THE COST OF DESTINY

 
 

By Carol Sandford

 
 

Chapter 05

 
 

She envied him. The man prowled around and in between her friends like he'd known them his whole lifetime. Which he hadn't. But even so, it didn't stop her envying his ability to invade her world so effectively, so thoroughly, so...intimately.

The party had been in full swing by the time William Riker had arrived. The room practically heaved with bodies of varying age, race and interest. Deanna knew everyone that had come, welcoming them through the door along side her mother. But the moment she'd sensed Will arrive, she had been knee-deep in conversation with her best friend's father, Gart Xerx, and other than a cursory acknowledging nod of his head towards her, he didn't speak. Just lightly smiled that enigmatic smile of his. The one that usually infuriated her. The one that melted her insides with longing. The one that seemed to be saved solely for her.

For two, long, painful hours, Deanna covertly watched the strikingly tall man throw himself into conversation with practically everyone in the room. Festering, Deanna also endured watching him dance with just about every woman in the room, too. Everyone except her. She ached to feel the strength of his arms around her, guiding her around the tiny allotted dance space, and all the while hoping that it would end with him taking her to see the moonlight outside.

But first she had to catch his attention, and that was proving almost impossible. It seemed that wherever she placed herself, deliberate or not, somehow, Will always managed to be facing the opposite direction.

But did he look her way? No. Not once. Oh, he knew she was there, it was painfully obvious by the way that he did ignore her. What was she. Chopped liver!? When she had reached into her wardrobe earlier that day, it was with the utmost conviction that she was NOT going to dress for him. So why was she standing here, in a drop-dead gorgeous, blood red dress, being ignored, by him?

Her onyx eyes flashed with fire as she watched Wendy Roper sidle up beside him, and, damn it all, did she really just drag her fingers across his butt!? Hell! And she just reached up and kissed him! On the lips!! Worse! He responded! Welcomed it! Revelled in it!

Her indignity, her horror, and her envy, must have been strong enough for the man in question to finally, slowly glance her way. But when he did, it was with a smile. But not a friendly smile. It was a knowing smile. A victorious smile.

He knew, damn him. He knew. But how?

Her mothers words drifted through her senses again; << Little one, he read your mind.>>

<<...he read your mind...>>

and he's reading it now.

Deanna sucked in a startled breath as the shocking thought jumped into her head and her eyes locked with his across the crowded room. Drawn by the pull of her eyes and the sudden pallor of her skin, as well as something more that he couldn't put his finger on right then, Will started moving towards her, heedless of the woman beside him.

When he came to a stop in front of her, Deanna expected to be asked for a dance, or maybe just taken out onto the dance floor and swept into his arms. At the very least she expected him to strike up a conversation with her. But when he simply looked deep into her eyes, reached for her hand and pulled her after him, out of the room, she followed without question. Without fear. Without even knowing why, only that she knew that her life was about to change, and William Riker was the one who was going to change it.

Now.

Forever.

 
     
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