You look up at the gigantic manor before you, nervous about this new job. The jobs you had in the past were nothing compared to what you were about to take on.
With a sigh, you pick up your bags and head toward the entrance. You pause when you see that there's no door. It led into darkness.
"Strange," you muttered as you glanced around. It would be impolite to just barge in without permission. Maybe there's a doorbell you should ring. It takes you a quick second to locate the doorbell and you ring it. A loud chime resonated around you and echoed from the darkness within.
A minute passed and a pale woman in a white lab dress appeared in the doorway. She looked tired, but perked up at the sight of you.
"Oh! You must be Regan, the new recruit. You're right on time. Let me take your bags," the woman chimed while taking your bags.
"Why isn't there a door here?" You asked curiously as you followed the woman in.
"Peter doesn't like doors. Oh! I haven't even told you my name. I'm Walter worker Maddie, but you can just call me Maddie. I'm in charge of Miss Rabbit here. I make sure she doesn't cause too much chaos," Maddie said with a giggle.
You had heard of Rabbit. You had seen many photos and videos of the Steam Man Band. The idea of working with robots and machines always intrigued you and working with these particular robots would be the perfect opportunity to learn more.
"When do I start working?" You asked while glancing around. There were endless paintings that decorated the walls and endless doorless doorways.
"You start now," Maddie chimed.
Before you could respond, another woman walked in from one of the doorless doorways. She was busy looking through notes on a clipboard. She glanced up and gave a soft cry of surprise at the sight of you.
"Are you the new girl assigned to The Spine?" The woman asked as she walked over and took a hold of your arm.
You had no idea you would be immediately working with The Spine. You had to admit, he was quite handsome from the pictures and videos you had seen, but you had never imagined working with him.
"Yes, The Spine. He's waiting down in the labs. Come with me. Maddie will take your bags to your room," the woman said while leading you away. Maddie only waved before disappearing with your bags.
You weren't sure what to think of this situation. Immediatly working with a centuries old robot with barely any training now seemed nearly impossible. You didn't want to mess things up on your very first day.
"Are you okay, Miss Regan? You look nervous," the woman said while glancing back at you with a worried look.
"I am. I had no idea I would start work immediatly and with The Spine," you muttered.
"You'll be fine, Regan. The Spine will be patient with you and I'm sure he can help you if you need it,' the woman said with a reassuring smile. You smiled back.
"What's your name?" You asked.
"You can call me Nic. I'm in charge of the robot, Hatchworth," Nic chimed as she lead you down a flight of stairs.
You listened intently as Nic told you about Walter manor and the residents that lived there. You also quickly learned about the effects of blue matter and found the idea of having blue hair fantastic.
You could hear machinery in the distance as you finally reached a floor. It sounded ominous, but you felt ready despite your nervousness. Nic went ahead and stuck her head in a nearby doorless doorway to turn on a light.
"She's here, sir," Nic said as she went back to stand by your side.
"Let her in," a deep voice said from within.
"Have fun. Come back upstairs with him when you're done," Nic said as she left you.
You took as a deep breath as you entered the room. It looked like a small hospital room, but with laboratory equipment strewn out on the tables. Reclined comfortably on a large table was The Spine. He looked up from the book he was reading and smiled at you.
"Hello there. You must be the new girl that will be working on me for a while. My name's The Spine. What's yours?" He asked as he sat up a bit. He held out his his hand to shake and you shook it, still a bit nervous. He was cool to the touch.
"My name is Regan. It's a pleasure to work with you, The Spine," you said.
He chuckled a bit as he sat back down comfortably, eyeing you curiously. You suddenly realized you had no idea what to do now. He didn't look like he needed any work. He looked fine.
"Ahhh, what should I do?" You asked as you glanced at the tools laying on the nearby table.
"Just a quick cleanup. Rabbit convinced me to eat s'mores a while ago and it doesn't really go too well with my inner workings. It builds up and slows me down a bit. Here, I'll show you," he said while unbuttoning and removing his dress shirt, revealing his smooth, almost human-looking chest plates. You watched in awe as he pressed a button and his chest plate opened up, revealing his interior. It was fascinating despite the chewed up marshmallows, mushy graham crackers and melted chocolate dripping from gears and other unknown robotic parts.
"This…This is…" you were at a loss for words. He was amazing.
"Disgusting? I know," he smirked.
"I was going to say fascinating. Once I get all of this gunk out, you'll feel much better," you chimed as you went to to the table with the tools. You put on a pair of gloves and grabbed cleaning equipment.
The Spine hummed to himself as he grabbed his book and continued to read. You noticed the title, The Complete Works of Shakespeare, and smiled. You loved Shakespeare. The Spine noticed your smile as you began cleaning up.
"A fan of Shakespeare?" He asked curiously.
"I am. I love 'Much Ado About Nothing'. It's fantastic," you chimed. You could feel his chassis rumble as he chuckled. You looked up and watched as he flipped through a few pages and stopped at a particular page.
"I love you with so much of my heart that none is left to protest," he narrated.
You couldn't help but blush as he read out the most romantic lines from the play. You kept your head down as he continued to work and listen. You had a feeling he was doing this on purpose.
The cleaning felt like it was taking forever. You had to replace the wipes you were using every few minutes due to an excess of gooey black oil. That didn't look right. You occasionally glance up at your patient who has now stopped narrating and now watches you curiously. A puff of hot steam from an interior vent surprised you, making you yelp and jump back. The Spine only smirked as he watched you jump back.
"Sorry. That happens sometimes," he said.
"It's fine," you mumbled tiredly. It felt like you had been working for hours on him. You took one quick glance at his interior and saw that it was clean as it could be. With a nod, you back out from his chest cavity, wiping your hands on a rag.
"That should do it. How do you feel?" You asked.
The Spine straightened up a bit and closed his chest cavity. He got up from the table and began to walk around. The way he wobbled around as if he were about to tip over made you a bit concerned, but you saw that he could walk around okay.
The Spine turned back to you and flashed a bright smile.
"I feel much better, Miss Regan. Thank you so much!" He crowed while pulling you into a tight hug, catching you by surprise with his weight. He was heavy! You try to hug back, but you felt like you were being crushed by a cold, metal weight.
"H-Heavy!" You stammered.
The Spine gasped softly as he quickly let go.
"I am so sorry, Miss Regan. I should have warned you," he said sheepishly.
"I-Its…okay," you breathed.
"Ah, shall we go upstairs? I can introduce you to the rest of the family," The Spine suggested as he went back to put his shirt on.
"That sounds like a great idea," you said as you followed him out of the room.
It had been two weeks since you started working at Walter manor and you loved everything about it. You quickly became close friends with the Walter workers you met on your first day, Maddie and Nic. Whenever you three met up, you would discuss many different topics, mostly those concerning the robots and their maintenance. You had met the other robots, Rabbit and Hatchworth, as well. They were sweet and friendly things despite being slightly chaotic. Most days, you would see Maddie chasing after Rabbit with a fire hydrant and Nic carrying a huge pile of sandwiches out of the kitchens or shooing badgers out of the manor. Working with The Spine was a pleasure as well. He would usually call you down for maintenance work and would help you out if you ever got confused, guiding you as you worked. You would sometimes catch him watching you with a curious look in his optics. It seems that he was just as fascinated with you as you were with him. Nic joked around that he had a crush on you which you quickly brushed away despite blushing beet red.
Life was nowhere near normal and you enjoyed that.
You were trying to relax in one of the numerous sitting rooms when your phone buzzed. You checked your phone and saw a message from The Spine.
URGENT! PLEASE COME DOWN TO THE LAB!
It looked serious. You got up from your seat and made your way through Walter manor. You soon found yourself at the staircase that led down to the labs and made your way down. It was too quiet as you made your way down. It was unsettling as you glanced around. You hoped The Spine was okay.
You finally found yourself on the laboratory floor. You made a run for the main lab and found yourself at its doorless doorway. You run in and see Rabbit and The Spine sitting on separate tables. Maddie was busy replacing the dented plates on Rabbit's head, scolding her a bit.
"Ya'll are so childish sometimes," she muttered.
"It's The Spine's fault f-f-for being a-a-a dummins," Rabbit pouted.
You saw The Spine on his table and gasped. His lower jaw hung loosely from its hinges. It was not dented to your surprise. The Spine looked like he was in immense pain as his head hung low. He glanced up and brightened up a bit at the sight of you. He pulled out his phone and quickly typed something in. You looked down at your phone and saw the message.
RABBIT HEAD-BUTTED MY JAW. PLEASE HELP :(
You were by his side in an instant. You quickly inspected his jaw and saw that it could be reconnected somehow. There were a few screws missing from his jaw. You went over to check the equipment and scanned for a few screws and an electric screwdriver.
"Don't worry, The Spine. I'll make you feel much better," you said while smiling back at him. He only nodded his head in response.
You gently grabbed his jaw and held it in place so that you could put in the new screws. You looked into his emerald optics for a quick moment and saw the look of trust on his face. You can do this.
"Ready?" You asked. He gave the thumbs up and braced himself.
You held a screw in place and turned on the screwdriver. The Spine winced a bit as you screwed it in yet remained still. You continued to screw in the others as you watched his pained expression. It was painful to watch, but you continued on. Your thumb brushed against his lower lip and were surprised at how soft and cool it was. It felt nice. You quickly brushed away the thought, blushing a bit. You were supposed to be busy helping your friend.
"Focus," you whispered to yourself as you held the last screw in place. You notice a strange look in The Spine's optics as he raised an eyebrow.
"What is it?" You asked as you finally finished the last screw.
The Spine flexed his jaw a bit before he exhaled a large cloud of steam with a loud hiss. He gently rubbed his jaw and smiled. He didn't look like he was in pain anymore. He didn't even look damaged despite the small dents that decorated his face.
"You did a beautiful job, Miss Regan. How can I ever repay you for this?" The Spine asked while pulling you into a gently hug.
"It's okay, The Spine. You don't have to do anything for me," you said while pulling away from him. The Spine only smirked as he gently took your hand.
"There must be something I can do for you," he crowed, making you blush again.
"Are y-y-y-you two gonna ma-ma-ma-make out or not?!" Rabbit cackled.
"Shut it, Rabbit," Maddie hissed despite smiling mischievously as she watched on.
You only glared at the two of them before looking back at The Spine. His smirk was getting bigger and bigger by the second.
"That sounds like a wonderful idea, Rabbit," The Spine purred while delicately stroking the side of your face. You felt your heart flutter as he leaned in.