Alan ran his hands through his hair, letting out a sigh as he leaned back in the chair waiting for an update. It’d been a couple hours since the parents had left them to go sit with Chase, and they hadn’t heard a single update yet. The doctors weren’t concerned, saying the rest would be good for him as he would wake up in the next couple hours. However, that didn’t seem to ease the concerns of the crew chief.
“Do you want anything, boss?” Jared Seate asks as he looks over at Alan. Alan shakes his head no as he sends another nothing yet text message to Jimmie Johnson, who had been messaging him every half hour. “Okay. A couple of us are going to grab some coffees and such. If you want anything, just text us.” Alan shakes his head accepting as he watches the crew chief walk away, before returning his eyes to his phone.
He was caught staring at the screen – lost in thought, perhaps worry consuming his mind more than he thought – when he hears the doors open to the private waiting room. He had hoped it would’ve been Ryan and Darrell with news that Chase had woken up, but was caught off guard when he saw a familiar female standing there.
Her eyes darted around the room, before locking with Alan’s as he takes a deep breath before standing up. The crew glanced over, seeing her, unsure of what to do, while the crew chief made his way over.
“Hey Sarina,” was all he could manage at first. He didn’t want to hold anything against her for what happened, but she was the one that put everybody in that position with trusting her brother despite everybody else’s concerns.
“Hey Alan,” she says quietly, feeling emotionally drained. “I came over as soon as I heard that Chase was poisoned. We were sitting at the police station waiting for the detective to come back and he came back and mentioned that Chase was poisoned, brought over to hospital right after. Is he okay?” Alan wanted to bite his tongue and not say anything to her as he didn’t feel she needed to know any details right now. However, taking a deep breath, he knew that wouldn’t fit his driver’s wishes.
“It was a high concentrated stream that he consumed and it affected him big time.” Alan stops, shaking the thought of what happened in the trailer, as he tries to focus on his words. “The doctors feel they caught it quickly enough and gave him the right antidotes and other stuff he needs, but we don’t know for sure the full effects yet. They knocked him out with a sedative as he was fighting it pretty hard, and he hasn’t woken up yet.” Sarina feels her heart drop in her throat in hearing the slim details of how bad it was, and the fact that he was still out cold despite being brought in a couple hours ago.
“Okay, thank yo-”
“What happened with your brother at the station?” Alan didn’t care if he hit a sensitive nerve or not, he needed the details after what he had witnessed.
“It was totally his fault. They found a couple vials mixed in with his things in the trailer when they conducted a search. Everybody telling me that it was him – from Blaney to Christopher to Brad to whoever the hell and even Chase, was right. I was totally wrong. I feel terrible. I know there’s nothing that I can do take it back. I don’t even know how to be forgiven for such a thing. I mean, I should’ve seen the signs. I should’ve done something more. I get if everybody is pissed off and hates me. I mean, who woul-”
“Save the pity trip, Sarina.” Alan wasn’t in the mood to hear a feel bad for me speech in knowing what Chase was going through right now. Besides, he had to admit his own advice for Chase through the process was floating through his mind and perhaps some of his anger towards her. “He’s your brother. He’s your own flesh and blood. You guys grew up together and trusted each other. Anybody can’t fault you for not wanting to see it for all those reasons, no matter how screwed up things may be in your family. Even Chase understands that, and I know he was willing to move forward with you when you made the decision to come back after everything that happ-”
“That was before he was poisoned himself, Alan.” Alan takes a deep breath, understanding her concerns. However, he knew Chase well enough that it would probably get brushed off down the road.
“I know, but I also know how forgiving he can be. You may be surprised at the chance that he will give you, again. Now, what else about your brother?” Sarina just wanted to go see him, but understood the want for answers. She could only wonder what they’d been through with everything going on.
“He’s been charged with procession of drugs, combined with all the counts of poisoning, attempted murder in some respects, and a couple other things. Needless to say, you don’t have to worry about him for a long time if that’s you feel better. I can also tell you he tried to pull the mentally instable line again, which they’re looking into. However, I can damn well tell you that I’m not letting him fall through the cracks again.” Alan felt relief in hearing those words, hoping that Sarina stood by them based on what Chase had told him from his past encounters with Chris.
“Thank you for the assurance, and I’m sorry that it didn’t turn out the way you wanted. I know it’s got to be tough on you as I know how much you wanted to rebuild things with him.” She simply accepts his words, not saying much of anything, as she glances towards the doors.
“Which room is he in? I would like to go see him.” Alan took a deep breath, wondering if that was really a good idea given Cindy’s attitude. However, he once again found himself unable to deny her.
“Second door on the right. They’re keeping it down to four visitors at a time, and right now his parents are in there along with Bubba and Ryan.” She then takes a deep breath. She knew that Cindy would probably want to kill her the moment they crossed paths, but she had to see Chase for herself.
“Thank you.” She then walks by the crew chief, heading down the hall to the second door.
She then stops for a second, glancing down at her feet, before looking up. She enters the room slowly, one careful step at a time as she takes in the sight before her. If her heart could’ve dropped any lower, it probably did in that moment standing there, seeing him lying in the bed. He looked so weak with the IV, monitors and ventilator – something that she could’ve never imagined with him.
“And it’s all my fault for not believing everybody…” She whispers to herself, wiping a stray tear off of her face.
“Sarina?!?” Bill questions, surprised to see her there as he looks up from Cindy’s side.
“Hi,” she says very quietly. “I came to see him as soon as I got details that he was here.”
“What about your brother?” Ryan questions, still bitter about what happened to him and the fact that she didn’t take Chase seriously when he passed the message to her.
“Charged on procession and poisoning, and a couple other things, as they found the proof that I needed to see to believe it. I’m sorry Ryan, honestly. I should’ve took the concerns more seriously and done some checking myself. I should’ve done something sooner for both you and Chase’s sake. I’m sorry…” Ryan could only nod and accept her apology. Like Alan, he couldn’t find a voice to yell at her again as he understood her believing her brother.
“So is that assurance that this is the last time we’re stuck in a situation like this, Sarina?” Bill questions. He had been very patient with her through everything, always the first to forgive. However, standing there worried about his son again, he had to admit that he was getting frustrated with everything.
“I can assure you that he won’t slip through any crack and get what he deserves and/or needs for this,” she tells him with certainty in her voice. She knew that was the only thing she could do moving forward if she wanted to make it up to Chase and have a chance for a future.
“Well, I’m glad to hear but you can leave the room now,” Cindy speaks up as she looks away from Chase for the first time, sending a piercing stare through Sarina.
“Cindy, I care about your so-” Sarina starts.
“If you would’ve done something, we never would’ve been here. Did you ever think about that?” Sarina takes a deep breath, wishing that they weren’t having this argument right now.
“I’ve thought about that constantly since hearing the news. I realize it and it’s the biggest regret ever. I don’t know how to ever be fully forgiven or made up for it. I don’t know if there’s any coming bac-”
“There isn’t.” Cindy then stands up and walks over to Sarina, closing the gap between them as she stares at her. “Listen sweetheart, you’re done. I’ve been respectful and held back enough to let you stray and have fun. But that stops now. I can’t handle this and you can’t keep doing this to Chase. It’s unfair of you to take advantage of his sweetness, forgiveness. So why don’t you turn on your heels and march your ass out of this room?”
“Cindy….” Bill walks over, placing a hand on her shoulder. He knew she meant most of what she was saying, but the extra edge was obviously out of worry.
“He still cares about me and I care about him,” Sarina starts. “None of this changes that. We agreed to that in sticking together no matter what happened with Chri-”
“That was before your brother tried to kill him!” Cindy yells. “Now get out!”
“He would want me to be here, so I have a right to be here.” Cindy shakes her head no.
“Bill and I in charge of the situation in being the parents, so what I say goes. Get out of here before I call security!”
“Come on….” Ryan places a hand on Sarina’s shoulder and leads her out as Bill keeps a grip on Cindy, leading her back over to Chase.
“I don’t want to see her ever again….”
“Just take a deep breath, relax, and focus on what’s important,” Bill comments as he gets her settled back in the chair. He knew he would have a discussion with Sarina himself later, followed by some more to come. He didn’t know what direction it would go, still on the fence himself, but he knew this approach wasn’t right.
“Guys….” Darrell comments, noticing a twitch In Chase’s fingers and eyes, re-focusing the attention.
“He’s waking up,” Sarina starts as Ryan pulls her out of the room. “Please, convince her. Let me stay…” Ryan continues leading her way, before pinning her against the wall outside.
“There’s no way in hell that you’re going to get through to Cindy right now so stop pleading,” he states, cutting her off immediately. “Secondly, how would you feel if someone poisoned the person you love dearly and you couldn’t do anything about it? Put yourself in Cindy’s shoes. She’s doing what she believes to protect him. If you want to eventually have a future, I suggest you take a deep breath and consider some respect here. Based on everything that happened, I don’t fault Cindy for what she did.”
“Seriously?” Ryan shakes his head yes.
“Chase’s opinion may have changed now. We also don’t know what the future holds for him. There could be brain or muscle damage, Sarina. This shit is no game and you already know how Cindy is from experience. Do us all a favor, and please just give some space. Let Bill and everybody focus on Chase, rather than wasting energy on this.” Sarina knew that Chase was priority as she took a couple deep breathes. Maybe she should’ve given space.
“You’ll text me how he’s doing regularly, right?” Ryan shakes his head yes. “And when he wants me to come see him, and says it with his own words, you’ll text me?” Ryan shakes his head yes once again. “That’s all I ask. Other than that, I guess I have no choice. That’s what I get for what happened….”
She then turns on her heels and walks away, passing by the crew that had stared down the entire scene before them, and out of the door. She clutches her phone in her hand, taking a deep breath.
She just hoped that she got the text message she wanted from Ryan, eventually. Chase was all she had left now.