Third Time Lucky

A tired Deanna Troi walked into Ten Forward, she wasn't surprised to see it full of officers who had just come off shift. She scanned the room for a familiar face but it was impossible to see anyone beyond the group of ensigns who stood in front of her. Shuffling past them Deanna took a seat at the bar, she could sense Will‹s presence but did not have the energy to look for him. Recently, it seemed as though every time they were together they would part on uncertain terms, usually after having an argument, even when the conversation had started off pleasantly.

"I believe that Commander Riker is over in the far corner," Guinan said as she walked over to the replicator. Deanna was convinced that the El-Aurian was a telepath, or at least an empath, it was often that Deanna felt something when talking to her.

"Counsellor," a voice called from behind her. Deanna stood and turned around only to see red and a part of a comm badge. She knew that it was Riker standing in front of her, his chest in her face. Her nose brushed against the cloth of the Starfleet uniform as she tilted her head upwards only to see his smiling blue eyes looking down at her. She could feel Will‹s breath against her face and couldn‹t help but blushing. "I saw you come in, I was over there in the corner," he said taking a step back and pointing in the direction from where he came.

"Yes, Guinan said, I was just about to come over," Deanna lied as she turned around and ordered a hot chocolate.

"Chocolate? I guess it‹s been a hard day then?" He automatically sat down in the vacant stool beside her. Guinan handed Deanna a cup filled with the delicious hot beverage, she inhaled the warm sweet scent and sat down.

Riker looked at Deanna as she took a sip of the steaming chocolate, her luscious lips pressing against the glass. Her silky hair neatly lay against her shoulders without a strand out of place. He surveyed her up and down, she wore the blue Starfleet uniform which he didn't think did much justice to her figure, he much preferred the other more 'clingy jump-suits she used to wear.

"You‹re in a cheerful mood today," Deanna perceived.

He didn't reply, he was too busy remembering when he was posted on Betazed, Riker often thought about his past with Deanna whenever they were together. He and Deanna had shared a serious romantic and physical relationship together many years ago. It had been a very physical relationship where they found themselves making love more than twice a day, it had made them feel secure and it brought them closer together. The relationship had ended abruptly, however, when he was posted to the Potempkin. Promises were made, but none were kept, mostly broken by him. Deanna thought that they would be together for eternity, and so did he.

Still gazing at her, he sighed quietly to himself, it had been her decision that they remain 'friends‹ when they realised that they would be working together. Riker didn‹t blame her, he had hurt her in the past and perhaps during the time between Betazed and the Enterprise she had lost the love for him which she had once held and which he still held in his own heart. He just wanted to be able to kiss her once more, make love to her again and hold her in his arms, like he had done long ago. <Oh, Imzadi> He thought to himself, <where have all the good days gone? Why can‹t I just touch your fair skin and feel your naked body against mine?> Deanna flinched, the curls of her hair bouncing lightly around her shoulders.

"What?" Riker asked his eyes wide and questioning, realising that he had been in a trance like state for quite sometime.

"Will, I can sense what you are thinking," she said looking up from her cup. Deanna always knew when Will had these seductive thoughts, he often did but she never took it to heart. It was his nature, but it was always when he was around her that his thoughts became both seductive and erotic, and in some way it gave her pleasure. But it was his thoughts of the past that made her uncomfortable, she could tell when Riker's mind recalled how it 'used to be. She too would think about Betazed and the 'old days‹ but would never admit it, lying awake in her dimly lit quarters reminiscing about the past. It had been her idea that a romantic relationship was out of the question, she had used the excuse of work to convince him that it was for the best. Looking down at the chocolate she took another sip, hoping that it would remove the depression that was setting in.

"I‹m sorry Deanna, for a minute there I forgot that you can tell what I‹m thinking," He looked at her apologetically and forced a smile on his face. It was at that moment that Lieutenant Regis strolled into Ten-Forward and walked straight towards them. She was a new officer on the Enterprise who had been assigned to help Geordi in engineering. Riker tilted his head to get a better view, he had met her in a turbo-lift on his way to the bridge on a number of occasions, and was the officer who showed her to her quarters when she first came aboard. Since then he had begun to admire both her skill and physique.

"Hello Commander," Regis said as she approached the bar, Riker stood up. She turned towards Deanna, "Counsellor."

"Lieutenant Regis," Deanna acknowledge.

"Sorry to if I am interrupting you,"

Deanna commented, <I'm sure you are>, but chastised herself straight away. She was not one to harbour bad feelings toward anyone.

"But I just wanted to thank-you for showing me to my quarters. I never did get to say that,"

"It was my pleasure," Riker replied, grinning.

<I'm sure it was> Deanna thought, <Damn>, she couldn‹t stop herself.

"May I buy you both a drink?" Regis asked as she motioned the waiter to come over,

"No, I'm fine, thanks," Deanna got up off her stool, she was feeling rather irritable.

"Are you leaving?" Regis asked. Deanna nodded in reply and made her way towards the exit. Riker looked at Deanna in surprise,

"Me too," he went to follow, "But thanks for the offer, maybe some other time?" Riker smiled, and ran out of the door after Deanna leaving a rather puzzled Lieutenant, she turned to the waiter,

"Was it something I said?"


"Deanna, wait," Riker caught up with her.

She turned around, "You will never change," she said spitefully as she walked towards the turbolift on her way to her quarters. She had seen Will‹s expression when he was talking to the Lieutenant, he always had that 'look‹ on his face when an attractive woman was around.

"I meant nothing by it,"

"Will, you always mean something when you look at a woman like that," Deanna stopped by the turbolift.

"Deanna, I don't know why you are getting so defensive, it's not as if we‹re together or anything," he said waving his hands in the air, "and besides, " he added, " it was your idea to keep this relationship 'mutual." Deanna just stared at him blankly. "I wanted us to get back together, when I saw you exit the turbolift onto the bridge I knew that fate had brought you back to me," there was no response, Riker stared at Deanna who wouldn‹t and couldn't make eye contact with him.

This was the third time that he'd tried to get her back, the first being when he came aboard the Enterprise and the second after a poker game in his quarters, he couldn‹t seem to give her up. <Third time lucky?> He thought to himself.

Deanna just looked down at her feet. She remembered that day as clearly as if it was yesterday. She had been mad at him for letting her wait, for choosing his career instead of her, she wanted to punish him for what he had done and in the process she was punishing herself. "But in your quarters that night you just pushed me away and told me to get out, it was then that" he paused, Deanna looked up at Will, his hurt penetrating into her body, making it her own. "I knew you had stopped loving me," His words hit her like a dead weight.

<How could he think that?> Her heart was tearing apart making him think that she didn‹t love him anymore. But that was the idea, otherwise she knew Will would keep on at her. Deanna couldn‹t hold it in anymore, the pain was getting too much for her to bare,

"It was because I was mad at you!" she cried, "Not because I stopped loving you!" She stopped, and realised what she had just said, she looked back down at the floor.

"You still love me?" Will asked, he moved closer.

"No," she exclaimed. Deanna's reply was not convincing, she had blurted it out when both her heart and mind were telling her that she did.

"You still love me," Will stated. He lifted her chin so that she was looking directly up at him, a single tear rolled down her cheek. Deanna went to wipe it away and felt their hands meet as he went to wipe it away for her. A tingle ran down her spine, she shivered. He pulled her hand away from her face and held it in his, as if in answer to his statement she placed her free hand around the back of his neck and drew him towards her. His eyes smiled down at her and she could feel his breath against her face. Deanna leant into him and closed her eyes. They kissed, she felt his mind open and a rush of emotions enter her own, they broke apart.

"What does this mean?" Will asked searching her eyes for an answer,

"This," she said pulling him back towards her as they kissed passionately, her lips parting as she felt the intensity of Will's tongue against her own. It seemed to have been a lifetime before they heard the 'hiss of the turbolift doors, breaking the kiss they walked inside hand in hand.
"Deck 8," they said in unison as the doors of the turbolift closed behind them.