The Good Friend Incident
In Penny's time of distress, Sheldon decides to step up and be a good friend. A Shenny fanfiction, and by Shenny I mean just as platonic friends. Rated K.
Enjoy, and please review, that would make me happy! :)
Saturday mornings always had that significant order and structure to them that Sheldon found very comforting. After an entertaining Vintage Game Night and an undisturbed REM-cycle Sheldon considered himself in a very good mood as he made his way to the kitchen. Pouring himself a bowl of cereal and adding a quarter cup of 2% milk he looked at his watch. Three and a half minutes till Doctor Who. "Perfect" he thought to himself and made his way to the couch. Making himself comfortable in his spot, he grabbed the remote control and turned on the television. As the Doctor Who - themesong filled the apartment, Sheldon took his bowl of cereal and started eating. Just as the themesong ended, he heard a peculiar noise coming from the direction of the door. Turning his attention to the source of the noise it became clear that someone was on the other side trying to turn the doorknob. When realising the door was locked the person knocked on the door. Sheldon got up, deeply dissaticfied with the interruption. "Who is it?" he said, although he was pretty sure he knew the identity of this early morning visitor. "It's Penny, open the door." came the reply. "I knew it." Sheldon thought to himself as he made his way to the door. The minute he opened the door, Penny marched right in, heading for the kitchen, hair disheveled, clothes wrinkled and a mug in her hand.
"And good morning to you to, Penny." Sheldon said.
Sending him a tired look Penny said "Yeah yeah, morning Sheldon." and started looking around the kitchen. Closing the door and making his way back to his spot, Sheldon said: "What are you doing? If you came over to interrupt my Doctor Who-time, then you will be happy to know that you succeeded."
"Coffee. I need coffee. I got too friendly with the wine bottle at Girls Night yesterday, and just now my boss called and changed my shift from dinner to lunch, as if I have nothing else to do at seven on a Saturday morning than taking stupid phone calls from that irritating self-centered jerk-face. I swear, one of these days I am going to quit and then.."
"Top right cabinet." Sheldon interrupted. "Watching television is proving to be very tasking with your constant jibber-jabber."
Penny squinted and shot him a soul crushing glance as she oppened the cabinet and took out the coffee. Sheldon ignored her stare and turned his attention back to the television. After a couple of moments Penny made her way to the couch taking a big sip of her newly made coffee on the way. Sighing heavily she almost tossed herself in the other end of the couch, nearly causing Sheldon to spill his cereal. Pressing his lips together and narrowing his eyes Sheldon scowled at her. Penny answered the gesture with a raised eyebrow and a slightly amused look on her face.
"So what are you whatching anyway?" She asked and looked at the television. Sheldon closed his eyes in frustration. After knowing each other for so long surely she knew that Saturday morning always consisted of him watching Doctor Who.
"I must say, Penny, I find your lack of effort in remembering anything regarding my schedule to be unbearably tiresome. It is really not that hard. It is Saturday. Every Saturday morning I watch Doctor Who. Have you even read the PDF I gave you?" he answered with a tired voice. "Oh quit your jibber-jabber, Sheldon." she said with the hint of a smile on her lips. He exhaled slowly and turned his eyes to the television. "I don't jibber-jabber." he said under his breath.
As the credits rolled over the screen, Penny downed her last sip of coffee and got up. Sheldon grabbed his empty bowl and made his way to the kitchen. Right before she opened the door, Sheldon said: "Penny, in the future try to plan your morning visits to our apartment on Saturdays to after I am done watching Doctor Who. I really don't care for the interruption, it is ruining my viewing experience."
Penny rolled her eyes at him.
"Goodbye Sheldon and thanks for the coffee. Always a pleasure to hear your jibber-jabber in the morning. It really ads something to my waking experience." she said with a familiar sarcastic tone but before Sheldon could open his mouth and interject, she was out the door.
After a delightful visit to the zoo Sheldon and Amy entered apartment 4A, finding Leonard hunched over his laptop typing away. He looked up as they walked in, smiled a tiny smile and said "Hey guys. How was the zoo?"
"Delightful as always. I don't think I will ever get tired of watching those primates flinging their feces at each other and climbing the trees. It is truly fascinating to observe their behavioral patterns since most of them are comparable to human behavior." Amy said with a smile, taking a seat in the middle of the couch next to Sheldon's spot as Sheldon made his way to the kitchen to prepare them some tea. Leonard furrowed his brows at Amy's comment, unsure how to respond. "Yeah... sure. That does sound... ehm.. fascinating." he tried.
"Oh you should have been there, Leonard!" Sheldon said as he poured the boiling water into Amy's and his mug. "We got there right in time to see the koalas get fed. I defy anyone to not to look at those koalas munching on eucalyptus leaves and not just melt inside. " he continued as he made his way to his spot.
Handing Amy her mug he sat down, the unmistakable calm and happy look on his face that always accompanied the mentioning of that particular animal. Amy's smile grew even wider as she saw her boyfriend's charming koala-face and with an enchanted look in her eyes she added: "Indeed, they are the embodiment of adorable."
With a slight shake of his head, Leonard turned to face his laptop again. "Like two peas in a very disturbing pod." he said under his breath. "Where is Penny?" Amy asked. Leonard let out a sigh and turned around again, rubbing his forehead. "I think she said something about a meeting with her agent and then I think she is going to drive around different studios, handing out resumes, perhaps someone will be interested." he said with a tired voice.
It was no secret that Penny quitting her job at the Cheesecake-factory a couple of weeks earlier was a transformation they all had to get used to, especially Leonard who tended to worry even more than Penny about her future prospects. Never the less he put all his efforts in being supportive of her choices, especially after an unfortunate phone call that had made Penny doubt his faith and support of her acting career.
Recognizing the worried tone in his voice, Amy said: "I am sure something will come up soon enough. Penny is very talented; it is just a matter of time." Her tone was comforting and sincere, causing the corners of Leonard's mouth to curl up in a smile. "I am sure you are right, Amy." he said just as Penny opened the door with a rather frantic look on her face.
"Oh my god, good thing you are here, Leonard!" She said, her voice clearly revealing her distress.
"Something wrong?" Leonard said, getting out of his chair with a worried look in his face.
"My stupid car just broke down on my way home from my meeting with my agent. I need you to drive me, I have to hand out these resumes by the end of the day. Please?" She looked at him with pleading eyes. Leonard looked back at his laptop and decided that he would finish his paper later. "Sure, of course." he said with a smile that he hoped would calm her down a little. Penny exhaled quickly, obviously releaved.
"You know Penny, these sorts of things are to be expected when one disregard the glaring implications of the check engine- light completely." Sheldon said with a hint of "I-told-you-so" in his tone. Everyone turned their attention to Sheldon, Amy with both her eyebrows nearly dissapering in her hair, Leonard with furrowed brows and a pout and Penny with narrowed eyes and jaws that were clenched closely together.
"This is not the time, Sheldon." She said through gritted teeth.
Sheldon looked at each and every one of them in turn, confused by their sudden judgmental looks.
"You are right, Penny. It is now too late, you should have had your engine checked months ago which would probably have saved you from being in this unfortunate situation now." he said with a nonchalant gesture of his hand. Looking over, Leonard noticed that Penny's breathing had increased, her nostrils moving with each breath and her watery eyes were sending a penetrating death-stare in the direction of an unknowing Sheldon. "If eyes could kill" Leonard thought to himself before quickly grabbing his keys and turning to Penny. Before she could start crying and probably stab Sheldon with whatever object was nearest, he took her hand and said: "Come on, let's go." leading her out the door.
When the door had closed behind Penny and Leonard, Amy turned to Sheldon.
"You know, Sheldon, sometimes I think your inability to comprehend social interactions and implications is a blessing. That way you remain oblivious to the increasing number of times you have been but inches from certain death." She said with a serious tone, causing Sheldon to almost choke on his tea and leaving him with a flabbergasted look on his face.
"But how long will you be gone?" Sheldon asked concern in his voice. The lanky physicist was standing in the doorway of his much shorter roommates room, watching him while he packed clothes and papers in a small suitcase.
"It is just the weekend, Sheldon. Siebert asked me to so I have to go. It is just a seminar and I will be back by Monday, you'll be fine." Leonard said as comforting as he could. Sheldon could be just like a child sometimes, and Leonard really had some more important things to go over.
"And look, Sheldon, I'm going to ask you a favor. I know that I will only be gone for a couple of days, but Penny has been going through a lot of stress lately, and I really hate to leave her like that. Can you just... make sure she is all right while I'm gone?" Leonard pleaded, turning to face Sheldon, preparing for his possible denial and following rant.
Sheldon grew quiet for a moment and looked at his roommate and best friend before speaking.
"Of course I will make sure she is all right, Leonard. Did you really think I would let any harm befall Penny in your absence?"
"Come on Sheldon, she is your friend and all I'm asking..." Leonard stopped mid-sentence and stared surprised at Sheldon. "Really? Just like that? No.. no rant, no scolding? You're fine with it?" He asked.
Sheldon just looked at him with a look of eternal indifference, nodded once and said "Yes. And why would I scold you?"
Leonard kept looking at him with suspicion. "I'll be damned" he thought before saying: "Well, thank you Sheldon."
"You are welcome." Sheldon responded and just as Leonard turned to finish his packing he added: "If you really cared for your girlfriend's well-being you would have made sure that she had her engine checked instead of disregarding the possible dangers of driving in a vehicle that hasn't been the subject to proper maintenance."
Leonard closed his eyes in mild frustration and thought: "Well, I wonder how long your check engine light has been on." Once again he turned to face Sheldon. "There you are, Sheldon. Just for a second there I thought we had lost you." He said with a grin and turned to pack the remainders of his belongings.
"I'm sorry, did I go somewhere? I don't follow." Sheldon said with a confused look on his face. Leonard just let out a sigh and continued packing. "Uh oh, and Leonard? You are leaving today, and today is Friday, and Friday is Chinese food and Vintage Game Night, so you won't be attending."
Leonard placed his index finger and thumb on the bridge of his nose and said "Yeah, so?"
"So you won't be able to bring me my food. Now I have to make Penny get it. In addition, you failed to give me a written notice in advance of your travel. That is unacceptable and against the Roommate Agreement. I am going to have to give you a strike." Sheldon answered using the most authoritative tone he could muster. "That is ridiculous, Sheldon! I just found out I was leaving today, how could I possible give you a written notice in advance?! I mean, do you even hear how little sense that makes, honestly.." Leonard's rant was interrupted by Sheldon raising his arms slightly to the air and saying "Don't blame me, Leonard. It is all in the Roommate Agreement. You signed it." Leonard exhaled quickly, closing his eyes and slowly opening them again he said: "You know what? Do it, whatever, give me a strike."
A little while after Leonard made his way to the living room, dragging his suitcase behind him, just as Penny opened the door and walked in.
"Hey sweetie! You ready to go?" She said as Leonard came over to her and kissed her. "Believe me, I cannot get out of here fast enough" he answered. Penny shot a glance in the direction of Sheldon who was standing in the kitchen. "Has Dr. Wackadoodle been wackadoodling again?" she whispered knowingly. "Like his life was depending on it." Leonard whispered and pulled her back in to another kiss.
"I can still hear you." Sheldon said and added "Now chop chop, enough with your unsanitary amorous activities. He will only be gone for a couple of days, you should be able to keep it in your pants that long, Penny. Oh, and by the way, after we drop off Leonard, you need to get me Chinese food. It's Friday."
Penny looked from Sheldon to Leonard, and seeing the apologetic look in his eyes, she said: "But Leonaaaard.."
"Can you just do it, please? Just this one time, I promise!" Leonard pleaded, already having enough of Sheldon's torture for one day. Penny sighed in surrender and turning to open the door, said "Fine! Let's get this over with."
Sheldon's eyes flew open as he quickly sat up in his bed yelling "Danger! Danger! Danger!" Looking around, he tried to determine what had caused him to wake up. He looked at the clock on his night stand.
Sheldon looked into the darkness of his room, listening carefully for any sounds. Nothing. Just as he laid his head back on the pillow, he heard something. There it was again. It was a peculiar stomping sound, but it sounded muffled. Sheldon got out of bed and made his way through his bedroom door.
"If this is Leonard interrupting my REM-cycle again, I am going to give him another strike. Will he never learn?" he thought as he made his way to the living room.
He suddenly halted as it hit him. It couldn't be Leonard. Leonard wasn't home. Suddenly feeling nervous Sheldon stepped with caution, slowly making his way to the middle of the room. The sound had vanished. Was it gone? Was he dreaming? But then he heard it again, this time accompanied with a familiar voice exclaiming: "Son of a bitch!"
Sheldon quickly stepped all the way over to the door and opened it. He squinted his eyes as the light from the hallway almost blinded him. Blinking a couple of times he could finally see clearly. There on the other side of the hall stood a frantic Penny desperately looking for something in her purse. She was wearing a tight patterned dress and heels, her hair up and make up done. "Penny?" Sheldon said in confusion. Penny gasped in surprise and turned around. "Oh my god, Sheldon! You almost gave me a heart attack!" She exclaimed holding a hand to her chest.
"What on earth are you doing out here at 3 in the morning?" he asked rubbing his eyes. "I can't find my stupid keys! I am tired, I just want to sleep, and I can't get in to my god damn apartment! These heels are killing me and I just want to lie down. And then… Then I thought of calling Leonard to use his spare key, but guess what? I just remembered… he is not even here!" She said, her voice growing louder as she now began to throw things out of her purse in anger. She suddenly started swaying and taking a few steps she placed her hand on the door to maintain her balance.
Sheldon quickly made his way over to her, suddenly realizing something. "Penny, are you drunk?" He asked with concern. Penny just waved her hand at him in a dismissing manner and grimaced saying: "No no, Sheldon. I am just fine, nothing to worry about. I just need to remember where I put my… GOD. DAMN. KEYS!" she raged, kicking the door with each syllable. Her action caused her to almost fall over, but Sheldon quickly grabbed her by the arm helping her to a standing position. "You are drunk." He stated once he was sure she was safe to stand by herself. Penny looked at him with rage in her eyes and said "The last thing I need from you is a lecture, Sheldon, I swear to God I am this close to go all Nebraska on your ass!"She raised her hand and brought her index finger and thumb very close together.
Sheldon looked at her in surprise before considering his next move. Taking a breath and remembering that Penny was not herself at the moment he said: "I believe I have the solution for your problem. We still have one of your spare keys in our apartment." He began making his way back across the hall, but realizing that Penny wasn't following him he turned around, raised his brows and said. "Well? Come on." Penny closed her eyes and pressed her lips together tightly. Sheldon couldn't decide whether she looked relieved or nauseous. She slowly opened her eyes again and without a word she staggered across the hall into the apartment.
Once inside Sheldon turned on the lights in the darkened apartment. Penny immediately took of her heels and tossed herself in the couch. She sighed and started rubbing her forehead with her palm. Soon her face turned in to a grimace and tears started flowing.
Sheldon felt panic spread its way through his body. He found himself rooted to the spot taken aback by the sudden turn of events. Why was she crying? Was she in pain? What was he supposed to do now? He suddenly wished that Leonard was here, he always seemed to have a better understanding of emotions and how to deal with them. And especially when it was his girlfriend who was having an emotional outbreak. Penny's sudden sobs jolted Sheldon back to reality. He hurried over to his spot, but once there he hesitated. But another heavy sob from Penny made him sit immediately. Now what? He tried to think back and remember what he had done before in situations like this.
"There, there… Sheldon's here." He tried but that only seemed to make things worse. Penny leaned over placing her arms on her knees and burying her face in her hands. She was now breathing heavily and crying uncontrollably. Sheldon let out a long sigh, searching his mind of another way to make Penny stop crying. He then slowly reached out his hand until it almost touched her back and then halted. "Come on, Cooper." He thought to himself before he slowly lowered his hand until he could feel her back under his palm. He patted his hand up and down a couple of times and tried to repeat the only comforting thing that came to mind.
"There, there. Sheldon's here." His comment seemed to calm Penny down a little as he noted that her breathing was slowing down and the sobs seemed to get less frequent. Penny slowly removed her hands from her face, letting out a long breath.
The scent of alcohol hit him all of a sudden; all too strong and all too familiar. "You have been drinking Bourbon." He whispered, slowly retracting his hand from her and placing it on his knees. His eyes left her face and wandered to the kitchen as the memories came back. Memories of his father coming home drunk in the middle of the night. His mother's voice asking his father about his whereabouts. His father swearing and his heavy steps on the stairs as Sheldon lied there in the dark trying to make himself disappear.
Penny didn't seem to have noticed Sheldon's mental wandering as she took another deep breath that seemed to calm her down completely. As she tried to dry her face with her hands she send him a little smile and said "I'm sorry, Sheldon. I don't know what that was all about. I guess I'm just really frustrated… it has been a really long day." Sheldon looked back at her as his memories subsided. He nodded once and reached over to hand her the box of tissue. "Thank you." She said as took some tissue and began drying her tears while small hiccups left her lips. After a couple of moments she suddenly stood up.
"Okay Sheldon, you need to get back to bed. Just give me the spare key and I'll get going." She said, but noting that she was still unsteady on her feet and swaying Sheldon decided a different approach.
"Maybe… Maybe you should stay here tonight, Penny?" He said in a low voice as he rose from the couch. "No, it's not a problem. Really, sweetie, just give me the key and I will go home." She answered. Sheldon let out a sigh and crossed his arms over his chest.
"Penny, I promised Leonard that I would make sure that you would be all right in his absence. And in your current intoxicated state you are clearly not all right." He said looking her in the eyes. Penny opened her mouth but said nothing. Closing it again she looked around the room until her eyes once again met Sheldon's. "Did he really say that?" She said, almost whispering. "You know I don't lie. I promised him, Penny. And therefore I must insist that you stay here tonight. You can sleep in Leonard's room, I am sure he wouldn't mind if you borrowed some of his clothes." Sheldon answered, suddenly eager to get back to sleep and try to forget the childhood memories that had made their way to the surface of his conscience. Penny looked as if she about to cry again but instead the corners of her mouth curled up in a little smile and she said: "Perhaps you are right, Sheldon. Maybe I should just sleep here."
"Very well then." Sheldon answered gesturing his hand in the direction of Leonard's room. Penny took a couple of steps before swaying heavily. Sheldon rushed to her side once again taking hold of her arm in order to prevent her from falling and allowing her to steady her feet, but this time he didn't let go. Holding on to Sheldon's arm for support Penny took another few steps and they slowly made their way to Leonard's bedroom. Sheldon helped Penny to a sitting position on the bed before he turned to Leonard's wardrobe. Opening it he began looking for something for Penny to wear.
"Good lord, it is as if he doesn't have an organizing system what so ever. I mean look at this. T-shirts and pants together with hoodies. And he obviously doesn't have a color based organizing system." He said in a tired voice shaking his head slightly and turned to face Penny again. "Penny, what is your usual sleep attire?" he asked her.
"What is my what?" Penny answered with a frown causing Sheldon to let out a sigh. "Look, Sheldon, just give me one of his t-shirts." She quickly said. "Well, today is Saturday. What color do you normally wear on Saturdays?" Sheldon asked in an explanatory manner while shifting through Leonard's different colored t-shirts. When she didn't answer Sheldon turned to face her. Penny had buried her face into her hand letting out a loud sigh. "Penny?" He said causing her to look at him. "That one, Sheldon!" She said as she saw the blue t-shirt in Sheldon's hand. "Blue, I usually wear blue on Saturdays, that's perfect."
Sheldon nodded and moved to hand her the t-shirt, but suddenly turned to face the wardrobe again. "You can't wear it." He said. "Oh my god, why not Sheldon?" Penny said in a very irritated voice. "Because it is nearly four in the morning. It is no longer Saturday, it is Sunday. Now, what color do you wear on Sundays?" Sheldon answered. Penny took a few deep breaths and said. "Blue, Sheldon. Blue is my weekend color. It gives me a sense of… continuality." She lied praying to every deity that her explanation would convince him. Sheldon turned and looked at her with a puzzled look before nodding once and handing her the blue t-shirt. "Very well then." He said. Penny took the t-shirt from him and stood up, Sheldon turning his back to her as she did so.
"Sheldon, what the hell are you doing?" Penny said in a tired voice longing to get some sleep. "I am being a gentleman, Penny. In your drunken state I can't allow you to be alone before you are safe in bed, but it would be disrespectful for me to look at a lady undressing. Therefore I am turning my back to you. Now please, put on the t-shirt, I really need to sleep." He explained getting tired of having to explain everything to her. With a deep sigh and a roll of her eyes, Penny quickly undressed and pulled the t-shirt over her head. "There, I'm done" She said. Sheldon turned once again and looking at something at her feet he huffed. "What now?" Penny sighed as Sheldon kept starring a twitch beginning to appear on his right eye. She looked down and saw her dress in a bunch on the floor. "Oh for god's sake!" She exclaimed quickly grabbing it and folding it she put it on the bed. "Happy?" She said tiredly. Sheldon just looked at her for a moment.
"Thank y.." but before he could finish Penny pushed him aside storming out the bedroom door with her hand pressed against her mouth and her eyes wide. A moment later he heard the unmistakable sound of Penny hurling into the toilet. He closed his eyes trying to calm himself as the thought of the unsanitary vomit made its way to his mind. He felt sick to his stomach. He took a few deep breaths and started to make his way towards the bathroom.
The sight of Penny desperately hugging the toilet while making dry heaving sounds suddenly brought back the memory of his father in the exact same position. He remembered the sounds, his father jelling between each round of involuntary vomit. He hated that sound. He hated the sound of his father jelling, he could feel it creep in to his mind, nestling there and reducing everything to white noise. He remembered running to his room tossing himself on his bed and pulling his legs to his chest while pressing his hands to his ears, desperately trying to lock out every sound around him and escape the chaos that had occupied his mind.
The sound of Penny's exhausted voice brought Sheldon back to the problem at hand. She slowly raised her head from the toilet and repeated "Oh god, never again." as she flushed the toilet. Sheldon quickly turned on his heels and rushed to the kitchen opening the refrigerator. Finding what he was looking for he quickly returned to find Penny exactly as he had left her. Unsure of what to do he asked. "Are you okay?" Penny answered with a small nod. "Can you stand?" he asked. Penny shrugged her shoulders and attempted to stand. Sheldon bowed down to assist her and she clumsily made it to a standing position. Sheldon now pulled her gently to the sink and Penny followed. He opened the bathroom cabin and found the spare toothbrush handing it to Penny who simply looked at him with raised eyebrows. He returned her look by raising his own eyebrows and said. "Please?" Sighing Penny finally took the toothbrush from his hands and applying toothpaste she slowly began brushing her teeth. As she spit for the second time and rinsed the toothbrush, Sheldon asked her "Do you want some mouthwash?" to which she responded with a death stare and thin lips. "I will take that as a no." Sheldon said in a small voice reaching out to help Penny out of the bathroom. Half way there Penny's grip on Sheldon's arm tightened as she almost tripped over her own feet. The sudden shift in gravitation pulled Sheldon much closer to Penny and he could now smell the scent of alcohol much stronger than before.
Another familiar memory surfaced. He remembered standing on top of the stairs looking down. He remembered his father's arm around his mother's shoulders, barely capable of standing on his feet. He remembered the small and slender frame of his mother, one arm holding around his father's waist the other one on his hand, struggling to hold his body weight as she tried to get his father up the stairs to the bedroom. He remembered the hurt and desperate look on his mother's face as she looked at him and said "Shelly dear, please come down and help me get your father up the stairs." He remembered getting to his father's side, placing his other arm around his neck, as the rancid smell of alcohol mixed with sweat hit him like a railroad train. He remembered his father looking at him but never really seeing him, a distant look in his blue eyes; the same blue eyes that he had passed on to his son.
Sheldon closed his eyes, once again trying to suppress the uncomfortable memories. He slowly opened them and realized that they had stopped in the middle of the hallway. He looked at Penny who was looking back at him with a concerned look. He turned his head looking straight ahead. "Can you continue?" he asked in a small voice. She simply nodded and they continued their slow pace towards Leonard's bedroom. Once he made sure that Penny was lying safe in the bed he reached in to the pocket of his night robe pulling out a can. Opening it he handed it to Penny. "Drink it." He said.
Penny looked at the can with a frown. "What is it?" she asked slightly concerned. "It's Ginger Ale. It will help with your nausea." Sheldon explained as Penny took the can from his hand and took a few sips. They remained like that for a while, Sheldon quiet and Penny sipping on the Ginger Ale, until Penny handed the can back to Sheldon. He took it and placed it on the night stand. "Do you need anything else?" he asked. Penny slowly shook her head but stopped and looked up at Sheldon with big eyes. "Sheldon... Will you sing me Soft Kitty?" Sheldon opened his mouth to interject but Penny cut him off. "I know it is for when you are sick, but drunk and nauseous is a kind of sick, right?" she said in a pleading voice. Sheldon pressed his lips tightly together and finally let out a long sigh. "Very well." He said and sat down on the bedside. He took a deep breath and started singing.
"Soft kitty, warm kitty, little ball of fur." He looked at Penny her eyes shut with a small smile on her lips.
"Happy kitty, sleepy kitty, purr, purr, purr." Sheldon finished the song and noted that Penny's breathing had become slow and even. He slowly rose from the bed, not wanting to wake her, and made his way to the bedroom door. Just as he was about to close the door he heard Penny's voice. "Thank you, Sheldon. Goodnight."
"You are welcome, Penny. Goodnight."
Sheldon slowly closed the door and making his way to the living room he slowly pulled out his phone. He took a seat in his spot looking at the phone, pondering on what to do. Should he call Leonard? But he wouldn't be home for another two days and Sheldon felt that the matter was urgent. He wanted to take action. He felt somehow… responsible. No he couldn't wait that long. Maybe he should just let it go. Just act like it never happened. "Surely this isn't the first time Penny has gotten home drunk." He thought to himself. But another voice chimed in. "But she has been drunk quit frequently now." What should he do? He closed his eyes and remembered the smell of alcohol that radiated from Penny, her blurry unhappy eyes and her unsteady walk. No, something had to be done. He opened his phone and opened a new message addressing it to Amy. He quickly wrote a short text and press send. He looked at the clock. A quarter to five. He sighed, realizing that he wouldn't be able to go back to sleep, and got up to make himself a calming cup of chamomile tea.
"Sheldon, are you sure you don't want me to come over?" Amy asked with a worried look on her face through the computer screen. Sheldon shook his head and looked into the webcam. "No thank you, Amy. I think it'll be fine. And you have given me some excellent advice on how to approach the subject, I suspect they will be very helpful." He said with a small smile. Amy still looked concerned. "And I am sure that you will be able to handle it, Sheldon. But just remember… Don't jump this on her. You don't want her to feel like you are accusing her for being a sloppy drunk. She would be very offended and it would very rude. Not to mention that it is simply not the focal point of your desired conversation, and that I would have to slip you a Mickey if you called my bestie for a drunk. " She said. Sheldon furrowed his brows and said. "Of course I'm not going to call her a sloppy drunk, Amy. Penny is not a drunk. But she is my friend, and it is therefore my responsibility to make sure that she never becomes a drunk. I believe she is merely experiencing some difficulties that she will get through. And she doesn't need alcohol to get through it."
Amy's earlier concerned look turned into an admiring smile. "I must say, Sheldon I was really worried when I saw your text this morning requesting an unscheduled and urgent Skype-session. And I must admit that I find your concern for Penny very… touching. You are truly a good friend, and I am lucky to have such a considerate boyfriend." She said.
"That you are, Amy Farrah Fowler." Sheldon smirked, enjoying her uplifting words that nurtured his ego. His smirking came to an abrupt end when he heard movement from Leonard's room. "I must go, Amy. Thank you again, and I will let you know how it goes." He said quickly, signing of Skype and closing his laptop just as Penny appeared in the living room. Squinting her eyes she made her way to the kitchen. "Good morning, Sheldon." She said in a groggy voice. Sheldon got up from his office chair and joined her in the kitchen. "I am afraid that ship has sailed, Penny. It is almost noon. So I will respond to you 'good morning' with a 'good pre-noon'." He said with a small smile expecting her to recognize how he whimsically had invented his own time of day but Penny didn't seem to hear him as she quickly took a mug and began preparing herself some coffee. Unsure what to do next, Sheldon decided to go sit in his spot; that would give him time to think about his next move. A few moments later Penny slowly made her way to the couch while rubbing her temple in a circular motion. "Oh god, my head is killing me." She murmured as she slowly sat on the other site of the couch bringing her legs up to her side. Sheldon eyed her as she took a large sip of her coffee. "I believe that the current pain you are experiencing is a natural and predictable consequence of a night of heavy drinking." He said as he got up from the couch and made his way to the refrigerator before continuing. "You see, Penny, under the influence of alcohol your body begin increasing the excretion of water which causes the amount of fluid that you excrete surpass the amount of fluids that you consume." He now made his way back to the couch standing in front of his spot whit a bottle of water in his hand. "And the aftermath of that is what you are experiencing now." He put down the bottle of water in front of her. "Dehydration." He finished and sat back on his spot. Penny looked at him with tired eyes and slowly put down her mug, picking up the bottle of water. Taking a couple of big sips she closed it up and said. "Thank you." Sheldon responded with a small nod. Penny took her mug but stopped in the middle of the process. Frowning and putting the mug back down she turned to face Sheldon. "What do you mean 'heavy drinking'? I wasn't that drunk last night." She said with a defensive tone. Sheldon merely looked at her, tilted his head slightly and raised his brows. Penny returned his look with a stern face that soon faded away and she threw her hands up in defeat. "Fine, fine, I was somewhat drunk last night."
"Somewhat dru... Penny, how much do you remember from last night?" Sheldon asked surprised by her underestimation. Penny looked at him with squinted eyes before speaking. "For your information, I remember pretty much all of it! I remember that my girlfriend Ashley drove me home. And then I remember not being able to get to sleep because of… well.." Penny's eyes drifted as she tried to remember the events of the previous evening. Her eyes grew big when she remembered. "Because I couldn't find my keys! And then you were there and you were going to give me the spare key.. and then.. uhm… I changed into Leonard's t-shirt. Oh god, and then I threw up. I remember that." Penny shuddered before continuing. "And after that I was in Leonard's bed and you gave me something to drink and sang me Soft Kitty." She smiled at the memory. "Yup! And now we are her, see I told you. I remember!" She said with a triumphant look on her face. "Yes, Penny. You do seem to remember the events of last night in general, so luckily the memory loss that normally accompany excessive consummation of alcohol is minimal." Sheldon responded with a hint of condemnation. Penny glared at him before picking up her mug and sipping her coffee. Sheldon observed her and decided that now was as good a moment as ever to bring up the desired conversation.
"Never the less, it is not the amount of alcohol you consume that I wish to talk to you about, it is rather the frequency with which these drunken nights have been occurring." Sheldon said, his voice serious as he looked at her. Penny looked back at him over the top of her coffee mug. She slowly brought it down from her face, a confused look on her face, as she said. "What are you talking about? What do you mean frequency?"
"Penny, there is no need to deny it. Ever since you quit your job from the Cheesecake Factory your drunken activities has increased in both number and frequency. In other words, you are drunk a lot now." He explained hoping to clarify things for her.
"What the hell is the matter with you, Sheldon?!" Penny said angrily in a high pitch voice as she slammed her mug back on the table. "Are you seriously calling me a drunk?!"
The sound of the mug hitting the table and Penny's angry voice startled Sheldon and the only thing he could do was look at her in shock. He tried to think back at his conversation with Amy earlier. What had she said? "Don't jump this on her. You don't want her to feel like you are accusing her for being a sloppy drunk. She would be very offended and it would very rude."
Well, it looked like he had managed to start the conversation by coming off as offensive and rude. This was not the way he planned the conversation going. He cleared his throat and said. "I am sorry, Penny. I never meant to imply in any way that you are a drunk. That would be rude." He offered, hoping that it would repair the damage so that they could continue the conversation. Looking at her and realizing that she was still looking at him with anger he felt his mouth dry and his palms beginning to get clammy. "Good god, what have I gotten myself into?" He thought just as Penny opened her mouth and said. "Then what did you mean by it? I am a grown ass woman, Sheldon. I can do what I want, and I sure as hell don't need you to lecture me on how to live my life!" She said, clearly frustrated. Sheldon swallowed, searching every inch of his eidetic memory for an appropriate answer. He knew that what he said next was crucial for the development of the rest of the conversation. His mind once again returned to the conversation with Amy. She had asked him to clarify the main purpose of his conversation with Penny. He had answered that he wanted to help her. She had then asked him to list the reasons why and he did. After that she had asked him to defend his undertaking with valid arguments and he had done so. She had told him that it all sounded like something that could help Penny. "That is very noble of you, Sheldon. When you talk to Penny make sure that you tell her exactly that." He looked back at Penny. He cleared his throat again and said.
"Penny, I regard you as one of my friends, and I only mean to help you."
"I don't need you to save me, Sheldon! I am not a lost cause!" Penny answered in a raging voice. Clearly he wasn't doing great in helping her, but her jelling made him lose control and before he could think about it he blurted out. "Well, then stop acting like one."
Penny looked at him with wide eyes as her mouth fell open. He could see her hands clawing the couch as she slapped her mouth closed and pressed her lips tightly together and started to breath heavily. Sheldon panicked. What had he just said? He opened his mouth but closed it again with nothing to say. He could now see tears forming in the corners of her eyes, but he couldn't determine whether they were tears of anger or tears of sadness. Either way they caused him to panic even more. He hated when people cried, he would do anything to avoid it. He quickly remembered his arguments for helping Penny and clearing his throat for the third time he said.
"Penny I understand, believe me I do…."
"And what exactly is it that you understand, Sheldon?! You might be a genius but there is a lot that you don't know shit about!" Penny exploded, her face red and voice dripping with anger. Her high-pitch voice startled him once again but he forced himself to sit straighter in his spot and turned as to face her more directly.
"Penny, I know that you have been undergoing a lot of stress lately and I know that quitting your job wasn't easy. And I understand what it feels like when things start changing. It is scary. That is why I have been trying to avoid things from changing my entire life. Without your job at the Cheesecake Factory you have lost the safety and comfort of your daily routine." He said and looked at her, hoping that she would calm down a little. To his relief she slumped her shoulders and brought a hand up to dry the tears which Sheldon now was certain were tears of sadness.
"Damn right, it's scary." She said in a small voice looking down on her hand. Sheldon didn't exactly know what to make of that. Could he continue? He waited a couple of moments, but since it didn't seem like Penny was going to say anything he decided to proceed.
"Hence my true purpose in bringing up this matter. No matter how scary this is and how much distress you experience, you should never use consummation of alcohol to deal with your emotional problems. I have seen it happen, it never works out. Honestly, you should know better, Penny." He said in a more stern voice. Penny's eyes looked around the room, her face slowly hardening before returning her gaze to Sheldon.
"Sheldon I am not using alcohol to deal with my emotional problems. Look, you are right. It's been really hard and stressful these last weeks and I guess I am just really scared. I mean, what if this doesn't work out? What if everything I came to L.A. to achieve has been in vain; just a waste of time? I guess I just don't know if I can handle anymore failure." She said the last part with a shaky voice and Sheldon saw more tears forming. What was he going to say now? His mind one again drifted back to his conversation with Amy. She had mentioned something about how humans in distress often found comfort in knowing that they are not alone. It had baffled Sheldon that Penny might need to be reminded that she wasn't alone, since she was clearly surrounded by friends, but Amy had insisted that being reassured of the support of your social group would be tremendously comforting and uplifting. And maybe she was right. He could remember times in his own life when the support of his friend's had made him feel better.
He looked back at Penny. Perhaps that was what she needed to hear now? But he was really not comfortable getting all hippy-dippy. Perhaps he should try with a scientific approach first.
"Well, as I have told you before, Penny: Schrödinger's cat." He said as Penny furrowed her brows at him.
"What do you mean Schrödinger's…" Her eyes grew wide as she remembered. "Oh yeah yeah, that's right. You won't know until you look." She grew quiet for a moment slowly nodding her head before saying. "That really is a good piece of advice, Sheldon." She said looking at him. He nodded in agreement, glad that he had been able to help her by using science. He would make sure to tell Amy that he didn't have to get all emotional in order to help his friend.
"But, if I get it right, I really don't think you can use it here." Penny said with a puzzled expression. Sheldon simply looked at her, unable to speak. Penny didn't seem to notice his shocked expression as she continued. "I mean, think about it. I already quit my job, I already took the leap. So I have actually looked inside the box, right?" She looked right at him and was met with a flabbergasted expression on Sheldon's face. After a brief moment he seemed to mentally pull himself together. He cleared his throat and said. "I guess that is one possible interpretation of the principle, yes."
Penny's look grew dark again as she looked back down on her hands. "That brings me back to square one." She said with a sigh. Sheldon simply observed her and concluded that in order to help Penny and make her feel better, he would probably have to apply the other method.
"Well, if you have already looked inside the box, then what you need to do next is determine the status of the content within." He said, as Penny looked at him with a frown and a small nod. "And considering that you just recently left your job, I don't believe you have enough data to make a final conclusion." He added.
"So what are you saying? That it is too early to tell whether or not I am failing?" Penny asked.
"Essentially, yes." Sheldon responded. "Well then… what am I going to do?" she asked, this time with a hint of nervousness in her tone.
"I believe the only thing you are able to do is what you are already doing: committing all your time and energy to becoming an actress." Sheldon said. Penny looked at him with wide eyes, slowly nodding. He could tell that she was still scared. Sheldon took a deep breath and said.
"In the meantime you would perhaps find comfort in the knowledge that no matter what you have your friend's support." Penny's eyed got glossy as tears filled them. "Really?" She said in a low voice.
"Really." Sheldon said. "So you don't think I am crazy for doing this?" She asked, her voice shaking.
"No, I don't think you are. Granted, it is a big risk, but I agree that it is something you have to do if you really wish to make it as an actress." Sheldon responded truthfully.
"And you are saying that you will… you know, support me?" Penny asked.
Sheldon looked at her, baffled that he had to state the obvious.
"Of course I will support you, Penny. You are my friend, and that is what friends do." He stated. Penny's eyes were still filled with tears but the corners of her mouth curled up in a smile, indicating that they were tears of happiness.
"Get up." She said much to Sheldon's surprise.
"Why?" He asked with concern.
"Just do it, Sheldon." Penny said. Sheldon eyed her unsure about her motives. Had he upset her? Would she "punch him in the throat"? But her smile indicated that she wasn't upset. With a sigh Sheldon rose from his spot.
"All right, I got up now wha.." Before he could finish his sentence Penny had quickly made her way over to him wrapping her arms around him in a tight hug. Sheldon sighed once again.
"Thank you, Sheldon." She said. "You can be a really great friend, you know that?"
"You are welcome, Penny, but I don't see why that surprises you. I am a delight in every way." Sheldon responded. Penny tightened the hug and said. "You Whack-a-doodle."
"Now Penny, I understand that I have provided you with moral support and advice, but I still don't see that as a reason for hugging." He stated his arms still resting down his side.
"Oh get over yourself, Sheldon!" Penny exclaimed not letting go. "And besides, this hug can't have an ending before you hug me back."
Sheldon sighed for the third time as he slowly raised his arms and placed his hands on Penny's back slowly shaking his head. "There you go." Penny said with a smile before slowly letting him go. Still holding his arms with her hands she said. "But seriously, Sheldon. I really appreciate everything you have done. Both today and last night. You always take care of me and I am feeling much better."
Sheldon simply looked at her, unsure what to say, so he decided for a small nod and a smile. Holding his gaze another moment, Penny finally let go of his arms and said. "Well, I think I will go home and take a shower." She made her way to the door.
"See you tomorrow, Sheldon." She said as she walked out of the door. "Unless I see you before." Sheldon responded as he made his way to the kitchen, oblivious to Penny's smile and the shake of her head as she slowly closed the door behind her.
And there you go! I hope you liked it! :) Please review and let me know what is going on in those great fascinating minds of yours! :D
Live long and ship hard!