I sit here in silence at my usual booth in the corner of the obscure little coffee shop downtown. This has been my habit, to be here like I always do Saturday afternoons at four. And I don't come here merely for the coffee or the ambience.
I glance at my watch before I take a slurp of my cappuccino slush. My waiting did not take a second longer when I see you breeze through the doorway.
Right on the dot, I think just as I had earlier guessed. You don't see me as you head straight to the counter. You nod at the friendly owner (perhaps one of the very few customer service people you warm up to) with your index pointing up to indicate your order. I bet you'll be having your usual steaming organic herbal tea, no cream or sugar with seven drops of lemon juice. I've been staying here long enough, patiently enough to know what you want. I only wish I knew what you want of me because I've been suffering from this intense longing and pain far longer than I remember.
I don't know what it is about you that got me so interested this way. It could be your genuine brilliance in everything scholarly. Perhaps it's the way you subscribe to certain rituals and routines while maintaining a scientific stance on superstitions. Still, it could be the blatant way you always try to belittle my education and my career for a reason only you could know. And I don't comprehend anything anymore, except that you've haunted me for years because no matter how hard I try, I can't seem to get rid of thoughts of you in my mind.
This is crazy, me being in this very coffee shop at this time and day of the week just to see you. But I don't mind it, hoping that at every chance I do this, something new would happen. This isn't the first time I tried to understand what was going on in your world, even if the act brought me nothing but headaches.
Of course I do wonder sometimes if it's worth it. You are only friendly with me when you need to me to do something for you, like talk Amy into getting you out of a situation you don't like or kill a spider for you. Sometimes, I get to wonder if Bernadette thinks I'm nuts for even trying to know what makes you tick. You hardly ever acknowledge me except when you feel the need to torment or ridicule me. I haven't done you anything wrong…as extensively as my memory serves me. I don't deserve this kind of treatment from you.
Do you think I've forgotten every nasty detail of the nice things you do to me? I've forgiven you for them, though you never asked for my mercy—as if you ever would. But I can never forget them. They're too painful to dismiss just like so. Every condescending glare you shoot my way, each moment of rolling your eyes upward, every syllable of the colorful names I go by in your book—they kill me. It wouldn't matter to you if you learned of how they pain me. It's not like you care. Yet no one can stop me from thinking, from hoping all those would have an end.
For some reason, every time you stick your nose up in the air at me, I only get more persistent. Perhaps I see it as some sort of a challenge, I view you as some sort of a dare. And I'm never one to back down on any type of provocation, especially from you. You are the game as well as the prize. Losing without fighting just isn't me.
Especially the losing.
The café keeper places the steaming stimulant down on the counter. You hand him the cash and take the cup, indicating your departure and generous tip. It also gives me cue that I should get going as well, to carry on something that will mark this day different from all the other Saturdays I stayed here and did nothing but watch you in silence.
Gathering my drink in addition to my bravado, I get up from the corner and make my way to the door after having mentally calculated I'd catch up with you just before you get your hand on the knob. And I'm right; me tailing behind you. Even from this view, you've managed to still exude your elegant radiance. How you do it is beyond me.
A deep intake of air and I plunge into my opening line. "Hello, Sheldon!"
You turn around, too quickly for me to realize the little space between us. Your occupied hand collides with mine, sending the contents of my covered plastic cup to shake. I lift the corners of my mouth to offer you a smile but it turns into a grimace. My mouth lets out a sharp cry of anguish. Looking down, I note half of your fresh steaming drink staining the sleeve of my hoodie jacket, its heat seeping through my every pore.
"Oh, dear lord!" you cry upon realizing my predicament then set your cup down the nearest table. You use the napkin in your hand in a feeble but sweet attempt to wipe the tea off my arm. "Penny, I'm so sorry. I didn't know you were—"
"It's alright," I mumble as audibly as I could. So this is what getting singed feels like. "My bad, really." But much more than the scalding pain I feel is the sensation your hands give me at your every stroke to my arm. You have never touched me this way before and I doubt you ever would if not for this mishap. But I don't care. It's part of the sacrifice I take just to be with you.
"Are you alright?" you ask, your voice sounding off concern.
"Yeah…pretty much." I'm not lying. I've started to feel better when I saw in your eyes a tad amount of care. You're not so heartless after all, I realize.
"I'm sorry about your jacket."
"I'm really sorry about your tea."
You chuckle, but it isn't one to spite me. In fact, it sounds almost endearing. "Penny, it's just tea."
You try some more to vainly wipe the drink off my clothing. Then you sigh almost immediately. With nothing else left to be done, you sever our contact by ceasing to mop my arm. You dump the balled-up sheet of spent napkin on the table beside your nearly empty cup.
"I guess that's it." You look at me, your gaze intense and more scorching than the beverage that got its way onto my clothing. "Nothing more can be done about it."
My breath hitches in my throat. For the first time in my life, I have you looking and smiling at me the way you do right now. And just before I allow myself to drown in your blue eyes, I utter the first thing that comes into my mind. "How about if I buy you a fresh cup of tea?"
You tilt your head aside in an innocently seductive act. "How about if I buy you a new order of whatever it is that you're having?"
"How about if I buy both of us drinks?"
"How about if I buy you a new jacket first?"
"How about if I take you out to dinner?"
I bite my tongue, cursing myself inwardly over and over again. My mind is working fast, but my mouth goes double time. Of course I do want to spend more time with you, but my words slip out too much too soon. I clear my throat, attempting to apologize, to take my words back before you could even say 'no.'
Of course I know you're going to say 'no.'
"Uh, Sheldon, I didn't—"
"I'd love to, Penny."
I blink. I'd choke if I have anything in my mouth. But your gaze never falters. Did I just hear something in the affirmative?
You give me a curt smile, just a little tilt at the corner of your mouth, really in a shy manner, as though embarrassed at having said 'yes.' For a moment, I fear you'll change your mind until you say, "There's this newly opened restaurant just two blocks away. We could go check that out."
"Sure." I'm certain I'd say the same thing even if the diner were somewhere in Neptune.
I feel like my feet are floating fifteen inches above the ground. And as we make our way out the street, I remember that I haven't brought much cash with me. The last purchase I made with my credit card almost sent me over my limit. If luck would be stingy today, the ATM will probably be off-line and useless as well.
But I shrug as we walk down the avenue. Money is the least of my concerns because I have you with me. Even if I'd have to beg, borrow or steal, I wouldn't care.
I'd do anything to be near you at this time.
A/N: What do you think? Yea, I think Sheldon was a little OOC (just a little, I hope?) but I just believe that he's really not a bad person. And that he's really, really nice.
Reviews pleassse? Thanx!