Chapter 1: Two Households both alike in dignity
"When the rate of acceleration is increased by…" Sheldon was muttering to his whiteboard when Penny entered the apartment.
"Hey Sheldon, whatcha doin'?" she chirped. He gave her an impatient wave then continued.
"An electron would move thus," he drew quickly. "Thereby.."
"Are you stuck again?" she called out to him as she raided the refrigerator. Sheldon capped his marker and sighed. Clearly the blond thorn in his side would not desist until he gave her some attention.
"Is there something you want, Penny?" Sheldon summoned all his patience.
"You have to help me rehearse." she told him. His eyebrows flew to the top of his head.
"Me! You interrupt physics for theater. Let Leonard help."
Penny considered that; she had resumed her awkward romantic relationship with Leonard but it had been with Sheldon over spaghetti and hot dogs that she had discussed this big audition she had landed. Furthermore, Leonard was so stiff and awkward when he read lines. Sheldon, for all his tight control, did have a flair for the theatrical.
"It'll just take a minute; I'm auditioning for 'Romeo and Juliet'"
Sheldon crossed his arms, "I assume you are going for the role of Nurse or Lady Capulet as you are far too old for Juliet."
Penny's nostrils flared, "No , I'm not!"
"Penny, " his voiced dripped its usual condescension, "it is a well-known fact that Juliet was an ingénue- a sweet virginal girl of fourteen not a big ol' five of twenty-four. You'd be much better suited as the mother."
"Why don't we let the director decide." she snapped thrusting the script at him. Sheldon casually handed it back to her.
"I won't need this."
"You don't know what scene we're doing." she was growing more irritated by the minute.
Sheldon perched in his spot. "But I know the play. I read it in high school when I was ten."
Penny stared at him, "Sheldon, there is no way you can recall an entire play."
Penny flipped a few pages and threw out a line, "Men's eyes were made to look and let them gaze."
Sheldon cocked his head, "I will not budge for no man's pleasure, I." he finished.
Well, who didn't know that line? It certainly was extremely fitting for the man who sat looking up at her.
"Lucky guess." she murmured as Sheldon smirked.
"Let's get on with it," he urged rising from the couch. "I suppose we'll be doing the balcony scene. Typical."
Penny shook her head vehemently, "Everyone does that. I thought we could rehearse the scene where they meet." Again, Sheldon paused for a few minutes with his eyes closed. Slowly, he opened them, "Got it."
He began to circle Penny eyeing her as if seeing her for the first time. She felt her stomach flip as a sea blue eye rested on her hand, the swell of her breasts then his gaze fell on her lips.
"Good pilgrim," oh God, her voice trembled, "Saints have hands that pilgrims' hands do touch and palm to palm is holy palmer's kiss."
Sheldon was suddenly behind her, whispering in her ear.
"Have not saint's lips and holy palmers, too?" He slid his hand down her arm and laced their fingers. Penny swallowed. Her mouth had suddenly gone dry because all the water had replaced her knees. She had a line but Sheldon's strong grasp was preventing her from saying it.
"Ay pilgrim, lips that they must use in prayer." she finally blurted.
Sheldon turned her to face him still holding her hand. He pulled her fiercely toward him so their faces were inches apart. He could smell the strawberry gloss that glistened her mouth.
"Then move not." his voice warned. "While my prayer's effect I take. Thus from my lips, by yours, my sin is purg'd."
Penny inclined her head toward his. Sheldon just barely held her off. The casual observer would assume they were locked in a passionate embrace but a thread could have passed between them. Despite the heat in his voice, Sheldon looked as unruffled as ever. Penny, on the other hand felt as if she had just engaged in a sweaty afternoon tryst.
"You kiss by the book." she panted feeling a light sheen of perspiration on her forehead.
Sheldon didn't speak making careful mental note of the emotions and signals of arousal that fought within him. A mutation had occurred in their relationship. At first, he was relieved that they could continue their friendship despite the breakup with Leonard. Spaghetti, linen shopping, laundry were all enhanced by Penny's partaking of them with him. However, concern began to gnaw at Sheldon as he noticed a change in his reactions to her and hers to him. How they oriented themselves around each other. Penny's sudden ability to have an entire conversation with him without a word(it made them absolutely unbeatable in HALO). Sheldon always managed to be in the apartment when she was around and she always managed to be with him(just him) when Leonard wasn't around. Sheldon knew the exact measurement of Penny's smile, the amount of force exerted on the cushion to his right when she sat there and how he couldn't possibly allow these emotions to take hold.
He didn't release her, the feel of her skin blazing into his palms and the scent of strawberry drowning him. He noticed for the millionth time how the flecks of amber striated the evergreen of her eyes. He couldn't say the next line; he wouldn't be able to stop himself.
"Sheldon." Penny and Howard(who was on the other side of the door) said simultaneously.
He forced his head towards the door, "I have to answer that." still aware that their hips stayed fused and he hadn't released her upper arms
"Dude, open the door." Raj called. "This robot is heavy."
"We're not finished with the scene." Penny protested lamely.
Sheldon looked back at her- his neighbor, his friend's girlfriend, his…
"I believe you have the scene down." he commented as Howard and Raj commenced with banging on the door. Sheldon strode over and flung it wide.
"What were you doing?" Howard asked.
"Helping Penny rehearse."
"Hi guys." she waved to them from the center of the room.
"Want to see our new robot , Penny. He's a real man of steel." Howard oozed.
"Ah..no thanks." she smiled. "I have to keep practicing. Thanks, Sheldon"
He didn't reply; he was completely engrossed in the robot. Penny was a little hurt that he didn't acknowledge her departure but she could still feel the physicist handprints on her arms as she went across the hall. Sheldon looked up when the door clicked holding the cool metal of the robot in his hands, which did nothing to alleviate the warmth left by Penny
Chapter 2: Wilt thou leave me so unsatisfied?
Penny burst into the apartment looking for Sheldon but finding Leonard.
"I got a callback!" she crowed. Leonard pulled her into a warm embrace, "That's fantastic , Penny. I'm so excited for you."
"To what do we owe the festivities?" Sheldon entered clutching the mail. Penny prepared to launch herself at him but something in his stance held her off.
"I got a callback, Sheldon, thanks to you."
He was genuinely surprised. "Me? I simply ran lines with you; if that enhanced your ability to emote effectively, then it was time well spent."
She nodded, "I completely agree. That's why you are doing it again tomorrow."
"Tomorrow! Absolutely not! Tomorrow is laundry night and I shall be spending the prevening preparing for such."
"Revised friendship contract." Penny sing-songed. Sheldon death-glared her.
"I'll help, Penny." Leonard piped up hoping to diffuse the very weird vibe that was now in 4A.
Penny had her back to her boyfriend continuing to entreat Sheldon with her eyes. She wanted that thrill to course through her again as Sheldon spoke some of the world's most romantic lines. She never felt the same excitement when she was with Leonard. Somehow, the exhilaration Sheldon had caused translated into her acting.
"No. It has to be Sheldon." she said.
Sheldon's eyes clearly conveyed, what the hell are you doing?
"Penny, I'm your boyfriend. I can be supportive and dramatic." Leonard reminded her, seemed to always be reminding her since they had gotten back together.
She faced the clearly annoyed Leonard with a blinding smile, " Sweetie, my psychic told me I'd get the part if I rehearsed exactly the way I did before."
"Your psychic!" Leonard scoffed then swallowed the rest of his comments recalling how unpleasant it had been the last time he had mocked her.
Penny nodded placing a light peck on his lips, "Besides, I want you to see my performance on opening night when it is perfect."
"What about him?" Leonard was only slightly consoled.
"Sheldon?" Penny laughed. "I don't care what he thinks." She turned towards the tall scientist, "So, Dr. Whack-a-Doodle, Tomorrow Night. You. Me. Laundry and Billy Shakespeare."
Sheldon had practically chewed his upper lip off by this point. They were treading on dangerous ground and she knew it. Since their last "rehearsal", he'd made great effort to limit the amount of time they were alone together but that disrupted his schedule too much since she had become such an integral part of his social circle. Penny's eye sparkled with mischief as she waited for his answer. Sheldon could see the pulse beat in her neck beckoning him; its rhythm seeming to echo his own. The scent of strawberries weakened his resolve and he gave her a curt nod.
Penny clapped her hands delighted. Leonard sulked by the sink and Sheldon stalked to his room muttering, "Something wicked this way comes."
Penny was late much to Sheldon's chagrin but he continued folding his shirts into perfect squares(neurotic squares, Penny called them) and waiting. Perhaps she had come to her senses and decide to let Leonard help. How Leonard fell for that ridiculous ruse was beyond Sheldon.
His back stiffened. Could she ever just not annoy him?
"You're late." was the only greeting she received.
For a minute, Penny almost stopped this madness. Almost. She could go back upstairs and limp through the scene with Leonard. It's what a good girlfriend would do. Except, Sheldon had a way of making her feel like a fourteen year old girl whether it was Shakespeare or Star Wars.
"When is your audition?" Sheldon asked rapidly folding a Flash shirt.
Sheldon finished his laundry, "Alrighty. I'm ready. What scene?"
Penny swallowed nervously, "Act 3. Scene 5."
The "morning after" scene. He shook his head. Absolutely not. There was no way he was playing into this.
"What are you thinking , Penny!" he snarled trying to walk past her. She moved quickly saying,
"Wilt thou be gone? It is not near day." she blocked his exit, "It was the nightingale not the lark, that pierced the fearful hollow of thine ear."
Her eyes got bigger with each word as she pleaded with Romeo (him?) not to leave. Soon, they were standing face to face. Sheldon didn't want to answer her. He thought of Leonard upstairs and tried to remind Penny of that.
"It was the lark, "he began tonelessly, "the herald of the morn, no nightingale." Still, he began warming to the words in spite of himself. He took Penny's hand and turned her towards an imaginary window.
"Look, love what envious streaks do lace the severing clouds in yonder east" Penny leaned into him assessing the length of his stretched out arm pointing to a sunrise only they could see.
Sheldon breathed in the scent of her hair which barely rivaled the strawberries coating her lips. His breath hitched as he tried to deliver lines that were once so meaningless to him. He can't feel anything for her; he mustn't feel anything for her but all she does is make him feel.
"I must be gone and live, or stay and die." he choked out pushing roughly past her.
"Wait! Sheldon." Penny cried following him up the stairs. He took them two at a time and she ran to catch him. On the third landing, she grabbed the back of his t-shirt and forced him to look at her. They were both breathing heavily. Penny knew this feeling- she'd felt it maybe once before in her life.
"Therefore stay yet, thou need'st not be gone." she told him. Her fingers trembled as they drew a line down Sheldon's face.
Sheldon knew her fingers left a trail on his face. His shoulders dropped, "Let me be ta'en. Let me be put to death; I am content, so thou wilt have it so."
Penny had somehow replaced the laundry basket that was in his arms. He continued his speech cheek to cheek with her. She felt the lightest hint of beard contrasting with the softness of that cheek. Another angle and she would finally know what a taste of Sheldon was like. He pulled her in with his eyes.
"I have more care to stay than will to go." he murmured cupping her face in his hands.
Footsteps clattered on the stairs below. Sheldon stepped out of her embrace breaking the spell.
"Sheldon, what's happening here?" Penny turned to him for guidance.
"Clearly , I misjudged the level of your talent" he quipped, "and mine. We're merely acting." He bent down to retrieve his discarded laundry basket but not before Penny saw the twitch in his left eye.
Chapter 3: Speakest thou from thy heart?
"It's pizza and vintage video game night!"
"It is also opening night." Leonard retorted. "We'll do pizza and video games the next night."
Sheldon looked at Leonard as if he'd suddenly announced he was embracing the theory of creationism.
"Do you know how long "Romeo and Juliet" is?" Sheldon inquired.
Leonard folded his arms and stared Sheldon down, "You once played Age of Conan for six hours straight. You watch Dr. Who marathons. You are going to this play!"
"I won't do anything." Leonard shrugged, "but I'd be very concerned about my next meal at the Cheesecake Factory if I were you."
Raj, Howard and Leonard were all seated comfortably when Sheldon shooed them two rows down and to the center.
"This place has the acoustics of a lead box." he complained.
Leonard was glad to see the theater was half full. Penny had been so excited she'd been cast but refused to reveal her part. It was about time she enjoyed some success.
Sheldon finally settled down after making Raj move three times. Ugh, this seat. For three hours. He might as well be sitting on a pitchfork. He fidgeted with the lapel of his plaid suit(they had all dressed for the occasion )when Howard leaned across him to his utter dismay.
"Leonard, did you get Penny flowers?"
The look of shock on Leonard's face was the only answer they needed.
"Why flowers?" Sheldon asked.
"It's customary." Raj replied. "The leading lady always gets them."
"Oh." Sheldon said softly. Missed that social convention. He turned to Leonard.
"I suggest you get some or you may lose coitus privileges indefinitely."
"The curtain's about to go up." Leonard whined.
"Apparently, the thought of resuming your masturbatory practices does not displease you." Sheldon replied ignoring the pointed look from the elderly woman in front of him. Leonard sighed and left hurriedly.
Penny put the final touches on her hair. They had a full house out there! She reached down and opened the new pot of very fancy and very expensive strawberry lip gloss Sheldon had sent her. Clearly, he had remembered her lectures about gifts being a way to reflect that you cared. She had found it on her dressing room table wrapped prettily with a note that said:
"For an actress to be a success, she must have the face of a Venus, the brains of Minerva, the grace of Terpsichore, the memory of a MaCaulay, the figure of Juno and the hide of a rhinoceros."
Penny, five out of six isn't bad.
She read the note once more than strode out to the wings.
The curtain rose. The prologue recited and still no Penny. Had they missed her? Suddenly she strode onto the stage.
"Nurse, where's my daughter? Call her forth to me."
Sheldon stared. Was this the same Penny who stumbled around their apartment clamoring for coffee? She simply radiated the imperiousness that Lady Capulet had to have. Leonard nudged his arm, "Look at her, Sheldon. She's really good." Sheldon gave a shrug unable to tear his eyes away.
Penny continued her scene trying to catch a glimpse of the boys in the audience. Sheldon would give her endless ribbings about being cast exactly as he predicted but she didn't care. She strode to the footlights. There they were- Raj, Howard, Leonard and Sheldon. Sheldon, whose eyes could be felt burning her from even this distance. He had awakened something in her and she had to let him know.
"Nay, he's a flower; in faith a very flower." said the Nurse. Penny nodded and began her speech.
"What say you? Can you love the gentleman?" Oh, she definitely could. She knew it. Sheldon knew it. He never took his eyes off her and Penny kept bringing her gaze back to him. Her lines flowed from her lips as she neared the end finally locking her gaze with Sheldon.
"So shall you share all that he doth possess," Penny swept her arm out for effect, "by having him, making yourself no less."
Sheldon felt his cheeks flush. Penny onstage lit up like a supernova was a sight he would not soon forget. And that last line. Spoken for him, to him.
Sheldon glanced at Leonard, gripping his drugstore flowers and smiling at the woman he loved.
Oh, Sheldon thought closing his eyes and pinching the bridge of his nose, I am Fortune's Fool
Chapter 4: He jests at scars that never felt a wound.
When Leonard entered the apartment, he found Penny and Sheldon sitting together on the couch. Perfectly normal. What wasn't normal was that their knees were touching , heads bent together and they were so engrossed in what they were doing that it took a full minute and a half for either of them to realize he was there.
"Hey Leonard." Penny greeted casually before turning her attention back to Sheldon's lap.
"Initial here." Sheldon ordered. Penny scribbled with a flourish.
"What are you doing?" Leonard asked.
"My theater company is going on a tour of five cities in California. I'm having Sheldon look over the contract."
Leonard had the distinct feeling he'd been left out of some significant conversations. Didn't Penny's show just close last week? The cast party was tonight after all.
"When did all this happen?" Leonard demanded, "And shouldn't a lawyer be doing that?" Before Penny could answer, Sheldon tugged at her sleeve directing her focus to a paragraph he had just revised. She nodded in agreement and initialed. Leonard's temper continued to build and Penny continued to ignore him.
"Sheldon! Explain this!" he barked.
Sheldon looked up calmly, "On Wednesday at 7:45 P.M., Penny informed us of her show's success, read us her outstanding reviews from several local papers and bragged that they would be commencing with this regional tour."
"I don't remember that." Leonard admitted.
"Not surprising." Sheldon commented. "You were deeply involved in a heated discussion with Wolowitz over Playstation II's superiority to Playstation I."
"And you were listening to Penny." Leonard challenged.
Sheldon looked surprised by the implication, "Leonard, I listen to everything. It is not my fault that most conversation is drivel and not worth my input." Through this entire exchange, neither Penny nor Sheldon had shifted their proximity to each other. Leonard's temper flared again causing him to lash out, "Again, why are you advising Penny on a contract?"
"Really Leonard, who's written more contracts than I? A lawyer would cost Penny money she doesn't have to give her advice she doesn't need. I am much more economical."
Penny chuckled at his unwitting joke.
"Why are you laughing?" Sheldon was confused. She patted his arm, "Never mind , honey. Leonard, I'm going to go get ready for the party. See you in an hour." she rose from the couch, gave Sheldon a final pat and sauntered out contract in hand.
"Honey?" Leonard hissed at him.
"Already have some." Sheldon indicated the mug of tea on the coffee table.
Theater people really know how to throw a party. Leonard couldn't remember ever having laughed so much at a social gathering before. He walked over to the buffet table examining it for any lurking lactose when he noticed Juliet, rather the actress who played her, standing next to him.
"Hi." she greeted. "Who do you know here?"
"Your mother." Leonard replied.
He realized his own attempt at humor fell short, "I'm sorry. I'm here with Lady Capulet, I mean, Penny."
"Oh," her face brightened. "You must be Sheldon."
Leonard felt his stomach drop. He shook his head, "No, I'm Leonard. Leonard Hofstadter."
Juliet looked at him blankly.
"Penny's boyfriend." when there was no change in her expression, he promptly excused himself to go find Penny.
He found her in the midst of telling a story to a group, "So Sheldon says, 'It depends on what BUS you have.' and the guy replies, 'I drive a Chevy Cavalier'" Her listeners laughed appreciatively.
"This must be Sheldon." a man said as Leonard joined the group.
"I thought he was taller." a woman to Leonard's left murmured.
"I'm Leonard!" he yelled. "Dr. Leonard Hofstadter and Penny is my girlfriend not Sheldon's"
There was an awkward silence after his outburst; Penny stared at her shoes.
"Do you mind if we leave?" Leonard pleaded.
"Not at all." she snapped.
"Why doesn't anyone know about me?" Leonard railed as they drove home. Penny sighed- she should have had more to drink.
"I mean, I'm only your boyfriend and yet my roommate is the one they all know about.!" he gripped the steering wheel so hard his knuckles were white.
Penny didn't answer him. Could she tell Leonard that they knew about Sheldon because her relationship and interactions with Sheldon were far more interesting than the ones she had with him?
"Are you now going to give me the silent treatment?
Penny raised a hand to her forehead and gathered her thoughts, "You know ,Leonard, Sheldon is part of my life too. We've developed a pretty significant friendship over the years and that friendship strengthened while you and I were apart. It's not going to end just because you and I are back together."
Leonard stole a glance at her. He wanted to believe her- that it was only friendship which bound her to the lanky scientist but something was off. Their refusal to be partners with anyone else on HALO night. The laundry nights, comic book runs, spaghetti dinners, scene rehearsals. The contract this afternoon. The fact that no one in Penny's circle knew of him. When looked at individually, none of those things mattered. Collectively, they were beginning to form a picture Leonard didn't like.
The walk up to their landing was silent.
"Do you want me to come in?" he asked at her door.
She shook her head, "I'm leaving tomorrow. You have to take me to the bus station. We should get some rest."
Leonard gathered her in his arms, "You'll be gone for six weeks. Let's spend the night together. Just to be together. Stay at my place that way we'll be ready to leave at the same time."
Dread filled her. Leonard's jealous streak was showing again and, this time, not without cause. He had a PhD and an IQ of 173; sooner or later, he'd connect the dots. Moreover, she didn't trust herself to be so near Sheldon before she left. Perhaps this separation would be good for all of them, give things a chance to return to their normal state. Against her judgment, she followed him onto his apartment.
Sheldon knew he shouldn't have had that last cup of tea. He made his way to and from the bathroom as quickly as possible so as not to further disrupt his sleep cycle.
Penny was sitting in the middle of his bed.
"That's my spot." he said automatically.
"I can't sleep." she said. "I'm so nervous about this tour."
"Well, I can sleep." Sheldon retorted trying to ignore the pulse increase caused by the slide of her tank top strap down one golden shoulder.
"People can't be in my room." he tried one last attempt to dislodge her. Penny simply moved to the other side of the bed and patted the empty space next to her. Sheldon stalked over and sat as far from her as possible. Good lord, was the woman made of strawberries?
"Sheldon, I'll be gone for six weeks."
"What do you think will happen when I'm gone?"
"Penny, I know what will happen. Shall I print you a schedule?".
She smiled. Sheldon's literal mind was comforting in its own way.
"What if I'm not any good?" she asked.
"Hokum." Sheldon scoffed. "You saw you reviews. You have a contract. You know you are good."
Their hands had slipped towards each other fingertips barely brushing.
"Did you think I was good?" she wondered timidly.
Sheldon sighed. He was at the proverbial fork in the road- one held his friendship with Leonard; the other Penny. Still, he was a terrible liar.
"I ne'er saw true beauty til that night.' he answered. Their eyes held and the silence of tonight thickened.
"Can I go forward when my heart is here?" Penny swayed towards him.
"That's my line." Sheldon said solemnly having moved closer.
Penny gave him a glance from under her lashes, "What satisfaction canst thou have tonight?"
He kissed her then. His lips sure in their movement, his hand snared in her gold strands. Sheldon kissed Penny softly, forcefully, timidly and passionately. He kissed her until his lips were swollen with further desire. He kissed her until every trace of strawberry was gone and there was only Penny.
Leonard stood in the hallway outside Sheldon's door. The conversation had long since ended- what was she still doing in there? The second time he reached for the doorknob, it began to turn. He ran back to bed. Penny crept back in and curled up beside him. Tonight, neither of them would sleep because of Sheldon.
Chapter 5: These violent delights have violent ends.
Leonard lay there for eternity putting the pieces together. Laundry night. Her psychic. It has to be Sheldon. The soft murmurs from behind Sheldon's door and then the silence.
He sat up so suddenly that Penny jumped.
"You have to leave." he told her. Penny rubbed her eyes. She must have dozed off.
Leonard was wrapping himself in his robe. His hands shook so much with rage, he could barely tie the belt, "You know damn well why you have to leave now just go!"
"Leonard, calm down."
He looked up at her, "I mean it , Penny. GET OUT!"
Penny picked up her clothes. It was pointless to argue; there was no way to defend her behavior. Leonard followed her down the hall. She gave the door to Sheldon's room a quick glance and tried once more to speak to Leonard.
"I think you should at least.."
He held up his hand, "Don't you dare tell me what I should do. You should have been honest about your feelings. You should not have betrayed me. Now, for the last time, LEAVE!"
The only thing Penny heard before the door closed was Leonard pounding on the bedroom door bellowing "Sheldon!" three times.
Sheldon's door swung open slowly. He was impeccable as always; Leonard looked as if he'd been run through a blender.
"How could you do this , Sheldon! How could you fool around with Penny?" Leonard looked up at him and waited. Some small part of him hoped there would be a perfectly logical and innocent explanation for Penny to be in Sheldon's room at two in the morning. That part grew smaller as Sheldon's answer was not forthcoming.
"Let me be clear," Sheldon finally said. "I have not 'fooled around' with Penny. My feelings are sincere."
This was even worse than Leonard thought. "What do you call it then?" he demanded.
"A natural and inevitable progression."
"Well," Sheldon began. "Much like my relationship with your mother, my friendship with Penny is based on mutual respect."
"You don't respect anyone least of all Penny." Leonard interrupted.
"No! You don't respect Penny." Sheldon shot back anger flooding his face. "She's nothing more than an ideal to you. A way for you to show the world that you can get the pretty girl but that's all she is to you."
"That is a completely false and groundless accusation."
"Is it?" Sheldon crossed his arms. "You mock her beliefs. You never explain your work to her. You pressure her to express sentiments she doesn't feel in order to buoy your self-esteem. In short, you've spent the better part of three years trying to make Penny what you want instead of appreciating all that she is."
Leonard felt like his head was about to explode. Sheldon was arguing point by point and all he wanted to do was throttle him.
"And you appreciate her?' Leonard glared at him
"I have never wanted Penny to be any different. I never objectified her as a sexual conquest. She was always Penny to me and that was enough."
"Aren't you noble." Leonard sneered. "None of that changes the fact that Penny was my girlfriend and your interactions with her especially tonight are completely inappropriate."
Sheldon clasped his hands behind his back, "I apologize for tonight. However, the fact remains that your relationship with Penny was doomed from the start and has now reached its inevitable messy end."
"Yeah, well so has our friendship." Leonard slammed his bedroom door.
Penny didn't really expect to hear from Leonard but two weeks of silence from Sheldon hurt. She was exhausted by performing but still managed to email him every night about the audience or something funny that happened with a prop. She never said she missed him. Part of her felt that his kiss had been a dream- the gentle insistence of his tongue, the way his long fingers kept sliding the strap of her tank top up finally giving up and just holding it on her shoulder. Just recalling the way he'd sharply drawn in his breath when she'd given his bottom lip a nip was enough to make her forget all her lines.
She was eager to finish this run in Glendale tonight. There was a week off before the next set of shows in West Hollywood; Joe(Benvolio) would drive her back to her apartment in Pasadena. Maybe then she would find out what happened.
"Full house tonight, Penny." one of the crew whispered to her as she made he way to the stage. She smiled in response.
She had been offered the role of Lady Macbeth this morning by the director so impressed was he by her performance but her mind was on the message she had just left Sheldon begging him to call her regardless of the time. She saw the Nurse enter from stage right and strode out to meet her. The scene continued and, once more, Penny was at the front of the stage. A flash caught her attention. There in the second row sat Sheldon angling his bouquet of flowers so the cellophane reflected the light. Her voice rang out, "And what obscur'd in this fair volume lies find written in the margent of his eyes." Even from this distance, Sheldon's eyes were telling her all that she needed to know; his being here alone could only mean one thing.
After the show, Penny ran out to the audience breaking every theatrical rule. He stood when he saw her.
"I was told this was custom." he handed her the flowers.
Penny buried her head in roses, 'They're beautiful. What's going on? How did you get here? Why haven't you answered my calls?"
His blue gaze was unwavering as he took in her face and searched for the words to explain his behavior.
"There have been some significant paradigm shifts which have occurred in your two week absence. Leonard, not surprisingly ,has moved out and will no longer speak to me."
She blanched. Losing Leonard's friendship was harder than Sheldon was letting on if the tremor in his cheek was any indication.
"What about Raj and Howard?"
Sheldon relaxed slightly, 'Admirably, they have managed to maintain relationships with both of us. Raj dropped me off tonight and will pick me up if necessary. We have a rather elaborate visitation schedule."
Of course. "Sheldon, I'm so sorry."
"Penny, " he touched the side of her face, "My life would be better ended by their hate than wanting of thy love."
Chapter 6: This unbound lover
The only light is from the bioluminescent fish on the night stand. Lips meet softly and there is a low moan of pleasure.
A touch. A change. A movement in between.
A softer kiss then a deeper connection.
"Penny." a quiet exhalation.
"Penny." deeper, less breath
"Penny." moaned into the pillow.
Her back arches, "Now I'm the one who is trembling."
A kiss delicately ferocious and possessive.
"There, there. Sheldon's here."