Diane saw she was the first to wake up. That was actually surprising, in itself—she always was something of a slumbercat. Perhaps it was the unusual locale. Regardless, she was awake, and the alarm hadn't even ringed.
She turned to look at Sam. He was on his back, sleeping like the proverbial log. Diane smiled, propping her head up with her arm. She couldn't resist doodling on his chest with her index finger—briefly catching herself wishing his shirt was off.
Oh…objectification, Diane? And yet, Diane knew he wouldn't have minded the thought. In fact, it was a given he'd love it—too much. And he wouldn't let her hear the end of it. Particularly considering how she'd had her fun with Sam, after he'd slipped the night before…and said she was beautiful.
Diane's smile grew at this. Oh, Sam… The truth was, she wasn't at all surprised he thought that—he'd certainly flirted with her often enough, these past several months, to prove it. But to hear him actually say it…well, she'd felt so elated, and so flattered, she honestly couldn't resist opening her eyes and thanking him.
And—well, of course he'd panic at that. One thing she noticed about Sam Malone was…it was so difficult for him to "open up", to be vulnerable. But inside the cold-hearted, misogynist lothario was a sweet, romantic heart. She'd first seen hints of it when he gave that false story about how her eyes reminded him of the sky off the slopes of a ski resort…or was it so false, after all? And then, when he'd admitted to her how her being here, at Cheers, had effectively re-awakened his conscience. And when dear Elizabeth had passed away…and he'd shared her tears, and comforted her.
And now…he'd let down his guard for a moment, brushing her cheek…and said she was beautiful.
Diane leaned over him, and kissed him on the lips. He certainly deserved that much.
She smiled down at his sleeping face. "You're not so bad yourself, Mr. Malone."
After a moment, Diane left the cot, brushing herself off as she stood. With any luck, the plows had come by, and she could drive back to her apartment, to prepare for the day. She took her purse, and opened the door—
"Yeah, don't I know it," called out Sam Malone.
Diane froze, her eyes wide. Why—why that…!
She turned to him, to see him sit up, laughing and shaking his head.
"Now we're even, huh?" he grinned at her.
Diane swallowed, feeling her hands clench into fists. "You—you…Sam Malone—" she cried out, "Are the most shameless—contemptible man I've ever encountered in my LIFE!"
Sam shrugged, his face completely innocent. "So we're even?"
Diane said nothing, feeling her body tremble at this—and not only in rage. And then the alarm clock rang. Diane seized it, and threw it across the room. The noise stopped.
Sam kept his smirk, as she rose to his feet. "You know, you're gonna have to buy me a new one."
Diane smiled back at him, all her negative feelings purged by the throw. "It was worth it."
"I'm sure it was. Good pitch, by the way."
Diane sighed. "I'll see you when my shift begins, Sam."
As she walked to the office door, Sam replied in a warm, almost tender tone, "See you then, sweetheart."
Her back to him, Diane closed her eyes, and mentally counted to ten. And then she left, and that was that.