Stuart isn’t stupid, but neither is he as smart as either Sheldon or Amy. When they really get going on their secret superintelligent wavelength he’s left in the dust, reduced to restocking the Warlords starter packs or alphabetizing the special orders while they talk gibberish at each other. He knows he can’t give Amy that level of discourse; sometimes he thinks whoever plays him really blew all their attribute rolls, because he doesn’t have much in the way of intelligence and he sure as shit doesn’t have charisma going for him. He’s maybe got an okay constitution and dexterity, and enough wisdom to not totally screw up running the store, but that’s it.
The movie date was horrendous. If he could’ve hidden down the back of his seat he would have. Likewise walking Amy to her door. Likewise seeing the two of them come in next New Comics Night without so much as a glance his way to acknowledge what had happened.
When Sheldon comes up to the counter to pay for his new acquisitions, Amy’s with him, and she leans in and asks, “What time do you close up tonight?”
“Um, nine,” Stuart says, confused, curious.
“It’ll interfere with Halo night,” Sheldon mutters at Amy.
“I could come alone.”
Amy makes a show of wiping non-existent saliva from the side of her face. “We’ll be back then to talk to you,” she informs Stuart, and the two of them proceed out of the store, sans explanation.
“What’s going on there, dude?” Raj asks, his hands full of the new My Little Pony mini-figurines Stuart just got in.
Stuart just shakes his head.
The store is empty by eight-thirty but Stuart stubbornly leaves the door unlocked until nine anyway.
At eight fifty-nine on the dot, Sheldon and Amy come back in. Amy looks nervous; Sheldon, petulant. (It worries Stuart a little that he can recognize Sheldon’s petulant look.)
“Sheldon wants to apologize for ruining our date last week,” Amy begins.
“I don’t want – oh, all right. Stuart, I’m sorry I ruined your date last week.”
“Think nothing of it. At least you didn’t beat me up.”
“You might be familiar with Sheldon’s approach to important relationships, specifically with respect to outlaying the terms and conditions surrounding them.” Amy pulls a slim spiral-bound document out of her bag and pushes it at him. “This is what he’s drafted for his relationship with me.”
Stuart can’t let that slide. “Jeez, Sheldon. I can understand it for a roommate, but for your girlfriend?”
“I’m given to believe that relationships frequently fall apart when one party doesn’t understand the parameters that the other believes are expected. It’s better to be completely up front about these things.”
Stuart’s idly flipping the pages, not really reading what’s on them – he doesn’t particularly want to know whether Sheldon requires rubber gloves to be worn during hand-holding, or if there’s any provision in there for one of them becoming the head of the university and the consequent legal issues – but his own name leaps out at him like a big red sign. He reads that page, all right, and then flips back a page to check what section it’s under, and then flips back to where his name is.
“You’ve included a Stuart clause?” he asks incredulously.
“I wanted to be nonspecific as to who it related to, to save myself the rigmarole of using the binder every time, but Amy insisted,” says Sheldon. “If you’re going to sign it, I’ll also need you to initial beside each subsection to indicate that you’ve read and understand it.”
“Sheldon... you’re giving me written permission to date your girlfriend.”
“I know that,” Sheldon says as patiently as he possibly can. it must be such hard work for him. “I wrote the document.”
“I made it reasonable,” Amy adds.
Stuart scans the pages again. Aside from being an agreement about when he can date Sheldon’s girlfriend, it does indeed appear to be an eminently reasonable document. He finds himself picking up a pen from the counter and beginning to scrawl his initials beside each clause. When he gets to the final signature, he draws a deep breath, and then looks at Amy. She’s giving him a hopeful little smile, and that’s what drives the pen across the paper.
“Good,” Sheldon says briskly. “I’m also prepared to give you half an hour alone to make up for interrupting you last week. I didn’t disturb you nearly that long, but Amy insists that I repay the time threefold. It makes no logical sense, but women often don’t.” And, without giving Amy a chance to rebut this remark, he goes off to the corner to play with robots.
“Um,” says Stuart. His player obviously didn’t take up eloquence as a skill, either.
Amy solves his tongue-tiedness by stepping around the counter. She smells of some light, pretty perfume – lilies, perhaps. “I think I was most annoyed at Sheldon because he interrupted us at my door,” she says with her usual forthrightness. “I would have liked a kiss goodnight.”
Stuart puts his arms around her waist and then just looks at her for a moment. She isn’t a golden goddess like Penny, and she isn’t exciting and edgy like Alice. But she is nice, and she laughs at his jokes, and he has written permission to do this, which is a lot better than his existing track record.
Plus she wants this, or she wouldn’t have fought so hard to be here.
“Just thinking,” he tells her, right before his lips meet hers.