Thanks for the reviews. :) Here's the second chapter. I hope you enjoy.
Disclaimer: This is a work of fan fiction using characters from The Big Bang Theory. I don't own any of the characters.
Almost two months had passed since the mountain lion encounter. Leonard didn't call Penny, like she asked him to do. He simply couldn't muster the courage to do it, although he couldn't get Penny out of his head. There wasn't a single day he didn't think of her. He had even dreamt of her a few times. He was really mad at himself. He hated his insecurity. Why didn't he call her? She just wanted to talk again, nothing else. But this wasn't possible anymore. Not after two months of doing nothing in this regard when you said you would.
With regard to Ellen Reynolds, his colleague from Caltech, there was no need for Leonard to get his hopes up. Except for work-related things she didn't speak to him anymore. But Leonard didn't mind, since there was only Penny in his thoughts anyway, when it came to women.
It was September 24, 2007. Leonard and his roommate Sheldon had just bought some Indian food for dinner. When they arrived at their apartment building at 2311 North Los Robles Avenue in Pasadena, California, Leonard noticed a red Volkswagen that was parked in front of the building. Penny is driving such a car. He frowned and shook his head, trying to get rid of this thought and opened the door that led into the lobby. Seconds later he and Sheldon walked up the stairs on their way to their apartment.
"You want to hear an interesting thing about stairs?" Sheldon asked.
"Not really," Leonard answered.
But Sheldon ignored Leonard's obvious disinterest. "If the height of a single step is off by as little as two millimetres, most people will trip."
"I don't care," Leonard said, really not interested in this factoid, which Sheldon used to tell him at every possible opportunity. But then he suddenly had to think about it nevertheless. "Two millimetres? That doesn't seem right."
"No, it's true," Sheldon assured him. "I did a series of experiments when I was twelve, my father broke his clavicle."
"Is that why they sent you to boarding school?"
"No, that was the result of my work with lasers."
When they reached the floor, where their apartment was situated, Leonard stopped dead in his tracks. The door of the apartment across from theirs was open and revealed the sight of a young woman who was obviously about to move in. He couldn't believe his eyes. No way. This is not possible. The young woman was Penny. Was he dreaming? He firmly closed his eyes, but she was still there when he opened them again after a few seconds.
"Oh, looks like we have a new neighbor," Sheldon said matter-of-factly.
Penny just looked through some of her stuff, while listening to music that played in the background. Hearing Sheldon's voice, she turned her head in the direction of the open apartment door.
Penny's jaw dropped and her eyes opened wide. "Leonard?" she exclaimed, the look of pure astonishment written all over her face. "Is that you?"
Sheldon was astonished as well and looked at his roommate. "You two know each other?"
Penny walked over to the door. "What are you doing here?"
"Um. Hi Penny," Leonard uttered sheepishly. As much as he was happy to see her again, this reencounter was really awkward. "Um, I live here. Right across the hall."
Penny's jaw dropped again. "What? Really? Wow! What an amazing coincidence. The world is small after all."
Leonard smiled shyly. "Yeah, seems to be. Um, welcome to the building."
"Thank you," Penny replied with a bright smile.
"Um, this is my roommate Sheldon. Sheldon, this is Penny."
"Hi, Sheldon," she greeted Leonard's lanky roommate.
"Hi, Penny. How come you know Leonard?" Sheldon asked.
"Well, he saved me from a mountain lion," Penny answered, all the while looking at Leonard.
Sheldon frowned. "He saved you from a mountain lion, a Puma concolor? That seems pretty unlikely to me."
"But it's true," Penny said firmly.
Sheldon turned to Leonard. "You never mentioned this. When did..."
He couldn't finish his question, because Penny suddenly pulled Leonard in her apartment and closed the door. Her pull was so strong, he almost stumbled.
"Wow!" Penny said, a bright smile on her face. "How life goes. It seems the saying 'You always meet twice' is right. It's so great to see you again."
But then the smile on Penny's face disappeared, and with arms crossed she looked intently at Leonard who apparently tried to avoid eye contact. "But now that you are here, there's one thing I'd really like to ask you."
Leonard lowered his head, knowing exactly what she would ask him.
"Well, Mister," Penny said in a stern tone. "You said you would call me. But you never did."
"I'm really really sorry I didn't call you. I...I..." Every possible answer that crossed Leonard's mind in this moment, would let him look bad in his opinion. Then he realized the bag of food in his hand. "I really don't know what to say. I can only apologize. Well, um...maybe I can make it up to you." He hold out the bag to Penny. "We brought home Indian food. And, um...I know that moving can be stressful, and I find that when I'm undergoing stress, that good food and company can have a comforting effect. Also, curry is a natural laxative, and I don't have to tell you that, uh, a clean colon is just one less thing to worry about.
Penny was a little taken aback by Leonard's sudden flood of words, but she immediately knew what he wanted to say. "Oh, you're inviting me over to eat?"
Leonard nodded. "Uh, yes."
Penny beamed. "Oh, that's so nice, I'd love to." She turned round on her heel to open the door. But then she paused for a moment, turned around again and looked at Leonard with a smile on her face. "And oh, apology accepted."
Leonard was relieved and smiled shyly.
"But, don't think I wasn't mad at you when you didn't call me," Penny said. "But to tell you the truth, by next week I would have taken matters in my own hands to contact you."
"Yeah, you seemed to be a nice guy and I totally enjoyed our talk at the café. I knew your name and I knew you work as a physicist at Caltech. I think with this information I would have found out your phone number," she smiled. "And now let's grab a bite to eat."
With these words she opened the door and stepped into the hall.
Leonard had to process Penny's words, while he followed her. She thought I'm a nice guy, and she wanted to find out my phone number?
Sheldon was already in apartment 4A and waited for his roommate. He had a confused look on his face, when Leonard entered apartment 4A with Penny right behind him.
"What is that supposed to mean?" he asked Leonard.
"Oh, I invited Penny to have dinner with us." he answered.
"But Wolowitz and Koothrappali are coming over to eat. We don't have enough food for a fifth person."
"Don't worry. I'll share mine with Penny." Leonard said, looking at Penny with a smile.
Penny smiled back at him. "Aw, thank you."
Sheldon just wanted to start a protest against Leonard's invitation, when Howard and Raj stormed into the apartment without knocking.
"Hey Le...uuuuuhhhhh," was all what came out of Raj's mouth as soon as he saw Penny.
"Nice greeting," Howard said laughing and pushed Raj aside. He walked towards Penny, who stood next to Leonard's armchair. "Oh, who do we have here?"
"Hi, I'm Penny."
Howard made a bow. "Enchante Mademoiselle. I'm Howard Wolowitz, Caltech department of Applied Physics. You may be familiar with some of my work. It's currently orbiting Jupiter's largest moon, taking high-resolution digital photographs."
"Um, no," Penny answered, amused by Howard's antics.
"Well, I can show you..."
"Howard, stop it," Leonard interrupted him. "Penny just moved in across the hall. We have invited her to dinner."
"We?" Sheldon asked, raising a brow. "No, you invited her. And as I pointed out earlier, we don't have enough food for an extra person."
"And I said, I will pass the half of my helping on to Penny."
"Fine," Sheldon snorted. "That's up to you. I won't share my food."
Now Penny felt a little uncomfortable. "Please don't put yourself to any bother on my account. Maybe we can have dinner some other time. I go back to my apartment again."
"That's very considerate, Penny. Thank you for your understanding," Sheldon said.
"No, no! That's really no problem. My invitation remains in effect, " Leonard assured Penny. "Please have a seat. Make yourself at home."
Penny smiled. "If you insist."
"I do," Leonard said and went to the kitchen area to get a plate for Penny.
Penny walked over to the couch and sat down in Sheldon's spot of all places.
Of course Sheldon objected immediately "Um, Penny, that's where I sit."
"So, sit next to me." She patted on the spot on the couch next to her.
"No, I sit there." Sheldon insisted.
"What's the difference?" Penny asked.
Sheldon was flabbergasted. "What's the difference?"
Leonard, holding a plate in his hand, shook his head. "Here we go."
Howard and Raj sighed, while Sheldon started to explain why he only could sit in that special spot. "In the winter that seat is close enough to the radiator to remain warm, and yet not so close as to cause perspiration. In the summer it's directly in the path of a cross breeze created by open windows there...and there. It faces the television at an angle that is neither direct, thus discouraging conversation, nor so far wide to create a parallax distortion, I could go on, but I think I've made my point."
Penny listened to Sheldon with an open mouth. Is he serious? When the lanky theoretical physicist had ended his speech she was dumbfounded. "Oookay, thanks for the explanation. So, you want me to sit somewhere else?"
"Yes, please," Sheldon said matter-of-factly.
Leonard pointed at the wooden chair next to his armchair. "You can sit here, if you like."
Penny nodded. "Okay." She got up, and sat down in the chair, while Leonard took a seat in his armchair.
Sheldon sat down in his spot and Howard next to him. Raj, who usually sat in the wooden chair looked at Leonard with a quizzical expression on his face.
"Raj, can you sit on the floor just this once?"
A little grumpily he sat down on the floor, while Leonard handed out the meals. As promised he took half of his meal out of his box, put it on the plate he got for Penny and gave it to her.
"Thanks, sweetie," she said with a radiant smile, that let Leonard blush. After taking the plate from Leonard Penny looked at Raj, who sat with crossed legs on the floor. "So, you guys work with Leonard and Sheldon at the University?
Raj looked at her without saying a word. Then he looked back at his food, taking a mouthful.
Penny was a little taken aback by Raj's strange behaviour. "Uh, I'm sorry. Do you speak English?"
"Oh, he speaks English," Howard chimed in. "He just can't speak to women."
Penny was flabbergasted. "Really? Why?"
"Selective mutism," Leonard answered. "His name is Raj by the way."
Raj looked at Penny with a smile and nodded.
"Well, nice to meet you Raj."
Howard leaned forward and looked at Penny in a kind of lewd way. "So, Penny. A bombshell like you certainly works as a model."
Penny had to chuckle. "Um, no. I'm a waitress at the Cheesecake Factory."
"Oh, what a bummer," Howard replied. "And here I thought you would earn your money lolling on a hood, clad in a bikini, posing for sexy photos."
Penny frowned. This guy is creepy. "Sorry to disappoint. I'm only waiting tables."
"Penny is also an aspiring actress," Leonard tossed in.
"Oh! Really?" Howard asked. "Have we seen you in any movies or TV shows?"
"Um, no. I just started acting," Penny fibbed, feeling ashamed to tell them she had a role in a very bad, very cheap horror flick called 'Serial Ape-ist'.
"Oh, by the way. Why did you storm in without knocking?" Leonard wanted to know. "Anything important you wanted to tell us?"
"You can say that again!" Howard answered, holding up a CD-ROM in a slimcase. "We found a Stephen Hawking lecture from MIT in 1974."
"That's really cool," Leonard said.
Howard nodded. "It's before he became a creepy computer voice," he said, imitating Hawking's voice generated by his speech-generating device.
"Penny, Stephen Hawking is a well-known physicist," Sheldon said in a condescending tone.
"Yeah, yeah, I know. He's the wheelchair dude who invented time," she replied.
Sheldon huffed. "He didn't invent time. That's a really silly thing to say. You probably refer to the title of one of his books. 'A Brief History Of Time.'"
"Um, yes. So, what do you guys do for fun around here?" Penny asked.
"We play Mystic Warlords of Ka'a, Dungeons & Dragons, Halo. Things like that," Sheldon answered.
Penny just had a quizzical expression on her face.
Sheldon sighed. "You never heard of those games, didn't you? Well, Mystic Warlords of Ka'a is a card game, Dungeons & Dragons is a fantasy tabletop role-playing game and Halo is a video game."
Penny rolled her eyes. She really didn't like Sheldon's condescending manner. "Um, okay. Well, I thought more of going to a dance club, a bar or a sports game."
Now the four men had quizzical expressions on their faces.
"You know what a dance club is, or a bar?"
"Of course, Sheldon said. "But we don't go to such places."
Howard objected. "Speak for yourself, but just yesterday I went to a bar to pick up chicks."
"And?" Leonard asked. "Were you successful?"
Penny shook her head. "Are you rooting for a sports team? LA Lakers, LA Dodgers?"
Leonard looked at her with a blank expression. "LA Dodgers? This is a football team, right?"
"I think I have to teach you a thing or two," Penny said with a chuckle.
"Well, you could teach me a thing or two about...you know what I mean," Howard winked and grinned in a really creepy way. "I bet you are really good at this, and you never stop learning."
Although Howard didn't say it, Penny knew of course what he meant. It was quite unambiguous. "Ugh!" she uttered to express her disgust and screwed up her face.
"Howard, you are a pig," Leonard said, annoyed by Howard's creepy advances.
"Hey, I'm just making conversation," Howard replied.
"Then change the subject of the conversation," Leonard hissed.
Penny looked at Leonard and mouthed the words 'Thank you', which he answered with mouthing the words 'You're welcome'.
Howard sighed. "Fine. Well, to return to Penny's question what we do around here for fun. I know a wonderful little sushi bar on Colorado Boulevard that has karaoke."
"Oh, that sounds like fun," Penny said. "Let's do this."
Howard leaned over the coffee table, looked at Penny and started to sing. "Baby, baby don't get hooked on me. Uh, baby, baby don't get hooked on me."
While Howard presented his rendition of an old Mac Davis song, which weirded Penny out, Sheldon leaned over to Leonard. "I don't know what your odds are in the world as a whole, but as far as the population of this living room goes, you're a veritable Mack Daddy," he whispered.
Leonard had to smile. Maybe he had a chance with Penny after all. But how could he accomplish this?
He was pulled out from his thoughts, when he felt a tapping on his shoulder. "Um, what? Sorry, I was lost in thought."
"Obviously!" Penny chuckled. "What do you think? We could go to this sushi bar. It is my treat."
Leonard, Sheldon, Howard and Raj agreed and gladly accepted Penny's invitation. But first they finished their dinner, talking about all sort of things. Although Penny didn't understand most of the things the four men were talking about, especially when it revolved around science, she enjoyed the conversation and could throw in some funny comments here and there. It was a welcome change to the usual gatherings she had with her friends.
Thirty minutes later they all sat in Leonard's car on their way to the little sushi bar on Colorado Boulevard.
It became a really fun evening. After having some Japanese delicacies, Howard and Raj took over the karaoke machine. Penny, Leonard and Sheldon sat on their table and amusedly listened how the two men huddled through quite a few songs from all sorts of genres after a fashion. At one point Penny could convince a very reluctant Leonard to sing at least one song with her. Leonard was surprised at himself that he agreed to do this. Singing karaoke in front of total strangers was a completely new experience for him. In the end Leonard barely moved his lips, let alone sing something audible, but it still was fun.
More than once Penny tried to make eye contact with Leonard during the evening, all the while smiling at him and seemingly didn't want to miss out an opportunity to touch him. Leonard savored the attention Penny granted him. Of course he had to blush every time she looked him in the eyes and because of his shyness he himself wasn't able to seek eye contact on his own initiative. Penny found this charming and cute. Leonard was so different than all the guys she was involved with so far, but different in a good way.
While Leonard enjoyed the evening and Penny's attention towards him, he somehow couldn't classify her behaviour. Was she just friendly or was she flirting with him?
When they left the sushi bar it was almost 11 p.m. They all had to work the next day, so it was time to head for home, although Penny wouldn't have minded going anywhere else despite having the morning shift at the Cheesecake factory. When they arrived at the apartment building, Sheldon, Leonard and Penny said goodbye to Raj and Howard, who then drove away with Raj's car.
Sheldon quickly disappared in apartment 4A as soon as they had reached their floor, saying it was way too late and he would need his rest to accomplish his scientific work for the benefit not only of the university but the whole human kind.
Standing in front of apartment 4B with Leonard next to her, Penny shook her head and chuckled. "The whole human kind? He's not very modest, isn't he?"
"No, he's not," Leonard confirmed with a giggle.
A somewhat awkward silence followed, as they both just don't know what to say. Looking at each other, they had a few seconds of quite intense eye contact.
Although Leonard somehow tried to avoid direct eye contact, due to his shyness, he couldn't escape from the fascination that Penny's sparkling green eyes exerted on him. He was mesmerized again, like the day he saw those wonderful eyes for the first time.
But Penny couldn't look away either. He has friendly and warm, brown eyes. "Um, this was a really fun evening," she said to break the silence.
Leonard cleared his throat and nodded. "Yes, absolutely. Well, have a good night."
"Good night, Leonard." She leaned forward and gave Leonard a kiss on his cheek, which let him blush tremendously. He couldn't help doing this.
He's so cute, when he's blushing. Smiling, Penny opened the door and went into her apartment.
Leonard still stood in the hall for a moment with a big smile on his face after Penny had entered her apartment and closed the door. When he was back in his own apartment the smile hadn't left his face. And when he went to bed a few minutes later, after doing his night routine, the smile spontaneously came back, because he had to think of Penny again. Preoccupied with thoughts of his new beautiful neighbor Leonard crawled under his sheets and it didn't take long until he had fallen into a deep content sleep.
Leonard made an extra cup of coffee this morning, which he wanted to offer Penny. So, he walked over to apartment 4B to ask Penny if she was interested. He knocked, and a few seconds later a brightly smiling Penny opened the door.
"Good morning, Leonard."
"Good morning. Um, I wanted to ask if you are interested..."
He couldn't finish his question, because all of a sudden Penny dragged him into her apartment and kicked the door shut. Seconds later Penny's lips were on Leonard's, her tongue requesting entrance to his mouth. He was so surprised by her actions, that he needed a few seconds to process what was going on. But as soon as he realized it, he began reciprocating the kiss and willingly granted Penny's request. While their tongues made contact, Penny opened the belt of Leonard's robe and started to caress his upper body. It didn't take long and her hands found their way under his t-shirt, roaming over his belly up to his chest. Penny let out a moan, as Leonard gasped for air before they continued the wild kissing. Penny's hands were all over his upper body, exploring every corner there. Suddenly without warning she ripped open his shirt and planted soft kisses on his chest, going further southwards over his belly. Leonard panted heavily, looking down at Penny who was on her knees now. Looking up at him with a mischievous grin on her face she tore down his shorts...
A strident sound let Leonard's eyes open wide. He breathed laboredly and needed a few seconds to realize that he had dreamed. Wow, this felt real. He had dreamed of Penny before, but this dream was different. Grabbing his watch on the nightstand to stop the alarm, he still could feel Penny's soft lips on his body.
Forty-five minutes later Leonard was in the kitchen to have breakfast, drinking a cup of coffee and eating a bagel. Looking at the mug in his hand and thinking of the pleasant dream he had an hour ago, he decided to go over to apartment 4B to ask Penny if she wanted a cup of coffee as well.
"Where are you going?" Sheldon asked, who sat in his spot on the couch watching a morning rerun of one of his favorite Science Fiction TV shows.
"I'm going to Penny to ask her if she wants to have breakfast with us," Leonard replied and walked out in the hallway.
As chance would have it, the door of apartment 4B just opened and Penny stepped out in her Cheesecake Factory uniform.
"Oh! Good morning, Leonard," she greeted him.
"Good morning. Um, I wanted to ask if you are interested in a cup of coffee."
"Aw, that's nice. Thank you. But I'm already late for work. At another time. Okay?"
"Bye, Leonard. Have a nice day."
"Bye. Have a nice day too."
Smiling, and waving at Leonard, Penny hurried downstairs.
"You're not done with her, are you?" Sheldon asked, emerging behind his roommate.
Leonard didn't answer him. He just followed Penny with his eyes, a yearning expression on his face.
To be continued...