Thursday, August 10
“My mom said I should cut my hair,” Ryan comments as they get out of the car. “She mentioned something about not looking good or proper for today – or whatever. What do you think?” Chase glances back at his friend.
“I think you look fine, but then again – my hair is probably longer,” Chase says as Ryan rolls his eyes.
“As long as it not looking like a mess and you have somewhat styled it, they’re not going to say anything,” Sarina comments. “You both look fine. Let’s go and get this over with, please.” Chase lets out a sigh as he walks over to her, wrapping an arm around her.
“Are you okay?” She then glances at him.
“I’m trying to put my brother away in jail for years for poisoning friends of mine. What do you think?” Chase lets out a sigh as Sarina instantly freezes. “Shit! That came out wro-”
“It’s fine. It’s honest. I told you I’d rather you be honest than try and sugarcoat your feelings as I don’t want them to eat at you.” He then pulls her a little closer to him. “I know it’s hard. I know it doesn’t make sense. But regardless, I’ve got you through all this, I love you, and you’re still amazing.” He then leans in and kisses her lips as she looks back at him with a smile.
“Promise me you’ll never cut the mop then?” He then rolls his eyes as he fixes a stray couple pieces again.
“I actually don’t mind it so we’ll see, okay?” She smiles and nods her head.
“I bet you’ll cut yours before I cut mine,” Ryan says as he holds the door open for them.
“You’re probably right,” Chase replies as he leads Sarina inside. The group then walks down the short hallway, stopping at the doors. “Whenever you’re ready…”
“I just want this done and over with,” Sarina states as she opens the door, leading the boys into the court room. The group takes their seats accordingly as Sarina taps her fingers on her legs.
“Just keep thinking of the fact that we’ll be in Michigan tomorrow, far far from here, and you’ll be mashing that gas pedal as hard as you can so you can go super fast and win.” She then smiles as she looks over at Chase.
“Can we just skip today and go there now?” Chase wished they could do that as he wrapped an arm around the back of her.
“I wish, but unfortunately, we have to listen to Ryan tell a story.” Ryan then smoothes his pants out again as he glances at the pair, before looking forward. “Have you ever done tiral before?” Ryan shakes his head.
“Hence the questions for my mom, and the hair comment, and the what if I fuck up comments,” Ryan says as he takes a deep breath. “Momma told me that I just need to go up there, answer the questions, say what happened, and the law will take care the rest. That’s all I’m going to do.”
“You’ll be fine….”
“All rise!” The clerk’s voice catches their attention as they each look forward, standing up. Chase instantly clutches Sarina’s hand with his own as they bring Chris into the room, by them, before over to his spot in the court room.
“Don’t look over there,” Chase whispers as he could tell the instinct that Sarina had – it was the same one that he was fighting. “Judge Reynolds preceding.” They watch the judge come in and take her seat at the desk as Sarina sits down, rolling her eyes.
“That’s the fucktard that wouldn’t listen to anything we said before,” she whispers. “I was hoping we’d get a different trial judge…” Chase just rubs her back, focused on keeping her as calm as possible.
“First witness…” Judge Reynolds states, getting to business right away as Ryan feels a lump form in his throat.
“We would like to call Ryan Blaney to the stand please,” the attorney states as Ryan stands up. He clears his throat, making his way to the front of the room and taking his seat accordingly.
“Do you swear to tell the truth and nothing but the truth?” The clerk asks as Ryan holds his hand up. He couldn’t help but feel the butterflies build more in his stomach.
“I do,” he replies as he keeps his eyes focused forward on Chase and Sarina. Chase gave him a simple nod in response, seeing the nerves written on his face.
“Just tell them what you told me that night,” Chase whispers to himself, remembering when Ryan called him into the room for the confession. He remembered the complete shock that came over him, as well as uncertainty with his future. Squeezing Sarina’s hand once again, he was glad that they had made it to here.
“Mr. Blaney, do you remember the night that you were poisoned?” The attorney asks and Ryan nods his head.
“XFINITY race got cut short due to rain – it was the Friday of our Daytona weekend,” he answers, silently wishing he could think of the exact date.
“Let the court be known that was Friday, July 30. Do you remember all of the events leading up to that?” Ryan nods his head, running the night through his mind like a movie.
“Please start wherever you would like…” Ryan takes a deep breath, thinking through everything.
“We did the national anthem and I climbed into the car afterwards. We ended up running some laps, and then skies opened up – raining. NASCAR called us to pit road, set to go under red flag conditions while they debated post-phoning or drying the track. I stopped on pit road, took my stuff off, got set to climb out – just like any other night.” Ryan then stops, trying to remember everything exactly.
“Then what happened, Mr. Blaney?” Ryan takes another deep breath, thinking it over.
“I got out of the car like normal. Normally Jesse or Jessica are there with an umbrella and a drink, but Jessica was on duty that night and busy doing something else for the team PR. So I figured I’d just walk over to the pit box through the rain, no problem no foul. As I made my way down pit road, Chris walked over with an umbrella, offering to hold it over my head. I accepted.”
“How did you know Chris, prior to this meeting?” Ryan smiles as he keeps his eyes focused on Chase and Sarina.
“I met him through Chase and Sarina. I knew that Chris was her brother. I heard he was there that weekend with a friend taking in the sights.” Ryan was almost set to spit out Chase’s discussed nerves, but figured he’d save that unless asked.
“Then what happened?” Ryan takes a deep breath, picturing it in his mind once again.
“We talked a little – he had a couple generic racing questions, I answered them. I then mentioned something along the lines of ‘let me grab a drink from the guys and then maybe we can talk some more’ as I wasn’t minding the company, actually. He had a bottle of Gatorade in his hand, and offered it to me. I took it, taking a sip, thanking him. I ended up fully drinking the bottle.” The attorney crosses her arms as she glances over at Chris, before back at Ryan.
“Would it be safe to say that the bottle contained what you were poisoned with?” Ryan nods his head.
“I had nothing prior to that to drink since I finished team dinner, and I had nothing after that point. I don’t see any other thing that would’ve affected me.” Chase smiles, as he couldn’t help but look over at Chris at this time. Ryan’s story was close enough to fool’s proof as you could get.
“How did you begin to realize what was wrong?” Ryan thinks it over, continuing to watch the movie in his mind.
“NASCAR called the race and I was going to go watch the ocktagon fight with friends, but I started to feel a little sick. I went back to the trailer, thinking I’d just relax a bit before heading back to the motorcoach. I threw up a bunch, and that’s when my crew chief Greg Erwin noticed and suggested I get checked out. We were thinking maybe flu and get some fluids into me, but then they discovered it was poisoning.”
“Let the court be known that his toxicology report showed the same poison of others that Mr. Dryer has already admitted to. Your witness.” The attorney sits, with Chris’ lawyer standing afterwards. Ryan could only bite his lip with nerves in what questions were to come.
“What happened to the Gatorade bottle?” The lawyer asks as Ryan looks on puzzled.
“I threw it out after I was done like any other human,” he answers, causing a couple chuckles in the court room.
“So it was never tested or linked to my client, correct?” Ryan shakes his head. “So all of this is based on a story that you have from memory?”
“They asked me what happened, and I told them. I don’t know what else to say.” Chase glances down, knowing how the tactics of lawyers worked. He just hoped that Ryan stayed strong.
“So it is possible, though, that somebody else could’ve done it, right?” Ryan thinks it over, shaking his head.
“Like I stated – only person I crossed paths with, only drink I had – I don’t see other chances.”
“But we still don’t know without a shadow of doubt, and that’s needed for a conviction. So I’m done.” Ryan glances back at the attorney, feeling nervous based on things.
“You may step down,” the judge tells him as Ryan stands up, walking over to Chase and Sarina. “We will resume at the next hearing date with the next witness. Court adjourned!” Ryan still felt tingly in nerves as he stood up, following Chase and Sarina out of the court room.
“Did I do a good job?” He questions, as Chase looks back at him.
“You answered every question accordingly, and you told the truth,” Chase answers. “You were fine, Ryan.” Ryan wondered if Chase was just saying that to assure him.
“But what about the lawyer’s comments? Without a shadow of a doubt? Suspicion?” Chase rolls his eyes as they reach the car.
“That’s the lawyer’s job – to create that cloud to try and get the jury to not look at her client. It’s the jury’s job to try and see through the smoke and mirrors for the truth. Based on his previous confessions and based on what you said, the smoke and mirrors will probably fade quicker than you imagine. Ryan, it’s fine. You did a good job.”
“You were great,” Sarina adds as they all climb into the car together. “I’m surprised the media isn’t trying to eat us all up.” Chase pulls his eyes out as he looks over at her.
“They don’t anything to use yet,” he comments. “That comes once I get up there, hence why Chris wants me to say something – or when Alison gets started on her trial with me.” He then stops, reaching over for her hand once again. “But like I told you – I love you, I’m always going to be by your side, I’ve always got your back, and I’ll do anything for you. Let them talk…”
“Are you sure?” Chase nods his head.
“It’s worth it for you…”
“Seriously, don’t screw this up; you have something special,” Ryan whispers to Sarina as Sarina looks back with a smile.
“Don’t worry – I plan on keeping him for a long time to come,” she replies. “You’re just the fifth different person to tell me that.”
“Ryan’s testimony was good….” Chris starts as Bethany lets out a sigh.
“I’m not worried about the puppet,” she replies. “It’s Chase that’s going to provide the entertainment. He’s got lots to say between you and Allison.” Chris then smiles, knowing Bethany’s doings always turned out good eventually.
“What about you?” Bethany smiles as she sits back.
“What do they have me on? It’s not like Allison is going to squeal as she had fun with the kid. It’s not like you’re going to squeal because you know you’re going away and I’m going to fulfill everything that’s warranted that for that sweetpea. They don’t know, Chris…” Chris could only smile more in amazement.
“I just want to know when everything is going to go into action.” Bethany laughs.
“In due time, in due time….”