The Tale of Love & Racing: Sarina’s Story – Chapter 90: Alison’s Story

Monday July 2, 2018

Chase takes his seat in the court room in the front row, watching as Sarina sits to his left with his father to his right. It didn’t surprise anybody to see Cindy sit in the same row alongside Bill, with Kyle alongside Sarina. With about room for five people per row, Alan and Jordan had taken the immediate seats behind Chase, along with Samantha, Ryan, and Lindsay.

While it was supposed to be important meeting day at Hendrick Motorsports, Chase was caught off-guard in seeing the rest of the team enter and take seats, ready to show their support as they each still wanted a piece of her for the bomb. Chase even questioned Alan about it, to only to be told, “Our own team meeting, and the group shop meeting was pushed back to tomorrow, as a show of support for you and Sarina.”

The bigger surprise was seeing Christopher and Morgan walk in to Sarina, but Christopher told her that he wanted to be there to support his best friend as much as he could.

“Are you okay?” Alan questions as he places a hand on Chase’s shoulder, earning a simple nod in response. Chase wanted to remain as strong as possible through this, and that meant showing least amount of emotion as possible because he knew that was Alison’s end game.

“Thanks for the advice Saturday by the way,” Chase offers as Alan smiles back in response. He didn’t care if he got the appreciation in return or not, as long as Chase took it to heart and did what he needed to do.

“All rise!” The court officer says, as everybody stands up. “Now presenting the honorable Judge Gus.” The judge enters, taking her spot as expected.

“Everybody may be seated,” the judge states, as Chase takes a shaky deep breath as he does so. He knew the next step was Alison’s entrance, and that’s where all the emotions would begin. “Bring her in…”

The doors to the right of the room open as an officer enters, holding Alison as her wrists remained bound together in handcuffs. She instantly looks over towards Chase as a smirk forms on her face.

“It’s so nice to see you again sweetheart,” she starts quietly. “Do you want to feel your baby?”

“How about you just reveal that your pregnant with somebody else’s kid?” Bill questions as he keeps a strong grip on Chase’s right hand.

“Ahh, is there a problem Grandpa?” She then smirks even more. “I can’t wait for family dinners together as the baby gro-”

“You’ll be rotting away in hell for what you did to my son,” Cindy snaps, earning a couple surprised glances as Bill reaches over for her hand, too.

“Order!” The judge instructs as he slams down the gravel. “I will not tolerate outbursts from individuals in the court room. We’re simply here to hear Alison say what happened to each count of guilty plea, to help determine her sentencing and whether the insanity plea is viable. Take the stand, young lady.”

“It’d be my pleasure as I’m sure momma dearest would like to hear how her son played right into my hands, right Chase?” She then takes her seat beside the judge, smirk still firmly planted on her face as she kept eyes locked directly on Chase. Chase just pointed his own gaze down, taking a deep breath, as he tried to remain as calm as possible, despite feeling the same panic that bit him the last time they were there.

“As I stated, we will begin with your guilty pleas – and then it’ll be up to you and your lawyer to discuss the non-guilty pleas. We want simple explanations for your actions, understood?” Alison finally takes her eyes off of Chase and looks over at the judge.

“Please, let me tell the tale of our estranged secret love affair….” The judge opens the file on her desk.

“In March 2018, you pled guilty to poisoning Mr. Chase Elliott’s drink. Why did you do that?” Alison smiles as she crosses her arms.

“I could always tell that he loved me from the first day that we crossed paths at the Hooters Pageant. That’s why he didn’t want me to win – because then I’d be off doing all these tours and such. However, I get that he’s a little quiet and reserved. I also get how he’s kind of stuck in a fake love situation with that chick. Sometimes a little gentle persuasion does the trick. I spiked his drink, figuring that maybe he’d give in once he got a taste of what a real woman can offer him.” Sarina just rolls her eyes in disgust as Chase fought the laughter that was willing to escape his lips.

Though of course he got the defense that Alison wanted to use in the fact that they were having a secret love affair behind Sarina’s back, because Chase wouldn’t want to break up with Sarina and prove everybody wrong in how she got her ride and how they initially got together. it was crazy enough to even seem a little believable – if any bit of having feelings for Alison was true.

“She’s certainly crazy,” Morgan whispers, earning a quiet chuckle and nod of approval from Christopher.

“We haven’t even got into the worst of it yet,” Christopher replies, remembering everything that he and Sarina had talked about together.

“You pled guilty to the attempted murder of Alan Gustafson. Why did you do that?” Alison lets out a sigh as she glances between Chase and the crew chief.

“I get it. I’m not the perfect princess and certainly how I entered Chase’s life is no saint of actions, either. So because of that, it seems everybody wants to judge me – including Chase’s parents it seems. Chase was just about to show me how much he loved in his trailer, when the crew chief showed up. I figured if I scared him, he’d go away and we could get the deed done. Meanwhile, I was never going to hit him….” Alan chuckles as he remembered looking straight down the barrel of the gun until he had jumped out of the way. The memory made him take a pause, and thank himself for his lucky graces that day. “If I may, your honor, I would like to detail the events in the trai-”

“That’ll be for another time, unless you want to plead guilty to sexual assault as you are charged.” Alison then looks over at Chase shocked.

“You charged me with sexual assault after you brought on that kiss yourself? Wow, I’m impressed how far you’ll cover for your poor decision to sleep with that tramp and regret it later.” Chase looks down, shaking his head as he regretted every single moment there. Why did he let any of it go on as far as he did?

“The only regret that we have is not knocking your head off sooner!” Cindy comments, earning another round of surprise glances around the room.

“Mom!” Chase lets out as he looks over at her, shocked himself. Cindy was normally the one in control of the family, and every situation. However, that was now her second outburst of the day.

“Anymore outbursts from Ms. Cindy Elliott and you could be held in contempt,” the judge warns as Cindy just laughs. It was irony how the judge was willing to throw the innocent in jail, but yet at one time had enabled Alison’s escape. “Ms. Elliott….”

“Mom, please….” Chase reaches over Bill’s lap, placing his hand on hers. “I need you here with me so please listen. I know your angry, and so am I. There’s so many things that I want to tell her, but we need to let this go on as it is, and I need you here for me….”

“What did you want to tell me, Chasey-boo?” Alison then questions, snatching his attention away from Cindy. “Did you want to admit to the world that you love me?” He then laughs as he shakes his head back in response.

“Try again, bitch….”

“That’s enough from you too, Mr. Elliott,” the judge states. “In May 2018, you pled guilty to kidnapping Sarina Ott in the state of Tennessee. Explain why you did that, please.” Alison lets out a sigh as she glances at the pair.

“That should be obvious now,” she starts. “It’s clear that Chase loves me more than her, and has only kept her out of protection of his own career, decisions, and kind-heart in not wanting to leave her stranded on the side of a road. That said, she always gets in the way of our love – despite knowing that she’ll never be first in his life. I had to get her out of the way so I could really show Chase what he meant to me, and maybe convince him to let her go.” Chase just shakes his head as he tries to ignore every bit of reasoning out of her mouth as nothing made sense or was even believable no matter what planet you lived on.

“Who in their right mind would believe that Chase loved her more than Sarina?” Alan wonders out-loud, earning a glance from either side of him.

“A sociopath, which is what Alison is,” Samantha starts. “She doesn’t understand what other people feel, therefore not knowing the consequences of her actions. She doesn’t understand that Chase’s reaction to her was not out of love, but out of fear and pain. Combined with that, she’s a manipulative bitch who will do whatever she wants to get whatever she needs. She went after Chase for a reason, Alan….” Alan glances back at her.

“Opportunity to land herself in fame and fortune, hence trying to pawn a pregnancy off….” Samantha nods her head in agreement as she looks back towards Alison.

“We have reached the end of your guilty pleas,” the judge states, surprising everybody. “There was also charges of stalking, attempted murder in Florida, sexual assault in a trailer, assault via tripping an individual, robbery of a ring, and sexual assault.” Chase lets out a sigh as he knew those would all take forever, and brought forth the most pain, million times worse than what they had addressed. “Would you like to discuss these charges?”

“I don’t see how there’s any point because I didn’t do those things, right?” Alison offers, before looking back towards Chase with a smirk. “I’d rather talk about my baby with my future daddy. I want to know his feelings, whether he thinks it’s a boy or a girl, and any name ideas he has. Oh, and please tell me that there’s a baby shower coming. I’d assume your mommy is planning it, right?” Alison then rubs her stomach as her smirk widens. “I remember the night that we conceived this baby, every single detail. Your skin was so smooth, so soft, and I just took in every single inch. I took you long and hard, and slow so I could savor it all – and you just let me knowing that I had total control and were in love….”

Chase focuses his eyes on the ground, taking a shaky deep breath as he tries to make the hot tears that were forming in his eyes go away. He felt his stomach flip flop immediately as a clear image entered his mind upon each of her words.

“I remember how you laid back in bed, telling me that I could do whatever I wanted that night,” Alison continues in a low, seducing voice. “I remember stripping you down to nothing. I remember leaving that mark on your neck, and you saying how you’d treasure that until our next meeting. I remember when I first tasted you, and how I couldn’t get enough. you went hard immediately for me, and I just took it from there baby, and woah it was a night of pure hot sexual joy. Chase, do you remember, baby?”

“Chase….” Bill says quietly as he maintains his firm grip on Chase’s hand. “Ignore her. She’s just doing this to get under your skin and make it crawl. Just close your eyes, and block it out. You know that never happened like she said….”

“Oh Bill, you just wish that was the case so that way you can stay in your crystal ball of belief in that your son has the perfect engagement to Sarina. After all, you liked her too since she drove a late model that you owned, right? It’s okay to realize that your son’s first love isn’t what it seems and there’s a dirty little secret. I mean, your first love didn’t work out either.” Bill didn’t care what she was saying, as his eyes and focus remained on Chase, just wanting to do whatever he needed to help him get through this.

“Can we put a gag order on her already?” Christopher demands from his seat, earning even more surprised glances as he wasn’t one to freak out on a nature.

“Oh Bell, I’m glad that you’re here,” Alison starts next, earning a surprised glance on both Christopher and Morgan’s faces. “It’d be great if you could explain to the court how you and Sarina have been having some great weekends together. I mean, I couldn’t believe that article that was released. How amazing how you guys were caught already. I should’ve given you some more pointers on those secrets, huh? But it’s great because you can reveal your love to Sarina, and I can reveal mine for Chase. I just feel bad for precious Morgan and how she’ll be left out….” Christopher’s frustration was set to hit a new height as his hand immediately formed a fist.

“Relax,” Morgan told him as she placed both of her hands on top of her fist. “We talked about this, Christopher. I know what you mean to me, and what we mean to each other. I also know the friendship that you have with Sarina, and I will never be jealous or think it is more. She is just doing pawning her deed off to you to try and get to you and Chase more. She wants to get us all feuding so we break apart more…”

“How about you stop telling your damn dreams and speak about reality for once in your bloody life?” Cindy questions. “I’m sorry but I don’t care what that judge says. I will not bother to sit here and listen to you twist words and situations to torture people. You deserve every bit of sentence you get, and I hope you rot away to little bits and pieces. Better yet, I hope you find someone in prison that can torture you just like you’ve tortured my son.”

“You’re just afraid to admit it as well, sweetheart,” Alison states with a grin on her face as she lets out a laugh. “Isn’t it great that we’re finally talking about it, though? I’m glad that we’re getting it out in the open…..” She then looks back towards Chase. “I just wish you’d say something to me, please….”

“That’s enough!” The judge finally states as she looks towards Alison. “You’ve explained what you did, and you had a chance to defend yourself and didn’t choose to accept it. We’re done.” She then looks back out to the courtroom. “As for everybody else in here, I already warned you once and I’ll let it be known again – outbursts will land you in contempt.”

“It took her quite a while to speak out,” Cindy whispers, earning another stern glance from Bill.

“We will re-convene at a later date to begin testimony from the prosecution with their witnesses, including victims. I hope everybody is better behaved then. Court adjourned!”

The judge leaves, followed by the officer with Alison. Everybody else files out of the court room, except Chase who still sat frozen with his little circle surrounding him.

“Chase, talk to us, please….” Alan offers as he places a hand on his shoulder.

“I’m fine,” he replies as he glances up for the first time in awhile. “She is sick and twisted, and that’s all she was trying to do there – get under our skin, get a reaction, satisfy herself. It worked considering some of the things that were said.” He then takes a deep breath. “But I’m strong, and I’m going to get through this. I don’t care what she says. I’m fine. Everything that she just said is a total fictional imagination and I can’t wait till that is thrown out.”

“You did a great job handling yourself today,” Bill comments as he stands up, taking Cindy’s hand as he does so. “Call me if you need me, okay?” Chase accepts, nodding his head, as his parents head out together.

“For once, do you think Dad will be giving the lecture instead of Mama?” Alan and Sarina offer a light chuckle in response. “Seriously, though, I am okay. It took a lot to block out what she was saying and not create my own theories again, but I’m fine.” He then looks over at Sarina. “Besides, you’re my focus.”

“Chase, I told you the other night that I’d do anything for you,” Sarina starts. “That includes being there for you as much as you need me, too. You don’t need to put up a fron-”

“I’m not,” he replies. “Besides, we have an appointment to get to and that’s what should matter most here.”

“I know that’s on our minds, but I care more about how you’re doing. So please, let me be there…” Chase takes a deep breath as he slowly stands up.

“I’m fine. One day at a time. I’m ready to just move forward…..”

“Remember what I’ve always told you – don’t let it eat you,” Alan warns as he gives him one final pat on the shoulder. “Call me if you need me – both of you.”

“You have my word,” Chase replies, giving the crew chief a hug, before looking back towards Sarina. “I’m not lying to you. She didn’t bother me today because my number one focus was you. I knew as soon as she focused on that baby, she wanted to get under our skins about that and I knew to look towards you.” He then pulls Sarina close. “We’re going to be okay…..”

“I know that,” she replies as she looks into his eyes. “I love you, always….” She then leans in for a kiss.

********

“I appreciate your patience with the appointment scheduling,” the doctor states. “I reviewed your file multiple times, hoping to find something that may have been missed. I even had a couple colleagues in the surgical department review it, as well as other fertility specialist. I know this is news that nobody ever wants to hear, but in my view, it would be impossible with the shape of your uterus to carry a baby full-term.”

“Okay,” Sarina replies quietly as Chase wraps both arms around her, holding her close.

“If there’s anything that I can do to make the process easier to handle, please let me know. I’m willing to fully break down everything we’ve gathered with you. If you need help in moving forward, please do not hesitate to ask. I can get you in contact with potential councilors, as well as answer any questions about the previous options discussed.  Please remember that there’s no timetable on making that next decision, or dealing with any pain that you are feeling right now…”

“Thank you.” Sarina then takes a deep breath as she glances back over her shoulder at Chase. “To be honest, I’d come to the reality of what was to be my future as a potential mother. I just wanted to hear it a second time so I could actually move forward knowing that I’d tried my options. It’s not ideal, but like everything else, we’ll get through this. And when that day comes that we want to be parents, I’m sure we can work out an option that’s suitable for us both.”

“I’m behind you no matter what you decide,” Chase offers, kissing her shoulder.

Though in the back of his mind, the words from Alison in court began to replay in his mind. What if he had blacked out what happened just like he had suggested to Alan on Saturday? What if Alison was actually having his kid?

Shaking his head, he knew he couldn’t wonder about that right now as it was just Alison to play games to make him believe those things. Besides, his focus was right here and now, and being there when Sarina needed him most.

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The Tale of Love & Racing: Sarina’s Story – Chapter 76: “I could easily take this off, and enjoying it all….”

Friday, May 18 – Charlotte Motor Speedway

Chase glances at the radar. Everybody knew rain was in the area, but they hoped that it’d at least hold off for the morning so some practice would get completed. It’d suck going into tomorrow night with a whole new package and not a single lap on the car.

Sarina had gotten lucky through the morning as the truck series was able to get in both practice sessions. Despite being unhappy with the truck through the first session, she had ranked third on the chart. Rudy had been able to make it better during the second session, leaving her with a smile as they finished up ranked fourth.

Now it was Chase’s turn as he put his phone up, ready for the first Cup practice for the day. Although it appeared rain was all around them per the radar, it was right now dry at the track, and he was ready to take advantage of that.

A simple nod to both Jordan and Alan and he was climbing in the car, getting the belts all on and ready to go for the session. Jordan reaches in, giving everything a final check over before putting the window net up, with the cue to Alan to send him out.

Getting out there right as the session started, Chase was able to get a single lap in – though immediately cut it off and got down to the apron at the start of the second with the skies opening up.

He was back to the garage quickly, everything off and climbing out of the car as eyes fell back on the radar once again. Sure enough the green glob that he saw before was now right over top of them.

“Lovely,” was all he could say as he put his phone in his pocket, knowing that they’d be in a long wait.

“It’ll clear up and hopefully NASCAR will adjust the schedule in a smart matter,” Alan offers as Chase rolls his eyes. It was rare that the sanctioning body actually was able to work with them like that.

Knowing that they were getting nowhere and not wanting to linger around the garage area, he made his way back to the motorcoach, slipping inside as a smile found its way to his face immediately.

“You look pretty comfy,” he comments as he walks past Sarina, going straight for the fridge to grab a drink.

“I knew it was going rain so I thought why waste the walk to the garage area,” she offers as he lets out a sigh. “At least you got a lap in and know there’s nothing wrong with the car, I guess.” Chase nods his head, accepting.

“You’re just in a good mood because you were able to get both of your practices in, and have a good truck for tonight.” He then sits on the couch beside her. “Think you can beat the boss?”

“I beat him last week, right?” He smiles as it was certainly a great race to watch from the pit box. “I remember at the beginning of the year, I was questioning everything about working with Rudy and whether Kyle made the right decision. But I get it now, Chase. I get why Kyle does what he does. Rudy has been absolutely amazing. He has helped me improve my feedback, my driving, and is a great coach.”

“I’m actually surprised that he got you calmer on the radio, too.” Sarina chuckles as admittedly, she was surprised as well. “I just wish Kyle didn’t have a plan for you for this weekend…”

“Are you saying that you don’t want me to jet off to Canada?” He lets out a sigh. “Chase, you can admit it….”

“I understand, and I get why Kyle wants you go to run the Pinty’s Series race. It’s great experience for you ahead of the race there in the fall as you’re getting laps on the same track and it’s the first round of the playoffs. I know how well that worked for Christopher. But…” He then glances into her blue eyes. “The selfish part of me wishes you were here all weekend with me.”

“Trust me, anytime that I am away from you pulls at my heart because I hate being away from you and want to spend every second together. I want to be there for you, always. That’s why the schedule for the summer has me pulled at wits a little. But, like you’re saying, I understand the reasoning and that’s why I committed.” He then places his hand on top of hers.

“And I don’t want you to back out on that commitment, either. I’ll be fine. I have the guys, and you’ll have Lindsay with you. Besides, maybe you can bring home a trophy.” She then smiles as she leans in closer to him.

“As long as you promise to give it your all tomorrow night.” She then lightly kisses his lips. “And promise me to not cut this hair for as long as possible…” He then glances at her a little confused. “What? It’s adorable, honestly.”

“I have to admit that I’m starting to like it more this year than I did last year.” She got a little giggly, though instantly calmed down, feeling her breath hitch in her throat.

“Well please don’t let that opinion change anytime soon….” She then reaches over, placing a hand on his shoulder. “Besides, it can be fun to play with…” She then twirls a piece around her finger as she closes the gap between them once again, kissing his lips.

“Sarina…..” He deepens the kiss as they lay back on the couch together, lips locked together as she continues to play with his ringlets with her fingers.

“Like I said, these ringlets are everything….” She then pulls on the neck of his firesuit, making it loose, wrapping an arm around his neck as the fingers on her other hand continue to play.

“Your lips are everything…” He goes back in for another kiss, arms remaining firmly wrapped around her.

“You don’t understand what you do to me….” She then brings her fingers to the zipper on his firesuit. “I could easily take this off, and enjoy it all….” She then brings her hands back to his hair, playing once again. “But we’ll save that for another time….”

“Yeah….” It didn’t take his lack of words to see the change in his behavior immediately following the words escaping her mouth, as the fact that he was tensing up and his breathing was quickening said enough.

“Babes….” He then closes his eyes, trying to get himself to calm back down, as she slowly sits up. “Fuck me. I screwed up….” He then looks over at her immediately.

“No, no, you did nothing wrong….” He then sits back on the couch, calming down as he grabs the bottle of water off the table, taking a mouthful.

“No, I screwed up, Chase. I should’ve known to be more careful. I should’ve known to take it slower. I should’ve known to just leave it at making out and hair twirling until you were ready. I shou-”

“Stop, please.” He then reaches over, placing a hand on hers, squeezing it. “You didn’t do anything wrong. Even though I panicked a little, it’s not because of what you did and I wouldn’t want to change what you did. I loved every single minute of that kiss, and you can play hair twirling any day.”

“I still feel terrib-”

“I’m not mad at you, so let it go – okay?” She nods her head, accepting. “Your words took me back to a night with Alison. We had flown to Nashville because of meeting with the investigators. We agreed to stay in a hotel that night due to the investigation, and the fact that I was racing at Bristol in a couple days anyway. I kept my deal with Alison, and told her what hotel room I was staying in. She showed up as planned….” Sarina glances into his eyes, squeezing his hand as she could tell his breathing was quickening once again.

“Chase, you don’t need to tell me. You don’t need to go back there….”

“She made me strip down to just my boxers and lay on the bed, spread eagle, before stripping out of her clothes, down to just her bra and panties.” Sarina felt her own breath hitch in hearing the stripping out of clothes line, instant reminders of the possible pregnancy that loomed over both of their heads with her mind flopping back and forth. There was nothing that could describe the relief in hearing about clothes left on, but there was also still that layer of wonder and panic. “She then laid on top of me, ready to kiss me, move against like she before…”

“Chase….” He closes his eyes as he could see the images clear as day in his mind.

“That’s when she ran her finger along my waistline and said, ‘I could easily take these off – but we’ll save that for another night.’ When you said the same thing, it just took me back there and I instantly felt what I felt with her – sick to my stomach beyond any shadow of a doubt, wishing I could be anywhere else.” She then wraps an arm around him, pulling him close as she could a couple stray tears rolling down his cheeks.

“I wish I could make that pain disappear for you, and I’m sorry for bringing it all back…” He glances up at her.

“I told you – it’s not your fault. Don’t be upset, okay? Like you said before, we’ll get there – in time and eventually. I just need to let it go. But how? I don’t know sometimes because there’s no words to describe how sick she made me feel, how much pain I was in, and how I just wanted to rip every part of it away…” The tears become to fall more as Sarina holds him close, letting him lay his head against her as she rubs his back with one hand, and goes back to twirling his hair with the fingers on her other hand.

“I don’t know how to fix it, I don’t know how to make it better – but I wish I could make it disappear in a second’s notice for you. But know that as you work your way through, I’ll always be here to hold you, help you, and be there for you…” She then kisses the top of his head. “I love you, Clyde….”

The pair then sat there in silence listening to the rain fall outside, as he slowly calmed down with the tears slowing down in feeling her against him. She continued to rub his back, not moving a single inch over the next couple hours – even when various text messages came through from their teams about qualifying being cancelled for each of their respective races.

“Are you sure you’re okay now?” Sarina double checks and Chase simply nods his head in response, before leaving the motorcoach.

After a quiet afternoon, he had gotten a text message from Alan to meet him in the garage area to talk about the latest details from NASCAR ahead of tomorrow’s event. He had thought about changing out of his firesuit, but running late, he left it on.

He made his way into the garage stall, finding the crew chief right away with Jimmie Johnson.

“What’s up?” He asks as he leans back against the pit box.

“So they’re still doing all-star qualifying, no pit road speed limit pit stop without any practice,” Alan answers as Chase glances over at Jimmie with a bit of a surprise.

“Isn’t it wonderful?” Jimmie questions sarcastically earning a smirk in return from Alan. “And yes, I get to be the first one out to do it. I mean, why not? I’m 7-time. I can do anything, right?”

“For once, maybe being in the Open is a good thing,” Chase comments as Alan chuckles a little.

“Then NASCAR said that they’re going to do a combined one hour practice tomorrow morning so you can get a feel for the package,” Alan adds, which added some relief to the driver. It was a little nerve-whacking heading into a race without any laps on the car in a new package.

“Now why couldn’t they run that practice tonight and qualify us tomorrow?” Jimmie wonders and Chase shrugs his shoulders.

“That’d be too easy for NASCAR,” Jimmie just chuckles.

“And on that note, I better go find Chad before he kicks my ass. By the way, Chase, make sure you do up your collar next time. You give away what you’ve been up to during the delay..” Chase’s hand runs up to the collar, having realized it was left undone by Sarina in their fun, as he watches Jimmie walk away.

“For someone who supposedly just did tha-”

“Alan, please….” Chase starts as he does it up quickly, earning a curious glance from the crew chief. “Out of everybody here, you know what happened – and there you go…” Alan wanted to smack himself immediately.

“I should’ve remembered that it was a sensitive subject, still,” Alan starts. “I’m sorry….” Chase lets out a sigh as he returns to his previous stance against the pit box.

“Just like I told Sarina, no apology is necessary – and I’m sorry I snapped last week, and again right now.” Alan then looks over sympathy laced in his eyes.

“Listen, I know how tore up you were about what happened. I was there, remember? I spent that morning in the bathroom, and the days following. You don’t need to apologize. I understand – hence why I said on Monday that I bit my tongue in return. With that said, is everything okay with you and Sarina?” Chase nods his head as he takes a deep breath.

“Everything was going perfectly – and then she said something and it took me right there immediately. We then talked about it, before just cuddling together…” He then runs his hands through his hair. “I just want to get to a time where there’s no reminders. I don’t want to feel sick and disgusted instantly. And I know it’s going to take time, and I know all this and that – but sometimes, can’t I just wish it would happen instantly?”

“There’s nothing wrong with wanting that. And really, you’re making progress because you and Sarina talked about it. That’s a start, right?” Chase nods his head.

“And before that, man, I can’t even describe this…” A smile comes across his cheeks as he thinks about their kisses together, earning an eye roll from Alan.

“I know there’s questions about her ability to get pregnant – but at least wear a glove just in case.” Chase then looks back over at Alan.

“Have you been hanging out with Kyle lately?” Alan just chuckles as they head out of the garage together, set to watch the all-star race qualifying session.

Chase stands back and lets Sarina get introduced to the crowd, before taking her hand as they head back to pit road, ready for the truck race that night.

“We need to go see Brex!” She lets out as they reach pit road, making the short turn to walk over to where Samantha and Kyle were with him, rather than going to her own truck. They immediately smiled as they walked over, seeing him having a piece of cake.

“Cake?” Brexton offers, grabbing a chunk of the small cake and holding it up to Sarina.

“I don’t want to be giving him the bath afterwards,” Sarina comments with a chuckle as she accepts the piece, eating it. “That’s actually really good.”

“Sarina!” Sarina wanted to pick him up as he wanted, but knew that’d result in getting cake all over her – not the best look before the race.

“Maybe later buddy.” She then kneels down before him. “I just wanted to come over here and say Happy Birthday. I can’t believe you’re three years old!”

“I can’t believe it either….” Samantha lets out as she tries to clean up some of the cake.

“Did you get my present?” Sarina questions and Brexton nods his head immediately. She had left a pedal car done to match her truck by the Busch motorhome earlier on that day. “We can have races against each other now at KBM!”

“Oh boy….” Kyle says as he rolls his eyes, earning a chuckle from Chase.

“’Hank you!” Brexton tells her, giving her a big hug in return.

“You’re welcome,” she replies, giving him a kiss on the cheek before standing up, as she glances over. She had luckily escaped getting cake all over her. Brexton then went to run off into the grass when Chase grabbed him, scooping him up in his arms, which sent Brexton into a fit of giggles.

“Not so fast,” Chase says as he turns him around in his arms. “I wanted to say Happy Birthday, as well! Oh, and I have a surprise for you later…” Kyle then looks over a little concerned. “I got you a bin to put all of your cars in neatly so you can take them all over – and it has a couple new cars in it. I figured daddy’s car needs a little more competition from me and my friends.”

“Now now, Jimmie Johnson cars are not allowed in the household,” Kyle teases as Chase just laughs.

“Sleepover again?” Brexton asks, catching everyone off-guard.

“Maybe another night bud, okay?” Chase offers and Brexton nods his head, accepting. Chase then sets him back down, letting him run off with a couple of his friends. “And maybe I should’ve included a Brad Keselowski car after all.”

“Well maybe I’ll just get you a Denny Hamlin diecast for your birthday, big boy,” Kyle replies, as they both laugh. “Good luck tonight. Stay out of trouble, and be smart. It’s easy to make a mistake here.”

“Gotcha boss,” Sarina replies. “Good luck tonight to you, too. See ya at the front of the field.” She then takes Chase’s hand as they walk off together over to her truck.

“I’m so glad that she has him…” Samantha smiles as she places a hand on Kyle’s shoulder.

“As much as it probably means to him to have her. I just wish that they could get the news they want about children…” Kyle glances over at Samantha. “I know what it feels like to not have that chance, feel that you can’t be a mother, you’re missing out. Of course, I can’t describe the overwhelming joy in being able to have Brexton.”

“We got our miracle. Maybe they’ll get theirs.”

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

Friday, May 12 – Kansas Speedway

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“You’re putting too much press-”

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

“They know something happened with Alis-”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Sunday, April 15 – Bristol Motor Speedway

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“I love you, too.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“I won’t hold back…”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Challenge accepted.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday April 10, 2018 – Charlotte, North Carolina

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday April 11, 2018 – Nashville, Tennessee

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“We have people on the jo-”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“On the bed, spread eagle….” He simply follows the orders as she places the phone just out of reach from his fingers, allowing the live video feed to play once again, as she strips out of her clothes. “I should almost just do what I really want tonight to make you suffer for that comment. Actually, I could simply just send the messa-”

“No, please. Leave Sarina alone. Take me. Do whatever you want. Just please leave her alone.” Alison smirks even wider as she climbs on the bed, laying on top of him.

“I could easily take these off….” She runs her finger tips along the waistline of his boxers. “But we’ll save that for another night…” Just like the previous night, she begins off the same way, her breathing picking up as she did so, matched by his doing the same with a tinge of fear and pain mixed in. But yet, she was getting her satisfaction in feeling him harden against her even through the fabric.

“The….ring….” He grabs her hand, bringing it to closer view of his eyes, seeing the familiar pink diamond. “You took Sarina’s ring…” Alison smirks as she looks into his eyes.

“She doesn’t need tha-”

“Take it off!” Now he really wished that Jordan and Alan heard them. “Take it off!”

“Shut up and kiss me like you mean it, and maybe you’ll get your wish….” He takes a deep breath, accepting the kiss that she had to offer, as well as the continued body movements. “Good boy….”

“Please….” She then moves her lips down his collarbone, sucking as hard as she can as a moan escapes her lips once again.

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

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

The Tale of Love & Racing: Sarina’s Story – Chapter 13: “I’m not running, ever.”

Sunday, January 7 – Michigan

The entire car ride from there back to the airport was silence. Lindsay nor Chase could muster a reaction to what Shelley said, nor find the words to comfort Sarina. Sarina, meanwhile, was lost in her own thoughts, ranging from disbelief to anger.

“If you guys need anything, don’t hesitate to call,” Lindsay offers as she stops at the drop-off at the airport. “Sarina, I mean it – I am just a phone call away. I’ll bust my ass down to North Carolina for you. And Chase, the offer extends to you, too. Thanks for a fun time in Puerto Rico.”

“As long as you promise to keep in contact with Ryan,” Chase comments and Lindsay just rolls her eyes. “Oh come on….”

“Just because you set us up on a date one night for your own reasons, it doesn’t mean you made magic.” Chase gives her a sad face and she just shrugs her face back in response. “Take care of my cousin.”

“Always.” Lindsay then looks over at Sarina.

“Bye princess.” She gives her a hug and Sarina just gives her a small smile in response, before grabbing her bag and beginning the walk to the plane. “Like I sai-”

“Don’t worry. I know how to get through to her.” Chase then follows her.

The silent streak continued, which was no surprise to Chase. He watched as she simply sat up in the seat as he went through checking things over, before getting set to fly out.

“We’re heading home, right?” She questions and he takes a deep breath. He knew that’d be the best option considering the emotions, but there were other plans in place. Maybe those were better off cancelled, though.

“We’re actually going to Georgia,” he tells her as she looks at him confused. “The game is tomorrow, so we’re going to my paren-”

“Oh, so while you go have some fun, you’re going to just ship me off to your parents?” Chase instantly looks over surprised as she takes a deep breath, closing her eyes. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean it like tha-”

“No, you have a point.” She was now a little confused as he takes a deep breath. “I just went ahead and made the decision of what to do tomorrow night while I went to the game without even consulting you. Meanwhile, you were the one who surprised me with the tickets and I care about you more than anything.” He then closes his eyes, debating how to express this next. He knew the waters were testy due to her emotions. “With how you’re feeling and everything on, I don’t want you to be alone tomorrow night – just in case. I just feel it’d be safer if you were with someone, and my parents were the first ones that came to mind. They’d do anything for us, and I know I can trust them.”

“I can trust your parents, too, and I don’t have a problem with it actually. That comment was more out of my own anger and spite for my situation.” Chase nods his head, accepting. “But we can’t just go to Georgia and stay there overnight. Remember we have the appointment with Samantha tomorrow?” Chase freezes, almost ready to go palm to forehead.

“I’m so sorry that I forgot about that. I was thinking about the vacation, Shelley, feelings, carin-”

“And your dawgs?” He shrugs his shoulders.

“Can you blame me?” She laughs, shaking her head no. “It just slipped my mind – not on purpose, though, before I feel this is really an important thing to do. I’ll text my mom and let her know we’re not coming tonight and we’ll go home as planned.” She smiles a little, as it was a better comforting scenario based on all the events today. “Anyways, you could stay with Kyle and Samantha tomorrow nig-”

“They’re leaving to head on their vacation. Let’s just say that Samantha has cursed the cold weather up and down.” Chase chuckles, not surprised.

“You can’t be as fashionable with a ton of layers, right?” She just rolls her eyes in response. “So for tomorrow night, though, it’s your choice. You could ask Ryan, you could ask Christopher, you could stick with my parents – anybody else you want, actually. Or, if you really feel comfortable and feel there will be no issues, you could stay home.” She thinks it over, pondering the options.

“Ryan? Are you kidding me? Have you not realized the annoyance that we have for each other very quickly?” Chase chuckles, nodding his head. “And by the way, it’s not a bad thing. It’s actually fun at times. But a whole night with him? Yeah, not happening. However, I do like the Christopher suggestion. He has been bugging to have a night to hang out and catch up since we last seen each other. So I will accept that offer before he flies out to Oklahoma for the Chili Bowl.” Chase smiles, glad that they found a compromise.

“And Sarina, I truly am sorry for that remark earlier and how it came out. I didn’t mean to offe-”

“Stop apologizing. It’s fine.” She then reaches over, lightly kissing his lips. “I love you, and I want you to remember that no matter what is going on.”

“I love you, too. I will always love you, no matter what happens or what anybody else tells me.” She then smiles as she sits back. “And when you want, we can talk about Shelley’s words.” Sarina nods her head, accepting. She knew the topic needed to be addressed, just like others at hand, but finding the courage and sorting out a way to describe it would be another whole challenge all together.

“I’ll keep that offer in mind, but I’m okay as long as I know you’re by my side.”

“I’m not running, ever.” She then closes her eyes, taking a long deep breath. “I’m sorry. That was terrible wording agai-”

“It’s okay, Chase. The intentions cover all the emotions at hand. We can go when we’re ready.” He nods his head, accepting, silently kicking his own butt to himself.

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

Sunday, January 7 – North Carolina

Chase lies back in the bed beside her, shifting over closer as she lays her head on his chest.

“As much as I love Colorado and Puerto Rico, it feels nice to be home in our own bed,” she comments as she rubs her stomach. “Oh man…”

“Sore?” He offers and she nods her head.

“Everything else has settled down or stopped, except the bits of pain – and tonight, it’s a little worse than other times.” He moves his right hand to her stomach, beginning to make small circles as she gets comfier against him.

“Stress, combined with moving around a lot would cause that. Just take a deep breath, close your eyes, and relax. I’m not going anywhere. My night is committed to you.” She does as instructed, falling asleep shortly after.

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

Monday, January 8 – North Carolina

Sarina gets out of the car, takes a glance over at Chase with a small nod of the head, before meeting up with Samantha.

“Hey sweetheart,” Samantha offers, wrapping an arm around her. “How are you?” Sarina takes a deep breath.

“Nervous,” she admits as Samantha rubs her shoulder lightly.

“I understand. I would be, too. At least you’re feeling better – and you actually look really good. Did you have fun in Puerto Rico?” Sarina nods her head as she glances back at Chase.

“I have to tell you later about the bird adventure we went on, and then the special dinner together.” Samantha looks back at Chase.

“Well well, you have a prince charming on your hands, huh?” Chase just smiles in response.

“I would do anything for her,” Chase comments and Samantha nods her head, accepting. She didn’t need re-assurance of that from that.

The appointment started off smoothly, as it was determined everything surrounding the miscarriage had gone accordingly, from the blood to no complications. With assurance the pain would subside over the week, a quick pelvic exam led to a bit of time to look over everything resulted in some nerves.

“So Samantha brought everything to me because you want some answers, correct?” Dr. Shave questions and Sarina nods her head. “That’s a reasonable request as I can understand the shock over what happened. Like she told you, though, it’s not a totally unique situation as I’ve seen it before. Now, I have looked over everything and I can’t say that we have an exact cause for this miscarriage.”

“Of course not,” Sarina comments as Chase simply rubs her shoulders. “I figured answers would make it easier to understand, move forward – but nope, I don’t get that blessing. Why would I expect otherwise?”

“It could be a blessing in disguise, though,” Samantha offers, catching their attention. “If there was no exact cause, that leads the door open for you to try again down the road – if you want to, and know that there will be no issues. Isn’t that comforting?” Sarina lets out a sigh and nods her head. Maybe Samantha was right, but that didn’t make this situation easier.

“I just don’t want to deal with this surprise, again…”

“The birth control pills that you are on – I would recommend changing them to another kind that has proven to have a better track record,” Dr. Shave suggests, writing a prescription as she talks. “And in the process of increasing your security measures until you are properly ready, I can include a list of condom brands that have been proven successful. I would then also just suggest taking a pregnancy test every couple weeks if it helps you deal with this.” Chase takes the prescription and list from the doctor, glancing it over. Anything was better than nothing in his mind, and he knew a repeat situation would cause way more harm than imaginable.

“What if that pregnancy test shows that I am positive?” Sarina then questions aloud. “What if this happens, again? I’m not ready to be pregnant or a mother, especially with my career of choice, but there’s no way that I could bring myself to get an abortion for selfish reasons.”

“I can assure you that following what we’re putting in place gives you a good chance – like 99% of it not happening again. Of course, with fears there, that’s a conversation to discuss with your partner here about.” Sarina glances up at Chase’s brown eyes, and Chase just rubs her shoulders.

“No matter what, I’ve got your back,” he tells her, leaning down to kiss her cheek. “We can have this conversation whenever you’re ready, but you have nothing to worry about. We can handle whatever happens together.” Sarina takes a deep breath, trying to get herself to calm down some, as she relaxes back in his arms more. There was no denying that he was her security blanket.

“Should Sarina decide to get pregnant in the future, do you see any reasons that may complicate things?” Samantha asks, knowing the train of thought was certainly lost on the pair beside her.

“Before she goes ahead with getting pregnant, I would recommend that she come see me once again,” Dr. Shave states, catching Sarina’s attention. “The only reason is I want to make sure the hormone levels are right, and I do have a concern over a possible uterus issue. While I don’t see signs of that being the problem this time around, your uterus isn’t the shape of a typical woman.”

“Well, she’s not your typical girl either,” Chase offers, trying to lighten the mood some, but only earns a look from Sarina.

“Uterine anomalies are responsible for about 10 percent of miscarriages, and what happens is what we call a uterine septum–miscarriage. Either the embryo doesn’t implant properly, or once implanted, it can’t get the nutrients from the mother it needs. The only correction for that is surgery, and then you may be required to be on bed rest or in the hospital during your pregnancy.” Sarina rolls her eyes with a slight laugh.

“And you think that’s my problem?” Sarina questions and Dr. Shave takes a deep breath.

“You’re not the typical shape, but I don’t see the shape being a problem as of right now,” Dr. Shave tells her. “I just want to keep a close watch on that, hence checking before you decide to go through with a pregnancy.”

“Lovely…..”

“Hey, don’t get all upset about it,” Samantha encourages her. “Everybody is different and has their own challenges. Look at me and Kyle and what I had to go through. I can connect you with a ton of other woman who have faced challenges. No matter what, miracles can happen and if you want, it can happen for you when the time is right.” Sarina wanted to believe that, but alarms were sounding in all directions.

“How am I supposed to get a miracle when nothing else seems to be going right?” Sarina questions, causing a shocked glance from Samantha.

“Nothing is going right? What do you call an amazing, caring boyfriend that would do anything for you? What do you call an amazing opportunity with my team? What do you call winning at Martinsville? What do you call reuniting with your cousin? There has been a lot that has gone right for you.” Samantha then eyes Chase with a bit of confusion, as Chase just keeps Sarina held close.

“Ignore every single thing that Shelley said to you and delete it from your mind,” he encourages her. “I don’t want you to think about a single word that she said. I don’t care what she thinks. You did what you could, and had to do in the situation you were dealt. It’s not your fault how things turned out, just like this is not your fault either. Like I told you, no matter the battle, you can get through it and I’m here with you the whole way – I promise.” Sarina takes a deep breath, letting both comments consume her thoughts as she tries to block out everything else.

“It’s just tough sometimes, you know?” She tells them, and they both nod their head.

“Life isn’t easy,” Samantha tells her. “It throws tough moments at you so you can appreciate the highs that much more. It makes you think back and reflect, and be thankful. Just always remind yourself of those positives in the toughest moments.” Sarina nods her head, accepting.

“That was actually a pretty cool afternoon at Martinsville….”

The doctor didn’t have much more to say, letting them go with the note to call if they had any questions or concerns, and remember the advice given. Once reaching the parking lot, Samantha assured them both once again, while they wished her the best on her trip away, before separating.

“You know, I could skip the game tonight,” Chase offers as they get set to leave.

“You’re kidding me right?” Sarina questions, looking over totally shocked.

“No, I am not kiddi-”

“There’s no way that you’re skipping the game. This has been your dream to see your team in the playoff finals at home. You’re not skipping it, Chase.” He then reaches over and takes her hand with his own.

“You mean more to me than a football game. You mean more to me than a lot of things, actually. I would do anything for you. I wish I could just take away every bit of pain you’re feeling and put it on my shoulders, sometimes. I care a lot about you, and I’d hate to go to the game if you really need me tonight.” A small smile forms on her face as she takes her other hand and places it on top of his.

“I love you, and trust me – you are my world at times. I know there’s a lot of emotions swirling through my head, but you can believe that I will fine tonight. Christopher and I have already planned a variety of topics to talk about, along with a couple racing games, too. I will be fine tonight. You deserve to go have some fun and cheer on your dawgs.” The smile on his face now matched hers.

“Are you sure?” She nods her head. “Alright, only if you say so. But if anything comes up, text me and I will fly back instantly.” She nods her head once again.

“I’ll be fine, Chase. I’m a big girl.” He then puts the key in the ignition, heading out to the short drive over to Christopher’s.

The Tale of Love & Racing: Sarina’s Story – Chapter 10: Vacation!!

Tuesday, January 2 – Secrets Papacayo, Costa Rica

Sarina lets out a sigh as she shifts a little in the chair, getting comfy as she looks out onto the water. They were certainly right – the change of scenery was a nice. How could you complain when you were looking out to crystal clear water on the perfect sandy beach?

“Hey,” she hears, glancing up with a smile as she takes the bottle of water, along with a pain pill from Chase. “How are you?” She looks back out to the water with another sigh.

“Sore, still cramping, still bleeding a little,” she comments as she takes a sip of the water. “I just wish it was over already.” He then kneels down to her level, placing a hand on her leg.

“It will be soon; just hang in there. They said it can last up to two weeks, but most times it’s less than that. We’re only a couple days removed, remember?” She nods her head as she looks back out to the crystal clear water.

“So, what’s on the docket for you today?” He knew her question was a simple diversion because she didn’t want to talk about the pain, or emotions – exactly what he expected to happen once they decided to take the trip. He knew eventually they would have to face it head on, and deal with the emotions. He just hoped that came smoothly, rather than a repeat of the past.

“My plans? I thought my intentions were made clea-”

“You’re not just going to lay around on the beach catering to me for the entire time we’re here. There was a reason why we planned this trip – certain sights and things to do. Like I told you at the house, I don’t need to be catered or babied. Enjoy your vacation as intended.” He knew she meant well, but to him, that didn’t matter right now.

“We just got here a couple hours ago, so I was looking for some time to relax first anyway. But, to your point, I’m enjoying myself. Any time I can spend quality time with you, that’s special to me. I want to take care of you, I want to be here for you, and I have no issue just relaxing right here beside you.” She smiles, knowing that he meant well with his words – and probably was truthful, too. But, she wasn’t accepting it.

“Fine, you can do that for today. But you better damn well promise me that tomorrow you do what you were originally planning to do while you were here – something anyway. I mean, what about the mountain bike trail? What about the national parks, or snorkeling, or even the surfing? You’re not just going to become a beach bum for me, Chase, and you’re going to damn well promise me that’s not happening.” He smiles, already having a plan in mind already.

“I promise you that I will take some time to have some fun with Ryan doing those things. By the way, you’re not going to be our beach bum either. I know how excited you were about seeing the animals, so we’re going to make it work to where you can come with us.” She then looks at him with a glance of surprise.

“Seriously? I can barely move right now at times.” Chase nods his head, feeling absolutely terrible for her.

“We can make it work. Remember, I’d do anything for you.” He then kisses her forehead. “I’m going to go see what is taking Ryan so long on getting the food.”

“I bet you he’s flirting with the attendant…” Chase lets out a laugh as he heads back to the lodge.

“Is she okay?” Ryan asks as they meet halfway, and Chase helps him carry the stuff.

“It’s bothering her, and she’s avoiding that discussion,” Chase answers as Ryan lets out a sigh.

“Maybe this was a bad ide-”

“No,  it’s fine. It’s actually alright because I can see a little happiness in her, too.” A grin immediately forms on Ryan’s face.

“Tell me that I was right, Mr. Elliott. please just say it…” Chase just rolls his eyes as Ryan looks over. “Oh come on, give me the satisfaction.”

“For once, a crazy interruption of yours paid off. Are you happy?” Ryan nods his head with the grin firmly there not fading a bit.

“But what about the emotions and discussion?” Chase stops, taking a deep breath as he looks over at Ryan. Sarina wasn’t the only person willing to shelf the idea for now.

“Maybe it’s not time for that, yet. Besides, the number one priority is making sure that she feels better.” Ryan nods his head in agreement as they continue walking out.

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

Wednesday, January 3

With relaxation still on the topic of the mind, the morning had started out pretty slow. The boys were going to head off and do something that day, but Chase didn’t want them leaving just yet. He had a plan first.

As they were passing the time with a quick round of Go Fish, a knock at the door saw the cards instantly be dropped and a smile cross his face.

“Do I want to know?” Sarina questions as Chase gets up and heads to the door. She then looks over at Ryan, who just shrugs his shoulders. “Do you even know?” Ryan shakes his head no.

“You made it!” Chase lets out as he opens the door, backing up immediately to let her in. “Surprise!”

“Lindsay?” Lindsay walks over, dropping her bag in an instant as she wraps her arms around Sarina. “What are you doing here?!?”

“Well, I was supposed to come see you in Charlotte but obviously, you guys took a trip instead so Chase told me to get my ass down here,” Lindsay reveals as Sarina looks back over at Chase.

“So you arranged this surprise, again?” She questions and Chase nods his head with a smile. “How did I ever get so spoiled with you?”

“You can thank me,” Ryan offers as he cleans up the cards, putting them away. he knew the game was officially over as the girls would be set to chit chat based on everything going on.

“All you did was piss her off that day…” Chase muses as Ryan looks back over his shoulder.

“But I did give you a reason for conversation, right?” Chase lets out a sigh as Ryan just smiles. “I’ll accept my you’re right Ryan whenever you feel like.”

“Is he always like this?” Lindsay wonders and Sarina nods her head.

“He’s been a bit of a vacation pest since he got back from Cuba,” Sarina offers, earning a ‘surprised’ glance from Ryan.

“Recall it was my idea to come down here rather than sit at home in the cold,” Ryan reminds her as she lets out a sigh, remembering the discussion. She still couldn’t believe that he managed to convince Chase. “Like him, you can give me payment whenever you feel like it.” She just flips the bird, causing a couple laughs around the room.

“Now that you’re company is here, us boys are off to explore,” Chase states as he grabs Ryan’s arm. “Consider this my way of getting him out of your hair for a while.” Sarina just smiles, blowing him a kiss.

“Be careful!” She shouts as the boys head out, set for a mountain biking adventure.

“So, how are you doing?” Lindsay questions, catching Sarina’s attention.

“I’m oka-” She starts and Lindsay shakes her head as she gets comfortable on the couch.

“Cut the bullshit, and tell me the truth.” Sarina lets out a sigh as she glances out the window.

“Sore, conflicted, emotional, sad, angry, confused – a complete mess at times, I guess.” Sarina then takes a deep breath as she slowly stands up, walking over to the window, glancing outside. “I didn’t even know I was pregnant, but yet here I am acting like that grieving mother who lost everything. It just doesn’t feel right.” Sarina then looks back at Lindsay. “Am I supposed to be this emotional over something that’s not even seeming real at times?”

“Absolutely. Whether you knew or not is besides the point, Sarina. It was a living human being. It had a heartbeat, and a soul. By you showing compassion and sadness, that just proves how sweet you are. Anybody would have your reaction. I mean, I’d be confused too because I’d want answers.” Sarina nods her head, accepting, as she looks back out the window.

“Samantha is taking everything to her specialist tomorrow to see if we can get some answers because she feels that’ll help us both moving forward. To me, I don’t know, but I’ll let her do it because maybe she’s right. I just….” Sarina leans back against the wall. “I felt where I stood with my relationship with Chase was finally where I wanted it. We were trusting each other, loving each other unconditionally, and fully in love. We had put everything behind us, focused on the future, ready for the next step. But yet, here we are….”

“Chase hasn’t given any signs that he doesn’t love you, Sarina. I don’t think this changes how he feels about you at all.” Sarina glances away as she thinks those words over. Chase’s unconditional love was there as ever. However, she wasn’t about to write everything home free yet.

“We haven’t faced each other with a true heart-to-heart, yet. We haven’t been able to talk about our future together – whether we want kids, how we’re going to handle this in relation to our sexual life, and how it changes if it does anything. He keeps hinting towards it, wanting me to reveal how I am feeling, and I just avoid it. I’m afraid of voicing that opinion. What if I say something that doesn’t fit what he wants and he’s gone just like that?” Lindsay stands up, walking over, looking at Sarina straight in the eyes.

“He loves you unconditionally. He has repeatedly said that you are his world. sure, a small disagreement in opinion may create a tussel. But sweetheart, here’s some news for you – life isn’t easy. You have to work at your happiness and earn it. You both need to have this discussion, talk about things, and work towards being happy. You need to work through the disagreements and finds a compromise or understanding. considering how strong you bot-”

“I run away from conflict. I run away as soon as things get tou-”

“But you’re stronger now, and you know that you can trust him because he will help you with your emotions. You ran before because of uncertainty. But now, open that door, have the discussion, and don’t run because in the end, you know you can solve your problems now. In the end, you both know you need each other.” Sarina nods her head, accepting, as she lets out a sigh.

“Look at us. You haven’t been here five whole minutes and I’m dumping everything on you.” Lindsay smiles as she takes in the same view as Sarina outside.

“That’s why Chase called me. He knew you needed me to vent to, and talk to, and share things with. He called me because he cares about you, and sweetheart, I’ve always cared about you.” Sarina smiles, knowing that was the truth. “That sand is so beautiful….”

“I was laying out there yesterday and it’s just amazing. The boys certainly picked the perfect vacation spot.”

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

“So everything is going okay so far?” Samantha double checks.

“She says it’s not any worse, and there’s no signs of complications,” Chase offers as he leans against the railing outside. Like he had done every other night, he was on the phone with an update for Samantha. It felt nice to have her talk to, in a way, as sometimes he felt himself suppressing his feelings in front of Sarina just as much as she was to him. “Now we haven’t discussed things much with regards to how she’s feeling emotionally…”

“Give it time, Chase. She’ll discuss it when she’s ready – just like you’ll bring it up to her when you’re ready, too.” Chase nods his head as he looks up at the stars.

“If I wish upon a star, do you think it would make it easier?”

“You can try, but you know that’s probably not the case. It’s meant to be hard and emotional because it’s not easy to go through uncertainty, loss, questions, and pain. You should know that from what you’ve experienced with her brother. I know you try to be the strong one for her – and that’s amazing because you’re right, she needs you. But Chase, just like we talked about the first night, you need to face your emotions just as much as she does hers.” Chase lets out a sigh as he knew that.

“Sometimes I’m ready to just let it go and tell her everything. Other times, I want to bottle it up and ship it away because I don’t want to make her pain any worse.”

“Maybe hearing those emotions, understanding that you sympathize with her, could allow you both to do what you need to do.” He thought about it, and debated it, as he glanced back inside at her sleeping on the couch. She had fallen asleep while watching a movie with all of them. “By the way, please tell your mom thank you. I got her e-mail with everything that I need in full detail so I appreciate that. Also, give Lindsay a quick thanks, too, as this gives us some place to start for Sarina.”

“It was the worst thing I could say out loud to my mom. I felt horrible, broken apart, lost in saying those words to my parents. Telling them was me coming to grips that this is reality, and I can’t hide from it Sam. It made me realize those emotions that I’m telling you about. And my gosh, the reaction from them surprised me. They were super supportive, willing to do anything, not even torn up a little bit.”

“Parents will do anything for their kids, Chase. They know you very well, and know what you need sometimes before you even know. Cindy knew to give you that assurance because she knew you needed it to begin to face these emotions, to then tell me, and next to tell Sarina.” Chase takes a deep breath as he thinks it over once again.

“Maybe tomorrow night. I think Lindsay and Ryan are going to go out for some time of their own. Maybe it’s time….”

“Don’t push it too soon just to do the right thing. You know yourself better than anyone so you will know the right time when that time comes. If that’s tomorrow, that’s great. If that’s a week from now after you let her get better, that’s fine too. Just as long as you totally don’t deny or avoid it forever.”  Chase closes his eyes, remembering the advice that he always gave Sarina.

“I’m not running Sam. I can’t do that to her. I know what it feels like to be on the other side of that, and it would crush her if I did it.”