It's been in the back of my mind for a while, and I finally decided to put it into actual words. Maybe be getting it written down and out of my head, I can finally finish on the two stories I have been struggling with for so long! LOL! Anyway, this is just a small story, only 10 chapters and there is little angst or upheaval here. Mostly a sweet, gentle story about a growing love between two complete opposites.
Sheldon looked at her with exasperation. ""Really, Penny. It's not a difficult question. Will you marry me?"
Penny's mouth hung open and she clutched the counter top tightly. What on earth was going on? She had just gotten home from a particularly difficult day at work, only to find a certain 6'2" whack doodle waiting for her. She had known that whatever he wanted to talk to her about must be bad, because he had been avoiding her for two weeks. Not just ignoring her, but actually getting up and leaving the room if she stopped by. When she had tried to talk to him, he had left the apartment for a walk, only returning when he was certain she had left. After a week of that, she had gotten pissed and decided it wasn't worth it. Whatever his problem was, he would have to come to her.
So, to come home and find him standing beside her door, waiting on her, was a bit of a surprise. He had not greeted her. Instead he waited patiently for her to unlock her door and then followed her inside. Without preamble he had dropped a bomb on her.
"I would be greatly appreciative if you would consent to becoming my spouse."
Penny released her hair from the ponytail and shook it out as she tried to gather her thoughts. "Okay, first off, is this one of your bazingas? Because if it is, I don't get it. And don't call me stupid, or I'll punch you in the throat."
Sheldon shook his head. "Of course it isn't."
Penny narrowed her eyes. "Then why do you want to marry someone?"
Sheldon shook his head and sat down on a stool across the counter from her. "I do not want to marry "someone". I want to marry you."
"Why on earth do you want to marry me?" Penny asked. "You don't even like me!"
Sheldon hedged. "I do not dislike you."
Penny was struggling to contain her temper. "Oh, that's it. There's that romantic declaration that every girl dreams of."
Sheldon rolled his eyes at her. "I see no point in prevaricating, Penny. This is quite a simple endeavor. My Meemaw is dying. She wants me to settle down. Perhaps even produce offspring before she passes. I have decided to concede to her wishes. To that end I have spent the last 15 days researching and studying. I know few women. And even fewer who I could tolerate as a partner. Amy would make a fine companion intellectually. But I do not believe we would provide a loving and supportive family life for a child. Neither of us is very experienced in affection. Stephanie Barnet has a stable income and is empathetic, but I feel no desire to spent time with her except for medical reasons. Leslie Winkle is a witch. Beverly Hofstadter is past childbearing age. Priya Koothrappali is a she-devil. I am not about to let Ramona Nowitzki have access to my work again. Bernadette is with Howard which puts her mental capabilities in question. That leaves you."
Penny glared at him, her voice flat. "I'm thrilled."
Sheldon nodded. "As you should be. Now, there are obvious benefits to you also. I would be a faithful and reliable husband. You would have financial security. I will always provide for you and our progeny. Despite your assertion earlier, I do consider you my friend. Perhaps even my closest friend. I do not always understand you, but I have always endeavored to help you if you needed it. Not because of obligation, but because I do care about your well being. You and I have always known exactly where we stood with one another. There is no one outside my family I can rely on as I do you."
Penny wasn't sure if she was offended or flattered. She shook her head. "Sheldon, you make marriage sound like a business arrangement!"
He nodded solemnly. "It is. Penny, 48% of love based marriages in America end in divorce. Romantic love is not a guarantee of success. Only about 12% of arranged marriages end in divorce. Each party knows what is expected of them, and what they can expect from their partner. I believe you and I could have a successful marriage. We are both amply attracted to each other." Penny's eyes bugged out. He ignored her reaction. "We both have a strong desire to never fail. We would not just give up at the first disagreement. You would be able to guide me in being a good father while also providing abundant love and care for our children. I have no doubts that we will argue and vie for dominance, but I also know we are honest and respectful enough to concede when you are wrong."
Penny's head was spinning, and she was sure she must be dreaming. She ignored the "when you are wrong" part of his speech, focusing on the big picture to try and make sense of what he was saying. "Sheldon, this is….. Okay, so I don't really know how to describe what this is."
Sheldon stood and looked at her steadily. "All I ask is that you take the next 72 hours to think about what I have said. I will leave you alone during the next three days so that I do not unduly influence your decision. I will return at 6pm on Monday to propose once more."
Before she could even think of replying, he had exited the apartment and left her to her thoughts.
On Day 1 Penny spent her time trying to figure out Sheldon's real agenda. He couldn't possibly be serious. There was no way that he really wanted to get married to anyone, much less her. In fact, she was so sure this was some sort of prank, she didn't even bother listing the reasons why this proposed marriage was good or bad.
On Day 2 she did list them. They argued all the time. He thought she was stupid. She thought he was a nutcase. His schedule would make her to poison his tea by the end of the first week. Her messiness would make him suffocate her with his hypoallergenic pillow before the reception was even over. Okay, so yes, they were both attracted to one another. They both knew it. They also both knew better than to act on it. The day they had met, they had initially flirted a bit, but then his craziness and her flightiness had clashed and that was the end of that. But that was not a good reason to get married!
On Day 3 she was sitting on her couch waiting for 6pm. She had spent the morning doing research. She spent hours reading about arranged marriages, statistics on marriage and divorce for the last ten years, and even marriages of convenience. On the table in front of her were two notebooks. A blue college rule notebook and a small red pocket notebook. Between the two notebooks was a single piece of paper. His reaction to the words on that paper would determine her answer. And lord help her, she was actually beginning to hope for a certain outcome.
Knock, knock, knock. "Penny."
Knock, knock, knock. "Penny."
Knock, knock, knock. "Penny."
She stood up and walked to the door. Showtime. She opened the door and nodded. "Come in, Sheldon."
He walked past her and sat down on the couch. He watched her as she joined him. Penny turned sideways and looked at him carefully. Sheldon opened his mouth, but Penny quickly raised a hand to silence him.
"Before you ask me anything I want to talk." Sheldon looked intrigued and nodded his head to indicate she could continue. Penny picked up the red notebook and opened it up. "This is my Con book. A list of reasons why this is a dreadful idea. Things like, you once tried to change me by using chocolates. The way we argue. All the ways we are opposites. The way you talk down to me because I'm not smart." Sheldon opened his mouth again and she shushed him. "The way I drive you crazy. I am emotional and easily angered. You're all about routines and schedules, and I'm very much a fly by the seat of my pants person." Sheldon reached for the notebook but she placed it on her lap.
"Please, let me finish," she asked softly. She picked up the blue notebook. "This is my journal. I've been writing in one ever since I was 12. I have dozens of them. Each one for a particular subject. School, work, family, friends, aspirations. You are the only person I have ever had a separate journal for. I re-read this yesterday. I had hoped it might help me figure out how to turn you down and still remain friends."
Sheldon's shoulders slumped and he started to rise, but Penny stopped him. "Dammit, Sheldon! Let me finish!" She set the red notebook on top of the blue one.
He settled back against the couch, shocked by her vehemence. Penny took a deep breath and picked up the paper. She laid it on the notebooks and handed it all to him. "You can't propose to me yet. Instead I want you to take these. The paper is a list of things I would expect from a marriage, and from you in particular. Read my journal. Read the list. Then if you still want to do this, if you can live with my expectations, come talk to me. Tell me what you want out of this, what you expect from me, and if we are in agreement, you can ask me then."
Sheldon stared at her intently for several seconds. He reached out slowly and took the items from her without glancing at them. Sheldon stood and headed to the door. He paused before opening it.
"I will return after reading these, if that is acceptable," he said. Penny nodded and he left.