Well everyone, here we are: the final chapter! I've loved writing this story and I've loved hearing everyone's opinions on it! Thank you to everyone who has supported me through this entire story. A huge thank you is due to Stargazer2001, who has been amazing in correcting the majority of the chapters of this story. Thank you again for reading the story, it meant the world to me! Hopefully I'll be writing another story at some point :) In the meantime, enjoy the last chapter: Chapter Eighteen!
"Alright Penny, tell me honestly, why do you blow me off every time I ask you to hang out?" Tom questioned, relaxing against the couch as he bit off the end of a chocolate bar.
Penny took a long sip of wine, then shrugged.
"Because I know your type and I know better than to get involved with someone like you."
"Mhm. You're that really attractive guy that's never had to work for a girl's attention, so you're just not used to putting in effort when it comes to dating. Plus, I've heard you slept with like, half of the women on set, so there's that." She responded with a slight smile.
"Never had to work for a girl's attention? Do you know what they used to call me in grade school? Thomas the Tank. You know why? I was huge."
Penny bit her upper lip.
Well, at least he didn't try to argue about sleeping with half of the women on set.
"Besides, I'm not asking you to marry me; you just seem like a lot of fun to be around. Nathan and John certainly can't get enough of you and they're usually pretty good judges of character."
"I thought you and John hated each other."
Tom threw his head back laughing.
"No, we've worked together before, we don't hate each other. Well, I don't hate John, I should say. I can't account for his own feelings. He's just somewhat of a father figure to me, as well as everyone else on set. I suppose he thinks that you need protecting from me, after seeing how I've behaved around women in the past and present. He didn't seem to believe me when I said I was only interested in being your friend."
Penny raised her eyebrows.
"You just want to be my friend?"
"Are you offended?" Tom questioned, his mouth curving into an amused grin.
"No, it's just...you kissed me."
Tom laughed, shaking his head.
"No, you kissed me."
"You kissed me back."
Tom shrugged, raising his hands in defeat.
"If a beautiful girl kisses me, I'm not going to stop her. I knew that you didn't mean it, anyway. I told you early on how easy it was to get caught up in the acting, especially with a movie like this. I didn't count it as a real kiss and I doubt you did either. You've got that scientist back home and you've got John watching over you like a father on prom night. It would be too complicated to even try to hook up with you." He said, with a toothy grin.
"Well...but...you put down Sheldon before and...you came over here to hang out with me," Penny reminded him.
Tom chuckled, shutting his laptop and setting it on Penny's cluttered side table.
"I was just asking you about your relationship as kind of a research opportunity. I didn't mean to put down your boyfriend, I was just trying to listen and interpret what you were saying. I was practicing all of that in order to talk to this girl I just met. I think you might know her. Lacey in makeup? She's got a boyfriend, but I think I might be able to talk her out of it. Besides, do you really think that I would ask you to join my team on World of Warcraft if I were interested in sleeping with you? Give me a little more credit than that. That would tear apart the whole legion. Plus, it would either ruin my friendship with John, or even worse, you would find some way to get me to jump into a commitment and it would end my hobby of getting to know every woman on the set of each movie I'm in."
Penny smiled at him, slightly relieved that she could hang out with Tom without worrying about any ulterior motives or underlying emotions.
"So, do you want to play, or not? I promise I'll actually let you battle for yourself this time."
"Actually, I think there's somewhere else I need to be."
Tom's eyebrows raised in slight surprise as Penny stood up, grabbing her purse off the back of her chair.
"I thought you were done filming for the day."
"I never said it had to do with filming, now did I, nosy rosy?"
"No, I guess you didn't," Tom chuckled, standing up, "want me to join you?"
Penny shook her head, smiling to herself.
"You know, I really don't."
Tom raised his eyebrows at her.
"Um, feel free to play your game in here if you want. The leftover wine and chocolate is all yours if you want it. Now that I'm making serious money, I can afford to buy a little bit more. I'll see you later." She said, rushing out the door.
"I thought you were taking me to Penny." Sheldon muttered irritably as John led him through the crowded streets of London.
John looked at Sheldon in amusement.
Everything that Penny had said about him had been spot-on.
"I am taking you to Penny. She has a certain place she likes to go to fairly frequently. She thinks that no one on set knows where she goes when she disappears for a few hours."
"And you do?"
John smiled, looking back at a sulking Sheldon.
"Dr. Cooper, you don't need to be worried about Penny when it comes to me. I'm happily married. More than that, I'm old enough to be her father. We're just good friends. She is a very special kind of girl. You don't find someone like Penny Marshall just every day." He reminded Sheldon with a knowing look.
"Yes, she is very special." Sheldon allowed, eyeing John suspiciously.
John chuckled to himself before stopping in front of their destination.
"Where are we?" Sheldon demanded, looking around wildly.
He hated being in unfamiliar places, especially now that he was at the mercy of this fluffy-haired British man who seemed to know Penny.
"The train museum. Don't ask me why Penny likes to come here, I just know that she does. Whenever the director can't find her, I can usually find her here. She always sits at this one exhibit in particular. Come on, I'll show you."
Sheldon's eyebrows furrowed as he followed John through the entrance, looking around for any signs of Penny, observing any train facts that he didn't already know in the process.
Eventually, John halted abruptly, nodding towards a blonde woman sitting on a bench, staring at the exhibit in front of her.
Sheldon sucked in a deep breath before approaching her.
She whipped around, startled by the voice behind her.
"S-Sheldon?" Penny questioned, blinking rapidly as she stared at him stupidly.
She couldn't go to the train museum without thinking about Sheldon - that's why she liked going so much - sitting in front of the exhibit that resembled the one in Pasadena made her feel like she was really with Sheldon. Sometimes she could even hear him spouting off random train facts.
This time, however, was much different. His image wasn't disappearing; he was standing there staring her down while John grinned at them in the background.
"Sheldon!" She finally squealed, throwing her arms around his neck as she pulled him into a forceful hug.
"There, there." He mumbled awkwardly, ghosting his hand over her back.
She pulled away from him to stare up at his red face, grinning from ear to ear.
"I can't believe you're here! Why are you here? I mean, I was going to go home to congratulate you, but we're not done filming here, and I..." she tried to explain, pulling him back into yet another hug, resting her chin on his shoulder.
"That's what I've come here to talk to you about."
Penny sighed, releasing Sheldon.
"You know that I can't leave."
"Then what do you think we need to talk about?"
Sheldon's intense gaze persisted as Penny stared down at the ground.
"Penny, I've tried to make you happy from the day I first met you. Unfortunately, I can't keep doing that. Instead, I'm giving way to my more selfish motives."
Penny stared back at him in confusion.
"I must have you, in every sense of the word. I understand that you must stay in England in order to complete your film and I would be willing to find a place nearby to reside, until you were able to return to Pasadena. However, I will not lose you to men like Rodger, or the other male I saw in the picture with you the other day. Nor will I accept being apart from you for long periods of time. I want to be able to incorporate you into my daily schedule, without worrying about any variances."
"Sheldon, I don't know what you mean...are you just moving here? Because I really have to talk to you about something before you do."
Sheldon stared back at her blankly.
Penny closed her eyes, drawing in a sharp breath before explaining.
"I kind of kissed this guy earlier, but it didn't mean anything. We just talked about it a little while ago. He's trying to sleep with some other girl. I think you might even like him, he plays World of Warcraft," she rambled, feeling her face burn as Sheldon continued staring at her.
"That's perfectly alright. A woman kissed me while I was in the North Pole. It seems that we are both aesthetically pleasing towards the opposite gender." Sheldon replied calmly.
"Wait, you're not mad?"
"Should I be mad?" He questioned, his eyebrows knitting together in confusion.
She shook her head, surprised at his calm behavior.
"No...I...I'm just surprised, that's all."
"We were not involved in a romantic pairing when you kissed the man you are referring to. I would just ask that you not repeat the action."
Penny smiled at him, relieved that he wasn't upset.
He stared at her for a moment before licking his lips, regaining his business-like composure.
"This is a modified relationship agreement I wrote a while back," Sheldon responded, holding a thick stack of paper towards Penny.
Penny accepted the stack of paper, flipping through the pages curiously.
"I'm not going to lie, Sheldon, I have no idea what the hell I'm reading." She admitted, feeling herself blush as she smiled at him sheepishly.
Sheldon sighed, rolling his eyes.
"Did you not pay attention in high school English, either?"
"Just tell me what it says, you ass."
"I want you to marry me." He explained, his blue eyes piercing through hers.
Penny gaped at him.
"Wha...?" She sputtered incredulously, glancing back at John for some kind of explanation.
John shrugged, grinning between the two.
"Marry me, Penny Marshall. My existence will hardly be tolerable if you are not a constant variable in my life every day for the rest of my days. I tried to bear being separated from you, for the sake of your happiness," he frowned slightly at the recollection, "but I'm sorry to say that I am still the selfish person I was prior to meeting you. I cannot experience the pain of losing you again. Please, be mine. I would spend the rest of my life working to make you happy in return."
Penny stared at him with wide eyes.
He was serious. His eyes were boring into her, searching her face for an answer. The contract was resting in her shaking hands.
After a moment, she realized that both he and John were was staring at her expectantly, waiting for an answer.
"Hell yes." She muttered shakily, feeling her legs turn to Jello as she began to laugh, her eyes watering.
"Yes?" Sheldon echoed, his eyes still scanning her face, like he didn't quite believe her.
"Yes, I'll marry you, you perfect ass." She laughed, throwing her hands around his neck to pull him into a tight hug once again.
She could feel her tears soaking part of Sheldon's shirt, but couldn't bring herself to care.
She was engaged.
Better than that, she was engaged to Sheldon Cooper and she wasn't even a little bit scared about it.
"I love you, Penny." Sheldon murmured, lowering his head slightly as he rested his hand on her back.
"I love you more, Shelly." Penny assured him, smiling into his shoulder.
"Are you...happy?" He questioned nervously as she separated herself from him.
She nudged his side with her shoulder, grinning up at him, tears brimming in her eyes.
"I couldn't be happier, sweetie."