By Carol Sandford


Chapter 02


Over the coming days Deanna did her utmost to push 'Ros' out of her mind, but Will's continued air of dejection - and now Deanna had realised it for what it was, she had been amazed she'd not noticed it before - continued to push through her own needs. She was worried about him. Ashamed to admit that her own desires had neglected to notice the well-being of, not only her friend, but an important crew member. A man that had always, always been there for her, as she for him, until now.

She had to make it up to him somehow. If she was going to have a tempestuous affair with Simon, then it was only fair that Will should be with 'Ros'. After all, they were both grown ups. They were both single. They were both in love. Or was it lust? Deanna grew warm inside as she envisaged herself within Simon's arms. Lust, definitely lust.

Then Will's face popped into her thoughts. He didn't look like a man in lust. Will Riker looked like a man in love. Deanna came to a halt in the middle of the corridor; the impact of her thoughts slammed through her senses enough to give a passing ensign cause for concern at the unexpectedness of the Counselor's sudden immobilisation.

Will was in love?

It was a concept that Deanna hadn't considered. Not really. It was impossible to imagine that Will could have those same self emotions that he'd had for her once, but then she reasoned, he did have a right to something, even if it wasn't as profound as what they'd had once. He was a human being after all. As was she. She still searched for that elusive, 'happy ever after' scenario, and it seemed Will searched along beside her.

Deanna managed to swallow the immense disappointment, knowing that she had no right to behave that way. Will was her friend, she wanted him to be happy, desperately. And so she decided that she was going to help him, somehow.

The opportunity came along a few days after when Beverly Crusher decided she was going to have a party to celebrate her, 'Four - Oh my God, my life is over!' birthday.

First and foremost, it had given Deanna the ideal opportunity to invite the man of her now constant hot and heavy dreams. It had cost her a lot of pride to press that button outside his door and invite him as her escort to the birthday bash. She'd been lucky. Every Goddess in the universe must have been on her side that day as he agreed somewhat jovially. Somehow it hadn't felt right to turn down the woman that, had been so startled with his response, that she'd dropped the entire contents of her arms at his feet.

Simon Carsdale had seen her around the ship at various intervals. He couldn't avoid her really as she'd made it more than obvious that she was interested in him. But he hadn't been interested in her...then. He'd only just arrived on board the greatest ship to grace the skies, and he didn't want to get tangled up with a woman, especially not a woman of her ranking. A woman who'd he'd heard on the grapevine was, 'technically unavailable' for a long term thing.

But, he'd also heard that Deanna Troi was one of the hottest babe's on board and after a while, he'd figured she was worth a chance. If she was as hot as he, then he figured they could blow each others flames out. If it took one night, then so be it. If it took a little longer, who the heck was he to complain? She wasn't what he normally went for, but a little variation never hurt anyone, right?

And here she was, practically begging him to escort her to a birthday party. Simon asked her in to his quarters and he was mildly surprised when she agreed. It was then that he'd learnt that she was Betazoid and had known he was no threat to her. It was also then that he discovered that she also had an ulterior motive, and with reluctance, he'd found himself agreeing to her proposals. As long as she left with him at the end of the night, he didn't care what she did, even if it did involve the Commander.

Two days from now, Simon Carsdale was going to have the night of his life.

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