She sits on the green felt, shoulders slumped forward, in what her mother would undoubtedly describe as an unladylike stance. But then her mother can't see her unladylike daughter now: unkempt hair, clad only in a bartender's best white dress shirt, bare calf draped over said bartender's bare thigh, arm stretched out, manicured fingers tapping the garish ceiling lamp above the pool table, making it move like a children's swing.
She feels the soft touch of his hand at the small of her back, meticulous and meaningful, before she hears him groan.
"Quit dangling the chandelier, sweetheart. I'm gonna be sick."
Diane's teeth sink into her bottom lip to stop her grin from spreading too wide. Tolstoy is proving quite the unsuspected vocabulary professor. What had he called her mouth earlier, after a knee-weakening, languorous kiss? An exquisite delicacy? He had mispronounced it ex-quisit-ay, the charming bastard.
Lamp shade steadied over bent knuckles, she crawls over his sprawled body - a peck above his hip bone, then another, more fully fledged, right in the center of his chest - and drops her frame sluggishly onto his shoulder.
Several hours have gone by since their dinner at Marcon Robaire. If you could call two peas and half a braised chicken breast smacked onto of a fancy plate, dinner. Diane had quietly perceived Sam's dismay, his gaze marred by growing hopelessness, following each tray that would pass him by only to witness it land upon a table he wasn't sitting at. Attempts had been made at conveying her sympathy, but the leaning of her knee against his under the table - one, two, three times -, had gone unnoticed.
Sam's long fingers, whose lingering sweet pressure she can still discern on several areas of her skin, moves to tangle in her hair. "Alright, give Sammy a couple minutes to reload and we'll go for round two."
"I mean for actual food, you beast." She pokes the tip of her index finger against that one spot on his side, near his waist, that she has recently learned is a responsive one, and watches him attempt to wriggle away from her.
Thunderous laughter from him, unsurprisingly. "Well... yeah. That's because you haven't eaten. Neither have I, for that matter. I could swear it's been days."
Not up for an argument, mostly because he'd win, and a winning Sam Malone is an infuriating Sam Malone, Diane tosses her legs over the side of the pool table and hops to the floor. "There has to be a morsel of food somewhere around this place." Sam's fingers try to trap the back of his dress shirt that flows away from her frame as she jumps to the floor, but she cuts loose, lean and cat like.
"Where are you going? Come back. There's no actual food in the bar, Diane. Diane?"
He comes into the main room rubbing his eyes, - the man has just spent five days and five nights reading, or rather plowing through, 'War and Peace', after all - and moaning something about how it is much too late at night for her to be making such a racket. What will the neighbors say?
"There's nothing but pretzels here, Sam." she whimpers - and if he were to point out her spoiled, bratty tone he wouldn't have been out of line - and wonders why she had expected to find anything else behind the bar, amidst the clinking of one glass or five.
"Diane, you've worked here how long, now? Have you ever seen anything else that's edible behind that counter?" He sounds sleepy, and if Diane's stomach were not howling this loud at her, she would have probably paid more attention to the semblance of exhaustion he displays. She does notice, however, that he's taken the time to put on his boxer briefs. Pity.
"Oh, and beer nuts." She holds one nut between her index finger and thumb, and inspects it like a lapidarist to a diamond in the rough. "What is a beer nut, anyway?"
"Is that a deep question, which answer you're going to try to spin into an explanation of the universe? Or a real one where you want to know where they actually come from? If it's the first one… please don't be the first one. If it's the second one, we'd better call Cliff, but I'll ask that you at least put on my pants before he walks in here with his theory." Sam leans over the counter to steal a glance at her bare thighs under the length of his shirt, lets out a snarling sound.
"Sam, be serious. Is there really nothing here one might actually call nutritious food?" she thinks better of it, and tilts her head. "Or just food, you can leave out the hopeful adjective."
"Okay, alright. I know where to get something." Her eyes lit up, again forgoing the look on his face that says he would probably choose going straight to bed, if given the option, over chasing food like a bear before hibernating season. Diane watches him go around the bar and make for the stairs that lead to Melville's. "But don't expect it to come with a side of those… nutritious adjectives."
"Are you going to steal food from the restaurant?" her appalled tone, mixed heavily with the appreciation of his toned lower limbs climbing the stairs, bakes up a sugary reprimand.
"I'm going to borrow food from the restaurant." he hollers back from upstairs.
Whatever moralistic comeback was going to follow his reply flies under the bar with the jar of beer nuts, when he comes back down carrying a platter with what looked like the biggest cheesecake Diane has ever seen. Her mouth waters with nearly as much anticipation as she had felt earlier that evening, when he had taken off her dress.
"What is that?"
"This, sweetheart, is the best cheesecake you'll ever taste in your life. Not counting Sammy here, if you ever find it appropriate to call me cheesecake." He joins her behind the bar and ushers her out. "Please, have a seat and let a man do his job, will you?"
A giddy Diane does as she's told, kneeling upon the bar stool directly across from him so she can lean her elbows against the bar and supervise. "I promise to never call you cheesecake." she vows, not meaningfully, chin resting on joint fists.
"Hey, I don't mind. So long as you don't do it in front of the guys." he waves the knife at her, in feigned threat. "And yes, that includes Carla."
Sam cuts into the thick, rich cheesecake, and Diane pretends not to notice the bulge of muscle mass that emerges below his shoulder when he applies significantly more power to the task than necessary. Her tongue folds over her upper lip. At both the cake and the man handling it.
He hands her a spoon. "For the cake. And for your drool." Damn him.
"You know, you haven't told me." she scoops a spoonful of the dessert. "What did you think of War and Peace?" she thinks she may have died and gone to heaven when the cheesecake establishes contact with her taste buds. "Oh my God. Let me eat nothing else for the rest of my life."
"Right?" he speaks through a mouthful. "Long." Sam swallows.
"Well, aside from that". She insists, accidentally bumping her spoon against his in search of another bite of the sinful cake. "What did you think of the novel?"
"I liked the war parts." Sam is visibly much more interested in beating her at the most-amount-of-cheesecake-inhaled-per-second game than in discussing any book. "Couldn't follow all the Russian names. Improv, Mazeltov, Molitov. It's like none of them were actual people."
Diane sighs. Sam could be trying when it came to discussing anything that wasn't sports or women, but she's nothing if not persistent. Some might, and had, call her pushy. "None of those are actual people. Did you not find any of the characters to be engaging?"
Sam looks like he's pondering, but really he's lending all his focus to the chewing process. "Engaging in what?"
Diane rolls her eyes. "Interesting. Relatable. Did you see yourself in any of them? Anyone whose life trajectory might have inspired you?"
"Anatole." he says, after a couple of seconds, with an energetic wave of the spoon and a nod. "That was his name right? The guy who… the uh…"
"Philanderer." Diane finishes his sentence, resignation spills all over her delivery.
"That's him!" Sam announces, like one announces finding water on dry land. "I think."
"What about Pierre? He must have struck a chord or two?"
A third of the cheesecake is nearly gone. Diane resents his mouth for being able to stock more food than her smaller one - he's easily beating her at the game she's never made him aware they began playing - but then she remembers she is the reason he keeps scratching under his unshaven jaw, and she's back to irrerversible infatuation. The kind that will help her forget this particular conversation has so much as taken place.
Diane reaches out her hand and digs her nails into his neck lightly, near his chin. Back and forth, one more time, and again. Sam releases a pleasured moan.
"What did that one do, again?"
"You know. His burning desire to figure out what life was truly about. His tireless search. His loyalty. A first marriage that wasn't meant to be. Eventually realizing that he loved Natasha and that she was the meaning he had longed for deep within his soul." her voice is sweet and mildly sultry, like she's trying to either lullaby him to sleep or hypnotise him into secret revelation. The latter isn't far from the truth.
"Come on. No one in their right mind would want Pierre. He was a doofus. In fact, he reminded me of that Sumner guy of yours. Big brain, and I'm sure a very small…"
"Sam!" She chastises.
Sam holds his hands up in surrender, that mischievous smile of his making his chin appear all the more pronounced. The absurdity of his good looks. He offers her another bite of cheesecake in the guise of white flag.
"So the war chapters. Let me guess. Napoleon impresses you?" Hardly the side to the novel she prefers, but she had taken French history a few years back - or was that Moldavian history? Either way, the path to conversation looks less arduous through this detour.
"Oh yeah, Napoleon. The short guy, right? Whatever did happen to him?" less arduous but not without its fallen tree trunks, serving as road block.
"Napoleon, often referred to by lesser historians and satirical biographies as the um… short guy, yes... lost the war in the battle of Waterloo."
"Oh yeah. Yeah. I remember Waterloo."
Diane perks up, her eyebrows arch in both baffle and wonderment: "What do you remember about Waterloo, Sam?"
"I remember…" Sam is now seemingly done with food and is slowly coming around to the stool she's occupying. "...you were defeated, I won the war?"
She soon finds him hovering, and notices his eyes are clear set below her neckline. Surely enough, his fingers begin to unbutton the dress shirt at her collarbone.
Suspiciously, Diane stands and proceeds to walk backwards, in the opposite direction, and away from him. That sounds familiar. "What?" she finally asks, throwing the occasional glance behind her to ensure she's not about to get painfully acquainted with a table corner.
"Ya know. Couldn't escape if you wanted to?" Is that a song? It sounds like something she might have heard somewhere.
Before the name of the song, or whatever it is, can come to mind, Sam her slender wrist trapped between his fingers and has effortlessly thrown her over his shoulder, prompting a squeal that lasts through however many short steps separates them from his office.