Title: The Second Gift Quandary 1/1
Disclaimer: I do not own any of these characters.
AN: I may love Shamy on the show, but the Shenny shipper in me requires that I make up unseen moments between the two. Thus this story came to be.
Penny lounged idly on her couch flipping through the latest issue of Vogue. She was grateful for the quiet, especially after two and a half hours wandering somewhat aimlessly through the mall with her crazy pocket watch loving neighbor. He spent more time looking at pocket watches than he did deciding on a tiara for Amy. After a half hour of indecisiveness regarding what color and size pocket watch he wanted, Penny told him she would be a few stores down browsing shoes she definitely could not afford. She was not surprised it was a half hour after that when he showed up at the shoe store to tell her he was ready to go.
They argued the entire way home. First, Penny trying to convince him, in vain, that a tiara is a little much. Sheldon disagreed, vehemently of course, stating that it is common knowledge that girls love princess tiaras. She opened her mouth to counter but thought better of it, maybe Amy would appreciate such a gift. Next, Penny decided to change the course of the argument, stating that none of this would have happened if he had just been supportive of Amy from the start. Sheldon gave a winded speech attempting to defend himself, but finally conceded after a few eyes rolls from Penny. He admitted that though he did make a mistake, it is only natural for him to do so given that this is his first relationship. Penny nodded her satisfaction with his conclusion. Lesson learned, they could move on.
His ritualistic knocks at her door came of no surprise. Penny stood up after the second "Penny," placing her Vogue face down on the couch as she made her way to the door. She welcomed him with a nod and a forced smile before proceeding back to the couch to resume her reading. He closed the door behind him and sat next to her. After a few minutes of silence, Penny chanced a look his way. Sheldon sat still on the other end of the couch, practically pressed up against the side, both hands gripping both knees.
"You nervous?" She asked, putting her magazine back down on the coffee table in front of them.
He blinked a few times before turning his attention to her, "no. Should I be?"
Penny shook her head, "I guess not, I'm sure she'll love it," she replied, nodding in the direction of the gift bag on the coffee table. Sheldon's eyes followed hers and he too stared down at the bag. He nodded to himself.
A few seconds went by before Sheldon cleared his throat, his eyes returning to hers, "Penny, I suppose you are wondering why I arrived in your apartment early."
She honestly had not. After five years of knowing him, there was little he could do or say that would surprise her. Him coming over early was no exception. She figured he rather hang out with her than be alone in his own apartment.
Penny sighed, "yes, Sheldon. That is exactly what I was wondering about." She tried earnestly to keep the sarcasm out of her tone. Sometimes it was just easier to indulge him.
He brightened, "oh good," he turned to his left, grabbing something on the floor next to the couch. He turned back toward her quickly, "here," he said, handing her an identical silver bag to the one Amy's tiara was in.
Penny took it, her lips slightly parted, her brow creased, "what…"
"As you may recall, three years ago, Raj and Howard took me to shop for an obligatory gift for you after you informed me that you had already purchased one for me. At the mall they explained to me the social convention that I purchase a second gift as well for whomever takes me shopping for aforementioned gift. As a thank you of sorts I was told," he explained to her, and Penny found herself shaking her head at how gullible he was sometimes. Still, Penny took a mental note to verbally assault both Howard and Raj later for taking advantage of Sheldon like that. It was only the decent thing to do because she did love all those bath soaps and lotions he got her that Christmas.
"Sweetie," she started, pulling out the velvet pouch from the bag, "they were lying to you."
Sheldon frowned, "you mean it isn't a social convention that I buy you a gift for taking me shopping for Amy today?"
"No," she replied, her eyes still on him as her fingers untied the pouch string, "they probably just wanted something out of you since you made them take you in the first place. I told you sweetie, you really need to check with me before you take their word on what is considered a non-optional social convention."
Sheldon shook his head, his eyes slit-like as he mentally anticipated his next conversation with his friends about their deception. He shrugged after a moment, his attention back on Penny, "nonetheless, since I have already purchased this item, I might as well allow you to keep it," he said, waiting for her reaction to his gift.
"Sheldon…" was all Penny could articulate. If she thought before that anything he could do or say would not surprise her, she was wrong. Very wrong. With eyes wide, and mouth agape, Penny pulled out of the velvet pouch, the same diamond bracelet she had held early in Frank & Sons Jewelry. She stared at the bracelet in her hands for a few astonished seconds, the diamonds sending sparkles of light that reflected beautifully against the soft green of her eyes. She licked her lips as she turned to look at Sheldon, who sat with an expression of anticipation on his face.
"Well…" he said, his eye brows raised, "do you like it?"
Penny looked from the bracelet to Sheldon again, not sure if the moment was even real. He bought her a diamond bracelet, one that as the guy at the store informed them was $750. No one had ever spent that much money on a gift for her. Not her family. Not her friends. Not even any of her ex-boyfriends. And this was from Sheldon of all people. Her reluctant friend of five years who had never even considered getting anyone a gift for any occasion till she made him buy Leonard one years ago.
"Penny," Sheldon tried again, his tone growing impatient.
Penny swallowed, her gaze meeting his, "it's beautiful," she confessed, unable to hide the disappointment in her voice, "but…I can't accept this, Sheldon."
His face fell, "why not?"
Her eyes remained on his, "because Amy's my friend…you're my friend."
"Yes," he replied, not quite understanding where she was going.
Penny sighed, her hands falling to her lap, her fingers still firmly gripping the bracelet, "Amy's your girlfriend, Sheldon."
"Penny, if stating facts I am already aware of is supposed to be…"
"Sweetie, you can't be giving another girl who is not your girlfriend, a diamond bracelet. I assure you, that is definitely a social convention," she explained, watching his face as he looked away to consider her words.
After a few moments, he looked back at her, "noted—for future occasions…" he added, "however, as I have stated, Penny, I have no intention of taking back something I have already presented to you. Keep the gift."
"Sheldon, I really can't," she mildly argued looking down, her eyes enchanted with the bracelet in hand, "it just wouldn't be right."
"As opposed to returning a gift one's friend took the time to acquire?" he retorted, warranting a look from her.
"I still fail to see how crystalized carbon can be so fascinating to people," he said ignoring her, shaking his head in moderate amusement, "though I admit your bracelet was a bit overpriced, the gentleman was kind enough to offer a considerable discount when I purchased all three items together."
Penny continued to gaze at the bracelet in her lap, still mentally processing the audacity of the gift. It was so unlike him, and yet, it was so him. He may seem over the top to others sometimes, but to Penny, he was just being Sheldon. He had noticed her interest in the bracelet when she picked that one out of the initial line up. He took note of the way she held it in her hands as she examined it. He noted everything about Penny, he may do it unintentionally, but the fact remained.
"Sheldon," she shook her head again, prepared to make another argument but he interrupted her.
"Penny, please," he said raising his hand to force her silence, "it is too late to return the item. I received a discount because I purchased all three together. Returning one would render the transaction moot."
An idea dawned on Penny, she tore her eyes from the bracelet to meet his again, "were you going to buy me a birthday gift this year?"
He looked at her questioningly, "yes, that is the social convention…"
"Okay, how about this…I will keep this overly generous gift if you agree it's for my birthday and not because I took you shopping," she proposed, "you can actually consider this my birthday gift for my next couple of birthdays. How's that? Cause really Sheldon, I can't take this from you knowing it's not for a special occasion or anything."
"Penny, I hardly think a diamond bracelet should warrant such a…"
"Please, Sheldon? It will seriously make me feel better about accepting this," she pleaded. Sheldon glared at her, but for only a moment before her round innocent eyes and pouting lip made him involuntarily soften.
"Very well," he agreed to her premise.
"Oh, sweetie, thank you," she exclaimed, finally able to show her guilt-free appreciation. Without a moment's hesitation and before he could show any sign of protest, Penny leaned toward him, and quickly placed a soft kiss on his cheek. She pulled back as his head whipped in her direction immediately.
"Penny," he scolded, a tint of pink now apparent on his cheeks. Penny smiled.
"Yeah, yeah, I'm a harbinger of germs," she countered, hoping she used 'harbinger' in the right context. She barely understood it when Sheldon used the word on her last week. Standing from the couch, she collected the silver bag and velvet pouch from the coffee table as she made her way into her room, a silly grin on her face. She returned minutes later to find Sheldon pacing in front of her couch.
"You want something to drink?" She asked as she made her way to the kitchen.
"No, thank you," he replied quickly, stopping his pacing as she opened her fridge to see what she had. She was delighted when she remembered the pitcher of iced tea Sheldon had brought over for her the previous day.
Amy was over a short time later, precisely at eight o' clock. Penny could not help the smile that spread across her face at Amy's reaction to the tiara. It was rather endearing. After putting the tiara on Amy and watching the other woman leap into Sheldon's arms after an unexpected kiss, Penny found the moment bittersweet, her own mind still processing the reality of the gift Sheldon had given her shortly prior.
"You're right, the tiara was too much," Sheldon uttered, his face vacant as he gingerly patted Amy on the back, politely returning her token of affection.
Penny forced a smile and shrug for his benefit before turning to head back to her kitchen. She allowed the couple their moment as she grabbed the pitcher of iced tea and moved to return it to the fridge. She opened the door and placed it gently back on one of the shelves. She closed the it and remained standing there for a moment, her back to her friends standing across the room.
She sighed as her eyes fell to her hands in front of her. She carefully peeled back the sleeve of her sweater, exposing her left wrist. She ran her fingers delicately across her new bracelet, a small smile playing at her lips. Seconds later, she adjusted her sleeve back over it and turned to look at the couple once more, they had broken apart and Amy was now joyfully explaining her article in detail. Penny settled comfortably behind her kitchen island again, just watching them.
Sheldon looked up after a moment, meeting Penny's eyes. He gave her a look as if he were silently telling her Amy was starting to exhaust him. Penny could only smile in return, her fingers unconsciously running over her bracelet through her sweater sleeve as she did so. They gazed at one another long enough that Sheldon found that he was grinning back at her.
"Now that's not your koala smile," Amy commented, beaming up at him. Penny watched Sheldon's face fall as his attention returned to the woman in front of him. He cleared his throat and nodded. Amy hugged him again, a smile still on her own face. Sheldon dared not look at Penny again.
Penny remained continuing to watch the scene unfold in front of her. She had realized something new at the end of the day. She found herself smiling again as the thought crossed her mind. Sheldon was definitely right about one thing.
She would most certainly be lucky to land a fellow like him.