The Effusive Discontinuation Enterprise

The pot was at $563.00.

Two months running, the initial bets of twenty dollars had fallen to ten, then five and then whatever the boys happened to have on hand -- quickly being replaced by IOUs. The wager had begun half-way through the expedition. Howard, at wit's end after being stuck in close quarters with Sheldon without much room for escape, initiated it with an exasperated remark. "What do I have to do to get you to SHUT UP, Sheldon!?"

Squinting his eyes, Sheldon had turned to glare at him and opened the proverbial door. "Feel free to derive whatever means your puerile brain can conceive of in order to halt my attempts to further elucidate on the many fascinating explanations and variables at play in the universe and perhaps I'll do so."

It was Leonard who decided to make it a game. The rules were simple: Whenever Sheldon began to offer 'fascinating' minutiae about the universe at large, any one of them could attempt to derail his train of thought. However, they had to put twenty dollars in the pot (in actuality, a glass bowl that Howard spat in to make it shine their first day there, thus being relegated to a 'never use for food' pile by Sheldon) before making the attempt. Whoever succeeded in shutting Sheldon up won the pot. They'd returned from their expedition three weeks ago, and no one had yet to come near to claiming it.

"Hmm," Penny murmured after Leonard had explained why Howard had starting running around and squawking like a chicken after placing a couple of dollars on the table during Sheldon's dissertation on the Egyptian sun god, Ra.

Glancing over at Howard, who sat down with a heavy sigh while Sheldon continued, "Interestingly, Ra is most commonly pronounced "Rah" as in rah-rah-rah," he looked around at the four to make sure they were paying attention. With a considering look, Penny reached into her pocket and pulled out a dollar bill and threw it on the table. Sheldon paused briefly to raise an eyebrow before resuming his speech. "However, it should be pronounced 'rei,' such as do-re-me. Furthermore, he -– what are you doing!?"

Penny merely smiled while the boys looked on in shock as she settled more comfortably on Sheldon's lap. Taking advantage of his open mouth, she leaned forward, her tongue darting in between his lips for maximum stunning effect. Her arms wound about his neck and she pressed closer to him, as he tentatively began to respond. His hands fell to her hips, his fingers curling into her jeans. She closed her eyes as his lips moved with hers, awkwardly at first and then bolder with more certainty as he mimicked her actions. Her fingers clutched at the short strands at his nape as the kiss deepened. Penny pulled away slightly, but Sheldon sat up straighter, following her to quickly recapture her lips. Showing what a fast learner he was, one hand swept up her back, burying in her hair as he cupped her head in his big palm, taking her breath away with his kiss.

A soft whimper escaped her lips and Sheldon withdrew for a moment; her lids slowly opened as her tongue came out, gently licking her lips in a daze. Looking into each other's eyes, Penny noticed for the first time how bright and blue his were. Those eyes widened, and he blushed a beet red, reminding Penny suddenly of where … and who they were. And why they were there.

Summoning all reserves of sanity and her acting skill, she faked a pleased smile and affected a sexy drawl. "So, what were you saying?"

Sheldon gulped and looked wildly away from her to the shocked faces of Leonard, Howard and Raj. Glancing back at Penny, confusion masked his features. "What?"

A loud thump to their left drew both of their attentions. Howard was pounding on the couch arm. "Why didn't *I* think of kissing him speechless?"