Lessons (an answer to Liana's challenge 5)

Spookysgirl who should be calling herself goofysgirl for this one.

G (Geeze it could be a Disney movie;-))

Silliest thing I've ever written--it should teach my family to leave me home alone:-)

Of course i love feedback, but to be honest i've read this thing a few times and "what the hell was that!" is the only comment that comes quickly to my mind <G>


A promise of a perfect tomorrow from the setting sun blushed the sky with brilliant shades of red and orange. Captain William Riker didn't notice.

"Deanna?" Guilt had tightened his throat; the hand he hovered above his wife's shoulder withdrew as he watched her tense at the sound of his voice. He fortified himself with a deep breath, a breath that caught in his throat as the scent of the rose she held in her hand mingled and dominated the scent of her perfume and the rich aromas of a summer evening.

"Not now Will." Her voice, so soft it was nearly lost on the breeze moved him forward to stand beside her.

He watched a single, lonely tear drip over her porcelain skin and fall like dew onto the petals of the rose. "You were gone so long Deanna," he whispered, squatting beside her, watching another tear fall to her dress, tarnishing soft pink with harsh scarlet stains. "I— I wasn't thinking."

A sighed laugh escaped her, her eyes wide, dark and disappointed met with his for an instant and then lowered.

"I know it's not an excuse—Imzadi..."

"I trusted you Will." Her voice, softer then a whisper still wrapped around his heart with a monstrous hand. His own lifted unconsciously to his chest, tapping it lightly as if he could massage away the ache her disappointment was causing him.

"I'm sorry...I'm sorry." He leaned back on his heals, watching her profile, the crystal tears that clung to her lashes glistening like the silvery stars that had begun to appear in the sky.

"So many years Will." The porch swing continued to sway as she stood and moved away; the petals of the rose she'd left behind trembling in the evening breeze.

"I didn't want you to find out like this...I wanted to tell you myself."

She stopped on the first of the three steps that led to the pebbled walkway, her arms wrapped around herself guardedly. She looked at him for a long minute. "I don't think you planned on telling me at all Will."

"Of course I did." He rolled the guilt from his shoulders as her words hit there mark and looked past her gaze, into the darkening night.

"I think," she continued, moving down the last two stairs, "I think that if I hadn't come back from Betazed two days early and walked into this. This—" she gestured with a delicate hand up the trellis that led to their bedroom window. "—would have been one of those secrets we DON'T keep from each other."

He considered lying.... Again, using the control he had over his own emotions to convince her that wasn't true, but he couldn't.

A slow jog brought him to where she stood, where he'd pictured her standing for the months she'd been gone. "You're right, I wasn't going to tell you." Instinct and a need to touch her squashed his fear of her reaction; with firm but gentle hands on her arms he turned her to face him.

Under the sliver of a moon that hung high in the sky, her face was shadowed, the breeze that lifted her hair further hiding the expression he was trying so hard to read. "I know it's not an excuse Deanna, but if I knew then what I know now...it wouldn't have happened. If I could go back in time, I'd never make that mistake again." He closed his eyes and opened them slowly. " We can start over."

Her pause seemed endless, her breath against his throat heightening his need to draw her to him, drown in her scent, taste the woman he'd been without for so long, but he waited.

"It won't be the same," she finally said.

"It'll be better," he insisted, relaxing as he felt her muscles ease under his palms, her hands reach up and rest on his upper arms. He slid his hands up to her shoulders, under her hair and trailed his fingers lightly down her back, latching his large hands around her tiny waist.

"I knew you couldn't stay mad at me." He smiled, a smile that flickered away as she resisted his attempt to pull her against him.

"I'm still mad," she said, pressing a hand against his chest, "and disappointed that you planned on deceiving me."

"I know." His sigh lifted the wisps of hair that dusted over her cheeks. "You'd think after all these years together I'd learn to stop trying that." Working against her feeble attempt to keep him away he pressed a kiss against her forehead. "I missed you so much...Don't ever go away again."

"I think that's probably a good idea." He lowered his head to meet the lips she raised to his.

He kissed her briefly, licked her sweet flavor from his lips and smiled down on her. "I did learn a valuable lesson in all this."

"That admitting your mistakes is much easier then trying to cover them up." Slipping both arms around his waist, she rested her head on his chest and guided him back towards the house.

"I guess I learned that." He shrugged, stopping beside the tangles of thorny brown vines that lay below their bedroom window. "But more importantly I learned that aphids kill roses, they don't pollinate them."

Her shoulders shook with her soft laughter; somehow he couldn't bring himself to join her as he stared at the beds of roses he'd destroyed. "God, I'm sorry Deanna."

"Forget it Will." She slipped out from under his arm and pivoted to face him. "I offer private lessons in pollination." She slipped a hand inside of his and lifted it to her lips, spiraling a teasing tongue over his knuckles. "If it's all right I'd like to begin now."

"OK," he said, pulling pack on the hand she was using to guide him into the house, "But I should warn you, my house cleaning skills are worse then my gardening ones."

"First things first Will." She sighed a laugh and slipped under the arm he draped over her shoulder. "My need to be pollinated should blind me to the mess."

<That's what you think> he thought, sweeping her off her feet and capturing her lips with his before he pushed open the door to the kitchen.