Chapter 1

Her shoes were off first. It was such sweet release from ten straight hours at The Cheesecake Factory. Ten hours of overly picky patrons, under tipping patrons and, worst of all, entirely too drunk and touchy male patrons. She tried hard not to think about it. After all it was just another Friday for her. She threw her purse on the couch with a loud sigh. Her work shirt came off next. She threw that against the tv and wrinkled her nose at her own sloppiness. Whatever, she'd clean it up tomorrow. She stalked off to her bathroom and began to draw a scolding hot bath, complete with the Cherry Blossom bath salts (one variety of what seemed like hundreds) that Sheldon had made her take as a Christmas gift. She caught herself smiling then, remembering the awkward but sweet hug he'd given her as well.

The water was too hot to get in immediately. She went to her room to grab her pajamas for the night to put on after the bath. Yes, it was still early for a Friday but there was no way she was going out to party tonight. It was just not gonna happen. She searched through her dresser for something baggy and comfy and came across her Wonder Woman set. It reminded her of him. She couldn't quite remember him ever speaking of Wonder Woman particularly but it was comic book related and to her that automatically triggered thoughts of him. Yeah, she was wearing those tonight.

The water was still a little too hot but she eased in very slowly. Once submerged she instantly began to doze. The steam felt wonderful on her face and she could have sworn she could actually feel her pores opening. If Sheldon were there he could tell her the scientific reason behind it. And if he was doing that she would pretend not to care and stare off into space, like she did anytime he went into great detail about anything. What he wasn't aware of is that she actually did care. She paid close attention to every little bit of information, trying to memorize it. She tried to imagine the look on their faces (especially Sheldon) if they saw the books she borrowed from the library hidden under her bed. Basic physics, algebra, biology and astronomy (her favorite) were the topics she was secretly learning about. At first she was ok being clueless during their conversations revolving around science, but after a year and half it got to be a little annoying. She didn't plan on telling them about her self-education, she just wanted to be in the loop just a little bit.

She was asleep then, taken almost instantly to a dream. She was next door with Sheldon, Leonard, Raj and Wolowitz. Her legs were brought up to her chin on the couch where she sat between Sheldon and Raj watching the intense Halo battle they were in. Her attention was slipping ever so slightly to the man at her left. She caught herself watching his hands with wide eyes, seeing his long fingers move almost eloquently on the controller. When she played Halo she was just a button masher, the kind of novice player that would just press any and everything as fast as possible to try and win. But not him. She knew he knew exactly what he was pressing and why and would bet he had the next 50 or so moves planned in his head. She broke her gaze from his hands and followed them up to his arms to his shoulders and to his face. He was concentrating on the game and barely blinking, breathing low and even. Suddenly Raj was no longer there. Wolowitz was next to disappear. She paid no mind, her eyes were on Sheldon. Leonard put the controller down and started to speak very fast about his deep feelings for her. She didn't even glance at him and he too disappeared.

It was just the two of them now, her arms wrapped around her knees studying his profile was he continued to play. She felt a warm sensation in her rib cage that began to spread the longer she stared at him. She didn't know why but she needed to be closer. As close as possible without him running away. She scooted over a few inches. He didn't flinch. Another inch. Still nothing from him. She swallowed the new lump in her throat and gently laid her head on his shoulders. She held her breath, waiting for the inevitable lecture that was sure to come. He hit the pause button and sat the controller down but said nothing. Slowly and quite unsure, he settled back into the couch and allowed his head to rest gently against hers. She let her left arm drop to her side, palm open. He placed his right hand in hers and squeezed it tightly. The warmth in her chest seemed to explode to a five alarm fire...

She woke up with a violent jerk when her cell phone went off. She groaned and sat up, realizing quickly she must have been out at least a half hour. The water was ice cold and her feet and hands were about as wrinkly as humanly possible. She climbed out of the tub and put her robe on, still groggy, and head to her room to get dressed. It wasn't until she pulled the Wonder Woman tank top on that she remembered the dream she just had. The sudden rush of emotions made her a little dizzy and she had to sit down. Did she really just dream that? About Sheldon? What was wrong with her! It was SHELDON! She then felt that same warm sensation start to build as she went over it again (and again and again) and frowned. This wasn't right. It was just because of the stressful day. She wasn't thinking straight.

She made herself a cup of hot tea and sat down to clear her mind with television. It wasn't happening. All she could do was replay the dream in detail over and over in her mind, getting that same warm feeling every time. Nothing she thought of could block it. And she then realized (to her horror) that she didn't want to block it out.

"Uh oh," Penny said out loud. She wasn't an idiot, although at this moment she wished she was. She knew exactly what was going on. That's when she heard the first three quick knocks on the door.