Chasing The Love – Chapter 97: Cupid

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Tuesday

While everything seemed fine with the pair and they were reaching their emotional overload, there was still the concerns of ill-fated feelings through the ripple effects. Leo had his disappointment in the relationship not working out, but had come to understand that it was for the better with their split up.

On the flip side, Karsyn had played the role of playing it perfectly that she was over things with Chase and how they went down in Daytona. However, there was still some disappointment there. How do you expect someone to feel when they’re turned down by their crush.

Chase still felt bad about how things went down that day, and as a result found himself standing in Ty Dillon’s office over at Richard Childress Racing with Hayley. Besides, they had a prom event coming up in a couple of months. He had to make sure that the pieces were in place for everybody at the event.

He had created the event out of his own reasons, with some convincing from Shelby, and now wanted to make it a dreamy night for all of them.

“So you have come to the set-up queen before you feel bad?” Hayley questions as Chase shrugs his shoulders.

“I have an idea of three people that’d be perfect for her. I just don’t know how to go about setting it up, or which of those three to choose.” Hayley’s eyes lit up immediately.

“NASCAR Bachelor Style!” She then grabs a notebook and begins to write down ideas. “We propose to Karsyn that we have three guys that want to go out on a date with her, hopefully making sure each of these three guys agree. She goes on a date with each of them and chooses whom of the best she likes. It’s that simple.”

“I don’t think I could see her agreeing to that, though,” Ty comments from his perspective. “She’s the more the type that she wouldn’t go the shallow lengths of such a despicable show that should never have hit television waves. Why do you think it isn’t on any longer?” Hayley rolls her eyes as Chase shakes his head in agreement. “Given her attitude, you should come straight out to her that you want to help her move forward and have some suggestions. That, or go to one of the guys and suggest that they ask her out.”

“So who are the guys, Mr. Elliott?” Chase could tell that he had lit Hayley up, as she was always interested in playing cupid and making sure everybody was happy in their relationships. She was happy with Ty, and felt that everyone deserved the same.

“Blaney, Custer and your brother.” Ty’s jaw drops in hearing the last suggestion as a smile forms on Hayley’s face. She couldn’t help but giggle as she thought about it more, retracing a couple signs that she had seen through the years.

“Custer can be an ass, no offence and I just can’t see her with my brother,” Ty comments, leaving Blaney as the only option. It still surprised the whole group that Ryan had remained single through the years. He had gone on some dates, but nothing had worked accordingly.

“You’re obviously blind and missing all the signs that I’ve seen,” Hayley offers. “They grew up together, spending time together at the track. She would always hang around and he’d simply accept. Who is the only person that has been allowed to wear his hat? Who is one of a few drivers that she’d go to for anything, besides her teammates and Chase? Come on Ty!” Ty shakes his head in response, not believing anything that Hayley was saying.

“We grew up together. We were childhood friends due to our relations in racing. That’s all. That’s why you see all these things that look like something perfect.”  Hayley didn’t want to believe it as she looked back over at Chase.

“Well?” Chase felt conflicted as he thought about the pair of options left on the table – Blaney or Dillon. She seemed to be closer with Dillon, as Hayley had depicted, but perhaps Ty had debunked the idea with his theory. He knew that he could easily talk to Ryan and convince him to at least ask her on a date. They were both sweet, and deserved someone that could make them happy. It could be the perfect math for everyone….but yet his heard didn’t see it working.

“Now that I’ve talked with you guys, I have the perfect person in mind.” He then smiles as he looks straight at Ty. “Think you could talk to your dear brother?” Ty rolls his eyes as he starts shaking his head no immediately. There was no way that he was going to play friendly amongst the circle with how things had started at the beginning of the year. “Come on…”

“You’re trying to make up for hurting her. You’re trying to make up for going on that little escapade that I set yo-”

“Exactly. You set me up on that blind date with her, with no knowledge of it that night. Therefore, it’s also on your shoulders, too.” Ty lets out a sigh, silently cursing the cupid ideas of his dear girlfriend at times as he glances over at her. He then focuses his eyes back on Chase.

“So is this supposed new date idea supposed to erase what happened? Come on, Chase. You should know better than anyone that you can’t simply make it go away by distraction. Why didn’t you and Alyssa just come out with it from the beginning?” Chase knew the reason that they had then, and wondered if perhaps it would’ve been better to just say something. He wondered what would’ve happened.

“We weren’t sure about things. We had only gotten together, officially for a first date, two nights prior to that set-up. Besides, I didn’t lead Karsyn on now did I? I told her immediately afterwards so she knew.” Chase flops back in one of the chairs. “I love Alyssa and she’s everything to me. But, Karsyn is still a really close friend and you’re always going to care about your friends. For that reason, I want to do this for her. Sometimes people are a little shy with their feelings and need some encouragement. That’s why I’m making this simple suggestion for you to talk to Austin, please?” Ty lets out a sigh, knowing that he better give in or else Chase would continue to plead with him, followed by Hayley later.

“Fine. I’ll talk to him and see what he says. If it all works out, they will be attending your little prom event together in May. But then you better find your buddy Ryan a date.” Chase could only think of the possibilities, and knew that it’d probably require a meeting with Bubba before then.

“I can handle that. I can handle the planning and making sure that Ryan is good to go, if you handle this side of things. I want to make the night perfect for everyone – I want everybody to be with that special person. Let’s make it happen.”

Chase then left the offices shortly after, heading back over to Hendrick Motorsports for another meeting on the day. Piece by piece, it was coming together, just like the relationship he was building with Alyssa with each confession.

There was only one concern that was left on his mind, and he knew that it’d probably involve some conversation with Alyssa if he was going to move forward with it. She had broken with Leo on the right terms and Leo had agreed to those terms, seeing the lack of chemistry. But now how could they make the prom night special for him, too?

Beyond that, he also had Alyssa’s birthday next month and was in the process of trying to figure out the perfect gift to get her. Given that it was her first birthday with them as an official couple, he knew that he had to make it special in some way. But how would he do that?

It was a thought that he contemplated till he arrived back at Hendrick Motorsports, shuffling it off of his mind before heading inside. He immediately heads up to his office, going inside and flopping back on the couch. The meeting wasn’t for another 40 minutes, so he could squeeze in a nap.

With having the confessional session, it hadn’t been the best night to sleep for either of them, given how late they went to sleep and everything that they had on their minds. It was why he had chosen to do it while she was on her spring break from school. At least they could snag in naps, if they needed them, in between commitments. He didn’t need her falling asleep in class.

“Are you sleeping?” Chase hears as he is just about to fall asleep. He then glances towards the doorway, seeing Cole Custer standing there as he looks in the office. “You look tired as hell.”

“Long night,” Chase offers without much thought. “I’d rather not discuss it, please.” Cole then looks at him confused as he crosses his arms.

“Girl problems?” Chase shakes his head no as he lets his eyes close once again. “Is there issues with everything that happened? Isn’t someone supposed loo-”

“Don’t finish that sentence.” Cole instantly shuts his mouth, shaking his head in an understanding matter as Chase lets out a sigh. “Look, Alyssa wanted to know what happened from my perspective. It’s her spring break so I’m telling her everything. It was a late night. Now that you have your answer, can I sleep for a half hour, please?” Cole slowly shakes his head yes.

“Sorry…” He then slowly closes the door as Chase get comfortable, letting himself drift to sleep.

He was able to get his sleep without any issues, with the alarm going off in a timely fashion. He got up and headed to the meeting, joining his teammates and their crew chiefs. The meeting went without a hitch as everybody was able to easily reflect back on the previous weekend, while making suggestions towards the upcoming weekend.

The goal was simple – make it back to victory lane once again so they could bank more of those bonus points. If he couldn’t win, make sure it was a teammate in victory lane so they could get all four cars in the Chase for the boss.

“Chase?” Chase hears as he goes to leave the conference room after the meeting. He was going to check in with the shop guys, and then head home to make dinner for him and Alyssa. He figured if they were going to continue, they might as well start off with a good meal.

“What’s up, Cameron?” He asks. He was still a little off-guard about his teammate, given how curious Cameron was about Alyssa possibly running the double, and how he handled the situation. It was just odd to have him waiting at the house and asking the question, with nothing else in mind.

“I just want to apologize for how I approached things a week ago. I was just really curious on what she was doing, and let that curiosity do some things that I’m not comfortable with as I look back. It was unfair to ask you like I did. I should’ve simply texted you, or waited to see what the official word was. I’m sorry.” Chase understood where his teammate was coming from, and was easily willing to accept the apology. It didn’t mean that everything would be forgotten, though.

“I understand. I’m sorry for how I’ve treated you since. It’s hard to simply trust people and let things go like that with….everything. I’m sorry.” Cameron shakes his head, understanding, having heard Chase’s story of events through the media coverage.

“It’s okay. I understand, as well. Let’s just focus on working together as friends, okay?” Chase shakes his head yes before continuing on his way.

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Chasing The Love – Chapter 88: The Double

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Monday Evening

 

Chase grabbed his phone, shutting down the computer as he walked out of his office. He then closes the door behind him, locking it before heading down the hall.

 

It seemed that everything was coming together. Alyssa was going to get to attend her graduation, as well as everybody else that wanted to be there to support her. He had also chosen a theme for the prom, with Shelby already working magic on the invitations to send to everyone. All that he needed to now was figure out the best way to ask her to the prom.

 

“So I hear that your girlfriend is causing quite a stir?” Chase hears, glancing over his shoulder to see Cole standing there.

 

So, perhaps everything wasn’t perfect. There was still the issue of whether or not Alyssa was truthfully running the double, as well as the issue of spring break coming up, would meant confession time.

 

“Oh come on Cole, does it surprise you?” Chase questions, sarcastically with a smile. Cole just laughs as he catches up with his teammate as they walk through the halls of HMS together.

 

“I have to admit – you guys kicked off this year on a bigger, crazier note that I could’ve imagined. Who knew that you’d have everybody talking about you guys due to a relationship?” Chase couldn’t help but smile about it, despite the bits of stress that came with the media on their backs.

 

“I never could’ve expected it to happen like it did, but I have no complaints Cole. It’s almost as if it’s meant to be.” Cole couldn’t help but agree, despite his initial reservations. It seemed that they were over the top happy together.

 

“So how is it that she stirs the pot again with the possibility of running the Memorial Day double?” Chase shrugs his shoulders, unsure himself. He was looking forward to following through his mom’s advice and asking Alyssa herself later that night.

 

“I don’t know, yet. I haven’t had the chance to ask her myself about what’s going on there. It seems odd considering that’s the weekend that she is graduating, too.” Cole looks on surprised, having not heard the details of Alyssa’s graduation.

 

“Has she ever discussed the idea of driving an open-whee-”

 

“Are we truthfully having this discussion, Cole? Everybody knows Alyssa. She’ll drive anything and everything. It seems that she’s been brought up under the Kyle Busch/Tony Stewart rule of thumb.” Upon Chase mentioning it, there was no argument from Cole as he remembered the dirt track days, and how Alyssa was trying different things to race.

 

“At least she didn’t inherit the attitude, right?” Chase rolls his eyes. “I’m just saying that it’d be crazy stress if we had to deal with that, too.” Perhaps his teammate had a point, even if both turned out pretty cool after everything. “Have you thought about her birthday at all?” Chase shakes his head no. He knew that would be coming up before anything else that was being planned, but honestly hadn’t had a chance to think about it with everything that was going on. “That should be important, epically since you’re dating.”

 

“Let’s just say that I have my hands full and haven’t had a chance to discuss that quite yet.” He then heads out of the shop, walking over to the car. “See ya later Cole.” He then climbs in the car and heads off, set for home.

 

For Chase, each night was a short drive from Hendrick Motorsports to Dirty Mo Acres, as long as track co-operated. Tonight was one of those nights where traffic was heavier than normal and it took an extra hour than he had expected. So much for the quick half hour drive home.

 

Letting out a sigh, he drives down the short pathway that led to the house, pulling up in front of the garage. He then climbs out of the car, set to head inside and have a quiet night, a good dinner, and some discussion. Though, it seemed his plans changed in an instant when he noticed someone sitting on his porch steps.

 

He walls up to the house, crossing his arms as he sees his teammate sitting there before him.

 

“What are you doing here, Mr. Hayley?” He questions as Cameron looks on surprised.

 

“Can’t I come spend some time with my teammate?” Cameron asks as Chase lets out a sigh. Perhaps he was being a little harsh on him.

 

“I don’t mind spending time with you. I just wish that you’d give me some warning.” Cameron shrugs his shoulders. It wasn’t the best ploy, but it kicked off discussion. He wasn’t about to reveal the true reason for his appearance, yet.

 

“Okay, I apologize. I didn’t mean to do that. Oh, if you’re looking for your girlfriend, she’s not at home. She’s actually over with her parents right now, discussing something.” Chase wasn’t too worried about that, as he was used to Alyssa spreading her time between her parents and him. “She was over here working on her homework when I got here. We talked a little, till her sister came in and said that her parents wanted to talk to her about something. Alyssa asked what was going on, and Elsa said it had to do with the rumors.” Chase shook his head as that was to be expected. Perhaps he wasn’t the only person curious about it. “So, what’s the truth? Is she running the double?”

 

“I’m going to guess that you acme over for the same reason why Cole stopped me on the way out, and the same reason that Ty texted me today. I do not know the validity of the rumors. I haven’t had a chance to ask her myself. I learned about them for the first time today.” Cameron felt frozen in that moment, with nothing to do. So much for being quiet about things.

 

“I….I got to go…” Chase could only roll his eyes as he watched Cameron head off.

 

“Good try Cam, good try. See you tomorrow.” Chase then heads up the steps and heads into the house, slipping his coat off. He figured that he better start on dinner, but wasn’t quite sure yet to even do that as would he be cooking for one, or two?

 

Letting out a sigh, he flopped back on the couch instead and flipped on the television. Perhaps he could pass the time while he waited to see what would happen. However, that wasn’t accomplishing anything so he made his way across the short walkaway, knocking on the front door. He then looks on surprised as he watches Robby open the door.

 

“What have your parents said about getting the door?” He questions the nine-year-old. Robby just shrugs his shoulders as he moves back.

 

“I saw you from my bedsroom so why are you so concerned?” Robby responds as Chase rolls his eyes. It seemed each of the kids had a flare of their own attitude.

 

“I don’t want you to get into any trouble, if that matters to you.” Robby couldn’t help but smile. He wasn’t worried about getting into trouble as someone else had taken the cake.

 

“They’re in the living room.” Robby then heads up the stairs without another word.

 

Chase then takes a deep breath, walking down the hall as he peaks into the room, seeing Alyssa sitting on the couch with her parents standing before her.

 

“You’re never too old to get into trouble,” he comments quietly to himself as he walks into the room.

 

“So, are the rumors true?” Dale asks as he stands before his daughter. He was already figuring for her answer to be ‘no’ as if they were true, why hadn’t he heard about something sooner?

 

“They are not true,” Alyssa answers as she glances between her parents. That wasn’t a lie, either. She knew that there was no time within her schedule to try and do the double, despite wanting to do it badly. “I am being completely honest. I can give you any details that you want about what actually happened, and what I’m thinking.”

 

“Start talking,” Marie instructs sternly, not moving from her position of arms crossed, anger written on her face.

 

“I had the sponsorship appearance in Indiana a couple we-”

 

“I know your schedule,” Dale cuts her off. “Get to the important factors before your mother chops your head off.”

 

“Once I got done the appearance, I didn’t have to fly out for another three hours,” she continues, recalling the trip. “So it was either stand around and wait, or do something to pass the time. The article is right – I made the trip to one of the shops. I went to go Andretti Autosport. You know that I’m good friends with the Andrettis, especially the twins Mia and Mario. So I simply stopped in to see them, say hi and also say hi to Marco.”

 

“Was there any discussions whatsoever surrounding you running an Indy Car?” Marie demands as Alyssa takes a deep breath. She knew how her mom felt about her running an open-wheel car, and knew that discussions of that possibility wouldn’t ever go well.

 

“I can’t lie to you, mom. We certainly discussed the possibility in the future. Did those discussions surround this year? Absolutely not. I already got my hands full enough with the sleeping issues, my rookie season in XFINITY, school and graduation. I don’t need any more on my plate, especially in the month of Ma-”

 

“But there were discussions?” Alyssa shakes her head yes, recalling the conversation in her head.

 

“I want to do the double, eventually. I want to try an open-wheel car. Marco talked about arranging me a test in the fall once the season is over. We’re also talking about the possibility of doing it for next season. That’s all the conversation consisted of. Am I done?”

 

“Alyssa, watch your attitude,” Dale warns, causing Alyssa to look over at him right away.

 

“I haven’t said anything wrong, have I?” She questions and he lets out a sigh, shaking his head no. “I just hate being accused of something when it isn’t even true. I also just hate that since someone is unsure of the idea, she has to be stuck up in my nose about it – just like she was when I first started dating Chase. I’m 18. I’m a grown-up now. I can make my own decisions.” She then looks over at Chase with a smile, in which he promptly returns. However, he couldn’t help but feel a little disappointed as he had originally judged her upon the original rumor.

 

“Stop by the PR office tomorrow and work with them to release a decent statement, declining the rumor. Oh, and get a hold of Andretti to make sure it’s clear across the board.” Alyssa shakes her head in agreement. “Good. As far as the other half of your comment, your mother cares about you and is doing things with your best interests in mind. I know it can be frustrating, but give her a bit of benefit, okay?”

 

“Understood.” Alyssa glances at the ground, biting her tongue as she looks back up and over at her mother. Perhaps she had been too hard, even if she was frustrated beyond a shadow of a doubt about the past month or so. “I’m sorry for what I said, mom. It’s just been frustrating at times.”

 

“Apology accepted,” Marie comments. “Are you staying for dinner?” Alyssa shakes her head no as she stands up and walks over to Chase.

 

“I promised Chase that I’d make him something tonight. I’ll come over tomorrow night for dinner.”

 

“Okay, that’s fine. See you children later.”

 

“Okay.” Alyssa then takes Chase by the hand and practically drags him out of the house.

 

“We didn’t agree to anything,” Chase comments once they got outside. Alyssa then looks over at him, and shrugs her shoulders.

 

“I lied, okay?” She tells him. “Let’s face it – I didn’t want to stick around tonight after that lecture spell. I need some time away from her for a bit. I figured we could do something together. It’s up to you whether we go out or stay in.”

 

 

Chasing The Love – Chapters 71 Thru 75

Chapter 71: The Outsider

Wednesday

Later that evening, Leo sat in his room doing his homework, not really enjoying any bit of it as usual. The sooner he got done school that year, the better. That was the only point glued in his mind.

Of course, that meant when his phone went off, he immediately paid attention to it, answering it without research.

“Hello?” He says as he kicks back in the chair.

“Hey Leo,” he hears a female voice, immediately cluing in to who it was. “It’s Emma. How are you?” He had to smile, already having recognized her voice before she had said her name.

He hadn’t spent a lot of time with Emma Vitty over the years, but had no problems with her. To him, she seemed like a nice girl within the racing community. Of course, he knew what others thought of her, as she was Chase’s ex-girlfriend, but he didn’t have the reservations that others had. Even when she quickly got with Marshall, he didn’t have any ill feelings.

“I’m doing okay, just doing homework,” he tells her. “How are you?” Emma flips her hair around as she glances over at Marshall with a smile.

“I’m doing great, just relaxing. I just wanted to call and see how you were. Everybody is so focused on Chase and Alyssa that it’s sort of left nobody to care about you and how you’re feeling. I was just….worried.” Leo lets out a sigh as he had seen the media following the pair had gathered since announcing their relationship. He saw the media’s questions, followed by the social media comments. He also saw how it lit up like crazy yesterday with Alyssa’s tweet.

He had his opinion on them, and it wasn’t pretty. He wanted to believe that the pair – he and Alyssa – had broken up for the right reasons. However, as he watched her quickly go to Chase without reservation, it did make the break-up sting a little more, despite the fact that he had to admit it had been coming. Seeing how close they were and how open things were quickly off the bat didn’t make it any easier, either.

When he and Alyssa first got together, the parents had reservations about how and where they spent time together. Why was she so easily allowed to sleep with him at night? Where had those previous reservations gone?

“I have to admit that it’s been tough, Emma,” he confesses. “There are nights where it hurts more than others. There are nights I feel heartbroken, times I feel angry and other times that I’m glad that we broke up before we got even more serious. That comes with any break-up, right?” Emma smiled as she made a couple of notes on a piece of paper with a smile towards Marshall. This was almost perfect.

“I understand, completely,” she replies. “It must also hurt because you guys were such good friends for so long, as well being close with Jimmie’s kids, Keelan and….the garage kiddies as it was called. I guess that’s out of the window, huh?” It hurt even more to hear those words come out so openly. However, he knew it was a possibility. He and Alyssa had agreed originally to stay friends, but was that really possible given the circumstances?

“I don’t know, Emma. We’ll just have to wait and see.” She then lets out an aggravated sigh as that put a kink in the plans.

“I understand. Well, look, I got to go but I just wanted to check in with you. If you ever need anything, just let me know. Talk to you later, Leo.”

“Bye Emma.” She then hangs up the phone, turning off the recorder as she glances back at Marshall with a smile.

“It seems that things aren’t as pretty as Chase and Alyssa commented.” Marshall shakes his head with a small laugh.

“Does that honestly surprise you?” He questions as he wraps his arms around her.

“Not at all,” she comments as she looks down at her phone. “I kind of hate screwing Leo in this deal, but it’ll look great on Chase and Alyssa….more so on Chase.” Marshall smiles as he kisses her lips. It was nice to have a buddy that was willing to do whatever it took to screw things up for the ‘pretty boy’.

“We also have that deal with Karsyn. She didn’t seem pleased, either, that night.” Emma shakes her head, remembering the discussion between Chase and Karsyn after they were stuck a dinner with Ty.

“What about Dillon?” Marshall thinks it over, having not heard much from Ty in the aftermath.

“I think he’s actually cool with things, surprisingly. But that doesn’t surprise me. Remember, the silver spoon fan favs stick together.” Emma laughs as she puts her phone up for the night.

“Now we just have to wait till the right time…and the right gossip magazine. Have I mentioned how much I love you lately?” Marshall laughs as he kisses her lips.

Meanwhile, Cameron had shown up at Chase’s place along with Cole, looking for some hang out time with him as they had done plenty of times previously. However, they were both met with a surprise as Alyssa was already over, sharing a video game with him.

“What’s this?” Cameron questions as he looks over at Alyssa. “Tired of being beat by us that you throw us away for your girlfriend?” Chase laughs as Alyssa looks over at Cameron intrigued.

“Why don’t you sit your ass down and see if those words come true, Cammy?” She asks as he looks at her surprised.

“She’s actually beaten me a couple of times,” Chase confesses as Cole laughs.

“Let me guess – you let her so you could get lucky!” Cole lets out as Chase gives him an instant smack.

“No….just no…” Cole then puts his arms up in innocence.

“I didn’t mean anything by it. I know that you’re both being behaved.” He then sits down and grabs a controller. “So, are the nights of us bombarding your house for video games with just the guys over?” Chase thinks it over as he glances over at Alyssa before looking back over.

“I’d never give up my hang out nights,” he tells them. “We’re just going to have plan a bit. We can work it in everybody’s schedule. When she’s out with friends and we’re not hanging together and I have a moment, then we’ll do it. Just like normal.” Alyssa glances over at the boys, catching their drift with a sigh.

“Before you start bugging and pouting, I’m not going to screw up things,” she starts. “I get it – he needs his time with his boys, just like I need my time with the girls. We’ll find a balance….just like everything.” She then hits the menu button, choosing her racecar. “Now, who’s ready to get their ass kicked by a girl?”

“Good luck,” Cole replies as he glances over at her with a smile. “And for the record, I wasn’t concerned. I’m not one of those who are against the pair of you being together or anything. I get it and you’re utterly adorable.”

“No hard feelings, Cole?” He shakes his head no. “Awww he’s still my buddy, Chasey!” Cameron laughs as Chase rolls his eyes.

“And how old are we again?” Chase questions, remembering all the years she called him that.

“You’ll always be my Chasey,” she tells him before kissing his cheek. “Doesn’t mean I’m letting you win.”

“Bring it on.”

Chapter 72: Morning

Thursday

Dale glances out of the kitchen as he watches Alyssa come through the front door and head for the stairs.

“How is it that she can not even show up for breakfast and I have to sit here and eat this?” Elsa complains as Dale looks over at her.

“Because your sister had breakfast already,” Dale informs her as he stands up and makes his way through the house. He then heads up the stairs, going to her bedsroom. He notices the door is closed, knocking on it.

“Getting dressed!” She tells him as she slips on her t-shirt. She then glances in the mirror, pleased with her appearance before opening the door. “Hey daddy!”

“Hey sweetheart. You don’t even say hi anymore?” She then lets out a little sigh.

“Sorry. I’ll remember to come say hi in the kitchen in my pajamas before coming up to get changed and ready to go.” He then shakes his head, not believing how quickly his baby girl was growing up.

“Did you eat break-”

“Chase and I ate before I left to come get changed.” She then grabs her brush and heads down the hall to the bathroom. She flips the light on, brushing her hair in the mirror as Dale peaks in.

“Have you guys talked about anything?” She then freezes and looks over and shakes her head yes. He then looks at her curious as she turns back to the mirror. “So you’ve started the proces-”

“Just barely, okay?” She then looks over at him. “He told me a little secret about what happened because I asked him a question. We haven’t gotten into the big details yet, and I haven’t said anything yet.” She then looks back at the mirror with a sigh. “I want to talk about it. I want to do the right thing that I need to do. I just haven’t got the chance to do it yet. We’ve had the time, but just not the right…..I don’t know to explain it.” He then walks up behind her, snatching the brush as he finishes up her pony tail for her.

“I get it, okay? You’re comfortable with him, but haven’t found the right comfortable time that feels right to divulge all of your secrets, either way.” She shakes her head yes, glad that he understood. “I’ve been there, Alyssa. I know what you’re going through. It’s okay – I’m not mad or concerned that you haven’t talked about it, yet. At least you’re getting your sleep and you’re starting the process. When the time feels right, you’ll know and you’ll tell him. The same goes with what he wants to tell you. It won’t be easy, but it’ll be worth it.” He then finishes putting her pony tail up and gives her a kiss on the cheek.

“Thanks….” She then turns to face him. “But I’m not a little girl anymore. You don’t need to do my hair.” He then raises his eyebrows, surprised.

“Right….because every time you do your own pony tail, it ends up crocked or falling out halfway through the day.” He then gives her a pat on the head. “I just was trying to be nice.”

“I appreciate it – honestly. And thank you for the advice, too.” He then looks into her blue eyes.

“You also know that you can come and talk to me abut anything, whenever, right?” She shakes her head yes as she takes a deep breath.

“I know, dad. If I need to talk to you about something, I’ll come to you. Can I go?” He shakes his head yes as she leaves the bathroom, returning to her bedsroom to get something as he heads back down the stairs.

He returns to the kitchen, catching a glance from Marie as the other two kids head out of the kitchen to finish getting ready for school.

“Regretting that you let her go move in with her boyfriend?” She questions and Dale looks back at her and shakes his head no.

“There’s no issues, Marie,” he answers. “That’s not why I went up to see her. I just offered some advice and wanted to see if they had talked yet. She said that they started the process but haven’t got into details yet.” Marie crosses her arms as she leans back against the counter.

“Right, because they’re probably too busy hanging out with friends and making out.” She then flips her phone on, showing him the Instagram photo from the other day. “Do you need a reminder?” Dale rolls his eyes as he pushes the phone away.

“I know my daughter. I trust my daughter. I know Chase. I trust Chase. They’re not up to anything wrong. It’s just cuddling together and nothing else. The cuddling helps her sleep easier, knowing that he’s there to protect her. You can stop worrying and start trusting your child more.” He then returns to the table to finish his breakfast as she watches him closely. She then walks up behind his chair, leaning over the back.

“I trust my daughter. I also know what trouble teenagers can ge-”

“I also know a ton of people who were very responsible as teenagers and not doing anything wrong, including Chase and the guys that he hung out with.” He then looks up at her. “If you’re so concerned, then why don’t you ask her?” Marie lets out a sigh as she goes and sits down in the chair at the end of the table.

“I can’t bring myself to do it because like you’re saying, I know it doesn’t sound like something that she’d do. I know she’s responsible and smart, and I know Chase will treat her like a princess. If it was Elsa, I’d be hiding a camera in the bedsroom.” Dale laughs as he looks over at Marie.

“Hence why she’s not dating till she’s out of high school.” Marie laughs as she rolls her eyes.

“You’re dreaming babes. If you try to instill that rule, she’ll just sneak around our backs. We might as well let it happen so we can at least meet the guy.” Dale then crosses his arms, watching Marie curiously.

“So you’re going to let Elsa date despite the concerns, but yet you won’t let Alyssa and Chase live together even though she’ll be 19 in a couple months?” Marie shrugs her shoulders as she relaxes back.

“I guess I’m just worried about our baby.” Dale then smiles.

“Listen, she’s growing up faster than we both could’ve imagined. However, at least we know that she’s a good kid who will smart decisions.” Marie shakes her head in agreement as they both finish up breakfast, satisfied with the discussion.

Meanwhile, after Alyssa had left, Chase had snatched his phone out, calling Ryan immediately. He wanted to catch Ryan before he headed out to talk about a couple of things.

“Can I ask your opinion on something?” Chase questions after they had talked about a couple of various topics for a while.

“Go ahead,” Ryan offers as Chase takes a deep breath.

“Alyssa and I both have a lot that we want to talk to each other about. She wants to tell me about her dreams, and I want to tell her what truly happened with Mariela and Randy. I don’t know how to go about bringing that all up, though.” Ryan relaxes as he remembered the couple of nights that he and Darrell spent time being the person for Chase to lean on through those couple of years.

“It’s going to take time to explain everything so you’re going to want to have time that you both have available. Don’t do it on a race weekend as you don’t want to be distracted – either of you. Perhaps within her school schedule, you could both agree to talk for a couple of hours each night before bed about some things. So say you both say that from 7 to 9, you talk about what happened and start to go through the details. Then after that for an hour, you focus on something positive so that way you can both sleep. There’s not much else that we can do within your schedules.” Chase shaeks his head, agreeing. It seemed to be the only idea that he had.

“I guess, but that may bug her sleep even more. I was thinking during Spring Break in March so that way she doesn’t have to get up each morning for school. We try and keep no sponsor stuff scheduled for that week and then we have as much time as we need.” Ryan thinks it over, knowing that time to explain was of importance.

“That could work, bud. I think you have this figured out better than I do. Why are you calling then?” Chase lets out a sigh.

“I guess I’m nervous. I haven’t talked about it much sine then. I put it all in the rearview.” Ryan could understand as there hadn’t been much talk since then, even with the fact that Demi was in the midst of her final months in jail as it was only a 15 year sentence.

“Well, if you need someone to talk to, you have my number. You can do this bud. It’ll just make you both stronger together in the end.” Chase knew that Ryan was right. He just hoped that they got through revealing it together without too many breakdown moments.

“Thanks. I appreciate that.”

Chapter 73: Las Vegas

Friday

Despite concerns of the day going by slowly, Thursday flew by like a quick breeze. Classes went easily and Alyssa was able to get through her homework quickly, set for her trip to Las Vegas. Chase had flown out with her and they had agreed to stay in Chase’s motorhome together for the weekend, since they were staying at home together anyway.

With XFINITY practice finishing up, Chase headed out to the garage area, set for Cup practice which was going to begin shortly.

“Having fun sacking up with the princess?” He hears as he walks through the garage and immediately turns in the direction of the voice. He immediately rolls his eyes as he sees Ty standing there. He had heard of the younger Dillon brother’s comments about the relationship.

“Still riding on the short tails of your Pop-Pop?” He questions in response, figuring that two could play the game of smart remarks. In truth, he hadn’t had the cleanest past with Dillon. They had their run-in during the truck race in Canada when they were first getting started in the big leagues, but had also crossed paths on-track a couple of times. Chase had thought of borrowing Harvick’s silver-spoon comment during those occasions.

“Well, at least I’m not sleeping for my ride, right?” Chase then laughs as he continues walking towards the garage area.

“Right – because I’ve already won a couple championships and found my way here virtue of beating your ass in the XFINITY Series. But hey, you’re right – I guess that’s what I’m doing. Seriously, grow some balls and grow up. I’m done with kiddy drama.” He then heads to his stall as Ty just shakes his head in disgust.

“You seem like you’re in a peachy mood this fine morning,” Alan comments as Chase walks into the stall. Chase just rolls his eyes as he glances back over towards Ty’s direction.

“Let’s just say that someone should knock off his smart ass comments and focus on driving,” he replies as Alan glances over, seeing Ty with a sigh.

“You knew the moment that you both came out, there’d be comments about the pair of being together. You knew that it’d irk some people. Dillon is one of them, but you can’t let it get under your skin. Just focus on what you need to do in the car, focus on your relationship and ignore the BS.” Chase looks over at his crew chief with a smile, already focused on that. It’d be great satisfaction to finish in front of Ty on Sunday.

“That’s the plan, boss.” Alan smiles as he gives Chase a pat on the back and heads back over to the crew. He just hoped that the drama kept to a minimum over the weekend and the rest of the season.

He was then able to get through practice without any problems, timing in quickest on the charts at the end of the session. It was defiantly an added piece of satisfaction and no doubt the goal of the weekend. With a win to already lock him in the Chase, he was set on having fun for the rest of the year till September.

With another XFINITY practice scheduled, Chase headed out to pit road, watching the session closely, keeping his eyes on one car in particular. He watched as she came off the corner, glancing at the lap times in hopes that she found more success. Seeing that she was currently sitting 12th on the board, he couldn’t complain as it was solid for a rookie.

“Keeping an eye on your princess?” He hears a familiar voice and immediately smiles. Darrell then walks over, sitting beside Chase as he takes in the session. “She looks good out there right now.”

“Solid laps, car looks to be under her well – I say that she’ll be in good shape tomorrow,” Chase offers as he glance at Darrell, before returning his eyes back to the track.

“I heard someone was giving you trouble earlier. Do I need to kick some ass?” Chase laughs and shakes his head no. He had honestly put the exchange between himself and Ty behind him, focusing on the keys to success as Alan had discussed.

“Nah – I don’t feel like bailing you out of jail and explaining to Shelby what happened.” Darrell smiles as he relaxes back, keeping a close eye on his friend.

“So, how close have you two gotten? You’ve been hanging out all the time.” Chase grins as he had been enjoying the time spent with Alyssa. However, in the back of his mind, he knew that the pair hadn’t addressed the one thing that they were supposed to be addressing.

“We’re enjoying the time together, and figuring out how the transition from friends and buddies to a couple really works. So far, things are going good. We’ve got an understanding and have started to open up to each other.” Darrell shakes his head, understanding. He knew the road of opening up was going to be a long run, and had heard the reasons via a conversation with both Chase and Ryan. He just wondered whether his friend could get through that conversation easily. There was also another reason why Darrell had wanted to come see Chase, knowing the significance of this year.

“That’s great to hear. Now, please, let me bring this up and don’t shut me off. But, have you looked into anything about Dem-” Chase’s eyes immediately cut to Darrell, anger building.

“I don’t want to talk about her, or anything to do with her.” Darrell takes a calming deep breath, having expected a sudden reaction.

“Chase, I know that you don’t prefer to talk about her. However, she is getting her relea-”

“She shouldn’t even be allowed to step out of that jail cell with everything that she did!” Darrell knew the anger that Chase felt, and had to agree based on what she had done to Chase, and others through her crime ring.

“I understand, and I agree. I was just wondering if you’ve talked to the lawyers or anything about the timing.” Chase keeps his eyes focused on the track as he takes a deep breath. With thinking over everything to discuss with Alyssa, it had certainly crossed his mind lately and didn’t go unnoticed. There was also a couple phone calls that brought everything back to the surface.

“The lawyer called me and told me the date that she’s released – it’s basically next week. There is an offer to where I could be at her release and share some thoughts, but I declined. I’m through with talking to her and….I just didn’t want to go back down that road. I’ve gotten past what happened, and I’d rather leave it in the past.” He then takes a deep breath, remembering all the things that he taught himself at that time to move forward. “He called me a couple days later and wondered if I wanted a restraining order, just incase Demi had any thought of coming near me. We went through the required steps, and if she dares to step near me or any family of mine or poses any threat of any kind towards me, she’s arrested for violation.” Darrell shakes his head, understanding. It didn’t give him much confidence as it was just a simple piece of paper – but it did add a bit of confidence.

“Well, hopefully she listens. Are you sure you’re a-okay on everything?” Chase shakes his head yes.

“Darrell, I’m over what happened. We’ve been through this. I’d just rather leave it where it is and move on with Alyssa. Yes, I’m going to go back to that to tell her, but that’s it. I’m done.” Darrell shakes his head understanding as he stands up.

“That’s fine, but you also know where to find me – as always. I’ll see you later.” Darrell then headed off pit road to the garage to meet up with the team for a meeting as Chase went back to watching Alyssa.

The more he thought about the recent conversations, the more he realized the sooner Alyssa learned everything, the better. As they say, better be safe than sorry with everything.

When practice finished up, Alyssa chatted with the team about a couple adjustments before heading off to the motorcoach lot.

She couldn’t lie – there was a lot on her mind, as well. She had heard tidbits of the Demi story and knew, like others, that her release from jail was soon. She could only wonder how much it was on Chase’s mind, and how much he was truly letting on.

Though in the midst of that, she was also dealing with her own emotions and the re-occurring dream. While there were nights that she’d simply wake up screaming, she started to be able to remember other pieces and wondered what they all meant.

As she headed into the motorcoach, she texted her dad a message, in hopes that he’d available later that night. She knew it was odd to have a conversation of this nature on a race weekend, but she couldn’t hold it back any longer. Besides, he had told her anytime she wanted to talk.

She had originally wanted to discuss everything with Chase, but it made sense to go to her father first. He was there that day on the plane with Steve. He knew the exact events that occurred. He’d more likely be able to fill in all the gaps that surrounded her brain. With those gaps filled in, she was certain it’d make it easier when it came for that time with Chase.

As she grabs herself a snack, she hears her phone go off, reaching over to grab it off the counter. She then reads the reply and smiles, sending back a quick response.

Taking a deep breath, she knew that evening/night would be an interesting conversation.

Chapter 74: The Conversation

Friday

Following dinner, the pair agreed to meet up just outside of Dale’s motorcoach. They had debated places to talk – whether inside or outside – and had settled on the trailer in the garage area. The trailer would be empty with it being night time and privacy was the best policy right now.

“Are you ready?” He asks as he comes out and she simply shakes her head yes. They both get on the golf kart and head to the garage area portion of the infield. They then head to her XFINTY hauler, parking the golf-kart by the door. The pair get out of the golf-kart and she unlocks the hauler, before they head inside. They go up into the lounge as Dale closes the door behind them. “Are you okay?”

“Yeah, I’m fine,” she answers as he sits on the couch beside her. He could tell that she had grown a lot quieter since the text message earlier that afternoon.

“Are you sure you’re ready for this?” He offers and she shakes her head, yes.

“I need to do this if I’m going to move forward. I need to get it out on the table and know fully what happened. I was going to tell Chase first, but I figured it’d be best to talk to you. You were there and know the exact events that happened. I figured that you could fill in the pieces of what I am recalling.” He shakes his head, understanding. He hadn’t wanted to do the conversation on a race weekend, but knew that he had to help her clear her mind if it meant that much to her.

“I just want to apologize for not talking to you about this sooner and telling you everything that happened. It’s just I was so afraid of losing you and your mom that day that I couldn’t bring myself to tell you. I just wanted to leave it in the past.” Alyssa shakes her head, understanding, as she knew it had to be a difficult topic one way or the other.

“It’s fine, Dad. I understand. You don’t need to apologize for anything.” He then gives her a quick kiss on the forehead as he sits back, waiting for the details of how she wanted to go about the conversation. He was ready to detail everything if that was what she required.

“So, should I begin or do you want to begin?” She thought it over as she looked over at him. She felt herself stumbling on the images and knew that perhaps a start of explaining would result in some explanation.

“You may go ahead.” Dale then relaxes as he thinks back to that fateful day, taking a deep breath as he tries to keep himself calm.

“We had taken a trip to England during the off-season. It was supposed to be the perfect getaway for the three of us. You were just in love with the thought of the castles.” She laughs, as she remembers her enjoyment of dressing up as a princess as a child, while wanting to go as fast as possible.

“I guess I was always meant to be a princess, huh?” He smiles and shakes his head yes. He then lets out a sigh, knowing that they couldn’t stay in the happy realm forever.

“We were a couple days into the trip and I woke up one morning. Your mom wasn’t there so I just immediately thought that she went out to get something. So, I went about my normal morning routine and found you sitting on the couch watching cartoons. As I went to get us some breakfast, there was a knock at the door.” He then takes a deep breath, as he remembers the conversation and the instant sadness that he felt that day. “The man, who claimed to be an officer and had identification, said that your mother had been involved in a car accident and died.” Alyssa takes a deep breath, remembering hearing brief details of something along these lines.

“I remember hearing about that lie when I was around 13. Mom told me about that. She told me to always make sure that an officer had proper identification and double check the facts that I was being told before acting upon something.” Dale shakes his head, remembering the conversation that Marie had with the children. She had given them the ‘don’t talk to strangers’ and ‘make sure people are who they truly are’ speech.

“That was a tough lesson to learn at the time. Immediately, feeling upset, I was set to fly back to the United States. They told me that they’d have her body transferred in good time. I then packed up all our stuff and headed to the airport, taking the first flight that was available. I was then introduced to Mariel-”

“Was she really a federal agent?” Dale thinks it over, remembering the investigation that followed after everything.

“She had managed to get a job, somehow, working for the airline. It’s crazy to believe with her record and everything.” Alyssa shakes her head in disbelief. “We then got on the plane and we were set to fly back to the United States. I sat down in the one seat, and you sat down in the seat beside me with your bear.” Alyssa grins as she had kept the bear over the years, with the bear sitting now on the shelf in her room.

“I took that thing everywhere.” Dale shakes his head yes as he thinks back to the flight.

“Emotionally drained and everything else, I fell asleep on the plane. I then found out afterwards the water I drank had a sleeping agent in it to make me fall asleep, more so. During that time, Mariela led you away from me, suggesting you tour the plane. She then made you drink a drug-infused drink – telling you it was a nice juice – before hiding you in the luggage compartment as you were passed out.” Alyssa swallows the lump that had formed in her throat as her father’s words match to images that had flashed through her mind at night.

“There are some nights that I dream of this scary looking witch dressed lady standing there with a red glass over my head, pouring it down on me and forcing me to swallow it.” Dale then remembers back to one of the conversations that he had with Alyssa after Mariela’s arrest.

“Well, we did tell you that Mariela was a witch and that she would be locked away in the dungeon with the bad wolf. Then we told you that she was dead, recalling Wizard of Oz.” Alyssa puts the pieces together, remembering the stories that she heard as a kid about the big bad wolf (and his pigs), among others. She then takes a deep breath, recalling another one of the haunting images that had left her awake at night.

“That explains that image. There are also other nights that I dream that I’m in a box, and that box continues to shrink smaller and smaller till I can’t move or escape, and I suffocate alive in it.” As he heard the details of his daughter’s dreams, he wanted to cry and scream at once. How could you feel so much pain and anger at one time? How could someone put a young, four-year-old through what she went through and leave these images in her mind for years? He was angry at Mariela when she went forth with the plan originally and hurting others in her chase after him and Marie, but felt that anger growing as the conversation continued now with Alyssa.

“That probably comes from the luggage compartment as they move around and according to Steve, who rescued you by the way, it wasn’t that big of a space that he found you in.” She shakes her head, understanding. It also explained why Steve was always there in her life, looking over her shoulder and there to help at times. Their connection had begun that day on the plane.

“That’s all that I can think of so far with what you’ve told me.” She then takes a deep breath, debating whether she wanted to hear the full story. She knew it’d give understanding to the images, but would it bring a more haunting tale in her mind to follow? She also didn’t know if she wanted to put her father through the pain of recalling one of the scariest events in his life. “You may continue, if you want.”

“You deserve to know the full story. As I told you, I should’ve told you sooner.” He then takes a deep breath, thinking back to the flight. “I woke up about 30, 40 minutes later, not feeling much better. I then asked aloud if you were enjoying the flight, expecting you to answer me. I didn’t hear anything so I looked over at the seat, just seeing the bear sitting there. I then questioned for you……..”

“I’m Mariela Kats – remember?” He hears and glances past the seat to see a dark brown haired lady sitting there. He certainly remembered her as he remembered them meeting at the airport after he had gotten the tickets. “Is something wrong, Mr. Earnhardt? You look frazzled.” He picks up the teddy bear as he keeps his eyes locked on the lady beside him. “The bear. You brought it with you.”

“I also brought my three-year-old daughter Alyssa with me,” he tells her as Mariela slowly shakes her head.

“Your daughter? I don’t remember mention of a daughter.”

“I was holding her at the airport when we met, Ms. Kats. I carried her on to the plane and sat her in the seat beside me with her bear on her lap. So tell me something – where the hell is my daughter?” Mariela continues to look at him confused. “You mean to tell me that you didn’t see a blond three-year-old with eyes like mine sitting here? I know she was with me! I carr-”

“Sir, you need to calm down, please. If I saw your daugh-”

“Where is my daughter?” Mariela shrugs her shoulders, still confused. “I carried her on to the plane.”

“Well then she has to be on this plane as we were the last to board and they closed the doors after we boarded.” Dale then looks around, feeling his heartrate rise and nerves growing.

“Okay, fine. Where on the plane is my daughter then?”

“Sir, I honestly don’t know.” He then looks at her and she can tell that he’s frazzled. “I wasn’t honestly watching as I was looking forward to make sure that people kept their distance – as the airline instructed.”

“But yet you missed a three-year-old getting out of her seat and crossing your legs? That seems real smart. Where did you learn to be a FBI agent? I want to know where my daughter is.”

“Sir, I can’t be more honest with you than I am being. If you’re 100% certain that you carried your daughter on the plane then she’s on the plane somewhere. You just stay here and I’ll start looking for her.” Mariella then slowly stands up as she backs away, as Dale stands with her.

“I’m coming with you because I want to find her. I want to know where my daughter is and besides, I don’t trust you right now.”

“I understand. If you want, I can take you to the captain and we can have the flight crew search as well per protocol. Perhaps that’ll help calm you down. Follow me.” He then follows her through the halls as they head to the front of the plane.

“Don’t expect me to be calm till she’s back in my arms. How would you feel if your daughter went missing shortly after losing your girlfriend?”

“I’d probably be scared just like you are, sir.”

“That’s what I thought.”

Once they reached the front of the plane, they made a report to the pilot about his daughter being missing on the plane. Immediately the passengers were notified and told if they saw a three-year-old blond girl to notify a flight attendant. The pilot also instructed all flight attendants to begin looking everywhere on the plane for the daughter, including spots that normally people couldn’t access. Like Mariela had told him, everybody had a job per protocol and place to look as they stayed waiting at the front of the plane.

Chapter 75: Conversation Con’t

Friday

“So you were just left standing there, worried and wondering where I was while they looked?” Alyssa questions and Dale shakes his head yes. He then takes a deep breath, thinking back to that day.

“I was so worried and I could’ve almost broken down in tears if not for the anger at Mariela’s behavior,” Dale answers. “I was also mad at myself for allowing it to happen. Who lets their child go missing on an airplane? Who doesn’t keep their eyes opened and peered to make sure that everything is alrig-”

“You can’t beat yourself up over it. Besides, you were having a mix of emotions that you can’t probably explain to anybody. As you told me, you were emotionally drained and sleep just took you over.” Dale shakes his head, knowing that his daughter was right. Besides, this had happened years ago. He couldn’t beat himself up for it now. “What happened next?”

“She came back awhile later and asked if I was sure you came on the plane. I told her that I’d be sure and we argued back and forth. The pilot then reported back to say that they hadn’t found you anywhere, in which I replied that you had to be. Mariela then suggested that perhaps I was hallucinating, saying that it happens when we lose the people that we love.” Dale glances down, feeling his own heartbreak as he remembered there was a moment on that plane that he believed Mariela and thought that he was.

“Dad….” Alyssa reaches over and places her hand on top of his as he glances over at her, tears in his eyes. “It’s oka-”

“How does a father forget about their daughter?” She then reaches over and pulls himself closer, wrapping her arms around him.

“You were emotionally exhausted. You were in the midst of the biggest heartbreak that you could know, hearing that mom had died. You were confused as to what happened to mom, and upset beyond anything. Confusion combined with physical exhaustion and emotions, you start to question everyth-”.

“I forgot about yo-”

“If you had probably taken a nap and cleared your mind that confusion wouldn’t had been there.” She then looks up at him. “It’s okay. I understand. I’m not mad at you, and you shouldn’t be mad at yourself. Besides, everything worked out and you saved me….with Steve’s help.” She then relaxes back, thinking. Was it worth the emotional turmoil to hear the whole story? Or, had she heard enough to clear up the confusion of images in her mind? “We could stop-”

“No.” Dale then looks over at her, taking a deep breath. “Like I said, you deserve to know and I’m going to tell you the whole story.” He then takes a deep breath. “The pilot then suggested that he keeps two people searching, in which I accepted. Mariela then suggested that we check if there was a ticket for you purchased as you’d require a ticket. She added that it’s part of a standard investigation. If there was no ticket, she’d call back to England and report you missing ther-”

“Basically, letting everyone think and believe that you had left me behind in the midst of your confusion?” Dale shakes his head yes as Alyssa shakes her head in disbelief. “She certainly was the queen of conning. I can understand why everything she did with Chase affected him so much.” Dale then glances over at his daughter.

“Mariella had one big instance with Chase that had him upset for a good couple three months, but it was Randy that really put the kid through too much.” Dale then glances back down. “I know I shouldn’t and Chase tells me that I shouldn’t, but I still bug myself at times that he was thrown in Randy’s line of fire by me.” Alyssa then rubs her dad’s arm.

“It wasn’t your fau-”

“I know. I know that and I keep telling myself that. Sometimes, though, the lines try to blur themselves in my mind.” He then looks back over at her. “That’s why I do as much as I do for him. That’s why I’m always there looking over his shoulder, ready to help if he needs it.” Alyssa shakes her head understanding.

“So getting back to what happened, I’m guessing there was only one ticket purchased?” Dale shakes his head yes. “How is that possible?”

“Mariela changed the system, according to the investigators. She went into the system and showed in system that the second ticket had been voided, without voiding the actual ticket so I could still board the plane.” Alyssa looks over shocked and surprised as she shakes her head in disbelief.

“So she started to plan this from the minute that she met you at the airport?” Dale shakes his head yes.

“It makes sense now that I think about it. Her father takes your mom back to the country under kidnapping, and then Mariela makes sure she’s placed in the right spot to complete the rest of the plan.” Alyssa just continues shaking her head in disbelief.

“Congratulations. I have an aunt and a grandpa that are known criminals, know how to con people and the dirtiest people that I could know.” Dale shakes his head, knowing that she was right in that regard. “Not that I am implying anything….”

“It’s fine, I get it.” He then chuckles to himself a little. “Perhaps that’s where your sister’s evil planning genes of trouble for your mom and I come from.” Alyssa then looks over at her dad surprised.

“I don’t want to sleep in your house ever again with that girl if that’s the case. She could be planning something else!” Dale then laughs.

“Don’t worry – Elsa isn’t that bad of a person. Admit it – you love your sister and have fun with her at times.” Alyssa lets out a sigh, knowing that her dad was right.

“Okay, so she has a sweet side and I’ve had fun sharing stories with her and she’s alright when she isn’t being a pesk. Perhaps you’re right.” Dale then smiles.

“Thank you.” He then thinks back to what happened. “So once they told that there was no ticket purchased, Mariela said that she’d make the necessary calls to the London Police, asking me to give her a photo. I then handed her a photo – which confirmed I wasn’t hallucinating. She then offered for me to go back to my seat, in which I declined. I then remember thinking back to the hotel room that morning, remembering everything that happened. I knew for sure that you had come with me. I knew for sure that something was up.” Alyssa relaxes back as she thinks it over. It seemed the pieces were coming together.

“So what’d you do when you realized that Mariela was playing you?” He then glances over and shakes his head.

“Nothing. I hadn’t figured out that she was playing me yet. That was later on during the flight when I realized it. I stayed there waiting and she got a phone call, asking for them to forward a copy. I then asked why I had to wait and she said it was protocol. She then told me that once I heard this news, I had to watch my behavior and stay in check as the boundary between sanity and insanity was easy to cross on an airplane.” Alyssa then laughs.

“I think she knew the boundary because she had crossed it, right?” Dale laughs and shakes his head.

“I asked her if she thought I was insane, in which she said she didn’t think I wa-”

“She couldn’t identify herself as insane.”

“This is true. She then simply said that perhaps I’m having an emotionally difficult time handling the situation surrounding Marie and you. She then received the e-mail shortly after, handing it over. It was a photo copy of a death certifica-”

“Please tell me that’s when you realized she was crazy and punched her!” Dale laughs and shakes his head no.

“I stood there in disbelief and told her that I didn’t believe her and I wanted the truth. I then went to run away to go find you or whatever, and she grabbed my wrist. She told me that wouldn’t be proper behave-”

“But telling someone their daughter is dead is?” Dale shrugs his shoulders.

“I guess. I then realized for sure that she was lying and something was up. I knew I could go running and looking, but figured that’d be a wrong move. I didn’t want to spook her as if she was crazy enough to do this, what else was she capable of? So, I played my cards. I returned to my seat like a good boy, debating how I could go about my move nex-”

“So how’d she produce a death certificate?” Dale then looks over at Alyssa.

“Her father ran a country. It’d be easy to do given that he runs the printing systems and such.” Alyssa shakes her head in disbelief.

“Fine. Continue…”

“So I made the decision to leave her and go to the bathroom. I told her that I had to go and wanted some time to myself to think about things. The truth? I called Steve to discuss things.” Alyssa rolls her eyes as she smiles.

“That doesn’t surprise me. You always talk things out with Steve.”

“I told him the story – the fact that you were missing, the entire situation with Mariela. He then said some things that gave me more clarity that Mariela was nuts – no police checking things out in the US, and who would’ve identified your body? So I immediately hit the panic button and knew I had to do something. Steve, being the rationale one, told me to keep calm and play it sa-”

“Well, you were in the hands of a mass criminal and letting them think they’re in control gives them the power and they won’t try anything odd….or so I hear.” Dale then looks at her confused. “Criminal Minds. It’s a great show.”

“So Steve gave me the advice to simply follow orders while he contacted local authorities to make sure they were at the airport when we landed in North Carolina to figure things out. I told him that I acc-”

“Yeah, okay. I know you better than that.” Dale then laughs.

“He believed me, even though it wasn’t the truth. I then figured that I’d go looking for you myself. So I repeated the move in movies – move the tile, sneak up into the other compartment and go searching. I ended up by a control panel when Mariela found me up there. I threatened her, saying that I’d make things uncomfortable for us both. I glanced at the buttons and thought perhaps hitting one would get her attent-”

“What if you had hit like the master power button and caused the plane to crash?” Dale then shrugs his shoulders.

“I wasn’t thinking rationally. I was just thinking about getting my daughter back in my hands. Perhaps I was starting to go insane as she suggested.” He then takes a deep breath, remembering the encounter with Mariela. “It was at that moment that she realized she better start telling me details or else there’d be trouble. So she suggested that she had lied to me. We argued a bit, and then she admitted that she had a plan. She told me that if I returned to the regular deck, she’d tell me everything.”

“Did she actually come clean?” Dale shakes his hand back and forth. “Sort of?”

“She told me enough that I knew things were serious, and that I better behave or else you’d be in trouble.”

“Hands behind your back,” she states before pulling on his other arm and forcing it behind his back, hand-cuffing them together. “Per plane protocol, any patron who tries to hijack the plane or go in quarters not specified is placed under arrest and handed over to the U.S Government for questioning. Per your report, it will state that there was hallucinations involved with regards to your daughter. With that said, they will likely accept your issues and offer you the right psychological help. Also, as a result of this, we will not be landing in North Carolina – but in the first U.S state that we can land in once off this ocean; I believe that will be New Jersey.”

“I thought you were going to tell me the truth to your plan,” Dale counters as Mariela turns him around so they’re facing each other.

“Not so fast. I can’t have you knowing a lot yet. Here’s the deal. When we land in New Jersey, they will escort everybody else off the plane except myself and you – reason being we don’t want our psychologically challenged patron scaring the rest of the passengers. Once they are off the plane, then we will discuss what I have in mind for you and your daughter – just the two of us. That’s all you can find out right now. If you dare try to tell anyone else about this sort of plan that I have, there’s a trigger in my pocket that I will unfortunately have to use.” She then pulls the little keypad out of her pocket, with a big red button in the middle before pushing it back in her pocket. “Understood?”

He shakes his head yes quietly, a new fear that he wasn’t used to rushing through him as they return to their seats. He now didn’t know what to do as she defiantly had him in a box. There was no denying now that Alyssa was somewhere on the plane – but where? There was no denying that he and Alyssa both were in danger as well. Though what all did Mariela want with them? What did she have planned once they landed?

“Can I let someone know that I’m going to be landing in New Jersey rather than North Carolina?” He questions. “My sister was supposed to be picking me up when we landed.” Mariela shakes her head yes as she takes out her phone.

“Give me the number and I’ll send them the normal statutory message per protocol.”

Chasing The Love – Chapters 66 Thru 70

Chapter 66: Arrangements

“I have a suggestion,” Dale starts as he wondered what Marie’s reaction would be. “Chase stated that when he and Alyssa slept together in Daytona and at his parent’s house, she slept through the night without any issues. She feels a special sort of comfort with him. I want to make sure that she’s sleeping well each night with the busy racing schedule and school. With that said, I think we should let her slee-”

“No way!” Marie snaps as she looks over at him. “There is no way that is happening under my watch, Dale. It’s already hard enough to trust them simply being together with the age gap and the fact that’s my little girl. I’m just coming to grips with the fact that they’re together and understanding it – and now you want to allow them to sleep together each night? Really?” Dale crosses his arms and shakes his head yes.

“Give me one good damn reason why we shouldn’t let them. Give me one good reason why you can’t trust Chase with her.” Marie then looks away from him as a small smile crosses Dale’s face. They had this discussion when Alyssa and Chase originally got together and in the end, he had been right. That’s how this argument would end up, as well. “I’m waiting.” Marie takes a deep breath as she starts dishing out the food.

“She’s still in school. Any child that is in school deserves to be living at home with her parents so that way they can monitor her school work and behavior. We both said that none of our children would move out from our roof till they had a full education under their belt.” Dale remembered that discussion as he wanted to make sure that they did everything to raise the kids right – teach them their manners, right from wrong, how to survive in the world and have a good education so they could follow their dreams. He still had the same plans for Alyssa, despite the unique circumstances that he was suggestion.

“She’s a good student – honor roll student with 90s in each of her classes. We never have to get on her about doing her homework. By letting her live with Chase for the final months of her schooling, she will not let go of those boundaries and she will complete her work. She’s a smart girl. Besides, Chase has already accepted the balance, making sure that she’s doing her homework before spending time with he-”

“It’s a parent’s job to make sure that their children do their school work and get a good education, not the boyfriend’s job.” Dale takes a deep breath, knowing that he had to balance this delicately given Marie’s attitude.

“Even though she’s staying just across the small laneway, we can monitor her homework patterns. We can always make sure that she does her homework in our house, if it makes you feel better. We can also go over and check on the fact that she’s doing her homework. She’s not one to hide things so she’d show her agenda and assignments and everything. Plus, if the grades started to fall off, the teachers would notice and say something. Recall when they started to fall off a little a couple years ago when we were busy with the late model, trying to win the big four races?” Marie lets out a sigh as she gets the plates out for dinner.

“Fine – that’s taken care of. We still have the fact that they’re 14 years difference in age. She’s still in school while he’s a grown adult.” She then glances back at him. “Late teen girls, blame their hormones, but they want sex and want to explore. Hence all the stories that you hear of children trying booze. Then you have Chase – he’s a grown man who obviously has his own needs. Every guy may try to hide it, but we know that they want it. Can we balance that with having them together 24/7?” Dale had already dealt with that statement, having the argument back before when they discussed things.

“Of course we can balance that, Marie. We’ve already discussed this. Alyssa is a grown girl who is in charge of herself and knows how to give orders and wait till the time is right. She isn’t the type that’d do that stupid stuff that you speak of – trust me, I’d kick her ass if that was the case. Chase, meanwhile, is a grown adult – meaning that he knows how to be respectful. He can be trusted and he won’t push her till she’s read-”

“How do you know that?” Dale crosses his arms.

“How long have we known Chase, Marie? How long has he lived on my property? When have you seen him do something totally out of the wrong? Only once, and that was due to emotional issues from what happened. He knows how to handle himself, and he can be trusted. He won’t push her to do anything that she doesn’t want to do, and he’ll wait till the time is right. He just wants to be there to cuddle her and comfort her.” Marie dishes out the dinner as she sets the plates on the table, catching Dale’s attention.

“I don’t know…..”

“You’re her mother. She’s your little girl. As they say, mothers always worry about their babies – it’s natural. You’re just worried and scared that something will go wrong as she continues to grow up. However, you need to take a step back and realize what a great job you did raising her. She’s a bright, young lady who knows how to take care of herself.” Marie crosses her arms as she faces Dale.

“And you think that this is the best thing that we can do for her?” A slight smile forms on Dale’s face as he knows that he is getting somewhere, as he shakes his head yes.

“It’ll give her some comfort and relaxation while we work through tackling the nightmares that she is having. At least we’ll be comforted in knowing that she’s getting a good night sleep each night with the busy schedule that we have put on her shoulders.” Marie lets out a sigh as she keeps her eyes on Dale. She couldn’t find anymore reasons to not say yes. Besides, she owed it to her daughter to do what they felt was best.

“Fine, I accept. But if anything goes askew-”

“I promise to kick his ass, don’t worry.” Marie then smiles as she looks towards the living room at Elsa and Robby. “Dinner!!” The pair of kids pause their games as they look back at their parents. Marie then glances back at Dale.

“I know you put off discussing things with her because of your own fears, but that doesn’t excuse me. I should’ve said something to her and talked to her and been there for her.” Dale then pulls Marie close and wraps his arms around her.

“We both screwed up, okay? We both made a mistake in not tackling things sooner. That’s fine – parents make mistakes. Let’s just be glad that we’re finding the proper way to handle it.” He then gives her a kiss as the pair of kids come into the kitchen, sitting at the table.

************************************
“So, admit it – you had fun tonight,” Chase comments as he pays the bill for dinner.

They had spent the night at one of their favourite country restaurants in town, enjoying good conversation and a good meal – focused on everything but what happened earlier that day. They even shared a dance together.

“I always have fun when I’m with you,” she replies as he looks back at her with a smile.

“That goes both ways, and that’s actually always been the truth. You can always put a smile on my face.” She smiles in return as the waiter comes by and grabs the money.

“I enjoyed all those moments together when we were younger. You were a great buddy to have around.” He then stands up out of his seat and walks over to her, pulling her chair out.

“I guess that’s why I wanted to have you with me more.” He then leans down and gives her a kiss on top of the head as she stands up. He helps her put her coat as they leave the restaurant together, Chase keeping an arm wrapped around her.

“Ugh, if we don’t see enough of them at the track together,” they hear and glance over towards the table, seeing Emma and Marshall together.

“Still banging the teammate’s daughter?” Marshall questions as Chase glances over. “It’s okay buddy – I heard that she’s an easy one.” Chase’s eyes slit with a bit of anger as he keeps Alyssa held close to him.

“Yeah well you can tell whoever told you that to stick it up their ass because they have no idea what they’re talking about,” he replies. “Besides, I’m not like you – I don’t want walk around thinking with my dick.”

“Says the guy who is missing me each night and the fun that we had together,” Emma offers as Chase glances her way with a surprised glance.

“The fun we had together? You must’ve made up some great fantasies to make yourself sound cool because I don’t recall any funky nights with you. You were never trusting enough to take to the bedsroom.”

“But I bet she found your way to your cock already.” Chase shakes his head no with a laugh.

“You have no idea what you’re talking about, nor do you have any idea what true love is. Everything that I have with her is 10 times….no, 1000 times better than I had with you. I should’ve listened to her and dumped you sooner.” Alyssa chuckles, remembering the amount of times that she gave Chase that advice.

“Right, so she could have you all to herself. That’s probably what she wanted the whole time. Hence why she got rid of Leo as soon as she heard that you were single.” Alyssa shakes her head with a chuckle as Chase keeps his eyes locked her way.

“I don’t know need to repeat what I said, but I suggest you keep that mouth shut or else you’re going to find more trouble than you can handle.”

“Come on Chase…” Alyssa says as she tugs on her arm, leading him out of the restaurant without another glance towards Emma and Marshall. “Who cares what they’re saying. Let them talk. It doesn’t matter as long I have you by my side.” She then gives him a kiss as they get in the truck to head home.

Chapter 67: Discussion

The ride back to the home in the truck was silent with neither having much else to say, following the long conversation over dinner and the incident with Emma and Marshall.

Though upon driving up the long driveway and reaching the house, Alyssa let out a sigh as she glanced over at Chase. She felt a nagging feeling in her stomach that something was waiting for her on the other side of her arrival and knew it to be coming. She knew that it’d be a good idea, but was she ready for it to happen?

“So you probably are waiting for me to spill my guts and tell you everything, right?” She questions as he shuts the ignition off. He then glances over at her with a questioning glance.

“Excuse me?” He questions as she turns to face him.

“The doctor said that it’d be best for me to discuss things to get them out on the table if I’m going to get over my crazy nightmares or whatever. I’m guessing that you took the easy night out to try and get me relaxed, past that discussion and now you’re going to lay that on me. That, or when I walk in that door, my dad is set for that discussion.” Chase immediately shakes his head as he keeps his eyes locked on her blue ones.

“If I tried to force you to tell me everything right this minute, it wouldn’t be successful. It only works in telling the truth and full story when you’re ready to divulge everything without holding anything back, story-wise and emotional-wise. Trust me, I’ve been there. It took me three months before I spoke about things in that detai-”

“And it’s taken me 14 years so what are you trying to say?” He then lets out a sigh.

“You haven’t been forced with the option of discussing it till now so that’s why you have probably avoided even bringing it up or thinking about it. You have a reason to have waited this long. Still, I’m not going to force you to say anything and I know your parents aren’t going to force you to say anything. When the time is right, you’ll come to me or you’ll go to your dad or your mom and tell them everything. Till then, we just need to stick together and support you. When you’re able to go about that, then I’ll help you with ways to make it better.” She smiles, feeling relieved in his answer.

“That whole re-picture your dream thing?” He shakes his head yes as he reaches out for her hand.

“And when that time comes that you feel is the right time, I’ll be there by your side to listen to you. I’ll also share my story with you so you can hear it from me and know it from my perspective – everything. I’ve been debating when I should tell you and everybody – your dad, Regan, Ryan – they kept telling me that I’d know when the time is right. I know that time now, and that time is when you’re ready to tell me everything.”

“I love you so much. Thank you.” She then leans in and kisses his lips.

“I love you, too. Now, we better get inside so you can do your homework.” She then pouts as she gets out of the truck.

“Do I have too?” He shakes his head yes as they walk around to the front of the truck and he pulls her close.

“If you don’t do your homework, your parents won’t let us go out and that’ll make me very sad. Do you want to make me sad?” She shakes her head no with a grin as they head inside the house. They glance in the living room, seeing the parents relaxing as they watch TV together while Elsa and Robby sit doing their homework at the dining room table. “She’s home and at a reasonable hour, set to complete all of her assignments. She was also well-behaved and I made sure to treat her in an honorable fashion.”

“I guess I’ll have to put the shot gun away after all Marie,” Dale comments as she chuckles a little, though remains serious as she watches the pair walk into the room. “Chase, Alyssa – have a seat.”

“And you told me that they wouldn’t do this?” She questions with a glance back at Chase as Chase shrugs his shoulders.

“I didn’t expect this,” he answers as the pair sit down on the couch beside each other. “Dale, you keep saying when the time is right so….”

“This isn’t what you’re thinking – this is something better,” he tells them as they glance at each other confused before looking back at Dale and Marie. “I’ve been thinking since the appointment, and Marie and I talked about it. We know about the nightmares and we know about the sleep patterns. We also know that Chase is someone that has helped adding comfort and making it easier to sleep. With that said, we’re going to allow you both to sleep at the pool house together – as long as she keeps up her grades and you both BEHAVE.” They then look at each other surprised before glancing back at the parents. “And I mean it when I say behav-”

“Trust me, I won’t try anything that isn’t honorable or respectful,” Chase cuts him off as he glances over at Alyssa. “I won’t force her to do anything, or do anything that isn’t nice. I’ll just cuddle her at night and help her sleep. Besides, I wouldn’t want to hurt her.”

“Do anything to hurt her and you won’t have a toy to worry about,” Marie states firmly as Chase shakes his head, understanding. He knew that Alyssa was their little girl and that meant no funny business.

“Do you guys mean it?” Alyssa questions as both parents shake their heads yes.

“We think it’s for the best for you and I want to make sure you’re sleeping well with your schedule,” Dale offers as Alyssa smiles.

“Thank you!”

“Thank you for trusting me and trust me – I won’t screw up,” Chase offers.

“Now, don’t you have some homework to do?” Marie questions as Alyssa shakes her head yes. She then gets off of the couch, grabbing her backpack and heading over to the dining room table.

“So let me get this straight – you’re allowed to sleep at your boyfriend’s house every night and I can’t even spend a single night with a boy?” Elsa questions as Alyssa smiles.

“I’m 18; you’re 13,” Alyssa offers. “You’re a teenager and I’m an adult. That’s a huge rule difference, sweetie. You need to finish growing up and learn responsibility first.”

“Besides, I don’t trust you yet,” Marie adds as she walks by the table, earning a glance from Elsa.

“What?” Elsa questions as Marie shrugs her shoulders.

“Let’s see – it takes a couple rounds of convincing to make you do your homework, your wardrobe is questionable some days with those short skirts and you’ve missed curfew at times. Being responsible means following the guidelines, like your sister has done. I suggest you smarten up and then perhaps we can talk about your dating rules.” Marie then continues walking to the kitchen as Dale looks over.

“Dating rules still the same – no dating till you’re 18!” He states as Elsa crosses her arms.

“Alyssa started dating Leo when she was 16!” She shouts back as Dale thinks it over.

“Fine – 16 but only under parent supervision.” Chase shakes his head as he catches Robby’s attention.

“What about Robby?” Chase wonders as Dale looks over at his son.

“If he’s anything like me, he can’t date till he’s 21,” Dale answers as Robby’s jaw drops. “Trust me – the girls that you’ll try to pick up during your immature years are nothing that you need around in your life. There were some regrets during that period.” Dale then looks over at Chase. “Not that you would know that.”

“Hey, I had a couple remember? Everybody has a couple mistakes before they find the girl that means the world to them and they can’t let go of.” He then smiles as he looks over at Alyssa.

Chapter 68: Bed Talk

After Alyssa finished her homework, she grabbed her pajamas and whatever she felt that she needed for the night and headed over to the lakehouse.

Knowing that it was late and she had to be up early for school, he led her up the stairs and to his bedsroom.

“I’m going to go grab a quick shower,” he announces as he grabs a pair of shorts out of the drawer. “You can get changed and just hang out in here.”

“Sounds good,” she replies as he leaves the room. She immediately changed into her pajamas, before lying back on the bed, checking a couple quick text messages that she had gotten.

He returned shortly after, throwing his dirty clothes where they went before flopping back in the bed next to her. He immediately wrapped an arm around her, pulling her close as he gives her a kiss on the cheek.

“Are you okay?” He asks and she shakes her head yes.

“It feels nice to be in your arms,” she answers as he looks over at her smile.

“It feels nice to have someone to cuddle.” He then aimlessly flips through the stations, finding a show for them to watch together.

“Oh, so you’re a cuddly one?” He then grins as he looks down at her.

“I’ve always been a cuddly one.” He then takes a careful deep breath, keeping her tucked close. “I remember going through my nightmares. As soon as I got to feel that cuddling with someone for the first time – it was Demi – it just felt natural. It immediately erased everything and I fell in love. It was nice to have someone to hold and to know is there.” Alyssa shakes her head, understanding. She didn’t know much about Demi, except the fact that she was Chase’s first ‘girlfriend’ and things didn’t go according to plan.

“So, what happened when you broke up?” Chase didn’t want to think about the relationship at all. Even with all the time that had passed, it still stung with what she did. Perhaps that was because she was his first.

“It felt lonely in bed and the nightmares came back full force. But, I was able to get past that and find a way to sleep each night without any issues. However, that didn’t phase my love for cuddling. Don’t tell anyone – but I had a teddy bear that I cuddled for the longest time.” She then laughs, knowing that it’d be good black mail.

“Don’t worry – even though I’m 18, Winnie is still my favourite thing to cuddle at night….well, besides you of course.” He then runs his hands through her hair. She then rolls over on to her stomach, laying her head on the pillow beside his as she looks into his eyes. “I’m surprised that my parents trusted us to do this.”

“They know that I won’t push you to do the wrong thing. They know that I’m not going to push you into having sex with me or anything. They trust me. They also trust your judgment, and that means a lot because that shows how well you’ve grown up.” She smiles as she had always been the behaved child, getting into as minimal trouble as she could.

“Unlike my sister?” Chase then laughs knowing some of Elsa’s stunts.

“She’s just going through the typical rebel teenage phase that some girls have. It can be frustrating, but you can’t hold it against her. I know others who went through it and grew up to be great people.” She then looks at him surprised.

“You know people who were rebels? Innocent Chase?”

“Welcome to friends in high school changing as we grew up. Some of us grew apart and they went off and did certain things. However, the majority found their way and have grown to be great at what they do and have a great family of their own.” He then keeps his eyes on hers, filled with curiosity. “Why are you being curious about this?” She then lets out a sigh as she lays her head on his chest. It felt easier to talk about things when they were closer.

“Some of my friends have already had their first time. There’s talk around school about who’s sleeping with who and the greatest sex talks. Hell, there’s cheer leaders who have practically bragged about fucking the quarterback.” She then looks up into his eyes. “Am I wrong for waiting?” He shakes his head no.

“Absolutely not. Your first time is an important time. Everybody’s first is important, whether it’s a first win or a first time going on a roller coaster or your first step. It’s going to be something that you always think about forever and you need to make sure that it’s memorable. You want to make sure it’s the right time for you and you’re with the right person so that way you’re comfortable and things go right. Just because your friends are doing something doesn’t mean that you have to do it. You should wait till you’re comfortable and ready, no matter how long that takes.”

“But you’re older and you probably wan-”

“No, that’s not the case, Alyssa. I love you for who you are. I love you for your personality. I love you for everything that means us as close as we are. I don’t just love you for that reason. Therefore, I’m willing to wait and be patient so that way I know that you’re ready and I don’t hurt you. I don’t want to regret it.” He then bites his tongue as he thinks about his own first time with a sigh as she steals a quick kiss in the process.

“You’re a true sweetheart. I love you.” He then keeps his arm firmly wrapped around her as he kisses her forehead.

“I love you, too.” She could tell that the discussion had put him into his own thoughts and now felt bad. It had made her comfortable and able to sleep with that nagging thought off of her mind, but now left him with a nagging thought.

“Chase, you can talk about it if you want…” He then snaps out of his thoughts, glancing down at her.

“What do you mean?” She then looks up at him.

“I know you’re stuck in your own thoughts. This conversation brought up something on your mind and now you’re in your own daze thinking about it. Do you want to talk?” He knew that eventually it’d be something that he’d share with her, but was that time that night? He could share it and then it’d make the conversation easier moving forward. Perhaps sharing a small detail could help in convincing her to share some of own thoughts. However, was this the right time?

“You have to get up early for schoo-”

“No excuses, Elliott.” He then looks at her surprised. “If you’re going to be here for me and comfort me, then I’m going to be there for you and comfort you. This relationship goes both ways.” He lets out a sigh as he thinks it over, again.

“I’m not making an excuse, Alyssa. I just don’t want to talk about it yet. I trust you and I trust talking to you about everything, but I don’t feel comfortable talking to you about this yet.” She then lets out a sigh, thinking that this whole two-way street thing was going to be a fail. “Alyss-”

“I thought we had a deal.” He then lets out a sigh. This was going to be tougher than he thought.

“We do have a deal. However, we just started this relationship, remember? I am open to discussing what happened with the attacks and everything that I went through so we have an understanding there. However, when it comes to sex talk, I’d rather wait for that to be discussed further along in the relationship, if that’s okay. When we’re both ready for your first time with me, then we can discuss this. Is that fair?” She shakes her head yes, though secretly hoping that he would’ve opened the flood gates.

“I guess….” That response said otherwise and he knew that he was being left without any choices.

“The reason why I am telling you to really wait and make sure that you’re ready for your first time is I partly regret the first time that I had sex with someone.” She then glances up, surprised that he had opened up. “I thought that I could trust this girl – Demi, that is. I thought that I could trust her. We had gotten close over about a week. I thought that we were meant to be and everything was perfect. I thought that she was the girl that I had been searching for. It just felt right at the ti-”

“You figured that all out in a week with her?” He then lets out a sigh, knowing how ridiculous it sounded now.

“Let’s just say that it was unique circumstances. That was when Randy was on the loose. I’ll divulge into this more later when I tell you everything – tonight is not the time as it’s late and you have school tomorrow. Anyways, Demi and I weren’t going to be able to see each other for awhile due to some circumstances. So thrown in the midst of love, young and naïve, forgetting my better judgment, I threw myself at her despite her reservations.”

“I don’t know what I’ll do away from you….” Chase comments as he stands across from Demi in the room.

“You can call and text me every moment of the day,” she offers as he shakes his head no.

“But it’s not the same…”

“It’s better than nothing at all.” He then takes a deep breath. The thought gave him a bit of fear and he wasn’t sure if he was ready, but he had to make this last day with her truly worth it. He wanted to make it the most memorable so if something happened, at least he’d have the memory.

“I’m going to be honest with you. I’ve never had sex an-”

“Chase….”

“No, hear me out. If we’re not going to see each other for awhile, I want something before that. I want something to hold on to.” He then takes a deep breath as he keeps his eyes focused on hers. “I want you to be my first.” She feels her own breath hitch in her throat, not knowing what to say.

“Chase….”

“Please, Demi?” She then takes a deep breath as she remains focused on his eyes.

“Are you sure that you want this today and now? Are you sure that you’re ready for this?” He shakes his head yes as he grabs firmly hold of her hand.

“I love you. I meant what I said. I love you and I trust you and I…I want this, Demi.” A smile forms on her face as she pulls him closer to her.

“As long as you’re sure and you want it, then okay. I promise to take care of you and keep you safe.” She then kisses his lips softly as she lets her hands roam underneath his t-shirt.

“Let me guess – she didn’t own up to what she said?” Alyssa questions and Chase shakes his head no, feeling a bit of sadness enters.

“She broke my trust in the biggest way possible, Alyssa,” he tells her. “When I tell you everything, you’ll understand, but she was one of the reasons in a spiral of events that Randy was able to kidnap me. She wasn’t the main reason, but she helped the course of events. She didn’t try to save me or warn me that he was near the apartment. Instead, she purposely left the apartment so that way I was alone having to fend for myself.” Alyssa shakes her head in disbelief as she grabs his hand, holding it tightly in her own.

“Chase….” He shakes his head a couple of times, warding the tears away as the heartbreak of the moment sits right there below the surface.

“I’ve been able to get past everything that happened and not have any though…okay, that’s a lie. I still have some thoughts here and there, but nothing that I can’t handle. I got through the whole thing and was able to put it behind me. That’s the only thing that still gets me when I talk about it.” She then reaches up, brushing the wetness away from his eyes as she rubs his cheek.

“Chase, I can promise you that I will never, ever leave you hanging. You’re going to go through that again – no matter what. I also understand why you want me to wait and make sure that I’m ready, and I respect that. I also thank you for giving me that chance to wait and not pressure me. Gosh, I love you so much…” She then kisses his lips before lying her head on his chest.

“I love you too, and I know that you won’t break that promise. It’s why I asked you out. I knew that I could trust you.” She then smiles as she lets out a yawn. He then runs his hand through her hair. “Go to sleep. It’s late and you have school…and that just feels odd to say out loud.” She then chuckles as she glances up with a quick smile.

“Night Chase.” A smile forms on his face as he locks eyes back with her again.

“Night Alyssa.” She then lays her head back against his chest, closing her eyes as he rubs her back.

It was difficult to think about things with Demi, but it was much easier with each glance towards the beautiful brunette that lied with him that night. It made the disappointment and heartbreak disappear in knowing how much he was loved, and what he was able to have here with Alyssa.

He just hoped that moving forward he could help her so that way she could feel the freedom from what happened that he felt with each day now.

Chapter 69: Post Cuddles

Wednesday

She walks down to the kitchen, smiling as she sits down and he spins around, placing a bit before her.

“How did you sleep?” He asks as he leans across and gives her a kiss on the forehead.

“I…slept…great,” she answers as she looks over her plate. “What’s this?” He then grabs his own plate, sitting down beside her.

“Breakfast for two. Eggs, bacon and toast to go with a glass of orange juice. If you’re going to go school and learn today, I should start you off on a good note with a healthy meal.” She smiles as she starts eating.

“Thank you. You didn’t have to do this.” He then shrugs his shoulders.

“I always eat a good breakfast. If you’re going to stay with me, then get used to it.” She then shakes her head, understanding, enjoying her time that much more.

“I may have to cook breakfast for you one morning.” He then looks over at her with a puzzling glance.

“Can I trust your cooking?” She then laughs, remembering the time that she set the smoke alarm off.

“I’ve gotten better….” He then shakes his head, knowing how badly her cooking started off.

“I may allow you to, but only with supervision. I don’t need to get in shit because you burnt down the house with your cooking.” She then shakes her head as they continue eating. “So you have a full day of classes and then?” She then thinks it over, remembering her schedule that she normally followed. It was difficult at times, especially throwing in media interviews and sponsor appearances.

“I’m going over to JRM to check in with the team and on the car. Then I’m coming home and doing my homework. Usually, Wednesdays are the least hectic days of week.” Chase smiles, having a plan in mind as he glanced over at her.

“Depending on the amount of homework, we can go out riding four wheelers after and enjoy some desert together while relaxing in the treehouse.” She smiles, easily accepting the offer. Since she was seven, she was allowed up in her daddy’s big treehouse, along she promised to behave, no messes and agreed to stay out when her dad told her to. There were a lot of memories up there, from late night chats with Chase and her dad, to sleepovers with friends and games.

“I hope I don’t have a lot of homework then.” He then gives her a kiss on the cheek.

“Don’t try and rush your way through it just for me.”

“Deal.”

After finishing breakfast, she returned back home and got changed into her outfit for the day. With a quick brush of the hair and glance over at her appearance, she grabbed her bag and headed to school.

Normally, she’d come to school and hang out with a couple of friends by her locker, gossiping about whatever was happening around school, or their own lives. Sometimes they’d make plans for another day of the week. As she reached her locker and noticed the gaze from both Keira and Kassie, she knew what they were going to say before they opened their mouths.

“So Alyssa gets a new boyfriend and she is already allowed to sleep with him?” Kassie questions as Alyssa opens her locker. She knew that she should not have sent out the photo to Instagram last night by how her twitter lit up with comments. “Are you kidding me?” Alyssa then looks over at Kassie.

“It’s not what you think Kas,” she starts. “So don’t even go there.”

“So what did happen?” Keira wonders as she leans back against the lockers. Alyssa lets out a sigh as she closes the locker.

“Well, you both know about my sleeping issues, right?” The girls both shake their heads, having heard the story from Alyssa. “I went to the doctor and well they didn’t believe it was trauma related, it is. I’m having nightmares because of what happened when I was four years old on the plane with my dad.” The girls then look at her confused. “I’m not talking about it with either of you.”

“Why not?” Kassie questions as Alyssa rolls her eyes.

“It’s just….it’s hard to discuss, okay? I was kidnapped and drugged. That’s the basics. Anyways, I’d slept with Chase on two other occasions – no sex, just cuddling. It seems when I’m cuddling someone, it comforts me and I can relax more than normal. So my dad suggested that we stay together so that way I’m making sure to get a full night’s sleep while we work out another strategy to help me sleep better.” The girls shake their heads, understanding. “Anymore questions? Feel free to freak at me because I’ve already got enough mentions on twitter this morning.”

“Have you checked your twitter?” Keira wonders and Alyssa shakes her head no.

“Aww, she missed it…” Kassie comments as she takes out her phone. She then brings up the tweet and immediately Alyssa smiles.

@chaseelliott: Felt nice to cuddle last night with @Alyssa_Earnhardt. Hope she has a good day at school

Chapter 70: JRM

Wednesday

After she got off school, she went over to JR Motorsports, as planned. She spent some time with the team, going over notes for the following weekend. With how great things went at Atlanta, it was easy discussion in talking about what they learned. They knew that this weekend brought another big track, which could bring more success. They also had previous experience there with the truck so it brought confidence.

Once she got done with the crew, she knew that it was time to head home so she could do her homework and have dinner. However, she knew there was a place to stop before she left the shop.

She headed up the stairs and knocked on the door, catching the attention of the older lady inside. She motioned for Alyssa to enter the office and Alyssa entered, closing the door behind her.

“Hey Kelley,” Alyssa says as she walks up to the desk and leans over the edge. “Can we talk for a minute?” Kelley glances up from what she was working on, looking at her niece curiously. There was a couple of times Alyssa had done this in the past, looking for advice on an assortment of different times. Each time, Kelley simply accepted, wanting the best for her niece.

“What’s up?” Kelley wonders as Alyssa takes a deep breath. It felt odd to bring this up with her aunt, but she knew she wanted the advice of someone older and someone who had experience the same negativity on social media. She felt it’d be odd to talk about it with her parents as they’d have their own comments based on the content. She also didn’t want to go to a simple friend, either, due to how personal things were.

“Have you seen my twitter and Instagram today?” Kelley slowly shakes her head yes with as sigh, having seen some of the tweets that were sent out. “Did I do the wrong things sending out that picture?”

“Absolutely not, dear. It’s your Instagram so it’s your place to decide what photos that you feel appropriate. As long as you’re not doing anything riskay and as long as you’re covered up, I don’t see a problem with it. I saw the photo and I thought it was cute in how you were both under the blankets, cuddled up close together. It showed how much you both care about each other, and how well the relationship is going.” Alyssa smiles, as that was her intention as well. However, based on the comments, it seemed everyone else had their own idea.

“But yet, it was flooded with comments from people saying that we shouldn’t be together due to our ag-”

“Does Chase’s age bother you?” Alyssa shakes her head no. “Then why let those comments bother you?” Alyssa shrugs her shoulders as she slumps back into the chair before Kelley’s desk.

“It’s not just that, Kelley. There was some saying that I was only with him due to wanting to have sex, or we shouldn’t be jumping in so early. There were other commen-”

“I read all the comments, dear. You don’t need to tell them all.” Kelley takes a deep breath as she sits up in her chair. “Social media is a two-headed sword. There’s positives and there’s negatives. We know the positives as it’s great for talking with the fans and sharing your perspective. However, the negative is some of the fan reaction that you get – whether it be threats, nasty comments or even stalkers. You need to ignore the negatives, and take in the positives. If you don’t let them bother you, then they’ll disappear in time and you’ll have fun. If you just take the positives, you’ll continue to enjoy it and have fun and see the fans that love you for who you are.” Alyssa smiles.

“It’s not as easy as it sounds….” Kelley shakes her head, undersantding.

“Of course not because it’s hard to not take personal. But you need to remember that as long as you’re happy, as long as Chase is happy and as long as those who are close to you are happy, then there’s nothing to worry about.”

“I’ll try to keep that in mind.” Kelley smiles as she turns back to her notes.

“And worst case scenario – take a break for a couple days from it all. I don’t need you stressed out, lady. You got enough on your plate.” Alyssa chuckles and shakes her head in agreement.

“Don’t remind me. Why do all the big projects and tests have to pop up at the same time?” Kelley glances over at her.

“Welcome to end of year, final year of school. You’ll be fine and survive. Just remember to focus, study hard and let it come to you. You’re a smart cookie.”

While Alyssa was handling the advice from Kelley, Chase was feeling his own warth from the instagram/twitter drama of the day. He had heard comments from his teammates throughout the day – some supportive, some teasing. Either way, he took it in stride knowing that everything would blow over in a couple of days. Somebody else would post something that would catch attention and be the talk of the town.

He had just gotten home when he heard his phone ring. He glanced at the caller ID and rolled his eyes, answering it.

“Hello?” He says as he heads in the house.

“So, are you done lighting up the news world?” Cole asks as Chase rolls his eyes. “First you reveal that you’re dating, both of you win your races and now the Instagram photo. What’s next?” Chase grins as he thinks of a possible prank. If he and Alyssa had been together a little longer, he would’ve pulled this on the parents.

“Well, we’re going to Vegas. We could go get hitched in the chapel up the street.” Cole immediately breaks out laughing at the response.

“Do you want to lose your precious body parts already?” Chase laughs, knowing that Cole was probably right. The parents would have him on a silver platter in anger, and Marie would be threatening to chop his balls off.

“Listen, we didn’t mean to become the big topic of the week. It just….happened.”

“I hear ya, buddy. Listen, I know I picked on you and gossiped with Ty in finding out whether you two were together, but I really am happy for you. I wish you both the best, and you can keep the attention on you guys. It makes life easier for the rest of us.” Chase chuckles as he relaxes back on the couch.

“I’ll be sure to start a rumor about you this weekend.” Chase then takes a deep breath, knowing something else that Cole had brought up. He hadn’t talked much with Ty since the reveal of the relationship, simply based on Ty’s attitude. He knew that Karsyn had yelled at him, but didn’t hear anything else. “Have you talked to Ty lately?”

“Nah man, I haven’t had a chance. Why?” Chase lets out a sigh.

“He wasn’t pleased when he heard about Alyssa and I. Karsyn even had a good talking with him. I was just wondering whether he changed his mind.”

“I haven’t heard anything. Is it bothering you?” Chase glanced at the ceiling, debating the question. It didn’t bother him whether people agreed or not as he knew there would be some that wouldn’t approve. However, it did hurt a little to see this come between them – even if they weren’t super close before. “Chase?”

“It is because it sucks, but at the same time – I’m not going to let it bother me. We’re not kids anymore. He needs to grow up and realize that everything isn’t going to go according to his plan for the universe. I don’t think he’s done that growing up yet.”

“Well, let’s face it. He grew up as the perfect grandson with everything handed to him. That perspective was formed based on his upbringing.” Chase chuckles, remembering the silver spoon comments that came from fellow drivers. “I wouldn’t worry about it, man. You have a great girlfriend, and you have a great circle of friends.” Chase knew that Cole was right about that as there was a good group in the garage that had stayed close over the years.

“Can you believe how close Darrell, Ryan and I are still? Everybody said that we’d drift apart over time.” On that note, he debated calling the boys later to see if they wanted to do a night out together with their girls. That was if Alyssa had time in between her studies.

Chasing The Love – Chapters 46 Thru 50

Chapter 46: The Elliotts

The pair get out of the car, glance at each other with a smile, before walking up to the front door. Chase knocks as Alyssa takes a deep breath. She shouldn’t be nervous. This was just some hangout time in Dawsonville with Chase, with his parents. She knew Bill and Cindy well. Everybody was close. So why was she so bloody nervous?

Bill opens the door and motions the pair of them inside with a smile. His eyes lock on Alyssa for a moment as he thinks about the words that were said the previous weekend. They were only four days removed from the announcement in the garage area and Bill still couldn’t believe it as he watched the pair slip their shoes off. It was certainly something that’d take getting used to as he watched them together more.

“They’re here!” Bill announces as Cindy peaks out of the kitchen with a wave. She was glad that Chase had made it up to Dawsonville in good time. She also knew that Alyssa was coming along with him, and that didn’t bug her. She was slowly warming up to the idea of them being together and this would just help those feelings.

“Just in time for dessert,” she says as she comes out of the room with a pie in one hand, along with four plates in the other. They had agreed to do dessert and discussion based on how late they ended up getting up there. As everybody takes a seat, Chase takes a wiff of the pie and simply smiles.

“Homemade Apple Pie?” He questions and Cindy simply smiles as she dishes out a piece for him. “You’re going to love it. Famous family recipe. I’ve always loved her pie.”

“I’m surprised you haven’t stolen the recipe yet so you can make it on your own, Chase.” Chase smiles as he glances over at his mom.

“It wouldn’t be the same as it wouldn’t have that sweet motherly love. Besides, I need an excuse to come see you.” Cindy smiles as she finishes cutting the last piece of pie.

“Chase, honey, you know what I’ve told you about that. You can say hi whenever you want.” Chase smiles – even as he was getting older, some things didn’t change, and that included the way his mother treated him with her love. That was something he was grateful for.

“This is really good…” Alyssa lets out after her second bite with a smile. She couldn’t lie as the pie was great, full of flavor. Though, in her heart, she knew it wasn’t as good as her family pies. She grew up with pies from Grandma Martha, and thankfully Anut Kelley had those recipes and made the pies still to this day.

“Thank you,” Cindy comments as she glances up at Alyssa with a smile.

“So, you’re running both races this weekend, right?” Bill questions as Cindy simply smiles. No matter when they got together, one of the main discussions that happened between father and son was surrounding racing.

“That’s right,” Chase answers. “Driving the XFINITY race for JR Motorsports as a teammate to Kennedy, Wyatt and….” He then glances over at Alyssa with a smile. “Alyssa, of course.”

“It’s amazing how much that team has grown, even just since your championships,” Cindy shares and Chase shakes his head yes. They had gone from two championship contending teams and a cup/regular shared ride to three full-time rides going for the championship, and a fourth sometimes entered in some races. There was also the start of the Sprint Cup program, with Dale running a partial schedule this season, while getting Kennedy to make a couple of starts as well in hopes of moving up the following year.

“There’s a lot of great people working there, and the vision that Dale and Kelley have that for that team works perfectly.” Chase glances back at Alyssa, remembering what they discussed on the drive up. “If things go right this weekend, I’ll be in victory lane with her finishing second.”

“Now now, don’t put too much pressure on your girlfriend…” Alyssa smiles as she glances over at Cindy and Bill.

“It’s fine – it’s no added pressure,” she comments. “I want to do the best that I can this weekend and make up for the wreck last week at Daytona. I put the pressure on myself. He doesn’t add anything to it – just support.”

“If you drive that car anything like you did the truck last year, you’ll be fine this year,” Bill shares as Alyssa’s smile widens. It felt nice to get a vote of confidence from a Hall of Fame member, even if that member was also a close friend and her boyfriend’s father.

“That’s what I plan to do, sir.” Cindy smiles, noticing the manners immediately. It was nice to see that with her youth. It was something that she instilled on Chase – southern gentleman manners, respect your elders. It seemed that Alyssa had those same values. It wasn’t a surprise, considering her parents. “Besides, maybe Chase will let me win on Saturday because he will win Sunday anyway.” Chase looks over at her surprised and shakes her head no.

“Just because you’re my girlfriend doesn’t mean I’m going to race you easier, sweetie,” he comments as she shares a grin.

“Right…because that was always the case when we went go-karting together,” she said, reflecting back to some of the go-karting they did together over the years.

“You were a sweet little girl; I had to be nice and let you win. Now that you’re racing in the big leagues, that isn’t the case anymore.” She just smiles in response. It was nice to be able to have this light banter back and forth without any hesitation.

“Well, I don’t need anything handed me to me. I can do this on my own, anyway.”

“I know, and that’s why I told you on the way here that you’re an awesome driver.”

“And you were worried about them…” Bill comments with a glance at Cindy as Cindy just rolls her eyes. She had to admit that she was originally worried. However, seeing this bantering back and forth, it was refreshing to see. She just hoped that things continued on a positive note.

“Can I have another piece of pie, please?” Chase questions as he holds his plate out. Cindy places another piece on his plate and he smiles. “Thank you.”

“Careful about your left side weight there,” Alyssa elbows him as he glances over at her.

“Are you instilling something here?” She smiles and shakes her head no.

“I just don’t want your excuse to be that I beat you due to your added pie weight.” Chase glances over at his mom, before returning his eyes to Alyssa.

“Don’t worry – I don’t use excuses. Besides, you can never have too much apple pie.” He then starts in on his second piece as Bill simply smiles watching them. It was nice and refreshing seeing a young couple in love, flirting so easily. It was nice to see considering what the past had held and everything both of them had been through. Perhaps this was more fitting than he could’ve possibly believed.

“Are you always bugging each other?” Bill interrupts them as they look over and shake their heads yes.

“He makes it too easy,” she comments as Chase just smiles.

“Keep things light hearted and have fun so you keep the pressure away, right?” He questions as Bill smiles and shakes his head yes. It seemed that thought process was what they had tried to use over the years, along with ‘do the best you can and see what happens’ to keep things up on a positive note.

Chapter 47: Night Time Discussion

“Can we trust you alone?” Cindy questions later that evening with a glance over at Chase and Alyssa.

While Alyssa had been nervous originally, it had turned into a fun evening with great discussion among everybody. A couple homemade movies watched, as Chase’s expense, and a couple games, everybody was satisfied with the evening. The pair had agreed to stay the night with plans to all head to the speedway in the morning to begin the busy weekend.

“Mom, you raised me well, remember?” Chase asks as he looks over at his mom. “I know to mind my manners and keep my paws off, respectfully – no matter the age.”

“Besides, I wouldn’t want to do anything like that under a parent’s roof,” Alyssa adds with a slight grin.

“I trust you both,” Cindy tells them as they head up the stairs. “See you in the morning.” She heads to her bedsroom as Chase leads Alyssa to his. He opens the door and goes inside, smiling as he looks around.

“Still hasn’t changed…” He says as he glances over at the posters on the wall, shaking his head. Even though he was grown up, Cindy liked to keep a room at the house for him to stay incase he wanted to stay over, and he hadn’t bothered to go through renovations.

“Oh wow…” Alyssa comments as she follows him into the room, glancing around. She notices some of the photos on the dresser from his childhood, running her fingers over a trophy that sits at the one end.

“That’s my first ever late model win trophy. When I won it, I was going to put it in the garage with the racecar. However, Dad told me that one day I’d really cherish that so I should put it in my room. Turns out, he was right. Two of the trophies I’ll never let go of – my first go-kart win, and my first late model win.” She then glances over at him as he sits on the edge of the bed.

“What about first championships and NASCAR wins?” He smiles, knowing exactly where those trophies are.

“I can tell you where each of my NASCAR victory trophies are, especially the first and special wins. As far as the championship trophies, you never lose those. You’ve been to the lake house enough. You know where I keep those.” She smiles as she shakes her head yes. She then glances around the room, noticing a couple of the posters. She lets out a small laugh and shakes her head.

“Jeff Gordon fan?” Chase lies back in his bed as he glances at the poster that he had of Jeff Gordon from the 90s.

“He was the young kid that everybody was looking up to at the time. Between him and my dad, that my inspiration.” She then continues scanning the room, in awe, as her eyes lie on a photo from awhile ago.

“You were cute when you were younger…” Chase sits up, noticing the photo that she had set her eyes on.

“I remember that day. My dad and your grandpa were rivals, but they were also friends. My dad talked to your dad when he was younger, but they never started really talking a lot till I dove for JRM. I was the sweet kid around the garage to many of the drivers – Bill’s little kid. When it came to kids in the garage, every driver liked to spend time with them then. A lot of times during driver introductions, I’d be hanging out with your grandpa, or Darrell, or Harry Gant – anybody at that time.” As Chase went on about the relationships, Alyssa found herself lost in her own thoughts as she stared at the photo.

“I wished I would’ve gotten the chance to meet my grandpa.” Chase looks over with a slight sad smile, shaking his head understanding.

“You would’ve loved him, and he would’ve loved you.” She then walks over to the bed, sitting on the side beside Chase.

“By the stories that everybody tells me, you’re probably right.”

“You’re aggressiveness comes from your dad, I tell you. I remember my dad saying something along those lines during one of your truck races.” She glances over with a slught smile.

“Dad and Anut Kelley said the same thing. Kelley says I’m the perfect mix of my dad’s driving style and my grandpa’s driving style. I’m aggressive, but I also know how to run clean and not rough up any feathers.” Chase shakes his head, seeing as that’s a fair assessment.

“I still say the bump that you put on Austin to win that truck race at Bristol last summer came right out of your grandpa’s playbook.” She then smiles, remembering how special that win at Bristol was. Bristol was one of the historic tracks on the tour and one of her favourite tracks to race at. To score the victory and in style like that against a Sprint Cup regular, it meant a lot to her. It was also the night that she officially took the points lead, holding it till the end of the season.

“Seems familiar considering you bumped a Dillon once.” Chase laughs as he thinks back to his first truck victory.

“He was low on gas which allowed me close the gap. He knew I had the inside and in a last ditch effort, tried to cut down and block. It’s the last corner on the last lap – you got to do what you got to do to win.” She then zips open her bag, grabbing her pajamas.

“I’ll be back. I’m going to get changed in the bathroom.” She then leaves the room, quickly changing into her pajamas in the bathroom. She returns shortly after to the besdroom, seeing Chase lying in the bed in his boxers. He had left the blanket lowered so she could climb in, and then pull it over them. “Are you sure you’re going to behave?”

“I behaved in Daytona, right?” She shakes her head yes as she climbs in the bed and throws the blanket over them. “So we were talking about your sleeping habits. Talk to me.” She then lets out a sigh, wishing that she didn’t have to address this.

“They suck. There’s nights that I lay in bed and stare at the ceiling for a couple of hours, not able to close my eyes and go to sleep. Other nights and even the same bloody nights at that, I get to sleep and wake up a couple of hours later. It’s frustrating.” He then wraps an arm around her.

“Have you talked to anyone about it?” She shakes her head yes, knowing what the past month has dealt her.

“I told my parents because it was getting annoying. Marie suggested that maybe it was stress infused, or maybe I had a lot on my mind. She suggested that I keep a book beside my bed to write my thoughts, and I did that – it didn’t work. When I went to get the pre-season physical done, I mentioned it to my doctor. He asked me a series of questions – trauma related, stress related, anxiety related – and there was no clear answer.”

“That sucks.”

“He sent me for a sleep study at the sleep clinic. You go there for a night and you’re supposed to sleep with these monitors on you, monitoring everything. The first night – I sucked. You’re supposed to sleep a minimum six hours – I slept four.” Chase then looks over at her surprised.

“So what happened?”

“They called me back for another night. I was worried and such about the first night being a total waste, but the technician or whatever assured me that it was okay because there was still data even without the full six hours. The second time, I actually did sleep the required amount – actually, six and a half hours. There was a possibility of something called sleep apnea, and they got to me to return for a night, wearing a special mask.” Chase shakes his head, having heard of sleep apnea – where the body’s unable to breathe when sleeping, and the person wakes up.

“So did they find anything?” She shrugs her shoulders with a sigh.

“I haven’t gotten the results back, yet. That’s next week when I get home. For some reason, it is taking them two weeks to go through the results and figure out what could be causing the issues.” Chase pulls her close to him, getting her to lay her head on his shoulder.

“Close your eyes. I’ve got you and you can sleep peacefully tonight, no matter what the cause for others night is, knowing that you’re in my arms.” He then gives her a quick kiss. “I love you.”

“I love you, too.” She then closes her eyes, hoping the cuddling with Chase was the answer to getting a good night sleep. She had a busy weekend ahead of her.

Chapter 48: Atlanta Practice

“I think you’ve slept best the both nights that you’ve been in my arms,” Chase comments as he wraps his arms around Alyssa’s neck as they head towards the garage.

The schedule for Friday was a little complex – XFINITY Practice, Cup Practice, XFINITY Final Practice, followed a break during Truck Practice, and then Sprint Cup qualifying. They both knew that it’d keep them on their toes, especially with Chase doing the double.

“Perhaps you’re the solution to all my problems,” Alyssa says as she glances up at him. He then looks down at her, giving her a kiss.

“Love you. Good luck. Let’s see if you can keep up with me out there.” She then laughs as she spins around in his arms to face him.

“Love you, too, and just because you’re the hometown kid doesn’t mean that I’m going to be easy on you this morning.”

“We’ll see what the speed charts says following practice.” Chase then gives her a quick butt pinch before hurrying off down the row of cars to his stall as she simply rolls her eyes. She then walks into her stall, smoothing out her suit and putting her hair in a pony tail before climbing in. It was going to be a fun weekend.

Alyssa was determined to put her wreck from Daytona behind her in a quick fashion with a good run that weekend in Atlanta. The perfect scenario would be scoring her first XFIITY Series victory. However, she knew that she’d be happy to leave Atlanta with a top-five finish. There’d be an extra bonus if she could beat Chase in the process, too.

The first practice session would fit those hopes and dreams as she was solid throughout, posting the sixth quickest time by the end of the session. She knew that she’d need to find that something special in the final practice if she was to top the chart and beat Kenzie Rushton’s quick time.

Though while there was happiness at her end of pit road, it wasn’t the same for Chase. Unfortunately, he wouldn’t get a lot of laps in as three laps into the session, the engine would expire. The crew would quickly go to work in changing the engine, however wouldn’t be able to get it changed before the session ended. He would have to wait till the final practice to get some laps on the track.

He couldn’t let that remain on the mind, though, as he was in the Sprint Cup Series garage, getting set for their first practice of the day. Alyssa quickly stopped by at the beginning of practice, sharing a couple comments on how the track drove, before disappearing for a debrief with her team.

While the pair hadn’t officially announced it, the signs were there for everyone – the media and fans included. Their little kiss at the beginning of XFINITY practice had been caught on camera, along with the small discussions throughout the morning. Neither one honestly cared as they were both fine with the relationship coming out in the open.

“It looks like you’re talk of the garage this weekend and it’s not for hometown reasons,” Chase heard as he got set to climb in the NAPA Chevrolet. He then glanced over his teammate Cameron Hayley, simply rolling his eyes. “Everybody is talking about the kiss you shared with Alyssa.”

“And I don’t care because it doesn’t matter what they say,” Chase comments in response. That was the stance that he was taking on the topic – accept the positive messages, ignore the naysayers. Why should their opinion affect the situation? Along as he, Alyssa, his parents and her parents were happy, that’s all mattered to him.

“So are you guys officially coming out this weekend?” Chase rolls his eyes. It seemed everybody was making a big deal about making it official – like it needed an announcement.

“We’re not hiding our feelings for each other, we’re hanging out like a couple would and I’m going to stand with her on pit road before the XFINITY race tomorrow. What do you call that?” He then sets his helmet on the roof and walks around the car, closing the gap between him and Cameron. “Everybody is bugging about whether we’re going to make some official announcement – like tell the media and fans point blank. Why should we? Nobody else does that when they’re dating.” Cameron knew that Chase had a point, however thought back to one of the most famous couples in the garage.

“When it’s a driver and non-celebrity, you’re right. However, remember Danica and Ricky? They officially announced it with Danica’s famous statement during Daytona Speedweeks that year.” Chase shook his head, remembering the discussion that followed. It seemed that nothing else from media day got discussed that year.

“Well, we’re not doing it that way. We’re letting it come out naturally. If the media asks or some fans ask on twitter, they’ll get an answer yes. It’s simple as that. Now, don’t you have a job to do? I thought you needed practice to kick my ass.” Cameron shakes his head.

“Right – but remember, I’m not the only distracted by a brunette that’s walking around, either.” Cameron then walks away as Chase simply rolls his eyes, heading back over to climb in the NAPA Chevy. Cameron’s comments were just the start of what was to come based on the rumblings already, and that didn’t bug Chase a bit. All that mattered to him once he climbed in the car was finding the quickest way around Atlanta Motor Speedway so he could win on Sunday.

Thankfully, Sprint Cup practice resulted in no issues for Chase as he was able to time in eighth quickest by the end of the session, confident that he’d qualify strong later that afternoon.

Following a short discussion with Alan about the car, he goes to leave the stall when Alan grabs his arm.

“Debrief with the teammates, remember?” Alan questions as Chase shakes his head, knowing. However, there wasn’t time for that in his schedule. “You can’t go running off to Alyssa all the time, Chase.”

“I’m not,” he states, showing a little more anger than expected. He had expected comments from everybody around him, but didn’t expect to hear his crew chief start questioning his concentration. “I have XFINITY practice.” Alan shakes his head, remembering that Chase was doing the double that weekend.

“That’s right – I’m sorry. I’ll relay in the meeting what you told me – that’s fine. Can we meet following practice to discuss what was said?” Chase shakes his head no, remembering the schedule as laid out to him by his PR rep.

“Following a quick 5-10 minute debrief after XFINITY practice, I have media availability for 20 minutes in the media center. I can come see you after that?” Alan shakes his head, accepting. As long as he got to talk to Chase for a good bit before qualifying and discuss what was said during the teammate meeting, that’s all that mattered to the crew chief.

“That’s fine. oh, and sorry about the Alyssa comment. I didn’t mean to touch your buttons. Don’t let the comments get to you.”

“Alan – I’m not. I don’t care what people have to say about Alyssa and I being together. The big thing that matters to me is you and questioning my commitment to this team. Thinking that I’d skip a meeting to spend time with my girlfriend is ridiculous.” Chase then walks off, before Alan got to say anything else.

Alan lets out a sigh, shaking his head. This was certainly not the way he wanted to start the weekend, especially when he knew a lot of focus would be on Chase this weekend.

Chapter 49: Atlanta Practice Continued

Following the discussion with Alan, Chase just wanted to get in the car and keep things on track. His time was in the car was his escape from everything – just like old times.

He then takes a deep breath as he slips into the car, shaking his head. He hadn’t thought about that for good while, except about early July each year and early December. The anniversary of each of those attacks still lingered their affects and brought forth feelings that he wished he had never dealt with. Thankfully, that was all in the past now.

The second and final XFINITY practice went much better as he was able to get some laps in, timing in sixth quickest. Given the fact that he had missed the first practice, he was pleased with that; it was something that he could work with tomorrow.

Glancing over the speed chart, he had other reasons to smile, too, seeing as Alyssa was solid as well, sitting eighth quickest. He knew how badly she wanted to improve on her Daytona performance, and also knew that a good run for her would help ease the eyes that lied focus on her and Chase right now.

“So how does it feel to have all the attention on you with so many questions?” He hears as he turns around and sees Karsyn standing there.

“What do you mean?” He questions as she glances around the garage.

“Everybody has their eyes on you and Alyssa so far this weekend. Everybody also has questions, as to whether you’re actually together, how long you’ve been together and what happened with her and Leo in the winter. Then you add in the opinions and it’s a circus of discussion behind the scenes, if you ask me.” Chase knew by her words that everybody was talking amongst themselves, discussing what was happening. It was like high school all over again. Discuss and opinion, rather than just come out and ask what was going on.

“Well, why don’t you tell those people that they should come ask me what’s going on? Alyssa and I aren’t hiding anything. It’s not worth the effort.” Karsyn shakes her head, understanding. It seemed when anybody tried to hide a secret within the garage, it always got discovered.

“Are you sure Alyssa is ready to handle all the eyes on her, questioning and judging the relationship?” Chase knew the validity of that question. It was a discussion that he and Alyssa had themselves. She showed some signs of nerves, however grew more comfortable with the thought as the week went on. He just hoped that comfort was there. based on the fact that she was fast on track and concentrated, he felt there were no problems.

“She’s a big girl and she’s smart. She can handle it. She can handle things just like she did in her rookie season in truck, and just like she did when people learned about her and Leo. You don’t need to worry about that, Karsyn. Besides, I thought you were in agreement…” It was something that hard to come to, but she couldn’t hold back her approval for the pair.

“I am in agreement of you guys being together. I just worry about her, too. Remember – she’s my cousin and I protect my little cousins tooth and nail.” Chase smiles.

“Don’t worry – I’ll keep her safe and won’t do anything that you need to protect her from. Listen, I got to go. Media availability calls my name.” He then heads off, going straight to the media center.

It was a usual routine to do media each week, speaking about his thoughts about the upcoming race, the past week and whatever else was on the table. For this week, that meant him and Alyssa being together.

He walks into the media center, standing at the back of room quietly as he notices Alyssa is on stage, doing her session that she was required to do.

“Next question…” Kerry Tharp from NASCAR states, as he points to a media member near the back of the room. Chase glances over at the person, noticing that he’s new to the room. It was common, though, as there was always new faces showing up to try and do the job. Some succeeded, while some belonged back in their offices.

“Gabriel Franklin for the Royalty Services Press Association,” the older lady starts, catching everyone’s attention.

It was always odd to hear someone that wasn’t from a motorsports publication, or local publication, speak up in the room. It was even more odd when the person had an English accent. However, it was something of the norm over the past several years. With Dale and Marie being married and Dale as the king of Marie’s country, it seemed that these individuals were popping up more wanting to cover the royal couple’s racing affairs. With Alyssa growing in the racing ranks, it seemed that coverage only increased with her being the little princess.

“I would address you by name, but I want to start there,” the lady continues. “The royalty names within the castle for your mother. I understand that she changed it slightly.” Alyssa shakes her head, having grown used to people like Gabriel. The older generation in the royal press liked to address people by their royal full names, out of a sigh of respect. That was something that her mom taught her young.

“That is correct,” Alyssa states. “She used to be known as Queen Marie-Anne Belle Kastona Calantay, virtue of birth.” Alyssa then takes a deep breath, as she thinks things over. Her parents had told her some details about things hat happened when she was a little girl. She learned about a scary plane deal when she was four, something that still resulted in a nightmare here and there due to thoughts of being locked away. She also learned about the death of her grandpa (Marie’s dad) and her aunt Mariella. Her parents kept those details brief, but said that the pair died as a result of trying to kill her mom due to not agreeing with the marriage. “Now, changed and married, she’s known as Queen Marie-Ann Belle Kastona Earnhardt.” The older lady shakes her head, understanding, as everybody else glances around, slightly confused.

“And your father?” Alyssa takes a deep breath.

“King Ralph Dale Earnhardt Jr. However, as royalty has requested, the pair can simply be referenced as Queen Marie and King Dale.”

“And now your name, please. I just want to have it right for the article.” A couple eyes roll throughout the room as Alyssa takes a deep breath.

“Princess Alyssa Kelley Sharon Kastona Earnhardt.” Her eyes immediately lock on Chase at the back of the room as Chase closes his eyes, thinking it over. Princess Alyssa Kelley Sharon Kastona Earnhardt Elliott had a nice ring to it. Though, he also knew that’d involve him getting used to Prince William Clyde Elliott as well, since the country went based on your full name. He could already see himself ignoring anyone that said William due to not being used to it at all. “You can call and reference me as Princess Alyssa, or simply Alyssa Earnhardt. I’m not particular with those beliefs.”

“Thank you for clearing up the name basis. Now, with that out of the way and correct, I have a question for you. There are rumors that you’re dating another driver in the garage as you were seen kissing earlier today. Is that correct?” Alyssa keeps her eyes focused on Chase and simply shakes her head yes with a smile.

“That’s correct. Chase Elliott and I are dating, if it matters so much that everybody knows. We just started dating this week after he asked me out over the weekend.” Chase smiles, remembering their discussion as to what they’d tell the media. For the media, her and Leo broke up just before the season, with her and Chase becoming an item after last week in Daytona. It made sense, considering that their first date was that past week.

“Jeffrey Hunt for the USA Times,” the next reporter speaks. “Chase Elliott and you are 14 years apart. It seems odd by some standards around the garage area as he used to babysit you. Care to comment?” Alyssa rolls her eyes, having expected the question.

“Love knows no bounds, and love doesn’t know age,” Alyssa answers. “I love Chase, and Chase loves me. What difference does it make?” Chase smiles as she was handling it like a pro, tackling the questions as expected.

“Kristy Galore for the Associated Press,” a young female speaks up. “What is your response to those saying that you’re wrong, and also in reference to your break-up with Leo?” Alyssa shrugs her shoulders. While she was worried at first, she didn’t care about the comments at this point. Everybody was going to talk and if you worried about everyone, you’d get nowhere.

“Let them talk and say their opinion – everybody has a right to their own opinion. However, I know in my heart that I love him and he loves me and that’s what matters. For those who agree, it’s great to hear. For those who don’t agree, well – get used to it because I’m not hiding my affection for him just because of a random fan or opinion. Oh, and with regards to Leo, that’s another topic where people will say what they want, but Leo and I both know where we stand and the truth. That’s all that matters there, as well.”

“That’s all we have time for today,” Kerry finishes things up. “Alyssa, thank you for your time.” Alyssa gives a wave and heads off the stage. She walks to the back of the media center, giving Chase a kiss on the cheek.

“Love you,” she tells him. “Good luck. I think we met the vultures today.” He then smiles.

“That’s nothing new in here,” he replies. “You did a great job, rookie.” He then pulls her close and kisses her lips. “I love you and I’ll see you later.”

“I’ll be out on pit road to be the good girlfriend and cheer you to a pole after.” She then heads out of the media center as he takes a deep breath, making his way to the front of the room. Hopefully things went smoothly.

Chapter 50: Chase’s Media Availability

After she leaves the media center, Chase makes his way up to the podium and takes his seat with a smile. This should be worth the entertainment.

“We’re now joined by Chase Elliott,” Kerry begins. “Chase drives the No. 24 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet in the Sprint Cup Series for Hendrick Motorsports. He also is running the XFINITY Series event this weekend for JR Motorsports. Oh, and he’s a Georgia boy, having grown up in Dawsonville. Chase, talk about you thoughts going into the weekend…”

“I’m looking forward to the race this weekend,” Chase states. “I always love racing at Atlanta Motor Speedway, in front of family and friends. It should be a good weekend. We had a small engine issue in the first XFINITY practice, but both cars are fast. I’m looking forward to a good weekend.”

“We’ll open the floor up to questions for Chase. Please state your name and affiliation before asking your question.”

“Jeffrey Hunt for the USA Times,” the first reporter speaks up as Chase is instantly reminded of his question for Alyssa earlier. “Alyssa just revealed that the two of you are dating. I asked her this question and I’m going to ask you the same. You’re both 14 years apart. Some fans have already taken to twitter with comments. What is your response?” Chase takes a deep breath, knowing to keep himself calm no matter how crazy or stupid their questions were. He had sponsors to represent in a respectful matter.

“I think Alyssa gave you the perfect answer,” he answers. “When we started seeing each other, there were those close to us that didn’t understand, either. However, as they saw us together and understood the connection between us, they grew to understand why we were together. Hopefully the fans that aren’t understanding right now will understand as we move forward.”

“Are you worried about how the comments will affect your image?” Chase looks at the reporter, full of even more surprise.

“No. My love life doesn’t affect my driving, and I can assure you that I am going to drive just as hard this weekend as I have any other weekend. My sponsors have always told me that as long as I am respectful and driving hard, they will have my back. That’s not going to change.” He felt like adding another point, as if to turn off any future Alyssa-based questions, however thought better about it. He had to remain respectful. He was brought up to be a respectful man, and had stuck by those words his whole life. He wasn’t about to stoop down to their level.

“Gabriel Franklin for the Royalty Services Press Association,” he watches the older lady from before speak up once again. “Willi-”

“It’s Chase,” he cuts her off, not wanting to go through the question of identity. “I know you’re used to using full names in royalty, but I’ve gone by Chase since I was a baby.” He watches her take a deep breath – slightly looking annoyed- before continuing.

“I’m sure you realize that you’re dating a princess, and that’s going to be big news through the royal community. I am just wanting your reaction, sir. He rolls his eyes, before taking his own deep breath.

“To you, the people of Pitronia and people around the world, she’s a Princess and considered royalty. To me, she’s my little buddy that I’ve known all her life and I love with all my heart. Just because she’s a princess doesn’t change anything in my mind. Why should that affect me now when it hasn’t affected me for the past 10 years? Now, I understand that you’re getting at the fact that I’d become royalty if I married her eventually down the road.” He then pauses, thinking that over. The thought of being with Alyssa forever was a great thought. Royalty – that just seemed odd and something to get used to. However, that wouldn’t change anything in his mind as he was who he was. “It wouldn’t change my thoughts about her or the marriage. I would respect the country traditions, values and responsibilities, whatever those may be. However, I’d leave that to the responsibility of Marie and Dale since they’re in charge.” He then lets out a sigh, feeling that he answered the question as best as he could. However, no matter what, it still felt as odd as ever to be even tackling these questions.

“Kristy Galore for the Associated Press,” the next reporter speaks up. “Leo was dating Alyssa last season and now they’re not dating. Instead, you show up in the picture. Are you the reason that they broke up?” Chase’s jaw drops in shock, as well as the majority of the people in the room. It was certainly a thought for a couple of people, however nobody believed that the question would be asked.

“No,” Chase answers as he holds back his attempt to lash out at her. “She broke up with Leo before I told her that I loved her and asked her out. As far as I know, they broke up because things weren’t working out as they would’ve hoped.”

“If I may interrupt, let’s focus the rest of the questions for the day on the racing this weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway,” Kerry Tharp interrupts the session. “I think Chase has answered enough questions about his relationship off the track.”

“Jeffrey Hunt for the USA Times,” the guy speaks up once again. “Are you going to race Alyssa any differently this weekend in the XFINITY race?” Kerry rolls his eyes.

“What did I just sa-”

“I’ll answer this question,” Chase cuts him off, keeping his eyes locked on the reporter. “Absolutely not. I’m going to race her as hard as I’d race her on any other weekend, just like I know she’ll do in return. This relationship doesn’t change anything on the track. it just changes some things away from the track.”

For the next 10-15 minutes, the questions manage to stay focused on the racing, from how the track drives, to how the racing will be, and balancing running both cars. Chase finishes up and thanks the media for their time, before leaving the media center.

He then checks his phone quickly, answering a couple of text messages from some friends. There were those asking about whether he was actually with Alyssa, some congratulatory/good luck messages, and a couple in disagreement. He fairly answered each of them as he walked through the media center, knowing he had to go see Alan before qualifying.

Grabbing his marker from his pocket, he walks out of the media center and walks towards the garage area, signing autographs along the way. There were some comments along the way from fans as he signed about his relationship with Alyssa, but the majority were simply saying ‘congratulations’ and ‘good luck’ and even a couple ‘you’re cute together’. He simply said thanks, while ignoring those who had to say anything otherwise.

He reaches the hauler and walks inside, opening the snack drawer and grabbing a snack.

“Chase is in the snack drawer again!” Cole lets out as Chase looks back at Cole in surprise.

“Why are you even in here?” He questions. “You don’t even drive for Rick!”

“I’m allowed virtue of the alliance, remember?” Chase lets out a sigh, remembering how the SHR/HMS alliance still worked to this day.

“But since you’re not a true teammate, you’re not allowed to tell on me.” Chase then continues his walk through the hauler, reaching the door for the lounge.

“Are you having a fun day, at least?” Chase then glances back at Cole and rolls his eyes.

“It seems the only thing they want to talk about is Alyssa and I being together.” Cole shakes his head, understanding and having expected that.

“What do you expect? You’re dating NASCAR’s little princess, and oh yeah, real world royalty. It’s something that you’re going to have to get used to.” Chase could only hope that wasn’t the case. Eventually, their relationship would grow old news and the media would focus on something else. Perhaps a racecar could get stolen, or something crazy of that nature.

“Sure…” He then opens the lounge door, and heads up inside, joining Alan.

He was set to focus on one thing and one thing only – racing and doing well that weekend. Perhaps he won the race, or both races, it would get them to talk less about Alyssa.

Chasing The Love – Chapter 36 Thru 40

Chapter 36: Daytona 500 Pre-Race

“We have to go see Chase and Alyssa after the race,” Ty comments as he wraps his arm around Hayley following driver introductions.

“Oh really?” She questions as she looks at him.

“He wants to talk to us about their relationship.” Hayley shakes her head as she glances down pit road at Chase.

“I don’t see why he has to have that meeting with us. It’s not like they should have to explain themselves.” Ty rolls his eyes, not wanting to get into this discussion again with her.

“I told you my thoughts and that’s where I’m leaving this discussion. My guess is I’m the not the only person who doesn’t agree and there’s going to be some heated debate.” Hayley lets out a sigh.

“It doesn’t matters what everybody thinks. As long as they love each other, that’s all that matters. They shouldn’t have to answer to anyone. You don’t see everybody else having to answer to their friends over stuff, do you?” Ty lets out a sigh.

“Obviously you forgot the definition of gossip, but of course you’re innocent.” She then rolls her eyes as she looks away, but Ty knew by the lack of response that he was saying the truth. “Besides, we aren’t the only ones that he invited. He invited Cole since he kno-“

“You told Cole?” Ty goes to say no as she gives him a look. She then smacks his arm “Ty!!”

“I told him that I’d let him know how the dinner went.” She then lets out a sigh.

“Right – the dinner. Nothing else beyond that needed to be said. I told you not to say anything!” Ty then glances down, knowing that he was probably the blamed party here. “Let me guess. Cole told someone?”

“Cindy overheard us discussing things.” Hayley lets out a sigh, shaking her head. Leave it up to the boys to make it harder on Chase and Alyssa.

“I hope that he gives you a big huge lecture after this race is over for what you’ve done.” He then goes to say something as she just glances away, now extra annoyed with the topic. She just hoped that Alyssa was strong enough to handle the critics that were going to be thrown her way.

It seemed as though the critics would be saying something sooner than anybody would’ve warranted as rumors started kicking up around the garage. Little by little, more drivers were learning about the possibility of them together. One of the drivers that overheard the discussion was Cameron, who made his way over to Chase.

“Is it true?” Cameron simply asks, catching a glance from Chase.

“Who told you?” Chase questions in return, basically answering the question for Cameron.

“It’s being slowly passed through the garage…” Chase lets out a sigh with an eye roll as he leans against the car.

“I told Karsyn and she told Hayley, who told Ty and Ty told Cole and then Emma and Marshall kicked up the bloody idea so this was only a matter of time. Just lovely…” Cameron then crosses his arms, glancing around. He was surprised that Alyssa wasn’t anywhere in sight.

“Did you honestly think that you could keep it hidden forever?” Chase shakes his head no as he looks back at his teammate.

“I figured that we could keep it secret for at least a week. We were going to tell our parents next Friday and then ell the world after the weekend. It seems those plans are thrown out the window.” Cameron knew the pair could talk, and the fact that Chase could probably use a friend on this topic.

“Just take it with stride and ignore it. They’ll make a big deal, some people complaining and others supporting. It’ll blow over in a couple weeks and we’ll be on to some other big story. You can both handle the storm.” Chase looks over with a slight smile.

“Thanks. I appreciate the kind words. You win the nice award of the day.”

“Does that mean that you’re going to push me to the Daytona 500 win?” Chase then laughs and shakes his head no.

“That just means that since you’re extra nice, you’re going to push me.” Cameron shakes his head no as he crosses his arms.

“This is my year, buddy. You’ve done this enough times. You need to share.” Chase shakes his head no as Cameron glances away, before returning his eyes to Chase. “Don’t mind me asking, but how long have you been with Alyssa?” Given the relaxed state of the conversation, he felt confident discussing the details with Cameron.

“Since Friday. I told her in the morning. We then agreed on Saturday morning that we would keep it quiet. I then stayed at her place on Saturday nigh-”

“Already?” Chase then looks over at Cmaeron shocked and shakes his head no with a laugh.

“No, we didn’t do that. She needed some comfort as she wasn’t feeling well so I cuddled her. That was all that happened – I swear to whatever power you’ll make me swear to. Then this morning, a bomb blew up in my face.” Cameron shakes his head, understanding. He had heard about the dinner that Ty had planned and now saw how that fit in, shaking his head.

“Why is it that Hayley and Ty are always mixing everything up and creating drama?” Chase could only think back to his words the night before.

“Because she thinks she’s bloody Cupid and can set the world up. Perhaps if she stayed out of everybody’s business, along with Emma and Marshall, everything would be much better.”

“That’d be too easy. Listen, I got to go to my car…” Cameron then goes to leave when Chase grabs his arm, catching his attention.

“You’re going by Dale. Tell Alyssa that I promise to be safe and I love her…please.” Cameron shakes his head yes, agreeing, before making his way down pit road. Chase then leans back against the car and lets out a sigh.

The sooner the race started, the better things would be.

Chapter 37: Daytona 500

So….everything that happens….your favourite or not…blame the random number generator. I always use it when it comes to these “race” chapters so I don’t have my favourite win every time haha
“Just play it smart – long race today,” Greg Ives says on the radio.

“10-4,” Chase comments, just wanting to get it started.

The green flag then flies for the Daytona 500 with the field immediately spreading out into three-wide formation. Though the intense battling throughout the field doesn’t pan out well for some people, as Gray Gaulding would get into Cameron Hayley on lap five. The result would be Cameron Hayley getting completely sideways and taking Gaulding to the wall with him. in the process of trying to escape the wreck, several cars take the evasive action through the infield grass.

“Car looks fine…” Chase’s spotter tells the team across the radio afterwards.

“I had to go through the grass – no question,” Chase tells the team.

“10-4 We will get it fixed,” Greg assures him as he glances down at the team. They knew the task at hand.

“Front valence looks good – fenders look fine,” the spotter starts rambling off. “Splitter looks like it’s pushed up a little.” Chase lets out a sigh as that should be obvious.

“Well duh I went through the grass!” Chase comes across the radio. “If that’s the only damage, I’d consider myself lucky as I about creamed Cam. What was Gray thinking?”

“Not using his brains or being smart,” Greg offers with a sigh as he leans back on the pit box. “Come in this time.” Greg then watches Chase bring the car down pit road with the pit crew immediately going to work to repair the damage. He also noticed others hitting pit road for damage repairs as well, including their teammate Karsyn and Ryan Blaney. It’d give them a couple of good cars around them to work with to get back to the front. However, that wasn’t the main thought on his mind as he thought about his driver. Chase was normally calm on the radio about things and just took it all in stride. However, it seemed a little more on edge today. “Just be smart here…relax. Long way to go. It’s only lap five of 200.”

“10-4,” Chase simply answers as he gets himself lined up for the restart.

“Chase – don’t let the off-track stuff distract you,” a new voice chimes in, causing Greg to smile. He immediately recognized Bill’s voice. It also got Greg thinking as to what could possibly be going on. “Just focus on what you need to do.”

“10-4.”

The field then went back to green with Ella leading the field back to the green flag. Chase immediately put everything aside, focusing on getting back to the front as he tagged onto Blaney’s bumper and was set to push him through.

Their progress wouldn’t go as well as Chase hoped, though, as they were stuck in the middle of the pack around the halfway mark. With everybody running three-wide, it made progress real hard and real slow as there was simply nowhere to go. He knew getting closer and closer to the end of the race that they’d need to catch a break with green flag pit stops, and somehow avoid the next big wreck if it happened. The intensity was easily continuing to build with each passing lap and they were certain to have someone make a mistake if they kept running three-wide.

Stuck on the outside for some laps, stuck in the middle for other laps trying to find some running room, the laps continued to tick away and before everybody knew it, they were at 50 laps to go.

“We’re pitting with Blaney – gonna try and get you closer to the front,” Greg comments on the radio. “2 more laps till we pit, bud.” Sitting on the pit box, Greg could only continue to chew piece after piece of gum, in hopes that they found some sort of relaxation.

“How am I supposed to?” Chase buts out quick in between comments from his spotter. It was going to be impossible to get out of the middle and down pit road.

“Bottom lane is pitting lap before.” Greg knew to keep his comments and short as possible so the spotter could continue to rely important information.

The plan played to perfection as the bottom lane was able to peel off and pit nicely, with Chase pitting the next lap with Ryan and a couple others. Getting as much as he could getting on and off – without penalty, and the crew giving him a fast stop happened in quick succession. He also made sure to get Ryan and Karysn tucked back up behind him as soon as they got back on track.

As scoring sorted itself out, Greg could only shake his head in shock as he looked at the monitor. It was strange how these plate races played out sometimes.

“You’re P1 kid, P1…” His spotter says before Greg can relay the information. “Blaney following you bottom…no runs on the top right now.”

They only had to keep the field behind them for the next 50 laps. Easy right?

In thought, it was, but it wasn’t in practice. Chase was set on blocking the roads, but kept making sure to tuck back to the bottom to not let Ryan fall back much. After they had worked together all day, it’d suck to watch that partnership fall apart. Though making sure to keep Ryan with him proved costly as the outside lane was able to form a good run with Dale leading. Dale was then able to get to his outside, pulling ahead for the lead with 38 laps to go with help from Karsyn. The distance would continue to grow as the bottom lane didn’t get tightly formed as Chase would’ve hoped with Dale’s Chevrolet solidly pulled ahead.

Seeing as the top lane was continuing to grow their advantage, he backed as much as he could to Ryan, watching as the nose of Karsyn’s car edged ahead, hoping the pair of friends could rekindle the magic that had gotten them to the front.

The Daytona 500 would turn into the battle of the lines, with the lower line slowly beginning to gain momentum once again. Chase watched as his nose peaked out in front of Dale’s with 10 laps to go. If Ryan could keep pushing as he was, the lead would be his.

Ryan would follow through, getting Chase back out front as Chase resumed his role of blocking both sides of the street. He just knew that this time, he was going to do things different. He was going to watch both lines carefully, and if Ryan fell back, it was too late to care about with friends with being so late in the race.

Chase played the blocking card game right….all the way till 4 to go. As he went to block Dale, Ryan would get a perfectly timed push from his teammate Tyler Reddick, allowing his Ford to pull alongside Chase’s Chevrolet.

The final laps of the Great American Race were coming down to a battle between friends.

As the final laps ticked away, the pair of lines ran side by side in a dead heat. Ryan would gain a little with a push from Tyler, but Chase would gain it back with a push from Dale. As the fans watched on in the stands, they held their breathes, debating who would win and hoping for no big wreck to finish the race off.

They’d get their wish as no wreck happened (somehow) with the pair of drivers crossing the line side by side, inches apart. All immediately laid eyes on the scoring monitor…

“So close!” Greg lets out as he watches the names pop up in order on the screen. “Scoring monitor says Ryan got you by a nose. Great race, kid!”

“Thanks for the strong car,” Chase comments. While he wanted to be disappointed in losing the biggest race by just that bit, he couldn’t be in watching his best friend take the win instead. “That was fun! Way to go Ryan!”

Chapter 38: Post Daytona 500
“Are you ready for this?” Chase questions as he pulls Alyssa close to them. They had told everyone to meet them in the Sprint Cup garage area. It was empty now with the cars loaded up and set to head home, and big enough to hold everyone.

“I think…” Alyssa answers quietly.

“Listen, it doesn’t matter what they say. I truly love you and will always love you. Let them think what they want to think.” She shakes her head in agreement as she glances up at him.

“Then why are we doing this?” He lets out a sigh, having asked himself the same very question since setting up the meeting.

“Rather than play the runaround, let’s be adults and tell them straight up. They deserve to hear it clearly from us, rather than play the high school runaround game. Is that fair?” She shakes her head yes. “Then let’s go.”

They then make their way out of his trailer and head over to the empty Spring Cup garage, holding hands the whole way. They walk down to the end, going into the first empty stall as they see the group of people standing there. They both let their eyes run across the group seeing Dale, Marie, Cindy, Bill, Ty, Hayley, Cameron, Cole, Leo and Karsyn all standing there, looking at the pair closely. He knew that Emma and Marshall were also requested to join them, but wasn’t surprised to not see them.

Chase takes a glance over at Alyssa, before looking back towards the group as he takes a deep breath.

“Thanks for coming to our makeshift meeting,” he starts. “We have a lot to say and we’d appreciate if you keep your comments to yourself for the time being. Let us say what we want to say about the situation and then you can say what you want to say. Truthfully, though, we’re both adults and deserve to make our decisions for ourself.” Chase then looks over at Alyssa and gives her a slight nod as she takes a deep breath.

“Leo, I know we had a great relationship and everything,” she says. “I also know that hearing that Chase and I are together is a shock. I want you to know, and I swear to you by anything out there, that this has nothing to do with us. I was truly committed to you the whole time. I made the decision to break up with you on Thursday for the reasons that I told you. They had nothing to do with Chase. He only told me that he liked me on Friday.”

“I have liked her for a long time, but I didn’t want to say anything. She was fully in love with Leo and fully committed to him, and I didn’t want to ruin that. However, given that didn’t work out for the reasons she stated, I made the decision to say something to her. I knew if I never said anything that I’d regret it.”

“When he told me, I was shocked – but it totally made sense. There were times that I’d find myself glancing over at him and wondering what could be – and perhaps that’s why things didn’t work out, Leo. Perhaps because I wasn’t truly committed and fulfilled with the partnership. When he told me, I accepted – I said to him that I’d give him a chance. I didn’t know whether it was what I truly wanted, but I was open to going on a couple dates and spending time together. That’s how far we are with the relationship, right now.”

“And what about Saturday night?” Marie questions, having heard from Cindy about Chase staying over night.

“What did I say about questions?” Chase asks as he glances over at Marie.

“Based on her comments, the question seems vali-”

“We didn’t have sex if that’s what you want to know!” Alyssa lets out, causing everybody to look between the pair shocked. “I’m guessing that’s everybody thinks we did Saturday night. Well, that wasn’t the case. I had a real bad stomach cramp and Chase had simply showed up to check on me after going out to dinner with Ty, Hayley and Karsyn. He then offered to cuddle and comfort me as I waited for the pain killers to work. It got late and he then said that he was going to leave. I told him no because I wanted to lay in his arms over night since it was comfy and comforting. Are you happy?”

“Not rea-” Marie starts as Dale shoots her a look.

“I told you that she was responsible, and I told you that this arrangement is fine by all means,” Dale cuts her off as she crosses her arms.

“And I told you that I thought it wasn’t a good id-”

“Can you guys finish this later?” Chase interrupts them, as they both look towards him. “I have more that I’d like to say about things so far.” Dale shakes his head, understanding, as Chase glances towards Alyssa. They had discussed previously about what they wanted to say and were set on taking turns back and forth in addressing each part of the mess.

“Mom, Dad – I didn’t want you to find out this way,” Alyssa starts. “We were content on telling you next Friday as we felt a week to see things would be a good start before saying something. We didn’t think that things would get spread like they had before, and I’m sorry. I wanted to be the first to say something to you and I wanted to be able to explain things to you so you’d understand. Hopefully, you can grow to be accepting.” Dale smiled as there was no growing to accepting as he understood things so far. He trusted his daughter’s judgement, and knew that Chase wouldn’t pull anything stupid. Besides, they’d been together for a night and he hadn’t gone for the sex route. Marie, on the other hand, still couldn’t find a way to come to grips with it.

“Same goes for you…” Chase adds as he looks over at his parents. “That was our plan all the way along, and I’m sorry that you found out like you did. However, it is what it is. You heard my piece this morning and that’s all I have to say.” Cindy shakes her head, understanding. She had thought about what Chase had to say since the morning and was slowly finding a way to agree with his decision. As far as Bill was concerned, things were still iffy on his thoughts. “Now, for the rest of you….” Chase took a deep breath, resisting the urge to yell at them for their behavior. It seemed like high school behavior in his mind.

“Leo, I have said what I want to say in regards to things. I hope that you understand and I hope that we can remain friends. Beyond that, if you have anything you want to ask, the door is open.” Leo keeps his eyes locked on the floor, not knowing what to say. Perhaps he was still locked in the moment of shocked.

“Karsyn, I think we covered things last night so I’m going to leave it at that. I also want to say that I’m not mad at you for saying something to Hayley. You were heartbroken and needed comfort – that’s understandable. I’m not going to yell at you for that.” She shakes her head in agreement as she lets out a sigh.

“I’m sorry for being so hard on you last night,” she starts. “It’s just I was shocked to hear your confession, and perhaps slightly angry because I’ve had a crush on you. Though if you’re both happy, I’m happy.” Chase could only smile as he was slowly getting more people to side with them. It would mean less drama moving forward.

“Hayley, in that respect, you didn’t need to go and tell your husband since it was told in confidence,” Chase continues. “But, I also understand the need to share details between a married couple so I’m not going to stand here and yell at you.”

“But we’re not happy, regardless,” Alyssa adds, still frustrated with the situation.

“As for you, Ty, I could strangle right now. Oh, and I’m going to add Cole to that list, too. This morning, when my mom told me that she heard it from you both because you were gossiping in the motorcoach lot, it was all I could do to not come yell at you both. How old are we? Are we in high school anymore? To be in our 30s and gossiping like high school kids is ridiculous! I can’t believe that behavior. I thought I left that behind a good 10 years ago. Seriously, grow up and mature!”

“To act like you did, it’s highly disrespectful and not fair to any of us. I thought being friends that you’d be more respectful. You’re lucky that I haven’t punched each of you, yet.” Chase takes a deep breath as he looks over the whole group.

“I know some of you agree, and I know of you obviously don’t agree. However, we love each other and we plan on being together, no matter who doesn’t agree. So….” He takes a deep breath as he shares a glance with Marie. “Let’s hear it. Anybody have anything that they want to say?

Chapter 39: The Discussion
“I know some of you agree, and I know of you obviously don’t agree,” Chase starts. “However, we love each other and we plan on being together, no matter who doesn’t agree. So….” He takes a deep breath as he shares a glance with Marie. “Let’s hear it. Anybody have anything that they want to say?”

“As long as you promise to take care of her, I don’t have anything to say,” Dale comments as Chase smiles.

“Dale, have I ever not taken care of your daughter, right? I’ve babysat this girl and watched her grow up. You don’t have to worry.”

“I know…”

“So wait – you’re not going to give him the big talk?” Cole questions, catching their attention. “Hey, I agree with them being together so that’s not why I said that. it’s just you always hear of the girl’s father having a talk with the guy to make sure that he doesn’t hurt his little girl.” Dale smiles as he keeps his eyes on Chase.

“I’ve known him long enough,” Dale starts. “He also knows me, and knows I’ll do anything for Alyssa. Plus, I have a lot of property, remember?” Chase chuckles lightly at that thought, knowing the reference as Alyssa shakes her head with a sigh.

“Unlike him, I do have a lot that I’d like to say to both of you,” Marie comments, catching their attention.

“Mar-”

“Dale, it’s fine,” Chase interrupts him as he takes a deep breath. “It’s to be expected. Where would you like to begin, Queen?” Marie thinks over the possibilities of the comments that she could say. There was the age, the previous relationships, the type of relationship they had to the fact that just didn’t spell love period.

“I just don’t see anything between you both that says loves,” she starts. “I see a buddy friendship.” Chase thinks it over as he glances over at Alyssa. He knew that Marie’s approval would mean a lot. Beyond simply dating his best friend’s daughter, he was dating a princess. Something that would require a lot more thought at a later date.

“The buddy friendship is what brought us to get to know each other,” Alyssa comments. “As we did, I began to feel more – and that’s something that he also commented upon. I started to imagine myself being with him all the time, cuddled up with him and really close. That’s why when he said something, I openly accepted. Whether there’s truly something there as you say you don’t see, that’s yet to be seen, honestly. We just started dating on Friday, remember. Anything can happen between now and the future. Perhaps it’ll grow to more and we’ll keep it going, and perhaps you’ll see that love blossom. Though if there isn’t, we’ll go back to being friends. We’ve talked about this already, Mom.”

“Don’t worry, I’m not going to run off to Vegas and immediately get hitched with her. I’m going to take my time.” Ty, Cole and Cameron all break out laughing as Dale gives him a look.

“Do that and you’ll lose your manlyhood,” Dale states as Chase looks over at him shocked.

“That’s my son you’re talking about!” Cindy says as Dale glances over at her.

“And that’s my daughter. I’m just telling him the truth, Cindy. I’ m giving him warning.”

“Remember – you’ll have to answer to me…” She then looks back over at Chase. “But, he’s right. Don’t be doing that as you’re never too old for a lecture from your mother.”

“I learned that today…” Chase comments quietly, referencing their pre-race conversation as Cindy lets out a sigh.

“I’m sorry that I came in and yelled at you. I was just shocked about hearing the news and I was in the same shoes as Marie. But, you’re slowly convincing me…slowly.”

“That’s a start!” Alyssa comments as she leans her head against Chase as they look over the group. Based on things so far, it wasn’t as bad as it could be.

“While you’re changing your opinion Cindy, I still have the same feelings for these two,” Marie shares as Alyssa lets out a sigh. She didn’t want to argue with her mom about this. “I’m sorry, but how old are you? 18, right? You’re just old enough to be a adult and make your own decisions. He’s 32 and a full grown adult, knowing everything. Something seem wrong about this picture?” The pair both shakes their head no as Chase keeps his eyes locked on Marie’s. His parents seemed fine and Dale seemed fine, and out of the rest standing there, Marie was all that truly mattered. He could deal with Ty and Leo not agreeing as that was…well, that.

“I will never, ever, take advantage of your daughter simply based on the age argument,” Chase starts. “I’m not going to force her into something that she doesn’t want to do just because she’s younger than me. I’ve had my heart broken before and I know what that feels like, beyond just Emma. We’re not going to do that to each other so I will never, ever, hurt or manipulate your daughter. In my mind, age is just a number in this relationship and nothing more.” Marie rolls her eyes as she wasn’t convinced based on that.

“Age is just a number that can be used to be controlling without even knowing it. While you say that you won’t and don’t intend to, you could lead her to something based on being the older, wiser one in the relatio-”

“Do you honestly hear what you’re saying right now?” Dale cuts her off, catching her attention. “Before you bring up that argument, remember that you’re talking about Chase. One of the most mature, sweet, hell even innocent boys that you’ll ever meet. Has he ever crossed the boundaries of non-innocence? Has he ever pushed those barriers with anyone? That is something that you don’t need to worry about!” Marie takes a deep breath.

“Dal-”

“The whole age argument is something that I can’t believe you’re bringing up,” Dale continues without giving her a chance. “I know a lot of people who loved each other that were more than 10 years apart. Look at my dad and Teresa, and how much they loved each other. They were 11 years apart, Marie! I’ve seen it first hand how it can work and for you to stand here and say this is ridiculous! I can’t believe you’d accuse Chase of such ideas.”

“Well since I’m not going to get a word in with him standing here, we’ll be talking later.” Marie then leaves the room as Alyssa rolls her eyes with a sigh.

“Let me go talk to her…” Chase says as he goes to leave the group, though Dale stops him.

“Going and talking to her while she’s upset and on a rage isn’t going to work,” Dale tells him. “Just focus on your relationship with Alyssa and as that grows, she’ll come around. It just takes her a bit to understand. You have to understand that she’s been through a lot with how her father ran her country before and things that didn’t go so well in love.” Chase shakes his head yes slowly, with a sigh.

“I just wanted her approval. To get the approval from both you and Marie would mean everything.” Dale shakes his head, understanding, giving Chase a hug before walking off to find Marie.

“Patience is a virtue – use it wisely,” Bill comments as he glances back towards the direction that Marie headed off. Chase glances over at Alyssa with a slight smile, though feels himself letting out a sigh as well. He could only hope that Marie changed her mind soon.

“I know…”

Chapter 40: Return Home
Chase walks into Dale and Marie’s house after getting done at Hendrick Motorsports for the day, walking down the main hallway towards the dining room.

“Hey, you can’t waltz righ-” Marie starts as she sees him on her way down the stairs.

“Your daughter let me in,” he states as Marie glances around. “Elsa.”

“Elsa!” Elsa shrugs her shoulders as she walks past her mom up to her room.

“I heard a knock and glanced out and saw Chase,” she starts. “He’s always been allowed in before.” Marie just rolls her eyes as Chase continues his way to the dining room.

He knew where Alyssa would be. Being that it was Tuesday and she had gotten home from school a couple hours ago, she’d be working on homework. There were probably a couple assignments to do with being away for the previous week, so she’d probably be finishing those up, as well as the new stuff. He also knew that she didn’t have an easy semester with English, Physic and Algebra on her plate.

“You better be doing your homework missy,” he comments as he sneaks up behind her and wraps his arms around her, looking over her shoulder at a book report she was writing. She then laughs as she glances over of her shoulder at him.

“It’s not going to get done itself and Dad threatened to take away the racecar if I didn’t maintain my grades,” she replies as Chase simply smiles.

“He just wants the best for you, and completing school with good grades is near the top of the priority list.” He then kisses her cheek before sitting down in the chair beside her. “So, are you over your woman thing?” She then gives him a smack as he laughs.

“Just about, actually. The cramps are gone so that helps.” He shakes his head, understanding, as he picks up the book that she was reading, glancing it over.

“Lord of the Flies. They’re still making you read this?” She shakes her head yes with a sigh.

“It’s the most boring-”

“Dreadful book ever written about nine boys on an island. Don’t worry, I didn’t enjoy reading it either.”
“I can’t believe we read ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’ for January, and then follow it with this. I can only hope that Mr. Shakesphere did a good job writing Romeo and Juliet.” Chase thinks back as he remembered reading the play, continuously shaking his head at how their perception of love was. However, it brought it back to today.

“I feel like Romeo in a way. I have a future mother-in-law who doesn’t like me.” She then glances towards the kitchen where Marie was working on dinner, before glancing back at Chase.

“I know that she’s being a big pain in the ass right now, but give her time. She’s just worried about me. Let’s just see where things go and it goes, she’ll probably get easier to deal with.” Chase could only hope that was the truth as he didn’t want to deal with that all the time. “Besides, I’m an adult and can make my own decisions, and you have my daddy’s support.” She then leans over and gives him a little kiss on the cheek before focusing back on her book report.

“I know….It just, her approval means a lot to me.” Alyssa lets out a sigh as she looks over at Chase once again.

“I get that, but remember – we’re really early into the relationship. We’ve only been together for four days, Chase. You still haven’t taken me on a date, anyway. Give it time.” He then sits back, watching her as she goes over a note that she made about a chapter before adding it into the book report.

“So when am I going to get to take you out to dinner, Ms. Earnhardt?” She then raises her eyebrows in surprise as she looks over.

“That’s a good question, Mr. Elliott. When are you free?”

“I am free whenever you are free, my dear. Just tell me the day that you’re available to go out for dinner.” She then thinks it over, glancing over at her school schedule notes.

“What about Wednesday night? I need tonight and Tuesday to get caught back up on school work, but Wednesday should be good. I can get everything done by 6:30 and go out with you. Oh, and I have to ask my daddy for permission.” Chase then watches her in surprise.

“I thought you were the adult that got to make your own decisions?” She then smiles as she looks over.

“I can make my own decisions, but I still live under my parent’s roof so therefore I need to follow their rules. Those rules include asking for permission to go out on school nights and being home by 10 on school nights, 11 on non-school nights – unless I have special permission.” Chase shakes his head, understanding. He remembered making sure to tell Bill and Cindy what he was doing, even at her age, as well.

“That’s fair. You ask your dad and let me know how that goes. I’ll keep that night open.” He then sits back, letting her focus on homework, not wanting to distrupt her. As she gets back focused on what she needs to do, he slowly gets up and gives her a quick kiss on the cheek.

“Where are you going?”

“You’re doing your homework, and I don’t want to distract you. Focus on your studies and I’ll see you later. Text me later with what your parents say.” She then smiles, shaking her head in agreement.

“Make sure to check your phone then.” She then gives him a quick kiss on his cheek before he leaves the dining room and exits the house.

She then lets out a sigh as she looks up from her book at her mom in the kitchen, shaking her head. She could easily get permission from her dad to go out with Chase, but her mom would be a different story. Why couldn’t her mom just let it go?

She then takes a deep breath, focusing back on her book report, knowing that the 1000 words weren’t going to write themselves.

“So now that you guys are together, is he going to be around all the time?” Elsa questions, as Alyssa glances up.

“Excuse me?” She questions as Elsa sits down across from her with her math textbook.

“You and Chase. Is Chase going to be around here all the time now?” Alyssa lets out a sigh.

“Probably, I don’t know. Is that a bad thing?” Elsa shakes her head no with a big smile.

“I have no problem with your boyfriend so don’t worry. I was just wondering. So, he asked you on a date. What are you going to wear? Where are you going?” Alyssa then rolls her eyes as she looks back down at her homework.

“Don’t you have homework to do?” Elsa lets out a sigh as she flips through the book.

“I’ve already told the teacher that the x wasn’t coming back to y, and they needed to stop worrying about finding it.” Alyssa chuckles. While she loved doing algebra, Elsa hated it completely and would complain at every chance.

“That isn’t going to help you get past the tests so I suggest you do your work, just like I’m trying to do mine.” Elsa then lets out a sigh as she gets out her supplies.

“You’re no fun. Please tell me that you’ll say the details later!” Alyssa just ignores her sister, trying to focus back on the stupid little rugrats in the book.

Chasing The Love – Chapters 31 Thru 35

Chapter 31: Dinner

February 2029 – Post-XFINITY Race

“Man, what took you so long?” Ty questions as Chase meets up with him. They then climb in the car together, heading to the restaurant.

“Got caught up in discussion between Kennedy and Alyssa,” Chase lies as he knew he couldn’t mention that he was checking on Alyssa solely.

“For a minute I was thinking that you were part female and taking your time to get all…nice.” Chase laughs as he looks over at Ty with a surprised grin. “Did the girls have a lot to say?”

“Nah, man. They’re good. Kennedy apologized, saying that she didn’t mean to and then they got into a whole other discussion about the fact that this year should be interesting and silver spoons.” Ty lets out a sigh as that was something that he was certainly annoyed of hearing throughout his career to date. “Where’s Hay?”

“She said that she’d meet me there. She left the track following final practice to go do some shipping with a couple girls.” In truth, Ty and Hayley and agreed to go separately as they knew going together with just the pair would immediately set off alarms of a purpose set-up.

“Oh….okay.” Chase knew that seemed odd as normally Hayley would watch the XFINITY race with Ty. But, he also understood the fact that girls liked to shop.

The pair talk about a bunch of random topics, from the race tomorrow to what happened during the XFINITY race. If anybody had fell upon their conversation, it sounded just like what you’d expect from a pair of drivers.

They arrive at the restaurant, both heading inside as Chase glances around. He didn’t see anyone else, which was strange if this would be a dinner involving ‘friends’.

“May I help you?” The host says, catching Chase’s attention.

“Reservation under Dillon,” Ty states as the host checks.

“Ah, yes. A female came through here with a friend saying that she was here. I’ll lead you to the table.” The host then leads them through the restaurant.

“You had to go fancy, huh?” Chase questions as he glancesover at Ty.

“Nothing but the best for a good friend,” Ty comments as Chase rolls his eyes.

“Right….and when it comes down to the end of the race, I’m supposed to think about this nice gesture and help you.” Ty glances over with a smile.

“I never thought of that, but you have a good theory.” They then reach the table as Ty shares a quick kiss with Hayley before sitting down. Chase glances over seeing Karsyn sitting there, before glancing back at Hayley. He then slowly takes his seat as he keeps his eyes on Ty. He knew exactly why were there.

“I thought you said that Hayley got rid of her arrow.” Ty lets out a sigh as he thought that they’d at least get partway through the dinner before such mention. “Yeah….right…”

“So I fudged a little to get you here,” Ty comments as he looks between Karsyn and Chase. “I thought it’d be nice to get you out and seeing people. I did it as a caring friend, honestly. I figured that you two had been friends for a long time that it’d be a good place to start. Sorry.” Karsyn glanced between the pair, awaiting Chase’s reaction. Depending on what he had to say would possibly affect everything that was set to happen that night. It would also affect the feelings that she had.

“I appreciate it, but I’d also appreciate some honesty, Dillon.” Ty lets out a sigh, once again.

“Fair. I do owe you an apology on that.”

“Boys, okay, so we took the wrong ways to get here,” Hayley starts, catching their attention. “But now that we’re here, let’s not waste the night. Let’s enjoy some nice conversation and a good dinner. Then what happens beyond that, happens.” Chase knew that he was pinned in a box as he glanced between Karsyn and Ty. Everybody’s suspicions highs were about him and Alyssa, and he wondered if that was part of the reason. If he were to bail, that’d just fuel that more.

“Might as well since I’m here,” Chase comments as he looks over the menu.

Karsyn felt her blood drain cold at the coldness of the statement. There was nothing in the open about trying to get closer or getting to know each other. There were no indications about turning this double date into something special. But there was no way that he was with Alyssa….right?

Despite awkward beginning to the dinner, it actually turned out pretty good. the conversation around the table was solid as Hayley and Ty shared details of the trip that they took over the holidays. Chase then discussed details of the ski trip that he took with Ryan and Darrell, as they had agreed to go on one each other. Karsyn was last to tell tales of her off-season, speaking of the family trip that she took with the siblings Kennedy and Wyatt to Europe. They then discussed some things about the Daytona 500 tomorrow and their expectations, with some playful ribbing.

Following the dinner, they headed back to the motorcoach lot, everybody agreeing that they had a good time – despite knowing that Hayley was up to no good. Ty and Hayley headed their motorcoach, leaving Karsyn and Chase to head to their own way. If things worked according to plan, Ty had them landing in the same place.

Being the gentlemen, he agreed to walk her back before retreating to his…well, Alyssa. The walk had been quiet so far and was set to remain that way – till Karsyn froze on the spot and looked over at Chase. She couldn’t take hiding it any longer. While they had put off the fact that this was a set-up and should mean nothing, that wasn’t a thought in her mind. This dinner meant everything to her as it gave her time with Chase. She knew she had to capitalize on the opportunity.

“Chase, I love you,” she tells him straight out. He should’ve expected this as Hayley had to have a good reason for setting up a dinner besides them both being single.

“Okay…” He lets out quietly, debating what to say in return. He didn’t want to lead her on, but he couldn’t state that he was already in a relationship. “But I…”

“Come on…” Karsyn could tell that he was nervous for some reason, and hoped that reason was due to the love birds.

“You’re nice, wonderful, and I like you….but I don’t love you.” Karsyn felt her heart break into two upon hearing those words.

“Why?” She had to know the reason if she ever wanted to move forward.

“I just don’t have those feelings.” He couldn’t say much else as that was the true. There was never a time that he felt those feelings for her, no matter the time that they spent together.

“It’s Alyssa, right?” Chase then looks at her surprised.

“What?” Karsyn shakes her head as she knew that she had to right to be curious the other night.

“You love her. Just tell me the truth.” Chase lets out a sigh, knowing that he couldn’t lie. He wasn’t brought up to lie.

“Fine. I do.” Karsyn lets out a sigh, shaking her head.

“She’s just a kid…”

“She’s 18.” Karsyn then crosses her arms.

“And you’re?” Chase glanced away, not wanting to have this discussion. Why did everybody want to bring up the age factor?

“Age is just a number.” Karsyn shakes her head in disbelief as she looks anywhere but at Chase.

“Right. So because she’s 18, it’s okay to be in love with her.” Chase kept his eyes on Karsyn, curious as to what she would do next.

“She’s an adult.”

“So because she’s 18, it’s fine….even though at 17, it’s not fine.” Chase runs his hands through his hair, growing frustrated. This dinner had been a bad idea from the beginning.

“I love her, Karsyn! I can’t change that!”

“Just buddies!”

“No, it’s more. It goes deep.” Karsyn just rolls her eyes as she couldn’t imagine that being the case. Alyssa was just 18. How did she know what that meant? She was just probably leaning on Chase because her heart was broken.

“I can’t believe this!” Chase grabs Karsyn’s hand, catching her attention.

“I’m sorry. Just….don’t tell anyone, yet. We want to ourselves, soon.” She then glances away with a slight laugh.

“Right…” She then turns her eyes back to Chase. “Is that why she broke up with Leo?” Chase shakes his head no, instantly reminded of Alyssa’s comments earlier that night. Why did everybody assume the worse?

“No, not at all. She didn’t know I liked her till Friday.” Karsyn could tell that Chase was sincere by his words, despite thinking that it was just a wrong deal together.

“Honestly?”

“Honestly.” He then lets go of her hand. “Come on. Let me walk you back, at least.”

“Yeah…” The pair then continued their walk in silence. Karsyn didn’t know what to say in return, but she knew that it’d take her time to get over this. So much for having a crush on him and wanting to be with him.

Chapter 32: Alyssa….

After dropping her off and trading goodbyes, Chase headed back to see Alyssa. He hated to drop the ball like that on Karsyn, but he couldn’t lie and he’d rather see her learn the truth then be led along. He knew that he had totally broken her heart and it’d take her time, but why drag that out? She’d get over it and find someone that would love her completely like she deserved.

He then made his way to the motorcoach, grabbing the spare key that he had in his pocket and unlocking the door. He then made his way inside, slipping the door quietly closed behind him. He didn’t want to wake her if she had fallen asleep, but also knew that she’d probably be waiting up based on the promise.

He makes his way through the motorcoach, hearing what he could only tell was tears. He quickens his pace as he opens the bedsroom door, seeing Alyssa curled up in the bed. He walks over, gently sitting beside her.

“I thought you were okay,” he offers as he rubs her back.

“I am,” she responds as she glances up at him. She was glad that he had finally made it back as perhaps he could offer some comfort.

“This doesn’t look like it.” She then lets out a sigh as she rolls over to face him.

“I’m fine.” Chase shakes his head as he could see otherwise, based on the tears that were still on her cheeks.

“Alyssa, you’re in pain.” She then lets out a sigh as she goes to curl back up again.

“It’s not due to the wreck.” Chase then looks at her intrigued.

“Oh?” His mind is then sent into a flurry of worry and curiosity. What could be going on? “Alyssa, what happened?” She then rolls back on her back, looking straight up at him. Why didn’t guys just get it?

“It’s my time of the month!” He then looks at her shocked as she lets out a sigh. “You know…my period. I get bad stomach cramps…” He slowly shakes his head as she rolls up into her curled form. He then rubs her back.

“Should I get someone?” She shook her head as she knew that none of that would help. If anything, having Chase there to comfort her was the best thing possible.

“No.” Chase wished that he could make it disappear, and was really lost at to what to do – if anything.

“Do you-”

“Gatorade and ibuprofen, please.” Whenever she’d get them, she would take a couple ibuprofen and sip on a bottle of Gatorade. In the span of a couple of hours, it would at least die down to something that she could deal with. Though with the pain that she felt earlier, she hadn’t moved as she just wanted to curl up and disappear.

“Okay.” He then leaves the room, grabbing a bottle of Gatorade out of the fridge. He then stops in the bathroom, grabbing a pair of pills before returning to the bedsroom. He then hands them both to her as she sits up.

“Thanks…” She then takes the pills as she sips on a bit of the Gatorade, before setting it on the night stand. She then curls back up in the bed, hoping the pills kicked in sooner than later.

“Chase, can you cuddle me?” The offer was so simple, but so inviting. He knew that she needed some comfort and he was willing to do whatever it took to make her feel better.

“Sure.” He then climbs in the bed with her, wrapping his arms around her as she curls up in his arms, laying her head against his chest.

“How was your dinner?” She questions, curiously. He was hoping hat they wouldn’t talk about the dinner much he didn’t want to reveal that he told Karsyn about them.

“It was good. We had a great discussion about our off-seasons, this upcoming season and a variety of topics. I think Ty wanted to take me out to a fancy place in try for bribery tomorrow.” Alyssa then chuckles slightly as that seemed like it’d be an interesting plan to try.

“Who was all there?” He knew upon answering this question that she’d immediately get curious about things.

“Ty, Hayley, Karsyn and myself.” Alyssa lets out a sigh as she knew exactly what that meant.

“Hayley found her bow and arrow, again. She tried to strike with you and Karsyn, right?” Chase lets out a sigh as he didn’t want to talk about it…

“Yeah, she tried. I realized upon arriving, but knew that I couldn’t just leave because they’d know about…us…and I wanted to keep my promise to you.” Alyssa glances back at him before going back into her previous position. She couldn’t have cared less about that right now as she would’ve preferred Chase there sooner and cuddling her.

“So did anything happen?” His inability to lie was going to haunt him that night.

“Nothing happened during the dinner. We came back and I offered to walk her back to her motorcoach, being the gentlemen. She then confessed that she liked me, really liked me. I told her that I couldn’t accept that because I didn’t like her that much in return.” Alyssa wanted to look at Chase in the eyes as he told this tale, but was too comfortable in her position.

“She didn’t take it well, did she?” Chase felt a bit of sadness in remembering the reaction that she gave him. He hated to break her heart…honestly….

“She was heartbroken. She then asked me if it was because of you…and I told her that we were together. She then gave me all the reasons as to why we shouldn’t be together – we’re just buddies, the age, you’re barely an adult – but I defended it over. She finally caved into accepting, once I assured her that you didn’t break up with Leo because of me. She also promised not to say anything and I walked her back.” Alyssa felt all tinge of worry over that simple explanation. There were so many places that this could go wrong. What if Karsyn said something? What if she told Leo? What if Leo thought just as she had? What if that was what they were faced in revealing everything?

“Chase, you sure that she won’t say anything?” Chase didn’t know for 100 per cent certain, but he trusted her. Karsyn was a good girl and she knew right from wrong. She was also close with them all and had always been trustworthy.

“I trust her in that she won’t say anything because she’s never done anything untrustworthy in the past towards me or you. She’s your older cousin. She wouldn’t do something to hurt you…” Alyssa lets out a sigh as she could only hope that Chase was right.

“We’re going to tell our parents next weekend. Then, let it come out to our friends, followed by the media. What if everybody reacts like she did?” Chase knew the worries that she was feeling as he had thought about them himself. There were one of the reasons why he held back originally. However, he wasn’t going to let that affect them now.

“Alyssa, I love you with all my heart. I don’t care what they have to say as they can have their own opinion. All that matters is the feelings that we have for each other. Besides, the majority is going to agree with it because they know true love is special. You need to stop worrying and just relax…” He then runs his hand through her hair as she lets out a sigh. She wanted to be like him and just push it aside, but it kept nagging at the back of her mind.

Rather than focus on that, the pair focused their attention towards the movie that had come on the TV, letting themselves both drift off into a relaxed state. Her cramps were finally calming down as she was able to get relaxed, and he certainly was fine being there with her.

Following the completion of the movie, Chase glances at the time, seeing that it is past midnight. While he was comfortable where he was and wanted to continue to comfort her, he knew he couldn’t stay the night. He just hoped that she had enough comfort in her to allow her to get a good night sleep.

“I got to go…” He starts as he goes to leave the bed.

“Can you stay the night?” She questions. She didn’t want him to leave as she felt most comfortable in the current spot and wasn’t set to make any movement. Nothing could replace cuddles with Chase.

“Alyssa…” He wanted to stay, but couldn’t imagine the reaction if someone caught them in the morning together.

“Please?” She begs as she looks into his eyes. Instantly, there was no fighting it as he could never say no to his little princess.

“Fine. Let me slip my jeans and shirt off.” She then gets up, letting him slip out of bed. He then slips off of his clothes, leaving him in just his boxers as he climbs back in bed. She instantly returns to her curled up position lying against him as he reaches to shut off the night.

“I love you, Chase.” He smiles as he runs his hands through her hair.

“I love you, too.” He then gives her a kiss on the forehead. “Get some sleep, sweetheart.”

“You better get some too. I expect to be celebrating a 500 victory with you tomorrow.” He then chuckles as he adjusts the pillows slightly.

“Yes ma’am.”

Chapter 33: Daytona 500 Morning

“So Karsyn says that’s what happened,” Hayley comments as her and Ty sit over breakfast the following meeting.

After the discussion with Chase, Karsyn felt heartbroken and upset, needing someone to talk to. She hated tobreak the promise that she had made Chase, but she needed some comfort of some kind. So she went to someone that knew about the dinner, and they could trust.

She immediately called up Hayley, saying that she wanted to talk about things. Hayley originally thought it’d be great conversation, as if the pair had a good talk. Though upon hearing the details, she was in shock. She never expected Chase to come out and openly admit that he was with Alyssa – not yet, anyway.

“Wow,” Ty comments as a wave of pure shock washes over him. It had been suspected, and Cole had added certainty to the matter. However, to hear that it was actually true with Chase saying it, it really brought forth the truth now.

“So obviously we both screwed up big time with the dinner, and that was why Chase was caught off-guard.” Ty glances up from his plate with a slight smile.

“There was a chance of him being with Alyssa. I had discussed it with Cole. The dinner was supposed to be a way of saying it for certainty. As you see, that happened.” Hayley sits back in shock as it was normally her duty to be setting up dinners and people together. Hence why everybody was afraid of her having a bow and arrow.

“Ty Dillon, how could you do?!?” Ty lets out a sigh as he glances back down at his eggs and bacon.

“Listen, we had to know the truth somehow. Karsyn also needed to know whether it was possible with Chase since she has a huge crush on him. Rather than dwell in that fact, she should know what’s going on. As far as Chase and Alyssa, no comment.” He then focuses back on eating, not wanting to think about the pair being together. The whole deal had him completely disgusted and put off. He wished that he could just walk up to Chase and convince him that he wasn’t going about this in the most sensible matter. There was nothing about this relationship that spelled the right details for Ty.

“Something tells me that you don’t agree….” Ty’s eyes snap up to his wife as he looks at her surprised.

“Who would?” Hayley smiles as she takes a sip of her orange juice. She could see the pair being together as they were close. They cared about each other a ton, had always taken care of other, could always open up toe ach other and were hardly seen apart. She hadn’t honestly pictured this happening, but couldn’t argue against it.

“I don’t see a problem with it, Ty. They both love each other a lot and truly care about each other. In honesty, I can’t believe nobody predicted this.” Ty could only scuff a laugh as he couldn’t believe what he was hearing.

“Nobody predicted it because she was with Leo. Everything was perfect with Leo. Everybody believed that the Earnhardt-Gordon families would combine for the strangest reality that we had ever seen based on the way things have been. And now, here she is with Chase Elliott. Everything is just supposed to transition to it being the perfect combination without any arguments. But yet, the pair are only 14 years apart in age – something that we should just forget.”

Hayley sits back, thinking over what her husband had to say. It was true that she had no issue with the age factor. She had seen age boundaries like that before in the past between other people that she knew. It was something that had never disgusted her in the past. Truthfully speaking, she was shocked to hear Ty talk about it in that matter.

When it came to the deal with Leo, that was probably why she hadn’t pictured the thought of Alyssa and Chase being together. It also caused a funny stir in her stomach as she thought over some careful details.

“Didn’t Chase supposedly give Alyssa advice on what to do about her and Leo?” Hayley then questions, as Ty shakes his head yes. He remembered hearing abou that conversation.

“After the shootout, the pair were seen sitting on pit road together having a heart-to-heart discussion,” Ty reveals as Hayley thinks things over.

“Karsyn mentioned that she wondered if Alyssa broke up with Leo because of Chase. When she asked, Chase told her that wasn’t the case as he didn’t confess his love till Friday. She said that she didn’t believe him, though. She felt that was part of it.” Ty couldn’t imagine Chase lying as that was something that he wouldn’t do; Chase had never lied over the years that they’d known each other.

“He wouldn’t lie – no matter the situation. He probably did tell her on Friday. But, that doesn’t mean that his feelings for her didn’t affect the advice that he gave her.” Hayley shakes her head in disagreement. She couldn’t put hose pieces together.

“No….that’s not Chase. Chase wouldn’t do that. He wouldn’t persuade her one way or another for his own selfish reasons. He’d want to see her happy, and give her the most honest advice that he could offer about her situation.” Ty shrugs his shoulders as he stands up.

“If that keeps you sane about the situation, then you can think that. as far as I am concerned, this is one messed up situation.” He then walks over and places his plate in the sink before walking off towards the bathroom.

After getting a shower, Ty comes out and sees a message on his phone from Cole. Obviously the other driver was wanting to learn details about what happened, based on the conversation that they had beforehand.

It’s a yes. Chase and Alyssa are together but keep your flap shut. Talk details later.

Cole looks at his phone surprised as he couldn’t believe the news. In all the times of their discussion, he never could find aw ay to believe that it was happening. But here was the statement that they were together.

The thought could only make his skin crawl as he couldn’t find a way to believe it. Though if it was true, he also couldn’t argue against it. It seemed perfect that pair would be together as they had been close since a young age. He saw that while driving for JR Motorsports, and even saw that since moving forward with his career. The majority of the time when he went looking for one, he would find the other.

Chapter 34: Encounters

“Thanks for cuddles last night,” Alyssa comments as she sits on the couch. Chase just smiles as he slips his shoes on.

“Anytime you need me, just let me know,” Chase replies before leaning in and kissing her lips. “I better get going before your parents find me here. While we were innocent, they may not think so.” Alyssa chuckles, but honestly thinks about it. What would Dale and Marie actually say?

“You have a big race to get ready for anyway. I’ll be out on pit road to wish you luck.”

“Looking forward to seeing you, Princess.” He then heads out of the motorcoach.

He was supposed to go on a simple walk. Not even fives minutes, just down a couple motorcoaches. He would reach his own, enter, shower and then get dressed in his suit before the driver’s meeting. The quick walk would bring forth nobody notic….

“Did you just see what I saw?” He hears a male voice and glances over, seeing Marshall standing there. He rolls his eyes as he sees Emma clutched close to his arm.

“What did you see?” Emma questions as she looks between Marshall and Chase.

“I just saw Chase Elliott come out of Alyssa’s motorcoach…” Chase lets out a sigh, and immediately rolls his eyes. Everything was blowing up quicker than he ever would’ve hoped, and the thought of it starting with these two made him disgusted.

“I was just seeing how she was after her wreck yesterday so get your minds out of the gutter,” Chase comments. “I don’t think about sex 24/7 like you do.”

“Isn’t that the same clothes that you were wearing yesterday while sitting on her pit box?” Marshall questions as he looks over the outfit.

“It’s also funny as she just broke up with Leo, too,” Emma adds as Chase lets out a sigh. Why did everyone have to bug?

“Nice job trying to put two and two together but what if I just grabbed this outfit randomly this morning, went over to say hi and am returning to get a shower and get ready?” Chase questions.

“Oh of course, because you’d never would’ve spent the night with her.” Emma then breaks out away from Marshall and walks right up to Chase and brushes her hand against his cheek. “I saw you with Karsyn last night….” Chase then swats her hand away.

“Keep your cooties to yourself…”

“I saw your discussion….and your little spat. I also saw you enter Alyssa’s motorcoach. Chasey, you’re not so innocent anymore. Just speak up and tell the truth.” Chase takes a deep breath, calming himself. Why did this woman always get underneath his skin?

“Nothing happened. She wasn’t feeling well, so I simply offered to take care of her. I slept on the couch and kept an eye on her. The end. Now, don’t you have somewhere to be?” Emma simply grins as she walks away from him.

“Can’t wait till you reveal that you’re together.” She then walks over with Marshall as Chase lets out a sigh. He hurries back to his motorcoach, grabbing his phone as he slips into the bathroom.

Emma and Marshall saw me leaving. Questioned it all. Saw me last night too. With K, entering your place. Told them that you no feel good and I comfort, sleep on couch. Still think together.

Alyssa lets out a sigh as she reads the text message. A sick feeling came to her stomach as she thought about yet another person knowing about them together. Perhaps their plan wasn’t so bullet proof after all.

Should we tell parents?

Chase reads the text message as he slips his pants off. The question was simple, but straight to the point. Given that Emma and Marshall figured it out, it was probably only a matter of time till the world knew. Besides, Karsyn would probably want comfort from someone. He hoped that she didn’t go say everything to her mother as that’d mean direct line to Dale. However, who else would she go to?

Up to you. I don’t care.

Alyssa wanted to keep it quiet, scared of how everybody would judge. But based on what was happening already, the judging had begun. Perhaps it’d be best to say something and get it over and done with.

Tell parents post race. They should know. And discuss Ms. Vitty. Creepy stalker?

Chase freezes as the glance of those words. stalker…..attack…..he shakes his head no. that was so long ago. They couldn’t go down those roads again. She probably just saw a glance and spied because she is just that ill-natured type of person. She would never do such an evil thing as attack.

But still it was worth a discussion. He wasn’t about to take any chances.

Don’t think so. Talk later. Xoxo.

On the flip side of the garage, Ty and Cole had met up to discuss things. Cole wanted full details, so Ty told everything that he had heard from Hayley, in which she heard from Karsyn. Cole was still in disbelief, but stood by his word of not wanting to stand in their way. He wasn’t going to have any part of Ty’s future plans in figuring out why they couldn’t be together.

“So you’re saying that you don’t care?” Ty questions as Cole lets out a sigh.

“Alyssa and Chase love each other,” he starts. “If they want to be together, then why should we stop them?”

“Chase and Alyssa are together?” A voice overhears the conversation as the pair of boys look up from the picnic table in the motorcoach lot. They both freeze upon realization as to who overheard their conversation.

“Cindy….” Ty starts as Cindy puts her finger out.

“Again, Chase and Alyssa are together? And remember who you’re talking to, Dillon.”

“They are together….” Cindy then glances over at Bill.

“Did you hear that?” Bill shakes his head yes, surprised.

“Do you want to know how we know?” Ty questions, slightly smiling. Perhaps if he explained things to the pair, he could get them on his point of view and on Chase’s back.

“And you thought nothing was there when I mentioned the conversation with Marie…” Cindy says to Bill, ignoring Bill’s pleads.

“I just…I didn’t think it was possible,” Bill comments as Cindy rolls her eyes.

“Anything is possible. You should know that. Now I have someone to talk to…” Cindy then heads off through the motorcoach lot.

“Cindy!” Bill then hurries after her, silently hoping that Chase wasn’t at his motorcoach and off at some appearance based on what she would have to say.

Chapter 35: Momma

Dressed and set to go, ready to tackle the day, Chase emerges from the back of the motorcoach. He then stops suddenly when he sees his mom sitting there.

“Momma, how’d you get in?” He questions as she keeps her eyes locked on him.

“I know the access code,” she answers as he thinks it over. He remembered saying the six key numbers to her.

“Right…and key?” She then holds up a key that is in her hand.

“You gave me the spare before. But enough! Are you with Alyssa?” Chase couldn’t believe that he had heard those words, or the fact that his mother was asking him this very question.

“Who told you?” He figured if he was going to answer to the question sooner than he wanted, he might as well know why.

“That doesn’t matter. Answer the question.” Chase felt in disagreement with that statement. He wanted to know who was causing him this trouble. Then it hit him. Who was the one person that he had told?

“Karsyn?” Cindy rolls her eyes. She just wanted answers.

“Chase….”

“She told Hayley, who told Ty, who told Cole,” Bill restates, having figured out the trail of news from the discussion with the boys earlier. It was something that surprised him as he never thought he’d be playing broken telephone, or the high school rumor runaround with a bunch of 30 year olds.

“Lovely,” Chase comments, wanting to strangle Karsyn. But, that quickly subsided. Karsyn had a right to tell someone as she would probably want some comfort based on a broken heart. It’d make sense that she’d go to a close friend, and that being Hayley for this time being. Perhaps he could strangle Hayley as she didn’t need to tell her husband. She should’ve understood that telling Ty would create a fumble of craziness amongst the men in the garage.

“Chase?” Cindy questions, still wanting the answer to her question.

“It’s true, okay? We were going to tell you tonight.” She had wanted to make it disappear, and could, upon hearing the boys say it. But now hearing her son admit it? A wave of shock came over in pure disbelief.

“I can’t believe this.” Chase rolls his eyes. Was this discussion really happening? Had they gone back in time?

“I love her, Momma.” Cindy lets out a sigh as she knew that part was true. It was evident by the ‘buddy’ relationship the pair had.

“You’re heartbroken and lonely, needing someone. You have only looked to her for comfort.” Chase shakes his head no, wishing that his mom would understand. These weren’t sudden feelings, but rather feelings that had been there for awhile.

“I’ve liked her for awhile, even while with Emma.” Cindy hated to hear that even more. So that meant that he was with the twit but not totally loyal due to feelings for his ‘buddy’?

“Chase….” Chase had wanted to tell Alyssa was sooner, but didn’t want to bust her relationship with Leo at the time. He also was worried of this exact thing happening.

“Now we both are free. I told her Friday.” Cindy glances away, disbelieving this entire scenario.

Honey, please understand.”

“No, Mom. You need to. I love her.” Cindy lets out a frustrated sigh. She thought this would be a short discussion.

“You’re buddies, close and comforting. You heart believes more due to your recent break-up.” Chase shakes his head no, wishing that she’d understand about these feelings not being something that just showed up.

“No….”

“Think about it rationally.” Chase then glances over at his father, growing frustrated.

“Dad, help me?” Bill then glances up, surprised that he was getting called upon into the discussion.

“I…..I don’t know what to say….” Bill stumbles on his words as Cindy crosses her arms.

“Your father is stunned and that doesn’t happen so obviously you’ve done something big,” she states as Chase rolls his eyes once again. So much for beginning his 500 morning on a smooth note.

“Mom, please understand,” he pleads with her. “We both truly love each other and want this. We’re both adults. Heck, I’m 32 now! I think I can take care of myself. As for Ty, Cole, Karsyn, Hayley and Emma, where’s the maturity?”

“They don’t matter right now. It’s you that I’m focu-”

“And I told you that I could take care of myself and know what I’m doing. You love me and care about me. You always said to make sure you find that person that truly loves you, accepts you and completes you. I have found that with Alyssa. I thought you’d be a little more supportive.”

“Your mother just wants to make sure that you’re making the right decision, Chase,” Bill comments as he looks between the pair.

“I know I’m making the right decision, Dad,” Chase assures Bill as he glances over at him. “This is what my heart wants. I want to be with Alyssa.”

“And what do you think everybody is going to say?” Cindy questions as Chase glances back to his mom.

“They’ll be some who will act just like you’re acting, and it’s not going to bother either of us. Let them talk and say what they want. This is something that we both want and aren’t going to give up because of everyone else.”

“Unbelievable….”

“You need to trust me on this, Mom. I know what I’m doing. Now, if you both could please leave, I have a driver’s meeting to get too. I want to just focus on the race for the rest of the day. We can discuss this more later, if you want” Bill and Cindy both then leave as instructed as Chase follows them out.

As he walks over to the driver’s meeting, he texts Alyssa and tells her that his parents know, via the grapevine. Alyssa could only let out a sigh, and perhaps a wish to strangle them all, but knew that it’d come eventually. It just reassures their plan in discussing things with her parents post-race.

As he enters the driver’s meeting, he goes over to Dale and kneels over his shoulder.

“Post-race, I want to talk with you and Marie about something,” he starts as Dale looks up at him. “Alyssa and I have something that we want to tell you.” Dale shakes his head, understanding, having an idea based on the suspicions that had been shared throughout the week.

“That’s fine,” Dale accepts, not wanting to discuss much with everyone around. If it was what he was thinking, he didn’t want to create added pressure on them to say something if not comfortable yet.

Chase then went and delivered the same message to Ty and Cole, not answering any further questions that the pair even bothered to share. The message was also delivered to Emma and Marshall, but he knew that was probably like talking to a wall. The final stop was to Karsyn to tell her that there was a meeting post-race to discuss things.

“Chase, I didn’t mean to star-” She starts, having heard about the grapevine of word.

“I’m not mad at you,” he cuts her off. “I understand that you were heartbroken and needed someone to talk to. It’s fine. It would’ve come out eventually.”

He then goes and takes his seat for the driver’s meeting, set to focus on the Daytona 500 for the rest of the day.