Sunday, August 20
“So you never saw my defendant touch your water bottle or place the drugs in it, did you?” The lawyer immediately asks and Chase bites his lips. Here came the lawyer’s way of showing doubt, which would hopefully get his client off. What did it matter? Chris was already going to jail for years….
“No, I did not,” Chase answers, truthfully. He knew he couldn’t lie, even if it would make his story better.
“So this is all based on your suspicion, guilty by association?” Chase wanted to curse up and down a wall right now.
“Correct, but I don’t see how it’d be different…” There was no way one of his guys or Sarina would’ve done it – and Allison wasn’t even a thought then.
“The bottle was located in your team’s trailer all weekend. What if a fellow Hendrick Motorsports employee with access tainted the liquid?” Chase almost laughed at the thought, while resisting the urge to punch the lawyer. There was no way he could watch his guys get accused.
“My guys are family, and trustworthy. We’re closer than you can probably ever imagine. None of them would ever do anything to hurt me.” He knew that for a fact, and couldn’t thank them enough for having his back through all this – on top of enduring the Indianapolis mess.
“It’s also nice that you have a history with Chris, and he never got convicted on those charges.” Chase wanted to state the answer once again, but knew that wasn’t needed as the jury heard the psychiatrist’s words. “Are you trying to pin these charges on my client out of revenge?” Now Chase really had to laugh even more.
“I wasn’t the one who initially filed the charges as the department did that based on evidence. I just went in, and gave my seal of approval because I know what Chris is capable of.” He remembered when they told him Chris had been charged. It was that moment his mind flashed to the discussion with Alan about the location of the bottle before he drank it. When it came to signing off on the charges, that came without a question.
“There’s another poisoning case going on with you associated in Indiana – Alison Stevenson. Let the court be known that it was same compound used there, as well. Could Allison been behind your attack this time, too?” Chase knew there was no way that Allison could be. Bethany – that was possible in a small sense, but never Allison.
“She did not have access to the bottle as it was first in my motorhome – accessed by myself, my girlfriend Sarina Ott, my parents – and then in the trailer, which is open to access by just Hendrick Motorsports employees. Allison is neither of those.” He could’ve also mentioned how she didn’t enter his life into later on that year at the pageant. Why did Hooters make him do that, again?
“And is it known that the poisons are accessible by others?” Chase felt confused immediately. Why would he know to locate these?
“I wouldn’t know.” That was the honesty at it’s best.
“Last question – if you were worried about Chris, why did you allow him to stay with you?” He couldn’t help but smile at the thought, as it was something he battled back and forth with.
“I did it as a favor for Sarina, actually. She trusted her brother enough and felt that he was turning a corner – and wanted to give him a full chance. She asked me, and I accepted. Like I said, I had my reservations – which never changed at all no matter what I said out loud to people, because of what he said to me. However, I was willing to open the door a little if she felt it was best. Obviously, that was a chance that I shouldn’t have taken.” Thinking it over, though, he knew even if he had not done that, Chris would’ve found another approach; that was how he was. It was the same way Allison got through to him.
“Thank you.” The lawyer goes back to her spot in the court room.
“You may step down,” the judge instructs and Chase does as instructed, biting his tongue the entire way. “We will resume court at the next date with continued testimony. Court adjourned!”
With those words spoken, the three friends immediately headed out of the court room, all focused on escaping that process as quick as possible and ready to get the vacation started.
As they reached the doors, they froze immediately, seeing the sea of reporters and microphones.
“You’ve got to be fucking kidding me!” Sarina lets out, causing both Ryan and Chase to grab her hands at the same time. Chase’s reaction was nothing new to her, but a glance towards Ryan and it was obvious she was surprised.
“There’s no public ban, remember?” Chase questions, remembering the discussion about that. “You said it yourself – he wanted us to testify, speak to what happened, and cause a stir in our lives. Whether that was his idea or Bethany’s, it’s all about tearing us piece by piece…” Ryan looked between the pair.
“And we’re not letting that happen, are we?” He asks and both shake their heads. “We’re the best of friends, focused on having fun together, our history together, and a vacation to come!” Ryan glanced around, seeing various people walk in and out of the court room. “Is anybody here from KBM or Hendrick?” Chase shakes his head, remembering the discussion.
“Morgan wasn’t scheduled to work today. She asked if she should come, but I told her that’d be unfair…” Now he instantly regretted that, as he pulled his phone out. He knew he should text her what happened and if he says anything as he leaves.
“…and Chris is busy with the Late Model guys,” Sarina adds, as Ryan curses to himself. He had no experience here, either.
“When everything began to come out, do you remember their advice?” Ryan questions, hoping they’d reach some answer.
“You don’t have to say anything,” Chase and Sarina repeat together, remembering the group discussion. “Ongoing investigations and trials have stipulations to where you cannot comment on certain things until everything is ove-”
“We are mid-trial, therefore legally you can’t say anything. Therefore, no matter the questions, the answer is this – we cannot comment at this time due to legalities.”
“When did you become so media savy?” Chase wonders as Ryan smiles.
“Since I started a podcast, which you seem to avoid coming on…” Ryan replies as Chase rolls his eyes, knowing how Ryan shoved that in his face constantly.
“Hey now, I’m busy….” Ryan laughs, having heard that excuse multiple times.
“If we’re going to make our flight, cut the bullshit and let’s get this over with!” Sarina demands, catching their attention once again. Trading glances across the line, the three of them walk forward together, going out the door as the sea of microphones and cameras focus on them.
“Chase Elliott, did the trail of events which took place change your view on Sarina?” One of the reporters immediately questioned. Chase takes a deep breath, repeating Ryan’s words through his head, as he tried to stop himself from something. But they were talking about his girl….
“We’re still together, right?” He questions, causing Ryan to curse to himself as he watched their plan blow-up. “We’re still in love. We’re here together, and actually always together. We’re going on a vacation together. What do you think?” Sarina bit her tongue, catching that bit of attitude at the end. That was not in his normal character, and she knew that’d cause a couple comments from everybody across the board. However, it was nice to hear him stand up for her.
“But was there any trust issues that came about as a result?” Chase knew the answer, but that was none of their business.
“No, but really – I have no more to say. The trial is still going on, and as Morgan told you – I cannot comment on legal preceding until they’re complete. Thank you.” He then tightens his grip on Sarina’s hand, pulling her through the crowd with him as everybody lost track of Ryan sneaking through.
The group makes their way through, before hurrying over to the Chevrolet Tahoe, immediately climbing in and shutting all the doors behind them.
“That was ridiculous!” Ryan comments as he sees the sea of reporters standing there, microphones in the air, cameras facing different directions. They were obviously waiting to see if anybody else important came out. “I mean, I’ve heard about celebrities being mobbed. I’ve never been mobbed – and that wasn’t close to being mobbed, but I never want to be mobbed.”
“Just wait until you see the crap that they write,” Chase adds, as he finishes texting Morgan. He told her about what happened, as well as a brief summary of what he said. “And I know I shouldn’t have said anything – but I had to. If I don’t say shit, then they’re going to write that we have issues and the relationship is for show. I don’t need your name dragged…” Sarina lets out a sigh as she glances out the window.
“Chase, it’s part of it,” she comments. “It’s not my fault that I’m related to him, and it’s not my fault what he did. It’s my family history, right? Everything that happened…” She then takes a deep breath, not believing that was being the calm one here. However, it was all about doing whatever Chase needed done. “It was going to come out at some point. I can’t keep running and hiding. But like you said, it’s time that I own it. It proves what I’ve been through, I’m strong, and showcases why I’m so thankful to be where I am today.” Chase smiles, not believing his advice was setting in.
“But what I mean is they would’ve dragged it furth-”
“Let them talk as it doesn’t matter. Who matters in my life? You, my friends, Kyle, Sam, my team, and those who truly believe what I have to say instead of some raggy ass paper. But, for what’s it worth, I am glad that you stood up for me…” She then leans in and kisses his lips with a smile of her own. “I love you, and thank you.”
“I’d do it all over again, to be honest…”
“Even if you get yelled at?” Ryan questions from the back, already getting that nagging third wheel feeling. Why couldn’t Bubba had joined them? “You know the attitude you showed at the end…” Chase leans back against the seat with a sigh.
“So maybe I took it a bit too far,” he comments. “And sure, I’m going to yelled at. I’ll own that. My reason? My damn vacation is getting interrupted! Now, are we ready to get going?”
“Why are we still sitting here in the parking lot, then? We have a flight to make!” Sarina questions as Chase smiles, pulling the keys out of his pocket.
“Amsterdam, here we come…..”