The study light pouring into the blacked out hallway revealed Penny, turning round to face him as he open the door, as instigator of the frantic knocking that had disturbed his study.
"Thank goodness you're in!" she burst as Sheldon opened his bedroom door just enough so his body was visible to her. "Can I come in?"
"Why ask a question when you already know the answer?" he asked, and assuming she was finished, was about to close his door again when it came to his attention that Penny may not be at her usual ease. In fact she seemed to be dancing from foot to foot with a pained expression, which wasn't her normal behaviour at all.
"Sheldon you have to help me." She was speaking rapidly with the urgency of a bubble bursting.
"I have to breathe," he replied tersely. "I have to pump blood at six Litres Per Minute. I don't have to help you. It won't aid my living in any way."
"That depends on whether you say 'Yes' or not," said Penny hotly. "And I'd be kicking your ass right about now for being so difficult but I really don't have time. Please, this is sooo the favour for you. It's helping me do some research for work."
"I'm surprised your work has asked you to research anything," his eyes gleamed wickedly, "unless you're studying for a Ph.D in waitressing?"
"It's for an audition tomorrow, jackass," Penny ardently shot at him, then her attitude sweetened. "Please? You know the most about this stuff anyway."
Penny stepped forward but Sheldon firmly tightened his grip on the door and kept the open angle from increasing, wordlessly refusing her entry.
"Research for a role?" he repeated, casting Penny with a curious look. She hadn't stopped fidgeting since he opened the door, and at the moment she looked in danger of dancing her feet off. "You are to pretend to be a physicist in a commercial, or the like? I suppose you intend to study me to learn my mannerisms and quirks according to Stanislavskian method?"
"Because if that is the case I'm afraid I must decline. If I wanted to keep something in my office to imitate my actions I would keep a mimic fish. Or a parrot." Sheldon looked up thoughtfully. "I'd call it John."
Finally Penny's agitated behaviour gave way to anger. "You don't make this easy, do you? I just … You…" Her indignant voice trailed off incomprehensibly, and unable to voice her opinion coherently anymore she gave him one last meaningful glower before storming down the corridor.
"On the other hand," Sheldon began loudly, making Penny came to a halt. "A friend is socially obligated to grant favours where possible, and what friend would I be if I ignored such a rule?"
Penny grinned broadly and hopped back to him brightly. "Thank you so much!" she squealed, resisting from hugging him. "All you have to do is watch a few old movies with me and talk me though some stuff."
Sheldon sighed, "I suppose I can help. What is your audition for?"
"Nurse Chapel in the new Star Trek sequel."
It was like someone had shot him with a tranquilliser gun. She asked if he was alright a few times but he didn't seem to hear her; His face, his eyes, had glazed over in some dreamlike trance, and swaying on the spot in front of her Penny was most concerned that he looked in danger of fainting.
All of a sudden Sheldon burst back into animated life, he threw open the door, seized Penny by the wrist and pulled her into his room.
"Oh Sheldon, thank you!" Penny cried. "And I promise if I get this I'll do everything in my power to let you onto the set and have a look round..."
Sheldon spun round, his face glowing as if he had been bestowed a great honour. His lip trembled, "Just aiding the newest cast member of the next Star Trek film is privilege enough," Sheldon's voice warbled.
"Woah sweetie, I haven't got the part just yet...!"
"Please, with me helping you? You may as well start ordering the riders for your contract this minute, and don't worry I shall elaborate on that in time," he added, catching Penny's look which suggested she hadn't ever got to that stage of contract negotiations. "But never mind all that right now, we must begin at once!" he declared, sitting Penny at his desk and whisking out his collector's edition Star Trek movies.