The Tale of Love & Racing: Sarina’s Story – Chapter 6: “What are you doing here?”

December 30, 2017 – No Name, Colorado

With a marathon set on Netflix, Chase and Sarina were all cuddled up on the couch, set for a fun quiet day together. After all, another round of snowboarding was out of the question.

After yesterday’s morning meeting with Dale, the trip on the hills started off solid as Chase showed off, and Sarina was able to make it down a couple times cleanly, continuing to get better. However, the fourth trip down saw her fall, landing awkwardly and twisting her ankle.

She had insisted that morning that Chase continue the vacation as planned with some snowboarding or skiing of his own while she did some things alone around the cabin, but he didn’t want to leave her alone. So after deciding on a marathon of House of Cards, the pair were all cuddled up together.

Of course, they thought it’d be a quiet day until they heard a knock at the door.

“Were you expecting anyone?” Chase wonders as he gets himself out from underneath her and she shakes her head no.

“Did you forget some promise to the boys?” She asks and he shakes his head no as he goes to the door. He opens it, set on telling the person to simply disappear, but instead his jaw drops immediately.

“What are you doing here?”

“Chase, who’s there?” Chase stood confused as he backed up a little, letting him in.

“I thought you were damn well away somewhere warm…”

“I just got back today actually,” Ryan comments as Sarina rolls her eyes, flopping back.

“Of course,” she muses to herself as she fights against chucking the remote across the room. She had been enjoying their quiet day together. Considering how chaotic the past couple months had been, it was nice to just chill by themselves.

“Is there a problem?” He then glances between the pair as he sets his bag down. “Oh..Oh my…Okay, I can go. I can ask Dale and Amy if I can bunk with the-”

“It’s fine,” Chase cuts him off with a sigh. “We weren’t about to do that. We were actually having a nice quiet day with a marathon of movies and TV shows so we could relax after someone twisted their ankle yesterday.” Ryan glances between them, and immediately realizes it is Sarina who was still lying on the couch. “So you get back from Cuba, and decide to just drop in here. You don’t even give me a heads-up, text, phone call, warning at all. You just figure that you’re set to come to Colorado without warning?”

“Any other time, you wouldn’t have said anything so I apologize,” Ryan offers, actually caught off-guard by the hostility from Chase. “Dude, I’m sorry. Like I said, I can go.” Chase shakes his head no once again as he goes to the kitchen.

“It’s fine. You can stay here. Besides, you’ll have the whole place to yourself tomorrow.” Ryan then glances between them confused, before following Chase to the kitchen.

“I thought you were going to spend New Year’s here…” Chase shakes his head no as he grabs a drink from the fridge.

“Samantha and Kyle are hosting a New Years/Anniversary party, and invited us both to come. I accepted the invite.” Ryan then looks at him a little confused. “Don’t be confused about this, Ryan. I really want to go. Kyle isn’t as bad as you’re thinking.”

“Do I know you?” Chase gives him a ‘really’ glance as Ryan lets out a sigh. “I just thought I’d spend New Years with my best friend. I mean, I didn’t get to see you all of December so I thought this was perfect. But it’s fine, I get it. We can hang some other time.”  Chase gives him a simple smile in response.

“We’re just going back to North Carolina for the party, and then flying back out here on the 2nd. So why don’t you hold down the fort, maybe even meet a girl on the slopes for some company, and we’ll hang out when I get back? Besides, Lindsay will be here on the 5th.” Ryan’s curiosity was instantly raised as Sarina watched the pair carefully from her vantage point on the couch.

“That’s a deal. By the way, Dale and Amy still here, too?” Chase nods his head.

“We had dinner at Jimmie’s cabin two nights ago. Dale is already learning how to ski relatively quickly.” Ryan nods his head, impressed. “Oh, but if you have any dark chocolate, hide it. Amy is having one of those pregnancy cravings…”

“No chocolate here.” Chase then goes into the fridge once again, grabbing Ryan a drink as he sets it on the counter before him.

“Alright, what did I miss on your great grand old adventure?” Ryan just smiles as he sits down.

“Let me tell you what Bubba did…..”

********************

Chase comes down the stairs, bags in hand, but instantly drops them as he sees Sarina making her way across the room.

“What did I tell you about moving around with that ankle, missy?” He instantly questions as she glances over at him.

“I don’t need a babysitter, Elliott,” she snaps back, catching him off-guard. “For your information, I just got back from the bathroom and was getting myself a drink before getting back comfortable. Besides, you’re supposed to move around a little so that way you can help the healing.”

“Just be careful, okay?” She then lets out a sigh as she sits down on the couch.

“Yes, Nurse Elliott.” He could only roll his eyes in response of her bit of attitude as he leans over the back of the couch, wrapping his arms around her neck.

“I love you, and I care about you. I just don’t want you to make it worse. Is that a crime?” She lets out a sigh as she relaxes in his arms, shaking her head. “I know you’re frustrated, but it’s okay. You’ll be fine.” He then kisses her cheek. “You just may want to avoid wearing heels tomorrow night.”

“I hate wearing them anyway. To have an excuse to avoid them is welcoming.” He smiles, rubbing her shoulders. “Besides, I was thinking of wearing my cowboy boots…”

“Do you still have the shorts and jean jacket that go with it?” She nods her head yes, knowing how much he loved that outfit. Hence why she had chosen to wear it to his birthday party. “What’s the dress code for tomorrow night, anyway?”

“Samantha said just wear whatever you feel comfortable in to party – so yes, I can wear the outfit if you want.” He smiles, giving her another kiss. “Just promise that you’ll keep me nice and warm.”

“Maybe we’ll forego the shorts till later when we’re alone. Maybe a nice pair of jeans instead…” She smiles, nodding her head in agreement. “But don’t worry, I’ll keep you nice and warm. I have a great way to ring in a new year.”

“That doesn’t surprise me, because I know how much you love those times…”

“Can you both get a room please?” They hear as Ryan enters the room, sitting in the chair.

“Who invited himself to our cabin without even a warning, again?” Sarina questions back in response, grabbing Chase’s arms with her hands so he wouldn’t move away. “Get used to it, Blaney….”

“Who knew you two would turn into that gushy over adorable couple.”

“What can I say? He brings out the sweetness in me.” Ryan then laughs. “What?”

“I don’t think I could mention sweet and Sarina in the same sentence to anybody – well, except Chase – and get a good response.” She then picks up a pillow and chucks it at him. “See what I mean?”

“Sore ankle or not, I can kick your ass.” Ryan smiles back in response.

“I wouldn’t doubt that in a second.” She then glances up at Chase.

“Why don’t you go get a couple more runs down the hill in with Ryan before we head out so it’s out of your system? I’ll be fine by myself. I’m just going to curl up and enjoy some more of this book I’m reading.” Chase looks at her surprised, before a glance towards Ryan, and then back to her.

“I couldn’t lea-” He starts.

“Go on,” she cuts him off. “I’ll be fine. I’m a big girl. You deserve to have some fun with your bestie. Besides, Chandra said that Lydia wanted to come by with some cookies to make me feel better. I wouldn’t want Ryan stealing them from me.”

“Hey!” Ryan lets out as she just sticks her tongue out.

“As long as you save one for me,” Chase tells her and she nods her head. “Love you.” He then gives her a kiss before going to get ready.

“Love you too,” she replies. “Be careful – both of you.”

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The Tale of Love & Racing: Sarina’s Story – Chapter 5: “I just want to apologize…”

Friday, December 29 – No Name, Colorado

Relaxing in the kitchen after a nice light jog to kick start the day, Chase was caught off-guard when he heard a knock at the front door. Normally, Jimmie texted if he wanted something, and his parents always planned things in advance. So who would be there by surprise?

Opening the door, he was instantly relieved and actually not surprised, considering he should’ve known this was possible with Dale being in the area.

“Hey,” Dale says. “Can I come in?” Chase instantly moves back, allowing him to come in, closing the door behind him. “Where’s Sarina?”

“She’s upstairs facetiming with Lindsay,” Chase comments before retreating back to the kitchen. “So what’s up?” Dale takes a deep breath as he stands on the other side of the counter.

“I just want to apologize actually.” Chase then looks over a little confused. “I was thinking about what I said last night and how strong that came off, like you and Sarina should just instantly be engaged and ready for marriage. I was wrong to put you on the spot. I’m sorry.” Chase nods his head, accepting. He never expected an apology, nor have a reason for one to be honest. But, if Dale did feel bad, he was willing to hear him out.

“It’s fine. I mean, all of your reasons are perfect. I just figured it to be one of those guy things anyway.” He then leans back against the counter, closing his eyes, as he thinks things over. “A lot of people just sometimes take for granted everything that happened. They don’t realize how it affects Sarina, and how she may look tough as nails – actually, she damn well is, but there’s an emotional side underneath that and it takes time. That’s why I was trying to explain how we haven’t even got to thinking about that. For now, it’s living in the present for us, focusing on ourselves, ready to move forward.”

“I totally understand – and maybe more than you realize. I mean, I saw the discontent that you went through when you guys had your disagreement last year, and I saw how torn up you seemed in February when you guys weren’t talking. So when you mentioned that, I realized immediately what you meant and hence why I backed off. Now Jimmie, that was another story…” Chase laughs, recalling some of Jimmie’s comments.

“He just wants to make sure that he has controlling interest over the bachelor party. By the way, is that even a good idea?” Dale chuckles, remembering some of his antics from the past with Jimmie.

“He had to take me to the hospital one time to get my forehead stitched because I wacked it off the bottom of Ricky’s pool while drunk with him and Jeff. What do you think?” Chase nods his head, knowing the direction immediately. “Now letting Ryan plan it could be equally as daunting….”

“He’s not bad, actually. I mean, my birthday party did go off really well. It was peer pressure from Kyle and Ricky that caused the roof visit.” Dale looks on surprised as Chase nods his head, remembering what Ryan had told him a couple days later. “They thought it’d be a good joke.”

“It was actually.” Chase rolls his eyes as Dale lets out a sigh. “Look, I meant what I said, though. I’m sorry if you felt pressured or put off guard by the comments in anyway. You and Sarina are set to live your lives how you want at your own pace – as long as you’re both happy, which is clearly obvious. I mean, you’re right. Martin and Sherry have one of the strongest relationships ever, and yet they haven’t even talked about the idea of marriage. To each their own, I guess.” Chase then leans back against the counter, thinking it over.

“I always envisioned being married one day to someone that I cared about and having that special relationship. I can see that future with Sarina, clearly. I just haven’t worked out in my head the steps towards that.” Dale smiles, as it was nice to see progress being made slowly.

“You know my thoughts on marriage and love, and that was mostly because of my parents and what I went through. I can’t lie that it affected my trust issues at times, and sure, I made some very bad decisions in whom to spend time with. But, I learned from those, and not taking a leap of faith wouldn’t allowed me to meet Amy, anyway. I didn’t think I was going to ever get married, have a family – I remember a time where I didn’t think it was for me. But yet, everything just changed in an instant.” Chase smiles, remembering the first time he met Amy and recognizing their connection immediately.

“She’s just that special someone that you can’t describe how she completes you, but she does…” Dale smiles, nodding her head.

“And something just clicked to where I knew I wanted to spend my life with her, to where I could trust her completely, and I wanted to be able to call her my wife. I wanted her to see how much she meant to me by showing her I was ready for that step. Now look at where we are with a little girl on the way.”

“I’m happy for you both, truly, as you deserve it. I can’t wait to see you as a father actually, because I have a feeling you’ll be great.” Chase then takes a deep breath. “As for me, I’m set on focusing on the present. I want to just focus on spending time with Sarina, enjoying a couple months where we can just relax and not have to worry about anything – no racing, no drama, just us together. Then maybe it’ll be time to take that step.”

“Don’t second guess it when you’re ready because if your instincts say it’s time, then it’s time. But also, don’t leap too early. Make sure you’re ready so you can handle what comes with it.” Dale then walks over, wrapping an arm around Chase’s shoulder. “You’ll be fine. You’re young and you got lots of time. But for the record, if and when you do decide to have children – and I know that’s not the simplest topic because of her career, you’ll make a good Dad too. I’ll see you around.”

“That’s it?” Dale nods his head as he goes to leave the kitchen.

“I didn’t want to implode on your lovely getaway, okay? That’d be rude. But, I do have a question. Do you have any extra dark chocolate lying around? Like I’m talking the big chunks. Jimmie offered some for Amy and she melted it in her drink and fell in love, and I don’t have any and Jimmie has no more, and well – pregnancy cravings.” Chase chuckles as he walks over to the fireplace, grabbing a block that was on top.

“Jimmie should know better than to make a pregnant girl try something because we know what that turns into.” Dale chuckles as he accepts the chunk from Chase. “That was from Jimmie for Christmas for myself and Sarina to split.”

“I owe you one, big time.” Chase nods accepting, as he watches Dale head for the door.

“Thanks, by the way. I appreciate the insight.” Dale stops, glancing back with a smile.

“Anytime. See ya.” Dale then heads out as Chase retreats back to the kitchen.

Taking a deep breath, leaning back against the counter as he picked up his glass, he knew there were lots to think about with what was said, and lots to wonder about for the future. But as he heard footsteps down the stairs, he knew that could be saved for another time. Like they had discussed, this time away was all about having some fun and getting away from it all.

“Did I miss someone?” Sarina wonders, noticing the water by the front door.

“Dale stopped by,” Chase answers. “He wanted to talk about a couple things.” Sarina was intrigued as that wasn’t a normal occurrence, but understood the friendship they had so could see a reason for a drop-in.

“Is everything okay?” Chase nods his head, seeing no problem.

“Well, except for the fact that our chocolate went missing.” She then looks at him even more puzzled. “Jimmie gave Amy a piece to try and she melted it for a nice dark hot chocolate drink. Now she’s totally fallen in love, and they have none, and Jimmie has no more. So he asked a favor and I gave him our chunk.”

“Doesn’t Jimmie know not to tempt a pregnant woman?” Chase laughs, nodding his head.

“That’s what I said to Dale, too. So, how was your conversation?” Sarina smiles as she grabs a bottle of water from the fridge.

“It was great. She had a quiet Christmas, but she spent it with some of her dancing friends and they had some entertaining fun we’ll say. Since then, she’s been busy with rehearsal in preparation for the New Year’s Eve performance they’re doing, but she’s having fun. Oh, and she can’t wait to see us, as well as a friend, in January.” It was now Chase’s turn to look at her confused. “I may have dropped a little double date with Ryan factoid to see what she thought of him, and our thoughts were on the money.”

“I haven’t even talked to Ryan about this yet, and you’re getting digs on how she likes him and is okay with this double date and now excited? What if he says no?” Sarina smiles as she places a hand on Chase’s shoulder.

“Trust me – this is going to go according to plan without a flaw. They’re meant for each other, Chase.” Chase could only let out a sigh, knowing there was no use in arguing.

“Why do I have a feeling I’m going to regret this?” She then looks over, intrigued. “I just don’t get how you’re so certain.”

“We saw the chemistry, and we know Ryan won’t turn down a date. So, what else is there to say?” Chase tried to think of something, but couldn’t find any reason against her. Maybe this would pan out.

The Tale of Love & Racing: Sarina’s Story – Chapter 4: “Are you ready?”

December 28, 2017 – No Name, Colorado

“Chase, are you ready yet?” Sarina asks, as she zips up her coat. Chase walks over, chuckling to himself as he gives her a glance over.

“Excited to get out there or something?” He wonders and she chuckles to herself. It was strange considering just days ago, she was so nervous about simply going down the hill once.

“I want to continue learning, and getting better. I want to see my man do his thing. As much as I am afraid to admit it, you’re bringing me out of hibernation and making me enjoy winter some more.” She then glances over as he finishes getting ready. “That said, it doesn’t replace the joy of hitting the high banks of Daytona – which is in about 49 days.”

“Are you seriously counting down until the first race of the year?” She nods her head, showing him her phone.

“It’s natural instinct, I guess.” She then takes a deep breath as they head outside. “I mean, for me, racing was all that mattered in my life for several years there. When I moved out to California, that was my focus because it was something I could do that put a smile on my face and not think about what happened. When I moved down to North Carolina a couple years later, it began my ultimate focus because here I am in Race City USA with everything right at my disposal. I was so focused on making something happen.” Chase crosses his arms as he watches her closely.

“You said it was all that mattered….” She nods her head, with a smile.

“I’ve learned so much over the past two years, and I have you to thank. You opened my eyes up to so many things. It was good to take step back at times and focus on something else so it didn’t consume me or eat me alive, like taking a trip and seeing the world, or spending time blowing off steam. And while I could sit and pout that I cannot go 200 mph for 49 days, I can now instead enjoy some great company, learning something new, challenging myself, and maybe also reconnecting with someone.” He smiles as they head out to the hills together.

“So you’re still on-board with me looking into where Shelley is?” She nods her head, accepting. While she knew there were certain family lines to not touch, Shelley was within the borders of acceptance. “I’ll make sure to get a hold of Tom after the new year and get to work on that. When we do find her, do you want Lindsay to be there?”

“Absolutely. I mean, right now, whether she will admit it or not, Lindsay is in that limbo mode that I was in – lost without any family, looking for a direction, and using something else as a distraction. For me, it was racing, while for her it is dance. But if she find some people to lean on a little, maybe even someone to spend her life with, she’ll be okay.” Sarina then glances at Chase with a bit of a grin. “Do you think we could set-up a double date when Lindsay comes to visit?” Chase knew where she was going immediately, and shook his head. He was not going to get in the middle of playing cupid.

“Do you really think Ryan will agree to that?” Sarina shrugs her shoulders, seeing no issue with the plan.

“He’s your best friend, Chase. He trusts you.” Chase knew that, but he also knew how love had been treating Ryan at times.

“You also forget that you coaxed him into agreeing to a blind date, just for it to be a robot.” Sarina breaks out laughing, remembering the prank clear as day.

“Admit it. It was a great prank and you’re just jealous that you didn’t pull it yourself.” Chase just rolls his eyes. “But come on, it wouldn’t hurt to ask. They were hanging out at your birthday party…”

“We don’t need to remind Ryan of that, either. For the record, I can’t believe he let Kyle and Ricky go through with their idea.” Sarina chuckles, remembering the images that Ryan sent her from the roof.

“You had fun though, right?” Chase nods his head, remembering his words to his best friends that he wanted a repeat celebration of fun next year, too. “Just think about it…” Chase didn’t even hear her words as his eyes were focused forward on someone, glancing awkwardly as he was sure they were familiar. “Chase?”

“Does that look like someone you know?” Sarina follows his gaze and her jaw drops immediately, picking up on the resemblance right away. “So I’m not seeing things, right?”

“Dale?” Chase immediately wanted to scream, every fear that they were wrong and nothing adding up, filling him as soon as the name escaped Sarina’s lips. However, as soon as he turned around, those fears were eased as certainly enough he was right on his suspicions. “You were right….”

“What are you doing here?” Dale glances back towards the hill as he was waiting for Jimmie and Genieve to make their way down.

“Another chapter of Blame JJ is written,” Dale offers as Chase just smiles. “First cycling, and now skiing. We were talking at the Christmas party about what to do in the off-season. I wanted to take Amy somewhere nice for our anniversary, but different. We’ve been in Florida busy working on the house for the show, and I didn’t want to do worldwide travel with her pregnant. So Jimmie suggested this with some reasons and well, we’re here.” Chase admittedly was caught off-guard, but was glad to see his friend out having some fun.

“So where’s Amy?” He then wondered, not seeing her anywhere in sight, which was a good thing. She didn’t need to be skiing or snowboarding while pregnant anyway.

“She’s back at the cabin with Chandra and Lydia, having a girl’s day.” Chase smiles, knowing how much fun those days could be based on the stories from Sarina. “Meanwhile, I’m learning how to ski.”

“Oh boy. So how many times have you fallen today?” Dale immediately chuckles.

“A couple…” Dale then glances over towards Sarina. “And I heard you’re learning how to snowboard?”

“Second day out on the board today,” she offers. “My first attempt was yesterday and while I fell numerous times, I picked up a lot and was able to go down some hills with ease enough to impress my teacher.” Dale then looks back over at Chase, before focusing his eyes back to Sarina.

“It’s nice to see you out having some fun,” Dale comments and Sarina nods her head in agreement. “I don’t know if Jimmie asked yet, but he was wanting to get together later for dinner – all of us at his cabin. Are you up for that?”

“Absolutely,” Sarina and Chase answer together. Chase knew anytime together was always full of fun, and Sarina wasn’t about to take away that opportunity, despite not knowing Dale and Amy that well yet. If Chase was willing to fully embrace her world with Christopher and Kyle, then she was ready to offer that back in return.

“Great!”

*************

After a full day of snowboarding with Sarina continuing to get better with each trip down the hills, the pair met up with Jimmie’s family, Dale and Amy back at Jimmie’s cabin, ready for a fun evening together. Despite some apprehension, Sarina immediately fell right into place with the group as stories were traded about their off-season adventures to date with dinner going as smooth as warranted.

With both Jimmie’s girls down for the count for the night, the girls retreated to the kitchen to bake some cookies to enjoy with hot chocolate while sharing some shopping adventure and motherly stories. This left the guys to all gather around together, set for their own conversation.

Originally, things started out with comments ahead of the new season, and what needed to be done at HMS so they could be stronger for the year to come. But that conversation at the beginning was just a front for where Jimmie and Dale both wanted to go with it.

“So, when are you going to ask Sarina to marry you?” Dale spit out randomly midway through the conversation, causing Chase to choke on his drink as he looked up at him.

“Excuse me?” He questions as Dale keeps his eyes focused on the young man.

“You heard me, Clyde. When are you going to ask her to marry you?” Chase didn’t quite have an answer as he glanced back at the glass. How did he get himself stuck in this conversation?

“I don’t know….”

“Oh come on,” Jimmie starts as he glances over at the pair on the couch. “It’s easy to tell no matter who you ask how much you both love and adore each other. You guys have proven that you can survive anything together as long as you have each other. You guys have also overcome a lot of obstacles that would’ve torn anybody else apart. It’s easy to see how much you love her, from all the time that you spend with her, to how you talk about her, and that necklace that she has been wearing since Christmas.”

“And although she’s quiet, we can see how much she trusts you with how she just opens up around you,” Dale adds. “It’s quite easy to see that everything is there between you guys – except that one question.” Chase lets out a sigh as he glances between them. He appreciated the compliments from them on the relationship as he was proud of their progress, too. But, he wasn’t quite at the same spot that they were about that question.

“Martin and Sherry have been together how long now? 13 years, right?” Chase questions, diverting the discussion. “Do you see them engaged or set to walk down the aisle?” Dale was slightly confused by the response as he kept his eyes focused on Chase.

“What are you trying to get at? You’re never going to get married?” Chase shakes his head no, as he hadn’t written off the idea entirely. Actually, he could see himself doing that one day down the road – but maybe not at this present time.

“I haven’t even thought about it. We’ve been so caught up with everything going on with her brother, then Bethany, and then Allison; I haven’t had time to even begin considering what I see in our future together. When do we want to get married? When do we want to get engaged? Do we want kids?” He takes a deep breath, knowing the children question was loaded with everything going on in their lives. If she was to get pregnant, that involve taking a step away from racing – but was she ready to do that? “Right now, we’re just enjoying the time that we’ve gotten to spend together without being driven insane by everything going on in our lives. We’re embracing our emotions for each other, talking things out, building that trust more, and making sure we’ve truly put that in the rearview. Maybe at that point, I’ll think about your question…”

“But you do want to get married at some point, right?” Chase rolls his eyes, but nods his head in response. “And I’m going to bet that Ryan will be your best man, too.”

“Considering how your birthday party went, it may be best to get us to plan the bachelor party,” Jimmie advises, earning a laugh from Dale as he had heard about the prank by the boys at the end of the party.

“Aren’t you getting a little ahead of yourself?” Chase wonders and Jimmie shrugs his shoulders.

“I just want to be prepared, that’s all.” Jimmie then relaxes back, and a glance between him and Dale and they knew a topic change was in order. They had certainly pushed the question far enough with Chase for the time being. “So, what are your plans for New Years?”

“Sarina was – well, actually, we were both invited to Kyle’s New Years/Anniversary party, so we’re going.” A pout then immediately forms on the faces of his teammates. “I’m sorry guys. I know with both of you being here, it’d be a great New Year’s spent together. But, she wants to go badly with how close they are – and frankly, Kyle knows how to put on a party.”

“Whatever you do, please don’t let him plan the bachelor party…” Chase just rolls his eyes once again as Dale gives Jimmie a glance. “What? I’m covering my basis.”

“Sorry I’m missing your annivers-”

“It’s fine, we’re not doing anything big anyway,” Dale cuts him off. “We’re just going to enjoy each other’s company, and watch the fireworks together while envisioning what our future holds with our little girl on the way. I’m sure you’ll have a ton of fun. Just don’t get into too much trouble, alright?”

“I’ll try,” Chase comments in response.

The Tale of Love & Racing: Sarina’s Story – Chapter 3: First Time

December 27, 2017 – No Name, Colorado

“Sarina, are you ready?” Chase calls back into the cabin, standing outside as he grabbed both boards, ready to hit the slopes.

“I feel like that kid from the Christmas Story,” she comments as she makes her way through the cabin, all dressed and ready to go from head to toe. “Oh wait – maybe I can move my arms…” He chuckles as she reaches the doorway.

“You look great. Actually, you look very pretty.” He then leans in, snagging a kiss, as she rolls her eyes.

“You’re just saying that to butter me up before I fall on my ass.” He holds a hand out, leading her out the front door, before locking it behind her.

“Least you’ll have me to catch you when you do.” She smiles with a glance back. They then begin the trip out to the hills. “So are you nervous?”

“Is that even a warranted question?” He shrugs his shoulders.

“Well, all I can say is relax, have fun, and trust yourself.” She glances over, intrigued by the advice, but can only roll her eyes in response.

“And when I break my ankle or leg trying to snowboard for you, what are you going to tell Kyle?” Chase wasn’t sure what he’d say if that did happen – but he wasn’t about to wander about that.

“Trust me, that’s not happ-”

“You know I have crappy ankles, right? I mean, you saw what I did at Talladega.” Chase nods his head, remembering that. The moment of fear in waiting for an answer on the radio, and the moment of fear and worry in waiting to hear how she was in knowing she was in pain – those memories didn’t just fade away.

“Like I said, I’ve got you, and you’re going to be fine.” She could only roll her eyes back in response. Their hike finally saw them reach a small hill, which caused Sarina to immediately glance at Chase in surprise. “You’re nervous and uncertain, and you’ve never done this before. I figured if we start off real small, we can build some confidence before we move forward. Besides, if you fall, you don’t have as far as to go.”

“I love your confidence, Mr. Elliott.” He lets out a sigh, catching that dig immediately. She then gets on the board, strapping her shoes down, as she watches him do the same. “Alright Mr. Elliott, what is my first lesson?”

“First you need to know how to walk around with it strapped to your legs – in case you trapped somewhere, or getting off the hill at the bottom, or getting yourself in position. It’s all about the knees, bending and waddling with a hop.” He then demonstrates himself. Despite her initial fears and concerns, she was able to follow with ease. “Was that so bad?”

“I’m still on level ground. I’m not a rolling snowball yet. This isn’t making me feel much better…” He then laughs as he walks behind her, grabbing her arms with his hands and placing them outward.

“The key is balance. You want to keep your center of gravity in an upright position, not left or right, so that way you continue to stand up right. That’s all in your legs and keeping them bent accordingly to balance your weight, while using your arms to counteract anything above the stomach.” She then smirks back at him.

“In other words, it’s more difficult for girls because we have boobs.” He chuckles back in response.

“Now to help with forward momentum, your front leg – which will be your strongest leg when you go down, is bent slightly. That helps in balance and giving you that push forward. By working to keep that steady, combined with your arms, you’ll be fine as anything – no matter what hill. Now, we could stand here all day and talk about balance but there’s only one way to learn…” She lets out a sigh as she looks towards the small hill.

“Roll down on my head like a snowball?” He chuckles, shaking his head no.

“You may surprise yourself and get it the first try.” She laughs, rolling her eyes as she makes her way to the top of the hill.

“If I’m able to do that, then please by all means accept any payment necessary.” Chase smirks as he stands up there, beside her.

“I may take you up on that offer…” She flashes him a simple grin back in return. Though as he thought, she was able to keep her balance steadily down the small hill, from top to bottom, without falling on her butt. “Not bad…”

“Whoopti-doo, I can go in a straight line. Anybody who has basic coordination can do that. Turning now…” Chase understood as he watched her closely.

“Lesson two…” He then places his hands on her hips, going through the basics of sharp turns, wide turns, and how to make them work with body movement to make the board move accordingly. “Need that lesson again?”

“I wouldn’t mind as your hands feel perfect there…” He smiles, leaning close to her ear.

“Be a good student and maybe you’ll be my pet later on.” A grin forms across her face as she takes a deep breath, running through what he said in her head again.

“I think I got it…”

************

After a full day on the slopes, the pair retreated back to the cabin later on that evening, set to warm up by the fire with some hot chocolate.

“So I only fell about 10 times,” Sarina comments as she takes off her snow pants.

“Everybody that is learning falls down sometimes,” he offers, remembering his learning experience with his dad. “But I will say that you did a great job. You mastered the basic hills, learned how to turn, and got down the majority of a couple beginning hills without falling on your face. Sure, you slid on your ass a bit, but you’re in one piece and you can say that you can board down a hill.”

“So I was a good student?” He nods his head with a grin of his own, before retreating to the kitchen.

“Spectacular, actually. Give it a couple more days and you’ll be onto the next level of hills.” She then hangs their wet stuff up, before making her way into the kitchen with him.

“I know that you do the black diamond hills normally. You don’t mind doing the smaller ones with me?” He shakes his head no immediately.

“As long as I’m spending time with you, that’s all that matters to me – as long as you’re having fun.” She smiles, nodding her head as there was no question about that.

“Once I started to get the hang of it, I admit that it was fun. It’s actually a good workout for the legs, too.” He nods his head as he makes the hot chocolate. “You’re going to have to show me how you go down one of those big hills later on, and those tricks, too.”

“What about tomorrow? I can start off by showing that, and we can work on your skills some more.” She nods her head in agreement as he hands her a hot chocolate.

“By the way, Samantha texted me. We’re invited to their Anniversary/New Year’s Party.” Chase looks over intrigued. He had planned to spend New Year’s in Colorado like years past, but knew a change in pace wouldn’t be bad either. Besides, Kyle and Samantha knew how to throw a good party.

“If you want to go, I have no issue flying back to Charlotte for a couple days – party included – and then coming back.” A smile crosses Sarina’s face as it was easier asking than she thought it’d be.

“Even after Kyle embarrassed the heck out of you at the Christmas party?” Chase nods his head.

“That was bad – actually, that was really bad. But, I did have a lot of fun.”

“What did I tell you?” He rolls his eyes with a sigh. “I wouldn’t mind going thou-”

“Then we can go, no problem at all. Text Samantha back that we’ll be there – as long as you pick out the anniversary gift.” She then glances at him surprised. “What? I don’t know what to get those two.”

“Okay Mr. I don’t know how to buy presents but I’ll surprise the crap out of my girl for Christmas with the best surprises ever – or better yet, make the perfect anniversary gift for her.” He smiles as he places a hand on top of hers.

“You’re different. I know you inside and out. I know what makes you tick, and what’s special to you. That’s how I chose what I got you. There are only a few people that I know that well.” She smiles back, clearly knowing the others without question.

“I’m glad to be on that list.” She leans in, snagging a kiss.

The Tale of Love & Racing: Sarina’s Story: Chapter 2: Merry Christmas

December 25, 2017 – No Name, Colorado

Chase wakes up, caught off-guard when he sees the bed empty next to him. Normally, he was always awake before Sarina.

Glancing at the time, he makes his way out of the bedsroom, looking over the balcony as he sees Sarina sitting on the couch, mind full of thoughts more than likely as she holds something in her hand, with the fireplace on. He didn’t want to disturb her if she was thinking, or catch her off-guard, but he also didn’t want to leave her alone if she needed some comfort.

His eyes focused in on hers, seeing them glazed as obviously she had been crying. It was settled right then as he immediately made his way down the steps to her level. As he reached the final step, she glanced over, wiping her eyes right away as she took a deep breath.

“Are you okay?” He asks and she nods her head. “You can talk to me.” She then glances back out the window.

“It’s Christmas, Chase,” she starts. “I don’t want to bring you down on this holi-”

“Sarina, talk to me…” He then walks over and sits down beside her on the couch. “You can tell me anything, anytime of the day.” She then takes a deep breath, handing over the photo to him. it was an image from Christmas past with both her brother and parents, one that Lindsay had included in the package for Sarina originally in the toy box last month. “How old are you here?”

“That’s when I was 8. Dad insisted that we all take a photo together in front of the tree.” Chase smiles, having guessed that she was about nine in the photo.

“It’s a beautiful photo.” He hands it back over to her as she holds it close to her heart with both hands. “Really having a true first Christmas without them getting to you?” She nods her head.

“I was thinking back to that time in the photo. Everything was perfect then. That was way before my brother had a chance to get himself wrapped up in drugs. That was before my mother became a grouchy bitch because of my brother’s problems. Back then, I had the fairy tale family and everything I wanted. That Christmas, I got everything I wanted on my list, as well as my brother. I remember we sat for the next three hours putting the train set together downstairs, covering the whole floor together.” Chase looks over, surprised.

“That sounds huge.” She nods her head, remembering all the pieces.

“It was insane how big it turned out when we were done, but we had fun for days with that. Our parents couldn’t pull us away from it for the next couple of weeks as that was our thing to do together, and we had fun making up stories with it.” She then opens her fingers, looking back at the photo again. “Seeing the image, it brought back the memories…”

“Hey, that’s okay.” Chase wraps an arm around her shoulders. “It’s a fond memory that I know brings a mix of happiness because you got those moments, but also sadness and anger for what happened. That’s fine because I understand after everything that happened. But I want you to know whenever you have a moment like this, you’ll talk to me about it. I’m willing to hear you out and offer comfort. Besides, it’s a little chilly waking up without you beside me.” She then glances over at him.

“I didn’t want to wake you up for my tears.”

“You can wake me up anytime, no matter for the reason. I’m always here for you, anytime of the day.” He then leans in and kisses her lips. “Merry Christmas.”

“Merry Christmas to you, too.” They then look at the tree together, before glancing back at each other. “You spoiled me…”

“You deserve it, but I know what I put under that tree and can tell you spoiled me, too.” She laughs as she remembered the shopping. “We’ve got the whole morning before I promised my mom we’d come over. Breakfast or presents?” She glances back at the tree once again.

“Presents. I can’t wait to see what you got me.” He smiles as he stands up, walking over to the tree. He picked up a series of presents, bringing them over to the couch as she glances at the stack, surprised. “You didn’t need to do thi-”

“You deserve it.” He hands her the first present. “Now, start opening…” She smiles as she rips the paper away, revealing a new pair of racing shoes. “I know you call yours lucky, but they are getting wore out.”

“They look good.” She then opens the second gift, revealing a brand new racing helmet – that included a photo of her climbing the Martinsville fence etched into the back. “That’s wicked!” She opened the third gift, which was a new winter coat and pants, by the fourth gift which was a brand new snowboard, accompanied by a helmet and goggles. “Guess I have to learn how to snowboard now.”

“You have a jacket, pants, gloves, goggles, helmet, scarf, boots and a board – no excuses for sure.” She then laughs, rolling her eyes. “One more gift…” She then looks at him slightly confused, seeing the small box. She unwraps it, opening it, with an immediate smile to her face. It was pink bracelet, with two charms – one in the shape of the state of Michigan, and the other as a clock. “I don’t need to explain, do I?”

“Both of those perfect. As much as it pains me sometimes to think back, Michigan is where I was born and where everything began for me. The clock – that is fitting for sure.” She then leans over and gives him a kiss as he takes the bracelet out of the box and puts it on her wrist.

“I thought a charm bracelet would be perfect to begin savoring those moments together, but I knew getting something silver or shiny wouldn’t work for you.” She nods her head.

“There’s only one shiny silver thing that I will ever wear, and that’s my necklace.” He smiles, seeing the snowball shining off of it as always. Except when she got a bath or shower, it never left her neck ever. “Alright, my turn!” She then gets off the couch, bringing over his gifts to the couch.

“Where do I begin?” She reaches down, picking a present in particular, setting it down on his lap. He immediately opens it, finding another wrapped box inside. “Really?” She just laughs as he unwraps that, finding another one. “I see how it goes…” He unwraps another two boxes, before finding a small white box. He opens it, pulling out the piece of paper.

“I didn’t want to bring a big piece of furniture with us to Colorado because that’d be a pain to lug back and forth, and how would I sneak that without you knowing? So I figured a photo would do.” He unfolds it, seeing that she had gotten him a custom shoe rack to keep all of his racing shoes on – considering he liked to have plenty of different designs during a season, and wanted to keep them all.

“That’s perfect. I was actually thinking of getting one of those. Thank you!” He then opens the second gift, seeing that she had gotten him a brand new snowboard. “Great minds think-alike.” She rolls her eyes, having not planned on him getting her one. The third gift contained a new cover for his logbook for the plane, along with a pen to go with it, and some other accessories.

“Since you’re always flying and doing something, I figured it’d be perfect.” He looks over, giving her a nod.

“Everybody will know that dawgs are perfect.” She just laughs as he reaches for the next gift. She had gotten him some t-shirts and jeans.

“I got to keep my man looking good…” He nods his head, accepting.

“They’re perfect. Thank you!” She then hands him the final box, with a smile. He unwraps it, caught off-guard by the size. He opens it, surprised immediately. “A key…” She then reaches in the drawer of the coffee table, pulling out a small box of her own. “What’s that?”

“Trust me…” She opens the box, pulling out a small silver heart. She then turns it, facing the hole towards him. “I love you so much, and I don’t know what I’d do without you. Let’s just say that you have the key to my heart and know how to make me happy.” She then puts his key into her heart, which fit perfectly, before handing it back to him. “I gave it to you so you can put it on your keychain and I know no matter what, you have the key to my heart with you. Meanwhile, my heart is always locked, focused on you alone.”

“That’s adorable, sweet, and…..I don’t even know what to say now, but I will hold this key dearly to him.” He then picks his keys off the table, surprised they were laying there when he came down the stairs but now understanding why, as he puts the key on them.

“You know, I didn’t even know you were getting me this and I was thinking how I wanted to get something special to keep the heart on. So this worked out perfectly…” She then unlocks the bracelet, putting the heart on it. “Merry Christmas.” She then leans in, kissing his lips.

“Merry Christmas to you, too.”

The Tale of Love & Racing: Sarina’s Story – Chapter 1: Christmas Eve

December 24, 2017 – No Name, Colorado

Chase got back from running to the store for a quick errand, stopped, and took a deep breath. He shook his head as he took in the sight, seeing how she had gotten around to decorating.

After their chaotic season, Chase’s plan was always to go away for the winter to Colorado, and get some time to relax. So once they got everything done at home – around the 15th of December, the pair made the trip out to Colorado.

With her focus never being one to celebrate the season and feeling a new jolly this year, Sarina had insisted on decorating a tree, and the outside of their cabin for the season. Chase easily agreed, not able to say no to her on plenty of things.

Now seeing the decorations for the first time, he had to smile as it was the perfect approach – elegant, and definitely not over the top. He made his way inside, stopping as he got inside the door and taking a pause. His nose took a big smell and a smile formed immediately.

“Cookies,” he says to himself before making his way to the kitchen. “I smell something good…”

“Oh really?” She questions as he makes his way to where the baking trays sat on the counter. She then smacks his hand as he reaches to grab one. “They need to cool, and they’re not just for you to eat. I’m taking some to Jimmie and the girls after, along with some to your parents on Christmas.” Chase smiles. It meant the world to him that she was getting along so well with his parents now, and it was nice to see things go smoothly so far with Jimmie.

“I still say that you should come snowboard and ski with us.” She shakes her head no as she gets the icing out.

“I’ve never bee-”

“I told you that I’d teach you.” She then sheds a small glance his direction.

“I don’t want to slow you guys down, or mess up your vacation.” He then walks over, wrapping his arms around her.

“You wouldn’t be doing neither of those. Any time that I spend with you means more to me than anything else here. I want to spend and share every minute with you. So I tell you what – after Christmas, we are going to spend some time, just you and me, and I am going to teach you.” She lets out a sigh, feeling the nerves return from when they discussed this originally. Truthfully, she didn’t mind babysitting Lydia while Chandra, Jimmie and Genieve went skiing with Chase and their friends.

“Alright, fine…” He smiles, kissing her cheek.

“By the way, the cabin looks amazing…” He then snags a cookie before walking away.

“I saw that, Chase!” He just glances back, sticking his tongue out. “I’ll get you back later for that.”

“Oh I know you will…” She then rolls her eyes as he retreats to the living room. “Woah….”

“I went overboard, didn’t I?” She asks as she looks over his shoulder. He glances back, shaking his head no.

“Actually, it looks perfect,” he answers. “I like the touch along the windows…” She smiles, proud of that – despite it being a bit of a pain on the stool, and having almost fallen twice. “And the tree – that looks perfect. See, I told you I cut the perfect size.”

“I still say we could’ve gone a little bigger.” He rolls his eyes as he lays back on the couch.

“How would we get it through the front door?” She shrugs her shoulders, before retreating back to the kitchen. “Can this Christmas get even better?”

“You still have gifts to come tomorrow…” He smiles, nodding his head. He couldn’t wait as he had gotten her something special. He knew that she deserved it after going over the top with her birthday gifts. “Oh, I found my necklace…”

“Really?” She walks in the room, showing it to him back around her neck, with a smile.

“I took it off to go in the shower the other night and instead of putting it on the counter, I put it on my dresser. So it’s back on where it belongs..” She runs her fingers around it. “I have to always have my snowball so I keep that first meeting to heart always.”

“The Snowball has always had a special place in my heart, just as an event. But knowing that’s where we really kicked off this relationship, on top of a win that year, it means the world to me now. Like I told Ricky, I’m not missing that race again…”

“What time do we have to be ready for Jimmie and Chandra?” Chase takes the text message from Jimmie with a smile.

“You’ve got an hour.” She smiles as she walks into the living room.

“Great, I have some time for this…” She then lays back on the couch on him, as he wraps his arms around her. “You know, I never thought I’d have a Christmas again that would mean everything to me. admittedly, I just have gone through the motions the past two years, not wanting to feel because it hurt so much. But knowing that I have it to share with you and your family, feeling all this lov-”

“Don’t forget Lindsay…” She smiles, nodding her head. She had mailed a gift to her new-found cousin, promising that they’d get together sometime in January.

“I could never forget her because that’s part of it, too. it just makes my heart fuller beyond anything. It gives me a reason to enjoy the season of giving, and family, and love. And that’s all because of you.” He smiles, as he rubs her shoulders.

“I’ve told you numerous times – you deserve it because you’re special, and I love you more than anybody ever…” He kisses her cheek once again. “I know you’re right now wrapped up in the moment and the spirit of the season, feeling all this love. But if you’re feeling any pain, missing anyone, you can tell me. I understand.” She takes a deep breath, thinking it over.

“I keep thinking back to Christmas mornings with my parents and my brother. My dad was amazing, Chase. He had such a giving spirit. Each year, he’d spoil both me and my brother beyond comprehension. But beyond that, he would also make sure to buy a ton of gifts for those less fortunate, saying every child deserved to know what it felt like to be loved by Santa. He also donated a bunch of food to the food bank, not wanting a family to go hungry on Christm-”

“That’s why you were all on-board helping out with the food bank before we left.” She nods her head yes.

“It’s my way to keep his memory alive. It’s my way to show that he is always in my heart, and show what good he taught me. I know sometimes that I can be a royal pain-”

“Now now, Sarin-”

“No, Chase, I’m serious. I can be a pain in the ass with not showing my feelings, running away, kick starting an argument, frustration, pissy sometimes – and yes, I can blame my childhood because of everything that happened. But I know that some good came out of that because of who my father was. I know when we talk about the good things, it’s him coming out in me.” Chase smiles as he rubs her shoulders.

“He must’ve done a great job raising you because he raised a beautiful, charming, smart, thoughtful, full of caring, and determined little girl.” She smiles, still caught off-guard sometimes when the compliments just seem to roll off his tongue. Before him, she hadn’t been able to hear that from somebody since she was in her teens, before losing her father.

“I’m just thankful everyday that you were patient enough to give me a chance, and also let me redeem myself from my mistakes. I still regret lyi-”

“I told you, I’m over it. I understand why you did it, and I can’t ever fault for doing it. I get the fear and everything associated. And by the way, I’m thankful that you slowly opened up to me.”

“I love you, Chase.” He smiles as he rubs her shoulders.

“I love you, always.”

Short Track Lovin’ – Chapter 186: “How am I supposed to even get this on?”

Friday, December 8 – Kyle Busch Motorsports – Christmas Party

“Oh it’s happening…” Kyle muses with a laugh of his own.

“Seriously?” Chase questions as he peeks out from behind. “I am not wearing that, Kyle.” Kyle just grins as he rubs his hands together.

“I don’t have any other options, and the rules are that you must wear what I supply.” Chase just grins back in response.

“I am not one of your employees, Mr. Busch.” Kyle nods his head, knowing that quite well.

“But you did agree to the terms by being Ms. Ott’s date for the night. Now, why don’t you show us how it looks?” Chase glances back at the box, shaking his head. This was the last time he agreed to anything Kyle-related without getting the terms first.

“How am I supposed to even get this on?”

“Kyle, it better not be that bad….” Sarina comments as Kyle glances over at her with a smile.

“Don’t worry – you’re going to enjoy it,” he offers as she looks back a little confused. “Trust me.”

“You’re scaring me…”

“Why can’t we choose your outfit?” Christopher wonders and Sarina nods her head in agreement.

“Because I am the boss,” Kyle answers as they both roll their eyes. “Besides, it’s more fun this way….”

“April Fool’s Day. Call me.” Sarina laughs, but certainly knew that was on the cards right now.

“This is ridiculous,” Chase comments as he pops out from behind the curtain, resulting in instant laughter from both Sarina and Christopher. “How am I even supposed to walk in this thing?”

“Very carefully,” Kyle says as he tries to control his own laughter. “I think it looks great.”

“It’s fitting,” Christopher adds, continuing to chuckle. There Chase stood before them, dressed an elf, but inside an inflatable snowglobe.

“Now you’re really inside of her globe…” Kyle then stands up and walks away as Chase lets out a sigh.

“When are you planning the April Fools, prank?” Chase wonders as Christopher just smiles.

“We going to have to start planning early March because he’s doomed now,” Christopher answers. “But you look good…”

“No, I look ridiculous…” Sarina shakes her head as she watches Christopher walk away, before wrapping an arm around him.

“Least you’re not the only ridiculous-looking person tonight,” she adds as he glances over at her.

“You make anything look good, though.” He then kisses her lips, lightly.

“So admit it – did you have fun tonight?” Sarina asks as they walk into their bedsroom later on that night.

“It wasn’t as bad as I thought,” Chase answers with a smile as she glances over his way.

“I still can’t believe you sat on Santa Kyle’s lap…” Chase chuckles, knowing he had caught everyone off-guard. “What did you ask for Christmas?”

“I can’t tell you, or else my Christmas wish may not come true.” She then pouts. “You could tell me what you asked for…”

“Not happening. Good try.” He then sits on the edge of the bed, shaking his head as he looks over the costume.

“I can’t believe I’m still wearing this elf outfit. I told Kyle I was done with it and set to change back, but he insisted that I keep it.” Sarina grins as she walks over, standing before him.

“That’s because I asked him to let you keep it…” He looks at her surprised. “I think you look absolutely adorable.”

“Seriously?” She nods her head as she runs her hands up his legs.

“It brings out every feature of these legs that I love, how toned they are and fit…” She then lightly kisses his cheek. “And it’s soft and cuddly, which I know will be perfect for cuddling you. Besides, you’ll always be little elf.”

“When you put it that way, it doesn’t sound that bad…” She nods her head in agreement. “Maybe I’ll just have to help you out with your dress…”

“See, maybe this isn’t so bad…..”

************

Saturday, December 9

“Ugh!!!!” Sarina lets out an aggravated sigh as she looks in the mirror. She was beyond furious as she tried to get her hair to go up in the perfect pony tail. “This is getting annoying. This is why I never dress up!” Chase then glances in the bathroom, a little caught off-guard.

“Is it right to ask if everything is okay?” He wonders as she looks over at him.

“The curls didn’t set right so my hair turned into disaster. Then I tried to put it up nicely and it just won’t go that way. I mean, I look like there’s a hornet’s nest on my head and we have to be down there in an hour. What do you think of the question now, Chase?” Chase took a deep breath, debating what to do immediately.

“I think no matter what you look beaut-”

“Not helping!” She then closes the door, debating what to do next.

“Okay…” Chase walks down the stairs, finding his cell phone as he glances through the numbers. There had to be someone that could help her out. “Emma? Hey, it’s Chase. Can you come over here like right now? Sarina is having a girl’s dressing crisis.”

It didn’t take long for Emma Blaney to show up, giving Chase a quick hug before making her way upstairs.

“Oh my…” She comments once Sarina opens the bathroom door, noticing the hair disaster that was there. “I can see why Chase said this was a crisis.”

“No shit!” Sarina says as she looks back in the mirror. “I’ve tried everything, Emma. I just wanted to look beautiful tonight since hey, it’s my banquet, and I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished this year. But damn – look at this disas-”

“I can fix it. We can make it look great.” Emma glances over again, thinking about it. “I have an idea….” After taking some fabric, cutting it one way, shaping another, and then going through the hair – it took a good half hour, but Emma felt satisfied when she was done. “What do you think?”

“Well, that fixes the hair….” Sarina then lets out a sigh, though. “I just don’t know if that looks proper.”

“I think it looks good, actually. It complements your dress perfectly.” Sarina spins around to face Emma.

“Really?” Emma nods her head. “I hope it looks alright.”

“Trust me, you’ll look beautiful tonight. Now come on, let’s go…” The girls then head down the stairs together and Chase looks over, smiling immediately. Emma was the perfect person to call.

The pair went to the truck series banquet that night with ease, enjoying the nice dinner and ceremony that entailed. Once it was over, they went to the after-party being hosted by Kyle Busch Motorsports to celebrate the year that was, taking in the dancing and jokes to be had.

Midway through the night, Sarina makes her way out to the terrace, overlooking Charlotte. It wasn’t long after she went out there that she felt a pair of arms wrap around her.

“Are you okay?” She hears and nods her head, immediately. “What are you thinking about?”

“Everything,” she offers as she leans back in his arms. “From what we’ve been through together, to the success I had on track, to what I’ve fought through.” She takes a deep breath, spinning around in his arms to face him. “I’m thankful and blessed beyond belief, Chase. I could never have imagined everything going this well. I mean, sometimes I have to pinch myself because I can’t believe it.”

“You deserve it, and more….” She smiles as she wraps her arms around him in return.

“That goes for you, too. Any guy that can deal with everything I have to offer deserves the world at the palm of their hand.” She then leans in, kissing his lips. “I love you, Chase. I will always love you.”

“I love you, too, and I tell you what – next year, this party will be all about you.” She then chuckles as she looks back in the room at the fun being had.

“Nah, next year we’ll be having two parties at the end of the season. I can’t wait for the world to see what I see, in how talented you are.” Chase just smiles back in return.

“Here’s to a great 2018 to come…”

THE END

Stay tuned for “The Tale of Love & Racing: Sarina’s Story” as the sequel to this story.