Chapter 1: First Date
As Sheldon Cooper stood surveying his clothes for non-plaid pants for his date with Penny, he reflected again on how she had outwitted Leonard. He gave a breathy laugh. Leonard had no idea that he’d been out-maneuvered, and might not believe it if it were pointed out to him.
Sheldon finally pulled out a pair of khakis. Penny was well aware of the fact that Sheldon’s pants consisted of plaids and khakis. And if she thought that she was going to change him…well, then this was not going to work. The sooner that was clear, the better for all parties concerned. With a decisive nod, Sheldon proceeded to dress.
He walked into the living room, to find his three friends waiting. “Is that what you’re wearing?” Leonard asked with a snicker at Sheldon’s khakis and double layer thermal/t-shirt.
“Yes.” Sheldon replied in a voice that brooked to no further discussion. Raj and Howard just grinned obnoxiously.
At precisely 6 o’clock, he knocked on Penny’s door.
Knock, knock, knock. “Penny.”
Knock, knock, knock. “Penny.”
Knock, knock, knock. “Penny.”
Penny waited for Sheldon to finish, and then swung the door open. “Good evening, Sheldon.” She said a twinkle in her eye that belied the formal tone.
“Penny.” He nodded, hyper aware that the others were watching and listening. “Are you ready?”
“Yes.” She cleared her throat. “Even though is ‘Anything-can-happen-Thursday,’ I thought that we would go for pizza. That way, you’ll have some of your routine in a situation that is out of your routine.”
Sheldon’s eyebrows shot up in pleased surprise. “Why, Penny, thank you, that’s very thoughtful.”
She smiled sunnily up at him. “Shall we? It’s the place that you guys usually have delivered; the restaurant is actually quite nice and clean.”
“Indeed, that sounds acceptable.”
She pulled her door closed, and together they left. The other three stood gaping. They hadn’t thought that Penny would let him slide on the clothes. “They’ll never make it through dinner.” Leonard said smugly. “Penny’ll strangle him before he’s done trying to order.”
“Dude,” said Raj, “Penny is used to the way that Sheldon orders.”
“Yeah, but she won’t tolerate that crap on a date. Believe me; I used to get looks for ordering lactose-free. They’ll come back in about a half hour, tails between their legs.”
“Really?” Howard asked. “I never noticed her doing that when we doubled.”
“Oh, it was there. You must not have been paying attention.”
“To Penny?” Howard asked incredulously. “Always.”
Leonard shot him a look.
At the restaurant, Sheldon found that Penny had been correct. It was clean, and cozy. They were seated immediately, and the server came to take their order. “Sheldon, do you mind if I order for us?” Penny asked, gently.
“I supposed not.”
As Penny rattled off the order, exactly to his specifications, he was reminded again of her explanation of his spot to Bernadette. He found that he was smiling. And since the server didn’t seem intractable, Penny had managed to order it without upsetting her. Something that Sheldon rarely managed.
“Now, while we’re waiting, I would like to discuss something with you.” She waited for him to nod. “I know that we agreed that…um, number 10 on the list was important. “ He looked nervous. She continued. “But I am aware that you’ve never dated. With both of those factors in mind, I have, well, I made us guidelines. You never went to high school, and never learned the way these situations go, so…. Here.” She handed him a sheaf of paper that she had rolled up in her purse. “This has my expectations, things that I won’t do, because they’d make you uncomfortable and a tentative timeline for us.”
Sheldon skimmed through the packet, more impressed than he would ever admit. He looked at her timeline, and saw that she didn’t have them engaging in coitus, making love as she had it on her paper, for another 5 weeks. His eyes met hers. “I thought that….”
“I know, and I was kind of tempted to just go for it, but, if things don’t work out, you may never want to date again, and you should get all the experiences you missed by skipping high school. Hand-holding, making out, and so on. And I really don’t want you to feel rushed or pressured. Neither of us would enjoy that. So, we’ll ease into it, take our time, and slowly expand your comfort level.”
“You’ve spelled out your expectations.” He pointed out.
“Yes, I couldn’t see how else you would know that I expect a kiss on the cheek when you walk me to my door, if I didn’t tell you. And if there’s anything you need to add to the ‘Will make Sheldon Uncomfortable’ list then you need to let me know.”
“I will.” He promised/threatened.
“I know, Sweetie. I’ve met you, remember.” They shared a smile. “Now, review it and let me know if you have any questions on our next date.”
“Which, according to your schedule is Saturday.”
“Laundry night. We’ll figure something out.”
Their food came, and Sheldon’s met his requirements. He smiled once more at Penny.
While they ate, Penny asked Sheldon about his day, listened to his replies, and told him a few funny things that had happened to her at work. They talked, both striving for patience even when the topic wasn’t their first choice of subject matter.
When they finished eating, Sheldon paid the check, and Penny left a generous tip. Sheldon quirked an eyebrow at her. “Trust me, Sheldon, I’m a waitress, and they earn every cent.” She grinned at him mischievously. “Especially with you as a customer.”
“Very amusing.” He said drily.
They climbed the steps to the fourth floor, and as per Penny’s instructions, Sheldon walked her to her door. “I had an enjoyable evening, Penny.”
“Me, too, Sheldon. Thank you.” She put her hand on his shoulder, and leaned up to kiss his cheek. He met her half way. “Goodnight.”
“Goodnight.” He echoed.
He let himself into his apartment, afraid that he would find the others lying in wait. But there was a note, they had done to a bar, and would be back late. Sheldon sat at his desk, and went over Penny’s guidelines. He was impressed at her thoroughness; she covered what she expected in terms of physicality, as well as verbalizing compliments.
She had also noted that she wouldn’t touch him public, which did not include his apartment if the guys were present. Also, that she would not try to eat off of his plate, even though it was a social convention to share one’s food, and even feed one’s partner. He shuddered, trying once again to forget that he had hand-fed her chocolates when he was attempting to modify her behavior.
Seeing Penny in this new light, he would probably just ask her to cease doing whatever it was, if the situation arose again. As he continued to look through the guidelines, he saw that she had even mentioned that. He realized that she must have put quite a lot of thought, time and effort into it.
It was a very thoughtful Sheldon Cooper who got ready for bed that night. In the beginning, he had only been trying to find an ideal partner for Penny. Now, it occurred to him that he might just be acquiring an ideal partner for himself as well. What a fortunate turn of events.
He assumed his comfortable sleep position, and fell asleep wondering what he should do for their second date.
Chapter 2: Second Date
For their second date, Sheldon decided to take a huge step outside of his comfort zone. After all, in relationships, reciprocity was important. Penny, who lived in a constant state of chaos, had made guidelines for him, the least he could do was something a little bit wild for her.
With that in mind, he planned a picnic for laundry night. There was a folding table and chairs in the laundry room; with a thorough washing and disinfecting, and a checkered tablecloth, it could be quite nice.
He purchased a basket, tablecloth and the necessary accoutrements for a picnic. He planned a light meal, with bottled water to drink. He hoped that she would be pleased.
On Friday, she emailed him; a new SciFi movie had come out, and she wondered if he would like to go. He did want to see it, but was uncertain if it was supplanting his picnic. In the end he decided that since they were going to a matinee, then he would carry through on his picnic.
On Saturday, he “picked her up” at her apartment at the scheduled time. Her guidelines had included, under the things that she would refrain from, her promise that she would not interrupt his “signature knock” as she had titled it. He was pleased with the title and that she understood that it mattered to him that he was allowed to complete it.
She opened the door, a smile on her pretty face. “Hi, Sweetie.”
“Good afternoon, Penny.” Per her guidelines, he knew that a compliment was expected at this juncture. He ran through the list of suggestions that she had offered, finding one that he could give sincerely. Sincerity was very important. “Your hair is very becoming in that style, Penny.”
“Thank you, Sheldon. I hoped that you would like it this way.”
“Indeed, I do.”
“I like that color shirt on you,” she returned. “Dark colors suit you.”
He looked down at his shirt. “Thank you.”
When they arrived at the movie theater it appeared to be closed. “I talked to the manager, and he agreed to let us in a few minutes early so that you can find your acoustic sweet spot before anyone else is in the theater.” Penny offered when he looked at the locked door, then her. She knocked on the glass, and a young man opened the door for them.
“You Penny?” He asked.
“Yeah, thank you for letting us in early. We appreciated it.” Penny unleashed her 1000 watt smile on the guy, who didn’t know what hit him.
“Sure,” he said dazedly. “We’ll be opening in a little bit.”
“Thanks again.” She said. Sheldon merely nodded his thanks, knowing that Penny was much better at dealing with people than he was. Another of her strengths that complemented one of his weaknesses.
Sheldon paid for their tickets, and moved into the theater to select his seat. By the time he had done so, the theater was opening, and others were entering. He left Penny to protect his territory and went to acquire snacks for them.
Waiting in line, he reflected how thoughtful it was of her to arrange for him to come in early. Sometimes the sweet spot was already taken by the time he entered, and it made movie watching less enjoyable. But Penny had thought of that.
He returned to his seat, and handed Penny her popcorn and soda. He happily munched on his Red Vines. As they waited for the movie to start, Penny leaned towards him. “I don’t expect you to hold my hand or put your arm around me, Sheldon, but I may lean against you, or put my head on your shoulder. Don’t freak out, okay?”
“Okay, Penny. Thank you for the advance notice.”
“I just realized that I hadn’t covered this particular set of circumstances. And I want us to stay on the same page.”
He smiled down at her. “As do I.”
They turned their attention back to the screen, as the lights dimmed.
The movie was acceptable, although not a future cult hit, Sheldon was certain. However, he had enjoyed it, and Penny had seemed to also. She had indeed rested her head on his shoulder, which he did not find unpleasant at all.
They returned to the apartment building after the movie, and Sheldon walked her to her door. “I do hope you’ll be joining me for laundry night,” he said. “I have a surprise planned.”
“A surprise? You do?” At his nod, she continued. “Of course I’ll be there. I wouldn’t miss a Sheldon surprise for the world.” She sounded intrigued. She looked up at him. “I had a nice time.” He recognized his cue, and leaned down to present his cheek. She dropped a gentle kiss on it.
“I did also. I hope that you find tonight as enjoyable.”
“I’m sure I will.” She assured him.
When Penny walked into the laundry room at 8:17, Sheldon had everything set. The table and chairs set and cleaned. The tablecloth and picnic basket were sitting atop the table. Penny stopped and stared. “Wow,” was all that she said.
Sheldon turned from loading the washer. Penny joined him, and loaded one also. Once that was accomplished, Sheldon held out a chair for her, and began unpacking the picnic basket. There were finger sandwiches, and potato salad, bottles of water to drink, and chocolate pudding for dessert.
Penny seemed very pleased with his surprise. She didn’t stop smiling at him the entire meal. They made conversation, and Sheldon found it easier to engage in “small talk” with Penny. She complimented him on his ingenuity and on how well he had executed his surprise.
He was glad that she had enjoyed it. It made eating in the laundry room, despite the signs stating not to do so, well worth it.
When they finished eating, he left Penny to watch the laundry while he took the picnic basket upstairs. When he returned to the laundry room, it was time to take their clothes out of the dryers. They stood side-by-side folding laundry and talking. Often when they did laundry together, Sheldon would explain something to her. Sometimes it would be physics, sometimes it would be random facts, and every once in a while, it would answering some questions that Penny had. She would ask him about Star Trek, or string theory, or just some weird fact she had heard on the radio, and he would explain it.
They had both enjoyed these times in the past, but there was an additional pleasure to them now that they were in a relationship. For one thing, Sheldon was very careful not to sound too condescending when explaining (Penny’s guidelines had been very clear on this point) and Penny didn’t interrupt him as she was wont to do in the past (also in the guidelines). Sheldon decided that he could easily get used to the new order of things.
Once they had finished with the folding, they walked up the stairs together. On the fourth floor, they sat down their laundry basket next to their respective doors.
“I really enjoyed your surprise, Sheldon. Thank you.” Penny had a soft smile on her face.
“I am glad, Penny. I enjoyed it as well.”
“If you like, although it’s not on the schedule, I could make us spaghetti tomorrow, and we can discuss the guidelines. You know, any questions or amendments you have.”
Sheldon barely hesitated. “That sounds most agreeable.”
“Good, I’ll see you then.”
“Yes.” And Sheldon leaned down for his kiss on the cheek.
They parted, both well pleased with the way their relationship was developing.
Chapter 3: Third Date
Sheldon finished getting ready for his dinner at Penny’s. He had, of course, perused her guidelines, and although he found them surprisingly thorough, he had a few queries. He also had a few suggestions regarding topics which were not covered.
He walked into the living room to find his three colleagues sitting around, apparently there for the sole purpose of watching him leave. They had been acting very strangely since he and Penny had begun their new relationship. Leonard he had expected it from. The reactions of Raj and Howard, on the other hand, baffled him. Neither of them had any particular vested interest in the new relationship.
“Gentlemen.” He acknowledged them.
“Hey there, Sheldon. Going to dinner at Penny’s?” Leonard snickered.
“Yes. She’s making us spaghetti. I am quite looking forward to it.” He was perplexed by their amusement.
“Oh, you should be.” Leonard said with a smirk.
“I am.” Sheldon reiterated, even more confused.
Another snicker. Then Howard spoke. “It’s your third date, right?”
“Yes.” Sheldon confirmed.
“The third date equals coitus.” Howard provided, helpfully.
“No, we’re not scheduled for intercourse until week five.” Sheldon waved the guidelines in the air as he spoke.
“Week five?” Leonard repeated. “What are you…?”
“Penny was kind enough to provide me with guidelines for the two of us to have an optimal relationship experience.”
The other three looked at the paper as if it was the Rosetta Stone. “Actual guidelines?” Howard breathed.
“Yes. And according to the guidelines, coitus…lovemaking, isn’t until week five.”
Leonard snorted. “Yeah, that’s not going to happen. Whatever your paper says, Penny is NOT going to wait five weeks for sex.”
Sheldon narrowed his eyes at Leonard. “Of course she will. They’re her guidelines.”
“Still. She won’t wait.”
Raj spoke. “Dude…that’s ….”
Sheldon cut him off. “Would you care to wager on that?”
Leonard smirked, now he had the situation right where he wanted it. “Sure, buddy. The Bottle City of Kandor?”
“Agreed. Against the Incredible Hulk hands signed by Stan Lee?”
“Done.” His smirk spread. It was a win-win for him. Sheldon would never succumb to Penny’s wiles now that there was a bet. And Penny would dump him like last week’s garbage.
Penny walked in, looking for the usually punctual Sheldon. “Sheldon?” His expression was angry. She knew it wasn’t her, so she swept a glance over the other three. Leonard looked far too pleased with himself.
“Leonard does not believe that you will wait the five weeks for making love as your guidelines spell out.” Sheldon bit out, having realized that he’d been manipulated. Penny blinked. “We wagered. I know that you will do as you have stated.”
Penny felt her anger rise. But she took a deep breath. “What exactly is the bet?”
“Just that you will not wait five weeks.”
Now Penny smirked. “Oh? So if you’re the one who initiates, you still win?”
Sheldon blinked in turn. He had told her, because knowing her competitive nature he realized that having her on “his side” would ensure that he won the bet. But she had found a way around Leonard. “Yes, that would be correct.”
“Since we’re waiting to acclimate you, if you decide to …well, that would be okay, wouldn’t it, Sheldon?” Penny asked, lest he think that she would entice him to initiate just to spite Leonard.
“Yes. Although you realize that it an unlikely scenario.” He warned.
“I’m aware, Sweetie. Just keeping us ….”
“On the same page,” he finished with a small smile.
He looked at her like he’d never seen her before. “I suspect that I did you a great disservice when we first met.”
“Yes, I find that I am frequently reevaluating your intelligence lately.”
“Aw, thank you, Honey.”
Sheldon shot a look at the gaping Leonard, and smirked. “Your babies might have been ‘beautiful and smart,’ Leonard, but our offspring will rule the world.”
Penny grinned at him. “You know what? I do believe she will.”
Sheldon found no problem with that statement, and led Penny out of the apartment. His spaghetti was getting cold.
“Dude, what the frak?” Raj exclaimed as soon as Penny was gone.
“What?” Leonard asked, his voice defensive.
“What were you trying to do, man?” Howard asked.
“Look, we all know that the two of them are never going to work out, I was just, you know, helping it along.”
“That’s not kosher, man.” Raj said. “And Penny’s just going to be pissed at you.”
“Look, even her dad thinks we belong together.”
“Yeah, but Penny doesn’t.” Howard countered. “And you keep this crap up, and she’s not even going to be your friend, afterwards.”
“Once Penny figures out what’s best for her, she’ll forgive me.”
Raj and Howard shared a look. Raj spoke for both of them. “Leonard, she made him guidelines, for Shiva’s sake, she’s serious about this. And Sheldon is your best friend.”
“If he were he wouldn’t be dating the woman I love.”
“Which is who, exactly?” Howard asked tartly. “Leslie, Stephanie, who by the way you stole from me, Raj’s sister, Sheldon’s sister? Or maybe Dr. Plimpton, who was here to see Sheldon. Not that I blame you, she was totally hot and willing, but still, if we’re calling dibs, she was Sheldon’s.”
“What? No, Sheldon has no….” He trailed off as his gaze swung to the door. “No, and whose side are you guys on, anyway?” His voice grew whiny.
“Hey, Penny dating Sheldon was your idea, Leonard.” Raj said.
Leonard just glared at him for the reminder.
“Well, as fun as this was, I intend to butter Sheldon up, and see if he’ll let me take a look at those guidelines.” Howard’s gaze grew dreamy. “Can you imagine it? Guidelines for dating written by an actual woman.”
In Penny’s apartment, Penny was trying to calm down. She was so angry at Leonard, that she was ready to hogtie and castrate him.
“Yes, Sheldon?” He gestured to the chair that he was holding out for her. “Oh, sorry, sweetie. I could just….ooooh, I could just….” She sat with an unladylike thump.
“I understand. He tricked me, an outcome I had never foreseen. Then you spiked his proverbial guns. I’d say that on the whole, we have come out ahead on the matter.”
“’We’ have haven’t we.” She said, letting the anger go, liking the idea that they were in it together. “Thanks, Sheldon.”
They started to eat, making conversation. Then Sheldon mentioned the guidelines. He wanted to know her expectations regarding disasters, whether he should lay in provisions for her, and so on. She expected that he would, and he made note of it on his guidelines.
He also asked for clarification on a few points that were outside of his experience, and one note that she had made on week five. “What does this mean, ‘you may want to build stamina’?” He pointed to the note in question. “Do you suggest that I engage in some form of cardio workout?”
Penny choked a little on the bite she had taken. She took a sip of water. Her cheeks grew rosy. “Um, bluntly, I know that you…er, take care of your needs yourself.” He looked blank, so she made an expressive gesture with her closed fist, pumping it. His expression cleared, and he blushed. “And knowing you, you go for…um… efficiency. This is one area where faster is not the goal.”
“I see.” He said, face still quite red. “I will work on that.”
“And changing the subject…how did the subject of five weeks come up anyway?”
So Sheldon explained it to her, and she got a little angry again, but chose not to let Leonard control even this much of her relationship with Sheldon. “You are so winning that mini city.”
“I know.” Sheldon said placidly.
Chapter 4: Week 2
After his first week in a romantic relationship, Sheldon evaluated it. On the whole he decided that things were going favorably. Tuesday at dinner, Penny had taken their order as she usually did, the only difference being the extra warm smile that she offered Sheldon. The others had watched them, looking for Lord knew what. They had started to ask about the relationship, but Penny had headed them off. "Personal is personal, and work is work. I will not have you guys messing with Sheldon's world for fun." Her voice was firm and brooked no discussion. The guys had settled down, and Sheldon had shot her an approving smile. She winked at him, and then carried on with the order.
Penny had been a constant surprise to Sheldon. She had taken great pains to ensure that the two of them were "on the same page" as she called it. He had found the guidelines to be quite helpful, although he still found it surprising that Penny had taken the time and trouble to create it.
Upon reflection he determined that it was a sign as to how serious she was taking the burgeoning relationship. She wanted it to work. Realizing this, Sheldon wondered if he should reciprocate in some way. Was there anything that he could do that would qualify as reciprocation? He could make a contract, but he always made those, and they would in no way equal what Penny had done with the guidelines.
Perhaps he could simply ask her. She was usually straightforward with him. Yes, he decided. He would ask her if there was something that he could do to show equal dedication to their new relationship.
He had this thought in mind as he dressed for their date on Thursday. Penny had stated that she thought that they should have one set night during the week, and Sheldon had been happy to agree to the routine. The weekends were a little more difficult to schedule as Penny often worked the more lucrative weekend shifts. So they had agreed that Thursday night was "their" night. He had tried to avoid plaids on his dates. As much as he liked them, Penny did not appear to share that view. There really was no accounting for taste. He hesitated as he pulled on a clean thermal shirt. Penny hadn't mentioned anything about his double layer of shirts, although Sheldon was aware that they were nothing like what her usual romantic partners wore. Perhaps he would let her "make him over"; that might show the same level of dedication that the guidelines did. He would mention that when he asked her about reciprocation.
A few minutes later, he gave his signature knock on her door. As per her guidelines, she waited for the last "Penny," before opening the door.
"Good evening Penny." He studied her for the sincere compliment that was expected of him. "Your blouse is very attractive on you."
She grinned up at him. "Aw, thank you, Sheldon. Superman is my favorite on you." She gestured to his t-shirt.
He looked down. "I'm glad that you like it."
She locked up and they left. "Same place as last week okay with you, Sheldon?"
"Yes, I found it quite acceptable."
Not too long after, they were being seated. They had the same server as they'd had the week before, and once again, Sheldon let Penny order for them both.
As they waited for their meals, Sheldon deemed it a suitable time to ask his question. He cleared his throat, and Penny's eyes moved to his. "Penny, it has occurred to me that I have not shown the same level of dedication to our romantic endeavor that you have demonstrated."
Her eyebrows rose in surprise. "How do mean?"
"You made us guidelines. Is there some way in which I can show you that I too am committed to this?" He hesitated. "I thought perhaps that you could 'make me over'." He smoothed his hand over his t-shirt.
Now Penny's eyebrows seemed to be trying to climb into her hair. Her eyes flew over his shirts and khakis. She was so tempted…but…no. She reluctantly pushed the thought away. "The point of going out with you, Sheldon, is to go out with you. The shirts are part of what make you, you. Although, the plaid pants…I hate plaid, sorry, just…no. Now, if you want to wear that suit we shopped for sometimes when we go someplace nice that would be great. And if you want to wear blue jeans sometimes, it wouldn't hurt my feelings. But I don't want to 'make you over' into someone else."
He blinked at her for a few minutes as he processed what she'd said. "I see. I was merely attempting to show a reciprocal level of commitment."
"I know you were, Honey. And I appreciate it, I really do. But, taking direction in the relationship, and changing yourself to suit someone else are two completely different things. And the second was NEVER on the list. I like you, Sheldon, exactly the way you are, with all of your Sheldon-y ways. As far as dating goes, you didn't have Sheldon-y ways because you've never dated. See what I mean?"
"Ahh," he said in understanding. "I do see. I was a tabula rasa." She looked at him. "Blank slate." He supplied.
"Yes, exactly." Her eyes were warm.
Their food came before he could respond. Once the server moved away, he spoke. "I like you, also, Penny. And while you are not without faults, I find that they are integral to your Penny-ness, and would not change them." Normally Sheldon would rather have pulled out his own tongue than use a non-word like "Penny-ness", but he felt that not only did it convey exactly what he was trying to express, but it was in keeping with the tone Penny had set with Sheldon-y.
"Thank you," she said drily. Apparently he'd been mistaken in his belief that "Penny-ness" expressed it well.
"Based on your tone, that did not come out as I had intended. You have far more positive qualities, than you do faults. But your faults do not detract from my appreciation of you."
"Better, Sweetie. Much better." She grinned at him.
Sheldon was pleased that he'd been able to get his point across. They began to eat. Between bites, Sheldon spoke. "It would not be professional to wear jeans to work. But, they would be acceptable when we are going out. However, I do not feel that merely wearing the suit and jeans occasionally shows equal commitment."
"Sheldon, are you committed to the relationship?"
"I know you, Honey, and you do not do things half way. If you say you're committed, then you have shown the same level of commitment."
Sheldon felt a warm glow within, one that science would never be able to explain. Only Penny had ever caused it. "I see." He lowered his head to finish his meal. Penny never ceased to surprise him. She gently changed the subject, telling a funny story from work, and Sheldon smiled appreciatively.
After dinner, he walked her to her door. He knew that tonight would be the start of "first base" and was uncertain of how to proceed. When they got to Penny's door, she opened it and invited him in. "I feel beady eyeballs on us." She said.
Sheldon shot a look over his shoulder to his door. While normally he would discount such a nebulous claim, he, too, felt certain that they were being watched. He did not want his first kiss witnessed. Certainly not the first kiss to which he was a willing participant.
Once inside her apartment, Penny spoke. "We're going to start slow and easy, Sheldon." She placed her hands on his shoulders, stood on tiptoe and leaned against him. He knew from her instructions that he was to lean down, so he did so, his heart beating a rapid tattoo. "On my hips, Sheldon." At his blank look, due partially to feeling her breath on his neck, she said, "your hands. On my hips."
"Oh." He swiped his hands on his pants and then hesitantly placed them on her hips, as she finished closing the distance between them. Her lips brushed gently against his. Then she did it again, and again, each brush a little slower and applying a little more pressure. Finally her lips were pressed fully against his, and some instinct in Sheldon took over. His hands on her hips tightened, pulling her more against him, as his lips parted just the smallest bit. Penny carefully pulled his bottom lip between hers and sucked just the tiniest bit on it, before releasing his mouth, and looking up at him. His mouth followed hers, reclaiming it. He repeated her actions, pulling her bottom lip between his. The spent several minutes thus occupied, before Penny pulled away and settled back flat-footed.
"Nice." Penny said, her hands still resting on his chest. She licked her lips, capturing the last taste of him. Sheldon watched, and took the initiative to swoop down, and kiss her again. His hands slid up to cup her shoulder blades, holding her to him, as he kissed her again and again, exactly copying her moves.
He released her, and she stepped back from him. He watched her anxiously, waiting for either approval or additional instructions. "Very nice," she pronounced finally. "And my, don't you learn quick?"
"Quickly. I learn quickly, not quick." He corrected, with just a hint of teasing in his voice.
She looked up at him, very well pleased with the first stage of first base. "Good night, Sheldon. I had a really nice time."
"As did I. Kissing was much more pleasurable than I had anticipated based on previous experience."
"I'm glad. And I found it quite pleasurable also."
He smiled sweetly at her. "Good night, Penny."
He returned to his apartment to find the other guys oh-so-casually sitting around watching TV. "Oh, hey, buddy."Leonard greeted him.
Sheldon, suspicious of being called "buddy" by Leonard anymore, returned the greeting coolly.
"So, how was your date?" Leonard asked.
"Quite pleasant. Penny is surprising in many ways."
"You have no idea." Leonard smirked. Raj and Howard both shot him disapproving looks.
Fortunately, Sheldon did not catch the reference. "Good night, gentlemen."
As soon as Sheldon disappeared. Howard turned on Leonard. "Seriously, what are you doing?"
"What do you mean?" Leonard asked with elaborate innocence.
"I do not think he would have been pleased had he caught your thinly veiled innuendo," Raj said.
"Oh, come on. Sheldon knows that Penny and I had sex."
"Doesn't mean you gotta' rub his face in it." Howard replied. "He's already kind of pissed off about your bet. I don't think you wanna' push it."
"Are you scared of Sheldon?" Leonard scoffed.
"Uh, let me think, hell yeah. One lab accident away from super-villain…sound familiar?"
"What exactly do you think he's going to do, Howard?"
"Who the hell knows? But I don't want to find out. Not only will it ruin my chances of seeing those guidelines, but, you're just really being a douche."
Leonard glared at him. "Am I supposed to be nice about him dating Penny?"
Raj answered. "Well, it was your idea, dude, so yeah, you should back up off of his grill about it."
"Sheldon isn't someone who should be dating." Leonard stated.
"According to you?"
"No, Howard, according to him. He's above all this, Homo Novus, remember?"
"Maybe Penny makes him not care so much about that." Raj said. "She's really trying."
"Yeah," said Leonard through teeth that were clenched.
"Oh, so that's it." Howard said in triumph. "You think she's trying with Sheldon, but she didn't really try with you. Wow, she tried so hard with you. She tried to learn physics for you, so she could understand you a little better. She was a little jealous of Bernadette being able to talk lasers and physics, jealous, Leonard. But you…, I just don't believe you."
"Oh, come on, guys. Do you honestly believe that this is anything but a joke?"
The other two looked at each other. "Yeah," they said in unison. Howard continued. "Sheldon is trying, too, you know. He was smiling when he walked in here. Not that creepy-kill-Batman smile, either. He was happy. Penny made him happy. And she didn't do it with booze or sex the way you two seemed to be 'happy'. So really, if you want to keep them as friends, you'd better watch yourself. If Penny had heard you…Junior Rodeo."
In his room, Sheldon heard every word, courtesy of his "Vulcan" hearing. He hadn't caught Leonard's innuendo, but now comprehended what he'd been insinuating. Howard and Raj surprised him. He would have thought they'd both be on Leonard's "team" in this. He would have to re-evaluate their standings in his friendship paradigm. He was already re-evaluating Leonard's.
The next day, Sheldon texted Penny, asking her if she would like to have dinner on Saturday.
Penny: I have to work double shift, Sweetie, and I'll be too tired after.
Sheldon: Would you like me to fix dinner for us?
Penny: Sounds nice. Your place or mine?
Sheldon thought about Leonard, and did not hesitate to answer: Yours. May I use the emergency key?
Penny: Of course. And thank you.
Sheldon: My pleasure.
On Saturday, Penny dragged herself up the stairs to her apartment. She had almost cancelled her dinner with Sheldon, but she'd been looking forward to it all day. She let herself into her apartment, to find that not only had Sheldon cooked, but he had straightened up as well.
"Hi Sheldon," she greeted tiredly.
"Hello, Penny." He studied her. "I believe that you have time for a shower if you wish, before dinner will be ready."
"Really? Great. It smells really good, whatever it is."
"Fancy," she smiled. She crossed the room, and leaned up to kiss his cheek. He barely hesitated before leaning his head down for her to reach. "Thank you, Honey. Now if you'll excuse me…."
She took herself off to her shower.
Sheldon puttered around in the kitchen, aware on some level that Penny was in her shower. Naked. He had never given much thought to such things in the past, but ever since the incident where Penny had fallen in the shower, he'd been aware of her not just as a neighbor and friend, but as a woman. And a desirable one at that. He'd been reminded when he'd been sick. When they'd returned to his bedroom after their shared shower; Penny in that wet blouse, long legs bare. But, he'd closed his eyes and ruthlessly pushed the image away. It had helped that he was ill. Although, even now he didn't dwell on it, he was merely …aware. He was also aware that at some point, a little over three weeks hence, he would be expected to become intimately familiar with Penny's nakedness. That thought filled him with equal parts terror and intrigue.
Penny felt much better after her shower. As she pulled clean clothes out her drawer, she was unsurprised to find that Sheldon had done her laundry. She shook her head. Her Whack-a-doodle, what was she going to do with him? But, in all fairness, it had been on Sheldon's list. It wasn't like he didn't know that she didn't clean often. And he seemed to find it relaxing. She put on a skirt and a nice top. As much as she wanted to just be comfy, Sheldon had made them a nice dinner, and deserved more than her Hello Kitty shorts.
She walked into the living room just as Sheldon was transferring the meal to plates. "Your timing is perfect, Penny." He said with a smile.
"That really smells fantastic, Sheldon."
He held her chair out, and then seated himself. The meal was every bit as good as it smelled, and Penny was profuse and sincere in her compliments.
"I am glad that you are pleased."
"I am, it's sooo good." Her eyes were warm as she took him in.
On the one hand, Sheldon was used to excelling at anything he did. And on the proverbial tip of his tongue was a comment on the relationship between the culinary arts and chemistry and math. But on the other hand, his newly acquired girlfriend was paying him a compliment. Protocol seemed to indicate, "You're welcome," was the better response. And then he smiled warmly at her.
They finished their meal in comfortable silence, concentrating on the food rather than small talk. When they finished, Penny stood and began to clear the table. "I brought us cheesecake. That chocolate one that you like?"
"Splendid," he said.
She dished up a piece for each of them, sat his in front of him and put their dirty dishes from the meal in the sink. She rejoined him at the table, feeling much better with a full belly, and Sheldon's undemanding company. He didn't make her feel like she should be filling the quiet, nor that she needed to entertain him. They were just enjoying being together, and it made Penny happy in a way that she hadn't really experienced before.
After dessert, Penny started to wash the dishes and found Sheldon at her side, prepared to help. Side-by-side they washed up. When they finished, Penny spoke. "Why don't you have a seat, Sweetie? I'll be right back.
Confused, Sheldon complied. Penny dashed into her bathroom, and quickly gargled with antiseptic, super-germ killing mouthwash. She looked at herself in the mirror, and adjusted her hair a little, before heading back to Sheldon.
He sat patiently on the sofa, waiting. He knew that there was more to first base, and assumed that Penny would take up where they had left off. When Penny came back into the room, Sheldon rose to his feet, manners drummed into him at an early age.
She sat down and he nervously sat next to her. "Dinner was really nice, Sheldon. The food was wonderful, as was the company."
Sheldon cleared his throat. "I, too, found it to be quite pleasurable."
"Are you ready for …?"
"I believe so."
She shifted so the she faced him, and rested her hand on his shoulder. "Your hands can go on my hips, back or in my hair, whichever feels the most comfortable to you."
He nodded, and placed them carefully on her back as she leaned towards him. Her lips brushed his, re-acclimating him, and when he pulled her bottom lip betweens his, she parted her mouth. She carefully traced his lips with her tongue, and Sheldon cautiously opened his mouth for her. Her tongue slowly insinuated itself into his mouth, sliding gently along his. He could taste mouthwash, and realized that she had done that for him. He felt that curious warmth again, and stopped thinking so much about what they were doing and simply did it.
He allowed his tongue to chase hers back into her mouth, and traced the contours there. His hands, seemingly of their own volition, were moving along her back, one finally cupping the back of her head, to hold her against him. They stayed like that for several long minutes, just kissing. When Penny pulled away from him, he was surprised to find himself a little breathless.
"Nice," she said, a little breathless herself. "We should probably stop before things…well, get out of hand."
He kissed her again, closed mouth. "Yes, I can see that it would be easy to get caught up in the hormonal surges that take place."
"Very," she kissed him and stood. She pulled his hand gently until he stood. "Goodnight, Sweetie."
He kissed her again, already adjusting to this new element in their relationship. "Goodnight, Penny."
Once he'd left, Penny leaned her back against the door. "Wow. " There was definitely something to be said for quick learners.
Chapter 5: Week 3
A/N This chapter took on a life of it's own
A/N 2 Thanks to SpaceAnJL for being a neverending source of inspiration.
It was Thursday night of the third week of their relationship and Sheldon was still pleased with the way things were progressing. Penny and himself were spending time together as a couple, and yet still maintaining his routine of Szechuan and Halo night and all of the other events that kept his life running on an even keel. And he was enjoying the relationship itself. Penny never expected more from him that he was comfortable with, she told him when he did something that she found unpleasant, and most importantly, she had provided him with guidelines to navigate the relationship.
Yes, Sheldon was quite pleased. He was less pleased with Leonard. His behavior was fast becoming intolerable. That was a situation that would need to be dealt with very soon. Of course, there was always the possibility that Leonard would say something foolish to Penny, alleviating the need for Sheldon to take action. He had no doubt that Penny, straightforward woman that she was, would simply crush Leonard like a small bug under her heel.
Sheldon, himself possessing little by way of a violent streak, thought that might be a little disturbing. But, some part of him, the part that had several generations of Texan ancestors, felt that dealing with Leonard was incumbent on him, as a man. He was formulating the best way to do so as he dressed for his date with Penny.
He had found a pair of jeans that he'd owned for quite some time. Unsurprisingly, they still fit him. They were, perhaps, a bit tighter than he would normally wear, but he hadn't had an opportunity to purchase new ones. And he really wanted to show Penny that her preferences mattered to him as much as his seemed to matter to her. He thought again of the guidelines. It never failed to give him pause that she had done that for him. With a small smile, he finished getting dressed.
The living room was blessedly empty when Sheldon left for Penny's. He wasn't prepared to deal with any of Leonard's snide jabs right now. Penny would be so disappointed in Leonard if she discovered the way he'd been acting recently. Some strange and hitherto unseen part of Sheldon wanted to protect Penny from finding that out. He wasn't certain that it was good idea to keep it from her, but he knew that he didn't want her to be hurt. Certainly not by Leonard.
He knocked on her door, and she opened it with a smile. "Hi, Sheldon." She looked down. "Wow, jeans." Her eyes widened.
"I thought that these old ones would suffice until I could purchase new jeans." He looked at her anxiously.
"They look good, Sheldon."
"They're not too tight?"
"No," she said quickly. Too quickly she realized as the heat rose in her face. "No, you look really good. Sincerity, remember?"
He smiled. "I remember everything, Penny."
"Okay, then. Shall we?"
"Yes. Are we going to Giacomo's again?"
"Unless there some reason why you don't want to?"
"None whatsoever. I have found it to be quite acceptable." He paused. "Is it 'our place'?"
She cocked her head at him, "like 'our song'?"
"Do we have a song?" He asked, surprised.
She grinned. "Not yet, Sweetie. But, yeah, Giacomo's could be 'our place'. That would be nice."
Sheldon smiled in satisfaction. He had been researching relationships, and more than one of the sites had mentioned that couples often had "their place" and "their song" among other things. He was in the midst of making a checklist. He could already check off one item. How gratifying.
They arrived at the restaurant and were seated at "their" table. Their usual server came to take the order. Penny ordered for them, and the server left. While they were waiting, Sheldon was explaining something about a formula that he was working on. He had taken one of the napkins and scribbled out part of the formula. When the server brought their drinks, she stared at it. Then she looked between Sheldon and Penny. Penny subtly nodded in Sheldon's direction.
"Are you a teacher?" The server asked Sheldon.
"No, I'm a physicist."
"Oh," she sounded disappointed.
"He's really good with math," Penny offered. Sheldon looked at her in surprise. What was she getting him into?
"Oh, I…," the server hesitated, threw a look over shoulder, and leaned towards Penny. "Would it be okay to ask him to explain something from my homework?" The server bit her lip, and looked anxiously between the two of them.
"I'll ask him for you," Penny whispered back, amused by Sheldon's expression. He looked like he couldn't decide whether to be angry, flattered, or perplexed.
The server nodded and scuttled away to check on the order. Sheldon turned betrayed eyes on Penny. "Wha…?"
"Aw, c'mon, Honey. You know you'll understand whatever her homework is. Be nice to the kid. This could be the turning point between her graduating or not. Or going on to college. You could impact the rest of her life. Tonight." She added all the drama she could into her voice, knowing that Sheldon would respond to it.
"But…firstly, why did she ask you if I could help her? Secondly, what if she doesn't comprehend my explanation, and then we cannot return here? It's 'our place', Penny. We have to be able to eat here."
"First, she asked me, because it was more appropriate. She's in high school, and has probably had it drummed into her head about talking to strange men. Second, I have no doubt you'll be able to explain it to her so that she'll understand it, Sweetie." Her green eyes were questioning. "Do you not want to help her?"
Sheldon sighed. He had no problem playing hero to Penny's damsel-in-distress. He liked it. He wasn't sure he wanted to add anyone else to that dynamic. But, Penny wanted him to help. Honestly believed that he could and should help. He sighed again and nodded. He watched Penny's expression melt from vague disappointment to pride. He was sure he would regret it, but for now, that look on Penny's face made it worth it.
When the server returned with their food, she looked at Sheldon, who nodded graciously. She grinned happily. "Oh, thank you, sir."
"When's your break?" Penny asked.
"I can take one anytime. I'll take it after I clear your table, if that's okay?"
Penny nodded and turned her attention to her food. Sheldon looked her closely. "You're not jealous." He stated it.
"Of course not. Even if she were trying to…which she isn't …you would never." There was no doubt in Penny's voice.
"No, I would not betray our social contract."
"I know, Sweetie. It's totally against your ethics. It's one of the many things I like about you."
He felt that warmth again. He clearly remembered Penny's reaction to Bernadette's interest in Leonard's work. She had most certainly been jealous. Trust was an important factor in a relationship. And Penny trusted him. He watched her as they ate. She would never "cheat" to use the vernacular, either. It was against her code of behavior as well.
When the meal was finished, the server returned to the table. "You're sure it's okay?" She asked timidly.
"Of course," Sheldon replied, even though he wasn't sure. But Penny… she was sure.
"I really appreciate this, mister."
"It's Doctor. Dr. Sheldon Cooper, PhD. And this is Penny." He gestured to include Penny.
"I'm Vera." At Penny's expression, she explained. "I know, but it was my grandmother's name and she was the first woman in our family to go to college."
"It's a great name, Vera." Penny assured her. Silently, Sheldon agreed with her.
"Thanks." Vera put her notebook and textbook on the table. "Dr. Cooper, here's the assignment; it makes no sense to me."
Sheldon looked over the assignment and Vera's notes. The two of them spent twenty minutes going over the steps until Vera finally said, "Oh!" It had all clicked into place. "Thank you so much, Dr. Cooper. I see it now."
"You are quite welcome, Vera. Penny and I will be dining here every Thursday evening; you may ask me any further questions you might have. This is 'our place'." He informed her solemnly.
"Aw, that's nice. Thanks again." She nodded her thanks to Penny, as she cleared her stuff from the table.
Later, Penny and Sheldon were walking up the stairs to their floor, and talking. "There's a revival of Fiddler on the Roof playing at the Majestic this Sunday." Penny said. "Would you like to go?"
"That sounds delightful. I have seen the movie, many times, but never the play."
"Great, we can have dinner here, first if you'd like?"
"Spaghetti, with hot dogs?" He asked eagerly.
"Anything you want, Sweetie."
He smiled in satisfaction. Penny unlocked her door, and Sheldon followed her in. "I'll just be a minute, Sheldon."
He knew that she was going to go and brush her teeth, so that he would be more comfortable kissing her. "It's…," he paused to clear his throat. "It's not necessary, Penny."
"Yes." He tried to sound more certain than he felt. But, realistically he knew that she would not be able to disinfect her mouth every time they engaged in romantic activities. "Yes, I'm certain."
"Aw, Honey." Penny all but cooed at him. "That's just so sweet. But, for now, at least…, let's get you more comfortable with the physical stuff before we add germs into the mix, okay?"
She returned a few minutes later to find him sitting awkwardly on the sofa. "I appreciate you saying that, Sheldon. I really do."
He smiled at her. "I did mean it, Penny."
"I know you did, Honey." She sat next to him, and gave him a thorough once over. He looked a lot more relaxed tonight. That was good. "Are you ready?" She asked gently.
She leaned towards him for the kiss, and paused, letting him close the distance. He brought one of his hands to her back, and the other cupped the back of her head. Both of Penny's hands rested on his chest. Their lip brushed gently, then more boldly. Penny pulled his bottom lip between her teeth, letting them slide gently away. Then she gently licked his bottom lip. He opened his mouth, allowing her access.
They gently dueled for several long, lovely minutes. Penny eased herself closer, wondering if Sheldon, fast learner that he was, would take the initiative. Deciding that he probably wouldn't, she began tracing her fingers over his chest, actually going so far as to gently pinch his nipple through his shirts. He gasped, pulled away from her mouth, looked at her wide-eyed, and finally dove back for her mouth. His hand on her back cautiously crept around to her ribcage, coming to rest just below her breast. Intellectually he understood that touching Penny's breast was necessary for "second base", but actually, intentionally doing so was so far out his comfort zone. He left his hand there, and allowed himself to become absorbed in kissing Penny.
Finally, biology kicked in, and his hand began to slide upward, cupping her through her blouse. His thumb swept across her nipple, feeling it pebble. Copying Penny's actions from earlier, he carefully, ever-so-gently pinched her nipple. She gasped, and pressed her breast more fully into his hand. Thus encouraged, and blindly following some primitive instinct, Sheldon squeezed and kneaded her breast. He never decided to slide his hand under her blouse, so was a little surprised to find that it was cupping her breast through her bra.
Penny slid her hands under Sheldon's shirts and dragged her fingertips along his warm skin. Sheldon's hand on her breast tightened in response. She pinched his nipple again, and rolled it gently between her thumb and forefinger. Sheldon, his heart hammering and his breathing rapid, copied her; pushing the cup of her bra up and out of his way, his palm landing on warm, Penny flesh. He pinched, and rolled the nipple and then ran the pad of his thumb over it. Penny pressed closer as Sheldon carefully cupped her breast. His other hand twined in her hair, holding her to him, as if she might try to move away.
Finally, regaining her senses a little, she started to pull away. Or tried to; Sheldon held her still as his lips trailed down to her throat, dotting small kisses all along the way. Penny moaned, almost forgetting the stopping point that she had mentally set for them. Penny had committed to taking this at a certain pace, and did not ever want to push Sheldon into something that he wasn't really ready for.
Mentally, ready for anyway. She was pretty certain that physically, he was good-to-go. She gave herself a mental slap, and firmly pulled away. Sheldon released her immediately, looking at her, arousal written all over his face. Then embarrassment as he realized where his hand was and what exactly it was doing. "Penny, I-I-I'm sorry." He eased his hand from beneath her top.
"For what, Honey? You didn't do anything I didn't want you to do." She assured him, her voice husky with arousal, and as gentle as she could make it. "I just thought we should stop before…, well, while we could." She dropped a kiss on his mouth as she adjusted her bra and blouse. "You, my good Dr. Cooper, really are a very, very quick study." She gave a shudder.
He looked pleased and still a little embarrassed. "You are a very good teacher." He said back.
"Then we're a good match."
"Indeed," he said, his voice going into lecture mode. "I have observed that your strengths complement my weaknesses, such as your people-skills, where my strengths do the same for your weaknesses, such as technical support. It makes for a balanced relationship." At her slow blink, he explained. "Opposites attract, I believe the saying goes."
"Yeah, that's what I thought you were saying." She smiled at him and then smoothed a hand over his cheek. "A balanced relationship, huh? Good."
He tidied his person, regained his composure, and stood. Penny stood with him, and walked him to the door. He hesitated for only a second, before leaning down to gently brush a kiss across her lips. "Goodnight, Penny."
Penny had a smile on her face as she went to change into her comfy clothes.
Sheldon, too, was smiling as he walked into his apartment. The guys were watching TV, but looked up when he walked in. Howard and Raj exchanged a look at the small smile on Sheldon's face, but Leonard scowled. Then his expression changed to an innocent one.
"Hey, there, Sheldon. Have a nice dinner?"
"Yes, Leonard, thank you for asking. It was quite pleasant."
"You and Penny seem to be getting along well?"
"Indeed." Sheldon's tone thawed noticeably. Leonard was beginning to act more rationally. Excellent.
"How long do you think you can keep this particular role play up?" Leonard asked, his voice still pleasant.
"I don't understand the question." Sheldon looked confused. Howard and Raj were frowning in Leonard's direction.
"Oh, come on, Sheldon. You know that you're way out of your league here, acting out Penny's instructions. But, it's not you, is it? She's trying to change you. Look at you, in jeans? Sheldon Cooper in jeans? What else has she tried to change?"
Sheldon stared at him, processing what he was hearing. "Are you insinuating that Penny does not actually wish to be in a relationship with me? That she is, in fact, attempting to eradicate Sheldon Cooper and replace him with a more pleasing mate?"
Leonard nodded. "That's what I'm saying, yeah. She's trying to program you. Prove that she can date a smart guy."
Sheldon's eyes grew cold as he stared at the man who he had once accepted as his best friend. "Because it's actually about you?" He hazarded.
"Well, she did agree to go out with you to spite me, didn't she?"
Sheldon, who knew better, couldn't speak, couldn't let Leonard know that Penny had manipulated him; much in the same way Leonard was now trying to manipulate Sheldon. Only, Penny had been much better at it.
"You noxious, nasty, sneaky, WHINEY little TROLL." Penny said from the open door.
All eyes swung to her. Her green eyes were ablaze with anger. She flew at Leonard. Howard, recognizing the look in Penny's eyes, grabbed Leonard's glasses just before Penny's fist attempted to occupy the same space as Leonard's nose. Penny's fist was triumphant. Leonard's head snapped back. Penny raised her other fist, but stopped. Sheldon had laid his hand on her wrist. Not in restraint, merely to get her attention.
She turned angry eyes to him. "Please, Penny. It is not worth it. He is not worth it." Seeing the distressed and anxious expression on Sheldon's face drained all the violence out of her. She slid her hand to hold his.
"Okay, Honey." Her voice was gentle. She looked at Leonard. "As for you…Sheldon made that list for me, not because he wanted anything from me, but only to try and help me." Her voice was hard, but she didn't raise it. "You do not fit into this algorithm at all. If you want to be our friend, great. If you don't then try another stunt like that on Sheldon. But either way, Sheldon and I are a couple, we are having a good time together, and that is all that you need to know."
Leonard stared defiantly back at her. "Are you trying to tell me that you and …what did you call him…the whackadoodle are in an actual relationship? A real one."
"We are. And it's not because you dared me, or to show you that I can date a smart man. It doesn't have anything to do with you, surprising as that may seem to you. It's because I like being with him. He doesn't make me feel like I could be just any woman who is willing to be with him. I'm Penny, and I'm special to him. And I like him exactly the way he is. Hell yeah, he's a whackadoodle. But he's my whackadoodle and I like him like that. He's interesting, and sweet, and listens to me." She stepped close to Leonard, and bit off each of her next words. "So back off or I will hogtie and castrate you. You're being such a prick; you sure as hell don't need another one."
She stood toe-to-toe, staring him down. Leonard huffed, snatched his glasses from Howard and stomped into his room. Penny turned to Sheldon. "You okay, Sweetie?" her tone so different to the one she'd used on Leonard that Howard grinned.
"I am terribly disappointed in Leonard."
"I know, Sheldon, I am too." She rubbed circles on his chest, counter-clockwise, to soothe him. There was something in his eyes that forced the question from her. "This isn't the first incident…is it?"
Sheldon dropped his head. His hand covered hers where it still rubbed his chest.
"Uh, no," Howard answered. "Leonard has been a ginormous douche since your first date."
"Sheldon, why didn't…?"
"I didn't want his actions to hurt you." He admitted.
"Well, that's sweet, but, next time, don't let me be surprised like that, okay?" She patted his chest.
"Agreed." He looked at her in speculation. "Do you feel that he has been suitably chastised?"
She took in the difference between the happy Sheldon who had left her apartment, and the tense Sheldon before her now. "Not so much."
"Very well. Will you permit me…?"
She looked up him from beneath her lashes. "I will leave the matter in your capable hands."
Sheldon smiled at her.
Things were very quiet in the apartment for the next couple of days. Leonard was sullen, but didn't say anything about the incident. Howard and Raj had left shortly after the face-off, both giving him surprisingly approving nods. Penny, after a kiss to Sheldon, and a final glare at Leonard's door, had also left.
Friday for Leonard had been a new level of humiliation. He tried to bluff out of an explanation as to where he'd obtained a swollen nose, which had caused two black eyes. But, word had spread that his ex-girlfriend, who was now with Sheldon, had punched him out. He knew Sheldon hadn't said anything, which left Howard and/or Raj. Of all the people who had mentioned his nose, Leslie had been the worst. She was unmerciful in her cutting remarks; not only about being beaten up by a girl, but losing said girl to Sheldon, of all people. Dr. Dumbass. How big a loser do you have to be to manage that?
Penny had worked a double shift on Saturday, so that she would be off for Sunday and the play. She was looking forward to it. On Sunday, she chose her dress carefully, the theatre was an older one, and much classier than she was used to. She had emailed Sheldon the particulars for the theatre, adding a note that he might be able to use the floor plan to determine the best seats, as the seats were assigned. She just hoped that the one he wanted hadn't been taken. He hadn't mentioned it, only sent her a confirmation that he had purchased the tickets. She put on a simple black dress, not too daring, and an apron over it. The meal was mostly ready, but she didn't want to take any chances nor did she did want Sheldon sitting awkwardly on her sofa while she got changed.
Sheldon dressed in the dark suit that Penny had picked out for him. He was a little disappointed by the lack of colors, but Penny had found him attractive in the suit, and had not been the only women to mention it. He didn't intend to bring that fact to Penny's attention, but it was reassuring nevertheless.
He walked into the living room, to find the guys playing Super Mario. They paused the game and stared at him.
"Dude," Raj said. "Where are you going looking so resplendent?"
"Penny and I are going to have dinner and then to see the play 'Fiddler on the Roof'."
"That's a good movie, I've never seen the play," Howard said.
"Nor have I. Penny suggested it."
"I wish I had known, maybe Bernadette and I could have gone with." Howard paused. "Maybe we could double some other night?" He suggested hesitantly.
Sheldon stared at him, weighing his recent actions. "I will mention it to Penny."
Howard smiled. "Yeah, always the smart move."
Sheldon gave a small smile in return. "Yes."
"Well, have a good time." Howard said, Raj nodded his agreement, and Leonard studiously ignored him.
Once Sheldon left, Leonard rounded on the other two. "What the hell?"
Howard spoke for them. "You're being a dick." He said flatly. "Weren't you paying attention the other day? Penny was ready, willing and able to punch your lights out," he gestured to the swollen nose Leonard was still sporting. "But Sheldon stopped her cold, barely touched her, and she stopped. Because it was upsetting him. And he knew she would. They are in a relationship Leonard. And the sooner you get onboard the better off you'll be."
"Yes," Raj spoke into the heavy silence. "This was your idea. They are happy together. You are not being a good friend. Also, I think Penny will make you regret any further interference. Or Sheldon will."
Leonard glared impotently at them. "I never thought they'd be able to get past the first date. Or I never would have…."
"Who could have predicted this?" Howard asked with a laugh. "But they've always enjoyed bothering each other. It's not like you didn't know they had some kind of chemistry together. Come on, nobody's that blind."
Leonard dropped his eyes. "Yeah, I knew. I should have kept my mouth shut."
"Well, you didn't. And I think they're good for each other. Sheldon's never been so easy to get along with. I like it."
"I too am enjoying the new kinder Sheldon." Raj said.
Leonard's anger wavered for a minute, they did seem happy together. But then he shook his head. "No, Penny belongs with me. Even her dad thinks so."
Raj and Howard shook their heads. They weren't about to tell him that Sheldon had asked Penny if he could deal with Leonard. Right now, Leonard did not deserve any more warning than they'd already given him.
"That's the way to get American chicks," Howard said in a snarky tone. "Tell them that their dad wants them to be with you. Nothing is guaranteed to make Penny less likely to want to be with you, man. But that's on you."
Penny and Sheldon had enjoyed a nice quiet dinner, and were walking towards their seats in the theatre. Penny looked up at Sheldon. "Were you able to use a formula and the layout to find your sweet spot?"
"I was," he smiled happily down at her. "That was an excellent notion."
She blinked up at him, innocently. "And did you take into consideration the variable of the audience?"
His breath caught, and he found himself giving her a warm look. "You are a constant surprise to me, Penny. I did, indeed. Based on the average attendance here, and the dimensions of the theatre, I was able to determine that the acoustic sweet spot is one of these two seats. I, of course, took them for us." He gestured. Then he looked at her, and swallowed. "Would you like to choose?" He offered, surprising himself at least as much as it did her.
She gave him an equally warm look. "Why don't we just sit, and we can switch if the one I'm in is the sweet one?" At his quizzical eyebrow, she continued. "It means more to you, than it does me, Honey."
He smiled, and sat. Penny sat next to him, and looked wistfully around the room. "I don't think I'll ever get to play an elegant theatre like this one. I don't know why I even go to auditions any more, I never seem to…"
Sheldon stared at the top of her head. "I would never suggest that you give up on your dreams, Penny, but may I ask…why don't you return to college in the meantime?"
Penny sighed. "Nursing school?"
"I have reconsidered that. While I think that you would make an excellent nurse, watching you lately, I have come to realize that you might be better suited for something in the field of psychology. Not only do you have an innate grasp of human motivations, but psychology would very likely benefit you in your characterizations for auditions; help you to grasp motivations."
Penny looked up at, stars shining in her eyes. "Sheldon, have I told you lately that you're a genius?"
"I am well aware…oh…thank you, Penny."
There was nothing else to say, as the lights went down and the curtain came up. Sheldon found his seat to be perfect, and Penny seemed quite satisfied with hers as well. He took a deep breath and sought her hand with his. She squeezed his in return.
The play was very well done, and they were both quite sincere in their applause. They discussed it at length in the car, on the way home, and continued to do so walking up the stairs.
They trailed off as Penny unlocked her door, and they walked into her apartment. Penny excused herself. While he waited, Sheldon loosened his tie and took off his jacket. He took a seat on the sofa, and tried to relax.
Penny came back into the room, and Sheldon stood up. "Would you like something to drink, Sweetie?"
"Some water, perhaps."
She grabbed two waters, and joined him at the sofa. He took a large drink from his, and then sat the bottle on the coffee table. Penny sipped at hers for a few minutes, relaxing into the moment. Then she sat hers down next to his.
She cupped his cheek, leaned up to kiss him, and he leaned down to meet her lips. They kissed, open-mouthed, tongues gently caressing. Penny's hands wandered down Sheldon's chest, shifting restlessly up and down. His hands started on her hips, but soon made the trek up her back to cup her shoulders, pulling her closer.
She responded by shifting to straddle his lap, her dress riding up to her thighs. She trailed hot kisses down his throat to the collar of his dress shirt. She nibbled gently on his neck, listening to his breath hitch, feeling his hands tighten on her convulsively. She pulled back, far enough to pull his tie loose and off, then unbutton the top few buttons on the shirt. Once that was done, she moved back in, pulling the collars of his dress shirt and t-shirt out of her way. She found the juncture of his neck and shoulder, and worked it with her lips, teeth and tongue.
She recaptured his lips, loving the increased urgency in his touch. His long fingers trailed slowly down her neck, to the straps of her dress, easing them down her shoulders. His mouth followed the same path, mimicking her actions of moments before. Her breath caught, and she unbuttoned more of his shirt. His hands left her long enough to pull his dress shirt off his shoulders. Penny immediately started pushing his t-shirt up and off. Once his chest was bare, she ran her fingers over it, careful to rub counter-clockwise. She circled each nipple, and leaned down to take one in her warm mouth.
"Oh, dear Lord," Sheldon breathed as she gently bit, and soothed with her tongue. She sucked carefully on it. His hands fell back to her hips, pulling hers to his. When Penny lifted her head from him, he stared at her blankly for a few seconds, and then returned to kissing her shoulders, then down, his hands pushing the fabric of her bodice just ahead of his mouth. When her breasts were free, he pulled back just to stare, breathing heavily.
His hands returned to her shoulders, pulling her up, guiding her breast to his mouth. He suckled deeply, then bit gently, and then switched to the other breast. Her hands were in his hair, holding him to her, her head thrown back in pleasure.
It was when she felt one of his hands on her bottom, under her dress, that she realized that it was time to stop. She carefully eased away from him, placing gentle closed-mouth kisses on his mouth. She pulled her top back up, and looked at him. "Oh, God," she said taking in his kiss swollen lips, flushed face, glazed eyes and tousled hair. She just wanted to finish what they'd started, in the worst way. "God, do you really have to look this sexy, Sheldon? I'm trying to be strong here." She whined.
His lips quirked. "You should see it from my perspective." His eyes ran over her. He swallowed loudly, and she moved to sit next to him.
They sat, trying to catch their breath, not looking at the other. Sheldon pulled his t-shirt back on, not bothering with the dress shirt. They both reached for their water at the same time, causing Penny to giggle and Sheldon to give a breathy laugh. "Penny."
"I don't believe that item 10 on the list is going to be an issue."
She grinned at him. "Yay."
"I should go." He stood and offered her a hand up.
At the door, he kissed her almost chastely, and then left. She leaned her back against the door, and cast her eyes up. "How is that fair? I'm trying to do this right, you know?" There was no answer from above. She went to get ready for bed, knowing that she would be dreaming of long, elegant fingers, and warm lips.
Sheldon was glad that Leonard was not in the living room when he returned. He went to take his evening shower, knowing that it would be a cold one. It was worth it.
Chapter 6: Interlude I
A/N This is a short interlude, and doesn't really move the 'bases' along. But, it was an idea that didn't seem to fit into any of the other chapters.
Sheldon knew that it was too early to be knocking on Penny's door, but he also knew that she was supposed to work an early shift that day and should already be up. He did his signature knock on the door, and she opened it after the final "Penny."
"Morning, Sheldon." She said.
"Good morning, Penny. Knowing that you work this morning, I took the liberty of bringing you a cup of coffee." He proffered the mug in his hand.
Her face lit up, "aw, thank you, Honey. That's really thoughtful. Come in?"
He followed her into her apartment and noted that she had her TV paused, and a mat in front of it. "Are you working out?" He asked her.
"Yeah, one of the girls at work does yoga, and I thought that I'd give it a try. I got shin splints from the jogging. This is gentler on your body, and also really relaxing. You should try it, Sheldon, if you're still worried about your lifespan."
"Perhaps," he allowed. "May I stay while you finish?"
"Sure." She took a sip of the coffee, "perfect, thanks, Sweetie." She sat the cup down, and pressed play on the DVD. She followed along with the instructor, forgetting her audience.
Sheldon watched Penny go through the routine, and found that the background music they were using was quite relaxing.
She wasn't wearing anything provocative, just a t-shirt and yoga pants, yet Sheldon found the bending and stretching a little arousing. His head was cocked to the side, watching her, when he decided that he should either join her or vacate; it suddenly seemed highly inappropriate to be watching her as if she were performing for him. He shot to his feet, "Penny."
She stopped and turned. "Yeah, Honey?"
"May I join you?"
"Of course," she eyed his plaid pants and shirts. "You gonna' be comfortable in that?"
"I'll manage." He assured her.
"I'm going to start it at the beginning, so you get all the basics and don't injure yourself."
"Thank you, Penny."
Sheldon found it surprisingly easy to do. There were a few postures that were more difficult, but in general he had no trouble.
Penny, however, had a hard time restraining her giggle when Sheldon assumed the Plank pose. Also, seeing his gangling form in some of them made her smile, but not only had she specified in her guidelines that she would not mock him, but she would never want to hurt his feelings in any case. Needless to say she kept her amusement to herself. She frequently hid behind the coffee Sheldon had so thoughtfully brought her.
When they finished, Sheldon spoke. "That was indeed very relaxing. Is it your intention to make this a routine?"
"Yeah, three days a week, I thought."
"Might I join you?"
"Only if you'll wear something other than that." She gestured to his clothes. "You really should be in something looser."
"I agree to your terms. What schedule will you be following?"
"Monday, Wednesday and Friday."
"At this time each day?" His tone was dubious, as Penny preferred to sleep in when she could.
She sighed. "Yes, at this time." Green eyes looked into blue. "I swore when I left the farm that I was done with early mornings. But it's better to start your day with a workout regime, than to squish it in willy-nilly."
Sheldon filed that piece of information away, and replied. "I will text you before I come over, to ascertain your continued desire to get up early."
"I appreciate that, Honey, but I've committed to it. I'll see it through."
No longer quite certain that they were still talking about the yoga, Sheldon hesitated to respond. "Shall I bring coffee, then?"
"That would be great; if you're sure you don't mind?"
"Penny, Penny, Penny." His tone was admonishing.
"Sheldon, Sheldon, Sheldon?" Hers was teasing.
"You must be aware by now that I don't do anything that I don't want to."
Penny, also aware of the subtext, smiled up at him. "I did know that, but it's nice to be reminded."
"Then I will bid a good day, and see you this evening." He leaned down, and pressed a kiss to her cheek.
They were both smiling as they started their respective days.
Chapter 7: Week 4
Rating goes up
A/N The beginning is a little heavy on the Leonard, but bear with me :)
A/N 2 Spoilers for the movie "Serenity".
For Leonard, the fourth week of Sheldon and Penny's relationship had been weird. Penny barely spoke to him, and when she did, her eyes held his as if she were constantly judging him. Sheldon was still Sheldon, but was noticeably cooler towards Leonard. Raj and Howard, while acting no differently to either of the men, had all but declared themselves to be on "Team Shenny." Leonard shuddered at the thought.
Now, people at work were staring at him, and there were whispers. And maybe he was being paranoid, but he was starting to feel like strangers were doing the same thing. When he'd gone to pick up the Szechuan on Monday, the cashier had stared fixedly at him, as if he were puzzled by Leonard. The same thing had happened at the movie theater when they guys had all gone to see a movie. People he didn't know were giving him strange looks and wide berth.
As if that weren't weird enough, on Tuesday Sheldon had informed Howard that he had spoken with Penny, and she said that the four of them could double date on Thursday night.
And the weirdest thing of all, Sheldon had taken up yoga with Penny, and on Wednesday had gone over to her apartment clad in his grey sweatpants and a t-shirt, carrying a mug of coffee. Leonard wasn't sure he could take any additional weirdness.
As he looked in the mirror to shave on Thursday morning, something in his reflection caught his attention. Something looked …off. He couldn't quite put his finger on it, but something was definitely odd about his appearance. He walked into the living room to find Sheldon was of course ready and waiting. Leonard felt Sheldon's eyes on him, and looked at him in time to catch a strange expression on his face. If Sheldon were anyone else, Leonard might have labeled the expression satisfaction. Leonard brushed the thought away, and they left for work.
During the day, the strange looks and distance grew a little more overt. At lunch, Howard stared at him for several moments and opened his mouth to speak. Leonard missed the expression on Sheldon's face. This one he would have easily been able to identify as his "secret-keeping" expression. Since Howard had seen it, he closed his mouth and pretended that nothing had occurred at all. Leonard, too weirded out in general, really didn't pay him any mind.
On Thursday evening, Sheldon strode into the living room ready for his double date. He was wearing the blue jeans and the blue Superman t-shirt that Penny had said was her favorite, with a bright red long sleeved shirt underneath. Leonard barely looked up at Sheldon as he scooped his key out of the bowl. "Good night, Leonard."
"Sheldon," Leonard returned shortly.
Sheldon knocked on Penny's door, and she opened it after the final "Penny." She was wearing slacks and a light sweater that matched the green in her eyes. "Good evening, Penny. You look very nice this evening."
She smiled up at him, and smoothed her hand gently over his t-shirt covered chest. "Thanks, Sweetie, so do you. That's my favorite." He looked pleased that he had chosen well, as Penny silently mused on what the blue did to his already intense blue eyes.
She locked her door, and they left. They were meeting Howard and Bernadette at Giacomo's. Sheldon had assured her that Howard would be on his very best behavior and had in fact been surprisingly supportive of the new relationship. Penny was willing to trust Sheldon, but she was a little anxious. It was almost as if this were some kind of a relationship test. Which was silly, really. The only people who needed to approve of the relationship were the two of them.
Having cleared that up in her mind, Penny relaxed. Howard would behave, and she and Bernadette would carry the conversation. Bernadette and Howard were waiting by the entrance to Giacomo's when Penny and Sheldon arrived. They greeted each other and Howard held open the door for the others to pass through. Sheldon gave him an approving nod as he passed. Vera spotted them as they walked in and waved them to their usual table, which would seat four comfortably. Sheldon and Howard held out the seats for their dates, who exchanged bemused glances.
Vera came over to the table and she greeted them with a smile. "Dr. Cooper, Miss Penny, hi. The usual?"
"Good evening, Vera, yes, we'll have our usual, thank you." And Sheldon gave her a small smile.
Vera wrote it down and turned to the newcomers to take their orders. After ordering, Howard turned curious eyes to Sheldon. "You guys come here every Thursday?"
"Yes, it's 'our place'," Sheldon replied with more than a hint of pride in his voice.
"It's a nice place," Bernadette said.
"We like it," Penny answered with a smile at Sheldon.
Vera returned to the table with their drinks. Once those were delivered she stooped down next to Sheldon. She showed him a piece of paper, and he pointed to something on it. They spoke quietly for a few minutes. Penny, after an indulgent smile in their direction, started to make small talk with Bernadette. Howard, who was being eaten alive with curiosity couldn't very well ask when Penny seemed so unconcerned.
With a final nod, Vera straightened up, smiled at Penny, and said "Thanks, Dr. Cooper. That helps a lot."
"You are quite welcome, Vera."
Once she had left, Howard turned enquiring eyes to Sheldon. It was Penny who answered, her voice discreetly lowered. "Sheldon helps her with her homework. If she goes to college, it will be partially due to him." The proud look she shot Sheldon made him blush a little and left him with nothing to say.
Howard looked at Sheldon like he'd never seen him before. He was starting to think that maybe he hadn't. This Sheldon had guidelines, and was willing to help someone else. "Penny," Howard said at last. "I wish you had given him guidelines years ago."
"Guidelines?" Bernadette asked with a puzzled frown on her face.
The other three exchanged a look. Penny finally spoke. "You know how Sheldon went from 5th grade to college?" Bernadette nodded. "Well, I realized that he'd never had the normal social training that we all get in middle school and high school. So I made guidelines, what I expect, and what he should expect from our relationship."
"Oh. That's very…" she hesitated, then continued "practical, Penny. Good thinking. "
"Well, how else would he know?" Penny asked.
"Very true." Bernadette agreed.
"So, Bernadette," Howard said, ingratiating expression on his face. "You could make me guidelines, couldn't you?"
"But, Howard, you went to school."
"I know, but, I didn't…" he paused and shot an embarrassed look at the other two. "I didn't date a lot."
Bernadette blinked at him. The food arrived and they started to eat. "Howard, maybe that's something we could do together." She suggested at last.
"Really?" He looked pleased. "Great."
Penny and Sheldon shared a superior look. They finished the meal pleasantly, and the guys paid the checks. Once they were outside, they said goodnight and went their separate ways.
Back at Penny's apartment, Sheldon settled onto her small couch while she hit the bathroom . Sheldon was little nervous about starting 3rd base, but trusted Penny implicitly. "You okay, Honey?" She asked him as she returned and took the seat next to him.
He gave her a small smile. "Yes, Penny." He cupped her cheek and leaned down to kiss her. Her eyebrows rose in surprise at him making the first move, but she was quite pleased about it. She met him half way, and the kiss started gentle and slowly built.
Their tongues danced together, and hands roamed. One of Sheldon's large hands splayed along her back, urging her closer. She eased over to straddle his lap. His hand slid up the back of her sweater, long cool fingers against smooth warm skin, and Penny shivered in pleasure. He unfastened her bra, and together they pulled her top and bra completely off. Then they divested Sheldon of his shirts. Bare skin to bare skin they kissed and tasted. Sheldon trailed his mouth down her throat, sucking gently on the juncture of her neck and shoulder. She dug her fingers into his shoulders, and then sucked his earlobe into the warm cavern of her mouth.
His hand cupped her breast as his head lowered to take her nipple into his mouth, putting into practice all the previous encounters. Her back arched and her hands caressed his shoulders and chest. She pinched his nipples, and rolled them between thumb and forefinger. She felt him groan against her skin. She pulled back from him, recapturing his mouth as her groin pressed firmly against his. He bucked against her, clasping her hips. Shifting back a little on his lap she trailed her hand down his torso to cup him, and caress him through his jeans.
He pulled his mouth away from hers and buried his head in her shoulder, and pushed against her hand. She found his mouth with hers and kissed him deeply. He met her kisses with his own and cupped her breast and began kneading it in time with the bucking of his hips. His other hand trailed down her back to splay over her bottom. Penny's hands roamed restlessly over him, caressing any part of his long lean frame that she could reach. It was the sound of a zipper being unzipped which brought her to a stop. She abruptly moved her hand from his zipper. "I'm sorry, Sheldon," she said breathlessly. "I got carried away."
He rested his hands on her shoulders, breathing heavily. "As did I." His eyes, cloudy with arousal met hers. "We could continue." He offered, hesitantly.
"We could, but… I think we should probably…not." He nodded, agreeing with her.
She eased away from him, and pulled on her top. Sheldon re-fastened his jeans, carefully sliding the zipper over his arousal.
"Do you want a cold washcloth?" She asked.
"Will that help?"
She rose to fetch it. She returned a minute later with two wet washcloths. She handed him one and put the other on the back of her neck. He followed her lead. Once their breathing had returned to some semblance of normal, they shared a look, and then a smile.
After a few minutes to compose themselves, Sheldon rose, and held out a hand to Penny. She took it and rose as well. Hand in hand, they walked to the door. She stood on tiptoe, and he leaned down so that they could share a gentle goodnight kiss.
On Friday, the Health and Safety people at Caltech came to Leonard's lab and ran some tests, checking for radioactive substances. They came up negative and they left after a dubious look in Leonard's direction. This confused Leonard, who had no idea what it was all about. He finally chalked it up to the general weirdness of his week.
Penny worked a double shift on Saturday, and made really good tips. When she got home, she found that Sheldon had done her laundry, and straightened up her apartment. He had also ordered her favorite from the Thai restaurant and it was waiting in her fridge for her; all she had to do was warm it up. He came over and sat with her while she ate, and they chatted about their respective days. When she was done, they sat on her sofa, and she dozed off watching a movie. Sheldon found that her head on his arm and shoulder didn't bother him at all any longer. He nudged her awake when he left and dropped a kiss on her cheek.
Since Penny was off on Sunday, they made plans to make dinner and watch a couple of movies together.
Penny was in her apartment trying to decide on a good movie compromise, when Sheldon came knock, knock, knocking on her door. She opened it and he came in, his entire demeanor was a little frantic. Neither of them noticed that the other guys had followed him over, wondering what had him so worked up.
"What's wrong, Sweetie?"
"Penny…did you happen to mention to my Mom that you and I are pursuing a romantic relationship?"
"Penny, this is important, are you quite certain?"
"I never said a word to your…oh, I said something to Missy." She said, remembering.
"Why, why would you…?"
Her eyes widened in shock. "I didn't realize that it was a secret." Her voice was small. Was Sheldon ashamed of her?
He sighed, and took her hand. "I was not going to mention it to my family until we had determined if …." He trailed off.
"Oh. I'm sorry."
"Don't be sorry, Penny. I just wanted to be certain. I would have been telling them soon enough."
Her eyes were clouded. "Would you?"
"Of course. I'm certain. Are you not? Have you told your family?"
"No, but only because I don't want my dad back up here. Not because I'm not certain."
"He likes Leonard." Sheldon's voice was toneless.
"I like Leonard, or well, you know, old Leonard, when he was still nice and stuff. But Dad doesn't like Leonard as much as he likes the idea of Leonard, so as far as he's concerned …" She trailed off with a shrug, dismissing her dad. "He was so, Sheldon, he was mean. My dad, and he acted like all I ever did was bad stuff. And okay, so maybe I made some bad choices, but…he was mean. My own dad. And I don't really want him here right now."
Which brought Sheldon back to his problem. "Meemaw's coming."
"Oh, well that's good, isn't it? You love your Meemaw."
He sighed, "Penny, Penny, Penny."
She narrowed her eyes at him. "Sheldon, Sheldon, Sheldon?"
"She's coming to meet you."
Penny eyes widened. "She said that?"
"No, but she mentioned you specifically. Which is why I assumed that you must have mentioned something to my mother."
"I am sorry, Sheldon. Do you want me to be…elsewhere while she's here so you don't have to deal with it yet?" She offered.
"That's insane on the face of it." He said without hesitation.
"If you're sure?"
He rubbed his thumb along the hand he still held. "Of course, I am."
"Well, then we need a plan, right? When is she coming?"
"Tuesday. And she'll be staying until Saturday morning."
She squeezed his hand. "Do you want her to stay here with me? She can have my bed, and I'll take the sofa. That way you won't have to give up your bed; I know how much it bothers you."
"You wouldn't mind?"
"No, of course not, Sheldon. And it'll give you the excuse you've been dying for: the annihilation of this vortex of chaos and entropy." His eyes lit. "Also, I'll go buy some fresh sheets. What's your Meemaw's favorite color?"
She looked into his blue eyes and smiled. "I wonder why. Okay, so I'll get some new blue sheets that you can wash to your specifications. You'll need to call the building manager and get them to fix the elevator tomorrow; you don't want her have to climb all those stairs. We'll need to go to the grocery, although we can do that on the way back from the airport. She is flying, right? Not a train?"
To her surprise, instead of answering, Sheldon kissed her, right on the mouth. Her hand went to the nape of his neck, as his cupped her cheek. He drew back from his first taste of pure Penny, and licked his lips. "You're amazing, Penny, thank you."
She looked a little shell-shocked, but responded. "You're welcome?"
"What about…?" He trailed off, and stared intently at her.
"About…? Oh, the timetable? I think we can wait another week, Sweetie."
"Are you quite certain? We have tonight…?"
"No, I'd rather wait than rush into it, Honey. Next week you just enjoy your Meemaw's visit. I'll still be here."
He kissed her again, deeper. When he released her, she blinked at him. "Really? Are you trying to change my mind?"
He smiled at her. "I'd have better luck affecting the tides than trying to change your mind. At least they're affected by science."
"Oh, baby, I am affected by science." She teased him. "Biology, chemistry."
"Baby? Penny, really, the appellation of 'baby'…." He was cut off as she kissed him.
"How about sugar-lips?"
She laughed at his squawk of indignation, and then wrapped her arms around his waist. He returned her hug without hesitation.
In the hall, the three witnesses to this scene exchanged a look and quietly returned to the apartment across the hall. Leonard looked depressed. "Guys?" He said finally. "Let's go to a bar."
When Sheldon returned to his apartment a little while later, he found a note from Leonard; he, Howard and Raj had gone to a bar and would be out quite late. Sheldon tsked at the fact that they were having a late night when they would have to be up early the next morning, but he was used to such behavior by now. Then he brightened; he and Penny could have their evening at his apartment, and he could sit in his spot.
He spent a few moments deciding on the perfect movie choice, something they would both enjoy. He hoped that Penny would not choose "The Lake House" again. Once had been more than enough for that.
He walked across the hall and asked Penny if she would mind moving their evening to his apartment. She said that was fine; they were having spaghetti with hot dogs and she could make it at his place as easily as her own.
When Penny came over a little while later, she had all the makings for dinner and a DVD case tucked under her arm. Sheldon set up his movie selection, while Penny started dinner. Sheldon came to help her as soon as he had the movie set up. They worked together smoothly, not feeling the need to fill the quiet. When they finished, they sat on the couch to watch Sheldon's selection. Penny smiled when she saw the opening credits for the new "Star Trek" movie. They ate as they watched, sitting close together. They finished eating long before the movie ended, so they paused the movie to wash up. Again, they worked in companionable silence, and finished quickly.
They returned to their seats, and watched the rest of the movie, Penny holding Sheldon's arm and leaning her head against it. He hesitated, and then rested his open hand on her knee. She squeezed his arm to let him know that it was good.
After the first movie, it was Penny's choice. She held up "Serenity" and Sheldon smiled when he saw it. He put it in, and then resumed his seat next to her. She snuggled back up to him; he looked down at the top of her head and smiled to himself. Towards the end when the reavers attacked Mr. Universe's moon, she hid her face in his arm. He disengaged his arm and wrapped it around her, and she burrowed into him.
They stayed like that through the funeral scene. As the credits started, she looked up at him, and he leaned down to kiss her. Penny was hyper aware that this was the first time they'd made out that she hadn't cleansed her mouth first, and the fact that Sheldon was okay with it added excitement for her.
His tongue swept the inside of her mouth, and hers met his; dueling. She shifted a little, leaning along his torso, and Sheldon moved until his back was against the arm of the couch. His hands cupped her bottom pulling her even closer to him. His hands slid up her back, taking her top with them. She pulled away enough for him to pull her top completely off, then he followed suit, taking off his shirts. She pressed fully against him skin on skin.
Their legs were tangled together, and Penny could feel Sheldon's arousal against her stomach, and eased her hand down to cup him. In a move that surprised both of them, Sheldon suddenly reversed them to the other end of the couch, with him on top. He kissed a trail down her neck and torso to her breast, and took a nipple into his mouth. Penny recovered quickly from her shock, and ran her hands down his bare back to cup his bottom and pull him to her.
He released her breast, and ground himself against her. She unfastened his pants and eased her hand inside, first in the back, and then the front as he pulled back far enough. Her hand closed around him, and dropped his head to her shoulder with a groan. They were both breathing heavily as he returned the favor, unfastening her pants, and trying to get his hand inside. Unable to do so in their current position, he pulled back and slid her pants down her hips. She quickly did the same for him, returning her hand to encase his erection. He thrust into her hand, and pulling on all of his knowledge of female anatomy and his research online, he gently inserted his middle digit into her, seeking her g-spot. She threw her head back when he found it. With his thumb stimulating her clit, and his middle finger working her g-spot, it wasn't long before Penny was on the edge of orgasm.
Sheldon, still thrusting into her grip was also very close, as his mouth sought hers. Their position was awkward, but they didn't mind that as they brought each other off, mouths fused together, muffling their groans and gasps. Once the tremors stopped, they simply lay still, until Sheldon realized just how big a mess they had just made. He eased away from her and went to fetch them something to clean up with.
He returned with a towel, which he offered to her. She put it to good use, and returned it. Sheldon found that he was curiously not disgusted by the mess they had made, and was in fact wondering when they could do it again.
They pulled their clothes back on, and tidied themselves up. Sheldon sat back in his spot, still just a little stunned. "I don't understand," he said finally.
"What don't you understand, Honey?"
"Why that felt so different than masturbation," he answered. At her quizzical look. "Better, but different."
She thought about it for a minute as she sat next to him. "Have you ever tried to tickle yourself?" He gave her a Look. "No, of course you haven't. Sweetie, it only seems like it's the same thing, but it's really not."
"Oh, I see." His expression brightened. "Hey! That's what you meant, OIC equals oh, I see."
"During your original foray into Age of Conan, when we were talking about acronyms, i.e. AFK."
Penny cast her mind back a couple of years. She had a very good memory, so she did finally recall the incident that he was referring to. "You just got that?" She grinned at him. "Good for you, Honey."
He smiled proudly. They sat together for a few more minutes, then Penny spoke. "I should really go, Sweetie. We both have work tomorrow. I'll stop by and get sheets on my way home, and you need to call the building manager as early as you can so he'll have time to get the elevator taken care of."
"I will, Penny." He stood and offered her a hand up. "Goodnight." He walked her to the door and dropped a kiss on her mouth.
"Goodnight, Sheldon. I'll see you tomorrow."
He closed the door behind her with a smile.
A/N I had no idea Penny was so angry at her dad. Not that I blame her.
Chapter 8: Interlude II
A/N Another, longer, interlude, this one has Sheldon's Meemaw to visit. I picture Frances Sternhagen (Mrs. Johnson from "The Closer") as Meemaw. I thought that she would be perfect. Also, be warned, deep thoughts ahoy.
On Monday Sheldon went over to Penny's for their yoga. When they were finished, he kissed her on the cheek and returned to his apartment to get ready for work.
As soon as the building manager's office opened, Sheldon called them and bullied them into getting someone out to fix the elevator that day. He then called Howard and asked to inspect it after they finished repairing it. "I am not entrusting my Meemaw to substandard repairmen." He didn't realize that the message he sent Howard was that he trusted him. Howard was more pleased and flattered than he thought he probably should be.
Penny went to work as usual, and had a decent day. She made better than average tips, and was in a pretty good mood as a result. She topped on her way home, and perused the sheets until she found a set that matched Sheldon's eyes almost exactly. She arrived home around 7:30, to find that Sheldon is already in the process of scouring her apartment.
Leonard arrived a few minutes later with dinner, and they all took a break to eat Szechuan. As they were sitting in the guys' living room eating, Penny really looked at Leonard for the first time in a long while. She stared at him for several minutes. She was about to ask him why he was glowing, when Sheldon interrupted her to ask about the sheets. She shot Sheldon a puzzled look, took in his expression and then realized that Sheldon was "dealing" with Leonard.
She didn't know what Sheldon did to make Leonard all glowy, but she wasn't surprised. After all, he made his fish glow, why not Leonard? She hid a grin and saw that Howard did the same. She wondered if Raj was aware…but he didn't appear to be. Howard gave her a shrug.
After dinner, Sheldon took the sheets down to wash, and Penny joined him shortly thereafter to help him fold. They returned them to Penny's apartment in preparation for Meemaw's arrival.
Then they finished cleaning Penny's apartment. When they finished Penny looked around. She didn't think it had been this clean when she had moved in. They sat on her sofa, and watched a rerun of "Doctor Who." Twenty minutes into it found them dozing off, Penny's head on Sheldon's arm and his cheek resting atop her head. An explosion on the TV started them awake. With a laugh, they decided that it was time for bed. They parted with a gentle kiss goodnight.
On Tuesday, Penny was to meet Sheldon at Caltech, so they could pick his Meemaw up at the airport. She called him from the parking lot, and he gave her careful instructions as to where to find him. Caltech had taken delivery on a new piece of equipment for Sheldon's project and the guys were apparently trying to get it set up.
When she walked into the lab that it was set up in, she saw that they guys were all talking at once and seemed to be having trouble with the new toy. Sheldon tore himself away from the chaos and came over to greet her. "Hello, Penny."
"Hey Sweetie." She smiled at him and then gestured at the machinery. "What is it?"
Howard and Leonard tried to answer her at the same time, spouting polysyllabic words and technical talk. Penny shot a confused look at Sheldon. "Essentially, it's a super-computer, Penny."
"Oh, and is there something wrong with it?"
"Apparently. We have been trying a variety of methods to get it to boot up, to no avail."
She looked at the super-computer, then back to Sheldon. "Did you plug it in, Honey?"
Silence fell in the room. "What a ridiculous question, of course we did." Leonard snorted at her.
Penny blushed in embarrassment. Sheldon glared at Leonard. "Did you plug it in, Leonard? Because I did not."
"Well, no, I didn't…but one of us…." He trailed off as no one would meet his eyes.
Sheldon moved behind the computer, and suddenly it came to life. "Penny, you were correct. It had not been plugged in. I will leave you gentlemen, and Leonard, to run the initializing sequence. Good day." His voice was clipped, and his insult to Leonard deliberate.
"Penny," Leonard spoke, "I'm sorry for…" He trailed off.
"For thinking I'm stupid? Don't worry about it, you kinda' always did." She turned on her heel and followed Sheldon out the door.
"I never said she was stupid." Leonard whined.
"It was implied, and you hurt her feelings. Not cool." Raj said.
"Yeah, too bad her dad didn't see that fine moment." Howard smirked at him.
"You know what? Just shut up."
They returned to setting up the new computer.
In the car, Penny gripped the steering wheel. Sheldon watched her anxiously. "Penny, statistically, emotionally overwrought drivers are more likely to be involved in an accident."
"Sheldon, I'm crazy about you, you know that, right?' Her voice was gentle and held none of the emotions that he had been expecting.
"I am aware that you are more than a little fond of me, yes." He said in what he dearly hoped was a teasing tone of voice.
She smiled at him. "It means a lot, a whole lot, to me that you actually checked to see about the plug. Thank you."
"I should thank you, Penny. The fruitless search in which we were engaged could have continued for quite some time before one of us, myself, I'm certain, would have check to see if it were plugged in. You saved us a great deal of time."
"Let's call it even, then, shall we, Honey?"
"If you wish." He watched as her grip on the steering wheel loosened, and they made their way to the airport for his Meemaw. In the comfortable silence that fell, he ruminated on the incident. Penny was surprisingly practical, whereas Sheldon knew that he really was not, at least not in relation to mundane matters. Another complementary skill. Also, he was upping the dosage of bioluminescence material he was feeding to Leonard. His behavior had been uncalled for, and Sheldon found that he was not in a forgiving mood where Leonard was concerned; he had deliberately hurt Penny.
Penny pulled the car up to the doors, and Sheldon went to wait on his Meemaw. She sat, thinking about Sheldon. He hadn't dismissed her question outright, and she knew that it wasn't because the two of them were in a relationship. He thought that it was a valid question. Leonard, on the other hand, had dismissed it solely because it had come from her. If she needed any further proof that she and Leonard were the antithesis (Hey a Sheldon word, go her!) of what a good couple should be, there it was. Leonard was needy in a way that Sheldon could never be. Leonard needed to feel superior, to feel loved, and to feel that his girlfriend was there only for him, and Penny was never going to be that kind of a girl. She had a whole life that didn't revolve around a boyfriend.
And, while Sheldon might need her, he wasn't "needy". Sheldon needed her to sing him "Soft Kitty" when he didn't feel well, but he'd sing it to her when she didn't, he needed her to help guide him through the social stuff, but he helped her with stuff, too. Of course he was always going to be smarter than her, but she was always going to be more practical. What was the word Sheldon has used? Complementary. They complemented each other. And she thought that was probably a lot healthier.
When Sheldon walked out the door with who could only be his Meemaw, Penny was smiling. They walked over to the car, Sheldon wheeling a suitcase behind him. Penny got out of the car and stood hesitantly beside. It suddenly occurred to her: this delicate woman was the single most important person in Sheldon's life. She wished that she had worn nicer shoes.
"Penny, this is Martha Jane Lee, my Meemaw. Meemaw, this is Penny Olson, my girlfriend."
Penny actually gasped when he said girlfriend, because up until this point they'd never labeled the relationship. Her hand, which she'd extended to shake Mrs. Lee's, was drawn up to her throat, and she fought back happy tears. She collected herself quickly, and gently shook Mrs. Lee's hand. "It's such a pleasure to meet you, Mrs. Lee. Sheldon speaks so highly of you."
"Oh, well, aren't you sweet?" Her gentle voice held all of the Texas twang that Sheldon had worked to rid himself of. "And it's Meemaw, child." She engulfed Penny in a hug. Penny sighed happily.
"Okay, Meemaw. " Meemaw smiled gently at her. Meemaw was a genteel- looking woman of about five foot four, with blue eyes, and silver hair. She was wearing a nice black skirt, a white button up blouse, and her shoes were sensible but attractive. "We should really go. Are you hungry, ma'am?"
"Oh, no, dear, I just want to sit and see my Moonpie." The look she gave Sheldon would have melted the hardest heart. And Sheldon was not proof against it. His normally cool blue eyes were warm and full of affection.
"Penny is going to let you stay at her apartment, Meemaw."
"And just where will she be staying?" Meemaw asked sweetly, with steel beneath her honey.
"On my couch, ma'am. Sheldon and I haven't…." Penny trailed off with a blush.
"Oh, forgive an old woman, Penny dear, I raised Mary Jane, and I couldn't tell you who was more trouble her, or Melissa Leigh. And George, Junior, well…. But, I've never had to worry about Sheldon before."
Penny was speechless for a second as Sheldon busied himself getting Meemaw's suitcase in the trunk. "You don't need to worry about Sheldon, Meemaw." Penny was not going to lie to Sheldon's Meemaw, nor make a promise that she had no intention of keeping, but did want to reassure her.
Meemaw's eyes held a definite twinkle. "You are a dear girl, aren't you?" The two women were in accord; they would discuss this later when Sheldon was not around.
Penny opened the car door, and Meemaw settled in. Sheldon chatted with his Meemaw on the ride back to the apartment building. "Penny?" Meemaw asked, including her. "Did you know that Sheldon was named for his grandfather, my late husband?"
"No ma'am, I didn't. It's a solid name."
Meemaw beamed. "It is, isn't it?"
"Pappaw was a big man, wasn't he Meemaw?"
"Yes, he was. You're tall like him, but not as heavy. And you have his smile." Meemaw smiled in fond memory.
"I was only two when he…went to heaven." In deference to his Meemaw he used the euphemism.
"Wow, Sheldon, your memory…." Penny said in awe.
"Wow," she said again. Sheldon smiled at her. He liked it when Penny was impressed by him.
When they reached the lobby of the apartment building, Sheldon looked at the now-functioning elevator in trepidation. But there was a note addressed to him taped to the door.
"Sheldon, I checked it over thoroughly. You have my word that it is safe for your grandmother. Sincerely, Howard Wolowitz."
Sheldon pressed the button and the elevator opened. He ushered his ladies inside. His eyes met Penny's and he showed her the note. She gave a little smile.
They let Mrs. Lee get settled; she had decided to have a little lie-down as the airport had tired her out.
Penny and Sheldon sat together on the sofa. "I think that your Meemaw is adorable, Sheldon." Penny said quietly. "I see why you're so fond of her."
"Meemaw has never wanted me to be anything other than myself."
"And quite right she is, too." Penny said, snuggling into his side.
"You really wouldn't change anything?"
"Only the plaid pants, Sweetie. Seriously…those have got to go."
He gave her his shy smile, and leaned down to kiss her.
Sheldon's Meemaw recognized the heavy silence in the living room. She sidled over to the bedroom door and peeked out. Sheldon was kissing Penny. A small smile played on Meemaw's lips.
Sheldon and Penny pulled apart, and looked at each other. "I can't, Penny, not with my Meemaw in the next room."
"I know, Honey."
"I'm sorry, Penny." Sheldon's eyes were downcast.
"Hey, the only thing you have to be sorry for is being so nummy, nummy that I want to eat you up." Penny replied with a grin.
Sheldon gave a low chuckle.
Meemaw sighed happily at the sound. She quietly closed the bedroom door, and cast her eyes heavenward. "Sheldon, dear, my little Moonpie is going to be just fine."
A/N Meemaw's visit will be continued in the next chapter "Week 5". Also, thanks to SpaceAnJL for her permission to use Melissa as Missy's full name, and George, Jr. for Sheldon's big brother. **George, Jr is now canon. Yay!**
Chapter 9: Week 5
A/N This is Week 5, and the continuation of Meemaw's visit.
A/N 2-it kind of went in an unexpected direction, so I hope no one is disappointed.
After her nap, Sheldon took Meemaw across the hall and proudly introduced her to his friends, while Penny was getting ready for work. The guys were hanging out until dinner. After the introductions had been made, Sheldon inquired as to the status of the new Super-Computer.
"Up and running, thanks to Penny." Howard said.
Sheldon gave him a little smile, which did not go unnoticed by Leonard. Meemaw asked what he meant by that, and Sheldon explained about the super-computer, and the plug. He left out what Leonard had said, and only mentioned that Penny had been correct.
Meemaw was not surprised by this. "I could tell that she was clever and practical."
Sheldon smiled. "Yes, she is Meemaw."
Since it was Tuesday, Penny knew that Sheldon and the others would be coming to the Cheesecake Factory later. When they walked in, their table was ready, and Penny was standing next to it.
"Hello, Meemaw, Honey, guys."
There was a chorus of "Hello Penny".
"Are you ready to order, or do you need a minute?" Her question was directed mostly at Meemaw, and it was she who answered.
"Oh, do you think I could have a few minutes, dear?"
"You can have as long as you want." Penny smiled warmly at her. "Would you like something to drink?"
"Do you have sweet tea?"
"Yes, ma'am. The usual for you guys?"
They all nodded.
"So, this is where Penny works?" Mrs. Lee asked quietly once Penny left to get the drinks.
"Yes, Meemaw. She wants to be an actress, but she's still looking for the 'big break'." Sheldon answered, using air quotes.
Leonard snorted. Meemaw was aware that Leonard had dated Penny, but thought that they had remained friends. So she was not clear on what the problem with Leonard was; she had never seen her Moonpie act as cold to anyone as he had with this Leonard. "Did you want to add something, young man?" She asked him.
Leonard blushed. "No, Ma'am," he mumbled, duly chastised.
Sheldon ignored the entire exchange. Penny returned with their drinks and took their orders. Once she left to check on another table, Mrs. Lee resumed her questioning of Sheldon. "You don't think it's awkward to have your girlfriend waiting on you?" She asked sweetly. The guys all froze, for different reasons. Leonard kept hearing "your girlfriend" reverberating in his head. Howard and Raj were aware that Sheldon could be falling into a trap. Sheldon was just surprised that his Meemaw, who knew him better than most, would ask such a thing.
"Not at all, Meemaw. This is her job, which she performs rather well. I certainly do not expect her to wait on me elsewhere, not that she would. If I suggested such a thing to her, she'd likely hogtie and attempt to castrate me."
"It's true, Mrs. Lee. Our Penny wouldn't know how to be subservient to anyone." Howard interjected. Sheldon mouthed "Our Penny?" at him. "Penny is our friend, too, you know?" Howard mumbled. Sheldon nodded his agreement.
Leonard had to agree. "It's true, Mrs. Lee. When we were…" he paused and shot a defiant look at Sheldon, "dating, Penny never did the submissive girlfriend thing. She's way too alpha for that."
"Leonard's right, Meemaw." Sheldon said grudgingly. The subject dropped as Penny returned to the table with their food. She stood at Sheldon's shoulder.
"Everything look alright?" She asked. They all nodded and dug into their meals. They ate in relative quiet, not certain what was a safe topic.
Penny returned to check on them, and stood chatting a few minutes while her other tables were quiet. Finally Leonard couldn't stand it. "Girlfriend? Really, Penny when did that happen?"
"It's not your concern, Leonard." Sheldon said coldly.
"No? Well, who do you think is going to pick up the pieces when you get tired of this little social experiment, as you inevitably will? You? I doubt it. Your new best buddy Howard? Unlikely. Raj? He can't even talk to Penny. Guess who that leaves?"
"Not you." Penny said quietly. "You don't need to worry about it, Leonard. Nobody expects or wants you to pick up any pieces." And she turned and walked away.
The other four occupants of the table were looking at him with varying degrees of distaste. He turned his attention back to his plate.
After work, Penny went home and found Mrs. Lee sitting quietly on her sofa looking at the Penny Blossom materials.
"I make hair accessories, called Penny Blossoms." She smiled. "Sheldon and the guys help me sometimes."
Penny sat on her sofa, and carefully crafted a Penny Blossom. Meemaw sat next to her watching. "Penny dear?"
"Yes ma'am?" Penny knew what was coming.
"What are your intentions towards my grandson?"
Penny met her gaze full on, noticing again that she and Sheldon had the same blue eyes. "I intend to hold on tight to him for as long as he'll let me. I'm crazy about him."
"'As long as he'll let you'?"
Penny's eyes dropped back to the Penny Blossom. "Sheldon…well, he will get bored with this 'social experiment', eventually, and move on to other things. As much as I hate to admit it, Leonard's probably right about that."
"My Moonpie? The same boy…."
"Man." Penny interrupted firmly.
"The same man who watches every TV show that he likes a hundred times?"
"I know, but…it's not the same. He didn't really want to…although, he committed a hundred percent to it, but still…he didn't want a relationship. He…really, he was just trying to rescue me…like he always does."
"I thought you knew him better than that, Penny dear."
"I know that he didn't want a girlfriend, and that if he did, he'd want someone a lot smarter than me. Geniuses have a low boredom threshold." She'd learned that one the hard way. "But, Sheldon's honest, and he'll tell me straight out when the time comes. He's a good man, Meemaw."
Meemaw eyed her shrewdly. "That he is, dear, that he is indeed."
Penny smiled at her, and handed her the Penny Blossom she'd made. It was black with Sheldon blue rhinestones. "Here, this will go with your outfit, and look pretty in your hair."
"Why thank you. It's quite lovely."
Sheldon, poised outside Penny's door to invite them over to watch a movie, was stunned. Had he not made it clear to Penny that he was committed to their relationship? Apparently he had not. She had taken his initial response to her suggestion and Leonard's foolish words and behavior to heart, and disregarded his own stated commitment. Or rather, she believed that he would lose interest and no longer retain his commitment to her. She really should know him better than that.
Sheldon knocked and asked Penny if she and Meemaw would like to watch a movie. She smiled at him and told him that they'd be over in a few minutes.
He returned to his apartment to find the others having a heated debate. "Leonard you have got to stop being such a dick about this, Penny may never talk to you again."
"Penny will forgive me." Leonard said smugly.
"Don't be so certain, Leonard." Sheldon said coldly. "You hurt her feelings once more, and she may follow through on her threat to castrate you."
Sheldon stood next his spot and stared haughtily down at Leonard. Leonard shot to his feet. "You're the one who's going to end up hurting her. Letting this farce go on." He glared up at Sheldon.
"Farce? Leonard, our relationship is not a farce."
"No, then what is it? Let me guess…a learning experience?" Leonard was this close to being able to prove that it was just an experiment.
"Well, I have learned a lot, it's true." Sheldon allowed, unaware of the trap Leonard was attempting to spring.
"Well, you're in good hands, there. Penny's practically a pro." Leonard wished he could stop the words coming out of his mouth, but couldn't; any more than he could stop the world from falling down around his ears.
Penny gasped in pain from her position with Meemaw by the door. Sheldon barely registered Leonard's words and the sound Penny made before his primitive instincts took over. He didn't remember thinking that he should punch Leonard, but he'd certainly done so. Twice; a right hook and a left cross. Leonard fell back into his seat, bleeding profusely from his nose and mouth.
"Oh my God, Honey, are you okay?" For one wild, impossible second, Leonard thought that Penny had finally come to her senses, and would soon be cradling his injured face against her lush bosom.
But it was Sheldon she crossed to. She gently inspected his hands. "Let's get some ice for these, you poor baby."
Leonard blinked incredulously. He was bleeding all over himself and Penny was fussing over Sheldon? He looked at her, carefully icing Sheldon's bruised knuckles, and looking up at him like he'd slain the world's largest dragon for her (or the world's whiniest troll).
Raj came over to Leonard with a towel and some ice that he'd liberated from Penny, "Not that you deserve it, Leonard." Raj said clearly, and Penny looked at him curiously, more surprised that he was speaking than at the words themselves. "The ice, Penny, he does not deserve it. To be punched, he totally deserved."
Sheldon looked at his Meemaw, standing shocked in the doorway. "I'm sorry you had to see me acting so crassly, Meemaw." He said, shamefaced.
"Nonsense, Moon…Sheldon. The Lee men, and if I'm honest, the Cooper men, too, have always defended their ladies honor. And your father would have been quite impressed with your form."
Sheldon smiled at his Meemaw, and then down at Penny. Blue eyes held green, "you realize that Leonard was wrong on every point, Penny?" He said firmly.
She looked up him. "I know that you didn't want…."
"How could I have possibly known what I wanted, Penny? Tabula rasa, remember?" He stressed the word 'remember', making a small joke.
"I may not have an eidetic memory, Sheldon, but I absolutely remember that." And she smiled up at him.
In that moment Leonard realized just how stupid he'd been. He'd let his jealousy ruin his friendship with Penny and with Sheldon; just like he had with Stuart. Howard was right. He was a dick. He eased himself up, and moved to the bathroom to clean up some of the blood. People had thought Penny punching him had been funny. He shuddered at what they'd say about Sheldon doing so. And he was starting to realize that if it had been anyone besides Sheldon, it would have happened a long time ago.
When he returned to the living room some time later, it was empty. Knowing suddenly what he had to do, he went to his room.
When Sheldon returned to the apartment from Penny's, the Bottle City of Kandor was sitting in his spot. Leonard had conceded.
The rest of the week, and Meemaw's visit passed more peaceably. On Wednesday, they played Halo, in teams; Sheldon/Penny, of course, and Raj/Howard. Leonard was playing least in sight. Sheldon and the others had won his undying gratitude and respect for not saying a word to anyone at Caltech about the "fight." He'd found out through Raj, that Sheldon felt that bandying Penny's name around was inappropriate. He'd said so after the last incident, and the guys had taken it to heart. They were, for once, a united front.
Sheldon and Penny were, predictably, kicking butt at Halo, and Meemaw cheered, "Oh well done, Sheldon, Penny. You two make an unbeatable team." The both grinned at her.
They played for a little while longer, and then put the game away.
"Are we still going to Giacomo's tomorrow?"
"Why wouldn't…?" His eyes swung to his Meemaw. "Meemaw, Penny and I go to an Italian restaurant every Thursday. We would like you to join us."
"Moonpie, Penny asked if y'all were going, not to cart me along." Meemaw reminded him gently.
"Oh, no, Meemaw," Penny protested earnestly. "Sheldon was absolutely right. He knew what I meant." She sent him a warm glance.
"I'm on fire this week." He crowed.
She grinned at him. "Yeah, Honey, you are. Please join us Meemaw."
"Well, are any of your friends going?"
"My girlfriend, Bernadette, and I are having dinner with my mother." Howard volunteered.
Eyes turned to Raj, who looked helplessly at Sheldon. Sheldon sighed. "Raj will join us Meemaw."
"Good," said Penny. "That will keep the numbers even, just the way you like it."
"I do, indeed." Sheldon confirmed with a small smile.
Shortly thereafter, Raj left and Meemaw excused herself to go to bed. Penny and Sheldon sat on the couch, wondering if they dared to make out a little. Well, to be fair, Penny was wondering that, Sheldon spared it a thought, but was also considering the newest findings regarding string theory and how they related to his own work, how well his beloved Meemaw was, whether or not to let Leonard off the proverbial hook, and the new "Hobbit" movie that was coming out.
She shot a look up at him. "Whatcha' thinking about, Honey?" She asked, hoping it was the same as she had been.
Sheldon Cooper took in her sultry expression and forgot about everything but kissing her. "You are the most aesthetically pleasing woman I have ever seen," he breathed.
Penny felt a small flush on her cheeks. "You're quite aesthetically pleasing yourself, Blue-eyes."
Sheldon felt the heat rise in his face. He dipped down to kiss her, and as usual they met halfway. They were both aware on some level that Leonard could walk in on them, so they only kissed, well maybe Sheldon's hand strayed to her bottom, and hers snuck up his shirts to feel skin. But that was all. Still, they were both breathing heavily when they finally pulled apart.
She traced his full bottom lip with her fingertip as she spoke. "I'm taking Meemaw to get a mani-pedi tomorrow." Her voice hitched as he curiously licked the finger on his lip.
"Oh?" He murmured. Salty and sweet at the same time.
"Yeah, she said...oh" He had sucked her fingertip into his mouth, still more curious than lustful. Although seeing that look on Penny's face was fast changing his focus. "She said she'd never had one. Not a professional one, anyway." Her eyes were half-closed in pleasure.
Sheldon had no idea that fingers were erotic. Even more curious now, he raised his forefinger to her parted lips. Feeling her reciprocate on his digit was causing some interesting bio-chemical reactions. "Oh,' he said, understanding Penny's growing arousal. He gently pulled his finger away. "I see."
"Because you're a very fast learner, Honey." She breathed as she reclaimed her own finger.
He swooped down and kissed her again. He pulled back. "Next week, when we engage in…when we make love, I want to learn you." His voice was low, and full of Texas.
"Oh," her voice was faint. She wasn't sure she would be able stand his absolute focus. Especially if he used that voice. "I'm not that complicated, Sweetie." She demurred.
He snorted a laugh. "You? You're more complicated than physics."
She batted her eyelashes at him. "Why thank you, Sweetheart."
"Sweetheart sounds quite formal."
Her expression grew serious. "Yes, it can be."
"I'm not one for such 'pet names', Penny."
"Gee, really? You act like I don't know you, Sheldon."
"You never mentioned in your guidelines that you wanted me to call you by an endearment."
"Why do you think that is?"
He considered the matter. "Because, knowing me as you do, you realized that such an expectation would make me uncomfortable."
"I really am on fire this week."
"Notice anything about all those times you've been right?"
Again, he seriously considered it. The only common factor had been…"you."
"Still think I'm so complicated?"
"Absolutely." He said without hesitation. "I fear it will take me quite a bit longer to understand you as well as I do physics." He shot her a look out of the corner of his eye. "Years at least, decades possibly."
Penny stilled beside him. "Poor little me, stuck with you until you do."
Sheldon relaxed. "I don't believe that it will be too bad."
"Wow, way to sell it, Sheldon."
"Would you rather I mislead you and paint a pretty word-picture?"
"Never. Honesty is one of your more endearing and annoying traits."
"Perhaps I should rephrase it then?"
"No need, I can see it now: You being you; demanding, egocentric, brilliant, handsome. Winning the Nobel in about two years"
"And you being you; pushy, bossy, beautiful and amazing. And finishing school, getting a degree and helping others." She snuggled into his side as he spoke.
"And the two of us; fighting, making up; and having a great life."
"And a daughter who will eventually rule the world."
"Yeah, Sarah after my grandmother."
"Martha after mine." He countered. Her chin came up in challenge.
"Agreed." He had no intention of mentioning the Doctor Who connection of that name. He needn't have worried, Penny knew it. "You do realize that before any theorized offspring appear, that Meemaw will want a wedding, as will my mother."
"I know, Honey. So will my parents. But that's all down the road."
"What road?" He asked, confused.
"That's all a few years off at least."
"Oh, I see." He grinned at getting to use OIC.
She smiled up him. She really was crazy about him. At first she'd been surprised at how suddenly it had seemed to happen. But she realized that it had been bubbling along, just below the surface for a while. They had always enjoyed pushing each other's buttons, just like two little kids who liked each other. Imagining a future with him in was a lot easier than imagining one without him. And a lot more pleasant.
"Will you needs funds for tomorrows' adventures in cosmetology?"
"No, Sweetie, I have it covered. I also checked the spa out with the Board of Health, and they have a clean record. That would never have occurred to me before I met you, you know? You must be rubbing off on me."
He had a brief naughty flash of 'rubbing off' on her and shook his head a little to clear the image. "If you won't allow me to treat you, at least let me pay for Meemaw."
"I got it, Honey, don't worry about it. It's something for her and me to do together."
"A 'girl thing'?" He asked, not correcting her grammar.
"Kinda', yes. She worked hard her whole life, and deserves to be pampered a little."
They kissed for a little longer before Penny decided to return to her own apartment.
Penny and Meemaw had a very pleasant and relaxing day, and Meemaw had very much enjoyed the pampering. They returned to the apartment laughing and happy, to find Leonard waiting for her. All the laughter drained out of Penny.
"May I speak to you for just a minute, please, Penny." It was hard for him to look sincere with his nose and mouth swollen, and the black eye, but he tried.
"You get one minute, Leonard." She nodded at Meemaw, who went on into the apartment.
He took a deep breath. "I was wrong and I'm sorry. I acted like, well, exactly what Howard and Raj said I was. And I'm really sorry. I'd like us to be friends again, really friends."
"I don't know what to say, Leonard." She hesitated, thoughtful. "I'd like us to be friends, but I'm not going to take any more of your crap."
"I know," he held up a placating hand, "I know, and you shouldn't have to. You don't deserve it. You never led me on, or lied to me, and I had no right to…it just hurt, you know?"
"I understand, Leonard." She took a deep breath. "Okay, I'm willing to be friends with you. But don't mess with Sheldon or I'll…."
"You? I'm actually more scared of him right now. He's a lot stronger than he looks."
She smiled at him. "I know. Okay, and tell Sheldon that I said that I thought that you'd been 'suitably chastised'."
With the spring back in her step, she went into her apartment.
Leonard went into his apartment to find Sheldon waiting for him, with a stern expression on his face. Leonard felt himself cringe, and tried to stand up straight, with little success. "Um, hey Sheldon. I just talked to Penny, and um…we made up, and she's willing to be friends again. Oh and she said to tell you that I'd been…uh…'suitably chastised?' She said that you'd understand?"
"She means that I can cease dosing you with bioluminescent material."
"You were what?" Sheldon started to repeat himself, and Leonard cut him off. "No, I heard you…is that why…? I thought that I was imagining the looks I was getting. Why would you do that?" He demanded.
Sheldon raised his eyebrows at Leonard. "If you have to ask why, then perhaps Penny was mistaken in believing that you had been sufficiently…."
"No," Leonard interrupted hastily. "I get it. I hurt her, and deserved to be punished. Out of curiosity, how were you dosing me?"
"As if I'd reveal that to you, Leonard. Mwua, ha, ha, ha." And with his signature evil laugh, Sheldon left a shocked and glowing Leonard standing there.
For dinner at Giacomo's they all met at Sheldon's apartment, and Penny drove the four of them. Raj politely held the door for the others to pass, and Penny gave him a thank you pat on the shoulder, and Sheldon actually said "Thank you, Raj." Once inside, Vera waved them to their usual table.
Sheldon held his Meemaw's chair and Raj did the same for Penny. Sheldon nodded his thanks to Raj. Once they were all seated, Vera bounced happily over to the table. "Good evening Miss Penny, Dr. Cooper."
"Good evening, Vera, I trust you are well?"
"I am, indeed. Passed it." She said, her voice filled with joy.
"I fail to see why you're surprised."
"What he means to say, Vera, is, good job, he knew you could. I hope you did more than pass it, though?"
"Well," she ducked her head modestly, and shot a look at the other members of the table. "I aced it, 96 out of 100." Her voice was pitched low.
"Ah, excellent," Sheldon said sincerely.
She beamed at him. "Your usual?"
"Of course," he said.
"Ma'am, would you like something to drink while you look at the menu?"
"Do you have sweet tea?"
"And you, sir?" She looked at Raj.
He shot a helpless look at Penny. She ordered him an imported beer. He gave her a grateful look.
Dinner for the most part passed pleasantly. There were a few awkward moments. The first occurred when Mrs. Lee mentioned how fortunate it had been that Sheldon happened to need an assistant just when Raj had needed employment. Raj and Penny realized at the same time what Meemaw had already known, Sheldon hadn't really needed the assistant, he'd just been trying to help his friend.
Penny's eyes were warm, and Raj was a little ashamed of the way he'd treated Sheldon. Raj resolved to get that oversized desk out of Sheldon's office as soon as he was able.
The second occurred when Penny mentioned that she and Meemaw would be visiting Sheldon at work the next day. Raj hurriedly excused himself. It had become of paramount importance that Sheldon's beloved grandmother not see how petty Raj had been, and the insult he'd offered her Moonpie. Sheldon did not deserve that. He rapidly made arrangements for someone to move the desk out first thing in the morning. He owed it to Sheldon.
He returned to the table, satisfied that the matter would be taken care of. The food had come, and they all enjoyed it. Without a word, Sheldon picked up the check and paid for all four of them. As they were leaving, Raj asked, without thinking, why Sheldon had left a larger than usual tip.
Sheldon paused in ushering his ladies out the door. "I have it on reliable authority that waitresses 'earn every cent' especially with myself as a customer." His eyes cut to Penny's, who looked up at him innocently.
"Honey, you are without a doubt the single most exacting customer that most waitresses are ever going to have. Ever." She stressed.
He considered the matter. "Meh, that's probably true."
The next morning went off without a hitch, the too large desk was moved out of the office, and replaced with a much more reasonable one, long before Penny and Meemaw made it there. Sheldon proudly escorted the pair of them through the building, happily making introductions as needed.
When lunchtime came around, Meemaw informed him that she and Penny had made them all lunch. Penny went to the car to fetch it, and met them in the cafeteria. They had made enough for the guys, but only Howard and Raj joined them. Leonard didn't want to push his luck with Sheldon just yet. After lunch was happily consumed, Penny told Sheldon that they'd need to make a point of going to Leonard's lab. Sheldon didn't want to, but trusted Penny implicitly in all interpersonal matters.
When the three of them rose to leave, Howard and Raj (via Howard) both thanked Mrs. Lee and Penny for the excellent lunch. Sheldon gave them an approving nod just before they left.
As Howard and Raj sat there, basking in the warm glow of the well-fed, Raj spoke. "Do you know what has occurred to me, Howard?"
"That you can't even talk to Sheldon's grandma?"
"No, well, that also, but do you recall our debate on which of the two of us would be the others sidekick?"
Howard stared thoughtfully at him. "You're thinking that we're actually both doomed to be Sheldon's sidekicks?"
"I am." They looked at each other. "It could be worse. At least we are not minions."
They shared another long look. "Are you sure about that? He's turned out to be pretty Alpha."
"I am sticking with sidekicks until proven minions. Or until he acquires super-villain status."
"Done." Howard agreed.
Leonard was pathetically grateful that they came to see him, even though he knew Penny must have suggested it and mostly for Sheldon's benefit. Still, it did lay to rest the rumors that were flying around regarding Leonard's injuries, Sheldon, and Penny. It wouldn't take long after the visit for people to find something new to gossip about.
Meemaw's flight was late on Saturday, so Sheldon cooked them all a late dinner of chicken fried steak, and mashed potatoes. "Oh, Moonpie, this takes me back." Raj and Howard joined the four of them, although Raj begged off of the beef.
"Not mad at your parents then?" Penny had asked with a smile.
He smiled back at her. He had noticed that Mrs. Lee had made no comments regarding his ethnicity, something that Mrs. Cooper had done absently. He finally concluded that Mrs. Lee was more sophisticated than her daughter, a fact which surprised him. Normally, children are more urbane that their parents. But, she was nice to him, and he sincerely liked her. She reminded him of his own grandmother back in India. Sweet natured, but with a will of iron. It suddenly occurred to him that that description fit Penny as well. He hid a smile.
The evening passed pleasantly, but far too quickly for Sheldon. Soon enough, he and Penny were taking his Meemaw to the airport. She and Penny said a tearful good-bye. "You're welcome anytime, Meemaw, there's always room for you at my place." Penny told her sincerely.
"Oh, my sweet little Penny-Blossom, I'm gonna' miss you something fierce. And y'all will have to come to Texas and visit me sometime soon."
"I'd love that."
"As would I, Meemaw." Sheldon said his voice low and twangy with emotion. "I'll miss you." He embraced her.
"I'll miss you too, Moonpie. But I know that you're in good hands."
Sheldon gave his slow sweet smile. "That I am."
Hand-in-hand, Sheldon and Penny watched her board her plane.
Chapter 10: Week 6
A/N Only one more chapter after this. This Chapter contains scenes of a sexual nature. Parental discretion is advised. This means you.
A/N 2 "Crazy Hamburger Guy" and "Sweet Sufferin' Jesus" used with the generous permission of SpaceAnJL. Thank you for letting me borrow AnJLverse phrases!
Since Sheldon's Meemaw had left so late on Saturday, and Penny was working on Sunday, Penny thought it would be best to wait until the following Saturday for them to make love. She didn't want them to be rushed or either of them to have to get up for work the next day.
She had spelled out in the guidelines that spending the night after intimacy was expected. She wasn't sure how Sheldon would interpret that, but assumed that his plaid PJ's would be making an appearance. She found the thought oddly endearing.
Sunday at the Cheesecake Factory was busy, so the day flew by for Penny. When she got home, she took a long hot bath, and relaxed for the first time in what felt like weeks. She dressed in comfy clothes, and sat down to watch TV. She had dozed off, when Sheldon's signature knock awoke her.
"Good evening, Penny." He cocked his head to the side and scrutinized her. "Are you tired?"
"Yeah, a little. It was brutal today; we were short, and busy."
"I trust that you were suitably compensated via tips?"
She smiled at him. Tell him something once, let him absorb it, and he'd never forget. "Pretty good. What are you up to?"
"I wondered if you would like to watch television, or are you napping?"
"Both, actually. I'm just watching…," she shot a look over her shoulder, and felt her eyebrows go up. "I have no idea what I'm watching, but I'm sure we can find something that we'd both like."
He smiled happily and followed her back to her couch. They channel surfed until they found something that they were both willing to watch, and Penny snuggled up to his side. He tentatively wrapped his arm around her and they watched in peace. After the program ended, Sheldon kissed her on top of her head, and said goodnight.
They didn't see each other on Monday due to conflicting work schedules. And Tuesday, she didn't see him until they came into the Cheesecake Factory for dinner. That was one thing that she could count on: whenever "Crazy Hamburger Guy" came in, the table was hers, no questions asked. Bernadette would take them if Penny was out, but if Penny was there, all hers.
On Halo night, Penny and Sheldon kicked everyone else' butts three players to two. They were both unbelievably smug about it, too.
On Thursday, Sheldon and Penny went to Giacomo's. Vera was pleased to see them. As they waited for their food to arrive, Penny cleared her throat gently. "I registered for classes," she finally said, her voice anxious.
"Splendid. What classes are you taking?" He enquired, truly interested.
"Well, I was a lot closer to finishing than I realized, I only need a few credits. I'm focusing on the psychology classes as you suggested. I could have a Bachelor's in a little over a year."
"You will find the degree beneficial."
She blushed. "I know it's not a doctorate, but…."
"There is no reason why you couldn't eventually obtain a doctorate, if you wish for one. Your chosen vocation may not require one, although psychology might be more lucrative field in the long run."
"Indeed, that is a good point. There is, however, no need to decide at this time."
Penny smiled at him. He wanted her to continue school, not because he thought that he was too smart for her otherwise, because, honestly, even with a doctorate, Sheldon was *always* going to be smarter than she was. Nor was it because he was embarrassed by her lack of a degree. No, he wanted it *for* her because he thought it would benefit her. And she found that incredibly sweet.
After dinner they strolled over to a second hand bookstore that was nearby. Penny had her book list for her classes, and was hoping to get at least some of them cheap. She only found one of the books on her list, but Sheldon suggested an online site that might have a better selection. He however, found a classic science fiction novel that he'd never found elsewhere.
They returned to her apartment and sat on her sofa. She initiated the first kiss, but Sheldon followed through wonderfully. He traced her lips with his tongue and she opened immediately for him. His large hands cupped her face, as he kissed her breathless.
She moved to sit on his lap, his hands now on her hips. Her hands slid up under his shirts, toying with his nipples, and running her fingertips through his sparse chest hair. Sheldon, in turn, cupped her bottom, his hand grasping reflexively. She could feel his arousal under her bottom, which sent a hum through her body. They could do it tonight, just let go and lose themselves in the others body. She almost had herself talked into it; her hand was sliding down his chest to trace him through his slacks, when her cell phone rang.
Recognizing her dad's ringtone, Penny eased herself away from Sheldon, and excused herself to answer. "Hey Dad." Pause. "Good and you and Mom?" Pause. "No," her voice grew irritated, a tone Sheldon was all-too-familiar with. "Yes, I am involved with someone right now. No, Dad not an actor." Pause. "Not a pretty-boy," she grinned at Sheldon, "although he is really good-looking." Sheldon blushed. Long pause. "Dad, I don't love Leonard, most of the time lately I don't even like the little…yeah, I know he's got a real job. So does…no, Dad, I will NEVER get back with…because I don't…you know what Dad, it's late and I'm going to bed….yes alone! Because we haven't…no he's not gay, I am not some kind of beard…Goodnight, Dad." She disconnected and stood blinking rapidly. "I don't think my Dad likes me very much, Sheldon."
"Mine didn't like me either." He offered.
"Meemaw likes us." She smiled as she said it.
He gave his slow sweet smile, "she does."
"I think I will go to bed, now, it's late."
He rose to his feet, kissed her cheek and crossed to the door. "Goodnight, Penny." He paused at the door. "Penny, I like you."
Her eyes stung with sudden tears. "I like you, too, Sheldon. I think you're amazing. Goodnight."
The next day passed quietly, Penny worked late and didn't see Sheldon until it was nearly his bedtime. She went over, mostly just to see him. The guys had left, and Sheldon and Leonard were watching TV. Leonard raised his eyebrows, asking silently if she wanted him to go. She gave a small grin and shook her head no. "I just came to say goodnight."
Sheldon stood. "I will walk you back to your apartment, Penny," he stated. He cautiously put his hand on the small of her back and guided her out the door. Once inside her apartment, she wrapped her arms around his narrow waist. He didn't hesitate to enfold her in his arms.
"I have the breakfast shift tomorrow, Sweetie, but you and I really need to talk about tomorrow night."
"Now?" He asked into her hair.
"If you'd like."
"If this is about coitus, lovemaking, I have read your guidelines." He said as he released her and let her pull him to the sofa.
"Well, kind of. Condoms."
"Condoms?" He stared at her for a few seconds, processing. "Ah, I do not have any in my possession. Perhaps Leonard…."
"Getting condoms from Leonard? Just, no. That would be wrong on so many levels." She pulled her bottom lip between her teeth, and Sheldon's attention focused on her mouth. "I could just go ahead and get some, but you really should see if there's something specific that you'd prefer to use. I don't know what kind of criteria you'd use to pick something like that."
"An interesting and valid point. Would it be better if I selected them while you are at work?"
"It would if you'd ever … but this is where book stuff and real life experience need to overlap."
"Then we need to go together." He stated it as a fact.
"Apparently." She sighed. "You should do online research and get an idea of what you're looking for."
"Excellent notion, Penny."
She couldn't help but smile at his enthusiasm. "Thanks, Honey."
Sheldon took in her expression. "Are you tired?" He ventured at last.
"Got it in one. " Her smile was honest.
"Then I will see you after work tomorrow and we will make an optimal selection."
Her smiled grew. "That we will."
He kissed her cheek and showed himself out.
The next day after work, Penny changed clothes and waited for Sheldon. She was actually more nervous about shopping for condoms together than she was about having sex. She was pretty sure that Dr. Fast-Learner-Eidetic-Memory was going to surpass any and all expectations. Buying condoms on the other hand was asking for trouble. If they couldn't manage this, then all their oblique references to future would probably come to nothing.
Sheldon came over shortly thereafter, armed with a list of criteria for condom purchasing. Penny blinked when he attempted to explain what he required. She found it funny that nowhere on his list did size appear. Well, she'd just have to guide him in the right direction on that.
Once in the store, Penny led him straight to the correct aisle. Sheldon blinked at the sheer number choices available. Penny stood next to him with her hand flat in the center of his back. "Now, Sweetie, what are your criteria, again?"
He took out his list, and started to recite them one at a time. They perused boxes and the ones that fit the criteria were set aside. Once they had narrowed it down, Penny started to look at them for what her experience told her would work best for them. "Penny?"
"Hmm?" She said absently. She had never paid this much attention to condoms before, and found that there was a lot of information that she'd been missing.
"We have not considered any of those?" He gestured to the novelty condoms, flavored, glow-in-the-dark, etc.
"We don't need those. They're a little advanced for us."
His eyes dropped. "For me, you mean."
"No, Sheldon, for us. I've never used any of those, and we don't need to spice up our love life." Green eyes looked into to blue. Blue dropped to the ground.
"What about size?" He asked at last, his voice hesitant. "I don't see any sort of sizing chart."
She grinned at him. "You never compared yourself to others?"
He blinked at her in confusion. "When would I have done so?"
He had her there, he was little more than a baby when he was in college, at least the first time, and he wouldn't go to a gym, and if he did he sure as hell wouldn't be showering in the communal showers. "The guys?" She couldn't help but ask.
"That would be a sure fire way to end our friendship; trying to compare penises. No."
She laughed a little trying to imagine such a conversation. "Yeah, fair enough. Well, I happen to know your size, so we don't need a chart."
"Oh, how helpful." He wondered if he should ask. Probably not. Penny would tell him if he needed to know.
"You're absolutely certain that you're not allergic to latex, right?" She knew that his costumes were frequently made of the stuff, but this was going in a lot more sensitive area.
"Yes, I was tested for various allergies when Missy wanted a cat. Did you know that despite my asthma, I was not allergic to the cats themselves?"
"I did not know that. It explains a lot." His eyebrows rose. She chose her words very carefully. "Such as the herd of cats when you and Amy Farrah Fowler parted ways." She paused. "I haven't seen Amy in awhile." She realized. "You guys parted again?"
"I was given to understand that it was inappropriate for me to continue a relationship with another female whilst pursuing a romantic one with you."
"Aw, Honey, I don't mind if you and Amy hang out. You have no romantic interest in each other. And I know you enjoy talking to her."
His eyes studied her face and found nothing but sincerity. "If you are quite certain that this will not develop into a 'thing' at a later time." He did the air quotes.
"Not unless you start spending an unreasonable amount of time with her, or blowing me off to spend time with her." Penny would not have phrased it so bluntly for any other man.
"And an 'unreasonable amount of time' would be defined how?"
"It's subjective, so I'm afraid that I can't give an actual definition. One guideline would be: more time than you're spending with me. But that wouldn't be the sole point." Dating Sheldon was doing wonders for her vocabulary. She actually had to explain a word to her boss at work. He had not been pleased. But, she'd tried to be nice about it, and not smug.
"Ah, you will let me know if we are approaching such a point?"
"Way before it gets there, Sweetie." She promised.
Satisfied, Sheldon returned his attention to the condoms and the original question. "I am certain that I am not allergic to latex."
"Then I think we're getting this one." She selected a box.
"Do you have breakfast food in your apartment?"
"Eggs and bread. Why?"
"Tomorrow morning will be French toast day."
She smiled softly at him. "Then we'll need a few more things."
They finished their shopping, and headed home. They had decided on a quiet dinner at Penny's, followed by laundry. After the unromantic task of laundry was completed they would return to her place.
She wasn't sure how they would segue from putting laundry away to making love, but she was a creative woman and had faith that she would think of something. If all else failed, she would simply tell him it was time and lead him into the bedroom. Sheldon and blunt did go hand in hand after all.
Dinner consisted of Sheldon's favorite spaghetti and hot dogs. Penny had to admit, it was a lot better than it sounded. And it made him so happy to have it. After dinner, Sheldon went to gather his laundry, while Penny got her together. She stripped her bed, and stuffed the sheets into the hamper.
Since Sheldon had, with a little help from her, thoroughly cleaned her apartment, she'd made an effort to keep it picked up. It didn't take her long if she did it a little bit at a time, and it was something else that made him happy. He had stepped so far out of his comfort zone to be in this relationship with her, she found that she really wanted to do things for him. Not because she felt like owed him, but because she loved the happy little-boy smile he would get.
Out of sheer habit, they went down the steps to the laundry together, neither even thinking about the fact that the elevator was now functional. Laundry started, they stood, looking at each other. Penny told him that she had gone to the book site that he had recommended and found the rest of her required material for the upcoming term. They talked about her schedule; she had made sure to schedule around Tuesday and Thursday nights.
Then Sheldon told her about his days in college, and some of the experiments that he had run on his classmates without them realizing it. Watching him talk, eyes sparkling with remembered mischief, she couldn't believe that some college girl hadn't swooped in and deflowered him, at least when he was in college the second time (and older than twelve). She was glad, because he deserved better, but she was surprised. Tall, good-looking, and oh-so-innocent, he would have been hard to resist.
Hell, even when he drove her nuts, *she* found him hard to resist. And that was before she realized that she had warm-fuzzy feelings for him. Okay, before she admitted that she had them. Even to herself.
They chatted amiably about college, and finished their laundry. Once everything was folded and they were heading up the stairs, Penny had a bright idea. "Sweetie, I'm going to take a nice long shower, but would you come over later and help me make my bed?"
He paused on the step, wondering if he were reading the subtext correctly. Usually, such things were beyond him, but he thought that he and Penny were "on the same page." "Of course. Should I bring my…overnight bag?"
She smiled at him. "That would be efficient, then you won't have to worry about it later."
He returned her smile, pleased he had understood correctly. "Would an hour be sufficient time for your ablutions?"
"Plenty thank you, Sheldon."
They parted ways on their floor, after Penny kissed Sheldon's cheek.
When she got into her apartment, Penny put her clothes away, and took her shower. She washed herself thoroughly, and brushed her teeth when she was done. Sheldon had said that he was going to "learn" her, and while she wasn't quite sure what that was going to entail, she didn't want to take any chances.
Sheldon was uncertain as to whether he should take his shower before going to Penny's. And if he did, should he put on his PJ's, or a fresh set of clothes? He would not ask Leonard, even if he were present to ask. The guys had taken pity on Leonard (and possibly Sheldon) and taken Leonard to a bar. Afterwards, assuming none of them picked up a woman, they would spend the night at Howard's. He finally decided that he didn't want to shower at Penny's, so he would take his shower now, and wear his PJ's over.
Precisely one hour after they parted, Sheldon knock, knock, knocked on Penny's door. She opened it with a smile, "hi, Sweetie." She gestured him, feeling a little awkward. She pushed past the awkwardness, and led him to her bedroom. She had tried to think of everything that they might need for the night: bottles of water, towels, clean sheets folded and ready to go on the bed, and condoms discreetly ready in her night table drawer. She, herself, was wearing a nightgown and her pink robe. It almost felt too efficient, but for Sheldon's first time, she wanted everything to go smoothly.
They made her bed, and she watched his hands smooth the comforter over her pillows. She untied her robe, and was about to drop in the floor when Sheldon took it from her and hung it up on the hook on the back of her door. After a second's hesitation, he hung his up as well.
He came and stood behind her, and gently ran his fingertips along her shoulders. "You skin is remarkably soft," he murmured, his voice deeper than usual. Penny felt a shiver run down her spine. She tilted her head to the side, hoping that he would take the hint. He shifted her hair aside and trailed kisses from the nape of her neck to the curve of her shoulder and then he did the same for the other side. His movements were slow, methodical and drove her wild. She wanted more and soon, but pulled herself up short. She took a deep calming breath (not her first with Sheldon, although the first for this reason), and relaxed into the moment.
Still kissing her neck and shoulders, Sheldon eased them towards the bed, and sat upon the edge, Penny in front of him facing away. He ran his fingertips over the smooth skin of her back, his lips following slowly behind. Whenever he found a spot that made her shiver or gasp, he made a mental bookmark so he could return to it later.
He slid the strap of her nightgown off of her shoulders and it pooled at her feet. He held her hand so that she could step out of it. Once she'd done so, he bent and picked it up. He folded it and sat it on her chair. He resumed his spot on the bed, except now she faced him. He repeated his movements, trailing his fingers over her smooth skin, following with his lips. Her hands clasped his head, gently, and her head was thrown back.
Apparently she liked what he was doing. As he was considering his next move, Penny leaned down and kissed him. Her hands rested on his shoulders, and he wrapped his arms around her waist. Penny's hands slid from his shoulders to the buttons on his pajama shirt. Taking her cue from him, she slowly unbuttoned his top, and eased it off of him. She folded it, and sat it on top of her nightgown. Her hands trailed slowly down his torso, returning back up with the hem of his t-shirt. She pulled it off of him, and folded it also. He smiled against her skin.
She returned her mouth to his, and applied just enough pressure to his shoulders to indicate that she wanted him to lay back. He did, scooting further onto her bed. She lay beside him, facing him, bare chest to bare chest. He pulled away from her lips, and ran his fingertips over the areas that he had bookmarked earlier.
Penny could only close her eyes in pleasure. He had found erogenous zones on her that she hadn't been aware of. There was definitely something to be said for slow and thorough. With that thought, Penny resumed her own careful mapping of Sheldon. She trailed her fingers over surprisingly warm skin, and followed with little nips and kisses.
Sheldon's fingers tangled in her hair, holding her to him as she licked and sucked and ever-so-gently bit his nipple. He stared fixedly at the sight of her tan skin next to his paleness. He felt her hand easing his pajama bottoms down his hips, so he rolled onto his back and lifted his hips to aid her. He felt the air hit his bare skin and shivered. He watched as Penny folded the bottoms and placed them on the growing stack of their clothes.
Both now in only their underpants, Penny trailed her fingers up his legs, to his thighs, and ghosted them over the evidence of his desire for her. His hips gave a jerk without any consent from him. It was not enough, that light touch, he needed more. He mimicked her, gliding his fingertips over the soft skin of her legs, her thighs, to the center of her. She gasped as his long elegant fingers just barely brushed against her.
Her lips sought his, fusing them together, as their hands resumed trekking across each other. All too soon, the languid caresses became more urgent, and need built. Sheldon's research online had led him to one idea in particular; he should make certain that Penny has orgasmed before he joined with her, just in case his efforts to increase his stamina had been insufficient to outlast her.
With that thought he allowed his fingers to move with more purpose than just exploration, he removed her panties, sought her warmth and put his accumulated research to good use. Successful in his first attempt, he repeated it for good measure. Penny lay back, and tried to catch her breath. Dear Lord, he would *never* cease to amaze her.
She reached across him to open her table drawer and removed one of the foil packets. Sheldon, suddenly quite breathless himself, watch as Penny slid his underwear off and carefully encased him in the condom. Her hand smoothing the latex over him was nearly his undoing, but once again research came to his aid. Football statistics floated in his mind as he tried to recall his brother George's final season of high school football.
Penny held his lips as she climbed atop him, and slowly took him inside her, giving herself time to adjust to him. At the first feel of her warmth engulfed him, he breathed "Sweet Sufferin' Jesus." Buried to the hilt, his eyes screwed tight as he tried to remember his brother's name, let alone his dratted stats, he realized that Penny wasn't moving.
"You okay, Sheldon?" She asked in some concern.
"God, yes," he answered. "Please, Penny." He said, not sure what he was asking for but certain that Penny would.
Satisfied that he was with her, she rose up and slid back down. His hands cupped her hips almost painfully tight. She did it again and again until she found a rhythm that made her toes tingle and the flush of pleasure spread through her. Soon she was tightening around his length, gasping and saying his name over and over.
She dropped her head to his chest, her breath rapid, and realized with some surprise that he hadn't gone over the edge with her. When he realized that she had orgasmed, he released the tight control that he had been exerting, rolled them over, and started thrusting.
Penny arched her back, and wrapped her legs around his waist. The new angle sent him deeper and they groaned together. Sheldon hips moved faster and faster, hitting a spot that made Penny cry out in pleasure. He felt it building, in a way that he'd never felt before, and with one, two, three thrusts, climaxed, pushing Penny over with him.
He collapsed onto her, and she wrapped her arms around him, holding him to her while he recovered. Finally able to breathe again, Sheldon shifted onto his side, and lay staring at her. "Penny?"
"Sheldon." Her voice was tender, happy and breathless. All the things that she felt at that moment.
"That was …I have no words to …."
"I know, Honey, I know exactly what you mean." She gave a satisfied stretch. "That was amazing."
He smiled. "Yes, that's the word."
Eventually they'd have to take care of the mundane tasks, condom disposal, washing up and so forth, but for this moment they could just bask in having found what they hadn't even realized that they were looking for: each other.
Chapter 11: And After
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
It would be easy to say that they lived happily ever after, and so they did. Of course they did in their own Penny/Sheldony way.
When they had been dating for about six months, they went to Texas for the promised visit with Meemaw. Penny stayed with Meemaw, and Sheldon stayed with his Mom. Mary Cooper was still, six months later, trying to wrap her head around the idea that her Snickerdoodle had an actual girlfriend. Not a girl who was a friend, but a 'girlfriend' with kissing and probably sinning. Mary was so happy that he'd found a girl, that she didn't even press on that particular issue. She played the 'don't ask, don't tell' game, and it worked. And if she had her prayer group praying that Shelly would ask that girl to marry him, well, what he didn't know wouldn't hurt him.
Sheldon stood in his Meemaw's kitchen, and overwhelmed with memories of the only place he'd ever been truly happy (before Penny) asked her "officially" to marry him. Since Penny was up to her elbows in suds (they were washing up after dinner), she shot him an exasperated look. "You're the only man I know who finds cleaning up romantic. Whackadoodle." Her expression softened. "Of course, I will you idiot." Seeing the joy and satisfaction on his face brought tears to her eyes. "I do want to wait until I get my degree, though." She cautioned.
"You know it doesn't matter to me, Penny."
"I know, Honey, but it does to me."
"If that will make you happy, then I will, of course, wait."
When Meemaw came in the kitchen to see what was taking so long, she found the two locked in an embrace. "Meemaw, Penny has consented to marry me."
Meemaw's whoop of joy brought Mary and Missy running. Once the news was shared, Mary started planning a celebration party. At the party, Penny realized just how far she'd come. Sheldon's brother, George, big handsome strapping football player type is trying to talk to her and all she could think of was finding Sheldon, so she'd have a decent conversation. And kisses. George saw the dopey smile on her face and excused himself. He didn't know how his brother got so damned lucky, but that girl was obviously crazy about Sheldon.
They drove to Nebraska for Sheldon to meet Penny's family. He was cool to Wyatt, who had continued to nag Penny about her choices, but Penny's mother, Charlene, was almost as in love with Sheldon as Penny was. Unsurprisingly, as Penny told her Mom a lot of stuff that a girl would never tell their dad. Stuff about Leonard and juicy stuff about Sheldon.
When they announced that they were getting married, Wyatt went still and quiet, but Charlene was thrilled, hugging Penny and Sheldon, who suffered through it gracefully.
"You know, dad, you can be happy for me, for us, or not, but either way, this is going to happen. Do you want me to ask Uncle Pete to give me away?"
That brought Wyatt up short; he'd only ever wanted her to be happy and safe. "No, baby, I am happy for you. For you both."
"I promise Mr. Olson, Penny and I will never live in a mobile home."
"Yeah, dad. Sheldon grew up in one, and feels pretty much the same way you do about them. And when he wins the Nobel, we'll use part of the prize money for a down payment on a house."
"I have it all planned out, Sweetie."
"We have marriage guidelines? Excellent, when may I see them?"
"Once we get home, Sheldon."
Wyatt looked back a forth between his daughter and the nerd she loved. And there was no doubt that Penny loved him, she had the same look on her face that his own Charlene had so many years ago. Wyatt felt a giant weight lift from his shoulders. "You know, Sheldon, you can call me Wyatt. Or Dad. Whichever you're more comfortable with." He offered.
Sheldon blinked at him, shot Penny a look, and said, "thank you…, Dad."
Penny's parents insisted on throwing a small family party for them, and Sheldon met Penny's brother, sister, nephew, and Uncle Pete.
They got married in Pasadena a week after Penny graduated college. Her parents came up for the graduation and stayed for the week. Her mom had planned a pretty sizable wedding for them, although left to their own devices, Penny and Sheldon would have had a quiet elopement.
Leonard was best man, and Missy was maid-of-honor. For their honeymoon, the guys had pitched in and got them an Amtrak tour across the country. Sheldon was thrilled, and so was Penny was she found out how many cool places they'd be stopping and that they'd end up in New York. Sheldon promised to take her to a Broadway play. They both enjoyed it very much, and were quite grateful to the guys.
Once Penny convinced Sheldon that since he was the Alpha-Nerd he had a responsibility to his sidekicks (minions), he took his noblese oblige very seriously. Especially once Penny pointed out that they and their behavior reflected on him. He convinced Howard to get his Doctorate, stating that he wouldn't want Bernadette to have one and him not. Sheldon helped Raj secure a permanent position with Caltech, and finagled Leonard into working on some more original experiments. And they all prospered.
Sheldon always tried to adhere to Penny's marriage guidelines, as the dating ones had worked out so well. One area they did almost fail in. Penny thought that they should wait until Sheldon won his Nobel to start having babies (much to the chagrin of Mary Cooper, Charlene Olson, and Meemaw). However, when they'd been married a little over a year, Penny discovered that 99.9% effective was not the same as 100% effective. In short they were pregnant.
"You listen to me, Sheldon Cooper; you better get the lead out and win that Nobel. Once this baby comes, you won't have the time."
"But, Penny, what about the prenatal classes and doctor visits?"
"Covered. Meemaw's coming to help, and the guys will, too. You focus. We are not going off the guidelines now. You're going to want to spend time with us once this one's born, so hop to it."
So Sheldon put his nose to the proverbial grindstone and by the time Penny was 7 1/2 months pregnant, had made the breakthrough that would eventually prove string theory. Meemaw helped Penny keep Sheldon fed and focused, and the guys helped with the classes and doctors' visits.
It was during one of the doctors' visits that Leonard ran into Stephanie and they remembered how much they liked each other. They eventually got married and Leonard ended up surrounded by women who adored him, as they had 4 daughters. He was hugged frequently.
Howard and Bernadette had the most bizarre wedding that any of the gang had ever been to. They were married by a Catholic Priest (for Bernadette's mother) a Rabbi (for Howard's mother) and had Hindu undertones (for Best man Raj). They lived with Howard's Mom, and trundled along quite happily. They had two daughters, who Howard watched like a hawk. No one knew better than him what kind of animals men are.
Raj hooked back up with Lalita Gupta, who realized that he was a lot nicer than she had first thought (Penny made him a short set of guidelines, which he followed religiously; they worked for Sheldon, after all).They had two very handsome sons, who had no trouble talking to women.
Missy Cooper ended up married to a very successful actor from Texas, and they had a set of twins; a girl and a boy.
Amy Farrah Fowler had a tempestuous on again off again affair with Zach and they had a son. They never got married, but they maintained the relationship far longer than many marriages last.
Vera did indeed graduate both high school and college, and she became a Math Professor and married a tall, blue-eyed Physics Professor. Probably just a coincidence.
Sheldon was awarded his first Nobel just after the birth of their first son, Lee Sheldon. He won his second mostly by accident after the twins: Stephen Jacob and Sarah Jane were in college, almost 25 years later. Penny never did catch that "Big Break", but was quite content as a child psychologist, who helped many troubled youngsters.
Their second son, Wyatt George was the only one of their offspring to test off the scales on the IQ test, although all four of the children scored higher than average. Wyatt eventually won his own Nobel for Chemistry. Lee was a very successful contract lawyer, often taking pro bono cases. Stephen became a very famous chef, and had several cooking shows on concurrently. He took up the banner for feeding hungry children, and made great strides for that cause. Sarah Jane went into politics and while she didn't end up ruling the world, she did end up President of the United States and she won the Nobel Prize for Peace.
Sheldon's acknowledgements in his book: "To my wife of 40 years Penny Cooper, a far Nobler prize than the two I claimed in Geneva, our four exceptional children: Lee, Wyatt, and the twins Stephen and Sarah Jane. I probably could have done it without you, but it would not have meant anything without all of you."
A/N I hope it didn't end too sappy for you, and that you've enjoyed reading it even half as much as I've enjoyed writing it.