Hello, hello! Long time no see, fan fiction world :)
I've been really anxious to write a new Shenny fic for a while now (especially since, based on the number of Sheldon and Penny stories versus Leonard and Penny stories, Sheldon and Penny are so meant to be), and I've been trying to get back into the swing of writing, so I figured I'd take a go at it.
R&R and please, no flames!
The Shiny Diamond Ring Revelation
Penny was so exhausted that it took her five tries to successfully get her key into the lock of apartment 4B and open the door. She had just gotten back from a long day at The Cheesecake Factory, four birthday parties – each one rowdier than the last – had blown through the restaurant in a matter of five hours and, naturally, they'd all been seated in her section. All she could think about was taking a bubble bath and playing her Ellie Goulding album on repeat for the rest of the night with a glass of wine…no, make that a bottle of wine. Better yet, a bottle of vodka. Two bottles of vodka. And an economy-sized bag of chocolate chip cookies...and a box of Godiva assorted chocolates that Leonard had gotten her a few days ago that she had miraculously not torn through yet. If Sheldon knew of her plans for tonight, he'd be appalled and insist that she watched the latest Doctor Who episode he had on TiVo – even if he'd already watched it three times – as a better alternative for how to spend her night. That was just the way he was.
The good news (for her) was, Penny had no intention of telling Sheldon her plans for tonight – sometimes best friends didn't have to tell each other everything. Not that Sheldon would think less of her for her actions, he'd just shake his head and give her his classic look of "haughty derision." She wasn't exactly sure what "haughty derision" actually meant, she just knew that the look was his way of telling you that you were hopelessly pathetic. She'd save herself the look and talk to him tomorrow.
In fact, she wasn't even planning on giving Leonard a call. She, shockingly, wasn't in the mood for sex right now – not that she was in the mood for sex all that often anymore as it was. She and Leonard had been back together for about six months now, but it hadn't seemed to have the same spark that it had the first time around. Sure the sex was still perfectly decent and Leonard was still perfectly Leonard, but…something was different and she had no idea.
Right now, she wasn't going to think about it. Tonight was going to be a good night. A good, relaxing, boy-free night.
Leonard could wait until tomorrow, the world could wait until tomorrow.
Much to her surprise, the moment she pushed through her front door and dropped her new Kate Spade bag (that had cost her over two month's pay) to the floor, she realized that her apartment was not the same as it had been when she'd left it this morning.
There were candles and rose petals everywhere. Everywhere.
"What the…?" she started, baffled.
"Surprise," a familiar voice spoke up from the entry to her bedroom.
She turned her head and saw Leonard Hofstadter, clad in a navy blue suit and a white button down shirt with a gold tie, taking a few nervous steps toward her.
"Leonard, what is all of this?" Penny asked with a curious, wary smile on her face.
"It's our six month anniversary," Leonard replied gently, his voice shaky and uncertain. "You didn't remember?"
Penny, immediately feeling like an ass, placed her hand on her head and squeezed her eyes shut. "Oh my God, you're right! I knew it was coming up, but I was so caught up with work today that I didn't realize that it was, like, today. I'm sorry."
Leonard smiled back at her, but it didn't reach his eyes. "It's fine, don't worry about it."
She knew it wasn't really fine, though. She could tell.
"The apartment looks beautiful," Penny stated in an awestricken voice, desperate to wean the conversation away from her forgetting what day her anniversary fell on.
Funny, she couldn't seem to remember the day of her and Leonard's anniversary, but she could remember the precise date of every time Sheldon Cooper had hugged her. True, she could count how many times such an occurrence had happened using less than one whole hand, but still…she could remember that but not her anniversary?
Not that it was actually an anniversary, not really. More like a "monthiversary," and she didn't believe in celebrating those – they didn't seem as special, they just seemed impatient.
"Yeah?" Leonard asked with a proud smile. "I wanted to make it look perfect, everything you'd want it to be."
She decided that now was not the time to mention that she thought roses to be cliché and trite – and that she'd much rather prefer an assortment of her favorite calla lilies – it hardly seemed like the appropriate time. What he'd done for her was incredibly sweet, she could never take that away from him.
"Well, I love it," she smiled warmly at him. "Happy Anniversary, Leonard." She leaned forward, placing her hands on his shoulders, and gingerly kissing him on the mouth. "Shall we proceed to the next events?" she murmured against his lips, already sliding her hands into his jacket and sliding it off of his shoulders. True, she had been planning on alone time tonight, but since Leonard was here, it wasn't like she was going to kick him out by any means.
"Uh, uh, uh…" he tsked into her mouth, gingerly pushing her away from him. "I haven't given you your present yet."
She gestured to the room around them, confused. "This isn't the present? Sweetie, this is more than enough!"
"This is just ambiance, Penny," Leonard replied as if that should have been obvious. He reached into the pocket of his blazer and pulled out a small box. He tapped it with his index finger, grinning at her. "This is the present."
Her eyes went from the box to Leonard and back again. The box couldn't possibly be what she was thinking…could it?
"Penny, I've loved you since the first time I saw you almost four years ago," this was not good – notgood, "I was so amazed that you'd ever even given me the time of day, to be honest with you. I mean, a guy like me normally doesn't stand a chance with a girl like you." She hated that he did that, always downsized himself to nothing more than a crack in a sidewalk. She was grateful that Sheldon didn't act like that – he never acted like she was better than him. He'd argue that it was because he knew that he was her superior, but she knew that wasn't the case. Deep down, he considered them equals in their friendship – she no different than he, not really. But Leonard…Leonard always acted like Penny was the princess to his pauper. She tried to maintain the curious smile on her face as he carried on with his speech, but she was growing more and more nervous as it continued. "I love you, and I can't imagine not being with you. I never thought I'd get to be with you, and now that I am…I don't want to ever let that go. I don't want to lose that. I don't want to lose you, to lose us."
And that was when it happened, that was when Leonard Hofstadter got down on one knee and opened the box in his trembling hands.
Staring back at her was a shiny diamond ring, an engagement ring.
"Oh my God," she blurted out before quickly covering her mouth. "Leonard—"
"Let me finish," he snapped before his eyes quickly widened and his mouth fell open in shock. "Sorry, I didn't mean for that to come out so harshly. Just…please let me finish." She nodded slowly, mutely, numbly. She wasn't sure that she wanted here what else he had to say, and that really made her hate herself. She'd been dreaming about her proposal for years, ever since she was a little girl, she'd had the whole thing planned out. Of course, when she was younger, she'd envisioned herself getting engaged to Shawn Hunter from Boy Meets World, but obviously that wasn't going to happen. Leonard was here. Leonard was real. So, why didn't she want him to ask her what she knew he was just seconds away from asking?
"Penny, will you marry me?"
And there it was: the question. Those five words as seemingly non-threatening as words could be…but put together and they could be incredible, or terrifying. Right now, and Penny still wasn't sure why, they were the latter.
Her mouth opened and shut, she didn't think she could form words. She couldn't form more than one thought at the moment – and that thought had nothing to do with Leonard Hofstadter, and everything to do with his roommate.
Did Sheldon know this was happening? Was he okay with it? Did he even care? Why did she care if he cared? She figured that, deep down, she knew the answer to that last question…and that somehow seemed to both terrify her and calm her down at the same time. It also made her all the more certain in what answer she would have to give to Leonard's question.
"Um…" Leonard blinked up at her worriedly, laughing a nervous laugh. "Aren't you going to say something?"
Penny looked back down at him and gulped. "Yes."
Penny had said "yes." She'd said yes to Leonard Hofstadter's proposal. She'd agreed to be his fiancée, to be his wife.
How could she do this to him?
Sheldon Cooper backed away from the door to apartment 4B the moment that dreaded three-letter word had fallen from his best friend's lips.
She hadn't answered Leonard's question initially, and the silence that had followed comforted Sheldon in ways that he couldn't comprehend. He'd been so certain that she was going to reject the proposal, so certain that he wasn't the only one feeling this…whatever it was between them.
And then he'd said, "Aren't you going to say something?" And she said, "Yes."
She. Said. Yes.
Sheldon didn't think he could breathe. He felt like somebody had just covered his mouth with a cloth dipped in nitrous oxide or chloroform and he was just moments away from collapsing unconscious on the floor between his apartment and hers.
What was going on with him? What was happening?
And, most importantly, why did it hurt so much?
He finally managed to stumble the rest of the way into apartment 4A and pushed through the door, not even making it to his spot. He just pressed his back into the door and slid all the way down to the floor of his apartment.
Over the past couple of years or so (and by "past couple of years or so," he actually meant the past 29 months and 17 days, 10 hours, and 12 minutes), Sheldon had realized that Penny meant much more to him than he'd ever imagined. She wasn't just his ditzy, flighty neighbor. She was his conscience, his Halo partner, his laundry buddy, his dinner companion, his bad-movie-viewing accomplice, his best friend. She was everything to him. She was the only one out of all of their friends who didn't judge him, the only one out of whom he could detect sarcasm. When she told him that she was going to "kill him," he could tell that she would really never do such a thing – unlike Wolowitz, Koothrappali, and Leonard, who he could never fully trust…especially ever since the North Pole incident. She stuck up for him when they picked on him, she told him bad jokes before she told any of the other guys…in fact, she told him everything before she told the other guys. He was the first one she told about her bad news as well as her good news. She'd vent to him about anything and everything and know that he'd always be there, listening. He'd act annoyed and bored, but he cared. She knew he cared. He cared about everything concerning her. He…loved her.
And, while Sheldon was certainly not a genius when it came to the opposite sex (it was the only thing he'd ever admit to not being a genius about – that and all of the incessant "pop culture" hullaballoo that Penny was constantly educating him about), he'd thought that Penny felt the same way about him, at least in a few of the regards.
He'd never felt like this about anyone, not even Amy Farrah Fowler, who'd been the closest thing to a significant other that he had ever had. It scared him to feel so alone in this. It wasn't like there was anyone he could confide in about it – his friends would just make fun of him. They'd probably think he was joking. In what possible universe could Sheldon Cooper ever possibly be in love with Penny? Sheldon liked to think that he was in love with her in every single one of his parallel universes, and in all the universes that didn't actually count, he imagined that she was in love with him as he was with her. But in the universe that did count, this universe, Penny was in love with Leonard.
Pathetic, whiny, second-fiddle-to-Sheldon, Leonard Hofstadter. Why?
Why him? Why would she choose him? Why would she say yes to him? Surely he could draw up a formula for the entire situation, but he didn't have the strength to move at the moment. His heart was heavy, and he felt it everywhere inside of him.
This must be that "heartbreak" that Missy was always crowing about. And it hurt. It really fucking hurt. He'd never believed that it ever actually existed, but now he knew it did with every bone in his body. He was officially a believer in heartbreak.
He heard Penny's apartment door swing open and slam shut.
"Leonard, please!" Penny's voice made Sheldon's stomach lurch; he felt the fine hairs on the back of his neck stand up. "Please, can we talk about this?"
"I don't think there's anything to talk about at this point, Penny," Leonard's voice cracked like he was moments away from bursting into tears. "You…you made your…I…I can't…I have nothing to say to you at this point."
It was silent for a few moments before Penny's voice was finally heard through the door, wafting into his ears and setting his blood on fire. "Leonard, where are you going?" She sniffled, her voice was lower than normal – she had been crying. In fact, she was still crying.
"I can't go in there, Penny. I don't even want to be in this building right now. I'm going to Howard's. Tell Sheldon…you know what? Never mind. No. Don't tell him one damn thing. I can't…I can't deal with this right now."
And then it was silent save Leonard's pounding footsteps down the stairwell and Penny's hitched sobs.
Sheldon could hear Penny's soft footsteps nearing his apartment. He could see the shadows of her feet under the door. But, she didn't knock.
Instead, she slid down the other side of the door and pressed her back against it, the pressure tapping against Sheldon's back ever-so-slightly.
What had just happened? She'd said "yes" to Leonard. He'd heard her say "yes."
Without much hesitation, Sheldon stood from the floor and knocked on his side of the door three times, just like always.
He heard her stand up, he heard her press her hand onto the door handle and twist it, opening it and staring at him.
Her eyes were glossy, her cheeks blotchy…he still thought she looked beautiful.
She'd always be beautiful to him.
He opened his mouth to say something, anything, but she cut him off.
"Today was our anniversary, apparently," Penny muttered with a sniffle, brushing past her best friend and heading into his apartment. He expected her to throw herself down on the couch like she normally did, but she didn't. In fact, she didn't even face him. She stood with her back to him, playing with her fingers.
He realized at that moment that he hadn't noticed a shiny diamond ring on her finger. He could have missed it, he supposed, but given the situation and just who it was that would be noticing said ring, he decided that that was highly unlikely. He noticed everything.
"I didn't remember, I didn't realize," she said softly. "It bothered him, obviously."
"It's your six-month anniversary, Penny," Sheldon tried to reason with her in as calm of a tone as he could possibly muster given how fast his heart was beating. "The fact that Leonard considers that to be an actual anniversary makes me question every degree he's ever received. An 'anniversary' implies that something has been occurring annually, and you two have only been together – this time around – for half of a year. That hardly counts as an anniversary."
"Of course you agree with that concept," Penny murmured, letting out a choppy, short breath.
"Anybody with a realistic understanding of the English language should agree with that concept," Sheldon corrected her. "This further proves my surprise that Leonard doesn't agree with it," he paused, considering his other friends. "Now, the fact that Howard agrees with it doesn't surprise me all that much, but that's, in large part, due to the fact that Howard throws a celebration anytime a girl so much as looks in his general direction."
"What's my favorite flower, Sheldon?" Penny asked, changing the subject entirely.
Sheldon blinked at the back of her head, at her pulled back golden hair, before answering with the answer he knew to be true: "Easy, calla lilies in whatever color you can find them in, but especially the peach ones, because they're the kind that your meemaw used to grow back in Nebraska."
"What are my least favorite flowers?" Her voice was trembling.
"Easier, roses. They're cliché, trite, and overdone." He paused, wondering if he should elaborate any further. Then, as if suddenly realizing that he was Sheldon Cooper and it was his job to elaborate, he did just that. "Also, because they were the flowers on your corsage given to you at your senior prom by Justin Loewe before he left you in the middle of the dance in favor of engaging in coitus with Valerie Mossbacher…big ol' slutbag," he added in the last part a little quieter, as an afterthought.
Penny let out a gentle laugh and the sound rang in his ears and made the corners of his mouth hike up into a very small smile.
She placed her forehead in her hands, letting her fingers slide down her face and fall back down to her sides. "Leonard asked me to marry him."
"I know," Sheldon murmured in a softer voice than he'd ever heard himself use.
"And I said…" she paused, her body going rigid as she turned to face him. "Wait, you knew? So he did tell you about it."
"He didn't so much tell me about it as I was listening at the door," Sheldon mumbled, staring down at his feet like he used to do when he was a young boy and was caught taking the toaster out of the kitchen to use for an experiment by his alcoholic father.
"You were listening at the door?" She asked quietly, taking a few steps closer to him.
"I do believe I just said that, so yes," he replied, segueing around her and walking further into the apartment. He didn't think he could face her at the moment. "And I already know what you told him in response, so I don't really need to hear you gloat about it any further."
"Gloat about it?" Penny echoed, confused. "Sheldon, I told Leonard no."
Sheldon froze; he could feel his fingers shaking as he slowly turned to look back at her. "N-no…you said yes. I heard you. Leonard said, 'Aren't you going to say something?' and you said, 'Yes.'"
Penny, once again, took a few precarious steps closer to him. "I told him 'Yes,' that I was going to say something." She cringed and shook her head. "Yeah, it was a really terrible time to use that word, I know. Leonard thought the same thing."
"You really turned down Leonard's proposal?" Sheldon asked. He wasn't going to let himself show even the slightest trace of a smile, not yet. He didn't want to sound excited because he didn't know the reasons behind her response, but he could only hope that they were what he was wishfully thinking they were.
She nodded. "And it's really weird, because I've been waiting to be asked that question for my entire life, and the question was finally asked to me…and I said no."
"Why?" His heart was pounding faster than he'd knocked on Penny's door when he'd dressed as The Flash for the New Year's Eve party at the comic book store.
"Because over the years, with all the shitty relationships I've been in and out of, I've finally determined that I don't want to be like the girls back in Omaha, the girls who settle for the first boys to bat an eyelash and pop the question without really giving much thought as to what, and who, they're agreeing to."
"And you think you'd have been settling for Leonard?"
"No," Penny responded, "I know I would have been settling."
"And why is that, Penny?" Sheldon's breathing was shallow and he figured his pupils were the size of saucers at this point.
"Because you're the first one that I tell about anything and everything that happens to me, Sheldon. You're the one I want to tell everything to," Penny explained, her voice sounding more nervous and yet certain at the same time than he'd ever heard it, "and I didn't want to tell you that I was going to marry Leonard." She shook her head in disbelief, and in that moment, Sheldon knew that she didn't understand what was happening between them anymore than he did, but that she, like he, had accepted the fact that something was, in fact, happening. "And that scares me so much, because it's you. And…and you're pretty much the best friend I've ever had, Sheldon, and I don't know how any of this—"
For the first time in his life, Sheldon Cooper didn't think. Sheldon Cooper let every thought fall out of his head except for one: Penny. And in that moment and single thought, he latched onto his best friend's hand and pulled her into him, abruptly cutting off her confession because he didn't need to hear any more of it, not right now. His arms encircled her waist and he dipped down, capturing her parted lips with his mouth.
He'd imagined kissing Penny more times than he'd ever admit to anyone, including himself, but this…this was beyond his imagination. And, as Penny's arms roped around his neck like it was a reflex, pulling them even closer together and winding her fingers through his short hair, Sheldon realized exactly what the "something" was between them. It was this kiss. It was real, and it was sweet and salty at the same time. It was thunder and lightning. It was peanut butter and jelly. It was the North and South poles. It was protons and electrons.
It was Sheldon and Penny, and it was an irritatingly perfect fit.
Okay, I really hope that it wasn't too OOC. I haven't written a fan fic in over a year and I was desperate to write one. This one came to mind and it all came out pretty quickly.
I hope you like it, and I hope you noticed the very small nod to a Jim Parsons interview toward the end of the (very) end of the fic.
Hope you guys are all having an awesome 2011 so far!