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                                27. Lost and Found


Howard looked at his calendar. Today, the game he had pre-ordered was coming in, and he had to go into the heart of the city to get it.

"Why don't we go together, you know, make a date of it?" Raj suggested. He was always looking for an excuse to go somewhere with Howard.  This was the perfect one! The hustle and bustle of the city, the slight chill in the air, it sounded wonderful.

"Sure! I'll warm up the scooter, then we can get going," Howard said. He kissed Raj on the cheek, then walked out the door.

"This'll be great, dude!" Raj said excitedly, hopping on the back of the scooter. He put on his helmet and waited to go.

After a little while, the two men were in the city. "Let's head to GameStop first, then we can go do whatever you'd like," Howard said sweetly. He picked up the game, and the two headed out. At that point, the crowds had increased. To Raj's complete terror, the pushing and shoving broke his intense grip on Howard's hand!

"HOWARD!" he yelled. But the shorter man didn't hear him; he continued walking as Raj was swept away by the crowd.

"Oh, Raj, it's so great to be here with… Raj? Where are you?" Howard asked, finally noticing that his friend was gone. He immediately began to panic, attempting to shove his way through the crowds. Without a lot of muscle, though, his efforts soon failed.

Meanwhile, Raj had found a side path where there were few people. He sat on a bench, his head down in despair. He didn't even know how to get back to the scooter! Why was this happening? As tears came to the scared man's eyes, he heard a familiar voice.

"Raj? Is that you? Over here!" a woman's voice called. Raj looked up, seeing Penny. She was wearing a pair of high-heeled boots, one of which had the heel stuck in a storm drain. Raj nodded, his inability to talk to women taking over.

"It's so great to see someone familiar. I was out getting new clothes, and… this happened. No one's stopped to help me," Penny said sadly. Raj approached her, thinking about how to free her. He reached down for the boot's zipper, but he received a slap to the face, as Penny had misinterpreted his intentions. If Howard had been around, Raj could have gotten his point across…

Howard was looking around for Raj. He put his hands in his pockets… and found his phone! He could text Raj to see where he was! He stopped by a tree, typing out a quick message. Hopefully, he'd be able to find Raj soon.

Raj was still trying to figure out how to get Penny free, when he got a text. He checked his phone. It was Howard! Soon, he had typed out a brief description of the area, and the fact that he was with Penny, who was in trouble.

After a few minutes, Howard had arrived. "Hey, Miss Penny. What's the problem?" he asked, raising an eyebrow.

"Look for yourself," Penny grumbled, trying to free her trapped foot. She wasn't happy that even here, when she needed help, Howard was trying to flirt with her.

"I tried to unzip her boot, but she thought I was being creepy. She slapped me," Raj whispered to Howard.

"My friend here says you slapped him when he tried to unzip your boot," Howard said, relaying the message to Penny.

"That's what he was doing?! I thought he…" Penny said, trailing off. She shifted a little, allowing Raj to unzip her boot and free her.  Howard then dislodged the troublesome footwear, handing it back to Penny. She thanked them and left.

"Well, it's been a pretty good day, hasn't it? We lost each other, but we found a bonus… and we helped a lady in need," Howard said, wrapping his arms around Raj happily.

100 Themes #27. I'm doing them out of order, but I had this idea for a while. The section about Penny and her trapped foot was supposed to be its own fanfic, but I needed something to keep Raj busy while Howard looked for him.
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January 13, 2012
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