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Around midnight, Scot finally fell asleep.

They had been walking around the city, sightseeing and visiting various stores, Scot running from one window display to another, asking about prices and details of anything that had caught his attention, while Sam and Eric had been following him, and waiting patiently for Scot to pick whichever souvenirs he had wanted to purchase, even if he had spent more than he should. Still, neither Sam or Eric minded much. Seeing Scot so excited about everything was really heartwarming.

Overall, it turned out that the trip to Los Angeles was a great idea and Sam would definitely have to thank Nula again for the suggestion and organizing everything, as well as recommending the hotel a half an hour away from the city in which one of her closest friends worked. Scot loved the hotel, ended up really enjoying hiking, and he even made some friends. Two kids of similar age, Lizzie and Josh, were staying in the same hotel with their parents, and they seemed to get Scot pretty well right from the beginning.

While Scot was spending time with the other kids, Sam and Eric suddenly found themselves with more time for each other than they had expected. They made sure the parents of Scot’s new friends had their contact numbers, just in case, and more than once talked to Scot about staying close and not leaving the hotel, but in the end they decided that Scot was almost fifteen and he deserved to have more freedom, especially since they were on vacation. They had agreed that he could stay with his friends longer on two conditions, one being that Lizzie and Josh’s parents agreed, and two, that he would be back at their hotel room by 11 PM, an hour later than on school days. So, while Scot was busy most of the time, Sam and Eric had the room for themselves.

It had been a long time since they went together on a trip that lasted more than a day. Their jobs were demanding, even more so after Sam had been promoted and started working on a larger number of cases. Also, it was getting more and more difficult to coordinate their schedules to plan any longer trip when all three of them had their own plans and responsibilities. However, a month of planning their family trip was definitely worth it.

Sam and Eric were enjoying the trip as much as Scot was.

Sam took a tray with two glasses of champagne and strawberries the waiter had brought earlier and carried it outside, where Eric was sitting on the comfortable bench.

It was a warm night, the sky was clear, and since they were away from the city, the stars on the sky were clearly visible. Slow music coming from downstairs was calming and didn’t disrupt the overall peacefulness, and Sam breathed in the cool, fresh air.

“Scot fell asleep,” he said as he put the tray down and sat down next to Eric, and Eric wrapped one arm around Sam’s shoulders right away.

No other patrons were using their balconies at the time as far as Sam could tell, he could only guess since each balcony was separated from the others with bamboo privacy screens from the sides, and the screens, as well as the view of the large lake nearby, created a nice, intimate atmosphere. Every time he admired the view he was more and more glad he let Scot talk them into coming here.

“I thought he’d be more tired after how many stores we visited today,” Eric replied, smiling. He was tracing random patterns on Sam’s arm with his thumb and Sam leaned back so that his head was supported by Eric’s arm.

“Knowing him, he’ll wake up early, too.”

“The last time he was so excited was when we let him go on a that trip with Joey, Carla, and Ryan to Carla’s parents’ cabin.”

Sam smiled and turned his head a bit to look at Eric, who fell silent as he watched the stars. He looked relaxed and peaceful. Sighing quietly, Sam focused on the sky as well, putting one hand on Eric’s thigh and squeezing gently.

The stars shone brightly, and Sam realized that it had been a long time since he had time to just sit and stargaze, and also that he and Eric had actually never stargazed together before, at least not like they were doing now. For some reason stargazing had never crossed Sam’s mind before, even though it was something so simple, something they could have been doing every single night at home. When he said that out loud he felt Eric fidget in his seat briefly before he settled against Sam once again.

“What brought that on?” Licking his lips, Eric glanced at Sam, his arm tightening around Sam’s shoulders.

“Sitting here and jus… relaxing, I guess. I never thought about it before, honestly,” Sam squeezed Eric’s thigh again, never taking his eyes off the sky. “It’s strange, isn’t it?”

“I don’t know,” Eric started running his fingers up and down Sam’s arm. “I never was much into it. Seems kind of pointless.”

“What, manly hockey players can’t stargaze or something?” The corners of Sam’s mouth raised in a small smile and Eric snorted at the question.

“Very funny.”

They fell silent again after that, just enjoying the evening together, feeling the cool wind against their skin as they admired the sky. All of it was nice: champagne, quiet music, bright stars, and Eric’s arm around him…

“We could do that at home, too, you know. If you want, I mean.”

Eric’s voice was quiet when he said that, and from the corner of his eye Sam noticed that he licked his lips again, as if he wasn’t sure he was saying the right thing. It made Sam want to kiss him, and he did just that. He touched Eric’s cheek and turned his head to press their lips together in a short, gentle kiss, and Eric’s hand moved from Sam’s shoulder to his neck almost instantly.

“That does sound nice,” Sam murmured against Eric’s lips before they both turned to look at the sky once again, Eric’s fingers still stroking Sam’s neck. “It could be fun.”

They ended up sitting on the balcony until Eric informed him quietly that he was about to doze off, and as they lay in bed later, Sam wrapped one arm around Eric’s middle, kissed his shoulder, and sighed, content.

“We definitely should do that again.”