Originally written on 10/19/2009 and posted at Paradox, the Sheldon/Penny LiveJournal Community.

DEDICATED TO THE EVER-AWESOME ARABIAN. She said she'd dedicate a sure-to-be-epic episode Breakdown to me if I wrote a sequel to Calling Bluffs, so of course I wrote a sequel. It was difficult, but I'm sure as hell glad I did it—not just because I got a dedication but because I had a lot more fun writing Sheldon than I thought I would have; he was so intimidating!

Beyond the necessary, Sheldon Cooper did not care much for examining his interpersonal relationships. Once they were established, that was that and now it was time for him to move onto mysteries of the world.

But of course when it came to her that all went out of the proverbial window.

At times he could almost hear himself from as close as three weeks ago, scolding: Dr. Cooper, this is why you chose to forgo romance and intimate relationships; they are detrimental to your health, sleep, and, most importantly, your work... His inner voice politely didn't mention that he had also chosen to forgo romance and intimate relationships because they were, on the whole, quite frankly beyond him.

To either point Sheldon didn't have a coherent response, except for a feeling in his gut that he recognized as intuition telling him that both points were unimportant.

This didn't at all help him to solve his problem, however.

Two nights before, he had stood outside her door and watched a flush spread across her skin. He remembered it deepening after their short exchange of words. In his past experiences with Penny, she tended to flush after she was flattered, embarrassed, angry, or late. He was unable to see how his two words, "I wasn't," could cause her to be any of those. They were truthful but not particularly romantic according to evidence he was able to draw from movies and television; he didn't feel as if he had crossed any sort of line that could embarrass her; if she was angry she would have let him know; and certainly he didn't cause her to run late to work. Penny ran late to work all on her own doing.

And this was only one of the things he was pondering.

Before he was able to get out a question to her, she had turned around and shut the door. Sheldon had stood, staring at the plate engraved with '4B' that was screwed into the wood just below his eye level. And he started trying to figure out exactly what had happened.

That was two days ago.

This was the most maddening dead end he had ever reached.

Sheldon discovered that if he desired to keep a secret instead of being compelled to (by law of the nation or of friendship), it was a much easier task. The first thing he knew was that he did not want Leonard to know what had transpired until he knew exactly what had transpired.

So accustomed was he to reciting everything he knew about the topic at hand, however, that his only option was to stop talking. Fortunately, he had the ability to see where his sentences were going so he was able to stop himself before they even glanced in Penny's direction:

For example, during lunchtime at the university after which Wolowitz declared he was going to find a way to make his hands rougher as to make them more appealing to women, "I don't see the logic behind that. Hands are the chief organ with which we physically manipulate our environment, and the introduction of calluses decreases our sense of touch, which decidedly limits the capabilities of our fingers in which some of the densest areas of nerve endings are found. Another fascinating example is—"—the lips; the act of kissing stimulates the nerve clusters which is why lips are considered an erogenous zone, and I have found that the effect is surprising, although that may have had less to do with my physiological response to the act of kissing than to the fact that it was Penny.

And, on the subject of the new Star Trek movie, "I would appreciate, Raj, if you would refrain yourself from talking about spoilers you have found online, because unlike some people I would like to enjoy my first experience of watching—"—the movie, despite the fact that perhaps a crucial plot point has already been revealed to me by Penny, who might I add kissed me the other night.

And, a few times, "Leonard—"—I kissed her.

Of course, all of this led to quite a few cut-off sentences, which were uncharacteristic of Sheldon. However, he deduced that Leonard, Wolowitz, and Koothrappali knew about and possibly even overheard his and Penny's fight (if nothing else) and chalked his odd behavior up to the tense silence and stilted looks that passed between him and her when they were within proximity of each other.

Sheldon was unsure of whether he hated her or not. He was even less sure of whether she hated him or not. Much of his time, more than he would care to admit, was dedicated to examining this. Many words had been thrown that night, most of which were angry and brutally honest, and as Sheldon had been telling the truth he didn't see the need to take them back. Neither, apparently, did Penny, who obviously thought that her words were truthful as well (and a tiny tiny part of him agreed with her, but that part was quickly silenced). Of course he wasn't hurt by what she had said, but angered by her lack of esteem for him and flustered by her unwillingness to back down to him, traits which he had rarely before encountered. And despite all of this he knew that she impressed him, and he enjoyed her presence, and that his skin tingled in a pleasant way when she touched him.

Penny was proving difficult to read. She frowned at him a lot. Sometimes he believed she was mad at him, but he had to remind himself that sometimes a frown didn't indicate anger, but confusion or intense study. Sheldon himself sometimes found himself frowning at his white boards, at which he certainly didn't harbor any sort of grudge. This was as far as he got, however, because he wasn't adept at telling the difference between an angry frown or a confused frown or a deep-in-thought frown.

Thinking of all of this gave him a headache.

It didn't help that it all ran through his brain all over again when he was near her.

Like now.

Dinner had become a nightly head-torture.

Penny had taken to the right cushion, sandwiching Leonard between them. Sheldon supposed this was an extension of this thing they were doing in which they ignored each other. Personally, he didn't see how it helped. He was still hyperaware of her existence as ever, and it wasn't as if Leonard had enough stature to block her from his sight. Every now and again he would watch out of the corner of his eye the way her hair slid over her bare shoulder, or brushed against her neck, or the way she would raise food to her lips. Occasionally Leonard would touch her or kiss her. Sheldon didn't like that. He would excuse himself to the kitchen when that happened.

Yes. This was exactly why he had chosen to forgo relationships, because of things like this.

Mulling over a can of Diet Coke he pulled out of the fridge, Sheldon wondered if it was socially acceptable for him to ask her what was going on. But if it was socially acceptable, wouldn't she have asked him first?

Still considering this, he went back to the couch. Leonard had his right arm draped casually over Penny's shoulders. Sheldon tried to examine her covertly, shifting so he was facing slightly more to the right than usual. She was holding her food and trying not to laugh at something Wolowitz said. She scooted her rear a few inches forward in her seat, so she was slouching, and Leonard's arm ended up being between one and two inches above her shoulders instead of resting on them. Her legs were crossed, left leg above her right leg.

At this point she turned her head and looked at him. Sheldon quickly started to examine his Diet Coke can, trying to figure out its dimensions, even though he already knew it was four point eight-one-two-five inches in height and one point two-five inches in radius. If filled to the brim it would contain approximately twenty point five-three-oh-eight cubic inches of Coke, and he was just estimating the loss of volume of the soda due to bubbles when an annoying crinkling caught his attention.

Wolowitz, who had been moving to the armchair from the floor, was digging out of the back cushion a small piece of paper. "Now how'd that little fella get wedged in there?" he asked, and then smirked suggestively at Penny. Penny rolled her eyes. Sheldon stopped himself from doing the same, and instead focused on the paper that Wolowitz was inconsiderately throwing onto the coffee table instead of into the trashcan.

It was a wrapper. A chocolate wrapper.

Penny seemed to have realized this just as Sheldon did, because they both obeyed their reflexes and looked at each other. Like it had two nights before, her skin bloomed red. Sheldon had the most irrational urge to touch it, to see if it was any warmer than normal.

Leonard appeared to have realized that he was caught in the middle of a look, because he glanced up and between Penny and Sheldon. Then he ventured the question that he and the others had obviously been wondering for the past few days. "Are you two... okay?"

Sheldon broke the look, picked the wrapper off the table and scolded Howard a little for not throwing it away. As he moved to the kitchen he heard Penny mention something about needing to make a phone call, walk to the door, and close it behind her.

"... Penny must have throttled him with a frying pan, or something, given him a concussion," came Howard's voice from the living room, obviously not meant for Sheldon to hear.

"Did you see the business with the wrapper? He didn't even yell. I thought we had another shit fit coming our way," Raj whispered back.

"I can still hear you," Sheldon reminded them as he crossed back from the kitchen. The three of them jumped guiltily. "And Penny didn't hit me with anything—"—although it certainly feels as though she has. Not wanting to sit down and endure any questioning and risk the possibility of letting anything slip, Sheldon decided to go get the mail, and informed them as such.

On the way to the mailbox, after he had shut the door to his own apartment, he made one stop.

Knock knock knock. "Penny." Knock knock knock. "Penny." Knock knock knock. "Penny."

There was a shuffle, then silence on the other side of the door. Not liking being ignored, he repeated the process, intending on doing so until she answered.

The door swung open. The blush had faded, but Penny's eyes were bright, and frowning again. Sheldon didn't even have time to decipher the frown because she spoke instantly. "Sheldon, I don't know." Her voice was low but emphatic.

"You don't know what?"

She sighed; it was short and impatient. "This. This, I don't know what this is." She gestured between the two of them.

"Oh." He was glad they were on the same page, then. "Can I come in."

Penny leaned to the side, looking at the door opposite the hallway, and nodded. She stepped backward when he stepped in, shut the door, and crossed her arms.

"You're not on the phone," he observed.

"Yeah," she bit. "I lied. What's your excuse?"

"I'm going to get our mail. As soon as we are concluded here." He felt unsure, and looked at her to try to see if he was able to tell how she felt. She wasn't looking at him, glaring or otherwise. Her arms were still crossed, and her chin was raised while her eyes were on the floor. After a few seconds of trying to figure out what this meant, her eyes flickered upwards.

Then she frowned.

Sheldon about gave up.

"Stop looking at me like that."

Now he frowned too.

"Like what?"

"Like, like you're trying to figure me out. Stop it."

"But I am trying to figure you out. And quite frankly it doesn't help when you keep changing your facial expressions," he informed her, annoyed.

"Well, you know what Sheldon," she turned away, and walked toward the kitchen, gesturing in the wide way she did when she was incensed. Sheldon followed her, as if attached, and after a few steps he stopped himself so he was standing in front of the couch as she moved into the kitchen and back.

"I'm not another equation," she continued, "or, like, one of your, one of your—agh, I can't even think anymore!"

Sheldon could empathize, but didn't tell her so.

She stopped about a foot in front of him.

"You realize I cheated on Leonard."

"With whom?" Sheldon asked, startled.

Her mouth dropped open as she stared at him, and stared some more. Finally, angry blotches appeared on her cheeks. "With you, you idiot!"

"Oh." Sheldon considered this. He supposed he had learned of cheating as something horribly wrong. Their encounter two nights ago hadn't felt as such.

"I'm shocked as hell that Leonard still doesn't know, Dr. Lyme-Disease-Research-Facility," she grumbled, and dropped down on the couch.

The way she sprawled herself, slim limbs thrown everywhere, her hair (curly today) partially tossed over her shoulder and partially pressed behind her against the back of the couch, was aesthetically pleasing. It almost made him want to measure the angles and graph the curves. Almost. He comforted himself in that he wasn't completely over the edge yet.

She watched him from this position from under her eyelids, probably waiting for his retort, and with a jolt it brought him back to an instance several days ago. An instance in which she had looked at him, a Hershey's wrapper in her fingers, and made something click and—

"I'm sorry. I have to go get my mail."

In seconds he was out the door and heading down the stairs. He had planned on hashing some more things out with her, but when she looked at him like that, in that way that made him feel like he was losing control of his own self, he knew he had to leave before he succumbed to those urges he so frequently criticized for being primitive and biological.

Sheldon was on the bottom floor, relieved that he and Leonard had come home later than usual and so there was actually mail to get, when he heard the light thump-thump, thump-thump, thump-thump of someone coming down the stairs. His mind must have subconsciously recognized the pattern and volume of her average footstep, because he knew that it was Penny and that she was descending quickly.

She jogged into view, all angles and curves that he wanted to commit to memory, and he looked down and began to sort through his mail, pretending to not have noticed her or, failing that, to not care about her presence.



"We have to talk."

Sheldon looked up at her, waiting for her to go on. Penny seemed to steel herself, taking in a breath and looking around before focusing on him once more.

In his mind he attempted to calculate the probabilities of all things she may say, but he was hampered by a recurring possibility: I choose Leonard, I choose Leonard, I choose Leonard. It wasn't until then that he realized that this boiled down to her choice, and Sheldon felt a little sick at how either way would tamper with his life. Possibility A: She chooses him, Leonard becomes angry and hurt, resulting in a few months of awkwardness and general disruption of the group dynamic or, even worse, Leonard moving out.

And, Possibility B: Penny chooses Leonard.

"I am..." She paused, evidently gathering her words. "... just as confused as you are, Sheldon." She sighed, and leaned her head forward to rub at her forehead. "You, you piss me off constantly and sometimes I don't even think you respect me but then things like, things like—well, you remember. And then I think about it, you know, really think about it and the thought that you haven't done this before, it's, well." She sighed, something Sheldon also felt like doing, because all of her sentences were unfinished and weren't really clearing things up for him.

She looked at him, and him at her, and he wondered if he was supposed to say something.

"For someone as straight-forward as you are, you really know how to confuse a girl," Penny remarked, a little crossly Sheldon thought.

It put him on the defensive. "What's confusing?" he inquired. "I thought I was perfectly clear the other night."

"Yeah, well, I got kinda thrown around between the fight and the kiss."

She was becoming annoyed again, and sarcastic. He wondered what it was he did that he always brought out that response in her.

"Alright." Sheldon considered his next words, putting the phrases together into an acceptable order in his head. "I care about you. I'm attracted to you. I respect you above the others in our social circle, even though you haven't even graduated from community college. Certainly I hold a higher regard for you than for Wolowitz, on most days," he mused.

Penny's eyes were round and her mouth was open the space of a centimeter, and her face was becoming red again. Sheldon set about trying to decipher this particular flush.

"You see, you say things like, like that and you still manage to insult me in the middle of it all!"

Type: angry flush.

Once again, Sheldon about gave up. Social interactions were the most confusing thing in the world. "What was insulting?" he demanded.

"You keep bringing up the fact that I'm a community college dropout like you're like astounded you're able to respect me despite of it!"

He didn't understand her point. "Well, normally, I don't hold respect for people who have less than a PhD—"

"Yeah, well, Sheldon, you're gonna have to get over the fact that I didn't graduate from—"

"Get over it?" he repeated, nonplussed. "It never bothered me. I still don't understand your point. You don't meet my standards but nevertheless I respect you more than those who do. I admit that I'm no expert in the nuances of social interaction, but I fail to see why you're insulted."

"Yeah. Well." Her eyes were on the floor now. Sheldon thought he had this flush down: embarrassment. Or fluster. Was there a difference? "I guess I'm not used to compliments from you. Even in a kind of... backhanded way."

"I didn't mean for it to be a compliment. I was going for clarification. Now hold still."

Her mouth opened to form a word, most likely "What?" or "Why?", and Sheldon turned to put the mail down then reached forward and touched her cheek with the back of his fingertips. It was already warm, something he noted, but he both saw and felt it get even warmer. He attempted to figure out exactly how much warmer than usual, but he wasn't well-versed in the average temperature of her skin, and nevertheless to be exact he would have to use a sensitive thermometer—

His train of thought was interrupted by his head being unceremoniously yanked downwards. The next thing he knew, Penny had her mouth attached to his, and she apparently took advantage of his surprise by darting the tip of her tongue past his lips and just barely into his mouth. Last time she tasted like chocolate, this time like mint. He wondered absently if she had brushed, or taken an Altoid, or if she was just naturally minty. Of course, if she was naturally minty, that means the last time she should have tasted like mint-chocolate-chip, and Sheldon definitely remembered only chocolate, and—

His bottom lip was suddenly encased between both of hers, effectively breaking his train of thought once again.

It was at this point that he actually fully realized that Penny was kissing him, an actual kiss and not an angry token of revenge after which she shoved him against the refrigerator in his apartment, and once again something clicked and he somehow saw a path between all of the overwhelming, frightening feelings spinning around in his brain to tell his hands to rest on her cheeks, then push into her hair, and he wasn't sure why he would tell his hands to do such a thing but it seemed logical enough and maybe now he could press more tightly onto her mouth, yes, that worked—

Too soon, Penny pulled back, looking flustered and apologetic, and Sheldon thought that perhaps she believed he didn't want this or like this, or maybe that was his excuse, but either way he dipped forward as she retreated and managed to meet her mouth again. He didn't quite know if he was supposed to do anything with his tongue, so he opted out of the notion entirely. Her lips were dry and warm but soft, and for a moment he allowed himself to enjoy the feeling until he finally detached himself, withdrawing his fingers from her hair and taking a step back.

Sheldon's face felt very warm, and a little embarrassedly he picked up his mail again and fiddled with it.

"Sheldon, I—" Her voice was soft. Then she abruptly made a noise that could only be categorized as 'frustrated.'

Why did the woman's emotions have to change every few minutes? It didn't do much for consistency.

"I can't keep doing this!" Penny suddenly exclaimed, surprising him so much that he nearly dropped his mail. "I'm being a horrible girlfriend! Like, seriously, Sheldon, I'm not being any better than those lying assholes I used to date," she railed. "Like—" She stopped, took a deep breath, and looked at him. Her lovely face was contorted into an expression Sheldon was unable to recognize. Regret? Desperation? He filtered through his vocabulary but he wasn't able to find a direct fit.

"Listen—I don't know what this is, or where we're going or how the hell we even got here, but I'm being so unfair to Leonard right now and—"

"So you choose Leonard."

"I choose—what?"

"You choose Leonard." Sheldon made each word distinct, ignoring his stomach that was balling up like crumpled paper.

"I—I don't—"

"It's the logical choice." Sheldon shrugged. "He is already your boyfriend, so you won't have to go through the task of severing ties with him." Sheldon paused, realigning his thoughts. Then he nodded, on one level satisfied with what he said, and on another level quite not. "Of course, as before, I still do not approve of your relationship as a rule but—"—I'm not going to start expecting you to listen to me. He shrugged a little. "Good evening."

Straightening up his mail, Sheldon walked past her and up the stairs, and didn't hear a sound from where she stood.

Sheldon wondered if he was supposed to feel guilty about Leonard, but he couldn't bring himself to care. The night before, long after he had returned from his encounter with Penny, Leonard had gone over to her apartment, presumably for coitus, and had returned a few minutes later looking disappointed. Sheldon had felt a little vicious when he asked his roommate if his dejection was the result of another carnal disaster, perhaps a floppy disc, and after a glare Leonard had responded that Penny hadn't been in the mood.

And Sheldon had said, "Leonard—"—I kissed her, but she chose you.


For one of the rare times of his acquaintanceship with Leonard, Sheldon had been glad that his friend was made remarkably unobservant due to his own insignificant worries, because to Leonard's question Sheldon had been unable to bring himself to answer. He couldn't very well say, "Nothing," and the thought of revealing just before his bedtime what had happened gave him a stomachache, and he hadn't wanted to say out loud, She chose you, She chose you, She chose you. So he had just kept silent, finished off an e-mail, and gone to bed.

It was a Sunday morning and Sheldon had just exited the shower and was going to his desk when his apartment door slammed open. Penny stormed in, something that greatly surprised Sheldon, because it was only nine in the morning and she was due to sleep for another two hours.

"Is Leonard home?" she demanded, striding over to him and stopping in front of him. Sheldon ignored that balling-up-paper feeling in his stomach again.

He tried to remember how he had spoken to her before he realized that he—well, before. It was proving difficult to get back into that mindset, however, so he just mildly answered her question.

"Leonard ran to the grocery—"

"Good. Now let's get this out of the way." And she kissed him again.

To say he was surprised would be like to say an atom bomb might cause some structural damage to nearby buildings. He was flabbergasted. Didn't she—? Why was she—? He thought she—

Sheldon was still processing by the time she let him go. He hadn't even closed his eyes.

"Now listen here," she started, jabbing a finger up at him. Her eyes were oddly bright, not in a glistening-with-tears way, just in a way that they stood out from her face more than usual. "I don't know what the hell you were going on about yesterday, but for a scientist, you sure as hell made a lot of unfounded assumptions. Because I don't recall me saying 'I' or 'choose' or 'Leonard' yesterday—"

"Actually, I recall you did say all three words—"

She fixed him with a look, and said, "Excuse me?" in a way where it really wasn't a question.

"—although I admit not in that particular order," he said, a little more quietly, as if being loud would set off her fuse, which was impossible unless the bomb was sensitive to certain sounds at different volumes, something that he reflected might make a good element of a movie, someone saying a certain word a certain way and then everything boom

"—and let me explain this to you, you don't seem to understand the sort of dilemma you put me in over here. First off, I'm still mad as fuck at your little chocolate-trick and then all that shit you flung in my direction the other day—"

"Penny, I'd like to point out that while I like monkeys, I am not one myself, and secondly, in reference to our argument and chocolate tricks you are hardly innocent—"

"Shut up, Sheldon, no one gives, and you had it coming—"

"I had it coming—?"

"Yes, now, shhh!" Penny pressed not a finger, but her whole hand against his mouth, making him blink in a scandalized way and then jerk his head back to free himself. But by then she was already talking again.

"—but then you you you give me some good kiss like I'm supposed to forgive you—"

Sheldon couldn't remain shut up. "You think I did that for forgiveness?"

Penny stopped, and gave him a look, and Sheldon was very bad at reading expressions but that one spoke clear English: You interrupt me one more time and I'll castrate you.

Sheldon raised his eyebrows, then frowned, then lifted his chin a little and crossed his arms, inviting her to go on.

"Good. Now, you don't seem to fully understand—" It took most of his self-control to not contest that, because when people told him he didn't fully understand anything it usually didn't bode well for them. But the remnants of her Look were still on her face, so he settled for a glare until he was allowed to get a word in edgewise. "—but Leonard and I are in a relationship. I'm his girlfriend and I'm supposed to at least respect him whether things are good or bad, and kissing his best friend is way out of line. And it's not as simple as breaking up with him, because he's also my friend, and your friend, and Sheldon, you have to allow for my expertise here because things are a hell of a lot more complicated than you think they are, and they're gonna get worse in either case."

"Fair enough," he allowed, although his voice was stiff as he did so.

"And I'm gonna let you know that it sucks that you didn't figure your shit out before I started to date him, because it still would have been complicated but at least I could make stupid choices like kissing you in front of the mailboxes without having a boyfriend upstairs! And on the topic of choices, what is it you want from me, Sheldon? A relationship? A caretaker?"

It wasn't that he wanted a relationship, per se, he just wanted Penny. It was like when they kissed. It wasn't that he was kissing a girl. It was Penny, that he was kissing Penny. There was a large, indefinable difference that was very difficult to explain even to himself.

"I want you," he said, and then scoffed at himself, because even he heard the ten-year-old-Texan-boy-in-the-aluminum-house in his voice. "If within the parameters of that statement is the necessity for a 'relationship,' then so be it, I suppose."

Penny's eyebrows tilted upwards and inwards, a look he tried to analyze, but he was optimistic about it because downwards-and-inwards meant that she was angry and this was at least compositionally opposite of that.

"I like what I have with Leonard. And don't you start with your assumptions!" she warned, as he looked down at his hands. "I like it. He's reliable and he makes me feel good about myself. And sometimes, honestly, you don't. So I keep getting this feeling that if I dump him for you that I'm making a huge-ass gamble that just won't pay off."

"So you're considering it," is what he got out of it.

Penny rolled her eyes.

"That's what you got out of it."

"Well, it's what I focused on."

"Wonderful." (Sarcasm.)

"Leonard recognizes your faults as much as I do."


"He just doesn't have the spine, if you will, to point them out."

Penny looked offended, but he was unsure if it was for her own sake or Leonard's sake.

"What a way to talk about your best friend."

Sheldon shrugged. "He led me to believe I was going to win the Nobel Prize. At times I have little sympathy for him."

"Or this is just you being you," she muttered, probably knowing he was going to hear her.

"I have a query."

"Yeah?" Penny was looking down and to her left, apparently distracted.

"If you're so worried about being Leonard's girlfriend and respecting him, as you said, why did you kiss me when you walked in?"

"Well," she said, sighing. "I knew it was probably gonna happen at some point during this conversation, so I wanted to get it done with, you know, on my terms. And—"—I wanted to, is what Sheldon wanted to hear. But she looked up at him, and he realized he probably left out a "blush" category, because this one was a surprised blush, although he figured that could be a subset of embarrassment if one was embarrassed that they didn't realize something sooner, and—

Oh, he had to stop thinking about this.

"You were correct."

"You're giving me whiplash with the way you hold a conversation, Sheldon."

Sheldon ignored that, thinking perhaps she was being rhetorical as one could not get whiplash from a conversation, but he didn't care to dwell on it at this point.

He didn't quite know how to do this without being caught up in the moment, so he felt a little awkward when he stepped forward and leaned down. Not wanting to deal with the process of leaning all the way down and having to assume Penny would help him, he let his lips touch the closest piece of skin: right under her hairline.

He lingered there for an acceptable amount of time, thinking about the way her skin warmed under his lips, but then her head started to angle back and he let his mouth fall away. "Although it wasn't on your terms," he elaborated.

She was looking up at him, and they were very close but he didn't feel uncomfortable with it at all. He was a little surprised however when he felt her hands at his elbows. "I hate it when you win," she said. "It doesn't help with that whole ego problem of yours." She sighed. "Well-played, Dr. Cooper."

And, almost laughably predictably, "Sheldon, it looks like they're not stocking—"

Sheldon and Penny sprang away from each other as Leonard walked in the door, carrying a paper grocery bag. He stopped, looked at the two of them, standing three feet away from each other and staring at their feet. He looked as if wasn't quite sure about what he had seen.

"What were you two doing?"