"Acquiescence",  Short Story 1/1

Author:  Mmaddyforgues@aol.com  

Series:  ST:TNG

Rating:  G

Pairing:  R/T (Imzadi)

Posted:  April 2001

Timeline:  Takes place the day before their upcoming wedding.

Feedback:  Welcomed

DISCLAIMER:  The CHARACTERS in this story and all references to STAR TREK are the property of PARAMOUNT.  No infringement is intended and no profit will be earned.  I write solely for pleasure.

SUMMARY:  While the last evening of pre-wedding celebrations are coming to and end the day before Will and Deanna are to be married, they decide to have a very serious and honest assessment of  their relationship in an analytical, somewhat cerebral-theatrical-mushy-romantic sort of way.  I hope some of you will enjoy it.


      The United Federation of Planets' proud flagship, the U.S.S. Enterprise-E, and Its captain, Jean-Luc Picard, and crew are about to experience what is hoped to be a very pleasant and long-awaited momentous occasion.  The ship is cruising at a maximum speed of warp 3, and its destination is the planet Betazed.  Their current ETA is in three hours when it will assume an orbit around the planet for two standard days.  All of Betazed high society have anxiously anticipated the upcoming royal gala and have been invited to share in the sacred occasion.  A special area of the Jalara Jungle near the Janaran Falls has been prepared to receive the participants and guests comfortably.  As captain, it will be Picard's particular honor to officiate at the ceremony, as he was especially requested to do so.  Now, however, he is sitting on a barstool in the ship's lounge sipping a glass of champagne while distractedly listening to the animated banter going on between Guinan, the Enterprise's hospitality hostess of many years, and Beverly Crusher, the ship's CMO, concerning the evening's guests of honor sharing their opinions on the couple's true relationship in comparison to their behaviour during the past years.  Picard smiles to himself after declining several times to add any input into the gossiping ladies' friendly dissection of Will and Deanna's personal relationship.  Still, he's unusually relaxed as he ponders what he calls his personal dilemma within the ship's command structure, which is being in the middle of his right hand, First Officer Cmdr. William T. Riker, and his left hand, Commander/Counselor Deanna Troi.  He chuckles softly as he remembers the first year they all served together and he'd learned of their prior relationship.  He had observed the rapport between them and its obvious harmony, albeit professional on the surface, their relationship, on and off duty, betrayed an underlying personal statement and nuance that was evident to all who knew them.  Although Will had never broached the subject of their supposed relationship with him, Beverly was best friend to Deanna and enjoyed a close friendship with Will as well and had observed a certain behavior and gestures between them that was probably privy only to her as their personal physician.  Beverly would never actually betray their patient-doctor confidentiality, but she was also his 'special' friend, and she, being the incurable romantic that she is had been known to pry unmercifully into Deanna's personal life.  However, when the subject of she and Will Riker would come up, Deanna would adamantly deny anything more than a close personal friendship between them.  She did share a brief summary of their past relationship and why she thought they'd drifted apart romantically.  Confidentially, Beverly divulged certain information about that conversation to her friend and captain that was not spoken of publicly concerning the couple in question and the intimate Betazed term known as 'Imzadi'; its meaning and importance never fully understood or explained.  How they had both tried and planned to indefinitely deny the special uniqueness of their personal relationship puzzled him and he marveled at their past tenacity and conviction to duty and serving the ship.  Anyway, their relationship had been silently acknowledged, respecting their privacy.  It was genuinely understood and accepted by the ship's compliment over the years that the upcoming occasion was to be inevitable.

     Now, at long last, Will Riker and Deanna Troi have decided to marry.  Several weeks of meticulous preparations have been finalized spearheaded by the formidable, take-charge personality of the matriarch of the Fifth House of Betazed, Deanna's mother, Ambassador Llwaxana Troi.  This evening, the Enterprise hosted the wedding rehearsal and wedding dinner in the elaborately decorated lounges.  Dictated by the trappings of Betazed social status, special attention was given in adherence to tradition and a strict protocol.  On display were the family's Seal of Establishment, what we call on our world a Family Crest.  It was flanked on either side by the actual Holy Rings of Betazed and the Sacred Chalice of Rixx, which Deanna had once referred to as a moldy old pot.  The Seal was hexagonal shaped with rounded corners and measured about four feet long by two and a half feet wide.  Its background was deep purple with representations of the Sacred Chalice of Rixx and the Holy Rings of Betazed in raised silver depicting the family's colors.  Also on the Seal along a diagonal line that divided it in half were five slightly smaller than life-sized, raised, silver representations of Betazed's most beloved flower signifying the Fifth House.  Along the top and bottom borders were little bundles of grain that resembled our own 'Fleur de Lis' representing fertility and each generation of The Fifth House also in raised silver.  Eventually and hopefully, the little symbols will completely surround the borders and begin to fill in the empty spaces of the Seal as each new generation comes into existence continually altering the face of it.  Llwaxana Troi proudly shared that little tidbit of information with some Enterprise crewmembers.  It was an impromptu Betazed history lesson conducted while she was giving precise instructions for hanging the Seal as they were her assistants.  The Fifth House and  all of its subsequent generations have been heirs to the Holy Rings of Betazed and holders of the Sacred Chalice of Rixx.  Those honored artifacts were transported to the Enterprise within the personal care and ever-watchful, protective eye of Llwaxana.  They now hung on the wall above the wedding party's dinner table along with the Family Seal and draped together by a soft silken-like fabric woven in deep purple and silver.  There were fragrant flowers everywhere from Betazed's Jalara Jungle in colors of lavender, lilac, pale pink, white, and of course, a bold deep purple; and from Earth, bouquets of roses of all variations.  Llwaxana had also brought along their family's finest heirloom dinnerware and had it set out on one of Earths finest handmade lace and linen tablecloths.  Will and Deanna had gotten together with Guinan and Llwaxana to decide on the menu.  They all agreed that the meal would feature traditional gourmet dishes from both their birth worlds that would be complimentary to each other.  In respect of Will's tastes and preferences in music, Llwaxana conceded and allowed soft Jazz to be played in the background during the meal, and the traditional sounding gong while each morsel was eaten by Llwaxana was also dispensed with.  Naturally, Betazed meditation music was softly played during the transition from the wedding practice to the dinner to hopefully calm anyone's frazzled nerves.  It was all so exotic, intoxicating, and glorious, as per Llwaxana's specifications.  Everyone was pleased with the setting, and because of the individuals involved and the familiar companionship of the guests present, even amidst the formality, it was an enjoyable occasion.

     The festivities were accuntuated by the casual, sincere revelry of the prospective bride's and groom's extended family and friends who would be serving in the ceremony.  Certain colleagues whom they worked closely with would also attend the ceremony on the planet's surface.  As the evening wore on and the meal was completed, the small crowd gradually dissipated.  Will and Deanna had slowly wandered off together to seek out their favorite table near the largest viewport.  They had sequestered themselves in open view of all who remained silently requesting this time alone together.  Those who observed their retreat from the crowd knowingly granted them their respite.  They had agreed to allow Deanna's mother her little bit of 'pomp and circumstance', but the fuss was emotionally challenging for the couple.  It had been a very long and heady evening of pre-wedding celebration among loved ones.  It would be their last evening as an unmarried couple.

     Sitting across from each other, Will relaxed a bit by resting his left elbow on the table top while supporting his chin with his left hand.  Meanwhile, his right hand orchestrated softly drumming fingers on the table with no apparent rhythm.  He had a silly grin on his face as he openly stared at Deanna who sat smiling back at him with her hands demurely folded in her lap.  Watching him, mildly puzzled by his giddy behavior, she suddenly reached out and grasped his drumming hand stilling the motion.  Still smiling she asked, "OK, Will, what's going on with you?"  To her pleasant surprise, Will answered, "Are you as ready as I am for all this to be over and done with?"  Granting Will an even more generous smile, she sighed and answered, "More so than you do, I think".  Then before she could say anything more, Will announced, "I feel like talking, but not here".  Deanna, a bit taken aback since Will usually had to be coaxed into 'talking' was reassured of what to expect from him, because she sensed that he was relaxed and happy with just an underlying sense of urgency.  So, she offered, "Let's go home, but remember", and she looked at him with her eyes sparkling with humor, "you spend the night with Geordi tonight".  They had moved in together and had lived in shared quarters for a few months now, but it was an agreement between them that would allow her to honor the Earth custom of the bride not being seen by the groom on the day of the wedding before the ceremony.  Will, who was unconsciously looking over Deanna's body appreciatively and finally allowed his roaming eyes to rest on her face, slowly arched his eyebrows and gave her a slow and sullen nod of agreement when she reminded him of their pre-wedding night sleeping arrangements.

     They both stood from their table and reached for each other's hand and began to discreetly walk toward Ten Forward's exit when those guests who remained began applauding them.  They stopped their progression and both gave a slight bow and Will announced to the crowd, "Continue your celebration, but Please, excuse our departure.  We thank you for attending", and they turned and left.  After returning to their quarters, they comfortably settled themselves on the couch beneath the huge window.  Now holding twin cups of hot herbal tea Will had replicated for them intending to help them to relax, they sat and faced each other.  Deanna sipped her tea and subtlely nodded inviting Will to begin their conversation.

     "OK.  What I'm about to share with you is nothing more than me really and honestly expressing how I feel about us and what we are about to do.  From my perspective, and yours as well, it will be the last time we'll have to say these things before becoming a married couple".  Will paused and turned his head away from Deanna and ran his right hand and fingers through his hair and rested his hand at the back of his head while his right elbow remained rested on the back of the couch as he looked back at her and took a deep breath.  Deanna tucked her legs beneath her then and made herself really comfortable while her heart began to race in anticipation of what Will might say next.  She looked at him with rapt attention and continued sipping her tea.  Will put his cup down on the coffee table next to them and  he started again, "It's what has nagged at me for all these years and gotten under my skin and next to my bones, so to speak", smiling, he lowered his eyes a little embarrassed by his own outburst and quietly added, "as my grandmother would say.  Well, I finally stopped counting the years and I gave into this unusual 'friendship' of ours.  In my own assessment, in all honesty, there was no mistaking that what we two have been for more than mere friends.  Of course, at first and for most of the years we've served together, it was the easily explainable and acceptable term we allowed to be used as a comouflaged reference to what could--yet more accurately, can not be described to others who wonder just what it is we do have between each other.  It was an out and out excuse perpetrated by two people who were cowards, and I hope I don't offend you, but I believe that we were just too afraid to believe that we could have it all and make it work.  Being in love is amazing enough all by itself, but I think about our mental, emotional, and spiritual connection, and it sends shivers through my body.  It's what fascinated and frightened me at the same time when we first met all those years ago.  You did know that didn't you?"  When Deanna was only silent, but her eyes had gotten even larger than they had been, Will said, "Don't you have anything to say?"  Deanna was giving him her undivided attention looking at him in solemn fascination with her heart pounding so hard against her chest she felt light-headed, but she responded with only a small nod and a soft-spoken, "I will, but I feel that you have a lot more to say before I do".   She smiled at him reassuringly to continue and Will smiled back nodding his head a couple of times affirmatively and began again, "We are the absolute *best* for each other in any universe or time."  He'd waved his right arm back and forth between them and then arched both arms signifying a circle while he spoke which was typical of Will's animated and demonstrative method of communicating.  Then, offering that little nervous laugh of his just before donning a somber expression to emphasize his sincerity, he continued.  "I believe this to be an infinite truth, Deanna, and I'm telling you this from the core of my very being, and I'm positive you can sense my conviction, that I don't believe there could ever be anything better for either of us!  It's just not possible!"  All the while when he was talking, Deanna just kept gently nodding her head in the affirmative and offering him little smiles as she marveled at his insight encouraging him on.  Will told her, "Until you, I'd only thought I'd known who I was; then I met you and became more defined.  For the first time in my life I became keenly aware of someone other than myself with a depth and distinction I could never have imagined.  Meeting you helped me to expand my perceptions of everything in ways I could never have even fantasized about."  Deanna stretched her eyes again in amazement of his words.  Will looked at her sideways and looked away from her for a moment then slowly shook his head from side to side as if he was surprising himself with what he was revealing before he looked directly at her again and continued.  He made a fist and shook it slightly then opened his hand and gestured toward her to emphasize how strongly he was feeling what he was about to say.  "If we had not found each other,"  he shrugged his shoulders before continuing, "without knowing what I was searching for and in need of, I'm certain that I, my spirit or something like that, would've searched for all eternity through every reincarnation, if there really is such a thing", and he sheepishly looked at her in a shy, undereyed way for admitting he'd thought of such things, "until I'd have found you," then he paused and reached for her right hand with his left and held on tightly, lifting it and kissing it before adding softly,  "in this dimension or another."  He released her hand and folded his own as he relaxed further back onto the couch suggesting he was finished, at least, for a time until he'd hoped she would have some type of verbal response.

     Deanna looked at Will pensively for awhile before shifting her position on the couch removing her legs from beneath her and turning enough to watch the stars go by through the immense window that spanned their living quarters' wall in the sitting area.  With her knees still bent, she ran her right hand down over her throat and stopped just above her cleavage and held her hand there over her heart as she started speaking.  "Since we've renewed our romantic relationship, I've heard you express some of the feelings and impressions you've just spoken of, but hearing it again just now seemed more intense than it has ever felt before".  She drew up her knees to her chest and grasped them around with both arms and again looked at Will directly into his eyes.  Will squirmed in his seat and smiled a little with a slight frown and shook his head a bit in question hoping for her to explain further.  Deanna continued, "So, I guess objectively, it is a dynamic of our Imzadi bond that we share everything now, and just think of what we might miss if we didn't have that". . . And she paused and giggled as the thought of the playful irony of their predicament--relationship revealed itself through their exchange of ideas.  She went on after Will's silent response of again nodding his head and smiling in agreement.  "You do realize that our bond will only grow even more pronounced and intense as we become closer over time don't you?", and Will nodded 'yes'.  "It may even be hard to comprehend how it would become possible to become closer than we already are, yet. . ." and she looked away while she tried to control the threat of tears and her overwhelming emotions swallowing hard before she looked back into his eyes, pointedly, and her eyes misted over.  She took another deep breath before continuing, "you could hurt my feelings a thousand times and then save me from devastation with a kiss.  I run to you when I can't be held by anyone else.  I cry on your shoulders because you know me like no one else and I trust you not to judge me".  Will then rubbed his forehead briefly with his left thumb and forefinger before moving in closer to Deanna.  He attempted to reach for her to hold her close, but she held up a hand and begged him, "Please, not yet."  She looked away again and blinked back tears before facing him again and going on, "You ALWAYS understand when it's most important to me, and I sense that type of emotional intimacy from you, too".  Will watched her as she spoke, fascinated and completely captivated.  She went on, "You share your  innermost doubts, fears, and weaknesses with me--those you've forbidden any other to have knowledge of.  So, I view you as an amazing person, Will Riker, and seemingly especially created just to compliment and  complete me.  That may sound somewhat selfish and arrogant of me, but I honestly believe that you were particularly fashioned with that unique equation that makes you my perfect emotional and spiritual counterpart, *my cosmic equal*.  Yes!  That's it, and isn't that incredible?!"  Then without allowing Will to respond, she turned and dropped her legs to the floor and raised her arms into a stretch before using both hands to lift her heavy hair and let it fall back down again.  She relaxed her position again and turned slightly toward Will as she bent her left knee and put it up onto the couch.  She rested the flat of her left hand on her left thigh and began to gesture with her right hand as she spoke.  "It is because with your imperfections you are perfect in my eyes, just as you are; and just as you embrace my flaws, I'm fascinated by your flexibility, and yet, you are my one true weakness."   Will then faced forward and spread his legs apart as he looked away, then placed an elbow on each knee before looking back at her in awe at what she had just said about him.  Deanna went on, "I forgive you everything, yet blame you only for being you.  We've acknowledged that that's who we are together, and it's the simplicity of our confirmation that consoles our frailties.  It's the complexity of our relationship and its commitment that has given us pause to marvel at its magnificence.  Some 'New Age' poet has said, 'Love's glory entreated us on the ethereal breath of Creation, befuddling our carnal senses as we soar above the mundane to reach for the sublime',  and with just a subtle hint of humor she said, "and that sounds like us to me".   She smiled at him then and added, "Imzadi, every time you look intimately into my eyes, my belly grows warm deep within.  Your sincere, hypnotic, and infectious smile is most often all that I need to lift my spirits."  Holding him within her penetrating gaze, she thought-sent to him, "~It's phenomenal!~"

     Will's eyes grew large in his face that had become flushed with the excitement of their spirited conversation.  He flashed her that beautiful, familiar grin and leaned backwards into the cushions of the couch again lifting his right arm to stretch it along the back of the couch.  Looking at Deanna and tilting his head just a little toward her, he spoke with a gentle enthusiasm, "Deanna," then he paused briefly to add a special emphasis, "my love, you are the lifeblood of my soul.  If you see all that in my smile, it's because whenever I see you, the smile's automatic and instinctual.  You completely fill me up," and he gestured with a smooth wave of his hand between his heart and his head, "with your mental, spiritual, physical and sensual presence that satisfies me like nothing else can.  You cause me to pour out all that I feel for you within that smile, and I feel like I've loved you since long, long ago and through several lifetimes, yet it's always so new; I feel like I fell in love with you yesterday".  He leaned forward and touched his forehead to Deanna's and as she lifted her hands and placed them firmly around the back of his neck, he closed his eyes before saying, "And sexually", trembling slightly as he thought of them together, he paused and breathed in a short breath, "we touch each other and communicate in a way that is so complete I can't even describe".  Separating, Will looked into Deanna's eyes that were shining and brimming over with newly shed tears, then down at her hands which she had just removed from the back of his neck and he took into his own holding them firmly.  Looking back at her, he said, "Words fail to grasp the depth of that special beauty that we create together.  With you, I experience pleasure in our joining that was never remotely approached with any other that surpasses any mere physical gratification.  In fact, there's no comparison.  It's as though there have never been any others at all, before you and most especially, after you.  You see, I understand that together, we nurture who we individually are, then we reflect back to each other the best . . .and the worst of what that can be.  In honesty, that can only be all good". 

     Deanna was smiling in astonishment at Will's wise words, but tears of joy were freely spilling over her cheeks, because she deeply felt the truth of his words and was shaken by the sweet, newfound revelations.  She lowered her knees and leaned toward Will then and he released her hands and gently reached up to cradle Deanna's small face between his huge hands and used his thumb pads to wipe away her tears before releasing her.  he handed her a tissue from the nearby table.  Smiling back at him, she gratefully accepted it and blew her nose.  She marveled at their shared clarity of understanding and unity, then balancing her emotional response said, "You truly surprise me, Will.  I've never seen you so serious or heard you speak of us in such a 'cerebral' manner, but Yes.  It can be frightening how much power our relationship and its nuances wields, but it has been gifted to us.  We, like few others, have forged a peculiar bond that may not be able to be broken even by death.  It sustains a rapport between us that's a mystery to others and needs no words for us".

     Will reached for his now cold cup of tea that he's set on the table and tasting it, he made an ugly face.  He stood up and offered to get them fresh cups of hot tea.  Deanna looked up at him and relinquished her cup to him.  She followed his body with her eyes all the way to the replicator and waited for him to return with the steaming cups.  As he handed Deanna her cup and started to sit again, he dove right into their conversation.  "I can only shrug at the foolishness of worrying.  I admit that I am a worrier".  Another little nervous laugh, and then he continued, "Dea, my love, my Imzadi, my heart stops at the mere suggestion of considering my life without you in it, and I loathe to think of what your life would be like if you ever had to live with the grief of my absence in your life.  I realize that we are our own guardians of the destiny that's been offered to us, but the choices we've made seem to threaten us with its thread-bare tether attached to what should be our unified future".

     Deanna interrupted him before he plunged too deeply into the would've's, should've's, could've's, and declared,  "Will, you are right to some degree.  We don't know what lies down the road for us, but we want the same things for each other, Will.  Even if we can't predict the various eddies that will flow within the stream of the path that we will follow and its current sweeps us off course for a time".  Shaking her head, Deanna said, "So-many-Words!"  She looked at him yet again, almost with disbelief as she stood and said, "YOU wanted to talk?"  Will looked at her and was a bit puzzled by her remark as he watched her walk over near the huge window and looked out.  She became silent.  Will watched her anxiously waiting for to continue afraid to say or do anything fearing he had said something wrong.  Then Deanna laughed out loud and turned back toward him.  He got up to join her near the window.  His bright, humorous demeanor encouraged her to keep speaking, especially when he reached for her and turned her in the circle of his arms so that they could both look out of the window.  "We agree that the current of Fate is too strong, Will, however, if we can just keep holding on to each other, perhaps we'll be carried along together just as we'd always hoped to be".  Will clasped his arms around Deanna's breasts, one arm below and one arm above near her neck.  Deanna held on to his arms with right arm to right arm and left arm to left.  Will squeezed her gently and lowered his head to hers.  He kissed the top of her head and inhaled deeply the perfumed scent of her hair.  Afterward, he released a prolonged sigh.  Deanna looked back at him momentarily with the corners of her lips upturned before returning her gaze back to the stars outside of the window and continued, "We've traveled this road together for a long time now, and there are no more uncertainties about each other, only the welcome surprises that flavor our personalities as we continue to grow.  This is who we basically are, and that acknowledgment fuels the overwhelming joy we are able to finally revel in because we've endured everything the universe has thrown at us so far".

     Will, still smiling, slowly shook his head and responded, "Yes, I agree.  It's just that I already know that being together is what we were meant for.  We actually *need* to nurture each other emotionally to maintain a viable and healthy balance within our being.  It's like a side-effect of our relationship.  I know for me that that's true and I've noticed, from time to time, that you seem to draw strength from me when necessary.  I feel everything on some level where you are concerned, and have felt it for a long time even before I was willing to acquiesce to its existence.  In the beginning, like I've said, that scared me.  Since we've served together on the Enterprise for all these years, it's stronger, but I've become accustomed to it.  It's a natural part of my existence now, and I don't ever again want to be without it".  He grasped Deanna's shoulders and turned her to face him again, then he raised one lare hand and cupped her cheek and with his thumb curved around her chin he lovingly lifted her face up toward his so that he could place a soft and reverant kiss on her expectant lips.  The tender kiss grew into one of passionate urgency before they both pulled away.  She was crying again, but he understood that she was simply overcome with emotion.  He felt it, too.  So, he enclosed her within a protective hug.  They stayed that way for a while before Deanna spoke again.

     "Will, whether we're a married couple, or just as we have been, what we have and who we are---together---is still just as profound.  The affirmation and declaration of our love for each other before others will only make it sweeter than it could've been otherwise.  It is merely a genuine gesture of respect for traditions from us, which gives us additional freedom to be who we are.  It's a little funny really, because I believe that all our friends and family, too, expected this from us for a very long time, but were reluctant to inquire about our 'romantic' status.  They respected our privacy.  Everyone except Beverly that is, because she shamelessly pried and prodded me trying to get me to admit to something more than friendship between us for years".  They both laughed heartily at that realization.  "Now, I can sense all of their feelings of joy for us and also their relief.  We seemed to be the only ones who were oblivious to controversy we had unknowingly created.  Obviously, what they were hoping for us was what we were working so hard at to side step.  It was a deceptive pretense.  Perhaps, we subconsciously and foolishly thought we were trying to save them from any repercussions from what the power of our union could produce.  Truthfully, we probably believed we should save ourselves from those repercussions.  Thankfully, we failed grandly", then they chuckled softly together thinking of what she'd just said.

    Laughing, will voiced his and Deanna's other hopes.  "I'm thinking of our children that we want to have.  Before I met you, I really thought that I would always be alone.  I'd grown up alone without siblings and without a mother and ultimately without a father.  I'd become accustomed to winging it on my own and my personal life being solitary.  Personal loneliness was all I'd ever known.  Then, miraculously, you changed all of that.  Even though I resisted the pull at first, because I thought that nothing so wonderful could ever happen to me.  You helped me gain a new vision of the universe, and I learned how to hope.  So, I hope that another thing that the *power of our union* will bring us is the blessing of children".

     Deanna squeezed him tighter and whispered, "Me, too."  Then she spoke up more assertively, "I'd love to see your sparkling blue eyes looking up at me from a miniature version of you; and I'm so happy that we succumbed to pull before it would've been too late to have children together.  Before too much longer, we might have gotten too old".  They both laughed at that admission, but held each other's eyes a little longer relieved that their stubborn resistance hadn't diminished their expectations.  In time, their denial would've become their own defeat.  Looking at each other, Will slowly shook his head thinking of their years of defiant reluctance.  Deanna feeling and hearing his thoughts joined him as they said in unison, "Nearly twenty years!"

     Will smiled down adoringly at her and said, "I hope however many children we have that they're all just like you.  You are so very beautiful, and although I'm in awe of your physical beauty every time I look at you, it's your soul and spirit that define your real beauty.  Any child would be especially fortunate to have you as their mother, Deanna.  Just as fortunate as I will be---am to have you for my life's companion".

     They released their embrace, but Will still held Deanna at close arms' length while she looked deeply into his eyes, his clear blue eyes that seemed to be worshipping her and she thought-cast to him, "~I love you, Will,~" as she at the same time projected her feelings along their link bathing him in a cascade of emotions all wonderfully overwhelming.  The bombardment staggered him.  She tightened her grip on him to help him steady himself.  He watched her with wide eyes before closing them reeling from a touch of dizziness.  Slowly, the symptoms of Deanna's sudden and intimate mental intrusion began to subside.  With his eyes still closed, he easily cleared his mind and concentrated on Deanna.  He opened his eyes as he made contact with the intimate recesses of her mind, and thought-cast back to her, "~I love you, too, Dea~".  Aloud he said, "Even if tomorrow and our wedding day never comes, this is who we are now and I believe will be for all time.  After all that has gone on before, we are still here, and found within each others' arms".  Taking in and then letting out a slow, deep breath Will said, "God!  I'm grateful to have been given the privilege to be found in this presence of mind and spirit, and without any doubt, I unconditionally love who we are".

     Deanna looked at Will with a wise, toothy grin and said, "That sweet talk will get you far, but we will NOT share quarters the night before our wedding.  Our arrangement was supposed to be firmly agreed upon, Will.  Geordi should be expecting you.  Will then donned a look of mock disappointment accompanied by a pout.  While she appraised him wholly, she was overcome with the emotion of wild abandon that fed her unrelenting attraction to her lover.  Her head swam with giddiness.  Deanna instinctively pulled Will roughly to her and wrapped her arms around his neck and rewarded his performance with a wet and wildly passionate kiss.  Their hearts were beating in synchronic rhythm, and the prolonged kiss made them lightheaded for lack of air.  Breathless, they released each other, but being only a breath apart, they breathed in each other's essence, and after tasting each other's lips, Deanna noted the dark blue color of Will's impassioned eyes, and yet again locked them into another heated and promising embrace.  Deanna sighed loudly and threw her head back and Will covered her exposed neck and shoulders with tender kisses.  All else was forgotten as those kisses were just a prelude of the wondrous things to come on the eve of their wedding, but also spoke hopefully and triumphantly of all of the nights to come after that.

~E N D~