Jared Erspamer walks into the garage, glancing around as he sees the guys going about their usual business. Letting out a sigh, maybe this wasn’t the best idea.
He wanted to come and see his guys. He wanted to spend time with them and support them. However, it just felt wrong being put in a position where he wasn’t supposed to be doing any work at all. He knew that feeling would only grow more following the first round of pit stops tomorrow night.
“What are you doing here?” Jared hears over his shoulder, causing him to jump out of his skin as he spins around and sees Alan standing there. “I thought you were told that you were supposed to take it easy this weekend without doing much. Do you know what that requires, Mr. Erspamer?” Jared shakes his head yes, remembering the instructions given by the doctor, Alan and Greg.
“Not doing any work whatsoever that would be required of me, sir,” Jared replies, going with a formal tone in voice. “I am not doing any work at all, sir. I just came to say hello and see how you were guys doing since I’m loose. I figured I’d come say hi, and then go relax somewhere through the XFINITY race, before coming back tomorrow night to watch. I’m just here for support.” Alan smiles, glad that Jared wasn’t going to be stubborn and push it, like he had seen some crew members do in the past.
“It’s nice to see you out and about, though. I’m glad you’re doing better. When Greg told me, I was pretty worried.” Jared looks on surprised as he hadn’t heard the caring tone out of Alan before. “What? I do actually care about you guys, even if I yell and bitch constantly.”
“Well, I can tell you that I’m doing pretty good considering. I just wish that I knew more about what happened so we could put an end to this. I mean, I have no idea where it came from – whether something I ate, drank, whatever.” Alan shook his head, understanding.
“The main thing is that you’re going to be okay and I’m sure they’re going to figure it out.” Alan then leads Jared to a chair, motioning for him to sit down as Jared lets out a sigh while listening. “Now, you’re going to behave and I don’t want any arguments, got it?” Jared shakes his head yes. “Good. Now, excuse me while I put these guys’ butts in gear.” Jared laughs as he watches Alan head off.
“So how does it feel to be a toddler?” Greg Morin comments as Jared laughs.
“Now I see why children argue when you put them in time out,” Jared replies as Greg gives him a glance over.
“If you run into any issues, get a hold of me right away. I don’t want you messing things up, got it?” Jared shakes his head yes.
“You know, seeing you stuck in the corner is fitting, considering,” Chad Avrit comments as he looks over from his spot underneath the car.
“Why do you say that?” Jared questions as Chad sits up.
“Didn’t Chase want to kick your ass when you called Sarina behind his back to get her to come around?” Jared lets out a sigh, knowing that was an interesting set of circumstances. He was surprised neither kicked his ass when it all came out.
“Hey, it worked as they’re happier than ever. I mean, look at those love birds…” Chad then glances over, seeing Chase walking to the garage stall with his arm wrapped around Sarina, stealing a small kiss.
“Don’t let your mind go there….” Jared then looks back at Chad with a surprised look. “I know what you’re thinking and no, he won’t be doing that. He’s a good boy, remember?”
“The ones with the best image on the outside seem to always have the dirtiest secrets, sometimes.” Chad just rolls his eyes as he stands up, grabbing his to-do list off the car.
“Nice to see you out and about,” Chase comments as he gives Jared a quick pat on the back, walking by to go see Alan ahead of practice, with one hand tightly holding Sarina’s.
“Nice to see you flirting with the competition,” Jared says as Chase looks back at him. “Better hope princess isn’t telling Kyle your secrets.”
“I would never dream of doing that,” Sarina replies, wrapping her arms around Chase. “If anything, I would share Kyle’s with him but Kyle keeps those locked with a key.”
Sarina stands back as she lets Chase and Alan have their usual pre-practice discussion, going over notes from the weekend so far, combined with what they wanted to accomplish over the next hour. She smiles as he walks back over, wrapping his arms around her.
“I say later we go out for a night of fun,” Chase comments, leaning in for a kiss.
“Really?” She questions and he shakes his head yes.
“We’ve been so busy that we haven’t any our time lately. I’ll take you to dinner, and then we can go do something.” She then smiles, easily accepting, as she knew anytime they spent together was always fun.
“I’m not going to get in trouble with Alan for busting your curfew?” He then laughs as he looks over at the crew chief, before turning his eyes back to her.
“I didn’t say we have to stay out late, but it’d be nice to do something…” She shakes her head, agreeing. She knew she hadn’t been the best girlfriend over the past couple months with her concern over her brother and racing schedule getting in the way.
“You have total decision on what we do. I’m just happy as long as I’m with you.” He smiles as he snags another kiss, before getting set for that practice.
As planned, the pair went out after practice. They went out to dinner, before going for a couple arcade games. They then ended their night by getting sundaes together and walking along Lake Norman.
“You know, there’s something I need to tell you….” Sarina starts, causing Chase to look over at her.
“Does it deal with the sundae?” He questions as she laughs and shakes her head no.
“But that does taste really good and oh my gosh they put so much syrup.” He then smiles as he reaches over, wiping a little off her cheek. “Am I that messy?” He laughs and shakes his head no.
“I’m sure I’ll get some all over when I get into the strawberries here.” She smiles as she returns back to eating hers as they sit on a bench looking out to the water. “So, you were going to say something….” She shakes her head yes as the smile fades.
“I want to apologize for being a shitty girlfrie-”
“I’m over what happened, Sarina. We talked that over alrea-”
“I’m not talking about that, but that just adds insult to injury.” He then looks on confused as she sets the sundae aside for a moment. “Since we’ve got back together, what have we truly done together? I’ve been so busy with my own racing schedule and my brother that I haven’t given you the proper attention you deserve. This is like only the third date that we’ve had in four months. Meanwhile, you’re doing a whole ton for me – whether regarding my brother, giving me the second chance, the late model deal which I’ve wrecked twice in a row. I feel terrible…” He then sets his sundae down, wrapping an arm around her and pulling her close so her head was lying on his shoulder.
“You don’t have to apologize one bit. I mean, I haven’t been the best boyfriend either. I’ve been so focused on doing well and working with the guys that I haven’t given you the honest time of the day. Sure, I’m there to support you when you’re racing on the weekend, but during the week we barely have the time at home. That’s not just for your fault. I could easily take a day or two and come home ear-”
“You don’t need to do that, Chase. I mean, I get why you spend the late nights going over stuff with Alan and the guys.” Chase shakes his head as he gives her a slight smile, while running his fingers through her hair.
“Our relationship works because we understand each other. We’re both determined as ever racers who will do whatever it takes to succeed. We don’t accept failure easily and are always looking for ways to do better, whether we should fault ourselves or not. We’re perfectionoists at times. You get my late nights at the shop, just like I get the time spent with Marcus and Kyle reviewing video for you. I know things have been crazy over the past couple months, but it doesn’t change a single thing. I love you, and will still do anything for you.” He then lifts her head up off his shoulder, leaning in for a kiss.
“I love you, too. Thank you….” She then wraps her arms around him, pulling him close as she leans in for a continuation of the kiss. Perhaps Marcus was right and things were going to work out for her, finally. “Thank you….”