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
Dates 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.)
THE SUN SMILES DOWN ON THE OLD SEA DOG
With jeweled brilliance,
As the brine of the sea
Sweeps the air.
Taste the salt
On your tongue
As you squint
Against the sun,
"Seashells And Other Poems"
Diana awoke to the sound of the surf and the chugging of a lobster boat as its owner checked his lobster traps. She sensed that she was alone.
She opened her eyes. The space next to her in bed was empty, and she heard no activity in the bathroom. Stretching, she ran over what she and Steve would take to the beach this morning in her mind: umbrella, beach towels, sun lotion, etc.
She grimaced as she saw the deep cut in her right side and the mottled bruising on her right arm and shoulder, in addition to smaller cuts and bruises.
I look a mess.
She gingerly touched the back of her head. She still had a knot there, but the headache she had suffered upon waking in the Medical Center was no longer with her.
Steve says that his people believe the sea air helps to heal. I certainly agree with that. My people believe it as well.
Diana stared up at the ceiling. She had not told Steve, but the battle’s toll had been harsh. She had nearly broken some bones but had been fortunate.
My Beloved was hurt, too.
The rest and recovery proposed by Dinah for the more wounded JLA members had been an excellent idea. If an emergency arose where they were needed, they would return, but until then, it was two weeks of vacation.
A fine concept, vacation.
Diana relaxed, unwilling to get out of bed yet. She knew that most people would consider living in Paradise to be one long vacation, but there were tasks to perform and an everyday life to live. Vacation meant freedom from the mundane.
The door opened and Steve walked in, carrying a cardboard container with two cups of coffee and two muffins. “Ah, so you’re awake, sleepyhead!”
“Good morning to you, too.”
Steve grinned as he set the container on the table. “Breakfast with a view.”
“Truly.” Diana yawned and slipped out of bed, putting her robe on. “What kind of muffins?”
“Cranberry and blueberry.”
“I will take cranberry.” Diana sat down and watched the lobster boat chug along the sparkling waters.
“Here you go, Princess.”
Diana accepted the muffin and coffee, taking a deep sip of the bitter brew. She liked it the stronger the better.
Steve took the other chair and looked out the window. “Perfect day.”
“Yes, a fine day for the beach.” Diana took a bite of her muffin. “We should retire to the beach as soon as we finish breakfast.”
“I’m all for that. It’s a beautiful Sunday morning, ripe for the picking.”
Amused, Diana asked, “You are picking cherries this morning?”
“Cherries, strawberries, lobsters…you name it, I’ll pick it.”
Diana giggled. “You are silly.”
Steve winked and drank his coffee.
Diana and Steve set up their umbrella and towels. An orange cooler was set in the shade of the umbrellas. Sandals were placed on the towels.
Diana was always amused by the towels. Steve was fond of a ratty Old Sea Dog towel, used since he was a child. It showed an actual dog dressed as a sea captain, holding an eyeglass on the deck of a ship. She had chosen a towel with a smiling sun shining down on a beach with a child’s plastic pail and scoop nestled in the sand.
“Why didn’t you pick a towel with one of your JLA colleagues images on it?” Steve asked curiously.
“I did not wish to play favorites.”
“Not even your own Wonder Woman towels?”
“A bit conceited, hmm?” Diana laid out her sunglasses on her towel.
“Well,” Steve said as he took off his T-shirt and stuffed it in the beach bag, “you’ve got the right. You’re the greatest hero.”
Diana looked at him with affection. “You are my biggest fan, my love.”
“Damned right I am.” He put their room key into the bag. “You deserve every ounce of adoration.”
She came over to stand next to him. Putting her hands on his shoulders, she looked at him with adoration in her own eyes. “You are my hero.”
He smiled, allowing her to pull him close for a kiss. He put his hands on her waist and Diana felt a thrill of happiness.
When they broke apart, Steve’s eyes were twinkling. “Race you to the water!”
Diana peeled off her shirt and threw it onto the towel. She ran down to the shoreline and splashed into the cold water.
It was a morning of joy and playfulness as Diana and Steve allowed themselves to enjoy some well-deserved time off.
The day was as beautiful as Steve had declared early that morning. It was the kind of day that was made for beachgoers: bright and sparkling and free. It was sun and sea and relaxing on beach towels under the cool shade of an umbrella.
“This is the life, Angel,” Steve said happily.
Steve grimaced as he moved his shoulder. Before she had applied another day of Lasso magic, Diana had seen the bruise on Steve’s fair body.
We needed this vacation.
“Want to go out for lunch today, darling?” Steve asked.
“I would like to do that.”
“I know just the place.”
“Just the place, Beloved?”
“Then I will like it.”
Steve twined his fingers around Diana’s. She fell asleep to the sound of the surf.
After bringing their things back to the motel room and showering, Steve and Diana walked down the beach to the Sea ‘N’ Surf Restaurant built on a small bluff overlooking the beach. They were able to get an outside table.
“Oh, Jack, what a view!” Diana exclaimed as they sat at a table located next to a short hedge of beach roses, aware of the other diners within hearing distance.
“’The sea, the sea, the beautiful sea.’”
Diana smiled. She accepted the menu and felt hungry.
“It’s the sea air, you know.”
Diana looked up from the menu at Steve. “What?”
“The sea air gives you an appetite. It always made me hungry whenever I played at the beach.” Steve smiled fondly. “Those are good childhood memories.”
They both ordered backed haddock, French fries, and coleslaw. Diana drank her wine as she gazed out at the ocean.
“Remind you of home?” Steve asked quietly.
“Yes. The sea is boundless, and while enticing, it also soothes. Its eternal rhythm guarantees time will continue.”
“That’s an interesting way to put it.”
“When you live for centuries surrounded by water, you understand these things.”
“Well, my mother and sisters.”
“If you were 2,000 years old, I’d say you wear it well.”
“Such a compliment.”
Steve smirked. “I know, I shouldn’t ask a lady her age.”
Diana let out a mock sigh. “Silly man.”
Their orders arrived and they dug in, enjoying their fish dinners. Diana squeezed her lemon slice over her haddock.
“That was wild with the robots, wasn’t it?” Steve poured ketchup over his fries, keeping his voice low.
“Every supervillain needs…a gimmick, correct?”
It was Steve’s turn to be amused, “Correct. And this particular villain picked a doozy! Killer robots! How cool is that? He must have grown up watching The Late, Late Show or something.”
“Did this show feature killer robot movies?”
Steve chuckled. “Sometimes. Always home of the B-movies.”
Diana was not quite certain of what a B-movie was, but she could guess the concept. She cut a piece of fish and chewed it slowly.
“Do you think the villain was clever utilizing robots?” she asked.
“Well, admittedly robots aren’t the most original idea, but giant versions aren’t run-of-the-mill.”
“I agree.” Diana dipped a fry in ketchup and ate it. “High technology is almost necessary in this day and age, but the robots we fought almost seemed quaint.”
“I can see that.” Steve took a sip of wine. “But each robot had what was harmful to the most powerful members of the JLA.” He set his wineglass down. “Green K for Superman, fire for Martian Manhunter…” He shuddered. “When that fireball caught him, I thought he was a goner.”
Diana shuddered, too. It had been a horrific scene, and she was forever grateful to Hal for snuffing out the flames that had hurt J’onn.
“Is he going to be all right?”
Startled out of her gloomy thoughts, Diana asked, “What?”
“Do you think J’onn will be all right?”
“Oh, yes, I do.” Diana touched Steve’s arm. “Just as we both will be.”
He nodded slowly.
“Let us enjoy this beautiful day and prime table, my love.”
“You’re right, Angel.”
Wonder Woman flew through the air in desperation. The robots were marching toward the White House. She had to help!
A scream curdled her blood. In horror she saw the figure of the Martian Manhunter ablaze.
Dear Aphrodite, allow me to help him!
He writhed in pain as flecks of skin began to peel off. The smell of charred flesh turned Wonder Woman’s stomach. She tried to reach her friend but she could only move sooo slowly…
Diana sat bolt upright in bed. Her heart thumped in her chest as she tried to catch her breath.
“Diana?” Steve grasped her arm. “It’s all right, honey.”
She looked at him, still caught in the throes of her nightmare. “I…it was bad.”
Steve’s eyes reflected his understanding. Diana was grateful for that understanding.
Steve caressed her face. “Lie down with me. Don’t worry about sleeping. I’ll be right here.”
Diana took a deep breath and nodded. She relaxed as Steve’s arms went around her and they lay back down. “Reminds me of home,” she murmured.
“The sound of the surf.”
“Ah, yes. The best way to fall asleep,” Steve said softly.
Diana fell asleep and suffered no more nightmares.
Is quite daffy
The pink saltwater taffy was pulled by the perpetual motion machine in the window of Goldenrod. The seaside restaurant was busy on this bright June day as tourists crowded around the windows to watch the process.
Other windows showed chocolate poured out on a flat surface as it bubbled, a new batch poured into a large kettle. Yet another machine was spewing out wrapped candies with the Goldenrod colors and logo.
Steve and Diana watched all the processes, Diana delighted at the inside look at candymaking.
“We’ll pick up some chocolate before we go back to the room. Want to do a little strolling around town?” Steve asked.
“Yes, I would like that.”
They crossed the street and entered Joan’s Gift Shop. It was a typical seaside store with toy lobsters and plastic sunglasses and seashell necklaces. They browsed through the souvenirs and Steve noticed Diana looking at the jewelry.
“Try this on,” he suggested, handing her a white seashell necklace with touches of yellow, pink and blue.
Diana put on the necklace, the seashells clacking as a big smile spread across her face. “How utterly delightful!”
“Doesn’t matter if it’s diamonds or seashells, you always wear them beautifully.”
Diana was pleased at such words from her Beloved. She ran her hand down the necklace, listening to the clacking of the shells. Steve kissed her temple. “It’s yours, Angel,” he whispered.
She wore the necklace but carried a bag stamped with the gift shop’s name. Inside was a toy lobster plushie, two oven mitts shaped like lobster claws for Steve’s mother, a book of Maine jokes for his father, a humorous lobster T-shirt for his sister, and another seashell necklace for Hippolyta.
Diana slipped her arm through Steve’s as they strolled along the street. They browsed through a leather goods shop, a boot emporium, and a bookstore.
“I love this place,” Steve said of the bookstore. “My sis and I would come in here for comic books. My favorites were Captain America and the Avengers. I liked the Fantastic Four, too.” Steve slowly spun the comic book rack. “The titles for all those heroes are still going strong.”
Diana picked up some magazines and they left after purchasing the items. Gradually they worked their way back to Goldenrod.
Inside was a combination candy counter, soda fountain, and restaurant. They waited briefly until a waitress came up to them with a smile and led them out to the enclosed porch at Steve’s request. Steve limped slightly, his leg giving him trouble today. Diana was feeling her own aches and pains.
“Your waitress will be with you in a minute.” The girl placed two menus on the table. “Welcome to Goldenrod.”
Diana smiled and thanked her. The perky waitress left and Diana took a menu. “I like this porch, Steve. It is close to the sidewalk, I see.”
“Where you can watch the passing parade,” Steve quipped cheerfully. He opened his menu. “Remember, we’re getting taffy and chocolates after lunch.”
“Sweets for the sweet!”
Diana laughed. “Such original thinking.”
“I am nothing if not original…with a few clichés thrown in.”
Diana continued to smile as she perused her menu.
Another perky waitress came over in the standard butterscotch-colored uniform with white cuffs and collar. A small white cap wiggled as she moved her head.
“Ready to order?”
Diana thought it interesting that this young woman’s hair matched her uniform. Did that mean she had butterscotch hair?
“Yes, I am ready. The turkey club sandwich, please. And Coke.”
“And you, sir?”
“I’ll go with the hamburger with the works, and a side of potato salad.”
“I will have potato salad, too,” said Diana as she handed the girl her menu.
“Coke for me, too,” Steve added.
The waitress nodded and went to submit their orders to the kitchen.
Steve smiled. “You are very posh in that necklace.”
Diana laughed. “It is like the Crown Jewels.”
Steve cocked his head. “I believe you’re right.”
She glanced out the window. “People seem quite relaxed here.”
“The beach tends to do that to people. The only aggravations tend to be the traffic coming up and going home, and if there are long lines at your favorite restaurant. Or that some jerk kicks sand in your face at the beach.”
“Kicks sand in your face?”
“Remind me to show you a Charles Atlas ad some time.”
Steve grinned and Diana felt a warmth spread inside her. She delighted in bantering with him.
“It is a good thing there are awnings to shade these windows. It is such a bright day.”
“I agree, darling.” Steve watched a little girl skip along the sidewalk while holding on to her mother’s hand. “This is one of those days when the world seems close to perfect, doesn’t it?”
He chuckled. “Robots aside.”
“I like the décor of this building. It is all dark wood and vaulted ceilings with a marble ice cream counter.”
“Goldenrod opened in 1896 as an ice cream parlor where they also sold saltwater taffy. They expanded to fudge, soft-centered chocolates and rock candy. Yum, yum.”
Diana laughed. “Such a sweet tooth, my darling.”
“Hey, I don’t touch rock candy. Too hard on the teeth.”
“It does sound rather hard.”
“It sure isn’t easy.”
The waitress brought their drinks and Diana sipped hers as she asked, “What do you remember most about your time here?”
“Oh, Walt’s store, this place, the beach itself. We stayed at the Cutty Sark, and the Short Sands right across the street, and a cottage on the Long Sands during different seasons. There used to be a restaurant called Spiller’s next to the Short Sands Motel. It was a family place, clean as a whistle, and owned by an old lady who kept her eye on everything. The waitresses were all pretty girls around college and high school age.”
“Ah, so you remember the pretty girls.”
Steve grinned saucily. “I always appreciate the female form.”
“And you have given me a new appreciation for the male form.”
Steve pretended to puff out his chest. “I’m a fine specimen.”
“Yes, you are.” Diana sipped her Coke. “I believe I would also like a limeade, my dear.”
“We’ll order that as soon as our waitress gets here. And here she is.”
The waitress deposited their meals and cheerfully took Diana’s order for a limeade. As they ate, Diana asked, “So, if they opened in 1896, this means ladies in long skirts and parasols came here to eat saltwater taffy?”
“That’s right. They came to ‘take the waters’, as the saying went in those days.” He paused in eating his hamburger. “You would have been a glorious Amazonia.”
She laughed. “I can see my outfit now: basically the same except for a long skirt, and perhaps a more elaborate tiara. I have seen the depictions of Columbia and Liberty from that era, and I believe I could fit right in.”
“I think you could.” The waitress brought over Diana's limeade and departed. “You would look great on top of the Capitol dome,” he teased.
“Would it be completed by 1896? Wait, it would be. It was completed during the Civil War.”
“Yes, Lincoln wanted to show the Republic continuing even in the midst of war. That’s why we hold Presidential elections during wars. The Republic must continue.”
Diana smiled. “You are a true patriot, Beloved.”
“Aww, well, an American worth his or her salt probably feels the same way. Administrations come and go, but the Government rolls on.”
“Like a caisson?”
He grinned. “Exactly.”
Diana sipped her limeade. “I admire a man with principles.”
They continued chatting and Steve asked, “Do you know anything about the resort Hal was taking J’onn?”
Diana glanced around. The porch was filled with diners and conversation flowed around them. Everyone was too absorbed in their own business to pay attention to her and Steve, but she lowered her voice, anyway.
“Hal says it’s quite a popular spot on Rigel VII. The resort is in the mountains and offers healing waters and beautiful vistas. There is also galactic entertainment that is difficult to see elsewhere.”
“You mean like an interstellar Elvis?”
“From what you have told me of the gentleman, I would not be surprised.”
“Ha! Me, neither.”
“It is a top-notch resort. Many species from around the galaxy come to ‘take the waters’.”
“Ah!” Steve’s blue eyes sparkled. “I can identify with that.”
They ordered ice cream for dessert and afterwards visited the candy counter. Diana perused the many varieties of chocolates in the long glass case and chose peanut butter cups, lemon-filled, vanilla-filled and snowflakes.
“Excellent choices, my dear. You’ve got two of my absolute favorites in there. Now, Miss, could I please have another pound with butter cream, chocolate-filled, raspberry-filled, and orange-filled.”
“Yes, sir.” The girl behind the candy counter started filling the orders.
The clacking of the candy machines in the windows and the chatter of customers provided a brisk backdrop. Diana liked the energy in this place as Steve led her to another part of the store after receiving their boxes of candy with the distinctive brown-and-gold logo.
“See, rock candy.” Steve pointed out the bags of colorful crystals.
“Lovely. They look as if they were created naturally.”
“With a little help from the manufacturer.” Steve gazed fondly at his companion. “Natural beauty is always worth admiration.”
Diana met his gaze with one of her own. “I agree.”
They kissed, one woman smiling as she walked past them to the soda fountain. After the kiss, the happy couple left Goldenrod and went around the building, crossing the street to a gift shop that specialized in fine china.
“What an exquisite shop,” Diana said as they entered the shop, the tiny silver bells over the door jingling with a light tone.
“It used to be more filled with delicate glass and china. I guess they had to keep up with the times.” He pointed to stuffed animals and plastic toys. “I’m surprised they don’t sell iPads and Tablets and everything electronic.”
“Maybe they will someday, but they need to keep some vestiges of the old ways.”
“The old ways can sometimes be best.”
Diana smiled at him. “Does that mean you are an old-fashioned man?”
“Only in the good ways.”
Yes, Beloved, a gentleman in all the good ways. You never saw me as less because I was a woman. I have discovered how rare that can be in Man’s World.
Diana observed the china figurines assembled in one area. They were images of shepherd girls, princesses, brides, and angels. A white-gowned angel’s wings were rimmed in gold with a golden halo above her head.
“This is perfect,” Steve said softly. “We’ll take this one, won’t we?”
He smiled. The purchase was made and they walked back to the Cutty Sark with packages and bags, and Diana knew that she would treasure this day and all the days like it.
A light mist fell as Diana and Steve walked along the beach hand-in-hand. The beach was deserted as people stayed up on the sidewalk or drove somewhere else for their day’s entertainment.
“Funny how people think they’re the Wicked Witch of the West,” Steve said.
“What?” asked Diana in amusement.
“The Wizard of Oz. The Witch melted when water was thrown on her.”
“Sounds like a tale told on Mount Olympus.”
Steve laughed. “I would suppose that story could very well fit on Olympus. There’s not only the Wicked Witch, but Glinda the Good Witch of the North, Dorothy from Kansas, the Scarecrow…though not of the Gotham variety…the Tin Man, the Cowardly Lion, and the Wizard himself.”
“Dorothy is from Kansas?”
“Yes, she lives with her Uncle Henry and her Auntie Em.”
“Ah, yes, raised by surrogate parents on a farm in Kansas.”
Steve swung their hands and paused. “Are you saying that Clark owns a pair of ruby slippers?”
“And this means…?”
Steve quickly explained and Diana was amused. “Perhaps the ruby slippers are more Dick’s thing.”
Steve’s eyes widened slightly, then he laughed. “You could be right, Angel. The slippers do glitter in the movie.”
“There, you see? The wearer of the pixie boots would be perfect for the ruby slippers.”
“Sounds good to me.”
Diana was having fun with the bantering. The rain felt like cool mist on her skin. “Let us go in the water.”
They removed their sandals and left them on the beach as they waded in. Both were wearing swimsuit trunks and T-shirts as they walked along the shoreline.
“You know, Batman could be the Tin Man. Or maybe Cyborg from the Titans,” Steve pondered.
“What about Red Tornado?”
“Of course! He should be first on the list.”
“Why Bruce for the Tin Man?”
“His technology, I suppose.” Steve gazed out at a freighter passing on the horizon. “He probably wouldn’t like being cast as Scarecrow, considering his battles with Jonathan Crane, but he’s got the brains.”
“Clark has the heart.”
“Yes. Courage is the Cowardly Lion’s quality. Yours, Angel, though I’m not sure I see you as a Cowardly Lion.”
Diana wiggled her nose. “I am named after the Goddess of the Hunt. I would hunt lions, not be one.”
“Lions and tigers and bears, oh, my.” He grinned at Diana’s puzzlement. “We are watching The Wizard Of Oz as soon we get home.”
“Thank you, I think I would find that intriguing.”
“You’ll love Judy Garland. She’s got a fantastic singing voice.”
“Is she still alive?”
“No, she died in 1969.” The freighter chugged at a sedate pace. “Her death helped set off the Stonewall riot.”
“The gay rebellion?”
“Yes.” Steve squeezed her hand. “They gathered in commiseration at the Stonewall Inn, and the police did one of their routine raids. In the spirit of the times, the gays snapped and couldn’t take it anymore. They fought back and the modern Gay Liberation Movement was born.”
“And now gay men and women can get married.”
“All across America, finally.”
Diana rippled one hand through the water. “True liberation takes commitment and dedication. I am afraid our gay brethren have a difficult road ahead still.”
Stove nodded slowly. “I love you.”
“I love you, too.”
Diana closed her eyes as she lifted her face to the sky. The rain slid down her face like tears, but she was happy. She felt as if she was healing from her physical injuries, and Steve’s limp was fading.
We are healing. We will be strong again, though our love is always strong.
Diana and Steve heard the cries for help and Steve pointed toward the east. Diana immediately began swimming toward the girl in trouble. She cleaved through the water while Steve followed at a human pace. Diana’s Amazon abilities caused her to reach the flailing child in seconds.
“Help!” screamed the girl. “My tummy hurts!”
“Calm yourself, little one. It will be all right.”
The little girl sobbed and clung to Diana as she coughed. Diana began swimming to shore, closely followed by Steve. All three staggered out of the surf and Diana carried the girl to the sand. She thumped the girl on the back and she coughed up the remaining seawater from her lungs. Diana caressed her hair while murmuring soothing sentiments.
Steve looked up and down the beach. “Are your mother or father around, honey?”
The girl coughed. “Mommy went there…” she pointed across the street to Walt’s place…“to get some cigarettes.”
“I’ll see if I can find her. What’s your name, honey?”
“Tiffany,” the girl sniffed.
Steve put on his sandals after a short trek to grab them, grimacing at the gritty texture of wet sand, and hurried up the stone steps.
“Well, Tiffany, you are going to be all right. Why were you out swimming alone?” Diana asked.
“I din’ wanna wait.” Tiffany rubbed her belly. “Then I got a pain here.”
“Just a cramp, darling. Did you just eat lunch?”
“Yes.” Tiffany sniffed again.
“Your tummy needs time to digest, sweetheart.” Diana hugged Tiffany. “Do not go out into the ocean alone, either.”
Diana kept up a soothing patter until she saw Steve and a woman appear at the top of the stone steps. Steve let the woman go first.
She walked a little unsteadily as she approached Diana and Tiffany. A cigarette dangled from her lips. “Tiff, you know I told you not to go in the water when I’m not around.”
The mother pushed brown locks off her brow. She looked tired with bags under her rheumy eyes.
“Mommy, this lady saved me!”
“Thanks. C’mon, Tiffany.” The woman held out her hand and Tiffany took it.
“Thanks, lady,” said the girl.
“You are most welcome, Tiffany. Remember, no swimming alone.”
“Yes, for sure!”
The mother pulled her daughter along as Steve helped Diana up. “Looks like you’re back in the rescue business,” he commented.
Diana watched mother and daughter navigate the stone steps. “Let us hope Tiffany heeds my words. I do not think her mother will be of much help.”
Steve said nothing but Diana knew that he agreed. As they walked down the beach, he said quietly, “Darling, that little girl will always remember this day.”
The rain began to fall a little harder.
Later, after the rain had passed, Steve and Diana returned to the beach with ice cream cones as dusk fell. Diana dangled her feet over the rocks, swinging them back and forth.
“Does this remind you of home?” Steve asked curiously.
“Why do you ask?”
“You seem so at peace.”
Diana smiled serenely and licked her vanilla ice cream. “You would be correct. When I lie upon the beach or in the lounge chair, I think of home.”
“Warm breezes and mangoes?”
Her eyes sparkled. “Here it is more cool breezes and ice cream.”
“The sand is even cooler at this time of day.” She wiggled her toes, nearly losing her sandals.
“The best time of day.”
Diana agreed, watching the stars come out against the soft, violet sky. She grasped Steve’s free hand and they continued to eat their ice cream.
Diana looked out the window of their motel room at the panoramic scene before her and Steve. The rain was coming down again, heavily now as the gray-green waves tossed and crashed on the rocks below. She sipped from a water bottle.
“I can go get the food myself, Angel.”
“No, I shall go with you.”
“Okay, I’ve got an umbrella.”
They walked down to Walt’s store, the rain pattering down on the umbrella. Once at the deli, they gave their orders. Walt smiled.
“You sure were a sight coming in here this afternoon.”
“Who, me?” Steve asked with wide eyes.
“Yessir, he came in looking like a drowned rat,” Walt said to Diana.
She laughed. “Yes, it was quite a nice sight.”
Steve blushed. “I was on a mission of mercy.”
Walt put lettuce in both grinders. “It’s been a slow day. People are afraid to go out in the rain.” He quickly chopped up some tomatoes. “Funny thing is, they get wet anyway in the ocean.”
“That’s true.” Steve smiled. “Looks like Rose and I might get wet again, too.”
“Could be worth it.”
Diana pointed to Steve. “You are trying to get me wet.”
Diana smiled as Steve and Walt laughed.
It was, as always, the best view in town. Diana and Steve watched the tempest-tossed waves while they ate.
“Wonder if they’ve got a view like this on Rigel VII?” Steve asked as he took a bite of his chicken salad sandwich.
“Oh, they might, though it would undoubtedly be of a different color, reflecting a reddish sky.”
“Sounds like Vulcan.”
Diana burst out laughing. “Spoken like a true Trekker.”
“Live long and prosper, my love.”
Diana reached out her hand to touch Steve’s. “’The sea, the sea, the beautiful sea.’”
Steve smiled and enclosed her hand in his own as the waves tossed wildly outside the window.