Big Girls Don’t Cry
Drabble written to promote Random*Fandom’s Party Favours challenge to celebrate our 1st Birthday. Penny accompanies Leonard to a Caltech informal mixer, but feels out of her depth and shunned by his intelligent colleagues. Who will come to her rescue?
Penny smiled and waved to those at the party that she already knew. Raj, Howard and Bernadette were at the punch bowl and Amy and Sheldon were chatting with an older man further away. She nodded and shook hands with everyone Leonard introduced, smiling as he beamed with pride.
They travelled the room, never staying long before moving on so Penny could meet another of Leonard’s colleagues. Finally, they settled at the punch bowl and Leonard passed a cup to her. Penny sipped and smiled, the conversations going over her head, she was just happy to be out of the house in a nice dress and a killer pair of heels.
“Well, well, Barbie. I see Leonard brought some decorations.” Leslie Winkle smirked nastily.
Penny frowned before realising that Leslie was referring to her. “Whatever, Winkie. Go and spread evil elsewhere ‘kay?”
“Oh, I will.” Leslie cackled as she walked toward Dave Underhill.
Penny rolled her eyes and turned to her friends, Sheldon and Amy had joined them and they were discussing funding. She’d never felt like an outsider at a party before and, boy, was it a mood killer. Sighing, she excused herself to go to the restroom. Her friends barely spared her a glance as she steeled herself and held her head high as she walked past Dave and Leslie.
In the cubicle, she slumped on the seat and wondered how long they would need to stay. The door of the restroom opened and Penny listened, involuntarily.
“Can you believe he even bother to bring her? It’s not like she understands anything people are talking about.”
“I know! I mean she looks good but she’s a waitress – and not even a waitress to support her education. It’s her career! How on earth he thought she would fit in here is a mystery.”
Tears pricked at Penny’s eyes but she refused to let them bring her down. She made an honest living and she worked damn hard. It wasn’t unusual for her to feel inadequate, Leonard had made her feel the same way plenty of times but at least she’d had privacy to console herself. Here, all she could do was wait until they cleared out of the restroom and slink back into the party.
Amy searched the room; she couldn’t see her Bestie anywhere. Leonard seemed unconcerned with her whereabouts, which annoyed her. Penny was a light that should shine wherever she went, her golden hair and creamy skin should be gazed on with envy by everyone. Amy found her next to a large potted fern. A quick glance at a group of female Doctors who were sniggering and pointing helped her see the bigger picture.
“Nobody puts Penny in a corner.”
She grabbed her Bestie’s hand and pulled her up to dance. “You may not be valued for your intelligence in this company but I challenge them to deny your sheer luminescence and vitality. Indeed, this may be the closest to a star they will ever be.”