Chasing The Love – Chapter 108: XFINITY Race

It seemed just like a blink of an eye, cup qualifying was over and it was time for the XFINITY event that evening. Alyssa headed to the stage for driver introductions, while Chase stood by her car waiting for her. He had done solidly in qualifying, set to start sixth the next night.

Though he was more focused at this point on Alyssa’s night. With her struggles and disappointment thus far during the day, he hoped that the race worked out in her favor.

“Knowing my son like I do, you already have something worked out for Sunday, right?” he hears and smiles as he glances at his mom, giving her a simple shake of the head yes. It seemed all that everyone wanted to discuss with him was his plans for Alyssa’s birthday.

“The day is all planned out, along with her gift,” he states as Cindy looks at him intrigued.

“Can a mother know what the gift is?” He shrugs his shoulders as he thinks it over. It wasn’t something that he had to keep secret as it wasn’t dirty, but he didn’t want to share details either.

“You’ll find out once she has the gift. I don’t want to tell anybody before hand.” Cindy shakes her head, understanding. She trusted her son’s judgment.

“I hope she loves it, but I have a feeling that she will. You probably also have a special day planned, too.” Chase shakes his head yes, still crossing his fingers that everything went as planned.

“As long as the morning goes well and she listens to her dad, it should work out great.” Cindy smiles as she knew there wouldn’t be any issues about Alyssa listening to her father, in being a daddy’s girl.

“It’ll be fine. Just relax and enjoy it, okay?” He smiles as he watches her head down their way.

“As long as she has a good night on track tonight, that’s all that matters right now.”

While the pair united on pit road, shared a couple of laughs before hanging out the car as she did a couple interviews, a pair of eyes glanced over their way, thinking.

“You’re watching them….” Ella comments out loud, catching her little brother’s attention. “I can tell by your eyes. Are you still missing her?” Leo glances down as he thinks it over. It was hard to explain as it wasn’t the typical feelings that you have after a break-up.

“There’s a small part of me that is still heartbroken, but also part of me that is relieved,” he tries to explain. “It just wasn’t working out how either of us thought it would or wanted. Its better that we did things like we did rather than tried to keep it going and ended up hurting each other worse in the end. I’m also glad that she’s happy and has that connection with Chase. I also know that it’ll come eventually for me.” Ella smiles a little as she glances down towards the pair. She had been on the fence originally about their relationship, but it seemed that Chase and Alyssa went together just like peanut butter and jelly.

“So why are you glancing down at them watching?” Leo takes a deep breath as he thinks it over. It was easy to tell in his mind why he was thinking about her as he couldn’t get their recent conversation out of his mind.

“We had a recent conversation together. She wanted to know why we hadn’t been having those friendly moments together, like friends, like we agreed. I told her that it’s tough right now as I’m still heartbroken a little. I told her that it may get better in time.” He takes another glance down at her before looking at his sister. “I’m debating whether right now is the right time, or whether I should wait.”

“You don’t want to do it too soon and make it hurt worse for yourself. You also don’t want to try to push it incase some part of you is saying that it’ll turn into rekindling the magic once again. Therefore, you should wait until the time is absolutely right. Take another couple of weeks and make sure you’re absolutely comfortable.” Leo shakes his head, knowing that his sister was probably right.

The race that night turned out to be one of those barn-burner events that saw everybody on the edge of their seats, watching the battle in the final 20 laps between Alyssa, Ryan Blaney and Joey Logano.

Alyssa entered the final lap running in the second spot behind Joey, having the faster car. It was just about finding the quicker line to get by him. They both took the same line through turns one and two, which allowed her to close the gap down the backstretch.

The pair went into the three and four – Joey taking the bottom, Alyssa taking the top. As they came up off of the corner, Joey came up across her bottom, but she quickly turned the car dead left, going underneath him.

It was a drag race right to the checkered flag, with Alyssa edging him out by a mere purple bumper to snag her third victory of the season.

The team immediately headed to victory lane, with Alyssa joining them after doing a burn-out on the front stretch. She would climb out of the car, arms pumped in the air, with confetti and all sorts of beverages flying every direction on to her.

She then climbed down, big smile on her face, as Chase reached her first, immediately wrapping his arms around her and giving her a kiss.

“That’s how you come back after struggling all day!” He lets out afterwards. “I told you that you had nothing to worry about.” She could only smile in return.

“I guess you were right after all as that car was so fast, I couldn’t believe it,” she offers in response. She then grabs one of the cowboy hats, slipping it on her head. “Looks like you get a little cowgirl to celebrate with tonight.”

“That look fits you, actually.”  He then lets her go as she does her series of post-race interviews for TV and radio. However, he made sure to be right by her side as she went through the motions of the photos on stage afterwards. They also included their favourite usual final photo, as he stood behind her, arms wrapped around her, putting his head on her shoulder. After the photographers were done, Chase pulled out his phone to take a selfie. “I think this is the cutest one to date.”

“That’s what you say every time.” Chase smiles as he goes through, making it his background.

“I absolutely mean it this time, though. You make one very cute cowgirl.” She simply smiles as she twirls around before leaning in for another kiss.

“I guess that means you have to win tomorrow night to match me.” Chase grins as he already had that plan in mind. Texas had treated him well plenty of times in the past, and he wasn’t about to change his ways this year.

“Are you guys done being all flirty so we can go to the Waffle House together?” Ryan questions, catching their attention. The pair smiles as they see Ryan and Karsyn standing there together.

“Are you guys to finally admit that you look cute together and I was right playing cupid?” Chase asks as Ryan just smiles, placing a kiss on Karsyn’s cheek. “Yep, totally adorable.”

“Not as adorable as you though,” Alyssa states. “Are you going to let me get changed first, though?” Ryan thinks it over, shaking his head no as Karsyn and Chase look at him surprised. “Well this’ll be an odd trip to the waffle house.”

“It wouldn’t be the first though.” She shakes her head in agreement.

“You got five minutes girly – no less, no more,” Karsyn agrees as they head back to the motorcoach lot. “Considering that we’re buying since you won, I suggest you agree to those terms.”

“We’ll be ready,” Chase tells her as they split, heading into their motorcoach. Alyssa makes her way to the back, quickly changing, before returning in a t-shirt and jeans. “You’re missing something.” He then places the hat back on her head with a smile.

“Let me guess – I have to wear this hat for the rest of the weekend?” Alyssa asks and Chase simply smiles and shakes his head yes.

“It makes you look so much cuter than you already are.” She then rolls her eyes as the pair head out, meeting up with Ryan and Karsyn.

The night out turned into a fun night, with laughs and jokes as always. As they got done, Chase made a quick trip to the washroom while Karsyn agreed to pay the bill. That left Ryan and Alyssa heading outside first together.

“That move you pulled on Joey was awesome,” Ryan compliments her as she looks over with a smile.

“They always say that you should go where they ain’t and that’s what I did,” she tells him as she thinks over the advice that Cameron gave her. “Can I ask you som-”

“I’m not divulge a single detail about your birthday, not that I know anything.” A smirk forms on her face as she could see right through that. There were obviously plans in place for her birthday from her dad and Chase, and Ryan knew about them.

“Not even a single clue since I kicked your ass tonight?” Ryan laughs and shakes his head no.

“If anything, you should’ve let me win so you could get a clue.” She then looks at him surprised.

“Hell no!” He then laughs as he keeps his eyes on her.

“I’m not telling you, sorry. You’re going to just have to wait and see, but I can promise that you’ll enjoy yourself.” She smiles as she knew that he was right.

Her dad and Chase hadn’t ever steered her in the wrong direction before.

Advertisements

Chasing The Love – Chapter 105: Martinsville

Sunday

 

Alyssa lets out a sigh as she sits at the kitchen table eating breakfast that morning.

With Chase having a really early appearance and the fact she wanted to sleep in, she chose to sleep through the morning and had made her way over to her parents for breakfast. It was always nice when her parents would welcome her in for breakfast with them without any questions or issues.

It was even more important on days like this where her mind was clouded with thoughts. She knew that she had to make up her mind soon as to what she was doing in May with regards to prom. It seemed that her friends wouldn’t stop bugging her in asking whether she’d be attending.

Everybody said it was the not miss event of high school, and that’d she regret going years later. Besides, she could have fun with her friends, even if her date wasn’t there. However, she wondered just much fun she would have, and whether going to Kansas with Chase would be more fun.

“Something is on your mind, right?” She hears after a couple minutes of silence, glancing up at her mom with a sigh, shaking her head yes. “This was supposed to be your fun relaxing weekend. You had no school all week, and no race to worry about. Why do you look stressed?”

“To go to prom or to not go to prom,” she answers as Marie smiles, having understood the inner battle that her daughter faced. She’d rather prefer that Alyssa not go to prom since she wouldn’t be in town anyway with being in Kansas for the race. She also knew that there was another plan coming together of sorts, and was waiting for Chase to come out and ask her. He had shared with both Marie and Dale that he was saving that for a special time.

“If it’s causing you so much stress, then why don’t you forego going? You can always get together with friends and have a house party of sorts, only inviting those that you’re close with. You also know that while you’re trying to have fun that you’ll be wondering how both your dad and Chase are making out.” Alyssa chuckles, knowing that her mother was probably right in that. She remembered when she went on a school trip and how she loaded a live stream of the race on her phone because she couldn’t find a way to concentrate on the sights that she was supposed to be taking in.

“But what about all those that say going to prom is something that you’ll regret?” Marie shrugs her shoulders. She had heard many people say that, and didn’t have to face the issue herself as she was able to attend hers.

“Your boyfriend didn’t go to his prom. Do you see him complaining?” Alyssa shakes her head no. Chase had a good reason to not complain, given that he won at Darlington that night. “Listen, I’m just giving you the best situation to kill your stress. Being stressed is no good as you already have enough on your plate.”

“I know, and I appreciate the advice. I think I’m going to skip it and go to Kansas. I wouldn’t want to miss a special night if someone was able to walk down the yellow brick road.” Marie smiles at the reference, shaking her head understandingly.

The rest of the day went smoothly and it was soon race time. For Alyssa, it felt odd being at a race track without being part of any of the racing action through the weekend. Though, as she stood on pit road pre-race with Chase, there were no complaints.

She just hoped that the race had gone better.

She chose to sit on his pit box and through the first half of the race, she had hopeful thoughts that the race would end with a celebration as Chase was quick, and solidly ran inside of the top-five.

Though as the race neared the final 50 laps, that was thrown out of the window as Brad Keselowski would drive too hard into the corner, getting into Chase, causing the pair of them to wreck, collecting a couple others in the process. The frustration was evident post-race for Chase and the team, knowing that Brad’s ill-timed move had cost them the race.

“Typical Brad,” Chase comments. “It isn’t the first time that he does something like this.”

As the crew loaded the car, Chase leaned against the pit box arms crossed, watching. Frustration was just the beginning of what he was feeling and there was part of him that wanted to walk down and tell Brad what he thought of him.

“You’d think he would’ve changed over the years,” Chase hears as he glances over his shoulder and sees Leo standing there. He shakes his head in agreement.

“Maturity is something that he hasn’t found,” Chase offers in response. He had watched Brad through the years and his altercations, even getting involved in some of them himself. This wasn’t a surprise by any stretch.

“Is Alyssa around?” Chase looks over at Leo once again, this time with his eyebrows raised in curiosity. “She messaged me the other day about the possibility of still being friends as we said, and wondering why I was quiet. I wanted to talk to her face-to-face, rather than texting her.”

“She is watching the race from pit road, sitting with her mom. I can tell her that you stopped by and wanted to see her, if you would like.” Leo shakes his head, accepting that. It would at least show that he made an effort, better than anything thus far. “Consider it done.”

The race didn’t take too much longer to finish after Chase’s incident, and it ended with a finish that left the fans cheering and watching on in surprise as Karsyn would edge Ella by a bumper at the line to score the victory.

The victory was followed by a celebration in victory lane with Karsyn and her team, and included a visit from a familiar face.

“Maybe I’m your good luck charm,” Ryan states as he walks into victory lane, catching Karsyn’s attention. She then smiles as she walks over to him, giving him a hug.

“Maybe you are,” Karsyn replies with a smile on her face. She knew that she ran well when she was in a good mood, and she found herself smiling a lot since spending time with Ryan the night before. While she was fully open to giving both Ryan and Cole chances before, she found the door slowly changing and leaning more towards Ryan. “Maybe I’ll have to return the favor for you next weekend.”

“What are you saying by that?” Karsyn smiles as she pulls Ryan back close, so she can whisper the next words in his ear. She didn’t want everybody knowing quite yet.

“Maybe we can hang out before the race once again.” Ryan backs up and looks at her with a look of surprise.

“What about everything that you told me after Friday?” She shrugs her shoulders as the reoccurring smile widens.

“Can I honestly deny someone when they make me smile as much as you are?” He smiles back in return.

“It’s a date….if you want to call it that. We’ll text each other and work out the details?” She shakes her head yes. “Congratulations on the win. That was a great finish.”

“I didn’t think I was going to get her there. She was tough to beat.” Ryan smiles, shaking his head in agreement as he saw in practice that Ella was going to be strong.

“There’s no secrets as to where she got her knack for Martinsville from, though.” Karsyn smiles and shakes her head in agreement. “Although, I think it’s also obvious to see where your talent comes from, too.”

Meanwhile elsewhere, Chase was headed back to meet up with Alyssa and head home, set to put this race in the rearview as soon as possible.

“You know, if you’re looking for a real girl, I can offer you what you’re looking for once again,” he hears and glances towards the direction of the voice. He immediately rolls his eyes as he sees Emma Vitty leaning against a fence wearing a low-cut tank top and short daisy duke shorts.

“I have a girlfriend,” Chase states as he continues walking in his intended direction. He then hears the familiar sound of high heels behind him, knowing that she’s following.

“Right, you have a school girl that needs to be taken care of and babysat, whereas I’m a grown woman and can meet your other needs.” Chase then looks back at her.

“Not interested. Besides, I thought you had a crew member or two picked out to take to bed already.” He then kept walking, growing more and more annoyed, wishing that he’d reach his direction sooner.

“Well, that’s all fine and dandy. I’ll just be sure to call up Demi and see if she’s available to come see you.” Chase then froze upon hearing the name, spinning around immediately. “What’s wrong, Chase? Didn’t think I’d rea-”

“Do not ever mention her name again. Do not even think of trying to get a hold of her. If she comes near me, she knows the consequences, and I will make sure that you suffer the same as her accomplice. The whole garage is sick of your games. Do us all a favor and don’t show your face in the garage area again. Furthermore, leave me alone.”

He then continues his walk back to his awaiting ride from Alyssa, making a mental note to talk to his team officials and NASCAR about Emma’s allowance in the garage. It seemed that she was just there to cause trouble by his standards. How did she even have a hard card?

Emma could only stand there and smile after seeing the reaction from Chase, as she thought about ideas for the future. She then got out her phone, going into her contacts as she dialed a familiar number.

“Why the hell isn’t that article published already?” She questioned, in reference to the thoughts from Leo previously. “Furthermore, I think I have something to add that may push you over the edge and get it out there sooner.”

Chasing The Love – Chapter 104: The Get Together

Saturday

 

A brand new day brought forth another pair of practices to get the car handling ahead of Sunday’s race at Martinsville Speedway. Chase knew he wanted to take full advantage of the pair of sessions, working out the handling on his Chevrolet and finding out the best way to conserve the brakes over the full race distance.

Though walking through the garage to his stall, his mind wandered as he thought about later that night. He knew the plan that was put in place for him, Alyssa, Ryan and Karsyn to meet up together, in hopes sparks flew between the latter pair.

He stops as he notices Karsyn’s car, making his way into the stall as he watches her adjust some things in the cockpit of her car a little.

“Are we still on for tonight?” He simply asks, catching her attention. She gives him a quick glance and shakes her head yes. “I just wanted to make sure that you hadn’t gotten cold feet.”

“Isn’t this something that I shouldn’t be nervous about?” Karsyn questions with another glance towards Chase. She was the outgoing type and a simple hang-out should be no problem for her. However, knowing the intentions of the get together, it seemed that she couldn’t find a way to calm the nerves that she had.  “I was wondering, though. Who else was on your short list of options, again?”

“Austin and Cole. It seemed that Ryan was the one we decided was the best bet.” She shakes her head, understanding. It easily made sense as they had hung out at the tracks growing up, enjoyed any style of racing, and knew how to have some fun together. “Is there a problem?”

“Well, I know why you’re doing this – you want to set me up with someone whom you hope will make me happy, and be my date to the little prom tat you’re putting together with Bubba and Shelby. I just don’t want to commit to Ryan, and let a possibility go.” Chase shifts his sunglasses off as he looks at her confused as a smirk forms on Alyssa’s face.

“There’s someone else on that list that you’ve had your mind on,” Alyssa concludes as a guilty grin forms on Karysn’s face slowly. “Well? Which one is it? I’m going to bet that it’s Cole.” Chase shook his head no, immediately. He didn’t mind Cole as a friend, and he knew that Cole had talent behind the wheel. However, he just didn’t see that match there with Karsyn.

“So I should’ve actually listened to Hayley about her thoughts on you and Austin?” Chase questions and Karsyn immediately shakes her head no. “You like Cole?”

“You make that sound like a bad thing,” Karsyn concludes as Chase shrugs his shoulders.

“He just doesn’t seem like….I don’t know…” Karsyn leans back against her car with a smile.

“Obviously you haven’t spent as much time with him than I have. He has his odd ways when he’s at the track, but we all have our corks. He and I hit it off as immediate friends when he first started driving for Uncle Dale at JRM. It came with such ease, and we could talk about anything. We even hung out a bunch of times, too.”

“But yet you never got together with him?” Alyssa questions as Karsyn shrugs her shoulders.

“It just never occurred to me to ask him out and I don’t know why he didn’t ask me.” Chase then crosses his arms as he glances towards his feet. Now he felt bad about getting Ryan’s hopes up about perfection chances going into the night.

“So you have feelings for both Ryan and Cole?” Chase clarifies and Karsyn shakes her head yes. “Oh boy…”

“NASCAR – the Bachelor edition,” Alyssa states, causing a questionable look from both. “There’s only one solution – you spend time with each of them, and then tell the one that you really like the truth.” Chase had to admit that Alyssa had a lofty suggestion as it’d allow her to test the waters. Eh was just worried about continuing the trail of broken hearts more.

“After tonight and hanging out with Ryan, you need to give him the truth. Tell him your true thoughts – whether you have feelings or not, and things with Cole. Then you need to go tell Cole your fee-”

“Oh hell no!” Karsyn stops Chase in his tracks as he looks at her surprised.

“How are you going to find out if he likes you or not?” Chase asks and Karsyn lets out a sigh, knowing that Chase was right. “You told me your feelings, and I told you the truth about myself and Alyssa. I was so worried and scared that Alyssa would run from me or be scared with my confession to her. Therefore, and I know how tough this is, it’s time to be honest with everyone. Be honest with Ryan tonight, and then be honest with Cole early this coming week. Give them both a chance and see where things go.”

“And what if my heart gets burned by both in the end?” Chase was already crossing his fingers, and everything else that he could in hopes that wouldn’t happen. He didn’t know what he’d do if that happened.

“Then it simply wasn’t meant to be, but at least you’d have the truth.”

The conversation didn’t last much longer with the first practice starting, resulting in the group splitting as Chase headed to his stall and went out for some laps. Throughout the practice, Alyssa was left thinking over Chase’s words of advice in what to do, and found herself glancing towards Leo.

The pair hadn’t talked much – only like twice – since the break-up. They had talked about remaining friends and close, but yet it seemed that as time went by, they continued to drift further apart. She also knew that she was hopeful about her future with Chase, but wondered how Leo was doing. There were thoughts of a broken heart after everything. Were those pieces still there?

Taking a deep breath, she knew that she couldn’t handle the anticipation of wondering anymore as she took her phone out of her pocket. With the strict travel policy set in by Ingrid, Leo wasn’t allowed to travel to the tracks on weekends that he wasn’t racing due to supposedly focusing on school work during that time. Thinking about that, she could only kick herself in the rear. She knew that while her focus the next 36 hours would be on the race at Martinsville and he weekend, she had to squeeze writing a book report in there somewhere.

“Whatcha doing?” She hears about 10 minutes later, feeling a pair of arms wrap around her, followed by a head on her shoulder. She couldn’t help but smile immediately as the quick ease that was felt between herself and Chase.

“Texting Leo,” she offers as he glances at her surprised and confused. “Your comments to Karsyn got me thinking about honesty and relationships. I was wondering how he was handling everything, and whether we’d stay true to our word to remain friends. We’ve only talked like twice since we broke up. I figured I’d see how he was.” Chase knew one of the many reasons to love Alyssa was the caring side in her that always shined through. Her mother was caring in the people of her country, and her dad was caring in always thinking of people’s feelings, as shown with his relationship with the fans. No doubt that was a quality that had made it’s way to their daughter.

“What’s the verdict?” She could only let out a sigh as she showed him her phone. The short answers from Leo on the screen displayed everything without any other details needed. “In other words, he’s still a little upset about everything?”

“He hasn’t quite opened back up to the idea of us being friends and communicating, saying that if I can quickly move past him then it was never meant to be at any level. Needless to say, he thinks that I don’t even care about him as a friend despite these messages.” Chase shakes his head, surprised by Leo’s response, but also feeling bad in the effect that it had on Alyssa.

“You did your part in reaching out and trying to be a friend, and explaining things. That’s all you can do. Perhaps as time moves forward he’ll come around.” She hoped the same thing, but wasn’t going to hold her breath. Leo was stubborn about things, and it was hard to change his mind once it was set. “I’m done practice for the day so I was wondering if I could have some company to watch the truck race.”

“Is Chase Elliott asking me on a date?” He then laughs at the surprised, sarcastic look on her face.

“Maybe I am, or maybe I’m not. I could make it a date as I hear that you have taken a liking to a certain hotdog.” Alyssa could only lick her lips. She had tried the Martinsville hot dog for the first time about 10 years ago, and it seemed that every year since, she always tried to eat a bunch throughout the weekend.

“I guess I could say yes and agree, as long as the hot dog is included.”

Following the truck race together, the pair caught up with Ryan and Karsyn as they had planned. As Chase had originally predicted, the night went great with everyone having fun. They played an assortment of games, ranging from twister to UNO, laughing and joking along the way. His eyes kept watching the pair as they hung out, told stories and laughed at each other’s jokes. It seemed that it came with ease and it made him confident that he was right on the money in hooking up his two best friends together.

Once the night was complete, though, Karsyn followed the advice that she had received from Chase, despite being nervous beyond anything. She told Ryan about her feelings for him, though also being skeptical and not knowing whether her heart was set due to her feelings for Cole. She wondered if he’d give her time to decide and talk to Cole before moving forward.

Ryan, being the understanding guy, accepted with ease, while telling her to take her time. Though while being understanding on the surface, he had to admit that it stung a bit underneath. He had always been told that when it meant to be, both people would know that by the feelings that they felt in how nothing else would affect. Now with her skepticism, it sort of made the night not feel as great anymore as she didn’t have the same effect.

His friends had always told him that he was a sweet guy and the right girl would come along at the right time. Though in moments like these, he wondered if their words would actually come true.

Chasing The Love – Chapter 103: Advice

Friday

The thought of picking out the perfect gift continued to linger on Chase’s mind as he headed into the following race weekend at Martinsville Speedway.

With the only practice before qualifying complete, he met up with his teammates in the lounge, and it somehow managed to come up as a topic of discussion.

“I’ve always heard it’s best to go with something that’s special,” Cameron Hayley offers from his perspective. “What is something that would mean something between the pair of you? Possibly you could get a certain necklace, or a bracelet.”

“What about those charm bracelets?” Ella suggests as she had always thought they were cute. “You buy the bracelet and then a couple initial charms that mean something to you and her together, like ones that stand for something. Then, as you go forward, you can continue to add to that.” These both seemed like a solid suggestions, and Chase could even picture himself going with the charm bracelet idea. However, the more he thought about Alyssa, she was your tomboy type who didn’t wear a lot of jewelry.

“So I’m going to get jewelry for the girl that doesn’t wear much at all?” He questions as the teammates shrug their shoulders.

“That just seems odd considering that she used to drive us nuts as a kid with that crown,” Karsyn comments, remembering how Alyssa loved dressing up as a princess with her dress and crown.

“That’s the only fancy thing that the girl loves.” Karsyn chuckles and shakes her head in agreement. She certainly had picked up on the lack of jewelry – maybe even jewelry phobia as a whole that her father had. “Okay, so she’s not the dressy girl and more likes to have fun. It seems that she’s always doing these memorable things. What about a way to capture those moments, like a camera? She seems adventurous and getting into photography would be perfect.”

“You could even get a scrapbook kit so that way she can put whatever memorable moments that she captures together in a book,” Cameron adds. “Or you can do up a scrapbook with some memorable photos from through the years of you two together.” Chase shook his head no, immediately, as he wasn’t the creative type and doing that would involve too much creative work. However, the initial thought of a camera and scrapbook kit for Alyssa seemed alright. It seemed right up her alley. He also had to admit that doing up a scrapbook of their special moments together was something he was filing in the back of his mind was a future Valentine ’s Day gift; perhaps he could get creative on that day.

“Camera and scrapbook kit is on the list of ideas,” he offers, making a note on his cellphone. He had come up with a couple other things, though kept asking himself – would she really enjoy the present? Did it fit her perfectly? Was it truly a special gift?

“She seems like she’s busy, lots on her mind – no time for herself,” Ella starts. “What about a spa day? Treat her to a day at the spa getting pampered like no other. I know that would be the perfect gift for me.” Chase had to admit that Ella had a good idea, considering that it would probably help with the other stresses amongst her life. He also wouldn’t mind that himself as things had been a little hectic lately with everything that was going on.

“A spa day together, ending with a special gift – added.” He just wondered if that clashed too much with the idea that he had already put in place with his partner in crime for her actual birthday. Was it really fair to get her to go out twice?

“Are you ever going to decide on something?” Cameron wonders as he glances over the list that Chase has. Chase chuckles and shakes his head no.

“I will probably decide like the day before,” he comments. “I just want it to be perfect and right…and fitting. It’s her 18th birthday. Do you know how special that is? I remember when I turned 18.”

“You’re putting too much pressure on yourself Chase,” Karsyn says. “That girl loves and adores you. She’ll love whatever you do for her. I’m sure whatever else you have planned beyond this gift will be plenty. Just pick something that fits her personality and go with it, and stop fretting over the small details. Besides, don’t you have a race season and Prom planning to already focus on?” Chase lets out a sigh, knowing that Karsyn was right in her own ways.

There was already enough going on with the messages between himself, Darrell, Shelby and a couple others in setting up the NASCAR prom. They had decided on the theme (Old Western Town), the location (Dale’s), a date (May during NASCAR time then), so it was just working out the other small minor details to make it perfect.

“You could always pack some of these ideas together into a special gift basket,” Cameron then suggests after going through Chase’s list. “Get a basket and put in a scrapbook kit, some chocolates that she likes, some of this special chai tea that she likes, the art set that you talk about possibly getting her, and perhaps a couple other things, and then tie off with a fancy bow. It’ll go perfect with what you have planned.”

“Planned?” Karsyn and Ella both ask together, intrigued. Cameron had heard pieces of what Chase was thinking for Alyssa’s actual birthday, from start to finish.

“Ummm….”

“What are you planning, Chasey?” Ella wonders and Chase simply smiles from his spot in the corner.

“I’m not telling you,” he states as he stares down at his phone, texting Alyssa. Even though she wasn’t racing that weekend, she was still at the track enjoying some time with everybody. While he was busy in his meeting, she was busy catching up with some truck series drivers.

“Oh come on….”

“We have to see if it actually is birthday approved for a girly,” Karsyn adds as Chase shakes his head no.

“It’s my secret,” he tells them as both girls then turn to Cameron.

“Cammy….”

“It’s Chase’s plans so I’m not saying anything, but it is adorable worthy,” he offers as the girls glance between the guys.

“This is no fun,” Karsyn comments as Ella pulls out her phone.

“I’m not helping you anymore since you’re not playing fair,” she adds as she opens her twitter.

“That’s fine because I have someone to go see,” Chase states as he stands up and heads out of the hauler.

“Now will you tell us?” Cameron shakes his head no as Ella lets out a sigh. “Figures.”

The day quickly moved forward with qualifying taking place later that afternoon. Unfortunately, it hadn’t gone as Chase had wanted with a poor effort, meaning that he’d start near the back on Sunday. While normally that wouldn’t worry him, this was Martinsville and there was something to be said about track position at a short track.

His poor qualifying effort, combined with the fact that the past week had been confessional week for him and Alyssa, reigned on the mind of many people. There were some that wondered whether it was bugging him more than he was letting on. It was something that he quickly denied, stating that they just missed the set-up in practice.

Later on that night, though, he found himself sitting outside on one of the picnic benches, thinking things over.

“I thought you told my dad that there was nothing bugging you,” he hears and glances up, seeing Elsa standing there with her puppy on its leech. He simply rolls his eyes.

“There’s certain things that are grown-up business only,” he tells her as she walks over to him.

“Chase, it’s alright to admit it. Everybody would understand.” Chase glances away from her as she tries to take a peak at the piece of paper in his hand. He quickly snatches the paper up, looking at her surprised. “So there is something…”

“Haven’t you been told to mind your own business a time or two? I thought Alyssa was supposed to kick your ass for this.” Elsa remembered the lecture that she received, and it was fine and dandy at the time. However, this time it was alright to push the boundaries. After all, she was only trying to help.

“It helps to talk about it…” Chase lets out a sigh, knowing that better than anyone as it seemed this was a topic that he had talked about on multiple occasions.

“Demi got her release this past week. I wasn’t going to let it bother me because I’m over what hap-”

“It doesn’t seem like it.” He stops and takes a deep breath, eyes focused towards the ground.

“You’re right – it doesn’t seem like it. Seeing the paper, and going to her hearing of the terms of being let go, it brought everything back up. The judge stated everything that she did and reasons for a probation and protection order. It reminded me of all the feelings that I felt.” He then takes a deep breath as he looks up at her. “It’s not necessarily hurting me, or bothering me. It’s just a reminder of what happened and what I’ve been through. I’m just sitting out here reflecting on things. Though to answer your curious question, I’m fine.” Elsa shakes her head, understanding, as she gives him a small smile.

“I’ve heard bits and pieces of what happened to you. Gotta say – you’re a tough son of a bitch.” He then chuckles a little.

“Maybe I am, but I don’t thin-”

“Don’t deny it.” Chase then shakes his head.

“I’m denying it because it’s the truth. I’m not the tough one that it seems. I’ve only gotten to where I am by having the best friends and family possible surrounding me to help me.” He then glances at the puppy, seeing how it’s trying to retreat bac to the mootorcoach lot. “I think someone wants to go to bed and cuddle, and it’s getting past your bed time.”

“You have to be that type of person, huh?” Chase chuckles.

“I’m only looking out for you, Elsa. Listen, I know it can be tough at times being a teenager and I know life doesn’t always give you the best situation. But you have to know that you got it pretty good. You’ve got understanding parents, and a pair of great siblings. Just try and take it a little easier on them and stay out of trouble, okay?” Elsa had to admit that Chase was right, despite her ways. Perhaps it was time to look at growing up a little bit and getting rid of some of her ways.

“I’ll try, okay?” He shakes his head yes with a smile. “By the way, I think you should head back so you can cuddle my dear sister. She’s probably looking for you.” Chase knew that she was right as he stood up off of the picnic bench.

The pair of them then walked back together to the motorcoach lot, sharing a couple things along the way. Elsa brought up some of life’s frustrations – not always getting to go where she wanted due to the family’s busy schedule, people at school being pain in the butts. It was stuff that Chase was used to having gone through himself, and also hearing the same tales from Alyssa. He took his time, as he had done with Alyssa, to give her the advice that he felt she needed.

“Thanks for the talk,” Elsa says as they reach the motorcoaches. “I’ll try to behave, okay?” He shakes his head yes.

“You always know where to find me if you want to talk again,” he offers. “Just because your sister and I are dating doesn’t change the whole babysitter-looking out for you relationship that I have with each of you kids.” She smiles and shakes her head accepting. “Goodnight Elsa.”

“Night Chase.”

Chasing The Love – Chapter 102: Cupid’s Plans

Thursday

It seemed that the idea of playing cupid with Karsyn was spreading around more than originally anticipated. After the discussion with Ty and Hayley about the possibilities, Chase found himself stuck on the thought for awhile. With that in mind, he called up Darrell and asked him what he thought about the possibility of Ryan and Karsyn together.

There was only one way that Darrell was set to approach the question, and it seemed fitting with how Darrell approached most things.

“So when are you going to get a girlfriend, settle down and get married?” Darrell came out and asked randomly as Ryan looks over at him cautiously. The pair had been hanging out, as they normally did on multiple occasions, when the question seemed to come out of nowhere.

“That was an odd way to ask a question, but that will happen when the time is right,” Ryan comments as Darrell watches his friend closely. He was determined to eventually steer Karsyn’s name into the conversation.

“And when is the time right?” Ryan rolls his eyes, having grown annoyed with the discussion. While his sisters had played the role of cock-blocking when he was younger, they were now set on fixing him up with someone. He didn’t need his friends doing the same thing.

“That is when the right girl comes into my life, okay?” Darrell shook his head, easily accepting the comment. It seemed fair. Could Karsyn be that person?

“Do you have someone in mind, by chance?” Ryan couldn’t hide the look on his face as his cheeks immediately turned red with embarrassment. There was obviously someone that had caught his attention. “Alright. What’s her name and where can I find her?”

“What makes me think that I’m going to tell you? You’re liable to go tell her, or go tell someone.” Darrell shakes his head no, although he knew that he would have to tell Chase the answer regardless. “Does a certain fellow racer com-”

“Karsyn!” Ryan freezes upon Darrell’s comment and smile. “That’s amazing hat you bring you up her name.” Ryan then crosses his arms, growing curious.

“What’s going on, Darrell?” Darrell couldn’t help but hide the grin on his face as he pulled out his phone, set to text Chase. “Darrell?”

“Just by chance, Chase was trying to figure out a way to help make-up for how things went down with him and Karsyn in Daytona due to the secrets and Hayley trying to play cupid. He wanted to set her up with someone that’d work out perfectly. He, along with Ty and Hayley, came up with a short list – Hayley thought of Austin, while Chase thought of you and Cole. Chase came to me for my opinion and well, I couldn’t help but ask.” Ryan instantly felt a bundle of nerves come over him in realizing what sending of the text could mean for his future.

“So you’re now going to go blab to Chase that my eyes are set on her, and it’d be a good idea to move forward?” Darrell shakes his head yes as he goes to type the message. He got it half-typed when Ryan snatches the phone away. “That’s going to result in Chase trying to play cupid, setting us up on a date of some sort. Is that really the best thing to do after what happened?”

“If everybody has fun and all intentions are known this time, I see no problem with that. So please give me my phone so I can go forth with the message.” Ryan shakes his head no as he pushes Darrell’s phone across to the opposite end of the table. “There’s something else…”

“I’m nervous, okay? I get nervous when I’m around girls. What if I say the wrong thing? What if I chase them away by being nervous and unsure of an answer? What if…. – I can’t do dates and everything. If you go forth with this idea, I’d probably blo-”

“What if we set up a hang-out night instead rather than a formal date? It’d be me, Shelby, Chase, Alyssa, you and Karsyn? That way you have us friends to lean on.” The idea gave Ryan some comfort as it wouldn’t be a date, but it’d give him a chance to feel out the waters. Perhaps it could work.

“Fine…” Ryan then slides back the phone and Darrell instantly picks it up, immediately typing the message to Chase with a smile on his face.

Chase quickly replied back to Darrell, set to put the process into motion. If everything worked out right, they could realistically do a hang-out together at the track on Saturday the night before the race.

Taking a deep breath, he made his way through the halls of Hendrick Motorsports, stopping when he reached Karsyn’s office and peaked in.

“Got a couple minutes?” He asks, causing her to look up. She shakes her head, motioning for him to come in. Strangely, despite how odd things fell at Daytona, the pair had been able to move forward with ease. Their friendship continued as it had before, with conversation coming naturally. “This is personal, not business by the way.”

“Girl problems?” Karsyn questions and Chase shakes his head no.

“Everything is going perfectly between Alyssa and I, actually. We’re not having any issues.” Karsyn had to admit that hearing that brought a smile to her face. It was nice to see Chase happy about how things were going, considering how things had gone for a period of time before. Plus, she couldn’t help but be happy for one of her best friends in Chase and her cousin in Alyssa at the same time. “I’m not coming to you for advice, either. I was actually wondering if you wanted to hang out on Saturday with me and some friends.” Karsyn glances up from her desk, eying Chase carefully. The last time that she was approached with such an offer it resulted in the cupid mess at Daytona.

“May I ask who will be there?” Chase knew that upon releasing the names, she’d put the puzzle pieces together.

“Myself, Alyssa, Darrell, Shelby, Ryan and you. We were going to hang out, play some board games, card games, and do as we always would.” Karsyn lets out a sigh, knowing exactly what it was – a play for cupid without the word date attached. It was obvious that Darrell and Chase were trying to set up Ryan with her.

“Just admit the plan that you have in mind, Elliott.” Chase lets out a sigh as he sits down in the chair before her desk.

“Okay, so we’re trying to set you and Ryan up to spend some time together. I feel bad for how things went down at Daytona in how I let you down and there were wrong intentions across the board so I want to make it up to you. Also, don’t tell them that I told you, but Ryan has a bit of a crush on you. So it seemed perfect that this would be a way to get you together, but without doing it as a date as Ryan is shy.” Karsyn couldn’t help but admit that the idea had caught her interest. She had to admit that Ryan was pretty cute, and had fun hanging out with him through the years. Perhaps this is what she needed to rebound from everything that happened, even if it felt a little odd and uncomfortable on the surface.

“I’ll be there. Might as well enjoy some fun with friends, and see where things go.” Chase couldn’t help but smile in hearing the comment. The added edition at the end was all he needed to know that there was a possibility for chemistry between them.

Mission accomplished, he texted Darrell, satisfied with how easily it had come together. It seemed that everything was coming together easily – the talk with Alyssa, the plan surrounding Karsyn. Perhaps the next thing was to make sure the birthday plan came together just as easily.

After leaving Karsyn’s office, Chase headed back to his own office, sitting down in the chair, cell phone in hand. If he didn’t make his move now, there was no telling whether it’d come together as he was planning. Besides, he was certain that the plan would come together with all the pieces at hand. He knew that his helper would be all for it, as he’d do anything for Alyssa.

“Hello?” He hears at the other end after dialing the person’s phone number.

“Hey,” he says simply. “Listen, I need to ask you something in regards to Alyssa.”

“What is it?” He could immediately sense a concern in the voice on the other end. Shaking his head, he knew that he could’ve phrased the question better.

“Don’t worry – nothing is wrong. I am working on planning something for her birthday next week, but I need some help. Would you be willing to help?”

“You know that I’d do anything for her. What’s this birthday plan, though?” Chase smiles as that was the exact response that he had hoped to hear.

He then went forth detailing his ideas for her birthday, ranging from beginning of the day to the end of the day. As he explained everything, it seemed to be even better than he thought of originally in his head.

“Chase, that sounds perfect and of course I’d help,” he hears once he is done and the smile simply widens. Part one was now officially complete.

Now to figure out the perfect gift to go with the perfect day.

Moving Forward – Chapter 17: Heading to Daytona

“Everything looks good with the baby thus far, so I am comfortable in allowing both mother and baby to leave, and head to Florida for Daytona Speedweeks,” the doctor states, causing smiles all around the room. “I wish you the best of luck.”

Dale couldn’t help but smile. After having his stomach flutter with worry over the past couple of weeks, it seemed that everything was falling in place. They were going to be able to leave the hospital that morning, jump on the plane and be down to Daytona in time for the Duels.

He would get the chance to have his family with him in Daytona.

“Thank you,” Dale simply accepts as he and Alyssa share a quick smile. “Do you know what that means?” Alyssa shakes her head yes.

“Racecars soon!” Alyssa lets out a big cheer with a smile.

“If you run into any issues while down there, concerns with yourself or the baby, please don’t hesitate to get checked out,” the doctor continues. “Beyond that, I would like to see you both in a couple weeks to check on you.”

“Absolutely,” Marie accepts without any hesitation. Given the nerves and suddenness of the labor, she wasn’t about to let anything go without notice now that her baby was in her arms.

A couple hours later, the rest of the plan seeming fell in place with the family going straight from the hospital to the airport. Kelley had gone back and put together an assortment of the outfits, figuring what they all needed. If they missed anything, they could always make a quick trip to the store for it.

“Did you remember dia-” Marie starts, as they head off of the runaway into the air. She had chosen to sit in the back row, eyes focused on Ella beside her as Ella slept in her baby-seat. Dale and Alyssa were sitting a row ahead, with Kelley taking the front row.

“Diapers, onesies, cloths, the breast pump, bum cream, wipes, and extra blankets are all included in the diaper bag,” Kelley cuts her off with a glance back towards her. “I’m a mother of three, dear. You do not need to worry as I know how to pack.”

“If it was L.W. packing, you’d be hopeless,” Karsyn adds as Kelley shoots her a look. “What? He forgot to pack Wyatt’s formula and wipes.” Kelley rolls her eyes, remembering that night when they were headed to the track with Karsyn.

“That was a one-time incident. Are you ever going to let it go?” Karsyn thinks it over, before shaking her head no.

“Greg is meeting us at the airport himself with the van,” Dale interrupts the conversation as he reads the latest text message from Greg. He had been keeping the crew chief up-to-date about how their travel plans were coming along. “Greg says that you can spend the race with Elliott (Sadler).”

“Elli? Really?” Alyssa questions with excitement in her voice, and Dale shakes his head yes. Despite Sadler being the new driver on the team, he had already spent his fair share of time with Alyssa, getting to know her. There were times when he wouldn’t have much to do at the shop, so he’d play a game or color a photo with her while her parents were busy. It seemed perfect to have him baby-sit this weekend.

“That’s what Greg told me. Elliott said that he’d watch you, while you watch Chase and I race.” Alyssa’s eyes lit up even more as she thought about racecars on the track, seeing Chase, being at the beach – getting back to those fun moments at the track with everyone she loved.

“Chasey gonna win.” Dale glances over, intrigued and surprised.

“Not Daddy?” Alyssa thinks it over, before looking back at her dad.

“Otay. Chasey and Daddy win. Karsie tell me that.” Karysn smiles as she glances back, remembering their conversation from the other night.

“We were talking about being able to head down to Daytona and watch all the races,” Karsyn starts. “She mentioned wanting to see you win, and Chase win, so I told her that on Thursday, you both could win since you’re not running the same race. Sunday, though, only one of you can win.”

“….which Sunday is the day that Daddy will win, right?” Dale questions as he looks back at Alyssa. She shrugs her shoulders as she cuddles up against him.

“Maybe. I don’t know,” she says as she gets comfortable with her teddy bear.

There were often times that Dale caught himself looking at the purple teddy bear more than he should, especially now that a year had cycled around. There were times a look at the teddy bear would remind him of the frightening image of having nothing there but the bear, wondering and worrying as to where his little girl had ran off, too. He could remembered the worry, the wondering, the pain in the made-up death certificate, the pain and worry after hearing what truly happened, and everything else that could’ve possibly been mixed in.

The thought wouldn’t last that long, though, as Dale was always able to quickly shake it off. It just served as a simple reminder in how thankful he was to have his family around him, despite everything.

There was also relief when he watched her little blue eyes closed as she got comfortable. Following the incident, she was the most nervous little girl on airplanes that you could imagine, and frightened something similar would happen again. Though as last year went on and she got more air miles under her belt, that worry seemed to ease and she went back to how she had been since she was born – able to sleep and be comfortable without a worry.

Thankfully, it seemed that was the same case with the newest edition to the fleet as he hadn’t heard much of a peep from behind him, in the form of Elsa. He glanced every once and awhile, peaking on both Marie and Elsa to make sure that they were alright.

He knew how much it meant to have them with him going down, and he knew how much it meant for Marie to be there with him. He was just thankful, though, that his sister and Karsyn were there to help as he worried how Marie would handle it all mixed together, on top of possible fatigue from the labor.

“Are you okay?” A voice breaks his thoughts as he glances ahead at his sister.

It seemed whenever something was on his mind, or anything was going on, his sister could read him like a book, and be able to tell without a mention of anything from him.

It was obvious that that there could be something there, though, if you combined the layers that were involved. There was the simple mystique of Daytona and his father’s crash; some years he’d go down and there’d no thoughts, and others years there’d be a flood. There was also the layer of what happened last year in the streamline of events surrounding Marie, Mariela, their father and Randy. How was that plaguing his thoughts, if at all? Then, last but certainly not least, the new addition.

“I’m fine,” Dale comments. “I was just thinking over everything, putting it into perspective. You don’t have to worry about me.” The comment was immediately scuffed off in Kelley’s mind as there was no way that she couldn’t worry about her brother.

“I always worry about you, whether you like it or not,” she tells him. “Listen, I’m ere if you need somebody to talk at all through the weekend. Don’t hesitate to say anything, okay?” Dale shakes his head yes.

Chasing The Love – Chapter 93: California

Thanks for reading and reviewing 🙂

 

Sunday

 

Following the discussion with Karsyn, Marshall knew what he needed to do. He knew that there’d be anger, possibly punches and tears, but it was better that everyone knew the truth. Also, knowing that the people he needed to talk to wouldn’t listen solely to him, he continued to invest in having Karsyn help him out.

 

After debating whom they needed to see first, the pair settled on seeing Leo as it had been his confessions laid on the table that could possibly be spread by the plan that Emma Vitty had up her sleeve.

 

Following the driver’s meeting, Karsyn pulled Leo aside and got him to agree to hear out what Marshall had to share. It was at that time that Marshall explained everything, just like he had the night before with Karsyn. Leo could only sit there and shake his head in disbelief.

 

“And to think I trusted her and thought that she was a good friend and confident,” Leo comments once Marshall was finished with his explaination.

 

“I’m sorry that this is happening,” Marshall apologizes once again as Leo glances up from his spot.

 

“It’s not your fault that she’s the way she is, right? It’s just my fault that I didn’t listen to all the warning signs that were there. Everybody had their comments while she was with Chase before. Why didn’t I listen?” Karsyn knew the answer to that question without hesistation, knowing where the young man’s thoughts lied following the events that had transpired already that year.

 

“Your break-up, and thoughts on Alyssa probably clouded your judgment in listening to what was being said,” Karsyn offers. “Regardless, at least we know now and we’re on top of things. We’ve also told Chase and Alyssa what happened. Neither of them are mad at you as they understand things from your perspective. They’re also prepared to handle things head on, as Marshall has said he is.” Leo shakes his head, understanding. It was reassuring to hear that Chase and Alyssa weren’t angry, and he trusted that Karsyn was telling the truth about that. Despite things currently being rocky, he wanted to go with what they were saying in having a friendship together, at some point.

 

“They haven’t spread anything yet as you said,” Leo starts. “How likely is it that this will get spread?” Karsyn and Marshall both shrugged their shoulders, unsure themselves as neither had been in the situation personally. Though Karsyn had watched these things from the sidelines, with regards to her uncle and others, and felt confident that the discussion wasn’t necessarily needed as nothing would probably happen. However, she had forced Marshall into it as clearing the air was certainly a step in showing his commitment to change.

 

“I don’t think it’ll be a problem, Leo, as normally things come out sooner than this is appearing to bring forth. With that said, though, you don’t have to worry if something comes out as it’ll get handled quickly. We got your back.” He gave them both a smile in return, hoping that it was reassuring enough, but in the back of his mind had a bit of worry over everything. What if Alyssa inquired to learn about what he said? What if his comments were spread for the world? What if…..That’s all he could ask himself.

 

So much for having a smooth year as a rookie points leader.

 

His focus couldn’t rely on that much longer, though, as the raceday was shifted into high gear. He wasn’t racing himself, but Leo wanted to take the time to take in the action and learn what he could. Speaking with his father and others, they always told him that you can learn about from watching others. After just missing the top-10 in the XFINITY event the day before, he wanted to focus on that day’s Cup race to see if he could learn something to do better next time.

 

The race, though, gave Leo a perfect reminder of some of the tings that eh wanted to avoid as it turned into one of those snooze fest events with a single driver learning about ¾ of the laps, and barely any passes.

 

The way the race played out may not had been exciting to watch for Leo and others, but that wasn’t a complaint that Chase shared. The snooze fest had worked in his favor, as he had been the one dominating at the front of the field, all the way to scoring his second victory of the season.

 

With Alyssa winning the day before, it was just like Atlanta when the pair swept the weekend with trips to victory lane. Just like that weekend earlier in the year, this weekend was met by more kisses in victory lane and photos taken together.

 

“I could get used to this,” Chase comments as he wraps his arms around her. “You keep winning races, okay?” She then smiles as she leans in and snags a kiss on his lips.

 

“I’ll do my best, but you do realize that I’m just a rookie?” She reminds him as he smiles, brushing a bit of hair out of her eyes.

 

“I know that you’re just a rookie, but you’re a remarkable driver and look like a veteran out there. I think you’re going to continue to set the bar high this year and surprise a lot of people with possibly some broken records. I hate my records being broken, but I guess I can handle it if you’re the person behind it.” She then smiles for one last photo on her phone, making her background before looking back at him.

 

“Just think – we both got a win, and now we get to spend the whole week together without any interruptions from my school schedule as it’s SPRING BREAK!” Chase shakes his head in response as he continues to look in her eyes. He was looking forward to their time together. He wasn’t absolutely looking forward to the plan that they had in mind for that week together in having some ‘confession’ time. Was he truly ready for this?

 

“I can’t wait to spend this time with you.” She shakes her head as she notices the change in his demeanor. She then grabs his hand, intertwining her fingers with his.

 

“I know that we also have this planned as confession week, as well. I can tell by your change in attitude that it’s going to be tough to talk about and do that. If you’re not ready, we can hold off till another time. I don’t mind.” He shakes his head no as he wanted to do this. They needed to do this to help her with things.

 

“We agreed to do this to help you with how thin-”

 

“Things are improving for me, slowly. I’m sleeping better and the strategies in changing the direction of the dream and focusing on other things are working. Besides, I can share what I want to share with you about things without needing to hear what you have to share, if you’re not ready. I don’t mind doing that if it makes you feel more comfortable. I love you. I don’t want to do something to push you the wrong way or hurt you.” Thinking through all their times together, it felt weird to be having a discussion of this nature, but it needed to happen if they were set to be a couple in the time moving forward.

 

“Alyssa, you could never push me away or hurt me in some way that would cause us to fall apart. I love you too much.” He then takes a deep breath, knowing that he needed to do this. “As much as it’s going to be tough and it may hurt, I’m ready to tell you everything. I’m ready to sit down and go through all that you want to know from what happened, right from the beginning with Mariella to Randy and Demi. It hurt then. There are still parts that sting at times. But they don’t control me, nor do they hurt me any longer. For that reason, I’m not letting them hold me back from this time with you.”

 

Chase and Alyssa weren’t the only ones that knew of the plan of confession week, as the parents were also made aware of the fact.

 

It was talked about through Alyssa’s doctor/psychological notes as she had shared it with both in showing the steps that she was taking, while also telling her parents. It was no surprise when she shared the details as Alyssa had always been the type to tell her parents everything and be as open as possible with them. It always came back to how close the relationship was with them all.

 

“Are you sure that it’s a good idea for Chase and Alyssa to do this?” Marie questions Dale later that night as they lay in bed together once getting home from the track. He glances over at her and shakes his head yes.

 

“If they’re going to be together, they have to understand where each other stands,” he starts. “The past affects all of us in how we handle and do things, out of our fears and that pain that we went through. It’s going to affect Chase in how he decides to go about the relationship. For that reason, he wants to give her that information so she understands where he stands. Beyond that, it shows a boundary of trust in being able to share everything. If you’re going to have a good relationship, there needs to be that level of trust.” Marie knew that Dale was right in his words, but still wasn’t certain in the next step taken.

 

“Can I complain then that our baby girl is growing up too fast?” Dale laughs as he shakes his head in agreement. It was something that was tough to come to grips with as he could only think of all the times through the years as she grew up.

 

“She’s going to be a high school graduate in two months. She’s going to be 19 years old next month. Whether we like it or not, it’s happening before our eyes. We need to either accept it or live the rest of our lives in denial. I didn’t think she’d be moved out this early, but at least she’s with someone close and someone that we can trust.” Marie shakes her head in agreement as it felt nice to know that she was just across a small stretch of property should they want her.

 

“I can’t believe I scolded her for getting with Chase at first.”

 

“You’re a mother. It’s your given right to be worried about your daughter. Everybody understands the comments that you said. Even Cindy was being hard on Chase.” Marie shakes her head, remembering that very well herself. “Just think – we still got two rugrats that are going to keep our hands ful-”

 

“Tell Elsa to shut up and go to sleep!” They then hear Robby yell. “She keeps singing some darn annoying song.”

 

“Tell Robby to stop kicking his feet against the wall!”  They hear Elsa yell in response. They then look at each other and just laugh as they both get out of the bed.

 

“Like I said, we still got our hands full,” Dale comments as he gives Marie a quick kiss. “Please let my son mature quicker than he is, though.”

 

“Remember – he’s your kid,” Marie reminds him. “How long did it take you to grow up?” Dale rolls his eyes, knowing that they were indeed in trouble if that was case. “I’ll handle the kids. You go get those sundaes that you promised.”

 

“Deal.”