Just Between Friends
written by Andra Marie Mueller
Commander William T. Riker was in his quarters reviewing a personnel report when the door chimed. Not expecting company, his curiosity clicked in as he approached the door. Opening it, he was surprised to find Deanna Troi standing there.
“Deanna...what are you doing here at this hour?”
“I couldn’t sleep. May I come in?”
“Of course”, Riker responded, and gestured for her to enter. Troi took a seat on the couch as Riker set down his report and settled into a chair across from her.
“What’s on your mind?”
Troi refused to meet his gaze, and instead focused her attention on her hands, which were fidgeting nervously in her lap. “I wanted to talk to you about what happened the other night with Alkar.”
“I thought we had agreed to put it behind us,” Riker said.
“We did, and I want to, but I’m having trouble getting past my guilt. My behavior toward you and the others was unjustifiable, not to mention embarrassing.”
“Deanna...” Riker began, but Troi gestured for him to be silent.
“Please, let me finish. Whether or not it was intentional, I know that I hurt you, and that somehow it changed things between us. If nothing else, it cast a shadow over the trust you’ve always had in me. Will, our relationship is the most important one I’ve ever had, and I’m just afraid that one wrong is going to erase all the rights.”
Riker was silent for a long moment before responding. “Deanna...l won’t deny that I was upset by what happened, but I also know that you would never purposefully do anything to damage what we have. I think our friendship is strong enough to weather this storm. To use your own words, one wrong won’t erase all the rights. We’ve been through too much together. What happened the other night is over. Let’s just keep it between friends and move on.
Troi smiled gratefully. “Thank you for standing by me.
“I’ll always stand by you, even when we’re old and gray.”
Troi winced at his comment. “Bad choice of words, Commander.”
“Sorry,” Riker amended.
Troi turned serious. “So am I, about everything. You’re the last person in the world I would want to hurt.”
“I know,” Riker said gently. “Apology accepted.”
The two exchanged a hug and a brief kiss, then Riker spoke again.
“Can I tell you a secret, just between friends?”
Riker grinned mischievously. “I really liked that flowery dress you wore in Ten-Forward.”
Troi swatted him with a pillow.