Monday

They were already late leaving for work but Sheldon wasn't going to berate Leonard. He was aware that Leonard had arrived back from Las Vegas married to Penny but that they had spent the subsequent two nights in their own apartments and were not currently on speaking terms. He hadn't asked what had caused this rift nor was any explanation forthcoming. He was at a total loss as to what to do and recognising that his social skills were inadequate for this type of situation, he made a mental note to ask Raj for advice. The ride to work was, as he expected, made in total silence.

Midway through the morning, there was a knock on his office door and before he had time to respond in walked Howard & Raj. They promptly sat down and started to talk of the "Lenny" situation. Howard said that Bernadette & Penny had spent quite some time talking on Sunday and that he had been told some of the story but little of the detail.

"It seems Leonard told to Penny during the drive to Vegas that he had kissed one of his colleagues during the North Sea expedition. Penny wasn't happy she was only hearing this now. Leonard swore that it was only once during a celebration party. Somehow he managed to convince Penny that she was his one true love and that they should still get married. The next morning they went to the Church which they had booked for their wedding. Everything went to plan and they returned to their hotel room. Afterwards Leonard finally confessed that the North Sea affair had started after less than two weeks aboard, it was very carnal in nature, had lasted until the end of the expedition and that the colleague was actually a Caltech employee. Penny blew a fuse at this and stormed out of bed and into the bathroom. When she came out, Leonard was sitting on the side of the bed half dressed. He started to explain but she cut him off, said she was heading back to Pasadena, she wanted an immediate divorce and never wanted to see or speak with him again. For whatever reason they drove back together and you met them as they arrived back at the apartments."

"So Leonard did the dance with no pants with Mandy Chow - awesome" blurted Raj.

Sheldon, who had been pondering what Howard had said, intervened. "Well this is good news. Now that we know what has happened with can discuss it with … "

"No" both Howard and Raj shouted.

Sheldon tried again "But …"

"As a married man, let me give you some advice" said Howard, stopping Sheldon before he could get started. "You should never ever get involved in disputes between a man and his wife, it will only make things much worse, trust me I have experience here. When Ma tried to get me and Bernie to go live with her after our wedding, it wasn't nice & Bernie and me argued for days. It only stopped when we went to bed one evening and ended up fucking each other's brains out. Angry sex can be great."

There was a stunned silence in the room at this revelation and Sheldon was first to react. "Howard, this is not an appropriate forum for such a statement."

"Yea, maybe not but it's true. You should try it sometime." Howard got up and swaggered out the door following by Raj.

As he followed Howard down the corridor towards his office, Raj was in a thoughtful mood. He had always lusted after Bernadette – the petite blonde with the big tits and the raspy voice. So far he had managed to keep these urges deeply hidden in a dark corner of his mind, but somehow Howard's admission had opened the door & those thoughts came spilling out. He was currently imagining being in bed with her, thrusting in and out, with her screaming at him not to stop even as he unloaded into her.

Sheldon, Howard and Raj arrived first for lunch. Not much was said until Leonard arrived. He sat down and immediately said "I don't want to talk about it, just leave me alone." The strained silence was overbearing and the mood didn't lift until Leonard left. Even then not much was said and the group soon broke up and returned to their offices.

Later that afternoon Raj arrived at Sheldon's door. "Hey buddy, I just got this note from Leonard. He's says he needs to take some time away from here to work things out so he's going back to New Jersey, he's flying this afternoon. I'll take you home now and we'll make sure somebody picks you up in the morning."

Sitting along in his apartment that evening, Sheldon realised that he was missing the company of others. He only now realised how much that group of friends had changed his life over the previous ten years. He was also thinking about his neighbour – was she in her apartment, had she eaten, did she want to talk. He considered walking across the hallway to knock at her door but then recalled Howard's advice and agreed that it would be better not to intrude.

So ended the first day.

Tuesday

As usual, Sheldon was ready to leave for work well before the "correct" time. He had completed his bathroom schedule, had breakfast and checked his e-mail. There was no further communication from any of his friends. He was sitting in his spot wondering who was transporting him to work and carefully considering the events of yesterday, hoping that today would bring some much needed stability. He also rebuked himself for neglecting to ask Raj about the social protocol for interaction with Leonard & Penny in this type of situation. Well he mused, half that problem was now in New Jersey and could be ignored for the next few days at least.

Just then his mobile phone chimed to indicate an incoming text message. From Howard, it simply said "there in 5 be at front door waiting". He collected his bag and made his way from the apartment down the stairs towards the front entrance, noting that he must remind Howard about the use of correct grammar & punctuation even in a simple text message.

Arriving at the kerbside he looked up to see Howard's car heading down the street towards him, and as it drew closer he could see that Bernadette was driving. As soon as the car stopped he went forward to tell Howard that he wanted to sit in the front passenger seat but the changed his mind when he saw the stern look on both their faces. Getting into the rear seat he greeted them with "Good morning to you both and thank you for the lift to work". The reply was muttered and incoherent even with his acute hearing.

He had once heard somebody say "You could cut the atmosphere with a knife" when describing a tense situation between people. He had always considered that a stupid statement but here in the car heading towards the university, he suddenly realised that it perfectly described the current situation so he kept his counsel and said nothing. As they left the car at the university, Howard attempted to say goodbye to Bernadette but was told to "Can it buster!"

"So what happened" he enquired of Howard as they made their way into the building.

"Oh nothing much, I had an email from NASA last night. It seems they want me to go back up to the space station but this time for six months. The university have agreed and I leave for Houston to start training on Friday. When I told Bernie she went ballistic, I slept on the couch last night and she hasn't spoken to me since."

"Did you not say yesterday the 'angry sex' was the perfect antidote in such a situation?"

Howard turned and stared at Sheldon, somewhat surprised that he would make that type of suggestion. He shrugged and continued "Way beyond that buddy, way beyond. I went to sleep last night wondering if I would ever wake up again or was she going to murder me there and then. She'll get over it, by the time I leave it'll be all OK again" he said with confidence.

The rest of the day passed as normal, much to Sheldon's relief. With no distractions he had managed to make some progress with his formulae by the time Raj knocked at his door, ready to bring him home. "I assume we are eating at the Cheesecake Factory this evening as usual?" he said glancing over towards Sheldon. A slight nod confirmed the arrangement so he continued "In that case, I'll wait at your place and bring you there. Not sure who, but somebody will bring you back home afterwards."

Confirming that Howard would be joining them, Sheldon made his way towards his seat at his table in the restaurant, Raj taking the seat opposite him. Almost immediately, Howard sauntered into the room and towards them. Sitting down beside Sheldon he explained that "Bernie is parking the car and will be here in a couple of minutes."

"Are you two back talking?" asked Raj.

"Just about" replied Howard, "at least I'm pretty sure she's not going to kill me right now, so things must be getting better. Told you they would."

Just then she walked in and sat down beside Raj whose mind had starting its lustful wanderings again. He quickly snapped back to the present as she said "So Sheldon, I'm guessing that you could use a little advice about how to deal with Penny & Leonard?" Before he could answer she continued "They're still your friends so treat them exactly the same way today as you did before they left for Vegas. But don't be surprised or alarmed if they seem different, they're both hurting badly at the moment." He nodded his understanding, grateful that somebody had at last told him what to do.

They were in the process of ordering when Sheldon noticed a surprised look appear on Raj's face. Before he could enquire, he felt a familiar hand on his shoulder and her voice saying "Hi, glad to see you all". He spun around in his seat and there stood Penny. He jumped up, grabbed her into a hug and whispered to her "My Penny Blossom, I thought I had lost you."

Another chair was quickly arranged and Penny took her place at the top of the table between Sheldon and Raj. She briefly coughed to get their attention and said "I guess you all heard what happened between me and Leonard?" Nods all around confirmed her suspicions so she continued "OK so the rule is no mention of his name & we'll all get along fine. If he comes back from New Jersey, we'll worry about how to deal with it then. Today is the first day of the rest of my life and I intend to enjoy every minute of it."

Conversation continued as the meals were served and Sheldon was amazed by how natural and right the situation felt. Eventually Howard's re-assignment to NASA came up and whilst everybody was congratulating him, Sheldon noticed that Bernadette's face had regained that stern look from this morning. 'Hmm, it would seem that their relationship status is still quite a way from the norm that Howard had predicted would be achieved before he departed' he thought. Just then he saw Bernadette mutter something but even with his excellent hearing he couldn't catch what had been said.

Raj, as he was sitting right alongside her, had clearly heard what Bernadette had said. "Nine months, I'm going to have to get me a lover." The little door in his mind sprang wide open and he began to fantasize again. Here was his chance to have his wicked way with her – him on top, her on top, on her hands & knees with him behind. The possibility of trying every position in the Kama Sutra was too much to bear and he hastily ran to the bathroom to compose himself & re-arrange his clothing.

The evening was drawing to a close and Penny told Sheldon that she would be taking him home. In the car she was deliberately keeping the conversation away from her own situation. "Did you see the look on Bernadette's face when Howard's space trip was mentioned? He's going to have to be careful or he'll lose her. And Raj, she said something to him & I thought he was going to explode, he loves her you know." She continued the chatter about their friends as they climbed the stairs to the fourth floor. Just before she closed her door, she reached up to Sheldon and passed her lips across his in the briefest of kisses. "Goodnight Honey" and the door closed. As he closed his own door, his only thought was that today had been just as chaotic as yesterday.

And so ended the second day.

Wednesday

As he was driven to work this morning by Raj, Sheldon was hoping that today would prove to be a turning point and that the chaos of the last few days would diminish. Things had certainly started in an auspicious manner – all of his morning routines had gone perfectly to schedule, Raj had arrived to pick him up at precisely the correct time and there seemed to be less traffic than normal so the chance of a car accident was much reduced. Thinking back to last evening he turned to Raj and asked "What was it that Bernadette said you at the table yesterday that caused to run to the bathroom?"

Raj, for all of his shyness, was well versed in social skills. He immediately recognised that telling Sheldon the truth wasn't an option so he replied "She said that if Howard didn't die in a rocket accident that she would kill him when he got back from space. I was so flabbergasted that I ran so that I wouldn't burst out laughing in front of him." Sheldon thought about this for a moment and, as he saw no reason to disbelieve Raj, the let the matter drop.

By lunchtime Sheldon was even more convinced that a corner had be turned. Everything was running as smooth as clockwork, just the way he liked it. As he entered the cafeteria he noticed a group of people standing around 'their' table. Having collected his food, water, cutlery and napkins he made his way across the room. As he approached he saw that Howard was the centre of attention. The news of his long-term assignment to NASA was now public and it seemed that everybody in the university wanted to congratulate him.

Eventually the hubbub died down and the conversation turned to more important matters – after all today was Wednesday and that meant 'new comic books'. Howard told Sheldon that he would be acting as driver tonight. This was excellent news as Sheldon now knew how the remainder of the day would unfold. Just before they finished eating Raj quietly asked Howard "So buddy, how are things between you and Bernadette – has she forgiven you yet." Looking up, Sheldon saw the startled look on Howard's face as he tried to calm himself, but he also saw a smirk on Raj's face – was he actually teasing Howard?

"Not yet, but things are getting better. At least now we are talking a little and sharing the same bed – it's difficult but she'll come round, mark my words" replied Howard. Raj gave a little grunt as if to say OK and the topic was quickly changed.

Later that evening as he walked up the stairs towards his apartment, Sheldon was comforted by the fact that the day had turned out rather well. Whilst the scenes of congratulations to Howard were repeated at the comic book store, the rest of the day had been almost perfect. As he was turning the key in the lock, he heard the door of Penny's apartment open and close. Looking around he saw her coming towards him in an obvious state of distress. "Drat it" he thought, just as I had assumed the chaos was over it looks like it may be starting again.

"And how are you this evening?" he enquired.

"Not good" came the reply. "I've had an email from Leonard and it looks like my marriage is over – he's agreed we should get divorced." With that the tears started to flow and she reached out to him for support. He quickly opened the door, invited her in and told her to sit down whilst he brewed some tea for them both. By the time he handed her the hot drink and joined her on the couch, the tears had stopped. However the calmness didn't last for long and soon she was bewailing almost everything and everybody in her life. "Perhaps I should do the same as Leonard and head back home to Nebraska."

At this, Sheldon reacted. "Penny, why would you want to do that?" he asked. "All your friends are here, you have a good job with lots of potential. Besides if you left who would look after me and sing 'Soft Kitty' to me when I am sick?"

"Oh Honey" she said as she reached out and grabbed him into a hug.

He knew that he should be objecting to her touching him but somehow it felt right. What he thought should be chaos & disaster was actually very nice and not at all scary. They continued hugging in silence but eventually his 'logical' mind took control and he broke the embrace. He then recounted what had transpired between Raj and Howard at lunch and the look that he had seen on Raj's face. "What does it mean?"

Penny starting giggling as she replied "I told you yesterday that Raj has always been in love with Bernadette. This is just him seeing how solid her relationship with Howard is."

"Does this mean that he is trying to destroy their marriage?"

"Not really, but Howard will be away for a long time and if Bernadette starts to get lonely, then she may decide to replace him – you understand?"

"Oh" he replied and as he worked out the full implication of what Penny had just said – "Oh, you mean?"

"Yep" – the chaos had returned with a vengeance.

Across the city at the Wolowitz residence, the couple in question were spending their evening in the same manner as the previous few, almost total silence. About 10pm, Howard stood up and said "I'm going to bed." He didn't expect to get a reply and he was correct as Bernadette totally ignored him. Sometime later, just as he was on the edge of falling asleep, he heard her come into the bedroom & make her way to the bathroom. When she emerged he could see that she was undressed to kill, the nightdress was so sheer as to be transparent and her lack of underwear was obvious. Dear God, how he wanted he right now, bouncing up and down on him, his cock filling her tight cunt as he groped her huge tits and oh so chewable nipples. As soon as she was in bed, he began to slide across towards her but he was met with a stern rebuke. "What do think you're doing?"

"I was hoping for at least a goodnight cuddle."

"No way buster. This is a sex free zone until you change your decision about going back into space."

"But Bernie I need…."

"No! And while you're away I'm getting my loving elsewhere."

"What?"

"You heard me. I'm not waiting months to get screwed senseless again, I need my loving."

"But…."

"Your decision" and with that she turned her back on him, leaving him with lots to consider as he fell asleep.

Here ended the third day.

Thursday

'Anything can happen Thursday', his first waking thought. This sounded ominous but so far this week every day had been 'something happened'. Surely it couldn't get any worse, could it? As it turned out, Penny was the designated driver this morning so he felt comfortable exploring with her what he had learnt the previous evening. "So what exactly is this situation between Raj and Bernadette?" he asked.

Penny had been dreading the possibility of this moment. She had hoped that Sheldon would have forgotten what she had said but of course, he forgets nothing. Well 'here we go' she thought as she replied. "OK, so women and men have 'needs'."

"Coitus"

"Yes but not just sex, they also need companionship, friendship, support. When they miss these things for a long time they start to look round to see how they that gap can be filled. Bernadette is a very sexy lady – believe me I know – and it's my guess that it won't be too long after Howard leaves before that loneliness sets in. Then maybe, just maybe, she might start looking."

"But why and why Raj?"

"Sheldon, you're not like most people. You are extremely intelligent but you seem to lack the sexual urges that everybody else on this planet has. Sooner or later Bernadette will want to have that warm glow that comes from making love. If Howards is still on that dammed space station then she will look elsewhere. As for why Raj, well she knows him, knows that he's in love with her and he has that mystical charm that only a foreigner seems to have. Whether they could keep it a secret when Howard gets back is doubtful and then all hell would break loose."

Sheldon pondered on these words as he left the car and walked to his office. Thankfully everything at the university seemed to be as it should and soon he had forgotten about the people around him and was deeply engrossed with his formulae. About mid-morning his telephone rang. It was his boss' secretary asking him to come along to the office immediately. As he walked along the corridors he could think of no reason why he had been summonsed. met him at the door and ushered him straight into his office. Waiting for him were the head of the university and the academic members of the board. started. "You're a colleague and the roommate of – correct?"

"Yes, we have shared an apartment for the past ten years."

"Has anything strange or unusual happened to him in the last week?"

"Why do you ask?"

"Early this morning we received an e-mail from him. It says and I quote – 'I quit, ask Sheldon' – rather abrupt and enigmatic don't you think? So here we are asking you, has anything happened?"

Sheldon took a moment to marshal his thoughts before he answered. "Last Friday, when I got home to the apartment, there was a note from Leonard. In it he said that Penny – his fiancé – and he had decided to get married straight away and had left for Las Vegas. At 4.47pm on Saturday I heard them coming up the stairs. Unusually for a married couple she returned to her apartment, across the hallway, and Leonard came into ours. I tried to ask what happened but he ignored me & went straight to his bedroom. Between then and driving to work on Monday he only said eight words to me – 'Sheldon, I don't want to talk about it'. He left just after lunch on Monday to head back to his home in New Jersey and I haven't heard from him since. I subsequently learnt from our mutual friend Howard Wolowitz – his wife and Penny are friends – that whilst on the North Sea expedition he had been unfaithful to Penny, and that he only confessed this matter after they had been married. She insisted that they return to Pasadena immediately and I believe that they have agreed to terminate their marriage."

"Thank you for your insight that will be all. We will let you know in due course what our decision is but it's probably safe to assume that you will be needing a new roommate."

At lunch he told Raj and Howard what had happened. "So I wonder who'll get his job?" mused Raj.

"His job, that's not important. He is only an experimental physicist after all, anybody with half a brain could fill the position. No, the important thing now is that I will have to find a replacement roommate – advertise, conduct interviews, create a new roommate agreement. Oh and he has not given the requisite notice period to terminate the existing agreement. This is a lot of extra work and it is all his fault. 'Anything can happen Thursday' – well it just has!"

As Sheldon continued to grumble about Leonard's abrupt departure Howard announced that, as he was leaving for NASA in Houston first thing the next morning, he was inviting them out for a meal that evening to celebrate. "Penny is coming as well, she'll bring you with her."

During the drive to the restaurant, not Sheldon approved so another problem to consider, he informed Penny of the university meeting that morning. She didn't seem surprised by the announcement so he assumed that either she knew or had guessed what Leonard was planning to do. Before they got out of the car, Penny leaned across and held him by the arm. "Now Sheldon, tonight is Howard's treat to us so be nice – no complaining, no remarks and certainly no questions or comments about his and Bernadette's marriage – otherwise I will deal with you when we get home – comprende?"

Sheldon shuddered with the ferocity of her grip on his arm and the implication of what might befall him if he strayed beyond Penny's limits, so he quickly nodded his acceptance of the conditions. They were last to arrive and took their places at the circular table, noting that Howard and Bernadette were still obviously unhappy with the other's stance on the situation. It was a rather nice "up-market" Chinese restaurant and Sheldon was soon engrossed by studying the menu to see if it met his standards. Just as he was about to start questioning the waiter he felt Penny's hand lightly touch his arm and he heard her very quietly say "remember, be nice." He winced, changed his mind, and placed his order without any questions.

Towards the end of the meal, Raj clinked a spoon against his wineglass and asked for everybody's attention. "Tonight we are here to celebrate the success of our friend Howard. He is fulfilling his life's ambition, not just by becoming an astronaut for a second time, but by being designated as a 'scientist' rather than a humble 'payload specialist'. I ask you to raise your glasses and join me in the toast. To Howard, our Rocket Man."

Everybody raised the toast but Penny was watching Bernadette and whilst she joined in, she did it with little enthusiasm. This just confirmed in Penny's mind that she needed to talk with Bernadette now to see what was happening & could anything be salvaged. "I need to go and 'powder my nose', are you coming with me?" she said, looking directly at Bernadette.

"Sure" and gathering up their handbags they made their way across the room to the Ladies.

"Why do women always go to the toilet in pairs?" asked Raj.

"Maybe they plan to have a little cuddling session – if you get my drift?" replied Howard.

"More likely that they are discussing how to persuade you not to go."

"Well that's not going to happen, I confirmed with NASA before I left the house that I would be flying to Houston tomorrow morning and ready to start training on Saturday."

As soon as the bathroom door closed behind them Penny turned to Bernadette, "So?"

"So what?"

"So how are things between you & Howard?"

"Not good. I don't want him to go. I've tried everything I know to get him to change his mind but nothing doing. I'm afraid that by the time he gets back our marriage will be over, it was rocky enough before this. What am I going to do?"

Penny pondered this revelation for few moments. Then she pulled Bernadette in to tight embrace and kissed her full on the lips. After a brief hesitation, Bernadette responded and for the next few minutes each of them was lost in the other. Breaking the embrace, Penny looked down at the petite figure trembling in front of her. "We better get back before the guys wonder what's happening in here. Remember there's more than one way to solve a problem,"

And the fourth day ended.

Friday

As Penny drove him to work, Raj & Bernadette were taking Howard to the airport, Sheldon was convinced that nothing more could go wrong this week. Since last weekend everything had changed and he wasn't comfortable with it. Leonard had emailed him earlier this morning with the formal notification of the termination of the roommate agreement, instructions as to which personal items he wanted packed and sent to New Jersey and informing him that a cheque was in the postal system to cover his rent and the shipping costs. Sheldon decided that he would ask Raj to assist with the packing, if they started tonight it could be completed before laundry time on Saturday evening. Yes, he had plan and that was comforting.

Penny too was doing a great deal of thinking, especially about her future now that Leonard had disappeared over the horizon. Should she stay here in Pasadena and continue to follow her dream of becoming an actress or should she throw in the towel and return to Nebraska. Thinking back over the last week she realised that her friends here had been supporting her through the dark times. There could be more of those in the days and weeks ahead so she would stay and they would help her again. Dropping Sheldon at the door of the university, she leaned across and gave him a quick kiss on the cheek. "See you tonight Honey" were her parting words.

"Honey" – she had now called him that three times instead of the usual "Sweetie". Sheldon was a great believer in the maxim expounded in Fleming's Goldfinger novel – 'Once is an accident. Twice is coincidence. Three times is an enemy action' – so why the change. Was his relationship status with her changing? He knew that they had not discussed this & certainly he would never have agreed to it if asked, but Penny was not the type of person who asked permission in his sort of matter. He resolved to enquire of her at a suitable time, perhaps during laundry tomorrow night.

's secretary called mid-morning with a message. The university board had agreed to terminate Leonard's contract of employment forthwith. The position would be advertised from Monday morning & this was just an advance warning to him. "Another loose end being tied up" thought Sheldon. It pleased him that order and structure were returning to his life.

It seemed strange having just Raj as a companion for lunch. He told Sheldon that the drive to the airport with Howard and Bernadette had been difficult. They refused to even acknowledge the other's presence never mind engage in conversation. There had been no goodbye kiss, he simply got out of the car with his bags and walked towards the terminal without looking back. The drive home was even worse as Bernadette had broken down in tears and confiding in Raj that she wasn't sure whether their marriage would last through the enforced separation. For once, Raj's dirty little mind had stayed closed & there were no erotic fantasies bubbling to the surface.

Raj dropped him at the front of the apartment that evening and said that he would call over later to start the work of clearing out Leonard's possessions. Sitting eating his evening meal, pizza ordered from his favourite outlet, he was pondering what sort of person his next roommate might be. Then he heard her walking up the last flight of stairs. He quickly opened his front door and invited her to join him. In truth he was feeling lonely but he would never admit that. Penny accepted but said that she wouldn't be staying long as Bernadette was coming over as she needed lots of support today after Howard's departure. They had just finished eating when Raj arrived with Bernadette whom he had collected. The girls immediately retired to Penny's apartment whilst the boys started on the work of collecting Leonard's possessions and preparing them for packing.

Across the hallway the conversation was very different, they were sharing their thoughts about marriage and husbands who walk out their wives. "I warned Howie that if he went to space that I would be looking for a lover" said Bernadette.

"You what…" spluttered Penny.

"You heard me. I was trying to get him to change his mind but now that he's left I wonder if I really was bluffing. He's going to be gone for nearly a year and if I don't get a good fucking on a regular basis then I'll go mad."

Penny sat stunned by what she had just heard. She had never thought that Bernadette would ever stray from her marriage, yet here she was proposing to do just that and Howard had only left eight hours earlier. She was even more surprised when she heard herself ask "Have you anyone particular in mind?"

"I've always known Raj has fancied me. I wonder what it would be like to get him into bed. Would he be the dominant one or would I have to teach him how to pleasure a lady? – again and again and again." she asked with a wistful look in her eyes.

Penny thought she'd heard it all before but obviously not, she just looked at Bernadette with a mixture of awe and admiration. "You what…" she repeated.

"Hmm, maybe I'll just march over there, tell Raj that I want him to take me to bed, screw me senseless and that he shouldn't plan of leaving before Monday. So what are you going to do, get Sheldon into bed?"

"You what…"

"Oh come on, we both know that deep down you love him and if the way he's been looking at you this week is any guide then he's fallen for you as well. You come over with me & we'll tell them together." Bernadette stood up and went to the bathroom to 'get into something more comfortable' leaving Penny to think about what had been said. Did she love Sheldon? Did he love her? What would be his reaction if she asked him to be her boyfriend? Could she face a second major rejection within a week?

Bernadette came back into the room and Penny couldn't tear her eyes away. 'Comfortable' meant a loose fitting T shirt, sweat pants and by the way her tits swayed as she walked it meant no bra and probably no panties either. Penny went over, embraced her and started kissing her like it had gone out of fashion. Exploring hands soon confirmed her suspicion that underwear wasn't in use. "Let's have some fun here first before we go over and ravish them" she suggested. At the same time she was fondling Bernadette's clit and when she pushed two fingers into her cunt and found her G spot, the petite blonde exploded all over her.

It took them over an hour of mutual fingering, masturbation and orgasmic relief before they showered together, put on the minimum of clothes and headed across to Sheldon's apartment. The boys were in Leonard's bedroom and most of the packing had been completed. "Oh good" said Bernadette to Raj, "You're already in the bedroom, it will save me dragging you in here. You two, out!" she barked at Penny and Sheldon who beat a hasty retreat.

As she dragged Sheldon down the corridor Penny clearly heard Bernadette's voice say "Oh! Is that all for me? Then let's see where you can put it." She smiled to herself knowing that at least one of them would be happy tonight.

By the time she had gotten Sheldon sitting in his spot he had recovered and was starting to protest about what had just happened. "That's Leonards room, nobody else can use….."

She interrupted him in full flow "Sheldon! I am still married to Leonard so technically it's my room as well, and I gave Bernie permission to use it if she wanted." She sat down beside him, moved right in close and put her around him for a hug. She started to speak softly "Honey, you remember we had this talk on Wednesday evening. Raj & Bernie need each other now so just leave them be."

Sheldon was absolutely rigid, 'Honey' she had said. As soon as he heard that word his brain froze and he began to wonder what was happening between him & Penny. He replied with an even softer voice so she had to strain to hear him say "Penny, this is the fourth time you have called me Honey this week. What does it mean? Am I your boyfriend now?"

She was about to giggle but restrained herself as she turned to him as asked "Would you like to be?"

He almost flinched from her gaze but firmly holding her eyes with his, he said "Of course I would. I have dreamed of this day since we first met eight years ago."

Penny felt herself letting out the breath she didn't realise she was holding. Everything was going to be good between them. He had wanted her all those years but had said nothing. If only she had known. Reaching up she pulled him to her and stared kissing him. Suddenly he took control, tightening the hug and deepening the kiss. She thought she heard him say 'Penny Blossom' but he couldn't have as his tongue was doing wonders in her mouth. Eventually she broke the kiss and looked into eyes with a question. Without saying anything he nodded and led her to his bedroom.

As he lay in bed almost asleep he looked around him. Clothes were strewn everywhere and lying in the crook of his arm, already asleep, was Penny his girlfriend. He quickly corrected himself the word was lover not girlfriend. His last waking thought was that the formula he had been trying to solve all week – "seven into four won't go" – had just revealed its solution as he was part of it – perfection.

The end of the week …?

Saturday morning

Up early as usual to watch Doctor Who on BBC America, Sheldon has just eased himself into his spot when he heard Bernadette walking down the corridor. "Good Morning Bernadette."

She looked startled to see anybody else awake and up. "Hi. Just getting a glass of milk".

Glancing up from the television he noticed that she was wearing Raj's superhero T shirt and what seemed like little else. Finishing the milk, she rinsed the glass and placed it in the sink ready to be washed. As she walked towards him Sheldon was convinced that other clothing was totally absent. She sat beside him and leaned forward. 'Dear Lord' he thought as now he could clearly see that she was totally naked under the shirt.

"Did you and Penny enjoy each other last night? We could hear you through the wall." She had noticed him reacting to her state of undress & now he was starting to blush with embarrassment. So she gently reached for his hand. "Don't worry, I'm not going to try and seduce you. I have a new lover and so do you. We can all be friends together forever. Now connect up your headphones to listen to the TV, it's going to get loud in our room." With that she stood up, sauntered across the room and blew him a kiss before disappearing down the corridor.

What surprised Sheldon most was not her clothing, her questions, her kiss or even the loudness of her coitus with Raj, but rather that it didn't bother him one iota. A corner had been turned and the road ahead was straight & true.

Fin.