Friday, November 24
“I can’t believe how well you guys are getting along so quickly….” Chase muses as they get out of the car and walk up to the house. With dinner and more games going later than expected, Cindy and Bill insisted that they stayed overnight and went home in the morning.
“We were inseparable – it doesn’t surprise me,” Sarina comments as she follows him.
“By the way, I want to continue re-connecting the family, if you’re okay with that.” Sarina smiled a little, nodding her head. If it felt this great to re-connect with Lindsay, how would the rest feel? “Lindsay, would you happen to know the whereabouts for Shelly?”
“I haven’t talked to Aunt Shelly in years, Chase,” Lindsay admits. “No big reason – it’s just when I moved away from my parents, I didn’t see her much anymore. I could ask Samantha. We still talk here and there.”
“Sammy would be a great place to start, as she has experience with this type of work,” Sarina comments. Chase accepted, weighing his options. “Well, this is home sweet home. Excuse any messes, as the past couple weeks have been hectic.”
“Relax, I’m always busy with something so my house gets the same way…” Lindsay walks inside, glancing around as she looks up at one of the photos hung in the main hallway. “Aw, you guys are adorable…”
“My first career truck win at Martinsville. I still can’t believe it sometimes.”
“A chime an hour is a good pinch,” he interrupts with a glance towards the clock as she just smiles back at him.
“By the way, what is your plan for next week?” Sarina asks and Chase turns around, a little surprised. “We haven’t discussed this, yet. I mean, we’ve got insane stuff going on.” He didn’t need a reminder about that as it was going to get a little crazy.
“I have to be in Las Vegas on Tuesday morni-”
“So you’re not even home for your birthday?” Chase shakes his head no as she lets out a sigh. However, she already knew that, virtue of a text message from Ryan. Chase didn’t need to know about that, yet.
“We’re leaving in the morning, stopping in Georgia as Mama won’t let me get away without seeing me on my birt-”
“What’d I tell you? He’s a Mamma’s boy.” Lindsay could only chuckle as she watched the pair of them.
“Sweet Georgia peach with the southern charm, but you know Mamma is always in his heart,” Lindsay recalls from their discussion as Sarina nods her head.
“Have you been talking about me, again?” Chase questions them as Sarina just smiles back in return. “I can certainly tell her many stories in return, same with Christopher and Kyle.” Sarina actually couldn’t wait for Lindsay to meet them both, but she knew that Chase was right – Kyle wouldn’t hold back. “So after seeing Mama, we’re off to Las Vegas. I have speech practice, and then the rest of the day is mine according to Morgan.”
“Birthday plans?” Lindsay questions as Sarina glances over at her, evil glare in full effect.
“Let that be my treat since you’re so amazing,” Sarina answers as she gives him a quick kiss while walking by him. She knew that’d help in continuing the set-up as discussed with Ryan. “Snowball Derby qualifying draw is on Wednesday night followed by practice on Thursday morning. So I figured that I’ll fly out Wednesday afternoon with Lindsay to Florida.” Chase could easily accept that.
“I’ll make sure that’s all set up and arranged,” Chase states.
“So you’re not coming?” Lindsay asks and Chase shakes his head no. “But I thought you said I’d have a teac-”
“I’ll be there for Sunday’s race. I have the Myers Brothers Awards Luncheon to attend on Wednesday morning, followed by the burn-outs on Las Vegas streets and the after the lap driver tell-all, I believe. Then Ryan wants me to be on his podcast, and I couldn’t say no. I have Banquet rehearsal in the morning on Thursday. Do you know red carpet and banquet times?” Sarina nods her head as Lindsay glances between them confused.
“So she’s going to Florida to practice and then flying back to Las Vegas for the banquet? How the hell do you both plan on making that work?” Sarina still wasn’t sure, as she had checked out timing wise almost 20 different times since figuring out what dress to wear, courtesy of Emma.
“She has a point, actually. It’s going to be really tight on time. Maybe you should just skip the banq-”
“There’s no way I am missing your banq-” Sarina starts.
“It’s fine, if you do,” Chase interrupts. “I understan-”
“No ifs, ands, or buts, Chase Elliott. I am not missing your banquet. I will be there and I will be on time.” He was almost set to say something else, but knew he wasn’t winning the argument. He just hoped the timing worked out. “Then obviously, we will go back to Florida and be set for the rest of the weekend together.”
“Are your lives always this chaotic?” Lindsay questions, causing them both to laugh.
“Maybe not like this, but it’s always chaos…” Sarina answers. “But I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I mean, like I told you before and I will say before him, he has done so much for me.”
“It’s because I love you,” he replies, kissing her again. “Mountain Dew? Pepsi?”
“Mountain Dew, please.”
“Pepsi, please,” Lindsay adds. Chase heads to the kitchen as the girls make their way into the living room.
“Chase, why is there a big huge box in the middle of our living room?” Lindsay didn’t say anything in response, not sure if Chase had mentioned anything to her about it, yet. Instead, she watched as Sarina walked over, reading the label. “This came from Michigan.” Sarina then glances back at Lindsay. “It has your name on it.”
“Chase knew I was sending down an important package for you, so he lent a key to Dale to bring it inside while you guys were away. Why don’t you carefully open it?” Sarina was a little confused, but went along with the process. She carefully opened the top of the box, glancing inside as a smile immediately crossed her face.
“My toy box!!” She begins ripping the rest of the cardboard away, fully revealing the whole box as she looks it over. “I thought I lost it forever. I can’t believe this….”
“After you guys left, I went back and I asked if I could have some family monuments to keep for you if I ever saw you again, to remember you guys. They allowed us, too. My dad and I took the toy box immediately. I knew how much it meant to you, to us, to my dad, so it was something we could never let go.” Sarina just stood there smiling as she glanced it over.
“It still looks so amazing. I know how hard your dad worked on this with my dad, and it was everything as a kid to me. I just loved hiding in it, putting my favorite toys in it, and sitting on it – so many memories wrapped up in this simple box.” Lindsay walks over and lifts the door open as she catches Sarina’s smile.
“So many memories inside the box, too. I saved some of your trophies from when you first started racing go-karts, a couple of your favorite teddy bears, and some photos.” A couple tears trickle down Sarina’s face as she begins to look through the items, sitting down beside the toy box in disbelief as she flips through the images.
“This is amazing. I don’t know what to say – I’m even more blown away at this than just seeing you. I mean, you held onto this for six years for me. I can never repay you enou-”
“You don’t ever have, too.” Lindsay sits down beside her. “Just promise me we’ll never grow apart again. I don’t want to lose you.”
“That’s a promise I plan on keeping.” Sarina then gives Lindsay a big hug as Chase quietly enters the room, placing a pair of glasses before them, before sitting down on the couch. “I don’t even know where to begin with everything…”
“This photo, right here, covered completely in mud head to toe, laughing…” Sarina picks it up from Lindsay and immediately laughs herself as she remembers that story.
“That was a good one…” She hands it over to Chase so he can see the photo and he just shakes his head.
“You never were afraid to get your heads dirty?” He asks and she shakes her head no.
“I may have some interest in fashion, but never ever consider me a preppy princess,” she answers as he laughs. “It was a rainy day and we were playing in the yard. We launched the ball over the back fence. It was pretty high, but I thought I could just climb over and go into the park and grab it – rather than walking around the house to the front, to the park gates, and through the park. Well, I got to the top of the fence and I jumped, but my pants didn’t quite clear. Instead, they hooked on the edge and I was stuck hanging from a fence.”
“I can just imagine the look on your face…”
“Lindsay’s great idea to get me down? Just cut the pants! So she cut them and boom, I fell in the big mud puddle a couple feet down. Needless to say, I got that treatment and a big hole in the ass of my favorite jeans.” He breaks out laughing as he hands the image back over.
“The worst part was a full baseball game was going on at the diamond right there so two full teams got to see her nice pink flowery underwear,” Lindsay adds as Chase laughs even harder.
“I can bet that you never dated any of those players, huh?” Chase questions and Sarina just rolls her eyes. “What else is in that stack of photos?”
“You’re just trying to get embarrassing stories about me now,” Sarina comments as he shrugs his shoulders.
“You heard a bunch from my mom yesterday. It’s time for me to get in on the fun.” She just rolls her eyes as she looks through the photos. “That one looks like it has a good story…” She stops, looking over the photo of the destroyed bathroom, laughing.
“Is that when Tweetie showed up?” Lindsay wonders and Sarina nods her head yes. “See, I just threw a bunch of photos in no matter where they were; I didn’t really care to glance at what they were.”
“I was about 13 when this happened,” Sarina starts. “I’m in the shower, and let’s just say that our bathroom ventilation could use some improvements. So I opened the window because it was getting a little too steamy. Well, that was fine – until a bird flew through the window, and was flying around the bathroom. He wasn’t too smart, either, because he flew straight into the mirror. I was shocked, scared, so I started screaming my head off and I stepped back, slipping over a bottle of shampoo, and fell, smacking my head off the tub.” Chase looks over shocked as she nods her head.
“There’s a scar…” Sarina then pulls her bangs up, revealing a small mark right across the top of her forehead.
“Holy shit!” Chase says as he looks it over.
“This gets better…” Lindsay comments as Chase could only wonder.
“I’m still in shock, probably moreso from whacking my head now than the damn bird,” Sarina continues. “So dumbass bird continues whacking himself into the mirror, over and over of what’s left anyway – and I begin to get concerned. Scared for the bird’s life and also trying to clean up the blood dripping down my face now, I get out of the shower. I grabbed a small towel, wrapping it around my forehead, figuring that’d do for now. I motioned for the bird to leave – nope, not happening. So I grabbed the bigger towel, wrapped it around birdie and carried him through the house to the front door.” Chase’s jaw drops as he realizes a key detail.
“You’re naked….” He lets out and she nods her head yes, remembering the story.
“I go outside the door, open the towel and let the bird go. Meanwhile, that’s when I realize I have not a single thing on and my neighbor just so happens to be popping out the front door. Needless to say, a nice 80-year-old lady saw me naked and watched bird go from in my hands in towel to dead on the ground because basically he whacked his ass to death on my mirror.”
“Oh My Gosh…” He breaks out laughing as she just rolls her eyes.
“I’m just glad you didn’t give poor old Mary Jane a heart attack,” Lindsay says as Chase could only shake his head.
“Nah, poor ‘ol Mary Jane was set to go the psych ward because she thought I found a batch of happy pills,” Sarina remembers.