Crossed Wires ---- Again
by Gail R. (Cavefever@aol.com)
"Come on Alex, have lunch with me," Walker asked for the third time since he'd popped into the Assistant DA's office.
"I can't. I've got to study this court brief. The hearing is tomorrow and I'm not prepared." She dropped the file on her desk with a sigh. "It may as well be written in Chinese."
"So you're going to skip lunch?"
She nodded. "I'm heading for a meeting now."
He pleaded with his eyes but she shrugged. "C'est la vie."
"That's French, not Chinese."
"Ha, like you'd know the difference, Cowboy. It's all Greek to you." She winked at him, waved and walked toward her office door. "Later."
Walker stood still for a moment, realizing he'd just been insulted. So his bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice didn't delve into the liberal arts or languages --- and thank God for that --- but he knew enough Spanish to get by. He glanced at the file folder she'd left on the desk. Maybe a little prank was in order to put Miss Multi-Foreign -Language- Fluent -Cahill in her place. He opened the folder and removed the brief. It was a single piece of paper, neatly typed with an outline that Alex intended to follow in tomorrow's hearing. If he had a little fun with her this afternoon, she'd still have tonight to study the outline.
He picked up a blank piece of paper from Alex's desk that bore the same letterhead. As he folded the paper and put it in his pocket, Walker couldn't help but feel a pang of guilt, snooping in Alex's folder, but then again, she'd made that biting crack.........
Walker carried the brief to the personnel office, seeking out an elderly woman perched in front of a computer.
"Walker," she said in her thick German accent, smiling brightly. "What can I do for you?"
He pulled up a chair and showed her the brief. "I want to play a little joke on someone, but I need some help. You game?"
"Always," she grinned, her eyes dancing.
He handed her the brief. "Would you do a quick translation of this? Put it all in German on this blank sheet of paper?"
Geisella looked it over, noting the letterhead was from the DA's office. She knew it must belong to Alex. "You're not going to get me into trouble, are you?"
"No, I promise. This will be harmless --- and very private."
"Okay then. When do you need it?"
"As soon as possible."
"All right. Give me fifteen minutes."
Walker smiled and gave her shoulder a pat. "Thanks, Geisella. You're the best."
She grinned as Walker left the office. Hmmm, she thought. A little joke between Walker and Alex. She knew they were sweethearts --- everyone in the building knew that --- and she also knew how difficult their relationship was at times. Mostly because Mr. Macho Walker could never say what he truly wanted to say to Alex. Maybe a little help was in order. Geisella was a romantic at heart and she wanted everyone to have love and happiness in their lives. Maybe if she toyed with this brief, just for her own romantic satisfaction........... No one would ever know --- not even Walker and Alex. They couldn't read German.
She put the blank paper in her typewriter, formatting the heading of the page exactly as Alex had it on the original. Then she began the translation --- her translation.
"Ich liebe dich.........."
After Walker picked up the letter from Geisella, he went back to Alex's office and slipped the new letter in the file. He'd love to see her face when she took it out to study, but he had to go out on an investigation. He'd leave the original brief on his desk. She'd probably come looking for him after realizing the joke he'd played on her, and he wanted her to find it. This was to be a little joke, not a trick that would interfere with her job.
Two hours later, Walker returned to his desk. The original brief was still there. Odd, he thought. Alex had wanted to study it all afternoon. Curious, he made his way to her office, but she was out. He stopped at her assistant's desk.
"Jess, where's Alex?"
"In court. The Lawson hearing scheduled for tomorrow got moved up to this afternoon."
Walker's jaw fell open.
"Do you want to leave her a message?" Jessica asked.
Walker didn't answer. This was unbelievable. Hearings were never moved up. He was in deep, deep ........
"Walker?" Jessica asked. "Are you okay?"
Walker snapped out of his trance. "Oh, um, yeah. No message. Thanks, Jess."
Alex opened her folder and approached the bench, brief in hand. Thank God she'd outlined her thoughts --- this would save her. It was extremely irregular for an attorney to ask for an earlier hearing, but Alex complied as a favor to the lawyer and also so that an indictment would go through earlier than planned.
She smiled at the judge and started her oration, glancing down at the brief. "Your Honor, the reasons to indict Bracey Lawson are many and the situation is quite complicated. First......." She frowned as she did a double-take at the brief. What the....... "Uh...."
"Miss Cahill?" the judge said.
Alex gaped at the paper in front of her, the strange pattern of unfamiliar words, her mind trying to grasp what had happened while she cleared her throat to stall in front of the judge.
"Miss Cahill?" the judge repeated, more question than irritation in his voice.
"Um, I'm sorry, Your Honor. The reasons for seeking an indictment are....."
Alex recited what she could remember from the brief, all the while her subconscious mind replaying the morning events to figure out how this had happened. A brief in a foreign language --- the Greek quip to Walker! Her face reddened with anger. He'd done this to her, almost ruined her case. Just wait till she got out of court! He'd better find a hole in the wall and crawl in!
An hour later, the indictment granted, Alex stormed into the Ranger office. Walker's desk was vacant but Trivette was busily tapping away at his computer's keyboard.
She approached him, hands on hips. "Where is he?"
Trivette looked up at the ticked off face. "Who? Walker?"
"Yes, Walker." Her lips were tight, her voice strained.
"He went to Fort Worth to interview a witness. What's up?"
Not answering him, Alex strode to Walker's desk, discovering the original brief. She snatched it up, her suspicions confirmed.
"I'm going to kill him," she grumbled. "I'm going to pluck every red whisker off his face."
Trivette sat back in his chair, carefully scrutinizing the assistant DA. She was really pissed at something. "Alex, what's wrong?"
Alex glared at Trivette, searching his face for any hint that he'd been an accomplice. He stared back with innocent brown eyes.
Her face relented a bit. "Never mind. But you'd better plan on breaking in a new partner. Once I get finished with Walker......." With that she turned and left.
Whoa, Trivette thought to himself. No wonder Walker volunteered to go over to Fort Worth. He's hiding. Wonder what the heck he did to get Alex so riled? Was it business or personal? He wasn't sure if he wanted to be present when the inevitable confrontation occurred. Should he call Walker and warn him? Trivette thought about it, thought about the jokes and "gotchas" that Walker managed to bestow on him, the embarrassment he'd suffered at his partner's hand. Trivette smiled, deciding not to call Walker. And he'd stick around --- he loved to see payback.
Alex returned to her office, still fuming. She sat at her desk, glancing again at the unintelligible words on the brief. Her law clerk, Henri, breezed into the room. He went to the file cabinet to store away some papers. He was young, early twenties, and had only been in the states for a year, yet his command of English thoroughly impressed Alex. However, he tended to break into his native French when his emotions were stirred, and that seemed to happen frequently, Alex thought with a smile. He was a happy-go-lucky type, often wore pink accessories, liked neatness and often talked about his "friend" Gregory. Don't ask, don't tell, Alex giggled to herself. It didn't matter to her --- Henri was an excellent clerk and she adored him.
She looked at the brief again. "Henri," she said, doodling on the paper, "how do you say 'pig' in French?"
Henri looked at her curiously, assessing the situation. He was an expert at relationships, and he could tell she was bogged down with man trouble.
"Oh, poor Miss Cahill. What's wrong? Tell Henri, mademoiselle."
Alex looked up at his concerned face and an evil idea struck. Okay Walker, two can play at this game. This was her chance to get even and purge her anger at the same time.
"Henri, if I dictate a note, will you write it down for me, word for word, in French?"
"Mais oui, of course." He took a pen out of his pocket and produced a notepad.
Alex rubbed her chin, thinking. "All right, Henri, write this:
How could you have done this? Only an inconsiderate, insensitive jerk would interfere with my case. Take your idea of a joke and stick it where the sun doesn't shine.
"Oh my," Henri muttered as he wrote. "So forceful." He blurted out a long string of French.
"Calm down, Henri. I'm just getting started."
Alex slipped into the Ranger office a few moments later, dropping the folded letter into Walker's inner-office mailbox. Her eye caught his signature on another sheet of paper, this one in the Captain's mailbox. It was a requisition form for a stakeout that he and Trivette were planning. A second evil thought hit her. He had jeopardized her case. A angry letter written in French didn't seem to be enough punishment. She quickly removed the requisition form and looked at its contents. Walker was asking for the usual things needed on a stakeout, but there were also some special items needed that he'd printed on the form --- hip waders, night vision goggles, heat sensing devices, a small rowboat. Apparently this stakeout was going to be at night and near a pond or stream. Alex took out her pen, set her jaw and added a few things to the list.
Walker returned to the office late, having spent more time with the witness than he anticipated. Alex was already gone for the day, a fact that offered him a bit of relief. He'd tried to call her several times to apologize, but Jessica had put him off --- "she's in a meeting," "she's unavailable" --- and Walker knew it was Alex's way of dealing with her anger. He couldn't blame her for being upset, but he'd had no way of knowing the hearing would be moved up. He'd go over to her place later and plead his case.
"Walker," Trivette said smugly as his partner walked in. "Alex was looking for you earlier."
"Oh? How did she seem?"
Trivette couldn't contain his laughter. "What did you do to her? She was royally ticked off."
Walker sighed. "It was just a little joke, but it backfired."
"Must have been some backfire. She was livid."
Walker shrugged as he scooped messages out of his mailbox. He flipped through them, coming to a halt at one written in another language. A slight smile pulled at his mouth. This was her retaliation. It looked like French. How could he get it translated? Wasn't that law clerk of hers from France?
"Walker." The Captain's voice boomed out. "In my office."
"Okay, Captain." Walker glanced quickly at Trivette, wondering if he knew what the Captain wanted. Trivette shrugged.
"Sit down," Captain Price said as Walker strode in. "I got your requisition form for the stakeout." The Captain tapped the piece of paper on his desk. "You're asking for some unusual items here."
"I know, Captain, but we need it all if we're going to catch these guys."
Captain Price leaned forward and frowned. He'd never known Walker to ask for frivolous items, in fact, he almost never questioned the Ranger's requests or methods. He was too good a cop, too productive. If he had a dozen more men like Walker, there'd be no crime in all of Texas.
"These last items on the list --- who's going to use them?"
"Trivette will. I'll be on the inside so I won't need them."
The Captain scratched his head, a puzzled expression on his face, but he sat back and sighed. "Okay, I'll get the requisition gang working on this tonight. Should be all ready for you in the morning."
Walker stuck his head in the Ranger office, giving a thumb's up to Trivette to let him know all was okay with the Captain.
"Yeah, goodnight, partner. I'm on my way out too."
Walker headed for the DA's office, hoping Alex's law clerk was still there. Jessica was packing up her files, leaving for the evening.
"Henri's down in the cafeteria," she told Walker.
Thanking her, Walker found the young man seated by himself at a table with a newspaper and an Expresso.
"Excuse me, Henri?"
Henri glanced up in surprise. He had only spoken with this legendary Ranger once or twice, and always in the company of Miss Cahill. The stories he'd heard about this lawman were awesome, fantastic. He was tough and strong, fierce with nerves of steel. Although highly impressed, the tales intimidated Henri and so did the man. He stumbled over his words, a mixture of French and English.
"Ranger Walker, Monsieur. C'mon tallez vous? I mean, how are you?"
"Fine, thanks. Mind if I sit down?"
"Non. Please do."
"I wonder if you could help me. A friend played a little joke on me and wrote a letter to me in French. Would you mind translating it?"
He brought out the letter and handed it to Henri, whose face suddenly blanched. Oh dear Lord, Miss Cahill's letter was to him, to Walker, the intrepid, brawny Ranger. Henri swallowed hard, his eyes round with fear. If he read the actual words of the letter, would this fearsome Ranger lash out in rage? Would he take it out on me? And what if he finds out I translated the note!
Henri did the only thing he could do under Walker's scrutinizing gaze. He lied.
"Mais oui, I will read it to you. It says:
You are the man I always dreamed of. No one else comes close. I love your smile, your body, your........
Walker snatched the note from Henri's hand, feeling his face turn crimson. "Uh, that's enough. Thanks, Henri."
So that was Alex's revenge, Walker thought as he made his way outside to his truck. She knew I'd find someone who read French and that I'd embarrass the hell out of myself when the words were translated. Brilliant. He smiled to himself, however, thinking of her choice of words. There was an old saying -- 'the truth comes out in jokes.' She obviously wasn't too angry over the outline. He tried to call her from his truck, but the answering machine picked up. Heading to C.D.'s, he decided he'd try her later and apologize in person, with his smile, his body, his...........
Henri paced across the cafeteria floor, wringing his hands. Getting herself a pastry and coffee for the drive home, Geisella noticed the young man and approached him.
"Henri, what's wrong? You look terrified."
"Oh, Geisella, I am. He's going to kill me! When he finds out the truth, he's going to crush mon petite neck."
"That big scary Ranger, Walker."
Geisella chuckled. "Oh Henri, Walker's a pussycat."
"Pussycats are meat eaters, mon ami."
Geisella pulled the young man to a chair and they sat down.
"What happened?" she asked.
They exchanged stories about the letters each had translated. Geisella was worried. Somehow the innocent love letter had had a negative effect. That certainly was the opposite of her intent.
"We'll have to think on this, Henri, set them straight. Oh my, Shakespeare's star-crossed lovers have nothing on the Ranger and ADA."
After Alex's anger had subsided somewhat, she had taken out the bogus brief again and looked it over more closely. She noticed a phrase that kept appearing throughout the text --- Ich liebe dich --- but in her outline, there was no repetition of words as such. She began to wonder if this was in fact a translation, or something else. Calling a friend who taught German at the University, she arranged a dinner date at Dawson's, her favorite restaurant.
"Hi Carrie," Alex smiled as she sat down at the table.
"Alex, I'm so glad you called. Rick is out of town so I was going to spend the night alone at home. How are you?"
"I'm fine, busy at work as usual."
"So what's this phrase you want to know about?"
"Well, it keeps showing up in a letter I got. It's 'Ich liebe dich'. What does it mean?"
Carrie's eyebrows went up. "Who's this letter from, Alex?"
"Why? What does it mean?"
Carrie smiled wryly. "It means 'I love you'."
Alex let that sink in, her mouth gaping open. She felt numb. Of all the phrases she thought the words would translate into, that one never entered her mind. I love you. Walker wrote I love you. Her thoughts became a tangle of threads. Did he realize she'd figure out the translation? Or did he think she'd just throw the bogus outline away? Was he waiting for a response? Oh no, she thought suddenly. I did respond, and it was so ugly and mean. He couldn't have known the hearing would get moved up. What have I done?
"Alex?" Carrie's hand was touching her arm. "Can I help?"
Alex sighed deeply. "Would you read the rest of this letter and tell me what it says?"
Carrie took the letter from her and looked it over, blowing out a breath with a smile. "This is hot stuff, Alex. Are you still sweet on that Ranger? Did he write this?"
"Wow, I want Rick to take lessons from him." She smoothed the letter out and began to read the words of romance and love that Geisella had penned.
Alex let the answering machine pick up the rest of the night, knowing each time it was Walker. But she wasn't ready to face him, didn't know how to apologize about the nasty letter, and probably he would be in trouble with the Captain over the requisition form, but she'd confess to Price in the morning that she'd doctored the request. And she didn't quite know how to respond to the love letter. It was so unlike him, so out of character. He wasn't the poetic wine and dine type, didn't like to display his affection in public. He'd instead surprise her with a batch of wildflowers, or share with her some secluded spot he'd found overlooking the river, or just tell her with his eyes and smiles how he felt about her. The passionate letter had thrown her off-balance.
As she got into bed, drawing the covers up to her chin, she smiled warmly. Walker, you closet romantic, you.
The next morning, Walker drove toward town, his mind still on the letter from Alex. He'd given up calling her sometime after midnight, apparently she didn't want to talk yet. That was okay with him. Giving people space was something he understood well, something he himself expected from his friends when things got overwhelming. He'd see her this morning at the office after he made a stop. The witness he had talked with yesterday in Fort Worth had given him a lead on the case he and Trivette were working on. He picked up the car phone and punched in Trivette's car phone number, knowing the younger Ranger was probably in route to the office now too.
"Trivette, it's me. I'm going to stop at a place called Lucky's convenience store to talk to another potential witness."
"Want some back-up just in case?"
"No, this shouldn't be a problem. I'll be in the office later.'
"Okay, see ya then."
Trivette was surprised to see his girlfriend, Sara, waiting for him in the corridor outside the Ranger office.
"Hi Jimmy," she smiled. "I have the day off and thought I'd take you up on that tour you offered of your office."
Trivette grinned. "Great. I'm glad you're here." He gave her a light kiss, then took her by the hand and led her into the office. "This is a perfect day for it. Things are kind of slow and Walker won't be in for awhile."
A half a dozen Rangers were crowded around Trivette's desk. Frowning in curiosity, he approached them with Sara holding on to his arm. There were snickers and guffaws as he neared them and they parted to let him through. He stopped short when he viewed the items spread out on his desk: a black bra and panties, pink tube top, a matching pink skirt, pantyhose and pink pumps. A silky blonde wig was positioned on top of his computer.
"What the......" Trivette began.
The Rangers erupted with laughter.
"Hey Jimmy, my wife's got a purse that will match the shoes."
"Jim, this bra looks a mite too big for you."
"Where do you buy your makeup?"
They hooted and laughed heartily.
Trivette felt a flush coming on. Thank God his skin was so dark --- his embarrassment hardly showed that way, not like Walker's beet red blushes. He looked at Sara's confused expression.
"What is this?" he asked.
"Your stakeout disguise," the requisition clerk said. "Walker ordered this specially for you, said this is what you wanted to wear."
Trivette glanced at Walker's desk where hip waders, night vision goggles and other items lay.
"Maybe Walker was covering for his partner," one of them teased. "Jimmy, are these really stakeout clothes, or are you going uptown Saturday night?"
Trivette fumed as they howled with laughter. Sara gave him a questioning stare. He grabbed the clerk's arm.
"Dave, take this stuff back. There's been a mistake." He spit out the words. How could Walker do this to him? Embarrass him like this, and in front of Sara? Walker was toast!
After the unwanted items had been removed and Sara had left, things settled down with only an occasional snicker thrown Trivette's way. He was steamed. A plan formed in his head --- he'd get Walker back the way he'd gotten him once before, with good old computer technology, and he recalled Alex's words of the previous day: I'm going to pluck every red whisker off his face.
Finding a photo of Walker, he scanned it, then added text, making a Wanted poster which read:
Wanted for cruelty to others, red-bearded man, half Cherokee, sometimes poses as a Texas Ranger. Beard and hair must be in tact -- no scalps will be accepted. Choice of rewards: chewing tobacco, new set of fog lights, or beaver pelts.
Satisfied, Trivette printed out two copies and stuck one on the bulletin board. Planning to tack the second one downstairs in the lobby of the building, he was stopped before he went out of the office by another Ranger.
"Jimmy, my computer's acting up. Can you give me a hand."
"Sure," he replied, setting the poster down on the secretary's desk.
As Trivette fiddled with the computer, Jill picked up the stack of papers on her desk and took them to the communications room.
"Here are all the new all-points-bulletins and wanted posters that need to go out," she said to the fax clerk. She handed the papers over and left the room.
Trivette, having diagnosed the computer problem, turned back to Jill's desk. The poster was gone. He searched the floor, then went back to his desk and ruffled through his papers. Where had he left it?
Alex strolled in and looked around the room, then walked up to Trivette. "Jimmy, where's Walker?"
"He's not here yet." He stopped searching for the poster long enough to peer at Alex. "You don't look mad anymore."
"I'm not," she smiled. "Do you know any French? I want to write a note."
"No," he chuckled, "not me. Isn't your law clerk from France?"
"Yes, but he called in sick today."
"So what's with the about face? I thought Walker's goose was cooked yesterday."
"It was," she admitted, "but I've had second thoughts." She glanced at Walker's desk, viewing the items he'd requested on the form. "Thank goodness someone realized the women's clothing was a joke."
"What?" Trivette said sharply.
"Oh, nothing. I tried to get Walker back by messing with his requisition form, but I see only the real stuff arrived."
"You did that? You ordered the pink skirt and the bra and the other stuff?"
"How do you know about it?" Alex asked.
"Because it was delivered to my desk this morning, and Sara was here, and I was really embarrassed and........oh no, I've done something to get him back, and I can't find the poster."
"Jimmy, I'm sorry," Alex said, but she had to cover her mouth to hide her smile.
Captain Price suddenly rushed into the room. "Let's go men! We've got a hostage situation at Lucky's convenience store."
Trivette jumped up. "Oh God, that's where Walker went to check out a witness."
Alex felt the familiar fear creep up to her throat as the Rangers around her hurried out of the room. Trivette touched her arm as he dashed by.
"Alex, don't start worrying. I'll call you as soon as I see what's what."
Then he was gone and the room was empty except for herself and Jill. Oh Walker, why didn't I answer the phone last night. Why didn't I tell you what that letter meant to me and tell you how sorry I am for the horrible things I said in the reply. Please be okay.
She sat in Walker's chair and put her head in her hands.
By the time Trivette and the Rangers arrived at Lucky's, Walker was loading a handcuffed man into the back of the RAM. Dazed and frightened customers were filing out of the store.
Trivette sighed, taking his partner's arm. "Are you okay?"
"Yeah, I'm fine."
"My potential witness turned out to be the culprit. He went a little crazy."
"And then?" Trivette prompted.
Walker shrugged nonchalantly. "And then, I took care of it."
A customer standing nearby chuckled in disbelief. "That's an understatement if I ever heard one. That guy was ready to blow away all of us, but the Ranger here got between us and him, walked right up to the guy, then kicked the gun out of his hand before he knew what hit him."
A second customer nodded in confirmation. "You saved us all, Ranger."
Walker smiled humbly and turned away, letting his fellow Rangers lead the customers back into the store to collect their statements. He felt Trivette's eyes on him.
"What? It was no big deal."
"You never cease to amaze me, man."
Walker got into his truck. "I'll see you back at the office."
The word had spread through the building that the crisis was resolved peacefully. Still, Alex waited by the elevator doors for Walker's return. There was so much to say. Geisella too, had wandered to the Ranger's floor. She wanted to tell Walker what had happened, how she'd started the whole misunderstanding with a silly notion, and how Henri was only trying to smooth things over.
Most of the other Rangers had returned along with Captain Price. Walker was delayed as he went through the booking procedure with his prisoner. When he and Trivette finally walked out of the elevator, his eyes met Alex's and she rushed to him, embracing him. For a while they didn't say anything. Trivette grinned broadly and winked at Geisella.
Walker held Alex at arm's length and smiled. "Let's make a deal. We'll only talk in English from now on. I'm sorry about the brief."
"Don't be. It'll be our little secret. I'm sorry about the reply."
"Are you kidding? I love it when you talk that way."
Her eyes widened as she gazed at him. This was something unexpected. He put an arm around her and they headed down the hall. Geisella watched them go, giggling and knowing an explanation was unnecessary now. It didn't matter what the letters really said, what mattered was how the two of them were reacting to what they thought was said. It was a language Geisella knew well, the language of love. She sighed happily, her romantic soul filled with fulfillment.
Captain Price stepped out of the Ranger office, seeing Trivette and Walker in the hallway.
"Trivette! Get in here."
Puzzled, the Rangers and Alex hurried to the office. Inside were a dozen men, most of them outfitted in camouflage and flannel. They were all talking at once, the confusion enormous. The Captain then pointed to the window of the interrogation room. Inside were 15 or so red-bearded men, milling around, all appearing angry and wary.
"What do you know about this, Trivette?"
"Uh oh," Trivette said, now realizing where his poster had gotten to.
"You're Trivette?" one man said. "Where do I get my beaver pelts? I didn't harm a red hair on his head. Or face."
Trivette laughed nervously as the Captain glowered. Walker gazed in awe at the men who all had one very similar feature to himself. He then squinted in suspicion at Trivette.
"I can explain," the younger Ranger began quickly.
"This oughta be good," Alex laughed.
"It better be," the Captain growled.
As Trivette hesitantly began to mumble his explanation to the Captain, Walker put his arm around Alex.
"Now, about that lunch date you turned down yesterday."
"You're on, cowboy" she smiled, kissing his cheek.
"That's my kind of language," he murmured in her ear.
*Author's note: Thanks a million to LeighPea, who graciously let Sara hop into this story to accompany Trivette, adding greatly to his embarrassment!! And a big thanks to Ina and Jeanette for the German translation, and even then I couldn't get the spelling right! gr
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