The Superlative Chemistry 10
“Amy! I just don’t understand why you had to bow to societal pressure this way.” Sheldon moans to Amy as he squirms in his orange plastic chair.
“Sheldon, it is part of growing up! I’m not bowing to anyone. I still don’t understand why you don’t want to do this too.” Amy sighs. She had told him he didn’t have to come with her but he had insisted.
“Why do I need to drive?” He asks her.
“I don’t know? To get to school, work, to have a feeling of independence?” Amy says annoyed.
“School bus, public transport, my mother? ” He says ticking off his prefered modes of transportation on his fingers.” I have plenty of independence without flying around in a death trap.”
“Remember when we wanted to go to that lecture at Rice University but no one would drive us? Now I could drive us.” Amy says and he looks like he is considering it. “Then if you learned to drive…”
“Not going to happen!” He says crossing his arms and rolling his eyes.
“I still don’t understand why you are so against this.” Amy says wishing they would just call her name so she could get this over with.
“You want to know?” He asks looking at her and raising his eyebrows.
“You know I do.” Amy says curious as to what could turn him so against driving. It was more than just not wanting to learn it bordered on fear. Of course Amy had come to learn that Sheldon had a lot of little fears. Birds, barnyard animals, germs, people touching his food, touching anyone besides herself and select members of his family. It would be nice to know the root cause of at least one of his fears.
“Fine I will tell you! It was July 15th 1990. I was ten years old and my father just told me I was not going to be allowed to advance early. My mother wanted me to be able to graduate and go to college but my father the stubborn old goat wouldn’t hear of it. This caused some friction between them and they were fighting like cats and dogs.” He paused like he is gathering his thoughts. He closes his eyes like he is remembering something particularly painful.
“One night after a particularly loud bout of fighting that left me crying in the corner. My father forced me in his truck and proceeded to drive me all over East Texas. All while consuming KMart’s cheapest bottle of bourbon. Ranting about how all his problems were my fault. That my intelligence was a curse on him and our family. That I was a freak and he didn’t know he got landed with me as a son.”
“Sheldon! Thats horrible! You know that’s not true.”
“I know… I was not a nice man sometimes but the story gets worse. He got so drunk that he had to pull over. Instead of sleeping it off on the side of road he forced me to drive us home.”
“How would he expect a ten year old child to drive a car home?” Amy asks taking his hand and he squeezes it tightly.
“If you’re so freaking smart Shelly you can figure out how to drive this car and get us home.” Sheldon says in a deep southern growl imitating his father’s voice.
“God, You must of been so frightened.” Amy says stroking his hand with her thumb. He bows his head and nods.
“I was terrified, I could barely see over the wheel while operating the pedals. I was going like twenty miles an hour but it felt like one hundred. All these cars were speeding by me and honking their horns. I thought for sure I was either going to crash the truck or get crashed into. I got us home but I vowed that from that point on I would never operate a motor vehicle again.”
“Sheldon…” Amy says speechless at his revelation. He had been through so much in his life. He battled so many inner demons and phobias. In fact watching him had helped her decided on what she wanted to study when she got to college. Amy wanted to go into neuroscience and study the brain and how it worked. Amy had watched as he struggled through his obsessive compulsive disorder. Not being able to do simple things unless he had established a pattern first. She had listened while described his synthesia and it fascinated her. Sheldon’s mind was beautiful and she wanted to fully understand how it worked.
“I know… That was seven years ago… I should just get over it… That’s what everyone tells me.” He says not looking at her.
“I wasn’t going to say that.” Amy tells him and he looks up at her. “I was going to tell you I understand. That if you don’t want to learn to drive it is fine and I will be here to take you wherever you need to go.” She tells him smiling and he looks at her with those deep blue eyes. Still even after months of dating he could make her heart stop and her stomach flip with just a look. Amy is about to lean in and kiss him on his soft mouth that is pouted out of worry, when her name is called.
“Amy Farrah Fowler your turn with the driver is up.” The stern woman calls from the desk. Amy pops up nervously smoothing her skirt down.
“Wish me luck.” She tells Sheldon and he shakes his head.
“I don’t believe in luck. I hope you complete your drivers test and earn good marks. Also that one of the…” But Amy stops him.
“I don’t need another death in vehicle calculation Sheldon!” She hisses stomping off to take her driving test. They had been through every fiery car death scenario and its likelihood several times.
As against Amy getting her driver’s license he had been Sheldon had to admit it had its advantages. Even though he would never admit it to his mother he prefered Amy’s driving over hers. Amy obeyed all traffic laws and kept her eyes on the road and her hands at ten and two. Mary however liked to turn around and talk to them as she drove. Sometimes she even drove with her knees as she applied makeup or lit a clandestine cigarette.
As an early graduation gift Amy had been gifted the money for a car from one of her childless aunts. With the money she bought a late model volvo that her mother approved of. Sheldon liked Amy having her own car. Amy did not mind driving two towns over to go to the good comic book store. Something his mother would dismiss as tomfoolery and insist he shop at the poorly stocked local store. As long as he chipped in for gas Amy was happy to drive him wherever he wanted to go within reason and her mother ok’d it.Today he had a request that she might veto. This journey would require lying to her mother, driving out of state, and sleeping there overnight. The three things that her mother strictly forbade when Amy got her license and car.
In two weeks during their spring break there was a Star Trek convention in Jackson Mississippi. The drive would take six hours, he knew because two years ago he had made the journey by bus. Six hours on a smelly crowded bus wearing his Spock costume to meet his idol Wil Wheaton. Six hours on a bus only to find out that Wil had canceled to do Hollywood Squares. This had rocketed Wil Wheaton to the top of his list of arch nemesis. Above even the likes of Billy Sparks his childhood tormentor.
Wil was slated to be at the convention again this year. This time Sheldon would give Mr. Wheaton a piece of his mind. Let him know it was not nice to cancel plans when someone takes a six hour bus ride to see them. He had been practicing how to ask Amy for a couple days and he thought he finally had an offer she couldn’t refuse.
All day he was nervous with the prospect of asking her for such a large favor. So nervous that he had avoided seeing her when normally he sought her out. When he finally met her to walk with her to her car so she can take them to their Thursday study date she was worried.
“You did’ t met me after third period like you normally do.” She asks him as they walk.
“Must of slipped my mind.” He says and she looks at him skeptically.
“Nothing ever slips your mind Sheldon.” She says and he slumps his shoulders. Amy knows him too well for him to hide anything.
“Okay, you caught me… There is something I have been wanting to ask you. I know it is cutting it kind of close. That there is not as much time to plan as you would like. Also it might be awkward given you will have to drive us…” He begins and Amy hugs him and looks at him like she just won the lottery.
“Yes! Of course I will go Sheldon!” She says hugging him.
“Great! I never thought you would be so excited about the Trekcon in Jackson Mississippi!” He says excited patting her back.
“Wait… The what in where?” She asks.
“The Trekcon! You will have to drive us there. It is about a six hour drive from here.”
“Trekcon? What is that?” She asks letting him go.
“Only the best Star Trek convention in the South East! I thought you knew? What were you talking about?” He asks as her face crumples.
“Nothing… It doesn’t matter. Come on let’s go.” She says getting into the driver’s seat of the car. Sheldon gets into the passenger seat but is undeterred.
“Amy you are clearly disappointed. What did you think I was talking about?” He asks buckling up and she looks at him and chews her lip.
“Prom Sheldon… I thought you were asking me to prom.” Amy admits backing out of the parking space.
‘Prom? Why on earth would I ask you to go to prom? You know how I feel about forced frivolity and dancing. We both think that such social constructs are unnecessary and demeaning.”
“Yeah… Sure… So tell me about this Star Wars.” Sheldon cuts his eyes at her and she quickly corrects herself. “Star Trek… Thingie…”
“As I said it is in Jackson Mississippi and some of the brightest stars of the franchise are coming to panels to speak about the show. I know it is a bit of a drive and your mother might have questions. So…” He says excited as they pull into his driveway Amy cuts the car off. “That is why I have prepared this.” He says handing Amy a sheet of thick creamy paper.
“You have been invited to try out for the South Jackson Junior Symphony as their harpist.” Amy reads and looks over at a Sheldon who clearly expects her to be impressed.
“The perfect excuse to be in Jackson overnight! Your mother will never object to something to do with your perceived musical career. Then when you she asks you what happened you just tell her you botched your audition.
“You don’t think I really could play harp in the symphony?” Amy asks and he rolls his eyes.
“Amy it is not real that is the point!” He says exasperated.
“So what happens at one of these?” She asks handing him back the paper.
“So glad you asked! All of the biggest fans of the franchise gather sell and trade merchandise…”
“Sounds so much better than dressing up and dancing with your boyfriend in front of the entire school.” Amy says sarcastically but Sheldon misses her tone.
“Oh! But you do get to dress up! I will be dressed as Mr. Spock and you will be dressed as Nurse Chapel. As far as dancing goes I don’t think there is much at one of these events. At least none that I have gone too.”
“You know what Sheldon? I am pretty tired I think I am just going to head home.” Amy says starting the car back up.
“But it is Thursday. We always study together in Thursday’s.” He says stubbornly.
“Today I have a headache.” Amy tells him and he gets out of the car. Amy pulls out as soon as he us out if the car leaving him confused and worried. Sheldon can not shake the feeling that he has done something to really bother his girlfriend.
As much as he tries to carry on like normal. The absence of Amy is weighing in his mind to much to get any work done. Finally he does something he hates doing. He goes to his sister’s room to ask her advice. When he walks in her room she is laying in her bed with her feet in the air. Letting the baby blue polish in her toenails dry,
“What’s up Shelly?” She asks tilting her head back and waving her feet in the air.
“I need some advice. It seems that I have upset Amy.” He Says.
“You say a lot of dumb things so that’s not surprising.” Missy says.
“As surprising as finding you with your legs in the air.” Sheldon scoffs not liking being called dumb. He really does not even know what it means. But he has heard his brother insult her with it before and it was vaugly sexual in tone.
“Goodbye Sheldon.” Missy says pointing to the door.
“I’m sorry that was rude, I don’t even know why you would have your legs in the air. Please I need your advice.” He pleads.
“Well why do you think she’s upset?” Missy asks.
“She drove me home but did not want to come inside. She said she had a headache.”
“Maybe she really had a headache Sheldon.” Missy says.
“I would say that too but she seemed fine before. I guess it is possible she is experiencing her lady time. But that is usually not due for another week if my calculations are correct.”
“Before what” Missy asks a little grossed out that her brother knows about his girlfriend’s period. She wonders if they are having sex and that’s how he is aware.
“Before I asked her to drive us to the Trekcon in Jackson Mississippi. At first she thought that I was asking her to prom…” Sheldon says rolling his eyes at the word prom. Nope definitely not having sex Missy thinks.
“Hold up, here we go… What did you say when she thought that you were asking her to prom?” Missy asks sitting up.
“That I wasn’t, I mean to expect for me to take her to something as ridiculous as prom is unreasonable. “ he says and Missy sighs.
“Sheldon for someone so smart, you sure are dumb sometimes.” Missy laughs.
“Excuse me? I am not dumb!” He says starting to get really angry.
“Think of it this way Shelly. You think it is unreasonable for Amy to want you to take her to a dance in a nice hotel. Where she gets to dress up…”
“Amy will get to dress up at Trekcon! As Nurse Chapel, and on my dime might I add.” He says haughtily and Missy just stares at him.
“We are going to pretend you didn’t just say that.” Missy says rolling her eyes. “Amy wants to put on a pretty dress, see you in a cute tux and dance with you in front of the whole school. You think that is a crazy idea. However you don’t think asking her to drive you four hours…”
“More like six hours, if we make great time.” Sheldon interrupts.
“Six hours away, across two state lines, to a thingy for a show she might not even like. Most likely asking her to break one or more of her mother’s many rules. Do you know that Amy had never been fully grounded until she met you? Now it seems you do something to get her on restriction like every other week. Yet she never makes you do anything.” Missy says eying him hard and Sheldon nods his head. “You get it?”
“Yes… So maybe if I take her to something she likes while we are there it will even things out?” He muses. “There is a nice public library there.”
“Sheldon what did mama say when you asked her to drive you to that thing a couple years back?”
“That if I wanted to go bad enough I could park my behind on a bus seat and get there myself.” Sheldon recalls.
“I suggest you do the same thing again.” Missy says turning her attention back to her nails.
“I hate the bus! I was trapped on that smelly sweltering bus for six hours only to find out my former idol Wil Wheaton would not be there. I am not about to waste my time on a journey like that again.”
“Then don’t go to the silly thing.” Missy tells him.
“Silly thing! I am going to try and ignore that comment.” He scoffs. “If I don’t go how will I exact my revenge on Wil Wheaton?”
“Shelly the man is not your enemy! He is just a dude who played a dude on a stupid television show. Get over it! move on, spend your time worrying about really real things. Like the girl who actually agrees to be your girlfriend. Even though no one understands why.” Missy says standing up and putting her hands on her hips.
“Amy loves me that’s why!” He says hotly.
“Times like this make me wonder how.” Missy tells him.
“You have been no help. I don’t know why I even bothered asking you!” Sheldon yells stomping out of her room and going into his and slamming the door. He his so mad he is seeing red as he lies on his bed. Woman were completely unreasonable creatures that was certain.
All he was asking was for one small favor and it is the end of the world. He stares at the ceiling his arms crossed trying to calm down. He rolls to his side and he catches sight of a polaroid picture propped against his lamp.
It is of him and Amy taken by Missy while they were unaware during the celebration for his and Missy’s birthday. Missy had gotten the camera as a present and was taking photos of everyone and everything. When she would hand the photographs subject their picture they would shake it in an attempt to make it develop faster. In the photo Amy is whispering a joke about the futility of the practice in his ear. In the picture his eyes are closed and he is laughing, his hand clutching Amy’s tightly. He didn’t need a photograph to remind him of the day, yet it did not stop him from loving the picture.Sheldon can remember everything about that day, down to how her warm breath felt in his ear, and how she always smelled like soap and cookies. How even though he hated celebrating his birthday it hadn’t been so bad with her there.
Nothing was as difficult to endure as long as she was by his side. That is really why he wanted her to come with him to the convention. Because even if Wil were not to show again. Even if the trip was a complete fiasco Amy would find the fun in it. When his mother had taken him to Houston to get him tested. When his little quirks started taking over his life. The psychiatrist had told him to find a focal point to use to calm down. An image that would bring him back when things started to overwhelm him. That’s what Amy was, his focal point she kept him centered.
Sheldon sighs and goes to grab the phone in the hallway. He had to call her and make sure they were okay. He hated thinking of Amy being angry with him. Amy picks up the phone on the first ring and he is relieved. When she sounds like she is feeling better.
“Sheldon I am sorry I left so suddenly.” She starts to explain but he interrupts her.
“No I am sorry, I shouldn’t of sprang such a large request on you. It was rude of me to expect you to do something like that for me.”
“I was actually just about to call you about it.” Amy says pausing. “I think we should do it. It might fun and it’s not like I had any other plans for spring break.”
“Oh Amy! Thank you! It will be fun, you’ll see. I promise you won’t regret doing this for me.” He says and he can almost feel her smile over the phone,.
“My mother just walked in so I will talk to you later. Maybe I can come over tomorrow and we can start planning our trip?” She whispers.
“Excellent, I will see you then.” He says as she disconnects and he practically skips to his bedroom in excitement. Wondering what he can do to repay her for this trip.