An Infinite Friendship Through Comics
Today was a day that Penny had come to regard with a slight amount of dislike. She, along with Bernadette, had convinced Amy to spend the day with them and leave their boys to fend for themselves. While Amy did enjoy the time she spent with the other two girls, she was concerned about leaving Sheldon alone, given how he had been more excited than usual for the last couple of weeks.. Penny, sipping iced tea while she finished what was left of her brunch, decided to explain the facts of life to Amy.
"Amy, as you may have observed, we girls, even if we do like some of the things that the boys do, have very different ideas of what we should do together with our significant other for the weekend. While Bernadette and I have tried to expose Leonard and Howard to things outside of the interests they had when we first meet them, we have learned that some things can't be fought. Both Bernadette and I have given up on trying to keep the boys from going to the comic book store on the first Saturday in May." Seeing Amy's confusion, Bernadette decided to pick up the explanation.
"As you are no doubt aware, there is a movie based on a comic book that is coming out this weekend. As a promotional tie in, most of the major comic companies are giving away free editions of certain titles this Saturday. It's call 'Free Comic Book Day'; the boys get up and go to The Comic Center of Pasadena and come home with all sorts of comic stuff, including free comics." Bernadette explained.
"Sheldon won some sort of drawing at the store one year and came back with all sort of stuff that filled his and Leonard's apartment. I think Leonard made Sheldon sit down and actually go through everything he won and pick out what he didn't need, and wouldn't actually use and get rid of it by selling it online. I don't think that Sheldon got rid of as much as Leonard hoped he would have, but the next time I went over to the apartment it no longer looked like Sheldon was trying to start a comic book store out of their apartment." Penny commented.
"When Howie and Raj get back they're so excited that I usually kick them out to keep them from waking up and upsetting Halley and Neil. Half the time, Howie just loses track of the time and crashes with Raj." Bernadette commented.
Amy sat back and looked at the other two women. This wasn't something that she had expected when she and Sheldon started going out. Thinking about it a bit more, Amy realized that there wasn't anything she could do other than what she was doing. Realizing that, Amy picked up her mimosa and took a sip of it. As she worked on her omelet, Amy looked over at the other women.
"What's next on the agenda?" Amy asked. Seeing that Amy wasn't going to cause a scene, Penny and Bernadette smiled and relaxed as they filled Amy in on their plans for the rest of the day.
Leonard stood outside of The Comic Center with Sheldon, Raj and Howard, waiting to be let in. As the foursome stood around, they started to discuss what other graphic novels they were planning on acquiring, how likely any of them would win the store's drawing, and what they thought about the fact that most of them hadn't seen the new Avengers movie.
"It's just with Josh coming to visit us, Bernie says I'd be a bad host if I left him alone to go and see a movie with you guys. Although I didn't ask, when she seemed ok with us all getting together for Free Comic Day." Howard replied, as Sheldon was giving him a hard time about the fact that he was the only one of them who hadn't seen the new Avengers movie.
"I don't see why that's important." Sheldon commented. "I've already been to see it twice."
"Yeah, once with Amy and before that he managed to convince Penny to take him, when Amy wasn't available to go the Friday it came out." Leonard sarcastically explained.
"Well, Amy should know how important the culmination of ten years is." Sheldon replied in a lofty tone. Leonard rolled his eyes as the line started to move, as The Comic Center opened its doors.
"Alright, does everyone know which comic they're getting?" Leonard asked as they started forward. Hearing murmurs of acknowledgment, as well as Sheldon complaining about why he had to share his comics with anyone, Leonard pulled out the 3x5 card that he had written the titles of the comics he was to look for as he got close to the entrance to the store.
Upon coming to the door, Leonard noticed that there was a raffle going on for prize bags that seemed to be drawn at half an hour intervals, until they ran out of bags. Realizing that this was something that he would like to win, Leonard very quickly filled out the card and dropped it in the box that was on the table. Getting the other guys' attention he motioned towards the table which held the raffle. Sheldon and the others, seeing what the store was having a drawing for, quickly went over, after being assured that Leonard would hold their spot, and entered the drawing themselves.
Upon entering the store, the guys made their way to the back were the comics were laid out. Taking their selections, Howard, Raj and Leonard checking with each other to make sure that they got all the ones they wanted, both for themselves and in trade. Sheldon, who had been looking over what was available, came over as the other guys were making their selections.
"I hope that I'm being considered when you make your picks." Sheldon said, as he stood next to Raj. Howard, Raj and Leonard traded puzzled looks with each other before Leonard spoke.
"I thought that you weren't planning on sharing comics with us." Leonard replied.
"That was before I realized that there are more comics that I want to read than I would be able to acquire today on my own." Sheldon replied, as if it should be obvious.
"Should we really share with him?" Howard began, before he was cut off by Leonard.
"He'd only bug us and wear us down eventually." Leonard said in gloomy resignation.
Thinking about it, Howard and Raj were forced to agree. Coming to that realization, the boys quickly made their selections and started looking around the store for any other things they might want to buy, as the story was running a matching deal, where they would match the purchase price of whatever you bought in the store with select graphic novels that were on tables in front of the store.
After stocking up on various comic related paraphernalia, and not being called in the raffle twice since they got there, Leonard, Howard and Raj were corralling a slightly protesting Sheldon to the front of the store in order to pay for their items. As they were waiting in line they heard Stuart start his semi-familiar patter.
"Once again it is time for the drawing for a bag of graphic novels and other sundry items. Our winner this hour is …. Sheldon Cooper!" As Stuart announced their friend's name, Leonard and Howard, started to rip up their tickets, to Raj's surprise and confusion.
"What are you doing?" Raj asked with a frown.
"The just called the last raffle before we pay and leave, we didn't win so why do we need our tickets anymore?" Howard explained/asked.
"Also, given that Sheldon won a prize in the raffle, what do you think his reaction would be to any of us if we won as well?" Leonard asked.
Before Raj could respond, Sheldon had come over with his swag.
"Here, Leonard, you can hold on to this for me as you still have to wait to purchase your items." Sheldon said, as he thrusted the bag into the smaller man's hands. Leonard stepped back from the force of Sheldon's thrust, looking down he noticed that he was now holding the bag containing Sheldon's prize. With a weary look on his face Leonard tried to talk reason into Sheldon.
"Here, take the keys and put it in the car." Leonard replied, holding out both Sheldon's bag and the keys to the car.
"But there are other things that I want to get that may get bought before me if I go and put my prize away." Sheldon explained to Leonard.
"What do you still want to get? Tell me and I'll buy it for you and you can pay me back later." Leonard offered. After hearing Sheldon list off what seemed to be half of the merchandise in the store, Leonard was thinking that maybe it would be easier to just hold onto Sheldon's bag and let the other man pick out his own purchases when Sheldon snatched his bag back and walked out of the store. Stepping out of line, Leonard quickly gathered up what Sheldon had requested and got back in line to wait.
After meeting up with Howard and Raj at the front of the store after he completed Sheldon's purchases, Leonard wearily led the other two men to where Sheldon was waiting in the passenger seat.
"Took you long enough." Sheldon commented, when the other men got into the car, after putting their purchases into the trunk. With a sigh, Leonard started the car and drove back to the apartment complex.
The girls were in Leonard and Penny's apartment, having mimosas, while they waited for the boys to get back. Penny and Bernadette had decided that the whole group was going to go out to dinner as a way to just connect for the day. On their way to the apartment, they had swung by and picked up Halley and Neil, who were on the floor playing together while the three women kept an eye on them.
Just when Penny and Bernadette were reaching for their phones to call their wayward spouses they heard the men coming up the stairs. To their surprise, unlike most years, while Sheldon sounded excited and upbeat, the response from the rest of the men seemed subdued and rather annoyed. Sending a curious, weary glance at each other; Penny and Bernadette got up and nagging Amy, picked up the remnants of their afternoon and took them into the kitchen. As they started to rinse off their dishes and put them into the dishwasher the door opened and the boys came in.
"I'm so glad I'm home so I can start reading my comics." Sheldon said as he put his bags down. As the girls came over, Penny noticed that the boys had many more bags with them than they normally did.
"What's all this?" Penny asked, gesturing to the four men and their bags that were cluttering up her living room. An exhausted Leonard brought his head up from the chair he had fallen into and explained.
"Stuart had a drawing that we all entered which had someone picked every hour. The hourly prize was fifty dollars' worth of graphic novels plus one twenty dollar item that you picked out yourself. The grand prize was essentially a no holds bar ten minute shopping spree. Guess who won the grand prize?" Leonard explained sarcastically.
As Sheldon started to unpack his bags, the girls noticed things like; Pop! dolls/figurines, what seemed to be copies of blu rays of various comic book movies that Sheldon already owned, tee-shirts, posters, a bunch of small, little things that they couldn't make out and what seemed to be enough comics and graphic novels to start his own small comic book store. The girls, tallying up an average price of what was in front of them were impressed with how much money Stuart made to be able to offer a deal like the one the saw before them. Penny, leaning into Leonard, asked the question that seemed to be on the girls minds.
"How is Stuart able to afford this?" Here Penny waved her arm to encompass the mess her living room had become.
"He basically cleans out and sells most of his stock today with the amount of traffic he gets and the deals he offers aside from this one." Leonard nodded at Sheldon and his winnings. "The deal that gets him the most money is setting a certain amount of his stock aside to be used as giveaway in matching stock with whatever you buy that day." Seeing the confused look on not only Penny but the other women's faces, Leonard expanded his explanation.
"So here, I bought roughly a hundred dollars' worth of items at the store today." Leonard explained, holding up about half of his purchase. "The rest of the stuff that I brought home I got in the form of things that were available as matched items that I picked up from tables that were set up for that purpose."
"So that's what all of you did?" Bernadette asked the other men. Seeing them nod, Bernadette looked at the bags Raj and Howard had by their feet and calculated, by how much things they had among them, how much the two men had spent today. Realizing that it was within the amount she had mentally allotted Howard before she set out that day, Bernadette nodded to herself and sat back in her seat to watch her friends.
Looking over what Leonard had with him, Penny came to roughly the same conclusion that Bernadette had and while she was of the opinion that Leonard came home with a bit too much comic paraphernalia, she had to admit that if a store she liked had a sale with a similar deal, she couldn't have said that she wouldn't have come home with just as much stuff as the guys did today. With an accepting chuckle, Penny laid her head on Leonard's shoulder and listened to her friends tell each other about their day.
As Bernadette listened to what her friends were saying she realized that she was starting to get hungry. Looking at the clock she realized that it was almost an hour after she usually ate. Getting the others' attention, Bernadette gestured to the clock.
"Wow, it's later than I expected it to be." Howard said. Looking around towards his children, he saw that they seemed to be on the verge of waking up. "Why don't Raj and I go and check on Halley and Neil and then we'll all go out to dinner."
After saying this, Howard, after elbowing Raj, got up and went over and picked up Neil and carried him into what used to be Sheldon's bedroom but was currently set up as a guest bedroom, with Raj following him, both men ignoring Sheldon's complaining. A couple of minutes later they came out to report that both babies were clean, dry and ready to get something to eat.
As she was closing the door to follow her friends, Penny had to smile at how different her life turned out from how she thought it would when she first moved across from two socially awkward scientists. While it took a while to get to where she was, Penny had to admit she wouldn't change anything. With a last look at the chaos that her living room was in, Penny flicked off the light and followed her friends, smiling at how the boys already seemed to be arguing about something, while Bernadette, Amy and Raj seemed to be trying to calm them down. Hurrying to catch up with them, Penny thought that maybe she might go with the boys next year. Smiling at her life Penny caught up and took Leonard's hand as they exited onto the street, still trying to decide where to go to eat.
A/N: With thanks, this was Beta'd by SeaSpectre160.
A/N 2: Please review.