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"Riker! Get your hands off me!" A firm voice echoed about the small patio area.
"I think, Counselor, you had better reassess the situation and figure out who's hands are on who?"
Deanna turned back and looked over her shoulder. The engagement ring that was
given to her not less than four hours ago by Ambassador Jonas Reynar, was now
firmly affixed to Will's pants zipper.
She tried once again to pull free, but with every movement she made, Riker's pelvis followed. "Damn it!" she cursed.
"Wait, hold on," Riker said and looked down, moving her fingers around, attempting to see. Finally, in an exasperated motion, he let his arms fall down to his sides. "I can't see where its attached."
"Do me favor, next time I stumble...let me fall on my ass. I think it would be more dignified than this!" Deanna said without any amusement at all.
"I'll be sure to remember that." He too was becoming quite annoyed at the situation. "You know, you've beeen a real bitch to me for the last three weeks. And here I am, trying to be a nice guy by coming out here to make sure you're alright...and what do I get? Grief."
Deanna jerked her hand again sharpley and on the recoil, hit Will in the groin.
"Don't. Do that. Again." he growled through clenched teeth.
For the first time, Deanna's mouth quivered into an unwitnessed amused smile that faded quickly. "You didn't have to come after me, you know. I was perfectly fine."
"Yeah, I could see by the tears running down your cheeks, that you were perfectly fine," he said as he took one last look at their situation before giving up in defeat.
Deanna decided to ignore the fact that he witnessed her crying moments
before she walked out of the banquet hall and changed the subject. "Where'd
you get these pants anyway? Surely their not Starfleet issue?"
Taking a good look at his outfit for the first time, she couldn't help but notice how handsome he was. Of course he has always been handsome, but now that she saw he was wearing the Rogolian traditional style horseman's uniform to the banquet, he looked devestatingly beautiful.
White riding pants that held firm to the muscles of his legs and buttocks, a crimson red v-neck shirt tied off at the waist, and a leather belt draped across his chest, she found it difficult to tear her eyes away from him. Looking down, she even noticed the spurs attached to his tall black boots.
She moved her hand again to obtain a more comfortable position and saw him bend at the waist, as if he thought he was about to get racked again. "I'm sorry. This situation is awkward for both of us."
Sensing her uneasiness, he grabbed her free hand and walked them to the nearest bench and sat down. "Better?" he asked.
Deanna's eyes wandered down his chest to his lap where her arm and hand lay. After a moment, she spoke in a distant and soft voice, "It's larger than I thought."
Thinking she could only be talking about one thing, Will's face grew into a broad devilish grin. Deanna immediately picked up on his thoughts and glared at him. "I wasn't talking about that, Will. I was talking about the ring." This time she could not hide her amusement and she let out a subtle laugh. "I didn't think the ring would be this big."
Will frowned. "Oh," he said disappointed.
"I think its the rubies."
He looked down again as she twisted her hand around. Her movements were finally beginning to affect him and sucked in a deep breath.
"Yes. Its definietely the rubies that have caught your zipper," she concluded.
Will quickly placed a hand over hers to stop the motion. "I thought an engagement ring was supposed to be a diamond?" he said quickly, hoping she would not notice his emotions.
Sensing that he was fighting desperately to not become aroused, Deanna bit her bottom lip and stiffled the chuckle that threatened to explode out of her mouth. "It is. I mean, the main part of my ring is a diamond. The rubies are supposed to represent the tail of a comet encircling a star."
'Well, they have certainly encircled something. Do you think you can take it off?"
Deanna stood and pulled Will with her. Using her free hand, she held the ring between two fingers and tried to wiggle free.
Will took in another deep breath as he felt the zipper moving up and down with her action. "Stop!" he said sharpley and grabbed her hands. "Stop, please," he said again only this time it was softer and completely out of desperation.
Deanna felt the redness in her cheeks immediately as her hands felt something rock hard beneath his pants. "I'm sorry, Will."
He sat back down on the bench and she had no choice but to follow him. "This is so damn embarassing," he mumbled.
She sensed the disappoitnment in himself for allowing his body to betray
him and almost wished he would act upon his feelings. Deep down, she had already
acknowledged to herself that her ensuing engagement to Jonas would inevitably
break off long before the wedding because of her feelings for Will. Why she
had let it go this far, she had no answer. Jonas was every bit of a gentleman
she had ever wished for. Only...he wasn't Will.
She could feel the anger and resentment building back up again as she realized she would never ever be allowed to love another, as much as she loved the man sitting next to her. At times, their Imzadi bond felt like a curse. No matter how many times she tried to ignore it, and move on with her life, she knew she would always come back to him. Damn you, Will.
Deanna let out an exagerated sigh and stood up, once again pulling Will with. " We have to do something. We can't exactly go back in there like-" Deanna turned her head as a delightful smell permeated past the doors to the patio. "What's that smell?"
Will pointed his nose high in the air to put distance from the lovely smell of Deanna's perfume. "Desert," he answered. "I think we were to have Tiramisu."
She closed her eyes and took in more of the heavenly aroma. "And I'm missing it all because you had to be Mr. Gallant."
Will smiled and pulled her to him so that she was flush against his front, with her hand being the only impediment between them. "We could always dance like this the rest of the evening." He placed his hands on her bare back and began to sway back and forth to the soft music that played in the background.
Completely out of instinct, she placed her head against his chest and wrapped
her free hand around his waist, letting him lead. She could have lived in that
moment forever, if given the chance.
His strong hands pulled her even tighter to his body and she moved her hand up to feel the muscles of his upper arm and shoulder. Gods, what she wouldn't do to be able to run her fingers through the hair on his chest that stuck out through the v-neck. A gentle sigh escaped her mouth as contentment washed over them both.
It was then that she sensed his trepidation, very distinct and very strong. Almost like he wanted desperately to ask her something but was scared to put the words to his lips. Gathering her courage, she lifted her eyes to meet his and he gave her a lop-sided grin.
"Deanna," he began, "I don't exactly know how to tell you this. And I'm fairly certain you're going to be angry with me."
Deanna pulled back enough so that he could hold both of her hands in front of him "What? You can tell me," she urged.
She watched his chest rise as he took in a big gulp of air. "I think we have a bigger problem, now."
Her eyebrows furrowed with confusion and concern as he hesitated.
He held her hands more firmly than before when he spoke next. "Dee...I've really got to use the bathroom."
Deanna's shoulders drooped at the same time she forceably pushed out her last breath between her pursed lips. "You're kidding, right."
Will's face looked pained. "I wish I was."
She stepped back and put as much distance as she possibly could between them. "Well don't look at me! I'm not going to hold it!"
Will laughed. "I don't expect you to. But unfortunately, you will have to-" Hi attention was immediately drawn to the door that had just opened onto the patio. It was bound to happen sooner or later, he thought. "Hello Jonas," he said and felt Deanna's body whip around to face her fiance.
The tall man's eyes that first seemed to be focused on his soon-to-be wife, now clearly rested on the position of her left hand. And as though his mind was trying to comprehend what his eyes were seeing, he nervously spoke, "Wh-when you didn't come back...I, I came out here to make sure you were okay."
Without thinking, Deanna made a move to go to him but after a step, she was
quickly reminded of her quagmire. "This isn't what you think, Jonas. You
see, I stumbled and Will...well, he caught me and," she gestured wildly
with her free hand, "and the ring became attached to his zipper."
She didn't need her empathy to tell he wasn't buying a single word of her story. She watched as his handsome face turned from confusion into a most hateful and angry scowl that gave every indication that he was about to tear Will apart.
Of the six months that Deanna had spent with Ambassador Reynar, never once did he raise his voice or surrender to any type of anger that he ever felt. In fact, his inner peace was probably one of his most endearing qualities, she thought. Incapable of showing the rage that most humans practiced. Oh sure, she knew every man had his limit; only she assumed that Jonas' tolerance was very high. But within seconds, Deanna came to realize that Jonas Reynar had finally met his threshold.
"So, Riker...is this just one of your little games to seduce Deanna?" Jonas slowly began to walk forward.
"Do you really think she's going to come crawling back to you, you miserable piece of ghaarg fodder?"
Deanna dangerously postioned herself between the two hulking men and held her free palm flat against Jonas' chest. "He was only trying to help."
Jonas forcefully pushed Deanna aside. "Hey, pal!" Will reached out and steadied Deanna. "That was uncalled for!"
Using his index finger, Jonas began to poke Will in the chest, attempting to push him backward. "Do you think I never noticed how you would look at her? How your eyes would wander up and down her body? Well guess what asshole...this body," he grabbed ahold of Deanna's arm, "this body belongs to me now!"
"Ow! Jonas...you're hurting me!" Deanna winced as his grip tightened around her wrist.
"Let her go," Will demanded.
Jonas looked down to his white-knuckled grip then up to Riker. "Or what? You're going to call a security team for rescue?...I don't think so."
Deanna continued to struggled within his grasp. "Jonas...please!"
"You know I like when you beg." The ambassdor bent down to kiss her cheek but she twisted away and moved closer into Will. Finally releasing her arm by practically throwing it back at her, his mouth contorted into a type of smile Deanna had only seen on insane people.
"Ambassador, you're drunk. Why don't you go back inside-"
"And leave her alone with you? You really think I'm a fool, don't you?" He pushed Will once again in the chest knocking him off balance.
"Damn it, Jonas! Stop it! Don't you realize you're the reason I came out here to begin with?"
"Me? What did I ever do to you?" For the first time, Will noticed just how drunk Earth's ambassador really was as his words began to slur together. "I was just having a good time like everyone else!"
Once again Deanna placed her body between them and it was her turn to show her anger and hurt. "Yes, having a good time with your little drinking games! Groping me like I'm your pet! Treating me like I'm nothing but your whore for the evening!"
So that was the reason for the crying, Will thought. How could any man treat her that way. To him, Deanna Troi was the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end of everything to him. For years he wanted to tell her that, but never found the courage, too afraid of risking their friendship. And now that Deanna had finally moved on, found happiness with another man who wasn't afraid to proclaim his love, he was left feeling ignorant and lonely. Looking back now, he realized how easy it would have been for him to just say those three little words and now be the one looking forward to their wedding.
"Deanna darling, you flatter me." Jonas mocked and placed a hand over his heart.
"Yes, well flatter this!" Using all her strength, Deanna pulled as hard as she could and ripped the ring from its entrapment, breaking the tail of rubies while sending Will stumbling backward. In a split second, she had completely removed the ring from her finger and flung it back at Jonas. "I don't think I want to wear it anymore." She tried to remain strong but the tears were threatening to spoil the look.
"You bitch! How could you?"
Will stood back and just watched as the fight unfolded. However, he would have liked nothing more than to have decked the ambassador right then and there for calling her that name. But he knew that Deanna could hold her own, as long as it didn't become physical, and would not want him to become involved.
"I should have never have accepted it to begin with!" she screamed.
"Why? Don't even tell me that its because of that loser." Jonas pointed toward Will.
"Loser? LOSER? He has accomplished more in his lifetime than you could ever hope for! But I'm sure your family that believes in nepotism would like to argue that, wouldn't they? I mean, after all...it must be nice knowing that you didn't have to move up through the ranks like everyone else! Knowing that your job is secure, within the Reynar family!
"Thats enough!" Will stepped forward and faced Deanna. "Thanks for defending me, but you don't have to. This is between you and Jonas. I don't want to be involved."
Deanna lost it. "If you back away again Will Riker, so help me I'm going to strangle you!"
Will understood exactly what she meant and it didn't have anything to do with staying immobile. Regardless, he stayed still as Deanna continued to erupt. "I have waited for years for you to make a move...to say what was on your mind. And you never did! You continuously beat around the bush, making me believe that you didn't want a committment. So I finally find someone, "she slapped Jonas' chest hard, "who I think loves me and I move on. But knowing deep down inside, that I could never love him as much as I love you."
Will swallowed hard as he listened to her confession. Deanna Troi had as much courage in her little finger than he did in his entire body. His heart was melting and he wanted desperately to hold her, to pull her close and tell her he loved her but she began to address Jonas again.
"I'm sorry Jonas. But I can't...I won't continue this facade any longer. You may have captured my heart...but another has captured my soul. I can't marry you...when I know my life belongs with someone else."
Jonas was seathing with anger. Clenching his hand into a tight fist, he lifted his arm to swing but stopped it just before the punch landed across Riker's jaw. "You're not worth it, Riker." He turned sharply and backhanded Deanna across the face. "But she is!"
Will whipped around and crushed an uppercut into Jonas' chin, sending him flat onto his back. Ambassador Jonas Reynar was out cold.
Will rushed to Deanna, "You okay?"
"I think so." She rubbed her reddened cheek and glared at Jonas' limp body. "Thanks," she whispered and not exactly knowing what to do next, began to walk away.
"Dee? Wait." Will caught her hand and gently pulled her back to him. "There's something that I've been wanting to tell you."
She looked at him with eyes still wet with the unshed tears of disappointment, knowing how easily they might change to tears of joy, if he would just open his heart to her.
Will cupped her face within his strong hands and said softly, tenderly, "I love you."
She embraced his body and held him firmly to her as she rested her head
against his chest.
And just as she heard those words repeated, only this time within her mind, she allowed the tears of joy fall.
THE END :))