By Carol Sandford


Chapter 11


Deanna watched Will push his food around his plate, stabbing at blood red cherry tomatoes not caring if he speared one or not. "I think it's already dead, Will."

It was a long moment before he realised that she had spoken and he looked up at her puzzled and then guilty, "Sorry, Deanna, I've just got a lot on my mind today, I'm not very good company."

She reached over and gently removed the fork from his fingers, putting it down onto the plate and pushing out of reach, she heard him sigh as he fell back against the plush chair back, raking a slightly shaking hand through his hair, leaving it spiky, "I know, thats why we're having lunch together. If you want to talk about it, I'm listening, it'll help to share your thoughts, Will, you know that."

He nodded absently but the frown stayed, the lines etching deep furrows upon his normally handsome face. Will lifted his palm, but just as quickly dropped it onto his lap again, the contact slap echoing around them. "I don't know. The stupid thing is, I don't know what's wrong. The ship is running like clockwork, my social life is as good as it can be..."

She caught his apologetic look but only nodded her understanding, knowing that he was referring to their relationship; A relationship that was so unique it was special and treasured and deeply respected. They both knew that one movement towards each other, would unite them as a couple, but it never came, and they both understood the reasoning behind it, even if somehow they both wanted that one movement to come. But without it, they survived and existed in a world in between friends and lovers; more than friends, not quite lovers. Truly unique.

Deanna was brought to the present by Will's puzzled voice, "I dunno...I just can't explain it, something's wrong and I can't explain it. I feel like I'm...waiting."

He turned his eyes to hers searching for understanding, knowing that he would find it there, he always did. It was one of the things he adored about her; her ability to understand and resolve.

Deanna Troi got it in a nutshell, "Ensign, Kathleen Carson."

Will felt his breath whoosh out not even knowing it had been suspended. Just those three simple words brought everything into a clarity that was so clear, Will didn't know how he missed it. He knew the woman was a problem and that she was having problems. What he didn't understand was that they were having a problem too.

Will shifted uncomfortably in his seat, and Deanna felt his discomfort, she was surprised when he spoke, "I'm sorry about how I treated you the other day, I was way out of line with you, Deanna and you didn't deserve the treatment that you got." She went to speak but he raised his hand, silencing her with its motion. "I want you to know that I asked the Captain to drop the charges. Your record will not be blemished."

Deanna was momentarily speechless as she stared agape at the man opposite her, " didn't have to do that, and Will, I did deserve it, and more. What I did was probably the worst thing I ever did to not only you, but a fellow officer."

Will waved away her words, "You were drunk, Deanna. I agree you shouldn't have been drunk, but once you are, you're not responsible for your actions...or your mouth. Picard would have hardly given you a black mark for being drunk!"

Deanna blushed, but her gratitude poured from every pore, "Thank you, Will, you will never know how much that means to me."

He nodded, "On the contrary, Deanna, I do."

An understanding silence prevailed for a few scant moments until Deanna voiced her thoughts about the young Ensign, "Do you think Kathleen maybe causing mischief so that she gets a reprimand from you?"

Will blinked with surprise at her question, "I don't know. I'll admit, I am a little surprised at her actions, but all her incidents have all had been validated, I've seen no pattern, and no overt behaviour."

Deanna asked even though she wasn't really looking forward to his answer. She still wasn't comfortable with Will's liaisons on board The Enterprise, but had learnt to accept them, for the most part, "Will, has Kathleen come on to you at all. Has she made her feeling's known to you?"

Deanna felt the invisible wall leap up between them even though Will shook his head in denial. He had never lied to her before, and she knew he wasn't lying now, but he was holding back something and wasn't prepared to tell her, yet."

Lunch time was almost over and Deanna reluctantly pushed herself to a stand, but continued to look upon the man still seated, "Want some advice, Commander?" He nodded warily, and she continued, "Let someone else reprimand Ensign Carson. Remove yourself from her physically, you're getting too close and I don't mean personally, Will. She has upset your balance and it's thrown you, you need to step away and restore your rationality. I'm sorry, I've got to go, I'll see you later, okay?"

Will watched her walk away from him leaving even more subdued and somehow angrier. Why hadn't he confessed that he'd kissed Kathleen? Why hadn't he told Deanna that he'd been so angry at her, that he had brutally kissed the ensign, wishing it was Deanna he was punishing for making him feel like he was losing control? And that was how he felt; out of control, and all it had taken was two drunk women and a joke at his expense.

Will felt like he was losing it and he didn't have a clue what to do about it.

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