Out of Tea
Knock. Knock. Knock.
Penny turned groggily in her bed, forcing herself to get upright and into a sitting position. This simple movement caused a sharp pain to go through her head, and she cursed under her breath and winced.
Knock. Knock. Knock.
She walked into her living room, blinking furiously in order to get her eyes adjusted to the morning lights streaming in through the windows. Her head was throbbing, and each step only made the pain worse.
Knock. Knock. Knock.
On perfect timing, as it always seemed to happen, she stood in front of her door and pulled it open to see a familiar and very unwelcome person standing outside.
"Sheldon," she said, her voice tired. Leaning against the doorframe, she felt as if all the energy in her body was non-existent. "I'm not in the mood. Go away."
"Why, Penny." He seemed a bit taken aback. "It's noon. I followed your request not to disturb you until after eleven o' clock AM, and I see no reason for you to be so hostile. Quite frankly, I'm offended."
"You want a reason to be offended?" she asked, but didn't wait for a response. Before he could open his mouth, she slammed the door.
This turned out to be a bad idea, considering it just made the pain in her head worse. Nevertheless, she pressed her hand against her forehead and stalked over to the refrigerator.
Unsurprisingly, she heard her door open behind her.
"Penny, I only came over here to request a cup of tea," explained Sheldon as he walked into the apartment. "We're out and Leonard refuses to go buy more." He stopped next to her counter. "If I had known you were hungover, I wouldn't have bothered to make the trip."
"I am not hungover." she corrected him fiercely, but couldn't be angry considering that just made her head hurt worse. And, of course, because it was a lie. She opened her freezer and pulled out an ice pack, wasting no time to press it against her head.
"Physical indications say otherwise," he disagreed. "You're obviously suffering from fatigue, seeing as the dark circles under your eyes attest trouble sleeping. Not to mention the fact that you're enduring the pain of a headache."
He paused for a moment, glancing down. "And, of course, there are the empty beer bottles currently sitting on your coffee table."
Penny looked over and saw that he was right. "I thought I had put those away last night," she mumbled to herself.
"You were probably too disoriented to do such a thing," Sheldon pointed out, but didn't seem to realize it wasn't helping the situation. "It's more than likely you weren't even aware that they needed to be thrown away."
"Sheldon," she said his name in an overly-sweet tone. "Please get your ass out of my apartment before I make you."
"But I still need a cup of tea," he protested. "I can't have a good day today without a cup of tea."
Penny rolled her eyes. "Surely you can get by without it."
"Well of course I can, but that wasn't my point. I initially said I couldn't have a good day without it, but that doesn't necessarily mean I couldn't get through the day. I have no idea why you would-"
"-Shut up and I'll make you the goddamn tea!" she interrupted him, but instantly regretted raising her voice. Wincing, she turned to her counter and grabbed the box of tea bags she kept.
"When you experience a breakup, do you always get intoxicated?" asked Sheldon after a moment, watching her work. "And are you always this rude when you wake up?"
Penny put the cup in the microwave and then turned to face him. "Only when someone wakes me up and then demands for me to make them a cup of tea."
"But I'm not demanding," he told her, a confused look appearing on his face. "If I was demanding, I would have commanded you to make it instead of implying I would like one. It's not that hard, Penny."
She didn't reply, and instead leaned against the counter. His incessant talking was just making her head feel worse. She wished she hadn't used up all her painkillers, considering with the way things were going her headache was only going to get more severe.
He decided to fill the silence, much to her disappointment. "Do you really care so much about breaking up with one of your numerous boyfriends that you would actually poison your body to get rid of the thoughts of their persona?"
She thought about giving a snippy answer, something sarcastic, but then decided it wasn't worth it.
"I guess so," she answered simply, rolling her eyes. Truth be told the question made her uncomfortable, and she wasn't sure how to respond.
Sheldon stared at her for a moment. "Or perhaps you drown your sorrows of breakups for a different reason..." he trailed off thoughtfully and perhaps a little too vaguely for her liking.
Penny opened her mouth to ask what the hell he was talking about, but before she could the microwave went off.
Each high-pitched beep caused a searing pain to course throughout her head, and she forced herself to move toward the microwave. She opened it up and pulled out the cup, holding it gingerly because it was radiating with heat.
"Here you go, Sheldon," she said tiredly, turning around to hand it to him.
Unfortunately for her, she hadn't realized that he had moved from the counter in order to get the cup from her. Misjudging where he was, she found herself walking straight into him.
She moved back instantly, and the force of it caused the tea to slosh out of the cup and right onto him, getting all over the front of his shirt. Letting out a yelp, she jerked away from him and the surprise of this movement caused her to drop the cup.
The next thing she knew, there were glass shards on the floor and Sheldon was hollering.
"I'm so, so, so sorry!" she apologized as she watched him frantically tear at his shirt, trying to move it away from his body. That day the shirt happened to be red, and a stain from the tea was all over the Flash symbol.
"It burns!" he told her helplessly, apparently never having to deal with a situation like the one he was in before.
Penny wasn't sure on what to do. Her mind was drawing a blank and she panicked. The thought of getting a glass of cold water and throwing it on him flashed through her mind, but she knew it was take too long and just get him soaked.
So instead she just told him to do the first rational thing that came to mind. "Take it off then!" she yelled frantically.
To her shock, he actually did. Maybe the hectic situation made it to where he wasn't thinking about his actions, but she watched as he reached down and grabbed the edge of his shirt and pulled it over his head. A moment later it was discarded to the ground.
Penny stared at him.
He had on a blue long-sleeved shirt. Even though she had always seen the long sleeves that he kept around his elbows coming from underneath his shirts, the thought that he wore two shirts had never occurred to her.
It was an odd look on him, having only a long-sleeved shirt on.
Not to mention that there was a noticeable, but smaller than the one before, stain in the middle. Thankfully the tea didn't seem to be searing his body anymore, but that just left them standing next to her counter with a shirt on the floor.
"I'm sorry, Sheldon," she apologized again after a long while of silence. "I didn't mean to spill the tea on you."
"I have no allusions of your intentions, dear Penny," he replied. "But that doesn't stop the fact that your hangover has given you a terrible sense of direction, or that your Nebraska man hands aren't capable of holding a cup of tea properly."
She glared over at him, well more like up at him. Had he always been that tall?
"These Nebraska man hands," she repeated, moving her hands up to show him. "Want to strangle you right now. And, not to mention, are very well capable of holding a cup of tea if someone doesn't sneak up behind the person they're connected to without warning!"
Sheldon opened his mouth to retort but, after a couple of seconds of saying nothing, shut it. "Well, if I'm unwelcome, I'll just leave then!" he finally declared, and didn't waste another moment to begin stalking over to the door.
Maybe stalking wasn't such a good word to describe it.
Penny watched as he attempted to angrily storm away, but all it looked like to her was a very lanky man not completely in control of his footsteps. Nevertheless, he made his way out of the room and disappeared, but not before almost accidentally tripping half-way to the door.
The next day Penny found herself knocking on the door of the apartment right across from hers, a laundry basket under one arm.
It only took a few seconds for Leonard to answer. "Hi, Penny," he greeted casually, albeit a little eagerly, once he opened the door. "What's up?"
"Nothing much," she answered. She nodded to the basket in her arms. "I was wondering if Sheldon was here."
He looked a bit taken aback, and she knew it was probably a weird request for her to be asking for his difficult roommate "I need to return something of his," she added after a moment of silence.
"Oh, okay," said Leonard, and he took a step back to let her inside. "Sheldon!" he called from over his shoulder, and she went to go stand next to the couch.
It didn't take long for the physicist to appear from the apartment's hall. "Leonard, there is absolutely no compulsion for you to yell-" He stopped short once he saw Penny standing there. "What's she doing here?" he questioned, his eyes narrowing.
Penny let out a cough. "I'm here to give you this." She reached into the basket and pulled out his shirt from the day before, any trace of the tea stain gone.
Leonard looked at her and then shifted his gaze over to Sheldon, repeated this for a few moments, and then excused himself out. "Well, I'll give you two some privacy," he said, grabbing his jacket and leaving.
When he was gone, Sheldon took the moment of silence to stare at her cuttingly. But, finally, walked over to where she was standing and hesitantly took the shirt from her hand. "I bet you didn't use the right laundry detergent," he commented, staring down at the fabric suspiciously.
"I'm sure I didn't," she agreed, sitting the basket down on the couch, instinctively making sure it was nowhere near his spot. "But you left it at my apartment and I needed to do some laundry so...I just threw it in there."
He didn't respond right away, instead focusing on folding his shirt. "I'll re-wash it Saturday," he finally said, but seemed to mostly be talking to himself.
There was a long while where neither of them spoke, and once he was done folding the piece of clothing, they stood in a rather awkward silence. Penny, not able to take it, finally broke it.
"...Did you ever go buy some more tea?" she asked, hoping to bring back some conversation.
He glanced over at her and didn't answer right away. "No," he finally told her.
She wasn't sure how to respond to that, and her instincts took over. "Would you like a cup?" she asked, wishing to amend the whole scene from the day before.
The suspicious look came back on his face, and he narrowed his eyes. With these physical responses, she didn't think he would go for it, but she should have known that Sheldon Cooper would always manage to surprise her.
"I suppose I would," he answered carefully. "But I'll be wearing my jacket this time for my own protection."
"What's the matter, Sheldon?" she asked, playfulness in her voice as she picked up the basket. "Do you not trust me to not spill it on you this time?"
He shouldered on his jacket, and made sure it was properly zipped before responding. "It's not you, per say," he began factually as he followed her to the door and out of the apartment. "It's your Nebraska man hands that I fear will make another slip."
Penny stopped for a moment, wondering if she should have been offended or not, but finally just brushed it off. "Oh, Sheldon," she smiled at him. "If only you knew what all my hands could do."
He rolled his eyes as they entered her apartment, clearly not amused. "I'm good to choose to ignore that suggestive statement."
"You're loss." She winked over at him before setting the basket down and making her way over to her counter. "Now, how would you like your tea?" She was in a good mood, and unlike before decided to ask him to specify exactly what he wanted.
"Oh, anything will do." he answered, sitting down on her couch and clasping his hands between his knees. "Please refrain from putting too much sugar in it."
"Okay," she replied, pulling out the box of sugar.
"And don't heat it up for too long."
Rolling her eyes, she began to stir the water and tea mix. "I won't."
"-I asked you how you wanted it, not how to make it," she cut him off, not being able to stand it any longer. "You better not make me spill it on you again."
"Oh, please," said Sheldon, scoffing slightly. "The first time was simply an accident, considering you could never do something so rude and inappropriate to me on purpose."
She stared at him for a moment, her hands on her hips and her eyebrow arched, but finally felt herself beginning to smirk. "Oh yeah?" she asked, biting her lip. "Watch me."
And with that, she grabbed the cup of tea and walked over to him.
"I take it back, please refrain from hurting me," he told her frantically as his watched her approach him.
"Don't tell me," she said, stopping in front of him. "Why don't you tell my Nebraska man hands?"
"Oh dear Lord."