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it felt like home with you

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Sophie is an unusually clingy sleeper that night- she ends up sleeping in Donna’s bed with her, something that was becoming rarer and rarer, so she allowed it, the little girl pressed to her side and breathing against her neck.

Donna herself has a harder time falling asleep; she keeps replaying the kiss over and over in her head on a loop, feeling the press of Sam’s mouth against hers and the warmth spreads throughout her body all over again. It leaves her dreams jumbled and hot, waking her in intervals with a dry mouth and an ache she can’t shake the next morning.

“Good morning,” Donna jumps at Sam’s soft greeting in her ear, breath warm on her skin as she turns to face him, dish towel clutched to her chest. He’s grinning at her, eyes bright, and she can’t even be annoyed at him, because a pulse of joy shoots through her at the simple sight of him.

“Coffee’s in the pot, Soph’s eating breakfast and there’s enough for Adam and Max,” she tells him, lifting an eyebrow and half-suppressing a smile back. Sam gives her a wink and heads for the kitchen, where she can see Adam settled beside Sophie, Max attempting to get on the bench across from them; Sam scoops him up, settling him on his hip as he pours himself a cup of coffee.

Donna hangs the last of the laundry on the line and goes to join them, pouring herself another cup of coffee and settling next to Sam. Max instantly reaches for Donna and she takes him happily, the little boy snuggling under her chin contently. She takes the bowl of fruit from Sam and picks out a piece of mango, offering it to Max, who immediately takes it and puts it in his mouth, juice dribbling down his chin and soaking his shirt.

“You, sir, are getting very messy,” Donna teases him, offering him a melon piece this time. Max giggles, cheeks turning pink in delight as he beams up at her. Her heart flutters, squeezing the little boy a little tighter. When she looks up, Sam is looking at her in blatant affection, and her throat tightens a little, unsure of how to accept it; she ducks her head, tucking some hair behind her ear as she feels her cheeks flush.

“Mama, it’s hot out. Can we go to the beach again please?” Sophie asks, a little bit of begging in her voice. Donna thinks about how much she really should get done today- repaint the shutters, look at the liquor order, take a look at the guest list for the coming days. But in all honesty, all she wants is a day on the beach with Sophie and Sam and the boys.

“I think that sounds like a wonderful idea, Sophie,” Donna tells her, then looks at Adam. “What do you say, Adam? Another beach day sound alright to you?”

“Yes!” he yells excitedly, then turns to Sophie. “We can make an even bigger sandcastle this time!”

The two start to chatter excitedly about what they can build, and Donna looks over at Sam’s, who was already looking at her with a half-smile. She lifts an eyebrow, shifting Max as she gives him another piece of fruit.

“Does another beach day work for you, Mr. Carmichael?” she asks quietly, watching the way he shifted in place at his formal name, and feels a little thrum of heat split through her. Sam uncrosses his legs, sitting forward until his mouth was near her ear.

“Depends on what suit you’re wearing, Ms. Sheridan.”

Donna swallows quickly, throat suddenly dry. She can feel Sam’s smirk, and she kicks his ankle under the table, causing him to snort. Max lifts a sticky palm, clearly waiting for more food, and Sam shakes his head, handing him another piece before he takes him gently from Donna, swinging him up onto his hip.

“We should go get ourselves ready- we can meet by the stairs in half an hour?” he suggests, and Donna nods, watching Sophie help Adam off the bunch with a small smile.

“I’ll pack a picnic lunch, I have stuff for sandwiches,” she replies, and Sophie claps her hands excitedly. “Go upstairs, Soph, wash your face for me. I’ll be up once I’m done.”

Sophie nods and darts off; Donna clears off the breakfast dishes and then packs up the worn picnic basket with sandwiches and lemonade and fruit salad. She’s checking that everything is set when hands grip her waist and spin her around; she gasps, palms settling naturally on a familiar chest before warm lips cover her own.

Donna sinks into the kiss, hands slipping up to twine in Sam’s hair, and sinks her teeth into his bottom lip. Her tongue darts out, licking into his mouth, and his hand slides down to palm her ass as she presses herself impossibly closer to Sam. Nails scratch at his neck, eliciting a low groan from Sam that sends a pulse of heat through Donna, making her gasp into Sam’s mouth.

“Mommy! I need help, my ties are undone,” Sophie’s voice on the stairs make them spring apart, and each of them is breathing hard; Donna wipes at her mouth self-consciously before she leaves Sam standing there to go help her daughter.

“I’m here sweetheart, let me see,” Donna says, heart still beating furiously in her chest as she re-ties the halter top of Sophie’s swimsuit. “Good as new. Go take a seat while I go put my bathing suit on, okay? We’ll do sunscreen once everyone’s ready.”

Sophie nods, grinning, and Donna kisses her forehead before heading up to their room. It takes her an embarrassingly long time to choose her swimsuit; she tosses aside two one pieces and a blue two piece that hasn’t fit since before Sophie was born, if she’s being honest. She finally settles on a yellow two piece that’s vaguely modest by bikini standards, but still exposes a decent amount of skin.

She pulls on a thin cotton dress over it, and grabs the sunscreen from the dresser before she returns to the kitchen, where Sam has returned with Adam and Max. She holds up the sunscreen, looking between the kids. “Who’s first?”


The kids conk out under the umbrella after lunch, Max between Adam and Sophie on the old quilt they’d brought with them. Donna and Sam eat at a more leisurely pace, enjoying the ocean and the impressive sandcastle the kids had constructed.

Once lunch is gone, Sam’s fingers skate over her shoulder and trace her collarbone. Donna hums, head falling back and spilling hair between her shoulder blades as she rests on her elbows, sun on her face. Warm lips follow, trailing up her neck, and she swallows the moan it elicits in her throat before it can get out.

“The kids…” she starts, and Sam shakes his head, kissing her pulse point again.

“They’re asleep, Donna. And I want to kiss you,” Sam’s voice is soft, and after one more quick glance at the kids, Donna melts into him. Sam stretches out over her, pressing her back against the sun-warm blanket- his skin is nearly scorching where it touches hers, and Donna slides her foot down his calf, keeping them close.

Their mouths meet in a soft, sweet kiss- he tastes like the strawberries he’d been sharing with Max, and Donna scratches her nails through his damp hair, smirking when he nearly purred. Sam moves his mouth to the hinge of her jaw, biting gently before he continued to her neck.

“If you leave a mark, I will kill you and bury your body where no one will ever find it,” Donna murmurs lightly, and Sam pulls back to look at her- her eyes are shut, cheeks flushed pink, lips red from his mouth. She opens one eye, humming in question. “Yes?”

“You’re so incredibly beautiful,” he says- and so easily, like it’s something he said every day, like it wasn’t a revelation. Donna bites her lip, squirming slightly in embarrassment.

“I have sand in my hair,” she replies, shaking her head, and Sam’s thumb is gentle as he touches her bottom lip.

“And you’re still the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen,” he tells her, and Donna cocks her head.

“You don’t have to do that, you know,” she says, and Sam frowns, shifting to lay beside her.

“Do what?” he asks, and she gestures a hand around vaguely.

“Compliment me. To…make up, for all the time we’ve lost,” she answers, and Sam’s frown deepens. Donna shrugs, tangling her own fingers together as she looks up at the clear blue sky. “You just don’t have to make anything up to me. That’s all.”

It’s quiet aside from the sound of the surf against the sand, and then warm fingers stroke the exposed skin of her stomach. Lips touch her shoulder, and Donna sighs softly.

“We both know I have a lot to make up for,” he starts, and when Donna starts to protest, he touches his fingers to her lips briefly. “If not to you, then to that little girl asleep three feet away.”

Donna stays quiet at that, allowing it. They’d bridge that gap when they came to it, and she lays her palm on his chest, feeling his heart beat against her hand.

“And, Sheridan- I truly do find you to be the most beautiful woman in the entire world,” he adds as an almost afterthought. Donna’s lips curl upwards, and she shakes her head again, but fondly this time.

They’re interrupted from further discussion by Max rousing from a dream in tears, and demanding comfort from Donna. No one is much in the mood for the beach after their nap, so they pack everything up and head back to the villa. The kids are all cranky from too much sun, and Donna shares a harried look with Sam as they climb the steps.

“Let me take Sophie for a bit. I know you have work to do- I’ll watch while you get what you need to done,” Sam suggests once they’re in the courtyard, and Donna looks at him in surprise.

“You’re sure?” she asks, and Sam nods, touching her shoulder.

“The boys will be glad to have her around longer, and it’s not a chore to spend time with her,” he replies, and Donna softens.

“I only need a few hours, promise,” she tells him, and Sam smiles gently, his hand lifting to touch her cheek.

“Don’t rush. We’ll be here,” he replies, and then offers his hand to Sophie. “Come along, gang. I think some snacks and a movie are on the docket for the afternoon.”

Donna watches the four of them go, hand pressed over her chest in an attempt to stem the joy that seemed to want to flow from her chest.