Stairway outside Apt 4A and 4B
Leonard rounded the last flight of stairs onto the 4th floor landing. Sheldon was close behind him. In Leonard's hands was a bouquet of daffodils. Instead of heading toward 4A he went to the door to 4B. Sheldon looked over at him with a rather irritated look.
"Really Leonard, first we have to stop to get Penny some flowers and now you have to deliver them before letting us into the apartment. This is not the first time she's came home disappointed from an audition. She should be used to failure by now."
Leonard turned from the door to 4B toward his roommate. There was a look of exasperation on his face.
"You know Sheldon there are days, no make that at least every day, that you really are thoughtless. Penny had three auditions today. If none of them worked out she's going to be pretty down. So use your own key and let yourself in."
Sheldon pulled his shoulder bag toward him and started looking in it for his keys. They were of course in a pocket toward the top where they always were. He pulled out his key and started to unlock the door as Leonard entered 4B.
Leonard was shocked to see Penny sitting on the couch. She was still dressed to the nines as she'd gone out this morning for her auditions. A mid length black dress still on her but her heels sitting on the coffee table next to a half empty bottle of white wine. She had half glass of the wine in her hand. Leonard could see she hadn't been crying she was close. He quickly closed the door behind him then walked toward the couch. Penny just stared at him and the flowers in his hand. She gave him a small smile.
"Those for me sweetie, were you going to try to cheer me up for a bad day?"
Leonard swallowed hard then just nodded, "I thought you'd be later and flowers are good to celebrate with as well."
Penny shook her head, "Nope no need for the other auditions the producer offered me a part on the first audition."
Leonard advanced taking a seat beside her on the couch. He smiled and was about to say something but Penny continued to just stare at the flowers then take another sip of wine. Instead of talking Leonard got serious.
"Well I'd say that's great but something tells me there's a problem."
Penny finished the wine in her glass setting it on the table. She then reached over and took the flowers. Penny looked at them and then up at Leonard.
"Some days I forget how really ugly this business can be. I could have had the part today, it had lines and several scenes but there was a catch."
Leonard looked over his glasses at her, "Nude scene, sex what?"
Penny smiled for a moment before looking back at the flowers, "Oh I could handle that, besides it was a part on a TV show. No Leonard it was the price I would have to pay to get the part. The producer was sleazy. To get the part all I had to do was sleep with him and his girlfriend. A little three-way and I'd have the part."
Leonard's eyes had grown large. He shook his head several times, "He can't ask something like that, that's, that's well wrong but it's got to be illegal. What piece of sh"
Penny reached over and touched his arm, "It's not the first time I've been asked to give to get Leonard. There are people in this business that really try to take advantage. I didn't get upset or blow up at him. I simply declined and left. I don't want the reputation of an actress that actually might have some prissy morality or anything."
Penny reached over and poured herself another glass of wine. She brought it to her lips and took a large sip. Then looked back at a speechless Leonard, "It really kind of soured my day so I cancelled the other auditions then I went shopping."
Leonard struggled for what to say, "I um you must really be mad"
Penny looked like she was thinking about it for a second then smiled, "I was but I'm really just sad that there are people like that guy. Then I thought that maybe that kind of thing is what it takes to be a star."
Leonard started to protest but she leaned in suddenly then kissed him. She pulled back and looked into his face.
"If that's what it takes I think I'll just be a waitress."
Leonard smiled softly at her, "You'll be successful Penny because you're not like that. I guess to be a star a lot of things have to line up just right. But I believe in you, just keep trying."
Penny moved her hand to his and held it, "I'm going to, but people like him make me wonder if it's worth it. I mean this wasn't some little show on cable Leonard. This was a network show. This guy must have that reputation. I'm beginning to wonder why my agent sent me. She's pissed at me as well for cancelling the other auditions. The next audition was for a part on a commercial for tampons I just couldn't get out of being angry. So I bagged it."
Leonard was starting to get angry himself pulling at the collar of his green recycle shirt and twisting his neck. He continued to hold her hand with his left hand.
Penny watched him, "It's alright sweetie nothing you need to get upset about. This is not the first time I've been offered a part for sex. I can handle it."
Leonard looked shocked, "Have you ever made the trade?"
Penny looked aghast for a second, "You know me better than that and of course I'm always sober at auditions. No I've been tempted to once or twice but the guys and yes women who have suggested it were always creepy, especially after suggesting it."
Leonard seemed to relax a bit, "Isn't there anything you could do about it?"
Penny took another sip of wine, "It is what it is Leonard. If I knew someone high up in the business I could let them know and the word would get around."
The three knocks at the door startled them. It was followed by, "Penny", then three more knocks. They waited until Sheldon was done knocking then Leonard got up and moved to the door. He opened the door wide.
"What is it Sheldon?"
Sheldon was standing in the door with a cup in one hand and a note in the other.
He walked in and took Leonard's place on the couch then set the cup on the table. He looked over at Penny with his cute little grin.
"Here's a nice cup of hot chocolate for you Penny. Leonard said you might be having a bad day."
He held out the piece of paper to her, "This is a phone number of my friend James Earl Jones. I called him and told him about you. He looked at your picture on Leonard's Facebook page and think's you might be perfect for the show he's helping to produce."
Penny was speechless, her mouth hanging open. She looked first at Sheldon then Leonard then back at Sheldon.
Sheldon seemed happy with himself then frowned, "There's a catch though."
Penny was taken aback. Leonard at last closed the door and started walking over.
"Penny is not sleeping with James Earl Jones Sheldon. My god what were you thinking."
Sheldon looked very confused then turned back to Penny, "Oh no there's no coitus involved. He said they were thinking the part might require a woman with dark hair and would Penny be alright with wearing a wig. I remembered that she wouldn't wear the wig for the Wonder Woman costume so I told him I'd ask."
Now it was Leonard mouth that hung open. Penny threw her arms around Sheldon. He patted her gently on the back saying.
"It's only a wig Penny it will be okay"
Not sure why this came to me but it did. Hope you enjoyed it, SOK