|I'll Catch You----Will's POV
Here's part two.
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Disclaimer: I didn't do it, nobody saw me do it, you can't prove anything.....
Personal Log-William Riker, First Officer. Stardate xxxxx.x:
"I asked Deanna to marry me tonight. She said ‘no’. Well actually, what she said was ‘I can’t.’
I feel like such a fool. This is not exactly how I envisioned this night ending. Nevertheless, here I sit, alone in my quarters, hurt and bewildered.
I had the entire evening planned. Flowers, wine, a fine meal. I even convinced Guinan to lower the lights over our table to a soft romantic glow.
I knew Deanna had had a rough day, but as the evening progressed, she began to relax.
I was so confident. Maybe too confident. I never once considered the possibility that she would say anything but ‘yes’. After all, I know she loves me as much as I love her.
The past two years have been amazing. It took a lot of hard work, a lot of give and take, but with time, we were able to reconcile the people we are individually with who we are together. I truly believed a marriage proposal was the logical ‘next step’ in the life we had created. I thought she felt the same. So imagine my surprise.
Dinner was over. Deanna was lingering over dessert in that adorable way she has. I’ve never told anyone this, but the way she eats chocolate-in wholehearted rapture-turns me on. Until I met Deanna, I never imagined just how erotic something as simple as chocolate cake can be.
But I’m digressing.
I looked over my shoulder and saw our friends standing at the bar, waiting. They knew what I had planned. Beverly had helped with the arrangements. They were waiting for the right moment to come over and offer their congratulations. Like me, they never doubted that congratulations would be in order.
I winked at Beverly, and then turned back to Deanna. I pulled the black velvet box from my pocket, and got down on my knees. An old fashioned custom, granted, but a romantic one. ‘Deanna, I love you with all my heart and soul. Will you marry me?’
The words were barely out of my mouth when I saw the change come over her. She opened her mouth, as though to answer, then closed it abruptly. I saw the fear in her eyes. I knew in that moment that she was remembering another time, another place.
Time seemed to stop. She sat there silently while I began to feel like a fool.
She finally spoke. Her words rang in my ears painfully. My heart began to shatter with the force of those two little words. ‘I can’t’
Then she was gone, leaving me on my knees, too stunned to move.
I did not turn around. I could not bear to see her walk away. Nor could I bear to see the shock on the faces of my dearest friends.
I sat there for the longest time. After a while, Beverly approached, laying her hand on my shoulder. ‘Will, what happened?’
I just shook my head, unable to speak past the bitter tears clogging my throat.
‘Leave it alone, Doc,’ I finally whispered. ‘Please, just leave it alone.’
I practically ran from the room.
So here I sit, alone and confused.
I am a fool, the worst kind.
I thought the mistakes I had made in the past had been forgiven. Leaving her the way I did was reprehensible, I’ll admit to that. However, after all the years we spent together as co-workers, then friends, then best friends, and finally lovers, I truly believed that she had forgiven me.
As a young Lieutenant, I was brash and arrogant. I wanted to be the best, felt I was the best. I’m not the same man I used to be. Deanna knows that. She has said so herself. I believe her exact words were ‘older, wiser, a little more seasoned.’ God, how I hated the sound of that! But I understand the message she was trying to impart to me. What I don’t understand is that if she truly believed her estimation of the man I had become, why can’t she trust me? Trust her intuition?
Trust. I guess it all comes down to that. It’s not a matter of love, it never has been. The love has always been there, for both of us. I loved her then, I love her now. I think that I have loved her my entire life, even before I actually met her. I know I will love her to my dying day, and beyond. I know she feels the same way.
No, love has never been an issue.
As I sit here, I realize that I am angry. I’m just not sure whom I am angry with. Myself, for hurting her so badly in the past that she has never been able to forgive me? Or her, for not being able to trust me not to hurt her again?
I know I need to go talk to her. She needs to understand that to hurt her would be to cut out my own heart. She has to know that the dreams I had then are still there, but have evolved to include her. I want the same things I wanted then, not for myself, but for us. I honestly don’t know when my dreams changed. Probably the moment I looked up and saw her step out of the turbolift; the second I heard her voice in my head again.
We really need to talk. I can’t go back to what we were. I can’t be ‘just friends’ again. At the same time, I can’t go on with what we have now, knowing she will forever be waiting for me to walk away.
Where would I go? I could have left a long time ago, but didn’t. Has she ever stopped and wondered why? I can’t believe she doesn’t know. The answer is so obvious to me. It wasn’t fear, caution, comfortability, or a desire to captain the Enterprise that has kept me around. It’s her. It has always been Deanna.
Damn it! I cannot allow the mistakes of the past to dictate the future. I have to prove her wrong. She expects me to walk away. Well I have news for her, I’m not going. She is stuck with me, so she better get used to it."
Will reached over and ended his log entry with a few quick taps. He took a deep breath and reached for his combadge just as it chirped.
‘Troi to Riker’
Will jumped, surprised to hear her voice, just as he was ready to contact her. Fear and anger made his voice cold as he answered. "Riker here. What is it, Deanna?"
Silence permeated the open channel for several seconds. "Yes."
Will could not speak. He closed his eyes in overwhelming relief as the pain and uncertainty fell away like an old coat he had worn too long. He felt giddy and excited and a million of other things at once. It was simply amazing what one little word could do.
Realizing he had not responded, and his silence was probably alarming her, Will jumped up. Without a word, he left his quarters and virtually floated to Deanna’s.
He hesitated outside her door, fear pushing itself to the surface again. He forced it back down and pushed the chime, knowing his future was waiting for him on the other side of the door, on way or the other.
The door slid open, and there she stood, radiant in her vulnerability. Neither of them moved, frozen in a sea of emotion. All the words he wanted to say vanished from his mind in the face of Deanna’s unspoken plea for understanding. They moved as one, slowly at first, then in a rush. Suddenly, she was in his arms, and he held her close, drinking in her love.
Will knew they still had a lot to discuss. Too much had been left unsaid for too long already.
For now, though, it was enough just to hold her, knowing they were right where they needed to be.
For now, for eternity.