Disclaimer: None of this
stuff belongs to me.
Notes: This story takes place immediately after the first season episode, "We'll Always Have Paris." I was intrigued by the conversation at the end and tried to imagine how it would have been resolved. Hope you enjoy my attempt.
"We'll Always Have Sarona 8"
Counselor Deanna Troi smiled to herself as she looked in the mirror and held up various outfits, trying to select the perfect one to wear for this evening's get-together on Sarona 8. She chuckled as she recalled the earlier conservation that had taken place on the bridge.
I've only been there once, but there's this great bar - I can't remember the name of it…they serve these blue concoctions. Will's enthusiasm had been catching.
It's across the square from the Zanza Men's Dance Palace, she had chimed in. The look on Will's face when she had volunteered that particular piece of information had been priceless.
It's called the Blue Parrot Café, said the captain, who had gestured in her direction, and you're buying.
Browsing through the clothing in her arms, Deanna found a pink dress with a modest neckline that would be suitable for the occasion. As she began to pull it from the hanger, a blue shiny slip of fabric caught her eye. Chuckling, she pulled it from the pile for a closer look. The dress had been a gift from her friend Chandra years ago, from a time when they both had been gangly teenagers with crushes instead of relationships and padded bras instead of boobs. She didn't even remember packing it. With a quiet laugh, she recalled their conversation.
Dee, I got you something…Chandra had burst into the room with the most evil grin on her face.
This can't be good, Deanna had whispered as Chandra brought her arms from behind her back and presented her a folded garment wrapped in tissue paper.
What's the occasion? she had asked as she began to unfold the corners of the paper reluctantly.
Nothing special - consider it an early birthday present. Remember when we were looking through that catalogue and you saw that dress that you thought was beautiful but you said your mother would never let you wear it? Deanna had looked at her friend with a mixture of dismay and excitement.
Chandra, you didn't! she gasped, as the paper had slid away and Deanna was left holding the most gorgeous garment she had ever seen. The dress was backless and made of a whisper-thin metallic blue silk that, theoretically, was supposed to cling in all the right places. Unfortunately, Deanna had had yet to develop those "places" and the dress hung loosely on her pubescent frame. Chandra merely laughed at her when she had finished changing and presented the finished product to her friend.
You have nowhere to wear it just yet anyway. Someday, Deanna Troi, you'll meet a special man and that dress will knock his socks off!
Feeling daring, she decided to throw caution to the wind and slipped into the dress before she could change her mind. That someday was today. Her body had long since filled out and she surveyed the effect in the mirror. 'I can't believe I'm about to do this,' she thought with a nervous giggle as she began to apply her makeup. She decided to wear her hair up in a long ponytail like she had worn it when Wyatt came onboard for their "almost wedding." As a final touch, she slipped an ornamental silver band around her upper arm and two silver teardrop earrings into her ears. Satisfied with the overall effect, she went to collect Beverly from her quarters before beaming down to the surface. Will Riker wouldn't know what hit him.
"Bev, I don't know what to do. Our relationship is so complicated."
"You still have feelings for him, don't you?" she asked, searching through her jewelry for a suitable pair of earrings.
"And do you think he feels the same way?"
"I don't know. He's still attracted to me, of course, but I can't get a clear sense of how he feels - perhaps my own emotions interfere."
"There seems to be only one solution to your problem, Deanna."
"Which would be what?"
"Make him jealous. Flirt with other men. If it bothers him, he'll let you know. If not, then he doesn't feel that way about you anymore." Deanna looked unsure.
"I don't know, Bev…"
"Trust me, Deanna. Works every time. Especially when you're dressed like that," she told her as she slipped on her shoes.
"You think it's too risqué? The captain will be there…"
"And we're all off-duty. You look unbelievable...don't you dare change." Deanna smiled and silently thanked her friend for the encouragement.
"Ready?" They started for the door.
"Riley to Dr. Crusher." Beverly touched the comm panel.
"Doctor, Lieutenant Anderson is in labor." Beverly let out a sigh and looked at Deanna apologetically.
"I'm on my way," she answered. "I'm sorry, Deanna. I'll have to join you later. You still want to check out the Zanza Men's Dance Palace? How about we meet there at 23:00?"
"Good. Have fun and remember what I said!" Beverly called as she started down the hallway toward the turbolift that would take her to Sickbay. Deanna tried to quell her rising apprehension and continued to the transporter room.
As she materialized on the
surface of Sarona 8, she looked around in delight at the crowds of people
bustling through the square. It had been too long since the Enterprise's last
shore leave and she found that she was really glad for the break. Her stomach
clenched in anticipation as she spotted the familiar neon blue sign and the
gaudy plastic bird outside the Blue Parrot Café. Nervously fidgeting with her
dress one last time, Deanna made the short trip across the square and entered
The smoky room was dimly lit, the only real illumination coming from small plastic lanterns strung up on the walls and candles in round jars in the middle of every table. The place was pretty full and Deanna skimmed the room before spotting the two men she was looking for at the bar. Swallowing the nervous lump in her throat and ignoring the occasional stray whistle of appreciation from passers-by, she finally reached Will and the captain. She slid up onto the empty bar stool between them and addressed the pair.
"I believe this round's on me," she told them throatily, not sure whether the smoke in the room was affecting the timbre of her voice or if it was her inner seductress trying to break free. Beverly would have been proud. For his part, Will merely sat there with his mouth hanging open. Picard looked at his first officer with amusement and took Deanna's hand.
"Counselor, you look stunning," he told her, kissing her hand before letting it drop.
"Please, we're off-duty, I insist you call me Deanna."
"I'd be delighted if you returned the favor."
"Why would she call you Deanna?" Riker asked, his eyes still glued to the beautiful woman sitting next to him. Picard and Troi both began to laugh and Will seemed to shake off the stupor he had been in since Deanna's arrival.
"I mean…I…nevermind," he mumbled. The trio moved to an empty table and the waiter brought their drinks. The "blue concoction" they were all familiar with came in a large glass complete with a pineapple slice and a colorful paper umbrella. Will thankfully buried himself in his while Deanna and Jean-Luc chatted about the last time each of them had been to Sarona 8. Several drinks later, Will was considerably more relaxed but no more talkative. He was content to simply watch Deanna converse with Picard. Every once in awhile he would break his gaze away from her to shoot a murderous glare at an approaching male who would then quickly retreat to the far side of the room. At one point the captain excused himself to use the restroom and Deanna slid her gaze to Will.
"Are you going to talk to me at all?" she asked him softly.
"I'm sorry, Deanna. I've been rude. It's just that you look incredible and I can't seem to form a coherent thought when I'm around you."
"Flatterer," she admonished him but was secretly pleased at the comment.
"I'm going to retire for the evening. I want to go horseback riding on the holodeck tomorrow morning," Picard told the pair as he arrived back at the table.
"I think we'll hang around a bit longer, Captain. Good night," said Riker. Picard gallantly shrugged off the dismissal. He hoped his first officer would find his tongue and have a conversation with Deanna or the situation would become awkward quickly. Maybe they'd even resolve some things.
"Good night, Number One. Deanna. Thank you for your company this evening." He left the bar. Will settled back in his chair and ordered another drink. She looked concerned.
"Will, this isn't Synthehol. Maybe you should…"
"I'm fine," he told her with his usual Will Riker arrogance. "So how come I've never seen this dress before?"
"I've been saving it for a special occasion," she replied, her speech slightly slurred from the alcohol she had consumed.
"And what's so special about tonight?" he asked. She leaned in close, her warm breath in his ear sending shivers of lust through his body.
"I'm hoping to get lucky." All the blood in Will's body quickly rushed south.
"Who's the fortunate gentleman?"
"Let's see," she began, trailing a manicured fingertip down the front of his chest. "He's tall, dark, and handsome."
"Yes…" he prompted, enjoying every moment of her seductive attention.
"I've known him for a long time and we have this connection…I feel like I can talk to him about anything." He grinned as she played with the hair at the nape of his neck.
"Tell me more."
"We used to be involved and I'm hoping maybe tonight…"
"He was a fool to let you go, Deanna. Just tell him what you want," he whispered, leaning toward her, "what you need…" Just as their lips were about to meet, Deanna stood up abruptly.
"Thanks for the advice, Will. I think I see him now. Carl!" she called waving to a tall, dark, handsome man at the door who had just come in from outside. "We're heading over to the Zanza Men's Dance Palace. Wish me luck!" she whispered before moving to meet him at the door. They embraced and he kissed her on the lips lightly before they left the bar.
Will sat there in stunned silence. His muddled confusion, compliments of the alcohol, quickly turned to indignation and then a potent rage he could barely suppress. It had been a joke. The entire thing had been a joke! She had excited him into a frenzy of lust and then walked out with an old lover. Why? What had he done to deserve such torture? True he had hurt her terribly when they had begun to lose touch after he been stationed to the Hood, devastated her when he failed to meet her on Risa as planned, threw her concern for him back in her face at Farpoint, and then he had the nerve to act as if he had some claim on her when Wyatt came to marry her. Ah, Wyatt. He had been elated when that meddling boy had beamed himself smack in the middle of an epidemic. Good riddance. Deanna was his. Deanna would always be his. And now was the perfect time to inform Deanna and her "old friend" of that fact. He pushed himself up from the table and staggered slightly as he started in their direction.
Inside the Zanza Men's Dance Palace, loud music blared throughout the large hall and colored lights in the ceiling and floor flashed in time to the beat of the music. Deanna looked around in fascination before addressing her companion.
"Isn't this great, Bev?"
"Yeah, I can't wait to get out on the dance floor." Deanna's friend from the Blue Parrot walked up to them with three drinks.
"Thanks, Carl. I appreciate your help back there with Will." He smiled and squeezed her hand.
"No problem, Dee. I'm just glad I could help. I still owe you for coming to my rescue in our Interspecies Telepathy class back at the University. Judging by the thoughts he was sending out, I think Commander Riker probably wants to commit murder. Yours, mine. But enough of that morbid stuff. If these are going to be my last few hours, I want to dance with you pretty ladies first. Last one on the dance floor is a hairy Antican!" he called, grabbing both Deanna and Beverly and dragging them after him.
Meanwhile, Will had just arrived and was seated at the bar, nursing another drink. His eyes glittered with fury as he watched Deanna, her hips gyrating against her dance partner's. He saw the guy lean close and whisper something in her ear. She laughed and he swung her into a dip before bringing her close up against his body. That did it. Riker quickly stood up and made his way to the dancing couple.
"Get your hands off her!" he demanded, shoving Carl away a little more forcefully than he intended as the man fell to the floor. Deanna cried out and Will swung around. He met her eyes and she could see the rancor in them. She felt a sudden fear at the situation she had created. He grabbed her arm roughly and began to drag her to the far end of the hall. Carl had regained his feet and started to follow when Beverly placed a restraining hand on his shoulder.
"Don't - it's what she wanted. He won't hurt her…they need to work through some things." Shrugging off his concern, he turned and beamed at her. She looked puzzled.
"I seem to have lost my date." Beverly laughed and grabbed his hand. "Let's boogie."
Will brought Deanna to an unoccupied hallway in a darker section of the club. He loosened his grip slightly and she wrenched her arm away, turning to face him fully.
"Will, you were completely out of line back there! I can't believe…" he cut her off abruptly.
"Can't believe what, Deanna? That I reacted this way to your little game? That I gave in to my all-too-human inner beast? That I can't…seem to control…my base emot…" he trailed off as he leaned closer to her, her nearness intoxicating him more than the excessive amount of alcohol running through his system. He began to delicately nuzzle her neck, the violence flooding out of him. He sagged against her, pushing her back against the wall, their bodies fitting together snugly. She moaned softly as he made his way down her neck to trace the curve of her breast with maddening slowness. She grabbed his head and brought it roughly to her own, her mouth connecting with his in a passionate meeting of lips and tongues. Deanna broke away with a startled gasp. It had been so long, she had forgotten how magical it was between them. He leaned in to kiss her again but she pulled her head away.
"Will, we need to talk," she told him.
"I can think of much more pleasant things," he told her moving in again. She brought her hand up between them.
"Please," she whispered, pleading with him. He moved away reluctantly, one hand still slung around her waist. He tapped his communicator.
"Riker to Enterprise. Two to beam directly to my quarters." Seconds later, they were gone.
When they had rematerialized again on the Enterprise, Deanna separated herself from him and stepped back, trying to mentally compose exactly what she wanted to say. He waited patiently, but Deanna could sense the mixture of desire and frustration emanating from him in waves.
"Will, I need to know how you feel about me…about us." He took a minute to consider this before speaking.
"I care for you deeply, Deanna. I regret the course our relationship has taken. I should have kept our meeting on Risa. I suppose I'd like to start again." She seemed unsatisfied.
"What do you want me to say, Deanna? Tell me so I can say it." She shook her head, a newfound sadness reflected in her large brown eyes.
"I don't think either of us has anything more to say to one another. Good night, Commander." She headed toward the door. He began to turn away from her and head toward his bedroom when he stopped suddenly. In a flash of understanding, he knew what she wanted to hear. He had to tell her what was in his heart.
"Deanna!" she paused in the opening to his quarters. He walked toward her and grabbed both her hands in his, pulling her back inside. He brought her over to sit on the couch next to him.
"I'm a cad. I feel like I haven't done one thing right since the day I met you. When I saw you again for the first time on the bridge, I was shocked. But I was also filled with hope. Hope that maybe I could have a second chance at a relationship with you. Then Wyatt showed up and I felt lost. Here it was supposed to be us starting over and you were getting ready to marry another man and leave the Enterprise. I admit I didn't handle the situation well. I couldn't tell you how I really felt - I didn't want to ruin your chance at happiness. But tonight, when I saw you with Carl, I felt such intense emotion. I was jealous and I regret my actions. But I don't regret what they made me realize. I love you, Deanna Troi. I love you more than Starfleet, the Enterprise and four pips on my collar. You're mine and you'll always be mine." By this time Deanna was crying and Will drew in a shaky breath, his substantial outpouring of emotion leaving him weak.
"What do you say, Deanna? Want to try again?" Her eyes bright with tears, she threw herself into his arms, pressing little kisses along his jaw line. "Imzadi," she whispered in his ear and he held her tightly, burying his face in her neck. She pulled him to the bedroom and they began to remove each other's clothes. They gloried in the feel of each other, recalling old memories and making new ones. Finally, Deanna collapsed in Will's arms, completely exhausted yet utterly satisfied. Right before she dozed off, she heard Will's voice in her ear.
"So who's this Carl guy?" Biting her lip, she decided to come clean.
"I have a confession," she began. "Carl is a friend from the University. I knew he was vacationing on Sarona 8 and I asked him to help me make this guy I had feelings for jealous." She gave him her best I'm-really-sorry-please-forgive-me look and he didn't say anything for a minute or so. She had begun to grow nervous when he broke into a grin and dragged her under him, pinning her to the mattress with his body.
"Well, my devious little Betazoid, I think I'm going to require vengeance."
"What did you have in mind?" As he whispered in her ear, she blushed a deep shade of pink.
"I can manage that," she giggled, before pulling the covers over their heads and getting to work on Will's retribution.