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Progression - a Sheldon/Penny fanfic

 Title: Progression

Author: lurkisblurkis and [info]the_great_snark

Word Count: 3769

Rating: PG-13

Spoilers: Heh. This covers both seasons (it gets somewhat AU once Season 3 rolls around). If Seasons 1 and 2 are “spoilers” for you, for heaven’s sake close this window and go finish the DVDs.

 

Disclaimer: I am acutely aware that I do not own Sheldon Cooper or any of his friends.

 

Summary: Sheldon is not sure what to do if one loves a woman. One-shot, based on a series of random prompts.

 

 

 

#61: Internet

 

Penny won’t let him friend her on Facebook for a year and a half. When he asks her why, she says it would be “creepy.” Sheldon disagrees. It would make communication much easier between their apartments; he wouldn’t have to cross the hall to knock on her door whenever he wanted to talk to her.

 

The next day she accepts his friend request.

 

#84: Museum

 

“They could build a museum to your ego, Sheldon,” sighs Penny.

 

He says he thinks that would be an excellent idea.

 

#14: Body

 

She’s appalled when he remarks offhandedly that he doesn’t know how to cuddle. And he regrets his words almost immediately when she pulls him down on the couch and insists that she teach him. She sits next to him—touching him!—and puts her arms around his torso and...he believes the word is snuggles up against his side, and good lord her hair is in his face. Ew.

 

After about thirty seconds he politely inquires what the point is.

 

#66: Kindred Spirit

 

He’s still unsure as to exactly what criteria Penny has come to fulfill as their “friend.” She is neither a scientist nor a mathematician; she has never attended school or worked in the same building with any of them; their television preferences do not overlap; and, as far as Sheldon has observed, she only eats their Thai food to be polite. Their social group ought to feel complete without her.

 

Then she misses her first Wii Bowling Night, and Sheldon becomes aware of a tiny sensation of unease.

 

#102: Quest

 

She takes to Age of Conan with an extraordinary propensity. He almost feels proud as his level 30 mage jogs alongside her level 29 warrior. (It’s a new toon just for playing with her, of course—he’s normally level 90 and not concerned with these insignificant peasant matters.) She comes to him for advice and clearly considers him some sort of invaluable guide, a sensei if you will. They have something in common, something to talk about. He likes that.

 

He likes it less the first time she beats him in PVP mode.

 

#96: Paperback

 

He reads the title aloud, incredulously.  “‘By Night He Came’?”

 

“Oh, I know it’s silly,” she says, waving a hand dismissively at the book.  “But hey, nothing wrong with a little guilty pleasure every now and then, right?”

 

“Mm, especially in your case, I’d think.  Given your abysmal taste in men, it makes sense for you to experience love vicariously, as a sort of learning tool.”

 

The first thing he does when he escapes the room is to run to his notebook and add to the growing list of social rules that had been unknown him to him until Penny’s arrival in the building, “Criticizing a female’s standards in sexual partners is unacceptable under any circumstances.”  He considers, then circles the sentence, just to be safe.

 

#125: Wellness

He doesn’t tell anyone, but he is quite touched by Penny’s grudging ministrations to him during his recent bout of illness. Obviously she had been extremely reluctant to go through with it, but she stayed with him regardless and assisted him in his return to health. Left to fend for himself, he might have emerged from the ordeal with a considerably weaker immune system. Instead, thanks to her, he is remarkably well.

 

He supposes that this is gratefulness. It’s a pleasant state of mind.

 

#45: Friend

“Are you and Leonard actually friends?

 

“He insists so. I defer to his judgment, since his knowledge of social constructs is superior to mine.”

 

“Are we friends?”

 

“Of course we are. Why do you ask?”

 

“Because you don’t come up and talk to me, or make any effort to hang out with me, or to treat me nicely,

or ask me to help you with any science experiments!”

 

“I don’t do any of that with Leonard either.”

 

“Fair point.”

 

#65: Kindness

 

She’s not particularly beautiful, whatever Leonard might say. Sheldon would probably categorize her physical appearance as “generic.” Nor is she intelligent—well, no more than the average plebeian. But even Sheldon has to admit that she is kind.

 

He doesn’t care about his own looks, and he already knows he’s brilliant. But he does sometimes wonder if he’s kind.

 

#5: Animal

 

"I'm sorry, but perhaps you aren't aware of the burden you're trying to impose upon me.  Not only are you asking me to feed, water, clean up after, and care for a house pet whose owner I don't even know, you are asking me to take in an animal that will cause me numerous health problems, such as: runny nose, watering eyes, inflammation of the skin, swollen feet--"

 

"Sheldon, please."

 

So he takes the accursed feline.  Well, it's only for a day.

 

#109: Scratched

 

“I’m going to the hospital, and you are under obligation to take me.”

 

“Sweetie, for the last time, the cat did not have rabies.”

 

“Oh, says the woman who gratuitously adopts cats from strangers.”

 

“It didn’t belong to anyone, it was a stray.”

 

Sheldon’s limbs explode, panicked, in all directions.

 

“WOMAN, WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO ME?”

 

 

#122: Vocabulary

 

Once, in an unusually good mood, he describes Penny’s vocabulary as “folksy and charming.” He is careful to surround the compliment with some artfully veiled derision, but the point remains. Her style of speech pleases him: it provides an excellent contrast with his own superlative English, thereby establishing him as the intelligent party to anyone who happens to overhear.

 

And also, she calls him “Sheldon, sweetie.” Aww.

 

#67: Knock

 

He knocks twelve times on her door before concluding that she is not home and he will have to share his exciting new Age of Conan achievement with Leonard.

 

His stomach suddenly seems more acidic and he chalks it up to mild digestive distress.

 

 

#126: Witnesses

 

The bath item gifts are not enough. He doesn’t know what to do. She clearly doesn’t understand. She’s laughing. She’s delighted. He stands there, torn, wishing to say thank you but having no idea how.

 

He’s going to have to hug her. Normally he scorns this convention as pointless and sentimental but he’s fairly sure she will perceive it differently. He hopes she will.

 

Of course he realizes after he’s begun it that he doesn’t know how long he’s supposed to keep holding her. Leonard (damn, he realizes: a witness) raises his eyebrows after about seven seconds and Sheldon takes that as a signal to release her.

 

She’s still laughing but he’s pretty sure she understands now.

 

#68: Ladybug

 

She comes in to borrow milk, Leonard acquiesces with a prepubescent giggle, and Sheldon groans inwardly.  They’re almost out, and she’ll use justenough so that his shredded wheat will be drier than he likes it, and you can forget about having any to drink for lunch.

 

Then he notices that she’s not wearing ordinary clothes, but a tank top and pajama bottoms, pink shorts adorned with a small decorative ladybug, and he sort of…forgets about the milk…

 

#1: Ability

 

He’s never been able to understand why Leonard and Howard and Raj care so much about females. It’s simply beyond him. There was a while when he wondered whether he might be gay, but frankly the thought of affixing his mouth to that of Leonard or Howard or Raj is even more repulsive than the thought of doing so to Penny.

 

Since this is also true for most people besides Leonard and Howard and Raj, he can only assume he’s heterosexual. If anything.

 

#24: Coincidence

 

He’s certainly not asexual, he thinks as he watches Penny walking across the hallway.

 

#118: Time

 

He flirted with her the first time she noticed his board of equations in the living room. He hadn’t meant to, he insists; he certainly wouldn’t have done so on purpose. She’d simply initiated a conversation and he had replied in kind. It wasn’t his fault that he’d been “doing something with his eyes,” as Leonard stammeringly puts it. Sheldon snorts. He hadn’t even been paying attention to his eyes. He’d been paying attention to Penny.

 

#62: Invades

 

Penny is consistent in being where she ought not to be.  On the day they first met, a period during which social boundaries are supposed to be carefully sought out and solidified, she had taken a shower in his bathroom.  Once, looking for his advice about Age of Conan, she had come into his room (an area into which Leonard was still only allowed with express permission, or in case of an emergency) at three o’clock in the morning and stood over him until he woke up.  To this day, she continues to sit in his spot, wantonly disregarding the rules of the apartment, if she thinks she can get away with it.

 

It isn’t so surprising that she has begun to turn up, uninvited, in trains of thoughts that previously had nothing to do with her.  What Sheldon does find surprising is the frequency with which this occurs, and his reluctance to return to other subjects once it has done so.

 

#74: Lust

 

It’s very easy to ignore hormonal imbalances;  all one has to do is adjust one’s train of thought or avert one’s eyes, and the body responds appropriately. One needn’t be a certifiable genius like he is to exericise such control over one’s mental faculties.

 

But—! he realizes with a jolt that there is a fatal error in his methods and this is that he has forgotten to account for what to do when a female puts her arm around one’s shoulders and rests her head on one’s arm and how is this even happening, has he been paralyzed? Dear God, why can’t he move?!

 

#106: Realize

 

Realizing it makes him throw up. Not even in the sanctioned vomit bowl under the sink—no, he doesn’t even think about that, just runs to the bathroom and then there’s Thai food in the toilet. Oh dear God this is worse than he thought.

 

#73: Love

 

Sheldon loves string theory. He loves Star Trek. He loves tangerine chicken.

 

If one loves a scientific theory, one puts forth great effort to defend it in the academic community. If one loves a television series, one purchases all available DVDs and appropriate merchandise. If one loves a food item, one orders it regularly from the restaurant that best prepares it.

 

Sheldon is not sure what to do if one loves a woman.

 

#46: Generous

 

He offers her the money for her rent partly because it’s obvious that she needs it, and partly because he sees it as an excellent opportunity to be nice to her. He actually could use it for something else—someone at the university has just published a new introductory physics curriculum and he wants to purchase it so that he can evaluate its most likely numerous flaws—but he doesn’t tell her this. He hopes this gesture will cause her to perceive him as generous.

 

What happens is that she nearly refuses the money and then for no apparent reason invents an imaginary conflict between the two of them and avoids him for the next week. Sheldon is getting tired of stomach aches.

 

#70: Learn

 

When informed that he, Sheldon, has never been in anything remotely resembling an emotional or carnal relationship with a woman, Penny retorts sarcastically, “No kidding.”

 

He’s happy that he picked up on the sarcasm.  Less so when he realizes shortly afterwards that the sarcasm indicates Penny’s inability to see him in a romantic light.

 

#38: Fade

 

Leonard’s awkward attempts at flirtation fill the room with tension.  Howard’s repugnant pick-up lines help to break it.  Raj, by his constant silence, merely draws attention to his presence; while Sheldon, still uncomfortable, still unfamiliar, still unsure, fades into the background, unnoticeable.

 

That’s not really true.  But it feels as though it is.

 

#84: Myself

 

Sheldon enters the room with his clipboard and asks without preamble, “On average, what qualities would most women in the age range between 20 and 30 say they find attractive in the opposite gender?”

 

Penny closes her eyes for a second, sighs, and then replies, “I dunno, hair? Eyes? Face? Arms? Butt? Hands?”

 

Sheldon frowns. “Perhaps I was unclear. I referred to mental or personal qualities.”

 

Penny wrinkles her forehead. “Uh...good sense of humor?”

 

Sheldon frowns again and writes “Insufficient data at this time.”

 

#127: Youth

 

A tentative pat on the shoulder when she learned that he had never been to a carnival (as though he had ever wanted to go).  A hug for never having been to a sleepover as a child.  A sympathetic look for his ignorance concerning Oscar the Grouch.  

 

Sheldon wonders what he'll get for informing her, very off-handedly, that he was not allowed to fingerpaint.

 

#57: Image

 

When he pictures them together, he knows exactly how Penny looks.  Her expression is one of delight, and she is probably looking up at him, since he is by far the taller of the two.  That’s easy enough to visualize—and pleasing, too.  But when it comes to his own face, his mind goes blank.  What does he look like when he looks at her?

 

Some kind of happy, he’s sure.  But he doesn’t know which.

 

#60: Innovative

 

It bewilders him how often she fails to understand him.  The way she screws up her face and looks at him, you’d think he was speaking Swahili. Honestly, it’s as though she doesn’t understand the language at all!  Finally it occurs to him that his proper English might be almost archaic to her. Grimacing, he visits the internet.

 

“Hey Sheldon.”

 

“Oh, hello, Penny.”  Deep breath.  “What is shaking?”

 

#11: Beauty

 

He doesn’t care that she’s beautiful. (She is, of course, but he doesn’t care.) He cares that she cares about him. That she considers him on a plane far above her. That she insists, usually in direct opposition his will, on dragging him down from that plane and making him take part in banal social activities and entanglements.

 

He navigates away from her facebook page and wonders if he can concoct a valid excuse to go live in the arctic.

 

#69: Later

 

It's only afterwards that he gets it; but how was he supposed to know?  He just likes bees, never thinking of using them as an extended metaphor for Penny's social conflicts.  Now that he gets it, he finds himself at a loss, because he wants to run to her apartment, knock three times, and say, "I hope you win"…but by now, she's probably forgotten the context completely.

 

#103: Quiet

 

Her room is very loud, and Sheldon is trying to organize his data on molecular monopolarization. And she’s being loud, and her music is too loud and it sounds like she’s singing along in that horrible voice of hers, and she’s being loud!

 

Sheldon grits his teeth, swears in Klingon, and keeps trying.

 

#52: Help

 

He has to get her another Christmas gift this year. He assumes she’ll present her gift first, as she did a year ago, and he’ll follow with his and render her as astounded as she did him, and perhaps she’ll feel compelled to thank him with a hug. He’d prefer it if she didn’t, but at the same time it would be a clear indication of strong emotion on her part. Which his gift would of course deserve.

 

But she doesn’t get him anything. And he doesn’t know why.

 

He retypes his paper on string theory monopolarization and deletes “Dr. Cooper would like to thank Penny Barnes for her help in preparation for this project.”

 

#63: Inverse

 

He steals into her room, all quiet and catlike, only to discover that she’s asleep.  No problem—he wakes her up by hissing her name repeatedly.

 

“Whad is id, Sheldod?” she croaks through the phlegm.

 

“I came to sing for you.”

 

“No, Sheldod, please dod’t—”

 

He shushes her vehemently and begins crooning “Soft Kitty.”  By the third chorus, she’s fast asleep again.

 

#56: Idea

 

They would complement each other in a relationship. He is sure he could provide her with adequate companionship and mature counsel, and his job would certainly render any financial objections moot. Of course he would probably have to participate in coitus, since Penny seems fond of it, but that is a compromise he is willing to make.

 

Overall it’s a sound idea, he thinks.

 

He hopes very much that she agrees.

 

#27: Cookies

 

He’s found that Penny is much more open to discussing delicate topics with him when he brings her a preemptive offering of some sort of baked good. He proffers a plate of cookies when he comes asking her to good lord give up guitar lessons. A loaf of blueberry bread the day he wants to know what “cock-block” means (she does not react well; he wonders if she dislikes blueberries). A bowl of mini muffins when he has to inform her that she has lost Halo Night privileges for a month due to her

unacceptable behavior in their last battle.

 

Sheldon looks down at the Boyfriend/Girlfriend Social Arrangement Contract he’s just typed up and wonders where he can get a five-layer cake.

 

#30: Desire

 

“But I don’t understand, who wouldn’t want me?” he wails, completely nonplussed. “I’m Dr. Sheldon Cooper, I’m the most brilliant mind in science! If not in the entire academic sphere!”

 

She smiles at him sadly. “Yes, sweetie, but you’re also kind of an idiot.”

 

She leaves him standing in front of her closed door with a cake in his hands and an expression of shock on his face.

 

#77: Mature

 

In the past six years he has only cried three times. Once was the first time an equation of his was proven wrong (spring 2004, Leslie Winkle). The second time was when Penny referred to Monte as a toy, although that was mostly because he knew it was his fault that they had lost the killer robor battle (winter 2008, Barry Kripke).

 

Technically, he’s not really crying now. He’s just sitting in his spot and blinking. (Spring 2010, Penny Barnes.)

 

#117: Terse

 

He tried ignoring him.  He tried responding with shorter answers, indicating an unwillingness to continue in this vein of conversation.  He tried leaving the room altogether, laptop in hand, but Leonard followed.

 

“…a matter of time until she notices a pattern,” Leonard’s saying, his voice sliding up and down the register in a familiar manner that can only be called “whiny.”  “It’s just cause and effect.  When she realizes that dating a certain kind of guy leads to the same inevitable conclusion, namely heartbreak, the only logical conclusion would be to—”

 

“Date you?  Hardly.  In case you’ve failed to notice, Leonard, Penny is already aware of that particular disastrous pattern in her love life, and yet she has repeatedly failed to rectify it.  Why?  Oh, I don’t know.  Perhaps she despises men who wear glasses because of a traumatic instance involving them in her childhood.  Perhaps her behavior, while self-harming, also carries with it a comforting sense of familiarity.  Perhaps she’s simply a masochist.  Based on the limited data, we can’t draw a legitimate conclusion.  All we do know for certain is that she doesn’t. Want. You.”

 

#41: Flower

 

Dear Penny: It is my understanding that, when a female rejects a male’s advances, it is the appropriate response on the male’s part to proffer a floral gift and some sort of written acknowledgment of his shortcomings within the particular failed social interaction. I am however not certain what I did to provoke said rejection in this specific instance, so I am afraid I cannot acknowledge any shortcomings.

 

If you have any helpful critiques that might improve the probability of my success at a later date, I would be glad to consider them. Also, this is a flower.

 

Dr. Sheldon Cooper

 

#81: Monopoly

 

He finds, even after she’s said no, that he doesn’t want anyone else to be nice to her but him. It’s a curious compulsion. He insists on being the one to invite her to lunch or Halo or the comic book store. He offers to do her laundry for her every Saturday night (and doesn’t tell Leonard or any of the others). He goes a full three days letting her sit in his spot before he snaps and has to take it back. He rescinds the two strikes she has accumulated and decides she is exempt from the system forever. It seems to be working. She seems to be noticing.

 

Then she brings him a new muscular date, and as they stand in the doorway, tongues intertwining, Sheldon realizes he doesn’t want anyone else to do those things with her, either.

 

#76: Mail

 

He steals her mail and pretends it was misdelivered to his and Leonard’s mailbox as a pretense for knocking on her door and engaging in conversation. But halfway through the fumbling attempt at small talk that follows he suffers an episode of facial tics and is forced to admit to her the truth.

 

“You wanted to talk to me?” she asks incredulously. She looks remarkably pleased.

 

He is remarkably pleased too.

 

#16: Cables

 

He's hooking up her printer, a promise which Leonard made and never fulfilled.  Fumbling for a wayward USB cable, he doesn't realize Penny's standing right beside him until she speaks.

 

"So...you were going to use the snake money for something, huh?"

 

Sheldon considers his answer a long time before he replies, "Theoretically, yes."

 

#105: Reaction

 

He doesn’t plan on enjoying the kiss. It’s just that he’s given to understand that when two people have confessed to a mutual romantic attachment, they are required to participate in one. He admits to Penny that he’s not sure how to proceed. So (without warning, might he add) she stands on her tiptoes and puts her mouth on his.

 

He’s still not sure how to proceed, but he has an idea that stumbling backwards and collapsing in shock would not be optimal. Besides, he can’t move again.

 

#64: Joy

 

“Hoooooly crap on a cracker, you’re a terrible kisser,” exclaims Penny afterwards.

 

He shrugs. “Well, yes.”

 

She smiles.

 

#112: Sentiments

 

She tries to teach him how to kiss. She gives him a peck: this is a quick kiss, she says. She kisses him frantically: this is an I-want-to-have-sex kiss, she says. She kisses him deeply: this is a let’s-make-out kiss. She kisses him with tongue: this means I like how you taste. She kisses him softly: this means I want you to know how much I love you.

 

Sheldon’s eyes are closed, but he leans forward and kisses her softly.


 

-fin-

 

'Help You' - a Sheldon/Penny fanfic

Title: Help You

Author: lurkisblurkis

Word Count: 1573

Rating: PG

Spoilers: None.

 

I hereby disclaim Sheldon Cooper and his world.

 

Summary: Sometimes Penny needs help...

 

 

 

 

 

1.

 

Exasperated

 

“Oh good lord, Penny, let me help you.”

 

She slumps back into her chair and lets him take over. Sheldon deftly spins the laptop around to face him and attacks the keyboard.

 

“You really shouldn’t be wasting your time with America Online,” he mutters as the homepage loads. “But if you insist on using their outdated mail system then—oh great Caesar’s ghost, woman! Firefox? Really?!”

 

Penny pffts and folds her arms.

 

Sheldon ignores her. His gaze is absorbed by the glowing screen and his fingers fly. “Yes, you do want to download new Windows updates...yes, you want the latest Acrobat...your password should have both numbers and either a capitalized letter or over ten characters...”

 

“SHELDON!”

 

Now he looks up.

 

“I just. Want. To download. My work schedule.”

 

He blinks. “Fine,” he replies, clearly affronted. “There you go.”

 

A few more keystrokes and the screen is facing her again. The PDF is slowly downloading.

 

“Good god, I would hate to see where you’d be without me.”

 

She sneers at him and snatches back her precious machine. “Thank you for the help, Sheldon.”

 

 

 

 

 

2.

 

Sullen

 

“Look, I’m sorry, Sheldon, I promised Kelsey I’d do her laundry since her machine is broken,” Penny protests. “It’s only for one night.”

 

“Was it absolutely necessary to wait until 7:00 to begin?”

 

She sighs. “You know I was working all afternoon. I didn’t have time.”

 

“It’s 8:30, Penny.”

 

“...I know, Sheldon.”

 

“It’s—”

 

“—Saturday, yes, I know. And it’s almost done.”

 

The dryer bings.

 

“See?” Penny walks over and starts to unload. “Told you.”

 

She never called herself coordinated. Towels and t-shirts spill out from her arms along what might be conceived as the path to the laundry hamper. She goes in for another armful and manages to lose half of it on the way. Sheldon’s face is beginning to twitch.

 

“Here, let me help you,” he grumbles, going in for a blouse.

 

 

 

 

 

3.

 

Sincere

 

She had actually been closer to finishing community college than she’d let on. So when, after three years of waitressing and no real accomplishments there, she decides she needs to be able to check something off of her list, she reluctantly knocks on Leonard’s door and asks for that pamphlet again.

 

The boys are good about it. It’s not awkward like it would be if she and Leonard were still going out. Still, she doesn’t tell them that she’s taking Intro to Physics to fulfill her science requirement. She imagines their response would...be unhelpful.

 

Two weeks later she’s there again, reluctantly knocking on Leonard’s door.

 

It’s Sheldon who opens it. “Leonard is away,” he says dramatically. This is accompanied by an indecipherable hand gesture.

 

Penny wrinkles her forehead.

 

“Um...ok...”

 

“He is—possibly—at the university,” Sheldon continues in that weird, stilted voice. “Or—perhaps he is attending the cinema.”

 

“Sheldon, if you want to say Leonard is on a date, that’s ok.”

 

He relaxes visibly.

 

“Look, is there anyone else around?” She clutches her binder to her chest. “I’m, um, taking a physics test next week and I seriously need help studying.”

 

His eyes light up. “You’re requesting a physics tutorial?”

 

Oh god, just turn around now while you still can... “...Yes.”

 

“Well...” Sheldon glances back into the apartment. “Let me help you.”

 

She’s going to regret this, but she can’t say no while he’s actually smiling like that.

 

 

 

 

 

4.

 

Eager

 

In retrospect, two trips might have been worth it, she thinks, balancing three bags of groceries and a FedEx package and looking up the three flights of stairs.

 

As she’s pondering the—how ironic—physics of reaching apartment 4A with all items intact and considering asking the boys how one would go about engineering a second pair of arms, Sheldon comes traipsing down the stairs, humming to himself. He stops short when he sees her, the theme to Star Wars dying on his lips.

 

“Hey Sheldon,” she says around a loaf of French bread and three rolls of paper towels. “On your way to work?”

 

“Yes...” He’s looking her up and down, concern in his face. “You’re not actually going to try this, are you?”

 

“Going up the stairs?” She has to shuffle sideways to look at him around the bags now that he’s moved closer. “Yeah, no, I’ll have—”

 

“Here, lemme help you.”

 

Before she can reply he’s somehow leaned over and lifted all three bags out of her arms.

 

He takes a second to heft them up into a better grip and then steps back and nods to the stairwell.

 

Penny is a little bit flabbergasted.

 

“Th...thank you, Sheldon,” she replies. He follows her up the stairs. “Wow, that’s really nice of you.”

 

“Yes, it is,” he agrees unabashedly as they turn the corner. “Especially considering I may be late for work now.”

 

She turn to him in irritation, but then she’s surprised by the pleasant expression on his face. Actually she’s surprised she can see his face while he’s carrying three bags of groceries including a loaf of French bread. Good grief his arms are long.

 

“Well I appreciate it,” she says, and she means it.

 

He smiles and starts humming again.

 

She is not going to hum along. She is not. No way.

 

 

 

 

 

5.

 

Overeager

 

“Yeah, my car totally died on me,” she’s saying into her cell phone. “I got it over onto the shoulder but I could really use someone to come pick me up.”

 

“Well, Penny, I can get over there in about a half an hour, why don’t I—hey, Sheldon—why don’t I come help you as soon as I drop off my lab equipment?”

 

“Thanks Leonard, you’re really sweet—”

 

“Is that Penny?” she hears in the background.

 

“Yeah, Sheldon, I’m on the phone—”

 

“—Is she in trouble?”

 

Penny blinks. Stupid cell phone reception.

 

“She’s in a bit of a bind, Sheldon, but I can—”

 

“Let me help her!”

 

There’s a long silence.

 

“Sheldon, her car broke down and she needs someone to drive her home.”

 

Another silence.

 

“Ah. Then I would be less than useless.”

 

Silence.

 

“Pretty much, yes.”

 

Silence.

 

“Well, then, carry on.”

 

The phone crackles and then Leonard’s voice is up close again. “Penny? You still there?”

 

Penny sits back in her chair with her mouth open in...something. Shock, maybe. She drops the hand holding her phone into her lap.

 

“Hello?”

 

 

 

 

 

6.

 

Lost

 

It’s over. Two days have passed. She feels like she hasn’t stopped crying since she got off the plane. She has the words car accident and sister stuck in her head and she can’t get them out. She’s forgetting what they mean. She’s turning them both into the word funeral.

 

Now she’s on her couch with the TV on. She doesn’t know what else to do.

 

Knock knock knock. “Penny.”

 

She buries her face in her hands.

 

Knock knock knock. “Penny.” Knock knock knock. “Penny.”

 

“Id’z unlogged,” she manages in a stuffy voice.

 

She hears the door open, and his footsteps approach. He comes and sits—in his spot, not next to her, but there.

 

He looks like he doesn’t know what to do.

 

“Let me help you,” he says quietly.

 

Penny sniffs and wipes her nose—her whole face, really, with the balled up Kleenex in her left hand. “I’b zorry, Sheldod. There’s nothig you cad do.”

 

He stares at her helplessly. His eyes are red-rimmed.

 

“No.” He shakes his head. “That answer is not acceptable to me.”

 

Penny waves her hands in little meaningless gestures. She can’t talk. She can’t even breathe through her nose.

 

She doesn’t have a sister anymore.

 

“Let me help you,” Sheldon begs. “Please.”

 

Now she’s crying again.

 

Sheldon leans forward, and then with visible effort vacates his spot and comes to sit next to her, on her left.

 

He seems to be having trouble speaking. “Leonard told me that tea would be neither appropriate nor useful. Well, not emotionally. It would likely have a soothering effect on your nasal cavity—”

 

He stops himself.

 

Penny is still crying.

 

“My dad died five years ago,” he says abruptly.

 

She raises her head and stares at him.

 

“Were you cloze?” she snuffles.

 

Sheldon is staring at her. “No, not at all. I was here in Pasadena.”

 

“Thad’z nod whad I—uh.”

 

He gingerly puts a hand on her shoulder.

 

“Afterwards, my mom did this to me.”

 

She’s pulled sideways, and she’s leaning against him, and his arm is around her back, and his other arm is around her front, and his hands are clasped over her upper arm, holding her to him, and her head is on his shoulder, and his head is on hers, and she closes her eyes and shakes as she cries.

 

“Does that help?” he asks softly.

 

Yes, she thinks into his t-shirt.

 

 

 

 

 

7.

 

Found

 

Half an hour later, she moves. Her arm has fallen asleep, and she’s not entirely sure that Sheldon hasn’t fallen asleep either. He hasn’t said anything for a long time.

 

“Sheldon?”

 

She feels him shift next to her. “You sound better. Less congested.”

 

“A little bit.”

 

“Good.”

 

She feels something on her hair and looks up. He’s just finished kissing the top of her head.

 

“What was that?” she asks pathetically.

 

He frowns. “That’s part of it.”

 

Penny looks at his long arms around her and his red-rimmed eyes. She thinks about bad cell phone reception and physics tests.

 

“No, Sheldon...here, let me help you.”

 

-fin- 

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 I am truly enjoying my Arabic class this semester with our new prof. Well, she's actually really only new to a few of us in class. But she's a spectacular, funny, clever, snarky, authoritative lady. She's a strict teacher too. If you know me well you know that my favorite kind of teacher is 1) snarky 2) intelligent and 3) very strict. (And 4) spectacular.) Sarab is all of these (as were my two favorite English teachers in high school and my Spanish profesora).

I found out that the Honors option in my poetry class is just to write more poems. I thought to myself, "Self, you can do that, can't you?" But myself was too busy writing more poems to answer. At any rate I am totally going for the Honors option here. It'll be easy, and I'm already writing two poems a week anyway.

Today amidst my class-goings and general ramblings, I managed to get to the store and buy some much-needed supplies. Along with said supplies I also bought this:



This is spectacular. It is extremely extremely tasty. It is happiness in the form of a chocolate bar and IT IS MINE. That's right. Mine. I am eating it now, and it is WONDER-FRICKING-FUL.

Other adventures today:

I got stuck with not one, but TWO lousy, crabby bus drivers. That was...well, lousy.

I sniggered with my friend B about the Arabic words "fockot" ("only") and "shittah" ("winter").

I spent a couple of hours hanging out with memorysdaughter and drinking allegedly-Welsh tea. It was tasty.

Aaaaaaand, I ate a tasty salad.

All in all, not a bad day.
My Arabic class meets in a building very close to the river, and the river happens to have a rather large duck population. Yesterday afternoon when I was leaving class, I exited the building and was immediately greeted by a huge flock of mallard ducks crowding around a girl with a bag of animal crackers. She was feeding them and they liked it.

Let me take a moment to express my feelings about ducks: I LOVE THEM. In fact I love pretty much every species of bird. I like birds more than puppies, and more than cats, and even more than squirrels. I think they're the cutest things on this earth and I absolutely want one as a pet.

So I was really happy to see these ducks. Especially when I got involved in the cracker-dispensing and the ducks started crowding around me. The little guys were really enthusiastic about those crackers. Have you ever seen a duck jump? Well I have. It was an enriching experience. So was the time when I dropped a cracker onto my wheelchair footrest, and two massive male mallards immediately rushed my wheelchair and fought over it.

But this wasn't enough. Oh no. After much eyelash-batting and pathetic begging, I coerced my friend B. into attempting to pick up a duck for me. She actually succeeded, although getting the duck into my lap didn't really happen. But I did get to touch it before it squawked and flapped away (and immediately returned as soon as another animal cracker hit the ground).

I really want a pet duck. So badly.

Yesterday I got a big packet in the mail from---and I can actually say these words for the first time ever---MY LAWYER. Oh yes. Well my parents are actually hiring him, but he's representing me. See, the wonderful state of Michigan that provided me with nursing care when I lived at my parents' house decided back in the fall that, now that I'm in college and live in another city, they don't want to pay for my nurses anymore. Which is slightly problematic...since I'm in a wheelchair and have a tracheostomy and am ventilator dependent and NEED to have nighttime nurses to take care of me overnight and monitor my equipment while I sleep and listen to my lungs every night to make sure I'm healthy and stuff. So waaaay back in August my parents and I said, "Um, excuse me, State of Michigan and Medicaid, we sort of need you not to do this." And the state of Michigan and Medicaid said "Well too bad." So we said, "Ok, well, we're appealing your decision." And we've been in the appeals process since then.

Legally, they have to keep giving me services during the appeals process, which is why I've been able to stay at college all this past semester. See, our hearing keeps getting pushed forward (which is really good - see last sentence). The state keeps making up new reasons for why they shouldn't have to give me anymore nursing. Finally we were like, "Ok. This is ridiculous and we can't handle it just by ourselves anymore." So my parents hired a lawyer (not that we can afford one, but hey, what can you do), and now the hearing is scheduled for Feb. 17, and after that...well, if we win our appeal, then I get to stay at college. If we lose, I have to go back to my parents' house while we take our appeal to circuit court, and if we lose THAT, then we're going to start approaching news stations and stuff and trying to make a scene! It'll be great fun. Of course I'll be miserable because I'll have had to leave my school and my friends and my new town, but still, the idea of going to the media is kind of exciting.

But I hope that doesn't have to happen. I'm leaving that to my lawyer.

 My very first LJ post and I'm starting out with prostitutes. Hoo boy.

I only know a couple of people who are probably going to read this, ever, but since I am one of them myself, then it's officially worth writing. But first I am going to go and get a drink of water. (Must prepare myself for this epic adventure after all.)

All righty, we're back. Today has been an exciting and extremely busy day. My schedule's just been packed. First there was Sleep until 9:00, followed by Intarwebs until noon. Then I had to Sit Around for an hour and a half, and from 1:30 to 3:00 there was Time Wasting. General Non-Productivity was going to start at 5, but I had to move it up at 4 to make room for Nothing In Particular (which will start at 6). And then at 7 I have to Panic Because I Didn't Do Any Work Today.

Haha, no, just kidding. I don't have to Panic until 8.

Next to me on my desk is John Jensen's "Principles of Generative Phonology". It gives me a warm fuzzy feeling every time I look at it. My major (I'm a college freshman) is linguistics and I am enjoying a truly stupendous phonology/phonetics course this semester (also known as PhoPho). And PhoPho makes me happy.

Other things that have made me happy today:

Coming to breakfast late enough (by accident, too - major points!) that there was nothing left to eat except for massive creme-filled chocolate-covered donut-like objects. "Aw rats, I guess I have no choice."

Finding some truly, truly horrendous fanfiction to spork. It's just piling up on my computer here.

Two good books: "Genie" by Russ Rymer (thanks memorysdaughter ) and "Dark Lord of Derkholm" by Diana Wynne Jones (thanks self).

Things that have made me UNHAPPY today:

I ordered a book online a few days ago, and I've been tracking it on the link that gave me. Apparently the package was delivered today to my dorm...even though it's a federal holiday and that doesn't make sense. But is the front desk open, so that I could go and GET my package with my new Robin McKinley book in it? ...Guess. (And it's been that way ALL DAY, too. I guess if you're locked out of your room and need to get a key at the desk you're just screwed.)

I decided to wear my fluffy sparkly blue sweater today. I forgot it was also an itchy sweater. Oops.

For anybody who happens to be reading this for some reason who doesn't know me, I use a wheelchair and a ventilator and have a staff of hired personal assistants (usually students around my age) who come in at various points in the day to be an extra set of hands for me, take me to class, help me do chores, etc. Today the two girls who were going to be coming in for most of the day both called in sick, and the others that I tried contacting were either busy or didn't answer their phones. So, that kind of sucked. At least there wasn't class today. Is it horrible that the main reason I like MLK Day is because there's no school?

(Yes.)