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The Lone Star Variation

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Penny couldn’t breathe as she stood on the sidelines waiting for the event to start. Sheldon Cooper was the very last person who should be expected to take part in a dance competition, but here he was, contestant number five of five, waiting for his turn, and his dance teacher was pretty sure she was even more nervous than he was.

Penny wasn’t quite sure how she had got into this situation, she must’ve been really bored and kind of drunk when she agreed to such an insane suggestion. Maybe it was because Amy was so pathetic in her looks when she begged for a favour, maybe it was just because the idea of being better than Sheldon Cooper in any way was just too enticing. Whatever the reason, she had ended up with Sheldon’s hands awkwardly at her waist as she tried to teach him the moves of the rhumba.

It had to be the most impossible task since she tried to convince that cop she wasn’t drunk driving after ten tequila slammers and a half bottle of Schapps, but it was too late to turn back now. As Sheldon had pointed out several times, he wasn’t any happier to be here than she was, but that didn’t help Penny.

“Do you really think I have any wish to learn how to shake a so-called booty that I don’t have to music I can’t stand?” he had asked her crossly. “No. I am doing this purely because my ‘superiors’ believe that ‘Dancing with the Scientists’ is a wonderful idea for a charity event, and have said they will cut off my funding if I do not take part.”

Penny had asked why he got chosen and not any of the other guys. Apparently Sheldon was supposed to be flattered to be selected, though he had no idea why. Leonard found the whole thing very amusing, whilst Raj and Howard were both jealous in their own ways, sure they would make a much better dance partner for any beautiful woman that might partner them. Still, Wolowitz was pleased enough not to be giving Bernadette any excuse to leave him by getting up close and personal with another woman.

“See you can do this,” Penny had said with a smile as Sheldon began to move his feet as instructed.

“I can count, Penny, it’s hardly a new skill,” he sighed tiredly. “Moving my feet to the rhythm of music is not something I count as an achievement.”

“Well, I think you’re doing extremely well, Sheldon,” said Amy with a grin.

She was sat on the side-lines, looking far too much like the girl at the prom that nobody wanted to dance with. It might’ve been less sad if the room were smaller, but the girl had really gone the whole hog in her attempts to assist Sheldon. She had hired a proper dance studio at the local gym, and even offered to pay Penny for her assistance. It had taken a lot for the blonde not to accept such an offer of money when she so desperately needed to pay off her credit card bill full of shoes, but she just couldn’t do it to her friends. She had to help them out of the goodness of her heart, however painful it was in some ways.

“Amy, please,” Sheldon rolled his eyes, still jerking back and forth in step with Penny as she moved much more fluidly. “I appreciate your comments when they are helpful or constructive in their criticism, but telling me falsehoods in order to make me feel better about one of the few things I don’t excel at is hardly useful at the present time.”

“She’s just trying to be nice, Sheldon,” Penny told him snippily. “Y’know this would go a whole lot smoother if you just admitted you had hips!”

“Penny!” he retorted, stepping away from her, dancing quite forgotten. “Now, we are all well aware that every properly constructed human being has acetabulofemoral joints, and mine can move just as well as anyone else’s for walking, sitting, and all manner of useful things. I don’t consider wiggling them to be vital!”

If he weren’t being so tiresome, he might have been amusing. As it was, Amy was just getting mad at her boyfriend for not even trying. Penny herself was in fact trying not to laugh. Sheldon was so cute sometimes, when he got all irate about stuff that didn’t matter. The fact is she really believed he was trying here, he just felt so stupid, she supposed. Give the guy an equation to solve or an atom to split and he was just fine. Ask him to dance and, well, actually she knew for a fact he was still fine if it was something upright and fancy like a waltz. This was Latin, this had style and... well, sex, for lack of a better term. Sex and Sheldon went together like oil and water... or was is water and vinegar? It really wasn’t important.

“Okay, let’s start over,” said Penny waving her hands for Sheldon to stop whatever else he was doing and pay attention. “Forget the steps for a second...”

“Excuse me? Forget the steps?” her student echoed with astonishment. “How is throwing out the very basis of the dance going to help?”

“Because you already know that part, Sheldon,” she reminded him, going over to the bench and pulling Amy to her feet. “What we need to get you doing is moving with some actual sex appeal,” she sighed as she dragged Miss Farrah-Fowler out into the middle of the room. “You can do this, right, Amy?”

“I... I think so,” she agreed, though it was clear she wasn’t so sure.

Penny wasn’t so sure about it either and yet when she took the lead and got Amy swaying, the girl could really shake it! Sheldon seemed entirely unmoved as the two young women gyrated around each other. Another little piece of evidence that he just wasn’t like other guys. Honestly, neither of the girls really noticed, Penny because she was astounded by how well Amy could move when she tried, and Amy herself because she was feeling altogether overcome.

“I... I have to go to the bathroom,” she said all of a sudden, bolting from the room.

She spun Penny away as she ran, twirling the blonde straight into Sheldon’s arms that were not quite ready for her. She laughed for no real reason, but was serious again in a second when he adjusted his grip on her and really tried his best with the moves he just wasn’t getting before.

Penny didn’t say anything, she was far too amazed. Sheldon’s eyes were locked on her own and his hands seemed to be burning her through her clothes as they moved fluidly like one person. Maybe it had taken seeing other people do it that had shown Sheldon how he needed to move for the dance. Whatever had inspired the sudden change, Penny was genuinely impressed. She would have told him so if she remembered to breathe, but in this particular moment, that was not so much happening. It was only when the music came to an end that the spell broke.

“Was that better?” asked Sheldon too softly - even he didn’t know why.

“Better, yeah,” Penny replied, swallowing hard, overly aware of hands at her hips and lips close enough to kiss, and... where the hell did that come from?!

In a second she was out of Sheldon’s arms, adjusting her clothes and breathing too hard. That was just the craziest moment ever. Getting her bearings, Penny pushed her hair back off her face and turned around to face Sheldon again. At least that was what she intended, but he was already gone.

That was three days ago and Penny really hadn’t seen either of the Shamy couple since, not until today when Sheldon made his debut. Even so, Amy didn’t seem to be here for her boyfriend’s big event. Penny might’ve worried about that if she wasn’t already on panic overload over Sheldon himself. She absently joined in the applause as the fourth couple finished their dance and walked off the floor, making way for the announcer to bring on Dr Sheldon Lee Cooper and his partner, some beauty with an unpronouncable Russian name - somehow Penny immediately hated her.

The music began, and the couple seemed to start well enough. Penny was counting in her head, encouraging Sheldon with the force of her mind to just concentrate, feel the music, anything so that he didn’t make a fool of himself, but her wishes were in vain. It took all of a minute before Sheldon had trodden on the girls toes, spun her out so fast that he lost his grip on her, and tripped over his own feet when he tried to right himself.

People were laughing, and Penny was most disgusted in Leonard, Raj, and Howard for taking so much pleasure in Sheldon’s distress. His partner could barely get up off the floor, the suggestion being her ankle was injured somehow. There was a distinct look of deer in headlights on Sheldon’s face as he glanced around at the audience all pointing and laughing. Penny had no doubt he was having flashbacks to his painful childhood and wasn’t at all surprised when he bolted from the room at top speed.

Rushing through the crowd as best she could, Penny just didn’t know the building as well as her scientist friends. She thought she could pick out Sheldon’s office amongst all the labs and other rooms, but failed miserably. She pulled out her cell and tried to call him but his own phone was obviously switched off. She would just have to drive home and hope he had headed there himself, Penny decided.

Rushing for the exit, she barrelled out of the front doors, almost sending Amy Farrah-Fowler flying. Wide eyed and out of breath, Penny gasped.

“Amy, what happened to you? Why weren’t you here for Sheldon?” she asked, perhaps a little more angrily than was necessary. “You’re his girlfriend, he needed you!”

“And I wanted to be here,” the other woman explained, pushing her glasses further up her nose. “I intended to be, but I knew you would also be in attendance, and that would make matters awkward at best.”

“Awkward? Awkward how?” asked Penny, looking towards her car and knowing she really needed to go after Sheldon already.

“Because, I am afraid I might have to terminate my boyfriend-girlfriend agreement with Sheldon, in light of new feelings that have been developing within my loins,” she explained, the way only Amy could. “It would seem to me that if I can be more sexually aroused by dancing the rhumba with a blonde beauty than by kissing my boyfriend, the world is not as it should be.”

“Oh well, I... what with the huh now?” Penny asked suddenly, feeling entirely overwhelmed when she realised what Amy had just told her.

Today was getting crazier by the second!