The Tale of Love & Racing: Sarina’s Story – Chapter 79: Coca-Cola 600

Sunday, May 27 – Charlotte Motor Speedway

Sarina walks into the Cup Series garage, surprised to see all of the crew members gone but yet one person remaining there. Her radar of concern came on immediately, too, seeing as he seemed lost in his own world.

Taking a deep breath, knowing that things were touchy still with everything going on and having heard the latest news, she didn’t know what to expect.

“Hey,” she says quietly as she places a hand on his shoulder. “Are you okay?” He nods his head as he glances back at her. “You know, you can tell me what’s on your min-”

“I told Ryan last night about what happened,” he cuts her off, catching her by surprise. “I told him what Alison did. I was freezing up a little thinking about the pageant last year where it began, how she tried to set us up with that photo, and he caught that. He brought up a couple other things and next thing, I told him what she did. I told him that she sexually assaulted me.” He takes a shaky deep breath as Sarina just remains frozen, hand locked on his shoulder.

“That’s big, Chase. For you to be able to talk to a friend, someone you trust, and voluntarily about that is big. It shows that you’re coming to grips with it, moving forward.” He nods his head as he turns a little, facing her more.

“I almost did it though as a test to myself. Could I speak about what happened clearly without a single problem? I know I have to speak to a room of strangers in a court room about what happened. But if I can’t tell a friend, how could I do tha-”

“You’re putting too much pressu-”

“I’d rather find out before I get to that moment how I am going to react and make sure I don’t totally freak out than to have it happen then.” Sarina could understand that, but still wanted to go back to her original words. However, she knew there was no convincing him. it was part of his nature to find his flaws, and work at fixing those.

“And how do you feel about that a day later now?” He then glances down, as he takes a deep breath.

“I think I can do it. I think I can go there, state what happened, and move forward. I’m ready to put that in the rearview. Just like I was ready for that night with you, I’m ready for the rest of this. I’ve come to grips that she did what she did, and the only way it can hurt me is if I let it hurt me. I still blame mysel-”

“Chas-”

“I know what you’re going to say, and I keep telling myself that – but it’s taking time, okay?” She nods her head, nicely. “Ryan did bring up something else though that I was thinking about, as well. He asked about the pregnancy claim, and what you thought about it. I told him you were angry initially, but have put that aside for us.” He then looks into her eyes. “Can I ask you for your honest opinion? I don’t care what it is, so don’t be afraid and lie so I will agree and make this easy. I want your honest opinion, please…”

“I want to believe you. I want to believe that she is full of shit and just doing this for what you said – to come between us, and to create false drama. I want to believe what you told me in what happened and the fact that there was no intercourse at any time. But damn it, I can’t help but wonder. Maybe that’s because of my own problems, maybe it’s jealousy – I don’t know. But I can’t stand here confidently and say that I don’t believe it without the fact on paper.” Chase nods his head, accepting, as he lets out a sigh.

“I will admit that it hurts to hear you can’t trust me fully on what happened and everything, but I get it. That’s all I’m going to say.” She then scoots closer, laying her head against his shoulder.

“No matter what, though, I am behind you and I am going to stand with you supporting you. I am going to do whatever it takes. I wouldn’t have accepted that proposal if I wasn’t going to.” A small smile forms on his face, before leaning in and kissing her lips.

“I’m glad that you accepted that proposal, by the way. I just hope you don’t go too crazy on the wedding plans.” She then chuckles back in response a little.

“I’ll try to keep it in line, but no promises….”

Chase leans back against the car, flashing a quick smile over the crew guys. It had been one of those decent races, where they looked stronger at times than others. However, running no higher than sixth throughout the event, they ended up with an 11th to show for their efforts.

“I call tonight progress,” Alan starts as he walks over, handing him a bottle of water. “We weren’t as strong as we wanted, but we were better than we’ve been lately. The new motor package made a difference, and we got closer on the handling. A couple more tweaks, and we’ll be where we were last year.” Chase nods his head as he takes a sip.

“It’s not going to happen overnight, but if we can make small gains like this, you’re right,” Chase comments as Alan smiles a little. It was nice to have a positive perspective compared to the past couple of weeks.

“Did you see how Jimmie ran? He was up in the top-five for a good middle portion of the race. Alex even flirted with the top-10. The work is beginning to finally show – hopefully enough to keep the guys in the game.” Chase gives the crew chief a glance.

“We’re family. You don’t ever give up on family. These guys are going to be willing to do whatever it takes until we’re celebrating in victory lane. One thing – when we finally do win, it’s going to be a long night.” Alan chuckles but knew that’d be the truth.

“Do you think we could put one of Clint Bowyer’s parties to shame?” Chase laughs, shaking his head no.

“He’s certainly special…..”

Friday, June 1  – Pocono Raceway

Fridays were normally busy days at the track with practice and media. That was no secret as that was an experience every weekend.

So why did they have to up the anty and make this weekend even crazier?

Since a good morning kiss shared in the morning, Chase and Sarina had been unable to really get a single moment together since then.

Sarina started off with truck practice, topping the charts in style. While she headed off for a debrief, Chase was in the Cup Series car, ranking 20th by the end of the session. They didn’t get any time after that as he was off to the XFINITY Series garage, showing speed with top-six rankings in both sessions. Although he had wanted to see her afterwards, that didn’t happen due to post-practice debriefs, combined with her pre-qualifying meeting.

So with the latest meeting done, Alan stood back and almost chuckled and watching his driver’s reaction. He knew the distance was getting to them both, having seen them trying to catch glances of each other. It didn’t take a rocket scientist to see the latest glance on Chase’s face as he watched her hurry through the garage to pit road for qualifying.

“I have one single question – what are you going to do next weekend?” Alan says as he walks over, snapping Chase out of her daze. “Don’t try to cover your ass up, either. You were checking her out.”

“Is there a real problem with that, though?” Chase questions as he glances back at the crew chief, before returning his eyes forward. That didn’t welcome a good response, though, as she had disappeared.

“Again, what are you doing next weekend?” Chase smiles as discussions were already put in place with the way the schedule had worked out.

“She’ll be here Sunday for the race. She’s going to run the truck race, stay there for the XFINITY event, and then fly to be here for my race. We got this, Alan…” Alan just rolls his eyes as the plan actually didn’t surprise him. He was more intrigued to see what they’d do through the harshest part of the summer.

“Are you ready for the time apar-”

“We handled it last yea-”

“That was before everything that happened…” Chase turns around, facing the crew chief.

“Are you going to continue to remind me of what happened? I don’t need that, Alan. I am working my way through it slowly at my own pace. I am finding my way of dealing wi-”

“Avoi-”

“I openly told Ryan what happened last weekend. I discussed my thoughts about the upcoming trial with Sarina. Do you call that avoiding, Alan? I know it hit me hard, and I didn’t handle it right at first. But trust me when I say this – I’m fine.” Alan nods his head, accepting, but his eyes don’t leave his driver.

“Can you blame me for worrying, though?” Chase shakes his head no. “Okay. I’ll try to remember what you’re saying and listen to what you want. At the same time, reme-”

“I know where to find you if I need you.” Chase then heads off, making his way out to pit road, actually curious to see how truck qualifying was going to go.

After watching Sarina snag the pole for the truck race, Chase knew there was no time like the present to put in a good lap and keep the good fortune going. Surprising himself a little bit, they had managed to get the third round in qualifying despite questioning their lack of speed in practice. However, the final round didn’t go as strongly as hoped, qualifying 11th for Sunday.

“I’ll take it,” Chase states as Alan walks up to him on pit road.

“It’s progress,” Alan adds. “I know you want to go run and watch her, but I need to kno-”

“Loose through the tunnel turn, but now it’s tight in three. Does that help you?” Alan lets out a sigh, nodding his head.

“See, we’re totally in sync now. if only I could get the car to be in sync with us and listen to my adjustments. I knew you’d still be loose in the tunnel turn, but not as bad as before. I didn’t realize it’d affect turn three, though.” Chase smiles as he glances at the crew chief.

“That’s why you get paid the big bucks – to figure out strange places like the tricky triangle. Wave your magic wand, say your spells, and we’ll be fine for practice tomorrow.” Alan just rolls his eyes.

“Just go tell your princess to win the race and keep you in a good mood.” Chase glances down pit road as Sarina speaking with Rudy and the guys.

“She’s got a good truck, and she’s got a good team around her. I feel pretty good about our chances.”

Chase climbs the steps, taking his usual seat behind Rudy, who simply takes a glance at the watch.

“You’re getting quicker at changing,” Rudy offers as Chase takes a swig of water.

“It’s a good workout run from the garage,” Chase replies out of breath as Rudy laughs.

“If you need the medics, I can’t help you there. I got a job to do.” Chase just rolls his eyes, but gets comfy as he knew they were in for a fun day.

The race started off strongly as starting from the pole, Sarina ran up front in the early stages, leading laps, before fading back a little. The team still felt confident about their chances, though, and knew a couple adjustments they’d be right back up there.

However, a trip down pit road sent their day on a bit of derail, courtesy of an uncontrolled tire penalty. Restarting form the tail of the field after a series of eye rolls from both crew chief and fiancé, Sarina was able to make her way back forward, returning back to the top-10. The progress continued, as she kept moving forward with a couple more passes.

It appeared as though a top-five finish was within distance until under a late caution, they heard the dreaded words “tire going down,” sending her down pit road with an unscheduled pit stop. Once again starting from the tail of the field again, she would drive her way back up to 10th by the checkered.

The disappointment was easy to see on the faces of everybody post-race standing on pit road, knowing what the truck had been capable of and feeling they should’ve been celebrating a win instead. However, Sarina was also able to put the day in perspective, proud of the strength that they showed with the adversity thrown their way.

“When we’re in the thick of the title battle and putting together days like these rather than 20s and 30s, we’ll be thankful,” she commented. “We can grow from this.”

“Is this the same crazy girl that showed up at my doorstep?” Kyle had questioned upon her revelation, earning a smile of pride from both Chase and Rudy. It was great to see her growing into a smart mature driver.

“I still have that fire Mr. Busch…” He just smiles back in return, glancing over at Chase.

“Oh I know you do, but I can see that someone has been a good influence on you.” She then glances over at Chase with a smile of her own.

“I thank whoever I can for him every day.” She then wraps an arm around him, kissing his lips. “I don’t even think he realizes what he did for me.”

“You’ve also helped me grow just as much, too,” Chase replies, keeping her held close.

“So when am I getting to invited to the royal wedding?” Rudy questions as the pair just glance between each other. “Oh no, don’t tell me you already have a date…” They then chuckle together.

“No plans yet – except it’ll be in the winter due to our crazy schedules,” Sarina reveals as neither could argue with that.

She wanted to suggest doing the wedding in Colorado since they loved to spend every winter there at the cabin, but knew that was still up for discussion – among other things. But for her, the simple thought that she was saying the word wedding and ready to walk down the aisle one day was enough to show how much things had changed.

Saturday, June 2  – Pocono Raceway

Sarina walks into the living room, placing a hand on each of his shoulders, rubbing them.

“Stay relaxed, stay focused, and don’t drive yourself insane with pressure,” she starts. “You got a busy day ahead of you, but don’t let yourself get too wrapped up. Oh, and remember to drink, drink, drink, and did I mention drink? It’s killer hot. I don’t need you passing out on me.” He then glances back over his shoulder at her.

“Aren’t I normally the one taking care of you?” He questions and she nods her head in return.

“It’s time that I pay you the favor in return. Besides, I care about you….” She then twirls her fingers in the ringlets at the end of the strands of hair, before reaching around, brushing her lips lightly across his.

“If this is caring for me and taking care of me, I’m all for it….” She then smiles in response as she straddles herself on his lap, arms backed around as she resumed playing with the curls.

“Well, I could help take care of you by helping remove these pesky clothes that you don’t need so you can get that sexy ass firesuit on.” He then wraps his arms around her, holding her in place on his lap.

“That’d be a good idea, actually….” He then brings his lips to her, as she runs her hands underneath the edge of his shirt. “Just can’t be too long. I can’t be late….”

“Don’t worry….” She then slips his shirt off, before returning the fingers to his hair, as she kisses his bare shoulder. It was to her own personal satisfaction that the mark Alison had left on him was pretty much gone now.

“Are you sure? You seem distracted by my hair…” She just laughs.

“The curls are fun….” He then stands up, keeping her held against him, carrying her from the couch to the bedsroom, laying them down together.

“Then I guess I need to keep you on-track…” He then brushes his lips slowly over her shoulder, before making his way down her body.

“Clyde….” She then reaches down for his shorts, with his hand landing on top.

“Patience…” She wanted to follow his request, but his lips across her body created that need for an immediate release.

“I…can’t….” She then lets a moan escape her lips. “Time. We don’t have much time…” He then glances back up into her eyes.

“I got enough time for you, don’t worry….”

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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 75: KC Masterpiece 400

Saturday, May 12 – Kansas Speedway

Sarina could only shake her head as she sat on the pit box, seeing the performance that Chase, Alan, and the guys were putting together. It seemed no matter what adjustment Alan went with, it wasn’t improving the handling of the No. 9 car like Chase would’ve hoped, leaving them stuck in running in the teens, barely on the lead lap, all night.

When it came to the final 10 laps and Alan made the strategy call to stay out for track position and Sarina saw he was restarting fifth, she just crossed her fingers – hoping they’d make something out of the crappy night. Instead, the fade began immediately, and after being blocked in by Ricky on the last lap, that sealed his fate for a 12th-place finish.

“Ugh….” was all Sarina could say as she shook her head in disgust watching. She was hoping he would’ve at least had a decent finish to go along with her win.

“Oh boy,” she then hears Alan say, catching her attention as he points to the monitor. That was when she saw Chase make contact with Ricky’s back bumper on the cool down lap.

“I don’t blame him actually,” she comments and the crew chief simply nods his head in agreement. She knew if it was her and someone slid up across her nose like Ricky did on the last lap, they would’ve been seeing what the grass was like in the infield.

“I don’t either, but he’s an idiot as you can tell.” Sarina nodded her head in agreement, now feeling her own anger boil over a little in watching Ricky run into the side of the 9 car.

“What a jackass!” She then climbs down the steps, ready for a long quiet ride home.

She makes her way out to pit road, expecting for Chase to climb out, the usual post-race debrief, thoughts of a positive future, and for them to head out and leave this weekend behind. Instead, she was admittedly taken back when she watched him quickly climb out and make his way down pit road to where Ricky was.

“What was that?” Chase questions as he catches Ricky’s attention.

“I got loose off the corner,” Ricky answers. “I was clear – simple as that. You didn’t need to wreck me after the flag.” Chase could almost laugh in his face in response to that based on the contact.

“Oh really? What do you call slamming me in the door? Don’t do it again, or you’re going for a ride….”

Chase then turns and walks away, done with the conversation, considering it wasn’t getting through to Ricky from what he could tell anyway.

“What are your thoughts on the night?” A reporter asks as he makes his way back to the No. 9 Chevrolet and his team.

“Just scratching and clawing to run mediocre,” he said. “We have a lot of work to do.” He then walks over to where Alan is standing, catching the crew chief’s eyes. “We have a lot of work to do. No matter what you did tonight, we got nowhere. Some adjustments made it a little bit, but it was nowhere near close. I don’t know what you’re doing, but it’s not working man.”

“I know,” Alan replies as he crosses his arms back in response. “I know. We’re all working as hard as we can to figure out what we need to do to get better. We’ll get ther-”

“We’re further off now than we were a month ago. That should say something, right?” Chase then walks away without another word, not even caring whether Sarina or anybody was with him.

“He’s frustrated…” Alan takes a deep breath. “But he is right. We absolutely stunk tonight.” Sarina didn’t want to make too much light of the situation, but there was one bright side.

“You ran better than Jimmie, though….”  Alan rolls his eyes back in response. “You know as well as I do that all of that frustration isn’t from tonight, either.”

“I know…” Alan glances over at Sarina. “That’s why I didn’t snap back at him in return. That’s why I just let it go. He’s right to a degree, though, but we’ll figure it out. You go take care of him, and I’ll get my ass to work.”

Sarina makes her way into the motorcoach, taking a deep breath as she sees the pedal car by the door. They had so much fun that morning with Brexton, letting him play on it, share laughs together. Now that seemed like a mile away.

She quietly makes sure that she has everything together, knowing that he wouldn’t want to stick around after the night he had. She could hear the shower and almost wanted to go and offer comfort right away, be there as Alan said to take care of him, but instead sat down on the couch, pulling out her phone.

“Are you ready to go?” She hears about 10 minutes later. She could see by wet shaggy hair that he had gotten himself a shower. Her eyes immediately drew to the backpack that he was wearing, with everything as needed as packed, as predicted.

“Yeah,” she replies as she puts her phone in her pocket. “If you’re ready to get out of her-”

“Let’s go…” She quietly stands up, walking out of the motorcoach behind him, only glancing back to shut and lock the door. Her eyes keep on him as they make their way to the rental car, ready for the short trek to the airport.

While other times they’d hold hands or share details on the night, it was pure silence and lack of touch the whole walk. Even the drive over to the airport didn’t contain a single drop of discussion.

They got out of the rental car and she took the keys back into the place as he made his way to the plane, beginning to go through his own little checklist before take-off. It wasn’t long before she had joined him, standing back, letting him do his thing.

“Any issues taking the keys back?” He questions and she shakes her head no. “Alright. Well, it’s ready to go…”

“Okay,” she replies, before reaching out for his hand. “Hey, I love you….” He then glances back into her eyes, giving her a simple nod in return. “I know tonight was frustrating as shi-”

“Let’s just not talk about it, please?” She then lets out a long sigh, but nods her head in return.

“As long as you’re ready to go and in the right frame of mind, then alright…” He knew of her dangers of flying, and even in a pissed off state, he wasn’t about to jeopardize things for her.

“If I wasn’t, I would let you know immediately. I would never fly myself if I didn’t feel I could concentrate fully and let everything else go. That’s why I didn’t fly after we left the court room, remember?” She nods her head back in response. “We’ll be fine…”

Like everything else to that point, the flight was just as quiet as the walk back to the motorcoach, and the trip over to the airport. Though it had done the trick that was warranted. The quietness, serenity, focusing on something else, had given Chase the time to put everything in perspective.

It wasn’t the night he wanted on track. He didn’t want to have to deal with the haunting thoughts of Alison. He didn’t want to have to deal with what came in the future for her. There was the factor of Sarina’s infidelity.

Though, no matter what, things could be worse, and they would find their way through, somehow.

It wasn’t long before they were landed in Charlotte, key turned off, ready to get out and head home as per any other race day.

“You know some people run, or paint, or workout to make themselves feel better?” He starts, catching Sarina’s attention. “Everybody has something that helps them relax and forget for awhile. For you, I know that’s just purely racing once again – am I right?” She slowly nods her head yes. “Flying is that for me. When I’m in the air focused on what I need to be doing, admiring the view, it relaxes me. It allows me to think about everything and figure out what is bugging me the most.” He then reaches over, placing his hand on hers. “I’m sorry for how I acted earlier, by the way. I was a total jackass.”

“Chase, I understand,” she starts. “I’m the same way when I have a bad day. Okay, maybe you took it to the extreme, but I’ve done the same thing. We’ll both highly competitive people. That’s all that was coming out. Oh, and Ricky deserved it anyway.”

“I would’ve told him off more but I was worried that I would smack him with how I was feeling.” She actually wanted to smile as it would’ve nice to see that for those who questioned his passion. “It was more than just tonight, though. This whole month has been driving me crazy. I want to forget Alison, and not remember a single thing that she said, but that’s all I can think about…”

“She’s locked away, Chase. She can’t hurt you again.” He wanted to believe that, but a look into Sarina’s eyes said otherwise.

“She’s still coming between us. I know the baby is a touchy subjec-”

“Whether she’s pregnant with your kid, or not, it doesn’t change anything, though. I will love you, care about you, an want to be with you no matter what comes of that because I know it wasn’t your doing on purp-”

“I accepted the dea-”

“She put you in a box based on your vulnerability, and that’s using someone, and that’s unfair and not your fault. I’m not one bit mad at you, okay? And no matter what happens, I’ve come to grips with it. We’ll deal with it.” He nods his head, accepting, as he glances down at her hands together.

“I just wish I could forget the feeling. It’s just every time you reach out to me, I remember her against me…” He then closes his eyes, taking a shaky deep breath. “I remember how I felt in her body against mine, her lips attacking mine, her hand touching me, the motions. I know in my heart it didn’t mean anything. I know in my brain that reasoning says it doesn’t mean anything. But I can’t stop myself from shivering at the thought of you touching me and that instant flashback.”

“It’s going to take time, Chase. It’s instant reflex. It’ll take time but you’ll convince yourself, and whatever part of it that it needs to be convinced that things are okay, and we’re okay, and we can do that. And Chase, I’m willing to be patient. You’re worth every single second that I have to wait.” She then leans in, lightly brushing her lips against his. “She messed with you for months. You don’t just forget that overnight.”

“Thank you…” She smiles a little, before giving him another little kiss. “I love you.”

“I’ll always love you, Clyde. You’re stuck with me, whether you like it or not.”

Wednesday, May 16 – Catwalk for a Cause

Sarina looks at herself in the mirror once again, twirling around as she tries to look at herself at the same time.

“I hope it’s okay,” she tells herself as she glances at the necklace.

“Oh wow….” she hears and instantly freezes as she recognized the voice immediately – Sherry Pollex. It was Sherry that had picked out the dress for her to wear from the boutique since she couldn’t make it over to go through some of the selections, and it was her event.

“Is that a good wow?” The person simply laughs in response as she walks over, fixing Sarina’s hair.

“That’s an absolutely amazing wow, sweetheart. My oh my, I must say that I was right about this dress. It is absolutely beautiful on you, Sarina. The guys aren’t going to know what hit them tonight. They’re going to be like, ‘Are you sure that’s the same girl that kicked our ass Friday?’” Sarina chuckles in response as she glances back towards the necklace.

“I don’t wear jewelry much, but the little girl that you have me walking with – Jessica – she told me that I should wear a necklace tonight. I let her pick one out and she chose this.” Sherry takes a closer look, immediately smiling.

“It’s perfect. I’m glad that you were able to come tonight, by the way. When I mentioned to her that you would be her fashion partner, she was over the moon excited.” Sarina smiles as she glances over, seeing Jessica playing with some of the other kids.

“I am honored that you asked me to come, actually. I mean, what you and Martin have done here is absolutely amazing. Raising money for children’s cancer while featuring the kids – it’s perfect.” Sherry smiles as she wraps an arm around Sarina’s shoulders.

“I could’ve never imagined it’d grow this big though…” Sarina glances over at her with a smile.

“That’s because you’re amazing, inspiring, strong, beautiful – and did I mention inspiring?” Sherry just smiles back in response.

“Just make sure to have fun tonight, okay?” Sarina nods her head in response.

She then watches as the show begins with introductions, followed by the first set of drivers heading down the walkway together. She had to chuckle at Kyle and Samantha with their warrior as Kyle’s dance moves were certainly on point tonight.

“Think we can do better than my boss?” She asks Jessica, who simply nods her head back in return.

They then take their turn down the catwalk together, doing the Soulja Boy dance once they had reached the end. They then spin around and head back, smiles affixed on their face. She even managed to kick it up a notch the second trip down, mastering the Hoedown Throwdown, which Jessica had picked in being a big Hanna Montana fan.

“Look like you have some dancing competition,” Aric Almirola comments to Kyle as he gives Sarina a high-five as she walks by.

“Where do you think she learned her dance moves from? Her boss of course!” Kyle replies as Sarina just laughs in response.

“But yet who out-danced you at the Christmas party?” She asks back as Kyle lets out a sigh. “It’s okay to admit defeat, Kyle…”

“And that’s why you’re both wrapping up the show together,” Martin states as he points towards the catwalk. Their separate walks down with their stars had caught everyone’s attention that they wanted a return trip. “We need someone to do something while we get all the kids together….”

“We got this, don’t we?” Kyle replies and Sarina nods her head in response. “I got the song…”

Sarina could only worry about the song that he had told the DJ to play, though instantly relaxed as they headed together.

“Teach me how to dougie…” She sang along as she did the dance, even a little more stylish than Kyle to his surprise. “You’re welcome….”

They all then stand back and smile in watching all the kids together with Sherry and Martin on the stage.

Once sharing some thoughts around, everybody separated and headed their own ways, set to get ready for the after-party which Cole Swindell had offered to perform a couple extra songs at.

“You got one up on me tonight,” Kyle comments as she smiles back in response. “I was surprised.”

“I’m certainly not surprised,” Sarina hears and instantly smiles in immediately as her eyes catch a pair of brown ones staring right back at her.

“Well how nice of you to join us Mr. Elliott,” she replies back in response, giving him a kiss immediately. Chase had been gone all-day, traveling up to Michigan to travel the Air Force base as part of a promotion with Michigan International Speedway. He told her that he would try to get back to see her on stage, and the whole show in general, but wasn’t sure if he’d make it.

“I got here just as you were heading out for the first trip down the runaway. I don’t know what was better – souja boy or hoedown throwdown. But I will say the dougie took the cake at the end.” He then twirls her around. “And you look absolutely stunning as always.”

“Got any moves of your own?” Kyle questions as Sarina chuckles back in response. “Oh so he does? He’s been holding out on us?”

“This white boy can’t dance,” Chase answers as Sarina now chuckles even louder.

“Your girlfriend’s response says otherwise.” Sarina just gives him a wink, as Samantha wraps an arm around Kyle.

“Come on; let’s leave the love birds alone,” Samantha says as she tugs Kyle away from them. “Sarina sees enough of you at work…”

“I think you should’ve busted a move for him,” Sarina comments as Chase shakes his head no. “Oh, but you do know how to dance. What do you call that line dancing boy?”

“What happens on vacation remains our secret,” he replies, as he snags another kiss. “Besides, you can’t tell all of my secrets or we’d have none.”

“I’m glad you’re here…” She then takes him by the hand, and the pair head to the after party, mingling with everyone and sharing jokes.

Sarina even caught herself looking over at him a couple times, smiling, as it was nice to see this side and getting back to the fun they were used to after everything that happened. She also didn’t complain one bit when he pulled her close, wrapping both arms around her, and swaying with her as Cole Swindell performed.

Baby, it just took one look at you
For me to change my one drink order to two
Like we already knew each other
Like we been talking all night
About a minute into our first dance
We got blindsided by your friends
All in a hurry like you had to go
Didn’t they know you can’t leave someone
Girl, you can’t leave someone

In the middle of a dance floor all alone
In the middle of an old school country song
Right when I was just about to lean on in
Why’d you have to go then?
Baby, in the middle of the glow of the neon light
It shoulda, coulda, woulda been the night of our lives
Girl, it ain’t right, no
How you gonna leave me right in the middle of a memory?

We were gonna dance till they shut it down
People’d be staring while I spin you ’round
Thinking we were so in love, yeah
They wouldn’t know we hadn’t even hooked up
I’d get your number and I’d give you mine
And we’d be hanging out tomorrow night
But now I don’t know where you are
I’m under these lights right here in the dark

In the middle of a dance floor all alone
In the middle of an old school country song
Right when I was just about to lean on in
Why’d you have to go then?
Baby, in the middle of the glow of the neon light
It shoulda, coulda, woulda been the night of our lives
Girl, it ain’t right, no
How you gonna leave me right in the middle of a memory?

Yeah, it’s like you walked right out in the middle of a movie
Tore the back half out of a book
And no, you’ll never know, girl, what you did to me
It ain’t right saying goodbye

In the middle of a dance floor all alone
In the middle of what could’ve been our song
Right when I was just about to lean on in
Why’d you have to go then?
Baby, in the middle of the glow of the neon light
It shoulda, coulda, woulda been the night of our lives
But, girl, it ain’t right, no
How you gonna leave me right in the middle of a memory?
In the middle of a memory
In the middle of a memory

The Tale of Love & Racing: Sarina’s Story – Chapter 74: 37 Kind Days 250

Friday, May 12 – Kansas Speedway

Chase stretches as he lets out a little sigh, glancing at the clock.

“Shit!” He lets out immediately, flinging the blankets off.

“Chas-” Sarina starts as she glances into the bedsroom.

“Did you see what time it is?” She nods her head as she walks over to him.

“Did you check the weather right now? It rained all morning so the track is soaked, and there’s lightening in the area. You know what that means?” He instantly relaxes as he sits down on the edge of the bed. He had been worried that he had missed the beginning of truck practice, which would certainly make him late then for getting to his pre-practice meeting with Alan. “Besides, you don’t have practice until 12-”

“I want to be there to support you….” She then smiles a little as she hovers over him, taking his hand into her own.

“I appreciate that, Chase, I really do. It means the world to me how much you care. But, you need to take care of yourself. That includes sleeping when you can because right now…..” He nods his head, knowing exactly where she was going with that comment.

It was no secret that he hadn’t been able to sleep well the past week as his head was filled with nightmares of Alison. He’d wait up in the middle of the night sometimes in a cold sweat, sometimes sick to his stomach, or sometimes just wake up, get comfy and go back to sleep once again.

“Alan kno-” She goes to continue, catching his attention.

“So you told Alan?” He interrupts, and she shakes her head no immediately. she had thought about it, but he texted her first.

“He realized that you seemed more tired than normal so he asked me before I could say something. Chase, it’s only because he cares and knows the truth ,and the fact that I want to help you and care about you, that I openly told him. So he made me assure him that if you were sleeping in, to let you do so as missing a bit of a pre-practice meeting was fine.” Chase lets out a sigh as he glances down at the floor. This was exactly what he didn’t want right now.

“If we’re avoiding discussions due to whatever reason, are we going to get better? Nope, and we need to be performing bet-”

“You’re putting too much press-”

“Sarina, we’re not even running regularly in the top-five, or challenging for wins. That’s not putting too much pressure on myself; that’s admitting that we’re behind and need to work on our shit. If I was driving myself insane about that, I’d be up a wall in thought about it – but I’m not, am I?” She shakes her head no, slowly. “Besides, if I start coming late to meetings, the guys are going to ask ques-”

“They know something happened with Alis-”

“They don’t know the exact details, and I’d like to keep it that way – please.” He then takes a shaky deep breath as he glances down at their hands locked together. “I can barely talk to you about it. I can barely even bring myself to think about it rationally. It’s enough that Alan knows, Jordan knows, my parents, Ryan, Kyle, Sa-”

“I hope you don’t mind me talking to Sam abou-”

“It’s okay, I understand that you need an outlet and I trust that Sam won’t say anything. I just don’t want more people to know, please…” Sarina nods her head, accepting.

“For what it’s worth, Chase, if it did get out there, it wouldn’t change how people thought about you. Actually, they may give you more benefit of the doubt in understanding what you’ve been through and seeing how strong you are.” She then kisses his cheek lightly. “I love you, and I believe in you – always. You’re going to figure this out, off and on the track for that matter because you damn well need to win a race this year.”

“I love you, too.” He then slowly gets up and heads off to the shower as she lets out a sigh, reminding herself of the advice from Samantha. She just needed to be patient.

Sarina climbs up on top of the NAPA hauler, giving a quick smile to Alan and Josh, before grabbing her headset and taking her usual spot watching. She had just gotten down her own practice, and couldn’t complain. The No. 18 truck had a ton of speed in it, and was handling great – even if she had ended up eighth on the chart, behind the boss for that matter.

She just hoped the good vibes carried over to Chase, knowing that having a good solid weekend would help everything overall. It’d put him a good mood and ease his performance concerns, maybe allowing him to properly address everything else going on – or at least what they could for now.

The thought of having to wait until July for the paternity test results from Alison was certainly going to eat at her. She wanted to believe what Chase said to her, and she so badly wanted to believe everything Alan had expressed to her. However, there was a funny small itch in the back of her mind that wondered if it was all a lie. What if Alison was pregnant? What if Chase had tried to forget that moment with Alison for obvious reasons? What if that’s why he was having the nightmares?

She then lets out a sigh, knowing that she couldn’t let that consume her mind. She had a race to focus on later on that night, and being all caught up in her emotions would not do any of them well.

She was intrigued in listening to Chase’s comments on the radio, from complaining about the car being edgy in the corners to start the session, to actually going tight through the middle of the session. However, she couldn’t deny the smile on her face when he made the comment the car was the best it had been at the end – even being ranked 12th on the speed chart. Fingers crossed, and maybe a couple more adjustments and Alan would have it perfect.

She then climbs down the steps carefully, before fixing her firesuit and pulling her hair back up in a neat ponytail.

“Do you have time to come see him?” Josh Kirk wondered as he took the headset from her and she shakes her head no.

“Tight schedule this weekend has me on track shortly,” she offered before heading in the opposite direction.

“Good luck!” Josh then headed in the garage, ready for the debrief to come with Alan and Chase.

“So for winning the pole at Kansas Speedway, we have a special gift for you….” The announcer states as Sarina glances at him surprised.

It had been a great qualifying session as for the second week in a row, she had won the pole for the truck race. Now she just needed to turn that into a successful finish and everything would be right in the world. She could never make up for last week’s disappointment totally, but this would be a good start.

“What do you think?” The announcer says as they walk over to victory lane where a little pedal car sat.

“It’s….amazing….” She lets out as she takes a careful deep breath. She wasn’t about to lie that the first thought that came to her mind was watching a child of her own ride around the house one day. Of course, that brought the reminder that she couldn’t….

“Are you okay?” Rudy asks, watching her hand immediately go to her stomach.

“Yeah.” She takes a deep breath, clearing the thoughts of her head immediately as he gives her a pat on the shoulder. “I’m still not totally come to grips with it, you know?”

“Have you thought about that second opinion?” She nods her head, remembering the discussion with Chase. She had followed that up with a call to Samantha to see if she could help put that in order with her contacts.

“Is there a problem?” The announcer asks and Sarina shakes her head no.

“No, not at all,” she answers as she walks over to where the pedal car sat. “It’s actually amazing, like I said. Really adorable, if I might add. Thank you….” She then sits on it. “I could get used to this….”

“Now, now, there’s no cruising around KBM on that thing,” Rudy comments, causing her to chuckle. “I don’t want to be telling Kyle that you can’t drive the truck because you fell off a pedal car.”

“Ah come on Rudy, I bet you’d look adorable instead….” He then walks away immediately as she laughs a little harder. “It’s actually pretty comfy….”

She then takes a couple photos of her sitting on it for the various photographers.

“Alright, see ya….” She then says, taking off on it as quick as her legs would let her, causing some more chuckles from the team.

“Oh boy….” Rudy says as he just rolls his eyes, imaging the worse immediately.

She then makes her way down pit road, earning strange glances and laughs along the way as she tries to get some speed going down the hill by lifting her legs up. She makes her way to a certain No. 9 pit, pulling up and purposely bumping Chase in the back of legs.

“What the hell?!?” Chase lets out as he spins around immediately. It wasn’t long before he was laughing, too. “I heard you won the pole….”

“What do you think of my stylish wheels?” She questions as he just smiles.

“They’re perfect for you….” She then smiles. “I’m surprised Rudy actually let you ride that out of victory lane.”

“He’s too slow for me now….” He laughs once again as he kneels down, kissing her lips.

“Try to not get into any trouble. I love you…” She then smiles back in response.

“I love you, too. Go win yourself one so we can race each other.” He then chuckles as he stands back up.

“Do you got a bottle of NOS that I can sneak in the car to catch Harvick?” She shakes her head no with a slight laugh.

“Got a bottle I can stick on this so I can go faster?” He then looks at her full of surprise, as she chuckles again before turning around and heading back up pit road.

“She’s one of a kind,” Alan muses as he watches her cruise away on her little wheels.

“I wouldn’t change a single thing, though,” Chase offers with a smile as he snaps a quick photo on his phone. “Alright, let’s see what the hot rod has today….”

With qualifying complete, Chase was left feeling pretty satisfied. It hadn’t gone as well as hoped, but he couldn’t complain with 17th based on the speed shown in practice, and the fact his first run in the second round had been screwed by Kyle Larson’s spin ahead of him. They could work their way to the front from there tomorrow night.

After getting changed out of his suit, he stood with her on pit road, giving her a quick kiss before she climbed in the truck set for the night. He then made his way to the No. 18 pit box, taking his familiar seat up behind Rudy. It almost felt weird to not having Kyle sitting up there beside him tonight.

The race started off solidly, as while Matt Crafton passed her initially on the start of the race, she passed him back on Lap 5, and led the rest of the way in the opening stage.

“What the hell?” He questions as they head down pit road, with Kyle practically pushing Sarina down the length of pit road until he reached his pit box. Chase had to chuckle a little in response, but had no complaints in watching her come off pit road first.

There was also no complaints in watching her dominate the second stage, leading all of the laps once again. It didn’t even bother him much when she came off pit road in second behind Justin Hayley – who elected for two tires rather than four. He knew that Hayley would fall back immediately, and that happened as Sarina got by him on the restart, taking the lead back.

Everything seemed to be going smoothly as the laps continued to tick down, opening the window for the green flag pit stops to close out the race. It caught Chase a little off-guard when Rudy elected to bring Sarina down first amongst the leaders, putting four tires on the truck. That turned into nerves when he watched Stewart Friesen and Kyle pit in the next couple of laps, electing for two tires each.

“Give me four mister feel-goods any day and I’ll be just fine,” Rudy comments, seeing the nerves on Chase’s face as he catches the driver’s attention. “Trust me – she’ll be fine….”

Chase wanted to believe his words, but felt every nerve say otherwise in seeing the gap that was now between Sarina and them. However, as Rudy predicted, she was able to quickly close the gap, passing them both with ease. Of course, that didn’t put her in the lead yet – as both Myatt Snider and Austin Hill were trying to play the fuel game.

“Come on Sarina,” he says quietly, leg beginning to tap nervously on the pit box as he watched the laps count further to the end. Those nerves turned into excited nerves as he watched her catch them both, putting the No. 18 truck into the lead with five laps to go.

Sarina was then able to lead the rest of the way, picking up the victory.

“Hell yeah!” She lets out immediately on the radio. “Way to go guys! Thank you for a great truck! Thank you for a great job well done, Rudy and Tony! Way to go everybody! Great way to come back after last week! Thank you, thank you!”

“Way to go, Sarina!” Rudy says on the radio, before slowly pulling the headset off, and glancing over at Chase with a smile. “What did I say?”

“I see why Kyle likes you now,” Chase comments, giving him a high-five. “Nice job tonight. Congrats.”

Chase watched on with pride as she did a burn-out on the frontstretch, before making his way to victory lane. It didn’t take her long to get there, and get out, standing up on the back of the truck. After posing the photographers, she turns around and leaps down into his arms, kissing his lips immediately.

“Way to go!” He tells her as she just smiles back in return. “Way to go!”

“Thank you for what you said last week, thank you,” she replies, before letting him go.

She then goes over to the interview with TV and radio as Chase feels a slight tug on his pant leg.

“Hey Brexton!” He says, before scooping him up in his arms. “Where’s mommy?”

“Trying to keep up with that monkey,” he hears Samantha say as she makes her way over. “Have you ever tried running in high heels?” He shakes his head no. “Don’t, because it’s impossible.” He then laughs. “He normally only gets excited when Kyle wins, but as soon as he heard that she won – he was like immediately wanting to be in victory lane.”

“He’s always welcome in victory lane with us, right bud?” Brexton nods his head back in return.

“Sarina won!” He lets out, catching her attention as she finishes up the second interview. “Yay!” Sarina smiles back in response as Brexton leaps out of Chase’s arms into Sarina’s.

For the rest of the night, Brexton joined the group right in the middle of the photos, enjoying throwing confetti in the air with the crew members. He was even extra happy when Rudy let him help soak both Sarina and Chase in champagne.

“He admires you both so much,” Samantha starts as she stands back with Chase and Brexton as Sarina does her solo photos later on. “I couldn’t believe his smile when she won.”

“It probably didn’t match mine,” he comments, causing Samantha to smile. “Listen, you’re tired and I know you want to get back to Kyle. Go on, and I’ll keep him for the night.” Samantha then glances over at Chase surprised.

“Seriously?” He nods his head in response. “Are you sure that’s okay with Sarina?”

“What’s up?” Sarina questions as she walks over, having finished her last photo of the night.

“Chase offered to watch Brexton tonight,” Samantha states and Sarina glances between them both surprised. However, a single glance into Chase’s eyes and she didn’t need to say another word.

“Yeah, it’s fine. I don’t mind spending time with him anytime.”

With Sarina still having to do media center post-race availability, as well as some other one-on-one interviews, Chase took Brexton back to the motorcoach with him as he could tell the little man was tired.

“Car!” Brexton lets out as he notices the pedal car inside the motorcoach immediately.

“That’s Sarina’s pedal car,” he tells Brexton, earning a curious glance from him. “Maybe if you ask her nicely tomorrow morning, she’ll let you drive it around outside, okay?” Brexton nods his head excitedly.

“She love me, Chasey….” Chase smiles, nodding his head in agreement.

“So you think she’s going to say yes?”

“Yes!” Chase smiles as he spins him around once, before setting him down on the couch.

“You’re probably right, but you still have to wait until tomorrow…” He then picks up the backpack that Samantha had left with him, which was supposed to include the essentials. “Let’s see what your mommy packed for you….” He then opens up the bag. “Ah, pajamas and a book. Now if you put your pajamas on quickly, maybe then I’ll read you a story.”

“Okay!” Brexton then goes to take off his pants immediately as Chase just smiles.

Once getting him changed into pajamas, Chase set him up on the couch, pulling the book out. Reading the story, he didn’t even notice that Brexton was out like a light after the second page, or the fact that Sarina had made her way into the motorcoach halfway through.

Sarina had remained quiet, taking a couple deep breathes, feeling her emotions all come back her once again.

“Hey….” Chase lets out as he notices her sitting on the other couch. “I didn’t even notice you come in.”

“It’s okay,” she replies as she stands up, grabbing a blanket and putting it over Brexton. “I didn’t want to disturb you guys.” That’s when Chase noticed the tears in her eyes.

“Are you okay?” She nods her head slowly, as he grabs her hand. “I know you’re so happy about winning tonight. I hope I didn’t ruin tha-”

“You didn’t, Chase.” She then takes a deep breath. “Small moments, like the pedal car, or seeing you with Brexton, they’re reminders of what could’ve been. It just gets my emotions going – but I’m okay. I’m handling it, slowly, just like you and what happened.”

“We also have the second opinion which may open that door.” She nods her head in agreement. “You can always talk to me, too.”

“That goes both ways, Chase. I know why you invited Brexton to come stay over tonight. You were afraid of a victory celebration and not being ready for that after….what….happened.” She could tell by the distant look in his eyes that she was right, as she reached out for his other hand. “Look, it’s okay. I knew you wouldn’t be ready. I knew it’d be too soon for that. I want you to know that I understand there’s nerves and feelings there, and I’m willing to wait until you’re ready – whenever that is. As long as we have each other, that’s all that matters.”

“Thank you…” She then lightly kisses his cheek as he pulls her close against him. “I really am proud of you. You did an absolutely amazing job tonight. From following Tony’s advice to keep the lead, to staying poised despite the crazy strategy, and being able to put last week behind you. I’m glad that everybody is seeing the talent that I saw in you.”

“I just can’t believe it sometimes that I am a truck series winn-”

“Do I need to pinch you?” She laughs, shaking her head no.

“It just seems surreal though with everything that happened.” She then glances back at the trophy sitting down on the table. “How does a small town Michigan girl who saw her life tore apart make it to here?”

“By being absolutely amazingly talented behind the wheel, and super strong…” He then places his hand against her chest. “…in here, and having the ability to fight through whatever challenge is thrown her way.” She smiles as she glances into his brown eyes.

“She also is glad to have a knight in shining armor by her side, willing to do whatever it takes for her no matter what. I’ll never take what you did for me for granted, ever. I love you, Clyde.” She then kisses his lips once again.

“I love you, too, forever and always…” They then head into the back room together, laying down and cuddling up in the bed, knowing tomorrow would be another long day.

The Tale of Love & Racing: Sarina’s Story – Chapter 72: JEGS 200

Friday, May 4 – Dover International Speedway

After having finished the Cup session – ranked 14th with only four laps on the board due to the tech inspection issues, Chase had made his way back up on top of the NAPA hauler to watch truck qualifying. Even if they weren’t talking right now, he wasn’t about to not support her.

He could see immediately what she was talking about feeling comfortable in the truck as soon as she took to the high banks, watching the No. 18 go instantly to the top of the chart. He found the smile on his face widen when she was able to repeat the performance in the second round of qualifying, winning the pole.

“Way to go!” Rudy says as he gives her a high-five. “That’s how you get the job done.”

“Thanks for the great truck,” she replies with a smile locked on her face. “Now, I got to go. XFINITY practice.” The crew chief just gives him a nod in response as she makes her way through the crew, giving them high-fives along the way.

She makes her way quickly down pit road, headed for the XFINITY Series garage knowing that Eric was waiting for her. Though as she turned the corner, she wasn’t expecting to see the sight before her.

“Hey,” was all she could manage quietly as she stopped face-to-face with him.

“I just wanted to say congratulations,” he offers, flashing a small smile. “That was a great lap. You’re going to have a great truck later today….”

“It seems that Miles likes me after all.” He chuckles a little, though the chuckle instantly fades in knowing that they’d spent the previous night apart, along with most of today.

“I know you’re busy so I won’t keep you, but can we talk later, please?” She could see the pain laced in his voice, and felt her heart breaking immediately. However, her own heart was brought back to the note.

“I got to go, Chase…” She then heads off without a single word, leaving him standing there stunned.

The rest of the way to the XFINITY garage, her heart was torn between the emotions all over again from the previous night, along with the conversations that had taken place with Eric, Rudy, Alan, Kyle and Samantha. What if she was doing the wrong thing? What if they just talked it out together? What if she just put her feelings aside? What if her nerves right here were a sign of things to come?

Reaching the garage area, she takes a deep breath, shaking everything out of her mind as her eyes focus on the car sitting there before her in the garage stall. She couldn’t think about that anymore. She had a job to focus on, and thinking about her own drama would be a disservice to the team. With the truck handling the way she wanted, it was time to get the car doing the same thing.

Chase gets out of the car, glancing over at Alan with a smile, before walking over to the crew chief. Considering the way their day had started with all of the tech issues, there was no complaints about qualifying sixth.

“We can work with that on Sunday,” Alan comments and Chase nods his head as he sits down beside him.

“That was a much better balance than I had the practice run,” he offers, which causes the crew chief to smile. At least they were headed the right way in adjustments, too. “Turn 1 and 2, you have it exactly where we want it. But we need to work on turn three and four because I lost a lot of time there. I screwed up a litt-”

“Hey now, let’s not get down on that lap, okay? That was still one great lap. We’re making progress. Let’s just take solice in that, okay?” Chase nods his head. “So I have to say that you’re having quite the Friday. Sarina ran great in both XFINITY practices, you qualified well, and she has the pole for tonight. Oh, and obviously I take it you’ve heard the big news of the day about Alison.”

“Can we please not talk about her, Alan?” Alan could understand where Chase was coming from in wanting to avoid the topic, given the emotions that were still there despite the fact that they’d talked some more the night before. “I stopped Sarina earlier to congratulate her on the pole. She then told me thanks, and made a crack about Miles. I almost thought that we were getting somewhere, and then I asked to talk later, and she just walked away.”

“Remember what I said last night? You need to give her time, Chase. At least she accepted the conversation about racing, and had a bit of fun with you. That should give you hope, right?” Chase lets out a sigh.

“I just wish that we weren’t doing this at all. I love her, Alan. I want to be with her. I want to be there for her every single moment of the day. I want to be having our fun times at the track together. I want to have everything that a relationship entai-”

“That sometimes includes fights. No relationship is a fairytale, Chase. I’m sorry if your parents didn’t tell you that one.” Chase chuckles a little. “Seriously, I can see how much she loves you and cares about you via what she said to me. I can see that in how she offered the conversation. I can see that in how she was watching you qualify. She just needs space to come to grips with the ne-”

“What is there to come to grips with, though? Alison isn’t pregna-”

“As much as you keep saying it, and as much as I believe you, the possibility is there based on seeing those words on a page. Hence the feelings that she’s having. Once she comes to grips with that, along with her own infertility, I have a feeling it’ll be like nothing ever happened.” Chase glances over, feeling a bit of hope in hearing that detail.

“But how long do I have to wait for that?” Alan shrugs his shoulders. “Great…”

“In the meanwhile, can I make a suggestion for you? You’ve told me that there’s still emotions there, and you’ve told me this may change things for how you and Sarina move forward. Maybe as she comes to grips with her feelings, you address yours…” Chase knew the crew chief had good intentions with his advice, but it seemed like the steepest mountain possible.

“I’m trying, okay? It was a like the weight had been lifted off my shoulders when Jimmie told me what happened in Alison getting caught. It was a relief that I couldn’t describe. Knowing that we’re safe now, I think it’ll be easier, I hope.” Alan reaches over, placing a hand on Chase’s leg.

“I know you’re trying and I know it’s going to take time. I’m not trying to push you sooner than you’re ready. Just remember, it’ll be okay…” Chase nods his head, accepting.

Chase climbs the steps up onto the pit box, slowly taking a seat beside Kyle, as he glances over at him.

“Are you sure about this, Kyle?” He questions, having been caught off-guard by Kyle’s text looking for him.

“I’m the boss and what I say goes,” Kyle answers as Chase simply nods his head in return. “Besides, I can tell you myself that based on what she was saying to Sam, you have nothing to worry about. She still loves you a lot.” Now there was a small smile in hearing those words.

Chase settles in, set for the race, hopeful for the best of endings, and it started out that way as she led the entire first stage of the event from the pole. However, coming down pit road, there was a small hang-up on the jack, causing her to slip back to seventh for the restart.

“Lots of time here,” Kyle says as he settles in for the restart, double checking where the other KBM trucks were running, too.

“I’m surprised how calm she was on the radio when Rudy told her,” Chase offers, catching a glance from the boss.

“That’s why I put Rudy with the children as he knows how to calm them down. Besides, he says that having both cars for her this weekend, she’s been more focused than normal.” Chase could relate to that, having watched how she kept a strict schedule in making sure to get ample time with both teams.

“You know how she is about her racing – 100% heart and effort. Besides, it’s probably a good distraction…” Kyle knew by that response that it wasn’t just a distraction for Sarina, but for Chase after what had happened. But there wasn’t time to push that issue right now.

Instead, they settled in and watched as she was able to gain some ground on the restart, making her way back up to fifth by the end of the second stage. She then started off the third stage solidly, but dropped back some spots, running seventh as she fought a looseness condition with the rear of the truck.

A round of pit stops with 44 laps to go played in her favor, though, as the pit crew redeemed themselves, getting her up to third for the restart. She then put together the restart of her life, too, jumping up to second behind Johnny Sauter. She was set on catching him, slowly closing the gap, when a pair of trucks made contact before the leaders with 20 laps to go.

“Holy shit….” was all Chase managed to say as she barely snuck between them, escaping without any damage.

“The fun is just beginning,” Kyle comments with a chuckle as Chase rolls his eyes. He couldn’t help if he got nervous for her.

“Bottom does win 40% of the restarts here,” Rudy starts his pep talk for her as Kyle just sits back with a smile on his face. It was almost like the pieces were setting up right perfectly for a great day.

They all watched the battle intently on the restart, seeing her and Johnny battle side-by-side for the lead. There were nerves in watching a couple bumps back and forth, as well as excitement when she was able to gain a bit of an edge. However, it was all forgotten when Johnny got a run on the outside, and they bumped not once but twice, causing the No. 18 truck to snap around quickly, making heavy rear-end contact with the wall.

“Shit!” Kyle and Chase both let out at the same time.

“Is she okay?” Chase asks, instantly switching to worry in seeing the damage, and in-car camera.

“Yeah, she’s good,” Kyle answers as they watch her climb out of the truck, disappointed. “I can’t be mad at her. I know she tore up a truck, but she was going for the win and that’s what we racers do – we go for the win no matter what. It was just one of those racing deals where she got crossed up. Live and learn, I guess.”

“Yeah…” Chase slowly stands up, following Kyle off of the pit box as he lets out a sigh. This was obviously the worse time for a wreck of this nature to happen.

“I know you guys aren’t talking, but I wouldn’t be against you coming to see her right now – even if just for a couple of minutes. I know it’d be beneficial to you both, even if she won’t tell you that.” Chase nods his head, accepting, trying to fight off his own nerves about following that advice.

After going back and forth a little on the thought, he followed his heart and made his way to the care center, waiting for her to come out. he knew he could go in and see her, but figured the space was necessary right now. It didn’t take long for her to emerge though, immediately met with media.

His heart instantly broke as he saw how dejected she looked after the incident, and continued to break further in listening to her interview. He just shook his head – he knew he was hard on himself sometimes, but she was taking it to a whole new level.

He didn’t move at all as each of the media members asked their questions, slowly leaving one-by-one. Once the last media member had left and she was set to leave, he made his way over, placing a hand on her shoulder.

“Sarina,” he says quietly, catching a glance from her. “I know you’re upset and I know you’re disappointed in yourself. But you need to be a little easier on yourself.” She shakes her head as she looks into his brown eyes.

“Aren’t you the person that said you need to be set to rate yourself and tell yourself what you did wrong so you become better?” She questions and he nods his head.

“There’s a difference between doing that, and being so hard on yourself that you’re tearing your heart apart. That’s what you’re doing right now. Yes, you made a mistake. Yes, it sucks to tear up a truck. But you were right there, fighting for a victory, doing whatever you could to win. You had put yourself in that position. Give yourself more credit that you are – you’re an amazing driver, and you did a great job today. You’ll learn from racing that close and trust me, it’ll be a lesson that turns you into a winner one day.” She smiles a little.

“Thank you….” He pulls her close, letting her lay her head against his chest. “I can’t honestly say that I’m just going to let it go like you want me too, and certainly I’ll be disappointed for the rest of the night and maybe days to come, but thank you for your advice.”

“Just think – you have a chance to redeem yourself tomorrow. You have another great car underneath you from Eric. What better way to put this behind you than prove tomorrow how awesome you are?” She smiles, nodding her head in agreement. Considering how well the past two weeks had gone, it’d be nice to cap off her XFINITY schedule with another great run.

“The same way that you’re going to kick ass on Sunday, right?” He nods  his head back in response.

“Are you okay?” He rubs her shoulders as she lets out a long sigh. “That wasn’t no light hit, Sarina…”

“It took my breath away, I won’t lie to you. It caught me off-guard just how hard it hit when it snapped around.” He rubs her shoulders, as he looks into her eyes.

“I know we’re not talking right now, which I hate by the way, but maybe you could bend the rules for a massage and bubble bath tonight?” She glances back up into his eyes.

“You play a hard game…..” He chuckles a little. “Being away from you is the hardest thing ever, if I’m being honest. I love Samantha, I love Kyle, and I love Brexton – but nights like that aren’t the same.” She then glances back down. “Chase, I’m so sorry for how I handled that yesterd-”

“You don’t need to apologize. I get it, I really do. It caught you off-guard and you didn’t know how to react. Everything boiled over and you didn’t know what to do with those emotio-”

“I ran like I always do-”

“It’s okay, though. Sometimes we need space so we can figure out everything. I love you, I’ll always love you. If you’re willing to accept it, can you come with me back tonight?” She smiles, nodding her head yes accepting.

“Can I be honest, though?” He freezes, feeling every bit of nerve in response. “I haven’t come to full grips in what the note said, what Alison did, and how to move forward with everything. But I know being together side-by-side, holding hands, we’re stronger than we are apart. That’s why I want to be there with you so I can figure out what I need to do, what you need moving forward to help you, and what we can do together and for each other.”

“Just you being there helps me, Sarina. It makes me feel safe…” She then tightens her arms around him a little more.

“If all it takes is holding you to help you, then I’m for that…” She then backs away, taking his hand with her own, as they begin the walk through the garage area. “Now, what were you saying about a nice massage?”

“You don’t need to beg. Just promise me that you’ll always love me.” She then looks over at him.

“That’s not a problem at all, babes.” She then kisses his lips as they head out together.

The Tale of Love & Racing: Sarina’s Story – Chapter 67: Food City 500

 

Sunday, April 15 – Bristol Motor Speedway

It was a new day, and already it felt better than last week. For 500 laps, he would be in his own little world. Couldn’t complain about a distraction right now, right? Even with the threat of rain, hanging around with Ryan and Joey was a great change of pace.

“Do you have any dirt on Ryan?” A new voice caught him off guard. He glanced over his shoulder, seeing Darrell Wallace.

“Nothing new,” Chase replied, which wasn’t a lie. Where was the time lately?

“He locked me in my motorcoach. I had to climb through the door above the toilet to get out.” Chase couldn’t help but laugh in response. “It’s not funny, Clyde.”

“Oh no, it’s just a shitty situation.” Darrell rolls his eyes as Chase chuckles again. “Are you sure Ryan did it?”

“It’s right up his alley….” Chase knew from experience, but still wasn’t positive.

“He’s also been consumed lately with a distraction.” Darrell smiles as he glances over at Lindsay and Sarina on pit road. “I can’t believe they’re still together.”

“I thought he told us this relationship was impossible.” Chase nods his head, remembering the discussion. “Somebody else said the same thing and now you’re engaged to her.”

“I know, and I would do anything for her, too.” He takes a deep breath, knowing he couldn’t linger on that right now. It was time to have a fun afternoon.

Unfortunately, the fun didn’t last long as Michael McDowell got loose on Lap 4, collecting Chase among others. Sarina was already cursing up a storm on the pit box, even with both Jordan and Josh trying to calm her down.

“Mcfuckell finally qualifies good and he still can’t drive a wooden screw!” She lets out, visibly frustrated.

The team made as many repairs as they could, losing a couple laps in the process, before going back green flag racing. The day didn’t look to be improving as Chase began complaining of an exhaust leak, telling the team they better fix it next caution. That yellow came at Lap 45, which was the scheduled competition caution. Rather than time to make repairs, the red was flown for rain.

“I feel terrible,” Chase says as he stands on pit road with Kenny Francis. “I couldn’t see or do shit. I thought I was clear, but nope – somebody else had better ideas. I literally don’t get what happened there.”

“You met the class clown,” Kenny comments, earning a couple chuckles. “There was nothing you can do. We will salvage what we can and move onto Richmond. Josh has an idea to fix the leak so we will do that once we go back racing. If it doesn’t work, we’re done.” Chase nods his head before heading off with Sarina.

 Rain delay fun didn’t take long to be found, following an offer from Brexton to come play with him.

“Ah shit!” Samantha lets out from the kitchen. “How does one forget to buy eggs if they’re making cookies?” Sarina shrugs her shoulders.

“We’ve got none or I’d help you out,” Sarina offers.

“Why don’t you girls go to the store?” Chase suggests, catching them both off-guard considering the past week. “I’ll watch Brexton.”

“Are you sure about that?” Samantha questions and Chase nods his head.

“I can keep my eye on him.” Sarina, meanwhile, looked like a bucket of nerves.

“What about Alison?” Sarina wonders as Chase takes a long deep breath. He didn’t need that reminder right now.

“I’ll be fine,” he assured her. “Besides, I have everybody around here on the lookout. Go and have some girl time…”

“Okay.” Sarina then gives Chase a small kiss. “I love you.”

“I love you, too.”

The girls get ready and head out soon after, leaving Chase and Brexton to the spread of toy cars on the floor of the motorcoach. It didn’t take long for the girls to reach the car, or head out set for a trip to the store. However, there were other thoughts on Samantha’s mind.

“You know that you can talk to me always….” She casually let out, catching Sarina’s gaze immediately. “I heard the hesitation with Chase in your voice.”

“Can you blame me given the past week?” Sarina questions and Samantha shakes her head no.

“I don’t know what I’d do in that situation. I’d probably go crazy.” Sarina knew that feeling, but for other reasons.

“I almost did in worry for what she was going to do to me. Then it changed in worry, panic, fear for Chase when she told me details.” Samantha glances over confused.

“I heard that Chase had contact with her all week…”

“If she saw him, I was fine and saved. She used me as leverage to get to him.” Samantha felt an instant wave of shock in hearing that small detail.

“I don’t want to know, do I?” Sarina lets out a sigh, shaking her head no. She didn’t want to say it, but she needed to get it out to someone and knew Sam wouldn’t tell anyone.

“She sexually assaulted him, Sam. She made him kiss her. She made him enjoy bodies rubbing against each other. Then, in front of me, she stuck her hand down his pants and rubbed him. It’s one thing to feel physical pain, but it’s another feeling and watching that.”

“Sweetheart, I don’t even know what to say….”

“I felt like I was going to be sick – heck, Chase has gotten sick over the thought of it. I felt violated, betrayed – but yet it was him going through it and not because he had chosen to.” Samantha takes a careful deep breath.

“It’s understandable because of how much you love him, and how much you care about him, and that bond. It’s like she broke that privacy barrier.” Sarina nods her head as she looks down at her ring.

“When we first saw each other afterwards, he didn’t say a single word. He just slipped the ring back on my finger, holding my hand, completely silent.” Sarina glances up and at Samantha. “He’s always been the strong one. He’s always helped me. Now it’s role reversal and I feel helpless…” Samantha reaches over, placing a hand on Sarina’s.

“Just be there. Listen to him, hold him, comfort him, let him cry, make him feel safe. It sounds so simple but that’s all it takes. He will come around when he’s ready.” Sarina nods her head, hopeful, feeling her heart cringe.

“The worst feeling is knowing my touch scares him. I went to kiss him at the hospital, and he pulled away initially. He won’t say it, but it affected him. He can’t stand that simple touch now. Its a reminder, I guess…”

“He’ll come around, Sarina. Give it time. Take a slow, be assuring, comfort his fears. You’ll reach that understanding with him.” Sarina hoped that Samantha was right.

“I guess I just want that connection back so badly for selfish reasons.” Samantha smiles a little.

“Hey, I don’t blame you. Every girl is like that – no matter how much they’re there for their man. Kyle was dealing with his leg surgery and healing, and yet I wanted everything that I had before no changes.” Sarina smiles, having heard stories of that time.

“You had an excuse. You were pregnant.” Samantha smiles.

“I chalk some of the begging and tears to that, but I don’t think it was all that. Face it – we’re both spoiled. Our guys treat us as Queens and we can’t get enough of it. Now it’s your turn to repay Chase for everything…”

“I won’t hold back…”

At the track, Kyle had finished up his chats with the crew, as well as some fellow drivers, and decided to go check on Samantha and Brexton. He makes his way to the motorcoach, letting himself in, as he makes his way inside.

“Sssssh,” he hears and looks on surprised in seeing Chase lying on the floor beside Brexton, with Brexton passed out. “I finally got him to calm down and take his nap.”

“I’m impressed,” Kyle comments as he sits on the couch. “Where’s Samantha?”

“She went to get eggs to make cookies.” Chase had just realized that the girls had been gone longer than expected, but a text message in response to the photo of Brexton passed out had kept his nerves calmed. “I think they got sidetracked.”

“Isn’t that normal?” Chase chuckles as he sits up.

“Actually, it may be good. Sarina is still a little upset about what happened…” Chase lets out a sigh, as Kyle crosses his arms.

“She’s not the only one….” Chase shakes his head no.

“I’d rather not talk about it, though.” Chase trusted Kyle and liked their friendship, but not too tell him what happened with Alison.

“Hey, that’s fine….” Kyle smiles as he looks towards Brexton. “All I can do is say I hope it gets easier, I hope they find her, and you can babysit anytime.”

“I may hold you to that offer.” Kyle chuckles a little. “He may be cheering for me more than you…”

“Hey now, easy there…” Chase just smiles. “Say, I challenge you to game of NASCAR Heat.”

“Challenge accepted.”

Couple rounds later and the call was given by NASCAR for drivers to their cars as the track was dry.

With the call being made to get back going, the No. 9 crew began repairs – though a little early as the red flag was still being displayed. As a result, they were issued a one lap penalty from NASCAR. The team didn’t let that deter them, making the necessary repairs.

“NASCAR wants you to back up in the stall,” Kenny comes over the radio, as they were set to serve their penalty.

“Is there anything else that I can do for them today?” Chase snaps back after following the orders as requested. It was clear that the remainder of this race would be no fun.

With the penalty served and damage fixed mostly, he returned to the track to make laps and hopefully make up ground. Sarina had one eye on him, but also another on Ryan as he was in dominate form with the lead. Since Chase couldn’t win, she’d have no problem with Ryan winning. However, just like Chase, Ryan got caught up in someone else’s mess, wrecked while trying to put a bunch of cars a lap down.

“Did someone let out the clowns today or what?” She asked in total disbelief. “Ridiculous!”

It didn’t take long for the race to get back underway – or stopped again, with a second flag flying at Lap 204.

“Did we get it fixed decent enough?” Josh asks and Chase nods his head.

“It’s actually driving pretty decent, considering,” Chase answers earning an glance of approval from the crew. “What happened to Ryan?”

Jordan took the liberty of explaining, which earned a glance of shock and disbelief from Chase in return. He was then intrigued by what the interior mechanic had to share about others upfront and the nature of the track thus far.

With the discussion behind them and hopes of staying dry, the decision was made to retreat back to the trailer.

“Hey, are you okay?” Jordan asks as he lingers behind the others with Chase.

“I’m fine,” he tells him as Jordan takes another solid glance.

“Are you sure? I mean, I know how tore up you were-”

“Jordan, I’m fine. I’m just focused on making the most of today right now. We can worry about that later – or really not at all.” Jordan wanted to scream in response as he knew taking that approach wouldn’t help. “Just promise me you haven’t told the guys.”

“I would never break your trust – as long as you promise to come to me if you need anything.” Chase takes a careful deep breath. He did have one wish.

“I just want to forget what happened, how she made me feel, and rid of her out of my life forever. But wait, I can’t do that because she could be hiding around the next corner planning another attack. If you want to know the truth, there’s no way I’m going to feel completely over what happened until I know she can’t do anything to me, Sarina, or anyone ever again. Will that day come?” Jordan hoped and prayed, but still didn’t know for absolutely certain anymore.

“I know everyone is doing what they can. It will end soon, Chase.” Chase wanted to believe those words, but it seemed distant and repetitive given the past couple of months.

“I hope you’re finally right….” He then heads into the hauler, joining the rest of the team. Jordan wanted to continue the conversation, but for now respected his driver’s wishes.

The Tale of Love & Racing: Sarina’s Story – Chapter 64: “I can’t do this…..”

Tuesday April 10, 2018 – Charlotte, North Carolina

Chase hears a knock on the door, and just lets out a sigh. He didn’t want to move, just hoping the person would go away. He already felt enough blame on his shoulders – and as much as worry consumed him, guilt was catching up. How could he face anyone?

Taking a deep breath, he makes his way to the door, slowly opening it.

“Hey,” he says quietly backing away immediately as Kyle makes his way inside the house.

Chase swallowed the lump that formed immediately in his throat in the process as he shut the door. How could he face the person who truly believed in Sarina as much as he did from the beginning? It was easy to push off for those who didn’t know her or her story well, but Kyle was a different story.

“Hey,” Kyle replies as he turns back around to face Chase. “I was headed to the shop and thought I’d stop by on the way. Have you heard anything?”

“Not a single update or clue,” Chase answers, biting his tongue in the process. He wanted to spit it out and tell Kyle about the visits, the video, Alison’s seduction, their deal – but he couldn’t. The fear of Alison doing something to Sarina overrode everything in his mind.

“How is that even humanly possible? One woman can’t simply make her way around without being recognized considering everybody is looking for her. You’d think that they’d find her by now.” Chase nodded his head in agreement as he back on the couch.

“If that was the case, Alison never would’ve gotten her hands on Sarin-”

“Marcus feels so terrible, I can’t even begin to describ-”

“I’m not upset with Marcus. I’m upset with the authorities because they can’t damn well do their job. She’s been running around for months now!” Chase takes a deep breath, knowing his own situation was running his tension higher than normal, and he wasn’t about to risk slipping – but maybe that’d be to his benefit.

“I don’t know what to say….” Kyle glances towards the kitchen, noticing a lack of plates, cups, really anything. “Please tell me you’ve been taking care of yourself….” Chase knew that wasn’t going to be a smooth answer.

“I couldn’t sleep last night. I kept waking up every hour, thinking about where she was, how she was, whether she’d be okay, and what Alison could possibly be doing to her.” He also found himself contemplating his options, even trying to come up with a plan, and wondering just how far Alison was going to take things.

“Have you eaten?” Chase glances to the table, where a half-eaten mini pizza sat. “Chase….”

“I’m trying, but I just can’t….” He takes a deep breath, once again feeling the disgust and guilt. Why could he just say the words? “I want to believe, but it is getting harder.”

“She’s going to be okay…” Chase simply nods his head accepting. They both hear the front door crack slowly, instant nerves forming, but watched them relax as Samantha entered with Brexton.

“I’m sorry, but he has to go pee,” Samantha offers as Chase simply points down the small hall.

“She took him over to the park, figuring he could play while we talked,” Kyle comments after the pair were out of earshot. “I’m worried just as much as you are – so is Sam. It’s hard at times because how do we look at Brex as if nothing is wrong?” Chase shakes his head, not even sure where to go with that since he could barely handle himself. “But you have to believe me – she will be fine and you need to take care of yourself.”

“I’ll try….” Kyle nods his head accepting as he watches Brexton come running down the hall.

“Chase!” Brexton lets out as he rushes over, jumping up on his lap. Kyle just glanced over at Samantha, who looked back with uncertainty.

“Hey buddy,” Chase says with a small smile. How could you look at him and not smile?

“Sarina?” Chase takes a deep breath, resisting all urges to let down his defenses in front of Brexton.

“She’s not here right now – she went away with a friend.” He almost puked in saying the words as Kyle watched on.

“Brexton, why don’t we go back to the park?” Samatha offers, having seen Chase’s reaction.

“I like Chase….” Brexton rambles off as Samantha glances back towards Kyle.

“It’s okay Sam,” Chase comments as he looks into Brexton’s eyes. Being with him then, she could see why Sarina never gave up an opportunity to babysit for Sam or Kyle. “Did you have fun at the park?”

“Big slide!” Chase lets his eyes go wide in surprise as Brexton smiles. He watches the little boy reach in his pocket, pulling out some cars. “Daddy car, Uncle Denny car, Uncle Kurt car, Chasey car…” Chase smiles as it surprised him that Brexton even had one. “Sarina truck.”

“Those are awesome. Now, who wins the race?” A big smile forms on Brexton’s face as he pulls out another one.

“McQueen!” Chase chuckles as he had to admire the effort, and knew where they came from given Kyle’s toys for Brexton at home.

“He is pretty cool, huh? Now, does Sarina beat daddy and me?” Brexton nods his head. “Of course…”

“I love Sarina. She my girl…” It was now time for another surprised face, even if Chase felt a bit of heartbreak in hearing it.

“I love her, too. She’s amazing, Brex.” He feels a couple tears forming in his eyes as he glances down at the cars in Brexton’s hand.

“Alright Brexton, it’s time to go….” Samantha starts again, having seen the emotions.

“I come again?” Brexton asks and Samantha nods her head. “Yay! Bye Chase!”

“Bye Brexton,” Chase says as he slowly puts him down, watching him run back off with Samantha.

“Are you okay?” Kyle asks and Chase nods his head. “Remember what I said.”

“I will,” Chase answers. “And Kyle, thanks for bringing him by. He can make any girl smile.” Kyle smiles as he watches Samantha walk out the door with Brexton.

“That’s what scares me for when he goes to school.” Chase laughs as he watches them all leave together. he then goes to get up, feeling something by his side. He reaches down the cushion, picking up the toy truck. Letting out a sigh, it must’ve fallen out of Brexton’s pocket as he was leaving.

“Don’t worry Brex – you’ll get to play with her again.” He then takes a deep breath, walking over to the TV stand and placing the truck on one of the shelves, before texting Kyle that he had it.

The incident was almost set to be the motivation to do something about Alison, and he almost had a thought stuck in mind for what to do when she showed up at her usual time. However, hearing the back door open again, it was like nerves tied all doors shut for him.

“We meet again,” she offers as she walks into the living room.

“If this is about me, then why keep Sarina locked away?” Chase questions as he looks up at Alison, not moving a single inch from the couch. He wasn’t about to startle her knowing what one little button could do.

“Because it keeps you on your toes, and it helps make those decisions so much easier.” Chase knew that because it was the perfect leverage.

“Why not just kidnap me instead?” Alison laughs as she bends over, locking eyes with him.

“Because this is more fun. I told you that I like a game, and I always win.” Chase lets out a sigh, knowing that wasn’t a lie as she had played him perfectly so far. When was that going to end?

“How long is this going to go on for?” He watches Alison just shrug her shoulders.

“Until I get bored. What? Is Chase wanting to end the game early? There’s only one way to do tha-” He could see the hand reaching for the pocket, and knew better.

“No, I’m willing to play.” She smiles widely as she takes out the phone, placing it on the table, bringing up the same video footage as before. “You haven’t touched her….”

“This isn’t about her, remember?” Chase nods his head as his eyes remain focused on the screen, not wanting to lose sight of Sarina. If he was only going to get these seconds, he wanted to savor every single minute. “It’s time to up the stakes.”

“What do you mean?” Every bit of fear and nerve tingled through his whole body as she reached down, running her hands up underneath his shirt, taking it off. He felt those nerves twitch even more as she reached down, pulling the zipper of his jeans down. “What are you doing?”

“Remember our deal. Do you want her to live or die?” Chase swallows the lump in his throat, tries to cut off the tears in his eyes, almost make himself numb as he feels the nerves pick up more.

“Live…” She then pulls his jeans down to his knees, revealing the boxers underneath.

“Every time we meet, you’re going to be like this – exactly how you’re sitting now. Am I clear?” He slowly nods his head as he tries to keep his eyes focused on the phone screen, remembering that he’s doing it for Sarina’s safety, not wanting to think about Alison’s plan. “Good boy….” She then takes off her own shirt, revealing a skinny bra underneath that barely covered her. She follows it by taking off her pants, revealing her thong. “One step at a time….”

“Please….” She had to chuckle at his pleas as she licked her lips, locking her eyes on his brown ones.

“Your wish is in my command.” She then straddles herself on top of him; pushing her body against his, grinding as she may, following the movements she wanted, once again going for the kiss, deepening it against his lips. She kept the process going, as a small moan escaped her lips, before drawing back. “I can see why she likes you so much, and I can’t wait for that special moment….”

“I hate you….” Alison just laughs as she climbs off of him, putting her pants and shirt back on.

“You may say those words, but you were growing hard….” She then grabs the phone off of the table, making her way back out the back door, leaving him sitting there stunned.

He felt sick. He felt terrified. He felt scared. He felt anger. How could he let her do that to him? How could his body react in that fashion? How could he let himself be controlled and manipulated so easily? How could he let Alison continue to have this hold over him? Worst of all, how could let Sarina continue to spend time with this psycho witch?

Feeling hot tears run down his cheeks, and his stomach flip upside down, he rushes down the hall, barely making it to the bathroom in time before what little he had ate was back up stream.

“I can’t do this….” He says to himself as he sits back against the bathroom wall afterwards. “I can’t…..”

Wednesday April 11, 2018 – Nashville, Tennessee

After landing the plane, Chase followed Alan and Jordan across the short parking lot, as the group get in the rental car that Alan had already arranged.

Earlier that morning, they received a phone call from investigators requesting Chase to come to Nashville to discuss Sarina’s situation in person where it happened. To him, it seemed like a waste of time as he was betting Sarina was in Charlotte given Alison’s frequent visits. Furthermore, he didn’t want to screw up those visits.

Knowing he couldn’t make the trip alone, Alan immediately offered to go – having been at Chase’s house at the time of the phone call. Furthermore, it seemed the crew chief had some more time on his hands right now.

“Do me a favor – do not try and attempt stupid shit anymore,” Chase had told Alan when he heard about the suspension. He had heard the reasons, and immediately put the pieces together – they tried a similar situation to Kevin’s and obviously it failed. He didn’t know whether to be shocked of having two penalties on a year, or the fact that they tried something another team was caught with.

Regardless, the happenings there didn’t change the friendship values because no matter what, he and Alan would always have each other’s back given the events that transpired, friendship, and the fact that he did believe in what they had. Alan was only doing his job trying to win, right?

It didn’t take them long to reach the police station, or be escorted to the conference room. As expected, there were no updates.

“We just want to go over some things further,” the investigator states as Alan crosses his arms.

“He’s sick with worry and you’re wanting to push him more?” Alan questions as the investigator glances over Alan’s direction.

“I can understand your frustration with the department, and I sympathize. Hence why we’re trying to do whatever is possible. Please let us do our job…” Alan rolls his eyes before focusing back in Chase’s direction. “Alison’s path of record is interesting. What type of place could you see her focusing a kidnapping on given tha-”

“You have police report upon police report upon police report – along with a psychological evaluation. Couldn’t you just use that?” Chase hears his phone go off, reading the text message immediately. He wished they could trace the location of a text message right now, but also was glad they couldn’t read it as he typed back a response.

“Mr. Gustafson, could you please allow me to do my job?” Chase swallows the lump in his throat as he sets his phone on the table. “Is there a problem, Mr. Elliott?”

“No, the text message is nothing to be concerned of,” Chase comments, knowing he could lie through his teeth if necessary but almost wished he wasn’t doing that right now. “To answer your question, there’s no pattern to location or matter with her. It’s always a mix of stuff. The initial kidnapping was a set of abandoned offices at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, but she also did an abandoned warehouse in Atlanta.”

“And she hasn’t been in contact with any other incidents in this state, correct?” The investigator asks and Chase shakes his head no. “Okay…”

“Anything else or can you stop wasting both of our time?” Alan questions. “I mean, you should be out looking for her-”

“We have people on the jo-”

“If we put both of you, that’s two more. Maybe you’d actually accomplish something here!” Chase feels his stomach flip flop as pictures from last night fill his mind again.

“I’m sorry….” He immediately leaves the room, finding the first bathroom as he does, letting everything out right away.

“Chase?” Jordan asks as he follows, stopping in the doorway. “Hey, are you okay?” Chase sits down on the floor, as he takes a deep breath. “Chase….”

“I haven’t been sleeping, I haven’t been eating as I can’t eat – I’m just a mess.” He glances up at Jordan, knowing there was something very important he was leaving out but how could he say those words? “I just want her to be okay….”

“She’s going to be…” Jordan makes his way in, sitting down on the floor with Chase. “She’s going to be okay, Chase. They’re going to find her and she’s going to be okay – just like I told you Saturday night. Do you remember what I said?” Chase nods his head. “Believe me….”

“The other day I was thinking about what you said, and how strong she is, and how she‘s so amazing. You told me to think of the good times and remember that to get through this.” He glances towards his phone, making sure the messages were closed, as he loads an audio file. “I laughed at her when she saved that clip of me singing to her while we were away in Amsterdam, but yet the only thing that seems to be saving me right now is this clip I saved of her…” Jordan looks over a little confused, but also relieved. In having this conversation, he could see Chase calming down immediately.

“What is it?” Chase smiles as he presses the play button.

“When I was in Las Vegas for pageant week, she left me a voice mail so I could hear her voice, think about her, feel connected even separated. She told me how much she loved me, how she wanted to be with me, and then sang me a song – one call away. I wish I could just get that one call now that she’s okay.” Jordan smiles a little as he listens to the clip.

“You guys are more adorable than I have words for….” Chase chuckles as he closes his eyes.

“You know what the odd thing is? Pageant week is when Alison entered our lives for the first time….” His voice trails off as  he glances back down at the phone. “Even the sweetest most romantic moments can’t be our own anymore because she…..she….” Chase feels the emotions building again, wanting to spit out the words but unable to. Instead, the phone goes flying across the bathroom, shattering against the wall.

“Chase, it’s going to be okay…” Jordan wraps an arm around him, holding him as the tears begin sliding down Chase’s cheeks.

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

It took a good bit to get him calmed down, but Jordan eventually got the tears to stop and they were able to leave without incident. They even managed to stop at the mall for a new phone. Checking into a hotel for the night, Jordan was pleased once he saw Chase get a good bite to eat, followed by a hot shower.

“Get some sleep tonight,” Jordan offers. “We’ll be in the adjoining room next door if you need us.”  Chase just nods his head in return.

It was only a couple hours later, but he had slipped the door open, having received the text message that she was there.

“You kept your end of the deal – I’m impressed,” she states as she walks in the hotel room. “This will work even better….”

“Do I get a reward?” Chase questions as he keeps his eyes locked on her, almost wishing Alan and Jordan would hear them.

“In sweet dear time…” Alison then spins around. “You’re wearing too many clothes. What did I tell you about how you should appear for me?” Chase swallows the lump in his throat, trying to shoo away the butterflies as he follows orders in stripping down to his boxers. “For that, your chance a prize for me being impressed is revoked.”

“Can we just get this over with, please?” She smirks as she turns to face him.

“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….” She then sits up, slowly rolling off of him. “But that’ll have to wait.” She then takes the ring off, throwing it on the bed. “Goodbye….”

He watches her leave the room, hoping someone, anybody would recognize her, as he laid there frozen. He felt the same feeling returning – sickness, pain, heartbreak, anger – and all he could do was wish that he found the strength to do something about it because he knew there was no way he’d last another night with her.