Salt water taffy for the mind<G>
Will Riker cuffed his pant legs, rolling the thin white cotton to just below
his knees, then tossed his shirt in the sand beside him. He inhaled a deep
breath as he pushed himself up, the moist air leaving the taste of salt on his
tongue; he drew in another, enjoying the familiar and stimulating sensation.
For a moment he just stood there, alone, watching as the calm, consistent waves
broke over the ecru sand. A picture that to many was one of extreme peace,
passive relaxation, a false portrait of the powerful, sometimes angry unseen
force of the ocean.
The last light of day shimmered over the rippling surface, the swells swaddling
the yellow diamonds of light, enticing them with their guise of peace, then
swallowing them on a crest of foamy white. It had been years since he'd been
here, felt the sand tickle his legs, the cool water kiss his ankles, and it
still hadn't lost its charm. He'd spent two summers here, two summers that
would always hold a place in his heart. He was sixteen the first time he'd come
here, full of hopes and dreams, driven by an arrogance that nothing could stand
in his way. And he'd met her here, on this beach, in this spot, and he'd fallen
in love with her, given himself to her completely with an unconditional love, a
love that betrayed everything he'd thought he'd wanted or needed. It was
forgetting his own needs, finding hers meant more to him then his own that had
come as a shock and cracked over him like a divine revelation.
He stepped into the foamy water and watched the sun slip from the sky, the
fiery ball that had dominated the translucent blue easily replaced by the milky
glow of the full moon as it assumed its place in the navy sky. Stepping in
deeper, the sudsy water cleared, her face seemed to appear in the smooth blue;
Chestnut hair streaked with gold glistened in the sunlight, a smile of youth
and unrefined commitment deepened the dimples in her tanned cheeks.
"I'm gonna miss you Jayna." He whispered, her face dissipating, rippling
his minds eye as the silent, dangerous, unseen force of the ocean tugged on his
He'd learned about the deadly undertows, the treacherous rip tides that this
mysterious beauty veiled beneath its green-blue depths the second summer he'd
come back to be with her. The claws of Aegir had reached up, pulled him down,
tumbling him in a nightmare of blue-gray, churning him with the waves as if
he'd become a part of the sea. He'd been lucky, instead of being pulled out,
dragged to the ocean floor, the current, or the gods of the sea had freed him,
sending him back to the shore, choking, and gasping for breath. But he'd never
forgotten the feeling, the immense power that captured him, the intense feeling
of helplessness, relinquishing his entire existence to a force he couldn't
control. He kicked the water, the tiny beads winked in and out of the
moonlight, seemingly laughing at his feeble threat.
He dug deep in his pocket and pulled out a necklace, the shimmering piece of
his past he'd brought with him. The pale pink stone twinkled, he nodded to it,
smiled approvingly, and kissed it softly.
"I promised Jayna, thanks for making me who I am." With a final squeeze
threw the tiny stone as far out as he could. A large swell broke at his feet,
tiny jewels of water splashed up, kissing his bearded face with icy kisses.
He heard the steady breathing behind him, and wondered how long she'd been
waiting, why she hadn't just returned to the house.
"I'm sorry I've been so long Deanna, I didn't think....." His words
when he couldn't find the words, couldn't say the words without releasing the
tears that wanted to come.
"I understand Will, she was a part of your life, an important part of
She stopped mid sentence, he was relieved when she hadn't said that Jayna had
died doing what she loved. Even though it was true, and the ocean was her life,
somehow it didn't make him feel any better about the accident on the Nautilus.
Jayna had grown up here in this crusty little east coast town, the ocean below
the jagged cliffs had been her first playmate, and she'd begun a love affair
with the sea. A love affair as passionate and driven as the one he had with the
heavens; another mysterious lady that shielded its danger behind its tranquil
beauty. But thanks to Jayna he'd learned a respect for the ocean, and he'd
carried it with him when he'd ventured into space.
"I wish I'd gone to her wedding, I wish I'd visited her the last time
here, I wish...." Again his thoughts trailed off, he brushed a single tear from
his cheek and continued staring at the churning current, the eternity of the
ocean back dropped by the infinity of space.
"Would you like to be alone?"
A simple question and an innocent touch of her hand to his back caused his
breath to catch in his throat. He didn't want to be alone, that's why he'd
asked her to come with him, she was his best friend. Or was there more to it
then that, why had he really asked her to come along, in losing Jayna had he
realized how delicate his existence really was. Deanna meant more to him then
anyone he'd ever known, not just as a woman he'd once loved, but as a person he
would always love.
"No, I don't want you to go."
The hand that rested against his back slipped around his waist as she stepped
in beside him, her eyes calm and comforting sparkled in the moonlight. He
almost smiled as he looked down on her, drowning in the understanding that
cascaded over him as tangibly as the waves that broke against his skin. The
hand he'd been holding limply at his side slipped under her hair and cradled
her neck, he lowered his face to hers without thought, kissing her deeply,
almost desperately. She was warm, responsive, her flavor mingling with the salt
on his lips made him feel lightheaded. Her other hand slipped around his waist,
her kisses more needy, her body heat pulling him under like the strongest rip
His hands drifted, following her lead, unbridled and unafraid of the incredible
force that pulled at him, threatened to send him tumbling into a dark abyss.
But this abyss didn't frighten him, it breathed air into his lungs, and caused
life to pump through his veins.
Lowering her to the ground, their bodies stripped of any physical and emotional
barriers that could separate them, he looked down on this woman, his best
friend, and released a shaky breath.
"Imzadi," Her voice was calm, serene, and washed over him with the
tranquillity of the sea.
For a moment he only looked at her, considering her word, enjoying her warm
breath as she breathed in anticipation against his neck. A tidal wave of
emotions lapped over him, the gentle, non threatening pull of the surf
reinforcing his desire for her.
Her gasp as he slid inside her stopped him with a surge of fear, but her hands
and legs drawing him closer, pulling him deeper, eased whatever he'd been
They moved against each other, setting a rhythm with the surf, melding as they
had to the sounds of the jungle, without fear, to the sounds of the sea. Her
body, her thoughts, her unencumbered feelings tugged at him, dragged him into a
place where yesterday soaked into the sand, tomorrow lay hidden behind the
twinkling stars overhead, and eternity was only this single moment in time.