Leonard was out, Raj and Howard were attempting to catch some extremely short-sighted ladies in another bar, so Sheldon was sitting at home, playing chess with himself. He didn't mind playing chess by himself, because it meant that he always won – but tonight, another thought kept creeping into his jam-packed mind. A thought he tried to get rid of, but it kept coming back.
Sheldon looked distractedly at the chessboard in front of him, and scowled. This thought was ridiculous, so completely unlike him – it was all just so wrong. But at the same time, so right.
And then Sheldon Cooper decided to do something he had never done before. He decided to, for once; follow his heart and not his head. He stood up quickly, and headed for the flat door – knowing that if he slowed down, his over-sized brain would think of at least seventy reasons as to why this was such a bad idea.
And before he knew it, he was at Penny's door. Sheldon took a deep breath. Why was he so scared? He was never scared. He hadn't been scared when he had lost his first-edition comic book box; he hadn't been scared when his friends had dragged him to the Rollercoaster Park. He hadn't been scared when he had attracted a large number of obsessed stalker-girls, or when he had travelled to the North Pole. But now, outside Penny's flat door – he was terrified. Or at least, he supposed he was. He had never experienced the emotion before, after all.
"Penny. Penny. Penny. Penny. Penny…" repeated Sheldon, rapping at the front door with his fist. There was over a 90% chance that Penny would open the door after 6 knocks; he had after all – done this many times. However, when he had done approximately 30 knocks, and Penny had still not answered, he began to grow slightly concerned. He knew she was in there, having seen her run in there before. So why wasn't she answering? His knocking normally irritated her sufficiently.
He stopped attacking her door, and for the first time in his life – listened, for any sign of life in her flat. That was when he heard it; a choking sob from inside somewhere.
Sheldon was just calculating how much force he would need to use to force open the door; when he noticed that the door wasn't actually locked. He turned the handle and walked in, wincing only slightly when he saw the state of disarray Penny's main room was in.
He could hear the sobs louder now, they were coming from Penny's bedroom. While a normal man would approach the room tentatively, or respectfully leave the apartment when they heard the angry sobbing, Sheldon was not a normal man. So, after skirting around the clothes casually draped over the floor and after avoiding the take-out packets littering the room, he opened her bedroom door, knocked once and walked straight in.
Penny was sitting, huddled on her bed, hugging the bed sheets to her knees. Her blonde hair was messily falling all over her face, which had mascara stains marking it. And she was crying, tears falling down her face – no matter how hard she tried to catch them with her fingertips.
Sheldon went into panic mode. He had no idea how to deal with girls, especially ones who were crying. His over-sized brain didn't know what to do. Should he walk out again and leave her? Should he offer her a cold beverage? Should he … hug her? He wished Leonard was there. He would tell him what was socially acceptable or not.
"What are you doing here, Sheldon?" snapped the girl on the bed, who refused to look at him. "Can't you just leave me alone, just once?"
Hurt stabbed through Sheldon, like it had never done before. "I – well, I just…"
"Yeah? Well, just leave me alone. I'm fed up of men. All they do is mess you around, and break your heart."
"Is that all men?" ventured Sheldon. "I mean, statistically, not all men would do something like that. Although, it seems your bad luck that you end up with those who do. Maybe you should choose… someone different next time."
"They're all the same!" sobbed Penny, rocking backwards and forwards, hugging her knees.
Sheldon moved closer to her, and sat down next to her on the bed. He didn't dare look at her, didn't dare see the expression that would surely be disgust in her eyes, when she looked at him. Instead, he focused his attention on the carpet. "Well, would you say…I'm the same as normal men, Penny?"
There was a brief silence, broken only by Penny sniffing every so often. He sneaked a look at her, and his heart was beating more rapidly than he could remember. She looked shocked, as if she had just realised something. "Sheldon… Why did you come here?"
He turned to face her fully, and he realised with a shock just how close they were to each other. He could see every single tear on her face, as they made their way delicately down her cheeks; he could see how some clung on to her eyelashes. He could see how she was biting her lip, as if she was nervous, and how her blue eyes had flecks of gold in them. And then they both moved forward at the same time, and their lips met.
It wasn't the first kiss Sheldon had ever had; although there hadn't been many – but this was without doubt his first-true-kiss. All those clichés he had dismissed with science so many times, all those clichés came true all at once. Penny pulled away momentarily, looked at him as though she was uncertain about his reaction. But any fears she had vanished as he kissed her again, more passionately and heart-driven than ever before, and she was kissing him back – this was so much better than anything he had ever done before, this beat physics for crying out loud…
She ran her fingers through Sheldon's hair, before they both drew apart, catching a breath. Sheldon realised, with his typical efficiency, that he still hadn't answered her question.
"I wanted to tell you that I love you..."