After a day of meeting up with everybody, he knew he had spent every bit of energy he had. It was time to head home, grab something to eat for dinner, and then relax for the rest of the night.
He walked out the back door, tossing the car keys in his hand as he walks through the parking lot. It was a short walk back to where he parked, but enough time for his mind to escape through a series of thoughts in regards to the past couple of hours.
He still couldn’t believe how understanding both Jeff and Rick were about the situation. He had thanked them, but knew in his heart they deserved a couple more thanks than just that.
He also appreciated the advice from them both in how to go about the next step, whether who to talk to or how to tackle things. He knew he needed to keep avoiding it. The only reason he kept saying he didn’t know who to talk to was to avoid actually talking – he knew that. Besides, he knew that his parents, Regan, Dale, Ryan or Darrel would be a good option to talk to as they’d worked before. It was just a matter of choose one, and get his thoughts off his chest.
He kept thinking over the thoughts, not realizing the stone kicked up in the middle of the parking lot, tripping forward. For the second day in less than week, he had tripped over something lost in his thoughts.
“Shit!” He immediately lets out as he works back at standing up.
He glanced up at his pant leg, seeing the rip as he let out a sigh. There went one of his favorite pairs of jeans. Though he wasn’t caught on the rip, but rather the scar that was in the space where the rip was. There was also some blood trailing from just beneath that from the fall.
He stands up, immediately placing his hand over the cut, before glancing back towards the shop. The car was closer, so he’d go there he figured. He made his way over, reaching in to grab some Kleenex and press it against the small cut to stop it from bleeding. A couple moments, it’d stop and he could home without a thought.
“Chase?” He hears and rolls his eyes, seeing the eyes of Ella locked on him. She immediately runs over, shock written on her face. “What the hec-”
“I tripped over that rock back there,” he cuts her off. “Stop worrying. I’m fine. It’s just a minor cut. I’ll hold this here, it’ll stop and we can continue like nothing happened.” She then looks on puzzled.
“Are you sure about that? I mean, I could go get someone or a Bandai-”
“I’m fine, Ella.” She then stops with the questions, figuring that she should believe him. However, she wasn’t about to leave him sitting there alone as she joined him on the ground. “You don’t need to watc-”
“I know you’re a grown boy, but I don’t want to go and then you have some problem getting up or whatever. Just let me give you some company, please.” Chase lets out a sigh, figuring that’d be fine. “Is the blood because of the scar, by the way?” He instantly regretted her sitting down now.
“The blood and the scar are totally unrelated as the blood is coming from further down. The scar came from an incident with Randy. He stabbed in the leg in a hotel room.” She then looks on surprised. “You hadn’t heard about that?” She shakes her head no.
“I didn’t bother to look up all the gory details of what Mariela and Randy did to you guys, to be honest.” Chase couldn’t blame her as it wasn’t the best history to express.
“I dropped a hotel key in the lobby by accident. I still can’t believe I did that to this day, to be honest. I mean, who the hell lets a key to their room fall in the lap of a psycho-”
“Chase, we all make mistakes. Remember how I got frustrated without being able to have the perfect line, perfect race, small mistakes? You told me that nobody is perfect, and we all make mistakes. It’s about learning from them.” Chase takes a deep breath, remembering the theory he stuck with himself to try and drive his pursuit of perfection to the back burner.
“You’re right. Hence why I guard keys and important cards a little more closely now. Anyways, he snuck into my room later on that night with the plan to hurt me because he was angry in having spent some time in jail as a result of what happened in Daytona.” She shakes her head, understanding. Randy’s anger made sense, but there was also a reason why he was stuck in jail.
“And how was he connected to Mariela’s deal in Daytona?” He then looks on surprised, once again. “Sorry. I told you that I didn’t look everything up and I was young then, Chase.”
“I know; it’s just surprising. He was the crew member that passed along all the details of where Dale, Marie and everybody would be to Mariela, and helped put the switcheroo in place for Dale to be in the car and me to be with Mariela.” Ella shakes her head, understanding. Now it made sense how that was pulled off, and why Chase found himself in her hands.
“I never thought any of our guys would be stupid enough to go behind the driver’s back. Now it makes sense.” Chase shakes his head, agreeing. He remembered the disbelief he had when he first learned a crew member was connected to the mess.
“We fought back and forth – I threw a book and a shoe at him as he tried to tackle me down. He had a knife in hand, cutting my arm a little before I could get him back. We continued throwing things at each other and when he threw a shoe at me, I dropped the knife between us – perfect opportunity for him. Looking back, perhaps it would’ve been better to just use that knife on him firs-”
“You’re not the kind of guy, Chas-”
“It would’ve saved me from the pain later, though. I could’ve also hid the knife somewhere else, too. It may have bid me some time to escape the room.” He then shakes his head as he thinks it over.
“This was like 14 years ago and yet you’re still beating yourself up over it?” He looks over at her.
“I can’t let go of the mistakes that I made, Ella. That could’ve cost me everything right there. The knife goes in my leg a little further down and it cuts the main artery, and I would’ve bled out that night. The knife goes a little higher, and I could’ve cut a main nerve. I don’t ever let that thought get lost on me, knowing how close I was that day. It makes me thankful that things worked out, but also drives me to make sure that doesn’t happen again – and that’s why correcting those mistakes.” She could understand his thoughts while looking back.
“I see where you’re coming from, but living in the past doesn’t let you move forward. You’ve pictured it every way you could, come up with these solutions. Now it’s time for you to be glad that it wasn’t worse, and make the most of what you’ve got in life. Take advantage of the friendships around you, grow closer to Alyssa and enjoy the relationship, figure out what you’ve got on your plate, and then kick ass on track to top it off.” He then smiles, knowing her advice was right in line with everyone else’s lately.
“I’m working on that, trust me. I’m figuring out what I can to move forward so I can get back to where I was.” He then takes a deep breath, thinking over their discussion. “By the way, thanks for forcing me to talk about this. It helped, honestly. It really put that in perspective some.” She smiles.
“See, it was a good reason that I came over here to check on you, huh?” He then smiles.
“Yeah, I guess.”
“So, who saved you that night?”Chase smiles as he knew two people that he’d be forever grateful for.
“Ryan and Darrell, actually. They were in the room not far from mine and heard my screams. Ryan found a way to bust the door open, and they were able to put pressure on the wound and help me till the medics showed up. I’ll admit that I wasn’t the best patient.” She then looks over, not surprised glance on her face.
“That sounds like you today, to be honest.” He then lets out a sigh as he lifts the Kleenex, taking in the cut.
“That’s because I knew this wasn’t serious, and see – it stopped bleeding. I told you I was fine, Ella. But really, thank you for the company.” She then gives him a pat on the shoulder, before standing up first. She then reaches her hand out, letting him use to it to stand back up.
“Are you certain? I could give you a ride home or cal-”
“I’m fine, Ella, but thank you – again.” He then gives her a quick hug before climbing in the car.
“Text me when you get home so I know that you made it.” He then looks at her surprised. “Sorry Chase, but I worry about you.” He then lets out a sigh. Perhaps a single text wouldn’t too bad after she had heard him out.