Thanks to all who take the time to write a review. Here's the fourth 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.
October was drawing to a close. While in other places leaf piles were forming beneath colorful trees, the city of Pasadena experienced a veritable heat wave. The only thing reminding that is was actually autumn were the Halloween decorations inside the stores.
Leonard was in the laundry room, emptying the dryer when Penny came in.
"Hi, Leonard," she greeted her neighbor.
"Oh! Hi, Penny," he greeted back.
Smiling at Leonard, she put down her clothes basket on one of the washing mashines. "Oh hey! I'm having a party next Saturday. So, if you and the guys are around you should come by."
"Yeah. A Halloween party. It'll just be a bunch of my friends. We'll have some beer, do a little dancing."
Leonard was hesitant. "Um, I don't know. But thanks for the invitation."
"Aw, come on. It will be fun." Since Leonard was reluctant to accept the invitation, Penny tried to encourage him. "We could wear couple costumes. Just for fun," she winked.
Leonard chuckled, knowing that Penny certainly wasn't serious about that. "Is there a theme?" he asked.
"There's no theme," Penny replied. "Wear whatever you like."
"Okay, I ask Sheldon, Howard and Raj."
While Penny started to stuff her clothes into the washing machine, Leonard stood at a table, folded his laundry and put it into his clothes basket. "You know, this would be my first Halloween party."
Penny was surprised. "Really?
"Yeah, party invitations are a great rarity for me," he answered.
"Well, then get used to regular party invitations from now on," Penny said with a big smile.
Leonard chuckled. "Don't bother! I'm not the person who enjoys going to parties anyway."
"Ha! I will turn you into a party animal," Penny said, nudging him playfully with her elbow.
Leonard had to chuckle again. "Okay, I guess it's worth a try."
They continued to have a little small talk, before Leonard left the room and went back to his apartment.
Saturday approached fast, and since Sheldon, Howard and Raj enjoyed wearing costumes they immediately agreed to come to Penny's party when Leonard informed them about the invitation.
At 7:05 pm Leonard, Sheldon, Howard and Raj stood in front of Penny's apartment in their costumes. Leonard was Frodo from Lord of the Rings, Sheldon was the Doppler Effect, Howard was Robin Hood, although the others thought he was Peter Pan, and Raj was Thor. The one from Norse mythology, not the character from the Marvel comics.
Howard knocked, and a few seconds later Penny opened the door with a surprised expression on her face. "Oh, hey guys."
"Hi! Sorry we're late," Leonard apologized.
Penny was puzzled. "Late? It's 7:05."
"We were told the party starts at seven," Sheldon said.
"Well, yeah," Penny replied. "But when you start a party at seven, no-one shows up at...you know...seven."
"It's 7:05," Sheldon stated with a smug grin on his face.
Penny smiled awkwardly. "Yes. Yes it is. Okay. Well, um, come on in."
Following Penny's prompt the four men entered her apartment and looked around.
"What? Are all the girls in the bathroom?" Howard asked.
"Probably, but in their own homes," Penny answered.
"So, at what time does the costume parade start?" Sheldon wanted to know.
Penny was puzzled again. "The parade?"
"Yes! So the judges can give out the prizes for best costume, you know, most frightening, most authentic, most accurate visual representation of a scientific principle," Sheldon elucidated.
"Oh, Sheldon, I'm sorry. But there aren't going to be any parades or judges or prizes," Penny said apologetically.
"This party is just going to suck," Sheldon exclaimed disappointedly.
Penny tried to be placating. "No, come on. It's going to be fun, and you all look great. I mean, look at you, Thor, and, oh, Peter Pan, that's so cute."
Leonard wanted to correct her. "Actually, Penny, he's Rob..."
Howard interrupted him. "I'm Peter Pan! And I've got a handful of pixie dust with your name on it," he said, raising his brows in a saucy manner and pretending to blow said pixie dust at Penny.
Penny quickly shot down, what was just another one of Howard's creepy advances towards her. "No, you don't." Turning to Leonard, she asked him about his roommate's streaky costume. "Oh, hey! What's Sheldon supposed to be?"
"Oh, he's the Doppler Effect."
"Yes. It's the apparent change in the frequency of a wave caused by relative motion between the source of the wave and the observer," Sheldon explained.
"Oh, sure. I see it now. The Doppler Effect," Penny said, rolling her eyes. "Alright, I've got to shower," she continued. "You guys make yourselves comfortable."
While Penny went to her bathroom, the four guys settled down on the couch, waiting for the party to start.
Thirty minutes later, Penny came out of her bedroom, wearing a sexy cat costume and fitting makeup to it. Leonard had to gulp, when he saw her. She looked amazing. Of course Howard couldn't refrain from making a lewd remark about her costume which Penny just answered with an annoyed eye roll.
Shortly afterwards the first guests arrived and a few hours later the party was in full swing, with music playing and people dancing, drinking and eating snacks. Quite a few people had gathered in Penny's small apartment, which was full to bursting point, so the party was expanded into the hallway too. Leonard, Sheldon, Howard and Raj still sat on the couch, looking a little bit lost, obviously not willing to mingle with the crowd.
But eventually Leonard had enough from sitting around and got up from the couch to talk to Penny, who stood at the apartment door, talking to another girl. He walked up to her and was about to tap her on the shoulder when suddenly a very tall, buff man with a clean-shaven head appeared, only wearing a loincloth. Apparently he was supposed to be Tarzan.
Leonard involuntarily flinched by the tall man's intimidating appearance while Penny greeted him warmly, hugging him with a smile on her face.
Only in this moment Penny noticed that Leonard stood behind her. "Oh, hey Leonard. Are you having a good time?"
Leonard nodded. "Sure."
"Oh, this is Kurt. Kurt, this is Leonard. My neighbor from across the hall."
Leonard was taken aback. Penny's ex-boyfriend? What is he doing here? Why would she invite him? "Um. Hi, Kurt! Nice to meet you."
Instead of returning the greeting, Kurt just grinned arrogantly. "What are you supposed to be? An Elf?"
"No, I'm a Hobbit."
"What's the difference?"
"Well, a Hobbit is a mortal Halfling inhabitant of Middle Earth, whereas an Elf is an immortal tall warrior," Leonard replied.
"So why the hell would you want to be a Hobbit?" Kurt asked derisively.
Leonard was about to give him an answer, when Kurt cut him short. "Forget it, I don't care. So why don't you go hop off on a quest? I wanna talk to Penny."
"I think we all here wanna talk to Penny," Leonard countered.
"Okay, it seems you didn't understand me. Get lost!" Kurt exclaimed.
Penny tried to calm down the situation that was beginning to get tense. "Alright Kurt. Be nice."
"Aw, I am nice. I am the kindness in person. Right my little friend?" he said, smiling mockingly while mussing up Leonard's curly hair.
"Kurt! Stop it!" Penny almost shouted, which caused quite a few heads to turn into their direction.
Kurt raised his hands, playing little innocent. "Hey, we're just having a little fun."
Leonard tried to redo his hair, which were a total mess now. "Well, looks like all the things Penny told me about you are true," he blurted out, though saying it more to himself than to Kurt.
But he had heard Leonard's remark. Narrowing his eyes, he angrily looked at him. "Hey, what's that supposed to mean?"
Leonard inwardly cursed himself for saying aloud what he actually just thought regarding Kurt. He didn't want to get Penny in trouble. "Nothing. It means nothing," he tried to appease Kurt.
"What. Did. She. Say?" he wanted to know, emphasizing each word.
Sensing an obvious aggressive tone in Kurt's voice now, Leonard wanted to calm down the situation. "Really, she said nothing. It just blurted out of me. As I said, it means nothing."
But Kurt didn't want to let go. "Tell me you gnome, or I'll beat it out of you," he threatened.
Penny was really concerned now that this conversation could get out of hand. "Kurt, please. Stop it! Leave him alone!"
He glared at Penny. "Stay out of this! That's between me and this little dwarf here."
Although Leonard was still intimidated by Kurt's physical presence and his aggressive tone, he now wasn't willing to put up with his insults, even if it meant to add fuel to the fire. He had to stand up for himself. "No, Penny. It's okay. I can handle this. I'm not a gnome or a dwarf. I'm a Hobbit. A Hobbit. Are misfiring neurons in your hippocampus preventing the conversion from short-term to long-term memory?"
While Kurt wasn't exactly a bright light, he did understand what Leonard was saying. "Okay, now you've made me really mad. Enough is enough." He grabbed Leonard and put a stranglehold on him.
Penny started yelling. "Kurt! Let him go!"
"He started it."
"I don't care. I'm finishing it. Let him go! At once!"
"Fine," Kurt said, releasing Leonard from his stranglehold and shoved him away. "You're one lucky little leprechaun."
Penny immediately ran over to Leonard. "Sweetie, are you okay?"
Leonard played down the issue. "Yeah, I'm fine."
Penny was really upset because of what had happened. "I'm so sorry."
Leonard smiled awkwardly. "Nah. It's okay." He adjusted his costume that was quite crinkled. "Well, Penny, this is a great party. Thanks for having us. But it's getting a little late, so I think I'm heading for home." Making a gesture in the direction of Sheldon, who still sat on the couch, he indicated that he wanted to go.
Now Penny was even more upset. She didn't want Leonard to leave her party because of this incident with Kurt. "Aw, please stay."
Sheldon now stood next to Leonard. "You want to go?"
"Yes, it's getting late."
"Not really. For a Saturday evening it's quite early and given that this is a party it's really quite early. I think the reason you want to go is the humiliating encounter with this tall half-naked man we all here had to witness."
"No, the reason is that it's getting late," Leonard said with clenched teeth. "As I said, great party and thanks for having us."
Penny was dejected. "Alright. Well, thank you for coming."
Leonard and Sheldon said goodbye and went back to their apartment, leaving behind a sad Penny. Deep in thoughts she looked at the door of apartment 4A, when suddenly a very tipsy Cheryl, her fellow waitress from the Cheesecake Factory, tapped her on the shoulder.
"Hey, Penny. What's the name of this brown-skinned guy who wears this helmet with wings?"
Leonard sat down on the couch and took off his fake Hobbit ears. While his encounter with Kurt was upsetting, it was another thing that was on his mind and that really bothered him. Why was Kurt at Penny's party in the first place? She told him she never wanted to see this lying, cheating jerk again, and now he was at her party. He couldn't get it in his head. Were they back together, or on their way to get back together?
Leonard was pulled out of his thoughts, when Sheldon brought him a cup of tea. "What's that?" he asked.
"Tea. When people are upset the cultural convention is to bring them hot beverages," his roommate answered.
Slightly puzzled Leonard took the cup of tea, whereupon Sheldon patted his shoulder to comfort him. "There there. You want to talk about it?"
Leonard shook his head. "No."
Sheldon was relieved. "Good. 'There there' was really all I had."
Leonard looked at Sheldon with a slightly annoyed facial expression. "Good night, Sheldon."
"Good night, Leonard."
While Sheldon went to his bedroom, Leonard put the teacup on the coffee table and stared at the floor, lost in thought. Just in this moment there was a knocking on the door. He looked up and to his surprise Penny entered the apartment.
"Hey, I just wanted to make sure you're okay."
"Don't worry. I'm fine."
Walking over to Leonard, Penny could see that Leonard wasn't fine. "I'm so sorry because of what happened," she apologized.
Leonard shook his head. "Nah! It's not your fault."
Penny sat down on the couch next to Leonard. "Yes it is," she said. "That's why I broke up with him, he always does stuff like that."
"So why was he at your party?" he asked, hoping to finally get an answer to a question he asked himself all the while since Kurt showed up.
"Well, I ran into him last week at the grocery," she began to answer. "He was all apologetic and told me about how he has changed. He was just going on and on and I believed him." Tears began to well up in Penny's eyes. "And I'm an idiot because I always believe guys like that. And now I can't go back to my party because he's there." The first tears were now rolling down her cheeks. "I know you don't want to hear this and I'm upset and angry with Kurt and with myself and I, I just want to..." She couldn't finish her sentence, as she bursted into tears, burying her head into Leonard's shoulder.
Leonard didn't know what to do. He didn't expect a situation like this. So, he reluctantly patted Penny's shoulder, trying to comfort her.
Penny downright melted into Leonard. This was exactly what she needed in this moment. A shoulder to cry on. "God, what is wrong with me?"
"Nothing is wrong with you. Remember what I told you a few weeks ago. You are a wonderful person. Inside and outside. You're perfect," Leonard said.
"No, I'm not perfect," she objected to his last sentence.
"Yes you are," he insisted.
Penny looked into Leonard's warm brown eyes. She could see that he was really serious about it. "Do you really think so?"
Leonard just nodded.
A wave of affection rushed through Penny. She had the irresistible urge to kiss Leonard. And within one second she gave in to that urge and just kissed him. It wasn't a passionate kiss, but it was a meaningful kiss. It took Leonard a few moments to realize what just had happened, but as soon as he was aware of what was going on, he reciprocated the kiss, placing a hand on Penny's shoulder. They didn't know how long the kiss lasted, but they savored every second. And when they broke the kiss they looked deeply into each other's eyes, both yearning to continue the kissing.
So it was only seconds later, when Penny's lips crashed on Leonard's again. And this time Leonard reciprocated immediately. It started slow and tender, with Penny's arms around Leonard's neck, while Leonard had wrapped his arms around Penny's waist. With each second their kissing became more passionate, and it didn't take long until Leonard could feel Penny's tongue on his lips. He slightly opened his mouth, which didn't go unnoticed by Penny, whose tongue now slowly seeked contact with Leonard's. The sensation when her tongue touched his let him tremble with excitement and sent a pleasant chill down his spine. It felt marvelous. After a while their kissing came to a natural end, when they both had to gasp for air.
Leonard breathed laboredly. "Penny?"
"Are you sure that you being upset and angry with Kurt doesn't have something to do with what's going on here?" Leonard asked, followed by a shy smile.
She had to think about it. "It might. But it also has something to do with the fact that I really like you."
Penny started to caress Leonard's upper body tenderly, which sent blissful sensations through his body. He felt flattered and he couldn't deny that he was aroused. Just like Penny was aroused. He could see it in her eyes. If he would let things take its course, they would definitely end up in bed together. But he didn't want to take advantage of this situation. If it's supposed to happen, it should happen for the right reasons, he thought.
"Um, Penny, don't you think we should stop here? I don't wanna do something that could put our friendship at risk."
Penny sighed. "I think you're right. I don't wanna put our friendship at risk either. A friendship is too valuable too jeopardize it."
Leonard smiled and gave Penny a tissue, so she could dab the smudgy mascara on her cheeks. "This is the second time I give you a tissue so you can clean your face."
Penny had to chuckle. "Yeah. Looks like this is our thing." She paused for a few seconds, taking his hands into hers. "Leonard, you're a great guy. Why can't all guys be like you?"
"Because if all guys were like me, the human race couldn't survive," he replied, which let Penny chuckle again.
"I should go now."
Leonard nodded. "Okay."
They both got up from the couch and went to the apartment door. Penny opened it, but turned around again while standing in the doorway to look at Leonard. "Thank you."
Leonard just shrugged his shoulders, whereupon Penny cupped his face with both hands and gave him another kiss on the lips, which didn't go unnoticed by Kurt, who stood on the stairs that led to the upper floors.
While Penny went back to her apartment, Kurt looked at Leonard with a puzzled expression on his face.
Leonard returned the look. "That's right. You saw what you saw. That's how we roll in The Shire," he said not without some gratification. Then he quickly closed the door, locked it and applied a door chain.
"I did the right thing," he said to himself. Not under any circumstances Leonard wanted to jeopardize the friendship he had with Penny. Preoccupied with thoughts of Penny he went to his bedroom and made himself ready to go to sleep.
The Halloween party at Penny's place continued for a while. Penny was still upset about Kurt's behavior and how he had treated Leoanrd, so the first thing she did when she was back in her apartment was sending him home. Initially Kurt refused to go, but when Penny threatened to go all Nebraska on him, he eventually left. Not without cursing and swearing course, but he left. And as it turned out, not just Penny was happy about Kurt leaving the party.
More or less still sober up to that point, Penny thought it was finally time to take the party to the next level. That meant it was time for some drinking games. Competetive as Penny was, she strived for winning all the games. And she did. As a result she had to throw up in a pumpkin amid the cheering of the party guests.
The next morning Penny woke up with a massive hangover. Somehow she managed to crawl out of her bed so she could look for something against the hammering pain inside her head. But first she had to relieve herself, so more swaying than walking she went to the bathroom. Fortunately there were headache pills inside the cabinet above the sink. Taking one with some gulps of water she looked into the mirror of the cabinet and thought herself back to the events of the previous evening. A smile flashed over her face, when she thought of Leonard and the kissing in his apartment.
When Penny came out of her bathroom she flopped down on her bed and almost immediately fell asleep. About six hours later she woke up, feeling considerably better. She sat up and swang her legs to the right side of the bed. Sitting on the edge of the bed, she took a sip from the bottle of water that stood on her nightstand. Taking a deep breath, Penny got up and went to the bathroom to take a bath.
Coming out of the bathtub thirty minutes later, Penny felt pretty hungry. It was late afternoon, and a little meal was exactly what she needed now. But she was about to get a headache again when she saw how her apartment looked like. It was as if a bomb had exploded. Not feeling like tidying up, she just shoved away the stuff on her kitchen island, took a pan and made herself some scrambled eggs.
A few minutes later her meal was ready. She sat down at her table by the window and looked at the setting sun. She had to think about what had happened last night with Leonard. She would have slept with him, but he didn't take advantage of the situation. He was the perfect gentleman. And again those thoughts came up. What if he is the right guy for me? I'm clearly attracted to him, but still I don't make a move to do something. As if there's something inside of me that obstructs me. What is wrong with me? These thoughts didn't let go of her. Penny couldn't get Leonard out of her head.
A/N: End of chapter 4. Tomorrow I will post the fifth and final chapter of this story. Stay tuned! ;)