A brand new day brought forth another pair of practices to get the car handling ahead of Sunday’s race at Martinsville Speedway. Chase knew he wanted to take full advantage of the pair of sessions, working out the handling on his Chevrolet and finding out the best way to conserve the brakes over the full race distance.
Though walking through the garage to his stall, his mind wandered as he thought about later that night. He knew the plan that was put in place for him, Alyssa, Ryan and Karsyn to meet up together, in hopes sparks flew between the latter pair.
He stops as he notices Karsyn’s car, making his way into the stall as he watches her adjust some things in the cockpit of her car a little.
“Are we still on for tonight?” He simply asks, catching her attention. She gives him a quick glance and shakes her head yes. “I just wanted to make sure that you hadn’t gotten cold feet.”
“Isn’t this something that I shouldn’t be nervous about?” Karsyn questions with another glance towards Chase. She was the outgoing type and a simple hang-out should be no problem for her. However, knowing the intentions of the get together, it seemed that she couldn’t find a way to calm the nerves that she had. “I was wondering, though. Who else was on your short list of options, again?”
“Austin and Cole. It seemed that Ryan was the one we decided was the best bet.” She shakes her head, understanding. It easily made sense as they had hung out at the tracks growing up, enjoyed any style of racing, and knew how to have some fun together. “Is there a problem?”
“Well, I know why you’re doing this – you want to set me up with someone whom you hope will make me happy, and be my date to the little prom tat you’re putting together with Bubba and Shelby. I just don’t want to commit to Ryan, and let a possibility go.” Chase shifts his sunglasses off as he looks at her confused as a smirk forms on Alyssa’s face.
“There’s someone else on that list that you’ve had your mind on,” Alyssa concludes as a guilty grin forms on Karysn’s face slowly. “Well? Which one is it? I’m going to bet that it’s Cole.” Chase shook his head no, immediately. He didn’t mind Cole as a friend, and he knew that Cole had talent behind the wheel. However, he just didn’t see that match there with Karsyn.
“So I should’ve actually listened to Hayley about her thoughts on you and Austin?” Chase questions and Karsyn immediately shakes her head no. “You like Cole?”
“You make that sound like a bad thing,” Karsyn concludes as Chase shrugs his shoulders.
“He just doesn’t seem like….I don’t know…” Karsyn leans back against her car with a smile.
“Obviously you haven’t spent as much time with him than I have. He has his odd ways when he’s at the track, but we all have our corks. He and I hit it off as immediate friends when he first started driving for Uncle Dale at JRM. It came with such ease, and we could talk about anything. We even hung out a bunch of times, too.”
“But yet you never got together with him?” Alyssa questions as Karsyn shrugs her shoulders.
“It just never occurred to me to ask him out and I don’t know why he didn’t ask me.” Chase then crosses his arms as he glances towards his feet. Now he felt bad about getting Ryan’s hopes up about perfection chances going into the night.
“So you have feelings for both Ryan and Cole?” Chase clarifies and Karsyn shakes her head yes. “Oh boy…”
“NASCAR – the Bachelor edition,” Alyssa states, causing a questionable look from both. “There’s only one solution – you spend time with each of them, and then tell the one that you really like the truth.” Chase had to admit that Alyssa had a lofty suggestion as it’d allow her to test the waters. Eh was just worried about continuing the trail of broken hearts more.
“After tonight and hanging out with Ryan, you need to give him the truth. Tell him your true thoughts – whether you have feelings or not, and things with Cole. Then you need to go tell Cole your fee-”
“Oh hell no!” Karsyn stops Chase in his tracks as he looks at her surprised.
“How are you going to find out if he likes you or not?” Chase asks and Karsyn lets out a sigh, knowing that Chase was right. “You told me your feelings, and I told you the truth about myself and Alyssa. I was so worried and scared that Alyssa would run from me or be scared with my confession to her. Therefore, and I know how tough this is, it’s time to be honest with everyone. Be honest with Ryan tonight, and then be honest with Cole early this coming week. Give them both a chance and see where things go.”
“And what if my heart gets burned by both in the end?” Chase was already crossing his fingers, and everything else that he could in hopes that wouldn’t happen. He didn’t know what he’d do if that happened.
“Then it simply wasn’t meant to be, but at least you’d have the truth.”
The conversation didn’t last much longer with the first practice starting, resulting in the group splitting as Chase headed to his stall and went out for some laps. Throughout the practice, Alyssa was left thinking over Chase’s words of advice in what to do, and found herself glancing towards Leo.
The pair hadn’t talked much – only like twice – since the break-up. They had talked about remaining friends and close, but yet it seemed that as time went by, they continued to drift further apart. She also knew that she was hopeful about her future with Chase, but wondered how Leo was doing. There were thoughts of a broken heart after everything. Were those pieces still there?
Taking a deep breath, she knew that she couldn’t handle the anticipation of wondering anymore as she took her phone out of her pocket. With the strict travel policy set in by Ingrid, Leo wasn’t allowed to travel to the tracks on weekends that he wasn’t racing due to supposedly focusing on school work during that time. Thinking about that, she could only kick herself in the rear. She knew that while her focus the next 36 hours would be on the race at Martinsville and he weekend, she had to squeeze writing a book report in there somewhere.
“Whatcha doing?” She hears about 10 minutes later, feeling a pair of arms wrap around her, followed by a head on her shoulder. She couldn’t help but smile immediately as the quick ease that was felt between herself and Chase.
“Texting Leo,” she offers as he glances at her surprised and confused. “Your comments to Karsyn got me thinking about honesty and relationships. I was wondering how he was handling everything, and whether we’d stay true to our word to remain friends. We’ve only talked like twice since we broke up. I figured I’d see how he was.” Chase knew one of the many reasons to love Alyssa was the caring side in her that always shined through. Her mother was caring in the people of her country, and her dad was caring in always thinking of people’s feelings, as shown with his relationship with the fans. No doubt that was a quality that had made it’s way to their daughter.
“What’s the verdict?” She could only let out a sigh as she showed him her phone. The short answers from Leo on the screen displayed everything without any other details needed. “In other words, he’s still a little upset about everything?”
“He hasn’t quite opened back up to the idea of us being friends and communicating, saying that if I can quickly move past him then it was never meant to be at any level. Needless to say, he thinks that I don’t even care about him as a friend despite these messages.” Chase shakes his head, surprised by Leo’s response, but also feeling bad in the effect that it had on Alyssa.
“You did your part in reaching out and trying to be a friend, and explaining things. That’s all you can do. Perhaps as time moves forward he’ll come around.” She hoped the same thing, but wasn’t going to hold her breath. Leo was stubborn about things, and it was hard to change his mind once it was set. “I’m done practice for the day so I was wondering if I could have some company to watch the truck race.”
“Is Chase Elliott asking me on a date?” He then laughs at the surprised, sarcastic look on her face.
“Maybe I am, or maybe I’m not. I could make it a date as I hear that you have taken a liking to a certain hotdog.” Alyssa could only lick her lips. She had tried the Martinsville hot dog for the first time about 10 years ago, and it seemed that every year since, she always tried to eat a bunch throughout the weekend.
“I guess I could say yes and agree, as long as the hot dog is included.”
Following the truck race together, the pair caught up with Ryan and Karsyn as they had planned. As Chase had originally predicted, the night went great with everyone having fun. They played an assortment of games, ranging from twister to UNO, laughing and joking along the way. His eyes kept watching the pair as they hung out, told stories and laughed at each other’s jokes. It seemed that it came with ease and it made him confident that he was right on the money in hooking up his two best friends together.
Once the night was complete, though, Karsyn followed the advice that she had received from Chase, despite being nervous beyond anything. She told Ryan about her feelings for him, though also being skeptical and not knowing whether her heart was set due to her feelings for Cole. She wondered if he’d give her time to decide and talk to Cole before moving forward.
Ryan, being the understanding guy, accepted with ease, while telling her to take her time. Though while being understanding on the surface, he had to admit that it stung a bit underneath. He had always been told that when it meant to be, both people would know that by the feelings that they felt in how nothing else would affect. Now with her skepticism, it sort of made the night not feel as great anymore as she didn’t have the same effect.
His friends had always told him that he was a sweet guy and the right girl would come along at the right time. Though in moments like these, he wondered if their words would actually come true.