Emerging from the Megaplex
Three sets of eyes squinted in the bright sunlight of a perfect Californian morning.
Raj continued the argument that had started inside the theater. "All I'm saying dude is that if they showed the two Alien vs. Predator movies in addition to the four Alien movies, they should also have showed the two Predator movies as well."
Howard nodded his head. "I heartily concur. I have them both on DVD. Maybe we can continue our movie fest, albeit on a smaller screen."
Leonard only said, "Oh no!" staring down at his cell phone.
Howard and Raj both looked at him and said at the same time. "What's wrong?"
"Sheldon called me four times."
"So?" said Howard.
"Penny called me four times too. Oh no!"
Howard looked aghast. "You didn't warn her? Ouch, classic boyfriend mistake." He looked at his own phone. "Yikes, she called me too. And, one from my mother."
"How many times?" Leonard asked, a panicky look taking over his eyes.
Raj chimed in, "She must be really pissed. She called me as well."
Howard looked at him. "My mother?"
"No. Penny." He looked at Howard askew. "Why would your mother be calling me?"
"Never mind, what did she say?"
Raj played back his phone messages on speaker. The first was from Sheldon, who sounded quite reasonable. "Hello Raj, this is Sheldon. Would you please tell Leonard to return to the apartment? My illness has apparently progressed." beep! The message from Penny wasn't as kind. "You guys are so LAME! beep!
Raj looked at Howard. Again, the first call from Sheldon wasn't so bad. "Howard, this is Sheldon, would you kindly return my call or have Leonard call me. My situation has taken a turn for the worse." beep! The message from Penny caused Howard to shudder. "You guys are in BIG trouble! You can't even imagine what I'm going to do to you. Just know this, it's going to be bad, very bad!" beep! He inadvertently allowed his mother's message to begin playing. "How-wad, I'm taking Minnie Finkelstein to the podiatrist…" He pressed the end button as quickly as he could. "I don't think anybody wants to hear that!"
Leonard continued to stare at his phone. "I'm afraid to listen to mine."
"Dude, just do it. It's like a band-aid. You know, you just have to rip it off!"
"You're right Raj." Leonard pressed the button to play back his calls.
"Leonard, this is Sheldon, could you please return to the apartment?" beep!
"Leonard, apparently I may have possibly underestimated the severity of my illness. Could you please return to the apartment?" beep!
"Leonard, I think I might need to go to the hospital. Please come home." beep!
"Leonard, please do not force me to take a taxi. They are so unsanitary, and don't get me started on how they smell. Never mind, I think I hear Penny." beep!
"Leonard, you owe me big time for this one." beep!
"Leonard, I just wanted you to know. You're a dead man!" beep!
"Leonard, I just wanted to let you know that Sheldon might have appendicitis. But it's not like you care or anything!" beep!
"Sheldon's in surgery. I'm scared and you're not here! You're supposed to be his best friend. Why aren't you here? We're seriously going to have to talk!" beep!
"Oh crap." Leonard dialed Penny's number and started pacing back and forth. It went straight to her voicemail.
This must be how she felt
"Penny, I'm sorry. We're on our way."
"Is she pissed?" Howard asked.
"Voicemail." was Leonard's only reply.
Raj suggested, "Try Sheldon's phone."
Leonard mouthed the word voicemail to Howard and Raj. "Hey Sheldon, buddy! We just got the messages. We're on our way to the hospital." He paused for a second before adding. "I'm sorry."
Sheldon woke because his right side was suddenly significantly cooler and someone was poking his stomach. His left side was much warmer and he instinctively tried to move closer to the heat source. He winced in pain when he tried to move and his eyes shot open. "Ow!"
A petite woman with brown hair and eyes was leaning over him. She whispered very quietly to him. "I'm sorry Mr. Cooper. I didn't mean to wake you. My name is Rosiela and I will be your nurse today."
Sheldon immediately corrected her. "That's Dr. Cooper. And it is quite alright, I feel adequately rested."
"I was just checking your dressings. I'll try not to disturb your wife and wake her too."
"My wife?" Sheldon was confused.
Rosiela pointed to the woman lying next to him. Sheldon remembered that Penny had gotten into the bed with him. But why was she still in the bed? He knew better than to wake her and tell her to move. She must have said she was his wife. But why? He didn't quite know what to do or say. So he said simply. "That's Penny."
Rosiela gave a half smile, wondering what type of patient she had on her hands. On the one hand, he was a doctor. And doctors made the worst patients. But on the other, his wife hadn't left his side all night, so how bad could he possibly be? "Okay, Dr. Cooper. How is the pain this morning?" She pointed to a chart on the wall showing numbers and caricatures of faces. "On a level of one to ten, one being barely painful to ten being the most pain you've ever been in, how would you say you feel?"
Sheldon thought for a moment. Actually, he thought for quite a few moments.
"I'm trying to quantify the numeric and cartoon representations to relay how I am currently feeling."
"And how is that?"
"I'm trying to determine the whether the feeling that I've been kicked by a mule translates into a six or a seven."
"Kicked by a mule?"
"Have you ever - ?"
"I'll go tell the doctor you're awake." Rosiela beat a hasty retreat out of the room. He was going to be a pill.
When the nurse left, Sheldon took the opportunity to look at Penny. Her rhythmic breaths blew gentle warmth across his neck. It was a comforting feeling. He craned his head so he could see her sleeping face. He had to admit to himself that she was really quite beautiful, and not just her outward beauty. There was something of her inner being that shone through even when she was asleep. He was still staring at her when Dr. Martin came in.
"Good morning, Dr. Cooper." he held Sheldon's chart in his hands. "I don't know if you remember be from last night, I'm Dr. Martin. And, how are you feeling this fine day?"
"As I tried to tell Rosiela, I have finally determined my pain level to be a seven."
"Well, we'll get you some pain meds to take the edge off."
"Thank you, it will be much appreciated."
"I'm just going to check your sutures. It'll be quick. I certainly don't want to disturb your wife. After last night, I think she deserves some sleep." He silently hummed to himself as he gave Sheldon the once over.
"Doctor, Penny's not my wife."
The doctor raised an eyebrow. "Sorry, your girlfriend, or is she your fiancée?" So the girl had lied about being the man's wife. He really didn't care that she did.
Sheldon felt he needed to set the record straight. "She is neither. She's my roommate's girlfriend."
"Huh, really? The way she acted last night, I would have thought differently."
Sheldon eyed the doctor nervously. "How did she act? Penny can be…can be…how shall I put this?"
"Don't worry Dr. Cooper. She really was something to behold though. She made me feel like I did way back in my residency days. She reminded me of this nurse when I first started out. She had this way of getting under my skin. When she said jump, you said 'how high'. And, she'd give you this look like she was going to bore holes straight through you."
Sheldon could commiserate. Penny was the champion of giving 'the look'.
"I apologize Dr. Martin. Was she rude?"
"No, not rude, just very insistent. She said that you were practically the smartest man on the planet. And if you even lost one IQ point, there would be repercussions."
Sheldon smiled at the thought of Penny protecting his intelligence. "Did those repercussions have anything to do with a rope and a branding iron?"
"Something along those lines."
"She really is a firecracker that one. You say she's your roommate's girlfriend?"
"Yes." Sheldon looked over at the still sleeping Penny.
"He's a lucky man. I hope he knows what a treasure he's got." He took a long look at Sheldon who was still staring at Penny. "But, I'm sure you do."
Sheldon quickly glanced back at the doctor, his face flushing as though he had been caught doing something wrong.
Dr. Martin got a knowing look on his face and nodded. "Well, you're all set for now. Rosiela will come back with your meds. And, your breakfast should be along soon. You'll be on a soft diet today. And if everything progresses well, you should be out of here tomorrow."
"Thank you doctor."
"Anytime." Dr. Martin turned and started to leave the room.
"Doctor?" Sheldon paused. "May I ask how you dealt with the nurse from when you were a resident?"
Dr. Martin turned back at the door to face Sheldon, and his own face broke into an easy smile. "I married her, of course!"
At the nurses station
Rosiela was deftly fending off Howard's advances while Leonard pleaded with her to let them see Sheldon. "Please, he's my roommate!"
"I'm sorry, but visiting hours don't begin until 9:00."
A voice came from behind the group of men. "Leonard?"
The three men turned around and stood face to face with Stephanie Barnett.
Leonard was suddenly bashful. "Hi Steph!"
She turned towards the other two men to greet them. "Howard, Raj. What are you all doing here?"
"Sheldon had surgery last night, and we were trying to see him."
Stephanie looked over their heads to speak to Rosiela. "It's okay Rose, I know them. They can go in."
They all looked to Stephanie with relief. She could have been a ball-buster, but she wasn't.
"Alright Dr. Barnett. He's awake anyway." she gestured the way down the hall. "But keep it down. His wife is still asleep."
Stephanie asked. "When did he get married? And who the hell would want to marry him?"
The guys were already sprinting down the hallway to the room and didn't hear her second question. She shrugged her shoulders, picked up her case files and started her rounds.
Leonard burst through the door first. "What the -?"
Howard and Raj were right on his heels. Howard already had his phone out, snapped a few quick pictures and had them uploaded on Facebook before Raj got his jaw to re-hinge.
"Sheldon, why is Penny in bed with you?" Leonard snapped out.
"Do I need to state the obvious to you Leonard? She's sleeping!" A soft groan issued from next to Sheldon. "Or rather, she was sleeping."
Penny blinked her eyes in rapid succession. Leonard's whiny voice had pulled her out of her slumber. She sat up in the bed and ran her fingers through her hair with her left hand. "Shut up!" She couldn't help but be a little whiny herself. She was still dog tired.
Howard snapped another picture. Leonard smacked him in the upper arm. "Stop it!"
"What? It's a classic shot!" he backed away from Leonard anyway.
Penny was sleep deprived and confused. "What?"
Raj only covered his mouth to hide his smile and pointed at her with the other.
Leonard pointed to her face and then to his own cheek. "You've got something -"
She reached up with both hands. Sheldon's cell phone was stuck to her face.
Great! Though stranger things have happened before!
"Penny?" Sheldon's voice drifted up beside her.
She turned to him. "Oh hey honey. How are you?"
"I am well Penny, but could you stop jostling the bed?"
"Oh, oh, sure. Here let me get up." She stood up and turned to straighten the linens around Sheldon. She smiled down at him, and then turned on the other three. "It's about time you showed up!"
"Yeah, well. We only just got the messages." Leonard changed the subject. "Why did the nurse think you're Sheldon's wife?"
"Oh yeah, that." She looked down at her feet. They were all staring at her. "They wouldn't let me see him after her collapsed in the E.R. unless I was a relative. So, I said I was his wife."
Leonard took the answered in stride. Of course, this was a reasonable explanation. This was Penny, and Sheldon was just, Sheldon.
Raj burst his bubble when he whispered a question to Howard. Howard nodded his head. "Why didn't you say you were his sister?"
Penny looked nonplussed. She didn't know why she didn't say sister, except that it never even crossed her mind. The word wife had come out almost automatically.
"Again, it's quite obvious." Sheldon said, looking very pleased with himself. "She looks nothing like my sister."
Raj whispered again to Howard.
"I agree man, even your sister doesn't look anything like you Sheldon, and might I add that we're all eternally grateful for that!"
Sheldon made a face. This conversation was going places he didn't want it to go. And speaking of to go.
"I need to urinate."
She was not helping on this one. "Do you need a bedpan? Do you want me to call the nurse?"
"I should be able to use the restroom on my own. I may however need assistance in getting out of the bed."
Penny was around the other side of the bed in a flash. "Leonard, stand on his other side." Together they helped him get up out of the bed.
He took a few steps on his own, and then wobbled a bit. "I may need some further assistance."
"Okay, who wants to help Sheldon into the little boy's room?" Penny eyed each of them in turn.
Howard piped up. "How about rock, paper, scissors, lizard, Spock?"
Penny wasn't having it. "You guys were at a movie marathon all night! Well, it's 'game over' time. Its eeny, meeny, miny, YOU!" She pointed to Raj. "And don't think that's the worst thing you've got to do today!"
Raj helped Sheldon into the bathroom. Leonard turned to Howard and asked under his breath, "What do you think she meant by that?"
Howard shrugged his shoulders. "I don't know, but I don't think it's good."
Penny only smiled wickedly at them.
Once Sheldon was safely back in bed, she turned to Leonard. "I need your car keys please."
He looked warily at her. "Um, why?" as he pulled out his key ring from his pocket to hand to her.
"Because." She held out her hand palm up. "I'm driving your car home. And you three are taking mine and cleaning all the vomit out of it!"
Howard made a gagging sound. Penny fished through her purse and threw her keys at Leonard.
She gave him a death glare. "Payback is a bitch, wouldn't you say?"
She marched them to the door pushing at their backs. She turned back to look at Sheldon and grinned. "When I'm your best friend, I take it seriously."
"Penny?" Sheldon's own smile beamed back at her. Yes, she definitely was a treasure. And he was never going to lose her.
"Is it junior rodeo time?"
Her wicked smile returned. "Oh Sweetie, it's only just begun!"
She blew him a kiss and was out the door.
Thank you to all the kind reviewers. Every review was truly very much appreciated. Until next time, I bid you adieu!