Author's Note: For the most part, I'll be avoiding Beth's POV – you guys care about giant robots, not self-inserts, right? XD Once in a while, though, it can't be helped. This is one of them. Enjoy! 8D
Disclaimer – "Transformers" and all related characters, events, and concepts belong to Hasbro, Takara, and any other related owners/distributors/producers. I get no monetary benefit from this. My benefit is the enjoyment of dealing with beloved characters.
Chapter 3 – Surreal
Twilight Zone. That's what this is. It's gotta be! Rod, where're you hiding?
Come out, come out, wherever you are!
Beth looked up and down the street – not that she actually expected to see Rod Sterling (except in a sense she almost did) – then turned her attention back to the . . . "moving van" parked in front of her apartment complex. The silver trailer's customary logos had been covered with signs that advertised "Stan & Son Moving Company". Similar signs had been mounted on the doors of the fire-truck-red Freightliner cab-over tractor. The tractor sat silently on the street, engine off. The way it had been maneuvered into the apartment complex, so that the back end faced the right building, the front end had wound up facing one of the small parking areas. A bright yellow classic Volkswagen Beetle had been backed into one of the parking spaces and seemed to be facing the truck.
Beth wondered if they were secretly talking to each other.
She looked around at the various cars sitting in the clusters of parking spaces scattered between and around the apartment buildings and wondered if she'd ever look at any vehicle quite the same way again.
"Do-do-do-do, do-do-do-do, do-do-do-do," she sang softly to herself as she carried the box in her arms into the back of the trailer.
Beth was no stranger to moving. Having been an Air Force brat, she'd lived more places before her father's retirement when she was sixteen than most adults would ever visit in their lifetimes – New Mexico, Mississippi, Illinois (twice), the Island of Guam where her younger brother had been born, even Germany for four years. Once back in Southern California, her family moved from living with her grandparents while her father job-hunted and everyone adjusted from military to civilian life, to living in a home they rented, to sliding down the street and around the corner to the home her parents now owned. When she married, she and her husband moved around apartment complexes as necessitated by fluctuations in rent and income. Then, her husband had taken a job that moved them both clear across country to Georgia. The most recent move, returning once again to sunny San Diego shortly after the divorce, had been right before certain giant robots had begun to make their presence known around the country and the world. Beth had moved more than enough times to know how to pack a box, a suitcase, a car, a moving truck.
Except when she knew that the moving truck had a mind of its own. Literally. It made walking into the trailer, knowing that the trailer was watching her, a rather creepy experience, if she were honest with herself. She tried to ignore the massive, floor-mounted armature – she thought it must be a weapon of some kind – that was folded up at the front end of the trailer, as well as the little six-wheeled vehicle that looked like it belonged on a moon lander.
"Hey, you okay?"
Beth jumped, shifting around. Chip Chase lifted a box off his lap to set on top of a pile of other boxes. Beth wondered how he managed to find the upper core strength in that skinny body of his to keep driving his wheelchair up and down the ramp over and over again. She herself was managing without her cane for now, but she knew she'd be paying for today by the time they quit later.
"I . . . uh . . . yeah. Yeah, I'm, I'm fine." She couldn't help the furtive glance around at the walls, though she couldn't have said what she was looking for.
"It's Optimus, isn't it?" Chip had a small, understanding grin on his face when Beth looked back at him.
She flinched, glancing around again. She didn't want the ancient being to be offended or something. "No! No, really, it's . . . it's fine . . . "
Chip snickered. "Optimus?"
"Yes, Chip?" The deep, resonant voice filled the space of the trailer, quiet enough to not likely be heard outside of it even with the back open. It still made Beth flinch.
"I think Beth's afraid she's imposing on you."
Beth thought she understood what Chip was doing – trying to be helpful by facilitating a conversation that would ultimately put her more at ease with this situation. She still had to resist the urge to toss him a minor glare before . . . well, staring at the ceiling in the direction of the voice, since she didn't have a face to look at. "It's not that. It's just..."
Okay, no, actually, it was exactly that. Optimus Prime, the leader of the Autobots – in Wheeljack's estimation, the greatest leader his kind had ever known – ancient and powerful being older than her whole race . . . was playing at being a moving van. For her, of all people. A week ago, she could only daydream about meeting the Autobots. She had about as much chance as meeting the President. Today, she was moving in with them. And Optimus Prime was her freaking moving van.
"I just . . . wanted to say thanks. Again. For doing this. I know it's kind of a little late for it, but . . . you didn't have to."
"I know. I wanted to."
She couldn't tell if she was only imagining the "welcome to the family" vibe in his tone or not.
The tune started playing in her head again.
Do-do-do-do, do-do-do-do, do-do-do-do, do-do-do-do . . .