Thursday, November 23 – Dawsonville, Georgia
“Are you ready?” Chase questions with a glance over at Sarina.
“As long as your sister keeps her claws out of me,” Sarina answers and Chase laughs.
“Oh come on, she’s not that bad.” Chase wraps an arm around her. “It’s just because she cares about me.”
“Threatening me with a whole army of men is a little overboard….” Chase lets out a sigh as they reach the front door.
“The more she sees us together, the more she begins to understand how much you care about me and I care about you, she’ll lay off. She’s just being like this because Starr was like that to her about Robert – and that was more so because Starr didn’t have, well, the best of luck.” Sarina nods her head, understanding. She understood where Chase was coming from with that point, and could sympathize with everybody. But, a little bit of wiggle room would be nice.
“Her daughter Kennedy is amazing, though.” Chase couldn’t help but smile in response, as both his niece and nephew were adorable. He opens the door, leading Sarina inside who just glances back a little confused, and he gives her a quick wink. He then closes the door behind him. “Mama, I’m home!”
“And they told me that I’d never hear that again once my baby got a girlfriend – unless he was broken hearted…” Cindy comments with a glance from the kitchen. “I hope that’s not the cas-”
“We’re still happy as ever,” Chase adds as he makes his way to the kitchen, giving her a hug and kiss. “You know I’ll always come to see you, no matter what.”
“Of course, cause you’re baby.” Sarina stands back with a smile on her face, watching them together.
“You didn’t go home for Thanksgiving?” She hears, catching her off-guard as Brittney walks over. She could only roll her eyes in response as Chase glances over.
“Brittney….” He says with a stern tone. He knew she would say something, but didn’t think it’d happen within minutes of entering.
“It’s okay Chase,” Sarina says as she turns to face Brittney. She might as well face the music if she was ever going to quiet down his security guard. “I don’t really have any family, to be honest, that I know – except my brother and cousin, and we’ve talked about that already. Chase invited me to join you guys.”
“She’s one of the family, Brittney.” Brittney glanced between the pair, letting out a sigh. She still wasn’t quite convinced yet.
“We’ll see how that goes,” Brittney comments as Sarina tries to keep a stern face and not it eat at her. Why did it take so much to get Brittney’s approval? “By the way, Chase, I told you that I could take care of that other problem for you.”
“They’re all locked in jail cells and can’t hurt us so I’d rather just move on and forget,” Chase tells her as she rolls her eyes. “Seriously?”
“Guys….” Cindy warns, seeing the glance between siblings.
“Move on and forget doesn’t happen when it’s her brother,” Brittney says as Chase crosses his arms. She did have a point, as his eyes caught Sarina’s.
“You’re right about that,” Chase concedes. “But, I’d prefer to not have it thrown in my face by everybody – especially those who care about me and understand. Besides, it’s clear that we all realize the problems that Christopher and Bethany both brought and where they belong. Is there feelings remaining? Of course, but that’s something for Sarina and I to handle. So if you could please just let it go, that’d be nice.” Brittney glances between the pair, finally letting out a sigh.
“Alright, fine. But don’t think that I’m fully set on you two ye-”
“What is it going to take to convince you?” Brittney shrugs her shoulders as she looks over at Sarina.
“Time to see trust, growth, and everything that is required. I don’t know how long exactly.” Chase nodded his head, accepting.
“I respect that,” Sarina spoke up. “And I totally understand why for the mistakes that I made. I’m fine with us working towards a mutual feeling over time. Just please, give me a small benefit of the doubt and don’t toss it in my face.” Brittney shed a small smile in response.
“Deal,” she replies. “I’m going to go make sure Dad isn’t getting little man into trouble.” She then walks out of the kitchen as Chase walks over to Sarina, wrapping both arms around her.
“Are you okay?” He asks and she nods her head.
“I’m sorry that she has to be a bit of a pain – heck, I feel bad for when I chewed your head off,” Cindy comments and Sarina could only chuckle now. It was amazing to see how far they had come since July.
“I deserved that so I would buy a clue,” Sarina replies as she leans back in Chase’s arms. “You’re his mother. You care about him. I probably would’ve done the same if it was roles reversed. As far as Brittney, it’s one of the things about siblings – and I actually admire how much she cares about you.” Chase glances into the living room, watching Brittney and Bill play with Brittney’s son.
“She’s pretty amazing,” Chase agrees as he focuses back to Sarina. “If she gets to me too much, just tell me.” Sarina rolls her eyes, knowing that it’d probably never come to that. if she was going to get through Brittney’s supposed time test, she was going to do it on her own.
“Food is all on and cooking so we should be eating on time as always,” Cindy interrupts as she wipes her hands off. “Time for some family games!” Cindy heads into the living room as Sarina glances at Chase.
“Games?” She questions and Chase nods his head.
“Pictionary, among others,” he answers as Sarina just shakes her head. “It’ll be fun and entertaining. Come on…” He leads her into the living room as they all sit around, set for one of Cindy’s many plans for the day.
After a couple hours of playing, Chase feels his phone go off. He reads the text message, smiling, responding back in return as he stands up.
“Where are you going?” Sarina questions as Chase smiles. He couldn’t wait for this to fall in place.
“I have to go pick up someone from the airport,” he answers, causing a glance back of confusion. Though Sarina immediately shrugged it off, probably being a cousin or uncle.
“Be careful,” Cindy says as Chase heads for the doorway. A glance amongst the Elliotts, they all knew the plan already. Chase had previously texted his dad about Lindsay, which he passed along to everybody before they showed up.
It was a short drive to the airport, and thankfully, it was easy to find a spot to park. He then heads inside, remembering where he had told her directions to where they’d meet by a small gift shop. He smiles as he makes his way to the spot, seeing her already there with a bag.
“Easy to find?” He asks and she nods her head, following him through the airport.
“You’re good with directions,” she answers as he just shoots her back a smile in return. “I brought enough for a week. I can stay until the Monday after the Snowball Derby. Despite my own skeptical thoughts, I’m going to take in the event.” Chase smiles as he was glad that he would accomplish two goals with one stone.
“You’ll get to see your girl because she’s racing a Late Model for Kyle Busch, against him and 50 of the best drivers in the province.” He puts her bag in the back of the Tahoe, before they both climb in.
“Are you running it?” He shakes his head no as they head out of the parking lot. “How can you brag about an event, saying it’s the biggest event ever with 50 of the best drivers, if you’re not included?”
“I only run an event of that magnitude if I can do it with a certain group of people, namely Ricky Turner. I also refuse to make a one-off Late Model start because you need to have some experience before you head into that deal. Needless to say, my schedule didn’t allow for either this year. It sucks because it’s the 50th. Look at it this way – you’ll have a wealth of knowledge to sit with you and teach.” She just rolls her eyes as he lets out a chuckle. “So we’re headed to my parent’s house. I’m going to take you around the back using the side door while texting my dad. He’s going to ask Sarina to go out and grab something and boom, there you go.”
“That seems simple enough…” He nodded his head in agreement as they turned down another road.
“Are you nervous?” Lindsay glances over, surprised by the question.
“How could you tell?” He chuckles as he stays focused on the road.
“I couldn’t tell. It was just a question of curiosity.” She then lets out a sigh as she looks out the window. The nice country scenery was calming.
“I haven’t seen her in six years, Chase. How would you feel surprising someone that you haven’t seen or talked to for that long?” He nodded his head, accepting. “At the same time, I’m beyond excited. It’ll be nice to have someone that I can share anything with, hang with, talk to, and everything we used to do together again. There was nothing like those times together.”
“How long have you known each other?” Lindsay smiles as she thinks back to some of her earliest memories.
“Since birth. My dad and her momma were close. So as soon as I was born, we were playing together. She was supposed to be the two-year-old teaching me all the crazy ways.” Chase chuckles in response. “Oh, did you get the package?”
“It arrived today – which is perfect since we’re not home. I left my house key with a friend of mine, Dale, and he stopped by and put it inside with the help of some family. I just told him to put in the living room for now.” Lindsay smiles as she was glad that things had gone accordingly. She also had to shake her head at how casually the name rolled off his tongue.
“That’s something that I’m going to need to adjust to – being around NASCAR royalty without going a little nuts.” He chuckles as they pull up to the house.
“Hey, it’s easy to do. We’re just like everybody else – except we happen to go around in circles for a living which makes people love us. Just promise me you won’t freak on my dad.” She laughs back in response, nodding her head, as he shuts the key off. “Are you ready?”
“I guess it’s now or never…” She climbs out of the Tahoe, following him down the side of the house, through the gate, and sits down in one of the patio chairs. He sends a quick text message to his dad with a smile.
“I’m going to go hide…” She then looks on shocked as she thought he’d actually stay to help them along, but couldn’t manage to say something as he darted back to the side of the house.
Sarina makes her way outside, glancing left and right. She couldn’t believe that she was in the backyard, looking for a board game that supposedly got left out there. Why was she elected to go find it? As she looks over to the right, her eyes catch a gaze back in return.
“I recognize you….” She lets out quietly, almost set to hit a panic button as she could only think about this person sneaking onto the property and being a burglar or worse. However, she found herself instead frozen, eyes locked on those before her.
“You haven’t changed much,” was all Lindsay could only manage in return as a flood of memories soared through Sarina. Sarina recognized the voice – but there was no way this could be happening.
“Lindsay?” Lindsay nods her head in response as Sarina’s jaw drops in total shock. “But? How? When? Honestly? Really? Lindsay Dryer, right?” Lindsay chuckles back as she reaches for her pocket.
“I can show you identification if that’s necessary.” Sarina just continues to shake her head.
“I don’t get it. How are you here in Georgia? Why are you here?” Lindsay wanted to reach around the corner and grab Chase as she wasn’t sure she could find the words for the answers.
“Your lovely boyfrie-”
“He picked you up from the airport?” Lindsay nodded her head, once again looking back to where he had gone to hide. “But why? How?”
“Chase, can you come out please?” Chase then slowly emerges from where he was, causing Sarina to glance between the pair shocked more than ever. If the next words spoken that they were old friends, she could’ve smacked Chase for not saying anything in the span of two years. If she was a one night stand and that’s how identity was found, she may just smack them both.
“Remember when you mentioned to me that you were missed family, and wished you could see them sometimes?” Chase questions and Sarina nods her heads. It was one of her lowest day in the midst of Chris’ trial. “I immediately wanted to do something to make you feel better, so I started looking into your family history. Through some help, I was able to put together your six uncles and aunt. It was about deciding who to go see first. Between the story of how Lindsay got you interested in racing and Uncle Mike’s toy box, I went that way first. I went to Lindsay’s house on Tue-”
“You told me you were just going to hang out with the boys…” Sarina remembers and Chase nods his head.
“Technically, I hung out with Alan and Josh as they came for back-up. Anyways, I explained everything about how you changed your name and who you are now. She had some time off from a hectic dance schedule so she decided to come join us for the next 10 days.” Sarina looks over at Lindsay with a bit of shock, and Lindsay nods her head accepting.
“I wanted to see you again,” Lindsay tells her. “I wanted to reconnect. Damn girl, I’ve missed you since the moment you skipped town without a damn trace. I tried looking for you for awhile myself, but I gave up when nothing came up. When Chase gave me that opportunity, I couldn’t pass it up. I don’t have much family left, either.” Lindsay’s eyes tear up immediately as Chase knew the next piece of news wouldn’t be easy on either of them.
“Uncle Mike passed away a year ago from cancer and your aunt died in a car crash just months earlier,” Chase reveals, causing Sarina’s jaw to drop immediately. “This reunion couldn’t have come at a better time because frankly, Thanksgiving is all about two things – being thankful, and being with family. You both need each other.” Chase then looks over at Sarina, seeing complete silence, almost frozen state. “Say something, please…..”
“I don’t know what to say…” Sarina comments as she looks back over at him. He could feel his stomach drop immediately.
“Say something, anything. I don’t care if you’re upset, happy, surprised, sad, or angr-”
“I could never be angry at someone who totally just went out of his way to find my best friend in the whole wide world, who could use a full hand of comforting after everything she’s been through.” Lindsay smiles a little as the girls look straight at each other. “Chase, you always tell me how much you care for me and how you’d do anything for me. This is beyond anything I could imagine. I don’t even know how I could ever thank you enough, or repay you.”
“You don’t ever need to – you deserve this for everything you’ve been through.” He then gives her a quick kiss on the cheek. “You girls catch up on the past six years. Dinner will be ready in an hour so take the time that you need, and then Lindsay, I can introduce you to the rest of my family.”
“Thank you, Chase,” Lindsay could only imagine to say as he headed inside the back door. “Chels…shit, sorry. I need to get used to this, but Sarina…”
“I can’t believe this,” Sarina comments in response, as she walks over, immediately hugging Lindsay.
Chase smiles from inside, watching them together, as he feels his parents walk over on either side of him.
“You did something really amazing here,” Bill comments as the girls sit down and begin trading stories. “I mean, you can see the bond between them immediately.”
“She deserves it, and more,” Chase says. “I don’t know what I’d do without you guys, Brittney, Starr, or any of my family for that matter.”