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RANGER TRAINEE

By Skylark

Missing scenes from 99th Ranger.

Driving down the highway on the outskirts of Dallas, Ranger Cordell Walker glances at his radio as a familiar voice crackles across the speaker, “Walker, I’ve got a message for you from ADA Cahill.  Please turn your cell phone on and take it off speaker.”

“Thanks, Dispatch.  Will do.”

Ranger Trainee, Bobbie Hunt looks curiously at Walker.  That’s an unusual message.  She’s never met ADA Cahill and wonders at the cryptic message.  She watches as Walker follows the instructions provided in the message.  Shortly after, as he turns the phone on, it rings.

“Walker.”

“Hi, you got my message.” 

Walker listens to the sexy voice on the other end of the phone and smiles to himself.  No one but Alex Cahill would call Dispatch and send a message like and get away with it!  This woman constantly amazes him and he can’t get enough of her.  She’s been gone for two weeks taking depositions for a huge murder trial that is coming up.  He has missed her and while he would love to tell her this, he can’t with the audience he has inside the truck.

“Sure.  Where are you?”

“About 40 miles outside of Dallas.  I thought we could meet at CD’s for dinner if you don’t already have plans.”

“I can do that.” 

Alex figured out right away that Walker had an audience and decided to tease him a little. 

“So, she’s with you?  The Ranger Trainee?”

“That’s correct.”

“And you’re finding it difficult to talk?”

“Yep.”

“Hmmmm, I wonder what I should do about that?  Should I tell you how much I missed you and how anxious I am to see you and what I plan to do to you once I get you alone?”  Alex giggled.

“I don’t think that would be a real good idea right now.”  Walker cleared his throat.  Walker could already feel the crotch of his pants getting tighter just listening to her sexy voice.  He really had missed her!

“Oh, why not?”  Alex was really beginning to enjoy this.  She had heard the sudden intake of Walker’s breath while she was talking.  She knew she would pay later, but this was fun.

“How did the depositions go?  Did you get some good information?”

Alex laughed.  “Are you changing the subject, Cowboy?  OK, I’ll play along.  The depositions went well.  I’ll fill you in later tonight.  Are you working tomorrow?  I’m taking the day off.  I’m exhausted.”

“It’s never a good idea to play with fire, you know.  Tomorrow will be the last day with Ranger Trainee, Bobbie Hunt.  Trivette and I will be evaluating the recruits on Monday and the announcement will be made on Tuesday.”  Walker was glad to get back to safe ground.

“Why don’t you invite Bobbie Hunt tonight to have dinner with us.  I’d like to meet her.”

“Are you sure?  I thought…well, you know…that we’d have…ahem… a lot of business to take care of.”

Laughing, Alex said, “Yes, I’m sure.  It’s only dinner.  Then you can come to my apartment and we can get re-acquainted.  You know, make up for lost time and <pause>…such.  I’ll even find a way of letting you know how much I’ve missed you!”  Alex was very curious about this woman.  She had never met Bobbie Hunt and Walker had spoken highly of her abilities.  She wasn’t jealous as she knew she had Walker’s undivided attention but she’d still like to meet this woman.

“I’ll ask, if you’re sure.  See you at CD’s about 6?”

“Bye, Darling.  Don’t be late!”

Walker replaced the phone in the holder.  Bobbie looked at him quizzically but he made no comment about the call.  He could tell that she wanted to ask questions but seemed to think better of it.

“Bobbie, would you like to have dinner at CD’s tonight?  Several friends will be there and I thought you might like to join us.”

“Ahmmm, sure, I’d love to, but I need to check with my mother to be sure that she can take care of Angela.”

Walker reached for the cell phone, again removing it from the speaker, and handed it to Bobbie.

Bobbie dialed her mother, who readily agreed to watch Angela.

“Bobbie, does this mean something special?  I mean, you’ve talked about this man nonstop for two weeks and he’s been really nice to you and even came to Angela’s ballgame last Saturday.”

Bobbie knew that her mother had been reading more into the relationship for the past two weeks.  Bobbie herself couldn’t help but admit her attraction for this bearded Ranger. They had gotten off on the wrong foot but they had worked through that, and he had been kind to her.   They had worked into an easy-going relationship.  She would not object to more.

“No, mom, I don’t think so.  I’ll see you when I get home.”  Bobbie was aware that Walker could hear her responses, too.

Hanging up the phone, Bobbie said, “It’s all set.  How long before we get off?”

Walker looked at his watch and saw it was 5:30.  They were on the outskirts of Dallas, so he called Dispatch and signed them off.  This would put them at CD’s a little early but that would be OK.  He could chat with CD and he figured Trivette and his girl of the week would probably be there.  He couldn’t wait to see Alex.  Maybe she’d get there early.  Heck, he might as well be honest and admit that’s why he wanted to get there early.  It had been a long two weeks, even though he had spoken with her every night that she’d been gone.  It wasn’t the same thing as holding her in his arms, as….well, he’d better watch his line of thinking.  He could feel his pants getting tight just thinking about the blonde DA.

There was a parking space outside CD’s in front.  He looked around and did not see Alex’s car.  He did see Trivette’s though.  He and Bobbie entered the Bar and Grill together and headed to the bar where CD and Trivette were talking.

“Hey Cordell.  Who’s this little filly you got with you.”

Walker saw Bobbie grimace. “This is Ranger Trainee Roberta Hunt – Bobbie for short.”  Turning to Bobbie and remembering the chip that she carries on her shoulder about being female, he said, “Don’t take offense at CD’s words.  He means no harm.  It’s just his way.”

“Hey there, young lady.  It’s a pleasure to meet you.  What can I get you two?”

“Well, actually, we’re meeting Alex, who should be here at any time.”

Almost on cue, Alex Cahill, came through the door.  Seeing her first, CD exclaimed, “Well, looky who’s here and looking as purdy as a fresh peach.”

“Hi, CD!”

“Hi, Sweetheart.  How was your trip?  Cordell and I really missed you.”

“I did too!”  Jimmy Trivette spoke up quickly.  “Big Dog, why’d you leave me out?” 

Everyone laughed at the expression on Jimmy’s face.

Alex smiled and walked straight into Walker’s waiting arms.  He was still seated and she slid against his side.  Encircling her with his arms, he kissed her soundly right in front of everyone.

“Hey, Cowboy.  Did you really miss me?”

“I told you I did!”  Walker chuckled, as he knew she was baiting him again.  “Alex Cahill, I’d like for you to meet Ranger Trainee Roberta Hunt.  Bobbie, this is ADA Alex Cahill.”

Alex, still being held in the circle of Walker’s arms, reached out to shake hands with Bobbie.

Bobbie responded immediately.  She looked at the beautiful blonde being held securely in the Ranger’s arms and saw her own bubble burst.  The look on Walker’s face told her all she needed to know about his feelings for this lady.   Even when he was introducing her, the tone of his voice as he said her name was almost like a caress.   She had not realized until that minute how much she was wishing for more with Walker than just a working relationship.  It never occurred to her that Walker was involved with someone.  He had not mentioned it.  It was clear that this blonde had his undivided attention though.  She watched as Walker stole another quick kiss before releasing her.

“Let’s get a table.  Trivette, you gonna join us?”

“Sure man, if that’s OK.”  Winking at CD, he said, “I never turn down a dinner invitation where Walker is paying.”

The four of them made their way to a booth near the back.  Alex slid in first and Walker slid in close to her.  His right arm automatically went around her shoulders.  Pulling her closer, he kissed her on the cheek.  Trivette motioned for Bobbie to sit on the other side of the booth and to get in first.  Bobbie felt like she was out of her league.  She saw the way the Ranger kept looking at this woman.  Watching them was like intruding on a private moment.  No one else seemed to be paying attention to the relationship with Walker and the ADA.  All eyes and conversation seemed to be focused on the ADA.  Bobbie had never met her.  In fact, she had thought ADA Alex Cahill was a man.  Considering her own name, it was a stupid assumption on her part. 

“Bobbie, have these guys been treating you well this week?”  Alex was always the one to make sure that no one was left out of the conversation.  She could tell that Bobbie was feeling a little uncomfortable.  Under the table, Alex had her left hand resting on Walker’s thigh.  Every now and then she’d move her hand and feel his leg jerk.  She knew she was having an effect on him and she loved it.  She also knew he’d get her back at some point.

“Yes, Miss Cahill.  I have to say this has been a very good experience for me regardless of the outcome.”

“Walker told me you have a daughter.  How old is she?”

“She’s 8 and the light of my life.”  Bobbie realized the moment that she spoke that her comment sounded smug.  She was assuming the blonde had no children.  She was being childish she knew but she couldn’t get the vision of that first kiss between Ranger Walker and Miss Cahill out of her mind.  She wondered why in the world she ever thought she’d have a chance with a man like this.  Now she knew she never would.

Conversation turned to the events of the week and the cases they had all worked on and Bobbie relaxed and began to enjoy herself.  Alex told them about the depositions and said she was feeling quite good with the way everything went.  She said with this witness, she should be able to get an easy conviction.

About 8:30, Alex yawned and decided she’d better go.  Trivette had left a half hour earlier.  Walker slid out of the booth so Alex could get out.

“Bobbie, I’m going to walk Alex to her car, then I’ll take you home.”

“That’s OK, Darling, I’m just parked in front of your truck.”

“I’ll still walk you out.”  Walker wanted to make some private plans with Alex for after he dropped Bobbie off.  He knew that Alex knew this also but was teasing him again.

Sliding out of the booth, Bobbie, said, “I’ll just come too and you won’t need to backtrack.”

Walker wanted a few minutes alone with Alex so he could convince her to drive out to the ranch and spend the night.  He didn’t want to mention it in front of CD or Bobbie.  By unspoken mutual agreement, he and Alex had kept their personal relationship fairly private, especially the intimacy.  He guessed he could call her after he dropped Bobbie off.

Walking out together, Walker opened the door of his truck for Bobbie.  Holding Alex by the hand, he walked her to her car and took her keys and started to open the door.  She turned and the streetlight caught her face and Walker caught his breath, thinking she was the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen.

“Want to come home with me tonight?”  Walker was still holding her hand and his voice was husky with emotion.

Alex cupped his face with her other hand and said, “You know I would but I’m just too tired to drive that far tonight.”

“You go home and pack your bag for the weekend.  I’ll swing by and get you after I drop Bobbie off.  I missed you so much and right now, I’m having trouble keeping my hands off of you.”

Alex smiled at him.  She knew the feeling.  She was having trouble keeping her hands off him too. “I’m not working tomorrow but I’ll probably ride in with you tomorrow and do some errands.  Then I’ll fix you a special dinner tomorrow night – just you and me.  I can pick up my car and drive it out tomorrow afternoon.  Sound OK?”

“See you in about 30 minutes.”  Turning so his back was to the truck and to block as much of Alex as he could, he bent his head and gave her a long lingering kiss.  He was sure Bobbie was watching but he didn’t care at that point.  He had waited two long weeks for this woman and while he would prefer not to have an audience, he wasn’t going to miss an opportunity to kiss her.

Bobbie was watching.  She had to admit she was envious too.  That was no casual kiss that Ms. Cahill was getting.  She had felt the chemistry between the two of them all evening.  She wondered why Walker had not mentioned this woman at all to her.  She had told him about Angela and her ex-husband.  He’d even helped save her and Angela from her ex-husband.  You would think that he would have mentioned Ms. Cahill.  Of course, the one thing Bobbie had figured out about Walker is that he is a very private person and he doesn’t discuss things all that easily.  She wondered if he talked to Ms. Cahill and if he had mentioned her.  She did seem to know about Bobbie and the last two weeks.  Probably he had talked to Ms. Cahill a lot judging from the way he was kissing her.  She could tell they were talking too.  She now realized that it had been Ms. Cahill’s choice to invite her to dinner tonight.  She had really felt like a fifth wheel at times.  She had to admit that Ms. Cahill did try to draw her into the conversation.  Not many women as beautiful as Ms. Cahill would react that way.  Of course, she could tell that Ms. Cahill was very secure in her relationship with the Ranger.

Breaking off the kiss, Alex got into her car and Walker waited until she had cranked up before he stepped back to go to his truck.  Getting into the truck, he said to Bobbie, “You ready to go home?”

“Sure.  Ms. Cahill is a lovely woman.  I didn’t know she was your girlfriend.”

Not quite sure how to answer, Walker said, “She’s a very special lady.” 

Bobbie could tell by the tone of Walker’s voice that he was in love with Alex.  Sighing, she had to admit that she was envious.

“Angela has another game on Saturday, if you’d like to come.  It starts at 3 pm.”

“Thanks, but I’ve got plans with Alex on Saturday.  I’ll see if she wants to come, though.”

“I doubt Ms. Cahill would be interested in a kid’s ballgame.”

“You have Alex pegged all wrong if you think that.  She loves kids and she plays a mean game of softball herself.  Don’t let her looks deceive you.  She’s one tough lady!”

Bobbie heard the tone of pride in Walker’s voice.  Somehow or other, Bobbie couldn’t see the beautiful blonde DA playing softball.  It just didn’t seem like her type of sport - tennis maybe or golf, but not softball.  Bobbie wanted Walker to talk more but didn’t want to pry.  She tried a general approach.

“How long have you and Ms. Cahill been dating?”

“Ahmm, a while.  We’ve been friends for a long time.”

Bobbie could tell that Walker wasn’t going to say much so she thought she’d better drop it.  All of a sudden she was tired herself.  She realized she was more interested in Walker than she had admitted.  Now she knew there was no chance for anything except a working relationship and possibly friendship. 

Arriving at Bobbie’s house, Walker said, “Ahmmm, Bobbie, umm, could you just meet me at Ranger Headquarters tomorrow.  I know I’ve been picking you up every morning, but I have plans for breakfast tomorrow morning.”

“Oh, that’s fine.  I can drive myself.  I appreciate it that you’ve picked me up these past few mornings.  Thanks for dinner tonight.  I enjoyed meeting Ms. Cahill.  She’s really nice.”  Bobbie figured out right away that the plans for breakfast tomorrow included Alex Cahill.

“Yeah, she’s great!”  Walker was anxious for Bobbie to get out of the truck so he could rush back to Alex’s.  He didn’t mean to be rude but he was definitely distracted.

“See you tomorrow.” 

Waiting for Bobbie to get into her house seemed to take forever!  Couldn’t the woman walk any faster?  Walker was getting agitated when Bobbie turned and waved that she had the door to her house open.  He watched her walk in and close the door.  He sped away.

Walker couldn’t drive fast enough.  He thought about using his flashing lights but that wouldn’t really be ethical.  He was so anxious to get back to Alex.  Watching her drive off and knowing he couldn’t follow her immediately had been difficult.  He knew she had been curious about Bobbie Hunt and that’s why she suggested he invite her to dinner.  He also knew that Alex was not jealous.  Now, parking outside her apartment, he felt his desire for her increase.  He knew she’d be waiting for him.

He knocked instead of using his key.  She answered immediately so she must have been watching for him.  The minute the door opened, she was in his arms, with her body pressed firmly against his.  Finally, he could kiss her and hold her without an audience.  Kicking the door shut with his foot, he never took his lips off hers as they moved further into her apartment.  He felt he was drowning in her.  How could one woman have such an effect on one man?

Alex couldn’t believe she was finally where she wanted to be.  Feeling Walker’s hard body against hers made her really feel like she’d come home.  Feeling a familiar bulge against her, she knew he’d missed her as much as she had missed him.  Two weeks away from him and her body was on fire.  From the feel of him, so was his!

“Walker…”

“Shhh, let’s go home.  Where are your things?”

Alex pointed to her suitcase by the door.  Taking her by the hand, Walker picked up the case, leaned in for another long kiss, then waited while she set the alarm and turned off the lights.  Making their way to the elevator, Walker looked at the love of his life.  He had missed her so much. 

“You know you’re in trouble, right?”

Alex giggled.  She knew what Walker was talking about but decided it would be more fun to play dumb. 

“No, I didn’t know I was in trouble.  Do you want to tell me why?”  With this statement, Alex reached up with her free hand, the one not being held onto tightly by Walker, and caressed his beard.  She pulled his head down for another kiss just as the elevator doors opened and a couple of her neighbors got off.  She nodded to them and noticed the blush on Walker’s face.

“Oh, Cowboy, you are so adorable when you blush.”

“Alex, I wasn’t blushing.  And yes, you know why you’re in trouble.  You knew I couldn’t talk when you called earlier.  That’s why you had me take the phone off the speaker.  Do you know how difficult that was?  I saw Bobbie give me a funny look!”

Alex giggled again and rewarded Walker with another kiss.  They had the elevator to themselves. 

Solemnly Alex asked, “Will my punishment be severe?”

Walker grinned at her. “We’ll discuss it later.” 

Getting into the truck, Alex slid over next to Walker and hooked the lap belt.  Walker smiled at her and kissed her hand.  As he pulled out into traffic, Alex sighed and laid her head on his shoulder.  Within minutes, Walker heard her even breathing and knew she had fallen asleep.  He picked up her hand from his leg and kissed her fingers.  He loved her so much.  He kept his fingers intertwined with hers all the way to the ranch.

Shaking her gently, Walker said, “Alex, honey, we’re home.”

Groggily, Alex looked around her.  Walker helped her from the truck and decided he’d come back later and get her suitcase.  Right now, his first priority was Alex and getting her into the house.  He’d known she was tired when she’d first walked into CD’s.  Her step lacked the usual spring.  Even though she’d appeared animated during dinner, he could tell how tired she was.  She’d been putting in 16-hour days during the last two weeks including the weekends.  He intended to see that she got plenty of rest of this weekend.  Funny how naturally it came to him to take care of her.  It had been that way almost from the first.

He remembered their first encounter.  He had been knocked almost speechless by her blue eyes.  Then she started grilling him in court and everything went sour with them until New Year’s Eve when CD arranged that little encounter with them.  He’d kissed her then and knew that he was lost for sure.  It just took a while for them both to come to their senses as CD had told them and admit they had feelings for each other.  Even during the part of their courtship that they called friendship, he’d felt the need to protect her.  She was one tough lady but could be so vulnerable too.  Like now…he knew she was almost too tired to walk.

Finally, he picked her up and carried her upstairs.  He removed her shoes and jeans and she barely stirred.  He would let her sleep.  He covered her with the comforter and went back downstairs for her suitcase and locked up the house for the night.  It was past 10 p.m. and he was tired, too.  He took a quick shower and crawled into bed.  He had barely turned off the lamp when he felt Alex turn and curl into his body.  She sighed contentedly.  He chuckled as her head found its usual sleeping position on his shoulder.  He pulled her close and drifted off to sleep himself.  If she was too tired to make love, he could at least hold her close all night. 

Walker had no clue about the tough week that Alex had had.  She’d shared some with him on the phone but not the horrors of the deaths that were described to her during the depositions.   Therefore, he was surprised when Alex screamed out in her sleep a few hours later and woke up fighting him.  He pulled her close and as she gradually realized her surroundings, she started sobbing into his shoulder.

“Alex, honey, what’s wrong?  Did you have a nightmare?”

Only with Walker, could she allow herself to be this vulnerable.  “Oh Walker.  This week has been awful.  The horrible things they did to those people before they killed them.  It comes back to me at night.  While I was in Waco, I had trouble sleeping at night.  I’d read long into the night and wish that you were with me.  I thought coming home and being with you like this, I would forget.  Walker, those little children were mutilated.  How can people be such animals?”

“Well, Alex, I don’t know.  That’s why you and I do the things we do to put people away like that.  Why haven’t you mentioned these nightmares to me before now?”

“I don’t know.  I didn’t want to worry you.  Just hold me, OK.  Even better…make love to me.  Make the horrors go away.”

“Honey, I would love nothing more than to make love to you but you need to talk about this…not block it out temporarily.  Only talking about it will make it go away.”  The last part was said in almost a whisper as Walker saw the frightened look in Alex’s eyes.

“I know, Walker, but it’s just too awful to talk about tonight.  Please…I promise I’ll tell you everything tomorrow.  Right now, I just need to forget.  Please…make love to me.” 

Walker pulled her close and laying her on her back, he started kissing her.  Her response was immediate and soon both of their bodies were on fire for each other.  She was still wearing her shirt and bra but Walker quickly discarded them along with his pants.  Alex immediately noted his throbbing manhood and reached for it.  They had been apart too long and were too hungry for each other to go slowly.  All the horrors of the days both present and past were forgotten as the lovers found their way into each other’s souls.  Their love was complete – both physical, emotional, and even on some plane, spiritual.  As he entered her, she knew she was home.  He had never felt such complete satisfaction as he did with her.  Nor had she.

“Alex, open your eyes.  I want to see you.” 

It was such a struggle for her.  He felt so good as he filled her.  She looked up at him and saw nothing but love shining in his eyes.  She had never felt more alive than she did at that moment. 

Watching the wonder in her eyes, Walker knew he would never love another woman like he did this one.  He saw so much love reflected in her eyes.  It took his breath away and increased his desire for her even more.

They fell asleep again for the second time that night in each other’s arms.

Walker was the first to awaken the next morning.  It was Friday and with any luck he could finish up early and have the entire weekend with Alex.  He watched her sleeping face.  What a beautiful woman she was.  The best part of it all, she wanted him!  And those lips…he could never get enough of them.  He reached down to smooth a curl away from her face.  Stirring gently, Alex was aware of Walker’s body pressed against hers.  Moving ever so much closer to him, she knew he was awake and what affect her body was having on him.

“Morning, Cowboy.”  She spoke without opening her eyes. 

“Hey, Sleepyhead.  It’s time to wake up.”

“I know but I got this nice warm body holding me close and I didn’t want to move.”

Walker chuckled.  This was the way Alex preferred to wake up…nice and slow.  Pulling her even closer, Walker kissed her slow and hungrily.  She moved and rolled over on top of him.  Neither of them had bothered to dress after their lovemaking so as her body made contact with him, he felt his arousal growing.  Groaning, he looked at the clock and knew he was going to be late for work.  By this point, there was no turning back either. 

Walker was right.  He was 15 minutes late for work.  He and Alex had made love one more time in bed, then again in the shower.  He dropped her by her apartment and she told him she would meet him back at the ranch as she had some errands to run.

Walking into Ranger Headquarters, Walker was met with some questioning eyes, mostly from Bobbie Hunt.  He knew from the twinkle in Trivette’s eyes that he was probably up for some teasing.

“Late night, Ranger Walker?”

“Yes, Trivette, I had a late night.” 

“And how is our favorite counselor this morning?”

“She’s fine.  She fixed me breakfast this morning and that’s why I’m late.”

Trivette grinned.  This was more information than he expected to get from Walker.  Walker grinned also.  He had really put one over on Trivette this time.  He knew his partner wasn’t expecting any information at all and so he threw him a curve.  Well, it was true.  Alex did fix breakfast for him and he was just at her apartment delivering her back to her house.  Funny, he never thought of her being home there – only at the ranch.  But then, again, anywhere he and Alex were together felt like home.

The phone rang and the Rangers’ day began.

Alex was determined to fix a wonderful meal for Walker.  She knew he was going to push her tonight about the nightmare she’d had.  It was strange that he could get her to talk when no one else could and she could him, too.  He’d never been one to share his feelings with people but after her years of prodding, she had very little trouble getting him to open up to her.  He was getting adept at making her talk when she didn’t want to either.  She went to the market and picked up the items to make Walker’s favorite meal.  She also wanted to fix a light dessert since neither of them were big sweet-eaters.   She finally decided on cheesecake – both of their favorites.  She bought a strawberry topping for it, too.

It was a busy day at Ranger headquarters.  Walker continued to be impressed with Ranger Trainee Roberta Hunt.  He knew that she was a little aggressive and still had that chip on her shoulder about being a woman, but she had improved considerably.  They had checked out an attempted suicide earlier in the day where a man was holding his wife hostage.  He knew this was difficult for Bobbie because of her own situation but she kept a clear head and actually talked the man out herself.  Walker and a couple other rangers had been quite impressed.  Bobbie glowed in the midst of their praise. 

Back at Ranger headquarters, the phone rang.

“Walker.”

“Hi, honey.”  Walker got a thrill hearing that sexy voice again.  It was all he could do to keep from smiling. 

“Hi.  What’s up?”

Alex smiled.  Walker was all business so she knew he had an audience and thought about teasing him some more but thought better of it.  She knew how he valued their privacy and protected it.  She was grateful for that, too.  They already had too many noses poking into their private lives with their best friends, CD Parker and James Trivette!

“I was just checking to see if you were going to be home on time.  I have all your favorites for dinner.”

“Oh, you do, do you?”  Walker suddenly noticed that he had an audience.  Trivette and both ranger trainees seemed to be interested in his conversation.  He glared at them all and they at least had the grace to look away and appear busy.  Walker couldn’t help but grin.

Walker told Alex that he would be there at his usual time.  He knew that his “audience” didn’t realize that Alex was at his ranch.  Not even CD and Trivette knew that he and Alex had traded keys a long time ago. 

Promptly at 5:00, Walker was ready to leave.  He bid his co-workers good-bye and headed home to the lady of his dreams.

Alex heard the Ram as it pulled into the driveway and raced out to greet Walker.  She was swept into his arms in a bear hug that lifted her off her feet.  This was exactly what she needed.  She knew they would talk later but for now, she just needed his strong arms around her.  He was content to hold her and take in the wonderful smell of her.  Finally they pulled apart and walked into the house.

Alex knew Walker would want to shower and work out before dinner so she had everything warming.  Walker surprised her, though, and asked if they had time to go for a ride.  She knew of nothing more relaxing than a nice ride out to their favorite spot.  While Alex grabbed a thermos of coffee, Walker saddled the horses.  They rode for a while then stopped at their favorite spot.  Walker spread the blanket on the ground and reclined against the tree with Alex snuggling against him.  She thought they would make love, but he surprised her by saying,

“Want to talk about it now?”

Sighing deeply, Alex knew exactly what he was talking about and knew that there was no need to put if off further. 

“Not really, but I guess I’m not going to get out of it, am I?”

Kissing the top of her head, Walker chuckled.  “Not a chance.  You wouldn’t let me get away with it and I’m not letting you.”

Alex pulled away from Walker and turned and sat cross-legged in front of him.  Walker could tell this was going to be difficult for her so he sat up and gave her his full attention.

“I’ve been thinking all day that I had to share this with you and I didn’t know where to start.  Usually, I’m pretty good about things like this, but the horror of these testimonies just keeps lingering with me.”  A small tear rolled out of the corner of her eye and Walker resisted the temptation to capture it with his lips.

Instead, he said in a gentle voice, “I know, Hon, that’s why you need to tell me about it.”

“Walker, it’s awful.  What that man, if you can call him that, did to those people is awful.  He killed the two parents and made the children watch.  He mutilated the woman’s body and put her body parts on top of the man.  He took those little children – there were three of them – out into the woods.  The one little boy, he castrated without any kind of anesthesia or anything.  He then buried the child, who was only 6, up to his neck.  The child suffered a horrible death.  I can just imagine the pain the child must have felt and the fear when he was being buried up to his neck.  The coroner estimated that the child lived about 8 hours.  Can you imagine that child’s horror?  Apparently being buried like that prolonged his life.  The two little girls had to watch all this.  He had the little girls tied up and he…” 

Alex stopped here because she was crying so hard.  Walker took her into his arms and held her until she got control again.

“He raped the first little girl and made the other one watch.  She was only 7 years old.  He raped her twice.  The second time, the coroner doesn’t think she was conscious.  She was ripped apart where he entered her.  She was a very petite child.  That wasn’t enough.  He turned her over and entered her from the back.  Her breasts, which were undeveloped, were badly bruised where he fondled her so hard.  He waited with the other little girl, who was 8 until her fear grew.  She saw him kill two children and her parents and I’m sure could not imagine what he was going to do to her.  She had long beautiful red hair.  He called her a witch and cut her hair, a little at a time.  Finally, he shaved her head.  He raped her twice and then performed a female circumcision on her.  She was a larger girl and her body was not torn from the rape as badly as her sister’s although she was badly bruised.  She endured the circumcision without anything to deaden the pain.  I guess she was in so much shock that nothing could phase her.”

Walker looked horrified.  No wonder Alex had been unable to sleep.

“I thought they only did things like that in the ancient Middle East.”

“I thought so too.  The sad thing is that he knew how to do these procedures.  He’s got a medical background.  I don’t know why he did these hideous things to children.  The 8-year old survived and has been telling the story.  The fact that she is able to speak is amazing.  I’m so glad this man is alive so we can prosecute him.  I hope he dies by lethal injection but even that’s too good for him.”

“Can anything be done for the little girl?”

“The doctor says that intercourse will always be painful for her and there is nothing they can do to reverse the effects.  They have done some surgery but it’s not enough.  As she grows, the scarring will become even more painful.  She’ll need more surgeries.  She’s scarred both physically and mentally for life.  They don’t know if she can ever have children.”

“Poor little thing.”

“Walker, she is so brave.  She is in counseling but she talked to me so sweetly.  Her aunt and uncle have custody of her now and will raise her.  They have no children and are well-to-do so they will see that she gets all the medical and psychological care that she needs.  Her hair is growing back and she’s such a pretty little thing.  She has these great big eyes that appear to reach all the way into your soul.  The sad part is that her eyes have aged and the innocence is missing now.  I just wanted to hug her and tell her the nightmare was over, but it’s just beginning for her.  She said that she knew what was done to her and her family should never be done to a child or anyone and she wants to be present in court.  Says she wants to see him and the jury to see her.  She is willing for the photographs of her mutilated body to be shown.  The saddest thing to me is that she has lost her childhood.  She’ll never again know the innocence of running and playing that other children her age know.”

Alex leaned back into Walker’s arms.  He was right.  She did need to talk about it but she would always remember the horror of those photographs of three mutilated children who should be enjoying happy lives.

“Walker, I talked to DA Moody today.  He has decided that he wants to take lead prosecutor on this case.  I’m glad because I’m not sure I can handle the emotionalism.  He wants me as second chair and I’ve agreed.”

“Well, Alex, I think you could handle it but I understand that you don’t want to take lead.  Those photos must be difficult to see.”

Both were quiet for a while in their own thoughts.  Walker held Alex closer and thanked God for a woman like this in his life.  He noticed her quiet even breathing and let her sleep for a short while.

“Alex, honey, we need to head back to the ranch.  It’ll be dark soon.”

Alex awoke and kissed Walker.  “Thank you for listening and being supportive.”

“I didn’t do anything that you wouldn’t have done for me.”  Alex smiled at Walker.

Arriving at the ranch, Walker and Alex worked together to prepare their evening meal.  Alex seemed to be in much better spirits and was ready to talk some more about the case.  She told Walker about the case preparations and Walker shared with her about his day.  He expressed his concerns and pride in Ranger Trainee, Bobbie Hunt.  They were as comfortable with their silences as they were their conversation.  As soon as they finished eating, they cleared the table and put the food away.  Walker fixed coffee and they went out the porch to enjoy the remainder of the evening.

“I guess we’d better put in an appearance at CD’s tomorrow.  What do you think?”

“Yeah, Trivette was already asking me today if we were coming tonight and I told him you’d planned to fix dinner for me.  He wanted to know why he and CD weren’t invited.  <Walker chuckled>  He sure is getting curious about how much time we spend together.  Sounds like CD is putting him up to a lot.”

Alex chuckled. “Well, they’ve always been curious.  Do you think it’s gotten worse?”

“Yeah, I do.  So what do you say…breakfast at CD’s?”

“Well, Cowboy, I’d say we might plan on brunch since I have a feeling we might be up late tonight.”

Kissing her lips, Walker agreed.  When she was bathed in moonlight, she took on an ethereal appearance, almost angelic.  He loved looking at her.  She was watching him look at her and she knew without a doubt that he was ready to head upstairs to bed.  Silently, he stood and offered her his hand.  Before they entered the house, she was rewarded with a long, breathless kiss.  She loved these quiet kisses when their tongues and breaths mingled.  He was such a gentle lover.

Alex had been right about the time.  They made love long into the night.  Once their bodies were sated, they drifted off to sleep in each other’s arms.  All the rest of the world was forgotten as they slumbered with only dreams of each other in their heads.

Walker was the first to awaken.  He looked over at the sleeping ADA.  He thought she could never be more beautiful than she was at that moment.  He knew she was still in a deep slumber and while he would enjoy kissing her awake, he knew she needed the rest.  He carefully slipped out of bed and noted that it was nearly 9 a.m.  He did a 30-minute workout in the gym and took a quick shower.  Not bothering to dress, he returned to the bedroom to find Alex just beginning to stir.  He leaned over and kissed her awake. 

“Morning, Cowboy.  Did we sleep late?”

Walker chuckled and said, “Well, one of us did!”

He watched Alex as she stretched.  The sheet barely covered her as she moved.  Oh, she was very much aware of his eyes on her and that made her stretch a little more.  Unable to take it anymore, Walker groaned and joined her in bed. 

“I thought we were going to CD’s for brunch.”  Alex said with a grin as her stomach rumbled.

“Alex, you knew what you were doing.  Come on and get up and I’ll help you with your shower, then we can go to CD’s.”  Walker smiled at the lovely lady lying beneath him.

Pulling her up and leading her to the bathroom, he got the water temperature just right before he pulled her in the shower with him.  He gently soaped her shapely body with her favorite lavender bath gel.  He could feel all the tension leave her body but noticed that he was having a problem with tightness in one area of his frame.  Alex noticed it too and pulled him closer to her.  She started soaping him.  He gently lifted her onto his swollen manhood and pressed her against the wall as he kissed her.  She felt him slide into her moistness and again marveled at how well they fit together.  When they were both sated, Alex slipped down Walker’s legs to find herself a little wobbly on her feet.  Walker chucked as he held her closer and kissed her again.

“You know, maybe we should just fix something to eat here and go to CD’s tonight!”  Alex said with a giggle.

“Well, it suits me but you’re going to do the explaining, not me!”

“I don’t think I can do that with a straight face, so you get out of the shower while I wash my hair!”

Giving her one more lingering kiss, Walker grabbed a towel and moved out of the shower.  Without Walker to keep her company, it didn’t take Alex long to finish her bath and dry her hair.

After dressing, she went downstairs to find that Walker had already fixed them each a cup of coffee to go and they headed out to the RAM. 

“Oh, Alex, I almost forgot.  Bobbie Hunt’s daughter has a ballgame today at 3 p.m. and we’re invited, if you want to go.” 

“That sounds like fun.  I’d like to meet her.  Bobbie was so cute talking about her the other night. <a moment of silence>  You know, Walker, I think Bobbie has a crush on you.”  Alex said with a giggle.

“Alex, don’t go there!  She is just a Ranger Trainee.” 

“She may be a Ranger Trainee, but she’s also a woman.  I saw the way she looked at you.  She definitely has a crush.”  Alex was enjoying this immensely.  Walker looked so cute when he was uncomfortable.

Entering CD’s they were still playfully arguing about this.

“Well, Cordell and Alex, it’s about time you showed up.  Where in tarnation have you been?”

Walker looked at Alex with that “see I told you look.” 

“I had to wait for Alex to finish her hair, CD.”

The look that Alex gave Walker assured him he would pay for that comment later on.

“Can we get something to eat, CD?  We’re both starved.”

They enjoyed an amicable meal and conversation with CD and Trivette.  Again, the discussion returned to Alex’s case.  Walker could see her tense up when discussing it but also noticed that she seemed more at ease than she was the night before.  She told them that she would not be taking the lead on this one.

About 1:30, Walker told Alex, they’d better go if they were going to the ballgame.  Trivette decided not to go with them so they headed out for the ballpark.  Walker stopped at the entrance and bought them each a cup of coffee and they went out in search of Bobbie.

Bobbie looked both surprised and pleased to see them.  Quite honestly, she was not expecting it.  She noticed that Alex was wearing tight fitting jeans and a lavender t-shirt that really showed her figure off to perfection.  She still couldn’t help but be envious of the way Walker was holding Alex’s hand.

“Thank you both for coming.  Angela is going to be so pleased.”

Walker set his cup of coffee beside him and the person behind him promptly knocked it over and offered to replace it.  Walker refused and just took Alex’s cup from her and shared hers.  Bobbie observed this type of intimacy that spoke as much as the looks that they gave each other.  She now had to admit that any hopes she had for a relationship with the Ranger was out.  Alex noted the hungry look in Bobbie’s eyes when she looked at Walker.  She was right.  Bobbie did have feelings for Walker.

The game started on schedule and Walker pointed out Bobbie’s daughter to Alex.  Alex, Walker and Bobbie all shared comments about the game enthusiastically.  Bobbie was still amazed that the couple had come.  She was also amazed that Alex Cahill seemed to be having such a good time.  She did notice that Walker and Alex were constantly touching in some way…either holding hands or having a hand on a knee.  They did nothing out of place but definitely signs of two people in love.

Watching them out of the corner of her eye, Bobbie felt a pang.  This was the kind of relationship she wanted and knew that Walker was just about perfect.  But, she also realized that she did not stand a chance with him.  Their playfulness in the gym had been nothing but playfulness.  The things that he taught her were terrific and she would love to spend more time with him in the gym.  Now she wasn’t sure that was possible for her to do.

Bobbie’s thoughts returned to the game and to her daughter.  She had just hit a home run that ended the game.  Walker and Alex were on their feet shouting along with Bobbie.  Walker hugged both ladies to him.  About that time Angela ran up to them.

“Did you see, Mom, did you see?”

Bobbie picked Angela up and said, “Yeah, I saw!  You were wonderful!  I knew you could do it.”  She twirled around with Angela and set her down. 

“Congratulations, Angela.  That was a great game.”

“Thanks, Ranger Walker.”

“Angela, I’d like you to meet a friend of mine. This is Alex Cahill.”

“Hi, Angela.  That was a great game.”

“Thanks.  Ranger Walker, are you going out to have pizza with mom and me?  Mom promised if my team won, we’d have pizza.”

No one but Alex seemed to notice that Angela glanced at her and dismissed her while turning her full attention to her mother and Walker.

“Well, that’s very nice of you to offer, Angela, but Alex and I have already made plans for dinner.”

Angela’s face fell and she looked like she might cry.

“You know, Walker, I could really go for some pizza tonight.”

“But Alex…”

Alex nodded toward Angela and Walker relented.

“OK.  Angela, it looks like we’ll have pizza with you and your mom after all.”

Angela smiled really big. “I have to go to the bathroom, first.”

“Me, too.  Angela, would you show me where to go?”

“Sure, Miss Cahill.”

As Alex and Angela walked to the restroom area, Alex could tell that Angela didn’t seem to be too happy. 

“Is something wrong, Angela.” 

“Yeah, I don’t like you!  You’re trying to take Ranger Walker away from my mom and me.”

Alex stopped and looked at Angela who had also stopped.   Her young face was filled with grief but her eyes were filled with hate.

“Angela, I don’t know what you’re talking about.  Walker and I have been friends for a long time.”

“Well, my mom is going to marry Ranger Walker and that means he’ll be my daddy and I want that to happen.  You have to leave him alone.  I don’t want you go eat pizza with us tonight.”

Alex was surprised at the hostility in the little girl’s face.  She decided to proceed cautiously.  She knew that Angela had gotten this idea from an adult or something she thought she had seen. 

“Angela, why do you think Walker is going to marry your mom?”

“Because I heard my mom and my grandma talking the other night.  My mom told my grandma that she really liked Ranger Walker.  My grandma said she thought he really liked my mom too.  So if they like each other a lot, that means they’ll get married and Ranger Walker will be my daddy.  But then today, you had to come along and ruin everything!”

“But what if Ranger Walker loves someone else?”

Angela looked at Alex with tears in her eyes.  “He can’t.  He wouldn’t if you weren’t around.  I saw you kissing and hugging on him.  You’ve got to leave him alone so he can marry my mom and me.”  The look on her face was pleading. 

“Angela, you need to talk to your mom about this.”

“I don’t, I don’t!  I want you to go away.”  Angela took off running towards her mom and Walker. 

Not sure what to do, Alex stood where she was until Walker came up.  “Alex?”

Alex had had just about all she could take this week.  She knew that Angela had misunderstood whatever she had overheard or perhaps Bobbie Hunt did have feelings for Walker.  As to Walker returning them, this weekend again proved to Alex that he was hers.  She knew this had to be resolved and soon.  She just didn’t know if she had the energy to deal with it.  Sighing deeply, she looked at Walker with love shining in her eyes.

“Walker, she thinks you’re going to marry her mother and that I’m keeping that from happening.  I asked her why she thought that and she said it was because she heard her mom and grandmother talking about you.  She assumes that you’re going to marry Bobbie.”

“Alex, I never did anything to imply to Bobbie that we had anything more than a working relationship.  I swear.”

“I know that Walker, but that little girl doesn’t have a clue.  She thinks you’re going to marry her mom and someone needs to straighten her out.  I don’t think I should go have pizza with them but you should.  Together you and Bobbie can explain to her gently that you and Bobbie are just friends and coworkers.  I’ll go back to the ranch and wait for you.  I’m exhausted anyway.”

“No, Alex, that would make matters worse.  I agree we need to talk about this but I need you with me when I do.  Angela needs to see you and me together.  Please, Alex.  I know you’ve had a rough week and I know you’re tired, but I need you with me.  Please?”

Walker took Alex in his arms.  He felt her deep sigh.  She’d had such a difficult two weeks and now to come home to this.  “I’m sorry, Alex.  I honestly did nothing to encourage, Bobbie.”

“He’s right, Miss Cahill.  He didn’t encourage me.”

Walker and Alex both looked up as Bobbie came nearer, leading Angela by the hand.  Seeing the hatred in Angela’s eyes, Alex tried to pull away from Walker but he held onto her with one arm. 

“My mom and I were talking one night and I said I wished I could meet someone like Ranger Walker.  My mom asked me what was wrong with Ranger Walker himself.  I told her nothing but he’d only shown an interest in me as a friend.  My mom said because you picked me up for work and spent time with Angela and were so nice to us that you probably felt more than friendship.  Every since Angela’s father left, I’ve wished for someone like you in my life.  I only let myself wish for a short time.  Then I saw you two together.  I knew there was no room for me in your life.  I’m really sorry that Angela overheard and said what she did to Miss Cahill.  Not in any way would I do anything to jeopardize a good working relationship or a friendship.  I’ve explained this to Angela and she has something to say.”

Looking up at Walker who still had his arm around Alex, Angela in a low tearful voice said, “I’m sorry Ranger Walker and Miss Cahill.  My mom explained about everything.  I guess I misunderstood.  I’m really sorry.  Will you still go and have pizza with me to celebrate – both of you?  Please?”

Alex knelt beside the small girl but didn’t attempt to touch her.  She could tell that Angela still was not happy about any of this. “Angela, I would love to have pizza with you.  And I don’t blame you for liking Walker.  He’s a pretty likable guy.”  This was said with a wink.  Angela looked into Alex’s eyes and read kindness there but she wasn’t ready to give up Walker. 

“Thank you, Miss Cahill.”  Smiling Angela looked shyly at Walker.

Walker helped Alex up. 

“Well, shall we go get some pizza.”  Everyone nodded.  Walker took Alex by the hand and Angela by the other one. 

They enjoyed pizza together although Angela was still subdued and watched Alex cautiously when she thought no one was looking.  It seemed more apparent to Alex than to anyone else.  Bobbie asked to speak with Walker alone and apologized profusely for Angela’s behavior.  She told Walker she was embarrassed by what Angela overheard and misinterpreted.  Walker told her not to worry about it.  As if reading her mind, he told her it would not affect her evaluation in any way.

Although she appeared to be friendly, it was obvious that Angela was reserved and not too happy that Alex was there.  She especially didn’t like the way Ranger Walker kept touching Alex and continued to look at Alex with hate-filled eyes when no one was looking.  Bobbie still appeared embarrassed by Angela’s earlier behavior although Alex did everything possible to put her at ease as did Walker.

After a while, Walker and Alex headed back to the ranch.

“Walker, I told you that Bobbie has a crush on you!”  Alex said with a giggle.

“Alex, stop teasing.  She explained all that.”

Laughing, Alex said, “Well, she may have said the words but her eyes say differently.  Don’t you think I know when women notice you?”

“Alex…”

“Walker, I’m not saying you encourage it but it happens.”

“Yeah, well, I have to put up with plenty of men after you, too!”

Alex laughed and moved closer to the man of her dreams.

“So what do you reckon we ought to do about it, Cowboy?”  Her hand just happened to drop to Walker’s thigh and she heard his quick intake of breath.  She had to admit that she loved this power she had over him.  Of course, he had the same power over her, too.  That’s what made them so equal.

Walker was glad they were pulling into the driveway to the ranch.  Helping Alex out of the RAM, he pulled her close for a hug.  “I guess we need to talk about it.” 

“Walker, does it really bother you?  I don’t do anything to encourage these men and I know you don’t either.”

“Actually, Alex, it doesn’t bother me, but I don’t like it.  I know you don’t encourage them.  Well, I take part of that back.  I guess on some level I do like it because it makes me proud to know that you’ve chosen me!”

That won Walker a long, sexy kiss and started something they wanted to finish upstairs.  Giggling, they ran up the steps together.

Sunday dawned bright and clear.  After a lazy morning in bed, Walker did a quick workout while Alex fixed breakfast.  After breakfast, they shared a shower, with the excuse they needed to conserve water.  Giggling, soaping each other, and doing other things, they managed to use more water than they conserved. 

Walker suggested a ride and picnic lunch at their favorite spot by the lake.  This suited Alex and shortly after they ate, both ended up napping.  Alex awoke to a feather tickling her nose and looked up into Walker’s adoring eyes. 

“Alright, Cowboy, don’t start something you aren’t prepared to finish!”

“Who says I’m not prepared to finish what I start?”  Walker said with a growl. 

Alex giggled and pulled his head in for a long slow kiss.  She tasted his tongue and felt the buttons to her blouse being undone.  Well, she could handle that and her own fingers started working the buttons on his shirt.  Soon, once again, they were in each other’s arms and nothing and no one entered their thoughts but satisfying the other.

A while later, they lay in each other’s arms.  Walker had pulled a blanket over their naked bodies.  Their legs were entwined and their hands continued to find spots that made the other one lose their breath.

“Walker, what are you going to do about Bobbie Hunt?”

“What do you mean?  We resolved all that last night.”

“Oh, honey, you may think it’s resolved but she has a crush on you.”

“Alex, you’re imagining all that.  It was just a misunderstanding.”

“Well, I’m afraid the next couple of days aren’t going to be the most pleasant for you.  Nor for me for that matter.”

“What do you mean?”

“I’ve got that case to work on beginning tomorrow.  This weekend was exactly what I needed but it’s back to reality tomorrow.”

“Is there anything I can do to help you?”

“No, Cowboy, just be there for me like you always are.  I guess we’d better head back to the ranch.  I need to go home tonight since I didn’t bring work clothes here.”

“Why don’t you stay tonight and drive in early in the morning.”

“I would but you know we’re always late when I stay over and I can’t be late tomorrow.  Maybe some other time, OK?”

“OK, let’s get back so you can get back to your apartment before it gets really dark.  Why don’t we stop by CD’s for a late supper.”

“I think I’ll pass this time.  I really need to go over some papers and reports before I talk with the DA tomorrow.  And you, my love, have a busy day tomorrow with the Ranger Trainee!”  Alex said with a smile.

Back at the ranch, Walker kissed Alex one more time and walked her to her car.  He knew he would miss her presence tonight.  Alex knew she would miss him, too.  With another long kiss, Alex got in her car and drove back to her apartment alone.

Monday morning found Alex looking for Walker first thing.  She found him in Ranger headquarters and let him know that she had to return to Waco.  She would have preferred a more private moment but there wasn’t time.  The DA had given her five minutes to get ready to leave.

“Why do you have to go back, Alex?”

Walker was aware that they had an audience.  Bobbie Hunt, Trivette, and the other trainee were listening.  He decided to at least walk Alex to the hallway where they would have one quiet moment, but the Rangers got a call and had to leave in a hurry. 

With a wink that only Alex could see, Walker mouthed for her to call him tonight.

Alex returned to her case in Waco.  The little girl’s memories had started to surface even more with the counseling she was getting and what she remembered was more horrible than what she’d told Alex earlier.

Walker and Trivette completed the day with the trainees and on Tuesday night at CD’s, the big announcement was made.  All the Rangers from Company B and CD toasted the 99th Ranger – Roberta Hunt!

The celebration seemed to go on and on.  Walker was proud of Bobbie, but knew she had a ways to go.  Even CD had taken to her, though.  With good friends and some supervision, she would be just fine.

He glanced at his watch just as Bobbie Hunt approached him. 

“May I speak with you, Ranger Walker?”

“Sure, Ranger Hunt!”  Walker said with a smile and saw a small blush on Bobbie’s cheeks.

“I like the sound of that.”

“Bobbie, you have a lot of potential.  You’ll be a good ranger.  That’s why you were chosen.  Always remember that.”

“I will.  Thanks for all your help and encouragement.  Thanks for not letting what Angela said the other day affect anything.”

“I told you it would not.  Did you get a chance to talk with her more?  I noticed that she still did not appear comfortable with Alex on Saturday night.”

“I’m still embarrassed by the whole thing.  Yes, I talked with her further.  I think she understands that she misunderstood what she overheard.  It sure makes me more aware of what I say regardless of where I am.”

“Well, it’s a lesson learned then!”   Glancing at his watch again, Walker said, “I think I’m going to head out.  Congratulations, Ranger Hunt!”  He said with a smile and held out his hand to shake hers.

“Thanks, again.”  Bobbie shook hands with Walker and he headed out the door.

Walker was really missing Alex.  He talked with her last night and again this morning before work.  He could tell that she was still upset.   Alex had shared more with him about the child’s memories of what happened to her family.  Walker could understand why Alex was not sleeping well.  He needed to be with her.  He knew she needed him, too.

From the phone in his truck, he called her.  When she answered, he could tell that she’d been crying.

“Alex, what’s wrong?”

“Nothing, I’m fine.”

“Alex, Honey, I know you better than that.  You’ve been crying.  I can hear it in your voice.  Now talk to me.  What’s wrong?” 

“Oh, Walker, it’s just been a long day.  DA Moody has been a little harsh with that little girl.  She is so sweet.  He and I had some strong words about it and he told me that I’d better shape up or he’d pull me from the case.  Walker, I need to be there.  I can’t let him do that to me.”

“Well, you know best how to handle that.  What can I do to help you?”

“You know I’m wishing I was home at the ranch with you right now.  I think I could use some tender loving care as only you know how to give it.”

Walker liked hearing her call his ranch her home.  It brought a smile to his face.  “Any chance of you getting away for a couple of days?”

“Oh, Walker, if only I could!  That would be the perfect excuse for the DA to “axe” me.  I don’t know why he’s so determined to prosecute this himself.  I know the case much better than he does.”

Without even being aware of what he was doing, Walker had headed his truck towards Waco when he first dialed Alex.  Right now she was his main concern.  He had not been aware of his speed while talking to her and was surprised that he was only 45 miles from Waco.  He decided to keep Alex talking and not tell her he was coming.

“Walker, I’d better go, there is someone at the door.”

“I’ll hold on.  I don’t want to let you go while you’re this upset.”

Walker holds while Alex answers the door.  He hears her ask who it is first and hears a familiar but muffled reply.  Walker recognized the voice as belonging to DA Moody.  He was able to hear the DA ask Alex if she knew where Walker was.  She replied that he was on the phone with her.

DA Moody came on the phone. “Walker, I’ve been trying to call you this evening.  I need for you to come to Waco as soon as you can get here.  I know it’s been a long day for everyone here.  I don’t want to go into this on the phone.  I suggest that you take a chopper and get here as soon as possible.”

“Well, I can’t take a chopper tonight but I’ll be there as quickly as I can.  What’s going on?  Is Alex in danger?”

“Yes.  I don’t want to talk about it now, though.  Why can’t you take a chopper?  If there is a problem, I’ll order one.”

“Meaning you don’t want Alex to know how serious it is right now?”  Walker figured this out from the DA’s tone of voice.  He knew that the DA had a lot of respect for Alex and figured something must be wrong if he was not letting Alex take the lead on this case.

“That’s right, Walker.”

“I had already decided to come to Waco.  If you’ll clear it with the State Police with me, I’ll be there in about 30 minutes or less.”

“Consider it done.” 

The DA handed the phone back to Alex.  She looked at him quizzically but he turned away from her.  She knew that something had transpired that she did not know about and was determined to find out either from Walker or the DA.

“Walker?  What’s going on?”

“I don’t know, Alex.  You’ll need to ask the DA.”  Alex looked up just as the DA closed the door behind him.

“He’s gone Walker.  I’m going to see if I can find out what’s going on.”

“Alex, stay put and stay on the phone with me.  OK?”

Walker started telling Alex about the celebration with Bobbie Hunt and about the fact that she again apologized for Angela’s behavior on Saturday.  While they were talking, Walker was pushing the RAM as quickly as possible towards Waco.  As he arrived at the hotel, he pulled the cell phone from its speaker holder and ran up the steps to Alex’s room and knocked.

“Walker, hold on again.  Someone’s at the door.  I expect it’s the DA again!  Ugh!”

Walker smiled to himself.  Yeah, someone was at the door.  He hung up and pocketed his cell phone.  He wanted to be ready when Alex answered the door.

Alex opened the door without looking as she figured it was the DA again.  Instead, she saw her Cowboy standing there.  Within a matter of seconds, she was in his arms and being kissed as though there was no tomorrow.  Walker managed to move her back into the room without breaking off the kiss.  He was becoming an expert at that and at closing the door with his foot!

Finally, breaking off the kiss, Walker held Alex’s face with his hands.

“Hey.  How’s my favorite counselor?”

“Oh, Cowboy, if you only knew how good you look to me right now.  I needed you so badly that I didn’t think I could make it through the night.” 

A tear escaped from her eye and Walker caught it with his mouth as it traced its way down her cheek.  With his arm still around Alex, Walker hung up the hotel telephone that Alex had dropped when she answered the door.

“We need to let DA Moody know that I’m here.”

“What’s going on, Walker?”

“I don’t know, Hon.   I just know that the DA seems to think you’re in danger.  That’s why we need to let him know I’m here.”

Walker saw the frightened look in Alex’s eyes and took her in his arms.  He kissed her and held her close until they were interrupted by a knock on the door.  Walker left Alex’s embrace and walked to the door to find DA Moody standing there with two state troopers.  The troopers remained outside the door while the DA entered.

“Walker, I’m glad you’re here.  We’ve got a real problem on our hands.”

Alex sank to the edge of the bed and Walker eased down near her but not touching her.   He knew the DA didn’t need to know how serious their relationship was. 

“So tell me what’s going on.”

“Wait, why were you coming here?”

Walker looked a little uncomfortable but said, “I called to see how Alex was doing.  She’s been upset about this case and I was concerned.”

“During your off hours, Ranger?”

“DA Moody, Alex Cahill and I have been friends for a long time so yes, during my off hours.  I wanted to be sure she was OK.  She wasn’t so I decided to come and see what was going on for myself.  That’s when you interrupted the conversation and asked me to come.”

The DA realized he was prying and that Walker was gently putting him in his place.  He knew there was more to Walker and Alex than meets the eye but both seemed to protect whatever relationship they had and only showed a strong friendship publicly.  He had noticed some long, lingering looks between them, though, on many occasions.  He also knew they’d been seen around town at various functions and that Alex kept a horse at Walker’s ranch.  He personally thought there was more than friendship here but as her employer, he didn’t have the right to inquire about her personal life since it did not appear to interfere with her job.  He might not be the easiest person to get along with but he knew quality work when he saw it and Alex Cahill was top quality.  He looked up realizing that Walker was waiting for him to go on.

“What do you know about this case, Walker?”

“Alex told me the basics of it.  She told me about the mutilation of the children and parents.  Is there more that I should know?”

DA Moody pondered what Walker had said for a moment.  He really didn’t want to talk with Alex in the room but knew she had to be involved also.  Hesitantly, he went on.  He knew what he was about to say would upset his best ADA.

“I’m concerned for Alex’s life.”  With this comment both Alex and Walker snapped to attention.  Walker was the first to respond.

“What do you mean?  Why should Alex’s life be in danger?” 

The DA paused a moment and went on.

“About two hours ago, an adult female mutilated body part – a breast - was delivered to the Waco PD with the message ‘pull that Alex Cahill off this case or you’ll be getting her body parts next’.” 

“I thought you had the killer in custody.”  Walker was getting very nervous about this.  He knew that they had one suspect and thought this was all done alone.  Now he wasn’t so sure.

“We do.  What I think we’re looking at now is that the killer had an accomplice.”

Alex spoke for the first time.  “No, that’s not possible.  The little girl, Melody, only saw one man.”

“Alex, that’s what we’ve thought until now but there was one missing part of the puzzle.  The DNA samples that were collected had a slight variation.  The coroner thought it had to do with the time and weather changes but he also indicated it was similar enough to belong to twins.  Because we didn’t think more than one person was involved, we didn’t proceed until now.”

Walker spoke up, “What’s different now?  The coroner should have known that weather and time doesn’t change DNA patterns.  How could he have thought that?”

“Well, I agree, Walker.  But this coroner is inexperienced so we’ve now sent the samples off to that state lab for confirmation.  Someone should have picked up on that DNA thing, especially the coroner but this isn’t Dallas and we’ve all been so incensed with this crime and finding one culprit made us think that we had the case solved.  We knew prosecuting would not be a problem as public sympathy would be on the side of the surviving child.”

“In other words, someone let this one slip through the cracks and now Alex’s life is in danger?”  Walker was furious and barely able to control his emotions.

Alex placed her reassuring hand on his arm.

“Why was the threat made against me?  I’ve only done the interviews with the little girl.  You’ve been handling the press.  Who would know I was involved and why would anyone care that I was interviewing the little girl?”

“I’m not sure, Alex.  The only thing I can figure out is your resemblance to the child’s mother.  Have you noticed it?  I think that’s why the child responds to you so readily.”

Alex looked at Walker and arose and picked up the case folder from the other bed.  She sorted through a stack of photos until she found the one of the mother and held it out to Walker.

“The resemblance is pretty amazing.”

“I’ll admit that this woman looks a little like Alex but several features are all wrong.”  Walker was examining the photo closely.  He didn’t need to compare it to Alex as her features were engraved on his memory forever. 

“Walker, what’s wrong with you?  That woman could pass as Alex’s twin.”

“No.  Take a closer look.  Alex’s nose is different.  This woman has green eyes and Alex’s are blue.  This woman’s teeth are crooked and her lips are thin.  She does have blonde hair but not as blonde as Alex’s.”

The DA was looking at Walker as though Walker had lost his mind.  The resemblance between the two women was amazing even with all the small details Walker had pointed out.  It was at this point that the DA knew for a fact that there was more to the Ranger and ADA’s relationship than he knew.  He knew that Walker would never do anything to jeopardize the safety of anyone but also knowing he had feelings involved could pose a problem in this investigation.  Sighing deeply, the DA ran his fingers through his hair and looked at the Ranger and the ADA.

“Look, we’ve got to work together on this.  I feel that Alex’s life is in danger based on the complaint.  That’s why I wanted you to come here.  I saw that the little girl was getting too close to Alex, which is why I decided she would be second chair in the prosecution.  I don’t want the defense playing up the resemblance once the trial starts.  I’m sorry, Alex.  I should have talked with you about my worries to begin with but that was before I knew there would be threats against you.”

Looking thoughtful, Walker spoke, “I agree.  I’ll call Trivette and get him here.  We can also tap into the Rangers here in Waco.  Alex will need 24-hour protection.  I’ll stay with her tonight.  I also think we should put protection on you, DA Moody.  If there is another person, perhaps a twin, involved we’ll need to work with the local police.  I also think we need a 24-hour guard on the child and her guardians.”

While all this discussion was going on, Alex looked stunned.  How could this have happened?  What did they miss?  She was secure knowing that Walker would be handling everything but she was concerned more for Melody than herself.

“Walker, what about Melody?  She’s only 8 and she’s already been through so much.  What else can we do for her?”

“Well, Alex, you have a good relationship with Melody, right?”  Alex nodded.

“What if we brought in a friend of yours to help you out and this person could gain Melody’s trust, too?  Plus this friend could accompany you places that I cannot.  Maybe this friend should also be your assistant, too.”

“Walker, what are you talking about?”

“Bobbie Hunt.”

“Who is Bobby Hunt?”  DA  Moody was confused about what Walker was saying.

“Roberta Hunt is the newest Texas Ranger.”

“Oh, Walker, I don’t know.  She’s so new.”

“Yes, but she’s good with children and she’s got good insights and she’s trained in martial arts skills.”

“Walker do you think she’d come?  Would she leave her own child?”

“I don’t like it.  Why bring someone in here who has no experience at all with the Rangers.   Didn’t you hear what I said, Walker?  Threats have been made against Alex.  People are already dead.  The person we think did the deed seems to have a partner who is willing to continue the work.”

“I hear what you’re saying but you need to trust my judgment on this.  Do you really think I would allow any harm to come to Alex or that I would put her in harm’s way?  With this question, Walker went over to where Alex was standing and put his arm around her.

“Alex?”

Alex looked straight into Walker’s eyes and knew he would never endanger her life or anyone else’s.  She’s always known that.  At this moment, he had just let Dan Moody know that they had a relationship by putting his arm around her and she had responded by placing her hands at his waist and that could change everything.

“Walker’s right, Dan.  I’ve met Bobbie Hunt.  I trust Walker’s judgment of her.  If he wants her to be a part of this, I agree.”

“OK, then get her here.  I’ve got to go coordinate with the police here and make sure all these people are safe.  Walker, I’ll take care of getting you a room.” 

“That won’t be necessary, Moody.  I won’t be leaving Alex tonight.”

With this statement, Moody left.  Just outside the door, he stopped.  He guessed that any questions he’d had about the Ranger and ADA were answered for sure now.  He’d always suspected there was more to their relationship.  He hoped this relationship wouldn’t mess up this case.  Why did life have to get so complicated? 

Inside the hotel room, Walker pulled Alex into his arms.  She melted against him and he felt her tears as they wet his shirt.  He knew she was frightened but also knew she’d be strong.  He needed to call Trivette and tell him to bring Bobbie with him tomorrow but for right now that could wait.  Alex needed to be held by the one man with whom she could feel safe.

“Alex, I need to call Trivette and get him down here.  Will you be OK?”

Kissing him softly, Alex said, “Yes, Darling, I know.  Then we need to discuss what we’ve just let DA Moody know about you and me.”

Walker called Trivette and filled him in on the situation in Waco.  He asked him to go by the ranch and pick up some clothes for him and arrange for his neighbor to take care of the horses until further notice.  He also asked Trivette to call Bobbie Hunt and fill her in and bring her to Waco.  Walker’s next call was to the Waco Ranger Headquarters.  Two rangers were assigned to protect DA Moody and another two the family of the little girl.  That was all he could until morning…well, except for one thing.  He could hold Alex Cahill in his arms all night as they slept.

The hotel had conveniently left some basic necessities such as comb and toothbrush so Walker could make do until Trivette arrived with his things. 

Walker looked at Alex who had her head buried in a file folder.  He knew she was reading more about the case trying to piece it all together. 

“Alex, tomorrow is going to be a long day.  Trivette and Bobbie Hunt should be here early.  We need to get some rest.”

“Walker, I don’t think I can sleep.  My mind is spinning.”

Walker held out his arms to Alex and she went into them.  He held her close for a few minutes then released her. 

“Go ahead and get ready for bed.”

“Well, at least I’ll be sleeping in your arms tonight.”

“Alex, I’m not sure that’s a good idea.  You know, with DA Moody so close by and all.”

“Walker, I don’t care what DA Moody thinks.  Want to join me in the shower?”

“Alex, I would love nothing better but I think for now, you’d better shower alone and let me make some plans for tomorrow.  OK?”

Alex kissed Walker and picked up her clothes and went to the bathroom.  She knew he was right.  Walker was being overly cautious.  He didn’t want to take a chance on anything.

Walker peeked to see if the two state troopers were still outside the door to Alex’s room.  He didn’t see either of them.  He pushed a chair in front of the door and went to rush Alex up. 

“Alex, hurry up.  Put your clothes back on.  I don’t want to stay here tonight.”

“Walker, what…?”

Alex saw that Walker was very tense and every one of his senses was working overtime.  Something had happened.  Walker was at the phone beside the bed with his gun drawn.

“DA Moody.  This is Walker.  The two troopers are both down in front of Alex’s door.  I haven’t opened the door.  Have the rangers arrived at your door yet?  Don’t open the door to look but call to them and ask to see identification.”

“Walker, they’re not here.  No one is here.  I can see Alex’s room across the way and see that both troopers are down.  What do you want to do?”

“I’m going to call for back-up.  Are you secure in your room?  Make sure the safety chain is on and that you open it for no one but me.  I’m afraid to move Alex right now.  I think there is a package at this door.  Stay where you are until I call you back.  Do you have a cell phone with you?  <pause as the DA responds affirmatively>  Good, I’ll call you back on it.”

Alex looks frightened.  She goes to Walker where he puts his arm around her and pulls her close.  “Shh, it’s going to be all right.  I’m calling for back-up.”  Walker pulled his cell phone from his pocket and began dialing.

“This is Ranger Cordell Walker.  I’m at the Hilton in Waco.  Two state troopers were outside the door on guard for ADA Alex Cahill.  Both troopers are down and there is a package in front of the door.  The two rangers who were supposed to guard Tarrant County DA Moody have failed to show up.  I’m requesting backup immediately.  Call me back on this phone when the troopers arrive.”

“Walker, things are moving too fast.  What’s in the package at the door?  Aren’t you going to get it?”

“Not yet, Alex.  It could be a bomb that is set to go off when it’s touched.  I don’t think it is, though.  I’m afraid, it might be more body parts.”

“Oh, Walker, what is going on?” 

Walker put his arms around Alex and held her close.  “I don’t know Alex, but we have to find out.  Do you have the phone number for the family of the little girl who is surviving?  I need to know if they are under protection.”

“Yes, here it is.”

Walker dialed the number that Alex had given him.  A groggy male voice answered.

“This is Texas Ranger Cordell Walker.  I’m with ADA Alex Cahill and I’m calling to find out if the two rangers that were dispatched to your house have arrived.”

“Ranger Walker, this is Tom Sheridan.  I haven’t seen nor heard from any rangers tonight.  Do you think Melody is in trouble?”

“It’s a possibility.  ADA Cahill has been receiving some threats and two rangers were dispatched to your home about two hours ago.  Do you have the lights on in your home?”

“Only a lamp in the bedroom, Ranger.  I have a pretty good security system and it’s showing no forced entry.  Wait, my wife has gone to check on Melody. <pause>  Ranger Walker, Melody is sleeping peacefully in her bed.  What should we do now?”

“I want you to get Melody and your wife and move to the most secure room in your home.  That would be one with few windows but one from which you could escape if necessary.  Keep all the lights out and try to use a flashlight minimally.  Do you have a cellular phone?  If so, take it with you.  If you have a gun and know how to use it, I would suggest you take it with you.  Dress so you can run or leave in a hurry.  I don’t think Melody is the target right now.  I think Alex Cahill is.”

As soon as Walker hung up the phone, it rang.  “Ranger Walker, this is Ranger Billy Lopez.  I’m just outside your hotel room door with Ranger Johnson.  The two state troopers appear to have been drugged but they’re OK.  The same is true with Rangers Clark and Elliott who were found in the parking lot still in their vehicle.  They will all be fine but are being taken to the hospital.  We won’t underestimate this case again.  There is a package outside the door.  Do you want to come out and check it?”

Thanks, Ranger.  Yes, I’m coming now.”  Walker hung up the phone and turned to Alex.  “Alex, I want you to get over there in that corner chair and stay.  You’ll be out of the line of fire if there is anything.  I think the package contains another body part but I want you safe.  OK?”

Alex nodded and moved as instructed.  Walker waited until she was settled and he carefully opened the door.  At the same time, DA Moody came out of his room and joined Walker and the other rangers.  The package did not appear to be booby trapped so they carefully opened it using rubber gloves so as not to contaminate any evidence.  Upon lifting the lid of the box, Walker found another body part as expected…it was a woman’s hand.  Walker heard Alex gasp and knew she had seen.  Ranger Lopez took possession of the package and left for the lab to get it tested.  This time there was no note with the package. 

Ranger Johnson had accompanied Ranger Lopez to his car and upon his return, he carefully handed Walker a note that was attached to the windshield of Walker’s RAM.  Ranger Johnson explained that he did not know to whom the truck belonged but thought the paper looked suspicious.  That’s why he picked it up.  Then he read it and knew it was part of the crime scene.

Walker read the note, which was addressed to him, “Ranger Walker, you think you can always protect the lady DA?  Lots of luck this time.  I wonder how you’re going to feel when her body parts start arriving to you.”

Walker handed the note to DA Moody.  “Walker, I want Alex out of here.  I think she should be in protective custody until this matter is settled.”

“Well, Moody, I can’t say that I disagree with you totally but don’t you think it’s unusual that I haven’t been involved in this case but I’m addressed in this note?  There is something else going on here and I don’t think hiding Alex is going to help the situation.  This person will only wait until she re-surfaces.  I think my original plan was better.”

Walker went over to where Alex was standing with a look of horror on her face.  He spoke softly so only she could hear.  “Alex, I know that you trust me and I value your judgment.  What do you want to do?  Your life is definitely in danger here.”

“I want to continue with this case.  I know that you and Trivette and Hunt will protect me as well as you can.  I can’t just give up now.”

In spite of the audience, Walker took Alex into his arms and held her briefly.  It was this scene that Trivette and Hunt walked in on.

“Walker, what’s going on?”

“Trivette, the case is really breaking fast.  The center has moved from the little girl who survived everything to Alex and threats have been made against her life.”  Walker continued to keep his arm around Alex.

“Bobbie, there are going to be some places that I can’t go with Alex.  That’s why I asked for you to stay with her.  I’ll be staying with her at night but I want you with her at all times during the day.  I want you to be very careful who you allow near Alex and you’ll be acting as her assistant during the day so the little girl won’t be nervous.”

“Sure, Walker.  Ms. Cahill, I’m really sorry to hear about all this.”

“Thanks, Bobbie, and congratulations to you.”  Bobbie smiled at Alex.  She felt thrilled to be a part of this investigation.

Walker filled Trivette and Hunt in on what had transpired since they last spoke.  Trivette was told to coordinate security with the Waco rangers.  It was in the wee hours of the morning when everyone cleared out of the room.  Two state troopers were guarding the outside of Alex’s room as well as the outside of DA Moody’s room.  Trivette had gone to get security set up inside the hotel and Bobbie Hunt was helping him.  Walker and Alex were finally alone.

Walker glanced at Alex and noticed that she seemed jumpy.  He went over to her and pulled her into his arms.  She was so tired.  She relaxed against him for a few minutes before pulling back and giving him a smile.

“Walker, I’m sorry all this has happened tonight but I’m so glad you’re here with me.  I don’t think I could handle it alone.”

“Hon, you don’t ever have to handle anything alone.  I’ll always be here for you.  Come on, let’s try to get some sleep.”

Alex pulled the covers back on the bed and they only removed their shoes before getting into bed.  Alex went immediately into Walker’s waiting arms and her head found it’s favorite resting spot using his chest as her pillow.  Walker soon heard Alex’s even breathing.  He soon joined her in sleep.

A loud knock at the door woke them about 6 a.m.  Walker peeked and saw that it was Trivette and Bobbie Hunt.  He let them both in.  They’d brought coffee and a variety of doughnuts.  Alex had gone to the bathroom but soon joined them.  Walker thought she was looking better and less stressed this morning. 

Trivette started filling Walker in on the security and what they were doing to find this person.  Alex started filling Bobbie in on what she’d need her to do during the continuing interviews with Melody Williams, the eight-year old survivor.  Bobbie was mortified to learn of all that Melody had lived through and her thoughts wandered to her own small daughter safe at home with her grandmother. 

They were soon joined by DA Moody and the plan was made for day.  Alex and Moody would continue to interview the child while Bobbie stood guard as Alex’s assistant.  Walker and the other rangers would start the investigation into who was making the threats and check the lab reports on the package.  As the others left, Walker and Alex lingered.  Not sure what to do since she’d been told to stick close to Alex, Bobbie lingered too.  Realizing she was there, Walker asked her to wait outside the door for a minute.

“Walker, I wish you were going with me today.  I trust Bobbie and all but I wish you were going to be with me.”

“I know, Alex.  I would feel better if I was going but I’ve to stop whoever is doing this to you and to that little girl.”

Alex smiled at Walker.  Her heart was so full of love for this man.  She kissed him softly on the lips.  “See you tonight?”

“You bet and with any luck, before then!”

Alex joined Bobbie and DA Moody and they made their way on to the Sheridan’s house to meet with Melody.  The day was quite successful.  Melody’s memories were improving with the therapy.  They decided to be honest with her and explain that a bad man was still out there and she had to take more precautions and that’s why the other rangers were guarding her and her family.

About 4:00, Walker and Trivette showed up at the Sheridan house.  They, too, had had good luck that day.  The person who left the package at the hotel for Alex had sealed it with saliva and they had a perfect DNA match and this cleared up some of the earlier confusion.  There were two people involved in the crime.  Now all they had to do was find the second man and they had a pretty good idea where he was. 

Walker met with DA Moody, Alex, Bobbie, and Tom Sheridan in private.  Walker explained what they had found.

“Alex, do you remember prosecuting a man by the name of Abdul Khalid a couple of years ago? <Alex nodded>  The man has a twin brother, named Mohammad Khalid.  Abdul was deported as a result of his crime so Mohammad came back into the United States at the same time that Abdul came in on a passport under Mohammad’s name but entered through a different port.  Mohammad is the one who is in jail at present and has been arrested for the crimes involving Melody’s family.  His was a random act.  He did have help from his brother, Abdul.  Apparently Abdul has realized the connection with you and has now decided to come after you.  We’ve got to smoke him out.  Unfortunately, you’re the only one that can do that.

“DA Moody, I’m going to need you to authorize a news conference with Alex in the lead.  We want to feed Abdul some information and let him know that we’re on to him.  Alex, this will put you at more risk and I’m going to be with you but you should know the danger is going to increase after the press conference.”

Alex looked at Walker.  She knew that he was very concerned about her and would do everything he could to protect her but this was something that had to be done.

“I know, Walker.  We don’t have a choice.  I want both of these men to get the death penalty.  Then, there won’t be a repeat of these crimes.”

Moody spoke up, “I don’t like this Walker.  Can’t we have a closed press conference?  Why does it have to be out in the open?”

“This man isn’t going to attack Alex in front of other people.  He’s going to try to get her alone and that won’t be possible with all the security around.  We’ll have some people at the press conference posing as reporters.  Then I’ll get Alex off to a secure location.  I don’t want to use her either but there isn’t another woman who would resemble Alex closely enough to pull this off.”

“All right, then.  I’ll announce the press conference for 9 a.m. tomorrow morning.  Anything further to do tonight?”

“I’ve made arrangements to move Alex from the hotel.  She, Trivette, Hunt, and I will be at an undisclosed location until further notice.  You will be kept under guard by the Waco rangers.”

“I don’t like this.  I want to know where Alex is.”

“I’m sorry DA Moody but I can’t risk anyone getting to you.  The room will continue to be booked by Alex Cahill but she won’t be there.  You can reach me through my cell phone only.  Ready to go, Alex?  I have your things packed and in the RAM.  Trivette and Bobbie will follow us.”

Walker left with Alex.  DA Moody was not happy.  He did not like being taken out of control.  He’d butted heads with Walker ever since he’d been in Tarrant County and he was getting tired of it.  He couldn’t trust Walker to be objective where Alex Cahill was concerned.  It was obvious that Walker was in love with Alex Cahill.   Funny but for a brief moment, DA Moody felt a stab of jealousy.  Well, what could he say, Alex Cahill was a beautiful woman with legs that didn’t seem to stop!

“Walker, where are we going?”  Alex was riding alone with Walker.  She cherished her time alone with him.

“We’re going to a safe house that the Waco rangers have set up for us.  They will be there waiting for us.  I’m going to take care of you, Alex.”

“Oh, Darling, I’ve always known that!”

Walker and Alex arrived at the location outside of Waco and were met by Rangers Johnson and Lopez.  They were escorted into the safe house along with Trivette and Bobbie Hunt.  The house was built especially for this type of surveillance and was as close to a fortress as it could be.  None of the bedrooms had large windows but had shorter type windows that allowed someone to look out but not in. 

Johnson and Lopez had stocked the kitchen well and said they would be on watch outside the house in the small alcove attached for that purpose.  Walker could tell Alex was exhausted.  She’d gotten very little sleep the night before.

“Alex, why don’t you go rest for a while.  I need to go over some things with Trivette and Bobbie.”

Alex was glad to have some time to herself although she would have preferred that Walker come with her.  She always slept better in his arms but she was too exhausted to try to convince him at the moment. 

Walker, Trivette, and Bobbie formulated a plan for the next day.  Bobbie decided to check out the kitchen and found spaghetti sauce already made up and simmering on the stove with a note from Ranger Johnson that it was his wife’s recipe.  She decided to fix a salad and put the noodles on to cook.  Trivette found her in the kitchen and thanked her for starting dinner.  Having seen Bobbie in action today told him that the right person had been given the newest Ranger position.  Bobbie had really proven herself.

Walker went upstairs to wake Alex.  She was sleeping peacefully.  He gently sat down on the edge of the bed near her and smoothed the hair from her face.  She was so beautiful and he hated that she was in danger.  He prayed that everything went according to the plan tomorrow and they could wrap this up by tomorrow evening.  Then he could take her back to his ranch.  He’d already decided that they would take the rest of the week off once this was wrapped up and go camping.  Just the two of them. 

She was lying on her side and her hand was beside her face on the pillow.  He gently drew small circles on her hand.  She moved and rolled over to her back.  “Hey, Cowboy.  You gonna join me or what?”

Walker chuckled. “Sorry, as much as I would love to join you, I’ve been sent on a mission to bring you downstairs for dinner.  Bobbie and Trivette cooked so it looks like you and me will be the clean-up committee.”

Walker watched as Alex stretched.  She grabbed hold of Walker’s shirt and pulled him closer for a long kiss.  Walker didn’t need much encouragement to wrap his arms around this beauty and hold her close.  The kiss deepened until they both forgot there were other people downstairs.  They were pulled out of their passion quickly by Trivette’s voice.

“Hey you two, what are you doing up there?  The food is getting cold.”

Alex giggled.  “Does he really want to know what we’re doing up here?”

“Well, he can just use his imagination because I don’t intend to tell him anything!”  Walker pulled Alex up with him and into his arms for one more kiss.  He realized that at some point she had started to undo the buttons on his shirt. 

“Alex, we’d better go before they come searching for us.” 

Alex kissed him one more time before she went into the adjoining bathroom to freshen up as Walker re-buttoned his shirt. 

They joined the other two rangers downstairs.  Trivette couldn’t help teasing them a little.

“Well, it’s about time you made it.  You never did mention what you were doing that was taking so long.”

Walker blushed and Alex laughed. 

They enjoyed a companionable dinner together.  Bobbie found that she couldn’t keep her eyes off of Walker and Alex.  They were everything she had ever hoped for in a relationship.  He was caring and considerate; she adored him with her eyes and apparently her entire body.  Trivette paid little attention to them as he was used to their relationship.  They were always kissing and holding hands now.  Public or private didn’t seem to bother them.  He did wonder what the sleeping arrangements would be for tonight.  There were only two bedrooms in the house and Trivette knew that he and Bobbie couldn’t share one!  Trivette suspected that Walker and Alex had an intimate relationship but he had never been sure.

Alex and Walker volunteered to clean up the dishes and soon joined Trivette and Bobbie in the living area where they were watching the news on TV.  They sat on the sofa side by side.  Walker’s arm immediately went around Alex and he pulled her closer.  Her head found that spot in his shoulder that was always so comfortable like it was made just for her.  Walker figured she’d be asleep in a few minutes and he chuckled to himself when he heard her even breathing. 

“Bobbie, do you need to call home?”

“Thanks, Walker, but I told my mom if there was an emergency to reach me through the Waco Rangers office.  I wasn’t sure where I’d be or anything and thought that safer.”

“Was Angela OK with your leaving?”

“I told her I was coming to catch some bad guys and she likes that idea so, yeah, she was fine with it.  She doesn’t know where I am, though.  She does know that I’m with you <pause> and with Trivette.”

Alex stirred briefly and found an even better resting place in the comfort of Walker’s arms.  As she snuggled in her hand dropped to his crotch by accident and Walker immediately felt a tightening.  He quickly removed her hand and was holding it gently on his leg.  He looked to see if Trivette or Bobbie had noticed but both were engrossed in some TV show.  He knew that Alex was sleeping pretty soundly and that she needed the rest.  Of course, his thoughts were stirring to later when they would finally be alone again.  Well, if he could figure out how they could be alone.  He’d noticed there were only two bedrooms and since the other one had twin beds, he assumed he and Trivette were expected to share.  <sigh>  There was always the sofa.   He looked down at Alex’s fingers and remembered the wonders that she could work with them on his body.  This brought a small smile to his face.

A knock on the door turned out to the Rangers Johnson and Lopez who were leaving and being replaced by two Waco policemen.  Johnson and Lopez would return in the morning to escort them all to the press conference that hopefully would draw out Abdul Khalid.

Trivette rose to stretch.  He looked at Walker and saw that Alex was asleep with her head on his shoulder.  He’d noticed the dark circles under her eyes and knew she was exhausted.  This case was bearing on her mentally as well as physically.

“Is the Counselor, OK?”

Walker replied, “She’s exhausted and scared but you know Alex.  She’s a fighter and would never give into her fear.”

“Yeah, you’re right.  She’s one tough lady.  So when do you think this is gonna go down?”

Bobbie perked up to listen to the conversation.

“I don’t know, Trivette.  I suspect it will go really quickly.  When Abdul gets the message that Alex knows about him and that we’re closing in on him, I think it will move quickly.  Abdul has no way of knowing that Mohammad is now cooperating with us either.  All that will change tomorrow with the press conference.”

Alex murmured in her sleep and Walker chuckled.  “Well, looks like one of us is out for the night.  Why don’t you and Bobbie get some rest.  Alex and I will take the first shift!”

Trivette checked all the doors and windows before turning out all the lights except for a small lamp.  The sound on the TV was really low.  As they mounted the steps, Bobbie took one last look at the sleeping ADA and Ranger.  Sighing, she moved up the steps.

Walker noticed that Bobbie lingered looking at them.  He wondered if what Alex had said about the crush were true.  He hoped not.  He didn’t want to have to deal with something like that, especially now that he and Alex were so close.

He gently lifted Alex’s and his feet to the end of the sofa and moved them both to a reclining position.  He didn’t plan on sleeping but thought he’d be more comfortable.  Of course, with Alex in his arms, his thoughts turned to other things that would keep him awake, too!  Alex was on her side and actually on the sofa itself but with her head resting on his chest.  He was lying beside on his back.  Soon his even breathing joined hers.  None of them heard the commotion outside until it was almost too late.

The pounding on the door brought Walker to full alert as Trivette and Bobbie Hunt ran down the stairs.  With Alex fully alert, Walker sent her to another part of the room.  Carefully, Trivette opened the door.  Lying in the grass a short distance from the door was one of the state troopers sent to guard the house. 

“Trivette, we need to take a look outside.  Bobbie, stay here with Alex.”

“Walker…”

“Alex, it’s OK.”

Alex watched horrified as Walker and Trivette moved outside the door.  She wanted to run to the window and watch but knew there was no way Walker would allow that.  She was sure that Bobbie had her instructions, too. 

Outside, Walker gently turned the trooper over and felt for a pulse.  He found it and it was strong.  Walker realized the man was drugged.  A short distance away, Trivette found the other man.  He was breathing evenly like he might be asleep.  Trivette assumed he was drugged. 

“It’s a setup, Trivette!  We need to get back inside.” 

About that time, Walker heard Alex scream.  He and Trivette raced to the door only to find it locked.  Going to the window, he could see that Bobbie Hunt was down on the floor, either injured or drugged too.  Abdul Khalid was holding Alex hostage and fingering her blonde hair.  He saw Walker watching and laughed.

Walker noticed that Trivette was already calling for back-up.  Walker knew that the more people who arrived would agitate Khalid even more.  He feared for Alex’s life.  He noticed that Khalid had a knife to her throat. 

“What do you wanna do, Man?  If we storm the place, he’ll hurt Alex.  I told back-up to come in for a silent approach.  They should be here in a few minutes.”

“I’ve got to get in there, Trivette, and distract him from Alex.”

“What about the trap door?” 

“What trap door?”

“The one on the side of the house.  When Bobbie and I were securing the house earlier, the Waco Rangers showed it to us.  It leads to a panel upstairs at the end of the hallway.”

“I didn’t notice a door there.”

“That’s the beauty of it.  You can go in without being noticed.  The Ranger called it the ‘escape hatch’ in cases of emergency.  I’d guess this one qualifies!”

Walker gave Trivette that look! 

“Trivette, keep him talking.  I’m going to slip in and see if I can surprise him.  Get him away from the steps if you can.”

“OK, Pardner.”

As Walker walked away, Trivette, noticed movement to the side and realized the reinforcements had arrived. 

“Hey, Khalid, you hiding behind a woman?  Why don’t you come out and fight like a man?  Or don’t you know how?”

Alex screamed as Khalid tightened his hold on her and twisted her arm behind her even tighter.

“So, your friends think I’m a coward?  Wonder how they will think of me while they watch as I rape you and then my brother rapes you and then we sell you to a Saudi prince for a handsome price.  They like blonde women over there.” 

Alex watched as Khalid’s sneered.  She figured Jimmy was stalling for time to give Walker a change to put a plan into action. 

“You’ll never succeed Khalid.  You’ll be caught and hunted down like the animal you are.  How could you do those things to those people?”

“Well, the blonde woman would have brought a fair price. Did you notice that she looks like you?  I thought she would be a good substitute but my crazy brother wanted to do other things to her and ended up killing her accidently.  We had already made a deal with a Saudi prince and he’s paid half the money.  I want the rest so I decided you’d make a good substitute.  Besides, you’re prettier!  Now with my brother in jail, I get to keep all the money!”

About that time, Walker jumped down unexpectedly from the steps and caught Khalid off guard.  Khalid tried to hold on to Alex, but she managed to sink her foot into his arch and elbow him in the ribs.  She moved away as Walker got in a round off back kick.  This sent Khalid and his knife flying in opposite directions.  Still determined he rose to his feet and grabbed for Walker’s legs.  They both went down near the knife, which Khalid grabbed.  Walker rolled away from him and onto his feet as Khalid tried to put the knife in his chest.  Trivette and a couple more rangers and state troopers came through the door with guns drawn.  Khalid was subdued and cuffed.  Trivette checked on Bobbie and called for another ambulance.  Alex ran into Walker’s waiting arms.

This was the scene that DA Moody walked in on. 

“What happened here?  How did these people know where to find you, Walker?”

“That’s what I’d like to know, Moody.  I think you have a leak in your system.” 

“There is no way that one of my people would give a location away.  I didn’t even know the location, until the call came in from Ranger Trivette.” 

“Well, it’s over now.  I’m taking Alex back to Dallas as soon as we know Bobbie is going to be OK.  By the way, Moody, Alex will be taking the rest of the week off from work.  I think you should reconsider having her as second chair in this trial now.  You know she’s the best you’ve got.”

Looking at Alex, Moody agreed. 

“I think we should have breakfast and go over the rest of the case before you leave.  I want to tie up some loose ends.  I think we’ve got all we’re going to get out of the child.  Alex, you did a great job and you’ll be first chair.  I want you to lead on this case.”

A short time later, Alex, Walker, Trivette, and a still groggy Bobbie Hunt met in DA Moody’s hotel room.  Moody had done a lot of checking.  Melody and her family were safe.  The kidnapping of her family by the Khalid brothers was random.  Melody would continue to receive whatever treatment she needed.  She appeared to have really bonded to her aunt.  The aunt and uncle had questioned the DA about adopting Melody.  They felt this would be the closure they all needed. 

There was a leak in the DA’s office.  Apparently there was a third Khalid sibling and she was working in the file room in the DA’s office.  She has been leaking information to Abdul.  She has also been taken into custody. 

When some of the prisoners heard that Mohammad had severely abused and butchered the children, they ganged up on him and literally beat him to death.  He would never reach a trial.  As much as they hoped to prevent it, the DA anticipated the same fate for Abdul.  He wanted him to go to trial, though, and planned to keep him in solitary confinement until the trial date. 

DA Moody apologized to Alex and the rest of the group for the leak from his office.  He granted Alex whatever time off she needed to recuperate. 

With everything wrapped up in Waco, Walker and Alex, Trivette and Bobbie, headed back to Dallas.  Walker told Trivette that he would return to work the following Monday and that he and Alex would be in a place where no one could reach them.

Finally, alone in the RAM, Walker looked at Alex.  She smiled at him, that special one that she reserved only for him.

“So, Cowboy, thanks again!”

“You’re welcome, Counselor.  You did a good job with that little girl, you know.”

“Thanks, I appreciate your help, too.  <sigh>  So, Cowboy, where are you taking me?  Do you realize that you’ve just announced to the world and my boss that you and I are together?”

“Alex, do you really think he didn’t already know it?  As for the whole world, I never had to tell them…CD and Trivette took care of that a long time ago!”

Alex and Walker both laughed, knowing this was true. 

“Walker, I love you.”  Walker rewarded her with a long kiss.

“Where are you taking me?”

“Where no one can find us.  Where would you like to do?”

“Someplace where no one will think to look for us.”  With this, Walker put the RAM in gear and turned it south.”

Out of his rearview mirror, Ranger James Trivette saw his friends heading in the opposite direction and smiled to himself.  He didn’t know their destination.  He and CD would have to discuss that, but he knew they would be together and making lovely memories.  Alex’s nightmares would be gone by the time they returned and would be replaced with happy dreams.

Two hours later found Walker and Alex checking into a hotel in Galveston overlooking the bay.  Alex ran into a shop along the way and picked up some shorts and shirts and sandals for them both and a bikini for her.  As she turned back to the hotel, she saw Walker standing there with his arms folded across his chest and another bag in his hand.  From the look on his face when he saw her, she had a feeling that she wouldn’t be wearing any of the things she had just purchased…well, not this time, anyway!

As she drew closer to him, he fell into step beside her.  His arm found his way around her waist.

“So what did you buy, Cowboy?” 

“I passed this little grocery store and they had the most luscious looking strawberries and cream and I thought of you.”

Alex smiled.  “Well, aren’t you kind!”

“What did you buy?”

“Oh, just a little teeny tiny bikini.”

Chuckling, Walker said, “Do you think you’ll get to a chance to wear it?”

Entering the hotel lobby, arm in arm, Alex laughed a carefree laugh for the first time in days and said, “Well, maybe not outside but I’d at least like to model it for you.”

Finding themselves alone in the elevator, Walker answered her the best way he knew how.  With that special wink and a long kiss, they almost forgot to get off when the door opened.  Alex’s legs were weak by that point.

Walker led her to their room and hung out the ‘do not disturb’ sign before turning and taking her in his arms.  Packages and strawberries were forgotten and clothes found a new home on the floor and the mattress squeaked as two people sank into its softness and entered a world of their own making. 

Meanwhile, in Dallas, Ranger Bobbie Hunt looked for Walker.  Instead she found Trivette.

“Where’s Walker?”

“He and Alex went south for a few days.”

“What do you mean south?”

“I don’t know.  I just saw them turn off the highway shortly as we pulled out of Waco.”

Looking at her crestfallen face, Trivette gently asked her how she was feeling and wanted to know if she wanted to go with him to CD’s.  Smiling and thanking him, she decided she’d better go home and check on her mom and daughter.

Arriving at CD’s, Trivette was full of news.  Both he and CD were patting themselves on the back and congratulating each other on their matchmaking abilities. 

And in a hotel in Galveston, the objects of their matchmaking were sitting on the secluded balcony, feeding each other strawberries and cream and well…doing other things!

                                                            THE END

All legal disclaimers.  All characters are the property of Walker, Texas Ranger and CBS.