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Route 62, Ch. 27 by Nevuela Route 62, Ch. 27 by Nevuela
I’ll Meet You On Route 62
(A Disney/Pixar Cars fanfic)

Chapter Twenty-Seven:
More Than the Moon

The truck stop was far behind them now. An unpleasant memory that time and space continued to push away. Despite the warnings he’d received over his CB, Mack drove at a breakneck speed until the truck stop had completely vanished from sight in his mirrors. The silence between himself and Vee seemed to stretch on like the road before them. There was so much he wanted to say, so much he felt he owed her now. It took several minutes for him to gather his thoughts enough to attempt to speak.

"Uh, Vee..." he began quietly. "What I said about you back there... you know I didn’t mean..." he trailed off, feeling his hood heat despite the chilly wind that gusted in his face. Inside the trailer, Vee listened intently, waiting for him to continue. Mack cleared his throat, a little too loudly, and tried again. “It’s just that - I dunno - I had to say something, and, well…”

“It’s all right, Mack,” she replied.

“No, it isn’t,” Mack argued. “I should have known better than to bring you to a place like that. Most truckers see a pretty car at a truck stop and they just assume that - well, you know.”

“Hey, no biggie. It’s nothing I’m not used to.”

Mack’s tanks churned at the implication of her words. “You shouldn’t -” he began, but had no idea how to finish his sentence.

“Don’t worry, Mack,” Vee assured him. “It’s behind us now. Just keep going and never look back, okay?”

“Yeah, but -”

“No buts. What’s done is done. And if you don’t forget about it right now then I’m gonna break both your mirrors off so you can’t look back anymore. Got it?”

Despite his worries, Mack couldn’t help but chuckle. “All right, all right. Forgetting!”

The next few minutes were spent in silence as Mack scanned the dark horizon for a suitable campsite. Flat, empty desert rolled by on both sides without so much as a sagebrush for camouflage. Traffic was thin, with only an occasional set of head or taillights appearing on the narrow two-lane road. Mack flicked his high beams on. The full moon was low in the sky, though it still helped to illuminate the dark landscape.

Inside the trailer, Vee quickly grew bored with the silence. She turned her radio on and scanned it for a static-free station until one song in particular came in loud and clear:

Well if you ever plan to motor west
Jack take my way, it’s the highway, that's the best
Get your kicks on Route 66...

“Ooh, turn it up!” said Mack. Vee complied.

Well it winds from Chicago to L.A.
More than two thousand miles all the way
Get your kicks on Route 66...

“All right! Perfect song, huh?”

“I’ll say! Just do me a favor and try not to sing along with it, okay?” Vee teased.

Mack laughed out loud. “I’ll try not to, but I ain’t making any promises!” The upbeat classic song quickly made them forget about their troubles.

Well it goes through Saint Louis
Joplin, Missouri
Oklahoma City looks oh so pretty
You'll see Amarillo
Gallup, New Mexico
Flagstaff, Arizona
Don't forget Winona
Kingman, Barstow, San Bernardino
Won't you get hip to this kindly tip
And take that California trip
Get your kicks on Route 66...

“Who’s singing this?” Vee asked Mack during the break of the song.

“Uh, Chuck Berry, I think,” Mack replied. “Yeah. I’m pretty sure that’s him.”

It goes through Saint Louis
Joplin, Missouri
Oklahoma City looks oh so pretty
You'll see Amarillo
Gallup, New Mexico
Flagstaff, Arizona
Don't forget Winona
Kingman, Barstow, San Bernardino
Won't you get hip to this kindly tip
Take that California trip
Get your kicks on Route 66
Get your kicks on Route 66
And I’ll meet you on Route 62...

As the song came to an end, Vee turned the volume down and gazed out the window at the rising moon. “I wonder why he added that part,” she mused.

“What part?” Mack asked her.

“That last line. The one about Route 62. Didn’t you hear it?”

“I heard ‘get your kicks on Route 66’. Repeatedly.”

“No no no, not that. If you were listening, he added ‘I’ll meet you on Route 62.’ Right there at the end.”

Mack thought about it for a moment. “Oh yeah! Yeah, I heard it. That is kinda weird, huh?”

“Mm-hm. Why do you suppose he added that?”

“I dunno. Maybe he had a hot date waiting there for him.”

Vee chuckled. “She must really be something if he traveled two thousand miles just to go out with her.”

“Either that or he’s very, very desperate.”

“He must be a trucker, then!” Vee teased and Mack laughed.

“I wouldn’t doubt it!” he replied. “A guy gets pretty lonely on the road.”

“Oh? Even you, Mister Mack Daddy?”

Mack was grateful that she couldn’t see him blushing. “Well, of course! I’m made of metal, not stone.”

“Well, what about all the truck stops you’ve been to? From what I’ve heard, those places are usually crawling with lot lizards. I assume they manage to keep you company at a fair price.”

Mack blushed even redder. It took several seconds for him to answer without stammering. “Actually… no. I’ve, um, I’ve never actually been with a lot lizard.”

“Seriously?”

“Seriously. I was just never comfortable with the idea of hiring a total stranger to - well, you know…” Mack blushed so hotly now that he felt as though he were going to overheat.

Vee was surprised by his answer. Though she hadn’t given it much thought before, she’d just presumed that Mack had patronized a hooker or two during his travels. Even though she’d always thought of him as a gentleman, she certainly wouldn’t have blamed him for wanting to ease his loneliness on the road now and then. Heck, she would have gone the same route herself if by doing so she could ease her own loneliness. Countless trysts with shady clients had only served to intensify the forlorn feelings she kept hidden from everyone, including her best friend.

Out of the blue a grove of trees appeared in the distance. Perfect! Mack thought with a smile and accelerated. Minutes later he pulled off the road and drove gingerly over uneven dirt toward the grove, the foliage growing thicker and taller the further he went. The weathered path was narrow and weed-ridden. It looked as though no vehicle larger than a van had ever driven through there. Not to be discouraged, Mack pressed on, tearing his way through shrubs and felling saplings as he followed the narrow path deeper into the grove.

Leaves and branches scraped against his sides as the vegetation became even denser. He was starting to worry that there would be no end to this jungle when all of a sudden he found himself in a large clearing. He stopped and looked around. Trees, bushes and undergrowth surrounded the clearing, which was peppered with sparse dry grass, rocks, and here and there a crushed beer can. Near the center were several more rocks forming a circle around what was obviously a campfire pit. Something very black, shapeless and completely unrecognizable lay in the middle, surrounded by ashes. An old tire lay against one of the rocks. Weeds poked their way out of the ashes in the pit. From the look of things, it had been a long time since anyone had camped here.

Mack drove across the clearing and backed the trailer under some trees. With a sigh of relief, he unhitched himself. Hearing the ramp descend, he drove around to the back of the trailer. From there he noticed the entrance to the clearing. Through it he could just make out tiny red and white lights crawling back and forth on the distant highway. Vee drove down the ramp and looked around. Mack said nothing as he waited for her approval.

“Well,” she said as she turned to face him. “I’ve been in back alleys in L.A. that were better than that truck stop, but this…” she looked around again, “this is perfect.” Mack smiled widely. Vee turned away and drove slowly around the clearing, inspecting their campsite. After a minute she stopped in front of Mack again and gazed up at the sky. “And to think we would never have been able to see all those stars back there.”

Mack looked up too. The night sky was brilliant with moon and stars combined, making the world around them glow with a silvery blue light. Vee dropped her gaze to Mack’s grille and gasped. Gleaming in the moonlight, the formerly flawless chrome now had a large, dark dent in it.

“Oh Mack, you’re hurt!” she exclaimed, moving closer to examine him.

Mack looked cross-eyed down his hood. “I am?”

“Yes, you are!” Vee lifted a tire to the dent and touched it. “Right here. Doesn’t that hurt?”

“Nn-OUCH!” he yelped, backing away. “Yeah, it does kinda, now that you mention it.” He gave her a slight smirk and she chuckled.

“Sorry.”

“Eh, it’s okay. Nothing a little time won’t be able to heal. And if that doesn’t do it, I’m sure Doc will be able to…” he trailed off, suddenly feeling a pang of guilt. After the appalling state in which they had left Radiator Springs, Mack doubted that neither he nor Vee would be welcome back there anytime soon.

At the mentioning of Doc, Vee automatically began to think the same thing. “Like you said, I’m sure it’ll be fine,” she said quickly, wishing to change the subject. She looked him over again. “I’m really sorry about what happened back there. Are you sure you’re all right?”

Mack shook his hood. “Forget about it. I was the one who got us into that mess, not you. I don't know what gave me the bright idea of bringing a lovely woman into a truck stop full of perverts who don't know the meaning of the word 'no.' And I'm fine. Really. I'm just grateful that you made it out okay, and that you're not furious with me like you should be."

“Now why would I be furious about something like that?” Vee asked. “We all make mistakes, Mack.” Her lips curved in an impish smile. “The only thing I’m upset about is this ‘lovely woman’ you mentioned. Now who is she and why was I not informed about her?”

Mack blushed and rolled back slightly, staring down at Vee in surprise. “Er, that’s not - I mean - what I meant was - um…” he stammered. “It’s not that I don’t think you’re pretty or anything, because I do! I mean, I DO think you’re pretty. Very pretty! I -I just didn’t mean for it to sound so… so…” he trailed off, his hood burning hotter than ever as he backed away even more.

Vee laughed. “Mack, do me a favor and shut up before you embarrass us both.”

Mack managed a small laugh in return and nodded. “Will do!”

Vee drove over to the campfire pit and poked at the shapeless black mass in the middle of the ashes. “Looks like someone tried to burn their tires,” she murmured, noticing the other tire lying next to the pit. “Hmm. Think we should get a fire going? It’s a bit nippy out.”

Mack pulled up beside her and looked down at the charred remains of the old tire. “I suppose we could do that, only…”

“Only what?”

“Only I’m not sure how we’re going to accomplish it without any matches.”

“Oh.”

Mack looked guiltily down at her. “You know, you could just spend the night in the trailer,” he said. “I’m sure it’d be a lot warmer in there.”

Vee glanced up at him. “But what about you?” she asked worriedly. “Won’t you be cold?”

“Who, me?” Mack forced a chuckle for her sake. “Nah. I’m used to much worse. Haven’t slept indoors since I moved out of my parents’ house back in ‘94.”

Vee didn’t look very convinced. “If you’re sleeping outside, then so am I,” she said firmly.

“You don’t have to do that,” Mack argued.

“I know, but I want to anyway. Someone’s gotta keep an eye on you!” she teased, giving him a playful shove, then gazed up at the sky. “Besides, it’s a nice night for stargazing.”

Mack looked up too. “Yeah. It’d be even nicer if that dang moon wasn’t in the way,” he murmured, squinting at it as though it were the sun.

“I like the moon,” Vee said. “Sure, it dulls the stars, but I think it’s way prettier than all of them put together.”

“Yeah. Me too.”

Vee chuckled. “Do you have to agree with everything I say?”

“Uhhh, yeah, as a matter of fact.” Mack chuckled too. “And not just ‘cuz you’ll beat me up if I don’t agree! I just happen to think you’re right about the moon.” He looked up at it again and smiled. “You ought to see it over on the east coast. Rising up over the ocean on a crystal clear night…” he sighed. “I don’t think there’s a sight on earth more inspiring than that.”

“I can only imagine,” Vee murmured. She continued to gaze up at the sky. “I’ve been working in the city for so long, I just completely forgot what life was like away from the fast lane. Everyone always in a hurry to get nowhere, always stressed out over something stupid.” She sighed heavily and dropped her eyes to her hood. “I just can’t believe how easy it is to forget what’s really important in life: good health, family… friends.”

She looked up at Mack with a fond smile. “You have no idea how much your friendship means to me, Mack. No one’s ever stood by me like you have.” She rolled closer and touched one of his massive tires with her own much smaller tire. “I can’t even begin to thank you for all you’ve done, or to pay you back for all the trouble I’ve caused.”

It took a huge amount of effort for Mack to stave off the blush that her words aroused. “Well, heh, what’re friends for?” he mumbled, returning her smile.

Vee opened her mouth to give him a witty answer, but stopped herself. Teasing and joking had always been a sort of safeguard for her. Whatever anyone might say to her, be it an insult or a compliment, she was always ready with a stinging comeback. It was just her way of dealing with things. But why she had more difficulty reacting to kindness than cruelty was a mystery even to her.

Jerks like those back at the truck stop she could usually handle by herself. She was used to dealing with that sort. It was vehicles like Mack, kind and caring vehicles, that she had a harder time dealing with. For years Vee had refused to let anyone get close to her. Her former line of work had shown her enough about men to make her believe that any attempt at niceness was merely a means to get what they wanted out of her. And for the most part it was true.

But she had to wonder: what did Mack get out of all this? In the short time they’d been reunited, she had caused him nothing but trouble. Yet there he was, right beside her all the way. Could it really be that her mere friendship was all he wanted from her? Or was there… something more…. something they both yearned for, heart and soul, but feared they could never have? Vee dropped her gaze to her hood, unable to look Mack in the eyes any longer. There were just some things the darkness couldn’t hide.

She closed her eyes and sighed. The silence was broken only by a small sobbing sound, and Vee was startled to realize that it had come from her. She couldn’t even remember the last time she’d cried, but she wasn’t about to start up again now. She blinked back the hot sting of a tear and gulped her sobs down, praying that Mack hadn’t noticed. Unfortunately, he had.

The sound of her sobs caused his tanks to churn. He moved toward her and touched her tire gently. “Vee? Are you okay?”

Vee closed her eyes and shook her hood. She took a deep calming breath and opened them again. “Yeah. I’m fine,” she said, though her tone was less than reassuring. “It’s just - everything’s just been so crazy these past few weeks, and I guess it finally caught up with me.” She forced herself to meet his gaze. “To tell you the truth, Mack, I’m… well, I’m scared.” It was one of the hardest things she had ever had to admit, even to herself. Veronica Vroom did not scare easily. And she certainly did not go around confessing said fears to just anyone, even if that person happened to be her closest friend.

She had always felt that fear was a sign of weakness, particularly in herself. She thought she could only trust herself with her fears, but somehow putting her trust in Mack felt enormously good. She felt safe with him, but that didn’t stop her from still being afraid of whatever lay ahead. As long as she didn’t have to go it alone, maybe things wouldn’t be so bad.

In the silence following her confession, Vee was unaware that she had moved closer to Mack. Their tires were only an inch or two from touching. She had only to reach out just the tiniest bit to take comfort in his touch, but something held her back. Something always did.

Being close to anyone was too foreign a concept for her to welcome without hesitation, but when it came to Mack… it was as though something else entirely was responsible for the invisible barrier between them, and that barrier was so weak it would only take the smallest action to break it… if only she could steel herself to do so.

Out of all the things Vee could have said, her confession of fear was one of the last things Mack had expected. He smiled, however. Not because he was happy she was scared, but rather, happy that she could admit it. He rolled closer, breaking the barrier for her and letting his tire rest gently against hers. His movements, as always, were slow, careful, and gentle. He was painfully aware of how much bigger he was than her, and he would never forgive himself if he put so much as a dent or a scratch on her.

“It’s okay, Vee,” he whispered. “No matter what happens, I’m here for you, always. Remember that.”

Mack’s words of assurance did just that and more… they assured and encouraged and strengthened Vee. It wouldn’t have been a surprise to hear him tease her about being scared. In fact, she’d been expecting it. Mack showed his own worries and concerns far more often than Vee ever dared to show hers.

Still, when she heard his pledge to stay by her side, she felt the tears threaten to escape her again. But this time, she managed to hold them back. Even though they would have been tears of relief and joy, she figured Mack didn’t need to see another sappy emotional display from his normally hard-boiled friend. He had enough to deal with just hauling her around.

She looked up at him. His eyes were half-shadowed by the bill of his cap, but in them she could see clearly his concern for her. She smiled slightly, thinking about how nice that cap looked on him, despite the tacky Rusteze Bumper Ointment logo stamped across the front of it. He was rather cute sometimes, especially when he worried about something trivial. Which seemed to be nearly everything lately.

Vee sighed sadly. Poor Mack worked too hard for what little he seemed to get, and now that they were on the lam, he was practically killing himself just for her. Big rigs like him may have been built for hard labor, but that didn’t make it right to run him ragged like this.

“Mack,” she whispered. There was so much she wanted to say to him. A thousand hollow phrases came together in a deafening roar in her mind and drowned each other out until all that remained was the awkward silence of the night. She opened her mouth to speak, waiting for the right words to come. But instead of trying to form words, her lips soon found themselves drawn to his in a tender kiss.

Nothing, absolutely nothing could have prepared Mack for the sudden sensation of Vee’s soft, warm lips pressed against his own. For a moment, he stared down at her in shock, then his eyes fell shut as he returned the kiss, engine purring. If there was a more perfect moment in time, it had yet to transpire. And if a kiss could last forever, it still wouldn’t be enough for the two of them to communicate all that they felt for each other at that very moment.

When at last they broke apart, Mack was blushing redder than ever. But for once, he couldn’t have cared less. He smiled down at Vee, his best friend and his soul mate. How she glowed in the moonlight… so breathtaking, so beautiful… it was almost too much for him to bear. She was everything to him, and more. She was his inspiration. Looking back now, neither Mack nor Vee had any idea how they could have come this far without each other. What they had in one another now was more than they could ever have hoped for: love. Pure and simple. They gazed into each other’s eyes, each basking in a light that illumined more than all the stars in the sky… more than the sun… more than the moon.



Chapter Twenty-Eight: [link]
Add a Comment:
 
:iconelchupacabra51:
Elchupacabra51 Featured By Owner May 1, 2014
Finely. True Loves Kiss. Who doesn't love that?:loves: V2 
Reply
:iconlucano94:
LucaNo94 Featured By Owner Nov 24, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Oh great, I'm missing this story. Let's start at Chapter 1 and see the wonderfull things here :D
Reply
:iconnevuela:
Nevuela Featured By Owner Nov 25, 2012
Have you read it before or is this your first time?
Reply
:iconlucano94:
LucaNo94 Featured By Owner Nov 25, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
This is my first time, I found your story at Cars Group on DA. :)

How many chapter this story got?
Reply
:iconnevuela:
Nevuela Featured By Owner Nov 25, 2012
35. It's purdy long. :D
Reply
:iconlucano94:
LucaNo94 Featured By Owner Nov 25, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
35 :D
Is that the final chapter? :)
Reply
:iconnevuela:
Nevuela Featured By Owner Nov 25, 2012
Yep
Reply
:iconlucano94:
LucaNo94 Featured By Owner Nov 26, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Great! Now I'm in Chapter 3 :)
Reply
:iconnevuela:
Nevuela Featured By Owner Nov 26, 2012
:iconburnsexcellentplz: Excellent!
Reply
:iconhotncold8906:
HotnCold8906 Featured By Owner Apr 9, 2012
In the words of Kaltag and Star from Balto:
"This is the most heartwarming, the most sweetest, the most amazing,..."
"This is so beautiful!" (gets bonked on the head)
Reply
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