Disclaimer: - Paramount owns all . . .

By Rachel


Note: This is a sequel to the original Trucker's Imzadi Experience.

If you haven't read the first - this story will make no sense and
seem out of place. 

Prologue (Warning - Short)

I learned love doesn't pay the bills.  I learned the hard way.

When she left, sleep became impossible.  Without sleep, my days and
nights ran together and the concept of when I should be on the road
and when I shouldn't be on the road became a moot point. 

It didn't matter.

When deliveries started becoming late, the time away from the wheel
somehow had become lengthier then the time in front of the wheel, and
my friendly smile was to hard to forge- I didn't even notice.  Would
still be oblivious if I hadn't been called upon it couple to times
by "worried friends".

And what should have been an earth shattering event by my employer,
after fifteen years of faithful service choosing not to send me on
another run, and instead taking my keys to my rig and wishing me good
luck on whatever I decided to pursue in life - I didn't even blink an
eye.

Nothing mattered.

So taking the contents of my locker - fifteen notebooks filled with
sleep deprived ramblings and a beat up Cincinnati Reds hat I decided
was to hard to wear and yet to painful to throw away I embarked on a
search for a place to hide.

After five years of waiting it became harder and harder to believe my
love was coming back.

 

(1)

"These are good Will. . .really good."

I look up to see the pimply face of one of the newer employees,
holding the scraps of a tattered blue spiral notebook, which had seen
better days.

I know this - because it was my notebook.  MY NOTEBOOK!

Setting my broom aside, I snatch back the notebook from the hands of
eighteen-year-old Wesley Crusher.  Boss's son, prodigy, and quite
possibly the most annoying person on the face of this planet.

Young Wesley, forever trying to please anyone, had no idea of how he
grated on people's nerves.

"You make it a habit to read other people's belongings?"

I bit back saying more as I saw the kid's frightened eyes staring
back to me.  He may be book smart, but the kid had a lot to learn
about the workings of real life.  Touching my notebook could
guarantee him one way to catch up, quickly.

"Will. . .I. . .I found it and I just pick it
up . . .because . . .well I thought it might be mine.  Most guys
around here wouldn't have a notebook and. . .well once I had started
reading. . .I couldn't stop."

The kid, known around the garage as Junior, looked two seconds to
tears.  Red raced and hopping from one foot to the other, he reminded
me of those toddlers at the mall, desperate to pull their mother's
away from the nearest sales rack to take them to the bathroom.

Sighing, instead of letting my emotions get the best of me, I look
down to the notebook I clutched in my white knuckled hand, not
necessarily ready to forgive, not necessarily ready to start beating
up minors either.  I can't believe I was stupid enough to leave my
book, my personal log lying around.  It wasn't something for anyone. 
Most people wouldn't understand it.  Hell I didn't even understand it.

"It would make a great book.  Memories of Diana."

"Deanna."

I hadn't spoken her name in so long, that a rise of goosebumps rose
on my skin with the utterance of her name. 

Deanna - when it was on paper it seemed two dimensional, but hearing
the name again, was something else entirely.  Like a shot of Tequila,
smooth and soothing with hidden repercussions.

"Yeah Deanna.  You make her seem so real."

"She is real."

Seeing the boy's unwillingness to leave, I put down my shop broom. 
Part of me at this moment felt very old and tired.  Part of me felt
angry and betrayed.  All of me knew I didn't want to have this
conversation right now.  Not now, maybe not forever.

"Yeah - well I assumed she was, but I mean like if she were to come
though the door, I'd know right away who she was.  You know."

Politely I nod, although I really didn't hear, or really didn't care
about Crusher's ramblings.  Like a lot of things anymore, it wasn't
important.  Deanna wasn't going to walk through that door so it
didn't matter whether anyone knew who she was.

"You should really consider it."

Realizing Junior hadn't stopped talking I snap myself out of my
thoughts.  If I wasn't careful, I'd find myself agreeing to go for
Pizza and Pop with the kid. . .again.

"Excuse me."

The boy rolls his eyes at me in typical teen fashion.  Nice to know
smarty-pants acts his age once in awhile.

"I said I had a teacher whose husband works for a small independent
publishing company.  I could possibly have her show him your notes,
see what he thinks about a book."

Book?  Me, my journal.  What in the world is this kid on?

"Wesley, this isn't a book.  My thoughts are just random and private."

Picking myself up from the tire stack I had absently plopped down on,
I start to think about the 92' Dodge Van I needed to replace the gas
line on.  Brilliant thing about my brain was its ability to focus on
menial task when I needed an escape.  And right now, judging from the
closing of my throat, I needed an escape. . .fast.

I felt Wesley grab my arm.

"Will but it is.  It chronicles your quest to forget."

"There is no happy ending Wesley."

I begin to pry the fingers of Wesley hands from my forearm.  The
boy's excitement I predicted would one day be his downfall.  If he
wasn't care, it could very well be today.

"Sometimes people don't want a happy ending.  Its not life."

Hell if the boy don't have a point there.  Happy endings I am
starting to believe are for fairy tales and fiction.

"But people want happy endings Wesley, to get away from life."

Score one for me, I thought, watching the spark somewhat diminish in
the boys eyes.  If he wanted to push me on this subject, he was going
to make to be prepared for the consequences.  

Back to my gas line.

"But your story shows human will."

Human will?  My story shows a pitiful man who lost his heart to a
woman he didn't deserve.  I'd either be felt sorry for or laughed
at.  I didn't need a publisher to tell me the chaos my life had
begun.  Hell if I didn't already know.

"My story is my story Wesley.  No body elses." 

Satisfied by the defeated look exhibited on young Crusher's face, I
head to my next project, eager to get the idea of Deanna pushed to
the background of my mind.  Eager to get my hands busy into work. 
Eager to once again push back the emptiness of my heart.

"And what if could bring her back?"

(2)

Deanna -

Last night I had the dream again.  I am in the pub, it was smoky,
dimly lit, my favorite kind of place to hide.  I sat at my favorite stool
at the bar, farthest away from the door, of course the darkest spot
in the joint, nursing my favorite beer Miller Light.  It was so real
that I almost believed I wasn't dreaming.  Could have been real,
except from the point where your arms slid from behind me,
under my arms and grasp hold of me. You sweet breath beats
down my neck from where you rest your chin on my shoulder. 
That is the part of the dream when I know to expect to open my
eyes at any moment and find myself in my rinky-dink room. 
Alone. 

Sometimes I don't tempt fate and don't turn around in the dream,
allowing myself a few moments of happiness, just feeling you
near me.  Other times, like tonight, I am so desperate to see your
face that I loose all self control and turn around. . .   You'd think
after five years of the dream I would be smart enough not to turn
around.

Earlier today I answered my phone to nothing on the other end. 
For a split second I tempted with the notion that it was you.  I was
determined not to sound desperate as I said hello for the
second time, but everything in my mind and my heart began to
race uncontrollably.  My mind told it me it wasn't you - that if it
were I could sense you, but yet I had convinced myself in that
perfect moment that it was you and you were ready to pursue us.

Then I got greeted with a clearing of a throat, a nervous cough
and the rant about why I need to order magazines. 

Funny how many times a day that happens to me.  My heart
convinces everything else that you are coming back . . .I want to
believe my heart.


Again I found young Wesley in my face today, wanting to know
more about you, wanting quite frankly to know everything about
you, about us.  And again I told him to back off.  Hopefully with
more luck than yesterday, and the day before, and the day before
that he will get the picture before I snap and say something I am
going to regret.  The boy is fascinated about what transpired
between us, to make you leave and make me. . .make me into
what I have turned out.   A hopeless fool who find no greater
solice then to think of you.  Wesley has always tried to find out my
one true weakness, he says everyone has one.  Well the day he
found my notebook, I guess his dream came true.  Everyone has
a weakness and you are mine.  How I was so ever foolish to
loose you is beyond me.  I knew you wouldn't be there when I
woke up in my truck, and yet I let myself fall asleep.  I regret that. 
I will always regret that.

How pathetic have I become Deanna? I am sitting at kitchen
table the size of a t.v. stand writing to a woman I haven't seen in
five years at 3:00 a.m. going on two hours sleep. 

I am not a man content to exist although that is what I have been
doing. 

I will always love you but I have to, for my sanity, realize you are
never coming back.

There I said it.  Okay I wrote it.  You aren't coming back.

You aren't coming back. . .

You aren't 

___________________

Damn.

Slamming my notebook shut, I pick it off the Formica table and
hurtle it against the opposite wall, missing my 13-inch Sanyo by
centimeters.

There was life before her, I remember I had one.  Riding in my
truck, seeing the country side, talking with people and generally
just exploring everything there was to offer.  Piece by piece.

My one room hole in the wall wasn't life.  Loosing the job I had
loved wasn't life. 

I am suffocating.  Not literally, but everyday it becomes harder
and harder to justify getting up.  To continue to exist.

Leaving my chair, I rise to look at my home.

Wasn't home - my residence.  The place I hang my hat and
frankly nothing else, because nothing else was going to fit.

I have to move on.  I moved on once, leaving my father and his
dreams for me behind, so that I could pursue my own life.

I could do it again.

Walking with a new confidence I go to my phone, dialing quickly
the numbers in my head before I lost my nerve.

I was making the right decision.

I had to be making the right decision.

"Hello?"

I sigh, finding myself closing my eyes to block out anything that
might distract me.

"Wesley, it's Will. . . did you mean what you said."

(3)

"About the book thing?"

Am I really about to sell my memories and dreams of Deanna. . .is
that okay?

"Yeah, the book thing."

The excitement overriding the sleep in Wesley's voice could not be
hid, "Definitely.  I mean women eat that up.  Trust me.  I'm thinking
best seller."

My stomach flipped-flopped.

"I'm not sure about this Wesley."

Fiddling with the cord on my phone I open my eyes.  Not sure was an
understatement and yet, in a crazy way, it seemed like the most sane
thing I had done in a long time.

"Will just let me set you up a meeting.  I can arrange everything. 
Maybe I can even be your agent or something."

I absently find myself drifting as Wesley begins another rant.  Maybe
his ability not to shut up would make him a fine agent. 

My eyes begin to drift to the stack of bills on my counter.  Tossing
them aside, I grab for the paper. 

"Sixty-forty split."

"Yeah sure. . ." I mumble.  Half of nothing is nothing I reason.  And
even if I take this meeting it doesn't mean they are interested, or I
am interested.

Flipping to my favorite section, Sports, I quickly scan the
headlines. . .nothing new. . . nothing new. . .

My eyes stop on a small black and white ad in the corner left section
of the paper.

"Listen to Dr. Dina Every Weekday from 7 a.m.-11:00 a.m."

"Will?"

My eyes are glued to the page and I find myself shaking my head
before realizing, idiotically, that Wesley of course cannot see me.

"Will?"

"I have a lot of notebooks Wesley . . .a lot."

"Gather them up Will.  We will let the editors so the rest."

(4)

I'm never going to get used to seeing myself in a suit and tie. 
Never.

As if reading my mind, I hear a reassuring voice purr behind
me, "Will darling, you look fabulous."

Turning around I smile at the very scantily clad Wendy Roper, my
agent, coming out of my bedroom in nothing but my undershirt and a
smile.

She looked good and the workouts she had been putting me through
since becoming my agent, both in the workplace and the bedroom, she
pretty much always looked good.

"Not as wonderful as you Wendy."

"Of course not."

Winking she throws be one of her irresistible grins, the kind that
warns me to remember who the boss of this little relationship is,
before escaping behind the closed door of my bathroom.

Wendy, who had met with Wesley and I purely as a favor, had taken
fifteen notebooks full of ramblings and in two years time transformed
them into five novels about a broken hearted trucker's unreciprocated
writings to a famous soap opera star who he had helped along the
freeway.

Wendy calls it creative freedom.

And so far, this creative freedom had been selling off the shelves
and I had become a success.

Scary.

Not really all its cracked up to be.

But I William "T" Riker had become every woman's fantasy, hugged by
more women then one could imagine, invited on talk show after talk
show until every channel had seen my face at least once and now a
city to city book tour across the U.S.

Not exactly something I pictured myself doing five years ago, but
something that has helped me keep my focus away from a certain radio
personality. Probably the only radio personality who hasn't had me on
her show, or mentioned me despite my praise and nationally televised
remarks of how much I love her show and how it would be a dream of
mine to meet her in person.

Wendy says I need to let go and after the first time she pulled me
into her bed I began to think she was right.

And I hardly think of Deanna anymore. . .well maybe think isn't the
right word, I just hardly dwell on her anymore. 

My life's to busy to dwell.

So sometimes I just think, think and remember.

(5)

"How you holding up cowboy!"

Gratefully taking the cup of coffee being extended to me, I sweetly
place a kiss on the cheek of Wendy.

"You are a lifesaver."

After seven and a half grueling hours of book signing, I would call
any woman who didn't pass me her number, take my picture, or sneak up
from behind me to grab my ass a lifesaver.

"Tough day?"

"These women are animals."

"Okay I suppose I could call if a wrap. . .only after you tell me I'm
the best agent in the world."

"Don't I always."

Taking a sip of coffee, I look suspiciously at Wendy out of the
corner of my eye.  She was looking like the cat who swallowed the
canary. . .suspicious and eager. . .to eager.

"Care to explain your mood?"

"Maybe. . .did you see Deanna today?"

I noticeably flinch at Wendy typical but no less hurtful question. 
She calls it "therapy".  I call it a power trip.

"No."

I turn away from her chair.  That one question was something I could
not easily blow off.

"Will. . .do you wanna see Deanna and get this "thing" over with once
and for all?"

My ears are playing tricks on me.  Either my ears or my agent.  I
guess I really didn't know which.

"Excuse me?"

"I said do you want to get this thing over with once and for all."

Despite my better judgment, I feel my mouth go dry.  Wendy wouldn't
usually carry a joke out this far.  Wendy was never that hurtful.

"What exactly did you have in mind?"

"Her show. . .tommorw morning.  Let's just say her agent owed me a
favor."

Without a doubt I knew what kind of favor Wendy had been owed, but I
choose not to dwell on it.  At this point I was ready to sell my soul
for another glimpse at Deanna, this chance to actually be in the room
with her, across from her, looking at her, was more of a deal then I
could pass up.  To smell that smell and hear that voice say my name
again. . .

"Does she know?"

"Does it matter?"

Wendy is looking at me like I'm nuts.  Maybe she's right.  Maybe I am
nuts.  It doesn't matter.  Springing myself on her might be for the
best.  This would allow her no chance to back down. 

Still it didn't feel right.

"Wendy why doesn't she know?  It's her show?"

I watched Wendy squirm in her seat.

"If she knew, you wouldn't be on."

Swiftly I looked away from Wendy's prying gaze.  I knew I should have
been prepared for that.  But I wasn't.  And it hurt.

"Will, I work miracles once, do you want it or not."


(6)

"You look like hell."

Ducking into the cab, I ignore Wendy and go right for the window
seat.  All night I had wrestled with the question of whether to go
through with this date, and although I didn't back down, I couldn't
deny this whole thing, the show, the secrets, felt wrong.  This
wasn't the circumstance we were supposed to meet up again.  I just
knew in my heart this cab was going to lead me to nothing but more
heart ache.

"Do I get to see her before the show?"

I don't turn around.  I already know the answer.

"No Will, if you see her before the show her agent is pretty damn
sure there will be no show.  Remember?"

I nodded solemnly as I wipe the condensation off the passenger window
to get a better view of dull gray outside.  I had rehearsed a
thousand different lines in the hotel bathroom mirror and I couldn't
think of a damn one that would mean anything to her.  Nothing would
forgive the fact that I purposely consented to my agent's planned
ambush attack when it has become pointedly clear through these years
that she had no interest in seeing me.

"Will, I did this because I think it will be good for you to forget. 
I don't expect her to fall into your arms and the two of you to live
happily ever after in eternal bliss."

"I know."

"Do you?'

Solemnly I turn to face Wendy. I want to tell her I know not to
expect a miracle and not to worry.  But I can't.  So instead I flash
her one of my patented grins which I have learned works miracles in a
tight situation.

"I'm a big boy Wendy."

I can tell she doesn't buy it.  The look in her eyes tells me she
doesn't.

"Will."

I turn again to the window.  I can't be bothered with Wendy and her
worries right now.  I still had a few moments before show time, which
meant I still have a chance to think of the magical words that would
erase the bad, and whatever happened to make her avoid me, and again
bring back the good.  Because once upon a time things were
good. . .real good.
* * * *

"Mr. Riker, I'm Barclay and I am Ms. Troy's agent. . .soon to be ex-
agent."

A nervous pole looking man in a three-piece suit comes bounding
through the door to meet our Taxi before either Wendy or I had even
managed to get out. 

"I think it would be best if I lead you the back way through the
studio. . .oh dear I don't think this is going to go well. . .not
well at all."

Feeling the man's apprehension wash over me, I have to agree I don't
feel this is going to go well at all, but with Wendy pulling me
along, I followed this nervous creature who I automatically feel a
utter dislike for because, frankly, its to late to back down now.

"If I didn't know about your history Mr. Riker, I would have never
agreed to this."

History. . .

I stop dead in my tracks and Wendy and this Barclay stop a step or
two ahead of me.

"Mr. Riker?"

"Will?"

"Who told you of our history. . .did Wendy here tell you of our
history. . .our very private history?"