Staring outward, an uneasy feeling seized his gyroscopes. He fought urge to retreat, to step back before the so-called ground collapsed beneath him. The whiteness stretched off to nothing, a faint hint of water beyond.
Still she continued onward, covered in white, the only color her golden hair streaming out of her hat. He had no choice. He stepped behind her, snow seeping up the joints of his foot, silently praying to Primus that she would stop.
"Won't this be beautiful in the summertime? The lake stretching on for miles, the soft sand… Like the ocean, with no threat of hurricanes."
"I have no doubt that it will be beautiful to behold, but I find it difficult to imagine a shoreline I can hardly see."
"Hm. And here I thought you were a dreamer."
He flinched, inwardly, even as the right words came. "The beauty of your planet is endless, and I have little need ever to imagine more of it."
She turned, looking up at him, white smile on her pink face. "Oh, that's sweet, Optimus. You should share that with the media. It would be fantastic PR."
"It would, yet fears that we have 'gone native' may have fueled what happened only a few hundred miles from our location." He looked off at the horizon, away from her. "Miss Spencer, why have you called me here?"
"It's Carly. And I want to be married here, Optimus. I want something good to happen on this lake."
That drew his attention back to her, and his spark sank knowing his surprise was plain. "Married?"
"I thought you knew. I'm sure my little trip with Bumblebee was a distraction for buying the ring, and the Datsun is in the shop. He could only have gone with you."
"If such a thing were true, why would I tell you?"
"You wouldn't. That isn't why I wanted to see you." Now it was her turn to stare out at the lake, standing before him, face hidden. "I asked you here to ask your permission to tell him yes."
"You do not need my permission. Freedom is your right, and Sam's."
"I can tell I'm not Judy's favorite, but it doesn't matter. Sam will fight for me."
He nodded, though she couldn't see.
"But he has family whose opinions are more important. Family who are harder to be with, who demand more of him. I know we have Bumblebee's blessing. I can feel that he wants me around."
He let a sigh, shaking his head. "I do not mean to treat you coldly, Carly."
"But you do."
"Your relationship with Sam is no business of mine."
She spun, glaring. "This is beyond that."
"Your future, your partner are yours to choose. I will not lay expectations upon you."
"What the hell does that mean?"
Optimus knelt down, finally letting himself smile. "You have always had my blessing to answer. But now? Sam has my blessing to ask."
The ice in her glare melted.