A/N: Wow…I never thought I'd actually be writing a fanfic since I've been so absorbed in my Dark Shadows RPG on MySpace, but now that I have, I'm pretty excited to be back! I don't believe I've ever seen any Joe/Carolyn fics on here, and I think they should've stayed together – sorry, Maggie/Joe fans, but they're BORING! lol Willie had a torch for Maggie, so she can go with him – 'nuff said. ;0P

---Note--- Please keep in mind that I haven't seen any of the episodes prior to Barnabas' arrival (that will change come August…YES!), so I don't really know anything about how Joe/Carolyn met, nor what Joe does for a living. I assume he's a fisherman, so that's what I've done for this fic. They're also not a couple when this starts off, but that will be rectified by the end. This is a ONE-SHOT, meaning that there's only one chapter, so don't be expecting anymore unless you really, REALLY want me to make more. lol This is also one of those humorous, cutesy fics that borders along the lines of being saccharine – ok, so not THAT severe, but there's a nice little hint of sweetness. Now enough of my babbling! Please review, and of course, ENJOY! ;0)

Drifters

"Any room for a lady?"

Joe Haskell paused from un-securing the rope to his fishing boat, his eyes straying up to find a charmingly sweet face glowing back at him from the dock.

"Oh, well hi there, Carolyn" he greeted. "I don't think you'll find anything interesting onboard, but…" He trailed off, barely able to suppress a small smile as Carolyn began to stubbornly swing her legs over the side of the boat.

Once inside, Carolyn pretended to dust off her hands before remarking, "It's a nice day for once out here – think we could go sailing, or something?"

Joe immediately shook his head. "Carolyn, I've got a shipment to make still, and besides, I-"

"My uncle's in charge of this entire town, so I think you can miss one little shipment" the blonde insisted, now smirking at the exasperated look upon his face. "What, you don't believe me?"

Joe didn't respond, a resigned smile crossing his lips as he knelt down to finish untying the rope that anchored them to shore.

Bounding up alongside him, Carolyn swiped the cap from his head before jauntily placing it a top her own. "What do you think?" she asked, twirling around so that he could get a decent view from every angle. "Does it look better on me?"

Joe smirked. "Oh, most assuredly, Miss Stoddard."

"Good answer" Carolyn teased, laughing as she helped him up and to his feet. "Where will you be taking your much better-looking first mate, Captain Haskell? Someplace sunny, I hope?"

"Wherever you want – you did hijack my boat, after all" Joe returned, giving her a good-natured smile before heading over into the cabin.

As he did so, Carolyn leaned against the railing of the boat and peered out over the water. The waves lapped against the siding and the gulls dipped tantalizingly close to the surf, her hair partaking in a relentless game of tag with the wind that had her considerably irritated. Once Joe returned and joined her, however, her foul mood brightened once more.

"Hey Joe" she ventured, "I noticed when I got onboard that your boat's name is Sally – was that your first girlfriend, or something?"

"No…that was my mom's name."

"Oh." Sending him a winning smile, Carolyn persisted, "Well if you were to get another boat, what would you think of naming it after me? I have a nice name, don't I?"

Joe's eyebrows drew upward in surprise, yet he couldn't help but chuckle at her suggestion. He'd always admired Carolyn for her warmth and infectious spirit, but was that enough to make him name a boat after her?

When he failed to respond, Carolyn gave a smirk before pushing away from the railing and heading over toward the cabin.

"What are you doing?"

"You'll see" she returned in a sing-song manner, grinning once she'd found what she was searching for. As she egressed the cabin, she began fiddling with the knobs of the transistor radio until she found the station that she desired. Sending Joe a mischievous smile, she inquired hopefully, "Dance with me?"

Joe immediately shook his head. "Ooh, no, not me – ever since I threw up on Judy Simmons on prom night, I've been kind of leery about dancing in general."

Carolyn threw her head back in a delighted laugh. "Oh Joe, that was so long ago! If you dance with me, I promise that the worst that will happen is A) I'll make you dry clean my dress, and B) you'll have to have dinner with me this evening. Now is that a punishment far worse than death?"

Joe grinned. "Well that depends entirely on the dinner – will you be the one cooking?"

"Joe!" Giving him a good-natured smack on the arm, Carolyn turned up the radio before holding out her hand. "Dance with me, now?"

"Carolyn…"

"Please?"

Sighing, Joe felt his lips curling upward into a small smirk as he gave a resigned nod. "Alright" he agreed, "but only if you promise not to cook."

"Well how could I possibly say no to a sweet remark like that?" Carolyn teased, her fingers gently interlocking with his as he pulled her closed into his warm embrace.

Smiling into her sunshine blonde hair, Joe marveled at how small and delicate she felt within his arms. He'd never told Carolyn this before, but ever since they'd first met, he'd always entertained the notion of being her undeclared protector. Despite her often aloof and callous exterior, he liked to believe that she needed him – no, wanted him to be there to look out for her. Joe didn't know why he cared so much about a matriarch's spoiled daughter, but he did – possibly more than he'd ever willingly admit.

"Isn't this the part where you dip me?" came Carolyn's soft voice, the hints of a smile hiding within its velveteen depths as she drew away to assess his gaze.

Joe smiled. "Well if you want a mild concussion, sure – I think I dropped Judy Simmons on her head that night before the whole vomit incident."

Carolyn burst into a fit of laughter at his words, either of her hands coming to rest on his shoulders before she acknowledged, "Well just consider me your second chance, then – you haven't gotten sick yet, after all, so maybe you'll get lucky and won't drop me, either!"

"Well let's not go nuts" Joe teased, his expression softening as he gazed deep into her cerulean irises. He'd always loved her eyes – they were so vibrant, so full of life……just like her.

When Joe finally swayed Carolyn down into a dip, the blonde giggled before giving a dramatic kick of the leg. This motion, unfortunately, was so dramatic that the pair went down like a sack of caught fish, Carolyn's laughter skyrocketing as this time Joe joined her in her mirth.

"Carolyn, I'm going to kill you – I think this little set-back only doubled my anxiety, so thanks a lot" Joe gibed, the blonde placing a hand over her mouth in response as she tried her best to smother her giggling.

"I…I'm sorry" she wheezed, "i-it's just that…that I didn't realize I was as terrible of a dancer as you!"

"Hey!"

Releasing yet another explosion of laughter, Carolyn clutched at her sore middle as tears began to roll down her cheeks, neither she nor Joe seeming to realize nor care that they were still lying within one another's arms.

After a few moments of trying to catch her breath, Carolyn tilted her head to the side and smiled. "Since we've already gone over the clichés of dancing, dipping, and falling into each other's arms, is it finally the part where you kiss me?" she asked, giggling as she innocently batted her lashes.

Joe smiled down at her in wordless admiration, his free hand pausing to rest against the gentle curve of her cheek before fanning out toward her other features. She had an elfin sort of beauty, but it was a beauty that he happened to very much admire. Running a finger along the plush of her lips, he smoothed his finger over one finely shaped arc and then the other, giving a start the moment Carolyn boldly kissed his invasive appendage.

"You're right" she finally decided, "we should break away from the clichés for one second and let me kiss you."

Although Joe was a man who didn't surprise too easily, he couldn't prevent the sudden heat that flooded across his cheeks as he gazed upon her in bewilderment. He'd always wondered what it would be like to hold Carolyn in his arms, yet now that she was actually requesting it, he couldn't help but lose every motor skill that he'd ever been blessed with in his life.

Laughing at the bemused look on Joe's face, Carolyn coyly suggested, "Well if you don't like that idea, you could just meet me half-way…"

No, Joe liked the idea – he liked it a lot, but the biggest problem was actually getting his body to cooperate with his muddled mind. Nodding dumbly, he placed a hand on either side of her face before leaning in, the realization that he'd just kissed her chin rather than her lips causing his eyes to snap open in embarrassment.

Carolyn, however, was laughing to the point of going into hysterics. "Oh, Joe" she giggled, "we can't even kiss right! You'd think two people like us could get such a simple little thing like that down by this point in our lives!"

But he could. Joe knew that he could. As if trying to prove a point to himself and the laughing woman in his arms, Joe cut off Carolyn's expression of mirth by devouring her lips with his in a tantalizingly bruising kiss. She was soft, and her lips even softer, his hands now cupping her cheeks as he deepened the kiss by slanting his mouth roughly over hers.

Carolyn had to admit that she was pleasantly surprised by Joe's sudden surge of courage, her arms wrapping about his neck as she nibbled on his bottom lip and worried it in between her teeth. The frantic and artless kisses that followed left Carolyn dizzy and with a sensation akin to drowning, yet the moment she reached shaking hands to unbutton her blouse, Joe immediately stopped her.

"I thought we weren't going to do any clichés" he whispered, a warm smile coming to his lips as he righted her clothing.

Carolyn gave him a smile of her own as she remembered this was precisely why she loved him, her arms linking about his neck as she added, "Well then, I hope that another kiss isn't too cliché…"

Joe laughed and said it wasn't.

A/N: Reviews aren't cliche, either :-D