The Tale of Love & Racing: Sarina’s Story – Chapter 137: Code 918

Friday, November 9 – ISM Raceway

Sarina was standing by the 18 hauler, sipping on a bottle of water, trying to remember the rules of hydration. It was going to be a long day in the desert with both practices, qualifying, and the race all scheduled for one day. She just needed to pace herself accordingly, and do what she needed to do behind the wheel and everything would be set for Miami.

She then glances over towards her left, surprised to see Chase headed back her way. He had told her that he wanted to catch up with Alan and Josh before practice, but yet instead was coming back to her. What was on his mind?

“Would you like to start off your weekend with some good news?” He offers, as she looks back slightly intrigued. “Shelley was arrested trying to come into the garage area this morning.”

“Seriously?” She questions, earning a nod from Chase as he shows her e-mail. “Arrested on allegations and charges of conspiracy to assault, conspiracy of kidnapping, harassment, and conspiracy….of….sexual…” She then glances slowly up at Chase.

“You can say it.” He then takes a deep breath, thinking back to that day at Talladega. “Sexual assault, although I don’t believe that she had anything to do with what happened there personally.” Sarina hoped not as that’d be just another level of sick and disgusting in this mess. “So they told me that they’re going to try and question her as much as they can in hopes of getting her to reveal Alison’s locations, and any future plans. They’re also not publically announcing as they may use her as bait for Alison.”

“And they expect something like to work? I mean, have they not realized already they’re working with a criminal genius?” Chase then gives her a ‘seriously’ glance. “I know you’re going to tell me that she doesn’t deserve that much credit, that she’s just a little wired different in the head and been lucky. However, you do not escape being arrested twice by accident. You do not escape a mental hospital by accident. You do not go on the run for an entire year without being arrested by accident. Let’s face it, Chase – she’s a genius, an evil genius.”

“I know….” Sarina immediately noticed the change in his tone, reaching out for his hand.

“It’s no secret that you were scared of her before; I remember you telling me that. It’s no secret that she twisted your world so much that you couldn’t think straight – and that’s fine as the same would happen to anybody. You can talk to me about it if the feelings are there, again.” He then shakes his head no. “Yes, you ca-”

“I know I can trust you, but I promise those feelings aren’t there. Instead, I’m focused on doing whatever it takes for you, to take care of you and this baby.” She smiles, though makes sure to hold his hand back so it doesn’t reach while keeping her eyes on his. “Take care of yourself today, okay?”

“The same goes for you, too. You don’t need to always be my superman.” Chase knew that, but he also knew he couldn’t just let everything that happened go. He wasn’t about to let this cycle with Alison continue.

“I care about you. That’s why I can’t help but worr-”

“I’m a big girl, Chase. I can take care of myself. You just focus on the number goal one this weekend – winning. You’ve got a good car, a good crew behind you, and we both know that you have the talent to get the job done. Show the world.”  He had to chuckle as her speech was right out of his playbook for her plenty of times.

“Do what you do best. I love you.” He then gives her a kiss, before heading back off into the garage as she lets out a sigh. While he’d constantly worry about her and the baby, she couldn’t help but do the same with his emotions.

The first of the two practices went smoothly, as Sarina was able to time in second quickest – right behind her teammate Harrison – and felt happy with the handling of the truck. The debrief had also gone quickly, with Rudy taking a focus on trying some stuff to see if they could be even faster during the second session.

“Something seems off….” He comments once they’re done, catching her by surprise. “Yeah, something is off..”

“I’m fin-” She starts, having grown used to people with their comments. It seemed everybody was worried about the pregnant lady in the garage.

“No, that’s a lie Sarina.” The conversation got the attention of the teammates who glanced over.

“We can all see it Sarina,” Todd offers, as Sarina feels her stomach do a flip-flop. Was it that obvious that she was pregnant?

“It’s like your demeanor changed as Chase walked away, and then returned to normal for practice, but has changed back again,” Harrison analyzes, as Sarina looks over surprised. Were her young teammates always watching her that intently?

“Ahhh I think our girl is missing her boo right now.” Sarina just rolls her eyes as Harrison chuckles to Todd’s comment. “Are you infected with an Elliott addiction? Do we need to call Chase so he can make you feel better?”  She shakes her head no.

“It’s not that….” Rudy comments, earning a stern glance from Sarina as she was worried that he’d let the truth slip. While she knew she could trust her teammates, she didn’t need anybody else knowing the truth yet – till after next week that was. “What did Chase tell you earlier, anyway? It looked important.”

“Shelley has been arrested,” Sarina confesses, wanting to say anything to take the suspicion off her pregnancy in her mind. To be honest, though, that was still on her mind at this point. “She’s my aunt by the way, but stopped by the motorcoach last night to share some Alison tidbits, as if she knew privileged information. We put out word to the police, and they got her this morning.”

“So does that mean everything is over?” Todd wonders, and Sarina shakes her head no. Until Alison was locked in a maximum security jail cell, she would never admit to it being over.

“They haven’t found Alison yet. They’re thinking of using Shelley as bait to catch her, or at least get information with the slew of charges that they have coming for her.” She then glances down at her lap, with a sigh. “It just drives me insane that my family is so freaking crazy that they continue to torment me. First my brother, then my cousin, and now my own aunt. I thought I left this chaos behind when I started to establish myself, reset my life as I wanted, and yet here we are in the cycle once again.”

“Sarina…..” Rudy says as he wraps an arm around her to comfort her. “It’s not your fault, any of this. You can’t control or decide the decisions that others make. So you better not be blaming yourself one bit for what anybody has done to this point because it is never your fault. I also know, in my heart, that it will work out for both of you because it’s meant to be. You deserve your happy ending, your forever after.”

“Wow, Rudy does have a heart,” Todd comments, earning a slight chuckle from Harrison.

“With every person in my family seeming to have this, though, it worries me,” Sarina confesses as she looks up at the crew chief. “What if I am a bad mother?” The timing of the question brought shock over the room – Rudy with her mentioning that while trying to keep a secret, and the teammates wondering how that fit into her schedule. However, Harrison and Todd knew that question was really not important right now in seeing how upset Sarina appeared.

“I think you’ll make a wonderful mother when the time is right,” Rudy starts. “You have a very sweet heart. You’re always looking out caring for people, whether it’s Chase and what he’s going through, or your cousin Lindsay. You’re also sweet, and adorable with the fans. Look at how you spend time with the children in the garage, speaking at their level, and giving them extra time. Remember how you handled the situation at media day? Those are all examples that prove to me that you, Sarina Ott, will be an amazing mother. I know you’ll show that child the love that it deserves, and I know he or she will be glad to have you as their mother.”

“Thank you Rudy,” she comments as he gives her a squeeze closer. “I can’t believe I am saying this considering we started the year ready to bite each other’s head off, but I have really enjoyed working with you. I’ve enjoyed each weekend together, and I am going to miss your guidance every week. Thank you for the lessons and advice, on and off the track.” Rudy smiles as he had to admit – working with her was certainly making him a little softer at times.

“Marcus told me that you were special, and I sort of half believed hi-”

“I can understand that after working with Christopher and Eri-”

“But he was right, though. I still say that Christopher has more natural talent behind the wheel in what we’ve seen. However, you’re special in every other sense of the way in who you are, the young lady you’ve become, and everything moving forward. I admire your strength sometimes.” He then gives her a quick wink, knowing what that was in relation to, as she just smiles back in response.

“Good luck with those two next year.” Rudy looks over at the pair, before letting out a long sigh.

“I am going to have my hands full….”

Sarina climbs from the truck, smile firmly planted on her face as she walks over to where Rudy was standing. The changes had worked as they were able to gain speed over the session, giving her even more confidence heading into the night, despite once again being second to Harrison.

“I think we can beat him toni-” She starts, as she grabs a cold bottle of water from the cooler.

“There was a bomb found in the Cup Series garage,” Rudy cuts her off, which causes her to drop the bottle of water immediately, spilling it all down herself as she had loosened the cap.

“A…bomb….” Rudy slowly nods his head as he places a hand on her shoulder.

“It was foun-”

“You don’t need to tell me where it was found because we know who obviously planted it and why!” Rudy then reaches out, placing his other hand on her other shoulder. “Rudy….”

“You need to stay here wit-”

“Spit it out!” He then takes a deep breath, glancing over at the crew members, who scurry back to work rather than staring. “Rudy!”

“The timer is set to a full two hours. They haven’t found a way to deactivate it yet.” Sarina takes a deep breath, trying to remain calm as possible. The fact that there was a timer and they were still looking for a way to turn it off, it meant that it hadn’t gone off to cause any damage.

“So why are we still standing here? Isn’t the obvious to just clear the gara-”

“There’s a camera above with a note. Do something different than normal, and she’ll set it off earlier than scheduled.” Sarina takes a calming deep breath, resisting the urge to run right away as she knew Rudy would grab her anyway. Besides, risking tripping while pregnant wasn’t in the cards, either. “Alan texted me as soon as he found out and told me to keep you here so Chase isn’t worrying about you while trying to focus on practice like normal as they try and figure it out.”

“So we’re just going to pretend nothing is ticking in the garage stall right now?” Rudy slowly nods his head yes.

“They figure they’ll follow the instructions of the note for the duration of practice. If no answer is figured out by the end, they’re going to work with NASCAR on some sort of plan.” Sarina then glances towards the garage area, trying to maintain her composure. “Sarina….”

“Rudy, I’m scared….” A couple tears roll down her cheeks as Rudy pulls her closer, rubbing her back. “I can’t do this. I can’t los-”

“They’re going to figure something out, sweetheart. Everything is going to be okay…”

Chase knew what the note said – follow everything accordingly, or else it’d be activated earlier than scheduled. That meant it was left up to the experts to figure out the defuse process before then while he was supposed to practice as if nothing was going on.

Thankfully, the session had gone smoother than he expected as Alan and the guys had brought a real fast No. 9 Chevrolet, which made his job easy. Despite obviously being distracted, he had managed to post the third quickest lap.

With the session done, he tried to focus on the debrief in the garage stall with the engineers and team, though couldn’t help but glance up from the computer to see what the timer said. Taking a deep breath, time was running short quickly and having heard nothing from the bomb squad wasn’t encouraging.

“What the hell?!?” Tom Gray lets out as the laptop screen goes blank. “Josh!”

“I didn’t do it this time!” Josh confesses, raising both hands in the air innocently.

“I had just about finished putting everything in and it went off. Seriously?!?”

The screen then comes back on, but does not include the notes as Tom originally intended. Instead, it was a blank white screen with typed text in the middle.

“Chase….” Tom slowly says as he backs away from the computer. He knew the IT department would be intrigued and confused to hear what happened today. However, given the familiar ticking sound, the answer to the problem was also obvious.

“Did this just pop up?” Chase asks, and Tom nods his head.

“I was trying to do my not-”

“Please….” Tom takes the sign immediately, backing away to leave the driver with the message that was left on the screen. “Of course you’d do this to me, Alison.”

He then clicks the ‘accept’ box at the bottom of the note, which loaded a map on the screen. He follows the lines, figuring out what each picture meant, trying to figure out everything as quick as possible. He didn’t need to look up to figure out time was running out quickly.

“Bomb squad just called,” Alan states as he walks over with his phone in hand. “I have a series of deactivation instructions. There’s certain wires that need to be cut, and a code that needs to be entered. We only get one chance at the cod-”

“918,” Chase cuts him off immediately. “Look at the bottom of the map. She has that number written in tiny letters at the bottom. It’s got to be the code, and it makes sense. My car number, and then Sarina’s truck number.”

“We only get one chance at thi-”

“We have two chances.” Alan then looks over at him confused. “We have two chances to save all of our lives. I just need to do what she wants.”

“Hell no.” Chase was confused as he looked over at Alan. “That’s what she wants, Chase. Think about it. It’s the same thing that she did to you before. She’s manipulating your feelings, triggering your fears so that she gets what she wan-”

“It’s better than us being dead, though.” Alan knew that, but he also didn’t feel any comfort in having Chase anywhere close to her.

“I’m sticking with the first plan.” Chase shakes his head, feeling all kinds of worry as he watched the crew chief climb up onto the box, reaching the bomb on top. “Read me the instructions, please…”

“I don’t feel comforta-”

“Start reading!” Chase takes a deep breath as he picks up the phone.

“Cut the red wire, followed by the blue wire.” Snatching the wire cutters from his pocket, Alan follows both instructions as requested. “You’re going to cut the orange wire, and then will have 10 seconds to enter the three digit code.”

“Everyone hold your breath.” Alan then snaps the wire, followed by quickly punching in the three-digit code – 9 1 8. Everybody stands frozen around the garage stall, glancing up as they wait to see the result. “Breathe…” Alan then holds up the box, hearing not a single sound from it as he slowly sets it down on the pit cart.

“Nice job.” Chase gives him a quick hug, before Alan carries it out to the officers awaiting outside of the stall. Chase then leans back against the pit cart, letting out a long sigh of relief before taking out his phone to text Sarina.

“Can I go back to my not-” Tom starts and Chase shakes his head no.

“You’re getting a new laptop,” Chase tells him. “Alison just took procession of your screen. Do you think we’re going to let you continue to use that?” Tom slowly shakes his head no. “The police are taking that into evidence, as well. We’ll get you a new lapt-”

“He can use mine,” Josh instructs, opening it up immediately and typing in his password.

“Report the incident to Hendrick’s IT department. Security being compromised is no joke.” Tom nods his head in agreement, having already filed a phone call, as he watches his driver leave the garage stall.

“That was too close to comfort,” Tom offers as Josh takes a step back to let Tom get to work.

“She needs to be caught before it’s too late because I have a feeling it’s only going to get worse from here on out,” Josh comments, causing a glance of fear in return from Tom. “She’s getting impatient and upping her game each weekend. She also knows how to kill-”

“We don’t need a reminder, Josh.” Josh then grabs his checklist off the pit box, ready to get back to work.

Unfortunately, these incidents were becoming a part of the job, and he knew that they couldn’t use the incident as an excuse for not winning Sunday.

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The Tale of Love & Racing: Sarina’s Story – Chapter 129: Rainy Letters…

Tuesday, October 23 – Charlotte, North Carolina

Shelley pulls up behind the warehouse, slowly climbing out of her car.

She had seen the news coverage in relation to those looking for Britney Teals, and a possible connection to a crime. Her mind immediately added that up, and her fingers found their way to dial the girl’s number. She was done with causing pain for the couple – or so she thought via the apology, but yet found herself intrigued by this person.

She was surprised upon the phone call to hear the request to meet in North Carolina, and the location. It wasn’t far from Hendrick Motorsports, Kyle Busch Motorsports, or where the couple was staying. She knew at that point that Britney was probably planning her next move.

What would happen next? Shelley still wasn’t sure.

“I was surprised to get your phone call,” Alison starts, back using her higher-pitched voice to fit the character she was now set to be.

“I thought about your offer, and I apologize for how long you had to wait,” Shelley begins, remembering the speech she had rehearsed the entire trip down. “However, I am not ready to let my family go over a simple misunderstanding. I also am not ready to let Sarina’s last stunt of attitude, go either.” Alison had to chuckle as a mutual hatred of Sarina’s involvement would be useful.

“I can understand that based on what you told me….” Shelley takes a deep breath, knowing this would be where things got sticky.

“But I was hesitant to actually call and meet with you today. After all, I saw your name and face in the news. The police are looking for you in regards to a crime.” Alison nods her head, having seen the news release. She actually was surprised that things had gotten revealed so quickly, but knew who to blame. He’d get some consequences, later.

“I am not going to deny that I have been involved in some criminal activity, and based on this meeting, I am sure you can understand who I have been involved with. It was no accident when I came over to talk to you at the diner. I figured I could use your disgruntled attitude with the pair to my advantage. Considering you saw the report, you knew what was going on already before you called, and yet you still called. So I take it that you’re on board.” Shelley takes a deep breath, feeling every nerve crawl in response to hearing that. It went against everything she felt, but yet what was she supposed to do?

“I can’t live with the guilt in doing nothing for Chris or Bethany after Sarina simply threw away the key without a simple thought. I mean, Chase did more for Alison in allowing her to get help and she’s not even family.” Alison knew she would need to thank him, as well as making sure to give extra thanks for enabling her escape.

“Alright, I am glad to have you onboard.” Britney then takes a deep breath with a smirk. “And by the way, he did more for me than you think.” Shelley’s jaw slowly drops as Alison gives her a wink.

“Do I want to know how you escaped?” Alison chuckles, shaking her head no.

“Let it be a sign that if you double cross me, I will make sure you pay…..”

Tuesday, October 23 – Kyle Busch Motorsports

Sarina stands in the lobby of Kyle Busch Motorsports, glancing up into the trophy case. She had admiration in seeing the Kansas trophy up there from May, but that hadn’t caught her eye today.

Fingers reaching up to her necklace, wrapping her fingers around the white ball, her eyes focused on another in the showcase. It was a racer’s dream to compete in, and win, and this year she would have to miss it.

“What’s caught your eye today?” She hears, recognizing the voice immediately. It wasn’t a surprise to hear the boss coming through the lobby.

“That trophy,” she answers, and he could see what she meant right away.

“That’s one of my most prized processions.” She nods her head as she glances over.

“I can see why….” He wraps an arm around her, knowing why she was standing there. The Snowball Derby entry list was released today, and for the first time in five years, her name was missing.

“I know you committed to finishing the truck season, and then relaxing for the baby’s sake, but you didn’t realize what it would feel like missing the Snowball till now….” She nods her head, as that was exactly what she was feeling.

“I can’t even describe this race to you, Kyle. I love running trucks and I’m sure XFINITY will be just as amazing next year, but it doesn’t compare to this. The snowball Derby was always the top of the mountain for me and what I strived for, dream of. It’s also the race that I had the most fun competing in. It also has another bit of a special meaning…” Kyle’s eyes caught the necklace, nodding his head. Strangely, he was one of the biggest supporters of Chase and Sarina from day one. “It’s going to feel weird being down in Florida and not being in that race.”

“When you hold your baby in March, it’ll be worth it. That’s a feeling that you won’t be able to duplicate, or reach ever.” She smiles as she looks over at Kyle.

“I can already feel that love, Kyle. I told Bill about that Sunday and you wouldn’t believe the words that came from my mouth.” He chuckles in response.

“Actually, I would, because I didn’t realize the same thing until Samantha was pregnant, and I watched that Brexton grow more at each appointment.”  She smiles as she could see the love between Kyle, Brexton and Samantha every single day.

“And is the process going smoothly so far for a little girl?” Kyle nods his head, thankful they hadn’t hit any snags yet. “I’m glad, Kyle. I hope things work out for you and Samantha.”

“I hope the same for you and Chase, too. You both deserve it after everything.” Sarina lets out a sigh, with a nod of the head. It never seemed ending in their world.

“Between Shelley, Alison, and now I guess Britney, I just wish it would be over. You can only take so much. I snapped at one point, and Chase has snapped.” She then takes a deep breath as she glances at her stomach quickly. “I don’t know what I’d take if something were to seriously flip off the handle due to them.”

“It’s going to work out…” He then gives her a small hug. “And have you re-thought about this weekend?” She then glances over.

“Yeah, I’ve thought about this weekend, and the fact that I am taking home a clock for you.” He chuckles, not surprised by her answer.

Friday, October 26 – Martinsville Speedway

Sarina finishes up her media availability, thanking the media for their time, before meeting back up with Chase at the back of the room.

“Please tell me I did something right…” She muses to herself and he nods his head with a wrap around her shoulders.

“You did a great job as always,” he answers, before giving her a kiss. “Well, except for this…” He then wipes the bit of chili that was stuck to the edge of her lip. “Couldn’t wait to have a hot dog?”

“I was all set to walk by and grab one later, only set for a single one today actually. But the smell just swirled the stomach and I had to have one then and there. Call me crazy for having it with the media, but that hot dog called my name – along with the one we’re grabbing on the way back.” He chuckles as they walk out of the media center together. “Am I crazy?”

“Any other track and maybe, but here with the craze for these strange hot dogs, I don’t think you are.” She laughs, as she glances over at him.

“You’re trying one before the weekend is done….” He shakes his head no as she laughs even more. They reached the door to head back outside, with Chase having the umbrella already handy. “I seriously give up on this weather. It doesn’t matter when we come in March or October, it’s just rain rain rain. I’m not sitting around until Monday without a lap again.”

“Oh, so you don’t want to keep me company?” She looks over, seeing a small pout as she had to chuckle.

“Um, we were so bored that we were playing Go Fish. Do you want to go there again?” He smirks as he remembered how that game played out.

“I won, remember?” She rolls her eyes as they head outside. However, as soon as their feet reached the pavement, an envelope caught their attention. Chase slowly picks it up, letting out a sigh. “Should I be surprised that she’s on the property and this is here for me?”

“Nothing surprises me anymore….” She then watched as he twiddled the envelope in his fingers. “What are you going to do about it?”

“Read it.” In his mind, he was already re-picturing what happened with Alan only weeks earlier.

With her taking hold of the umbrella, he rips the envelope open and unfolds the piece of paper.

Chase,

It’s amazing how many people will do things for you. I mean, you’d think Justin would be so scared over what happened that he wouldn’t say a thing. But hey, it’s great because now the heat is taken off of me. I can do as I please with you, and nobody will suspect me. Isn’t it beautiful?

As much as I admire you, I actually have to say that I am proud of that Britney Teals chick. I mean, she has guts to sneak right into your space of living and do what she did as her first attack. I gotta say that if I could meet someone, it’d be her as I’d love to trade notes and plan together.

As I told you before, hopefully we see each other soon, as you can help me. I already helped you with some feelings, and I want to help with you some more as helping you comforts. Maybe next time we can revisit our past and let me taste those lips, your neck, feel your muscles, and of course have a tasty lick of your lollipop. By the way, it’s a beautiful thing when it hardens are the bare touch of my fingers.

I almost got my way here in March, if you remember. It’s too bad that I had to make you sore to do it, but I knew you needed some sort of excuse to tell the fiancé so she wouldn’t think you cheated. It’s just too bad that Chad came walking then as he ruined our fun together. Can you tell those pesky crew chiefs to mind their own business? Thanks!

I also hope that we can make some friends, as friends you see come in handy for doing many things. Hopefully you enjoy my friendship as much as I enjoy yours, and what I share with others.

Look forward to tasting your lips, feeling you against me, and feeling you harden again….

See ya soon, Alison Reynolds.

“Are you okay?” Sarina asks, placing a hand on Chase’s shoulder as he reaches the end of her note. He simply nods his head. “Don’t let her get to you. Remember that she doesn’t have the power over you, and she can’t hurt you with these words. Don’t think about the memories, or the past. Also know that I trust you, believe in you, and I know you’d never cheat on me.” He folds the letter back up, placing it in his pocket.

“Thank you for just being here for me,” he tells her, before giving her a slight kiss on the cheek. “I don’t know what I’d do without you some days.”

“She’s not going to break us, or you….”

“This is ridiculous!” Sarina lets out, glancing out the window as the rain continued to fall. NASCAR had officially canceled both truck series practices, set to run qualifying and the race tomorrow as scheduled. On top of that, the coldness was getting to her as she just wanted to cuddle up and find some sort of warmth.

“Where are you going?” He questions, seeing her grabbing her coat out of the closet.

“I’m bored. I can’t find a single thing to do. So I am going get another hot dog, and then to amuse myself.” Chase glances up from the game of fortnite he was playing, feeling a bit of concern.

“Do you want me to come with you?” Sarina understood why he was asking, and knew she should probably agree with Alison and Britney lurking. However, she felt confident in her own abilities today.

“I’m fine, don’t worry.” She gives him a quick kiss, before heading out.

Knowing her Kyle Busch Motorsports teammates were in the media center, she makes her way inside and takes a seat amongst the crowd. Usually, it’d be stop by the hauler in tease. However, with having an audience, she couldn’t resist.

“I have a question for Todd Gilliland, Christian Eckes, and Harrison Burton from their new favorite reporter,” she starts, earning a chuckle from Christian and Harrison. “Which one of you are going to finish second behind the 18 Tundra?” Their chuckles only increased in hearing the question.

“If I’m behind you on the last corner, you better watch out,” Todd states, keeping a dead straight serious face the entire time. She just smirks back in response, knowing that they had talked over what happened at Canadian Tire motorsports Park and were ready to move forward without any issues.

“I wouldn’t expect anything less, Mr. Gilliland.”

She stuck around letting them finish answering the rest of the serious, boring questions, before catching up with them as they were set to leave.

After some jokes shared, along with getting her third hot dog of the day as promised, they headed out of the media center together.

“Hold up!” Sarina lets out, stopping in her tracks as she noticed an envelope on the ground. She was set to ignore it, perhaps believing Chase dropped the one he opened, or perhaps it was just random. However, seeing her name on it as she flipped it over, she knew it was there purposely. “Weird…”

“Why would someone leave you a note here?” Christian asks, confused as Sarina lets out a sigh.

“Because that’s a trademark of Alison Reynolds….” She then begins to run her finger along the edge and rip it open.

“But you were here earlier so why leave it here?” Alison glances up with a sigh.

“Because she knew you guys would be here, and would pass it along to me. She doesn’t do anything by accident.” She then glances down at the piece of paper that was inside, seeing the familiar type from earlier.

Sarina,

It feels weird writing you a letter, but I thought why not? After all, I had some time. Like you probably heard from Chase, I bragged about how people will do things for you. I can tell you that I meant those words, and you have some lovely friends and family. Chris, by the way, is my hero.

You have to remember that I almost broke you guys up. I have to wonder that well Chase keeps telling you that Britney broke in, and setting her up to be found criminally, what if he is doing this to cover his traces? What if he welcomed her into his life, perhaps the bedsroom, like he welcomed me into his hotel room, and is now trying to cover his traces due to regret? She’s certainly a beauty, and I wouldn’t put it pass him to want some of that.

As much as I want to see Chase, I actually hope to see you again. I want to try on that ring for size. I also wouldn’t mind seeing what you have to say when you watch me touch your man, kiss his lips, and treat him like a real woman should – something you don’t know a thing about.

You obviously didn’t see the fun we had in March, and you especially didn’t see how he welcomed me into your home on the couch, or the hotel room, allowing me to fully take control of him. Hopefully we have a sweet reunion soon.

See ya soon, Alison Reynolds.

“How insane is this chick?” Christian questions as he had glanced over her shoulder to see the writings of the note.

“Again, you don’t want to know,” she answers, referencing an answer that she had told her young teammate many times. “If you see her, just stay away and report her. She’ll stop at nothing to get what she wants.”

“Are you okay?” Todd then asks, noticing the change of tone in her voice with the warning. “Do you need me to walk you back to the motorcoach?”

“I’m fine Todd, thank you…” She then takes a deep breath, shoving the note in her pocket, before heading off for the walk back to the motorcoach.

She almost was set to allow Todd to fulfill the offer, but didn’t want to chance causing another issue for her teammate.

In her mind, she already imagined Alison popping out along the way to make a promise on her letters as two notes in a day wasn’t like her. However, she welcomed it, as she was set to do whatever it took to protect her and Chase.

Besides, if she could do what she planned, they wouldn’t have anything to worry about in the future.

The Tale of Love & Racing: Sarina’s Story – Chapter 109: Chevrolet Silverado 250

Saturday, August 25 – Canadian Tire Motorsports Park

“Is this seriously happening right now?” Sarina questions as they walk over to pit road.

“NASCAR says it is happening as scheduled,” Rudy answers, not surprised by her shock as he was as well.

“Do they not realize the track is still damp from all that rain?” Rudy nods his head yes.

“That’s why we’re running rain tires.” Sarina rolls her eyes as NASCAR had never chosen to use rain tires in qualifying before today.

“They set the Pinty’s Series by their owner’s points. So why can’t they do the same for us?” Rudy rolls his eyes as he shrugs his shoulders.

“Does anybody ever understand what NASCAR does and doesn’t do? Besides, the fans have been hanging around all day and haven’t seen much on-track action. They want to give them something. So how about we be a good sport, put a smile on our face, and do what we do?” Sarina puts a mocking smile on her face as she looks over at the crew chief.

“When the back ass of that truck is stuck in a wall, don’t stop me when I kick NASCAR’s sorry asses.” She then walks away as Rudy just lets out a long sigh.

Despite Sarina’s initial concerns, she was able to put it all behind her during the qualifying session, ending the first round in second, followed by second in the second round to qualify on the front row alongside Ben Rhodes.

Sunday, August 26 – Canadian Tire Motorsports Park

Sarina makes her way out of the Kyle Busch Motorsports hauler, changed into her firesuit, ready for the day before her. She then stops immediately, though, smiling as she sees a familiar sight leaning back against a pole before her.

“I was wondering when you’d get here,” she comments, before walking over, wrapping both arms around him and kissing his lips. “I missed you.”

“I missed you, too,” he replies, taking in every bit of the kiss. “You haven’t done so bad this weekend.”

“It looked like you had fun at Road America…” Chase nods his head in agreement.

“Finish never mattered, just the experience. Dad had a smile on his face at the end of the race, I had fun on the spotter stand and the fans got entertained. It was good. Oh, and Christopher even earned a cheer from me.” Sarina chuckles, having seen the highlights from the race.

“I thought he and Justin were both screwed there.” Chase couldn’t help but nod his head once again.

“Now, how about you don’t try any stunts like that today?” She smiles as she looks straight into his eyes.

“I plan on leading every lap and scoring myself another damn win this year. How does that sound?” He smiles as he kisses her lips.

“Go get them!”

Starting in second, Sarina kept herself solidly in position throughout the first stage, eventually taking the lead from Ben Rhodes with 13 laps to get the stage win.

“Nice solid start,” Chase couldn’t help but comment to himself as he sat on the pit box. He honestly had to glance around and feel a little strange considering Rudy wasn’t on the box as usual, but rather standing at the top of the turn one grandstand to help with spotting from there.

The pit stop under the stage caution went solidly with Sarina coming off first to start fifth behind those who pitted before the end of the first stage. She made her way back to the lead quickly, taking the lead one lap after the restart, pacing the rest of the way to score the stage two victory.

“She wasn’t kidding,” Chase chuckles to himself as he takes a deep breath. Stage victories were nice, but now it was all about putting the rest of the puzzle together.

She would once again pit under the stage caution, once again coming off first, set to restart 11th this time around. Of course, that didn’t sit well with anyone on the team as they watched the laps tick by under a lengthy yellow flag to clean up oil spilt around the track.

“Where the hell is the red flag?” Chase began to question as he glanced around, letting out a sigh.

“Be aggressive, but don’t tear the nose off,” Rudy then spoke across the radio. Chase knew that Sarina didn’t need any reminders about being aggressive, but glad that Rudy mentioned taking care of the truck, too. It may have seemed like the laps were running out, but they still lots of time with the chaos that was set to ensue here.

She would begin to make her way forward, moving up to seventh by the caution with 15 laps to go for Michael Self going around. She’d then get a good restart, making a three-wide move off of turn 10 to make her way up to third behind Todd Gilliland and Johnny Sauter.

“Come on baby girl….” Chase says as he almost felt like climbing down the steps of the pit box so he could pace with the nerves he was beginning to feel.

She would then get by Johnny Sauter to move into second before the caution waved with five to go. Restarting second for overtime, she began to drop back initially off of Todd’s rear bumper. However, she was able to find her way back there through the final corners, right there entering the final three.

Then it happened. Contact, spin, and everything was over at that point. Rather than dreams of victory or even a runner-up, she had gotten herself an eighth-place finish.

Chase stood on pit road, letting out a sigh as he watched the scene before him.

He wasn’t surprised when he heard the interview that Todd gave with his frustration as he could sympathize with him. He wasn’t surprised to see both Marcus Richmond and David Gilliland walk over and voice their displeasure with the contact, either. It also didn’t surprise when even Rudy had something to say while they stood on pit road.

Through the chaos, Chase stood in the background and just let everything unfold as he tried to keep his thoughts in check. He felt bad for all the heat that Sarina was getting, but could he blame everybody? The move just seemed so far out of line, considering it was a teammate and the loss of points being in the playoffs right now. It was weird to find himself unable to side with her on what happened.

“Are you okay?” He finally questions as they leave pit road following the interviews and discussions, trying to keep his own opinion in check.

“Oh, so now you’re going to be concerned?” She snaps back in return, earning a sharp glance from him.

“Excuse me?” She almost wanted to chuckle as she kept her eyes focused forward rather than at him.

“I saw you on pit road, Chase. As everyone was approaching, critiquing me, saying what they wanted, venting, you just stood back and didn’t do a thing. you could’ve come over and offered a shoulder of support. You could’ve asked me then if I was okay. You could’ve been the supportive fiancé that I expected, just like I was when it came to your few incidents.” They reach the KBM trailer as they both head inside, with her slamming the door behind them.

“You’re frustrated and now you’re taking it out on me-”

“I expected you to perhaps say something to someone that you had my bac-”

“Maybe it’s because I don’t exactly agree with the move.” She then stops suddenly, turning back around to face him directly now with a chuckle of her own.

“Oh, is that the case Mr. Innocent?” He slowly nods his head with a sigh.

“I love you, and I support you entirely. I want to be there for you and I want to do whatever I can to help you, but sometimes we’re going to disagree. Look at your angle to the corner. It was clear there was going to be contact, and I don’t think that’s a fair situation when it’s your teammate.” She then shakes her head.

“So it was okay for you to dump Dillon because he wasn’t a teammate?” Chase shakes his head no.

“Ty had lost momentum due to being out of gas-”

“You still hit hi-”

“Look at my entry to the corner compared to yours. I took my usual line and he cut down. You cut the corner, sweetheart.” She knew that he was right, but she wasn’t ready to back down and admit defeat.

“You’re a racer just like me so you should understand this just like me. Any racer that doesn’t go for the gap or the win questions themselves later on. I wasn’t about to do that. Call me out on it, say I did the wrong thing – I don’t give a shit, Chase. I have no regrets.” She then makes her way to the back to change, slamming the door in his face as he lets out a long sigh.

“I’ll be out here for when you’re rea-”

“Just go and fly home without me. I’d rather not see you right now.” Chase leans against the door with another sigh.

“I’m going to stay here for 10 minutes. Let me know if you change your mind in the process….” He then twists the top of his own bottle of water, taking a long sip as he shakes his head.

He was right as about five minutes later, she caved and wanted to fly home with him, apologizing for how direct “some” of her comments were, but not changing her mind as to what she said.

The flight home started off quiet as she focused on her phone and music, while he was focused on the flight.

I found myself today
Oh, I found myself and ran away
But something pulled me back
The voice of reason I forgot I had

All I know is you’re not here to say
What you always used to say
But it’s written in the sky tonight

So I won’t give up, no I won’t break down
Sooner than it seems life turns around
And I will be strong even if it all goes wrong
When I’m standing in the dark I’ll still believe
Someone’s watching over me

I’ve seen that ray of light
And it’s shining on my destiny
Shining all the time, and I won’t be afraid
To follow everywhere it’s taking me

All I know is yesterday is gone
And right now I belong
To this moment, to my dreams

So I won’t give up, no I won’t break down
Sooner than it seems life turns around
And I will be strong even if it all goes wrong
When I’m standing in the dark I’ll still believe
Someone’s watching over me

It doesn’t matter what people say
And it doesn’t matter how long it takes
Believe in yourself and you’ll fly high
And it only matters how true you are
Be true to yourself and follow your heart

So I won’t give up, no I won’t break down
Sooner than it seems life turns around
And I will be strong even if it all goes wrong
When I’m standing in the dark I’ll still believe

So I won’t give up, no I won’t break down
Sooner than it seems life turns around
And I will be strong even if it all goes wrong
When I’m standing in the dark I’ll still believe
Someone’s watching over me

Someone’s watching over
Someone’s watching over
Someone’s watching over me
Yeah, oh, oh,
Someone’s watching over me

She takes her ear buds out, glancing over at Chase as she lets out a sigh.

“I’m sorry for snapping at you, by the way,” she breaks the silence.

“I knew you were frustrated and didn’t mean it totally directed at me,” he offers as she nods her head.

“Maybe you’re right. Maybe I could’ve played my cards smarter and not went for the gap. But, that’s I was brought up.” Chase ponders the thought. It was odd of her to speak about her childhood in connection to a racing moment.

“What do you mean?” She takes a deep breath as she thinks it over.

“My father and I would go go-karting every weekend; that’s where my drive comes from and ability. He was the hardest coach that I ever knew, though. I remember there were times that I felt that I did so well, but yet he’d harp on me for not making that pass. He’d go, ‘Yeah you finished third, but you could’ve got second if you would’ve cut that apex better, or you could’ve got this if you would’ve shot that gap’ and he kept pushing me. My aggressiveness comes out of that, I guess.” Chase couldn’t help but agree as it made perfect sense.

“So because that’s been engraved in you, are there times that you do it to yourself now?” She nods her head in agreement.

“That’s why when we have those good runs but miss it by a bit, I may be frustrated on pit road because those words keep playing in my mind. Those words were there those last few laps, plus wanting to be that playoff lock. Who wants to enter Talladega needing a good run badly?” She then takes a long deep breath. “I just need to relax, and remember that solid performances and a good team got me here. I need to do what I’ve been doing all year and I’ll be fine. I also need to survive Kyle’s lecture on Monday.” Chase chuckles in response.

“Are you sure you’re ready?” She shakes her head no.

“I thought it was bad at Phoenix and that didn’t screw a championship situation. Can you imagine that even worse?” She then glances over. “Can you save me?” He chuckles.

“I wish I could, but you’re going to have to weather the storm. Oh, and Todd as well. Hopefully calmer heads will prevail.”

The Tale of Love & Racing: Sarina’s Story – Chapter 86: Toyota/Save Mart 350

Friday June 22, 2018 – Gateway Motorsports Park

Sarina watches Todd walk up to the top of the grandstands, sitting down beside her with a funnel cake in hand.

“Really?” She questions with a chuckle as he takes a piece, flaunting it before her, then eating it. “I don’t want to be the one cleaning your truck after the race tomorrow.”

“It’ll be gone before then,” he answers as he gets comfortable. “I’m surprised you actually came to watch the ARCA race with me. I thought you’d be facetiming your boo all night.” She just rolls her eyes.

“I can have a life too, Todd.” She then reaches over, breaking a piece off and eating it.

“Hey!” She then sticks her tongue out.

“You can’t buy a treat like that and not share…” He then lets out a sigh as he lets her steal another piece. “Besides, this is actually pretty good.”

“See why I couldn’t resist it?” She nods her head, accepting.

Between sharing the snack and the action on-track, there seemed to be not any other care in the world as she was taken immediately in by everything, sharing jokes with Todd along the way. They both cheered on Christian, hoping he’d put together a good run before the truck race tomorrow.

About three quarters through the race, she hears her phone go off, pulling it out of her pocket.

“Chase?” Todd assumes without even glancing over with a chuckle.

“No….I wish though,” she replies, earning a curious glance from Todd. “Remember how Christopher and I were joking around last weekend?” Todd nods his head, having seen them outside of the media center together.

“Like you said to Christian, you guys are just friends….” He then doesn’t hear a response, earning another curious glance. “Right?”

“Absolutely as that’s what both Christopher and I have said to each other and believed every step of the way. So why is it that everybody else can’t understand that?”

“Christi-”

“I don’t even care what he said earlier anymore!” She then shoves her phone at Todd, so he looks at the article before him. “Just beautiful, right?”

“While Chase Elliott was vacationing in Ireland, Sarina Ott was spotted getting close to ex-teammate Christopher Bell. The pair spent several minutes talking, seeming laughing even with a hug. It isn’t the first time that the pair have been spotted together in the garage being real close, even sparking rumors last year about possibly being together. One has to wonder with the current situation surrounding Elliott and Allison Reynolds, including a possible pregnancy, if Ott is leaning to Bell for comfort, or possibly more.” He then glances up at Sarina. “Are they serious?”

“That’s what’s been released by one of those lovely rag magazines.” She then snatches her phone back from Todd. “It also goes on to speak of how I started dating Chase before I landed the ride with his Late Model team and KBM, as well as the fact that there could be issues both ways given Ms. Reynolds and that trial situation.”

“Seriously?” She nods her head as she closes the article on her phone. “Is this normal per the course?”

“Because of everything with my background, how I got the ride and the questions surro-”

“Pure talent, gir-”

“Some say only because I slept with Chase.” Todd then laughs out loud.

“They obviously haven’t raced against you ever.” She then smiles back in return.

“Thank you, but that doesn’t quit the haters now does it?” Todd lets out a sigh and shakes his head no.

“It’s like those that say the only reason I have this opportunity is because of my dad.” She then leans back as she tries to focus back on the ARCA race.

“Regardless, both Chase and I are used to this now as it isn’t the first time and it probably won’t be the last. All about having that public relationship, right? There’s always some tramp trying to break us up and this is the latest attempt. Clearly they don’t get how much we love each other, or the meaning of having best friends.”

“I’m glad you both found that meaning together. don’t let anyone change that.” She smiles as she glances down at the ring on her finger.

“I don’t plan on letting anyone change that, Todd. We’ve worked so hard to get to where we are. One little rag article isn’t going to change that.”

Saturday June 23, 2018 – Sonoma Raceway

Chase gives Alan a high-five after the qualifying session was done, big smile on his face. After all the doubts entering the weekend, it was nice to know that he would start Sunday’s race from the third position. Now as long as he kept it on the black top and ran a smooth race, they may be able to pull off a solid finish to get on a bit of a roll here.

He then makes his way down pit road, though was surprised when he was stopped mid-way by his teammate.

“Do you need some advice, seven-time?” He teases Jimmie, who just shakes his head no in return while remaining serious.

“I was just wondering if you saw the article that was posted about Sarina and Christopher,” Jimmie offers instead, earning a simple sigh from Chase. “So you have…”

“And?” Jimmie crosses his arms as he keeps his eyes locked on his teammate.

“I thought I’d get more of a reaction from you than that.” Chase shakes his head no.

“I know the friendship that her and Christopher have together. I know how much he’s there for her to lean on for advice when she needs someone, and I know it goes no further than being friends. It’s just someone trying to stir the pop as usual. Aren’t we used to that already?” Jimmie nods his head, having seen his share of articles when Jeff was going through his divorce.

“I was just worried about the effect it would have on yo-”

“I read it out of curiosity, and closed it right away. It hasn’t bothered me at all today.” That was a partial lie as it was the beginning of everything coming out in relation to Alison, and Chase wasn’t sure if he was ready for that quite yet.

“That’s good to hear. I mean, I know honesty has come up before in your relationship and I was worried the rumors would spark a probl-”

“We’ve over that, Jimmie. Why do you think I asked her to marry me? I’m in this for the long haul, committed to her no matter what – just like she’s committed to me. we also have our friends, too, but that’s it. Her friendship to Christopher is just like me and Erin…” Chase then froze a little, remembering what Ryan had told him on the plane about what happened while he was drunk. He didn’t want to go there, but what if Christopher and Sarina had more than he realized?

“Chase?” Chase snaps out of his thoughts as Jimmie doesn’t budge at all. “What are you thinking? As soon as you mentioned Erin’s name, you went qui-”

“There’s nothing goi-”

“Didn’t you just spend a week with her-”

“Ryan was there, too-”

“But something happened…” Chase lets out a sigh as he couldn’t deny any longer. “Do you want to tell me what happened?”

“Erin told me that she’s had a crush on me for the longest time, but never pursued it because she knew it wouldn’t work. She knew that I was meant for someone else like Sarina, and she’s happy that I’ve found that.” Jimmie wasn’t too surprised as he remembered how close Erin and Chase were when they went to the banquet together.

“But yet she told you?” Chase nods his head yes.

“We were standing on the porch talking about some personal thoughts of my own with bad dreams, and we mentioned how we’d always care for each other and that came out of her mouth. As soon as it was said, we moved on the rest of the trip as friends without any changes.” Of course that was a lie as there was a forgotten kiss in there, too. But if he didn’t remember it, what mattered?

“Can I give you some advice?” Chase lets out a sigh, not sure he wanted to go with this. “Take a moment and let yourself digest everything. Let yourself think about your relationship with Sarina and everything you’ve been through together. Think about your relationship with Erin and how that friendship has grown, and what you mean to each other. Think about why she would’ve wanted you to know that fact. Think about Sarina’s relationship with Christopher. The reason I say this is I don’t want you to bury yourself so deep in a relationship that isn’t going to last because of other factors. Save yourself from pain later by facing everything now.”

“Are you trying to tell me something with those words, Jimmie?” Jimmie shakes his head no.

“I stand by you and Sarina. Remember how I pushed for that engagement with Dale?” Chase laughs, remembering the conversations in Colorado. “I just don’t want to be helping you pick up the pieces later – if there’s any to pick up later because it fell apart. For all I know, this is just some pointless worry and the glass isn’t even touched. But do yourself the favor and do that now. I’ve seen one of my best friends go through a divorce. I don’t want to see another one.” Chase nods his head, sympathically.

“I’ll keep that advice in mind. Thank you, Jimmie.”

“Nice job in qualifying.”

Saturday June 23, 2018 – Sonoma Raceway

Getting comfortable that night at the motorcoach, Chase knew he was in for a long night with the truck race from Gateway. The fact that he was having to watch a second truck race in a row not at the track didn’t make it easy one bit. At least when he was at the track he had direct access to knowing everything that was going on from Rudy and the guys.

Thankfully, the race went smoothly as Sarina ran up front all night long, leading a ton of laps through the event and looked destined to pull off her second win of the season. However, it wasn’t meant to be as while leading, she had to pit under caution with seven laps to go for a flat tire. She was then able to fight back for a 10th-place finish.

Knowing she’d be disappointed, Chase pulls his phone and sends her a text of encouragement and comfort, adding in a small special message at the end. He then sets it down on the night table as he lays back in the bed.

Jimmie’s advice hadn’t left his mind since their conversation earlier in the afternoon. He understood his teammate’s concern – and appreciated his advice on the situation, too. Chase had taken it to heart as he ran everything through his mind as Jimmie told him. He even chuckled as he thought about to some memories with Erin, along with the tender moments. The memories with Sarina ranged from every emotion possible, but he wouldn’t changed anything as he’d grown along the way and learned a lot that he knew would help him moving forward in the future. He also thought about Christopher, the initial concerns that he had and wondering whether that was jealousy and self-warrant. He thought about when Christopher seemed to be turn a corner, conversations since then, and Christopher’s own relationship with his girlfriend Morgan.

Closing his eyes to go to sleep that night after weighing everything out, he was confident in where he stood across the board. There was a reason why he gave Sarina that ring, and there was no reason for him to take that back.

Sunday June 24, 2018 – Sonoma Raceway

Sarina walks down pit road, fixing her sunglasses upon her face as she flashes her signature smile with a wave to Samantha as she walks by Kyle Busch’s pit stall. She had done everything she could to arrive in California before the start of the race, but that unfortunately didn’t’ play out as she arrived just after the command to start engines have been given thanks to countless delays with her flight.

“What are your thoughts on the article about you and Christopher Bell?” She hears as it didn’t take long for a group of reporters to surround her on the walk, despite being dressed in a simple Chase Elliott t-shirt and jeans.

“Christopher and I are just friends,” she answers as she keeps walking. “We have a great friendship as it always has been. I’m fully committed to Chase Elliott as he’s my fiancé, and I look forward to spending the rest of my life with him. As for your rumors that I am straying due to everything going on, I’m sorry but you’re full of shit.” She knew she’d get in shit from Andy about her last comment, but they deserved it as it seemed they wouldn’t shut up every week despite being told the same answer countless times.

“What about Alison Reynolds?” She wasn’t surprised to hear that question.

“No comment.” It was the standard answer that she had gotten used to giving all year, but that’s all she was allowed to say in it being a current legal issue. She could only hope it was all solved a month from now, rather than taking forever. “How about you guys enjoy the race like I plan on doing?” She then entered into Chase’s pit, offering a few hugs and high-fives to the guys before heading up on the pit box with Alan.

“And the princess makes her grand entrance,” Alan comments with a grin as she just rolls her eyes.

“They always want to bug and create their stories,” she offers as she gets comfortable, picking her headset. “I’m still allowed up here, right?”

“Absolutely. Everybody close to you knows they’re full of shit, right?” She nods her head.

Thankfully, Chase made her trip to California worth it as he ran up front all race long en route to a fourth-place finish.

Thursday June 28, 2018 – Chicagoland Speedway

“Do you think five months is enough time to plan?” Chase questions as he glances over Sarina’s shoulder in the garage area.

“Do you really think I’m like those all too cool preppy girls who want this big huge damn wedding?” She replies as he laughs. “I just want it small and quiet with our closest friends. I’m sure five months is enough time, Chase.” She then turns around to face him. “Are you sure you’re ready for the big day in five months?”

“Oh so now you’re asking if I’m ready?” He then wraps his arms around her and pulls her close. “I can tell you that I’ve been ready for awhile now to call you Ms. Sarina Ott Elliott.” He then places his hand on hers atop of the ring. “That’s why I found the perfect pink diamond for you.”

“So it’s settled then. January wedding?” He nods his head, accepting.

“Colorado or Florida?” It felt weird to be getting married away from home, but it also felt perfect given their beginnings. They always felt their most at home together and free when they were away at the cottage in Colorado, but also found their true beginnings down in Florida at the Snowball Derby.

“Colorado. A winter wedding should take place where there’s lots of snow.” He then kisses her lips lightly.

“Then it’s settled. We’ll get married in January in Colorado.”

“Did I just hear that right?” A new voice joins the fray as Rudy walks over to them. “You’re getting married in January in Colorado?” The pair glance at each other, before looking towards the crew chief with a nod. “Wow. I’m surprised at this wedding discussion, especially following the latest round of articles that I’ve been seeing.”

“Oh Rudy, what did you tell me about reading that crap?” Sarina questions and Rudy smiles as he remembers the advice.

“Why do you think I deleted it immediately?” She then smiles, giving him a high-five. “I knew there had to be no truth to the Christopher Bell rumors. I mean, aren’t he and Morgan close to getting married, too?”

“They’re close enough that it wouldn’t surprise me if it happened this week.”

“Well, I hate to bother the love birds but someone has a truck practice that she must attend to. May I borrow your bride?” Chase laughs as he slowly lets her go.

“She has five months to plan so I supposed she can spend the next couple of hours working for you,” Chase answers. “But I get this first.” He then snags a kiss from her before fully letting her go. “Have some fun today.”

“That’s the plan,” she replies before walking over to the truck.

The happiness continued through both practices as the speed was shown, and Rudy was able to get her comfortable in the truck to where she was liking the handling as well. By the time it was over, she had ended up fourth and 10th on the speed charts for each session.

The Tale of Love & Racing: Sarina’s Story – Chapter 85: “I think you’re drunk.”

Tuesday June 19, 2018 – Dublin, Ireland

The afternoon had been fun for the group, as there were more interesting aspects to the making of Irish Whiskey than they had realized, and even some of the history had been intriguing too. Oh yeah, and the consumption was obviously a highlight of the group,

“Chase, are you sure you can walk?” Erin asks with a laugh as they head towards the exit.

“I told you – I am fine,” Chase comments as Ryan just rolls his eyes.

“And here he was worried about you,” Ryan offers as Erin just smirks. It was actually kind of nice payback seeing him feeling more than she was.

“I don’t think we should do the other tour today as planned,” Erin comments as they had planned to do the Guinness Beer tour that same day as well. Obviously this declaration wouldn’t go over well with Ryan considering he had been looking forward to that since landing in Dublin.

“Oh come on, we will be fine,” Chase says as he wraps an arm around Erin’s shoulders.

“Are you sure about that buddy? Because if I am being honest, I think you’re drunk.” That just brought on a laughing response from Chase in return.

“Definitely drunk,” Ryan declares.

Knowing they had to keep him out of trouble and wanting to watch the effect of the alcohol begin to wear off slowly, Erin had decided to take the long walk back through town, followed by a light meal at one of her favorite spots.

Along the way, they passed by a children’s park – which immediately saw Chase stop with a smile.

“Erin, come play with me!” He lets out as he makes his way over. Erin looks over at Ryan concerned, who just shrugs his shoulders in response.

“Maybe another time,” Erin plays it off. “Come on Chase…”

“Just one ride, please?” She was almost ready to laugh at him begging, though then looked on surprised as he got on one of the round-abouts. She looked on even more shocked when Ryan took out his phone, sharing on Snapchat as Chase got himself going around fast, before it came to a slow stop.

“Are you alright?” Ryan asks, now laughing at Chase’s behavior.

“Yeah, I’m good,” Chase answers as he tries to remain steady on his feet. “Let’s go…”

“Oh boy….” Ryan just follows along behind as Erin could only wonder what as going to happen next. She hadn’t been used to seeing either of them drunk, so it was certainly a learning experience as she went along.

“Erin, you’re amazing….” Chase then stops, wrapping an arm around her shoulders as she just flashes a smile back in return.

“I think you’re pretty cool too,” she offers, easily accepting the gesture.

“I want to spend the rest of the week with you.” She now wondered how much was honesty and how much was drunkenness. Regardless, she wasn’t going to deny her dream coming true. It was okay to live out a fantasy once in awhile, right?

“I wouldn’t mind doing the same with you, too. But you do have to go to Sonoma this weekend….” That just brought out a long sigh from Chase as he wasn’t about to let Erin go,

“Ryan, do I have to go turn left and right?” Ryan simply nods his head as he didn’t know what to think of these events. “Damn…..”

“I think you’re going to do a great job this weekend, though. You won in Canada, remember?” Ryan smiles as he also knew the answer to that question for himself, too.

“But I like it here and its fun with you and you’re amazing, and I just like the time we’re spending together….” He then turns to face her, snagging a kiss, before skipping off ahead.

“Did that just happen?” Ryan could only stand there shocked as he watched Chase, before looking towards Erin.

“You know he didn’t mean that like it looked, right?” Ryan offers and Erin slowly nods her head. “I mean it, Erin! He loves Sarina and he can’t wait to marry her and be with her for the rest of his life. Do not dare think that meant anymore than it did. Do not dare think of doing anyth-”

“I get it, Ryan,” Erin cuts him off. “Remember when I said I understood where things were? That includes knowing that he’s drunk right now and things just happen during that time. At least he kissed me and not some stranger.”

Ryan knew that was a positive he could take away from the experience, but yet he just hoped that nothing more was said or come about as they didn’t need anymore drama. Besides, this trip was supposed to be an escape from all of that.

Wednesday June 20, 2018 – Dublin, Ireland

“Are you still watching that video?” Chase asks as he adjusts himself slightly in the seat, ready to fly home.

“I’m sorry but it’s worth every single laugh at your expense,” Ryan answers with a chuckle as Chase rolls his eyes.

“I can’t believe how drunk I got….” Ryan couldn’t help but agree with him. “How much whiskey did I end up sampling anyway?”

“I don’t even remember how many glasses or flavors. Do you have any memories?” Chase closes his eyes, as he nods his head.

“I remember the first half of the tour – all the history that they talked about. Then he got into how they developed different flavors, and started suggesting some flavors to try and previous ways they had gone about it. From there on, it begins to get blurry.” Ryan wasn’t surprised given how the rest of the day went. But he did wonder about the kiss, still.

“Do you remember anything after we left?” Chase shakes his head no. “Are you sure?”

“Is there something you’re not telling me?” Ryan knew he should’ve shut up immediately.

“Absolutely no-“

“That’s a lie. What are you hiding?” Ryan immediately swallowed the lump in his throat.

“Don’t tell Erin I told you because I told her I wasn’t going to tell you.” Chase rolls his eyes immediately. What was with all the secrets? “You kissed her.”

“I did what?” Ryan looks directly at Chase.

“You kissed her after we went to the park.” Chase’s jaw drops immediately.

“Please tell me that she knew I was drunk….”

“Oh, that was obvious.” Chase lets out a small sigh.

“She tells me about this crush and I say no big deal, and then I kiss her. How lovely is that?” Ryan nods his head.

“I was worried, too. But she talked me down immediately and assured that there was no problem. You don’t need to worry.” Chase wanted to let it go easily too, but that kiss combined with Alison didn’t feel good.

“I’ve been so loyal to Sarina and now thrown that away twice in a year. Who does that?”

“I know that but it doesn’t change what happened. I had a choice with Erin.”

“Least it was Erin and Sarina would understand.” Chase knew that more than likely but that didn’t cure his thoughts.

“You’re not going to tell, are you?” Ryan shakes his head no. “I know you’re righ-“

“But there’s enough going on. I get it, Chase. Let’s just enjoy these last moments of peace and tranquility.”

Wednesday June 20, 2018 – Charlotte, North Carolina

Heading inside the house, his mind had totally forgotten about what had happened as all he could think about was seeing his girl. While Ireland had been amazing, and the friendship with Erin was special, he couldn’t deny how much he had missed Sarina the entire time.

“I’m home!” He lets out as he sets his bags down, not caring about them right now. He knew he should unpack and wash everything, considering he’d be heading out to Sonoma tomorrow, but that wasn’t important.

“I’m upstairs,” he hears and smiles as he heads up the stairs. He figured that she’d be packing her stuff for Gateway as she liked to always be prepared for trips.

Though as he reaches the doorway of the bedsroom, he stops instantly, jaw dropping at the sight before him. Whether it was how the dress showed off the curves, or how toned her legs were from working out, or the thoughts running through his mind in seeing her lick the lollypop, he felt hard immediately.

“Is there a problem, Chase?” She asks as she slowly stands up and makes her way over, wrapping her arms around his neck. He just shakes his head no as her lips find his. “I missed you, and figured I’d give you a proper greeting back home.”

“I can’t deny how much I missed you, too….” he lets out as he picks her up, letting her legs wrap around his waist as he carries her over to the bed. “Did you at least have fun with Lindsay?”

“Yeah, I did – as well as Christopher.” Chase couldn’t but hesitate at hearing that, considering his own experience with Erin. “Did you have fun in Ireland?”

“It was exactly what I needed. There’s so many spots that I want to take you to show you.” Despite how things may have gone in parts and the tension that laid there now, he couldn’t deny the fun that was had along the way.

“Maybe in the off-season…” She then runs her hands up underneath her shirt. “Now, how about we make the most of the time we have together?”

“36 hours….” As she lays back on the bed and he lays over her, his lips find his way to hers once again, taking them in completely, with her slipping his t-shirt off over his head in between.

“Better make every single second of that worth it….” He had plans to do that as he reached around, slowly pulling down the zipper on the back of her dress.

“Then why are you still wearing this?” She then tugs on the waistline of his jeans, grabbing his manhood as she does.

“The same reason you’re damn well wearing this boy…” He then smirks at her.

“You better do something about that then.” She just smiles as she undoes the button, letting them slide down his legs.

Friday June 22, 2018 – Gateway Motorsports Park

With having just finished the debrief following the first practice session, Sarina sits back as she loads the Cup Series Sonoma practice results.

Things had been going well for her so far in Gateway, as she was second quickest in the first practice with her teammate Christian Eckes topping the charts. She also wasn’t too put off by Chase’s practice results, seeing that he was 13th and 15th in the pair of sessions at Sonoma. She then sends him a quick message, adding that she’ll make sure to Facetime later that night once the ARCA race was over.

“Texting the boyfriend again?” Todd Gilliland teases, which Sarina just flips him the bird in return. “Christopher was right – you guys are addicted to each other.”

“What’s wrong with madly being in love?” Sarina questions as Todd just shrugs his shoulders. “And Christopher can tease all he wants, but we know how much he loves Morgan.” She then places her hand on Todd’s leg. “You just need to find yourself a girl now.”

“Careful getting cuddly there, as some rumors may start flying,” Christian comments, earning a curious glance from both Sarina and Todd.

“Everybody knows how much Chase and I love each other. Can’t you tell by the engagement, or the time we spend together?” Christian puts his hands up in defense immediately.

“I’m not saying it’s not true, Sarina. Even though I’m not around here, I get the relationship and I’m not judging. I’m just saying the outside perspective.” Sarina crosses her arms, still not liking the direction of his comments. “We all know you guys are doing whatever you can to keep the Alison trial under wraps so there’s not much discussion. However, there’s the rumors about the fact that she’s pregnant with Chase’s chil-”

“Full of shit just trying to screw with us!” Todd looks over surprised by the instant outburst.

“But what if it’s true? Everybody wonders the dynamics and whether you can both survive a rocky ship if she is pregnant, considering that’s something that you can’t do while driv-”

“How about you just mind your own fucking business?!?” Todd’s jaw drops even further as he glances between the pair. “Am I hearing this right, Gilliland?”

“Christian isn’t lying as there’s been some musings around the garage with that coming to light,” Todd starts carefully as he could see that Sarina was on edge. “Everybody knows that there’s been rough times, and it begs the question for some – hence the generalization that Christian made. It’s better to be aware of the situation, anyway.” Todd then looks over at Christian. “That said, you crossed the line in your comment about her ability to have a baby. How do you know that? She could easily take some time off, or have a baby once she’s done racing….” Todd then looks back over at Sarina, seeing the change in her demeanor. “Or maybe there’s something else in the cards that’s affecting things. You just shouldn’t accuse like you did.”

“I’m sorry Sarina,” Christian immediately apologizes as Sarina keeps her eyes locked on the pavement below.

“I know you didn’t mean anything wrong by your question as I understand your curiosity,” she starts quietly. With Todd’s explanation, she knew that she couldn’t let him have the harshest end of the stick as her teammate was right – despite her own personal feelings. “I get everybody’s thoughts and curiousity. You’re right there’s a chance that Chase could be the father, but he says he isn’t so I’m sticking with that. Beyond that, I have nothing to say on the topic.”

“That’s fine. Let’s talk about our plan for next practice….” Sarina takes a deep breath as she glances back at the truck, trying to get her head back into the game.

She completed the whole discussion with her teammates, before heading over to the truck, reaching in for her helmet and gloves.

“Are you okay?” Rudy asks as he places a hand on her shoulder, and she simply nods her head in return. “I overheard the discussion with Todd and Christian. Christian had no right to bring that up-”

“He doesn’t know what’s going on, so how was he supposed to know how it’d bother me?” She questions back in return as she cleans the visor. “That’s the hardest part, Rudy. Nobody knows what’s going on, with the miscarriage and infertility, so baby discussions just happen out of nowhere. They don’t realize that it’s killing me inside because I keep hearing the words over and over in my head that I can’t do that myself. I don’t want to be that person that lets it bother them, but damn sometimes I can’t help it.”

“That’s understandable. But Sarina, I can tell you that you’re one of the strongest people that I know and if anybody can fight through whatever this storm brings, it’s you and Chase together. You’ll figure it out. It may take some time, but you’ll do what you need to do.” She nods her head, accepting.

“I think the hardest part is waiting for that second appointment that seems to be taking forever. I get that this specialist is super great at what she does and super busy and booked, but the wait is killing me. I know the chances of a change in her answer are slim, but that chance doesn’t let me close the bo-”

“Chapter, because remember there’s options…” She lets out a sigh, remembering the discussion about that. “Never close the book because you can always continue the story by taking a different path.”

“Can I just say how amazing you are?” Rudy smiles as he wraps an arm around her shoulders, pulling her into a hug.

“You’re equally as amazing, and we’re going to win some more races before this season is over. Now let’s put all of this behind us with some great lap times, okay?” She nods her head, accepting, before climbing in the truck.

The speed chart certainly didn’t show this session well by the end, as she was only 10th quickest. However, that didn’t bother her and Rudy, knowing they were working on long-run stuff and the handling of the truck. In that regard, she felt confident based on how it felt, and the fact that she was second quickest on the 10-lap average chart.

The Tale of Love & Racing: Sarina’s Story – Chapter 56: “Someone doesn’t look happy.”

Friday March 23, 2018 – Martinsville Speedway

Lindsay walks up the small hill up onto the track, stopping, and glancing around.

“It’s even smaller in person it seems,” she comments, causing a chuckle from Sarina, before they head down into the infield. “How do they fit everything in here?”

“They don’t,” Sarina answers, causing a puzzled look from Lindsay. “The truck haulers don’t stay down here all race weekend. They’re here today for the truck practice, and they will be in the morning when they unload tomorrow for tech – but then they go back outside before letting the Cup guys unload and take up space.” Lindsay glances at her, shaking her head in surprise.

“I don’t want to be in charge of coordinating that mess.” Sarina just chuckles once again. “By the way, how’s Chase?” Sarina bites her lip as she would’ve preferred to not talk about Alison. “You don’t have to say anyth-”

“Given the situation, it’s as best as it can be. You can’t deny being a little worried because of Alison’s history, but time to calm down and his focus is looking forward.” Lindsay nods her head sympathically. “By the way, I’m sorry I didn’t say anythin-”

“Are you seriously apologizing for comforting your fiancé? I mean, given any news of magnitude, it’d welcome the response that you had. I have no hard feelings – same way you had none when I interrupted you guys.” Sarina rolls her eyes, before leading her to where the team was hanging out before the practice, introducing her to the different crew members who hadn’t gotten a chance to meet her yet.

“It’s almost like a family rather than a team….” Sarina nods her head as she glances back from the hauler door.

“Do you see what I mean now? These guys, Kyle, Sam, Ricky, and obviously Chas-”

“You don’t need to explain. I get it, and I’m happy for you. You have your racing family, and I have my dancing family; it’s our escape from reality, right?” Sarina nods her head once again.

“Give me 10 minutes – or less for that matter. I just need to get changed…” Sarina heads inside, hearing her phone buzz. She pulls it out, reading the text from Chase as she lets out a long sigh. “Of course…” She quickly texts him back with the best message that she can muster, before continuing up to the lounge.

Chase reads the response, smiling a little as much as he could given the situation, before placing his phone back in his pocket. Taking a deep breath, he knew procrastination would get them nowhere as he takes the quiet walk up to the doors.

“Thank you,” Chase says as he glances over at Josh and Alan.

“Sarina was busy, and you shouldn’t have to do this alon-” Alan offers.

“I have my parents.” It was no secret that Cindy and Bill had shown up for their own curiosity, too.

“I know, but having your friends also is helpful. Besides, you’re forgetting that you weren’t the only target of Chris’ attacks.” Chase sighs, not needing a reminder of a court room doors.

“It also gave me something to do today,” Josh adds, earning a light chuckle from both Chase and Alan.

“If you’re desperate for work during your suspension, I can gladly help you there,” Alan adds and Josh shakes his head no.

The group quietly takes their seats together, as Chase takes a deep breath. They were only there to hear a couple words from a judge, but it felt like the whole world rested on what he had to say.

He stands up as the judge enters, focusing his eyes forward, not allowing himself to begin to even wander towards the left. He didn’t want to see Chris, or really Shelley for that matter either. If it was up to him, he would leave all of this – and Alison – behind as quickly as possible.

Taking his seat, he feels a hand on his shoulder, glancing behind with a small smile towards his parents, before focusing his eyes the same direction as before.

“As requested by Shelley Dryer, the entire case pertaining to Chris Dryer was reviewed – with a focus on whether a psychological evaluation is valid and the surrounding steps,” the judge states as he focuses his eyes forward. “The purpose of this was review was to determine whether the sentencing regulations were fairly according to the charges and happenings of events.

“It is no secret that the amount of documents to review was lengthy, from Mr. Dryer’s own testimony, to victim testimony, victim impact statements, hospital and medical records, along with previous psychological evaluations. I thank all parties involved for your patience over the past couple of weeks.

“After reviewing everything extensively, I have reached my reasoning and it is final as of today in this court room. All parties are expected to accept the reasoning within reason, and not act out or against it.

“Following a review of Mr. Dryer’s court documents, I will allow him to be submitted for psychological evaluation by a psychiatrist of this court’s choosing. That psychiatrist works for the legal system here in California, and is an independent from all parties involved in this matter.”

Chase immediately saw the red flags with this situation. There was only a 5% chance of this door opening per the lawyer, but yet this judge was going to do that anyway. If it was opened this far to even allow for an evaluation – that could mean being forced further and a possible release. Alison was enough to deal with, but both her and Chris? That’d be mission impossible.

Furthermore, he wasn’t about to have confidence in the court’s mental institution policy given Alison’s escape, either. Who was to say that Chris wouldn’t follow her route?

“Following Mr. Dryer’s session, I will consult with the psychiatrist about his findings,” the judge continues. “If Mr. Dryer is found mentally unstable, he will be submitted  to the mental institution for rehab. At the completion of the rehab, a trial will be held to determine whether his sentence is reduced. If he is found stable, then there will be no change in the given amount of events.” The judge closes the file as he looks towards Chris. “Do you understand the findings today?”

“Yes sir,” Chris states as a small smile forms on his face.

“Does the defense have any requests or questions?” The lawyer shakes her head no. “Does the prosecution have any requests or questions?”

“Recently, Ms. Alison Reynolds escaped your mental institution after being found mentally unstable in relation to her charges connected to Mr. Elliott and others,” the lawyer begins, causing Chase to smile. He was glad he wasn’t the only one feeling the pressure there. “Can we make sure that this time the court system actually upholds their end of the bargain and watches Mr. Dryer to make sure he doesn’t escape like Ms. Reynolds?”

“I will make sure extra security is in place for that matter,” the judge answers, which earned a simple nod from Chase. As long as they were aware and did something about it so nothing happened, he could sleep at night. Now he just hoped that the psychiatrist saw what they saw before. “Is there any other requests? If not, court is adjourned for today.”

Chase slowly gets up, ignoring the glance his way from Shelley, as he heads out through the door.

“Chase….” Alan says as he follows him, earning a glance back. “Are you okay?” Chase nods his head.

“At least they’re using security better this time, right?” He questions as he lets out a sigh. “I can’t believe that for a third time, Chris may just find his way out of jail on a psychological loophole. I mean, sure, he’s probably a little crazy, but you can’t tell me that’s the sole reason for what he did. He even uttered the words of revenge against Sarina, Alan.”

“I know, I was there….” Chase lets out a sigh as he leans back against the wall, taking a deep breath.

“I told Sarina and I’ve told you that I’m not going to let Alison run my life, but here I am….” Alan places a hand on his shoulder.

“Anybody in your shoes would have the same reaction. If the shoe was on my foot, hell, I’d be freaking out right now. Give yourself some credit as you’re doing a good job, but also recognize that it’s not going to be all peaches and talk if you need to.” Chase nods his head as he glances over at Alan.

“I just can’t get the words of revenge out of my head, Alan. He said that he would do whatever it took to make sure Sarina understood that he wasn’t happy for what happened then. He was set on tearing her life apart, piece by piece, not caring who was in the way. How can someone who says that be allowed a third chance? How can someone who knows how to sneak around the system – and told me damn well so – be allowed a chance to do so?” Alan nods his head, sympathizing with his driver.

“I don’t know bud. All I can tell you is they will figure it out before he has a chance to get to you guys, and Alison is going to be found as soon as possible. The whole country is looking for her so she can’t hid-”

“She hid in plain sight for three mon-”

“Trust me, Chase – they will find her. Have I ever let you down before?” Chase raises his eyebrows.

“There was that one time when you promised me that perfect adjustment and it flipped the car’s handling right the wron-”

“I’m serious, Elliott!” Chase chuckles and shakes his head no.

“I believe you, okay. We’re going to be okay…..”

With having finished the second session of the day, Sarina was relaxing up in the lounge, discussing the approach for the final practice to come. She had kept her phone close, knowing that there was an update coming.

After pretty much finalizing everything, she reaches over, and unlocks the phone, noticing a new text message. Slightly caught off-guard that it had come from Josh – Chase was supposed to send the update, she opens it. It was long and lengthy, but certainly detailed as he hadn’t left out a single detail for her about what the judge had to say.

“Someone doesn’t look happy,” Todd offers as Sarina glances up from her phone. “What did Chase do now?”

“Please tell me that he wasn’t too mad after the snake pran-” Harrison goes to add, noticing the change in her demeanor.

“That doesn’t even freaking matter right now!” She lets out, causing everybody’s jaw to drop. She then takes a calming deep breath as she closes her eyes for a second, before glancing around. “Sorry….”

“Seriously, what did Chase do now?” Todd questions once again as he knew there were few things that made Sarina having an outburst – especially after starting anger management classes.

“Chase didn’t do anything.” That caused the teammates’ jaws to drop once again.

“Chris?” Lindsay wonders and Sarina nods her head. “You got to be kidding me…..”

“They have allowed him to have another evaluation,” Sarina informs her. “Then from there, if he is found mentally unstable, he will be submitted  to the mental institution for rehab. At the completion of the rehab, a trial will be held to determine whether his sentence is reduced. If he is found stable, then there will be no change.”

“They aren’t going to find anythi-” Harrison starts.

“You can’t be so sure of that, Harrison. He’s tricked them before – twice. What’s stopping him from doing that again? Furthermore, Alison was able to escape so how comforting is to know that he will be there even with extra security? Sometimes I wish I grew up in a different family!!” She then glances over at Lindsay. “Sorr-”

“Oh hell no, don’t apologize,” Lindsay tells her. “I wish we could knock out half of the family at times, too. Shelley was normally the smart one. How is it that she can’t get our reasoning for this and brings on this situation?” Sarina shakes her head in disgust.

“I don’t know….” Sarina comments with a sigh. Rudy quietly motions for the teammates to follow him, leading them out of the lounge, before closing the door shut. “My brother is such a mixed bag of feelings. I am able to put anything and everything in the past and focus forward – except for him. That is one thing that I keep toying with back and forth. As angry as I am for what he did and as much as I just want to forget, I can’t.”

“That’s human, though.” Lindsay scoots closer, placing a hand on her leg. “That’s a human reaction, Sarina. Sure, you have all of these negative thoughts with your brother – but we also have all these positive perspectives. I mean, how many good memories do we have from when we are kids? That’s why at times, it can be hard to understand what went wrong and how this happened – and bring that mixture you’re thinking about…” Sarina glances over at Lindsay.

“With that said, do you think what he did is because of being a little crazy?” Lindsay shrugs her shoulders.

“Drugs can have quite the effect on a person, right? But at the same time, certain things that he said and did don’t fit the case. So I think maybe there’s a bit – but he can’t sit here and blame it all on being crazy.” Sarina nods her head, accepting.

“Thank you….” Lindsay smiles a little as she looks at her.

“It’s going to be okay, regardless. You have the right foundation around you, and justice always wins out in the end.”  Sarina nods her head once again.

“I keep trying to believe that, even though this keeps going to shit….”

“If there was a night that we needed a good time and a distraction….” Sarina starts as Chase wraps an arm around her.

“That’s if I can keep my eyes off of you long enough,” he comments, kissing her lips.

“Will you two just get a room?” Ryan questions as he looks over at them over Lindsay’s shoulder. “Wait – that feels odd with me saying that to you instead…” Chase chuckles back in response. “But seriously!”

“Just wait, we’ll be saying the same for you two soon.” He then gives Sarina a wink as she lets out a tiny chuckle.

They head inside the concert venue after showing their passes, heading straight to the VIP section.

“Thank you for doing this!” Sarina lets out, before squealing a little as the boys just laugh.

“Careful, you may lose your girl to him tonight,” Ryan teases as Chase just rolls his eyes.

“If I knew it made her this happy, I would’ve done it sooner,” Chase offers as Ryan just shakes his head.

“Okay Romeo….”

Everybody was all set to enjoy the show together, when Cole Swindell called the boys up to the stage.

“Did you know about this?” Lindsay wonders and Sarina shakes her head no. “Can Chase even sing?”

“Oh he can sing when he wants….” Sarina answers, still remembering the phone message she saved that he left her. Thinking back to their trip to Amsterdam, she couldn’t help but smile at the upcoming off-weekend and the plans they were making. The girls watched on Cole did a shout-out with the boys, including a selfie of them together. “Can’t believe he’d do that without me…”

“So is he cut off tonight?” Sarina smacks her back in response as Lindsay bursts out laughing.

“Say, is Sarina Ott in the house?” They hear Cole say, causing a surprised glance on both girls’ faces. “Actually, let’s bring both of you girls down here.” The girls look at each other, squealing, before quickly making their way to the stage steps. Glancing at each other once again, trying to compose themselves, they walk up on to the stage. “So the boys tell me that you’re a fan….”

“Hell yeah!” Sarina immediately lets out.

“Well, someone asked me if I’d sing a special song for you. He said that you may know it…” She glances back at Chase, who just gives her a wink back in return.

Baby, it just took one look at you
For me to change my one drink order to two
Like we already knew each other
Like we been talking all night
About a minute into our first dance
We got blindsided by your friends
All in a hurry like you had to go
Didn’t they know you can’t leave someone
Girl, you can’t leave someone

In the middle of a dance floor all alone
In the middle of an old school country song
Right when I was just about to lean on in
Why’d you have to go then?
Baby, in the middle of the glow of the neon light
It shoulda, coulda, woulda been the night of our lives
Girl, it ain’t right, no
How you gonna leave me right in the middle of a memory?

We were gonna dance till they shut it down
People’d be staring while I spin you ’round
Thinking we were so in love, yeah
They wouldn’t know we hadn’t even hooked up
I’d get your number and I’d give you mine
And we’d be hanging out tomorrow night
But now I don’t know where you are
I’m under these lights right here in the dark

In the middle of a dance floor all alone
In the middle of an old school country song
Right when I was just about to lean on in
Why’d you have to go then?
Baby, in the middle of the glow of the neon light
It shoulda, coulda, woulda been the night of our lives
Girl, it ain’t right, no
How you gonna leave me right in the middle of a memory?

Yeah, it’s like you walked right out in the middle of a movie
Tore the back half out of a book
And no, you’ll never know, girl, what you did to me
It ain’t right saying goodbye

In the middle of a dance floor all alone
In the middle of what could’ve been our song
Right when I was just about to lean on in
Why’d you have to go then?
Baby, in the middle of the glow of the neon light
It shoulda, coulda, woulda been the night of our lives
But, girl, it ain’t right, no
How you gonna leave me right in the middle of a memory?
In the middle of a memory
In the middle of a memory

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.”