A/N- I acknowledge the use of Wikipedia for information used in this story.
Disclaimer- I do not own any of these characters.
Reviews very much appreciated.
"Sheldon please" Penny implored.
"No. Why don't you ask Leonard?" Sheldon looked up from his computer.
"I just can't, he will think that I want us to get back together, and I certainly don't want that."
"Well ask Howard or Raj." Sheldon was looking back at his computer hoping that if he just concentrated on his work Penny would understand that he didn't want to go to her class reunion with her.
"Howard has a girlfriend and I don't think Bernadette would like me to take her fiance away for the weekend, and Raj he still can't talk to me. It has to be you."
"Why do you have to take anyone at all?" Sheldon asked.
"Have you never been to a class reunion? If I turn up without a date and no career it will be assumed that the move to LA to become an actor has been a complete failure. At least if I have a date they may not notice my career having gone nowhere."
"Unless working at The Cheesecake Factory was your primary aim when you moved to Los Angeles." Sheldon replied.
Penny was almost at her wits end, she really didn't want to go alone and not going would be worse than going alone, because you know that if you don't turn up at a class reunion everyone assumes you have failed in life.
"Leonard will take you." Sheldon kept typing hoping she would go away.
Then Penny remembered something, a way to get Sheldon to go, his massive ego.
"Sheldon, can you imagine how bored everyone would be having to listen to stories of Leonard's research all night. But your research is interesting and of course people would be fascinated to hear you talk all night. In many years to come they will all remember the night they met Dr Sheldon Cooper, Nobel Prize winner." Penny smiled sweetly at Sheldon.
He stopped typing and looked into the distance, Penny assumed he was imagining himself on stage in Stockholm accepting his Nobel Prize. He smiled and turned towards Penny, "Yes you are right, Leonard would be a tedious companion and not serve the purpose you intend for your date."
Sheldon stood up and walked over to Penny. "I will come with you on three conditions, one, we have separate bedrooms, two, I will provide my own bed linen and three, there is to be no touching of any kind, particularly no hand holding."
Penny thought about his conditions, they seemed acceptable to her so she agreed.
"Oh and of course Penny we will travel to Nebraska by train." Sheldon said as an afterthought.
Penny looked at him and about to say something, but Sheldon continued.
"It is unconditional. I will pay for the fares."
"Sheldon that will add time to the trip each way." Penny replied.
"Penny, the fun is in the travel." Sheldon smiled.
"Oh Yea." Penny sarcastically replied.
"Well I best get onto booking our berths. I will do it to ensure it is done correctly. " Sheldon typed in Amtrak's web address and started to book their berths for the journey.
The following Saturday afternoon Penny was in Apartment 4A watching Sheldon's power point presentation on their journey. Leonard was sitting on the couch watching Penny, he knew the itinerary and he knew that Penny was not going to be happy.
"So we depart Union Station at 10.20 am on Tuesday and arrive into Sacramento at 11.59pm Tuesday night, we will then proceed to our hotel, where I have booked two adjoining rooms. Our train to Omaha will leave Sacramento on Wednesday 11.09am and we will arrive into Omaha on Friday at 4.59am." Sheldon was reading through the power point presentation.
"We leave on Tuesday and get to Omaha on Friday?" Penny looked at her notes in disbelief.
"Yes, it's exciting isn't it," Sheldon replied in genuine glee. "Penny you do realise that we will be taking the Coast Starlight, one of the most famous train journeys in the USA."
"Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Sheldon that's 4 days." Penny wasn't listening to Sheldon and she certainly wasn't interested in the famous train journeys of the USA.
"Actually Penny we arrive very early on Friday, so it really is less that 3 days." Sheldon looked up at his presentation, the next slide was all about the history of the Coast Starlight. "The Coast Starlight is a passenger train operated by Amtrak on the West Coast of the United States. It runs 1,377 miles from King Street Station in Seattle Washington, to Union Station in Los Angeles,California or vice versa. The train's name was formed as a merging of two of Southern Pacific's train names, the Coast Daylight and the Starlight. These were two of SP's numerous Coast Line trains. Major station stops along the route between Seattle and Los Angeles are; Portland and Eugene, Oregon, and Sacramento, where will will be disembarking."
Penny wasn't listening to Sheldon, she was instead wishing she never asked Sheldon to come with her, surely arriving alone would be better than this she was thinking, but Sheldon had booked and paid for everything, she couldn't change now.
"Three days." Penny looked at Leonard as if to say help. He didn't help instead he just smirked at her.
"Penny," Sheldon continued. "I only booked seats on the journey between Los Angeles and Sacramento, but on the longer stretch between Sacramento and Omaha I booked us each a
Superliner Bedroom, so you will be very comfortable."
Sheldon waited for Penny to reply, but instead she was just looking at him in pure astonishment.
" Penny this is where you say thank you, the bedrooms were not cheap." Sheldon said.
"Sorry Sheldon, thank you." Penny answered.
Leonard then joined the conversation "Sheldon don't forget you have the excitement of the journey back too."
"Is that train quicker?" Penny asked hopefully.
"Oh yes the train is quicker, but the layover in Chicago is a little over 24 hours, so it will take approx 77 hours, whereas the journey to Omaha including the stopover in Sacramento will take approx 65 hours."
"77 hours, oh Sheldon." Penny cried.
"Penny, we get to travel on another of the great rail journeys of the USA and perhaps the world, we get to travel on the Southwest Chief." Sheldon excitingly began to explain to Penny the wonders of the Southwest Chief.
Penny wasn't listening any more.