The Tale of Love & Racing: Sarina’s Story – Chapter 90: Alison’s Story

Monday July 2, 2018

Chase takes his seat in the court room in the front row, watching as Sarina sits to his left with his father to his right. It didn’t surprise anybody to see Cindy sit in the same row alongside Bill, with Kyle alongside Sarina. With about room for five people per row, Alan and Jordan had taken the immediate seats behind Chase, along with Samantha, Ryan, and Lindsay.

While it was supposed to be important meeting day at Hendrick Motorsports, Chase was caught off-guard in seeing the rest of the team enter and take seats, ready to show their support as they each still wanted a piece of her for the bomb. Chase even questioned Alan about it, to only to be told, “Our own team meeting, and the group shop meeting was pushed back to tomorrow, as a show of support for you and Sarina.”

The bigger surprise was seeing Christopher and Morgan walk in to Sarina, but Christopher told her that he wanted to be there to support his best friend as much as he could.

“Are you okay?” Alan questions as he places a hand on Chase’s shoulder, earning a simple nod in response. Chase wanted to remain as strong as possible through this, and that meant showing least amount of emotion as possible because he knew that was Alison’s end game.

“Thanks for the advice Saturday by the way,” Chase offers as Alan smiles back in response. He didn’t care if he got the appreciation in return or not, as long as Chase took it to heart and did what he needed to do.

“All rise!” The court officer says, as everybody stands up. “Now presenting the honorable Judge Gus.” The judge enters, taking her spot as expected.

“Everybody may be seated,” the judge states, as Chase takes a shaky deep breath as he does so. He knew the next step was Alison’s entrance, and that’s where all the emotions would begin. “Bring her in…”

The doors to the right of the room open as an officer enters, holding Alison as her wrists remained bound together in handcuffs. She instantly looks over towards Chase as a smirk forms on her face.

“It’s so nice to see you again sweetheart,” she starts quietly. “Do you want to feel your baby?”

“How about you just reveal that your pregnant with somebody else’s kid?” Bill questions as he keeps a strong grip on Chase’s right hand.

“Ahh, is there a problem Grandpa?” She then smirks even more. “I can’t wait for family dinners together as the baby gro-”

“You’ll be rotting away in hell for what you did to my son,” Cindy snaps, earning a couple surprised glances as Bill reaches over for her hand, too.

“Order!” The judge instructs as he slams down the gravel. “I will not tolerate outbursts from individuals in the court room. We’re simply here to hear Alison say what happened to each count of guilty plea, to help determine her sentencing and whether the insanity plea is viable. Take the stand, young lady.”

“It’d be my pleasure as I’m sure momma dearest would like to hear how her son played right into my hands, right Chase?” She then takes her seat beside the judge, smirk still firmly planted on her face as she kept eyes locked directly on Chase. Chase just pointed his own gaze down, taking a deep breath, as he tried to remain as calm as possible, despite feeling the same panic that bit him the last time they were there.

“As I stated, we will begin with your guilty pleas – and then it’ll be up to you and your lawyer to discuss the non-guilty pleas. We want simple explanations for your actions, understood?” Alison finally takes her eyes off of Chase and looks over at the judge.

“Please, let me tell the tale of our estranged secret love affair….” The judge opens the file on her desk.

“In March 2018, you pled guilty to poisoning Mr. Chase Elliott’s drink. Why did you do that?” Alison smiles as she crosses her arms.

“I could always tell that he loved me from the first day that we crossed paths at the Hooters Pageant. That’s why he didn’t want me to win – because then I’d be off doing all these tours and such. However, I get that he’s a little quiet and reserved. I also get how he’s kind of stuck in a fake love situation with that chick. Sometimes a little gentle persuasion does the trick. I spiked his drink, figuring that maybe he’d give in once he got a taste of what a real woman can offer him.” Sarina just rolls her eyes in disgust as Chase fought the laughter that was willing to escape his lips.

Though of course he got the defense that Alison wanted to use in the fact that they were having a secret love affair behind Sarina’s back, because Chase wouldn’t want to break up with Sarina and prove everybody wrong in how she got her ride and how they initially got together. it was crazy enough to even seem a little believable – if any bit of having feelings for Alison was true.

“She’s certainly crazy,” Morgan whispers, earning a quiet chuckle and nod of approval from Christopher.

“We haven’t even got into the worst of it yet,” Christopher replies, remembering everything that he and Sarina had talked about together.

“You pled guilty to the attempted murder of Alan Gustafson. Why did you do that?” Alison lets out a sigh as she glances between Chase and the crew chief.

“I get it. I’m not the perfect princess and certainly how I entered Chase’s life is no saint of actions, either. So because of that, it seems everybody wants to judge me – including Chase’s parents it seems. Chase was just about to show me how much he loved in his trailer, when the crew chief showed up. I figured if I scared him, he’d go away and we could get the deed done. Meanwhile, I was never going to hit him….” Alan chuckles as he remembered looking straight down the barrel of the gun until he had jumped out of the way. The memory made him take a pause, and thank himself for his lucky graces that day. “If I may, your honor, I would like to detail the events in the trai-”

“That’ll be for another time, unless you want to plead guilty to sexual assault as you are charged.” Alison then looks over at Chase shocked.

“You charged me with sexual assault after you brought on that kiss yourself? Wow, I’m impressed how far you’ll cover for your poor decision to sleep with that tramp and regret it later.” Chase looks down, shaking his head as he regretted every single moment there. Why did he let any of it go on as far as he did?

“The only regret that we have is not knocking your head off sooner!” Cindy comments, earning another round of surprise glances around the room.

“Mom!” Chase lets out as he looks over at her, shocked himself. Cindy was normally the one in control of the family, and every situation. However, that was now her second outburst of the day.

“Anymore outbursts from Ms. Cindy Elliott and you could be held in contempt,” the judge warns as Cindy just laughs. It was irony how the judge was willing to throw the innocent in jail, but yet at one time had enabled Alison’s escape. “Ms. Elliott….”

“Mom, please….” Chase reaches over Bill’s lap, placing his hand on hers. “I need you here with me so please listen. I know your angry, and so am I. There’s so many things that I want to tell her, but we need to let this go on as it is, and I need you here for me….”

“What did you want to tell me, Chasey-boo?” Alison then questions, snatching his attention away from Cindy. “Did you want to admit to the world that you love me?” He then laughs as he shakes his head back in response.

“Try again, bitch….”

“That’s enough from you too, Mr. Elliott,” the judge states. “In May 2018, you pled guilty to kidnapping Sarina Ott in the state of Tennessee. Explain why you did that, please.” Alison lets out a sigh as she glances at the pair.

“That should be obvious now,” she starts. “It’s clear that Chase loves me more than her, and has only kept her out of protection of his own career, decisions, and kind-heart in not wanting to leave her stranded on the side of a road. That said, she always gets in the way of our love – despite knowing that she’ll never be first in his life. I had to get her out of the way so I could really show Chase what he meant to me, and maybe convince him to let her go.” Chase just shakes his head as he tries to ignore every bit of reasoning out of her mouth as nothing made sense or was even believable no matter what planet you lived on.

“Who in their right mind would believe that Chase loved her more than Sarina?” Alan wonders out-loud, earning a glance from either side of him.

“A sociopath, which is what Alison is,” Samantha starts. “She doesn’t understand what other people feel, therefore not knowing the consequences of her actions. She doesn’t understand that Chase’s reaction to her was not out of love, but out of fear and pain. Combined with that, she’s a manipulative bitch who will do whatever she wants to get whatever she needs. She went after Chase for a reason, Alan….” Alan glances back at her.

“Opportunity to land herself in fame and fortune, hence trying to pawn a pregnancy off….” Samantha nods her head in agreement as she looks back towards Alison.

“We have reached the end of your guilty pleas,” the judge states, surprising everybody. “There was also charges of stalking, attempted murder in Florida, sexual assault in a trailer, assault via tripping an individual, robbery of a ring, and sexual assault.” Chase lets out a sigh as he knew those would all take forever, and brought forth the most pain, million times worse than what they had addressed. “Would you like to discuss these charges?”

“I don’t see how there’s any point because I didn’t do those things, right?” Alison offers, before looking back towards Chase with a smirk. “I’d rather talk about my baby with my future daddy. I want to know his feelings, whether he thinks it’s a boy or a girl, and any name ideas he has. Oh, and please tell me that there’s a baby shower coming. I’d assume your mommy is planning it, right?” Alison then rubs her stomach as her smirk widens. “I remember the night that we conceived this baby, every single detail. Your skin was so smooth, so soft, and I just took in every single inch. I took you long and hard, and slow so I could savor it all – and you just let me knowing that I had total control and were in love….”

Chase focuses his eyes on the ground, taking a shaky deep breath as he tries to make the hot tears that were forming in his eyes go away. He felt his stomach flip flop immediately as a clear image entered his mind upon each of her words.

“I remember how you laid back in bed, telling me that I could do whatever I wanted that night,” Alison continues in a low, seducing voice. “I remember stripping you down to nothing. I remember leaving that mark on your neck, and you saying how you’d treasure that until our next meeting. I remember when I first tasted you, and how I couldn’t get enough. you went hard immediately for me, and I just took it from there baby, and woah it was a night of pure hot sexual joy. Chase, do you remember, baby?”

“Chase….” Bill says quietly as he maintains his firm grip on Chase’s hand. “Ignore her. She’s just doing this to get under your skin and make it crawl. Just close your eyes, and block it out. You know that never happened like she said….”

“Oh Bill, you just wish that was the case so that way you can stay in your crystal ball of belief in that your son has the perfect engagement to Sarina. After all, you liked her too since she drove a late model that you owned, right? It’s okay to realize that your son’s first love isn’t what it seems and there’s a dirty little secret. I mean, your first love didn’t work out either.” Bill didn’t care what she was saying, as his eyes and focus remained on Chase, just wanting to do whatever he needed to help him get through this.

“Can we put a gag order on her already?” Christopher demands from his seat, earning even more surprised glances as he wasn’t one to freak out on a nature.

“Oh Bell, I’m glad that you’re here,” Alison starts next, earning a surprised glance on both Christopher and Morgan’s faces. “It’d be great if you could explain to the court how you and Sarina have been having some great weekends together. I mean, I couldn’t believe that article that was released. How amazing how you guys were caught already. I should’ve given you some more pointers on those secrets, huh? But it’s great because you can reveal your love to Sarina, and I can reveal mine for Chase. I just feel bad for precious Morgan and how she’ll be left out….” Christopher’s frustration was set to hit a new height as his hand immediately formed a fist.

“Relax,” Morgan told him as she placed both of her hands on top of her fist. “We talked about this, Christopher. I know what you mean to me, and what we mean to each other. I also know the friendship that you have with Sarina, and I will never be jealous or think it is more. She is just doing pawning her deed off to you to try and get to you and Chase more. She wants to get us all feuding so we break apart more…”

“How about you stop telling your damn dreams and speak about reality for once in your bloody life?” Cindy questions. “I’m sorry but I don’t care what that judge says. I will not bother to sit here and listen to you twist words and situations to torture people. You deserve every bit of sentence you get, and I hope you rot away to little bits and pieces. Better yet, I hope you find someone in prison that can torture you just like you’ve tortured my son.”

“You’re just afraid to admit it as well, sweetheart,” Alison states with a grin on her face as she lets out a laugh. “Isn’t it great that we’re finally talking about it, though? I’m glad that we’re getting it out in the open…..” She then looks back towards Chase. “I just wish you’d say something to me, please….”

“That’s enough!” The judge finally states as she looks towards Alison. “You’ve explained what you did, and you had a chance to defend yourself and didn’t choose to accept it. We’re done.” She then looks back out to the courtroom. “As for everybody else in here, I already warned you once and I’ll let it be known again – outbursts will land you in contempt.”

“It took her quite a while to speak out,” Cindy whispers, earning another stern glance from Bill.

“We will re-convene at a later date to begin testimony from the prosecution with their witnesses, including victims. I hope everybody is better behaved then. Court adjourned!”

The judge leaves, followed by the officer with Alison. Everybody else files out of the court room, except Chase who still sat frozen with his little circle surrounding him.

“Chase, talk to us, please….” Alan offers as he places a hand on his shoulder.

“I’m fine,” he replies as he glances up for the first time in awhile. “She is sick and twisted, and that’s all she was trying to do there – get under our skin, get a reaction, satisfy herself. It worked considering some of the things that were said.” He then takes a deep breath. “But I’m strong, and I’m going to get through this. I don’t care what she says. I’m fine. Everything that she just said is a total fictional imagination and I can’t wait till that is thrown out.”

“You did a great job handling yourself today,” Bill comments as he stands up, taking Cindy’s hand as he does so. “Call me if you need me, okay?” Chase accepts, nodding his head, as his parents head out together.

“For once, do you think Dad will be giving the lecture instead of Mama?” Alan and Sarina offer a light chuckle in response. “Seriously, though, I am okay. It took a lot to block out what she was saying and not create my own theories again, but I’m fine.” He then looks over at Sarina. “Besides, you’re my focus.”

“Chase, I told you the other night that I’d do anything for you,” Sarina starts. “That includes being there for you as much as you need me, too. You don’t need to put up a fron-”

“I’m not,” he replies. “Besides, we have an appointment to get to and that’s what should matter most here.”

“I know that’s on our minds, but I care more about how you’re doing. So please, let me be there…” Chase takes a deep breath as he slowly stands up.

“I’m fine. One day at a time. I’m ready to just move forward…..”

“Remember what I’ve always told you – don’t let it eat you,” Alan warns as he gives him one final pat on the shoulder. “Call me if you need me – both of you.”

“You have my word,” Chase replies, giving the crew chief a hug, before looking back towards Sarina. “I’m not lying to you. She didn’t bother me today because my number one focus was you. I knew as soon as she focused on that baby, she wanted to get under our skins about that and I knew to look towards you.” He then pulls Sarina close. “We’re going to be okay…..”

“I know that,” she replies as she looks into his eyes. “I love you, always….” She then leans in for a kiss.


“I appreciate your patience with the appointment scheduling,” the doctor states. “I reviewed your file multiple times, hoping to find something that may have been missed. I even had a couple colleagues in the surgical department review it, as well as other fertility specialist. I know this is news that nobody ever wants to hear, but in my view, it would be impossible with the shape of your uterus to carry a baby full-term.”

“Okay,” Sarina replies quietly as Chase wraps both arms around her, holding her close.

“If there’s anything that I can do to make the process easier to handle, please let me know. I’m willing to fully break down everything we’ve gathered with you. If you need help in moving forward, please do not hesitate to ask. I can get you in contact with potential councilors, as well as answer any questions about the previous options discussed.  Please remember that there’s no timetable on making that next decision, or dealing with any pain that you are feeling right now…”

“Thank you.” Sarina then takes a deep breath as she glances back over her shoulder at Chase. “To be honest, I’d come to the reality of what was to be my future as a potential mother. I just wanted to hear it a second time so I could actually move forward knowing that I’d tried my options. It’s not ideal, but like everything else, we’ll get through this. And when that day comes that we want to be parents, I’m sure we can work out an option that’s suitable for us both.”

“I’m behind you no matter what you decide,” Chase offers, kissing her shoulder.

Though in the back of his mind, the words from Alison in court began to replay in his mind. What if he had blacked out what happened just like he had suggested to Alan on Saturday? What if Alison was actually having his kid?

Shaking his head, he knew he couldn’t wonder about that right now as it was just Alison to play games to make him believe those things. Besides, his focus was right here and now, and being there when Sarina needed him most.


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

Saturday, June 16 – Ireland

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, June 16 – Iowa Speedway

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Now you mentioned not set in stone….”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Ah shucks….”


Saturday, June 16 – Dublin, Ireland

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Seriously?” Chase then glances between the pair.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, June 18 – Dublin, Ireland

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Tale of Love & Racing: Sarina’s Story – Chapter 14: “Do I need to spell that out for you?”

Monday, January 8 – North Carolina

As Christopher went to make his next move in their game of monopoly, he heard a knock on the door. He looked over the table at Sarina with raised eyebrows.

“I told you we wouldn’t have enough time to complete the whole game,” he offers as he stands up and walks over to the door, pulling it open. “Hey. She’s in the living room kicking my ass at Monopoly.”

“Poor Christopher,” Chase comments as he gives him a pat on the shoulder as he enters the house.

“Ah shucks, you cut our date short,” Sarina says with a smile on her face as she stands up and walks over, wrapping both arms around Chase. “I’m sorry they didn’t win. I was so confident when we glanced at the score, seeing the huge lead, I figured they’d hold on and it’d be the perfect night of glory. Of course, I was wrong…” Chase nods his head as he glances at the ground.

“Trust me, it was a bit of a downer watching that lead just disappear in the flick of a couple fingers. I can’t say that I’m not disappointed. But, I’m proud of them. They did a great job and proved they could get there. It gives me confidence that we’ll see a return visit next year with a better result.” He then wraps his arms around her. “But regardless, I had a ton of fun being there and taking it all in, and I can’t thank you enough for the tickets.”

“Well, as long as you had fun, that’s what matters.” She then lightly kisses his lips. “This guy’s company wasn’t bad as we had a ton of fun together. But, there’s nothing like spending time with you.”

“Will you both just get a room already?” Christopher questions as he glances out of the kitchen. “Seriously, I was expecting a ring after that trip, too.” Both of their jaws drop as they look over at him. “Too soon? I mean, I can’t be the only one that has made the comment to you.”

“You aren’t,” Chase answers, remembering a previous conversation as he keeps his eyes locked on hers. Taking a deep breath, he knew they had other things to talk about first – even if he knew they could weather the storm.

“I could say the same about you,” Sarina adds as Christopher just shrugs his shoulders. “By the way, you better come back with a Gold Digger. I won’t accept otherwise after last year.” He then chuckles.

“It’s certainly the best way to start off a year,” he comments.


Tuesday, January 9 – North Carolina

“Are you sure you’ll be fine all day?” Chase questions and Sarina glances down the stairs, rolling her eyes.

“I’m fine, Chase,” she answers as she come down the steps. “I’m pretty much back to myself without a single reason to fret or worry. You don’t need to baby or care for me because I am fine. Do I need to spell that out for you?” He then lets out a sigh as he grabs her hand.

“I just care and worry about you. Isn’t a guy allowed to worry?” She then takes a deep breath, nodding her head.

“I appreciate it, I really do – even if I don’t show it sometimes. But trust me, I’m fine. Besides, I’m not spending today here just lounging around. I’m going to the shop to do a seat fitting, and then I promised Harrison that I would help him with his homework.” Chase then looks at her surprised. “What? Can’t a girl offer her young teammate a nice gesture? I’m good at math, he’s struggling a little – I figure I better help him get it where it needs to be before the season starts.”

“Harrison is a good kid, and I know it can be tough doing school and racing all together. Been there, don-”

“Done that, and sometimes regretted every minute but wouldn’t change it for anything to chase after a dream. Hence why I offered to help him out.” Chase just gives her a smile. “Do you promise to not be home late?”

“Short flight, and Texas doesn’t want to put on the lights, so you know what that means.” He then grabs his backpack, putting it on his back, before kissing her lips. “I love you.”

“I love you, too.” He then heads out the door as she leans back against the staircase, taking a deep breath, before heading back up to get dressed. So much for their nice quiet time….


Tuesday, January 9 – Texas Motor Speedway

Chase walks into the garage, firesuit on, ready for a full day of making laps and notes ahead of the new year. Taking a glance over the car, he had to smile. It just seemed perfect now adorning the No. 9, and the new body lines of the camaro were nothing to complain about.

“I’m surprised you’re here,” he hears, glancing up and giving Alan a quick smile.

“Where else would I be?” He questions as Alan walks over, eyes locked on him.

“At home, taking care of your girlfriend.” Alan places a hand around Chase’s shoulders. “You don’t need to put on the tough guy act for me. I get it, Chase.” Chase then slowly looks away from the car back to the crew chief.

“She says that she’s feeling better with no side effects, complications, so it’s back to business as usual. Besides, she’s spending the day at KBM doing a seat fitting and helping Harrison with his homework.”

“So just like that, it’s back to business as usual?” Chase shrugs his shoulders, knowing that was far from the truth.

“What do you want me to say, Alan?” Alan takes a deep breath, not moving his hand from where it was on Chase’s shoulder.

“There’s a reason that I suggested Rick get Alex, Jimmie or William to do the test instea-”

“Alex is at the Chili Bowl, Jimmie is still in Colora-”

“He could’ve given up his vacation for your sake, and I know the William explanation before you say anything.” Chase takes a deep breath as he glances back towards the car.

“I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else today, okay? I’m fine being here. Rick even called me last night to make sure that I was okay. Like I said, we’re back to business as usual…” Alan nods his head, accepting, but fails to remove his hand from where it was placed on the shoulder.

“But there’s a lot of other pieces left over, I bet. You don’t just move forward without a care.” Chase takes another deep breath as he places his hands along the door bar. It was getting much harder to just avoid any conversation about it.

“There’s so many emotions that I can’t even begin to describe to you right now. There’s a lot that Sarina and I need to talk about following the doctor’s appointment. We also have another whole issue due to Aunt Shelle-”

“Should I be worried?” Chase shakes his head no as he glances back at the crew chief.

“Let’s just say it was a meeting that didn’t go as planned. She basically had some rude comments for Sarina regarding her brother’s situation that were out of line. I basically told her straight off, but I can tell that it affected Sarina.” Alan lets out a sigh.

“That’s what we were scared of when you began to search for family, too.” Chase nods his head as his eyes focus back on the car.

“Part of me wishes I just would’ve left things alone as they were fine, but I can’t do that. Look at Lindsay. She’s one of the best things to happen to Sarina.” Chase then turns around, leaning back against the car. “I feel like it’s two steps forward, one step backwards with Sarina. We begin to make progress in getting emotions out there, truly releasing everything – and I being able to trust her fully without a tinge of fear that we’ll repeat the past. Then something happens and she’s back to putting the wall up. She’s hiding emotions, afraid to talk, worried about expressing everything, not able to make herself vulnerable.”

“I know it’s frustrating, but you have to understand that’s how she’s been her entire life, until she met you and could trust you.” Chase nods his head as he looks out of the garage area for a quick second, before turning his eyes back to Alan.

“I understand, and for that reason, I keep pushing and keep doing whatever I can to support her so she will open up to me. There’s nothing that I wouldn’t do for her, either. But once, I wish we could just make steps forward without this back and forth.” Alan nods his head, accepting, as he hoped for the same.

“How about we just keep a positive outlook on 2018 and maybe it’ll happen? Maybe you’re just getting everything out of the way early.” Chase chuckles as he spins around, back to face the car. “What?”

“I don’t know if I believe you. It may just be the beginning in reality, but whatever the case, I’m here for the ride…” Chase then climbs in the car, getting comfortable as he glances around to make sure everything was in order. Alan then kneels down, looking in on his young driver.

“Have faith. You guys are meant to be, and when two people are meant to be, the universe has a funny way of letting things fall in place when you least expect it.” Alan then reaches back, grabbing a clipboard, before bringing it into view for Chase. “Now, Goodyear has brought four different tires for the two days….”


Tuesday, January 9 – North Carolina

Once he was cleared done for the day, he took the short flight back to North Carolina, returning home. He was met by a pleasant surprise, too, as Sarina had made them his favorite – chicken parmesan – for dinner.

“I was thinking while you were gone,” Sarina starts, catching Chase’s attention as he looks up from his plate. “Maybe it’s worth reaching out to Shelley again.” Chase instantly drops his fork, which falls to the floor.

“Are you kidding me?” He asks and she shakes her head no. “You do remember what she said and how rude she was to you, right? I mean, if someone did that to me, I wouldn’t waste my time with them ever again. They’re not worth the energy.” Sarina takes a deep breath, absolutely understanding where Chase was coming from as she reaches down, picking up his fork.

“She was frustrated with the situation, and this was her first time seeing someone connected. We pulled back an old wound and boom – we got shattered with the reaction from doing that.” Chase then glances back from the sink as he washes the fork off.

“So you’re just willing to let it go?” She nods her head.

“She was frustrated, so she just began venting for whatever reason and unfortunately, we were the source along with Lindsay. She even admitted to you that it was out of anger, and maybe she direct-”

“Maybe she directed it?” Chase sits back down at the table alongside Sarina. “I’m sorry, but it was totally directed in the wrong way possible, as I told her. You did everything that you could in the situation that you were given, and no fault should ever be placed on your shoulders. Frankly, that should be the responsibility of your paren-”

“They were both dea-”

“Then it should become the responsibility of child services and the state protection system. They’re the ones that forced you to move around, and into the situation. They just emphasized what was going on. If they would’ve taken a harder look, maybe gotten him some help or showed him drugs were wrong, things could’ve been different.” He then places his hand on top of hers. “You were only 16, Sarina. No 16-year-old should be expected to handle losing both of her parents and dealing with a brother like Chris was on their own. He was 14, so that should’ve been child services handling it. But for them to throw you both out on your own with all that to handle – what happened from there on is on them.”

“But does Shelley know those exact details? Nope. That’s why she probably started there, realized from your words that she was wrong, and made the point about wrongfully directing her anger. Hence why she also ended the discussion. She knew the pain that she caused, and probably how wrong she was so she just finished it before we could blow it up mor-”

“Or maybe because she doesn’t want anything to do with you – as mean as that is.” Sarina’s eyes drop down to the table as she takes a deep breath.

“I am ready to face that truth if it is indeed what she wants. I understand that because I know there are certain things that I can never forgive my brother for, too.” She then takes a deep breath, looking back up at Chase. “I feel reaching out will give her a chance for a re-do, to possibly correct her wrongs, and maybe fresh start with that frustration out there. I just don’t want to give up hope until there’s totally none.” Chase felt every nerve inside of him telling her to not do this, because it was that approach that allowed Chris to dig his claws deeper into them with Bethany and Alison.

“Just promise me that you’ll be careful and the first sign of trouble, you’ll run the other direction.” She nods her head, accepting.

“Trust me – I’m not letting another situation arise like last year. We’re done with those.”

Short Track Lovin’ – Chapter 186: “How am I supposed to even get this on?”

Friday, December 8 – Kyle Busch Motorsports – Christmas Party

“Oh it’s happening…” Kyle muses with a laugh of his own.

“Seriously?” Chase questions as he peeks out from behind. “I am not wearing that, Kyle.” Kyle just grins as he rubs his hands together.

“I don’t have any other options, and the rules are that you must wear what I supply.” Chase just grins back in response.

“I am not one of your employees, Mr. Busch.” Kyle nods his head, knowing that quite well.

“But you did agree to the terms by being Ms. Ott’s date for the night. Now, why don’t you show us how it looks?” Chase glances back at the box, shaking his head. This was the last time he agreed to anything Kyle-related without getting the terms first.

“How am I supposed to even get this on?”

“Kyle, it better not be that bad….” Sarina comments as Kyle glances over at her with a smile.

“Don’t worry – you’re going to enjoy it,” he offers as she looks back a little confused. “Trust me.”

“You’re scaring me…”

“Why can’t we choose your outfit?” Christopher wonders and Sarina nods her head in agreement.

“Because I am the boss,” Kyle answers as they both roll their eyes. “Besides, it’s more fun this way….”

“April Fool’s Day. Call me.” Sarina laughs, but certainly knew that was on the cards right now.

“This is ridiculous,” Chase comments as he pops out from behind the curtain, resulting in instant laughter from both Sarina and Christopher. “How am I even supposed to walk in this thing?”

“Very carefully,” Kyle says as he tries to control his own laughter. “I think it looks great.”

“It’s fitting,” Christopher adds, continuing to chuckle. There Chase stood before them, dressed an elf, but inside an inflatable snowglobe.

“Now you’re really inside of her globe…” Kyle then stands up and walks away as Chase lets out a sigh.

“When are you planning the April Fools, prank?” Chase wonders as Christopher just smiles.

“We going to have to start planning early March because he’s doomed now,” Christopher answers. “But you look good…”

“No, I look ridiculous…” Sarina shakes her head as she watches Christopher walk away, before wrapping an arm around him.

“Least you’re not the only ridiculous-looking person tonight,” she adds as he glances over at her.

“You make anything look good, though.” He then kisses her lips, lightly.

“So admit it – did you have fun tonight?” Sarina asks as they walk into their bedsroom later on that night.

“It wasn’t as bad as I thought,” Chase answers with a smile as she glances over his way.

“I still can’t believe you sat on Santa Kyle’s lap…” Chase chuckles, knowing he had caught everyone off-guard. “What did you ask for Christmas?”

“I can’t tell you, or else my Christmas wish may not come true.” She then pouts. “You could tell me what you asked for…”

“Not happening. Good try.” He then sits on the edge of the bed, shaking his head as he looks over the costume.

“I can’t believe I’m still wearing this elf outfit. I told Kyle I was done with it and set to change back, but he insisted that I keep it.” Sarina grins as she walks over, standing before him.

“That’s because I asked him to let you keep it…” He looks at her surprised. “I think you look absolutely adorable.”

“Seriously?” She nods her head as she runs her hands up his legs.

“It brings out every feature of these legs that I love, how toned they are and fit…” She then lightly kisses his cheek. “And it’s soft and cuddly, which I know will be perfect for cuddling you. Besides, you’ll always be little elf.”

“When you put it that way, it doesn’t sound that bad…” She nods her head in agreement. “Maybe I’ll just have to help you out with your dress…”

“See, maybe this isn’t so bad…..”


Saturday, December 9

“Ugh!!!!” Sarina lets out an aggravated sigh as she looks in the mirror. She was beyond furious as she tried to get her hair to go up in the perfect pony tail. “This is getting annoying. This is why I never dress up!” Chase then glances in the bathroom, a little caught off-guard.

“Is it right to ask if everything is okay?” He wonders as she looks over at him.

“The curls didn’t set right so my hair turned into disaster. Then I tried to put it up nicely and it just won’t go that way. I mean, I look like there’s a hornet’s nest on my head and we have to be down there in an hour. What do you think of the question now, Chase?” Chase took a deep breath, debating what to do immediately.

“I think no matter what you look beaut-”

“Not helping!” She then closes the door, debating what to do next.

“Okay…” Chase walks down the stairs, finding his cell phone as he glances through the numbers. There had to be someone that could help her out. “Emma? Hey, it’s Chase. Can you come over here like right now? Sarina is having a girl’s dressing crisis.”

It didn’t take long for Emma Blaney to show up, giving Chase a quick hug before making her way upstairs.

“Oh my…” She comments once Sarina opens the bathroom door, noticing the hair disaster that was there. “I can see why Chase said this was a crisis.”

“No shit!” Sarina says as she looks back in the mirror. “I’ve tried everything, Emma. I just wanted to look beautiful tonight since hey, it’s my banquet, and I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished this year. But damn – look at this disas-”

“I can fix it. We can make it look great.” Emma glances over again, thinking about it. “I have an idea….” After taking some fabric, cutting it one way, shaping another, and then going through the hair – it took a good half hour, but Emma felt satisfied when she was done. “What do you think?”

“Well, that fixes the hair….” Sarina then lets out a sigh, though. “I just don’t know if that looks proper.”

“I think it looks good, actually. It complements your dress perfectly.” Sarina spins around to face Emma.

“Really?” Emma nods her head. “I hope it looks alright.”

“Trust me, you’ll look beautiful tonight. Now come on, let’s go…” The girls then head down the stairs together and Chase looks over, smiling immediately. Emma was the perfect person to call.

The pair went to the truck series banquet that night with ease, enjoying the nice dinner and ceremony that entailed. Once it was over, they went to the after-party being hosted by Kyle Busch Motorsports to celebrate the year that was, taking in the dancing and jokes to be had.

Midway through the night, Sarina makes her way out to the terrace, overlooking Charlotte. It wasn’t long after she went out there that she felt a pair of arms wrap around her.

“Are you okay?” She hears and nods her head, immediately. “What are you thinking about?”

“Everything,” she offers as she leans back in his arms. “From what we’ve been through together, to the success I had on track, to what I’ve fought through.” She takes a deep breath, spinning around in his arms to face him. “I’m thankful and blessed beyond belief, Chase. I could never have imagined everything going this well. I mean, sometimes I have to pinch myself because I can’t believe it.”

“You deserve it, and more….” She smiles as she wraps her arms around him in return.

“That goes for you, too. Any guy that can deal with everything I have to offer deserves the world at the palm of their hand.” She then leans in, kissing his lips. “I love you, Chase. I will always love you.”

“I love you, too, and I tell you what – next year, this party will be all about you.” She then chuckles as she looks back in the room at the fun being had.

“Nah, next year we’ll be having two parties at the end of the season. I can’t wait for the world to see what I see, in how talented you are.” Chase just smiles back in return.

“Here’s to a great 2018 to come…”


Stay tuned for “The Tale of Love & Racing: Sarina’s Story” as the sequel to this story.

Short Track Lovin’ – Chapter 185: Christmas Cheer!

Friday, December 8 – Hendrick Motorsports

The next two days were for the most part quiet. Chase finished up the production shoots he needed to do ahead of 2017, while getting in some reading time to check a couple more pages off in the book. Sarina, meanwhile, focused her energy into planning how the Christmas decorating was going to go once they go to the cabin.

But once Friday hit, that was all put on the back burner as it was going to be another busy day for them both.

“I still can’t believe I’m here with you…” Sarina muses as Chase parks in the back parking lot.

“What do you mean?” He questions with a glance towards her.

“I drive for Kyle, but yet I’m here on Hendrick proper-”

“Kyle lets me stop by your shop to see you, and he did invite me to your Christmas party. We also spend a lot of time in each other’s haulers on race weekends. I don’t see how this is any different.” She lets out a sigh as they both get out of the car together.

“It’s like I’m stepping on NASCAR sacred ground. Hendrick Motorsports is one of those always been here, top teams no matter what, and damn Chase, its surreal for someone like me who never imagined that she’d have a chance to be here in this sport. Plus, I am breaking every single rule that they say about competition and how you’re not supposed to be on your competitor’s turf because they will say you’re spying.” Chase laughs, remembering how both Christopher and Kyle had teased him about that numerous times.

“Trust me – it’s fine. It’s not like the boys will be doing anything of the secret variety. Well, except picking on you…” She rolls her eyes as she follows him through the back door.

As she enters, her jaw drops immediately as she was amazed at the space, organization, how clean it was, how professional everyone looked. She just shakes her head, glancing around in amazement, as she follows Chase to where they were headed.

“Hey!” Alan notices them immediately, walking over and giving each of them a hug. “It’s nice to see that you could make it today.”

“And miss seeing you? That’d be evil,” Sarina comments as Alan simply smiles back in return. Sarina had always kept a special admiration for the crew chief. It wasn’t lost on her that he had saved Chase’s ass in a big way twice now, and one of those times was partially her fault to begin with. She never took for granted what he was able to do for his driver.

“Well I’m glad you’re not a Grinch…” Chase then wraps an arm around her, smiling.

“Actually, she’s like one of those crazy elfs,” he starts. “She can’t wait to decorate as she was blabbing my ear off in Florida about how she can’t wait to get a tree, and make it look pretty, and then make the cabin look absolutely insane Christmas-y with lots of decorations.” Alan crosses his arms as he looks between the pair.

“Cabin, huh?” Alan questions. “Are we off to Colorado next week?” Chase smiles, nodding his head, which only caused the crew chief to take a careful deep breath. He knew what the trip would entail. “Just promise me, and swear to me that you’ll be careful. With your luck, I don’t want to be getting a phone call that you went tumbling down the mountain and broke a leg, or a foot, or worse.”

“I’ll be careful – like always. I’m a seasoned pro.” Alan rolls his eyes, knowing how that went.

“Hey Jared, your favorite female is looking for you,” Jordan Allen then chimes in from his perch. “She’s hear to fulfill her promise.” Sarina just rolls her eyes, watching as Jared makes his way over to the group.

“Haven’t you learned, Jordan? We found a truce,” Jared Seate begins with a smile towards Sarina. “She actually admitted that she likes me, and I was part of the reason why she was able to get back with Chase. So rather than planning my funeral, you can kiss my ass because I have a new friend now.” Sarina laughs as Jordan rolls his eyes, walking away.

“I wasn’t quite that sweet about it,” Sarina confesses as Jared shrugs his shoulders.

“Okay, so maybe not. But admit – you like me…” Sarina could only roll her eyes back now as Jared looks at her surprised. “Then I guess I should’ve just not called you that night.” Sarina closes her eyes, thinking back to the beginning of the year and remembering how upset and angry she was. Taking a deep breath, Jared had a good point as she probably would’ve waited longer without his message. However, he could never know that.

“I appreciate you reaching out and for what you did. But, like Chase told you, he knew I’d reach out eventually. I could never go on without him.” Chase smiles, wrapping an arm around her to keep her held close to him.

“You guys are too sappy for your own good,” Alan offers, before walking away. “Can we get these games started?” Sarina then glances over at Chase confused.

“Games?” She questions and all he could do was simply nod his head in return. “Why didn’t you warn me?”

“I didn’t want to scare you off,” he replies, giving her a quick kiss. “Besides, these are fun games.” They all circle around Eddie, who has a list of the games for the day in his hand, eying the group with pride.  This was going to get interesting. “Who made you game commissioner?”

“I get the first two games, before we get the whole shop together,” Eddie offers. “I was given the list, so that makes me the boss. If you have any objections, all I have to say is bah-humbug.” Chase chuckles as he crosses his arms. “I am going to split you into four teams of three, as the first event is a relay race.”

“Oh lawdy….” Josh Kirk muses, knowing that this wasn’t going to go pretty, considering they all attempted to trip each other last year.

“Why can’t we choose our teammates?” Jared Seate wonders, earning a glance from Eddie.

“Because that’d be too easy,” Eddie replies, shuffling a bunch of names around in a hat. “I’m going to pull our names. First three are team one, next three are team two, and well, you get the damn idea.” Eddie reaches his hand in the bucket, pulling out three pieces of paper. “Team A – Josh, Chad, and Sarina.” Jared rolls his eyes immediately, as Chase silently curses to himself. “Team B – Jordan, Jared Seate, and Alan.” Jared’s eyes roll immediately.

“I get the worse team? Really?”

“Hey now!” Alan lets out, looking obviously offended.

“I can run, you know?” Jordan adds as Jared only rolls his eyes.

“Ah, the Christmas spirit is alive and well,” Eddie comments as he reaches his hand back in. “Team C – Jared Erspamer, John, and myself. That means the final team will be Nick, Travis and Chase.”

“You would obviously get the two best runners on your team, superstar.” Chase sticks his tongue out as they get all lined up ready to go.

“Rules are simple. Grab the Christmas tree, run to the other end of the shop, and run back without losing a single jingle bell.  If you drop a bell, you must stop, pick it up, and put it back on. Each team member must do one run. First team to complete and not lose their balls will be the winner.”

“Wait – some of us don’t have balls,” Jared cracks, earning a smack across the forehead from Alan. “Hey!”

“No, we just have them on our chest, and if you stare – you’ll find out how painful it hurts to twist your own,” Sarina offers back, causing a couple shocked glances.

“I like our new teammate,” Josh comments, earning a nod of agreement from Chad.

The relay started off smooth, but it wasn’t long before the balls were bouncing off trees, across the floor. Chase knew his team was out of it when he had to chase a ball halfway across the shop, dropping some more along the way. Sarina watched as Josh and Chad perfected the art, and she was able to get from the start to the other end without losing a single ball. However, on the trip back, one of them bounced off. She was able to quickly pick it up and put it back on – but it was too late. Eddie crossed the line with his tree perfectly in tack seconds ahead of her, handing his team the win.

“I feel like shit,” Sarina comments as makes her way over to Josh and Chad. “You guys were perfect, and I blew it. I’m sorry.”

“It’s okay,” Chad Avrit assures her, wrapping an arm around her shoulders. “You did your best, and that’s what matters. We’re here to have fun, right?”

“Besides, I was more entertained watching Chase run after balls all over,” Josh Kirk adds, causing a chuckle to escape her lips.

“That was amusing…” She offers as Chase just rolls his eyes.

“Now it’s time for everybody’s favorite race – two to tangle,” Eddie announces, causing Sarina to look over confused. “The rules are simple – you will be divided into teams of two. You are to tie a left shoe lace to your partner’s right shoe lace, and each wear a hand-cuff. You must hop, run, whatever you can to stop one – where you must decorate five cookies together. Then you go to stage two, where you decorate the Christmas tree. And then you can go to stage three, where you have to untangle the lights for outside. If you can do all that, and make it to the finish first, you win. But the pair that comes in dead last must remained hand-cuffed together all day long – yes, including dinner.”

“He’s joking, right?” Sarina questions and Josh shakes his head no, glancing over at Jordan.

“His mistake last year ended up resulting in us tied together all day long,” Josh reveals as Sarina looks over shocked. “When it comes to these games, we don’t kid around. This gets a little interesting….”

“Seriously?” Chase nods his head as he crosses his arms. He hoped he got a good partner that would allow him to complete the course with ease. However, if for some reason that failed, he wanted someone that he wouldn’t murder by day’s end.

“So here we go….” Eddie says, reaching his hand into the bag of names. “Team A will consist of Jordan and Nick.” A couple cheers escaped, as nobody wanted to be stuck with Jordan again this year for another mistake. “Team B will consist of Travis and Jared Seate.” Sarina said a quick thank you to herself as she was worried about being stuck with Jared. “Team C will consist of John and myself.”

“I would laugh if we ended up together,” Chase whispers to Sarina as she just smiles in return.

“Team D will consist of Sarina and Alan.” Chase let out a quiet sigh, as Sarina smiled. If she was going to be stuck to someone, it might as well be Alan as at least she knew him pretty well. Actually, he was probably the best person of the group to do this with – except for Chase, obviously. “Team E will Jared Erspamer and Chase, making Team F consisting of Josh and Chad.” Chase walks over to Jared, affixing a cuff to himself, before holding it out for him, as he takes a deep breath.

“Listen, I’m going to make sure to not screw this up,” Chase starts, catching Jared Erspamer’s attention. “I still feel rotten and terrible about what happened in Ma-”

“It’s not your fault that Chris poisio-” Jared interrupts him, but Chase shakes his head.

“He was after me and Sarina. He never should’ve touched you guys, or any of her guys, or Ryan, or Bubba. It makes me sick to my stomach thinking about it.” Chase takes a deep breath. “Anyways, I owe you something – redemption. So let’s get ourselves a win, alright?”

“Just don’t be throwing the balls across the shop….” Chase rolls his eyes, knowing he would probably hear about that for weeks now.

As expected, the game turned intriguing right away with tons of laughs throughout as crew members tripped, items got dropped, and a couple cookies got eaten in the process. Despite Chase and Jared’s best effort together, it wasn’t their turn to pick up the crown. Instead the honor went to Sarina and Alan, who seemed to perfect their partnership immediately. The bottom of the pile – well, that honor went to Chase.

“Last in both games….” Jared Seate comments as he shakes his head. “Is this really happening?”

“I hate those damn balls,” Chase says as he places the last one of the lost balls on the table. He then glances at his partner with a sigh. “I’m sorry….”

“It’s my fault, too,” Jared Erspamer replies. “Looks like we’re stuck together….”


Friday, December 8 – Kyle Busch Motorsports

“Are you glad to be finally free of your partner in crime?” Sarina asks, having chuckled the whole way from Hendrick Motorsports to Kyle Busch Motorsports. It was hilarious watching Chase and Jared try to play some of the other games, and of course eating did not go smoothly, as predicted.

“Did you have fun at my expense, at least?” Chase wonders and Sarina nods her head. “Now I don’t know. Maybe I would’ve preferred to stay connected to my partner than be here…” Sarina laughs as they reach the door.

“I just hope Kyle didn’t go too crazy this year.” They then walk inside, meeting face-to-face immediately with Kyle, who was sitting on a big green couch with an evil grin on his face.

“My oh my, you guys have arrived…” Kyle muses as Chase looks at him with odd curiousity.

“This is somewhat creepy…” Chase comments as Sarina chuckles.

“You haven’t seen nothing yet,” she offers, giving Chase an immediate look of fear.

“I am not wearing this damn thing!” They hear yelled from behind the curtain and Kyle breaks out laughing.

“Come show off your new sweater, Bell,” Kyle requests as Christopher lets out a sigh.

“This is evil. I know we were bad this year and annoyed you, but this is ridiculous.” Christopher then emerges from behind the curtain, wearing a red sweater with a big bell attached to the back, including a string to be rung. “Ring my bell so I feel swell? How the hell did you come up with that?”

“I almost wrote ring my bell so I don’t go to hell – but I thought that was a little over the top.” Chase looks at Sarina, feeling even more fear and anxiety over what was planned now. What had he gotten himself into? “Now, my next victim – I mean sweet dear individual. Take this package and place it on.” Sarina takes the bag, glancing at Chase with a tinge of her own fear, before retreating behind the curtain. “After she is changed, I have something special for you.”

“It wouldn’t have to deal with base, would it?” Chase wonders, trying to rhyme every word he could in his head.

“I don’t play rhyme gam-” Kyle starts.

“Are you kidding me, Kyle?” Sarina interrupts them as she puts on the sweater. “I seriously tell you about that, and you make a sweater out of it?” Kyle smiles even more, causing confusion to be written over Chase’s face.

“Isn’t it adorable?” Sarina had other thoughts than that, including being set to land a punch on someone’s face. “Please, oh please, come share your prize…”

“I could kill you right now, Kyle!” Kyle chuckles as she emerges from the curtain. Kyle had gotten a navy blue sweater, which now had an enlarged snowglobe sticking out the front of it, with a picture of Chase inside of it. “Like, really?”

“What do you think, Elliott?” Chase shakes his head in disbelief. This was getting ridiculous. “Oh, and if you press the button right underneath it, there are some fake snow falling acti-”

“Are you doing this to get coal in your stocking this year?” Kyle looks over, surprised, as Sarina sticks her tongue out.

“Oh Sarina, I’ve been a good little boy all year long. Santa is going to make sure to treat me well. Besides, I thought it was adorable.” Sarina sits down beside Christopher, shaking her head.

“Want to meet me on April Fool’s Day?” Christopher laughs, but couldn’t help but agree.

“Mr. Elliott, are you ready for your package?” Chase looks on with fear on his face, but takes the bag gracefully. “I hope I got the right size.”

“Can I run away now?” Chase asks and Sarina shakes her head no.

“If I have to play along with this snow globe and deal with Mr. Seate teasing me all day, then you can handle wearing that for at least 15 minutes of jokes,” Sarina answers as Chase lets out a sigh.

“Figures…” He then retreats behind the curtain, opening up the box. “There is no way that this is happening!”

Short Track Lovin’ – Chapter 173: “I don’t know if I should cry, smile, just be happy or be sad.”

Monday, November 20 – Kyle Busch Motorsports

As she had done plenty of times before this season, Sarina made her way into Kyle Busch Motorsports. It was time for the classic Monday morning meetings to reflect on the weekend that was, and look forward.

This meeting, though, would be a little different in knowing that the focus forward wasn’t on the next truck race, but rather the Snowball Derby. Even though she was ready for what the future was set to deliver in her NASCAR career, she knew late model racing would always have a piece of her heart, and things would never be complete without a Snowball Derby victory. Maybe this year it would be time to celebrate.

As she made her way down the hallway destined for the meeting room, she immediately stopped partway, glancing into an office. She watched as Christopher packed a series of boxes, obviously collecting his various belongings. Of course, today was his last official day here as he’d be making the move over to Joe Gibbs Racing and the XFINITY Series.

“I don’t know if I should cry, smile, just be happy, or be sad,” she comments as she glances in the doorway, catching his attention. Truthfully, he sympathized with the array of emotions. He was ready for the next opportunity, set to make the most of it, and hopeful that it’d result in more success. However, he knew he would miss each of the guys.

“Why?” He asks, wondering why was she was feeling the emotions, too.

“You’re leaving….” He thought he covered this on the weekend when they met in the garage. However, he could understand her drive for assurance given how trust wasn’t her strong suit due to her past. He admittedly was surprised at how much they had grown to trust each other.

“I’m always a phone call or text away, if you want to talk. I cherish our friendship. We will always be friends, okay?” She hoped that went more than just words, but couldn’t help but wonder just a little bit. Why couldn’t she just trust him?

“Honestly?” He then wraps an arm around her shoulder.

“Honestly, always.” She smiles, watching as he goes back to his boxes.

“So that’s why you wrecked me….” He then rolls his eyes, knowing he’d never live it down. He was actually waiting for Kyle to give him a dish of it, too.

“I told you that I didn’t mean to do that. Going to hold it over my head forever?” She just smirks back in return. It was nice to have something to bug him about.

“Maybe…” He then looks at her with intrigue as she just laughs. “Nah, I know you feel bad and I fully accept your apology. Just don’t do it, again.”

“Never, ever. I promise.” She nods her head, accepting. She then looks at him surprised as he drops a box at her feet. “Since you’re here, can you help me out?”

“I would, but I have another appointment…” She then turns and heads down the hallway, destined for the meeting hall.

“You didn’t seem so set on leaving before I gave you the box…” She laughs as she just smirks back in response. “Whatever, I see how it goes….” He then retreats back in the office as she continues down her way.


Tuesday, November 21

“So how did you manage to get out of the house without her knowing, again?” Alan questions from the backseat of the airplane.

“She’s in Florida testing for the Snowball Derby,” Josh answers alongside the crew chief. The crew chief nods his head, accepting.

Chase, meanwhile, was focused forward, following the flight path they had designated earlier in the day. Now armed with the master of searching, a crew chief and a car chief, he was set to get them some answers. They were off to Michigan to visit the address and see what they could learn about Sarina’s family. Hopefully it went smoothly because he didn’t want to have to return with bad news.

“Shelly Dryer,” Chase speaks out mid-air. “That’d be next our lead. She mentioned how her middle name is based off of her mother and aunt Shelly’s friend Samantha.”

“I will look into her background next,” Tom replies back. “I still say that we didn’t need to bring Alan and Josh.” Chase didn’t even glance up or back at the pair. He knew exactly why he had brought them. Perhaps Josh had a point with his concerns after everything that had gone on.

“They both had a day off, and I’d rather safe than sorry.” Tom went back to his notes, flipping back and forth.

“So who are we going to see first? Uncle Mike or cousin Lindsay?” Chase wasn’t sure, nor did he care – as long as they got answers either way.

“I vote for cousin Lindsay,” Alan suggests. “I’d be afraid of my ass being kicked by a strange man.” Josh chuckles as Alan glances over, a little confused.

“You obviously haven’t seen a catfight, or pissed off your wife lately because woman can be more dangerous sometimes,” Josh counters as Alan shrugs his shoulders. “Uncle Mike, please.”

“I say we just let Chase decide…” Chase rolls his eyes.

“Flip a coin – I don’t care,” he answers. As long as they got answers and got somewhere in this quest, it didn’t matter to him.

Once they landed in Michigan and flipped the coin, tails determined they were off to see Lindsay first. Plugging the address into the rental car, it didn’t take them long to get there as they now sat in the driveway with a mix of thoughts.

“Are you ready for this?” Alan questions as Chase shuts the key off. They couldn’t sit in a stranger’s driveway all day long.

“Why would I be here otherwise?” He asks back in return, climbing out of the rental car.

He led the group to the front door of the house – which was rather large as you could easily classify it as a mansion. Taking a deep breath, he knocks on the door, silently praying things went smoothly.

He watches as a blond female opens the door dressed in a tight t-shirt and leggings. It was clear that she worked out, and probably was involved in something fit related – either some sport, or dance. Or maybe she just took good care of herself.

Her face lights up immediately as she recognizes the man before her, jaw dropping in shock. Why would Chase Elliott be standing in her doorway right now?

“You’re Chase Elliott….” She finally speaks slowly and he nods his head in response. “Okay….” She then glances around, expecting to see someone holding a video camera. Instead, she just notices three men standing behind him. “And you look like Alan Gustafson….”

“Hello,” Alan simply replies, not sure what was the next step right now.

“Did I win something? I mean, I don’t remember entering a giveaway, but maybe a friend entered me. it just seems strange that you’re here….” Chase knew it was awkward, but at least she wasn’t running away or kicking his ass.

“No, you didn’t win a giveaway and it isn’t for a candid TV show,” he explains to her. “But if you’re Lindsay, I’m here to see you because I want to tell you about something.” She felt a wash of confusion hit her immediately. What would a famous NASCAR driver have to tell her at her doorstep?

“Well I’m Lindsay,” she replies back in response and he nods his head. He figured as much, given the address and age range that he was certain she fit.

“I’m sure you know Chelsy Dryer…” It felt weird for him to say her old name, but he figured as much that she’d have no clue about why he was there if he said Sarina Ott.

“Do I know Chelsy? We were the best damn friends you could imagine until our early teenage years when she moved away. I mean, of course I know Chelsy. So wait, how do you know Chelsy?” Chase was surprised by the question as if she was a NASCAR fan, hadn’t she read the news? It was already out there about Chris Dryer, and any family should put the pieces together.

“She moved away when she was 15 after her father was sho-”

“Yeah, of course, everybody heard that. It was like gone without a trace. What are you getting at?” He could tell that she was very intrigued, either for reasons of hating they got separated, or maybe anger that she left without reason.

“The detectives and police forced her, her brother and her mother to do so, in hopes to protect them from another possible incident. They went to California and changed their names for identity sake. Unfortunately, they were tracked and her mother did not make it. She then moved to North Carolin-”

“Why am I not surprised?” Chase then stops, intrigued by Lindsay’s comment. She hadn’t said anything until now. “She was interested in racing, wanting to possibly drive herself. They say if you want to be a stockcar driver, North Carolina is where to go.” Chase nods his head.

“Sarina Ott. Do you recognize the name?” Lindsay shakes her head no. “How do you recognize me but not recognize that name?”

“Listen, I’ve gotten away from my NASCAR interest for the past five to seven years. Dirt tracks are just way better to watch, no offense. But, I recognize the faces because you were just starting to enter the fold and being Bill’s kid, and he was working with Jeff Gordon.” Chase glances back at Alan, who simply nods in response. The story made sense. “So why should I recognize the name?”

“Sarina Ott is Chelsy Dryer’s new name. She’s my girlfriend for two years, and she drives for Kyle Busch in the truck series.” Lindsay’s jaw drops immediately.

“Holy shit….” She just shakes her head in disbelief. “I can’t believe it. She actually made it.”

“She won a race this year in her rookie season, and finished top-10 in points.” Lindsay just continues to look back at him in disbelief.

“Should we dare mention her brother now?” Josh questions, causing Chase to look back instantly. “Bad timing?”

“What did Chris do now?” Lindsay asks as Chase looks back towards her. He wasn’t looking forward into revealing these details. “Sorry, I don’t follow nothing. I’ve been too busy focused on practicing and performing dance routines. It’s actually strange how timing worked out because I’m normally not home.”

“Maybe you should just read this…” Tom suggests, handing over a piece of paper. He could tell that Chase wasn’t in the warrant of wanting to tell the whole story himself.

“This is insane but not surprising. He was always one strange dude, caught up with the wrong people. It’s why Chels… I mean, Sarina and I grew so close together. I was like her escape from the insanity of her house with her brother and her mom. I’m glad that you’re okay, and he’s locked away – finally.” Chase nods his head, accepting, surprised that went smoother than expected. “So, why are you here? Did something happen to her?”

“She’s actually in Florida testing for the Snowball Derby,” Chase comments, which causes a little confusion on Lindsay’s face. “You don’t know the Snowball Derby?” Lindsay shakes her head no. “A race fan that doesn’t know the biggest late model event in the United States; I’m going to have to change that immediately. If you’re available Sunday December 2, I can make that happen.” Josh and Alan both shake their heads with a laugh immediately. They wouldn’t expect any other reaction from Chase.

“I am available but you didn’t answer my question,” Lindsay tells him and he can only smile in response. He wondered if the Snowball Derby would mark a good re-introduction.

“Obviously, you can see how family and Sarina don’t get along very well, and she mentioned at some point she wonders what if and misses everybody. I was hoping to surprise her with something positive.” Lindsay could only grin back in return. She had always wanted to see her best friend, again.

“I’d be all for that as I miss our fun times together.” Chase smiles back in return, as things were going well. He just hoped that the cake topper fell nicely.

“Are you available on Thursday to come to Georgia? And what about your dad, Mike?” Lindsay glances down at the ground at the mention of her father. “I’m sorry….”

“No, it’s okay. It’s just…” She wipes a stray tear as she takes a deep breath. “He passed away from cancer a year ago. I lost both of my parents within three months.” Chase could only nod his head in response, almost in disbelief.

“I can’t imagine going through that….” She glances away, taking a deep breath, before looking back towards Chase and the group.

“I threw myself into my work as a dance instructor and performer, not wanting to think about it. You standing here today, being able to say you can connect with family, my best friend, it means the world to me. I know you’re just trying to be caring to her – and she deserves it, but thank you so much.” He nods his head, accepting her praise. Who knew this would be helpful in more ways than one. He just hoped he got the same praise from Sarina. “I’m available to come to Georgia, though.”

“Perfect. I’ll pay for your flight in, and then I can welcome you to Thanksgiving dinner on a surprise reunion. Is that a deal?” Lindsay nods her head, accepting.

“Can I show you something, first?” Chase was caught off-guard, but curious at the same time. He follows her inside, through the halls of the house, into a small room in the back corner. “When they left, they didn’t take anything with them. As family, I asked if I could get some stuff which they easily allowed. I’ve been waiting for a chance to give it back to her.” He smiles as he follows her into the room, recognizing the first object immediately.

“The toy box your father made for her.” Lindsay then glances back at him, surprised. “She told me about how he made each of you a toy box. She also talked about how amazing your dad was, and how sweet he was. She mentioned how you took her to a race, sparked that interest. That’s why I reached out to you first.”

“Inside the toy box, there’s some special photos, a couple of her go-karting trophies – things I knew she would’ve wanted to take with her if she could.” Chase was in total shock as he glanced in the box, immediately smiling. While this started as a journey to just help bring closure to family, he could already see it helping her in other ways. “Maybe we could get this down to her in Georgi-”

“She and I share a house in North Carolina. I’m just doing Georgia because I always do Thanksgiving with my parents. But I agree with your idea so I will definitely fund that, too.” She then looks back ,surprised.

“Are you sure?” He nods his head. “You’re certainly a sweet Georgia peach, but I wouldn’t expect otherwise…”

“I just can’t wait to see her reaction.”

Short Track Lovin’ – Chapter 171: “Guilty”

Thursday, November 16 – Florida

“Just think – the last time we’re going to have to make this trip,” Chase comments as he opens the door, allowing Sarina to head in first, before following closely behind her.

“Thank God,” she replies, waiting for him to walk alongside her. “I just want to forget about everything…” He wraps an arm around her shoulders as they walk down the aisle together.

“You know that you can’t just do that. You just avoid addressing those emotions, and then they eat at you. We both know what happens then.” They sit down in their seats together and she looks immediately into his brown eyes.

“There’s no way I would ever do that to you, again. I’m not running.” He smiles, giving her hand a squeeze. That right there attested to how far they had come over the past year.

“And you know that you can always talk to me about anythin-”

“Absolutely.” She then takes a deep breath as they watch her brother be led into the court room and to his spot.

“Now presenting the honorable Judge Reynolds,” the clerk says and they stand, watching him take his spot. Chase had to admit that he didn’t want to see this judge ever again, either. But if he got the job done, then maybe their time will be worth it.

“You may be seated,” the judge states, which everybody in the room follows suit. “Has the jury reached a verdict?”

“We have, your honor,” the head juror says as Chase wraps an arm around Sarina’s shoulders, giving it a squeeze. She could only hope the jury swayed in their favor.

“On the charge of poisoning Ryan Blaney, how do you find Mr. Chris Dryer?” The answer was obvious in Chase’s mind as Ryan had testified to seeing Chris, being handed the bottle, and feeling the effects afterwards.

“Guilty.” Sarina flashes a quick smile back to Ryan, who simply gives her a nod of approval. So far, so good.

“On the charge of poisoning Chase Elliott, how do you find Mr. Chris Dryer?” Chase takes a deep breath. This wasn’t so obvious as they were basing on the fact that Chris had motive from previous dealings, and would be the only person with access to lace the bottle.

“Guilty.” Chase couldn’t help but be pleased that the jury was smart enough to put the pieces together. Maybe things were finally falling into place.

“Thank you. Combined with your previous guilty pleas, you will be spending the next 70 years in prison. You will have no chance of parole, given your antics previously displayed to the court room in other situations. A note has also been placed on your file in regards to psychological pleas. Court adjourned!”

Chase and Sarina trade a glance, sharing a quick hug, before walking out together. Chase just held her hand the whole way, knowing a whole series of emotions were trying to flood her brain. Obviously it was great for this all to be over – but what about the fact that he was her brother, regardless?

“Are you okay?” He asks once they get outside and she just nods her head.

“I’m just ready to get to the trac-” She answers and he squeezes her hand.

“Stop using something else as a distraction or a way to ignore. Tell me….” She glances down, taking a deep breath.

“As much as I love him somewhere inside of me, I am so glad that this is over. I am glad that he is going to be locked away. I’m glad that he can’t hurt anybody else. I’m glad to also have you in my life, too. Maybe it’s time for my happily ever after….” He pulls her close, kissing her cheek.

“I plan on giving you a happily ever after, as long as you promise to tell your boss to stop using my lines.” She then looks at him confused. “Did you not hear what he said today at the press conference?”

“I thought you ignored NASCAR newsy twitter….” He rolls his eyes as that was normally the case.

“Curiosity got to me when they asked him what he thought of Brad Keselowski.” She then laughed, knowing that response would probably be priceless.

“Oh Gosh….” Chase pulls out his phone, bringing up the response.

“Sometimes you just don’t like a guy. Fact of the matter. I never ran into Matt Kenseth. I don’t think Matt Kenseth ever ran into me. There is a respect factor out there on the racetrack, and you can certainly do a better job sometimes when you’re around some of those guys that you may or may not necessarily like, but as once a wise man told me, I think it was Chase Elliott, I race those how they race me.” She just rolls her eyes, but had to chuckle a little at his wording.

“He’s good….” Chase puts his phone back in his pocket, eying her once again. “Trust me, I’m okay. I’m fine. I got my emotions out before. Like I said, I’m just glad that it worked out and now we can focus on us.”

Friday, November 17 – Homestead-Miami Speedway

“I think that last run was perfect,” Sarina comments. “I want to start off that way tonight…”

“I can make that happen as requested,” Marcus replies. “Fourth quickest isn’t too shabby either. We have a good truck this week. Just stay away from Christopher, okay?” She then shoots him a ‘really’ glance as he just winks back.

“Listen, I know what he has on the line tonight and I hope he gets it. He deserves it. Alright, I’m going to go see Chas-”

“You ditching me already?” She smiles and nods her head. “Why aren’t I surprised? You guys can’t stand to be apart. Go on little girl…”

She heads off, making her way through the garage area over to where the Cup cars were located. She immediately caught a glimpse of him, smile forming immediately as he looked cute as ever. Though her eyes immediately drew down to shoes, a little surprised.

“Another pair?” She questions and he smiles, holding a foot up and showing her all the angles.

“What do you think?” He asks as she rolls her eyes. She had to admit – she was absolutely in love immediately as the skeleton design just fit nicely with red touches. But, she wasn’t about to let Chase know that immediately.

“We already have a closet full of shoes. I believe you’ve worn like 16 different shoe designs for 36 races now, and we have about 14 of those at home.” Chase chuckles, knowing the collection was getting quite big. However, there was a reason behind it.

“Each of those designs has a special reason, or is meant to go with the firesuit. These ones, it’s a very special reason actually.” She crosses her arms, now intrigued.

“Oh really?”

“Dale Jr., of course. Since he’s started, he’s been known for the skeleton helmets and gloves, sometimes the shoes to match too. This is my little thank you, sign of respect to go along with the gloves. Besides, he signed them this morning…” She then looks at the signature near the heel, impressed.

“Okay, so this pair I can let slide, along with the throwback pair and your throwback to your dad’s record at Tallade-”

“What about the Hooters Throwback to Kuwicki?” She then lets out a sigh. Perhaps his collection was insane, but she had to admire it.

“So they’re all pretty cool, and these are actually one of my favorites that you’ve worn. Just promise me maybe less shoes next year?” He then laughs as he wraps an arm around her.

“I’ll try…..”

Chase could’ve been less than impressed with the session. They were decent, a little off in handling though, but 15th quickest. It wasn’t bad, but he thought they would’ve been better. But he was going to stay relaxed. They had two more chances tomorrow to make it better before Sunday.

“Are you sure you’re okay?” He hears, recognizing the voice immediately as he peaks over the roof of the car towards the direction it was coming from. Christopher Bell – just as he thought. He also knew that if he was talking to someone near his stall more than likely that’d be Sarina.

“I’m fine,” he hears the female voice in response. Yep, just as he thought.

“I was just concerned because I know yesterday, things finally went down with your brother. I just can’t imagine what you’re feeling.” Chase could sympathize with Christopher’s concerns and actually didn’t mind him checking on her once in a while. It was nice to know she had someone on weekends they were apart. Now what would happen next year with Christopher moving up?

“I’m relieved and glad to know that he can’t hurt anybody ever aga-”

“But what about the sibling connection? What about how much you love him? What about those memories?” Chase couldn’t help but listen as Christopher was asking the tough questions that maybe he should’ve talked about yesterday.

“What about it? That’s in the past, Christopher. I can’t ever go back to what that was. He changed – whether due to outside influences or some internal demons, he changed. He’s not the same person he was before. I came to grips with that when he went after Chase in July. Why do you think I pushed so hard for the trial to go forth like it did? Why do you think I pushed for those psychological connections? For all I could care, I don’t have a brother anymore. He’s nothing to me.” The words coming from her mouth so coldly certainly pierced through every feeling you could imagine, as Chase just shook his head. It was amazing how strong she could be at times, which only made him worry about a collapse later on.

“So you have no family, again….” She shakes her head as that wasn’t true.

“I have a family in Chase, Cindy, Bill, Kyle, Samantha, Marcus, and you. It may not be like the conventional family, but it feels more real than anything that I’ve felt for years. You’re the pesky brother while Marcus is like a dad at times. Kyle and Sam – almost like an aunt and uncle.” Chase couldn’t help but smile as it was nice to see how well she had fit in, and saw all the connections. He just hoped none of that changed.

“So you’re still going to make sure to talk to me next year?” She laughs, nodding her head.

“Are you kidding me? Of course! You’re a friend for life now, Christopher. I’m going to make sure to keep an eye on you as I’m sure you’ll do with me when you can. Did you really think I was going to cut off all communications because you were moving up a series?” Christopher shrugs his shoulders. “Oh my gosh…..”

“Thank you for being assuring, though.” She smiles. “And I’m glad you’re okay. Just promise me you’ll take care of yourse-”

“I’m fine…..” She then walks into the garage stall as Chase tries to busy himself in doing something. “Eavesdropping?”

“No, I was jus-” He starts and she gives him a playful smack. “So I heard the conversation….”

“Jealous?” She asks and he shakes his head no as he pulls her close.

“I know who you love more than anybody else at the end of the day.” He then kisses her lips. “I also know that you have some place to be, too.”

“I just wanted to come say hi…”

“Well hello, and good luck.” She then squeezes in another kiss before heading off, set for pit road for truck qualifying.

As she left the garage, his mind immediately switched gears, knowing another topic was also on the brain. The loss of family in one way made another project even greater in importance to make it happen for her. He had texted the familiar names and small story to his contact, hoping that it led them to something happening in the future.

He began to wonder once again what her reaction would be. Would there be glee for finding good family to get back close with? Would she be angry that he went digging in her past? Would this be a gift that he could never top ever?

As his phone goes off, he pulls it from his pocket, answering immediately upon seeing the phone number.

“Hello?” He says as he watches the field of activity before him with final preparation being done ahead of qualifying, followed by backing the car out to take it over for pre-qualifying inspection.

“Hey Chase,” he hears on the other end. “It’s Tom Keo. How are you?” He knew the phone call wasn’t just a casual check-in.

“Alright. Car is decent, things have gone smoothly. How are you?” He actually wished Tom would just get to why he called.

“I’m doing great. So I checked into Mike Dryer and his daughter Lindsay. Both of them are still living in Michigan believe it or not, and they have a clean record. So if you’re looking for positive members, this could be a good beginning.” Chase was relieved to hear that Mike and Lindsay were still on a good page. It made the happiness in Sarina’s voice talking about them feel even better.

“So what are we going to do now?” It was obvious question. Tom wouldn’t just call with casual information for no reason.

“We could follow one of two approaches. We can surprise them with a visit and go from there in explaining our reasoning for showing up, or I could call them first.” Chase knew a call from a stranger could hurry them off. Besides, why would they trust somebody over the phone they didn’t know when they probably knew her family background of con people throughout?

“I say we follow the first approach. I can check my schedule and give you some days that I am free to do so.” He knew there were some days; it was just planning it perfectly so Sarina didn’t catch on.

“That’s a deal. I look forward to being able to do this soon.”

“Sounds good. Thanks Tom.”

“You’re welcome. Have a nice day. Goodbye.”

“Goodbye.” Chase then hangs up, smile forming on his face.

With a new found reason for some more happiness today, he made his way out to pit road, watching the end of qualifying as Sarina timed in fifth quickest. Certainly happiness was easy to come by today.

Ultimately, that smile wasn’t as big once Cup qualifying was over as he ended up 18th. Not too shabby, but certainly not super smile worthy. Hopefully Sunday went much better.