The Tale of Love & Racing: Sarina’s Story – Chapter 95: Kentucky Speedway

Thursday July 12, 2018 – Kentucky Speedway

Sarina kicks her feet up, scrolling through photos on her phone.

“That’s not bad,” she comments out loud quietly, before looking at the next one. “This one is nice…” She then flips to the next photo, immediately making a disgusted face.

“I’m guessing that one is ugly?” Rudy questions, earning a glance from her as she nods her head. “I thought you’d be hanging out with Chase right now…”

“He’s doing an appearance for NAPA so I’m stuck here with you instead. Lucky me, huh?” Rudy just rolls his eyes as he looks away from his laptop at her.

“You can’t pick on me. I gave you a good handling truck all through practice, and with what I have before me, we should be good tonight.” She then looks over intrigued. “I bet that sounds a lot better than those photos you’re looking at.”

“I can’t complain when my crew chief tells me he is going to give me a truck that will win, now can I?” Rudy shakes his head no as he turns back to his notes.

“What are you even looking at to begin with, or do I want to know?” She then lets out a sigh as she kicks her feet up.

“Wedding photo ideas, actually.” Rudy now glances over surprised. “What? Did you think I was just going to stay engaged forever?”

“Based on what I know about you, wedding and commitment weren’t high on your list…” She then lets out a sigh as she looks back at her phone.

“That was before I met Chase, and saw what love was capable of. Now, I’m almost excited for it to be official and call myself Sarina Ott Elliott, or just Sarina Elliott.”

“If that’s all that matters, then let’s go pick the boy up and head down to city hall.” She then takes the small pillow that was beside her, chucking it at him as he laughs. “Besides, I can’t see you planning a wedding….”

“Hey now, I can be pretty just as much as I am tomboyish.” Rudy then shakes his head.

“So in other words, as we get closer to this supposed wedding, I should worry about having a panicking bride worried about the fine details, such as flower color and the invitations. Oh yeah, that’ll make great practice while we chase a championship. Say, when is this wedding?”

“January in Colorado.” Rudy’s jaw drops as he looks back over at her again. “What?”

“Don’t chew me out or anything, but Chase seems like the perfect family darling. I was ready for a Dawsonville wedding, or North Carolina wedding. But Colorado in the winter?”

“The cabin has been home to a lot of memorable, special moments, and it’s our place to just get away and be together without anybody judg-”

“…or wondering whether you’re with Christopher and he’s with Erin?” She slowly nods her head.

“Besides, his parents go to Colorado in the winter for some outdoor fun as Bill even came skidooing with us the one day. Everybody will be there and news flash, I think there’s enough room to invite you. And don’t worry, I won’t be one of those panicking brides. Yes, I have certain things that I would like to see for my wedding, but I’m not Bride-zilla.” Rudy then lets out a sigh of relief.

“So those images….” Sarina then glances back at her phone, before looking over at the crew chief.

“Flower ideas, dress idea, decoration idea. There are some that I saved when I first started thinking about it, along with suggestions from Samantha and Lindsay in stuff that they saw that may work.” Rudy then glances over to meet her eyes.

“And the groom?” She then smiles.

“He said that I can choose those finer details. He just wants to help in picking the venue, along with the guest list. As he put it, I’m his princess and he wants me spoiled.” Rudy couldn’t help but smile in response.

“It’s really nice to see you both so happy, and looking forward to something. I  know it hasn’t been an easy road, and there are still hurtles to figure out. Don’t ever forget how special you are, and how special he makes you feel. You deserve the happiness, but don’t take it for granted.”

“I know better than to do that, Rudy. Monday was the perfect reminder of that…” She then takes a deep breath, letting herself get lost back in the images as she didn’t want to think about Alison and give her the power that came with that thought.

Sarina climbs out of the truck, gives one glance over to Rudy, before walking over and giving the crew chief a high-five. Qualifying was in the books, and she’d be leading the field to the green flag later on that night.

“That’s what I’m talking about!” She says as Rudy just smiles back in response.

“I told you that I had something for you to work with,” he offers, before sharing high-fives with the rest of the team. “We just got to keep our heads down, keep focused on this truck, and keep doing what we’re doing. We may end up where you want to be at the end of the night.”

“I believe….”

“I believe in you both as well,” a new voice chimes in, bringing a smile to Sarina’s face immediately as she turns around to face Chase, giving him a hug.

“I missed you today,” she replies, kissing his lips.

“I missed you, too, but I heard Rudy has been taking good care of you.” She then glances over at the crew chief, before turning her eyes back to Chase.

“Not as well as you can take care of me, though….”

“I heard light colored flowers work well with a winter wedding landscape in a cabin,” Rudy offers before walking away, earning a confused glance on Chase’s face as Sarina rolls her eyes.

“Since when did Rudy become knowledgable about weddings?” Chase wonders as Sarina just just shakes her head.

“I don’t know,” she answers almost chuckling to herself. “But he caught me looking over ideas for our wedding.” Chase then looks at her surprised.

“So has the bride picked out a dress, yet?” Her jaw drops in shock.

“When have you known a bride to pick out a dress so far in advance like now before her wedding, Chase? Besides, I can’t pick any of that out before we decide on the venue, and then we need to decide on flowers. Once I know the surroundings, then I can pick the perfect dress.” He then puts his arms around her.

“Well I don’t care what you choose, I know you’re going to look beautiful when it’s time.” He then gives her another kiss on the lips, before letting her go so she could take her pole winning photos.

The race started out well, as she was fast through the beginning portion of the event. She finished second in the first stage after leading the initial laps, followed by winning the second stage.

“Loose wheel….” She says on the radio shortly after the final round of pit stops under caution in a tone that could only be defined as frustration. Here they were another weekend with a fast truck capable of winning, and here they were set to once again not be able to close the deal due to something happening.

“Come back in,” Rudy offers, which she follows instructions as requested. “Wheel spacer needed…”

The extra pit stop would force her to restart 18th, rather than inside of the top-five. With a fast handling No. 18 Toyota Tundra underneath her, she was able to make her way back through the field to score an eighth-place finish.

“Sorry,” was all Rudy could manage after the race as he gave her a hug. “The guys let you down. We’ll get ‘em next week.”

“Just got to keep trying and eventually the pieces will fall in place, right?” She questions and Rudy nods his head back in response before walking away. “I didn’t want to say it in front of Rudy, but I feel Kyle needs to fire half of this damn team because these pit stops the past couple of weeks have been awful!”

“Does it feel better to get that out of your system?” Chase questions and she nods her head.

“But am I right?” Chase was about to say something, but bit his tongue instead. “Yeah, that’s what I thought. We’re supposed to be the championship team, set to do what Bell did last year once again, and boom – we’re stuck with crappy pit stops. You don’t win races by messing up on pit road.”

“Kevin Harvick does….” She then smacks his shoulder. “Hey!”

“I just feel as though something is missing…” He then wraps an arm around her, pulling her close.

“You’re just getting frustrated because you think you should’ve won five races this year by now, and you’re probably right. Just take a deep breath, put everything in perspective, and push forward. These guys will figure it out before the playoffs.” She then looks at him, intrigued.

“You really believe that?” Chase nods his head. “I’ll try to listen, okay?”

“That’s my girl…..” They then head down pit road together. “On a brighter note, the old you would’ve freaked out on Rudy and the crew guy.”

“Maybe I need to do that…” Chase then stops suddenly, looking over at her. “Kidding, of course. Besides, you’re right. These are my guys and they’ve proven they can get the job done before. We’ll be fine…”

Friday July 13, 2018 – Kentucky Speedway

The first practice was in the books for the Cup Series, and all that it could be described was decent for Chase Elliott and company. There was speed in the NAPA Chevrolet and potential for a good run on Saturday night, but the piece of the puzzle that had been missing over the past couple of months still remained that way. They were closer, but without that touch of speed, the thought of winning wasn’t even on the radar yet. For now, a goal of scoring a solid top-10 was on the mind.

Though as he stood in the garage area, that wasn’t the thought that consumed his mind at that very moment. Instead, he was brought back to a familiar thought process that had clouded him throughout the past several months.

“Hey, are you okay?” Chase hears, not even looking back to glance over his shoulder as he could already tell who was standing there.

“Yeah,” Chase replies as he lets out a sigh. It was time to shift those thoughts back to the shelf so he could focus on the racecar. Those were thoughts that he could worry about next week and the coming days.

“It’s okay to admit when something is on your mind, Chase…” Chase finally glances over his shoulder to look at his dad.

“I know, but I can’t worr-”

“You’ll never move forward if you keep avoiding it.” Chase then crosses his arms, actually beginning to grow annoyed of this discussion. Wasn’t his decision on Wednesday supposed to quiet the critics?

“That’s why I made the appointment for next week. That’s why I’m beginning to do what I need to do. However, in this moment, that isn’t something I need to be worrying about. I have a racecar and a race team to focus on, Dad.” Bill lets out a sigh, having grown used to this response from Chase.

“That’s every bit important, but your health is more important than that….” Chase leans back against the pit box as he just shakes his head.

“Dad, can we please discuss something else for once? I’m doing what I can….” Bill places a hand on his shoulder.

“I know, but I can’t help but worry as your father. You do understand that, right?” Chase looks over and nods his head. “Like I told you, I’m proud that you took the step in admitting that you need the help, and making that appointment. I’m proud of how far you’ve come since you woke up freaking out about what happened. I’m proud of the strength that you’ve shown, as so many people wouldn’t had been able to do what you’ve done. But I can also see on the inside that it’s tearing you apart just as much…”

“Some days are worse than others. I can go through a day and not have a single thought about anything. Then the next day, it’s the only thing that consumes my mind. That’s how I knew I needed to do something because I can’t keep going through those days.” He then glances towards the ground, taking a deep breath. “Sarina was talking about the wedding yesterday, and the beginning stages of planning. I can’t wait for January for that moment, but then it made me realize something else. Everybody plans on a wedding, followed by their future together. That future includes children, and well, that’s something we’ve realized isn’t going to work how we thou-”

“There are options, though….” Chase nods his head, having heard that from so many people over and over. he was glad that there was options and knew he and Sarina would need to explore those, if need be. However, it still didn’t replace the feeling of an opportunity torn away.

“Everybody talks about the amazing feeling in watching their wife or girlfriend carry the baby for nine months, feeling it kick against them, the sensations that they feel during that experience. Just ask Ryan about Lindsay, or Kyle when he talks about everything he went through with Samantha. Kyle don’t get emotions, but that affected him. Is it wrong to feel like you’re being stolen of that experience?” Bill shakes his head no.

“So everything isn’t just about Alison in what you’re feeling….” Chase slowly looks up towards his father.

“But it always gets back to her though, right? Because while Sarina receives this news that she can’t carry a baby full term, Alison wants to prance around the fact that she’s my baby’s fath-”

“She’s lyi-”

“What if she isn’t?” Bill then looks at Chase confused.

“What are you trying to say, Chase?” Chase takes a slow deep breath, remembering the discussion with Alan.

“I trust every one of my instincts fully. I know what I believe in, and I fully believe that I remember everything that happened. I fully know to myself with my instincts that she didn’t conceive that baby. But when you’re going through these emotions, realizing that you’re trying to escape it every way possible but head on, you begin to wonder. What if I escaped that by blanking it out of my mind? What if that happened? There’s a small bit of self doubt that creeps in every once in awhile and I wonder…” Bill didn’t want to face the fact, but knew it was possible if Chase was bringing it up to him.

“What are you going to do if that is the news you receive?” Chase shakes his head.

“I don’t know. I’d like to say that I’d do the right thing and raise the baby as if it’s my own without a drop of doubt because it’s not the child’s fault, and it is a piece of me regardless. But, can I look at the baby and raise that child without thinking of everything Alison put me through? I don’t know, Dad…”

“I think for now, you should focus on what you know. You focus on what happened, and moving past beyond that. Think about the emotions that you’re feeling in regards to pain, and regret, and how to move forward in the best way that you can. I wouldn’t think about the baby until the news come down. Then once you have that news, then if it is what it is, then take your time to think about it.  You can’t control the unknowns, but control your future and what you know. You only got so long and you don’t know when your time is up…” Chase takes a deep breath.

“That’s what I’m trying to do. That’s why I made the phone call and the appointment because I want to take control of these emotions and my life. I’m done being her puppet and living a life controlled by how she manipulated me. I’m done dealing with her unknowns and the games.” Bill places a hand on his shoulder.

“That’s what I like to hear. And I know it won’t be easy, because there will be days where therapy may seem hard because of everything you’re dulging into. But remember that it’s worth it for you, and you will get through this. Your mom and I are always here for you…” Chase nods his head, accepting.

“Chase, second practice……if you’re ready,” Jordan Allen says as he walks by, placing the helmet on the roof with his gloves.

“Got to go to work,” Chase states as he gives his dad a hug before walking over to the car.

“Remember what I said…” Bill reminds him before leaving the garage, letting him focus.

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The Tale of Love & Racing: Sarina’s Story – Chapter 94: “I need to do this for me…”

“We all had high hopes for Casey, and then everything changed almost overnight. It was tough for everybody. I talk to Chase about that a lot and remind him that you can’t take anything for granted, that you have to enjoy every moment as you go along. You don’t know how long you’ll have it.” – Bill Elliott, 2014.

 

Monday July 9, 2018 – Court Room

It took several minutes, but sipping on the cool water and surrounded by fans did the trick as Chase slowly calmed back down.

“I’m okay guys…” Chase then slowly stands up, as he takes a deep breath. “I’ll be fine. It’s just thinking about everything on the stand – it took me right back to that feeling.”

“Chase, are you still having nightmares?” Bill asks, with a side glance towards Sarina at the same time as he knew that she’d know the answer.

“They’re slowly getting to be less and less. Dad, I’ve got this under control. I’m working my way through it.” Bill crosses his arms, still not totally convinced. “Dad, please….”

“I just think that you should liste-”

“I’ve thought about what you said, what Alan said. Slowly facing the emotions and what happened is helping me. I’ve been fine until today when it was right there in my face. Once I’m done having to remind myself every waking moment of what happened, once I let go of those regrets, and once she is definitely locked away, I will be fine.” He then places a hand on Bill’s shoulder. “Trust me, please….”

“Just make sure you’re taking care of yourself, okay?” Chase nods his head accepting as Bill reluctantly lets him walk out of the court room with friends in toe.

It didn’t take long to get to the airport, and for everybody to board the plane headed back to North Carolina. Sarina immediately curled up with Chase in the back, letting him lay his head against her as she ran her fingers through his hair.

“I love you, always,” she tells him, giving him a kiss on the cheek. “I’ll be here for you, always, whenever you need me. We’ll get through this…” She then gives him another kiss as she smiles in seeing him relaxed, eyes closed.

Tuesday July 10, 2018 – Charlotte Motor Speedway

Sarina walks in the garage stall, seeing Chase standing there leaned up against the wall. She knew today was a busy day between testing and the announcement, but she was set to be there as necessary.

“Are you okay?” She asks, as she places a hand on his shoulder, catching his attention.

“If you’re talking about yesterday, that’s already in the rearview,” he answers. “I’m ready to focus on today.” With all the discussions about the upcoming roval event in September, he knew how crucial today’s test was to get to know the track and see where they stacked up. that’s why he wasn’t going to let anything distract him.

“Does that include giving me a clue about your throwback announcement?” Chase then smiles as he couldn’t wait to reveal the car to the world later on that day. It had been an idea that he had for awhile now, and it was great to finally get everything put together. He was just glad that everybody agreed, and supported the idea.

“You’re going to have to be surprised just like everybody else.” She then looks at him surprised.

“I thought you told me last night the important people know.” He nods his head, remembering how secretive he had been despite all the questions from everybody.

“The wrap department, PR department, NAPA executives, family, and a couple Hendrick executives. Alan hasn’t even seen it yet.” It was now time for her jaw to drop in surprise.

“I’m going to guess that it’s a tribute to your dad?” He then chuckles, knowing everybody was thinking that based on the tweets he had been getting all day already.

“Try again.” He then gives him a quick kiss before walking away, set to get in the car for the first run of the day.

The run on-track went smooth as he managed to keep all four tires on the tarmac, but that was easier said than done as he knew he had messed up in several different sections at times and almost pulled the same move that had gotten Darrell in trouble earlier.

“Is it supposed to be so challenging?” He questions Alan after the first run and the crew chief just chuckles.

“Everybody is in the same boat as I’ve heard that comment through the garage,” Alan offers as Chase just lets out a sigh.

“It’s going to be who can stay on the pavement the best because I will tell you right now – I am slipping everywhere. I figure out one section, and screw up the next. Please tell me that Jimmie has better feedback.” Alan could only laugh back in response as he went over the notes delivered to him by Jesse earlier. “Seriously?”

“It’s going to be a challenge, and you’re going to have to figure it out. Good luck, bud.” Alan then walks away still smiling as Chase can only roll his eyes.

The afternoon session would not start out smoothly, as Chase made a bigger mistake than he had anticipated making. He got into the chicane a little hard coming off the final turn, sliding through and getting in the grass a little. Thankfully, no damage to the car except for flat spotted tires.

“Sorry,” he comments as Alan just shrugs his shoulders.

“I’d rather you learn now than in September,” he replies as the crew change the tires. “Before that, you were running better than you had this morning.”

“I tried to get a little more than it would give me, just seeing where the limit was. But we still need to work on that balance as I’m fast through the slow section, but I feel we’re off in the fast section.” Alan crosses his arms.

“But what section matters more?” Chase then puts his hands up in the air.

“Hey, I’m just the driver…” Alan gives him a light smack. “Seriously, I don’t know. The key is staying on the track, and then figuring out the best areas to make up time. We should maybe give a try before we’re done today to see what it does for lap time.”

“I’m game if you’re game.” Alan then glances over his notes, before handing over a set of instructions to the crew guys.

They were able to get in a couple more runs, a little more confident based on what they were able to figure out. Now whether that’d result in having success in September, who knew as Chase still felt it would be a simple game of survival and there was more to figure out. Knowing that William and Alex would be collecting more data next week gave him confidence.

Though as he changed in the trailer out of his firesuit, he knew he couldn’t dwell on that any longer as he had to get back to Hendrick Motorsports. It was time to reveal his surprise.

“Can I get a hint, please?” Sarina asks as she stands back, leaning against the wall.

“Nope,” Chase answers, giving her another kiss before they head out together.

“Come on….”

Tuesday July 10, 2018 – Hendrick Motorsports

Sarina stood off to the side, smiling as Alan walked up alongside her.

“Has he told you what he is planning, yet?” Alan questions and Sarina shakes her head no. “Wow….”

“All he would tell me was it’s really special,” Sarina comments as Alan smiles.

The group then watch as Chase is introduced, along with both Bill and Ernie Elliott. Immediately, the gears begin turning in both of their minds as they try and figure out what paint scheme he had gone with.

“That is special…..” Sarina comments quietly as they reveal it will be one of Casey’s paint schemes, before revealing it.

“That looks really good,” Alan adds as he gives it a glance over from his perspective. “I like that a lot actually.” Sarina feels a couple of her own emotions begin to show, as Alan wraps an arm around her shoulders.

“We’ve talked about this a couple of times. He spoke of the stories that he heard from Bill, Ernie, others about what kind of guy Casey is, whether the pure sweetness or the fact that he was a little jokester. He told me how he wish he would’ve gotten the chance to know him, maybe been close cousins. He shared that with me when I was told him how I wish at times I was there for my brother, as maybe things would’ve been different.” Sarina then takes a deep breath as she glances over at Alan. “I still find myself wondering at times whether my decisions essentially wrote the route that he went dow-”

“Don’t hold that on your coincidence, Sarina. You did what you had to do for you at that tim-”

“I know, and I’ve come to grips with that. But I can’t deny that once in a while, say when I see a couple siblings bonding, that it makes me wonder. However, I also can say that I wouldn’t had changed a single thing. Those experiences shaped who I am today, and I like the person that I’ve grown into. I also know those events led me to meeting Chase, and then Kyle, and I wouldn’t change that. Heck, I even don’t regret meeting you…” Alan just chuckles a little.

“I may still hold some of those fights against you and Chase because dealing with him when he’s grumpy was a pain in the ass. However, I’d do everything all over again to see where you both are today together.” Sarina smiles as she looks over at Chase, flashing a signature smile as she catches his gaze in her direction.

“I just hope that we can truly move forward now….” Alan looks over at Chase, before glancing back at Sarina.

“He’ll find his way, Sarina. Trust me when I say that everything will be okay.” She nods her head, accepting.

The pair then quieted down, actually interested in hearing what everybody had to say about the paint scheme now that it was revealed.

It surprised Sarina a little when Chase said, “To be honest with you, I don’t care what anybody thinks. I’m pretty content with it myself and in our family, it’s a special thing to do, and whether a guy likes it or dislikes it, I think it’s cool and that’s what matters.”

“You can’t please everybody all at once, right?” Alan could only offer after his comment and Sarina nods her head in agreement. She had been getting used to hearing that considering comments were all over the place over the past year, and having grown used to ignoring and dealing with it, it was actually becoming easier to handle.

“Here’s the question – what do you think this car would like in victory lane?” The host asks as smiles fill the room.

“We gotta break that damn curse first,” Alan whispers as Sarina smacks him.

“There’s no damn curse as you guys are going to get a win – I guarantee that,” she replies.

“This would make for a sweet paint scheme for a first win,” Ernie comments, gaining their attention back. Alan could only let out a sigh as he wasn’t set to wait until September to get their first win.

“I think Chase is hoping to win before then…” Bill adds, earning a nod of agreement from both Alan and Sarina.

“Come on man…..” Chase comments, earning a couple chuckles from the crowd.

“Oh yeah, of course,” Ernie says. “But it’d look great in victory lane no matter what.”

The questions seemed to be never ending, though once they were done, Sarina still kept her distance until Chase came over to her.

“What do you think?” He asks as she looks into his eyes with a smile.

“It’s perfect,” she replies. “And I agree – waiting until you had the 9 makes it sweeter. Ernie is right – you’re a sweetheart for doing this.” She then gives him a hug, followed by a kiss on the cheek.

“I’m glad you like it….”

Chase then walks back away from her as he was called over to do some more one-on-one interviews.

“You’ve had some frustrating moments this season….” A reporter starts and Chase takes a deep breath.

“There is a heck a lot of more to life than where we are in the playoff standings right now, and this is one of those moments,” he replies.

“Understandable…” The reporter then walks away as Chase makes his way over to the car.

He leans over the roof of the car, watching as Bill and Ernie field a series of different interviews. He couldn’t help but eve-drop on what they were saying in the process, either.

“We all had high hopes for Casey, and then everything changed almost overnight. It was tough for everybody,” Bill tells one of the reporters. “I talk to Chase about that a lot and remind him that you can’t take anything for granted, that you have to enjoy every moment as you go along. You don’t know how long you’ll have it.”

Chase takes a deep breath as he glances back down, thinking over everything.

That advice was something that had always stuck with him through the years, and even if he began to lose sight, it was an easy reminder to look in the rearview and know it had meaning.

Rather than being focused on living in that moment, the past few months had been filled with something else, though. he had been stuck on flashbacks, nightmares, and panic over the actions of one individual. Rather than running his life the way he wanted, he was letting someone else control it – something that he even pushed against so much in his words to Sarina and others.

He knew he was taking the steps to move forward, but Monday was a reminder of just how much it still bothered him. There was still pain that left him feeling sick and disgusted beyond anything in what happened. There was still regrets in being the one to allow her to go forth with it, and carry it for as long as she did. There were regrets in the fact that she got a second chance to go after him, along with other thoughts that he couldn’t bring himself to touch.

“I can’t keep doing this to myself,” he says quietly as he takes a deep breath.

Right now, he was letting the pain and regret take the power to control his actions and his feelings. He was letting it stop him from sleeping and take over aspects of his life, rather than being the one to take control as he instilled to Sarina that she needed to do at times and do something.

If he was going to truly move forward, it was going to take action on his part and it was time to do that – rather than hold regret over that later on.

“Are you okay?” Bill asks, noticing the change in Chase’s demeanor as he walks over to him once done the interviews.

“Yeah,” Chase replies quietly as he takes a deep breath. “Remember when we were in the hauler at Bristol and you brought me a phone number to call?”.

“Dr. Dennis Hopkins?” Chase nods his head, not even realizing that was the name on the piece of paper. He just knew that it was a therapist that his dad suggested him getting in contact with that he had brought along with the pamphlets. “From those I’ve talked to, he comes highly recommended, Chase. He’s dealt with people who have been through similar experiences and had great results.”

“Do you still have the phone number?” Bill pulls out his phone, bringing it up and showing it to Chase. Chase then takes his phone out of his pocket, putting it in his phone.

“Are you going to give him a call?” Chase takes a deep breath as he stares the number before him.

“I am going to set up an appointment with him, and see where it goes.” He then glances up looking into his father’s eyes. “I can’t keep doing what I’m doing. I need to figure out how to deal with this, and if he can help me, I’m willing to try.” Bill places a hand on his shoulder.

“I’m proud of you. It takes a lot to admit when you need someone’s help. If you need someone to go with you, just let me know and I will co-”

“No, I need to do this alone and by myself. I need to do this for me…” Chase then pauses, glancing down. “I can’t do this any longer. It’s eating at me more than I probably even realize, and I can’t take it…”

“It’s going to be okay…” Bill then wraps an arm around him, pulling him into a hug as Chase lets a couple tears roll down his cheeks. “You’re going to figure out what works for you. I’m proud of you, always, and I know that you will be okay…”

The Tale of Love & Racing: Sarina’s Story – Chapter 93: Chase’s Story

Monday July 9, 2018 – Court Room

Chase makes his way into the court room just he had the week before, taking the same seat in the front row as he takes a deep breath. He smiles as he glances over to his side, looking down to see Sarina’s hand still firmly gripping on his left for support. He didn’t want to be nervous or panic, but the thought of discussing certain details still made his stomach flip flop.

As the same with the week prior, Bill sat once again to his right, glancing over at his son. He still wished that Chase had taken the advice of talking to a professional about what had happened, but appreciated the progress he made in those he had talked to thus far, as well as the strength displayed. He just hoped today went smoothly.

Cindy took her seat shortly after alongside Bill, with Kyle alongside Sarina. Alan and Jordan took their usual spot right behind Chase, along with Samantha, Ryan, and Lindsay. The support circle was there, set to do whatever it took for each other.

“Are you okay?” Bill finally breaks the silence as everybody bit their tongue, not knowing what to think in knowing Chase was supposed to take the stand today.

“Ready to get this over with,” Chase simply states as he takes a calming deep breath.

“All rise!” The court officer says, as everybody stands up. “Now presenting the honorable Judge Gus.” The judge enters, taking her spot as expected.

“Everybody may seated,” the judge states, and everyone sits down as instructed. The doors open and Alison enters, wrists bound together with handcuffs behind her back once again. As she comes in, Bill takes Chase’s right hand, offering his show of support as Chase just focuses his eyes back on the ground.

“Can’t wait to hear you tell the court how much you love me boo,” Alison says as she walks by.

“I’d rather puke on her instead,” Chase comments quietly, as he takes another deep breath.

“Just focus and it’ll be over before you know it,” Bill offers, as Chase nods his head, trying to let that sink in amongst the nerves.

“May the prosecution call their first witness to the stand,” Judge Gus requests.

“We would like to call Chase Elliott to the stand please,” the procsecuting lawyer states. Chase takes a deep breath as he slowly stands up, making his way out of the row, and up to the stand, taking his seat in the witness box.

“Do you swear to tell the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?” The court officer asks as he holds a bible before him.

“Absolutely,” Chase replies as he keeps his eyes locked on Sarina and his father, not even taking a single glance towards his left to see Alison.

“With all due respect, we would like to move straight into the charges of in which Ms. Reynolds says she’s not guilty of,” the prosecution begins. “My client has suffered enough emotional trauma from the events that I don’t feel we need to repeat those events, even if they may be different than Ms. Reynolds recalled.”

“Shouldn’t we see what Mr. Elliott has to say in respect of how he will spin those in his favor?” The defense asks as Cindy resists the urge to break out laughing having already gotten in trouble last week.

“You can cover that when you cross-examine the witness,” Judge Gus offers, as Chase bites his tongue. He knew he could easily sit there and recount the details without any issues – or at least believed that right now, but could only wonder what would happen when the tables were turned.

“Mr. Elliott, can you please recall the events from March 16, 2018 at Auto Club Speedway in the state of California?” The prosecution asks as Chase takes a deep breath.

“I had retreated back to the team trailer following practice,” Chase starts as he tries to keep focused solely on the facts. “I was just about relaxed when I heard Alison’s voice, taunting me. She asked me about where Sarina was, and I told her that she was having a nice day with Brexton. She then gave me a choice – kiss her, or she’d make sure something happened. I wasn’t about to let something happen to them so I kissed her.” He then involuntarily wipes his lips, not wanting to remember the taste of her on him.

“Then what happened?” Chase takes a deep breath, knowing that wasn’t the end of it.

“She then came on to me more, ready to undress me as she began pulling at the zipper on my firesuit – until Alan Gustafson entered. That’s when while holding me down, she turned around and popped a shot off. I used the opportunity of her being turned away from me to grab her hand with the gun, pry it away from her while knocking her off of me. I then held her there until authorities were reached.” Alan takes his own deep breath, thanking his lucky stars once again for quick reflexes.

“Under any other circumstances, would’ve you have kissed her?” Chase shakes his head no immediately.

“There’s only one person that my lips will kiss, and that’s my fiancé.” Chase then smiles as he and Sarina lock eyes, and she blows him a silent kiss. Meanwhile, a chuckle could be heard from the other side of the room courtesy of Alison.

“Thank you. We understand that you had a plane crash down into the Daytona Beach waters in February that you were flying with Ryan Blaney on board. What can you say about that in relation to Ms. Reynolds?” Chase takes a deep breath, still upset that he dragged Ryan in the midst of this and he was stuck in that situation too. Though, he actually appreciated the company while looking for help.

“She sent me plans that showed she knew how to hijack a plane to the Hendrick Motorsports offices a month earlier. That was why we implemented a protocol to check things before every flight. Being that we were running behind, we forgot to do so that night.” Chase still regretted that as he was one for always sticking by the book and following procedure. The one time he forgot, and it almost cost him and his best friend their lives. That was a regret that no matter what could’ve be taken away, even if everybody convinced him of everything else otherwise.

“Evidence A1 – the letter that my client is speaking of.” The prosecuter then places the letter before the judge, which is then passed by the jury, before being filed back away. “Martinsville Speedway, April 2018. What happened there with Ms. Reynolds?”

“I had forgotten my phone in the trailer following practice. It was snowing, but I texted Alan on Sarina’s phone and he was still there so I was going to get it. As I made my way into the garage area, she had a rope that I didn’t see pulled out, and I tripped over it, falling right away. Like she did before, she came onto me, set to kiss me – possibly more I don’t know, though ran away when she heard a pair of voices calling my name in the distance. Those belonged to Jesse Saunders and Chad Knaus.” He couldn’t thank his lucky stars enough that those two were heading by then as he could only wonder what Alison would’ve done otherwise, given his vulnerable state with the amount of pain he was in.

“Evidence B1 – the rope in question, featuring the fingerprints of Ms. Reynolds as found by forensics.” The prosecutor then lays that out once again just like the letter. “Evidence B2 – the hospital report containing Mr. Elliott’s injury, which were severe bruising of the back due to the fall.” Ryan had to chuckle a little at the memory, remembering how Chase fell asleep on the floor that night due to being only spot he could get comfortable when they got back. “The next time you saw Ms. Reynolds that is in question was when she had kidnapped Ms. Ott, which she pled guilty to. When were you made aware that she took the engagement ring?” Chase swallows the lump that had begin to form in his throat.

“The fourth night she came to see me.” Sarina glances down at the ring, twirling it around as she takes a quiet deep breath.

“What did Ms. Reynolds say with regards to the ring?” Chase closes his eyes, almost wanting to punch himself once again for the wording that he used.

“She told me that Sarina didn’t need the ring anymore. I requested that she take the ring off and she told me that may happen if I behave, and kiss her like I mean it, and give her what she wants. So I did it, and she dropped the ring on the bed before leaving.” Sarina felt a couple of her own hot tears, shaking her head. For him to put himself in that situation over a piece of metal didn’t seem fair at all. It was just a ring; it could easily be replaced. But yet, he went and did that due to the meaning and now she was lost for words.

“Obviously you touched upon the situation briefly, but the last charge is the sexual assault charge. If you could please – and take your time doing so, tell the court what happened in detail over the course of that week.” Chase takes a deep breath as he lets his mind go back to then, fighting every urge to panic and cry right there.

“She kidnapped Sarina on Saturday while I was in a total different state racing. I got home on Sunday night after the race, just wanting to try and relax whatever way I could, but obviously unable to because of my feelings. I closed the door and I heard a female voice. I followed it, and then found Alison sitting on my couch in my living room.” His breath then hitches as he glances down, taking a couple deep breathes.

“Take your time, Chase….” Chase then slowly glances back up, as he tries to find his own footing.

“I demanded for information where Sarina was, saying that it was always between me and her. I just wanted Sarina to be okay; that’s all that mattered to me. She then said I could guarantee her safety by doing whatever she wanted me to do. She would show me video proof that Sarina was okay as long as I listened. If I didn’t, she would make sure that Sarina didn’t make it out alive. That was the deal, and she would come see me every day.” Chase then stops, shaking his head, feeling his own frustration and regret in not figuring out some plan sooner, and the fact that he kept it hidden for three days following until Alan and Jordan found him.

“What did she want you to do, Chase?” Sarina feels her stomach flip in hearing his confession as to what happened, as Kyle wraps an arm around her shoulders for support. Every drop of pain that he was feeling was all due to wanting to protect her, and that made her feel a weird sense of guilt she couldn’t understand.

“The first night, she pushed me back on the couch, kissing me on the lips as she ran her fingers underneath my shirt.” He then takes a deep breath. “The second night, she did the same thing, while rubbing her body against mine.” He then takes another deep breath, feeling the tears come to his eyes. “The third night, she took my shirt off, she took my pants off, and told me that I must meet her like that every single time. She then took her own her shirt and pants, pushing herself once again against me, moving against me as she pressed her lips against mine.” The tears were now slightly streaming down his cheeks as he takes a shaky deep breath.

“Baby….” Cindy says quietly as she feels her own tears forming in her eyes, having not heard a drop of the details before this as Bill wraps an arm around her shoulders. “I just want to jump up and hug him, Bill….”

“He’s going to be okay,” Bill whispers, hoping that his words were the truth but still filled with uncertainty.

“The fourth night, she repeated the same process once again – this time in a hotel room bed rather than the couch of my living room,” Chase states as he tries to calm himself down.

“Can you tell the courts why you were in a hotel room on that Wednesday night, please?” The prosecutor asks and Chase glances up, nodding his head.

“I had flown to Bristol, Tennessee with some close friends to be close to where she was kidnapped from as they wanted to talk to me there, as well as trying to find her myself.” Alan shakes his head as he remembered the question session with the detectives, and wanting to slap a couple of them for how stupid they sounded at parts.

“How did she find out your location?” Chase bit his tongue, once again filling with instant regret.

“I told her. I didn’t want to break the deal out of fear for Sarina’s safety.” Sarina took a deep breath, shaking her head in disgust one again. How was she supposed to now let this go in knowing how much he went through for her?

“Thursday morning, it is reported that you were found upset in the bathroom by Mr. Alan Gustafson and Mr. Jordan Allen….” Alan glances down, wishing he could erase that image out of his mind, but that was always etched there. He couldn’t believe how heartbroken Chase looked sitting there, as the disgust was so easily readable on his face.

“I threw my guts up every night after Alison was done with me because I was so sick and disgusted for letting her touch me like she did.” A chuckle could be heard from Alison, which could be interrupted of being proud of work or laughing at what she would believe in her sick mind as a cover-up.

“Mr. Gustafson reported everything to the police, and that was when a trap was set to find out where Ms. Reynolds was keeping Ms. Ott. Can you explain those events, please?” Chase felt a bit of pride in having manipulated Alison in giving him the information that he wanted this way, but it still didn’t erase everything else that he felt in the process.

“I set up a meeting with her. I told her that I’d go with her, do whatever she wanted – as long as she guaranteed Sarina’s safety and released her. Alison agreed to take me to where she had Sarina held. I was given a tracking device to hide in my jeans from the police department, and I went down to her vehicle. She blind-folded me, taking me to where she had been hiding Sarina.” Chase then pauses, taking a deep breath once again.

“Take your time….”

“Leaving me blind folded, she told me to strip down to my boxers – and I did because I knew Sarina was there due to hearing her voice, and I wasn’t taking chances. Besides, the cops were on their way. She then pushed me against the wall…..reached down my pants….she touched me…. Then that’s when the cops showed up and took shots, with her running out of the building.” A trail of tears run down Chase’s cheeks as he continues taking a series of deep breaths.

“Mr. Elliott, at anytime during your encounters with Ms. Reynolds, did you guys have sexual intercourse?” Chase shakes his head no, immediately.

“No, so there’s no possible way that she could be pregnant with my kid…” Chase closes his eyes, trying to slow the tears as they continue to run down his cheeks. He continues to convince himself to take deep breathes, feeling his stomach twirling at the same time.

“Your witness, although I would advise against cross examination due to the state of my client’s mind,” the prosecutor states, before taking her seat.

The defense lawyer then stands, making his way over as Chase opens his eyes, trying to show every bit of strength he had left.

“So Mr. Elliott, you gave Ms. Reynolds permission to sexually molest you based on what you’re saying,” the defense lawyer states, which played right into Chase’s own regrets that he had tried to escape from all this time. As he had told himself, there was no way escaping that he was one to consent to everything that happened.

“Only because she had kidnapped Sarina and I was willing to do whatever it took for her to be safe,” he repeats as Sarina tries to remain strong and focused on him, but the regret continues to eat at her as well.

“Consent is conse-”

“I was coerced, okay? Your client laid a threat on me mentally, which forced my hand. Who’s to say that she wouldn’t had done something to Sarina otherwise? I mean, you are saying that she’s crazy so would you trust your fiancé’s hands with someone like that without doing something to ensure a deal?” Alan and Bill glance at each other, sharing a nod. Perhaps there was more strength in there then they even realized.

“So do you believe that my client is crazy as she is stating as her defense?” Chase wanted to laugh in response, but held that back in fear of crossing the line. Then again, it wouldn’t matter considering.

“Crazy or not, it doesn’t matter to me. I just want to her to pay for all the pain and hurt that she caused me, Sarina, Ryan, Alan, and others by what she did. IF she’s crazy, then that’s great; get her the mental help that she needs. If she isn’t, then that’s great; send her to prison. Just please don’t let her enter my life ever again.” Chase then wipes the remaining tears out of his eyes, as he tries to focus on the strength that he had been showing, versus the mental breakdown that was set to occur behind that.

“This isn’t the first time that my client has been on trial with you…..”

“She said that she was forced into what she did due to Bethany, and given her history, I was bound to believe it. I gave her a second chance. Clearly, I made a big mistake.” There was another regret that would certainly hang on his conscious for awhile, too.

“Last week, my client detailed a very descriptive image of how she had sexual intercourse with you to conceive the child that she is currently cari-”

“We did not have sexual intercourse.” The defense lawyer crosses his arms.

“So what do you call everything that we heard from her?” Chase almost wanted to spit out the possibility of events that happened that he had blocked out, but wasn’t about to give Alison that satisfaction as every time that thought came to mind, so did denial and knowing that she was good at playing games.

“A fantasy, a dream, something other than reality. I don’t know, but it didn’t happen with me.” The lawyer nods his head as he walks back to his desk.

“So you’re absolutely certain that she isn’t carrying your child?” Chase lets out a long sigh. He absolutely hated talking about pregnancies as it was annoying in what Alison was trying to do, combined with Sarina’s inability to have a child of her own.

“No, she isn’t carrying my child.” The lawyer glances over his notes, before eying Chase.

“The prosecution stated that your mental state has been heavily affected based on the events that have happened. Given the trauma that you have suffered and how it is affecting you mentally, could you possibly have blacked out the details of a rape to not deal with the consequences?” Chase almost wanted to scream as it was like the lawyer could see inside of his head – which was impossible.

“Absolutely not. I know what happened each of those nights with Alison. No matter how hard I try to forget, I can’t erase those images from my mind. They’re etched forever, and if she went that far, trust me, I would know.” A smile of satisfaction appeared on Alison’s face with that emission.

“So if she’s found to be pregnant with your child, can we revis-”

“She’s not pregna-”

“But if we’re wrong and she is, can we revisit this?” Chase shakes his head.

“She’s not pregnant with my child!”

“Your honor, it’s a yes or no question….” Judge Gus then looks down at Chase.

“Yes or not – can we revisit this if you are found to be the father?” The judge questions sternly as Chase glances up.

“Sure, because I won’t be found the father,” Chase answers.

“Thank you,” the defense lawyer states. “You’ve proven what I needed out of your testimony. We’re done.”

“You may step down….” Judge Gus instructs and Chase just simply nods.

He then takes a couple careful steps away from the stand, swallowing every ill-feeling that he was facing as he tries to put on a strong face walking back to the row of benches.

“Court will reconvene next week for more testimony,” Judge Gus states. “Court adjourned!”

“I can’t do this…” Chase says out loud as he feels his legs get light underneath him, every bit of panic and sickness entering his thoughts all at once as the hot tears begin to fall down his cheeks once again.

“I got you,” Jordan states as he stands up first, wrapping both of his arms around him. “I got you, Chase….” Jordan then slowly pulls him over to the bench, getting him to sit down.

“Sip on this….” Alan says as he takes the cap off a bottle of water, handing it to him.

“I can’t do this….” Chase repeats once again. “I feel like I’m going to be sick….” As Jordan and Alan stay before him, Kyle grabs one of the garbage bins, bringing right over and placing it between the pair.

“Take deep breaths; close your eyes, count to 10, and sip on the water. Relax. It’s over; you’re going to be okay. They’re just memories. They can’t hurt you. She can’t hurt you anymore either as she’s locked away, Chase. Keep telling yourself that as you take the deep breaths and drink the water. Just relax and take it slow…..”

The Tale of Love & Racing – Chapter 92: Coke Zero Sugar 400

Thursday July 5, 2018 – Daytona International Speedway

“Cancelled,” Alan announces officially as they sit in the garage stall watching the rain fall from the sky. “That’s all she wrote. Least you were happy with the car.”

“We’ll be fine,” Chase states as he slowly stands up, glancing down at his foot.

“So are you going to finally admit that it’s sore?” Chase just glances over his shoulder at the crew chief who just grins. “I’m glad you listened earlier, by the way. I wasn’t actually going to call Cindy, but doing something once in a while to put a small smile on Sarina’s face – even just as small as that, try it sometime because it helps.”

“I don’t need relationship advice, even if I find ways to screw things up….” Alan was now confused as he stood up, walking over to his driver.

“What are you talking about?” Chase lets out a sigh as he knew this was only a matter of time.

“I kissed Erin while I was drunk in Ireland. I don’t even remember doing it, but I di-”

“Did you tell Sarina, yet?” Chase nods his head yes. “Well considering that she was concerned all over you earlier, I say that she took it well…”

“She was angry and a little upset, but she let it go understanding the circumstances. The problem is a photographer caught it and despite Erin’s attempts, an article will be published Monday with that image.” Alan knew what that meant immediately, already having seen some of the stuff that had emerged over the past couple of weeks. “But article or not, I screwed up, right?”

“You made an innocent drunken mistake. At least you kissed someone you knew and not a stranger, if that makes you feel better.” Chase shakes his head. “Don’t beat yourself up. We all mistakes. It’s not about the mistake we made, but how we handle that mistake. You talked to Sarina, and she is willing to let it go. Now weather this storm and everything will be fine….” Alan gives him a pat on the shoulder before letting him go.

Chase then makes his way out of the garage stall, opening the umbrella as he begins the trek through the garage area. While it was a longer walk than he would’ve wanted given how he was feeling, it was actually peaceful listening to the drops against the umbrella as he ran everything through his mind.

From Erin and the discussion of feelings there, to the kiss, to the forth coming article, there was enough under that lone section to keep him occupied for awhile.

However, he couldn’t ignore the thoughts of Alison that figured into his mind, as he pondered everything she said on Monday – games or not – and how that figured into what happened, including the repetitive baby question. He also knew that he was supposed to be on the stand on Monday, and that was certainly going to be a pleasant experience. Who wanted to be the one to recount all of the details?

Though his mind also centered back around Sarina, and their relationship together. While everything began with her putting him through a ringer of things, it seemed it’d been role reversal over the past year. Under previous circumstances, she would’ve ran kicking and screaming, letting everyone bear the heat of her anger. However, she had taken it much calmer that he had predicted, and it was welcoming. He appreciated how caring she was with him, and wished with everything at times that he could change the news they got Monday together.

Every thought of her also reminded him that it was worth asking her to marry him, because he couldn’t see himself with anybody different. Their love was pure, and he couldn’t wait to see where it took them next together.

He makes his way back to the motorcoach, making his way inside as Sarina glances over at him surprised.

“Did you walk your ass all the way back to the motorcoach from the garage?” She asks as he puts the umbrella down.

“I needed some time to think,” he offers as he places it outside to dry off, before closing the door behind him.

“Are you okay?” He nods his head as he makes his way over to where she was sitting up on the couch now. “You know, you can tell me whatever is on your mind if you need someone to talk to.’

“I know, and if I needed someone to talk to, trust me, I would tell you whatever. But I’m okay.” He then leans in and kisses her lips. “I actually cleared my mind more than I thought I would.”

“That’s all nice and great, but there’s something you’re forgetting….” He then lets out a sigh as he knew there was going immediately. “You are supposed to be taking it easy on your ankle. Instead, you’re prancing through the entire garage.”

“I’m fi-”

“You need to go lay down, and get that foot up on a pillow with some ice.” She then tugs on his firesuit. “You need to get out of this first…”

“I may need some help with that…” Considering his admission to her before about partially holding back at times due to everything, she was surprised by how forth coming this was appearing.

“I can help you in any way possible, Chase…” She then stands up to reach his level, their lips immediately clashing together. They slowly make their way towards the back of the motorcoach, reaching the kitchen portion of the motorcoach, before Sarina pushes him back against the wall.

“Sarina….” Her lips find his again, followed by leaving a trail of kisses along his chin.

“I can’t help it…” He wasn’t about to deny it as he lifted his head up, allowing the kisses to continue down his neck. Though as she reaches where the mark was previously left from Alison, she slows a little. “It’s almost gone…”

“Thankfully…” She then continues the kisses as she loosens the strap around the neck of the firesuit. “You’re supposed to be taking car-”

“Oh I’m certainly taking care of you.” He then laughs as he wraps his arms around her, picking her up in his arms as she immediately wraps her legs around him.

“I know, but you’re supposed to be careful on a foot, remember? Relax, I got this…” He then carries her to the back of the motorcoach, laying her down slowly on the bed, as he climbs on top of her.

“This is more comfortable anyway…” She then gives him a small tug, letting her lips find his again while pulling the zipper down on the firesuit.

Friday July 6, 2018 – Daytona International Speedway

“So where do you start tonight, anyway?” Alex asks as they walk up pit road together.

The first round of Cup qualifying had gone well so far for Hendrick Motorsports, with three of the four in the top-12 to move onto the second round. There were even higher hopes surrounding Chase as he had posted the quickest speed in the first round, too.

“11th, he answers Alex, speaking of the XFINITY Series race, which saw qualifying get rained out.

“So you’ll be leading by Lap 10?” Jimmie questions and Chase just laughs back in response. “What did you do to your ankle anyway? No matter who I’ve asked, they won’t tell me.”

“Fooling around in the pool.” Jimmie just lets out an aggravated sigh.

“Did you ask Ryan yet?” Alex wonders and Jimmie shakes his head no. “That’s the problem.”

“I just don’t get why this guy won’t admit to us how he did it,” Jimmie starts. “I mean, we’ve all done something stupid one time or another…” Alex then throws his hands up in the air immediately.

“Hey, I’m innocent!” Both Jimmie and Chase laugh back in response.

“I bet Emily would say different,” Chase comments. “Ryan and I were a little drunk, and decided to have a diving contest into the pool. I slipped a little running to the pool, turned my foot the wrong way as I fell in.”

“Ouch,” Alex says as Jimmie just shakes his head.

“Classic,” Jimmie adds. “Everybody knows my dumb stunt – surfing on top of the golf kart.”

“I still can’t believe that Jeff cut his head open at your bachelor party,” Chase comments as Jimmie chuckles a little remembering that. “How’d that happen anyway?”

“We were comparing dance moves, and he tried to show us all up. Oh he did a great job at that…” Jimmie shakes his head as he chuckles a little more. “But I swear, I didn’t say go ahead and break dance on the table.”

“Are you sure the tequila didn’t make you say otherwise?” Jimmie laughs a little more.

“So Jeff cuts his head at Jimmie’s bachelor party, and Dale had a cut after Ricky’s party,” Alex starts. “Chase, we know what we need to do….”

“No getting drunk at their parties and doing stupid shit?” Chase questions and Alex nods his head.

“Oh you just wait boy,” Jimmie offers. “There’s a reason why Dale and I want to plan your bachelor party.” Chase knew that was probably not going to happen as Ryan and Darrell had already snagged all rights to that, thankfully – or maybe not.

“My wedding better not turn into the Hangover Winter Edition.” Jimmie and Alex just chuckle together.

Sarina glances over a couple of the crew member’s shoulders, watching the live timing and scoring closely, fingers crossed.

“Come on baby….” She says quietly as he came off of turn four.

“Pole!!” Jordan and Josh say excitedly together with a high-five, before both turning around to hug Sarina.

“Great job boys!” She says to them, before going through the whole team with high-fives.

Once Chase pulled back on pit road, she stood back as she watched the various team members trade hugs with him, followed by the media interviews. He then makes his way over to her, leaning in for a kiss.

“I’ve been waiting for that,” he says with a smile.

“I didn’t want to interrupt you,” she replies as he places his hands on her hips, holding her cloes.

“You can interrupt whenever you want.” She then smiles back in return.

“I love you, and spectacular job. Those boys built you one helluva car!” He then glances back over at the guys, before looking towards her.

“I’m not going to argue with you.”

Sarina sat on the pit box nervously, reminding herself to take the odd deep breath every once in awhile as she watched the drama unfold before her.

Starting from 11th, Chase broke into the top-eight immediately, and remained in the top-10 throughout the first two stages of the event. From what she could see, he had a good car and could make the moves he needed, but for now was biding his time and waiting for the lines to work in his favor.

With 40 to go, it was time to go and that showed as he broke into the top-five. Her legs began tapping a bit as she waited for him to make his next move, followed by a big sigh of relief in watching the first big wreck happen with 20 laps to go behind him. That sigh grew larger when the second wreck took place eight laps later, once again behind him.

“We can do this,” she comments quietly to herself as Chase ran third.

“All of the sudden, the power steering is not working,” she then hears Chase over the radio under the yellow flag. “We’re also running – 260.”

“Do whatever you feel is right,” Chad Norris instructs as Sarina just shakes her head.

“Something feels off. Coming in….” Chase then makes his way down pit road and all Sarina can do his shake her head, trying to avoid cursing up a storm while sitting there looking on disgusted.

“Broken oil pump belt. We’re done…”

“Shit!” Sarina finally lets out as she just sits back on the box, shaking her head.

Despite how nervous she was, she was excited for those final laps to play out as she knew with the position he was in, they could’ve challenged – and possibly won.

“That sucks,” she comments as she rubs his shoulders later on that night.

“Sometimes it’s just not your night,” Chase replies as he leans back in her arms. “Move on and try again tomorrow…..”

Saturday July 7, 2018 – Daytona International Speedway

Sarina could only let out a very long sigh as she made her way through the garage area.

Just like last night, the race started out promising with Chase pacing the field around the speedway, and running up front. Just like last night, he appeared to have a car that he could make the moves to win when the time came. But also like last night, the night had ended early.

An ill-timed move from Ricky Stenhouse Jr. resulted in contact, causing William Byron to go around. Being up front, nobody had anywhere to go, and that included Chase who got caught up right in the middle with heavy rear-end damage.

“Are you okay?” She asks as he comes out of the care center, and he simply nods his head. “Ricky was driving like a dick tonight from Lap 1 until now. He’s been pissing everybody off. I hope he wrecks before this is over.”

“It’s just a product of restric-” Chase starts.

“No, it’s a product of a dickhead!” Chase then looks at her surprised. “I’m not kidding, Chase. Just go ask my boss if you need confirmation.”

“I saw Kyle in there and he didn’t look happy so I’ll pass.” He then wraps an arm around her. “The main thing is that everybody is okay, and we have tomorrow to ourselves to spend on the beach and enjoy the sun.”

“Beachbums?” He nods his head as she lays her head on his shoulder. “I don’t care what we’re doing, as long as we’re together.”

“The feeling is mutual….”

Monday July 9, 2018 – Court House

“Are you okay?” Ryan asks as he walks over, folding a piece of paper in hand.

“I just have to go and say what happened, right?” Chase questions back and Ryan simply nods his head. “You have the article…..”

“It’d probably be best if you just read this late-” Chase snatches it from Ryan’s fingers as Ryan lets out a sigh. “Or not…..” Chase unfolds the paper, and begins reading the article, which showed the image in all its glory.

“Do I want to know?” Sarina asks as she walks over and Ryan shakes his head no.

“As released originally by the Irish Times, Chase Elliott was seen sharing a kiss with Erin Blaney, the sister of his best friend and vacation partner Ryan Blaney,” Chase reads out loud as Sarina just crosses her arms. “According to a quote obtained from Ms. Blaney, the kiss did not mean anything between the pair, but rather was a case of intoxication mistake as the group had been drinking while taking a tour of a pub earlier in the day.  The pair remain best friends, nothing more, according to her, with the incident already in the past.”

“That doesn’t sound too bad….” Ryan almost wanted to laugh as his eyes never left Chase.

“It gets better,” Ryan offers, earning a curious glance from Sarina.

“This incident took place at the same time as a previous reported encounter between Sarina Ott and ex-teammate Christopher bell in the Iowa garage area,” Chase continues reading, as Sarina eyes turn to slits of anger. “As noted at the time, the pair spent several minutes talking, before sharing a hug. It wasn’t also their first time spotted together in the garage, as there were rumors last year about them being together. Speculation was fueled then on whether Ott was turning to Bell for comfort due to Elliott’s situation with Ms. Reynolds….”

“….and of course they detail the court case in full of what they’re allowed to so far….”

“So essentially, they basically feel that I’m turning to Erin, you’re turning to Christopher – all because of Alison, and there may be more to my situation with Alison that is fueling this.” Chase then folds the paper back up, handing it back to Ryan. “Speculation, just as I thought would happen.”

“Can I kill them?” Sarina asks and Chase laughs while shaking his head no.

“Then you’d have to share a jail cell with Alison,” Chase comments as Sarina just shrugs her shoulders.

“I could kill her, too…” Chase and Ryan then both look on shocked. “Geez, I’m kidding. I’d never do that. I could never be locked in a cell away from this cutie…” She then places a hand on Chase’s. “But they are rats for what they wrote.”

“That’s their job, though. That’s what gets them reads, and publicity and everything they need. And what are we going to do in return?” Sarina just smiles.

“Continuing living our lives as if nothing changed and not give them the satisfaction they want. I love you, you love me, and we know where we both stand. That’s all that matters.” She then kisses his lips, lightly. “I love you, Clyde, and I’m here for you today, and always. We’re going to get through whatever they throw at you….”

The Tale of Love & Racing; Sarina’s Story – Chapter 91: A Pool Slip-Up

Wednesday, July 4 – Charlotte, North Carolina

“This is the life,” Sarina comments as she puts her feet up, smile locked on her face as she glances over with a smile.

How could she complain when she was surrounded by best friends and everybody was sharing drinks, stories, and some outdoor fun on Independence Day? Laying by the pool, soaking up the fun, catching up with her best friend while the boys played in the yard was everything that she could ask for after the stress of Monday.

“So you’d give up racing and go full beach bum?” Lindsay questions and Sarina just laughs.

“You know already that I wouldn’t survive that,” Sarina replies. “Heck, not being able to drive this weekend is going to drive me nuts. Oh wait, Daytona does that enough to me already.” She then looks over at Lindsay. “Think Alan would notice if I snuck a bit of vodka or rum in my drink on the pit box?”

“Now that’s just crazy talk from the lady who doesn’t drink…” Sarina lets out a sigh as she lays back in her seat.

“Let’s just say that restrictor plate racing is the reason that I will have a gray hair at the age of 40. It’s fun as hell in that moment, but watching Chase, I can barely stomach it.” Lindsay nods her head in agreement as she rubs her stomach.

“I just hope this little one co-operates enough that I can watch this weekend….” Sarina then glances over, feeling a little bit of concern.

“Still giving you issues?” Lindsay nods her head.

“They say morning sickness, but I call it just sickness. I can get through a couple days good, and then I go a couple days where I just continue throwing up no matter what.” The girls then watch as the boys make their way back up to the porch, grabbing another beer each out of the cooler. The boys also made sure to treat the girls as queens, with Ryan delivering a lemonade to Lindsay as Chase placed a glass before Sarina. “For a girl that doesn’t drink, that looks suspicious….”

“Take a sip and thank me later,” Chase comments, dropping a quick kiss on her cheek, before going back over to the porch ledge with Ryan. Sarina picks up the glass, taking a sniff as a smile immediately forms on her face.

“Did you seriously order in a bottle from Amsterdam?” Sarina questions as Chase just glances over at Ryan with a smile.

“Well, well, someone is trying to find his way to his girl’s heart,” Ryan offers with a laugh. “Are you trying to get lucky under the fireworks tonight or what?” Chase just rolls his eyes.

“She deserves a treat for everything that we’ve been dealing with,” Chase comments as he glances over the backyard. “I haven’t made it easy on her, Ryan…” Ryan glances over at his friend.

“Alison was not your fau-”

“But kissing your sister was my fault, and while Alison wasn’t my fault, I still appreciate Sarina for being there, comforting me, giving me space when I need it, and being understanding in my emotions. It seems no matter what I throw at her, she may get angry at that minute, but once then she’s my rock and there for me to lean on no matter what.” He takes a quick glance back at the girls, before looking over at Ryan. “How did we get so lucky, Ryan?”

“I don’t know, man, but I don’t take a single minute for granted.” Ryan holds his bottle up. “Cheers for two wonderful ladies that will do anything for us, and cheers to making this summer memorable.”

“I’ll drink to that.” They share a clash of bottles together, before taking a long sip each.

The rest of the afternoon was filled with more drinks and stories, with everybody just enjoying the chance to relax as they watched the sunset off the porch. Once the sun had set, the boys retreated to the garage, pulling out the fireworks that they had purchased, evil grins on their faces as the girls just glanced at each other nervous.

“Promise to be careful?” Lindsay questions as Ryan glances over.

“Absolutely,” he replies as he blows her a kiss.

“Are you sure you can handle this after what you’ve drank?” Sarina wonders and Chase nods his head.

“Just sit back and enjoy the show,” he offers, as he hands each of the girls a sparkler lit up.

The girls giggled as they made different shapes in the air with the sparklers, including each of their boy’s car numbers inside of a heart. Their eyes were caught on the sky seconds later as it was filled with a variety of different colors and sizes, with each boom surprising more after the previous.

“That was worth every penny,” Ryan offers and Chase nods his head in agreement.

Under the moonlight, another round of drinks was passed around, followed by perhaps a couple after that. The girls could tell the boys were certainly a little lit, but they weren’t about to stop them as they’d been behaved for the time being. There was the agreement that if things started to go off the rails, they’d put an end to the night.

Everything continued to go smoothly – until the boys were set on starting a competition as to who could have the fanciest, craziest dive into the pool. A glance at each other, and the girls were feeling more nerves than earlier.

“Watch this….” Chase let out as he took the run to the diving board, ready to set the bar high. Though rather than going for the diving board, he slipped on the path, foot twisting slightly, before landing head-first in the pool.

“Shit!” Sarina and Ryan yelled immediately together as Sarina jumped up from her seat.

“Chase?!?” She says as she makes her way over to the pool.

“I’m okay….” He lets out after his head pops up above water. “I’m okay…” Sarina was set to believe him as she saw no visible marks anywhere on the top of his head or face, but his response didn’t have her totally convinced.

“Oh really?” He then swims over to the edge of the pool, making his way up on the edge and sitting there. “Chase…”

“I’ll be fine…” He then glances down at his foot, moving it slightly as he lets out a small grunt. “I probably just sprained it….”

“I hope so because otherwise, Alan is going to kill you….” She then makes her way over to him, holding her hands out. “Come on, let’s go. You’re going inside and putting that up immediately.”

“I’ll be fin-”

“No ifs, ands, or buts. If you don’t get that up with some ice on it, it’s going to swell like a bitch and you’ll be sorry tomorrow.” He then reluctantly swings around, slowly getting up with Sarina’s help and hobbling in the house.

“Come on Ryan; fun is over for tonight,” Lindsay says as she grabs Ryan by the hand, dragging him in the house after her.

Thursday, July 5 – Daytona International Speedway

Sarina makes her way into the garage stall, giving the crew guys a quick wave as she does, making her way over to where Chase stood. Her eyes immediately sunk to the ground, noticing how he was trying to keep weight off his foot.

“You know, it’d be easier to do that if you were laying down with it up with ice on it as you were instructed to,” she offers as he just lets out a sigh.

Ever since he had woken up that morning before flying, she bugged him about it. She then persisted to bug him once they landed, making him put it back up on a pillow with ice while they snagged a nap. It seemed the only conversation that they were having over the past 24 hours surrounded a foot.

“I’m fine,” he offers as she glances up into his eyes, shaking her head in disagreement. His eyes obviously told a different story.

“Chase, you’re in pai-”

“I’m fine. I can handle it…” She then lets out a sigh as she crosses her arms.

“What if you broke it? What if you tore some ligaments? What if there’s more to this than you’re letting on? You should go get checked it out.” He then glances over at her.

“I’m supposed to be in the car shortly, and you want me to go get it checked out?” She nods her head. “I’m fine, Sarina.” She then places her hand on top of his.

“Chase, it’d make me feel a lot better if you got it checked out, so please listen to me….”

“Listen to her Chase,” Alan suggests as he glances over at him. he knew how Sarina was at Daytona with her nerves, and he knew anything to give her comfort was warranted. “You’ve got an hour to XFINITY practice.  You’ve got plenty of time.”

“Not helping, Ala-” Chase starts as Alan gives him a stern glance.

“Do I need to call your mother?” Chase’s jaw drops in shock. “Do what your told, please.” Chase then glances back at Sarina with a sigh, almost in total disbelief.

“Let’s go….” She then takes his hand with hers, as they make their way slowly out of the garage stall through the garage to the medical center.

Thankfully, his predictions of it being just a sprain were right as all the of the x-rays came back clean, showing all bones in their proper places. With the recommendation of more elevation and ice when he got a chance, he was back in the garage ready to start the day.

“Make sure you’re drinking lots,” Sarina offers as she watches him get set to climb in the car, earning a curious glance from him. “I don’t want a repeat of last week.”

“I’ll take care of myself, okay?” He tells her. “You don’t need to worry about me. I’ll be fine, and we’ll have a good weekend…” She then takes a deep breath as she grabs onto his hand.

“Just promise me you’ll be safe.” He then pulls her close to him so they were touching head-to-toe.

“Always.” He then gives her a kiss on the lips, before climbing the car as she takes another deep breath, slowly walking away.

She makes her way up onto the GMS Racing hauler, placing on her headset as she glances out at the oval. Trying to calm herself with another deep breath, she hoped the butterflies cooled off as they went through the rest of the weekend.

“Are you okay?” She hears Chad Norris ask as he joins her up on top of the hauler.

“Usual restrictor plate nerves,” she offers as her eyes glance down to the garage, seeing the No. 23 Untuckit Camaro pulling out of the garage.

“I’ve heard of wives and girlfriends being nervous, but I’d never thought I’d see a fellow racecar driver be nervous…” She then glances over at Chad.

“You’re looking at a driver who has seen the worst of these tracks from the driver’s seat, though. I know what it feels like to hit that wall. I know what it feels like to ride that wall with two wheels because you get pinched up there, trapped, nowhere to go and along for the ride. I think because I’ve experienced that helpless feeling, it makes my nerves worse knowing that there’s nothing that you can do if it starts around you. besides, I watched him wreck at Talladega and you can ask Alan and Jordan how I was – not pretty.” Chad then places a hand on her shoulder.

“I can understand then, but I will promise you that my guys built a real safe, fast racecar, and we’re going to be fine tomorrow night.” She nods her head.

“I don’t doubt that, but try convincing the butterflies in my stomach….”

Chase leans against the wall, knowing that there were only 10 minutes between the pair of practices, and Alan would be set for him to take his first laps of the first Cup session. After feeling comfortable with the XFINITY Series car and the moves they could make, he just hoped that same feelings was there in this practice, too.

It was also a bonus when Chad offered to not run the second XFINITY practice since there wasn’t much else they could do to get better. whether he’d admit it openly or not, the sooner he could chill in the motorcoach with his foot up, the better as it was sorer than he thought it’d be.

He then hears his phone go off, which had him a little confused as everybody was pretty good in avoiding anything during practice sessions knowing that was his priority. Though seeing the number on his phone, he answered it.

“Hey,” he says simply as he stays in the same spot.

“Hey,” Erin replies at the other end. “I thought I’d call you and let you know that the article will go live on Monday. I did what I could, but there was no way that stop it from coming out…” Chase lets out a sigh, knowing what that meant as it was only a matter of time until the world knew he kissed Erin in Ireland.

“Thanks for the heads-up.” Erin could see the disappointment in his voice.

“Have you told Sarina what happened?” Chase closes his eyes, as he remembered that conversation clearly.

“She took it better than I imagined, Erin. A little anger but not as much as I thought, understanding that it was a drunken lapse in judgment. Now, how do you convince the world of that?” Erin lays back in her bed.

“Everybody isn’t going to believe that you were drunk and it was a lapse of judgment. I think, if I’m being honest, everybody will split down the middle. Carolyn gave me the choice to add a comment, in which I did with that statement – so it isn’t like you’re coming up with a later-on statement. Chase, I’m really sor-”

“You didn’t kiss me, Erin; I kissed you. It’s my decisi-”

“A drunken decision that you don’t even remember for that matter, therefore holds no weight. It’s unfair that you have to shoulder all of this, from the trial with Alison to the kiss that was really nothing. Hopefully it blows over quickly.” Chase wanted to laugh as he knew that was impossible. It was only a matter of time that the Alison would blow-up further with the trial dates scheduled, and details to be revealed.

“Just know that whatever they may say about you, it’s not true. You’re amazing, and I’ll always be your best friend.”

“That goes both ways, Chase. I’ll see you when I get back to the States. Have fun in Daytona this weekend. Go snag a win, will ya?” He then chuckles.

“I’ll try – if you stop distracting me from practice.” Erin then rolls over, glancing at the time, doing the math silently in her head.

“Ah shit, I screwed up. I thought that practice was over by now. Sorry…”

“It’s okay. I’m not mad at you, but I better let you go. We’ll talk later, okay?”

“Absolutely. Bye Chase.”

“Bye Erin.” He then hangs up, a small smile on his face.

Certainly the circumstances of that call sucked as he would’ve preferred no article at all, but she never failed to put a smile on his face.

The Tale of Love & Racing: Sarina’s Story – Chapter 90: Alison’s Story

Monday July 2, 2018

Chase takes his seat in the court room in the front row, watching as Sarina sits to his left with his father to his right. It didn’t surprise anybody to see Cindy sit in the same row alongside Bill, with Kyle alongside Sarina. With about room for five people per row, Alan and Jordan had taken the immediate seats behind Chase, along with Samantha, Ryan, and Lindsay.

While it was supposed to be important meeting day at Hendrick Motorsports, Chase was caught off-guard in seeing the rest of the team enter and take seats, ready to show their support as they each still wanted a piece of her for the bomb. Chase even questioned Alan about it, to only to be told, “Our own team meeting, and the group shop meeting was pushed back to tomorrow, as a show of support for you and Sarina.”

The bigger surprise was seeing Christopher and Morgan walk in to Sarina, but Christopher told her that he wanted to be there to support his best friend as much as he could.

“Are you okay?” Alan questions as he places a hand on Chase’s shoulder, earning a simple nod in response. Chase wanted to remain as strong as possible through this, and that meant showing least amount of emotion as possible because he knew that was Alison’s end game.

“Thanks for the advice Saturday by the way,” Chase offers as Alan smiles back in response. He didn’t care if he got the appreciation in return or not, as long as Chase took it to heart and did what he needed to do.

“All rise!” The court officer says, as everybody stands up. “Now presenting the honorable Judge Gus.” The judge enters, taking her spot as expected.

“Everybody may be seated,” the judge states, as Chase takes a shaky deep breath as he does so. He knew the next step was Alison’s entrance, and that’s where all the emotions would begin. “Bring her in…”

The doors to the right of the room open as an officer enters, holding Alison as her wrists remained bound together in handcuffs. She instantly looks over towards Chase as a smirk forms on her face.

“It’s so nice to see you again sweetheart,” she starts quietly. “Do you want to feel your baby?”

“How about you just reveal that your pregnant with somebody else’s kid?” Bill questions as he keeps a strong grip on Chase’s right hand.

“Ahh, is there a problem Grandpa?” She then smirks even more. “I can’t wait for family dinners together as the baby gro-”

“You’ll be rotting away in hell for what you did to my son,” Cindy snaps, earning a couple surprised glances as Bill reaches over for her hand, too.

“Order!” The judge instructs as he slams down the gravel. “I will not tolerate outbursts from individuals in the court room. We’re simply here to hear Alison say what happened to each count of guilty plea, to help determine her sentencing and whether the insanity plea is viable. Take the stand, young lady.”

“It’d be my pleasure as I’m sure momma dearest would like to hear how her son played right into my hands, right Chase?” She then takes her seat beside the judge, smirk still firmly planted on her face as she kept eyes locked directly on Chase. Chase just pointed his own gaze down, taking a deep breath, as he tried to remain as calm as possible, despite feeling the same panic that bit him the last time they were there.

“As I stated, we will begin with your guilty pleas – and then it’ll be up to you and your lawyer to discuss the non-guilty pleas. We want simple explanations for your actions, understood?” Alison finally takes her eyes off of Chase and looks over at the judge.

“Please, let me tell the tale of our estranged secret love affair….” The judge opens the file on her desk.

“In March 2018, you pled guilty to poisoning Mr. Chase Elliott’s drink. Why did you do that?” Alison smiles as she crosses her arms.

“I could always tell that he loved me from the first day that we crossed paths at the Hooters Pageant. That’s why he didn’t want me to win – because then I’d be off doing all these tours and such. However, I get that he’s a little quiet and reserved. I also get how he’s kind of stuck in a fake love situation with that chick. Sometimes a little gentle persuasion does the trick. I spiked his drink, figuring that maybe he’d give in once he got a taste of what a real woman can offer him.” Sarina just rolls her eyes in disgust as Chase fought the laughter that was willing to escape his lips.

Though of course he got the defense that Alison wanted to use in the fact that they were having a secret love affair behind Sarina’s back, because Chase wouldn’t want to break up with Sarina and prove everybody wrong in how she got her ride and how they initially got together. it was crazy enough to even seem a little believable – if any bit of having feelings for Alison was true.

“She’s certainly crazy,” Morgan whispers, earning a quiet chuckle and nod of approval from Christopher.

“We haven’t even got into the worst of it yet,” Christopher replies, remembering everything that he and Sarina had talked about together.

“You pled guilty to the attempted murder of Alan Gustafson. Why did you do that?” Alison lets out a sigh as she glances between Chase and the crew chief.

“I get it. I’m not the perfect princess and certainly how I entered Chase’s life is no saint of actions, either. So because of that, it seems everybody wants to judge me – including Chase’s parents it seems. Chase was just about to show me how much he loved in his trailer, when the crew chief showed up. I figured if I scared him, he’d go away and we could get the deed done. Meanwhile, I was never going to hit him….” Alan chuckles as he remembered looking straight down the barrel of the gun until he had jumped out of the way. The memory made him take a pause, and thank himself for his lucky graces that day. “If I may, your honor, I would like to detail the events in the trai-”

“That’ll be for another time, unless you want to plead guilty to sexual assault as you are charged.” Alison then looks over at Chase shocked.

“You charged me with sexual assault after you brought on that kiss yourself? Wow, I’m impressed how far you’ll cover for your poor decision to sleep with that tramp and regret it later.” Chase looks down, shaking his head as he regretted every single moment there. Why did he let any of it go on as far as he did?

“The only regret that we have is not knocking your head off sooner!” Cindy comments, earning another round of surprise glances around the room.

“Mom!” Chase lets out as he looks over at her, shocked himself. Cindy was normally the one in control of the family, and every situation. However, that was now her second outburst of the day.

“Anymore outbursts from Ms. Cindy Elliott and you could be held in contempt,” the judge warns as Cindy just laughs. It was irony how the judge was willing to throw the innocent in jail, but yet at one time had enabled Alison’s escape. “Ms. Elliott….”

“Mom, please….” Chase reaches over Bill’s lap, placing his hand on hers. “I need you here with me so please listen. I know your angry, and so am I. There’s so many things that I want to tell her, but we need to let this go on as it is, and I need you here for me….”

“What did you want to tell me, Chasey-boo?” Alison then questions, snatching his attention away from Cindy. “Did you want to admit to the world that you love me?” He then laughs as he shakes his head back in response.

“Try again, bitch….”

“That’s enough from you too, Mr. Elliott,” the judge states. “In May 2018, you pled guilty to kidnapping Sarina Ott in the state of Tennessee. Explain why you did that, please.” Alison lets out a sigh as she glances at the pair.

“That should be obvious now,” she starts. “It’s clear that Chase loves me more than her, and has only kept her out of protection of his own career, decisions, and kind-heart in not wanting to leave her stranded on the side of a road. That said, she always gets in the way of our love – despite knowing that she’ll never be first in his life. I had to get her out of the way so I could really show Chase what he meant to me, and maybe convince him to let her go.” Chase just shakes his head as he tries to ignore every bit of reasoning out of her mouth as nothing made sense or was even believable no matter what planet you lived on.

“Who in their right mind would believe that Chase loved her more than Sarina?” Alan wonders out-loud, earning a glance from either side of him.

“A sociopath, which is what Alison is,” Samantha starts. “She doesn’t understand what other people feel, therefore not knowing the consequences of her actions. She doesn’t understand that Chase’s reaction to her was not out of love, but out of fear and pain. Combined with that, she’s a manipulative bitch who will do whatever she wants to get whatever she needs. She went after Chase for a reason, Alan….” Alan glances back at her.

“Opportunity to land herself in fame and fortune, hence trying to pawn a pregnancy off….” Samantha nods her head in agreement as she looks back towards Alison.

“We have reached the end of your guilty pleas,” the judge states, surprising everybody. “There was also charges of stalking, attempted murder in Florida, sexual assault in a trailer, assault via tripping an individual, robbery of a ring, and sexual assault.” Chase lets out a sigh as he knew those would all take forever, and brought forth the most pain, million times worse than what they had addressed. “Would you like to discuss these charges?”

“I don’t see how there’s any point because I didn’t do those things, right?” Alison offers, before looking back towards Chase with a smirk. “I’d rather talk about my baby with my future daddy. I want to know his feelings, whether he thinks it’s a boy or a girl, and any name ideas he has. Oh, and please tell me that there’s a baby shower coming. I’d assume your mommy is planning it, right?” Alison then rubs her stomach as her smirk widens. “I remember the night that we conceived this baby, every single detail. Your skin was so smooth, so soft, and I just took in every single inch. I took you long and hard, and slow so I could savor it all – and you just let me knowing that I had total control and were in love….”

Chase focuses his eyes on the ground, taking a shaky deep breath as he tries to make the hot tears that were forming in his eyes go away. He felt his stomach flip flop immediately as a clear image entered his mind upon each of her words.

“I remember how you laid back in bed, telling me that I could do whatever I wanted that night,” Alison continues in a low, seducing voice. “I remember stripping you down to nothing. I remember leaving that mark on your neck, and you saying how you’d treasure that until our next meeting. I remember when I first tasted you, and how I couldn’t get enough. you went hard immediately for me, and I just took it from there baby, and woah it was a night of pure hot sexual joy. Chase, do you remember, baby?”

“Chase….” Bill says quietly as he maintains his firm grip on Chase’s hand. “Ignore her. She’s just doing this to get under your skin and make it crawl. Just close your eyes, and block it out. You know that never happened like she said….”

“Oh Bill, you just wish that was the case so that way you can stay in your crystal ball of belief in that your son has the perfect engagement to Sarina. After all, you liked her too since she drove a late model that you owned, right? It’s okay to realize that your son’s first love isn’t what it seems and there’s a dirty little secret. I mean, your first love didn’t work out either.” Bill didn’t care what she was saying, as his eyes and focus remained on Chase, just wanting to do whatever he needed to help him get through this.

“Can we put a gag order on her already?” Christopher demands from his seat, earning even more surprised glances as he wasn’t one to freak out on a nature.

“Oh Bell, I’m glad that you’re here,” Alison starts next, earning a surprised glance on both Christopher and Morgan’s faces. “It’d be great if you could explain to the court how you and Sarina have been having some great weekends together. I mean, I couldn’t believe that article that was released. How amazing how you guys were caught already. I should’ve given you some more pointers on those secrets, huh? But it’s great because you can reveal your love to Sarina, and I can reveal mine for Chase. I just feel bad for precious Morgan and how she’ll be left out….” Christopher’s frustration was set to hit a new height as his hand immediately formed a fist.

“Relax,” Morgan told him as she placed both of her hands on top of her fist. “We talked about this, Christopher. I know what you mean to me, and what we mean to each other. I also know the friendship that you have with Sarina, and I will never be jealous or think it is more. She is just doing pawning her deed off to you to try and get to you and Chase more. She wants to get us all feuding so we break apart more…”

“How about you stop telling your damn dreams and speak about reality for once in your bloody life?” Cindy questions. “I’m sorry but I don’t care what that judge says. I will not bother to sit here and listen to you twist words and situations to torture people. You deserve every bit of sentence you get, and I hope you rot away to little bits and pieces. Better yet, I hope you find someone in prison that can torture you just like you’ve tortured my son.”

“You’re just afraid to admit it as well, sweetheart,” Alison states with a grin on her face as she lets out a laugh. “Isn’t it great that we’re finally talking about it, though? I’m glad that we’re getting it out in the open…..” She then looks back towards Chase. “I just wish you’d say something to me, please….”

“That’s enough!” The judge finally states as she looks towards Alison. “You’ve explained what you did, and you had a chance to defend yourself and didn’t choose to accept it. We’re done.” She then looks back out to the courtroom. “As for everybody else in here, I already warned you once and I’ll let it be known again – outbursts will land you in contempt.”

“It took her quite a while to speak out,” Cindy whispers, earning another stern glance from Bill.

“We will re-convene at a later date to begin testimony from the prosecution with their witnesses, including victims. I hope everybody is better behaved then. Court adjourned!”

The judge leaves, followed by the officer with Alison. Everybody else files out of the court room, except Chase who still sat frozen with his little circle surrounding him.

“Chase, talk to us, please….” Alan offers as he places a hand on his shoulder.

“I’m fine,” he replies as he glances up for the first time in awhile. “She is sick and twisted, and that’s all she was trying to do there – get under our skin, get a reaction, satisfy herself. It worked considering some of the things that were said.” He then takes a deep breath. “But I’m strong, and I’m going to get through this. I don’t care what she says. I’m fine. Everything that she just said is a total fictional imagination and I can’t wait till that is thrown out.”

“You did a great job handling yourself today,” Bill comments as he stands up, taking Cindy’s hand as he does so. “Call me if you need me, okay?” Chase accepts, nodding his head, as his parents head out together.

“For once, do you think Dad will be giving the lecture instead of Mama?” Alan and Sarina offer a light chuckle in response. “Seriously, though, I am okay. It took a lot to block out what she was saying and not create my own theories again, but I’m fine.” He then looks over at Sarina. “Besides, you’re my focus.”

“Chase, I told you the other night that I’d do anything for you,” Sarina starts. “That includes being there for you as much as you need me, too. You don’t need to put up a fron-”

“I’m not,” he replies. “Besides, we have an appointment to get to and that’s what should matter most here.”

“I know that’s on our minds, but I care more about how you’re doing. So please, let me be there…” Chase takes a deep breath as he slowly stands up.

“I’m fine. One day at a time. I’m ready to just move forward…..”

“Remember what I’ve always told you – don’t let it eat you,” Alan warns as he gives him one final pat on the shoulder. “Call me if you need me – both of you.”

“You have my word,” Chase replies, giving the crew chief a hug, before looking back towards Sarina. “I’m not lying to you. She didn’t bother me today because my number one focus was you. I knew as soon as she focused on that baby, she wanted to get under our skins about that and I knew to look towards you.” He then pulls Sarina close. “We’re going to be okay…..”

“I know that,” she replies as she looks into his eyes. “I love you, always….” She then leans in for a kiss.

********

“I appreciate your patience with the appointment scheduling,” the doctor states. “I reviewed your file multiple times, hoping to find something that may have been missed. I even had a couple colleagues in the surgical department review it, as well as other fertility specialist. I know this is news that nobody ever wants to hear, but in my view, it would be impossible with the shape of your uterus to carry a baby full-term.”

“Okay,” Sarina replies quietly as Chase wraps both arms around her, holding her close.

“If there’s anything that I can do to make the process easier to handle, please let me know. I’m willing to fully break down everything we’ve gathered with you. If you need help in moving forward, please do not hesitate to ask. I can get you in contact with potential councilors, as well as answer any questions about the previous options discussed.  Please remember that there’s no timetable on making that next decision, or dealing with any pain that you are feeling right now…”

“Thank you.” Sarina then takes a deep breath as she glances back over her shoulder at Chase. “To be honest, I’d come to the reality of what was to be my future as a potential mother. I just wanted to hear it a second time so I could actually move forward knowing that I’d tried my options. It’s not ideal, but like everything else, we’ll get through this. And when that day comes that we want to be parents, I’m sure we can work out an option that’s suitable for us both.”

“I’m behind you no matter what you decide,” Chase offers, kissing her shoulder.

Though in the back of his mind, the words from Alison in court began to replay in his mind. What if he had blacked out what happened just like he had suggested to Alan on Saturday? What if Alison was actually having his kid?

Shaking his head, he knew he couldn’t wonder about that right now as it was just Alison to play games to make him believe those things. Besides, his focus was right here and now, and being there when Sarina needed him most.

The Tale of Love & Racing: Sarina’s Story – Chapter 89: Overton’s 300

Saturday, June 30 – Chicagoland Speedway

The race had gone decently to say the least, as Chase ran just outside of the top-10 through the first two stages as a result of handling issues. However, both he and Chad Norris were able to work everything out for the second half to score a solid 10th-place finish.

Sarina and Chad Norris were walking their way over after the race, set to greet him for quick debrief knowing Cup qualifying was around the corner,

“Chase?” Sarina questions as she watches him climb out of the car, running his hands through his hair, before leaning his head on the roof.

“Is he okay?” Chad Norris then wonders as the pair pick up their pace, watching him climb out of the car, sitting down, leaning back against it. Chad reaches him first, kneeling before him. “Are you okay?” Chase slowly nods his head as he takes the cold bottle of water from the crew chief.

“Just exhausted,” he lets out as he sips on it. “I’ll be fine….” Chad wasn’t quite convinced as he kept his eyes locked on him.

“Are you sure?” Chase slowly nods his head once again.

The sequence of events, though, had caught the attention of the crew, who notified an official which sent the medical officials over to him.

“I’m fine….” Chase repeated as he took a deep breath. “I’m just a little tired….”

“We think it’d be best if you come with us and we check you over, maybe give you some fluids,” the medical personnel suggests and Chase immediately shakes his head no.

“I’ll be fine. I just needed a couple minutes to relax, but I’m fine. I have Cup qualifying. I’ll be fin-”

“We highly advise that you come with us….”

“Chase, listen to them please….” Sarina begs, catching his attention. “Just let them check you over. Best thing is they come back with the fact that you’re fine. Worst case something is up and they can get you the help you need so you’ll be fine tomorrow. Do it, please….” He hated the thought of it, but he finally gave in as he stood up.

“Can you go tell Alan what’s going on?” He offered and she nodded her head in response. She would’ve preferred to be there with him, but she also understood those nerves.

It didn’t take long for Sarina to get back through the garage area and find the No. 9 team pushing out the car for time trials later on that afternoon.

“Yo, check out the beautiful stunning lady….” Jordan comments as Sarina just flashes a smile quickly at him, before heading directly over to Alan. As the crew pushed, Alan held his notebook in hand, going over last minute adjustments.

“Where’s Chase?” He wonders, as he had expected Chase to be there pretty soon after the race given the fact that he didn’t have post-race media availability. Alan also wanted to ask him about how the track changed during the race to see if that’d give him a better direction for adjustments.

“That’s what I came to talk to you about,” she answers, catching his attention immediately as she began to detail the events following the race. Everything immediately made sense to Alan as it went along perfectly with the emotional spillage from just before the final practice session. Everything that he envisioned in things possibly becoming too much to bare was happening right before his eyes right now.

“I’m sure he’ll be fine, Sarina. A little dehydrated so they’ll give him fluids, with a strict instruction for a relaxing night.”

“That means no funny business,” Jordan comments as he had overheard everything, earning a free smack from Sarina as Alan just chuckled.

“I’m not worried because I believe what you’re saying,” Sarina starts. “If I was worried, I wouldn’t had left his side to come see you no matter how much he begged.”  Alan knew not to argue against that.

“Go tell him to take care of himself as that’s the focus and we’ll worry about whatever happens,” Alan instructs. If we start from the tail of the field, oh well. we can work out way to the front.” She nods her head accepting. “And Sarina, just be there….” She was a little caught off-guard by that but just nodded her head again before heading back off.

It didn’t take long to get to the medical center, where she immediately made her way through the hall of rooms, stopping when she saw him laying there. she makes her way inside, seeing the firesuit pulled down to his waist as they had put an IV of fluids in his arm.

“I bet you’re feeling a little better with those in you,” she tries to crack a joke as she enters the room. He just smiles back as he lets out a sigh.

“I need to talk to Chad because we need to make some changes ahead of Daytona,” he starts. “I need Jordan to set everything because it was hotter in there than normal. Combined with exhaustion, and I was done…” She places her hand on top of his, leaning in for a quick kiss.

“I’m glad to see you finally admit it, and I’m glad that you’re getting what you need. Alan told me to tell you to take care of yourself, and he’ll worry about the rest.” He nods his head accepting as he glances over at the IV.

“I asked about qualifying anyw-”

“Chas-”

“They told me that if I react while to getting some fluids, they’ll let me go for qualifying, with the strict instruction of a quiet night and to come back if I feel anything else crappy.” She already knew that was going to be on the docket, hence her plan already.

“That’s why we’re going to stay in tonight, make a quick snack, and then just relax. I may even make you a banana split…” He then looks at her slightly confused. “What? Ice cream is nice and cool so you can stay relaxed, and bananas are loaded with potassium and that’s what you need right now as your body recovers.”

“And you know this how, Nurse Ott?” She gives him a little smack as he laughs.

“I’ve been in your shoes before after a 300 lap late model event – totally wore out, dehydrated, just done. So I was told peanut butter and banana sandwich so you get the protein and potassium that your body needs for your muscles to heal. That, and lots of fluids. If you do that, you will be feeling better and you won’t cramp that badly. We need to make sure you’re ready to go for tomorrow, right?” He slowly nods his head.

“Well, I have no problem with you taking care of me tonight….”

Chase makes his way down pit road, having just re-done the firesuit up, passing by a couple pit stalls with a small wave and “I’m okay” comment to those who shared a bit of concern after seeing what happened on pit road.

He makes his way to where the No. 9 Chevrolet was parked, popping up behind Alan, who glances back surprised.

“I thought you were in the medical center….” Alan comments and Chase nods his head.

“Two bags of fluids, promise to take it easy after qualifying, and I’m loose,” he replies. “I feel better already.” Alan crosses his arms. “I’m serious, Alan! I wouldn’t be here if that wasn’t the case.” Alan nods his head, knowing that was right actually as Sarina wouldn’t let him.

“Did you have the air conditioning unit malfunction or something?” Chase shakes his head no as he sits down on the wall beside the crew chief.

“There are a couple adjustments that Jordan can make, but that’s not the primary source. I was dehydrated a little – I won’t deny that now, but it was more pure exhaustion. I was just tired, and actually snagging a 15 minute nap in the medical center was what I needed.” Alan takes a deep breath, having assumed this already when Sarina had told him.

“You told me earlier that you weren’t sleeping at night because of everything going on, right?” Chase slowly nods his head, knowing where this was going. “You told me every single emotion that you were experiencing, and the fact that you still have so many doubts and painful feelings stemming from what happened. You told me how they continue to affect how you move forward with Sarina, along with sleeping at night. So just how much sleep are you getting at night?”

“Not enough….” Alan gives him another glance. “Half of what I should be.”

“I told you that you were strong and you could make your way through everything – but that takes a balance, Chase. If you’re not doing what you need to do to handle everything, it can come back and bite you just as quickly. That means taking care of yourself, talking about it, getting the sleep you need, and getting the help if you need it. Consider this a warning. Make sure you do what you need to do for you to take care of yourself, your health, before anything else – or else you’re going to be in a worst spot than you were today.” Chase knew that Alan was right, as much as he hated hearing it as the easiest objective was just to turn around and try to run from it all like nothing happened. However, he could see how the small discussions were helping, and he knew that he needed to keep doing that.

“I’m trying….” Alan places his hand on top of Chase’s, getting his attention.

“I know you are; I believe you fully. But you need to keep pushing that envelope…” Alan then glances down pit road at where Lindsay and Sarina were talking. “That includes talking to her about what you told me.”

“I still can’t believe your qualifying lap,” Sarina comments as she retweets the video on twitter. Chase lies down beside her. “Did it ever go through your mind to lift there?”

“Not even one bit,” Chase answers. “I knew I had a good car, and we deserved to start up front.” She then sets her phone down and looks over at him.

“Third isn’t too shabby, either….” He shakes his head no. “Besides, I also know you had the talent to make that work…” She then leans in and kisses his lips as he takes a deep breath.

“I need to tell you somethin-”

“Chase, tonight is about rela-”

“Please, I need to get this off my chest. You have to know what I’m feeling….” She then stops, remembering Alan’s additional piece of advice.

“I’m all ears and ready to hear you out, as always. What’s going on, Chase?”

With another shaky deep breath, he detailed the fact that the exhaustion post-race was not just dehydration, but rather a lack of sleep. He then used that lead to go into every bit of emotions that he had discussed with Alan, going deeper in some spots for her, as he tried to put as much as he could out on the table without a single regret. There were times he paused, time for another shaky deep breath, or even a tear to roll down his cheek. He even could admit that he felt sick to his stomach in recounting some of it. However, like Alan said, he needed to do it because he had to do what he could for himself if he was going to find any peace moving forward.

With testimony to be said on Monday from Alison, there was no time like the present.

“You know I’m here for you always, right?” Sarina says quietly as he finishes, and he simply nods his head in return. “Chase, anytime you wake up in the middle of the night, do not hesitate to wake me up if you need comfort or someone to talk to. Let me be there for you, please…” She then puts both of her hands on top of his. “And I understand the other feelings. I understand the fear, and betrayal, and pain. I know you accepted the deal, but she manipulated your feelings so you would so please don’t hold any single regret.”

“I’m trying to convince my heart of that,” he tells her as she takes a deep breath.

“I also understand everything else that comes with that. I get holding back because involuntarily, you’re afraid of being hurt once again. Your body doesn’t want to feel that same pain, torture – and I get that, Chase. I’m not mad at you one bit for holding back and finding it hard to go completely to that place right now. I know it’ll come with time as we build that comfort, and I’m willing to be as patient as you need me to be.” She then places her hands on his cheeks. “I love you, Clyde…” She then leans in, laying a kiss on his lips.

“I love you, too. I’d do anything for yo-”

“That goes both ways. Just like you’re being here for me as I fight through my journey, let me be there for you. Just as you comfort me about the baby news, let me comfort you in the same respect. Just as you comforted me about my brother, let me comfort you about Alison. You’ve seen me at my worst and you were absolutely amazing with me. Let me repay you, please…”

“I just want to forget everything that happened, you know?” She nods her head accepting as he lays his head against her. She then runs her hands through the curls in his hair. “I never thought it could hurt this much, but it does…”

“I know, but you’re strong, and you’ll find a way – with my help, Alan’s help, Jordan’s help, and your parents. Let us in and see what you’re feeling so we can help you…” He then lets out a yawn as she shifts a little. “For now, though, close your eyes. Get some sleep, babes. I’m not going anywhere. I’ll hold you all night, I promise.”

Sunday, July 1 – Chicagoland Speedway

Chase had to admit – getting that off his chest with her was worth it as that night, he had one of the most peaceful sleeps that he had been able to sneak in since everything took place.

“Thank you,” he tells her, as he gives her a quick hug before the race. “Thank you for just being there…”

“You don’t need to thank me,” she replies. “I’ll be here for you, always, as much as you need. We’re going to be okay.” He nods his head in agreement. “Now, go get ‘em!”

“That’s the plan…..”

The Overton’s 400 started off really strong for Chase and the team, as he was able to turn the great qualifying effort into running in the top-10 through the first two stages.

Though knowing that they needed a win to work their way into the playoffs, Alan decided to go a little different route for the final stage than they had gone thus far. It didn’t pan out as well as the crew chief hoped, though, as Chase faded back as he fought the car’s handling, finishing 19th.

‘”I cost us a shit ton of poin-” Alan states after the race as he leans back against the car beside Chase.

“We’re not going to get better if we don’t try stuff, and we need to get better,” Chase cuts him off. “I’d rather we try stuff and maybe hit on what we’re missing than just say average. You did the right thing. Don’t hang your head.” Alan smiles a little.

“On the brighter note, we’re headed to Daytona, where we’ve had strong cars for awhile now. it’s time to make some magic happen Saturday night.” Chase nods his head in agreement.

“We got the car, and somehow you tell me that I know how to draft, so maybe it’ll be time, finally.” Alan pulls him close.

“Maybe? Dude, confidence kid! You know how to draft and you can kick ass!”

“I just need to get through tomorrow….” Alan pulls him a little tighter.

“You’ll be fine, believe me….”