The Tale of Love & Racing; Sarina’s Story – Chapter 91: A Pool Slip-Up

Wednesday, July 4 – Charlotte, North Carolina

“This is the life,” Sarina comments as she puts her feet up, smile locked on her face as she glances over with a smile.

How could she complain when she was surrounded by best friends and everybody was sharing drinks, stories, and some outdoor fun on Independence Day? Laying by the pool, soaking up the fun, catching up with her best friend while the boys played in the yard was everything that she could ask for after the stress of Monday.

“So you’d give up racing and go full beach bum?” Lindsay questions and Sarina just laughs.

“You know already that I wouldn’t survive that,” Sarina replies. “Heck, not being able to drive this weekend is going to drive me nuts. Oh wait, Daytona does that enough to me already.” She then looks over at Lindsay. “Think Alan would notice if I snuck a bit of vodka or rum in my drink on the pit box?”

“Now that’s just crazy talk from the lady who doesn’t drink…” Sarina lets out a sigh as she lays back in her seat.

“Let’s just say that restrictor plate racing is the reason that I will have a gray hair at the age of 40. It’s fun as hell in that moment, but watching Chase, I can barely stomach it.” Lindsay nods her head in agreement as she rubs her stomach.

“I just hope this little one co-operates enough that I can watch this weekend….” Sarina then glances over, feeling a little bit of concern.

“Still giving you issues?” Lindsay nods her head.

“They say morning sickness, but I call it just sickness. I can get through a couple days good, and then I go a couple days where I just continue throwing up no matter what.” The girls then watch as the boys make their way back up to the porch, grabbing another beer each out of the cooler. The boys also made sure to treat the girls as queens, with Ryan delivering a lemonade to Lindsay as Chase placed a glass before Sarina. “For a girl that doesn’t drink, that looks suspicious….”

“Take a sip and thank me later,” Chase comments, dropping a quick kiss on her cheek, before going back over to the porch ledge with Ryan. Sarina picks up the glass, taking a sniff as a smile immediately forms on her face.

“Did you seriously order in a bottle from Amsterdam?” Sarina questions as Chase just glances over at Ryan with a smile.

“Well, well, someone is trying to find his way to his girl’s heart,” Ryan offers with a laugh. “Are you trying to get lucky under the fireworks tonight or what?” Chase just rolls his eyes.

“She deserves a treat for everything that we’ve been dealing with,” Chase comments as he glances over the backyard. “I haven’t made it easy on her, Ryan…” Ryan glances over at his friend.

“Alison was not your fau-”

“But kissing your sister was my fault, and while Alison wasn’t my fault, I still appreciate Sarina for being there, comforting me, giving me space when I need it, and being understanding in my emotions. It seems no matter what I throw at her, she may get angry at that minute, but once then she’s my rock and there for me to lean on no matter what.” He takes a quick glance back at the girls, before looking over at Ryan. “How did we get so lucky, Ryan?”

“I don’t know, man, but I don’t take a single minute for granted.” Ryan holds his bottle up. “Cheers for two wonderful ladies that will do anything for us, and cheers to making this summer memorable.”

“I’ll drink to that.” They share a clash of bottles together, before taking a long sip each.

The rest of the afternoon was filled with more drinks and stories, with everybody just enjoying the chance to relax as they watched the sunset off the porch. Once the sun had set, the boys retreated to the garage, pulling out the fireworks that they had purchased, evil grins on their faces as the girls just glanced at each other nervous.

“Promise to be careful?” Lindsay questions as Ryan glances over.

“Absolutely,” he replies as he blows her a kiss.

“Are you sure you can handle this after what you’ve drank?” Sarina wonders and Chase nods his head.

“Just sit back and enjoy the show,” he offers, as he hands each of the girls a sparkler lit up.

The girls giggled as they made different shapes in the air with the sparklers, including each of their boy’s car numbers inside of a heart. Their eyes were caught on the sky seconds later as it was filled with a variety of different colors and sizes, with each boom surprising more after the previous.

“That was worth every penny,” Ryan offers and Chase nods his head in agreement.

Under the moonlight, another round of drinks was passed around, followed by perhaps a couple after that. The girls could tell the boys were certainly a little lit, but they weren’t about to stop them as they’d been behaved for the time being. There was the agreement that if things started to go off the rails, they’d put an end to the night.

Everything continued to go smoothly – until the boys were set on starting a competition as to who could have the fanciest, craziest dive into the pool. A glance at each other, and the girls were feeling more nerves than earlier.

“Watch this….” Chase let out as he took the run to the diving board, ready to set the bar high. Though rather than going for the diving board, he slipped on the path, foot twisting slightly, before landing head-first in the pool.

“Shit!” Sarina and Ryan yelled immediately together as Sarina jumped up from her seat.

“Chase?!?” She says as she makes her way over to the pool.

“I’m okay….” He lets out after his head pops up above water. “I’m okay…” Sarina was set to believe him as she saw no visible marks anywhere on the top of his head or face, but his response didn’t have her totally convinced.

“Oh really?” He then swims over to the edge of the pool, making his way up on the edge and sitting there. “Chase…”

“I’ll be fine…” He then glances down at his foot, moving it slightly as he lets out a small grunt. “I probably just sprained it….”

“I hope so because otherwise, Alan is going to kill you….” She then makes her way over to him, holding her hands out. “Come on, let’s go. You’re going inside and putting that up immediately.”

“I’ll be fin-”

“No ifs, ands, or buts. If you don’t get that up with some ice on it, it’s going to swell like a bitch and you’ll be sorry tomorrow.” He then reluctantly swings around, slowly getting up with Sarina’s help and hobbling in the house.

“Come on Ryan; fun is over for tonight,” Lindsay says as she grabs Ryan by the hand, dragging him in the house after her.

Thursday, July 5 – Daytona International Speedway

Sarina makes her way into the garage stall, giving the crew guys a quick wave as she does, making her way over to where Chase stood. Her eyes immediately sunk to the ground, noticing how he was trying to keep weight off his foot.

“You know, it’d be easier to do that if you were laying down with it up with ice on it as you were instructed to,” she offers as he just lets out a sigh.

Ever since he had woken up that morning before flying, she bugged him about it. She then persisted to bug him once they landed, making him put it back up on a pillow with ice while they snagged a nap. It seemed the only conversation that they were having over the past 24 hours surrounded a foot.

“I’m fine,” he offers as she glances up into his eyes, shaking her head in disagreement. His eyes obviously told a different story.

“Chase, you’re in pai-”

“I’m fine. I can handle it…” She then lets out a sigh as she crosses her arms.

“What if you broke it? What if you tore some ligaments? What if there’s more to this than you’re letting on? You should go get checked it out.” He then glances over at her.

“I’m supposed to be in the car shortly, and you want me to go get it checked out?” She nods her head. “I’m fine, Sarina.” She then places her hand on top of his.

“Chase, it’d make me feel a lot better if you got it checked out, so please listen to me….”

“Listen to her Chase,” Alan suggests as he glances over at him. he knew how Sarina was at Daytona with her nerves, and he knew anything to give her comfort was warranted. “You’ve got an hour to XFINITY practice.  You’ve got plenty of time.”

“Not helping, Ala-” Chase starts as Alan gives him a stern glance.

“Do I need to call your mother?” Chase’s jaw drops in shock. “Do what your told, please.” Chase then glances back at Sarina with a sigh, almost in total disbelief.

“Let’s go….” She then takes his hand with hers, as they make their way slowly out of the garage stall through the garage to the medical center.

Thankfully, his predictions of it being just a sprain were right as all the of the x-rays came back clean, showing all bones in their proper places. With the recommendation of more elevation and ice when he got a chance, he was back in the garage ready to start the day.

“Make sure you’re drinking lots,” Sarina offers as she watches him get set to climb in the car, earning a curious glance from him. “I don’t want a repeat of last week.”

“I’ll take care of myself, okay?” He tells her. “You don’t need to worry about me. I’ll be fine, and we’ll have a good weekend…” She then takes a deep breath as she grabs onto his hand.

“Just promise me you’ll be safe.” He then pulls her close to him so they were touching head-to-toe.

“Always.” He then gives her a kiss on the lips, before climbing the car as she takes another deep breath, slowly walking away.

She makes her way up onto the GMS Racing hauler, placing on her headset as she glances out at the oval. Trying to calm herself with another deep breath, she hoped the butterflies cooled off as they went through the rest of the weekend.

“Are you okay?” She hears Chad Norris ask as he joins her up on top of the hauler.

“Usual restrictor plate nerves,” she offers as her eyes glance down to the garage, seeing the No. 23 Untuckit Camaro pulling out of the garage.

“I’ve heard of wives and girlfriends being nervous, but I’d never thought I’d see a fellow racecar driver be nervous…” She then glances over at Chad.

“You’re looking at a driver who has seen the worst of these tracks from the driver’s seat, though. I know what it feels like to hit that wall. I know what it feels like to ride that wall with two wheels because you get pinched up there, trapped, nowhere to go and along for the ride. I think because I’ve experienced that helpless feeling, it makes my nerves worse knowing that there’s nothing that you can do if it starts around you. besides, I watched him wreck at Talladega and you can ask Alan and Jordan how I was – not pretty.” Chad then places a hand on her shoulder.

“I can understand then, but I will promise you that my guys built a real safe, fast racecar, and we’re going to be fine tomorrow night.” She nods her head.

“I don’t doubt that, but try convincing the butterflies in my stomach….”

Chase leans against the wall, knowing that there were only 10 minutes between the pair of practices, and Alan would be set for him to take his first laps of the first Cup session. After feeling comfortable with the XFINITY Series car and the moves they could make, he just hoped that same feelings was there in this practice, too.

It was also a bonus when Chad offered to not run the second XFINITY practice since there wasn’t much else they could do to get better. whether he’d admit it openly or not, the sooner he could chill in the motorcoach with his foot up, the better as it was sorer than he thought it’d be.

He then hears his phone go off, which had him a little confused as everybody was pretty good in avoiding anything during practice sessions knowing that was his priority. Though seeing the number on his phone, he answered it.

“Hey,” he says simply as he stays in the same spot.

“Hey,” Erin replies at the other end. “I thought I’d call you and let you know that the article will go live on Monday. I did what I could, but there was no way that stop it from coming out…” Chase lets out a sigh, knowing what that meant as it was only a matter of time until the world knew he kissed Erin in Ireland.

“Thanks for the heads-up.” Erin could see the disappointment in his voice.

“Have you told Sarina what happened?” Chase closes his eyes, as he remembered that conversation clearly.

“She took it better than I imagined, Erin. A little anger but not as much as I thought, understanding that it was a drunken lapse in judgment. Now, how do you convince the world of that?” Erin lays back in her bed.

“Everybody isn’t going to believe that you were drunk and it was a lapse of judgment. I think, if I’m being honest, everybody will split down the middle. Carolyn gave me the choice to add a comment, in which I did with that statement – so it isn’t like you’re coming up with a later-on statement. Chase, I’m really sor-”

“You didn’t kiss me, Erin; I kissed you. It’s my decisi-”

“A drunken decision that you don’t even remember for that matter, therefore holds no weight. It’s unfair that you have to shoulder all of this, from the trial with Alison to the kiss that was really nothing. Hopefully it blows over quickly.” Chase wanted to laugh as he knew that was impossible. It was only a matter of time that the Alison would blow-up further with the trial dates scheduled, and details to be revealed.

“Just know that whatever they may say about you, it’s not true. You’re amazing, and I’ll always be your best friend.”

“That goes both ways, Chase. I’ll see you when I get back to the States. Have fun in Daytona this weekend. Go snag a win, will ya?” He then chuckles.

“I’ll try – if you stop distracting me from practice.” Erin then rolls over, glancing at the time, doing the math silently in her head.

“Ah shit, I screwed up. I thought that practice was over by now. Sorry…”

“It’s okay. I’m not mad at you, but I better let you go. We’ll talk later, okay?”

“Absolutely. Bye Chase.”

“Bye Erin.” He then hangs up, a small smile on his face.

Certainly the circumstances of that call sucked as he would’ve preferred no article at all, but she never failed to put a smile on his face.

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

Tuesday June 19, 2018 – Dublin, Ireland

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Definitely drunk,” Ryan declares.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday June 20, 2018 – Dublin, Ireland

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Absolutely no-“

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday June 20, 2018 – Charlotte, North Carolina

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday June 22, 2018 – Gateway Motorsports Park

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, June 16 – Ireland

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, June 16 – Iowa Speedway

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Now you mentioned not set in stone….”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Ah shucks….”

***********

Saturday, June 16 – Dublin, Ireland

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Seriously?” Chase then glances between the pair.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, June 18 – Dublin, Ireland

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, June 15 – Galway, Ireland

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“I’m fine Eri-”

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

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

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

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

“You’re being too hard on yourse-”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Seriously?” She nods her head yes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, June 16 – Ireland

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, June 13

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“I’m just surprised it took tim-”

“Complicated reason and situati-”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, June 14

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Short Track Lovin’ – Chapter 103: “Issues in Paradise?”

Saturday, July 1

Chase glances at the ground, twirling his fingers together, before glancing up as he looks around the small waiting room.

After reading the text message, he had rushed over to the hospital to check on his friend. Thankfully, the poison had been caught early enough so it hadn’t gotten Ryan badly. Erin told him that the doctors assured them that they would be able to catch it all before it got worse, despite Ryan probably feeling pretty sick for the next couple of days.

He had been in to see him briefly, letting him know he was there if need be, though took residence in the waiting room to allow his parents and sisters to be with him instead. He debated going back to the track, but knew he wouldn’t sleep with his mind worried about his friend. So instead, he had curled up in the chair and caught a couple hours of rest through the night.

“Do you want anything?” Sarina asks quietly and Chase shakes his head no. “You need to eat or drink something, breakfast wise. You need to take care of yourself.” She then rubs his back, knowing how worried he was despite assurance that everything would be fine. “Especially if you’re racing tonight on top of this.”

“I’m fine,” he answers as he feels his stomach flip flop once again, letting out a sigh. He knew that she was probably right with her concerns, but how could he stomach something with his worry on edge?

“Did they figure anything out from the previous incidents?” Brad Keselowski comments from his spot in the room. He and Joey had shown up that morning concerned about their teammate, along with a couple members from the Wood Brothers. Chase had given them the same spell that he heard from Erin, with the pair spending a bit of time in the room, before retreating to same spot as Chase.

“They couldn’t pick up any finger prints or anything on what they found. They had some suspect ideas, but never really got to narrowing them down based on evidence.” Chase knew one of those suspects was pretty close to the person sitting beside him, and almost felt like revisiting that topic as thoughts ramped through his mind. He could only wonder where Chris was right now.

“Do you have any idea who is on their short list?” Chase shakes his head no. “Well, I guess that’s for good reason as don’t need people walking around getting falsely accused over random suspicions.”

“There’s already enough of that happening without a true list being released,” Sarina comments as Chase shoots her a look as Brad just looks on curiously.

“Oh really?” Brad questions and Sarina shakes her head yes. Chase could only roll his eyes, knowing this wouldn’t be a good discussion to get into.

“Well, just because someone has a past doesn’t mean that they should be countered by people unfairly.” Chase lets out a sigh as he glances away, only wondering what possible response Brad could have to the comment. Although, admittedly, he was curious as to where this would go based his own perspective.

“Something going on between you two that we missed?” Darrell questions, causing Chase to look over immediately. “I saw the look on your face…”

“There’s nothing going on,” Chase comments as he stands up and heads to the vending machine. Perhaps a snack would be a good idea right now.

“I can go get you something…” Sarina says and Chase just shakes his head no as he inserts a bit of change, letting it disperse a hot chocolate before turning around to face the group. Sipping on the liquid could serve as a good distraction.

“So who was the person wrongfully accused, Sarina?” Brad questions as Chase focuses on the marshmallows in his cup. Darrell hadn’t taken his eyes off Chase the whole time, seeing the quietness forming.

“Your brother, right?” Darrell asks, having picked up on the unease from Chase and Sarina’s definite perspective. He knew how things went the last time these two but heads on the topic of Chris, and could only imagine if it happened again.

“Got your own thoughts to share, Darrell?” She questions, causing Darrell to look on surprised.

“You don’t need to get defensive,” Joey comments quietly from his spot in the room.

“I’m sorry but I don’t appreciate my brother being pinned for something that he didn’t do by people who don’t know anything.” Chase rolls his eyes, knowing that wasn’t fully true, having heard from the comment that Jared made about her brother being around.

“We were just asking based on your comment – that’s all,” Brad states. “Now, let’s just forget the topic came up if it is so touchy for you. Besides, we should be focused on Ryan…” Brad then glances down the hall towards the room that Ryan was in, as Chase glances up from his cup at Sarina.

“Do you want to talk?” Darrell whispers as he walks over, grabbing his own drink from the vending machine. He didn’t want a drink, but figured it was good cover for the offer.

“Nah, I’m good,” Chase replies as he takes another sip of his drink, eyes locked on Sarina.

“Issues in paradise?” Chase shakes his head no. “You’re a liar.” Chase then takes his eyes off Sarina and looks over at Darrell.

“Things are fine between Sarina and I. When it comes to her brother, that’s a different story that I’d rather not talk about right now.” Darrell watches his drink disperse, before grabbing the cup and looking back at Chase.

“Is he behind what happened to Ryan, though?” Chase shrugs his shoulders as he wasn’t sure, quite yet. He hadn’t found the knick of evidence that he knew was needed first.

“If he is, you’ll be one of the first to know about it.” Darrell shakes his head, accepting, before returning to his seat. Chase then drinks the last mouthful before making his way to where Sarina was sitting, returning back to his previous seat.

“We okay?” She questions and Chase shakes his head yes. “I know you’re worried about Ryan, but remember what Erin said. He’s going to be okay….” Chase knew to believe in those words, but it still wasn’t easy seeing one of his close friends in this position. “Now, do you want me to go grab you a bagel or something from the cafeteria?” Chase shakes his head no.

“I told you – I’m fine,” he replies quietly as he takes his phone out of his pocket.

“Well I’m going to grab myself something so text me if you change your mind.” She then gives him a quick kiss before heading out of the room. Considering the curious glances from Darrell and stare from Brad, she didn’t want to stick around in the room any longer.

“Anything to say now that she’s gone?” Brad wonders and Chase looks up, shaking his head no.

“I sympathize with her position as I get how it can be tough to hear people accuse Chris,” Chase starts. “But, I get the reason why after what happened. She’ll be fine…” He then returns his eyes back to his phone, hoping a quick game of something would distract his thoughts.

“Will you be fine?” Chase looks up, caught off-guard by Brad’s concern, though simply shakes his head yes.

“How are we supposed to race tonight as if nothing happened?” Darrell wonders from his corner.

“We just believe that he’ll be alright as Erin assured us, and try to win it for him,” Brad comments. “Have you heard anything about who is driving the car, Joey?”

“You’re really worried about that right now?” Brad shrugs his shoulders.

“Just trying to make light conversation, honestly. The silence was driving me crazy.” Chase actually wished they’d return to that, considering how many emotions the conversation had stirred already.

“I think I heard Ryan Reed is driving the car tonight,” Joey comments as Darrell just rolls his eyes. “Sore subject?”

“Because a guy has a sponsor that’ll kiss his ass and he figured out how to win at Daytona twice means that I’m out of a ride when I’ve beat him everywhere else,” Darrell comments. “But no, I’m fine.”

“It is a little unfair….”

“I still can’t believe you couldn’t find a sponsor,” Brad says as Darrell could only shrug his shoulders.

“It’ll work out bud; don’t worry,” Chase assures him as he gives him a pat on the shoulder.

“I hope you’re right,” Darrell says. “I mean, I’m trying to do what I can in the opportunity that I have till Aric comes back, but I can only do so much.”

“You’re not doing too bad so far,” Brad offers. “Just don’t get caught up in the fact that you’re trying to prove yourself, and overdrive the equipment. It’s better to take that so-so finish rather than a wrecked car.” Darrell shakes his head, knowing that fact already. It was why he was so pissed a couple weeks ago.

“Appreciate the advice.”

“And if all else fails, you could always become a rockstar,” Chase jokes, based on the videos that Ryan and Darrell constantly were sharing of them singing and playing instruments. Darrell could only roll his eyes at the comment, but chuckled.

“Would you attend the concert?” Darrell asks and Chase shrugs his shoulders. “Really?”

“I don’t want a headache….” Darrell rolls his eyes, knowing how Chase wasn’t the biggest fan of scream-o music, but rather a country fan himself.

“I will say that I listened to the Chris Rice CD that you left at the house, and it’s actually pretty good.” Chase smiles as it was certainly some progress.

“Chase?” Erin asks, causing Chase to look up from his seat. “We told Ryan that we were going to grab a quick bite to eat – had to pull dad and mom away but they finally agreed. Anyways, he said he wanted to talk to you alone first before the rest of the group came in.” Chase could only look on confused as he wondered what the topic would be. However, standing up and beginning the walk, he couldn’t deny his best friend a visit.

“I’ll let ya know when we’re done,” he tells the others as he heads down the hall. He crosses paths with Sarina, who stops to face him.

“I’ll com-” She starts and Chase shakes his head no.

“Ryan wants to see me alone before we call everyone else in.” She then looks on confused.

“Why?” Chase couldn’t place the reason no matter what he thought of.

“I don’t know, but I’m listening. I’ll come see you when I’m done.” He gives her a quick kiss before continuing the walk down the hall, giving a hug to both Erin and Emma, before taking a deep breath and heading into the room.

A Cowboy’s Chance – Chapters 61 Thru 65

Chapter 61: Phoenix

“It’s over – NASCAR called it,” Doug announces as he walks over to Lance and Emma. They both look at him confused as if to not believe the call. “They said that they don’t want to chance the lights going out again due to ‘safety reasons’. We’re done.”

Lance shakes his head in disbelief as he looks around the track, seeing the lights still on. It didn’t make sense to him for NASCAR to call the race.

He had a solid night. Got bit during the green flag pit stop cycle, but fought back to get back on the lead lap and was up to 10th when the caution flew for the issue with the lights.

“So we wait an hour to get the race started, but we can’t more than five minutes to possibly restart?” He questions as Doug shrugs his shoulders.

“That’s how it goes sometimes,” Doug comments as he walks over and gives Lance a pat on the shoulder. “You did a good job tonight. Kept fighting, never gave up and got a solid finish. When we’re racing for points next year, days like these will matter.”

“We still had 25 laps…”

“NASCAR is worried that they’ll go out again and it’ll result in a wreck. It’s a safety issue, Lance. That’s how it goes.” Lance shakes his head in disbelief as it didn’t make sense to him. It wasn’t even that late, either. They could’ve at least tried once again, in his mind, to give the drivers the last 25 laps. This was the second last race in the season so every lap mattered that much more, and he wanted those laps.

“Let it go…,” Emma advises as she rubs his shoulders, trying to keep him calm. “You had a good truck tonight and got a good finish. You can do even better next week at Homestead.” He then turns to her and shrugs his shoulders. It just meant the season was even closer to ending – one more shot – and why this race was that much more important than, say, another event in his mind.

“I guess….” He lets out not wanting to argue with her about it as Doug walks away.

“You can’t always have things go your way. You need to learn that and let it go.” She then turns him so they’re facing each other before kissing his cheek, trying to cheer him up. She knew he was super hard on himself. She though it was just because of the contract. Now with that signed, it seemed to continue. Must be the pure drive and determination….

“Are you going to keep at this till I agree with you?” She then smiles, knowing that she was getting his mind off of the night, just as she planned.

“Perhaps, or perhaps I’m going to warp you to a whole new reality. It’s too bad that the lights did come back on…” He then looks at her shocked, knowing where her thought was going with those words. Did he really hear that?

“Emma Blaney, how dare you! Where’s the sweet innocent girl that I met earlier this year?” She then grins, knowing that the innocence was still there. However, it was fun to play the tricks with him to get him riled up. No doubt she was finding more reasons that their relationship was awesome.

“Didn’t you say that you were going to show me a good time and why you’re a sweet, yet bad boy around the edges?” He shakes his head in disbelief, not believing the words that he was hearing. Did he honestly create this?

“Yeah, but not like this…” She then looks at him, fake surprised.

“Oh really?”

“I meant like having fun in the woods playing on ATVs, or laying in the back of a truck, or camping. But that? Are you serious?” She then grins as she reaches up and kisses him on the cheek.

“I was joking, babes. But….you never know…..” She then turns on her heels and heads up pit road to see her brother as Lance stands there shaking his head in disbelief. He then collects his thoughts as he watches the reporter come over, expressing the same disappointment in the racing being called that he had told Doug earlier.

Chapter 62: Banquet Business

“You did a great job all season,” Lance comments as he leans on Ryan’s car prior to the Nationwide Series finale. As much as he wanted to be happy about his season, and was happy, Ryan knew that if he had done a better job in a couple of spots, he could’ve won the championship.

“Lance is right as you won a race, had a lot of great runs and caught the world’s attention,” Emma adds as she pats her brother on the shoulder.

“I know, but it could’ve been better,” Ryan lets out as he looks between the pair of them.

“You had a couple of tough moments – welcome to learning and becoming a better driver in the process,” Lance says.

“Why don’t you end the year on a good note and win today?” Emma suggests.

“Wasn’t that the plan all alon-”

“We got a problem!” A voice catches all of their attention, as they look in front of them to find Dylan Kwasniewski, Darrell Wallace Jr. and Kyle Larson there.

“Piss off the wrong person, again?” Ryan questions and Dylan shakes his head no.

“Elliott doesn’t have a date for the banquet,” Dylan reveals as Emma shrugs her shoulders.

“And that’s a problem because?”

“The champion should have a date!” Darrell exclaims.

“I thought he would’ve asked someone, but he was saying earlier to his tea-” Dylan starts.

“Regan…” Kyle fills out in the blank as Dylan rolls his eyes.

“Yeah, whatever. That doesn’t matter right now. Anyways, he was saying that he’s going by himself. Do you believe that?” Lance shakes his head yes as he crosses his arms. He was surprised, given Dylan’s self-centered attitude at times, that Ryan, Darrell and Chase still hung out with him.

“Who says the champion has to have a date to the banquet?” Lance questions as the group looks at him confused.

“The champion always has a date, Lance.” Lance shakes his head no.

“I’ve gone to banquets where the driver goes by himself, and enjoys his time with the team and not caring that he doesn’t have a girl in his life.”

“The guy does have a point,” Kyle adds, surprising Dylan and Darrell.

“I thought you were on board with us….” Darrell comments.

“If he doesn’t have a girlfriend, he doesn’t have a girlfriend. It just means that Greg will be sitting closer to him and he won’t have a ready dance partner at the party afterwards. Does it change anything else? Nope, it doesn’t.”

“He has to walk down the red carpet alone,” Dylan rebuttles as Kyle shrugs his shoulders.

“Do you honestly think that would bug him?” Kyle questions. “Besides, if we do set him up with someone, can you see the rumors starting immediately? Everybody will say that his date is his secret hidden closet girlfriend.”

“The world is not that immature,” Ryan comments, earning a look from his sister.

“Did you not hear the comments from when this guy started chasing me?” Emma asks, causing a snicker from Darrell. He remembered those comments as he had fun annoying Ryan with those, and still did sometimes. It was one of the things that he could say to get under his roommate’s skin still, sometimes.

“They were telling the truth, though,” Dylan comments as he remembered hearing the rumors. He believed them from the beginning and wasn’t surprised at all when he saw the pair share a pre-race kiss.

“I just don’t want your crazy thought of having to send Chase with a date creating a mess for him to clean up later, Dylan.”

“Oooo someone truly cares for Chasey,” Darrell starts. “I’d be watching your girl to make sure she’s not strayi-” Ryan then slaps Darrell across the back of the head. “Ouch! What was that for?”

“That’s my sister you’re talking about that!” Ryan yells. “Besides, she won’t do such a thing. She’s a sweet honorable young lady.” Emma smiles as Lance can only snicker based on the comments the pair shared the previous weekend at Phoenix.

“Darrell…don’t…” Emma warns as Darrell goes to say something.

“You can see the grin on Lance’s face even if you shush him up,” Dylan comments as Lance looks away, playing it off as if nothing happened.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Lance says.

“It’s okay; you can tell us later while Ryan races,” Darrell offers as Ryan gives him another look.

“Want your clock to get lost again?” Ryan threats.

“Is that even humanly possible?” Kyle asks and Ryan shakes his head yes, remembering his prank from earlier in the year.

“Weren’t we talking about Chase?” Emma tries to get them back on topic as she glances up pit road at him. She smiles as she sees a smile on his face as he talks championship with the team. It was great to see him win the championship, icing on the cake to see it locked up early. Now they could simply enjoy the race and hope that Ryan won while Penske locked up the Owner’s Championship. “Actually, let’s forget about Chase. I have that situation under control.”

“As in you don’t care about what we’re saying?” Dylan questions and Emma shakes her head no. She had the perfect idea. She just had to hope all the pieces played out perfectly on Monday.

“You’re going to set him up with someone…” Darrell offers as a smile forms on Emma’s face.

“Thought he didn’t need anybody?” Lance questions as Emma shrugs her shoulders.

“He’ll thank me for this one and she’ll get to have a fun time,” Emma shares as she pulls her phone out, making notes of her plan.

“So who is the lucky friend?” Kyle wonders as Emma glances up from her phone.

“A close friend of Chase’s, someone that he once said was his woman crush Wednesday on twitter and she’s in Flori-”

“Erin?” Ryan questions as the smile widens on Emma’s face.

“Erin?” Dylan questions confused.

“Erin Blaney, another relative,” Darrell explains as Dylan shakes his head understanding.

“She cuter than Emma?” Emma then turns the stare on as she looks at Dylan.

“You’ve got a girl and she’s not available to you,” Emma states before going back to comprising her plan.

She knew that it would be perfect.

Chapter 63: The Set-Up

“You’re going to the banquet, right?” Ryan questions as he and Erin reach their hotel rooms. He knew about Emma’s plans, wasn’t sure how she was implementing it, but also was worried that something would go affray. Leave it to his sister to make things twisted at times.

“Of course I’m going,” Erin assures him as she reaches her door. “I want to be there to celebrate your season.”

“Awww you’re so cute. Are you sure that you’re not using it an excuse to dress up and be fancy?” Erin then laughs as she goes to open the door.

“Ryan, you know me. I’d rather be playing in the dirt with my dad than pretty like Em.” Ryan laughs as he knew that was true.

“She may be changing, though. I heard through the grapevine that someone may have an influence on her.” Erin smiles as she thinks it over. Emma and Lance were certainly a cute couple and she enjoyed watching the pair grow closer.

“She’ll always be the pretty girl at heart, Ryan. That isn’t going to change. See you tomorrow.” Erin then heads in her room, closing the door behind her. With a busy Sunday night in the books and having enjoyed a thrilling battle for the Cup Championship, she was ready to hit the sack and get some sleep.

She walks over to her bed, set to find her pajamas to change into. As she unfolds them, she watches a piece of paper fall on the floor. She looks at it strangely, curiously, before bending down to pick up the piece of paper. She slowly unfolds it, still driven by curiosity as to how the piece of paper got stuck in her pajamas. She then reads the handwriting as she lies back on her bed.

Dear Princess Erin,
It’s time for you to meet a Prince Charming that is dashing to meet you.
You should know that he’s special and that he likes you a lot
It’s not something for you to fear, for you know the beautiful beau.
So please down to the main foyer, right at nine on the dot

She then rolls her eyes as she tosses the paper to the side. There was no one that came to mind in reading the note, and she couldn’t even think of how the note would’ve got in the room.

Though as she changes, and then gets comfy in bed, she couldn’t close her eyes to dream because she was stuck on the writing in the note. She then lets out a sigh as she grabs her phone and dials Emma.

“Hello?” Emma answers as she sits in a room with the other planners of the evening.

“Hey Em,” Erin says as she picks up the note from her night table. “Can we talk?” Emma smiles as she had expected the call.

“Of course. Does it deal with a note?” Erin was now rightfully confused.

“Yes, yes it does. What do you know?” Emma couldn’t stop smiling as she remembered getting Dylan to write it earlier so that way her hand writing wouldn’t get recognized by Erin.

“Some guy walked up to me and asked me if I could pass along the note. You had just left your room and house cleaning was there so I asked I could tuck it in, explaining hat we were related. It wasn’t a problem.” Erin smiles as she lies back as her big sister’s explanation did give her some comfort – leave it to her big sister to try and set her up with someone, though. Though, that also begged a question.

“So who’s the guy?” Emma looked towards the boys in the room with a smile.

“Can’t tell ya that one, Erin. But tell me – are you going to go see him tomorrow morning?” Erin glanced back towards the note and thought it over. She could always tell him no when she saw him.

“I guess….”

“That’s a girl. Listen, I got to go. Watching a movie with the boy. Talk to you tomorrow. Bye.”

“Bye.” Emma then hangs up as she kicks her feet up with a smile. “Success boys. She is going to meet up with him tomorrow at 9.” Dylan and Kyle shake their heads in approval as Lance just rolls his eyes. He couldn’t believe that they were doing this set-up on Chase.

“What about Elliott?” Lance questions as Dylan smiles.

“Ryan talked with him before the Cup race and he’s all set to meeting up with whoever wrote the mysterious fangirl letter,” Dylan explains. “The only condition was that he have someone come with him – so Ryan offered.”

“Now wait – this girl wrote a letter and this boy asked her,” Kyle Larson thinks it over. “So what happens when they face each other?”

“They realize that they were set-up and somehow it works out to them going to the banquet as a date,” Emma explains the plan that she had in mind.

“Couldn’t you had just showed them up at the banquet together?” Dylan wonders and Emma shakes her head no.

“Poor Chase would be out of whits over that and I didn’t want to leave him surprised like that on banquet night. Besides, trust me, this will work. He has always had a secret crush on her, and she won’t want to let the champ down.”

The group went to bed that night – Emma confident in her plan, Dylan waiting for it to blow up in her face, Lance not believing the chaos that he found himself in and Kyle just curious as to how the hell this would play out.

The next morning, everybody ate breakfast before planning out where they’d hide out. Ryan claimed that he lead Chase to the foyer and see where things went, while Erin was going to head down confidently by herself – or at least that’s what she told Emma. Emma, Dylan, Darrell and Kyle planned to hide out in a spot in the foyer that they wouldn’t be found to spy and see what happened.

It was just that easy, right?

“Ready?” Ryan asks as he stands out in the hall waiting for Chase. Chase shakes his head yes, still unsure of this. He was always told to stay away from girls like that as they were stalkers and only brought bad news. So why was he meeting up with this girl? Guess he figured that she could get a note to him like she did that she had connections and wasn’t that bad.

The pair then walk out to the foyer and Ryan immediately smiles when he notices Erin standing there, glancing around from someone. He watches as Chase continues walking, though slows himself as if to leave the pair by themselves.

“Erin?” Chase questions as he catches a glimpse of her face. She then looks over at him and immediately feels her heart skip a beat in her chest. Could this be her prince charming?

“Chase?” She says in response as she feels her fingers fumble with the letter in her pocket. “Are you the Prince Charming?” Chase then looks at her confused and shakes his head no.

“No….Why do you ask?” She then holds up the letter that she had in her pocket.

“Some guy wrote a letter saying that I was his princess and to meet him here at 9 o’ clock. I thought it was you.”

“It wasn’t me. I’m here because of this…” He then gets the fan girl’s letter out of his pocket and hands it over to her. She then reads it over in disbelief.

“Wow. Weren’t you told to stay away from people like this?” Chase knew that he’d heard that reasonable response from anyone. So why did he let Ryan convince him otherwise?

“Thought I’d come at least meet her and let her have the story of meeting me. Then perhaps get her arrested for stalking. It’s weird that both our letters say the same time, though.” He then looks back over his letter, before snatching the letter out of Erin’s hands.

“Hey!!” Chase looks over both letters and starts to shake his head.

“We’ve been set up. They’re both written with the same writing.” She then looks them over, coming to the same conclusion.

“But…..” Chase then looks over at Ryan, who is standing to the side of the room just watching the pair.

“Do you know anything about this, Blaney?” Ryan shakes his head no, trying to hide the smile that is starting to form on his face.

“Ryan, you’re lying. I can tell by the grin that you’re trying to hide…” Ryan then looks away, knowing that he couldn’t spoil the plan. The pair were having a great conversation as they had hoped for.

“Start talking….”

“You didn’t have a date and we know that you both are good friends going by yourselves so Emma and I set you up,” Ryan reveals, hiding the fact that they also did it because they knew of the crush that stemmed back and forth between the pair. “Dylan wrote both notes so that way we wouldn’t reveal the truth.” Erin then shakes her head in disbelief as she doesn’t believe what has happened. Leave it to their friends to do this – leave it to her own sister to set her up.

“Look Chas-” Erin starts as she looks back towards him.

“You don’t have to say anything, Erin,” Chase cuts her off because she can start.

“No, I do have to say something. They are both asse-”

“They meant well and knew that I didn’t have a date. Every champion has a date to the big party.” Chase then takes her hand, having wanted to do this for awhile. If he could’ve went to prom, he would’ve brought an out of town girl and that would’ve been Erin. Since he didn’t get to prom, this party would have to settle. “It may have been a dirty trick and we’ll get them back for it, but come enjoy the night with me. Be my date to my party and help me celebrate tonight, please?” She always melted at the sight of his cute smile and loved his eyes that they captured her. There was no saying no.

“You’re on.”

“Woohooo!” Dylan lets out a big cheer from the hiding spot, earning a slap from Darrell.

“Last time I plan a trick with you,” Darrell comments as they come out of their hiding spot.

“Admit it – you love us right now for this, right?” Emma questions as she looks between the pair. She could tell that they were both happy about this by how they were looking at each other, matched by the smiles on their faces.

“I guess I could use a date,” Chase comments as Erin smiles.

“And I wouldn’t mind helping you celebrate,” Erin adds.

“Okay – now to get the princess ready!” Emma lets out before dragging Erin away, set to do her hair and make-up before the night.

Chapter 64: Thanksgiving Plans

“So what are your plans for Thanksgiving?” Lance asks as the pair lay on the couch together watching a movie. They didn’t have to worry about Cameron’s comments as the roommate had headed up to Calgary to spend time with his family while his plans for 2015 were worked out. Lance hoped that his best bud heard something soon, whether K&N or Truck, but knew the odds were slim thanks to the owner lawsuit that was going on.

“Full Blaney family get together with everybody,” Emma answers as she had already received the phone call from her mom to make sure that she was there. It was family tradition for everyone to get together and there was no letting anyone miss out on that. The thought of her whole family getting together gave her an idea, though. “You should come!” Lance then glances down at her confused.

“Really?” Emma shakes her head yes as she sits up, knowing that it was the perfect plan. She didn’t get how Lance was confused.

“Absolutely. We’re officially together – been together most of the year – so you should get to know my family. I got to know yours so now it’s your turn. Come home with me and enjoy some of the best laughs around while enjoying a beautifully cooked turkey.” Lance laid back, thinking it over. The offer did sound like a good one. However, he had a tradition of his own that he promised his mother that he would keep going.

“I actually should be heading home to see my parents. I missed my Thanksgiving and since I started thinking of moving down here, it was always that I’d come home on the US Thanksgiving and we’d do it then. I don’t want to break my mom’s heart.” Emma’s smile immediately turns to frown. She knew with Cameron heading to Alberta that it’d only be a matter of time before Lance headed up to Ontario for some time with his family during the off-season. Knowing for certain that he’d come back with a good feeling, but knowing that she may not see him for a good month was heartbreaking.

“Can’t you come to my thanksgiving on your way home and just ask your mom to postpone it?” Lance knew the option was a liable one that made sense. It’d also make it easier for his mom to do it on the weekend when nobody had work. However, changing plans in the family – different story.

“But she’s planned it all out, Emma. I can’t just change her plans on her.” Emma then runs her fingers down his cheek, feeling the heartbreak creep in more and more.

“We’re not going to see each other for at least a month. Come with me to see my family and then I’ll come with you home to see yours for a couple of days. I’ll tell mom that I’m going to spend time with you till the 1st and she can handle things in the store while I do the online stuff from your place.”

“Emma…..”

“Please Lance? I don’t want to go a month without seeing your face. It’s going to be the worst feeling ever! You don’t understand how hard this is for me. at least compromise on the dinner, please.” Lance felt his own bit of heartbreak begin to fade in as he let the feeling of not seeing her come forth. Sure, he wanted to spend time with family as he knew there wouldn’t be time come the race season. Sure this was tradition for him to go home on US Thanksgiving weekend and stay there till the New Year. However, with a girl in his life, perhaps it was a time for a change in plans.

“It’s just so hard to disappoint Mo-”

“So you’d rather disappoint your girlfriend than your mother?” Lance lets out a sigh as he shakes his head no.

“I didn’t mean it that way, Em. It’s jus-”

“You could at least ask, if nothing else. I’d understand if she said no after you asked. However, persisting to not even ask is just unbearable. Relationship is about compromise. I’m compromising not seeing you while you go see your family, so why don’t you compromise by coming to my thanksgiving?” It was hard to argue with her as she made plenty of good points – one after the other – that he was finding no way to answer back to. Perhaps it wouldn’t hurt to ask his mom for a change in date. As Emma said, it wasn’t his fault if his mom said no.

However, he also knew that his mom would bend over backwards for him and do whatever was necessary to make her sweetie happy. So if that meant changing plans all around so he could do something, she would do it. He had seen that through his childhood as she always made sure her boys came first, no matter what.

To watch her change her plans just because of him – again – wouldn’t be the easiest thing for him to watch. He didn’t want to make things difficult or complicated for his mom as he loved her, and was so thankful to have her. He also knew that it wasn’t easy for her having her youngest away from home as she loved to have that constant relationship with her boys.

“Lance?” Emma breaks up his thoughts as he focuses back on her. Seeing the sad eyes before him, thinking how he’d have to deal with a month without cuddles, kisses, eyes glaring at his, lips to smooch over and a body to touch, he knew that he also had to do what was right in spending as much time as possible before they couldn’t spend the time together.

“I’ll call her and see what she says, okay?” Lance questions as a smile forms on Emma’s face. “I love you, Emma-poo.”

“I love Lancey-boo.” She then kisses his lips as she cuddles back up c

Chapter 65: Thanksgiving
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“How are you still alive dating my sister?” Ryan asks as he plays a video game with Lance while the Blaney girls were playing a girly board game.

“You like me?” Lance asks as he looks over at Ryan.

“I hope you keep your eyes on the track when you’re actually racing.” Lance then looks back at the television, getting his race car off of the wall. “As far as your reason, that must be it.”

“You did want to kill me originally.” Ryan chuckles, thinking back to some of their previous encounters.

“I always thought that I’d be the ass brother and chase away all of her boyfriends – once she actually started dating. I didn’t believe that my own teammate would be the first, or my mind would be changed.” Lance was intrigued by this confession as it made sense given what happened.

“Why did you want to be like that originally?” Ryan grins at the thought.

“Revenge. That’s how she’s been with me since I started racing, worried that I’d end up with a bunny.” That surprised Lance based on what he knew of Ryan over the past year.

“Doesn’t she trust your judgment?” Ryan knew the answer automatically.

“Let’s just say that my high school girlfriends weren’t the best choices. I’ve learned since then but she doesn’t understand that.” This conversation had caught the intrigue of Lance a lot.

“Is there anybody that you like?” Ryan shakes his head no.

“There’s no girl that I’ve met that is sweet enough to take home forever. Call me whatever, but I want a sweet country girl to call my own.” Lance smiles as he remembered saying those same words himself a couple years ago to a close friend underneath the stars in the back of his truck.

“That’s not a bad dream. I had the same and I accomplished it. I got a darling in your sister.” Ryan smiles as he was glad that Emma had someone like Lance who truly cared about her.

“So she’s coming home with you for awhile?” Lance shakes his head yes.

“That’s the plan.”

“Remember to behave.”

“So, how are you liking the family?” Emma interrupts as she sits on Lance’s lap.

“Can’t you see that I’m playing a game?” Lance asks as he tries to see around her.

“My brother needs all the help that he can get.”

“Hey!” Ryan comments as Lance laughs.

“Your family is awesome,” Lance answers her question. “I really love your uncle Dale.”

“Everybody does,” Emma says as Erin sits on the chair beside the group.

“I thought you would’ve brought Chase with you.” Erin simply rolls her eyes in disbelief.

“We are not a couple and he went home for thanksgiving,” she answers.

“You looked cozy at the banquet,” Ryan comments as Emma gives her brother the stare.

“I told you that we were just friends and nothing more, enjoying the night. Why can’t you drop the topic?”

“Face it – you have a crush,” Emma teases.

“I do not,” Erin rebuttles.

“Keep saying it. You’ll be with him before we all know it.” Erin could only roll her eyes at the discussion.

The entire afternoon and evening, Lance could only smile. No doubt he had landed himself in the midst of an awesome close loving family. He knew that he could enjoy getting closer with them, and even trading Erin in the process.

He also didn’t mind the idea of a new tradition for the post race season as it was nice change up in life that he could get used to.

Though in the same breath, he couldn’t wait to get home and see his family.