Ceres: Finding the Wolf

Disclaimer: I don't own Cars.
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Chapter One

It all started when Alex Pacer was called down to the office.

Up until that very moment, Lexie considered the first few weeks of her senior year to be going fairly well, but the second she heard a secretary say, "Will Alexander Pacer come down to the office, please?" over the intercom, she felt her gas tank clench. She tailed Alex to the office and hung by the open door as he talked in barely audible tones to a light brown Hugo. It seemed that those who worked in the office had recently cleared out for the time being. "Your boss called," Alex said. "He wants to know where you get off moving in on Tubbs' turf, especially since they're on good terms."

"He's holed up in Porto Corsa," the Hugo replied. "He don't care."

"He obviously does, if he's calling about you. Now, you know I'm here on behalf of your don, not mine, and you know I don't want my don involved, so my recommendation to you is that you quit while you're ahead."

"I hardly think I'm ahead, Pacer," the Hugo said with a small, dry laugh. Lexie bit her bumper to minimize the temptation of giving any sign that she was watching them. "Let me have a couple more months. Get Hugo to take the heat off so I can work, and convince him that this will benefit him."

"How?"

"I don't care. Say it's a crucial link to the black market parts trade or something."

"Don Victor had that with Shorts."

"And that tuner's out of the picture. They'll need another way in."

"If you're not selling this to me, how do you expect me to sell it to your don?"

"Just do me this favor. I need the heat taken off so I can stay here and keep working."

"On what, may I ask?"

"You'll have to trust me on this. It's good for everyone involved."

"Who does that constitute?"

"I said, you'll have to trust me."

"Sorry, but I don't." Alex drove out of the small, otherwise empty office, and Lexie slipped deeper out of sight. When he was gone, she peered into the office, and she locked eyes with a silver Sedan rather than the light brown Hugo that had been in the room several seconds prior.

She turned and drove out of the lobby.

CARS

Lexie parked next to her small, two-door orange and black Mustang cousin Marliese Carerra. "So, word around the street is you've got a flame goin' on," Marly said slyly, giving Lexie a playful shove. More slowly, she asked, "What's his name?"

"Why would I tell you?" Lexie replied. "You're just gonna spread it all over school."

"Seriously. Who is it?"

"Marly, I'm serious. I don't want everyone to know that Alex and I are hanging out. It only took me eleven years to know that Pacers keep to themselves in school. Alex would look weird if everyone knew he was friends with me."

"Ah, a social martyr, I see."

"I'm not a social martyr. I just don't want to talk about my love life, no matter how it works out."

"You can tell me, and I won't tell another living soul."

Lexie bit her lip. "I'm not so sure, Marly."

There was a knock at the door, and Lexie's aunt Taylor Carerra called, "Who wants to see the pre-Grand Prix highlights?"

The two girls drove out of Marly's bedroom and down the ramp to the living room. Marly parked next to her mother, an orange sportscar with detailed hibiscus flowers in various bright colors painted along her rear side panels, and at the sound of a knock on the front door, Lexie said, "I'll get it." She drove to the front door and opened it...to the silver Sedan she'd seen in the office earlier that day. He gave her the same icy stare he gave her when he locked eyes with her, and then he drove past her and into the room. "Who the hell is this car?"

The Sedan turned to face her and gave her a once-over, but he didn't say anything. "Oh, this is Steven," Taylor said. Steven kissed her on the bumper, and Lexie raised an eyelid and looked over at Marly, who seemed to think nothing of it.

"Okay," Lexie said to herself as she drove into the living room. Taylor and Steven parked next to each other, and Marly occupied Taylor's other side. Lexie hung on the end, some feet away, and struggled to control her sudden nausea.