By Carol Sandford


Chapter 13


Deanna stepped out of the shower and wrapped the huge, fluffy, cerise towel around her slender body, and then wrapped another smaller one around her head. She was still tucking the dark tendrils under its edge as she strode nonchalantly into her bedroom. It wasn't until then that she got a tickle in the back of her mind that she was being watched.

It only took her a second for her eyes to fall on the large bulk that sat, looking rather silly in the very feminine delicate and ornate chair, the one man that had consumed her thoughts and her dreams.

It was no use feigning shock, horror, or surprise at finding him there, so she simply said, "How did you get in," and then another thought entered her head. "Did my mother put you up to this?" But she couldn't take her eyes of him, or admire the way he looked; sexy. Damned sexy. And dangerous.

Shadowed by the natural light in the room, and dressed all in black so that all that showed was his face and his large hands, Deanna couldn't stop it when her tongue snaked out and swept across her suddenly dry lips.

Will didn't miss the erotic movement and secretly smiled to himself as he answered her, taking care to not let his eyes drop below her face. He'd taken a long, leisurely look at everything else before she'd sensed him and drank his fill of her creamy skin. Her long slender throat. Her delicate ears. Her tiny ankles, and her sexy toes.

Once more, the mention of her mother threw him for a moment. What was with the mother!? he wondered before actually saying flippantly, "I'm a Riker, I can get in anywhere if I put my mind to it." And then belatedly thought about his response, groaned and hoped that Deanna hadn't spotted the erotic version of his daft boast. The hurt sparkle in her eyes told him he'd hit a nerve and he quickly murmured an honest, "Sorry," He hesitated a moment before adding gently, "I'd to talk to you, and since you're apparently, 'not here', I wanted to know why."

Deanna quickly turned away from him, not wanting him to see the blatant lie in her eyes, "I thought my mother already explained my reasoning. It won't work for us, so there is no point in making it any harder than it already is."

Will studied her as she plonked herself down in front of her mirror, taking the head towel off as she did so and letting the riotous, ebony curls cascade down her back. He looked past her bare, creamy shoulders and watched her reflection as she picked up a brush and began to work through the knots, and pondered on her answer, working on his own suitable response at the same time.

"I know that I'm not going to be on Betazed for long, and so do you. Why can't we enjoy the time we have left together?" But even as he said it, he knew that wasn't possible. They were more than casual lovers now. A few weeks wasn't going to cut it. He was waiting for her predictable answer but was surprised - stunned when she finally did speak.

"I love you." The passionate words slipped out before she could stop them and she cursed her own idiocy. She had made a vow to herself that she wouldn't tell him how she felt, nor would she put him in that awkward position of having to reveal his own feelings. His reaction spoke volumes.

"Huh?" His entire body went rigid. It was the last thing he expected her to say.

"I'm sorry," she murmured, "that kinda slipped out. I didn't mean to tell you." her eyes briefly finding his in the mirror before looking away, confused with her confession.

But his held the hint of a smile as he spoke, "If you love me, how come you sound so miserable?"

"I am miserable," she admitted, "You're the last person I want to love," she began to reel off the excuses, "You're not my type. You're pushy, bossy and arrogant. Half the time I don't even like you. You work in a dangerous job. You could be killed at any time." She'd started out strong, but her voice was shaky by the end.

Many silent moments later, Will quietly stood and moved slowly towards her. She watched his movements in the mirror, her eyes dropping when he lowered himself to kneel down beside her. His eyes never left hers as he spoke, "I'm a Starfleet officer," he clarified unnecessarily. "but I'm a good Starfleet officer. I'm not going to die tomorrow, or the day after, or for a very long time, if I have my way,"

He lifted a hand and tenderly fingered a solitary damp curl that sat upon her shoulder, "especially," he continue huskily, "if I've got something to live for."

At last Deanna's eyes left the mirror and found his. Swallowing, she whispered, "I've never been in love before. I hate it." The emotional confession brought moisture to her eyes.

Will smiled tenderly, instantly understanding, "I've got news for you. I hate being in love, too, Deanna. But we are."

She nodded, accepting the logic, and the situation, "Yes, we are." she sighed.

Will pushed himself to a stand, his fingers trailing down her arm until they reached her waiting fingers. Pulling her up with him, Deanna dropped the hairbrush onto the table and turned into his arms, soaking up the compassion he offered.

After a few moments. Will smiled above her head as he heard her take in a deep appreciative sniff of the cologne he wore. It was a favourite of his, and of every other female that had gotten close enough to wallow in its intoxicating aroma. He felt the palms of her hands flatten out against his back and begin to move,

Gently, he pulled his upper body away, inviting her to take the lead wherever she wanted to go. Her face left his chest and she looked up, her eyes silently asking him to kiss her. Before the plea had even finished, his lips were settling against hers, and barely a second later, their tongues danced to the tune that only lovers ever got to hear, unanimously sucking in a trembling breath and a tortured moan with the kiss's intensity.

Will's heartbeat began to pound and the ardour deep inside him began to swell like a rolling wave about to turn over and wash him away. God, he wanted this woman, more than he'd ever wanted a woman in his entire life, and he still couldn't quite believe that he actually had her, both in his arms, and in his heart.

Deanna felt Will's mind and soul shift. A few seconds ago, he simply wanted to make love to her. Now, now he wanted more than just her. More than just her body, her words, her touch. He wanted the rest that normal people couldn't see, or have, or desire, and now need.

The realisation, for some unknown reason, shocked her. Until that moment, truly that moment, their virginal Imzadi bond had seemed surreal. Enchanted. But feeling Will's honest, raw need from deep, deep inside of him, finally and fatalistically, told her that the man in her arms was, without a shadow of a doubt, inescapably chosen to be her one, true Imzadi.

Will was breathing heavily when he reluctantly separated his lips from hers. His eyes, inflamed with passion, dropped to her glistening mouth and then lower as his hands left her waist to rise to the knot that held her towel tight against her body, the only barrier that separated his skin from hers.

Wordlessly, Will's darkened blue eyes met and held Deanna's, and his voice, husky with passion, asked, "Can I?"

The hesitation was no longer than a breath before she answered him by moving her own two hands to the knot and pulled at it, freeing breasts that were already reaching to touch him. And then, amongst the haze of desire, Deanna heard a silent whisper, Don't, Little One.

Will's face turned to bewilderment as he watched Deanna suddenly and seemingly change her mind and begin to re-knot the towel, depriving him of the minuscule glimpse of what lay beneath. "Deanna?" he questioned, hoarsely.

Unsteadily, Deanna stepped back and out of Will's arms, her cheeks tinging pink with embarrassment, "I'm sorry. This is not the time, or the place, you've got to leave."

Mystified and bemused, Will wasn't quite sure what to do. He didn't want to leave, he knew that without any doubt, but he didn't want to stay and cause her harm in any way. But he felt he had a right to ask about her sudden change of heart, "Can I ask why, Deanna? Did I do something out of turn, or...?"

She cut him off, "No, no. It isn't you. It's me." Taking another reluctant step back, she reiterated, "I think you'd better go, before..."

Will caught the nervous glance towards the door and instantly found the answer he sought. Her mother. Warily, Will reached out his hand and touched her arm. She reacted as though he'd burnt her, and Will pulled away with shock. "Before what, Deanna?" Perversely he knew, but he wanted to hear her say it. "Is your mother on her way up here?"

Deanna cringed with embarrassment at Will's quick insight to the problem, "No, worse," she said, almost whispering, "She's listening."

Will blinked with surprise, momentarily stunned into silence, and then his eyebrows rose and his eyes widened, and he asked incredulously, "She's listening! - to us making out!? Isn't that kind of sick?" he protested weakly, too shocked to even imagine the great Lwaxana Troi being a voyeur.

And then he had a sudden thought, "Isn't that illegal?" he asked, a spark of anger igniting deep inside himself.

Deanna swallowed, "She's only thinking of me, Will. She doesn't want to see me hurt. Don't be cross." she ended lamely.

"I'm not cross, Deanna. I'm disappointed, and a tad disgruntled at being labelled a bad guy, especially when I haven't done anything wrong except fall in love with you, and last I heard, that, wasn't a crime." he said, moving back towards her again, unable to keep the distance between them, needing her closeness to prepare him for the moment that he was going to be wrenched away from her, not only physically, but mentally too.

And he wasn't going without a fight.

Before she could back away, Will pulled her into his arms, a little more roughly than he'd intended, blaming it on the still simmering flicker of fire that surged through his veins at being thwarted. Deanna didn't even struggle. She couldn't, and she didn't want to. If defying her mother to put another memory in her own and Will's heart was the only way, then so be it, and when Will's tongue swept into her mouth, she gladly met him halfway, snaking her arms up and around his neck, holding on for dear life. Holding onto him.

But it was Will who eventually ended the kiss, his eyes ablaze with fire and need. "I love you, God dammit." he growled, planting another quick, final kiss upon her lips before ripping himself away from her embrace.

He made himself back towards the window in which he arrived, and putting one foot the other side of the frame, he suddenly stopped, and with a devilish smile upon his face, he spoke to thin air, "G'night, Mrs Troi." before dropping out of sight, winking at her just before he disappeared.

Deanna chuckled as she felt her mother's indignant Hrumph! echo through her senses, watching as Will vanished into the night, glad that he visited. Glad that they'd gotten another chance before time and circumstances - and her mother - intervened again.

Taking a deep breath and tightening the knot at her breasts a little tighter, Deanna turned towards the door, ready for the showdown with the woman on the other side of it.


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