By Carol Sandford


Chapter 01

  My fingers brushed across the almost translucent petals, releasing its scent. I closed my eyes and let heady aroma wash over me, letting it remind me of her. Letting it remind me of the last time we had strolled along this very path through the ornate gardens in the college grounds.

I had to smile, I couldn't help it. It had been the happiest day of my life. It had been the day I had proposed and she had accepted. My Imzadi had at last agreed to marry me as we had soaked up the hot Betazed sun in this very place, amongst the flowers with the restful sound of the river going on it's way. The birds were singing their songs, and there was us, laying on the soft grass along with the remnants of our picnic.

As Deanna had lay on her back with her eyes closed with a peaceful, serene half smile on her face, I had fumbled for the tiny ring that was tucked deep into the corner of my pocket. I had pulled it out and twisted it between my fingers, watching the sunlight glint off the solitary diamond.

I had kissed her lightly, but she'd had other ideas, clasping my head as though she never wanted to let go, kissing me so deeply that my heart pumped harder just from the eroticism of it. I heard her groan. Or was it me? I know that my heart had whispered, 'Marry me' before my head had cleared from the drugging effect that she'd had on me. That she always had on me.

Deanna was a drug, and whenever I thought of her, touched her, sensed her, made love to her, I was in another universe, and I was blissfully happy.

She had pulled my head away from hers to look into my eyes, but she hadn't needed to. She knew that I loved her, and I did, with all my heart and it must have shown, because barely a heartbeat after she had whispered 'Yes'

Her tears had shown me just how much it had meant, along with the kiss that had scorched a path all the way to my soul. And then more tears had fell when I had placed the diamond upon her finger. It had been the perfect day.

We began to make plans. We wanted to marry right away, but her mother, bless her soul, wanted to wait a while, just long enough to prepare the wedding of the century. We had no choice but to sit back and let her indulge herself. We didn't care because we had each other. What was another few months on top of the lifetime that we had already waited?

That was until 'he' came along. That was until 'he' proceeded to show her just how much I had mellowed over the years and he hadn't. That was until 'he' had stormed into our lives and took her away from me.

It had been so subtle at first. I'd discovered I'd got a brother; a twin, a duplicate. What chance did I have against someone who had been desperate to get back to the woman he - we loved? Before she'd known what had hit her, Tom had wined, dined and bedded her within two days. And on the second day, she gave me back my ring.

I had been torn apart, ripped from the soul right up to my heart, and yet I couldn't blame her, not for a minute. I could see why she wanted him. He still had that zest, that vigour and that excitement. Whereas I had become the stalwart of the ship, even if it had been for her benefit.

I could have moved on, and I could have pursued our relationship years ago, but I hadn't, I hadn't needed to. She was right here, with me, working with me, being there for me, as I for her, but it hadn't been enough in the end. I thought we'd just eventually drift together as it had seemed to be our destiny, one way or the other.

It had been destiny, but I had lost her to my younger self, the one she fell in love with all those years ago in the Jalara Jungle. The man that should have swept her off her feet when we'd first come aboard the Enterprise, like he had done.

And today, the day that was to have been our wedding day, I'm wandering through the garden, remembering. My eyes take in the special places and the special moments. The patch of grass with another couple laying in almost the same fashion with a picnic basket already emptied of its goodies. The flowers, their scent drifting on the feint summer breeze, tempting my nostrils, tormenting me with visions of her, beneath me, within me, and around me. Will it ever pass? I know it won't, I don't even want it to.

I dug deep into my pocket and pulled out her ring. It was still so new, so barely worn that it still twinkled. I held it up to the sunlight and watched it glisten until it became blurred as my own tears flowed, and I knew it was time to let go. I threw it high and watched the sun's rays capture its descent, sending out a rainbow of blinding brilliance before disappearing into the depth's of the flowing river.

In a dew days I will smile along with the other guests at her wedding. I'm determined not to cry, even though I know she will. Only I know, along with her tears of happiness, there will be a few for me. I know its going to be the hardest day of my life, but I also know she is happy, and it'll be that thought alone that will get me through.

I am my brother, so I know how much he loves her. I know that whenever she looks at him, she will see me. Their children will be my children. Deanna will always be a part of me, one way or the other, and my brother knows that too. When he's laying in bed making love to her, he will know that what he's thinking, how he's feeling, and what he's doing to her, would be exactly what I would be thinking, feeling, and doing. Kind of strange really, don't you think?

I walked away from the park with a smile on my face and a bounce in my step. Our life with Deanna has just begun.

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