It was just a coincidence, Sheldon kept telling himself. Fortune tellers spewed nothing but malarkey. Predictions could be made based on scientific facts, but people weren't capable of seeing into the future with tarot cards, crystal balls, and spirit guides. So why did he feel uneasy?
That fateful night over five years ago proved nothing. Just because what Madame Zelda said then came true didn't mean her second prediction would. It wasn't destiny that his commitment to Amy fulfilled his dream of winning a Nobel. They got there through hard work and determination.
When the clairvoyant beckoned him as he walked by her shop, he assumed she recognized him from the publicity he and Amy received since news of their award became public. Had he realized she remembered him from the night Penny forced him to have his fortune read, he would have kept walking and never looked back.
She didn't want his autograph; she wanted to gloat about her prophecy. Passersby stared as they argued about the legitimacy of her so-called spirit guides. That should have been his cue to leave, but he reluctantly indulged in her offer to predict his future again to end the boasting when she was proved wrong.
In the incensed-filled room, he sat at the table, arms crossed, mouth set in a firm line as Madame Zelda closed her eyes and breathed in deeply. She smiled softly then opened her eyes.
"You and your wife will be expecting your first child, a daughter, in nine months."
"That's preposterous! Amy and I haven't had coitus in six weeks. That would be a long pregnancy. My wife is not an elephant."
"My spirit guides don't lie."
Sheldon pushed his chair back with such force that the legs screeched against the hardwood floor. "You can tell your spirit guides to stuff it."
The walk home did nothing to calm his mind. If it was any other day, the prediction would have made no impact, but a reminder on his calendar mocked him. Tonight he and Amy were scheduled for vigorous love making. Not only that, he continued to track her cycle and was aware that she was at the peak of her fertile stage.
Sheldon thought about rescheduling a few days out. Amy would never know. He stared at the words on his screen, finger poised over the edit button, but he just couldn't do it. The thought of modifying a planned event made his skin crawl.
The apartment was empty, and for once he was relieved that Amy was working late. The extra time could be used to devise a solution.
In the bedroom he unloaded his pharmacy purchases, the reason he had even been in the clairvoyant's vicinity to begin with. The first aid supplies were impulse buys to add to his already well-stocked kit. When he pulled out his main purchase, his worry disappeared. If they did engage in coitus tonight, the latex shields would prevent an unplanned pregnancy.
"Accidents happen," a tiny voice in him whispered. "Look at Leonard and Penny."
"They didn't use protection," he retorted. But even as the words crossed his mind, he was aware that the only foolproof method to prevent pregnancy was abstinence. Condoms could fail. There could be a hole in it before he put it on, it could tear or slip…
He took a few deep breaths to calm his racing heart. Accidents could happen, but the chances were slim. Maybe there was time to return to the pharmacy for a second backup method. He set the box on his nightstand and stood. Before he could step foot out of the bedroom, he heard a key in the lock. Amy! Frozen to his spot, he stood helplessly as his wife repeatedly called his name, each time a little more worry creeping into her voice.
"I'm in the bedroom," he croaked.
"There's my hubby." She got on her tiptoes and planted her lips on his. "You didn't have any problems getting home? I felt bad staying late when Leonard was also busy."
"I managed." She was staring at him, and he looked away. Amy was very intuitive, especially when it came to his emotions. She often recognized his mood before he could even identify what he was feeling.
"Is everything okay? I'm not planning on working overtime tomorrow, so you won't need to take the bus again."
"Good. Good." He gave her a quick smile, but she wasn't fooled.
"Did something happen at work?"
"No." He snuck a glance at the box and instantly regretted it.
Her eyes followed his, and a slow grin spread across her face. "Did my coming home a bit early interrupt your plans? Is there a basket of rose petals hiding in here somewhere?"
"No. I…" He licked his lips. "We can't tonight." The smile fell from her face, and he knew she was disappointed.
"That's too bad because after the day I had, I can use some stress release."
"Perhaps I can treat you to a massage."
Keeping her eyes on the box, she shrugged. "Maybe."
"I sense you aren't too keen on that idea. Friday will be a better day for amorous activities."
"Friday? Is that one of our pseudorandom scheduled days?"
Sheldon squirmed. Agreeing could make this whole mess go away, but he was a terrible liar and didn't want to deceive her. "It's not."
She frowned. "I don't understand. The only time you ever take the condoms out is right before we make love. If it's not today and not Friday, which you consider to be a better day, what are you doing with those?"
He took a seat on the bed and patted the spot next to him. "You may want to sit down."
Amy gingerly sat next to him. "Sheldon, you're scaring me."
"I didn't mean to." Looking straight ahead he gathered his thoughts. "I… um… took the bus to the pharmacy after work to buy extra condoms. We still have a few in the drawer, but you know I love preparedness."
Out of the corner of his eye, he watched her nod in agreement. "I know. It's one of the things I admire about you."
"On my way home, I passed by a psychic shop, the one Penny took me to when I foolishly reinstated anything can happen Thursday." He turned to her and saw her frown.
"I never did tell you what she predicted. She told me that once I committed to you, everything in my life would fall into place, both personally and professionally."
Her frown deepened. "What does that have to do with our lovemaking schedule?"
"Her prediction came true. The day of our wedding is the same day we discovered super asymmetry. I committed to you, and my lifelong dream of winning a Nobel was fulfilled."
"Sheldon, you don't actually believe in psychics now, do you?"
"Of course not."
"I don't know what you're trying to tell me. I'm going to need more information."
"Madame Zelda recognized me. She bragged about how she was right and how her spirit guides never lied. When I argued the legitimacy of her profession, she persuaded me to have my fortune read again. If she was wrong, she promised to never try convincing me again."
"So you agreed."
He nodded. "Yes. Now I fear her prophecy will become reality, not because I believe she could see my future, but because the timing is right."
"What timing? What did she predict?"
He cleared his throat and averted his eyes. "She said we'll be expecting our first child in nine months."
"But that's impossible. It's been… Oh!"
Again he viewed her from his peripheral vision. Her eyes were wide, and her mouth was set in an O shape. "Tonight was supposed to be a night of vigorous love making, but with you being fertile, there's a possibility we could conceive tonight, even with protection. I can't allow that woman to believe her premonitions are credible."
"Our lives can't revolve around what others think. All that matters is that neither of us believes in that mumbo jumbo…"
"Right. There's no scientific proof to support clairvoyance exists. If, we conceive tonight, it would be nothing more than coincidence. It's unlikely your paths will cross again in the near future, so chances are slim that you'll be subjected to her 'I told you so's'."
"You are very wise, Amy Farrah Fowler, but, if you don't mind, I would feel more comfortable waiting until Friday. It's only four days away."
Amy scooted closer, so close that their hips and elbows were touching. "Would it really be so bad if we make a baby tonight? We agreed to wait until after our fame died down a bit. I haven't seen any reporters outside the building in over three weeks."
"Maybe next month..."
"If you want to wait because you're not ready to be a dad, we'll wait, but if it's because of what Madame Zelda said..."
Sheldon considered her words. They put off expanding their family while they were busy working on super asymmetry and then even longer after their Nobel win and the continuing slew of reporters after they returned from Sweden. He didn't believe Madame Zelda could predict the future, but perhaps her emotional radar detected his desire to become a parent and was nudging him toward that decision, just as she had when he feared committing fully to Amy.
"I'm sorry. I was just thinking that I would not be opposed to trying for a baby tonight."
"I'm really glad to hear you say that," she whispered in his ear.
Her warm breath sent a small shiver down his spine. He licked his lips then inhaled sharply when her tongue found the sensitive spot just above his collarbone. "Vixen," he muttered before giving in to his baser urges.