***This is a prequel/companion to The Coccinella Correlation. It definitely makes more sense if you read this after The Coccinella Correlation. Your comments and reviews inspire and push me to continue, so please speak up :) I am still very new and I would love suggestions, advice, or feedback of any kind! :) Thanks again for reading!***
Yellow street lights from outside the window began to blur together as the car sped past. The vehicle was moving seven miles per hour faster than the posted legal speed limit. However, there was little value in attempting to correct Leonard's treacherous driving tendencies tonight. It's alright; he will certainly receive a lengthy post-commute review in his inbox tomorrow truth is that Leonard's speed-demon ways were not near as bothersome to Sheldon as they usually were. It was not very noticeable anyway, since the car wasn't going nearly as fast as his heart was beating. He made a mental note to book an appointment with the cardiologist as soon as possible. Tachycardia is no laughing matter. He supposed that perhaps his newly acquired cardiac condition could be the result of sudden onset anxiety. But what was there to be anxious about? He was just going over to Amy's apartment, just as he had done countless times before.
The only exception was that tonight was the fourteenth day of February, and it was apparently a different, more special night, according to the sensible laws of social convention and the profound wisdom of Penny.
He couldn't resist letting out a snort as he was tickled by his impeccable use of sarcasm.
"Nailed it again, Cooper" he proudly whispered to himself.
"Did you say something, Dr. Genius?" Penny fired playfully.
He lazily shook his head no and continued to "listen" as Penny ranted off in mad fury about some Valentine's Day nonsense. As usual, he had exponentially more important matters to sort through his masterful mind than the asinine ramblings of a service worker.
"Obviously Valentine's Day is as special to Amy as it is for a lot of women, and I swear Sheldon, if you go over there and break poor Amy's heart tonight, I'm gonna kick your sorry little –"
"Lay off him, Penny." Leonard broke in nearly laughing. "I'm sure he has a big romantic gesture planned, right, Sheldon? Perhaps a new brain teaser or a riveting new documentary on railroad tracks?" Leonard was in full laughter at this point.
Sheldon was barely paying attention to any of their foolishness. His mind kept circling around why he was unable to reach Amy all day. He knew that she was displeased with the outcome of the previous night's debate regarding the lack of plans set aside for this evening. He couldn't understand her frustration. They had just been on a mutually-ruled successful date last Thursday. He had the minutes typed up to prove it! What other kind of romantic fulfillment did this woman need? The car suddenly came to a halt causing Sheldon to be violently jolted off of his train of thought.
"Good Lord!" Sheldon yelped. "Have you lost your mind? Why are we stopped here when Amy's apartment is still five blocks west?"
"This is a florist, Sheldon" Penny shot back. "We're stopping here so you can get Amy some flowers for Valentine's Day. Now, what's Amy's favorite flower?"
Sheldon perked up in his seat and took a deep breath.
"First of all, I do not know what type of flower Amy prefers, but my guess is none at all due to her maddening seasonal allergies. Even if I knew exactly what flower she wanted, I would never walk in that filthy flower shop and purchase anything on this night because I refuse to participate in this senseless holiday, and Amy is very aware of that."
Sheldon reached into his messenger bag for a binder. With the dark car making it difficult for him to see, he mistakenly pulled out a red envelope. He froze. In a sudden cold sweat, he shoved the envelope back into the bag, (blatantly disregarding his patent-pending messenger bag organizational system). After finally retrieving the proper binder, and catching his breath, he produced a single page.
He continued, holding up the sheet of paper to read by the street light. "I have here Amy's notarized signature on this addendum to the Relationship Agreement stating that all holidays deemed silly by vote of concerned parties (wherein cases of a tie, refer to section 10.4b-Boyfriend Tiebreaker Clause) will not be observed. Examples include but are not limited to: International Speed Skating Day, National Tortilla Chip Appreciation Day, National Massage Awareness Day, and above all, Valentine's Day."
"Leonard, help me out here!" Penny cried.
"Well, it is legally binding", Leonard retorted.
Penny rolled her eyes and grabbed Leonard's hand. "Let's just get this cuckoo to Amy's so we can get on with our evening, friend." She squeezed his hand and added a seductive wink.
Leonard did not need to hear anymore as he quickly slammed on the gas pedal.
Sheldon was relieved to be back on track. He still could not fathom why Amy would be upset with him. She was certainly intelligent enough to know that Valentine's Day was pointless. A day to celebrate love? How primitive! Why would one celebrate love? Love pushes people beyond the point of logic. Leonard and Penny were a prime example. They were actually going on a date tonight, though they claim to be "just friends". He suspected they might be participating in this new "friends with benefits" arrangement he had learned about. He hoped that they would not be reinstating their disruptive relationship. Either way, he made a mental note to revisit his "cone of silence" experimentation—noise cancelling headphones have proven to be insufficient in the past.
The car stopped suddenly. Sheldon couldn't prevent a slight smile to beam across his face as he gazed upon Amy's apartment building.
"Alright, here we are. Good luck in there, buddy" Leonard said while unlocking the back doors.
Sheldon sighed, "I don't see why luck has any factor in it. Like I told you several times, I am just going to make sure Amy is okay, quickly scan her apartment for stealthy wild bobcats, and I will be ready for you to come get me."
"If you text us any time before ten o'clock, there will be war", Penny with that, Leonard and Penny waved goodbye and sped off. Good riddance. Sheldon had much more pressing matters to deal with anyway. He had to figure out what was wrong with Amy. She can't just go all day without communicating with him. That is just…just…well it's just wrong. Sheldon quickly grew frustrated with his thoughts and began to march towards her apartment.
While making that familiar walk to apartment number 314, he glanced down at his still-open messenger bag. His eye caught a glimpse of the red envelope stuffed messily in the back. Again he froze while his heart began to race. Clearing his throat, he quickly closed the bag and continued walking to Amy's apartment.
By the time he arrived at her door, he had planned everything he was going to say. He was calmly going to present his concern, and wait for a likely reasonable explanation for her violation of…well he didn't quite know what she violated…but he knew it must have been something, because he felt offended. (No worries, he would surely find it in the Relationship Agreement later and email it to her in his post-meeting review.)
He began pacing in front of her door, reviewing his plan one last time. He thought again of the red envelope. No! He must stick with the matter at hand.
He suddenly stopped pacing for fear that she would hear him outside of the door. She too had Vulcan hearing. It was one of the many reasons he was convinced that they would produce superhuman progeny. He took a second to smile at this thought. No time for that now, he must focus.
He raised his hand to begin knocking, but before he had a chance he was caught off guard by the sound of the harp and Amy's voice singing sappy Elvis Presley lyrics.
"Are you lonesome, tonight? Do you miss me tonight? Are you sorry we drifted apart? "
"Dear Lord, Amy", he whispered to himself. Was she really that sad? She must be. Amy was the only woman he ever knew of that expressed sadness through stringed instruments as opposed to tear duct release.
Well he certainly couldn't go in there under these circumstances. Not sure if he was up for another night of cuddling, he decided that he should go home. He could just go see her the next day, after she had gotten over this sad spell.
After receiving an uncalled-for reply from Leonard regarding coming to pick him up, he accepted that his only option was to take a bus home. This was officially the worst day of his life.
He sat at the bus stop impatiently. His mind kept flashing back and forth between sad Amy and that red envelope in his bag. That damned red envelope! He couldn't stop himself from pulling it out of his bag to go over the contents of it yet again.
He had read the results of his annual recommended brain scan countless times since receiving them. One highlighted paragraph kept vividly replaying:
Patient experienced unprecedented activity among dopamine and serotonin receptors; as well as increased concentration of oxytocin exclusively after repeated viewing of image 0113-labeled "Amy Farrah Fowler".
The first time he read it, he didn't really believe it. He knew that he cared for Amy deeply, and that he had to see her or talk to her every day, and that he constantly thought about her, and that he found everything she did fascinating… but love? It seemed unlikely. Could the mighty Dr. Sheldon Cooper actually be in love?
To his dismay, he knew the answer to that question. He had known it for weeks now. Science has never lied to him, and his method was undeniably flawless. After all, he did repeat the study twice more just to yield the same results. He even sent all of the results to Dr. Beverly Hofstadter, the best neuroscientist/psychiatrist he knew. She confirmed all of the data. There could be no disproving the fact that he was in fact in love with Amy.
This idea, while ever active and moving furiously in his mind seemed to paralyze his body. This cannot be happening. Dr. Sheldon Cooper CAN NOT be in love. His life's plan did not include this. His purpose was not this. He was supposed to change the world, not have his world changed! This isn't happening. It will not happen. He will not let it. This has to stop!
Hyperventilating now, he stood up and stuffed all of the brain scan paperwork into the red envelope and angrily shoved it into his bag. For the first time in his life, Dr. Sheldon Cooper was going to look science straight in the face and tell it to—
Sheldon stopped his thoughts in their tracks. Apparently while jamming the envelope into his bag, he caused a small rectangular cloth to fly out of it and fall slowly onto the ground. He ran to retrieve it before the feisty Pasadena winds claimed it forever.
Upon picking it up he couldn't help but smile. It was Ferdinand T. Flag. He remembered that Amy suggested he take it with him and check into getting it printed on t-shirts and coffee mugs to promote Fun with Flags. She was a marketing genius. Staring at it, he recalled how brilliant she truly was. She encouraged him to pursue the fascinating 52 week podcast that he had dreamed of doing for years. She created Ferdinand T. Flag to attract younger viewers, and her plan was working because their weekly views have surpassed even his lofty expectations.
Then was when it hit him like the bus that he was waiting for. She wasn't distracting him. She was not holding him back. Amy made him even more brilliant, even more accomplished, than he could be by himself. There was no way he could go against the findings of science. He knew that science, his first love, was what made it possible to discover Amy, his final love.
However, his endorphin rush was quickly halted when he thought of Amy, sad and alone in her apartment (playing that ridiculous harp). He knew there was no other option. He had to show her those brain scans tonight.
He walked with purpose from the bus stop to Amy's apartment building and into the warm lobby. He figured that he should arrange his thoughts and practice exactly what he was going to say to her. He hoped the brain scans would be enough for her to infer his feelings, but he knew better. She would want him to say it outright. Amy would never settle for less. While he respected her for that, the thought of saying "I love you" to her made him nauseated. Pull it together, Cooper, he thought. With his mind focused, he began pondering the possibilities.
Should he tell her the whole truth? Should he mention that he often thinks about planning a life with her, ruling the world with her, playing fetch with their future pet dogopus?
No, he thought, he shouldn't share too much. He doesn't want to have another tiara incident on his hands. So he would just say "I love you".
Just "I love you"; surely his genius can handle such a simple task. He began to practice saying the words out loud in the lobby.
"I….love you." He took a deep breath of relief. "OH", he exclaimed in high-pitch, breathing heavily. "That wasn't so—" THUD
After regaining consciousness, he decided that he'd better try this again sitting down. Luckily there was a couch in the lobby. He began again.
"I love you." No
"I looovve you." No, not quite.
He noticed a woman watching him in confusion. Who knows how long she had been standing there.
"Look lady", he began, matter-of-factly, "You are witnessing a moment that will define history. In a few minutes I am going to single-handedly set the trajectory for the creation of the supreme overlords that will rule over the future of our very species. Take note."
He watched curiously as the woman walked, no, ran out of the building. Happy to have her gone, he began to practice again.
After trying different methods, he finally managed to find a way to say "I love you" without having to call a physician (He kept the cardiologist's number handy just in case.) He determined that he could only say it if he closed his eyes upon saying her name. Saying "I love you" was not too difficult in and of itself. But when it was put in the context of Amy, the entire game was changed. Oh how true this was.
Upon arriving at number 314, he noticed that there was no harp music. Thank God. He certainly did not need a sobbing Amy, or a soundtrack. With one deep breath he raised his hand to the door and knocked.
The next thing he knew, he was waiting by the door for Amy to get dressed so they could go to dinner. Despite his eidetic memory, the events of the past twenty minutes only came in blurry brief moments. He remembered saying he loved her. He remembered almost dying from anxiety. He remembered her lip on his ear and thinking that—no he couldn't think of that. Not then. That analysis would have to be for another time, perhaps under medical supervision. He made a mental note to email Dr. Beverly Hofstadter immediately upon returning home.
Finally, Amy walked towards him wearing the tiara he had given her.
He gave her one of his classic looks of haughty derision, but he was really smiling inside. He would never admit to her that when she wore that silly thing, her green eyes glowed even brighter than Princess Panchali's. In fact, he would most likely never admit that to anyone.
"Are you ready to go, Dr. Cooper?" Amy beamed.
"Certainly" Sheldon replied.
As they began walking to dinner this cold Valentine's night, Sheldon realized that he was still shaking. Not from the cold, no. He was still a complete nervous wreck. He focused all of his concentration on preventing his hand from quivering. I am the master of my own nervous system, he chanted in his mind.
Still smiling the same wide smile from the apartment, Amy grabbed his noticeably shaky hand as they walked. Sheldon could only look ahead, but soon realized that his hand finally steadied itself in hers.
At that moment an immeasurable number of cognitions bombarded his already active mind. He involuntarily entertained thoughts of infinite possibilities. Thoughts of future projects. Thoughts of fear. Thoughts of anxiety. Thoughts that he knew he wasn't ready for. Thoughts that he may never be ready for. Thoughts that he never expected to experience in his life.
But never once did he think of asking her to let go.