By Carol Sandford


Chapter 14


Will's footsteps echoed as he ambled along the streets heading back towards the officers quarters, his long form, creating even longer shadows in the moonlight. It was barely midnight - had he really been over an hour in Deanna's room? he wondered, still mystified over the visit's culmination.

Will chuckled wryly to himself, his imagination running riot as he pictured Deanna's mother with her ear against the door listening in to their conversation. I wonder how much she heard? he wondered. Hell, another five minutes and she would have heard a lot more, he bragged to himself, his walk turning cocky as he kicked a small pebble along the ground, watching it skeeter away, the movement somehow reminding him of Deanna, making his smile wider still. Always running.

He didn't see or hear the body skulking in the shadows, realising that if it had have been an assailant, he'd be dead by now, a fact he mentally chastised himself for. When he did hear who it was, though, he breathed a grateful sigh of relief.

"Penny for them?" A high pitched, seductive voice broke the night's quiet. Will recognised the sultry tone as soon as she spoke.

He chuckled again, blushing lightly as he thought about just what he'd been thinking about, knowing that Wendy would not want to hear about the gut-punch of a kiss that he'd recently shared with Deanna. "I'd want a lot more than a penny for them, Wendy. What are you doing out here this time of night? You shouldn't be wandering the streets alone. You never know who you'll bump into."

Wendy Roper stepped out of the shadows, her soft laughter suddenly becoming loud in the night's calm, her shoes tip-tapping, piercing the darkness, intruding on it's tranquillity. "I bumped into who I exactly wanted to. You're a hard man to track down, Lieutenant."

Flattered, Will didn't immediately discard her as quickly as he should have, especially when his mind was still over-stuffed with images and thoughts of Deanna. Wendy, who now brazenly stood before him, half shadowed in the moonlight, making her look even sexier than when she had prowled around him at the Troi get-together, waiting patiently for his mind to switch gears.

She's nothing more than a friend, he told himself, as he smiled down at the woman who moved within touchable distance, need oozing from her every pore. "What could you possibly want from me that you couldn't get from a score of other Starfleet officers that are unattached and available?"

She chuckled seductively, the sound vaulting down to Will's reluctant loins, the laugh reminding him of another certain Betazoid's that he'd just left. "Last I heard, Lieutenant, you were unattached and more than available. In fact, going by our last little...meeting, I got the distinct impression that I could perhaps change that situation for you."

Boldly she stepped nearer and traced a finger tip across Will's pectorals, skimming the tiny buds that stood to attention with, not only the night's chill, but the sexual acknowledgement to being touched, wanted, and uncannily like being trapped in a transporter beam, Deanna's presence in his head shimmered away too.

The first touch of her lips on his though was like having a bucket of icy cold water pouring over his head. Her lips were cold, probably from the midnight coolness, but he still managed to compare Wendy's with Deanna's warm, welcoming touch. And he startlingly realised, the connection was missing, too.

Until that moment, he hadn't appreciated just what being bonded really meant. But as Wendy tried to deepen the kiss by sweeping her tongue across his lips, seeking access, nudging the tip against his closed teeth, Will felt totally devoid of feeling. Not just sexual feeling, but spiritual. It was wrong. It felt wrong. It felt empty, like he was kissing a vast void in space; dark and unwanted. Like nobody was on the other side. Like something was missing. Or someone. Deanna.

What am I doing!? he asked himself, horrified at the rapidness of stepping into another's arms when it was possibly the furthest thing from his intentions. I love Deanna! Reluctance gone, his sensibility returned with a force that guiltily gnawed at his soul. Will firmly disentangled himself from Wendy's clinging lips and arms and stepped back out of reach.

Opening his mouth to apologise for leading Wendy on, he stopped when he saw the smile on her face. It wasn't a nice smile. In fact, if she had been a cat, Will would have thought that she'd definitely had a good lick at a huge dollop of cream.

"So I was right," she crowed, her voice tinged with malice,"little, Miss Snob hasn't got what it takes to keep a man interested," boldly stepping towards Will again, that long fingernail preparing to torture him again, stopping short when Will reached up and held the hand just short of its goal, the pressure in his fingers harder than he intended.

"Interested!?" he repeated with surprise and venom, "Deanna Troi is the hottest woman I have ever met, and she has absolutely no problem in keeping me interested. In fact," his fury building within him at, not only his own lapse at remembering how much the woman in question meant to him, but how Wendy could even say such a ridiculous thing. Will had heard the gossip, and he admitted to himself, that had been some of the reason for getting to know Deanna better, but never in his wildest dreams did he think he would be in the position he was in now; Captivated.

Totally and absolutely captivated by Deanna Troi. His Imzadi. He twirled the new word around in his mind, liking how it made him feel warm. Calm. Desired. Loved.

"In fact," he stormed on, but now with a catch in his voice that defused some of the venom leaving him wide open to ridicule. But he didn't care anymore. He knew he was wearing his heart on his sleeve for the whole damn world to see, and he didn't give a fig. "I wish she was standing in front of me instead of you, because I miss her, and I only left her ten minutes ago. Doesn't that tell you something, Wendy?

"Yeah," she said, completely taken aback at his defence, and passion for someone who had markedly gotten under his skin, and pissed that the apparently not-so-cold Betazoid had snagged the only man on the entire planet worth snagging. "it tells me that you're no better than the rest of the horny Starfleet bastards here, and she's welcome to you. Goodbye." She spat.

Spinning on her teetering heels, Will watched Wendy stride away from him, her head held as high as it could go, but even so, she still couldn't stem the seductive sway of her hips as she walked, quickly releasing Will'a anger and making him chuckle. She must have heard it because somehow, she managed to get another inch higher, indignation and pride oozing from every pore.

Will stayed in the same spot for several long moments relaying the past few minutes over in his mind, wondering if he should feel guilty or not. I didn't kiss her back. I swear, I didn't, he reasoned to himself. She came on to me,


Where the hell did that come from!? he wondered to himself, trying to put the word back into the jumbled jigsaw within his mind, seeing where it fit. It didn't. He was beginning to think he was going mad. Either that or someone, somewhere was butting in again, and instantly, a vision filled his head. A very unwelcome vision. "Lwaxana Troi." he muttered angrily. Great, just flippin' great!

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