A/N As you know, I'm in LA, and will be attending a taping on Tuesday. We had plans for Saturday night, but it was raining, so we stayed in, and I completed the correction to this chapter. Then started working on it's final form. I made some changes so I had to wait until tonight to upload it. So, because of the rain on Saturday, you get a chapter, although I said I didn't think I'd be publishing. Be aware, there is some sexual references in this chapter. Finally, when I wrote "Chew Toy", I found a small restaurant that Leonard and Penny went to for brunch. I've since used that restaurant several other times, including this chapter. Well, we had brunch at Marston's on Sunday. So, a place I found to put into a story, I have now actually visited.
Malibu Beach, 3:30 PM, Saturday, September 8th 2012
Penny and Leonard were lounging on the beach. Leonard had made plans to come here, as he knew Penny enjoyed the beach. Penny had struggled to get up on Saturday morning, and really didn't want to go anywhere, her hangover really bothering her. But, Leonard had made plans and she didn't want to disappoint him, so she went. She was now happy he had basically dragged her out to the beach.
Early on, Penny was trying to recover from the previous night, wearing her sunglasses, to cut the sun enough to be able to see. Leonard was under the umbrella, and had SPF 50 sunblock on. They had gotten here early enough, around 9:30 or so, and spent a couple of hours lounging in the beach chairs, sipping on ice tea. Penny had taken a nap, waking around 11:30, allowing her and Leonard to go to the beach cafe, for some lunch, before heading back out to their spot on the beach.
They now had spent almost five hours at the beach and Leonard suggested they start packing up, so they could get home, take a shower and get ready to go out for dinner. Penny looked at him leeringly and suggesting she was sure there was something they could do prior to their shower. Leonard leered back and asked if he got three guesses and the first two didn't count. Penny giggled and suggested he didn't even need the first guess. He immediately jumped up, and hurriedly started getting everything together, with Penny helping him.
They had managed to get not only their lovemaking in, they also were able to get a half hour nap, before getting ready to go out for dinner. Penny had a craving for steak, so they found a steakhouse, and had a nice leisurely dinner, getting home around 9:30. They watched a movie, and since Leonard had planned such a nice day, she let him pick the movie. They went to bed soon after the movie ended as Leonard said they would have a busy day on Sunday. However, they did manage to get another round of sex in before falling asleep.
On Sunday morning, they got up and dressed, with Leonard telling Penny to wear her jeans, and boots. They went to Marston's for Brunch and after that, Leonard drove Penny to the Simi valley, to a riding school, where he had planned a day of riding.
Of course, being Leonard, he had called around, to make sure the place was willing, and able, to accommodate an adult who had never ridden and was scared to ride. Penny requested and got one of the more spirited horses, while the school found Leonard an old gentle mare. Leonard was led around the training ring a couple of times, to make sure he had the basics, then their guide led them out for a group ride along the trail, with four other riders.
Penny spent some of the time getting the horse to gallop with her guiding it. She would have her horse sprint ahead of the group, and then slowly ride back, or wait for the others to catch up. Most of the time, she would ride next to Leonard and try to get him to try different riding techniques, or suggest something that would make it easier for him, but most of the time, he was too worried to try anything.
By the time they got back from the trail two hours later, Leonard was exhausted. He was trying not to sit on his saddle as his butt was sore, his arms, shoulders and thighs were aching, and due to his not sitting, his calves were cramping. Leonard was determined not to ruin the ride for Penny, and because of that, hadn't said anything about the problems he was having.
Penny was enjoying herself, smiling and laughing with the trail guide, and trying to help Leonard. When they finally arrived at the area in front of the stable, Penny quickly dropped off the horse, and was waiting for Leonard to get off of his horse, so they could walk their horses toward the stable, together.
Between his cramping calves and the pain in his arms, Leonard was struggling to get down. He had managed to get his right leg on the ground, but his right calf cramped up and he fell to the ground. Penny, uttered a cry and ran over to where Leonard was laying on the ground, holding his right calf.
"Leonard," said Penny, kneeling next to him, "are you OK?"
He just said, "Cramp, just give me a minute."
Penny stood up, waiting for Leonard. Finally, he tried to get up, but he was struggling. Penny put her arm around his waist, helping him to stand. He took the reins and waited for Penny to get her horse. Although Leonard was hurting, he tried to hide it as they lead their horses toward the stable. Handing the horse off to the groom, Penny took Leonard's arm as they headed for their car.
Leonard cramped up again, trying to get into the car, so Penny drove home, and then helped Leonard up the stairs. Penny took pity on Leonard and told him she would order pizza for the night, so they wouldn't have to use the stairs to go out. They both got a shower together and afterward, Penny had Leonard lay on the bed, where she started massaging his legs, with Leonard groaning in pain.
Leonard had decided that sex was off the table for the night, but Penny had other ideas. She had him lay back on the bed, started kissing him. As he laid back on the bed, Penny could feel him responding, so she began kissing him, then moved to his neck, then down to his chest, and his stomach.
Leonard realized where it was going and tried to say something, but Penny had reached her destination and all he could do was gasp, then groan in pleasure, as he gave in to the inevitable. Afterward, they cleaned up, then went back out to watch some TV, before getting to bed early, to be ready for Monday.
Caltech Laser Lab, 9:00 AM Monday, September 10th 2012
Leonard was walking gingerly around the equipment and from room to room. He was still very sore from the horseback riding of the previous day, but he needed to get some alignments done, before letting the grad students start working with them.
Penny had her meeting with her agent and while cordial, it was, for a while, a bit strained. Barb was upset that Penny was looking to dump her, just as her career was getting started. Penny pointed out that she would get her 10% for this show, for however long she was on it. But, Penny also pointed out that Barb was unable to get anything done outside of LA, especially as Penny was in New York.
They talked it over and Barb agreed that as Penny was in New York, she would be better off if she had an agent that was plugged into the available roles in New York. Penny told her she planned to discuss giving Barb a small percentage of anything she earned over the next few years, the number of years also negotiable, Penny thinking that five or so would do it. They continued talking and by the time Penny left, they were on good terms again. In fact Barb told Penny she would ask about agents in New York and pass along those Barb felt were good ones.
After the meeting, Penny drove to Caltech, as she planned to have lunch with Leonard. It was their last chance to go out alone together until Penny returned in two weeks, as the gang was coming by tonight, to have dinner.
Apartment 4A, 8:30 PM Monday, September 10th 2012
The whole group was there for dinner, and as she was going back to New York the next day, a sort of mini goodbye party for Penny. They had all finished eating and cleaning up and the guys were sitting in the living room, while the women were gathered around the kitchen island.
While Penny poured some wine Bernadette asked, "So, what will you be doing this week?"
"There's the show," said Penny, "but, if I'm not at work, I'll be trying to figure out how to get the mechanical part of acting."
"What do you mean by the mechanical part?" asked Amy.
Penny explained, "That's the part where I walk, move, sit, stand, which way I look, all of that. It's what I've been struggling with. The producers tell me the acting part, how I say my lines, my facial expressions are fine, although the director tells me I need work on my body language."
Bernadette said, "So, how do you get that?"
"You ask for help and just keep working at it," said Penny. "You remember Jeanie, from the taping?" Amy and Bernadette nodded. "She's been showing me how to write my blocking, which is my movement, into my script. The producer showed me how to highlight my lines. Jeanie is also showing me how to use my body to convey emotion."
Bernadette said, "It sound's like Jeanie has taken you under her wing."
"She has, kinda," said Penny with a smile. "She's also lived in New York before, and she's been showing me around the city, explaining things I need to know about living there."
"She sound's so nice," said Bernadette.
"Oh, she is," exclaimed Penny. "She's been so nice and so helpful to me. And she's so well known, and I'm a nobody, and with all my problems, she is still is helping me. To be honest, if it wasn't for her, I'm not sure I'd still be there. They would have gotten rid of me. When we first got there, she told me, as the only two women, we would probably become good friends, and she's holding her end up."
"She sounds pretty impressive," said Bernadette.
"It sounds as if she is becoming your best friend," said Amy, with a touch of sadness.
Penny looked at Amy and said gently, "No, Amy, you're still my bestie."
Amy perked up.
"How's this," said Penny, "I'm sure, at some point, she will be in LA at the same time as me. When that happens, I'll arrange a lunch or dinner with all of us, so you can meet her." Bernadette was excited about this, Amy less so.
Penny said, "Enough about me, how's Howard doing?"
"I'm not sure," said Bernadette, "he's been acting kinda weird the last few times I talked to him. He was supposed to be coming home in a week, but they delayed it for three days, and he's really freaking out."
While the women were talking about New York, Jeanie, and Howard, Sheldon was talking about his search for an assistant. "It's impossible," he said. "The current graduate students don't have what it takes."
"What would it take," asked Leonard, "a desire to be a slave?"
"Leonard," said Sheldon, "I don't require a slave, just someone who will do my bidding. You do my bidding, and you're not a slave."
"Sometimes if feels that way," said Leonard under his breath.
Sheldon continued, "But, they should know something about the theoretical side of physics. I have two more coming in tomorrow, but it's so bad, that I've even scheduled an experimentalist for tomorrow afternoon."
"You could always look for an engineer," said Raj.
"Oh heavens no," said Sheldon, "it's bad enough that I may have to hire experimentalist, I think I'd rather have one of Amy's research monkey's, than an engineer. It's just the applicants I've already interviewed are not aware of some of my more obscure research. How are they supposed to look through my material, if they aren't aware of my thinking?"
"Oh," said Leonard, "I'm aware of your thinking, and I still don't want to look through your material. Speaking of which, have you looked at my project yet?"
Sheldon gave Leonard a condescending look, "My search for an assistant is much more important."
"Of course it is," said Leonard sarcastically. He turned, "You ready to go Penny, you have to finish packing, and we need to get to bed since we have to get up early."
Penny turned to Leonard and said, "Yeah, I guess we should be getting ready."
"Oh, you won't be getting ready," said Sheldon, "you want to get more coitus in."
Everyone ignored Sheldon and started getting ready to leave. When they were ready, Bernadette and Raj said their goodbyes to Penny and then they left. Leonard and Penny said goodbye to Amy, and reminded her she needed to take Sheldon to work the next day. Penny gave Sheldon a hug and said goodbye to him, and then Leonard and Penny walked across the hall to 4B.
Leonard and Penny finished packing and set her luggage near the door, then they prepared for bed. Of course one reason they wanted to leave was a desire, as Sheldon said, for more coitus. Thirty minutes after getting into bed, Sheldon was again reaching for his noise cancelling headsets, although he was aware they didn't really work.
Apartment 4B, 5:00 AM, Tuesday September 11th 2012
The alarm went off, and Leonard and Penny got out of bed, Leonard turning the coffee maker on, before they took a shower together. After the shower, they each poured a cup of coffee, sitting at the table for a few minutes talking about how much they would miss each other. The got dressed, and with Leonard finishing first, he poured two travel mugs of coffee, finishing just as Penny came out. Penny carried the mugs while Leonard picked up Penny's suitcase and they left the apartment.
It was an hour's drive to the airport, and they were mostly silent on the drive. The traffic was light and they got to the airport at 6:45. Leonard had arranged to go into work at 9:30 PM, so he parked his car and went into the terminal with Penny.
After Penny checked in, they found a Starbucks and ordered a ham and Swiss breakfast sandwich, with no Swiss for Leonard, and coffee. They took these to a table near the security area for terminal five. There, they sat eating their sandwich.
Leonard seemed preoccupied, giving short, non-committal answers to Penny's comments, finally Penny said, "What's wrong Leonard?"
"Don't give me that," said Penny, "you don't give short answers to anything, and that's all you've done since we sat down."
Leonard looked thoughtful for a few seconds, then sighed and said, "Ok, fine, I'm worried about your drinking. You missed a call or two, because you were drunk. You, were tipsy, or more than tipsy during a couple of calls. And you had to be helped up the stairs and I had to put you into bed on Saturday. I'm not telling you what to do, I'm simply telling you my concerns. I'll also add, Amy and Bernadette were worried too."
Penny fought the rising defensive feeling welling up. She was thinking, Leonard wouldn't say anything, unless he was really worried. Am I drinking too much? Maybe I should pay more attention. Out loud she said, "You might be right."
Leonard was shocked, and he looked it.
"Close you mouth sweetie," said Penny. "I can't deny I've been drinking a bit more. I promise, I'll pay more attention to how much I drink."
"Well, that went easier than I thought," said Leonard.
"Yeah," said Penny, "I know I can be defensive about it, but you're right. And, like I said, I'll pay more attention to it." She ended with a smile.
Security was starting to fill up and Penny thought she should get through security before it got too full. They said goodbye to each other, hugged and kissed. While it was still emotional for them, it wasn't as bad as their goodbye five weeks before. They broke the hug, and Penny said, lightly, "Remember, no kissing women at the comic book store."
Leonard smiled, "And, no kissing your costar, off stage."
Penny shook her head, "Dave's married, and I want nothing to do with Brent."
"I love you Penny."
"I love you Leonard."
They both smiled and leaned in for a quick kiss and Penny started walking toward security.
She made it through security, found a Starbucks and got another cup of coffee. She found her gate, put her earbuds in and turned on her music. While listening she thought, I'll get in around six, and be at the apartment at seven. Jeanie is getting my script, so I'll have the rest of the evening to run through it, I guess I should sleep on the plane. She pulled out her iPad and started playing Angry Birds.
After Leonard left Penny at the airport, he drove back to Caltech, arriving at 9:15. He went to his office and found several messages, letting him know two lasers had malfunctioned this morning.
Great, the morning I was late everything decides to break. He went to each of the lasers trying to figure out what was wrong. He found the problem on the first one, rather quickly. He gave the students the instruction to fix it.
Moving onto the second broken laser, he started troubleshooting with several of the usually simple fixes, but nothing was working. It was obvious the fix for this one wasn't going to be as easy or as fast. He started doing the only thing left to him, he started removing individual circuit cards, testing each of them.
Caltech, Noon Tuesday September 11th 2012
Leonard was walking along the hall towards Sheldon's office, to get him for lunch. He was still frustrated, with no fix on the second laser and he had tested nearly half the circuit boards on it. At least, with half the circuit boards tested, he hoped he was closer to the solution.
While he walked to Sheldon's office, he was still running though which of the circuit boards could be possibly be the problem, hoping to isolate the damaged board more quickly. He still didn't have an answer when he arrived at Sheldon's office. Uncharacteristically, the door was closed, but he opened the door and entered.
Sheldon was talking to a slim woman, who had dark, slightly red hair. Leonard started backing out and said, "Sorry Sheldon, I didn't know you were meeting with someone."
"Oh," said Sheldon, "This isn't a meeting."
"Well, then, can you introduce us?" Asked Leonard.
Sheldon looked at woman, then at Leonard, "I don't do that, I have people who do that now." Sheldon looked at the woman and said, "Well, go ahead."
The woman turned to Leonard, extended her hand, smiled and said, "Hello, I'm Sheldon's new assistant, my name is Alex Jensen."