5 times Nick wanted to kiss Diane, and the 1 time he finally got to
Nick is used to feeling like an idiot. Words never quite come out the way he means them to and he is accustomed to putting his foot in his mouth. This effect seems to double in strength whenever he is around someone whose opinion matters. Someone he'd like to impress. Someone he fancies, even.
Someone like Diane, from the plane.
The sweet, kind (and yes, he'll admit it, beautiful)lady who listened to him blurt out that stupid bit about being in Newfoundland. Her kindness had shone through the anxiety she was clearly feeling about making sure whoever it was was ok. (a husband? he thought with a twinge of jealousy, and then immediately locked away that thought and refused to examine why it made him envious.
Here on the bus, Nick has gone and done it again. He's waffled on about his heart medication, trying to cover his awkwardness with bad jokes, and finally resigns himself to silence with a bashful "That's everything you need to know about me."
He thinks he's just about succeeded in scaring off someone who could have been a friend, a connection in this new and lonely place. (Hell, while he's on this path of self-pity, let's just go all the way and say he's buggered it up with someone he's gone and got a crush on and who could have been his first relationship in years…) when he hears:
"Well, I'm allergic to bananas. Oh, and I've never had the chicken pox!"
He turns to glance at her, taking in Diane's gentle smile and the humourous sparkle of her eyes. She's all kindness and understanding and acceptance and he could just about kiss her right there.
In fact, it's in that moment that Nick first realises he wants to.
The kiss at the Screech-In throws Nick completely by surprise and to his regret he remains frozen throughout the whole thing.
Afterwards, he follows Diane to a few chairs in the corner, unable to keep from beaming. While she gets up occasionally to dance with a few of the locals, she is never far from his side either. He can't help but notice the way her knee knocks against his or the way she rests her hand against his shoulder, or his chest, or his thigh whenever she talks to him. She finds countless little ways to prolong their contact and this (coupled with the screech warming his belly) is enough to give him the courage to slip his hand into hers and lead her outside to the alley behind the pub.
It is cold and she leans against him for warmth, trying to supress a shiver. He wraps his arms around her waist and she gazes up at him, her face open and affectionate.
Nick feels his gaze drop to her lips and he finds himself leaning forward, bending slightly and inching closer, and closer -
The door crashes open, ricocheting off the bricks with a clatter.
"Kevin, where are you?"
A very drunk and very glum looking (other) Kevin staggers out into the alley.
With a sigh, Nick and Diane disentangle themselves and walk over to help him search.
The next morning Nick wakes up with a singular purpose: to kiss Diane. He rises before her and makes sure he is dressed and groomed immaculately (no one wants to kiss someone with hangover breath!) before returning to where their cots are placed side by side.
His heart swells as he catches sight of her, burrowed down into her pillow and softly snoring.
He sits down beside her on the edge of her cot and gently shakes her awake. Tells her she'd been snoring because, well, it had been adorable and because he wanted to start off their relationship honestly.
But then she says something that makes him stop, feeling as though he'd just been plunged into an icy lake.
She didn't remember.
She didn't remember any of it.
The kiss, the dancing, her hand on his knee, it was all a product of the screech.
After that, Nick loses his nerve and backs out of her invitation to dinner, stating that he'd have to return to London straight away.
All good things, right?
The fourth time Nick wants to kiss her (well, honestly it's probably the four hundredth time he's wanted to, but the fourth time he actually might be in with a shot) is atop the lookout at Dover Fault.
It's windswept and rugged and utterly beautiful and he doesn't care one bit. He can't keep his eyes off Diane.
She's smiling and her whole face glows as she reads out fact after fact from a plaque (something about continents and tectonic plates) but Nick is distracted by a strand of her hair that has come loose and is curling around her jaw, perfectly framing her face and making him long to reach out and tuck it back behind her ear.
There's a moment where she's paused and he thinks for a moment she's caught him staring, but she's staring too and it seems neither of them can look away. For a moment, the world has shrunk down to her beautiful blue eyes looking back at him and in them he swears he could see the same longing, same want, same desire he's sure is pouring out of his.
But then a bird swoops past them with a screech and the moment is gone.
He snaps a few photos of the area (but mostly of her) and contents himself with the knowledge that at least he'll have a memory of this day to take home with him
They finally manage to make it onto a plane and are currently cruising at 32,000 feet. On the surface Nick looks calm but there is an internal struggle taking place.
He's very aware that his feelings for Diane go far beyond a simple crush. This is not some holiday romance. She is someone truly special and he is running out of time to tell her that.
Although words have never really worked out for him.
He's always been better with actions.
But here's where the problem arises. Every time he runs through these steps in his head, he arrives at the same conclusion – if he can't tell Diane how he feels, he should just show her. He should kiss her.
Just lean across and kiss her.
Just reach over, cup her cheek with his hand and kiss her.
For God's sake, Marson, hurry up and kiss her he thinks.
But he can't bring himself to do it. His courage fails him every time.
As he's contemplating pressing the flight attendant button to order the largest scotch they have and attempt to drown his sorrows, he notices a tear tracking softly down Diane's cheek.
He's been so caught up in his own thoughts he hasn't even noticed she's upset.
Without thinking, he wraps one arm gently around her shoulder and places a kiss softly to her temple. Well, kind of her temple. The plane chose that moment to wobble and his lips landed a little off course.
Diane looks up at him, her eyes searching. They seem to find something in his expression, because her gaze turns determined and before he knows it, Nick is being pulled down towards her and feels her mouth pressed against his in a kiss.
Later in their relationship, Nick admits to Diane the number of times he'd thought about kissing her while they were in Gander.
He tells her late one night as they are lying in bed with a thunderstorm playing out overhead and Nick tracing gentle lines up and down her side with his finger.
She bursts out laughing and proceeds to tease him mercilessly about the fact that while he was daydreaming about kissing her, she beat him to it not once but twice.
She only stops when he finally finds out the most effective way to silence her is with a kiss.
There were too many times on Gander that Nick wanted to kiss Diane but didn't.
Now that they live in Dallas, he's making sure he doesn't let any more opportunities slip by.