Five Times the Phone Rang and One Time It Was the Door
AN: Sorry for the stupid title! Couldn't think of a better one at the time. I've had this general idea stuck in my head since December when I was pondering the possibility of an LP break-up. I put it on the back-burner and almost forgot about until a recent conversation with webuiltthepyramids.
For Story Lottery, prompt # 9 - a porch.
The first phone call came two days later. Penny barely had time to pull out her phone and see the name "Sheldon" flashing before he hung up.
The second phone call came the next day. This time, Penny happened to be playing Bejeweled on her phone and was able to answer the call right away.
"Sheldon, I know it's you. What do you want?" Penny said, a bit impatiently.
"Nothing. Sorry. I called the wrong number," Sheldon stammered and hung up. Penny looked at her phone weird.
"What was that about?" She wondered out loud.
Two days later, she received the third call.
"What do you want, Sheldon?" She was trying to navigate the narrow dirt road to her sister's house, and wasn't in the mood for his neurotic games.
"Are you still in Nebraska?"
"Yes, I am." There was a pause as Sheldon didn't respond. "Why do you want to know?"
"Oh, no reason. I was just checking. Because you know, today's Tuesday and I just wanted to be prepared for whoever will be serving me my hamburger."
Penny rolled her eyes. "Bernadette is working tonight. You can have her serve you. Now, Sheldon, I have to go."
"Oh, alright. Good-bye."
By the fourth phone call, Penny was fed up.
"This is getting ridiculous."
"Well, that's no way to answer your phone," he said. "Do you really consider that a proper greeting?"
"Sheldon! Why are you calling?"
"Oh, well, you've been gone a week now, and I just thought I'd call to check when you were coming home."
Penny sighed. "I don't know."
"No, not tomorrow."
"No! Not Saturday. Look, Sheldon, I don't know when I'm coming back, okay? Maybe I won't come back. I just need to figure things out right now."
"Oh," was his only response and then he hung up.
The next day, Penny was out running an errand for her mother when her phone rang. This time though it was Howard.
"Hey, Penny! I think Sheldon misunderstood something that you said, because he's under the impression that you might not ever come back to Pasadena. I keep telling him he's crazy, but of course he doesn't believe me. So if you could just call him later today and explain to him that he's wrong, that you never said that, that would be great!"
"I did say that."
"Awesome, thanks! Wait.. what?"
"I did tell him I might not come back."
"As a joke right? Because you were mad that he kept calling you?"
"No, I'm serious. I might stay in Nebraska. Or move somewhere else. I don't know yet."
There was a pause.
"Oh, I see. Okay, well you have fun figuring that out. I'll leave you alone now. Bye," Howard's voice sounded odd as he said all this in a rush. The line went dead.
Penny shook her head. "What is with them?"
The doorbell rang at 11:10 Sunday morning, waking Penny up. The rest of her family had went to church, leaving her home alone. Penny forced herself up and walked down the stairs.
"I'm coming! I'm coming!" She yelled as the doorbell rang again. She opened the front door to find Howard, Sheldon, and Raj staring at her.
She blinked in surprise. "What are you guys doing here?"
"We've come to convince you that you're making a big mistake," Howard said.
Penny raised her eyebrow. "Really? And what mistake would that be?"
"Why, leaving Pasadena, of course," Sheldon replied. Raj nodded behind him. "Now aren't you going to invite us in so we can start the presentation?"
"Presentation?" Penny asked, confused.
"Oh, yeah," Howard said. "Complete with graphs and decision matrices."
"Yes, they're much more accurate than the simple 'Pro/Con' lists," Sheldon added with a pointed glance at Raj. Raj glared back.
"Look guys, I appreciate you coming out here with graphs and what not, but this isn't your decision. This is my decision. Got it?"
"Well that's just absurd!" Sheldon exclaimed. "This is a major change we're talking about. One should look at the situation objectively from all angles before making a final decision. There's no way you could possibly do that on your own given the circumstances!"
"Excuse me!" Penny snapped. "This is my life! You three have no say in what I do with it!"
"Well what do we have a say in?" Raj suddenly shouted. All three turned to look at him in shock. "You and Leonard are both running around like nothing you do effects us! Well guess what it does!"
Penny was stunned. "But,"
"No!" Raj continued. "No, 'buts'. This isn't just about you and Leonard. You didn't just leave him. You left all of us!"
"He's right, Penny," Howard said. "I mean we're your friends too. Or at least, we thought we were."
Penny was silent, still trying to process everything.
"Did we do something wrong?" Sheldon finally asked in a small voice. Penny looked at him.
"No," she said, shaking her head a little. "No, you guys didn't do anything wrong."
"Then why won't you come back home?"
Penny frowned. "It's complicated. Things are weird right now."
"So you run away to Nebraska?" Howard asked.
"I didn't run away!" Penny defended. "Leonard and I broke up."
"So you have to leave the state? Was there a court case that we missed? Did Leonard win custody over us and Pasadena?" Raj asked, annoyed.
"What? No!" Penny said. "It's not like that."
"Then what's it like? Cause to us it feels like you don't want to be our friend anymore," Howard said. "Which sucks because we've gotten used to you being around, and now you're not and we miss you. Right, Sheldon?"
Sheldon looked at Penny, sadly. "No one else will sing 'Soft Kitty' to me."
Penny took a deep breath and shifted her gaze between the three of them. They were right, she realized. This break-up didn't just affect her and Leonard. It affected all of them.
"Alright, then. Let's see that presentation." The guys grinned and rushed inside with their bags to set up the laptop and projector.