Disclaimer: I don't own anything.
Priya was gone. Out of the picture. And not just gone as in she was a billion miles away in India, she was gone as in there would be no more Skype sessions, phone calls, nothing. She and Leonard were over. While a thrill of excitement had gone through Penny when she'd received the news, Leonard being single again was merely a small comfort to the bitterness and the sadness she's been feeling over the past few months.
Penny regrets breaking up with Leonard. She's admitted it not only to herself, but to Raj, too. She hasn't said anything to Leonard because he'd been with Priya, but she knows, deep down, that that was simply another excuse for not being honest with him. Because he's single now, and she's still as silent as ever. She's still scared, still confused, getting jerked around by the two conflicting sides of wanting to be with him and wanting what's best-even though she doesn't know what that is anymore-. It's this horrible, sad state that causes her to finish off more bottles of wine than she's proud of, and without the help of Amy having half a glass.
So, she decides to go back to what she knows, a comfortable place that she's always loved: being friends.
He's hesitant when she invites him to come to the movies with her; he knows it could be awkward or uncomfortable. But she persists, assuring him that it's not a date, even though a part of her is hoping that it'll be like one so she can get back some of those happy experiences with him. So she can get back at least a small part of the closeness she used to share with him.
Leonard takes her words, "It's not a date" very seriously, making sure she knows what not being on a date entails. He picks the movie, she buys her own ticket; he's confident and not afraid to voice his opinion. A part of her enjoys his new attitude, but the small part of her that wanted it to be a date-or at least feel like one-is just so frustrated.
It's that frustration that causes her to make a bad decision, trying to prove that she also knows it's not a date, and sets the wheels in motion for the evening to take a turn for the worst. She makes him jealous; he makes her jealous. They both get angry and insult each other, and then it's really not a date. It's not even two friends hanging out anymore. They're just two exes fighting. Two exes who maybe aren't quite over each other, but neither one is sure-well, she is sure, but she still can't say anything.
They're both silent as they climb up the stairs. She lets out an irritated sigh from time to time because she's just so angry. Angry that tonight didn't go the way she'd wanted it too. And she's also scared. Scared of what tonight means for the two of them because even her comfort zone, their friendship, failed her tonight.
The night about to end on a horrible note, she heads towards her apartment. Then he puts his hand on her shoulder. It's a simple, gentle touch, but it keeps her rooted to the spot. Because it gives her a small feeling of hope that they can fix this, that they can work this out.
They both apologize and things are already looking better, but then he suggests that they might not be ready to hang out as friends. She doesn't let him see how much that thought terrifies her. Because she needs him, and even though she still doesn't know how to express what she's feeling, she knows that much. No matter what, she needs him.
So, she does the only thing she can: she's honest with him-to an extent. She tells him how she enjoyed the first half of their evening, and how she likes his new confidence and wants to see more of it. They begin joking, border-line flirting, and she gets one step closer to him with every word until they've almost reached the point of no return. The joking stops, and thank God it does, because one more word from him and he would've had her, and even though she would've loved to be in his arms again, she knows they're still not ready. She's not ready.
They go their separate ways for the night and she enters her apartment. As she lies down on her couch, she can't help but feel a little happy. Tonight did nothing to convince her that she was over him, in fact it just gave her more evidence that those feelings were still burning fresh inside of her, a fire that had never died. But they'd made a step in the right direction tonight, something good had happened for them. Even if she is still scared and confused, even though she still has a lot of figuring out to do, she would go to sleep happy tonight. Because things were starting to look up.