Clara didn't think that she'd slept so well as she did the night she was at the Lennox's. As soon as her head had hit the pillow, she'd conked out like a light and hadn't stirred until six, when a rooster crowed the beginning of a new day. Now, on the other hand, she was infiltrating the kitchen and putting her culinary skills to good use. It was the least she could do to show her thanks to this wonderful family who had taken her in for the night, clothed and fed her, and allowed her to stay in one of their beds. (Even if it was just the guest room, it still counted in her eyes.)
As she surveyed what she had to work with in the fridge, she could have sworn she heard a growl from just outside the back door. Pulling back from the fridge, the woman frowned and looked out the back window. But all she could see was the large black truck that the family owned. Odd, but who was she to question? It was probably just her ears popping, for all she knew.
Going back to looking over the ingredients in the fridge, Clara began pulling out all the items she was going to need to make a large, healthy breakfast for everyone. Hell, she probably wasn't even going to eat it; there was some yogurt she could eat instead.
"Spinach omelets…apricot scones…and fruit salad." She muttered with a nod. That would be a breakfast they could all enjoy, considering all of the fruits and vegetables available in the crisper. The scones would have to be first, considering that they had to bake for twenty minutes or so. Plus a twenty minute prep time and time to cool- meaning about forty five minutes to make the fruit salad. The omelets could be done in five minutes, so those could get started when she took the scones out of the oven.
Content with her plan, Clara began pulling out bowls and various other mixing weaponry that she needed in order to get started, humming a soft tune to herself as she did so.
He watched the femme move around the kitchen with ease, a low growl continuously vibrating through his frame. He didn't trust this strange femme that William had picked up off the side of the road. Not one bit. She might have seemed nice enough, but vorns of experience were telling him that there was no real proof that she wouldn't murder them all while they were in recharge.
This one was definitely different, though. As she'd approached his alt-mode, he couldn't help but notice a strange white pattern marking the femme's hands and arms all the way up to the elbow joints. It was something that he'd never seen on a human before. Were they some kind of alteration that was available? He would have to inquire about it later to William, when the femme was gone and out of their lives and not threatening his family.
Speaking of the femme, she was currently humming to herself and doing something with her back turned to him, moving about the kitchen space comfortably, as if it were her own home. It brought a sudden amount of irritation to him at realizing this. This was not the femme's home and she should respect that unspoken law.
He froze as she looked out from behind the thing Lennox called a 'fridge', a frown marring her features, not daring to even allow the smallest sound to come from his frame. Optimus had been very clear in his instructions that nobot was to alert the humans that they were anything but ordinary. And he had a feeling that a shaking, growling vehicle would tip this particular femme off that something wasn't quite right about him.
But as long as she didn't do anything hostile towards Annabelle, Ironhide didn't find any reason why he would bring himself to reveal his true nature. After all, she hadn't actually done anything yet that would warrant his cannons blasting her into oblivion.
The scones just put in the oven, Clara turned her attention to the small stack of dishes she'd made, noting one that she could rinse and reuse for the omelets. Actually, she might as well just do all of the dishes while she was at it; make less work for herself later.
Turning to the sink, she looked out the window right above it and noted that the large black truck was parked about twenty feet away. Although it did seem that it was as close as possible to the house, given that the deck extended all the way around the comfortable structure.
Filling up the sink with water, Clara double checked that the scones were fine and added soap to the warm water and began dumping the bowls and dishes into the sink, hands moving to wash them absentmindedly as her thoughts trailed off to other topics. The fact that she was currently in a bit of a pause in her life had a large majority to do with it, of course, as usual. Where she was going to find work, whether she was going to have a home or a vehicle of her own again…those kinds of things. Hell, she didn't even know what the next ten hours were going to bring for her. But there was nothing she could really do to change anything now. All she could do was be grateful for the kindness that this lovely couple and their daughter had extended to her without knowing anything about her.
"You're up early."
Clara yelped, nearly stabbing herself in the hand with a butter knife.
Will raised his hands in the traditional 'I come in peace' sign and moved further into the kitchen, inhaling deeply and humming appreciatively.
"Smells good in here. Anything I can do to help?" he offered lightly, leaning against the light oak island that separated them from one another.
"Uh…" she said awkwardly, not entirely sure how to handle the situation. "If it's not too much trouble, could you please grab the fruit on the counter and start slicing them for a fruit salad?"
"Sure." The male nodded with an easy grin, moving to the fruit and grabbing the cutting board and knife that the woman had set out for easier transition into the task. "You know you don't have to do this, right?"
Clara shrugged vaguely. "Well, it's not like I have anything else to pay you and Sarah back for taking me in. And I can cook, so I might as well cook for you. Might be the last time for a while, for all I know."
"Ah. So you don't really have a plan of what's next then?" the blond asked, turning curious green eyes in her direction. Clara shrugged, staring into the quickly evaporating bubbles in the sink, and didn't reply. It wasn't that the topic offended her, quite the opposite really, but she honestly didn't know how to answer the question.
"Not really. Wish I did, though." She finally sighed, grabbing for another bowl and immediately scrubbing it with the cloth. "I just don't seem to have the best luck, is all."
"I see." Will countered before a comfortable silence fell over the pair. Clara quickly finished up the remaining dishes and put them in the drainer before moving over to the oven and checking on the scones. Seeing that they appeared to be done, the brunette grabbed the oven mitts tucked behind a jar of spatulas, she pulled open the oven and retrieved the lightly steaming creations. As she did, she could have sworn that Will started drooling.
Ignoring the behavior of the man, she focused on the task at hand and placed the tray on the cooling rack that she'd set up before-hand, taking care not to get her forearms caught on the hot tray. She'd learned her lesson the first time around and had no intentions of doing so again.
"I don't mean to pry, but can I ask what happened to your arms?" Will asked, noticing that the brunette was dressed in her clothing from the previous day again, but the sleeves of her shirt had been rolled up to the elbows.
Clara glanced down at said limbs before back up at Will, shrugging and holding them out for him to examine closer, albeit hesitantly. It was probably something that she had been bothered about frequently, which meant that it had probably happened to her when she was younger.
"When I was six or seven, my parents were out for the night and I was left to my own devices. Considering that they were only a couple of houses down the street and I could walk there if I needed anything, I didn't have a babysitter. Wasn't too different; I was pretty good on my own and I had free reign of the kitchen. Budding talent and all." She began, pulling her arms back after Will had had a chance to look at them. "I was making a pot of spaghetti, and it was all well and good until I got my stool so that I could grab the pot without burning my hands, like my mom always taught me. Well, that was fine, but my foot slipped as I stepped down and I fell sideways. Hot water got all over my arms and my side. Still, I cleaned up the mess I'd made and put the stool away before I went down the street to find my parents. I'll never forget the looks on their faces, seeing my arms."
"Ouch." Will winced, sympathizing. He'd burnt his fingers with hot surfaces before, and knew the general feeling. But having boiling water poured on her arms and side? That had to have hurt like one hell of a bitch. "And yet you still cleaned up before going to find your parents."
"Yep. Looking back on it, I probably should have gone to find help first, but I had been taught from pretty much as soon as I could walk that I should clean up whatever messes I made." Clara shrugged again as she got back to work, double checking the chopped fruit with an approving look before grabbing the eggs, spinach and green onion she'd laid out for the omelets. "Is Annabelle okay with green onion?"
"Uh, yep. She eats pretty much anything edible." Will nodded as she stole a piece of strawberry out of the mix of chopped fruit. "Want a bowl for the salad?"
"Please." The woman replied absently, turning on the element and placing her frying pan over top. "Now, should probably slice the spinach into smaller pieces before I mix it in…"
Will watched the quick movements that the brunette used, noting how efficient that she was while in the environment. Comparing this sight to the one that he'd seen on the highway, he could say with all certainty that her home was a kitchen. Now as to where the kitchen was depended on where she was. And already, it was clear that Clara was a very talented woman.
"Mmm…smells good in here. What are you making Wi- oh! Good morning, Clara!" Sarah mumbled as she wandered into the kitchen, Annabelle trailing along at her heels. "Did you sleep well last night?"
"Yes, thank you." Clara smiled back. "I was just making breakfast. Feel free to help yourselves. There's fruit salad and apricot scones, and I'm making spinach omelets now."
"That sounds lovely, thank you." Sarah replied brightly before crouching and pointing out the food to Annabelle. Instantly, the little girl smiled brightly like the sun and giggled at her mother.
"Scone please!" the little girl pleaded adorably, reaching up towards the tray of scones. Smoothly, Clara grabbed the plastic plate she'd grabbed a minute earlier and placed one of the scones onto it before Annabelle accidentally burnt herself on the still warm tray.
"There you go." The brunette smiled, handing the plate down to the blond child and earning another bright smile.
"Thank you!" Annabelle burbled as she wandered off with her plate, very similarly to the way that she had done the night before.
Clara could have sworn that just the night before, the little one was speaking baby babble, but who was she to question how she should talk? It was probably just because she was developing her speech patterns and she'd caught her during one of her relapses. God knew that it had happened to her more than enough times when she herself was a child.
"Well, I'll be done these omelets in just a moment." The woman said quickly, checking the golden and green speckled omelets on both sides before grabbing another plate and flipping it onto said dish before handing it to Will. Absent-mindedly, she immediately set herself to making another one, barely noticing the small conversation that Will began with Sarah before the blond sighed and shooed her husband to the table to join Annabelle.
After breakfast, Will retreated to the barn again to get some cleaning in, and took the large black truck with him. Clara thought nothing of it, considering that the barn was probably a good distance away and might be hauling old planks or something out of the place if he was going to get cleaning it. So while Clara, Sarah and Annabelle worked on dishes, Will and Ironhide went out to their usual place near the barn. It was out of sight and had a decent amount of tree life around it, so it was more than enough cover for Ironhide to transform up into his bipedal mode.
"I don't trust her." Ironhide stated bluntly, crossing his arms and staring down at the much smaller human. "And you already know how irritated I am with you bringing her home with you."
"'Hide, I know how annoyed you are and I also know you're never going to let me forget it. But can you lecture me later?" Will pleaded. It had already been made quite clear the previous night that the mech was not pleased with what he'd done, but for the moment, his thoughts were on other matters. "I've got an idea."
"Oh no." Ironhide immediately vented, servo moving to massage his optic ridge. "What is it this time, William."
"Don't call me that. It's Will." The male scowled back, crossing his own arms and levelling an equally exasperated glare up at his Guardian. "I think NEST should do a background check on her-"
"Good. You don't trust her either." Ironhide cut in.
"-Because I think we should hire her."