Mornings and Love, Part 1

When Sam first saw the Colonel there, on the bed, she had to work hard to hide the smile. So the Colonel's a cuddler? she thought. Who'da thought it?

They drew nearer, and as they attempted several times to wake him, she sighed. He's so cute with his hair all messed up, she thought admiringly.

Something jolted her. Wait a minute, she thought. NO ONE looked "cute" first thing in the morning. Scrunched-up face with a bad expression, messed-up hair, and bad breath were NOT cute.

Then something in her distant memory seeped through. She remembered, not too long before her mother's accident, she'd had a bad day because a boy had rejected her.

That night, her mother and she had wrapped up in blankets, drank cocoa, and watched some sappy soap opera. And her mother had said to her: "These are some signs to look for:

1) If you can't go one day without thinking of him tenderly, even when you're fighting –

2) If you want to squeeze him until his head shoots off from the pressure when you two finally make up –

3)And if you think he looks cute first thing in the morning – 'cos we BOTH know NO ONE looks cute first thing in the morning – then

It's love.

Sam's eyes went WIDE. Oh…CRAP, she thought, shuddering inside. All her heart could think about was how GOOD it was just to SEE him, safe, cuddling.

Her mind wandered back to the morning after her second or third date with Pete. He'd been such an ass then, giving her the third degree then storming out. She'd – stupidly, she realized now – forgiven him, but they had frequent bouts over her work, even now. He drove her crazy! A large part of her never wanted to see him again. There when sign #1. She'd still felt uneasy and hurt even when he gave her his puppy dog eyes and flowers to make up for the previous argument.

But there was ONE thing she was POSITIVE would never happen:

Pete Shanahan would

NEVER

look good first thing in the morning.