AN: Yes, I know, I'm starting another story! Don't worry, I havn't abandoned my other, but this idea would not leave me alone!

Sheldon poked at his food, with an uncharacteristic glumness.. He was often perterbed, or suspicious of hid, and often poked at it, but rarely, was he glum.

He had no reason to be glum.

He was one of the most intelligent humans on the planet.

But today, he was definitely glum.

"What's wrong with your food?" Leonard asked with an irritated sigh.

"Aside from the fact I don't think the food attendants wore gloves when they prepared it?" Sheldon asked.

Leonard sighed again.

Raj and Howard continued to shovel food in their mouths, knowing any conversation in this topic was likely to be short only if they were silent.

It was a bit of a surprise when Leslie Winkle stopped at the table.

It was more of a suprise when she did not open with a derisive comment about their recent paintball failure.

It was a total shock when she suddenly turned to Sheldon, and asked him how he was today.

WITHOUT addressing him as "Dr. Dumbass"...

Sheldon continued to poke at his plate in silence, while the others stared at her like she'd been body snatched.

"I see you've heard." Sheldon said politely, when it became obvious nobody else was going to respond.

"That you've been given the last two coveted tickets to the Nobel Laureates Symposium next weekend, with the direct order to keep the 'numbers' even and bring a female?" Leslie nodded. "Yes."

"No doubt you wish to attend." Sheldon remarked sourly.

"I am available, if you are unable to find another escort." She nodded. "I will await your text message."

With that, she wandered away.

Three pairs of eyes shifted to Sheldon instantaneously.

"YOU got invited?" Leonard squeaked. He'd had his eye on those tickets for months. "Are you sure you have to bring a girl?"

Maybe there was a way yet that he could get in..

"Yes, it must be a female, and of our species, and not biologically related to me." Sheldon sighed. "I already asked. I've been told to bring a female, or forfeit the tickets."

"Who gets the tickets if you forfeit?" Raj asked instantly.

"Kripke." Sheldon replied sourly. "I therefore must not forfeit the tickets."

"Well then." Howard said simply. "You have a few options.." He stared blankly at the table for a moment. "One option." He prepared to stuff more food in his mouth. "Hire a hooker... Unless you want to take Leslie?"

Sheldon shuddered in response. "Neither of those options appeal to me, as the symposium is being held out at a lake resort, and the invitations come with one room only. I cannot afford the second room necessary should I take either of those."

Making one final poke at his food, he stood up and carried it to garbage, dumping it, and placing it on the stack of trays to be washed.

Why must life be so difficult?

Leaving the others without saying goodbye, as he often did, (he would see them later, what was the point?) he walked purposefully to his office, where he cleared off a whiteboard and picked up a pen.

He really wanted to go to the Symposium.

It was only bad luck that this year it was being organised and run by a Laureate with a wife who enjoyed dinner parties, and had deemed that this would just be a large dinner party.

Equal number of men and women.

Therefore, each woman had to bring a man, each man a woman.

Unless said person were of the homosexual persuasion, in which case their spouse would be simply considered to be their opposite, and the numbers would still be said to be equal.

Those without others were told to find some.

Sisters were not permitted as dates, nor mothers.

He hadn't asked about cousins, but the director had said, "No one biologically related to you."

Cousins were out.

Not that he had any he'd invite.

Slowly he uncapped the pen, and leaned forward into his thinking pose, one hand resting on the top of the board.

So the equation was this.


He stared at it.

Solve for SF. Single Female.

He knew only a few.

He wrote...

Leslie Winkle

Amy Farrah Fowler

Leonards mom




He stared at the names.

He did not know many women.

He looked at his equation again. Single Females.

He crossed Leonards mom off the list. She was currently dating the pool boy.

He crossed Bernadette off the list. Also dating.

He added a qualifier to his original equation.

Att. NOBEL SYM. = SLC PHDx2 + SF + 1 rm poss/ 1 bd. 62 hrs.

He crossed Leslie, and Stephanie off the list.

He'd rather stay home and watch Kripke go then spend 62 hours in sharing a bed space with Leslie or Stephanie, though it might be nice to have a medical doctor on call.

He had two names left.

Amy Farrah Fowler would be good company, though she considered Neuroscience to be above Physics, definitely a con when you are hoping to get nominated for a Nobel in that area some day soon.

Penny.. Knew his quirks and he had shared space with her before, not the same bed, but she had practially lived in their apartment while dating Leonard, and when it came to physics, she automatically assumed he was right.

A definite plus.

On top of that, three days with Penny could possibly be bearable, while two hours with Amy Farrah Fowler had him retreating to his room for space.. He liked her mind, but did not feel inclined to sleep in the same area as her.

He scratched her off the list.

"Penny it is."

He glanced at his watch. Time to go home. Penny would be just getting home as well. He'd better inform her of the situation so that she might have enough time to pack.

The symposium was not till next weekend, but Penny took an inordinately long time to pack.

And she'd need some new clothes, her clubbing attire was not suitable.

He sighed suddenly.

No doubt he'd have to consent to letting her choose him some new clothes if he intended on choosing hers.

He stiffened his shoulders.

It must be done.

He must attend this symposium!