Saturday, July 8
Chase rolls over, glancing over at Sarina with a smile, as he notices the blank stare on her face glancing up at the ceiling.
With it being a night racing and focused on keeping himself as strong as he could, he had chosen to nap throughout the afternoon prior to the warranted appearances, driver’s meeting, and race. Sarina, being the supportive girlfriend she was, agreed to not leave his side. She would either play on her phone, or read a book, or nap as well.
Though waking up this time around, Chase could only think about the blank stare.
“Talk to me….” He finally comments, catching her attention as she looks over.
“I didn’t realize you were awak-” She starts as he brushes the hair out of her face.
“Talk to me…” She then lets out a sigh.
“Chase…” He shakes his head immediately.
“You’ve got something on your min-”
“You have a race tonight and so much other stuff to focu-”
“Right now, my focus is on you. You were thinking about something, so talk to me, please.” She lets out a sigh as she knew she wasn’t getting out of this.
“I still can’t believe what my brother did. I’ve known him my whole life. I remember the sweet little boy he was as we were growing up. I remember the fun times we had together, like the family vacation to Disney World. I remember the jokes, the Christmases, and how wonderful he was. He was like a sparkling bud, if you will. Then I look back at the past couple of months, and see how he could just go and poison people with no regard for their life, their friends and family, or their future. Where’d that by go that I once knew?” Chase knew these feelings were eventually coming for Sarina, as he recalled her reactions from hearing the news, to the arrest, to the finding of evidence. He was just glad that she was opening up to him, again.
“I don’t know, Sarina. They say sometimes people change because of what happens in their life, or just because that’s who they are. He obviously did. Why, though? I don’t know.” Sarina knew exactly why as her eyes remained locked on the ceiling.
“He got caught up with the wrong crowd. He wasn’t a popular kid at school, but destined for that. He wanted to be ‘wanted’ and ‘popular.’ He didn’t get that with the good people – I don’t know why not. But yet here was this other group that offered him everything he wanted, as long as he followed certain rules and orders. He was strong, so making him the hunchman and go-getter was perfect. People would hand over their orders because they knew he could kick their ass. He also got joy from the time he tried it because it gave him that feeling he was missing.” Chase laid there listening intently, intrigued by what she was saying. It was interesting to hear the reasoning behind it all.
“So when you guys realized whose these people were, did you try and get him out?” Sarina nods her head.
“My parents did everything that they could in their power. They grounded him – which just made him rebel more. They tried to show him and convince him, but nothing got through to him. It also didn’t help that he was mad that my father wasn’t always there. His work kept him constantly busy, always going from call to call, worrying about some investigation. it was like he was lacking the attention at home. It didn’t bother me because heck, I had a go-kart and other stuff to focus on.” Chase chuckles, knowing how that could be.
“See, my parents were busy with my father’s racing, but I never felt left out. They took me to all the races, included me in everything, and there was never a question of whether they loved me. Heck, I think my mom babied me too much at times.” She chuckles, knowing that Cindy was still like that in some ways.
“I can’t fault my parents – they did what they could. I think it was just the fact that he dealt the wrong life for his doing, and couldn’t handle it – so this was his escape. That’s why at first we thought it was mental related, caused by all this chaos because it’s still so hard to say he’s the same boy as that little brother I know.” Chase nods his head, understanding.
“You’ve told me what they did, and you told me what happened that night. I know what happened now hurts even more, too. But realize this – it’s not your fault, and like you said, all of you did what you could. All you can do is remember the good times that you had as a family, know your father is always watching over you, and perhaps pray that one day when your brother is released, he’ll finally clue in.” She smiles a little as she looks over at him.
“Do you honestly think that’s possible down the road?” Chase nods his head.
“There’s always talk of people having a change for the better, so I’m not going to totally give up hope. I just feel that, for now, this is the best move for him so he can maybe learn.” Sarina knew that jail didn’t sound like a rightful spot, but she also knew Chase was right. “You should also know that no matter what you believe, I’ll always be by your side. I love you, and I’ll never leave you. You’re never alone…” He then leans over and kisses her lips.
“How did I get spoiled with you?” He shrugs his shoulders. “But thank you, thank you….” She then grabs onto his hand, holding it tightly. “There’s moments where I feel more lost than ever right now with everything. But knowing that I have you, Kyle, Samantha, my team, my truck, and damn well you again, it makes me believe. It makes me want to keep fighting that fight for what I have.”
“So you’re never, ever going to run away again?” She shakes her head no. “I like the sounds of that.”
“That doesn’t mean you get off easy for running away from me this coming week…” Chase lets out a sigh as he flops back on his back, knowing what was coming up. He had thought about canceling the appearance, or at least seeing if he could, with everything that happened and the fact that he was supposed to be focused on getting himself back to 100%. However, he knew how much these events meant to the sponsors and knew he could handle it – so he was set to go through it. Here’s to having fun judging a beauty pageant all week for Hooters.
“Trust me, I wish I could be spending the week with you in North Carolina and being at the shop with the guys.” She then looks at him surprised.
“And not look at beautiful girls dressed in bikinis, trying to impress you, so they can be Ms. Hooters for a year?” Chase shakes his head no.
“Not one of them will ever compare to the beauty that lies before me right now, inside and out.” He then leans in and kisses her lips once again.
“You’re just sucking up to me…” He then chuckles.
“The smile on your face says that you’re okay with it.” She then smiles even wider.
“Promise to call me every night?” He nods his head.
“I can tell you about the prettiest girls I have seen…” She then rolls her eyes. “Oh, and I can tell you about the pick-up lines that they’ll be trying to use.”
“That may not be a good idea. I may come to Las Vegas and lay down an ass kicking.” Chase chuckles.
“I wouldn’t mind that, actually.”
Chase climbs out of the car, leaning back against it as he lets out a long sigh.
“Are you okay?” Alan questions as he hands him a bottle of Gatorade. Chase immediately loosens the cap, taking a big swig as he nods his head. “Are you sure?” Chase just nods his head, again.
It had been a long night with ups-and-downs throughout the race. However, he had run up front all race long and eventually crossed the finish line in third. He knew if he could’ve gotten one or two better restarts, it may have been a different story. However, that didn’t matter to him at that point. He was ready to take the top-five and run away with how he was feeling. Who knew driving a racecar for 400 miles could be so physically draining.
“I got Greg, incase….” Jared Seate comments as Greg Morin walks over, giving Chase a quick glance over.
“Are you sure you’re okay?” Greg asks and Chase once again nods his head. “Not cramping up at all? No overwhelming thirst?” Chase shakes his head no.
“Just a little tired and maybe slightly dehydrated,” Chase comments as he lets out a yawn. “They told me it was possible with everything. But I’m fine. I’ll just make sure to drink a little more tonight, get some extra sleep, and I’ll be good by morning. I’m feeling better than I thought I would.” Greg nods his head, as he keeps his eyes focused on the young man.
“If by any chance you start cramping up or the drinks aren’t cutting it, please go get checked out and get some fluids in you, okay?” Chase nods his head, having been to the infield care center before. “Nice job tonight, by the way.”
“Thank you…” Chase then watches as Greg walks away, before glancing over at Sarina.
“Do you really have to go to Las Vegas tonight?” She questions and he nods his head. “Ugh….”
“Relax,” he assures her as he pulls her close. “The week will be over before you know it, and then you can join me for a relaxing weekend at New Hampshire.”