Sunday, March 25, 2007, 6:52 PM
Megan Fassler walked into the locker room at Big River Raceway. She opened her locker, took off her racing clothes, and hung them in her locker. She also put her helmet and racing shoes in there. She took out her casual clothes and put them on. Just then, Mark, Carlos, and Steve walked into the locker room. "Hey, Megan, it's great to have you back on the team." Mark said with a smile. "Yeah, chica, we missed you." Carlos added. Megan smiled. "Thanks, you guys." "Hey, we're gonna go out and celebrate." Steve said. "Wanna come?" Megan closed her locker. "Sure." The four of them walked out of the locker room and out of the building. Outside, Zorina watched as Megan got into her car, Mark and Steve got into their trucks, and Carlos got on his motorcycle. She watched them drive away. Zorina had been thinking about how Garner Rexton had threatened her. She had been coerced into planting an explosive device as part of a plan to kill the members of Team Fastex. And it made her hurt inside. At that moment, Eve Kildare and Chrome walked over to her. "Hey, Zorina, we've been looking everywhere for you." Eve said. "Are you okay?" Chrome asked. Zorina shook her head. "I don't know." She turned to faced them. "Hey,...let's go celebrate." "But we took fifth through seventh." Eve said. "What's there to celebrate." "I don't know."
At the diner, Megan, Mark, Carlos, and Steve all ate "greaseburgers" - their term for extra-greasy hamburgers - and drank chocolate milkshakes. The diner's front door opened, and Eve, Zorina, and Chrome walked in. Megan waved. "Hey, girls!" The three now-former members of the Spitfire Racers walked over and sat at the booth next to Team Fastex. A waiter came by to take their order. "We'll have what they're having." Eve ordered. The waiter walked away. "Hey, guess what." Carlos said. "Rexton's in big trouble with the NASCAR officials." Megan laughed. "No shit." "No, I mean big time." Carlos clarified. "He's lost Team Rexcor for sure, and he's never gonna be allowed to be in the racing business again. He'll probably lose his entire company paying lawyer fees and bail." "He's lost Team Rexcor?" Zorina asked. "Well, then, what will happen to it? If it disbands, I won't have a team to race with next season." "Sure, you will." Eve said. "You can race with us." "Yeah, we can stay together." Chrome added. "But we'll need one more driver." Eve looked at Megan and smiled. "Sorry, Eve, you'll have to find someone else." Megan told her. "I'm back with Team Fastex now. Maybe you can get one of the guys from Team Rexcor to join your team." "Remember the qualifications?" Eve asked, her smile widening into a grin. "Your team doesn't have to have all of the same qualifications as my team did." Megan grinned. "In fact, you could substitute a different qualification and then do some...research to see who meets it." Eve's grin turned to a look of digust and revulsion. "Ewwwhhh, you mean like with the Collector?!" Megan's grin turned to a look of disgust and revulsion as well. "Ewwwhhh, yuck!" Then the two of them started laughing. "What's so funny?" Carlos asked, confused. Mark shook his head sadly. The front door opened again, and Lyle Owens, Hondo Hines, and Diesel Spitz walked into the diner. These three men were members of Team Rexcor. Following them was Tanker, a recent addition to Team Rexcor that Garner Rexton had replaced Zorina with. "Man, I dunno what we're gonna do." Lyle said. "With Rexton in jail, who's gonna fund the team?" "You'll have to rely more on sponsors." Megan told him. "Who asked you?" Lyle asked her, frowning. The front door opened yet again, and Redline and Grim Repo walked into the diner. These two had been part of a team that had included Tanker and Chrome before the latter two had left to join Team Rexcor and the Spitfire Racers, respectively. "Hey, guys." Chrome greeted. "So, Zorina, you comin' back to our team?" Hondo asked. "Sorry, baby." Zorina replied. "I'm stickin' with Eve and Chrome." "But Chrome's comin' back to our team." Redline said. "Ain't that right, Chrome?" "Sorry." Chrome replied. "What about you, Tanker?" Redline asked. "Yeah, I'm comin' back." Tanker replied. "This team's goin' nowhere!" "What?!" Lyle yelled, upset at both remarks. "Why, I oughta - " "Easy." Steve said, standing up. "We don't need a fight here." "Yeah, guys, calm down." Mark added. "Look, I've got a suggestion." Eve said. "Lyle, Junker, Specter, one of you join Redline's team, and one of you can join our team." "I am not liking this suggestion." Diesel said. "What will be happening to the remaining person?" "Oh, uh, well,...settle it with a race." Eve suggested. "First place joins Redline's team, and second place joins our team. Third place has to look elsewhere. Everyone agree to that?" "Sure." Chrome said. "Yeah, fine." Zorina said. "I'll agree to that." Redline said. "Me, too." Tanker said. Grim Repo nodded, being silent as usual. "Fine." Eve said. "You'll race tomorrow at Big River Raceway - at 9:00 AM sharp." "Or 9:00 AM rey." Carlos joked. "Lame." Mark commented. Zorina finished her chocolate milkshake and set the glass down by her empty plate. "Megan,...I need to talk with you." "About what, Zorina?" Megan asked. "Outside." Zorina told her. Megan set her empty glass down by her empty plate. She and Zorina stood up and walked out the front door. They walked into the diner's parking lot. It was dusk by then. "What is it?" Megan asked. Zorina avoided looking Megan in the eyes. "Well, um, ya know that bike race I had with Stunts here?" "Of course. I didn't want you to do it." "And now I wish I'd listened to you. Junker's buddies, the ones that kidnapped your dad, they surrounded me during the race. I was locked in a truck and had to talk with Rexton on a vidscreen. He wanted me to do something for him. He said if I didn't do it, he'd have me killed." "He really said that?" "Not using those words, but he made it clear to me that he could do it." Zorina paused for a moment. "This is harder than I thought it would be." "It's okay." Megan assured her. "Just say it." "You know that explosion in the tunnel? I caused it." "You what?" "I'd planted a device there that was set to detonate when a car passed by. So, when Team Fastex would leave the race to chase after Junker's friends, who had stolen the money, - " " - they'd be killed." Megan finished for her, a frown on her face. "Yeah." Zorina said. She slowly looked at Megan's face. "I had no idea they'd kidnap your dad - or that you'd leave the race, too." "No." Megan agreed. "You just wanted to save your own ass." "Megan, you gotta understand that if I didn't do this for Rexton, he'd kill me!" Zorina cried. "Zorina, you were my teammate. You should've come to me with this. I would've warned the others, and we would've tried to help you." "I'm sorry." Zorina said, tears running down her face. Megan gave Zorina a piercing stare. "I understand why you did what you did, and I forgive you. But you need to do more. You need to tell Eve, Chrome, Charger, Stunts, and Flyer what you did. It'll be up to the latter three to decide if they want to forgive you, and it'll be up to Eve and Chrome to decide if they still want you on their team." Zorina nodded. Megan and Zorina walked back into the diner. "Is everything all right?" Mark asked, noticing the frowns on the girls' faces. "I don't know." Megan said. "Charger, Stunts, Flyer, Eve, Chrome, can we see you outside? Zorina has something that she'd like to tell you." The five of them stood up and followed Megan and Zorina outside. Zorina explained what had happened and what she had done to them. Mark, Carlos, and Steve forgave her and shook her hand. Eve and Chrome decided to keep Zorina on their team and hugged her. Then they all paid for their meals and went home for the night.
Monday, March 26, 2007, 8:55 AM
All of the drivers on Team Fastex, Team Rexcor, and the defunct Spitfire Racers gathered at Big River Raceway. "Three laps." Lyle said. "Got it." Specter said. "I will be beating the both of you." Junker said. Lyle, Junker, and Specter got into their racecars and started their engines. Zorina got in front of them and raised her arms in the air. The drivers revved their engines. Zorina quickly lowered her arms, and the drivers took off. Everyone watched as each of them tried to outrace the other two. Early on, Lyle took the lead. Then Specter. Then Junker. Each of them was doing every dirty trick he knew and took the shortest route around the track. Junker completed lap 1 first. Specter completed lap 2 first. Everyone was watching and waiting to see who would win. Lyle finished lap 3 first. Specter and Junker crossed the finish line at the same time. The drivers brought their cars to a stop and shut off the engines. They got out of their cars and walked back over to the audience. "I won." Lyle declared, a grin on his face. "Yeah, but Specter and Junker tied." Eve said after checking the video tape in the camera she had set up. "How do we know who gets added to our team?" "Specter and Junker can battle it out tomorrow during practice runs." Chrome said. "I am agreeing to that." Junker said. "Yeah, that sounds fair." Specter agreed. "All right." Megan said. "I gotta go to the airport. My...mom's flight is coming in in a half-hour." "See ya tomorrow, Megan." Zorina said. Megan ran off to the parking lot. "See ya, Megan." Mark waved. Megan quickly turned her head and waved back.
Megan arrived at New Motor City International Airport, took the monorail, and went to the proper gate. Soon, the airplane landed, and Libby Fassler walked into the airport. Libby grinned. "Hi, Megan!" Megan gave her a weak smile. "Hello, mother." "'Hello, mother'?" Libby repeated. "Is that all you have for me?" Megan hugged her. "Great to see you." Libby hugged Megan. "Great to see you, too." They let go of each other and started walking. "So, let's talk." Libby said. "I think it should wait until we get home." Megan told her. "Um,...okaaay." Libby said. So, they took the monorail to the baggage claim, got Libby's suitcases, and carried them to Megan's car in the parking lot. Megan put the suitcases in her trunk and got in the driver's seat. Libby got in the passenger's seat. Megan drove them home. And during that entire time, they hadn't spoken a single word to each other.
Megan parked her car in the garage. She popped open the trunk and got Libby's suitcases. Libby got out of the car, holding her carry-on. She closed the trunk after Megan had taken the suitcases out. The two of them walked out of the garage and to the front door. After dropping the suitcases, Megan took out her house key and unlocked the front door. She then put the key back in her pants pocket and picked up the suitcases again. "Honey, let me give you a hand with those." Libby offered. "I can do it." Megan insisted. They walked into the living room. Megan walked over to Libby's room, which was currently empty, and set the suitcases on the floor. Libby closed the front door and locked it. She dropped her carry-on to the floor. Megan walked back into the living room. Libby smiled. "It's good to be home with my family." Megan frowned at her. "Yeah,...I bet." "Sweetheart, what's wrong?" Libby asked her, concerned. Megan's mouth opened to yell at her. But instead, she stopped herself when a realization hit her. "You don't know, do you?" Megan asked her. "Know?" Libby asked. "Know what, Megan?" "I know you and dad's little secret about me." Libby started. "You do?" "Yeah." Megan said. "I found out, and dad confirmed it...after a while. I made up with him. He told me something yesterday. I've thought about it, and now I'm mad again." "About what?" "My birth mother is dead." Megan said. "The two of you had no reason to keep my adoption a secret." "I know, and we should've told you." Libby put her hands on Megan's shoulders. "I'm so sorry, dear." "You should be." Megan told her. Libby started to cry. "I forgive you." Megan said, her anger fading. "Can you tell me about my mother?" "Megan, sit down." Libby told her. Megan and Libby sat down on the couch. "Your mother was 18 years old when she had you." Libby began. "She had had sex with her boyfriend and gotten pregnant. She didn't want you, but her parents were devout Christians, so they forbade her to have an abortion. So, she had you and offered you up for adoption. I'm barren, so your father and I decided to adopt a baby, since we couldn't have one on our own. We met with her, and when you saw us, you gave us a big smile. Right then and there, we knew we wanted you. Your mother would give you to us on one condition - that we never tell you that you're adopted. She didn't want you trying to find her someday. She didn't want to have anything to do with you. I'm sorry if this ruins your idea of her." "Not really." Megan said. "How and when did she die?" "Car accident, three months later." Megan couldn't help but chuckle at that information. Libby frowned at her. "Young lady, that's not funny!" "I know. I'm sorry." Megan said with a smile. "What about my birth father?" "He gave up his rights to you." Libby said. "Who knows where he is? He had no interest in you or in marrying your mother." "So, my birth parents never married?" Megan asked. "No, they didn't." Libby felt uncomfortable. "It's okay, mom. You can say it. I'm a bastard." Megan told her. Libby gasped and shook her head. "Oh, Megan, no. Don't say that." "Why not? It's true." Megan said. "I'm illegitimate." "Megan, I don't believe in such a thing." Libby said. She took Megan's hands in her own. "You're our daughter, and that's legitimate." Megan hugged her. "I love you, mom." Libby hugged her. "I love you, too, my dear daughter."
Later that afternoon, Jack took off from work early to come home and be with his family. "Hi, Libby." Jack said, kissing her on the lips. "Hi, Jack." "Hi, Megan." Jack said, hugging Megan. "Hi, dad." Megan said, hugging him. Jack let go of her. "So, is everything okay here?" Megan smiled. "Everything's fine, dad." "We've made dinner." Libby said. "Grilled steak, mashed potatoes with gravy, and corn." Megan said. "Mmm, great!" Jack said in delight. "I'm starving!" Jack, Libby, and Megan walked into the kitchen and sat down at the table, where the plates, filled with food, were already set. "So, you two, tell me what's been going on recently with the team." Libby said. "Oh, wait 'til you hear what happened to Garner Rexton." Jack said with a grin. Megan dipped a piece of beef in barbecue sauce and stuck it into her mouth. "Yeah, and when ya hear about the team I formed! The Spitfire Racers!"
Copyright © 2001 by Mark Moore