Thursday, February 15, 2018 – Daytona International Speedway
Sarina heard her phone go off for what seemed like the hundredth time, and was almost set to chuck it across the room.
“What time is it?” She wondered, half-asleep, as she reached over for her phone. Seeing that there were eight missed text messages from Lindsay, she couldn’t help but feel concerned as she opened them. “What the hell?”
She calls Chase’s number twice, before hitting Ryan’s twice afterwards. She then resorts back to Chase’s number, dialing it over and over as she gets out of the bed, throwing a sweater and pair of pants on quickly. She makes her way out of the motorcoach, continuing to hit the number, as she makes her way down a couple more.
She knocks on the door, panic slowly building, as she was getting no answer, or sign of return from him.
“Sarina?” Bill questions as he opens the door, confused.
“Have you seen Chase or Ryan?” She questions and Bill shakes his head no, now intrigued. “He was supposed to fly down to Miami, pick Lindsay up, and bring her here. But I haven’t seen him, or Ryan, and Lindsay hasn’t been picked up yet.” Bill felt concern forming as he goes back in his motorcoach, grabbing his phone, looking for any messages or missed calls.
“Have you trie-”
“I’ve been calling his number over, and over, and Ryan’s too!” Bill didn’t want to panic because who knew, it may be a simple issue like he left late due to a problem, or there was still a problem at the airport. However, that thought was also accompanied by the reason he had come down there early.
“Stay here with Cindy and explain to her what’s going on, and I’ll be back. It’s probably nothing, but I’ll go by the airport and see if he’s there…” Sarina takes a calm deep breath, nodding her head as Bill walks over up to her. He wraps an arm around her shoulders. “He’s going to be okay, relax…” He then heads off as Sarina enters the motorcoach, ready to see Cindy.
Thursday, February 15, 2018 – Daytona Beach
The pair had been walking for what seemed forever, but it seemed to be leading them nowhere. They had passed by a couple buildings, but there weren’t open so there was no way to find people there.
“Are you sure we went the right way?” Ryan questions as he stops to take a small break. Chase shrugs his shoulders as he glances around.
“The sun always rises in the east, and sets in the west,” he recalls a saying that he learned during pilot training. “The track is west of the beach, so therefore if we walk away from the sun, we should find the track.” Ryan looks over a little concerned by the theory, as he glances around.
“Meanwhile, we’ve been walking for a while and found nothing!” Chase lets out a sigh as he looks over at Ryan.
“I didn’t say it was a short walk, did I?” Ryan shakes his head. “Besides, are you sure you’re okay?”
“I’m not the one bitching that my side hur-”
“You’re also not in perfect shape, either..” Ryan knew that Chase was right as he tries to stretch a little.
“I’m not a big swimmer, man. That was probably the most I’ve gone, and will go, swimming in my life. I’m just sore everywhere.” He then stretches a little bit more before continuing to walk. “But standing around isn’t going to get us anywhere, so we better keep going…”
“Yeah.” Chase then continues walking behind him.
“Are you good to keep walking?” Chase nods his head as he catches up alongside.
Thursday, February 15, 2018 – Daytona Airport
Bill walks down the airport tarmac, surprised by the sight before him as there was no plane, bags, or anything to be found. It was clear that Chase wasn’t there, having taken off, now somewhere between here and Miami.
“Where are you?” He questions as he looks at his phone once again. He had followed Sarina’s lead, also dialing Chase’s number a couple of times, demanding an answer.
He goes to where the plane was parked and was almost set to walk away with no signs of anything, but stopped when he noticed an envelope. He walks over, picking it up, and quickly ripping it open. Before even reading the contents, he figured what was coming.
“You should be more careful as you know I’m always watching,” he reads, letting out an aggravated sigh.
Taking a deep breath, he pulls his phone back out, calling the phone number that Chase had given him for the investigator. His heart was panicking, but he had to do what was right. He just didn’t know how he’d tell Cindy and Sarina what he found.
Thursday, February 15, 2018 – Daytona, Florida
“Now which way do we go?” Ryan questions as they seemed to be getting closer to where some hopeful civilization would be.
“This way,” Chase answers as he leads them down a path. Ryan almost wasn’t set to listen, given where they’d gotten so far, but he also didn’t have a single clue. “That hotel there – that’s where the crew guys are staying!”
“Wouldn’t they be gone already?” Chase knew that was a possibility, but whether they were there or not, he didn’t care. It was someone that could help them out.
They continue walking, both of them feeling some pain as those clothes clung tight being soaked, walking up to the edge of the Marriott property.
“Chase?” They hear, catching them by surprise. They could only wonder what crew member and team this person was fun, but it was nice to finally find someone who recognized them. They watch as the person immediately heads over their direction, and every reflex relaxed immediately. “We’re just about to come to the track. What the hell are you doing here? And why are you both soaked?”
“Crashed the plane in the beach,” Chase states, causing Jordan’s jaw to drop immediately. “We were going to pick up Lindsay and ran into a bit of a probl-”
“A bit of a problem? Are you serious? This is no little problem! I mean, I don’t know if you realize, but you’re both damn lucky to be simply standing here based on what you’re telling me. I mean, how lucky can one gu-”
“Look, can I call Sarina and my dad, please? They’re going to be worr-”
“Come with me….” Jordan gets the pair of them to follow him up to the hotel, causing some glances from a couple of the other crew members.
It didn’t take Jordan long to explain what was happening, causing more shocked glances from the various crew members. But in their true fashion, they each stepped in to help immediately. They led both boys inside, and back up to the floor they were staying on. They went down to the crew chief’s suite, with Alan letting them in immediately.
“Get out of your wet clothes,” Alan instructs as he goes into the closet. He didn’t have much, but threw a pair of pants and shirt at each of them. “Anything is better than being soaked.”
The pair nod their heads as they follow the instructions, getting changed quickly. Once changed, the crew members had already figured out their plan of action. Josh was set on making sure both of them were comfortable laying in Alan’s bed, having seen the signs of being sore. Alan had taken the action of calling Sarina, followed by calling Bill, while Jordan took the liberty of phoning it in to the investigator.
“Sarina, Cindy, and Bill are on their way over,” Alan states as he glances over the pair. “You both need to get checked out so they can take you. Ryan, if you want, we can call Roger, anybody you nee-”
“I’m fine,” Ryan cuts him off as Alan simply nods his head.
“Do we really need to get checked out?” Chase questions and Alan gives him a glare.
“You’re in pain right now as I can see that,” Alan starts. “You just crashed a plane into the water and want to go on as if nothing happened? Not happening, buddy.” Chase lets out a sigh as he rubs his side a little.
“I already know what they’re going to sa-”
“You’re not getting out of this – no ifs, ands, or buts.” Chase lets out a sigh as he tries to get comfortable.
Thursday, February 15, 2018 – Daytona International Speedway
“I’m just glad that you’re okay,” Sarina comments as she cuddles up to him in their bed together.
It hadn’t taken long in the morning for the pair to be reunited, with shock being the number one item of discussion. Although he hadn’t been wanting to get checked out, it didn’t take as long as anticipated either.
Thankfully, he hadn’t actually broken any ribs, but rather just bruised a couple. While it’d take three to four weeks to heal, thankfully a bit of asprin and ice was helping right now. Other than that, some bruises in a couple other spots and rest to heal the tiredness and he’d be good to go.
Ryan had gotten luckier, only having some questionable bruises in spots, and needing some rest as clearly it had taken its toll.
After they were released, the pair returned to the track and their respective tracks. Bill had gone and picked up Lindsay so Ryan and Lindsay were able to spend their time together, while Sarina and Chase had each other.
“I don’t think you realize how luc-” Sarina goes to continue.
“Trust me, I know how lucky I was,” he cuts her off as he runs his fingers through her hair. “Jump any later than I did, or if we weren’t over the water, and we would’ve been in trouble. I get it. I haven’t lost sight on that – especially considering it’s my fault.” Sarina then looks at him confused. “I was running late, and didn’t bother to look everything over. The note was right – I should’ve been more carefu-”
“You couldn’t kno-”
“I should’ve known that it was possible, because of the notes, because of the threats, because of the way the notes have gone. When something like that is going on, you need to be more careful than usual, and I should’ve been. It’s my own fault, and worst of all, I feel terrible for Ryan.” She then lays her head against his chest as she debates what to say next. How was she supposed to make him feel better about this?
“Ryan isn’t mad at you, and you can’t beat yourself up over it. Like you always tell me – learn and more on. Next time, it’ll serve as a reminder to be careful. Be thankful you’re alright and focus on the future.” She then glances up in his eyes. “Besides, don’t you have a race – are you even running the Duel now?” He nods his head.
“This is a whole new package. I learned a lot in the Clash, but I need to figure out some other things. Alan needs the data for the car, too. I’m running it.” She nods her head, accepting, swallowing the lump in her throat as she lays her head back against him.
“Just promise me you’ll be careful, okay?”
“I’ll do my best.” He then kisses the top of her head as he goes back to running his fingers through her hair. “I’m sorry I scared you this morning.”
“It’s not your fault. All that matters to me is that you’re okay.” He shifts a little, getting comfortable.
“I’ll be okay…” She then glances at the clock, and lets out a sigh. “Go practice. I’ll be here when you come back – I promise. I’m probably going to go to sleep for a bit anyway.”
“Are you sure you don’t want me to call your pare-”
“I’m a big boy, Sarina. I can take care of myself.” She then kisses his lips, before slowly standing up and reaching for her firesuit off of the dresser. She gets changed, snagging another kiss before starting to head out. “Sarina?” She ten glances back. “Can you get me another bag of ice?”
“I thought you said you could take care of yourself. Maybe I should call your pare-”
“Once you get the ice and I put it there, I’ll probably fall asleep shortly after. If I need them, though, I’ll call.” She lets out a sigh, nodding her head. It didn’t take her long to grab the ice, giving it to him and making sure that he was nice and comfortable. “Thank you.”
“Be careful. I love you.” He grabs her hand with his, pulling her close, and kissing her lips.
“I love you, too, and it’s you that needs to be careful. Don’t worry, I’ll be fine.” She takes a deep breath, slowly turning on her heels and heading out.
She hated to leave him like this, but she knew she couldn’t give up the first practice of the year, either.