The Tale of Love & Racing: Sarina’s Story – Chapter 83: “I’ll always be here if you need a friend, Chase.”

Friday, June 15 – Galway, Ireland

With having finished breakfast, Erin led the boys out into the middle of town, spinning around a pole as they both looked on with a glance of confusion.

“Should I go back and check if there was any alcohol mixed in with that smoothie?” Ryan offers, as Chase shares a quick laugh. He laughed even harder when Erin reached out closer to him giving Ryan a smack. “No sibling love, huh?”

“I thought you learned already to not pick on the little sister,” Erin comments as she glances over towards Chase. “Am I right?” Chase shrugs his shoulders.

“I know you can fight your battles pretty well,” he offers as Erin just flashes a smile towards Ryan. “But seriously, you do seem a little too cheery.”

“I just love that my two favorite people are here with me today.” She then stands between them, wrapping her arms around their shoulders. “So you both lamented to me how much you enjoy the culture, the scenes, and how you couldn’t explore enough last time. So I figured that you could both just explore today. Check out the pubs, town market, whatever you want.”

“Are you sure you can trust him?” Erin glances over at Ryan, sticking her tongue out.

“I figure he’ll be safe with us both babysitting him.”

“What is this? Pick on Ryan day?” Ryan asks as he goes off ahead of the pair.

“He’s such an easy target,” Erin answers as she follows, earning another chuckle from Chase.

The group made their way through the town, stopping at several different spots along the way.

The aunt in Erin was already coming out as she picked some gender neutral items out that she figured her future niece or nephew would absolutely enjoy. The fact that both Lindsay and Emma were pregnant had Erin knowing she’d be busy babysitting in the new year.

Ryan also found some different things that he was certain Lindsay would enjoy, including a new Irish dance outfit as he knew she had grown a liking to every style of dance.

Chase smiled as the last stop worked out perfect for him as he was able to find the perfect gift to take home to Sarina, letting out a sigh as he wished she could’ve enjoyed the vacation given the fun they had the last time in Amsterdam.

A day of exploring was met by the group wanting an evening of relaxation knowing that tomorrow would be another busy day. So it was no surprise they ended back on the beach, taking a dip in the water, before finishing the day off with a classic round of drinks.

Back at the hotel for the night, Chase made sure to video call with Sarina for a good couple of hours, sharing a couple different jokes, before calling it a night.

“Remember our deal. Do you want her to live or die?” Chase swallows the lump in his throat, tries to cut off the tears in his eyes, almost make himself numb as he feels the nerves pick up more.

“Live…” She then pulls his jeans down to his knees, revealing the boxers underneath.

“Every time we meet, you’re going to be like this – exactly how you’re sitting now. Am I clear?” He slowly nods his head as he tries to keep his eyes focused on the phone screen, remembering that he’s doing it for Sarina’s safety, not wanting to think about Alison’s plan. “Good boy….” She then takes off her own shirt, revealing a skinny bra underneath that barely covered her. She follows it by taking off her pants, revealing her thong. “One step at a time….”

“Please….” She had to chuckle at his pleas as she licked her lips, locking her eyes on his brown ones.

“Your wish is in my command.” She then straddles herself on top of him; pushing her body against his, grinding as she may, following the movements she wanted, once again going for the kiss, deepening it against his lips. She kept the process going, as a small moan escaped her lips, before drawing back. “I can see why she likes you so much, and I can’t wait for that special moment….”

“I hate you….” Alison just laughs as she climbs off of him, putting her pants and shirt back on.

“You may say those words, but you were growing hard….” She then grabs the phone off of the table, making her way back out the back door, leaving him sitting there stunned.

Chase sits up in the bed, taking a deep breath as he feels the hot tears rolling down his cheeks. Running his hands through his hair, wiping it out of his face, he lets out a sigh as he glances at the time.

He then slowly stands up, quietly tip toeing through the room to not wake up Ryan or Erin as he makes his way out to the balcony. Slipping the door quietly shut, he leans over the rail, taking a deep breath. Trying to lose his thoughts in the smaller details of Ireland he knew would be one way to erase the thoughts on his mind.

He was set focused on the view until he heard the door behind him open, freezing a little as he watched Erin open it and join him on the balcony before closing it.

“Sorry if I woke you up,” he tells her as he keeps his eyes focused forward. “I tried to come out here quietly.”

“It’s okay Chase,” she comments as she walks over, leaning on the railing beside him. “I can never fully sleep through a night. I always wake up middle of the night, and either look out here or watch some TV before falling back asleep.” She takes a glance at him, noticing the emotions written on his face despite his ability to try and hide it. “Chase…”

“I’m fine Eri-”

“You can tell me if something is going on. You know that I trust you and I will hear you out no matter what it is.” Chase nods his head, accepting, knowing that already. That didn’t mean he wanted to talk about the topic.

“I don’t ever question that. I’ve known you too long to not.” She then places her hand lightly on top of his.

“Then talk to me, Chase. You need to get it off your chest. This doesn’t help you.” He then glances down, taking a deep breath.

“I had a nightmare, okay? I had a flashback to Alison being in my house, seducing me on my couch. Rather than doing the right thing and ignoring her advances, I accepted everything knowing that it was keeping Sarina safe.” He then takes another shaky deep breath. “I know what I did was what I needed to do in that situation as the number one thing was making sure Sarina didn’t get hurt. But it’s not lost on me that I basically cheated on her, betrayed her trust, let someone else get their hands on me.”

“You’re being too hard on yourse-”

“I know I am, and that’s what drives me crazy.” She then looks at him slightly confused. “Every bit of logic tells me that I did the right thing. Every person tells me that I did what I needed to given the situation. Alan says that I did the right thing to protect Sarina. Dad says that I was caught in a trap and manipulated by emotions. But here I stand, knowing that I was the one that accepted it knowing the circumstances.”

“So it’s convincing your heart that you did the right thing?” Chase nods his head.

“It’s gotten easier, but I still struggle with it at tim-”

“And can anybody blame you? This only happened a couple months ago, Chase. Heck, it’s still going on due to this lingering pregnancy and the trial. I know thousands of people that wouldn’t be how far along that you are in dealing with this. Give yourself some damn credit, Chase. You’re doing a heck of a job.” He then looks over at her.

“Do you really mean that?” She nods her head yes.

“Look at how you’ve dealt with the emotions. Look at how far along you are right now. Look at every single step that you’ve done to move forward. On top of that, you’ve handled being the center of the spotlight and all the pressure on you in the process without flinching one bit and showing that this is lingering for you. That takes a lot of strength to put on a face when you’re hurting inside.” She then glances back over the balcony. “I did that for a long time myself, so I know what you mean.”

“That’s why you took this vacation once you sorted everything out?” She nods her head yes.

“I needed some time to get away and give myself the time I needed.” She then looks back over at him. “That’s why I’m glad you agreed to come with Ryan. That’s why I’m going to tell you right now to not be afraid to ask for comfort, or help, or even admit that you need some more time. Take care of yourself.” He then glances down at his hands on the railing.

“I’m just worried when everything comes out. What is everyone going to think?” It was now her turn to look shocked.

“They’re going to admire your strength. They’re going to appreciate how strong you’ve been without showing signs of what happened. They’re going to admire you’re ability to speak up against her and make sure she goes down. Those who look up to you will multiply.” Chase smiles as he remembers the last round of advice with Alan on the similar topic.

“That’s the same thing that Alan sai-”

“It’s the truth, Chase. We wouldn’t lie to you.” He then glances over her, flashing his familiar smile.

“Thank you. Actually, it’s not a bad thing that you came out here now…” She then smiles as she keeps her eyes locked on him, before letting out a sigh as she looks back forward.

“I’ll always be here if you need a friend, Chase. Don’t ever lose that fact because I always want to be there for you.” She then takes a careful deep breath. “I’m also going to admit that I wasn’t the biggest fan of Sarina at the beginning, either. I actually wished that she’d fall off a cliff at one point.” Chase looks over really surprised.

“Seriously?” She nods her head yes.

“You can ask Emma.” Chase just shakes his head in disbelief. “I even remember hearing that you guys got engaged and I told her, ‘What the hell is that boy thinking?’ I could think of every single reason to be pissed off at her. But hearing how she’s been there for you, hearing how much she loves and cares about you, and hearing just the perfect ways that you guys to go together – I get it finally, and I’m glad that you found that. I’m truthfully happy for you, and I wish you the best for the future. I hope once you put this behind you, the pair of you can have a life filled with happiness.” Chase smiles back in return.

“That means a lot to me, Erin. I trust you in so many ways and hearing that you appreciate Sarina, I know I’m doing the right thing for certain.” She then nods her head slowly.

“Can I tell you something else without you getting angry or strange?” He nods his head accepting with a glance of confusion. “Ryan is nervous about me spending alone time with you, or calling out Sarina, or anything like that for a reason. I can admit it openly now to your face that I actually had a huge crush on you. Every time you’d hang out with Ryan, I purposely lingered around at some of those times just so I could be closer to you and see you.” Her cheeks start to go red.

“….and I asked you to the banquet…..” Her cheeks go a shade darker.

“I never really reacted much to you asking, knowing that it was more a friendly favor, but inside I was like a little kid screaming for candy. I just wanted the night to go perfectly because here I am getting the dream that I wanted. That’s why I ate up as much of that night as possible, including the dance together at the party afterwards. It meant everything to me, Chase.” She then takes a deep breath. “Maybe my discontent against Sarina was because I wanted that.”

“So why didn’t you say something then?” She then glances back out off the balcony.

“Because I saw the way you looked at her at the Snowball Derby about a year before she even drove for you, and I knew that you’d found your true love. I knew that I’d never get that in return and I didn’t want to see you settle just to make my dreams come true.” She then places her hand back on his. “Chase, you’ll always have a sweet spot in my heart and I’m always going to care about you. You’ll always be my number one crush, but I can stand here as the big girl and admit that you did the right thing for you. You found who you were meant to be with.”

“You’re going to find Mr. Right as well, Erin. You’re pretty special and any guy would be stupid to not go out with you.” She smiles back in return.

“I’m just glad that you’re not running away thinking I’m a crazy stalker.” He then wraps an arm around her shoulders.

“I could never run away from my best friend…”

Saturday, June 16 – Ireland

“So how long is this drive to Dublin?” Chase questions as he gets comfortable in the backseat.

“A couple hours if we were going to straight through,” Erin answers as she lets out a yawn from the passenger seat. “Instead, because we’re going to Pallas, it’ll take about four hours total driving-wise.”

“But it’s totally worth it based on the photos….” Erin nods her head as she gets comfortable herself.

“GPS will guide you boys there.” She then grabs her sweater and puts it over herself. “I’m going to catch a nap.” Chase wasn’t surprised based on their conversation mid-way through the night.

He then checked on his phone for the truck practice results – or any updates at all from Sarina – as Ryan focused on driving. Ryan kept glancing over at Erin, with the odd glance in the mirror at Chase. He had seen them on the balcony and couldn’t help but be curious.

“What did you and Erin discuss this morning?” Ryan asks once he was certain that she was asleep.

“I woke up middle of the night, and she offered a bit of comfort,” Chase brushes it off immediately. he wasn’t about to reveal the confession as he knew that Erin shared that in confidence. While Ryan was aware of the crush, he didn’t need to know that Chase now knew the full details.

“That was nice of her. I mean, she was always good at listening and helping. So, you had another bad dream?” Chase now wished they were talking about the crush instead.

“Yeah….” Chase shifts a little in the back. “I’d rather not talk about it, okay? I’m dealing with it and that’s all I want to leave it at. This weekend is a distraction, remember?” Ryan nods his head, accepting.

“I just realized that you guys were so close there – and if she makes things uncomfortable not realizing that it is because of your relationship with Sarina, feel free to say something.” Chase understood Ryan’s concern but he wasn’t bothered one bit. If there were any doubts, the morning conversation cleared that up.

“There shouldn’t be any problems, but sure – I’ll let you know.” Ryan then lets out a sigh.

“Have you heard anything much from the girls?” Chase shakes his head no as he looks back to his phone relived.

“Things are going great according to Sarina and they’re having fun, ready for a great day in corn country.” Chase then look back towards his phone checking out a post, though immediately looked up as they swerved to the right quick.

“What the hell Ryan?!?” Erin asks as she shoots up awake immediately.

“The tractor was in my lane and almost took us off the road!” Ryan shouts back in response as he keeps both hands solidly on the wheel. “Why is this a freaking single-lane road that they allow those wide-ass tractors on that take a lane and a half?” He then swerves to avoid another one. “See what I mean?”

“Are you sure you can trust that GPS?” Chase questions, as Erin grabs Ryan’s phone off the holder and looks over the map.

“Everybody said to use Waze for the best routes, and it does show us getting there in the best time compared to others,” she offers as she glances through the route. “Welcome to this area of Ireland – it’s single-lanes everywhere.”

“Do you want me to drive, Ryan?” Ryan then glances up at the mirror a little surprised.

“Who has a Cup Series win, Mr. Elliott?” Ryan questions back sticking his tongue out.

“I see how it goes,” Chase comments as Erin rolls her eyes. “Who has two XFINITY Championships, bitch?”

“Who actually has led laps this season and contended for wins?”

“I’m not the one who has been busted for speeding down pit road.”

“I’m not the one who has turned top-fives into barely top-15’s by the end of the da-”

“How about I just drive?” Erin interrupts them, now growing annoyed despite being amused at first. they both then look at her shocked, shaking their heads no. “Okay then…”

“This should be left to the professionals,” Chase offers as he gets back comfortable once again. “Just try to not use your Sonoma lessons here Blaney, okay?”

“That’s why I stay on the actual track unlike someone else in this car,” Ryan jabs back as Chase just rolls his eyes.

A couple more swerves later and the GPS showed they were only about a half hour out from landing at their destination. They all literally began counting down the minutes, with Chase even playing the role of the little asking ‘Are we there yet?’ every so often.

Only five minutes from their destination, the group was excited for the day of fun to come go-karting at one of the largest tracks ever. However, as they were set to pull off the crazy road, the skies opened up with an instant pouring rain.

“Now what are we supposed to do?” Ryan questions, feeling defeated immediately .

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