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It was a surprisingly clear night, a bit of a chill in the air, but at least the fog wasn’t crowding the bay. Riker actually liked the chilly air of San Francisco. It reminded him of home. Deanna had her left hand on Riker’s forearm and was enjoying how the moonlight was shining on him.

“I guess the reason why San Francisco attracted me was because it’s so much like home. The crisp and cool air is just so invigorating.”

Deanna wrapped her arms around herself as a chill set itself down to her core. Riker saw that she was cold and offered his coat.

“You’re cold Deanna. Here take my coat. I have my sweater. How much a difference in temperature is it on Betazed?”

Will slipped his too big coat over Deanna’s shoulders and she once again hooked her arm around his.

“Oh about 40 degrees Celsius. Give or take a few degrees.”

Smiling, he took in her every feature, the moonlight was making her look more beautiful. Will made a gesture of trying to fan himself.

“Uw, that hot huh? I’ve always wondered what it would be like in a warm climate. I’ve yet to visit Risa.”

Deanna ducked her head shyly and look out onto the bay.

“Well, Risa is climate controlled. For maximum tourist comfort.”

Will laughed at the woman next to him.

“You sound like a computer bank. A very beautiful computer bank.”

Troi blushed and looked up at the moon.

“The moon is beautiful tonight isn’t it?”

A toothy smile spread across Riker’s face as he turned his attention to the moon.

“Almost a harvest moon. I once saw a harvest moon so huge that it looked like it was sitting on top of the Golden Gate Bridge. The harvest moons in Alaska are just as beautiful, and it makes the snow look like glistening diamonds. My mother and I used to play in the snow and have snowball fights at night during a harvest moon. She said it’s the best time to be outside, because you can hear all the animal life in the distance.”

Riker had his right hand behind his back. He looked Deanna in the eye and his smile went all the way up to his eyes this time.

“A purple rose just for you. Do you like it?”

Deanna gingerly held the petals up to her nose and smelled it gently.

“It’s beautiful. Thank-you Will. On Betazed, we have the most beautiful rose gardens. All shades of the rainbow.”

A full-fledged smile spread across Will’s face as they kept walking. He was going to do something special for her. He led her away from the walkway that was just under the Golden Gate Bridge and onto a path that led to a large building. Will covered Deanna’s eyes and led her through the building. Deanna stiffened a moment and firmly planted her feet on the ground, which made Riker hesitate.

“Where are we going?”

Will smiled warmly and kept his hand over her eyes.

“It’s a good surprise I promise. Just follow the sound of my voice. It’s not far.”

Deanna did as Will asked and followed. Wherever she was now, it was definitely warmer than the chill of the San Francisco air. Will uncovered her eyes.

“Ok, open your eyes. I think you are going to like this place.”

A warm smile adorned Deanna’s face and she opened up her eyes. Her eyes focused on all the different colors of roses in the room.

“What is this place?”

Will took her hand and led her around the building.

“An indoor rose garden. An airponic bay. It’s too cold to grow roses here, so they grow them indoors. I made arrangements with the man who runs this place, pick any color you’d like. You can make different color bouquets with it.”

There were just so many colors to choose from. Deanna was careful while she picked each color shade of rose. She picked a purple, red, orange, white, yellow, green and blue. All of them seemed to complement each other. She hadn’t noticed she’d pricked her finger on one of the thorns until Will said something.

“Your finger is bleeding. Here let me fix that.”

Riker pulled a device from his pocket and ran it over Deanna’s finger. The prick to her finger healed immediately. She flexed her index finger and smiled.

“That’s better, thank-you Will. I should’ve been careful when picking these roses.”

Will put a hand on hers and kissed it. Deanna blushed slightly and continued rearranging the roses into a nice little bouquet.

“I’m used to fixing little cuts and scrapes on children. Older children break bones playing Parises Squares. I patch them up and send them on their way. I’ve got something special planned for tomorrow night. That is if you’ll have me? I mean if you’ll go on a second date.”

Will had stuck his foot in his mouth and focused on the colorful arrangement of flowers in front of him. A deeper blush crept across Troi’s face and she looked back at her bouquet.

“I’ll have to think about it Will. I’ll let you know. It’s getting quite late, I should be getting back home.”

Riker smiled, he’d only be too happy to bring her back home.

“I’d be happy to take you home Deanna, just tell me your address.”

A chill was starting to settle in deep in her bones and she shivered under Will’s coat.

“There’s a transport not too far from here. With the transport I’m four blocks from here. I just don’t pass this way too often during the day.”

Together the two walked out of the indoor rose garden and towards the transport station. Once onboard the transport, Deanna kept smelling the roses in her bouquet, almost hiding her face in them. It was only 10 minutes before they arrived at their intended stop.

Getting off, Riker took Deanna by the arm and she led the way to her apartment. It was in one of the old neighborhoods that’d been retrofitted during the last earthquake. It was a small apartment with a small planter box out front with a few flowers. Smiling back at Will she looked into his eyes.

“Well, I guess this is goodnight. I had wonderful time tonight…”

Will felt a little unsure how to proceed next, so, he quickly gave a kiss to her right cheek and excusing himself, bidding her goodnight.

“Goodnight, and I had a really good time with you tonight.”

Deanna waved goodbye to Will and closed the door. He would take his time with her, go as slow as she wanted. He wasn’t a man who rushed things.

To Be Continued…

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