The Tale of Love & Racing: Sarina’s Story – Chapter 57: “You’re never going to get away with this….”

Saturday March 24, 2018 – Martinsville Speedway

Sarina wakes up, and practically froze in the moment as she could hear singing….

“Cheers to a good country song,” she heard as she slowly climbed out of the bed. “To another long work week gone, and yeah I’m raisin’ my class to those savin’ our ass overseas.” She then slowly cracks open the bathroom door, smile still plastered on her face. “I might stay for one more round – hell, I might close this place down.”

A small chuckle escapes her lips, causing the voice to die out immediately as a head peaks out from behind the shower curtain.

“How long have you been here?” He questions and she just shrugs her shoulders.

“You could’ve just kept singing,” she answers. “I mean, your voice rang through the whole motorcoach…” He pouts a little.

“Sorry if I woke you.” She then smiles once again.

“It was actually really sweet to wake up, too.” He then glances around the small shower, before looking back towards her.

“Give me two minutes and I’ll be out. I’d invite you in here, but it’s a little tight…” She nods her head, accepting, but knowing they could make it work if desperate enough.

He lived up to his word as he was out a couple minutes later, drying himself off, before slipping into a pair of jeans and sweater. She flops back on the bed, knowing that she had plenty of time before she had to be out today – while knowing he wasn’t as fortunate with early morning scheduled media.

“I want to thank you for last night by the way,” she catches his attention. “That was one of the absolute best nights, concerts that I’ve ever been to. I’ve always loved Cole, and just being up on stage, hearing that song so close, and then just being there and….. I could go on, but thank you.” He smiles, leaning in for a quick kiss.

“You’re welcome,” he answers. “I figured you could use som-”

“Don’t you mean we could use something?” He lets out a sigh, but nods his head back in return. “I know you’re always killing yourself worried about me, but damn, you can tell me how you’re feeling, too. I can take it, too. I mean, I grew up with Chri-”

“That doesn’t mean that you should have to go through what we’re going through right now. You don’t deserve it.” She places her hand on top of his.

“You don’t, either. I mean, this isn’t even about you but here you are, wrapped up in a mess consisting of two psychos. I brought you into this worl-”

“I could’ve said no, I could’ve turned my back and left you standing as soon as I heard everything. Did I? No, because I believe in you and want to be with you – always, and am willing to accept whatever comes with it. We’ll be fine, okay?” She nods her head, accepting another quick kiss. “Besides, I was thinking maybe for Easter we could do something special.”

“Something special?” He nods his head. “I thought you’d want to spend time with family…” There was no secret that family was important and certainly missing a family dinner wasn’t like him, but he also knew where they both stood right now.

“We’re both stressed, worried, and have so much going on with our lives. We need some time away. Besides, it’d be nice to get in one final round before the season ends…” The cabin immediately brought a smile to her face as that’d forever be their special spot in being where he proposed to her. However, she couldn’t help but feel a bit of sadness behind the reason.

“I would never pass up a trip to the cabin…” He smiles, knowing that based on their last time there together. He actually wondered how many more special memories they could add to that now.

Sarina stood back following the final laps of the first practice session, glancing up at the board. She couldn’t complain about Chase ending the session being ranked sixth at the end of the session. Furthermore, hearing that he felt something in the car that related to how they were handling last fall gave her hope. If he could perform like he did last October, anything was possible – right?

Sarina hears her phone ring in her pocket, reaching for it with her eyes rolling immediately. How could she have the audacity to call her after everything?

“Didn’t I tell you that I didn’t want to hear a single word from you ever again?” She questions immediately upon answering the phone call.

“I heard your words clearly,” Shelley begins. “But remember, we did come to a compromi-”

“There was no compromising if you damn well ask me. You enabled Alison by allowing her to run around for months like nothing was going on. You are enabling a potential second around with Chris. Do I need to go on?”

“I understand your frustration, Sarina, and I’m actually calling to apologize once again.” Sarina immediately had to chuckle.

“Are you realizing that allowing Chris to be free is a mistake?”

“I won’t ever change my stan-”

“Then don’t you dare call me until you can change your stance on that, and realize you did wrong by both of them with us. Thank you for enabling my life to be a continued living hell!” She then hangs up, slamming her phone back in her pocket, as she leans back against the wall and takes a deep breath.

“I don’t want to be the one at the other end of that phone call,” she hears and glances out of the corner of her eye to see Lindsay standing there. “I came over because I wanted to come out and watch qualifying from pit road with the team – if I’m allowed of course – while Ryan is busy with his team.” Sarina takes a deep breath, nodding her head accepting, as they make their way to pit road. Putting down some laps would certainly be a good way to relieve some stress.

“The guys know we’re close so they’ll have no problem,” Sarina comments, causing a smile on Lindsay’s face. Of course, that smile quickly faded as she recalled the words heard.

“Do you want to talk about that phone call at all?” Sarina lets out a long sigh.

“Aunt Shelley if you must know. She wanted to apologize once again for the Alison situation, but could give two shits about the mess that she’s starting with Chris being allowed a chance.” Lindsay nodded her head, accepting. There was no secret that she wasn’t pleased with her aunt’s actions, either.

“Well I’m glad that you stood straight up to her and told her what for because she deserved to hear that and understand where you’re coming from. But my biggest advice? Block her number.” Sarina shakes her head no, causing a glance of confusion from Lindsay.

“I need it as she’s supposed to phone with any tips on Alis-”

“She can call Chas-”

“I don’t need him being under any additional stress abou-”

“She can call the investigating officer. Look, I just don’t want you to keep that toxicity in your life. You know it’s not good for you, but yet you enable it as much as she does.” Sarina had to chuckle at those comments. “Why the hell are you laughing?”

“You sound like Chase right now.” Lindsay then glances at her confused. “He’s honestly told me those same exact words. He told me, ‘you’ve got to draw a line somewhere or you are going to get taken advantage of’. It first came up in relation to racing on-track and why he took a stand against Denn-”

“Clever way of doing it.” Sarina immediately smiles, laughing a little.

“I could watch those laps at Phoenix over and over if you ask me.” Lindsay now chuckles herself. “But then later on that night, he said that he didn’t just mean that for one way – but every way. It’s why he wants to try and make sure that he doesn’t let his concern for Alison drive his life – he doesn’t want to feel powerless and not have that ability to stand up.”

“The feeling of being powerless, unable to do anything, that’s worse than the pain itself sometimes.” Sarina nods her head in agreement. “So why haven’t you listened?”

“Because I keep telling myself that I can handle it, that I’m stron-”

“You don’t need to use Shelley to prove that, Chelsy. Look at the life that you’ve built for yourself.” Lindsay immediately froze, noicing the change on Sarina’s face. “I’m sorry. It just slip-”

“It’s okay, I understand and get it.” Sarina then takes a deep breath as she glances over. “If anybody is allowed to mention that name, it is you because you have the best intentions and am connecting it to a very special time when we were growing up together and being friends. I’m not upset, okay?” Lindsay smiles a little, nodding her head.

“So are you going to block her?” Sarina slowly pulls her phone out, unlocking it as she hands it over to Lindsay.

“Do the honors. I have to go qualify….”  Sarina then walks over to the truck, stretching out her arms as she walks over to Rudy, ready to get down to business.

As much as she wanted to believe that it wasn’t bothering her, it showed in her qualifying attempt as she ended up 10th – versus being in the top-five as anticipated.  She immediately apologized to the team afterwards, with Rudy brushing it off – saying they’d make it back up in the race later on that afternoon.

Chase gets out of the car and makes his way back to the box, letting out a sigh.

There was nothing that you could want in where they ranked the second practice, but that didn’t tell the whole story. He obviously knew the first run was off of their game, but the second he felt was closer to where he wanted to be. It wasn’t quite as good as where he was last October, but the feeling was coming to him and confidence was growing that they’d be fine come Sunday.

However, his attitude was immediately shifted when he noticed an envelope sitting there, with his name on it. He went to reach for it, but a hand landed on top of his.

“Don’t open it, don’t touch it,” he hears and knew the words immediately were from Alan Gustafson.

“You’ve looked at it, though,” he replies and the crew chief slowly nods his head around as Chase turns to face him. “So it’s from Alison and it’s a note of threatening given her escape. So basically that means that she’s on the property somewhere but like always, they haven’t found her? But yet hey, it’s safer for me to not know that detail and to not see the note…”

“I didn’t mean it in anyway shape or form like that, Chase.” Chase glances up at Alan. “I was going to tell you after the session was over. I was going to suggest that a couple of us guys stay with you through the rest of the evening just to make sure that you keep your wits about you. I was going to suggest taking the envelope to the NASCAR hauler. I was ready to do what was necessary….” Chase’s eyes fall back to the ground.

“I’m sorry….” Alan crosses his arms as he locks his eyes on Chase.

“It’s clear that these notes and everything about Alison bugs you – I saw that on Thursday firsthand, I saw that when she went after you in the hauler. Heck, I was almost at the receiving end of a bullet – and don’t make a single comment about that. I know safety is the most important thing and I’m focused on that. I’m also trying to do what’s best for you, and I felt not letting you see the contents would be advised.” Chase kept his eyes focused towards the ground, knowing that Alan wasn’t moving a single inch.

“You’re right. I don’t need to see it and ponder what it means and what she’ll do because like you said, she’s not going to touch me. Everybody in this garage area – every team member off every team, every official, even fans knows what she looks like and has an eye out for her. She’s going to be caught and it’s going to be over.” Alan smiles a little, nodding his head.

“Thank you. Now, can we get back to discussing the car? I know you have a truck race to go watc-”

“Have you seen the radar?” Alan lets out a sigh, nodding his head. “Do you really think there’s going to be a race looking at that?”

“Stranger things have happened, right?” Chase rolls his eyes as he reaches back, grabbing the small screen.

“This isn’t going to be one of those cases, Alan. But, for the what’s it worth, it’ll give us time to figure out what we’re missing…”

Chase then goes through the runs, watching them, and comparing lines and braking patterns. They were only missing a touch of something – and he was bound to figure what it was. It was better than thinking about a psycho person.

“It’s almost beautiful in a way….” Sarina comments as she glances out the window at the snow.

“I almost want to go out and make a snow angel,” Lindsay adds as the girls chuckle together.

“I can’t believe NASCAR thought they could get the truck race in before this. I mean, the whole radar was bloody well green and blue – what else did they expect? Those laps with the rain tricking down – I was a little nervous there…”

“You didn’t do too bad, though. I mean, you didn’t lose any positions.” Sarina nods her head, knowing that it had been tricky to remain where she was.

“Nothing wrong with a Sunday doubleheader, right?” Lindsay couldn’t help but agree as the girls looked back out the snow again.

“Anybody seen my phone?” Chase questions as he emerges from the back of the motorcoach. They had just gotten back from going out to dinner and were set for a fun night of hanging out together, considering there wasn’t much else to do in the snowy conditions.

“Did you leave it at the restaurant?” Ryan wonders from his spot on the couch and Chase shakes his head no.

“Is it back in our motorcoach?” Sarina adds, and Chase shakes his head no once again.

“I haven’t had it since final prac….” His voice trails off, as he almost wants to curse himself. He could see where it was sitting immediately. “Have the Cup teams left the infield yet?”

“I can see some cars being loaded still – including I think your trailer,” Lindsay comments as she tries to get a clear view through the flurries falling.

“How is it fair that you guys get your cars put in your haulers for the night and my baby truck has to sit on pit road all night with a tarp over it in the snow?” Sarina questions and Chase shrugs his shoulders.

“You can take that up with NASCAR – after I borrow your phone,” he tells her as she looks over intrigued. “I need to text Alan.” She easily hands it over, knowing the crew chief’s number was in there for safe keeping, among other reasons.

“It’s just ridiculous. I mean, what if the tarp comes loose? What if snow gets in there? What if someone tampers with my truck? What if security runs into issues? I can’t help but worry…” She then glances back out the window, staring at her truck on pit road, barely seeing it.

“Are you going to stand guard all night?” Ryan wonders and Sarina glances back at him. “I wouldn’t blame you….”

“I wish I was allowed to sleep in it just so I knew that it’d be safe,” she muses, causing a couple chuckles.

“I’m going to get phone,” Chase says as he hands the phone back to Sarina.

“I should come with you.” He shakes his head no as he slips on his shoes.

“I’ll be fine.” Sarina lets out a long sigh as she glances over at Ryan, before looking towards Chase.

“Alison is running free righ-”

“I’ll be fine, Sarina. I can take care of myself.” He then gives her a quick kiss, before grabbing his coat and heading out the door.

He makes his way through the motorcoach lot, going over to where the gate led into the track. Showing his hard card to the security official, he crosses over the track, shaking his head at the amount of snow already.

As he reaches the infield of the track and goes to cross over pit road, he feels something underneath his feet move, catching him off-guard. He immediately falls back, landing hard as he lets out a small groan.

“Fuck!” He lets out, feeling the pain up his back immediately.

“That was easy,” he hears, sending a shiver through his spine. “It’s amazing what a little cord can do…” He feels every fear flood through him, his voice threatening to hitch in his throat.

“Hel-” He goes to scream after finding his voice, but a hand ends up pressed against his face.

“Sssh, I wouldn’t want someone to disturb our little meeting…” His eyes fill with glancing straight into her eyes. “Besides, I thought I had something that we had to finish.”

“You’re never going to get away with this….” A chuckle escapes her lips.

“I don’t need long, playboy…” She then reaches for the edge of his jeans.

“What the hell??” A random voice can be heard, causing Alison to freeze immediately.

“We’ll meet eventually, and you won’t get away,” she offers, before taking off out of sight.

“Thank you…” Chase quietly says to no one in particular, curious himself as to who said those words. He then goes to sit up, feeling the pain rip through him. “Holy shit!”

“Chase?!?” He hears the voice once again, recognizing it as Chad Knaus and Jesse Sanders come running over.

“Chad….” Chad glances over at Jesse a little confused, before turning his eyes back to Chase.

“Just don’t move; we’ll get you some help,” Chad states, eying Jesse as he takes off running back towards the garage area. “What the hell happened?”

“Alison, again…” Chase then squints his eyes, feeling as though the pain was increasing. “Oh man…”

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The Tale of Love & Racing: Sarina’s Story – Chapter 56: “Someone doesn’t look happy.”

Friday March 23, 2018 – Martinsville Speedway

Lindsay walks up the small hill up onto the track, stopping, and glancing around.

“It’s even smaller in person it seems,” she comments, causing a chuckle from Sarina, before they head down into the infield. “How do they fit everything in here?”

“They don’t,” Sarina answers, causing a puzzled look from Lindsay. “The truck haulers don’t stay down here all race weekend. They’re here today for the truck practice, and they will be in the morning when they unload tomorrow for tech – but then they go back outside before letting the Cup guys unload and take up space.” Lindsay glances at her, shaking her head in surprise.

“I don’t want to be in charge of coordinating that mess.” Sarina just chuckles once again. “By the way, how’s Chase?” Sarina bites her lip as she would’ve preferred to not talk about Alison. “You don’t have to say anyth-”

“Given the situation, it’s as best as it can be. You can’t deny being a little worried because of Alison’s history, but time to calm down and his focus is looking forward.” Lindsay nods her head sympathically. “By the way, I’m sorry I didn’t say anythin-”

“Are you seriously apologizing for comforting your fiancé? I mean, given any news of magnitude, it’d welcome the response that you had. I have no hard feelings – same way you had none when I interrupted you guys.” Sarina rolls her eyes, before leading her to where the team was hanging out before the practice, introducing her to the different crew members who hadn’t gotten a chance to meet her yet.

“It’s almost like a family rather than a team….” Sarina nods her head as she glances back from the hauler door.

“Do you see what I mean now? These guys, Kyle, Sam, Ricky, and obviously Chas-”

“You don’t need to explain. I get it, and I’m happy for you. You have your racing family, and I have my dancing family; it’s our escape from reality, right?” Sarina nods her head once again.

“Give me 10 minutes – or less for that matter. I just need to get changed…” Sarina heads inside, hearing her phone buzz. She pulls it out, reading the text from Chase as she lets out a long sigh. “Of course…” She quickly texts him back with the best message that she can muster, before continuing up to the lounge.

Chase reads the response, smiling a little as much as he could given the situation, before placing his phone back in his pocket. Taking a deep breath, he knew procrastination would get them nowhere as he takes the quiet walk up to the doors.

“Thank you,” Chase says as he glances over at Josh and Alan.

“Sarina was busy, and you shouldn’t have to do this alon-” Alan offers.

“I have my parents.” It was no secret that Cindy and Bill had shown up for their own curiosity, too.

“I know, but having your friends also is helpful. Besides, you’re forgetting that you weren’t the only target of Chris’ attacks.” Chase sighs, not needing a reminder of a court room doors.

“It also gave me something to do today,” Josh adds, earning a light chuckle from both Chase and Alan.

“If you’re desperate for work during your suspension, I can gladly help you there,” Alan adds and Josh shakes his head no.

The group quietly takes their seats together, as Chase takes a deep breath. They were only there to hear a couple words from a judge, but it felt like the whole world rested on what he had to say.

He stands up as the judge enters, focusing his eyes forward, not allowing himself to begin to even wander towards the left. He didn’t want to see Chris, or really Shelley for that matter either. If it was up to him, he would leave all of this – and Alison – behind as quickly as possible.

Taking his seat, he feels a hand on his shoulder, glancing behind with a small smile towards his parents, before focusing his eyes the same direction as before.

“As requested by Shelley Dryer, the entire case pertaining to Chris Dryer was reviewed – with a focus on whether a psychological evaluation is valid and the surrounding steps,” the judge states as he focuses his eyes forward. “The purpose of this was review was to determine whether the sentencing regulations were fairly according to the charges and happenings of events.

“It is no secret that the amount of documents to review was lengthy, from Mr. Dryer’s own testimony, to victim testimony, victim impact statements, hospital and medical records, along with previous psychological evaluations. I thank all parties involved for your patience over the past couple of weeks.

“After reviewing everything extensively, I have reached my reasoning and it is final as of today in this court room. All parties are expected to accept the reasoning within reason, and not act out or against it.

“Following a review of Mr. Dryer’s court documents, I will allow him to be submitted for psychological evaluation by a psychiatrist of this court’s choosing. That psychiatrist works for the legal system here in California, and is an independent from all parties involved in this matter.”

Chase immediately saw the red flags with this situation. There was only a 5% chance of this door opening per the lawyer, but yet this judge was going to do that anyway. If it was opened this far to even allow for an evaluation – that could mean being forced further and a possible release. Alison was enough to deal with, but both her and Chris? That’d be mission impossible.

Furthermore, he wasn’t about to have confidence in the court’s mental institution policy given Alison’s escape, either. Who was to say that Chris wouldn’t follow her route?

“Following Mr. Dryer’s session, I will consult with the psychiatrist about his findings,” the judge continues. “If Mr. Dryer is found mentally unstable, he will be submitted  to the mental institution for rehab. At the completion of the rehab, a trial will be held to determine whether his sentence is reduced. If he is found stable, then there will be no change in the given amount of events.” The judge closes the file as he looks towards Chris. “Do you understand the findings today?”

“Yes sir,” Chris states as a small smile forms on his face.

“Does the defense have any requests or questions?” The lawyer shakes her head no. “Does the prosecution have any requests or questions?”

“Recently, Ms. Alison Reynolds escaped your mental institution after being found mentally unstable in relation to her charges connected to Mr. Elliott and others,” the lawyer begins, causing Chase to smile. He was glad he wasn’t the only one feeling the pressure there. “Can we make sure that this time the court system actually upholds their end of the bargain and watches Mr. Dryer to make sure he doesn’t escape like Ms. Reynolds?”

“I will make sure extra security is in place for that matter,” the judge answers, which earned a simple nod from Chase. As long as they were aware and did something about it so nothing happened, he could sleep at night. Now he just hoped that the psychiatrist saw what they saw before. “Is there any other requests? If not, court is adjourned for today.”

Chase slowly gets up, ignoring the glance his way from Shelley, as he heads out through the door.

“Chase….” Alan says as he follows him, earning a glance back. “Are you okay?” Chase nods his head.

“At least they’re using security better this time, right?” He questions as he lets out a sigh. “I can’t believe that for a third time, Chris may just find his way out of jail on a psychological loophole. I mean, sure, he’s probably a little crazy, but you can’t tell me that’s the sole reason for what he did. He even uttered the words of revenge against Sarina, Alan.”

“I know, I was there….” Chase lets out a sigh as he leans back against the wall, taking a deep breath.

“I told Sarina and I’ve told you that I’m not going to let Alison run my life, but here I am….” Alan places a hand on his shoulder.

“Anybody in your shoes would have the same reaction. If the shoe was on my foot, hell, I’d be freaking out right now. Give yourself some credit as you’re doing a good job, but also recognize that it’s not going to be all peaches and talk if you need to.” Chase nods his head as he glances over at Alan.

“I just can’t get the words of revenge out of my head, Alan. He said that he would do whatever it took to make sure Sarina understood that he wasn’t happy for what happened then. He was set on tearing her life apart, piece by piece, not caring who was in the way. How can someone who says that be allowed a third chance? How can someone who knows how to sneak around the system – and told me damn well so – be allowed a chance to do so?” Alan nods his head, sympathizing with his driver.

“I don’t know bud. All I can tell you is they will figure it out before he has a chance to get to you guys, and Alison is going to be found as soon as possible. The whole country is looking for her so she can’t hid-”

“She hid in plain sight for three mon-”

“Trust me, Chase – they will find her. Have I ever let you down before?” Chase raises his eyebrows.

“There was that one time when you promised me that perfect adjustment and it flipped the car’s handling right the wron-”

“I’m serious, Elliott!” Chase chuckles and shakes his head no.

“I believe you, okay. We’re going to be okay…..”

With having finished the second session of the day, Sarina was relaxing up in the lounge, discussing the approach for the final practice to come. She had kept her phone close, knowing that there was an update coming.

After pretty much finalizing everything, she reaches over, and unlocks the phone, noticing a new text message. Slightly caught off-guard that it had come from Josh – Chase was supposed to send the update, she opens it. It was long and lengthy, but certainly detailed as he hadn’t left out a single detail for her about what the judge had to say.

“Someone doesn’t look happy,” Todd offers as Sarina glances up from her phone. “What did Chase do now?”

“Please tell me that he wasn’t too mad after the snake pran-” Harrison goes to add, noticing the change in her demeanor.

“That doesn’t even freaking matter right now!” She lets out, causing everybody’s jaw to drop. She then takes a calming deep breath as she closes her eyes for a second, before glancing around. “Sorry….”

“Seriously, what did Chase do now?” Todd questions once again as he knew there were few things that made Sarina having an outburst – especially after starting anger management classes.

“Chase didn’t do anything.” That caused the teammates’ jaws to drop once again.

“Chris?” Lindsay wonders and Sarina nods her head. “You got to be kidding me…..”

“They have allowed him to have another evaluation,” Sarina informs her. “Then from there, if he is found mentally unstable, he will be submitted  to the mental institution for rehab. At the completion of the rehab, a trial will be held to determine whether his sentence is reduced. If he is found stable, then there will be no change.”

“They aren’t going to find anythi-” Harrison starts.

“You can’t be so sure of that, Harrison. He’s tricked them before – twice. What’s stopping him from doing that again? Furthermore, Alison was able to escape so how comforting is to know that he will be there even with extra security? Sometimes I wish I grew up in a different family!!” She then glances over at Lindsay. “Sorr-”

“Oh hell no, don’t apologize,” Lindsay tells her. “I wish we could knock out half of the family at times, too. Shelley was normally the smart one. How is it that she can’t get our reasoning for this and brings on this situation?” Sarina shakes her head in disgust.

“I don’t know….” Sarina comments with a sigh. Rudy quietly motions for the teammates to follow him, leading them out of the lounge, before closing the door shut. “My brother is such a mixed bag of feelings. I am able to put anything and everything in the past and focus forward – except for him. That is one thing that I keep toying with back and forth. As angry as I am for what he did and as much as I just want to forget, I can’t.”

“That’s human, though.” Lindsay scoots closer, placing a hand on her leg. “That’s a human reaction, Sarina. Sure, you have all of these negative thoughts with your brother – but we also have all these positive perspectives. I mean, how many good memories do we have from when we are kids? That’s why at times, it can be hard to understand what went wrong and how this happened – and bring that mixture you’re thinking about…” Sarina glances over at Lindsay.

“With that said, do you think what he did is because of being a little crazy?” Lindsay shrugs her shoulders.

“Drugs can have quite the effect on a person, right? But at the same time, certain things that he said and did don’t fit the case. So I think maybe there’s a bit – but he can’t sit here and blame it all on being crazy.” Sarina nods her head, accepting.

“Thank you….” Lindsay smiles a little as she looks at her.

“It’s going to be okay, regardless. You have the right foundation around you, and justice always wins out in the end.”  Sarina nods her head once again.

“I keep trying to believe that, even though this keeps going to shit….”

“If there was a night that we needed a good time and a distraction….” Sarina starts as Chase wraps an arm around her.

“That’s if I can keep my eyes off of you long enough,” he comments, kissing her lips.

“Will you two just get a room?” Ryan questions as he looks over at them over Lindsay’s shoulder. “Wait – that feels odd with me saying that to you instead…” Chase chuckles back in response. “But seriously!”

“Just wait, we’ll be saying the same for you two soon.” He then gives Sarina a wink as she lets out a tiny chuckle.

They head inside the concert venue after showing their passes, heading straight to the VIP section.

“Thank you for doing this!” Sarina lets out, before squealing a little as the boys just laugh.

“Careful, you may lose your girl to him tonight,” Ryan teases as Chase just rolls his eyes.

“If I knew it made her this happy, I would’ve done it sooner,” Chase offers as Ryan just shakes his head.

“Okay Romeo….”

Everybody was all set to enjoy the show together, when Cole Swindell called the boys up to the stage.

“Did you know about this?” Lindsay wonders and Sarina shakes her head no. “Can Chase even sing?”

“Oh he can sing when he wants….” Sarina answers, still remembering the phone message she saved that he left her. Thinking back to their trip to Amsterdam, she couldn’t help but smile at the upcoming off-weekend and the plans they were making. The girls watched on Cole did a shout-out with the boys, including a selfie of them together. “Can’t believe he’d do that without me…”

“So is he cut off tonight?” Sarina smacks her back in response as Lindsay bursts out laughing.

“Say, is Sarina Ott in the house?” They hear Cole say, causing a surprised glance on both girls’ faces. “Actually, let’s bring both of you girls down here.” The girls look at each other, squealing, before quickly making their way to the stage steps. Glancing at each other once again, trying to compose themselves, they walk up on to the stage. “So the boys tell me that you’re a fan….”

“Hell yeah!” Sarina immediately lets out.

“Well, someone asked me if I’d sing a special song for you. He said that you may know it…” She glances back at Chase, who just gives her a wink back in return.

Baby, it just took one look at you
For me to change my one drink order to two
Like we already knew each other
Like we been talking all night
About a minute into our first dance
We got blindsided by your friends
All in a hurry like you had to go
Didn’t they know you can’t leave someone
Girl, you can’t leave someone

In the middle of a dance floor all alone
In the middle of an old school country song
Right when I was just about to lean on in
Why’d you have to go then?
Baby, in the middle of the glow of the neon light
It shoulda, coulda, woulda been the night of our lives
Girl, it ain’t right, no
How you gonna leave me right in the middle of a memory?

We were gonna dance till they shut it down
People’d be staring while I spin you ’round
Thinking we were so in love, yeah
They wouldn’t know we hadn’t even hooked up
I’d get your number and I’d give you mine
And we’d be hanging out tomorrow night
But now I don’t know where you are
I’m under these lights right here in the dark

In the middle of a dance floor all alone
In the middle of an old school country song
Right when I was just about to lean on in
Why’d you have to go then?
Baby, in the middle of the glow of the neon light
It shoulda, coulda, woulda been the night of our lives
Girl, it ain’t right, no
How you gonna leave me right in the middle of a memory?

Yeah, it’s like you walked right out in the middle of a movie
Tore the back half out of a book
And no, you’ll never know, girl, what you did to me
It ain’t right saying goodbye

In the middle of a dance floor all alone
In the middle of what could’ve been our song
Right when I was just about to lean on in
Why’d you have to go then?
Baby, in the middle of the glow of the neon light
It shoulda, coulda, woulda been the night of our lives
But, girl, it ain’t right, no
How you gonna leave me right in the middle of a memory?
In the middle of a memory
In the middle of a memory

The Tale of Love & Racing: Sarina’s Story – Chapter 55: “Are you flipping kidding me?!?”

Thursday March 22, 2018

“Chase, have you seen my umbrella?” Sarina questions, catching him off-guard as he watches her rummage through the closet. “It’s supposed to rain on Saturday at Martinsville…”

“They’ve changed it to just rain now?” He wonders and she nods her head, having checked the weather report again for probably the fifth time that day.

“A trace of rain expected from 3 to midnight. Do you know what that means?” She then glances around to face him. “We may be both chasing our clocks on Sunday.” Chase lets out a sigh as it wouldn’t surprise him given past years of chaos at the paperclip.

“I thought you left the umbrella in the back of the plane.” She then freezes, thinking back, before letting out a sigh as she shuts the closet. “Besides, wouldn’t you be interested in being a swamped ra-”

“I did that with you last year at Daytona. I’m not doing that with you again, got it?” He chuckles, nodding his head as he reaches out and grabs her hand, pulling her close to him.

“But you were my cute swamped rat, and I didn’t want to let you go.” He then lightly kisses her lips. “Actually, I don’t ever think that I could let you go….”

“I’m glad that you believe that.” Their hands then lock together, before their lips find each other once again as he leans back against the edge of the bed.

“I mean every single word. I love you, Sarina, and nothing will ever change that.” He then moves in, kissing her lips softly once again as his finger traces the ring on her finger. “I wouldn’t have given you this and pushed you if I didn’t mean it.”

“I still can’t believe how amazing that night was. I was so afraid of a simple question, and you just made my fears go away immediately. I love you, always, and thank you.” She then kisses his lips once again.

“You never need to thank me…” He then returns the kiss in return.

“I know, but I always feel a need too because I can’t ever say enough words for what you did for me……” Her words trail off as he deepens the kiss, exploring her mouth with his tongue a little. She couldn’t resist it even if she tried, immediately returning the favor as their tongue find each other with her hands running up underneath his shirt. Their tongues remain together for the next 10 minutes, purely exploring each other, as her fingers don’t move an inch, totally lost in the moment. Finally pulled away, she was able to slip his top off. “Maybe I can repay the favor, if you allo-”

“I told you that I was fin-” He slips off her top as she just shakes her head, glancing right into his brown eyes.

“I know, and I believe you – but I meant repaying you in another way and form. Let me show you just how much I love you, so you never have to think about the taste of her lips on you ever again….”  She then begins a trail of kisses from his cheek, all the way down his neck, to his shoulder.

“Mmm….” They then hear a knock at the front door, eyes meeting each other, silently cursing it immediately. “Were you expecting someone?”

“Nope. Were you?” He shakes his head no as he goes down the stairs, while Sarina fumbles to find her shirt, continuing to curse under her breath.

It doesn’t take Chase long to reach the bottom of the stairs, opening the door, and set to roll his eyes immediately in seeing Lindsay standing there.

“Couldn’t you had just gone to Ryan’s house?” He questions, already knowing that she was going to be in town and going to the race with him.

“He’s not home right now and I didn’t want to go to his house alon-” She starts.

“Then why not go over to the Penske shop and get a tour?” She then crosses her arms as she watches Sarina appear at the top of the stairs.

“Did I interrupt something? Because given your appearance and frustration, combined with hers, I feel like I am missing something…” Chase glances back at Sarina, rolling his eyes, before walking away from the door.

“Don’t worry about it,” Sarina says as she comes down the stairs, fixing her hair along the way. “We were just having some quiet time together.” Lindsay glances in the direction that Chase headed before looking back at Sarina.

“Quiet time together, huh?” Lindsay wonders. “It seems more than just that. I mean, I could go if you really want me too.” Sarina shakes her head no.

“Don’t worry – we can make up for it later. Besides, I can never pass a chance to see you. It’s been long enough!” Lindsay then glances at Sarina’s hand, clasping it immediately and taking a closer look at the ring on her finger, before looking up.

“You were right – the man certainly spoiled you and knows your taste because that ring is amazingly perfect. It’s beyond what I could’ve expected even by how you described the proposal.” She then follows Sarina to the living room. “So what’s it been like being engaged?”

“It hasn’t felt any different or weird or anything, to be honest. I mean, I still feel the same way as I did before about him. it hasn’t changed me like I thought it would. Actually, in a way, it’s nice to be able to have that to carry with me when we’re apart.” Lindsay nods her head, accepting, as she fixes the necklace that she was wearing.

“Ryan may kill me, but when I saw how this necklace gleamed on the showroom floor while at the mall and the fact that it was a beautiful No. 12, I couldn’t help but pick it up.” Sarina takes a closer look, cooing immediately.

“I find it sweet that you want to hold him that close to your heart. I mean, I bet he will be wishing that he bought it for you…” Lindsay nods her head, accepting, but glances at the ground.

“I don’t know if I’d say that serious with Rya-”

“Are you kidding me? For that boy to wait to you’re available, be committed to a long distance relationship and be patient for you says a lot. Trust me – you’ve got a keeper in him, and you’ll see that appreciation when you see him.” Lindsay shyly glances up.

“Is it wrong that I want to jump him when I see him?” Sarina laughs, shaking her head no.

“I don’t blame you actually. I know just a couple days apart for Chase and I drives us insane.” Lindsay glances towards the kitchen where she knew Chase was, pondering her thoughts.

“Is he pissed off at me right now?” Sarina glances towards the kitchen, shrugging her shoulders.

“He’s probably a little frust-”

“I told you that I could go-”

“I told you my response already, didn’t I?” Lindsay lets out a sigh.

“I just feel bad for pissing him off…” Sarina shakes her head as she focuses her attention back on Lindsay.

“He may be a little frustrated right now given your timing, but it will be all forgotten later after you’ve left. Besides, he’s also appreciative of our relationship because of knowing my history and past. Like I said, I’ve got a sweet tender guy who would do anything for me.” Lindsay smiles as it was certainly nice to see, given the history there.

“You deserve it, truthfully and honestly. I mean, I can’t describe the joy in seeing you smiling and so happy.” Sarina reaches out her hand, placing it on top of Lindsay’s.

“You deserve that as much as I do, and I know Ryan can do that for you. So please give that boy a chance…” Lindsay sighs as Sarina continues to pat her hand. “A crazy work schedule with no play leads to no fun and a harsh life. Don’t do that to yourself.”

“I’m trying, right? I mean, I’m here this weekend. That says something, right?” Sarina nods her head, accepting. “So I saw all the promotions leading up to this weekend’s race and they certainly are replaying all of the highlights from Chase and Denn-”

“Don’t remin-”

“So I want to know something, though. Why didn’t you just slap Denny?” Sarina chuckles, remembering her frustration on top of the pit box and especially in the days that followed with having to do an appearance on behalf of Toyota with him.

“Oh I wanted to – there’s no secret about that. however, that day, I chose to let Chase take care of his own business – the same way that I would appreciate him to act if say someone pisses me off. But I came close to slapping him a couple days later. He’s lucky that both Kyle and Christopher were there.” Lindsay shakes her head in disbelief.

“So you mentioned doing anger management classes, though….” Sarina nods her head.

“You’ve seen me when I get mad, right? I can be unpredictable, over the top, a little bit of crazy. It was simply a suggestion for me to improve myself and frankly, it’s helped. I’m implying what I am learning and nobody has gotten their heads chopped off lately.” Lindsay had to admit there was a smirk hidden in there somewhere.

“So if someone wrecks you on the last lap, you’re not going to tackle them?” Sarina laughs.

“Are you kidding me? That person better hope they took a self-defense class by the time that I get done with them.” Lindsay smirks at the thought.

“Glad you haven’t lost your fire in all of this…”

“I wouldn’t be here without that. It’s my fire and desire that kept me pushing forward.” Sarina then lets out a sigh as she glances back towards the kitchen. “But it’s someone’s heart that captured mine and taught me that it’s okay to relax some, and facing what you’re running from makes it easier because you can only have so much fire.”

“I still can’t believe everything that he’s done for you…” Sarina glances back at Lindsay and nods her head in agreement.

“I thank anybody I can – him included – for it every day. I’m not afraid to admit that I don’t know what I’d do without him.” She then glances back down at the ring in her finger, twirling it around. “He’s my world, Lindsay. I don’t know what else to say.”

“Like I said, you deserve every bit of happiness, and as much as I want to see Ryan win a race that I am at since Daytona was a ball, I want to see you guys celebrating in victory lane soon together.” Sarina glances up at her.

“Trust me – that’s going to happen sooner than a lot of people think. His first win is coming and when its coming, there’s going to be lots to come afterwa-”

“Are you flipping kidding me?!?” They hear from the kitchen, catching them both off-guard.

“Stay here,” Sarina comments as she stand up immediately heading that way. She knew if Chase was flipping out, it had to be something serious and she wasn’t about to let Lindsay intrude on that situation just yet. She walks into the kitchen slowly, finding him sitting at the table with his phone in hand. “Chase?”

“The minute that I start to believe in the legal system, it screws me over backwards.” She then looks at him a little confused as she continues to make her way over. “Alison Reynolds was found certifiable insane by the physiological evaluations, and set to be kept at the mental institution until the next court date.”

“You just said was as past tens-”

“That’s because she’s not there anymore.” Sarina wanted to assume that meant back in jail, but why would Chase flip out over that? “She escaped about two hours after being delivered. The psychotic witch is back on the run again.” He sends a quick text message to a bunch of the crew members as Sarina walks over, rubbing both of his bare shoulders.

“They’re going to be find her, Chase. they know that she’s crazy and know who exactly she is, so they will find her and it will en-”

“It took them three months to find her the first time, Sarina.” He then takes a deep breath as he glances back at her, “What makes you believe that they’ll find her so quickly this time?” She shakes her head as she didn’t even know what to say.

“I know you’re afraid, and I know this bugs the hell out of you. But Chase, you have to believe me for your own sanity. She’s going to be caught, and before she is able to do anything ever to you or anybody else again. Everybody is on the lookout and she will be stopped, okay?” He takes a deep breath as he sets his phone down on the table.

“I told myself that I wouldn’t let her run my life anymore, but look at me right no-”

“You went through a lot with her, from the notes to what happened in the trailer. Your response is to be expected. Don’t beat yourself up over it.” He nods his head, accepting, as he glances back down at his phone.

“I thought this was over. I’m not afraid for me because trust me, I can find a way to take her down in a single moment. But I’m afraid for you, for the guys, because she’s crazy enough to go after everybody…” Sarina continues rubbing his shoulders.

“You don’t need to be worried for me, Chase. I can protect and take care of myself. I can kick her ass if I need to. I’ve also got my guys, Kyle, Sam – just like your guys have each other and the rest of your teammates. We have strength in numbers, Chase. Relax, it’s going to be okay…” He takes another deep breath as he picks up his phone to read the newest text message.

“I love you…” He then glances up at her as she reaches down, kissing his lips lightly. “I will always love you…”

“I love you, too, and I’m always here for you…” She then sits down at the table, planting her hand firmly on his, totally forgetting that Lindsay was in the other room. All that mattered to her at that moment was him.

The Tale of Love & Racing: Sarina’s Story – Chapter 54: Snake…

Tuesday March 20, 2018 – Kyle Busch Motorsports

Sarina makes her way through the shop, set to head up the stairs to the offices. She knew that getting briefed on yesterday’s wide spread company meeting was first on the docket as she hated to miss it, followed by a discussion with Rudy ahead of this weekend. it was time for Martinsville, and she wasn’t leaving anything on the table.

“Well, look who chose to make an appearance today…” She hears and immediately rolls her eyes as she watches Harrison Burton pop out of one of the offices.

“Sarina is actually here?” She hears from the same office, with Todd Gilliland popping out. “Oh my gosh, the princess is here in flesh. What shall we do, Harrison?”

“I don’t know Todd. I mean, what do you do with someone who chooses when they just feel like randomly coming in?” Todd shrugs his shoulders as Sarina rolls her eyes.

“I mean, who really misses the shop meeting ahead of a race weekend? I’d never missed one of those even with exams.”

“I even skipped a doctor’s appointment so I could be here for a meeting.”

“I even skipped a fun outing with friends so I could be here for a mee-”

“Are you guys done yet?” She cuts them off as she glances between them in surprise. “I mean, yeah, I missed the meeting yesterday, but I damn well would’ve rather been here at that meeting than sitting in a court room staring a crazy woman’s ass and hear her sick excuses for how she went after my boyfriend for months.” The smiles leave their faces immediately as they glance between each other, before glancing at her. She could only take a deep breath and glance down towards the floor. “I didn’t mean for that to come out so harshly, but you guys were going a little too fa-”

“We didn’t mean anything by it, Sarina,” Harrison starts. “We knew where you were. Kyle mentioned it. We were just having some fun, just kidding about it – nothing meant.”  Todd places a hand on her shoulder.

“We should’ve been a little more sensitive to the subject,” Todd adds as she glances back at the boys.

“It’s okay, I get it,” she assures them. “I guess I’m just a little on edge about it.” She then goes into her office, which the boys easily follow. “I don’t want to get into specifics, but the way she talked about what she did, and why she did, and her thought process – it honestly made me want to puke. It took every part of me to be strong for him because you could just tell that it made his skin crawl.” Harrison looks at her surprised.

“You mean it got a reaction out of Chase?” He questions and she nods her head. “Okay, I can’t say that I know Chase as well as anybody – but to get a reaction out of him, that takes quite a bit…” She just continues to nod her head.

“He didn’t say anything, or really do anything – but you could just see it in reaction to her words. I even tried to reach out to that layer afterwards and he wouldn’t say much.” She then lets out a long sigh as she flops back in the chair. “I’ve said too mu-”

“Hey, you need to get it out there and vent. We can both promise you that anything you say to us won’t go any further than this office, okay?” She nods her head accepting as she glances up at the pair. “Just also promise that you’ll do the right things to handle this, whether talking to someone, or whatever you need.” She lets out a chuckle as she peeks at her phone.

“I’m used to this by now, Harrison. You don’t need to give me the rookie involvement speech. Besides, aren’t I supposed to be giving you tips, rookie?” He then looks on surprised as she sticks out her tongue playfully. “For the record, did I miss much yesterday?”

“Kyle spouted off his usual advice, reminded us to play nice after your stunt last year with Christopher, and said that he expects to hear tick tock on Monday,” Todd informs her as she just smiles back in response.

“I don’t see why we can’t make that happen, right?” She offers and the boys nod their head in response.

“Now, let’s improve the mood a little….” She then glances at him confused, as she notices his glance over at Harrison. Harrison leaves the office as she still looks on worried.

“Do I want to know what you boys are planning?” He wasn’t too sure how to respond, so he just smiled.

“Let’s just say that you may enjoy or freak out at the surprise…” Harrison walks back in the office with the Rattler 250 snake on his shoulders as he walks over and sits on the corner of her desk.

“I can’t keep him, but he was allowed to come spend some time with me to meet everyone,” Harrison starts as Sarina admires the snake as it looks over at her. “My parents made me swear to not step within a 1000 feet of their house while he’s in town, so we’re stuck here together. What do you think?”

“He’s certainly a beauty,” she comments. “Congratulations, by the way.” He simply nods his head back in response.

“Thank you.” A smirk then forms on her face as she takes out her phone.

“Say, how long do you have him for?”

“The whole day…” Sarina chuckles as she brings up a familiar phone number.

“Care to have some fun in cheering up someone els-”

“You’re texting Chase, aren’t you?” She nods her head as he just laughs. “Text away…”

****

It was later in the afternoon when Chase was done the meetings at Hendrick Motorsports and able to make his escape. He still wasn’t sure why Sarina wanted to see him over at Kyle Busch Motorsports on ‘special reasons’ in the office, but he wanted to believe that it was the right intensions.

After clearing special permissions downstairs, he makes his way immediately up to the office level of the shop, walking down the hallway as he stops a familiar door. He glances in, smiling immediately as he sees her.

“If someone is busy, I can come back lat-” he starts, causing her to glance up immediately.

“Get your ass in here!” She instructs immediately while sending a quick text to Harrison. He makes his way inside and over to her side of the desk, kissing her lips. “I was wondering when you’d show up.”

“Given Sunday’s frustrations, the meeting took a little longer than anticipated. We also addressed the hole in the wall.” She then lets out a sigh, not wanting to think about Alison right now. “What’s wron-”

“Just tell me the conversation went smoo-”

“We all talked just touched upon being thankful, and the fact that she wasn’t able to get bail and shows all signs of crazy. Oh, and Rick had already arranged for the repair to be made – no questions asked.” She lets out a sigh, thankful for that.

“And how’s Alan?” Chase knew there wasn’t much to say as he sat on the corner of her desk.

“Alan is Alan. He’s focused as ever on making things better for our race tea-”

“You know what I mea-”

“He didn’t show any signs at all.” He then reaches out and places a hand on her shoulder. “Are you sure you’re okay?” She then takes a deep breath as she glances up into his brown eyes.

“I’m worried, okay? I saw the way you looked at her when she talked about her thoughts. I felt that skin crawl, the shudder, the way that she made you feel. It worries me about how you’re feeling and whether you’re okay like you make it seem to be…”

“All I can do is tell you how I feel, and my reaction, right? All I can do is try and be as truthful as I can be with you, and trust me when I say this – I am okay. Sure, she evokes these sick feelings with me and sure, I wish I could never of heard those words. But I am okay in knowing that she can’t hurt me, you, or anybody ever again.” He then leans in and lightly kisses her lips. “I love you.”

“I love you, too – and I hope you still love me after this.” He then glances at her confused as she points towards the doorway. Harrison then walks in with the snake affixed around his neck, smile firmly planted.

“Are you kidding me?!?” Both Harrison and Sarina laugh as they watch him squirm, hiding behind her.

“Say hello to my little friend…” Harrison teases as Chase glances down at Sarina.

“This is why you wanted me to come over?” He questions and she just laughs harder.

“I thought you could make a new friend…” She comments and he immediately shakes his head no. “The way I look at it is this – you lost the original bet when I qualified better than you. You also lost the second bet when Bubba beat Chand-”

“Chandler got wrecked on the second lap not of his doi-”

“Bubba still beat him, even if he broke. So that’s two losses to me.” He rolls his eyes as she spins her chair around to face him. “You could make friends with the snake to honor your loss.”

“Friends with the snake?” She nods her head. “Should I just go ahead and tell Harrison once again that you chose Bubba Pollard over both he and Raphael, your own teammates? But yet you want him to help you today?”

“Is he serious?” Harrison questions and Sarina slowly shrugs her shoulders. “Wow, thanks for the love. Come on Snakey, you don’t deserve to make friends with people like that…” Harrison turns and leaves as Sarina looks back at Chase.

“Happy?” She questions and he nods his head yes.

“Besides, I told you that I would honor the bet in style,” he answers, kissing her lips lightly. “I told you that I’d spoil you without any regard. If you’re a good girl, maybe I’ll take you up on that tonight.”

“You can’t tease and not deliver, Chase…” He smirks as he stands up and walks away to the doorway, glancing back.

“Don’t be late..” He heads out down the hall as a smirk forms on her face, hoping that she could get through what she needed to do that afternoon as soon as possible.

****

Wednesday March 21, 2018

With the sun shining in through the window on her, Chase glances over with a smile on his face. He brushes a piece out of hair out of her eyes, glancing at her in pure amazement.

“Are you just going to stare?” She questions as he smiles.

“I thought I did enough for you last night,” he offers and she just laughs as she rolls over. “Admit it. That was much better than trying to make me be friends with the snake.”

“The look on your face when Harrison brought that snake into the office was priceless…” He rolls his eyes as he reaches for his phone off the nightstand. “Chase, can we just stay here all day?”

“You wish for that every day except when it’s race da-”

“Do you blame me?” He laughs, shaking his head no. “You can’t have something that you have to do today…” He glances at his schedule, before looking over at her.

“What if I told you that I did?” She then gives him a pouting face immediately as he smiles.

“You’re not supposed to smile. You’re supposed to feel bad and cancel your plans…” He chuckles as he goes into his text messages. “Ah, actually, I better go into the shop and see Rudy. I promised that we’d have another chat before this weekend.”

“Anything wrong?” She shakes her head no. “I bet you’d rather be working with Marcus still…”

“There’s some days that I would rather work with Marcus because I can’t even begin to describe the friendship and understanding there. He did so much for me, right? I mean, he’s one of the reasons we were able to find what we needed together as he always offered advice. Rudy – he isn’t that type from what I’ve gathered so far. However, I don’t just want to throw him to the curb like you’re impl-”

“I never said those wor-”

“I just want to try and see where it goes, you know? I mean, he’s smart and certainly I can learn a lot from him as we’ve seen some of the improvements already in just a couple events together. So frustrating as it may be at times to change what I know and followed, I’m willing to open this door.” Chase nods his head, accepting.

“Rudy reminds me a lot of Ricky in a way, too. Smart about the approach, willing to teach, knows what you need to hear as a young driver, tips – it should work out well for you, I believe. I just – Ah of course…” She then looks at him confused as he reads over the text message. “Alison’s lawyer filed an insanity plea so she will be evaluated by a court official.”

“Are you honestly surprised given what she said on Monday?” Chase shakes his head no as he moves on to another message. “Chase….”

“It doesn’t change my thoughts. As long as she’s away – whether jail or a mental institution, she can’t do anything and that’s all I care about. I’m not giving her the power to mess wit-”

“But if she does, you will tell me and let me help you for once, right?” He glances over, and nods his head immediately.

“Of course….” He leans in and kisses her lips. “Have you heard anything about Chris?” She shakes her head no as she grabs her phone. “That judge is certainly taking his time with everything…”

“I thought you said that was a good thing.” He nods his head as he looks back to his phone.

“It is. It means that he’ll come out with a very clear, concise, correct decision and that will be leave to Chris where he is.”

The Tale of Love & Racing: Sarina’s Story – Chapter 53: Auto Club 400

Saturday March 17, 2018 – Auto Club Speedway

Chase walks into the garage stall, walking over to where Alan was going over notes for practice.

“Hey,” he says quietly. “How are you after yesterday?” Alan lets out a sigh as he glances up from his notes.

“Is everybody going to ask me that question today?” Alan wonders as he looks over at Chase.

“I didn’t mean to offend you…” Alan shakes his head as he glances down at his feet.

“Every single crew member asked me how I was this morning. Shannon held me tighter last night than normal because it spooked her. Austin wanted to know what it was like, actually and strangely.” Chase was a little caught off-guard by that revelation from one of Alan’s boys, but the comment with regards to Shannon caused a sigh.

“Alan, I feel terrible for what happ-”

“You don’t need to start apologi-”

“It’s not part of a normal crew chief duti-”

“And I would do it again if I had to, Chase!” Chase looks over surprised. “How many times do I need to tell you that? I would do whatever it takes for you. Sure, that was a little close for comfort – but I would do it again if necessary. Shannon recognizes that too, and respects that, and even says that she was glad that I was there for you. You didn’t ask for Alison to go after you, so I can’t stand here and let you blame yourself and apologize for it.” Alan glances back over his notes. “For what it is worth, sure, it scared the crap out of me, and maybe I’m a little on edge today. Sure, there’s small things that I may react to now that I wouldn’t before. But hey, that’s understandable right? Everybody understands that. As long as we’re both okay physically, then the rest is easy as ever. I’ll be fine, okay?” Chase nods his head.

“Thank you. Are we on-track in 10 minutes?” Alan nods his head as he watches Chase go to walk away. He then reaches out his hand, placing it on the young man’s shoulder.

“I know you’re just going to try and brush off what happened yesterday, the past couple of months with Alison as it was nothing. But Chase, I know that she screwed with you in more ways than one. I caught your reactions to those notes at times, right? Just promise me that you’ll do what you need to do for you.” Chase glances back at the crew chief.

“Knowing that she’s locked away and can’t do anything else to anybody, myself included, is comfort enough..” Chase then continues walking away as Alan goes back to looking over the notes.

The practice went solidly with Chase finding comfort in the car throughout the session, ultimately ending up third on the charts to give them hope moving forward.

With the session over, he made his way over to the fan Q&A that he had to do between the practices. Everything went smoothly with it – even some laughs for those in the crowd – before Chase began to make his way back to the garage.

“What’s the plan tonight?” Sarina questions as he shrugs his shoulders, glancing at her.

“We can watch the XFINITY race, or we could go out,” he offers as she thinks over their options.

“Is it wrong for me to selfish right now?” He shakes his head no as he wraps an arm around her shoulders.

“Absolutely not, considering…” He then kisses her cheek. “You choose the place, and I’ll just make sure to be ready.”

“Mr. Elliott, can I get a word with you?” Chase hears, catching him and Sarina both off-guard. “I was wondering your thoughts on what happened yesterday.”

“Can you be more precise?” Chase questions, wondering if he simply meant the qualifying situation but already knowing where this was going.

“The supposed confrontation in the hau-”

“I am sorry but I have nothing to say about that. it’s a legal matter, right? That’s for the police and court to sort out.” He then wraps his arm tighter around Sarina as they continue walking through the garage.

“Through everything that happened with Ms. Ott’s brother Chris, followed by Bethany, to now Alison Reynolds, you both have reserved saying anything. Don’t you want to control the narrative?” Chase and Sarina could only glance at each other and sigh.

“No comment!” They both say as they walk into the garage stall together.

“I’m making a mess of this for you…” Sarina says once they’re near the back of the garage stall.

“Do you see me complaining?” Chase questions as she lets out a sigh.

“You never complain…..”

“If I had a problem with what was happening, I would’ve told you already. Everybody can say what they want but our true fans will stay behind us no matter what, and we have each other. They don’t need to know, right?” She nods her head with a small sigh. “You’re thinking….”

“Sometimes I wonder if they should know the truth. Would their approach change if we told them everything?” Chase shrugs his shoulders.

“Why should it matter?” She could understand that as she glances down the garage area.

“Look at Kyle and Samantha. They can all be together without reser-”

“Do you want to hear some of the comments that Sam gets sometimes?” Sarina shakes her head no.

“I’ve seen those, actually, so I get what you’re saying. But yet, she still gets mostly respect from everybody. I just wonder what everyone would think if we just opened that door and said everything.” Chase grabs her hands with his, holding them tightly as he brings her close to him.

“There’s a lot of pain mixed in with what happened, though, and subjecting yourself to everybody seeing that and hearing it – I don’t know if that’s the right thing to do. I think you’re opening pandora’s box wider than we have. But if you do want to say something, I am willing to back you up all the way.” He then leans in and kisses her lips before walking off.

“How are you doing, Alan?” She questions noticing the crew chief, who just rolls his eyes in return. “I’m sorr-”

“It’s not personal,” he cuts her off as he places a hand on her shoulders. “I’m just glad that he has you at times, but I am doing good.”

While the first session went really well, he couldn’t say the same for the second session as they battled a loose condition, followed by a tight condition. It just seemed the comfort and security he found before wasn’t there. Alan could only promise that he would look over all the notes that night, and make sure that they were as close as possible come Sunday.

Sunday March 18, 2018 – Auto Club Speedway

“I don’t know what to say,” Alan comments as he sits back in the lounge, scurrying the papers across the small table before him.

After starting 31st, they were able to make their way up to the top-10 by the end of the first stage. From there, though, it was like they went nowhere. They stayed in the teens all day, battling the same crappy handling condition, en route to a 16th-place finish.

“I tried every adjustment that I could think of and nothing worked,” Alan continued as he glances over one of the pieces of paper. “Nothing helped, right?”

“It just felt snappy the entire last stage,” Chase comments as he pulls his firesuit down to his waist. “I want to say the one adjustment helped, but I’d be lying.”

“Normally, I would adjust the air pressure or wedge and it’d be fine. Are you sure you didn’t play with the trackba-”

“I left it alone, except when I told you.” Alan lets out a sigh as he puts the pieces of paper back on the table. “Look, we just missed it today, okay? You can sit here and beat yourself up all you want, but we just missed it. We did what we could and tried everything. I’m sure once you sit back and look over, we’ll see what we were missing and we’ll fix it moving forward. I still believe in you….” Alan glances over at him.

“I believe in you, too. I just wish we would’ve ran better…” Chase lets out a sigh as he sits down beside Alan.

“Hey, look at this way. I didn’t help your issues by screwing up that restart. I went from like 11th to 18th like nothin-”

“That wasn’t your fault. You had the right move on the bottom. It wasn’t your fault that Jimmie got loose and screwed all the lines.” Alan lets out a sigh as he picks up a piece of paper. “I need to talk to Chad and see what he did that worked. Maybe that can point us in the right direction.”

“There’s the spirit and the bright side is we’re heading to Martinsville…” Alan glances over intrigued.

“Did I just hear you excited about going to Martinsville?” Chase lets out a sigh, but nods his head. “Wow, I never thought I’d hear that after your rookie season. I remember you bitching the hell out of that place saying that you’d never figure it out…”

“Something just clicked last year running the truck race. We put together two great runs…” Alan nods his head in agreement, still wishing he could’ve punched Denny himself.

“Then I say we put together this crappy start to the season by scoring a win – even if Josh will miss it.” Chase looks over surprised now. “Yeah, we’re dropping the appeal. Jeff and I talked. There’s no way that we can make them see it differently, so why waste everyone’s time? I just didn’t want to change who was coming out here last minute so I immediately filed the appeal. But now, we can plan this week. I got to realign a couple people, but we’ll be fine at the track and Josh can get us up to speed in the shop where we may be missing.”

“I’m still not mad about it…” Alan nods his head, accepting. The pair then glance forward together.

“Is it weird that we can sit in here, even see a damn hole in the wall, and not feel anything?” Chase shakes his head no. “I should be freaked out to return to the same spot that someone took a shot at me. I should be wanting to run as far away as possible. But yet, I am sitting here as if nothing happened.”

“Because you’re strong, you realize it was a matter of circumstance, and you feel safe in knowing your guys are all around here – just like I do with you guys.” Alan smiles a little as he glances over at his driver.

“So that’s how it works, huh?” Chase nods his head. “Have you thought about what could’ve happened?”

“I realized that I can’t take anything for granted with how close she came to popping you off, but I haven’t thought about her plan for me. I can’t do that, Alan. It will just make me go crazy thinking about the possibilities – just like her notes. That’s why I’m just going to focus on moving forward with Sarina, and focus on turning our season around.”

“What about the court appearances?” Chase lets out a sigh as he wasn’t looking forward to those.

“If I have to say something, then I guess I have to say something, right? And when it comes to Chris, there’s no way he’s seeing the light of day.”

Monday March 19, 2018

Chase sits down, wrapping an arm around Sarina’s shoulders tightly, as Alan sits down in the row behind him. The pair share a quick glance, as Chase takes a deep breath, trying to remain as comfortable as possible.

“How do you plead to stalking Chase Elliott?” The judge asks as Alison Reynolds smiles with a glance over at him.

“How is it stalking when he wants me just as much as I want him?” She questions, causing Chase’s skin to crawl. “I mean, he did accept a kiss from me, right?” Sarina wanted to puke upon hearing the words as she clutches onto Chase’s hand tighter. He had been very open about what happened in the trailer, and she wanted to puke in hearing Alison’s plan.

“Not guilty, or guilty, ma’am. You can state your reasoning later…” Chase shivers at the thought of hearing Alison’s explanation.

“Not guilty, obviously.” Chase could only roll his eyes at the thought of being stuck in the court system for months now.

“How do you to plead to poisoning Chase Elliott?” Alan glances at Chase a little confused, but then recalled the Hooters incident.

“Okay, I admit that I may have spiked his drink. It’s just because I figured maybe he’d give in to our feelings for each other if we got some time alone.” Chase shivers at the thought, not wanting to think about, and knowing just how close he came in the trailer.

“How do you to plead to the attempted murder of both Chase Elliott and Ryan Blaney?” Chase glances at his phone, having promised that he’d text Ryan what happened.

“When did I ever try to kill him? Why would I kill my true love?” Alan was ready to utter the crazy line in hearing her explanations.

“I will assume you’re not guilty. How do you plead to the attempted murder of Alan Gustafson?” Alan crosses his arms, knowing there was no way she was getting out of this.

“I never meant to hit him. I figured it’d scare him off and I could finish what I started with Chase.” She then glances over at Chase, licking her lips. “Like I said, I was willing to show you what a true woman does…”

“Your honor…” The prosecutor warns in relation to Alison’s behavior.

“Stick to the program Ms. Reynolds,” the judge requests. “Clearly that’s a guilty plea as you admit shooting the gun. Lastly, how do you plead to sexual assault of Chase Elliott?” It had been a debatable topic before the trial but given the fact that she had forced a kiss, along with set to instill sex, the charge had stuck.

“Not guilty.”

“There will be no bail constituting the fact that you pled guilty to two of the charges,” the judge states. “A trial will be scheduled accordingly. Court adjourned!”

“Are you okay?” Sarina asks afterwards and Chase nods his head, taking a deep breath. “I know she makes your skin crawl, and I know that she certainly messed with yo-”

“I’m fine,” he states matter of factly as he stands up and walks out of the court room.

“You can tell me if there’s anything bugg-”

“I’m fine, Sarina.” He then turns to her, pulling her close. “Trust me, I’m okay as long as I have you.” He then kisses her lips lightly.

The Tale of Love & Racing: Sarina’s Story – Chapter 52: “I would rather talk about penalties over this all day.”

Friday March 16, 2018 – Auto Club Speedway

“Ready to return to reality?” Chase questions as they make their way through the garage area.

“Not many people can say they get to drive fast cars for a living, and not many people can say they’re spoiled with a great guy,” Sarina answers, sneaking in a quick kiss as they reach the garage area.

“Everybody hide – the love birds are here!” Josh spats out as the pair reach the garage stall, earning an eye roll from Sarina.

“Aren’t you supposed to be on vacation this week?” Chase questions, causing Josh’s smile to disappear immediately.

“I don’t want to talk about that….” Chase rubs his shoulders with a chuckle.

“Hey, I’m not upset. I get pushing the envelope. I’ve done it before myself, right?” Josh nods his head as he picks up a stack of paper. He counts out 13 pieces, handing them to Chase.

“That’s the penalty. That’s how far the spacer and shim angle were apart according to NASCAR. Tell me how that is fair…” Chase shakes his head as he hands the pieces of paper back to Josh. “I mean, what if something happens in the race and it shifts slightly? What if you catch a curb or a bump? It’s ridiculous the confines that NASCAR expects out of us, and then how the fans go nuts when we just miss it by that much.”

“Like I said, I’m not upset as I get it. We stick together, right?” Josh nods his head in agreement as Chase makes his way over to where Alan and Jordan were hanging out. “I just want to know if there’s any way out of that penalty….”

“It’s a cut dry subject,” Alan offers as he crosses his arms. “We’ll see what happens. Jeff and I have to talk about it some more before next week..”

“Speaking of more to talk about…” Jordan starts, pulling an envelope out of the drawer. “This was sitting by the garage stall this morning…” He hands it over to Chase, earning an immediate sigh from him.

“I would rather talk about penalties over this all day,” Chase comments, as he rips the top of the envelope open. He had hoped to avoid any thought or collision course with Alison for the rest of time, and find her way to being caught.

“I already reported the fact that it was found here so they’re on the lookou-”

“We know how that works, don’t we?” Sarina cuts them off, earning a glance from Chase. “She managed to sneak into a public appearance that you were doing amongst hundreds of people, spend time with you, and escape without a trace. But oh no, we’re supposed to believe that having eyes on her is supposed to catch her. Do you see me being hopeful?” Chase wraps an arm around Sarina, pulling her close to him as he pulls out the slip of paper. He knew it was her fear spewing the comments more than anything, and he respected that based on what had happened. In a way, he could also feel the same trembling at times.

“I hope you haven’t forgot about the decision that you made and the effects that it will have moving forward,” Chase reads. “I have a surprise for you and you may not enjoy it…” He then takes the note, set to rip it right down the middle when Jordan snatches it out of his hands, slipping it back in the envelope.

“For the record, you’re not going to see that surprise no matter how hard she tries,” Josh states, catching the group’s attention. They didn’t realize that he had walked over to join them. “We’ve got your back, and we’ll do whatever we can for you – just like you’ve got our backs this weekend.”

“Like I said, I’m done letting her control my life.” Chase walks away, glancing in the car to make sure everything was set in place for the first practice. Both Sarina and Jordan went to follow, but found a hand on each of their shoulders.

“Just leave him be,” Alan advises, causing a sigh and almost protest from Sarina. “He’s using practice and this weekend as a distraction and frankly, that may be a good idea so he isn’t pondering every theory possible as to what she is planning. But we also know that when he wants to talk, he’ll say something to one of us, right?” Sarina and Jordan nod their heads.

“It just kills me to watch him let it eat at him like this,” Sarina comments, as Alan gives her a shoulder a little squeeze.

“It kills us all, but that’s why like Josh said, we’ve got his back. Don’t worry – we’re done playing games, too.” She then looks back at the crew chief intrigued, but is left without an answer as he heads off, set to give some more instructions to the team.

“Do I want to know what Alan is thinking?” Jordan shakes his head no as he keeps his eyes locked on Chase.

“Should I have hid the envelope and not let him see it at all?” Jordan wonders out loud and Sarina shakes his head no.

“He would’ve found out eventually, and been twice as upset,” Sarina offers, before taking a deep breath and heading out of the garage area.

It pained her to stand back and do nothing with everything going on, and she knew staying there any longer would result in that coming out. Certainly, that wasn’t going to help the being strong and united front attitude that Alan wanted. So for that reason, she knew that it was time to catch up with Samantha and Brexton. He was always a good distraction when things weren’t going as planned.

From the start of practice to the end, Chase had to admit that the car wasn’t that bad. They certainly could use some adjustments to get better, but it was handling pretty good and close enough that believing this could be the weekend they get a victory was there. Pleased with the session, he would end the day ranked 15th on the charts.

With the session in the books, he makes his way back to the team transporter, heading inside and up into the lounge. Grabbing himself a quick drink, he texts Sarina where he was in case she was looking for him, but already knew that she was having a fun relaxing afternoon with Samantha and Brexton. Truthfully, he was glad to see that knowing her reaction to the note, and almost wishing a perfect distraction could be in his corner right now.

“It’s nice to see you again, Chase,” he hears, instantly catching him by surprise as he looks towards the doorway, watching it slide close slowly.

“How did you get in here?” He questions without moving a single inch. He was already eying  a couple different ideas, ranging from where his phone was placed to the doorway and her location.

“I have my ways, right? It’s easy to sneak in here when nobody is around during the practice session.” He immediately wanted to curse the lack of security or people, or the fact that the doors had been left unlocked. If everybody was on the same page and not willing to leave anything to chance, why wasn’t that taken care of? Besides, where were the guys right now? Shouldn’t they be there going over notes and grabbing some grub? “Besides, there’s more important questions at hand that need to be answered.”

“Like what?” He hated to entertain her, but figured it was worth buying some time as the guys should be on their way soon.

“Have you seen Sarina lately?” His breath immediately hitches in his throat, but he tried to ignore the worry. If something was wrong, he would’ve heard something from Samantha and Kyle already – unless….

“She’s taking a fun day to hersel-”

“With her boss and Brexton. How adorable, right? It almost sucks to ruin it.” Chase felt his heart drop immediately in worry. He knew that Samantha and Sarina could take care of himself – he could honestly see Samantha sticking a heel up someone’s ass. However, it didn’t seem fair for Brexton.

“This is obviously between me and you – as you’ve made it from the beginning. Let’s try and keep it that way, alright?” He keeps his eyes closely locked on her as she makes her way around the small table closer to where he was sitting on the couch. Eyes locked on his phone, objects around him, a couple different ideas began to form immediately. Why couldn’t he find it in himself to do something?

“I’m glad you see it that way. Decisions, right? As long as you make the right choice here today, we won’t have to do anything…” He was almost set to throw the book off the table, when he watches her load an image on her phone of Sarina with Samantha and Brexton at the park. His hand immediately lowers as he knew if she had images, someone was there and something was possible. He didn’t want to be the reason something happened to them. He just needed to buy some time….

“What do you want?” A smirk forms on Alison’s face immediately as she sits down on the couch beside him.

“What have I wanted from the beginning? What did I ask you for at India-”

“Go to hell.” She breaks out laughing as she reaches for her phone, set to push a button upon his words.

“Like I said, decisi-” In an instant, he felt every nerve rise inside of him, almost like his stomach flip flopped with worry and panic, as he reached over and placed his hand on top of his. The crew guys would be there soon, right? They always came back to the lounge.

“As much as I hate you and despise you, I’m willing to deal…” Her smirk widens immediately, only making him feel sicker in the process.

“I know that this can be hard on you to do, so let’s just take it slow – one step at a time per meeting that we are going to have.” In Chase’s eyes, this was going to be the last meeting ever because she was going to get caught and this nightmare would be over. “Kiss me, or else I will send the message that you’re dreading.”

“Kiss you?” She nods her head as he takes a deep breath. He knew he was going to hate every minute, and cursed the guys for not coming around sooner, but what else was he supposed to do? He watches as her finger lingers closer towards the ‘send’ button, placing his hand more firmly on hers to hold it back. Against every wish and thought, he brought his lips close to hers, letting them brush across lightly as possible, before pulling back. “Happy?”

“Such a tease, Elliott….” He actually hated the thought that it seemed she got off on it. “It almost makes me want to take charge and have my wa-”

“That’s not happening.” She then laughs as she brushes his hand away, holding up the phone with pride.

“You’ll do anything for her, and I know you wouldn’t want to be responsible for something happening to Brexton…” She then stands up, standing over him as he glances at her, closing his eyes as he says every prayer imaginable that Alan would burst through the door already. “So what do you say, Chase?”

“I’m not betraying Sari-”

“Then I guess I can send the messa-”

“Don’t you have another trick up your sleeve?” She laughs even harder as she reaches for her pocket. His eyes catch a glimpse, only picking up his nerves that much more. He had half-expected a needle or something else, but certainly not that. “Okay, I get it, you’re not playing games.” He places his hand on top of hers, pulling it away from her pocket.

“So you accept my offer?” He hated that he was going to do this, but what other choice did he have? He simply slowly nodded his head, closing his eyes, not believing that this could be happening. “I knew you’d co-operate…” She straddles herself over him, reaching for the zipper on his firesuit, slowly bringing it down. “I just hope you enjoy watching how a real woman works…”

“What the hell?!?” They both hear as the door slides open with Alan standing there.

“Duck!” Chase yells, catching the crew chief off-guard but he does as requested and luckily so, as Alison spins around, grabbing the gun out of her pocket and letting off a shot. Chase uses it to his perfect advantage, grabbing her leg and causing her to fall on the ground. With her caught off-guard, he slips the gun out of her fingers, throwing it on the table. “Alan?”

“I’m….” Alan slowly stands up as he glances over himself, before looking at his driver. “I’m okay. I’m okay. It totally missed me..” Chase lets out a long sigh as he places a foot on her to keep her held down as Alan grabs his phone, calling for help. “What about you?!?”

“I’m fine…now….” Alan simply nods his head as he rambles off some details. “Call Sarina and tell her to get back to the track immediately with Samantha and Brexton, please. Just tell them something is up.”

“Sure, I’ll do that, whatever you say – whatever you need.” Chase takes another deep breath as he tries to relax back, but not letting go of his hold on Alison.

It didn’t take long for the right officials to get there and take away Alison in handcuffs, before getting a statement from both men as they sat in the trailer stunned. It didn’t even bother them right now that the car had failed tech inspection twice and there was going to be no attempt to qualify because quite frankly, that probably wouldn’t been possible with what had just happened.

“I can’t believe she had a gun,” Alan comments as he looks over at Chase with full surprise. “I can’t believe she took a shot at me, either.” Chase shakes his head in disbelief, too.

“That was too close for comfort, Alan,” Chase offers and Alan nods his head in agreement. “I’m sorr-”

“I’d jump out of the way of a bullet any day if it meant the nightmare was over, kid.” Chase smiles a little. “She’s certainly beyond crazy, actually crazier than Chris if I have to be honest, and I’m just glad that I was here for you.” Chase couldn’t argue with that as he takes a deep breath.

“She had convinced me that someone was watching Sarina with Samantha and Brexton, and willing to hurt them if I didn’t agree to her terms.” He takes another deep breath, trying to erase the thought as he glances over at the crew chief. “She was about to strip me dow-”

“Seriously?” Chase slowly nods his head. “So you were going to let her do that to you to make sure that Sarina, Samantha and Brex stayed safe?”

“What else was I supposed to do, Alan?” Alan couldn’t argue with that as he places a hand on Chase’s leg.

“That was brave, really brave. You did good…” Chase nods his head in agreement.

“I’m just glad that it’s over and I never have to see her again.” He then grabs a bottle of water, taking a big mouthful as he wipes his lips multiple times. “I just wish I never had to taste her li-”

“You kissed her?” Chase freezes, slowly nodding his head. “Oh man….”

“I had to do what I could to stall her, to stop her in anyway. I was willing to put it out there..” Alan looks over surprised as he glances back forward.

“I’ve always admired you and been grateful for the chance to work with you. But seeing how brave you were, seeing what you were willing to do today, I’m at a lost for words. That takes a lot from you. You should be proud of yourself.” Chase rolls his eyes. “I’m serious, Chase. Not many people would go that far for the people that they love.”

“Alan is right, and I’m forever grateful for you, and I know Kyle and Brex will be too,” they hear and look towards the doorway as Samantha stands there with Brexton in her arms. Sarina makes her way by, heading to the couch immediately, as she wraps her arms around Chase.

“Are you okay?” Sarina asks and Chase nods his head yes. “Are you sure? I mean, I heard that she had a gun, she took a shot at Alan, and she tried to mak-”

“I’m okay, Sarina,” he cuts her off, kissing her lips with as much passion as he could, before drawing back away. “I’m okay. She didn’t hurt me at all.” Sarina nods her head, accepting, before laying her head against him.

“I’m here for you, always.” He nods his head accepting, rubbing her back as he lays his head on her shoulder. “It’s okay…”

“I’m fin-”

“Don’t try and push it off as if nothing happened,” Alan starts as he stands up. “Make sure you talk about it if you need to, because whether you admit it or not, she had you right where she wanted you.” Alan then leaves the lounge, shutting the door behind him to give the pair some time alone.

“Talk to me, Chase….” Sarina offers as she sits back a bit, glancing into his brown eyes.

“What do you want me to say?” He questions as she lets out a sigh. “I get it. Everybody is right that a lot went through that my mind with her, but I’m okay. I wasted enough of her time for Alan to get here and for us to do the right thing. Sure, I maybe cut it close a litt-”

“You think?” Chase lets out a sigh, having seen the hole in the wall further down the trailer.

“But I did what I had to do. I told you that I was done letting her control me, and she didn’t get to control that situation. She thought she had me right where she wanted me, but the whole time I had a plan in mind and was not letting it happen. I’ve always told you this, but I would never betray you or let someone hurt us. I love you.” He kisses her lips lightly.

“I love you, too. now, can I just hold you in my arms all night and be thankful?” He nods his head, accepting as he pulls her back close, laying his head back on her shoulder. He knew he was also saying the same thing, too.

The Tale of Love & Racing: Sarina’s Story – Chapter 51: “I’d do it all over again.”

Wednesday March 14, 2018

Chase wraps his arms around Sarina, pulling her close, as they curl up on the couch, watching a movie together.

“Chase, why was I so afraid?” She questions, catching him by surprise.

“Of what?” He wonders as she holds her hand up, with the light bouncing off the small pink diamond. He couldn’t help but smile in seeing that ring securely on her finger as it meant more than words could express. “I don’t know….”

“I mean, sure, things didn’t work out for my parents, and sure, there’s been so many horror stories. But I don’t get why I didn’t believe in our love story enough.” He takes a deep breath as it hurt on some levels, but he also knew it wasn’t something to take personally.

“Because you were afraid, and for the right reasons. You’ve laid your heart on the line to people before, and they’ve just stomped on it. It takes you some time to open up, and trust – and that’s what happened here. I’m glad that I was patient enough to wait and let you find a way to trust me, because it’s been so worth it.” She glances up at him a little surprised.

“Even all the pain that you’ve gone through?” He sighs, as it was obviously not the funnest experience and he couldn’t wait until the last bit of nagging pain from his ribs was gone.

“I’d do it all over again if it meant being able to be with you.” Her heart felt like it swelled immediately as she shifts a little in his arms.

“I’m seriously spoiled…” He chuckles. “I’m serious. There are only a few guys in this world who would have the amount of patience, and go through what you’ve gone through for us. I know you keep saying that I make a bigger deal out of this than I should, but I’m serious. I feel like I’ve hit the lottery when it comes to you in seeing what you’ll do for me. So please, Chase, shoot me if I take that for granted ever.”

“I’ll be sure to remind you – not that you ever could.” She rolls her eyes.

“There you go again….”

“What do you want me to say?” She smiles as she rolls over so their eyes are locked together, stomachs touching.

“Nothing. This is perfect just like this.” She leans in, lightly kissing his lips as he wraps his arms securely back around her. “I could literally handle doing this every single week.”

“As much as I like our cabin and enjoying hitting the slopes, unfortunately we cannot do it as much as you would hope for. But I can promise you that we’ll spend our time here when we can, and if we really need to getaway, you just let me know and I’ll lead us here.” She smiles as there was certainly some perks in him being a pilot. They then hear his phone go off, causing a sigh from them both as they knew that was a reminder the real world was just a phone call or text away.

“Please tell me you don’t have to go to a meeting or something tomorr-”

“Alan knows that I’m taking this week for us. He actually encouraged it as he said that I was in a much better mood and place this past weekend.” She rolls her eyes, having expected comments like that with the word of the engagement spreading. It didn’t help that the crew and Samantha both gawked over the ring for a good half hour each. Then it also didn’t help that Samantha made her sit down and divulge every single detail of the proposal. That was fine by her, though, as she could recount that moment 100 times over if needed. “Lovely….”

“What’s wrong?” He lets out a sigh, handing his phone over so she could read the text message. Alan had messaged him to inform him about a penalty from NASCAR coming out later on that day following Phoenix, with their intentions to appeal. “Do you think there’s anything to it?”

“I don’t know. I honestly don’t know what Alan and Josh and the team did, and why NASCAR doesn’t agree. It’s not like I sit there and make them divulge every single detail of what they’re doing.” He lets out a sigh as he takes the phone back, sending a message in return.

“No matter what anybody says today, I just want you to know that you should ignore them and they’re wrong and your guys are aweso-”

“Racing is all about pushing the envelope, and finding that grey area in a black and white book. Sometimes you get caught, right? It sucks, but we’ll overcome it like we always do. We just need to get a win and all our troubles are behind us.” She nods her head in agreement.

“And you’re going to get that win, like this weekend probably…” He chuckles as he almost had Kevin Harvick pegged for another win, especially how they ran at Atlanta and Las Vegas. But, he wasn’t about to give up as seeing the progress they’d make in a short bit of time gave him hope.

“I’m surprised you’re actually going to be there.” She then looks at him now shocked. “I thought you would’ve gone and ran the Rattler…”

“Are you sure you don’t want that pet snake after all?” He shakes his head no immediately as she breaks out laughing. “I don’t know. The way you keep talking about this ra-”

“Don’t even think of bringing that snake even near me, or even within arm’s reach or anything.” She breaks out laughing even harder. “I just thought you’d want to get some time in with the late model.”

“And not spend time with my awesome fiancé?” He shrugs his shoulders. “I thought about it, okay? I thought it’d be fun, a great way to spend the off-weekends, and get back my roots. I also thought it’d be a great stress relief at times for everything going on. But with everything going on, that actually draws me closer to you, and wants me to not waste away anytime we can get together before our schedules go insane. Besides, have we honestly had a chance to put that car back together?” He shakes his head no. “I want to do it right when we go back down that path and rushing isn’t doing it right. So I’m ready to take my lumps, and have fun with you this weekend in California.”

“I’m glad that you’re going to be there. I actually prefer that.” He then kisses her lips. “Besides, we know that Chandler and Ricky are going to kick ass this weekend.”

“Oh really?” He nods his head. “Yeah, I’m going to have to call you out on that one. As much as I admire Ricky and we know he can damn well get the job done, my money is on Bubba Pollard. That man is going to be looking for some strong redemption this weekend.”

“And he’s going to come up short – finishing behind Chandler. I’m actually surprised that you’re not giving your own teammates some love here.” She lets out a sigh, as it did seem a little rude.

“Harrison and Raphael will be strong. I have my doubts about Raphael because of how his debut went, but Harrison will be right there with Chandler and Bubba. My gut just says Bubba because we know when you knock that man down, he comes back 10 times stronger, and he vowed redemption.” Chase nods his head in agreement.

“Is it a bet then?” She looks at him surprised.

“Didn’t you lose the last bet? And oh wait, don’t you still owe me for that one?” He shrugs his shoulders.

“I thought you would’ve let it go because you felt bad for me…” She almost went to say something, but then stopped, as she lets out a sigh. “I’m sorry; that was rude. I shouldn’t have guilt tripped you. I know you felt bad for what happened, felt terrible, and concerned, worried, and I’m sorr-”

“It’s fine, because I did feel bad for you. That’s why I haven’t held it over your head and made you pay up, yet. Double or nothing?” A smirk forms on his face as he nods his head in return.

“Either way, we both win…” She laughs as he brings her down for another kiss. “You know, you’re right – we should just stay here forever.” She then glances into his eyes, knowing where his thoughts went immediately.

“Chase, you can’t worry about what’s going to happ-“

“I’m not worried, okay? I mean, I’m actually glad the judge hasn’t made a decision about Chris yet. It means that he’s taking the right due time to go over everything properly and consider his options. That has to mean something, right? As far as Alison, she knows that she can’t keep taking chances like she has been since we’re getting closer to catching her. She’ll be caught, and that’ll be over before you can say supercalifragilisticexpialidocious 10 times fast.”