Happy Holidays! :)
I look forward to ABC Family's "25 Days of Christmas," like, year round. And yesterday they played two Full House Christmas specials, which inspired me to write this and sit around listening to my Christmas playlist on iTunes while doing so. So, here it goes!
PS: Sorry if the characters seem OOC, I tried to keep them in character as much as possible, but it got a little tricky in a few parts!
6 days until Christmas!!
R&R and please, no flames!
The Christmas Landing Calamity
"Mom, Mom, the plane leaves in an hour and a half; I have plenty of time to get there!" Penny promised with her cell phone wedged between her left ear and the crook of her shoulder as she shoved a few tee shirts into her Hello Kitty travel bag. Her mom prattled on about something her cousins were doing and Penny resisted the urge to "accidentally" drop the call. But, instead, she simply sighed. "Mom, if you want me to make the flight, I'm going to have to hang up."
Her mom let out a loud sigh on the other end, obviously not to end her phone call with her daughter. "Well, alright, I suppose. We'll be at Eppley at seven-thirty to pick you up, okay sweetie?" before Penny had the chance to respond, her mom gushed and continued. "Oh, Daddy just can't wait to see his little Slugger!"
Penny snorted, staring down at her purple painted toenails. "Yeah, I bet."
"What was that?"
"Nothing, Mom. I'll see you at six-thirty! Love you!" and before another word could be said, Penny quickly hung up her phone and dropped it onto her bedspread, stepping away from it with her hands up in surrender as if it had burned her. She shook her head. "Never again."
She dropped the last of her necessary belongings into her bag before zipping it up and hoisting it up on her shoulder, flipping off her bedroom light as she retreated to her living room.
After locking up her apartment from the outside, she turned around in the hall and found herself face-to-face with her ex-boyfriend, Leonard Hofstadter.
The unlikely couple had parted ways last summer, after realizing that they were probably better off as the awkward neighbors-slash-friends that they had originally been. So far, everything between them had been very civil and friendly.
"Hey, Leonard." Penny greeted him with a warm smile.
"Hey," he warmly replied, gesturing down to the bag in her hand. "Off to Omaha?"
She nodded before noticing the suitcase in his hand. She eyed it confusingly before looking up and meeting his gaze. "Hey, you didn't tell me you were going anywhere for Christmas, too."
Leonard suddenly grew rigid, as if he'd been caught doing something that he wasn't supposed to be doing (like all of the times his mother had walked in on him in his bedroom during his adolescence at the most inconvenient –not to mention uncomfortable– of times). He glanced down at his suitcase as if he hadn't noticed it there earlier before meeting her gaze with a sheepish smile. "I'm going with Leslie Winkle to do some research in Seattle about…"
Penny tuned out after the name "Leslie Winkle." So, he had moved in. Good for him. Good for Leonard. She was happy that he had moved on.
She just didn't expect him to move on before her.
When Leonard's mouth closed and it seemed that he was doing telling about his vacation plans, Penny sent him a soft smile and nodded as if she completely understood in great detail just what he would be doing over Christmas.
He sent her a hopeful, anxious look. It was almost as if he expected her to tell him to blow off Leslie and spend Christmas with her and her family in Omaha instead whilst cuddling by the fire and feeding each other marshmallows. That wasn't going to happen.
Penny merely shrugged her shoulders back at him and smiled. "Well, I'll see you in the New Year, I guess." She gave him a very brief one-armed hug and a peck on the cheek. "Happy holidays, Leonard!" she breezed before quickly scampering down the stairs as fast as her legs would take her.
Screw the ticket to Omaha; she just needed a ticket out of that conversation.
"This is absolutely ludicrous." Dr. Sheldon Cooper, Ph.D., muttered to himself as he impatiently squeezed himself through the tiny pathways of Midwest Airlines Flight 2609 to Denver International en route to Houston. He grimaced as he passed all of the giddy, screaming children and the hordes of elders in their "holly jolly" Christmas sweaters.
His meemaw had called her little Shelly and begged him, begged him, to come home for Christmas this year. When he tried to explain to her that he didn't see the point in celebrating such a commercialized holiday, she had done nothing but tell him that she'd already booked him on a flight and to get his butt to the airport.
Sheldon was shocked. He'd had no idea that his grandmother knew how to navigate Expedia!
He glanced down at his ticket and then turned his gaze to the number-letter combinations above the rows of seats.
"25C, 25C…oh, good. At least it's a window seat," he murmured once he located his seat and gently lifted his small suitcase into the overhead bin before creeping into his seat and sliding onto the uncomfortable cushion. He pulled a travel-pack of baby wipes out of his pocket and quickly swiped one of the disposable cloths across both arm rests as well as the tray in front of me.
As satisfied as he could be from his job, he fastened his seatbelt and leaned into the seat, jiggling his leg up and down as he waited for the pilot to come on the intercom and inform him about the flight leaving to Denver that would help push him even closer to his impending doom in Houston.
He glanced down at his watch a few minutes later and let out a befuddled sigh. "Well, this is taking longer than expected."
He glanced back up towards the front of the plane in time to see a very familiar blonde girl shoving her way down the aisle frustratingly, apologizing to every person that she hits with her Hello Kitty bag along the way.
His eyes widened at the sight of his next door neighbor being on the same flight as him. He had known that she was leaving for Omaha, but he had no idea that she was leaving on this particular flight.
She didn't seem to notice him as she stopped in front of his row, glancing from the overhead back down to her ticket. "25A, finally."
Penny lifted her bag into the overhead compartment, having to stand on her tiptoes to get it the rest of the way in.
While her head was in the bin, Sheldon decided it was the opportune moment to greet her. "Well, hello Penny."
He heard a thud, much like the sound of a head hitting the roof of something. "Shit!" he then heard Penny exclaim into the overhead before retreating back into Sheldon's view and glaring over at him irritatingly, before her eyes widened with recognition.
"You didn't recognize my voice?" Sheldon responded confusingly. "I assumed after all of the year's we spent living across from each other and spending time together that you would by now know when I am talking to you, even if you can't see me."
She rolled her eyes before sliding into the aisle seat, the only thing separating them being the uninhabited spot in the middle. "Well, yeah, I recognized your voice. I just didn't expect to see you on the flight, so it surprised me, and…" she paused, eyeing him confusingly. "What are you doing on this flight, actually?"
He tsked and let out a sigh. "I was conned into attending the annual Cooper Family Christmas party by my meemaw."
Before Penny had the chance to respond, both noticed the particularly large woman heaving herself down the aisle in the blinking Rudolph sweater. Her hair was messy and her cheeks were puffing. In her hand was a large, greasy hamburger.
Sheldon noticed Penny putting a hand to her mouth and glancing away.
"25B, I can see it from here!" the woman's smoker's voice rasped out.
"Penny, sit next to me." Sheldon found himself unexpectedly blurting out.
Penny didn't take much time to send him a confused expression before quickly sliding into the seat next to Sheldon and gulping.
"I don't want her sitting next to me!" she squeaked out.
"It's better than she's sitting primarily next to you than sandwiched in-between both of us." Penny quirked an eyebrow at him, urging him to carry on. He obliged. "Well, this way only you have to deal with her."
Wow. How sensitive.
The woman appeared in front of their row and eyed Sheldon hungrily before sending a peeved scowl in the direction of Penny. "25B is my seat."
"Um…wouldn't you rather have the aisle seat?" Penny asked politely, sending Sheldon a "help me!" look. He did nothing of the sort, simply kept his eyes glued on the woman's bulging stomach and elastic-waist jeans.
The woman shook her head back at Penny, her double chin jiggling. "No. I'd much rather sit next to him," she pointed a chubby finger in the direction of Sheldon, who tensed and stared down at his legs.
Penny gulped. Obviously, she could just give the woman 25B and give Sheldon the punishment he more-than-likely deserved. But, she really didn't want to. Frankly, the woman completely grossed her out and she wasn't a mean enough person to put germaphobe Sheldon through such torture.
Come on, you're an actress, she rationalized with herself. You know what Tim Gunn says, "Make it work."
As the woman stuffed her duffle bag into the overhead with all her might, the foil-wrapped burger fell to the ground.
The woman grunted as she noticed it was missing from her hands and bent over to pick it up, turning her back to Sheldon and Penny. Her tight sweatshirt crawled up her back, her fat rolls becoming more and more evident.
"Oh, good lord." Sheldon muttered, shaking his head. When was this flight going to take off?
The woman stood back up with her burger safe and sound in her hand and shot daggers at Penny. "So, could I have my seat, please?" She didn't make "please" sound like a polite request, more like a dirty threat.
So, Penny did what she felt she could do best, she acted.
Putting on her most angelic Midwest Barbie smile, she batted her eyelashes back at the woman. "Well, you see, ma'am. Somehow, my fiancée and I got somewhat separated on this flight, what with him being in the window seat and me being in the aisle seat. We were supposed to be sitting together."
Sheldon turned to Penny confusingly. "Penny, you're not en–"
"And you seem like a reasonable woman," Penny carried on, cutting Sheldon off and stomping on his shoe with her Ugg-clad foot. "So, what with it being the holidays and all, could you please let us sit together?"
The woman gruffly stared back and forth between the two of them before glancing at Penny with an expression that resembled somebody realizing that they were at McDonald's at 10:31 a.m. and breakfast was no longer being served. "You two are engaged?"
Penny clasped onto Sheldon's arm and patted it, nodding. "Yes, ma'am."
Sheldon leaned into Penny confusingly. "Who's en–"
Penny cut him off once again with a swift kiss on the cheek before beaming back at the woman. "So, would you mind?"
She could hear Sheldon muttering incoherently to himself, his words all mashing together in a verbal blur.
Sweater-lady sighed, before nodding and dropping her body into the seat next to Penny. She squirmed around uncomfortably for a few moments before finally deciding to simply lift the armrest so to allow herself more room.
"Sheldon, she lifted the armrest." Penny hissed into his ear. "Her hand is, like, three inches away from my thigh."
Sheldon blinked back at her confusingly. "And what is it exactly that you want me to do?"
She rolled his eyes. It blew her mind how he had the Ph.D. and could yet be so dense. Without asking for permission, she lifted Sheldon's armrest and inched herself closer to him so that they were almost occupying a single seat cushion.
Sheldon jumped up in his seat before turning to her with wide, startled eyes. "Penny, what are you doing? First you engage yourself to me, then you kiss me, and now you're stealing my seat?!"
"I don't want to hear a word from you. I already put myself in the middle seat so to keep you away from her. You. Owe. Me."
Sheldon pursed his lips and shook his head in disbelief. "Fine."
The woman unwrapped her large sandwich and Penny watched in disgust as she devoured it, mustard and ketchup squishing out of the bun and onto the Rudolph's face.
"Omigod." Penny gasped quietly, choking back her vomit and staring over at Sheldon and shaking her head. "You owe me big time."
And that was when the pilot at long last announced over the intercom that they were cleared for departure.
While Sheldon could only sleep in places other than his bed when he was severely sleep deprived, it seemed that Penny did not have the same problem.
Only about thirty minutes into their flight to Denver, Sheldon found Penny's head slumped against his shoulder and her soft breathing steady with slumber.
He found that it was noticeably uncomfortable for her head to be shoved into his arm, so he did the only logical thing he thought he could do. He raised his shoulder gently, so to not wake her, and dropped it over her shoulder, which caused her to snuggle into him.
It made him no less uncomfortable. Now, instead of her head against his shoulder, it was in his side. He didn't help himself in the least bit.
At least her scent was much more prominent than the odor of the large woman next to Penny. Penny smelled like vanilla and peppermint, the other woman smelled like nacho cheese and menthol.
He exhaled softly to himself and tried to adjust himself in his seat so to make himself more comfortable. He gently laid his hand across the small of her back. Once again, she scooted in closer to him, her head now on his chest.
Sheldon supposed that Penny should be lucky that she was the girl sitting next to him. Had any other girl done this to him, Sheldon would have shaken them away and told them to cuddle with the cheese-scented woman in the Rudolph sweatshirt.
He sat quietly for the next thirty minutes or so, trying to ignore the feeling of the child's foot behind him that continued to jam into his seat, hitting his lumbar each time.
"Attention, passengers," a flight attendant's voice appeared on the intercom. "I'm so sorry to tell you this, but upon coming closer to the Colorado state line, the pilot has noticed severe snow storm conditions and we are going to have to make an emergency landing here in Utah."
Sheldon's head popped up in shock.
She couldn't be serious.
The entire flight rallied together in boos and Sheldon could see the flight attendant smiling apologetically back at them. "I'm sorry, everybody. I understand that it's Christmas Eve and you all are very anxious to be getting to wherever it is that you're going, but there's nothing we can do."
"Son of a bitch!" the woman in the aisle grunted.
Sheldon felt Penny's head nudge against him before she lifted it slightly and wiped a few blonde strands away from her eyes, blinking at Sheldon slowly and curiously. "She didn't just say we were making an emergency stop in Utah, did she?"
"On the contrary." Sheldon sighed. "She most certainly did."
This trip was just getting better and better.
The troupe of grisly, unhappy passengers stepped foot into the Christmas-decorated St. Marcus Regional Airport in Melbourne, Utah, and all immediately lunged for the benches and rows of seat.
Once Penny noticed that she and Sheldon were left without seats, she immediately resented the fact that she had sat so far back into the plane.
"And now we get to stand here in the middle of a terminal until the snow clears." Sheldon bitterly mumbled. "Merry Christmas, one and all."
"My bunions are killing me!" the ever-present woman-in-sweatshirt bitterly exclaimed, nudging Penny so roughly that she collapsed into Sheldon, who leapt back a few feet and stared at Penny irritatingly. "At least you two kiddos still have your health," the woman wheezed before waddling to the vending machine.
"So, what do we do now?" Penny whined, weaving her fingers through her hair and sighing frustratingly. "This is so not how Christmas was supposed to go. I'm supposed to be home with my family, watching football and hanging out with my cousins and drinking eggnog and waiting to open presents. I should be staring at the Christmas tree until midnight and waiting for Christmas morning like a ten year old…and instead, I'm here. In an airport. In the middle of Utah. With you."
Sheldon sighed. "I suppose this is actually somehow working out in my favor."
Had he even been listening to her?
Penny eyed him in surprise. "How do you figure?"
"Well, if I'm here for Christmas, that means I'm not in Houston for Christmas. Ergo, I no longer have to participate in the Cooper Family Christmas party. Therefore, Missy can fend off all of the grandparents, and aunts, and uncles without me, just the way it should be."
Penny rolled her eyes. "Bah humbug."
"Forgive me, Penny," Sheldon started. "But just how did we go from me giving my explanation as to how this unfortunate event can actually be construed into a positive –for me, at least– to spouting off Charles Dickens' references?"
Penny sent him a confused expression just as the intercom turned back on and the flight attendant voice rang out to everyone. "I've just been informed that this flight can pick up where it left off tomorrow morning, so sorry that it can't be before then!"
Penny let out a sigh while the room reverberated with boos and angry exclamations. It was going to be a long night.
Penny's eyes fluttered open as she and Sheldon sat slumped against a large window (which Sheldon protested sitting against in great length before eventually caving due to his legs growing tired) while the rest of the flight slept in any place they could find. The only light in the airport coming from the emergency overhead light and the multi-colored Christmas lights strung along the walls. Sheldon was next to her, his head bent down and his chest rising and falling with each heavy breath he breathed.
Even though she'd never tell him, she was happy that she didn't have to go through this mess alone. Sure she could have lucked out and met a cute guy on the flight who would have let him sit with her on a bench in the terminal, but he wouldn't have the cute little quirks that Sheldon had, that she was certain. He wouldn't fill Penny in on how this room of people was way over the fire-marshal's standards for occupancy. He wouldn't tell her his logic for why in-flight movies were a waste of time because you could never pay as much attention to a movie while on an airplane as you could in a movie theater or the comfort of your own living room. She wouldn't know everything about that stranger like she does about Sheldon. She wouldn't have even gotten to play pretend-fiancées with him because if she had met that total stranger, Sheldon wouldn't have been sitting in the same row as her.
God, what was wrong with her?
To distract herself from the pressing thoughts of Sheldon Cooper, she turned her gaze to the window, where the snow was falling from the sky and coating the pavement with shimmery white powder.
Smiling to herself, she found herself softly singing to herself.
"Sleigh bells ring, are you listening? In the lane, snow is glistening. A beautiful sight, we're happy tonight, walking in a winter wonderland…"
Sheldon shifted slightly next to her, letting out a soft sigh. "In the meadow we can build a snowman…"
Penny blinked confusingly before eying Sheldon in surprise. He was…singing. Christmas carols. In his sleep.
"And pretend that he is Parson Brown…" he carried on. His eyes were still closed.
He didn't sing any further, but Penny now had a smile on her face as she finished the verse for him, her eyes glued to the window.
From next to her, one of Sheldon's eyes blinked open and he softly smiled to himself as he watched her sing as if she didn't have a care in the world.
When Penny's eyes opened up the next morning, she noticed that Sheldon was no longer sitting next to her. Instead, in his place, was a small, poorly wrapped package with a shoestring wrapped around it. For the record, the wrapping paper was actually newspaper.
Penny's name was written on it in clean and precise handwriting.
Sheldon Cooper's handwriting.
She lifted the awkward object and untied the shoestring, writing herself a mental note to return it to Sheldon, before ripping away the newspaper and staring at the object in her hands.
A carton of eggnog.
She smiled pathetically down at the beverage in her hands. This was possibly one of the most thoughtful gifts she had ever received. Apparently, he'd been listening to her little rant last night after all.
She stood up from the floor and stretched, before trying to track Sheldon down to thank him.
She eventually found him standing against a window, his cell phone pressed to his ear.
"Mom, what do you want me to do? I'm stuck here. I'm sorry." He paused, listening to his mother on the other end, rolling his eyes and nodding along. "I know…Mom, I said I know. I don't know why Jesus planned this, just go ask him yourself…okay…well, just tell Meemaw I'm sorry." He paused again, his body slightly stiffening with his mother's words. "No, I'm actually not alone on Christmas…no, not because I'm in an airport filled with people! Penny's here…yes, Penny…yes, Mom, that Penny. Mom, how many Penny's do you know?" Penny watched as Sheldon gulped and raked a hand into his hair, a move that Penny knew that Sheldon only did when he was nervous. "No, Mom, I don't think it's a sign from God that we're together on Christmas morning, we didn't even have a place to sleep last night. Everywhere was full and…Mom, do not compare this to Mary and Joseph!" he pleaded. "Yes, I got her a gift…a carton of eggnog, she's a fan of it….Mom quit gushing, it doesn't mean anything."
Surprisingly, Penny felt her heart fall into the pit of her stomach.
What the hell? She stared down at her stomach as if it was going to explain what had just happened to her. It said nothing. Go figure.
"So what if it does mean something? You know that I don't…" Sheldon drifted off as his eyes met Penny's. "Mom, I'm going to hang up now. Yes, I love you too. Mom, I said I was sorry! I'll be there tomorrow!" He placed his phone back into his pocket and eyed Penny curiously. "Hello, Penny. I suppose a 'Merry Christmas' is necessary."
Penny smirked. "Not necessary, but always appreciated." She waved the carton of eggnog in front of him, smirking. "Thank you for this."
"Well, I know it doesn't really compare to the Captain Planet box-set that you got me, but, I had to work with what was available."
Penny smiled back down at the eggnog before looking up at Sheldon and shrugging. "Actually, it's kind of perfect. So, thank you."
Sheldon prattled on as Penny stepped closer to him. "I personally don't see how you can like the taste of eggnog; I find it to be rather disgusting. But, I suppose it's just one of those things that makes one nostalgic about a certain holiday or gives one a sense of being home and I know that you wish you were home right now and not—"
He was cut off abruptly by Penny standing on her tiptoes, pressing her hands onto his shoulders, and leaning in, pressing a very quick, very soft kiss onto his lips.
She stepped back down and smiled at him warmly. "If I had to pick somebody to be stranded at an airport with, I'm glad it was you, Sheldon."
Sheldon blinked back at her in shock. It was almost as if his entire brain had shut off. This had never happened to him before.
What had just happened?
She'd…she'd kissed him.
And he didn't know how to respond.
"You kissed me." Sheldon blubbered.
Penny smirked, pointing up above them. "It's called mistletoe."
Sheldon glanced up in the direction of her finger and, sure enough, mistletoe was dangling above them.
He had no idea how that had gotten there. It hadn't been there when he'd first come over here to call his mother, had it?
"Oh," he lamely sighed, feeling oddly dejected. He didn't know why the fact that she had kissed him because of some odd Christmas "tradition" and not because she had actually wanted to. "Well, I suppose I should go pick up my shoe string," he murmured, brushing past her and making his way back over to where they had been sleeping. "You shouldn't have just left it there, you know. A man needs his shoe string and—"
He stopped when he felt a hand on his wrist. Turning around, he saw Penny standing before him with a mysterious, unreadable look in her eyes.
He'd never seen this look before, not in any of the time that she had been dating Leonard. Never. Before he could ask her what was wrong, she leant up on her tiptoes and kissed him again.
This time, there was no mistletoe.
This time, when Penny broke away, Sheldon found himself latching onto herself and pulling her back into him.
As far as Christmases went for Sheldon Cooper, he knew that this was definitely the weirdest Christmas ever.
The weirdest, most unexpected, surprising, irritating, amazing Christmas ever.
Okay, and that is what we call a really lame ending. Sorry about that!
I hope they weren't too OOC!
Merry Christmas, everyone!
R&R and please, no flames!