Short Track Lovin’ – Chapter 99: Saturday @ Sonoma

Saturday, June 24

 

Sarina walks into the garage area, adjusting her lanyard as she lets out a yawn. With no sleep through the previous night, needless to say she was ready for a long nap somewhere.

After a busy day at the track yesterday, she flew home to North Carolina with the team. Right upon landing, she walked into the house and switched out her firesuit and a couple other items for some jeans and t-shirts, re-zipping the bag. She let herself grab a quick shower – she was sweaty and sticky and hated it – before heading out to meet up with Amy.

The girls then boarded the plane, making the flight out to California for Saturday morning. She thought of sleeping on the flight, but that didn’t happen as her fear of planes caused her to keep watch thorough the entire experience.

The pair landed in California, adjusting the three hour time difference, with plans set in motion. Amy invited Sarina to join her and some other ladies on a wine tasting tour, but she proudly declined. For her, she’d rather spend a day at the track than sitting around drinking fancy wine.

Now armed with a Mountain Dew Kickstart (perks of boyfriend sponsored by them), she had made her way to the track and was set to find the person of the hour.

She walked into the garage area, smiling as she noticed a familiar No. 21 Ford. Setting a smile on her face, she walks over, wrapping her arms around the driver by the back of the car.

“Hey Ryan,” she says with a smile as he jumps out of his skin, spinning around to face her.

“Hey!” He lets out as he glances around the garage. “Do you realize what Chase would say if he saw us together like that?” She shrugs her shoulders with a smile.

“Oh Blaney, oh Blaney, I guess Chase didn’t fill you in the details for tonight, now did he? We’re going to have our own little lifesaber battle. Hope you’re up for it, Jedi.” His jaw drops in shock as he takes another glance around, hoping nobody was hearing. “What’s wrong? Scared someone will hear of your dirty plans for tonight?”

“Are you sure that you’re the same girl that I met that day at Hickory? Wait – are you the same girl that I saw just a couple weeks ago? Are you sure you’re not some twin or something? And what have you done to Chase? I mean, this is….No, that can’t be happening.” She laughs as she notices the look on his face.

“Ah boy, this is going to be a fun weekend. I can’t believe that you actually fell for it. Nice seeing you, and good luck.” She then puts her sunglasses back on and walks away as he stands there, shaking his head in total shock, before walking back to his team.

She continues making her way down the stretch of garages, destination already in sight as she couldn’t wait to see her actual man of the hour. If there was anybody that keep her awake it was him.

“Sarina!” She hears and stops in her tracks, rolling her eyes immediately as she spins around. She wanted to avoid him, but it would rude to ignore the boss.

“Hey Kyle,” she says in the politest way that she could muster.

“I’m surprised that you’re here – well, sort of. I mean, I get wanting to be with Chase, but really after last night?” She shakes her head yes, wishing that she could just get the conversation over with.

“We have to take advantage of what time we can get together with our schedule, right?” Kyle couldn’t argue that.

“I just wanted to say great job last night. You handled yourself very well, and took what the truck was willing to give you. I was impressed by what I saw. We’ll talk on Tuesday about restarts so you’ll be better for Kentucky, okay?” She shakes her head yes, knowing that she was probably going to get enough advice from Chase already. However, it didn’t hurt to also listen to the restart master.

“I appreciate the tips and advice whenever you get a chance. Thanks for the compliments, and good luck today.”

“Thank you.” He then glances at her hand and shakes his head. “Really? I thought you would’ve been carrying around a NOS instead.” She then lets out a sigh, knowing the balance of everybody having their own sponsor commitments.

“Let’s just say easy access with flying out with Amy is my reason. Don’t worry – I still love you and your great drinks. See you later.” He then returns back to his stall, which was the only cue that she needed to keep walking as she had originally planned.

Taking a couple more sips of her drink and depositing the can in the garbage, she walks through the stall, passing crew members left and right. They each wave and go to say something, but she motions for them to be quiet as she makes her way to the front of the car. She stands back for a second, letting Chase and Alan talk about whatever was on their minds ahead of qualifying later on that day. As they finish up their discussion, she makes her move.

She walks up behind Chase, wrapping both arms around him, and pulling him close as she plants a kiss on his cheek. A smile immediately forms on his face as he spins around to face her, placing one in return on her lips.

“Gosh I missed you,” he says as he keeps her held close. “I love you, and thank you for coming.”

“Any reason to torment Blaney is a good reason for me,” she replies as he laughs.

“I feel bad for him already.” She laughs as she remembers the bag she had previously placed in the hotel room before heading over.

“Just wait till we get back to the hotel later on tonight.” He rolls his eyes, knowing that she was going to be up to no good.

“Suddenly, I feel better about this weekend,” Jared Seate comments from his vantage point, getting a curious glance from the pair. “Chase is always in a better chipper mood now that his girl is here. I say we’re going to have a great weekend and put yesterday behind us.”

“Awww was Chasey not smiling yesterday?” Sarina questions as she slips his sunglasses up, looking into his eyes.

“Would you be smiling if you wrecked your racecar?” He asks and she shakes her head no.

“Well, as the boys have said, you’re going to put yesterday behind you starting today. You’re going to do great. You know how to turn left and right. You proved that in Canada. You also proved that you can’t see a slower truck in front of you, too, or judge the closing gap well enough and hit it.” He then rolls his eyes, still in disbelief that some people bugged him about how he got his first win.

“I’ve said it time and time again – he cut me off, plain and simple. Do I need to show you my mom’s evidence?” Sarina just smiles in response, having seen the pictures and agreeing with what happened.

“Awww is mommy protecting her baby?” He then rolls his eyes.

“You can pick on me all you want. I’m just glad that you decided to come.” She glances around the garage, before returning her eyes back to him.

“You cut into my beach and sun-tanning, but I guess I made the right decision.” He then smiles as he rubs her shoulders.

“Think about it this way – now you get racecars and a California suntan. Just promise me you put sunscreen on.” She then rolls her eyes, remembering the summer they were racing the same tracks in late models and she got a real bad burn one week and how he kept walking over, flicking it.

“Oh, so now you care about my skin? If you must know, I did put some on this morning and brought the bottle to put more on this afternoon, if I need it.” He smiles as it was always good to see her taking care of herself.

“Aren’t they just adorable?” Chad Avrit questions as he looks over Jared’s shoulder. “I’m wondering if we should start planning the wedding now….” Jared laughs as Chase just rolls his eyes.

“Bachelor party at Jr.’s Whiskey River?” Jared asks and Chad shakes his head yes. “Of course, we don’t want to scare off our sweet innocent boy, so no strippers allowed. Unless Sarina has turned him….” Chase just rolls his eyes once again, all the meanwhile keeping his eyes focused on Sarina. The boys could say what they wanted as he didn’t care – he got his girl to join him this weekend.

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

The rest of the day played out decently. Chase had a decent run in qualifying for a solid starting spot, and the pair enjoyed the K&N Pro Series West show from the top of the hill, thrilled by the close finish between Kevin Harvick and Will Rodgers.

Following their fun day, Chase texted Ryan to tell him that he was taking Sarina out to dinner before returning back to the hotel that night, and to sadly inform him that he wasn’t invited. Ryan accepted, though, having already agreed to go out with his team.

Once the pair were done dinner, they retreated back to the hotel room, making it back before Ryan.

“Want to see how high we can make him jump?” Sarina questions as Chase rolls his eyes. He knew he was in for a troublesome night.

“What do you have in mind?” He asks, knowing that he couldn’t miss out on pranking Ryan.

“A bag of tricks…” She then pulls out a smaller bag from her duffle bag, sifting through it. She then pulls out two items, showing both of them to Chase. “Which would work better?”

“Is that what I think it is?” She laughs and shakes her head yes.

“And I know how to make it look the part, perfectly. Let’s just say that pranks on the road while racing were always fun.” He then rolls his eyes as he flops back in their bed.

“Go for it….” She then lets out a cheer of ‘yay,’ setting everything in motion. “Really? We have to go with all this?” She then jumps in the bed beside him, looking into his eyes.

“Just go with it, okay? Oh, and make sure the blanket is all the way up so he doesn’t know.” Chase rolls his eyes as he pulls off his shirt, flicking it off across the room. “And you could also do that….”

The pair laid there quietly, watching a couple different TV shows and using the time to get in some quality time. They then heard the lock on the door engage to unlock, causing the pair to look at each other. Chase reached over, switching the light off as he pulls her close in his arms. He began to giggle a little, with Sarina putting a hand over his mouth.

“Shut up!” She says quietly as they hear the door open.

“Chase? Sarina?” Ryan questions, noticing the darkness of the room with the TV turned off. “Well, guess someone was tired….” He then flicks the light on as he kicks his shoes off. His eyebrows then fuse together confused as he notices a trail of clothes. “Okay, we joked about this, but that was supposed to be all jokes. I mean, come on. Really, Chase?”

Sarina keeps her hand over Chase’s mouth to muffle his want to chuckle as Ryan walks across the room, shaking his head at the scattered clothes across the floor.

“Lace bra – I wouldn’t have pictured that,” he comments as Sarina resists the urge to wonder on the assumption.

Out of the corners of their eyes hidden by the blanket, they watch as Ryan sits on the edge of his bed, slipping off both his pants and t-shirt so he was down to just his boxers.

“Stop looking!” Chase whispers quietly into Sarina’s ears as he makes a motion to cover her eyes, but making it appear as if he was just moving in his sleep.

“Jealous?” She whispers back in response, keeping herself cuddled close to him.

They hear Ryan stand up and walk around the bed, grabbing the remote off the table as he turns to the bed. He pulls back the comforter, set to climb into the bed.

“What the hell?!? Ewwwwwww!” He yells out as he jumps, causing both Sarina and Chase to break out laughing. “Ewwww. Okay, that’s like wet. It’s milky white. That’s used…recently….in my bed. Ewwww.” The pair then break out laughing even more as Ryan spins around. “Really? I mean, okay fine you’re human so you did it before I got back. But really? In my bed? Why not in your own?”

“Who’s to say we didn’t? Let’s just say someone was horny tonight,” Sarina says, as she pulls one out from under the covers, set in the same form as the previous, flicking it at Ryan – which it hits him in the chest.

“Ewww ewww ewww! Oh my gosh! Ewww! There’s not enough showers that I could take to get rid of that. Ewww!” The pair laugh even harder as Ryan keeps his eyes locked on them. “And you think this is funny?” Sarina and Chase shake their heads yes as they sit up in the bed.

“I was wondering if you’d take me up on my earlier offer next…” Ryan’s jaw drops as Chase looks at her confused. “Oh Chase, I forgot to tell you what I was planning….”

“I don’t think I want to know,” Chase comments as he pulls out his phone. He watches the video, cracking up laughing. “All I know is that Bubba is going to kill himself laughing when he sees this.”

“You recorded my reaction?” Ryan asks and Chase shakes his head yes. “Why?”

“Because you’ve just been punk’d!” The pair let out together as Chase sends the video to Darrell.

“I’m confused….” Chase kicks off the blanket, revealing that he’s still in his boxers, with Sarina wearing her PJ shorts and one of his t-shirts.

“We got back about an hour ago,” Chase starts. “We’ve actually just been chilling here, watching TV, enjoying America’s Funniest Home Videos actually. Sarina wanted to see how high you could jump so she planted the evidence – the clothes, the used condom. By the way, that wasn’t used at all. That’s just a nice look-a-like prank liquid sprayed on it.” Ryan then looks around the room, before looking back at them.

“So this was all just a prank?” He asks and Chase shakes his head yes. “You’re mean!”

“I couldn’t let you off with nothing after last night’s comments,” Sarina comments as Ryan just shakes his head.

“Payback is a bitch, sweetheart. Remember that.” She shakes her head knowing that, as she pulls Chase back close to her.

“Yeah, but just remember that I have my knight in shining armor to protect me, always.” He then rolls his eyes as he goes back over to his bed, flopping in it. “You have to admit – I got you good.”

“Well played, actually. I give you credit…” She then lets out a yawn as she cuddles back up against Chase, laying her head on his chest.

“Tired?” Chase questions and Sarina shakes her head yes. “Close your eyes. I’ve got you, and I promise Ryan will stay over on his side of the room. I love you.” He then kisses her forehead, rubbing her back as she closes her eyes, finally glad to be able and snag some sleep after the past 48 hours.

Short Track Lovin’ – Chapter 93: A Watch Party

Everybody meets up in the hotel room, taking various spots on the pair of couches and floor with snacks and drinks spread out. It was going to be an entertaining night….

“Calling it now – Johnny Sauter for the win!” Alan proclaims, causing a couple surprised glances.

“You’re seriously saying that in front of Sarina’s boy?” Eddie D’Hondt questions as Alan shrugs his shoulders.

“I’m going to win….”

“In your dreams,” Chase says, having a good feeling about that night.

“I’m taking Bell,” Eddie comments, causing Chase to roll his eyes. “We all know who Chase is taking.”

“BKR trucks deserve a win – Briscoe or Cindric, I don’t give a damn which one,” Jared Seate comments.

“How are you guys betting against Crafton on an intermediate track?” Chad Avrit wonders, noting down everyone’s picks on a piece of paper.

“Well you guys are unfair in taking all the good picks, but I’ll snag Rhodes,” Jared Erspamer says.

“Guess that leaves me Nemechek,” Nick O’Dell figures as he glances through the driver’s list. “Can we come up with a better picking order next time?”

“Long as I get Sarina each time, I don’t care,” Chase says as the boys just roll their eyes.

All the eyes focused on the screen, watching Sarina lead the first several laps ahead of the field to Chase’s joy. Though as they got into the run, there was no stopping Johnny Sauter as he made the pass, taking the lead with a smile forming for Alan.

As the guys focused on various parts of the event, Chase focused on Sarina and how she was running, watching her fade back a couple spots. He watched as she dropped back to eighth by the end of the stage, knowing some adjustments were needed for the long haul.

“You’re not growing nervous, are you?” Jared questions, eyes focused on Chase. “There’s still quite a bit to go….”

“I’m confident in Marcus and know that they’ll get her working better,” he comments, knowing that Marcus was always good in adjusting for Timothy Peters through the years and had grown a good reputation with Sarina so far. He just hoped that paid off tonight.

“I told you that I’d win!” Alan comments, as he steals the chip bowl from Chad, earning a stern look from him.

“That’s just a stage – doesn’t mean shit,” Chad says as Alan looks on, intrigued.

“Do you realize how much that one playoff point could come into play come November?” Chad knew that Alan was right, but wasn’t set to give in.

“It doesn’t matter who is leading now, but who gets the white and black flag at the end of the race, and I told you who’d that be.”

“It’s not going to be Crafton tonight,” Chase comments. “Notice how much he is struggling on the get go of a run? He loses too much time.” Chad rolls his eyes, but he knew that Chase was right in his comments.

“Junior Joiner can make just as good as an adjustment as Marcus so don’t be counting your chickens yet,” Chad states. “Besides, I think he’s running better than your girl, and that’s how the night is going to go…”

“Those are fighting words,” Nick O’Dell comments, holding up a pillow as he peeks from around it, causing laughs.

“I don’t want any food fights tonight, okay?” Alan declares. “I don’t want to tell Rick that I had to void the security deposit due to needing them to clean the room since I had a bunch of rowdy kids as crew members get into a food fight, again.” The boys laugh, remembering the last time they got together to watch something – hockey – and the result being food flying across the room as they debated penalties.

“I still say that call against Crosby was unfair,” Chad states as Nick rolls his eyes.

“Will you let it go already?” Nick questions. “Your team is in the finals. Shouldn’t that be a big enough reason to forget?” Chad shakes his head no as Nick lets out a sigh. “Ridiculous. I hope Nashville kicks his ass.”

“And I hope you choke on your chips.” Nick looks on shocked as Alan just rolls his eyes.

“Boys, they’re going back green,” he says. “Let’s just focus on the race, please…..”

Everybody quiets down as the race goes back green for the second stage. Just like the first stage, everything went smoothly without any major incidents. While Sauter led throughout, it’d be Christopher Bell snagging the stage victory with Sarina finishing eighth as she ran just outside the top-10 throughout.

“Come on Marcus,” Chase comments, fingers crossed that Marcus actually adjusted the truck enough this time.

“Any comment, crew chief?” Eddie asks as he looks over at Alan, in reference to Christopher beating Johnny.

“That’s not the final checkered on the night so like they said, no counting chickens yet,” Alan says. “She seems like she’s loose. If he would go up on the trackbar or adjust the air pressures, she’ll probably be fine.” Chase knew that Alan was probably right, hoping Marcus got the idea based on what they were seeing.

“Isn’t it tricky though with the turns configured a little differently?” Jared Seate questions and Alan shakes his head yes.

“But we got it trickier with Pocono having three different corners. By the way, Chase, I want you to jot down after what you felt each corner and scale it so I can think it over tonight.” Chase shakes his head accepting as he takes the piece of paper from the crew chief.

“Chasey got homework….”

“Jared is still a little brat,” Chase comments, causing some laughs amongst the group.

Everybody turned serious as the race went back to green, with Christopher leading as Chase Briscoe moved into the second spot, looking for every way he could around the No. 4. All eyes were focused on the battle for the lead – well, except for a pair, who were watching for some progress out of the No. 18.

With about 65 laps still on the board, though, a grasp of shock escaped Chase as he watched the No. 18 make an abrupt turn off the track on to pit road.

“Not again,” he comments out loud, referencing the fact that it seemed each week, trouble found them. He watched as she made the pit stop, before returning back to the track.

“Loose wheel,” Chad Avrit reads off of twitter as Chase looks over in surprise.

“Seriously?” Chad shakes his head yes. “Of course because what else would it be? I mean, it’s not like anything can just go normal for a night. Oh no, that’s been her season with one thing after another. If she could just knock out some solid quiet nights, then maybe she could be like Mr. Bell and winning and leading. But oh no, we got to find issue after issue after issue.”

“She was also speeding so she has to come back down.” Chase then rolls his eyes, ready to head out then and there.

“You’re kidding?” Chad shakes his head no. “Why oh why, Sarina? You should know better. She got busted for that some place else. You’d think she’d remem-”

“She thought she had a serious problem and turned quickly. It’s understandable if she speeds a little.” Chase rolls his eyes.

“You’ve done it, too,” Alan reminds him as Chase lets out a sigh, knowing that Alan was right. However, it didn’t make this any easier watching as he watched her slip two laps down, sitting back in 19th.

Chase was set to give up entirely on the night when the caution flew about 20 laps later for Stewart Frisen hitting the wall. He immediately put faith in that they’d take the wave around to at least get one lap back.

“She won’t make it on fuel if she does that,” Alan concedes, watching her head down pit road. “Remember she pitted about 10 laps shy. If we get no more cautions, she’s screwed worse than already.”

“Besides, there’s still vibration complaints per twitter,” Chad adds.

“Of course there is,” Chase says as he rolls his eyes. “They should be putting on a wheel spacer as they probably fucked the studs.” The comment catches a couple of the crew members off guard as they look back at their driver. “It’s true…”

The race goes back to green, with the caution flying once again sooner as Myatt Snider gets into the turn two wall and spins. Chase could only let out a sigh, wondering what Kyle was thinking between the issues for both Sarina and Myatt now.

“The way this is going, Bell is going to get taken out by Briscoe,” Chase comments, barely even wanting to pay attention.

“Hey!” Eddie and Jared Seate both let out at the same time as Chase rolls his eyes.

“Nothing would surprise me anymore.”

“Wheel spacer is on now,” Chad comments, having read the latest tweet from KBM.

“Now?” Chase questions. “So they didn’t do that before? Geez, what are they? A bunch of rookies? I bet Kyle is fuming in his motorcoach right now.”

They watch the race go back to green, eyes focused on the battle up front between the leaders, along with seeing Justin Haley get loose, sliding up to Nemechek with Nemechek getting in the wall heavily for the caution.

“There goes my bloody pick, thanks to Haley,” Nick O’Dell comments. “I told you being stuck with Nemechek was shit.”

“He should’ve had ran down as close to Haley’s door then,” Chase replies as Nick could just roll his eyes in annoyance. “On a brighter note, thanks to your buddy for getting me my girl a lap back.”

“Feeling a little better there?” Jared Seate questions as Chase perks up a little.

“Just need one more caution and with the way these guys drive, that shouldn’t be hard.”

“Can I have a new pick, please?” Nick questions and the boys shake their heads no. “So first I get last pick and get stuck with crap-head, and then now I don’t even get a second shot?”

“Cheater cheater pumpkin eater,” Chad teases as Nick flips the bird.

“Boys….” Alan warns as he glances up from his notes at them.

“Just because your guy is still in it, you can’t be an ass for us,” Nick says as Alan just rolls his eyes.

“Remind me that this is the last time that we do this.” Jared then pouts, having ideas for next weekend already.

“But I wanted to have a get together for Gateway,” he states as Alan rolls his eyes, again.

“Do it somewhere else, but not with me involved, please. Oh, and Sauter is going to win because jackass 1 and jackass two are going to wreck each other like Chase said originally. They’re driving each other too hard to keep it clean.” Eddie and Jared then both laugh as they watch the field get ready to go back green.

The green flag flies with eyes set on the battle for first between Bell and Briscoe. The battle didn’t last long, though, with the caution flying once again for smoke pouring out the back of Grant Enfinger. It brought a smile to Chase’s face, though, as he knew that meant Sarina was back on the lead lap with 14 laps to go.

“I’ve never seen someone smile at someone blowing up,” Alan comments with a glance over towards Chase.

“You obviously haven’t seen those who hate Kyle Busch when he has a bad day,” Chase says. “But everything’s great now that Sarina is back on the lead lap.”

“Should we remind you of when you were throwing in the towel?” Jared Seate questions and Chase rolls his eyes.

“I never give up on my girl.” The boys then chuckle as they think back to his words.

“You almost left….”

“You figured it was all over with no hope in the kitty,” Chad adds as Chase lets out a sigh. Perhaps he did over-react, but you couldn’t blame him. He was passionate about how well she was going to do that night.

“Well maybe I’ll get a top-10 after all,” he comments, eyes focused as the restart was set to take place.

Over the final stretch of laps – and two more cautions, eyes never left the screen as they watched Sarina battle back, crossing the finish line in seventh for another solid top-10. Meanwhile, among the controversy of the last lap caution (Timothy Peters flipped), it was Bell snagging the win ahead of Briscoe by a nose.

Down in Texas, Sarina climbed from the truck with a smile on her face. It certainly wasn’t the win or top-five she had envisioned after setting the quickest time, but she wasn’t going to complain. If you would’ve told her that she would’ve had a top-10 after going two laps down, she would’ve said you were nuts. However, with high fives for all the guys and a hug for Marcus, she knew they’d put in a good nights work with a well-deserved finish.

“Sorry about that loose wheel there,” Marcus apologizes once she’s done media interviews. “I got to get these guys in line as we can’t be having that.”

“It happens as we all make mistakes,” she comments. “I’ve made my fair share this year. One mistake by the guys is going to happen. As long as we can come back stronger, that’s what matters. We’ll go get them at Gateway.” Marcus couldn’t help but smile with her positivity, knowing that she could be hard on herself from Chase.

“I’m confident about Gateway and Iowa. We have a good short track program at KBM, and I know you have ran well there previously. It’s just about putting it all together.”

“We’re going to make magic happen…..” Marcus could only smile, liking the sounds of that.

Short Track Lovin’ – Chapter 92: “There’s something about you, and blue….”

Friday, June 9

Chase walked into the garage, smiling as he saw the crew guys all hanging around ready for a busy day of practice and qualifying. With the speed they’d shown lately, and a good run last week, it was time to keep the momentum rolling.

“Ready to go, superstar?” Jared Seate questions and Chase shakes his head yes. “Not missing the girl at all?”

“I’m confident that she’ll do well this weekend,” Chase answers, having followed the live updates from Kyle Busch Motorsports all-day Thursday on practice. While she wasn’t at the top of the time sheet, the fact that she felt comfortable and knew they’d be good in race trim was a good feeling. Now if they just borrowed a bit of Bell’s qualifying set-up, perhaps it’d be a stellar night for her.

“And let me guess – she’ll be here tomorrow?” Chase shakes his head no, remembering her plans.

“She’s going to stay back to watch the Stadium Super Trucks and the IndyCars. She’ll be here on Sunday, though.”

“I thought she’d be traveling back to be with you as soon as possible.” Chase laughs and shakes his head no, though partially wishing that a bit himself. He had to admit he missed her sometimes on weekends like this. Though, it was part of the schedule and he knew the summer brought that a lot with how the trucks did a lot of stand-alone events.

“We have our own lives, and our own desires. We both want to make this work. I respect hers just as much as she respects mine, so therefore we give each other space.” Jared crosses his arms as he couldn’t help but admire that.

“Then why is it your mother still has a problem with her? I mean, we’re four months removed and you guys have only grown more closer together. I mean, it’s the talk of the garage…well, besides Bubba getting a chance to drive for Petty. But still, it baffles me.” Chase knew the answer without saying much as he sat down beside the crew member.

“She still doesn’t trust her and fully grasp what happened there. She gets the reasons why she did it, and yes, she has a heart and understands. But I’m her baby and as she described to me, she’s supposed to protect me no matter what. It’s an underlying worry that she has still till she’s fully proven otherwise. It’ll take time, but it will happen. Besides, she admitted that she’s starting to grow on her….” Jared smiles, remembering that small detail amongst everything.

“I heard that comment at Dover, too – till she mentioned Sarina’s brother. It seems with her brother in the picture, it may not ever come though.” Chase knew that was a good possibility, having pondered that a bunch of times himself. It wasn’t like it was something he could brush aside either, recalling a couple recent conversations with Alan.

“I don’t blame her, honestly. I mean, look at what happened between us, right? I’ve told Alan straight out, too, that I don’t fully trust him either.” Jared watched Chase curiously, as he thought over his next question.

“Alan mentioned a worry about the poison deal being connected to him. Are you worried about that?” Chase wanted to straight out say no, however he couldn’t do that. He heard about Chris’ brief ‘fan zone’ disappearance, and seemed odd on the timing of the incidents. “I see some hesitation….”

“Let’s just say that I know what he said to me that day, and it has stuck ever since. Now, we have a job to do, right?” Jared shakes his head yes as he watches Chase stand up. “Let’s focus and do what we got to do.”

“Yes boss.” Jared then brushes his legs off, before heading the other direction as Chase lets out a sigh. Glancing at the car, he knew it was time to focus on the day at hand.

The team was able to put together a solid practice, with Chase ‘alright’ about the car after the session full of race trim runs. As they got ready to switch over for qualifying trim, he could only hope that it went accordingly to plan.

With some time to kill between the session, he made his way back to the trailer, snagging some lunch before relaxing in the lounge part of the hauler. Just as he was set to bite into his sub, his phone rang and an immediate smile formed on his face.

“Hey princess,” he says as he hit answers on the FaceTime request, instantly earning an eye roll from her.

“Oh, so you think that you can try that line on me since it worked so well for Christopher?” She questions as he laughs.

“But you’re my princess as I’d do anything to make you feel good.” She couldn’t help but giggle in response.

“Okay, that earns you a point Mr. Elliott. The only thing is I don’t know how I feel about you in orange yet. There’s something about you and blue…” He just rolls his eyes.

“Well, white definitely works for you, sweetie, as it shows off every curve – just don’t let people stare at that butt of yours.” She takes another round of chuckling.

“You’ll just have to win me over with that lovely orange….” He looks on intrigued. However, he couldn’t deny that he was loving the chat as it was nice to get in some quality flirting.

“Maybe when you’re here on Sunday I can do that. Better yet, you can show up a day early and make my weekend that much sweeter.” She then sighs. It was a big toss-up for her. One of the reasons she loved the trucks racing at Texas was the fact IndyCar and SST ran the same weekend. She loved watching both, and it was nice to get a chance to see them live for a change. However, she understood the pain of being separated for a couple days.

“You know I’m just a ring-a-ling a way if you’re that desperate for company, Chase. But anyways, I thought you could take care of yourself.” Chase chuckles.

“Oh I’m not worried about myself, dear. I know I can handle cooking and all that day. It’s you that I worry about.” She had to laugh, knowing that her cooking was questionable at times. There were also times that she forgot to eat totally when she got busy.

“Does it make you happy that I’m eating while talking to you right now?” He shakes his head yes. “Good. So see, I can take care of myself.”

“Just make sure you have a good safe, fun, clean night. I want to see what a cowboy hat looks like on that sweet head of yours.” She smiles, wishing for the same result.

“I’m going to try, buddy. Alright – I better go as Marcus wants to chit chat soon. Talk later?” He shakes his head yes. “Love you.”

“Love you, more. Bye Sarina.” He then hangs up as he kicks his feet up, eating the rest of his sub as he watched XFINITY practice. That phone call was exactly what he needed.

The relaxation lasted for a good hour before a knock at the door, and he knew it was time for qualifying. Making his way out of the trailer, he grabs one of the markers off the counter and heads out. Taking his time along the way, he signs some autographs for the fans as he heads out to pit road.

He makes his way out to pit road and the walk down to his stall for the session, set to lay down the best lap that he could imagine.

“I was wondering where you were,” he hears a male voice as he reaches there, surprised to see his parents. They had told him they were coming, but weren’t sure if they’d get there for Friday or not.

“I was taking my time, but knew I’d be here with time to spare,” he answers as he fixes his shoes.

“Any updates from Texas?” He shakes his head no, knowing the truck series qualifying session was scheduled around the same time that he was supposed to go out for his session.

“She’s supposed to text me when she’s done, just as I am supposed to do for her.” Bill shakes his head, understanding. It was the same agreement that they had in place when she was racing a late model for him.

“Her brother and that supposed cousin with her?” Cindy asks and Chase shakes his head yes, only imagining what his mom would say next.

“Well, Bethany actually isn’t with them since Sarina told her off this week after the family comment stunt,” he starts. “Bethany stopped by and made some other comment about that reunion. Sarina told her to fly a kite because she wasn’t doing family drama anymore.” Cindy rolls her eyes.

“But yet she still hangs around with her brother?” Chase lets out a sigh, having a feeling that was coming.

“We’ve talked about this, and that’s all I’m going to say. I’ve told you what she’s said about her brother. I’ve also told you that I’m being cautious and careful. Now, can we drop it, please?” Cindy shakes her head, knowing there were bigger fish to fry. Besides, as long as he aware, that was all that mattered.  “It is nice to see you both, though.” Chase then walks away, heading over to Alan as Cindy watches on.

“You need to relax a little,” Bill comments as he rubs her shoulders.

“But I’m Mama Bear and it’s my job to prote-” Cindy starts.

“But your cub is growing up, and learning to handle things for himself. Besides, you both are just going around in circles. You see how much he loves her. Respect that, embrace that. Give her a chance.” She then looks back at Bill.

“You’re just worried that he’s going to be mad at me and not talk to me, aren’t you? You don’t want to lose that…” Bill just pulls her back close. “Don’t worry – I won’t let it come to that. But I will not back down when it comes to protecting him.”

The debates of the afternoon were all put aside through the next couple of hours with the focus being on qualifying. Still fighting a loose condition, Chase was unable to lay down the lap he wanted and barely missed out on making it to the second round, qualifying 25th.

“I should’ve went further on that adjustment,” Alan comments after the session is over. “I’m sorry.” Chase shrugs his shoulders.

“There’s a lot of ways to get to the front, strategy or passing,” Chase says. “We’ll work on the car a little tomorrow and be fine for Sunday. Don’t worry.” Alan smiles, liking the confidence from his driver.

“I believe you’re right as we know what we need to do now.” Chase shakes his head yes as he grabs his phone off the pit cart. “Any update?” He shakes his head no as he lets out a sigh.

“Pole!!!!” Jared Seate lets out, causing everyone to look over confused.

“Um, none of our cars on the pole,” Alan states the obvious as Jared laughs, shaking his head.

“Truck Series live timing and scoring – I have it loaded on my phone from NASCAR’s website. Someone is going to love-a-dub his update from his girl.” Chase then looks over at Jared with a face of amazement.

“Seriously?” He questions and Jared shakes his head yes, walking over as he shows Chase the scoring monitor.

“Read it and weep, baby. Sarina Ott just got her first career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series pole at Texas Motor Speedway. How does that feel?” Chase immediately smiles as he lets out a small woohoo.

“That’s awesome!” He then grabs his phone, texting her immediately to say congratulations, knowing she’d get it once done with all the photos and such.

“So, where are you watching this truck race tonight?” Chase looks over at Jared, intrigued. “We were stealing Alan’s suite at the hotel tonight because he’s got the 70 inch screen in there. That’d allow you to see her full screen…”

“Do you really want a panicking boyfriend ruining our viewing experience?” Chad Avrit questions as Chase laughs.

“Me? Panicking?” He asks and Chad shakes his head yes.

“I saw you at Talladega. You’re nervous watching her.” Chase chuckles, though knew that the crew guys were right.

“Regardless, I think it’d be fun if you join us…” Jared continues as Chase thinks it over, figuring company was perhaps a good idea since Ryan and Darrell had ditched him.

“Fine, just so I can drive Chad crazy,” he comments.

Short Track Lovin’ – Chapter 86: “Are you and Chase Elliott dating?”

Chase walks into the trailer, smile on his face as he makes his way by the guys, sliding the snack drawer open and stealing a bag of Reese’s before closing it. He then hops up on the counter, opening the package as he sits back.

“Someone is a little happy today…” Jared Seate comments as he looks over his shoulder to notice his driver.

“Get lucky last night?” Jared Erspamer questions, causing Chase to choke on his candy. He then chucks one at the crew member as laughter erupts from everyone.

“I swear you guys think you’re in high school still sometimes,” Alan says as he makes his way through the crowd to the far end of the trailer.

“For your information, that is not why I’m smiling,” Chase comments with a look towards Jared. Anybody that knew him well enough, they knew that wasn’t quite on his radar yet.

“But the girl did make you happy, right?” Jared Seate asks and Chase looks over with a wink.

“Or it’s just the fact that I know we have a good car for tonight and we’re about to have some fun.”

“The last time you said that, you went flying through the air at Talladega if I recall,” Jared Erspamer comments. “Just because you’re a pilot doesn’t mean you can fly a racecar.” Chase then looks over at Jared.

“You’re just full of jokes today, aren’t you?” Chase questions. “Besides, aren’t you supposed to be on relaxation mode? Why are you dressed up for tonight?”

“I’m here to support my guys – that’s all. I haven’t touched a tool all day.”

“Actually, you handed me a wrench…” Chad Avrit reminds him as Jared rolls his eyes.

“Jared, what were you told?” Alan’s voice reigns through the trailer, catching everyone’s attention. They knew when the crew chief spoke that they were supposed to pay attention.

“I just handed him the wrench – nothing else, sir,” Jared pleads. “I am behaving as best as I can.”

“I’m sure Chase would say different,” Nick O’Dell comments, earning a glance from the crew member.

“Just make sure you’re behaving Jared,” Alan says as he approaches the group. “Now, let’s leave high school and focus on the actual race here, okay?”

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

“So where are you guys going to watch the race from?” Sarina questions as she glances towards her partners in toe.

“I liked the view from up top on the roof so I was headed there,” Bethany says.

“I was going to join her,” Chris adds as he glances around pit road.

“Alright, that’s fine,” she tells them. “I’m off to see Chase and sit with Alan. Have fun!”

She then makes her way down pit road, giving Kyle a quick good luck wish as she walks by, before walking over to the 24 car. She slips her sunglasses off, leaning back against it as she watches him interact with some of the guests.

“Are you Sarina Ott?” She hears, turning her eyes forward and shaking her head yes. “Are you and Chase Elliott dating?”

“Yes we are,” she replies, confused as to who the person was.

“Well I have news for you – he’s not your type. You should leave him right away.” Sarina could only chuckle as she watched the girl before her.

“Really? That’s odd, considering that last night Chase told me that he loved me a lot, wanted to be with me as much as possible, and we really understood each other. But hey, what do we know?” The comments causes an angered glance on the girl’s face.

“Yeah, you just wait and see what happe-”

“Why are you talking to my sister like that?” Chris’ voice cuts off conversation as Sarina looks towards her brother surprised. “How about you start walking up pit road?”

“Oh, so you’re my boss now?” The girl questions. “Real cute having your brother protect you.”

“Listen here swee-”

“What are you going to do?” Chris closes the gap between them, catching the attention of everyone around them. Sarina immediately pulls her brother back as Chad Avrit puts his arms around the girl and pulls her back.

“Can we have security, please?” Alan questions, pointing towards the girl. The officer then takes the girl and escorts her away as Alan looks towards Chris and Sarina. “Are you both, okay?” They shake their heads yes. “As annoying as she can be, you can’t be approaching her like that. It’ll get Chase in more shit than good. I suggest you just calm your jets next time, got it?”

“Sorry Alan,” Sarina apologizes as she turns her eyes on her brother.

“Why is it such a big deal?” Chris questions as Sarina puts her arms around her brother and leads him away from the group.

“Because Chase has a certain image to maintain and can’t be having stuff like that associated with it. When it comes to those types, they’re every where in this garage. You just have to deal with what they’re saying calmly, respond fairly, and then let security handle it. Please…” Chris then looks away from her.

“You’re disappointed and he’s mad….” Sarina takes a deep breath, remembering what was discussed in his recovery and such.

“Not at all. He was just concerned and I’m just explaining. There’s nothing wrong here. Why don’t you go catch up with Bethany and we can discuss later, okay?” He shakes his head yes. “Have fun!” She then watches him head off before returning to the group.

She noticed Alan and Chase off to the side discussing things, knowing her brother was probably topic of conversation.

“I’m just telling you what happened,” Alan states as Chase lets out a sigh. He didn’t need this, especially when there were concerns already.

“I’m sure nothing was meant by it and I’m sure Sarina straightened it out,” Chase comments as he looks over towards Sarina. “It’s fine, Alan….” He then goes to walk away as Alan places a hand on his shoulder.

“Remember what we talked about. You said it yourself that things seemed off. Don’t forget that…” Chase shakes his head yes before walking over to Sarina.

“Everything okay?” She questions and he wraps his arms around her as he shakes his head yes. “You’re not lying, are you?” He lets out a sigh, eyes focused down pit road wondering where Chris was headed off to. He couldn’t help but worry at times.

“Alan just mentioned what happened and to address accordingly with you,” he starts. “I told him that it was handled by you taking him aside. You don’t have to worry…” He then looks into her eyes, kissing her lips. “We’re going to have a good night.”

“I hope you’re right about that.”

Short Track Lovin’ – Chapter 66: Atlanta

Sarina sat back in the hauler, relaxed on the couch as she finished up her morning FaceTime with her brother. Knowing that Chase had a couple appearances – check in with the NAPA suite, followed by ChaseU and the driver’s meeting, she had some time for herself. He offered her the chance to come, but she declined as she knew what she needed to do.

“Is that Sarina Ott that I see sitting there?” She hears her name, and glances up at the eyes watching her. She immediately rolls them, resisting the urge to kick his ass.

“Oh Jared, how nice it is to see you too,” she answers as he simply smiles in return.

“So I take it my phone call actually did something, even though you won’t admit it?” She wanted to give him another snarky comeback, but it couldn’t find a way out as she glanced up from her phone.

“Actually, I may have to thank you strangely. My mind was already flowing with thoughts of Chase and the schedule together, but you kicked it into overdrive. It got me thinking more and perhaps I reached out to him afterwards. Perhaps we had a discussion, and perhaps now I’m here. Do you want a medal for your effort?” Jared just smiles as he shakes his head no in return. All that mattered to him was that Chase was happy.

“No, I’m good. I just wanted to see if you’d admit it, and I wanted to tell you personally that it’s great to see you back at the track with him.” She just smiles back as she watches him head off to do whatever pre-race duty he had to do.

She keeps herself focused on checking a couple text messages, among other things, till she hears steps up to the lounge once again. This time, her smile is wider as she recognizes Chase right away.

“So how did everything go this morning?” She asks as she watches him go into the cupboard.

“Pretty good actually,” he answers. “Everybody is happy. Now I just have to get the job done on track.” She smiles as she knew the pressure he put on himself, and knew how badly he wanted to perform in front of the hometown crowd.

“I believe in you. I believe in the team. I think it’ll be an awesome day, even better than yesterday.” He smiles back as he lays the suit out on the table, before glancing at her. He was confident in himself as he saw how well they practiced, leading the final session, and knew the car the team had brought to the track.

“I hope you’re right, and I have a feeling you are.”  Transitioning across the small lounge to the small cupboard, he takes out the bottle of Tylenol, taking a deep breath as he snatches two out of the bottle.

“How sore has it been?” He glances over at her, knowing the question was of concern for him, but also her own curiosity. He knew despite everything, and trying to let go of the blame, she still blamed herself because it was her brother.

“Last week, I have to admit that I really sore and I mean really sore after the 500 – but that’s to be expected with week one. So far this weekend, it’s enough to annoy me and enough that I still am taking the Tylenol, but not enough that I am complaining like I was then.” She shook her head, understanding. It gave her some comfort, but not as much as she was hoping. She hated to see him in any pain at all, nether less pain her family had caused. Why hadn’t she seen the signs sooner with her brother?

Greg then walks in, giving a quick nod to begin the process as he snatches the roll of gauze out of the cupboard.

“Did you take the Tylenol already?” Greg asks as Chase shakes his head yes after taking off his t-shirt. “Arms up.” Chase then reaches his arm up in the air, small aggravated noise as he does so, feeling the familiar pulling pain in his ribs he had felt every time thus far. “That should start to go away next week as it heals more.” Greg then tightly wraps him up, making sure it’s a little tighter than probably what everybody had anticipated, before sealing it off. “Remember the drill post-race, no matter what.”

“Remove immediately, take another two Tylenol, and go through the breathing exercises no matter the pain with some ice on the spot,” Chase recites as Greg simply smiles back in return. He hated to see the kid go through this, but he was glad that he was dealing with an easy patient.

“Don’t worry Greg, I’ll take care of him,” Sarina says as she gets up, walking over and wrapping an arm around Chase.

“I know you will.” Greg then heads out of the hauler, done his duties with Chase for the day, set for his next task of the afternoon.

“Got everything you need?” Chase asks as Sarina holds up her phone with a smile. “Then let’s go. Driver introductions are soon.”

“You’re just a busy boy today, huh?” Sarina questions and Chase simply shakes his head yes as they head out together.

It felt nice and familiar to be heading out to the grid with her today. It didn’t feel like last weekend when he felt a little lost with thoughts swirling through his mind, trying to put his mind into focus mode. Instead, this week he felt comfortable and relaxed, and knew the focus mood of racing would come easily once he strapped into the car for that day’s race.

He went through the motions – driver introductions, handshakes, trip around the track in the truck, VIP photos on pit road, visits with family and friends. Everything went with ease as they neared closer to the start of the race.

When it came to opening ceremonies, the loneliness and nerves felt at Daytona had disappeared as he wrapped an arm around Sarina, holding him close to her. Once opening ceremonies were done, a quick kiss and he was climbing into the car, ready to do his job that day.

Starting from 11th, it seemed everything was set to go his way that day as he quickly made his way up through the field, breaking into the top-five with ease before cars started peeling off for the first round of pit stops. Everything came together as he crossed the line for the first stage.

In the second stage, he was able to find a little bit more speed and move into second behind Kevin Harvick. He tried to work at closing the ever-growing gap, working the bottom yellow line as he knew he had to just like the guy he was chasing, finding some speed but not enough. Still, he was pleased with the efforts as they crossed the line second for the stage. As long as they found a little more speed for the second half of the race, perhaps this was the day.

The speed continued to show through the race, as he was even able to close the gap at one point on Kevin Harvick. Radioing to Alan Gustafson and the team that the car felt good and just a couple minimal changes, he was ready for the second half.

However, then it happened. A quick flash of red on his dashboard from the lights indicating pit road speed and he had done it, he had sped on pit road. Now instead of being able to work at chasing Harvick down, he was back in 14th, trying to stay on the lead lap as he hoped for a caution to fly. Thankfully, one did 25 laps later. Now he just needed to get the track position back.

Restarting in the 14th position, he drove his way back to the front, moving back into the familiar second position before the final caution flew with 18 laps to go. It was the money stop – time for his guys to shine to put him in position to maybe, just maybe beat Kevin. However, a small slip –up by the Jackman and he rolled off pit road in fifth. Harvick speeding on pit road then bumped him up to fourth.

The outside line didn’t go, as usual with him cursing to himself the whole way, as he dropped back position after position. However, with the car the team had given him, he was able to make up ground, eventually crossing the line in fifth.

He wanted to be happy with the performance. They had been able to rebound from the pit road speeding penalty. They had shown speed all day, which just added to confidence for the weeks to come.

However, he couldn’t help but wonder what could’ve been. Given how strong the car was and given how they had ran second to Kevin all day, what if they had come off pit road in second? Could he have held off Brad and Kyle to win the race? Could this had been his first career victory?

The frustration showed through in his post-race interview before he made his way over to Alan, noting he had a suggestion with regards to their pit road speed tracking and how it could be fixed. The crew chief simply accepted the notion, before making sure to tell his driver how proud he was of him.

“We’re going to get our win – soon,” Alan says and Chase shakes his head in agreement.

After going through the unwrapping process, and then some time in the media center, he retreated back to the trailer and the familiar couch, as he laid back with ice on his side going through the breathing techniques.

“Are you okay?” He hears a female voice pipe up halfway through and he shakes his head yes.

“A little frustrated, but I’m okay,” he answers as he looks over at her. “We had a fast car. We were in contention all day. We’re continuing to show speed every week. We’re continuing to put ourselves in position, and it could’ve worse after the mistake that I made. We’ll tidy up the issues and head to Vegas with hopes of victory.”

“Hopes of victory? Hell, I think I’d rather be saying see you in victory lane.” Chase wanted to feel that confident, but knew anything was possible. He had thrown the race away the past two weeks, and everybody knew what Kevin did after leading all but 33 laps.

“Don’t count your chickens before they hatch. Just ask Kevin.”

Short Track Lovin’ – Chapter 63: Reaching Out

The pit crew finishes up their practice, returning back to the locker room to get changed into some other clothes. Jared gets changed quickly, before making his way over to Chad Avrit.

“Do you know if Sarina has reached out to Chase yet?” Jared asks, catching the fellow crew member’s attention. He shakes his head no.

“Based on what I saw from him for the rest of the week, it didn’t seem like it,” Chad answers as Jared lets out a sigh.

“I’ve waited a week, hoping that she’d reach out and do the right thing. But yet here we are and she’s done nothing. They’re meant to be, Chad. What if we are waiting too long?” Chad then lets out a sigh as he closes his locker.

“What are you trying to say, Jared?” Jared knew that he was set on one simple thing.

“I’m going to call her today.”  Chad shakes his head no as he knew that was a bad idea.

“Are you asking for an ass kicking? Do you realize what Chase and Alan will do when they find out?” Jared knew that was quite possible, but he also saw the other side.

“And what if she reaches out to him, call him, shows up this weekend in Atlanta? Then what are you going to go say?” Chad knew that was possible, but still didn’t like the idea.

“I know you’re going to do whatever the hell you want. Just don’t come running to me when Chase kicks your ass.” Chad then heads out of the room as Jared stays back, thinking it over awhile longer.

With the thought planted in his mind the rest of the day, and knowing he was doing the right thing in his mind, he pulls out his phone and dials her number.

“Hello?” He hears, causing him to catch his breath in his throat. What was he supposed to say?

“Sarina?” He asks, wondering he even if had the right number.

“This is Sarina.  Who is this?” Well, at least he had stolen the right number from Alan’s desk.

“It’s Jared Seate off of Chase’s team. I was wondering if I could talk to you about something.” It seemed like the only way that he could introduce himself, and just hope for the best.

“Go on…” He could tell there was unease in her voice, and began questioning once again if he made the right decision.

“Have you reached out to Chase at all, by the way?” If she answered yes to question, then he could forget the whole idea.

“What does that matter to you?” He could sense anger and frustration. He already began planning a place to hide.

“Well, I know you guys are going through a lot right now with what happened. Anybody could see that with your brother being involved, his pain, the fact that you guys haven’t been around each other. I don’t know what you’ve said to each other, if anything, but I can tell that it’s eating at Chase. He misses you a lot, more than he probably has told you. I mean, you know him well enough to know that boy doesn’t always show every bit of his emotions. I wanted to let you know because if you were thinking of leav-”

“I’ve reached out to him twice, Jared. I messaged him after he won the pole with a very simple short text message of congratulations. I messaged him after the 500 to let him I know I felt bad about what happened, reminding him that he’s amazing and its okay, and telling him how I felt. You don’t need to know the details but I told him that when I was ready, I would talk to him as I miss him, too, and want to work things out when the time is right. Does that satisfy your concerns?”  Jared lets out a sigh as it was a relief to know there was some effort being put in.  He could simply kick himself in the butt for making the call, and hope that he didn’t his ass kicked over nothing.

“Yeah, that does actually. I just figured I’d reach out in case you didn’t know where he stood.” Perhaps some assurance could save his ass from being kicked.

“Well I’m going to tell you something else then. Stay the hell out of our business as it’s not for you to get your nose stuc-”

“I cared about my friends and his feelings. I was just trying to hel-”

“Well, the better thing would’ve been to comfort him and assure him that things would work out if meant to be, as they should. Not for you to steal my number from someone and call me out of the blue.” Jared knew he was in for an ass kicking if Sarina mentioned something to Chase.

“Understood. I apologize.” It was worth the effort.

“Whatever. Goodbye.” Sarina then hits hang up as she lets out a long sigh, sitting back in the chair.

She didn’t want to let the phone call bug her. She didn’t want to think about what Jared said. However, it wouldn’t leave her mind.

She knew that Chase was tight lipped on emotions, cared deeper than he would let on. The only time he’d really let on was when it got to be too much and it just came out – as noted with their argument.  She had seen that with him through the years on a couple different occasions.

If the crew could see enough heartbreak that they were concerned and reaching out to her, then that meant it had to go real deep. Glancing down, she find herself realizing how much this was hurting Chase in them being separate – and truthfully, hurting herself too.

Picking her phone back up, she went into her contacts and pulled up his number. She knew that she could hit dial and they could discuss things, but that wouldn’t fair as their discussion needed to happen face-to-face.  However, she also knew that she couldn’t leave this alone either.

Chase, I just wanted to say hi and check in on you. Hope you’re not beating yourself up too much over this past weekend. Remember to focus on the weekend ahead and know you’ll kick ass in Atlanta. I believe you’ll win. As things work out, I will find time to see you, and we will talk. Sarina.

Short Track Lovin’ – Chapter 59: “Are you sure this is right?”

With no work to do in one of the only off-days of the week, Jared Seate was set to take some action into his own hands.

“Are you sure this is right?” Chad Avrit asked as he watched his fellow crew member pull his cell phone out of his pocket. He knew the phone number that was about to be dialed, having heard the idea prior to meeting together.

“I’m certain this is what needs to happen if they’re going to get anywhere,” Jared answers as he brings the number up. He goes to hit dial, but Chad grabs his hand. “What?”

“Are you absolutely certain? I mean, what gives you the first clue?” Jared lets out a sigh. He should’ve called Nick instead.

“He hasn’t talked to Sarina lat-”

“I heard he got a text from her yesterday, actually. She congratulated him on the pole.” Jared rolls his eyes. The text was nowhere near the communication needed.

“Anybody can send a text, but that’s nowhere near a heart-to-heart conversation or getting back together.” Chad couldn’t help but think over Chase’s words.

“I told him on Saturday when he was thinking about her to give her a call. But he said that he’d rather wait till she’s ready. Listen, he knows her better than anyone. Maybe there’s a good reason why he is waiting. Maybe there’s something that we don’t understand. Heck, there was a lot that happened there especially with her brother being involved and then the brain tumor.” Jared had heard the narrative before, and perhaps it was starting to resonate with him. Maybe he should hold off and let things play out.

“Perhaps you’re right – but did you not notice the look he gave me when I offered about calling her? If looks could kill-”

“Then why are you calling her today, huh?” Jared was now starting to realize more and more it was a bad idea. After all, he knew it could result in him getting fired.

“Because they damn well need to get back together, okay? He’s upset, heartbroken – but yet we know in some way that they both care about each other, regardless of what happened. Perhaps it’s nerves, perhaps uncertainty is why she hasn’t called him. Perhaps she doesn’t understand what he’s going through on his side.  Hence why I want to fix that.” Chad couldn’t argue with the logic, as perhaps that was going on. However, it still didn’t seem right to meddle.

“I’m sure she somewhat gets where Chase stands. He put it out there that he wanted to talk, maybe working something out – that means to her, that there’s a window of opportunity. However, he knows with the deal with her brother, not to push the envelope. What if she’s focused on family drama? What if she doesn’t want to mix that due to her own worries and fears? What if she wants to fight one battle before another? There’s many reasons as to why she hasn’t called him ye-”

“Okay, and what about his feelings? Sure, she can take all the time that she wants Chad. But, look at how it’s affecting Chase. What about those feelings?” Chad knew there were in a bind, as there wasn’t much that he could say.

“I’m sure she understands partially where he’s coming from, and if he wanted her to know so bad – he’d reac-”

“Bullshit as he’s Mr. Friendly, won’t push anything. You know that yourself.” Chad lets out another sigh, handing another round to the tire carrier.

“Regardless, I’m sure she knows more on those feelings than we do, having heard the argument words and having seen him the day in the hospital. There’s a touch of hope there via the text message. Do you want to screw that?” Jared knew there was a slight chance of that, but didn’t see that image happening.

“I don’t think we’d screw that up, though. I think we’d just make the ball move faster by making her truly see what we’ve been seeing all this time.” Chad lets out a sigh, as Jared did have a point. Incase Chase had been guarded with his feelings, this could help push things closer if she knew just how much he cared. Perhaps that was part of her worry, and they’d solve it. “Well?”

“I still don’t think you should call her. I mean, Alan said himself that she knows things, and he’d know because he’s talked to Chase about it. Besides, Alan is right, too – that they need to work it out, or let it break apart. If we start getting in the middle, we’re only going to make things more complicated. Do you really want that for Chase?” Jared shakes his head no.

“Then what are we supposed to do while we wait for that phone call, bud?” Chad knew there was only one answered, as evidenced on pole day.

“Just be there for him. If he needs someone to talk to, listen. If he needs someone to lean on, let him. If he needs someone to cry on or do something for him, be that person. Just like you were there on Sunday to help him get in the car and such. It’s all we can do – just being the best friend that we can.” Jared lets out a sigh. He so badly wanted to just make this go away easily and knew he could with a simple phone call. He wasn’t one to have patience. But, as he had listened to Chad, he knew that there was something wrong with the picture he had drawn here – or he had called the wrong crew member to help him.

“I guess. It’s just agony…” Chad shakes his head in agreement, crossing his fingers that Sarina would call Chase soon.