By Carol Sandford


Chapter 01


'Just when I think I'm over her, she does it. She does it again, and it all starts anew.

All it takes for that damn woman to get me started again, is a look. A look that tells me that she remembers, me.

She remembers what I did to her, way back when, when I taught her something more than love, and it always manages to surface at an inopportune moment, or when something has been said that somehow conjures up an image in her mind that brings on, 'that look.'

I try not to dwell on it too much. I can't really, because it does something to me that has me usually running for cover so that I can compose and rearrange myself. Such is the power of her.

And that's on a good day. On others, she leaves my mental state in something of a quandary. Somewhere between wanting her and wanting to wring her dainty little neck!

I can't help loving her, but it's something I try and hide. Not from her, but from myself. I need to function on board this ship and I can't do it if I'm constantly thinking about her.

Sometimes I can go HOURS without her crossing my mind, and I think I've forgotten about what we had, and then I turn a corner and, WHAM! I see her and my head goes into Lothario mode. I'm sure she must think that I don't think about anything else.

I can't help it if looking into her eyes puts an image of her lying beneath me writhing against the soft earth as I make love to her, no more than I can help pulling her into my arms when she desperately needs nothing more than a cuddle.

You tell yourself that you don't care. Sometimes I have to do that just to get through the day, and then when I climb into my bed, alone again, my body goes cold as the lie washes over me. Of course I bloody care! Too damn much.

She's under my skin, big time. She's also in my heart, permanently. Christ, she's even tucked away in my soul, and I have no hope of evicting her from there, even if I wanted to.

Which I don't.

Sometimes when she catches me unaware, on days that I find she's never from my thoughts, it's hard. It's harder because I know she, knows and I know that she sometimes wants to, talk about it. But how can I?

I am a man.

I have desires.

Unfortunately, she is my desire.

Every minute of the day.

Even though she is my friend. Even though I am her friend and she would kill me if I abused that friendship.

I think.

Trouble is, I'm too scared to find out. I'm a chicken. So sometimes the little that I can do, I make the most of. Like having a cuddle. Like getting a chaste kiss. Like wallowing in a smile. Like whispering a word that accidentally slips out when she forces my heart into my throat squeezing that damn word out.

It's a strange word; Imzadi.

It's a beautiful word.

It's our word.

And every chance I get to use it, I do, almost as much as every chance I get to have a cuddle, or a kiss. It's as far as I'm willing to go, for now.

But it doesn't stop me thinking about her, or loving her. I couldn't imagine life without having Deanna Troi somewhere around me. Whether it be in my thoughts, my arms, or in my soul.

She's there for keeps.'

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