Pairings/Characters: Clark Kent, Hal Jordan, J’onn J’onzz, Barry Allen, Bruce Wayne, Steve/Diana, Dinah Lance, Various OCs
Genres: Challenge, Fluff, Hurt/Comfort, Romance, Slice-Of-Life
Warnings: (Ch. 5: Depiction of burn victim, Ch. 7: Near-drowning)
Summary: After a bruising battle, members of the Justice League of America go off for rest and recovery, and Steve insists that Diana accompany him to a special place.
Beta: The fantastic starsandsea! :)
Artist: The wonderfully talented paynesgrey! :) Link: http://archiveofourown.org/works/5101385
Dates Of Completion: May 1, 2015-May 30, 2015
Date Of Posting: October 30, 2015/October 31, 2015
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, DC does, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 10,967
Feedback welcome and appreciated.
Author’s Notes: Written for the 2015 dcu_bang. The entire series can be found here. Some links of interest: Cutty Sark Motel/Long Sands Beach: http://www.cuttysarkmotel.com/ Sun 'N' Surf Restaurant: http://sunandsurfyork.com/ Goldenrod Restaurant: https://www.thegoldenrod.com/
Joan's Beach & Gift Shop: https://www.google.com/#q=joan%27s+gift+shop+york+maine (The shop doesn't have its own website but this page shows what it looks like.)
As the Gods fought,
Their blood raining down
In a vale of sorrow.
"Rage Of The Olympians"
The earth shook with the force of the battle. People watched in horrified fascination over the skies of Washington, D.C. The giant mechanized robots glinted in the sun of a mid-June day. Most people had abandoned their cars and were taking refuge in various buildings and monuments. Cautious citizens peeked out from the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials. Some more adventurous types stood by the iron fence in front of the White House, watching the battle and what was going at the presidential residence.
The Justice League of America was out in full force. Superman did quick hit-and-runs since the robots emitted Green Kryptonite rays. Green Lantern’s ring was toppling a robot while the Martian Manhunter caught it so that it would not smash the Capitol. Wonder Woman sent a robot reeling with the force of her blow. The Flash was creating a whirlwind around one robot and Superman caught this one as it toppled. Black Canary and Green Arrow were out of sight but they had their own tasks. Batman was piloting his plane and harassing a robot at the edge of the city.
Steve Trevor piloted a U.S. Air Force jet. The men he commanded flew in precise formations behind him.
“Blue Leader to team. Fan out and each take a target. Hit-and-run and evasive maneuvers. Don’t let those bots get a bead on you.”
“Copy that, Blue Leader.”
Steve chose his target and swooped down with guns blazing. He cursed as the projectiles bounced harmlessly off silver metal. The best that he and his fellow pilots could do was being a distraction.
He flew up out of range and saw Wonder Woman precisely land a blow on one robot. It staggered back, swaying as it tried to regain its balance. He headed straight for it.
The robot shook as Steve let loose a barrage of bullets. Wonder Woman landed a flurry of blows, catching the robot as it fell.
“Go, Angel,” Steve murmured.
The battle was wild but the Justice League was making headway. The Air Force pilots were providing a valuable distraction. So far the tactics they were using were keeping everyone in the squad alive.
Thank heaven for big favors.
Steve blasted away at a new target. The robot emitted beams of light from its eyes and clipped one wing of his jet. Warning lights and siren came on as the jet yawed, then rolled as it took further hits. Struggling to right his plane, Steve narrowly avoided another beam.
After several fruitless minutes of trying to right his plane, Steve quickly hit the eject button and flew up into the sky, the parachute opening as he began to drift downward. He knew that if one of the robots spotted him that he was a sitting duck, but there was no help for it. He prayed that the machines were far too busy to pay attention to him.
Ordinarily he would enjoy gently swaying in the wind and seeing the earth below him, but right now he wanted speed, and preferably a good hiding place. He needed to regroup and make sure that he could help and not just get in the way.
It was the longest parachute drop of his life. He watched the battle as he drifted down, glad to see that he was heading for the suburbs instead of landing on hard concrete. He anxiously looked for Wonder Woman, wincing as she took a massive blow that sent her flying into the IADC building. The wind gusted and he was blown over a copse of trees. His boots touched the branches and he swung his weight, hoping to land free and clear of any snags.
He prepared his body for the landing and touched ground with a jolt, the parachute spreading out fan-like behind him. He quickly got out of his harness and hurried to the edge of the woods.
He had been extremely lucky to land on a wooded cliff that gave him a good vantage point. He could see the enormous robots towering over Washington and the small figures of the JLA darting around them. He took out a small pair of enhanced field glasses from a pouch on his belt.
Steve followed the battle’s progress. To his strategic mind, it looked as if the JLA was making headway. He heard a car horn and looked down at the road below, seeing a steady stream of cars and buses. The good citizens of Washington, D.C., were fleeing the city.
Can’t say as I blame ‘em.
He dug out his cell phone. “Major Trevor here. I had to bail out after my plane was hit. What are your orders?”
“Where are you now?”
“On a cliff outside the city. I can see the battle from here.”
“Stay there and continue with eyewitness reports.”
“Yes, sir.” Steve ignored the bumps and bruises from his landing. “Martian Manhunter is making a run. He is getting a good lick in. Superman is avoiding the Kryptonite beams. He’s letting Batman run interference for him while zeroing in a target.”
Steve kept up a running commentary, keeping his voice extra-steady as he described Wonder Woman’s actions. “Wonder Woman is attacking one target in tandem with Green Lantern.” Thank heaven for Hal. “They’re gaining some traction. Green Lantern is using a battering ram and Wonder Woman is flying straight for her target.” Steve gripped his cell phone with white knuckles. “The target is using beams and knocking her back into a building. Debris is raining down on the street below.”
Steve kept his eyes on Wonder Woman as he reported on Green Lantern’s play. His peripheral vision showed him enough. What he needed was to make sure that his Angel was okay.
Wonder Woman leapt right back into the fray. Relieved, Steve expanded his commentary. His right shoulder and thigh were really beginning to hurt.
During a lull in the action he stretched, trying to work out the tension in his shoulders and neck. He winced as his bruised shoulder protested the movement.
I could use a good massage from Diana.
The thought was tempting. He just hoped they would have the opportunity to tend to each other’s hurts soon. The peace and tranquility of the Watchtower sounded pretty good to him right now.
A terrible screeching noise rent the air. Covering his ears, Steve watched as the combined efforts of the Martian Manhunter and Superman split a robot in two. The rending of metal sounded excruciating. The cars on the road below tried to increase their speed, though progress was snail-slow as the traffic jam stretched for miles.
Batman and Wonder Woman paired up next. He distracted their target with a strafing run while the Amazon Princess delivered a blow that made the robot stagger. Suddenly it swung a massive arm and caught Wonder Woman off-guard, and she was sent flying beyond the city limits. Steve watched in horror as she disappeared into the woods, the trees shaking with the force of the impact.
“Angel,” Steve whispered. He quickly said, “Signing off,” and ran in the direction of where Wonder Woman had gone from his sight. He had a good sense of direction and was confident that he would find her.
He quickly made his way through the thick woods, grimacing as his thigh throbbed with every step. His shoulder was screaming at him, and new pain was making itself known in his left wrist and knee.
Damn, that landing wasn’t as soft as I thought.
Struggling with his plane had probably strained his wrist. He had felt something pop when he had maneuvered his damaged jet.
“Wonder Woman! Can you hear me? Answer me, Angel!”
Steve knew the general direction but feared missing her specific location.
Well, I didn’t see her fly up, so she must still be out cold.
That worried him. Diana was usually good in her recovery time.
Steve noticed several broken branches overhead. He was on the right track. He kept going and broke through the brush into a small clearing. Shafts of sunlight illuminated a battered and bloody Amazon.
“Aww, Angel.” Steve knelt down beside her. “Darling, can you hear me?” He brushed strands of hair off her brow. He bit his lip as he noted the ugly bruises on her arms and legs. Blood trickled from a deep cut on her right bicep. She was as powerful as Superman but not quite as invulnerable. “Diana, come on. Please wake up.” He touched her shoulder.
Wonder Woman stirred. “Steve?” she mumbled.
“Right here, Angel.” He helped her sit up.
“You are all right!” She hugged him in relief, then groaned. “Looks like I got…what is the word…clobbered?”
“That’s the word,” Steve said in amusement. He gently rubbed her shoulder. “Let me bandage that cut.”
“There is no time.” Wonder Woman stood, albeit unsteadily. Steve rose with her and held onto her, one hand on her back while cupping her elbow with the other.
“You’re pretty banged up.”
“I have had worse.”
Steve reluctantly knew that she spoke the truth. He had too many post-battle memories of his own. “Be careful, Angel.”
She smiled and took his face in her hands. She kissed him and he responded. He knew that she appreciated his understanding of a Warrior in battle. It was important to them both. When soldiers were needed, they answered the call.
Breaking apart, Wonder Woman looked into his eyes. Words were not necessary between them. Steve kissed the top of her head, and then she was gone.
Steve said a little prayer before he began his limping trek out of the woods.
In a vast sea
Of velvet darkness,
As space and time.
It was blessedly quiet in the Watchtower. The stars outside the windows always comforted Steve. Somehow it seemed fitting for a pilot.
He rubbed his shoulder, grateful for the medical attention to all of his injuries. He was more anxious about Wonder Woman.
He looked down at the pale Amazon hooked up to diagnostic machines in the Medical Center. She had suffered a nasty head injury in addition to cuts and bruises. He was grateful that she healed faster than mere mortals, but wished she had the invulnerability of Superman. She was sleeping now, her wounds bandaged and with an I.V. pumping in fluids. Steve knew that he was supposed to be in bed and if the medical staff caught him, he would be in trouble. He still had to defy them. Picking up Diana’s hand, he spoke softly.
“Darling, I’m here. You and the JLA defeated the robots and caught the mastermind behind them. The citizens of Washington are grateful. So am I.” He kissed her fingers. “Seeing you in action is always a pleasure, if not always relaxing.” He smiled, carefully watching her as she slept. “It’s a shaky thing right now. Clark got a dose of Kryptonite and is right over there (he pointed behind him) while J’onn is being treated after that fireball struck him.” Steve shuddered at the memory. “Those machines were well-equipped, always able to throw something at you to hurt the most.”
He lightly squeezed Wonder Woman’s hand. He knew that as a veteran of many battles, she was a survivor. He just wished that survival did not have to hurt so much all the time.
A hand descended on his good shoulder. “How is she?”
Steve looked up at Dinah. “Doing all right.”
“Good.” She sported a bandage on her right cheek and wrist. “She really took some shots.”
She squeezed his shoulder. “So did you. You should be in bed.”
“I will, in awhile.” He checked the blood pressure reading on a machine close to the bed. “How’s Ollie?”
“Oh, he’s fine. Just a cut on his arm.” Dinah checked some of the other readings. “Bruce is whisking Clark away to some South Seas island to recover, and Hal’s taking J’onn to some popular interstellar getaway. Ollie and I are going to hold down the fort with Arthur, Reddy, and the Hawks.”
“That’s a good idea, getting away.”
“Yeah.” Steve covered Dinah’s hand on his shoulder with his own. “I think I know just the place.”
“Rigel VII or a South Pacific jewel?”
Steve smiled. “Something like that.”
Dinah patted his shoulder. “She needs a quiet place.”
“A good place.”
Dinah’s smile was fond. “You’re a good man, Steve Trevor.”
Steve chuckled. “Thank you, pretty lady.”
“A charmer as well as good-looking. Diana has fine taste.”
Steve’s smile widened. “I see that flattery is one of your superpowers.”
Dinah smirked. “Lovely.” She checked Diana’s vitals and quietly left.
Steve let the peace of this extraordinary place wash over him. He knew that most people disliked quiet because they did not want to be alone with their thoughts. Noise offered distraction, but Steve had always been content to be alone with himself. He was not afraid of his own company like so many people were of their own.
The beeping of the machines hooked up to Diana was mildly irritating, but it meant that she was still with him, and that was the important thing.
Steve stood and stretched, careful of his shoulder. He left Diana’s bedside but kept her in sight as he called a number on his cell phone.
“Hi, Joe, it’s Steve Trevor. Yes, I’m fine. Wonder Woman is getting treatment and will be fine. Listen, I need to ask a favor.”
Steve talked softly as the beeping machines continued their monitoring.
Sparkles like diamonds
In golden light.
Sparkles like diamonds,
Steve drove the ’57 Chevy down the road, the Atlantic Ocean sparkling under the sunshine to his and Diana’s right. He whistled a jaunty tune while Diana smiled. People walked along the beach with a few stretched out on towels. It was a cool June day as Steve kept an eye out for excited kids crossing the street.
Cottages lined the street, interspersed with a deli, inn, and ice cream stand. People walked along the sidewalks in front of the cottages and the beach, bisected by the road. The atmosphere was festive and Diana laughed at a child eagerly playing with a balloon by poking it with his finger and letting it slide up, then bringing it back down by tugging on the string to poke it again. Steve smiled at Diana’s amusement.
He drove the Chevy to the end of the road. The Cutty Sark Motel was their destination, and he turned into the gravel parking lot, parking it in front of the office. They got out of the car and went inside.
The office was cool and slightly dark out of the glare of the sun. The counter was stacked with advertising flyers and a small bell was set to one side. Small cubbyholes for messages lined the wall behind the desk. The door to the manager’s office was slightly ajar. Steve tapped the bell.
“Be right out!” came a voice from the office. A few minutes later a husky, middle-aged man came out and said, “Good morning, what can I do for…hey, Steve!”
“Hi, Joe. And it’s Jack.” Steve winked as he shook hands with the man. “And this is my beautiful wife, Rose.”
Joe laughed, a gleam in his eye. “Hello, Rose, nice to meet you.” His brown eyes twinkled and he turned to his computer console. “Let’s get you folks registered. Did Jack tell you how his family would come here often on weekends and on vacations during the summer?”
“Yes, he spoke of good times here.”
Steve and Diana both wore casual clothes. Steve wore lightweight, cream-colored pants and a light-blue knit short-sleeved shirt with loafers. Diana was looking radiant in a yellow sundress, wide-brimmed hat and straw sandals. She also wore a necklace of large white stones, costume jewelry she had picked up in a little shop back home. Her Amazon bracelets were covered by leather bracelets inlaid with turquoise beading. She wore sunglasses, which she removed as she smiled at Joe.
Steve laughed as he saw Joe’s expression. His beloved Angel never failed to dazzle. “You run a fine place here, Mr. Lipinsky.”
“Well, I’m the chief cook and bottlewasher around here.” He took Steve’s credit card and asked, “Old or new building?”
“Hmm, the new building has air-conditioning but the old building has more charm.”
“Then, let us go with charm, my dear,” Diana said to Steve.
“You heard the lady, Joe.”
Joe grinned and typed in the information. “I have a lovely room for you, right on the corner.”
“Sounds good to me,” Steve said.
Joe finished tapping on the keyboard and handed over two room keys. “’Fraid it’s still the old-fashioned keys.”
“They’ll do just fine.” Steve took the keys and noted the room number. “Let’s go, honey. Do you still have free muffins and coffee for breakfast?”
“Totally! We usually have them down by seven every morning.”
Steve and Diana left the office and took their luggage out of the car once Steve had parked it in a space by the old building. They climbed the stairs to Room 6 and Steve unlocked the door.
The room was not fancy, a simple motel room with twin beds, dresser, table and chairs. The paintings were a cut above the usual motel fare, scenes of the beach and ocean. The furniture looked like early ‘60s retro. The TV was bulky and stuck atop the dresser.
“Not exactly four-star,” Steve said wryly as he set his suitcase down on the luggage rack.
Diana set her bag down on the nearest bed. “I like it, my darling. It is charming in its simplicity.”
Steve put his arms around her from behind and kissed the top of her head. She put her hand on his arm and purred. He laughed and hugged her. “Want to take a walk on the beach after we unpack?”
The unpacking went swiftly. Diana admired the view of the sea from their large window. “So lovely.”
“It’s really a great location here. And we can sit out on the lawn at one of the tables. The view is fantastic.” He looked at her worriedly. “How are you feeling?”
She cupped his chin with her hand. “I am well, Beloved.”
Steve thought it was a good thing that Diana’s Lasso magic hid the cuts and bruises they had both suffered during the Washington battle, otherwise they would surely attract attention in their battered state. It was the same magic that obscured Diana’s Amazon bracelets, a dead giveaway to her identity as she applied it now to her wrists.
They changed into shorts and T-shirts, and Diana brushed her hair quickly. They slipped on sandals and Steve stuck his room key in his shorts pocket. The duplicate key remained on the dresser.
They left the room and were quickly on the sidewalk. Diana reached over and took Steve’s hand. He smiled as he squeezed her hand.
The air was warm, but not uncomfortably so. A breeze blew in off the ocean, bringing the tang of salt. They walked down stone steps to the beach itself.
Taking off their sandals, Diana and Steve walked to the water. The sand was warm on their feet. They reached the water’s edge and Steve warned, “The water’s going to be cold. It’s cold in July and August, never mind in June.”
“Ah, so no Paradise type temperatures?”
“No, this is New England Atlantic Coast-type temperatures.”
Diana smiled. She ventured a toe into the water while Steve watched her face and grinned as surprise rippled across it.
“A little chilly, Angel?”
He laughed and plunged in. “Brr!”
Diana followed him into the water and they laughed and splashed in a fun exchange of playfulness. Diana shrieked as she received a face full of water. Indignant, she splashed back at Steve, who was just a second too slow to avoid it. They continued the fight in a delighted frenzy, evoking smiles from people strolling by.
Finally they came together laughing as the surf bobbed them in all their dripping glory. Steve thought that Diana never looked more beautiful as sparkling diamonds of water shone in her hair. He gently drew her to him as the waves broke over their bodies. They kissed as the waves gently bore them to shore.
When they broke the kiss, Steve asked, “Want to swim out?”
Tossing aside their sandals, they raced out into the surf, Steve thinking that Diana was as graceful as a dolphin. She cleaved through the water with silvery speed, her Amazon strength and power exciting him. He followed her as he always would, in this life or to Olympus itself.
He caught her, knowing full well that she allowed it, but he was pleased at the fiction anyway. They wrestled playfully as they rolled in the surf.
The waves crashed over them relentlessly, feeling a lot warmer than their first encounter. Steve knew the ocean here would never be as warm as the one that surrounded Paradise Island, but an ocean was an ocean.
They finally staggered out of the surf, soaking-wet and laughing. They fell to the sand and Steve said, “All this sand caking to us makes us look like corndogs.”
“Corndogs!” Diana pretended indignation. “I am no corndog, sir. Perhaps what you call a hot dog.”
“You a show-off? I find that very hard to believe.”
Diana’s eyes sparkled. “’Tis true. I am a displayer of expertise.”
“Now that all depends on the kind of expertise we’re talking about.”
She elbowed him in the ribs and he yelped. Rubbing his side, he said, “You play rough, baby.”
“You know that. Always.” The Warrior gleamed in her azure eyes. “Care to test that?”
“What have you got in mind?”
“Whatever you would care to, ahem, see demonstrated.”
Steve smirked. “With all this sand covering us, we should go back to the room and take a shower.”
“All right.” Diana stood and brushed off as much sand as she could. Grabbing her sandals, she started for the stone steps.
They walked along the sidewalk, Steve glad that the day was not July-hot. Bare feet on this scorching asphalt could be painful.
They reached the motel and their room, discarding their clothes on the bathroom floor as Diana quickly turned on the water. They both stepped under the rushing water and Diana took the bar of soap, gliding it over Steve’s chest and shoulders as he cupped her buttocks. She continued soaping his body and took the washcloth, scrubbing him clean. He took the soap and washcloth from her, slipping the bar between her breasts and down her stomach. He caressed her thighs and teased her with the washcloth.
Diana’s gaze was heavy-lidded as she moved closer, smiling as she felt Steve’s erection. She pressed closer, nibbling his ear as she whispered, “I want to ride, cowboy.”
“Let’s go, Annie Oakley.”
Diana laughed and jumped up, wrapping her legs around Steve as she lowered herself onto his cock. Steve braced his back against the shower wall as he held onto her while she rocked up and down, throwing her head back as water cascaded down her hair. Her powerful thighs enabled her to thrust with ease as she groaned with pleasure.
She’s so beautiful.
His heart swelled with love as he thrust into her warm wetness, his heart pounding as he felt the familiar tingle of approaching orgasm. She was like a Botticelli painting, lush and beautiful and it made his heart ache to look at her.
“Steve,” she gasped.
“I love you, Angel.”
She smiled in orgasmic bliss as the water cascaded over their beautiful bodies.
A ROSE FOR A ROSE
Is like perfume
Of the Gods.
Diana looked over at Steve, who was stretched out on one of the motel lounge chairs. He was in the shade of a large yellow-and-white-striped umbrella that was set over a round white table. Diana was on the other side of the table. Steve’s feet glistened with suntan lotion, the only part of him not shaded. His fair skin required such precautions.
Fortunately, I have no such need.
She enjoyed Steve rubbing it on her body, however. It was a fun ritual, one that she would recommend to anyone with a yen for the sensual.
Steve is asleep. Good, I am glad that he is relaxed enough to slumber. He suffered quite a bit during the battle, not the least of which was his worry over me.
Diana adjusted her sunglasses as she relaxed. The first day of their vacation was a success. She watched a sailboat bob on the sparkling waves. The view was magnificent. The motel’s two buildings were located on a bluff that overlooked the ocean, while to the right stretched out Long Sands Beach. The newer section of the motel was on the higher area. Each grassy area in front of the buildings contained several tables and chairs.
Her own aches and pains would soon fade. She closed her eyes, letting the sounds of the waves crashing below on the rocks and the seagulls crying out begin to lull her to sleep as well.
The cold metal pressed against her skin. She could smell the burnt-out bearings and wondered how the robot could still be functioning.
Could magic be the answer?
It would not surprise her. The Gods were nothing if not capricious.
She grimaced as Superman was tossed by another robot, hurling into the Washington Monument. It began to sway, but he recovered and jammed the obelisk deep into the ground. Permanent repair work would have to be done after the battle.
Suddenly her adversary swung its gleaming metal arm and she felt the blow keenly. She sailed through the air and only by sheer force of will was able to slow herself down and reverse course in mid-air.
A silver plane appeared, diving down to release its bullets at the offending robot. She presented her bracelets in a classic stance of defense. The robot let loose twin beams of destruction as the plane swerved to avoid the beams. Suddenly another robot fired and hit the plane. It shuddered and began to break apart.
The plane fell into the reflecting pool as the marble visage of Abraham Lincoln watched impassively. The people who had taken refuge inside the Memorial watched in horror.
“No!” she cried.
Diana awoke with a gasp. She quickly looked around and saw a peacefully-sleeping Steve. Relieved, her body relaxed as she reached over and brushed his fingers with her own. Her heartbeat returned to normal.
She knew that nightmares were part of the deal in a Warrior’s life. Her mother had once said that it was one of the reasons she preferred peace over war. “One does not have nightmares when you bring peace. It is the absence of peace that brings the wraiths in your sleep.”
I fervently agree.
She watched a seagull wheel out over the ocean. The thin, white contrail of a jet puffed up in a diagonal slash against the blue sky as the shriek of children playing in the surf drifted up from the beach below.
Peace is much, much better.
“Yes, my darling?” Diana saw a delightfully-tousled Steve yawning as he woke up.
“Would you like to go to a deli tonight and eat back here? I know some good restaurants but we could start on those tomorrow.”
“That sounds good to me, Beloved.”
He smiled. “Man, this is living.”
She smiled back fondly. “Yes, I agree.”
He opened one eye. “I know it’s not exactly Paradise.”
“Close enough.” She put her sunglasses back on. “You are here with me.” She smiled again as she sensed Steve’s pleasure at her remark.
She dozed off and on peacefully the rest of the afternoon. She fully awoke as Steve stretched and stood, picking up the room key. “Ready to change for dinner?”
Diana rubbed her eyes. “Yes. Especially since we had no lunch.”
Steve patted his stomach. “I know.”
They went back to their room and changed. “I know where the laundry is in town, so don’t worry about too many clothes changes,” Steve said.
“All right.” Diana placed her clothes in the laundry bag she had brought. “Are we going to the deli we saw on our way in?”
“That’s the one.” Steve pulled on a pale-blue, short-sleeved shirt and tucked it into a pair of well-worn jeans. “Just a short walk. Our food will stay hot on our way back.”
Diana pulled her hair back into a ponytail. She wore a long-sleeved yellow shirt and blue jeans, and draped a necklace with a turquoise pendant around her neck. Large and round, the pendant was polished to a fine sheen.
“Where are my sandals?” she asked.
“In the suitcase. You don’t want your beach sandals. You’ll never get the blasted sand out.”
“Thank you, darling. I do know about sand.”
Steve grinned. “Okay.” He slipped his watch on and picked up his wallet from the dresser. “Ready?”
The duo exited the motel and crossed the narrow street. Walking leisurely, they held hands as a cool breeze wafted in from the ocean.
It was a favorite time of day for Diana. As dusk began to fall, the sky deepened to an indigo with a lovely streak of violet rimming the horizon. Tiny stars began to sprinkle the twilight sky. There were people strolling on the beach and an Irish setter dashed down to the edge of the water as he barked joyfully. The sound of the surf was soothing to Diana.
They passed several cottages, some still empty this early in the season. In one rented cottage, a family was sitting on the screened porch. Two young girls chattered with their parents, their girlish voices bringing smiles to Diana and Steve’s faces.
They passed The Seaside Inn, the tables on the porch empty. Conversation drifted through the screened windows as silhouettes appeared backlit by soft lamplight.
They reached Walt’s Delicatessen, a modest, whitewashed, wooden building with advertisements plastered all over its front. Steve opened the screen door and Diana stepped in, followed by her lover.
The store was filled with shelves, a freezer case, and an old-fashioned soda cooler, the kind where you lifted the lid and took out your can. It was painted with the distinctive red-and-white Coca-Cola logo.
A counter lined one wall. A man in his fifties was reading a newspaper spread out on the counter as he leaned on the smooth top. His graying hair was sparse but he was tanned and smiled pleasantly as he greeted his customers.
“So, what’ll it be, folks?”
“A meatball grinder with peppers and onions, please. And a side order of fish nuggets,” Steve ordered.
The counterman looked expectantly at Diana, who was studying the menu board on the wall behind the counter. “I should like the turkey sandwich with an order of fish nuggets also.”
“Great. Comin’ right up.”
As Walt made their sandwiches and fried up the nuggets, Steve picked out two soda cans from the cooler while Diana perused the shelves. She liked the smell of different spices and the colorfully-decorated tins that held all manner of interesting things.
“Glad to see you’re still at the same old stand,” Steve said as he plunked the cans by the cash register.
“Ah, so you’re a repeat visitor,” Walt said as he deftly assembled Diana’s sandwich. In addition to the turkey, there was fresh lettuce, tomatoes and onions.
“Yeah, my family summered here for many years.”
Walt gave Steve a good look. “Hey! You’re little Stevie Trevor!”
Steve grinned. “Here incognito, Walt.” He winked.
"Yeah? Military business?" Walt put shredded lettuce into one of the sandwiches. He added some fresh tomatoes.
"Something like that."
Walt noticed Diana over by the spice shelves. His jaw dropped. "You mean I'm making a turkey sandwich for Wonder Woman?!"
Steve’s grin widened. “Keep it under your hat, Walt.”
“Sure, sure.” He looked down at the sandwich. “Um, would she like mayo or mustard?”
“Ask her yourself.” Steve’s tone was amused.
“Uh, yeah.” Walt cleared his throat nervously. “Miss…um…”
“Rose will do.”
“Rose, would you like mayo or mustard?”
Diana considered. “Mustard, please.”
“The customer’s always right.”
Steve went over to Diana. “See something you like?”
Diana picked up a bottle decorated with roses. “This intrigues me. Rose hips?”
“That’s right. A nice little oil.”
“Mmm, quite a nice scent.”
“And tasty, too.”
Diana smiled. “I shall purchase this. It will go well with my scented rosewater.”
“Always roses with you, eh?” Steve’s eyes twinkled.
“The Sign of the Rose is a symbol of femininity.” Diana cradled the bottle. “In your culture, the giving of roses by men to women on wedding anniversaries and Mother’s Day recognizes this in some way.”
They walked toward the counter. “Don’t forget Valentine’s Day,” said Steve.
“Ah, yes, the day of chocolate and roses.”
Walt exchanged grins with Steve. “Your sandwiches are ready, my friends. Let me get your fish nuggets.”
Once the order was ready to go, Steve paid and thanked Walt.
“Come any time,” the deli owner said jovially.
Diana and Steve left and walked leisurely back to the Cutty Sark. Once they reached the motel, they started distributing the food.
“Still hot,” Steve commented. “And we can’t beat the view.”
“No, we certainly cannot.”
They sat at the table in front of the large picture window. The sea sparkled as more stars came out and the moon began to rise.
The turkey sandwich was very fresh and the fish nuggets gave a satisfying crunch as Diana bit past the fried batter and reached the sweet interior.
“Seafood is always a fine meal,” said Diana, spearing another nugget with her fork.
“You must have a steady diet of it back home.”
“It is usually on the menu along with lemons, mangoes, and passion fruit.” Diana was pleased to hear the sound of the waves through the screened windows that opened at the bottom of the larger window. “When we desire meat, we go on a boar hunt.”
“Yes, I am aware that you’re named after the Goddess of the Hunt.” Steve bit into his meatball grinder. “I’d like to see you with crossbow and hunting outfit.”
“You find that sexy, I suppose.” Diana poked her fork into the basket of nuggets. “Something of a fetishistic nature?”
Steve contemplated his meatball grinder. “A little of both, I should think.”
“Ah, you are honest.” Diana ate a nugget.
“I find it to be the best policy, especially when my beautiful girlfriend owns a Lasso of Truth.”
Diana burst out laughing. “Very smart, my darling.”
They finished their meal admiring the view as moonlight shimmered on the sea. It was quiet as the sound of the waves crashing on the rocks below created a natural musical undercurrent.
“You are right, my love,” Diana said as she drank her 7-Up.
“This is the best restaurant in town.”
Much later, she fell asleep in Steve’s arms to the soothing sound of the sea.