“Stop that.” Riker warned stepping out of the lavatory, rubbing his damp hair with a towe as he entered the main area of his living quarters.

With the tip of her finger, Deanna stuffed the last bite of candy into her mouth. “What?” she asked through a mouthful of the chocolaty morsel.

“Pecking on my fish tank, that’s what.” He answered, tossing the damp towel across the back of a chair.

“Come over here, Will. You have got to see this.” Deanna pecked on the glass enclosure with her index finger and the fish quickly moved away.

“So?” Riker said, not seeing anything unusual.

“So!” She exclaimed, “You didn’t see that!”

“See what?” he asked, as he turned and headed towards the liquor cabinet and removed a bottle of wine.

“Your fish doesn’t swim it hops.”

“My fish does not hop.” He sounded annoyed, as he shut the cabinet door with more force than he had intended to.

“Yes. It does, Watch.” Deanna pecked on the tank one more time, “Watch.” She stated, and the fish hopped away. “There he goes again.” She added, “Lippity-lippity.”

“I think the Counselor, needs counseling.” Riker said with a roll of his eyes.

“Now he’ll stop and look around.” She said, ignoring his remarks, her eyes fixed on the small glass enclosure.

“Lippity-lippity?” Riker questioned with a smile, as he sat the bottle of wine on the table. “Is that a Betazed term?”

Deanna simply shrugged, her eyes still glued to the oval wall tank.

Riker walked up behind the small Betazoid, and stood, watching the small rainbow metallic colored fish, and to his amazement, his Imzadi was right --- the fish hopped.

“Odd little fish isn’t he?” Deanna stated with a cock of her head.

Without looking down at her, his eyes fixed on the small fish. “Counselor?” he asked quietly.


“Would you please go lippity-lippity to the replicator and get two wine glasses?”

The small Betazoid turned around, standing on tiptoe, she sandwiched his earlobe gently between her teeth. “Lippity-lippity.” She then turned and walked around him, headed towards the kitchen area and yelled over his shoulder, “I think your fish has got some strange aversion to water.”

“I think you’ve got some strange aversion . . . to intelligent . . .” Will said to himself, but before he could finish his whispered sentence, she cut him off and quickly yelled, scolding him from the other room, “You finish that sentence and your dead, Riker.”

“Deanna, who’s Stewart Ross?” Riker asked, the question came from out of the blue, pecking the window himself with his index finger, his eyes never leaving from the little hopping fish.

“You mean, tall dark, and very handsome Stewart Ross?” Deanna responded with a question of her own, as she walked back into the room with a wine glass in each hand.

“No I mean the . . .” Riker stood erect, turned and faced her. “The ‘lets see how far we can look down the Counselor’s bodice, before Commander Riker pounds my face in--- that Stewart Ross?”

“Oh that--- Stewart Ross.” She stated thoughtfully; her eyes glittered with merriment, she hadn’t seen this jealous side of Will Riker in a long time, and she found herself enjoying it immensely. “He must have been the one I was dancing with when you suddenly cut in on us.” She said, and then teased, as she handed him a wine glass. “Glaring like a crazed- mad Brahman Bull.”

“Dancing? Is that what you called that?” Riker stated in mocked laughter, he knew she could sense his jealousy, but he didn’t care. “From where I was standing it looked more like a skin to skin hula.”

She looked at Riker puzzled, and immediately he knew that the word was foreign to her. “It doesn’t matter, Deana.” He finally said in a low tone.

“Will you stop being jealous, and please sit down for dinner.”

“No I won't stop being jealous.” He told her flatly, “But, I’ll sit down for dinner, you have a problem with that, Counselor?”

“I do.” she stated with a small tip of her head to one side. With a sparkle of merriment in her eyes, she sat down at the table and waited for his next remark.

“Deanna . . .What do you expect from me?” he asked. “Its’ driving me crazy, trying to figure out where we’re going? Where this relationship is headed, we’ve been seeing each other for quite some time now, and I have no idea of what it is you want from me?” His voice suddenly rose and it was almost demanding as he exclaimed, "Just what is it you want!?"

“If you’d please stop yelling, I'd be more than happy to tell you.” She stated calmly.

He was going to retaliate, with some sort of witty remark but decided against it, he lifted up his chin and bent at the waist to look into her dark eyes, “You have the floor, Miss Troi. Tell me what you want.” He could feel his blood pressure rise, as arguments began to formulate in his head.

“All I want. . .” she said firmly. “Is to move into your quarters with you instead of being just neighbors and re-kindled lovers.”

“You want to . .” he stammered, he couldn’t believe it. She actually wanted to move in with him, and share the same quarters. As it stood they did spend more of their spare time in either his quarters or hers, but she had never given any indication that she wanted to actually move in with him.

She stopped his voice with her hand, “You’re jealousy is unwarranted, it always has been; because I’ve never really loved anyone but you, Will Riker. And I would not completely object to the idea of marriage,” she stated in a quiet determined voice, “If we did get married that would be fine . . . I think you should accept the offer of Captaincy, that is what you’ve always dreamed of isn’t it?” she paused to take a breath and then began again. “And if you don’t want to marry me. . .that is fine too. I will still move into your quarters and live with you aboard the Titan and at the same time serve as ship’s counselor.” She swallowed hard, and Riker could have sworn he saw her blush, “That is if you want me to.”

“Are you done?” he asked with a raised eyebrow.

“You did ask me what I wanted, didn’t you?”

“Yes I did.”

“And I’ve told you exactly what I want. If you’re not interested all you have to do is say so.”

He stared at her for a moment before speaking, attempting to register everything that she had just told him, “I respect and love you too much just to live with you Miss Troi, be it on the enterprise or on the Titan; no matter what your uppity little aristocratic upbringing claims about the woman being the superior gender. We can’t live together unless we’re engaged to be married.”

She looked at confused. She swallowed hard, and her eyes moved to the floor and then back into his.

“I’m--- proposing marriage--- princess.” He said, with one eyebrow lifted as if to say, yoo-hoo I am waiting for an answer here.

Deanna immediately picked up his smart-assy remark, she straightened her spine and stated with dignity. “And I will accept your proposal Mr. Riker, if you promise never to call me Princess again.”

“I promise.” He said with a slight dip of his head.

Deanna’s eyes grew wide, and she blinked several times. “Did you just ask me to marry you?”

“Did you just accept?” He asked staring at her startled black eyes. Never, not even in his dreams, had he envisioned his proposal to be like this, both standing there gawking at one another.

No, not even in his wildest dreams.

“Oh my gods!” she squealed, jumping into his arms, kissing his face his neck and everywhere there happened to be warm skin. He laughed heartedly, as he accepted her kisses and hugs, holding onto her as tightly as she held onto him.

Suddenly a voice cut into their joy. “Lieutenant Barclay to Commander Riker.”

Riker gave Deanna a look, lowering her feet to the ground. “There’s another one who romanticizes about you.” He stated, which his only reply was a hard slap on the shoulder from his new fiancé.

“Ow---“ Riker chuckled. He quickly composed himself and spoke into the air. “Go ahead Barclay. Riker here.”

“I have a sub-space message for you sir.”

Riker turned his head towards Deanna, who was still grinning from ear to ear.

“It’s from a Lwaxana Troi, from the planet Betazed.”

Deanna’s face suddenly turned to stone.

“I’ll take it here.”

A moment later, the image of Lwaxana Troi appeared on the view screen. “Good day, William. I trust that you are well.”

“I’m more than well Mrs. Troi.” He relayed, not able to contain his own smile.

“Oh?” she suddenly became surprised, and her dark eyes widened.

“What do I owe his honor to, Mrs. Troi?”

“As you can see, I’m simply distraught with grief; but alas enough about me William. I’m contacting you in regards to my daughter. She has embarked on a most dreadful undertaking.”

Riker slipped down into his chair, and leaned back. “Undertaking. What sort of undertaking?” he asked puzzled.

“Oh I might as well come out with it William, it keeps escaping me that your mind is so primitive. It is rather hard for you as a human to even grasp the simplest of conversings.” She paused for breath. Her features looked pitiful and her shoulders fell. “Deanna is about to live her life alone and deny herself the love of a husband and a family. She, I fear is destined to become a --Pejahi.”

Both Deanna and Will exclaimed in shocked unison. “A Pejahi!”

Pejahi was a Betazoid term for a woman, who never married or bore children; either by her own choice or by the fate of the Gods. Usually a bitter, snagged tooth old croan who lived in the far reaches of town and often chased small children away from her gardens full of beautiful flowerbeds.

It was also believed that such women planted the muktok plant. The eight petals of the flower represented each beau that the Pejahi had turned down in marriage. Moreover, the musical notes that the flower sang were the ringing of the bells of a wedding that would never be their own.

“Oh Deanna darling--- you’re in Williams quarters?” Lwaxana voiced, with a tone of shock, but the glint of humor remained in her eyes. “And at such a late hour?” she stated with deceit bashfulness.

The younger Betazoid immediately raised her guard. “What are you scheming this time, Mother?”

“Scheming?” The elder Troi sounded appalled. “Really darling, a mother’s interest in her only child’s whereabouts shouldn’t be called scheming.”

Deanna’s mother’s tightly smug expression made even Riker wonder what type of trap she had laid out for the two of them.



“What time is it?” Deanna asked as she stood and
fidgeted with her hands in the transporter room.

“You’re awfully jittery.” Riker observed. Deanna
hadn’t been able to sit still since their conversation
with Lwaxana Troi on the com just three days prior.

“I Am Not!” She snapped abruptly.

Riker reeled back at the tone of her voice, and she
recognized the shocked look on is face immediately she
softened her tone and added, “You’re right, I am
jittery, it’s just that I’m nervous. Do I tell her,
or do we tell her to-gether?” Deanna asked lowly,
referring to breaking the news to her mother,
concerning her recent engagement.

He was nervous also; he was about to meet Lwaxana
Troi. Not as a visitor to the ship, not as an
ambassador, not as Deanna’s mother, but as his future
mother in law. Was she going to curse him or bless
him? Would she sud-denly lash out at him for keeping
her daughter on hold for so many years, or would she
sigh, smile, and welcome him to the family with open
arms. Lwax-ana Troi was not only beautiful; she was
proud and very very unpredictable. Yeah, he was
nervous as all hell, but he was not about to let
Deanna see it, or sense it. He opted to try humor to
lighten her spirits, “Knowing your mother,” he
chuckled, “She’ll probably use that radar of hers and
hone in and read our minds the minute she steps off of
the transporter pad.”

“It’s just that . . .with mother, her . . .”

“Hey.” He said, grabbing her by the shoulders, he
gently turned her to face him, “Look at me.” He
instructed, lifting her chin with the tips of his
fingers, “Don’t be so nervous.” he assured her, “I’m
a good catch.”

“I beg your pardon?” Deanna asked, amazed at his
undying sense of confi-dence. Taking a step back,
away from the finger under her chin. “Did you just say
that you were a good catch?”

“I’m a damn good catch, Deanna.” He cocked his head
slightly, raised one eyebrow and smiled down at her.
“You’re mother will probably dance a dance of
exultation all around this ship, once she finds out
you finally snagged me.”

“Oh Please.” Deanna said, with a roll of her eyes.

Riker laughed and Deanna couldn’t help but laugh right
along with him, but when the laughter slowly faded.
Deanna’s voice took on seriousness to it that he could
not escape. “I need to tell you something, Will.”
Deanna stated. “I need to say this, before mother has
a chance to . . . “ she paused for breath. “I have a
dowry….” She waited for the expression on his face to
change, and when she had his full attention she added,
“A rather handsome one.”

“A dowry?” he asked in disbelief. This was an old
earth custom and he thought it was amusing so he
couldn’t help but smile. “Isn’t that a little old

“Not for the daughter of the fifth house.” He
couldn’t help but notice her sarcastic tone. Deanna
thought of the chalice of Rixx as a nothing more than
a moldy old pot, and she loathed her mother’s
insistence on keeping the rituals of her home world,
but at the same time, Deanna Troi desperately loved
her mother, and wanted to please her. Therefore, she
chose willingly to honor her mother’s wishes and not
raise too much ado.

“You’re wealthy, so what?” he said, not really giving
it much thought, “I know that.”

“The dowry is more than prosperous, Will.”

The expression on his face and the look in his widened
eyes spoke for him.

She tipped her head slightly, and smiled,
“Unbelievably---filthy,” And then she scrunched up her
nose and added, “rich.”

“You never told me that.” He almost whispered. He
pondered on the idea for a moment and then looked down
at her and gave a lopsided smile, and then shrugged.
“I guess it beats the hell out of being poor.”

“I wouldn’t know.” They both heard O’Brien’s sneer
followed by a snorty chuckle.

Riker shot him a look, “As you were Chief.” He barked,
using the voice of an irate superior officer.

“Aye, Sir.” O’Brien stated, erecting his posture and
his eyes quickly scanned the glassy consold in front
of him, “Getting ready for trans-port, Sir.”

Lwaxana Troi’s molecules began to materialize once on
board the ship and the shiny glistening particles soon
became a tangible, sentient being.

“Oh I just hate these transporters. I usually have to
check myself and make sure they’ve transported all of
me.” The elder Troi complained, with a voice that
echoed throughout all the transporter room.

“Mother.” Deanna stated under her breath, giving
Riker a look that he rec-ognized all too well, her
voice full of dread.

“Oh little one, I’m so happy to see you.” Lwaxana
greeted her daughter as she walked towards her,
planting one small kiss on each side of Deanna’s face.
“Let me look at you.” She said holding her daughter
at arms length, as she scanned up and down the young
Betazoid with her eyes. “You’ve certainly put on a
few extra pounds haven’t you?” she stated, not waiting
for a re-sponse “Thank the deities!” she exclaimed.
“Deanna, the last time I saw you, you were dreadfully
thin.” She began her lecture. “It’s this starship of
yours, traipsing all across the Gods know only where,
you aren’t exercising proper nutrition . . . and how
could you, my darling, out in the middle of no-where.”

“Mother.” Deanna exhaled, sounding defeated.

Deciding to rescue his comrade, who happened to be
under the lecturing tongue of Lwaxana Troi, Riker
stepped in. “Mrs. Troi.” He took a step for-ward, and
nodded in a courteous manner.

“Commander Riker. Well, who else would the Captain
send to greet me but his first officer?” Scanning the
room back and forth with her dark eyes, she asked,
“Where is the dear Captain by the way?”

“The Captain is on Holiday, Mrs. Troi.”

“Holiday?” she asked puzzled. “Oh well, I suppose
it’s his loss.”

“Mother, where’s Mr. Homn?” Deanna asked, looking
beyond her mother’s shoulder.

“Oh I’m afraid, I had to let the poor dear go. His
manservant abilities were falling quite markedly, no
doubt due to constant fantasies about me; Deanna, I
must tell you the man’s thoughts were simply
scandalous, ”

“They always are mother.” Deanna stated under her

The elder Troi stated casually, “In this day and age,
women of my stature no longer hire domestic help.”
Lwaxana flipped her wrist, “We simply marry it.”

Lwaxana directed her attention towards the Starfleet
officer, choosing to ignore her daughter’s shocked
stare. “It’s so nice to see this little ship of yours
again Commander, and it would seem that you’ve put on
a few pounds.” She suddenly stopped speaking and eyed
the handsome man standing in front of her. “What is
different about you?” she asked suspiciously. “I’ve
never seen you like this before…” The elder Troi spoke
as if she were thinking aloud.

Riker quickly glanced at Deanna, and then back towards
the elder Troi. “What is it…it’s…. as if… Lwaxana
continued ignoring all that was around her, her
expression changed from thoughtful to pleasure as she
blurted out with glee. “Commander Riker, you’ve
fallen in love!!”

“Pardon me?” Riker pushed the words out of his

“You---ARE--- in love.” She gloated, emphasizing her
words, happy with her revelation. “Head over heels in

“Mother.” Deanna scolded, and took a step forward.
“It isn’t polite to read people’s thoughts without
their consent, in all actuality, it’s…it’s quite

“Deanna.” Lwaxana’s shoulders fell, as she let out a
frustrated puff of air that blew the wisps of hair
slightly that hung on her forehead, wiping them away
with her hand. “You tell me it’s ill-mannered to send
to you in front of humans and now you insist on
reminding me that reading the thoughts of other
species without their consent is impolite. I am well
aware of the rules of Betazed etiquette my dear, and
believe me, I have done no such thing. It’s written
all over him. Mercy, it’s practically embossed on the
boy’s fore-head.” She petitioned to her daughter and
then added, “Not to mention the fact that he’s had sex
within the last twenty-four hours.”

“Mother that’s enough!” Deanna snapped.

Lwaxana paid no heed to her daughter’s warning, she
simply shrugged and her attention turned back towards
the speechless, flabbergasted first offi-cer.

“Commander, who is this lucky girl, so that I can
congratulate the two of you?” she glanced towards her
daughter and the two set of dark eyes locked,
The elder woman’s expression grew dim. “Or should I
send you my condo-lences?”

Deanna continued to glare.

Lwaxana simply shrugged, “All right, little one.” She
said holding up the palm of her hand in surrender.
“You win.” Lwaxana directed her statement to-wards
the first officer, ”Oh, I suppose I should stifle my
natural Betazed abilities before everyone on the
Enterprise begins to find me simply insuf-ferable.”
She said.

“Begins to??” Riker responded with a dry sarcasm.

“Will,” Deanna scolded softly, but had to fight to
keep from smiling.

“Mother, I’m sure your exhausted from the long trip,
allow me to show you to your room.” Deanna said, as
she laced her mother’s arm with hers, herding her out
of the transporter room and down the long halls of the



“I received a very strange communiqué from a gentleman
acquaintance, Deanna.” The elder Troi stated as she
took a bite of her dinner.

“Don’t tell me you’ve found another one.” Deanna
stated with a roll of her eyes. “Not yet another
potential husband.”

“Deanna, you make the poor dears sound like mangy stay

Deanna thought through the vast assortment of
potential husbands her mother had paraded past her
over the last few years and nodded, “They do possess a
certain forlorn quality, Mother.”

“Must you find something lacking in every male I
introduce you to?”

“Mother . . .” Deanna exhaled, “Is it too much to ask
to want a husband who doesn’t make me cringe every
time I look at him?”

“Deanna, you’re exaggerating.” The elder Troi stated
as she swirled her eating utensil around something
green and soggy that lie on her plate.

“And then there is that unreasonable request for a
husband who possesses more intelligence than Will’s
fish, who can't even comprehed the concept of

The scowling look on Lwaxana’s face disappeared in an
instant beneath a bright smile. “Then you can thank
me, little one; because this time I’ve found you the
perfect mate. His name is Raymond Standings. And he
has asked permission for your hand in marriage and
I’ve given him my blessing.”

With that Deanna’s jaw dropped, “You what?”

“I’ve decided that you should take his proposal to
heart.” Lwaxana conclude. “He’s perfect for you,
absolutely perfect!” The elder Troi exclaimed with
glee. “I’ll arrange a formal dinner, and that is when
we can make the an-nouncement.”

“Mother.” Deanna attempted to interrupt her mother,
but the elder Troi paid no heed as she continued,
thinking aloud. Each word more filled with enthusiasm
than the last. Even if she wanted to Deanna couldn’t
get a word in edgewise.

<<Mother!>> Deanna sent. <<“Will you please listen
to me?! ”>> She boomed in the elder’s Troi’s head.

“Deanna, darling you are so testy these days. Must you
shout?” Lwaxana asked innocently.

“I’m simply trying to get your attention, Mother.”

“Well, you have it.”

Their conversation was interrupted by an overhead
voice, “Bridge to Counselor Troi.”

Deanna rolled her eyes and spoke into the air, “Troi

“Could you join me on the bridge, Counselor?”

“On my way. Troi out.”

Deanna stood to her feet, “Mother please excuse me.”
She stated as politely as she could, angry with
herself for not telling her mother of her recent
en-gagement and angry with her mother for her
meddling, “We will continue this conversation later.”

Curtly wiping her mouth and tossing the napkin on the
table, she turned and was gone.

Lwaxana watched as her daughter stomped out of her
quarters, the elder Troi leaned back in her chair and
displayed a huge smile. “Thank the deities.” She
exhaled. “It’s about time she and William got
engaged.” She wiped her mouth daintily and spread her
napkin across her lap, “But I wonder what I’m going to
do with Raymond?” She asked herself, and then she
shrugged, she took a bite of dinner and never gave it,
another thought for the rest of the evening.


Riker sat himself down in the Captains chair and
glanced forward out the huge view screen.

“Standard orbit, Ensign.” He commanded.

“Aye, Sir.” The ensign obeyed as his fingers glided
over the glassy smooth surface of the console.

“Commander.” Deanna nodded in greeting as she made
her way down the plank, sitting in her chair on the
right side of Riker.

“Counselor.” Riker nodded back with a smile of
greeting. He stood to his feet and sat back down
after she had been seated.

“When is the Captain boarding?” Deanna asked.

“In about fourteen hours.”

“Our exact rendezvous with the Captain will be in
thrirteen hours forty-eight minutes, thirteen
seconds.” Data swiveled around in his chair, giving
the Commander the correct time of the Captains
arrival. Noticing the look on Riker’s face, the golden
android then added, “Sir.”

“Thank you Mr. Data.” Riker smiled.

The android gave a curt nod; his golden eyes flashed
at what Riker thought was satisfaction and simply
swiveled back around to face the view screen.

“Did you tell her?” Riker asked in a low voice,
referring to breaking the news to his future mother in
law, the great Lwaxana Troi. He found his answer in
the expression in her eyes, “You didn’t -- did you?”

“Will---with mother,” she excused, “It’s complicated.”

Riker sounded perturbed and his voice rose
considerably. “She’s an empath for Christ’s sake, she
probably already knows.”

All eyes were upon them now, “As you were.” Riker
barked impatiently.

Deanna waited until all eyes were back at their
stations and no longer on her and the commander.
“Well--- if she does she certainly isn’t showing it.”
Deanna whispered in a harsh voice. “She’s having a
dinner party this eve-ning.”

“What in the hell for?” He asked through squinted
eyes, and then he under-stood the look in her eyes,
which held all of his answers, “Oh don’t tell me.” He
said, wiping his mouth with his hand.

“Yes, she’s found another one.” Deanna exhaled.

Riker took his hand and wiped down his beard, “So I
suppose, we’re going to dinner tonight, no doubt a
formal affair.”

“Will----it’s an announcement party.” Deanna began,
and Riker had the in-stinct feeling that her next
words were not going to be in his favor. His
in-stincts were right. Her demeanor suddenly turned
grave, and then Deanna added with apology in her
voice. “You’re not invited.”



“Deanna, darling why aren’t you dressed for dinner?”

“I won’t be attending your dinner mother.”

“Darling….” A look of concern etched the elder Troi’s
voice. “Are you ill?” she asked.

“Of course not, mother.” Deanna rolled her eyes.

“You forget I can read you like a book, little one.”

“Please mother, stop toying with me.”

“Deanna, darling . . .” Lwaxana addressed her daughter
her voice full of pity and then judgment, “You look
dreadful in those colors, that uniform you in-sist on
wearing, could use some major alterations.”

“Let’s not talk about the way I’m dressed, Mother.”

“Okay. . .” Lwaxana said defeated, flopping down into
a plush cushioned chair. “What do you want to talk
about, other than the fact that you have no plans of
attending you announcement party?”

Deanna straightened her spine, it’s now or never she
thought. “I’m in love with Will.” Deanna pushed the
words out quickly, ignoring her mother’s pre-vious

Lwaxana’s eyes widened at the shocking news, and then
her eyes narrowed. “Commander Riker?”

Deanna didn’t answer; she simply nodded her response.

“Commander Riker?” she questioned once again, only
this time more to her-self than to her daughter. Her
eyes shifted towards her daughter. “Com-mander Riker,
is certainly charming and handsome, darling . . .but
he really hasn’t changed since his days on Betazed.”

“He’s changed mother.” Deanna defended.

“Of course he’s changed physically. We all have with
the years. He’s bigger and taller, and he’s of course
got that thing on his face again, he apparently has
some dislike for shaving, a habit that Betazed males
never deal with by the way.”

“You’ve always misunderstood him mother.” Deanna cut
her off, her shoul-ders fell and she spoke in a normal

“What’s there to misunderstand? The man is simply a
feather in the wind, darling.”

“Mother, please.” Deanna rolled her eyes, “No

“Darling, Commander Riker . . .” Lwaxana began trying
to make her daughter see reason. “He’s has somewhat
of a track record.” Then she let out a short sigh of
regret, and stated under her breath. “We should all be
so lucky.”

“He hasn’t always been the womanizer you’ve made him
out to be.”

“He broke your heart.” Lwaxana stated flatly.

“Yes. Yes he did.” Deanna agreed. “We were young,
mother. Neither one of us knew the meaning of love or

“Or Imzadi?”

Deanna sat down on the sofa and faced her mother, not
wanting to address the issue her mother just brought
up. “But, he’s also the same man who could make me
laugh, make me feel alive again. Mother, he’s the
same man that used to write me poetry when we were

“Alone?” Lwaxana’s eyes widened, “When were you alone
with William . . .” and then recognition covered her
face. “The jungle.”

“Yes.” Deanna whispered; she smiled at the fondness
of the memory of her time with Will in the jungle.

“Deanna, he broke your heart.” Lwaxana stated simply,
her voice wasn’t con-demning, she stated it out of a
sincere love she had for her daughter, not wanting her
to be hurt by this man anymore than what he had
already done. “You mended your heart with tears.”
She reminded her. “And if my memory serves me right,
William mended his with Betazed brandy.” Deanna let
out a short chuckle at the memory of walking in on
Will, that morning, he had probably one of the worst
hangovers she had seen in her life or probably would
ever see. “And with Wendy Roper.” The elder Troi
added, and Deanna’s face suddenly turned to stone.

Lwaxana Troi stood to her feet, only to kneel down in
front of her daughter; she placed her hands gently on
her daughter’s knees. “Sometimes little one, what we
love and what is best for us, quite often are two
different things.”

There was a painful look in the younger Troi’s eyes
and they began to fill with tears. This wasn’t how
she thought it would be at all. She knew her mother
would be shocked, but not this. Lwaxana was anything
but happy.“I thought you’d be happy.”

“Oh darling . . .” Lwaxana hugged her daughter.

“We’re engaged.” Deanna blurted out, her voice
muffled by her mother’s hug. There she had said it,
and it felt as if the weight of the whole universe had
been lifted off her shoulders. Now, all she had to do
was sit here and listen to her mother’s ongoing
lecture about when she and Will were engaged all those
years ago, and how Will was going to leave her planet
side some-where, while he traipsed across the

Lwaxana pulled herself away from her daughter, her
eyes widened and her chin dropped.

There was a pause of silence between the two women.

“I believe this is the first time I’ve ever seen you
speechless mother.”

Lwaxana said nothing, just simply stared at her
daughter in disbelief.

“Mother . . .please say something.” Deanna whispered,
hurt was evident in her eyes. She and her mother
fought at times as to which direction Deanna’s life
would go, but underneath it all there was a strong
love between the two women, perhaps from the many
years of being all that the other one had.

Lwaxana stood to her feet, he mood suddenly took a one
hundred and eight degree turn, and her voice beamed
with joy. “I knew the minute I stepped aboard the
ship.” Lwaxana smiled, “Commander Riker---I can read
him like a book. The boy was simply beaming. Oh
darling!” Lwaxana’s face was full of joy.

“Mother?” Deanna whispered cautiously. Why the
sudden change in her mother’s attitude?

“So, can I assume that Will and I have your blessing?”
The younger Troi asked, not quite certain as to what
was going on.

“Of course you do darling.” The elder Troi smiled,
holding out her arms to-wards her daughter. Deanna
did not need a second invitation; she gladly stepped
into her mother’s embrace.

“We haven’t made wedding plans yet.” Deanna
explained, “No one on the ship knows, we wanted you to
be the first.”

“Of course you did my dear.” Lwaxana stated in a
choocy-coo voice, rocking her daughter back and forth
in her arms.

“Stop that, mother.” Deanna snapped, stepping out of
her mother’s embrace. Her voice sounded annoyed but
there was amusement behind her eyes.

“I was wondering how long I would have to go on with
this senseless tirade before you would tell me.
Blocking you, Deanna isn’t as easy as it used to be.”

Lwaxana ignored her daughter’s wide-eyed stare. “Now
you run along. We’ve got an announcement dinner to
attend, and you must go get dressed, and tell that
fiancé of yours to get dressed also.” The elder Troi’s
eyes glittered with excitement, as she shooed her
daughter away. “I’ve got to change, I can’t wear this
silly old thing if we’re going to announce your
engagement to William. What colors, let’s see. .
Something that will compliment my flawless

Deanna smiled; kissed her mother on the cheek. “We’ll
talk more later.” She said, turning and walking
through the threshold of her mother’s quarters.

As the doors shut, Deanna never saw her mother’s dance
of jubilation, but she sensed it and Deanna Troi
buzzed down the corridors the ship sensing nothing but

Chapter 5

“Hear ye. Hear ye! ” He stated proudly, straightening
out the lapel of his jacket, as he stood up at the bar
of ten-forward. “A time for celebration everyone.
You.” He gestured towards Riker with a pointed finger.
“Young man I demand a drink.” He ordered, with a slap
of his hand on the bar. He was a thin lanky fellow,
with balding hair, and Riker swore the man couldn’t
have weighed as much as Deanna.

Riker was standing up at the bar; apparently this bold
patron of ten-forward was under the impression that
the good first officer was the barkeep. Worf, who
happened to be standing on the right side of Riker,
looked in the direction of his commanding officer and
stated in a gruff tone. “Chutzpah.”

Riker gave Worf a curt nod of his head, and regarded
the little man curi-ously, “And who might you be?”

“I am Raymond Standings, a citizen of Betazed. Not an
empath mind you, but an outstanding citizen, none the
less.” The man gave a huge grin; he was standing in
front of Riker now. Riker made quick mental note,
that the puny little being in front of him, was no
doubt, at least two heads shorter than he was.

Raymond Standings did not seem to notice the height
difference; looking up at Riker, he gladly extended
his skinny little hand for an introduction.

“First Officer, Commander William Riker.” Riker
introduced himself, shaking the man’s hand. “And this
is Chief of Security, Lieutenant Worf.” He stated,
giving a nod of recognition towards the huge Klingon.
The little man ex-tended his hand towards Worf who
looked at it, and then back at the stranger, and
scowled. The small stranger nervously lowered his

”I am here on behalf of Lwaxana Troi, to ask for her
hand in marriage.” Raymond stated proudly with a
smile. Riker immediately noticed the gap be-tween the
skinny little man’s two front teeth, and thought that
it had to be at least one-quarter of an inch wide.

“You’re going to ask Lwaxana to marry you?” Riker
asked in amazement. This was too much; he shot the
Klingon a look and swallowed the laugh that was fast
rising in his throat.

Raymond Standings slapped his chest and then patted it
several times as if he were looking for something.
“Ah . . .yes, here it is.” Pulling a padd out of his
pocket, the little man studied it carefully, before
reading a loud. “I am here to accept the hand of
Deanna Troi. Yes, that’s it, Deanna Troi.” He moved
in one step closer to Riker, “Spinster Deanna Troi.”

“Spinster?!” Worf’s voice erupted, as if he had just
been insulted.

“It is my understanding that the Spin…” he began and
then decided against it, due to the poisonous glare of
the Klingon. “That Miss Troi is in need of a
significant other.”

Riker arched a brow. “And you’re it, huh?”

“I most certainly am.”

“She said yes, did she?” Riker asked, coolly.

“I’m under the impression that she will. Her mother
has already given me her blessing.” He stated proudly,
settling two skinny thumbs in to the lapel of his
jacket. “It is also my understanding that she also
has a sizable dowry.” The balding man stated. “I have
already contacted my creditors and guaranteed them
payment in full upon the nuptials.”

Riker eyed him suspiciously. “Is that right?”

Worf looked towards the Commander and added stiffly.

The little skinny man clapped Riker on the arm and
chuckled slightly, “ She possesses what I want in a
bride --- wealth.” Then he grinned amused at his own
good fortune.

The little man’s voice lowered and he began talking as
if he was telling a deep dark secret. “Not to
mention,” he added “ that such a union would allow me
into the most coveted ranks of society.” Then he
winked. He slapped Riker on the shoulder and chuckled
under his breath, “I don’t care how damn ugly she is.”

To Riker the gap between Raymond’s teeth seemed larger

Downing his drink in one gulp, and slamming the shot
glass on the bar, Riker took one small step toward the
man, and towered over him. “Get off my ship.” He
said, his tone soft, yet deadly.

The little man looked startled, and his eyes bulged,
appearing almost pig-like. “Are you throwing me off
of your ship?” the man challenged.

“That’s right.” Riker stiffened his backbone,
towering over the shorter man. “I’m throwing your ass
off my ship.”

Standings eyes widened in shock.

Riker nodded his head towards the door, “Now, are you
going to walk to the transporter room or do I have to
pick you up and throw you out of an air-lock?”

“You can’t order me around.” He challenged, through
the gap in his teeth.

“Wanna bet?” Riker whispered with an icy glare.

The little man moved his head frantically from side to
side looking for some sort of help.

There was none.

The little man huffed, and looked up towards Riker.
“Lwaxana isn’t going to like this.” He threatened.

“Worf, pardon me while I take out the trash.” Riker
relayed to the huge Klingon, who was anxiously waiting
to rip this little insect of a human apart; a look of
disappointment etched across the Klingon’s bearded
face, but with-out a word Worf gave a curt nod, and
then pivoted on his heel, turning back towards the
bar, ignoring Raymond Standings and Commander Riker.

“Lwaxana Troi will contact me before this day is
over.” the little man pro-tested. He began to walk
backwards as the tall Commander calmly walked forward,
“And she’ll be begging me to marry her dismal
daughter!” The man’s piggy eyes bulged. “I will
report you to the . . .” the little gapped tooth man’s
protests were suddenly terminated as Riker’s fist
slammed against Standings face. Will felt the jolt in
his arm as nose cartilage crushed against his fist.
Raymond fell, knocked out cold on the floor.

Wordlessly, Riker bent down, picked up the little man,
and tossed him across his shoulder. He walked out of
Ten-forward oblivious to the stares and whis-pers of
speculation that followed him.

As the doors of ten-forward opened, on the other side
stood, Geordi La-forge. The look on Riker’s face told
Laforge to ask no questions. Wordlessly Geordi took a
step to the side, and allowed his commanding officer
to pass.

“What was that all about?” The chief engineer asked
as he approached the Chief of security.

In a tone that dared to be argued with, the massive
Klingon made a face and answered dryly. “Chutzpah.”


“Transport this back to the surface.” Riker commanded
as he flopped the limp body of Raymond Standings on
the circular floor pad of Transporter room three.

O’Brien stood in silent amazement for a second, his
eyes widened at the sight before him. “To Risa, sir?”
O’Brien finally asked.

“Unless we can orbit hell.” Riker growled not
realizing he was speaking aloud,

O’Brien hesitated, “Sir?’ he asked once again,

“That’s an order, Chief.” Riker barked.

O’Brien nodded his head once, “Aye, Sir.” His eyes
moved towards the con-sole, touching the control panel
in front of him.

Riker turned, and walked down the corridors of the USS
Enterprise with an unchanging gate, a determined look
in his eyes. He had a few things to say to his future
mother in law.



Lwaxana Troi turned around as the doors of her
quarters opened with a soft hiss. “William.” She
greeted him cheerfully.

“Mrs. Troi.” Riker gave a curt nod and walked through
the threshold. “We need to talk.” His jaw set, and
his eyes filled with a blue fire.

“I see you’ve met Raymond.” Lwaxana stated. “Tell
me, dear. Does this dress go with my eyes?”

Riker straightened his spine. “Yes.” He confirmed,
trying to control his tem-per, “I’ve met Mr.
Standings. I’m pleased to inform you that, he’s no
longer aboard.”

“That’s nice, dear.” She turned around holding two
scarves, one in each hand, “Which one?” she asked,
paying no attention to his anger. “Why William you
aren’t dressed for dinner.”

“I was under the impression that I wasn’t invited,
Mrs. Troi.”

“Of course you’re invited.” She stated, “Here help me
with the clasp on this necklace, would you dear?”

Riker took a step towards her and grabbed the clasp of
the necklace, what he really wanted to do was strangle
her with it.

Lwaxana turned around, “Now what did you want to talk
about, William?” She asked with a tilt of her head.

The conversation was interrupted by the sound of the
swishing of the door. “Mother . . .” Deanna began;
she stopped abruptly at the sight of Riker.

Deanna stood draped in an iced-blue evening gown and
it immediately caught his attention, his eyes moved
towards her face, with her jet-black hair drawn into
an unembellished coil, and wispy curls framed her huge
dark doe like eyes. She had a self-assured smile of a
woman who knew she was beau-tiful.

Riker had to admit that the two Troi women looked
elegant, they were both very much the aristocrats; the
image of Deanna and her mother attending afternoon tea
parties, elegant dinners, and regal affairs flashed in
his mind. Lwaxana accepting the attentions of the
servants like one born with a silver spoon in her
mouth. While Deanna smiled shyly at the bits of
flattery, no doubt making her feel awkward and
embarrassed, from the thousands of suitors who would
vie to court her.

Standing there in his Starfleet uniform he felt out of
place, out of his league.

He suddenly felt plain.

Riker had only felt this way two times in his life,
once when he was younger and a lot more foolish. He
felt inadequate, out of his league, he felt plain.
Moreover, here he was twelve years later, in front of
the same two women, feeling inadequate. If the truth
were known, he stood frozen, secretly ex-pecting a
door to slam in his face.

Nevertheless, until that door was slammed, his gaze
once again, swept over Deanna’s figure and he pictured
what she would look like underneath that filmy gown.
In his mind he slowly released the simple pearl like
anchor that kept her hair up, allowing the mass of
soft dark curls to tumble slowly over her shoulders.
The dainty ribbons that held the bodice of her gown
to-gether, he imagined his fingers tugging the tiny
ribbons, revealing soft pearly white breast that
glistened in the moonlight. While he studied her body,
he became aware of the response of his own.

Lwaxana’s cool voice intruded on his thoughts,
“William, please stop that.”

“What?” Riker said, his head snapping towards the
elder Troi, his anger gone, hell he even forgot why he
was angry, and now he felt like a stuttering baboon,
he was in the presence of Betazoid’s for gods sake, no
doubt they both honed in on his erotic thoughts. He
felt his cheeks flush, and for the first time in a
long time he was embarrassed.

“Stop staring.” She laughed, “You’re making Deanna
blush. And it’s rude to ignore me when I am speaking
to you.”

“Forgive me, Mrs. Troi.” He stated dumbly. He
thought it was ironic that he came in to tell her a
piece of his mind and ended up apologizing to her.
Just like women he thought, especially Troi women; he
was putty in their hands.

“Go get dressed.” Lwaxana reminded him, with a spark
of amusement to her voice. “You’ll miss the
announcement dinner.”

“Announcement dinner?” He asked bewildered. “I told
you I threw Mr. Standing off of the ship?“


“The stray, Mother.” Deanna reminded her taking a
step forward.

“Oh, I assumed that once he met, Commander Riker, he
wouldn’t be staying on the ship too long.”

“And what does that mean?” Deanna grew defensive.

“Raymond does have a tendency to fray ones nerves.”

“I thought you liked him mother.” Deanna stated her
voice filled with agita-tion. “Just hours ago, you
thought him to be the ideal pattern of a husband. The
perfect mate.”

“I’m sure he could be someone’s perfect mate.” She
shrugged. “That is if he would find a woman who
enjoys a man who excels at false flattery, and
mean-ingless conversation.” She thumbed her chin,
“And that horrible gap.”


“I’ll tell you later.” Riker stated with a roll of
his eyes.

“I had the most terrifying fear that Deanna would
actually like him, and leave you William.”

Riker spread his hands, totally baffled by his future
mother in law. “If you didn’t want Deanna to marry
Standings then why did you invite him?” He asked,
“Why in the hell did you invite any of them?”
Referring to the other men she had paraded in front of
Deanna. The words were out of his mouth before he
could take them back.

“William dear, to provide comparisons, of course.” She
stated smugly, her attention turned towards her
daughter. “Deanna, if I told you that I wanted you
to marry William, and that I actually preferred him
above all of the others, you would probably court
those men, in some misguided effort to prove that my
plans for you never work.”

“You wanted me to marry Will all along?” Deanna asked
puzzled, “But you constantly cut him down with brass
remarks. I didn’t think you wanted the two of us

“But of course I did.” Her daughter stood staring and
Riker knew his jaw had dropped to the floor, but
Lwaxana waved the matter aside and considered the
time. “We are going to be late for dinner if we tarry
in here too much longer.” She headed towards the
door. Her gaze fell upon Riker and what he saw in
Lwaxana’s eyes, was something he had never seen
before, they were full of gentleness, understanding,
and pride. “My daughter is a very lucky woman.” She
stated softly, then straightened her posture and her
voice took on a motherly tone as she held out her
hand, “It wouldn’t be proper to make and entrance
without and escort. Come along, dear.”


Riker sat the next day in the guest quarters of
Lwaxana Troi, the dinner the night before had gone
well and everyone had a good time. Now, the whole
ship knew that the two were going to be married and
they all congratulated them on their engagement.
Lwaxana beamed with joy as she gave the two officers
the sacred Betazed blessings, and bestowed the gift of
the dowry to Riker.

All Riker wanted to do now was leave; Lwaxana was
chattering non-stop about wedding colors and themes.
He wanted to make some excuse to leave, but knew that
the two woman would see through his lie. Letting out
a long sigh, he sat quietly as the two women babbled

Riker’s com badge beeped.

Saved by the bell, he thought as he stood to his feet
and gently tapped his chest. “Riker here go ahead.”

<<<“You’re wanted on the bridge, sir.”>>>

“On my way.” Politely excusing himself from the
room, he walked towards the door.

“Mother? Are you listening to me?” The voice of
Deanna Troi interrupted the elder Troi’s thoughts.

“What?” Lwaxana looked up at her. “I’m sorry, little
one.” She apologized, “What were you saying?”

“You haven’t heard a word I’ve said, have you.”

“No darling and I apologize for that. It’s just that
this wedding must be ab-solutely perfect.”

“Mother, it will fine.” Deanna reassured her.

“There are the flowers and the caterers and the
orchestra . . .”

“Mother, you really should calm down.”

“Deanna, the Troi reputation is at stake here.
Everything **must** be per-fect. We can not fail to
notice even the most insignificant detail.” The elder
Troi stated with a worrisome tone.

Deanna answered, but her answer was directed toward
Riker, “Don’t worry mother--- he’ll be there.”

Riker immediately spun around. The last thing he saw
before the door hissed shut in his face, was the
teasing twinkle in Deanna Troi’s eyes.