Sorry for the little wait, but hopefully this chapter is worth it! :)
Night Before Departure
Penny was nervous. No other word could describe what she was feeling. Tomorrow, she and Sheldon would be on a plane to Germany. There flight would last twelve hours and then, they would spend the next seven days together.
Standing up from her couch, Penny wiped her sweaty palms on her jeans and headed towards the kitchen. Maybe a nice glass of wine would calm her nerves...or a whole bottle. Walking over to the fridge, she went up on tiptoes and grabbed the bottle of wine hidden above it. The bottle was only half full and Penny hadn't taken a drink of it for months.
Penny was glad that her dependency on alcohol was starting to wan. Guilt flooded her when she went into on of her cupboards to grab a wine glass and filled it half full with the clear liquid. So, her nerves were a little on edge, that didn't mean she had to revert to old habits.
Special occasions only, Penny, she thought. Don't break that promise to yourself.
Looking down at the goblet in her hand, Penny made the decision and turned to dump the contents down the sink. She also grabbed the bottle and dumped the rest of it, too. That way she wouldn't be tempted anymore.
Maybe there was something else that could calm her nerves. Penny's eyes drifted to the coffee maker placed the corner of her counter. It was rarely used, since usually would go next door and use her neighbor's. Immediately, she set to work preparing the machine. Coffee was usually drunk in the morning, but this time Penny made an exception.
And...she decided that she was going to use Sheldon's Batman cup. He would never know and if he did, she would just watch it several times before he used it again.
Several minutes later, she was pouring herself a cup full and adding a generous amount of creamer and sugar. Then, once her beverage was ready, Penny made her way to the couch and sat down. All her packing was done and the only thing left to do was board the plane tomorrow morning.
*Knock knock knock*
Penny smiled into her coffee as she listened to the knocks.
*Knock knock knock*
*Knock knock knock*
Instead of just yelling for him to enter, Penny placed her coffee down on the table (yes, on a coaster) and opened the door herself. Giving him a bright smile, Penny moved out of the way so Sheldon could enter.
Sheldon returned the smile (thankfully, not his 'Kill Batman' smile) and held a clipboard in his large hands. "I've come over to double-check that you have packed everything you need for our trip. It wouldn't be good if you found out you forgot something important while we were on the other side of the world."
Penny rolled her eyes good-naturally. She had expected this and wasn't bothered by it, like she would have been when they had first met. "My suitcase is on the bed, open and waiting for you to check it."
"Very well." Sheldon bobbed his head and walked back to her bedroom. Penny let him do what he needed and went back to her spot on the couch and her coffee.
Ten minutes later, Sheldon emerged from her room, a slightly surprised look on his face. "It seems, Penny," he said and sat in his spot on her couch. "You've packed everything that was needed."
"Yep," she popped the 'p'. The night before had her double checking the list Sheldon had given her and with a desire to get everything the first time, Penny had literally torn her apartment apart to include everything on the list.
"I'm impressed." Sheldon smiled and placed his clipboard on the table. That was when he noticed the small stack of magazines and picked up the book lying on top. War of the Worlds. "You still haven't finished this?"
"Haven't had time." In fact, the bookmark still marked the page she had left off on that day in his office. "I plan on finishing it on the plane, though, and I have some magazines and the German dictionary to occupy myself with after."
"I'm glad to see that it is still in perfect condition." He gingerly placed the book down and settled more in his seat.
"Told you I'd take good care of it." Penny smirked and sipped more of her coffee.
"Coffee at his hour, Penny? You'll be up all night and we do have a plane to catch in the morning." Sheldon tsked. "And isn't that my mug you are drinking out of?"
Penny shrugged."I felt like drinking out of it. Relax, sweetie, I'll be thoroughly washing it when I'm done. Also, I have at least three alarms that will go off in the morning and you knocking on the door isn't included in that."
Sheldon sighed and they sat in silence for awhile. Penny sipping on her coffee and Sheldon flipping through the German dictionary, even though he was fluent in the language.
"Would you like something to drink, Sheldon?" Penny's own beverage was now gone when she realized she hadn't offered to get him anything.
"No, thank you, Penny." Sheldon put down the dictionary and stood up. "I should probably head back to my apartment and recheck my suitcase, again."
Penny rolled her eyes and stood up to deposit the Batman mug into the sink. She'd wash it later. If she remembered. "I'm sure you have everything you need, Sheldon. Why don't you just go home and relax a bit?"
Sheldon shifted a bit where he stood and didn't look like he knew how to respond. This whole week, Penny knew, had him going at a hundred miles an hour making sure everything was good and ready for their trip. It would have annoyed her, if she hadn't known how important the whole trip was to him.
"I suppose I could read a comic book or two."
"Good," Penny smiled and took her seat again. "Oh, I finished watching Firefly a few days ago. So, we could watch that movie, if you want or we can wait until we have a quiet night in Germany."
Slowly, but surely Penny had worked her way through the series and enjoyed every moment of it. Like Sheldon, she had thought the show had been cancelled to early and desperately wished for more episodes to watch.
"If we were to watch the movie tonight, it would put me way past my bedtime. I'll make sure to pack it and on a quiet night, like you said, we will view it together."
"All right, that sounds good!" Penny didn't know why she felt so giddy for that quiet night to happen. It wasn't like her and Sheldon had never watched a movie together. Maybe it was because they'd be in Germany and Leonard wouldn't be right across the hall.
"Maybe I will bring other movies for us to view, as well."
Penny grimaced silent. She could only imagine the movies he would pick, not that she minded most of them. But some... "How about this? You bring Serenity and another movie and I'll bring one movie. That way it will be fair. There will be one movie you'll want to watch, one I'll want to watch and one we both want to watch."
Sheldon thought for a moment. "Hm, I suppose that would be fair." Glancing at his watch, he stood up. "I should probably retire back to my apartment. Especially if I want to have time to pick a movie before I go to bed."
Knowing Sheldon's extensive collection of DVDs, Penny understood his need to leave. It would take her several minutes to pick out the perfect movie, as well.
"Well, goodnight, Penny," Sheldon said and reached for the doorknob. Before he left her apartment, though, he turned to face her, hand still on the doorknob. "Penny, I have something I must confess."
This peeked Penny's interest. "What is it, Sheldon?"
"I'm glad..." he started and then looked unsure of himself for a moment. He wouldn't meet her eyes. Then, finally, after taking a deep breath, Sheldon looked her straight in the eyes. Penny couldn't breath. "I'm glad, that out of everyone who could have gone with me, it was you I picked."
Sheldon's gaze had Penny frozen in place. There was something in those blue pools that she couldn't quite read. Whatever it was, it was causing her heart to race. Penny hadn't felt like this since high school when her crush, Andy Reed, had asked her out.
"I'm glad you picked me, too," she finally said when her lungs filled up with enough air to speak.
Sheldon looked like he was about to say something more, but thought better of it. "Well, goodnight, again, Penny. I will see you bright and early tomorrow."
Penny groaned at the thought of having to get up early. "Tell you what, Sheldon, if you come over with a cup of coffee I won't attempt to kill you when you knock on my door."
Sheldon looked slightly horrified. "Very well, then. I will bring over a cup of coffee so that may life may not be put in danger."
"Good," she smiled. "Goodnight."
Sheldon nodded and softly shut the door behind him.
Sheldon walked though the living room of his apartment, ignored Leonard sitting at his desk and didn't stop walking until he was safely behind the closed door of his bedroom. What was the matter with him? His hands felt shaky and his body jittery, like he had taken a sip of Penny's coffee. The feeling wasn't unpleasant, but he hoped this would not happen every time he found himself in Penny's presence.
Especially, since the next seven days would be just him and Penny in Germany.
The thought sent his heart racing. Again.
That morning, Sheldon knocked on Penny's door earlier than he had ever done before and was surprised when she answered the door right away. Before saying a word, he handed her the steaming cup of coffee, with just the right amount of cream and sugar. Penny took it with a smile and stepped aside to let Sheldon in.
On the couch, Penny's suitcase rested with a bag full of hang-ups draped over the back. The German dictionary, along with War of the Worlds and a few magazines were on the table.
"I'm all ready. All I have to do is carry this stuff and pack it into Leonard's car. Before you say anything," Penny held up a finger. "Yes, I double checked and everything is there."
Sheldon clasped his hands behind his back. Impressed. He must have been rubbing off on her. "Very good. Leonard is just about ready and we will be leaving shortly. I have already packed my things in his car and social convention dictates that I help carry some of your things, as well."
"Aw, thanks, sweetie." Penny was pleasantly surprised. "Just let me finish this and then, I'll help you."
Since there was no room on the couch for him to sit, Sheldon remained standing. "Are you nervous to be on a plane for twelve hours, Penny?"
The question wasn't something she had let herself think about. "Kind of, if I'm being honest. The longest I have been on a plane has been only four hours."
"The last time I made this trip was when I was just a boy and even then, I took a plane from Texas so the trip was shorter. You know my preferred method of travel is by train. Unfortunately, there is no way a train can get us from here to Frankfurt." He brightened. "But a train will take us from Frankfurt to Heidelberg. Isn't that exciting?"
"Of course, honey," Penny said before throwing her head back and finishing off the last drop of caffeine. "Okay, I'm ready to go." She reached for the suitcase, but Sheldon stopped her.
"I got that, Penny. You can take everything else."
"You sure?" She had about four pairs of shoes stuffed in there and it was pretty heavy.
Penny wasn't able to stifle the giggle when she watched Sheldon pick up the suitcase by the handle...and nearly topple over because of the weight.
The trip to the airport was silent. Leonard wasn't fully awake, yet, and after, they unpacked everything from his car, he had only muffled a quick goodbye before driving off. Most likely ready to hop into bed once he got back to the apartment.
Sheldon's suitcase had wheels and had offered to take the hang-ups from Penny while she carried the suitcase. By the time they had dropped off their luggage to be boarded on the plane, her arms were sore.
An hour later, they were seated on the plane and waiting for takeoff. Sheldon gripped the armrests tight and Penny was just as nervous, so she didn't even try to comfort him.
Fours later, Penny finally finished the last page of War of the Worlds and decided it was time for a nap.
After making herself comfortable in the seat, she looked over at Sheldon, who was looking out of the window. "Wake me up when it's lunchtime, okay?"
"Of course," he replied and went back to staring out the window.
Twelve hours after takeoff, they were ready to land in Frankfurt, Germany and Sheldon woke up Penny for the second time during their flight.
"Penny," he said, shaking her gently. "We're here."
I hope you all enjoyed this. Updates might be coming even slower than this one. Sorry! There won't be more than two weeks between chapters, maybe even less!
Thanks for reading! :)