When he got home that day, he hurried to his room, the small book in the palm of his hand, clutched against his side. His secret. He had been at his favourite store, when it had caught his eye. Laughing his strange laugh, he'd picked it up, what secrets could it hold that a physicist such as himself would not already know?
He soon found out. His eyes had raised, thoughtful. Here, in the most unlikely of places, had he found the answer?
He purchased the book, and the secrets within.
Alone in his room, he pulled out his notebook and set to work.
And so the story begins...
Step One: Be Appealing.
Sheldon knocked on her door, his usual pattern. He could see her shadow under the door, waiting for him to finish. It was one of the things he liked about her. When she opened the door, he inclined his head towards her slightly and gave a tiny smile, the only one he could manage without scaring small children and full grown university students. "Good Morning Penny, how are you today?"
She looked back at him warily. "I'm ok. How are you?"
He nodded. "Fine thank you. Now, the reason I am here, I will be going to the grocer's after work this evening, I know you have the late shift, is there anything you require? Milk perhaps?"
She looked slightly scared. "I'm good thanks." She paused. "Sheldon, what are you doing?"
He frowned. "I'm trying to be charming. Is it not working?"
Her mouth opened slightly. "It would be, if I didn't already know you."
"Oh." His frown deepened. "I neglected to take that into consideration." He stared at her puzzled. "How does one be charming to one a person already knows?"
Penny blinked. Somebody must have slipped him something in his morning tea, she was gonna have to have another talk with Leonard about how it was mean to take advantage of Sheldon's trusting nature. He had so little of it that destroying what there was could very well mean the end of the world as she knew it.
She decided to play along, for now. "Well, you could hold doors, and buy dinners, and help out when you're needed."
"I already do that." He looked confused.
She smiled. "Yes, when you don't open your mouth to tell someone that they are wrong, or that you're smarter than them, you can be a very charming guy."
He looked dismayed. "This is going to be harder than I thought."
He brought her milk anyways. And Chocolates. And Ice Cream. He had puzzled between the Rocky Road and the Caramel Swirl, and probably would have still been there an hour later, had not an elderly lady whom he'd held the door for on the way in stopped and smiled up at him.
"Tough decision." She remarked.
He thought about telling her that no, really, it wasn't, choosing whether to focus on string theory or quantum mechanics had been a tough decision, but then he remembered Penny's words. He looked down at the lady, who was probably only about 5 feet tall, and suddenly she reminded him of his meemaw.
"Which do you recommend?" He asked instead.
"For you, or for someone else?" She asked, eyeing the box of chocolates and the two small cartons of milk in his basket.
"The girl across the hall." He replied.
The woman smiled. "Put those back. You're going to want French Vanilla, and some fresh strawberries."
Sheldon thought it over. "Oh." He said simply. "Thank you."
When he later presented the groceries to Penny, she had stared at the ice cream and the strawberries and pulled him into the apartment. "Will you share with me?"
He held up his grocery bag. "Will you make me spaghetti with hot dogs cut up in it?"
Her smile had lit up the room. "Sure. We'll have this for desert!"
He smiled back. "Ok."
The strawberries and ice cream had the sweet taste of success.