Thursday, July 6
Chase walked into the garage, smiling as some crew members from fellow teams walked over to ask how he was, followed by some other drivers. He simply answered their quick question, thanking them for the well wishes.
He makes his way into the motorcoach area, smiling as he lays his eyes immediately on Sarina. He walks over, pulling her close without any hesitation, followed by a kiss on the cheek.
“I’m surprised you survived a day without me,” he comments as she rolls her eyes.
“Just be glad that you haven’t heard half of the crap around here yet,” she tells him as he looks at her confused. “You got my text about Briscoe, right? Well, he was one of many with comments.” Chase firmly wraps his arms around her.
“Listen, those comments don’t bother me at all. I’m here to do my job, and that’s drive a racecar as far as I can and try to win for my team. If anybody wants to try and create other drama around us for whatever reason, let them, because it doesn’t faze me – same as the pressure, and whatever else. All that matters to me is what we have, together.” She smiles as she lifts his sunglasses off his face, looking into his eyes.
“Do you realize how special you are?” He chuckles as he takes his keys out of his pocket, twirling them around. He then reaches over, unlocking the door for the motorcoach.
“After you….” Sarina heads in first, with Chase going to follow her, before a hand lands on his shoulder.
“Can we talk first?” He hears and feels like rolling his eyes immediately as he turns around to face his mom. “Are you sure by what you told her? I mean, there’s going to be lots said. People are going to question your actions based on being with her after what Chris did. People are going question everything about her due to her brother, and her background – the same questions that I’ve been reminding you of. Are you ready for that to be thrown in your face?” Chase nods his head.
“Just like I told you on Monday, and will repeat 10 times over if need be, I have her back and nothing is going to change that,” he informs his mom. “Her brother’s actions are not her fault. That is his fault for choosing to do that for whatever reas-”
“What about the fact that she let it go on for longer than it should’ve?” Chase crosses his arms, having asked the question himself initially.
“There was no concrete evidence pointing him to the crime prior to Ryan’s admission and them finding the vials. Secondly, she loved her brother and wanted to believe in a future together reunited just like they were when they were younger. It’s understandable that she didn’t believe it. You wouldn’t believe it if someone close to you decided to do something like that, would you?” Cindy lets out a sigh, shaking her head.
“But you said it yourself – you didn’t know whether you could trust him. That should’ve been a warni-”
“It was a warning, and she did approach him so it wasn’t like she didn’t take any steps. I was guarded more than she was without a doubt, and reasonably so based on what happened. However, I will admit that I started to believe in the change for awhile there before a couple off-key conversations happened. So while you want to accuse her, you can accuse me the same thing because I also trusted him a little there.”
“There’s nothing that I can to say change your mind?” Chase shakes his head no. “You know, I do this because I love you and I want to protect you. I don’t want to see you hurt like that ever again, and I can’t help but look at her because that’s three times now. Normally it’s three times and you’re out. I also know what everybody in this garage is capable of doing with rumors and stories from your father, and I don’t want to see you go through that.” Chase places his hands on his mom’s shoulders as he keeps his eyes locked on her. If they were going to have this discussion, might as well get it all out at once.
“I appreciate how much you care for me, and how you’re looking out for me. But with all due respect, there’s nothing you need to worry about when it comes to Sarina. I won’t get hurt with her, and as I told her – what is said won’t bother me at all, no matter who says it. I’m a big boy; I can handle it.” He then gives her a hug. “I love you.”
“I love you, too.” He then turns on his heels and heads inside, slipping the door closed as his eyes set on Sarina who was sitting on the couch.
“The usual discussion?” Sarina questions and Chase nods his head. “Chase, I’m sorry….” He walks over, sitting beside her.
“I told you that you never have to apologize, right?” He asks and she nods her head. “Well then, don’t apologize. Besides, she’s starting to come around slowly. She told me that she is just doing this because of how much she cares about me, how she wants to protect me and what not. I think she’s beginning to see why I love you so much.” She smiles as she places her hand on his leg.
“Well how about you begin taking advantage of my caring nature and we go head back there, and relax for a bit? You’re supposed to be resting and building up that energy, huh?” He lets out a sigh and nods his head. “It’s going to be one of those rainy ass days so I say we spend it being as lazy as possible, together as much as we can, until I have to race tonight.”
“Do I have a welcome seat on your pit box tonight?” She smiles and shakes her head yes, remembering her discussion with Kyle.
“Let’s just say that the boss is glad that we are back together.” Chase was glad to hear that as he didn’t need to hear any backlash from Kyle.
“It’s probably because he knows it puts you in a better mood.” She chuckles as she stands up, pulling at his hand.
“Come on. You need to listen to doctor’s orders.” He lets out a sigh as he stands and follows her. He wasn’t one for spending time relaxing quietly, so it was tough to follow the orders of keeping quiet and being lazy. However, if he had to follow them, this was the best way possible.
“Yes, Nurse Ott.”
After a quiet afternoon, the pair ventured out to the garage area, where Sarina headed into the Kyle Busch Motorsports hauler for a pre-team meeting, followed by getting ready. The actions left Chase to himself in the garage area, obviously now surrounded by the same comments that Sarina heard the day before. Of course, they were heightened with the pair having being spotted holding hands.
“You look quieter than normal….” Chase hears and glances over, seeing Ryan leaning against a wall pillar.
“I could ask you why you look lost in a garage, but I’d assume that you’re here to watch Austin and Chase (Briscoe),” Chase replies as Ryan nods his head. “Besides, I’m normally quiet anyway.”
“Touché, but it just seems quieter, and I’ve heard all the comments that people have been saying. For the record, I have your back and I’m glad you guys are back to square one. As long as her brother stays locked away, I have no issues.” Chase walks over, leaning against the wall beside him.
“We’re both on agreement on that, and so is Sarina. She’s been checking in to make sure he isn’t pulling any tricks at all.” Ryan nods his head.
“And what about the comments?” Chase lets out a sigh as he glances around.
“I can’t deny what I’ve heard. I’m surprised by who has said some of the things, to be honest. I thought some of these guys in the garage were nicer and more understanding than that. I mean, hearing that Kyle only kept Sarina because she’s a girl, and hearing that I’m messing up my perfect life by aligning myself with a witch like her isn’t heartwarming.” Ryan couldn’t help but shudder at the comments. “But, for the most part, it doesn’t matter. I haven’t really listened to any of it and just let it blow over my head. I’m focused on two things – racing this weekend, and my girl.”
“So you’re for sure racing on Saturday night despite everything that happened?” Chase nods his head, feeling confident that he’d be able to endure the full 400 mile distance despite the heat and everything, even with still working at building his strength entirely back up. “Well, I wish ya the best of luck and hope you do well.”
“Right back at you.” The pair then fell quiet, waiting for their respective drivers as Ryan thought over whether to ask the next question.
“Has Sarina told you her thoughts on the comments at all?” Chase glances over, debating whether he should open up about the text message.
“Oh, about the fact that Austin approached her unfairly yesterday entering the garage with a bitchy comment? Yeah, that happened and she wasn’t pleased just because nobody would expect that out of him. You’d think Tim would’ve raised him better than that.” Ryan rolls his eyes, having heard the rough details from a couple crew members.
“I heard he apologized, though.” Chase nods his head. “I mean, I know that doesn’t excuse him, but hey, it’s something. Oh, and for the record, I have no agreement on that.”
“Other than that, she’s her usual self – focused on doing the best that she can and kicking his ass, fully without any other thought interrupting her. I mean, that’s what makes her so good – her focus. She will stay focused and keep pushing harder, and also take in whatever lessons she can. She was texting Christopher last night while texting me to get more advice.”
“They are on good terms?” Chase wasn’t quite sure how far that went, honestly.
“Working as teammates, and probably as friends too, but I won’t confirm it.” Ryan nods his head.
“Has she mentioned her brother or family at all?” Chase looks over confused. “We both said that it was going to be something that’d tear her apart and affect her emotionally. I was wondering if she began talking, if you don’t mind me asking.”
“She hasn’t said much, yet.” Chase glances down, before taking a deep breath. “Her tactic is to avoid everything, and focus on racing as her escape. I’m letting her do that right now, while continuing to assure her that I have her back. That way when it gets to where she wants to talk, she’ll open up to me rather than running away from it. That’s all I can do.”
“Well, I hope it works out because I want to see you both happy.” Chase smiles, wishing for the same thing.
“She deserves it.” They then smile as they watch her emerge from the hauler, dressed in her familiar white uniform with pony tail fixed appropriately, heading their way.
“Don’t be getting any ideas, Ryan,” she states with a smirk, walking up to Chase. “I see you staring…” Ryan then looks at her as innocently as possible.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about as I wasn’t looking at nothing,” Ryan comments as Chase gives him a glance.
“Just because white shows everything doesn’t mean that you need to stare,” Chase says as he wraps his arms around her. “We know you’re jealous of our relationship. When Emma stops her cock-blocking games, I’ll find you a girl.” Ryan just rolls his eyes as Sarina laughs.
“Keep talking all you want, but remember who got you with the orange juice.” Sarina’s smile immediately disappears, turning into a ice cold stare on Ryan.
“That prank war isn’t over by a long shot, Blaney,” she says before walking away.
“You started a war that you’re not going to win,” Chase adds as he follows her with a smile of his own. It was nice to be getting back to their joking ways.
Sarina leans against the truck, sipping on a bottle of water following her post-race interviews, smiling as Marcus and Chase make their way over.
“Solid rebound,” Chase comments as he gives her a hug. “That was a job well done, considering.” She couldn’t help but agree. After running up front all race, she got spun at the beginning of the third stage, but managed to fight back for a fifth-place finish.
“Thank you,” she replies. “I just can’t help but think should’ve, could’ve and would’ve. If we could’ve stayed up front, we would’ve been able to possibly fight for the win and should’ve been right there with Christopher.” She then lets out a sigh as she takes another mouthful.
“Don’t let it eat at you. You’re performing great for a rookie – just ask anybody. The wins and success will come if you keep running like you are. You’re doing great.” He gives her a pat on the shoulder as Marcus looks on, nodding his head in agreement.
“Kyle found a gem in you, and we’re going to show everybody that soon,” he adds. “We’re working towards that. We’re running up front – now we just need to put it all together. Patience, young grasshopper.” She smiles as she simply gives her crew chief a hug.
“As long as we survive a night on dirt, I won’t complain,” she comments, knowing the next truck race was at Eldora Raceway. “That’s a whole new ballgame for me so it’ll be interesting.” Marcus chuckles nervously, though wasn’t too worried after seeing others adjust quickly.
“You have a natural feel. We’ll be fine…”
“You can also ask Christopher for advice,” Chase adds and Sarina nods her head, though slightly surprised. She thought that Chase was all set on those two not talking following Christopher’s previous comments.
“Keep doing what you’re doing, focus on your thing, and everything else will fall into place,” Marcus reminds her. “I’ll see you next week.” He then heads off as she turns to Chase.
“He’s right. It’ll work out, everything….” He then pulls her into a hug, knowing that the spin was still eating at her, as he rubs her back.
As she thought it over, she knew being frustrated with the spin was small in comparison to everything going on. If that was the only complaint on the day, than perhaps it wasn’t too bad and maybe Marcus was right. Maybe it was time for that happy ever after, finally.
Though letting out a sigh and seeing a missed call on her phone, she knew that was further from the truth given everything going on. She shakes her head, wishing the accompanying thoughts would disappear again as she deletes the notification.