Diane couldn't believe what Sam had just put her through. It had been what was seemingly the longest five minutes of her life, and Sam had put her through the wringer, for sure, but now she had felt a sense of relief like she had never felt before. Sam didn't pick up a drink. It was that simple. She had been so sure that he was going to relapse that she had offered to get drunk in his place, but as it turns out, that was unnecessary. He'd had no intention of drinking, just to find a new lucky charm.

Baseball players could be so superstitious at times. But this was no ordinary superstition- Sam had placed his sobriety in a simple little bottle cap. Oh well, she supposed, as long as it worked, then she didn't see what the harm was. Sam was sober, and for that, no matter what had transpired or not transpired between them, Diane was eternally grateful.

Why was she so worried about his future? Sam was a bartender, he was surrounded by alcohol, he was an adult. He could pick up a drink any time he wanted to. But he hadn't. He'd committed himself to something, probably for the first time in his life, and he'd stuck with it. Words couldn't' express how proud of him she was. It suddenly occurred to her that no one, certainly not one of his barflies, had said those four little words that he deserved to hear.

"I'm proud of you," Diane smiled sincerely.

"What was that?"

"I said I'm proud of you. I know that it hasn't been easy on you lately, but you hung in there, and I just think you ought to know that."

Sam looked surprised. Diane the intellectual was always looking her nose down at him, so when she said it, he had no other choice but to believe her.

"Thanks, Diane. Did you really think I was going to go through with it?"

"No, of course not."

"You did too. Just goes to show that you don't know me the way you think you do."

"Maybe you're right. I don't know you very well, for all of the time we spent together. And I think that we should do something about it."

"Really? You'd go to bed with me just because I didn't drink? I'll have you know I didn't pick up a drink every day for the last five years. Seems like we've got some catching up to do," Sam grinned.

She just shook her head. Yes, he was still the same Sam Malone that she knew all along. "You'll have to try harder than that, Sam. Don 't you know I'm hard to get?"

Boy did he know it. Never in his life had he had to try so hard just to score with a chick, and he hadn't even accomplished that with Diane yet. She'd better be worth it, he thought to himself. "I'll have you know so am I. Try me. Tell me you want to go to bed with me."

She looked at him curiously. "Okay, I want to go to bed with you."

"Okay but just once."

Diane couldn't help but laugh. She may have admitted her pride in him, but what she would not admit that she was at least a little bit curious about his boyish side. When he was relaxed and not being so stubborn, he could actually be quite pleasant to be around.

"Anyways, Diane, I guess I owe you a thanks. For staying here with me. I know you didn't have to, but you did anyways. Thank you. Why did you do it anyways?"

Why did she do it? She had no control over him. He was free to do whatever he pleased. "I don't know, Sam. I would have done it for anyone."

"Really? You would have stayed up all night with Norm?"

"Okay, not anyone. But I had to do it. I couldn't leave you when you needed me the most. It wouldn't have been humane."

"So now you're saying I'm a human?"

She smiled. "Yes, I guess I am."

He looked at her for a moment, and before either of them knew what was happening Diane found herself on the receiving end of one of Sam's famous kisses. It took only seconds, but to Diane, it had felt like a lifetime. A lifetime of waiting, wasting time leading to this moment. Oh, she knew why she did what she did, but she still wasn't about to let Sam know the real reason- that she cared.

Finally she pulled back, and they both smiled at each other. Then Diane cleared her throat. "I guess I'll see you tomorrow?"

"You bet. Oh, Diane, one more thing…"

She looked at him with curiosity.

Before she could protest, he leaned in for a longer, much more meaningful kiss, and this time Diane knew that the game had changed. She would no longer see Sam Malone as the walking playboy, but as a real life human being, and that was a fine place to start.