Later that night, lying in his bed – in true Diane Chambers fashion, she had claimed it necessary for each of them to be alone to process all that had happened between them – Sam was drifting off to thoughts of her. Not that that was new for him. He had gone to bed with Diane on his mind many times over the past year - even when he hadn't gone to bed alone -, though he'd never admit as much or say it out loud. But this time things were different. His chest didn't feel constricted as it usually did, his palms weren't sweaty, he wasn't struggling to remember (or rather forget) the smell of her perfume, he wasn't trying not to focus on how alluring she had looked that day, or to erase from his mind a certain expression on her face that had caught his eye and made his stomach churn. There was no angst, no regret over having gone too far when delivering a jab, no words from her that stung his spirit long after they had been said. There were no truths he was hiding, no resentment, no dread as to what the following day might bring. In fact, for the first time in a long time, Sam was looking forward to what the following day might bring, however unclear it might still be. And knowing the two of them and how difficult they could make things for each other and for themselves, unclear was the least of his worries.

No. Tonight, his thoughts were on Diane, dancing for him. Just for him. On how silky her skin was on that spot right below her collar bone. On how long her fingers felt when raking through his hair. How deeply her nails had dug into the skin on his back, and how he'd wear those marks proudly should there be any to be worn. He thought about how the slope of her neck fit so perfectly between his lips, and how her back seemed to have been made especially for the palms of his hands. He tried to commit to memory the feeling of her hot kiss along his jawline, and the way she had wrapped herself around him snake like. Her long legs, her slender wrists, her graceful hands, all of what he had worshiped over and over in that little nook at Cheers. He closed his eyes and summoned the sound of his name on her lips, exiting her mouth in breathy whispers.

The blue of her eyes, when she had lifted them to look into his in their final moments intertwined, had been the warmest color Sam had ever been wrapped up in, and he held on to that precise hue now, as he fell asleep.