A/N: Please ignore the many plot holes, this one requires some suspension of disbelief…
"You still haven't checked your engine? Penny, do you have some sort of active death wish or are you just disregarding my advice to spite me?"
She sighed. This was absolutely the last time she was driving Sheldon Cooper anywhere. Less than 30 seconds in the car and he had already clocked the check engine light blinking traitorously away. She listened to him reel off accident statistics and wished she had the cash to get it looked at. Or the time. Or, frankly, the inclination. Car maintenance was low on her list of priorities right now.
She quickly glanced over at him as they sat at some lights, not wanting to allow her gaze to linger for fear of him noticing and starting another lecture. As it was he was quiet, staring out of the window at a couple walking together on the sidewalk. She watched him watch them and wondered; what are you thinking?
It was only when he replied that she realized she must have spoken out loud.
"I am trying to interpret their body language. It seems peculiar. The woman is talking to him, and he is holding her hand, but his posture and expression indicate disinterest." He turned to look at her. "I don't understand why one would remain in a relationship if one felt no attraction for the other person."
She blinked. From fatal road accidents to relationships in under twenty seconds…he never ceased to surprise her. "Since when could you read body language? And why do you even want to? I thought that stuff was beneath you." If he had been bothered by the sarcasm in her tone – had even detected it - he didn't show it. He watched the pair again as he answered. "It is something I struggle with, and I don't like to be bad at things. Hence, I've been reading some psychology textbooks. Pseudoscientific drivel, mostly, of course, but some of it has proved… enlightening."
She briefly considered asking him more about it, but decided not to risk inviting an incomprehensible monologue. "Well just because he doesn't look interested right now doesn't mean he isn't attracted to her, Sheldon. Maybe she's just talking about something boring, or maybe they had an argument." She frowned.
"Hmm. No, I don't think that's it." She rolled her eyes. Of course he didn't. He turned in his seat to face her again as the lights turned to green. "I often talk about things that bore you, and yet you have never just ignored me like that."
She put the car in drive and pulled off. "Well no, but that's because I'm polite." She grinned at him, daring him to disagree. "And anyway, we're not in a relationship. Relationships are more complicated." She glanced over at him. He was studying her with an intensity she had only ever seen him reserve for goop under his microscope.
It was such a disconcerting feeling, it was a few seconds before her eyes caught a flash of movement and were drawn to his window. Or more specifically, to the white van that had just jumped the lights and was headed straight for them.
Sheldon must have registered the terror on her face, as he started to turn towards the window. Thankfully though, not quickly enough.
She figured he must have been unconscious before he really knew what was happening.
She hoped, anyway.