Ill Meet You On Route 62
(A Disney/Pixar Cars fanfic)
Mack stared at the letter for what seemed like an eternity. He stared with eyes unfocused, eyes that no longer saw the wrinkled paper before him nor the smudged tread marks on it, not even the words themselves. The dismal gray sky began to darken with the coming of night. A light mist descended on the five vehicles gathered around the back of the trailer in the diner parking lot.
Concerned, Doc Hudson looked up at the big truck and asked What is it, Mack? Mack did not reply. He didnt even blink. Doc gently pried the paper out from under his tire and read Vees goodbye letter. Even though it had started to rain, the hastily written note was already splotched with what he was certain were tears. He too stared at it for a ridiculously long time, then sighed and passed it to Sheriff.
The squad car didnt take nearly as long to study it. So, shes gone? he asked quietly, looking around at the other men.
Whos gone? Mater inquired, also looking around. Hey fellas, why all the long faces?
Without a word, Sheriff pushed the paper toward him. It took him a ridiculously long time to read it, but when he was finished, his reaction was the most stunned of all.
Dad-gum! Mater exclaimed. He turned to the others. Whatre we all standin round here fer? We gots tuh find er!
Sheriff snorted. Are you kidding? The gals long gone by now, and Ford only knows which way she could have gone!
Mack snapped out of his daze and stared at Sheriff. Ford? He gasped. Oh Chrysler! Slade Fords out looking for her right now! Hell kill her if he finds her!
Well cmon then! Mater replied as he turned to go. Les go find Miss Vee fore he does!
Maters right, Doc announced. He turned to follow the tow truck out of the lot, but Mack beat him to it and was already barreling down the highway.
Wait! Lightning shouted after him. What about my trailer?
Doc turned to glare at him. Stow it up your tailpipe for all I care! Now come on!
Sheriff sped off after Mack with his lights and siren on. When he finally caught up to him a mile or two down the road, he turned them off and pulled up alongside him.
Slow down, dang it! the squad car shouted. Youre eighteen miles over the speed limit and this isnt a truck lane!
Mack gave him an irritated sideways glance, but didnt answer him.
Sheriff scowled. What the hell is your problem? Do you want a ticket for speeding AND resisting an officer?
Leave him alone, Sheriff! Lightning shouted as he came up behind him. You dont wanna get in his way when hes pissed!
Well, if hed just move over into the truck lane -
Why should he move? Mater asked as he finally caught up. Hes in a hurry an he aint haulin nothin.
Oh yes he is! Lightning argued. Hes hauling ass!
Doc appeared then and passed the entire group. He pulled in front of Mack and slowed down, forcing the big rig to do the same.
Slow down a second, will you! he shouted back to him. He nodded toward the side of the road and pulled over. Reluctant and breathless, Mack followed suit, followed shortly by the other three. Doc quickly spun around to face him. "Look," he huffed, "I know youre upset right now, but just listen to me, all right?
Mack gave him an apologetic look but did not argue.
Weve got to think this thing through before we go zooming off to Dodge-knows-where on some wild goose chase. For instance, didnt it occur to you that she might have gone in a different direction?
Mack frowned and shook his hood fiercely. No. Im sure she went this way. He nodded toward the west. Thats where we were headed to begin with. And if shes trying to keep away from me, she wouldnt be going back toward Radiator Springs.
But if she keeps going this way, shell end up back in Los Angeles, Sheriff spoke up. Why would she go back there if thats where those men are from?
Because theyd never expect her to go back! Mack argued. Thats why we were heading west the whole time!
Doc nodded. Clever strategy.
Mack nodded too. It was her idea, he murmured, staring sadly down at his hood. Sheriff opened his mouth to speak, but let it go. The group fell silent. The misty drizzle that had begun minutes earlier was now a gentle rain. Mater looked up at Mack just in time to see a large teardrop slide down the side of his hood and splatter on his right wheel well.
Gee whiz, Mack. Ifn it werent rainin Ahd swear Ahd seen ya cryin jist now.
Mack glanced down at him. At first, his gaze was hollow and distant, then suddenly it turned cold. He frowned and turned away, shutting his eyes tight. Despite the rain, the was no denying the tears that glistened on his face. The others said nothing. They watched in silent sympathy as the semi's massive frame shuddered. And then suddenly, before any of them knew what was happening, he bolted. With a roar of his engine Mack took off like a shot down the highway with Mater, Doc, Lightning and Sheriff following close behind.
Doc was the first to catch up with him. Whoa! Hold up there, Mack! he yelled. Do you have any idea what youre doing? Vee could be anywhere by now!
But she might still be close enough for me to contact her! Mack shouted back.
What do you mean? Doc asked. Does she have a CB?
No, but she got a ham radio installed back in high school. I can tap into the frequency if Im close enough. Mack slowed down until he was within the speed limit and switched on his CB. Much to his relief, the rain began to ease up. He took a deep, shaky breath and called out to her.
* * *
Vee! Vee, can you hear me? Its Mack! Please answer me!
Vee nearly braked in the middle of the highway when she heard Macks voice on her radio. Her first instinct was to shut it off. She knew that was what she should have done right away. She was far too distraught to have to listen to the pleas of her best friend, let alone the simple traffic report that she had been tuning in on a moment before.
"Please, Vee. Please come back, Mack begged. His voice was so thick with static it sounded as though he had a bad cold. Vee began to slow down until she was only doing half the speed limit on the deserted road. Every fiber of her being was struggling between the desire to answer him and the compulsion to turn off her radio and end the tear jerking transmission.
I know weve been through a lot together these past few weeks, but please - please dont blame yourself for any of it. None of this was your fault. I came all this way with you because I wanted to, not because I had to. I know I can turn back any time and just forget about you, but
no. No, I cant. I cant imagine how I could have gotten this far without you, but theres no turning back now. I dont know if you can even hear me, but
I love you.
Vee slammed on her brakes. The loud screech and burnt rubber stench that followed went unnoticed by the shivering Chrysler. She swallowed a lump in her throat and found that her mouth had suddenly gone dry.
I love you, Vee. I really do, Mack went on. His voice was calmer and far quieter now, a frail whisper that was little more than an aspen leaf quivering in the wind. It took Vee a moment to realize that he was crying. I love you more than anything, and I cant - I cant live without you. Please, please come back to me! You dont have to be alone in this. Whatever happens, youll always be my best friend and Ill always be there for you. Always.
There was no holding back now. The brittle dam that was Vees resolve suddenly burst, letting forth a fresh wave of tears. She shut her radio off finally and flicked her high beams on. It took a couple of tries to get her engine going, and it gave out a heartrending groan as it turned over. She started moving again, very, very slowly, tearing herself away from all she was leaving behind and forcing herself onward.
The world grew darker and darker around her until everything - all the love, all the joy and hope in her life was swallowed up by the night, until all that remained was a single pair of headlights to lead her down the long and lonely road.
Chapter Thirty-Two: [link]