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Big Bang Theory: HofstadterHoffman Cohabitation

By William Collins

Humor / Mystery

Chapter 13

13

On Ocean Grove, Pasadena locals Russell Galecki and Johnathan Lovato jogged to keep in shape, but as they passed Maplecroft, the mansion that Abraham Reinhoff had left to his grandchildren, they casually looked up and were struck by the shapely form in the upstairs bedroom window. A scantily clad figure danced and moved across the light of the upstairs front bedroom window on the front of the house. When Leonard made plans for a nice dinner at Diego's, one of Pasadena's most top rated Italian places, Penny wanted to do it up right, and when her dresses didn't make her standards, she tried the ones left behind by Jimmy's sister already in the closet. There were quite a few of them. Short party dresses, long evening dresses, some backless, some off the shoulder and some very regal with French tags and sophisticated clasps. She wanted to try them all on.

"That's weird…" Penny was trying on Sara's blue spaghetti strap ensemble. "The tag says it's a size twelve, but it doesn't feel like a size twelve." She checked her reflection in the mirror.

"That's because it's a size eleven." A voice said.

Penny's head turned to look behind her. Standing and leaning on the doorway, Sara Kathryn Hoffman had opened the doorway ready to bring her suitcase in and stood watching Penny modeling in the mirror. She was of slighter build than Penny with big brown eyes and short blonde hair cut short at the shoulders. Wearing a sleeveless black top and blue jeans, she blinked once then twice with an amused grin.

"Penny, right?" She knew about Jimmy's tenants through his e-mail and entered the room. "You see, my older sisters are about your size, but I couldn't stop them from stealing my clothes either, so I changed all the tags in them to confuse them. I'm Sara by the way."

"Nice to meet you." Penny turned and came round the bed to meet her. "I'm sorry, it's just that I got a date with Leonard tonight, and I'm…" She shined a little trying to be charming.

"Well," Sara advanced on her closet. "If you really want to knock him out…" She pushed the clothes left and right to part them down the middle, reached through to the back and slid the back panel of the closet open to step through it. Watching her disappear into it, Penny confusingly followed her. She stepped under the closet rung, brushed through a curtain behind the wall and entered a cold hidden room lined with clothes on hangers all around it and on a large dress rack in the center of the room. Her jaw dropped in shocked awe at this secret. It was her deepest desire to find a secret stash of expensive dresses, shoes and accessories, and this was exactly how she pictured it. Sara casually picked through the center rack and pulled out a black dress.

"Alicia got this in Paris." Sara draped it before Penny before the mirror. "Put your hair up and you'll kill him in it!"

"I love you so much!" Penny's voice screeched out of delirious joy. Sara chuckled at her as if they were old friends. At that time, kids screamed through the house in much the same way the Marines stormed Iwo Jima. Three boys chasing one girl tore through the house for the game room. From atop the front balcony overhead, Jimmy and Leonard watched over them running through the premises.

"They're here…" Jimmy sounded like a creepy little girl. Leonard looked over to him.

"Remember…" Jimmy next sounded like crocodile expert Steve Irwin. "Don't show any weakness at them! They will take you down and rip you apart!" He looked at Leonard. He was used to his eccentric use of impressions, but then Jimmy looked down again and waved to Sara's husband, Fred, carrying in suitcases. Gwen's husband, Peter, was carrying two boxes of meat from his meat-packing plant for a summer of barbecues. Behind him, Gwendolyn Stephanie Hoffman finally entered just as beautiful as Sara with white alabaster skin, two powerful brown eyes and much longer and blonder hair. She was taller than Penny, but not as physically endowed. She yelled ahead at the kids then looked up and waved at Jimmy with a big beaming grin as the loving sister. Out back, the kids already wanted to jump in the pool, but the water was too cold this late in the day. They'd have to wait until tomorrow afternoon.

"Jimmy…" Leonard was awestruck. "Your sisters are hot."

"Tell me about it…" Jimmy flashed back on endless guys who once haunted the property. "If I had a nickel for every jerk who told me to go play in traffic so they could deflower them…"

"Wait till Howard meets them…" Leonard's only thought now was about moving into the lab while they were here. There might have been sixteen bedrooms in the house, but three of them belonged to other sisters, one of whom was expected in another week, one was the master bedroom of their parents and another five would belong to the tribe of up-coming adolescents. Leonard had the guest room over the kitchen. The three remaining rooms had broken down beds, old furniture and relics and belongings from past tenants, including the ledgers and chairs from when members of the National Socialist Party who used the house as a meeting hall in the Thirties. When he returned that night after his date with Penny, he was in an amorous mood, but Penny reminded him of his promise with Jimmy, and he was sent to retire in the upstairs study. It wasn't all that bad. It was a large double room with the remains of the wall that had once separated the two in partial existence, reduced to an archway ten feet wide between two joined rooms of boxed files, filed hand-written research and the loose boxes of journals and correspondence with other physicists of the time. The boxes on the shelves stacked to six feet high while the boxes on the tables stacked to the ceiling. Interspersed between the boxes were the remnants often set aside by family members such as a set of old skis, a long brass floor lamp, an old Beta recorder, an old TV and even a forgotten period jukebox filled with the music of the Late Seventies. At the end of the room under the window where Leonard had began the clearing process, he slept in the window seat after listening to the dying noises of Jimmy's nieces running through the halls, the nephews playing mock battles in the halls and then the distant screams of Gwen's baby girl, Samantha, who despite weighing only eight and a half pounds made the sounds of a forty-ton fire engine bawling through the halls. Jimmy was enjoying the company, but only for a couple of hours before he secretly told Leonard that August could not come fast enough. With the night came peace and quiet, and Leonard accepted it happily as his mind drifted off to meet Penny in the dreamscape on a deserted isle. A grin on his face, he was briefly roused from his sleep and woke to the shadows of the room. Darkness fractured by boxes and family relics met his eyes as he looked up through his blurry vision then rested his head to his pillow again to meet Penny in that seashell bra back on the island paradise. A brief scowl and he tried to escape the world once more. As his senses centered on the silence, his mind started detecting all nature of sounds. The house creaking, a distant light switch flicking on in the bedroom beyond the wall, the sound of a light gasp from the house air conditioner kicking on, a rapping noise at his door…

Reaching for his glasses, he swung his legs to the floor and stood as the rapping noise occurred once again.

"I'm coming…" He sleepily called out. He wondered if Penny was inviting him to stay with her. Treading the carpet, Leonard unlocked the door and swung one side of the entryway open.

There was no one there.

Confusingly and sleepily looking up and down the hall, he made a few steps to peek down the back stairway, but it was empty as well, a few photos on the walls the only thing to greet the wakened physicist. He turned back around for his room as Penny opened her door yawning.

"Yeah," She was still half asleep. "What's wrong?"

"Nothing… Go back to sleep." Leonard whispered to her.

"Why'd you knock on my door then?"

"I didn't knock on your door." Leonard mentioned. "You heard someone knock at my door."

"Oh…" She looked haggard and tired in her nightshirt. "Who was it?"

"No one… I missed them." Leonard apologized. "Go back to sleep." He looked around again. Penny looked at him with one eye and closed her door to return to bed. Returning to bed once more himself, Leonard closed and relocked the study and moved back to the window seat. It wasn't bad for sleeping on, but he had to bend his legs because it wasn't as wide as he was short. Laying his glasses aside and setting his head down, Leonard was ready to turn back for the island, but then he heard the rapping noise again. He sprang from his bed this time a bit annoyed. Grumbling under his breath, he felt as if he was living once more with Sheldon. He unlocked the door and swung it open.

"What?" He opened the door to nothing. There was nothing outside his room, but floating down the hall he thought he saw a female form shaped from incandescent light. It wasn't Penny, Gwen or Sara. This girl had long waist length blonde hair and was glowing as if she had a system of lights under her nightgown. She was gliding away further and further back for the front of the house. More confused than scared, Leonard walked slowly behind her in his t-shirt and underwear. Her form wasn't distinct. She was more like a hologram out of focus, but even his blurry vision could see her hair and the outline of her arms. As he came around to see her face, she seemed to fade away into nothingness, and Leonard found himself in the pitch-black hallway over the front foyer.

"What the heck was that?" He asked himself.

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