As she'd expected, everyone was already gathered around the coffee table when she arrived. Leonard opened the door with a wide grin, and the tableau over his shoulder was so familiar that she felt another lump in her throat.
"Hey!" he said happily, and pulled her into a hug.
She blinked in surprise as she hugged him back. She and Leonard had grown somewhat closer in Sheldon's absence – they'd spent more than a few nights exchanging both worries and words of comfort – but the hug was a bit out of left field. She wondered if he'd been drinking.
Her eyes met Sheldon's over Leonard's shoulder. He was smiling at her, a small warm smile that he seemed to reserve only for her. (And koalas. And trains.) She smiled back despite her puzzlement, and squeezed Leonard briefly before pulling away.
"Hello Leonard," she said, and then looked to the others. "Hello everyone."
"Amy Farrah Fowler!" Penny looked annoyed. She set down her wine glass, stood up and made her way over. "I've been calling and texting you for hours. Sheldon sends you one text and here you are. What the hell?"
"Sorry bestie. I had a lot on my mind."
"Hmph." Penny didn't seem at all impressed by that admittedly vague explanation, and then her gaze grew calculating as she studied her friend closely. Amy quickly gave her an apologetic smile and then moved past her to join the others before the interrogation began.
"Amy!" Bernadette scooted over and patted the cushion between her and Sheldon eagerly. "You must be so happy."
Amy beamed back at her as she sat down. "Yes, of course."
"Sheldon said he surprised you last night," Bernadette continued, obviously fishing for information.
"Indeed." Amy realized she was still smiling widely, and attempted to school her expression into something more subtle. "As I am sure he surprised all of you today." She turned to give him a tiny smile and found him studying her.
Leonard launched into his version of Sheldon's surprise homecoming, but Amy found herself tuning him out as she met Sheldon's gaze. After a minute, he surprised her by reaching out to take her hand. Her stomach quivered at this unexpected gesture; despite his earlier amorous behavior, he had never been one for public displays of affection, and she hadn't really expected that to change.
She finally tore her eyes away from her boyfriend's - no, now fiancé's – when she realized that Leonard's voice had trailed off. Turning, she realized that everyone was now staring at their joined hands on Amy's knee.
Sheldon seemed to realize this at the same moment, and she felt him stiffen on the couch beside her as he squeezed her hand. He cleared his throat and raised his eyebrows back at them.
"Is something wrong?" he said pointedly.
"No! No, nothing's wrong," Leonard said hastily. He met his friend's eyes and then broke into a grin. "Nothing at all."
Amy couldn't help but be amused. If everyone was this taken aback at just the hand holding, she couldn't imagine their response once they learned of their engagement. She and Sheldon had agreed to keep it to themselves until he had informed his mother and grandmother and had a chance to settle back into his life in California.
"Oh, come off it, Sheldon," Penny's voice broke into her musings. "You're groping your girlfriend's leg like it's no big deal, just like you walked back in here today like it's no big deal. You've put on about fifteen pounds, you haven't shaved, you look like you missed your last couple haircuts, and I've never seen you smile so much in the entire time I've known you. And you refuse to tell us anything except that you were in Texas, which we already knew!"
Sheldon gave a long suffering sigh. "I haven't shaved since yesterday morning because I've been traveling; I missed one haircut because I do not care for my childhood barber's replacement in Houston; and the regrettable weight gain is due to my mother's incessant need to chicken fry everything. Thank you for pointing it out, by the way," he finished sarcastically.
Penny raised a sarcastic eyebrow back at him. "And the groping?"
"I am not groping Amy," he retorted. "I am merely holding her hand. As you might imagine, I… missed her a great deal," here he lowered his eyes to his lap and actually blushed slightly.
"Dude, that is so sweet," Raj said, in concert with Bernadette's high pitched "Aww!"
"Speaking of, how was your reunion last night?" Howard waggled his eyebrows at them.
"That is none of your business," Amy finally interjected, her tone brooking no argument.
"Indeed," Sheldon said, and frowned at them. "Now can we move on to a less intrusive topic? Like dinner?"
Penny narrowed her eyes at him. "For now," she said. "Don't think you're getting off too easily, Moon Pie."
Sheldon glared at her again.
Leonard shook his head, smiling again. "Well, we're just happy to have you back, buddy," he said. "Even if you're not quite the you we remember…"
"That sentence was a grammatical nightmare, Leonard," Sheldon sighed.
But he smiled back.