"I don't understand why we have to fly. The train is perfectly pleasant and would still get us there in a timely fashion." Sheldon huffed in and out of the paper bag as he pictured the plane crashing to the ground, knowing fully that not even Penny's Nebraska man hands could help in that catastrophe.
"You just need to relax, Sheldon. Flying is very safe," Amy said in a soothing voice to which Sheldon always responded. Only one other person in his life had ever been able to calm him, and his mother would not be on the plane with him this time.
"How can you say that, Amy? You call yourself a scientist, but you are continually duped into believing nonsense." His mouth firmly latched to the rim of the bag once again as it began to wax and wane to the sound of his erratic breathing.
"It will be okay. You are much more likely to die in a car accident and that doesn't stop you from allowing Leonard to drive you to work, the comic book store or the train store in Monrovia."
"That's beside the point," he said.
"That's the entire point, Sheldon. I think your fear of riding in the car is set aside knowing that you are getting something out of it, whether it be a new train, comic book or a free lift to work. You've made it very clear that you have no interest in going to Vegas, and I think that frustration has added to your anxiety about the flight." Amy looked at him with stern but comforting eyes.
"Perhaps. What do you suggest I do?" He set the bag on the coffee table, finally feeling comfortable in his spot on the couch.
"What do you feel you have to gain out of this trip?"
"Well, I have no interest in gambling, alcohol or prostitutes. I can't imagine what else Vegas would have to offer me."
"Alright. Don't think of what you have to gain, but rather of what others have to gain from you being there. You are Leonard's best friend. He invited you to share in this monumental step in his life. Your presence would make him very happy." Sheldon absorbed her words and sat motionless.
"Nuts to that. What else you got?"
"I'll be there." She looked down at the carpet, unsure of the response she would get. Her foot traced the edge of the rug.
"Yes," he said as he stood and walked to the fridge for something to drink.
"Yes? That's all you have to say?" Amy felt that ever familiar frustration beginning to boil.
"Yes, but you still haven't convinced me that I have anything to gain on this trip." Amy sat back into the couch and closed her eyes in frustration. Maybe now would be a good time to practice Kolinahr, if she believed in that sort of thing. At this point she was done with the conversation, but she wanted him there with her.
"The hotel restaurant has a make-your-own-sundae bar."
"This is going to be the best trip ever. See you at ten," he said as he shut the fridge and raced to his room to finish packing his suitcase.
"Probably should have led with that."
"Why isn't Sheldon at work today?" Howard asked as he spooned his macaroni salad into his mouth.
"He said packing required his full attention. He also mentioned going to the doctor to get anti-anxiety meds for the flight. If I knew that forcing him to fly would get him to take a Valium, I would have done it years ago." Leonard had had a smile on his face all day, knowing that in less than twenty-four hours he would be in Vegas with his best friends and the woman he was going to spend the rest of his life with. Nothing could be more perfect.
"Speaking of Valium, you're looking pretty chipper today," Raj said as he enjoyed tater-tot Tuesday.
"I'm happy. More happy than I've ever been and I am so glad that you guys get to be a part of it," Leonard replied.
"We're happy for you," Howard said between mouthfuls.
"Actually, I have a question for both of you." A sense of seriousness fell on the conversation as Leonard set down his water. "I wanted this to be a little more formal but I just can't wait anymore. Will both of you be groomsmen in my wedding?"
Both Howard and Raj beamed. "Of course!" they said in unison. They all stood up and hugged one another in the middle of the cafeteria only to feel incredibly awkward when they realized that everyone was watching. What a bunch of Nosie O'Donnells.
"This is going to be the best trip ever," Raj said. "I just need to find someone to watch my princess while I'm away."
"You waited until today to figure that out?" Howard asked.
"It will be fine. The old lady that lives down the hall from me said she would be happy to puppy sit anytime, for the right price. Although I have a feeling she didn't mean money."
"Well, take care of it. You have to plan ahead," Howard said condescendingly as he ate more macaroni salad.
"Since when are you so mature and organized? It took you forty-five minutes to find your car keys this morning. And they turned out to be in the freezer."
"That's not the same thing. Bernie and I have had to be very organized to make everything work for everyone on this trip."
"Everyone? I thought we were all on the same flight and hotel," said Leonard with a wondering stare.
"We are, but Bernie invited some of her friends. She has never been to Vegas and decided to fly some of them out with her so they can have a 'girlcation.'"
"Bring on the ladies! Anyone we know?" asked Raj.
"I don't think so. Two of them are friends from work and the other is some professor from UCLA. Emily Richards, I think."
"THEE Emily Richards?" Leonard seemed ready to jump out of his seat.
"Yeah. You know her?" Howard and Raj were both confused because neither had heard of her.
"Emily Richards is only the most prevalent particle physicists in the nation. She has revolutionized the field in the last ten years."
"Is she hot?" Raj asked as if he heard nothing that Leonard had said.
"To be honest, I have no idea. Not many people have seen her. She is somewhat of a recluse. Sheldon would be the guy to ask."
"We should ask Sheldon if a woman is hot? That's like asking someone who is colorblind to pick out a red bowling ball," Raj smirked.
"I'm serious. Sheldon has every single one of her papers laminated and organized alphabetically in a safe under his bed. When I first met him I swear he was obsessed with this woman."
"That's just creepy. Now I don't want to know if she's hot," Raj looked disgustedly at his tots.
"Well, on that note, I think I've lost my appetite. What time do we meet at the airport tomorrow?" Howard asked as he picked up his tray.
"Ten," Leonard answered.
"See you then," Howard said as he and Raj left the cafeteria.
"Why do you need all these clothes?" Bernadette asked Penny as she watched endless outfits being hurdled from the closet to the suitcase and back to the closet again.
"What do you mean?" Penny asked, knee deep in shoes and designer jeans.
"We're only going to be gone for three days. Isn't this a little excessive?"
"Not at all. Every outfit serves a purpose. I need different clothes for dinner, dancing, drinks, sight-seeing, swimming, casual, formal. The list is endless. And each category has to have multiple outfits to reflect the mood I'm in. It's a whole system."
"Okay, but we leave in eighteen hours."
"God, are you serious? Where does the time go. I'll be up all night."
"Me too," Bernadette said with a sigh.
"I finally heard back from my friend, Emily, and she has decided to go with us. I'm scrambling all over to make hotel reservations and arrange a rental car. I really want her to stay at the same hotel as us, but they are booked solid. So, I took a leap and put her in Amy's room. The only other options were Sheldon and Raj, and I didn't foresee either one working out."
"I wouldn't worry about it. She's a scientist. I'm sure she'll get along great with Amy."
"I hope so. I hardly ever see her get out of her office. She works so hard and I really want her to have a good time."
"Don't worry. This is going to be the best trip ever."
"What time do Howie and I meet you at the airport tomorrow?"