Howard put his hands on his hips and surveyed his handiwork. "That should do it!"
Raj shook his head and whispered in Howard's ear. Howard looked at his friend incredulously. "Yeah, well it may be the wrong thing to do, but on a very base level, it feels oh so right!"
Raj thought what they were doing might be a step too far and not something friends should do to each other. Sensing that Raj was waffling on the plan, Sheldon spoke pointedly to him. "Raj, this seems only a fair and just comeuppance for Leonard. Point one, Leonard initially 'stole' Stephanie from Howard. Point two, my shaming in front of the academic community due to his tampering with my monopole experiment." Sheldon pointed a finger at Raj and Howard. "Which you two were complicit in. Point three, while I was convalescing at the hospital, Leonard and Stephanie did something inappropriate in a supply closet which led to the subsequent texting debacle that made Penny cry and then led to the dissolution of Leonard and Penny's romantic relationship."
Raj nodded in agreement, but still gave Sheldon a wondering look.
Penny spoke up. "Raj honey, I still want to be friends with Leonard, but I need to get some of my own back, you know? Can you understand that?"
Raj look softened as Penny spoke. He nodded his head again.
Just to drive the thought home to him, Sheldon spoke again. "And point four Koothrappali, if you don't go along with it, I'll video conference call your parents with my mother so they can discuss your current relationship with my sister Missy."
Raj quickly pulled Howard back to whisper in his ear. Howard's eyebrows shot up. "You wouldn't!"
"Oh, wouldn't I?" Sheldon smirked down at them. "Do we have a deal gentlemen, and lady?"
Raj put out his hand face down. Howard put his hand on top of Raj's. "Deal." Sheldon put his hand on top of Howard's. "Deal." Penny put her hand on top of Sheldon's and a spark of electricity coursed up through her arm and she shivered. "Deal."
They broke hands and Sheldon turned to leave the bathroom. "Fine, now that we are all in agreement, let's go. Leonard should be back shortly with the food."
As they walked out, Penny pulled Sheldon off to the side. "Are you sure he didn't put a camera in there? I don't suddenly want to find out there's a video of me on YouTube taking a shower."
Sheldon patted Penny's shoulder. "Not to worry, he wouldn't dare."
Howard and Raj snickered to each other. Sheldon grabbed Howard by the top of his ear. "Take it out now, Wollowitz!"
Howard held up his hand in surrender. "Mea Culpa! I swear it wasn't to get video of Penny's luscious naked body. It was to catch the prank!"
Penny glared at Howard. "Just when I thought you couldn't get any creepier Howard!"
After Howard removed the tiny camera and Sheldon re-inspected his work to verify that it was the only one, the boys finally headed over to apartment 4A. Leonard had just put the key into the door to unlock it when he heard Penny's door open. He turned to see Howard, Raj and Sheldon leaving her apartment. "Hey guys. Why were you at Penny's?"
They stopped in their tracks. Raj shrugged his shoulders while Sheldon formulated an un-unravelable lie. They had not expected to be caught in the half hour that Leonard had been gone.
Howard spoke to fill the silence. "We were -"
Penny's voice piped up behind them. "Stereo."
"Yes, we were rewiring the sound for Penny's stereo system." Howard continued smoothly.
"Yeah?" Leonard looked over the top of his glasses at them while he pushed open his door.
Penny stepped out into the hall landing. "For the party tomorrow night. You're still coming aren't you?"
"I don't know Penny. It just seems…"
The plan would be for nothing if he didn't show. "Please Leonard?" Penny plastered on a genuine looking fake smile. "It just wouldn't be the same without you."
Leonard smiled to himself. Maybe things weren't so bad after all, maybe he and Penny could work things out. "Okay, sure. Do you still want to go as Wolverine and Phoenix?"
"Yeah, no Leonard. I think we need to find other costumes."
"Gentlemen," Sheldon interrupted. "Seeing as the whole Marvel theme just went out the window, might I suggest that we adjourn to our apartment where we can further discuss this before the food is ice cold."
The all headed into 4A except Penny. Leonard turned back to her. "Do you want to join us?"
"Thanks anyway Leonard, and while a costume meeting sounds like a whole lotta fun, I've got the dinner shift. So, I'll see you tomorrow night, right?"
"Tomorrow then." Leonard smiled at her as she turned and went back into her apartment and shut the door. He knew he'd been as ass, and was surprised he had been so easily forgiven.
Penny was sure to tell the boys that the party started at 9:00 this time instead of 7:00. It would have been awkward to deal with just them for two hours without all of her other friends and acquaintances there. She needed a larger crowd and maybe some liquid courage to go along with the evening's plan if she was to get back at Leonard.
The triple knock rapping began precisely at 9:00 PM followed by the calling of her name. Her friend from work went to answer the door. "Wait Gina, he has to go through it twice more or he'll get all twitchy!"
Gina gave Penny a questioning look. "You didn't invite OCD guy?"
Penny got defensive of Sheldon. "He doesn't have OCD, and he's my best friend!"
"Okay girl if you say so." She then muttered under her breath. "Girl must be blind, that boy is so OCD!"
Penny answered the door on the last call of her name wearing a white satin gown and a short curly blonde wig. "Hi guys!"
Sheldon gave her a curt nod. "Penny."
Penny took in his long lean figure, dressed in a cream colored shirt with a black vest and tight blue pants tucked into tall flat heeled boots. He also wore a blaster on his hip. "Hello…Han."
Sheldon smiled at the recognition. "The character is quite the rogue, much like myself."
"Come on in, Sweetie." She looked past him at his three smaller friends.
Leonard dressed all in white carrying a light saber was also a dead giveaway. "Hi Leonard, or should I call you Luke?"
She looked to Howard and Raj with one eyebrow raised. "Are you supposed to be Obi-?"
Howard took a deep bow. "Obi-wan, Jedi master. Enchanté mademoiselle."
Sheldon cut him off. "Obi-wan wasn't French Wollowitz!"
"Never mind Sheldon." Penny admonished him as she looked over at Raj. "And who are you supposed to be honey?"
Raj rolled his eyes and looked to Howard for help. "He's Lando Calrissian."
"Cal-whonian?" Penny asked confused.
"From Empire!" Howard explained.
Raj hung his head dejectedly as Howard pulled him into the apartment. "How could she not know who I was? With the cape and the mustache, and the fact that all the ladies love me, who do you think I could be? Boba Fett?"
Howard clapped him on the back. "Come on Lando, let's find you a malt liquor to perk you up."
Leonard took in Penny's costume. "Who are you supposed to be?"
"I'm not telling!" Penny said innocently.
"Not even close Leonard!"
Two Hours Later
Penny had quite the buzz going when she finally got up the nerve to set the plan in motion. She gave the signal to Sheldon that she was ready and she went to find Leonard. Leonard had been into a few beers himself and didn't put up any resistance when Penny dragged him first into her room, and then into the bathroom and shut the door behind them. "We need to talk."
Leonard thought that maybe Penny was going to forgive him and take him back. Or, at least that her hormones were raging and that he might get lucky. He thought he should test the waters with a few innocent questions. "Are you going to tell me who you are?"
"Nope!" Penny smiled and giggled.
"Sugar from Batman Forever?"
Penny shook her head. "I don't think I know that one."
"She was a minor character played by Drew Barrymore." Leonard explained.
"Then, no, that's not who I'm supposed to be."
It was driving Leonard mad, he had to know. "How about any character from any movie Drew Barrymore did from the mid-nineties?"
Penny wagged her finger in his face. "No, I'm none of her characters nor Drew Barrymore herself!"
Leonard cocked his head to one side and looked at her again. "Huh. It's just that you costume looks so familiar. It's almost seared into my brain, I just can't place it."
Penny turned to the mirror to fix her lipstick. She caught Leonard staring at her. "You know what I always wanted to do, but was a little afraid of doing?"
Their eyes locked in the mirror's reflection. Leonard moved forward and wrapped his arms around Penny's waist. "No, what?"
I am so getting lucky!
Penny broke his gaze, looked straight into the mirror and said, "Candyman."
Leonard looked up at her in horror, let her go and took a step back. "No Penny, don't!"
Penny continued to look into the mirror. "Candyman."
"Please Penny, don't say it!" Leonard whined.
She cocked an eyebrow and continued. "Candyman."
Leonard's voice got higher and cracked. "Penny, I've only ever been truly afraid of two movies. One is Stanley Kubrick's The Shining. The other is Cand-" Leonard clapped his hand over his own mouth to keep from saying the word.
"Do you mean…Candyman?" Penny asked into the mirror and the lights in the bathroom went out.
Leonard grabbed the door knob and pulled. But the door wouldn't budge. "Let me out! Please don't say it again Penny, I'm begging you!"
"Candyman!" She shouted.
The lights in the bathroom started to strobe and Leonard felt a hand on his shoulder. He turned to see Penny in the flashing light, only the blonde curls were gone, replaced by burnt flesh. And, Penny was holding a sharpened hook in her hands. "What's the matter Leonard…scared of something?
Leonard let out a blood curdling scream and pulled on the door again which suddenly gave way and opened. He knocked into partygoers left and right trying to escape from the horror he had just seen.
Penny walked out of her bedroom with a triumphant smile on her face. She was followed by Sheldon who had been hiding in her bedroom to hold the bathroom door shut. He placed his hands on her shoulders and she leaned back into him. It was such a small gesture from him, but one that she wouldn't forget.
She looked up at him and smiled. "Can I get a Bazinga, Sheldon?"
He held up his hand. "Wait for it."
Penny furrowed her brow. "Wait for what?"
Another high pitched scream echoed from across the hall.
"What did you do?"
Sheldon pursed his lips and explained. "Well Penny, technically when you call upon the Candyman, the Candyman is supposed to appear, not Helen."
"Sheldon?" Penny's voice got the warning sound in it.
Sheldon smiled at her. "I put a life size cardboard cut out of Tony Todd in Leonard's bedroom."
Penny was in awe. "You didn't!"
Howard and Raj looked across the room at Penny and Sheldon. Howard shuddered. "I feel a great disturbance in the force."
Raj shook his head at his friend. "Why, because the alpha female has finally joined forces with the alpha male? Dude, it was inevitable."
Penny reached up and pulled off the latex cap that was keeping her own blonde locks trapped. She quickly fixed her hair up into a braided pony tail and took off the white gown she was wearing to reveal another costume underneath it.
Raj and Howard's jaws dropped. "The slave girl outfit from Jedi!" Howard shrieked.
Penny turned to Sheldon and took his hand. "Come dance with me Sheldon."
"Penny, I've told you, I don't dance." He gently chided her.
She looked up at him and when their eyes met, she knew she had him. "Your princess commands it!"
And that's when Penny found out that Sheldon could dance, and quite well in fact.
Well, that's it folks. Even I can't rush into getting Sheldon and Penny together just yet. Maybe a very special Christmas episode sequel? Just remember slow and steady wins the race!
And, thank you again for all the kind reviews. Peace out!