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A Friend’s Betrayal

By Cathy

After the group had returned from the ordeal with the Trammel brothers, everyone was understandably concerned about Alex's well being. She had just been through something terrifying and her well being was uppermost on everyone's mind. Walker had tried unsuccessfully several times to get her to open up to him, but Alex was still so scared she preferred not to talk about it just yet. Walker, who was often closed mouthed himself, understood and knew she would talk when she was ready. 

It came time to head back to Dallas. Everyone’s spirits seemed to pick up remarkably. The Trammel brothers were behind bars and Trivette was able to make the trip back, getting the okay from the doctor. Walker still had not been able to get Alex to talk, but he decided to let the subject go, hoping she would come to him when she was ready. Trent, having witnessed first hand what had happened to her, was as concerned as Walker. He too tried to get Alex to open up to him. 

"Alex, do you want to talk about it?" 

"Thanks Trent, but no. I'm just not ready yet. I hope you understand, but thank you so much for everything you did for me." 

"It's okay, really." 

Arriving back in Dallas, everyone cleared out the van and returned to their respective homes. Walker tried to get Alex to come to the ranch, but she declined. He could still feel her pain and wanted to help her, but he also knew she needed time to heal on her own. That first night back, Alex had a restless sleep; continuous nightmares invaded her dreams. She woke up several times crying for her fiancée. Wishing she had gone to the ranch, she finally picked up the phone and called him. 

"Hello." 

"Walker?" He could barely make out her words, but he knew it was Alex and he knew she had been crying. 

"Honey, what is it? What’s wrong?" 

"Walker, please..." 

"I'm on my way." 

"Thank you." 

Alex hung up the phone and waited for Walker to arrive. She knew she could count on him, she could always count on him. After about a half-hour, she could hear his key opening the door to her apartment.

"Alex?" 

Running into his arms, she just shook and continued crying.

"I'm sorry, I was just so scared." 

"It's okay honey, I'm here now, there’s nothing to be afraid of." 

"Walker, I love you so much." 

"I love you too, baby. Now lets get some sleep. I will be right here, I promise." 

Walker led Alex to her bedroom and held her throughout the night, calming her each time her nightmares invaded her sleep. For the next several days, Walker stayed with Alex, either at her apartment or the ranch. He wouldn’t leave her side until he was sure her nightmares had subsided.  

Over the next few weeks, Alex returned to her old self. Her nightmares had gone thanks to her fiancée and things had returned pretty much back to normal. Alex sat at her desk going over her briefs for a case coming up when there was a knock on the door. 

"Come in." 

"Alex, are you busy?" 

"No Trent, what can I do for you?" 

"Well, I was just wondering how you were that’s all." 

"I'm fine thanks. What about you? Is everything okay? You seem a little preoccupied lately." 

"No, everything is fine. Well, I was just worried about you that’s all. I'm glad your okay." 

"Thanks Trent, for everything." 

"No problem, I'll see you later, bye." 

"Goodbye."

After Trent was gone, Alex continued working on her briefs. Something about Trent’s visit was bothering her. They had been friends for a while and she knew that he cared for her, but there was something in his eyes this time. She couldn't quite place it, but something was different. 

Trent continued having the same dream he'd been having since he returned from Utah. It was always the same; Alex being tied to the tree, ready to be whipped by the Trammel brothers, but it was he in the dream who had run up and saved her. It was he who she put her arms around and held. He was the one to comfort and love her, not Walker. Once again he woke in a cold sweat. He tried to figure out why he was having this dream over and over again. He wondered why Alex had been on his mind constantly since they had found her. He was having feelings for her, feelings he knew were wrong, but they were still there and they weren’t going away. He decided he needed to talk to someone, so he went to his best friend Carlos. 

"Trent, what's up? Why did you need to talk to me now?" 

"Carlos, this is important and you were the only one I could trust." 

"Sounds serious, are you ok?" 

"Yeah, but something has been happening and I needed to talk to you." 

"Okay, go ahead." 

"Carlos, I don't know quite how to say it, but I have been having this dream ever since we got back from Utah." 

"What kinda dream?" 

Trent went on to explain the events of his dreams and how he was having them every night. He also told him about going to see Alex and his concern for her.

"Well Carlos, say something. What's going on?" 

"Oh man, Trent, you better get outta town and fast," Carlos said with a slight chuckle.

"Why?" 

"Cause Walker is gonna kill you, that's why." 

"Walker?" 

"Trent, can't you see it? You're in love with Alex. Remember when you told me you were interested in women, not girls? Well, Alex is a woman, in case you haven't noticed and a rather beautiful one at that"

"Carlos, this is serious. Why am I having this dream?" 

"Trent, like I said, seriously all kidding aside, it seems to me that you have feelings for Alex, feelings that go beyond friendship." 

"That can't be." 

"Why not? She is beautiful, smart, has a great job, she's interesting and she has a great body." 

"Carlos." 

"Well, she does. Who wouldn't fall in love with her?" 

"One of her fiancés best friends, that's who shouldn't fall in love with her. What am I going to do?"

"Run and hide pal." 

"Seriously, what am I going to do?"

"Get over it. Find someone else. That's all I can tell you, but if it's real it isn't going to go away." 

"Maybe I'll try staying away from her. That's what I'll do." 

"Well, that's going to be hard. Walker is having that barbecue this weekend and all of us are supposed to go. If you don't show up he may get suspicious."

"You're right. I'll just have to avoid Alex at the picnic."

"Good luck, Trent, you're going to need it. If Walker finds out you're in love with his woman, you're a dead man, friend or not." 

"I know."

Trent's dreams continued, only they were getting worse. They started involving intimate settings between he and Alex. Each night the dreams came and each night they were more and more involved. The barbecue was scheduled for the next afternoon and he had no idea how he was ever going to get through it. 

The next day everyone was getting ready for the barbecue at Walker's ranch. It was an annual event that everyone enjoyed and Walker put a lot of time into preparing for it. There was plenty of food thanks to CD, music (usually provided by some famous entertainer or group that Walker knew personally), horseback riding, horseshoes and plenty of other activities. Raffle tickets were sold and all the proceeds went to the Kick Drugs Out of America Foundation. 

The barbecue was in full swing. Everyone had been out on the horses, eaten more then they should have and were having an all around good time. Most people were relaxing on the porch. Walker sat on the steps with Alex seated between his legs. Trent tried staying away from her all day, but the glances he kept giving her didn't go unnoticed by Carlos and he wasn't the only one, Trivette was noticing his friends strange behavior and made a mental note to ask him about it later. Walker, on the other hand, only had eyes for his fiancée and didn't notice the odd behavior exhibited by his protégé

The horseshoe tournament was in full swing, Walker and Alex were teamed against Trent and Carlos, Trent and Alex on one side, something he had tried to avoid and Walker and Carlos on the other. It was Alex's turn to shoot.

"Come on baby, ringer, you can do it." 

Alex let go of the horseshoe and hit the spike dead on, a ringer it was and Walker was more than proud of her. The game continued with everyone having a good time, Walker and Alex were victorious in the end. Alex gave Trent a hug and congratulated him on a good game. Walker jokingly warned Trent of his advances.

"Hey, watch it man, get too close to her and I may have to hurt you." 

Everyone laughed it off, everyone except Trent, Carlos and Jimmy who now was keeping a very close eye on the young martial arts expert.

As dusk fell over the ranch, Walker had a special treat for everyone. A good friend of his had agreed to come and perform live and everything was just about ready. The stage was set up on the back end of the house. Blankets had been put all along the lawn with chairs for those who preferred not to sit on the ground. Walker took Alex's hand and they sat together snuggled on the blanket. Trivette and Josie sat next to them and Trent stood by the tree on the side. Walker got up for a second and introduced his friend Aaron Tippin who took the stage and began a song that stung Trent right in the heart. 

Maybe we'll never be seen together

At night on a crowded street

I may never reach across your body

And kill the light where you sleep

Maybe I'll never watch you dressing

I won't sound too familiar on the phone

But I can touch your hand accidentally

And take that moment home

That's as close as I'll get to loving you

Even though there's nothing else I'd rather do

I can dream, I can hope, I can scheme, still I know

That's as close as I'll get to loving you

I wont be there when you need holding

But I'm sure that he can pull you through

But I can't sing this song to everybody

And pretend that it's not about you

That's as close as I'll get to loving you

Even though there's nothing else I'd rather do

I can dream, I can hope, I can scheme still I know

That's as close as I'll get to loving you 

When Aaron finished the song, Trent walked away and headed for the house, with Carlos following close behind.

"Trent, what's wrong?" 

"Nothing man, that song, it just got to me that's all." 

"Trent, listen, You have got to get a grip on this, this is insane. I know I joked with you about it, but this is bad, you have to stop it." 

"How can I? Every time I look at her, I want her. Carlos, what am I going to do?" 

"Trent you and Walker are friends. How can you possibly have feelings for his fiancée? You can't betray him like that." 

"I know, don't you think I know that? But how? How am I supposed to stop them when she is all I can think about?" 

"I don't know, but you have to try for your sake. Believe me, if Walker finds out, things are going to get ugly."

The party wrapped up and almost everyone went home. Walker and Alex were cleaning up with the help of their friends; just about everything had been taken care of when Alex rounding the corner bumped straight into Trent.

"Oh, I'm so sorry." 

"It's okay Alex. Don't worry about it." 

"Looks like everything is just about done." 

"Sure seems that way. Do you need a ride home?" 

"No, thanks anyway, but I have my car and besides I think I'm just going to stay here tonight." 

"Oh okay, well, I'll see you tomorrow then." 

Trent walked away with a look of hurt and jealousy on his face. Carlos grabbed his arms and ushered him out the door saying a goodbye to Walker and a thank you for a great time.

"Hon, I think the barbecue went well, don't you?" 

"Yes I do, once again you managed to raise a lot of money for kick drugs. Walker, can I ask you something?"

"Sure hon, what is it?" 

"Have you noticed anything strange about Trent lately? I mean does he seem different to you somehow?"

"No, I haven't noticed anything." 

"Oh well, maybe it's my imagination." 

"Honey, I don't want to talk about Trent. I have other things on my mind." 

"Really, like what?" Alex asked as she gave Walker a sly smile and a wink. 

"Like this," he said as he picked her up and carried her upstairs. 

"Honey, I like the way you think." 

Walker and Alex spent the night making love and just holding each other. Trent, on the other hand, spent the night trying to escape his dreams and deal with his feelings for another mans fiancée. And not just any man, Cordell Walker, his friend, the man who taught him karate and someone he had a great deal of respect and admiration for. But most important, the only man who could beat the crap out of him. The harder he tried, the more thoughts of Alex invaded his mind, not only in his sleep, but while he was awake. She was on his mind constantly. 

Jimmy arrived at C.D.'s first thing in the morning. He was starving and more importantly, he wanted to talk to his friend. He needed some advice and Big Dog always gave it whether you wanted it or not. Right now, Jimmy wanted it. 

"Morning, Big Dog." 

"Mornin' Jim, what brings you out so early?" 

"Well, I'm hungry for one and two I was hoping we could talk." 

"Sure, let me finish this up and I'll come and sit with you." 

C.D. finished what he was doing and joined his long time friend at a table in the back. It was a quiet time at the restaurant and he was sure they wouldn't be disturbed.

"So what's up Jim? What do you need my expertise on?" 

"Big Dog, I have a hypothetical for you." 

"Okay, shoot." 

"Let's say that someone had feelings for Alex." 

"Alex?" 

"Yeah, I mean real feelings for Alex. What do you think Walker would do?" 

"Jimmy, what's this all about?" 

"Just asking that's all." 

"Well, I think it would depend on what kind of feelings your talking about." 

"I think someone is in love with her Big Dog. Someone close to all of us." 

"Really, who?" 

"Never mind, I just want to know what Walker would do." 

"Well, you know him just like I do. What do you think he would do?" 

"I'm afraid to think of it." 

"Well, he is a reasonable man and he doesn't like violence unless it's with a bad guy, but basically he's against it, so I don't know. If it involves Alex, I can't really say. We both know how much he loves that little lady and if someone was threatening that... I just don't know Jim."

"That's what I was afraid of." 

"Jim, who is this we're talking about? Who is in love with Alex?" 

"Listen, this is just between you and me, no further okay?" 

"Okay."

"Trent." 

"Malloy?" 

"Yes." 

"No way, he's Walker's friend." 

"I know, but did you see him yesterday? I'm telling you man, he is in love with her." 

"You mean you noticed it and Walker didn't?" 

"Walker only looks at Alex when she's in the room, he hardly notices you Big Dog." 

"Very funny." 

"No seriously, what should we do about it? Should we say something to him or to Trent or to Alex?" 

"Relax, Jim. Don't say anything. I'm sure it will all work itself out. Walker and Alex belong together, everyone knows that and Trent will realize it too. He can't think that anything will come from this, he just can't." 

"I guess you're right. And what good would it do to tell Walker? It would only make him angry." 

"That's right. Now you better get going before Josie comes looking for you." 

"Okay, thanks Big Dog." 

"Anytime Jim." 

C.D. continued getting ready for the breakfast crowd after Jimmy left. Wiping the counter, his mind was wandering and he began talking to himself.

"Man Jim, I hope you're wrong about this. Trent being in love with Alex could make for some painful truth and where Cordell is concerned, real painful. He would hold onto that lady with his last breath. I have never seen him so in love with anyone before. God, please don't let Jimmy be right." 

Carlos arrived at Trent's house. He had wanted to talk to his best friend the night before, but since they both had some alcohol in them, the timing just wasn't right.

"Trent, you about ready?" 

"Yeah, just give me a minute okay? I didn't expect you so soon." 

"I told you last night that I was coming by early so that you could help me with some martial arts moves. I need to get better." 

"Well, let's get going." 

"Not so fast, we need to talk." 

"About?" 

"You know what about. Are you nuts? You should have worn a sign yesterday stating your feelings for Walker's fiancée." 

"What do you mean?" 

"Trent, I saw it and I don't know how many other people saw it. It's in your eyes, people are gonna see it." 

"What do you want from me? I can't stop it. I'm sorry." 

"Fine. Do whatever you want, but I'm telling you, nothing good is going to come from this."

 
A few months had passed since the barbecue. Trent's feelings for Alex only increased with time. He made up excuses to be in her company. Carlos tried over and over again to get him to forget her. Trivette's protectiveness for Walker and Alex and for their relationship was kicking into overdrive. He knew with all his heart that this was a bomb waiting to explode and he was powerless to stop it.

Walker and Alex arrived at work together. Saying their good-byes in front of the elevator, they made plans for lunch at C.D.'s.

"Honey, we are supposed to get snow later this afternoon and tonight, I don't want you driving yourself." 

"You worry too much." 

"Well, that's my job. Now don't leave here without me okay? Promise?" 

"I promise. Besides, I can think of nothing I would love more than to spend more time with you." 

"Good, now give me a kiss and have a good day, okay?" 

"Okay, I love you." 

"Love you too, hon. See you later." 

Trent had been working on a case involving Maria Sanchez. She was a small frail woman whose life had been filled with abuse by her husband, Juan. Trent was trying to help her get away from him, but so far she refused saying that he would kill her if she tried to leave. Thinking maybe talking to Alex would help; he headed for the ADA's office. Besides, it did give him an excuse to get close to her and spend some time with her. Although he knew it was wrong and he shouldn't be having these feelings, it didn't stop them. He knocked gently on her office door and entered upon hearing her 'come in'.

"Trent, what's up?" 

"Alex, I need your help." 

"Sure, what is it?" 

Trent went on to explain Maria's problems and knowing Alex's continued efforts to stop spousal abuse and free women from lives of torment, he was sure she would help him. Maybe another woman could convince Maria to make a stand and get away. As expected, Alex agreed to help him. They called Maria and she said that she would be waiting for them at seven o'clock that evening. She lived about three hours outside of Dallas.

"Trent, I have to go and tell Walker. He said there is a storm coming and didn't want me driving alone." 

"Okay, let's go and tell him. I'm sure he won't mind you coming with me."

Alex and Trent walked into Ranger Headquarters together earning a stare from Trivette, but a smile from walker.

"Honey, I'm going to go with Trent and help him on a case." 

"What kinda case?" 

"Well, we are going to pick up Maria Sanchez. She's an abused woman and Trent thought maybe I could help her." 

"Alex, I told you about the storm coming. I really don't want you out on the roads."

"I know, but Trent will keep me safe." 

"No, you shouldn't go," Trivette blurted out.

"Jimmy, what's wrong?" 

"Oh nothing, it's just that the weather service is predicting almost zero visibility. I just don't want anything to happen, that's all." 

"Honey, maybe Trivette's right, maybe I should go with Trent." 

"But she's counting on me coming, everything will be all right, I promise. Try not to worry so much." 

"Okay, but please be careful. Trent you keep her safe, you hear?" 

"I will take good care of her Walker, I promise." 

"You'd better." 

"Come on honey, I'll walk you down."

Walker took Alex's hand and walked down to Trent's car with them. He kissed his fiancée goodbye and reminded her that he loved her. Alex and Trent headed out to pick up Maria.

The storm had already started and Trent's car wasn't the best in the snow, plus the visibility wasn't helping any. He took it slow to keep Alex calm since she was already regretting her decision to accompany him. Walker was always right and maybe she should have stayed behind, but it was too late and they were on their way.

Meanwhile, back at Ranger Headquarters: 

"Walker, you shouldn't have let Alex go." 

"I know, I don't like her being out in this weather." 

"Oh yeah, the weather." 

"Trivette, what's that supposed to mean?" 

"Oh, nothing." 

"Look Trivette, Trent will keep her safe and if he doesn't, well, he'll deal with me." 

'I hope that's all he does is keep her safe', Trivette mumbled under his breath. He was beginning to think that Walker should know what he suspected. Just as he was about to voice his opinion, Carlos came through the door.

"Carlos, what's up?" 

"Walker, I was looking for Trent. Have you seen him?" 

"Well, as a matter of fact, he went out on a case with Alex a little while ago." 

"With Alex?" 

"Yeah, why something wrong?" 

"Ah... no... Nothings wrong." Trivette sensed that Carlos was uncomfortable with the situation and decided they needed to talk, but it would be hard with Walker there. He needed to make up some excuse.

"Walker, could you do me a favor? Forensics is supposed to be getting some evidence for me. Could you go and check on it?" 

"Trivette, I really wanted to wait for Alex to call, I have a feeling something is wrong." 

"Please Walker, this is important." 

"Okay, sure, I'll be right back." 

Walker left and Trivette bolted in Carlos' direction.

"Carlos, we have to talk, now." 

Trivette half dragged Carlos into the interrogation room just in case Walker came back too soon. Closing the door, he motioned for Carlos to have a seat and sat across from him.

"Was is it Trivette?" 

"Okay, out with it. I saw the look on your face when Walker mentioned Alex going with Trent. What's going on?" 

"Why do you ask?" 

"Come on Carlos, I'm not blind or stupid. I was at the barbecue and I have seen a lot more than I wanted to over the last couple of months, so start talking." 

"Oh man Trivette, I don't know what to do at this point. I tried to get him to forget her, but it's no use." 

"Then I was right. Trent is in love with Alex isn't he?" 

"I'm afraid so." 

"Man, if Walker finds out." 

"I know." 

"Well, what happened? When did all of this start?" 

"Well, the first time he mentioned it to me was after we came back from Utah. He started having all kinds of dreams and then going and seeing her and more dreams, but it's getting out of hand. I tried talking to him after the barbecue, but he said he couldn't stop it. He tried, but she's all he can think about. What are we going to do?" 

"Carlos, do you think Trent will say something to Alex?" 

"I don't know. At this point, your guess is as good as mine." 

"Walker will kill him man. Where Alex is concerned, Walker can be like a pit bull. It's bad enough with someone who wants to hurt her, but someone else being in love with her, that's stepping into Walkers territory and I can tell you he won't take it lying down."

"What do you think he'll do?" 

"I don't know, I really don't." 

Trent and Alex continued on their way to Maria's. The roads were getting worse and Trent could barely see two feet in front of him. Suddenly, his car started sliding. He tried to control it, but it was no use, it slid off the road hit a tree and landed in a ditch. Alex bumped her head on the front window causing a slight lump.

"Alex, are you all right?" 

"I think so, I just bumped my head." 

"We need to get out and find shelter, hitting the tree must have damaged the engine so it's going to get pretty cold in here." 

"I need to call Walker and let him know what happen." 

"Okay."

Alex tried to reach her fiancée but her phone was out of range and she couldn't get through. Trent helped her out of the car and they both started walking, hoping and praying they would find shelter soon. The snow was falling fast and they were both getting soaked. Alex's bruise on her head was hurting and she was starting to feel dizzy. They walked and walked for what seemed like miles all the while Trent holding Alex close. He wanted and needed to protect her, he would do anything to keep her safe. He could feel her shivering. The cold air mixed with the wet clothing was causing their bodies to beg for warmth. 

"Walker, have you heard from Alex yet?" 

"No and I'm starting to get worried. It's bad out there. Most of the secondary roads are being closed and even the main ones are almost impassible. " 

"Maybe we should head out and look for them, just in case." 

"Good idea, except we haven't a clue where they went. What was the lady's name they were going to pick up?" 

"Maria, Maria Sanchez, that's it." 

"Let's go over to Trent's place and see if we can find an address or phone number on her." 

Walker and Trivette headed over to Trent's. Walker's four-wheel drive truck made the trek pretty easy. Arriving at Trent's house, they were able to find a phone number on Mrs. Sanchez. Walker called and found out that they hadn't arrived yet, causing him to really worry since they should have gotten there a couple of hours ago. With the Sanchez address, he could try and figure out which direction they would head and take it from there. 

 Alex and Trent continued walking, when he saw a shape in the distance. It looked like it could be cabin of some kind. He only hoped someone lived there and it was heated, he needed to get Alex to safety and get her warmed up. Finally arriving at the cabin, it looked deserted, but it was a place to stay, at least for a while. Trent helped Alex inside and had her lay in front of the fireplace. He searched for wood, but there wasn't any and it almost felt as cold inside as it did outside.

Alex lay on the floor in front of the fireplace shivering. He held her trying to keep her warm, but it didn't seem to be working. She was shivering so badly, he was afraid hypothermia might be setting in. He needed to get her warmed up and the wet clothes she was wearing weren't helping the situation. Trent searched around the cabin for firewood. The only thing he could find to use was the broken down furniture. Deciding it was better than nothing; he started throwing it into the fireplace. Finding matches, he lit the fire and lay next to Alex. He had to warm her up; maybe body heat would help. Against his better judgment, he removed Alex's clothes and his own.

This situation wasn't helping his feelings for her, but right now her health was uppermost on his mind. Looking down on her, all he could see was how beautiful she was; her face, her body; she was like an angel. As he continued to hold her, she started to speak even though her eyes remained closed.

"Walker?" 

"It's okay Alex. I'm here. I won't let anything happen to you." 

"Walker, I'm so cold." 

"It's okay honey; the fire will warm you up soon. I know. I'm cold too and I feel a little dizzy. It must be from being so cold."

Trent continued holding Alex close to him, he wanted her so bad it was all he could think about. She was still shivering and the fire didn't seem to be helping. He pulled her closer and held her tight. Looking at her beautiful face before him, he leaned in to capture her lips in his, touching them briefly at first and then leaning in again, kissing her passionately. Alex, in her present condition, had not realized that it wasn't Walker who was kissing her. When she returned the kiss, Trent lost all thoughts of right and wrong. He continued kissing her and moved over her naked body. All he wanted was to make love to her, to one of his best friend's fiancée, the love of Walker's life. He knew that what he was about to do would betray Walker like he had never been betrayed in his life, but still he couldn't stop himself, he wanted to make love to her and he did. 

"I'm sorry Alex," Trent whispered in her ear. Alex was once again unconscious, and Trent was extremely guilt ridden. How could he have done it? He took advantage of this beautiful woman before him. Even though he himself was feeling the effects of the cold, he had taken advantage of a woman he knew loved someone else, a woman he knew thought he was someone else. He had never been more ashamed of himself than he was at that moment, but still he loved her more. 

Meanwhile, Walker and Trivette searched through the storm looking for Alex and Trent, praying they would find them. The roads were treacherous, but they kept searching, they kept looking. About half a mile up the road, Walker thought he saw a car in the ditch, as he pulled closer he recognized Trent's car. 

"Trivette, it's Trent's car. God, let her be all right." 

Walker and Trivette searched the car. Upon finding no one inside, they realized they must have gotten out and tried to find shelter. Walker was able to find footprints, although they were becoming completely covered with the new fallen snow. He was nonetheless able to follow them.

"Come on Trivette, they went this way." 

Trent, in the meantime, had dried their clothes in front of the fire and dressed himself, helping Alex with her clothes. She was still pretty much out of it, but coming around. The fire was finally helping and he sat and continued holding her. He was getting tired himself and was just about to sleep when he heard someone calling. 

"Alex, Alex are you here? Trent?" 

"Walker." 

Walker and Trivette entered the cabin to find Alex and Trent sitting in front of the fire.

"Thank god, are you guys all right? Alex baby, are you okay?" Walker went to his fiancée and took her in his arms. She was still pretty cold, but getting warmer. He held her tight and she returned the embrace. 

"Walker, I love you so much, thank you." 

"For what?" 

"For loving me."

"I'll always love you sweetheart." 

"Trent, what happened? We saw your car in the ditch, but how long have you guys been here?" 

"About four hours I guess. We tried to keep warm; Alex was pretty much out of it the whole time. This is really the first time she has spoken in full sentences since the car hit the tree."

"Baby, come here and sit. Are you sure you're okay?" 

"I am now; you always take care of me. What would I ever do without you?" 

Trent watched as Alex continued with love and praise for her fiancée He was starting to feel a little sick about what had happened earlier and he was noticing the looks Trivette was giving him, but decided they were just looks of concern. There was no way he could possibly suspect anything and as far as he knew, even Alex didn't know. The only words she had spoken were words to Walker. His was the only name she spoke. 

Walker and Trivette helped Alex and Trent back to the truck. Holding Alex close, Walker once again thanked the spirits for his love's safe return. Heading back to Dallas after calling a tow truck for Trent's car, he insisted on Alex being checked out at the hospital. She was diagnosed with a mild concussion, but both she and Trent were given the okay to return home. 

Walker insisted on Alex spending a few days at the ranch. He wanted to keep a close eye on her, but more importantly, he just wanted her near him. Alex agreed and after picking up some things at her apartment, they headed for the ranch. The first couple of days at the ranch went by smoothly. Alex was feeling great. Walker had coddled her like he always did whenever she had been through something traumatic. She appreciated his concern, although sometimes her independent streak made her want to take care of herself. She knew it was only out of love that he acted this way, so she went along with it and said nothing. Secretly, she loved all the attention he was giving her. 

On the third night, Alex had fallen asleep in Walkers arms. Her dreams were pretty much uneventful, the usual things she dreamt about, mostly Walker, until she started dreaming about that night in the cabin. She could feel the cold, she could see the cabin and she could feel his lips on hers. She returned Walker's kiss and embrace and she could see them making love. She called his name and when he looked at her, it was Trent. Alex bolted upright in bed, breathing heavily and trying to figure out what she had just seen. Walker, hearing the disturbance, reached out for her.

"Alex, honey are you all right?" 

"I'm fine hon, go back to sleep." 

"Did you have a bad dream?" 

"Uh... yeah, I think so. Don't worry about it cowboy." 

Walker held her close and drifted back to sleep. Alex, on the other hand, lay wide-awake staring at the ceiling trying to understand her dream. She barely remembered being at the cabin. She knew they had walked there after the car slid off the road and she remembered being so cold and drifting off to sleep. She also remembered Walker finding them and taking them home, but what did that dream mean? 

Trent had taken a couple of days off after they returned from the cabin. Carlos tried several times to reach him, but was unsuccessful. Finally, he decided to stop by himself, maybe Trent would be home and they could talk. 

"Trent, are you here, Trent?" 

Carlos found Trent sitting in the living room alone in the dark.

"Trent, what's up man, where have you been?" 

"I've been here Carlos." 

"What's wrong? You haven't been answering my calls." 

"I know, I'm sorry, I just wanted to be alone." 

"Come on Trent, we have been friends too long for you to bail on me now. What's going on?" 

"Carlos, I can't talk about it, not even with you." 

"Trent, does this have something to do with Alex? What's going on?" 

Trent knew that he needed to tell someone. He needed to talk to someone about this before the guilt totally consumed him and Carlos was his best friend. He knew he could confide in him and it would stay with him. 

"Carlos, I really do need someone to talk to." 

"Well, that's what I'm here for. What's going on?"

"Carlos, I did something. I can't believe it, but I did it and now I can't deal with it." 

"Trent, what did you do, what happened?"

"Carlos, that night of the storm, Alex and I walked to the cabin. Did Walker or Trivette mention anything about it to you?" 

"Yeah, they told me about your car and how they found you guys, why?" 

"Well, at the cabin, Alex was so cold; I had to get her warmed up. Her clothes were soaked and I started a fire. Alex wasn't even aware of anything, she just kept drifting in and out." 

"Trent." 

"Carlos, I kissed her." 

"Well, that's not so bad." 

"Wait, there's more."

"More?" 

"She kissed me back. She called me Walker. I don't know what happened, I couldn't stop myself. She just kept calling me Walker. God Carlos, she thought I was him." 

"Trent, what did you do?" 

"I made love to her. God, forgive me, I made love to Walkers' fiancée. What am I going to do?" 

"Oh my god, Trent. How could you have done that?" 

"I wanted her. I knew it was wrong, I wasn't exactly in my right frame of mind either, but that's no excuse. Carlos I need your help, what should I do?" 

"I'll tell you what to do. Forget it. Don't ever think about it or mention it again. You need to forget her Trent and forget what happened." 

"How can I?  I can't forget it." 

"You have to. For your own sake as well as Alex's, forget it. Plus, from what you told me, she doesn't even know. Why stir up trouble that can be avoided? Besides, Walker will kill you man, he will literally kill you." 

"Do you think so?" 

"Are you kidding me? You slept with the woman he loves. Not only did you sleep with her, but you also took advantage of a situation that she wasn't even aware of. She thought you were Walker man, of course he's gonna kill you."

"Maybe you're right, maybe I should just forget it. Alex doesn't even know it happened, only I do and now you." 

"Well, maybe not." 

"What do you mean?" 

"Trent, Trivette knows you love her. He came to me and asked me point blank, I had to confess. Trivette looked like he wanted to hurt someone and I didn't want it to be me, but that's all he knows I swear." 

"Oh, great. It's only a matter of time before he starts asking questions and you know Trivette, once he thinks he knows something, he will dig and dig until he gets to the truth. Especially if it involves Walker and Alex, he loves those two like family." 

"Trent, look, just forget it. Trivette doesn't know anything about this." 

"Okay and thanks Carlos" 

"You bet. You better get some rest, you look like hell." 

"Okay, I'll talk to you later." 

"Right, bye man." 

Another week had gone by and Alex was still at the ranch. She had the same dream four more times. Each time it got more vivid than the time before and it was starting to get to her. Why was she having this dream about Trent and why didn't she remember anything from that night? She needed to get to the bottom of it and she knew exactly who to ask, she was going to see Trent. 

Alex left for Trent's house while Walker was in the shower. She arrived a few minutes after nine o'clock and knocked on the door. Opening the door, Trent was surprised to say the least at who stood before him.

"Alex, this is a surprise." 

"Trent, I'm sorry for coming by so early, but I really needed to talk to you." 

"Sure, come on in." 

Trent was starting to feel a little nervous. Alex looked like a woman on a mission and he didn't want to think of what she might want. 

"Alex, what is it? You look a little worried." 

"Trent, I don't want you to mention anything about this conversation to anyone, but I have been having a dream and I need to ask you about it." 

"A dream?"

"Yes, about that night in the cabin." 

"Really, what was the dream about?" Trent was starting to sweat, this couldn't be happening, she couldn't be dreaming about it. 

"Trent, I need you to tell me everything that happened that night, everything." 

"Why?" 

"I just do, that's why. What happened after we got to the cabin? I don't remember anything, but my dream..." Alex didn't finish her sentence. Trent could see the look of despair on her face and the confusion in her eyes. His guilt was rising and he didn't know what to do. Should he tell her and deal with the consequences or should he lie and tell her a made up story? 

"Alex, tell me what your dream was about." 

"I can't." 

"Why?" 

"It's too embarrassing." 

"Embarrassing?" 

"Yes, I just need to know what happened." 

Trent proceeded to tell Alex what happened. About her soaking wet clothes, the fire he built, how she kept drifting in and out of consciousness and how she called him Walker. 

"I called you Walker?" 

"Yes." 

"Oh my god Trent. What did I do?" 

Trent looked into the face of the woman he still loved, even though he tried not to, she was just so easy to love. He wondered how every man she ever met hadn't fallen instantly in love with her. One thing he did know was that he couldn't lie to her. He had to tell her the truth even if she hated him forever. He still needed to be honest with her. He could see that she blamed herself for something and he needed to set the record straight.

"Alex, you didn't do anything." 

"Oh good, I was so scared." 

"I did." 

"What?" 

"Alex, I'm so sorry, but I couldn't help it. I love you. I wanted you." 

"Trent, what are you telling me?" 

"Alex, I made love to you. I'm so sorry. If I could take it back I would, but you kissed me and you thought I was Walker." 

"Oh my god, this can't be happening." 

"It wasn't your fault, it was my fault, you didn't even know it was me." 

"What the hell difference does that make? I made love to you. I may have thought it was Walker, but it was you and I still did it. My dreams were right. How could I betray him like that? He will never forgive me." 

"Alex, Walker doesn't ever have to know. I won't say anything. I'm so sorry." 

"Walker does have to know, I have to tell him." 

"Why?" 

"Why? Because I love him and he deserves to know what I did." 

"You didn't do anything, it was my fault." 

"That doesn't matter. I still did it and I have to tell him. He is never going to forgive me. I am going to lose him. I am going to lose the only man I will ever love."

Alex's tears were falling and Trent tried to comfort her. She pushed him away, trying to control herself. She picked up her purse and headed out the door. Once in her car, she continued crying, harder and harder. How could she have done this? She would never betray Walker this way, yet she had. He would never forgive her, but most of all she would never forgive herself. 

Trent called Carlos right away and filled him in. Someone needed to stop Alex before she got to Walker. Carlos decided to call Trivette and fill him in. Trivette was having a hard time absorbing what he had just been told. He wanted to kill Trent, but right now getting to Alex was his first priority. Trent could wait. He dialed Alex's cell phone, when she answered he made up something important that he needed to see her about and she headed for Trivette's apartment. 

"Jimmy, what's so important? Can't this wait? I have something I have to do." 

"Alex, I need to talk to you and no it can't wait." 

"Jimmy, what is it?" 

"Alex, I know, I know everything." 

"What do you mean you know?" 

"I know about what happened at the cabin, Carlos just called me. Alex, you can't tell Walker." 

"I have to. What do you mean Carlos called you? How does he know?" 

Trivette told Alex about his suspicions and how Carlos filled him in. He explained about how Trent was in love with her and how Carlos had tried to get him to forget her.

"What do you mean he is in love with me?" 

"Alex, Trent is in love with you. You can't tell me you never noticed." 

"No, well, I did notice he came to see me more often, but it never occurred to me. Walker is one of Trent's best friends." 

"I know. I feel terrible about this, but what good would it do to tell him? It would only hurt him. You know that." 

"Jimmy, I appreciate everything that you are trying to do for me and for Walker, but I cant do it." Alex spoke through her tears, Trivette held her and tried to comfort her, but Alex's heart was breaking. Not for herself, her heart was breaking for Walker. She loved him so much and she knew that telling him would break his heart. She would never forgive herself for causing him pain, but she couldn't lie to him. 

"Why?"

"Because, I love him Jimmy. I love Walker like I have never or will ever, love anyone else. I can't betray him, I won't. I have to tell him the truth or it will cloud the rest of our lives. I only pray that he will forgive me, but I am not getting my hopes up. Walker is a very forgiving man, but this is asking too much of him. I know he loves me, but I have hurt him and he doesn't even know it. If I don't tell him, every time I look at him, every time I make love to him and every time I tell him I love him, I will know that I have a secret that would destroy the love he has for me. I am going to lose him Jimmy. I know it. It will kill me, but I can't lie to him. I never have and I never will. I have to tell him." 

"Alex, I will stand behind you whatever you decide to do, but don't underestimate Walker or his love for you. It's not like you did it willingly. Trent took advantage of you and your feelings for Walker. He betrayed Walker and he betrayed you. Walker loves you more than anything, he may be angry at first, but he will forgive you, believe me." 

"I can't lose him Jimmy, I can't." 

"Alex, everything will be okay, I promise. Walker loves you like he has never loved anyone before. Have faith in him, okay?" 

"I hope you're right Jimmy. I better get going, I need to talk to him." 

"Alex?" 

"Yeah." 

"Don't worry, okay? It will all work out. You two belong together. I know it and so does Walker. He loves you." 

"I hope you're right. Thanks Jimmy, for everything." 

"Sure, hon. If you need me, you know where to find me." 

"I always do, bye." 

"Bye, Alex." 

Alex headed out to the ranch to talk to her fiancée Jimmy wanted to go and see Trent. He wanted to beat some sense into him, but he decided it wouldn't solve anything. It was something that Walker would need to handle however he saw fit and Jimmy would respect that and leave it up to his partner. He hoped and prayed that this would work out, three lives could be destroyed in a matter of hours if Walker didn't forgive Alex or Trent. Jimmy headed to CD's to fill in his friend on what was about to take place.

C.D. had no answers for Jimmy, he had no idea what Walker would do. He too prayed that he and Alex could work it out. A love like theirs came along once, if that, in a persons lifetime. It would be a downright shame to throw it away over something that little lady had no control over. He only hoped Walker would see it that way. 

Alex headed out to the ranch. She had no idea how she was going to bring this up or how she was ever going to tell him what happened. How could Trent have done something like this? He was supposed to be her friend. Not only Walker's, but hers. How could he have taken advantage of her this way? Her tears were falling as she got closer to the ranch. Pulling into the driveway, Alex tried to pull herself together. She didn't want Walker to see that she had been crying. Parking her car, she got out and headed for the steps. Opening the door, she could feel her stomach tightening, knowing she was going to break the heart of the man she loved. She slowly made her way into the living room calling for her fiancée.

"Walker, are you here?" 

"Hi honey, where have you been? I was getting worried." 

"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to leave without telling you, but I had something I needed to take care of." 

Alex knew that putting this off wasn't the answer, she needed to talk to him now.

"Walker?" 

"Yeah baby." 

"I need to talk to you, it's important." 

"Sure, hon." 

"Come and sit down."

Walker and Alex went to sit on the sofa. Looking into his eyes, she knew this was going to be harder than she ever imagined, but maybe Trivette was right, maybe Walker would forgive her.

"Walker, I need to tell you something and I don't want you to say anything until I'm finished, okay?" 

Walker was getting an uneasy feeling already. Alex looked so intense; he had never seen that look on her face before unless she was grilling a suspect on the stand. She also looked hurt and he began wondering if he had done something to upset her.

"Alex, you look upset. Did I do something to make you mad at me?" 

"No sweetheart, please don't think that. I love you Walker. I love you." 

"I know, I love you too." 

Alex already had tears in her eyes. Walker tried to comfort her, but she took his arm away and asked that he please just listen and he agreed. 

Alex went on to tell Walker the whole story, everything. When she finished, she looked into the eyes of the man she loved with all her heart and for the first time since she had known him she saw something she never had before, Walker was crying. He said nothing; he just got up, picked up his jacket and headed for the front door.

"Walker, please don't leave. Talk to me. I'm so sorry. I love you." 

But he didn't answer. He headed for the Ram and left the ranch. Alex ran upstairs and fell onto Walker's bed, her tears flowing and her body shaking to the very core. She had destroyed the love that Walker had for her. She knew it. The last thing she saw before she cried herself to sleep was the look of hurt in his tear filled eyes.

After driving around for hours, Walker headed for the gym at Ranger headquarters. He punched and punched the bag, over and over again, his anger building to a fever pitch. He continued his assault on the punching bag. Next came the karate moves, once again harder and faster than he ever had before. Fortunately for Trent, he seemed to take his anger out on the bag. He grabbed the bag for the last time, sliding down onto the floor with his head resting on his knees. He cried for himself and for Alex, a woman he loved like he had never loved before. Not knowing what to think or what to do, he remained there for several hours trying to compose himself before he headed out in search of Trent Malloy. 

Alex woke to the sound of the radio playing a song that brought her tears flowing freely once again. 

When I woke up this morning

And wiped the sleep from my eyes

I found a new day dawning

And suddenly I realized

You're gone

Tell me I was dreamin'

That you didn't leave me here to cry

You didn't say you don't love me anymore

It was just my imagination tellin' lies

Tell me that you didn't say goodbye 

Alex continued crying as she clung to Walkers' pillow. 

I'm in a state of confusion

I hope things aren't what they seem

That this isn't really happening

Just let me go back to dream

You're home

Tell me I was dreamin'

That you didn't leave me here to cry

You didn't say you don't love me anymore

It was just my imagination telling lies

Tell me that you didn't say goodbye 

"Please Walker, don't leave me. I love you. Where are you? Please come back." 

 
Trent Malloy awoke to the sounds of banging on his front door. Whoever it was seemed anxious and out of patience and Trent had a pretty good idea who was waiting for him on the other side. Preparing himself, he went and opened the door.

"Walker." 

"Trent" 

"Can I come in?" 

"Sure." 

Trent was shocked at how composed Walker seemed. Must be all that training and self-meditation, the man seemed like a rock. He had no statement at all, although he looked like he hadn't slept all night.

"Trent, we need to talk." 

"About?" was Trent's cautious reply in case Alex had not said anything to him. 

"Oh, I think you know what about. I want to talk to you about what happened between you and my fiancée." 

"Walker, please don't blame Alex for this. She didn't even realize..." 

Walker interrupted him before he got any further.

"Trent, I think from now on, you better leave Alex to me, but you and I need to talk first." 

"Okay." 

"Trent, last night Alex told me some things that hurt me more than I ever thought was possible. I have been through a lot in my life, but the one thing I never had to deal with was someone that I thought of like a brother betraying me the way you did." 

"Walker." 

"Let me finish. Like I said, I think of you like a brother. I have protected you, taught you and respected you. For you to do what you did goes beyond anything that I can understand. Now don't get me wrong, as far as falling in love with Alex, that I can understand. She is everything that any man could ever want. She's beautiful, intelligent, kind, caring. Lord knows I messed up with her many times, but Alex belongs to me. Not in the macho male way you may think 'belongs' means, but in my heart and in hers, we are a part of each other. Now from what she told me, she was not aware of what happened and she thought that it was me she was with. How you could have taken advantage of her that way, I just can't understand. If you only knew how much I want to hurt you right now. If I had come here last night, believe me only one of us would have been standing. But that's not my way, at least with someone who hasn't broken the law and it wouldn't solve anything anyway. I don't understand how you could have been in love with her all this time and I didn't realize it. I guess it was because I never thought that anyone that I cared for and loved like family would try and take something so precious, something that meant everything to me, away. Least of all you. If I thought for a second that Alex had feelings for you, that she was in love with you, I would step aside and let her go. My love for Alex goes way beyond what she looks like or who she is. I love her enough to only want her to be happy, but I believe with all my heart that it's me that Alex wants. It always has been, for both of us. Trent, I would give up my life in order to save hers. Can you say that you would do the same?" 

"No, I don't know." 

"I didn't think so. What you feel for Alex is a physical love." 

"Physical?" 

"Yes, you were attracted to what she looked like. Who she was and how she was." 

"Walker, what I felt was real." 

"Maybe to you it was and I'm not trying to say that you don't have feelings for her, but think about it. Why, after all of this time, did you suddenly fall in love with her? Why, after the incident in Utah, did you suddenly think you loved her? You saw her hurt and upset and your heart went out to her. Alex has that effect on lots of people, believe me. But it's not the kind of love that I feel for her; Alex is everything to me. She is the reason I breathe. The reason that I am. Can you understand that?" 

"I think so. I never thought of it that way before. Walker, I am so sorry that this happened, but you have to believe that Alex didn't know what happened. It wasn't her fault." 

"Trent, you don't have to tell me that. I already knew it wasn't, because I know her and I know that Alex would never and could never consciously betray our love like that. She couldn't anymore than I could. We mean too much to each other. Trent, that's all I came to say. I will put this behind me and I want you to do the same, but believe me when I tell you this; don't ever go near her again or this conversation will be completely different. Do you understand me?" 

"Yes." 

"Good." 

"Oh and Walker?" 

"Yeah." 

"You are a better man than I am. I wouldn't have been able to handle it the way you have." 

"Trent, don't get me wrong. Don't think for a minute that this didn't mean anything to me. Nothing is worth losing Alex, nothing. I spent a lot of time last night alone, trying to figure out what I should do. I could have left her. I could have killed you, but what would that prove? Only that I was a jealous fool and I am not about to lose something that means more to me than anything in this world over that. Now, I'm not saying that I wasn't hurt or upset. I was and I still am, but like I said, I won't lose Alex for anything, not anything."

"Thanks, Walker. For not hurting me. I know you easily could have." 

"That's right and don't forget it." 

"I won't and again, I am so sorry." 

"Goodbye, Trent."

"Goodbye."

Walker left and Trent breathed a deep sigh of relief. He knew what would have happened if Walker had reacted differently. He knew he wouldn't be standing there. As good as he was, Walker was and always would be the best. 

Cordell Walker pulled into the long driveway of the ranch. Alex's car was still there. He knew he made a mistake the way he left the night before, but he had no other choice. Alex's words cut through his heart like a knife. The pain of hearing it felt like the life drained from his very soul. He needed to get away, to think before he reacted so he could be at peace with himself before he said anything to her. After shutting off the Ram, he headed into the house.

Not seeing or hearing Alex, Walker headed upstairs. Opening the door to his bedroom, he found Alex sleeping on the bed. She was still in the clothes she had been wearing the night before. She was clinging to his pillow and lying on his side of the bed. He slowly made his way over and sat on the bed opposite his fiancée. Gently placing his hand on her shoulder and kissing her cheek, he softly called her name.

"Alex."

Alex turned and saw the face of her fiancée looking down at her. Her first reaction was to throw her arms around him and never let go, but she didn't. She waited for Walker to say something.

"Alex, come on, let's go for a ride." 

"Walker." 

"Hush, don't say anything. Let's just go, okay?" 

Walker saddled the horses and waited for Alex to come out of the house. She didn't ask any questions. She only did what he wanted. He still seemed upset, but for some reason he seemed calm at the same time. When Alex came outside, he helped her onto Angel and they headed out onto the ranch. Walker knew where he wanted to go. He led the way on Ranger and Alex followed on Angel. They rode and rode and seemed to be getting further and further away. Alex didn't recognize anything; she had never been to this part of the ranch before. Up ahead there was a clearing. Although it was still a little snow covered, you could see the grass and there were rocks, large ones that looked down onto a beautiful stream. At least in the spring it would be a stream; right now it was slightly frozen. Walker stopped and dismounted his horse. Helping Alex off of hers, he took her hand and led her to one of the rocks. Taking off his jacket and placing it on the rock beside himself, he motioned for Alex to sit down.

"Alex, are you warm enough?" 

"Yes, I'm fine." Alex knew she should be freezing, but for some reason she wasn't. She was more scared than anything, wondering if Walker brought her here to end their engagement as well as their relationship. Her heart pounded as she waited for him to speak.

"Isn't it beautiful here?" 

"It sure is." 

"Alex, the reason I brought you here..." 

"Walker wait, you don't have to say anything. I understand." 

"Understand what?" 

"I know why you brought me here and I understand and I don't blame you for what you have to do. I betrayed you in a way that is unforgivable and even though I didn't realize it, it doesn't make it any better. I still did it and I can't take it back. I wish I could. I never should have gone with Trent and if I had known how he felt about me, I wouldn't have. I love you Walker, so much, but I understand why you're doing this." 

"Alex, I don't think you do. The reason that I brought you here was because this place means a lot to me. I lived on this ranch a long time before I ever found this place. One day I came up here on Amigo and just sat and looked out over the stream. I needed to get some things straight with myself; I needed to understand what I was feeling inside. Feelings that at the time were scaring me, so I came here. Every time I ever came up here, whatever was wrong always seemed to be put right."  

"What kind of feelings?" 

"Feelings about you Alex. After we had known each other and worked together I started looking at you differently. At first it was just a physical reaction to how beautiful you were, but then it started changing and the more time that went by, the more it changed. One day while I was here, I realized that I was in love with you, but not just in love like people fall in love. I was in love in a way that I could never explain, not to you or to myself. I knew that it was different. I had been in love before, but it wasn't like that, it was as though my heart was connected to yours, really connected. If you were hurt or in trouble, I could feel it, deep inside. Trivette always calls it Cherokee, but that's not what it is. It is what some people refer to as true love, a love that lasts forever, through life and through death, a love that nothing could ever stop. That's the kind of love I have for you Alex."

"Walker." 

"Alex, I'm sorry about the way that I left last night, but for me it was the best thing. I needed to sort out some stuff before I could talk to you about it. I didn't mean for you to think that I didn't love you anymore or that I wouldn't forgive you, but I didn't understand how my connection to you failed me. I never saw that Trent was in love with you and maybe if I had I could have done something. I know you feel as though you betrayed me, but sweetheart, I know that you didn't and you couldn't any more than I could betray you. I realize that what happened between you and Trent was a mistake, that you didn't even realize what happened, but Trent did and I had a talk with him about it." 

"Walker, what did you do?" 

"I just talked to him. Really, that's all." 

"Good." 

"Alex, don't get me wrong, I could have beaten him senseless, but that wouldn't have solved anything. I know that. I told him I could put it behind me and I wanted him to do the same. Alex, this may not be the way you thought I would have handled this, but there isn't anything that would make me stop loving you. Like I said, my heart is connected to yours now and forever. I love you Alex, more than I ever thought it was possible to love anyone. I guess what I'm trying to say is that even though I am deeply hurt by what happened, I don't blame you or love you any less. I still want to marry you and spend the rest of my life with you. But most important, I don't want you to blame yourself or feel guilty about it, It wasn't your fault."

"Walker, I don't know what to say. I was so scared that you would leave me. I felt that I had betrayed the only man that I would ever love and I hated hurting you that way, but I couldn't keep it from you either. I couldn't keep a secret like that and still look into your eyes. I had to tell you. I know the love that we have is special. It is a true and everlasting love, but Walker it doesn't make it any easier for me. I still feel like I betrayed you. I don't know how you can still look at me. How can you still love me?"

"Alex, please don't think that. It's over okay? I don't want to talk about it again." 

"Walker, do you think that we can really put this behind us?" 

"Yes, I want to put it behind us. I don't want to talk about it again, its over. It was a mistake and I want to move past it." 

"I love you so much." 

"I love you too hon, more than anything and right now all I want to do is love you. Let's head back to the house." 

Walker helped Alex up and took her hand. They rode together on Ranger while Angel followed close beside them. Walker held Alex tight in his strong arms as she rested her head on his chest. Alex couldn't believe how lucky she was. Walker amazed her more and more each day, but this time he had outdone himself. She couldn't believe how he handled this whole situation, he was truly a remarkable man. 

Walker and Alex arrived back at the ranch. While he took care of the horses, Alex headed into the house. For some reason she seemed a little nervous. After what they had just been through, things seemed different. Not her love for him, but something was different. She figured it was just finally realizing that he had forgiven her and that he still did love her. She just thanked God that he didn't leave her. That she couldn't bear. To lose Walker was just too much to even comprehend. Alex was brought out of her daydream by his strong hands on her shoulders and his lips on her neck.

"Alex, let's go upstairs." 

As he took her hand in his, he led her upstairs and into his bedroom. Taking her in his arms, he wanted and needed to make love to her. This whole ordeal had gotten to him like he never thought possible. He only wanted to put it behind him and move on. As they slowly sank onto the bed, Walker continued to make his love known to his beautiful fiancée. Looking into her eyes, the only thing he could see was the love and desire she had for him. She saw the same emotions mirrored in his eyes. As they were making love, Walker's mind started racing. Visions of her with Trent flashed through his mind in rapid succession; Trent kissing her, holding her in his arms, Alex returning the kiss, both of them making love, holding each other in front of the fire. He tried shaking his head to make the visions go away, but they were becoming clearer and clearer. He suddenly rolled over causing Alex to wonder what was wrong.

"Honey, what's wrong?" 

Not wanting to tell her the real reason, he just explained that he wasn't feeling well, which Alex understood.

"I'm sorry, honey. I guess I'm just a little tired. I really am sorry." 

"Don't be, it's okay. Do you want some aspirin or something?" 

"No, I just need to rest. I'll be okay. I promise." But rest was the last thing Walker did. The visions invaded his dreams all night. 

Two weeks had gone by and Walker still had visions at night of Alex and Trent together. Every time they made love, the same thing happened. Looking into Alex's eyes, all he saw looking back was a betrayal he couldn't get past. Walker held Alex and tried to sleep. Every time he closed his eyes, the same visions appeared. Each time they became more and more clear. Finally, he got up and headed downstairs to his gym, trying not to wake Alex. He punched and punched the same way he had the night Alex had given him the devastating news. Each time seeing Trent and Alex together. The sweat poured off of him as he continued raining punch after punch onto the bag. The images became clearer and clearer in his mind. Walker did not realize he was being watched. Alex had heard him go downstairs and she stood at the top of the stairs at the open door, watching as her fiancée feverishly fought with the bag. It almost seemed to her that he was fighting with an unseen opponent. At least that's what she thought until she heard him and she knew what was going on. As Walker punched the bag, he began talking.

"How could you Trent? You son of a bitch. How could you do this to me?" Walker continued his verbal assault as he continued hitting the bag. "I trusted you. How could you do this to Alex? To me? Every time I close my eyes, all I see is the two of you together. God, how am I ever going to get over this? She is my life damn it. How could you want to take that away from me?" 

Alex slowly made her way back upstairs without Walker ever knowing she was there. Her heart was breaking like it never had before. He wasn't putting it past him, the whole thing was haunting him everyday, tearing his heart apart every time he tried to close his eyes and it was her fault. She was causing him this pain and she had to find a way to help him through it. 

Walker sat on the weight bench and tried to steady his breathing. He needed to get a grip on this. It was tearing him apart. He knew what he told Alex, that he forgave her and wanted to move past it. He talked with Trent; he had explained everything to him. How Trent couldn't be in love with Alex, the way he was. It was just physical, but was it? Or was it more? But more than that, did Alex really think it was Walker like she said or did she have feelings for Trent?

"Walker, stop it. This isn't helping. You know Alex loves you. It's ridiculous to even think these things." He knew he wanted to get over this. He loved her with all his heart that hadn't changed. Why was he not able to move past it? How much longer could he go on with these doubts?  

Walker headed back upstairs. Alex had pretended to still be sleeping, she didn't want Walker knowing she had heard him downstairs. He crawled back into bed and for the first time rolled onto his own side as Alex lay on hers. She felt she was losing him, he was drifting further and further away. He couldn't forgive her. She knew what was causing him all this pain; it was her he couldn't forgive. 

When Alex came downstairs that morning, Walker was cooking breakfast. She could tell he hadn't slept much, but she said nothing.

Morning, hon. Breakfast is ready." 

"Morning, cowboy." Alex could feel her tears forming and her heart pounding, she was shaking and she didn't know how she was going to hide it. Watching him the night before was more than she could take. She had no idea how to take away his pain. All she wanted to do was take him in her arms and hold on for dear life. She loved him so much and she was losing him.

"Walker, I think I'm going to head back to my apartment today. I have left things undone for the last couple of weeks and I better check on some stuff." 

"Alex, it's okay. I want you to stay here." 

"I know, but I think its best." 

"Alex, what's this all about?" 

"Nothing, I just need to take care of some stuff, that's all." 

"Are you sure?" 

"I'm sure cowboy, that's all it is."

Breakfast was eaten in silence. After cleaning up, Alex gathered some of her belongings and headed for her car, Walker close behind her.

"Alex, please, you don't have to go." 

"I know, but maybe it's for the best right now." 

"The best for whom?" 

"Walker, this isn't easy for me. I know that things haven't been exactly the same." 

"What do you mean?" 

"I think you know what I mean. Maybe you need some time without me here to sort things out." 

"I don't need time without you. I need you." 

"I need you too, but we both know something isn't right. I know that you are having a hard time forgiving me. I know you said you did, but I can see in your eyes that you don't."

"Alex, it's not you. I promise you. I don't blame you." 

"It's okay, cowboy. I blame myself. I just think it's best if we take a couple of days and sort out our feelings."

"Alex?" 

"Yeah." 

"I love you." 

"I love you too, cowboy. More than you'll ever know." 

 
Alex kissed him gently and drove away, leaving Walker alone on the porch watching the dust settle as Alex's car left the long driveway of the ranch. Walker sat on the porch swing trying to figure out what he was going to do. He decided that maybe he needed another opinion and his best friend was the person to ask. He called Trivette and asked him to come over so they could talk. 

Trivette arrived at the ranch within the hour, finding Walker sitting on the porch drinking a longneck, which in itself was a surprise to the younger Ranger.

"Walker, what's up man?" 

"Trivette, I need to talk to someone." 

"Okay, buddy. I'm here. You know that." 

"Look, this is personal and private so can we keep it here please?" 

The look of despair on his partners' face told Trivette all he needed to know. This was important and Walker needed him and he intended to be there for him.

"You have my word." 

"Trivette, look I know that you know about what happened between Alex and Trent in the cabin that night."

"Sorry, to say, yeah I do." 

"Well, I had a long talk with Trent and with Alex too. I thought that I sorted all of it out. I tried to put it past me, but I can't. Every time I look at her, every time I hold her in my arms, the two of them together is all I can see. It's driving me crazy. I can't close my eyes without seeing them together. The other night I punched the bag so hard I snapped the cord holding it up. What am I going to do? This is killing me and its killing my relationship with Alex." 

"Walker, I don't know what to tell you. The only thing I can ask you is; have you gotten mad at anyone? I mean, besides the bag. Did you yell at Trent or at Alex? Or did you talk calmly to everyone even though you wanted to scream at the top of your lungs? At least that's what I would have wanted to do."

"I don't get what you mean." 

"Walker, listen, Trent slept with your fiancée. He took her to a cabin. Albeit that was under difficult circumstances, but anyway, he took her there and he made love to her, practically without her knowledge. Alex thought she was with you, she called him Walker. She talked to you and you weren't there, but Trent was and he took advantage of the situation because he wanted her. He told Carlos she was all he could think about. Ever since we got back from Utah, she was on his mind constantly. Alex had no idea of his feelings for her. If she knew, she never would have gone. I knew and I should have told you, but it would only have made you mad." 

"You knew?" 

"Well, I suspected and I cornered Carlos that day in the office and he confirmed it." 

"Trivette, why do you suppose I didn't see it myself? You're always going on about my Cherokee senses, so why? Why didn't I see that one of my best friends was in love with Alex?" 

"Walker, you never see anything when Alex is around. You only have eyes for her. Besides, what would you have done if you had thought it? Gone to Trent and asked him? Like he would have told you. Even he is afraid of you. Carlos tried to stop it. He told him to forget her, but Trent wouldn't listen. Man Walker, if that was my fiancée..." 

"What Trivette? What would you have done?" 

"Well, not what you did. I would have beaten the crap out of him. At least I would have gotten pleasure out of that." 

"And what about Alex?" 

"Walker, this isn't Alex's fault, but for some reason I get the impression that you are having more trouble with her than with Trent." 

"Trivette, I think that's it, I think I am blaming Alex." 

"But why?" 

"I don't know. It's something I can't put my finger on. I told her I didn't blame her and I forgave her, but I don't think I have. I think deep down I do blame her." 

"Walker, how can you? She didn't realize it was Trent." 

"How could she not realize it Trivette? How could she not know? I would know in an instant. I would know if it weren't her. How could she not know?"

"Wait a minute Walker. You think Alex knew it wasn't you, and she did it anyway?" 

"I didn't say that." 

"You didn't have to. Walker listen, there is no way Alex would have made love to Trent unless she thought it was you, it's that simple. She wouldn't have done that to you." 

"But she did, don't you see that? Alex slept with another man and I can't forget it." 

"Walker that's what's bothering you, that's it in a nutshell. You think Alex deliberately slept with someone else. Like she cheated on you on purpose and you can't forgive her, but you know that's not true. You know her and you know she wouldn't." 

"My heart knows it Trivette, but my mind is telling me something else." 

"Walker, what happened when you talked to her?" 

"I told her how much I loved her. I told her I didn't blame her and I still wanted to marry her. She said she blamed herself." 

"For what? What did she blame herself for?"

"I guess she blamed herself for sleeping with Trent. So why shouldn't I blame her too?" 

"Did you get mad at her? Did you tell her off, scream at her, what? What did you do?" 

"I took her up to the ridge, it's beautiful up there." 

"So what you did was take her someplace nice to discuss her sleeping with another man. What is wrong with you?" 

"What do you mean?" 

"I mean, you kept everything bottled up. You acted calm and cool when in reality you wanted to scream at her, yell at her, tell her how pissed you were and ask her how she could have done it. Walker, you need to get all this out of your system. You need to have it out with Alex." 

"Trivette, I can't yell at her like that." 

"Why not?" 

"Because, I can't." 

"Well, you are going to have to or this is going to eat away at you and you may end up without Alex at all. Is that what you want?" 

"No, I don't want to lose her. I can't." 

"Then go and get her and tell her how you're really feeling." 

"What if she gets mad at me?" 

"Mad at you? She slept with another man! Although, not consciously, you should be mad at her. Walker, I can’t believe I am talking to the same person I see take down ten guys alone, interrogate the worst criminals this town has ever seen and never back down, fight with the best and have them cowering at your feet. You are the toughest man I have ever met. You make the worst criminal back down by just looking at them and yet you say you're afraid of Alex getting mad at you." 

"I know, I know, but if you ever saw the look in her eyes... I can't stand it when she gets mad at me." 

"Walker, do it. Yell at her if you have to, but get this out in the open. It will be worth it believe me."

"I'll try." 

"Where is Alex now?" 

"She went back to her apartment. She had been staying with me and she thought we needed some time apart." 

"You don't need time apart, you need to settle this tonight." 

"Okay, I'll go and call her." 

"Good luck partner." 

Trivette left and Walker headed into the house to call his fiancée. Getting no answer, he hung up and headed out on Ranger. Alex in the meantime had spoken with Josie who told her that she needed to settle this, letting it fester wasn't helping anyone. Alex agreed and headed out to the ranch. Alex was scared to death. She couldn't lose Walker. As she drove, she fumbled with the radio stations, finally finding a song that brought tears to her eyes. 

I can't imagine, any greater fear

Than waking up, without you here

And though the sun would still shine on

My whole world would all be gone

But not for long

If I had to run, If I had to crawl

If I had to swim a hundred rivers

Just to climb a thousand walls

Always know that I would find a way to get to where you are

There's no place that far 

Alex continued driving as the words to the song stung her heart. She needed to find Walker and bridge this distance between them. They belonged together, Alex knew it and he knew it too. Nothing was going to break them up; she would do anything to keep that from happening. 

It wouldn't matter why we're apart

Lonely nights, two stubborn hearts

Nothing short of god above

Could turn me away from your love

I need you that much

If I had to run, If I had to crawl, If I had to swim a hundred rivers

Just to climb a thousand walls

Always know that I would find a way to get to where you are

There's no place that far 

Alex pulled into the ranch and dried her eyes. Going inside, Walker was no where to be found. She headed for the barn and saw that Ranger was gone. Saddling up Angel, she knew where to find him and she headed for Walker's special place. 

When Alex came within a hundred yards of the rocks by the stream, she saw Walker's shape sitting alone. She tied Angel to the tree and headed in his direction.

"Walker?" 

"Alex, how did you know where to find me?" 

"It wasn't hard. Walker, we need to talk." 

"I know." 

"Am I going to lose you?" 

"Alex." 

"Am I? Please just tell me." 

"Alex, I love you. You're not going to lose me, ever." 

"Walker, I know what you have been going through. I saw you the other night downstairs. I didn't want you to see me, but I couldn't help it. I knew something was wrong and I only wanted to help you. Talk to me please." 

"Alex, I have been having a hard time sleeping. I can't get the pictures of you and Trent out of my mind." 

"I'm sorry." 

"I know you are, but there's something else." 

"Alex, how could you do it? How could you not know it wasn't me?" Raising his voice so that he was shouting, all of his bottled up emotions were being released and it felt great.

"Walker, I didn't know." 

"Alex, I would know in an instant if I were making love to someone else. How could you not know? And why didn't you realize Trent was in love with you? You knew the minute I was in love with you. Why didn't you see it with him? Do you have any idea the hurt and pain I have been feeling? Knowing that the woman I love with all my heart and soul has been with another man and not just any man, one of my best friends. How am I supposed to deal with this?" Walker continued his words in Alex's direction. She didn't move, she knew he had to get this out and she wasn't about to stop him.

"Alex, I love you. Nothing will ever change that, but this hurts. It hurts like hell. I'd rather have a knife through my heart. I know you love me and I know in my heart that you really didn't know it wasn't me, but my mind is telling me 'no'. It's telling me that maybe you have feelings for Trent Malloy. It scares me Alex, really scares me. More than I like to admit. Do you? Do you have feelings for Trent?" 

"Walker, no I don't. I only love you. The reason that I didn't realize Trent was in love with me, like I realized it with you, was because with you I hoped and prayed and waited for you to have those feelings, because I had them for you since I first laid eyes on you. I have loved you since the first time I ever saw you, Walker. Please believe me. I never would do anything to hurt you. You are the man I have waited all my life for, the only one I will ever love. I can't take back what happened with Trent, but I can only say that I didn't know, I thought it was you. Please Walker, please believe me."

Walker got up and took Alex's hand in his; he wrapped his arms around her and held her tight, her tears soaked his shirt as he continued holding her. Alex looked up into his eyes through her tears.

"Walker, I love you so much. Please don't leave me." 

"I love you too baby. I'm not going anywhere. Except back to the house with you, come on." 

Walker and Alex made love long into the night, but the only thing he saw was the love he had for Alex reflected in her eyes, as she saw hers reflected in his. He held her tight and slept with peaceful dreams and his true love in his arms.

Walker was up and dressed early the next morning, he had someplace he had to go. He tried not to wake Alex and hoped he would be back before she noticed he was gone. 

"Walker." 

Trent Malloy didn't know what hit him as Walker's fist connected with his jaw sending him crashing to the floor.

"I owed you that, I feel much better and you can thank Trivette."

Walker was gone before Trent even started to get up. He headed back to the ranch and slipped back into bed. Alex never stirred or realized he had left. Holding her tight, he nestled her under his arm with her head on his chest and held her close to his heart.

"Walker?" 

"Yeah, hon." 

"Are we going to be all right?" 

"We are better then all right. I love you. Come here." 

Two years later: 

Trent Malloy and Carlos Sandoval had started their own detective business. The friendship between Walker and Trent was shaky for a long time, but both men came to terms with the events of that night and they slowly began rebuilding their friendship. Trent had been dating a beautiful brunette woman for the past year and things were looking rather serious. Carlos continued dating many 'girls' as Trent called them and refused to settle down with just one. Trivette and Josie were going strong and he was thinking of popping the question.

Walker and Alex were closer than ever. They had been married in May and were expecting their first child. Their love was stronger than it ever had been. As Walker called it, 'true love' that would last forever.