"I'm really going to miss you guys."
Penny looked at the three men around her with a sad smile on her face. When she first moved into apartment 4B, she never even imagined how much this group of nerdy geniuses would impact her life.
"Speaking for everyone, we wish you didn't have to go." Leonard returned Penny's sad smile.
Those words tugged at her heart. She had a hard time believing that when her eyes landed on the empty spot next to her. HIS SPOT. Sheldon wasn't there. It was her last night in Pasadena, her farewell dinner that the boys planned when she told them she was going back to Omaha and Sheldon was nowhere to be seen. And that really bothered her.
"I have to. I just…I just–just…" Penny shrugged.
To be honest she didn't want to leave. But there just isn't anything in Pasadena for her anymore. Granted there really isn't anything in Omaha either, but she needs a fresh start. Her acting career was nonexistent. Her relationship with Leonard ended years ago. The first few months were tough, she even thought about fleeing then. But she stuck around because something unknown kept her there. But now, now she just couldn't do it anymore. She hated to admit failure and run back home with her tail between her legs, but maybe the regrouping will do her some good. Hopefully.
"Well…it's getting late. I have an early morning."
Penny stood and the boys followed suit. The room was silent, not a one saying a word as they stared at each other, unsure of what to do next.
Penny made the first move and hugged Leonard. His embrace was tight and Penny matched it, wishing things could have turned out differently between them. Maybe then she wouldn't be saying goodbye. But sadly, no matter what, she knew, he knew – they were wrong for each other. They just never had that connection that they were hoping for. Had they stayed together any longer than they did, they probably wouldn't have been able to remain friends.
Penny slowly let go of Leonard and turned to Raj.
"I'm sorry Penny." Raj whispered in her ear.
Penny's tears now rolled down freely. After so many years of the silent treatment from Raj, he overcame his fear of speaking to women, well at least to her so far – when she announced she was leaving. He couldn't let her leave without him not ever speaking to her while sober and without fear. So they spent a whole day chatting, just the two of them. Then after that day, he spoke to her freely and it warmed her heart, as well as saddened her that he needed an announcement like that in order to talk to her.
Looking towards Howard, he seemed unsure of himself – something that rarely happened. Penny walked that tiny distance and embraced him.
"So other than me, has anyone ever told you how beautiful you are in flawless Russian?"
Penny laughed and shook her head no against Howard's shoulder.
"Just you." Penny released him and wiped her eyes. "Well I'll see you guys before I leave."
The three gave Penny sad smiles as she exited the apartment. As the door softly clicked shut Penny heard footsteps ascend the stairs. Out of the corner of her eyes she saw Sheldon. Without a word Penny went to her apartment. Before she was able to close the door Sheldon was there.
Even though the door was open and they held eye contact, Sheldon still did his signature knock. Penny gave a sigh and turned to look about her apartment, not able to look at Sheldon any longer. The tears that stopped momentarily from the boys' apartment threaten to fall once again.
"What do you want Sheldon?"
"Penny, as you know I'm not comfortable with prolonged good-byes…"
Penny turned to look at Sheldon, noticing the laptop in hand.
"– and maudlin displays of emotion so I prepared a…"
"I swear to God Sheldon, if you're going to play some stupid video then you need to leave."
Sheldon was taken back by Penny's outburst and glanced at his laptop.
"I mean come on Sheldon. After all these years…all these years of us being best friends, I deserve you saying what you need to say to me in person, not you on some video."
"Penny…I– " Sheldon raised his eyes to Penny.
"Because of the four of you, you have really been there for me Sheldon. Am I wrong to think that we're best friends?"
With a deep breath Sheldon answered, "Yes."
"Yes?" Penny gulped. "You don't consider me your best friend?"
"No Penny, I don't."
"Wow – that's just…awesome." Penny pursed her lips. "So then what are you doing here Sheldon? What hurtful thing were you going to say in your video? What am I to you Sheldon?"
"Penny…" Sheldon was interrupted by Penny.
"Because if I was delusional to think that we were best friends…"
"You are my…"
"I'd like you know your definition of what we are." Penny threw her arms in the air.
"TUESDAY NIGHT CHEESEBURGER!" Sheldon blurted out.
"What?" Penny raised her eyebrows at Sheldon.
"You are my Tuesday night cheeseburger."
Penny crossed her arms and stared blankly at Sheldon, waiting for him to continue because what he said made absolutely no sense.
"You are my Soft Kitty."
Penny tilted her head, considering Sheldon's words.
"You are my level three warrior."
Penny's arms fell to her side.
"You are my panty piñata."
Penny worried her bottom lip with her teeth.
"You are my Saturnalia."
Penny felt her breathing hitch.
"You are my Penny Blossom."
Penny felt a lone tear roll down her cheek.
"You are my damsel in distress."
Penny didn't realize that with every word Sheldon spoke, she took a step closer and closer to him.
"So maybe I answered your question too quickly. Not only are you my best friend Penny, you are so much more. We've wormed your way into my life."
"Sheldon…" Penny was now the one at a lost of words.
"Penny, you are my…'I love you'."
Penny looked up at Sheldon and his eyes glistened with unshed tears. Placing her hands on his chest and standing up on tiptoes, Penny softly pressed her lips to Sheldon's. It was a chaste kiss. Raising a hand, Sheldon caressed Penny's jaw and kissed her once again.
The kiss was unsure, desperate, full of longing and absolutely perfect.
When the kiss ended Penny wrapped her arms tightly around Sheldon's middle, trying to control her fast beating heart. The scent and feel of him calmed her.
"Penny I know this admission came at a less than acceptable time and I was…"
"An idiot." Penny snuggled closer.
Sheldon rolled his eyes but didn't disagree.
The two stood in the middle of Penny's empty apartment, embracing each other for what felt like eternity and it was wonderful. Sheldon's fingers idly played with Penny's hair and Penny traced her name over Sheldon's heart.
"Penny…" Sheldon waited until Penny locked her gaze on his. "What do we do now?"
"The beautiful mind of Sheldon Cooper is at a lost?" Penny cheekily grinned.
"Yes…when it comes to you Penny, I always seem to be at a lost. But you always help me find my way and I've come to terms that I don't mind it at all."
Penny bit her bottom lip tears once again flowing.
"I don't know what we're going to do Sheldon. But you are my beautiful mind genius guy."
Sheldon rested his forehead against Penny's.
"You are my Sheldor the Conqueror."
Sheldon entwined his fingers with Penny's that rested over his heart.
"You are my Moonpie."
Sheldon glared at Penny.
"You are my Whack-a-doodle."
Sheldon smiled and softly shook his head.
"You are my Hero."
Sheldon kissed their entwined fingers.
"And you are my 'I love you', we'll figure out all the rest. We always do."