When Penny awoke, the first thing she became aware of was the long arm draped over her chest. She peeked under the covers and stiffened as she revised that thought; there was a long arm draped over her bare chest. Biting her lip, she willed herself not to look at the man sharing her bed, instead hoping to remember the events of the previous night without visual aid.
...Nothing. She felt a tiny headache bubbling in the back of her head, and it occurred to the blonde that she'd probably been drinking last night. She was lucky not to be suffering a hangover, but Penny couldn't help but think that she'd rather suffer the pain of a hangover than wonder what might have happened the previous night. Sighing, she turned to the man beside her, pulse quickening as she wondered whether she'd even recognize him.
She needn't have worried. Or rather, now was the perfect time to start worrying. The lanky brunet draped across her, peacefully slumbering, was painfully familiar. Which, Penny decided instantly, was a serious problem. Her breath caught in her throat as she stared at Sheldon Cooper, and she wondered if she was somehow still drunk. She couldn't decide which was harder to fathom; the idea that she'd slept with Sheldon, or the idea that Sheldon had slept with anyone. Penny bit her lip. While it was impossible to deny that she was not wearing a shirt, she realized with a small amount of relief that she was, in fact, wearing underpants. If I don't remember what happened last night, she thought hopefully, then who's to say that anything actually did? Swallowing hard, she pulled herself into a sitting position, delicately removing Sheldon's arm from herself. Hand shaking, she gently prodded Sheldon's shoulder. "Sheldon," she whispered, "wake up."
"Danger! Danger!" Despite the severity of the situation, Penny couldn't help the smile that fought its way onto her mouth as Sheldon shot up, his eyes wide in panic. Hadn't he reacted the same way the last time she'd woken him during the night? He was nothing if not a creature of habit.
"Calm down," Penny hissed.
Sheldon's head snapped over to face her, and he paled. "Penny, why are you in m—" He stopped cold as his eyes darted around the room wildly. His ashen face took on a peculiar shade of green as his gaze returned to Penny. A dreadful, awkward silence hung in the air as the two simply stared at one another, before Sheldon finally broke it. "This is your room." Though he stated it as fact, his eyes were pleading, as though he hoped for some sort of assurance that he'd gone insane, and was not, in fact, anywhere near Penny's hotel room. She found herself hoping something similar.
"Y-yeah," she stammered, her mouth dry. She glanced down, anxious to avoid his eyes, and she realized that her breasts were uncovered. For a brief, absurd moment, she wondered if there was any point in covering them, as he had certainly seen them by now (she ignored the part of her mind that suggested he may have done even more than that last night). But then she decided to cling to what was left of her sanity, and she pulled the blanket up in an attempt to cover herself.
Sheldon flushed as she did so, and Penny wondered if he had somehow not noticed her nudity until then. He looked down at himself, face reddening further as he took in his own bare chest. Penny was tempted to point out that there was nothing wrong with a guy having a bare chest, but then she remembered that he was Sheldon, and even waking up in the same bed as him wasn't quite enough to convince her that he was human, let alone a guy. She chased off those thoughts as she realized that he hadn't moved since covering himself. "Sheldon," she began tentatively, "are you okay?" There was no reply, and he continued to stare ahead blankly, not acknowledging her words or the concerned look she gave him. Penny's anxiety increased. "Sheldon, did you he—"
"I heard you." He slowly turned to face her. "I just don't know how to answer that question."
Penny stared at him. When had he ever not known the answer to a question? Even when faced with a personal or emotionally subjective matter, he'd always rattle off some scientific non-answer in order to evade the question. Yet she had just heard with her own ears a ready admission that he had no answer. Her trepidation increased, and Penny wondered if she even wanted an answer to her next question. "Did we..." she trailed off, hoping that she wouldn't have to finish the question before he answered it.
"Yes," he answered without hesitation. Oh, crap.
Penny sucked in a deep breath as Sheldon once again turned away from her. "Are you sure?" she croaked. "I mean, just because we're in bed, it doesn't necessarily—"
"I remember," he stated bluntly.
"...Oh." Penny fidgeted. "I... wow, kinda awkward, huh?" Sheldon glanced at her, eyes narrowing.
"Calling this situation 'awkward' is akin to calling Superman 'strong', Penny. Surely you can do better than that."
"Forgive me for not thinking of a more colorful word," Penny spat back. "I guess I was a bit distracted by the fact that we slept together." Sheldon winced, and Penny's expression softened. "I'm sorry, I just... well, I don't really know what to do here."
"Nor I," Sheldon confessed, mouth quirking downwards in a thoughtful frown. "This is certainly not a situation in which I expected to find myself. I'm quite unaware of the protocol."
Penny stared up at the tall genius as a dreadful thought entered her mind. "Sheldon, sweetie... this wasn't your first time, was it?"
He raised an eyebrow. "Your question is vague. Are you asking if this is my first experience with intercourse? Or perhaps the first time I've woken in the bed of a friend I had not expected to bed with? For all I know, your question could be referring to my experience with yourself, specifically. Of course, if it's the last option, the question in pointless."
"Wait, what?" Penny blinked.
Sheldon sighed and shook his head. "Never mind. It doesn't really matter which you were asking, as the answer is the same for all of the options. Yes, this was in fact my first time."
A lump formed in the throat of the beautiful blonde, and she suddenly felt queasy. "I-I'm so sorry," she stammered, casting her eyes down.
Penny was startled when a hand slid under her chin, cupping her face and pointing it back upwards. "Your apology is unnecessary," Sheldon said softly, eyes intense. "Apparently, your inebriation last night temporarily impaired the functionality of your hippocampus, or you'd remember well enough to know that, at the time, I was as willing as you to pursue the opportunity. While I'm certain I would not have made such a decision were I not suffering from acute alcohol intoxication, I readily acknowledge my own actions in this scenario."
Penny swallowed, and was about to accept his words and try to leave it at that when a glint on his finger caught her eye. "Uh, Sheldon... what is that?" Confusion momentarily crossed the physicist's face until his eyes followed her gaze, alighting on the gold band wrapped around his ring finger. Startled, he pulled his hand away from Penny, bringing it up in front of his face to examine the ring more closely. Penny's nausea returned in full force as she watched her companion's face contort in shock.
"Penny!" She jerked back, startled by the insistence with which her name was spoken. "Give me your hand."
"Now!" Sheldon hissed. Nervously, Penny complied, holding out her right hand. Sheldon let out a sigh of annoyance. "Your left hand!"
Penny's eyes grew wide as she realized just what was insinuated by his question, and she placed her left hand in Sheldon's. She froze as a small stone twinkled up at her merrily. "No way," she choked out. This can't be happening. This CAN'T be happening. Her breathing quickened, and she began to gasp in short, ragged bursts. Dots swam before the pretty blonde's eyes, and a heaviness began to creep up her spine, until she was swallowed up in blackness. Unconscious, she fell forward into her husband's arms.