By Carol Sandford


Chapter 04


"I'm surprised to see you this morning, Miss Troi - especially after...yesterday." Will handed Deanna the day's agenda, his eyes holding a hint of surprise, and pride. Unable to resist himself, Wills fingers tenderly stroked her hand as she took the padd from him, "I thought you would have wanted out from our...agreement."

She jerked her hand away as though she had been burnt, her frown marring her pretty face, "I finish what I start, Lieutenant. I don't scare that easy." she said firmly.

He grinned at her, "I'm glad to hear that, Deanna. Very glad."

There was no doubt in her mind as to what he meant, and her cheeks turned pink, which only made Will smile wider. He leaned in closer, bringing his mouth to within a couple of inches from hers, and her eyelids lowered. She started to sway towards him, then she blinked and jerked her head away.

"Oh, no," she swore, "That is one thing that is never going to happen again. Do you understand me, Lieutenant?"

Before he even had a chance to agree, or even laugh at the absurdity of her threat, she spun on her heels and left the room, leaving behind a delicate waft of her perfume, and a challenge.


Deanna tried to find a million and one excuses to get out of her mother's little, 'get-together', and for every excuse Deanna found, her mother threw each one straight back at her, until in the end, she pinned her daughter with a murderous glare, puffed out her chest, lifted her eyebrows and growled, non-too-ladylike, "Deal with him, Deanna. Either give him what he wants, or stay away from him."

"But mother, I am trying! But everywhere I go, he's there. He's...everywhere!" she cried passionately. "It's's like, he's a magnet to me. I can't seem to avoid him." she added rather despondently. Thoughtfully.

Lwaxana Troi watched the misery and confusion mar her daughters beautiful face, recognising the true problem instantly; Deanna was falling in love. Her little girl had fallen for possibly the last person on Betazed that she should have done. A man that was going to spend his life among the stars. A man, who had only been on her home planet for less than a month, but had still managed to build a reputation with the ladies. Simply, he was, a man.

William Riker was a cad in the first order. William Riker was the one man that she didn't want teaching her daughter how to be a woman. A proper woman. William Riker was not suitable husband material, and Deanna would never have a moments happiness with him after the initial flush of passion had been spent. He was either likely to disappear from her life, leaving her behind with a broken heart, or he was going to die amongst those stars that he clearly idolised.

Just like her beloved husband had.

The exasperation drained from Lwaxana's body as quickly as it filled it. Sliding down onto the couch beside her, she gently tugged on Deanna's hand to follow her down. Knee to knee, she squeezed Deanna's cold fingers while her eyes bored into her very soul.

Looking utterly miserable, Deanna whispered, "Mom, he kisses me like..." she trailed off, blushing delicately, "like he..." and still she couldn't say it, so her mother finished it for her.

"Like he wants more." she murmured, understandingly, as simultaneously, images of them writhing together filled their minds. Lwaxana tugged on Deanna's fingers, effectively severing that particular line of thought, forcing Deanna to look into her own obsidian eyes. "Darling, if you were really trying to avoid him, why did you challenge him to that silly game? It seems to me that you were doing everything, 'but,' avoid him." she challenged softly.

"I didn't think he'd win, Mother. Nobody's ever beaten me before. I don't know how he did it." she whispered brokenly.

Her mother's tender and tolerant smile captured her forlorn gaze, "Deanna, there was only one way William could have won. Hasn't it occurred to you yet how it happened?" At her blank, onyx stare, Lwaxana's own eyes went misty. "Little one, he read your mind."

Deanna reacted as though she had been slapped, "But how can that be, Mother? He is a Terran. He's not even my life partner. He's just! He's just....a man!" she cried with despair.

"A man that you have very strong feelings for, Darling," Lwaxana lamented.

Deanna leaped from the couch, unable to sit and face her mother any longer. Unable to hide the truth. But being a telepath, Lwaxana Troi didn't need to see her daughter's face to know what lie beneath her tearful eyes. "No! No, that cannot be, Mother! I didn't want this to happen. I'm too young. And he's...he's Starfleet! He's the worst of the worst."

"He is also destined to become your Imzadi, Deanna." she unwillingly admitted quietly.

Deanna whirled on the spot, her dress, her hair swirling around to caress her with the angry, stunned action until everything in the room came to a cataclysmic halt. "No!"

The one, simple word reverberated around the room, only to be mocked by an even more powerful, silent one.


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