Diane is startled by the sound of his key turning in the lock. She throws a quick glance at the clock on the fireplace mantel: nearly half past midnight, time had flown. She had aimed to be in bed at least an hour ago now, but had gotten distracted by one of the many books she had been carefully unpacking and finding room for on the brand new shelves Sam had put up for her a couple of days prior.

She calls out to him, "Hey, you."

"Hi, there!" Sam locks the door behind him and walks over to the couch that faces the fireplace, where she lays in all her lazy and bookworm glory. He removes his jacket along the way, and drops it on one of the nearby chairs they have yet to find a table for. "I thought you'd be in bed by now." He leans down to press a quick upside down kiss on her lips before making his way toward the fire. The last of that winter is lingering, as if refusing to let spring take over in its due time. Sam rubs his hands together, willing the warmth to take hold of his freezing palms.

"I planned to be." she admits, closing the book and dropping it on the hardwood floor with a thud, unwilling to get up to put it away, or move much at all. "I got swept away by this incredible book I'd forgotten I'd acquired a long time ago. I found it in one of the boxes today. I must have missed it when I packed everything up."

Crouched in front of the fire, Sam glances behind him at the book and box mayhem that is their new living room, and at the still half empty shelves around him.

"You're probably going to read all of these before you put them away and we'll be sitting on books and eating off of them for a while, huh? No furniture needed." He smiles and walks over to Diane. His hands take hold of both of her ankles to lift them up, and he takes a seat on the comfortable couch, blanketing his lap with her legs. His head against the back of the couch, he begins to absentmindedly massage one of her feet, then the other.

"Tired?" she tilts her head to take a better look at him. Sam never complains about work at the bar. It's his passion. His life. He does look tired, but Diane understands it to be the good kind of tired. When you're out of breath from running ten miles at full speed, but running ten miles really is all you want to do in life.

"Been a long day, but you know." He smiles at her knowingly, unable to stop a small yawn. "Would have been nicer if you had been there."

Diane had felt a little sinful when asking for the extra day off she wasn't entirely entitled to, but she had wanted to get a move on in putting things away in their new place. Her eyes dart to the results. She really did not accomplished much.

"Shouldn't I be the one giving you a massage?" she offers, out of guilt, and in response to his tender confession.

"Maybe." his eyes are locked on the fire burning across from them. "But we'll call this practice."


"Sure." A nod of his head. "For when you'll really need these after carrying the first little Malone around all day." Sam looks over at her, relaxed and comfortable. He has never found her more beautiful than he does right now, enveloped by the place they've officially called their own for the past couple of weeks. He reminds himself to tell her again later how glad he is she's talked him into this.

"Oh, Sam." With a swelling heart and an intake of breath that seems to gather up all the love she feels for him and distribute it in equal amounts inside her body, Diane sits up. She throws her arms around his neck and brushes her forehead against his temple. Her closeness elicits a sigh of contentment, and he allows his head to lean against her touch, his hands still diligently working on her feet. One of them eventually strays and runs up the length of her leg, all the way up to her knee.

"You know that the first time I saw these babies I nearly had a heart attack?" His fingers tickle the underside of her knee to indicate the object of his thoughts.

Diane smiles as she tries to recall the memory he's evoking. "Was that when I tried to…"

"When you were going to have me arrested for breaking and entering." Sam laughs heartily. "You picked the right outfit to do it in, too. I didn't know if I should be afraid or incredibly turned on."

She nuzzles against his cheek, places a long kiss on his temple, right where her forehead had previously been leaning. "I think I remember you being both."

"Probably, yeah." He laughs again. His hand traces the path from her ankle to her knee once more, but his fingers walk further up her leg this time, slipping underneath the hem of her skirt to press gently into her thigh. Thank God for these dresses she wears, which never present any real obstacle for access to her delectable skin.

"That's the real reason you want to marry me, isn't it? My legs." Diane bites back a smile, relishing his touch the way she does each and every single time he lends his skin to hers.

Sam deciphers her tone straight away and figures he'll play along. "It's one of the reasons." his hand moves further up her leg now, the perceived tremor to her frame bringing a grin to his lips as his fingers move inward, toward the warm space where her thighs meet.

"What um... other reasons... are there?" Sam beams at how her voice is already betraying her thus far quiet response to his touch. He loves how quickly she invariably disarms under his affections.

Sam looks contemplative for a second. "Well… let's see here."

Slipping out from underneath the fabric of her dress, his hand comes up to push her hair back and off of her shoulder. "There's... your golden hair." he says, tangling his fingers in her mane as his thumb draws back some of the loose thin strands that had clung to her warm skin. Keeping his hand closed around the blonde softness, he moves in closer to kiss her eyelids, one at a time. "Your eyes..." His mouth drags beyond her cheek, pulls on a lobe, careful not to nibble - though he's learned a better technique since their spat over the matter, he knows better than to risk anything that might break the spell currently taking shape. "Your ears."

Sam meets her gaze briefly before letting it drop a little lower. "Your little know-it-all, stuck up nose." he chuckles, before surrounding the object of his attention with his teeth and daring a playful bite.

Diane is too enthralled to be able to respond to his teasing and find an appropriate comeback, or even attempt to resist anything he's doing. The streaks of skin Sam's leaving his mark on are tingling with delight, and yearning for more. That's all she can focus on at the moment. All she wants to focus on.

She closes her eyes, and as she does, his hand finds the first button on the low collar of her dress. Sam slowly removes it from its hole as his eyes take her in. They fixate on her lips first, but he decides not to go there yet, to save that for later, and instead draws his attention to her long, graceful neck.

He continues. There's your…" his hand moves to the second button on her dress along with his words. Leaning over, Sam presses his lips to the side of her neck, just in time to catch her swallowing with anticipation. He moans the word, "... neck." He leaves a second kiss on the skin there, a little closer to its center. "The way it makes for a perfect path down to your…" Sam lowers his mouth to the flat plane at the top of her chest area. He closes his mouth around the protruding collarbone, inhaling her perfume as he does. The sweet scent never fails to make him a little light headed.

The last button on the upper half of her dress comes undone and Sam parts the fabric to touch his palm to her stomach and slide over her left breast. Diane's eyes fly open and she leans her lips against his ear before he can say another word. "You don't have to include them as a reason, we both know there's not much there." Every joke Carla has made about her being chest-less replays in her mind, and Diane feels, for maybe the first time, a little sorry that her upper body isn't a little fuller. She's always been secretly fearful that Sam might share Carla's views on the subject. Not that he's ever mentioned it or seemed in the least bothered by it.

"Not much?!" Sam sounds appalled. His tone brings a chuckle out of Diane, giving her no choice but to push her insecurities aside. His eagerness is unmistakable in the way his hand moves around to her back to unclasp her brassiere. Unable to remove it due to the restraints of her dress, and unwilling to break away from her to do it, he pulls down on the left cup to free her indeed small, but perky breast. His palm leans against the sensitive skin, drawing a small circle that brings forth the first small gasp out of Diane. "There's plenty here, what are you talking about?" He musters up all the gentleness gathered in his thumb and grazes the taut nipple, back and forth. "They take you where they're supposed to take you, don't they?" His voice turns coarse and he runs his tongue over his lips with barely concealed hunger, as he watches the pink areola tighten under his touch.

"Absolutely n..." Diane tries to fight his arguments for the sake of fighting, but he's right. He's so right. As if to further prove it to her, his hand moves to the other breast to lavish it with the same attention and her head falls backwards with an uncontrollable pleasured sigh. At both his touch and at the vanishing of every doubt in her mind that that said she was not enough for him.

With Sam's focus on her torso, Diane manages to quickly unbutton his shirt, feeling her strength slowly slip away as Sam's mouth covers her neck again, sucking on the tender skin just below her jaw. Once his shirt is untucked and the last button freed, Sam lifts himself up from under her legs, and rapidly casts the piece of clothing aside.

One hand on the back of the couch for support, he hovers over Diane's contorting body and lets her hands fumble with the buckle on his belt and the button and zipper on his pants, before standing up to kick those off, too, as soon as they hit the floor. In a beat, Sam slips one arm under her knees and wraps his other one around her midsection.

"I think my next reasons are better shown, sweetheart."

He gently scoops her up into his arms and carries her over the few steps that separate them from the burning fireplace. With the same care, Sam slowly kneels to lay Diane upon the soft rug - the one piece of decoration they have managed to agree on and buy that week - watching as she sprawls on the fluffy surface like a cat waiting to be caressed. Sam wonders if she's aware of how sexy she is, laying there, one leg bent at the knee, causing her skirt to bunch up at her waist, revealing her black, silk lacy underwear that so loudly contrasts with the angelic pattern of her dress.

His body covers Diane's again and he brings his mouth to trail after her hands as she undoes the rest of her button down dress, kissing every newly uncovered patch of skin. Patiently, he makes room when she lifts herself towards him to remove her arms from each sleeve and free herself of the already unclasped piece of underwear. The glow of the fire dances on her skin, and Sam follows its movements, hypnotized, awoken only when her hands cup his face and she brings his lips to her own, at last.

He falls easily into her kiss, letting his tongue join hers in a sensual wrestling match, feeling the first few sparks of the all too familiar, and always welcome electricity their physical bond gives off.

"Mmm, yes. Your mouth. Definitely a big, important reason." he manages to mumble as he pulls away for an intake of air before willingly diving back into an oxygen-less world.

Diane smiles against his lips. "Will you be quiet, already?" her arms climb around his torso to wrap around his back. Her fingertips dig into his shoulder blades and she pulls him closer for another kiss, feeling her skin begin to burn from both the friction and the heat emanating from the fireplace.

Her hands run down his spine to find the waistband of his briefs, and she wills her fingers to slip underneath the fabric, giving his toned buttocks a squeeze. It surprises Diane each time, how even though she's now had Sam in bed a good amount of times, the want for him seems to only increase whenever they make love. Renewed, as if every time is always the very first time. With a tug, she manages to slide his briefs down, and, breaking away from their increasingly breathless exchange, she catches a glimpse of his waist area between the two of them.

"I think your biggest reason has just been revealed." her voice is husky, her tone sultry and provocative.

Sam follows her eyes, unable to argue with the sight of his hard-on, which has been building up since the first reason-to-marry he had offered her several minutes ago while they were still tangled up on the couch.

"Before we get to that one, though." Yearning to take her but needing her to know, he takes both of her hands in his, intertwines their fingers, and pins her arms down alongside her head on the rug, trapping her against the floor. "Can I tell you my main - the real reason?"

His voice is soft and meaningful, and Diane finds herself grow weaker under his gaze, wanting his power over her to linger while also desperately wishing for him to release her so she can feel the sweet electrocution of his skin again.

"What's the real reason?" she responds with the same softness, her eyes steady on his right above her.

"I want to marry you because..." He pauses to make sure her gaze isn't leaving his within the few seconds he needs to let the words out. "When you looked up from your champagne glass, sad and hopeless, and searched my face, a stranger then, for a little bit of comfort, I was able to see my entire future inside those bright, big blue eyes."

Diane draws in a deep breath at his sudden honesty. The teasing tone has now completely vanished to make way for both remembrance and a certainty that is both reassuring and altogether dizzying.

She feels his grip on her wrists let up and her hands reach up to his face at last, one pressed against each of his cheeks. Her mouth finds his brow, his eyelid and finally his lips, parted and patiently waiting. "Love me, Sam." she asks, her legs instinctively folding to wrap around his waist. "Love me, now. I need you to."

His mouth kisses hers again and Diane can tell his meaning has shifted. The kiss is hotter, more unforgiving, more urgent. One of his hands cradles the back of her head while the other runs down the side of her torso to find its home at her hip, touching the thin material of what is the last barrier between them. Without breaking the kiss, Sam pushes her down onto the rug again, and it is when her back fully touches the ground that his mouth finally leaves hers to drag along her chin, and under it, down the line of her neck.

He stops at her chest to capture each nipple in his mouth, drawing out another set of those unrestrained sounds of pleasure from her he loves so much, and is constantly searching for. His fingers are already working on her panties and pulling them off of her legs as his tongue runs a line across her stomach straight down to her navel. "How is it that you taste this good?" he asks, closing his eyes to breathe her in. Sam knows her body so well now, and yet it always humbles him to realize he can't get enough of it. He doubts he ever will.

"Sam." she begs, and he understands her plea all too well. One hand planted on the rug on each side of her shoulders, he lifts himself to bridge perfectly, directly above her. Patience thrown to the wind, Diane's hips leave the ground to find him, and Sam uses one of his hands to guide himself inside her, deeply, and languidly.

They move together for a while, meaningfully and at times teasingly, with Sam purposely slowing down when Diane tries to speed up, pushing harder into her when her hips slow their bucking against him, and eliciting a surprised gasp each time, from the depths of her throat.

Soon enough, their bodies are sweating from both their back and forth dance and the heat of the fire kissing their bare skin, and Sam knows he has pushed himself past the point of no return. He catches one of her hands, taking her pointer finger in his mouth to try and stop himself from groaning too loudly when the intensity of his release catches him almost off guard. Diane smiles at his attempted restraint, kissing him fully as his strained groan echoes its final notes in her mouth.

His whole body still quivering, Sam recovers just enough to look at her, his forehead pressed against Diane's as he speaks in a few ill paced breaths. "Are you close, honey?" he asks, still inside her but aware he's going to need his break soon.

"What do you think?" her eyes burn into his with an exploding mix of lust and pleasure, and love. Sam smiles that devilish smile of his, and Diane understands she's to brace herself.

"Alright, then." Like before, he lowers her body fully onto the rug and waits for her to be completely comfortable. He pulls himself out of her, all the while watching confusion overcome her features, amused, that same smile still all over his face, like the cat that ate the canary.

"Reason number… where were we, again? Five hundred?" a gross exaggeration, but Sam suspects he could come up with that many if really pressed for it. He moves to position himself between her legs, one hand on each of her hips to steady her frame. "The knowledge that, if everything else fails, I can always take you to heaven like this."

Before Diane has time to prepare, Sam has her hips lifted towards him and his tongue is running up the length of her opening, the warmth of his mouth stronger than any heat she had felt that night. His lips capture her clit and she wonders, with a nearly faint mind, if she'll ever be able to catch her breath again. Sam's tongue feels like velvet, masterful against her, and she soon finds herself whimpering beyond control as she feels the build up of her own release.

The knowledge of having her on the brink only tells Sam to increase the pressure of his tongue, and he keeps her in his mouth when her body finally writhes under his steady hands, that hold her in place and make her escape an impossible endeavor. Diane cries out in irrepressible ecstasy, and he moans against her taste on his lips, reluctantly relinquishing his grip on her body, and allowing her her sweet respite.

Diane's breathing is still hissing when he lays down by her side, his head turning to take in her profile, her heaving chest, the beads of sweat dripping down her neck, the disheveled blond hair clinging to her face and jawline.

"Should we call this practice, too?" Sam's grin has yet to leave his face.

"Shut up." Her eyes are on the ceiling, as she tries desperately to get her breathing back to a steady pace, and fails to slap his arm like she'd meant to.

Sam laughs at her aimless attempt and turns on his side, propping his head on his hand to look down at her body, still reeling from what he had, proudly too, just done to it.

"This rug was a great buy. Imagine what we'll be able to do once we agree on a center table."

He's impossible, and the chuckle Diane's been trying to suppress is finally released.

"We should go looking for one tomorrow." Her eyes catch his, dark and laced with the remainders of what they have just shared.

"That soon?" his fingers find hers resting on top of her still unsteady abdomen, and he brings the back of her hand to his lips.

Diane runs her knuckles across his damp mouth. "Let's just say I don't want to wait too long to show you my reasons."