By Carol Sandford


Chapter 01


Will walked into the busy lounge and greeted me with his usual heart-melting smile. It was a smile that was never far away from his face now, as it was the smile of a man in love. But the smile wasn't for me, though, simply because the man wasn't in love with me. Still, it didn't stop me from gazing at him with appreciation and longing as he approached. I could look, I frequently reminded myself, I just couldn't touch anymore.

But, as hard as I tried, I couldn't stop the surge of lustful thoughts fill my mind, as, after all, it wasn't that long ago when he was in my arms, or in my bed. As a lover he'd been...Oh, God, better than I could ever have imagined. But as a friend...I was struggling, really struggling to hold back and treat him as he now treated me; As a friend.

And the guilt quickly swept through me, again. How could I love my best friend's soul mate? It was easy. I had never stopped. I thought I would never get over Odan, but as the days past and Will's care and tenderness slowly took his place, Odan became a distant and very fond memory.

Damn it, he'd hurt me, but Odan was gone now. Almost forgotten. But now I hurt more - each and every time I saw Will. It was unbearable when I saw him with my best friend. God, how the hell Deanna never realizes how I feel I shall never know. But one becomes good at being a liar, when one has to. And I've become brilliant at it.

Will and Deanna have waited for so long to become the lovers that they were long ago again. And I'd left it too long to become the lover that I'd briefly once been. It was too late to go back, but it didn't stop me remembering, or wanting. Or aching.

As he'd loved me, Will had told me what I wanted to hear; that he loved me. I didn't really know if it was truly Odan talking, or if it was Will pretending because he knew that I needed to hear the words of a lover even though he'd been technically taken over by Odan's essence. When Will had made love to me there had been subtle differences. Differences enough for me to know that I was being made love to by someone else other than Odan.

Odan hadn't threaded his fingers into my hair and gently tugged on it as he'd pushed himself inside me. And Odan hadn't cried out with guttural passion each and every time that he'd poured his seed into me. And on too many occasions when I'd heard my name being whispered as we both tumbled down from heaven together, I'd heard, 'Beverly'.


After the first time I'd made love with Will Riker I'd heard him call me, 'doctor Beverly'. But, the second time, and the third, and the hundredth time after that, I heard, Beverly. 'Beverly.', and I knew that I was being made love to by Will Riker, and not Odan.

And then, one day soon after, Deanna had stepped back into his arms and I had lost him. I'm not sure if I can be the friend that I once was, even though that is what he seems to want, because I'm not sure if I can go through my days and nights knowing that he is with her, doing what we had done, and saying what we had said.

If theirs had been an ordinary love I might have been able to steal him away from her again. I know she's my friend, and I know she cares about me, almost as much as Will does. But what they have is no ordinary love. What they have, I cannot even comprehend and that hurts - it hurts to know that their love is deeper than ours ever was, or ever could be.

It's something I've got to accept, but damn, it's hard, especially when he approaches me and smiles that wickedly, sexy smile of his and I end up melting with it's effect, still. God, he must see it. He must know that I'm crazy about him. He must know that it is eating me alive seeing him with my best friend.

Can I survive this? Can I push past love and become the friend that they want me to be? I haven't really got a choice but to be, have I? And as he makes his way over to me throwing me that devastating smile of his, I can do nothing more than return it as I slip on the invisible mask that hides me from him.

"Hello, Will" I say, watching his long form pull out the stool and straddle it. It is nothing short of miraculous that I manage to keep my tongue in my mouth rather than do what I want to do as I watch his legs part as he sits. I remember them being like that a while ago, naked, lying back upon the bed waiting for me to climb in between them, his thick, hard length eagerly begging me closer, his arms outstretched reaching for me. God, how much he wanted me back then. I mentally shake the vision from my mind as his voice breaks the spell.

"Hey, Bev, mind if I join you?" he asks, the smile turning mischievous before the twinkle returns in his eye, the twinkle that tells me he's going to say something sappy, something about Deanna, his one true love. "Thought I might catch up with you while I'm waiting for Deanna. It's been a while." he adds accusingly, reminding me that it's me with the problem and not him.

I bite my tongue and grit my teeth and try desperately to remember that he is a friend and that I love him dearly, as a friend. I take a deep breath. "Of course," I smile gamely, "anytime." I say.


I wish I could shout and scream and cry like I'm doing inside right now. I wish I could take him by the scruff of the neck and rip into him; tell him what an insensitive bastard he's being. I wish I could snake my arms around his body, pull him up hard against me, make him react to me like he once did, just to remind him that I was a woman that he once cared for beyond friendship.

But I couldn't. I love him too much, and I love his lover even more. I couldn't hurt her any more than I could hurt him. But I could hurt me and I do that so well, and frequently, like every time Will smiles at me.

Sighing, I pick up my glass and sip the amber contents effectively averting my eyes away from the hands that had settle upon his thighs. Those same enormous hands that have worked their magic on every inch of my eager body. Those same hands that have tugged at my hair and had touched me so deeply that just then, for a moment, my heart stops beating as I remember.

I wonder if he remembers too? I wonder if he looks at me and sees me naked and wanton beneath him. Or upon him. Or beside him. God, was there any where or any way that we didn't make love? I feel myself heat with the silent negative answer and I can't stop myself from squirming in my seat.

I suddenly realize that Will's talking to me and I haven't heard a word he's said. My hands shake as I put down the now empty glass and I hope that he doesn't notice. I concentrate on what he's saying, watching his mouth to ensure that I don't drift again. Trouble is, that turns out to be a mistake, too.

I can still feel his whiskers and his mouth upon me, everywhere. One is soft and yielding, the other, rough and tantalizing. Agony and ecstasy, so close together that I didn't know whether to moan with desire or cry out with pain, until of course, both become one. Both become welcome, wherever they touched.

But not as much as when Will dragged both his mouth and his accompanying whiskers right down the length of my spine and my toes curled up within my shoes at the memory of that last time. As he'd nestled his enormous and naked frame against my back, his rock hard shaft had been cradled between my thighs. He'd nibbled my ear and told me that he'd loved me. And then he'd swept aside my hair and had began to blaze the path down my back. His huge hands had spanned my rib cage, then had reached beneath me and teased my breasts that were crushed against the sheet with his welcoming weight.

He'd nipped at the tender flesh at the base of my spine and then gone on further still. His hands had slipped lower, grabbed me by my hips and had thrust me up onto my knees, and instinctively, I'd risen my trembling upper body, knowing what had been coming, and I had began to ache desperately for what I was about to get, and he given it to me, gladly.

The bed had dipped as he'd turned and lay upon his back between my thighs, and then...and then he had given me the ultimate kiss of all, the kiss of true lovers. I was so sure of what we were meant to be and what we were going to be that it was a complete and utter shock when Deanna had stepped back into his life and I'd had no choice but to step back and let her take my place. Rather too easily, I suspected later. But, Hell, how do you butt in on Imzadi?

It's simple. You don't, and you can't, and I won't, not even for love. Not even for Will.

I feel Will watching me intently and I purposely shake away the daydreams relegating them to a tiny corner of my mind, for later. Indicating to the bar keeper that I want a refill, I ask the one question that I shouldn't under the guise of being engrossed with watching my glass being filled, again.

"How are the wedding preparations going?" Amazing myself when I don't hear the tell-tale tremor in my voice. Damn, I'm a great actress!

Will shifts in his seat making himself more comfortable as he crosses his legs at the knee, finishing the movement as he smiles and answers me. "Good, good," he replies, smiling wildly, happy to talk about anything that concerns Deanna. "I'm just waiting to hear from Thomas. We're hoping he can get leave from the Ghandi. I'd really like him to be my best man. There's really no one else that I'd like to have, apart from the Captain, of course. But as you know, he's conducting the ceremony so he can't." I nod, understandingly as he continues slyly. "And besides, I want to remind my brother that Deanna's my girl now and where better to show him than at our wedding?"

Thomas. Thomas Riker. God, how could life be so cruel to me? I'll be standing right beside him in that damn church, looking at him and picturing him doing, 'things' to me. Only Thomas won't have a clue what's going through my head, nor will he have a clue what had once happened between Will and I.

Strangely, Thomas's arrival had been the start of Will and Deanna reunion. Seeing how deeply Thomas had loved her had sent Will searching his soul for what was missing from his own life, and he'd found that it had been right in front of his nose all along. It had been a shock to us all when suddenly, one day a short while ago, here, in Ten Forward, Will had swept Deanna up from her chair in front of all her closest friends, gathered her startled body within his arms and had kissed her as though he was about to lose her.

And I'd had to sit there and endure it all. I'd had to watch one of the most erotic kisses that I'd ever witnessed between two people. Perversely, I'd been unable to look away. The surprise and then the laughter and the tears of sheer joy that had followed had hidden the pain and confusion that had torn through my heart and then ripped it in two as I'd realized at that moment, that I'd lost my one chance of a life with the man that I had come to love.

Forcing the painful memory away, I plucked at an invisible thread on my pants, and, inflicting just the right amount of inquisitiveness in my tone of voice, I asked, "Does...Thomas know"

The silence that followed was heavy with remembrance, but I was surprised when Will quietly asked, "Do you want him to know, Beverly?"

My eyes rose and met his across the table and I find myself swallowing self-consciously. "I...I don't know." I answer honestly. Does it make a difference? When I feel the blush rising to my cheeks I guess I get my answer. "Does he?" I ask nervously.

He didn't say anything other than nod slowly, his eyes never leaving mine, and I know, right then, that I do mind. How was Thomas going to view me now? As a past lover, or as a friend? As a challenge? Do I want him, whichever body he is in, and more importantly, would he want me?

Can Thomas replace Will? Suddenly, I discover that I desperately, excitedly want to find out. It doesn't matter that Thomas hasn't loved me via Odan, and nor does it matter that, in reality, Thomas has never touched me other than giving me a cursory, brotherly chaste kiss on two occasions before. Hardly the makings of a hot, tempestuous affair, is it?

But first I need to find out if Thomas is over Deanna. Would giving his brother away to the one woman he so desperately loved before make him see Deanna, and me, in a different light? And as Deanna strides through the lounge doors her beautiful face glowing with radiance as she spots Will coming to a stand and waiting for her, I think to myself as I watch the two lovers kiss and greet each other,

Well, there's only one way to find out, isn't there, Bev?

  Book index   Next chapter