This came to me while I dozed on my couch and 'listened' while my B/F watched some old Chuck DVD. It's kinda weird but I had to let the fingers talk. It's 5 chapters long and this is by far the longest for those of you with either short attention spans or limited time to read. Rating may change for the final chapter but it's not finished yet.
This is my first BBT attempt. I make no money from this and damn little from my regular job but that's my problem.
She stepped out of the cab and sighed. Another assignment that wasted her talents and moved her further and further from her goal: an international assignment where she could gain recognition and acceptance. She paid the driver and took her single suitcase from the seat and walked into the apartment building. She glanced at the mailboxes and noted the apartment number and sighed again.
The elevator was out of order and she dreaded walking up four flights of stairs in 4-inch heels but she was already a day late in arriving in Pasadena. 'At least it's not Burbank'. A part of her mind registered the lingering after odor of hydrazine and she filed it away for later study.
To the casual observer she would appear to be dressed for a night of clubbing even though it was 5pm. Her sleeveless red silk dress hugged her curves and ended about 3 inches above the knee but was cut very low and displayed sufficient skin to catch the eye of any red-blooded male with a pulse. Her lipstick, nail polish and shoulder bag were all the exact same color as her dress and her naturally wavy blonde hair was cut shorter than usual and barely touched the collar of her dress but framed her face in a sunburst of blonde.
The only thing that might seem unusual about her was the color of her eyes – light gray with flecks of gold surrounding the irises, giving them definition. She'd been told once or twice that her eyes were creepy, beautiful, bottomless, and other adjectives, but she never thought much about it. Her eyes were her eyes, period. They enabled her to see and process images and act upon those images.
The blonde extended the handle on her suitcase and mounted the staircase.
'Well, I'll be able to skip the StairMaster in rotation at the gym if I stay more than a week or two.'
Finally reaching the fourth floor, she quickly spotted the apartment she needed and knocked on the door. Several times. Impatient, she made a fist and pounded on the door.
The door opposite 4A opened and she whirled around, surprised, and fought down the trained impulse to assume a defensive stance. She forced herself to relax and 'smile' at the young blonde woman who'd walked out of 4B. She was wearing a waitress uniform and a nametag that read 'Penny'. She was bare footed so she must have just returned from work.
"Hi, I'm looking for Dr. Sheldon Cooper. I'm here to see about subletting his apartment." She lied. She was only there to sublet a bedroom made available by the sudden departure of Dr. Leonard Hofstadter for 'parts unknown'.
"Oh, well, Sheldon's still at work but you can wait in my apartment if you like. I was just going down to check the mail but it can wait. I'm Penny," she rambled on.
"I'm Alexandra but my friends just call me Alex," or Barbara, Tanya, Lois or any of the myriad of other aliases I've used but 'Alex' is close enough to the truth.
"He should be home within thirty minutes. Since Leonard…left, he either takes the bus or catches a ride home with Raj or," and here she shuddered visibly, "or with Kripke."
"He doesn't own a car?" She wasn't surprised but she did have to work her cover.
"No! Sheldon doesn't drive. Well, he has a learner's permit but except for driving me to the ER when I fell in the shower and dislocated my shoulder, he doesn't drive."
"Well, perhaps he and I could carpool? My car is in transit from the East Coast and unless the idiots can't find Pasadena, it should be here in two days although for the life of me I cannot abide with people who cannot keep to a schedule."
'Oh, she's exactly like my whack-a-doodle…this will be so much fun to watch…'
She and Penny talked for a while in generalities and then they heard the arrival of Raj and Sheldon. They were arguing at length about some minute detail of the work they'd been doing and Sheldon was biting with his comments about Raj's competence.
"We lost valuable time today, Rajesh, due to your math error. I suppose it was my fault since I failed to properly supervise you." To Alex he sounded haughty and superior, things she detested but had to endure for the Greater Good.
Penny leaned over and tapped Alex's shoulder to get her attention. She was visibly surprised when Alex whirled on her and glared.
"I do not like people touching me, Penny. Please refrain in the future – assuming I agree to sublet."
"I was just going to say that Sheldon got Raj a position with him when Raj's funding dried up and he was in danger of being deported. He's really a nice guy underneath all those layers of shirts and those disgusting plaids he's addicted to…despite what you heard."
Alex stood and thanked Penny for allowing her to wait in her apartment. "I suppose I've wasted enough time here. I don't like wasting time, especially mine. Thank you for the hospitality. I'm sure I'll see you again, Penny." She turned and walked away leaving Penny wondering if Sheldon might have lied to her or forgotten to mention that he had another sister…just like him?
Alexandra walked out into the hallway, dragging her suitcase along behind her.
"Which of you is Dr. Sheldon Cooper?" She knew damned well which one was her mark but had to work her cover.
"I…" Sheldon's eyes got big and his face paled even more as he looked at the tall blonde in the red…red everything…
Raj looked at her and mirrored Sheldon's actions and backed up to Sheldon's door all the while making sounds that resembled some form of speech and might have been 'Seex, Seex, Shiva save me…'
"I'm Dr. Sheldon Cooper. And you are?" Number Six was mere fiction. Still, science fiction was future science fact…
"Dr. Alexandra Forrest. I'm here about subletting the apartment. Dr. Hofstadter mentioned it before leaving for his new posting. Is the room still vacant?" Her eyes never left his. She was gauging his response and reaction to her presence – and laughing inside.
"Yes, it is. Raj, I'll see you tomorrow. Please don't be late. Dr. Forrest, please come in." He unlocked the door and walked into the apartment and took a stance she knew was his attempt to control his encounter. He was uncomfortable with change and she was certainly a change.
Alex took control right from the start. "I assume you are willing to sign an agreement outlining specific stipulations as to comportment, common areas and rules and conditions, are you not, Dr. Cooper?"
Sheldon was pleasantly surprised when she reached down and retrieved a bound document entitled 'Roommate Agreement between Dr. Alexandra Forrest and Dr. Sheldon L. Cooper' from a pouch on the exterior of her suitcase and handed it to him along with a ball point pen.
Sheldon smiled and began reading the document while Alex quickly surveyed the room. It was orderly and furnished in a rigid sort of Feng shui that quietly stressed order and purpose. She wondered if he did everything by the numbers but squelched the thought as totally inappropriate. That's what got me into trouble in Burbank…someone's 'rigidity'.
"I find we are in agreement on many of the points that Leonard, my previous roommate, found himself at odds with. With the exception of Saturday, I am in complete agreement."
"And what about Saturdays do you find disagreeable?" Her voice became even calmer and colder and her eyes bored into his as if daring him to disagree.
"Saturday mornings I arise early and watch Dr. Who and that violates your 'no TV before 8am on weekends' provision."
"Well, I suppose if you are in agreement with all the other codicils and sections that I can make an amendment for Saturday…if you promise to keep the volume low."
"I do. Should I draft – " He wanted to have something of his in the agreement.
"No, I'll bring it by for final signature. May I move in tomorrow? My vehicle is in transit. I prefer the train for long trips. Flying is so…confining and spending time in an aircraft with its recycled air and all those people with their germs and…and …is quite disgusting."
Sheldon gaped when she said 'train' and his opinion of Dr. Forrest skyrocketed. "Oh, I am so happy you prefer the train…I myself abhor air passage for all the reasons you stated. Of course, tomorrow? Excellent!"
Deciding to bring the conversation to an end and establish a rapport, she asked him if he was from Texas by chance.
"Why, yes, I am. Galveston. And you, Dr. Forrest?"
"I was raised outside Longview but spent the majority of my time going from oil rig to oil rig just about everywhere on Earth. My daddy was a driller and my mother…left us early on. I consider myself a Texan."
She took out her checkbook and wrote a check for the prorated amount of the monthly rent plus the next month's full amount. "I suppose I should make this out to you, Dr. Cooper, as the lease is in your name. Is that satisfactory?" she asked, holding out the completed check to him.
"Yes. That will be fine." He took the check and did the math. Amazing. Correctly prorated and from her handwriting, properly made out to 'Dr. S. Cooper, PhD' as was his preference.
"Well then, Dr. Cooper, until tomorrow." She turned to leave but stopped at the door when Sheldon asked if she had plans for the evening.
"I do not 'date', Dr. Cooper. My work is far too demanding of my time. Thank you anyways." She turned back to the door, smiling. Gotcha!
"Oh, please." The 'please' was drawn out and disdain showed in his voice for her assumption that he, Dr. Sheldon Cooper, was asking her for a 'date'.
"Dr. Forrest, I do not 'date' nor do I have time either to spend on such social pleasantries in which I have no interest. My research and managing of my assistant occupy almost all my waking hours. I was going to ask if you would like to meet the others whom you'll find occupying space here from time to time since tonight is Thai Food Night."
"I suppose getting the required social niceties out of the way early is more efficient than an unpredictable flow of introductory interruptions that will destroy my schedule. What time?"
"Seven. Please be punctual. It is – "
"Rude to be late. Yes. I hate people who have no respect for my time. Now, if our introductory phase is over, I need to find a hotel and unpack. I shall return at seven. Goodbye, Dr. Cooper."
Sheldon sat down in his spot and sighed. He'd always known that somewhere on the planet there was a female version of Homo Novis…and she'd just left his apartment.
Penny arrived first, dressed in casual clothes. She wore cut-off denim shorts and a t-shirt Leonard had given her and flip-flops. Her blonde hair was in a ponytail and she plopped down beside Sheldon and watched as he killed several of his enemies before Penny interrupted him and he got killed himself.
"Whatcha doin', Moonpie?" She loved ragging on Sheldon. He let her get away with so much more than he allowed the others. It was almost as if he knew that his 'strikes' were useless and that what she brought into the group dynamic was so much more than her absence would afford.
"Well, Penny, I was playing a campaign on Halo before I was jostled and then dragged into this inane conversation with you."
"Oh. Sorry, Moonpie." She wasn't. Not one bit and he knew it.
"Don't call me 'Moonpie', Penny. Only my mother and MeeMaw get to call me that."
She ruffled his hair and then leaned against him. She enjoyed getting within Sheldon's comfort bubble and watching him squirm.
"So, you gonna allow Number Six to take Leonard's room, sweetie?" She also noted the resemblance between Dr. Forrest and the actress who played the Cylon on BSG.
"Yes. She is exactly the kind of roommate I need. She doesn't require interaction and she believes in living her life according to logic and a schedule. She's coming for Thai this evening to get the 'social requirements' of moving in tomorrow out of the way. She's the epitome of efficient living. Why, she even had an agreement written that mirrored my own. Imagine that?"
"Yeah. Imagine that," Penny said, dryly. A Sheldon with boobs? Who ever would have imagined it? She couldn't but then she really hadn't given much thought to Sheldon having a female counterpart in her wildest imaginings. She wouldn't admit it but she was a little intimidated by Alexandra or 'Alex' to her friends. She tried to imagine what Alex's friends would be like but quit when she conjured up a female Walowitz and shuddered.
Howard and Raj appeared shortly after Penny and Raj 'eeped' when he saw Penny and whispered into Howard's ear.
"Cat still got your tongue, sweetie?" Penny asked and Raj nodded, smiling at her.
"Sheldon, Raj says that a woman came to ask about Leonard's room for sublet and that..."
Just then there was a knock at the door and Sheldon grinned after glancing at his watch and noting that she had knocked at precisely the agreed upon time.
"Howard, get the door and see for yourself," Sheldon smiled and gestured towards the door. He smiled evily.
'This is going to be a great Bazinga!'
Alex knocked at the door and waited…and waited. She glanced at her watch that she'd set after glancing at Sheldon's and gave a huffy breath.
The door opened and someone, still talking over his shoulder to someone in the living room, stepped into her and stumbled against her and then gave a shriek and ran back into the apartment and slammed the door. She heard a man's voice scream "It's Number Six! Save yourselves!"
Not more than 10 seconds later Sheldon opened the door and smiled his brief but goofiest smile. "Hello, Dr. Forrest. You were precisely on time and I apologize for MISTER Wolowitz' hysterical response to you and the subsequent delay in your arrival. He's much too invested in Battlestar Galactica."
Alex didn't understand the reference but understood the compliment on her punctuality and subsequent apology. She could see the Indian man she'd seen earlier in the afternoon whispering something to a man(?) wearing an outdated disco outfit and sporting a Peter Tork haircut who was staring at her while trying to catch his breath.
"Definitely Number Six. Poor Sheldon. She's going to gut him like a fish after she drains his mind of his intelligence."
Alex gave Wolowitz a glare and stage-whispered to Sheldon that she would not tolerate such disrespect and then turned to Wolowitz and declared, "That's a strike for you, MISTER Wolowitz. Two more and you're banned for 30 days. You have been warned."
Sheldon beamed a smile at the back of his new roommate while Howard glared but said nothing more. He was thinking, though, about how this beautiful woman was more fucked up than even Sheldon and sighed in pity and resignation.
Raj whispered something in Howard's ear and Howard dutifully parroted "Raj wants to know what discipline you're in and what you're going to do at Caltech. He doesn't speak in front of women. He doesn't mean any disrespect, he just has this inability…"
"Dr. Koothrappali, I'm here on a grant from the Department of Energy and my research is in finding ways to improve frakking. It is important to the very survival of our nation that we establish our own energy independence from Third World despots, no offense intended, Doctor."
Howard leered and practically oozed out "Frakking? As in…"
"That's another strike, Howard. Considering your world view it doesn't surprise me that you don't know the term in the real world. 'Frakking' is the method of reaching gas and oil deposits at extremely deep depths as well as efficiently extracting petroleum from tar sands."
Alex turned and smiled at Sheldon, a real smile that softened the sharp planes of her face and made Sheldon blink and then return her smile with a weak copy.
"Dr. Cooper is absolutely correct, Mr. Wolowitz. 'Frakking' is not a euphemism for coitus but an engineering method as he so succinctly described but then one wouldn't expect the man who sent the International Space Station a toilet that flushed up and is alleged to have lost the Mars Rover to comprehend an interdisciplinary term."
Sheldon giggled and was rewarded with another blazing smile from his new roommate. "Well, now that Dr. Forrest has established her bona fides, let's order dinner, shall we?"