The Tale of Love & Racing: Sarina’s Story – Chapter 170: Carter Williams

Sunday, January 13 – Charlotte, North Carolina – 27 weeks pregnant

Christopher and Morgan make their way inside as Sarina closes the door behind them.

“How are you doing?” Christopher asks, giving Sarina a hug.

“I’m doing good,” Sarina answers honestly as they make their way inside.

“And the baby?” Sarina lets out a sigh, having grown used to the question from everyone.

“She’s behaving and co-operating. There hasn’t been any issues. You don’t have to worry.” Christopher simply nods his head in return; however he knew that he’d probably be one of those bugging her right until the day that the baby was born.

“So where’s Chase?” Sarina points up the stairs.

“His shoulder was bothering him a bit so he was resting in the bed. He knew you were coming and said for you to come up when you got here.” Christopher smiles, remembering how he was caught off-guard when Chase sent him a text to come over.

“I trust that you ladies will behave then…” He then heads up the stairs as Morgan follows Sarina out to the kitchen.

“It is still strange to watch Christopher come over and ask to see Chase instead of me.” Morgan chuckles as she sits at the island in the kitchen.

“The same way that it’s strange that we’re actually on good talking terms, too?” Sarina smiles, with a simple nod of her head.

“I’m glad that we’ve gotten to know each other. You’re a great gal.”

Meanwhile upstairs, Christopher made his way to the bedsroom, knocking on the door to get Chase’s attention, which easily saw him welcomed in the room.

“I figured if we’re up here, they won’t hear what we’re going to discuss,” Chase comments, getting up off the bed to shut the door after Christopher was inside. “I don’t want Sarina hearing this while she’s pregnant as the stress isn’t good for the baby.”

“Secrets aren’t a good thing, either,” Christopher retorts, causing Chase to take a simple deep breath. Given everything they’d been through over the past couple of years in relation to Sarina, he understood where he was coming from. “You told me this was important and that I should come see you before I left for Oklahoma. What is it?”

“I got a call from the investigator that has been working on Aliso-”

“I thought she was supposed to be rotting away for the rest of her life…” Chase nods his head, as he was still pleased with the fact that Alison would be spending the rest of her life locked away in maximum security for the string of crimes that she committed.

“She’s locked away in maximum securi-?

“So why am I supposed to care?” Chase felt like pulling his hair out already with the constant questions, and he hasn’t even unveiled the biggest thing.

“As part of her therapy, she is beginning to reveal her motivations, confessions, details about everything that happened. It’s supposed to help in figuring out why she is the way that she is. I don’t even care to know or why they are doing it, and I told the investigator that initially. However, she wanted to let me know because of a name mentioned. Carter Williams.” Christopher froze immediately upon hearing the name, as he remembered his phone call with the officer a couple days ago.

“Carter Williams is one of the individuals that they are looking for in relation to what happe-”

“He is also the one who took a shot at me, as well.” Christopher could only let out a sigh as he tried to avoid letting his own mind wander. “Carter was the individual that was helping her sneak into tracks, and getting her funds. We knew someone was helping her and that was him.”

“Could she just be mentioning this name due to hearing the police report and what happened to us?” Chase shakes his head no, as he had asked the same question.

“She doesn’t have access to outside news and sources as per her current arrangement. She has to follow good behavior to unlock things like that.” Christopher chuckled as he couldn’t imagine Alison and good behavior being mixed together.

“So in other words, what happened may not be a simple coincidence like we believed. We thought we were just set-up by some random thugs, but yet we find out that Carter has a connection to Alison and you.” Chase slowly nods his head.

“Welcome to my life. If it’s not Chris, then it’s Bethany, or it’s Alison, and now Carter. It’s like one thing after another – hence why I didn’t want to tell Sarina and make her worry.” Christopher understood where Chase was coming from. However, a simple important aspect still had him questioning the decision to not tell her.

“Shouldn’t you warn her in case there’s more to come, though?” Chase lets out a sigh, knowing when the truth came out, that’d be one of the reasons she’d be yelling at him.

“She already knows that he’s one of the guys involved in what happened. That should be enough warning to make sure to scream, do whatever if he enters her life – or your life, my life, or Morgan’s.” Christopher knew that for certain, as he was going to make sure this upcoming week that Carter’s photo and identity was known to everyone on the team.

“It still doesn’t make sense, though. You ended up at that random road after going for a random drive. How was he supposed to know that you’d leave your own wedding and go for a drive to clear your thoughts? How was he supposed to know that you’d break down? We saw him come out of the random cabin, Chase. Are you telling me that was totally set-up, too?” Chase didn’t know exactly how to respond as his mind had been flipping back and forth over the options since the phone call.

“Alison followed me around the country undetected for a year. Could he have been spying on me at the wedding? Nobody would’ve called him out if he was near the grounds or anything as we didn’t know that he was a threa-”

“What about the cabin?” Chase takes a deep breath, as he debates the theories over in his head.

“Follow me for a second. Say he is spying on the grounds, possibly even having snuck on to the property with multiple people coming through the Dirty Mo Acres gates for the wedding. What if he messed with the truck?” Christopher froze at the thought, remembering the days he spent going over the engine compartment.

“There was some things underneath the hood that didn’t seem like they’d be manufacture correct. That would explain those changes being made. He could’ve wired it to malfunction, whether having just you on the road by yourself, or thinking that you and Sarina would leave the reception together.” Chase nods his head, feeling another tinge of fear. What if Morgan and Christopher hadn’t been there that night? He originally had asked Sarina to come by herself to meet with him.

“So he messes with the truck and he knows it’s going to eventually just die somewhere. I leave the party and he’s there, he follows me undetected. My mind was swirling with thoughts and I just wanted to clear my head, so for all you know he could’ve followed me right out there. The truck breaks down, and he watches as I call Sarina for her to com-”

“Why wouldn’t he make his presence and attack known right then and there?” Chase shakes his head as he knew there were holes in the theory as he developed it.

“Maybe he wanted Sarina to be there. Maybe that was part of his angle. He didn’t know that you were coming, neither did I.” Christopher nods his head, as he had approached Sarina after she had gotten off the phone. “He realizes that you guys are with her, knowing that it isn’t going to be as easy as planned. What if he went to the cabin and threatened the other two to help him?”

“In theory, it may not have taken much. Based on the police records and what the officers told me, they are drug gang members who are known for being low-lifes and always looking for money. Let’s just say that he offers them a big payday in return for their help, and boom – they’re working together.” Chase chuckles a little.

“Isn’t it ironic that he gets lucky that I break down in a spot where he can find two low-life assholes?” Christopher could only shake his head in disbelief as they put the theory together.

“The only good thing is if they can catch either one, whether Sasha Krause or Steve Lane, they may easily give him up in trade for a deal if they fit the personalities that we’ve given them.” Chase nods his head as that was a good theory to begin with.

“We just need to find them, and Carter for that matter.” Chase takes a deep breath. “I just thought that I’d warn you because I don’t want you to come across them in Oklahoma totally surprised without warning of connection.”

“I appreciate that. I just hope Sarina doesn’t kill you for hiding this from her.” Chase glanced in the mirror, knowing that it wasn’t going to be pretty when it came out. However, he was willing to take his chances.

“She already experienced cramping. It’s already a high risk pregnancy, Christopher. I’m not taking any chances. I said that when it came to Alison’s next move, and I will say that again in relation to these three.” He then turns around to face Christopher. “Nobody is going to hurt my family. It’s simple as that.”

“But promise me you’re going to be careful.” Chase had to chuckle, remembering the exact same advice from Alan when he told him the same thing.

“I’ll do my best – but at the end of the day, Sarina and the baby are what matter most.” Christopher walks over, placing his hand on Chase’s good shoulder.

“I’m glad that I didn’t break you guys up with my constant worries because you are doing the best that you can for her. I just hope that you don’t cause yourself more harm than good in the process.” Chase’s phone then goes off, catching both of their attention as he takes it off the dresser.

“Emma and Cale had their baby.” Christopher then looks over his shoulder at the photo that Ryan sent of Emma holding her newborn son. “Louie Rae Conley.”

“He’s adorable. I’m glad that he has Emma’s looks already.” Chase had to laugh a little. “Two babies for the Blaney family born just two weeks apart. Erin is going to have her hands full as an aunt.”

“I think she’ll make sure to spoil them both completely.”

After dinner, Sarina treated Chase to another sponge bath, checking to make sure the wound dressing was staying on and clean accordingly without any stitches ripping. It also served as a good round of desert.

With everything done for the night, including some cleaning, the pair curled up together for some relaxing time together. Sarina knew it presented the perfect opportunity to have the conversation she had been swirling through her mind.

“Chase, can I ask you something?” She questions as he wraps his arms around her.

“You know that you can always ask me anything you want,” he answers, as she watches his hands come together wrapped around her stomach perfectly.

“Now that we know for sure that we’re having a girl, I think we should talk about some name ideas.” Chase was intrigued by her suggestion. “I thought of two names while I was talking to Lindsay, and I wanted your thoughts.”

“I’m fully open to ideas.” While he had been certain through the pregnancy that she was having a girl, he hadn’t given any thought to name ideas.

“Hailey Elliott. Abigail Elliott. What name sounds better to you?” He runs them both through his head, as a smile forms on his face.

“Abby would a cute nickname, wouldn’t it?” Sarina couldn’t help but smile as she had been preferring Abigail as well. “Abigail Victor Elliott.”

“Abigail Casey Elliott.” He then lets out a sigh as he remembered the conversation about middle names. It started with his suggestion in wanting her to always carry her father’s memory with her despite everything. She had managed to shift it to a discussion about his fondness for his cousin and wanting to carry the memory, too.

“Are you going to let that go? I told you what I thoug-”

“I also told you what I thought about the usage of my father’s name, too.” He then lets out a sigh, remembering how they’d gone back and forth for awhile, before agreeing to shelf the topic for the time being. Since then, they hadn’t gotten back to discussing baby names – until now. “I thought about what you said, though. I also told Lindsay about that discussion, and she offered some eye-opening thoughts. For our wedding, when it came to the something borrowed, she let me borrow a locket that my father had given her. It was meant for her to hold something special in it, and she put a photo of us together, as well as a photo of her parents. She gave it to me as she wanted my father to be a part of our wedding, knowing how he’d be proud of me.”

“She’s not lying about that, Sarina. You’ve grown into an incredible person. Given everything that you’ve been through, he’d be super proud in how you persevered, how you fought, how you pushed hard, and how you found your true self through it all.” She smiles a little, feeling her eyes get wet in the process.

“Lindsay said the same thing, actually. She also told me that he’d be proud of the man that I was choosing to share the rest of my life with, knowing that I had a sweet southern peach who knew how to be caring and everything that I needed.” Chase chuckled a little at the reference.

“I bet she didn’t say it in those words, though…” Sarina shakes her head no.

“It made me think about everything, really, and it made me realize that maybe you’re both not wrong. After a lot of careful consideration, I think it’d be fitting for our daughter to carry his memory forward. it’d offer a conversation starter so that way despite everything that’s happened with my family, he isn’t lost in everything that happened.” She then glances back into his eyes. “Abigail Victor Casey Elliott.”

“So you’re not dropping the Casey thing at all?” She shakes her head no. “Abigail Victor Casey Elliott does have a nice ring to it, though.”

“It’s the perfect way for us both to honor that special someone whose close to us, Chase. It’s the perfect way to make sure that neither my father, or your cousin are ever forgotten.” He thinks it over, knowing there was something to her words, as he continued to run the name through his head.

“I think I like it. Abigail Victor Casey Elliott sounds perfect..” He then feels a kick against his hands, chuckling. “I think she likes it, too.”

“I’m glad that you came around and accepted my idea.” They then hear his phone go off, as he reaches over for it off the night table. “Who is it?”

“Christopher. He has safely landed in Oklahoma, but more importantly, he got a message that they have caught two of the three guys.”

“Just two of them?” Chase nods his head, seeing that it was Sasha Krause and Steve Lane who had been arrested. He knew that meant that Carter was still out there somewhere, just as he and Christopher predicted would probably happen.

“Carter Williams is still on the loose. I’m sure once the police speak with Sasha and Steve, they’ll be able to find Carter real soon.” He then rubs her shoulders. “But that doesn’t matter to me. All that matters to me is you. I love you.”

“I love you, too.”

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The Tale of Love & Racing: Sarina’s Story – Chapter 168: “We’re going to be okay, I promise”

Thursday, January 10 – Mooresville, North Carolina – 26 weeks pregnant

“I don’t get it…” Sarina lets out as she sits up on the couch, glancing over towards Morgan. “How haven’t we been rescued yet? You’d think we would’ve been found by now. It’s been three days, Morgan.”

“I’m quite aware of that,” Morgan comments as she leans back against the wall, glancing into the bedsroom. Just like the prior days, she was on her shift of keeping an eye on Chase while he slept as Christopher once again tried to get the truck running.

“You’d think someone would stop seeing a truck stuck on the side of the roa-”

“This road doesn’t have a lot of traffic, and people aren’t very trustworthy these days.” Sarina could understand that, having been through her fair share of people that she wanted to throw to the curve.

“What about the fact that they stole Christopher’s truck? Since by now we would’ve been reported missing by our families – I hope at least, they would be looking for that truc-”

“There are many trucks that look like Chri-”

“The licens-”

“You ditch the license plate, and probably the vehicle too at one of those parts places. Besides, if they’re caught, they’re just going to state that they came across the truck randomly with no connection. They’re not going to want to get caught for assault with a weapon.” Sarina also understood that, however she wasn’t about to give the three guys that much credit.

“One of them would give up the others…” Morgan wasn’t necessarily ready to believe that. “Regardless, you’d think that someone would spot Christopher as he’s been out there each day, all day, trying whatever he can to get the truck running.”

“Listen, there’s so many theories and reasons as to why we haven’t been found yet. It’s just useless to go around in circles debating that. I’d rather focus on doing what we need to do to survive, okay?” Sarina wasn’t quite ready to give in that easily as she let her eyes drift through the open bedsroom door.

“What about Chase? We don’t have all the time in the world. He needs to see a doctor.” Morgan knew that, as she nodded her head in return with a glance Chase’s way.

“I know. For now, let’s be thankful that he’s strong, and fighting, and what we’ve been able to do has helped a little.” Morgan finally looks over at her. “Let’s look at the positives, okay? We’re all alive, and he’s fighting. It could be worse.”

“Did Christopher tell you about the cramps?” Morgan slowly nods her head, as the pair had talked once Chase and Sarina both fell asleep the first night. “I’m glad that he’s so caring as for being someone who didn’t know anything about babies and what I was going through, he was able to calm me right down and help.”

“That’s Christopher, sweetheart. That’s why I fell in love with the man – because there’s a kind sweet side of him underneath that harsh ready to drive anything and do what it takes to win attitude. You just have to get to know him to see that side.” Sarina smiles, having done so over the past couple of years.

“I’m glad that we got to be teammates, even if he was a bit of a pain in the ass at first.” Morgan chuckles, remembering the ramblings that Christopher would go on about to her, saying how he believed this and that about Sarina and Chase.

“Isn’t it strange that at one point he was ready to break you guys up?” Sarina nods her head.

“He wasn’t the only person, though. I thought Chase’s sisters were going to kill me, if his Momma didn’t.” Morgan then comes over and sits down beside her.

“Luckily for me, my parents love Christopher and absolutely enjoyed going to New Zealand with us.” The parent discussion brought Sarina back to her own thoughts, almost feeling bad that she wasn’t able to make the same memories as Morgan was able to make.

“I wish my dad could be here today. I wish he could see the man that Chase is, and how well he treats his little girl. I also wish that my dad was here so he could meet my baby.” Sarina then rubs her stomach, taking a deep breath. “I don’t talk about this a lot with everyone, but my dad means the world to me. There’s so many things that he did for me before he was killed that meant everything. We were like two peas in a pod, and it was beyond perfection at times. Heck, I even remember my mom being jealous of all the time that we spent together.”

“Were you close with your mom at all?” Sarina shakes her head no.

“We never grew that relationship when I was a child, and my father’s death and having to drop everything and move pulled us further apart. She tried to be close and help me with my grieving then, but I was angry at the time. I didn’t get why I was being taken away from my friends, my family. How were we going to be safer without those people around us?” Sarina then finally glances back up. “It makes me understand why my brother did what he did. While I pulled myself in, and just pushed forward in my own life without a care, he went forth with lashing out. Obviously that warped into what he became.”

“I’m sorry….” Morgan then reaches over, placing a hand on Sarina’s for comfort as Sarina takes a deep breath.

“There’s nothing that I can do, though. That was his decision, just like I made the decisions that I made. I have regrets, yes I do, but I’ve learned that I can’t change what happened. The only thing that I can do is be a better person moving forward. It’s my duty to learn from those mistakes, and make sure to not do them over again.” Morgan nods her head, understanding, but also surprised in where the confession had come out of nowhere.

“Given how you and Chase have grown together, and fought through what you’ve been through, I say that you’ve done a good job.” Sarina couldn’t help but agree as she traced the ring on her hand with her finger.

“I just hope that it was worth it….” Morgan then wraps her arm around Sarina, pulling her close.

“We’re going to be okay, I promise.”

The girls then look up as they watch the front door to the house open, with Christopher walking in. Just like the previous days, he was covered from head to toe in grease.

“I have some news,” he begins, catching the girls by surprise. Normally he’d just walk by, get cleaned up, and focused on doing what he could to help them all out for the night. “I’ve got it running. I don’t know for how long, but it’s running. I figure it may be enough to get us in to town to the nearest gas station, or somewhere with a phone, so we can call for help.”

“I knew your determination would pay off,” Morgan says as she is the first to stand up off the couch. “I say let’s all get ready and head out then.” Christopher nods his head in return.

“I am going to go get Chase up. I’ll let you know if I need a hand…” He then heads into the bedsroom as Morgan takes a glance back at Sarina.

“I told you we were going to be okay.”

Thursday, January 10 – Charlotte Memorial – 26 weeks pregnant

Sarina laid back in the bed, letting out a sigh, as she tried to keep herself calm as possible. She was glad that she wasn’t alone, as Morgan sat in the chair beside her as Christopher leaned back against the wall.

Thankfully, they had been able to make the short trip into town, driving upon a family restaurant. After Christopher ran in and explained the situation, it wasn’t long before an ambulance and police car had joined them.

Now sitting in the hospital, silence filled the room as now it was just making sure that everything had worked out.

“Mrs. Ot – well, actually, Mrs. Elliott?” A doctor appears in the doorway, catching Sarina’s attention as she nods her head. It even felt nice to hear a doctor say her name. “I am Dr. Holmes. I am here to check on you and the baby.”

“I told you, I’m fin-” Sarina starts as Christopher lets out a long sigh.

“Let them check you out, please,” he begs once again. “It’s better safe than sorry considering what we’ve been through the past couple of days. It’d make everybody feel better knowing that you were alright, including Chase.” Sarina’s eyes immediately cut to lock with his.

“I’d rather be hearing that he was fine.”

“Actually, I was given an update to pass along to you,” Dr. Holmes states, catching all of their attention. “They have just taken Mr. Elliott up to surgery. They ran an x-ray, as well as an ultrasound to see how badly the damage was and thankfully, it’s not as bad as we originally predicted. The bullet managed to miss all the arteries and blood vessels, only slightly damaging some muscle tissue. They are going to take him into surgery, and just go in to clean up everything before doing the proper stitches. To whomever took care of him, they did a good job though.”

“It’s a good thing I asked you to do it,” Christopher says as he looks over at Morgan, who just smiles back in return.

“They’re also giving him fluids, pain killers, and a blood transfusion as there was a significant amount of blood loss. As far as concerns surrounding an infection, it does appear minimal so a couple days of antibiotics and that’ll be cleared up. Essentially, it is going to take approximately four to six weeks to heal entirely, but he will be able to make a full recovery.” Sarina lets out a sigh of relief, glad to hear the news. “Now, how about that baby of yours?”

It wasn’t long before they had the ultrasound machine out and set-up, as well as the baby heartrate monitor. They had gone through the precaution of hooking her up to intravenous fluids, just to be safe given the situation.

“I think you got very lucky – both of you to be honest,” Dr. Holmes tells her. “Your baby looks like she’s doing great. You can obviously see the movement on the screen, and she has a steady heart rate. I know your pregnancy is high risk from having read your file at the hospital here from Dr. Grayson, but everything looks good as far as her placement and growth.”

“That’s the best news I could’ve heard,” Sarina comments, before pausing as she looks up into the doctor’s eyes. “Wait – did you say ‘she’?”

“Oh my….” Dr. Holmes takes a deep breath. “I didn’t mean to say the gender out loud. It’s just the baby was making it so obvious with the direction that she was facing. I should’ve checked your file to see whether you had been notified of the gender or not. I’m sorry.” Sarina knew anger should be the feeling in news slipping out unintentionally, but hearing that both Chase and the baby would be okay meant so much more. It was also the perfect icing to hear that Chase was getting the little girl that he thought she was pregnant with.

“It’s okay. It just means that she’s going to be daddy’s suck and princess right from the beginning.” She then looks over at Christopher and Morgan. “Promise me you won’t say anything to anybody, please?”

“Promise,” Christopher and Morgan both say in sync.

“But congratulations!!” Morgan lets out, wrapping her arms around Sarina’s shoulders.

“I’ll let you get cleaned up,” Dr. Holmes states as she begins to put everything away. She then prints a couple of the images, handing them over to Sarina. “These can be for your safe keeping. Once we hear that your husband is in recovery, we’ll let you go up to see him. I’d just like you to please stay within the hospital walls for the next 24 hours with the IV fluids to make sure that everything is good.”

“Trust me, I’m not leaving without Chase by my side,” Sarina assures the doctor as she stares at the images in her hand.

“I didn’t think you would, either.” The doctor then leaves the room as Sarina clutches the images in her hand, staring at them. She finally looked up at Christopher and Morgan before looking back towards them.

“It’s amazing, really. From the first month that I was pregnant, he insisted that I was having a baby girl. I brushed it off as his simple wishes for a daughter over a son, or thinking that his intuition was crazy. But he was right. We’re having a daughter.” She then looks up at Christopher and Morgan with tears in her eyes. “I am going to have my own little girl.”

“….and you deserve every bit of happiness that comes with her and Chase,” Christopher states, before wrapping his arms around her shoulders. “Congratulations. Just like you said, it was meant to be.”

The entire time sitting there waiting to hear when Chase would be out of surgery, she kept ringing the name ideas through her head. Abigail Victor Casey Elliott. It did have a special ring to it.

After what seemed like the longest half hour, they were informed that Chase was out of surgery in the recovery room. With a bit of help from Christopher and Morgan, she made her way out of her room and up to the floor he was on with the IV still in her arm as the doctor instructed.

They made their way inside, with Sarina taking a seat alongside his head.

“I’m going to go call his parents, Alan, and a couple others…” Christopher states before quietly leaving the room as Morgan leaned back against the wall. She wanted to be there for her friend, but also give Chase and Sarina the space they deserved.

“Alright sweetheart, it’s time for you to wake up,” Sarina says to him as she clutches his hand tightly. “I have some special news to share with you and you’re not going to believe it. We’re having a girl.”

The Tale of Love & Racing: Sarina’s Story – Chapter 167: Stranded

Monday, January 7 – North Carolina – 26 weeks pregnant

“Are you sure this is a good idea?” Morgan questions as she follows with her arm wrapped around Sarina’s shoulders.

“What else do we have to lose?” Christopher asks in return, as they continue slowly moving forward through the field. “There may be someone here to help us, there may be a phon-”

“There may be more people who are going to kill us.” Christopher takes a deep breath, knowing that was a possibility.

“I’m willing to take the chance, Morgan. What else do you suggest? Sitting in the middle of the road while he bleeds out?”

He remembered watching the three men emerge from the cabin and make their way through the field of grass. He remembered the meeting with them, the shot they took, and how they drove off in his truck.

His immediate attention had turned to Chase, who now had a bullet stuck in his shoulder. He had put pressure on the wound as you’re always instructed, while trying to piece together a plan of immediate attack.

The first step was to find them help. If he couldn’t do that, he needed to find them some place where they could hold down the fort until they were located. It wouldn’t take long for them to be reported missing, and his license plate to be tracked with the truck located. At that point, they were set to be found.

Considering they were stranded in the middle of nowhere, the cabin seemed like the only logical option. It would give them shelter to care for the wounded, while possibly offering the rescue that they required.

They finally reach the cabin doors, with Christopher helping Chase sit on the bench with Sarina alongside.

“Make sure you keep pressure on that,” he instructs as Chase nods his head, accepting. “You – make sure he stays conscious.” Sarina also nods her head in response. “We’re going to go check inside.”

“Be careful,” Sarina comments before Morgan and Christopher head inside the cabin.

They each take a different direction, checking for anything that was useful. They looked for possible signs of life, along with any phones or electronics that could be useful in contacting someone. However, after surfing through all the rooms, they both met at the front door empty-handed.

“We can’t stay out there,” Christopher tells her. “Let’s bring them inside and camp out here for the night.” Morgan hated the thought, but knew they had no other choice as she accepted his suggestion.

“Anything?” Sarina asks as Christopher and Morgan emerge from the cabin together.

“Shelter, and a bit of food if you trust it,” Christopher answers as he goes over to where Chase was sitting. “It’s better than nothing for tonight. Come sunrise, maybe we can find some help.”  He then helps Chase stand up, with the weakness from the blood loss and pain setting in. “Lean against me, I’ve got you….”

“Come on,” Morgan says as she leads Sarina inside. Christopher takes Chase to the bedsroom, lying him down on the bed while Morgan gets Sarina situated on the couch.

“I want to be with Chas-” Sarina immediately begins, earning a headshake from Morgan.

“There may be an infection due to the bullet wound. I’m not risking your health or your baby’s health for you two to spend time together. Chase wouldn’t want you to do that and you know it.” Sarina slowly nods her head, accepting, as she tries to get comfortable. She knew that he would want her to focus on doing what’s best for the baby.

“I just hope he’ll be okay…” Morgan lays a blanket on her.

“Trust me, Christopher and I will take care of him.” Morgan only glanced up when she saw Christopher’s head pop out of the bedsroom.

“We can’t leave the bullet in his shoulder; we have to take it out,” Christopher tells her as she walks over to where he stood. “I have no clue, and I’d probably mess up before it’s don-”

“Are you asking me to do it?” Morgan questions, and he nods his head in return. “Alright, I’ll do it. Did you see any rubbing alcohol, or any alcohol anywhere?” Christopher hurries to the bathroom, grabbing the bottle, along with a couple towels and the first aid kit.

“There may be some bandage stuff in here…” Morgan easily takes it from him.

“I’ve got tweezers in my purse, thanks to the ridiculous emergency make-up kit that Samantha insisted that I should always carry with me for events. Oh, and there’s string in case the dress rips so I could possibly do a quick stitch to maybe help close the wound.”

“You take care of him, and I’ll take care of her.” The pair separate with Morgan heading into the bedsroom, laying out the materials out on the table. She then takes the cloth, cleaning the tweezers with the rubbing alcohol, before putting some more on the cloth. She then takes a deep breath, walking over to where he was laying.

“This is going to hurt, but it needs to be done….” She then sits on the edge of the bed.

On the couch, Sarina laid there, trying to keep herself calm as she taking a series of deep breathes.

“Are you okay?” Christopher asks and Sarina just keeps her eyes focused forward. “Sarina?”

“I’m feeling a bit of cramping, almost like what they said contractions would be like,” she answers finally, catching him off-guard. He almost wished he would’ve accepted taking the bullet out now.

“You’re way too early in your pregnancy to be in labou-”

“Trust me, I’m not in labor, Christopher.” He then lets out a sigh of relief, now thankful that he had let Morgan handle business in the bedsroom. “It’s probably brexton hicks.”

“Brexton hicks?” She then looks over at him.

“So you know nothing about pregnancies?” He slowly shakes his head no. “So brexton hicks feel like real contractions, meant to give you practice before the labor in what it’ll be like. They, along with the cramping I mentioned, can be brought on by stress.”

“So what can you do to make it easier?” She then takes a couple deep breathes.

“Calming myself down, relaxing, and assuring myself that I, the baby, and Chase will be okay.” Christopher then reaches over, massaging both of her shoulders lightly.

“Is that helping?” She nods her head as she focuses on taking a series of deep breathes. “Chase is going to be okay. He’s strong, and he’ll fight hard. You should know that based on everything you have been through together. He’s going to make it through this so you can have your happily ever after together. Morgan is going to do a great job taking care of him. We’re going to find help, and we’re going to get out of here. I promise you that we’ll do whatever it takes.”

“I believe, Christopher…” She then takes a couple deep breathes. “Isn’t it ironic that after everything we’ve been through, this is how we’re spending our wedding night?”

“I wouldn’t call it ironic, but rather cruel. Those guys deserve whatever comes their way.”

Christopher continues massaging her shoulders as she focuses on the deep breathes, eventually calming down, as they found different topics to discuss. They then watched as Morgan appeared from the bedsroom, with some blood still on her hands.

“It’s done,” Morgan declares, before walking over to the sink and rinsing her hands off.

“Is he okay?” Christopher asks and Morgan glances over their direction.

“He’s sleeping right now, peacefully actually. He came through strong. He’ll be fine. Actually, the sleep right now will be good in helping to keep his strength up.”

“Christopher? Morgan?” Chase lets out as he wakes up, pain instantly filling him. He tries to sit up, though immediately gives up on that idea as the pain continues growing.

“Hey, I’m still here,” Christopher states as he walks over, sitting beside him on the bed. They had gone through this process throughout the entire night, and now through the morning hours, with Chase waking up for a bit at a time. Christopher had stayed in the bedsroom, keeping an eye out from there when he wasn’t tending to him. “Talk to me….”

“So much pain…” Christopher stands up off the bed, walking over to the dresser. He grabs the bottle of tequila, bringing it over. “Seriously?” Christopher pops the cap off.

“We’ve got nothing for pain, bud. The only thought that I had is if you were a little drunk, you may not feel it as much.” Chase instantly snags the bottle out of his arms.

“I’ll take what I can get.” Christopher notices the slight shiver escape Chase, fixing the blankets around him. “Is it cold in here?”

“Just a little, but you’re probably chilly due to the blood loss. Try to keep warm, okay?” Chase lets out a sigh as he sips on the bottle a little more. “And keep drinking, whether water or that. You need to stay hydrated.” Christopher then reaches to touch his forehead, letting out a sigh.

“What was that for?” Christopher reaches over to the night table, ringing out the washcloth in the bowl of water, before putting it on Chase’s forehead.

“You have a fev-”

“But I feel col-”

“Blood loss and possibly an infection. Just keep doing what I’m telling you to do, and keep fighting. We’re going to find help.” Chase tries to get comfortable, letting out a sigh as his eyes begin to drift close once again.

“Christopher?” Christopher easily glances over at him. “Talk to me, please. I don’t want to feel so alone. Tell me about your trip to New Zealand. What was the racing like? What were some of the best spots to check out? Talk about anything, please…”

“The racing was spectacular, but I have to admit that it was great to check out some of the local spots. Everybody we raced with kept suggesting different spots you have to see – whether mountains, cities favorites, skylines, places to eat – and I can easily say they were all amazing. New Year’s was pretty special actually.”

Christopher goes on for the next 10 minutes, finally glancing over to see that he was back asleep. He then puts both the bottle of water and tequila up, before re-soaking the washcloth and putting it back on his forehead.

He slowly makes his way out of the room, smiling as he sees the girls sitting calmly on the couch together.

“Is he okay?” Sarina asks, as she had each time that Christopher emerged from the bedsroom.

“Still in pain, but he’s breathing and fighting,” Christopher answers. “I am going to go see if I can get the truck running, or find some help. Can you keep an eye on him? He’s got a fever, but also got the chills.” Morgan easily nods her head, accepting.

“Just be careful, okay?” She offers, and he simply nods his head in response, sharing a quick kiss with her.

He then slips on his coat, heading back through the tall grass. After double checking the note he had left in case someone came across the stranded truck was still there, he lifted the hood and began to take a look.

“So how did you and Christopher originally meet anyway?” Sarina asks, catching Morgan’s attention. The girls had been sitting on the couch, sipping on bottles of water, while snacking on some chips that were originally left in Chase’s truck. It was better than nothing for the time being.

“Naturally, it began at a dirt track really with a friendship,” Morgan begins, earning a chuckle from Sarina.

“Why am I surprised? If Christopher isn’t racing a stock car, he’s out running a midget or sprint car somewhere.” Morgan nods her head, knowing that their life was full throttle.

“Hence why I was glad that we had this time off in between events to be at the wedding for you and Chase. That said, I wouldn’t trade this life for anything. I absolutely love being at the track every single weekend, no matter dirt or asphalt now-a-days. It’s an amazing atmosphere, something that I can’t describe to anyone, and it’s great to watch my man do what he does as he’s amazing.”

“I can’t deny Christopher’s talent…..”

The Tale of Love & Racing: Sarina’s Story – Chapter 166: A Little Drive

Sunday, January 6 – Mooresville, North Carolina – 26 weeks pregnant

Following the official ceremony, all of the photos taken went smoothly. Chase and Sarina got some of just them together, along with some with his parents. Sarina and Lindsay took a couple together, followed by allowing all the bridesmaids in for some photos. Of course, there were some laughs when the groomsmen got together with Chase but the photos all were turning out amazing.

Everybody gathered afterwards for dinner, easily welcoming the couple into the party.

When it came to choosing the song for their first dance, Chase had allowed Sarina to choose what she wanted to dance to – as long as it was an Eric Church song, which caused her to laugh. After listening through some of her favorites for a couple days, she landed on “I Love Your Love The Most,” which Chase easily accepted.

I love sleeping in on Saturdays
And I love college football games
I love not acting my age
And good barbecue

Yea I’m a fan of Faulkner books
And anything my mama cooks
Small mouthed bass have got me hooked on Sunday afternoons

Yes I love good cold beer
And mustard on my fries
I love a good loud Honky Tonk that rocks on Friday nights
And hell yes I love my truck but I want you to know
Honey I love your love the most

Man I love how Redman tastes
Damn I love my Nascar race
Any song sung by George Strait is country at it’s best

Yes I love good cold beer
And mustard on my fries
I love a good loud Honky Tonk that rocks on Friday nights
And hell yes I love my truck but I want you to know
Honey I love your love the most

I love

Yea I love scuffed up cowboy boots
And broken torn up jeans
My 4-wheel drive and 8 point bucks
And rocky road ice cream

And hell yes I love my dog
And Jack D in my Coke
But honey I love your love
Yea I love your love
I love your love the most

I love your love the most

Once their first dance was out of the way, the couple made their way to the head table, sitting down, ready for dinner.

“So, how does it feel to be Mrs. Elliott?” Chase asks as they were eating. She just looks over with a childish grin on her face.

“It’s feels amazing,” she answers as she reaches over and clutches his hand. “How about you? What does marriage feel like?”

“More than I could’ve dreamed, and I can’t wait to spend every day with you for the rest of my life.” He then leans in and snags a quick kiss.

“I hope you both can wait until tonight..” Ryan teases, earning a glare from Sarina as Chase gives him a small smack. “You just can’t seem to keep your hands off of each other.”

“I wouldn’t be talking much lover boy,” Chase comments as he watches Ryan and Lindsay cast a glance at each other.

“How much longer do you think until they’re married?” Sarina asks as Chase looks over at the pair, before glancing back to Sarina.

“I wouldn’t bet against them running off to a chapel while we’re in Las Vegas and doing the quickie.” She then chuckles back in response.

“I could just make sure to aim the bouquet her way tonight…” Chase nods his head in agreement.

The rest of the night went smoothly – well, except the bouquet didn’t land in Lindsay’s arms as Sarina originally intended. Instead, it was Morgan catching it, which was fitting after her recent engagement to Christopher.

The food was tasty, the company was great and everybody was having a fun time sharing drinks and dancing on the dance floor. It even surprised a bunch that Chase was dancing the night away with Sarina – well, except to her as she remembered their special trip that revealed all the hidden details of her man.

Though as the night dragged on, there was a thought that continued to linger over Chase’s mind that he just couldn’t shake. This was his wedding day. Why was he thinking about Alison on this day?

Taking a deep breath, he smiles as he sees Sarina spending time with her girls, sneaking out of the room without being noticed. Flipping his eyes around in his hand, he knew a small drive would be what he needed to clear his head.

As he headed out of Dirty Mo Acres, his mind wasn’t focused on the direction he was going, but rather just the drive itself and letting his thoughts clear themselves out. He knew once he was able to do that, a simple type of the address in the GPS would lead him back to where he began the drive.

He thought about the range of emotions that he felt – anger, betrayal, disgust, sadness, fear, and perhaps another layer of anger added on top. He thought about the relief in knowing that it was finally over, and she wouldn’t be able to do anything else.

He thought about the relief in knowing that her dream plan would never be accomplished. He thought about how strong he was in making sure to not allow her to fulfill the goals that she wanted to.

There was also getting back to the negative association thoughts, those of weakness. How come he couldn’t have ended this sooner? Why was she able to exert so much control over him with such ease? She was able to make him twist and do as she pleased so easily – it just didn’t seem fair.

Turning around a corner, he feels the truck sputter a little.

“Are you kidding me?” He questions, pulling over to the side of the road. “Of course….”

This was supposed to be a simple trip for him to clear his head and return without anybody realizing. But now, he was stuck in the middle of nowhere. Making sure that it wasn’t stalled due to running out of gas, he climbs out of the cab and lifts the hood. He glanced through a couple possibilities based on what he felt, but nothing seemed to be adding up.

Running his hands through his hair as he pulls his phone out, he knew he had no choice but to make it known that he had escaped his own wedding party. He thought about who he should call, but there was only one name that his finger wanted to click on. Maybe a little trip away could have a sweet ending after all.

“So I escaped our wedding party to clear my head a little as I had a lot of thoughts going on,” he reveals once she answers the phone. “I’m fine now, I think I’ve got to where my thoughts are straight. However, the truck stalled. Can you come pick me up?”

“What about the truck?” She asks as he lets out a sigh. Of course he couldn’t leave the truck stuck there.

“I’ll call a tow truck once you get here. Just come, please. I want to see my lovely wife.” Sarina smiles at hearing herself be called that as she glances over at the party.

“Alright, I’ll be there as soon as possible. You’ve got your phone GPS turned on, right?” She then goes into the phone locator app, seeing his dot pop up as to where he was. “I know where you are. I’ll be there soon. I love you.”

She then hangs up, taking a deep breath with another glance at the party. She then makes her way for the door, knowing that it wouldn’t take long. Everybody was lost in their own fun anyway, right?

“Where do you think you’re going leaving your own wedding party?” She hears, freezing instantly as every curse word threatened to slide out of her mouth. Reluctantly, she turned around to face Christopher.

“Chase went for a drive to clear his head,” Sarina starts, which Christopher easily understood given everything that happened. “The truck broke down. He asked if I would come meet up with him to bring him back while he called a tow truck.”

“You’re 26 weeks pregnant and you’re just supposed to go driving by yourself at night?” She then lets out an immediate sigh, hating how everyone continued to be overprotective of her. She appreciated their concern, but something had to give every once in awhile.

“I’ll be fin-”

“There’s no way that I am letting you go alone, Sarina. I’m going with you – Morgan and I actually. Maybe I can help fix his truck so he doesn’t have the call the tow.” She then lets out a sigh, knowing there was no sense in arguing as they’d be going back and forth for awhile.

“Fine…..”

Christopher follows the direction that Sarina continued to give from the backseat of his truck, while Morgan sat in the front glancing around.

“There he is!” Morgan lets out, seeing the truck in the distance with a figure standing next to it.

“Finally….” Christopher comments as he pulls up behind the truck. He instantly caught the glance of confusion on Chase’s face as he watched them pull up.

“I called Sarina and told her to just com-” Chase starts as Christopher climbs out of the truck.

“26 weeks pregnant, traveling alone down a dirt road. That sounds really safe, Chase.” Chase was about to say something in return, though bit his tongue as he couldn’t argue with Christopher’s logic.

“Good point.” Christopher walks up to the side of the truck, taking a glance underneath the hood as the girls join them. “I was driving down the road, and it just started sputtering and no, I know that I have gas Christopher. I checked everything, but there doesn’t seem to be anything that stands out.”

“That’s why you need a Toyota.” Chase gives him a ‘really’ glance in return as Christopher just chuckles. “Are you sure you want to get used to this, Sarina?”

“I think I’ll be fine Christopher,” she comments, as she wraps her arms around Chase, laying her head on his shoulder.

“Have you called the tow truck yet?” Christopher asks and Chase shakes his head no.

“Who is even open at this hour?” Chase wonders as Christopher shrugs his shoulders. He took a quick glance at his phone, seeing it was 1 in the morning.

“We should’ve told a couple of the crew guys. They may have been able to help us.”

“Since they get paid to work on cars and trucks?” It was now Christopher’s turn to offer the glance. “I know what you’re saying, so maybe I messed up everything about the phone call.”

They then hear a shuffle in the grass field along the road, glancing at each other, as they watch some figures emerge from the field. The boys immediately glance at each other, as if to offer the universal sign that they were in charge of protecting the ladies in case, before looking towards the three men.

“You’re on the wrong side of town,” one of the men speak as they walk out into the middle of the dirt road.

“Look, we didn’t mean to come out this way,” Chase starts as he points towards his truck. “I was just driving down the road and I broke down. I called my friends to help me out. If you can let me know a place that is open to tow the truck, I can easily call and get out of here.”

“It’s not that simple, boy…” That is when the second man emerges, shot gun in hand as he points it in their direction.

“Okay, let’s take it easy.” Chase then takes a deep breath. “We’re not meaning to start any trouble.” The men then smile back in response.

“Good. This is going to be very easy – as long as we get what we want.” Chase then glances over at Christopher confused, who just shrugs his shoulders back in return. “Now before you reach your damn hand in your pocket and dial 9-1-1, how about you drop that phone here missy?”

“Easy…” Christopher warns as he knows the comment was directed towards Morgan, seeing how the gun was slightly turned her way. Morgan then pulls the phone out, dropping it on the ground.

“The rest of you – drop ‘em, along with your wallets and purses,” the guy instructs. All four of them easily follow the order, figuring this was going to be one of those regular stuck in the middle of nowhere robberies where they take the money and high-tail it out of there. “Was that so hard?”

“No,” Chase comments as he watches the leader take the shot gun from the second man. It was then a furry of action in watching the two others go through the wallets, cleaning out the cash inside, before smashing each of the phones. “Look, you got what you wanted. Now, can you let us get out of your hair?”

“We’re not done yet…” Chase then glances over at Christopher slightly confused. “There’s one more thing that we want.” Chase saw the grin forming on the guy’s face, instantly taking the stand to step in front of both Morgan and Sarina.

“You’re not touching them.” The guy chuckles as he licks his lips.

“Did you really think that it was the lady that I wanted? Although, she would be a nice quick fuck right here.” Chase shakes his head once again.

“Like I said, you’re not touching them. You’ll have to go through me to do that.”

“That’s a very easy thing to do…” The guy then pops off a shot, hitting Chase directly in the shoulder.

“Fuck!” Chase screams instantly as he falls backwards, hand immediately clutching where the bullet had gone in.

“Chase?!?” Sarina says as she leans down by him.

“Now, you’re going to co-operate with me or else I’ll give him something else to scream over,” the guy states as Christopher takes a deep breath, carefully keeping Morgan guarded behind him.

“What do you want?” Christopher asks, swallowing the lump in his throat.

“Your truck. We need something to get out of here.” Christopher knew losing a chance of some way to get out there was better than another gun shot.

“The keys are in the ignition.” The other two men walk over to the truck, reaching inside and holding the keys up for their leader to see.

“See, it’s much easier when you co-operate…” The guy then runs off, hopping in the truck with his friends as they drive off out of sight and mind.

“Chase?!?” Sarina says as she kneels by him, with both Christopher and Morgan joining her.

“Keep pressure on it,” Morgan states as Christopher pushes down on where the wound was, causing Chase to let out a big scream in the process. “Now, what are we supposed to do?” Christopher glances around, seeing nothing in sight except for the cabin where the guys came from and the street lights. “We got to do something as we can’t stay here all night.”

“We’ve got to help him!” Morgan instantly wraps her arms around Sarina.

“We’re going to figure this out, right Christopher?” Morgan asks, casting a glance in Christopher’s direction as he nods his head in return.

The Tale of Love & Racing: Sarina’s Story – Chapter 153: Truck Series Banquet

Saturday, December 8 – Charlotte, North Carolina

“Sarina, are you ready to go?” Chase asks as he takes one final glance in the mirror, making sure that everything appeared ready to go with his appearance. He was still surprised that she insisted on him wearing a pink shirt – almost making him wonder if the dress was pink in some way, to go with the jacket and pants.

“I think so – finally,” she answers as she fixes the strap around her neck one final time.

“You know, it would’ve been easier if you would’ve let me help you.” She then chuckles as she places the ‘snowball’ necklace around her neck, doing it up.

“You would use any excuse to get a peak at what I’m wearing.” He then tries to glance around the corner for what seemed like the millionth time. “Stop peeking.”

“Then can you show me, please?”

He then hears the footsteps down the short hallway of their hotel room suite, already able to tell that she was wearing flat shoes underneath the dress. Truthfully, the decision to wear even just short heels for the Cup banquet was one she regretted so he was glad that she had learned her lesson.

He then watches her come around the corner, jaw dropping as she comes into full view and twirls around.

He was surprised with the choice as it didn’t follow the lines of what other ladies would be wearing to these events. However, he wasn’t about to argue with her as it looked absolutely stunning on her and suited her very well. It also didn’t hurt that when she stood straight up, her stomach popped out a little underneath the fabric despite not being a tight style.

“Say something, please…” He could hear the hesitation in her voice, obviously looking for some sort of approval from him. However, he still found his breath caught in his throat as he stood there. “I better go chan-”

“No, please don’t,” he immediately cuts her stuff as he takes a deep breath. He had to find the words and fast as he reached out and grabbed her hand with hers. “You look absolutely stunning, amazing – beyond any words that I could even describe. I thought your dress for my banquet was perfect, but this is beyond what I could’ve imagined. It flatters you beautifully and brings out every single quality that I love about you. I’m so stunned; that’s why I didn’t say anything.”

“Honestly?” He nods his head as he closes the gap between them.

“Not a single word of that could ever be a lie as you, my dear, are perfect. I love you so much.” He then leans in and kisses her lips lightly.

“I just hope that everyone else likes the dress, too.” He then gives her a small twirl around.

“It doesn’t matter what they have to say because all that matters is what you think, and you’re beautiful no matter what you’re wearing. However, I think everyone is going to be complimenting you from when you step on the red carpet to when you enter the hall and go up on that stage.” He then stops twirling her, looking into her eyes. “More importantly, you’re more beautiful on the inside then you are on the outside. You have the heart of gold and will do anything for anybody that is needed. Look at how you treat your fans and are willing to go the extra mile for them. Look at how loyal you are once someone earns your trust. That’s what matters to those close to you, and me.”

“You’re going to make me cry and then I’ll be stuck doing my make-up all over again….” She then wipes her eyes, trying to keep every bit of make-up in place. “If I’m getting this emotional now, what am I going to be like a month from now?”

“I already told Ryan that he may need to catch me when I faint at how beautiful you’ll look.” She then chuckles a little, as she gives him a glance.

“You better make sure to at least say those vows before you faint, mister. I’m not walking my ass down that aisle for you to flake out on me.” He had to laugh in response as he kept her held close.

“I could never do that to you. You’re stuck with me Ms. Ott, whether you like it or not.”

“Actually, I wouldn’t have it any other way, Mr. Elliott.” She then leans in and kisses his lips.

“Is that the driver that we let go?” Kyle questions, as Samantha glances over a little confused. She then follows Kyle’s lead, smiling as she watches Chase and Sarina begin their walk down the red carpet together. “She looks amazing.”

“I knew that dress suited her perfectly from the time that she picked it out,” Samantha offers as she smiles in watching the pair get photos done together. “It looks even better now with her stomach popping out a little.”

“It’s amazing how much the baby bump is noticeable now compared to just a couple weeks ago.” Samantha nods her head in agreement.

“I’m just glad that we only had to order one size change in the firesuit after she told us that she was pregnant.” The pair then smile as Chase and Sarina finally make their way to where they stood, sharing hugs once together.

“I love your dress,” Sarina comments. “It’s very elegant and looks beautiful on you.” She had to admit that she liked it a lot better than the green gown worn for the Cup banquet.

“You look stunning as always sweetheart,” Samantha replies, giving the back of the dress a quick glance. “Were they any problems getting into it today?”

“Thankfully after doing the alterations on Thursday, everything went smoothly this time around. I can only hope that the same can be said for my wedding dress.” Samantha smiles, still in admiration at the gown that Sarina had selected for January.

“As I told you, Keri is on stand-by and willing to do any alterations or changes that you need right up to, and including the day-of. You’re wedding is going to go perfectly. Nothing is going to mess it up.” Sarina could only hope that Samantha was right, but had a small fear in knowing Alison was always lurking.

“I hope you have all of your wedding plans in order,” Kyle comments, catching Chase’s attention as the girls continued to gab together.

“Everything is set for the wedding – except for my vows,” Chase tells him. “I just need to finalize what I am going to say to her at the alter.” Kyle had to look over a little concerned and confused.

“You’ve known about writing your own vows for how many months now? And yet you still haven’t put the words down that you want to say to tell this lady just how much she means to you?” Chase knew it was slacking a little, but he also had all the pressure in the world on his shoulders as he wanted them to be perfect.

“They’ll be ready in time, don’t worry. It’s all about giving them the right polish as necessary.” Kyle nods his head, accepting, as he takes a deep breath.

“Samantha was telling me that Sarina came to see her at the Christmas party, and almost had a bit of fear that their friendship wouldn’t be the same moving forward after this year. Samantha said she offered her that reassurance, but could see that same girl deep inside that we originally met who was afraid of trust, loyalty, and opening up.” Kyle then looks over at Chase. “So you better promise me that you’re never going to break that trust or hurt her, because I will kick your ass.”

“Isn’t that my line?” A voice interrupts them, and they both smile in watching Christopher and Morgan walk over together.

“I don’t think he ever took your threat seriously,” Kyle starts before looking back over at Chase. “But he will take mine seriously.”

“Trust me – I don’t plan on ever doing that so both of you have nothing to worry about,” Chase assures them. “I love her with everything that I’ve got, and I want to spend the rest of my life with her. That’s why I asked her to marry me, and that’s why I will be there in January. We’ve learned from our mistakes, and we’re ready to grow as a family together moving forward.”

“So I won’t be needing to offer anymore lectures?” Christopher asks, and Chase shakes his head no. “Good, because I admit that it drove me a little crazy at times to do that.”

“It drove me crazy at times having you act like a protective big brother,” Sarina joins in the conversation, giving both Christopher and Morgan a hug. “By the way, I love the dress as you were right – it is perfect and the red looks absolutely dashing on him.”

“You look amazing yourself,” Morgan offers in return. “I have to say that combined, us three ladies are the best dressed of all the girls here tonight.” Samantha and Sarina nodded their head in agreement.

“How did we get so spoiled?” Christopher wonders as Kyle shakes his head.

“I don’t know about you guys but I treat my lady like a queen,” Kyle states, wrapping an arm around Samantha. “On the other hand, we have someone that chased her tail around the country and couldn’t find a way to trust, and we then have someone else who can’t slow down away from the dirt track life to give his girl some time.”

“Who’s to say that I have a problem with the traveling, Kyle?” Morgan questions. “I’d rather be a dirt track getting dirty watching some great side-by-side racing then sitting at home or on a beach.” Sarina then offers a high-five in agreement with Morgan. “You should come spend some time with us, actually.”

“Normally I would jump at the chance to do that,” Sarina confesses, before glancing over at Chase with a sly smile. “However, I want to spend this off-season quietly with my fiancé. We have a lot ahead of us with the baby and the wedding, and it’s nice to take a break for once.”

“I know things haven’t been easy, especially with Alison…” Sarina and Chase nod their heads in agreement.

“Please tell me that she’s been arrested,” Christopher begs and Chase shakes his head no. “Unbelievable. That said, I do agree with what you’re saying as you both deserve some quiet time together. Hopefully you can catch up some sleep then, too.”

“And by the way, we both offer to babysit once the baby is here if that makes things easier for you,” Morgan adds, catching Christopher off-guard a little.

“First comes a puppy, and then comes a baby…” Kyle sings before walking away with Samantha, who was just rolling his eyes the whole time.

“I didn’t imply anything by what I said.” Morgan then offers one final hug, before heading down the red carpet with Christopher.

“I think she just said that so Christopher would be put at ease after Kyle’s comment,” Sarina offers, catching Chase by surprise.

“Do you think?” Chase questions and Sarina nods her head yes.

“You could see her eyes light up as we talked about the baby and everything. It’s destiny, Chase. I bet we’ll have a little Bell running around in a couple of years.” Chase watches the pair together, posing for a couple photos, before Christopher does some interviews.

“If you would’ve said the same thing to me a couple years ago, I would’ve told you that you were crazy. However, here we are with a baby due in a couple months. So therefore, I am not going to ignore your suspicion about Christopher and Morgan. All I will say, though, is that they’re happy togeth-”

“And you’re saying that because you don’t want to admit that I am right.” Chase just rolls his eyes.

“Don’t you have a banquet to be entering and taking your seat at?” She then looks over.

“Admit it.” He then begins to walk away from her as she just rolls her eyes. “You’re such a great escort there, Mr. Elliott….”

Sunday, December 9 – Charlotte, North Carolina

After the official banquet festivities, Chase and Sarina attended the Kyle Busch Motorsports after-party for all of the truck crew members to celebrate the successful season that they had together.

With it getting late and the snow already beginning to fall, Samantha insisted the pair just head over to the Busch household and stay over for the night so they didn’t have to travel far. With a night of smores and a Home Alone marathon, the idea had worked perfectly.

Early in the morning, the snow caught the attention of Brexton’s little eyes as he looked outside. Meanwhile, all of the auldts in the house were still asleep – except for Chase. Sarina needed the sleep as the pregnancy was at times more tiring then she’d admit, while obviously emotions were still running high for Kyle and Samantha. Seeing Brexton’s attention caught, it gave him an immediate idea.

After making sure that Brexton had something to eat for breakfast, he got him all bundled up for the cold – snagging Samantha’s purple scarf when he couldn’t locate another – before taking him outside.

“What do you want to do in the snow?” Chase asks once they were outside as Brexton looked around.

“Snow angels!” He says before laying back in the snow, beginning to do the motions. “Chase, can you too?” Chase knew it’d suck without having snow pants to wear, but he also couldn’t turn down the young man before him.

“Absolutely…” He then flops down in the snow, feeling the wetness through his jeans immediately as he makes the motions necessary. While he knew that their play would be cut short with how wet he was feeling already, he had to admit it was fun. “What’s next?”

“Frosty!” The pair then stand up as Brexton begins to make a small snowball, rolling it along the ground as he watches it grow bigger.

“You make the head, and I’ll make the body, okay?” Brexton nods his head in agreement as he continues to work at his little ball.

While the boys continued to play together outside, Sarina had awaken and was sitting by the window watching them, smile fixed on her face. She also held a notepad in her hand, jotting ideas on it as they came to her. She’d almost get the full idea of what she wanted down, before ripping the paper out and scrunching it up as she knew it wasn’t even close to what it should be.

“Did I miss a paper ball fight in my living room this morning?” Samantha questions as she walks into the room.

“Sorry,” Sarina answers as she stands up, beginning to pick up the various balls.

“Oh no – don’t say sorry. Just next time please invite me.” Sarina chuckles as she tosses them in the garbage.

“Actually, it’s called brain storm session gone shitty. No matter what I think, it’s not right when I look over it again.” Samantha then looks over confused. “When you and Kyle got married, did you write your own wedding vows?” Samantha shakes her head no. “Maybe Chase and I should’ve done that.”

“That tough, huh?” Sarina nods her head as she looks back over the pile of balls.

“I keep thinking what I have thought out and planned expresses every bit of my love for him. However, nothing seems to be enough. I don’t know how to put into words just how much I love him, care about him, and want to be with him every single minute of the day.” Samantha couldn’t help but feel her heart swell in response.

“Chase knows how much you care about him, Sarina. You both tell each other that every day and you express it on all the little things that you do.” She then unfolds one of the balls, reading what it said. She follows suit with a couple more, before laying each of them on the table. “These are all amazing and certainly express that love that you tell me that you guys have together, and I see when you guys are together.”

“But none of them are perfect…” Samantha then walks over, placing her hands on Sarina’s shoulders, before beginning to rub them.

“A wedding is meant to be magical and special. It’s about watching two individuals commit to each other and express a love that knows no bounds. A wedding is celebrating that love and the journey that you’ve taken to get that point. It’s not about the decorations, or the dress, or the people there – but rather the two people on the alter sharing that moment together. While these vows may seem like everything, they’re not. They’re just words. Instead, it’s the feeling behind those that matter. So as long as you’re speaking from the heart and expressing a true love for him, that’s all that matters when you say those words in January. Stop stressing or panicking; the words will come to you when the time is right. If they don’t, then there’s nothing wrong by going by the book, either, because all that matters is you, him, the baby, and the life that you’re about to spend together.”

The Tale of Love & Racing: Sarina’s Story – Chapter 150: Snowball Derby

Sunday, December 3 – Pennsacola, Florida – 5 Flags Speedway

Taking the green flag with 75 laps to go in fifth place, Chase kept bidding his time carefully, hoping their prediction would work out as planned.

“Remember he has fresher tires,” Marcus reminds Chase as Harrison goes by for the spot with 45 laps to go, bumping Chase back to fifth. “Patience. A caution is coming late here…”

“Are you sure about that, honestly?” Sarina had to question as she wasn’t sure she saw the same progress towards that happening as he did.  However, she wasn’t about to give up faith yet, or any when she watched Chase pass Bubba Pollard for fourth four laps later. They had a good car; they just needed fortunes to swing in their favor.

Chase was able to gain a little more ground, getting by Ty Majeski for third and as expected, the new tires would take Harrison right to the front as he took the lead with 26 laps to go. However, just as predicted by Marcus with the strategy, the caution would come out five laps later.

“Pitting,” Marcus stated the obvious as Chase came down pit road, along with the rest of the field – except for Harrison, who was out of tires after making the choice to pit earlier. The pit crew would once again deliver the shop they needed to, allowing Chase to get off pit road first.

“Nice job guys,” Chase replies back easily. “Marcus has given me the car to work with. You guys have given me the shops that we needed. Now it’s time for me to get the job done here.”

“Remember he has 50 more laps on his tires than you do so bide your time nicely. Lessard and Pollard make up row two behind you.”

With the new tires, Chase was able to get the jump on the restart to take the lead over Harrison, but the caution immediately waved as Bubba went around due to contact from Ty.

“0 in 13,” Erik simply states as he shakes his head in disgust. “A little more patience there by Ty and they would’ve been fine.”  They then watched as the race officials began to get the field in order for the restart, putting Chase in line to restart first ahead of Harrison. “That’s odd..”

“He got the jump,” Christopher reminds him as Erik nods his head, having seen that yet.

“No laps complete should mean a complete restart, giving Harrison the lead once again, though. That’s why Jeff (Burton) is down there talking to the official.” As expected, the call was made to reverse the starting positions, putting Harrison back in front of Chase. “Told you.”

“Are you okay, though?” The boys look towards Sarina, who was sitting there nervously clutching onto the snowball necklace. She just gave the boys a simple nod, before focusing back on the track. “He knows how to get the job done. Relax, it’ll be fine…”

“Does she always get this nervous?” Christopher simply shrugs his shoulders as he reaches over to rub her back a little.

“Harrison is taking the top line here, giving you the bottom,” Marcus states on the radio to Chase. “I think he learned on that restart he’s just going to go backwards and wants it to be a smooth as possible without causing a wreck.”

“10-4,” Chase simply replies. “It sucks as he had a good car, too. Same tire strategy and it would’ve been a great battle.”  The green would be held off, with officials instead flagging Chase’s teammate Raphael down pit road.

“Fuel leak on the 51. That puts Majeski and Choquette in the row behind you guys. Watch out for Majeski as he’s being aggressive. He already dumped Pollard.”

“10-4.”

The restart would go smoothly, with Chase easily clearing Harrison for the top spot and beginning to pull away. Ty would work his way to second, and began to reel the gap in as the laps closed down.

Coming to the white flag, Ty was able to close the gap right up and find his way to the rear bumper of the 18. However, an attempt through neither corner worked, as Chase held him off for the win.

“Way to go!!” Sarina lets out, fist pump in the air, before wrapping her arms around Marcus’ shoulders. “Hell yeah!”

“I told you I was preparing a special car to bring down here and kick some ass,” Marcus offers with a smile back in return.

After laying down one of the biggest burnouts, Chase climbed out of the car, fist pumps in the air. He then hopped off, immediately catching the brown eyes he knew so well, wrapping his arms around her.

“I love you so much,” he tells Sarina, before giving her a big kiss. “I love you..”

“I told you this was meant to be, every single part of it,” she replies, as their left hands rest against her stomach together. “This just confirms everything for me even more. It also means that I need to come back next year and set the record even on wins.” He just chuckles back in response.

“I’m glad that you convinced me, and Kyle convinced Rick somehow.”

“I wonder how he did that…” Chase wished he knew too as he looked over at Marcus, giving him a high-five.

“I think it’s better working with you than competing against you down here,” Marcus comments, as Chase just smiles back. “Nice smooth driving all race long.”

“Nice job on the car,” Chase replies. “She was a rocket.”

The post-race interview then commences with Chase speaking about the race, and how the plan came together for him to drive the car this weekend. They then begin the victory lane photos with the Tom Dawson trophy, with Ms. Snowball Derby making her way over.

“The kiss,” the lead photographer instructs once they were done the first series of photos. She then tries to kiss him right on the lips, but he goes for the quick dodge, placing a quick kiss on her cheek instead.

“That was a little rude,” she offers, catching him by surprise.

“Sorry, but I only kiss my fiancé,” he replies before looking over at Sarina and Marcus with a smile.

“Alison would say otherwise…” She then goes to walk away as Chase looks on confused.

“Excuse me?” She then stops and glances back at him.

“Everybody heard about what happ-”

“She forc-”

“Keep saying that if it helps you sleep at night, Chase. besides, you also kissed Erin in Ireland, too.” She then continues walking away as Chase shakes his head, stunned.

“What was that about?” Marcus questions and Chase shrugs his shoulders. “I almost wanted to give her a smack for how rude she was being.”

“I almost wanted to yell at her here and now, but it’s not worth it,” Chase comments, as he takes a deep breath. “The main thing is that we, tonight, are winners of the Snowball Derby together and are taking home that prestigious trophy over there.”

“I wouldn’t be so sure yet…” a voice is heard from a distance as Chase looks over, seeing a crew member from another team. “You still have the room of the doom.”

“No Snowball Derby victory is ever official until you’ve gone to see Ricky Brooks and he’s happy,” Chase states as they push the car into the tech shed.

“Well you can still drive a late model at least,” Ricky comments as he walks over. “But please tell me there’s no tungsten this time.” Chase had to chuckle just a little bit, even if it still stung.

“No tungsten, and I know Marcus made sure the weight percentages were correct. We’re taking home the trophy this year.”

“Is it wrong that I am nervous every time I come to see Ricky Brooks?” Sarina questions Erik, and he shakes his head no.

“He can find the smallest things – even if it’s stupid and doesn’t mean anything,” Erik answers.

“I’m glad you both came, though. It was nice having some company to watch the race with.” Erik and Christopher both smile in return.

“I’m guessing you probably have your dress picked out for next weekend’s banquet?” Christopher asks and Sarina nods her head. “Any clues?”

“Chase doesn’t even know what I am wearing yet,” Sarina answers, causing both jaws to drop beside her.

“Morgan chose a nice ruby red dress as she told me that I have to wear a red tie to match it.” Sarina glances over at Christopher, thinking it over, before giving a nod of approval.

“Red is a good color for you. I bet you’ll look handsome next Saturday. As for Morgan, well, she’s always dashing.”

“Trust me – I know I am quite spoiled with everything she does for me…”

As they waited for the technical inspection to be completed, Chase caught the attention of Ms. Snowball Derby, walking over to her.

“I have a question for you,” he starts, as she looks over a little puzzled. “Can you explain what you said in victory lane?” She then crosses her arms.

“Can you explain how you made me look like a fool in front of the world?” She retorts as he lets out a sigh. He knew it wouldn’t be the best image floating around all the forth coming week, but there were no take-backs.

“Ms. Snowball always kisses on the cheeks, not the lips, so that’s what I was looking for. Also, like I told you, I only kiss my fiancé and not anybody else. You had your opinion and rightfully so, I suppose. I get it; Erin was a drunken mistake. I have apologized to Erin and Sarina for that, and know that I won’t do it again. However, your comments on Alison caught me off-guard…” She then just smirks back in return.

“I know every part of your type, Chase. The guy with all the power does what he can to control the female so she can get what she wants. Hence the metoo movement. In the same respect, there are girls that will do whatever they can to get what they want with you famous rich guys and at some points, you will accept it. However, we both know that you can’t have your fiancé knowing that you had feelings for another woman and you were willing to accept sex-”

“She sexually assaulted me, for your information.” Ms. Snowball just rolls her eyes.

“Like I said, say what you want if it makes you sleep at night and give you the life that you want with Sarina despite your other dealings.” He was almost set to walk away and give this up, but he didn’t budge yet.

“So you think I just made everything up that has happened before and since then?” She nods her head.

“You probably paid some person off to do it for yo-”

“So you think I paid someone off to rig my plane to crash, or crashed it on purpose with my best friend on-board? So you think I paid someone to write all the notes? So you think I paid someone to lay down all the clues? So you think that I paid someone off to take a shot at my crew chief? So you think I paid someone off to threaten everybody that I know and love, including rigging a bomb in the garage area?” She then crosses her arms once again.

“It’s simple – you knew it wasn’t going to go because you knew the password all along. Have you not noticed that no matter what happens, it always seems to work out perfec-”

“So you think I drugged myself not only once, but three times? When she drugged me at Indianapolis and made me wait days before going to see someone, I could’ve…” He then takes a deep breath, having not ever said it out loud to someone yet. “I could’ve died right then and there. You don’t realize just how close we’ve came to dancing the razor’s edge with what she’s done to me. You don’t realize just how threatening and evil she is, and the fact that two innocent people are dead because of what she is trying to do to me. But oh no, let yourself believe that I set it up for whatever reason.” Ms. Snowball takes a deep breath.

“Chas-”

“News flash princess – just like woman can be, men can also be psychologically threatened, mentally scared, and sexually assaulted. So stop judging by what you think you know and look at the damn facts. Alison is nothing to be joking about. The minute you joke about her or turn an eye is the minute that she strikes.” Ms. Snowball then glances away from them, before turning her head back to him.

“Okay, so maybe I had the wrong take on the situation. I’m sorry, okay?” Chase just shakes his head.

“That’s not going to make up for turning an eye. Here’s some advice for  you – smarten up or you won’t last long in the business.” He then turns around to walk away.

“Is that a threat, Chase?” Chase then stops and glances back.

“Nope, that’s a promise. Track promoters and sponsors aren’t going to accept people with that kind of attitude, nor are the drivers you will work with. That word is going to travel fast and you will be out of the garage area before you can dig your claws into whatever you want.” He then continues walking, rejoining the crew by the car.

While other things weren’t going accordingly to plan, the technical inspection did with Ricky Brooks officially giving the nod of approval that Chase was legal and giving him the Snowball Derby victory.

Tuesday, December 4 – Charlotte, North Carolina

Chase was getting ready to leave for Hendrick Motorsports, making sure he had his new helmet and firesuit all packed in the truck, along with any other essentials.

However, he wasn’t set to leave the house yet – making his way back inside after getting everything situated.

“Are you sure you’re going to be okay?” He questions causing Sarina to roll her eyes for the millionth time.

“Chase, I’m fine,” she offers as he lets out a sigh, leaning back against the wall.

“I’m just worried about you. I don’t like when you’re feeling dizzy like this at tim-”

“Just like Dr. Grayson told you, it’s part of the pregnancy. It’s all about the blood flow changing with the baby growing. All I need to do is making sure I am drinking plenty of fluids…” She holds up the bottle of water she had been sipping on all morning. “…while lying on my side to improve circulation, and taking it slow. We’re only supposed to worry if it starts happening too close together. Go and do your photo shoot. I’ll probably just lay here curled up on the couch binge watching sappy Christmas movies.”

“I wish Lindsay could come stay with you..” Sarina almost wished for the same thing herself.

“Instead, her and Ryan decided to jet off to Hawaii with Darrell and Amanda. I can’t blame them as Hawaii is nice and obviously she’d want to squeeze in another vacation before having the baby.” Chase nods his head in agreement. He remembered their discussion about a possible off-season vacation, however they both agreed that it’d better to stay home and relax with the baby and wedding planning already.

“Could you imagine if her water broke and she had the baby there?” Sarina shakes her head.

“That’d be crazy, and there’s no way that I’d be allowing that to happen as I want to see their baby shortly after he or she is born.” Chase nods his head in agreement. “And no, you’re not calling Samantha to come sit with me.”

“I wouldn’t even think about that as her, Kyle, and Brexton need to spend time together right now. I think Kyle said he was going to go out to the dunes as they always find peace out there, just like we do at our cabin.” He then lets out a sigh as he walks over to her. “Are you sure you’re going to be okay by yourself?”

“Trust me, I’ll be fine. If I run into any problems at all, I will text you immediately.” He lets out another sigh, hating every bit of this.

“I love you…” He then leans in, giving her a kiss.

“I love you, too. Go and look sexy today, okay?” He then chuckles, giving her a small butt wiggle as he leaves the room. “Damn sexy boy…”

The Tale of Love & Racing: Sarina’s Story – Chapter 149: A Rainy Opportunity

Friday, November 30 – Pennsacola, Florida – 5 Flags Speedway

Sarina stood on pit road, taking a deep breath as her fingers found their way back up to the necklace. She didn’t know whether it was her pregnancy, knowing Chase was in unfamiliar territory, or the prestige of the Snowball Derby, but something had her more nervous than normal and the only comfort was clutching the necklace.

Perhaps it was the fact that they were going out later in qualifying than they wanted. Marcus had drawn then 37th at the qualifying party draw, which certainly wasn’t what they wanted as it was best to be earlier in the order. Now with the supposed dew of Florida around, it made putting down the lap they wanted harder.

Sarina kept her eyes focused on the No. 18, rather than even glancing towards the stop watch that Marcus clutched in his hand. However, a simple nod afterwards and she knew the lap he had put down was good enough to set them up right.

Once all the cars had gone, they were officially in the show, set to start eighth on Sunday afternoon. More importantly, there was no b-main in their future.

With qualifying in the books, the No. 18 Late Model was loaded back in the KBM hauler, with the team gathered around in the lounge to discuss.

“To be honest, I think the set-up was closer than our lap showed,” Chase comments, earning a nod from Marcus.

“We already knew we’d be off due to where we drew anyway,” Marcus replies, remembering their discussion on Wednesday night. Chase still shook his head at getting caught red-handed with his phone texting Marcus at the birthday party.

“But I also feel the car was closer, too. I could’ve probably gotten you a little more, maybe enough for top-five, if I drove it in a little harder. I was worried it wasn’t going to rotate the middle, though.” Marcus understood that, based upon their discussions after practice. “That said, we had nothing for Harrison. He’s fast as hell right off the drop of the run.”

“But can he sustain for the full length?” Chase shrugs his shoulders as he hadn’t gotten a chance to watch Harrison in practice or know the game plan they were following.

“Chris Wimmer isn’t stupid.” Marcus knew that, as he had lost his share of races to that team in the past.

“Oh I know that obviously they’d be focusing on both, but the set-up at the end of the day determines the answer.” Chase’s phone then goes off as he pulls it out of his pocket.

“I told Kyle not to worry….” He then easily answers the phone call, knowing he couldn’t ignore the boss – not like he’d ignore Kyle anyway. “We’ve got it under contro-”

“Alison was by the house earlier today,” Kyle interrupts, causing Chase to freeze immediately. “She was here between 10 and 12 as she wanted to see me. She had a simple message – don’t be messing with my boy’s schedule or you’re going to receive consequences. She then left before I could even do anything.”

“The main thing is you’re okay….right?” Chase had to wonder about that given the delay in Kyle making this phone call.

“Absolutely. She threatened and had the weapon of choice, but didn’t use it. Essentially, it was all about delivering the message.” Chase takes a deep breath, knowing that had been Alison’s mark. She was the queen of delivering you messages and proving she could do what she wanted whenever. Then when she chose, she would strike and you wouldn’t be able to prevent it.

“She was here this afternoon and left a baby rattle by the trailer during the second practice. Since everybody was focused on the car and on-track action, she wasn’t spotted. I’m glad you’re okay, and I’m sorry I brought yo-”

“I accept this chaos when I kept Sarina as my driver despite every warning dished out to me from her when everything began. I won’t break that promise even to you – I am willing to do whatever it takes. I just wanted to let you know so you’re aware, but didn’t call earlier as I know you were focused on the Derby.” Chase lets out a sigh, understanding the delay, but still not totally satisfied.

“Can you please forget about focus precaution next time and give me a damn call? I’d rather know then not know and something happen. I hope you understand that.”

“Perfectly clear. I’ll let you go but just remember that I believe in each of you guys, and you better get the job done.”

“That’s the goal. Thanks for calling, boss.”

“No problem. Talk to you later. Bye Chase.”

“Bye Kyle.” Chase hangs up as he lets out a sigh, only to be met by shaking heads courtesy of others in the room.

“I want to act surprised, but I can’t honestly say that I am after what she did to me,” Marcus comments, remembering that experience after the late model race.

“The only problem is she’s gotten worse since then which makes me more relieved that Kyle is okay,” Chase adds. “She killed a doctor, and I’m pretty sure she was behind Brittney Teals’ death.” Marcus’ jaw slowly drops. “Evidence is there to prove both.”

“You’re both being as careful as you can be, right?” Chase and Sarina nod their heads. “Well, I hope they find her soon and I hope you both stay safe – especially you, sweetheart.” Sarina could only think back to the note that she was left shortly after revealing her pregnancy.

“I don’t think you need to worry about this little one as babies are a touchy subject for her,” Sarina offers, rubbing her stomach as she does so. “But don’t worry, I am being careful and I will do whatever I need to so I can protect this baby. That’s not a threat; that’s a promise.”

Saturday, December 1 – Pennsacola, Florida

Sarina looks out the window, watching the rain drops continue to fall down. She takes a small glance back at her bag, knowing what laid inside, before looking back out the window.

“What has you feeling down?” Marcus questions as he walks over, sitting beside her.

With the rain continuing to fall and hold water everywhere, Marcus and the guys had met up with Chase and Sarina at the hotel before going out to breakfast. Now, everybody was back in their room, with some of the guys enjoying a couple games together.

“Did you seriously lose already?” She asks, knowing that he had been playing Monopoly with everyone else.

“Everybody bought all the properties before I did, and bankrupt me,” Marcus answers with a sigh. “Now, can we get back to my question?” She then lets out a sigh as she looks out the window.

“If it was going to rain all day, I could’ve given Chase his birth-”

“We can leave if you want some time alon-”

“It’s not what you’re thinking!” She then takes a deep breath. “I bought him tickets to the SEC Championship game with Alabama and Georgia.” Marcus froze immediately upon hearing the words.

“Does he know?” Sarina shakes her head no.

“Kyle came over on Tuesday and started talking about the Snowball Derby. I could see his eyes light up immediately and I didn’t want to diminish any thoughts that he had about running this event. I mean, you can already tell how he like being back in a late model, and personally, I wanted to really see him do it so I wasn’t going to spoil that. So instead, I kept the tickets a secret. I thought I could get someone else to go, but I never got a chance. So now, they’re sitting in my bag unused and he has no clue.” Marcus then looks out the same window that had her attention.

“And now with the rain, your spirit is spoiled because you could’ve still gone….” Sarina shrugs her shoulders.

“Is that too much to ask?” Marcus shakes his head no as he puts an arm on her shoulder.

“I think you should tell him about the tickets.” She was now confused as she looks over. “It’s going to rain all day and even if it stops raining, there’s standing water. I got a photo from Harrison and the track is flooded; there’s no way we’re getting anything done today. Instead of sitting around watching a bunch of grown men whine about fake money, I think you should go enjoy the game.” She then looks over to where Chase sat with the crew members. “You still have plenty of time to get to Georgia for the game.”

“Are you sure this is what I should do?” Marcus nods his head as he follows her lead to look at the table.

“They can play games anytime together. A birthday surprise only comes once a year, and I know how much he loves his dawgs and he’d enjoy it. Besides, you both need some time of your own before that little one turns your life upside down.” She then chuckles a little as she looks back at Marcus.

“Alright, fine….” She then stands up and walks over to the group, placing her hands on Chase’s shoulders. “I got something that I want to talk to you about.”

“If Marcus paid you to distract me so I’d lose because I bankrupted him, it’s not goin-” Chase starts, though stops as she drops the two tickets on the table.

“Before everything started about the Derby, I bought these for us to go together – so I could take you,” she starts. “It was supposed to be your big birthday present. I know how much you love your dawgs, and how you wanted to go to a couple games during the off-season. I also know how much you’ve been bragging in how important this game is. It’s raining, nothing is getting done today. How much more fun does a football game sound compared to this?”

“I was just starting to get somewhere, too…..” He then places the deeds and money in the middle of the table. “But you guys can divide this up as I can never pass up a chance to go watch my dawgs win.”

“Good luck with that one,” Brandon Setzer comments with a chuckle as Chase stands up. “Roll tide young man.”

“My dawgs are going to roll the tide all the way to the championship this year,” Chase replies with a grin.

Saturday, December 1 – Georgia

Chase and Sarina walk out of the stadium, holding hands, both adorning Georgia Bulldog jerseys.

“I can’t believe that….” Chase lets out as she looks over at him. “They were doing what they do perfectly, and had everything going their way. And yet there they go throwing it away in the second half.” After leading through the first half, the Bulldogs ultimately lost the game 35 to 28.

“You can’t blame it fully on them,” Sarina offers, earning a confused glance. “The referees made some questionable calls in the second half.” Chase nodded his head in agreement.

“I can’t say that I would’ve called those plays like they did, to be honest, but our game wasn’t where it needed to be. The defense needs to get stronger to match the offense. It sucks that they didn’t get the job done today, but I know they’ll get there. The potential and the players are there.”

“Do you think they’ll make the playoffs?” Chase nodded his head, despite hearing skeptical comments as they left.

“They’ve had a good year and they’ve played well enough that they should be ranked in the top-four. We’ll just have to see.” He then glances over at her. “Regardless, though, I had a great time today.”

“I’m glad that I could give you the birthday present that I intended to.” She then lays her head on his shoulder as he wraps an arm around. “I just hate the game didn’t go like we wanted.”

“Win or lose, it doesn’t matter. I got to spend a day with my sweetheart, and that beats staring at rain or playing monopoly with those guys any day. I love you.”

“I love you, too.” They then share a quick kiss, before climbing in the Tahoe, ready for the drive back to the airport. “Hopefully tomorrow we’re winning.”

“That’s the plan.”

Sunday, December 2 – 5 Flags Speedway – Pennsacola, Florida

Chase leans back against the car, glancing up the grid with a smile. It was going to be a fun afternoon – as long as the car kept co-operating like it was.

“You made it!” He hears Sarina let out, glancing over to see Erik and Christopher walking over. Admittedly, he was confused in seeing both.

“I always come check out this race,” Erik comments as Christopher and Sarina share a quick hug.

“A promise is a promise – even if you’re not driving anymore,” Christopher offers, bringing forth a little more confusion from Chase. “I really don’t get why I came.”

“You wanted to see your bestie,” Sarina says as she leans back against the car with Chase. “I told him that he needed to take a break from all his dirt racing and come check out some late model action again. I was hoping to show him how to get it done. Now, that’ll be your job.”

“We’ve got a good car so we’ll see,” Chase comments as he wraps an arm around her shoulder.

“You should know how good those KBM cars having finished behind them before,” Erik adds as Chase had to chuckle, remembering the several late model races across the province where he raced against Erik. “I just hope there’s no tungsten this time.”

“Actually, I just hope the weight is right in general.” Erik had to let out a sigh, knowing that they’d all ran into issues with technical inspection at one time or another.

“The driver who crosses the finish line first is the winner as you’ve all gone through enough technical inspection before the race to know whose legal,” Christopher starts. “I mean, why would things be different afterwards? I’ve always thought some of Ricky’s DQs are a little crazy.”

“He has a rule book and you have to follow it to the letter – simple as that,” Chase states, remembering the words that Ricky Brooks offered many times in the tech shed.

“I still don’t agree with everything…”

Starting off from the eighth spot, Chase was able to make his way forward in the beginning stages to run third by the first caution at Lap 50. The pit crew then delivered on pit road, getting him out in the lead. He led the first couple laps off the restart, before falling in line in second behind Raphael Lessard.

“Keep bidding your time,” Marcus says over the radio. “Lots of racing left to go here….”

Sarina could only smile in knowing Chase didn’t need the bonus tips like her, as he had been here and done this before. it was about keeping yourself in position through the first 200 laps, before making your charge in the last 100.

By the halfway mark, he was back to fourth as he had also been passed by Jeff Choquette and Harrison Burton. With no caution laps over a span of 75 laps, the officials would throw a competition yellow at Lap 165. The race off pit road would be won by Choquette ahead of Lessard, then Chase, Bubba Pollard, and Harrison.

“Bubba still hasn’t won this race, right?” Erik double checks and Sarina shakes her head no.

“0 wins in 12 chances,” Sarina replies. “It’s like his Daytona curse.” Erik had to nod his head in agreement as he knew Bubba had pretty much won every single other race across the United States.

“Do you guys still talk regularly?” Sarina nods her head, having texted him just a couple weeks ago. He was one of the late model drivers that she had gotten to know and kept in contact with.

“I can understand why Kyle said he wanted to be like him one day…”

Shortly after the restart, Chase dropped back a couple spots to fifth, complaining the car was not completely to his liking, fighting the same tight condition they fought in practice. Despite not being totally happy, he was able to maintain the position until the caution came out at Lap 225 for Stephen Nasse having a wheel come off.

“Did he just go after his pit crew?” Christopher asks, confused as he looks down towards where Nasse was pitted.

“When you’re paying like 5k to have a NASCAR pit crew come out for your late model operation for one race and they leave a wheel loose, I’d be mad too,” Sarina comments. “I’d be sharing my opinion with them so they clearly knew how I felt about it.”

“That may be crossing the line a little,” Erik offers and Sarina just shakes her head no.

Under the caution, Marcus made the decision to leave Chase on the track with most of the leaders.

“Harrison is the only one ahead of you to pit,” Marcus informs him after the round of stops. “The 12 has no more fresh tires on pit road. I still think there’s going to be more cautions and I’d rather you have fresh tires late.”

“10-4 I agree as the speed difference is noticeable,” Chase replies, having dealt with his fair share of the rough Florida pavement in the past. “I’ve been just riding here lately. I can handle the handling issue no problem, but keep in mind for final round of adjustments.”

“10-4. Keep doing what you’re doing. You’re doing a great job.”