By Carol Sandford


Chapter 06


Deanna sat up with a start. It took 3 seconds to wonder where she was, and then it took another 30 seconds staring at the empty space beside her and remember what had been. Then it took another few minutes for her tears to cleanse her soul enough to force herself out the bed, snatch up her clothes, slip them on and storm home.

But as she strode up to the gate, Deanna's footsteps slowly to a halt as she spotted a familiar figure seated upon the marble step still wearing the beautifully cut tuxedo that he'd worn the night before. The only thing awry was the dickie bow tie and the dishevelled hair that had been repeatedly dislodged by nervous hands. He sat with his back against one of the huge marble columns that graced the grand entrance to her home and looked...terrible.


For a long moment they simply looked at each other until eventually it was Wyatt that broke the tense silence, his eyes dark with betrayal and pain. "I knew you would end up in his bed."

Deanna blustered eventually managing just one word useless. "I..." But suddenly she wasn't sure if she was going to deny where she'd been, or apologise for her dishonour. Either way, Wyatt didn't give her the chance.

Wyatt held up one hand to halt whatever she was going to say, or not say, his head shaking slowly, sadly as he watched the only woman he'd ever loved slip for forever from his soul. "It doesn't matter, Deanna. I really don't want to know."

Deanna watched as Wyatt slowly and wearily pulled himself to his feet and took a few steps towards her. Deanna could only stand and wait and wonder why he had came if he wasn't going to listen to what she had to say. Not that he'd want to hear it. But Deanna wasn't a liar and wasn't going to start now. Even so, it seemed that Wyatt wasn't even going to let her say her piece.

Wyatt slipped his hands into his pockets and studied the woman that stood warily opposite him. Even after a heavy night of loving and the lingering smudges of make up that she hadn't removed, Deanna was still beautiful. More so, if he was honest with himself. Her lips were still swollen, no doubt from their united kisses. Her hair a riot of tumbled curls that still held some of the sparkling glitter that had took his breath away when he'd first seen her last night.

But it was her eyes that had given him all the answers that he sought. She was in love again, and it wasn't with him. The Starfleet officer from Earth had re-stolen her heart, and her soul.

For a while Wyatt had thought that they could have made it together. He'd accepted that he was never going to be 'first' but went headlong into the relationship knowing that he was a close second.

Until yesterday. Now he knew he wasn't anywhere on the scale, and that stung some. "Was any of it real for us, Deanna?" He asked, his curiosity getting the better of him.

Deanna gasped, her swollen lips opening in a startled 'Oh!' as she put her thoughts back on track. Of all the things she expected him to say, that wasn't it. Before she could say one word, Wyatt continued. "I figured that maybe - just maybe - I had some chance of a relationship with you. I know you loved him, and I know that you two were..."

Wyatt hesitated on the one word he needed to say, but saying it meant accepting there would have never been anything more than 'close' together. He'd been ready to take on a woman that would only ever have given him a portion of what he deserved in their relationship. But he'd never really considered the role that she would have played in it.

And now he knew, and with some relief, he was glad it had happened now rather than some time down the line when they could have been married, and God forbid, parents.

But it still hurt like hell.

He couldn't stand another second looking at her without revealing his sorrow with the tears that were disturbingly bubbling just beneath his carefully held pride. "Goodbye, Deanna. Be happy."

As he walked slowly passed her Wyatt heard her spin on heels to face his back, her spluttered, and desperate, "He's gone." stopped him in his tracks, but only long enough for him to shake his head and whisper with an emotion that threatened him with even more than he wanted her to see. "And so am I, Deanna."

The tears of loss and shame streamed down Deanna's face and for long moments she was unsure which man she was crying for. She'd lost...everything. Will, Wyatt, her self respect, and now she was sure she'd lost the most important thing of all. Her one chance of happiness with her Imzadi. Through her own fault and selfishness, she'd lost the only thing that had mattered to a Betazoid.

If she hadn't have sought Will out and behaved like an absolute trollop, then, maybe, Will would have come for her.

But then maybe he wouldn't have. When she'd slipped into his room last night it had seemed the right thing to do. But now, in the cold light of day, now it had probably been the worst. She hadn't given Will the opportunity to search his own heart and seek her out with his arms wide open.

"I warned you, Deanna. I told you what would happen if you disobeyed me. You've brought nothing but shame to the family."

Deanna spun on heels, her beautiful gown, now looking somewhat forlorn and tacky in the cold, harsh light of day, swung in a wide circle with the movement, swirling around her ankles until it came to a stop as she turned to face her mother.

Before Deanna could say a word, the Betazoid matriarch turned on her heels, walked through the door then slammed it shut. And barely a second passed before Deanna did exactly the same thing. Incensed with an anger that she had never felt before in her young life, Deanna hurled her retort to the woman who had always been with her through thick and thin was steadfastly making her way up the long column of stairs. "I am your family, mother, and no one is more ashamed of that than myself!"

Lwaxana Troi stopped on the second to top stair, turned and looked down at the woman that her child had become seeing a stranger, a stranger that had hurt her beyond belief. It had been only days ago when she had began to see a change for the better in her daughter. Deanna had finally seen Wyatt, the son of one of her closest friends and ally's, become more than just close acquaintances. Lwaxana had hoped that this year was the one that would have become her happiest ever. The year Deanna married Wyatt. The year all her dreams come true.

And then 'he'd' come back. That damned Starfleet hotshot, Lieutenant William T Riker. He'd ruined everything. Everything.

He'd not only seduced her daughter again, but had shattered every moment of happiness Lwaxana had had since he'd left a year ago. And now he'd shattered her own future, too, because as soon as she'd seen him on that stage barely twelve hours ago, she'd realised that her own daughters happiness now lay in tatters, and that was unforgivable, no matter who was to blame for the illicit coupling that had undoubtably happened last night. Just seeing her precious, precocious daughters face shown her more than she wanted to see. And as for traipsing home in her ball gown in the cold light of day...Well, the whole planet now knew where her daughters morals lay; in the gutter, along with her reputation, and her heart.

"Get yourself showered and presentable, Deanna, and then we'll talk."

Incensed, Deanna screeched as she put one put on the bottom stair rung. "Don't dictate to me, mother. I am a grown woman!"

Lwaxana Troi stepped down two stairs before speaking, her voice low, threatening. "You're a stupid, impetuous, spoilt child who has just ruined her own life, along with mine. You've behaved like a whore, and for what? Did you think that throwing yourself at that man would make him come running after you like a love-sick puppy? Did you really think that he only came back to this planet because of you? If you did, Deanna, then you're a fool. A stupid, young, immature fool."

By the time she had finished her shattering tirade she was only steps on the stairs above Deanna, and Deanna could not only feel her mothers despair and disappointment, but could see it in the tears that ran freely down her face in her distress.

The revelation pulled Deanna up short as she stared up into the older woman's face. Her mother was right, but hearing the truth only accentuated Deanna's own feelings. She 'had' been stupid, and all the rest of the accusations her mother had slung at her, and Will leaving her behind without some much as a goodbye, had only rammed the truth home.

He hadn't cared for her.


William Riker stepped onto the waiting shuttle knowing that the truth couldn't have been more further away, and as he wearily stowed his overnight bag and his beloved trombone away, lowered himself into his seat and snapped the seat belt into place, Will prepared himself for the second miserablist ride home in his life. But then, as he heard the engines power up, he figured the trip was just going to be a mirror image of the last time he'd left his Imzadi behind.

That was until a few moments later when he realised that the shuttle wasn't moving. What in hell's name was wrong now? he silently fumed. All he wanted to do was get off this rock, forget about the woman that he'd hoped was still sleeping in his bed and prepare to kick-start his life again, if he could. He'd almost succeeded the first time so he was sure he could do it again. He figured it might take him a bit longer this time around, but, by Christ, one way or another, he would get Deanna out of his system, once and for all.

Will unsnapped his seat belt and made his way to the cockpit. "What's the hold up lieutenant?" He asked the pilot who looked young enough to still be in high school.

The young man slipped off his headphones and turned in his seat to face him, his voice apologetic as he spoke. "I'm sorry, sir. I've just been ordered not to leave."

A sense of foreboding washed over Will as he stared with masked horror at the pilot and asked. "Who gave the order?"

The young man shrugged. "Some ambassador, sir." The youngster chuckled as he asked. "You done something wrong, sir?"

But before Will had a chance to respond, a voice - a voice that he recognised - spoke over the comm unit. "Yes, he has, lieutenant. Tell him he's got ten minutes to get his ass over to my house, or I'll have him arrested for raping my daughter."

The pilot stared at his passenger open-mouthed but Will wearily shook his head and sighed as he turned away and pulled his belongings from the hold, speaking as he did so. "Repeat one word of this, lieutenant, and I'll have your ass in the brig. Open the damn door."

The pilot craned his neck around the bulkhead warily, watching the officer with unease. "Should I wait for you, sir?"

For a long moment Will simply stood and stared lifelessly at the movements going on around the landing dock as the door descended before finally turning his gaze back to the waiting man and said quietly. "No. I think I might be a while."

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