Penny was sitting in her living room, checking out the mess that place was in. She wondered if she should call Sheldon to clean up. She knew that it wasn't nice or right to ask him to do it but she knew Sheldon well enough to know that he would gladly do it because he couldn't stand the mess. It really wasn't so much about cleaning up the place though. Penny hadn't seen Sheldon the past few weeks and she wanted to see him. Sheldon could be a pain in the ass but he was a nice guy in his own way most of the time and a very good friend. Whenever she had come around to Leonard and Sheldon's place lately he wasn't around. Penny hadn't really listened to Leonard's explanation because it was all 'blablabla' to her. It was probably something new that Sheldon had found to obsess about. She smiled at the thought since he always found something to obsess about.

As she was thinking about the situation she heard something.

Knock, knock, knock

That had to be Sheldon because only he insisted on knocking three times. She stood up and walked to the door. As she turned the handle she wondered why she hadn't heard her name being called and why the knocking wasn't repeated as Sheldon always did.

She opened the door and there was Raj. He was apparently deep in thought and moved past her into her apartment. Penny wasn't so surprised that he silently entered her apartment but he hadn't even really looked at her.

"Hi Raj. Why don't you come in?" Penny said with a sarcastic undertone.

Raj didn't even seem to acknowledge her presence. Penny moved towards him and tapped him on the shoulder to get his attention.

"Raj what is going on? You are creeping me out."

Finally he noticed her and looked her in the eyes.

"Penny the world is about to end. Shiva has decided to come back in another incarnation and end things. And he comes back in style, incarnating as a beautiful, young and smart woman. And to show everybody his intention he starts dating Sheldon. That must be it, there is no other logical explanation." Raj rambled.

Penny's jaw dropped. She hadn't quite listened to what Raj had said because her mind was still trying to get around the fact that he had spoken to her. And he didn't seem to be drunk.

"Raj honey, did you just talk to me or am I just dreaming? Wait a second. Have you been drinking again?" She cautiously asked.

Raj looked at her with surprised looking eyes. Then he covered his mouth with both his hands as he realized what had just happened. Then he just shook his head.

"Oh no Raj, don't go all silent on me again."

Raj just stared at her looking uncomfortable.

"Wait, what were you talking about anyway? I just heard something about Sheldon. Do you know why he's been absent the past few weeks?" Penny asked thoughtfully.

She could see that he wanted to tell her something but he just couldn't seem to get over it.

"Can't have been that interesting if you can't tell me again." Penny prodded.

She noticed that Raj opened his mouth trying to say something but then closed it again. Then he started trembling. At first very lightly but ever so more violently.

Finally he just blurted it out. "Penny, Sheldon is going on a date. It's unbelievable."

Penny's jaw dropped again. She was completely dumbstruck by what Raj had just said. Sheldon going on a date just didn't make any sense. He was oblivious to human interaction and seemed so uninterested in romance. How would he even come to ask a woman out? She was assuming that it was a woman and not a guy although she couldn't be sure.

"Sheldon Cooper is going on a date with a woman? Raj, you aren't talking about him taking a female character out on a quest on World of Warcraft?" Penny inquired.

"No, Sheldon is going on a real date with a real woman. He is taking her for dinner somewhere." Raj replied.

Sheldon was going to dinner with a woman. Penny still couldn't quite believe it. She knew Sheldon quite well and it was just something that Sheldon wouldn't do. On the other hand Sheldon had been absent lately and that wasn't like Sheldon either. At least not without a sensible explanation. So there was a new woman in Sheldon's life and she had already made an impact on Penny's life too. Penny didn't like it the least bit. Also she felt a bit scared because she didn't know what it meant for their friendship. Some women could get very territorial and try to control their boyfriends' contact to other women. Penny didn't want her relationship with Sheldon to change. It was great the way it was.

"Do you know where he is, Raj? I need to know something more. This all doesn't make any sense."

Raj seemed to have settled down because he didn't answer her but just pointed towards the door. That probably meant that Sheldon was at his place. Penny really wanted to find out more about all this mess.

"Thanks Raj." She said and hugged him. Then she moved towards the door.

"Raj, would you be so nice to close the door when you go out?"

She was already half through the door when she stopped, turned and looked once again at Raj. "Raj we really need to work on this. You should be able to talk to people."

-New scene-

Penny knocked on Leonard and Sheldon's apartment door.

Knock, knock, knock "Sheldon"

She was really edgy and wanted to talk to Sheldon as soon as possible.

Knock, knock, knock "Sheldon"

Knock, knock… the door opened.

"Uh, Sheldon…" she said while her knuckle missed the third knock. When the door was opened wide enough for her to see the person on the other side she noticed that it wasn't Sheldon but Leonard.

"Hi Penny." He said with a smile on his face.

"Hi Leonard." Penny replied with a bland expression.

"Is Sheldon around?" She asked cautiously as she walked into the living room. Leonard closed the door.

"Oh yes, he is. He is driving me insane. And by that I mean more than usual." Leonard shook his head and looked tired while he sat down on the sofa.

"Why? What is going on that he's being so difficult?" Penny asked as she sat down on the couch. She noticed that she was sitting in Sheldon's spot so she slowly moved away to the centre seat.

"Sheldon is going out to dinner with this girl he met a few weeks ago. And he's been asking me all kinds of things about what he should say and do. Right now he's obsessing about what he should wear. We went shopping together and he bought 3 suits and now he's driving me nuts with the decision on which suit to wear. One would think that choosing between three black suits wouldn't be all that difficult." Leonard sighed.

"You think I can help? Maybe take some of the load off you?"

Leonard sighed again although this time from relief. "You're an angel Penny. You are much better suited to answer his questions. You will be doing a great job and I'm sure he'll be pleased with all your suggestions." he said while standing up and slowly backing away towards the door. He opened the door once he'd reached it and walked out.

"Good luck." Were the last words she heard from him before she heard the door close.

"Leonard, I can't pick a tie. The orange one fits well with the suit but it makes me look like a salesman. The red one and the blue one seem better but I don't know which one to wear." She heard Sheldon say before she could see him turn the corner of the hallway. He was looking down at two ties that he had in his hands. As he reached the living room he looked up and spoke once more.

"Leonard you could at least... oh hi Penny. Wait, where is Leonard? He was supposed to help me."

Penny rolled her eyes inwardly. "Leonard has gone out for a bit. He's asked me to help you while he's gone."

"Oh my. Now why would he do that? He knows I need his input on these decisions. Even if he might not be the most experienced dater he could still pretend like he could be helpful."

Penny smiled. Sheldon was one of a kind. He was being demeaning even though he didn't intend to be. In his opinion he was just being honest. He wasn't a bad guy but he just never took other people's feelings into account before speaking.

"I think I will be able to help you." Penny said confidently.

"How could you? Do you have any experience in wearing men's suits and ties? If you don't then how will you be able to help me?" Sheldon ask with a tone of credulousness.

"Sheldon I have been dating quite a few guys now and I've seen them wear different suits. Also I read fashion magazines all the time so I know what is in fashion right now. And last but not least…" She let the last sentence trail.

"And what last but not least?" Sheldon asked unconvinced.

"Last but not least I'm a woman and I know what women like their men to look like."

"Ok, you might be right about that last argument. While people think they are complete individuals they do respond to certain stimuli in like fashion. You are probably able to deduce which outfit will stimulate another woman the most because of your big experience in dating men."

That statement hurt Penny double. She didn't want to be seen as some kind of slut that was dating loads of men. Especially not by Sheldon or the other guys of their little group. Besides that she hadn't been dating that many men in the past 4 years since she'd moved in into the building. Also for some reason the phrase 'stimulate other women' bothered her. She was pretty sure that it was because she sounded like she was Sheldon's pimp or because she was betraying other women by making Sheldon irresistibly handsome.

"Fine, I'll help you Sheldon but only if you stop using the word stimulate in any form."

"I decline those terms but the likelihood of me using that term in the foreseeable future are very low. So can you help me chose one of these ties?" He lifted the red tie in his right hand up to his chin so that she could see how it looked if he wore that. Then he put that hand down and raised the left hand with the blue tie to his chin.

"You should wear the red one. The warmer colour works better with your complexion." She stepped closer to him. She took the blue tie and threw it on the sofa. Then she took the red tie from his other hand. Her hand slightly brushed his and she felt a tingling sensation. She noticed that Sheldon's hand seemed to be sweating a little bit. He must have been nervous and she had never seen him being nervous before.

"So who is this mystery girl you are going out with?" Penny asked.

"What mystery girl? I am not aware of any mystery surrounding anybody I know of."

Penny rolled her eyes as she walked around Sheldon to bind his tie from behind him. It was an odd feeling to fix Sheldon up. She would never have guessed that this day would ever come. So Sheldon was interested in women. Finally they all knew what his deal was. But she needed to know more. What was so special about this particular woman that she caught the attention of Sheldon Cooper?

"Sheldon honey, you know what I mean. I want to know everything about this girl you are going on a date with."

"Oh alright, you mean Dr. Summers. Wait, she insisted that I call her Emily."

Ah. That made sense. She was a Dr. Most likely she was a physicist like Sheldon. Penny had gotten to know a few of those female physicists. They usually weren't all that good looking but incredibly smart. So Sheldon was just attracted to her intellect and didn't really care about her otherwise. That made perfect sense to her.

"So this Emily is a physicist like you?"

"No, Emily isn't a physicist. Her speciality is social science. Usually I'd consider social sciences to be a lot of non-academic assumptions based on non-academic theories. At best something derived from pointless or stupid experiments. But Emily makes a very strong case for social sciences. Her approach to the entire subject is refreshingly analytical. She has an incredible insight. I wonder what she could have achieved if she had chosen physics as her speciality instead of social sciences." Sheldon rambled on.

He seemed really infatuated by this girl. But social sciences? How could Sheldon ever be into someone who was doing social sciences? She remembered him making fun of those people in that field. And suddenly he was a cheerleader for the subject. This really bothered her. She was concerned about him. She didn't want him to change. Or at least she didn't want him to change like that. Sheldon was difficult but he had made a lot of progress in the past few years. She didn't want all her work on him being jeopardized by someone he barely knew. Even worse was that Penny didn't know that person.

"So how does Emily look? No wait, let me guess. She is relatively short. Her hair is short. She wears glasses. She might be wearing braces but not necessarily. Her hair is usually quite greasy." Penny said in an amused tone. She didn't seem serious and in a way she wasn't because she hated stereotypes but in a way her description matched her experiences.

"That's sarcasm, right? No, that description is not even close. She is a very attractive woman. In fact I distinctly remember you saying that she was a really beautiful woman."

Once again Penny was shocked. What was going on today? Was it some kind of 'shock Penny till she gets a heart attack' day? She knew Emily? But she was sure that she didn't know any doctor by the name of Emily or Summers. Neither did she remember saying something like that about any woman.

"Are you sure Sheldon? I don't remember anybody by the name of Emily or Summers."

"Yes, I am very sure of this. 4 months ago when I was over to set your new laptop up you showed me that article on the 100 hottest female scientists in that one magazine. Don't ask me what magazine. They are all the same to me. In any case I remember you saying that the scientist ranked 42 was very beautiful and should have been much farther up the ranking."

Slowly it dawned on her. At first it was a bit foggy but then the picture became clearer. She still wasn't quite sure though. She thought she knew how the woman looked that Sheldon was talking about but she couldn't quite believe it. That woman was really beautiful and how could Sheldon be dating her?

"I remember the article but I'm not quite sure about the woman you mean." Penny said.

"You must remember. It was the woman you liked so much. Then you took the picture and went to the mirror to compare your figure to hers. You seemed upset and mumbled something about how unfair it was that she was so hot and smart. Then I told you that she looked pretty much like you. Maybe slightly less curvy. After that you shot me that evil look and I appeased you by saying that I meant you looked more womanly than her and you lighted up."

Suddenly everything was clear. She remembered every detail of that exchange and knew exactly who Sheldon was talking about. The woman he meant was just gorgeous. Penny was instantly and inexplicably jealous and blushed slightly.

"I remember now. Yea, she was pretty." Penny said in a slightly dismissive way.

She turned around Sheldon to the front to tie the knot. "Where did you two meet?"

"We met at a symposium on possible improvements on academic research by improving communication and team spirit among the research teams. The conclusions were questionable but at least not totally off the mark. We were sitting next to each other and I must have started mumbling to Leonard because suddenly she spoke to me and told me how she agreed on some of the points I raised but disagreed on others. She explained her opinion to me and I had to revise my standpoint. Afterwards she asked me where I worked and we found out that she would be working close by so that we might meet." Sheldon summarized.

"So it's an intellectual thing? You like her for her brains?" Penny felt oddly relieved.

"Yes, her mind is most definitely something that attracts me very much. But she's also a very attractive female. I believe I am finally seeing a bit of what all those less evolved homo sapiens see in the other gender. I still find it a bit saddening that we haven't evolved beyond that but that's the problem when you let nature run its course."

This didn't sound like Sheldon. He was definitely changing. For the first time she felt like Sheldon was being spontaneous and open minded and she was conservative and wanted things to stay the way they were.

"What have you two love birds planned for tonight? Where did you invite her to?"

"I didn't invite her anywhere. We were having lunch and she suggested we'd go out for dinner. I was expecting a casual dinner but she invited me to that new fancy French restaurant 'amis de l'ordinateur'. The name is very peculiar but it is supposed to have excellent food. From what I've heard they've specialized on the needs of the scientific community. I was going to go in my usual attire but Leonard informed me that Emily has asked me out for a formal date and that that required another kind of dress code. Ever since, I've been researching on the protocols for dating. I have to commend you on that by the way. You seem to do it with such ease but it is such a complicated topic. There seem to be so many traps and complexities that I wonder how normal people deal with it. It must be a very nerve wreaking business for them."

Penny laughed out loudly. "Yes, it messes with people's nerves alright. But somehow they all deal with it. Everybody eventually finds someone."

"I find that hard to believe. How can you be sure that you'll find someone? Statistics definitely don't seem to be in favour of that idea."

"It's not statistics. It's just a feeling."

"So you really think that you will find someone that is right for you?" Sheldon asked with a curious expression.

"Yea, somehow I know I'll find the right person some day. I don't know who it is yet but I'm sure it will be unexpected and totally out of the blue."

"Your belief is very admirable but there is no tricking the odds. Your chances are minute at best. But I wish you best of luck"

"Thanks Sheldon" Penny said while rolling her eyes.

"Ok, Sheldon you seem to be done. Let me just see you all over." Penny looked at Sheldon all dressed up and he was very handsome. If it hadn't been Sheldon she might have tried to get him ask her out.

"Sheldon here's the last thing. What have you planned for the night? I mean it can't be just dinner and then you two go your separate ways."

"I think Emily has most of the day planned out already. But as far as I can tell the plan is to go to a science museum and then to go to dinner. And from what my research has shown it ends with me taking her home to her place and traditionally if the date wasn't a total failure it ends with the man kissing the woman."

"Really? Have you ever been on a date Sheldon? And have you ever kissed a girl like that? It's really not something you can just learn from research. It requires some experience to get it right." Penny said uncertainly.

"You might be right. I know everything there is to know in theory and I do think that I should be qualified for the task but I obviously lack the empirical evidence to confirm that. I think I need an experiment to verify my assumptions."

"Experiment? You make it sound so romantic Sheldon." Penny said sarcastically.

She was getting ready to say something more when Sheldon suddenly stepped closer. She didn't know what he was going to do but she certainly hadn't anticipated his next move.

Suddenly Sheldon's lips met hers. Her eyes widened and her mouth opened as her mind caught up with the events. And then she felt Sheldon's tongue snake into her mouth. The kiss was full of passion and just overwhelmed her. She was unable to think as the blood rushed through her body and just closed her eyes. Her mind filled only with the feeling of the kiss. She felt her body being leant back on his arm and the kiss intensifying. She was so lost in the kiss that she forgot everything around her. After what seemed like forever but not long enough, she felt herself standing on her own two feet again and suddenly the soft lips that were pressing on hers removed themselves. She opened her eyes but her mind was still blank.

"So how was that? You think Emily will like it?"

"…Not…bad…tongue." Was all Penny could get out.

"You are right. From what I've read using the tongue on a kiss for the first date might be a bit much. I think I know what I need to do."

Penny was still trying to gather her thoughts when she noticed Sheldon's head angling in again. This time much more slowly and with eyes closed. She didn't know what to expect so she just closed her eyes and let things happen.

Sheldon kissed her gently and tenderly. It wasn't so passionate but there was so much feeling in the kiss. She just melted into the kiss and let his sensual lips caress her own. When it ended and Sheldon once more pulled back she was still so into the kiss that her lips came forward as to reconnect. But it was over and she stopped before she could embarrass herself. She opened her eyes.

"What do you think? Was that better?" Sheldon asked.

Penny couldn't answer. She just stood there staring at him.

"Hm, I have to assume that it can't have been that bad from the way you look. In either case it will have to do." Sheldon looked at the clock.

"Oh my lord, I'm late already. I really have to get going. Thank you for all your help Penny. I'll talk to you later." Sheldon quickly said as he walked towards the door. He took his coat on the way out.

"Penny, please be so kind and lock the door when you leave. Your spare key is still in the drawer you forgot it in. Good bye." Sheldon said before he closed the door behind himself.

Penny just stood in the room. She didn't know what had just happened but her belly told her that something she had never dreamed of had happened right there and it had happened with Sheldon.

What it meant only the future could tell.