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.”