Tuesday – Day #2
The crew chiefs joked back and forth as they walked towards the doors. It was common for the crew chiefs to arrive at JR Motorsports before anybody else, seeing as though they always wanted to put in the most hours. It was why Kelley had easily issued a key for them to share amongst them to make sure one of the crew chiefs who was early would have it with them.
“Have you heard any updates on Alyssa?” Kevin Meendering asked as he caught up with the other two.
Alyssa was certainly his driver, but he was concerned beyond that as he had grown to really like her through the years. Being at JR Motorsports for awhile now, having led Elliott Sadler to a couple championships in the process, he had grown to be close friends with her. He even thought back to their initial hugs and jokes while he was working an engineer for Dale at Hendrick. It was actually surreal to think about the fact they were working together now.
“I texted Kelley this morning before leaving the house and she said there was nothing yet,” Dave Elenz answers as he accepts the coffee from his fellow crew chief. Among sharing the key, the crew chiefs each shared the responsibility of picking up coffee on the way in for each other. It was a rotation game, with each crew chief having a scheduled day. “She said to go about work as normal and she’d text me if she heard anything. She wants us to pass word to the shop that work goes on as normal as we know our jobs, and everything will work out. She also asked me to get you to text her later about who will fill in this weekend if Alyssa isn’t available.” Kevin shakes his head, accepting easily. It wasn’t comforting to hear about the possibility of working with someone other than Alyssa, but knew the possibility was high. Given the attack, she probably wouldn’t be ready to race that weekend anyway. It was just a question as to who Kelley had to fill-in for her.
“It’s going to be hard to just pretend nothing is wrong and work as normal, but I guess that what’s we got to do,” Kevin replies as Dave shakes his head in agreement.
“We’ve done it before, we can do it again,” Scott Radel adds as he lets out a sigh. He didn’t want to think about everything that they had watched them go through previously, but this was a reminder of it right in front of them.
The four crew chiefs continue walking towards the door with Kevin getting the keys out of his pocket as he was designated key holder for the day. Though as they reach the door, they notice the brown box sitting before them. Kevin instantly picks it up, reading the note on top to see it was addressed for Dale, Marie and Chase.
“I’ll text Dale, and then Kelley,” Dave states as he pulls his phone out of his pocket.
“Should we open it?” Scott wonders. “I mean, what if it has something important regarding Alyss-”
“It’s an invasion of privacy,” Kevin cuts Scott off. “Tell Dale that I’ll bring it over to the house for him after I let you boys in.”
“How do you get the responsibility?” Kevin then glances back at the fellow crew chief after unlocking the door.
“Because I found the package, and Alyssa is my driver. Besides, I’ve known the family longer than both of you combined. I watched that girl grow up in front of me.” Scott couldn’t argue that as he headed inside.
“Dale knows you’re coming,” Dave starts. “I’ll tell the guys what Kelley said. Text me after, okay?” Kevin shakes his head as he heads the other direction back to his car with the package in hand as Dave heads inside.
Kevin climbs in the car, sitting the package on the passenger seat, before heading out of the parking lot.
He was thankful it was only a 10 minute drive up to Dale’s place as anticipation grew with each passing moment about the contents inside. It almost drove him to the point of ripping it open at a long stop light, but he resisted the urge as he focused his eyes back on the road ahead.
Finding himself on Dale’s property just minutes later, he drove down the winding driveway up to the house, seeing Dale and Chase sitting on the porch steps. It seemed they assumed what he did – it was from whoever had Alyssa.
He shuts the car off, carefully picking up the package, and climbing out of the car. He then walks up the pair, setting the box down between them.
“I was heading up to the shop to unlock the door and spotted it,” Kevin says as Dale glances up at the crew chief.
“Security checked the tapes and it was seemingly dropped off by a masked person, looked to be in high heels at that, in the middle of the night,” Dale starts. “It seems while the officers were here protecting us and other spots, they never thought to watch over the company property in case of this very thing.”
Kevin shakes his head in surprise as he watches Chase pick up the box, tearing at the seams to get into it as quickly as possible. As the side falls off the box, the group watches a series of photos and note scatter down the front steps.
“Well, we know the situation she’s in,” Dale comments as he picks one of the photos up, seeing Alyssa sitting in a room by herself. He then picked up the rest of the photos, seeing a masked heavy set man dragging her across the room, and other images of her in the room by herself. “Besides dragging her and gagging her, they haven’t done anything based on these photos.”
“If it’s a true ransom like the original note said, they won’t do anything unless you refuse to give them what they want,” Kevin states as he watches Chase carefully unfold the note. Chase had skipped on the photos, not wanting to think about the situation Alyssa was in. Instead, he was straight focused on getting her out of it. He hoped the note provided the needed clues.
“You’ve should’ve handed that over to me so we could look and reserve the fingerprints,” a voice chimes in as one of the officers walk over. Dale then glances up from the photos.
“We were worried and couldn’t resist wanting to know what was going on,” he starts. “You have to understand where we’re coming from. We’re sorry that we compromised it, but I’m sure if there’s prints to pull you can still find some.” He then throws the empty box at the officer, before turning to Chase. “Well?”
“I got your pretty princess now and don’t expect me to let go of her quickly,” Chase reads out loud. “There’s a means to an end, as you already know. Am I ready to tell you? Not quite yet. I just wanted you to know that she was safe and sound with me for when I am ready to tell.” He then flips the piece of paper over, seeing nothing on the back, before handing it to the officer.
“Typed so we can’t analyze the writing,” the officer states out loud. “We’ll see if we can pull some finger prints off of it that could lead us to who is behind this.”
“And what about the high-heeled female that dropped it off?” Dale wonders. “Care to have questioned Demi about that?” Chase lets out a sigh as he glances away. She had said she wasn’t involved, and that she was just in town to co-operate with the investigation. But yet it seemed each clue they had gotten seemingly connected to her.
“We’ve asked her about it, but it hasn’t led us anywhere yet.” The officer then notices the photos between the men. “May I have the photos, plea-”
“I haven’t looked yet,” Chase states out loud before picking them up. He quickly glances through the stack, feeling a bit of relief in noticing no scratches or marks across Alyssa’s body. It makes him question how they got her there, but he wasn’t about to let worry take him over. As long as things didn’t escalate, it’d make him feel better. He continues to flip through, falling upon the last photo of the stack with the man. He finds himself staring at the photo longer than anticipated as he glances up. “Randy. Did anybody check to see if he was still in jail?”
“It was our understanding that he was transferred to Greece for a matter there. We have yet to speak with officials there about his where abouts.” Chase then glances back at the photo once again, shaking his head.
“Is that Randy, Chase?” Dale questions as Chase slowly looks up and over at his fellow confident.
“It fits the build, and it fits the way he acts,” Chase states before handing the photos over to the officer. He then shakes his head as he stands up and begins to walk away from them.
“Chase?” While he wanted to look back at Dale and give him a reaction, he knew he couldn’t do that as he kept walking away. “Chase?” Dale then goes to get up and follow, but Kevin places a hand on him.
“You go talk to Marie and worry about yourself and your daughter; I’ll worry about him,” Kevin states before hurrying after Chase.
“Kevin, I’d prefer to be left alone,” Chase states firmly as he continues walking out into the field. Kevin then freezes on the spot as he watches Chase walk further away from him.
“If you need someone, though, don’t hesitate to ask for me, got it?” Chase looks back quickly and shakes his head yes before continuing to walk away.
While there was comfort in seeing the photos of Alyssa fine, that comfort existed no more. He knew exactly what Randy was capable of, having been stabbed in the leg by him and having been kidnapped by him. He remembered how strong Randy was and controlling. He also remembered the feeling of comfort that Alyssa was probably experiencing now in thinking nothing was going to happen while locked in a room. He also remembered that feeling being changed in a swift instant when he was dragged across the lake and stuck in a frozen ice cold hole.
As he wraps his arms around himself and lets the thought escape his mind, taking a deep breath, he kept telling himself that everything would work out fine. It was only way to stay sane right now.