Spoilers: Luminous Fish Experiment, Panty Piñata Polarization
Word Count: 856
Disclaimer: Oh, please, L/P would have been ditched and buried long ago.
Author’s Note: I first wrote this in that eternity-long wait between 6:30 and 9:30 western time on Monday, when everyone else was watching the premier and I had nothing, nothing to do. And then it went and froze and deleted itself, so I rewrote it. I actually think this one is better, but I had forgotten one of my favorite lines and it had taken forever to remember it (which was annoying). Also, in my world, Mary Cooper is an S/P shipper.
When it came to Sheldon, Mary Cooper knew better than to get her hopes up.
Yes, like her other children he was blessed with good looks, but he hid them under all them... comic book T-shirts and ornery frowns and hand-loomed serapes. Yes, he stood out from other men his age, but she guessed it wasn’t in a way that made him more attractive to the women. And, yes, she prayed to God every night to find a girl for her Sheldon, but she’d almost gotten to the point where she believed that that was something of which not even the good Lord was capable.
So when she went to California to pull her son out of the little rut he had not only dug for himself, but in which he had planted himself with no intention of leaving, she didn’t allow herself to think anything of the pretty little thing living next door.
Well, she didn’t allow herself to think much.
But a part of her mind, a part that she had thought of long-since retired, simply jumped at any positive interaction Sheldon had with a female. When he mentioned a shopping trip with the Penny character, Mary had watched his face closely and there wasn’t any tightening or tics (not even the subtle ones she had come to look for) that usually belied an experience straight outta Hell—which is what outings with Sheldon were likely to turn out to be. Later, when this Penny came over for supper, she seemed already perfectly comfortable in Sheldon’s living space, something that couldn’t even be said for Sheldon’s twin sister in the first five years of their lives. And, Lord, the girl was beautiful. Mary Cooper hated to sound shallow, but she believed that if you couldn’t give your children brains or some sort of talent, at least give them a face one wouldn’t mind glancing at. And she couldn’t help her mind from conjuring (she really couldn’t help it, she was perfectly fine with those hopes being stuck in the ground) images of lovely, lovely grandchildren.
So it was with this small, inexplicable hope, and only a little manipulation (but not enough to count anywhere), that she pointed out Penny and Leonard as a couple. She was assured to a certain satisfaction that they were single, like the “individually wrapped slices of cheese,” but she was a woman with three grown children, two of whom were going through significant others the way Sheldon had gone through colleges (as in, too many one right after the other), so forgive her if she got a little too nosy in her single son’s romantic life by way of his roommate. But Leonard was obviously moony-eyed over his neighbor. And, after all, she was just acting on a whim. So she let the subject drop and pushed those stupid little hopes back into retirement. Maybe this time she’d give them a pension to make them stay there.
Almost a year later, she was settling down to bed with a cup of decaf and her book, she received a phone call.
“Mrs. Cooper? It’s me, Penny. I live across the hall from Sheldon?”
“Penny!” Mary could stop her happiness. Her heart leaped at a thousand hopeless possibilities. The girl didn’t say, I live across the hall from Leonard, Sheldon’s roommate. She didn’t say, I live across the hall from that certain special person of God’s you call your son. No, she said, I live across from Sheldon. For some reason to Mrs. Cooper, that made a big difference. “I trust Sheldon’s been behaving?”
That was meant as a nicety. It wasn’t taken as such.
“It’s a long story,” Penny began with some hesitation. “He banished me from the apartment, so I banished him from where he gets his Tuesday cheeseburger, and then it all kinda—got out of control. But I don’t care what I did—” The voice was getting matter-of-fact, self-assured, and Mary could imagine the hand gestures that went along with it. “—none of it was worth getting half of my underwear drawer strung up on a telephone wire!”
This merited a very long silence.
“Sheldon hung your undergarments on a telephone wire.”
“Well, most of them.” Her voice had lost the conviction, and was more apologetic. “You know—this is ridiculous, me calling you, don’t worry, I’ll find some way to get him to get it all down, I’ll steal his cushion or something or rearrange his DVDs—I mean, it’s just, Leonard gave me the number...”
While the girl was jabbering, Mrs. Cooper’s mind was working very fast. Her stomach wasn’t quite soaring, but if she could narrow down the feeling it was like it was doing a pre-flight checkup.
“Don’t you worry, honey,” she interrupted, reassuringly, firmly. “I’ll talk to Sheldon. Just you wait.”
Mary Cooper knew better than to get her hopes up. But, as she picked up the phone again to dial in Sheldon’s number, she couldn’t deny they were doing a great job at getting up all by themselves.
Crossposted @ sheldon_penny