They’d made it to the bedroom.
Not quite to the bed.
Penny had just managed to force her rubbery, happy muscles into dragging the throw blanket off of her bed and tossing it over the two of them, then propping a fallen pillow against Sheldon’s shoulder. It wasn’t until then that she glanced at Sheldon’s face.
He was staring, wide-eyed, at her ceiling.
Penny couldn’t quite stifle her laughter as she asked, “Sheldon? You all right?”
And when he didn’t answer, she nudged him.
“Yes,” he answered. His voice was blank.
Figuring that he was just ‘calibrating the information’ (she tried and failed to suppress another giggle; yeah, that was some fresh information she gave him, all right), Penny plopped her head down on the pillow and closed her eyes.
When she awoke the next morning, Sheldon was still staring, wide-eyed, at her ceiling.
This was when Penny really started to get worried.
“Sheldon.” Her voice was raspy with sleep.
“Yes.” He was eerily calm, like you-don’t-know-it-yet-but-your-life-is-a-horror-movie-and-you’re-that-blonde-female-protagonist. (Well, to be fair, some of those girls did live, like that chick in White Noise.)
(Or maybe she was just one of the cool awesome secondary characters that lived and was the only critical highlight in a really bad movie. That’d be pretty awesome. Yeah, that was Penny.)
(Crap. That wouldn’t work. How lame was it to play the supporting role in your own life? Even if it was an awesome supporting role, this was her life; she was the protagonist even if that meant she got eaten, dammit.)
Penny stopped thinking about this. Her neck was aching and she pushed herself off the floor. She staggered a little but steadied herself with one palm against her bed. She was still a lot naked and didn’t bother covering up.
Sheldon didn’t even take a peek.
She knew that Sheldon was a male. Oh, he was definitely pretty damn male. If his um, whatchamacallits, “physiological responses” were any indication last night. And when your naked girlfriend that you just lost your virginity to stands up in her birthday suit and bounces around, you would expect that some of those responses would, you know, come back.
But no. He was still staring, wide-eyed, at her ceiling.
Oh god. Her boyfriend was a Cylon, and she just broke him. Everyone knows you don’t get circuitry wet, or whatever. Penny probably just did the equivalent of dipping a blow dryer into a bathtub or something. Which, oh god, was really unintentionally gross-sounding.
She dug around in her underwear drawer for a pair of panties, which she pulled on, her toes getting caught momentarily against the cotton. And, mostly because she thought it would rouse him from whatever weird… coma he was in, she picked his Superman t-shirt from where it had landed on top of her lamp. It was still inside-out, but she tugged it over her head anyway.
“I’m going to make coffee,” Penny ventured.
“And tea,” she added.
He nodded again, causing Penny to sort of slink out of her bedroom, trying her best to not freak the fuck out.
Her hands were trembling as she poured coffee beans into the grinder, spilling a few onto her counter. They scattered and with clickclickclicks dropped into her sink. She heard Sheldon finally get up and turn on her shower.
If this resulted in, like, permanent damage Penny would never forgive herself. But, crap, she took precautions! They’d been dating for four months. Four months! The last time she dated someone that long without having sex was when she was still a virgin. But she wanted to make sure to do the thing right, and it had already been difficult enough for him to adjust to having a girlfriend, and it woulda been disastrous to throw sex on top of that whirlwind.
And that was freaking difficult for Penny, too, holding off. She sure was responsible for her own orgasms for a while there, especially since the tiniest most ridiculous small things would turn her on. Like watching Sheldon carry bags of groceries.
Yeah. No sex did weird things to her.
So when Sheldon knocked on her door the night before, turned off the lights, then began to present his PowerPoint on why he believed that it was the optimal time to introduce a sexual component to their relationship, Penny had all but dragged him to her bedroom. She ended up stepping on a pair of silk panties on the floor next to her bed, slipping and tripping them both, and at that point she couldn't be bothered to get back up.
Because it was Sheldon and he was just naturally really awkward, the first few moments were fumbling and a lot of giggling, amused on her end, a little nervously on his. But with Sheldon Penny didn't have to worry about hurting his feelings by blatantly telling him she didn't like what he was doing, do this instead, so, yeah, they definitely ended the experience on a good note. A very good note.
Worry about the mental state of her newly not-innocent boyfriend aside a few moments, if he was a one-time-use kinda guy, at least it was well worth it. Penny grinned a little smugly to herself for a minute as she knocked the coffee grounds into the filter, a few crumbs spilling over the edge and peppering her counter-top.
Several minutes later Penny was leaning against the island, sipping at her coffee, keeping an eye on the teapot. She even set up his designated cup with a stirring spoon and honey next to it, hoping that with everything laid out for him, if he was prone to a freak-out session it would be, you know, not as catastrophic.
Then she heard the shower cut off.
She fidgeted a little, moving her mug from right hand to left and back again, turned the heat off of the teapot, straightened the bottle of honey, and jumped a little when she saw Sheldon out of the corner of her eye enter the living room.
His hair was wet and a little spiky and he was wearing the same clothes she had ripped off of him last night. Except for the Superman t-shirt which, of course, Penny was wearing. Just the red thermal, pushed up to the elbows as usual.
Penny wetted her lips and decided that, nope, this little libido-overdrive she'd been in definitely wasn't satiated.
Sheldon crossed the room without pause and began to pour his tea, adding a perfect teaspoon of honey. She chewed a little on her bottom lip as she watched him, the bend of his neck, wanting to run her hand down the length of his spine just to see how he would react.
One part of her brain told her that he would shut down in a shower of sparks.
Penny tried to figure out how to ask him if he was malfunctioning as a result of their activities, except not in those words. So she went with: “Sheldon? Sweetie? Do you need to, um, talk about what happened?”
“What's there to talk about?”
This sentence set off alarms in her head. He didn't sound angry as he said it, but wasn't that the sentence people used when they were angry and disappointed?
Okay, that was so not fair. He said he was ready. Or rather, the graphs or whatever in his PowerPoint spoke for him. But still. She wasn't going to take the blame for something he asked her to do.
He was still quiet as he stirred his tea. Penny watched him warily and tried to gauge his mood from this. Like everyone who knew him for ten minutes realized, the man was capable of running his mouth for hours about things that were important mostly only to him. His other mode was ignoring the world around him, but he usually wasn't angry because of this, just caught up in his own head and not wanting to participate in the “idle chattering” going on.
Or maybe he wasn't angry at all. Maybe he was just disappointed, as if he still didn't get what all the fuss was about. Oh god. That would be humiliating. He seemed to have enjoyed himself last night, but Penny remembered that she was judging his reactions in comparison to other men she'd had sex with. Maybe one man's enjoyment was Sheldon's pain and discomfort. Because it wasn't as if Sheldon ever reacted really normally to most things.
Screwing her face up in uncertainty, she laid a hand between his shoulder-blades.
It took her a few moments for her to realize that this was somehow different. Not weird-different, just different-different. She couldn't figure out why, since she touched him all the time—obviously—and usually he—
Even after teaching him the fine art of making out, when Penny touched him without warning he would still jump, or look around at her, as if it were completely unexpected. Even with warning she'd watch his eyes following the path of her hand as he processed the interaction. Over time it became more subtle, but Penny was still able to see it.
But now—such a simple thing, but—it's like he just absorbed it, absorbed her and it was—
“Oh god I really did break you, didn't I.”
He frowned at her for a moment, his face surprised. “Penny I assure you, if I were broken in such a manner it would be considerably more painful.”
“No no no. Not like that.” Thank god, seriously, how shitty would that be to have that happen your first time— “Like, you're acting—”
Penny tried to find the right word. Weird? Relaxed? At his approach to her counter-top she'd seen his eyes linger momentarily on the spilled coffee grounds, but he'd made no move to clean them up.
“—How do you feel?”
Sheldon considered her a moment.
“I feel like my herbal tea is becoming cold for no particularly important reason.”
Okay. Okay, she could handle this. Dismissive, almost-rude Sheldon was well inside her comfort zone.
“So you're not upset.”
“I will be, if my herbal tea becomes cold for no—”
Enough of this
Penny decided to take a more hands-on approach.
Ignoring the beginnings of a lecture on Newton's Law of Cooling or whatever it was, Penny pushed her hands up his collarbone and around the back of his neck.
Sheldon cut himself off, regarding Penny with his brow drawn together. If he was a computer, that little green light would be blinking very quickly right about now.
“So this is all right?” she asked, leaning forward and latching her mouth around the tendon in his neck that stuck out when he was stressed.
“It is—” She felt his throat constrict as he swallowed. “I don't have any objections, no.” His voice was awkward and sniffy, like he was trying to stay annoyed with her.
Yeah. Newton's Law of Cooling her ass.
Around noon the two of them wandered back into Leonard and Sheldon's apartment for lunch. Without greeting his friends Sheldon sat in his spot and pulled the styrofoam container toward him, opening a relish packet and meticulously spreading it on top of the hamburger patty.
“The one day I get extra breading on his onion rings, he doesn't ask,” Leonard muttered darkly.
Penny laughed and dropped onto the middle cushion, picking up her own container and digging straight into the grilled cheese sandwich. She was starving.
At Leonard's remark, Sheldon shot him a look then picked up a pickle slice, holding it out towards him. “These are sweet pickles, not Dill. Although I was willing to let it slide.”
“'Was'?” echoed Howard.
Leonard, obviously not wanting to invite a lecture and grateful he already got off so easy, quickly interrupted. “So, what's new?” he asked the group at large.
“Penny and I engaged in coitus last night. And this morning,” Sheldon replied conversationally.
Penny winced as everyone in the room choked on their respective lunches.
“Thaaanks, Sheldon,” Penny grumbled.
Sheldon looked at her, obviously unaware of the discomfort he caused. “Is it usual to thank each other for coitus?”
“No. Just. We really need to work on that verbal filter of yours.”
“What verbal filter?”
Penny eased her grilled cheese out of the container. “My point.”
Sheldon spared her a confused look but didn't elaborate. Out of the corner of her eye she saw Raj, who was sitting on the floor, push his food away and lay his head on the coffee table. Howard had pulled his phone out and was texting something, his lip curled in disgust. Leonard, who was sitting on the wooden chair, was frozen, his face one of someone who just swallowed half a lemon.
Penny picked up the remote to turn on the TV, hoping it would distract them. After settling on some nature documentary she reached over to Sheldon's plate and picked off one of the offensive pickles.
Despite everyone still looking mildly awkward, they all jumped as she did so, sounding half-strangled warnings.
“Oh come on,” Penny said, rolling her eyes and popping the slice into her mouth. “We took a shower together this—”
Dammit. Verbal filter, Penny, verbal filter!
At this point everyone groaned and pushed their plates away. Penny cringed apologetically then glanced at Sheldon, who had an almost invisible smile on his face as he picked up an onion ring.
Later, Penny was getting ready for work when she decided to check her Twitter. A few entries down, she saw:
wolowizard just learned that @Pennyin4b and @sheldoncooper got it on last night. I think I'm going to go couture now.
about 1 hour ago from mobile web
Penny narrowed her eyes.
Pennyin4b @wolowizard if you ever post about my personal life again, ill give you details you never wanted to know
less than 5 seconds ago from web in reply to wolowizard
sheldoncooper @wolowizard That is your second strike, Wolowitz.
less than 5 seconds ago from web in reply to wolowizard
Penny was getting back from an audition when she ran into Raj, who was lingering by the mailboxes.
“Hey, Raj,” she said, a little uncertainly as he took out his phone and instantly began texting.
She began to climb the stairs, watching him out of the corner of her eye as he stopped typing rapidly into his phone, and with a certain flourish held it out to her.
Penny read aloud, “'You have to stop doing Sheldon.'”
“Uhhh, yeah, no. I'm not talking about this with you.”
Raj began to type again and they reached the second staircase on the second floor landing before he finished.
Penny read it, then let out a short sigh.
“Listen, I'm really sorry he's been acting 'odd,' but honestly, I don't think he's been that different. A little less insane at points, yeah, but I'da thought you guys woulda been—”
She paused, frowning at the screen. Then she became annoyed.
“Raj! I'm not gonna stop having sex with my boyfriend because it's weird for the rest of you!”
At the word 'sex,' Raj clapped his hands over his ears, causing him to fumble his phone. It clattered to the floor, the back and battery coming out and skidding toward the door to 3A.
“Actually, what's weird is that the three of you are so hung up about it! Will you stop thinking about Sheldon's sex life and get your own?”
Raj glowered at her as he put his phone back together.
Okay, that was a little mean.
“Fine, I'm sorry, but you're gonna have to get over it,” Penny said as they ascended the last staircase.
She opened the door to 4A to a very odd sight.
Sheldon was sitting at his computer, and Leonard was standing by the left side of the couch, surreptitiously watching the back of Sheldon's head as he dripped water onto his spot. He jumped guiltily, hiding the syringe behind his back. “Raj! Penny!” he exclaimed in that fake tone that meant he knew he was doing something wrong. He was about as subtle as a dog greeting you with his tail between his legs.
Penny narrowed her eyes at him, glancing between him and Sheldon. “Okay, what are you doing?”
“Leonard is dripping water into my spot in a juvenile attempt to see how much he could get away with before I become upset,” Sheldon said from his computer, nonchalantly shifting a stack of papers.
“Oh. So you caught onto that, huh.”
Sheldon shot him a look. Then he checked his watch and stood. “It's new comic book day in seven minutes, I suggest we leave as soon as possible. And Leonard, clean up that mess before any lasting water damage ruins my cushion yet again.”
At this he sent a sort of betrayed glance toward Penny. She could tell he was remembering the time she shot the cushion with a paintball gun, and smirked back at him. Sheldon rolled his eyes.
Leonard complied, looking a little relieved at what seemed to be the return of an older version of Sheldon with whom everyone was familiar.
Sheldon was in the process taking that hideous brown jacket out of his coat closet when Penny approached him. “Sooo...” she started, sliding her hand under the back of his shirt with a mischievous grin. “When you get back from the comic book store...”
He looked around at her. “Are you sexually propositioning me?” Penny heard a few gags behind her, and huffed, sending a glare in their direction before using the opportunity of her hand already up his shirt to pinch him. He jumped and yelped.
“Do you have to ask?” she hissed.
“I was verifying!” he defended.
“Well?” Penny prompted.
Sheldon glanced between the X-box, Penny, and their front door. “But it's Halo night after we get back from the comic book store.” To his credit, he looked very conflicted about this.
Penny was about to exclaim, 'Screw Halo night!,' before she remembered that they'd been in this new... phase of their relationship for less than a week, and it really wasn't nice or smart of her to begin interrupting his years-long apparently-highly-important-to-the-rhythm-of-his-life routine so quickly. Maybe later, but—oh god, she hated taking things slow.
She physically struggled to cave. “Fine.” Then she winced, trying to tell herself she could hold off for a day. It didn't help the way he was looking at her right now.
“Tomorrow. You can't get out of it.”
Sheldon nodded. “Agreed.”
Holy crap, were they already scheduling sex?
Penny stayed up all night thinking to herself how boring that was—until she started to become antsy. Her shift at The Cheesecake Factory ended at six, and the agony of waiting was, well, agonizing. By the time the clock hit 5:59, she tore out of there, anxious to get home and already ready to drag Sheldon to her apartment and jump his bones.
Penny booked it up the stairs in record time, and opened the door to 4A with a slam, and marched over to the couch where Sheldon was starting on a slice of pizza. She ignored the stares of everyone else as she took Sheldon by his shirt collar and literally dragged him out of there.
He whined the whole way about how she was stretching out his shirt, but seemed to start caring a lot less when said shirt hit the ground. They made it to the bed this time (their track record was getting better!) and he pinned her wrists above her head as his other hand snaked up the back of her white uniform shirt to undo her bra.
Thank whatever freaking entity out there that he was a fast learner.
Afterward, Penny turned on her side to face Sheldon. He was kinda glorious in the afterglow, his face all softer lines, his hair mussed, love bites peppering his skin.
He was still doing that thing where he stared at the ceiling, but it was becoming easier for him to snap out of it. Penny was grateful for this because she always got the impression he was short-circuiting and that was freaking scary. A little annoying. But mostly scary.
Penny reached over to her nightstand to grab her phone and set the alarm. It was early, but she was definitely ready to fall asleep.
There was one new text alert.
Penny narrowed her eyes and opened it.
wolowizard just watched @Pennyin4b drag @sheldoncooper to her apartment for coitus. Scarred for life.
about one hour ago from mobile web
“You're gonna need to add a section to your online class about what Wolowitz isn't allowed to Tweet about,” Penny murmured into Sheldon's neck, as she started to type with just her left hand.
Pennyin4b @wolowizard wait till im done w u wolowitz, then ull actually be scarred for life.
less than 5 seconds ago from mobile web in reply to wolowizard
Pennyin4b @wolowizard oh n i had a talk with @microbernadette. wont go into details but we compared some things n u came up short.
less than 5 seconds ago from mobile web in reply to wolowizard
Ignoring Sheldon's questions about the exact parameters of the new Twitter rule, and tossing her phone to the side (Sheldon actually managed to gather his energy to sit up to place it back in its allotted space on the nightstand), Penny closed her eyes and dropped off to sleep.