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…”

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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….”

The Tale of Love & Racing: Sarina’s Story – Chapter 77: North Carolina Education Lottery 200

Friday May 18, 2018 – Charlotte Motor Speedway

Chase makes his way up onto the pit box, giving Rudy Fugle a quick nod before taking his usual seat. Taking a deep breath, it was going to be a fun night under the lights.

The race started off strong for Sarina as he was ran second until Lap 15, before passing Johnny Sauter for the lead. It looked as though a stage win was in sight, when the caution flew with nine laps to go. Rudy made the call to bring her down pit road, where they’d come off strong in the running order.

“Speeding,” Rudy tells her. “Coming onto pit road. Tail of the longest line.” Chase could only let out a sigh as he watches her fall back down the running order to 22nd.

“We got a strong truck and there’s still a lot of laps tonight,” Sarina comments over the radio, surprising Chase as he half-expected her to be frustrated.

Once the green flag was back out, she made some moves, working her way up to 14th by the time the stage was finished. She was also able to gain ground under caution, with four trucks pitting, bumping her up to 10th to start stage two.

Once again, she showed more speed, working her way up to seventh mid-way through the second stage. However, it appeared the handling of the No. 18 Toyota Tundra was a little off, as she’d fade back to 10th by the checkered flag. Once again, Rudy brought her down pit road, giving her four tires, sending her back out to restart fourth.

The speed was back after the restart as the progress continued, with her battling Brett Moffitt for second when the caution came out with 56 laps to go for another truck going around. As per the other cautions, Rudy had her back on pit road for tires, set to restart seventh. She didn’t gain much ground this time on the restart, but another caution with 48 laps to go and more trucks pitting bumped her up to fourth. She was able to get a good restart, moving up to second before the next yellow flag with 22 laps to go.

With Kyle Busch on her back bumper for the next restart, Chase knew it was bound to be good and felt hopeful about her chances at possibly going back-to-back. However, Kyle got going before she did, getting into the back of her truck, sending her sideways, but she managed to hang on. However, it’d drop her back to 10th in the process.

“Lovely….” was all Chase could say as another caution came out with 15 laps to go. He really didn’t want to be around to hear what she said post-race as he knew she’d probably be fuming right now about Kyle.

The final restart saw her struggle a little, but she managed to gain some ground, crossing the finish line in eighth. As per usual, Chase and Rudy both made their way off the pit box together and were set to go see her. Chase felt a little nervous as they made their way over, not sure what her reaction would be.

“Where is he?” She immediately questions, and they both knew that she was referring to Kyle.

“He is in the media center,” Chase states, having seen him walk off in his own frustrated mode with his PR rep.

“Great. I’ll go wait for him…” Sarina goes to head that direction, when Chase puts his arm out stopping her. “Excuse me?”

“Maybe you should hold off talking to Kyle…” She then looks over at him surprised.

“We’re seriously going to do this again, are we? I mean, I thought you would’ve figured it out last year when you tried to stop me from talking to Chri-”

“I let you both talk eventually, remember? I made you wait until you were both away from everybody else and then I didn’t stand in the way as you basically went off on him. That’s all I’m doing here. Besides, Kyle is a little frustrated himself right now.” She then chuckles with a slight eye roll.

“That’s great. Ask me if I care, Chase?” Chase lets out a sigh as Rudy crosses his arms.

“The pit crew let him down twice tonight,” he starts. “Two penalties for being over the wall too soon put him back twice. I know you don’t have sympathy nor probably give a damn right now, but that’s why he’s overly frustrated. That’s probably why maybe he went a little early and got into you there. Chase just wants to save you from doing something stupid.” She then glances back at Rudy.

“So I’m just supposed to be the good employee and let my boss control my life? That sounds great, Rudy.” She then walks away from the pair of them as Chase lets out a sigh, following her. “You aren’t going to stop me, Chase…”

“I’m not trying to stop you, remember?” Chase questions before reaching out and grabbing her arm firmly. “Just please let’s save this and do it back in the motorcoach lot, just like you did with Christopher.” She then stops, letting out a sigh as she glances back. It was almost getting to be too much energy fighting him, and as long as she saw Kyle, what else mattered?

“Fine…” She agrees as they then turn and head the other direction, the frustration still stemming on her.

“Besides, I do have a question for you…” She rolls her eyes right away. “You spun the tires, right? Before Kyle even touched you, you spun the tir-”

“What are you getting at, Elliott?” He didn’t appreciate the tone, but that wasn’t going to stop him from going forward here.

“If you don’t spin the tires, he doesn’t touch your bumper, right?” She just laughs.

“You sound like Rudy….”

“Maybe he was just trying to help you get going, and didn’t realize that your bumpers weren’t lined up. We’ve seen that before.” He then reaches out and places a hand on her shoulder. “Think about rationally….” She then stops, taking a deep breath.

“Okay, so maybe you’re right. Maybe I am wrong to be upset with him. That just leaves me to be upset with myself. Great…” He then glances down, knowing that the situation had just gotten worse – even if Kyle was off the hook.

“You made a mistake. It happens. Live and move on. Learn what you did wrong from that restart so you never do it again. But do not beat yourself up because you drove a great race tonight, and you came out of there with a top-10.” He then wraps his arm around her shoulder. “Besides, I can’t let you leave in the morning if you’re upset.”

“Part of me still doesn’t want to go. Part of me wants to be here wit-”

“I’ll be fine, Sarina. Go and learn what you can about that place. Maybe even bring home a trophy.” She then smiles, giving him a small kiss in return.

“That’s the plan, right?”

Saturday May 19, 2018 – Charlotte Motor Speedway

Chase climbs out of the car and makes his way over to his teammates, knowing that there’d be a good discussion forth coming. It was the first time practicing the new package fully, and he had to say that it was different and certainly interesting. For the record, the practice had gone solidly too, as he felt pretty good about the car and ended up 10th on the charts.

“I feel if you can get that run off the corner, then you can make something work,” Alex Bowman shares with the group as Jimmie nods his head in return.

“But can you make it work so you actually clear the guy?” Jimmie wonders. “I almost felt stuck there at times.”

“The runs don’t come without you focusing perfectly on that timing. Like, you need to be precise or else you’re screwed big time.”

The teammates continue talking, as Chase listens on, not really having anything to add at this point. If he was being honest, Sarina being away was actually starting to bother him as he wanted her to lean on there right now. instead, he was stuck trying to find some way to get updates from Canada as there was not really the best of coverage for what was happening.

“Earth to Chase!” Chase hears, snapping him out of his thoughts as he looks up at Jimmie. “Dude, are you okay?”

“Yeah,” Chase replies, almost instinctively as he grabs his phone, hopeful for an update. He was glad that Sarina had sent one, noting that they’d practiced in the heavy fog which was certainly a new learning experience, and qualifying had been cancelled, setting her up to start 13th tomorrow. She then noted that they’d run another practice later on that day.

“He’s just missing his girl,” William comments before walking away as Jimmie watches him closely.

“Is he right?” Jimmie wonders and Chase nods his head. “I thought you’d be used to this with all the separate schedule stuff that you guys deal with.”

“It doesn’t mean that it’s always easy, right?” Chase offers and Jimmie could understand that. However, he was still a little caught off-guard by Chase’s behavior.

“I know what you mean as some weekends, I wish Chandra would bring the kids when she doesn’t. But really, are you sure everything is okay? I mean, I made mention of a bit of a joke last week and you like clamped up immediately. Then your deal with Ricky – which I can’t totally get mad at you for, and now this? Remember I always said that I’m here if you nee-”

“I’m fine, Jimmie, really.” Chase could see the sympathy in Jimmie’s eyes as everybody knew that his behavior was probably somehow connected to the mess with Alison. However, the details weren’t there and Chase was determined to keep things that way. “I have some things on my mind, but I’m fine. I’ll work them out.”

“Well, you know I’m here to talk if you need to.” Chase nods his head once again. “And for the record, I don’t know what all Alison did to you and Sarina, but don’t let that bother you. You’re strong, and nothing that she did or said matters.” Jimmie then walks away as Chase leans back against the pit box.

“If only you knew, Jimmie….” He then lets out a sigh, before grabbing his phone and Gatorade and heading off. It was only a matter of time before they’d be starting the night’s festivities, and Chase was thankful for that distraction.

After finishing the practice session seventh on the board, Sarina checked into her hotel room, getting comfortable on the bed as she opened the box.

“All-Star Race and Chicken Wings – perfect combination right?” She questions to herself as she glances over at the small stuffed animal sitting on the bed.

She smiles as she knew it’d be a good call to bring Hootie with her as it gave her some connection back to Chase. of course, if she was really looking for something, she just needed to glance at the ring on her finger.

Right from the drop of the green flag, she had to admit that she was proud of the package NASCAR had put together for all-star race in seeing the racing. It made her wish she was there, knowing that it was going to be a great show by the racing already.

“That’s it Alex!” She let out in watching Alex Bowman winning the first stage of the Monster Energy Open to qualify for the main event. Now Chase and William needed to do the same.

“So close….” She lets out after the completion of the second stage in watching Chase finish second to Daniel. She wanted to be happy for Daniel in being her Joe Gibbs Racing teammate, but she honestly wished more than anything that Chase would’ve won instead.

“Are you freaking kidding me?” She could only say after the third and final stage. He had led laps and looked like he was going to win it, until A.J. Allmendinger pulled the move out of nowhere with a jump from fourth to first in the last two laps to win instead.

Taking a deep breath, she wanted to believe in the fan vote. After all, it was clear that everybody liked her boyfriend just as much as her. However, she wondered just what would happen as she saw the campaigns put together by Darrell Wallace and Matt DiBenedetto.

The instant sigh of relief came in watching them announce Chase as the fan vote winner, including a fist pump in the air. It wasn’t how they necessarily wanted to get into the big show, but he was in the show and that’s all that mattered.

After washing up, and getting comfortable in her pajamas, she curls up on the bed with Hootie, ready to take in the all-star race that night.

Starting back in 21st, she was ready to watch him carefully make his way through the field.

“Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy…” was all that slipped out of her mouth as she watched him barely getting by Kurt Busch when he went for his spin, backing into the wall barely.

However, she couldn’t complain by the end of the stage as he had finished seventh. The happiness didn’t last, though, as it turned to anger and a bit of confusion in watching him miss his stall getting onto pit road, set to restart at the back of the field once again.

“He’s just keeping it interesting,” she tried to tell herself.

Through the back half of the event, it was all smiles as he put on a show, working his way forward, contending for spots, en route to a fifth-place finish. It wasn’t the million dollars, but it was great momentum heading into the Coke 600 next week.

Sunday May 20, 2018

Chase watches her walk over to the car, climbing in the passenger seat. It had been difficult to get updates on her Pinty’s Series event, but she had done well, running up front throughout the event, and finishing third. Not too shabby for a learning experience weekend.

“I missed you,” she tells him, leaning over the center console to kiss his lips.

“I missed you too,” he replies, deepening the kiss immediately as he grabs her hand with his own. “I couldn’t sleep last night without you. Nice job today, though.”

“The only reason I slept was because of Hootie….” He had to chuckle as he saw the owl sticking out of her sweater pocket. “But I was right. I should’ve stayed and took care of yo-”

“I’m fine. We have tonight to make up for that…” She then puts her seatbelt on right away, with a wink at him.

“The sooner we get home…..”

“….the sooner we can cuddle.” He then puts the car in gear, heading out of the airport parking lot, thankful that it was a short drive home.

Wednesday May 23, 2018

“This is the life,” Sarina comments as she hits on the edge of the boat, enjoying the sunshine.

“I’m not complaining,” Chase says as he keeps his eyes locked on her.

“Of course you wouldn’t.” She just glances back at him, giving him a wink, before looking back forward. “Can we spend every day on the lake?”

“Sure.” He then makes his way over, sitting down beside her. “As long as you promise to wear that every time.” She smiles as it was obvious the bikini fit every single curve perfectly.

“As long as you promise to leave your hair like that…” She then reaches over, playing with the ringlets once again. “So you have the Hooters Pageant this weekend….”

“Don’t worry. I promise you that you’re the only girl that I’m totally staring at in total awe of.” Her heart fluttered in response, but the assurance wasn’t needed.

“You don’t need to tell me, Clyde. I know that already….” She then leans in and lightly kisses his lips. “But that’s just a reminder of how much I know.”

“A reminder, huh? Maybe I need another one…” She then leans in for another kiss, as he wraps his arm around her, keeping her held tightly against him.

“Chase….” He then looks into her blue eyes, feeling lost in them immediately.

“Sarina….” He goes in for another kiss, as she places her hand against his bare chest.

“Are you sure you’re ready?” He knew why she was doing this, and almost felt annoyed immediately.

“Is that going to be your question every time I go to kiss you, or make love with you?” She knew she hit a nerve, but it was better this way than to have regrets later.

“I just don’t want you doing something that you don’t want to do…” He then keeps his eyes locked on hers, as their fingers intertwine together.

“There’s nobody else I would want to be with. There’s nobody else that I’d want to do this with. There’s nowhere else that I would want to be. I want this, with you, right now, full heartedly. Yes, she hurt me and yes, I still can’t bear the thought sometimes, but I know I want you fully right now.” She then brings herself right close, breathing lightly on his neck.

“Then what are you waiting for?” He feels every temptation grow immediately as he stands up, picking her up in his arms, carrying her back through the boat till they were underneath the cover, laying her back on the small couch.

“I love you…” He then brings himself down, running his lips across hers, moving his body against hers as their lips fight for control.

“Clyde…” She then reaches around, running her hands along the waistband of his swim trunks, hand slowly going in underneath.

“I’ve missed this so much…” He then reaches around, slowly undoing the top of her bikini.

The Tale of Love & Racing: Sarina’s Story – Chapter 76: “I could easily take this off, and enjoying it all….”

Friday, May 18 – Charlotte Motor Speedway

Chase glances at the radar. Everybody knew rain was in the area, but they hoped that it’d at least hold off for the morning so some practice would get completed. It’d suck going into tomorrow night with a whole new package and not a single lap on the car.

Sarina had gotten lucky through the morning as the truck series was able to get in both practice sessions. Despite being unhappy with the truck through the first session, she had ranked third on the chart. Rudy had been able to make it better during the second session, leaving her with a smile as they finished up ranked fourth.

Now it was Chase’s turn as he put his phone up, ready for the first Cup practice for the day. Although it appeared rain was all around them per the radar, it was right now dry at the track, and he was ready to take advantage of that.

A simple nod to both Jordan and Alan and he was climbing in the car, getting the belts all on and ready to go for the session. Jordan reaches in, giving everything a final check over before putting the window net up, with the cue to Alan to send him out.

Getting out there right as the session started, Chase was able to get a single lap in – though immediately cut it off and got down to the apron at the start of the second with the skies opening up.

He was back to the garage quickly, everything off and climbing out of the car as eyes fell back on the radar once again. Sure enough the green glob that he saw before was now right over top of them.

“Lovely,” was all he could say as he put his phone in his pocket, knowing that they’d be in a long wait.

“It’ll clear up and hopefully NASCAR will adjust the schedule in a smart matter,” Alan offers as Chase rolls his eyes. It was rare that the sanctioning body actually was able to work with them like that.

Knowing that they were getting nowhere and not wanting to linger around the garage area, he made his way back to the motorcoach, slipping inside as a smile found its way to his face immediately.

“You look pretty comfy,” he comments as he walks past Sarina, going straight for the fridge to grab a drink.

“I knew it was going rain so I thought why waste the walk to the garage area,” she offers as he lets out a sigh. “At least you got a lap in and know there’s nothing wrong with the car, I guess.” Chase nods his head, accepting.

“You’re just in a good mood because you were able to get both of your practices in, and have a good truck for tonight.” He then sits on the couch beside her. “Think you can beat the boss?”

“I beat him last week, right?” He smiles as it was certainly a great race to watch from the pit box. “I remember at the beginning of the year, I was questioning everything about working with Rudy and whether Kyle made the right decision. But I get it now, Chase. I get why Kyle does what he does. Rudy has been absolutely amazing. He has helped me improve my feedback, my driving, and is a great coach.”

“I’m actually surprised that he got you calmer on the radio, too.” Sarina chuckles as admittedly, she was surprised as well. “I just wish Kyle didn’t have a plan for you for this weekend…”

“Are you saying that you don’t want me to jet off to Canada?” He lets out a sigh. “Chase, you can admit it….”

“I understand, and I get why Kyle wants you go to run the Pinty’s Series race. It’s great experience for you ahead of the race there in the fall as you’re getting laps on the same track and it’s the first round of the playoffs. I know how well that worked for Christopher. But…” He then glances into her blue eyes. “The selfish part of me wishes you were here all weekend with me.”

“Trust me, anytime that I am away from you pulls at my heart because I hate being away from you and want to spend every second together. I want to be there for you, always. That’s why the schedule for the summer has me pulled at wits a little. But, like you’re saying, I understand the reasoning and that’s why I committed.” He then places his hand on top of hers.

“And I don’t want you to back out on that commitment, either. I’ll be fine. I have the guys, and you’ll have Lindsay with you. Besides, maybe you can bring home a trophy.” She then smiles as she leans in closer to him.

“As long as you promise to give it your all tomorrow night.” She then lightly kisses his lips. “And promise me to not cut this hair for as long as possible…” He then glances at her a little confused. “What? It’s adorable, honestly.”

“I have to admit that I’m starting to like it more this year than I did last year.” She got a little giggly, though instantly calmed down, feeling her breath hitch in her throat.

“Well please don’t let that opinion change anytime soon….” She then reaches over, placing a hand on his shoulder. “Besides, it can be fun to play with…” She then twirls a piece around her finger as she closes the gap between them once again, kissing his lips.

“Sarina…..” He deepens the kiss as they lay back on the couch together, lips locked together as she continues to play with his ringlets with her fingers.

“Like I said, these ringlets are everything….” She then pulls on the neck of his firesuit, making it loose, wrapping an arm around his neck as the fingers on her other hand continue to play.

“Your lips are everything…” He goes back in for another kiss, arms remaining firmly wrapped around her.

“You don’t understand what you do to me….” She then brings her fingers to the zipper on his firesuit. “I could easily take this off, and enjoy it all….” She then brings her hands back to his hair, playing once again. “But we’ll save that for another time….”

“Yeah….” It didn’t take his lack of words to see the change in his behavior immediately following the words escaping her mouth, as the fact that he was tensing up and his breathing was quickening said enough.

“Babes….” He then closes his eyes, trying to get himself to calm back down, as she slowly sits up. “Fuck me. I screwed up….” He then looks over at her immediately.

“No, no, you did nothing wrong….” He then sits back on the couch, calming down as he grabs the bottle of water off the table, taking a mouthful.

“No, I screwed up, Chase. I should’ve known to be more careful. I should’ve known to take it slower. I should’ve known to just leave it at making out and hair twirling until you were ready. I shou-”

“Stop, please.” He then reaches over, placing a hand on hers, squeezing it. “You didn’t do anything wrong. Even though I panicked a little, it’s not because of what you did and I wouldn’t want to change what you did. I loved every single minute of that kiss, and you can play hair twirling any day.”

“I still feel terrib-”

“I’m not mad at you, so let it go – okay?” She nods her head, accepting. “Your words took me back to a night with Alison. We had flown to Nashville because of meeting with the investigators. We agreed to stay in a hotel that night due to the investigation, and the fact that I was racing at Bristol in a couple days anyway. I kept my deal with Alison, and told her what hotel room I was staying in. She showed up as planned….” Sarina glances into his eyes, squeezing his hand as she could tell his breathing was quickening once again.

“Chase, you don’t need to tell me. You don’t need to go back there….”

“She made me strip down to just my boxers and lay on the bed, spread eagle, before stripping out of her clothes, down to just her bra and panties.” Sarina felt her own breath hitch in hearing the stripping out of clothes line, instant reminders of the possible pregnancy that loomed over both of their heads with her mind flopping back and forth. There was nothing that could describe the relief in hearing about clothes left on, but there was also still that layer of wonder and panic. “She then laid on top of me, ready to kiss me, move against like she before…”

“Chase….” He closes his eyes as he could see the images clear as day in his mind.

“That’s when she ran her finger along my waistline and said, ‘I could easily take these off – but we’ll save that for another night.’ When you said the same thing, it just took me back there and I instantly felt what I felt with her – sick to my stomach beyond any shadow of a doubt, wishing I could be anywhere else.” She then wraps an arm around him, pulling him close as she could a couple stray tears rolling down his cheeks.

“I wish I could make that pain disappear for you, and I’m sorry for bringing it all back…” He glances up at her.

“I told you – it’s not your fault. Don’t be upset, okay? Like you said before, we’ll get there – in time and eventually. I just need to let it go. But how? I don’t know sometimes because there’s no words to describe how sick she made me feel, how much pain I was in, and how I just wanted to rip every part of it away…” The tears become to fall more as Sarina holds him close, letting him lay his head against her as she rubs his back with one hand, and goes back to twirling his hair with the fingers on her other hand.

“I don’t know how to fix it, I don’t know how to make it better – but I wish I could make it disappear in a second’s notice for you. But know that as you work your way through, I’ll always be here to hold you, help you, and be there for you…” She then kisses the top of his head. “I love you, Clyde….”

The pair then sat there in silence listening to the rain fall outside, as he slowly calmed down with the tears slowing down in feeling her against him. She continued to rub his back, not moving a single inch over the next couple hours – even when various text messages came through from their teams about qualifying being cancelled for each of their respective races.

“Are you sure you’re okay now?” Sarina double checks and Chase simply nods his head in response, before leaving the motorcoach.

After a quiet afternoon, he had gotten a text message from Alan to meet him in the garage area to talk about the latest details from NASCAR ahead of tomorrow’s event. He had thought about changing out of his firesuit, but running late, he left it on.

He made his way into the garage stall, finding the crew chief right away with Jimmie Johnson.

“What’s up?” He asks as he leans back against the pit box.

“So they’re still doing all-star qualifying, no pit road speed limit pit stop without any practice,” Alan answers as Chase glances over at Jimmie with a bit of a surprise.

“Isn’t it wonderful?” Jimmie questions sarcastically earning a smirk in return from Alan. “And yes, I get to be the first one out to do it. I mean, why not? I’m 7-time. I can do anything, right?”

“For once, maybe being in the Open is a good thing,” Chase comments as Alan chuckles a little.

“Then NASCAR said that they’re going to do a combined one hour practice tomorrow morning so you can get a feel for the package,” Alan adds, which added some relief to the driver. It was a little nerve-whacking heading into a race without any laps on the car in a new package.

“Now why couldn’t they run that practice tonight and qualify us tomorrow?” Jimmie wonders and Chase shrugs his shoulders.

“That’d be too easy for NASCAR,” Jimmie just chuckles.

“And on that note, I better go find Chad before he kicks my ass. By the way, Chase, make sure you do up your collar next time. You give away what you’ve been up to during the delay..” Chase’s hand runs up to the collar, having realized it was left undone by Sarina in their fun, as he watches Jimmie walk away.

“For someone who supposedly just did tha-”

“Alan, please….” Chase starts as he does it up quickly, earning a curious glance from the crew chief. “Out of everybody here, you know what happened – and there you go…” Alan wanted to smack himself immediately.

“I should’ve remembered that it was a sensitive subject, still,” Alan starts. “I’m sorry….” Chase lets out a sigh as he returns to his previous stance against the pit box.

“Just like I told Sarina, no apology is necessary – and I’m sorry I snapped last week, and again right now.” Alan then looks over sympathy laced in his eyes.

“Listen, I know how tore up you were about what happened. I was there, remember? I spent that morning in the bathroom, and the days following. You don’t need to apologize. I understand – hence why I said on Monday that I bit my tongue in return. With that said, is everything okay with you and Sarina?” Chase nods his head as he takes a deep breath.

“Everything was going perfectly – and then she said something and it took me right there immediately. We then talked about it, before just cuddling together…” He then runs his hands through his hair. “I just want to get to a time where there’s no reminders. I don’t want to feel sick and disgusted instantly. And I know it’s going to take time, and I know all this and that – but sometimes, can’t I just wish it would happen instantly?”

“There’s nothing wrong with wanting that. And really, you’re making progress because you and Sarina talked about it. That’s a start, right?” Chase nods his head.

“And before that, man, I can’t even describe this…” A smile comes across his cheeks as he thinks about their kisses together, earning an eye roll from Alan.

“I know there’s questions about her ability to get pregnant – but at least wear a glove just in case.” Chase then looks back over at Alan.

“Have you been hanging out with Kyle lately?” Alan just chuckles as they head out of the garage together, set to watch the all-star race qualifying session.

Chase stands back and lets Sarina get introduced to the crowd, before taking her hand as they head back to pit road, ready for the truck race that night.

“We need to go see Brex!” She lets out as they reach pit road, making the short turn to walk over to where Samantha and Kyle were with him, rather than going to her own truck. They immediately smiled as they walked over, seeing him having a piece of cake.

“Cake?” Brexton offers, grabbing a chunk of the small cake and holding it up to Sarina.

“I don’t want to be giving him the bath afterwards,” Sarina comments with a chuckle as she accepts the piece, eating it. “That’s actually really good.”

“Sarina!” Sarina wanted to pick him up as he wanted, but knew that’d result in getting cake all over her – not the best look before the race.

“Maybe later buddy.” She then kneels down before him. “I just wanted to come over here and say Happy Birthday. I can’t believe you’re three years old!”

“I can’t believe it either….” Samantha lets out as she tries to clean up some of the cake.

“Did you get my present?” Sarina questions and Brexton nods his head immediately. She had left a pedal car done to match her truck by the Busch motorhome earlier on that day. “We can have races against each other now at KBM!”

“Oh boy….” Kyle says as he rolls his eyes, earning a chuckle from Chase.

“’Hank you!” Brexton tells her, giving her a big hug in return.

“You’re welcome,” she replies, giving him a kiss on the cheek before standing up, as she glances over. She had luckily escaped getting cake all over her. Brexton then went to run off into the grass when Chase grabbed him, scooping him up in his arms, which sent Brexton into a fit of giggles.

“Not so fast,” Chase says as he turns him around in his arms. “I wanted to say Happy Birthday, as well! Oh, and I have a surprise for you later…” Kyle then looks over a little concerned. “I got you a bin to put all of your cars in neatly so you can take them all over – and it has a couple new cars in it. I figured daddy’s car needs a little more competition from me and my friends.”

“Now now, Jimmie Johnson cars are not allowed in the household,” Kyle teases as Chase just laughs.

“Sleepover again?” Brexton asks, catching everyone off-guard.

“Maybe another night bud, okay?” Chase offers and Brexton nods his head, accepting. Chase then sets him back down, letting him run off with a couple of his friends. “And maybe I should’ve included a Brad Keselowski car after all.”

“Well maybe I’ll just get you a Denny Hamlin diecast for your birthday, big boy,” Kyle replies, as they both laugh. “Good luck tonight. Stay out of trouble, and be smart. It’s easy to make a mistake here.”

“Gotcha boss,” Sarina replies. “Good luck tonight to you, too. See ya at the front of the field.” She then takes Chase’s hand as they walk off together over to her truck.

“I’m so glad that she has him…” Samantha smiles as she places a hand on Kyle’s shoulder.

“As much as it probably means to him to have her. I just wish that they could get the news they want about children…” Kyle glances over at Samantha. “I know what it feels like to not have that chance, feel that you can’t be a mother, you’re missing out. Of course, I can’t describe the overwhelming joy in being able to have Brexton.”

“We got our miracle. Maybe they’ll get theirs.”

The Tale of Love & Racing: Sarina’s Story – Chapter 71: “That can’t be true, Rudy….”

Thursday, May 3 – Dover International Speedway

Sarina walks through the garage area having finished the first of two practices for the day. The first session had gone decently, with her ranking sixth by the time it was said and done. Feeling comfortable with the truck, she couldn’t wait for the second round.

Stopping by the KBM hauler, she grabs herself a snack and bottle of water before heading back out, knowing that it would be starting sooner than later. That’s when she freezes though, noticing an envelope sitting on the ground by the hauler.

“Rudy?” She questions, catching the attention of the crew chief. He immediately looks down at the envelope, shrugging his shoulders.

“Maybe an admirer left you a note during the practice,” he offers, and she could only roll her eyes. That was less likely, but rather something else. She couldn’t help but admit it’d be odd if it was that, though, considering Alison was typically leaving the notes for Chase.

“Or it could be the wicked witch..” She then picks up the envelope, ripping it open immediately as Rudy stands there intrigued. She pulls out the slip of paper, revealing a note.

“Well?” Sarina reads the contents, her breath catching in her throat as the note falls from her fingers to the ground.

“That can’t be true, Rudy….” Rudy was now confused as he reaches down to pick up the piece of paper, reading it himself.

“I have a present for your darling boy that he will be seeing in nine months. Isn’t it lovely?” Rudy then looks back towards Sarina. “She’s pregna-”

“She has to be bluffing, Rudy. She can’t no way be pregnant. There is no way in hell that she can be having his baby when I can’t!” Rudy gives Sarina an intrigued glance. “I found out that I can’t carry a baby full term. Happy?”

“Sarina….” He walks over, wrapping an arm around her shoulders, and pulling her close immediately. It was a surprise considering he was normally all focused on business, but he could feel his heart breaking for her right now. “I’m sorry to hear that. You know there’s options, right?” She slightly nods her head. “And have you got a second opinion?”

“I thought about doing that, maybe I will. I don’t know…” She then glances back to the piece of paper in the crew chief’s hand. “Do you know what it feels like to have a dream ripped from your hands? Now take that feeling, combined with the fact that somebody else can give that person what you can’t? She’s tormented and ruined so many things, but yet she may be able to give Chase something I can’t…”

“You said there was no way it could be tru-”

“I don’t know that for sure, though. Chase hasn’t told me everything that happened when they were alone. What if? It would explain why he’s so tore up and told me that it’d change things moving forward.” Rudy holds her a little tighter as a couple tears slide down her cheeks. “What am I supposed to do?”

“You can’t keep this to yourself. It’ll just grow tension and obviously it’s got you upset. You need to talk to Chase. You need to tell him about the note, and you need to see what he says. Maybe it’ll put your mind at ease.” She nods her head, accepting.

“But he won’t even talk about what happened…”

“Maybe if he knows how upsetting this is for you, he will tell you something.” He holds her for a little while longer, opening the bottle of water as they stand there, getting her to drink some. “Are you okay?”

“Yeah, I’m fine. I’m ready to go for this afternoon.” She takes a deep breath, fixing her hair a little, before heading down the garage area and back out to pit road for the second practice. “Coming, Rudy?”

“Ready to go….”

Sarina hears the door open to the hotel room, glancing towards the door and tries her best to put a smile on her face. However, there was no way that was happening considering the note that still remained on her lap.

“Hey,” Chase says as he enters, setting his bags down, flashing a smile at her. He was then surprised when she didn’t move, or flash one back in return.

“Hey,” she replies as he makes his way over, sitting down beside her. His eyes found their way to the paper, wondering what the contents were. Maybe it was just a note from post-practice.

“How did practice go?” That was something that she could smile about, even if the rest of her life was falling apart.

“Sixth in the first session, second in the final practice. Rudy has the truck handling really well. I feel good about my chances for tomorrow.” Chase couldn’t help but smile about that as he knew seeing the chemistry build between her and Rudy was progress.

“That’s great. I tried to get here as soon as I coul-”

“Chase, we need to seriously have a talk.” He freezes immediately, demeanor changing in seeing the change in hers. There were only few instances where she took this approach with him. “Alison left a note for me by my trailer during practi-”

“Please tell me you weren’t wandering about the garage alon-”

“I always had a crew member with me, but Chase, that’s beside the point. I want to focus on the note, please.” He knew the note had to be serious if she was this set and focused on it, considering she had always been telling him to not let Alison’s words bother him. “Read it….” He takes the piece of paper from her, reading the contents, letting out a sigh immediately.

“Oh man…” She could see by the look on his face that he wasn’t surprised, and that caught her off-guard as she thought he’d be shocked by Alison’s latest tactic – or truth, who knew.

“Well?” He then glances over at her. “What do you have to say in response?”

“There’s no way that she could be pregnant. Yes, she touched me all over. Yes, she…” His breath hitches as his mind immediately goes back to the images of the nights together. “She pushed herself against me, but never in the way that she could get pregnant, Sarina.”

“You don’t seem to surprised by the note…” Chase glances over, feeling guilt immediately as he remembered Alan’s advice, cursing himself.

“She left me a note at Talladega on pit roa-”

“And you didn’t tell me?!?” He takes a deep breath as he tries to keep himself calm.

“It was right before you told me that you couldn’t carry a baby full term. I didn’t want to put this in your mind when you were already upse-”

“Chase, are you saying that she’s telling the truth?” He shakes his head no, immediately. “Then why would you hide it from me? Why would you want to comfort me? If it’s not the damn truth, then hell, I’d be calling her damn ass out right away. But the fact that you hid it….”

“I swear that she isn’t pregnant with my kid, Sarina. I know what happened. I remember everything. I wish I could forget, but I remember. I deal with that pain every day. I see it over and over in my head like a movie. I would know if she went that far.” Sarina wanted to believe him and knew that they had an uncandid amount of trust considering everything, but she couldn’t help but feel a bit of doubt in her heart. “Please tell me that you believe me….”

“I don’t even know what to say. I want to believe you, Chase. I want to trust you. But I keep thinking what if?” He nods his head, accepting, as he reaches to touch her hand.

“That’s why I didn’t want to tell you until I proved for certain that she wasn’t pregnant.” She then glances over at him.

“But what if she is?” Chase just shakes his head no over and over once again.

“That’s not possi-”

“Anything is damn well possible! I mean, people have collected other people’s semen and made babies from that. What if she did that to you?” Chase shakes his head no once again.

“You have to believe me, please. I need you….” She looks into his brown eyes, seeing the heartbreak there.

“I wish I could just say what you want me to say, but I can’t…” She then slowly stands up and walks away, as his eyes follow her around the hotel room.

“Sarina?” She then goes into the bedsroom, wiping the tears that had formed on her face out of her eyes, before grabbing her bag from the floor and emerging. “Where are you going?”

“I can’t do this. I can’t look at you right now and think that maybe she, the worst person on this earth, is having your baby…” He then stands up and walks over to her.

“Sarina, please, listen to me. I can assure you that she’s not pregnant. This is what she wants. You’re giving her what she wants right now….” Sarina could feel that possibility, but she couldn’t bring herself to look into his eyes right now either.

“I just need some time, please….” She then leaves the hotel room, closing the door behind her and heading down the hall.

Feeling the emotions boiling over, he leans back against the wall, sliding down, tears falling, as he glances at his phone. He dials the only number that he could think to dial right now as he tries to convince himself that things were going to be okay.

It didn’t take long for the crew chief to get there, knocking on the door shortly after.

“Hey,” was all Alan could manage when Chase opened the door and let him into the room. “Have you heard from her?” Chase shakes his head no as he closes the door. “I texted her, by the way. I told her that she should believe you because of what you’ve told me so far. The fact that you detailed what happened and nothing adds up to what she’s saying. She appreciated my vote of confidence, but said that there was still a possibility because you could’ve left out a detai-”

“I told you everythin-” Chase starts and Alan puts his hands up.

“Hey, I believe you, okay?” Chase nods his head, accepting. “She told me that she’s with Kyle and Sam and she didn’t want to say anything else right now. Least she has someone, right? And you have me…” Chase then goes and sits back on the familiar couch.

“I just wish that she would’ve believed me, trusted me, or at least stayed here…” Alan walks over, sitting down beside his driver.

“You have to understand where she’s coming from. You both talked about becoming parents, and how much you would like to see that one day down the road. Then to find out that the dream you envisioned isn’t possible, but yet mostly every other woman in this world can do that, it crushes you. So obviously it explains her emotions being all over the place.” Chase nods his head, understanding. But it still didn’t make him feel right now.

“That’s why we need each other, Alan….” Alan could understand that, and wished it was that easy. He had also pleaded with Sarina along that point that they needed each other especially at this time with everything over the past month, but she wasn’t buying it. It was at that time he had cut off sending anymore texts for the night, not wanting to drive her too far away to not talk to him at all.

“But you have to understand where she’s coming from. She just learned that somebody else can give you something that she can’t. She can give you love, comfort, laughter, fun times – anything, except that. Now somebody else is set to give you that? I can see where she’s coming from, Chase. Besides, she knows in your heart that you’d do anything for a child, no matter who the mother is.” Chase wasn’t so certain about that, considering his own feelings at the time.

“I don’t know if I could look at the child and not think about Alison – if she was pregnant. But I don’t even want to discuss that because Alan, she is not pregnant.” Alan nods his head, accepting. He wasn’t about to argue it.

“I think if you give Sarina some time to process the news, think about what you’ve told her, and wait until calmer heads prevail for a future discussion, you guys will work it out.” Chase glances over at Alan.

“Are you sure about that? Isn’t this what Alison probably wanted?” Alan couldn’t argue against that, either.

“You guys will find your way back to each other. You always do. Just give her some space tonight, okay?” Chase lets out a sigh, nodding his head, accepting. “And if you want, I’ll stay here tonight so you’re not alone.”

“Will there ever come a day when I don’t feel like this about what happened? I can’t even mention her name without a flashback. I almost couldn’t say a word to Sarina because I was stuck in that moment, unable to breath, feeling that pain again…” Alan scoots a little closer, wrapping an arm around him.

“There will come a time, don’t you worry. It’s just going to take time to get there. You just need to face your emotions, fears one bit at a time. You’re making progress. While it may be slow and seem never ending, you’re making progress. You will find your way…”

“I accepted the deal. I told her to go forth with it. I knew what she was going to do. I knew the conseque-”

“You could’ve had known the feelings that would be associa-”

“But I accepted the deal, Alan. I brought this on mysel-”

“You were trapped, Chase. She caught you in a corner with your vulnerabilities against the wall. She knew that you would agree because she knows how much you love Sarina.” Chase glances down at the floor.

“I never should’ve agreed. I never should’ve said ye-”

“Look at me right now, Chase.” Chase looks back up at the crew chief. “It is not your fault. None of this is your fault. You’re not to blame for what Alison did to you. You’re not to blame for this whole mess right now. It is not your fault. She played you, and you’re a victim just like anybody else. Never blame yourself because it is not your fault.”

“I’m trying, but I just can’t help but think back to that night she offered the de-”

“A one-sided, shady, slap in the face deal that played to every weakness. It’s not your fault that she played you, Chase. It’s not your fault that it went on as long as it did.” Chase tried to let the crew chief’s words soak in as they sat there quietly for the rest of the night.

Alan only moved one single time when he heard his phone go off, seeing a text from Kyle. He assured him that Chase was okay and he was there with him, while sharing a bit of his side in the matter. He read the response from Kyle, smiling a little in knowing that he was there for Sarina as long as Samantha.

He knew if both sides worked together, the pair would find their way back together sooner than later.

Friday May 4, 2018 – Dover International Speedway

Even though they weren’t talking right now – despite the fact that he reached out to her by text in the morning to no response (Alan told him to give it a little bit more time), Chase couldn’t help but smile in seeing her top the first XFINITY Series practice.

Of course, his happiness was cut short in knowing the situation that they were currently stuck in not talking to each other, along with the fact that Cup practice was starting and his car was stuck in inspection. He makes his way up on top of the hauler, watching as the first couple cars head out.

“You still stuck in tech too?” Jimmie questions, catching his teammate’s attention and Chase simply nods his head back in return. “Damn….”

“Something about the splitter,” Chase comments, and Jimmie nods in agreement having heard Chad’s comments.

“NASCAR wants to crack down on them since teams are getting a little too carried away.” Chase could only roll his eyes in response. “I’m surprised you’re here, and not in the NASCAR hauler, or with police officers.” Now it was Chase’s turn to look over confused.

“What happened?” Jimmie glanced back surprised, thinking Chase would’ve learned before anyone else.

“Alison was arrested by a couple security guards after she was spotted by, I believe, a couple of Harvick’s crew guys.” Chase looked over, surprised. Why wasn’t he told? How were able to spot the person that seemed like a ghost? “She headed over down that way according to what I heard and she was wandering around like nothing. Someone thought they saw her, so they reported it. But yet they ended up finding her down at that end…”

“Really?” Chase then pulls out his phone, half-expecting to see a text. Sure enough, there was one confirming Jimmie’s news. He then forwarded it to Sarina, knowing it’d give her comfort despite not talking together. “Finally…”

“That has to make you feel good, huh?” Chase looks over, nodding his head in response.

“I can’t begin to describe how good that makes me feel actually…” Jimmie smiles a little as he glances towards the tech line. “It’s over, finally. I don’t need to worry about it anymore. I can finally focus on moving forward…”

“You know you always a friend in me, right?” Chase nods his head, accepting, before watching Jimmie head down the steps.

“Finally….” He runs his hands through his hair, letting out a sigh, feeling an instant sense of relief come over him, even combined with a couple of tears in letting it go.

Alan was right. He was making progress as he could talk about what happened to the crew chief. But there was still a long way to go. Maybe that’d come easier now…