Forever I do… Charles’s Jewelry was one of those places that was just there. On the way through the mall, you would catch a glimpse of it and think nothing of it anymore than the other stores in the mall you had no interest in entering. But today, there was a hopeful glow about it as young Spike Witwicky walked by. As the glittering gold and sparking jewels winked at him through the glass, he felt his back packet. He groped at the indention of his wallet through the fabric. With a mournful sigh he walked on. Down the way he entered a small shop that sold various kinds of electrical equipment. He walked around vaguely and absent minded through the aisles, barely even paying attention to the volley of wires and components he was supposed to be shopping for. He ran his fingers down the length of a coil of copper wire when a young man walked up to him. “Is there something I can get for you sir?” The young man asked. His face was rather odd. He had high cheek bones and a vague roundness to his face as a whole, but his jaw was square and strongly set. His eyes were set evenly on his face and his lips were cracked and chapped. “Oh,” Spike snapped out of his daze and dug into his pocket and retrieved a small slip of paper with hastily written down components and wires he’d been asked to retrieve. “I need these…” The young man took the paper politely and stared at it a moment. As he mouthed the words, Spike began to feel impatience creep along the lining of his skull. “We have the wires and the components, but we’re out of stock with the Halbury circuits.” He finally said. “I can order them. They should be in by next Friday at the latest.” Spike shook his head annoyed. “Forget it.” Spike breathed. “Just gimme what you can.” The young man nodded and turned to go and fill Spike’s order. Spike wandered around the counter as the young man began to pill up various wires and boxes next to the cash register. “Your total comes to $1,153.56, sir.” The young man announced after typing in all the prices. Spike groaned as he pulled out his wallet and pulled out an envelope. He pulled out several $50 bills and handed them over to the cashier with a fawning regret as the bills exchanged hands. After replacing the now almost empty envelope, Spike felt a strange sense of panic. The young man bagged all the goods and pushed them over the counter where Spike took them up in his arms and walked out. Again, he saw the jewelry store. A sick feeling of fawning fell over him as he paused to look. A small silver banded ring caught his attention. A small diamond was fixed upon the band with embroidered carvings twisting around in beautiful gracefulness. Then he saw the price tag and he felt the sickness again. “Not today…” Bumblebee felt relief flood his circuits as he saw Spike exit from the human shopping vicinity. For the past half hour he’d been sitting stationary in the human parking lot with nothing but the heat. Oregon had been particularly hot this summer afternoon. Spike dropped the bags in to Bumblebee’s passenger seat and hopped into the driver’s. “Ready?” Bumblebee asked. “Sure.” Spike grunted. “What’s wrong?” Bumblebee asked, slightly offended at the tone Spike had used. Spike shook his head. “Nothing Bumblebee.” Spike reassured the yellow VW, using a more friendly tone this time. “I’m just stressed cause of the heat I guess.” “Agreed.” He piped. “Let’s get these parts back to Ark before I melt.” Spike forced a laugh at his friend’s weak joke as they pulled out the mall’s parking lot. Wheeljack starred irritably at the young boy at his feet. Before him sat several packages of less then half of what he had sent the human out to retrieve. Annoyance tinged at the ends of his neural circuits. “Why didn’t you just order it?” The Autobot scientist asked. Spike shrugged. “Well, you’ll just have to go back and order it.” Wheeljack stated. Spike jerked his head up and looked into the Transformer’s face. “I’m not going to go back,” Spike objected. “I was just there!” Wheeljack ignored the young man’s plight and vaguely searched through the wires and such Spike had brought back. “Doesn’t matter.” Wheeljack replied coolly. “We need those parts to fix Teletran-I properly. Now that your government has finally acknowledged us we can finally bring Teletran’s weapons systems fully online.” Spike groaned. He didn’t have time or nearly enough patients for Wheeljack rambling at the moment. “I’ll go tomorrow.” Spike replied. “I’ve got work tonight.” Wheeljack looked down, surprised. “You?” Wheeljack laughed. “You got a job? When? More importantly; why?” Spike looked up into the robot’s face, blushing. “Y’know those parts I got costs money right?” He replied tartly. “If we want to keep you guys supplied, we need some income and Dad can’t spare any of his. It’s small enough as it is with the garage in the shape it’s in. Besides, I need some extra cash for…y’know…personal use. Also, my student loan payment’s due next month.” With that, Spike turned to go. Wheeljack paused and watched the young human leave his workshop. “What an odd child.” He replied. Spike blushed madly as he looked into the face of the young woman who had just come into the drug store. “Carly!” He said, half happy and surprised to see her. Next week was their second year anniversary of the first time Spike asked Carly out. They’d been an item since. “Spike!” She replied equally surprised to see him. “Since when did you work here?” Spike blushed an even deeper shade. “I started on the 5th.” He replied. “What can I do for you?” Recalling her errand, Carly produced a slip of paper from her purse. “I need these and a diet coke, please.” Carly asked sweetly, producing a smile that could melt ice. Carly’s face was a light shade of peach with light traces of tanning from the previous summer. Her almond shaped eyes were a vibrant green which peeked out behind her long blonde hair that wrapped around, shaped around her face. Spike took the paper and began gathering the selected items. He found the similarities of that moment and that morning ironic. He loaded the items into a large paper sac and calculated up her total. After paying, Carly put down her newly bought things and leaned over the counter casually. “So where are we going next week?” She asked smiling with a raised eyebrow. Spike leaned onto the counter and pushed his face against hers, slowly and tenderly. “It’s a surprise…” He whispered into her ear. He leaned back and put his fingers to his lips. Carly let out a sweet giggle and gathered her things. As she reached the store door, she turned around and gleamed at Spike. “See you later.” She said and swung her body around and left. Spike stood there a good ten minutes, grinning like a fool at the door his girlfriend and exited from; grinning like a fool…a fool in love. It was Wednesday afternoon and Hound found himself starring from behind a corner, confused. Sunstreaker, Sideswipe, and Cliffjumper had happened across the scene and decidedly joined him. “What’re we starring at?” Sunstreaker groaned after a while. “Spike.” Hound replied. Indeed, the young human was acting quite strange. He paced around the conference room, flash cards in one hand and a small black box in the other. He began to recite something from the cards, stop, curse, and begin again. Finally, Spike stopped, threw the cards down and paced around again. “I’ve had enough of watching.” Sunstreaker said as he got up and walked around the corner and into the conference room. At first, Hound, Sideswipe, and Cliffjumper just watched the yellow mech with their eyes, then decided to follow suit. “Yo!” Sunstreaker said as he approached the obviously stressed young man. “What?” Spike grunted as he hurriedly picked up the flash cards and pocketed them along with the small black box. Sunstreaker scowled. “What’s with the attitude lately?” He asked harshly. “You’re acting more annoying then ever.” Spike didn’t look at the Autobot as he was being addressed. “Looks whose talking,” He replied, receiving a couple chuckles from Hound and Sideswipe as well as an “amen” from Cliffjumper. “Besides, it’s none of your business.” If Sunstreaker was human he would have turned red. No in embarrassment mind you, but anger. He hated being the butt of jokes. Sunstreaker bent down and shoved his large metallic finger right into Spike’s chest, knocking the wind out of the boy. “Listen up fleshy!” He scowled. “I’m tired of you mopping around about Primus knows what! Either stop frowning or go away, ‘cause your moodiness is bringing down moral. And I hate being depressed!” As Spike removed his hand from his pocket, the small black box fell to the ground, unbeknownst to Spike. Just as Hound was about to say something Spike’s father, Sparkplug, walked in. “What’s all the yelling about?” Witwicky Senior asked rather harshly. “Ratchet and I can’t even hear ourselves think back there.” Sunstreaker straightened to his full height and pointed to Spike, much like a child would point to another, blaming at the readiness. “It’s your kid!” He replied tartly. “He’s been moody all week and it’s peeving me off.” Sparkplug looked over to him son, a small glint of worry in the old eyes. “What’s wrong son?” He asked as he walked over. Spike shrugged and looked away. “Nothing.” Spike muttered. Then he saw that the small box had fallen from his pocket. Surprised, he patted down his pockets as if he didn’t really believe he had dropped it. Sparkplug spotted the object and swiftly bent and scooped the curiosity up, examining it. “Dad! Don’t, it’s-” Spike began, but never finished. Sparkplug opened the black box and his mouth fell agape. After a moment he finally spoke. “Spike…” He asked. “Is this…what I think it is?” Spike shuffled his feet, ashamed. “I didn’t want anyone to know. It was supposed to be a surprise.” Spike muttered as he wiped his sweaty palms on his shirt. “I barely scrapped up enough cash for it.” “Did you ask her family?” Sparkplug asked; mouth still agape. Spike looked up astonished. “Of course! I’m not that irresponsible! I called her Dad the other day; just before I bought it. He was a little reluctant at first because we’re so young, but he said I had their blessings.” Sparkplug smiled. “Spike! This is wonderful!” Sparkplug reached over and hugged his son. The gathered Autobots stood dumbfounded. At Sparkplug’s tone, it sounded as if Spike had done something wrong, but now…the mood seemed to have changed and now Spike was being treated more like a hero. “Alright!” Sunstreaker barked. “Enough with the one sided conversation! What are you two all happy about?” Hound, Sideswipe, and Cliffjumper looked back and forth between the two humans and the annoyed Transformer. Sparkplug showed the yellow Autobot what was in the box. “This,” He said proudly. In the box was a thin, simple, silver band. Sunstreaker squinted his optics, unimpressed. “So?” He replied. Hound gasped as he finally got the message. “It’s a courtship band!” Hound exclaimed. Spike winced at the bad translation. Sparkplug laughed. “Kind of,” He laughed. “It’s an engagement ring!” Hound looked reproachfully down at the human. “That’s what I said…” Flustered, Spike grabbed the box and pocketed it quickly; his face bright red. “You guys are sworn to secrecy!” He ordered pointing at them. Cliffjumper looked on utterly confused. “I still don’t understand what we’re sworn to secrecy about!” He whined. “Here,” Hound explained turning to the Minibot. “Spike will present that little ring of metal to a female that he wishes to become his mate.” Spike blushed madly at Hound rather horrid explanation, but didn’t say anything. Cliffjumper nodded. “Whose the Female?” He asked simply. “Carly of course!” Sparkplug retorted and turned to Spike as if to make sure. Spike nodded. “Yeah, tomorrow; on our anniversary; that’s when I’ll ask her.” Spike replied. “But…” “What?” Sideswipe asked. “What if she says no?” Spike asked sorrowfully. That thought must have been eating away at him all week, making the young man moody. He was nervous, scared, and very worried. “What if she says no?” Sunstreaker retorted. “It’s not like you’ll die is she rejects you.” Spike’s face darkened as he lowered his head. “Streaker! You can be so insensitive sometimes!” Hound snapped. “Courtship is a very big deal. A lifetime of commitment and vows! To Court a female, the male must present the band to her. In human mythology, a ring represents eternity. By offering the female the circular courtship band, the male is offering to her his eternal love and affection. If she accepts then they will make their vows in an elaborate ceremony, forever binding them to each other.” Sunstreaker looked on, still not impressed with the whole situation. Spike however seemed to have turned a pale shade of green. His feet felt unstable as his insides seemed to have suddenly turned to live butterflies. “Are you alright?” Sparkplug asked. “I think I need to sit down,” Spike said while leaning forward as if to sit, but he seemed to collapse to the floor more then actually sitting. Sparkplug couldn’t suppress his laugh. “I felt the same way when I asked your mother,” The older human reminisced. “It was on her birthday. I took her to a fancy restaurant downtown and I asked the manager to put the ring in a bottle of champagne.” Spike smiled. “Yeah,” He said. “I know. I thought I would do the same. I thought maybe if it worked for you, it would work for me.” Sparkplug bent down and stared at his son in the eye. “Now Spike,” He began. “Marriage is a big deal. Are you sure you’re prepared for this? You’re barely out of college and you still have student loans. Is this really the best time to do this?” Spike lowered his head. “I have thought it through Dad,” Spike replied. “I know it’s not going to be easy. But I’m fully prepared for this. I love her Dad…” Sparkplug couldn’t help but smile at his son. He turned and looked up at the Autobots. Hound and Sideswipe had broad smiles on their faces while Sunstreaker looked on with boredom on his face and Cliffjumper still seemed lost. “I love Carly too much not to marry her,” Spike continued. Louis’s Grill was the most prestigious restaurant in town. It was settled between a Law Office owned by a very disagreeable man whose last name no one could pronounce properly and a popular coffee house that had opened last spring. Standing alone on the curb in front of Louis’s Grill was a young woman dressed in a power blue satin gown. Her blonde hair was pinned up with small strands dangling down in front of her face playfully. She looked up and down the street, searching. Her pink lips pressed together and her brow wrinkled as she searched worriedly. The night chill sank through her matching satin shall that she vainly attempted to keep warm with. Twice already one of the restaurant’s staff had come out, asking if she was alright or if she would like to wait inside. Each time she refused. Just as she began to wonder if she’d be better off waiting inside she heard a familiar car horn. Smiling she turned to face the approaching car. A bright yellow volt wagon drove up beside her. “Hello Bumblebee,” Carly said smiling. “Hi Carly,” The VW replied back sweetly. “Isn’t it a little cold out? You should be inside.” Just as Carly opened her mouth to answer the driver side door flung open and a young man with sandy brown hair dressed in a jet black blazer and matching pants stepped out. A red rose in one hand and a smile on his face. “Sorry I’m late Carly,” Spike said. “We had a little delay.” “Oh really?” Carly asked with an accusing smile. “Like what?” “Would you believe that Autobots can build a nuclear reactor the size of a pin, but none of them could tell me how to tie a tie properly?” Spike said, stepping up to the curb and handing the flower to Carly. She held it delicately and pressed the soft petals to her face and took in the sent of the flower. “So what’d you do?” She asked. “Wheeljack looked it up on the internet,” Spike replied. “It took us three times.” Carly let out a small laugh. “Shall we get going?” Spike asked, offering her his arm. Gratefully, Carly too his arm and they turned to go. Spike stopped and turned to Bumblebee. “Thanks Bumblebee,” He said, waving with his free hand. “No problem. I’ll be back for you guys in an hour,” The Autobot said. “Good luck Spike!” Spike winced. Luckily Carly didn’t seem to have noticed the comment or the significance behind its meaning. As the little VW bug speed off down the road, Spike entered the building with Carly on his arm. A tall young man, not a year younger then Spike, steered them to a small booth in the back. As the waiter walked away with their drink order, Spike got up. “I’ll be right back,” He said. “Where are you going?” Carly asked as she shifted herself and removed her shall, placing it beside her. “Restroom,” Spike said and walked off before she could say anything else. Spike walked around to where the restroom was and looked back over to see if Carly was looking. She was engulfed behind a menu, scanning the lists of entrées. He darted away from the restroom and headed for the Host’s booth in the front of the restaurant. When Spike returned their drinks had arrived and the waiter left with their order. The next fifteen minutes were spent reminiscing about the last two years; bringing up romantic moments in the early time of their dating as well as the more comedic happenings that seemed more frequent. Surprisingly, the subject of the Autobots didn’t come up until after their entrees had arrived. “So how are the guys?” Carly asked as she wiped Alfredo sauce from her mouth. “Alright I suppose,” Spike replied. “They’re a lot more relaxed now that the government has acknowledged them. All their speeding and parking tickets were declared void.” Carly choked on her sprite halfway through a sip. “Really?” She asked, laughing. “God, I wish the government would do that for me.” Spike laughed. “That one speeding ticket that I got last month was cancelled too.” “Lucky,” Carly snickered. Their plates were taken away swiftly and another waiter came up to their table carrying a dish of ice cream. “The chef sends his best wishes for the lovely couple,” The young man said as he sat the dish before them; Strawberry ice cream covered in whipped cream and Carmel sauce. “How nice!” Carly beamed as she picked up her spoon. Spike quickly grabbed his own spook, dipped it into the ice cream and offered it to Carly. Carly smiled at her boyfriend’s tackiness, but couldn’t refuse. They began feeding each other back and forth. The treat grew smaller and smaller with each spoonful. Spike offered her the last bit of ice cream and smiled broadly as it disappeared into her mouth. Carly’s face turned from happy to confusion. She reached up to her mouth and spite out a thin silver band. Her eyes locked onto the band and jetted to Spike, his grin ear to ear. Carly’s eyes began to water as her face turned light pink. She waved her hand near her face as if to cool herself down as she began to breathe hard. “Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god,” Carly panted. “Oh my god!” Spike took the ring from Carly’s open hand, got up, and walked around to her side of the booth. “Carly?” He asked. But the young woman was still panting and waving herself frantically. As she turned to look up at Spike, he bent down to one knee, causing more waving and repeating of ‘oh my god’. Carly began jumping up and down in her seat, here eyes watering up. The restaurant was dead silent, with everyone’s eyes fixed on the small booth in the back. “Caroline Elizabeth Walton,” Spike began, recalling his speech from his note cards. “I am not a man of words so I won’t beat around the bush. Carly, will you do me the honor of being my bride? Will you marry me?” Carly’s tears and wails filled the restaurant. She fell forward into Spike’s arms and kissed him. “It that a yes?” He asked. “Yes!” Carly choked behind the tears of joy. “Yes! Yes! And yes! A million times yes! I will!” The restaurant exploded with cheers and whistles. A few women dabbed their napkins at their eyes, drying their tears. Spike felt his twisted insides untwisted and the sickening feeling was replaced with pure elation as he placed the silver band onto Carly’s slim finger. As they kissed they heard a curious sound. When they looked out the restaurant window they saw a convoy of various vehicles honking their horns, flashing their lights, and their windshield wipers swiping back and forth in celebration. A small yellow VW bug was positioned in front. The two exited the building to get a better took. “How?” Carly asked looking over at the Autobots. Spike took a small microphone from his tie. “Sorry,” He said. “After Hound found out he couldn’t help but tell everyone and Wheeljack insisted that I wear this.” Carly laughed and took the tiny device from Spike and held it to her face. “Hey guys,” She spoke into the tiny microphone. Carly lifted her hand into the air, showing off the silver band. The convoy answered back with blazing horns. Spike took his fiancé by the waist, dipped her back, and the two kissed passionately, issuing another volley of excited honks from the crowd of on looking Autobots.