The Tale of Love & Racing: Sarina’s Story – Chapter 85: “I think you’re drunk.”

Tuesday June 19, 2018 – Dublin, Ireland

The afternoon had been fun for the group, as there were more interesting aspects to the making of Irish Whiskey than they had realized, and even some of the history had been intriguing too. Oh yeah, and the consumption was obviously a highlight of the group,

“Chase, are you sure you can walk?” Erin asks with a laugh as they head towards the exit.

“I told you – I am fine,” Chase comments as Ryan just rolls his eyes.

“And here he was worried about you,” Ryan offers as Erin just smirks. It was actually kind of nice payback seeing him feeling more than she was.

“I don’t think we should do the other tour today as planned,” Erin comments as they had planned to do the Guinness Beer tour that same day as well. Obviously this declaration wouldn’t go over well with Ryan considering he had been looking forward to that since landing in Dublin.

“Oh come on, we will be fine,” Chase says as he wraps an arm around Erin’s shoulders.

“Are you sure about that buddy? Because if I am being honest, I think you’re drunk.” That just brought on a laughing response from Chase in return.

“Definitely drunk,” Ryan declares.

Knowing they had to keep him out of trouble and wanting to watch the effect of the alcohol begin to wear off slowly, Erin had decided to take the long walk back through town, followed by a light meal at one of her favorite spots.

Along the way, they passed by a children’s park – which immediately saw Chase stop with a smile.

“Erin, come play with me!” He lets out as he makes his way over. Erin looks over at Ryan concerned, who just shrugs his shoulders in response.

“Maybe another time,” Erin plays it off. “Come on Chase…”

“Just one ride, please?” She was almost ready to laugh at him begging, though then looked on surprised as he got on one of the round-abouts. She looked on even more shocked when Ryan took out his phone, sharing on Snapchat as Chase got himself going around fast, before it came to a slow stop.

“Are you alright?” Ryan asks, now laughing at Chase’s behavior.

“Yeah, I’m good,” Chase answers as he tries to remain steady on his feet. “Let’s go…”

“Oh boy….” Ryan just follows along behind as Erin could only wonder what as going to happen next. She hadn’t been used to seeing either of them drunk, so it was certainly a learning experience as she went along.

“Erin, you’re amazing….” Chase then stops, wrapping an arm around her shoulders as she just flashes a smile back in return.

“I think you’re pretty cool too,” she offers, easily accepting the gesture.

“I want to spend the rest of the week with you.” She now wondered how much was honesty and how much was drunkenness. Regardless, she wasn’t going to deny her dream coming true. It was okay to live out a fantasy once in awhile, right?

“I wouldn’t mind doing the same with you, too. But you do have to go to Sonoma this weekend….” That just brought out a long sigh from Chase as he wasn’t about to let Erin go,

“Ryan, do I have to go turn left and right?” Ryan simply nods his head as he didn’t know what to think of these events. “Damn…..”

“I think you’re going to do a great job this weekend, though. You won in Canada, remember?” Ryan smiles as he also knew the answer to that question for himself, too.

“But I like it here and its fun with you and you’re amazing, and I just like the time we’re spending together….” He then turns to face her, snagging a kiss, before skipping off ahead.

“Did that just happen?” Ryan could only stand there shocked as he watched Chase, before looking towards Erin.

“You know he didn’t mean that like it looked, right?” Ryan offers and Erin slowly nods her head. “I mean it, Erin! He loves Sarina and he can’t wait to marry her and be with her for the rest of his life. Do not dare think that meant anymore than it did. Do not dare think of doing anyth-”

“I get it, Ryan,” Erin cuts him off. “Remember when I said I understood where things were? That includes knowing that he’s drunk right now and things just happen during that time. At least he kissed me and not some stranger.”

Ryan knew that was a positive he could take away from the experience, but yet he just hoped that nothing more was said or come about as they didn’t need anymore drama. Besides, this trip was supposed to be an escape from all of that.

Wednesday June 20, 2018 – Dublin, Ireland

“Are you still watching that video?” Chase asks as he adjusts himself slightly in the seat, ready to fly home.

“I’m sorry but it’s worth every single laugh at your expense,” Ryan answers with a chuckle as Chase rolls his eyes.

“I can’t believe how drunk I got….” Ryan couldn’t help but agree with him. “How much whiskey did I end up sampling anyway?”

“I don’t even remember how many glasses or flavors. Do you have any memories?” Chase closes his eyes, as he nods his head.

“I remember the first half of the tour – all the history that they talked about. Then he got into how they developed different flavors, and started suggesting some flavors to try and previous ways they had gone about it. From there on, it begins to get blurry.” Ryan wasn’t surprised given how the rest of the day went. But he did wonder about the kiss, still.

“Do you remember anything after we left?” Chase shakes his head no. “Are you sure?”

“Is there something you’re not telling me?” Ryan knew he should’ve shut up immediately.

“Absolutely no-“

“That’s a lie. What are you hiding?” Ryan immediately swallowed the lump in his throat.

“Don’t tell Erin I told you because I told her I wasn’t going to tell you.” Chase rolls his eyes immediately. What was with all the secrets? “You kissed her.”

“I did what?” Ryan looks directly at Chase.

“You kissed her after we went to the park.” Chase’s jaw drops immediately.

“Please tell me that she knew I was drunk….”

“Oh, that was obvious.” Chase lets out a small sigh.

“She tells me about this crush and I say no big deal, and then I kiss her. How lovely is that?” Ryan nods his head.

“I was worried, too. But she talked me down immediately and assured that there was no problem. You don’t need to worry.” Chase wanted to let it go easily too, but that kiss combined with Alison didn’t feel good.

“I’ve been so loyal to Sarina and now thrown that away twice in a year. Who does that?”

“I know that but it doesn’t change what happened. I had a choice with Erin.”

“Least it was Erin and Sarina would understand.” Chase knew that more than likely but that didn’t cure his thoughts.

“You’re not going to tell, are you?” Ryan shakes his head no. “I know you’re righ-“

“But there’s enough going on. I get it, Chase. Let’s just enjoy these last moments of peace and tranquility.”

Wednesday June 20, 2018 – Charlotte, North Carolina

Heading inside the house, his mind had totally forgotten about what had happened as all he could think about was seeing his girl. While Ireland had been amazing, and the friendship with Erin was special, he couldn’t deny how much he had missed Sarina the entire time.

“I’m home!” He lets out as he sets his bags down, not caring about them right now. He knew he should unpack and wash everything, considering he’d be heading out to Sonoma tomorrow, but that wasn’t important.

“I’m upstairs,” he hears and smiles as he heads up the stairs. He figured that she’d be packing her stuff for Gateway as she liked to always be prepared for trips.

Though as he reaches the doorway of the bedsroom, he stops instantly, jaw dropping at the sight before him. Whether it was how the dress showed off the curves, or how toned her legs were from working out, or the thoughts running through his mind in seeing her lick the lollypop, he felt hard immediately.

“Is there a problem, Chase?” She asks as she slowly stands up and makes her way over, wrapping her arms around his neck. He just shakes his head no as her lips find his. “I missed you, and figured I’d give you a proper greeting back home.”

“I can’t deny how much I missed you, too….” he lets out as he picks her up, letting her legs wrap around his waist as he carries her over to the bed. “Did you at least have fun with Lindsay?”

“Yeah, I did – as well as Christopher.” Chase couldn’t but hesitate at hearing that, considering his own experience with Erin. “Did you have fun in Ireland?”

“It was exactly what I needed. There’s so many spots that I want to take you to show you.” Despite how things may have gone in parts and the tension that laid there now, he couldn’t deny the fun that was had along the way.

“Maybe in the off-season…” She then runs her hands up underneath her shirt. “Now, how about we make the most of the time we have together?”

“36 hours….” As she lays back on the bed and he lays over her, his lips find his way to hers once again, taking them in completely, with her slipping his t-shirt off over his head in between.

“Better make every single second of that worth it….” He had plans to do that as he reached around, slowly pulling down the zipper on the back of her dress.

“Then why are you still wearing this?” She then tugs on the waistline of his jeans, grabbing his manhood as she does.

“The same reason you’re damn well wearing this boy…” He then smirks at her.

“You better do something about that then.” She just smiles as she undoes the button, letting them slide down his legs.

Friday June 22, 2018 – Gateway Motorsports Park

With having just finished the debrief following the first practice session, Sarina sits back as she loads the Cup Series Sonoma practice results.

Things had been going well for her so far in Gateway, as she was second quickest in the first practice with her teammate Christian Eckes topping the charts. She also wasn’t too put off by Chase’s practice results, seeing that he was 13th and 15th in the pair of sessions at Sonoma. She then sends him a quick message, adding that she’ll make sure to Facetime later that night once the ARCA race was over.

“Texting the boyfriend again?” Todd Gilliland teases, which Sarina just flips him the bird in return. “Christopher was right – you guys are addicted to each other.”

“What’s wrong with madly being in love?” Sarina questions as Todd just shrugs his shoulders. “And Christopher can tease all he wants, but we know how much he loves Morgan.” She then places her hand on Todd’s leg. “You just need to find yourself a girl now.”

“Careful getting cuddly there, as some rumors may start flying,” Christian comments, earning a curious glance from both Sarina and Todd.

“Everybody knows how much Chase and I love each other. Can’t you tell by the engagement, or the time we spend together?” Christian puts his hands up in defense immediately.

“I’m not saying it’s not true, Sarina. Even though I’m not around here, I get the relationship and I’m not judging. I’m just saying the outside perspective.” Sarina crosses her arms, still not liking the direction of his comments. “We all know you guys are doing whatever you can to keep the Alison trial under wraps so there’s not much discussion. However, there’s the rumors about the fact that she’s pregnant with Chase’s chil-”

“Full of shit just trying to screw with us!” Todd looks over surprised by the instant outburst.

“But what if it’s true? Everybody wonders the dynamics and whether you can both survive a rocky ship if she is pregnant, considering that’s something that you can’t do while driv-”

“How about you just mind your own fucking business?!?” Todd’s jaw drops even further as he glances between the pair. “Am I hearing this right, Gilliland?”

“Christian isn’t lying as there’s been some musings around the garage with that coming to light,” Todd starts carefully as he could see that Sarina was on edge. “Everybody knows that there’s been rough times, and it begs the question for some – hence the generalization that Christian made. It’s better to be aware of the situation, anyway.” Todd then looks over at Christian. “That said, you crossed the line in your comment about her ability to have a baby. How do you know that? She could easily take some time off, or have a baby once she’s done racing….” Todd then looks back over at Sarina, seeing the change in her demeanor. “Or maybe there’s something else in the cards that’s affecting things. You just shouldn’t accuse like you did.”

“I’m sorry Sarina,” Christian immediately apologizes as Sarina keeps her eyes locked on the pavement below.

“I know you didn’t mean anything wrong by your question as I understand your curiosity,” she starts quietly. With Todd’s explanation, she knew that she couldn’t let him have the harshest end of the stick as her teammate was right – despite her own personal feelings. “I get everybody’s thoughts and curiousity. You’re right there’s a chance that Chase could be the father, but he says he isn’t so I’m sticking with that. Beyond that, I have nothing to say on the topic.”

“That’s fine. Let’s talk about our plan for next practice….” Sarina takes a deep breath as she glances back at the truck, trying to get her head back into the game.

She completed the whole discussion with her teammates, before heading over to the truck, reaching in for her helmet and gloves.

“Are you okay?” Rudy asks as he places a hand on her shoulder, and she simply nods her head in return. “I overheard the discussion with Todd and Christian. Christian had no right to bring that up-”

“He doesn’t know what’s going on, so how was he supposed to know how it’d bother me?” She questions back in return as she cleans the visor. “That’s the hardest part, Rudy. Nobody knows what’s going on, with the miscarriage and infertility, so baby discussions just happen out of nowhere. They don’t realize that it’s killing me inside because I keep hearing the words over and over in my head that I can’t do that myself. I don’t want to be that person that lets it bother them, but damn sometimes I can’t help it.”

“That’s understandable. But Sarina, I can tell you that you’re one of the strongest people that I know and if anybody can fight through whatever this storm brings, it’s you and Chase together. You’ll figure it out. It may take some time, but you’ll do what you need to do.” She nods her head, accepting.

“I think the hardest part is waiting for that second appointment that seems to be taking forever. I get that this specialist is super great at what she does and super busy and booked, but the wait is killing me. I know the chances of a change in her answer are slim, but that chance doesn’t let me close the bo-”

“Chapter, because remember there’s options…” She lets out a sigh, remembering the discussion about that. “Never close the book because you can always continue the story by taking a different path.”

“Can I just say how amazing you are?” Rudy smiles as he wraps an arm around her shoulders, pulling her into a hug.

“You’re equally as amazing, and we’re going to win some more races before this season is over. Now let’s put all of this behind us with some great lap times, okay?” She nods her head, accepting, before climbing in the truck.

The speed chart certainly didn’t show this session well by the end, as she was only 10th quickest. However, that didn’t bother her and Rudy, knowing they were working on long-run stuff and the handling of the truck. In that regard, she felt confident based on how it felt, and the fact that she was second quickest on the 10-lap average chart.

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The Tale of Love & Racing: Sarina’s Story – Chapter 84: “Now what do we do?”

Saturday, June 16 – Ireland

Sitting in the car glancing at the go-kart track from the car, they all let out a sigh together. Their journey was for nothing as there was no way that they were going to chance going out in the rain doing this.

“I’m hungry,” Ryan lets out as he turns the key in the ignition. “Let’s go find some food and continue heading to Dublin. There’s no sense sitting here all day.” He then turns back on the road as Erin re-routes the GPS to head to Dublin now.

“Why didn’t we pack any snacks?” Chase asks as he checks throughout the backseat of the car for anything. “We fail at road trips.”

“Blame Erin.” Erin then looks over at Ryan shocked. “You’re the one that said we should go here, and take this ridiculous route.”

“Right, let’s blame your sister for the rain and your lack of preparation skills considering you always get hungry first.” Erin then smirks as her eyes remain locked on Ryan.

“Thank you Chase,” she replies as he gets back comfortable in the backseat as Ryan just rolls his eyes. “How about you also drive carefully this time?”

“Do you want to drive instead?” Ryan challenges and Erin shakes her head no. “Then no arguments, please.”

Ryan follows the route as silence falls on everybody in the car – no doubt nobody wanting to say anything out of crankiness due to hunger. The route takes them through several small cities, that strangely not a single place to grab a snack could be found in sight.

Feeling they were stuck in the middle of nowhere, they finally landed upon the city of Leixlip, which gave them some hope immediately as they rolled up into a town.

“Let’s try this place,” Chase offers, noticing a small pub on the corner of the road. Ryan, not caring as long as he got some food, pulled into the parking lot. With the rain having disappeared, they were able to all get out without fear of getting soaked this time. Ryan led them to the doors, where they headed inside, instantly set to leave immediately. “Maybe this was a bad idea…”

“Ya think?” Ryan questions, earning a stern glance from Chase. But it had seemed they stepped back in time with the sights inside of the place, feeling like they were back in the 1870s with the décor and style. The smell also matched the sight it seemed, too. “It’s almost like they haven’t ever cleaned this place.”

“Do we trust anything from those counters?” Ryan made a face as he saw the layer of dust that lined the bar. As the boys stood back nervous, Erin took charge and walked up to the man the bar. Ryan was already preparing to go into full protective mode given the glance she got in return.

“Do you have any food?” Erin asks, not seeing any menu anywhere to read but hinting there may be a kitchen behind the door.

“Food?” The guy repeats in a heavy accent that made him barely understandable.

“What?” Erin felt rude saying it like that, but it seemed to match the service they were getting.

“Maybe we should go….” Ryan suggests as he places a hand on her shoulder.

“Beer?” The guy questions and Ryan shakes his head no.

“Food. F-O-O-D.” The guy then gives him a puzzled glance as Ryan lets out a long sigh. “Erin, let’s go.” She then lets out a sigh, following him back outside and into the car.

“Remind me to always pack food when traveling with you two,” Chase comments as he surveys the area. “I feel like I’m never going to find food.”

“Ah look at this Erin, the poor superstar is going to waste away to nothing,” Ryan teases, earning a smack in the back of the head from Chase. “Hey! You could’ve packed your own smacks, dumbass!”

They return back on the road, continuing the journey, fingers crossed they found something soon.

Saturday, June 16 – Iowa Speedway

Sarina leans against the truck, giving a shrug of her shoulders as Rudy and Lindsay walk over.

“I had to give it a shot,” she offers with a smile on her face. “50 feet earlier, and that thing would’ve stuck perfectly.”

Running second on the last lap to Brett Moffit, she tried the “full send” move going into the final corner, planning to slide up in front of him. However, a little misjudgment, and she made contact with the wall instead en route to crossing the line second.

“Hey, I appreciate the effort,” Rudy compliments her with a pat on the shoulder.

“Even if I banged in the whole right side?” She questions and he nods her head.

“That’s easily fixable anyway. You did a great job!”

“Hey, you’ll make Sportscenter at least,” Lindsay adds earning a chuckle from Sarina.

“We’re going to win races soon Rudy, and lots at that,” she says and he simply nods his head in response.

“We’re just saving those wins for the playoffs,” he adds earning a smile back in return.

After a series of interviews, Rudy and the team headed to the garage for post-race inspection. Lindsay headed back to the trailer, set to relax with how she was feeling, while leaving Sarina to head to the media center for post-race interviews. Those didn’t take as long as expected as it seemed the media didn’t have as many questions as she predicted. After thanking them for their time, she headed out, ready to meet back up with Lindsay.

“How about leaving those moves to the professionals?” She hears and instantly chuckles as she recognized the voice immediately. She then slowed down, allowing Christopher to catch up with her.

“I thought I could steal a page out of your playbook,” she offers as he just chuckles back in response.

“You don’t have enough dirt experience to know the timing, sweetheart.” She just rolls her eyes, but couldn’t help but smile in response. “But I do applaud you for making that last lap very exciting and interesting, and I applaud the effort. That was a great attempt at stealing the lead – enough to get you on Sportscenter.”

“That’s what Lindsay said, too.” Christopher smiles as he had seen Lindsay hanging out with her earlier in the weekend.

“So you’re spending time with Lindsay while the boys explore Ireland?” Sarina nods her head in response.

“With everything going on, Chase needed some time to just escape and not think about anything. So when Ryan suggested the trip, I immediately agreed for his sake. In the same token, I could see Ryan was nervous based on Lindsay being pregnant and dealing with some sickness so I agreed to keep an eye on her. Besides, we get our girl time.” Christopher could easily see how the plan fell together. However, he also knew another layer to the topic at hand.

“No hard feelings in babysitting somebody else whose pregnant after hearing the new-”

“Hey now, that’s not locked in stone yet.” She then stops, taking a deep breath. “I didn’t mean to get defensive.” Christopher stops and turns back to face her.

“That’s why I asked, though. I know you better than most, Sarina. I learned a lot about you during our time at KBM together, remember?” She nods her head, knowing how some wondered if she was with Christopher as much as Chase. “But I know you were told that you can’t carry a baby full-term so I just have to wonder if that’s playing with your thoughts as you watch Lindsay.”

“To be honest, I haven’t given it a single thought – until now. I’ve kept both situations separate because truthfully speaking, I’m so happy for my best friend. I’m glad that she’s found someone that loves her and appreciates her. I’m glad that she’s ready to build a future with Ryan, and I can’t wait to meet the little one when he or she is born. My appreciation and love for Lindsay, Ryan, and that little one makes it easy.” Christopher could accept that and see the reasoning, but the topic wasn’t going away just like that.

“But you got defensive because it’s not set in stone yet, so I know that it’s bothering you somewhere.” She then lets out a sigh, as she glances down at the ground.

“I’ve been trying to bring myself to accept the news and move forward. I’ve been trying to look at the options as discussed. It’s not an easy reality to face at times, Christopher, especially when we’ve talked about having these perfect dreams of a future with children.” She then glances up to look into his eyes. “How am I supposed to just accept this when Chase wakes up and says he had a dream of us having two children together –a boy or a girl? How can I accept this when I know I’m ripping away not only my dream, but his?”

“Have you talked about it with him?” She nods her head, remembering those discussions since New Years.

“Except when I heard about the news for sure at first and knowing what he had just gone through with Alison, I have told him everything Christopher. We’ve talked about it and we both know where we stand. That’s why we’re set to accept the news…” He places a hand on her shoulder.

“It’s okay to be upset or have reservations about it.” She then lets out a sigh.

“I know, Christopher….” There was still one lingering thought, though.

“Now you mentioned not set in stone….”

“We’re getting a second opinion. We’re in contact with one of the best doctors in the States and want her to look over my files and situation to see if there’s anything that maybe was missed. I want to know for 100% certainty before I move forward with any of those options. Is that fair?”

“Absolutely. I would want to do the same thing. So when is this appointment?” She then lets out a sigh as she glances at her phone.

“She’s really busy so it’s hard to get an appointment in her schedule, and then make that match with our schedules. There was an opening soon, but I don’t know if Chase is available and I don’t want to go alone.” Christopher keeps his eyes locked on hers.

“If you absolutely run into a spot where you’re going to be forced to go alone because something came up, don’t hesitate to call me. Same thing if you wake up in the middle of the night, or anything. Just call me.” She wanted to believe that, but she also felt another fear.

“What about Morgan?” Christopher knew she was referring to his girlfriend.

“She understands our friendship, and respects it – same way that Chase gets us, and I get why you and Chase go so well together. You don’t have to worry about a single thing. Call me, or even just text me. I don’t care what time because I will answer you.” A small smile forms on her face as she reaches out to give him a hug.

“Thank you. That means so much to me…” He easily wraps his arms back around her.

“Remember when I told you that our friendship doesn’t end just because we’re not teammates? I meant that, Sarina. I’m sorry but you’re stuck with me for life.” She then chuckles.

“Ah shucks….”

***********

Saturday, June 16 – Dublin, Ireland

“I can’t believe I missed this race to get lost in freaking bloody of nowhere with you two,” Chase comments as he watches a replay of the Truck Series race at the hotel room.

“Are you sure you got enough food there?” Ryan asks, noticing the bag that Chase had opened up.

“I was hungry, man. Don’t judge me!” Ryan just rolls his eyes as he takes a bite into his burger.

“I’m just saying that you may need to step up your work-out program when we get back.” Chase then looks over a little surprised.

“I bet I can lift more than your skinny ass.” It was now Ryan’s turn to glance back surprised.

“Dude, I’m a ninja! That’s better than some strong muscle man!” Chase laughs, but he knew that Ryan was right about the ninja comment. He saw the wall jump that Ryan did, jumping on a mat twice as high as him without much effort.

“I want to know where that comes from….”

“I certainly didn’t get those genes,” Erin adds as she glances over from her spot.

“I think you’re doing pretty fine though,” Chase comments, earning a eye roll from Ryan.

“What was that for, Blaney?” Ryan glances over at her. “Yeah, I saw the eye roll.

“The standing on the balcony together, the flirting comments – I thought I told you alre-” Ryan starts.

“Ryan, take a chill pill!” Chase lets out as Erin gives him a stern glance. “She told me, alright? I know that she had a crush on me for the longest time. I know how she felt then, and how she feels now. We talked about that, among other things on the balcony. You don’t need to worry over the smallest of things.”

“Seriously?” Chase nods his head as Erin felt like hiding her head immediately. She had promised Ryan to never let Chase know that.

“I was confessing some of my feelings about Alison, and then I went into some comments of our friendship and how I appreciate that. She then told me.” Ryan keeps his eyes locked on Erin.

“Seriously?” Chase then glances between the pair.

“I promised Ryan that I would never tell you,” Erin fills him in as Chase glances back towards Ryan. “He was afraid that it would make things awkward, and messy.”

“Well I am going to tell him the same thing that I told you – nothing is changing,” Chase comments. “We’re friends, we’re close, and that’s a fact. We’re just going to carry forward without any issues. Is that okay with you, Ryan?” Ryan slowly nods his head accepting.

“I just didn’t want her to mess up things with you and Sarin-” Ryan starts.

“It’s not!” Chase and Erin say together, before glancing at each other with a chuckle.

“Just imagine if she saw that right now, Chase.” Chase glances at his phone, loading up a photo from Iowa that had popped up on his twitter feed earlier, throwing the phone over to Ryan.

“And what am I supposed to think in seeing this, Ryan?” Chase questions as Ryan glances between the photo and Chase shocked. “Don’t look at me all shocked. She’s not cheating on me with Bell, same as I’m not cheating on her with Erin. We both respect each other’s close friendships with other people, even if opposite sex, and that’s all. That’s what you call finding respect and balance with your relationship, it took us time, and sure we had some pretty nasty fights along the way, but we’ve found that. You don’t need to worry anymore.”

Are you sure?” Ryan questions as Chase snatches his phone back.

“Trust me. I wouldn’t have given her a ring if that wasn’t the case, Ryan.”

“Now, what do you say we play a game of monopoly and let this all go?” Erin offers as she goes into the cupboard.

“I bet I am going to beat you both,” Chase comments as he clears off the table for them.

“I call being banker,” Ryan states as his eyes don’t leave Chase. He wanted to stick with those words and believe that everything would remain the same after this trip. However, he wasn’t about to write that in final writing yet.

Monday, June 18 – Dublin, Ireland

A good day later, and the whole questionable future was forgotten in their eyes. Erin and Chase had carried on as usual friends, with Ryan forgetting every bit of doubt that he had initially. Maybe it wasn’t so bad that Chase knew after all.

“Are you sure this is a good idea?” Chase questions as they walk up to the front doors of the John Jameson & Son Irish Whiskey Factory.

“As long as we don’t allow him to consume much,” Erin answers with a chuckle as they head inside the doors.

“Hey now, what’s a tour without a little consumption?” Ryan asks, earning a eye roll from both Erin and Chase.

“Just make sure to pace yourself there boy,” Chase comments as he places a hand on his shoulder. “I don’t want to be babysitting you later.” Ryan then glances over at Chase surprised.

“Are you sure it’s me that we should be worried about?” Chase then glances over at Ryan.

“Oh, you’re referring to lightweight over there.” Erin just flips them both the bird quickly as Ryan laughs.

“I actually am talking about the superstar in the middle here.” Erin then sticks her tongue out as Chase looks on surprised at them both.

“Me? When have you had to worry about me during this vacation, or any vacation for that matter?” Ryan then smirks as he takes out his phone, set to scroll through photos. Chase immediately places his hand on top of the phone. “That was a one time incide-”

“Are you sure about that, buddy?” Chase nods his head.

“Are we just going to stand here all day or can I find out how they make this stuff, please?” Erin questions as she stands at the front desk ready for the tour.

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

Friday, June 15 – Galway, Ireland

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“I’m fine Eri-”

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

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

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

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

“You’re being too hard on yourse-”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Seriously?” She nods her head yes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, June 16 – Ireland

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Tale of Love & Racing: Sarina’s Story – Chapter 82: Ireland

Wednesday, June 13

Ryan glances over at Chase, letting out a chuckle, before getting comfortable in his seat.

“Comfy there?” He questions, earning a glance from Chase.

“Very actually,” Chase answers. “Don’t mock until you try it.” Ryan just chuckles once again.

“I’d rather not based on how strange that looks…”

“Looks don’t matter if you’re comfy for a six-hour flight.” Chase then sends one final text to Sarina before putting the phone away. “I still can’t believe you told Lindsay to take care of herself about 10 times before we left.”

“She’s pregnant, and I can’t help but worry about her. I want the best for that little bundle of joy, and you can’t blame me for caring…” Chase nods his head accepting.

“Are you sure you’re going to handle being away?”

“I know Lindsay has an eye on her, so that’ll help.” Ryan then glances over at Chase. “What about you?”

“She’s going to be distracted and enjoying the girl time that she’s been missing combined with racing that she won’t even notice.” Ryan knew that wasn’t the purpose of the question.

“What about you?” Chase lets out a sigh, knowing the direction Ryan was headed.

“I told Alan this, and I am going to tell you, too – I don’t need to be hove-”

“I heard about the nightmares. I saw the flashback before the pageant. I get that you want to move forward, and you don’t want reminders, but you’re still dealing with stuff.” Chase lets out a sigh.

“I’ll be fine, okay? Besides, isn’t that the purpose of this vacation?” Ryan nods his head.

Chase and Ryan walk through the airport, glancing each direction for the sight that they were waiting for.

“Ryan!!!” Erin immediately runs up to him, wrapping both arms around him.

“Hey,” Ryan says to his little sister as he gives her a hug. “How are you?”

“Absolutely amazing. As much as I miss you, Emma, and our parents, I am loving Ireland. I can’t wait to show you both around. But first – it’s just so great to see you!” She then gives him another hug.

“You obviously remember this guy, I hope…” Erin then glances over at Chase, and nods her head.

“How could I forget my banquet date?” She then gives Chase a hug. “It’s nice to see you, and how well you’re doing after everything. Ryan has been keeping me posted…” Chase lets out a sigh. “I didn’t mea-”

“No, it’s fine,” Chase cuts her off. “I just don’t want reminders and thoughts about it.” She then stands up straight.

“Then we won’t say a single word from here on out, okay?” He nods his head accepting. “Now when in Ireland, we must do as the Irish does and have a drink a pub. Shall we?” The group nods their head accepting.

Once making the trip into town with Erin at the wheel, she takes them to one of her favorite pubs to stop in at while visiting Galway, leading the boys inside.

After taking their seats and ordering a round of drinks, it was time to catch-up. Erin shared all of her adventures with friends since moving over there, assuring them both she’d show them all the highlights, while Ryan caught her up on the family business and everything that she would’ve needed to know.

With everything on the table, there was only one thing remaining….

“So I have some news that I need to tell you,” Ryan starts a little nervously as he taps his hands on the table.

“Do I want to know this news, Chase?” Erin questions and Chase nods his head, knowing where Ryan was going immediately. “He seems a little nervous…”

“He already told Emma and she maybe didn’t have the best reac-” Chase starts carefully, knowing a warning would hopefully lessen the blow if any.

“Oh so now I’m second rated now?” Ryan just rolls his eyes in response, as he takes a long sip of his glass.

“I wanted to wait and tell you in person,” he offers, earning a curious glance from her.

“Go on….” She encourages, eyes locked on her older brother.

“Lindsay is pregnant. We’re due for a baby in December.” Erin looks back shocked as she glances at Chase for assurance, before locking her eyes back on Ryan.

“I’m going to be an aunt for Christmas basically?” Ryan nods his head. “You and Lindsay met at the banquet, and only started seriously dating in February….”

“Yes, we’ve only been together four months, Erin. But I’m absolutely certain about her and our future together. I know that she’s the right gal for me as we just click amazingly well. It was love at first sight, and it has only grown from there. I know that we’re both going to be amazing parents and we can’t wait to raise this baby together and spend our lives together.” Erin smiles a little as the happiness on Ryan’s face immediately radiated off onto her.

“I’m surprised, honestly, but I’m happy and excited. I can see how much Lindsay means to you and where you see your future, and I’m also excited about being an aunt. I can’t wait to meet him or her.” Ryan smiles as it was nice to see the approval from her immediately. “I can guess that mom and dad were over the moon while Emma was concerned?”

“She expressed the same thing that you said initially, and then laid into me about making irresponsible decisions. She was also concerned, given the past for Sarina and Lindsay.” Erin glances at Chase at the mention of Sarina and takes a deep breath.

“Sarina has that same past, and look at how the past two years have worked out with Chase – they’re amazing and belong together. If they can overcome that, then what’s stopping you and Lindsay? I’m happy for you…” She then lifts her glass in toast. “Here’s to a new little boy joining our family!”

“Boy?” She nods her head as their glasses touch.

“I have a feeling I’m getting a nephew this winter.” She then glances over at Chase. “You’re quiet..”

“I was just letting Ryan share his news and you bask in the excitement,” Chase offers. “I’ve known for awhile and I told him immediately I was happy for him, but worried about the reaction he’d get in return. I’m glad you’re on his side.” Erin puts her hand on top of Chase’s.

“When someone believes in you from the start, it makes the world that much more easier to handle and tackle. You know there’s someone to depend on when the walls start to fall around you.” She then glances across the table at Ryan. “I could never leave my brother hanging.” She then returns her eyes back to Chase. “Just like even though I have no clue firsthand what Alison is like or what her motives are, but I believe you when you say that you didn’t sleep with her and you’re not the father of her forthcoming baby. It’s about that trust.”

“I appreciate that. Thank you.” Erin then takes a big sip of her glass, eyes locking on Ryan for a minute.

“I was actually surprised to hear that you and Sarina got into a bit of a fight over that news, and she hasn’t come to full grips yet.” It was now Chase’s turn to give Ryan a stern glance. He didn’t mind details shared since they’d come out eventually, but he wish a line was drawn in the process.

“She actually has now. It took some time, but she’s come around to believe what I was saying.” Erin then looks back over at Chase.

“I’m just surprised it took tim-”

“Complicated reason and situati-”

“You were adamant from the beginning so that should tell her someth-”

“She also felt that I was trying to prote-”

“You wouldn’t lie, Chase. I thought she learned that already.” Chase lets out a sigh as he didn’t want to get this far into the discussion or advanced, but there was no choice.

“She also just found out at that time she probably wouldn’t be able to carry a baby full term, Erin. She had a lot of her own emotions about her own chances at motherhood and just throwing that on her, I felt it would’ve been too much, so I originally hid the notion of Alison even being pregnant. Everything combined together and I can see why she wouldn’t believe me. Why would I tell her if I slept with someone else? Why would I encourage the thought of someone else giving me what she couldn’t when I expressed a desire at one point for that?” He then takes a deep breath, glancing down at the table immediately. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to just go off…”

“No, it’s okay…” Erin then places a hand on his shoulder. “I shouldn’t have pushed the issue with you, either. But now hearing that, and understanding your shoes, I get where she’s coming from. I also don’t even know what to say about the fact that you may not be able to have a family of your own one day. You’re great with kids.”

“We’re still waiting for a second opinion, and there’s options ranging from adoption to a surrogate.” Ryan then smiles a little.

“You’d make a great surrogate,” Ryan offers candidly, earning a stern glance from both Chase and Erin.

“That’d be a little awkward, all things considered,” Erin comments and Chase nods his head in agreement. “Since you guys are here to forget about all that for a week and have some fun, let’s try talking about something else. Say, let me discuss my plans for you both…” Chase and Ryan glance at each other concerned.

“Should we be scared?” Erin just rolls her eyes as she pulls out a notebook and map.

The rest of the night went smoothly as the plans fell together perfectly with excitement all around, followed by the usual banter that they normally shared when together.

Though as they left the pub later that night, Ryan couldn’t help but pull Erin aside about the comments earlier.

“I told you from day one that Chase will always have a sweet spot in my heart and I’ll always care about him,” Erin starts. “I’m just looking out for him, Ryan. Relax….”

Thursday, June 14

The boys head outside, following Erin as they tried to remember what she had put on the list of things to do.

“So who believes in Santa Clause?” Erin asks as the boys glance at each other confused.

“Erin, do you not remember the discussion with our parents?” Ryan wonders earning a chuckle from Chase.

“Yes, Ryan, I remember when my heart got broken because someone told me that daddy bought me the wrong dolly when I said that Santa messed up.” Chase glances over at Ryan a little surprised and Ryan lets out a sigh. “This is why having siblings close to your age is not a good idea. At least for you, both Brittany and Starr would be old enough to keep it a secret.”

“I learned a young age, though, when I told Santa that I needed new tires for the go-kart rather than other gifts,” Chase reveals, as Erin just smiles.

“Ah of course that would do it,” Erin comments. “See, Ryan spoiled it for both me and Emma.” Ryan makes a mocking face behind her which earns a chuckle from Chase. “Can I smack him now or later?”

“Whenever you please.” He then puts his sunglasses on as they head down the street. “Now since we’ve got sunshine for a change in this cloudy city, enlighten us…”

“We’re going to St. Nicholas’ Church.” Chase nods his head accepting as they make the walk down the street. “It’s not far from the hotel, and it’s a signature spot. I figured we’d do the tourist thing before a fun thing.”

“I didn’t come all this way for you to give me faith and a church,” Ryan argues as Erin just rolls his eyes.

“To appreciate the city, you must appreciate the artwork of the past,” Erin offers, earning a curious glance from both men.

“Just go with it, Ryan….” Chase encourages as they walk down Market Street.

The church, built in the 14th century, wasn’t a full stroll down the street. While not much for history of churches, there was an appreciation in knowing the church was built in dedication to St. Nicholas of Myra, the patron saint of children, better known as Santa Claus.

“Are those gargoyles?” Ryan offers as he glances at the exterior of the church, earning a nod from the other two. “No other church has those….”

“And suddenly he’s interested,” Erin whispers earning a chuckle from Chase. “That’s one of the things that makes this church unique and why it stands out. I know like you said you’re not here as a traditional tourist and such, but you can’t come to Galway and skip it.”

It wasn’t long before the group was inside, taking a tour of the layout, which included various tombs and a reader’s desk. It was also neat in looking at the list of people who worshipped there, including Christopher Columbus.

“Feel special now, Ryan?” Chase questions as Ryan just flips him off. “That’s rude..”

The afternoon plan for the boys was better, as Erin knew that she’d get them interested immediately. Considering it was also sunny for once rather than cloudy, that was an added bonus.

She knew they both liked to go for decent bike rides and jogs, and there was no better spot to do that than Salthill Beach. Known for its high standard of environmental quality and safety, it was one of the nicest spots to relax in Galway, whether swimming, being a beach bum, or working out. That was easily thanks to the surroundings, from a scenic view back to the city to the color of the water.

“This is the perfect spot for a sunset,” Erin comments after they had gotten done a nice jog to look around everywhere. “Whenever my world feels like it’s too stressful or I’ve just had enough – whether missing everybody or whatever, this is where I come. I can sit here, watch that sunset, and just bask in the glory. It really takes me back and makes me be thankful for what I have..” She then glances at the boys as she gets comfy on the beach blanket. “Just like I’m thankful right now that you both chose to vacation here and spend time with me. I’m thankful for a very supportive big brother, and also an amazing best friend for life.”

“I’m glad you’re a part of my life too,” Chase offers with a smile. “I didn’t realize how much I needed this until now, laying here, thinking…” He then takes a deep breath. “No matter how crazy the world gets, I always have my friends, my girl, and my family.”

“Alison can do whatever she wants, but nothing will change that if they’re truly loyal to you, and if you remain strong.” He nods his head accepting.

“Don’t be questioning how strong he is now….” Ryan offers as Erin glances over at him.

“I wouldn’t be so quick to past judgment over there. just promise me no jumping out of planes anymore.” Ryan chuckles as he looks over at Chase.

“I already made Chase promise me that we’ll forget that activity.” Ryan glances back out over the water. “I may pick on you, Erin, but thank you for bringing us here. I agree with Chase – I didn’t realize how much I needed this time.”

“I never want to forget this view when I come home,” Erin continues. “I’ve told myself to memorize it. That way when I’m home and everything is chaotic, I can take a deep breath and come right back to here. When I leave Ireland and come home, I don’t want to lose this. I want to make sure that I come back here again.”

“Can we make a pack that we’ll come here again, together?” Chase questions and Erin nods her head in agreement as the three join hands.

“Heck, next time we’ll bring Lindsay and Sarina, too…” Ryan was a little surprised based on Erin comments in relation to Sarina, but was glad that she was opening up to respecting everyone.

Once the sun had set and group agreed hunger was on the horizon, Erin took them to another one of the pubs she enjoyed visiting on a regular basis. The group immediately set forth on ordering some food, with their drinks.

“One Guinness beer please,” Ryan orders as he places the menu down after everybody had ordered their food.

“You never drink Guinness,” Chase comments as Ryan looks over at him.

“Irish brings out a different side of me…” Chase just rolls his eyes remembering the trip to Amsterdam and those adventures.

“I’ve never tried a Guinness,” Erin then reveals, earning a surprised glance from both men.

“Seriously?” They both question and she nods her head.

“How can you spend months in Ireland and not try a Guinness?” Ryan questions and she shrugs her shoulders.

“She even suggested a tour of the plant – but yet has no idea and why they’re so good,” Chase adds as Ryan just shakes his head in disgust.

“Make that three glasses, please. She’s not getting out of here without a sampling.” The waiter heads off as Ryan just continues to look at Erin surprised.

“I can’t believe that we got ID’d.” Ryan then looks back towards Chase.

“It’s nice to blend in for a change and just let loose without any regard,” he offers and Chase nods his head in agreement.

“Should I worry?” Erin questions and both men shake their heads no. “Can I trust that?”

“We went through Amsterdam and didn’t get arrested,” Chase reminds her as she nods her head, having heard about those adventures.

“So do I get to see those two left feet turn into a pair of tap dancing heroes?” Chase just chuckles as he gives her a wink. Ryan could only think of every nerve in the process, knowing the feelings Erin still had.

It didn’t take long for the waiter to return, placing three glasses before them.

“It smells good,” Erin comments as she takes her glass, taking a wiff.

“Just drink it already,” Ryan encourages as she rolls her eyes.

“Here goes nothing….” She then takes a sip, smiling immediately. “This is good.”

“Better than Heinkenen?” Chase wonders, knowing her drink of choice.

“Not quite, but it’s a very good substitute,” Erin answers. “You still like your whiskey?”

“You can’t beat a glass of Jack.” Erin chuckles a little, followed by holding her glass in the air.

“Here’s to a week of adventure, laughs, joy, and a good ‘ol distraction. Let the fun begin!”

The Tale of Love & Racing: Sarina’s Story – Chapter 81: “Do yourself a favor and take a step back”

Friday, June 8 – Michigan International Speedway

“How close were we from making it to the next round?” Alan questions as he looks at the monitor, seeing they ended up qualifying 13th.

“Hundreths of a second,” Josh answers. “That little bobble that Chase talked to you about – cut half of that out and we’re in.” Alan shakes his head in disbelief as he glances over at his driver.

“We’re getting where we want to be…” Chase nods his head in agreement.

“I’m sorr-” Chase starts and Alan gives him a stern glance.

“Don’t give me that apology shit,” he cuts him off. “You were driving your ass off as hard as you could. It’s not your fault. I missed the set-up a little so I’m to blame just as much. We’ll get there.” Chase nods his head as Alan walks over, placing an arm around his shoulders. “You believe me?”

“Absolutely.” Alan smiles a little as they watch the final round of qualifying start.

“You’re quiet….” Chase lets out a sigh as he glances over his shoulder.

“Why can’t everybody just let it go? Everybody knows what happened, but yet they’re on my case about every single little feeling.” Alan glances over at him a little confused. “My parents keep asking about how I am doi-”

“They care abou-”

“You keep aski-”

“I care abou-”

“Jimmie pushed to find out more information after hearing that I had a small nightmare while watching Lydia.” Alan’s jaw now drops in shock. “I flashed back to the hotel room, woke up a little spooked. She caught me with tears rolling down my cheeks. I told her it was a bad dream and she offered to comfort me. She then told Jimmie, and Jimmie asked me about it.”

“What did you say?” Chase lets out a sigh as he looks back out to the track.

“I told him it was about Alison, which he understood because of everything and offered to be there if I need a friend.” Chase looks over at Alan. “He doesn’t know about everything she did. I can’t bring myself to say oh yeah, I had a nightmare because this chick sexually assaulted me.”

“Chase…..” Chase takes a deep breath.

“Everybody is going to find out, though. Whennver they finally set the date and we do the trial, I am going to have to say everything. Everybody is going to know what happened. Then what?” Alan knew it was a touchy subject as he thought over the best wording to say.

“They’ll understand everything that you’ve been dealing with. They’ll have sympathy for your reactions, behavior, everything that you’ve been saying. They’ll also know to give you space knowing it’s a touchy subject. Some people may even view you as a hero for being strong.” Alan then places a hand on his shoulder. “Nobody knows how everybody will react and what is going to happen. Honestly? That doesn’t matter, Chase. Those who know you will be there to support you. Those who want to do whatever else can kiss your ass because at the end of the day, all that matters is you.”

“I know, but it’s hard….” Alan nods his head sympathically.

“I know Sarina is racing next weekend in Iowa, but it’s your off-weekend. You’ve been through hell and back these past couple of months, balancing your schedule, racing, and Alison’s whole list of shit. Do yourself a favor and take a step back, take some time to catch your breath, and relax. Unplug from everything and try to have a bit of relaxation and fun. Can you promise me that?” Chase smiles, nodding his head yes. “And if you need anything while she’s in Texas, don’t hesitate to call me – no matter the time of night.”

“I’ll be fine. My little angel is coming back to stay tonight.” Alan then looks over puzzled. “Lydia loves spending time with me, and Jimmie says if it helps, he’s willing to let her spend the weekend at my coach.”

“Children can be a bless – shit, I didn’t mea-”

“Children can be a blessing in the happiness that they can bring and distraction. You can say it, Alan. We’ve talked about this. I’ve come to grips….” Alan nods his head, accepting.

“Just don’t keep distracting yourself that you don’t face your feelings.”

After a quick chat and snack, things were starting to get settled in for the night for Chase and Lydia. Knowing there was no way he was missing the truck race, he had convinced her that they curl up in the big bed in the motorcoach and watch it together.

“Sarina?” Lydia questions and Chase nods his head as they get comfy with a bucket of popcorn.

“Yeah, we’re going to watch Sarina race on the big TV,” Chase answers as she smiles. “Now, what number is Sarina?”

“Eighteen!” Chase looks over impressed as he didn’t expect her to know that.

“You’re pretty smart, huh?” Lydia just keeps smiling in return.

Starting third, she was strong through the first portion, running in the top-three through the first stage until a caution with 10 laps to go. Rudy pulled the strategy card, bringing her down pit road rather than keeping the position for stage points. Restarting about 14th, she crossed the line in 12th.

Chase had expected Rudy to leave her out and gain back the lost ground, but instead he made the decision to pit her once again.

“What the hell?” He questions out loud confused as Lydia glances over.

“Bad word Chasey!” She says as he immediately covers his mouth, repeating what he said back to himself.

“Sorry. Guess I’m just a little nervous tonight..” Lydia then grabs a handful of popcorn before cuddling into his side.

“She will win!” Chase smiles as he was certainly enjoying the vote of confidence.

Restarting from the seventh position, she didn’t make up much ground, only moving up to fifth and staying there until a caution with six laps to go in the stage – which puzzled Chase about the initial strategy even more. Of course once again, Rudy made the decision to bring her down pit road rather than get the stage points, setting her back to restart seventh and finish sixth in the second stage.

“There we go….” He lets out as Rudy left her out at the end of the second stage, allowing her to move up to the second position for the restart.

“She win?” Lydia asks, eyes half-opening back up as Chase glances down at her.

“It’s not over yet sweetheart. Listen, close your eyes and I promise I’ll tell you what happened in the morning.” He then wraps his arm back around her as she grabs her stuffed animal, cuddling it as she closes her eyes once again.

Restarting second, Sarina was unable to hold the track position, dropping back to fifth – which was still decent considering the older tires. The next caution flew at 60 laps to go, which was just outside of the fuel window.

“Of course….” He lets out as he watches them come down pit road, with her set to restart fifth for the restart.

He knew if he was at the track sitting on the pit box, this would be the time that he’d be trying to peak at the numbers being written down by the engineers for fuel mileage. Instead, he was stuck in a bed with his little buddy, fingers crossed, hoping that they could make it on gas.

Over the course of the run, his nerves were shot as it seemed every thought and pit road report had him knowing that they’d be outta gas in the final laps, and stuck with a poor finish. However, his nerves got a sigh of relief when the caution flew with 19 laps to go.

Rudy brought her down pit road, giving her four tires, setting her up to restart eighth. Unfortunately, it probably would’ve been better to stay out – like eventual race winner, or get two tires as making up ground never happened, but rather falling back to 10th.

“Come on Rudy….” He says getting discouraged with the lack of adjustments. It almost seemed a repeat of several other weeks this year where they ran great the first two stages, and then just fell off the final section.

The final yellow flag flew with seven laps to go, with Rudy bringing her back down pit road. Restarting from 12th, she was only able to make two spots, finishing 10th.

He grabbed his phone off of the nightstand, sending her a quick note of encouragement on the night and a I love you, I miss you message. He then put his phone up, getting comfortable with Lydia, letting his eyes drift close for a good night’s sleep.

Saturday, June 9 – Michigan International Speedway

After a crazy hectic Friday, it was nice to have a relaxing Saturday ahead of him, with just a single two hour practice to make sure they got the handling right on the car for Sunday.

As they had been doing, solid progress was seen throughout the session with Chase feeling comfortable and feeling it was something they could work with, despite only being 17th quickest on the speed chart.

Though once the meeting was done and his mind was left to wander, he couldn’t help but reflect back to Alan’s comments from the previous day about taking some time to himself. He knew the crew chief was right as certainly the weight on his shoulders felt like it was getting heavier with each passing day.

“Do I want to know?” He hears, snapping him out of his thoughts as Ryan walks into the garage. “You looked like you were deep in thought.”

“Nah, it was nothing,” Chase brushes it off immediately but Ryan knew better than that. However, he wasn’t there to push the issue – but rather offer the alternative.

“So Lindsay and I finally told Emma that she’s pregnant.” Chase glances over a little surprised. “It went just as lovely as you’d probably expect knowing Emma. While she’s ready to spoil the child and be the greatest aunt ever, she immediately pulled me aside to question Lindsay’s intentions and behavior.”

“I’m not surprised, Ryan….” Ryan just lets out a sigh as he leans back against the pit box beside him.

“I’m actually not either. I tried to explain how we casually met and we’re working at getting closer and then it just…well, it just happened. She told me that I should’ve been more careful, I should know how to wear gloves, and everything else in between. She’s still concerned, too, despite everything we’ve said, about Lindsay’s history and intentions due to Chris, Bethany and everything…” Chase lets out a sigh as he glances towards the ground.

“I’m sorry that you’re faced with that, man. I know what it feels like because I heard the same thing from my sister, too. Brit was ready to throw Sarina out the back door at dinner – if not have it secretly kidnapped on a mission.” Ryan chuckles a little, not surprised. “But hey, she grew to tolerate and like her over time. Give it some time…”

“I’m trying – but you know how much Emma’s approval means to me.” Chase nods his head, understanding. He knew how close Ryan was with both his sisters.

“So have you told Erin yet?” Ryan shakes his head no.

“This isn’t something that you tell someone over the phone, man, and she’s still away in Ireland. Speaking of which….” Chase wasn’t sure he wanted to go this direction. “Let’s just be honest and state this openly. You’ve had a crazy hectic past couple of months and an escape from reality would be welcoming. I also like to have my time to get away and recharge during these breaks. We talked about this last year when we were there that we wanted to go back and see more of Irela-”

“No, no – no way….” Ryan looks on surprised. “You and Lindsay can just pick up and run away but Sarina still has her schedu-”

“I talked to her about this already.” Chase looks over, jaw dropping immediately. “Lindsay doesn’t want to travel much due to being pregnant and sickness and all that jazz. We know Sarina can’t go because of her race in Iowa, but she agrees with me – you need some time to get away, forget about everything for a couple days, and have some fun. Lindsay is going to stay with her and go to Iowa, as long as you agree to come with me to Ireland.”

“Seriously?” Ryan nods his head. “So you put all these pieces together without consulting me first?”

“I figured I’d take all the hard work and planning out of the equation because this is supposed to be a little getaway for you. At the same time, I can meet up with Erin and tell her the great news.” Chase smiles a little.

“I wouldn’t mind seeing Erin’s reaction….” Ryan then smiles as he knew that meant he was warming up to the idea.

“We always do a vacation at this time. You got to say yes…” Chase glances over. “Well, you could say no – but everybody may kick your ass. Besides, you have to admit that I am right.”

“Alan mentioned the same thing to me yesterday – make sure to take time for yourself, even with Sarina’s schedule.”

“So is that a yes?” Chase had been looking forward to Ireland, and he had to admit that some time away was exactly what the doctor ordered. While having comfort from everyone was nice, the time away would probably do more good than he probably realized right now. He also knew that the girls would enjoy their own time to themselves with how hectic everything had been, and there was no fear with Alison locked up now.

“Let’s go have some fun!” Ryan lets out a small cheer, immediately pulling his phone out to send a text of approval to Erin, Sarina and Lindsay.

Sunday, June 10 – Michigan International Speedway

Chase scrolls through his twitter feed, letting out a sigh as he glances back up towards the sky. They may say it’s clearing, but the sky and drops of rain set to fall, combined with the radar said otherwise.

Why couldn’t NASCAR just admit it?

His eyes return back to his phone, as another sigh escaped his lips. Rain delays sucked, but they even sucked worse without Sarina there.

He was actually surprised that she hadn’t made it to the track yet. He knew she stayed in Texas to watch the IndyCar race last night and was flying out on Sunday morning – and he had gotten an update that she had landed, but that didn’t explain the fact that she hadn’t made it to the track yet.

“Where are you?” He asks himself, stopping every urge to send her a panic message and see where she was. While it felt like hours since the update, it’d only been two – and he knew traffic was a bitch on raceday.

“Where is who?” He hears, and a smile comes to his face immediately, as he glances up above his phone. “Hey babes…” She then leans down, placing a kiss on his lips.

“Hey…” She then sits down beside him on the pavement.

“So why are we camping out by the car?” He just shrugs his shoulders. “Was someone feeling a little lonely?”

“I missed you, okay?” He then looks over into her blue eyes. “And I know I am going to miss you this upcoming week…” He then kisses her lips.

“I am going to miss you, too, but I also agree with Ryan. You need to do something for yourself. If this is the right therapy and gives you that escape you need, then I can handle it. We can always text each other and facetime, right?” He nods his head in agreement.

“I almost said no because I knew I’d miss you so much….” She then smiles a little.

“I almost told Ryan that he was full of shit for asking you. But then I realized he was right, and I wouldn’t mind some girl time. The fact that Lindsay and I haven’t gotten to hang out at all for a couple of months now is a shock.”

“That’s because of me…” She then shrugs her shoulders.

“I’m not complaining, though. I wouldn’t take back all the time that I spent taking care of you, Chase. You needed that comfort, and I promised you I’d give you every bit of that because I can’t ever make up for what you did for me.”

“I appreciate it.” She then leans over to glance at his phone, and she does, the skies open up, soaking them both immediately. They both laugh, glancing back and forth, seeing as her retro Chase Elliott t-shirt and jeans were soaked right through to go with his firesuit. “I’m glad that I asked for two of these firesuits now…”

“Come on…” She then gets up, grabbing his hand as they run off for shelter by the team pit box.  “I have to say that clings to you very nicely when it’s soaked…” She then wraps an arms around him, with her hands immediately finding their way down to his butt cheeks. “And you’re probably going to need some help changing out of it.”

“The same way that I believe these jeans won’t slide off so easily…” He then leans in, bringing his lips to hers, as he pushes back up against the pit box. “I missed you so much.”

“I missed you, too.” She accepts every inch of the kiss, not moving her hands one bit from his butt. “Clyde…”

“Trailer?” She nods her head without a single word as they trek through the rain, heading inside, with the lounge door closing immediately, with the lock flicked as he pinned her back against the wall.

“Like I said, you’re going to need help of that…” Her hands work their way to the zipper of his firesuit, as he runs his fingertips along the waistline of her jeans.

The Tale of Love & Racing: Sarina’s Story – Chapter 80: Pocono Double

Saturday, June 2 – Pocono Raceway

Sarina glances through the garage, a bit of shock washing over her as she makes her way over to Lindsay.

“You’re actually here this weekend?” Sarina questions, catching Lindsay off-guard.

“Uh duh of course,” Lindsay answers as she places on her stomach. “Not that I’ve got to enjoy the Pocono weather at all because this little one has been a bit of a pain.” Sarina looks on concerned.

“Morning sickness?” Lindsay nods her head accepting, as she lets out a sigh.

“It’s more like all day sickness. I’ve had it all this week. I could’ve even think about food on Wednesday without throwing up. it’s getting easier, and I finally was able to get digest some toast so I thought I’d actually come out and support my man.” Lindsay then glances into the Cup garages. “I see you’re not getting much time with Chase.”

“I’m getting enough for what matters.” Lindsay just rolls her eyes as Sarina smiles. “Hey, he’s having fun doing double duty for a change and he isn’t doing too bad. He says the car feels good for the XFINITY race, and 11th in Cup practice isn’t bad considering…” Lindsay nods her head in agreement.

“I just realized I dumped all my baby news on you without a thought of consid-”

“No, it’s okay – trust me. I can handle it.” Lindsay then looks over surprised as it was a change considering the last reaction she had gotten. “I’ve come to grips with things. They may not be what I truly want, but I’ve come to grips with it. I can’t wait to be an aunt to your little boy or girl. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for myself and Chase. I also can’t wait until I prove everybody wrong and win that championship.”

“Still dealing with the doubters?” Sarina lets out a sigh, nodding her head.

“I only got the ride because I’m female. I’m only relevant because I’m dating Chase. I should’ve dumped for all the bullshit that I caused with my brother. Oh, and Alison is somehow my fault too.” Lindsay looks over surprised.

“Girl, what have both Chase and I told you about all that bullshit?” Sarina crosses her arms.

“To forget and ignore, but sometimes that’s too hard to do. Hence why I’m turning haters into motivators.” Lindsay smiles as she had heard that line before courtesy of Kyle.

“So Chase should just make you another shelf in the trophy room right?” Sarina just chuckles. “Speaking of Alison, when do you get those paternity test results?”

“Not until July as you have to be 10 weeks before they can get the DNA from the baby. If it was up to me, I’d just rip her apart and figure out what the hell sex that thing is. She’s so crazy that I’d be scared of a baby from it.” Lindsay was now really surprised. “What? I know I should have sympathy for an unborn life and everybody deserves a chance, but did you see everything that she’s done? Anything connected to that has to be crazy.”

“But what if Chase is the father?” Sarina glances over, slightly concerned, as her eyes glance down to the ground.

“I know if he turns out to be the father, he would want to do whatever it took for that baby and take full responsibility. I know him well enough to say that fully confident, no matter who the mother is.” Sarina then glances back up at Lindsay. “But is he the father? I don’t think so. The more that I talk with him about what happened, the more details that he tells me about what happened and he comes to grips with everything, the more I believe that she is playing this game to try and pull his life apart again. That’s who she is, Lindsay.”

“I’m surprised to see the change in perspective.” Sarina lets out a sigh as she glances back into the garage stall.

“Sometimes you have to trust your gut and believe every word out of your man’s mouth, even if you want to put a full shadow of doubt initially. I’m learning to trustworthy and be more open, each day a little more. Chase, you, Kyle and Samantha – I know I can trust each of you without a shadow of a doubt. So if he tells me he isn’t the father, I am going to damn well believe him.”

Chase leans back against the car as Sarina walks over handing him a bottle of water.

“Close….” She comments as he takes a sip, eyes focused on her.

“Close only counts in horseshoes and ha-” he starts.

“Hand grenades.” He nods his head as he drinks more of the water. “But considering the fact that you ran outside of the top-five all day and came back to finish second with strategy at the end, should you be complaining?” Chase shakes his head no. “I mean, to finish second to Kyle in the XFINITY Series is an achievement in itself with the way Gibbs has that program put together.”

“Of course you’d comment on their supreme equipment.” She then smiles as she leans back beside him.

“It was fun driving those cars, okay? If Joe called me tomorrow and said hey, you’re running this race next weekend, I’d have the helmet packed quicker than he could hang up.” Chase chuckles as he wraps an arm around her shoulders.

“You’ll get that opportunity, don’t worry.” He then gives her a quick kiss. “So you didn’t just watch me all day….”

“Are you kidding me? I’m the super supportive girlfriend who does anythi-”

“Fiancée, and I saw you talking with Lindsay.” She smiles at the reminder in change of the wording as she glances down pit road towards Lindsay and Ryan.

“I wanted to see how my girl is doing. It seems that pregnancy isn’t all sunshine and roses for her. She’s been dealing with some morning sickness that turned into all-day sickness.” Chase makes a face as he glances down their way. “Maybe not being able to get pregnant has its advantages…”

“Did I just really hear that from you?” Sarina lets out a sigh as she glances back at Chase.

“I’m coming to grips with reality, okay? Just like racing has taught me that I need to be calmer and realistic, I’m trying to do that with my entire life. While you’re handling what you’ve got, I’m becoming stronger myself. That includes realizing that maybe having a baby isn’t in the cards…” Chase pulls her even closer to him.

“We still have the second opinion. I know it’s taking longer than warranted, but when I mentioned to Rick that we were looking for someone to give us another opinion, he wanted to find the best expert that he could find so we knew the truth.” She nods her head, remembering the discussion. “I understand trying to do what you’re doing, but I also know how badly it broke your heart when you found out that you couldn’t carry a baby full term. I remember the tears and pain. You don’t just let that go by changing your ways, Sarina – same way I can’t just forget what happened.” He then takes a slow deep breath. “Before you make these life altering decisions, just promise me that you’ll consider what is to come.”

“I can promise you that, but I can also tell you that I’m prepared for whatever happens.” She then turns to face him, wrapping her arms around him. “We’ve been through so much. There were times that I thought I lost you from either my stupid mistakes, or Chris’ behavior, or Alison’s choices. They made me appreciate what I have so much more, and I’m ready to live in the moment. As long as we’re together, happy, and healthy, that’s what matters.” She then reaches up on her tippy toes and kisses his lips. “I love you, Clyde.”

“I’ll always love you, too.”

Sunday, June 3 – Pocono Raceway

Sitting comfortable on the pit box, the day had gone smoothly as Sarina couldn’t complain thus far. Alan had worked on the handling to get it pretty decent for Chase, and he had been able to run in the top-10 all day.

Though when the caution came out in the late stages, Alan made the decision to leave Chase out while several of the leaders, having him restart third. While the track position was nice, the older tires did him no favors as he fell back outside of the top-10.

“Of course,” Sarina says to herself trying to avoid the thought of cursing Alan out. She got trying a gamble and do something different and maybe snag a win and track position, but she knew they needed solid finishes from here on out as they were right on the border of playoff elimination. It was never too early to think about the post-season.

Thankfully, the caution came out with 18 laps to go, which Alan made the decision to bring him down pit road. Restarting outside of the top-20, Chase would drive the wheels off of it, making his way back up into the top-10 by the checkered flag.

“I don’t blame you for trying something,” Chase stated after the race as Alan lets out a long sigh.

“We could’ve possibly got a top-five if I would’ve given you tires when you needed them,” Alan comments as Sarina nods her head in agreement. Sure, it was a decent finish and she could leave with a smile on her face. However, that didn’t absorb Alan of his wrong decision.

“We’ll get them next week. Michigan has always treated us well, right?” Alan nods his head in agreement as he glances at Sarina.

“Have fun in Texas,” he states as Sarina simply just smiles back in return.

“I’ll see you on Sunday to keep your ass in line,” she offers as Chase just laughs.

“Why am I not surprised?” Alan then walks away as Chase glances over at her.

“Remind me next time to not allow him to make stupid decisions on the box.” Chase just rolls his eyes as he wraps an arm around her shoulders.

“But if his strategy would’ve worked out, as it did for a couple others, you would’ve called him your hero.” She then lets out a sigh as they head back through the garage together. “Just make sure to behave next weekend. I’m not there to keep you in line.”

“I’m Kyle’s angel now, remember?” Chase just rolls his eyes.

Thursday, June 7  – North Carolina

Chase smiles as he reads the latest text message from Sarina, glad that she was in a good mood. Then again, how could she complain after being second quickest in practice?

“Story?” Chase hears as Lydia looks over at him, holding a book in her hand.

“I did tell you that I would read you one before bed, right?” Lydia nods her head yes. He puts his phone aside, snagging the book out of her little hands as he gets her tucked in on the couch.

With their crazy hectic schedule, Jimmie had wanted to take Chandra out on a special date night of their own without any interruptions. That was fine except while Genieve was sleeping over at a friend’s, their babysitter was not available to watch Lydia. That’s when Chase stepped up, knowing that Lydia would absolutely love a night with him.

The pair had been having fun throughout the night, from playing games to baking cookies and building a fort with the cushions in the living room – all while Chase kept checking timing and scoring from Texas.

Though now that it was night time, it was her bed time and that meant one thing – time for a story. She had brought a selection of books from her collection, all ending up with Chase reading her Dr. Seuss’ Green Eggs and Ham before bed.

As he turned to the fifth page, he looked over and a smile formed as she was already passed out. He set the book lightly down beside her, before turning the light off.

After spending time relaxing with some more text messages to Sarina and a bit of Netflix, it was certainly time for him to close his eyes and go to sleep. Not wanting to be far from her, he made the decision to sleep in the lazyboy while she was on the couch.

“On the bed, spread eagle….” He simply follows the orders as she places the phone just out of reach from his fingers, allowing the live video feed to play once again, as she strips out of her clothes. “I should almost just do what I really want tonight to make you suffer for that comment. Actually, I could simply just send the messa-”

“No, please. Leave Sarina alone. Take me. Do whatever you want. Just please leave her alone.” Alison smirks even wider as she climbs on the bed, laying on top of him.

“I could easily take these off….” She runs her finger tips along the waistline of his boxers. “But we’ll save that for another night…” Just like the previous night, she begins off the same way, her breathing picking up as she did so, matched by his doing the same with a tinge of fear and pain mixed in. But yet, she was getting her satisfaction in feeling him harden against her even through the fabric.

“The….ring….” He grabs her hand, bringing it to closer view of his eyes, seeing the familiar pink diamond. “You took Sarina’s ring…” Alison smirks as she looks into his eyes.

“She doesn’t need tha-”

“Take it off!” Now he really wished that Jordan and Alan heard them. “Take it off!”

“Shut up and kiss me like you mean it, and maybe you’ll get your wish….” He takes a deep breath, accepting the kiss that she had to offer, as well as the continued body movements. “Good boy….”

“Please….” She then moves her lips down his collarbone, sucking as hard as she can as a moan escapes her lips once again.

“I know you want me….”

Chase sits up instantly in the chair, covered in a cold sweat as he tries to catch his breath. He instantly glances over at the couch, seeing Lydia still sleeping.

“You’re okay,” he tells himself as he slowly gets up and makes his way into the kitchen. He pours himself a glass of milk, leaning against the counter, drinking it immediately. “It was just a dream. She can’t hurt you anymore. Just forget it, Chase.” He then takes a couple more deep breathes, feeling the tears roll down his cheeks.

“Chase?” He hears, catching him off-guard as he tries to wipe the tears off of his face immediately seeing four-year-old before him. “You okay?” He nods his head yes as he takes a deep breath.

“Yeah, I’m fine sweetheart,” he replies before kneeling down to her level. “You know those bad dreams that happen with monsters?” Lydia nods her head. “Well, I had one and it scared me – but I’m okay.”

“I save you!” She then wraps her arms tightly around him, which he immediately accepts the hug without reservation.

“Thank you sweetheart. Say, why don’t we both get back to sleep?” She nods her head in agreement as he takes her hand, walking back to the living room together. He tucks her into the blanket on the couch, before climbing back in the lazy boy once again. “Good night Lydia.”

“Night Chase.” He was just about to sleep when he felt movement in the chair, immediately relaxing when he felt arms around his neck. “I cuddle. I save you. Love you.” He then gives her a kiss on the top of the head.

“I love you too, Lydia.”

Friday, June 8  – Michigan International Speedway

Jimmie walks into the garage stall, eyes locked on Chase.

“For someone who just timed in fifth quickest, you’re not looking super happy,” Jimmie comments as Chase glances over. He was actually surprised to see his teammate as normally they all just got together as team meeting time. “But maybe that’d do with last night.”

“Last night?” Chase questions, a little curious. He actually thought Lydia had a good time – at least that’s what she told him.

“Lydia told me that you woke up from a bad dream with scary monsters.” Chase lets out a sigh as he had to know that it’d get back to Jimmie eventually. “She told me that she comforted you.”

“Yeah, I appreciated that actually – and I promise that I didn’t say a lot or really anythi-”

“I’m not mad, or upset, or concerned about that. well, actually, I’m concerned about you if you’re having bad dreams like that. Are you sure everything is okay?” Chase knew he couldn’t keep the act up with everybody forever, especially those close as they found out details. Besides, everyone was going to know in a matter of days when the trial finally took place.

“I had a flashback to an incident with Alison.” Jimmie had pretty much figured that out already.

“I know she stalked you for months, drugged, tripped you with a banana, crashed a plane – she has a track record. So I get why that’d bug you even still to this day and it’d take time to get through it. I also know it can’t be easy being by yourself with Sarina there to support you. Am I right?” Chase nods his head yes. “If it’s easier for you, Lydia can stay with you tonight and tomorrow night until Sarina gets here. If you’re not willing to open up to me, that’s the least I can offer and do to help as a teammate and a friend.” Chase hated to not spill the details, and be open, but how could he admit that out loud once again?

“I appreciate that. Thank you because your daughter is amazing.” Jimmie smiles, having realized that already.

“She also says that you’re pretty cool to hang out with. You’d make a pretty cool dad probably.” Chase slowly nods his head in response, knowing that hit a core in two spots at once.

“We’ll have to see what happens….” Jimmie watches closely as Chase takes a deep breath. “Can I tell you something that you promise you won’t tell anyone?” Jimmie nods his head yes. “Sarina had a miscarriage in January, and she was told last month that she may not be able to carry a baby full-term. We’re getting a second opinion, but we may not be able to have kids of our ow-”

“What about a surrogate or adoption?” Chase knew the options were there, and knew that discussion was next with Sarina. But first things first, it was dealing with Alison and the initial news.

“We’ve talked a little, but no decisions have been made yet.” Jimmie nods his head, accepting.

“I didn’t mean to hurt your feelings in making the comme-”

“You didn’t. I’ve realized this already because this is something that we’ve been working our way through since January. I’ve accepted what is to come in the future for Sarina and I as parents. As she said to me, as long as we’re together, happy and healthy, that’s all that matters. But I can admit to you that sometimes, it stings a little..” Jimmie wraps an arm around him.

“I can’t fault you for that as I know it would for me and Chandra if we were in the same situation. But I’m proud also for how you’re handling it. For what it’s worth, you can always come to me to talk about it, and you can always babysit if you want. Lydia just adores you…” Chase smiles as that was very easy to tell.

“Even if she ends up dating Brexton because of it?” Jimmie looks on surprised. “Yeah, they had a good play at KBM when you asked me to watch her a couple weeks ago and I stopped by to see Sarina.”

“Oh boy, save me now….” Chase just chuckles as Jimmie walks away. “I’ll bring her by at 8, okay?” Chase nods his heads accepting.

“Yeah, thanks….” He then runs his hands over his face as he lets out a long sigh. “If only you knew, Jimmie….”

The Tale of Love & Racing: Sarina’s Story – Chapter 79: Coca-Cola 600

Sunday, May 27 – Charlotte Motor Speedway

Sarina walks into the Cup Series garage, surprised to see all of the crew members gone but yet one person remaining there. Her radar of concern came on immediately, too, seeing as he seemed lost in his own world.

Taking a deep breath, knowing that things were touchy still with everything going on and having heard the latest news, she didn’t know what to expect.

“Hey,” she says quietly as she places a hand on his shoulder. “Are you okay?” He nods his head as he glances back at her. “You know, you can tell me what’s on your min-”

“I told Ryan last night about what happened,” he cuts her off, catching her by surprise. “I told him what Alison did. I was freezing up a little thinking about the pageant last year where it began, how she tried to set us up with that photo, and he caught that. He brought up a couple other things and next thing, I told him what she did. I told him that she sexually assaulted me.” He takes a shaky deep breath as Sarina just remains frozen, hand locked on his shoulder.

“That’s big, Chase. For you to be able to talk to a friend, someone you trust, and voluntarily about that is big. It shows that you’re coming to grips with it, moving forward.” He nods his head as he turns a little, facing her more.

“I almost did it though as a test to myself. Could I speak about what happened clearly without a single problem? I know I have to speak to a room of strangers in a court room about what happened. But if I can’t tell a friend, how could I do tha-”

“You’re putting too much pressu-”

“I’d rather find out before I get to that moment how I am going to react and make sure I don’t totally freak out than to have it happen then.” Sarina could understand that, but still wanted to go back to her original words. However, she knew there was no convincing him. it was part of his nature to find his flaws, and work at fixing those.

“And how do you feel about that a day later now?” He then glances down, as he takes a deep breath.

“I think I can do it. I think I can go there, state what happened, and move forward. I’m ready to put that in the rearview. Just like I was ready for that night with you, I’m ready for the rest of this. I’ve come to grips that she did what she did, and the only way it can hurt me is if I let it hurt me. I still blame mysel-”

“Chas-”

“I know what you’re going to say, and I keep telling myself that – but it’s taking time, okay?” She nods her head, nicely. “Ryan did bring up something else though that I was thinking about, as well. He asked about the pregnancy claim, and what you thought about it. I told him you were angry initially, but have put that aside for us.” He then looks into her eyes. “Can I ask you for your honest opinion? I don’t care what it is, so don’t be afraid and lie so I will agree and make this easy. I want your honest opinion, please…”

“I want to believe you. I want to believe that she is full of shit and just doing this for what you said – to come between us, and to create false drama. I want to believe what you told me in what happened and the fact that there was no intercourse at any time. But damn it, I can’t help but wonder. Maybe that’s because of my own problems, maybe it’s jealousy – I don’t know. But I can’t stand here confidently and say that I don’t believe it without the fact on paper.” Chase nods his head, accepting, as he lets out a sigh.

“I will admit that it hurts to hear you can’t trust me fully on what happened and everything, but I get it. That’s all I’m going to say.” She then scoots closer, laying her head against his shoulder.

“No matter what, though, I am behind you and I am going to stand with you supporting you. I am going to do whatever it takes. I wouldn’t have accepted that proposal if I wasn’t going to.” A small smile forms on his face, before leaning in and kissing her lips.

“I’m glad that you accepted that proposal, by the way. I just hope you don’t go too crazy on the wedding plans.” She then chuckles back in response a little.

“I’ll try to keep it in line, but no promises….”

Chase leans back against the car, flashing a quick smile over the crew guys. It had been one of those decent races, where they looked stronger at times than others. However, running no higher than sixth throughout the event, they ended up with an 11th to show for their efforts.

“I call tonight progress,” Alan starts as he walks over, handing him a bottle of water. “We weren’t as strong as we wanted, but we were better than we’ve been lately. The new motor package made a difference, and we got closer on the handling. A couple more tweaks, and we’ll be where we were last year.” Chase nods his head as he takes a sip.

“It’s not going to happen overnight, but if we can make small gains like this, you’re right,” Chase comments as Alan smiles a little. It was nice to have a positive perspective compared to the past couple of weeks.

“Did you see how Jimmie ran? He was up in the top-five for a good middle portion of the race. Alex even flirted with the top-10. The work is beginning to finally show – hopefully enough to keep the guys in the game.” Chase gives the crew chief a glance.

“We’re family. You don’t ever give up on family. These guys are going to be willing to do whatever it takes until we’re celebrating in victory lane. One thing – when we finally do win, it’s going to be a long night.” Alan chuckles but knew that’d be the truth.

“Do you think we could put one of Clint Bowyer’s parties to shame?” Chase laughs, shaking his head no.

“He’s certainly special…..”

Friday, June 1  – Pocono Raceway

Fridays were normally busy days at the track with practice and media. That was no secret as that was an experience every weekend.

So why did they have to up the anty and make this weekend even crazier?

Since a good morning kiss shared in the morning, Chase and Sarina had been unable to really get a single moment together since then.

Sarina started off with truck practice, topping the charts in style. While she headed off for a debrief, Chase was in the Cup Series car, ranking 20th by the end of the session. They didn’t get any time after that as he was off to the XFINITY Series garage, showing speed with top-six rankings in both sessions. Although he had wanted to see her afterwards, that didn’t happen due to post-practice debriefs, combined with her pre-qualifying meeting.

So with the latest meeting done, Alan stood back and almost chuckled and watching his driver’s reaction. He knew the distance was getting to them both, having seen them trying to catch glances of each other. It didn’t take a rocket scientist to see the latest glance on Chase’s face as he watched her hurry through the garage to pit road for qualifying.

“I have one single question – what are you going to do next weekend?” Alan says as he walks over, snapping Chase out of her daze. “Don’t try to cover your ass up, either. You were checking her out.”

“Is there a real problem with that, though?” Chase questions as he glances back at the crew chief, before returning his eyes forward. That didn’t welcome a good response, though, as she had disappeared.

“Again, what are you doing next weekend?” Chase smiles as discussions were already put in place with the way the schedule had worked out.

“She’ll be here Sunday for the race. She’s going to run the truck race, stay there for the XFINITY event, and then fly to be here for my race. We got this, Alan…” Alan just rolls his eyes as the plan actually didn’t surprise him. He was more intrigued to see what they’d do through the harshest part of the summer.

“Are you ready for the time apar-”

“We handled it last yea-”

“That was before everything that happened…” Chase turns around, facing the crew chief.

“Are you going to continue to remind me of what happened? I don’t need that, Alan. I am working my way through it slowly at my own pace. I am finding my way of dealing wi-”

“Avoi-”

“I openly told Ryan what happened last weekend. I discussed my thoughts about the upcoming trial with Sarina. Do you call that avoiding, Alan? I know it hit me hard, and I didn’t handle it right at first. But trust me when I say this – I’m fine.” Alan nods his head, accepting, but his eyes don’t leave his driver.

“Can you blame me for worrying, though?” Chase shakes his head no. “Okay. I’ll try to remember what you’re saying and listen to what you want. At the same time, reme-”

“I know where to find you if I need you.” Chase then heads off, making his way out to pit road, actually curious to see how truck qualifying was going to go.

After watching Sarina snag the pole for the truck race, Chase knew there was no time like the present to put in a good lap and keep the good fortune going. Surprising himself a little bit, they had managed to get the third round in qualifying despite questioning their lack of speed in practice. However, the final round didn’t go as strongly as hoped, qualifying 11th for Sunday.

“I’ll take it,” Chase states as Alan walks up to him on pit road.

“It’s progress,” Alan adds. “I know you want to go run and watch her, but I need to kno-”

“Loose through the tunnel turn, but now it’s tight in three. Does that help you?” Alan lets out a sigh, nodding his head.

“See, we’re totally in sync now. if only I could get the car to be in sync with us and listen to my adjustments. I knew you’d still be loose in the tunnel turn, but not as bad as before. I didn’t realize it’d affect turn three, though.” Chase smiles as he glances at the crew chief.

“That’s why you get paid the big bucks – to figure out strange places like the tricky triangle. Wave your magic wand, say your spells, and we’ll be fine for practice tomorrow.” Alan just rolls his eyes.

“Just go tell your princess to win the race and keep you in a good mood.” Chase glances down pit road as Sarina speaking with Rudy and the guys.

“She’s got a good truck, and she’s got a good team around her. I feel pretty good about our chances.”

Chase climbs the steps, taking his usual seat behind Rudy, who simply takes a glance at the watch.

“You’re getting quicker at changing,” Rudy offers as Chase takes a swig of water.

“It’s a good workout run from the garage,” Chase replies out of breath as Rudy laughs.

“If you need the medics, I can’t help you there. I got a job to do.” Chase just rolls his eyes, but gets comfy as he knew they were in for a fun day.

The race started off strongly as starting from the pole, Sarina ran up front in the early stages, leading laps, before fading back a little. The team still felt confident about their chances, though, and knew a couple adjustments they’d be right back up there.

However, a trip down pit road sent their day on a bit of derail, courtesy of an uncontrolled tire penalty. Restarting form the tail of the field after a series of eye rolls from both crew chief and fiancé, Sarina was able to make her way back forward, returning back to the top-10. The progress continued, as she kept moving forward with a couple more passes.

It appeared as though a top-five finish was within distance until under a late caution, they heard the dreaded words “tire going down,” sending her down pit road with an unscheduled pit stop. Once again starting from the tail of the field again, she would drive her way back up to 10th by the checkered.

The disappointment was easy to see on the faces of everybody post-race standing on pit road, knowing what the truck had been capable of and feeling they should’ve been celebrating a win instead. However, Sarina was also able to put the day in perspective, proud of the strength that they showed with the adversity thrown their way.

“When we’re in the thick of the title battle and putting together days like these rather than 20s and 30s, we’ll be thankful,” she commented. “We can grow from this.”

“Is this the same crazy girl that showed up at my doorstep?” Kyle had questioned upon her revelation, earning a smile of pride from both Chase and Rudy. It was great to see her growing into a smart mature driver.

“I still have that fire Mr. Busch…” He just smiles back in return, glancing over at Chase.

“Oh I know you do, but I can see that someone has been a good influence on you.” She then glances over at Chase with a smile of her own.

“I thank whoever I can for him every day.” She then wraps an arm around him, kissing his lips. “I don’t even think he realizes what he did for me.”

“You’ve also helped me grow just as much, too,” Chase replies, keeping her held close.

“So when am I getting to invited to the royal wedding?” Rudy questions as the pair just glance between each other. “Oh no, don’t tell me you already have a date…” They then chuckle together.

“No plans yet – except it’ll be in the winter due to our crazy schedules,” Sarina reveals as neither could argue with that.

She wanted to suggest doing the wedding in Colorado since they loved to spend every winter there at the cabin, but knew that was still up for discussion – among other things. But for her, the simple thought that she was saying the word wedding and ready to walk down the aisle one day was enough to show how much things had changed.

Saturday, June 2  – Pocono Raceway

Sarina walks into the living room, placing a hand on each of his shoulders, rubbing them.

“Stay relaxed, stay focused, and don’t drive yourself insane with pressure,” she starts. “You got a busy day ahead of you, but don’t let yourself get too wrapped up. Oh, and remember to drink, drink, drink, and did I mention drink? It’s killer hot. I don’t need you passing out on me.” He then glances back over his shoulder at her.

“Aren’t I normally the one taking care of you?” He questions and she nods her head in return.

“It’s time that I pay you the favor in return. Besides, I care about you….” She then twirls her fingers in the ringlets at the end of the strands of hair, before reaching around, brushing her lips lightly across his.

“If this is caring for me and taking care of me, I’m all for it….” She then smiles in response as she straddles herself on his lap, arms backed around as she resumed playing with the curls.

“Well, I could help take care of you by helping remove these pesky clothes that you don’t need so you can get that sexy ass firesuit on.” He then wraps his arms around her, holding her in place on his lap.

“That’d be a good idea, actually….” He then brings his lips to her, as she runs her hands underneath the edge of his shirt. “Just can’t be too long. I can’t be late….”

“Don’t worry….” She then slips his shirt off, before returning the fingers to his hair, as she kisses his bare shoulder. It was to her own personal satisfaction that the mark Alison had left on him was pretty much gone now.

“Are you sure? You seem distracted by my hair…” She just laughs.

“The curls are fun….” He then stands up, keeping her held against him, carrying her from the couch to the bedsroom, laying them down together.

“Then I guess I need to keep you on-track…” He then brushes his lips slowly over her shoulder, before making his way down her body.

“Clyde….” She then reaches down for his shorts, with his hand landing on top.

“Patience…” She wanted to follow his request, but his lips across her body created that need for an immediate release.

“I…can’t….” She then lets a moan escape her lips. “Time. We don’t have much time…” He then glances back up into her eyes.

“I got enough time for you, don’t worry….”