The last photograph

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The last wedding picture.

"More pictures?" Although he would never voice such a thought out loud or say anything, it was her day. And heíd be damned if he did anything to spoil it. He obediently got into position for the photographs, blocking his thoughts from her. Deanna took her position and stood in front of him. His hands resting gently on her waist.

He had whole heatedly agreed to the wedding portraits, they were part of the ceremony. But they had been taking them for over two hours. He was not one who adored the limelight and he being the groom was definitely in the limelight, and he was fast becoming nervous and uncomfortable. He had heard the same sentence, "I canít believe you finally popped the question." A thousand times in the last three hours, finally reaching the point of instead of explaining. His only response was a smile. When in reality it was Deanna who had asked him, his mind began to drift as the photographer snapped photograph after photograph.

She had been offered the job as Shipís counselor of the USS Titan. They were sitting in ten-forward talking about whether or not she should accept it.

"If it were you, Will Riker? What would you do?" She asked.

Riker stared at her silently for a moment; he bit his bottom lip and swallowed. He felt his pride ease down his throat. Glancing down at his glass and then back at her and admitted, "Itís old hat to me." He smiled slightly. "Iíve been offered, so many ships that Admiral Tolstoy told me that when I was ready for captaincy. To contact them, he told me that I could have any ship in the fleet, when and if I decide." He chuckled slightly. "Donít call us, weíll call you. Only in reverse."

"How many have you been offered?"

"Maybe a dozen." Riker shrugged, "I lost count a long time ago."

"A dozen?" She asked shocked as her dark eyes widened at the thought. "Why havenít you taken any?"


"I didnít want to leave you." He answered casually, picking up his glass; he casually took a sip of the bourbon sour.

"What?" Deanna asked in almost a whisper, not really sure she had heard him correctly.

"I didnít want to leave you, Deanna." He repeated, watching her eyes grow wide with the reality of the truth. "I left you once, and I didnít want to relive that pain a second time." He fiddled with his glass, as he ran a lazy finger over its rim, he looked up at her and continued. "When I first saw you on the Enterprise. I was flabbergasted and all of those feelings that I had for you came flooding back. In that instant I knew I had made a mistake by leaving you. I realized for the first time in my life, when we were standing in the turbo lift, that I had regrets. Regrets are terrible things." He said as he sipped his drink.

"And I also knew that I could never leave you again. The self-motivated interest wasnít StarfleetÖ. Or my father. It wasnít even you." He admitted with a slight smile. "It was because of me. One regret, is one too many and I had one regret, I didnít need two."

"I held onto the hope for years that you and I would someday, have again what we had back then. And when it didnít happen. I resolved myself to the fact that our friendship was the most important thing in my life, and friends donít forsake friends." He paused for breath before he continued. "Especially friends that they are in love with."

She gave him her full-undivided attention, somewhat in awe of the fact that he was totally opening up to her. He had never done that before. He was on a roll now, and there was no way, Deanna was going to interrupt his heartfelt confession.

"When we were on the Baku mission, and we decided to rekindle our relationship." He reached over and placed his hand on top of hers. "Deanna, it was the happiest day of my life. I remember how I bounced down the halls of the Enterprise, like some teenager in love." He chuckled slightly at the memory.

They both laughed as he told of Dataís reaction to his then smooth Un-bearded face.

"Deanna, my love for you has always been there. Worf knew it, everyone knew it." He looked into her eyes and confessed. "Devinoni Ral confronted once, hell, he even told me that I loved you." He noticed how Deannaís eyes widened at this revelation. He inhaled deeply and exhaled slowly, deciding to continue on with his confessions. "Of all of the things that Ral did wrong." He said as he picked up his glass and studied its contents through the side of the glass. "I have to hand it to him." He gently sat the glass on the table, and averted his attention back towards the spellbound counselor. "He read me right that day."

Riker lifted his glass and studied its contents once again. "I canít tell you what to do, Deanna." Will concluded in honesty as he sat the glass down on the table. "We both are mindful of the fact that itís a fantastic career move. Iím afraid youíll have to make that decision for yourself. All Iím saying isÖ pleaseÖ" He looked steadfast into her eyes; his federal blue eyes sparkled with truth. "Have no regrets in whatever you chose to do."

Deanna Troiís eyes filled with tears, reaching out across the table she placed her hand upon his and squeezed so lightly that he barely felt it.

She loved him for his honesty, for his pain, for the admission of his undying love for her and she loved him mostly for his uncanny ability to just be William T. Riker.

There was a moment of silence between the two, as they both became lost in the magic of the moment as the truth of Rikers words flooded her being.

"Marry me." She said the words before she had realized they were out of her mouth.

Riker blinked twice, "What?" he asked. Just to make sure he had heard her correctly.

Deanna inhaled deeply and exhaled. Finding her courage, she repeated her proposal of wedlock. "Will you marry me?"

He looked at her for a moment and absorbed the fact that she had just proposed to him, he looked into her dark eyes and it took him only an instant to respond, "Yes." He nodded.

Deanna watched, as his grin became larger and spread across his face. Emotions emitted out of his body, love, happiness, and joy all showered into her senses, flooding into her mind.

Deanna jumped to her feet and practically leaped into his arms, embracing him tightly, she smiled when her embrace was returned as his arms wound around her.

They shared a deep passionate kiss.

Deanna suddenly became aware of the stares from the patrons of ten-forward. Knowing Will better than he knew himself, he was never one to show public affection, and he felt as if it wasnít becoming for an officer. She broke the kiss, and backed away ever so slightly.

They both looked around, gawking faces; inquisitive eyes and some were even smiling at the two Bridge Officers.

With a roll of his eyes, Riker looked down at Deanna and shrugged, "What the hell." Still holding the Counselor in his arms, he yelled out to the wondering crowd. "Weíre engaged, all right?!"

Before Deanna could respond, he clamped his mouth over hers once again. She heard the patrons of Ten-forward as they cheered the couple with congratulations.

 

**&&**

 

The voice of his bride snapped him out of his happy daydream. "This is the last one, Will." She said, as she stood in front of him, speaking over the faÁade of a smile. Will didnít have to say anything, Deanna knew what he was feeling. She knew Will Riker better than anyone in the universe. At times she swore she knew him better than she knew herself. She didnít blame him really for becoming tired of the photographs, and was beginning to relate to what he was feeling. Her face was beginning to become frozen from the hundreds of photographs and the constant charade of people yelling, Ďsmile.í

"Stand stillÖDonít move." The photographer instructed, as Rikerís mind slowly focused on the present.

~~Will? ~~ Deanna sent to him through their bond, still holding the smile on her face.

~~Yes? ~~ He sent back. Still holding the pose.

~~ Iím naked under this dress. ~~

Rikers eyes widened, but yet he was afraid to break the pose. In case the photographer had to do retakes. He swallowed hard and said a loud, "What?"

~~ Naked. ~~ Deanna explained, still frozen in front of the camera. ~~ The only thing that stands between you and my bare flesh is this pink gown. ~~

Riker stood perfectly still, waiting for the photographer to snap the pictures. The thoughts of being so close to all of that naked, bare flesh of his new bride sent a surge of passion throughout his body. She had been naked under her wedding dress all this time? Damn, it was a wonder he could even say the vowsÖ.

~~ Totally naked? ~~ He asked.

~~ Nothing but this dress ~~ She sent, her voice calm, never loosing her smile or her pose.

"Almost got itÖ. Stand still." The photographer instructed the newlyweds. "Donít move, now."

~~ Youíre moving Will. ~~ Deanna teased, her face frozen with a smile. Her body was the vehicle that motivated Will Riker the most and she knew it. She felt his arousal begin to rise against her back.

~~ I canít help that. ~~ He sent, almost pleadingly.

"Okay, just a couple more and then weíre done." The photographer said with a smile, unaware of the newlywedsí private telepathic conversation. "Hold that pose for just a moment longer."

"If he doesnít hurry up I canít be held responsible for the consequences." Riker whispered a loud.

Deanna moved slightly, backing up against him, pressing her body firmly into his. Damn, did she have any idea of the erotic affect that her simple little movement had upon him? Of course she did.

He squirmed slightly. "You are not making this easy, Deanna."

Wrapping his arms tighter around her waist, she stepped back slightly and nestle herself closer to him, feeling his growing manhood poking her in the lower back. ~~ Am I making it hard? ~~ She sent her playful question to the uttermost center of his mind, her face never leaving the camera. The photographer snapped shot after shot totally unaware of the newly weds telepathic conversation.

"Thatís not fair." Riker said, louder than he intended to.

"What?" The photographer looked up and asked, swearing he heard something.

"Nothing." Riker answered with urgency, perhaps faster than he should have. The photographer quickly got the hint that it was a private conversation and resumed his duties.

Attempting to stifle his laugh and keep the pose. Riker focused into the camera, and whispered, "Is this your depiction of a virgin bride?"

"Iím not depicting anything." She smiled. "You took that twenty years ago, Mr. Riker." She quickly responded in a loud graceful whisper never loosing her pose.

His smile grew slightly wider, at the thought of their time in the jungle. When he had introduced Deanna Troi to the pleasures of true womanhood. She was an avid pupil, quickly learning the art of lovemaking. Their bodies had melted into one another and had become one. "And I donít regret a minute of it." He smiled, and then repeated, "Not one solitary minute." Then added with a wider smile, "Mrs. Riker."

Deanna squeezed his hand lovingly. This was the first time he had ever addressed her as Mrs. Riker and it sounded good. It sounded natural. She smiled, due to the fact that it was true. She was finally legally Mrs. William T. Riker.

"Perfect." The photographer said as he snapped the last wedding picture.

"Yes, it is." Riker said, as he grabbed his new wife by the hand, and both strolled gracefully away from the photographer, and away from the crowd of people. All Riker wanted to do now was slide a certain pink dress off of his new bride.

THE END