LONELY TOGETHER

 
 

By Carol Sandford

 
 

Chapter 01

 
 

Everybody loves my wife. Her radiant smile has enough power to shatter grumpy moments. I love being around her. I love her confidence; her ability to soothe and replace bad thoughts with good. Questions with answers and disquiet with peace.

It is a special place, to be within arms reach of Deanna Riker-Troi. It is even more special to be within minds reach of her, like I am. I am special to her and she is very, very special to me.

We met and collided on her home planet of Betazed and fifteen years on, it still feels the same way when she's near me. Our lives were full. Even before we were married, on the Enterprise, we lived every moment of the day and night as though they were our last and nothing has changed now that we are married on board our own ship, the Titan.

The crew have become our family. Of course, they aren't the same as the long lost loyal friends that became so much more on our old ship, but gradually, this crew are becoming as close to us as those. But even so, at the end of each day, when the ship's work was done, we could retire to our own quarters and be alone until the next shift.

We were both happy, or so I thought.

I'm not sure when it all started to go wrong. At first, it was just little things. Instead of snuggling up together on the couch and catching up with either the day, or the past, or even the future, Deanna would disappear to the bedroom, saying she was tired.

And then a little later, when I'd rise to join her, she pass by me without a word and settle on the couch and stare at nothing with a faraway look in her eyes.

I tried to talk to her. I'd beg her to tell me what was eating away at her, but it was as though we were on opposite sides of a very tall wall. She very effectively tried to shut me out, and succeeded.

But not quite. You could not hide pain, no matter how gifted you were. My own pains were stuffed down in the deepest parts of my heart, releasing only a little to grieve along with my wife. but hers were hovering over her like a storm cloud.

Deanna didn't seem to see that I was suffering, too. At some point in our marriage, the ache that I shared with her had also taken root in my own heart, and the pain that was gnawing away at my wife was steadily worming its way through my body as well.

But I was the captain and I could only let so much pain out of me, but it wasn't enough to tell Deanna that I was in trouble, too. Not having her beside me at night was beginning to tell. It kept me awake as I waited for sheer exhaustion to claim her and force her to succumb to the bed, and eventually my arms, where I could do nothing more than hold her and wait for the day when she would find the courage to voice the longings that lay deep within her.

And then, finally, one day, it did.

I met her in the corridor outside our quarters and we stepped through the doors together, our shared weary smile briefly lighting up at the thought of shutting the world out, having a decent meal together and then hopefully stay friends long enough to maybe go to bed together without tears showing us the way.

After catching up with messages from afar; a lecture from her mother about not visiting for two whole years!! And a brief cheery note from our good friend, Doctor Crusher who cheerfully informed us that her old nurse, Alyssa Ogawa had given birth to a baby boy, Deanna punched the disconnection button, but did not move away from the Desk.

She continued to stare at the screen before her, lost in her own little world. Putting down the two cups of coffee, Will studied her pallid features, broken only by a single tear that ran unchecked down her cheek. Helplessly, I watched as the tear turned into a torrent.

"Deanna?"

The cracked voice that whispered my wife's name seemed to belong to a stranger. She looked over at me, the tears glistening on her long, black, sooty eyelashes.

The time had come, at last.

"Can we talk?" she said, her voice small and fragile. Suddenly afraid to trust my own voice, I nodded. Turning her body around, I settled nervously on the couch close by.

"What's the matter, Deanna? Talk to me, please."

I watched her swallow, unable to put her thoughts into words. I took the bull by the horns and made an assumption of my own, the same assumption that was causing me the same pain as I knew his wife was suffering from. "Was it the message from Beverly that upset you?"

Tears, momentarily stemmed, welled up again in those beautiful obsidian eyes and I hung my head, unable to meet her gaze, suddenly afraid that she would see those self, same longings that plagued her. But then, as quickly as I denied her the chance to see the real me, I decided to let her in and as I did, I watched her eyes widen with surprise, and then understanding.

"I'm lonely, Will."

We'd tried for children, of course. "Give it time," Doctor Ree had kindly suggested, for whom the passing of time was obviously no problem at all. "It'll happen, when you least expect it." He'd added with the nearest thing to a chuckle that a reptilian-come-dinosaur could muster.

But it never did happen. "There doesn't seem to be any logical reason as to why it is not happening for you two." And then that familiar saying that we'd grown to hate followed soon after. "Give it a little more time."

"And practice," Deanna had joked even, though inside her heart was breaking along side mine.

And so we did wait. But as the months went on the disappointment became harder to bear for us both. Finally after more in-depth tests came the news that we already knew deep down in our hearts that we'd been dreading. That night, in our bed, we cried together.

And then we got on with our lives.

But things were never quite the same again after that. We lived, barely, we dined, rarely, and we pretended. And Deanna's smile never again managed to chase away the storm clouds that permanently followed us both around. Almost living two separate lives, we came and went as though we were almost single. Meals were summoned from the replicator rather than me cooking from scratch, and one side of the bed, usually Deanna's, seemed to be permanently empty.

Until the day that Deanna finally found the courage to confront our loneliness.

Through a gap of the door peeked a shard of light. It was four o'clock in the morning and I was wearing a hole in the lounge carpet again. But this time it's different. This time I'm not on my own.

In the bedroom Deanna is stirring, getting ready to take over. And perched on my shoulder, there is a squawking, wriggling baby called Timmy. And he was ours.

A regurgitated splodge of his one a.m. feed lands on my shoulder and Timmy blows milky bubbles through a windy smile, adding to the mess. I lovingly smile, uncaring and blissfully happy.

Deanna had made a lot of sense finally, the day she had found the courage to tell me what I wanted to hear.

"We have love, Will, lots of it," She's said, nervously moving to my side and sitting beside me on the couch, the nearest she'd been to me for months. "And of course, we can rely on the staff to help us through so I can work a little." Deanna went on carefully, taking my hand within her own and holding against her heart.

"So how do you feel about adopting, Will?" she'd finished, in a rush.

Gently I pulled her hand away from her body and kissed the fingertips, hoping that my tears would be enough to tell her how happy I felt. But they hadn't been enough.

"I'll understand if you don't feel able to love someone else's child." Her voice became very small. "I'll drop the whole silly idea..."

With my silence Deanna's voice trailed away to nothing. Deanna had taken my silence to mean that I wasn't interested. But nothing could be further from the truth.

"But, Deanna," I'd whispered, "he wouldn't be someone else's, would he? He's be ours."

"He?"

I raised my eyebrows finally allowing the half-smile to tug at my lips, my eyes dancing with happiness and relief. "Or she." I quickly emended.

And from that moment on, Deanna and I were a team again, talking well into the night, making plans, making unguarded love and decisions that only a couple could make.

Gone were the days of moonlit walks only to be replaced with new holographic creations with parks and ponds, complete with ducks to feed, and a puppy to walk along side our son.

 

 
     
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