She’d kind of sort of maybe thought about it a couple of times for a few seconds. She was sure this beta test thing would end in tears, and in the end they conceded that it wasn’t going to work.
Watching Leonard stand at the altar as Priya walks toward him, Penny gives herself one last chance to wonder whether she’s made the biggest mistake of her life in letting him go.
Sheldon, uncomfortable in his tux beside her, leans in and murmurs, “Do you think Koothrappali-Hofstadter sounds more or less awkward than Rostenkowski-Wolowitz?”
She can genuinely smile at him.
After the scandal of Leonard and Priya’s wedding, it’s hardly a surprise that Raj lies low for a while about relationships, because he’s petrified of disappointing his parents too (although, he confides to Penny, he could probably get away with a relationship as long as there wasn’t a fortune spent on it).
It’s not that many months after the Koothrappali-Hofstadter nuptials that Raj starts bringing a lovely Indian girl, Lakshmi, to dinner with the group. Howard whisper-whispers at him in the kitchen, but Raj just shakes his head.
The wedding is in India. Penny is happy for them.
Maybe Amy’s biological clock has started ticking, but when Sheldon’s Nobel prize ambition takes precedence more and more often over their relationship, Penny thinks it’s inappropriate and also physiologically illogical for Amy to turn her attentions elsewhere.
Namely to Penny.
She’s in a rut herself. Bernadette working at the pharmaceutical company means nobody really special to talk to at work; she and Howard are vaguely making noises about babies and the having thereof. So the night Amy pulls Penny into a drunken embrace that lasts longer than it should, Penny lets Amy’s lips linger on hers.
Just for a while.
It’s Leonard-Priya, Sheldon-Amy, Raj-Lakshmi, Howard-Bernadette, so that makes her a ninth wheel and fuck that shit. They all have so many important intelligent things to talk about, especially Sheldon’s Nobel prize. She’s tired of hearing about Sheldon’s Nobel prize, especially since she sees it all the time in their living room now she’s living in Leonard’s old room to save them both rent.
She walks out one night and bangs on the Comic Center door until Stuart, sleepy-eyed and mussy-haired, lets her in.
This time around it works for a while, but then it just fades. She doesn’t know why.
She’s sobbing and the guys pass her around from embrace to embrace and in the middle of it all she’s selfish enough to be glad she’s too stupid to have a degree and to work with microbes that, oh, might be lethal.
There’s a tussle over which post-funeral rite should be held and Penny points out to Howard by way of her fist to his nose that snogging her, no matter how grief-stricken he is, is not an option.
Some months later he tries again, properly, and she says, “Come on, Howard. Raj has been waiting for you for years.”
Penny stumbles into the apartment and slumps onto the couch. Sheldon slides into his spot; she rests her head on his shoulder.
“It’s a shame Bernadette couldn’t have been here for the wedding.”
“She might have been a bit mad that Raj was marrying her husband.”
“It shows that life doesn’t have to be about one ambition after all,” Sheldon says. “She had her work, her marriage, and her daughter.”
Penny feels her eyes starting to burn. “Don’t. Just... don’t.”
“I’d like to share an unrealized ambition with you, if I may.”
And he kisses her.