A/N Hi all, this was supposed to wait until Monday, but I thought I would get it out tonight, so you didn't have to wait for the full two weeks. Of course this means that the next chapter won't be out for 10 days. It was going to be published on the same day as before, it's just this is out early. I should be able to get back to weekly publishing after that.
Apt 4A 6 PM Thursday September 27th 2012
Penny managed to get over to 4A by six, and laid out the plates, cups and silverware on the island. While waiting for everyone to arrive, she leaned over the counter, chin in her hand, thinking about her day.
After the surprising start, Barb continued to be complimentary about her appearance on the show, and how a wonderful an appearance like this could help her career. Just look at how people were calling for her, Barb had said. She also told Penny she had been sending all requests to William Morris, as that was her agency now. This reminded Penny why she had asked for this meeting. She asked Barb if she was happy with the terms of the changeover, with Penny now being represented by William Morris. Did she feel that she had been treated fairly.
Barb told Penny, that yes, she had been more than happy with the terms of her leaving. She explained that they had given her one percent more than usual. She also understood the limitations of her agency, especially with Penny in New York. Barb wished Penny well, and asked her to just stop in and say hi, whenever she could, as she still wanted to maintain the friendship. Penny promised she would, they hugged, and Penny left.
Penny held off on calling Jeanie and Kelli until she had gotten home. Kelli was excited for Penny, and how it could help the show. Penny asked how, and Kelli explained that it could bring in new viewers who now wanted to see Penny.
Jeanie was also excited for Penny, but her interest was more on how this would help Penny in the long run. Penny also talked to Jeanie about her meeting with Barb, telling her she was grateful that William Morris treated Barb fairly. Her reverie was broken by Sheldon and Amy coming through the door. They seemed to have had a disagreement.
"I'm telling you Amy, you're wrong," said Sheldon.
"If you won't even consider it, how can I be wrong?" asked Amy. "You have to weigh all the variables."
"I've got to go with Amy on this," said Penny.
Sheldon turned toward Penny, "How can you say that, you don't even know what we're discussing."
"Ok, fine," said Penny, "tell me what you two are fighting about."
"We are not fighting," said Sheldon. "it's simply a disagree…"
"Come on Sheldon, get on with it."
Sheldon glared at Penny, and said, "Fine, I told Amy that I think…"
"Nope, gotta go with Amy on this one," said Penny. Amy looked at Sheldon with a smirk.
"You didn't even hear what we are arguing about."
"Doesn't matter," said Penny, "Amy's right, you're wrong. Amy, what's going on?"
"I simply suggested that they put a table up by the window," said Amy. "It would be handy when everybody comes over."
"That's a great idea," said Penny. "Instead of sitting on the floor, or on the end tables, with no place to put our food down, we could all sit at a table."
"That's what I told him," said Amy, "but, he wouldn't listen. Just went on and on about moving everything, and having to find a table. He told me it was just a bad idea."
"It is," said Sheldon, "and besides, we have no need for a table that we would only use a couple of times a week, sometimes even less, now that Penny isn't here constantly."
"I suppose you're right," said Penny, "no use getting one." Penny winked at Amy, who nodded with a grin.
Just then, Penny's phone beeped. Looking at it she said, "Leonard's here, I'm going to run down and help him bring up the food." Penny walked to the door and left.
Fifteen minutes later, Leonard and Penny came through the door with all the food, followed by Bernadette, Howard, and Raj. They had arrived just as Leonard was locking his car, and had walked up with them.
The food was placed on the island and Penny called everyone to get their food and drinks. All of them came over, got their food and took it to their seats. Before they started eating, Penny announced, "Ok, no talk about me or the show, until after we eat."
Amy looked disappointed, but during dinner everyone was talking about their days, and their work. After dinner was finished, the dishes washed and the extra food put away, Penny sat in Leonard's chair, waiting for everyone to ask.
Amy was first, telling Penny she was really funny on Craig Ferguson's show. Bernadette and Howard were both nodding.
Penny was smiling and said, "Yeah, that went really well. As a matter of fact, I have some good news about it."
Everyone turned to her, as she continued, "For everyone, except Leonard, who I've already told, I need to tell you I've changed my agent, and I went to see my old agent today. She was telling me there were a lot of calls, asking for me, because of my appearance on Ferguson. Since she is known as my agent, she was getting all the calls and was having to tell everyone who called to call my new agent, William Morris in New York."
"Jeanie called me and explained to me how this could help me, with my career. Kelli, one of our producers, said she's gotten quite a few calls asking for me, and she said it was great for our show, because every time someone talks to me, the show is mentioned. I'm glad you liked it, because a lot of people seem to have liked it, especially those in the business. I'll have to wait and see what it all means until I get back to New York."
She then told them the whole story about changing her agent, as they listened. Bernadette asked if she was happy with her new agent, and Penny said she was, so far. She was really happy with the agency as they could find things here, and when she was in New York, they could find other work beside television.
Finally, Penny looked at Amy and Bernadette with suspicion, "Leonard told me you weren't going to watch last weeks show?"
Amy and Bernadette both started to stutter, until Penny laughed, "He also told me you recorded it, and would watch it latter, and you did that so you could be here tonight. So you're forgiven."
Bernadette asked what it felt like working on the show. Penny hesitated, then decided to avoid the problems she'd been having and concentrated on the fun she was having, the jokes on the set. She told some stories about flubs each of the actors had made, which had everyone laughing, even Sheldon in one case.
Finally it was time for the show. Leonard changed the channel to CBS and everyone became quiet as the opening notes of the theme song came on.
Apt 4A 8:32 PM Thursday September 27th 2012
"Well," said Penny as the credits ran, "whadda think?"
Amy was enthusiastic, "Penny, you were wonderful. You sound as if you've taken a course of sarcasm from Leonard, and those expressions, even without words, were hilarious."
Bernadette agreed, "Amy nailed it. You were really funny. I didn't like that one guy, 'Hunk' I think, but the rest were pretty good."
Raj piped up, "I don't know, that one guy was decent, the guy that plays Captain Avery, the other guy, not so much. The other woman, Janet?…"
"Jeanie," said Penny stiffly.
"Jeanie, OK, she does a great job of setting you up. You do so well, your expressions are great, and your sarcasm is funny. But, overall, I'm not sure about the overall show, it's kinda meh."
"What do you mean?" asked Penny.
"I'm a lonely guy, so I watch a lot of movies and television and while you did well, it just doesn't excite me. If your show had Sandy B as a character, there'd be something to get excited about. But then, few women can compete with her, so don't feel bad."
Penny shook her head and looked at Sheldon.
"What?" he said.
"How did you like it Sheldon?" asked Penny.
"Well," he started, "I had a hard time getting past seeing Penny."
"What do you mean?"
"I saw you, Penny, on the show," said Sheldon. "I've never really known someone who has been on TV or in a movie before. As I really don't know what the other people are like, I see them as their characters. With you, I saw Penny, not your character, now your character was a lot like you, so I'm not sure it matters."
"Penny," said Howard, "I think what everyone is trying to say," he looked at Raj and Sheldon, "is while some of us don't like parts of it, you are really great in it, and we all are very proud of you. You did great."
Penny looked around and everyone, even Sheldon, was nodding and smiling at Howard's comment.
Penny choked up, she had heard Howard sound so sincere only once before, "That was really lovely Howard, thank you. Almost as nice as your apology to Bernadette last year."
Howard smiled and nodded at Penny.
"Well," said Penny looking around. "I guess I don't expect everyone to like the show. But, if you are all happy with my performance, and are proud of me, I can't really ask for much more, Thank you all."
"We really do think you are doing a great job," said Bernadette.
"Thanks sweetie," said Penny, "again, thank you all. Now, who want's some more wine?"
Both of the other women jumped up, going to the island with Penny. The guys started arguing about whether or not to get the box set of the three "Dark Knight" movies, scheduled to be released in November.
Apt 4B 11:45 PM Thursday September 27th 2012
Leonard and Penny had finished getting ready for bed. Penny was sliding into the bed next to Leonard when he asked, "Did it bother you that Raj didn't like the show?"
"Not really," said Penny, "he doesn't like it," she shrugged, "he doesn't like it. Not everyone will like it. That's why so many shows get cancelled, just not enough people are watching."
"Now, everyone except for Sheldon said good things about me. But I think I understand his point. He takes everything so literally, that I can understand his seeing me, and not the character. He said something similar to me when I did the commercial. They all seemed sincere about being proud of me, and I'm happy about that. According to Kelli and Barb, the people in the industry say I'm doing good."
"Well, I'm proud of you," said Leonard. "And if the people in the business think you're doing well…"
"Yeah, but, except for our show, they don't know the trouble I've been having getting to that point."
"That's what you keep saying," said Leonard, "but, aren't you learning as you go? Don't your bosses and other actors say they expected you to struggle, that you are coming along and it's just going to take time to get it? As long as the finished product is good, and they know you are trying to work through your problems, it doesn't really matter how you get there, right?"
"It's not that simple Leonard," said Penny, "if I keep doing things wrong, they are going to have to start keeping the actors and crew later. The writers have to be there also. If they run up too many hours, they have to start paying overtime, and that costs money. So far, it hasn't been bad, but if it gets bad, at some point, they may decide I'm just not worth it."
"Look," said Leonard. "I was there when Kelli was telling you how good of a job you did, how she understood why you were struggling. So I don't think there is a problem."
Penny looked lovingly at Leonard, "No, you wouldn't. And for that I thank you." She leaned in and kissed him softly. Their lips stayed together, and the kiss became more urgent. As they desperately took off what few of their clothes were still on, Penny said, "Let's make sure Sheldon complains about his headsets not working."
Apt 4B 10:00 AM Friday September 29th 2012
Penny was sitting at her table, going through her email when her phone rang, picking it up she said, "Hello."
"Hi Penny," said Kelli, "How are you doing?"
"Hi Kelli," said Penny, "I'm fine…is everything OK?"
"As far as I know, yes, why?"
"You don't usually call me unless there is something up," said Penny. "Add to that, the fact that you are calling cross country, just to talk to me, makes me wonder if there is a problem."
"True," said Kelli, "but there really isn't a problem, and I have some news for you. Another batch of reviews was put up last night and this morning, and they are all very positive for you."
"That's good, right?" asked Penny excitedly.
"Yes, it is."
"How's the ratings?"
"So, so," said Kelli. "While almost all the critics like you, I'm afraid they don't like the show quite as much."
"That doesn't sound good," said Penny. "My friends kinda like it, but they didn't sound all that excited. One says it's meh. They all do like me and my character. Although one has a hard time separating me from the character, because he says he knows me."
"Quite a few reviewers agree with your friends," said Kelli. "A lot of them feel 'meh' about the show, but they like you. The good part about the ratings is that while they are so so, they are still better than average. So, while we may not have a giant hit on our hands, we do have something that might go along for a while, if the ratings stay about where they are."
"Well then, let's hope they stay where they are, or get better,*" said Penny. "Anything else?"
"Yeah," said Kelli, "Jim and I want to talk to you when you get back.
"And this is where you tell me about the problem I'm having, right?"
Kelli chuckled, "Nothing really bad, so don't worry, but we really need to show you, rather than tell you."
Penny was a bit concerned, but didn't show it, "Ok, well, I'll see you Wednesday. Is after the table read good?"
"Yes," said Kelli, "that will be perfect. See you then Penny."
"See you then, Kelli. Bye."
Penny disconnected and put her phone down. She was curious. Oh well, she said it wasn't serious, so I guess I don't have to worry. Now, where should I go for lunch? I got it. Maybe Bernadette or Amy, or both, can join me. Penny headed off to get dressed, to call Bernadette and Amy, and then to go to lunch
Alexander's Steakhouse 8:00 PM Friday September 29th 2012
Leonard and Penny were having a quiet dinner at a newly opened steakhouse. They had walked as it was only three blocks from the apartment on Los Robles.
Penny was telling him about her day, the call from Kelli, and how she had asked Bernadette and Amy to go to lunch, but both of them were busy. So she went to The Cheesecake Factory.
She had seen Cheryl, and talked to a couple of other waitresses she either knew or remembered her. Her old boss came over and with him and the waitresses, she talked about her show, and a couple of them asked for her autograph and asked what it was like working on a TV show.
Leonard told Penny about how he was having trouble with his experiment. He knew Penny couldn't follow the problems he was having, so he kept it as general as he could. Penny, while she didn't really know what Leonard was telling her, expressed sympathy and Leonard was grateful for that.
Penny explained that instead of going out this time, Amy and Bernadette were coming over on Saturday night, and Leonard would have to find something else to do.
After they finished dinner, they headed home to 4B, watched a little television and then went to bed. As they were preparing for bed, Leonard was telling Penny about a conversation with Sheldon, who was complaining about the noise last night. Penny just laughed and as she was getting into bed, pulled Leonard to her, and whispered, "Sheldon hasn't heard nothing yet."