Chapter Thirty-Nine

"Amy, when I look in your eyes and you're looking back in mine, everything feels not quite normal. I feel stronger and weaker at the same time. I feel excited and, at the same time, terrified. The truth is I don't know what I feel. Except, I know what kind of man I want to be."
Sheldon Cooper (TBBT Season 6)
"The Date Night Variable"

Sheldon wants to get engaged? Huh? Amy should have been over to moon. Instead, she felt dizzy and a little queasy. "Did you just propose to me?" she repeated when he didn't answer the first time.

He tilted his head to look at her, puzzled. "Where would you get that?"

"You said you would get me a diamond turtle pendant on our thirtieth wedding anniversary."

He nodded, still looking confused. Then, as if a light bulb had gone off in his head, his expression swiftly changed from bewilderment to understanding to irritated. With a roll of his eyes, he walked around her, heading back to his bag. "Clearly, you didn't read everything in the relationship agreement like you said you did."

Amy followed after him, more muddled than ever. And—if she was being completely honest with herself—a little relieved. Getting engaged on top of everything else at this point would have been moving a bit too fast. She was content with the status quo.

Sheldon picked up the relationship agreement and flipped through the pages until he got to the one he sought. With a quick pivot, he showed it to her, one finger pointing out the section she hadn't previously read.


SECTION XXI: NUPTIALS, PROGENY, AND THE FUTURE

The boyfriend consents to propose marriage to the girlfriend at the end of an established period of adjustment and planning, which will be decided by the boyfriend. This period will be no shorter than one year and no longer than five years. The girlfriend agrees to assist in the selection of her engagement ring and waives her right to a bended-knee proposal as neither the boyfriend nor the girlfriend are overly-sentimental hippies. By signing, the girlfriend likewise agrees to accept the proposal when it is offered, to shield the boyfriend from the bulk of the wedding planning, and to have the ceremony preformed entirely in Klingon …


Amy didn't know what to say. She read the section again and again before finally looking up. "You've always said you didn't want to get married. You said it would interfere with your dream of a Nobel Prize."

He shrugged. "I'm not the only one in this relationship, Amy. If one of us truly wants something, it is up to the other to do all they can to make that happen."

Amy closed her eyes for a moment and sighed. She knew what was truly going on here. "Sheldon," she said, "you don't have to propose to keep me. I'm yours. I'll always be with you—any way I can have you. You want to win the Nobel. I don't want to stand in the way of that. If anything, I'm going to do everything in my power to help you accomplish that goal."

"I know," he said, staring her down. "Together we can accomplish anything. The last week has more than proven that to me."

"Then strike this section out. You don't have to marry me."

"Yes, I do. This is what you want. You'd do anything, sacrifice anything for me. And, if I didn't do the same, then I wouldn't be worthy of you. I told you before. This relationship between us is equal. It has to be or it won't work." He took her hand in his. "It took me a long time to realize how truly unequal things between us were. You've been carrying the majority of the burden. I'm sorry for that. I spent so much of my life worrying about myself—thinking all I had was me. I thought I was happy. I thought I was living. But it was all lies. I didn't start truly living until the day I walked into a café and met a woman who shared my aversion to soiled hosiery."

Too much. It's too much. Amy covered her mouth with her free hand, trying to choke her emotion before she started sobbing all over him. "Sheldon, don't ever let anyone tell you that you can't be romantic all on your own. That was the single most romantic thing ever said to me."

He stood up a little straighter and grinned. "Really? I didn't even practice that. I guess, like everything else, it's just an area at which I naturally excel." He glanced away and dropped her hand in favor of scratching his chin, as if contemplating the matter further. "Perhaps I should offer a few pointers to Raj to help him with his girlfriend issues."

She rolled her eyes at his supreme arrogance. It was just so … Sheldon. "As much as I appreciate you offering to marry me, I can't let you do it. It's too much. What you've given me already is more than enough."

Sheldon looked up, seemingly startled that she was still arguing about this. "Amy, you give me everything I need—usually without me even having to ask. Allow me to do the same for you. You want marriage. I want to give it to you." His voice sped up as if he were afraid she was going to get the wrong idea. "Not today. Not tomorrow and not next month—of course. But give me some time to adjust, and I will stand in front of everyone we know and vow to be your husband forever."

Somehow, this only made her feel worse, not better. "No, Sheldon, you don't want to get married. I know you. You feel pressured because you're afraid I might leave you someday. I won't. I promise. I love you. I just want to be with you. That's enough."

He frowned. "Don't you want to marry me?"

"That's not what—"

"Amy," he said, recapturing her hand in his, "I asked a simple question. Kindly grant me a simple answer. Don't worry about me or what I might have said in the past. Think only of what you want." He stared deeply into her eyes. "If you could, would you marry me?"

Those eyes. She could never resist those eyes. "Yes." It was such a small word, and it took everything she had to utter it. "But that isn't what you want, Sheldon. It never has been. Admit the truth. You're only considering this because you're trying to give me what I want. That isn't what marriage is about. You're right in what you said before. Things should be equal between us—well, as equal as they can be. And, as much as I want to marry you, you don't want to be married, period."

"I want to be with you." He paused, as if letting the words he had just said run through his brain. Finally, he shook his head and started again. "No, I need to be with you. These last two days have given me a lot of perspective. I've missed you more than I've ever missed anyone. I don't think I've slept longer than an hour without waking up and reaching for you. Every night, I go to bed, craving your presence. I get up in the morning, wanting to hear your voice. I'll be at work in the middle of solving an equation and my thoughts flit to you. What are you doing in that moment? I've had to stop myself from texting or calling you more than a million times. I knew I was being ridiculous to even want to do so. You're busy. I had no right to intrude. But it didn't change how I felt. I merely needed to be near you, to hear your voice, or to read your text. It's the strangest thing. I've spent my entire life content to be by myself. Now, I'm only content around you. It's like my spot is wherever you are, like you carry it around inside of you." Sheldon reached out to put his hand flat over her chest right above her heart. "Here. Right here. This feeling … it's like …" He stopped, as if searching for the right word.

"An addiction."

They said the words together. Their eyes met and held. He's been feeling everything I've been feeling. Logically, it shouldn't have surprised her, but it did. The fact that Sheldon would feel this way about her. That he would admit to feeling even half as much. It was such a relief to know she wasn't alone in that. It's … too much. Amy had never felt more fortunate in her life.

She smiled up at him. He smiled back and gave a slow nod.

"Exactly, Amy. An addiction. And while addiction usually has a negative connotation, I believe it's a good thing in our case. It has opened my eyes to lots of things. For example, our current situation of me living in my apartment and you living in yours will suffice for now. But, as we continue on, it won't be enough for me. This … craving … will make it imperative to have you living with me, sleeping with me … every day. The concept of you wearing my ring, carrying my name, and bearing my children is not as frightening as it used to be. In fact, the more I ponder it, the more it seems to fill me with an odd sense of pride. You're mine, and I love you. I want everyone to know it."

He swallowed, a little fear creeping into his expression. "Now, please understand that I'm not offering marriage today. I … can't. I'm not ready. Not yet. But I'm working up to it. I promise you that."

Amy couldn't believe this. She wanted to cry, to laugh, to scream from the highest mountain—all at the same time. If she never had another good thing happen to her in her whole life, this evening would Sheldon would be enough. She took a deep breath and let it out. "OK."

"Good. Then stop arguing with me about this. I want to marry you, woman. Just give me some time to plan it all, and I'll be ready. You were right when you said we could have everything we wanted. All we have to do is make a plan and work together. I'm going to win the Nobel Prize, but I'm going to do it with you as my wife. I can already see myself on the podium accepting my award and looking out into the audience. There you'll be smiling back at me, giving me the strength to overcome my public speaking issues. And, when it comes time for you to receive your awards, I'll be standing in the audience with our four children, leading the applause."

"Four?" Amy nearly choked. She picked up the relationship agreement, trying to see what else she'd missed. "I never agreed to four children."

"Even numbers are better," he said, waving off her concerns. "As the second of three children, I can tell you that odd numbers often lead to two ganging up against one. We could only have two, if you prefer. For my mind, four benign overlords are better than two. It'll be like The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe."

She dropped the booklet, walked up to him, and wrapped her arms around his neck. "I'm going to read that entire agreement tomorrow, Sheldon Cooper. Whatever I don't approve of, we're going to revise. The first thing we're going to negotiate is the all-Klingon wedding ceremony."

"Oh no," he disagreed, wrapping his arms around her waist. The smirk on his face was all-male. "You already signed it. I've got you exactly where I want you, Amy Farrah Fowler, and you can't get out."

She kissed her way up his neck, causing him to shiver. "You sure about that?" she asked.

"You're not going to seduce your way into getting what you want. There's a rule about that in the relationship agreement, too. Besides, I'm not finished. I still have something else to show you."

"Later," she said, stepping out of his embrace. She unbuttoned her blouse and tossed it on the couch. Her undershirt followed two seconds later, leaving her naked from the waist up except for her necklace and a sheer, pink bra.

"I'm unmoved," he said, arching a brow at her defiantly. "Coitus isn't scheduled for," he looked down at his watch, "another two hours." He glanced up just in time to catch her bra. "Amy!"

She was already halfway to the bedroom. She stopped at the door, her bare back still to him, and peeked over her shoulder. With a brazen wink, she gave him the Patrick Swayze Dirty Dancing finger crook she'd been dreaming of using ever since she was a little girl. "Come along, Sheldon."

Amy didn't wait to see if he would follow. She didn't need to. From the muttered "Vixen" that came from his mouth and the sound of his shoes hitting the carpet, it was obvious he was on his way.

— —

Reheated tater tot casserole wasn't half bad. Sheldon doused his in ketchup, but Amy made do with a little pepper. Dinner was served at nearly nine in the evening, but neither seemed to care. After two bouts of the most passionate coitus on the planet, there was little that was going to bother them tonight.

After dinner, they worked together to clean up the dishes and put away the leftovers. Next, Sheldon escorted her to the couch where he showed her his final present for the night. At first, she wasn't sure what it was.

"Why are you giving me a scroll?" she asked, looking at the tube of paper wrapped in a bright red bow.

"Because scrolls are my third favorite way of transmitting the written word, because they don't get used enough in the modern world—to my mind at least—and because it was the only way to adequately demonstrate what I needed to show you. Open it."

Amy pulled off the bow and unwound the long paper. Sheldon found various objects to act as paperweights so she could look at the long, horizontal document from left to right on the coffee table without having to hold it down herself. What she found was confusing at first. Then, when she realized what she was looking at, it nearly shocked the nightgown off of her. "Sheldon, is this a …?"

"I call it the relationship timetable. It plots out the next several years of our lives, both as a couple and as individuals. What do you think?"

There was a long timeline along the bottom, ticking off months spanning over fifteen years. Here and there would be markings displaying various important events. One of the first events was happening in August.

"You want to go to my family reunion?"

He shrugged. "Equal relationship, remember? Besides, if we are to marry, it is expected that I should begin meeting your family. If you notice, I have scheduled some time for me to formally meet your mother. I know you didn't seem keen on this before, which is why I don't have it planned to occur for another month. I figured that would give me time to woo you around to my way of thinking."

She grinned. "You think you can 'woo me around'?"

He grinned back and waggled his eyebrows in a way she found absolutely charming. "You just did it to me. What's good for the goose is certainly good for the gander, you vixen."

Amy laughed and looked back down at the timetable. Apparently, Sheldon was planning for them to find an apartment together within the next year. Within eighteen months, he was tentatively planning to propose. She looked closer to make out the small lettering.

"You're proposing marriage to me at the train depot?"

Sheldon grinned eagerly. "They have a little, red caboose in the back that you can rent out by the day. It has real gas lamps inside and a whistle! I've always wanted to use it, but could never find a special enough reason to do so."

Amy giggled. She couldn't help it.

"Isn't that all right?" He seemed worried.

"It's fine. Just make sure you have orange blossoms on hand. They're my favorite."

He nodded, clearly making a mental note.

She looked at the rest of the timeline. After two years of marriage, Sheldon wanted them to have a child. Three years after that, they would have another. Three years after that, there was a question mark.

"What's that for?" she asked, pointing to it.

"That's when we decide whether to have two children or four."

"Well, seeing as how I would have to deliver the fourth one into my forties and the chances of birth defects, Down Syndrome, and the like all increase with a woman's age, let's stick to two, shall we? Unless, that is, you plan for us to have twins each time?" she asked.

Sheldon scowled in disapproval. "You're being ridiculous. Twins run in my family, of course. But only through the female line." He harrumphed. "Twins, indeed."

Amy turned back to the timeline. "You plan to win the Nobel Prize in eleven years?"

"Yes," he said resolutely, "taking into account the current trajectory of my career, my research with Kripke and a plan I have with Leonard, I should receive my nomination in eleven years, plus or minus a year."

"A plan with Leonard?"

"Yes. As much as I loathe to admit it, Kripke has some novel ways of approaching some of the issues we've been faced with in our joint project. His fly-by-the-seat-of-his-pants method is a little messier than I'm used to working, but it has given me valuable insight into other theories I've been previously stuck on and, therefore, had to put on the back burner. Once my project with Kripke is complete, I'll revisit one particular theory I have put together, utilizing these new approaches. It's going to take several years to see to fruition. However, once I am done, I can work with Leonard to prove my theory. He is, after all, an experimental physicist. If all goes the way I believe it will, I'm a shoe-in for the Nobel."

Amy slapped a hand over her mouth in shock. "You plan on winning the Nobel Prize with Leonard?"

He shrugged. "He's my best friend. I couldn't trust anyone else to run these experiments. And, if I had to share the prize with another physicist, it might as well be him."

Amy threw herself into his arms, hugging him tightly. "I'm proud of you, Sheldon. You've come so far in such a short amount of time."

"Yes, well, I might change my mind given his behavior tonight," he mumbled against her hair.

And we're back to the old Sheldon, Amy thought with a laugh. Then, something Missy had said earlier suddenly made since. "The troll!" she said as she pulled back from him.

"Troll?" Sheldon repeated. "What are you talking about?"

She gestured toward the scroll. "Is this what you've been working on for the last two days?"

"Yes. Well, this, the changes to the relationship agreement, and all the practice with Raj. Leonard kept complaining, but I had to get it all finished before I saw you again. Plus, I couldn't sleep at night without you." His forehead puckered in confusion. "Now, what's this about a troll?"

"Your sister said you were working on a troll. I think she misheard 'scroll' for 'troll'," Amy explained, fighting a yawn. She darted a glance at the clock on the oven. It was nearly eleven.

Watching her, Sheldon said, "You're exhausted and I'm exhausted—not to mention that it is clearly past my bedtime. Plus, we still have lots to do tomorrow. You're going to help me with George, and I've got laundry to complete. What do you say we go to bed?" He offered his hand to her.

Amy stared down of it, thinking of that night, weeks ago when she'd sat in her car marveling over the fact that her boyfriend had touched her twice in one night. Ahh, how far he's come. How far we've both come. Sheldon was right. Together, they could and would do anything they set their minds to. There were still bridges to cross, fears to face, decisions to make, drama to deal with, tears to shed, and arguments to lose. But, at the same time, there were jokes to be shared, discoveries to make, living to be done, happiness to be found, and lots of love to be shared.

Amy slipped her hand into Sheldon's and, following him to the bedroom, smiled contentedly as one thought ran continuously through her brain.

It's going to be quite a story to tell Meemaw when we see her again.


THE END


A/N: There you go. All done. I began the book with a quote from Amy and ended with one from Sheldon. There is nothing I love more than emotional symmetry.

If you liked my little story, let me know by reviewing. If you didn't, let me know by reviewing and leaving me your home address so I can hunt you down. LOL.

I have so enjoyed spending this time with you. It took me a little over three months to start, write, and finish this. I have written books before, but never this fast. I owe my speed to you readers. Your enthusiasm, support, and love for this story and these characters has been inspirational and motivating. I hope I didn't let anyone down.

Don't worry about me, though. I'm exhausted, but not going anywhere. You will see more from Misophonia. As you can see from my profile, I have a lot of obsessions out there and writing is my way of working them out. As long as I can see a good story in my head, I will write it.

Sequels: I should probably address this as it keeps coming up. I have no current plans to write a sequel to The Family Reunion Probability Theorem. While it would—no doubt—be fun to write The Adventures of Amy and Sheldon: Married with Kids, there really isn't a lot of story there left to tell. Just fluff. And, while fluff is fun, it can get boring in terms of an actual story. However, if I found an interesting twist, I would do it in a heartbeat. I've even thought about rewriting TFRPT entirely from Sheldon's POV. How fun would that be? (Please note: This is a joke.) Right now, I have a few other stories in mind I'd need to get out of the way first. I think I'll focus on those.

PS – Any guesses why this fic is titled the way it is? LOL. There are a lot of reasons for me, but I'm curious to get your take.

PPS –Now, if you'll excuse me, I just finished writing a book. I'm going to crack open an ice-cold bottle of Yoo-Hoo, break out my old box of dominoes, and see what kind of trouble I can get into. Cheers! :D