Disclaimer: Sadly, I don't own a Sheldon or a Penny.
The first hug is between a half-naked man and his new neighbor. Awkwardness aside, it's a perfectly nice hug. He catches a scent of apple as the top of her head connects briefly beneath his chin. Her body is warm and…quite nice if he's being honest with himself. His body is certainly being honest with itself and he quickly manages to wriggle out of what would surely be a most awkward situation. Even with his limited (practically non-existent) experience with women, he understands that certain things should never happen and so he tucks away that hug into the furthest corners of his mind.
The second time he hugs her is unexpected. He comes out of his room with a dozen gift baskets and she can't help but laugh. He nervously wrings his hand together and she watches as he hesitantly approaches her.
Her eyes grow wide as she realizes what he intends to do. The feel of his fingers against her back is unsettling yet not unwelcome either. She is acutely aware that his lips are scant inches away from her ear and the feeling of his breath tickling the strands of her hair creates a rather chaotic effect on her body.
As her fingers grip his forearms, she is surprised to feel muscle and quite a good amount of it too. It's a nice feeling, being trapped with in his arms.
Once again, he catches that tantalizing scent of apples and when he encounters her body, he is instantly reminded of their first hug from a year ago. He is surprisingly comfortable holding her and for one fleeting moment, imagines what it would be like if this was a constant ritual between the two of them.
One glance at his besotted roommate and any fantasies regarding any sort of rituals are quickly forgotten.
Around the third time, he is more relaxed at the idea of hugging her. She reluctantly agrees to give up her spot on the trip to see the CERN Super Collider and he rushes towards her like he needs saving and she is his lifeline. This time there is no awkward, hesitant fingers. His grip is firm and sure.
This time there is a new scent-vanilla and he recalls the tiny vanilla scented gift basket he gave her. He smiles a little as he discovers this.
The feeling of his long fingers that grip her shoulders send tiny shots of electricity to travel throughout her body. Her fingers itch to wrap around his neck. She attempts to be sneaky as she leans forward slightly to inhale the scent of fresh, clean cotton and soap-a combination she never found intoxicating until now.
He is always so excited to receive missives from home. His eyes are bright and his long fingers enthusiastically tear open the envelope. She watches as the light fades from this ocean blue eyes and the way his shoulders slump with sadness.
He offers no explanations as he wordlessly gets up from his spot and allows the letter to flutter from his grasp. The quiet click of his door fills the silence.
She reaches over to pick up the discarded letter and quickly scans the content when a gasp of surprise and a lump of sadness clogs her throat. She softly triple knocks against his door and waits for an invitation. When she hears his muffled sobs she opens the door and what she sees nearly breaks her heart. He's broken and unrestrained as he hugs his pillow, drenching the case with his tears. There are letters scattered on his bed and in between sobs she hears the word Meemaw.
She says his name softly once, twice, three times. When he glances up at her, the expression on his face causes a few tears of her own to fall. He's lost the one person he truly and honestly cared for.
She carefully climbs onto his bed, trying not to disturb the perfectly straightened bed sheets. She reaches forward to grasp one of his hands in her own, her thumb rubbing soothing circles against his skin. He flinches at first but gradually relaxes.
She cups the side of his face and leans forward, wrapping both arms around his neck. She murmurs his name and he whispers hers into her neck. He settles his long arms around her back and the distance between them is no longer there.
She softly urges him to share some of his favorite stories about his beloved Meemaw and with a self conscious swipe at his eyes, he begins to recall his most memorable Meemaw memories.
Afterwards, in the comforting darkness, he reaches out to lightly skim his fingertips against her soft, creamy skin while he quietly tells her that he loves her.
Later on, they both come to understand that this hug was the catalyst for the paradigm shift in their friendship.
All of his meticulous research on String Theory and Monopoles has paid off.
He shifts uncomfortably in the suit she made him wear. He's won the Nobel Prize for physics and although he is ecstatic (why shouldn't he be?) he still wishes that his Meemaw was here. But, he still has her and for that, he is immensely glad for.
He glances up and allows that warm, genuine smile to tilt the corners of his lips as he sees her standing in their bedroom doorway. Even though they've been married for several years now, the sight of her never ceases to increase the rate of his heart beat.
When her hands rest against his chest, he doesn't offer even the slightest of cringes. He simply places his hands along her waist and bends his head so that their foreheads touch.
She whispers about how proud she is and how much she loves him. She scoots closer and stands up on her toes, pressing loving kisses along his neck as he buries his face into the crook of her neck. She pours all of her love into this embrace and he soaks it up greedily and gratefully. (He's going to need all of her strength to get through his speech).
I love you, she tells him.
I, too, have amorous feelings towards you, he replies.
They look at eachother and laugh.
I love you, he says seriously this time.
In an ever changing world, she is his single point of consistency.