This is the final chapter, so I hope you all enjoyed it. :D
Disclaimer: I don't own anything.
Tears streamed down Penny's face as she hurried down the hall, again, not having a specific place to go. She vaguely wondered how many more times she would storm through these hallways after being hit with another painful truth today.
There was a small bench at the end of the hall she was walking down and she sat down when she reached it. She put her face in her hands, shaking her head as more tears fell. She knew she was ruining her makeup, but she didn't care. Her mother wasn't coming. "She's not coming," her father had said. She shook her head again as her shoulders began to shake and her crying became audible.
"What do you mean she's not coming?" She remembered how quiet her voice had been then; she'd been afraid to ask why because having a reason would bring even more reality to this situation.
"She had to stay home with your brother. He's not supposed to be going anywhere outside of Omaha because of what's been going on and we couldn't leave him there alone." He'd spoken gently to her, but she'd barely registered his kindness; the tears had already been threatening to spill over and the anger inside of her was bubbling up.
Penny tried pushing her fingers in her eyes to keep more tears from coming, but it did no good. Too many emotions and too much stress had hit her all at once and now all she could do was cry to try and let it all out.
She wasn't sure who she was most angry at or frustrated with at this point. Sheldon and Amy who'd kept things from her? Her brother who was responsible for her mother not attending? Her father for not telling her the truth sooner? Or her mother for simply not showing up, regardless of the reasons?
She decided she was mad at her father, if only because she'd just yelled at him and it was freshest in her mind. But she was also angry because had she had to make the choice between the two, she'd have wanted her mother there more than her dad. Hell, even if she'd had to pick one member of her whole family she'd have picked her mom. She knew that both parents were equally excited about her wedding, but she knew that her dad was more excited because it was Leonard she was marrying and, had it not been Leonard or someone like Leonard, she doubted he'd have as much enthusiasm. Her mother would have been happy for her either way, regardless of who it was.
She kept her face buried in her hands and let the tears continue to fall, sniffing every once and a while. She stayed like that for a long time, and then she heard footsteps coming down the hall. She didn't look up to see who it was; she just hoped it wasn't her dad. She didn't want to talk to him right now. Whoever it was stopped in front of her, but she still didn't raise her head. It was only when they placed a hand on her shoulder that she broke and looked up. It was Sheldon.
He cleared his throat. "There, there," he said awkwardly, giving her shoulder a timid pat. Sheldon was also one of the people she was mad at, but Penny felt too worn out to unleash any of her anger on the theoretical physicist at the moment. "It's going to be alright," he continued, removing his hand from her shoulder at that point, clearly having reached his limit. "I know it's hard, but as Leonard assured me, miss-deliveries are a common error in today's society, so we can't expect even the most reliable florist shops to always bring the right flowers."
Penny frowned and cocked her head. "What the hell are you talking about?"
Sheldon looked down at her, confused. "The florist company we hired brought the wrong flowers," he explained. "Isn't that what you're crying about?"
Penny rolled her eyes and shook her head. Ironically, something like that probably would have upset her quite a bit had she not been faced with much worse problems. She sighed and began dabbing at her eyes, not wanting the mascara to get all over her face. "I'm crying," she said. "Because my mother isn't coming to the wedding."
Her explanation seemed to confuse Sheldon even more. Clearly the Sheldon who was driven to tears at the prospect of being taken away from his mother by Spock was not in at the moment. "Well, Leonard's mother is here," he finally said. "And she's technically your mother now, so does that count?"
Penny let out a long sigh. "That's not the same."
"How is it different?"
The waitress closed her eyes for a moment, leaning her head back against the wall. She really didn't want to have to explain it to Sheldon. She just wanted someone to sit with her and understand what she was feeling, not question it. And there was someone who could do that.
"Never mind," she sighed, sitting up straight. "Sheldon, can you please go get Leonard for me?"
"I thought you weren't supposed to see Leonard," Sheldon pointed out.
She rolled her eyes. Of course he would pick now to start caring about wedding traditions. "I don't care," she said. "Just go get him. Please." The pleading look she gave him worked and Sheldon hurried back down the hall.
It only took Leonard a few minutes to get there. He came hurrying down the hall with Sheldon a few steps behind. He quickened his pace when he saw her on the bench, and was almost jogging the last few steps to reach her.
He sat down next to her and took her hands in his, his face filled with concern. "Penny, what's wrong?"
She let out a long sigh before replaying. "My mom's not coming to the wedding." As she explained the situation with her mother in full detail, Leonard's arms curled around her, and when she leaned her head against his shoulder, his head came to rest on top of hers. Even though her voice cracked a few times as she spoke and her eyes grew damp again, she felt a small sense of relief that Leonard was there now.
Leonard kissed her forehead when she'd finished explaining about her mother and brother, but Penny didn't stop there. Letting out all of her feelings had weakened her resolve and now things she'd been keeping bottled up for the past six months were coming out.
"Sheldon and Amy are driving me crazy," she continued in a small voice. The theoretical physicist-who Penny had forgotten was there-cleared his throat loudly. They ignored him. "Leslie Winkle's stupid string quartet is performing and for some reason Zack is here."
Leonard raised his head at that and his hold on her loosened. "Um..." he said, sounding uncomfortable. "That might actually be my fault...sort of." Penny tilted her head to see him better as he told her about the night he'd meant to propose and they'd run into Zack.
"God," she sighed once Leonard had finished speaking. "This is supposed to be our wedding. Why is all this happening?"
"Well...if you don't...I mean, if it's too much...you don't have to do this," Leonard stuttered, his voice low.
Penny immediately sat up straight so she could look at Leonard directly and stared at him in shock. "No," she said, shaking her head. "I want to marry you," she said firmly, making sure that was clear. She was shocked that he had suggested that. Not even while she'd been sobbing alone on this bench had she thought about not going through with the wedding. During the six months of planning, knowing that at the end of everything, she would be marrying Leonard, had been the one light in the distance that she'd been using to keep optimistic and control her stress. Marrying Leonard, the man she loved, was the one thing Penny wanted. And, when she thought about it, it was the only thing that really mattered.
Penny finally cracked a smile and she grinned at Leonard before putting her hands on his cheeks and kissing him. This was what she wanted, and no amount of stress and frustrations would change that or get in the way.
At that point, Sheldon cleared his throat again and the couple broke apart. "We are on a bit of a schedule here," he said, seeming to be doing his best to not sound impatient. "And I believe we have about fifteen minutes before the ceremony, so if we could speed this up a little..." He looked at the two of them expectantly.
Leonard and Penny rose from the bench and then Leonard put a hand on Penny's cheek. "You're sure you're okay?" he asked.
She nodded and gave him a small smile. "Yeah, I'm fine." And she meant it this time. She really was fine, now.
Penny found Amy standing outside of the small change room on the third floor. The neurobiologist cast her a nervous glance when she saw her coming down the hall. Penny replied to the look of apprehension with a small smile.
"Hey," Penny said, when she'd come to a halt in front of Amy. "Listen, I'm sorry I yelled at you before; I was just upset. But that's still no excuse for saying what I did. You worked really hard to make my wedding great and I want you to know that I appreciate it so, so much."
Amy cocked her head and looked at Penny curiously. "You aren't upset anymore?" she asked. "You went from an angry, raging beast, to a calm and collected human being in the span of forty minutes?"
Penny smirked. "I guess so."
"Interesting," she mused, her face taking on a look of concentration.
"What?" Penny asked, frowning slightly.
Amy smiled and shrugged. "Nothing. Just the type of fun brain activity I find intriguing."
Penny shook her head in amusement before pulling Amy into a hug. "That's why I love you, bestie," she said warmly.
"Love you, too, bestie," Amy said just as brightly. Then she suddenly pulled back. "But just so we're clear, by love, I'm not referring to the primitive feeling of romantic love that you and Leonard are about to commit to. Just plain and simple friendship love, which I still think is borderline primitive."
Penny laughed and nodded. "I got it. And speaking of my commitment to 'primitive romantic love', I think we have to get going."
Penny's heart fluttered as the music started to play. It was time. Unlike earlier, though, she was no longer nervous or stressed; she was excited and couldn't wait to reach the end of the aisle where Leonard was waiting for her.
As her father walked her down the aisle, Penny gave his arm a squeeze. They'd had arguments much worse than the one they'd had today, and those were very rarely resolved by hugs and apologies, so she knew Wyatt would take that small arm squeeze as a sign of reconciliation.
They drew nearer to the front and Penny's eyes locked on Leonard's. They were doing this. They were finally getting married. All of the stress and pain that she'd been experiencing for the past six months as they made their way here now seemed so unimportant, even though she'd still been in tears because of it less than twenty minutes ago.
Penny finally reached Leonard and they smiled at each other as they linked hands and moved to stand in front of the priest. As the priest began the ceremony, Penny became less and less aware of the people that filled the hall and focused completely on Leonard. As they smiled at each other, Penny wasn't thinking about Leslie Winkle playing the music that was filling the hall, or Zack sitting in the audience watching, nor was she thinking about her mother not being there. All she could think of was Leonard, the man she loved, the man she was marrying. Because that was all that mattered.
When their lips finally met and they kissed as husband and wife for the first time, Penny grinned. They were husband and wife. They were married. And that was all that mattered.