This is my first Big Bang Theory fanfiction so please be kind. Please read and review as well. I want to know what you think!

I don't own Big Bang Theory. :(

Penny thought that she looked beautiful.

The dress she was wearing was elegant, strap-less, and made her feel like a princess. Her hair was up on a very complicated up-do that she still hadn't figured out how the hairdresser was able to do it with several strands of faux diamonds weaved throughout it and a beautiful tiara on her head. She was holding an elegant mixture of red and white roses with a single blue wildflower in the center.

She was the picture perfect bride, except she had the saddest look of despair on her face. It was supposed to be the happiest day of her life, but if felt all wrong.

If she wanted to be honest, it had felt wrong since she had gotten back together with Leonard, since she had said yes to his proposal.

"It's time," her father whispered to her. She turned to him with a small smiled that didn't quite reach her eyes and followed him out of the room.

Her bridesmaids were on their way down the aisle, but Penny could see past them.

There he stood, not Leonard, but the taller man next to him. The Homo Novus, the crazy Dr. Whack-a-doodle, the insane neighbor with all the OCDness and idiosyncrasies, the man she wished she was really marrying, Dr. Sheldon Lee Cooper.

She kept her eyes on Sheldon as they walked up the aisle. It was all too soon before she had to turn from Sheldon's calm, unmoving face and look at Leonard's excited and smiling one.

He was a good man, she knew it. Leonard would provide for her, take care of her, love her, meet all her basic needs, but he wasn't Sheldon.

Sheldon challenged her, pushed her to excel, fought her, and took her to the ends of the universe and back. They were polar opposites and perhaps that's why she had always been drawn to him. He did nothing halfway and over the years he had taken a permanent spot in her heart.

"I do," Leonard had spoken. He had said his vows and she hadn't heard them. She had been too busy thinking about Sheldon.

This was wrong. She shouldn't be thinking of another man while getting married to his best friend. She shouldn't feel this way, when getting married. She should marry a man she loves, even if that man would dismiss it as nothing more than a few random brain cells letting out the illusion of love, but said more scientific.


She blinked. It was her turn. She was supposed to open her mouth and say that she did want to marry Leonard, be his for life. She glanced at Sheldon. There was no expression on his face, but his eyebrows were narrowed like they were when he was working on a complicated problem. She bit her bottom lip as so many feelings and memories washed over her.

Sheldon smiling at her when she got something right. Sheldon knocking on her door in that crazy way he did. Sheldon's arms around her in an awkward hug. Sheldon dressed in that ridiculous plaid suit. Sheldon loaning her money without any thought as to when it would be repaid. Sheldon...being Sheldon.

It was wrong to marry Leonard when she loved Sheldon so deeply. It wasn't right to Leonard.

She dropped Leonard's hands and ignored the look of pain and surprise in his eyes. "I'm sorry," she said. "I can't."

The room erupted in gasps of shock and surprise, but Penny drew her eyes to Sheldon. He looked shocked. She didn't hear the sounds of whisperings behind her from the crowd, her eyes were on Sheldon.

She wanted nothing more than to walk up to him and declare that she loved him, but she didn't.

"Penny, why?"

Penny looked back at Leonard, who was staring at her with a look of such complete defeat and sadness that Penny couldn't take it.

She whispered her apologies once more before she dropped her flowers, removed her veil, and rushed out of the church.

She hailed the first cab she saw and rushed back to her apartment. Tears filled her eyes as the cab maneuvered through traffic. She felt horrible for hurting Leonard, for betraying his love, but there was no way should could have married Leonard with Sheldon watching.

She asked the cabbie to wait as she rushed upstairs to her apartment. She had, once again, forgotten to lock her door which worked out for her. She burst into her apartment and grabbed the bag she had packed the night before. It was supposed to be her bag for her trip to Hawaii with her husband, but now it was serving as her get away bag.

She took a second to remove the tiara and the engagement ring before rushing back out of the apartment; her bag, her purse, and airline ticket in hand. She took the time to lock the door behind her. Leonard had a key and would no doubt enter the apartment to look for her and find her ring there instead.

She rushed back down the stairs and jumped back in the cab. She didn't know why she was in such a hurry, chances were that they were still at the church trying to figure out what exactly had happened, but she felt like she had to get away from here.

She told the cabbie to take her to the airport, but she wasn't sure what she was going to do when she got there.

She really didn't want to go to Hawaii, never had in fact. She got enough of the tropical weather here and could live without it for a while, but Leonard had insisted and she had given in.

She could return to Nebraska, but if she did her parents would get onto her for running out like she had. Her mother would more than likely go on and on about how she had messed up her only chance to marry a decent man. She didn't have any other places she could go with family or friends and she didn't really want to be alone right now.

Suddenly, the thought came into her head. There was one place she could go that no one, not even Sheldon, would really think to look for her.

She pulled her cell phone out of her purse, ignored the text messages and missed calls, and made a quick phone call of her own as the cab pulled up to the airport.

It had been a week since she had taken a chance and called Mary Cooper. A week since she had traded her airline ticket to Hawaii in for a ticket to Texas.

The woman had seemed shocked, to say the least, when Penny had called her. She agreed to take the girl in, but seemed shocked again when she arrived still dressed in her now wrinkled wedding dress.

Penny had cried the whole time after she said in the front seat next to Sheldon's mother all the way to the Cooper home.

She told Mary everything, from the first time she met the boys, the botched relationship with Leonard, the unrequited love for her son Sheldon, to the moment she had called her and hopped on the plane to Texas.

Mary listened with an intensity that rivaled Raj and let the girl lay it all out on the table. When Penny finished Mary said nothing. She stood and pulled Penny into a hug and told her she could stay as long as she needed.

That had been a week ago and Penny was sitting in the guestroom of the Cooper home looking at her cell phone.

She had several missed calls from all her friends, even more text messages, but there was one person she still hadn't received any type of communication from. It seems that Sheldon wasn't worried about her at all.

There was a knock at the door before it opened to reveal Sheldon's twin sister, Missy.

"Ready to go?" The girl said with such an enthusiastic voice that Penny couldn't help but smile.

She laid the phone on the side table before picking up her purse and turning to the dark-haired beauty. "Yeah, nothing better than a day out with a good friend."

The girls went everywhere Missy could think of. Penny cheered up some and was even able to buy a pair of shoes. However, being so close to Missy just made her think of Sheldon more. What was he doing? Was he working on something new? Was he sick with no one to sing Soft Kitty to him? Was Leonard still taking him to work?

So many questions about him filled her mind but she only wanted to know the answer to one. Why hadn't he called or texted her?

Penny hadn't tried to contact him either, but she wasn't sure what she could say to him. He was Leonard's best friend after all and telling him why she had left Leonard at the alter could cause some problems between the two of them.

However, it still hurt that he hadn't tried to contact her.

She looked at Missy and was glad that both Mary and Missy had agreed to keep quiet about where she was hiding out. It was nice to have some time away from everyone and from Sheldon and just take some time to think before heading home.

She would have to head home soon, she had to go back to work.

After a few hours of shopping Missy dropped Penny back off at the Cooper house since she had to run off to work. Penny knew that she was going to be alone tonight since Missy was working and Mary had gone to a bible study group and wouldn't be back until late.

Penny walked up the path after waving good bye to Missy and opened the door with the spare key Mary had loaned her.

She didn't mind being alone, but when she was alone it gave her mind time to think more about Sheldon. How did he do it? How did he worm his way into her heart? What was he doing right now? What wonderful thing was he thinking at that moment?

What was he doing sitting on the couch?

Penny's mind nearly stopped as she focused her eyes on the man sitting on the couch, quietly reading some scientific magazine, but had looked up when she entered and was now staring at her with a curious expression on his face.

"Sheldon?" she said mostly in shock. "What are you doing here?"

"This is my mother's home," he said in that matter-of-fact tone he always had, that Penny found she had missed more than she realized. "It is reasonable to assume that I would visit my family. However, the real question is, what are you doing here?"

Penny didn't have an answer, not really. Her reasons from a week ago seemed misguided and stupid now. It was reasonable that he would visit his family, but her presence didn't have an answer, not one that she wanted to admit in any case.

He didn't wait for a response before closing the magazine and standing, still staring at her. "It's good to see you're alive. Howard and Raj were convinced you were dead since you hadn't answered any of their calls. Leonard seemed especially worried and upset."

She could almost feel an accusation in his tone, and hearing about the others made her feel so guilty inside. "I'm sorry about that," she said finally. "I just needed some time away from everyone to think."

Sheldon raised his eyebrows as he considered what she had said. "Well, not everyone. You have been here with my mother, probably for the entire week. Although my mother is not in your usual group, it stands that she is still close enough to that group that seeking her out doesn't qualify as being away from everyone. Instead you are only one step away as my mother leads you to me, and I am part of your usual group."

Penny couldn't help it, she smiled. He hadn't changed, although she really hadn't expected him too, and he wasn't sick or anything. He was still just Sheldon, the most intelligent, stupid man she had ever met.

"I've missed this," she said before even realizing she had spoken. She looked up at Sheldon again and found that same expression on his face that he had had when she was about to speak her vows. The look of confusion and contemplation. She wondered what problem he was working on at this moment, but found it didn't matter.

Now that he knew where she was, it would only be a matter of time before the others found her. Despite all the time she had spent in Texas, she wasn't ready to face Leonard just yet.

"I'm heading upstairs," she said lifting her small bag with her new shoes in it. "I have something to put away. Maybe later we can have dinner. Your mother won't be home until late tonight, but I think we could order a pizza or something."

She moved passed Sheldon and quickly moved up the stairs to the guestroom. She placed the bag on the floor next to the closet she was using before sitting on the bed with her head in her hands.

She didn't know what to do. Sheldon was here, but nothing between them had changed. If anything it made her more nervous knowing he was so close.

Knock, Knock, Knock "Penny"

She lifted her head and waited.

Knock, Knock, Knock. "Penny"

She turned her head to the open door. Why was he knocking if the door was already open.

Knock, Knock, Knock. "Penny"

"Yes, Sheldon," she said after he finished his three knock routine.

He didn't say anything for a few minutes and just looking at him made her heart race. It was beating so hard in her chest she was sure it was going to pop out. She thought back to her week here at his childhood home. Mary and Missy had been so kind as to share stories about Sheldon's childhood with her, show her pictures, she even read the letter that Mary had kept stating that Sheldon wasn't crazy. It had made her so happy, but him standing before her, so close and still so far away, was tearing her up inside.

"I am confused as to why you ran out during the wedding," he said.

There it was, the million dollar question. What could she say to him, because she was sure telling him that it was because she was in love with him and not Leonard wouldn't go over very well.

"Howard and Raj believed it to be because you harbored secret desires for another that Leonard couldn't satisfy. Raj claimed that's how it always happened in those movies he watches."

Penny's heart beat harder. Damn Raj and his love for romantic-comedies. How could she admit to loving another while being engaged to Leonard. It sounded so heartless of her.

"I couldn't marry Leonard," she found herself saying. "I didn't love him like he wanted me to, like he deserves to be."

"So, you didn't leave for another?"

She looked at him. He was looking at her like a complex equation that he just couldn't solve to get the results he desired. She had seen it several times directed at a white board, but never at her.

It was such an intense and sexy look on him.

She wanted to lie to him, keep her secret forever as it would do no good to admit to it, but looking up at him as he looked at her like that, she found that she couldn't lie to him. Besides, maybe once he told her that there was no chance with him, that love was nothing more than a chemical reaction, and that he was above such things, she might be able to get over him and move on. It would break her heart, but maybe she could move on.

Loving him hurt so much, that when he broke her heart it couldn't hurt anymore than it already did.

"I did leave for another," she said looking away from him. She couldn't see his face when she told him and when he rejected her. "I didn't love Leonard, I was... am in love with..." she took a deep breath. It was now or never. "I couldn't marry Leonard while I was in love with you."

She took a deep breath and waited for the information to sink in, willing herself not to cry. Once he understood exactly what she was saying it would happen. He would say all the reasons why it was ridiculous that she loved him and how superior he was. Reasons they couldn't ever be together.

But then, after what seemed like hours, he still hadn't spoken. Penny opened her eyes and looked towards the doorway.

He was still standing there, but it was like he was having a panic attack. His eyes were wide, his breathing was coming in short pants, and he appeared to be sweating. Before Penny knew what she was doing she was standing in front of him.

"Oh my...Sheldon! I'm so sorry. I shouldn't have said anything. I..."

She had lifted her hand to touch his forehead to check for a fever, but he had reached up and gently taken hold of her wrist, stopping both the movement and whatever it was she was planning to say.

It was such a gentle grip, but the feel of his hands on her skin was setting her body on fire. This man who preferred not to be touched or to touch others, was willing touching her.

"What did you say?"

Penny blinked. He had spoken in such a calm voice, so soft and gentle that there was no way he had been having a panic attack before. It was a voice she hadn't heard from him before. It was the voice she had wanted to hear when he had taken her to the hospital after she had slipped in the shower, and now it was the voice she wanted to hear all the time.

"I was saying how sorry I was for..."

He shook his head and looked down at her, those gorgeous blue eyes melting her on the spot. Such intensity in their gaze and they seemed to stare straight down into her soul.

"Before that."

She knew that he had heard her before. He had to have heard her. "I said that I am in love with you."

He smiled, a true smile. His eyes lite up and his features softened and Penny wanted nothing more than to move closer to him and that wonderful smile, she didn't dare though.

"I thought that's what you said." He moved towards her and was suddenly in alignment with her body, touching every inch of her body with his. It was such an overwhelming feeling that she found herself almost weak in the knees. He was still holding her wrist and his thumb was making lazy circles on her pulse point there. It was so crazy and distracting that she almost fainted.

"You know, you should have stayed a little longer at the wedding. You missed the big fight."

She blinked. "Fight?"

Sheldon nodded. "Leonard was rather upset at you running out on him. However, he claimed that before you ran off you looked at me, that when you were supposed to be speaking your vows you were looking at me," he said. "He claimed that I was the reason you left."

It was then Penny noticed that Sheldon's right cheek was slightly swollen and red. He even looked like he was recovering from a black eye.

"I didn't dare believe it to be true."

Those words made Penny's heart beat so hard that she was sure he could feel it from where their chests were touching. If he did he made no mention of it. "Sheldon?"

"Luckily he missed my nose when he hit me."

"Sheldon, why are you here?"

It was so unlike Sheldon to be so close to her, touching her like he was. For a minute Penny was sure she was dreaming, but the feel of his skin touching hers, even on the wrist, was too good to be a dream. What had done this to him? Was it her?

It was then she felt a warmth on her back and realized that Sheldon was holding her in his arms, his hand now resting on the small of her back. She didn't know how much more she could take before she fainted dead away in his arms.

"Missy never was able to keep a secret," he whispered.

Before she had a moment to contemplate what he had said Sheldon leaned down and pressed his lips to hers.

Many boys pretending to be men had kissed her before, but no kiss had made her feel the way Sheldon's had. It was soft, gentle, and so wonderful that Penny couldn't help it when her knees buckled and she almost fell, but surprisingly Sheldon was able to keep her standing, holding her up with a strength she didn't know he possessed.

It was a brief kiss, but as Sheldon pulled away and looked down into her eyes Penny knew that no one would ever be able to kiss her like that again except for this man holding her now.

"Penny, I love you."

Penny could feel the tears falling down her face as she heard those words that she never thought she would hear. He looked like he wanted to say more, but she pulled him towards her for another kiss.

It would be three years later when Penny would walk down the aisle again, but this time she wouldn't run away. She would be marrying Sheldon and that was the way it was meant to be.