The Tale of Love & Racing: Sarina’s Story – Chapter 55: “Are you flipping kidding me?!?”

Thursday March 22, 2018

“Chase, have you seen my umbrella?” Sarina questions, catching him off-guard as he watches her rummage through the closet. “It’s supposed to rain on Saturday at Martinsville…”

“They’ve changed it to just rain now?” He wonders and she nods her head, having checked the weather report again for probably the fifth time that day.

“A trace of rain expected from 3 to midnight. Do you know what that means?” She then glances around to face him. “We may be both chasing our clocks on Sunday.” Chase lets out a sigh as it wouldn’t surprise him given past years of chaos at the paperclip.

“I thought you left the umbrella in the back of the plane.” She then freezes, thinking back, before letting out a sigh as she shuts the closet. “Besides, wouldn’t you be interested in being a swamped ra-”

“I did that with you last year at Daytona. I’m not doing that with you again, got it?” He chuckles, nodding his head as he reaches out and grabs her hand, pulling her close to him.

“But you were my cute swamped rat, and I didn’t want to let you go.” He then lightly kisses her lips. “Actually, I don’t ever think that I could let you go….”

“I’m glad that you believe that.” Their hands then lock together, before their lips find each other once again as he leans back against the edge of the bed.

“I mean every single word. I love you, Sarina, and nothing will ever change that.” He then moves in, kissing her lips softly once again as his finger traces the ring on her finger. “I wouldn’t have given you this and pushed you if I didn’t mean it.”

“I still can’t believe how amazing that night was. I was so afraid of a simple question, and you just made my fears go away immediately. I love you, always, and thank you.” She then kisses his lips once again.

“You never need to thank me…” He then returns the kiss in return.

“I know, but I always feel a need too because I can’t ever say enough words for what you did for me……” Her words trail off as he deepens the kiss, exploring her mouth with his tongue a little. She couldn’t resist it even if she tried, immediately returning the favor as their tongue find each other with her hands running up underneath his shirt. Their tongues remain together for the next 10 minutes, purely exploring each other, as her fingers don’t move an inch, totally lost in the moment. Finally pulled away, she was able to slip his top off. “Maybe I can repay the favor, if you allo-”

“I told you that I was fin-” He slips off her top as she just shakes her head, glancing right into his brown eyes.

“I know, and I believe you – but I meant repaying you in another way and form. Let me show you just how much I love you, so you never have to think about the taste of her lips on you ever again….”  She then begins a trail of kisses from his cheek, all the way down his neck, to his shoulder.

“Mmm….” They then hear a knock at the front door, eyes meeting each other, silently cursing it immediately. “Were you expecting someone?”

“Nope. Were you?” He shakes his head no as he goes down the stairs, while Sarina fumbles to find her shirt, continuing to curse under her breath.

It doesn’t take Chase long to reach the bottom of the stairs, opening the door, and set to roll his eyes immediately in seeing Lindsay standing there.

“Couldn’t you had just gone to Ryan’s house?” He questions, already knowing that she was going to be in town and going to the race with him.

“He’s not home right now and I didn’t want to go to his house alon-” She starts.

“Then why not go over to the Penske shop and get a tour?” She then crosses her arms as she watches Sarina appear at the top of the stairs.

“Did I interrupt something? Because given your appearance and frustration, combined with hers, I feel like I am missing something…” Chase glances back at Sarina, rolling his eyes, before walking away from the door.

“Don’t worry about it,” Sarina says as she comes down the stairs, fixing her hair along the way. “We were just having some quiet time together.” Lindsay glances in the direction that Chase headed before looking back at Sarina.

“Quiet time together, huh?” Lindsay wonders. “It seems more than just that. I mean, I could go if you really want me too.” Sarina shakes her head no.

“Don’t worry – we can make up for it later. Besides, I can never pass a chance to see you. It’s been long enough!” Lindsay then glances at Sarina’s hand, clasping it immediately and taking a closer look at the ring on her finger, before looking up.

“You were right – the man certainly spoiled you and knows your taste because that ring is amazingly perfect. It’s beyond what I could’ve expected even by how you described the proposal.” She then follows Sarina to the living room. “So what’s it been like being engaged?”

“It hasn’t felt any different or weird or anything, to be honest. I mean, I still feel the same way as I did before about him. it hasn’t changed me like I thought it would. Actually, in a way, it’s nice to be able to have that to carry with me when we’re apart.” Lindsay nods her head, accepting, as she fixes the necklace that she was wearing.

“Ryan may kill me, but when I saw how this necklace gleamed on the showroom floor while at the mall and the fact that it was a beautiful No. 12, I couldn’t help but pick it up.” Sarina takes a closer look, cooing immediately.

“I find it sweet that you want to hold him that close to your heart. I mean, I bet he will be wishing that he bought it for you…” Lindsay nods her head, accepting, but glances at the ground.

“I don’t know if I’d say that serious with Rya-”

“Are you kidding me? For that boy to wait to you’re available, be committed to a long distance relationship and be patient for you says a lot. Trust me – you’ve got a keeper in him, and you’ll see that appreciation when you see him.” Lindsay shyly glances up.

“Is it wrong that I want to jump him when I see him?” Sarina laughs, shaking her head no.

“I don’t blame you actually. I know just a couple days apart for Chase and I drives us insane.” Lindsay glances towards the kitchen where she knew Chase was, pondering her thoughts.

“Is he pissed off at me right now?” Sarina glances towards the kitchen, shrugging her shoulders.

“He’s probably a little frust-”

“I told you that I could go-”

“I told you my response already, didn’t I?” Lindsay lets out a sigh.

“I just feel bad for pissing him off…” Sarina shakes her head as she focuses her attention back on Lindsay.

“He may be a little frustrated right now given your timing, but it will be all forgotten later after you’ve left. Besides, he’s also appreciative of our relationship because of knowing my history and past. Like I said, I’ve got a sweet tender guy who would do anything for me.” Lindsay smiles as it was certainly nice to see, given the history there.

“You deserve it, truthfully and honestly. I mean, I can’t describe the joy in seeing you smiling and so happy.” Sarina reaches out her hand, placing it on top of Lindsay’s.

“You deserve that as much as I do, and I know Ryan can do that for you. So please give that boy a chance…” Lindsay sighs as Sarina continues to pat her hand. “A crazy work schedule with no play leads to no fun and a harsh life. Don’t do that to yourself.”

“I’m trying, right? I mean, I’m here this weekend. That says something, right?” Sarina nods her head, accepting. “So I saw all the promotions leading up to this weekend’s race and they certainly are replaying all of the highlights from Chase and Denn-”

“Don’t remin-”

“So I want to know something, though. Why didn’t you just slap Denny?” Sarina chuckles, remembering her frustration on top of the pit box and especially in the days that followed with having to do an appearance on behalf of Toyota with him.

“Oh I wanted to – there’s no secret about that. however, that day, I chose to let Chase take care of his own business – the same way that I would appreciate him to act if say someone pisses me off. But I came close to slapping him a couple days later. He’s lucky that both Kyle and Christopher were there.” Lindsay shakes her head in disbelief.

“So you mentioned doing anger management classes, though….” Sarina nods her head.

“You’ve seen me when I get mad, right? I can be unpredictable, over the top, a little bit of crazy. It was simply a suggestion for me to improve myself and frankly, it’s helped. I’m implying what I am learning and nobody has gotten their heads chopped off lately.” Lindsay had to admit there was a smirk hidden in there somewhere.

“So if someone wrecks you on the last lap, you’re not going to tackle them?” Sarina laughs.

“Are you kidding me? That person better hope they took a self-defense class by the time that I get done with them.” Lindsay smirks at the thought.

“Glad you haven’t lost your fire in all of this…”

“I wouldn’t be here without that. It’s my fire and desire that kept me pushing forward.” Sarina then lets out a sigh as she glances back towards the kitchen. “But it’s someone’s heart that captured mine and taught me that it’s okay to relax some, and facing what you’re running from makes it easier because you can only have so much fire.”

“I still can’t believe everything that he’s done for you…” Sarina glances back at Lindsay and nods her head in agreement.

“I thank anybody I can – him included – for it every day. I’m not afraid to admit that I don’t know what I’d do without him.” She then glances back down at the ring in her finger, twirling it around. “He’s my world, Lindsay. I don’t know what else to say.”

“Like I said, you deserve every bit of happiness, and as much as I want to see Ryan win a race that I am at since Daytona was a ball, I want to see you guys celebrating in victory lane soon together.” Sarina glances up at her.

“Trust me – that’s going to happen sooner than a lot of people think. His first win is coming and when its coming, there’s going to be lots to come afterwa-”

“Are you flipping kidding me?!?” They hear from the kitchen, catching them both off-guard.

“Stay here,” Sarina comments as she stand up immediately heading that way. She knew if Chase was flipping out, it had to be something serious and she wasn’t about to let Lindsay intrude on that situation just yet. She walks into the kitchen slowly, finding him sitting at the table with his phone in hand. “Chase?”

“The minute that I start to believe in the legal system, it screws me over backwards.” She then looks at him a little confused as she continues to make her way over. “Alison Reynolds was found certifiable insane by the physiological evaluations, and set to be kept at the mental institution until the next court date.”

“You just said was as past tens-”

“That’s because she’s not there anymore.” Sarina wanted to assume that meant back in jail, but why would Chase flip out over that? “She escaped about two hours after being delivered. The psychotic witch is back on the run again.” He sends a quick text message to a bunch of the crew members as Sarina walks over, rubbing both of his bare shoulders.

“They’re going to be find her, Chase. they know that she’s crazy and know who exactly she is, so they will find her and it will en-”

“It took them three months to find her the first time, Sarina.” He then takes a deep breath as he glances back at her, “What makes you believe that they’ll find her so quickly this time?” She shakes her head as she didn’t even know what to say.

“I know you’re afraid, and I know this bugs the hell out of you. But Chase, you have to believe me for your own sanity. She’s going to be caught, and before she is able to do anything ever to you or anybody else again. Everybody is on the lookout and she will be stopped, okay?” He takes a deep breath as he sets his phone down on the table.

“I told myself that I wouldn’t let her run my life anymore, but look at me right no-”

“You went through a lot with her, from the notes to what happened in the trailer. Your response is to be expected. Don’t beat yourself up over it.” He nods his head, accepting, as he glances back down at his phone.

“I thought this was over. I’m not afraid for me because trust me, I can find a way to take her down in a single moment. But I’m afraid for you, for the guys, because she’s crazy enough to go after everybody…” Sarina continues rubbing his shoulders.

“You don’t need to be worried for me, Chase. I can protect and take care of myself. I can kick her ass if I need to. I’ve also got my guys, Kyle, Sam – just like your guys have each other and the rest of your teammates. We have strength in numbers, Chase. Relax, it’s going to be okay…” He takes another deep breath as he picks up his phone to read the newest text message.

“I love you…” He then glances up at her as she reaches down, kissing his lips lightly. “I will always love you…”

“I love you, too, and I’m always here for you…” She then sits down at the table, planting her hand firmly on his, totally forgetting that Lindsay was in the other room. All that mattered to her at that moment was him.


The Tale of Love & Racing: Sarina’s Story – Chapter 54: Snake…

Tuesday March 20, 2018 – Kyle Busch Motorsports

Sarina makes her way through the shop, set to head up the stairs to the offices. She knew that getting briefed on yesterday’s wide spread company meeting was first on the docket as she hated to miss it, followed by a discussion with Rudy ahead of this weekend. it was time for Martinsville, and she wasn’t leaving anything on the table.

“Well, look who chose to make an appearance today…” She hears and immediately rolls her eyes as she watches Harrison Burton pop out of one of the offices.

“Sarina is actually here?” She hears from the same office, with Todd Gilliland popping out. “Oh my gosh, the princess is here in flesh. What shall we do, Harrison?”

“I don’t know Todd. I mean, what do you do with someone who chooses when they just feel like randomly coming in?” Todd shrugs his shoulders as Sarina rolls her eyes.

“I mean, who really misses the shop meeting ahead of a race weekend? I’d never missed one of those even with exams.”

“I even skipped a doctor’s appointment so I could be here for a meeting.”

“I even skipped a fun outing with friends so I could be here for a mee-”

“Are you guys done yet?” She cuts them off as she glances between them in surprise. “I mean, yeah, I missed the meeting yesterday, but I damn well would’ve rather been here at that meeting than sitting in a court room staring a crazy woman’s ass and hear her sick excuses for how she went after my boyfriend for months.” The smiles leave their faces immediately as they glance between each other, before glancing at her. She could only take a deep breath and glance down towards the floor. “I didn’t mean for that to come out so harshly, but you guys were going a little too fa-”

“We didn’t mean anything by it, Sarina,” Harrison starts. “We knew where you were. Kyle mentioned it. We were just having some fun, just kidding about it – nothing meant.”  Todd places a hand on her shoulder.

“We should’ve been a little more sensitive to the subject,” Todd adds as she glances back at the boys.

“It’s okay, I get it,” she assures them. “I guess I’m just a little on edge about it.” She then goes into her office, which the boys easily follow. “I don’t want to get into specifics, but the way she talked about what she did, and why she did, and her thought process – it honestly made me want to puke. It took every part of me to be strong for him because you could just tell that it made his skin crawl.” Harrison looks at her surprised.

“You mean it got a reaction out of Chase?” He questions and she nods her head. “Okay, I can’t say that I know Chase as well as anybody – but to get a reaction out of him, that takes quite a bit…” She just continues to nod her head.

“He didn’t say anything, or really do anything – but you could just see it in reaction to her words. I even tried to reach out to that layer afterwards and he wouldn’t say much.” She then lets out a long sigh as she flops back in the chair. “I’ve said too mu-”

“Hey, you need to get it out there and vent. We can both promise you that anything you say to us won’t go any further than this office, okay?” She nods her head accepting as she glances up at the pair. “Just also promise that you’ll do the right things to handle this, whether talking to someone, or whatever you need.” She lets out a chuckle as she peeks at her phone.

“I’m used to this by now, Harrison. You don’t need to give me the rookie involvement speech. Besides, aren’t I supposed to be giving you tips, rookie?” He then looks on surprised as she sticks out her tongue playfully. “For the record, did I miss much yesterday?”

“Kyle spouted off his usual advice, reminded us to play nice after your stunt last year with Christopher, and said that he expects to hear tick tock on Monday,” Todd informs her as she just smiles back in response.

“I don’t see why we can’t make that happen, right?” She offers and the boys nod their head in response.

“Now, let’s improve the mood a little….” She then glances at him confused, as she notices his glance over at Harrison. Harrison leaves the office as she still looks on worried.

“Do I want to know what you boys are planning?” He wasn’t too sure how to respond, so he just smiled.

“Let’s just say that you may enjoy or freak out at the surprise…” Harrison walks back in the office with the Rattler 250 snake on his shoulders as he walks over and sits on the corner of her desk.

“I can’t keep him, but he was allowed to come spend some time with me to meet everyone,” Harrison starts as Sarina admires the snake as it looks over at her. “My parents made me swear to not step within a 1000 feet of their house while he’s in town, so we’re stuck here together. What do you think?”

“He’s certainly a beauty,” she comments. “Congratulations, by the way.” He simply nods his head back in response.

“Thank you.” A smirk then forms on her face as she takes out her phone.

“Say, how long do you have him for?”

“The whole day…” Sarina chuckles as she brings up a familiar phone number.

“Care to have some fun in cheering up someone els-”

“You’re texting Chase, aren’t you?” She nods her head as he just laughs. “Text away…”


It was later in the afternoon when Chase was done the meetings at Hendrick Motorsports and able to make his escape. He still wasn’t sure why Sarina wanted to see him over at Kyle Busch Motorsports on ‘special reasons’ in the office, but he wanted to believe that it was the right intensions.

After clearing special permissions downstairs, he makes his way immediately up to the office level of the shop, walking down the hallway as he stops a familiar door. He glances in, smiling immediately as he sees her.

“If someone is busy, I can come back lat-” he starts, causing her to glance up immediately.

“Get your ass in here!” She instructs immediately while sending a quick text to Harrison. He makes his way inside and over to her side of the desk, kissing her lips. “I was wondering when you’d show up.”

“Given Sunday’s frustrations, the meeting took a little longer than anticipated. We also addressed the hole in the wall.” She then lets out a sigh, not wanting to think about Alison right now. “What’s wron-”

“Just tell me the conversation went smoo-”

“We all talked just touched upon being thankful, and the fact that she wasn’t able to get bail and shows all signs of crazy. Oh, and Rick had already arranged for the repair to be made – no questions asked.” She lets out a sigh, thankful for that.

“And how’s Alan?” Chase knew there wasn’t much to say as he sat on the corner of her desk.

“Alan is Alan. He’s focused as ever on making things better for our race tea-”

“You know what I mea-”

“He didn’t show any signs at all.” He then reaches out and places a hand on her shoulder. “Are you sure you’re okay?” She then takes a deep breath as she glances up into his brown eyes.

“I’m worried, okay? I saw the way you looked at her when she talked about her thoughts. I felt that skin crawl, the shudder, the way that she made you feel. It worries me about how you’re feeling and whether you’re okay like you make it seem to be…”

“All I can do is tell you how I feel, and my reaction, right? All I can do is try and be as truthful as I can be with you, and trust me when I say this – I am okay. Sure, she evokes these sick feelings with me and sure, I wish I could never of heard those words. But I am okay in knowing that she can’t hurt me, you, or anybody ever again.” He then leans in and lightly kisses her lips. “I love you.”

“I love you, too – and I hope you still love me after this.” He then glances at her confused as she points towards the doorway. Harrison then walks in with the snake affixed around his neck, smile firmly planted.

“Are you kidding me?!?” Both Harrison and Sarina laugh as they watch him squirm, hiding behind her.

“Say hello to my little friend…” Harrison teases as Chase glances down at Sarina.

“This is why you wanted me to come over?” He questions and she just laughs harder.

“I thought you could make a new friend…” She comments and he immediately shakes his head no. “The way I look at it is this – you lost the original bet when I qualified better than you. You also lost the second bet when Bubba beat Chand-”

“Chandler got wrecked on the second lap not of his doi-”

“Bubba still beat him, even if he broke. So that’s two losses to me.” He rolls his eyes as she spins her chair around to face him. “You could make friends with the snake to honor your loss.”

“Friends with the snake?” She nods her head. “Should I just go ahead and tell Harrison once again that you chose Bubba Pollard over both he and Raphael, your own teammates? But yet you want him to help you today?”

“Is he serious?” Harrison questions and Sarina slowly shrugs her shoulders. “Wow, thanks for the love. Come on Snakey, you don’t deserve to make friends with people like that…” Harrison turns and leaves as Sarina looks back at Chase.

“Happy?” She questions and he nods his head yes.

“Besides, I told you that I would honor the bet in style,” he answers, kissing her lips lightly. “I told you that I’d spoil you without any regard. If you’re a good girl, maybe I’ll take you up on that tonight.”

“You can’t tease and not deliver, Chase…” He smirks as he stands up and walks away to the doorway, glancing back.

“Don’t be late..” He heads out down the hall as a smirk forms on her face, hoping that she could get through what she needed to do that afternoon as soon as possible.


Wednesday March 21, 2018

With the sun shining in through the window on her, Chase glances over with a smile on his face. He brushes a piece out of hair out of her eyes, glancing at her in pure amazement.

“Are you just going to stare?” She questions as he smiles.

“I thought I did enough for you last night,” he offers and she just laughs as she rolls over. “Admit it. That was much better than trying to make me be friends with the snake.”

“The look on your face when Harrison brought that snake into the office was priceless…” He rolls his eyes as he reaches for his phone off the nightstand. “Chase, can we just stay here all day?”

“You wish for that every day except when it’s race da-”

“Do you blame me?” He laughs, shaking his head no. “You can’t have something that you have to do today…” He glances at his schedule, before looking over at her.

“What if I told you that I did?” She then gives him a pouting face immediately as he smiles.

“You’re not supposed to smile. You’re supposed to feel bad and cancel your plans…” He chuckles as he goes into his text messages. “Ah, actually, I better go into the shop and see Rudy. I promised that we’d have another chat before this weekend.”

“Anything wrong?” She shakes her head no. “I bet you’d rather be working with Marcus still…”

“There’s some days that I would rather work with Marcus because I can’t even begin to describe the friendship and understanding there. He did so much for me, right? I mean, he’s one of the reasons we were able to find what we needed together as he always offered advice. Rudy – he isn’t that type from what I’ve gathered so far. However, I don’t just want to throw him to the curb like you’re impl-”

“I never said those wor-”

“I just want to try and see where it goes, you know? I mean, he’s smart and certainly I can learn a lot from him as we’ve seen some of the improvements already in just a couple events together. So frustrating as it may be at times to change what I know and followed, I’m willing to open this door.” Chase nods his head, accepting.

“Rudy reminds me a lot of Ricky in a way, too. Smart about the approach, willing to teach, knows what you need to hear as a young driver, tips – it should work out well for you, I believe. I just – Ah of course…” She then looks at him confused as he reads over the text message. “Alison’s lawyer filed an insanity plea so she will be evaluated by a court official.”

“Are you honestly surprised given what she said on Monday?” Chase shakes his head no as he moves on to another message. “Chase….”

“It doesn’t change my thoughts. As long as she’s away – whether jail or a mental institution, she can’t do anything and that’s all I care about. I’m not giving her the power to mess wit-”

“But if she does, you will tell me and let me help you for once, right?” He glances over, and nods his head immediately.

“Of course….” He leans in and kisses her lips. “Have you heard anything about Chris?” She shakes her head no as she grabs her phone. “That judge is certainly taking his time with everything…”

“I thought you said that was a good thing.” He nods his head as he looks back to his phone.

“It is. It means that he’ll come out with a very clear, concise, correct decision and that will be leave to Chris where he is.”

The Tale of Love & Racing: Sarina’s Story – Chapter 53: Auto Club 400

Saturday March 17, 2018 – Auto Club Speedway

Chase walks into the garage stall, walking over to where Alan was going over notes for practice.

“Hey,” he says quietly. “How are you after yesterday?” Alan lets out a sigh as he glances up from his notes.

“Is everybody going to ask me that question today?” Alan wonders as he looks over at Chase.

“I didn’t mean to offend you…” Alan shakes his head as he glances down at his feet.

“Every single crew member asked me how I was this morning. Shannon held me tighter last night than normal because it spooked her. Austin wanted to know what it was like, actually and strangely.” Chase was a little caught off-guard by that revelation from one of Alan’s boys, but the comment with regards to Shannon caused a sigh.

“Alan, I feel terrible for what happ-”

“You don’t need to start apologi-”

“It’s not part of a normal crew chief duti-”

“And I would do it again if I had to, Chase!” Chase looks over surprised. “How many times do I need to tell you that? I would do whatever it takes for you. Sure, that was a little close for comfort – but I would do it again if necessary. Shannon recognizes that too, and respects that, and even says that she was glad that I was there for you. You didn’t ask for Alison to go after you, so I can’t stand here and let you blame yourself and apologize for it.” Alan glances back over his notes. “For what it is worth, sure, it scared the crap out of me, and maybe I’m a little on edge today. Sure, there’s small things that I may react to now that I wouldn’t before. But hey, that’s understandable right? Everybody understands that. As long as we’re both okay physically, then the rest is easy as ever. I’ll be fine, okay?” Chase nods his head.

“Thank you. Are we on-track in 10 minutes?” Alan nods his head as he watches Chase go to walk away. He then reaches out his hand, placing it on the young man’s shoulder.

“I know you’re just going to try and brush off what happened yesterday, the past couple of months with Alison as it was nothing. But Chase, I know that she screwed with you in more ways than one. I caught your reactions to those notes at times, right? Just promise me that you’ll do what you need to do for you.” Chase glances back at the crew chief.

“Knowing that she’s locked away and can’t do anything else to anybody, myself included, is comfort enough..” Chase then continues walking away as Alan goes back to looking over the notes.

The practice went solidly with Chase finding comfort in the car throughout the session, ultimately ending up third on the charts to give them hope moving forward.

With the session over, he made his way over to the fan Q&A that he had to do between the practices. Everything went smoothly with it – even some laughs for those in the crowd – before Chase began to make his way back to the garage.

“What’s the plan tonight?” Sarina questions as he shrugs his shoulders, glancing at her.

“We can watch the XFINITY race, or we could go out,” he offers as she thinks over their options.

“Is it wrong for me to selfish right now?” He shakes his head no as he wraps an arm around her shoulders.

“Absolutely not, considering…” He then kisses her cheek. “You choose the place, and I’ll just make sure to be ready.”

“Mr. Elliott, can I get a word with you?” Chase hears, catching him and Sarina both off-guard. “I was wondering your thoughts on what happened yesterday.”

“Can you be more precise?” Chase questions, wondering if he simply meant the qualifying situation but already knowing where this was going.

“The supposed confrontation in the hau-”

“I am sorry but I have nothing to say about that. it’s a legal matter, right? That’s for the police and court to sort out.” He then wraps his arm tighter around Sarina as they continue walking through the garage.

“Through everything that happened with Ms. Ott’s brother Chris, followed by Bethany, to now Alison Reynolds, you both have reserved saying anything. Don’t you want to control the narrative?” Chase and Sarina could only glance at each other and sigh.

“No comment!” They both say as they walk into the garage stall together.

“I’m making a mess of this for you…” Sarina says once they’re near the back of the garage stall.

“Do you see me complaining?” Chase questions as she lets out a sigh.

“You never complain…..”

“If I had a problem with what was happening, I would’ve told you already. Everybody can say what they want but our true fans will stay behind us no matter what, and we have each other. They don’t need to know, right?” She nods her head with a small sigh. “You’re thinking….”

“Sometimes I wonder if they should know the truth. Would their approach change if we told them everything?” Chase shrugs his shoulders.

“Why should it matter?” She could understand that as she glances down the garage area.

“Look at Kyle and Samantha. They can all be together without reser-”

“Do you want to hear some of the comments that Sam gets sometimes?” Sarina shakes her head no.

“I’ve seen those, actually, so I get what you’re saying. But yet, she still gets mostly respect from everybody. I just wonder what everyone would think if we just opened that door and said everything.” Chase grabs her hands with his, holding them tightly as he brings her close to him.

“There’s a lot of pain mixed in with what happened, though, and subjecting yourself to everybody seeing that and hearing it – I don’t know if that’s the right thing to do. I think you’re opening pandora’s box wider than we have. But if you do want to say something, I am willing to back you up all the way.” He then leans in and kisses her lips before walking off.

“How are you doing, Alan?” She questions noticing the crew chief, who just rolls his eyes in return. “I’m sorr-”

“It’s not personal,” he cuts her off as he places a hand on her shoulders. “I’m just glad that he has you at times, but I am doing good.”

While the first session went really well, he couldn’t say the same for the second session as they battled a loose condition, followed by a tight condition. It just seemed the comfort and security he found before wasn’t there. Alan could only promise that he would look over all the notes that night, and make sure that they were as close as possible come Sunday.

Sunday March 18, 2018 – Auto Club Speedway

“I don’t know what to say,” Alan comments as he sits back in the lounge, scurrying the papers across the small table before him.

After starting 31st, they were able to make their way up to the top-10 by the end of the first stage. From there, though, it was like they went nowhere. They stayed in the teens all day, battling the same crappy handling condition, en route to a 16th-place finish.

“I tried every adjustment that I could think of and nothing worked,” Alan continued as he glances over one of the pieces of paper. “Nothing helped, right?”

“It just felt snappy the entire last stage,” Chase comments as he pulls his firesuit down to his waist. “I want to say the one adjustment helped, but I’d be lying.”

“Normally, I would adjust the air pressure or wedge and it’d be fine. Are you sure you didn’t play with the trackba-”

“I left it alone, except when I told you.” Alan lets out a sigh as he puts the pieces of paper back on the table. “Look, we just missed it today, okay? You can sit here and beat yourself up all you want, but we just missed it. We did what we could and tried everything. I’m sure once you sit back and look over, we’ll see what we were missing and we’ll fix it moving forward. I still believe in you….” Alan glances over at him.

“I believe in you, too. I just wish we would’ve ran better…” Chase lets out a sigh as he sits down beside Alan.

“Hey, look at this way. I didn’t help your issues by screwing up that restart. I went from like 11th to 18th like nothin-”

“That wasn’t your fault. You had the right move on the bottom. It wasn’t your fault that Jimmie got loose and screwed all the lines.” Alan lets out a sigh as he picks up a piece of paper. “I need to talk to Chad and see what he did that worked. Maybe that can point us in the right direction.”

“There’s the spirit and the bright side is we’re heading to Martinsville…” Alan glances over intrigued.

“Did I just hear you excited about going to Martinsville?” Chase lets out a sigh, but nods his head. “Wow, I never thought I’d hear that after your rookie season. I remember you bitching the hell out of that place saying that you’d never figure it out…”

“Something just clicked last year running the truck race. We put together two great runs…” Alan nods his head in agreement, still wishing he could’ve punched Denny himself.

“Then I say we put together this crappy start to the season by scoring a win – even if Josh will miss it.” Chase looks over surprised now. “Yeah, we’re dropping the appeal. Jeff and I talked. There’s no way that we can make them see it differently, so why waste everyone’s time? I just didn’t want to change who was coming out here last minute so I immediately filed the appeal. But now, we can plan this week. I got to realign a couple people, but we’ll be fine at the track and Josh can get us up to speed in the shop where we may be missing.”

“I’m still not mad about it…” Alan nods his head, accepting. The pair then glance forward together.

“Is it weird that we can sit in here, even see a damn hole in the wall, and not feel anything?” Chase shakes his head no. “I should be freaked out to return to the same spot that someone took a shot at me. I should be wanting to run as far away as possible. But yet, I am sitting here as if nothing happened.”

“Because you’re strong, you realize it was a matter of circumstance, and you feel safe in knowing your guys are all around here – just like I do with you guys.” Alan smiles a little as he glances over at his driver.

“So that’s how it works, huh?” Chase nods his head. “Have you thought about what could’ve happened?”

“I realized that I can’t take anything for granted with how close she came to popping you off, but I haven’t thought about her plan for me. I can’t do that, Alan. It will just make me go crazy thinking about the possibilities – just like her notes. That’s why I’m just going to focus on moving forward with Sarina, and focus on turning our season around.”

“What about the court appearances?” Chase lets out a sigh as he wasn’t looking forward to those.

“If I have to say something, then I guess I have to say something, right? And when it comes to Chris, there’s no way he’s seeing the light of day.”

Monday March 19, 2018

Chase sits down, wrapping an arm around Sarina’s shoulders tightly, as Alan sits down in the row behind him. The pair share a quick glance, as Chase takes a deep breath, trying to remain as comfortable as possible.

“How do you plead to stalking Chase Elliott?” The judge asks as Alison Reynolds smiles with a glance over at him.

“How is it stalking when he wants me just as much as I want him?” She questions, causing Chase’s skin to crawl. “I mean, he did accept a kiss from me, right?” Sarina wanted to puke upon hearing the words as she clutches onto Chase’s hand tighter. He had been very open about what happened in the trailer, and she wanted to puke in hearing Alison’s plan.

“Not guilty, or guilty, ma’am. You can state your reasoning later…” Chase shivers at the thought of hearing Alison’s explanation.

“Not guilty, obviously.” Chase could only roll his eyes at the thought of being stuck in the court system for months now.

“How do you to plead to poisoning Chase Elliott?” Alan glances at Chase a little confused, but then recalled the Hooters incident.

“Okay, I admit that I may have spiked his drink. It’s just because I figured maybe he’d give in to our feelings for each other if we got some time alone.” Chase shivers at the thought, not wanting to think about, and knowing just how close he came in the trailer.

“How do you to plead to the attempted murder of both Chase Elliott and Ryan Blaney?” Chase glances at his phone, having promised that he’d text Ryan what happened.

“When did I ever try to kill him? Why would I kill my true love?” Alan was ready to utter the crazy line in hearing her explanations.

“I will assume you’re not guilty. How do you plead to the attempted murder of Alan Gustafson?” Alan crosses his arms, knowing there was no way she was getting out of this.

“I never meant to hit him. I figured it’d scare him off and I could finish what I started with Chase.” She then glances over at Chase, licking her lips. “Like I said, I was willing to show you what a true woman does…”

“Your honor…” The prosecutor warns in relation to Alison’s behavior.

“Stick to the program Ms. Reynolds,” the judge requests. “Clearly that’s a guilty plea as you admit shooting the gun. Lastly, how do you plead to sexual assault of Chase Elliott?” It had been a debatable topic before the trial but given the fact that she had forced a kiss, along with set to instill sex, the charge had stuck.

“Not guilty.”

“There will be no bail constituting the fact that you pled guilty to two of the charges,” the judge states. “A trial will be scheduled accordingly. Court adjourned!”

“Are you okay?” Sarina asks afterwards and Chase nods his head, taking a deep breath. “I know she makes your skin crawl, and I know that she certainly messed with yo-”

“I’m fine,” he states matter of factly as he stands up and walks out of the court room.

“You can tell me if there’s anything bugg-”

“I’m fine, Sarina.” He then turns to her, pulling her close. “Trust me, I’m okay as long as I have you.” He then kisses her lips lightly.

The Tale of Love & Racing: Sarina’s Story – Chapter 52: “I would rather talk about penalties over this all day.”

Friday March 16, 2018 – Auto Club Speedway

“Ready to return to reality?” Chase questions as they make their way through the garage area.

“Not many people can say they get to drive fast cars for a living, and not many people can say they’re spoiled with a great guy,” Sarina answers, sneaking in a quick kiss as they reach the garage area.

“Everybody hide – the love birds are here!” Josh spats out as the pair reach the garage stall, earning an eye roll from Sarina.

“Aren’t you supposed to be on vacation this week?” Chase questions, causing Josh’s smile to disappear immediately.

“I don’t want to talk about that….” Chase rubs his shoulders with a chuckle.

“Hey, I’m not upset. I get pushing the envelope. I’ve done it before myself, right?” Josh nods his head as he picks up a stack of paper. He counts out 13 pieces, handing them to Chase.

“That’s the penalty. That’s how far the spacer and shim angle were apart according to NASCAR. Tell me how that is fair…” Chase shakes his head as he hands the pieces of paper back to Josh. “I mean, what if something happens in the race and it shifts slightly? What if you catch a curb or a bump? It’s ridiculous the confines that NASCAR expects out of us, and then how the fans go nuts when we just miss it by that much.”

“Like I said, I’m not upset as I get it. We stick together, right?” Josh nods his head in agreement as Chase makes his way over to where Alan and Jordan were hanging out. “I just want to know if there’s any way out of that penalty….”

“It’s a cut dry subject,” Alan offers as he crosses his arms. “We’ll see what happens. Jeff and I have to talk about it some more before next week..”

“Speaking of more to talk about…” Jordan starts, pulling an envelope out of the drawer. “This was sitting by the garage stall this morning…” He hands it over to Chase, earning an immediate sigh from him.

“I would rather talk about penalties over this all day,” Chase comments, as he rips the top of the envelope open. He had hoped to avoid any thought or collision course with Alison for the rest of time, and find her way to being caught.

“I already reported the fact that it was found here so they’re on the lookou-”

“We know how that works, don’t we?” Sarina cuts them off, earning a glance from Chase. “She managed to sneak into a public appearance that you were doing amongst hundreds of people, spend time with you, and escape without a trace. But oh no, we’re supposed to believe that having eyes on her is supposed to catch her. Do you see me being hopeful?” Chase wraps an arm around Sarina, pulling her close to him as he pulls out the slip of paper. He knew it was her fear spewing the comments more than anything, and he respected that based on what had happened. In a way, he could also feel the same trembling at times.

“I hope you haven’t forgot about the decision that you made and the effects that it will have moving forward,” Chase reads. “I have a surprise for you and you may not enjoy it…” He then takes the note, set to rip it right down the middle when Jordan snatches it out of his hands, slipping it back in the envelope.

“For the record, you’re not going to see that surprise no matter how hard she tries,” Josh states, catching the group’s attention. They didn’t realize that he had walked over to join them. “We’ve got your back, and we’ll do whatever we can for you – just like you’ve got our backs this weekend.”

“Like I said, I’m done letting her control my life.” Chase walks away, glancing in the car to make sure everything was set in place for the first practice. Both Sarina and Jordan went to follow, but found a hand on each of their shoulders.

“Just leave him be,” Alan advises, causing a sigh and almost protest from Sarina. “He’s using practice and this weekend as a distraction and frankly, that may be a good idea so he isn’t pondering every theory possible as to what she is planning. But we also know that when he wants to talk, he’ll say something to one of us, right?” Sarina and Jordan nod their heads.

“It just kills me to watch him let it eat at him like this,” Sarina comments, as Alan gives her a shoulder a little squeeze.

“It kills us all, but that’s why like Josh said, we’ve got his back. Don’t worry – we’re done playing games, too.” She then looks back at the crew chief intrigued, but is left without an answer as he heads off, set to give some more instructions to the team.

“Do I want to know what Alan is thinking?” Jordan shakes his head no as he keeps his eyes locked on Chase.

“Should I have hid the envelope and not let him see it at all?” Jordan wonders out loud and Sarina shakes his head no.

“He would’ve found out eventually, and been twice as upset,” Sarina offers, before taking a deep breath and heading out of the garage area.

It pained her to stand back and do nothing with everything going on, and she knew staying there any longer would result in that coming out. Certainly, that wasn’t going to help the being strong and united front attitude that Alan wanted. So for that reason, she knew that it was time to catch up with Samantha and Brexton. He was always a good distraction when things weren’t going as planned.

From the start of practice to the end, Chase had to admit that the car wasn’t that bad. They certainly could use some adjustments to get better, but it was handling pretty good and close enough that believing this could be the weekend they get a victory was there. Pleased with the session, he would end the day ranked 15th on the charts.

With the session in the books, he makes his way back to the team transporter, heading inside and up into the lounge. Grabbing himself a quick drink, he texts Sarina where he was in case she was looking for him, but already knew that she was having a fun relaxing afternoon with Samantha and Brexton. Truthfully, he was glad to see that knowing her reaction to the note, and almost wishing a perfect distraction could be in his corner right now.

“It’s nice to see you again, Chase,” he hears, instantly catching him by surprise as he looks towards the doorway, watching it slide close slowly.

“How did you get in here?” He questions without moving a single inch. He was already eying  a couple different ideas, ranging from where his phone was placed to the doorway and her location.

“I have my ways, right? It’s easy to sneak in here when nobody is around during the practice session.” He immediately wanted to curse the lack of security or people, or the fact that the doors had been left unlocked. If everybody was on the same page and not willing to leave anything to chance, why wasn’t that taken care of? Besides, where were the guys right now? Shouldn’t they be there going over notes and grabbing some grub? “Besides, there’s more important questions at hand that need to be answered.”

“Like what?” He hated to entertain her, but figured it was worth buying some time as the guys should be on their way soon.

“Have you seen Sarina lately?” His breath immediately hitches in his throat, but he tried to ignore the worry. If something was wrong, he would’ve heard something from Samantha and Kyle already – unless….

“She’s taking a fun day to hersel-”

“With her boss and Brexton. How adorable, right? It almost sucks to ruin it.” Chase felt his heart drop immediately in worry. He knew that Samantha and Sarina could take care of himself – he could honestly see Samantha sticking a heel up someone’s ass. However, it didn’t seem fair for Brexton.

“This is obviously between me and you – as you’ve made it from the beginning. Let’s try and keep it that way, alright?” He keeps his eyes closely locked on her as she makes her way around the small table closer to where he was sitting on the couch. Eyes locked on his phone, objects around him, a couple different ideas began to form immediately. Why couldn’t he find it in himself to do something?

“I’m glad you see it that way. Decisions, right? As long as you make the right choice here today, we won’t have to do anything…” He was almost set to throw the book off the table, when he watches her load an image on her phone of Sarina with Samantha and Brexton at the park. His hand immediately lowers as he knew if she had images, someone was there and something was possible. He didn’t want to be the reason something happened to them. He just needed to buy some time….

“What do you want?” A smirk forms on Alison’s face immediately as she sits down on the couch beside him.

“What have I wanted from the beginning? What did I ask you for at India-”

“Go to hell.” She breaks out laughing as she reaches for her phone, set to push a button upon his words.

“Like I said, decisi-” In an instant, he felt every nerve rise inside of him, almost like his stomach flip flopped with worry and panic, as he reached over and placed his hand on top of his. The crew guys would be there soon, right? They always came back to the lounge.

“As much as I hate you and despise you, I’m willing to deal…” Her smirk widens immediately, only making him feel sicker in the process.

“I know that this can be hard on you to do, so let’s just take it slow – one step at a time per meeting that we are going to have.” In Chase’s eyes, this was going to be the last meeting ever because she was going to get caught and this nightmare would be over. “Kiss me, or else I will send the message that you’re dreading.”

“Kiss you?” She nods her head as he takes a deep breath. He knew he was going to hate every minute, and cursed the guys for not coming around sooner, but what else was he supposed to do? He watches as her finger lingers closer towards the ‘send’ button, placing his hand more firmly on hers to hold it back. Against every wish and thought, he brought his lips close to hers, letting them brush across lightly as possible, before pulling back. “Happy?”

“Such a tease, Elliott….” He actually hated the thought that it seemed she got off on it. “It almost makes me want to take charge and have my wa-”

“That’s not happening.” She then laughs as she brushes his hand away, holding up the phone with pride.

“You’ll do anything for her, and I know you wouldn’t want to be responsible for something happening to Brexton…” She then stands up, standing over him as he glances at her, closing his eyes as he says every prayer imaginable that Alan would burst through the door already. “So what do you say, Chase?”

“I’m not betraying Sari-”

“Then I guess I can send the messa-”

“Don’t you have another trick up your sleeve?” She laughs even harder as she reaches for her pocket. His eyes catch a glimpse, only picking up his nerves that much more. He had half-expected a needle or something else, but certainly not that. “Okay, I get it, you’re not playing games.” He places his hand on top of hers, pulling it away from her pocket.

“So you accept my offer?” He hated that he was going to do this, but what other choice did he have? He simply slowly nodded his head, closing his eyes, not believing that this could be happening. “I knew you’d co-operate…” She straddles herself over him, reaching for the zipper on his firesuit, slowly bringing it down. “I just hope you enjoy watching how a real woman works…”

“What the hell?!?” They both hear as the door slides open with Alan standing there.

“Duck!” Chase yells, catching the crew chief off-guard but he does as requested and luckily so, as Alison spins around, grabbing the gun out of her pocket and letting off a shot. Chase uses it to his perfect advantage, grabbing her leg and causing her to fall on the ground. With her caught off-guard, he slips the gun out of her fingers, throwing it on the table. “Alan?”

“I’m….” Alan slowly stands up as he glances over himself, before looking at his driver. “I’m okay. I’m okay. It totally missed me..” Chase lets out a long sigh as he places a foot on her to keep her held down as Alan grabs his phone, calling for help. “What about you?!?”

“I’m fine…now….” Alan simply nods his head as he rambles off some details. “Call Sarina and tell her to get back to the track immediately with Samantha and Brexton, please. Just tell them something is up.”

“Sure, I’ll do that, whatever you say – whatever you need.” Chase takes another deep breath as he tries to relax back, but not letting go of his hold on Alison.

It didn’t take long for the right officials to get there and take away Alison in handcuffs, before getting a statement from both men as they sat in the trailer stunned. It didn’t even bother them right now that the car had failed tech inspection twice and there was going to be no attempt to qualify because quite frankly, that probably wouldn’t been possible with what had just happened.

“I can’t believe she had a gun,” Alan comments as he looks over at Chase with full surprise. “I can’t believe she took a shot at me, either.” Chase shakes his head in disbelief, too.

“That was too close for comfort, Alan,” Chase offers and Alan nods his head in agreement. “I’m sorr-”

“I’d jump out of the way of a bullet any day if it meant the nightmare was over, kid.” Chase smiles a little. “She’s certainly beyond crazy, actually crazier than Chris if I have to be honest, and I’m just glad that I was here for you.” Chase couldn’t argue with that as he takes a deep breath.

“She had convinced me that someone was watching Sarina with Samantha and Brexton, and willing to hurt them if I didn’t agree to her terms.” He takes another deep breath, trying to erase the thought as he glances over at the crew chief. “She was about to strip me dow-”

“Seriously?” Chase slowly nods his head. “So you were going to let her do that to you to make sure that Sarina, Samantha and Brex stayed safe?”

“What else was I supposed to do, Alan?” Alan couldn’t argue with that as he places a hand on Chase’s leg.

“That was brave, really brave. You did good…” Chase nods his head in agreement.

“I’m just glad that it’s over and I never have to see her again.” He then grabs a bottle of water, taking a big mouthful as he wipes his lips multiple times. “I just wish I never had to taste her li-”

“You kissed her?” Chase freezes, slowly nodding his head. “Oh man….”

“I had to do what I could to stall her, to stop her in anyway. I was willing to put it out there..” Alan looks over surprised as he glances back forward.

“I’ve always admired you and been grateful for the chance to work with you. But seeing how brave you were, seeing what you were willing to do today, I’m at a lost for words. That takes a lot from you. You should be proud of yourself.” Chase rolls his eyes. “I’m serious, Chase. Not many people would go that far for the people that they love.”

“Alan is right, and I’m forever grateful for you, and I know Kyle and Brex will be too,” they hear and look towards the doorway as Samantha stands there with Brexton in her arms. Sarina makes her way by, heading to the couch immediately, as she wraps her arms around Chase.

“Are you okay?” Sarina asks and Chase nods his head yes. “Are you sure? I mean, I heard that she had a gun, she took a shot at Alan, and she tried to mak-”

“I’m okay, Sarina,” he cuts her off, kissing her lips with as much passion as he could, before drawing back away. “I’m okay. She didn’t hurt me at all.” Sarina nods her head, accepting, before laying her head against him.

“I’m here for you, always.” He nods his head accepting, rubbing her back as he lays his head on her shoulder. “It’s okay…”

“I’m fin-”

“Don’t try and push it off as if nothing happened,” Alan starts as he stands up. “Make sure you talk about it if you need to, because whether you admit it or not, she had you right where she wanted you.” Alan then leaves the lounge, shutting the door behind him to give the pair some time alone.

“Talk to me, Chase….” Sarina offers as she sits back a bit, glancing into his brown eyes.

“What do you want me to say?” He questions as she lets out a sigh. “I get it. Everybody is right that a lot went through that my mind with her, but I’m okay. I wasted enough of her time for Alan to get here and for us to do the right thing. Sure, I maybe cut it close a litt-”

“You think?” Chase lets out a sigh, having seen the hole in the wall further down the trailer.

“But I did what I had to do. I told you that I was done letting her control me, and she didn’t get to control that situation. She thought she had me right where she wanted me, but the whole time I had a plan in mind and was not letting it happen. I’ve always told you this, but I would never betray you or let someone hurt us. I love you.” He kisses her lips lightly.

“I love you, too. now, can I just hold you in my arms all night and be thankful?” He nods his head, accepting as he pulls her back close, laying his head back on her shoulder. He knew he was also saying the same thing, too.

The Tale of Love & Racing: Sarina’s Story – Chapter 51: “I’d do it all over again.”

Wednesday March 14, 2018

Chase wraps his arms around Sarina, pulling her close, as they curl up on the couch, watching a movie together.

“Chase, why was I so afraid?” She questions, catching him by surprise.

“Of what?” He wonders as she holds her hand up, with the light bouncing off the small pink diamond. He couldn’t help but smile in seeing that ring securely on her finger as it meant more than words could express. “I don’t know….”

“I mean, sure, things didn’t work out for my parents, and sure, there’s been so many horror stories. But I don’t get why I didn’t believe in our love story enough.” He takes a deep breath as it hurt on some levels, but he also knew it wasn’t something to take personally.

“Because you were afraid, and for the right reasons. You’ve laid your heart on the line to people before, and they’ve just stomped on it. It takes you some time to open up, and trust – and that’s what happened here. I’m glad that I was patient enough to wait and let you find a way to trust me, because it’s been so worth it.” She glances up at him a little surprised.

“Even all the pain that you’ve gone through?” He sighs, as it was obviously not the funnest experience and he couldn’t wait until the last bit of nagging pain from his ribs was gone.

“I’d do it all over again if it meant being able to be with you.” Her heart felt like it swelled immediately as she shifts a little in his arms.

“I’m seriously spoiled…” He chuckles. “I’m serious. There are only a few guys in this world who would have the amount of patience, and go through what you’ve gone through for us. I know you keep saying that I make a bigger deal out of this than I should, but I’m serious. I feel like I’ve hit the lottery when it comes to you in seeing what you’ll do for me. So please, Chase, shoot me if I take that for granted ever.”

“I’ll be sure to remind you – not that you ever could.” She rolls her eyes.

“There you go again….”

“What do you want me to say?” She smiles as she rolls over so their eyes are locked together, stomachs touching.

“Nothing. This is perfect just like this.” She leans in, lightly kissing his lips as he wraps his arms securely back around her. “I could literally handle doing this every single week.”

“As much as I like our cabin and enjoying hitting the slopes, unfortunately we cannot do it as much as you would hope for. But I can promise you that we’ll spend our time here when we can, and if we really need to getaway, you just let me know and I’ll lead us here.” She smiles as there was certainly some perks in him being a pilot. They then hear his phone go off, causing a sigh from them both as they knew that was a reminder the real world was just a phone call or text away.

“Please tell me you don’t have to go to a meeting or something tomorr-”

“Alan knows that I’m taking this week for us. He actually encouraged it as he said that I was in a much better mood and place this past weekend.” She rolls her eyes, having expected comments like that with the word of the engagement spreading. It didn’t help that the crew and Samantha both gawked over the ring for a good half hour each. Then it also didn’t help that Samantha made her sit down and divulge every single detail of the proposal. That was fine by her, though, as she could recount that moment 100 times over if needed. “Lovely….”

“What’s wrong?” He lets out a sigh, handing his phone over so she could read the text message. Alan had messaged him to inform him about a penalty from NASCAR coming out later on that day following Phoenix, with their intentions to appeal. “Do you think there’s anything to it?”

“I don’t know. I honestly don’t know what Alan and Josh and the team did, and why NASCAR doesn’t agree. It’s not like I sit there and make them divulge every single detail of what they’re doing.” He lets out a sigh as he takes the phone back, sending a message in return.

“No matter what anybody says today, I just want you to know that you should ignore them and they’re wrong and your guys are aweso-”

“Racing is all about pushing the envelope, and finding that grey area in a black and white book. Sometimes you get caught, right? It sucks, but we’ll overcome it like we always do. We just need to get a win and all our troubles are behind us.” She nods her head in agreement.

“And you’re going to get that win, like this weekend probably…” He chuckles as he almost had Kevin Harvick pegged for another win, especially how they ran at Atlanta and Las Vegas. But, he wasn’t about to give up as seeing the progress they’d make in a short bit of time gave him hope.

“I’m surprised you’re actually going to be there.” She then looks at him now shocked. “I thought you would’ve gone and ran the Rattler…”

“Are you sure you don’t want that pet snake after all?” He shakes his head no immediately as she breaks out laughing. “I don’t know. The way you keep talking about this ra-”

“Don’t even think of bringing that snake even near me, or even within arm’s reach or anything.” She breaks out laughing even harder. “I just thought you’d want to get some time in with the late model.”

“And not spend time with my awesome fiancé?” He shrugs his shoulders. “I thought about it, okay? I thought it’d be fun, a great way to spend the off-weekends, and get back my roots. I also thought it’d be a great stress relief at times for everything going on. But with everything going on, that actually draws me closer to you, and wants me to not waste away anytime we can get together before our schedules go insane. Besides, have we honestly had a chance to put that car back together?” He shakes his head no. “I want to do it right when we go back down that path and rushing isn’t doing it right. So I’m ready to take my lumps, and have fun with you this weekend in California.”

“I’m glad that you’re going to be there. I actually prefer that.” He then kisses her lips. “Besides, we know that Chandler and Ricky are going to kick ass this weekend.”

“Oh really?” He nods his head. “Yeah, I’m going to have to call you out on that one. As much as I admire Ricky and we know he can damn well get the job done, my money is on Bubba Pollard. That man is going to be looking for some strong redemption this weekend.”

“And he’s going to come up short – finishing behind Chandler. I’m actually surprised that you’re not giving your own teammates some love here.” She lets out a sigh, as it did seem a little rude.

“Harrison and Raphael will be strong. I have my doubts about Raphael because of how his debut went, but Harrison will be right there with Chandler and Bubba. My gut just says Bubba because we know when you knock that man down, he comes back 10 times stronger, and he vowed redemption.” Chase nods his head in agreement.

“Is it a bet then?” She looks at him surprised.

“Didn’t you lose the last bet? And oh wait, don’t you still owe me for that one?” He shrugs his shoulders.

“I thought you would’ve let it go because you felt bad for me…” She almost went to say something, but then stopped, as she lets out a sigh. “I’m sorry; that was rude. I shouldn’t have guilt tripped you. I know you felt bad for what happened, felt terrible, and concerned, worried, and I’m sorr-”

“It’s fine, because I did feel bad for you. That’s why I haven’t held it over your head and made you pay up, yet. Double or nothing?” A smirk forms on his face as he nods his head in return.

“Either way, we both win…” She laughs as he brings her down for another kiss. “You know, you’re right – we should just stay here forever.” She then glances into his eyes, knowing where his thoughts went immediately.

“Chase, you can’t worry about what’s going to happ-“

“I’m not worried, okay? I mean, I’m actually glad the judge hasn’t made a decision about Chris yet. It means that he’s taking the right due time to go over everything properly and consider his options. That has to mean something, right? As far as Alison, she knows that she can’t keep taking chances like she has been since we’re getting closer to catching her. She’ll be caught, and that’ll be over before you can say supercalifragilisticexpialidocious 10 times fast.”

The Tale of Love & Racing: Sarina’s Story – Chapter 50: Their Getaway

Tuesday March 6, 2018

Chase glances over at Sarina, and all he could do was smile. Why couldn’t life always be this simple?

“This was a great idea,” Sarina comments and he nods his head in agreement.

“Absolutely,” he replies. “I’m ready to ski, snowboard, maybe even go tubing if you want, relax, and just spend some nice quiet time together.” All she could do was smile at that thought, as it was always tough to be able to get that quiet time he mentioned.

“Everything sounds great to me, but are you sure you’re up for it?” He almost wanted to roll his eyes as there was that same question she seemed to ask every single day now.

“Are you always going to worry about me?” She gives him a ‘really’ glance back in return.

“Do you blame me?” He sighs, shaking his head no, as he twirls their fingers together.

“I told you that I know how to take care of myself, and I meant that. I’m fine. I’m able to go skiing, snowboarding, whatever I please without a single issue. You don’t need to worry.” She wanted to believe those words, but images of Saturday flashing through her mind didn’t let the worry disappear.

“It’s so hard not to worry. I’m sorry if I get annoy-”

“I’d rather be annoyed by you, than not be with you at all.” He then reaches over, kissing her lips lightly as she smiles.

“Only you could make that so adorable…” He chuckles as he lays back while she checks the messages on her phone. “Oh, can you tell your mom that she doesn’t need to send daily photos of Max? I mean, I get it – he’s cute and adorable and just perfect, but I think she’s going a little overkill.” He chuckles as he looks at the latest photo of Cindy’s new puppy curled up with her in bed.

“But just look at him….” She rolls her eyes.

“I can’t deny his cuteness. I can’t even believe that you got your mom a dog for her birthday, either.” He shrugs his shoulders.

“What do you get for the woman who has everything? What do you get for the Momma  who would do anything for you, always have your back, always be there to support you, and well, she even carried me for nine months? I knew she wanted a new dog, but was having a bit of an issue deciding which to get and from who, so I helped her out.” Sarina smiles as she looks back at the photo. “You know, Max is from a big litter. If you’re so captivated by him, I could always get you one of your own…”

“Are you sure you’re not just asking for a dog for yourself?” He shakes his head no. “I like pets, but let’s face it – our lives a little too chaotic that we may forget to take care of him or her properly.”

“Yeah, you’re probably right.” He then slowly gets out of the bed, glancing out the window, before turning back to her. “So, what are we going to do today?”

“I guess I could let you go snowboarding….” He smiles as she slowly gets up, walking over, and wrapping her arms around him from behind, laying her head against his shoulder. “Can we make a promise that whenever things get too chaotic that we come here, and spend some time just the two of us no matter what?”

“I wouldn’t have it any other way.” She smiles as she slowly lets go, heading to the bathroom for a shower.

He then turns around and walking back over to where he had dropped his bag the night before, setting it back up on the bed. Reaching through the series of pockets, he finds the small one inside, slowly reaching his hand in. He pulls the small box out, opening it and smiling. Maybe this was the perfect opportunity…..

The day didn’t remain quiet for long as both Chase and Sarina were dressed quickly, and headed out to hills. With laughs to be had, the pair spent the day going down the various hills, enjoying the simplicity of being back in Colorado snowboarding without a care in the world. He even chuckled when she had a slight tumble, too.

Once the fun was had, the pair retreated back to the cabin with a quiet night planned. Sarina insisted that she needed a good bubble bath to soak in after her tumble, and Chase was happy to agree. With her in the bathroom, it gave him enough time to think the final pieces over.

After soaking in the tub for a good hour, the water had gone cold so she drained it, slowly getting out and drying herself off. She smiles as she glances in the mirror, slipping on a pair f Mickey Mouse pajama pants and one of his t-shirts. It wasn’t a rare sight for her, as that’s normally how she slept when they spent weekends apart. Thankfully, that wasn’t going to be the case for the next couple of weeks.

She makes her way out of the bathroom, her jaw almost dropping immediately as she notices the rose pedal trail that seemed to lead down the hall, all the way to the stairs heading back to the main floor.

“Chase?” She questions, a little confused as this had certainly come out of the blue.

She slowly makes her way down the path, stopping when a folded piece of paper laid in the midst of her path. Even more confused, she picks it up, unfolding it.

“I knew from the day that I set my eyes on you that I was in love with you,” she reads. “I never thought I’d believe in love at first sight, but that’s exactly what happened. I just wanted to get to know you more, spend more time with you, and do whatever I could for you.”

A smile immediately forms on her face as she folds the piece of paper back up, wishing that she had a pocket to put it in. But without one in sight, all she could do was clutch it in her finger tips as she continued her way down the path.

It doesn’t take her long to reach the staircase, where another piece of paper blocked her path. Slightly confused by the reason for everything, but totally flattered, she picks it up, unfolding it like the previous.

“I remember when you told me everything that you had wanted to hide, and never face again,” she reads. “My heart opened up big time that night because all I wanted to do was hug you, comfort you, and make it all go away. I still want to do that for you….”

“Some days, I wish you could,” she whispers to herself, before folding it up and holding onto it tightly with the other one.

She makes her way down the staircase, trying to glance around each corner as she does, still confused by the notes – but also totally caught in the moment.

Reaching the bottom of the stairs, she sees a trail of rose petals, and all she could do was let out a big aww. She follows them down and around, leading straight to the living room, by the fire, with an envelope.

Glancing around, wondering where Chase was in every way possible, she takes a deep breath and picks up the envelope.

“Through thick and thin we’ve stayed together,” she reads. “We’ve always taken care of each other, had each other’s back, and would do whatever it took – even if it meant facing fear directly in the face. I couldn’t see myself spending the rest of my life with anyone else…”

“So I have one question to ask you,” she hears as she looks up, smiling immediately as he enters the room. “Sarina, will you accept this rose?” Her jaw then drops in surprise.

“Rose?” She questions and he nods his head. “Really? You had to go steal a page out of The Bachelor book?” He shrugs his shoulders.

“You’ve fallen in love with the show, say it’s every girl’s dream, and all this about Arie and the girls. I figured – why not? But you see, my rose comes with something special…” He then takes the rose, holding it out to her, as the ring slides up the stem. Her eyes open wider as she looks at the ring intrigued, before looking back at him. “I meant every word. Now, do you want to marry me?” She take a deep breath, seeing red flags fly up immediately, as she takes another deep breath.

“Absolutely.” A smile forms on his face right away, as they share a kiss, followed by him sliding the ring onto her finger. It was perfect – simple silver round in shape, with a small pink gem in the middle. “I love the ring. It’s perfect.”

“I was worried about that actually….” She then wraps her arms around him, pulling him close to her.

“Well, you don’t got to worry about a thing, except whether you’re ready for a fun time in the fantasy suite.” He smirks back in return, as he kisses her lips, before picking her up in his arms to take her upstairs.

After dealing with everyone’s ooos and awwws as soon as they hit the track that weekend, things just seemed to fall in place. All the practice sessions went well, qualifying was decent, and he managed to put together a solid race day at Phoenix with a third.

Arms wrapped around her at day’s end with another kiss upon her lips, he couldn’t complain about the way the past week had gone for them both. He just hoped that the rough waters were behind them, and it’d be smooth sailing from here.

The Tale of Love & Racing: Sarina’s Story – Chapter 49: Pennzoil 400

Sunday March 4, 2018 – Las Vegas Motor Speedway

After being released earlier that morning, Chase makes his way into the garage with Sarina, fingers locked together as they make their way to the trailer. They go inside and up into the lounge, sliding the door closed behind them.

“Do you need my help?” She questions and he shakes his head no, slipping his pants off. “Chase, if you’re not feeling good, let’s just go tell Alan and let Just-”

“I’m fine,” he cuts her off as he slips the bottom of his firesuit on. He pauses, taking a deep breath, as his eyes locked with hers. “I’m fine, okay? I’m ready to go today with full certainty.”

“Just promise me that if something comes up, you will let Justin take over.” Chase nods his head, accepting, as he slips off his shirt. He then pulls his firesuit, biting his tongue in the process, as he slips it on. “I just don’t want you doing this because you think you need to impress everybody, or hold up to this standard, or do it because of Alison. You need to take care of yourself.”

“I told you that I was fine, and I am fine.” She lets out a sigh, as she wanted to believe in those words. However, she couldn’t let go of the fact what had just happened not even 24 hours ago, and felt every piece of her heart cringe in watching him go through that again. She felt everything flash before her once again, and almost wanted to run and cry somewhere. It certainly had her entering today’s race on high alert.

Changed into his firesuit, he makes his way to the garage, watching the crew went about their normal pre-race routine before heading over to technical inspection. Taking a deep breath, it was certainly a nice sight and a good distraction from everything. For Chase, escaping any reminder of Alison was a welcome sight right now. While he had let off Emma easy with having been part of Alison getting away, it was certainly back to eating at him more than he had wanted. He kept wondering where the next decision would come.

“Please tell me you didn’t escape the hospital this morning without permission,” he hears and immediately chuckles, holding up the release papers that he knew NASCAR would want if they had gotten word about what happened – which was likely. He had actually been lucky it wasn’t all over the news considering it happened in a public place. Jordan takes the paper, reading over it, before handing it back over. “Okay, that’s great you’re fine and released. But seriously, why are you here?”

“I’m ready to go today,” he answers, causing the interior mechanic’s jaw to drop. Jordan had been all set to get Justin over there in the car, and everything fitted as closely as possible, believing there was no chance that Chase would be set to go after hearing the news from Alan. However, now his driver stood before him?

“Seriously?” Chase nods his head. “Dude, you just spent the night in the hospital, and I bet there’s still lingering effe-”

“Feeling nauseous was talked about this morning,” Sarina throws in, actually welcoming the third degree from Jordan.

“So the fact that you could throw up or have something lingering, plus the fact that we’re only now what? Three weeks removed from crashing into Daytona beach and bruising some ribs, on top of crashing a racecar at 180 mph? But yet, we’re going to stand here and say that we’re ready to go today?” Chase nods his head as Jordan crosses his arms. “Throwing yourself in that car today as a distraction isn’t healthy, or a welcome sight. I know you don’t want to think about it, but using this as a distraction when you’re not 100% is not right.”

“So that’s why you think I’m doing this?” Chase questions and Jordan nods his head. chase could only let out a sigh. “Maybe you’re right, but can you blame me after everything? How would you feel if someone was constantly tormenting you every single damn week of your life?” He takes a deep breath, realizing more of his emotions were coming out than warranted.

“Chas-” Jordan starts, but Chase puts his hand up.

“I’m not denying what you’re saying, Jordan. You know that better than anyone here, actually. but that’s not why I am fully committed to today. Sure, my ribs are sore as they’ve been for the past couple of weeks. Sure, there may be a lingering effect or two, but that’s why I took two Gravol this morning. I know myself, I know my body, and I know what I can handle. I will be fine today.” Jordan takes a deep breath, hating to have a confrontation like this with him, but it was only out of caring for him that he threw it back in his face.

“Just promise me that you’ll do somethin-”

“Justin will be on the pit box as back-up if needed, and I already promised Sarina. But, trust me, I’m fine.” Jordan nods his head, accepting.

“By the way, we know enough doctors around the country now. let’s stop meeting them, okay?” Chase couldn’t help but agree as Jordan walks away.

Despite every bit of nerve that she may had been experiencing, she found herself sitting on the pit box, ready for another race day. There was nothing that she could do to stop this, so all she could do was be the supportive girlfriend and hope everything went smoothly.

The Pennzoil 400 started off smoothly, as Chase ran in the top-10 throughout the first two stages, feeling confident that they had a solid base moving forward into the second half of the race. A couple more adjustments and they’d be good to go.

The third stage started off even better, as he was even able to break into the top-five a little, before the caution flew for Jamie McMurray blowing a tire.

The restart brought forth the usual expected chaos, with three-wide racing throughout the field. The second lap afterwards, Kurt Busch made a move underneath Chase off of turn four, ready to try and snag the position. However, to the surprise of everyone, he got loose, turning up across the track coming onto the front straightaway, taking Chase up into the wall with him.

“What the hell?” Eddie D’Hondt immediately questions on the radio, which matched the reaction of everybody on the pit box as well.

“He just came wide open up the track,” Chase comments, knowing immediately their day was done based on the amount of front end damage in seeing how far the hood was buckled up. Thankfully, the impact wasn’t too hard that he was feeling it, as he knew that wouldn’t bode well given how he was feeling already.

“Jerk.” Sarina had to chuckle at how clearly Eddie made his feelings known about the situation, but couldn’t help but agree – not really caring if Kurt meant it or not. He should know his limits, right?

“What in the hell?” Alan questions, still confused as ever as he hadn’t even moved from his spot on the pit box. Even watching the replays, it just didn’t seem to make sense that just like that, their day was ruined.

“Lost control of his car,” Eddie tries to reason. “Carried too much speed.” It was the only explanation humanly possible.

Once back in the garage, Chase made the mandatory walk over to the care center, easily getting checked in and out despite everything going on. After a reminder about breathing exercises, and possibly wanting to ice those ribs, he was allowed to go without reservation.

The trip also allowed him to cross paths with Kurt, who apologized for the contact.  It didn’t mean much, nor did it really make up for what happened, but at least it was nice to see a guy admit something for a change.

“It was unfortunate,” Chase tells the media outside of the care center. “I thought we were getting a little bit of momentum.  We had a really good pit stop there and gained a bunch of spots on pit road, got ourselves inside the top five and could run with them for a few laps.  So, just trying to make the most of what we had and there was no guarantee how it was going to end up and ended up poorly. We will move on down the road.”

He then makes his way back to the garage, standing back as he watches the crew get the car ready to load in the trailer, just shaking his head with a sigh.

“Are you okay?” Alan questions as he walks over, and Chase simply nods his head quietly. “You can tell me how you’re feeling…”

“Disappointed, upset, pissed off,” he answers. “We finally start to get somewhere and this happens. Now in three weeks, we’ve wrecked two cars. Great start to the season, right?” Alan wraps an arm around his shoulders.

“On the flip side, we still have the speed that we finished last year with, and we were able to make headway at Atlanta where we struggled. We’re also headed to Phoenix, where I believe someone almost won last year. I’m not losing my faith in you or this team, ever.” Chase smiles a little as it was a nice pick me up from the crew chief. “On a much serious note, though, promise me you’ll take care of yourself this week. Get the much needed rest, relaxation, and do what you need for you. don’t even worry about tomorrow’s mee-”

“I’m comi-”

“The number one thing that matters is your health, end of the day. I’d rather you take the time to sleep in, relax, and focus on yourself before you have to jet off to California. Look at what you’ve been through this weekend. Take a step back, and properly handle things.” Chase glances down as Alan keeps his eyes locked on him. “I know what you told at Atlanta. Being able to sit in that trailer with me for a couple hours was the perfect distraction. I understand that’s why maybe that meeting tomorrow would be therapy. But what happens when we keep pushing ourselves and fall over the edge? We crash and burn, and it hurts worse. You need to take care of yourself, Chase. you need to get the rest that you need physically, and you need to find a balance with your emotions.”

“Do you realize how hard that is with everything going on?” Alan sighs, nodding his head.

“It’s asking a lot, but you need to do it for yourself, whether that means talking to Sarina, your parents, me, Jordan, or figuring it out yourself.” Chase nods his head, accepting.

“I’ll try, okay? And Alan, I appreciate the support. You’ve gone above and beyond.” Alan wraps his arm around his shoulders.

“I care about you, and while I want to win, that’s what matters end of the day is you.” Alan walks away back to the team as Chase closes his eyes, thinking over their discussion.

Taking a deep breath, perhaps the crew chief was right and onto something. Maybe the time away in Colorado was what the doctor ordered.

Monday March 5, 2018 – California

“Are you sure you’re feeling okay?” Sarina questions, fixing her dress, before Chase pulls her close to him. He had grown used to her repeating the question pointless times over the past 24 hours, but wasn’t going to let it annoy him as he understood her nerves.

“I feel totally fine today – as if nothing happened this past weekend,” he answers, as she glances up into his brown eyes. “I’m serious. I haven’t felt a single thing.”

“And you’re not lying to me to make me feel better?” He shakes his head no, as he brings her left hand up to his ribs.

“These, they are a little sore still from those bruises, but they’re slowly getting easier to handle every single day. But as far as feeling sick, stomach pain, sore throat – that’s all gone.” She nods her head, accepting, as she instinctively begins to rub his side.

“For the record, I don’t want to ever see them pump out of your stomach again…” He made a disgusted face in reaction, certainly not liking the experience at all either.

“I don’t ever want to experience that again. The after taste of everything, along with my throat being sore, was just a terrible combination.” He then leans in, lightly kissing her lips. “Are you ready to go in there and face him, again?”

“He’s my brother, Chase. That’s my family. I brought this on myse-”

“It’s not your fault that you’re related to hi-”

“But I allowed him to open the door and get to you, again.” Chase nods his head, this discussion taking him back to Daytona immediately.

“What did I tell you originally? I don’t hold it back against you because I understand that want to give him a second chance, rekindle, do what you can. It’s the same reason Shelley is pushing this issue again despite everything being wrong with it. You don’t need to apologize, okay?” She lets out a sigh as she lays her head against his chest.

“It doesn’t make this any better….” He rubs her back, as he takes a deep breath. He was trying to keep his nerves at ease knowing that she needed all the comfort he could muster today.

“I know. Let’s just go in there, and get this over with, okay?” She nods her head, accepting, as they separate, hands still locked together as they make their way inside, and take their seats accordingly.

As they lead Chris into the room, Chase found himself looking everywhere but towards him, not wanting a single reminder of their past together as there was enough swirling his mind with relation to Alison to even begin to think about him. But he also clutched Sarina’s hand tighter, as if he was passing his strength onto her, knowing that this was probably tearing her in different directions as it had in the past.

As Chris gets set to sit down, Chase hears his phone go off, silently cursing himself for not putting it on silent as he was supposed to. He quickly reaches into his pocket, putting it on silent, but not before his eyes caught who had sent the text message.

“What would Jordan want?” He questions to himself as he opens the message, reading it in full. He then glances up and over towards Shelley, before glancing towards Chris, followed by his eyes looking back down at his phone. “Of course…”

“What’s wrong?” Sarina asks, catching his unease immediately.


“Don’t lie to me, Chase Elliott.” He takes a deep breath as he shows her the text message.

“Alison left a message at Hendrick Motorsports’ doorstep after hours with a warning of her own. The secretary picked it up this morning, and it made its way to my office – catching Jordan’s attention obviously. He opened it.” Sarina lets out a sigh as she takes the phone, reading the photo of the message that Jordan had attached.

“Decisions are made by everybody each day of their life. Your decision today will affect not only the future of one person, but yours and those around you. It’s your move.” She hands him back his phone, shaking her head immediately. “She’s trying to guilt you into letting the motion go through about Chris by threatening you and those around you.”

“Well, she’s in for a rude awakening because there’s no way Chris is walking down those streets again.” He takes a deep breath, thoughts immediately swirling about the re-precautions of that, wondering what Alison’s next move would be, as quickly he texts Jordan back in return. “I’m done playing games. I told her that on Saturday. She’s going to try and drop a note off, or pull some move, and she’s going to get caught. We’re going to be okay.” He places his phone back in his pocket, wrapping his arm around Sarina as he pulls her close.

The judge came in, instantly reading off the request filed by Shelley. Chase and Sarina’s lawyer was asked whether the motion would be accepted, and the answer was simple – no, due to a laundry list of reasons.

“I have records of all the trial hearings from the past two years in relation to Chris’ behavior, and eventual guilty verdict with the stipulation in place,” the judge begins. “It will take some time, but I plan to read through everything accordingly. I also plan to have it analyzed by three third-party psychologist to get their opinions. Once all that is processed, we will re-join here and discuss my findings. Until that time, nothing changes in regards to Chris’ situation. Court adjourned!”

With their fingers crossed as they left the court room, they both hoped that the judge saw everything that they knew already. Chase held those fingers extra tighter, hoping that his thoughts in Alison being found came true sooner than later.