I will be revising the story and changing a few things. Please enjoy this reposting.
A discovery is like falling in love and reaching the top of a mountain after a hard climb all in one, an ecstasy not induced by drugs but by the revelation of a face of nature that no one has seen before and that often turns out to be more subtle and wonderful than anyone had imagined.
Chapter 1 Laundry Night
Carly Bennet had moved into a new apartment building just a few weeks ago. She had finally decided it was time to obtain a place of her own. She loved her Grandmother of course, but she was twenty-seven. Most people her age were married, had an actual house of their own, and were probably having kids. Carly, however, had been living with her Grandmother since she was five, after her parents had been killed in a house fire. The fact that this elderly lady had taken her in when she had no where else to go, made Carly feel emotionally obligated to stay and return the favor. But her Grandmother made it clear she'd be just fine on her own. So Carly reluctantly saved all of her paychecks at the library she was working at and attempted to find a new home. Her Grandmother had found an ad in the newspaper for a lease of an apartment over in Pasadena, which was about thirty minutes from where she lived.
Then, after a couple weeks of moving in, she finally was set up in 2a and had landed a job at the local library in Pasadena. It was what she had gone to school for - to be a librarian. She loved being around books and often enjoyed the scent of them. Her apartment reflected her love of reading material, with many bookcases around with different types of books on diverse subjects.
But what she really loved about the apartment was that it was all hers.
It was a Saturday night around 8pm and Carly was sorting her clothing. The library closed at seven and she decided to do some much needed laundry. After grabbing some quarters out of her coin jar, she took a hold of a basket filled with light colored clothes and headed down to the laundry room that she had been in only once after she had first moved in.
Carly was humming quietly to herself when she walked through the doorway and didn't even realize that there was someone else in the room, sorting his own laundry into the washer. That was until he turned the washer on and she jumped in surprise at the sudden sound. Her head snapped over to him, no longer humming. He was incredibly tall, very lanky and had short brown hair combed over to one side. His eyes were adverted from hers and she was perceptive enough to see that he was extremely uncomfortable with her watching him.
Carly eyed him for a second, before opening up a washer and placing her clothes inside - conflicted on if she should speak with him or not. Since arriving in Pasadena, she hadn't really talked to anyone outside of work. Making friends had never been her strong suit. When she saw him start to leave from the corner of her eye, she hastily spun around.
"Hi!" she said but then regretted it after seeing him jump in surprise and turn to face her in horror. Maybe she shouldn't have been so loud and sudden.
She felt her face heat a little, but smiled apologetically at him. "Sorry. I'm Carly, I live in 2a. I haven't met anyone in the building and I figured I would introduce myself," she said awkwardly.
He stared at her for a long time and she began to wonder if he was deaf, but then he finally spoke. "Great."
And then he disappeared with his laundry basket in his arms.
Carly was left staring at the spot where he had been standing, bewildered. She wasn't exactly sure how to process what had just happened but she decided that he hadn't been comfortable in the first place; or maybe she just wasn't friendship material.
Dejectedly, she returned to her laundry to place the quarters in the machine and turn it on. Soon after, she heard footsteps and she turned around quickly, thinking it was the man again but was disappointed. Well not necessarily disappointed, but it still wasn't him.
It was a woman this time - tanned, blond, and beautiful. She was taller than Carly and she seemed surprised to see her. "Oh hello," she said, a grin spreading across her face. "You must be the one who moved into 2a. I'm Penny," she stated, balancing her laundry basket on one hip to outstretch a hand to Carly.
Carly brightened with optimism and took it as they shook. "I'm Carly."
"I live up in 4b, come over anytime if you need anything." She said while walking over to the dryers and taking clothes out of it.
Carly appreciated Penny's offer, deciding she was a very nice woman. Maybe making friends wasn't as hard as she had thought? "Thanks. That's very kind of you," she replied.
Penny stood with her basket full of clothes and turned around to face Carly. "Speaking of which, me and some friends that live in the apartment across the hall from my apartment are hanging out and eating Indian food. Would you like to join us?"
Carly's heart did a flip at the offer. No one had ever invited over to hang out with them before. Looking at Penny's kind and waiting face, she came to her decision rather quickly.
"Sure! That would be great," Carly said breathlessly, holding onto her basket.
Penny brightened as well. "Cool! It will be nice having another girl around here, well besides Bernadette but she almost never leaves her boyfriend's side," Penny stated, as Carly followed her out of the room and up the stairs.
"Hey guys, this is Carly. She is the one who moved into 2a," Penny introduced her to group around the coffee table, before closing the door behind them both.
Carly smiled politely at them all, feeling apprehensive at everyone staring at her. "Hi," she said, her eyes looking around at the faces and then coming to a stop on the man sitting on the left of the couch, staring back at her. "Oh, hey! You're that guy that was just down at the laundry room with me," she pointed out in recognition, causing the others to look from her to the man in curiosity.
"That's because it's laundry night," he said smartly and then looked down at his food as he spooned it into his mouth.
"That's Sheldon," Penny said with a roll of her green eyes, gesturing to him as he tried to ignore them by watching the TV.
Carly nodded and smiled, wondering why Penny had rolled her eyes at him. "And that is Leonard, his roommate," Penny pointed to the short man in the large armchair next to the couch.
Leonard smiled shyly at her and Carly grinned with a nod to him. He was cute; dark hair and dark framed glasses.
"And that is Howard and his girlfriend Bernadette," Penny said, pointing to them on the other side of the couch and Carly looked over at them with a nod and a smile. Howard was short and very skinny with dark hair as his girlfriend was a little shorter than him and had pretty blond curls and short bangs hovering over her glasses.
"And last but not least, Raj. And just a heads up, he can't talk to women unless he drinks alcohol," Penny replied with a shrug over at a dark skinned man with black hair, sitting next to Howard and Bernadette in a computer chair. He had been looking at Carly before but when her eyes landed on him, he looked away subtly.
"Nice to meet all of you," Carly said, looking around at them all again before Penny led her over to the kitchenette and they both took a hold of the chairs at the island and sat them down next to each other by Leonard.
"Penny we don't have enough for her," Leonard said hastily as she sat down and Penny waved him off.
"We can share, can't we?" she asked Carly who nodded with an appreciative smile. She didn't eat much anyways.
Penny split a carton up and soon they were all eating, the TV displaying some kind of sci-fi movie. It was quiet for a moment but then Bernadette spoke up, "So Carly, what do you do for a living?" she asked, her voice was sweet and cute.
Carly finished her mouthful of food and then smiled to her, "I'm a librarian."
The others smiled and nodded in approval but Sheldon rolled his eyes in exasperation. "Oh, dear lord."
Carly frowned and turned to him, not understanding his negative outburst at her occupation. "What?"
Sheldon finally looked away from the TV, glancing at the others as they too looked at him, but with annoyance. He finally looked to Carly in defeat. "Oh it's nothing. We just have another person highly uneducated in the room. First it was Howard and then it was Penny. God Leonard, why didn't you just succumb to anti-socialism?"
Carly was taken aback, a bright blush upon her cheeks asher mind began spinning with the words he had just said. He had just insulted her and called her stupid.
"Because if I had, then I would be insane like you," Leonard replied flatly. "And don't insult our guest. That's rude."
Carly appreciated Leonard standing up for her but she frowned down at her hands for the rest of the evening. The others chatted with each other but she didn't really pay attention. Sheldon spoke up a few times to put his two senses in but she was too busy stewing on what he had said.
When Penny and Carly left for the night after saying goodbye to the others, the blond turned to her new friend with apprehension. "Don't let Sheldon's comment bother you. He has said that about me since I moved in a few years ago. He isn't good with people and he has an ego the size of the universe."
Carly smiled slightly, appreciating Penny trying to make her feel better. And she did feel a little better. "Thanks Penny. I guess I was just caught off guard by his words," she said with a shrug.
Penny smiled, placing her hand on Carly's shoulder and eyeing her face carefully. "You're a Cancer, aren't you?"
Carly widened her eyes in surprise and grinned. "How did you know?"
"I am great with astrology," she said proudly, her arms crossing over her chest.
"I agree," Carly said with a short laugh. "Thanks so much for inviting me. Your friends are very nice."
Penny shrugged dismissively. "Well sometimes," She laughed. "You should join us tomorrow too. We usually have dinner together almost every night."
"Great! Well I best be off, I need to go switch the clothes around downstairs."
Penny nodded but stopped Carly from walking down the stairs. "Oh for heads up, Sheldon will be finishing his laundry tonight so if you bump into him, don't let him bother you. I've found if you stand your ground with him, he's easier to deal with."
Carly thanked Penny before they departed from each other and Carly was soon in the laundry room with a new load of laundry and was busy placing her wet clothes into the dryer.
Carly turned around at the sound of her voice and was shocked to see Sheldon standing uncomfortably in front of the washers, holding a laundry basket. She hadn't expected to see him so soon after leaving his apartment.
She stood up straight after closing the dryer door, looking at him warily. "Yes, Sheldon?" She asked, trying to remain polite even though his insult was still fresh in her mind.
Sheldon took a deep breath before speaking, as if forcing himself to do this. "It has come to my attention that what I said to you was rude and uncalled for."
Carly's eyebrows shot up at his words, surprised by his attempted apology. But Sheldon spoke no more and he continued to look at her awkwardly as his eyes glanced to the floor repeatedly. Carly began to think that was his way of saying sorry. It must be uncomfortable for him to actually say the words.
Carly smiled suddenly, but remembered what Penny had told her. Be firm. "Thank you, Sheldon. Please don't insult my intelligence again."
Sheldon's eyebrow raised and he took a step towards her. "I was merely pointing out the fact that you weren't educated enough, not that you were stupid."
Carly's shoulders slumped a little, realizing she had somehow misinterpreted his words. "Okay, that is true. But it felt that way."
Sheldon stared at her for a moment and she began to feel uneasy, she shifted. "What?"
"I am just trying to comprehend how you could have took that impression when I didn't say anything whatsoever about your IQ," he stated, the wheels in his head still apparent on his face. "Although I am most positive your IQ doesn't match mine," he added as an after thought.
Carly then blushed, glancing down for a second. "I am a sensitive person, I guess."
Sheldon continued to look at her for another moment, his face appearing confused before he turned to his washer and began to retrieve his clothes to place in the dryer.
Carly watched him before suddenly becoming aware that she was staring and she turned around, spotting superman underwear in his hands. She bit her lip to stop from giggling and somewhere inside her, butterflies fluttered at the thought of him wearing them. Someone such as him owning such a thing was adorable.
She pretended to be busy with her clothes then, tilting her head as she tried to think of something to say. "So, what do you do?"
She heard him approach the dryers and she glanced up at him, his face now proud at what he was about to say. "I'm a theoretical physicist over at Caltech University."
Carly gaped at his words and she widened her eyes at him. "Wow, that is impressive."
He smirked, "I know."
She giggled slightly at that and turned the dryer on as he threw his clothes in his own dryer.
"Well I will see you tomorrow then," Carly said as she moved towards the door, basket in hand.
Sheldon turned around hastily, "What do you mean?'
Carly bit her bottom lip nervously, turning around to face him again. "Penny invited me over for dinner again. I hope that is all right?"
Sheldon thought for a moment before he nodded in decision. "Okay, that's fine. We play Halo 3 afterwards."
She frowned at him with confusion, "Halo? I am guessing it's some kind of game?"
Sheldon looked flabbergasted for a second but then composed himself. "Well not just a game. A video game that allows you to shoot and blow up alien life forms."
Carly then nodded. "Cool," she finally said. "Well I hope you win."
Sheldon scoffed at that, following her out of the room after turning his dryer on. "Like you will see tomorrow night, I always do."
Carly grinned as they walked up the stairs together. "I look forward to seeing that."
Sheldon's lips curved upwards into a smile. "You should. The other guys think that they have a chance, but if they had listened to me in the first place, they'd realize you need precision and strategy. They always lose to me."
Carly nodded with a smile, having absolutely no idea what Halo was, but relieved that they were no longer on awkward grounds. They made it to the first landing and were then moving up the next flight of stairs.
"You seem like you have it figured out, perhaps they should listen to you more often."
Sheldon nodded quickly with agreement. "Indeed they should."
They paused on the second landing where Carly's apartment was. "Hey, you should play with us. You could be on my team and I could show you how to play the right way. If there was someone else that knew my strategy then no one else could take us."
Carly was surprised at the offer and looked up at him with a smile. "Well I have never played a video game before, but I could at least try."
Sheldon shifted in sudden excitement and he smiled at her. "Great! I will see you tomorrow then."
Carly grinned, admiring his smile. "All right, see you too Sheldon." And then she watched him nod to her before disappearing up the steps. Carly practically squealed in delight. She was finally making friends.
Sheldon entered his apartment and quickly walked through the living room, glancing at Leonard who was at his computer.
"How did it go?" Leonard asked Sheldon, making the taller man stop in mid step and turn around with a slight smile.
"Great! And she is going to be playing on my team tomorrow when we play Halo," Sheldon said, as if warning him of his future loss.
Leonard raised an eyebrow. "She plays Halo?"
Sheldon waved him off. "Of course not! Someone that attractive can't possibly know how to play Halo. But I am going to teach her everything I know. You all won't stand a chance."
Leonard hadn't heard anything after Sheldon had admitted Carly was attractive. "Y-you think Carly is att-attractive?" he stuttered, his eyes blinked repeatedly - trying to process what was just said.
Sheldon stopped and stared at Leonard for a moment, replaying his words back to himself. Yes, he had said that…. hm. "She has nice skin," he answered simply.
Leonard gave out a short laugh. "Skin?" he asked in growing curiosity, standing and walking over to Sheldon.
Sheldon shrugged, as if it were no big deal, but narrowed his eyes at Leonard's smirk. "She seems to take good care of herself hygienically and she is in no way repulsing."
Leonard was now full out grinning. "Sheldon, do you like her?"
Sheldon stared at him, not really understanding what his roommate was getting at. "I don't not like her."
"No I mean do you like her, like her?" Leonard pressed, starting to get antsy. He wanted to know what was going on in his roommate's head.
Sheldon was becoming exasperated. "I don't understand what you are getting at."
Leonard rolled his eyes and let out a breath. "Sheldon, I mean do you find her sexually attractive. Would you consider taking her out on a date or something?"
Sheldon took a step back, his eyes widening and his lips parting. He was about to say of course not, but then he started thinking of Carly's smile and her soft looking brown hair that hung around her pale shoulders. Her eyes were a bright blue that reminded him of the ocean. And she really did have nice skin. It was porcelain looking almost even though she had a couple blemishes on her cheeks. He admired the way she didn't try to cover them up with make up like Penny did. She looked natural. And that was appealing to him.
Leonard calling him back to reality made him realize he had zoned out while thinking about Carly.
"Sheldon? I am sorry; I didn't mean to make you go into panic speechless mode…"
Sheldon collected himself quickly and frowned at Leonard. "Don't be absurd." And then spun on his heel, heading for his bedroom.