While she had wanted to stop thinking about it, she found herself still pondering things in regards to Leo for the rest of the week. It carried over into Friday once she reached the track, set for practice. She knew once buckled in the car, it wouldn’t bother her and he’d be just another competitor. However, that didn’t mean it didn’t bother her out of the car.
“Your mind is on something,” she hears and glances at her dad with a shy smile. It never failed that her dad could read her mind.
“It’s about Leo,” she lets on as he glances at her surprised. Things seemed great between her and Chase. Why was Leo back in the picture? “And no, it’s not what you’re thinking. I still know that I made the right decision. Things are great for Chase, and Leo and I weren’t meant for that.”
“So why are you thinking about him then?” She then glances down towards his stall as she lets out a sigh.
“Even though we’re not together, I wanted to be friends. However, he hasn’t been open to that much. We finally confronted each other on our feelings and I could just tell that something was up. He doesn’t want to approach that friendliness now, but he says that maybe in time.” Dale shakes his head, understanding.
“Heartbreak is sometimes hard to deal with, sweetie. It cuts you deep and probably when he sees you, it reminds him of that pain, even if you both know what happened was for the right reasons. Maybe once he starts to move forward and figure out direction it’ll be fine. Maybe once he finds a girlfriend.” She rolls her eyes, as she had heard enough about fixing people up lately courtesy of those around her.
“Well, I’m not playing cupid so he’s going to have to figure that out. I just hope that he does soon as it hurts seeing him like that, knowing that I caused that.” Dale crosses his arms as his eyes falls on his daughter once again.
“Please tell me that you’re not having any regrets about what happened.” Her eyes immediately dart away on the thought. “Alyssa…” She then lets out another sigh, as if she had been seen through, and glances back at her dad.
“I have no regrets about Chase and I being together. That’s what I want. I also have no regrets in ending the relationship with Leo. I just maybe have regrets in how I went about it and what happened following.” Dale shakes his head, understanding, giving the rift raft and how quickly it seemed she fell into Chase’s arms.
“Those are understandable regrets. But is there anything that you can do now? Nope. That’s why you need to try and put your best foot forward, and learn from your mistakes, and hope that he can do the same.” He then gives her shoulder a squeeze and a kiss on the forehead. “It’ll work out, don’t worry. Besides, you can’t be upset this weekend. You’re just shy of your birthday.” She smiles knowing that her father was right. In just two days, she’d officially be 19 years old. She was hoping to celebrate that weekend in the best way possible with a win.
“I just don’t know how I am going to celebrate it Sunday. I never planned a party or talked to anyone. I was too busy.” Those comments were music to Dale’s ears, knowing what he was planning up with Chase.
“You just worry about doing the best that you can this weekend, and I’m sure everything will go fine on Sunday.” She then raises her eyesbrows curious as to her dad’s comment.
“Does daddy know something that I should know?” Dale just shrugs his shoulders before walking away with a grin. He wasn’t about to offer any clues yet.
Her plan to do well that weekend started off on an iffy note, though, as practice didn’t go as well as she hoped. She found herself mid-way on the practice chart, struggling to find grip and speed. It also didn’t hurt that they ran into transmission problems, either.
With only one practice ahead of the race, she could only hope that her team could pull something out of their asses in terms of a set-up.
While Alyssa struggled their XFINITY practice, both Cup Series practices went as well as Chase could’ve hoped as he was near the top of the scoring charts in both sessions. Given that Texas had treated him well over the years, he was looking towards another great weekend of success.
Of course, he also couldn’t wait to get the weekend done and make it to Sunday for Alyssa’s birthday. He had finally chosen a gift, and put together the perfect plans for the day. It was just about having the pieces fall together on the day of her birthday.
“So, would you happen to know what is planned for my birthday?” He hears, snapping him out of his thoughts quickly as he looks over at Alyssa, surprise written over his face. He immediately washes it away and shakes his head no.
“Why do you ask?” He questions in response, curious. He hoped that all parties involved had kept their mouths shut.
“Well, you’re my boyfriend so I figured you’d know something. I also know that Dad has something up his sleeve based on the response that he gave me earlier.” Chase could already see himself dumping a bucket of ice cold water on Dale’s head right now.
“I don’t know what your dad is planning.” Alyssa knew that was a lie as if there was any parties forthcoming, Chase would probably be in the thick of it involved. It seemed that was the theme all the years growing up.
“That’s strange, especially considering the grin on his face as he walked away. He talked about making this a special birthday weekend and told me about it and Sunday would take care of itself.” Perhaps he could warm that water up a little before dumping it.
“I think your dad gave you good advice, actually, no matter what’s going on. What better way to celebrate a birthday than in victory lane?” She wanted to believe that to be true, but the troubles of practice were weighing on her mind. “Did the team get the car ready to go for qualifying?”
“It’s ready to go. Who knows whether it’ll be quick or not.” He then wraps an arm around her, pulling her close. He could tell her the confidence was waved based on the issues.
“You have a smart group of guys who have been doing this for awhile. You also have teammates to lean on for help with set-ups. You don’t have a thing to worry about it. Just drive it like you know how and I’ll be checking out that cowgirl hat on your head.” She then smiles, catching the reference immediately.
“Perhaps if I win, somebody will need to get some boots for my birthday to match.” He smiles, shaking his head in agreement. He was a small town country boy and while he didn’t buy into the whole country thing all the time, he wouldn’t mind seeing her dressed up at least once.
“It’s a deal. Now just go do your part.”
She agreed to those words, hoping that she’d live up to her end of the bargain. Fortunately, though, it didn’t work out as well as hoped in qualifying as she’d end up 16th. It was better than she had practiced, so they were improving, but still being outside of the top-10 wasn’t the most pleasing feeling.
“For someone who has a birthday in the next couple of days, you don’t seem happy,” she hears as she leans against the pit wall following qualifying. She glances over her shoulder, giving Cameron a glance.
“Would you be happy if you qualified 16th?” She questions as he shrugs his shoulders, stepping over the small barrier.
“Depends on the day that I was having. Given your struggles in practice, its progress. Therefore I wouldn’t be excited, but I’d be pleased with the performance. Besides, Texas is a track where you can pass. You get the car handling good in the race, you’ll be fine.” She shakes her head in agreement knowing that he was right. However, she still didn’t feel too at ease. Perhaps the lack of practice laps was eating at her.
“Thanks for the attempt at a positive outlook. I’ll keep that in mind.” He then crosses his arms, know that there was still some time before qualifying.
“So what are your plans for your birthday?” She shrugs her shoulders. “So it’s a mystery?”
“I know my dad has something up his sleeve, but I don’t know what. Chase isn’t giving me any clues, either.” She ten glances at Cameron as a smile forms on her face. “You’re his teammate….”
“He didn’t tell me a single thing. We haven’t discussed you, ho….well, I was curious about your May plans for Indianapolis but beyond that no discussions.” She shakes her head, remembering the oddness in his visit, followed by the curiosity apology.
“Why were you so curious, anyway?” He shrugs his shoulders, unable to form a good reason.
“I guess my mind was just wondering and I figured I could answer that question before most. Now, if you want to know who probably knows the birthday plans, I bet you if Chase talked to anyone, he talked to Bubba and Ryan.” Alyssa shoo her head as she couldn’t believe that she hadn’t approached either of the boys yet in regards to her curiosity.
“Why am I standing here when I could waste some time asking?” He shrugs his shoulders as he gets up off of the wall.
“Seems you have a question to go ask, and I have a car to qualify. I will see you later, but I hope you do well tonight.” He then heads off as she glances down pit road. Who would spill the beans easier – Ryan or Bubba?