Chasing The Love – Chapter 97: Cupid

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Tuesday

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Chasing The Love – Chapters 76 Thru 80

Chapter 76: Landing in New Jersey

Friday

“When she told me that she had you held downstairs with a bomb, so many things flashed through my mind,” Dale offers. “I was angry. I was upset. I was emotional. I was just…I didn’t know what to do. I wanted to punch her in that moment. However, I couldn’t do that so I simply listened and knew once we landed that I was going to do whatever she wanted to get you back.”

Alyssa shakes her head in disbelief as she hears the details, in total shock of everything that her dad went through that day. She had heard bits and pieces, but didn’t realize just how dramatic and how crazy Mariela was truly was with each of her actions.

She thought she was ready to hear everything, but each detail just continued to shock her more and more. She could only shake her head, and be thankful that Mariela was already dead so she couldn’t go attack her.

“So what happened when you landed in New Jersey?” Alyssa finally asks, wanting to know the detail despite the swirling thoughts in her mind.

“Everybody was escorted off of the plane, except of course myself, Mariela and the pilot,” Dale starts. “The pilot walked over and told us that. She thanked him and asked for him to exit and tell the waiting federal agents that it’d be 10 minutes. She told him that she wanted to clear up some confusion.” Alyssa shakes her head in disbelief.

“More lies? I think the confusion was pretty much cleared up.” Dale sits back and thinks it over.

“Not quite because I didn’t know her whole plan or why she was doing it. So the pilot left, with that understanding. I asked for her to let loose, holding up my hands – she declined. She instead reached in my pocket and through my phone, tossing it awa-”

“You couldn’t get it anyway if you were hand-cuffed so why do that?” Dale shrugs his shoulders.

“Perhaps she thought that I could do some movement that would put enough pressure on the buttons in my pocket – I don’t know.” He then takes a deep breath, thinking back to the conversation that he had with Mariela. “She then said that she was glad the pilot bought the story, or else she would’ve had to do something to hi-”

“That would’ve thrown on suspicion and possibly brought the agents on board. Wouldn’t that solved the problem sooner?” Dale shakes his head no.
“Remember, she had the trigger in her pocket.” Alyssa then rolls her eyes. “I then asked her where you were and the plan that she had in mind. She told me that I’d get the details as she seen fit. She then took her phone out of her pocket, showing me an image of where she had you locked in the luggage compartment.” Alyssa shivers at the thought. “What?”

“I wonder if that’s why I hate tight spaces, because I remember being locked in that tight space.” Dale thinks it over, knowing that could be a possibly. “We’ve already discovered that was a piece of my dreams.”

“It could possible. It would explain that as you don’t get that fear from your mom or I. When I was younger, I’d get shy around big groups of people that I didn’t know. You were the complete opposite, Ms. Princess. You liked to be the talk of the town with your crown and all.” Alyssa laughs as she relaxes back.

“I guess the princess life was made for me, huh? So, what happened next?” Dale thinks it over, trying to put the pieces in the right order.

“I then asked her how she pulled it over and why. She then told me because if she could take you away from me, she could make me do something to you get back. I then asked her what she wanted. She then explained how she made things simple, as I explained in the details to you. She said that it actually helped her pla-”

“Just lovely….”

“She told me if I wanted you back, I had to transfer $10 mill-”

“Wasn’t she doing this in revenge of mom and breaking country law? Wasn’t she doing this for her father? Wasn’t she doing this….Isn’t that why her mom took mom to the country and kidnapped her? I remember mom telling me about that.” Dale shakes his head yes. “So why did she ask for the money if that was the case?”

“I didn’t find out the true reason for her actions till I put the pieces together that she was your mom’s sister and your mom wasn’t dead, but rather kidnapped. I learned that about two weeks later and when I made the trip to Pitronia to get mom back.” Alyssa shakes her head, understanding.

The pieces were starting to come together in her mind. The attack on the plane led to what she heard about happening with her mom from her mom a couple years ago, to what happened in Daytona with her dad and Chase.

The Daytona events – she didn’t know too much on that except her parents were kidnapped, her dad had to run the race despite being in pain and Chase somehow got kidnapped in the process. She knew that’d come out in her discussion with Chase further down the road.

For now, though, she was focused on the rest of the details of the plane. She had one image from her nightmares stuck in her mind that she wondered where it came from.

“So did you agree to the money?” Alyssa finally questions and Dale shakes his head yes. He wanted to ask her about her thoughts, but decided to stay focused on the discussion at hand for the time being.

“I didn’t have any other choice, right? So I agreed to send her the money and to also have my jet available for her to jump on and fly away without being caught. She agreed and walked away, set to see if the money was going through. Well, she didn’t know that if a large chunk of money is transferred, Kelley gets notified. We can call this a security policy that we have in plac-”

“I remember you setting something up like that with my bank account when we opened it. So that’s the reason, incase kidnapped and they want money as arson?” Dale shakes his head yes. “So let me guess – someone snuck on the plane to help you?”

“Steve did. He snuck on while Mariela was at the computer. We went back and forth, with Steve debating ways to help me. I told him that it didn’t matter. I would deal with Mariela. The main thing that mattered was you, and getting you off the plane. So I told Steve where you were and sent him to get you, saying that I’d deal with Mariela and we’d see what happ-”

“What if you hadn’t been able to get off of there? What if something had of happened?” Dale looks over at his daughter and pulls her close.

“I wasn’t thinking about that in the moment. I was thinking about you, and your safety. That’s all that mattered to me. Just be thankful that it worked out and we’re here today, okay?” She shakes her head yes. “So she came back and told me the money transferred successfully. She then told me that she had realized Steve was on the plane, and I fully told her the discuss-”

“Why?”

“I wanted to show her that she could trust my word. I had followed through in transferring the money and I was being honest about Steve. I wanted to show her that she could trust me because I wanted you to be okay. I felt that if I had that trust with her, perhaps it could work in my favor. Turns out, she gave me a chance to live.”

“Give me a chance to make it out of here, at least.” She then looks towards him and thinks it over. There were many thoughts that came with that – positives and negatives – and she wondered if any of them was worth giving him that fair shot to escape. “I at least deserve that after everything that you’ve put me through this flight.”

“Awww looking for sympathy now?” She then kneels down beside him. “I don’t play off sympathy, by the way.” She then stands up and walks towards the back exit. “The bomb’s location is directly below us. Your daughter was in this end of the luggage compartment so that should give you an idea of what is about to happen and how safe your daughter is probably right now. That Steve guy you spoke of – if he found her per the picture – is probably running beneath us, headed towards the other end of the plane as fast as he can run. He’ll probably be climbing up the stairs out of the luggage compartment at the front of the plane as I exit.” Dale then looks back towards her.

“So in other words, she’s safe. Thank you. What about me?” Mariela then looks back at him.

“I could make you a deal to increase your chance of survival.”

“I’m listening.”

“As I hit the back exit back here, I’ll toss you the keys for those cuffs so you better know how to catch. At that point, I’ll give you two minutes maximum to unlock yourself and start to run to the other end of the plane. If you try to follow me, I’ll shove you back and press the button – you’re dead. If you head towards the other end of the plane and the front exit where your daughter and friend should be, at least you have a fair chance at getting off of here.” She then turns back forward. “Is that a deal?”

“Absolutely.”

“Keep your free hand at the ready. I’ll do my best to toss at good aim.” She then walks towards the back exit as she was going to.

“What if you hadn’t caug-” Alyssa starts.

“But I did catch the keys and was able to free myself,” he cuts her off. “Remember – stop thanking about the possibilities and be glad that things worked out. You can’t sit and dwell on what if things had gone differently, Alyssa.” She lets out a sigh, knowing that he was right. “I was able to run and get far enough that when it did go off, I just hurt my back and broke my shoulder.”

“There’s something else, though…..” Dale then looks at her confused. “I have a dream of a flash of fire. A big flash of fire that looks like its set to close in on me and engulf me. It also comes with this loud bang that I can’t place anywhere else. It’s so loud that it could deaf you instantly.” Dale relaxes as he rubs her back.

“You and Steve were still beneath when it went off. He told me that when he heard it go off, he immediately hid it and laid right by you to block you from getting hurt. He got a piece in the leg, that was it. That’s probably where the image is coming from.” She then thinks it over, knowing that he was probably right.

“Remind me to thank Steve for what he did for me, then. I can’t believe that he did that.”

“He loves you, and he’d do anything for you – just like a lot of people in my life. I couldn’t stop thanking him the days following either, but he kept saying that he’d do it all over again if it happened again. Why? He wouldn’t want to see his own kids in the same situation.”

Chapter 77: Post Discussion

Friday

With everything out in the open, Alyssa spent a couple minutes sitting there quietly, letting it all process. Even if she was now 18 years old, it was a lot to process thinking of everything that she had gone through as a child herself.

She was glad that her father had shared the details, though, as it certainly helped place the images that kept replaying in her mind. Now she could piece together their order and had understanding. Perhaps with that understanding, she would have the power to change them to a positive, as Chase had discussed along the lines of things that she should do. She could keep reminding herself that she was there that day and everything had worked out, despite the chilling moments that they represented.

Though while it was a relief to hear the details, she knew how hard it was sit there and hear everything. She also knew how hard it was for her father to tell her each of the details, reliving the emotional pain that he went through during the time. She knew that she couldn’t thank him enough for doing that for her, and being there to help her that night – even if they were on the eve of the next race in her career.

“Thank you for telling me everything,” she tells him as she reaches over and pulls herself closer, hugging him. “I appreciate it. I know it must be hard for you to relive what you went through, even 14 years later. I’m just…thank you.” He then rubs her back, giving her a kiss on the forehead.

“You’re welcome,” he replies. “Like I said, I should’ve told you sooner and if this can help you, then even better. I’m proud of you for the young lady that you’ve become and maybe now you understand why I can be protective of you at times.” She then looks up at him with a smile, shaking her head.

“I totally understand, and it’s fine. Besides, I like the relationship that we’ve grown to have together. I’ll always need my daddy, no matter how much I grow.” He then smiles as he keeps her held close.

“If you ever want to ask me anything about it, or want to know other things that happened, please just ask. Don’t sit there and wonder about it.” She shakes her head, understanding. She was going to keep that in mind, especially when her talks with Chase started incase there were holes that needed filling.

“I’ll remember that. Thank you.” He then gives her another kiss on the forehead before letting her slip out of her hands. He knew without looking at the time that it was late, and she had a race the next day.

“Now, Ms. Alyssa, it is late and you have a race tomorr-”

“Dad, I’m 18-”

“And I’m still your fath-”

“You don’t need to tell me my bed time. I can take car-”

“Alyssa, you have another big race tomorrow and you need to be rested up.” She then chuckles at their small bickering as she stands up, glancing back at him.

“Dad, I know. I’m a big girl. I can put myself to bed at a good time. Besides, I knew it was late and was going to leave soon, grab a quick shower and go to bed.” He then smiles as he stands up and follows her out. They then head back to the motorcoach lot, and he drops her off at Chase’s motorcoach.

“I trust you. That’s all I’m going to say.” She then looks back at him with a smile.

“You can trust me, Dad. You’ve raised me right and I know the rules. Besides, you can trust Chase. He has already told me that he’s willing to wait till I’m ready.” Dale couldn’t help but smile. Those were the words that every father wanted to hear.

“I’ll see you in the morning.” She then gives him a wave as she takes her key out, letting herself in.

She walks up the stairs and immediately notices the lights are out in the living room and kitchen. She could hear the television in the bedsroom, and knew that he was probably already laying down set for the night. She quietly slips off her shoes, heading to the bathroom. She closes the door behind her, slipping out of her clothes and grabbing her shower as she wanted. She then climbs out, wrapping a towel around herself as she goes into the bedsroom.

She goes over to the dresser that he designated for her, but could only smile as she reaches it. She sees a pair of her shorts thrown on top with one of his t-shirts. She quickly snatches it up, escaping back to the bathroom and changing into it. Giving her hair a quick brush, she returns back to the besdroom, tiptoeing quietly, and climbs into her side of the bed.

“So, how did your discussion with your dad go?” She hears as her head hits the pillow. She then looks over, surprised to hear Chase’s voice, only to be met back with a smile in return. “I wasn’t falling asleep till you got back here tonight. I figured I’d just relax in here want till you got back.” She then moves closer to him, laying her head on his chest as he wraps an arm around her.

“It was good,” she tells him. “It was emotional, it was an eye-opening experience, but it was good. I realized a lot of things that I didn’t know, and I am even more thankful now for the life that I have. I didn’t realize all that happened then. I didn’t realize….It just made me open my eyes and keep thanking everyone – Steve, God, my dad-”

“Your guardian angel, too,” he adds and she smiles, shaking her head yes.

“Absolutely. I didn’t realize everything my dad went through that day for me. It also answered some questions and cleared up some confusion as to my nightmares.” Chase smiled as he was glad that the discussion had gone well for her.

“I’m glad that it went well for you, and it was worth it. Maybe it’ll help those nightmares.” She could only hope as she wanted to be able to sleep without a second thought about it. She knew that she could chase them away in Chase’s arms, feeling protected. But what would happen if they were apart for a night?

“I hope. I guess we’ll see, right?” She then takes a deep breath as she looks over at him. “And I will tell yo-”

“You don’t need to tell me everything, if you don’t want to. Don’t feel like you’re forced to tell me what happ-”

“No Chase, I want to tell you….eventually.” She then takes a deep breath. “It’s late and I have the race tomorrow, so I don’t want to do it tonight. But, I do want to tell you what my dad and I talked about, and my nightmares. I want to tell you so that way you understand. If you’re going to open up and tell me everything that happened to you, then I want to in return do the same for you.” He then gives her a kiss on the cheek as he pulls her closer, if that was even possible as they were pretty close.

“As long as you want to and don’t feel forced, then I accept. But you’re right – it’s late so we can have that talk another time, perhaps during your spring break. For now, let’s get some sleep. I love you.” She smiled, though felt some butterflies in knowing that spring break was soon. Was she prepared to hear what he had to offer?

“I love you, too. I’ll always love you.” She then looks up, kissing his lips softly before getting back comfy in his arms and closing her eyes.

While the pair peacefully slept, conversation loomed large with Emma and Marshall.

“I have one simple question for you,” Emma comments as she looks over at Marshall. “Why hasn’t any of those gossip rag magazines called me back? I sent them the audio recording of what Leo told me. Normally, those stupid magazines would be writing up stories and posting it to get hits. Why haven’t any of them released anything?” Marshall could only shrug his shoulders as he kept his eyes focused on the laptop screen before him.

“Did you try TMZ?” He questions as Emma rolls her eyes. This wasn’t her first game of revenge.

“They were first on the list to receive the file, and then I sent it to the National Enquirer, followed by some other gossip trash magazines.” She then lets out an aggravated sigh. “Normally, something comes out bad about some star and boom, they’ve posted it!” Marshall then looks back, trying to calm her down on the topic.

“They’re not true celebrities, they’re just racecar driv-”

“That still counts as a high public figure. Do I need to snatch that computer away from you and show you the previous TMZ stories?” Marshall rolls his eyes and shakes his head no. “Besides, Ms. Alyssa is the Princess of Pitronia, some country somewhere. That counts as big royalty. That should equal a big story, esp since she’s dating some boy who is years older than her so shortly after dating her high school sweetheart.”

“Why don’t you post it on some blog?” Emma shakes her head no with a sigh.

“You obviously haven’t played the game of revenge because the game works in that you reveal the story, but don’t get caught in the process.” Marshall then laughs. “What?”

“You’re going to get caught, anyway. Leo will say that he told you in confidence, thinking that you were someone sweet. Good try on that one, darling.” She then pounces closer, closing his laptop.

“Listen to me – rather than be smart and give me smart stupid allic remarks, why don’t you damn well help me? I thought you were on board with me for total revenge against that little punk? You said that he was a star who didn’t deserve all the attention that he got and only got his ride due to his father. You said that you wanted just as much revenge as I am. Why aren’t you doing something now?” Marshall then pushes her hands off of his laptop.

“Because maybe I’m trying to focus on my own racing career and getting better as a drier so I can win a championship. Because maybe I’m growing up and realizing that sitting around making stupid comments isn’t going to get me anywhere. How old are you again, Emma?” He then snatches his laptop away from her, standing up as he glances her way. “I thought you wanted to be with me because you liked me. It seems that you’re trying to use me to get what you want with Chase.”

“And if you’re on board, how is that using you?”

“Because maybe I’ve jumped off this train.” He then leaves the bedsroom, slamming the door behind him as she lays back on the bed, letting out a big sigh.

Chapter 78: XFINITY Qualifying

Saturday

Despite having a long emotional discussion the night before, things started off smoothly on Saturday for everyone. It seemed as though nothing was different from any other race weekend.

Alyssa and Chase both got up, went through their normal morning routine and headed to the garage. Chase put in a pair of solid Cup practices – very pleased with how the car was doing and felt confident going into Sunday.

Following practice, it was time for XFINITY qualifying. Alyssa felt confident based on how practice had gone the day before. However, mid-way through the session, a big puff of white smoke escaped the back of her Chevrolet, as she slid in the oil up in the wall.

“Is she okay?” Elsa immediately questions, catching a glance from her brother.

“You’re actually paying attention?” Robby asks as Elsa gives him a slap.

“Right now is not the time for teasing!” Marie rolls her eyes as she looks back at the two kids.

“Elsa, no hitting your brother. Robby, no teasing your sister,” she tells them both. “Alyssa is fine. She is already talking on the radio with the crew.” Marie then climbs down the steps off of the top of the trailer as the children both follow.

They then follow their mother through the garage, knowing their headed to the garage stall. If they knew that Alyssa was alright, they’d meet her there. If she would’ve been sore or anything, Marie would drop the kids off with a crew member and head to the care center by herself. It was a program that they had put together when Alyssa was younger.

“Why’d the car go up in smoke like that?” Elsa wonders as she follows her mother and brother.

“The motor broke, du-” Robby starts.

“Be nice!” Marie cuts him off with a glare in his direction. She then looks towards her daughter with more concerning eyes. She knew that Elsa didn’t care much about the racing, hence the questions, but understood the concern for her sister. “As your brother stated, the motor blew up.”

“But why?” Elsa wonders and Marie shrugs her shoulders.
“Something broke – while valve spring, or something else. We won’t know what till the engine guys dissect through the parts and figure out the reason.” Elsa shakes her head, understanding.

“So, why’d she slide into the wall?” Marie then wraps an arm around her daughter.

“Oil is very slippery when you get into it with a car. It’s like driving on ice. She just lost control with it.” Elsa then notices the crew guys working away on a second car that they had brought over to the stall. “That’s the bac-”

“Mom, I’m not a total ditz. I know how back-up cars work in racing. Thanks, though.” She then watches as Alyssa walks over, leaning back against one of the garage posts, looking over the team. “Are you okay?” Alyssa then glance at her sister and shakes her head yes. “Are you su-”

“I’m fine, Elsa,” Alyssa tells her. “No bruises, no pain anywhere – just disappointed.” Elsa shook her head, understanding, as she looked back towards the team.

“You’ll bounce back from this and do well in the race. You’re a great driver.” Alyssa lets a small smile form on her face as she looks at her sister with a glance.

“Thanks. It just doesn’t erase the disappointment in knowing all of the guy’s hard work disappeared with one slip in the oil.” Alyssa then pushes herself off of the wall, walking over to the car to help out the team. “Do you guys need help?” The crew guys shake their heads no as they keep working away.

“Get the driver compartment how you want it, with the mirrors, belts and seat,” her crew chief instructs as she shakes her head, accepting.

She then walked away, set to grab her helmet and HANS out of the primary car, returning shortly after to get to work. With the race near, she knew that she needed to be in a hurry.

As the team was almost done everything, Steve LeTarte walks into the garage. While it wasn’t NBC’s half of the season, he was set on attending the races and knowing what was going on for their weekly shows. Besides, checking up on Alyssa was something that he simply enjoyed, too.

“Hey,” he says, catching her attention. She immediately looks back at him, giving him a sympathetic smile. “Do they got the car rea-” Steve’s words are cut off as she wraps her arms around him, giving him a hug. She then lets him go shortly after.

“I just want to say thank you for everything that you did for me when I was younger,” she tells him as he looks at her confused. “Dad told me everything last night that happened on the plane – every detail that I didn’t even know before. It really opened my eyes and made me realize how thankful I am for being here and who I am today. It also made me realize just how thankful I am that you were there that day.” Steve smiles as it was that day, followed by the couple of weeks after spent with Dale, created a bond that eh couldn’t describe to anybody.

“I was just doing what I thought was right. I knew that you both needed help, and that’s why I busted my butt in there.” She gives him a pat on the shoulder.

“No matter the reason, I thank you and I want you to know how much it means to me.” He then wraps an arm around her and pulls her close.

“Alyssa, I understand and you’re welcome.” She then smiles as she lets her eyes go back to the team.

“To answer your question, they just about have it ready to go through technical inspection and roll it out to the grid. As I went in the corner, the motor blew and I guess oil under the tires, lost control and was along for the ride. I’m feeling alright, though.” He smiles as that was all that mattered – her being okay without issue.

“And how are you after hearing the details from your dad?” He knew it wasn’t perhaps the subject to touch at the time being, but it did matter no doubt as she had brought it up originally. He had also heard about her sleeping issues previously, as Dale had vented some of his frustration about it to him.

“I’m alright, Steve. It certainly opened my eyes and shocked me more than I could probably explain to you. However, I believe that it helped. It answered the questions behind the images in my mind and I think moving forward that it will help in getting over those nightmares.” Steve smiles as he was glad to hear that.

“That’s great. I’ll let you know that if you ever want to talk, just call me okay?” She shake her head yes. “Alright. I got to go continue my rounds, but I’ll be keeping an eye on you.”

“Gonna cheer me on later today?” He then chuckles, knowing that she was right.

“I’m not supposed to have favourite, but I’ll let that slip just for you.” She then smiles. “I’ll see you later.” He then heads off as she returns back to the team.

She just hoped that the race went much better than qualifying.

Chapter 79: XFINITY Race

Saturday

“Everything squared away?” She asks one of the crew members as she walks over to the car following driver introductions. He simply shakes his head yes as she leans back against her familiar Chevrolet. That was all that she needed to know.

She had confidence in her ability behind the wheel – she had proven that with the win at Atlanta last week. This was another wide-open track and if she could win at one, she could win at another. She also had confidence in the team based on the success that they had before with a whole host of drivers over the years. It was crazy to see how much her dad’s team had expanded from the stories that she had heard of their beginnings.

The only thing that weighed on her mind was staying out of trouble early as she’d have to start the race from the rear. Taking a deep breath, she knew it’d be about taking her time and working her way through traffic, one car at a time. If she kept that attitude up for the whole race, she’d be at the front by the checkered flag.

She glanced over towards her cousin Wyatt, giving him a quick wave. She had to sympathize with him as he wasn’t having the weekend that he wanted thus far, struggling to get a handle under him throughout practice. As a result, he had only posted the 25th quickest time in the session.

“Did they figure out what happened during qualifying?” He asks as he walks over to her. She immediately shakes her head no, still having received no explanation.

“They were thinking something in the drive train,” she answers, having overheard a couple of the crew guys talking. “They won’t know till they take it apart this week at the shop. Have you started to get a handle on this place yet?” Wyatt shakes his head yes, with a glance back at the car and crew.

“It’s getting a little easier to drive. It’s still a tad loose going into the corner, which is never fun. I’d rather it be loose off so I can hang it out a bit.” She then grins, knowing that he had picked up that driving style from L.W. as he was like that with his late model, and teaching the kids on the dirt with the karts.

“You’ll figure out. You’re a smart driver and you have a good crew behind you.”

With opening ceremonies near, Wyatt returned to his car. She then got set by her car, smiling as Chase came up behind her. He wrapped an arm around her, pulling her close as the ceremonies started. The pair stood there together right till the end of the anthem, when he turned her to face him.

“Good luck,” he tells her, before giving her a kiss. “Stay safe. You’re a smart driver and will have a good day. I love you.” She then returns the kiss, followed by a hug.

“I love you, too,” she tells him. “Thank you.” She then pulls away as she grabs her HANS and helmet out of the car. “Are you going to watch from my pit box?”

“I can do that if you want. I’m sure the crew wouldn’t mind.” She glances back with a smile before getting the HANS and helmet on, climbing in the car. Chase then gave her one final kiss before walking away to her pit box as she got belted in.

He goes over to the pit box, climbing the steps and taking a seat on top beside Dale as he grabs one of the headsets.

“Has everything been okay with her?” Dale questions out of the blue, catching Chase’s attention. Chase then looks at him concerned. “I mean after I told her everything last night, because I told her everything. I just wanted to know if she was okay.” Chase simply gives Dale a sympathetic smile.

“She was alright, Dale,” Chase informs him as Dale lets out a sigh of relief. He was worried that it would’ve bugged her a lot. “She told me that it actually gave her relief in knowing how the images of nightmares connected in a story form, and felt that it’d give her a way to put everything together to make things better. She also said that it really opened her eyes, and made her thankful to be here where she is.”

“Thanks. I was worried about her.” Chase gives him a pat on the shoulder.

“Don’t worry – your little girl is doing great, and if anything comes up, I’ll help her as she needs and let you know. We’ll get through this together, just like we always have.” Dale shakes his head, accepting that. It had certainly been a journey over the years, but they had been able to make it through together. “Is everything okay with you? I mean, I know it must’ve been a lot to relive everything.” Dale takes a deep breath, remembering the feelings that went through his mind as he told Alyssa the details.

“It took a lot out of me, and I may have been unable to sleep a little bit last nigh. But, after talking things out with Marie, I’m fine. Thanks for asking, though.” Chase smiles, glad that Dale had Marie to talk to. However, with that thought, he just hoped that things went smoothly when he and Alyssa had their talk.

************************

Chase watched as she crossed the line in the 11th spot, and could only shake his head. She was running in the top-five and looked to be on her way to a solid finish. Then the contact happened, followed by a spin. Instead of finishing in the top-five, she finished 11th. It didn’t seem fair at all.

“I swear that guy has no talent behind the wheel whatsoever,” Dale comments as he heads over to Alyssa’s car after the race. “It’s hard to believe that his dad continues to pay for him to race.”

“How’d he win at Daytona to start the season?” Chase questions and Dale shrugs his shoulders, totally confused on that one.

“Most of the good cars got wrecked out in that wreck. It thinned out the field and he got lucky, somehow.” Dale then throws a look Marshall’s way, before focusing his attention back forward as he makes his way over to Alyssa’s car. Chase, meanwhile, found himself glancing at Emma as she stood by the car, wondering why he ever dated her in the first place.

“I must’ve been crazy at that point.” He then shrugs it off as he makes his way over to Alyssa’s car, watching her climb out. She then slams her fist against the roof of the car, glancing Marshall’s way before turning away. She was honestly debating climbing out of the car that moment and walking over and giving him a slap with how frustrated she was. How could all her hard work of making her way through the field be gone in a simple flash of a second?

“Hey, don’t beat yourself up over it. You were doing great till he made contact with your bumper. Don’t let that take away from the job that you did today making your way through the field. He’ll get what’s coming to him.” Chase had caught the comment, wondering if there was any meaning to it as he knew that both Dale and Marshall are in tomorrow’s Sprint Cup race. Could there be a bit of contact made?

Furthermore, Chase couldn’t wait till they got to Bristol with how he was feeling as he had some ideas of his own. It wasn’t in his nature to think about payback, but in this moment – it felt like the only option. Was he becoming the protective boyfriend already?

“Alyssa!” A voice breaks into the thoughts, as Chase glances over to his right, seeing Marshall standing there.

“What do you wan-” Chase starts, closing the gap between himself and Marshall.

“I’m not here to see you; I’m here to see Alyssa. I’m not here to start any trouble so I’d appreciate if you back off.”

“Chase, relax…” Alyssa says as she rubs his shoulders, walking over beside him. “What can I do for you?” Marshall takes a deep breath, not believing that he was going to do this. If it had been a couple weeks earlier, he would’ve been laughing at what happened. Though now, in a more mature approach and knowing that he had to focus on his own racing, he was trying to bury the grudge and knew in his heart that the contact was accidental.

“I just want to apologize for getting into you,” he offers, as Alyssa looks at him surprised. “I got into the corner a little too hard, trying to make the car stick when it didn’t want to stick. I got a little loose and slid up, just catching your bumper. I didn’t mean to get into you and hated it as soon as it happened. I apologize, and hope that you accept the apology.” Alyssa gives him a small smile. She wasn’t 100% sure whether she believed him or not, but it was nice to see him at least take this approach of apologizing.

“Apology accepted,” she says as she holds out her hand. He then shakes it with a smile in return. “Just don’t let it happen again.”

“Trust me – I will try and make sure that I don’t let it happen. I want to race you fairly and cleanly without contact.” Chase wanted to spit in hearing the words, but knew that the discussion was meant to be kept between the drivers. He could deal with Masrhall on another day in his own way.

“Good. Nice talking to you.” She then wraps an arm around Chase’s waist and guides him away as she heads back towards the hauler with her dad following them in toe. “You don’t need to get defensive, Chase. I can handle this myself. I’m a big girl.” He then lets out a sigh as he gives her a quick kiss.

“I can’t help it – it just happened all of the sudden,” he comments with a glance back at Dale. “I think it makes your dad comfortable in knowing that someone has his daughter’s back and will do anything to protect her.” Dale then chuckles, shaking his head in agreement. Although if a fight had broken out, he wouldn’t want to be there for the conversation that followed

“Just make sure you behave because I’m not bailing you out with either your parents or the team,” Dale offers as Chase laughs, following Alyssa in the trailer.

They all just hoped that the rest of the season went smoothly, and they didn’t have to deal with anymore of these driver feud issues. Besides, Marshall had apologized, right?

Chapter 80: Cup Race

Sunday

Chase leaned against his car, set for the Cup race later that day. He had put his thoughts of revenge for Marshall aside after his stunt in yesterday’s XFINITY race, knowing that wouldn’t get him anywhere closer to his goal. He wanted to win a second straight race for his team.

He glances over and smiles as he watches Ryan walk over, leaning back against the car with him.

“Everybody is talking about yesterday with Marshall and Alyssa,” Ryan starts and Chase immediately rolls her eyes. “I want the truth.”

“The dumbass got into her,” Chase starts. “He then came over and supposedly apologized, saying that he didn’t mean to and whatever. Alyssa then flat out told him that she wasn’t hearing it and walked away.” Ryan shakes his head in disbelief, having heard some other versions from other people.

“So do you believe the apology?” Chase laughs and shakes his head no.

“We know the way that he drives. We’ve raced against him the past couple of years, right?” Ryan knew that was truth, however couldn’t buy it completely.

“Are you sure that someone else isn’t blurring your opinion, such as Emma (Vitty)? Do you perhaps have it stuck in your mind because of her?” Chase shakes his head no.

“I told you that we know how Marshall is, and Emma – I could care less. She has been given me dirty looks all weekend, but I could care less.” Ryan shakes his head, understanding. He knew that she was a sore subject based on her past with Chase.

“Well, I just wanted to know the truth. Good luck today. Hope to see you in my rearview mirror as I take the checkered.” Chase laughs and shakes his head no, patting the car.

“I have the quickest hot rod today. You’re going to be getting a nice view of my bumper all day long.” Ryan then laughs as he heads off, giving Alyssa a quick hug as they cross paths. Alyssa then walks over, giving Chase a quick hug before standing by him. “So last week, our relationship was the talk of the garage area. This week, it seems you and your stunt with Marshall. When are you going to stay out of the headlines?” Alyssa laughs, shrugging her shoulders.

“I guess that’s what happens when you’re a princess. Are you ready to deal with everything that comes with it, Sir Chase?” Chase pulls her closer, kissing her lips.

“I think I can handle it, ma’am. I can take on anything to be with you.” She just simply smiles in return.

The smiles weren’t the same for everybody, though, as Ty simply rolled his eyes watching the pair of them together.

“Will you get over it?” Hayley question as Ty gives her a glance. “I saw the eye roll.”

“I still don’t think that they should be together,” Ty offers as Hayley shakes her head. It was getting unbearable listening to his whining at times.

“That isn’t for you to decide, right? Remember what Karsyn told you that day in your office, right?” Ty shakes his head, remembering her stint as he glances over to where Karsyn was standing, talking with her crew.

“It doesn’t mean that I can’t have an opinion. It just means that I can’t be whiney to Chase and Alyssa.” He then walks away from Hayley, walking over to a group of crew members.

****************

Chase could only shake his head as he got out of the car post-race. He had the strongest car, as he predicted, though ended up finishing 11th virtue of fuel strategy at the end of the race. His team had tried to stretch it, coming up short as he ran out in the final laps.

“I thought we had enough gas,” Alan tells him with a pat on the shoulder. “Sorry.” Chase glances back and smiles.

“It’s alright,” he says. “We’ve got our win and we’re in the Chase. We pit for fuel and we’d finish sixth or seventh. Might as well try the gamble and see what happens.”

“That was the plan. We’ll get them next week and snag a win. You always have liked Bristol, right?” Chase shakes his head yes before heading off to do some interviews.

As they stood around post-race, there were no complaints with the sight in victory lane. Tyler Reddick had struggled since moving up to the Sprint Cup Series, but with the right strategy and a decent car, the young man found himself celebrating in victory lane with his team for a first win. If there had to be a person to lose out to when it came to strategy, this wasn’t so bad.

Chase was surprised post-race when Alyssa didn’t come over to see him, though quickly found out where she was. It seemed that around the 15th spot, there was contact while racing for a spot between Cole Custer and Dale. Obviously, that brought forth a bit of a post-race argument with Cole walking over to display some displeasure.

“So I hear you’re a bodyguard now?” Chase questions as he walks over to Dale’s trailer. Alyssa looks over and rolls her eyes while shaking her head yes.

“It seems that Cole can’t listen when he’s told to shut up and walk away,” Alyssa answers. “Dad got loose and got into him by accident. It caused Cole to slide up the track and fall back some spots – they actually both fell back. Cole came over storming up a storm, and wouldn’t listen to a simple apology. He was then ready to throw down because according to him nobody was listening, so I got in the middle and sent him off on his merry way.” Chase smiles as he wraps his arms around her shoulders.

“Well, it seems then that you did a good job.” He then kisses her cheek a lightly. “But why does it seem that I have the rowdy girlfriend this weekend getting into scuffles at every end of the garage?” Alyssa shakes her head, not sure why herself. Normally, she was calm and quiet one.

“I guess this is just the weekend that I’m ready to throwdown. Need me to yell at somebody for you?” Chase shakes his head no, just wishing that he had another ounce of gas or so. “Sorry to see you come up short. I was all ready to celebrate in victory lane with you once again.”

“Guess we’ll have to wait till next week.” They then head off through the garage area together as Chase wanted to get changed out of his suit while Alyssa knew that getting home early as possible would be a good idea with having school on Monday.

“Think I could convince my dad to let me skip school tomorrow?” Chase then looks back as she sits on the couch.

“Now now, you know the rules. You need to keep up your studies to race and that includes going to as many classes as possible. You can deal with that for another couple of months, right?” He then keeps walking, going into the back bedsroom and changing out of his suit as she gets comfortable on the couch. He then returned shortly after, grabbing a quick drink from the fridge. “How are your marks?”

“Great. No complaints there. They’re all in the honor roll range.” Chase smiles as it was great to hear that she was doing well.

“Do you know when your graduation is?” She shakes her head no as those details hadn’t been released by the schedule yet. She was hoping that they’d make it a day that was easy to work with her racing schedule. “What about prom?”

“I haven’t paid attention to the details on that since it’s normally on a weekend and I have a hectic schedule enough.” Chase smiles, having gone through that himself. He then sits by her on the couch.

“So I guess I can’t take you to prom, huh?” She then gives him a surprised glance.

“Chase….”

“Depending on the date and our schedules, I was going to ask to take you to your prom. I never went to mine and thought it’d be nice to take you to yours, like a normal couple.” A smile formed on her face as it made her special hearing that in his sweet ways. However, the likelihood of the schedule working out would be tough.

“I’ll check when they’re doing the prom, but like I said – it probably won’t work out with our schedules.” Chase then crosses his arms.

“Oh, so you don’t want me to take you to a school dance?” Her jaw immediately drops.

“Chase, I didn’t mean it that wa-”

“It’s okay, I get it.” He then pulls her close. “Listen, see if it works out but if not, we’ll do something special in our way for your prom night. Either way, you’re getting a special night – crown, dress and shoes included.” She smiles, stealing a quick kiss as her phone goes off. She then reads the text message, quickly replying back. “If that’s your dad, I’m flying out of here in about an hour. You can tell him that we’ll check in when we get home.” She gives him the thumbs up before finishing off the text.

“You guessed that pretty well.” She enjoyed the fact that Chase had his own pilot’s license as it made it easier to go anywhere that they needed to go. It also gave them more time to spend together.

“I know how your dad is. He cares about his little girl.” Alyssa smiles, simply shaking her head yes as she thinks back to the discussion in the hauler a couple nights ago.

Taking a deep breath, she just allows herself to smile, knowing that each day moving forward that discussion would always be there. While some people would be worried that it’d affect her negatively, it actually made her feel stronger. It made her thankful to be there and get the opportunities that she was getting. It made her thankful to have such loving people in her life.

“Are you okay?” Chase interrupts her thoughts and she shakes her head yes. “What are you thinking about?”

“My discussion with dad,” she tells him. “It just made me realize so much – in a good way. When you’re living your life, you don’t realize things till you stop for a minute and think about what has happened in the past and led you to here.” Chase shakes his head, understanding.

“I know what you mean. I don’t go a day without thinking about the great parents that I have and great friends for support. There are days that I wonder what could’ve happened if things had gone differently, but I’m quickly reminded that I’d find my way because I have great people in my life.”

Chasing The Love – Chapters 61 Thru 65

Chapter 61: Post-Race

“This is amazing!” Chase comments as they shift through the hat dance as he poses for photo after photo. He had to admit – there was something special about winning at home.

“I thought every win was amazing,” Bill says as Chase looks over at his dad and smiles.

“Every win is awesome – but being at home, it’s just special. There are so many people that have come by victory lane and asked for photos that it just makes you smile; so many old friends and people that have helped me get to where I am – it’s great. It makes the win that more memorable.” Bill smiles as he throws Chase the next hat that he has to wear.

“Remember what I told you.” Chase smiles as he thinks it over.

“Never forget where you came from, and never forget the people who helped you get to where you are. Trust me, I haven’t done either. I’ll always be a Georgia boy at heart.” He then smiles for the photo, tossing the hat into the crowd of fans that had surrounded victory lane.

“How does it feel to be in the Chase, again?” Chase chuckles as he had seen some creative headlines over the years.

“Chase is no longer chasing the chase because he’s in the chase, right?” Bill rolls his eyes with a small laugh. “It feels awesome – but that doesn’t matter right now. Right now, all that matters is being here in victory lane.”

“So you had so much fun yesterday with me that you decided to make your way here yourself?” Chase hears and smiles as he looks over at Alyssa. Upon his arrival in victory lane, he had stood on top of the car for photos and then immediately jumped down for a kiss from her. Since then, she had stood off to the side letting him take the photos necessary.

“I figured that I couldn’t let you hog the spotlight all weekend,” he comments as she rolls her eyes.

“Don’t worry – I could never steal the spotlight from you.” She then makes her way over to him, wrapping her arms around him. “We were supposed to have a quiet coming out party for our relationship. What happened with that?” Chase smiles as he leans in and kisses her lips.

“Let ‘em talk all they want because I’m having the time of my life with my princess. Besides, they should be talking about how awesome we both drive, versus how much we love each other.” Alyssa rolls her eyes.

“You’re dreaming. This is the media that we’re talking about.” She then goes to walk away when he grabs her hand and pulls her back close. “What?”

“You got a photo with me yesterday so…” She then smiles as she gets right up close to him, posing as the photographers take the photo. He then takes out his cell phone, snapping a selfie of them together and making it his background. “There. Our phones match. You have your win with me, and I have my win with you.”

“You may it sound like we’re a pair of teenagers.” Chase smiles as he brushes a bit of her hair out of her eyes.

“Alyssa, you’re still a teenager, remember?” She rolls her eyes.

“I’m 18, remember?”

“You’re still in high school.” She lets out a sigh. She wasn’t ready to return to class on Monday after this weekend.

“For only a couple more months.” He then gives her a quick kiss.

“Then you better focus on your work and make sure you pass all your classes.” He then heads off the stage with his PR rep, set for post-race media center obligations. Alyssa just stands there, watching him leave, with a smile on her face. It was certainly a special weekend.

“You better listen to him, Alyssa,” she hears and glances over at Bill.

“Oh great – another parent,” she states as a smile forms on Bill’s face. “Don’t worry, Mr. Elliott. I always put my school first and make sure to study and do my homework.” Bill smiles as he was pretty sure that was the case with her based on the parenting that he saw from Dale and Marie with their kids.

Monday Morning…..

“You have got to be kidding me!” Ty lets out as he shifts through the articles on the internet. It seemed that everybody was talking about either Chase’s win, Alyssa’s win or their relationship together.

“It’s to be expected,” Hayley comments from her spot as TY gives her a look. “What? She’s a princess and she’s an Earnhardt. He’s an Elliott. They both won a race. Why would you expect anything different?”

“I expected a lot of talk but this?” Hayley rolls her eyes as she sits up.

“Face it Ty – you just hate it because you don’t like them being together.” Ty gives Hayley a surprised look.

“I’m surprised that anybody agrees with them being together, Hayley. I still can’t believe that you’re fine with it. They’re 13 years apart!” Hayley shrugs her shoulders.

“Love doesn’t know age. I know other people who are together that are 10 or 15 years. It’s not a big deal.” Ty laughs.

“She’s still in school. Haven’t you heard of that being illegal?” Hayley shakes her head.

“She’s 18, Ty. It’s legal once she turns 18. She turned 18 last May.” Ty makes faces as he turns back to his computer.

“It’s still ridiculous. They’re buddies. He babysat her. He helped take care of her and raise her. For them to be together is just….Ugh!”

“Get used to it, Dillon. I don’t think they intend on breaking up.” Hayley then leaves his office, not wanting to hear anymore details about his opinion on the relationship.

It was the talk of the town, though, as it seemed everybody was talking about it. Alyssa had heard about it all day at school.

“So Chase was the person that you were texting?” Keira questioned in between classes. “You guys were together, already?” Alyssa rolls her eyes as she closes her locker.

“He asked me if I’d go out with him on Friday in Daytona,” Alyssa answers. “Leo and I broke up on Thursday. He didn’t want to impede and he told me that he’d be comfortable if we didn’t divulge into it right away. I told him that I’d accept, but we’d take it slow. We then went out on a date at the beginning of last week. We decided to tell the world on the weekend since they’d find out anyway, right?”

“So the whole Leo break-up story….” Kassie comments, referring to what the fake story for the media about how she broke up with Leo at the beginning of February.

“We didn’t want to be wrongly judged on how quickly we got together so I got Leo to agree to that. Besides, we actually started drifting apart then as he couldn’t understand how I was balancing school and racing together.”

“Doesn’t he do that, as well?” Keira wonders and Alyssa shakes her head yes.

“He does the balance, but not like I do,” Alyssa explains. “He believes that racing comes first, followed by hanging with friends and school. As long as he is doing decent in his classes, he doesn’t give a shit. Meanwhile, I care a lot about my grades so I put a lot of effort into studying and doing homework during the week. If I get time in between that to spend with friends, that’s fine.”

“What about Chase?” Kassie wonders as Alyssa smiles.

“He’s more mature so he understands the balance. He told me that we would find time in between my studies and racing to spend time together. So far, it’s going great.”

“So have you kissed?” Keira asks as Alyssa glances between them.

“Are you going to give me the 21 questions treatment all day about Chase and I?” She questions as Keira shrugs her shoulders.

“We’re your friends. This is typical girly gossip, Alyssa. We did the same when you started dating Leo.” Alyssa rolls her eyes, remembering how annoying they were. they always had a question about things.

“Don’t remind me. Besides, I’m done answering questions. I have class to get to, and homework to do tonight. I want to make sure I’m right caught up before the west coast races.” She then walks away from the pair, set to focus on her studies for the rest of the day.

She could only hope that discussions surrounding her and Chase died down in the coming days.

Chapter 62: Mid-Week Musings

Karsyn let out a sigh as she walks into the Richard Childress Racing shop back door, watching as a bunch of workers suddenly stop working and turn to face her.

“You’re not suppo-” A random guy starts.

“Relax, she’s with me,” Hayley cuts in as she walks over. “She’s going straight to the offices anyway without a peak at what you’re doing.” Hayley then wraps an arm around Karsyn’s shoulder and leads her to the door for the offices, opening it as they pair walk through. “Excuse the boys for being extra protective of their secrets.”

“It’s fine, I totally get it,” Karsyn comments as she follows Hayley. “So Ty won’t shut up?” Hayley rolls her eyes and shakes his head no.

“He’s adamant that the pair don’t belong together. He says that they shouldn’t be together due to Chase being older than her and the fact that she just recently broke up with Leo.” Hayley then stops and turns to Karsyn. “By the way, have you talked to Leo?” Karsyn shakes her head no.

“I heard that he was a little surprised and skeptical about it as well, but he didn’t have much to say.” Hayley shakes her head understanding as they keep walking.

“So if he can keep his mouth shut, why can’t your husband?” Hayley shrugs her shoulders as they reach the door.

“Why don’t you go ask him?” Karsyn smiles and opens the door as Ty looks up from his desk.

“What are you doing here?” He questions as Karsyn walks up to the desk.

“Your wife called me because you’re annoying her,” she stated. “Austin is away this week due to media so she figured that I’d be best to set you straight.” Ty crosses his arms as he glances at Hayley, slightly confused.

“What are you talking about?” Karsyn crosses her arms as she shakes her head in disbelief.

“What do you think I’m talking about, Dillon? I’m talking about Chase and Alyssa!” Ty lets out a sigh, glancing back down at the desk.

“I’ve said what I think about them being together. I think that’s all that’s needed.” He then glances back up at her. “Weren’t you the person that had a huge crush on Chase? Weren’t you the person that we set up with him? Weren’t you the person who was heart broken when he told you the truth?” Karsyn shakes her head yes as she takes a deep breath.

“When he told me that he was with Alyssa, I was heartbroken and I certainly questioned him more than I should have. Though as I’ve thought about it in the week since, I’ve realized a couple things. If they love each other, then that’s great for them. I also can see why they’re so close together. Also, I’ll find that person that’s right for me when the time is right. It’s just a matter of waiting for that time. I thought Chase was that person, but he’s just meant to be a good friend and future cousin.” She then walks over to Ty’s side of the desk and leans back on it. “Ty, I know it’s hard to look at them together at first. It’s a little strange, you’re right. Certainly it’s not what we expected. However, they deserve the benefit of the doubt. They’ve both been through a lot – I know first hand as I saw it all myself. I’ve known Alyssa since she was born and have lived a couple houses down on Dale’s property to Chase for the past 14 years, whether with my mom or my place now. They deserve to be happy – both of them – and if they’re happy, can’t you give them the benefit of the doubt?” Ty looks up at her and lets out a sigh.

“You make it hard with your sappy stor-”

“Then just say that you’re fine with it and let us move on.” Ty shakes his head no.

“But that’s not the case. I’m still not fine with it. Besides, they came together so quickly and so shortly after Alyssa’s break-up with Leo. What’s going to happen in the months that follow?” Karsyn shrugs her shoulders.

“We don’t know what will happen, but we can give them a chance and that’s what I’m doing, that’s what everybody else is doing and that’s what you should do. If you can’t do that, at least keep your bloody mouth shut about this because we’ve heard enough from Marshall and the media.” Ty lets out a sigh as he focuses back on his e-mails.

“Fine. I’ll keep my mouth shut. I never knew it was a bad thing to have an opinion.”

“You can always have an opinion, and sometimes it’s best to keep it to yourself,” Hayley offers as Kasryn shakes her head in agreement. “Now, speaking of that, I’m not keeping this one to myself. I could always set you up with someone else in the garage, Ms. Karsyn.” Karsyn shakes her head no.

“It’s fine, Hayley,” she assures her. “I will find someone when the time is right. You don’t need to force it upon me.”

Over at JR Motorsports, Alyssa pulls into the parking lot after getting out of school, pulling the car up to the back door. She then snatches her phone out of her purse, sending her dad a quick text that she was there.

As she sets her phone back down, she leans her head against the back of the seat and lets out a sigh. She wasn’t sure what to expect that day. She also didn’t know why she was so nervous about it. Perhaps it was the deal of the unknown.

However, she was set to go for the appointment. After going through the three different sleep studies and all of her sleepness nights, it’d be nice to finally find out the cause for them.

She knew that her days were only going to continue to get busier. It was enough balancing the truck schedule with grade 11 homework and classes. Now that she was in grade 12 and it was getting to the busy part of the year with exams and final projects, she knew that business was set to pick up. She would be stuck doing all that work while racing almost every weekend. It wasn’t like the truck schedule that had a couple weeks off between the first three races of the season. She knew combining the enhanced racing schedule, school schedule and her media obligations, sleep was something that she’d need more than ever.

She snaps out of her thoughts as she watches the door to the shop open and her dad walks out. He then walks over to the car and hops in. They had already agreed that she’d drive them over and then they’d come back afterwards to the shop.

“Are you ready to go?” He questions and she shakes her head no.

“I asked Chase to come with me yesterday,” she answers as she glances around the parking lot. She heard from him earlier that he was over at Hendrick, but would make his way over to make the trip with them.

“Oh?” He looks over at her, curiously. “I mean, I get that this is a big deal but it’s not something that he has to be there for.” She takes a deep breath, understanding what her dad was saying. He was perhaps right that she could simply tell him the details later. However, it’d be nice to have him there instead.

“I know. I asked him because I want him to be there for extra comfort. I told him about how things have been and how they have been trying to find the route cause. I then asked if he’d come for comfort.” Dale shakes his head, understanding, as he keeps his eyes focused on his daughter. It used to always be the ability to find comfort in daddy. But as she grew older, he knew that he had to get used to the fact that he wouldn’t always be the comfort rock – but rather her boyfriend.

“That’s understandable. I’m not saying that he can’t come or anything. But you should also know that I’ll always be here by your side and you can talk to me about anything.” She looks over with a slight smile.

“Trust me, I’ve known that since I was a little girl and I’ll always remember that. I also remind myself how blessed I am to have two awesome parents.” She then picks her phone up, double checking her text messages. “He was supposed to meet me here like now. I told him that we were leaving and he said that he’d meet us here.”

“Maybe he’s running a little late. I’m sure he’s on his way. It could be traffic.” She shakes her head as she sees no missed calls or messages.

“Then why hasn’t he texted me to let me know? Why hasn’t he called?”

“He’s driv-”

“Hands-free calling, daddy. That’s why we have On-Star, remember?” He then rolls his eyes as he glances around.

“Give him a call then and ask where he is. If he’s too far out, give him the address and he can meet us there.” She then calls his number, and sure enough, he was running late due to traffic. She then gives him the address for the doctor’s office, in which he promises to meet them there. She then hangs up, heading out of the parking lot and down the road. “Was that too hard?”

“No…” He then gives her a smile as he glances out the window.

“So I heard from mom that your friends were being…umm….pushy for gossip?” Alyssa chuckles as she thinks back to the discussion with the girls.

“Yeah, they were a little pushy. But I mean, it’s normal. We always tell each other everything so that’s what they were expecting from me as well. It’s fine.” He then looks over at her.

“Just make sure that you can trust your friends, and they won’t backstab you. I don’t want to find out that they were just being close to you to get information and gossip.” Alyssa shakes her head, understanding. It was that reason that she had been careful who she hung around with at school, and what she told them about her life.

“Don’t worry – I’ve known these girls since kindergarten. If they were going to screw me over, it would’ve been done by now.”

“Just looking out for you.”

Chapter 63: Appointment

Alyssa pulls into the parking lot, smiling as she notices Chase’s truck parked already. She pulls in the empty spot beside it, parking the car.

“Serious puppy love!” Dale immediately comments noticing the smile on Alyssa’s face and Chase smiling as he got out of his truck. “You’re both acting like a bunch of little teens.”

“I’m still a teenager, remember?” Alyssa questions as she gets out as Dale shakes his head.

“Right because every time I tell you that you’re a little girl, you tell me that you’re a grown adult who can make her own decisions.” She then glances over at him.

“But I’ll always be my daddy’s little girl.” She then looks back over at Chase. “I just have a special boy by my side, as well.” She then wraps her arms around Chase, giving him a kiss.

“How was school?” He asks as she takes a glance back.

“That’s the first question that you ask?” She offers as he shrugs. “It was good, though. No real issues in classes, no real annoyances. A couple small pieces of homework to do later tonight. Oh, and I got 98% on a pop-quiz.”

“98?” She shakes her head yes with a sigh.

“I forgot one of the mathematical equations.” He then messes with her.

“I told you that you needed to study.” She then gives him a playful shove as he laughs. “Careful. Your daddy is watching. I don’t want him to be grossed out by our love.”

“Atleast you’re not having a public make-out session,” Dale comments. “Come on. You have the appointment, remember?” Alyssa shakes her head yes.

“I’m just glad that you were able to make it,” she tells Chase as he wraps an arm around her.

“I told you that I would be here, right?” He gives her a quick kiss before they head inside the doctor’s office with Dale.

When they get upstairs, she goes up to the desk to sign in and get told instructions.

“So she told you about her sleeping issues?” Dale questions as Chase looks over at him.

“We got talking about it Thursday night,” he comments. “She mentioned it to me out of the blue. I forget why she brought it up.” Dale shakes his head, understanding. “Do they have any idea as to what it is?” Dale shrugs his shoulders.

“The doctor mused over a couple different possibilities. It could range from sleep apnea to nightmares. That’s why she went for the tests to see.” Chase shakes his head, understanding. He could understand the nightmares. He had been through enough of that himself and could sympathize with her if that was the case.

She then glanced over at the pair, motioning for them to follow her. They then walked down the short hall and went into a small office.

“Please take a seat and the doctor will be here in a minute to discuss your results,” the desk attendant instructed before walking away. Alyssa sat in the chair in front of the doctor’s desk as Chase and Dale glanced at each other before returning their eyes to Alyssa.

“You’d think they’d have more than one chair in an office,” Chase muses as he walks up behind Alyssa, wrapping his arms around her shoulders.

“They normally at least have two chairs,” Dale comments as he leans back against the wall.

“If you want to sit, I could sit on your lap,” Alyssa says as she looks over at Dale. He shakes his head as she lets out a chuckle. “Oh come on. We did that when I was younger.”

“I’m fine…”

“Are you nervous?” Chase questions as she glances up at him. She then glances back down at her toes and lets out a sigh.

“A little. I guess you always are when you’re getting results from a doctor, though. I just want to know so I know a reason. It’ll be a sense of relief to have answers.” They then watch as the doctor walks in, closing the door behind him. He then walks and sits down behind his desk.

“I didn’t expect this to be the group here today,” Doctor Trainor states as he places her file on the desk. Alyssa follows the lump of nerves that has formed in her throat upon looking at the file.

“I wanted both my daddy and boyfriend here for support,” she states as a small smile forms on the doctor’s face.

“It’s always nice to have support in these situations. That certainly can help things.” He then opens the file, glancing over the notes. “So I received the test results from the sleep center. I understand that the first test didn’t go as you would’ve hoped as you had to redo the test, correct?” Alyssa shakes her head yes.

“Supposedly I didn’t sleep as many hours as required to collect data.” The doctor shakes his head in agreement.

“The test was useful as it eliminated a lot of possibilities and gave me an idea as to what is going on. It’s with certain that there’s some insomnia going on based on the amount of sleep that you’re getting, as listed in the journal and the test. Now, it’s not caused by sleep apnea as breathing patterns are fine.” Dale then crosses his arms, keeping his eyes on the doctor. They were there for answers and he wanted to know what was going on with his little girl. Why beat around the bush? What exactly was it?

“So, what’s causing her insomnia?” Dale wonders as the doctor keeps his eyes focused on Alyssa.

“It’s a mental aspect with regards to emotions, per the patterns that we’re seeing and the spikes that are shown in brain activity when she wakes up.” The doctor takes a deep breath. “Traumatic life events can cause nightmares, fear and a strong sense of emotions during sleep. Have you been through any, Ms. Earnhardt?” Alyssa takes a deep breath and shakes her head yes.

Chapter 64: Trauma and Insomnia

She couldn’t depict every single detail of what happened, however there were images that flashed through her mind about that moment in her childhood.

She remembered the airplane. She remembered not having her teddy bear and meeting a lady. She remembered the small box that she lied in. She remembered the big boom sound, followed by a big flash. Being older, she could put the pieces together as to what all that meant.

That, combined with the story of what happened from Dale and Steve as she had asked for them to tell her when she was 13, equaled what happened.

“I wasn’t that old when it happened,” she states. “I was four years old.” Dale closes his eyes, shaking his head as he didn’t want to think about what happened.

“She was drugged and kidnapped while on an airplane,” Dale states. “There was also a bomb that went off on the plane, while she was on it.” Dale then looks back up at the doctor. “That happened when she was four years old. That can’t be affecting her, can it?” The doctor slowly shakes his head yes as he makes a note in the file.

“When we’re children, we don’t process or reason things like we do as adults,” the doctor starts. “However, we can still have memories of it as we grow older and it can affect us, even if we don’t realize that.” The doctor then looks back at Alyssa. “Do you have any recollection of what happened?” Alyssa shakes her head yes as Chase rubs her shoulders.

“When I wake up, though, I don’t have any thought of it,” she comments.

“But it still could be bugging you and causing the problem. Beside traumatic events, another cause could be anxiety or stress. Is that a problem?” Alyssa shakes her head no.

“Nothing with regards to racing and the pressure?” Dale questions and she shakes her head no.

“I don’t let that bother at me at all,” she answers. “I stay focused on the main goal.”

“So it is more than likely traumatic related…” The doctor summarizes as Chase thinks it over.

“Can I share something?” He offers as all three look at him. “The pair of us slept together at my place and we slept together in the motorcoach the night after the XFINITY race. Both nights, she slept perfectly through the night without any issues. If this is trau-”

“When she sleeps with you, she feels safe in your arms and as a result, her mind doesn’t think about what happened at all. So it is what I thought.” Dale then glances at the pair of them and thinks it over. They were both really responsible and he truly believed that Chase wouldn’t take advantage of her in anyway. He wondered if it may be a good idea to allow her to stay in the lake house with him till they sorted through what was going on.

“Besides sleeping with her boyfriend – since he can’t be there every night – is there anything that you can do?” Dale questions.

“The nightmares go back to what happened, obviously,” the doctor starts. “To overcome nightmares, there’s two processes that you can go through.” He looks over at Dale. “I think you know what I’m discussing as we went through this, right?” Dale lets out a sigh and shakes his head yes.

“Yeah, I went through it then. Chase knows, too.” Chase shakes his head yes, remembering his experience with it.

“Unfortunately, but it does help,” he states as Alyssa lets out a small smile form.

“I guess the good news through this is I have two people who know exactly what I’m going through,” she comments and the doctor shakes his head yes.

“I would recommend setting up an appointment with her to see Rhonda Station,” the doctor states, speaking of the psychiatrist. “You could talk with her about what you’re seeing and what’s bothering you. There’s also the process of ‘Imagery Rehearsal Treatment’, which will help erase your nightmares.”

“What’s that?” Alyssa wonders as Chase rubs her shoulders.

“You think about what is in your nightmare,” he starts. “You then think of a way to change the nightmare to make it better and turn it into a positive. Then throughout the day, you pick a few minutes to imagine this altered version so when you go to sleep at night, that altered version is what you see instead.” She then looks up at him, slightly confused.

“And that works?” He shakes his head yes.

“It worked for me. I would have nightmares of drowning in an ice hole after Randy pushed me. I thought about either changing the climate, or there being a rope there to pull myself out. Both of those worked and whenever that re-occurred, it didn’t bother me.” He then gives her a kiss on the cheek. “We’ll get through this, together – I promise.”

“I’m going to let you go with those two recommendations to try,” the doctor then starts. “If they don’t work, then you can come back and we can discuss some medical options that can be used. However, with the combination of these two, I think you’ll be fine. You’re a lucky girl to have these two by your side.”

“Don’t worry – I don’t take them for granted,” she tells the doctor. They all then thank the doctor for his time before leaving together. They head outside as Alyssa glances over at Chase. “Are you coming with us back to JRM? I got to drive Dad back.” Dale and Chase glance over at each other.

“That’s fine,” he states. He then gets in the truck, following them back to the shop.

Dale kept quiet the entire ride, thinking about things. They said that you couldn’t escape the past, and the past was a gift that kept on giving it seemed. He glanced over at his daughter and couldn’t help but smile at how she had grown, continuing to remind himself how lucky he was that day. Taking a deep breath, he knew that they were going to get through this.

He also wondered about his other thought that he had while in the doctor’s office. She was still in school, she was his little girl. However, given the situation, would it be so bad if he gave her permission to stay with Chase each night at the lake house and the motorcoach? He trusted them both to be responsible, and it’d give him comfort knowing that she was getting a good sleep.

They reach JR Motorsports as they all get out of their respective vehicles.

“I’m going to go check in and see how things are coming for this weekend,” Alyssa states as Chase shakes his head, understanding. “Then, do you want to go out for dinner?”

“Aren’t I supposed to ask if I can take you out to dinner?” He questions in return and she chuckles. “Besides, you have homework, remember?”

“I can do it after dinner, Chase. I want to spend some time with you.” Chase then glances over at Dale.

“As long as your dad is okay with it.” Dale glances between them and smiles. Besides, it’d give him a chance to talk to Marie about what the doctor said and his thoughts.

“That’s fine,” he states as Alyssa runs off with a smile on her face. “Chase!” Chase then stops and looks over at Dale. Dale walks over, glancing around to make sure nobody was standing around. “I appreciate you being there. You’re really and truly her prince by how you take care of her.” Chase smiles.

“I told you that I loved your daughter a lot and I wouldn’t screw this up,” he reminds Dale as Dale smiles. “No matter what, I’m going to be by her side. I’m going to help her work on those strategies that doctor suggested. If she needs to go see Rhonda, I’m going to go with her to offer support. You don’t have to worry.”

“I’m not worried.” Chase then takes a deep breath, thinking about their conversation over the weekend.

“I’ve thought about what you said on Saturday, as well. I’m going to talk to her about what happened when I believe the time is right. She deserves to hear it from my perspective, even if she knows details via others or even Google. I just don’t feel that time is right this minute, but rather as we get closer together.” He then glances down, thinking it over. “Perhaps the pair of us will share a tell-all night and she can tell me what she remembers that plane ride, and I can tell her what I remember from everything.”

“When I mentioned that to you, I didn’t mean that you had to tell her right away. I just thought of it becau-” Chase smiles as he remembers what Regan had to say when they talked about it.

“You care about your little girl, and want to be make sure that she’s taken care of. You want her to understand every bit of me before she gets into this too deep, right?” Dale lets out a sigh and shakes his head yes. “It’s fine. It’s a father worry. I understand.”

“So you’ll understand when there’s a shot-gun sitting on the porch if you’re late?” Chase laughs.

“I know you won’t shoot me.” Dale gives him a grin.

“Don’t test me, kid.” Chase shrugs his shoulders as he opens the door to the shop.

“I can test those waters all I want because I know the truth. You looove me.” Dale laughs as he follows him inside the shop.

“If you for any reason hurt my daughter, that love will not exist.” Chase looks back with a smile.

“I got nothing to worry about.”

Chapter 65: Post Appointment

“Do you want to get changed first?” Chase offers as they stand in the driveway together. With both of them having a car, he had followed her back to the house so they could just head out in one car together.

“Are we going someplace fancy?” She questions as he shrugs his shoulders. He hadn’t really planned the dinner out. He just knew that he wanted to take her out to give her a bit of peace of mind after the appointment, and figured that having her out of the house would be good for when Dale talked to Marie about things.

“We can go wherever you want to go. I hadn’t even planned anything yet. I also figured that you may want to get out of your normal school looking outfit.” She glanced down at her t-shirt and jeans before returning her eyes to him.

“What’s wrong with this?” He throws his arms up in the air.

“I can’t win, can I? There’s nothing wrong with it! I was just suggesting!” She lets out a sigh as she grabs her backpack from the car.

“I’m going to take this inside and put it up in my room. While I’m up there, I’ll get changed into a skirt rather than the jeans, since jeans are improper for dates, so I hear. Then we can go out and you can choose where to take me. We’ll see if you got the stuff to make a good date.” Chase looks at her surprised as she walks away.

“I scored points on the first date, right?” She then glances back with a smile.

“That doesn’t get you brownie points for the second.” She then heads inside as he shakes his head.

He didn’t have to worry, though, as he already knew where he was taking her. It’d be something simple again, but that was perfect for them as he knew she wasn’t the fancy type of girl. Besides, this was meant as a little getaway for the pair of them.

While she was gone, he grabbed his phone and dialed Ryan’s number. The pair had talked about hanging out that night with a couple video games since Ryan’s girlfriend was busy, however Chase knew those plans were cancelled now given the details of the day.

“Hello?” Ryan answers.

“Hey,” Chase says. “It’s Chas-”

“I know who it is, dummy. Where are you?” Chase lets out a sigh.

“Listen, I’m going to have to cancel. Something came up with Alyssa.” Ryan’s immediate gut feeling was something was wrong based on the tone of Chase’s voice.

“What’s wrong?” Chase shakes his head.

“There’s nothing wrong. Well…..it’s complicated, okay? Well okay – it’s not. It’s jus-”

“Did you guys have a fight?” Ryan could only think of that based on Chase’s perplexed tone.

“No! She’s been having issues sleeping and she just went to the doctors and it’s due to nightmares and….it’s jus-”

“You don’t need to say anymore – I get it. It’s an emotional roller coaster and you want to treat your girl because you feel bad for her since you know the pain. It’s fine, man. I can find someone else to hang out with or amuse myself. You don’t need to worry.” Chase lets out a sigh as it was nice to have supportive friends who understood things.

“Thanks man, I appreciate that.” Ryan couldn’t help but think back to the times that he and Chase had spent together through the years. There were times when he’d be doing the same type of thing for Chase – cheering him up to help him with whatever.

“It’s alright. I told you that I’d always be your friend and be there for you, and that includes letting you help your girlfriend. If you need someone to talk to through this – besides the parents – you know where to find me.” Chase smiles, having gotten a hold of Ryan a couple of times through the years.

“Sounds good.” He then lets out a sigh as he leans back against the truck. “You know, we talked at the appointment that it’d be best if she talks about what’s going on and then how to turn those nightmares into good moments. Part of that would probably include myself telling her what happened to me.” Ryan lays back on the couch as he could immediately tell the change of tone in Chase’s voice.

“Are you ready to be honest with her and tell her, though?” Chase knew that was a difficult factor. It had been a long time since everything that happened, but that didn’t mean that the pain had disappeared.

“I know that I can go through with talking about it – I’ve done that with you, Bubba, my parents, Dale, Regan, and others. However, this is different. I love her. She loves me. We have a deep caring for each other.” Ryan shook his head, understanding.

“If it was easy, you would’ve done it already. No doubt it’ll be rough waters and no doubt it’ll include some tears and shock. However, in the end, it’ll make you both stronger to tell each other what you’ve both been through. It’ll bring you closer together and give you a deeper understanding. It’ll allow that connection to form that every pair of lovers has. With that said, you can’t rush it and you should do it when you feel the time is right, just like she’ll tell you what she remembers and wants to say when the time is right.” Chase knew that Ryan was right in that advice. It was the same piece of advice that Regan had told him, as well. But yet, it didn’t resonate like he would’ve thought it should.

“So how do I know when the time is right?” Ryan knew that question didn’t have a dead-dot answer.

“You’ll know in your heart. It’ll just happen. Stop worrying about it.” Chase lets out a sigh, wishing it was that easy. However, with knowing the details of Alyssa’s nightmares and the need to discuss, it didn’t seem that easy.

“Alright, fine. Listen, I’m going to let you go. I’ll talk to you later.”

“You know where to find me. Bye Chase.”

“Bye Ryan.” Chase then hangs up as he watches Alyssa walk out of the house, redressed in her skirt. “You look mighty fine.”

“Thank you,” she tells him as she walks over. “Are you ready to go?”

“Let’s hit the road,” he replies, giving her a kiss on the cheek before opening her door. She then hops up in the truck as he closes the door behind her. He goes over to his side, getting in.

“So where are we going?”

“That’s a surprise.” He then heads out, set to give her a fun night – but knowing not to be too late as she had homework still to do.

At the house, Dale was spending the time telling Marie everything that the doctor had said while she made dinner for the other two rugrats.

She hated not going as well, but had her own business to take care of with the latest batch of country documents. She wanted to know the details, though, so she knew how to help their daughter.

Dale went through each and every detail, explaining the sleep study results, the reasons for the results and how they could improve things in the future. He explained the recreation of dreams protocol, as well as talking about everything and possibly speaking with a psychiatrist.

“In other words, I’m the bad parent for not talking about what happened with her sooner,” Dale summed it up, catching Marie’s attention. She then walks over to where Dale leaned over the counter, wrapping her arms around him.

“You’re not a bad paren-” She starts.

“I avoided talking about it with her because I didn’t want to think about what happened and the fear of losing my daughter. I tried to make it as if nothing happened. However, here she is at the age of 18 with flashbacks to what happened and nightmares because I didn’t do the right thing as a parent.” She then rubs his shoulders a little.

“You’re a good parent. You’ve helped raise three wonderful children who are all well behaved – well, except for Elsa’s minor attitude issues but that’s typical teenager. You’ve done everything that you need to do for your ki-”

“Except face the big issue at ha-”

“And your reasons for not facing it are understandable, and would have no one angry at you. I’m sure Alyssa isn’t mad at you for how you’ve handled things and that’s all that matters. It’s not your fault for what happened, or your fault for not talking about it with her sooner. We’ll get through this, just like every other storm that’s blown through here. But beating yourself up over it isn’t going to help. Instead, you should be focusing on how to make things better.” Marie then walks away and goes back over to the stove, checking on dinner as Dale thinks it over.

He knew there was a way to help make things better based on Chase’s comments at the doctor’s office. She felt a special sort of comfort with him and that comfort gave her the sleep that she badly needed. He also trusted the fact that she’d do the smart thing and he wouldn’t take advantage of her based on how well he knew Chase. There was the fact that they wouldn’t be that far away from the house, either, so it wasn’t like she was leaving town or anything. Besides, some personal time with Chase may help bring out her feelings as the pair set-up their own little confession time together.

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

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

“Give me one good damn reason why we shouldn’t let them. Give me one good reason why you can’t trust Chase with her.”

Chasing The Love – Chapter 36 Thru 40

Chapter 36: Daytona 500 Pre-Race

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chapter 37: Daytona 500

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“10-4.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“I think…” Alyssa answers quietly.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“I know…”

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

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

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

“Mar-”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Dal-”

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

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

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

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

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

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

“I know…”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“It’s the most boring-”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Where are you going?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chasing The Love – Chapters 31 Thru 35

Chapter 31: Dinner

February 2029 – Post-XFINITY Race

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Come on…” Karsyn could tell that he was nervous for some reason, and hoped that reason was due to the love birds.

“You’re nice, wonderful, and I like you….but I don’t love you.” Karsyn felt her heart break into two upon hearing those words.

“Why?” She had to know the reason if she ever wanted to move forward.

“I just don’t have those feelings.” He couldn’t say much else as that was the true. There was never a time that he felt those feelings for her, no matter the time that they spent together.

“It’s Alyssa, right?” Chase then looks at her surprised.

“What?” Karsyn shakes her head as she knew that she had to right to be curious the other night.

“You love her. Just tell me the truth.” Chase lets out a sigh, knowing that he couldn’t lie. He wasn’t brought up to lie.

“Fine. I do.” Karsyn lets out a sigh, shaking her head.

“She’s just a kid…”

“She’s 18.” Karsyn then crosses her arms.

“And you’re?” Chase glanced away, not wanting to have this discussion. Why did everybody want to bring up the age factor?

“Age is just a number.” Karsyn shakes her head in disbelief as she looks anywhere but at Chase.

“Right. So because she’s 18, it’s okay to be in love with her.” Chase kept his eyes on Karsyn, curious as to what she would do next.

“She’s an adult.”

“So because she’s 18, it’s fine….even though at 17, it’s not fine.” Chase runs his hands through his hair, growing frustrated. This dinner had been a bad idea from the beginning.

“I love her, Karsyn! I can’t change that!”

“Just buddies!”

“No, it’s more. It goes deep.” Karsyn just rolls her eyes as she couldn’t imagine that being the case. Alyssa was just 18. How did she know what that meant? She was just probably leaning on Chase because her heart was broken.

“I can’t believe this!” Chase grabs Karsyn’s hand, catching her attention.

“I’m sorry. Just….don’t tell anyone, yet. We want to ourselves, soon.” She then glances away with a slight laugh.

“Right…” She then turns her eyes back to Chase. “Is that why she broke up with Leo?” Chase shakes his head no, instantly reminded of Alyssa’s comments earlier that night. Why did everybody assume the worse?

“No, not at all. She didn’t know I liked her till Friday.” Karsyn could tell that Chase was sincere by his words, despite thinking that it was just a wrong deal together.

“Honestly?”

“Honestly.” He then lets go of her hand. “Come on. Let me walk you back, at least.”

“Yeah…” The pair then continued their walk in silence. Karsyn didn’t know what to say in return, but she knew that it’d take her time to get over this. So much for having a crush on him and wanting to be with him.

Chapter 32: Alyssa….

After dropping her off and trading goodbyes, Chase headed back to see Alyssa. He hated to drop the ball like that on Karsyn, but he couldn’t lie and he’d rather see her learn the truth then be led along. He knew that he had totally broken her heart and it’d take her time, but why drag that out? She’d get over it and find someone that would love her completely like she deserved.

He then made his way to the motorcoach, grabbing the spare key that he had in his pocket and unlocking the door. He then made his way inside, slipping the door quietly closed behind him. He didn’t want to wake her if she had fallen asleep, but also knew that she’d probably be waiting up based on the promise.

He makes his way through the motorcoach, hearing what he could only tell was tears. He quickens his pace as he opens the bedsroom door, seeing Alyssa curled up in the bed. He walks over, gently sitting beside her.

“I thought you were okay,” he offers as he rubs her back.

“I am,” she responds as she glances up at him. She was glad that he had finally made it back as perhaps he could offer some comfort.

“This doesn’t look like it.” She then lets out a sigh as she rolls over to face him.

“I’m fine.” Chase shakes his head as he could see otherwise, based on the tears that were still on her cheeks.

“Alyssa, you’re in pain.” She then lets out a sigh as she goes to curl back up again.

“It’s not due to the wreck.” Chase then looks at her intrigued.

“Oh?” His mind is then sent into a flurry of worry and curiosity. What could be going on? “Alyssa, what happened?” She then rolls back on her back, looking straight up at him. Why didn’t guys just get it?

“It’s my time of the month!” He then looks at her shocked as she lets out a sigh. “You know…my period. I get bad stomach cramps…” He slowly shakes his head as she rolls up into her curled form. He then rubs her back.

“Should I get someone?” She shook her head as she knew that none of that would help. If anything, having Chase there to comfort her was the best thing possible.

“No.” Chase wished that he could make it disappear, and was really lost at to what to do – if anything.

“Do you-”

“Gatorade and ibuprofen, please.” Whenever she’d get them, she would take a couple ibuprofen and sip on a bottle of Gatorade. In the span of a couple of hours, it would at least die down to something that she could deal with. Though with the pain that she felt earlier, she hadn’t moved as she just wanted to curl up and disappear.

“Okay.” He then leaves the room, grabbing a bottle of Gatorade out of the fridge. He then stops in the bathroom, grabbing a pair of pills before returning to the bedsroom. He then hands them both to her as she sits up.

“Thanks…” She then takes the pills as she sips on a bit of the Gatorade, before setting it on the night stand. She then curls back up in the bed, hoping the pills kicked in sooner than later.

“Chase, can you cuddle me?” The offer was so simple, but so inviting. He knew that she needed some comfort and he was willing to do whatever it took to make her feel better.

“Sure.” He then climbs in the bed with her, wrapping his arms around her as she curls up in his arms, laying her head against his chest.

“How was your dinner?” She questions, curiously. He was hoping hat they wouldn’t talk about the dinner much he didn’t want to reveal that he told Karsyn about them.

“It was good. We had a great discussion about our off-seasons, this upcoming season and a variety of topics. I think Ty wanted to take me out to a fancy place in try for bribery tomorrow.” Alyssa then chuckles slightly as that seemed like it’d be an interesting plan to try.

“Who was all there?” He knew upon answering this question that she’d immediately get curious about things.

“Ty, Hayley, Karsyn and myself.” Alyssa lets out a sigh as she knew exactly what that meant.

“Hayley found her bow and arrow, again. She tried to strike with you and Karsyn, right?” Chase lets out a sigh as he didn’t want to talk about it…

“Yeah, she tried. I realized upon arriving, but knew that I couldn’t just leave because they’d know about…us…and I wanted to keep my promise to you.” Alyssa glances back at him before going back into her previous position. She couldn’t have cared less about that right now as she would’ve preferred Chase there sooner and cuddling her.

“So did anything happen?” His inability to lie was going to haunt him that night.

“Nothing happened during the dinner. We came back and I offered to walk her back to her motorcoach, being the gentlemen. She then confessed that she liked me, really liked me. I told her that I couldn’t accept that because I didn’t like her that much in return.” Alyssa wanted to look at Chase in the eyes as he told this tale, but was too comfortable in her position.

“She didn’t take it well, did she?” Chase felt a bit of sadness in remembering the reaction that she gave him. He hated to break her heart…honestly….

“She was heartbroken. She then asked me if it was because of you…and I told her that we were together. She then gave me all the reasons as to why we shouldn’t be together – we’re just buddies, the age, you’re barely an adult – but I defended it over. She finally caved into accepting, once I assured her that you didn’t break up with Leo because of me. She also promised not to say anything and I walked her back.” Alyssa felt all tinge of worry over that simple explanation. There were so many places that this could go wrong. What if Karsyn said something? What if she told Leo? What if Leo thought just as she had? What if that was what they were faced in revealing everything?

“Chase, you sure that she won’t say anything?” Chase didn’t know for 100 per cent certain, but he trusted her. Karsyn was a good girl and she knew right from wrong. She was also close with them all and had always been trustworthy.

“I trust her in that she won’t say anything because she’s never done anything untrustworthy in the past towards me or you. She’s your older cousin. She wouldn’t do something to hurt you…” Alyssa lets out a sigh as she could only hope that Chase was right.

“We’re going to tell our parents next weekend. Then, let it come out to our friends, followed by the media. What if everybody reacts like she did?” Chase knew the worries that she was feeling as he had thought about them himself. There were one of the reasons why he held back originally. However, he wasn’t going to let that affect them now.

“Alyssa, I love you with all my heart. I don’t care what they have to say as they can have their own opinion. All that matters is the feelings that we have for each other. Besides, the majority is going to agree with it because they know true love is special. You need to stop worrying and just relax…” He then runs his hand through her hair as she lets out a sigh. She wanted to be like him and just push it aside, but it kept nagging at the back of her mind.

Rather than focus on that, the pair focused their attention towards the movie that had come on the TV, letting themselves both drift off into a relaxed state. Her cramps were finally calming down as she was able to get relaxed, and he certainly was fine being there with her.

Following the completion of the movie, Chase glances at the time, seeing that it is past midnight. While he was comfortable where he was and wanted to continue to comfort her, he knew he couldn’t stay the night. He just hoped that she had enough comfort in her to allow her to get a good night sleep.

“I got to go…” He starts as he goes to leave the bed.

“Can you stay the night?” She questions. She didn’t want him to leave as she felt most comfortable in the current spot and wasn’t set to make any movement. Nothing could replace cuddles with Chase.

“Alyssa…” He wanted to stay, but couldn’t imagine the reaction if someone caught them in the morning together.

“Please?” She begs as she looks into his eyes. Instantly, there was no fighting it as he could never say no to his little princess.

“Fine. Let me slip my jeans and shirt off.” She then gets up, letting him slip out of bed. He then slips off of his clothes, leaving him in just his boxers as he climbs back in bed. She instantly returns to her curled up position lying against him as he reaches to shut off the night.

“I love you, Chase.” He smiles as he runs his hands through her hair.

“I love you, too.” He then gives her a kiss on the forehead. “Get some sleep, sweetheart.”

“You better get some too. I expect to be celebrating a 500 victory with you tomorrow.” He then chuckles as he adjusts the pillows slightly.

“Yes ma’am.”

Chapter 33: Daytona 500 Morning

“So Karsyn says that’s what happened,” Hayley comments as her and Ty sit over breakfast the following meeting.

After the discussion with Chase, Karsyn felt heartbroken and upset, needing someone to talk to. She hated tobreak the promise that she had made Chase, but she needed some comfort of some kind. So she went to someone that knew about the dinner, and they could trust.

She immediately called up Hayley, saying that she wanted to talk about things. Hayley originally thought it’d be great conversation, as if the pair had a good talk. Though upon hearing the details, she was in shock. She never expected Chase to come out and openly admit that he was with Alyssa – not yet, anyway.

“Wow,” Ty comments as a wave of pure shock washes over him. It had been suspected, and Cole had added certainty to the matter. However, to hear that it was actually true with Chase saying it, it really brought forth the truth now.

“So obviously we both screwed up big time with the dinner, and that was why Chase was caught off-guard.” Ty glances up from his plate with a slight smile.

“There was a chance of him being with Alyssa. I had discussed it with Cole. The dinner was supposed to be a way of saying it for certainty. As you see, that happened.” Hayley sits back in shock as it was normally her duty to be setting up dinners and people together. Hence why everybody was afraid of her having a bow and arrow.

“Ty Dillon, how could you do?!?” Ty lets out a sigh as he glances back down at his eggs and bacon.

“Listen, we had to know the truth somehow. Karsyn also needed to know whether it was possible with Chase since she has a huge crush on him. Rather than dwell in that fact, she should know what’s going on. As far as Chase and Alyssa, no comment.” He then focuses back on eating, not wanting to think about the pair being together. The whole deal had him completely disgusted and put off. He wished that he could just walk up to Chase and convince him that he wasn’t going about this in the most sensible matter. There was nothing about this relationship that spelled the right details for Ty.

“Something tells me that you don’t agree….” Ty’s eyes snap up to his wife as he looks at her surprised.

“Who would?” Hayley smiles as she takes a sip of her orange juice. She could see the pair being together as they were close. They cared about each other a ton, had always taken care of other, could always open up toe ach other and were hardly seen apart. She hadn’t honestly pictured this happening, but couldn’t argue against it.

“I don’t see a problem with it, Ty. They both love each other a lot and truly care about each other. In honesty, I can’t believe nobody predicted this.” Ty could only scuff a laugh as he couldn’t believe what he was hearing.

“Nobody predicted it because she was with Leo. Everything was perfect with Leo. Everybody believed that the Earnhardt-Gordon families would combine for the strangest reality that we had ever seen based on the way things have been. And now, here she is with Chase Elliott. Everything is just supposed to transition to it being the perfect combination without any arguments. But yet, the pair are only 14 years apart in age – something that we should just forget.”

Hayley sits back, thinking over what her husband had to say. It was true that she had no issue with the age factor. She had seen age boundaries like that before in the past between other people that she knew. It was something that had never disgusted her in the past. Truthfully speaking, she was shocked to hear Ty talk about it in that matter.

When it came to the deal with Leo, that was probably why she hadn’t pictured the thought of Alyssa and Chase being together. It also caused a funny stir in her stomach as she thought over some careful details.

“Didn’t Chase supposedly give Alyssa advice on what to do about her and Leo?” Hayley then questions, as Ty shakes his head yes. He remembered hearing abou that conversation.

“After the shootout, the pair were seen sitting on pit road together having a heart-to-heart discussion,” Ty reveals as Hayley thinks things over.

“Karsyn mentioned that she wondered if Alyssa broke up with Leo because of Chase. When she asked, Chase told her that wasn’t the case as he didn’t confess his love till Friday. She said that she didn’t believe him, though. She felt that was part of it.” Ty couldn’t imagine Chase lying as that was something that he wouldn’t do; Chase had never lied over the years that they’d known each other.

“He wouldn’t lie – no matter the situation. He probably did tell her on Friday. But, that doesn’t mean that his feelings for her didn’t affect the advice that he gave her.” Hayley shakes her head in disagreement. She couldn’t put hose pieces together.

“No….that’s not Chase. Chase wouldn’t do that. He wouldn’t persuade her one way or another for his own selfish reasons. He’d want to see her happy, and give her the most honest advice that he could offer about her situation.” Ty shrugs his shoulders as he stands up.

“If that keeps you sane about the situation, then you can think that. as far as I am concerned, this is one messed up situation.” He then walks over and places his plate in the sink before walking off towards the bathroom.

After getting a shower, Ty comes out and sees a message on his phone from Cole. Obviously the other driver was wanting to learn details about what happened, based on the conversation that they had beforehand.

It’s a yes. Chase and Alyssa are together but keep your flap shut. Talk details later.

Cole looks at his phone surprised as he couldn’t believe the news. In all the times of their discussion, he never could find aw ay to believe that it was happening. But here was the statement that they were together.

The thought could only make his skin crawl as he couldn’t find a way to believe it. Though if it was true, he also couldn’t argue against it. It seemed perfect that pair would be together as they had been close since a young age. He saw that while driving for JR Motorsports, and even saw that since moving forward with his career. The majority of the time when he went looking for one, he would find the other.

Chapter 34: Encounters

“Thanks for cuddles last night,” Alyssa comments as she sits on the couch. Chase just smiles as he slips his shoes on.

“Anytime you need me, just let me know,” Chase replies before leaning in and kissing her lips. “I better get going before your parents find me here. While we were innocent, they may not think so.” Alyssa chuckles, but honestly thinks about it. What would Dale and Marie actually say?

“You have a big race to get ready for anyway. I’ll be out on pit road to wish you luck.”

“Looking forward to seeing you, Princess.” He then heads out of the motorcoach.

He was supposed to go on a simple walk. Not even fives minutes, just down a couple motorcoaches. He would reach his own, enter, shower and then get dressed in his suit before the driver’s meeting. The quick walk would bring forth nobody notic….

“Did you just see what I saw?” He hears a male voice and glances over, seeing Marshall standing there. He rolls his eyes as he sees Emma clutched close to his arm.

“What did you see?” Emma questions as she looks between Marshall and Chase.

“I just saw Chase Elliott come out of Alyssa’s motorcoach…” Chase lets out a sigh, and immediately rolls his eyes. Everything was blowing up quicker than he ever would’ve hoped, and the thought of it starting with these two made him disgusted.

“I was just seeing how she was after her wreck yesterday so get your minds out of the gutter,” Chase comments. “I don’t think about sex 24/7 like you do.”

“Isn’t that the same clothes that you were wearing yesterday while sitting on her pit box?” Marshall questions as he looks over the outfit.

“It’s also funny as she just broke up with Leo, too,” Emma adds as Chase lets out a sigh. Why did everyone have to bug?

“Nice job trying to put two and two together but what if I just grabbed this outfit randomly this morning, went over to say hi and am returning to get a shower and get ready?” Chase questions.

“Oh of course, because you’d never would’ve spent the night with her.” Emma then breaks out away from Marshall and walks right up to Chase and brushes her hand against his cheek. “I saw you with Karsyn last night….” Chase then swats her hand away.

“Keep your cooties to yourself…”

“I saw your discussion….and your little spat. I also saw you enter Alyssa’s motorcoach. Chasey, you’re not so innocent anymore. Just speak up and tell the truth.” Chase takes a deep breath, calming himself. Why did this woman always get underneath his skin?

“Nothing happened. She wasn’t feeling well, so I simply offered to take care of her. I slept on the couch and kept an eye on her. The end. Now, don’t you have somewhere to be?” Emma simply grins as she walks away from him.

“Can’t wait till you reveal that you’re together.” She then walks over with Marshall as Chase lets out a sigh. He hurries back to his motorcoach, grabbing his phone as he slips into the bathroom.

Emma and Marshall saw me leaving. Questioned it all. Saw me last night too. With K, entering your place. Told them that you no feel good and I comfort, sleep on couch. Still think together.

Alyssa lets out a sigh as she reads the text message. A sick feeling came to her stomach as she thought about yet another person knowing about them together. Perhaps their plan wasn’t so bullet proof after all.

Should we tell parents?

Chase reads the text message as he slips his pants off. The question was simple, but straight to the point. Given that Emma and Marshall figured it out, it was probably only a matter of time till the world knew. Besides, Karsyn would probably want comfort from someone. He hoped that she didn’t go say everything to her mother as that’d mean direct line to Dale. However, who else would she go to?

Up to you. I don’t care.

Alyssa wanted to keep it quiet, scared of how everybody would judge. But based on what was happening already, the judging had begun. Perhaps it’d be best to say something and get it over and done with.

Tell parents post race. They should know. And discuss Ms. Vitty. Creepy stalker?

Chase freezes as the glance of those words. stalker…..attack…..he shakes his head no. that was so long ago. They couldn’t go down those roads again. She probably just saw a glance and spied because she is just that ill-natured type of person. She would never do such an evil thing as attack.

But still it was worth a discussion. He wasn’t about to take any chances.

Don’t think so. Talk later. Xoxo.

On the flip side of the garage, Ty and Cole had met up to discuss things. Cole wanted full details, so Ty told everything that he had heard from Hayley, in which she heard from Karsyn. Cole was still in disbelief, but stood by his word of not wanting to stand in their way. He wasn’t going to have any part of Ty’s future plans in figuring out why they couldn’t be together.

“So you’re saying that you don’t care?” Ty questions as Cole lets out a sigh.

“Alyssa and Chase love each other,” he starts. “If they want to be together, then why should we stop them?”

“Chase and Alyssa are together?” A voice overhears the conversation as the pair of boys look up from the picnic table in the motorcoach lot. They both freeze upon realization as to who overheard their conversation.

“Cindy….” Ty starts as Cindy puts her finger out.

“Again, Chase and Alyssa are together? And remember who you’re talking to, Dillon.”

“They are together….” Cindy then glances over at Bill.

“Did you hear that?” Bill shakes his head yes, surprised.

“Do you want to know how we know?” Ty questions, slightly smiling. Perhaps if he explained things to the pair, he could get them on his point of view and on Chase’s back.

“And you thought nothing was there when I mentioned the conversation with Marie…” Cindy says to Bill, ignoring Bill’s pleads.

“I just…I didn’t think it was possible,” Bill comments as Cindy rolls her eyes.

“Anything is possible. You should know that. Now I have someone to talk to…” Cindy then heads off through the motorcoach lot.

“Cindy!” Bill then hurries after her, silently hoping that Chase wasn’t at his motorcoach and off at some appearance based on what she would have to say.

Chapter 35: Momma

Dressed and set to go, ready to tackle the day, Chase emerges from the back of the motorcoach. He then stops suddenly when he sees his mom sitting there.

“Momma, how’d you get in?” He questions as she keeps her eyes locked on him.

“I know the access code,” she answers as he thinks it over. He remembered saying the six key numbers to her.

“Right…and key?” She then holds up a key that is in her hand.

“You gave me the spare before. But enough! Are you with Alyssa?” Chase couldn’t believe that he had heard those words, or the fact that his mother was asking him this very question.

“Who told you?” He figured if he was going to answer to the question sooner than he wanted, he might as well know why.

“That doesn’t matter. Answer the question.” Chase felt in disagreement with that statement. He wanted to know who was causing him this trouble. Then it hit him. Who was the one person that he had told?

“Karsyn?” Cindy rolls her eyes. She just wanted answers.

“Chase….”

“She told Hayley, who told Ty, who told Cole,” Bill restates, having figured out the trail of news from the discussion with the boys earlier. It was something that surprised him as he never thought he’d be playing broken telephone, or the high school rumor runaround with a bunch of 30 year olds.

“Lovely,” Chase comments, wanting to strangle Karsyn. But, that quickly subsided. Karsyn had a right to tell someone as she would probably want some comfort based on a broken heart. It’d make sense that she’d go to a close friend, and that being Hayley for this time being. Perhaps he could strangle Hayley as she didn’t need to tell her husband. She should’ve understood that telling Ty would create a fumble of craziness amongst the men in the garage.

“Chase?” Cindy questions, still wanting the answer to her question.

“It’s true, okay? We were going to tell you tonight.” She had wanted to make it disappear, and could, upon hearing the boys say it. But now hearing her son admit it? A wave of shock came over in pure disbelief.

“I can’t believe this.” Chase rolls his eyes. Was this discussion really happening? Had they gone back in time?

“I love her, Momma.” Cindy lets out a sigh as she knew that part was true. It was evident by the ‘buddy’ relationship the pair had.

“You’re heartbroken and lonely, needing someone. You have only looked to her for comfort.” Chase shakes his head no, wishing that his mom would understand. These weren’t sudden feelings, but rather feelings that had been there for awhile.

“I’ve liked her for awhile, even while with Emma.” Cindy hated to hear that even more. So that meant that he was with the twit but not totally loyal due to feelings for his ‘buddy’?

“Chase….” Chase had wanted to tell Alyssa was sooner, but didn’t want to bust her relationship with Leo at the time. He also was worried of this exact thing happening.

“Now we both are free. I told her Friday.” Cindy glances away, disbelieving this entire scenario.

Honey, please understand.”

“No, Mom. You need to. I love her.” Cindy lets out a frustrated sigh. She thought this would be a short discussion.

“You’re buddies, close and comforting. You heart believes more due to your recent break-up.” Chase shakes his head no, wishing that she’d understand about these feelings not being something that just showed up.

“No….”

“Think about it rationally.” Chase then glances over at his father, growing frustrated.

“Dad, help me?” Bill then glances up, surprised that he was getting called upon into the discussion.

“I…..I don’t know what to say….” Bill stumbles on his words as Cindy crosses her arms.

“Your father is stunned and that doesn’t happen so obviously you’ve done something big,” she states as Chase rolls his eyes once again. So much for beginning his 500 morning on a smooth note.

“Mom, please understand,” he pleads with her. “We both truly love each other and want this. We’re both adults. Heck, I’m 32 now! I think I can take care of myself. As for Ty, Cole, Karsyn, Hayley and Emma, where’s the maturity?”

“They don’t matter right now. It’s you that I’m focu-”

“And I told you that I could take care of myself and know what I’m doing. You love me and care about me. You always said to make sure you find that person that truly loves you, accepts you and completes you. I have found that with Alyssa. I thought you’d be a little more supportive.”

“Your mother just wants to make sure that you’re making the right decision, Chase,” Bill comments as he looks between the pair.

“I know I’m making the right decision, Dad,” Chase assures Bill as he glances over at him. “This is what my heart wants. I want to be with Alyssa.”

“And what do you think everybody is going to say?” Cindy questions as Chase glances back to his mom.

“They’ll be some who will act just like you’re acting, and it’s not going to bother either of us. Let them talk and say what they want. This is something that we both want and aren’t going to give up because of everyone else.”

“Unbelievable….”

“You need to trust me on this, Mom. I know what I’m doing. Now, if you both could please leave, I have a driver’s meeting to get too. I want to just focus on the race for the rest of the day. We can discuss this more later, if you want” Bill and Cindy both then leave as instructed as Chase follows them out.

As he walks over to the driver’s meeting, he texts Alyssa and tells her that his parents know, via the grapevine. Alyssa could only let out a sigh, and perhaps a wish to strangle them all, but knew that it’d come eventually. It just reassures their plan in discussing things with her parents post-race.

As he enters the driver’s meeting, he goes over to Dale and kneels over his shoulder.

“Post-race, I want to talk with you and Marie about something,” he starts as Dale looks up at him. “Alyssa and I have something that we want to tell you.” Dale shakes his head, understanding, having an idea based on the suspicions that had been shared throughout the week.

“That’s fine,” Dale accepts, not wanting to discuss much with everyone around. If it was what he was thinking, he didn’t want to create added pressure on them to say something if not comfortable yet.

Chase then went and delivered the same message to Ty and Cole, not answering any further questions that the pair even bothered to share. The message was also delivered to Emma and Marshall, but he knew that was probably like talking to a wall. The final stop was to Karsyn to tell her that there was a meeting post-race to discuss things.

“Chase, I didn’t mean to star-” She starts, having heard about the grapevine of word.

“I’m not mad at you,” he cuts her off. “I understand that you were heartbroken and needed someone to talk to. It’s fine. It would’ve come out eventually.”

He then goes and takes his seat for the driver’s meeting, set to focus on the Daytona 500 for the rest of the day.

Chasing The Love – Chapters 16 Thru 20

Chapter 16: Confession

February 2029

“Who is your pick to win?” Darrell questions as he glances over at Chase as they sit together to watch the second Duel.

“Simple – Dale,” Chase answers without any hesitation in his voice. Since everything that happened summers ago, everybody had remained close and while he hoped to see his teammates do well, he had a place in his heart for Dale.

“Figures you’d say that. My choice is simple – Marshall Folley.” Chase shivers at that thought. He couldn’t think of Marshall without thinking of Marshall’s new girlfriend – Emma, also known as Chase’s ex-girlfriend.

“I thought you were in agreement that he was a brat since he is now dating my ex-girlfriend.” Darrell rolls his eyes, knowing Emma Vitty had moved along from Chase to Marshall now.

“He is a very talented and has a strong car, regardless of personal belief.” Chase could only laugh at the comments. Anybody who believed Marshall was any good had to be crazy – and Darrell could certainly fit that.

“Yeah, like anybody would believe that. We all know how he got the ride with Chip to begin with.” Darrell shakes his head yes, knowing that Marshall’s dad had paid him a significant amount of money for sponsorship.

“That doesn’t take away from his talent, regardless.”

“I thought you’d pick your own teammate versus the guy that is now with my ex-girlfriend.” Darrell glances over with a pat on Chase’s shoulder.

“Still bitter about the break-up?” Chase shook his head no as he had gotten over that. Besides, his focus was on a new girl that was locked on his mind.

“Let’s just say that there’s a new girl on the mind.” Darrell’s eyes immediately cut to Chase, no longer caring about the action on the race track. “Have you ever loved someone but been worried that they wouldn’t love you return?”

“I never had that issue. Shelby loved me immediately. We were the perfect match. So, who is on your mind?” Chase takes a deep breath as he debates whether he should admit it. Darrell would be one of the first that he has truly admitted it to and he wondered whether he was making the right choice. It seemed right as the pair had been close friends for a long time.

“Promise not to tell anyone?” Darrell shakes his head yes, as curiosity burns inside of him of the possibilities. “Alyssa Earnhardt.” Darrell’s jaw drops immediately as he couldn’t believe it. He had never pictured that name slipping from Chase’s lips.

“I…don’t…know….”

“Figures. That’s probably the exact reaction that I’d get from her if I ever said anything.” Chase then stands up and walks away – though suddenly freezes when a hand grasps his own.

“You care a lot about her. She cares a lot about you in return. It’s easy to see. I get why you’re having these feelings.” Chase then glances back at Darrell, finally glad that he has found understanding with someone. Perhaps he should’ve said something sooner.

“So you don’t think I’m nuts?” Darrell thinks it over, debating which thought process to pursue. He wanted to be supportive of his friend’s thoughts and possibly help him find the best way to go about saying something. However, he couldn’t wrap his mind around it. There were so many counter thoughts that he wanted to come back at Chase with.

“Your heart is in love with her, so I can’t blame you for being nuts for that reason. However, if you pursue this, then perhaps you’re nuts.” Chase rolls his eyes, having expected that type of answer all along. How he could he have believed that someone would understand?

“Okay, so maybe I am nuts. But you don’t understand. Every time I look at her, my breath hitches in my throat. I am at lost as to what to say to her, not wanting to disappoint her. I just want to reach out and kiss her lips and tell her.” Darrell crosses his arms, his own curiosity continuing to build.

“But?”

“I don’t know how to tell her, and I’m scared of how she’d react. What if she doesn’t feel the same and it ruins our friendship? I don’t want to lose that, either.”

“She cares about you and loves you in return, without a doubt. If that connection or whatever you both have is as strong as everybody seems to believe, myself included, then she’d understand what you’re saying and either be supportive or deny it.”

“So do you think I should tell her?” Darrell sits back and thinks it over. Would he be right giving this advice?

“I think you should. Trying to keep this as a secret and not tell her wouldn’t be fair to yourself, or her. Tell her. See what happens. But don’t fear – you’ll always have your best friend.” Chase could only hope those words were true if he said something.

Though in the whole discussion, as they both focused their attention back to the race track, there was one topic that neither had touched – the age difference.

Chase knew that was also another reason why it was so hard to even think of confessing his love to her. How could he, at the age of 32, fall in love with an 18 year old? It didn’t seem right in everything that he had learned over the years. However, it felt right in his heart for the feelings that he had. He also knew of people who had huge differences in age and nothing had stood in their way. Why was he letting this stand in his way?

The age difference was something that crossed Darrell’s mind as he tried to focus his eyes back on the last 20 laps. It was something that he couldn’t wrap his mind around. Being 14 year difference, it just didn’t seem feasible. The more he thought about it, the more he wished that he had changed his advice for Chase. What if everything back fired? What is an 18 year old to think when a 32 year old that she well respects say that? What will everybody else think? This wasn’t the road that he wanted to send his friend down, but yet he had anyway.

“I think you were right about your prediction after all,” Darrell comments, breaking Chase out of his own thoughts as he focuses on the action on track. As the race neared a close, it looked as though Dale was out front with Marshall and Cameron in toe. Indeed, the prediction had played true.

“He’s on a mission this weekend,” Chase says. “He wants to prove that his team is ready for Sprint Cup competition. He won the Shootout. He’s going to win the Duel and it wouldn’t surprise me if he beat us both on Sunday.” Darrell then glances over and lets a smirk form on his lips.

“Now now, Mr. Elliott, you should know best that I am going to win the Daytona 500.” Chase just laughs as he pats Darrell on the shoulder.

“Keep dreaming, keep dreaming Bubba.”

They watch the final laps unfold and the battle for the lead intensify, with Cole Custard taking the win via a last lap pass after getting a run to the front of the field via help from Cameron. Dale would get second, followed by Marshall, Karsyn and Ty.

As everybody watches the celebration commence in victory lane for Cole followed by discussions of the pair of Duels, they knew that they were in for a great race on Sunday. It was just all about trying to sort out everything else that was going on in the name of love.

Chapter 17: Post-Race Discussion

February 2029

“You haven’t said much,” Dale comments as he looks across the table at Alyssa while they’re eating dinner.

“You haven’t said much either,” Alyssa replies as she looks up from her plate. “I was focused on eating. I thought that’s what we were all supposed to be doing.” She then turns her eyes back down to her plate as Dale keeps his eyes locked on his oldest daughter.

“I wasn’t just referring to dinner. I was referring to the entire day. Besides trying to kill your brother – rightfully so, you haven’t said much. I thought you’d have more to say considering you just broke it off with Leo.”

“Perhaps she just doesn’t want to talk about it yet,” Marie says as she glances between the pair. She understood Dale’s concern, but also understood how Alyssa was being quiet. She could understand her daughter wanting some space and time to think things over, before mentioning something to someone. If there was something on her mind, certainly Alyssa would tell someone as she wasn’t the type of person to hide it.

“Or perhaps she already discussed it over with Chase,” Elsa adds with a small smile as Alyssa looks over at her sister and just shakes her head.

“When are you going to shut up about that?” Alyssa questions, though knowing that the discussion wouldn’t end any time soon as she was starting to recognize the signs herself.

She thought it was just a pure buddy thing. However, the more time she spent with him and the more others mentioned it, the more it turned into love in her mind. She thought he was pretty cute. They were really close and talked to each other about anything. Rather than go to their parents or a friend, they always took their concerns to each other and found the biggest comfort in each other’s response as it usually helped them with their problem.

As she let the teasing run through her mind, as well as her own thoughts on him, she was beginning to form a crush of her own.

“Alyssa, easy on your sister,” Dale warns as he looks towards Alyssa, before turning his eyes to Elsa. “Elsa, stop teasing your sister. As your brother learned so nicely, it’s not nice to bother yourself with her business or tease her. Trust me – it’ll come back to bite you. The first boy that you fall in love with she will turn the tables right back on you.”

“Did that happen to you?” Robby wonders and Dale shakes his head no.

“I didn’t bug Kelley about her love life and we had an understanding back and forth,” Dale answers. “Besides, the bugging that she did do was reasonable considering those girls were thrown out anyway.” Dale’s eyes then landed back on Alyssa, noticing how tense she got by Elsa’s comment, as well as the silence that followed.

The rumblings around the motorcoach and home were growing with regards to Chase and Alyssa together. If eh combined her behavior with the discussion that he had with Chase the other day and the discussions of past nights, he was beginning to believe that something was truthfully there. Was he pleased about it? He couldn’t be certain, yet.

“Take your father’s word – avoid the track lizards at all costs,” Marie says, breaking the silence as she puts her eyes on Robby.

“Why are you warning me?” Robby questions as Marie smiles.

“You’re a boy, you want to race – you’re going to cross paths with them. We also know just how mature you are.” Alyssa shared a chuckle at that thought.

“Wha-”

“Just face the fact that your mother is implying,” Dale cuts him off with his own smirk. Robby was certainly not like his dad at all in the form of being a sweet, quiet, little boy. He had picked up the outgoing personality of her mother from birth despite having the looks of his father. Elsa, on the other hand, while she played the role of being Ms. Popular and the pretty girl, she had her shyness around strangers and those outside the circle she associated. “Besides, look at Chase. He fell for Emma.”

“How did Emma Vitty end up at a race track to begin with?” Alyssa questions, curiosity in her mind.

“People like her who are money hungry find their way here as they feel that they can capture the heart of a driver.”

“Been through that, daddy?” Dale lets out a sigh and just shakes his head yes.

“I had my share. But, it was worth it in the end because I found the one lady who does make my heart complete.” Dale then leans over and kisses Marie on the cheek.

“Are you sucking up for a particular reason?” Marie questions with a grin in response.

“Not at all,” Dale answers.

“Are you sure about that?” Dale shakes his head yes.

“I’m absolutely positive. There’s nothing that I want from you.”

“Please – you’ve already done enough of that as we don’t need another sibling,” Alyssa spits out, causing stares from everybody at the table as Robby breaks out laughing.

“Alyssa!” Dale and Marie both yell together as Robby laughs even harder.

“And they say that I’m the guilty one,” Robby comments with a grin.

“There aren’t any other little ones showing up, right?” Alyssa asks as Dale just rolls his eyes.

“We said after we had Robby that three kids is enough for this family,” Marie answers with a smile. “Besides, I think we have our hands full already.”

“Did you get through the paperwork that Sharon sent you?” Dale questions, changing the topic as things had gotten awkward quickly.

Things were still busy as ever as Marie had her responsibility of being Queen of Pitronia. She would make a trip there once a month for a week, sometimes taking Elsa with her as she enjoyed her time there. The whole family would spend a week during December there, between the banquet and Christmas. With having a couple clerks that would go through the papers initially for her, making some of the judgments and determining what should be passed along, it left her with a small stack each week that she would be responsible for.

“Almost through it,” Marie answers as she glances back towards the stacks that had been set aside. “There’s a couple things that I need to run by you, just to make sure that they’re fine.”

“We can do that later while those two do homework,” Dale says as he glances over at Elsa and Robby.

“Do we have to do homework?” Elsa questions and Dale shakes his head yes. “We’re on vacation. We don’t go back to school till next wee-”

“And you have a stack of homework to do, considering that you’ve been putting it off since we got here, Elsa. Now you’re going to get your butt to work and do it. You have lessons to go through as they’d be ones that you would be learning in class, followed by the assignments.”

“But Da-”

“It’s not up for discussion. Either you get to work or you will be grounded.” Elsa then looks over at her mom and Marie just sits back, crossing her arms.

“What Daddy says goes so you better listen,” Marie suggests.

Chapter 18: Annoying

February 2029

“Whatcha doing?” Robby asks as he slides into the spot alongside Alyssa.

It had been two hours since dinner. Elsa was off doing her homework – as instructed by her parents. Alyssa was also working on her homework, choosing to stay in her parent’s motorcoach till closer to bed time. She figured that if she may need their help, they’d be right there. Robby, well, he was doing his homework a few minutes prior.

“My homework – what you should be doing,” Alyssa answers as she reads over the essay that she had just finished, double checking it.

“I did my homework already.” Alyssa rolls her eyes as she flips to the second page of her essay.

“Of course, because nine year olds don’t get that much homework. However, I’m 18 and in my final year of high school. I’m going to have a lot of homework, much more than you. For that reason, I’d appreciate if you go bug off.”

“But there’s nothing to do.” Alyssa rolls her eyes as she looks over at him.

“The PSP is there. The Xbox is there. The Ipad is there. You have your games that you brought. There’s a television. I’m sure you can find something to do while I do my homework, mom does her work and dad does what dad does on the computer. Actually, why don’t you go bug Dad?” Robby knew that wasn’t an option, having expired that already.

“He told me to go find something to do.” Alyssa simply smiles.

“Then why don’t you?” Robby knew that he could probably find something else to do, however there was something more fun about watching Alyssa get more aggravated with each passing minute. Wasn’t that what older siblings were for? Weren’t they to annoy?

“Because I’m having more fun spending time with my big sister. Now, is it true that you and Chase are close?” Alyssa rolls her eyes, having heard enough from her siblings about Chase.

“Chase and I are buddies like we always have been. End of discussion.” Robby could see the edginess in her voice – something he craved.

“Face it – you have a crush on him.” Alyssa then slammed the paper down on the table as she eyed him.

“We went through this at dinner so why don’t you just go rub salt?” Robby looked on surprised as he could tell that she was really angry.

“Aww, come on sis. You know you love spending time with me.” Alyssa rolled her eyes as she took a sip of her drink.

“I love you, but you’re annoying right now and I have work to do.”

“If you wanted to be alone, you would’ve left already. You wanted some company.” Alyssa picks the paper back up, trying to find where she left off.

“I stayed here incase I needed help from mom or dad. I can proudly leave anytime that I want. Considering that you’re a pest and it’s illegal for me to tie you up in the closet and leave you there, I am highly considering that.”

“Is there a problem?” Dale finally questions, having overheard the conversation for the last couple of minutes. He had been playing a couple games on the laptop, along with surfing websites, checking e-mail and oh yeah, tweeting with some fans. The conversation between the siblings, though, had gotten louder and louder and he was just waiting for the right moment to jump in. he figured that Marie would’ve beat him to the punch.

“Can you tell your son to jump off a bridge?” Alyssa questions with an innocent smile on her face.

“I was just trying to help her dad,” Robby pleads as Dale just shakes his head.

“Robby, what were you told at dinner?” Dale questions as Robby lets out a sigh.

“Fine…” He then gets up and heads over, turn on the PSP to play a game.

“Is that better?” Alyssa shakes her head yes.

“Thanks Daddy,” she comments before turning back to her essay, continuing to find spots to edit.

“If you want me to read it over before you type up the final copy I can,” Dale offers.

“Already got that covered,” Marie interrupts the pair with a smile from her end of the table.

“Sounds good.” Dale then looks over at Elsa as she sits on the couch, reading a book. “Homework coming along?” Elsa looks up and shakes her head yes with a sigh.

“I just wish that it’d disappear,” Elsa comments.

“That’d be too easy and you wouldn’t learn a thing,” Dale tells her as she rolls her eyes.

“Like I am going to learn something important from a book like this.” Alyssa chuckles, having said the same thing herself when she read the book about five years ago.

“Don’t worry – you’ll be done soon,” Alyssa encourages from her vantage point.

While the Earnhardt motorcoach was full of the simple business in the form of homework, the motorcoach lot was bursting full of conversation at the other end.

Since their discussion earlier in the day, it seemed that there was one thing on the mind of Ty Dillon – Karsyn’s crush on Chase.

It shocked him when he heard her admit to himself, Cameron and Cole as he wasn’t expecting it. However, it was also understanding. The pair were close in age – five years apart – and they were good friends. If that had grown to more over time, it wouldn’t be something out of the ordinary in the garage. It wouldn’t be the first relationship that they’d seen blossom, as one look towards Alysas’s relationship previous with Leo spelled that.

Then there was Ella and Keelan as the pair had become really close over the years, currently engaged and set to be married in a couple of years. Ty could only chuckle to himself as he thought about them racing against each other on track in Cup this year.

“So wait – Karsyn Elledge has a crush on Chase Elliott?” Hayley questions as the pair sit together that night watching a movie. Ty had just gotten done sharing the details of the discussion with his wife.

“That’s what she told us this afternoon after some pestering by myself and Cameron,” Ty answers as Hayley shakes her head in disbelief. Though, she wasn’t surprised. Chase was a quiet guy, sort of cute and had that sweet attitude to him that any girl would die for. She was actually surprised that nobody had picked him up sooner than Emma did, and was even more surprised when Emma was the one to fall into his clutches. She thought being the sweet, smart guy that he was that he would’ve chased Emma away sooner.

“Can’t say I’m surprised as she’d be a much better choice than Emma.” Ty rolled his eyes at the name, having seen her strutting down pit road earlier that day with her arms and lips all over Marshall. Marshall – he didn’t mind much, despite what others in the garage said. He felt that Marshall was just being bit by the same bug as he as – rich kid jealousy. However, watching Marshall let Emma do that was lessening the respect.

“Please don’t mention her. I think everybody is glad that Chase got rid of her.” Hayley shakes her head in agreement, glad that she doesn’t have to pretend to like the chick any longer.

“So is Karsyn going to say something to Chase? Does Chase like her in return?” Ty shrugs his shoulders, as he wasn’t sure about the answer to either question. He hadn’t even thought about what Chase’s thoughts might be as he was stuck on Chase being in a break-up dump period.

“She said that she was thinking of saying something. As for him, I don’t know. I haven’t even asked and he hasn’t brought her name up, ever.” Hayley knew that she had given Ty the wrong idea based on their simple conversation.

“Well don’t go telling him as that should be only her place to do so. Let it come out in due time. If she really likes him, then she should say something and see what he says. That’s the only way something will happen.” Ty could pout as he looked over at Hayley at that response.

“But I want to play cupid.” Hayley runs his hands down his arms before kissing his shoulder.

“You can’t be cupid. You don’t have any arrows.” Ty grins as he knew where he could get some, and he also knew how to shoot them.

“Can’t we like set them up on a blind date? Or what if we go out and ask them to come? You can ask her and I can ask Chase.” Hayley rolls her eyes, not believing her husband. She thought to expect this behavior from Austin.

“I’m not helping your evil deeds, mister.”

Chapter 19: Parental Concerns

February 2029

With the children all in bed, the parents laid in their bed set to go to sleep for the night. Friday would bring busy day as it’d mark Alyssa’s first time on the track behind the wheel of an XFINITY Series car. No doubt there was a lot of excitement, but also some nerves.

“What is your take on Alyssa lately?” Marie asks, catching Dale’s attention as he takes his eyes off Forrest Gump to look at her.

“What do you mean?” He questions as Marie lets out a sigh. She thought that it’d be obvious.

In Marie’s eyes, their daughter was changing – growing up persay – and perhaps having her own battles. Obviously that began with the break-up just happening this weekend with Leo, but it went beyond that in Marie’s mind. She could see how Alyssa was trying to quietly keep the balance of school and racing, but perhaps having her own deals with it. Then there was the whole Chase discussion. While Elsa and Robby wanted to make jokes about their sibling being with Chase, there was maybe more going on than they thought.

“Just the way that she’s been acting lately,” Marie answers as he thinks it over. He did have his own concerns, as warranted by the question at dinner. However, if she said that she had it under control, he believed her.

“She just broke up with her boyfriend,” Dale starts. “And she’s making her debut in the XFINITY Series. Obviously she’ll be a little off this weekend.”

“Okay…” Marie then thought it over, thinking that her husband’s explanation was reasonable. “So why aren’t we doing anything?” Dale’s only reaction was to simply shrug his shoulders.

“I asked her at dinner about it and she didn’t have much to say. That’s doing something. Besides, you know Alyssa. If there’s something that she wants to discuss, she’ll bring it up with us. You’re her mother; it’s your job to worry.” No doubt it was also the father’s job to worry, too, and that was why the question had been asked at dinner. However, he believed his daughter and would go along with her words in saying that she was fine. “There’s also someone else that she’d go talk to about thin-”

“Chase.” Dale shakes his head yes, as it was obvious to the pair of them. They knew the pair were close, being buddies, and it wasn’t something that bothered either of them.

“She told him about possibly breaking up with Leo before she told Leo, so that should say something. He also noticed how she was acting before I did.” The discussion certainly catches Marie’s attention as she turns her eyes to her husband, being reminded of her thoughts earlier.

“What if there’s more?” Dale knew where his wife was going with this discussion, having contemplated the thought already himself this past week.

“There could be some love there. She may like him, and he may like her in return. Who knows.” Marie couldn’t let eh thought process of them being together. Seeing the pair together didn’t make any signs of love or romance for her, and wanted to make her strangle one, if not both. Besides, neither could have feelings for each other. They had their own love lives.

“There isn’t any feelings no matter what everybody seems to be saying this week. Chase just broke with Emma and she just broke with Leo. There can’t be anything there, either way.” The timing of both break-ups certainly sent some alarms off in the theory, though Dale knew that his wife had to be right. If there was to be any feelings, it’d take them time to develop and both were right now in a break-up phase.

“Okay. Maybe they’re just spending time together because they know how each other is feeling due to both recently having break ups.” It seemed to be a sensible theory, as having something in common would bring a pair of people together. However, Dale also knew what could lead to if they continued to spend time together. Two people broken hearted, looking for love and comfort from someone – could they perhaps find it in each other? “It may grow into something, though. You can’t just scuff the idea off like it’s nothing.” Marie couldn’t believe what she was hearing.

“Am I hearing this right, Dale? Are you approving of your daughter possibly dating Chase?” Dale thinks it over, and shakes his head yes.

“Chase is a good kid and I know that he’ll take care of her and treat her right. What’s more to worry?” Marie immediately rolls her eyes as she flops back on her pillow.

“The age difference. They’re only 14 years apart.” Dale knew of that fact, having done the math himself.

“So? What’s your point? I’ve seen people marry that are 16 or 18 years apart and have the best relationships, ever. Age is just a number, Marie.”

“You’re unbelievable.” Dale was caught off guard by her comment as he glanced over at her.

“Oh really? I thought that you’d be understanding considering how open you’ve been about the marriage laws in Pitro-”

“I outlawed arranged marriages and allowed same-sex marriages. That’s simple, everyday knowledge that most places have implemented anyway. My behavior in being open about marriage has no bearing on my thoughts of this age difference.” Dale knew that he was going to find some way to convince her to agree with him.

“Right, because you’re the person that also has said that if two people love each other, they should be allowed to be together no matter what under any circumstance. Think over those words before you start judging, my dear.” Marie rolled her eyes, not believing that they were having this discussion.

“He’s old enough to be her father!”

“Not quite – couple more years for that. Besides, why does that matter to you?” Marie just shakes her head.

“It does because it’s my daughter and my feelings on the subject. But anyway, why are we even bothering to have this discussion? Nothing will probably happen, anyway.”

Though while Marie summarized the subject as nothing set to happen ever in the future, there was some happenings going on. The next morning – Friday, Chase had gotten up early and gotten himself some breakfast. Feeling confident after his discussion with Darrell and knowing his feelings were truly strong for Alyssa, he knew that he had to do what he was set to do in the next short bit.

He made his way out of his motorcoach and over to hers, knocking on the door. As he watched the door slowly slip open, he took a deep breath, feeling every butterfly imaginable in his stomach.

“Hey Chase!” Alyssa says with a beaming smile on her face. With excitement beaming in getting behind the wheel of her new ride later that day, she had gotten up early and gotten herself ready with a bite to eat and a shower. She now stood at the door, already dressed in her suit, ready to go for the day ahead.

“Someone is excited about today, huh?” He questions as she just smiles.

“I’ve been counting down the minutes and seconds till the practice session.” In that moment, Chase debated whether this was the right time to tell her something really important. However, he kenw he couldn’t hold back the details anymore.

“While you wait for that practice session, there’s something that I want to talk to you about.” Alyssa felt a tinge of worry at the tone of Chase’s voice as she motioned for him to follow her inside, closing the door behind them.

“No matter what is on your mind Chase, you can tell me.” She then sits on the small couch as he sits across from her, taking a couple deep breaths.

“This may come as a shock, but I mean it truthfully and honestly with my heart. You’ve always been my little buddy. But, with you growing up, that friendship feeling has grown more. It may sound weird and strange, but Alyssa, I have a huge crush on you. I can sit here and tell you straight up that I have fallen in love with you. I love you, Alyssa, and want to be around you all the time.”

Chapter 20: Love Confession

It was a huge wave of silence took over the room as Chase sat back, relived to have it off of his chest, while she sat there looking at him surprised.

She couldn’t believe what had just spilled from his mouth. Did he just confess to having a crush on her? She had admitted to having feelings for him, but never thought that those feelings would be returned. She had chalked them up to being admiring abilities, buddy-like – nothing else. However, hearing that he actually liked her in return – total shock.

Though while she held those mutual feelings, she wasn’t sure whether to come straight out and confess them to him straight up. What if they were just buddies, close and nothing else? What if this was just some random thing? What if he was just looking for some comfort due to recently breaking up with Emma? More so, was she ready to enter herself into another relationship? She had just broken up with Leo and was working her way through the after effects of that. Was this a good decision for herself, considering the year that was ahead of her?

“Chase, are you absolutely certain of what you’re saying to me?” She questions as she finally looks up to face him. “I mean, do you realize what you’re saying? I don’t want you to realize in a week or two, or even month later, that it wasn’t meant. I know you just broke up with Emma. Your heart is looking for some comfort. Is that what this is about?” Chase immediately shakes his head no, hating that he had given her this impression. It was why he had debated waiting a couple of weeks to let things sizzle off before saying something.

“That’s absolutely not what this is about, Alyssa,” he assures her. “I have had these feelings for a while, but kept saying that they were nothing. However, now single and having time to think it over, I really gave it a good thought and realized that those feelings were true. I know it’s soon after the break-up with Leo, but I couldn’t keep them hidden any longer.” Alyssa lets out a sigh as she glances away from him, understanding the uncertainty of the feelings as she had been having that debate in her mind. However, the more she thought about it, the more she believed them to be true. Though would they last?

“I just don’t want to dive into something and realize that it’s the wrong thing.” Chase could understand what she was saying, and now heavily debated just leaving and pretending the conversation never happened. However, he was held there locked in his spot on the couch by the simple fact that he could tell that she had some feelings in return based on her response.

“You don’t know whether something will work, unless you give it a shot. At least give this a shot if you have any feelings in return for me, please. If things don’t go according to plan, we can go back to just being buddies. Lets make a pack that we make sure that we do that. But at least give this a chance, please.” Alyssa knew that it sounded like a solid plan, however there was still a touch o worry in her mind.

“And what if something happens and we can’t go back to just being buddies? I don’t want to lose that with you, Chase.” Chase then reached across, grabbing her hand with her own, holding it firmly. He had to make her take the chance that stood right there in front of them.

“The only people that control that is us. As long as we both agree to it and stick by it, we can go back to that. Alyssa, I can tell that you care about me a lot in return. It’s obvious by how much you’re contemplating this and wanting to make sure it’s right for us both. Give it a shot, and I promise no mater what happens that you’ll always be my buddy.” He then takes a deep breath, letting go of her hand as he sits back on the couch, watching her closely. He could only hope that his convincing was having some sort of an effect on her and she was thinking it over. “If it makes you feel better, take some time to think about it. I’ll give you the time that you need. If you want a couple days to think it over and decide what you want to do, that’s fine. I don’t want to force you into anything that you don’t want to do.”

“The thing is, Chase, I really do have feelings for you in return. I kept pushing them off – even when Elsa would tease me about it. Would you believe that my sister recognized something between us before we decided to talk toe ach other? Yeah, strange. But I kept pushing it off, but yet sitting here and facing you, it seems so real.” A small smile crept across Chase’s face as he thought about her words, glad that he was making headway. Though he had to be honest – he was a little worried about Elsa seeing things before anybody. How did she know?

“Because they are real – at least what I feel towards you. It seems that the feelings you have for me are also real. It’s up to you whether you decide to give in to them.” She wanted to honestly jump up and say yes, declaring them officially as a couple in the starting stages. She wanted to see herself preparing for her first official date with him. However, there was something hold her back.

“Okay, they are real and I want them. But, let’s be honest there – we’re both just coming fresh out of a break-up each. I want to be with you badly and you want to be with me badly – but how about we hold off for a bit? Perhaps a week or two. That way we can let everything else sizzle off and truly focus on each other when we do call it official.” Chase couldn’t believe what he was hearing as she was accepting the proposal. However, the thought of holding it off? As much as it hurt to think about not being together for a period of time but yet hearing a confession of feelings, he was willing to accept. He understood her needing some time with regards to Leo, as he had needed that time to himself after his break-up.

“That’s fine. I understand. Take the time that you need. As I told you before, you’re finding your way as you’re growing up and that takes time to go through your own thoughts. When you’re truly ready for a relationship, in a week or two like you say, I promise that I’ll take you on a date.” She felt all giggly inside a the thought of going on a date with him.

“Seriously?” He shakes his head yes.

“We can go to the movies, or we can go out to your favourite restaurant for dinner. We can even go on a non-normal official date and go go-karting. It doesn’t matter to me.”

“I wouldn’t mind going go-karting.” He raises his eyebrows, having expected her to be interested in an official dinner.

“Oh really? Think that you can beat me?” She then just smiles as she sits back.

“It wouldn’t be the first time, now would it?” He rolls his eyes, having remembered all the times that they played on the track.

“Okay, I see how it goes. So once we’re ready to call this official, I tell you what – we’ll go go-karting and I’ll cook you dinner.” She then looks at him a little worried.

“Should I be worried that you’re going to be poison me? Are you sure that you know how to cook?” Chase then takes a cushion off the couch and throws it at her as she breaks out laughing.

“I can cook, missy. I’ve been cooking for myself and I’m still standing. That should count, right?”

“It doesn’t mean that it tastes good.” He then chuckles another cushion at her, which she catches. “Hey! Stop ruining my furniture!”

“Stop picking on my cooking!”