Friday, October 13 – Talladega Superspeedway
Done with the final session of the day, Chase headed back to the motorcoach lot, satisfied. Glancing at the time, they still could go out if they wanted. Though as he walks inside, he notices Sarina sitting on the couch with the magazine in hand.
“What are you doing with that?” He questions as she looks up at him.
“Just looking at it in disbelief,” she answers as he walks over, holding his hand out.
“Give it to me. You don’t need to consume yourself with that…” She hands it over, and he takes it to the kitchen, placing it directly in the trash. “You said earlier that you were fine. So, tell me how you really feel…”
“You wouldn’t want to know…” He then looks on surprised as he walks back over to where she sat, kneeling before her.
“Don’t ever say that. I care about you, and I always want to know what you’re thinking and feeling – good or bad. Please, tell me…” She takes a careful deep breath, eyes focused on his.
“I knew it was going to come out. I knew that everybody would know eventually. I just didn’t expect it to come out like this. I wanted to have some control over it so I could explain. Have you seen twitter today? Have you seen the fans out there? Have you seen the guys and gals off other teams? The looks I am getting are just….they’re hard to stomach, okay? It’s like everything that I worked for since moving down to North Carolina is being swept out from under my feet. Why did I bother with a dream?” He wanted to wrap his arms around her, hold her tight, and never let her go, as he grabs hold of one of her hands.
“Because everybody deserves a chance to dream, and a chance to chase after those dreams. After what you’ve been through, from heartbreak to torn apart from your family, to seeing and witnessing everything you did, you deserve that more than anybody else could. All that pain that you’ve experienced deserves to be turned into something good. And no, everything is not getting swept awa-”
“Again, have you seen those looks?” Chase nods his head, having noticed them on the way to the garage that morning.
“Those who know the whole story, though, and those who have gotten to see who you are, aren’t looking that way. Instead, they’re giving you looks of pride in watching you continue to fight the battles thrown your way. Kyle applauded your courage today in the media center. I heard other drivers applaud your talent 10 times over. Heck, my guys have told me that they have your back no matter what. Just ignore what everybody else is saying. Once they see what I see in you, they’ll back off.” She smiles a little as she glances down at his fingers interlocked with hers.
“I feel bad for when you get thrown in it, though. There are people on twitter saying that we shouldn’t be together, that I truly don’t love you, that you just feel bad for me…” He takes a deep breath, knowing that they’ve been down this road before. However, he didn’t mind repeating it if necessary.
“We’ve talked about this. I love you for who you are. I love you for that sparky fun girl that I saw when I was late model racing and loved to race against. I love you for those fun, sassy conversations that we’d have. I love you for the fire and the desire that you have, and the passion for this sport. I love you for the quiet moments that we spend together. Oh, and I certainly damn well love you for the other night…” She then chuckles. “I’ll deal with their comments. I’ve heard it all my life how I’m the spoiled little brat that got everything handed to me because of daddy. Now you’re throwing those comments in – sweet, let them talk. It’ll just make them that much more upset when we both win.”
“We’re going to win before this year is over – both of us.” He nods his head in agreement as he stands up.
“Now, what if I go get changed and then we go out for dinner?” She then lets out a sigh as she grabs her pillow, curling back up on the couch. “…or not. We can stay in if you want.”
“I don’t feel like going out – and it has nothing to do with them. I just don’t feel good.” She then rubs her stomach as he grabs a blanket, putting it over her.
“Flu?” She shakes her head. “Cramps?” She nods her head as he lets out a sigh. He had been with her long enough to understand her periods sucked and brought forth painful cramps. “Did you take an-”
“I took them as soon as practice was over, Chase. It’s helped some, but not a lot…” He then stands up, glancing towards the kitchen. He knew he couldn’t go out and leave her there by herself.
“I’m going to get changed, and then I’m going to make dinner. You can either have what I’m having, or you can just have some soup. I love you.” He then gives her a light kiss before heading to the back of the motorcoach.
Throughout the rest of the night, things were pretty quiet in the motorocoach. Chase ate dinner while she just sipped on a little bit of soup.
They then retreated to the bed later on that night, with Chase keeping his arms wrapped around her, cuddling her as she tried to soothe the cramps with a hot water bottle tucked against her as they watched a movie.
By the end of the movie, her eyes were closed and she was fast asleep. He slips the bottle out from her, setting it aside, knowing that it may need to be refilled sometime in the middle of the night. He then pulled the blanket over them, set to get some sleep himself.
Saturday, October 14 – Talladega Superspeedway – 3:04am EST
Sarina felt a strong pain in her stomach, eyes stinging her eyes. She then slips out of bed, quietly and carefully, not wanting to wake Chase up as she retreats to the kitchen. She opens the fridge, grabbing a bottle of water.
Leaning against the counter, tears threatening to fall, she takes a big swig of water along with swallowing two more pills. The pain, feeling as though, it could almost rip her into two, brought the threat of more tears to her eyes.
Continuing to intensify, she immediately runs to the bathroom, head leaning over the toilet, the contents of her stomach coming up all at once.
“Sarina?” Chase says as he glances in the bathroom door. He immediately rushes in, grabbing her hair, holding it back as she continues to lean over the toilet.
“I’m fine…” She tells him quietly, sitting back after she was sure to be done. he then stands up, dampening a cloth, before sitting back down beside her, as he gently wipes her face.
“Really?” She nods her head as she looks over at him.
“It’s like I told you earlier. Sometimes, they get so bad that I throw up. I’ll be fine once the pills kick in…” She then slowly stands up, making her way back to the bed, grabbing her pillow and holding it against her stomach, as she lies down, curling in a ball. Chase lays down behind her, rubbing her forehead.
“Sarina, are you sure you’re okay? I mean, you look like you’re in a lot of pain.” She felt the tears threatening to fall even more as they laid there. Why weren’t they easing?
“It’s just cramps, part of my usual cycle. I’m fine…” Chase wasn’t convinced as he hadn’t seen them this bad in all the time that they’d been together.
“Maybe we should call for help, or get you looked at.” She didn’t want any part of that as she was certain it was just the usual.
“No, it’s fine.” He wasn’t quite convinced, though, as he continue to rub her forehead.
“Are you sure?” She glances outside, seeing the rain pounding down. There was no way they were both getting soaked in the middle of the night over some lady problem.
“It’s like 4 right now, Chase. We’re not going out in the middle of the night. I’ll be fine.” He knew there was no sense in arguing with her, as that was going to get them nowhere with how stubborn she was. Besides, the best thing she could do was relax.
“Well, I still say you should get looked at in the morning at the care center before qualifying. Maybe they can give you something…” She knew there was no getting around it, as if she didn’t agree, he’d make a fuss to both Marcus and Kyle. She didn’t quite want the boss to know everything.
“Ugh, fine. Can you just cuddle me for now?” He nods his head, accepting, continuing to rub her as he stays curled up with her in the bed.
Once her eyes were closed, he grabs his phone off of the night table, bringing up Jimmie’s number. He knew his teammate would be getting up for an early run and knew he’d know the information warranted from experience.
“Jimmie, what time does the care center open?” He texted his teammate, turning his phone on vibrate to not wake up Sarina.
“8,” Jimmie texted him back shortly thereafter. Chase glances at the time, seeing as though that was just three hours from now. “Why?
“Sarina is not feeling well. Going to take her over then.”
“Hope she feels better man.”
For the next three hours, Chase continued to lay there quietly, cuddling her, rubbing her, and giving the odd comforting words as a small cry escaped her lips.
As the cries continued, his eyes caught the clock at 8:15, and he knew there was no waiting around any longer.
“That’s it, you’re going,” he says, standing up. He instantly scoops her up in his arms, which she doesn’t fight one bit as she wraps an arm around his neck. “Trust me, you’ll thank me…” She was feeling too much pain to fight against his requests as he carried her through the motorcoach and out the front door.
Sitting her down on the golf cart, it didn’t take long for them to make their way over to the care center, followed by him taking her in. They immediately took her in, going over every bit of symptom that she was experiencing, followed by a couple various tests.
“Well, it’s most certainly menstrual cramps,” the doctor states as Sarina gives Chase a ‘told you so’ glance. “But there’s also a bit of flu mixed in there, based on what we’re seeing, too. Let me guess – you didn’t eat a lot yesterday, did you?” Sarina lets out a sigh, shaking her head.
“I couldn’t keep it down,” she lets out as her body strains from the continuous pain.
“We’re going to give you some intravenous fluids, along with a dosage of Ponstel, which is stronger than what you’ve been taking. It should help relieve the symptoms and make you feel better. If everything looks to be improving, and you can eat even just a bit of toast, we’ll let you go for truck series qualifying and the race.” She nods her head, accepting. Anything that made the sensation go away in her stomach right now would be heavenly.
“Okay…” She then held out her arm, eyes focused on Chase as they put the intravenous in her, hating every single moment as she tensed a little. She then lays back once it is in, trying to relax and let everything do its job. “You need to go….”
“I can’t leave you here alone,” Chase tells her and she nods her head.
“You have a sponsor appearance that you have to get to and you know you’ll be in shit if you miss. Go…” He then lets out a sigh as he stands up.
“What if I call Kyle or Marcus or Sam for you?” She shakes her head. “What about my mom?” She shakes her head.
“I’ll be fine. I’ll probably just sleep while this works…” He really hated to leave her, but knew that she was probably right – sleep would do her wonders right now. he leans over her, kissing her lips. “I love you…”
“I love you, too.”
Chase made to the sponsor appearance barely on time, but Morgan understood his reasons once he told her a couple brief details of where he’d just been. He gets through the question and answer session with the guests relatively quickly, before signing some autographs.
With that out of the way nice and early, he was ready to relax the rest of the afternoon until qualifying later on that day. Of course, he knew relaxing and Talladega was totally out of the question with the truck race later on that day. There was no doubt he’d be on a top of her pit box, nervous beyond belief each lap.
While they’d been through a lot that morning, he knew no matter what Sarina would convince the doctor to let her qualify and race, as that was the determined style that she always followed. There were very few things that could keep her from driving, including cramps.
“Chase!” He hears his name shouted at the same time his phone goes off. He stops the golf cart, checking the text message as Kyle runs over to see him. “Where’s Sarina?” Chase reads the text message, smiling. It was like the universe had perfect timing.
“She’s coming,” Chase replies as he sends Sarina back a text message, stating that he was glad that she was feeling better but to make sure to be careful all day and good luck in qualifying. He also made a note that he’d come see her directly afterwards.
“Marcus has been looking all over for her….” Chase finally looks up from his phone at Kyle.
“Like I said, she’s coming now….” Kyle crosses his arms, intrigued. He had expected the pair to be stuck together, like usual.
“Where was she?” Chase really didn’t want to get into the details. He didn’t want to say something if she didn’t want it to be said.
“Catching up on some sleep. She had a rough night.” Kyle then felt bad for his immediate demanding, now feeling worry. He knew the article wasn’t pretty, but didn’t think it’d twist emotions around this much.
“Oh. Is everything okay?” Chase nods his head, pleased with the results of the text message. However, it didn’t hurt to make the boss slightly aware in one way.
“Yeah, it should be now. Just keep an eye out, Marcus too. She wasn’t feeling well last night.” Kyle remembered Marcus’ words about how Sarina seemed off during the second session of practice yesterday.
“Marcus thought maybe she was late due to being sick.” Chase was glad that the crew chief was already on the case. It made him feel a little better about the situation.
“Yeah, a little flu. She stopped by the care center this morning for some fluids.” Kyle was surprised to learn that, not thinking it’d be that serious.
“That’s good. Just tell her to take it easy and if she’s really feeling bad, we can work something out….” Chase nods his head, accepting. It was really nice to have everybody on the same page.
“I will let her know.”
The pair then head their separate ways, ready for the chaos that Talladega normally brings.
Chase eventually made his way out to pit road before the end of qualifying, watching as she laid down the eighth quickest lap. Taking a deep breath, at least she wasn’t right in the needle of the storm.
“Hey,” he says as she walks over to him following a quick round of conversation with Marcus. “Are you feeling better?”
“Yeah, absolutely,” she answers as she sits down on the golf cart. “That stuff did the trick. He gave me some more to take if I need them later, and made a suggestion for a prescription for me to give to my family doctor. I hate to say this, but thank you….” He smiles as he wraps an arm around the back of her seat.
“I care about you. I’d do anything for you – even if that means dealing with your stubborn ass sometimes.” She then chuckles.
“Marcus said they’re going to have Erik on stand-by in case I need him.” Chase was comfortable with that option being made available, but knew that Erik would probably sit there for the whole race for no reason. Once she got in the truck, he knew there was no way they were getting her out.
“Ready to go relax for a couple hours?” She nods her head, accepting, as a quick yawn escapes him.
“I think someone could use some sleep….”She then looks down at the ground. “Shit. I messed up your sleeping patte-”
“It’s fine. I just have two laps to run today – actually four, because I plan on making the second round of qualifying. But I’ll be fine. It was worth it, for you.” He gives her a kiss before they drive off together.