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.