"Let me get this straight," Beverly Crusher was trying to get through the whole sentence with out laughing, but was failing miserably. "You guys had a fight over a pair of shoes." She snorted a little on the last word, but quickly swallowed her chuckle when Deanna pinned her with a look of pure venom.
"This is not funny," Deanna hissed. Beverly put up her hands in a gesture of surrender hoping the fire would go out in her friend's eyes.
"I know, sorry. I just can't believe that you of all people would let a little thing like where he puts his shoes escalate into a full blown fight."
"What do you mean 'me of all people'? Just because I am a counselor and an empath does not mean I am not entitled to feel anger or frustration." Deanna's voice was cold and almost shrill; Beverly glanced out of her office door to make sure no one was within earshot. The last thing she wanted was the rumor mill to get a hold of this conversation. Once she was sure that no one was around, she turned back to the woman pacing her office floor, and sighed heavily.
"Deanna I am not the one who leaves my shoes in the middle of the floor for you to trip over, so don't take it out on me." This received the desired effect; Deanna stopped her pacing and flopped down on the chair opposite the Doctor.
"Sorry, it's just that every time we get in a fight Will always throws it up in my face that I am the Counselor in this relationship. Or he accuses me of psycho-analyzing him all the time." Deanna's tone softened and for a moment, Beverly was sure that she was going to burst into tears. Instead Deanna took a few cleansing breaths and began tapping on the bundle of nerves behind her ear in the Betazed relaxation technique called plexing.
Beverly watched as her expression went from anger to composure in moments. It never failed to amaze her, the amount of control that Deanna had over her emotions. She was a master at burying her feelings a gift, and a curse in Beverly's mind.
She remembered the first time she had meet the Betazed Counselor. Though she would be loath to admit it now her first impression of Deanna was that she was a cold and overly formal woman. Over the years Deanna had proven just how wrong first impressions could be. It was like Beverly's Nana had always said, 'still waters run deep,' and few waters ran deeper then Deanna Troi. Even after fourteen years, Beverly had moments when she felt as if she did not know Deanna at all. Beverly was pulled from her thoughts by Deanna's soft voice.
"I know that there is an adjustment period to any new relationship. Especially in mine and Will's case, but sometimes I wonder if it's just too late for us." Deanna did not meet her friend's eyes as she spoke.
"What do you mean?"
"Will and I have both been on our own for so long, maybe it's impossible to mesh our lives together the way they should be. I mean he has never been in a serious long-term relationship, and the last one I was in was with Worf and we had problems of our own. I guess what I mean is maybe were just to set in our ways to rearrange our lives for one another."
Beverly leaned back in her chair and gave her friend a cool appraising look. "That is the most pathetic excuse I've ever heard in my life." Deanna's dark eyes bore into her and she knew that if looks could kill she would have been nothing more then scattered molecules by now. This however did not deter the Doctor from saying what she felt needed to be said. "Why don't you just admit it, neither one of you are willing to compromise because you're scared. You, the unflappable counselor, are scared to death of one William T. Riker."
"I am not." Just by the petulant tone in Deanna's voice, she knew she had hit her mark.
"Don't feel bad though," she continued, "he's just as afraid of you." Deanna refused to meet Beverly's eyes, and much to Beverly's relief she had not stormed out of the room. This only encouraged Beverly to continue, but in a much more understanding tone then before. "Think about it Dee, for all intents and purposes this is your last chance at a relationship. If you give it some half-ass try and it doesn't work out you can go your separate ways with a clear conscience. You just make yourself believe you gave it your best shot and you can finally do what part of you has wanted to do for years, walk away. Wither you want to admit it or not that's exactly what your doing, both of you, looking for an excuse to let go."
Beverly gave herself a mental pat on the back for finally telling Deanna what she thought. For the past month, she had watched her two closest friends nit-pick at each other over every little thing. After the Ba'ku mission, three months ago, Beverly had been so happy for them. Anyone who saw them together could see how much they loved each other, not that Beverly had ever doubted it. Now that things were getting serious, they were both panicking.
Deanna finally looked up at Beverly with eyes that were glistening with unshed tears. "I don't want to let go," she whispered. "I love him, so much it really is scary."
"Beverly how do I stop? How do I let this fear go?" The question truly shocked Beverly. Deanna never asked for help, never seemed to need it. Now the sound of Deanna's pleading voice brought tears to her eyes.
"I don't know sweetie," she replied with a gentle squeeze of Deanna's hand. Then her eyes lit up and a mischievous smile spread across her face. "Maybe you should start by making up." Beverly's eyebrows rose suggestively, letting Deanna know how exactly she thought they should make up.
Despite herself, Deanna returned Beverly's impish smile. "I think that's the best advice I've ever gotten. Deanna dried her eyes quickly and stood up. "Thank you Bev, I appreciate it, and if you ever need anything "
"I'll let you know." Deanna began walking toward the door but stopped and turned when Beverly said her name. "There is one thing you can do."
"I want details, and lots of them. Over breakfast."
Deanna shook her head at her friend's slightly twisted sense of humor. "Oh nine hundred," was all she said before walking out the door.