The Tale of Love & Racing: Sarina’s Story – Chapter 146: Myers Brothers Luncheon

Tuesday, November 27 – Charlotte, North Carolina

Sarina glances over at the monitor, smile marked on her face in seeing images of her baby on the screen. It almost made her want to cry in being able to hear the heartbeat, see that the baby was growing a little more each day inside of her.

“So we’ve decided to not get the paternity results, correct?” Dr. Grayson double checks, earning a nod from both parents. “That’s fine. If you ever do change your mind, please let me know and we can go from there.”

“I still say it’s a girl,” Chase comments, eyes also focused on the small screen that showed the ultrasound images.

“As long as she, or he, are healthy, that’s what matters,” Sarina says as she clutches his hand tightly.

“On that note, we did originally schedule this meeting to also discuss your MSAFP test results,” Dr. Grayson states, catching both of their attention. “I am happy to report that everything came back clean and looks to be right on track as normal, so there should be no surprises in that department. We just need to keep a close eye on how the baby grows, and the location of the baby inside of your uterus and whether concerns arise.”

“Is there anything that you can do if something was to happen?” Chase wonders as Dr. Grayson hands Sarina a cloth to wipe up the stuff on her stomach.

“It depends on how far along she is with her pregnancy at that time, as well as the health of the baby, her health, and the location. There are measures that can be implemented to help if needed, like putting her bed rest. Now I know you’ve been the type to over-concern yourself, so please do not do that to her right now as she doesn’t need to.” Sarina just looks over with a smirk, glad that point was made knowing the direction things would probably go already. She had heard enough comments already from Chase, and even Cindy on Thanksgiving.

“That doesn’t mean you push yourself over the edge….” Sarina just rolls her eyes.

“He is right about that, too. If she’s far enough along and a significant concern arises, we could induce her to have the baby early – or do a c-section. But again, I wouldn’t worry about that as everything is growing normally so far. Let’s just keep our fingers crossed that the baby co-operates and follows course the rest of the pregnancy.” Chase knew if they’d gotten this far and survived the likes of Talladega, it was meant to be and things were probably set to go full steam ahead. However, he couldn’t help but wonder at times.

“And she is okay to go to Las Vegas and Florida?” Dr. Grayson nods her head in response.

“She is fine with flying until she reaches 36 weeks, or I say otherwise.” Sarina had to chuckle as she could see Chase doing the math already in his head.

“Will you just focus on writing your acceptance speech for Thursday night?” Sarina questions, earning a glance from him. “We both know you’re getting Most Popular Driver.”

“I can’t argue with that,” Dr. Grayson admits as she hands the couple some print-outs. “I know you both are already in love with this baby, so feel free to stare at these images until we see each other again.”

“Thank you for everything, truthfully.” Dr. Grayson looks back over at them.

“You’re welcome, and I hope everything goes according to plan for you both. Have fun at the Snowball.”

Wednesday, November 28 – Las Vegas, Nevada

Sarina focuses on herself in the mirror, fixing the fluff on her shoulder, followed by making sure it crossed her body as it was supposed to. She had just finished getting her hair angled how she wanted, and knew the next step was making sure the dress sat correctly on her body.

She then hears her phone go off once, ignoring it at first as she wanted to make sure she was ready on time. However, after hearing the phone go off another 10 times in a row, she began to wonder as she walked out of the bathroom to where it sat on the dresser. Were they running late? She also knew there were probably going to be other messages throughout the day, as everybody worked out plans for later on that night. With Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson supposedly organizing the bulk of the birthday party, she was a little skeptical.

“You…look…stunning,” Chase slowly comments, having caught the first glimpse of what she was wearing for the Myers Brothers Luncheon. “That color suits you perfectly.”

“Are you sure we’re not running late?” She questions out-loud as she unlocks her phone.

“I was told to be ready for 12 and down in the lobby. We still have 15 minutes.” He then hears his phone go off, walking over to where it sat beside hers on the dresser. “You’re popular today.”

“Congratulations?” He then looks over at puzzled. “I’ve got five text messages saying congratulations, and they’re all from people who knew I was pregnant already…”

“That’s weird, as I have one that seems off, too.” He then shows her the phone so she can read the text message. After a pair of confused glances at each other, they went back to scrolling through the other notifications. “Actually, congratulations is in order my dear.”

“What did you find?” He then holds the phone up, which showed the notification from twitter that NASCAR had sent out. They elected to announce the Truck Series and XFINITY Series Most Popular Driver Award winners prior to the luncheon and tomorrow’s Cup banquet. While Elliot Sadler had gotten the award for XFINITY, it was Sarina taking the award in truck. “Oh wow….”

“Congratulations to Sarina Ott on being the Most Popular Driver. She’s the first female to win the award in NASCAR’s national series history, and brings home the first recognition for Kyle Busch Motorsports.” Her jaw drops a little as she would’ve expected KBM to have at least one with talents like Christopher Bell and Erik Jones through the years. “I’m surprised Kyle hasn’t called you yet, but I guess I get to be the first one to say in person – congratulations.” He then gives her a kiss.

“Thank you….” She then looks back at the notifications once again, replying back to a couple as she stands there in disbelief. “Is it wrong that I don’t even know what to say?” Chase shakes his head no.

“You’ve got a whole week to plan your speech for the banquet.” She had to chuckle a little, as it seemed weird having the truck banquet after the Cup ceremonies.

“But seriously, Chase. A small town girl who was considered an outkast at times, who some people wanted nothing to do with, who continued to alienate people and make mistakes, and admittedly isn’t easy on trust is this year’s most popular driver.” She then looks over at him, disbelief written in her eyes still. “Seriously?”

“I see someone that has inspired a nation. You showed everybody that no matter what happens in your past, you can find a way to overcome that and become the person you’re truly meant to be. You showed everybody the value of strength, perseverance and determination with everything that has been thrown at you. I also see your drive on track to succeed, and the success that you’ve been able to have. You’ve earned this all the wa-”

“Oh come on, Chase. You can’t seriously say that without admitting that there’s got to be some influence on the award being that I’m dating you, going to drive for Dale next year, and I drive for Kyle this year.” Chase takes a deep breath, remembering advice that he was given a couple years back when he won the award in the XFINITY Series.

“I can’t deny that, okay? There’s certainly fans that will vote for you for those factors alone. However, I also see those who are genuinely Sarina Ott fans from the beginning, the late model days, and seeing you as a driver yourself. Do you remember the little girl that you helped at the hall of fame? Do you remember the father we met in Amsterdam who knew nothing about racing, but yet his daughter knew of you and admired your strength? There’s always going to be those who gravitate to you because of who you’re surrounded by. However, there’s also those who like you for who you are, and appreciate every bit of who you are. So when everybody tries to shove those reasons down your throat, just damn well remember those little moments. Remember everything that you’ve done to get here, and remember every person whom you directly affected to get here. You earned this, you deserve it, and we’re going to celebrate it next weekend at your banquet.” She didn’t know what to say in response, surprised he had even remembered those small moments. Certainly they were glued in her mind as they meant something, but for him to remember took it to a whole new level for her.

“Have I mentioned how much I love my Georgia Peach birthday boy lately?” He had to chuckle in response as she leaned over, snatching another kiss. “Thank you for being my rock, and always being here for me.”

“Thank you for being here for me, too.” They then finish getting ready, grabbing their phones and her clutch before heading out of the hotel room. Immediately upon exiting, they spot an envelope on the floor.

“Seriously? I mean, how does she know already what room we’re in?” Chase picks it up, shoving it in his pocket as he walks down the hall. “You’re not going to open it?”

“I’ll alert security that she’s in the building and knows what room we’re in, and they can handle it.” He then waits for her to catch up with him, followed by wrapping an arm around her shoulder. “Why  should we mess up our good day?”

“I still like how you wore pink to match my dress.” He then smiles as they reach the elevator to head downstairs. “You look very handsome, sir Elliott.”

“We had to celebrate your accomplishment in a small way, and you look extremely charming, Ms. Ott.” He grabs another kiss, before leading her into the elevator to head downstairs to the luncheon.

For the most part, the luncheon was a pretty dull event in watching their various competitors go up to accept awards, along with Todd Gordon’s Championship Speech. The only thing that caught either of their attention to really watch was William Byron’s rookie of the year speech.

“That’ll be you one day,” Chase comments, as Sarina leans her head against him. “I’ll be sitting here holding our baby as you tell the world how you succeeded at the highest level.”

“It doesn’t hurt the dream,” she admits. “I just hope William knows what he’s in store for later on tonight.” Chase had to chuckle a little, having heard a couple rumors as he glances over at her.

“Has Jeff or Jimmie given you any details yet?” She shakes her head no. “You’re not lying to me, are you?” She shakes her head no once again.

Even though there was no awards for him to accept at the Luncheon this year, he was required to take part in a mandatory media availability to answer questions for the media that wanted to speak with him.

Sarina stood back, watching as she knew it wouldn’t take too long with the focus being on the likes of William and Joey. Though she had to admit she was caught off-guard with various people walking up to congratulate her on receiving the Most Popular Driver Award.

“Maybe there’s hope for me tomorrow yet,” Kyle comments as he stops by, earning a chuckle in response from her. “Oh, I see how it is. I let your fiancé drive your late model and this is how you treat me….”

“We both know that you’re going on a hope and a prayer to win that award tomorrow,” she offers with a smile.

They were almost done when she hears her phone go off, pulling it out of the clutch that she was holding. She smiles as the party details had finally arrived from Jeff in where they were to meet, and at what time. Everybody was supposed to go to dinner as many had sponsor obligated functions to go to, and then meet up at the chosen location at 8pm. There’d be cake and drinks to be had by everybody, with those going past midnight to make sure that the young teammate – William Byron – got some for his 21st tomorrow.

As soon as everybody arrived, it seems the drinks began immediately with everybody and their best friend offering to buy Chase a drink for his birthday. Though in not wanting to deal with too bad of a hangover tomorrow, he was trying to keep it as minimal as possible.

“Since you won’t take my good damn Tequila shots, then maybe I can interest you in something else,” Ryan starts as he walks away from where Chase was standing.

“You could just do the shots yourself,” Chase offers as Ryan shakes his head no. “Okay, maybe we could pass them over to Jimmie.” Jimmie admittedly had to chuckle as he shakes his head no.

“With the travel whirlwind that I’ve been on since Miami, I need to take it slow if I am going to survive this week,” Jimmie admits.

“So that’s why you’re sticking to beer tonight…” Jimmie nods his head in agreement as he places a hand on the glasses.

“But don’t worry because if one birthday boy don’t want them, we have another at the crack of midnight.” Chase laughed as he looked over to where William was hanging out with Kyle Larson and Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

“He has no idea what he’s in for with you guys. I almost feel bad, but then I remember what you did to me.” Jimmie immediately puts his hands up in the air. “Don’t act innoc-”

“That was Ricky and Kyle who thought it’d be a great idea to do that.” Chase rolls his eyes, but had to chuckle. It was definitely a new experience waking up on the roof. “Answering back birthday wishes on the phone?” Chase was trying to be discrete with his phone in hand, but obviously that hadn’t worked.

“Snowball Derby qualifying draw. Marcus (Richmond) sent me that he pulled 37.” Jimmie looks at him slightly confused. He had heard that Chase was running the event, but didn’t know whether that was a good number or not. “He wanted to pull between 15th and 30th as that’s normally when the track is at its best, but we missed that by a bit.”

“So when you don’t qualify on the pole, you can now blame the crew chief.” Chase smiles a little with a nod of the head. “Have some fun down there. It’s actually fun to see you back in a late model.” Chase couldn’t deny that as the more he thought about it, the more excited he was. Maybe that was influencing his decision to avoid as much trouble as possible these next couple of days before going.

“It’s certainly been a couple years, and it’s always fun going to the Snowball. I was surprised when Kyle asked me, but I wasn’t going to turn him down.” Jimmie admittedly was caught off guard when he saw the announcement, but understood the basis with Sarina’s pregnancy.

“It makes me wonder why Kyle wouldn’t just run himself.” Chase nodded his head in agreement, remembering he had brought that up without much response from Kyle.

“Since I’ve known you, there’s only been one cake that you’ve accepted for your birthday,” Ryan starts as he begins to walk back over towards them finally. “Now it may not be a good as your mom’s classic German Chocolate recipe, but I had to my boy a favor tonight considering I didn’t buy you a gift.”

“Seriously?” Chase questions, as Ryan just shrugs his shoulders.

“Pregnancy has got my mind going crazy,” Ryan admits as Sarina and Lindsay could only smile. Lindsay then reaches over, running her finger along the edge and licking it.

“Damn that’s good,” she lets out, going for another when Ryan smacks her hand.

“Oh my gosh….” Sarina lets out as she had done the same without being noticed.

“They won’t even leave my cake alone long enough for you to light the candles,” Chase comments, as the girls shrug their shoulders.

“I think this baby is all you. I’ve never been one for German chocolate, but damn, that’s good and I want some more.” She then snatches a candle from Ryan, placing it right in the center. “Go ahead and light this so he can blow it out and we can please his baby.”

“I’d rather do this,” Ryan comments, before snatching a good piece, stuffing in Chase’s face as everybody laughs.

“I see how it is….” Chase simply says with a smile. He knew that he’d get Ryan back later. “I guess I could say thank you for the ruined cake.”

“Now will you take the shots to go with the cake?” Chase lets out a sigh, slowly shaking his head no. “Seriously? Where’s the man that I traveled around the world with?”

“Looking out for my lady tonight…” Chase then wraps an arm around Sarina, pulling her close with a kiss. “Besides, Jack tastes a lot better…”

“I can take care of myself if you want to have some fun,” Sarina tells him. “But I will say, this will be worth your while.” He looks over slightly intrigued as she walks away.

“Someone is getting laid tonight!” Ricky lets out from his corner of the room with his glass up in the air.

“You’re just jealous….” Sarina gives him a wink as she leaves the room. She couldn’t wait to see the look on his face when she returned.

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The Tale of Love & Racing: Sarina’s Story – Chapter 119: The Note

Friday, September 21 – Richmond Raceway

Chase was glad to be in the garage area early as he looked over to the neighbouring garage stall. It was no secret that his mind had been busy the past week following the meeting with Shelley as he contemplated a bunch of different things. Could he have handled her differently, and what was he supposed to do with the other note that rested in his procession?

He had turned to Jimmie for advice on many occasions, surprisingly the situation with Alison not ranking on that list as their discussions focused on racing, attitude, work-outs and life decisions. He wanted to turn to somebody different, someone whom he trusted deeply, and that was Jimmie. But was he ready to discuss the topic of Alison with her?

Remembering the words from therapy and a deep breath, he made his way over and got his teammate’s attention.

“What is it that you wanted to talk to me about?” Jimmie asks, once they’re out of earshot of the crew members, half-expecting a question about Richmond or how to handle a tough start to the playoffs.

“Do you remember Alison?” He questions, earning a curious glance from Jimmie who simply nods his head in return. “I wish I could’ve told you at the time what was goin-”

“Hey, I get it, okay? That’s not easy to deal with, so I can understand why it’s tough to talk about. I learned that when it was revealed as to what she had done, and it makes me sick to my stomach to even imagine going through that. I don’t think I would’ve let her live if I was in your shoes.” Chase was used to comments similar to that nature, and still wondered whether he had made the right choice. “Why are you bringing this up?”

“About a month ago, she had a note sent to be delivered to me via the courts. I’ve heard it’s a possible apology with everything that she’s going through.” Jimmie lets out a sigh, knowing that combined with Chase’s compassion could be a bad situation. “I can’t decide whether to open it or to just burn it like Sarina said.”

“Are you mentally prepared to open that door again?” Chase shrugs his shoulders, having not even considered that. “Given what I’ve heard, you had a lot going on to the point that rumors were you went to therapy. For you to have to go that far, she must’ve took it deep and I’m worried about you if you re-open those wounds too soon for you to handle.”

“Alan told me the same thing…” Jimmie glances over his shoulder at the crew chief, before turning his eyes back to Chase.

“You’ve always trusted Alan’s judgment….” Chase nods his head, knowing that without a doubt. Ultimately, he had trusted Alan with his life at times.

“Shelley also approached us for an apology. We scheduled the meeting for Monday afternoon at the house. Needless to say, I chewed her ass out.” Jimmie’s jaw drops in surprise. “I don’t know what came over me, but I just let her hear how much pain and anger I felt from what she had done in possibly getting Chris released. She then asked me if I wasn’t ever going to forgive, why set up a meeting? If you continue to let people run over you and get away with it, they are just going to keep doing it. If you let somebody control you too much, they are probably going to take advantage of yo-”

“In other words, your regrets over Alison in letting her control out and that situation for so long.” Chase takes a deep breath, slowly nodding his head. He couldn’t avoid that comment, no matter who he talked to, as Samantha and Alan had already brought up the same thing. “Have you been told lately that was it not your fau-”

“I know it wasn’t my fault, Jimmie! I’ve heard that so many times that I’ve lost count. However, I still made the decision to accept her deal. I still made the decision to keep it a secret. I still made the decision that brought her closer to us. Hence wanting to take a stand so we don’t have a repeat. I’m done being hurt, and I’m done playing everyone’s games. I only accepted that meeting with Shelley so I could hear her words, and decide what I needed to do moving forward so that myself, Sarina, and my family never get hurt again.” Jimmie nods his head, accepting, now realizing how this translated back to Alison.

“So now you’re wondering if you should open that envelope in a want to protect them?” Chase nods his head yes. “Well, for starters, Alison isn’t getting out of the mental institution anytime soo-”

“How do you know that? There’s been talk about them finding what she has wrong with her, and possibly releasing her sooner than stated. Of course, there’s a parole board and such, but that door has been spo-”

“She’d never get past the parol-”

“Never say never, Jimmie. She’s bent rules before.” Jimmie takes a deep breath, nodding his head. It was obvious that he wasn’t ever going to totally erase that fear, and that was understandable.

“Regardless, that note is her writing. It could be a bunch of jibberish to mess with your head. It could be a sincere apology. It could be her attempt to get you have her released early. I understand doing everything that you can for your family as I would do the same for Chandra, Genieve, and Lydia. But is it worth it with all the pain? Only you can decide if you can handle that.” Jimmie then places a hand on his shoulder. “I’ve always believed in you, Chase, and you’ll figure this out. If you need to talk further, you know where to find me as I am willing to discuss whatever you want.” Jimmie then takes a deep breath, re-analyzing their full conversation as he was intrigued by parts of Chase discussing his feelings in relation to her. “And please remember that Alison can’t hurt you, and you can let go now if you haven’t already.”

“Every day, it seems it fades more and more into the distance. But I’d rather remember so I don’t make the same mistakes again.” Chase then turns on his heels, returning back to his stall with Cup practice set to begin as scheduled.

“Are you okay?” Sarina questions as she walks over, with the second session set to started soon. Chase already had put his helmet on his head, ready to go, knowing they needed to make the most of it having timed in only 15th quickest.

“Just hoping we figure out what we’re missing,” Chase answers as he glances at the speed chart, seeing the speeds laid down for XFINITY practice. He had to smile at Dale showing speed in his return behind the wheel.

“That wouldn’t have anything to do with what you and Jimmie were discussing, would it?” Chase thought that she wasn’t in sight at the time, knowing she was looking for Samantha. However, obviously she’d caught their discussion.

“Everything is fine, believe me.” He then wraps an arm around her, pulling her a little tighter, as she plants a kiss on his nose.

“Okay. I wanted to come see you before I went and laid down, so I’ll see you after practice. Be careful, and find that speed.” She then goes to leave him, but he holds onto her arm a little tight. He could tell by her tone that something was off.

“What’s wron-”

“I’m fin-”

“You’re lying.” She then lets out a sigh, wanting to shelve this in the annoying compartment that seemed to be filling quickly since Indianapolis. However, she understood his concern as he wasn’t wrong.

“I have a small headache right now. I don’t know if it’s because I practically puked my guts out this morning, or if it’s something else. It’s just nagging me a little. So I am going to lay down in the motorcoach with the lights off and see if that eases it.”

“Cucumbers on the eyes works.” She breaks out in a chuckle as he looks at her dead serious. “It’s not some beauty myth as it honestly works. I’ve done it before.”

“Alright, I’ll try it.” He then pulls her back into a quick hug, before letting her go finally.

“I hope you feel better. Tell that baby of ours to behave, will you?” She then chuckles as she rubs her stomach a little, before heading off out of the garage stall.

Chase leaned back against the pit box, with a sigh. it seemed no matter what they tried the final session, there was no speed to found in the No. 9 Hooters Chevrolet, leaving them ranked 29th on the board.

“Does it at least feel comfortable?” Alan wonders as he looks over the notes once again with Josh and Tom.

“I’d give you a passing grade, but it could be better,” Chase answers as Alan just shakes his head.

“Maybe we should’ve totally gone the other way. It just feels so weird to be so far off as we used to be hitting these tracks like gold.”

“I’ll check with Jesse (Saunders), and see what direction he and Chad went for Jimmie,” Tom suggests. “Maybe it’ll give us something better.”

“We got to do something,” Chase offers as he lets out a sigh.

“We’ll figure it out,” Alan offers, patting his shoulder. “Go check on your girl, and I’ll see you at 5.” Chase nods his head, accepting, knowing that was when Cup qualifying was scheduled for.

After signing some autographs along the way, Chase was able to get through the garage area and back to the privacy of the motorcoach lot. He entered the code in the door, quietly entering as he slowly closed the door behind him. Making his way through, he smiles as he leans back against the door opening for their bedsroom, seeing her curdled up on the bed, asleep.

He grabs a bottle of water and chicken quesadilla from the fridge that he had made earlier before sitting at the small table. His mind was still stuck on the image in the room, as he takes a deep breath.

His life was set to change a lot over the next couple of months, as he’d be married in January, and a father by March. He couldn’t help but remember everything he and Sarina had been through to get to this point, everything they’d overcome and the painful nights they’d never thought possible to escape. Knowing his family was ready to expand, and not wanting to see his child, or the mother of his child, in pain, he knew he had no choice in the matter. Regardless of personal feelings, the letter couldn’t remain a mystery forever.

He stands up, walking over to the cabinet where he had stashed the envelope, pulling it out. He remembered packing it in his backpack with his IPad and phone charger, wanting to have it in case it was needed. He remembered putting it up there, wanting to keep it out of sight and mind. Clearly, that hadn’t worked either.

Sitting back at the table, he runs his fingers along the edges, before ripping it open slowly. He tips it onto the table, watching the piece of paper that he had been told was inside fall out before him. it was no surprise to feel a shiver through his spine, recognizing the handwriting, remembering the letters that started everything.

Taking a quick bite of his lunch, he brings the letter into view before him on the table, ready to dive in.

Chase,

I’ve written you so many letters over this past year that it’s crazy to think I am writing you another one. I remembered the first letter that I wrote you, back in January, with some surprising contents. Ultimately, that began everything was more letters came, followed by what happened.

They tell me that I am sick. They tell me that I have multiple personalities, and  a disorder that needs to be medicated. It’s kind of hilarious if you consider that since you’re almost living two lives. You’re the perfect sweetheart for Sarina, while pondering a life with someone else. I know about your kiss with Erin, and I know you have feelings for me. That was obvious in the way you slowly caressed your lips against mine, savoring every single moment.

I know that I need to spend some time away, but I look forward to our reunion. I want you to meet this baby that I am having. Some test says that you’re not the father, but I don’t doubt you are. Recall the passionate night we had together.

I can tell you when we reunite, we can spend some memorable times together. We were just starting to get close. I’m sure you recall those kisses, and dream of them every night. I’m sure you recall how close we were able to get, and I look forward to pulling more layers off the next time we see each other. No more secrets, no more games, it’s time for our feelings to show.

See ya soon, your favorite Hooters Girl, Alison Reynolds.

“You are sick!” He lets out as he scrunches the paper up in a fury, chucking it across the room in a instant. He then pulls his phone off the charger, sending a quick text in a fury to his lawyer to make sure that no further letters be left for him to pick up as he didn’t need her trouble in his life.

“Chase…..” Sarina slowly comments as she places a hand on his shoulder.

“I’m sorry I woke you.”  Chase slowly glances up at her, not even realizing that she had been standing by him through the second half of reading that letter. “Jimmie warned me. Alan warned me. I still opened and read that sick lett-”

“Curiosity got the best of you, okay? Besides, you did it for the right reasons in wanting to protect me, and our baby. Your strength and want for us means more to me than you probably realize.” She then slowly sits down across from him, placing her hands on top of his. “Now, damn well let me be here for you and help you.”

“I’m fin-” She shakes her head no, having seen the outburst firsthand.

“She stirred up a lot of emotions, Chase.” He then takes a deep breath, shifting those out of focus.

“I’m just frustrated that I once again got sucked into her games. Once again, I opened her letter and read her words. Once again, I let her fill my head with lies. It’s the same thing that got me into this mes-”

“You did nothing wrong, Chase. She would’ve found some way to get to you, no matter what you did. Actually, I’m damn well thankful that we’re both alive and were able to survive and move forward.” He nods his head, knowing that she was right. “Don’t be mad at yourself, Chase. You did nothing wrong.”

“I know..” He then sits back in the seat as much as she could with her holding his hands. “I just hate how easily she can get under my skin.”

“Then don’t give her that power. Don’t re-imagine everything happening. Don’t think about what happened. Don’t even look back a single bit. Focus on yourself. Focus on me. focus on our baby. Focus on your race team. Focus on your chances in the playoffs. Do whatever else you need to do.” He had already been set to head down that path as he looked into the eyes before him.

“How’s your headache?” She smiles, as the cucumbers miraculously worked.

“Your suggestion worked, Dr. Elliott. Let it be known that you can always take care of me.” He smiles as he leans over the table, snagging a kiss.

“Good, because I’ve heard that I can give you wonderful loving tender care.”  She smirks, knowing that he was right along those lines.

Alison stood watching the TV monitor, licking her lips as they showed her man on TV, sitting on the pit road, sharing a laugh during qualifying. Despite ending up 19th on the board, he had actually found a reason to joke around.

“I’ll be seeing you very soon sweetheart,” she offers, before turning on her heels and facing the doctor behind her. “I mean, I’m the perfect Hooters girl. How can he say no?”

“I better get my payment,” the doctor instructs as she walks over to him, running a finger along his neck.

“You’ve been such a good help. You snuck me out a back door, and nobody knows as they think I’m knocked out on high isolation due to an incident and don’t want to bother me. I love how you added only you can check on me.” Her finger slowly makes it over to his shoulder. “Then bringing me to your clinic, letting me change my whole appearance. I mean, you’re a miracle worker when it comes to plastic surgery. Who knew that I was such a beautiful, perfect blond with blue eyes? These contacts feel wonderful, and I’ve always wanted to be named Britney. The name Britney Teals is such a pretty name, actually. Of course, I wonder what happened to the real Britn-”

“I took care of that, as you said I’d have a bonus. Do you not remember?” She nods her head, accepting.

“That’s right. It’s such a shame as she looked to be just ready to hit the peak of her life soon.” She then looks into the doctor’s eyes directly. “Your payment is so easy, doc, because let’s face it – you owed me after you killed my bab-”

“You attacked me, and I pushed back. I’m sorry that you fell.” She then gives him a hurt appearance.

“That’s it? Just an apology for being a murderer? Actually, though, thank you for what you did. Now I can do what I need to do without carrying extra weight. But first, I need to make sure to cover my basis – an eye for an eye as they say.” She then takes the knife that she had been holding under her gown, shoving it in the doctor’s gut directly. “Goodnight, Dr. Leons. I’m sorry for murdering you.”

She watches him fall down, glancing back at the TV with another smile, before making her way out of the office.

The Tale of Love & Racing: Sarina’s Story – Chapter 114: Indianapolis Double

Monday, September 10 – Indianapolis Motor Speedway

“Can you believe it? It finally stopped raining!” Sarina lets out as she takes her seat atop of the GMS Racing pit box behind Chad Norris.

“Miracles actually do happen,” the crew chief mused with a nod in her direction.

From drop of the green flag, Chase ran up front throughout the race, showing the potential of the No. 23 Chevrolet underneath him. Chad Norris also pulled the perfect strategy, bringing Chase to pit road near the end of stage. As a result, he would start first for the third and final stage after the leaders pitted.

The strength of the car shined through as he led the field around the speedway, holding a pretty wheel with sights set on winning.

However, the package NASCAR chose for  the XFINITY Series allowed for runs to be created if you drafted together with teammates. The JR Motorsports played that to perfection on a late-race restart as Justin Allgaier and Tyler Reddick got a run on him together, passing him to take the leadwith 18 laps to go.

“Ugh…” was all Sarina could say, knowing that it’d be tough to make it up in the final laps.

He wasn’t able to, as predicted, ultimately crossing the finish line with a fourth-place finish.

“I hated that for you,” she comments as she rests her head on his shoulder. “But on a brighter note, I am going to have a pair of badass teammates next year.” Chase chuckles as he couldn’t be upset in seeing the success for Justin and Tyler, either.

“Careful how loud you say that,” he offered, with a quick kiss.  “One down, one to go.”

Sarina once again climbs the step of the pit box, this time in very familiar territory on top of the No. 9 pit box. She took her usual seat behind Alan, catching the crew chief’s attention.

“I guess congratulations are in order,” Alan offers with a smile, as he holds his arms out for a hug. She then accepts it, graciously.

“Thank you,” she replies, before getting comfortable in her spot once again. She was admittedly nervous discussing the baby topic with Alan based on his thoughts as Chase expressed yesterday.

“I wish you and Chase the best – I really do, and I want to see it work out for you both because of course I want the best for you guys. You deserve it after everything you’ve been through these past couple years. Just promise me you’ll be smart, and careful.” She nods her head, accepting, knowing exactly what he was talking about.

“I know what I’m doing Alan.”

With pace laps beginning, Alan was set to focus on his job at hand, while she got comfortable knowing it was going to be a long afternoon.

From drop of the green flag, Chase showed that he had a solid car as he kept himself just inside the top-10 until the second competition caution, when he was scored eighth. Alan would make a strategy call with the yellow flags close together, electing to put just two tires on the NAPA Chevrolet. This would allow them to jump up to third for the restart.

The discussion on the radio through the caution turned interesting, though, with a couple comments from both in a side skirt that was flared out on someone else’s car after contact. While normally that would be something concerning, it seemed to be giving them an advantage.

“I can put it back if it helps that much,” Chase joked on the radio, causing a couple chuckles from Alan and Sarina.

“Let’s just focus on our race,” Alan offered. “We’re doing a great job so far, bud.”

The two tire called proved to be a little tougher than imagined, but Chase was able to hold on to score a seventh-place finish to end stage one.

“I am going to pit you here – setting us up for later,” Alan tells him as he brings him down pit road at the end of the stage. With several others staying out, it drop Chase back to the 20th position for the restart. Sarina took a deep breath, not sure if it was butterflies or baby jitters swirling in the stomach right now.

The plan worked by the crew chief as they stayed out through the stage while others pitted, gaining track position in the process, crossing the finish line with a second-place finish.

Alan would bring him down pit road, wanting to put new tires on to start the run to the checkered, which dropped him back to ninth. The strategy worked as even with a green flag pit cycle, Chase would make his way up to fifth. The caution then came out with 18 to go, as Alan debated what to do next. Track position was nice, but tires seemed critical.

“Bring it in….” Alan finally decided as Sarina let out a sigh of her own. Personally, she felt they had a better chance by staying out.

Restarting 14th, Chase would gain four spots before the next yellow flag came out with seven laps to go. The final restart with three laps to go would not go accordingly with Clint Bowyer spinning his tires, backing up the line, causing Chase to lose valuable ground. he’d ultimately cross the finish line with a 15th-place finish.

“I shouldn’t have brought you down pit road that late in the race,” Alan comments as they meet up together after the race. Both of them, along with Sarina, were wanting to get out of Indianapolis as soon as possible, but that wasn’t happening as Chase needed to do playoff photos.

“I still agree with the call,” Chase offers, catching the crew chief’s attention. “I think we would’ve lost a lot of ground with tires being so important. If Bowyer doesn’t spin the tires, we finish inside the top-10 about seventh or eighth, where I’d finish without new tires. It was a gamble either way, and I’d rather try so we know than wonder.”

“I was happy with the performance.” Chase nods his head in agreement as he reaches down, rubbing the back of legs. “You had a busy day…”

“I just want to go home, just put my legs up, and relax..” He then lets out a small yawn, as he continues rubbing the back of his legs. “My calves are sore.”

“Did you drink enough?” Chase wasn’t sure on the answer to the question, but he felt he had. “Well, at least Sarina can take care of you. Oh wait, you already took care of her in good fashion.” Chase then gives Alan a glance as Alan begins chuckling.

“Am I supposed to expect these jokes for the next seven months?” Alan thinks it over, before nodding his head. “As long as you don’t say anythi-”

“I may not agree with every bit of your plan, but I won’t spoil the party. Are you sure that Kyle and Samantha won’t say anything?” Chase knew that for certain based on their conversations the past two days, especially with Sam.

“They’re both totally on-board.” Alan was surprised to hear that, given the risks involved.

“I thought Samantha would’ve said something given her experience.” Chase had expected that, as well, however she seemed to be the strongest one in Sarina’s corner of them all – or it seemed. Sarina had hinted otherwise based on what she had discussed with Samantha without Chase.

“Samantha is on the fence, but says she’ll do whatever we need to support us with our decisions.” Alan smiles as he puts a hand on Chase’s shoulder.

“I promise to follow through with that, as well, even if I want to smack sense into you both sometimes.”

“Thank you everybody,” the photographer says once the last photo is taken of the three Hendrick Motorsports teammates together.

“We need a selfie for social media and then you can go,” the one PR rep states, as she hands a phone over to Alex.

“Get in here guys!” Alex says as he sets it up, ready to take the image of the three of them together.

“I’m good…” Chase comments, earning a glance from Alex and Jimmie.

“What? Are you afraid the trophy is going to bite you or something?” Chase then gives it a glance over, before looking back up at his teammates.

“I’m not touching it.” Jimmie just rolls his eyes as he looks over at him.

“Scared of the jinx?” Jimmie questions, earning a nod from Chase. It was one of the oldest tales in racing – don’t touch the trophy before you get it, or you’ll jinx yourself. Chase had always followed that rule, and even ready to drop suspicions away, he wasn’t going to break that today. “Well, I don’t believe in those crazy suspicions. As a matter of fact, I believe you should become friends with it so it comes home with you.” Jimmie then leans right on it, giving Chase a smirk before looking back at Alex. “Make it work, kid.”

“Say cheese!” Alex lets out as he gets it centered so they were all in the frame with the trophy.

Tuesday, September 11 – JR Motorsports

“Are you nervous?” Chase questions as he holds the door open for her, following Sarina inside.

“A little,” Sarina answers as she glances back at him, taking his hand before heading towards the office doors. Sarina had called ahead of time, saying she wanted to stop by. Kelley had told her to make her way through, no need to stop at the desk, as she’d be in her office. “You’ve got some great memories here.”

“Lots of fun times, actually. I wouldn’t change the decision to drive for Dale and Kelley.” He then squeezes her hand, catching a gaze from her eyes. “I know you’ll make your own memories here, too.”

They make their way down the short hallway, knocking on Kelley’s office door. She motions for them to come in, surprised when she sees Chase with Sarina.

“Chase, I wasn’t expecting you,” Kelley says, giving them both a hug before taking her usual seat back behind her desk. “So did you bring a new bargaining partner?” Sarina chuckles as she takes a seat across from Kelley.

“I figured he should be here when I told you the news,” Sarina starts, catching Kelley’s interest immediately. What would Sarina have to share that she’d want Chase to be there for her?

“Well Dale can’t be here today due to NBC and sponsor commitments, so please go ahead…” Sarina takes a nervous deep breath, debating how to tell Kelley the news.

“I want to say yes to the deal, and agree to drive for you next season as it’s a spectacular oppor-”

“Please tell me you didn’t go to Mike Beam for her, Chase…” Chase puts his hands up defensively immediately, knowing that he didn’t want to be Kelley’s bad side.

“I haven’t done a single bit of negotiating for her,” he confesses. “I always believed that she’d stay with KBM and move on to JGR next.” Kelley knew that was a possibility, but also knew the dynamics at play over there – hence the move for William a couple years ago.

“Please continue, Sarina,” Kelley instructs as Sarina takes another shaky breath.

“As I was saying, everything about it is perfect as I can’t find any argument against it,” Sarina continues. “Under any other circumstances, I would’ve come here and said yes without another discussion. However, I have a unique situation. I am pregnant.” Kelley’s jaw drops immediately as she glances between the pair.

“Seriously?” Sarina nods her head as Chase places a hand on her shoulder. “How far along are you?”

“Two months..” Kelley’s deadpan surprise look remained as she glanced between the pair once again. “I just found out this past weekend at Indianapolis. It’s strange what you can uncover during a rain delay, huh?” Chase almost wanted to chuckle already imagining another couple having baby news in a couple weeks as a result of the boredom. “I am in due early in March. I wanted to come and talk to you about this today because I believed you had a right to know before you decided or announced anything. I’ve thought about this, and I was thinking that once I have the baby in March, if you are willing, I would like to begin driving for your team then.”

“So in other words, you’re going to miss about three or four races and then planned to step in as if nothing happened?” Sarina slowly nods her head, the nerves growing in hearing Kelley’s tone.

“The playoff format allows for her to do so…” Chase offers, trying to ease Kelley’s heavy presence.

“I am still in shock that you’re pregnant – and you got her pregnant,” Kelley comments as she tries to process everything they just told her.

“I was taking birth control, he was using condoms – it still happened,” Sarina confesses as Kelley’s shock hit a new level. “And trust me, if you do agree to all of this, I won’t be marching in your office next year mid-season saying oh surprise I’m pregnant again.” Sarina then glances down, taking a deep breath. “I just can’t give up this baby because it wouldn’t feel right after everything that we’ve gone through.” She then slowly glances back up at Kelley. “But at the same time, I don’t want to let go of this opportunity because it’s everything.”

“If you came to any other plain old car owner with news like this, you’d probably get a strip torn off your ass and sent back out the door for messing with plans.” Sarina felt every nerve tingle, but also wanted to argue that after her own discussion with Kyle and Samantha. “However, we’re family. I’ve known Chase for a very long time, and my happiness for him soon to be a father is bursting at the seams. I remember the days he’d spend here playing with Wyatt while waiting in between meetings or sponsor commitments, and he was great with him. I know he’ll make a great father – just like you’ll make a great mother. I’ve believed in you since day one when Chase started bringing you around. I’ve watched you grow as a driver. So given the circumstances, how well I know you both, I’ll work with your so-called plan.”  Sarina smiles as it was a big relief off of her back to have someone else committed to everyone. It was also nice in hearing Kelley’s sentiments as it further solidified her decision to join JRM for 2019.

“Maybe Elliott will drive the first couple of races,” Chase suggests as Kelley nods her head in agreement, already having made a note to ask him. “Oh, the other thing – we’re not revealing she’s pregnant till after the season.”

“I am going to finish the year at KBM as committed with a focus on that championship,” Sarina adds, catching Kelley’s surprise glance once again.

“Are you sure you can handle that while carrying a baby?” Kelley questions and Sarina nods her head. “Well, I hope you come away as the champion as you’d certainly deserve it for all of your effort.” She then takes a deep breath, glancing over her calendar. “That said, I won’t say anything to anybody else within the company – other than Dale, that is – until you’re ready to do so. We’ll reveal you’re driving for us as originally scheduled in a couple weeks, and then handle the fall-out when you announce the pregnancy.”

“Thank you….” She then glances at Chase, knowing where their next stop would take them. “Now let’s just hope that Cindy and Bill are as accepting.” Kelley then looks up from her notes.

“Expecting grandparents better be a happy reaction. Actually, I expect Cindy to smother you with love.” Sarina had to chuckle at the thought considering where their relationship started.

“What about the plan, though?” Chase questions, having his own nerves in revealing that to his parents after Alan’s reaction.

“All I can say is good luck on that one,” Kelley offers. “I can already sense their fears perking up because they understand the dangers of racing having grown up around it just like me. However, if you explain your motives, you may get Bill on your side at least.”

The Tale of Love & Racing: Sarina’s Story – Chapter 99: Casino Resort 301

Friday July 21, 2018 – New Hampshire

After talking over the last run during practice with Alan, Chase makes his way over to the 88 garage stall next door.

“How’s your car feel?” He asks, catching his teammate’s attention.

“Fighting tight through the ends,” Alex answers as he glances up at the speed charts. “Well, at least we’re all right together.” Chase had ended the session in 12th, with Alex sitting eighth.

“Look at Jimmie and explain that to me.” Alex glances up the sheet, seeing Jimmie sitting sixth.

“Cause he’s seven-time. Should I waltz over to Grandpa and ask him his secret?” Chase chuckles at the nickname that Alex and William had been using for Jimmie all season long.

“I was tight going into the corner, but Alan says if I take a bit of that set-up Jimmie has, I should be good for qualifying. I guess it’s try and see, right?” Alan nods his head.

“Greg says that he thinks a tweak in air pressure is all that I need to be right there. Guess we’ll see…” Chase then lets out a sigh as Alex looks down at the toolbox. “So what’s this envelope addressed to you anyway?” Chase instantly looks over, a little intrigued that the envelope was sitting there. However, seeing Alan’s clipboard with it, he figured it might have got stuck to it when the crew chief came over to speak with Greg.

“Paternity results from the courts for Alison.” Alex keeps his eyes on the envelope, glancing it over.

“Oh right, there’s a chance that she may be pregnant with your kid…” Chase slowly nods his head. “So you got the results that you’ve been waiting for and yet you haven’t opened them? If it was me, I would get this off of my conscious immediately and rip it by the seams.”

“I’d rather wait in case I need some time to process it.” Alex glances over a little confused.

“I thought there was no chance that she was pregna-”

“I’m beginning to wonder if it happened, and I just tried to block it out.” Alex lets out a sigh.

“Oh man…” Alex’s eyes immediately find their way back to the envelope. “I still say that you should just get it over with.” Alex begins to run his finger along the seam, though Chase places his hand on top.

“My envelope, my rules. Leave it alone, please.” Chase snatches the envelope as Alex just looks on, notably concerned based on his teammate’s reaction.

“Alright, alright, I’m sorry man. But can I give you a piece of advice? I wouldn’t leave that lying around the garage. Someone could easily pick it up, snatch the results away, do whatever they want. You also leave the door open for someone to switch the resu-”

“Alison is locked awa-”

“She could blackmail or pay someone, Chase. My advice would be to get someone to take that back to your hauler, and lock it up in a drawer with key until you’re ready to reveal the details. That’s just me, though…” Chase glances down at the envelope, before looking back at his teammate.

“Thanks for the advice.” Chase then heads off, envelope in hand, as Alex watches on.

“Yeah – 10th best,” Chase tells the reporter. “It’s been kind of the status quo I feel like lately. Just trying to get a little better. The consistency has certainly been better, I feel like, but not consistently where we want to be.”

He then walks back over to the pit wall, having a seat as he thinks over the qualifying run. It was better than they had practiced – speed-wise and feeling. However, it still wasn’t where they wanted to be as running there wasn’t winning races, and that was the ultimate goal. Alan’s work was paying off slowly, but they still needed a little more and he wasn’t settling until they got that.

After thinking it over, he heads back to the hauler, making his way to the lounge in the back. Alan and Josh were already there, going over notes on the laptop. He grabs a drink, sitting down beside them as he stares at the envelope on the table. Sarina slowly makes her way inside, sitting down beside, placing a hand on his leg.

“Look at those two smarties,” she starts, catching the attention of Josh and Alan. “They’ll figure it out..” Chase nods, knowing that they would; he wouldn’t want to work with anybody else. However, his mind was instead consumed by the package before him. “Is that what I think it is?”

“Paternity results delivered directly by a court official to the garage area,” he says as he picks up the envelope. “Everything that I’ve been questioning for months is right in here.” Sarina checks the seam, surprised to see it wasn’t broken.

“So what are you waiting for?” He then flips it over, taking a deep breath.

“I’ve been stuck on the fact that she’s not pregnant with my kid. What if this confirms her theory?” Sarina knew that was a possibility, but stuck to the belief that it wasn’t. Sure, she didn’t know what to believe initially due to how she found out the news and the fact that Chase wasn’t the most forthcoming. However, hearing what he had to say since, she was now ready to believe this was just another one of Alison’s games.

“Then we’ll deal with it accordingly, okay? We’ll look at the next steps to take and figure out where to go from here. No matter what, you’ve got myself, Alan, Josh, Jordan, your parents, Ryan, everybody. We can get through anything.” She then runs her finger along the edge. “I’d rather you open it and stop torturing yourself by letting her run your life.”

“I’m sorry. I just don’t know where to go with it sometimes….” She then rubs his shoulders.

“You don’t need to apologize, Chase. I get it. I really do, all of the feelings are understandable after everything. That’s why we’re all glad that you’re taking the steps necessary. The next step, though, is opening this.”

Chase knew that she was right as putting it off continually was getting them nowhere as he ran his finger along the edge of the envelope, finally breaking the seam that sealed it together. He opens the envelope, looking inside to see a white piece of paper.

“Who knew a simple white piece of paper could determine the rest of your life,” he offers as he slides the piece of paper out, blank side facing up. All it took now was flipping over the paper and he would have the results he wanted. However, he couldn’t bring himself to do it, just looking at it with a sigh.

“Can I look?” Josh interrupts as he reaches over, but Alan smacks his hand.

“This is for Chase to handle….” Alan tries to convince the car chief as Josh keeps his eyes focused on Chase.

“I’ve wanted to be Maury, though.”

“You’ve watched Maury?!?” Alan, Sarina, and Chase all say together at the same time.

“Hey now, there’s some good drama sometimes,” Josh tries to defend himself as a series of laughs break out.

“Oh what the heck?” Chase says as he tosses it over to the car chief. “I might as well let someone have some fun out of this.” Josh picks up the piece of paper, flipping it over to reveal the news they all wanted to see. Alan immediately smiles as he glances over the car chief’s shoulder.

“Alan, you would never make a good show assistant,” Sarina comments, catching the grin herself as she begins to smile a little.

“William Clyde Elliott, you are not the father of Ms. Alison Reynolds’ baby as your DNA does not match the sample given,” Josh reads out loud before handing the piece of paper back to Chase.

“Your instincts were right all along,” Alan offers as Sarina pulls him close.

Chase lets out a large sigh as he reads it for himself, feeling as though the weight had been lifted off his shoulders. It was only one step, but it was the beginning of moving further away from what happened with Alison and along with his own life.

“Well?” Sarina questions, noticing the silence from Chase as he glances over with a smile.

“It’s nice to have the proof,” he comments as he stares back at the sheet. “It’s nice to know that I was right all along. She just tried to play me, and she did a good job because I was beginning to fall for her tricks.” He then holds the sheet up in the air. “Now, I’m ready to move forward.” He goes to tear it in half, but Sarina grabs his hands. “What?”

“Keep it for those who want to say you’re full of shit…” He didn’t really care what others thought, but it wasn’t worth arguing over as he slipped it back in the envelope. He then took out his phone, texting all of those who had wondered close to him the results.

Saturday July 22, 2018 – New Hampshire

Chase walks over to his teammate, leaning his head in the window following the final run of the pair of practices that he would get before Sunday’s race.

“Alright, spill,” he starts, catching Jimmie’s attention as he was ready for some earth-shattering request. “What’s the secret to getting around this place?”

“Roll in, turn left, come off like a tiger,” Jimmie says, repeating the same advice that he had stated earlier in the weekend. Chase just lets out a sigh.

“There’s got to be more than that…” Jimmie then glances at the computer screen before him in the car, scrolling through to see Chase was 16th and 20th in the pair of sessions.

“Have you looked over throttle and brake trace to see if you’re braking at the right spots?” Chase nods his head, having gone over those screens following the first practice.

“To be honest, it felt decent through the session, except for being a little tight. But yet, here I am once again, still mid-pack.” Jimmie flips over to the throttle trace screens and sees how they compare.

“Once Alan tweaks it a little, I think you’ll be fine as you’re doing what I told you.” Chase wanted to believe that, but still wasn’t feeling totally convinced.

“Even if the handling was way out to left field through the middle of the run?” Jimmie glances over, nodding his head.

“You at least know what not to do then, right? Look, you guys are making progress and you’re figuring out the track. Given what I’m seeing, you should be just fine tomorrow. You always figure it out. Stop being so hard on yourself for once.” Chase lets out a sigh as he stands up.

“I can’t help it, man. I want to be running better..” He goes to walk away, when Jimmie grabs his hand to stop him.

“It’ll come. We’ve made considerable progress compared to where we began the season to where we are now. It’ll keep coming as these guys are too smart to not let it happen. You’ll get to running where you want to be so just relax, roll with it, and stay focused. Also, remember what we talked about before the season. Don’t get yourself burnt out too early.” Chase nods his head, running the advice through his head.

He then walks away, satisfied with the conversation even if it got him nowhere, ready to relax the rest of the night. He knew there was going to be a good XFINITY series race on-track, and there was nothing more relaxing than sitting up in the stands watching like the good ‘ol days. Hey, maybe he’d pick up something that he could use tomorrow.

He makes his way through the garage, surprised when he sees a familiar brunette before him.

“I thought you would’ve ran off the dirt track with Emma and your dad,” he offers as Erin just chuckles back in response.

“I love my guys, but I needed to catch-up with everyone,” Erin comments as she places a hand on his shoulder. “It’s nice to hear that you got the news you wanted. See, I told you to trust your instincts. Now that’s something that you don’t need to worry about with her moving forward.” Chase slowly nods his head, accepting.

“I was almost dreading meetings about what would happen if I was the fath-”

“Don’t even let those thoughts enter your mind, Chase. Don’t give her the power to control your thoughts. Focus on yourself, your future, and what you have ahead. Focus on finding the answers you need to move forward. You deserve every bit of happiness that you can get, so focus on that.” He then glances into her eyes.

“Thanks, and I’m trying…” She then smiles back in response.

“I know you are, but I also know how you try and mask everything awa-”

“I do not do tha-”

“Who put off going to therapy? Who pretended that things weren’t as messy before with Sarina when they were a disaster?” The grin then fades from his face. “Look, I’m not ready to let go how much she hurt you the-”

“It wasn’t her fau-”

“Her brother was behind it, and certainly deserves the blame. However, she still made decisions of her own that were questionable at best. I saw the pain they caused you. I held you one of those nights that you cried. I’m not about to forget tha-”

“I thought you said you were willing to accept Sarina and I being together, though.” Erin takes a careful deep breath, knowing that she was going along thin waters. However, she knew their friendship could withstand that.

“If you’re happy, then I’m willing to accept as I certainly see the potential in her to be amazing. I also see the happiness when you’re together. However, I will be the first person there to pick up the pieces, and make sure it’s the last time if something happens again. Like I told you, I have your back.” Chase places a hand on her shoulder.

“I know you do, and I appreciate that. However, you need to lay off a little, please. When I say that Sarina has changed, I mean it.” Erin glances over across the garage, seeing Sarina playing with Brexton, before looking back to Chase.

“As I’m spending time here with you, I’m seeing that. As I see more of it, then certainly I’m willing to back right off and forget. But it’s going to take time…” Chase wanted to argue back once again, but bit his tongue. He realized it was the same speech his mother had, and he knew how that turned out.

“Okay, I understand. Just please don’t get too much up in her face about it.” Erin smiles a little.

“You saw how we were at Eldora together, right? That should tell you enough. I’ll see you later.” Erin then heads off as Chase takes a deep breath, letting everything process through as he walks through the garage, catching up with Sarina and Brexton.

Sunday July 23, 2018 – New Hampshire

Following a lengthy rain delay, the race got started and there was speed in the No. 9 NAPA Chevrolet right away as Chase began to make his way forward, finishing the first stage in the runner-up spot.

He would get a good restart to start the second stage, keeping himself second right behind Martin Truex Jr.

“Easy there boy….” Sarina says quietly as he slid up across Kyle Busch’s nose. She knew that wasn’t something that Kyle would take lightly too, and was probably already complaining about on his radio.

As the stage got into the second half, Chase began to catch up to Martin Truex Jr. as they got into lap traffic

“Holy hello fuck!” Sarina lets out as he goes four-wide, splitting the two lap cars with Martin to take the lead with 19 laps to go. “Easy boy, easy – but holy fuck that was stunning!” Josh could only chuckle as he glanced over his shoulder back at her, patting her leg.

Chase would lead the rest of the way, scoring the stage victory. Unfortunately, the pit stop sequence didn’t totally go in their favor as they lost a spot.

Restarting from the second spot, Chase ran solidly there, clicking off laps as he kept himself in position.

“I got a bit of a vibration,” Chase reports over the radio with 100 laps to go, sending the team into a bit of a fury. “Are my brakes hot?”

“I can’t tell man,” Alan replies as Josh stands up immediately. “Sending someone to check in the corner.”

Josh climbs down off the steps as Sarina turns the key on the golf kart.

“Hold on boy,” she tells him as she immediately puts it in drive, making their way quickly through the infield and down to the corner. Josh takes a close look at the NAPA Chevrolet goes through the corner, shaking his head no, before climbing back on the golf cart. He was barely on, grabbing the bar as she took off back up to their pit.

“I can see why you’re a driver,” he comments as she just chuckles. He makes his way back on the box, shaking his head no to Alan.

“No color,” Alan reports back to Chase over the radio.

Whether due to brakes or something else, the other concern was surrounding handling and that affected them as he slipped back to fourth. The final pit stop was then a little slow, causing him to lose two more spots to sixth. He would make one of them back up, crossing the line in fifth.

“Considering where we started the weekend, I’ll take it,” Sarina comments as she gives Alan and Josh a high-five. “It’s progress. Keep that coming and you’ll find your win.”

“I like your vote of confidence,” Alan replies with a smile, before looking at Josh. “Maybe we should’ve made an adjustment the last run there….”

“He said he was comfortable so I went with your theory, but the track was changing, too,” Josh offers as Alan glances at his notes. “Progress, man, progress…”

The Tale of Love & Racing – Chapter 92: Coke Zero Sugar 400

Thursday July 5, 2018 – Daytona International Speedway

“Cancelled,” Alan announces officially as they sit in the garage stall watching the rain fall from the sky. “That’s all she wrote. Least you were happy with the car.”

“We’ll be fine,” Chase states as he slowly stands up, glancing down at his foot.

“So are you going to finally admit that it’s sore?” Chase just glances over his shoulder at the crew chief who just grins. “I’m glad you listened earlier, by the way. I wasn’t actually going to call Cindy, but doing something once in a while to put a small smile on Sarina’s face – even just as small as that, try it sometime because it helps.”

“I don’t need relationship advice, even if I find ways to screw things up….” Alan was now confused as he stood up, walking over to his driver.

“What are you talking about?” Chase lets out a sigh as he knew this was only a matter of time.

“I kissed Erin while I was drunk in Ireland. I don’t even remember doing it, but I di-”

“Did you tell Sarina, yet?” Chase nods his head yes. “Well considering that she was concerned all over you earlier, I say that she took it well…”

“She was angry and a little upset, but she let it go understanding the circumstances. The problem is a photographer caught it and despite Erin’s attempts, an article will be published Monday with that image.” Alan knew what that meant immediately, already having seen some of the stuff that had emerged over the past couple of weeks. “But article or not, I screwed up, right?”

“You made an innocent drunken mistake. At least you kissed someone you knew and not a stranger, if that makes you feel better.” Chase shakes his head. “Don’t beat yourself up. We all mistakes. It’s not about the mistake we made, but how we handle that mistake. You talked to Sarina, and she is willing to let it go. Now weather this storm and everything will be fine….” Alan gives him a pat on the shoulder before letting him go.

Chase then makes his way out of the garage stall, opening the umbrella as he begins the trek through the garage area. While it was a longer walk than he would’ve wanted given how he was feeling, it was actually peaceful listening to the drops against the umbrella as he ran everything through his mind.

From Erin and the discussion of feelings there, to the kiss, to the forth coming article, there was enough under that lone section to keep him occupied for awhile.

However, he couldn’t ignore the thoughts of Alison that figured into his mind, as he pondered everything she said on Monday – games or not – and how that figured into what happened, including the repetitive baby question. He also knew that he was supposed to be on the stand on Monday, and that was certainly going to be a pleasant experience. Who wanted to be the one to recount all of the details?

Though his mind also centered back around Sarina, and their relationship together. While everything began with her putting him through a ringer of things, it seemed it’d been role reversal over the past year. Under previous circumstances, she would’ve ran kicking and screaming, letting everyone bear the heat of her anger. However, she had taken it much calmer that he had predicted, and it was welcoming. He appreciated how caring she was with him, and wished with everything at times that he could change the news they got Monday together.

Every thought of her also reminded him that it was worth asking her to marry him, because he couldn’t see himself with anybody different. Their love was pure, and he couldn’t wait to see where it took them next together.

He makes his way back to the motorcoach, making his way inside as Sarina glances over at him surprised.

“Did you walk your ass all the way back to the motorcoach from the garage?” She asks as he puts the umbrella down.

“I needed some time to think,” he offers as he places it outside to dry off, before closing the door behind him.

“Are you okay?” He nods his head as he makes his way over to where she was sitting up on the couch now. “You know, you can tell me whatever is on your mind if you need someone to talk to.’

“I know, and if I needed someone to talk to, trust me, I would tell you whatever. But I’m okay.” He then leans in and kisses her lips. “I actually cleared my mind more than I thought I would.”

“That’s all nice and great, but there’s something you’re forgetting….” He then lets out a sigh as he knew there was going immediately. “You are supposed to be taking it easy on your ankle. Instead, you’re prancing through the entire garage.”

“I’m fi-”

“You need to go lay down, and get that foot up on a pillow with some ice.” She then tugs on his firesuit. “You need to get out of this first…”

“I may need some help with that…” Considering his admission to her before about partially holding back at times due to everything, she was surprised by how forth coming this was appearing.

“I can help you in any way possible, Chase…” She then stands up to reach his level, their lips immediately clashing together. They slowly make their way towards the back of the motorcoach, reaching the kitchen portion of the motorcoach, before Sarina pushes him back against the wall.

“Sarina….” Her lips find his again, followed by leaving a trail of kisses along his chin.

“I can’t help it…” He wasn’t about to deny it as he lifted his head up, allowing the kisses to continue down his neck. Though as she reaches where the mark was previously left from Alison, she slows a little. “It’s almost gone…”

“Thankfully…” She then continues the kisses as she loosens the strap around the neck of the firesuit. “You’re supposed to be taking car-”

“Oh I’m certainly taking care of you.” He then laughs as he wraps his arms around her, picking her up in his arms as she immediately wraps her legs around him.

“I know, but you’re supposed to be careful on a foot, remember? Relax, I got this…” He then carries her to the back of the motorcoach, laying her down slowly on the bed, as he climbs on top of her.

“This is more comfortable anyway…” She then gives him a small tug, letting her lips find his again while pulling the zipper down on the firesuit.

Friday July 6, 2018 – Daytona International Speedway

“So where do you start tonight, anyway?” Alex asks as they walk up pit road together.

The first round of Cup qualifying had gone well so far for Hendrick Motorsports, with three of the four in the top-12 to move onto the second round. There were even higher hopes surrounding Chase as he had posted the quickest speed in the first round, too.

“11th, he answers Alex, speaking of the XFINITY Series race, which saw qualifying get rained out.

“So you’ll be leading by Lap 10?” Jimmie questions and Chase just laughs back in response. “What did you do to your ankle anyway? No matter who I’ve asked, they won’t tell me.”

“Fooling around in the pool.” Jimmie just lets out an aggravated sigh.

“Did you ask Ryan yet?” Alex wonders and Jimmie shakes his head no. “That’s the problem.”

“I just don’t get why this guy won’t admit to us how he did it,” Jimmie starts. “I mean, we’ve all done something stupid one time or another…” Alex then throws his hands up in the air immediately.

“Hey, I’m innocent!” Both Jimmie and Chase laugh back in response.

“I bet Emily would say different,” Chase comments. “Ryan and I were a little drunk, and decided to have a diving contest into the pool. I slipped a little running to the pool, turned my foot the wrong way as I fell in.”

“Ouch,” Alex says as Jimmie just shakes his head.

“Classic,” Jimmie adds. “Everybody knows my dumb stunt – surfing on top of the golf kart.”

“I still can’t believe that Jeff cut his head open at your bachelor party,” Chase comments as Jimmie chuckles a little remembering that. “How’d that happen anyway?”

“We were comparing dance moves, and he tried to show us all up. Oh he did a great job at that…” Jimmie shakes his head as he chuckles a little more. “But I swear, I didn’t say go ahead and break dance on the table.”

“Are you sure the tequila didn’t make you say otherwise?” Jimmie laughs a little more.

“So Jeff cuts his head at Jimmie’s bachelor party, and Dale had a cut after Ricky’s party,” Alex starts. “Chase, we know what we need to do….”

“No getting drunk at their parties and doing stupid shit?” Chase questions and Alex nods his head.

“Oh you just wait boy,” Jimmie offers. “There’s a reason why Dale and I want to plan your bachelor party.” Chase knew that was probably not going to happen as Ryan and Darrell had already snagged all rights to that, thankfully – or maybe not.

“My wedding better not turn into the Hangover Winter Edition.” Jimmie and Alex just chuckle together.

Sarina glances over a couple of the crew member’s shoulders, watching the live timing and scoring closely, fingers crossed.

“Come on baby….” She says quietly as he came off of turn four.

“Pole!!” Jordan and Josh say excitedly together with a high-five, before both turning around to hug Sarina.

“Great job boys!” She says to them, before going through the whole team with high-fives.

Once Chase pulled back on pit road, she stood back as she watched the various team members trade hugs with him, followed by the media interviews. He then makes his way over to her, leaning in for a kiss.

“I’ve been waiting for that,” he says with a smile.

“I didn’t want to interrupt you,” she replies as he places his hands on her hips, holding her cloes.

“You can interrupt whenever you want.” She then smiles back in return.

“I love you, and spectacular job. Those boys built you one helluva car!” He then glances back over at the guys, before looking towards her.

“I’m not going to argue with you.”

Sarina sat on the pit box nervously, reminding herself to take the odd deep breath every once in awhile as she watched the drama unfold before her.

Starting from 11th, Chase broke into the top-eight immediately, and remained in the top-10 throughout the first two stages of the event. From what she could see, he had a good car and could make the moves he needed, but for now was biding his time and waiting for the lines to work in his favor.

With 40 to go, it was time to go and that showed as he broke into the top-five. Her legs began tapping a bit as she waited for him to make his next move, followed by a big sigh of relief in watching the first big wreck happen with 20 laps to go behind him. That sigh grew larger when the second wreck took place eight laps later, once again behind him.

“We can do this,” she comments quietly to herself as Chase ran third.

“All of the sudden, the power steering is not working,” she then hears Chase over the radio under the yellow flag. “We’re also running – 260.”

“Do whatever you feel is right,” Chad Norris instructs as Sarina just shakes her head.

“Something feels off. Coming in….” Chase then makes his way down pit road and all Sarina can do his shake her head, trying to avoid cursing up a storm while sitting there looking on disgusted.

“Broken oil pump belt. We’re done…”

“Shit!” Sarina finally lets out as she just sits back on the box, shaking her head.

Despite how nervous she was, she was excited for those final laps to play out as she knew with the position he was in, they could’ve challenged – and possibly won.

“That sucks,” she comments as she rubs his shoulders later on that night.

“Sometimes it’s just not your night,” Chase replies as he leans back in her arms. “Move on and try again tomorrow…..”

Saturday July 7, 2018 – Daytona International Speedway

Sarina could only let out a very long sigh as she made her way through the garage area.

Just like last night, the race started out promising with Chase pacing the field around the speedway, and running up front. Just like last night, he appeared to have a car that he could make the moves to win when the time came. But also like last night, the night had ended early.

An ill-timed move from Ricky Stenhouse Jr. resulted in contact, causing William Byron to go around. Being up front, nobody had anywhere to go, and that included Chase who got caught up right in the middle with heavy rear-end damage.

“Are you okay?” She asks as he comes out of the care center, and he simply nods his head. “Ricky was driving like a dick tonight from Lap 1 until now. He’s been pissing everybody off. I hope he wrecks before this is over.”

“It’s just a product of restric-” Chase starts.

“No, it’s a product of a dickhead!” Chase then looks at her surprised. “I’m not kidding, Chase. Just go ask my boss if you need confirmation.”

“I saw Kyle in there and he didn’t look happy so I’ll pass.” He then wraps an arm around her. “The main thing is that everybody is okay, and we have tomorrow to ourselves to spend on the beach and enjoy the sun.”

“Beachbums?” He nods his head as she lays her head on his shoulder. “I don’t care what we’re doing, as long as we’re together.”

“The feeling is mutual….”

Monday July 9, 2018 – Court House

“Are you okay?” Ryan asks as he walks over, folding a piece of paper in hand.

“I just have to go and say what happened, right?” Chase questions back and Ryan simply nods his head. “You have the article…..”

“It’d probably be best if you just read this late-” Chase snatches it from Ryan’s fingers as Ryan lets out a sigh. “Or not…..” Chase unfolds the paper, and begins reading the article, which showed the image in all its glory.

“Do I want to know?” Sarina asks as she walks over and Ryan shakes his head no.

“As released originally by the Irish Times, Chase Elliott was seen sharing a kiss with Erin Blaney, the sister of his best friend and vacation partner Ryan Blaney,” Chase reads out loud as Sarina just crosses her arms. “According to a quote obtained from Ms. Blaney, the kiss did not mean anything between the pair, but rather was a case of intoxication mistake as the group had been drinking while taking a tour of a pub earlier in the day.  The pair remain best friends, nothing more, according to her, with the incident already in the past.”

“That doesn’t sound too bad….” Ryan almost wanted to laugh as his eyes never left Chase.

“It gets better,” Ryan offers, earning a curious glance from Sarina.

“This incident took place at the same time as a previous reported encounter between Sarina Ott and ex-teammate Christopher bell in the Iowa garage area,” Chase continues reading, as Sarina eyes turn to slits of anger. “As noted at the time, the pair spent several minutes talking, before sharing a hug. It wasn’t also their first time spotted together in the garage, as there were rumors last year about them being together. Speculation was fueled then on whether Ott was turning to Bell for comfort due to Elliott’s situation with Ms. Reynolds….”

“….and of course they detail the court case in full of what they’re allowed to so far….”

“So essentially, they basically feel that I’m turning to Erin, you’re turning to Christopher – all because of Alison, and there may be more to my situation with Alison that is fueling this.” Chase then folds the paper back up, handing it back to Ryan. “Speculation, just as I thought would happen.”

“Can I kill them?” Sarina asks and Chase laughs while shaking his head no.

“Then you’d have to share a jail cell with Alison,” Chase comments as Sarina just shrugs her shoulders.

“I could kill her, too…” Chase and Ryan then both look on shocked. “Geez, I’m kidding. I’d never do that. I could never be locked in a cell away from this cutie…” She then places a hand on Chase’s. “But they are rats for what they wrote.”

“That’s their job, though. That’s what gets them reads, and publicity and everything they need. And what are we going to do in return?” Sarina just smiles.

“Continuing living our lives as if nothing changed and not give them the satisfaction they want. I love you, you love me, and we know where we both stand. That’s all that matters.” She then kisses his lips, lightly. “I love you, Clyde, and I’m here for you today, and always. We’re going to get through whatever they throw at you….”

The Tale of Love & Racing: Sarina’s Story – Chapter 86: Toyota/Save Mart 350

Friday June 22, 2018 – Gateway Motorsports Park

Sarina watches Todd walk up to the top of the grandstands, sitting down beside her with a funnel cake in hand.

“Really?” She questions with a chuckle as he takes a piece, flaunting it before her, then eating it. “I don’t want to be the one cleaning your truck after the race tomorrow.”

“It’ll be gone before then,” he answers as he gets comfortable. “I’m surprised you actually came to watch the ARCA race with me. I thought you’d be facetiming your boo all night.” She just rolls her eyes.

“I can have a life too, Todd.” She then reaches over, breaking a piece off and eating it.

“Hey!” She then sticks her tongue out.

“You can’t buy a treat like that and not share…” He then lets out a sigh as he lets her steal another piece. “Besides, this is actually pretty good.”

“See why I couldn’t resist it?” She nods her head, accepting.

Between sharing the snack and the action on-track, there seemed to be not any other care in the world as she was taken immediately in by everything, sharing jokes with Todd along the way. They both cheered on Christian, hoping he’d put together a good run before the truck race tomorrow.

About three quarters through the race, she hears her phone go off, pulling it out of her pocket.

“Chase?” Todd assumes without even glancing over with a chuckle.

“No….I wish though,” she replies, earning a curious glance from Todd. “Remember how Christopher and I were joking around last weekend?” Todd nods his head, having seen them outside of the media center together.

“Like you said to Christian, you guys are just friends….” He then doesn’t hear a response, earning another curious glance. “Right?”

“Absolutely as that’s what both Christopher and I have said to each other and believed every step of the way. So why is it that everybody else can’t understand that?”

“Christi-”

“I don’t even care what he said earlier anymore!” She then shoves her phone at Todd, so he looks at the article before him. “Just beautiful, right?”

“While Chase Elliott was vacationing in Ireland, Sarina Ott was spotted getting close to ex-teammate Christopher Bell. The pair spent several minutes talking, seeming laughing even with a hug. It isn’t the first time that the pair have been spotted together in the garage being real close, even sparking rumors last year about possibly being together. One has to wonder with the current situation surrounding Elliott and Allison Reynolds, including a possible pregnancy, if Ott is leaning to Bell for comfort, or possibly more.” He then glances up at Sarina. “Are they serious?”

“That’s what’s been released by one of those lovely rag magazines.” She then snatches her phone back from Todd. “It also goes on to speak of how I started dating Chase before I landed the ride with his Late Model team and KBM, as well as the fact that there could be issues both ways given Ms. Reynolds and that trial situation.”

“Seriously?” She nods her head as she closes the article on her phone. “Is this normal per the course?”

“Because of everything with my background, how I got the ride and the questions surro-”

“Pure talent, gir-”

“Some say only because I slept with Chase.” Todd then laughs out loud.

“They obviously haven’t raced against you ever.” She then smiles back in return.

“Thank you, but that doesn’t quit the haters now does it?” Todd lets out a sigh and shakes his head no.

“It’s like those that say the only reason I have this opportunity is because of my dad.” She then leans back as she tries to focus back on the ARCA race.

“Regardless, both Chase and I are used to this now as it isn’t the first time and it probably won’t be the last. All about having that public relationship, right? There’s always some tramp trying to break us up and this is the latest attempt. Clearly they don’t get how much we love each other, or the meaning of having best friends.”

“I’m glad you both found that meaning together. don’t let anyone change that.” She smiles as she glances down at the ring on her finger.

“I don’t plan on letting anyone change that, Todd. We’ve worked so hard to get to where we are. One little rag article isn’t going to change that.”

Saturday June 23, 2018 – Sonoma Raceway

Chase gives Alan a high-five after the qualifying session was done, big smile on his face. After all the doubts entering the weekend, it was nice to know that he would start Sunday’s race from the third position. Now as long as he kept it on the black top and ran a smooth race, they may be able to pull off a solid finish to get on a bit of a roll here.

He then makes his way down pit road, though was surprised when he was stopped mid-way by his teammate.

“Do you need some advice, seven-time?” He teases Jimmie, who just shakes his head no in return while remaining serious.

“I was just wondering if you saw the article that was posted about Sarina and Christopher,” Jimmie offers instead, earning a simple sigh from Chase. “So you have…”

“And?” Jimmie crosses his arms as he keeps his eyes locked on his teammate.

“I thought I’d get more of a reaction from you than that.” Chase shakes his head no.

“I know the friendship that her and Christopher have together. I know how much he’s there for her to lean on for advice when she needs someone, and I know it goes no further than being friends. It’s just someone trying to stir the pop as usual. Aren’t we used to that already?” Jimmie nods his head, having seen his share of articles when Jeff was going through his divorce.

“I was just worried about the effect it would have on yo-”

“I read it out of curiosity, and closed it right away. It hasn’t bothered me at all today.” That was a partial lie as it was the beginning of everything coming out in relation to Alison, and Chase wasn’t sure if he was ready for that quite yet.

“That’s good to hear. I mean, I know honesty has come up before in your relationship and I was worried the rumors would spark a probl-”

“We’ve over that, Jimmie. Why do you think I asked her to marry me? I’m in this for the long haul, committed to her no matter what – just like she’s committed to me. we also have our friends, too, but that’s it. Her friendship to Christopher is just like me and Erin…” Chase then froze a little, remembering what Ryan had told him on the plane about what happened while he was drunk. He didn’t want to go there, but what if Christopher and Sarina had more than he realized?

“Chase?” Chase snaps out of his thoughts as Jimmie doesn’t budge at all. “What are you thinking? As soon as you mentioned Erin’s name, you went qui-”

“There’s nothing goi-”

“Didn’t you just spend a week with her-”

“Ryan was there, too-”

“But something happened…” Chase lets out a sigh as he couldn’t deny any longer. “Do you want to tell me what happened?”

“Erin told me that she’s had a crush on me for the longest time, but never pursued it because she knew it wouldn’t work. She knew that I was meant for someone else like Sarina, and she’s happy that I’ve found that.” Jimmie wasn’t too surprised as he remembered how close Erin and Chase were when they went to the banquet together.

“But yet she told you?” Chase nods his head yes.

“We were standing on the porch talking about some personal thoughts of my own with bad dreams, and we mentioned how we’d always care for each other and that came out of her mouth. As soon as it was said, we moved on the rest of the trip as friends without any changes.” Of course that was a lie as there was a forgotten kiss in there, too. But if he didn’t remember it, what mattered?

“Can I give you some advice?” Chase lets out a sigh, not sure he wanted to go with this. “Take a moment and let yourself digest everything. Let yourself think about your relationship with Sarina and everything you’ve been through together. Think about your relationship with Erin and how that friendship has grown, and what you mean to each other. Think about why she would’ve wanted you to know that fact. Think about Sarina’s relationship with Christopher. The reason I say this is I don’t want you to bury yourself so deep in a relationship that isn’t going to last because of other factors. Save yourself from pain later by facing everything now.”

“Are you trying to tell me something with those words, Jimmie?” Jimmie shakes his head no.

“I stand by you and Sarina. Remember how I pushed for that engagement with Dale?” Chase laughs, remembering the conversations in Colorado. “I just don’t want to be helping you pick up the pieces later – if there’s any to pick up later because it fell apart. For all I know, this is just some pointless worry and the glass isn’t even touched. But do yourself the favor and do that now. I’ve seen one of my best friends go through a divorce. I don’t want to see another one.” Chase nods his head, sympathically.

“I’ll keep that advice in mind. Thank you, Jimmie.”

“Nice job in qualifying.”

Saturday June 23, 2018 – Sonoma Raceway

Getting comfortable that night at the motorcoach, Chase knew he was in for a long night with the truck race from Gateway. The fact that he was having to watch a second truck race in a row not at the track didn’t make it easy one bit. At least when he was at the track he had direct access to knowing everything that was going on from Rudy and the guys.

Thankfully, the race went smoothly as Sarina ran up front all night long, leading a ton of laps through the event and looked destined to pull off her second win of the season. However, it wasn’t meant to be as while leading, she had to pit under caution with seven laps to go for a flat tire. She was then able to fight back for a 10th-place finish.

Knowing she’d be disappointed, Chase pulls his phone and sends her a text of encouragement and comfort, adding in a small special message at the end. He then sets it down on the night table as he lays back in the bed.

Jimmie’s advice hadn’t left his mind since their conversation earlier in the afternoon. He understood his teammate’s concern – and appreciated his advice on the situation, too. Chase had taken it to heart as he ran everything through his mind as Jimmie told him. He even chuckled as he thought about to some memories with Erin, along with the tender moments. The memories with Sarina ranged from every emotion possible, but he wouldn’t changed anything as he’d grown along the way and learned a lot that he knew would help him moving forward in the future. He also thought about Christopher, the initial concerns that he had and wondering whether that was jealousy and self-warrant. He thought about when Christopher seemed to be turn a corner, conversations since then, and Christopher’s own relationship with his girlfriend Morgan.

Closing his eyes to go to sleep that night after weighing everything out, he was confident in where he stood across the board. There was a reason why he gave Sarina that ring, and there was no reason for him to take that back.

Sunday June 24, 2018 – Sonoma Raceway

Sarina walks down pit road, fixing her sunglasses upon her face as she flashes her signature smile with a wave to Samantha as she walks by Kyle Busch’s pit stall. She had done everything she could to arrive in California before the start of the race, but that unfortunately didn’t’ play out as she arrived just after the command to start engines have been given thanks to countless delays with her flight.

“What are your thoughts on the article about you and Christopher Bell?” She hears as it didn’t take long for a group of reporters to surround her on the walk, despite being dressed in a simple Chase Elliott t-shirt and jeans.

“Christopher and I are just friends,” she answers as she keeps walking. “We have a great friendship as it always has been. I’m fully committed to Chase Elliott as he’s my fiancé, and I look forward to spending the rest of my life with him. As for your rumors that I am straying due to everything going on, I’m sorry but you’re full of shit.” She knew she’d get in shit from Andy about her last comment, but they deserved it as it seemed they wouldn’t shut up every week despite being told the same answer countless times.

“What about Alison Reynolds?” She wasn’t surprised to hear that question.

“No comment.” It was the standard answer that she had gotten used to giving all year, but that’s all she was allowed to say in it being a current legal issue. She could only hope it was all solved a month from now, rather than taking forever. “How about you guys enjoy the race like I plan on doing?” She then entered into Chase’s pit, offering a few hugs and high-fives to the guys before heading up on the pit box with Alan.

“And the princess makes her grand entrance,” Alan comments with a grin as she just rolls her eyes.

“They always want to bug and create their stories,” she offers as she gets comfortable, picking her headset. “I’m still allowed up here, right?”

“Absolutely. Everybody close to you knows they’re full of shit, right?” She nods her head.

Thankfully, Chase made her trip to California worth it as he ran up front all race long en route to a fourth-place finish.

Thursday June 28, 2018 – Chicagoland Speedway

“Do you think five months is enough time to plan?” Chase questions as he glances over Sarina’s shoulder in the garage area.

“Do you really think I’m like those all too cool preppy girls who want this big huge damn wedding?” She replies as he laughs. “I just want it small and quiet with our closest friends. I’m sure five months is enough time, Chase.” She then turns around to face him. “Are you sure you’re ready for the big day in five months?”

“Oh so now you’re asking if I’m ready?” He then wraps his arms around her and pulls her close. “I can tell you that I’ve been ready for awhile now to call you Ms. Sarina Ott Elliott.” He then places his hand on hers atop of the ring. “That’s why I found the perfect pink diamond for you.”

“So it’s settled then. January wedding?” He nods his head, accepting.

“Colorado or Florida?” It felt weird to be getting married away from home, but it also felt perfect given their beginnings. They always felt their most at home together and free when they were away at the cottage in Colorado, but also found their true beginnings down in Florida at the Snowball Derby.

“Colorado. A winter wedding should take place where there’s lots of snow.” He then kisses her lips lightly.

“Then it’s settled. We’ll get married in January in Colorado.”

“Did I just hear that right?” A new voice joins the fray as Rudy walks over to them. “You’re getting married in January in Colorado?” The pair glance at each other, before looking towards the crew chief with a nod. “Wow. I’m surprised at this wedding discussion, especially following the latest round of articles that I’ve been seeing.”

“Oh Rudy, what did you tell me about reading that crap?” Sarina questions and Rudy smiles as he remembers the advice.

“Why do you think I deleted it immediately?” She then smiles, giving him a high-five. “I knew there had to be no truth to the Christopher Bell rumors. I mean, aren’t he and Morgan close to getting married, too?”

“They’re close enough that it wouldn’t surprise me if it happened this week.”

“Well, I hate to bother the love birds but someone has a truck practice that she must attend to. May I borrow your bride?” Chase laughs as he slowly lets her go.

“She has five months to plan so I supposed she can spend the next couple of hours working for you,” Chase answers. “But I get this first.” He then snags a kiss from her before fully letting her go. “Have some fun today.”

“That’s the plan,” she replies before walking over to the truck.

The happiness continued through both practices as the speed was shown, and Rudy was able to get her comfortable in the truck to where she was liking the handling as well. By the time it was over, she had ended up fourth and 10th on the speed charts for each session.

The Tale of Love & Racing: Sarina’s Story – Chapter 80: Pocono Double

Saturday, June 2 – Pocono Raceway

Sarina glances through the garage, a bit of shock washing over her as she makes her way over to Lindsay.

“You’re actually here this weekend?” Sarina questions, catching Lindsay off-guard.

“Uh duh of course,” Lindsay answers as she places on her stomach. “Not that I’ve got to enjoy the Pocono weather at all because this little one has been a bit of a pain.” Sarina looks on concerned.

“Morning sickness?” Lindsay nods her head accepting, as she lets out a sigh.

“It’s more like all day sickness. I’ve had it all this week. I could’ve even think about food on Wednesday without throwing up. it’s getting easier, and I finally was able to get digest some toast so I thought I’d actually come out and support my man.” Lindsay then glances into the Cup garages. “I see you’re not getting much time with Chase.”

“I’m getting enough for what matters.” Lindsay just rolls her eyes as Sarina smiles. “Hey, he’s having fun doing double duty for a change and he isn’t doing too bad. He says the car feels good for the XFINITY race, and 11th in Cup practice isn’t bad considering…” Lindsay nods her head in agreement.

“I just realized I dumped all my baby news on you without a thought of consid-”

“No, it’s okay – trust me. I can handle it.” Lindsay then looks over surprised as it was a change considering the last reaction she had gotten. “I’ve come to grips with things. They may not be what I truly want, but I’ve come to grips with it. I can’t wait to be an aunt to your little boy or girl. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for myself and Chase. I also can’t wait until I prove everybody wrong and win that championship.”

“Still dealing with the doubters?” Sarina lets out a sigh, nodding her head.

“I only got the ride because I’m female. I’m only relevant because I’m dating Chase. I should’ve dumped for all the bullshit that I caused with my brother. Oh, and Alison is somehow my fault too.” Lindsay looks over surprised.

“Girl, what have both Chase and I told you about all that bullshit?” Sarina crosses her arms.

“To forget and ignore, but sometimes that’s too hard to do. Hence why I’m turning haters into motivators.” Lindsay smiles as she had heard that line before courtesy of Kyle.

“So Chase should just make you another shelf in the trophy room right?” Sarina just chuckles. “Speaking of Alison, when do you get those paternity test results?”

“Not until July as you have to be 10 weeks before they can get the DNA from the baby. If it was up to me, I’d just rip her apart and figure out what the hell sex that thing is. She’s so crazy that I’d be scared of a baby from it.” Lindsay was now really surprised. “What? I know I should have sympathy for an unborn life and everybody deserves a chance, but did you see everything that she’s done? Anything connected to that has to be crazy.”

“But what if Chase is the father?” Sarina glances over, slightly concerned, as her eyes glance down to the ground.

“I know if he turns out to be the father, he would want to do whatever it took for that baby and take full responsibility. I know him well enough to say that fully confident, no matter who the mother is.” Sarina then glances back up at Lindsay. “But is he the father? I don’t think so. The more that I talk with him about what happened, the more details that he tells me about what happened and he comes to grips with everything, the more I believe that she is playing this game to try and pull his life apart again. That’s who she is, Lindsay.”

“I’m surprised to see the change in perspective.” Sarina lets out a sigh as she glances back into the garage stall.

“Sometimes you have to trust your gut and believe every word out of your man’s mouth, even if you want to put a full shadow of doubt initially. I’m learning to trustworthy and be more open, each day a little more. Chase, you, Kyle and Samantha – I know I can trust each of you without a shadow of a doubt. So if he tells me he isn’t the father, I am going to damn well believe him.”

Chase leans back against the car as Sarina walks over handing him a bottle of water.

“Close….” She comments as he takes a sip, eyes focused on her.

“Close only counts in horseshoes and ha-” he starts.

“Hand grenades.” He nods his head as he drinks more of the water. “But considering the fact that you ran outside of the top-five all day and came back to finish second with strategy at the end, should you be complaining?” Chase shakes his head no. “I mean, to finish second to Kyle in the XFINITY Series is an achievement in itself with the way Gibbs has that program put together.”

“Of course you’d comment on their supreme equipment.” She then smiles as she leans back beside him.

“It was fun driving those cars, okay? If Joe called me tomorrow and said hey, you’re running this race next weekend, I’d have the helmet packed quicker than he could hang up.” Chase chuckles as he wraps an arm around her shoulders.

“You’ll get that opportunity, don’t worry.” He then gives her a quick kiss. “So you didn’t just watch me all day….”

“Are you kidding me? I’m the super supportive girlfriend who does anythi-”

“Fiancée, and I saw you talking with Lindsay.” She smiles at the reminder in change of the wording as she glances down pit road towards Lindsay and Ryan.

“I wanted to see how my girl is doing. It seems that pregnancy isn’t all sunshine and roses for her. She’s been dealing with some morning sickness that turned into all-day sickness.” Chase makes a face as he glances down their way. “Maybe not being able to get pregnant has its advantages…”

“Did I just really hear that from you?” Sarina lets out a sigh as she glances back at Chase.

“I’m coming to grips with reality, okay? Just like racing has taught me that I need to be calmer and realistic, I’m trying to do that with my entire life. While you’re handling what you’ve got, I’m becoming stronger myself. That includes realizing that maybe having a baby isn’t in the cards…” Chase pulls her even closer to him.

“We still have the second opinion. I know it’s taking longer than warranted, but when I mentioned to Rick that we were looking for someone to give us another opinion, he wanted to find the best expert that he could find so we knew the truth.” She nods her head, remembering the discussion. “I understand trying to do what you’re doing, but I also know how badly it broke your heart when you found out that you couldn’t carry a baby full term. I remember the tears and pain. You don’t just let that go by changing your ways, Sarina – same way I can’t just forget what happened.” He then takes a slow deep breath. “Before you make these life altering decisions, just promise me that you’ll consider what is to come.”

“I can promise you that, but I can also tell you that I’m prepared for whatever happens.” She then turns to face him, wrapping her arms around him. “We’ve been through so much. There were times that I thought I lost you from either my stupid mistakes, or Chris’ behavior, or Alison’s choices. They made me appreciate what I have so much more, and I’m ready to live in the moment. As long as we’re together, happy, and healthy, that’s what matters.” She then reaches up on her tippy toes and kisses his lips. “I love you, Clyde.”

“I’ll always love you, too.”

Sunday, June 3 – Pocono Raceway

Sitting comfortable on the pit box, the day had gone smoothly as Sarina couldn’t complain thus far. Alan had worked on the handling to get it pretty decent for Chase, and he had been able to run in the top-10 all day.

Though when the caution came out in the late stages, Alan made the decision to leave Chase out while several of the leaders, having him restart third. While the track position was nice, the older tires did him no favors as he fell back outside of the top-10.

“Of course,” Sarina says to herself trying to avoid the thought of cursing Alan out. She got trying a gamble and do something different and maybe snag a win and track position, but she knew they needed solid finishes from here on out as they were right on the border of playoff elimination. It was never too early to think about the post-season.

Thankfully, the caution came out with 18 laps to go, which Alan made the decision to bring him down pit road. Restarting outside of the top-20, Chase would drive the wheels off of it, making his way back up into the top-10 by the checkered flag.

“I don’t blame you for trying something,” Chase stated after the race as Alan lets out a long sigh.

“We could’ve possibly got a top-five if I would’ve given you tires when you needed them,” Alan comments as Sarina nods her head in agreement. Sure, it was a decent finish and she could leave with a smile on her face. However, that didn’t absorb Alan of his wrong decision.

“We’ll get them next week. Michigan has always treated us well, right?” Alan nods his head in agreement as he glances at Sarina.

“Have fun in Texas,” he states as Sarina simply just smiles back in return.

“I’ll see you on Sunday to keep your ass in line,” she offers as Chase just laughs.

“Why am I not surprised?” Alan then walks away as Chase glances over at her.

“Remind me next time to not allow him to make stupid decisions on the box.” Chase just rolls his eyes as he wraps an arm around her shoulders.

“But if his strategy would’ve worked out, as it did for a couple others, you would’ve called him your hero.” She then lets out a sigh as they head back through the garage together. “Just make sure to behave next weekend. I’m not there to keep you in line.”

“I’m Kyle’s angel now, remember?” Chase just rolls his eyes.

Thursday, June 7  – North Carolina

Chase smiles as he reads the latest text message from Sarina, glad that she was in a good mood. Then again, how could she complain after being second quickest in practice?

“Story?” Chase hears as Lydia looks over at him, holding a book in her hand.

“I did tell you that I would read you one before bed, right?” Lydia nods her head yes. He puts his phone aside, snagging the book out of her little hands as he gets her tucked in on the couch.

With their crazy hectic schedule, Jimmie had wanted to take Chandra out on a special date night of their own without any interruptions. That was fine except while Genieve was sleeping over at a friend’s, their babysitter was not available to watch Lydia. That’s when Chase stepped up, knowing that Lydia would absolutely love a night with him.

The pair had been having fun throughout the night, from playing games to baking cookies and building a fort with the cushions in the living room – all while Chase kept checking timing and scoring from Texas.

Though now that it was night time, it was her bed time and that meant one thing – time for a story. She had brought a selection of books from her collection, all ending up with Chase reading her Dr. Seuss’ Green Eggs and Ham before bed.

As he turned to the fifth page, he looked over and a smile formed as she was already passed out. He set the book lightly down beside her, before turning the light off.

After spending time relaxing with some more text messages to Sarina and a bit of Netflix, it was certainly time for him to close his eyes and go to sleep. Not wanting to be far from her, he made the decision to sleep in the lazyboy while she was on the couch.

“On the bed, spread eagle….” He simply follows the orders as she places the phone just out of reach from his fingers, allowing the live video feed to play once again, as she strips out of her clothes. “I should almost just do what I really want tonight to make you suffer for that comment. Actually, I could simply just send the messa-”

“No, please. Leave Sarina alone. Take me. Do whatever you want. Just please leave her alone.” Alison smirks even wider as she climbs on the bed, laying on top of him.

“I could easily take these off….” She runs her finger tips along the waistline of his boxers. “But we’ll save that for another night…” Just like the previous night, she begins off the same way, her breathing picking up as she did so, matched by his doing the same with a tinge of fear and pain mixed in. But yet, she was getting her satisfaction in feeling him harden against her even through the fabric.

“The….ring….” He grabs her hand, bringing it to closer view of his eyes, seeing the familiar pink diamond. “You took Sarina’s ring…” Alison smirks as she looks into his eyes.

“She doesn’t need tha-”

“Take it off!” Now he really wished that Jordan and Alan heard them. “Take it off!”

“Shut up and kiss me like you mean it, and maybe you’ll get your wish….” He takes a deep breath, accepting the kiss that she had to offer, as well as the continued body movements. “Good boy….”

“Please….” She then moves her lips down his collarbone, sucking as hard as she can as a moan escapes her lips once again.

“I know you want me….”

Chase sits up instantly in the chair, covered in a cold sweat as he tries to catch his breath. He instantly glances over at the couch, seeing Lydia still sleeping.

“You’re okay,” he tells himself as he slowly gets up and makes his way into the kitchen. He pours himself a glass of milk, leaning against the counter, drinking it immediately. “It was just a dream. She can’t hurt you anymore. Just forget it, Chase.” He then takes a couple more deep breathes, feeling the tears roll down his cheeks.

“Chase?” He hears, catching him off-guard as he tries to wipe the tears off of his face immediately seeing four-year-old before him. “You okay?” He nods his head yes as he takes a deep breath.

“Yeah, I’m fine sweetheart,” he replies before kneeling down to her level. “You know those bad dreams that happen with monsters?” Lydia nods her head. “Well, I had one and it scared me – but I’m okay.”

“I save you!” She then wraps her arms tightly around him, which he immediately accepts the hug without reservation.

“Thank you sweetheart. Say, why don’t we both get back to sleep?” She nods her head in agreement as he takes her hand, walking back to the living room together. He tucks her into the blanket on the couch, before climbing back in the lazy boy once again. “Good night Lydia.”

“Night Chase.” He was just about to sleep when he felt movement in the chair, immediately relaxing when he felt arms around his neck. “I cuddle. I save you. Love you.” He then gives her a kiss on the top of the head.

“I love you too, Lydia.”

Friday, June 8  – Michigan International Speedway

Jimmie walks into the garage stall, eyes locked on Chase.

“For someone who just timed in fifth quickest, you’re not looking super happy,” Jimmie comments as Chase glances over. He was actually surprised to see his teammate as normally they all just got together as team meeting time. “But maybe that’d do with last night.”

“Last night?” Chase questions, a little curious. He actually thought Lydia had a good time – at least that’s what she told him.

“Lydia told me that you woke up from a bad dream with scary monsters.” Chase lets out a sigh as he had to know that it’d get back to Jimmie eventually. “She told me that she comforted you.”

“Yeah, I appreciated that actually – and I promise that I didn’t say a lot or really anythi-”

“I’m not mad, or upset, or concerned about that. well, actually, I’m concerned about you if you’re having bad dreams like that. Are you sure everything is okay?” Chase knew he couldn’t keep the act up with everybody forever, especially those close as they found out details. Besides, everyone was going to know in a matter of days when the trial finally took place.

“I had a flashback to an incident with Alison.” Jimmie had pretty much figured that out already.

“I know she stalked you for months, drugged, tripped you with a banana, crashed a plane – she has a track record. So I get why that’d bug you even still to this day and it’d take time to get through it. I also know it can’t be easy being by yourself with Sarina there to support you. Am I right?” Chase nods his head yes. “If it’s easier for you, Lydia can stay with you tonight and tomorrow night until Sarina gets here. If you’re not willing to open up to me, that’s the least I can offer and do to help as a teammate and a friend.” Chase hated to not spill the details, and be open, but how could he admit that out loud once again?

“I appreciate that. Thank you because your daughter is amazing.” Jimmie smiles, having realized that already.

“She also says that you’re pretty cool to hang out with. You’d make a pretty cool dad probably.” Chase slowly nods his head in response, knowing that hit a core in two spots at once.

“We’ll have to see what happens….” Jimmie watches closely as Chase takes a deep breath. “Can I tell you something that you promise you won’t tell anyone?” Jimmie nods his head yes. “Sarina had a miscarriage in January, and she was told last month that she may not be able to carry a baby full-term. We’re getting a second opinion, but we may not be able to have kids of our ow-”

“What about a surrogate or adoption?” Chase knew the options were there, and knew that discussion was next with Sarina. But first things first, it was dealing with Alison and the initial news.

“We’ve talked a little, but no decisions have been made yet.” Jimmie nods his head, accepting.

“I didn’t mean to hurt your feelings in making the comme-”

“You didn’t. I’ve realized this already because this is something that we’ve been working our way through since January. I’ve accepted what is to come in the future for Sarina and I as parents. As she said to me, as long as we’re together, happy and healthy, that’s all that matters. But I can admit to you that sometimes, it stings a little..” Jimmie wraps an arm around him.

“I can’t fault you for that as I know it would for me and Chandra if we were in the same situation. But I’m proud also for how you’re handling it. For what it’s worth, you can always come to me to talk about it, and you can always babysit if you want. Lydia just adores you…” Chase smiles as that was very easy to tell.

“Even if she ends up dating Brexton because of it?” Jimmie looks on surprised. “Yeah, they had a good play at KBM when you asked me to watch her a couple weeks ago and I stopped by to see Sarina.”

“Oh boy, save me now….” Chase just chuckles as Jimmie walks away. “I’ll bring her by at 8, okay?” Chase nods his heads accepting.

“Yeah, thanks….” He then runs his hands over his face as he lets out a long sigh. “If only you knew, Jimmie….”