Leonard and Penny had been dating for well over a year. She still paid rent across the hall, but it seemed like she lived here, with Leonard and Sheldon. She already spent all her time over there, nights were filled with Chinese takeout and learning the newest multiplayer video game with the boys. She even had her own XBOX controller now.
And she still kicked Sheldon’s ass at Halo, much to his dismay.
The months went by, and it wasn’t just that she spent all her time there. Slowly but surely, her clothes, her toiletries, her DVDs, and even a few kitchen supplies migrated across the hall. When Leonard and Sheldon went for groceries, she tagged along, purchasing Cheetos and pints of Ben & Jerry’s despite Sheldon’s insistence that they lacked any useful nutritional value.
Eventually, she even stopped going to her apartment every day to take a shower, preferring to just stay at Leonard and Sheldon’s for a few extra minutes a day instead. They had a perfectly good shower, even if she laughed at their periodic table shower curtain every time she took one.
So when the day came that she had to resign her lease, she had to ask herself a question.
“Should I just move in here?” Penny said to herself one night as she curled up on the couch with Leonard for a movie night. They did it every once and awhile. She made him watch one of her movies, and he picked one of his favorites. Every time, they were just as shocked as the week before that the other had never seen the movies they picked. By now, they should know that their taste in movies almost never overlapped.
“What?” Leonard said after a moment. It wasn’t an immediate response because the word didn’t quite form on his mouth right away, but it was close enough that Penny felt uncomfortable with having said anything at all.
“I guess I shouldn’t have thought out loud,” Penny said apologetically. Leonard had been about to respond, but of course, Sheldon had to interject.
“It is hardly a new thought,” Sheldon said without moving his eyes from his computer screen. “She has been living here for months. Need I fetch the roommate contract to remind you?”
“But she doesn’t live here, Sheldon,” Leonard protested. “She has her own apartment, across the hall.”
“Yes, but she hasn’t been there in at least three days unless my observations have been inaccurate, which they are not.”
“The reason I’m even thinking about it is that my lease is almost up. I thought, maybe, with my salary at the Cheesecake Factory, I might be able to, you know, split the rent.” Penny asked without actually asking, her face a mixture of hopefulness, confusion, and unintentional puppy-dog eyes.
“Who would you split with?” Sheldon asked, once again speaking before Leonard could even open his mouth. “I’m sorry, I meant to say ‘With whom would you split?’ Colloquial English sometimes gets the best of even me.”
“Well, I was hoping that you guys would take me.”
Penny and Leonard both looked at Sheldon, expecting him to vehemently protest the idea with a long diatribe filled with physics metaphors that Penny only half-understood and Leonard rolled his eyes at, but he just continued on his laptop, eyes still never leaving the screen. Somehow, though, he still knew that they were staring at him.
“Why do you insist on continuing to stare at me? I’m trying to do work here, Leonard, of which you should consider doing more if you ever want to reach any significant results from your experiments,” Sheldon turned around, looking directly at Penny. “Penny moving in will not help that, but that is not something I can stop.”
“Wait, so you’re okay with this?” Leonard asked.
“No,” Sheldon said, “But essentially, she already lives here. From what I understand, it would be rude to kick someone out who already signed a roommate contract. I know that if I say no, it won’t change the current circumstance, so the logical outcome would be to at least collect rent money from Penny.”
“So is he okay with it?” Penny asked Leonard.
“I think that was his way of giving us his blessing.” Leonard grinned, and Penny squeezed his hand as she smiled, too.
A few months after Penny moved into the apartment, Sheldon got sick. Over the past few months, she’d found more sympathy for Sheldon at times like these. A lot more sympathy than she’d felt the first time she’d been asked to sing Soft Kitty and rub Vapo-Rub on his chest. But really, he was just a guy that hadn’t really grown up. It was hard not to find something endearing about a guy who just wanted his mom to take care of him when he was sick – who couldn’t identify with that?
That’s how she ended up sitting in Sheldon’s bed, his head in her lap. She fell asleep sitting up, her head against a hard backboard. Leonard came in and smiled at them. It was almost cute, and since not only was the man in a bed with his girlfriend Sheldon, but a sick Sheldon, a thought of concern didn’t even cross his mine.
He just thought she’d want to be more comfortable, and he retrieved a pillow from his room and placed it behind her head.
He swore she smiled when he did.
Ever since Sheldon had been sick, the three of them had grown a lot closer. Sheldon would join in on movie night, though he rarely picked the movie. For the most part, he was even more flabbergasted that Penny hadn’t seen the movie Leonard picked than Leonard.
His addition was popcorn. Sheldon remained adamant that it wasn’t a movie night without popcorn, and he insisted on making some, complete with his popcorn to salt to butter ratio that he had perfected at age thirteen.
That night, Penny had chosen When Harry Met Sally, which neither Sheldon nor Leonard had ever seen before. Sheldon spent the entire movie pointing out the improbability of their meeting over the years, as well as mentioning that while Sally may have the vocal sounds and physical movements for an orgasm, she lacked many of the physical aspects characteristic to sexual arousal.
They both told him to shut up.
By the time they got to Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, Penny was starting to fall asleep. Neither Leonard or Sheldon could really blame her, but they’d spent the last several weeks of movie night watching through the series of movies. A marathon, however spread out it may be, doesn’t skip the bad movies. Leonard almost had decided to not subject Penny to it, but he knew Sheldon would never stand for it.
Raj and Howard stopped by for dinner and Star Trek, careful to arrive after Penny’s movie was over. Just as Raj and Sheldon rekindled their argument on the first movie versus the fifth, Penny actually fell asleep. Leonard’s arm was around her, but her head found Sheldon’s shoulder instead. Sheldon looked at her in surprise, but he didn’t protest. He might have if her whole body scooted closer to his spot, but apparently, just her head wasn’t enough of an invasion to make him uncomfortable.
The movie ended, Leonard now leaning against Penny, and Raj and Howard snuck out, whispering to each other about what they’d witnessed as the grabbed their jackets and walked out the door.
Leonard put on another movie, this time just The Blues Brothers on cable, and curled up against Penny. The three of them just sat in the couch together – close, peaceful, comforting.
Weeks went by, and they continued like that. Every movie night, they grew closer and closer together. They stopped inviting Raj and Howard. Movie night had become their night, and despite the love for their friends, it was a time for just the three of them.
They hadn’t talked about it, not really. Penny and Leonard talked about the two of them, as a couple, but no one mentioned the three of them. Sheldon especially seemed disinterested in acknowledging what went on with the three of them as a whole.
That was until he asked a question in the incredibly uncomfortable way unique to Sheldon Cooper.
“Do you think we should all have sexual intercourse?” he asked one movie night, as Leonard and Penny sat straight up and stared.
Sheldon waited for a response, but there wasn’t one. Penny and Leonard were both entirely too shocked to speak. Sheldon sighed, and instead waiting even longer for a response, he just continued to speak, assuming that his two roommates required further elaborations.
“After all, I have never had sexual intercourse, but it is a natural human process that I have become somewhat curious about over the past few months. It seems that if I am to have the complete human experience, I should attempt it at least once.”
Leonard looked to Penny as if he were searching for a way for the two of them to say ‘Hell, no’ in a slightly nicer way, but she didn’t look back.
She did something unexpected.
She kissed Sheldon.
“Um,” Leonard asked with one hand pointing at Sheldon and the other at Penny. He was half-confused, half-disgusted, and half-shocked, and he was so much of all three that he didn’t even care that it made three halves. “What is going on here?”
Neither Sheldon nor Penny answered with words. Penny just move from Sheldon to Leonard, pressing her lips against his.
“What are you doing?” Leonard finally asked in between kisses.
“Yeah, but first you kissed Sheldon!”
“I thought he had a good idea.”
Penny stood up, pulling her shirt off as she walked towards Leonard’s bedroom. Sheldon followed obediently, recognizing that Penny had agreed to his request. Leonard, surprising himself, followed.
It’s not like he could let this go on without him…
The next morning, while both Penny and Sheldon were still asleep, Leonard woke for a few moments. In his groggy, half-awake state, he tried to remember the events of last night, but he found that recalling the details wasn’t really what he cared about right then.
It had just felt right.
That’s what he knew. He knew that it had felt right when Penny had moved in. He knew it had felt right when movie night because about the three of them. He knew it felt right now, with Sheldon to the right of him as he curled up with Penny. He knew that right now, all he wanted in the world was to fall back asleep, just as they were.
That, and to make sure that the next movie night was an even better one.