It was taking Leonard an abnormally long time to bring back the Thai food. I was wondering where he could have gone to when a knock sounded on the door. I glanced around at the other two men in the room and shrugged. It was strange Leonard would knock. Maybe he locked himself out again. I stood and opened the door, expecting to see Styrofoam containers falling around me. I raised my eyebrows when I saw it was Penny.
"Hey, Sheldon," Penny said, looking around me. "Hey, Raj. Howard." Raj's eyes wandered around the room, avoiding her. "Still can't talk to me, huh?"
"Don't take it personally. It's his pathology. He can't talk to women," I said.
"He can't talk to attractive women," Howard revised. "Or, in your case, a cheesecake-scented Goddess." I gave him a look of derision and turned back to Penny.
"Penny, why did you come over?" I asked, ignoring Howard.
"Oh, well, I'm going to have some furniture delivered, but I work tomorrow, so I won't be here when they bring it."
"I was wondering if you guys could maybe sign for it for me. Just have them put it in my apartment."
"Well, I don't see why not."
Just then, Leonard came bounding up the stairs with our food.
"What took you so long?" I asked.
"There was a long line. Hi, Penny," he said.
"Hi, Leonard. So, Sheldon, they said between two and four in the afternoon."
"I'll be sure to await their arrival."
"Um, okay. Here's my key and my cellphone number. Just in case something goes wrong. See ya." She turned to walk away, but was stopped by Leonard calling her name.
"If you don't have any other plans, do you want to join us for Thai food and a Superman movie marathon?"
"A marathon? Wow, how many Superman movies are there?"
I leaned around Leonard. "You're kidding, right?" I stared at her as she continued talking. How could she not know that?
"I do like the one where Lois Lane falls from the helicopter and Superman swooshes down and catches her. Which one was that?"
"One," we all said together. Except for Raj. He just held up a finger.
I felt obligated to point out all the scientific inaccuracies, but decided to keep my mouth shut. We were all aware of them and, sometimes, it wasn't worth the effort of explaining things to Penny. Watching the Superman movies with her didn't sound like such a bad idea. Leonard and Howard debated the validity of Kryptonian skin cells while Penny stood before us, awkwardly.
"I'm just going to go wash up," Penny said as she backed away from them.
"Now, hold on, Penny. I'm sure we can offer more anti-bacterial soap and hygienic products than you can. Why don't you just come in and use ours? I'm sure they'll end their argument soon." I grabbed the door from Raj before he let it close completely and held it open for her.
Shortly after Penny commented that she was getting tired and wanted to return to her apartment, she fell asleep. That in itself wouldn't have been an issue had she not chosen to do so on top of me. And I may have been able to deal with THAT were she not a "cuddler", as Leonard so eloquently put it. It took the combined efforts of Leonard, Wolowitz, and I to carry her back into her apartment.
The next afternoon, Leonard and I struggled to carry her shipping box up to the fourth floor. Honestly, who expects two scientists to be able to lift a hundred-pound box of unassembled furniture up eight flights of stairs? But that wasn't the highlight of the trip. The state of Penny's apartment suggested that she was well on her way to incurable hording. I was seconds away from reorganizing her magazine collection when she appeared down the hallway.
I wondered how long it would have taken us to carry it had Penny been there to assist us.
"Hey, guys. Did you have any trouble getting it up the stairs?" she asked.
"No," Leonard said, adopting what I call his Sarcastic-Lying face. I rolled my eyes at him.
"Do you guys have anything planned for the rest of the day?"
"Yeah. I've got to take Howard to the hospital for his yearly checkup. He has all the necessary x-rays and urine tests to do," Leonard said, trying to make the trip to the doctor sound important. "He thinks that some disease will sneak up and kill him and he really wants to outlive his mother."
"Ha, okay?" She turned to me and I almost stepped backward in fear. "What about you Sheldon? Are you doing anything today?"
"Why do you ask?" I said, cautiously. I felt as though I should make excuses and abandon the room quickly, but Leonard has made it clear over the years that friends always help their friends.
"I don't know if I'll be able to set up this up by myself. I was wondering if you could help me put it together."
I sighed. "I suppose. I might be able to help, but I don't have much upper body strength."
"Oh, that'll be fine. I'm sure we'll be able to work it out."
About ten minutes later, I discovered that we would have to move some things around in order to fit the entertainment center in her apartment. Which gave me an excuse to organize and clean the living room.
"Penny," I said, turning to get her attention. I noticed she was bent over the box, pulling out a small bag of screws. I had never before understood why Wolowitz was so obsessed with women's backsides. I now understand.
"Yeah?" she asked. I shook my head and refocused on our task.
"This is not going to fit in here."
"What?" She stood up and walked over to the directions, where I had laid them on her kitchen table.
"The dimensions are too large. The space you set aside is too small. We're going to have to move something around."
"But I like it the way it is. Isn't there some way—"
"No. I've analyzed all the options." That wasn't necessarily the truth. There were a few other things we could do, but I wanted to fix the room. "I can get it to fit very well."
Penny looked up at me for a second, clearly debating whether or not she wanted to trust me with her belongings. "Sure, I guess. Just don't break anything."
I rubbed my hands together, excited that I was able to organize again.
For the next two hours, Penny mostly sat on her couch, watching me work. I explained my need for organizational schematics and she seemed to understand. We managed to fit the shelves against the wall across from her couch. It worked out very well.
At exactly 2:03 in the morning, I found I had forgotten to clean her bedroom. I sat up in bed immediately, preparing to run there and fix it, but I couldn't wake either Penny or Leonard. I didn't know how they'd react. So, I quietly left my apartment and snuck across the hall to Penny's. I had just opened her bedroom door when I heard the snores stop and my name being called.
I ducked my head in apology.
"What are you doing in my room?" She sat up, rubbing her eyes.
"Well, I forgot to organize your closet."
"I forgot to—"
"I heard you. I don't get what you mean."
"I planned on organizing the clothes in your closet, but I didn't remember before I left."
We stared at each other for a minute in silence. Suddenly, she rolled over.
"Oh, what the hell. Just don't wake me up again, okay?"
"Agreed." I slowly stepped across the clothes-strewn floor. As I opened the door, I heard another voice whispering from her living room.
"Sheldon?" Oh, Lord. "Sheldon, where are you?" Leonard glanced into Penny's bedroom and saw me standing there, the closet door halfway open. "Sheldon! You need to go. What if Penny wakes up?"
"I'm already awake," she said, sitting up again.
"Oh, God. I'm so sorry. I try to keep him inside at night. He likes to terrorize the local villages when he gets out." Penny laughed a little.
"No, it's okay. I told him he could clean it out. Just go back to bed. And get me the key to your apartment tomorrow morning. It's only fair." She curled up on her side again and proceeded to ignore us.