Short Track Lovin’ – Chapter 138: Chase’s Own Words Part 2

Sunday, August 20

“So you never saw my defendant touch your water bottle or place the drugs in it, did you?” The lawyer immediately asks and Chase bites his lips. Here came the lawyer’s way of showing doubt, which would hopefully get his client off. What did it matter? Chris was already going to jail for years….

“No, I did not,” Chase answers, truthfully. He knew he couldn’t lie, even if it would make his story better.

“So this is all based on your suspicion, guilty by association?” Chase wanted to curse up and down a wall right now.

“Correct, but I don’t see how it’d be different…” There was no way one of his guys or Sarina would’ve done it – and Allison wasn’t even a thought then.

“The bottle was located in your team’s trailer all weekend. What if a fellow Hendrick Motorsports employee with access tainted the liquid?” Chase almost laughed at the thought, while resisting the urge to punch the lawyer. There was no way he could watch his guys get accused.

“My guys are family, and trustworthy. We’re closer than you can probably ever imagine. None of them would ever do anything to hurt me.” He knew that for a fact, and couldn’t thank them enough for having his back through all this – on top of enduring the Indianapolis mess.

“It’s also nice that you have a history with Chris, and he never got convicted on those charges.” Chase wanted to state the answer once again, but knew that wasn’t needed as the jury heard the psychiatrist’s words. “Are you trying to pin these charges on my client out of revenge?” Now Chase really had to laugh even more.

“I wasn’t the one who initially filed the charges as the department did that based on evidence. I just went in, and gave my seal of approval because I know what Chris is capable of.” He remembered when they told him Chris had been charged. It was that moment his mind flashed to the discussion with Alan about the location of the bottle before he drank it. When it came to signing off on the charges, that came without a question.

“There’s another poisoning case going on with you associated in Indiana – Alison Stevenson. Let the court be known that it was same compound used there, as well. Could Allison been behind your attack this time, too?” Chase knew there was no way that Allison could be. Bethany – that was possible in a small sense, but never Allison.

“She did not have access to the bottle as it was first in my motorhome – accessed by myself, my girlfriend Sarina Ott, my parents – and then in the trailer, which is open to access by just Hendrick Motorsports employees. Allison is neither of those.” He could’ve also mentioned how she didn’t enter his life into later on that year at the pageant. Why did Hooters make him do that, again?

“And is it known that the poisons are accessible by others?” Chase felt confused immediately. Why would he know to locate these?

“I wouldn’t know.” That was the honesty at it’s best.

“Last question – if you were worried about Chris, why did you allow him to stay with you?” He couldn’t help but smile at the thought, as it was something he battled back and forth with.

“I did it as a favor for Sarina, actually. She trusted her brother enough and felt that he was turning a corner – and wanted to give him a full chance. She asked me, and I accepted. Like I said, I had my reservations – which never changed at all no matter what I said out loud to people, because of what he said to me. However, I was willing to open the door a little if she felt it was best. Obviously, that was a chance that I shouldn’t have taken.” Thinking it over, though, he knew even if he had not done that, Chris would’ve found another approach; that was how he was. It was the same way Allison got through to him.

“Thank you.” The lawyer goes back to her spot in the court room.

“You may step down,” the judge instructs and Chase does as instructed, biting his tongue the entire way. “We will resume court at the next date with continued testimony. Court adjourned!”

With those words spoken, the three friends immediately headed out of the court room, all focused on escaping that process as quick as possible and ready to get the vacation started.

As they reached the doors, they froze immediately, seeing the sea of reporters and microphones.

“You’ve got to be fucking kidding me!” Sarina lets out, causing both Ryan and Chase to grab her hands at the same time. Chase’s reaction was nothing new to her, but a glance towards Ryan and it was obvious she was surprised.

“There’s no public ban, remember?” Chase questions, remembering the discussion about that. “You said it yourself – he wanted us to testify, speak to what happened, and cause a stir in our lives. Whether that was his idea or Bethany’s, it’s all about tearing us piece by piece…” Ryan looked between the pair.

“And we’re not letting that happen, are we?” He asks and both shake their heads. “We’re the best of friends, focused on having fun together, our history together, and a vacation to come!” Ryan glanced around, seeing various people walk in and out of the court room. “Is anybody here from KBM or Hendrick?” Chase shakes his head, remembering the discussion.

“Morgan wasn’t scheduled to work today. She asked if she should come, but I told her that’d be unfair…” Now he instantly regretted that, as he pulled his phone out. He knew he should text her what happened and if he says anything as he leaves.

“…and Chris is busy with the Late Model guys,” Sarina adds, as Ryan curses to himself. He had no experience here, either.

“When everything began to come out, do you remember their advice?” Ryan questions, hoping they’d reach some answer.

“You don’t have to say anything,” Chase and Sarina repeat together, remembering the group discussion. “Ongoing investigations and trials have stipulations to where you cannot comment on certain things until everything is ove-”

“We are mid-trial, therefore legally you can’t say anything. Therefore, no matter the questions, the answer is this – we cannot comment at this time due to legalities.”

“When did you become so media savy?” Chase wonders as Ryan smiles.

“Since I started a podcast, which you seem to avoid coming on…” Ryan replies as Chase rolls his eyes, knowing how Ryan shoved that in his face constantly.

“Hey now, I’m busy….” Ryan laughs, having heard that excuse multiple times.

“If we’re going to make our flight, cut the bullshit and let’s get this over with!” Sarina demands, catching their attention once again. Trading glances across the line, the three of them walk forward together, going out the door as the sea of microphones and cameras focus on them.

“Chase Elliott, did the trail of events which took place change your view on Sarina?” One of the reporters immediately questioned. Chase takes a deep breath, repeating Ryan’s words through his head, as he tried to stop himself from something. But they were talking about his girl….

“We’re still together, right?” He questions, causing Ryan to curse to himself as he watched their plan blow-up. “We’re still in love. We’re here together, and actually always together. We’re going on a vacation together. What do you think?” Sarina bit her tongue, catching that bit of attitude at the end. That was not in his normal character, and she knew that’d cause a couple comments from everybody across the board. However, it was nice to hear him stand up for her.

“But was there any trust issues that came about as a result?” Chase knew the answer, but that was none of their business.

“No, but really – I have no more to say. The trial is still going on, and as Morgan told you – I cannot comment on legal preceding until they’re complete. Thank you.” He then tightens his grip on Sarina’s hand, pulling her through the crowd with him as everybody lost track of Ryan sneaking through.

The group makes their way through, before hurrying over to the Chevrolet Tahoe, immediately climbing in and shutting all the doors behind them.

“That was ridiculous!” Ryan comments as he sees the sea of reporters standing there, microphones in the air, cameras facing different directions. They were obviously waiting to see if anybody else important came out. “I mean, I’ve heard about celebrities being mobbed. I’ve never been mobbed – and that wasn’t close to being mobbed, but I never want to be mobbed.”

“Just wait until you see the crap that they write,” Chase adds, as he finishes texting Morgan. He told her about what happened, as well as a brief summary of what he said. “And I know I shouldn’t have said anything – but I had to. If I don’t say shit, then they’re going to write that we have issues and the relationship is for show. I don’t need your name dragged…” Sarina lets out a sigh as she glances out the window.

“Chase, it’s part of it,” she comments. “It’s not my fault that I’m related to him, and it’s not my fault what he did. It’s my family history, right? Everything that happened…” She then takes a deep breath, not believing that was being the calm one here. However, it was all about doing whatever Chase needed done. “It was going to come out at some point. I can’t keep running and hiding. But like you said, it’s time that I own it. It proves what I’ve been through, I’m strong, and showcases why I’m so thankful to be where I am today.” Chase smiles, not believing his advice was setting in.

“But what I mean is they would’ve dragged it furth-”

“Let them talk as it doesn’t matter. Who matters in my life? You, my friends, Kyle, Sam, my team, and those who truly believe what I have to say instead of some raggy ass paper. But, for what’s it worth, I am glad that you stood up for me…” She then leans in and kisses his lips with a smile of her own. “I love you, and thank you.”

“I’d do it all over again, to be honest…”

“Even if you get yelled at?” Ryan questions from the back, already getting that nagging third wheel feeling. Why couldn’t Bubba had joined them? “You know the attitude you showed at the end…” Chase leans back against the seat with a sigh.

“So maybe I took it a bit too far,” he comments. “And sure, I’m going to yelled at. I’ll own that. My reason? My damn vacation is getting interrupted! Now, are we ready to get going?”

“Why are we still sitting here in the parking lot, then? We have a flight to make!” Sarina questions as Chase smiles, pulling the keys out of his pocket.

“Amsterdam, here we come…..”

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Short Track Lovin’ – Chapter 137: Chase’s Own Words

Sunday, August 20

“Just think guys – tonight, we’ll be heading off to Amsterdam set for the time of our lives,” Ryan comments as they reach the court house doors together.

“Can we just go there now and forget this?” Sarina questions as Ryan holds the door open for her and Chase.

“I wish….” Ryan then follows them inside. “If we could get away with doing that, I would do it in a heartbeat.” If there wasn’t a piece of a paper and e-mail requesting Chase’s appearance, he knew that he’d be following Ryan’s request. “By the way, what happens if you don’t show up today by chance?”

“Unless I’m in a hospital or a jail cell, and can provide a note backing that up, I would be deemed in being in contempt of court,” Chase starts, causing a confused glance from Ryan. “An arrest warrant would be put out for my arrest, and I would go to jail for a minimum of 30 days, to a maximum of five years per Florida law. That was included in the package sent to me, by the way.”

“So maybe it’s a good thing we did listen, huh?” Chase nods his head as they enter the court room. “Although, if he went to jail, that’d free up a lot of things that we could just do togeth-”

“I heard that, Blaney!” Ryan laughs as Sarina just rolls her eyes.

“If he was sitting in a jail cell, then you’d be going on your own because I’d be trying to get his ass out,” Sarina informs him. “And by the way, there’s no way you’d survive this trip alone. You need someone to help your ass back to the hotel after the drinks…” Chase could only smile in response as he sat down, with his friends on either side of him.

“You do realize that I could’ve taken a lot of other friends other than you both?” Chase and Sarina then look over at Ryan, surprised.

“Then why don’t you call them up? I mean, you’re cutting in on the time that we’ve got alone together…” The smile on Chase’s face widened as Ryan tried to find the right words to say.

“You’re not going to win this argument,” Chase comments as he wraps an arm around Sarina’s shoulders for support, knowing she’d stiffen up as soon as her brother entered. There was also a mix of thoughts already based on the possibilities of the psychiatrist’s findings. “

“Please don’t tell me the whole trip is going to be this way….” Ryan begs as Chase just gives him a wink. Ryan went to say something, though stopped as he watched the clerk walk in and stand before the judge’s desk.

“All rise!” The clerk states, as they all rise together. As he did the same time they were in the court room, Chase clutches Sarina’s hand tightly with his own, keeping her held close as he watches them bring Chris into the room. Chase catches the glance that Chris throws his way with a smirk, and Chase focuses on giving him the most stone cold look he could muster in reply.

“And you’re worried about me….” Sarina whispers, catching Chase’s reaction immediately.

“I’m fine,” Chase replies. “He’s not bothering me in anyway. I’m just sending him a message.” Ryan could only chuckle at the thought.

“Chase a big tough guy?” He questions. “Nobody would ever believe that….” Chase then glances over at Ryan.

“Once we get outside, I’ll show you just how tough I can be when I kick your ass.” Sarina then took her turn glancing over, eyes in surprise.

“Oh really? We’ll just have to wait and see…”

“YouTube Gold!” Sarina lets out, perhaps a little louder than intended as a couple eyes look her way. She immediately looks down, cheeks turning red, as the boys quietly chuckle. “Of course you’d both get me in shit…”

“This is going to be a great week,” Ryan comments.

“Judge Reynolds preceding!” The clerk announces as the doors open for the judge enter.

“So what’s the charge for telling the judge he’s a jackass for ruining our vacation plans?” Chase and Sarina both chuckle again.

“When you go up there, you should steal his gavel,” Sarina adds as Chase chuckles a little louder.

“I thought your goal was to keep me out of jail,” he comments as she shrugs her shoulders.

“It’s only a criminal offense if you get caught, right?” He looks over surprised as Ryan just smiles.

“And my only thought was just to tell him what we thought of him, and here goes the lady with the greatest suggestion of all-time,” Ryan comments as Sarina glances at Chase with a smile.

“I have his seal of approval,” she says as Chase rolls his eyes.

“You obviously don’t know what you’re in for this week,” he says, though had to admit it was probably going to be an amazing experience.

“Please be seated,” the judge states, as they all sit down together, trying to hide their smiles and giggles from the discussion. “We begin with the findings of our court psychiatrist, Dr. Hugh Greenfield.” The psychiatrist walks to the front of the room, taking his spot in the witness box. Chase had quietly crossed his fingers, hoping for the answer that they needed to hear to move forward.  “Did you evaluate the defendant, Chris Dryer, as requested by the courts?”

“I did, your honor,” the psychiatrist answers – as expected. Sarina just wanted to see the questioning move ahead.

“Can you speak to the defendant’s state of mind, please?” Chase took a deep breath, fingers still crossed, also perhaps trying to cross his toes in his shoes.

“I found the defendant, Chris Dryer, to have a complete sane mind as the next individual. He answered everything clearly. When we spoke of the case and events, he showed signs of trying to act insane – but none of those were matched with actual insanity. The suspicion that he may try to use it as a cover-up and not be is very found.” Sarina smiles as it was nice to hear a psychiatrist confirm what everybody had said for months.

“So, to continue with the trial and have him go to jail would be correct according to the theory?” Chase knew the answer to come, and couldn’t help but glance towards Chris to see if he was disappointed.

“Yes, indeed. There is nothing that should stop that process.” Sarina and Chase squeeze each other’s hands a little tighter in approval.

“Thank you. You may step down.” The psychiatrist then leaves the stand as Chase takes a deep breath. He knew what was next. “Now, we can carry the trial forward, as originally planned. Second witness, please…”

“We would like to call Chase Elliott to the stand please,” the attorney states as Sarina reaches over, giving him a quick kiss.

“Just tell it as it happened and tell the truth, and it’ll work out,” she tells him. “I love you.” He smiles, slowly letting go of her hand.

“Love you, too,” he replies before making his way to the front. Sitting down in the witness box, he takes a deep breath. He should be in a comfy t-shirt and shorts right now on a plane headed to Ambersterdam, not sitting in a box in a suit. Maybe stealing the gavel was a good idea…

“Do you swear to tell the truth and nothing but the truth?” The clerk asks as Chase holds his hand up, focusing back on the trial. If he had to tell the truth, maybe he should tell the judge what he thinks of this vacation ruining plans….

“I do,” he simply replies, eyes focused forward as he didn’t even want to look at the judge right now. He watches as the attorney stands up, walking over to begin her questioning. He could easily smack the attorney instead of the judge; the attorney was the one who issued the subpoena, after all.

“Mr. Elliott, can you take us back to that night in July, please?” The attorney asks as Chase thinks it over, wondering where he should begin.

“I got done the race – crappy finish.” He could only think about how the end of the race didn’t go his way, thanks to Michael McDowell being his usual douche self. He still wanted to kill Michael for the tweet, too. “I talked it over with my team, before heading into the hauler – I normally chill out a bit, before flying home. I grabbed a bottle of juice from the fridge, began to drink it as I laid in the lounge. The symptoms started to come over me, and I remember thinking of calling the guys. Alan showed up, and called upon the crew guys, and they got Greg and the medics. I was then taken to hospital with poisoning.”

“Let the record show that it was same poisons used for all the previous cases, even those in which Mr. Dryer has pled guilty, too.” Chase knew the connection was enough to create suspicion. Now when combined with Chris’ history with Chase, the charges were eventually laid. “The bottle came from the fridge into the team hauler. Can you explain the connection to the defendant?”

“I filled it with juice and brought it from my motorhome to the trailer on Friday, as I usually do at the beginning of the weekend so I have a drink there if I want. Chris had access to everything in the motorhome as he was staying there with myself and Sarina, and well, everybody else was getting poisoned by him, so it just makes sense.” He knew how that came across, and knew there was a 50/50 shot at the jury believing him right now. It was worth the chance, though.

“You have a history with Chris, though….” Chase nods his head, knowing that he could never forget their previous encounters.

“That’s why this is not a surprise to me, and why we connected the dots immediately. I mean, he pushed me down the bleachers at the Winterdown Showdown, and messed with my plane twice.” The attorney crosses her arms.

“Why wasn’t he convicted either time, then?” Chase smiles, as he glances over at Chris, glad the games were up.

“Because they found him to be insane, therefore requiring mental help rather than going to jail – when meanwhile, he was just making it seem that way. I mean, he even told me that in California. He told me before he pushed me that he knew he’d get caught, but it was okay because they’ll just take him to the hospital and try to fix him, failing like they have every other time.” Chase knew he could never forget those words as they were spoken to him, or the tone that Chris had decided to use that day, either. It was why he never forgave him despite the strides made with Sarina, and why he began to keep an eye on him. Too bad he hadn’t kept a better eye out….

“Thank you.” Chase’s eyes immediately focus over to Chris’ lawyer, knowing the series of questions were about to come flying and obviously, they were supposed to throw him off his game.

However, he was ready for it. Like Sarina said, he just needed to speak the truth.

Short Track Lovin’ – Chapter 136: NRA Bristol Night Race 500

Saturday, August 19 – Bristol Motor Speedway

Still feeling stressed about what happened, Sarina changed into a pair of yoga pants and a t-shirt, grabbing her phone and a pair of headphones before going outside.

She didn’t know what route she was going to take, but having been to Bristol many times, she knew different ways to leave the motorcoach area, get a good size jog in, before returning back without getting lost.

She chooses her route, before bringing up her list of ultimate Demi Lovato songs, placing the head phones in, and beginning.

No matter what it seemed Chase, Marcus or anybody said, she couldn’t get rid of the disappointment from Wednesday.

She strived on winning and always put focus on producing the best results possible. For her coming up through the ranks, it was all about perfection – finding every little mistake and making sure to fix it immediately so it never happened again. If she had made any mistakes, they always cut her at the core as if she wasn’t supposed to do those. It was what made her so strong because you rarely saw her make one behind the wheel of her late model, putting herself in a position to be there when it counted.

Maybe she pushed for perfection there because nowhere else in her life were things even close to perfect.

She couldn’t help but think about her brother in the midst of everything. How could things have gotten this twisted? Why wasn’t something done sooner? Why weren’t the attempts to help him ever working? Why couldn’t she let go of the last bit of her that wanted to reach out, hold him and help him, even with everything he had done?

She wanted the blame his faults simply on their father’s death, but that would be wrong. Daddy wasn’t to blame as this started before his death – it was actually partially why he died.

Stopping for a moment, she reaches up and wipes away the stray tear, feeling every bit of her missing her father. She wished she could hug him just one more time. She wished he could tell her a story, give her a kiss, or say something to make everything better like he would. She even partially hoped he could put the family back together.

There was nothing wrong about living in North Carolina and truthfully, she enjoyed the company. Never could she ever complain about Chase as he was everything she’d describe – even if he denied it. She also loved Kyle and Samantha, having grown close to both of them so far in her time at KBM. She even liked Brexton, which was strange as she never got along with kids usually. She also loved her team and even Chase’s guys – no matter how much they may annoy her at times. Then there was Ryan – he was not such a bad guy, even if he was a pranking genius.

She knew that in hindsight, she could be thankful for where she had gotten in her life, thankful for those around her, and thankful for how she had turned every negative into a positive. But yet, taking a deep breath, she couldn’t help but look back at times.

Unlike Bethany told her, she’d never forget her journey. It was what fueled her to push even harder moving forward. Perhaps that’s why defeats like Wednesday were so hard to accept.

Beginning to turn around and head back, she immediately smiles upon listening to the lyrics.

And we walk together into the light, and my love will be your armor tonight,” are sung from the song at random. “We are lionhearts, and we stand together facing a war, and our love is gonna conquer it all. We are lionhearts.”

She knew even in the darkest of doubts, she was never alone as Chase was always there to comfort her, give her advice, and even try and shoo away those feelings from a rough night. Sometimes, she had to admit – she didn’t know what she’d do without him now.

Feeling her stress leave her and odd sense of relaxation with each step of the jog, his words began to set in more and more. She had done her best behind the wheel, and made no mistakes herself as a driver. She was also a rookie and certainly learning was part of the experience. She also knew the doubts in the team and sponsor needed to run away as he was right, nobody showed signs of giving up yet.

As Kyle told her back at the beginning of the year, she needed to enjoy the moment, live it up, learn and do her best – rather than rest all the pressure on the results. Reaching the motorcoach lot, perhaps it was time she really begun to let those words sink in.

“Sarina?!?” She hears, pulling the one side out as she glances around the corner. She then smiles, as she sees Kyle there. “It is you!”

“Who else would you be expecting?” She wonders as Kyle just shakes his head, while keeping an eye on the dog.

“Look, you better get your ass in your motorcoach and tell your boy where you’ve been. He sent me a couple paniced text messages when he woke up alone.” Sarina then looks on surprised, as she pulls her phone out of her pocket. She wanted to curse herself, having missed those notifications while lost in her thoughts and music.

“Oh shit! I thought he would’ve stayed asleep….” Kyle then chuckles as he keeps an eye on her.

“On race morning? Are you sure you know that boy, well?” She then curses herself, again, knowing that Kyle was right. Even though the race wasn’t until 7 o’ clock that night, he’d be up on cloud nine excitement.

“Sorry about him bugging you…” Kyle waves it off as she carries forward.

She hurries to the motorcoach, entering the four key numbers before inserting the key and going inside. She makes her way quickly to back of the bus, where she finds him sitting up in bed, phone in hand. He instantly looks up as she enters the room, surprise written on his face.

“You went for a jog?” He questions, noticing the sweat and outfit, and she can only nod her head. “Why didn’t you leave a note or anything?” She then sits on the edge of the bed, slipping her shoes off. She knew she needed a good shower now.

“I didn’t think you’d wake up before I got back,” she answers as he rolls his eyes.

“It’s race morning. What else do you think?” She then lets out a sigh, remembering Kyle’s words, slightly chuckling. “What?”

“Kyle just said the same thing…” Chase then kicks the blankets off, crawling to the front of the bed where she sat.

“I don’t mean to be worried or if I’m being a little paranoi-”

“Chase, I get it…” She then looks back at him. “I understand the worry and fear and everything. I mean, the last time we got separated alone at a track, look what happened. I can understand that going through your mind and affecting you, even though you say it was no big deal. Kyle gets it, too, as he knows how much you care about me. I’m sorry for worrying. I should’ve left a note.” He then picks up her phone, eyes still focused back on hers.

“And what about this?” She lets out a sigh, switching the screen to her playlist.

“I was lost in the lyrics and my thoughts. I didn’t realize it was a text notification. I’m sorry…” He then lets out a sigh as he sets the phone back down.

“It’s okay. I’m not upset. I’m just….” He runs his hands through his hair as he flops back on the bed. “I can’t describe how empty and worried I was when I woke up and saw the other half of the bed empty. It was an odd feeling…which is strange…” She could only smile in response.

“Some people would call that love, Chase. Others would say it’s reasonable and psychological reaction to what you’ve been through. I’m going to say a bit of both.” He then sits back up.

“So I’m not insane for lighting Kyle’s phone up when you didn’t answer me within 30 seconds of sending a message?” She laughs and shakes her head. “Okay, that makes me feel better.”

“I’ll make sure to leave you a note, okay?” He nods his head. “Now, I’m going to grab a shower before we head out…”

“Good idea. You’re all stinky and sweaty.” She then puts her face within inches of his.

“But I bet you’d still kiss and cuddle me…” He smiles, leaning in for a kiss.

“I can never deny that.” She laughs as she gives him a kiss back, before heading to the bathroom. Chase grabs his phone off the night stand, checking a couple left over text messages, before glancing at his e-mails. There was one from the attorney in Florida, which caught his attention immediately as he opened it up. “Ugh!!!! Are you kidding me?!?” He wanted to chuck a pillow across the room in response.

He immediately found himself texting Ryan, seeing if a slight change in the travel plans was able to accommodated for. Ryan, knowing they had no choice in the matter, easily accepted, sending Chase back a slightly revised schedule. Chase glanced over it, making an adjustment of his own, before returning back to his friend.

“Of course this would happen,” he comments to himself as he sends an e-mail back to the attorney, before setting his phone back down on the night stand.

“What would happen?” Sarina questions, having returned from her shower. She kept it real quick, wanting to make sure she got a good bite to eat with Chase before they began their rounds.

“We’re not leaving to go to Amsterdam now until late Sunday night rather than tomorrow morning.” She then looks at him confused.

“Weather delay? Or for some reason did our flight get moved?” Chase shakes his head as he could only wish it was one of those reasons.

“The attorney texted me. The psychiatrist is done his evaluation on his brother, as requested by the lawyer. The judge would like the findings to be heard in court. At the same time, your brother’s dear lawyer said we don’t need to be wasting time in regards to the trial as if Chris is innocent, he shouldn’t be stuc-”

“He pled guilty to poisoning four other people….” Chase nods his head, clearly remembering that.

“But the psychiatrist findings may clear him of jail time due to insanity.” Sarina rolls her eyes, knowing the games that Chris pulled to make them think he was crazy. He had already done it twice. “So therefore the lawyer wanted it move up immediately. The only reason we have been delaying is due to my schedule. Since there’s no racing on Sunday and an opening at the court house, request was processed to move up the next hearing.” Sarina could already see where this was headed.

“….and since the judge just so happens to be such a great person and love us so much that everything has gone against us in his power so far, he just so happened to agree?” Chase nods his head.

“Not only are we going to hear from the psychiatrist before we leave, but I also have to file my testimony as the request was filed for the next witness to stand, too, by the same said judge – which is obviously me. So my final thoughts before flying off to another country are going to be this case.” Sarina could only shake her head in annoyance and laugh.

“Why am I surprised anymore, really?” Chase shrugs his shoulder.

“Thankfully, Ryan was able to re-book our flights without extra charge or problem. So once we’re done, we can say goodbye and forget everything…” Sarina simply nods her head in response. “Sarina?”

“It’s my brother, so naturally, I want to tell myself it’s my faul-”

“Sarina, what have I said about tha-”

“Chase, I know what you’ve said!” She then takes a calming deep breath as she places her hands on the small dresser. “I remember your words. My brain is telling me those words over and over, but my heart is not believing it. My heart keeps saying otherwise because of the fact it was my heart that reached out and cared for him.” Chase stands up, walking over, placing a hand on each of her shoulders.

“You know, I don’t ever hold that against you. I told why that was still okay. Your heart wanted to last for the past, for the love, for the good moments, for that family bon-”

“Chase, I know. You don’t need to repeat it, again. I just need to make my brain the primary focus on that so it can cut that feeling off…” Chase nods his head, accepting, as he rubs her shoulders.

“Well, whatever you need, whether it be someone to talk to, advice to hear, a shoulder to cry on – I’m here, always.” She nods her head, knowing that with certainty now.

“I have to admit – those hands on my shoulders feel pretty good right now…” He then smiles as he rubs a little more deeper.

“You seem a little tensed up….” She then smiles, knowing that was obvious. “Are you taking advantage of the situation to get a shoulder massage?” She then glances over her shoulder back at him.

“Is that a problem, Mr. Elliott?” He smiles, continuing to rub her shoulders.

“Never….”

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

Chase leans against the car on his grid, set to get the night started. He needed a distraction as he didn’t want to think about the trial anymore than he had to.

He knew it was simple as going in there tomorrow, saying what happened, and leaving without any more to do. However, he couldn’t help but feel the butterflies.

“So of course you had to go and mess up the perfect travel plans….” Ryan says as he walks over, catching Chase’s attention.

“Do you really think I wanted to do that?” Chase questions as Ryan joins him, leaning against the car. “I mean, I’d rather do anything than sit in a court room with that guy, or talk about him for that matter.”

“Now you know how I felt…” Chase nods his head. “And trust me, I’m not upset one bit. I get it and it’s fine. I mean, we’re still going to have a spectacular time away.” Chase couldn’t help but agree based on what they had planned.

“Think we can keep outta trouble for a week?” Ryan laughs as he looks at Chase with surprise.

“I thought we were supposed to get into trouble?” Chase rolls his eyes. “Really, though, there’s one worry that I have – your girlfriend.” Chase then looks over suddenly, surprised.

“What about Sarina has you nervous or worried?” Chase almost felt like kicking Ryan’s ass in the moment, too.

“I can’t sleep with that girl in the roo-”

“You did when we were in Florid-”

“Do you know the nightmares that I have?” Chase then looks on confused. “From the condoms in the bed, to hearing Barney sing over and over to the point my ears bleed.” Chase could only laugh with a smile, as he knew exactly where the comments were coming from.

“So let’s just forget that you messed with her macaroni, and you also gave her a donut which was really broccoli underneath the powder.” Ryan smiles, proud of what he had accomplished so far.

“Dude, she set me up on a date with a robot!” Chase couldn’t help but laugh, remembering Ryan’s reaction.

“For one, I can’t believe you fell for that. For two, she just felt bad for you. She thought you were lonely and needed compa-”

“So then why did she kick my ass at cards?” Chase shakes his head, no answer in mind.

“Because she’s damn good to the point that I can’t even beat her.” Ryan knew that was true.

“All I’m saying is that I have a right to be nervous.” Chase nodded his head.

“But that goes both ways, and she still agreed to come on the trip with us. I mean, she knows she’s got something coming after the robot. As long as you don’t strike, maybe she’ll let you off scott free all trip.” Ryan then laughs as he rubs his hands together.

“Not so fast, buddy boy. Don’t think you’re getting your girl out of my hands that quickly. She’s got a couple tricks coming…” Chase could only roll his eyes and wonder as what those were.

“Just promise me that you’ll keep it in good taste and not hurt her? I don’t want to have to kick your ass!” Ryan then takes a couple steps back.

“Are you becoming protective over her? I mean, are you that deep in love?” Chase smiles as he glances up pit road where she was talking to Samantha and Brexton. “Oh my gosh, I never thought I’d see the day….”

“She’s pretty amazing, Ryan. How could I not fall head over heels?” Ryan smiles.

“And let’s just remember how nervous you were to even say hi to her, and how you needed a pair of wingman to kick off the conversation.” Chase laughs, remembering that afternoon.

“But did you have fun?” Ryan couldn’t deny that as he continued smiling. “And by the way, I didn’t say it then because you didn’t deserve it – but thank you.” Chase then turns around, noticing she was headed their way. “Now, don’t you have a place to be, like your own car?”

“I guess. Good luck!”

“Same to you, buddy…” Ryan then heads off as Chase watches Sarina walk back his way, just smiling. They had certainly come a long way in a couple short years.

Ultimately, he wished the race would’ve gone in a way to make him smile as much as he was in that moment. He had started off strong, running up front and laying down good lap times – till Harvick ruined that, getting into him, turning him around. Instead of getting a nice solid top-10 or maybe even contending for the win, he ended up 18th.

So far, things weren’t starting off as planned…..

Short Track Lovin’ – Chapter 133: Feeling the Pressure

Saturday, August 12 – Michigan International Speedway

Sarina smiles after giving Chase a quick kiss, before walking over to the truck.

It had been a quiet morning so far as she had watched Chase take part in Cup practice, still pleased with how the No. 24 Chevrolet was performing. The pair then spent time grabbing a light bite to eat together, not much conversation, before heading out to pit road about 20 minutes before qualifying.

Sarina had been quiet most of the morning, lost in her own thoughts. This was where she grew up. This was where her journey had begun as a little girl. This was where she had spent the first 13 years of her life before everything got twisted around. Needless to say, for all the reasons above, she wanted to perform this weekend. She wanted to do well at her home track. She wanted to do well to put everything negative behind her.

Chase crossed his arms as he kept his eyes locked on her, taking a deep breath. Admittedly, it’d been tough to read her emotions. Sometimes she was confident and focused as always, while other times she was quieter than he could’ve imagined. He read some of the anger from her, as well as the sadness; it was why he had suggested story time the night before. He also spent that night cuddling her as they slept, and holding her after breakfast following some more comments. He couldn’t be disappointed, though, as at least she was opening up a little rather than running. It was nice to see the trust building more and more each passing day.

“Yo, is everything okay?” A voice catches Chase off-guard as he turns to the source. He immediately felt like rolling his eyes as he saw Christopher standing there.

“Everything’s fine,” he replies. “Why are you concerned?” Christopher glances towards Sarina, who was talking with Marcus, before eyes back on Chase.

“She’s quieter than normal, and you’re standing back here observing. It just doesn’t seem like you guys…” Chase smiles as he looks at Christopher; he had to admit that he was good.

“What are you talking about me not being observant? You were around when I was late model racing. How many times did I walk off to watch?” Christopher shrugs his shoulders.

“It’s not like this…” Chase sighs as he crosses his arms.

“Everything is fine between Sarina and I. It’s just, this is home for her. She wants to do well so badly. She wants to perform to the best of her ability. She’s also feeling some emotions, and fighting those. Needless to say, it’s a bit of roller coaster…” Christopher nods his head as he thinks it over. He knew Sarina’s backstory wasn’t pretty.

“So basically you’re standing back to make sure that she’s okay?” Chase nods his head. “And she’s like she is because of everything and maybe even feeling the pressure, some?” Chase nods his head. “That’s reasonable. Look, I didn’t want that to look like I felt you guys were having issues or trying to break ya’ll up, or whatever. I was just concer-”

“I know. Sarina told me that you guys had a heart-to-heart and you’re cool with things. I get it. You’re almost like a big brother to her at KBM, which sometimes she needs that.” Christopher now looked at Chase in surprise.

“Are we really finding a compromise after everything?” Chase laughs and nods his head.

“Surprising, as you barely lived after your comments in California.” Christopher laughs, remembering how he was doing everything in his power to break them up then.

“I don’t blame you for that, really. But I mean, I realize how much you mean to her, and she means to you. I mean, nobody should argue that after Indy.” Chase nods his head, as he lets out a sigh. He wished he could forget that whole experience – well, except for the meeting with Casey.

“I just did what I felt was right in the moment.”

“You did more than just the right thing, Chase. I hate to cut this short but I have to go quali-”

“Go before you get in trouble!” Christopher then gives him a nod as he heads off.

Chase remained in the same spot through the whole session, eyes focused on Sarina, then the scoring board, then the truck on track, followed back to her. The session ended up going quicker than he expected, and smoother as he didn’t see any cause for alarms. On top of that, she had a decent run, placing the truck fifth on the board.

“What do you think of our little superstar?” Marcus asks as he walks over and Chase just smiles.

“I think she did a great job,” he replies as he pulls her into a hug. “Truck looked good out there, and decent speed. Fifth is nothing to be bummed about.”

“I’m happy,” she comments with a smile. “We can do a lot from there. Just need to be calm, focused, not make any mistakes, and have a solid day.”

“That’s my girl!” Marcus says, giving her a high-five before walking away.

“Are you sure you’re okay?” Chase asks as he looks into her eyes, and she just nods her head.

“I’m ready for what the day is going to bring me, not set to focus on anything else!” She tells him as he just smiles in return. “But thank you for being there this morning, caring, and asking.”

“I’m just doing what I need to do for you, because I love you…” She nods her head as she keeps herself leaned against him.

“You better be careful this weekend too though, mister. You’re still fresh off what happened.” Chase lets out a sigh, having heard reminders already from his parents and Alan.

“Trust me – I’m watching everything and keeping tabs. I’m feeling great.” She then looks up at him.

“You’re not just saying that to get me off your back either, right?”

“Straight up honest.” She then kisses his lips quick, before they head back through the garage. “Oh, I got a phone call today…” She then looks at him, confused. Normally, he didn’t announce these things. “Our attorney wondered if we were open to deal maki-”

“Are you freaking kidding me?” Chase smiles, having expected that reaction.

“I basically told her the same thing. However, there’s an argument to be made about Bethany’s involvement. Some people suspect maybe she was behind what happened to Ryan and I.” Sarina could only laugh.

“Come on Chase, really? Do you honestly believe that shit? I mean, we know my brother was behind all those incidents…” Chase wanted to spit back the same belief, but he wasn’t quite satisfied yet.

“To be fair, there’s no exact proof that Chris di-”

“He handed the bottle directly to Rya-”

“What about mine?” Sarina then stops and faces Chase, causing him to freeze and turn to face her. “That bottle was brought into the trailer by myself out of the fridge. What if she laced that bottle in hopes that you would drink it? They’ve been in discussion so she could’ve had access to everything, or been the key to him getting his hands on it.” Sarina then crosses her arms, surprised.

“So you’re saying that we should play with the devil’s cards and deal?” He shrugs his shoulders.

“I’m just toying with the possibility, that’s all. But for the record, I told her that I had no interest in making a deal with Chris, ever.” Sarina lets out a sigh. She didn’t want to have to go into lecture mode after all the work it had taken her at the police department those first couple of days to get them to where they were now.

“Thank God…” They then continue walking as Chase debates whether to carry the conversation forward.

“She then asked whether I wanted to strike a deal with Allison. I straight up told her that I was through with her after the threats placed on you, the team, everybody, and what I’d been through. She understood that, and told me striking the biggest sentence possible was up for grabs.” Chase then takes a deep breath, remembering his words. “But then she mentioned how Allison’s dealings may be due to Bethany. Now recall Bethany gave you the threat and comments, followed by landing that photo in your lap. So I am going to assume there’s a connection. Now how does that work? I don’t know.”

“Bethany has always been just words. She can’t deal things herself. I couldn’t see her forcing Allison directly, but she may have talked the right words to get Allison to go with what she wanted.” Chase smiles as he thought the same thing in the conversation with the attorney.

“Conspiracy, please?” Sarina nods her head.

“So, you told her to go forward with a deal then?” Chase wouldn’t put it that far.

“I told her that there may be a conspiracy, and if she could explore and exploit that out of Allison, then maybe we could lower the sentence just a touch but not much at all because of my pure anger and the level of what she did. I mean, I don’t want Bethany to walk if she’s conne-”

“Oh, she’s connected alright. She visits Chris on a regular basis if you look at the visitor log. I’m going to take full bet that she had some connection to Allison, and I would so love to see that revealed.” Chase smiles as he looks over at Sarina.

“So you’re okay with what I told her, right?” Sarina nods her head.

“The Allison situation is yours alone so how you choose to go about that, I back you 100% fully no matter what.” He smiles as he wraps an arm around her.

“And your brother is your family, so no matter what, I back you fully there.” She smiles, but they already both knew the direction that was going.

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

Sarina lets out a sigh as she leans back against the truck, looking down pit road. It was almost surreal to be standing there right now, set to start in a NASCAR national event at her home track.

Was this really happening?

Glancing up at the crowd, she wondered if any of her high school mates were amongst the fans there. She also wondered if maybe they recognized her, too, and were set to cheer for her. Letting out a sigh, she sometimes missed those gals after having to pick up and leave the state.

“So you set me up on a date?” A voice chimes in, catching her attention as she spins around and smiles. This was certainly a good distraction.

“You need a girl Blaney,” she replies as Ryan just rolls his eyes. “I figured I’d help you out with some company tonight.” Ryan then crosses his arms.

“I don’t know a single thing about her. I don’t even know what she looks like, her personality, name, or age. I mean, can’t I know something?” Sarina shakes her head. “Okay, so what if I show up at this meeting place and I get kidnapped?”

“That won’t happen, Ryan; I’m not that evil. Besides, I’ll be hidden somewhere to make sure that it’s the right girl and nothing happens to you.” Ryan then looks at her with a glance of surprise. “I’m serious!”

“For some reason, I trust you….” He then gives her a pat on the shoulder. “Good luck…” He then walks away as Chase glances between the pair confused.

“Don’t ask…” Chase then gives an intrigued look to Sarina, who can only laugh. “Just make sure you’re there around 8 o’ clock tonight.”

“Another prank?” He questions as Sarina shrugs her shoulders, grabbing his hand.

“Like I said, don’t ask. Besides, it’s time for opening ceremonies….” Chase lets out a sigh as he stands by her, taking it all in.

The race that day went smoothly as Sarina ran up front all day long en route to scoring a solid seventh-place finish. She wasn’t overly excited, but she was pleased – it was a decent finish and that’s what she needed right now. She knew they could build on that in the weeks to come.

As promised, she found her hiding spot, alongside Chase, later on that night in the motorcoach lot. Glancing at her watch, she saw Ryan show up when he was supposed to per her original text message. She could only laugh as she glanced down the alleyway, cuing up her little project.

“Should I ask?” Chase wonders once again as Sarina laughs, shaking her head.

“Ryan is in for a surprise,” she offers with a smirk. She then turns the controls on, and hits a button. Chase could only watch in amazement as this robot came out of the alleyway, turning the corner, and walking up to Ryan.

“That looks almost real….” Sarina could only smile a little more.

“It pays to know smart people….” Chase rolls his eyes.

“Are you Mr. Ryan Blaney?” The robot then speaks, per it’s program, impressing Chase.

“Yes,” Ryan replies, taking a couple glances at it. “Are you Marybeth?”

“I am Marybeth…” Ryan then walks around her in a circle, as Sarina spins the robot around. “Is there a problem?”

“Yeah….” Ryan then tries to look behind a couple close bushes. “Your owner is a jackass!” Sarina burst out laughing as she stands up from her hiding spot.

“Really?” Sarina questions as Ryan looks over, shaking his head. “Admit it, though – I had you going for a good couple minutes.”

“You’re evil….” Ryan then walks over to where Sarina is. “Really evil. Like, you won’t want to know what prank I am going to have for you next for this one, missy.” She then laughs.

“I could let you dance with her if that makes you feel better.” Ryan just flips the bird as he walks away.

“Are you pouting, Ryan?” Chase questions as Ryan looks back. “Seriously, man, she may be evil, but I am willing to offer you to come hang out for a couple board games tonight.”

“Are you sure she’s going to play fair?” Ryan wonders with a glance towards Sarina.

“I never cheat,” she comments as Ryan rolls his eyes.

“Do you believe her?” Chase just laughs.

“Relax – I can catch any time that she’s cheating so she won’t pull one over on you,” Chase says as he walks over to Ryan. “I have to say, though – she got you good.”

“Evil….” Ryan comments again as Sarina burst out laughing, while going to pick her toy.

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

Sunday, August 13

Sarina smiles as she walks over to Chase, giving him a high-five.

“Nice job,” she comments as he just smiles in response. It had been another solid race with a eighth-place finish for the No. 24 Chevrolet.

“Thank you,” he replies. “It wasn’t too bad. Could’ve been better if those restarts wouldn’t been that messy, but not bad…”

“They’ll come with practice.” He smiles as he gives her a kiss.

“I’m going to go see Alan, and then we can head out, okay?” She nods her head as he hurries off.

“Sarina!” She hears as she’s about to run off after Chase. She then turns, watching Kyle head her way. She wondered whether he was in a good mood or not, considering it’d just been a solid 10th-place day for him.

“Hey Kyle,” she replies. “Nice run.” He nods his head, accepting.

“It was alright….I guess. Look, I just wanted to remind you about tomorrow morning’s meeting at KBM. I’m going to be there and I don’t want you to miss it.” She then looks at him intrigued.

“I don’t ever miss a meeting, Kyle….” He knew that, but was being rather safe than sorry.

“You have a good attendance record according to Marcus. It’s nothing bad tomorrow, but I just want to make sure you and Christopher are both there. I want to talk about this upcoming week at Bristol, and some tips, and I don’t want you to miss out. Considering your short track background, this is really a good chance for you to break out of your shell and really perform.” She nodded her head, accepting. That thought was already on her mind. She just wished Kyle hadn’t put this extra pressure now on her.

“I know what’s possible, and I’ll make sure to be there tomorrow.”

“Good girl. See ya later.” He then heads off as she lets out a sigh, turning the other way to head the direction that Chase headed.

Fingers crossed, she hoped things panned out well at Bristol.

Short Track Lovin’ – Chapter 131: Ryan’s Testimony

Thursday, August 10

“My mom said I should cut my hair,” Ryan comments as they get out of the car. “She mentioned something about not looking good or proper for today – or whatever. What do you think?” Chase glances back at his friend.

“I think you look fine, but then again – my hair is probably longer,” Chase says as Ryan rolls his eyes.

“As long as it not looking like a mess and you have somewhat styled it, they’re not going to say anything,” Sarina comments. “You both look fine. Let’s go and get this over with, please.” Chase lets out a sigh as he walks over to her, wrapping an arm around her.

“Are you okay?” She then glances at him.

“I’m trying to put my brother away in jail for years for poisoning friends of mine. What do you think?” Chase lets out a sigh as Sarina instantly freezes. “Shit! That came out wro-”

“It’s fine. It’s honest. I told you I’d rather you be honest than try and sugarcoat your feelings as I don’t want them to eat at you.” He then pulls her a little closer to him. “I know it’s hard. I know it doesn’t make sense. But regardless, I’ve got you through all this, I love you, and you’re still amazing.” He then leans in and kisses her lips as she looks back at him with a smile.

“Promise me you’ll never cut the mop then?” He then rolls his eyes as he fixes a stray couple pieces again.

“I actually don’t mind it so we’ll see, okay?” She smiles and nods her head.

“I bet you’ll cut yours before I cut mine,” Ryan says as he holds the door open for them.

“You’re probably right,” Chase replies as he leads Sarina inside. The group then walks down the short hallway, stopping at the doors. “Whenever you’re ready…”

“I just want this done and over with,” Sarina states as she opens the door, leading the boys into the court room. The group takes their seats accordingly as Sarina taps her fingers on her legs.

“Just keep thinking of the fact that we’ll be in Michigan tomorrow, far far from here, and you’ll be mashing that gas pedal as hard as you can so you can go super fast and win.” She then smiles as she looks over at Chase.

“Can we just skip today and go there now?” Chase wished they could do that as he wrapped an arm around the back of her.

“I wish, but unfortunately, we have to listen to Ryan tell a story.” Ryan then smoothes his pants out again as he glances at the pair, before looking forward. “Have you ever done tiral before?” Ryan shakes his head.

“Hence the questions for my mom, and the hair comment, and the what if I fuck up comments,” Ryan says as he takes a deep breath. “Momma told me that I just need to go up there, answer the questions, say what happened, and the law will take care the rest. That’s all I’m going to do.”

“You’ll be fine….”

“All rise!” The clerk’s voice catches their attention as they each look forward, standing up. Chase instantly clutches Sarina’s hand with his own as they bring Chris into the room, by them, before over to his spot in the court room.

“Don’t look over there,” Chase whispers as he could tell the instinct that Sarina had – it was the same one that he was fighting. “Judge Reynolds preceding.” They watch the judge come in and take her seat at the desk as Sarina sits down, rolling her eyes.

“That’s the fucktard that wouldn’t listen to anything we said before,” she whispers. “I was hoping we’d get a different trial judge…” Chase just rubs her back, focused on keeping her as calm as possible.

“First witness…” Judge Reynolds states, getting to business right away as Ryan feels a lump form in his throat.

“We would like to call Ryan Blaney to the stand please,” the attorney states as Ryan stands up. He clears his throat, making his way to the front of the room and taking his seat accordingly.

“Do you swear to tell the truth and nothing but the truth?” The clerk asks as Ryan holds his hand up. He couldn’t help but feel the butterflies build more in his stomach.

“I do,” he replies as he keeps his eyes focused forward on Chase and Sarina. Chase gave him a simple nod in response, seeing the nerves written on his face.

“Just tell them what you told me that night,” Chase whispers to himself, remembering when Ryan called him into the room for the confession. He remembered the complete shock that came over him, as well as uncertainty with his future. Squeezing Sarina’s hand once again, he was glad that they had made it to here.

“Mr. Blaney, do you remember the night that you were poisoned?” The attorney asks and Ryan nods his head.

“XFINITY race got cut short due to rain – it was the Friday of our Daytona weekend,” he answers, silently wishing he could think of the exact date.

“Let the court be known that was Friday, July 30. Do you remember all of the events leading up to that?” Ryan nods his head, running the night through his mind like a movie.

“I do.”

“Please start wherever you would like…” Ryan takes a deep breath, thinking through everything.

“We did the national anthem and I climbed into the car afterwards. We ended up running some laps, and then skies opened up – raining. NASCAR called us to pit road, set to go under red flag conditions while they debated post-phoning or drying the track. I stopped on pit road, took my stuff off, got set to climb out – just like any other night.” Ryan then stops, trying to remember everything exactly.

“Then what happened, Mr. Blaney?” Ryan takes another deep breath, thinking it over.

“I got out of the car like normal. Normally Jesse or Jessica are there with an umbrella and a drink, but Jessica was on duty that night and busy doing something else for the team PR. So I figured I’d just walk over to the pit box through the rain, no problem no foul. As I made my way down pit road, Chris walked over with an umbrella, offering to hold it over my head. I accepted.”

“How did you know Chris, prior to this meeting?” Ryan smiles as he keeps his eyes focused on Chase and Sarina.

“I met him through Chase and Sarina. I knew that Chris was her brother. I heard he was there that weekend with a friend taking in the sights.” Ryan was almost set to spit out Chase’s discussed nerves, but figured he’d save that unless asked.

“Then what happened?” Ryan takes a deep breath, picturing it in his mind once again.

“We talked a little – he had a couple generic racing questions, I answered them. I then mentioned something along the lines of ‘let me grab a drink from the guys and then maybe we can talk some more’ as I wasn’t minding the company, actually. He had a bottle of Gatorade in his hand, and offered it to me. I took it, taking a sip, thanking him. I ended up fully drinking the bottle.” The attorney crosses her arms as she glances over at Chris, before back at Ryan.

“Would it be safe to say that the bottle contained what you were poisoned with?” Ryan nods his head.

“I had nothing prior to that to drink since I finished team dinner, and I had nothing after that point. I don’t see any other thing that would’ve affected me.” Chase smiles, as he couldn’t help but look over at Chris at this time. Ryan’s story was close enough to fool’s proof as you could get.

“How did you begin to realize what was wrong?” Ryan thinks it over, continuing to watch the movie in his mind.

“NASCAR called the race and I was going to go watch the ocktagon fight with friends, but I started to feel a little sick. I went back to the trailer, thinking I’d just relax a bit before heading back to the motorcoach. I threw up a bunch, and that’s when my crew chief Greg Erwin noticed and suggested I get checked out. We were thinking maybe flu and get some fluids into me, but then they discovered it was poisoning.”

“Let the court be known that his toxicology report showed the same poison of others that Mr. Dryer has already admitted to. Your witness.” The attorney sits, with Chris’ lawyer standing afterwards. Ryan could only bite his lip with nerves in what questions were to come.

“What happened to the Gatorade bottle?” The lawyer asks as Ryan looks on puzzled.

“I threw it out after I was done like any other human,” he answers, causing a couple chuckles in the court room.

“So it was never tested or linked to my client, correct?” Ryan shakes his head. “So all of this is based on a story that you have from memory?”

“They asked me what happened, and I told them. I don’t know what else to say.” Chase glances down, knowing how the tactics of lawyers worked. He just hoped that Ryan stayed strong.

“So it is possible, though, that somebody else could’ve done it, right?” Ryan thinks it over, shaking his head.

“Like I stated – only person I crossed paths with, only drink I had – I don’t see other chances.”

“But we still don’t know without a shadow of doubt, and that’s needed for a conviction. So I’m done.” Ryan glances back at the attorney, feeling nervous based on things.

“You may step down,” the judge tells him as Ryan stands up, walking over to Chase and Sarina. “We will resume at the next hearing date with the next witness. Court adjourned!” Ryan still felt tingly in nerves as he stood up, following Chase and Sarina out of the court room.

“Did I do a good job?” He questions, as Chase looks back at him.

“You answered every question accordingly, and you told the truth,” Chase answers. “You were fine, Ryan.” Ryan wondered if Chase was just saying that to assure him.

“But what about the lawyer’s comments? Without a shadow of a doubt? Suspicion?” Chase rolls his eyes as they reach the car.

“That’s the lawyer’s job – to create that cloud to try and get the jury to not look at her client. It’s the jury’s job to try and see through the smoke and mirrors for the truth. Based on his previous confessions and based on what you said, the smoke and mirrors will probably fade quicker than you imagine. Ryan, it’s fine. You did a good job.”

“You were great,” Sarina adds as they all climb into the car together. “I’m surprised the media isn’t trying to eat us all up.” Chase pulls his eyes out as he looks over at her.

“They don’t anything to use yet,” he comments. “That comes once I get up there, hence why Chris wants me to say something – or when Alison gets started on her trial with me.” He then stops, reaching over for her hand once again. “But like I told you – I love you, I’m always going to be by your side, I’ve always got your back, and I’ll do anything for you. Let them talk…”

“Are you sure?” Chase nods his head.

“It’s worth it for you…”

“Seriously, don’t screw this up; you have something special,” Ryan whispers to Sarina as Sarina looks back with a smile.

“Don’t worry – I plan on keeping him for a long time to come,” she replies. “You’re just the fifth different person to tell me that.”

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

“Ryan’s testimony was good….” Chris starts as Bethany lets out a sigh.

“I’m not worried about the puppet,” she replies. “It’s Chase that’s going to provide the entertainment. He’s got lots to say between you and Allison.” Chris then smiles, knowing Bethany’s doings always turned out good eventually.

“What about you?” Bethany smiles as she sits back.

“What do they have me on? It’s not like Allison is going to squeal as she had fun with the kid. It’s not like you’re going to squeal because you know you’re going away and I’m going to fulfill everything that’s warranted that for that sweetpea. They don’t know, Chris…” Chris could only smile more in amazement.

“I just want to know when everything is going to go into action.” Bethany laughs.

“In due time, in due time….”

Short Track Lovin’ – Chapter 124: Brickyard 400

Sunday, July 23 – Indianapolis

Chase lets out a yawn as he makes his way through the infield, knowing that he had a pre-race meeting with the guys.

He admittedly hadn’t slept well last night, tossing and turning and worrying about everything. He even began to wonder if maybe there was nothing in what she injected – and it was just done to scare him more than anything.

Though beginning to feel a little sick in the morning, he knew that was a lie. It wasn’t terrible – sort of reminded him of how you feel with the 24 hour stomach flu. He felt a little nauseous, but other than that he was fine. Saying his own prayers in his mind, the day would be over soon and they could get to the bottom of it.

He makes his way into the trailer, taking his usual position amongst the guys, paying attention as Alan goes over the notes for the day. He then chimed in with his own ‘pick me up comments,’ and the team felt more than confident in the day ahead.

With the meeting done, he headed out of the trailer, knowing he had to go see some sponsor VIPs, and then he would have a couple hours for himself. Maybe he could get some sleep, or perhaps stomach at least some soup.

“Hey, are you feeling okay?” His dad asks as they head to the last appearance. With how it’d been set-up, the pair was supposed to attend together and do a quick Q&A with the guests.

“Yeah, I’m fine,” Chase answers quickly, hoping to finish up this string of events quicker than ever so he didn’t have to deal with questions like this. Bill, meanwhile, had his eyes locked on Chase, knowing that his comment was an immediate lie. If there was one thing, he could never tell a lie, ever.

“Chase….” Chase then lets out a sigh, debating which way to go with his excuse.

“Alright, I’m feeling a little sick. I think I picked up the bug that was going around – one of the other crew guys had it. I’m fine.” Bill then looked at him with raised eyebrows, but figured he could trust him. Besides, Cindy could handle strangling him later.

“Just be careful and make sure to tell Alan incase, okay?” Chase nods his head.

While he hadn’t planned to say anything to Alan and didn’t really want to have a back-up driver – someone else involved in this chaos, it did give him another idea though. Maybe there was a way out of this quicker, after all.

Once he was done the series appearances, he made his way back to the team trailer. He knew that Alan and Josh would be there going over some final notes of the day with the car having gone through pre-race tech inspection already. He just needed to find the courage to tell them.

“You’re back here?” Josh questions as he sees the door to the lounge open up.

“Yeah,” Chase answers as he closes it behind him. “I needed to talk to you both before the race. It’s important…” Josh and Alan glance at each other a little confused, before setting their eyes back on their driver.

“I’m all ears,” Alan says as he sets his notes aside. He knew if Chase was interrupting them, it was important.

Taking a shaky breath, Chase went into detail of the series of events over the past week involving Allison. He told them about what happened at the beauty pageant. He told them about the photo getting sent to Sarina and how that broke down. He then told them what happened yesterday in the garage area, which caused both of their jaws to drop.

“I’m starting to feel some symptoms – very minor at that, though,” he reveals, bringing an even bigger shock to Alan’s face. “Feeling a little sick, a little clammy – but nothing that I can’t handle. I figure I’d let you know so we can do something post-rac-”

“There’s no way you’re racing toda-” Alan starts.

“Alan, we have no choice. If we go say something, then that bomb goes off. Do you know how many people are around there right now?” Alan lets out a sigh, nodding his head. “And sure, you could tell the cops and the bomb squad and whoever you want. But if she gets word that someone knows, she won’t take any chances.”

“So you’re just going to let this crap eat at you, while trying to race 400 miles today?” Chase sits down, knowing that was the only option that they were left with. He just figured the team knowing would be a good step for after the race.

“Alan, I know we’re trying to point our way into the playoffs, but could we just give up this one?” Josh questions, causing a shocked expression from Chase immediately.

“That’ll clue her in righ-” Chase starts as Josh shakes his head no.

“Not if we do this how I am thinking, Chase.” Chase then looks at him puzzled.

“He’s not wrecking the car purposely at the start for that reason,” Alan states, beginning to read the car chief’s mind.

“Does anybody not have a clue to what I am thinking?” Josh questions as he had to laugh at their responses. “Of course, I wouldn’t want him to do that because what if he gets hurt? I’m not stupid, Alan. Remember – you hired me.” Chase had to chuckle at the response as Alan rolls his eyes. “But what if we had an engine failure?” Chase and Alan glance at each other, before turning their eyes back to Josh.

“I’d be fully willing to give up today as someone’s health and safety is more important…” Josh then pulls up his laptop, opening some of the engineering numbers.

“Dale has blown a couple motors this year, and we have past data from other years. I can construct the perfect formula in steps for Chase to follow to make that motor blow up in the first 50 laps.” Chase then looks on surprised.

“That easy?” He questions and Josh nods his head.

“Certain missed shift on the start, certain missed shift on a possible restart afterwards, and hitting certain revs would cause it to go big time,” Josh reveals as he looks over the numbers. “Of course, you’ll have the engineers and engine tuners willing to kill yo-”

“Wrong choice of wording!” Alan yells as Josh freezes.

“Right, sorry.” He then goes back to his notes. “But I mean, I’d rather deal with them on your ass then something else.” Chase couldn’t help but admit that the car chief was pretty smart after all.

“Give those numbers, please…” Josh then sorts through everything, jotting some numbers and notes on a piece of paper, before handing it over to Chase. “After it goes and we’re don-”

“Clearing the garage area immediately, telling the guys to load up and not even bother reviewing,” Alan cuts him off, reading his mind. “We’ll have it sorted out. You just focus on coming back to the garage, getting out, and going to get help.” Chase nods his head as he takes a couple deep breaths. “Chase?”

“I’m fine,” he tells them as he stands up, snatching the piece of paper off the table. “By the way, Sarina doesn’t know. Someone will have to tell her.” Alan nods his head, knowing that would be on his conscious.

For the rest of the morning before the race, things went like normal and Chase found himself standing on pit road, counting down the minutes. He glanced around, silently telling him what he had read off the paper 50 different times over and over in his head, just hoping that it’d work out as smooth as Josh said it would.

“Ahh, my favorite people,” Chase hears, as he glances over and sees Ryan walking over with a box. He would rather just be left alone, but he knew that’d be too suspicious.

“And how’s Ryan?” Chase questions as Ryan just smiles in response.

“Ready to go and have a great day.” He then looks over at Sarina. “My team had a couple extra donuts so I thought I’d bring you a snack.” Sarina then looks at him, surprised.

“Any specific occasion?” She wonders and Ryan shakes his head no. “Well, everybody knows I love a good Krispy Kreme donut…” Ryan smiles as she takes the box from him.

“I’m good,” Chase comments as Sarina holds the box out to him first. He had already heard about the contents, but also knew that it’d turn his stomach once again and he may actually throw-up this time.

“Suit yourself…” She then opens the box, and her smile immediately disappears as she sees a mix of raw cabbage and broccoli, shaped into little donuts. Ryan began laughing immediately as she looked at him. “Really?”

“Nice job on the ringtone,” he tells her with before turning on his heels and walking away. She then takes one of the pieces of broccoli, chucking it down pit road at him, causing him to spin around in surprise. “Now, now Ms. Ott, you shouldn’t be throwing things on pit road. That’s against the rules.”

“This is cruel!” She replies as he only laughs harder. Chase just shakes his head between them, knowing that this was probably just the start of what was to come. They seemed to have a good knack now for pranking each other. “Did you see what he di-”

“It’s a good prank,” Chase cuts her off as he leans back against the car. If he had to be honest, the heat was getting to him a little, combined with the sickness increasing. He could only hope the plan that Josh had in place worked real quickly as there was no way he could do 400 miles feeling like this. Maybe he should’ve taken the back-up driver approach, instead.

“Are you sure you’re okay?” Chase nods his head. “I mean, I’m still saying something is off….” He then looks over at her, giving her a small smile.

“Just ready to get this started. I would’ve preferred to be in the car by now….”

It wasn’t long until opening ceremonies kicked off, followed by Chase climbing in the car. Josh had stayed there to make sure he was buckled in, and go through everything once again. As he put up the window net, Josh had to resist the urge to yell something there as he could see it in Chase’s eyes that things were getting worse. However, he followed normal protocol, before retreating back to the pit box.

Chase went through pace laps as if nothing was different – though felt everything wrong in that moment. He felt sicker to his stomach, felt clammy, felt a headache coming on, and knew what was coming if they didn’t get through this sooner than later.

On the drop of the green flag, he remembered what Josh said – skip from gear 2 to gear 4 by accident, letting the motor hit the higher revs as that’ll damage some inner components. He could only curse what he was doing, knowing it’d just increase everybody’s discussions about him doing crap on restarts.

He pushed like usual, keeping himself in solid contention, though silently wishing that it would go sooner than anticipated. He knew the caution at Lap 11 and restart six laps later would help his cause, too, as he went through another of the messed up processes.

“Something is off here,” he reports afterwards, starting to feel the beginning of the valve train giving up. Obviously, Josh’s numbers were right on target.

“10-4,” Alan replies, giving the car chief a nod on the pit box. “Just keep an eye on it.” Alan knew that they should actually look at it under the next possible caution, but knew that’d go against the plan in place.

They got another caution, and another fumble through the gears to hit different RPM numbers began to work its magic, with things getting even more off basis.

“Next caution, we’ll take a look,” Alan states, following protocol of cover-up as he glances at Josh. It was only a matter time now.

“It’s flashing these codes,” Chase alerts them as Josh smiles, knowing that the process had worked perfectly. He knew those were the error codes of the fuel pump.

“Read them off…” Chase bit his tongue as that’d be tougher than imagined. He was already having a hard enough time ignoring how he was feeling, concentrating on racing, and following the necessary steps in place. Now he had to read a series of numbers off the dashboard?

He began to read the first set of numbers as Josh compared them to other notes, seeing as though they were following the error process that he wanted. Sure enough, it came together with smoke begin to come out the back of the No. 24 on Lap 43.

“Bring it in,” Alan states as he immediately closes up his notebook. “Guys, to the trailer and load it up. We’re done.” He glances at Josh, remembering that crucial step as Josh nods his head in response.

“You take Chase as Sarina will follow,” Josh whispers once they’re down off the pit box. “I’ll make sure all the guys are there. Alert the guys if you need them – I’ll make sure everywhere else is clear….” Alan nods his head as they began the quiet walk through the garage area.

They turn the corner and see the car sitting by the garage stall, causing both of the crew members to look at each other confused. They then walk a little faster, with the rest of the team in toe.

“She wouldn’t roll the rest of the way,” Chase says quietly as he leans back against the car after climbing out.

“It’s fine,” Alan assures him as he wraps an arm around his shoulders. “We got this regardless.” Chase nods his head as he lets out an aggravated sigh. “Talk to me…”

“I feel like shit. I never should’ve let her do that. I never should’ve let gone along with this. I should’ve said something sooner, did something different. I shouldn’t even started that race.” He then pauses, taking a careful deep breath. “I feel like total shit, Alan. I feel like I’m going to throw up, I feel so clammy but sweaty and hot, headache, fever, and can barely move…”

“I knew something was up….” Sarina says as she crosses her arms.

“We’ll explain later,” Josh tells her as he glances between Chase, Alan and the crew.

“Come on, I got you…” Alan forces Chase to lean against him, leading him away from the car as he takes a glance at Josh.

“Guys, let’s push it to the trailer…” Josh instructs, rallying all the guys.

The guys begin to follow the instruction, pushing the car through the garage with confused glances at each other as they each take turns in seeing what direction Alan headed with Chase. Josh had headed that way, showing up on Chase’s other side, before another look towards Alan. They had only one destination in mind.

As everybody heads in different directions, they hear a big boom behind them, causing the whole crew to freeze and look back to the stall that they were just standing in a couple minutes ago in shock.

“The guys…” Chase says as he leans against Alan through their walk.

“I got them out of there, heading to the hauler with the car,” Josh assures Chase.

“Do I want to know?” Sarina questions and Josh shakes his head no.

“Like I said – we’ll explain later….” Sarina could only fear in finding out the truth of what was going on, with thoughts of Allison, her brother and Bethany floating through her brain. Why did this keep happening? She had done it again to him, and now the guys, too….

“Just focus on continuing to go forward, and focus on yourself,” Alan tells him. “Keep walking, keep moving forward, and keep fighting. We’re almost there…”

“I’m trying…” Chase says his legs give out a little, which causes Alan and Josh to grab him a firmer grip. “I can’t…” They then go give out again.

“Chase!” Alan tightens his grip even more, if he could, before feeling the young man fall against him. “I got you, I got you buddy….”

“Hold his shoulders and head,” Josh instructs as he picks the lower half up. The pair then continue moving as quickly as they can, shuffling into the care center. “We need help – ASAP!”

Short Track Lovin’ – Chapter 121: Court

Friday, July 21

Sarina glances at herself in the mirror, fixing her dress once again, before taking a deep breath. She hoped today went smooth as possible as she hated every second that she was spending there.

“Are you okay?” She hears and glances over her shoulder, nodding her head.

“Thanks for coming again, Marcus,” she thanks the crew chief with a smile. “It means a lot to have someone here.” Marcus rubs her shoulders.

“I told you – I’m always here for you, whether at the track or not. Besides, he did poison one of my guys, as well.” Sarina nods her head, remembering the story clearly. “I’m surprised that Chase didn’t com-”

“He wanted to, but I told him not too. He can focus on practice. He doesn’t need to be here to see what’s said.” She then takes another glance at herself in the mirror, before turning to him. “Alright, let’s go.”

The pair made their way down the hall, followed by entering the pair of big brown doors that revealed a court room. Continuing to take a couple deep breaths to keep herself calm, she makes her way to the front, taking her assigned seat behind the prosecutor. Marcus sits beside her, grabbing a hold of her hand, as she gives him a glance. She knew she had gotten lucky when Kyle had partnered them together.

Her eyes then focus forward as she watches her brother enter, surrounded by a pair of guards, and led to his location. She watches as the handcuffs are done, as he takes a glance towards her. She immediately looked away, not wanting to revisit every memory or thought she had. Her eyes then turn to the judge who entered, trying to see whether there was going to be any chance of sympathy, which she hoped was actually not the case.

“Judge Reynolds presiding,” the clerk states as he stands before the judge’s desk.

“Chris Dryer, correct?” Judge Reynolds questions and Chris nods his head yes. “I am going to read each change one by one. You are to state whether you’re guilty or not.” Sarina silently prayed to herself that he just pled guilty to each charge, not wanting to have to deal with months of court. “On the charge of poisoning Joseph Sanjay, how do you plead?”

“That was the random crew member from Bristol,” Sarina whispers as Marcus looks over confused.

“Guilty,” Chris states, giving Sarina hope for the rest of the day.

“On the charge of poisoning Jake Lamont, how do you plead?” Judge Reynolds asks, catching Marcus’ attention. He certainly had a personal vendetta over that one.

“Guilty.” Marcus takes a careful deep breath, pleased with the outcome. He knew the fellow team members would be, as well.

“On the charge of poisoning Peter Ebbs, how do you plead?” Sarina and Marcus both knew the name, having connected with him through Joe Gibbs Racing.

“Guilty.” Sarina couldn’t help but smile as she added the years up in her head, knowing eight years a person equaled 24 in total. It was the sanity that she needed to begin realizing the future she wanted.

“On the charge of poisoning Darrell Wallace Jr., how do you plead?” Marcus looks over at Sarina surprised and Sarina nods in approval, remembering that. He wasn’t that big of a deal, but enough to catch their attention. Everybody did a good job of blowing it off as Bubba just passing out from dehydration.

“Guilty.”

“On the charge of poisoning Ryan Blaney, how do you plead?” Sarina crosses her arms, remembering that one clear as day. She could still picture her and Chase returning to the motorcoach, receiving the concerning text from Erin, and hurrying to the hospital. It was also Ryan’s confession about her brother that got the wheels in motion for today. She then takes a careful breath, quivering a little, knowing that it was also a moment that almost drove her and Chase apart. Her stomach still ached at the thought of their fight.

“Not guilty.” Sarina then looks up shocked, cursing under her breath. What was the big deal now?

“Ryan saw him,” Sarina whispers to Marcus. “He was the one that set the wheels in motion, but yet he feels he can get away with that? Is he fucking serious?”

“Deep breath,” Marcus coaches her, rubbing her shoulder as he keeps his eyes locked on the judge. “He’s probably got a reason for doing it. He knows it will get under your and Chase’s skin. Didn’t you say the reason for him doing this was disagreeing with your life? Didn’t you say he wanted to end what you had grown? Well, this may be an approach. Don’t let him do that…”

“On the charge of poisoning Chase Elliott, how do you plead?” Judge Reynolds asks, catching Sarina and Marcus’ attention, again.

“Not guilty,” Chris states as Sarina looks over at Marcus. She was beginning to put more thought into his theory.

“He wants Ryan and Chase to testify,” she starts. “He wants them to have to come down here and testify, and possibly hope the rekindled emotions drive us all apart again.” Marcus nods his head.

“And what do you say to that?” Marcus replies as a smile forms on Sarina’s face.

“He’s got another coming if he thinks that. There’s no way Chase and I are letting anything come between us now, especially him for that reason. And as far as Ryan, there’s no issue there, either.” Marcus smiles as he had to applaud her attitude and perseverance.

“Thank you,” Judge Reynolds states as he looks over the notes. “Chris Dryer, you have pled guilty to four charges. At eight years a piece, that would give you a total of 32 years in prison with no chance of parole.” The judge then turns to the state attorney. “Are you going to pursue the remaining two charges?” The attorney glances over at Sarina, who simply nods her head. She knew it wasn’t going to be easy with Ryan and Chase’s schedules, though.

“Yes, we are,” she says as the judge makes a note.

“A trial date will be arranged at a future date for the trial to begin. Jury or no jury?” Sarina knew the answer to that already.

“No jury, please, for celebrity reasons. We are trying to keep this as quiet as possible.”

“Your honor, you’re going to give them special treatment because Mr. Elliott, Ms. Dryer, and Mr. Blaney happen to be famous?” Chris’ lawyer questions as Sarina begins fuming under her breath. She knew that Chris had probably instructed him to use her former last name out of spite. She also knew the reason for jury trial, to therefore try and get the story out there more to take a shot at ruining her career. Like Marcus had thought before, there was a method to his madness.

“Motion accepted – there will be a jury elected for the trial,” Judge Reynolds states, resulting in a sigh from Sarina. She knew this wasn’t going to go over well at all, and could only prepare for the shit storm that was set to come.

“Your honor, I also request a psychological evaluation for my client. He is accepting some charges but not others due to a conflict in knowing right from wrong. He also has an established psychological history, as well.”

“That history has been pulled apart and found to be faulty with him faking through those times, including working with corrupt doctors,” the attorney starts as Sarina crosses her arms. She remembered this very discussion with the attorney a couple days ago over the phone. “He has been found insane by clinic, and then managed to find a way out. He even told Mr. Elliott that he knew they found him crazy, but nobody could fix him because that’s who he was.”

“One of the victims admitting the client is crazy?” Chris’ lawyer states. “That should be enou-”

“He was stating against the point – hence playing the perfect rol-”

“It’s heresay regardless, your honor!” Judge Reynolds looks over the notes, before looking back up at both lawyers.

“Motion for psychological evaluation accepted,” Judge Reynolds states as Sarina lets out an aggravated sigh, wishing she could punch some sense into the judge. “That is it for today. Court adjourned!”

Sarina immediately heads for the door, with Marcus right behind her. She just wanted to get away from there as soon as possible, and try to forget everything that happened. She knew with the shit storm coming their way, it was only going to get worse – and she didn’t know whether she could take that.

“Wow Sarina, I’m surprised your sidekick isn’t here with you,” she hears, causing her to freeze immediately. She then glances over, seeing Bethany standing there with a grin on her face.

“My sidekick so happens to have a job that I told him to focus on instead since he didn’t need to deal with my family drama for me,” Sarina states.

“Ah, of course. I just hope he doesn’t grow bored or annoyed of you and find someone else to play with…” Bethany than walks away with a grin on her face as Sarina lets out an aggravated sigh.

“I just want to punch her so har-”

“She’s not worth it,” Marcus interrupts her as he wraps an arm around her. “Besides, you know how much Chase loves you, you know what you have together, and you know you’re doing the right things in your life. She’s just trying to get under her skin. Don’t let her win. We’ve got this.” Sarina wanted to go with Marcus’ words, but every bit of her drew closer towards breaking free and kicking Bethany’s ass.

“Can I just punch her once?” Marcus laughs and shakes his head no.

“Let’s just blow this joint, head to the airport, and get back to Indianapolis. I bet seeing Chase will make everything better.” She smiles in agreement as they head out together.

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

Ryan Blaney walks through the garage, stopping at Chase’s stall as he crosses his arms before his fellow competitor.

“What do you call this ring tone?” Ryan questions as he holds his phone up, with Barney coming from it immediately.

“Aww Blaney, I didn’t realize you still watched that purple dinosaur,” Chase comments with a laugh as Ryan gives him a stern glance immediately.

“Care to do some explaining, Elliott?” Chase just grins and shakes his head no. “You can’t lie even if you tried, buddy. I can see through it….”

“When you go out to dinner, never leave your phone unlocked on the table. And by the way, it wasn’t my handy work.” Ryan then thinks it over, remembering last night, before looking back at Chase with a shocked expression on his face.

“Sarina?” Chase smiles and nods his head. “Damn it. She’s good…..” Chase smiles.

“I told you she’d get you back and she did a nice job at that.” Chase then walks away as Ryan looks back towards his phone.

“Tell her she’s got something coming…” Chase gives him a quick wave before he continues walking, reading the latest text that he had received from Sarina.

“Ryan!” Ryan freezes and goes over at Chase, caught off-guard by the instant serious tone. “Chris plead guilty to poisoning everyone, except us. They’re going through with a trial by jury, so therefore we’ll both have to testify.” Ryan then shakes his head in disgust.

“Lovely….” Chase nods his head in agreement.

“Marcus and Sarina think that Chris is doing it on purpose because he wants people to learn about Sarina’s back story, as well as what happened to us. It’s a plan in hopes that people turn their backs on her, as well as us going against each other.” Ryan then laughs.

“He seriously thinks that’s going to work?” Chase shrugs his shoulders. “Well, I can tell you right now there’s no way that’s working because no matter what, I’ve got your back and I’ve got your Sarina’s back. Besides, I need someone to prank.” Chase laughs.

“I appreciate that, really. You know I have your back too, right?” Ryan nods his head.

“Whatever comes your way, you guys will get through together.” Chase nods his head, hoping Ryan was right about that. They had already been through enough.

“Are you sure about that, Blaney?” Another voice chimes in, catching both of their attention. Chase immediately rolls his eyes as Ryan looks on confused.

“We’ve been through already, Bell,” Chase starts as he walks over to Christopher Bell. “I thought we talked about this. Didn’t you apologize for being an ass already?” Christopher nods his head.

“But I didn’t realize this about you,” Christopher replies as he shoves a photo in Chase’s face. Chase immediately freezes, recognizing it immediately.

“Allison…” Christopher then crosses his arms as Chase looks at the photo. Allison sat on the bed in his room, dressed in her skanky clothes, with a couple of very familiar items of his around. Obviously, she had planted this well before he showed up in the room to pack-up.

“So you know her? This gets better…” Chase then shoves the photo back into Christopher’s arms.

“She was upset about being eliminated in the rounds – you can check with the judges if you don’t believe me. She snuck up to my room and tried to sleep me, but she got nowhere. I packed my shit up, left, and told security at the front desk. Don’t believe me? Call the hotel. I wouldn’t ever dare of cheating on Sarina, ever.” Ryan then walks over, glancing at the photo himself. “I’ll even take a damn lie detector test if you don’t believe me.”

“I believe you,” Ryan comments as he hands the photo back to Christopher. “I mean, that’s a common trick by these girls. We’ve seen it before.” Christopher looks at the photo and back up at Chase.

“I believe you as well, to be honest,” he confesses. “I just hope that Sarina believes you.”

Chase felt confident in his chances, though the slim chance that she wouldn’t admittedly scared him.

He could only sit and wonder about the conversation that was set to come when they reunited together, on top of everything else already.