from start to finish.
“What are you planning, Chasey?” Ella wonders and Chase simply smiles from his spot in the corner.
“I’m not telling you,” he states as he stares down at his phone, texting Alyssa. Even though she wasn’t racing that weekend, she was still at the track enjoying some time with everybody. While he was busy in his meeting, she was busy catching up with some truck series drivers.
“Oh come on….”
“We have to see if it actually is birthday approved for a girly,” Karsyn adds as Chase shakes his head no.
“It’s my secret,” he tells them as both girls then turn to Cameron.
“It’s Chase’s plans so I’m not saying anything, but it is adorable worthy,” he offers as the girls glance between the guys.
“This is no fun,” Karsyn comments as Ella pulls out her phone.
“I’m not helping you anymore since you’re not playing fair,” she adds as she opens her twitter.
“That’s fine because I have someone to go see,” Chase states as he stands up and heads out of the hauler.
“Now will you tell us?” Cameron shakes his head no as Ella lets out a sigh. “Figures.”
The day quickly moved forward with qualifying taking place later that afternoon. Unfortunately, it hadn’t gone as Chase had wanted with a poor effort, meaning that he’d start near the back on Sunday. While normally that wouldn’t worry him, this was Martinsville and there was something to be said about track position at a short track.
His poor qualifying effort, combined with the fact that the past week had been confessional week for him and Alyssa, reigned on the mind of many people. There were some that wondered whether it was bugging him more than he was letting on. It was something that he quickly denied, stating that they just missed the set-up in practice.
Later on that night, though, he found himself sitting outside on one of the picnic benches, thinking things over.
“I thought you told my dad that there was nothing bugging you,” he hears and glances up, seeing Elsa standing there with her puppy on its leech. He simply rolls his eyes.
“There’s certain things that are grown-up business only,” he tells her as she walks over to him.
“Chase, it’s alright to admit it. Everybody would understand.” Chase glances away from her as she tries to take a peak at the piece of paper in his hand. He quickly snatches the paper up, looking at her surprised. “So there is something…”
“Haven’t you been told to mind your own business a time or two? I thought Alyssa was supposed to kick your ass for this.” Elsa remembered the lecture that she received, and it was fine and dandy at the time. However, this time it was alright to push the boundaries. After all, she was only trying to help.
“It helps to talk about it…” Chase lets out a sigh, knowing that better than anyone as it seemed this was a topic that he had talked about on multiple occasions.
“Demi got her release this past week. I wasn’t going to let it bother me because I’m over what hap-”
“It doesn’t seem like it.” He stops and takes a deep breath, eyes focused towards the ground.
“You’re right – it doesn’t seem like it. Seeing the paper, and going to her hearing of the terms of being let go, it brought everything back up. The judge stated everything that she did and reasons for a probation and protection order. It reminded me of all the feelings that I felt.” He then takes a deep breath as he looks up at her. “It’s not necessarily hurting me, or bothering me. It’s just a reminder of what happened and what I’ve been through. I’m just sitting out here reflecting on things. Though to answer your curious question, I’m fine.” Elsa shakes her head, understanding, as she gives him a small smile.
“I’ve heard bits and pieces of what happened to you. Gotta say – you’re a tough son of a bitch.” He then chuckles a little.
“Maybe I am, but I don’t thin-”
“Don’t deny it.” Chase then shakes his head.
“I’m denying it because it’s the truth. I’m not the tough one that it seems. I’ve only gotten to where I am by having the best friends and family possible surrounding me to help me.” He then glances at the puppy, seeing how it’s trying to retreat bac to the mootorcoach lot. “I think someone wants to go to bed and cuddle, and it’s getting past your bed time.”
“You have to be that type of person, huh?” Chase chuckles.
“I’m only looking out for you, Elsa. Listen, I know it can be tough at times being a teenager and I know life doesn’t always give you the best situation. But you have to know that you got it pretty good. You’ve got understanding parents, and a pair of great siblings. Just try and take it a little easier on them and stay out of trouble, okay?” Elsa had to admit that Chase was right, despite her ways. Perhaps it was time to look at growing up a little bit and getting rid of some of her ways.
“I’ll try, okay?” He shakes his head yes with a smile. “By the way, I think you should head back so you can cuddle my dear sister. She’s probably looking for you.” Chase knew that she was right as he stood up off of the picnic bench.
The pair of them then walked back together to the motorcoach lot, sharing a couple things along the way. Elsa brought up some of life’s frustrations – not always getting to go where she wanted due to the family’s busy schedule, people at school being pain in the butts. It was stuff that Chase was used to having gone through himself, and also hearing the same tales from Alyssa. He took his time, as he had done with Alyssa, to give her the advice that he felt she needed.
“Thanks for the talk,” Elsa says as they reach the motorcoaches. “I’ll try to behave, okay?” He shakes his head yes.
“You always know where to find me if you want to talk again,” he offers. “Just because your sister and I are dating doesn’t change the whole babysitter-looking out for you relationship that I have with each of you kids.” She smiles and shakes her head accepting. “Goodnight Elsa.”