To say that the conversation was awkward would have been the understatement of the century, thought Penny, and it appeared to only be getting worse.
As they climbed up the stairs together, Sheldon stopped Penny on the third floor landing. "Her name is Dr. Stephanie Barnett and she is a highly distinguished surgical resident at Freemont Memorial."
"Yeah, Leonard told me," Penny replied.
As she went to continue up the stairs, Sheldon said, "Good. What he may have left out is how important this relationship is to me."
She stopped on the bottom stair and turned back to stare at him. Whack-a-doodle she was used to; this was a whole new level of crazy. "To you?" she asked, having no clue where he was going with this, and feeling like she probably didn't want to know.
"Yes. See, of the handful of women Leonard's been involved with, she's the only one I have ever found tolerable."
Penny wasn't quite sure why she felt slightly hurt by this. It's not like Sheldon hadn't made it very clear over the past year that he preferred smart people to dumb-blonde's who hadn't even finished college, and he had frequently mentioned her less than genius intellect, but this was somehow different. Despite preferring smart people, he had accommodated her into his circle, and the references to her lower IQ had never seemed like personal insults, since he called everyone with an IQ of 186.9 or lower stupid. But this was more. This sounded like he was insulting her personally, that he didn't find her tolerable as a friend. And despite the fact she knew he personally insulted everyone, including her, on a regular basis, it hurt her more than she understood.
"Well, what about me?" she asked, in slightly wounded voice.
"The statement stands for itself," Sheldon replied, as if it should have been the most obvious thing in the world.
She shook off the unfamiliar pain, figuring he was just going through some phase, and she was reacting to this more than she had any reason to.
"Well aren't you sweet?" she said sarcastically as they started back up the stairs, knowing that her sarcasm would go right over his head.
"Anyway, should you have any interaction with her, it would be most helpful that she not see you as a sexual rival," continued Sheldon.
"Yeah, I think she's pretty safe." Why on earth would Sheldon think I might be interested in sex with Leonard in the first place? I would never sleep with Leonard.
"You say that now, but consider the following scenario. You're sitting in your apartment, it's late, you're alone, your hypothalamus is swimming in a soup of estrogen, and suddenly even Leonard seems like a viable sexual candidate." Penny threw him a look of disgust as she unlocked her door. "Or a, uh, 'hookup' as it's referred to by today's urban youth."
"Really?" she asked in complete disbelief at her crazy, whack-a-doodle, genius neighbor.
"Yes," he replied with a nod of his head. "Now, should that happen, I would ask you to find some way to suppress your libido."
She thought for a moment, trying to come up with the perfect retort.
"I could come find you."
She wasn't sure what made her say it. As soon as it came out of her mouth, she internally cringed. Sheldon was likely to run away screaming and not talk to her for the next week; not that that would entirely be a bad thing after this conversation. The last thing she expected was his actual response.
"Fine, whatever works."
She looked at him for a second, and realized he was dead serious. No tics in sight. Which scared her more than the fact she'd said it in the first place. She needed a quick escape from this conversation.
"Always nice talking to you, Sheldon," she replied with sarcasm as she closed her door behind her. As soon as she was safely behind her door, her brain went into overdrive: What the hell?! Was he actually serious? And why did she even care? It's not like she'd actually do it, right? Right?
As hard as Penny tried over the next few days to put their conversation out of her mind, it just wouldn't leave. It wasn't that she wanted to sleep with him, or was having any trouble "suppressing her libido" as Sheldon had put it (she liked sex; she didn't need it). It was just that she couldn't help wondering what would happen if she tried to take him up on his offer; or if he even realized he had made an offer. She also wasn't sure why she still felt slightly hurt every time she thought about him saying that she wasn't tolerable.
She had been over for supper a couple of times since then, and Sheldon had seemed as normal as he was ever going to be. She had carefully payed attention to everything he said, but despite throwing insults around at everyone at his normal feverish pace, including pointing out her lack of education twice, her reckless driving once, and more references to her being messy than she cared to count, she never felt the feeling of hurt that she had felt when he said she wasn't tolerable. None of these insults felt personal; they were all just Sheldon being bluntly honest, not personal opinions about her.
Since Leonard was spending more time with Dr. Barnett, she had been spending more time with Sheldon. Spending time with him alone, she had come to realize that he was actually quite pleasant to be around when it was just him. She was beginning to think that the other three tended to be a bad influence on him, with everyone trying to one-up each other, and Sheldon trying to fit in. She was also beginning to look forward to the times when he came over.
So on a Friday, a few weeks after they had had their conversation in the stairwell, Penny decided to have a little fun with Sheldon, and push his buttons. She had no intention of actually trying to have sex with him — she doubted he would even let her kiss him — but she wanted to see how he would react to her advances.
She knew Leonard and Stephanie would be out for most of the evening, and more likely than not end up at her house for the night; Sheldon still made his displeasure rampantly known when they stayed the night in 4A. And Raj and Howard were out hunting desperate girls at the local bars, so she knew Sheldon was alone.
Around 7 she waltzed into 4A without knocking. He was sitting in his spot, reading some super-scientific magazine of his. That, or the Quibbler; she understood them about equally well. But since he didn't have any cardboard glasses on and he wasn't holding the magazine upside down, she figured it was probably a scientific magazine.
Without looking up, he pointed to the fridge. Casually strolling over, she opened the fridge door. Half a pizza, with her favorite toppings, was split onto individually wrapped plates.
"You can take whatever you don't eat with you whenever you leave," Sheldon said from the couch, still concentrating on his magazine.
She took a couple plates and threw them in the microwave. After they heated, she plopped down in her spot next to Sheldon, and began to eat.
"What would you like to watch this evening?" he asked her, setting his magazine down carefully on the coffee table.
"Ehh, I'm not really interested in watching anything tonight. How about we just talk? How was your day at work?"
After giving her a disapproving look conveying his dislike of banal chitchat, he began rambling about his day. By the time he finished, she'd finished her supper. They settled into a comfortable silence.
After a few minutes, Penny decided to make her move.
"So, Sheldon, remember our conversation on the stairs a few weeks ago?"
"About not being a sexual threat to Dr. Barnett?" Sheldon asked.
"Sort of. More specifically about coming to you if I needed to suppress my libido," Penny replied.
"What about it?"
Good grief, he could be so dense sometimes!
"My libido needs suppressing. And you said I could come to you to take care of it."
"Oh." His face remained neutral, so she couldn't tell what he was actually thinking. After a few seconds, he added in a long-suffering tone, "Very well. But no coitus."
"Fine," Penny fake pouted. "But without it, I'll probably have to come back in a few days to suppress my libido again."
"Then so be it," he grumbled. "Just make sure Leonard's not around. I've no doubt he and the others would take some ridiculous 'bros before hos' attitude towards it despite Leonard currently being in a romantic relationship."
"Oh, don't worry, I have no desire to be doing this when Leonard's around."
She carefully swung her leg over him, and straddled Sheldon's legs. Softly laying her hands on his face, she leaned down. She didn't expect this to last long before Sheldon's mysophobia kicked in, and he tried to escape to his room. In fact, she was surprised he hadn't already tried to escape.
So when he leaned forward to meet her, and threaded his hand through her hair, she was taken by quite the surprise. His kiss was certainly inexperienced, and as such fairly tentative to start, but it was certainly more purposeful than she had expected. After a moment of shock, she let her instincts take over, and began taking control of the kiss. As she did so, she sank down so she was resting in his lap. She deepened the kiss, tentatively running her tongue across his lips. His lips immediately parted, and her tongue found it's way into his mouth. Finally breaking apart, she looked at him in confusion.
"Why are you letting me do this?" she asked.
"We made a verbal contract to prevent you from being a threat to Dr. Barnett, in exchange for you using me to control your libido. I am upholding my end of the deal," replied Sheldon matter-of-factly.
"But you're a mysophobe, who can't touch people or stand having people touch you. And you certainly don't kiss [exchange saliva with] people."
"Just because I don't doesn't mean I can't. Anyway, have I ever said I can't touch people, or am unable to perform the baser instincts of humans? I simply ignore the urges most Homo Sapiens seem unwilling to control."
"But you flinch away when people touch you," replied Penny, surprised by what Sheldon had just told her.
"I don't like being touched. That is not the same as not being able to touch others." He paused for a second, before adding in almost a whisper, "And it has nothing to do with being a mysophobe."
Penny knew there was something he wasn't telling her, but she also knew better than to pry into his past right then, so she brought her lips back down on his, and began running her hands up his chest. His hands found their way across her back, and his lips and tongue resumed their dance with hers. Like with everything else, he was a quick learner, and with his eidetic memory, he never forgot anything.
As much as Penny was enjoying making out with Sheldon, there was still one small thing pricking at the back of her mind. She leaned back from him, and looked at him carefully. "Why did you say I wasn't tolerable?" she asked softly.
He looked at her confused for a moment, before answering slowly, "I didn't say you were intolerable. I said you weren't tolerable for Leonard."
"Oh." she whispered softly after a moment, unable to think of anything else to say.
"Why did you think I meant you were intolerable?" Sheldon asked in confusion.
"You said Dr. Barnett was the only girl out of the women Leonard's been involved with that you found tolerable, and when I asked if you found me tolerable, you said the statement stood for itself," Penny replied softly.
"But you've never been involved with Leonard. You went on one real date together, plus one he had tricked you into before that; and you never slept with him. My statement did stand for itself; you aren't one of the handful of women Leonard's been involved with. Dr. Barnett is the only woman Leonard's been involved with that I have ever found tolerable."
"Then what about me? Do you find me tolerable?" she asked softly, still looking him straight in the eye.
"As a potential mate for Leonard, no. You are better than that. But as a person, obviously; I would not have made the effort to include you in my circle if I did not find you tolerable."
Penny flew forward and buried her head in his chest, crying softly, her arms wrapped around him tightly. She couldn't believe how much relief it brought her hearing him say she was tolerable to him. After a few moments his hands found their way lightly onto her back, slowly moving back and forth, as his chin rested lightly on the top of her head.
After a while, she finally pushed herself back off of him. "Sorry," she mumbled, wiping away her tears with the back of her hands. "That was the nicest thing anyone has ever said to me," she said quietly towards his chest, unable to look him in the face. "Even if it was in your own whack-a-doodle way," she finished, finally looking up at his face and smiling.
Penny rolled off of him, back into her normal spot.
"What about your libido?" Sheldon asked, looking at her confused.
"I think it's okay for now," she answered, lightly patting him on the chest.
After a few seconds, she turned to face him, and said, "Can I ask you something?"
"You've never had a problem before," responded Sheldon, looking down at her.
Penny rolled her eyes before continuing. "You said I deserve someone better than Leonard. What did you mean by that? Why do you think Leonard's not good enough for me? He's clearly much smarter and more successful than I am; all of you guys are."
"All he's ever cared about is trying to have sex with you. That's why he invited you over that first day, why he agreed to go get your tv, why he does everything he does for you, even to this day. A lasting relationship cannot be based on sex, no matter how much you enjoy it. And while Leonard, and the rest of us, may have much higher IQ's than you, you are by no means stupid. And socially, you are much more capable than any of us.
"You deserve someone who appreciates you for who you are, someone that doesn't just want sex and a pretty face to show off, someone who understands you and won't try to change you."
As she listened to him explain why Leonard would be bad for her, she realized she did in fact know someone who met his description for someone that would be good for her. Someone who clearly appreciated her for who she was, even if they did get on each other's nerves a lot. Someone who's opinion of her mattered a lot more than she'd ever realized. And she'd been getting much closer to him over the last few weeks.
"Someone like you?" Penny asked coyly.
"What!? No! Of course not!" exclaimed Sheldon in surprise. "You deserve someone better than me!"
She straddled his legs again, sitting up on her knees, and leaned back down to kiss him again.
"No, I think I want you," she mumbled against his lips.
"Why do you want me!?" he exclaimed in confusion, pulling back from her, hands on the front of her shoulders, holding her away from him. "I just told you you deserve someone better than me!"
"Which is precisely why I want you, sweetie. Because you don't think you're good enough. Anyone who thinks they're good enough clearly isn't."
"That doesn't make any sense!" Sheldon interrupted. "If you were good enough, how could you think you weren't? As the smartest person in the world, I also think that I am the smartest person in the world."
"It doesn't work like that in relationships, sweetie. You can never really be good enough. Thus, by definition, if you think you're good enough, you're wrong. But it's knowing that you aren't perfect that keeps driving you forward. Pushes you to always try your hardest to be good enough for the other person.
A relationship isn't something you one day become good enough at, and then stop. You always keep improving. It's like science. You will never know everything. But you keeping trying each day to learn more. That's how a relationship has to be. When you think you're good enough, or smart enough in the case of science, you stop trying to improve. That's why someone who thinks they're good enough for you isn't."
Sheldon looked at her, contemplating what she had said, trying to understand it. Despite his vast intellect, he really didn't. But he did understand the science analogy of never knowing everything, as much as he might want to, and thought he saw her point. "Oh."
At this, she crashed her lips back down on his. He still didn't really understand it, but she was the expert in relationships, so he decided to just trust her.
Several minutes later, he pushed her back from him again. "So what does this mean for us?"
"Well," Penny replied cautiously, "if you're okay with it, I suppose this means we're dating now." She looked at him to judge his reaction.
"You know Leonard's not going to be happy about this," said Sheldon, his face neutral.
"Yeah, well, he doesn't have any say, especially considering the fact he's dating another girl. But even if he wasn't, me and him aren't dating, so he doesn't have any right to complain if we start dating," replied Penny, still unsure of whether Sheldon was accepting her proposal to start dating.
"I wasn't saying he had any say, I was simply pointing out the fact he is going to be mad when he finds out," stated Sheldon.
"So we are dating?" clarified Penny.
"I thought that was clear when you said we were dating now."
Penny rolled her eyes, figuring it wasn't worth trying to explain that she was trying to ask him if he was okay with them dating. If he was willing to accept it, she wasn't going to question it. So she just leaned back down and started kissing him again.
Sheldon and Penny were too absorbed with each other to hear the door to the apartment open, and Leonard and Stephanie walk in. They did however hear Leonard's loud exclamation of "What the HELL!?", and broke apart; but Penny stayed planted in Sheldon's lap.
They both looked over at where Leonard stood gaping at them.
"Hi Leonard, Dr. Barnett. We didn't expect you to be home this early; or at all, for that matter," said Sheldon calmly, as if Leonard and Stephanie had merely walked in on them watching tv.
"Leonard forgot his inhaler," replied Stephanie, just as calmly.
Leonard, on the other hand, looked more like a beet with a bad sunburn. "What the hell were you two doing!?"
"Um, making out?" replied Penny, stating the obvious, and giving Leonard a look that clearly said she was more than happy to go junior rodeo on his ass.
Leonard stormed over to the couch, and ignoring Penny entirely, shouted at Sheldon, "What are you doing kissing my girl? You know I've had my eyes on Penny ever since she moved in across the hall! Bro's before ho's, man! Even you should know better than kissing your best friend's ex!"
Up until this point, Stephanie had remained quiet. She didn't really care what her boyfriend's roommate and next door neighbor were doing. In fact, even though she didn't really know Sheldon or Penny very well, she supported it, since she wasn't oblivious to some of the looks her boyfriend had been giving his next door neighbor. But after Leonard said 'my girl', she said in an icy voice, "And what exactly do you mean by 'my girl'?"
At nearly the same time, Penny growled, "Let's get one thing perfectly clear, Leonard. I am not your ex. We went on one date that you didn't trick me into, and that's it. And furthermore, even if we were exes, that is no reason for Sheldon and I not to date."
Completely ignoring Stephanie, and ignoring most of what Penny had said, Leonard spluttered, "Dating!? This is Sheldon we're talking about. The asexual robot who wouldn't know a girl was flirting with him if she danced naked in front of him."
"Hmm," replied Penny in mock thoughtfulness, "his tongue down my throat would sure seem to question that premise."
"But you're the girl I love! I have ever since the moment I saw you. How can you betray me, and start dating my roommate!?"
By this point, Stephanie was glaring daggers at her completely oblivious boyfriend. Fortunately for Leonard, she didn't know Sheldon's technique for blowing up someone's brain with his mind, or Leonard's brains would have been all over the living room. Penny, however, did notice Stephanie's death glare, and was internally smirking.
"You know, Leonard," she began sweetly, "I don't think your girlfriend's taking too well to you saying that I'm the girl you love. She seems to be under the impression that that means that you don't really love her."
Leonard froze momentarily, before slowly turning around to face his glaring girlfriend. He tried to stutter something out, but before he could, Stephanie spoke, with an iciness that froze the room.
"So. You're still love Penny, are you? You know, I really thought we had something, Leonard. But apparently not. So goodbye."
And with that, she turned on her heels, and marched out.
Once Stephanie had closed the door behind her, Leonard turned savagely on Penny and Sheldon.
"Look what you guys did!" he yelled at them. "You made my girlfriend break up with me! This is all your fault," he finished, pointing his finger at them.
"Our fault!?" Penny cried, turning to face Leonard full on, but never forsaking her spot in Sheldon's lap. "And how exactly is any of this our fault? You are the one who told your now ex-girlfriend that you love another girl, not us."
If Leonard had had any sense at all, he would have known from the slight growl in Penny's voice that it was in his best interest to shut up. But he didn't.
"Well now that she has broken up with me," he exclaimed, looking at Penny, "you can stop all this silly nonsense with Sheldon that isn't fooling anyone, and start dating me again." Turning his attention towards Sheldon, he added with a wave of his hand towards the door, "So if you don't mind scramming..."
At this, Penny finally climbed off of Sheldon's lap. And began stalking towards Leonard, causing the short man to stumble backwards as she spoke and slowly stalked towards him.
"This isn't my apartment," she said in a low tone, "so I can't tell you to get the hell out of here. But believe me when I tell you that I will make your life a living hell if you don't back the hell off and leave Sheldon and I alone. We are dating, and that is final. So Stay. The Hell. Away."
By this point, Penny had backed Leonard into the kitchen island. At Penny's last words, Leonard finally got the message, and scurried back to his room. Penny casually strolled back over to where Sheldon was still sitting in his spot, and climbed back onto his lap.
"Well, now that that's over, where were we?" she asked playfully.
Instead of responding with words, Sheldon tangled his fingers in her hair, and pulled her down for a kiss.
A few minutes later, as they were running their hands underneath each other's shirts, still glued together by the mouth, they heard Leonard's door open, but they didn't bother breaking apart. If Sheldon's roommate was going to be such an asshole about them dating and blame them for his break up with his girlfriend, they weren't going to bother trying to keep a low profile on their relationship when he was around.
Leonard stomped through the room, rolling his suitcase behind him. When Sheldon and Penny gave him peripheral glances out of the corners of there eyes, they could see he was glowering at them. When Leonard was halfway out the door, he turned and glared at them.
"This isn't over," he growled, before slamming the door behind him.
Penny and Sheldon just ignored him, and continued making out on the couch.
After a while, they finally broke from a lack of oxygen. Breathing heavily, they just looked at each other for a few minutes. Sheldon finally broke the silence, asking "Would you care to spend the night, since it seems we no longer have to worry about Leonard being here?"
"Your bed, or...?" began Penny, before trailing off. She certainly wasn't about to sleep in Leonard's bed, even if he wasn't going to be around, but she didn't exactly expect Sheldon to be offering to share his bed with her. Then again, she hadn't been expecting any of what had happened so far when she came over earlier that evening.
"Of course my bed," replied Sheldon. "Isn't it customary for people in a relationship to sleep together?"
"Well, yes, but you're not exactly normal, and you don't let people in your room."
"But you're not 'people' anymore," he replied.
With a shy smile, she stood up and grabbed his hand. Pulling him up, Penny asked, "Where do you think Leonard's going?"
"Most likely Howard's place, to crash on his couch and try to get Howard and Raj to join his side in all of this. Now would you like to go get ready for bed? It is almost my bed time."
"Of course, sweetie," Penny responded, before moving towards the door. "I'll be back over in a few minutes."
Ten minutes later, she opened the door to 4A and walked in. She didn't see Sheldon anywhere, so she locked the door behind her, and headed for his room. When she got there, she saw the door was slightly ajar, so she pushed it open a little, and looked inside. When she saw Sheldon already under the covers, looking at her, she slipped in and closed the door behind her. As she walked over to the bed, Sheldon held the edge of comforter back so that she could climb in. With a quick "thank you," she climbed in and snuggled up against his side.
Right as they said goodnight, Sheldon's phone buzzed with a text message. Grabbing his phone irritably, Sheldon quickly read the massage, before giving it to Penny to read. It was from Stephanie, and read;
Tell Penny thanks for helping me see what Leonard is really like. And best of luck to you two.
Penny quickly typed out 'no problem, hope you find someone worthy of you -Penny', before handing Sheldon his phone back, and quickly falling asleep.
Penny awoke the next morning to the sounds of the front door being slammed shut. After taking a second to realize where she was, she knew it couldn't be Sheldon, since she was currently using his chest as a pillow. Which meant that it could only be Leonard.
"Sounds like hell is back," she mumbled to herself.
"He knocked on your door five times before finally stomping in here," replied Sheldon, surprising her, as she had not realized he was awake.
"Guess he was hoping he could corner me in my apartment, and try to yell me out of this," Penny said sleepily. "I wonder if he got Howard and Raj on his side?"
"Probably. Howard has always been of the ridiculous 'bro's before ho's' mentality, and Raj will always follow Howard."
As they lay their in silence for a few minutes, they heard Leonard turn on the tv.
"Now that you're awake, shall we go make breakfast, my dearest Penelope?" Sheldon asked, brushing Penny's hair away from her face. "And then perhaps go destroy the geology department in paintball?"
"Definitely a yes on breakfast," Penny replied as she crawled out of the bed. "But why are you asking me to go play paintball with you? I thought you usually played with the other guys."
"Do you really think Leonard, and by extension Howard and Raj, will have any desire to play paintball with me this morning, after what happened last night?"
"Oh, that's true," replied Penny, as she pulled on Sheldon's robe, ignoring his glare. "I didn't think about that. You know what, sure. I'll go play paintball with you. It's been a long time since I've shot anything, and I was pretty good with a rifle before I moved out here to California. But how are we going to play if it's just the two of us, against an entire team?"
"Ever wanted to be a sniper?" Sheldon asked, as he moved over to his closet to put his spare robe on. "I know the grounds inside and out, and the rest of the physics department will still be there, so the other team will still think it's a normal fight."
"Yeah, sounds like fun," Penny said, giving him a quick peck on the lips as she opened his bedroom door.
A few seconds later, they entered the kitchen, and started grabbing materials for breakfast. Sheldon was making the eggs, while Penny made the pancakes. As soon as Leonard realized Sheldon were there, he jumped up to confront his roommate with loud, indecipherable noises that could be misinterpreted as words, but froze in shock whenever he realized Penny was there with him. So that's why she never answered my knocks, he thought to himself, while trying to ignore the fact it also meant that she had to have slept in Sheldon's room. Shaking his head clear, he casually slid up to the pair, leaning on the island across from them. Talking with Howard and Raj, he'd decided that he needed to play the 'nice guy' routine if he was to make Penny realize she was destined to be with him.
"Penny, I apologize for yelling at you and blaming you last night, it was wrong of me. But I'm trying to make everything right now. So last night, Howard, Raj and I set up an online dating profile for Sheldon to find him a girlfriend, so that he won't bother you anymore. They will be over in about two hours to show Sheldon who they've found so far; a perky brunette named Amy, really high IQ, just his type if he does actually have a type. So I was wondering if maybe you'd like to go out to brunch with me while they're doing that?" Leonard gave her his best puppy-dog eyes, that never failed to get him whatever he wanted (except when it came to his neurotic and insane roommate).
As Penny mixed the ingredients for the pancake batter, she decided to ignore the majority of what he said, and simply said cheerily, "Sorry, but Sheldon and I are going to play paintball this morning," before turning back towards the pan and pouring out some batter.
"You? Play paintball?" he finally stuttered out. He nearly continued, 'But that's not a very girly thing to do!', but caught himself just in time. He was supposed to be wooing her, not insulting her.
Penny just ignored him as she flipped the pancakes. Sheldon, however, had caught his roommates implications, and without turning away from the eggs he was scrambling, replied, "For your information, Penny is an experienced rifle shooter. Just because you don't consider something to be a 'girly' or 'dumb blonde' thing to do, doesn't mean that Penny doesn't enjoy it. For instance, recall how you changed the subject on the first day we met her whenever she asked what Klingon Boggle was? Not long after that, she came over one night when you were away searching for desperate women at bars, and asked about it again. At this point, I would even wager that she could probably beat you, Howard and Raj at it." He turned and smirked slightly at his girlfriend. "Acting, and specifically the ability to learn lines, apparently does have some uses after all."
Penny just nudged him in the side lightly with a giggle, before sliding the pancakes she was cooking onto a plate, and handing Sheldon a bowl to put the eggs in. Leonard skulked back to the couch, his plan having fallen apart. As his roommate and next-door neighbor ate in comfortable silence at the island, he schemed new ways to break them apart and finally get Penny. It wasn't until Penny and Sheldon had left for paintball, and Howard and Raj came barging in, that he realized he'd forgotten to tell his two friends that the plan had already fallen through.
But since they were already there, they decided to use the opportunity to create a new plan for Leonard to win Penny, his rightful girlfriend.
"We've still got Amy," Howard said as he sat down in Sheldon's spot, and pulled up his laptop. "Get him with his intellectual equal, or the closest thing that is humanly possible, and he'll forget all about Penny in a heartbeat. In fact, Penny's insistence on sleeping with Sheldon will actually be to your advantage. An intellectual like Amy won't push Sheldon to intimacy like a big ol' five like Penny will."
Leonard wasn't willing to acknowledge to himself or the others that Sheldon hadn't seemed to mind in the least bit any of Penny's advances. He had to keep his hopes up, that this would work and he'd finally be able to be with his girl.
Several hours of scheming later, and they had finally come up with a foolproof plan to help Sheldon realize his mistake and inevitably cruelly dump Penny, giving Leonard the perfect chance to swoop in and save her like the hero he was. Now they just had to implement their plan.
Meanwhile, Sheldon and Penny were quickly becoming the terror of the paintball field. As Penny had driven them over there, she asked Sheldon how exactly they were going to be snipers, when paintball guns didn't exactly have that kind of range or accuracy.
"Oh, Penny, Penny, Penny."
"Sheldon, Sheldon, Sheldon," she replied, in a sarcastic and matchingly condescending voice, which he seemed not to notice.
"Most paintball guns do not have the range or accuracy. These aren't most paintball guns."
When they got out of the car and went around to the trunk, Sheldon opened the case. Penny's eyebrows shot up in surprise, and she asked in a sharp whisper, "Are these legal? Because these do notlook legal for a neighborhood paintball game."
"They aren't illegal," he replied with his Joker grin. Penny just shook her head, knowing she was probably going to regret this later; right after they got banned from ever playing paintball here again.
As they were waiting for the rest of the physics team to show up, Sheldon had shown her how to operate the gun. So when the gun went off to start the match, she'd followed him through the bushes and undergrowth to the top of a hill off to one side of the grounds. Before she could ask, he whispered, "Yes, this is in-bounds, but no one ever comes up here since the team forts are way down there."
Setting up behind a rock, they started looking through their scopes for targets.
Four hours later, the enemy had finally called it quits. For reasons they couldn't understand, despite vastly outnumbering their opponent, they kept getting hit by lone paint balls that seemed to come out of nowhere. As Penny and Sheldon walked back down from their hideout, Sheldon asked, "Since we're out, would you like to grab lunch somewhere?"
Monday morning, Leonard and the guys set their plan into motion. Leonard had been staying at Howard's house, in the hopes that Penny might start to miss him, and so that he wouldn't accidentally blow up at them again, and make his path to getting Penny that much more difficult.
In a stroke of pure luck, Amy happened to work at Cal-Tech as well, even though none of them had ever met her before. The gang had gotten there early, and told her that the guy she'd matched with on the dating site worked in the same building. After talking Sheldon up for several minutes, they suggested that she surprise visit the theoretical physicist right before lunch, and ask him to have lunch with her. Warning her that Sheldon didn't know about the dating site, that they had done it in order to try to be good friends for him, and that she should just wow him with her intellect, they headed back over to their offices, and waited for their foolproof plan to take effect.
When lunch time rolled around, and Sheldon wasn't anywhere to be seen, they started congratulating themselves as they sat down at their table for lunch.
However, unbeknownst to them at the moment, things weren't going quite as smoothly as they had hoped.
Penny decided to surprise her new boyfriend by bringing him lunch. She arrived a little early, hoping he wouldn't mind her hanging around in his office while he worked. When she got to his door, she decided to do his triple knock to let him know she was there.
Knock, knock, knock, "Sheldon."
Knock, knock, knock, "Sheldon."
Knock, knock, knock, "Sheldon."
Sheldon opened the door with a smirk, and let her in, not bothering to close the door back. Penny walked over to his desk and set the food down, before turning back towards him.
"I hope you don't mind I brought you lunch," she said with a sultry smile.
"Of course not," Sheldon replied, as he walked over to her.
He leaned down to give her a kiss, and she stood on her toes and wrapped her arms around his neck to return it.
At that moment, Amy came walking down the hall, and saw the name plaque for Sheldon's office. Looking in, she saw the tall physicist deeply preoccupied with the beautiful blonde wrapped around his neck.
"Dr. Cooper!?" she exclaimed in shock.
He broke apart, and looked over at the stranger standing in his doorway. "Can I help you?" he asked, in a less than friendly tone. He wasn't particularly in the mood to be disturbed; not that he ever was, but he especially wasn't at that moment.
"Um, no, it's nothing," she mumbled, before scurrying away, heartbroken, and nearly in tears. She blindly headed towards the cafeteria, where she knew the guys would be, her tears turning into anger at being embarrassed once again.
The guys had just begun a discussion on where Leonard should take Penny for their honeymoon when Amy burst into the cafeteria, and rushed over to where the trio was sitting.
"You did this on purpose, didn't you!? Tell me this guy would like me, just so I'd walk in on him making out with some blonde! Always have to make fun of the ugly girl, don't you!?" she screamed at them, before storming away in tears.
The trio looked at each other in shock.
"Penny." they all said at the same time.
"What is she doing here?" asked Howard, "She never comes here."
"And Sheldon making out in his office," added Raj, "there's no way!"
Leonard didn't say anything for a moment, still trying to wrap his mind around what was happening, and how their plan could have possibly gone wrong. After a few seconds, he finally said, "Let's go try to catch them in action. Perhaps if we can catch them making out, we can report it to Dr. Gablehauser, and get Sheldon in trouble."
"And then when Sheldon gets in trouble, Penny will see you for the nice, honest, trouble-free person you are!" added Howard excitedly.
They all scrambled up from their table and rushed out of the cafeteria, pulling out their phones as they went so they could capture Penny and Sheldon on video. But when they got to Sheldon's office, phones ready, all they found was Sheldon and Penny eating lunch, chatting about the latest Star Trek movie.
Hearing the guys rush up, Penny looked over her shoulder and smiled at them. "Hi guys! How's it going?"
Sheldon just nodded curtly at them, before saying, "Whatever it is you need, can it wait until after lunch? I'm rather busy at the moment."
Foiled once again, the trio skulked away without saying a word.
Once they left, Penny asked slightly confused, "Was that supposed to somehow be part of Leonard's plan to break us apart?"
"It does seem rather suspicious that a young lady showed up here minutes after you did, clearly not expecting you to be here, and then those three showed up not long after that expecting something other than us eating lunch," mulled Sheldon.
"Ooh, do you think that lady could have been that 'Amy' Leonard mentioned they had found you on that dating site?"
"That would explain why she showed up right before lunch, and hurried away after she saw us kissing," answered Sheldon.
"And why those three came bursting in here, if Amy went and told them you were already kissing someone in your office!" added Penny excitedly. "They were trying to get you in trouble."
Meanwhile, the trio had skulked back to Leonard's office, trying to come up with a new plan. They had tossed around a few ideas, but none of them seemed viable. Finally, Leonard came up with an idea he was sure would work.
"All I have to do is give Sheldon an ultimatum he can't refuse. If I threaten to move out if he doesn't give up Penny, he'll fold instantly. He can't survive without me as his roommate."
Howard and Raj enthusiastically agreed that Leonard would have Penny by the end of the night.
That evening, Sheldon and Penny were relaxing on the couch in 4A when Leonard came in. Deciding to avoid banal chit-chat, Leonard got straight to his point. Still standing next to the door he'd just shut behind him, he said in his most commanding voice, "Sheldon, break up with Penny and give her back to me, or I'm moving out!"
After glancing at Leonard, Sheldon turned to look at Penny, who in turn looked up at Sheldon. "Penny, would you like to be my roommate? Your half of the rent would be cheaper here than on your current apartment, and there's more room. Plus, we would have our own rooms whenever we needed it, but could share whenever we wanted to."
"Sure, Sheldon," she replied chipperly, before turning back to the magazine she was reading.
Sheldon calmly looked back up at a shocked Leonard, and said, "And when should I expect you to have all of your possessions moved out?"
Leonard's jaw hit the floor.