A little graduation gift for @mechanicalhandsblog. Congratulations! I hope you like this one. The places named are real, and both are in NJ. More below the cut for length, SFW content.
“Norman, help Flint with his tie, will you?” Otto asked, his four actuators busy with tying Max’s tie and locating his own suit jacket. Curt was sitting on the couch, eyeing the goings on with faint amusement as he sipped at his drink. Once Max’s tie was ready, Otto shrugged into his suit jacket and then glanced over at Norman and Flint, finding Flint fiddling with his tie. “Stop that. We’re going to be late, and you are not going to look less than your best. Don’t embarrass Y/N, not after how good she’s been to us all.” Otto said severely. Flint held his hands up, and Otto fixed the tie before he glanced at Norman, who was looking better now that he’d been healed and was being treated by a therapist. Otto coiled his actuators against his back, sliding his overcoat on. “Let’s go.”
An hour later, the five of them were seated in the auditorium, watching as the graduates marched in. Otto’s eyes roamed over the graduates, and when he spotted Y/N, a broad smile curved his lips, his eyes lighting up as he reached up to remove his glasses, meeting your eyes. His gaze shone with pride and joy, tearing up a bit, as the others grinned, gazing at you. They all listened to the speeches with half an ear, Otto’s eyes never leaving yours, and when your name was called, all five of them shot to their feet, cheering and applauding loudly, ignoring the looks from the others around them when a few other names were drowned out by their loud sounds.
Once the ceremony itself was over, each of the five produced bouquets of roses, all in different colors, waiting for you to emerge from the building to the outdoor space designated for pictures and family celebrations. Max held blue roses, Curt had pale green roses, Norman had darker green roses, Flint was holding yellow roses, and Otto’s were red. His special gift was still in the car. Each of the colors had special meanings. When Otto spotted Y/N, he turned towards you, beaming, his eyes bright with tears of joy. Max was first to reach you, followed by Flint, Curt, and Norman, Otto hanging back to give them their time with you.
“You all made it!” You said happily, hugging each of them tightly before your eyes searched for Otto and your gazes met. His eyes softened as he smiled at you tenderly, and your heart clenched. Max slipped the roses into your hand. “Blue for getting what you thought you couldn’t.” He explained, kissing your cheek. Curt moved forward next, giving you a small smile, his eyes warm. “Green for prosperity.” He said, kissing your cheek as well, stepping aside as Flint came towards you. “Yellow for happiness.” Flint said in his slightly rough voice, kissing your cheek lightly. Norman moved closer, sliding the roses into your hand along with an envelope containing a letter. “Green for good health.” He told you, his eyes proud as he gazed at you, his hand lingering on yours. And then Otto came forward, leaning down to kiss your forehead before he whispered in your ear. “Red for beauty, courage, and respect. And for love.” He kissed your cheek before stepping back, the five of them in a half-circle, facing you, all of them smiling broadly. You teared up, then hugged each one of them, until you reached Otto, who leaned down and wrapped his arms around you, tucking your head against his neck lightly. “I’ve never been prouder of anyone in my life.” He murmured in your ear. “You worked so hard, and now you’ve got the beginnings of a bright future in front of you.” Norman and the others glanced at each other before Max came up, tapping Otto’s shoulder. “Hey, we got reservations. We don’t wanna miss out.” He said. Otto nodded, taking your hand. “Come on; I think you’ll like the place I chose.” He told you with an almost-hesitant smile. You nodded, eager to spend more time with them, beyond thrilled that they had shown up at all. After everything that happened, you hadn’t been sure, and you’d half-convinced yourself that no one would be there to celebrate your hard work in getting your degree.
Otto drove to a café and found a place to park on the street while Max fed the meter enough for three hours, Curt and Flint going inside to claim their table. Norman waited near the door, eyeing the place, have never seen it before. Otto had found it when he’d gotten lost looking for something else, and had made a mental note of it. It looked unusual, and Otto glanced at you, waiting while you noticed the name, Café Archetypus. “The inside looks much more promising.” He told you. “I hope you’ll like it. And later, you and I are going to somewhere else I found, just the two of us.” Otto added, giving you a smile. You nodded, and when you went inside, once your eyes adjusted, it was better than you could have ever imagined. Curt, Norman, Max, and Flint were waiting in a larger seating area, since most of the others were built for two people. Otto led you over to them, handing you a menu as he slid in after you, resting his hand on your lower back gently.
“This place is incredible…” You whispered softly, your eyes roaming around before you looked at everyone. “What have you all been up to? I’ve been so busy with schoolwork…”
“Curt’s working with biologists as an expert on lizards.” Max said with a teasing smirk. Curt shot him a look, and Max laughed softly. “Max has been trying to get some tech company to take a look at his designs.” Curt told you. Flint rolled his eyes, Norman hiding a smile behind his water. “I’ve been visiting my daughter, and I picked up a job at a grocery store. I’m no genius like the rest of these guys, and I’m fine with that.” Flint told you. Norman shifted slightly, and you glanced at him, tilting your head slightly. “I’m laying low, just trying to get well again.” He said quietly. “My doctor says I’m not ready for anything serious yet.”
“There’s nothing wrong with that, Norman.” You said, resting your hand on his gently. He gave you a small, grateful smile.
“What about you, Otto?” You asked, taking the focus off Norman to give him time to regain his composure.
“I’m helping a small energy company with some of their designs. Nothing serious, not nearly on the level as what I was doing, but that’s perfectly fine with me. All I do is adjust their equations and give them some pointers.” Otto replied. “But enough about us. What are your plans now?”
“Now I can find a job, and an apartment. I want to stay in the city; there are a lot of jobs in my field, and I won’t have to worry about a car or anything like that this way.” You replied brightly, before all of you ordered your food and you ordered some tea, which came quickly, along with a cup. The meal was comfortable, and all of you were soon teasing each other and laughing, with you more relaxed than you’d been for a long time.
Otto picked up the tab, and dropped the others off before taking you home so you could change. “Wear something comfortable to walk in.” He suggested, giving you a small smile. “I’ll wait here for you, and I promise, you’ll enjoy where I’m going to take you next.”
You darted up to change, opting for a comfortable, casual dress and comfortable flats, eyeing your reflection briefly before snagging a small purse for your phone, wallet, and keys, then went back down to join him. He had lit a cigar while he was waiting, standing outside the car before he saw you and his eyes widened, a hand reaching up to lower his sunglasses, not wanting anything obscuring his sight of you. “You look so beautiful…” Otto said in awe, his eyes filled with wonder. Then he strode closer, holding his hand out to you. You took his hand, and blushed when he lifted your hand to his lips. His eyes sparkled as he gazed at you before he led you to the car, opening the door for you. You slipped in, and he closed the door before getting in himself, driving you to a rose garden in New Jersey, a place he remembered seeing once, a long time ago, the Rudolf W. Van Der Goot Rose Garden. It was home to thousands of roses, and at night, was lit by small strings of lights. No one else was around, and Otto offered you his arm, gazing at you through eyes as soft as molten chocolate.
“This place is beautiful…” You whispered, looking around before looking up at him. He was silent for a long moment, gazing at you, memorizing the moment, then leaned down to kiss you softly.
“It’s not half as beautiful as you are, Y/N. I wanted tonight to be special, so that you remember it for a long, long time.” He replied just as quietly. “You’ve come so far, my darling girl, and no one could possibly be as proud of you as I am.” Otto said, plucking a flower from a basket and tucking it lightly into your hair above your ear. His eyes met yours, and before you even really considered it, you both leaned in close, and his lips pressed against yours softly, tenderly, his hand coming up to cup your cheek tenderly. “I love you so very much.” He whispered against your lips before removing the last present of the evening and kneeling down on one knee, opening the little box. “I could never hope to be worthy of you. Could never hope to be someone you would be proud of, but I promise to always try. Will you do me the very great honor of accepting me as your husband?”