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04 August 2009 @ 09:55 pm
The Starlite Ball Experiment [TBBT; Sheldon/Penny]  
TITLE: The Starlite Ball Experiment
CHAPTER 2: The Bowtie Quandary
FANDOM: The Big Bang Theory
PAIRING: Sheldon/Penny
SPOILERS: Season two
RATING: PG
SUMMARY: Penny found herself standing at the door of apartment 4A at precisely 5:59 -- she made sure to double-check the time on her phone.


*****

Penny found herself standing at the door of apartment 4A at precisely 5:59 -- she made sure to double-check the time on her phone. Taking a deep breath while wondering what kind of mess she somehow managed to get herself into, she raised a fist and knocked. No more than two seconds later, the door swung open and a dressed-up Sheldon stood before her.

He gave her an up-and-down glance -- twice -- before flicking his gaze back up to hers and greeting her flatly, "You're late."

Her shoulders slumped a little and she made a face. "What? I am not! I'm here right at six, see?" And she held up her phone to prove it to him.

In return, he held up his wrist. "I'm sorry, but my watch seems to indicate that it is precisely 6:02, which would make you one-hundred twenty seconds tardy."

She rolled her eyes. "Fine. So I'll spend an extra two minutes with you later."

"Please don't."

Narrowing her eyes slightly, she smirked. "Well now I'm definitely gonna."

Sheldon huffed and glared, stepping aside to allow her entrance to the apartment. As he turned to walk in front of her, Penny allowed her eyes to glance over his attire, smirking at his back. "Tails?"

"What?" He whirled to face her, tugging on the lapels of his tux jacket.

"You got a tuxedo with tails?" It was slightly disconcerting to her that she found that endearing.

"Well, yes. That is the traditional look of a tuxedo, is it not?"

She shrugged. "Depends what century you're living in, I guess."

He glared. "Well I happen to think it looks classy and timeless."

Penny giggled. "Sheldon, sweetie, I'm just teasing you. You look great."

"Thank you," he smiled.

She grinned in return and raised her eyebrows expectantly. Upon Sheldon's confused expression, she did a little twirl, showing off her black halter dress. "So? What do you think?"

"About what?"

She tilted her head at him. "You're supposed to tell me I look nice."

"Oh! I'm sorry." He took a small step toward her, stopped, then took another. His eyes gave her another once-over before he told her, "You look very nice, Penny."

She smirked, impressed. "Wow, and you even threw a 'very' in there!" After a moment passed in which Sheldon merely gave her a shy smile, she noticed the one thing that was missing. "Honey, where's your tie?"

"Hmm?"

"Your bowtie. Where is it?"

"Oh!" He darted with one long step over to the coffee table and retrieved a piece of black silk and a sheet of paper. "Well... I've never had to wear one before, and I found a how-to diagram on the internet, which... turned out to be no help at all. Watch."

Penny suppressed the smile as she watched him move to the counter, setting the diagram down and leaning over to look at it before starting to tie his tie. He wrapped it around itself once, then again, and then tied it in a knot before pulling tight. When he started to gag and choke obnoxiously, she moved to help him.

"Here, here here!" She slapped his hands away and helped release him from the confines of the bowtie. "Let me do it or you'll wind up killing yourself."

"Perhaps that's best," he conceded with a sigh, glancing forlornly down at the diagram before crumpling it. "It would be a rather embarrassing way for a genius such as myself to perish after all."

"Yeah... that's why I'm doing it," she quipped, her focus on the task at-hand.

Silence fell over the pair then as Penny focused her attention on the intricate work of tying his bowtie, all the while being very much aware of his eyes watching her every move. Warily, she dragged out, "Whaaat?"

"What?"

"You're staring at me."

"Now how can you tell if you're not looking at me?"

"I can feel it, Sheldon. Something wrong?"

"No, nothing's wrong." Quieter, he added, "Nothing at all."

Penny swallowed discreetly as her heart thumped a strange rhythm, out of sync for a moment. She was acutely aware that something about his tone was different, but she couldn't put her finger on what it was. When she was finished tying his bowtie, she smiled, pleased with herself, and smoothed her hands down each lapel. "There! All set."

She glanced up at him again, slightly startled to find his eyes centered on hers, searching them. Her voice emerged in nothing more than a whisper. "What?"

A vertical crease indented the skin between his brows. "Your eyes."

"What's wrong with them?" For a moment she feared she put on too much eye makeup -- he never did set any ground rules about it, after all.

"I've never noticed this before, but they're a rather compelling shade of light green."

At that, a genuine smile curled her lips. "Thanks for the compliment, sweetie."

Sheldon shook his head in response and moved away, heading toward the refrigerator as he told her over his shoulder, "That wasn't a compliment. I was merely stating an observation."

She rolled her eyes, half-grateful that he was out of her personal space once again. Dryly, she returned, "Well then... thanks for the observation."

"You're quite welcome." He returned to her holding a small white box, presenting it to her. "Here."

The barely-contained glee in his eyes caused a bit to grow in the pit of her stomach as she grinned at him. "What's this?"

"Well aside from scouring countless web pages for that useless bowtie diagram, I also did some extensive research on attending a formal function, from proper table etiquette to," he nodded at the box, "this." Shrugging, he continued, "According to the website, it's protocol for the gentleman to present the lady with a floral wrist accessory."

She opened the box, surprise curving her eyebrows. "Sheldon, you got me a corsage?"

"Yes."

"Honey, that is so sweet of you, but..." She chuckled lightly. "I think maybe you were on a website about prom."

"Prom?"

She opened her mouth to begin the explanation; then, upon taking in the expression on her face, she shrugged facially and waved dismissively. "I'll explain it to ya later." While slipping the elastic band of the corsage around her left wrist, Penny glanced around the apartment and for the first time since she'd arrived, she noticed the very obvious missing component. "Where are Leonard and the guys?"

"Oh they stopped at a bar along the way. Howard wanted to assist Raj in working up some courage so he'll have a better chance of speaking to women tonight."

She nodded once, lips pressed together in understanding. "So they're getting him drunk."

"Yes."

She feigned a bright, chipper smile. "Well! This will definitely be an interesting evening."

"I would have to disagree with you, but if you prefer to think of it that way that's your prerogative."

Penny sighed. "Ready to go, Sheldon?"

"Yes." His hand on her arm stopped her just as she was heading for the door, and she ignored the way her skin jumped at the feel. "Wait."

"What?"

"Here!" Gallantly, he held out his arm, making a sweeping gesture toward it as he bowed his head slightly. "As you will notice, I am extending my arm for you to take, in a gesture of chivalry."

She bowed her head in return, the bright smile sincere this time. "Well... thank you!" And she looped her arm through his.

On their way out as she grabbed her clutch purse from its resting place near the key bowl, she felt Sheldon turn to look at her. "Penny..."

"Yeah?"

Quietly, he told her, "You really do look nice tonight."

Practically beaming now, she squeezed his arm. "Thanks, Sheldon!"

He locked the apartment and they continued down the stairs arm-in arm, as he continued his train of thought. "Not as nice as I look, of course, but it's a start."

"...Thanks, Sheldon."



TBC



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{x-posted to sheldon_penny}
 
 
 
intergalactic super geek: sheldon/pennyphantmgreeneyes on August 5th, 2009 03:17 am (UTC)
I love the way he compliments her in that awkward, nerdy way he does. You do a great job writing him!
a.: jim/kaley; super heroesregalish on August 13th, 2009 10:26 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much! Sheldon's a tough guy to write, but I'm slowly getting the hang of it. Kinda like Sheldon with sarcasm ;)
bemoan1000 on August 5th, 2009 03:33 am (UTC)
You did a fantastic job writing the characters.
I like his observation of her eyes, and I think something like this will play out on the show.
a.: sheldon/penny; everyday i write the bookregalish on August 13th, 2009 10:27 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I really hope we get a sweet Sheldon compliment toward Penny on the show, too. He's already pointed out that she's attractive, after all :D
gemsile123gemsile123 on August 5th, 2009 03:38 am (UTC)
Sheldon in a tux? Win! He definitely would do research on something like this... And with all this chivalry, I'm surprised he didn't pick up a top hat! Great job writing his backhanded quirky compliments and relationship with Penny. And she goes along because...what was it Bill Prady said? Oh yeah, she adores him!!
templargirltemplargirl on August 5th, 2009 05:02 am (UTC)
x2

the thought of Sheldon in all his tall lean glory wearing a tux is enough to send me into fangirling frenzy :p

you're doing a terrific work with the characters, I really hope you can update soon :)
(no subject) - regalish on August 13th, 2009 10:28 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - regalish on August 13th, 2009 10:28 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Taki Neko Valerie: :3 WISH bunnytakineko on August 5th, 2009 04:01 am (UTC)
"That wasn't a compliment. I was merely stating an observation."

Oh Sheldon, coming from you, that makes it an even greater complement!
X3
Gosh that was insanely sweet, ugh, she's gonna HAVE to give him a kiss, she won't be able to hold back.
a.: sheldon; just smileregalish on August 13th, 2009 10:30 pm (UTC)
Aw, thanks! Glad you liked this chapter. More soon! :)
Demelza: Kaley & Jimrightxhere on August 5th, 2009 05:47 am (UTC)
Aw Sheldon, and Penny....gosh that was sweet! Can't wait for the next part :)
a.: jim/kaley; kiss you on the cheekregalish on August 13th, 2009 10:30 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much!! And awww, your icon - so cute! ♥
Irrel: BBT: Knock Knock Knockirrel on August 5th, 2009 06:24 am (UTC)
You write them so well! I can practically hear Jim Parsons saying all those lines, and being that awkward :) I'm loving this!
a.: sheldon/penny; subtextregalish on August 13th, 2009 10:32 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much, I really appreciate that! Sheldon is admittedly pretty tough to write, so that makes me happy to hear I'm still doing okay with him. I'm leaving it up to you guys to warn me when he gets OOC ;)

More to come soon!
something holy used to love mehyacinthian on August 5th, 2009 06:26 am (UTC)
omg seriously? so so fabulous.
a.: penny; sweetheartregalish on August 13th, 2009 10:32 pm (UTC)
Heeee, thanks sweetie! ♥
ruby_casparruby_caspar on August 5th, 2009 07:30 am (UTC)
OMG I really did honestly laugh out loud at the last line, and I had a ridiculously huge grin on my face for the rest of it. Penny doing up Sheldon's bow tie - SQUEE! And him telling her he looked nice... aw, he's just so cute. Love it!
a.: sheldon/penny; puttin' on the ritzregalish on August 13th, 2009 10:35 pm (UTC)
Thanks very much! Glad you're getting a kick out of this fic; I'm having so much fun writing them.

Penny doing up Sheldon's bow tie - SQUEE! Hehe! I have to admit, the whole girl-tying-guy's-bow-tie thing always gives me butterflies -- I think maybe it's because of the days I used to watch CSI, and Catherine tied Grissom's bow tie for him. Such a gorgeous moment, I feel the need to use it in several fandoms :D
(no subject) - ruby_caspar on August 13th, 2009 11:54 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - regalish on August 14th, 2009 12:31 am (UTC) (Expand)
Carly: [TBBT] Penny Smiles At Sheldon_carly_ on August 5th, 2009 07:55 am (UTC)
Heh. I love that he got her a corsage because he thought it was the done thing. And as someone mentioned above, his backhanded compliments were great!
a.: sheldon/penny; helloregalish on August 13th, 2009 10:37 pm (UTC)
Hehe, thanks! I thought the corsage would be quite a Sheldon thing to do :)
do me daily, christopher bailey.: sheldon \ smile.brutalsong on August 5th, 2009 03:51 pm (UTC)
this was so adorable!!! i can't wait for more :)
a.: audrey; you are my sunshineregalish on August 13th, 2009 10:37 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! More is on the way! :)
7gifts7gifts on August 5th, 2009 04:53 pm (UTC)
This was really adorable.

I particularly liked the bit where Sheldon was studying Penny as she helped him with the bow tie.

When he said, "I've never noticed this before, but they're a rather compelling shade of light green." I thought, Sheldon honey, you've been bazinga'd, you just don't know it yet.
a.: leighton; hey beautifulregalish on August 13th, 2009 10:39 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much! Glad you're still enjoying this.

And I think Sheldon was bazinga'd way back in the Pilot when he flirted with her at his white board. He's just going to be in denial or totally oblivious for awhile ;D
she_burns1: grr<3she_burns1 on August 6th, 2009 12:23 am (UTC)
HEE. I really, really like this fic! It's so in-character and sweet! LOVE IT!
a.: jim/kaley; kiss you on the cheekregalish on August 13th, 2009 10:40 pm (UTC)
Aww, thank you!! It means a lot that you're still enjoying it, because these two are a blast to write!

More soon!
a.: hemispherea_celeste on August 13th, 2009 10:32 pm (UTC)
Did I honestly just find this gem? YES. I DID. YAY. I love that you got the dialogue down, I have always been fickle about that.Bow tying killed me! It was very G/C nostalgic. I quite like that. I love your attention to detail, like their mannerism. MOAR.

I made icons of this show, but Photoshop decided to be a big bitch.
a.: sheldon; just smileregalish on August 13th, 2009 10:42 pm (UTC)
HEEEE YAY! I am SO glad you found your way to this! And this chapter especially, y'know why? BECAUSE I TOTES THREW THAT G/C THING IN JUST FOR YOU, BB. THAT'S RIGHT. Formalities will always kill me.

Well. The rest of the episode was kinda 'meh' but THAT PART WILL ALWAYS KILL ME.

MOAR SOON!