January 25, 2018 – North Carolina
Sarina glances over her bags once again, double checking everything was in there accordingly. Helmet was already downstairs by the door in its bag, along with her gloves and racing shoes. She had just packed her new firesuit in the suitcase, along with some pajamas, undergarments, couple t-shirts, socks, and jeans. Double checking that the clothes were all in there – throwing a sweater in for good measure, she makes her down the stairs with the bag in hand. There was no need to stop by the bathroom, because she had already packed the essentials already.
Reaching the bottom of the stairs, she sets the bag down, before making a quick trip to the kitchen to grab a drink and snack to take with her. Cursing late notice, combined with having to fulfill morning photo shoot details at KBM, she hadn’t had a chance to grab herself anything to eat – besides a bagel and coffee before the photos.
She returns back to the door, double checking everything was ready to go, set to head on out when the door opens before her. Chase glances over all the bags, almost taking count as to make sure she had everything with her.
“And where do you think you’re going?” He questions, as she looks at him. She knew she never had to ask permission, or get his approval on something. However, they always had a good deal of keeping track of each other.
“Chilly Willy bound,” she answers with a smile on her face. He almost met her back with a smile, but stayed serious instead.
“Really? Without telling me?” She felt bad as that hadn’t occurred to her to do so in the midst of all the craziness since finding out the details in the morning hours.
“Listen, I just found out about it and I’ve been going non-stop. I was going to text you after, I promise.” He crosses his arms, even more caught off-guard. Where was his invite?
“So you were just going to run off to the Chilly Willy by yourself…” She nods her head, immediately feeling absolutely terrible and stunned. She should’ve known that Chase would want to go with her.
“Bad timing on finding out, crazy mind – sorry for no thought in the process.” He almost let his guard down with a smile, but figured that wasn’t set to happen.
“So why are we running off to the Chilly Willy? Kyle decide to gift you a ride?” She shakes her head no, almost glad that he hadn’t anyway because this was a unique, special opportunity. Actually, it was odd to see that Chase had no idea about it in her mind.
“No, my deal with Kyle still stan-”
“So I thought we were both going to make the best of the weekend in our own special way.” Her cheeks go red in remembering the discussion, and knowing that being able to touch him, feel him head to toe, and feel him inside of her was the greatest feeling of all. But, getting a chance to do this was also pretty special.
“Can I take a rain check, please? I mean, you know what the Chilly Willy is and you know the bragging rights associated. I mean, did you see who is going to run that event this weekend? Basically a lot of whose who that are not at Speedfest, including myself.” Chase understood her want and belief to run the event, and couldn’t blame her. Besides, it had a cool name to it.
“You can have your rain check – as long as I get some details.” She lets out a sigh, wishing that she was heading out the door already. One glance at the time and she was running late.
“Can I also get a rain check on that? I’m running late and I need to go. I am supposed to meet up with my flight at the airport in 20 minutes.” Chase nods his head, accepting, visualizing the flight plan in his mind already.
“You’re going to get stuck in secur-”
“Ricky assured me that my ride would be waiting…for….me…and there’d be no issues.” A big smile forms on her face, matching the one that was slowly creeping onto Chase’s face. “You’re my flight, aren’t you?” The smile comes out fully as she lets out a sigh. “You’ve been standing here playing me, wasting valuable precious time, when meanwhile I bet Ricky called you first.” Chase just laughs as she crosses her arms. “But yet, I got the ride?”
“Ricky offered me the ride, actually. I turned him down, but suggested that he give it to yo-”
“Chase, you didn’t have to do tha-”
“I know how bad you felt about not being able to do Speedfest, so I figured you’d be fully willing to do this event.” She shakes her head in disbelief as she walks over, wrapping her arms around him.
“Do you know how much I love and adore you?” He just laughs.
“That goes both ways…” She then glances around, now feeling a little confused.
“If you know about this so-called planned, why aren’t you packed?” Chase looks outside, before turning back to her.
“My stuff is in the truck already. I just need yours, and we’re ready to go.” She could only smile back in return as she kissed his lips.
“There’s one thing that Ricky didn’t tell me. Why are we doing Chilly Willy instead of Speedfest?” Chase remembered asking the exact question, as it felt weird to not be going to Speedfest.
“Brand new car without a lot of testing being done. Speedfest just gives you a couple rounds of practice, before throwing you into the deepest pool imaginable. Chilly Willy, meanwhile, has practice and the opening 50-lapper on Thursday – which is used as a test session by many teams, including Ricky’s plan. There’s also another practice session on Friday, before qualifying and Saturday’s race. He figured everything together would be enough ample time – and he’s not throwing you right to the wolves but instead a pack of dogs.” He then picks up her bag as she double checks once again, before grabbing her purse and helmet bag to follow him out of the house.
“Ricky is a smart guy…” Chase nods his head in agreement as he throws the bag in the truck.
“Consider this ride one that we can play around with in the midst of other commitments, and just have some crazy no pressure fun. While, until we get to December that is.” Chase just smiles as he gets in the truck. Sarina can only roll her eyes, smiling as she climbed in the passenger seat.
“This is your ride to the Snowball Derby. Ricky kept his promise that you two would not return unless you had a car together.” Chase glances over at her, continuing to smile.
“Ricky doesn’t break promises to me, ever.”
January 25, 2018 – Tucson Speedway – Arizona
Ricky stands at the back of the trailer, arms crossed, checking his watch for the time, before glancing up at the pair of drivers walking towards him.
“I was beginning to think that you’d never show up,” he offers, causing a glance of surprise between them.
“What else do you expect when you call us in the morning?” Sarina questions in response as she sets her bag down. “I had a photoshoot this morning.”
“I feel bad for that poor soul that had to deal with you.” She then sticks her tongue out as he just laughs. “Actually, you didn’t make bad time.”
“We would’ve been here sooner, if not for someone else…” Sarina glances over at Chase, who simply shrugs his shoulders in return.
“Do you realize this is the first year that we’re skipping Speedfest – whether car or just attending?” Chase smiles, nodding his head. He had thought about that during the flight. It was strange to be in Arizona for a Late Model event when one was happening in his home state that very same weekend, and a big one at that.
“It feels a little strange, but I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. I have to support my girl.” Ricky just rolls his eyes as Sarina’s cheek go a darker shade of red.
“I’m going to go get ready,” Sarina announces, heading into the trailer.
“You know, you could race against your girl next weekend…” Ricky’s voice trails off as Chase knows immediately what he was referring to. Everybody knew the next big event to talk about would be the Winter Showdown, especially due to the purse that Kern County was putting up.
“You have my answer already,” Chase tells him, referring to their phone conversation. Chase had turned down running any pre-season Late Model events, wanting to stay solely focused on his Cup racing. with all the canges at Hendrick Motorsports, combined with a new car and last year not going as totally planned, he wanted to make sure all focus was there so they came out of the box swinging. Besides, it was now or never for him to get a win.
“It doesn’t hurt a guy to try and try and try some more once again. I mean, you’re part of the reason I did this.” Chase sighs, nodding his head, as he knew it referred to their deal made at the Snowball Derby.
“This is why I also hadn’t given you the green light or discussed it further.” Ricky understood, and was willing to accept – no matter how it made him feel. “You can put someone else in the car, if you wan-”
“I’m only working on this deal for either you, or Sarina. You know how I feel about strange people.” Chase smiles, remembering the discussion. When Chase had suggested a development team, Ricky had been reserved about it was he was picky in whom he’d closely work with. Luckily, Sarina had won him over in the first couple events together.
“I just don’t want to see your good talents go to waste – despite my reservations.” Ricky then walks over, wrapping an arm around Chase.
“My good talents never go to waste when I look over and see the success that you’re having, and the man that you’ve become. Now, bare with me, we’re not perfect – nobody is, though – but you’re pretty darn close. There’s just that one thing that still bugs us both.” Chase knew what he meant immediately.
“Frustration over what we knew we could’ve done different, and better, to get the job done. The fact that we push ourselves so hard to be as perfect as we can and do as well as we can. The fact that we won’t settle for second.” Ricky nods his head, as the pair had the discussion on multiple times, prior.
“I watched your media day frenzy, and I saw your comments. I know you’re feeling that win pressure, and I know how that can be. But trust me when I say this, you’re going to win this year, and once you do win, they’re going to come like wild fire. Don’t let everybody’s words and discussion about it bug you. Oh, and don’t change who you are either. Everybody that says you should be different is full of crap. For me, and I know a lot of your true supporters, they love the quietness, the sweetness, the down-to-earth persona; I know they love you for who you are. The main thing is inner happiness. If you’re happy with yourself, don’t change.” Chase smiles, as he looks over at Ricky.
“I’ll keep your advice in mind as you’re right. Thank you.” Ricky then walks away, grabbing his notes off of the pit box.
“You know the drill…” Chase nods his head. it was always known no matter what the problem he could always go to Ricky and Ricky would offer advice. In Ricky’s eyes, Chase was still the little kid that he had started working with originally. “Oh, do I have to worry about any of Sarina’s family?” Chase then looks over, now caught off-guard and confused. “Lindsay mentioned how you were going to see Shelley, and I haven’t heard much sin-”
“Don’t even go there, please.” Ricky then crosses his arms, walking back over to Chase, now concerned. “That meeting didn’t go well at all. Shelley believes that Sarina handled everything wrong, and that we should’ve done more for Chris. They had a pair of fights, and it actually tore Sarina apart pretty good.” In Chase’s mind, all he could see was the image of her sitting at the kitchen table crying with a hole in the wall in the background. Taking a deep breath, he couldn’t let Shelley control his thoughts – just like he had told Sarina. “We’re cutting all ties so that way Shelley can’t continue to cause anymore pain, so just please drop and let it go.”
“Done. I have no problem with that – as long as I know that you’re safe, and she’s safe.” Chase nods his head. As of right now, that fact was true, and Chase believed that it would stay that way – despite Sarina’s initial concerns. “Lindsay warned that some family members may not be so comforting and there may be more issues than we realize with the family. I told her then and there that I wanted to know anything that went on because I would do anything to protect you guys. I meant those words, Chase.”
“I know, and I appreciate that. But really, everything is fine right now. There’s nothing going on – except Sarina and I enjoying our time together before life gets crazy.” Ricky glances up as he watches Sarina walk out of the trailer, dressed in her firesuit, ready to rock and roll.
“I understand, but don’t ever forget those words. I was there with you both through that, and I don’t want to see it happen again.” Chase nods his head accepting as Ricky walks away.
Sarina glances between the pair slightly confused, intrigued by what they were talking about, before making her way over to Chase. She knew asking Ricky would get her nowhere, but Chase couldn’t lie to her by default.
“Everything okay?” She questions and Chase simply nods his head, again.
“Ricky was just concerned about family relations and possible trouble,” Chase offers as Sarina lets out a sigh. she knew it was no surprise to hear people talk about her family that way, but she wasn’t going to lie that it did bother her sometimes, still. “I explained part of the Shelley situation – very briefly with a little detail as possible, since Lindsay had mentioned us connecting with her. I then assured him that there’s nothing to worry about, but he wanted to make sure I knew he was there if needed.” Sarina smiles as she looks towards Ricky.
“You know, we’re pretty damn lucky Chase. Not a lot of people can say that they have someone in their lives who would do anything for them. But here we stand, and we’ve got Ricky, Alan, Marcus, Kyle, Samantha, your parents, Christopher, and both our crews telling us they have our backs no matter what.” Chase wraps his arms around her, holding her close.
“That’s because you’re an amazing person who deserves every bit of happiness that you get. All these people see what I’ve always seen – how special you are, how charming you are, inspiring, determined, beautiful – and want you to be happy.” He then kisses her lips.
“You’re not so bad yourself, Prince Charming…” He then chuckles as he gives her a glance over.
“Yeah, but not everybody can make a firesuit look as amazing as you do. God damn, I was skeptical on you switching from white to black, but I can damn well say now that I am in total love.” She rolls her eyes in response.
“Save the compliments for later. I know what you’re getting to…” He just grins as she walks away, set to focus on the day at hand.