The evening after her audition goes like this:
She pushes the door to 4A open unceremoniously, she's tired and her feet hurt.
The audition process for the commercial Hollywood producers were pushing was intense, she had to stop and remind herself that it wasn't an audition to join the CIA because of their intense interviewing process. Now, after a grueling five hours, it was time for her to go home and just relax. But as she is ascending the staircase to her apartment, she remembered she hadn't had the time to go grocery shopping, her fridge was empty. The rumbling of her stomach didn't help the case either.
As she landed on the fourth floor, her nose picked up the scent of cheesy pizza from 4A and she found her feet making their way to the apartment her boys lived in.
"Hey, Penny," an eager Leonard greets her from his spot in the living room. Penny smiles at him politely, noting they were watching an episode of Star Trek she vaguely remembers. She didn't have the brain power to think too much right now, she was hungry.
She stepped over Raj and plopped onto the couch beside Sheldon, who had yet to greet her. Popping open the box, she saw two slices left and it was Sheldon who finally spoke, "I figured you'd be arriving back home soon. Knowing your financial status, and your inability to save money or plan accordingly, I assumed you had no food in your refrigerator. I planned on wrapping them up and leaving it in the refrigerator for you, I suppose this was the better alternative."
He didn't take his eyes off the television as he spoke, and Penny rolled her eyes but still picked up the slices anyway. Who was she to deny free food? Especially when she was practically salivating at the mouth. Taking a larger bite than she felt comfortable admitting, she replied, "Thanks, Sweetie."
Sheldon grimaced, "I know you don't have a proper education, Penny, but I do believe it's common sense and curtesy to know it's impolite to speak with your mouth full," he chastised her.
Leonard spoke before she could, "Cut her a break, Sheldon, she's probably just tired from her audition."
"Well I hope her audition wasn't for a commercial on mannerisms," he then looked at Penny, "Cause then I'd hate to be the bearer of bad news, but don't expect a call back."
All Penny could do was open her mouth slightly, showing Sheldon the chewed-up pepperoni in her mouth, to shut him up.
This was progress:
She was in her own world, Doritos in her hand and the Kardashian's on her television set, when she heard the rapid knocking in threes. "Penny!" The voice called out.
She sighed deeply and thought about leaving him there to his own devices. Sheldon was a smart man he could figure, whatever his problem was, out on his own. Then, the knocking started all over again. Smart, yes. Persistent, even more.
"Yes, Sheldon?" She couldn't keep the irritation out of her voice. It had been a week and two days, since her audition and the casting agents said they'd call her back within a week if she got the part. She just wanted to wallow in her failure alone.
The taller man laced his fingers behind his back and forced himself to ignore the cheesy finger stains on her shirt, he could tell she wasn't in a good mood and contemplated on coming back at a later date but decided there was no time like the present.
"I have a dinner this coming Saturday evening."
Penny nodded her head, "Yeah, I heard Leonard speaking about that. Something about tendered or something, right?" She offered half interested. Sheldon sighed deeply, "Tenure, Penny. However, yes."
She looked at him expectantly, "And?"
"For some reason, social protocol calls for me to bring a date. Apparently, that would make me a more likely candidate, my education be damned," he grumbled the ending, "Amy Farrah Fowler, as you know, is in New Jersey for a funeral. She won't be able to attend with me."
She offered a small smile, "Oh, that's nice."
There was a pause. She wasn't sure what he was getting at, but whatever it was, she wanted him to hurry up.
"So, are you busy then?"
"Saturday evening, are you busy?" He hated repeating himself, but he was asking her for a favour, so he supposed he'd do it this one time.
She stared at him in shock, "No, I don't think so."
He let out a breath he didn't realize he was holding, "Well it's a black-tie event, be ready for six." She assumed that was as close to an invitation she was going to be getting.
She went to the dinner, a ball of nerves sitting in the pit of her stomach. After the initial shock value of Sheldon asking her to accompany him tonight, wore off. She was finally able to think about the situation, why hadn't Leonard asked her? It was revealed Leonard didn't believe he qualified for the position, so rather put himself up for failure, he stayed in the lane he believed was his.
Sheldon didn't blame him.
"It wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be," she commented once they reached the landing of the fourth floor. Sheldon gave her a weary look but said nothing as he walked her the few steps to her door.
She dug around her purse for her keys, the entire time aware of Sheldon's fiery stare on her back, once she found them, she opened her door and stepped into the apartment, "Thanks for tonight, Sweetie."
It looked like he hesitated for a moment, but finally he said, "I suppose you attending the dinner with me tonight, did help my chances." She looked at him curiously, "I did hear the committee take interest in us. Most of it banal chit-chat, but what I surmise was you made me appear more human. Likeable."
Her smile grew at that, "Goodnight, Sweetie."
Sheldon offered a nod and turned on his heel, opening his own door and shutting it behind him.
Most people believe it should go like this:
They realize their feelings for each other at rather inconvenient times. She's with Leonard, he's with Amy. They're best friends, it shouldn't be this way, they shouldn't feel like this. They start to avoid each other, she stops attending Laundry Night, he doesn't complain when she misses a handful of Pizza Nights. He doesn't even complain about the two extra slices that go to waste, because they would be for her. Amy notices first, then Leonard. Eventually, they were bound to bump into each other, and it happens when Sheldon was home alone. Penny was looking for Leonard.
They argue about something, Sheldon's a smart-ass, Penny is uneducated, it doesn't matter. Because they're kissing. And suddenly there's too much clothes between them, and they can't get close enough.
They have sex. They tell their friends; they tell their families. Surprisingly, he tells her he loves her first during his acceptance speech of the Nobel Prize, she cries and kisses him then tells him the same, except she's also pregnant. He proposes.
They live happily ever after.
This wasn't a dream:
It's two months after the dinner, and Sheldon found out he got tenure. Just as he suspected he would. He's living on a high, and honestly nothing can bring it down. He looks at the clock and sees it's nearing his bedtime, so he takes his leave from the couch and goes on with his routine.
It's nearly midnight when his bedroom door creaks open and a head of blonde hair peaks through. She sniffles, and he stops himself from telling her people can't be in his room. The rules never did apply to her anyways.
She stands there for a moment, hesitating, before finally walking over to the mad scientist and getting into his bed. She lays beside him, and after an internal scream match with his head and his heart he decides to ignore his mind, and he lays down with her. Both facing each other, but not touching. "I'm sorry," she apologizes, and he doesn't really know why.
"I know you don't like anyone in your room, and I know it's even worse that I'm in your bed…" she trailed off, "But I just needed someone, and I can't go to Leonard. Not for this." He sees the unshed tears in her eyes, thanks to the moonlit sky piercing through his curtains, and it almost breaks his heart at how vulnerable she looks. "What's wrong?"
She sighs deeply, "I know I didn't get the part," she tells him, "The one I auditioned for a couple months ago. It was obvious after two weeks passed by and no one called me, I could deal with that. I've been rejected before," her breath is shaky. "Apparently what I couldn't handle was my agent calling me and telling me he quits. Evidently, he'd never worked with someone who failed so much, much less a blonde female because we're always in high-demand."
That's when his heart broke for her. What kind of agent did stuff like that? He knew he wasn't well versed in her world, but he knew that wasn't protocol. He suddenly felt like writing a strongly worded letter to this agent and his office. He really wished he could blow people's minds up.
"Penny…" was all he could say.
She shook her head, "No, it's ok Sheldon. You don't have to say anything; I know you aren't good with emotions and feelings. Just…just sleep." He felt some sort of relief when she said that. He didn't know what he wanted to say to her, he couldn't find the words. So, instead he leaned over and grabbed her a tissue. She wiped at her face roughly, and the last thing he remembered was hearing her soft snores and thinking it was one of the most soothing noises he's heard in a long time.
When he woke up, she was gone. He wasn't surprised, but he was slightly disappointed, which shocked him. He couldn't even be sure the whole thing was real, because he woke up in the middle of his bed feeling refreshed. Like it was one of the best sleeps he had in a long time.
The only thing telling him it wasn't a dream was the balled-up Kleenex on the floor by his bed.
"Thanks," she murmured quietly the next time he saw her. She looked better, but he could still see the sadness in her eyes.
It's Thai food Night, and everyone is lounging around. He feels slightly awkward but refuses to acknowledge Penny was in fact in his bed with him because if he did acknowledge that, then he would be forced to acknowledge the fact he didn't mind it at all.
He looks at the coffee table in front of them and says, "You really should use a coaster, Penny." She knew it was his way of saying 'you're welcome' and grabs the Coke can and puts it on the coaster with a small smile.
That's all she needed to hear.
The first month of summer comes and it starts like this:
"Maybe these commercials aren't your thing, Penny…" Leonard says softly.
She shoots him a look, and he knows he was better off keeping his mouth closed. It wasn't that he wasn't supportive of Penny's dreams and goals, but he was a rational person. Even he knew when to give up. The last thing he wanted was for Penny to waste her life trying to fit into Hollywood in a way she didn't belong. And once he thought about it, that was actually really sweet of him, so why was she so mad for?
"You might be used to giving up, Leonard," she sniped, "But I have goals and aspirations. Just because some ass-hat tells me I'm not what he's looking for, doesn't mean the next person won't like me."
And just because he was already digging his grave he said, "But did they?"
Her mouth hung at his question. She knew it was rhetorical, but damn since when did Leonard get so mean? She didn't have a response for him, because although she knew he was right, she didn't want to keep hearing it. After her last agent dropped her, she spent an entire month looking for a new one. One that fit her and her needs, and yes it put a rather sizeable dent into her wallet, but she felt like this was all worth it. She was building towards something.
"I believe in you, Penny."
The words were random and took she and Leonard by shock. She looked at the taller man beside her, "Thanks, Sweetie." He nodded, "If I were to give up on my dreams, I wouldn't be here today. We're dreamers, Penny." He stated before looking at his roommate, "Leonard, you should already know about that, your mother had to give up on her dreams because of you."
Leonard folded his arms stubbornly. If it wasn't for the extreme heat wave washing over Pasadena right now, he would've left, he didn't feel the need to stay here and be ganged up on by team Shenny. So, rolling his eyes he stood to his feet, "I was only saying because I care," he reiterated before going into his room, maybe Leslie Winkle wanted to share her AC?
There was a moment of silence before Sheldon looked at Penny.
"I meant what I said, about believing in you."
She nodded her head, "I know. You don't say stuff unless you mean it."
"Correct," but then he added, "so believe me when I tell you, maybe Leonard was right." She looked at him shocked, he had just done a complete one-eighty and it left her dizzy. Upon seeing her facial response, he quickly corrected himself, "In terms of commercials, I mean," he started up, "Maybe commercials aren't your thing. I do believe you're underestimating yourself quite a bit. You have far too much talent to limit yourself to commercials about pimple cream, and toilet cleaner."
She looked at him closely, Sheldon was essentially saying the sweetest thing anyone has ever said to her and she didn't know how to take it. "So, if not commercials…" she trailed off, she didn't want to assume because she'd be embarrassed if she was wrong, "Shows," he finished.
"Sheldon, if I can't get a callback for a fifteen second commercial, what makes you think I can do a show?" She shook her head in disbelief and went back to fanning herself.
The taller man looked at her profile, "Because I believe in your talent."
It was a simple sentence, but it still made her actions stop.
"You should too," he told her simply.