Disclaimer: not mine, don't sue. No harm, no foul, no worries.



Sam finished with the sledgehammer, and Callie helped him sweep up the dust. She shooed him away to shower while she put the ashes in an urn. By the time she had shut down for the day and he was toweling his hair dry, it was dusk. He glanced out the front of the house, hoping Bumblebee had returned. He was disappointed to find his friend had not.

"Did you have a date tonight?" she asked as he came into the kitchen.


"Well, that's a good thing."

Sam gave his aunt a puzzled look.

"Your car drove away, Sam. If Mikaela was expecting you to pick her up, and you showed up in my truck, wouldn't that seem odd? Which reminds me . . . "

Callie grabbed the cordless phone and dialed.

"Who are you calling?" he asked.

She waved him silent.

"Hey sis!" she said brightly, giving Sam a disapproving look at his surprised outcry. "Listen, we're swamped here—we're just now finishing up. And we're looking at an even busier day tomorrow. I'll feed your boy, and he can stay the night. Okay?"

Callie nodded at the answer, then said, "Great! I'll send him home exhausted and sweaty. No prob. Talk to you later! Bye!"

"What did you do that for?"

"Um, let's see. I'd like to hear what you'd say to your parents when I drop you off at home in my beater truck when they're expecting their pride and joy to come home in a hot yellow Camaro. Were you going to tell them it disappeared? Drove away by itself? Hmm?"

Sam thought his aunt could be horribly sarcastic, even if she was right.

"Sit down, Sam. We're having a gourmet meal of hot dogs and chips. And grilled, bacon-wrapped plantains, so your mother doesn't accuse me of not giving you anything nutritious."

He snickered, and wasn't surprised at the odd combination for dinner.

"And you can start, any time, about what happened in my driveway."

Sam grew serious, and nodded. As his aunt pulled together dinner, he started talking.

By the time he'd finished, the meal was done. Callie had only interrupted him once or twice, mainly during his information about Sector Seven ("I knew it! The government is withholding vital information from the American people, in blatant disregard to the Freedom of Information Act!" It took Sam several minutes to stop her conspiracy tirade and get her to continue listening), and after he was finished, she sat silently.

A slight breeze moved the curtains. Sam wondered if he'd made a mistake telling his aunt.

"Giant robots. That change into cars."


"Transform. My mistake. And they're alive. Sentient."

He nodded.

Callie nodded slowly, too. "I rapped the hood of the pickup. Tried to pull myself up and open the driver's door."

"Uh-huh." Callie had mentioned that, recounting for him what happened when Ironhide pulled into her driveway.

"That was really rude, wasn't it?"

"Yeah," Sam agreed.

"Yeah. It'd be like a stranger walking up and trying to open your mouth, huh?"

"Yeah, something like that. But you didn't know." And the realization that Callie accepted his story without missing a beat hit Sam. He hadn't been mistaken about his weird aunt. Except now she felt horrible, feeling she'd committed a huge faux pas.

"I need to apologize. Sam, you tell him to come back here so I can apologize."

"What? I don't know why they left! I don't know when 'Bee will be back, and I certainly can't guarantee Ironhide will be with him!"

"Then when Bumblebee gets here, ask him to tell Ironhide to come back."

Sam sighed. "Fine. But Ironhide's . . . grumpy. He may not come back."

"You just let him know."

"All right, all right!"

Sam was worn out from the long day and spilling his guts about the Autobots. As Callie turned down the guest bed for him, he wondered where 'Bee had gone with Ironhide, and if the 'Bots would be upset about him telling his aunt about them.