It had been nearly a week since their movie night together. Penny was sitting on the couch in her neighbor's apartment, watching an episode of Star Trek. What was she doing here again? Although it's not like she had anything better to do. And the company was good.
Her eyes wandered over to the person sitting beside her, his eyes glued to the TV.
She tried to forget how she ended up crying all over him that night like some hormonal idiot. How she fell asleep in his arms.
Most of all she tried to forget how happy she felt when she woke up and realized that he was still there.
What was wrong with her?
Thankfully he hadn't been acting much different than usual. It didn't seem like the little episode had changed his opinion of her. That was good, right? Why should he be acting different? And why was she still thinking about it? God, she really needed to get a grip.
This was Sheldon she was talking about, after all. Yes, he could be sweet sometimes, but he was still just Sheldon. Who was not interested in her. To be honest, it bothered her a little. She was used to being able to use her looks to get men to do what she wanted, but it didn't work with him.
He had acknowledged that she was beautiful before, but seemed unaffected, regardless.
Not that she cared. It only bothered her a little. A tiny amount.
Sheldon's voice broke through her thoughts.
"Is there a particular reason as to why you're staring at me?"
Penny was sure she must have turned red, although Sheldon showed no signs of noticing. Instead he was studying her with mild interest, a blank look on his face. Same as always.
She hated when he looked at her like that. Like she was an equation or something.
"Oh, I was just thinking about lucky I am to know someone as brilliant as you."
Penny sighed and leaned against the back of the couch.
"No, not really."
She smiled at him and he held eye contact with her for a second before turning back to the screen. They watched in silence for a few minutes before Sheldon turned to her with a slight frown.
"I've noticed you've been acting a little strangely. Have I done anything to offend you in any way? If so, I apologize as it was never my intention."
"Sweetie, no, no. You haven't done anything, I promise. I've just had some things on my mind lately."
Sheldon raised an eyebrow at her.
"Is it regarding that man who dumped you in the hallway last week?"
Penny has almost completely forgotten about that incident and was a little surprised to hear him bring it up.
"What? God, no! I couldn't care less about that guy. You were right, I am too good for him."
"Well, that's a relief. I was afraid I'd be having to deal with you moping around like Leonard usually does after a failed courtship."
"You know me, I love 'em and leave 'em."
"But he left yo-"
"Sheldon, that's not the point! The point is, I've moved on. I'm looking forward."
"Well, good for you, Penny."
He smiled at her and all of a sudden, her heart was racing. Dear Lord, what was happening?
She couldn't possibly be developing feelings for Sheldon.
Dr. Sheldon Cooper. The guy that had absolutely NO interest in women or human relationships.
To fall for someone like him would be an emotional disaster.
No, no. This just had to do with him being so nice. Last week. She didn't like him like that. No way in hell. She couldn't have feelings for Sheldon Cooper. It just wouldn't be right.
"Thanks, Sheldon. Hey, can I ask you a question?"
"I suppose, if you must."
"Why don't you like girls?"
He seemed slightly taken aback by the question.
"It's not so much that I don't like girls as I dislike most people in general. I like you, after all."
"No, I meant, in a romantic kinda way. Haven't you ever had feelings for someone?"
Sheldon thought for a moment before giving his answer.
"There was this one time when I was 5 years old. A girl moved in next door. I would hold hands with her but nothing beyond that. She moved away the following year. I think her name was Sarah."
Penny grinned widely, hardly containing herself.
"Sheldon! That is so adorable!"
"Yes, well, in any case, since then I've been much too busy with my studies and work to have any sort of interest in women. I can't have such frivolous thoughts clouding my head. Women have been the downfall of many great minds, and I can't have that happen to me."
"But I mean, you do have... needs, right? You are a guy, after all."
"I assume you're referring to sexual needs, and I assure you that I do just fine on my own."
"Have you ever been with a girl?"
"I'm with you right now."
"No, I mean, have sex. Have you ever had sex with a girl?"
Sheldon actually looked a little embarrassed and she suddenly felt bad for asking.
"Never mind! It's OK, sweetie! You don't have to tell me."
Sheldon looked visibly relieved, and turned to face her.
"In any case, why are you asking me all these questions?"
Penny really didn't have a good answer for that. Because she was nosey? She wanted to know if she did (which she didn't) have feelings for him, it wouldn't be a complete waste of time?
"Just curious, I guess. I mean, you can be a really nice guy sometimes. If you managed to find someone who could put up with your... uniqueness... I think it would be nice."
"I don't believe I'll ever find a person with the quality you just described, but thank you for your concern. It certainly would make my mother happy, though."
"What about me? I put up with you, don't I?"
Oh, shit. Sheldon was staring at her. She really just said that, didn't she. Why did she say that?
"Are you suggesting that you and I should enter into a-"
"No, no. I don't like you, Sheldon. I'm just saying, there are girls like me out there, obviously. So there's no reason why there isn't someone else who would be able to put up with you too. I mean, you still manage to get your work done with me around, don't you?"
She smiled at him warmly. He was such a sweetheart sometimes. So exasperating at others. She had never met anyone who could bring out such strong, opposing emotions in her. It was a little strange, to be honest.
"You don't like me?"
"You said you don't like me. I thought we were friends. I have to say I'm a little disappointed that you don't feel the same way."
"No, I meant, in a romantic way. I don't love you. Well, I mean, I do. I love you. But it's plato-."
"Why would I ever think that? You've never given any indication to such a thing, so it would be silly of me to just assu-"
"Just, never mind Sheldon. Forget it."
"Well, alright, but this whole conversation is a little peculiar."
Penny sighed. She really could not agree more. She should have never brought it up. Feelings and Sheldon just didn't mix.
"Wait a minute. You love me? When did this happen?"
Penny sighed and put her hand on top of his.
"Of course I love you, Sheldon. You're one of my best friends. And, I don't know when exactly, it just sort of happened, I guess. I wouldn't put up with you if I didn't love you."
Sheldon looked strangely pleased with himself.
"I've never had anyone outside of my immediate family tell me that before. Thank you, Penny."
"You're welcome, sweetie."
Part of her wanted him to say it back, but she wasn't going to hold her breath. It was fine just like this. She leaned over and rested her head on his shoulder.
"What are you-"
"Shh. It's a non optional social convention to let a girl who loves you do this."
Sheldon seemed to accept that, and didn't say anything more. They stayed like that while they watched TV. Part of Penny wished they could stay like that forever.
That was when she realized she loved him.
And it wasn't platonic.