After the conversation with the mixture of friends, Chase couldn’t help but admit that there was a lot on his mind.
The question about his return to racing stirred up some thoughts, as he didn’t even know how to answer himself. It was why he had given them the answer he did. Of course, it had caused concern on their faces with even Ryan reminding that he’d be there if need be. Chase knew his friends would be there, they were always there, but it was a matter of figuring out how to go about this.
Letting out a sigh, he kicks up a small stone on the ground as he walks through the motorcoach lot by himself. It was middle of the night, Alyssa was fast asleep inside, but he couldn’t find a way to close his eyes. It was why he was walking through the motorcoach lot by himself, thinking things over at four in the morning.
“What are you doing out here by yourself?” Chase hears and glances over his shoulders, seeing Regan Smith rushing out of his motorcoach and coming over. “I thought it was discussed that someone should be with you 24/7 till you get things sorted out.” Chase lets out a sigh. There was no hope of getting alone time with everybody’s guard up after the Tony incident.
“I couldn’t sleep and I decided to go for a walk to clear my head,” he starts. “Is that a crime?” Regan was set to yell back in response, frustrated for the reasons stated. However, he knew that would get him nowhere with Chase.
“I supposed not as sometimes a walk in the night air can do some wonders.” Chase then kept walking, eyes focused on the ground with each step, as Regan quietly followed. He wondered whether they still had the chemistry to easily talk about things, still. “What’s on your mind, Chase?”
“I’d rather not talk about it right now, Regan. Like I said, I’m taking a walk by myself to clear my head.” It was that moment that Regan worried there was no chance of having the full discussions as they used to. However, he also knew how Chase hated to talk about things.
“Hey, that’s fine. You can talk about it when you feel like it. I just offered incase you wanted to sound it out – like we used to. You know, those times did help.” Chase glances over as he knew that Regan was right, no matter how much he wanted to avoid this discussion. Maybe it’d good to start somewhere, more than he had with Tony.
“Elladee asked me earlier tonight when I was coming back to racing. I told her that I wasn’t sure as I’d be healed physically soon, but I had a lot of other things to take care of.” Regan shook his head, understanding. He was glad to see Chase taking the steps this time around, versus repeating the past where he didn’t handle it and found himself sick due to lack of sleep, or running off to some strange place. Shaking his head, he didn’t want to think about that experience again. However, the thought was fresh in his mind no matter how much he looked at Alyssa, too.
“Hey, the first step is to admit that there’s a problem so you’re partway there already. That’s better than other times with you , I know. Now it’s figuring out the best way to deal with it. What are you thinking?” Chase had no idea how to answer the question as he didn’t have a plan. Perhaps he was still trying to avoid what he needed to do.
“I don’t know. Maybe that’s why I’m wandering around tonight – hopeful of finding a way to put things together.” Regan could understand that, however he also knew the answer was right in front of Chase. He just wished he’d step up and take that first step.
“So we know that you’re having these odd flashbacks and not remembering experiences. Those are very serious, and obviously mean that there’s some traumatic going on. Do you see have Eric’s number?” Chase knew that Regan was referencing the physiatrist that he had spent months with previously, going through what happened. However, he didn’t know if he could truly divulge everything to Eric this time around.
“Yeah, somewhere. I don’t know if that’s the way to go about it. I know he can help with strategies to avoid that helping, and Tony even suggested that there’d be a mild-anxiety drug I could take till I got everything under control. It’s just the whole talking it through deal. This isn’t like before, Regan.” Regan shook his head, understanding. It was obvious that he was carrying the weight of what happened to Alyssa on his shoulders, even with Alyssa having a heart-to-heart earlier with him.
“Well, there’s other people that you could talk to. You know that you can turn to me as we made some substantial ground other times together. Dale has always been able to understand exactly where you’re coming from. Darrell and Ryan have been there for you, too, and you’re not too old for your parents. There’s also Alyssa as I know she’s going through some of her own stuff, but it may be worth it if you both talk through things together. Chase, you have options. It’s just you figuring out what will work best.” Chase lets out a sigh as he knew that Regan right about that. However, it still didn’t make this any easier. What direction was he supposed to go?
“It’s not just what happened, though. I find myself waking up freezing cold at night despite under the blankets because I am thinking about falling in the ice hole. I was rubbing my leg the other day, thinking that there was a sensation of pain there. The simplest person walking up behind me and touching my shoulder makes me recall Mariela trying to strangle me.” Chase then stops, takes a couple deep breaths, before looking up at Regan. “There’s also the factor that no matter what Alyssa says my brain keeps telling me, and that’s the fact that I let this happen. I know what you’ll say and I get the truth; but how do I convince myself of that otherwise? I feel like every bit of progress that I made is ripped away right now. I feel lost at times. I don’t know what to do.”
“Chase, you never have to feel that you’re lost or alone.” Regan walks over and pulls him into a hug, rubbing his back. “I mean it. You’ve never lost or alone – you have all of us in your corner and we’ll do whatever the hell it takes for you. I’d do anything for you.” He then pulls back, keeping his eyes locked on Chase’s. “Never feel like you can’t do this because you can do this, somehow. And if you ever feel that way, you damn call me and I’ll be there immediately to be with you.”
“I know, and I thank you for that friendship. It’s just….” Chase then glances away, trying to keep the tears at bay. “I don’t know how to say this, but it hurts. It hurts more than anything physically or anything I’ve been through. I hate this feeling.”
“I understand, and that’s why you need to figure what’s going to work for you and start taking those steps forward. You can do this – one step at a time. Pick a night, pick a friend, and start talking. That’s what it’s going to take. Explain everything that fully happened with Randy. Go through what bugs you from the past. Do what you need to.” Chase shook his head, knowing Regan was right. But where was he supposed to begin?
“I’ve made my mind up that I’m not coming back racing till it’s fully settled this time. I know it’s insane, but I just feel comfortable doing that because I don’t want to repeat the past. I know others say that you could do it in stages, but I just wouldn’t feel comfo-”
“It’s fine, Chase. Everybody that matters will understand. Jeff is in your corner fully so you know that he won’t screw you outta Hendrick because of this. He’ll make something work till you’re ready and then your ride will be. Your friends will be understanding, having seen what you went through before. The best thing you can do for yourself is to do what’s comfortable and feels right for you, what works in getting better. If this is what works for you, then go with it.” Chase shakes his head, accepting. It was comforting to hear those words in his decision as he had to admit he was worried before.
“Regan, can I ask you something?” Regan shakes his head, knowing the door was wide open between them. “I know I don’t have to worry about this for a good bit as it probably won’t come up for some time till Alyssa is ready – maybe in a couple years, maybe sooner. I’m nervous about the first time.”
“Is this in relation to Demi, again?” Chase wished it was that simple but he shook his head no. “Is it your own nerves? I mean, if say they’re there and she says that she’s ready, then I’d just suggest explaining to her that you’re nervous and worried and why you are. She’s an understanding girl, so I’m sure she’d help you out with that or give you the time you need.” Chase walks a couple steps, before sitting down on one of the random picnic benches, glancing at Regan.
“What if I told you that it had to do with Kassandra?” Regan then looks at him confused. He had heard a little bit about Randy’s helper, but not a lot of details to date. Perhaps it was ‘cause Chase and Alyssa hadn’t discussed the happenings too much, yet.
“Chase, what are you getting at?” Chase then glances back towards the ground as Regan walks over, sitting beside him. “Did she rape you?” Chase glances away, before looking back over at Regan.
“I thought she was going to. She made every intention to make me believe that was coming.” Regan then watches his friend intrigued as Chase ponders how to go about this. The only person he had discussed this was with Alyssa. “Randy was putting Alyssa through a lot of pain, so I said that I’d do anything to stop it. He then asked me if I was certain on that and I said yes. He then sent her in, and she placed her hand on my leg, running it up lightly, questioning once again if I was certain. I told him as long as he left Alyssa alone, I didn’t care. I just wanted her to be okay…”
“You were doing what you felt was right as the big protective boyfriend. Nobody can blame you in that situation for subjecting yourself to the possibility of that, either. I mean, I’d do anything if I was in your situation, too. That’s what we do for those that we love, right? It’s how Mariela was able to manipulate Dale and Marie that time, too. But you said she didn’t rape you, so what happened?” Chase then takes a deep breath, feeling his mind argue back and forth in saying something.
“She didn’t rape me, but she did touch me. She reached her hands into my pants, and squeezed me as hard as she could. Worst pain, ever….or I thought. The lights got turned out, followed by the light on the camera. He had cameras so I could see Alyssa and she could see me, and we could hear each other in the rooms that we were in. It was his sick way of us being able to know what was going on. But that moment, he turned the light out.” He then closes his eyes, remembering the discussion with Alyssa at the hospital when he woke up.
“Alyssa thought that it happened, right?” Chase shakes his head yes, as he remembered her words.
“She said it was her fault and she felt bad that she put in that position, and rambled on till I told her otherwise. We made a commitment then that we’d get through this. I don’t know abou-”
“What did I tell you about saying that?” Chase then freezes and looks over at Regan, taking a deep breath. “I know it’s hard, but you have to stay confident in yourself. So are you worried due to her reaction and thoughts?”
“That’s part of it. I’m also scared that I’m going to quiver from his touch due to fear, as a result of Kassandra grabbing me and sticking the needle there.” Regan couldn’t help but make a smile at that thought as he glanced away for a second. “Yeah, that hurt worse than anything else. I screamed probably the most that I have ever in my life. I think that’s where I got the rashes on my ankles and wrists because I was trying to break out the bounds, despite her tightening them so I was held in tighter.”
“Alyssa knows what happened though, right?” Chase shakes his head yes, remembering when he told her. “Well that’s the first step. So therefore if say that happens, she will understand why and you guys can talk about it. You guys can work through it, just like everything else that you’ve already worked your way through.”
“I guess.” He then kicks his feet back a little. “Thanks for the advice, and hearing me out – again. That was just one thing that was awkward for anybody to hear.” Regan then wraps an arm around him.
“I told you I’m here for you, always. Just give me a shout when you need to talk to someone. I’ll hear you out again. Even if it’s just a couple hours each week, it’d be progress. You’ll work your way through this.”