Penny managed to get her tree upstairs by paying Mrs. Gunderson’s visiting nephew five bucks to drag it to 4B. She pushed and prodded it into place and as it stood in her living room, she realized that she had mistaken the size of the tree she bought in relation to the size of her apartment.
It almost touched her ceiling, and Penny couldn’t reach the top third of the tree. After a shower to rinse the sap and smell of pine from her body, she began to decorate. Penny was currently throwing tinsel at it, but her tree was practically bare and she needed help.
Penny sat down on her couch and fished her phone out of her purse with one hand while picking stray tinsel out of her hair with the other. She thumbed through her contacts and sent a text:
Sheldon I need your help
Penny ran her fingers through her hair and continued to pick at the tinsel caught in it until she got a response. It didn’t take long:
Are you injured?
She sent back, her thumbs flying:
No, I just need you to come over
Penny, this is the evening I have set aside to watch the Doctor Who Christmas specials.
Sheldon you don’t even like Christmas
No, but I like Doctor Who.
Penny sighed. He had all the specials on Blu-ray and it wasn’t as if he couldn’t watch them later. In fact, Penny was seriously tempted to leave her tree decorating to join him. But, she’d have to get dressed, and a bare tree was a sad sight. She didn’t feel like waking up tomorrow and have to begin again. Penny thought a minute about how to get him to help:
You owe me one
I am not familiar for which incident I “owe you one for.”
She beat her head with her phone before she replied:
The kissing, Sheldon! I thought you couldn’t forget - ME showing YOU how to kiss for Amy
I have an eidetic memory. I forget nothing. I merely suggest that I hardly “owe you one” as the “favor” was ultimately unsuccessful.
Penny narrowed her eyes and pursed her lips. He didn’t suggest what she thought he did.
That had nothing to do with MY technique!
I beg to differ. Are we finished? May I return to watch my specials?
Oh, now she was pissed. They were not finished. The tree was temporarily forgotten.
You get your bony little ass over here NOW!
Not one minute past her thumb hitting send, his triumvirate knocks and three firm “Pennys” reverberated in her small apartment. She stood on her threshold waiting for the final “Penny” to fade out of his mouth and threw her door open as wide as her smile, “Hi, Sweetie.”
He looked down at her warily, “I believe you are employing sarcasm.”
“Yah think?” Penny replied, and grabbed a hold of his Green Lantern t-shirt and pulled him into her apartment and kicked the door closed behind her.
“Penny!” Sheldon gasped attempting to free himself from her grip, “You are pulling on my shirt!” He whined, though he raised his eyebrows at Penny’s attire: bare legs, her pink robe and damp hair. Sheldon thought he could smell…wild berries? He tried to hide his sniff in a look of derision down at her.
“Great job stating the obvious, genius boy,” Penny said, but didn’t let go, “so you think my kissing technique was the reason you and Amy broke up?”
“It would seem to be the causative link.” Sheldon used his height to his advantage and straightened his back, and Penny had to let go. “Amy made a tier one girlfriend request that I kiss her. I went to the only female I knew who had an expertise in that area.”
Sheldon ignored her and continued, “You gave me some practical technique advice.” Sheldon smoothed down his t-shirt, and folded his arms across his chest. “I applied your technique with Amy. Amy then requested a termination of our Relationship Agreement.” His eyes narrowed as he looked down at her, since she hadn’t moved away and she was practically toe to toe with him, “She is now, yet again, dating Stuart. Stuart! Who, as well as being desperately less intelligent as I, believes Jason Todd should be the next Robin!” Sheldon’s nose wrinkled in distaste and shook his head, “So, now I have an ex-girlfriend instead of enjoying Amy’s company, like I did before.”
“That’s hardly my fault, Sheldon.” Penny had to crane her neck to continue, “I’m sorry you miss Amy, but I gave you solid technique.” She raised her chin defiantly, “You must have done something wrong.”
“That hardly seems likely.” Sheldon said; his voice clipped and his lips thinned in tight disapproval.
Penny’s eyes narrowed, and she matched Sheldon’s expression, “Oh no!” Penny grabbed his shirt again and ignored his squeak of surprise, “This is on like Donkey Kong.” She stretched up on her tip toes, “Show me how you kissed Amy.” Penny tilted her head up, “C’mon smarty pants show me your technique.”
Sheldon bent his head, trying to ignore Penny’s hand on his chest, which had, thankfully, released his one of his favorite t-shirts. He let his lips fall on hers, but already it felt different than his kiss with Amy. Penny’s lips were warmer, and she smelled- different, more pleasing. His reaction was very similar to the last time, when he’d asked for her help with Amy.
Penny had just finished painting her toes metallic blue, when Sheldon began knocking on her door. She managed, by the last fading “Penny” to hobble to the door.
He stood there and Penny had to squint for a second to adjust. The bright yellow shirt he wore with his Rubik’s cubes matched with a neon green thermal was even more color than he usually wore at once.
“What do you want, Sheldon?”
He traced the doorframe with a long forefinger, “I have a tier one friendship request.”
“I can’t drive you anywhere until my toes dry.” Penny turned back to her couch to sit down and put her feet up on her coffee table again.
Sheldon followed her, after closing her door, “I don’t need a ride today, Penny. I need you to demonstrate a technique on how to kiss a woman in a romantic setting.”
Penny, who had been milliseconds from sitting down, nearly missed her couch’s cushion, “Wh-at?”
Sheldon put a hand up to steady her, touching her shoulder lightly and pushing her in the right direction of the couch, “I think I was sufficiently clear. Amy made a tier one girlfriend request, of which, by contract, she has one. I am making a tier one friendship request, of which, though our contract was verbal, I believe I am entitled to.” He sat down beside her and tilted his head with pursed lips.
Penny hesitated for a moment to let his many, many words sink in before she responded. “Are you nuts?”
“If, by nuts you mean crazy, you know my mother had me tested. If, by nuts you mean the snack, no Penny, I am demonstrably not a nut.”
Penny had to physically restrain herself from face palming by clasping her hands tight together in her lap. “Sheldon,” she wailed, “can’t you and Amy figure out the kissing thing on your own?”
Sheldon picked at a string on the couch pillow to his left and looked at it intently, “You know I have no expertise in this area. I need your help, Penny.”
Penny closed her eyes and sighed. Why couldn’t she resist him when he asked for her help? She looked up, “Fine. You do realize that I will be telling you what to do?”
“And I’ll have to touch you?”
“And your germs will mix with my germs?”
Sheldon flinched at this, “Yes?”
Penny laughed. If she was going to do this, she’d have to get him to get over the germ thing. She touched her big toe to test if it was dry, and walked to her kitchen to grab a bottle off the top of her refrigerator and two shot glasses.
Sheldon looked at her warily as she sat beside him and waved the bottle, “My version of mouthwash. We both have a shot of this,” she poured vodka in each shot glass, “and presto! Sterilized mouths.”
Penny handed him his shot and tipped hers towards his, “Cheers!” and she smiled, “you have to swallow it too, by the way.”
Sheldon wrinkled his nose, sniffed at the alcohol and had a look of resignation in his eyes. “Cheers!” and he tilted his head back and took the shot. Penny watched to make sure his Adam’s apple moved, and she smiled at the look of disgust on his face and joined him, taking her shot. She took his glass and placed them both back on her coffee table.
Penny got down to business, “Okay, so kissing.” She turned to face Sheldon, whose face was flushed from his one shot.
He tilted his head slightly off center and looked back at her, “You are very pretty.”
Penny laughed, “You are such a lightweight.” She put her hand on his knees to nudge him to face her, “Okay, sitting down for the kiss is preferable, as Amy is around the same height as I am. You are too freakishly tall and it will be too awkward to kiss her standing up. That would definitely be more of a second kiss move.”
“I am not freakishly tall. Did you know that anthropologists have proven that a man’s height is one of the most sought after physical characteristics that females desire in a mate?” Sheldon giggled a little, “I’m a catch!”
“Okay, Sweetie, focus!” Penny grabbed his chin to have him look at her. “So, first, you need to relax a bit.” She let his chin go and watched as Sheldon tried to get serious and roll his shoulders a little in a slouch. Penny bit her lip not to laugh. “Next, because you are initiating the kiss, you will probably have to put your hand on her thigh for leverage.”
“Her thigh?” Sheldon sounded scandalized.
Penny narrowed her eyes, “I told you there would be touching.” She grabbed his hand nearest to her, and placed it on her jean-clad thigh. His lips formed an “O” of understanding. “See, that’s not too bad, right?”
Sheldon was staring at his hand on Penny’s thigh, “No. Not too bad.”
Penny would have expected this to feel more awkward, she thought, but his large hand sat firm and warm on her thigh. She swallowed, and desperately wanted another vodka shot to shake this very not awkward feeling from her. “Okay, good. Uh. So now, you just need to sorta lean down and press your lips to mine.”
“That’s all the direction you are giving me?” Sheldon looked at her under his brows, “I assume there must be some technique to this?”
“Well, keep your lips soft, no teeth, and count five Mississippi’s, and that ought to do it.” Penny raised her chin a bit, “You just have to kiss me. I’ll give you a critique after, okay?”
Sheldon nodded, and then did exactly what she said. His lips met hers, though Penny found she couldn’t count out the Mississippi’s when all she could focus on was how his fuller bottom lip was caught between hers. And how okay she was with this. Very okay. Penny put her hand on his knee for a bit of leverage herself and showed him how to open his mouth, just a little.
Sheldon’s breath hitched slightly and he had to take deeper breaths through his nose to adjust to the new feeling he was experiencing. Sheldon avoided most physical contact for this reason; his body was revolting against his mind and the two women that he was closest to - Amy and Penny - were the cause of it. He broke off the kiss to be able to breathe through his mouth and regain his equilibrium.
Penny did the same, breathing deeply until she felt confident she could speak without a waver in her voice, “That was…well you will make Amy very happy, Sheldon, if you can kiss her like that.”
His mental state almost restored, he nodded and stood, a little off balance, either from the vodka or the kiss. He really didn’t want to examine it at the moment. “Thank you, Penny. I appreciate your efforts and consideration at fulfilling a tier one friendship request.”
At this, Sheldon walked determinedly to her door, opened it and left.
Penny’s frantic grasp on him had softened to have just one of her hands sitting on his chest as another snaked up his neck to rest on his nape. Sheldon allowed himself to give in to the desire to place his hands at her waist where he could feel the warmth of her under her robe. The scent of wild berries filled his nose again as she stretched to touch him.
He pulled back first, but left his hands where they were, “Do you know what’s curious?”
Penny sighed, “I know I’m going to regret this, but what’s curious?” Her hands fell back to rest between them on his chest. She could feel his heartbeat, and Penny was almost certain it was accelerated.
Sheldon’s eyes narrowed at her tone, but he said, “No one asked me if I wanted to be kissing my friends, nor asked if I preferred one or the other.”
“You see, I kissed you, and I…reacted.”
Penny looked slightly agape up at him, “But…”
Sheldon continued, heedless of her interruption, “Then I went to Amy’s to fulfill my,” Sheldon threw up his fingers to make quotes, “end of the bargain,” to which she reacted.”
“I know, Sheldon I…”
“By stating that the experience,” Sheldon used his finger quotes again, “sucked the big one,” and terminated our relationship agreement based on Section Three, paragraph six which stated: If either the boyfriend or girlfriend agree that the relationship is no longer beneficial, one party may terminate the agreement.” Sheldon’s lip curled up in one corner, “I called it the Escape Clause. I put it there for my own protection. I didn’t think she would be the one to invoke it.”
Penny reached both of her arms around his neck and pulled him down to her level. She looked him right in the eye, “Sheldon. I’m only going to say this once. You’re right.”
“I usually am.” His hands fell back to her waist, mostly because he had to balance her grip on him, but really because, they seemed at home there.
“Kissing is an emotional thing,” Penny ignored him and continued, “and I guess we forgot that you have them. Emotions, that is.”
“Well of course I have emotions, Penny. Just because I don’t listen to the musical stylings of Alanis Morissette when I’m upset…”
“And you and Amy, you can be friends again,” Penny’s hands released their firm grip on his neck to hug him, “Just give her some time.” She said in his ear before pulling back again, “Like and Leonard and me. We were together a lot longer than you and Amy, and we’re friends again.”
Sheldon raised his eyebrows until they met his hairline, an impressive feat, “Are you seriously comparing me to Leonard?”
Penny laughed, “No, Sweetie, just the situation.”
Nodding, Sheldon said, “I suppose I can get over the fact that Amy has chosen a comic book store owner for a romantic partner, especially one with such erroneous opinions on Batman.”
“There’s the spirit!” Penny smiled up at him.
“I have a question,” Sheldon said, “why did you text me to come over in the first place?”
Penny jutted her chin towards her tree, practically bare as it was, “My tree. I can’t reach the top to decorate it and I needed your help.”
Sheldon’s eyes followed her gesture, “Good Lord Penny! Why did you buy such a large fire hazard?”
“I don’t know!” Penny wailed, “It looked so pretty at the lot.”
“Very well. I will help, if I must.” His hands tightened on her waist, “Now, circling back to my main point. I find my reaction to you…” Sheldon paused.
“Yes?” Penny’s hands grasped his shirt again.
“…to be much more pleasant.” Sheldon finished, “In fact, I want to kiss you now.”
“Shel…” Penny didn’t get his name fully out before his lips met hers again. His mouth automatically opened, like she had shown him before.
Time for a new lesson; Penny slipped her tongue past his lower lip to touch his.
Sheldon’s head snapped back in shock. He looked down wide-eyed at his neighbor-slash-friend-slash-potential mate, shrugged one shoulder and bent to continue their kiss, letting his tongue tentatively touch hers. He wasn’t certain why, he thought, it was so arousing to taste Penny’s mouth, considering the potential amount of germs he was subjecting himself to. But it was. Very arousing. He might have to study this effect further.
Sheldon broke their kiss, and took a step back with a steadying breath, “I believe,” he managed, "that I want to pair-bond with you.”
“How romantic,” Penny smiled and patted his cheek affectionately.
“I can draft a relationship agreement now if you wish.”
“No. No relationship agreement. I didn’t sign anything to be your friend, and I’m not signing anything to be your girlfriend.”
“Fine,” Sheldon sniffed, “I counter with a proposal of a verbal agreement.”
“You promise to be my “girlfriend” and take care of me when I’m sick, take me to the comic book store twice a month and pick me up from work once a week. For you, I’ll be your “boyfriend” and allow you to use our Wi-Fi without changing the password, buy all your dinners and clean your apartment twice a week.”
Penny nodded, “yes, all acceptable to me, however there will have to be one amendment.” She looked him in the eye, “There has to be sex.”
Sheldon stuck out his hand, “I accept your terms.”
Penny grabbed his hand and pulled him close again, “This kind of agreement needs to be sealed with a kiss.
Sheldon agreed with his girlfriend. It was just as well, he thought, as they wrapped their arms about one another. His notary stamp book was running out of ink anyway.