The music of liquid tickling the shot glass's walls is the only noticeable sound within the safe space that is Penny's apartment. She doesn't even give herself a moment before she downs the alcohol. The penetrating taste is almost enough to fill that empty hole in her heart. Such a torturous organ, that. It holds grudges and brings up memories that Penny would rather leave behind her forever.

"Ha." A smile sloppily spreads itself across her features. "Guess that's what I get for only dating jerks." She can't help but laugh a little. An unexpected reaction, but it might be to replace the sobs that want to escape her body. Daddy's not around and neither is any other guy to keep her feeling safe and comfortable. It aches and it throbs. The laughing stops and she's ready to bawl.

Knock, knock, knock. "Penny." Knock, knock, knock. "Penny." Knock, knock, knock. "Penny."

Her heart suddenly puts itself on hold. Penny would normally roll her eyes at the first time she hears Sheldon say her name, but, today, she's not even reluctant to open the door. She isn't sober enough to realize the possibilities now, but maybe it's her heart calling out for someone? Someone in particular, perhaps.

One turn of the knob and there's that familiar face.

Sheldon Lee Cooper. A rare and beautiful mind. Good at what he does. Whether it's science or making Penny feel inferior, he's talented.

So talented, in fact, that Penny can't think of anything or anyone that angers her more than the mere thought of Sheldon.

"Penny, I- Good Lord, you look terrible."

There's that anger again. The energy that comes with it feels good. It's power that will stay a while, since Sheldon himself fuels it.

"What do you want, Sheldon?"

"Leonard isn't home yet from the store."

"...So?"

"So, I sent him for bread at about 3:35, which is around the time I realized there was none for the sandwich I wanted to prepare. It is now 5:40."

The door she was using for balance opens wider as she sighs. "I picked up some bread earlier. It's still in the bag and should be on the counter."

Sheldon welcomes himself inside, following behind Penny when she starts toward the couch. "You left the bread in its grocery bag?"

"Sheldon, I don't have time for one of your little lectures, okay?"

He shrugs it off. She probably wouldn't be able to comprehend what he wanted to tell her anyway.

The sound of Penny pouring herself another drink fills the room again, but this time, Sheldon's grabbing the newly-bought bread out of the plastic Safeway bag joins in. His presence is an obvious feeling that Penny subconsciously takes the time to enjoy. The alcohol is still in its glass, surviving longer than the others. It doesn't need to be sacrificed. Not yet, at least.

"I'll bring this back once I'm done with it." Sheldon heads for the door.

"Yeah, sure... Sheldon, wait."

"Yes?"

She stares at him. It's only for a quick couple of seconds, but they feel like minutes. He's annoying and blunt and his being around only reminds her of his stupid insults, yet he's warm and safe. They've always held an interesting relationship. One that didn't consist of so much confusing emotion. He's like a bratty little brother or something, her mind tells her.

"Aren't you gonna thank me for the breeeead?"

"Right." He clears his throat, straightens his posture and holds up the loaf in its package. "Thank you for the bread." Then his presence is suddenly a thing of the past.

A bratty brother, says her imagination.

Her heart never speaks in words, so it plays with emotion. Its response to her brain's ideas are usually interesting enough.

She inhales the shot and this one comes with a giggle, just like the last. A giggle that comes from somewhere else, however, due to the butterflies going wild within her stomach.

"Oh, god," she hugs her stomach with a grimace, "I think I'm gonna hurl..."