It had been six months to the day that Diane had walked out of the doors and out of Sam's life. So much had changed. Her book, the blessed book that she was supposed to have finished in that time, lay before her no closer to being finished than what it was six months ago. It needed at least another six months more work before being completed. And she had devoted so much of herself to this project, how could she not see it through? It had become a part of her. It had became her child. She'd birthed this project to fruition, and she owed to herself to see it through. That much she was certain of. Whenever she felt like giving up she pictured her face on the back cover of the book and the thought of it made her smile. She imagined walking into Cheers with a copy for every one of her friends, especially Carla. She couldn't wait to show that troll doll how far she had made it in her life. And then there were her professional colleagues. She was sure to be the toast of the town. There would be dinner parties in her honor, awards, perhaps. Simple recognition for her life's work. It would definitely be most gratifying to be recognized among these snobs who had not paid any attention to her when she was waitressing at Cheers. To be the guest of honor at awards ceremonies! Diane relished the thought.

But whenever Diane let herself daydream these outlandish dreams, one thought pulled her back to reality. This thought had a name, and it was Sam Malone. This former Red Sox relief picture, Mayday Malone, just wouldn't leave her alone, in her mind and her heart anyways. He hadn't actually physically tried to contact her, nor did they agree that he would. They had agreed that she would come back to him in six months once her book was finished. But the problem was, her book was not finished. She had a simple resolution. Another six months and then she would return to Boston. Easy as that. Of course, she couldn't tell Sam her plans. Certainly he would figure it out when she didn't show up. She would just wait until the time was right. The book would say it all. He would be so happy to see her then certainly he could forgive her absence. Diane settled it. Six more months and then she would be back in the arms of the man that she loved.

But the funny thing was, she was fulfilling part of herself writing this book. It was challenging a part of herself that would never be touched working at Cheers. But she was lonely. She did not have her family, the way she did at Cheers. Every day she missed the camaraderie of the bar. She even missed Carla, although she would never admit to it. She missed being part of the group shouting "Norm!" (or in her case "Norman!") to the beloved regular. She missed hearing tales of Coach's legendary tales of getting injured just to impress the ladies. She was even beginning to miss Woody's homegrown tales of Hanover, Indiana. She was homesick for Boston. Most of all, Diane Chambers missed Sam.

The way they fought pushed her over the edge. He pushed every single button she ever had. He made her want to hit something, anything, even him. Sometimes she didn't know whether to slap him or kiss him so she did both. She'd never had a man drive her so wild with pure unbridled passion. Sam may not have been her intellectual equal, but he met her with passion, completely and totally. And he made her laugh. Behind the laughter, behind the jokes was a little boy that she could play with. Behind the bravado that the men at the bar saw was the man she got to hold hands with and laugh with until four in the morning. That was the man she wanted to protect from the cruelties of the world. The man who once lost his lucky bottle cap who revealed to her the meaning of it. It was the cap of the last beer he'd ever drank. She'd watched him open a new beer and she'd become terrified he would drink it. It turns out all he needed was the cap. She'd never been more proud of him in her life. That was the Sam Malone she knew and loved, the one the world did not see.

Why was she torturing herself like this? Why let herself think about a man she would not see for another half a year? She had to get back to her book. Sam had had his dream. It was her time in the sun. It was her turn at bat. Sam wouldn't have given it all up for a girl. Why should she give it up for a man? Men come and go but dreams come around once in a lifetime. What is her dream?

Her dream is to be married to Sam Malone. What is she doing? She can finish this book while married to Sam. Who's to say she couldn't? She may not be able to waitress anymore but certainly she can be married. She can make it work. She must make it work. She hasn't made it work in the past six months without him. If she can't make it without him why not try to make it with him? Diane realized that she owed it to herself to try. She would be foolish to keep making the same mistake. All of a sudden it was too clear that the reason the book hadn't come together was because she wasn't happy. And the reason she wasn't happy was because she wasn't with the man she loved. She was deluding herself if she thought that she could live one more minute without Sam Malone. She had to go to Boston. There was no time to wait!

Diane did what any crazed woman in love would do. She packed all of her bags and left a note for her publisher. Then she grabbed the next flight to Boston.

She took her bags with her, she didn't even settle into a hotel. She walked right into Cheers right from the cab. She wore a wool cap, a heavy winter jacket, and held down four suitcases, but she was home.

Sam looked up at her, slid a beer around the corner of the bar to Norm without looking, and said nothing.

"Well," she announced triumphantly. "I'm back."

"I can see that." Sam commented.

"I didn't know you were gone." Carla remarked.

"Not now." Sam whispered.


Sam walked out of the bar and approached Diane. "You look….warm."

"I look warm? You've got to be kidding me. That's the best you've got? I've been gone six months and the best you've got is I' look warm?" Diane said, tears forming in her eyes.

"Why don't you set your bags down in my office. Come on, let me grab those for you."

Sam carried her bags, underestimating how heavy they really were.

Once they were alone, the two of them stood in silence for a minute.

"So, how are you?" Diane finally asked.

"Good, good. How are you?"

"I'm good. You know, I haven't finished my book yet. It's coming along nicely."

"I'm happy to hear that." Sam said sincerely, crossing his arms across his chest.

After a few moments of silence, Diane spoke up. "Oh, Sam. Have I made a mistake? What am I doing here? I thought things would be different between us and here you are and here I am and I just…I don't know, things aren't what I want them to be."

"What do you want them to be?"

"I want us again, Sam. We were supposed to be married. I want us to be married. I don't care about my book. I can't do it unless I'm with you. My place in Boston with you. I learned that I don't need to go half way across the country to find my inspiration. You're my inspiration. Nothing was right without you and if I go back there nothing will be right again. Everyone here is my family and you are the one I love. I always pride myself on being a strong woman, but I've found that I get my strength from you. Sam. You make me a better woman. We may not be exactly equals in all areas but we don't have to be. You understand me and it takes a wise person to show me the kind of understanding you've shown me. I can't find that kind of understanding in the most educated of men. Sam, marry me. Please. I don't want to spend one more night not being Mrs. Sam Malone."

Sam took a deep breath. "Wow, Diane, I had no idea you felt this way. I know I missed you and things just weren't the same around here. I've never met a chick like you. You make me mad and happy at the same time. I want to bounce you off of every wall in this room but then turn around and kiss you and I don't know why that is. Diane, will you marry me?"

Diane nodded. "Yes." And then she ran to Sam and kissed him passionately.

"We have so much to do. We have to buy our rings. We have to get our justice of the peace after we get our license. I have to get a dress. Let's get this done. " Diane said excitedly.

And so, that day, Diane Chambers became Mrs. Sam Malone. She never did finish her book, but she embarked on the story of a lifetime.

```-fin please review!!!