Somewhere More Familiar
"I hate New Year's parties," Penny said, tugging at the hem of her short black dress. "It's just an excuse for everyone to get wasted and feel each other up at midnight."
Noah chuckled and wrapped an arm around her waist. "Who doesn't like New Year's parties, P? Don't be a Scrooge."
She stuck her tongue out at him playfully and he smiled. "You could have at least invited me to a party that didn't require me to stuff myself into a freakin' sequined second skin." She pulled at her dress again, attempting to cover her thighs. "I feel like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman. And not the Rodeo Drive version of Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman."
Noah laughed again and stopped, pulling Penny close enough so that his breath was warm against her face. He liked the short black dress that she was wearing. "You look beautiful," he said, pressing a kiss to the tip of her nose. "Not at all like a cheap slut."
Penny's mouth opened wide and she slapped his arm playfully. "Aw, baby. You know exactly the words to say to me to make me swoon." She kissed his lips softly and he beamed at her.
They made their way, hand in hand, to the entrance of the party. Noah greeted the man at the door, Drew, from his work. They walked in together and Penny wasted no time grabbing a drink from the bar in the living room. She handed Noah a beer and he smiled. "Is Charlie here?" Penny asked, looking around for Noah's brother. She hadn't seen him in a few days and she was looking forward to saying hello.
Noah shook his head. "I don't know. He's supposed to be with Casey," he said, shrugging, referring to Charlie's girlfriend. "Drew said he mentioned coming, but I don't know if he'll show up."
"I don't get what he sees in her," Penny said, sipping her beer. "She's creepy."
Charlie and Casey had been dating for a few months after he ran into her in, ironically, the same sandwich shop where Noah had met Abbie. For some reason, Penny hadn't taken a liking to her. Noah thought it was probably because she didn't like anything that had to do with Abbie.
Noah laughed. "Don't be mean, P," he said, pulling on her arm so she was facing him in the middle of the dance floor. "Dance."
Penny sighed and pulled at her dress again. "God knows I'm probably flashing my ass to the entire party," she muttered under her breath.
"Then you should be thankful you have a nice ass," Noah whispered low in her ear. She shivered as she felt his breath caress her ear.
"You can't do that to me," she whispered back, wrapping her arms around his shoulders and swaying to the music. "Not in the middle of a crowd. Or else I will go all cheap slut and rape you right here."
Noah laughed again and pulled her as tightly as he could to him without cutting off her circulation. Five months into their relationship and he still couldn't keep her close enough. "I love you," he whispered, pressing a kiss into the skin behind her ear. "I'm happy you came with me."
Penny smiled. "Me too," she said. "But you owe me."
Noah grinned. "I'm sure we can work something out."
Penny leaned against him, forgetting everything else as she reveled in the feeling of being with the man she loved more than anyone in the world. Something about feeling so complete had changed her – she was happier than she'd ever been.
Noah sighed happily and leaned back so he could kiss her. "Isn't it kind of funny? That this time last year we were just friends, going on with our day to day like it was nothing? And really we were missing out on this."
Penny smiled. "Pretty crazy. But you know it was inevitable that we end up together," she said, a playful sparkle in her eye. "Men and women can't be just friends."
Noah looked at her, a grin stretching his lips. "Why not?"
"Because. The sex part always gets in the way," Penny said simply, shrugging her shoulders. "Hence me and you. And the sex."
Noah laughed and buried his face into her neck, stopping to kiss it lightly. "Alright, Harry Burns. What's next? You going to practice your moaning and then explain to me what it means to have a dark side?"
She smiled. "If I'm Harry, then you're Sally. And that's some funny shit," she said, laughing. "Aw! My little Sally Allbright with her days of the week underpants! Why don't they make Sunday again, Sally?"
"Because of God," he deadpanned, grinning. When Harry Met Sally was Penny's favorite movie, hands down. Of course he'd been forced to watch it a million times over with her. Of course he'd pretended not to like it. Really though, he secretly thought the movie was great.
Plus, the fact the he related to it so much, with it being about two best friends that fall in love, didn't hurt either.
"It's amazing that I've brainwashed you for so long that you know all the words to When Harry Met Sally," Penny said, smiling. "It just proves that I'm a badass."
Noah rolled his eyes playfully. "No. It just proves that you're a Nazi."
Penny laughed and kissed him, leaning against him and enjoying the dance for a few moments before she spotted Charlie and Casey walking in the party. "Hey look," she said, pointing in their direction. "Your favorite douchebag is here!"
Noah chuckled as he turned and waved at Charlie. "He looks strung out," Noah said, motioning to Charlie's deep under-eye circles.
Penny shrugged. "He probably is. I told you, that Casey chick is a weirdo. She's probably into all of that tantric sex and S&M and stuff. Keeps him up all night whipping him with chains and what not." She shook her head at the mental image. "Gross."
Noah laughed. "Yeah, I'm sure that's it, P. Why are you so convinced that she's abnormal, anyway?" He asked, eyeing the pair as they made their way closer. Casey seemed perfectly normal to him. A little dark, maybe, but otherwise normal.
Penny shook her head. "Just something about her, I guess. Whatever, it doesn't matter. I just hope Chuck's happy."
Noah nodded. "Me too," he said, grinning as his brother and his date approached.
"Hey," Charlie said, peeking his head around Penny's.
Penny squealed and threw her arms around Charlie's neck, kissing his cheek over and over again. "Where have you been all of my life?" She asked, grinning. "I swear it's been two weeks since I've seen your happy ass."
Charlie smiled and hugged her back. "I know. I've been…busy," he said, eyeing Casey as he said so. She smiled slightly at him.
"Hi, Penny. Noah," Casey said, nodding to them both. "How are you?"
Penny smiled politely at the girl. "Hi, Casey. You look nice," she said, motioning to Casey's red skirt. "That's cute."
Noah patted Penny's back as if to say 'thank you' for being civil to Charlie's girlfriend and smiled. "Hey, Casey," he said. "Nice to see you."
Casey smiled at them and Penny couldn't help but feel like she was only doing it to be polite. Ever since Charlie had started dating her, they'd been seeing less and less of him. While it was normal for Charlie to want to spend time with his girlfriend, it made her wonder why he wasn't still coming around to see Noah and her. She had a feeling that Casey didn't like them much.
"Chuck, you're dancing with me," Penny said, reaching out and grabbing his hand. "Sorry, Casey. Just one dance, I promise."
Casey smiled but gave Penny "the eye."
Penny kissed Noah and pulled Charlie away, spinning in circles as she did so. "So, mister, where have you really been?"
Charlie smiled and shrugged. "Around."
Penny rolled her eyes. "Yeah, okay. What does that mean?"
"It just means I've been around. I've been spending a lot of time with Casey and…"
Penny nodded. "Oh, I get it. We're not good enough anymore, huh?"
Charlie rolled his eyes. "Oh, P. You know she can't satisfy me like you can."
"Good. Don't let her hear you say that, though. Now tell me, Chuck, are you serious about her?" She asked, her eyes meeting his. "You can tell me, you know."
Charlie stood back from Penny, stopping his movements to look at her. "What do you mean?"
Penny shrugged her shoulders and stopped dancing as well. "I mean, is it serious? I know how you can be with women. Are you…is she long-term material?"
Charlie looked away from her for a moment before answering. "Yes."
Penny was taken aback by his response. Charlie hadn't settled down with one woman in quite some time. She wasn't sure why, but she thought it had a lot to do with the fact that he loved women so much. He'd always been a player. It was nothing new to her.
So now, the fact that Charlie was so into Casey was a little unsettling.
"Wow," she said, shaking her head. "That was fast. What's so special about her?"
Charlie shrugged and turned to look back at his girlfriend, chatting quietly with Noah a few feet away. "She makes me happy, I guess," he said, looking at Penny. "She's cool."
Penny didn't say much to that. "Oh."
Charlie sighed as he spun Penny in a circle. "Look, I know it seems kind of fast, but…I mean…I've been dating her for two months now and…I just know what I like. And I like Casey. She's different from all of the other girls I've dated, you know? She keeps me interested."
Penny nodded and looked away, slightly confused. Charlie wasn't sounding much like Charlie. Maybe he really was in love. "Well. I'm happy if you're happy," she said, resting her head on his shoulder as they swayed to the beat. And she really meant it. She just hoped that he wasn't going to get hurt.
A few hours later, Penny was wrapped around Noah again as they swayed as slowly as possible to the music flowing from the speakers. It was a slow song in the first place, but Penny imagined she probably wouldn't have cared what kind of song it was – she would still be wrapped up in Noah.
Charlie and Casey were a few feet away, curled together on a couch and making stupid faces at each other. For whatever reason, she just couldn't make herself like Casey. She assumed that it was because she was overprotective of him, even though she didn't know why. Charlie could most definitely take care of himself.
She just felt weird about the whole situation.
Either way, she wasn't going to let it ruin her night. While New Year's Eve parties wasn't her favorite thing, spending time with Noah was.
It was a few minutes until midnight and the party was getting wilder as more and more people drank too much. Penny stumbled a little herself and looked up at Noah and laughed. "Oops." She admitted to herself that she was buzzed.
Noah smiled and pulled her close. "Are you drunk?" He asked, his lips brushing against her cheek as he spoke.
Penny nodded. "Yes I am. A little bit."
"I'll probably have to take advantage of you, then," he said, grinning. "Just warning you."
Penny laughed and kissed him. "That sounds tempting," she whispered.
They danced together and as the countdown to midnight began, Penny felt the butterflies in her stomach as she glanced up at Noah, the room spinning slightly. "This is our first New Year's," Noah said softly, leaning down to brush a kiss against her lips.
Penny grinned. "Happy New Year," she said, wrapping her arms around his neck. "There's no one else I'd rather spend it with."
Noah grinned. "Me either."
"10…9…8…7…6…5…4…3…2…1…Happy New Year!" Noah smiled widely as the confetti went flying, tangling in Penny's hair and sticking to the sides of her face and his.
They laughed together as they closed the distance between them, pressing their lips to each other's oh-so gently until it was a full-on kiss and the passion was too hard to ignore.
Penny sighed against Noah's mouth as he worked his magic on her, her knees weak. She didn't think he would ever stop making the room spin when he kissed her, that was how perfect things still felt with him.
"I love you," she whispered, tangling her fingers in the soft curls at the back of Noah's neck.
Noah smiled and kissed her again. "I love you too, Penny. Everything about you."
Author's Note - Sorry for the slight (haha, slight? okay, long.) wait. This is the official goodbye to Noah and Penny's story. I just had to squeeze some more fluff in there for you. :-) I don't know if you guys got it, but WHEN HARRY MET SALLY is my favorite movie of all time. Harry and Sally's story really inspired me for Noah and Penny's story, so there's a little throwback to them in this epilogue. The whole "days of the week underpants" thing comes from there and I guess, unless you've seen the movie, it comes across as kind of weird. LOL. Oh well. I get it, dammit! haha.
I hope the fluff wasn't too boring for you guys. Basically my intention with this epilogue was to close the Penny and Noah chapter without starting any drama and open up the Charlie and Casey chapter for the spin-off I'm planning. Which, knowing me, may never happen, but I do have a whole truckload of ideas.
ANYWAYS! MAJOR HUGE GIANT ELEPHANT-SIZED THANK YOUS FOR READING! I love you all more than my first born child. Which does not exist yet. But when I do have a kid, I'll still love you all more than him. LOL just kidding. :-)
Stay tuned. I'm not finished! I have 732834728932 one-shot ideas to write and two other projects I'm thinking about.
Have I told you all that I FREAKING LOVE YOU????????????