I can't explain why I am suddenly so prolific, but I'm going to ride it as long as I can. This story idea seems to be getting better and better as I go.
I have every single episode of BBT and I have watched them so many times it's ridiculous at this point. The actors on that show give such nuanced performances that you can watch the same show eleven times in a row and still see something you missed. When Penny and Sheldon go at it, there is so much subtext that even if you turn off the sound the sparks still fly! I have watched several Penny/Sheldon fanfilms on YouTube that show this but the one that amazes me with it's timing and editing, and really shows the volatility of this friendship is Penny/Sheldon Heartbeat by marysullivan. If you have not seen this I recommend you do so. I consider it the unofficial trailer for this fic LOL! The line "Always up for a laugh, she's a pain in the ass" is perfect!
For those of you that read this and wonder if this technology mentioned in later paragraphs does exist, I can confirm that it does. It is used mostly for video games and animated films, but it would translate easily here, plus it got me out of a lot of long drawn out lines about Sheldon trying on this or that, and still leaves the reveal for the next chapter where it belongs.
The personal comments about Sheldon's looks I have absorbed from any number of fanfics, there seems to be some concensus about certain things, so since I am writing in Penny's point of view I am assuming she would notice them as well.
Penny's dress was a combination of two of Grace Kelly's most famous looks, I've watched Project Runway enough to get some of the terms right, but I'm still a bit nervous that the details might be off.
Let no one say I am not confident in my sexuality LOL!
Once again...Me--uncompensated...Mua ha ha you can't sue me!
Not that I would't mind going to court in lawsuit proceedings if I could meet Chuck Lorre LOL!
The Big Bang Theory
The Reverse Pygmalion Paradox
Penny had decided that she was picking up bad habits from the nerds next door. This was the third day in a row that she had gotten up before 9:00 and she felt grumpy.
Yesterday leading up to last night had been a success, Sheldon had taken to the social program idea. She was not too happy about the outmoded sexist dialogue he had picked up, but there was no denying the result. He had effortlessly acquired some of Cary Grant's cool, and William Powell's delivery, which was the entire reason Randall picked out those movies.
Truth be known, it suited him very well. She was extremely embarrassed to admit, when he walked and talked like he was doing last night, he was beyond old school smooth, he was charming and dare she admit…handsome?
She was sitting on her couch in her sleep clothes with phone books opened all around her with her head in her hands.
"Did I just admit to myself that Sheldon was cute, again?" she said to the empty apartment. She gazed longingly at the top of her refrigerator where she kept the booze. This was so not the week to stop drinking!
She had listed on a pad in front of her various formal wear shops to peruse, but there was a nagging thought that would not let her go.
I wonder if Samantha would help?
When Penny arrived fresh off the bus from Nebraska, she had been looking for jobs and she spotted a Models Wanted add in Variety. It had said no experience necessary so she took a shot. A young fashion designer who was trying to assemble a show had posted the ad, and Penny was the first to inquire.
Her name was Samantha Kestrel, and she was talented, poor but talented. She was desperate for models and had incurred a lot of debt to put on her first fashion show. She and Penny hit it off because both were dreamers from Midwest towns. Samantha was from Manhattan…Kansas, which was her favorite joke to open with at parties. She had an amazing ability and Penny watched as she courted bankruptcy, and then began to make a brand name for herself.
Things had gone sour when Samantha met Penny's then boyfriend Kurt. Penny found them in bed together after an audition suddenly canceled. She eventually reconciled with Kurt. (Big mistake!) She had never talked to Samantha again, she had come to regret that decision missing her former best friend, but pride dictates your actions sometimes. Over the last two years, she had seen Samantha's name in the trades, and knew that she was exclusive now, by appointment only. Penny had not bothered to reconnect, she was one of hundreds of blond actresses vying for a dwindling number of parts and Samantha was a successful businesswoman, why would she want to talk to Penny?
She sighed and tapped the eraser of her pencil against her jaw. "What do I have to lose?" she concluded. She had transferred her phone book from cell to cell, as she changed phones over the years and she scrolled down through the numbers in her directory. Sam was still there. She knew there was a slim chance that Samantha still had this number, and if she did not, then there was no way to get her unlisted business.
Penny hit send.
"Hello, go for Samantha," was the brusque reply.
Penny was tongue-tied. She managed to stammer, "Hey there."
There was silence on the other end, Penny checked for disconnection, finally Samantha spoke, "Is this Penny?"
Penny smiled, "Hi there girlfriend, heard you been doing some sewing," she said in a mid-west twang that they had adopted when talking to each other.
"Yeah, a little bit. Why are you talking to me?" was her suspicious reply.
Penny decided that she was going to pull a Sheldon. In this situation, he would just tell the entire truth and let the chips fall where they may. "I am calling you because I am up against a deadline and I need some help. Even after all this time, I just couldn't think of anybody else."
There was a sigh. "You still blame me for Kurt?"
Penny let out a little ironic laugh. "I still blame myself for Kurt."
She could hear Samantha's musical laugh though the phone, "Good answer!"
Penny smiled. It felt so good to talk to Samantha. They had been like sisters and she never realized that cutting Samantha off was like losing a piece of herself. She suddenly felt that piece was back.
"So what can I help you with Pen?"
Penny still could not relax, she knew it was still a long shot, and even though they were talking, the reconnection was still new. "I have a very special friend of mine that I need to dress and take out in Hollywood society. He thinks that a plaid sport coat over a brown sweater vest is dressing up."
Samantha made a hissing noise through her teeth at that. "Yeah that does sound like a dire emergency! Wait a second…you're dating someone who's not a fashion plate?"
Penny did not know how to reply to that. She knew it was too complicated for a phone conversation. "It's in the early stages," she ventured. (Like an embryo!)
Samantha showed she was still her formerly blunt self. "He sounds like kind of a geek."
Penny went for truth again, "He is a geek. He's also a double PhD from Cal-Tech, and he might be one of the smartest men on the planet!"
Samantha was chuckling. "You're dating the anti-Kurt?"
Penny laughed. "Oh yeah!"
Samantha was quiet for a minute. "I'm free this afternoon. I never take appointments the week before a show. Bring this guy by; I've got to see this!"
She gave out an address for downtown.
Penny let out a sigh of relief. "You have no idea what this means to me Sam."
"I just might," Samantha replied in a quiet tone, "see you around 3:00?"
Penny agreed said her goodbye and closed her phone. She leaned back and reflected. This week with Sheldon had really gone in an interesting direction.
She pulled her knees up to her chest covered by the long Flash t-shirt she was wearing.
Leaving work early and altering his routine had the result of making Sheldon cranky. Of course, when Penny pointed that out, he denied it.
"A Theoretical Physicist (watch your speed) spends his time figuring out the fabric of the universe. (Dear Lord, hear of something called stopping distance?) We do not get "cranky," he stated crossing his arms belligerently.
"I'm sorry sweetie, did we miss your nap time today?" she replied with a smile.
He shot her a glare and turned back to his diatribe about the myriad ways she was going to get them killed.
She tuned out his drone and concentrated on finding the right street. The neighborhood was very nice; she had very few reasons to come down this particular way. She remembered trying to buy a cup of coffee at one of the shops on this street and balking when it cost about an hour's tips!
"How it is that your friend has a studio on this street?" Sheldon said after pausing mid-rant.
"Are you saying that I can't possibly have successful friends?" Penny shot back irritated.
Sheldon just shrugged. "Of course I'm not suggesting that you can't have successful friends, we're friends after all. I was just commenting on the locality."
Penny rolled her eyes.
She pulled up in front of the non-descript building. It had an art deco fascia that matched the rest of the buildings on the street but it had no distinguishing characteristics. It was the sort of place so exclusive that it felt no need to advertise, because its customers would seek it out.
Penny was beginning to wonder if she had underestimated Sam's success. She was beginning to feel nervous that her former friend was playing some sort of prank on her for revenge.
They exited the car, with Sheldon slinging his ever-present satchel over his shoulder. She walked over to the door, and pressed the button on the intercom beside the blacked out door.
"Good, come on up!"
Penny exchanged a look with Sheldon as the door popped open with a buzz.
They walked up one story stairway lined with photos of people in different styles of clothing. Penny recognized some features that Samantha was experimenting with those years she modeled for her. Several of persons wearing the clothes were faces Penny knew.
She glanced over her shoulder and realized that Sheldon was dragging his feet. "What's wrong?" she called.
He gave her an irritated look, "Forgive me if I'm not exactly looking forward to being poked and prodded and having my person measured like a dress dummy."
Penny smirked. "That's why we're here, to dress you...dummy."
He paused long enough to shoot her a glare. She just chuckled and reached the top of the stairs. The studio was not what she anticipated. Decorated with warm blues, greens and browns, lavishly appointed with mirrors and platforms, it was inviting but business like.
"Welcome to Kestrel Fashions!" Samantha called as she walked out of the back. Penny was happy to see not much had changed. She was still wearing the same glasses, had the same pixie bob to her black hair (with tasteful maroon highlights, those were new) and still wore minimum amount of makeup. She was a little taller than Penny when they hugged but that was from her high heels.
She turned and immediately began sizing Sheldon up.
Sheldon had chosen to wear a bright blue multi-hued stripe knit t-shirt over a grey long sleeved collared sweater with tan slacks, actually one of the better ensembles he had in his collection.
Sheldon felt the scrutiny and he stood there shifting from one foot to another. Samantha turned to Penny. Penny stared back. Samantha gave her the raised eyebrow they used to use when they were evaluating men in a club under their noses. This one meant, "I've seen worse." Penny winked back to say, "Back off, I got this one."
"Excuse me, can we get this over with, I've better things to do with my day," Sheldon called his irritation clear in his voice.
Samantha smiled. "I'm sorry, just catching up with Penny a bit. You must be Penny's friend that I've heard so much about," she said offering her hand. Sheldon clearly did want to shake it but after Penny gave him a pointed glare, he accepted it.
"I'm Dr. Sheldon Cooper. I don't know what she has told you, but I can assure you she is prone to exaggeration."
Samantha gave him another once over, "In this case I'd say she understated things a bit, Dr. Cooper. Would you mind giving us a second to chat?"
Sheldon waved her off dismissively and went to sit in one of the chairs in a small sitting area to the side.
Samantha watched as he checked for cushion density. She glanced at Penny and nodded off toward the room she came out of when they arrived.
Penny gave Sheldon her best, "Behave yourself" glare, he paused from squirting Purrell into his hand to respond with a look of bewilderment as if he thought he was, and she followed Sam into the back.
Penny was not sure what her friend would say. Sam spun around as she came through the entryway. "That's your new boyfriend?"
Penny once again did not know how to answer that question. She settled on, "Maybe."
Samantha beamed, "Well please let me know as soon as you figure it out! That man is adorable! Why didn't you tell me he was tall and lean? You had me expecting Urkel!"
Penny was speechless, and then she blurted, "Sheldon Cooper? That man in there?"
Samantha rolled her eyes, "He's not what you usually go for, Penny, but let me assure you, that man is attractive."
Penny sighed. (Okay let's stop fighting this.) "Yes he's kinda cute."
Samantha gave her a strange look, "When you said that, you had the same expression I did getting my wisdom teeth cut out."
Penny grinned. "You'll understand in an hour."
"That should do it Dr. Cooper. Why don't you get dressed and come on out."
Samantha had sent Sheldon back to a dressing room, and asked him to undress and enter a booth she had back there. He was dubious about it, and almost balked until Penny had insisted, holding their contract over his head. (He was going to regret writing that thing up!)
They went back into the main area to give him some privacy. Samantha walked over to a desk and booted up her computer. She had clicked on a program and waited until the small light at the bottom of the screen lit up. Penny was not sure what the program did but it took nearly fifteen minutes.
"I had this software specially made for me by a man who works for a 3-D animation studio. You might find this interesting," She explained pressing a button.
Soon an image began to build on the screen. It took pictures from the booth and assembled it into a 3-D image.
"Ooooo, I thought he might be a briefs man," Samantha cooed.
Penny looked at the screen and blushed all the way to her blond roots.
Sheldon came out adjusting his clothing and slipping his bag over his head. "I thought you were supposed to be measuring me?" he inquired.
Samantha looked up from her screen, "Oh I measured you honey, don't worry."
Penny snickered. She could not help it. She watched as Sheldon came up to see what was on the screen. She felt a moment of trepidation about his reaction, but as usual, she forgot it was Sheldon.
"The pixel resolution is simply amazing. What kind of mapping software are you using?"
"Custom made, I'm the only fashion designer I know that uses it. One scan and I have your exact dimensions, and I can fit the clothes onto the digital clone a lot faster than I can fit them on you," Samantha explained proudly.
Sheldon seemed entranced, "What is the digital to real life transcription margin?"
Samantha turned to him, as if he had said something very smart. "There's normally a 3.65 percent difference, but it's built in to adjust automatically."
Penny stared at them as they went back in forth, feeling uneasy. (Holy crap on a cracker…Samantha is flirting with him! She's really starting to bug me.) On the heels of that, was the thought. (Why the hell do I care all of a sudden?)
Samantha paused. "Well let me see what we have here, besides nice long legs and a cute butt of course."
Penny glanced over to see that Sheldon had finally gotten a clue, and was blushing.
Samantha opened up a file and pulled out some icons of pants. She pulled the picture over and they fit to the virtual Sheldon automatically. She was talking to herself. "We don't want stud muffin to look like a lollipop, all stick and a big round head, so we need to widen him out.
She seemed to be pulling random pictures up and dressing the 3-D image as she went. She looked up at Penny at one point. "What secondary color do you think would look nice on him?"
Penny glanced at Sheldon who had wandered back to his seat and was reading though some notes he had in a pad. She tried to think of what color he looked nicest in, of course most of what she had seen him in was hero themed t-shirts. She was at a loss, and then she remembered the color she had seen on him most often was green. It must be a favorite color of his. It was also the color of her eyes.
"Try him in green."
Samantha nodded to herself, "He has an under tint to his hazel eye color that green would bring out." Samantha made an adjustment, looked at the result and wolf-whistled. "I think we have a winner!"
Penny looked at the image on the screen. Then glanced up to verify the image was the man sitting patiently in his carefully selected chair and back down again. It was Sheldon all right.
"Sam, you are a genius." She murmured.
Samantha smiled, "That's what they keep telling me. I have everything we need for this look here, the vest is an interlocking silk weave I don't have, but a vendor and collaborator of mine makes it. I can have everything here for fitting tomorrow.
Penny looked down at the image. "Will he actually look like that?"
Samantha winked, "Usually, they look better."
Penny beamed. "I don't know how to thank you."
Samantha got up from her chair and waved Penny to the back. "I have something I think you might have use for."
Penny came out of the back. She felt a little strange. She made her way over to where Sheldon was sitting, by this time he was obviously fuming. He spun to give her a piece of his mind, but when he saw her, she got the rare treat of seeing Sheldon speechless.
She was wearing a gown that Samantha had planned to put into her show the next week, but did not have the room. It was an aquamarine Italian silk, featuring a satin pleated bodice with sweetheart neckline; double wrap sash at waist and "scalloped" edging. She saw in the mirror that the subtle green tint to the icy-blue it made her eyes look even brighter than usual. Her hair was up off her neck. (Samantha's idea.) She only had on the makeup she walked in with, but she felt prettier than she had ever been in her life.
Sheldon looked like he had swallowed his tongue. He looked away as if she was hurting his eyes, and then he had to glance back.
"Well? Do I get a veto, genius?"
He shook his head, gathered his stuff. He managed to mumble, "It's perfection, I'll be in the car." He left like a scared rabbit.
She sighed deeply and long, and sat on the chair he had just vacated, listening to the door shut at the bottom of the stairs.
"How did it go?" Samantha called coming out of the back.
Penny smiled brightly. "I think I overloaded his brain."
Samantha gave her a strange look, "If I didn't know better, I'd think stud-muffin was still a virgin."
Penny blew a stray lock of blond hair out of her face and replied wearily, "God I hope so!"
Next Time...The night has arrived.
Will it be a success? Or will it be disaster?
And what's with that eye twitch?