Happily Ever After
By Lao_Ma

Deanna Troi stopped stopped by Ten-Forward for a quick drink at the end of her shift. What am I in the mood for? she thought. Sumarian Sunset. Mmm... Her favorite. Deanna Troi placed her order, then drifted over to a table set in the farthest corner of the lounge. She enjoyed the privacy it gave her. With fatigue slowly threatening to take over her body, Deanna settled into the chair and sighed. "I'm so glad this day is over."
She slouched slightly and put her head in her hands. As she turned her head, she could see the waiter approaching. Quickly, Deanna collected herself and offered a warm smile to the young man.
"Here you are, Counselor. One Sumarian Sunset."
Deanna took the first sip. This is wonderful, she thought with glee. It was just what she needed to put an end to her long, exhausting day. As she continued to relish her liquid pleasure, she saw the same waiter coming towards her again.
"Yes? Is something wrong?"
He smiled assuredly, "No, not at all. I have a message for you," and handed Deanna a piece of paper. He walked away, and she stared at the note with a questionable look on her face. After a moment of waiting, she opened the fold and read the message inside.
"Go to your quarters NOW. Then meet me on the holodeck in an hour. Dress code strictly enforced."
She had to laugh, even in her current state of weariness. "Will Riker. I should have known." She shook her head, still grinning, "That man never ceases to amaze me."
Once Deanna finished her Sunset, she was off to her cabin to perpare for the evening her Imzadi had planned. The door to her cabin swished opened, revealing a rather breath-taking scene. There were white roses everywhere. The purest she had ever seen. Deanna gasped at the sight and put her hands over her mouth. Petals blanketed the floor, while vases of the flowers were placed strategically around other points in the room. Deanna gradually persuaded herself to enter. She had to be careful stepping on the florals. They were so beautiful, she didn't want to damage them too much.
As she ventured further, she found a path of red rose petals leading to her bedroom. She obediently followed, and soon discovered a gigantic brown teddy bear sitting there, looking at her with the most darling beady eyes, and the cutest smile. "Aw!" she cooed. When Deanna came closer, the bear towered over her, but it was far from frightening. The over-sized stuffed animal was more adorable than anything else. Resting up against the bear's belly was a card. She opened it and read its message. "I'll see you tonight, Beautiful. Love, Will." On the bottom, he wrote, "p.s. I love you, Imzadi."
Closing her eyes, Deanna smiled and held the card to her chest and took a moment to thank her lucky stars she had been given a second chance to love the most wonderful man this side of the universe. The Betazoid carefully examined herself in the mirror, making sure that everything was in place, and started going down a mental checklist. Dress? Check.
The simple, red one with spaghetti straps made her look like a siren. The color was rare. After all, if Deanna had to have a red dress, it wouldn't be just any color red (she was picky like her mother that way). They called it ambrosia on the planet she had bought it from.
Hair? Check.
Pinned on top of her head in a bun ever-so-neatly, but with a few stray strands that hung about her delicate face. Make up? Double check.
She had it just right, with all the right colors to enhance her dark features. Accessories? A thin gold chain with tiny pearls that rested gently on her slender wrist. The heart earrings she wore dangled from her ears like a precious ornament on a Christmas tree. The only thing Deanna had left to add was her shoes (red suede heels with straps that wrapped around her ankles).
She stepped away from the reflection for a second to put them on, then took a moment to administer a few mists of gardenia fragrance to selective parts of her body (only the essentials...Her neck, her wrists, and her hair. Will loved to smell her hair). With that done, Deanna took one last approving look in the glass, and then headed for the holodeck.
"Good Evening, Counselor Troi. How may I help you?" Deanna frowned. It wasn't everyday the holodeck spoke to her...even as she stood as its doors.
"Uh, actually, I'm here to meet Commander Riker. Is he waiting inside?"
"Negative. You are to meet him at another location. If you enter, you will be taken to him.
" That's odd, Deanna thought. Oh well. Might as well go along with it. Who knows what else is up his sleeve. She stepped into the holodeck to find the program already activated. The sky was dark, illuminated by far-away balls of gas called stars. A single street light was the only thing that allowed her to see anything tangible. Deanna stood at the curb of a street...wherever she was. And directly in front of her was an old-fashioned car. A black Rolls- Royce, to be exact. A cheuffer stood holding the door for her, guesturing to get inside.
"This should be interesting," Deanna mused. Thirty minutes later, Troi arrived outside of a gigantic building. She looked out- side her window and read the sign, The Hotel Royale. A small smirk made its way to her gloss-glazed lips. The driver stepped out, and once again, held the door open for her. He took her fingers (with the nails coated in a faint silver-lilac laquer) and led her out onto the sidewalk.
"This way, Miss." She took his arm, and they walked into the hotel together.
The escort/driver spoke to the desk clerk in a soft, polite voice, "Excuse me, Sir. This lady has reservations with a William Riker."
The clerk glanced at his list of guests quickly and confirmed the reservations. "Ah, yes. We've been expecting you. You look exquisite this evening, Ms. Troi."
Deanna bowed her head with grace. "Thank you," she said with a smile.
"Right this way, Madam," and with that, he guided Deanna and her escort to where she needed to be. As she walked along arm-in-arm with her escort, Deanna admired the hotel. The outside of the building gave the internior no justice. Everything about it was huge. From the minute she stepped into the place, she noticed that everything from the full-floor rugs to the enormous chandelier was taken in luxury. It was like being back home at the Troi mansion. She could only imagine what a pretty penny this night must be costing Will.
Oh well, she thought. All the better for me to be spoiled. And she laughed softly to herself. The trio went from the front lobby, to a premiere dining hall, to a long hallway, and then finally into something of an art gallery, Deanna guessed. Paintings, sculptures, and other fine works filled the entire room. In the center was a large three tiered fountain. And next to a sculpture made entirely of metal, twisted into various geometric shapes, sat a harp player with her instrument. The tune was bright and pleasant to Deanna's ears.
"This is where your sir instructed me to take you, Miss. Feel free to look around while you wait."
With that, both the clerk and the driver left her. Deanna couldn't believe the variety of the pieces she was looking at. Some were Bajoran (mostly reflecting religion), Vulcan, and even a few Betazoid that she could recognize. As she explored further, she noticed the lighting grew darker, just slightly. Her curiousity led her to a small dim corner, where she found someone standing in the shadows.
Are you hiding from me, Imzadi? Deanna knew who it was before she had even entered. He stepped out from the darkness, dressed in a sleek tuxedo, and bearing a single, long-stem red rose. He stood directly under a familar painting he had claimed to be 'goopy' all those years ago.
The nostalgia made Deanna smile. Gods, he's so handsome. Her eyes caressed his broad figure like the long-lost treasure he was to her. It had been years since she'd been given the opportunity to relish in his appearance. Now she took her time as she looked him over. Will immidiately noticed her stare. "Do you like it? Penguin outfits aren't not my usual attire..."
"It suits you," then she realized the irony of her comment and added, "in a manner of speaking. I love it." She came and embraced him with a long, loving kiss. "You couldn't look any better...well," she added after a thought, "not unless you were naked."
He laughed, "That could as easily be arranged, you know."
"Later, perhaps. For now I've yet to know why you brought me here."
"Does there always have to be a reason? Can't I just spoil you like deserve to be, without question?"
Deanna grinned, "I suppose...but how do I know I'm not just another prize added to your collection?"
"Because," he requitted, "I've never spent on you in one day what I might spend on anyone else in a month."
"Are you serious?" She couldn't believe what she was hearing.
"Of course. Let's just say I won't be making this a habit. Not until you start taking me out."
"All right." she laughed.
As they walked he asked her if she liked his choice. "Yes. It's spectacular, Will, how did you manage it?"
He gave her hat infamous grin made its way to his mouth, "I never give out my secrets to success."
She raised an eyebrow at him, "Success to what, exactly?"
"Winning your heart, of course." Deanna stopped him, and met him eye-to-eye.
"You know no tangible gift from you could ever win my heart... Besides, you wouldn't have to go to that length-you already have it by just being who you are...and loving me in the way that only you can. That means more to me than anything you could ever give."
He leaned down and kissed her tenderly. "I'm glad to hear you say that..."
There was a pause, and then he said, "because I'd hate to think I'd have to do this every time I want to do something nice for you out of the blue."
She smacked him playfully, and said, "Oh, stop. You're just too good to me, Will Riker."
"I know, Imzadi. I know."
They came to a large room of windows. The stars were brilliant outside. Just as the two came inside, a single star shot past. "Well look at that," Will mused, "Should we make a wish?"
Deanna embraced herself around him, and held on tight. "Sure, why not?"
The couple closed their eyes, and then a single thought passed between them. Let this be the last time we're ever apart. Grant us happiness in the times to come, and allow us to experience the happiness we've so neglected ourselves for so long.
They stood, embraced, and both smiling. "That was good for me," Will joked, looking down on his beloved, "what about you?"
"Wonderful...it can only get better." And slowly, Deanna brought him down for a deep kiss. He responded eagerly, and gently rubbed her back in small, soothing circles.
"Mmm.." was all she could manage between her lips. *Why don't we take this somewhere private?* Deanna communicated to him
*Why?* he sent back, *No one's going to come in here. And if they do, who cares?*
*I'd take you anytime, anywere, no matter who was around. *
*Is that a promise?* she sent back.
*Of course it is.*
So it was. As the stars continued to shine out in the blackness, the Imzadi couple commenced in a different form of celebration for their re-discovered love.

The end