Saturday, July 29
Sarina lays there, quietly, eyes locked on Chase as he lies beside her, sleeping away.
She had woken up a couple hours ago, grabbed some breakfast and a shower, before returning back to bed to lie beside him. She didn’t want to disturb him, knowing that he needed his sleep as the focus was put on him getting better.
Taking a deep breath, she couldn’t let everything that they’d been through escape her mind. Though despite everything, he put his full trust in her, promised to always love her, and would do anything for her. On top of that, he had convinced his parents to give her a second chance.
She couldn’t get it through her mind everything that he had done, for her. He stood up to everyone with her brother. He allowed Allison to inject the needle, instead of cheating. He always found the small time of day to reach out to her. Rather than be at home this weekend where he belonged after the week he’d been through, he was there with her instead.
Letting out a sigh, it was hard to believe this was happening before her. She never got this lucky in her life. It was always when one thing came together, she was waiting for the other shoe to drop. But yet, here she was, under contract with the top team in the truck garage and dating the sweetest guy ever. For the first time ever, it felt everything with happiness was just within reach.
“Can I help you?” His voice freezes her thoughts as she looks into his brown eyes.
“No, I’m good,” she replies as a smile forms on her lips.
“You’re just staring at me for no reason?” She nods her head. “How long have you been laying here like this?” She was almost afraid to offer her answer.
“An hour or so. You were sleeping, I didn’t want to disturb you, but I didn’t want to leave you.” She then reaches over, rubbing his shoulder. “Relax, it’s fin-”
“You were spaced out at first, though.” He then brushes her brown hair out of her face. “What’s on that mind of yours?”
“I am just thinking how lucky and spoiled I am to have an amazing guy like you in my life.” He then looks at her with surprise as he rolls over onto his back.
“I’m just an ordinary guy who happens to go fast for a living.” She then chuckles, causing him to look back her way. “What?”
“Ordinary guy? Have you been outside of your own little universe lately, Chase?” His eyes widen even more surprise.
“Listen, just because I may be a little fam-”
“That’s not what I’m talking about, Prince Charming.” He then freezes, caught off-guard by the comment. “I’m talking about how sweet you are. I’m talking about how caring you are. I’m talking about how you’d do anything for me. I’m talking about how we’ve been through everything, and yet you’re still here beside me 100% committed. I’m talking about how you stood up to Alison, for us. There are very few guys in the world that can equal that level of charm and sweetness, honey. I’m gonna say that you rank up there in the 5% range.” He then rolls his eyes.
“Listen, I’m nowhere near perfec-”
“I didn’t say you were, Chase. But you’re damn close to that – at least to me, and a lot closer than a lot of people.” He then rolls back on his side so he can look right into her green eyes.
“So you’ve been lying here for the past hour contemplating all that?” She nods her head. “Why?”
“I’ve never ever felt this right and perfect in a moment with someone. I’ve never felt this type of love before, or felt that I was wort-”
“Excuse me?” He then scoots closer to her, wrapping an arm around her as he pulls her close. “Don’t you ever dare say that you’re not worthy of being loved. Sure, you had a rough hand. Sure, you had things go off plan. If anything, it makes you worthy so you can feel what you’ve been missing all these years.” She then lets out a sigh.
“I’ve made a bunch of mistakes, thoug-”
“I’ve made mistakes, too. We all make mistakes every day. Do you want to know my response? Accept your mistakes, admit that you were wrong, and learn from it so you do not do it again. That’s why when you lied to me under those circumstances, I gave you the second chance with the understanding to not repeat that mistake. Sarina, you’re a beautiful young lady and there’s nobody that could tell me different in loving you.” He then leans in and kisses her lips, as she smiles back in response.
“How do you always know what to say?” He smiles as he takes her hand, placing it on his chest.
“I speak from the heart with every bit of honesty that I have. It’s okay to open up and be honest. It’s okay to be vulnerable, and it’s okay to express feelings. It actually feels good.” She then smiles, nodding her head.
“I’ll make sure to give it a try then.” He then lets her go, sitting up in the bed as he glances at the clock.
“Don’t you have to qualify soon?” She then lets out a sigh, nodding her head. As much as she loved racing her truck, she wouldn’t mind lying around with Chase all day.
“Yep.” She then stands up, heading to the closet to grab her firesuit, as Chase gets up behind her. She then spins around, surprised.
“I am coming to watch you qualify, followed by seeing the guys before final practice. Then we can chill and wait till your race, which I am sitting on your pit box.” She was even more surprised by the assertion in his voice.
“Oh really? Are you sure you’re up to all that?” He nods his head as he pulls the drawer open, grabbing a pair of jeans. “Are you sure that your parents will let you do that?” He then glances over surprised.
“I’m an adult. I can do what I want…” She then rolls her eyes.
“Cindy is going to put up a fight…” He then pulls the jeans up, before walking over to her and stealing a kiss.
“Tough for her. I’ll be fine.” He then goes to find a shirt, as she focuses back on getting ready for the upcoming qualifying session.
Chase stood on pit road, satisfied with the session as he took a glance at the scoring pylon. A solid eighth-place starting spot was a good start as it was going to be a long race, with drama all the way around. As long as she played it cool, and Marcus was good with his adjustments, she’d be there at the end in contention to win.
After sharing a couple comments between them, he gave her a kiss and headed away. He knew that she had to talk for a bit about Marcus in regards to the session and their race strategy, so it was time to take advantage of the time that he had. There was a crew of guys who needed to see their driver for themselves as he made his way to the trailer.
He gives a wave to a couple other Hendrick Motorsports guys hanging around, before opening the door and heading inside.
“So we’re going with this set-up, followed by this one?” Josh questions as Alan nods his head. “Got it!”
“Does that mean we have lots of work to do between runs?” Jared Seate wonders as Chase crosses his arms, clearly not noticed by the guys with his entry.
“Oh Jared, you never want to do much work, huh?” Chase then joins in, catching a bunch of surprised glances.
“Chase!!” A couple of the crew guys let go, before tackling him with hugs.
“Easy guys….” Alan tries to calm them off with a laugh.
“You know that for you, I’ll always put in a full day’s work,” Jared then comments as Chase rolls his eyes.
“What am I? Chopped liver?” Justin Allgaier, who was filling in for Chase, questions as Chase laughs.
“Please tell me that you’re here to get rid of this little short ass.” Chase laughs once again as he glances between them. He knew the pair had a history together as Jared came over from JR Motorsports.
“Unfortunately, you’re stuck with him for the rest of the weekend,” Chase comments as Jared lets out a sigh. chase couldn’t help but agree with him as he wanted to be racing more than anything. But given how he was feeling earlier that morning and knowing that the feeling would probably come back, he knew he wasn’t ready for 400 miles tomorrow.
“You’re stuck with me, Jared!” Justin says as he pulls Jared close, causing a series of laughs through the trailer.
“So if you’re standing here, you can’t feeling that badly….” Jared Erspamer then joins in the conversation, catching Chase’s attention. “Of course, a little birdie told me that you’ve been here all weekend.”
“He’s kidding, right?” Jared Seate asks and Chase shakes his head no. “And you just came to see us now? How rude!”
“Did you watch Full House?” Alan questions as Jared smiles.
“Oh puhleeeeze, who didn’t watch that show?” Alan just rolls his eyes.
“For the record, I didn’t even leave the motorcoach at all yesterday so you weren’t just left out for no reason,” Chase starts, catching their attention. “I didn’t want to stay home because I wanted to be here to support Sarina. That said, I did not feel up to moving at all yesterday. As it is, this tour here, followed by the truck race, will probably eat up whatever energy I have made up. But I knew I couldn’t go a whole weekend without seeing you guys.”
“He loves us!” Jared Seate lets out, now taking a turn wrapping his arms around Chase.
“I thought you already would’ve figured that out a long time ago….”
“To be honest, speaking on behalf of everybody here, there’s nothing that we could do to make up for what you did last weekend,” Alan starts as he focuses his eyes on Chase. “I mean that from the bottom of my heart and we all discussed that when Josh and I told everybody. You put your ass on the line for us. That’s more than we can say for a lot of people that we’ve worked together, and we thank you.” The rest of the crew guys nod their heads in agreement with the boss.
“Well, you guys are like family to me,” Chase replies. “I mean, we spend the whole year together on this traveling circus, getting close, getting to know each other and each other’s families. You guys sacrifice all this time in your lives so you can make us the best that we can be on Sundays – basically, to the point where most people just give me the credit. I’ve always said that I wouldn’t change a single thing about this team, and I meant that.”
“So we’re not going to get traded around ever and sent away when the playoffs start like some teams?” Jared Erspamer questions and Chase shakes his head.
“Never, ever,” he assures them. “For the record, we work as a team and we do everything together – come high or low water. If things go wrong, we all accept the blame, work to improve, and go forward. That’s how it’s always been, right?” The guys nod their head. “So for that reason, you better give it your 110% for Justin on Sunday, okay?”
“Yes boss!” The guys let out together as Chase makes his way to the front of the group, wrapping his arms around Alan and Josh.
“And to both of you, don’t ever change. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Thank you for help with my absolutely crazed plan and thanks for getting me the help when I needed it – twice, now. It really means a lot to know how much you both care. And Alan, let’s not meet like that ever again.” Alan nods his head.
“I don’t want to repeat that, ever,” Alan assures him. “I love ya, buddy. I’d do it again in a heartbeat.”
“You’re coming back next week though, right?” Jared Seate questions, as Chase looks over at him.
“Are you really trying to get rid of me that badly?” Justin asks as Jared shrugs his shoulders.
“There was a reason I was glad to be leaving JRM for Hendrick….” Justin looks on shocked as the guys let out a bunch of cheers and laughs.
“If everything goes according to plan, I will be back next weekend at Watkins Glen,” he assures Jared, who lets out a big yes.
“Can you please convince Dale that he should work with us both so I can torture him?” Justin asks as Chase laughs.
“Unfortunately, I can’t do that. He was the one that convinced Sarina to call me, so I ow-”
“Save me this weekend?” Jared interrupts as Chase rolls his eyes.
“You’re on your own, this time buddy,” Chase tells him. “Cash in your favor another week. I’ll see ya boys later.”
Chase then heads out of the hauler, a smile firmly planted on his face. He couldn’t wait until he was back in the saddle next weekend.
Chase sits on the pit box, intently watching the action on track as he watches the laps count closer to the end of the event. Sarina had done a great job all day, running with the front runners, keeping herself in contention for a good finish, and possibly a win. Though taking a deep breath, he knew anything was possible on a late-race restart – good and bad.
“Oh shit!” He lets out as he watches the No. 18 truck go sliding up the track in turn one, hitting the outside wall. He watched them go into the corner with Chase Briscoe taking her and Kaz Grala three-wide. Briscoe then caught the corner of Kaz, which caused Kaz to hit her and send her up into the wall.
“I’m okay….” Sarina lets out immediately on the radio, using every ounce of energy to not start blasting both Briscoe and Grala over the radio.
“10-4,” Marcus replies. “You did an amazing job all day. Nothing you could do there. Just one of those deals. We’ll get them in a couple weeks.”
“Thanks for the amazing truck, boss.”