A/N: Literally found this on my computer and have no idea when I wrote it. Also I just randomly chose a last name for Penny.
She was surprised when the letter came, and had to stop for a moment in front of her mailbox. It meant she had been in California for almost four years now, three spent so far in apartment 4B. Three years since she caught the two neighbor boys staring at her as she unpacked.
Dear Penny Miller,
It's that time! You are invited to the six-year reunion of Southfield High School's class of 2003! Due to the unforeseen conflicts which cancelled our five-year reunion, the event will now be held at…
Penny didn't need to read any further. She wouldn't be going. The last thing she needed in her life right now was to show all her old classmates how much homecoming-queen Penny Miller had failed.
Yes, it had been almost four years in California, and what did she have to show for it? No glamorous career, just a job waiting tables. She could have done that much at home.
She didn't even have a committed man to drag back to Omaha with her, as if that would prove she had gotten somewhere in life. No, just four boys across the hall who were easily smarter than all her high school class combined, but had less social skills than her 4-year-old nephew who was still getting over the food-throwing phase.
Besides, she tried to convince herself, there wasn't anyone there she wanted to see anyways. She really wasn't that interested in who had finally knocked up the prom queen/cheerleading captain, or what had happened to the boy who had tried to kiss her in front of Kurt (after the cast came off, she hadn't heard a thing).
She wasn't going, and that was final. With conviction she threw the letter in the trash by the front door, before heading up the stairs.
"What, what, what?" When she opened the door, there stood her lanky enighbor, a folded piece of paper in his outstretched hand.
"Penny, how many times have I explained to you proper recycling procedures?"
"I found this in the wastebasket downstairs. It had your name on it, so I assumed it was you who had put in there, incorrectly I might add." He handed her the paper.
Knowing exactly what it was, she grabbed it. "Sorry, Sheldon. Next time I'll recycle it." Behind her back though, the paper was quickly crumpled and tossed out of view.
Sheldon continued to loom in her doorway. "Are you going?"
"Sheldon, it's illegal to read others' mail."
"You had disposed of it already, and left it out for anyone to see, and possibly take your personal information by the way. So really you're lucky I came upon it first."
"Sheldon, normal people don't go through trash." Penny sighed. "And why do you care if I go?"
"Knowing your scheduled plans to leave the area is important for my own schedule. For example, if it is required to find a substitute for Halo Night I need to know well in advance in order to-"
"No I'm not going, your schedule is safe. Now goodnight, Sheldon. I've got a busy schedule of my own tomorrow and I've got to get some sleep."
Penny truly was getting tired, and a drawn-out conversation with Sheldon was never conducive to a good night's sleep. "Why what?"
"Why are you not going to your class reunion? I've come to understand that while beyond ten year reunions, attendance is lacking for a variety of reasons, the first reunion is almost obligatory for those alumni who are still alive."
So she told him, half-hoping the emotion of it would scare him back to his apartment, at least for the night.
"Fine, I'm not going so everyone won't see what a failure my life has been. Everyone else there will have started families, or careers. Not Penny, the wannabe actress who couldn't even stick it out at community college like the rest of them! All I'd get from them would be disappointment, or worse, pity. Why the hell would I subject myself to that?" Fuming slightly, she stared at the tall physicist, waiting for his retreat to safety.
What was it going to take, honestly… "What, Sheldon?" she spat back. He didn't deserve it she knew, but this conversation needed to end.
He seemed to consider her for a moment. "You're not a failure." Penny blinked. She wasn't expecting that. He even continued.
"You have not achieved success intellectually or in your chosen career path. Indeed, your relationships have been less than satisfactory it seems, and financially you are unstable." Okay, that's more what she had expected. She prepared to bite back and slam the door-
"But as a person, you have been successful in the greatest regard."
"What exactly do you mean?" Money, school, men, acting. What was there left for her to be successful at?
"You have at least four consistent relationships with people, albeit of the opposite sex, who value you and your company. While I cannot speak for all of us, I know I consider your presence in my life a positive one. Even though you have an irritating tendency to interrupt every routine I had set in my life thus far… But I digress. Penny, you are a charming, beautiful woman and a good, kind, loyal friend to many, and though life has handed you difficult circumstances, for the most part you have handled them admirably. Thus, you can hardly be considered a failure at life, as you said."
Penny blinked again, simply staring at Sheldon. Slowly, all that he had said washed over them. After a moment though, as if suddenly realizing what he had indeed said, the physicist's eyes widened and he started to step back.
So lost in processing his words, Penny almost didn't notice her neighbor's retreat into the apartment across the way, barely hearing a soft, slightly stuttered "Goodnight, Penny."
Her body seemed to move on its own accord, shutting her door and leading her to her bedroom. As she laid down on the bed, words of her own began to form again in her mind.
No, she wasn't going to the reunion, that was still final. But now she knew she didn't really need to.