Thanks again for all the reviews. I really appreciate them. Here's the third 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.
Leonard stood in the kitchen and made himself a cup of coffee, when someone knocked at the apartment door. He walked over to the door and looked through the peephole. Seeing it was Penny, he immediately opened the door.
"Good morning, Leonard," she greeted him with a big smile on her face.
"Good morning," he greeted back. "To what do I owe the honor of this visit?"
Penny chuckled. "Well, you invited me to a cup of coffee two days ago, if I heard you right. Here I am."
Leonard smiled. "That's what I did. Come in, please."
"Thank you." Penny stepped inside the apartment and walked towards the kitchen. She wore a pink tank top with a very low-cut neckline and white Hello Kitty shorts, that revealed her amazingly shapely legs.
Leonard really enjoyed this sight and without realizing it he gazed at Penny's attractive forms, which she noticed of course.
"Stop dreaming," she grinned.
Leonard turned as red as a beet. "Um, what? Oh, sorry...I didn't want to...um..."
"It's okay, sweetie," Penny said with a chuckle, sitting down at the kitchen island.
Leonard rushed to the coffee maker and made a cup for his neighbor from across the hall.
"Where's your peculiar roommate?" Penny asked.
"In the bathroom," Leonard answered. "And until 7:20 we are safe from him."
"7:20? And then what?"
"Then punctual to the minute he will come out of the bathroom. He never overruns his contractually-guaranteed bathroom time from 7:00-7:20 am."
Penny was baffled. "Contractually-guaranteed bathroom time?"
"Yes, it's in the roommate agreement," Leonard replied matter-of-factly.
Leonard handed over a cup of coffee to Penny. "Yes, I had to sign a roommate agreement, when I moved in."
Thanking Leonard for the coffee, Penny shook her head. "This guy is a real wackadoodle."
Leonard chuckled. "Yes, he is."
They continued to have a little small talk, before Penny left ten minutes later as she had to go to work.
A few days later, on an early Saturday afternoon, Leonard came home from the supermarket, where he had bought some groceries for Sheldon and him. When he entered the apartment building he was greeted by the mailman on his way out. A few moments later Leonard stood at the mailboxes in the lobby and checked if he and Sheldon got any mail. He opened the box for apartment 4A and took out quite a few envelopes. Sorting through the mail, he saw that Penny's mail mistakenly got in their box.
Leonard hadn't seen Penny for some days because of her shift at the Cheesecake Factory. Every time when he came home from work she was already gone for her late shift. Now he had an excuse to pay her a visit. Not that I need a reason, he thought. You can knock at your neighbor's door just to say hello, right? But having a reason is advantageous. Realizing that he was starting to overthink things again, he closed the mailbox, put the envelopes in his shoulder bag, and walked upstairs to his apartment.
When Leonard entered the apartment, Sheldon stood in front of one of his whiteboards, writing down equations.
"Hi," he greeted his roommate, putting his shoulder bag on the chair in front of his desk.
Sheldon turned around and smiled radiantly. "Hello, Leonard. Look at this and freeze in awe due to my overwhelming genius."
"Why? Do you solved string theory?" he asked, once more annoyed by Sheldon's condescending tone.
"No, but I have found the ultimate solution for..."
"The ultimate solution for what?"
"Drat!" Sheldon exclaimed. "There's a mistake. How embarrassing. I never make mistakes." Taking a sponge, he completely wiped off the bottom half of the board.
"Oh, by the way. Penny's mail was mistakenly put in our box," Leonard said and just wanted to go to fridge to get some water, when he heard the sound of female laughter from out in the hall.
"Oh, what a coincidence. Sounds like Penny's home. I go over to her and give her the mail."
"Do whatever you want," Sheldon said, not looking at Leonard. "I have more important things to do than concerning myself with your trivia."
Leonard ignored Sheldon's condescending remark, took the mail for Penny from his desk and exited to hallway, looking at the envelopes in his hand. "Penny, the mailman..." He looked up and saw Penny kissing a hunky man in front of her apartment door. "Oh! Sorry."
"Oh! Hi Leonard!" she greeted him, surprised by the devastated look on Leonard's face, which let her feel very uncomfortable. "Um, this is Doug. Doug, this is my neighbor Leonard." Doug was a customer at the Cheesecake Factory and had sweet-talked Penny into going on a date with him the day before.
"What's up bro," Doug said in a voice that apparently should sound street.
"Not much. Bro," Leonard replied in the same tone of voice, which let Penny smirk.
"Is, is everything okay?" Penny asked, seeing that obviously everything wasn't okay.
"Uh, yeah, uh," Leonard stuttered. "I just...I got your mail." He handed over the mail to Penny. "Here."
She took the envelopes with a smile. "Thank you."
"No problem. Bye. Oh, and, bye, bro!" Leonard said and returned to his apartment.
Seeing Leonard slowly walking back to his apartment with his head bowed was heartbreaking. Penny suddenly didn't feel like going on a date with Doug. She had the urge to run after Leonard and ask him why he looked so dejected. Actually she had a guess why he acted like this. But before she could think about it further or do anything, Doug grabbed her hand and literally dragged her down the stairs.
Flopping down in his armchair when he had returned to apartment 4A, Leonard felt like someone had punched him in the gut. While Sheldon still worked on his board, not noticing his roommate's mood of dejection, Leonard closed his eyes and wished this day was over. For the next few hours he more or less just sat in his armchair and apathetically stared into space.
When it was time for dinner, he hardly touched his food, as the sight of Penny with Doug had spoiled his appetite. So, he excused himself and went to bed early, rejecting an offer from Sheldon to play some video games. As he lay in bed, staring at the ceiling, Leonard cursed himself for thinking, he would have a chance with Penny. It was true. A girl like her would never consider a date with someone like him. But as much as he tried to persuade himself, he could not help but feel bad. What has happened? Why did he feel so bad? Had he fallen for Penny? With these constantly recurring thoughts he fell in a restless sleep, plagued by dreams of Penny making out with other men, while he was just a bystander.
Despite the disappointment when Leonard saw Penny with another guy, he and Penny still had many encounters. He helped her quite a few times when she had problems with her computer or other technical issues. On one occasion he could restore a shopping cart full of fancy shoes from an internet retailer after her computer crashed, which resulted in a long hug and a shower of cheek kisses from Penny.
A few weeks after Penny moved into the building, she also had become a regular guest in apartment 4A at dinner time when she had not to work the late shift at the Cheesecake factory. While Leonard immensely enjoyed Penny's presence at his place and the friendship he had formed with his beautiful neighbor, he couldn't get the fact out of his head that she was dating this Doug guy. It still bothered him, but he did everything to be a good friend and didn't let it show.
Although Leonard knew that Penny dated someone, he wanted to see her as much as possible, so one day he suggested to relocate their dining out on Tuesday from Big Boy to the Cheesecake Factory. After a great deal of coaxing Leonard could persuade Sheldon to give it at least a try.
Penny was pleasantly surprised when Leonard and Sheldon showed up at the Cheescake factory for the first time. Smiling brightly, she greeted the two men who sat across from each other at a table. "Hi, guys! What brings you two in here?"
"Hi, Penny," Leonard greeted back. "Well, we thought we try something new."
"You thought we should try something new," Sheldon grumbled. "I never wanted to be here."
Penny ignored Sheldon's grumpy remark, handed out the menus and took out a pad from the pocket of her apron. "Aw, that's nice. What would you like to drink?"
"A coke please," Leonard answered.
After noting Leonard's order Penny looked at Sheldon. "And for you?"
"Water will do. Your coke is probably just dark colored dishwater," he said contemptuously.
Penny rolled with her eyes. "It's regular coke, just like in all other restaurants."
Sheldon sniffed. "Hmm, if you say so. Then a coke for me too, please. I'll see if you have lied to me."
Penny shook her head and noted the order from the lanky theoretical physicist. "Alright, I'll be right back with your drinks. In the meantime have a look at the menus, so I can take your food orders." With a smile she turned on her heel and walked to the restaurant kitchen.
After serving the drinks, Penny was back at the table again to note the food orders. "You guys ready to order?"
"Chicken nuggets and fries," Leonard said, giving her the menu back.
Smiling at him, Penny took the menu and noted his order. "Alright, thank you." Then she turned towards Sheldon. "And what about you?"
Sheldon looked lost. "I can't decide. We never ate here. I don't know what's good."
"Well, everything's good," Penny said.
Sheldon scoffed. "That's statistically unlikely."
"Just get a hamburger. You like hamburgers," Leonard suggested.
Sheldon glared at Leonard. "I like the hamburgers where we usually have hamburgers. You can't make the assumption that I'll like the hamburgers here."
Leonard looked at Penny with an apologizing expression on his face. "I'm sorry. Give him a hamburger."
"Um, which one? The Classic Burger, the Ranch House Burger, the Barbecue Burger or the Kobe burger?" she asked.
"Can't we just go to Big Boy?" Sheldon implored Leonard. "They only have one burger. The Big Boy."
"Oh, the Barbecue Burger is like the Big Boy," Penny said.
Sheldon looked at her. "Excuse me, in a world that already includes the Big Boy, why would I settle for something like a Big Boy?" he asked Penny in a condescending tone.
Penny was losing her patience with Sheldon. "Because you are not at Big Boy!" she exclaimed, almost yelling.
Sheldon was baffled by Penny's outburst. "Fine, I'll have the Barbecue Burger."
Darting an annoyed look at Sheldon, Penny took the menu from him. Giving Leonard a sweet smile that let him blush, she turned around and went to the kitchen.
"Waitresses don't yell at you at Big Boy," Sheldon said, sounding as if he was offended.
As the evening progressed, Penny repeatedly took the time to go to Leonard and Sheldon's table to talk to the two men and to make sure that everything was okay. Sheldon even liked the Barbecue Burger so much, that he decided to alter his strict schedule when it came to dinner. From now on they would dine out at the Cheescake Factory every Tuesday.
For Leonard it was a really enjoyable evening, as Penny was in a very flirty mood towards him, all the while seeking eye contact, smiling at him and casually touching his arms and shoulders. Her behaviour let Leonard think, that maybe she had ended things with Doug again.
It was an late afternoon in mid October and Leonard stood at the kitchen island, making himself a sandwich, when he suddenly heard a loud buzz in the hallway. He recognized Penny's voice and a male voice, both sounding very agitated. Penny was apparently fighting with someone. A few seconds later a door was slammed shut with a loud bang, which let Leonard wince. He went to the apartment door and looked through the spyhole and saw that Doug was standing in the hallway in front of Penny's apartment.
"Come, on. Penny, please. I'm sorry," Doug said in a pleading tone.
"Go away! I never want to see you again," Penny shouted through her closed apartment door.
Doug knocked on Penny's door, but when there was no reaction he lowered his head, turned around and walked towards the stairs.
Once Leonard was sure that Doug was gone, he slowly opened the door and stepped into the hall. He wondered if he should talk to Penny about what has happened. After some thinking, he decided to knock on her door.
"I said, go away!" Penny yelled.
"Um, it's me. Leonard."
"Oh, sorry. Not now, sweetie. I wanna be alone."
"Okay." Leonard turned around and was about to return to his apartment, when he heard Penny again.
"Leonard, wait. Please come in."
He cautiously opened the door and peeked inside Penny's apartment. She sat on her turquoise couch, with her legs bent on it. Leonard could tell, that she had cried. Her eyes were puffy with dark smudgy mascara underneath them.
Penny patted on the empty spot on the couch next to her. "Have a seat, please."
Leonard stepped inside the apartment and closed the door behind him. Slowly, he walked over to the couch and took a seat.
"I must look awful," Penny said, trying to wipe away the makeup that was scrawled over her cheekbones.
Leonard took a tissue out of a box that stood on the coffee table and gave it to Penny. "What happened?" he asked.
Thanking Leonard, Penny took the tissue and cleaned her face as best she could. "Well, I just came home from the Cheesecake Factory, had parked my car and went to the gas station across the street, because I needed some crushed ice. To cut a long story short, I saw Doug next to his car passionately making out with another woman."
"Oh, that's terrible. I am so sorry," Leonard said compassionately.
"And guess what!" Penny continued. "When I approached him to confront him, I couldn't miss hearing, how he said to her that sex was amazing last night. So, he did not only kiss another woman, he had already slept with her. How could he do that?" She paused for a moment as tears started to well up again. "It has happened again. I have been cheated once again. After two effing weeks. Looks like I can only meet guys who cheat on me sooner or later. Obviously, I'm just worthless trash that can be disposed of after a while."
Some tears were rolling down her face now, so Leonard quickly took another tissue and handed it over to Penny. "No!" he protested. "Don't say that. That's not true. I'm sure some day you'll find the right guy who is faithful and honest and cares for you."
Penny dabbed off the tears on her cheeks. "I hope you're right."
Leonard nodded. "Of course," he assured her. "You are a wonderful person. Inside and outside."
"Aww, Leonard!" With a bright smile on her face Penny leaned over and engulfed Leonard in a hug.
As they were in each other's arms, Leonard wished he could tell Penny that the right guy for her was sitting on her couch. Right now, at this very moment.
When Penny pulled away, she planted a firm kiss on Leonard's cheek.
"Doug was an idiot anyway," Penny suddenly said after a few seconds of content silence. "Actually, I am glad that I got rid of him."
Leonard was surprised. "Really?"
Penny nodded. "Yeah. To tell you the truth. I should have dumped him on the first day we went out on a date, because he was so mean. He said you were weird for bringing over allegedly misallocated mail, since this was just a trick to excuse a visit at my place."
"Your mail really got mistakenly in our box," Leonard insisted.
Penny laid a hand on Leonard's arm and smiled at him. "Of course. I've never doubt that. I defended you, saying you are a really sweet guy."
Leonard blushed heavily and looked shyly at the floor. "Nah!"
Penny had to smile. Leonard was so cute when he blushed. "Yes, you are." She paused for a few seconds before she continued. "Well, I didn't dump him that night, because he buttered me up. And stupid as I am I fell for it."
"You're not stupid," Leonard objected.
Penny smiled. "Well, in comparison to you or Sheldon I am."
"No, that's not true," Leonard countered. "We just have a different education. That's all. I may know a lot about physics, but I'm totally clueless when it comes to sports."
Penny didn't look entirely convinced.
Leonard saw her doubting face. "What I'm trying to say is, everyone has strengths and weaknesses. And you are not stupid. Please, don't ever think that."
"You really know what to say to cheer me up," Penny said. "I feel a whole lot better now. Thank you, for being such a good friend."
"You're welcome," he blushed. "That's what friends are for."
Penny smiled brightly. "I enjoy the talks with you so much. I'm glad you are in my life."
Leonard savored these words. They made him happy. "Same here!"
"You know, I never had someone who lent me an ear. At least not in a way that I felt taken seriously," Penny said. "Do you know what I mean?"
Leonard nodded. "But what about your parents, your siblings or your best friend?"
"Well, I never had truly meaningful talks with my parents. And in addition I actually never had the urge to talk to my parents when I had problems regarding school or, um, well...girl stuff. The same is true of Randall and Lisa, my brother and sister. Randall was only interested in, well, let's say producing things that are not exactly within the law, and Lisa always had her head in the clouds. Don't get me wrong, she is a great big sister, but a really serious talk was not possible with her." Penny paused for a moment. "And my friends? Well, to be honest, they are not really the kind of people you have serious and profound talks with," she chuckled.
"I see. Well, I'm always there for you when you need someone to lend you an ear," Leonard smilingly said.
"Thanks, you're the best." Penny leaned over and gave Leonard another kiss on his cheek, which naturally let him blush again.
Leonard looked at his watch. "Oh, it's almost six o'clock. I have to get the take-out meals for our dinner tonight." He got up from the couch and went to the door. "Are you coming over for dinner?"
Penny nodded. "Sure," she answered.
"Great, see you later."
"Yeah, see you later," Penny said with a smile.
Smiling back, Leonard opened the door, stepped out in the hallway and went back to his apartment. Having received two cheek kisses, a hug and a lot of nice words from the beautiful girl across the hall let him float on his way in a sense.
As soon as Leonard had left her apartment, Penny had to think about his words. Some day you'll find the right guy. The right guy. What if Leonard was the right guy for her? He was so different than the guys she used to go out with. But different in a good way. He was cute, he was smart and friendly, always helpful when she had a problem with her computer or any other technical issue. And from what she had learned about him in the talks since they met, he was a sincere and honest man. Only good traits were combined in him. And she really liked him. She felt so comfortable in his company. But then again, would a smart guy with an academic education like Leonard not lose interest in a girl like her very soon? She was just a waitress, a party girl. Shrugging, she discarded these thoughts for now and went to the bathroom to have a shower.
To be continued...