Chapter 63 Subtle Possibilities
I'm still in a hiatus mode I suppose but it was nice rewriting some older work yesterday. I l also took a couple of days to read, edit and do some rewrites on The Threads. Those edit and rewrites only appear in the master file which is on the blog. The blog chapters and Fan Fiction chapters remain unaltered. But you can download the PDF, iBook and Kindle versions of the master if you're so inclined. If you'd like the word document email me from the blog. It's rather funny that I'm so taken with TBBT which I have no and wish no ownership of. It's funny because I'm really not a big TV person. I follow something for a little while then move on. So right now I'm only watching two shows Raising Hope and The Big Bang Theory. So what are the perils of writing a really long piece of fiction? You find yourself not reading other fiction. I do follow a few Fan Fiction pieces. But I also have six new books siting on the Kindle that are going unread. It's also not saying that I'm not reading. Professionally I devour 300 or more pages of technical stuff every day. I write somewhere about 5000 words a day. About 2000 to 3000 of those words are this piece. Why the long diatribe tonight? I'm out of whiskey, my golf game today was mediocre, my dog is too old to climb the stairs. There were highlights, I got spend time with my daughter, play golf, drink a beer, and now I get to work on the story. I couldn't be happier, if I only had remembered to buy scotch.
When, whether and What
Penny snuggled into Leonard on the couch in the apartment. The baby was sleeping in her bassinette and Lisel in her bed. They had ventured into old town Pasadena that afternoon once Chelsea had dropped off Lisel. Ice cream was eaten, shopping was done. The family had spent time in the park. Lisel being pushed by her father in the swing had brought tears to Penny's eyes. The grocer had delivered while they were gone. The bags against the apartment door when they returned home.
They had cooked dinner together a Thai chicken recipe that wasn't too spicy, brown rice and steamed zucchini and squash. Dinner had been eaten off the coffee table. Afterward they had done the dishes together and settled in to watch several hours of silly cartoons with Lisel.
Penny knew Leonard was comfortable and happy at the moment. Between the sex and family time they had both had a wonderful day. She hesitated to ask him what had been bothering him, wondering if it would spoil their evening. She didn't have to ask Leonard was ready to talk.
Leonard started off very quietly.
"Honey I'm really thinking about retiring again. It seems like I'm getting very little fulfillment from my job these last few weeks. I sit and think about the other problems I have and it always comes back to that in the end."
Penny hugged him tightly for a moment then just let him go on.
"You know having my mother go so quickly and unexpectedly made me think even more about it. I haven't found a balance since then. Today has been the first time and even today points to the fact that my fulfillment is with you girls. So it comes right back up why should I be doing anything else?"
Penny was silent a few moments waiting for Leonard to go on. When he didn't she spoke.
"Sweetie wouldn't you miss seeing the guys every day? How would you feel about being totally out of your life's work? Have you thought about going the other way and start doing experimentation again? Could you just be another physicist working at Caltech instead of the chair?"
Leonard leaned over and kissed the top of her head. "I'm not sure I can do that it might even be considered a step backward. I'd need to find funding and something that fired up my curiosity. Then I know I'd get over involved with it. As to the guys I only see them at lunch a couple of times a week. The rest of time I have lunch meetings faculty, board members or donors."
He stopped for a few seconds, "I could step down to teach I suppose. I have tenure and could teach high energy and particle physics. I could teach just a couple of classes a term, two or three days a week tops."
Penny just continued to snuggle into him. "Is that something you think you'd enjoy?"
Leonard shook his head, "No not really and I actually do like being the boss. I'm not sure I could stay if I leave the chair. There something else too. I'm thinking about having my mother's research and work completed."
Penny went slightly rigid sitting up and turning to see his face.
"You're not joking. Why would you do that honey the protocol and research is dreadful in my humble opinion. I may be just a Nebraskan farm girl with a high school diploma but that sounds like the dumbest idea I've ever heard you say. Why would you want to finish her work?"
Leonard's face had a small grin.
"Thank you for that vote of confidence. I think the results of the protocol and the other children she studied are important. I think someone else may want to try a similar protocol on their own children. They need to know those results and conclusions. I'm not talking about doing it myself. I don't believe I could but if I found a researcher to make sense of it all. They could finish her life's work and perhaps prevent it from happening to some other bright little kid. Oh and what other dumb ideas have I had?"
Penny felt herself blush she'd had a brief moment of anger followed by shock earlier. She could see he'd been spending a lot of time thinking this over.
"Well let's see going to the North Pole with Sheldon Cooper might qualify or dating Raj's sister. I won't even start on the time machine or signing a roommate agreement."
Leonard laughed and nodded his head agreeing.
She smiled at him to lighten things up. "How would you find a researcher and what would be involved?"
He was still smiling then got serious again. "Finding a researcher shouldn't be too difficult it's really just a matter of looking at the journals and then asking a few questions. Always judge a scientist by his work then his reputation. Then I suppose an interview process and a review of the current state of the work. The only real downside is that any good researcher is going to want to at least give me a full psych workup maybe even analysis. I'm not sure I'm good with that."
Penny snuggled back into Leonard's shoulder.
"Okay I see you've thought it through, probably over thought it as well. A little analysis might even be good for you though I think you're the most well-adjusted idiot I've ever met. It could also cause you a lot of pain honey. Do me a favor and talk this over with Sheldon he'll have an opinion he always does."
Leonard smiled at her.
"Two things, why are you still just a high school graduate. Your one of the brightest people I know you should think about going back to school when the baby's older. Even if it's just to take some classes in things you might enjoy. And two how was dating Raj's sister a bad idea? It may have ended badly but had certain fringe benefits."
Penny sat up again and looked at him. She knew exactly the look to give him.
Leonard laughed again, "Okay I'll retract that, bad idea it was and I'll talk to Sheldon."
Penny smiled a soft sexy smile then snuggled back into him.
She did hope he knew what he was doing. Penny did have one last piece of advice for him though.
"Oh and honey don't retire until you decide what you'll do with yourself and us. You taught me that only if you're happy can you make another person happy."
Saturday October 13, 2025
Sheldon sat before the laptop on his desk reading through the material Leonard had emailed him last night. It was the papers and journals of his friend Beverly Hoftstader. Leonard's email with the attached files had been clear but also rather cryptic.
"Sheldon; Attached are files of all my mother's research and journals from her laptop. You knew her better than anyone. Could you look through these and let me know your thoughts on providing them to a researcher to complete? Let me know your opinion and we can talk about it next week.
Sheldon wondered what Leonard had in mind. Did he seek to finish the work himself? Perhaps this was a subtle way of getting Sheldon to take on the Project. Sheldon started to read the initial protocol and hypothesis. Amy had walked up behind him holding Maria and was reading over his shoulder.
"This is Beverly Hoftstader's work isn't it? This is very edgy stuff to be trying, withholding emotional support except for academic and intellectual achievement. The elimination or alteration of socially antiquated and non-productive social norms such as birthday celebrations, Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, etcetera."
Sheldon just nodded his head and continued reading. The goal of the protocol was to produce children that excelled academically and intellectually far beyond their peers. There was also a certain amount of eugenics weaved in. The offspring of two highly intelligent and educated individuals were required. The premise being that the superior mind would rule the emotions and gain maturity at a much earlier time.
Amy shook her head, "I'm a Neurobiologist but I had some pretty intense training in psychology. This study had it been enacted would have some major repercussions on the subjects. It would have been interesting to see how their brains developed."
Sheldon again just nodded his head, "It was enacted on Leonard and his siblings. I've never seen the actual protocol and underlying hypothesis before. Beverly talked about some of it with me but never with this kind of detail. It's fascinating Amy."
Amy touched his shoulder very lightly. Sheldon turned to look at her. Amy's face was very studious but also slightly sad.
"Sheldon this protocol would have been very cruel and damaging to the child's sense of well-being. Brought to its conclusion it may well have created a psychopathic personality. Poor Leonard it's amazing he ever had any normal relationships in his life. It's one thing to be the nerd but it least we had our parents love. I'm sorry Sheldon I know you admired Beverly but this is horrific."
Sheldon was now deep in thought going through his memory about psychology and conversations he'd had with Beverly.
"She knew it was a failure Amy. She was constantly worried for years that Leonard was emotionally repressed. Beverly also studied the effect of it on herself and Leonard's father, she became more withdrawn from both of them. It ended in estrangement and divorce. But the protocol and hypothesis itself are quite sound perhaps it was the implementation. I'll be interested to read her journals."
Amy gave him a rather dubious look.
"Let me ask you Sheldon would you exercise this protocol on Tyler or Maria?"
Sheldon sat for a second. He thought about his son, holding him, playing with him. The attachment and comfort he received from those things.
"Never" was his only reply.
Amy was satisfied.
Penny looked in the mirror putting the final touches on her hair and makeup. It was a lovely fall morning outside. Leonard, Lisel and her had gotten up early and had pancakes. Leonard had gotten out of the shower and Lisel and Penny had gotten in. Lisel was now dressed and Penny had left her in her room playing. She heard the music start a low soft hum it was slightly off key and stopped. Then it was there again soft and harmonious in tune now and wonderfully melodic. She ventured out into the living room to see Leonard playing the cello with Lisel watching intently. Leonard had his eyes closed remembering the music as he bowed the instrument. He finished and opened his eyes smiling at Lisel.
He looked up and over at Penny blushing slightly.
"That was lovely honey what was it?"
"Mozart's Cello Sonata, it sounds better with more Cellos."
Lisel was hopping from foot to foot. "Can I try daddy, I want to play the cello."
Leonard patted his lap and Lisel climbed up behind the instrument onto his lap.
"This instrument is a little big for you so let's try with you doing the bow and I'll do the fingering. Pull the bow all the way over each string then move to the next string on the way back and we'll play a scale."
It took Lisel a couple of tries but she got it and a lovely scale of all four strings was produced. Lisel put her bow down and clapped her hands. Penny clapped also. Leonard just sat back and smiled.
"Well that's enough for today perhaps I'll bring it back to the house."
Lisel was happy. She picked up rascal and took off down the hallway. "I'm going to go draw a cello."
Leonard laid the instrument gently back in its case then the bow in its holder. Penny sat down next to him on the couch.
"What got you into a cello mood?"
Leonard looked over at her. "When I was a kid this was one of the things my mother did encourage. There were times over the years where it brought me a lot of comfort. But today I really wanted to see Lisel's reaction. Not that I want her to be a musician but I thought it might be fun to introduce her to the only instrument I play."
Penny leaned over and hugged him, "That's very sweet honey, do you think she's ready?"
"I think she should see instruments as toys that can be played with at the moment. If she were to get serious about it then I'll support it, perhaps the banjo or guitar next time. "
Penny giggled, "Let's wait until the baby is older before we go for a drum set okay."
Leonard smiled as his phone beeped. "Sheldon's calling me on video I was expecting an email. Tish put this video call on the big screen please"
The screen came down from the ceiling with Sheldon and Amy both looking back at them.
Amy was first to speak, "Hi bestie, oh you guys are at the apartment having a weekend away?"
Penny just nodded as Sheldon spoke.
"Leonard; Amy and I started going through your mother's research. Both Amy and I need some more time to go through the journals but we both think it would be a good idea to sit down and talk about it."
Leonard looked over at Penny and shrugged. Penny took that as passing the decision onto her.
"Why don't you bring the kids over this afternoon and we'll all have dinner here in the apartment?"
Amy jumped at the invitation, "That's sounds good let's say 5:00PM."
"Okay, see you then" Leonard said
Amy had one more thing to say though. "Leonard I want you to know you're a fine man regardless of your mother."
Sheldon snorted and the screen went black.
Hope you enjoyed it, you know I love to hear from you. I'm re-writing some other fan fictions this week. It's nice to clean them up and make a few changes. Look for them soon. Leaving Pasadena is already done.
PS Macy glad to see you're still there, hang in there.