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Bed of Roses 1/1
By Liana
Rating PG -- For Themes
Disclaimer: Paramount has all the rights, I just do this as a creative outlet. I'm a poor student with bills. Don't sue, it's not worth it.

It was too much, too fast. Deanna was out of ideas, and out of options. The pain still tore through her heart. ~ How could he do this? He wouldn't, couldn't just leave me here like this....could he? ~


In reality Deanna knew that he could, and very likely had. This wasn't his first mistake were their relationship was concerned, and she knew that all too well. But, in her heart, she was unwilling to believe that this was something that he *would* do. Not after all that they had gone through to come this far.


After that horrible night had come the even more painful parting. She had turned and run from him, before he could see the tears in her eyes. Then, days later, just when she was certain that she would never see or hear from Will Riker again, he had called.  She knew she was lucky, if her mother had been home that night, she might never have known. He had pleaded with her to hear him out, and she had resisted. Why after all that he had put her through in those last, horrible days, should she bother with him? she had demanded, the question born of hurt and anger. "I love you...." His answer, filled with hope, desperation, and yes, love, had melted her heart. And she had come.


Now, here and alone, she berated herself. ~ Why did I come, why did I put myself through this? ~ Asked one voice in her mind.


~ Because, ~ answered another, less hurt and more logical voice, ~ you owe it to yourself, and them, to try. ~


She knew that much was true. All of this was far more complicated then she had ever dreamed it could be. There were more variables now, so much more was at stake than her own pride, her own feelings. Now, if he didn't come, she would lose more than her faith in him, she would lose her last hope of setting things right.


When he hadn't shown up last night, she had clung to the hope that there had been some sort of delay. More then twelve hours later, as the late morning sun poured through what was to have been their room, that hope had all but faded. He hadn't even attempted to contact her, to let her know he was all right. The hope, that throughout her sleepless night had turned to worry, was now becoming a bitter sense of reality. He wasn't coming.


Just as the cold reality was starting to set into her soul, it arrived. When the chime had sounded, she had hoped for an insane moment that it was Will, standing on her doorstep, ready with some wild and unimaginably real reason for his delayed arrival. Instead came the first rose.


The single, perfect flower had no card or mark with it, it was simply laying there waiting for her. As she picked it up, her heartbreak at not seeing him there was replaced with a sudden rush of curiosity ~ How did you get here?~ she wondered. The hall was empty, and there were no other flowers at any of the other guestroom doors. She picked up the perfect bloom, and carried it inside, placing it in water.


What had made her stay that second night was hard to say, but she did just the same. When the second rose appeared the next morning, she had called the front desk. The young clerk had informed her that the flowers were not part of any practice of the hotel, and that they did not show any type of delivery to Mr. Riker's room.


The mention of Will, however inadvertent, had stung. Will had prepaid the hotel for them for three weeks, and he had used up a good deal of credit to do it, Deanna was certain. He had planed all of it meticulously, she knew, but he had never so much as hinted at anything that would explain the mystery of the roses. And yet she wondered....

In the end, she had decided to stay as long as she could. She had, after all, nowhere else to go. She couldn't go home, not like this, not after all that had happened.


More than a week passed, and still she waited, never leaving the sanctuary of the room. She ate there, but only because she had to, telling herself that the added bill would be Will's contribution to the future, and in a way it was fitting. Each day a perfect red rose continued to appear at her door. Now, nearly two weeks into her stay, Deanna wasn't surprised so much as lost. The mystery made no sense, Will had never come, and her time was running out.


~ Eleven ~ She thought today. ~ Well, these things come in dozens as a rule, so this may all well end today.... ~ The chime came, and she moved to the door, touching the panel next to it. She was prepared to bend and retrieve the flower, like so many times before, but today she was stopped cold.


Will Riker stood on her doorstep. She blinked. It couldn't be real. ~ Just another dream, it’s just another foolish dream. ~ She tried to back away, but instead she stood still, her feet frozen in place.


"Deanna? I didn't even dare imagine that you would still be here. I.....I -"


He spoke. He was real. Her first instinct was to fight. She opened her mouth to scream, to release the weeks of hurt, anger, and betrayal that had built inside of her....and stopped. In his hand he held the twelfth, and final rose. She reached out a trembling had to caress its petals as their eyes met.


"You...." she whispered. "It was you, all along?" tears formed in her eyes. "Why? Why did you put me through this? Why didn't you let me know?"


Will fought down the impulse to wipe the tears from her pain filled eyes. "Deanna, please....I'll explain everything, I promise. But not out here, not like this. Can we please go inside?"


The room was dim, as it had remained after those first few days. Will could almost feel her pain as it seemed to radiate from the walls themselves. He hated himself for causing her such pain, and in that moment he hated Starfleet for causing him to do it.


"Deanna......" he whispered, "I'm sorry."


The short laugh that emitted from her was made high and shrill with emotion. "Sorry? Sorry? You left me here, all alone, for WEEKS, and you are SORRY?"


"Deanna, I tried to reach you. We were sent on an emergency mission, my leave was postponed. I sent a message to your house, but it was returned. I assume that was your mother. By the time I realized that, you were already here, and we were out of range. I came as soon as I could, and I must say the captain was not the least bit thrilled with my hasty exit, but at this point I don't really give a damn."


Deanna started at him then, not really sure what to do. He was telling the truth, she knew that. She looked in his eyes....he looked sad and.....scared. She moved closer to him, hating herself for blaming him as his explanation soothed some of the hurt inside her. But one thing still confused her. "And this?" she gestured to the rose in his hand, and then the others behind her, all in various stages of bloom.


That drew a sheepish, but equally sincere explanation from Will. And with it, came still another gift. The roses each stood for a new day in what was meant to be the start of their lives together. His confession was followed by Deanna's own, and with that new secret told, their fate together was sealed.


It was a story that Emily Rose Riker would tell for generations of listeners, from siblings to great-grandchildren. For it was the story of how she came by her name, and how their family, bonded by a love that wouldn't break, found its foundation in a bed of roses.