Penny gave in and knocked on the boys' door. Sheldon answered by saying "Leonard isn't here."
She shoved her foot in the door before he could close it.
"How do you know I'm not here to talk to you?"
Sheldon tilted his head thoughtfully, "Are you here to speak with me?"
"Well, no, but I'm too depressed to sit in my apartment alone so I'm going to plant myself on your couch."
Sheldon gave her a long-suffering sigh and allowed her entrance.
"What favor do you currently need from Leonard?"
"Why do you assume I need something? Maybe I just wanted to talk... I need a date to a wedding Saturday."
"Is Zach unavailable?"
"He dumped me. He felt I was smothering him. I almost actually smothered him when he said that. I was only going out with him so I'd have a date to this stupid wedding."
Penny flopped down on the couch and Sheldon sat down at his computer. She should probably just sit quietly and let him get his work done.
"So, Sheldon, do you know if Leonard is free on Saturday?"
Sheldon didn't bother looking away from the screen, "He, Koothrapalli and Wolowitz are planning on attending a lecture by Brian Greene."
"Columbia University. That's in New York City," and as an afterthought, "Not Beverly Hills."
"I'm thinking of the guy who married Megan Fox."
"Please don't feel you need to engage me in idle chit-chat. I am perfectly comfortable with silence."
"Do you think Leonard would be willing to skip the lecture and go to a wedding?"
"Do you plan to offer coitus as an incentive?"
"No! Not yet. If Friday night comes around and I still don't have a date..." She was kidding. Mostly.
"I don't think Leonard's fiancee would approve."
Penny stared at the ceiling and asked some higher deity to help her survive a conversation with his only begotten wackadoodle.
"Since when is Leonard engaged?"
"It's been two weeks, it occurred when we attended his brother's wedding in Boston."
"You guys went to Boston?"
"For a week."
"And Leonard got engaged?"
"What the hell do you guys think I mean when I say 'what's up?' How does a week long trip, a wedding and an engagement NOT count as 'up'?"
"You didn't notice we were gone?"
"I thought you were busy with some project... Who is Leonard engaged to?"
Sheldon was finally interested in the conversation. His blue eyes lit up and his face brightened with an almost smile. He was so damn cute when he got excited!
"Dr. Stephanie. He invited her to the wedding and by the end of the week he purchased a ring."
"That's kind of sudden, isn't it?"
Sheldon shook his head, "He should have proposed two years ago. He was a fool not to pin her to him legally as soon as possible. I've been encouraging him to take her to Las Vegas before she has time to rethink the pairing."
"I didn't realize you were such a romantic, Sheldon."
Sheldon shrugged and went back to typing. Penny sighed. All her guy friends were busy Saturday...
"Why aren't you going to the lecture?"
"Restraining order and to answer your next question, no."
"You don't know what I was going to ask you."
Sheldon fixed his blue eyes on her like a pair of judgmental lasers.
"C'mon, Sheldon! I just need someone to go with me! You don't have to dance or talk or anything, just be there!"
"Why can't you go alone?"
"It's my friend Christie's wedding..."
"The whore of Omaha?"
"Her. And there are going to be people from back home and I don't want to look like a loser!"
"I should think not carrying the title of 'the whore of Omaha' should suffice."
"Not when she's marrying movie producer who's been giving her tiny roles in his films. She's got a SAG card! There are going to be tons of industry people there..." suddenly Penny knew what angle she needed to play, "There are going to be important people like Joss Wheadon..."
Sheldon's head shot up.
"J.J. Abrams. I'm not sure if Leonard Nimoy RSVPed or not..."
Sheldon's mouth was hanging open.
Penny smiled and jumped off the couch, "I will pick you up at 2pm sharp, wear the black suit."
By 2:30, Sheldon was knocking on the door. Penny gave her hair a last touch up and slipped on her pumps. Thank God for valet parking or they'd never make it on time. She threw the door open to run out and actually took a step back in shock. She'd forgotten just how good he looked in that suit. Gone was the gangly boy genius next door and in his place was a handsome, debonair man.
"Sheldon! You look amazing!"
Sheldon looked dubious and pulled at the sleeves of his suit coat, "It's so bland. Who buys a suit that's just one color?"
Sheldon didn't say a word about her appearance but she noticed him stealing glances at her during the ceremony. She'd done her best to be as beautiful as possible just in case someone was casting a movie and looking for a star... or an extra... any paying acting job would be welcomed.
The ceremony itself was tasteful. Penny remembered how her mother and mother's friends would snicker at "loose" women wearing white on their wedding days. Christie wore white but Penny didn't snicker. At least she didn't until she noticed the visible red thong under the pure white, then she'd had to bite her knuckle to keep from guffawing. It didn't help that Sheldon was glaring at her like a school marm. When Sheldon thought you were being socially inappropriate, you were in trouble.
The meal was good. Sheldon fussed about this and that but over all he was being pretty well behaved. He was getting a bit paranoid about Penny staring at him and had twice excused himself to make sure he didn't have anything on his face. Penny couldn't help it. He was looking tall, dark and handsome and the atmosphere was full of romance.
The DJ started playing Y.M.C.A. Well, it had been romantic. Penny got up to dance.
Despite much prodding, Sheldon refused to Macarena or slide in the style of electric or cha-cha. He did, however, watch Penny. She was hyper-aware of his eyes following her and she found herself dancing specifically for him. Whenever a guy asked her to dance, she pointed to Sheldon and said her date wouldn't approve. She was pretty sure her date didn't care either way but she didn't feel like dancing with anyone else. She was happy just dancing with Sheldon, even if he wasn't actually dancing.
Penny caught the bridal bouquet easily. Once the flowers were in the air, the Nebraska girls came out to play. Penny threw a few elbows and emerged victorious. Sheldon refused to join the bachelors in an attempt to catch the bride's garter. He had one finger in the air as he lectured Penny on all the reasons he refused to participate when then garter landed on his hand. The room exploded in cheers and laughter. Normally a groom can't get much distance on a garter but this one was given weight buy a huge rhinestone encrusted C. Christie was nothing if not classy.
Penny took her seat in the middle of the room and Sheldon was universally bullied into joining her. She kept a smile on her face for the camera but yelled at him through her teeth to just put the damned garter on her leg and look handsome doing it.
She held her leg out and Sheldon slid the garter over the black pumps, over her ankle, up her calf... There was a distinct redness in Sheldon's cheeks, his eyes her fixed on her leg. She raised her leg a bit higher so he could slip the garter past her knee and up her thigh. The audience was hooting and hollering and Sheldon was turning the color of a stop sign. Penny cupped his cheek until his eyes met her's and whispered, "A little higher."
Sheldon's eyes remained locked with hers until his long fingers were just inches away from... from being really inappropriate for a crowd this size. Sheldon stood up and the crowd cheered. Penny grabbed him by the lapels of his jacket and pulled him down for a kiss and the crowd roared.
A little over a year later.
Howard called it titration. Penny was giving Sheldon tiny increments of alcohol until he was at the exact level of inebriation that would allow him to give a speech in front of a crowd taking his pants off.
He stood up, champagne glass in hand, and tugged at his tuxedo. He looked down right beautiful in the tailored jacket.
"I met Leonard Hofstadter nearly nine years ago. Despite my many protestations, he insisted upon referring to me as his friend until I finally acquiesed and allowed him to become my best, and at the time, only friend. While Leonard has filled my life with needless small talk, absurd social protocols and tedious and petty demands..." the crowd laughed because they thought he was joking, Leonard's side of the bridal table was hysterical because they knew he wasn't, "but by dragging me into his swirling vortex of over-emotionality he also introduced me to the importance of friendship, of having people on whom you can rely for consolation, support, encouragement and rides to work. Without Leonard's dubious influence, I certainly would have never spoken to the woman next door..."
Penny felt a flush filling her face.
"...and I would have never developed a friendship with the woman who has since become my fiancee. My life would have been more professionally productive but... empty. Dr. Stephanie, you are a remarkable woman. So remarkable I bear you no ill-will for taking away the only roommate I have ever been able to tolerate. I hope that you and Leonard have a long and happy marriage and I hope the coitus makes up for all of Leonard's personality flaws. Please raise your glasses and toast Dr. and Dr. Hofstadter."
Penny wiped tears from her eyes as she lifted her glass and noticed Stephanie and Leonard doing the same. Raj was flat out bawling beside her.
When Sheldon sat down, she leaned over and whispered in his ear, "Who would have guessed five years ago, we'd end up here?"
"Are you referring to our engagement or the fact we're both groomsmen- sorry- groomspersons for Leonard?"
Penny kissed him on the lips because after five years, she'd finally found a full proof way to shut him up.