"Sam?" Diane's voice shocks him awake, pulls him from his thoughts, and brings him tumbling back into the room, into his office at Cheers. Sam had been so caught up in his thoughts, that should it have been an actual fall, he would have probably hit his head, broken a bone or two.

He looks up. She's standing by the door, only inches from him, an air of mild concern on her face.

"Are you going to put that back?" Sam's eyes follow the nod of her head, and he finds the doorknob in his hands, the one she had just pulled out as she'd attempted a nimble exit from the room that had, moments ago, conspired them into a physical closeness they hadn't experienced in months. Conspired with his help, sure, and he had been its most willing accomplice.

"Oh. Yeah." he says, absently, and takes the few steps past her that get him to the door. He holds up the knob to gauge which way is up.

"Are you okay? Where did you go?" Diane chuckles behind him, giving him room to fix the door and allow her out, at last. She must be allowed out. Quickly. Her fingers close tightly around her paper, the same paper that had smothered the room with tension, which is still very much palpable, and she thanks whatever merciful power for giving her hands something to hold.

Sam stops and lifts his eyes to stare at the knobless door, but really at nothing.

Where did he go? Where did he go. He went back there, of course. Where else was there for him to go but back to that place? The place where his thighs were covered by her skirt and her weight on his lap felt equal amounts comfort and fire. But mostly fire. The place where his cheek had grazed the soft material of her sweater, and where the scent of her hair had nearly made him lovesick. Where her voice, so close to his ear, had triggered a stutter in his own vocal cords, and where the proximity of her scarlet lips had sent his blood, boiling, rushing through his veins.

He shakes his head, careful not to allow himself to be sucked in and carried off there again. "I'm fine." he says, attempting to slide the doorknob half way back in its place. "I was thinking though…" he turns to her, half expecting a smart come back about how he doesn't think, but Diane's just standing there, holding her paper to her chest like a treasure trove.

"Do you really think I'm that shallow? I mean do you… is that how you see me?" He removes the knob from the door and dangles it from his hand.

Diane's brow tenses up, but she softens her features to reassure him. "No, Sam. I don't. Of course I don't. "She places one hand on his forearm, but swiftly removes it, like one does after an electric shock. "I mean it, you're a perfectly decent human being. We've just proven that…"

"No, no. We didn't really prove it." he shakes his head and takes long strides past her and toward the desk again.

Diane follows him with her gaze. She is utterly confused by his need to carry on this conversation. If memory serves her, as it usually does, she is the dweller out of the two of them, not Sam. Sam never repeats a thought, after all. Had her paper really gotten to him that bad?

"What do you mean?" she asks.

"I mean when we were sitting there, with you on my… lap." he pauses as if there's another word for it. "You were nervous as hell and..."

"I told you, I wasn't nervous at all." She sounds ticked off, but then her demeanour changes. "I just thought it was… stupid." She shrugs. "But then it was your idea." Diane laughs heartily at her own joke.

Sam's eyes turn to slits. "Okay, alright. Let's try it again. Let's clear this up." He walks over to his chair and sits down, pats his lap for her to resume her position.

"Clear what up, Sam?" Diane sighs, bothered by both his insistence and by the realization that she actually wouldn't mind being that close to him again. "Will you just fix the door so we can get out of here? My class is out there."

"Why are you in such a hurry? Are you… scared, maybe?"

The smug look on his face makes her want to slap him silly.

"Like I said, my class is out there…"

"Nah nah na na, no." Sam stands and shakes his head. "You're in a hurry to get out because you're afraid of being left alone another minute with Trevor, here."

Diane rolls her eyes and steps closer to the desk. Ridiculous. And that ridiculous name he keeps referring to. Even if he is right, and he is right, she'd much sooner drink tar than tell him so.

"I don't know what you've read into this essay I wrote, or what you seem to think you felt during your little… experiment, but none of it alludes to any residual, pent up sexual tension between you and me. That's all over." She studies him to assert his response. It unnerves her that he doesn't say another word. In fact, he seems to accept her arguments, and stands up to walk past her again.

She's about to turn on her heels and follow him when she feels him impossibly close, inches behind her. She's almost sure that if she attempts movement, she'll easily elbow him in the gut. Now there's a thought. Unsettled, she watches as his arm dives past her, and his hand sets the dislocated doorknob on the edge of the desk to her left. His voice hums low near her ear and it's all Diane can do to stop herself from violently shuddering.

"I was also thinking... that the idea of us trying to keep our distance is probably the dumbest idea two people ever had." His voice is sleek and smooth, filled with intent.

Diane is paralyzed by his words. What is he talking about? Only, she knows exactly what he's talking about. She had found that very same thought hiding in her own mind all too briefly earlier, when his breathing was on her neck, and he was going on and on about oil rubbing and pounding drums. The recollection blurs her vision, deepens her intake of oxygen.

She stands with perfect posture, her back to him, an apparent stillness to her frame, intensely contrasting with the turmoil raging within, that threatens to break her composure. The sudden silence engulfing the room is stifling, in that benign way a hot day can feel stifling when one is aware the antidote is within reach, and broken only by the sound of ragged breathing. His own. Her own. Like out of compass heart beats, occasionally freed in unison.

For his part, Sam has little difficulty envisioning her parted lips, the secret her half open eyelids would reveal should he be looking into her eyes, the throbbing vein on her neck, concealed from his sight by the blonde hair that falls lusciously below her shoulders. He imagines it all with ease because, beyond the clues the sound of her breathing is offering, the tension within her that she tries so hard to disguise matches his own, both in fierceness and intensity. He's so hungry for her he can barely see straight.

A knock on the door momentarily breaks the silence. An attempt at pushing it open from the outside. Sam glances behind him as if he would have been able to spot the intruder. An intruder that can't get in, because he has sneakily taken advantage of her turned back, and quietly bolted the door on his way to her. He waits for Diane to speak, with conflicting expectations. One part wishes she'll take the opportunity and free them both. Pretend he never said what he said and resume their tense, but platonic and less dangerous relationship. The other part of him, the one that desperately wants to reach out and touch her, hopes he won't hear her voice unless she uses it to tell him she hungers for him, too.

Sam's about to speak, but thinks better of it. It would have been another cocky remark, another provocation. He decides he can't afford to play that card. The stakes are too high.

Diane can scarcely think, torn by which course of action to follow. She knows she should end this here, but if she truly wanted to, she would need nobody but herself. The doorknob is right there, on the desk. One move and she'll take the easy - depending on one's perspective - way out. She holds the key to her escape gate. If she pushes him one more time, she is certain Sam will fix the door for her and let her out. If only he wasn't standing so close, and she might stand a chance at being assertive.

And then there's the other, more pressing, issue. The one she's having trouble running from: She doesn't want out. It's nothing new; she's been here so many times before, caught between a mind that screams get out, and a heart that yells give in.

Diane hears the sound her paper makes as it hits the floor and knows her mind has been defeated. Before she can give it a chance to take on her heart for another round, her arms cross in front of her and grip the edges of her sweater, pulling it up and off of her in one fell swoop. There's no turning back now. Her gesture has just sent him a clear message: she's choosing him. Yearning to turn to him and give in, to press herself against him hard and unrestrained, she feels his hands, firm on her waist, holding her steady in place.

"Wait. Not yet." Sam's breath catches in his chest at the sight of her snow white skin.

Bewitched and transfixed, he allows himself the time to take in the shape of her shoulder blades, the visible beauty marks that stand out on the pale complexion of her back. He knows touching her now will be his undoing. Instead, his gaze savors each edge, each contour, each strained movement of her spine as she fights to control her breathing. His heartbeat picks up speed as his eyes catch the valley of her cleavage from above. She's wearing a flimsy cream-coloured camisole that hugs her slender torso, with thin, ridiculous straps over her shoulders that he could easily tear with his hands. He observes the way her clavicle heaves rapidly and profoundly under his gaze, and how the sheer fabric of her garment gives away her arousal by clinging to her hard nipples. Closing his eyes, he buries his nose in her soft hair and inhales deeply.

And then he can't stand it any longer.

Mad with desire, his fingers fold to trap the strands of golden hair that cover the side of her pearly white throat and, free of hesitation, he lunges for the dip where neck meets shoulder like a slayed vampire, thirsty, and deadly wounded. His mouth finds the pulsating vein that lends her cheeks a crimson shade and betrays her outward calm, but he doesn't bite. His lips lap up the sweet and salty taste of her flesh, while his hands move to gather the fabric at the hem of her camisole, and he untucks it from the waistband of her skirt.

Sam looks down. His thick, ungraceful fingers look disparaging against the delicate material of her undergarment, almost as if unworthy of it, but when she trembles at the touch of his rough knuckles to the curve between her hip and rib cage, he knows his hands are forgiven. Daring in their exploits, they slide underneath the fabric and slowly make their way up, caressing her flat stomach with the adoration of a worshipper, and stopping only upon grazing her taut nipples. His fingers alternate between gently pinching and flickering the small buds, while his mouth devours her jaw and the deliciously warm skin behind her earlobe. Enraptured by how wonderful it is to reclaim her body at last, Sam feels himself go wild upon perceiving the first involuntary sounds brewing at the back of her throat.

Diane leans back into him, so awash with the pleasure he's instilling, she is unable to decide whether to focus on his hot mouth or his skilled fingers. She knows it's wrong, not criminal wrong, but wrong all the same, to let him touch her like this again, to let him have her. Have all of her, because whenever Sam's fingertips are the ones playing her like a string instrument, there is never a part of her she can effectively leave out of the equation. Nothing of hers he could ask for that she wouldn't willingly give to him.

And so it's wrong. It's wrong because tomorrow when she comes into the bar, Sam won't have changed. He still won't admit to it. Between bouts of near ecstasy, she reminds herself not to believe each promise his touch is conveying, not to take them to heart. Sam won't lay his world at her feet the next day like she dreams he would. Yet she knows, she'll love him all the same. Love him more. Want him more. And he'll know, too. And she'll have to work double time on her poker face.

Reluctantly, but finding the constraints of his clothes are beginning to suffocate him, Sam releases her body to take off his pullover. It falls to the ground atop of her paper and her discarded sweater. His mind is suddenly shot as Diane, unwilling to break complete contact, begins to grind her still cladded ass against his crotch. Sam is so stiff, it amazes him he's not literally bursting at the seams yet. With one swift move, he turns her around to face him. Her pupils are dark, dilated with lust against her sky-blue irises. Unable to wait a second more, he grabs her lips with his own, a guttural sound from deep within his chest, as his tongue tastes each corner of her mouth, at last.

Her mouth, that his has never ceased asking for, even when drinking from someone else's. God, he has missed her.

Diane's palms lean hard against the wall that is his toned chest, and she moves them up to his collar to begin undoing the buttons on his shirt. Her longing weakens her though, and her fingers give up on a suddenly seeming impossible task. Her body glued to his, she revels in his unmistakable erection against her thigh. Deciding one button is more manageable than ten, her fingers hook to part the waistband of his pants and she slides her hand down and deep into his briefs. She watches Sam's eyes grow hooded as her fingers surround him, feeling her own blood rush down, to where she can barely wait he'll reach.

"Diane." her name sounds strained with another jolt of desire, and Sam kisses her mouth again, deliberately harder this time. Releasing another cavernous groan, Sam goes back for her waist and unzips her skirt, helping it easily slide off her hips. His hands return to follow the curve of her buttocks and settle on the back of her thighs, and he lifts her to sit on the desk, finding room to stand between her parted limbs. With newfound confidence, Diane's hands are at the buttons on his shirt again, but the struggle on her part seems to continue, and Sam can't help but chuckle. "I'll do that, sweetheart."

Letting him take over, Diane turns to push everything off his desk, making loud clangs sound around the room as things hit the floor. When she returns to him, the sight of his strong, bare chest brings a spontaneous gasp out of her. Christ, he's so handsome. Almost God-like. She had nearly forgotten. Maybe not forgotten, but buried it away in a corner of her mind, to only dig up late into those nights when she'd lay awake in bed, tossing and turning with the familiar ache that missing him would induce. Diane has known men before, good looking men, but no man has ever had this effect on her from a single stare, other than Sam. She wants him so bad, it clouds her every thought and, decidedly, her better judgement.

Her hands instinctively reach for him, yearning for his flesh under her touch, but he's quicker and grabs each of her wrists firmly, at the same time managing a gentleness that makes her heart beat faster. She doesn't put up a fight, it doesn't cross her mind to try. Instead, she lets him kiss each of her palms and slowly push her down on the table, holding her breath as his open hands trail down her torso and along her perched up thighs.

Sam hooks one arm behind each of her folded knees and slides her down the wooden surface towards him. Using his thumbs as hooks, he pulls her panties off, dragging them along her incredible legs and past her ankles, all the while listening in as Diane's breathing becomes gradually coarse. Throwing a provocative glance her way, he brings his mouth to kiss the inside of her knees. And then, without warning, he reaches down to softly stroke her pulsating opening, and his mind reels at how hot and slick she is with want for him. The sight of her arching her back as if about to levitate, when he leisurely slips two fingers into her, nearly drives him out of his mind, and, to make matters worse, Diane's eyes close, and she huskily murmurs his name toward the ceiling.

"Look at me." he asks warmly. His voice sounds broken, but he manages coherence. He's so hard, inflamed by the look of unbridled passion on her face and his name on her lips, that when she does open her eyes to do as he asks, he's genuinely afraid he's going to explode right then and there.

"Tell me you want me." he demands, in the same firm, loving tone, his fingers picking up rhythm. Not that he needs her words to confirm what her body language is telling him time and time again, but he needs to hear her. He needs her to say the words, as she looks at him with those bedroom eyes, her face flushed, her entire being visibly aching for him. "Tell me."

His name almost leaves her lips again, and it's taking every ounce of effort to keep her back touching the desk. Still, she manages to anchor her eyes on his for a split second, and a mischievous smile forms as the word spills out, tailgated by a groan: "Never."

Her refusal sends Sam's mind swerving. As always, with her, the defiant no's are a ten fold turn on, and he should have seen it coming. His expertise in electrifying her body will always be matched by hers in intoxicating his mind. He wouldn't have it any other way.

With desperate hands, he pulls his pants down just enough to free himself, the relief surpassed only by his animal-like need for her. Holding on to her thighs, he pushes into her so hard the desk earthquakes underneath her frame. Diane whimpers in surprise and for a moment, he worries he may have been too rough. In a beat, however, he feels her calves attempt to press him further against her, and he takes it as permission to give up every concern. Enjoying another inebriating second inside her, he slowly pulls out with excruciating pleasure, before driving into her again in a gentler, but just as determined thrust.

Sam watches for her response, attentive to what pleases her so he can repeat it, so he can master it.

His mind catches up with him for a moment. No. He tries to focus and recognizes the familiar self preservation game his mind is attempting. This is just sex. For his own gain, his benefit first. It doesn't mean more than that. She's just a woman, like all other women. Even the pleasure she's deriving from it exists mainly to feed his ego. To assure him he's that good at it. It's not about her. It's really not.

Except... Except that it is. Of course it is. It's always been about her. Her. Her. Her. Diane. His Diane. A guy who prides himself in not being able to recall a woman's name during sex, now can't seem to think of any other word. An urge rises in him to let her know. Let her know how much he wants her. How much he needs her. How much he loves her. But the words get stuck now as they do each time, something stops him, something… goddamn it. Goddamn her.

As if to show her what he cannot - will not - put into words, Sam's next thrusts go deeper into her, as deep as he can manage, eliciting cries that ascend simultaneously from both their cores. Diane's hands grab his wrists on the edges of the desk, and he's dying for her mouth again.

She's too far from him, there's too much space. Why is there so much space?

His wrists twist in her hands and take hold of hers instead, and he pulls her up and off the desk. Without letting go of her hand, he guides her over to the couch and lets himself fall onto it, pulling her with him to kneel on each side of his thighs, straddling him. His hands run avidly up her back and, upon reaching her neck, he pushes her hair off her face to kiss her deeply, passionately. Like it is both the first and the last kiss they'll share.

Diane's hands trace a path down his chest and past his waist to take hold of him. Sam groans through the kiss at the grasp of her hand and the way she moves it up, and back down his aching hard-on. His teeth close around her lower lip and gently pull, as he feels her guiding him back between her thighs, half crazed at the thought of being inside her again. The drawn out strangled sound that comes out of him, as thought becomes reality, makes her grin with contentment and, pleased with herself, she sways and rocks against him with the gracefulness and commitment of a dancer.

Soon enough, the intense pleasure deriving from their friction drives her almost delirious. So delirious, it barely registers when Sam lifts her camisole and yanks it off her body. He bends his back forward to follow the arch of her frame so he can lavish her breasts with the unguarded attention of his tongue, reveling in how the sensitive skin tightens under the shelter of his hot mouth.

Confident in the support of his hands to her spine, Diane releases the grip she has on his shoulders through the build up of her orgasm, and falls backwards into his splayed palms with a breathless roar-like sound of exhilarating satisfaction.

It's almost too much for Sam, witnessing her abandonment and the way her long neck stretches as she gives into every physical sensation, the sight of her sylphlike body writhing with rapture that he, and he alone, ignited in her.

"God, Diane." He struggles through his words, each requiring a deep breath before being eased out. "Come here. Honey." Pulling her to sit upright, he holds on to her hip bones as their foreheads touch and their mouths hang open, exhaling heavily and intermittently into each other's without ever touching. Holding her steady, inches above his lap, he bucks up against her harder than before, and as fast as his athletic build allows him to move.

Holding on to his powerful arms and knowing him close, Diane musters up whatever strength she has left and tightens her muscles around him. Sam sees stars. Her hands are in his hair again and she's smiling and whimpering low into his ear, as his release washes over him, causing his body to spasm profusely as virtually unbearable pleasure rattles his bones. Willing the feeling to linger, he shuts his eyes and wraps himself around her like he won't let go again, while a muffled, deep sound of sweet anguish is exhaled into the crook of her neck.

##

Sam chuckles amidst heavy breaths. They're lying on the couch, Diane comfortably snuggled in his arms, her hair spread across his shoulder, going through languid recovery together.

"What?" Diane turns to look at him. The wide grin on his face makes his profile all the more handsome, his chiseled chin sticking out and reminiscent of a greek statue, and she finds herself propping on her side to take a better look at him. Her hand glides across his stomach and up to his chest, her fingers tangle themselves in the hair that covers his chest.

"Nothing." he says, and laughs again, louder this time.

Diane frowns and pulls back. "Whaaat?" With a closed fist, she punches his shoulder playfully, but with meaning.

Sam winces in mock pain. "Ouch, woman!" another chuckle follows.

"Tell me, Sam Malone. Or there'll be consequences." Diane balls another fist and places it against his chin in feigned threat.

"I was just thinking about that paper of yours, again." His hand catches hers, and he covers her fingers with his own. He brings her knuckles to his mouth and briefly sinks his teeth into them. "Guess we just proved it completely valid, after all. Though if anyone asks, it's your fault. You're the one woman Trevor has always been hopeless against."

He says it with a teasing tone, but Diane runs her tongue over her lips in delight. Why is it that he can be so thick headed most of the time, yet unexpectedly - and, she is sure of it, in spite of himself - say absolutely the right thing.

She feels her hunger for him return, its potency unmatched. Lifting herself up to hover over his body, she lunges for his chest and takes his nipple in her mouth, clenching her jaw to gently bite down on his skin. Sam lets out an "oof" sound and arches his back toward her, in astonishment.

Seduction mirrored in her eyes, Diane takes his hand and slowly guides it back between her legs. Sam's breathing hisses. God, she is so warm, and so wet again.

"Diane..." her name. Again. Before he can stop it. Coming straight from the depth of his sternum. "Your class is out there." The regret at having to remind her of it not slightly disguised in his tone.

When she finally speaks, her lashes are touching her cheeks, and the two little words come staggering out of her lips.

"What class?"