Sheldon had never been good at reading people, he knew that. But under the tutelage of Penny, and Mrs. Hofstader, he had learned a lot. Right now, he was watching Penny argue with Leonard, who had been feeling catty all day he'd noticed, snapping at him for no reason at all.
Now he was sniping at Penny.
"Leonard, what the hell is your deal today?" She snapped back.
Sheldon listened carefully. Maybe Penny would get to the bottom of this annoying behaviour.
"Oh, I don't know, let's see," Leonard starting ticking his fingers, "Who gets the grant money I wanted? Sheldon. Who got the office I wanted? Sheldon. Who does my mother like more than me? Everyone, but she really likes Sheldon."
Every time Leonard said his name it was in an uglier and uglier tone.
Sheldon pursed his lips. His work was more likely to lead to a Nobel Prize, that was why he had gotten the grant. Nobel Prizes brought prestige to universities, that was why they had given him the office, that and with Raj's desk there had been no room to work in his old one. As for the other... He realized Leonard was talking again and listened.
"On top of all THAT, I finally had a girlfriend, a hot, beautiful non nerd girlfriend, and I've just realized that the whole time she was with me, she was wishing I was SHELDON!" Leonard practically screamed.
Penny's eyes were narrowed dangerously. "No I wasn't."
Sheldon's eyebrows were sky high.
This was an interesting development.
"You were." Leonard bit out.
Penny had her hands on her hips. "Leonard, you couldn't pretend to be Sheldon if you tried, what would be the point of wishing it?"
"You're in love with him!" Leonard screamed suddenly.
Penny sucked in a breath, "No. I'm not." She slapped Leonard, and then walked out of the room, not even glancing at Sheldon, sitting at his desk, his mouth slightly open.
The third finger on her right hand twitched, and he almost smiled.
She was lying.
Then he almost frowned, his brief elation at being able to tell when she was lying fading as he considered the sentence in which she had lied.
She had denied being in love with him. And she had lied.
His eyes widened.
He waited while Leonard stomped down the hall into his bedroom, slamming the door with unusual force, then he stood up and made his way across the hall.
He knocked, said her name, repeated the process as was his usual custom.
She opened the door and blinked up at him. "What do YOU want?"
"I seek sanctuary from the raging orc?" He questioned hopefully, not a lie, there was no facial twitch.
She motioned him in, and shut the door behind him, throwing herself on the couch. "He's such an ass when his work isn't going well."
Sheldon looked awkwardly around the room. He should have planned this better. "I'm also an ass, as you say, when my work is not going well." He grudgingly replied.
"No sweetie, you're an ass most of the time." She drawled, in the tone he had come to recognize as teasing half sarcasm.
He shrugged and sat beside her on the couch, so she couldn't see the right side of his face. "Yes, well, I don't love YOU either." He quipped, trying not to grimace as his face twitched.
Which eye was that? The one away from her, right?
Drat, it wasn't. She was staring at him with her mouth open.
He started to stand up, he needed to clean, it was filthy in here.
She put her hand on his arm and he froze, completely. "Your eye twitched."
His eyes shifted towards her in a half glare. "Your finger twitched."
She pursed her lips together, smiled, and suddenly he had a lap full of Penny, and he was going to object, but then she wiggled, and her lips were next to his ear, and she whispered something that made the most interesting feeling go down his spine.
"I love the way you lie."