He couldn't remember ever being so upset with her. How could she do this to
him? He’d always trusted her judgment. Now he felt betrayed and he had such an empty feeling in his gut, He’d never raised his hand to her, but tonight, she pushed his buttons entirely too far. He almost hit her! My God he was losing it! He was so upset he couldn't eat his supper. She sat there looking at him with those tearful blue eyes and he couldn't take it. He grabbed his coffee and headed for the barn.
She waited almost an hour before she dared to venture out to him.
She stood there on the porch, looking at him as he paced around, kicking at
the ground. She turns around and runs back in the house and up to the master bedroom. She found them on his nightstand, put them in her jeans and headed to the barn.
He's standing there at the corral fence with his shoulders slumped,
watching the racehorse he’d just bought. He searches his shirt pocket
for them, but doesn’t find them. Suddenly, a hand reaches out in front of him and a timid voice asks, "Are you looking for these?”
Walker turns towards the voice and reaches for the objects in her
hand. "Thank you," he says quietly. He's still upset with her, even as he lights
up the cigar she was offering him. She knew he always loved his cigar after
supper. She watched him as he inhaled deeply, then blew it out. She used to
hate their smell and the smell that would be on him afterwards, but she had grown to like the aroma, mainly because she wanted to please him, and now the scent meant he was nearby.
"I'm sorry, Daddy,” she said quietly and contritely.
He looks at his daughter, thinking, “She’s so beautiful!” The young lady in question has her Mother's blue eyes, her hair is thick and long, going down to her buttocks, her hair is a light auburn with blonde highlites, and she possesses a smile that would melt your heart. She's got that little giggle that she inherited from Alex, plus she's got a body that is driving the boys crazy. It's that body that has gotten her into serious trouble with her Daddy. That, and the thong-type bikini that she had bought without permission and worn to a friend’s pool party.
Walker looks sternly at his little girl. "You disappointed me Angela. I thought you had better judgment than this.”
"But, Daddy, it's all the rage--all the girls in the sophomore
class are wearing them."
He shakes his head. "You have always been your own person.
You have never been one to follow someone else's path. You knew that your Mother and I would never allow you to wear something like that. Whatever possessed you to try and get away with getting such a thing? For Heaven’s sake Angel, you were almost nude!! When I saw you, young lady, I came within a hairsbreadth of turning you over and giving you a blistering spanking! Not so much for the suit, but for the deceit in buying and wearing it!”
She bites her bottom lip and looks up at him in the same manner that her Mother always took when she was trying to put something past him, or get him to forgive her for some behavior that had annoyed him. "I'm so sorry Daddy. I'll take it back.”
Walker throws the cigar butt on the ground, "You're damn right you're taking it back, and you'll get something that both your Mother and I approve of."
She stands there, head down with her hands behind her back, biting her lip and drawing an imaginary line with the tip of her foot. "I know you and Mom are gonna’ punish me. So does this mean my sweet 16 party is cancelled?"
He ponders the thought. Sweet 16, damn! It seemed like only
yesterday that he and Alex were bringing their daughter home from the
hospital. Where did the time go? He wasn't ready for her to grow up so
quickly. Sweet 16 now, and soon she would be graduating high school and then
off to college. Then if things went in order, she would be walking down the
aisle, and there would be another man in her life. He used to tease his
friends that had daughters, now he was feeling their fears, their emptiness.
He couldn't stand the thought of another man in her life.
The boys were definitely coming around. She wasn't allowed
to date till she turned 16, though she could go with groups, and that's she
how she had met Dylan. Walker wasn't ready for any young man to be special to her, but Dylan was certainly at the top of the list. He was the school hero, tops in all sports, smart-alecky, and all the girls were gushing over him, including Angela! Dylan had been to the ranch several times, and right from the start there was something about him that Walker didn't like. Alex kept telling him to give the boy a chance, but when he saw Dylan pressuring Angela to give him a kiss, Walker came unglued. Of course finding out who Dylan's Father was didn't help matters any. He was Dalton Reed's son, and Dalton was an old boyfriend’s of Alex's. He had never been able to stand the thought of Dalton coming around Alex, and he sure didn't want his son around his daughter!
Lately, Angela hadn't been saying too much about Dylan, and Walker was glad of that. Angela hadn't said who she was going to ask to be her date to the Sweet 16 party to be held at the country club. She seemed pre-occupied, with someone else on her mind. Walker sighed' “Now what yahoo is she going to be gushing over?” He was afraid to ask.
"No," he answers slowly. “Your party isn’t cancelled. I wouldn't do that to you. I know that it's one of the most important times in your young life. And besides, your Mother would kill me!"
Angela breaks out into a wide smile and Walker just melts.
She could always do that to him. She’d had 16 years to work on him and he was utterly wrapped around her little finger. It had been that way right from the very first second he held her.
"Oh, thank you Daddy! Thank you, thank you! " she squeals, while
throwing her arms around his neck. She lays her head on his chest and he puts his arms around her, kissing her forehead, "You're welcome baby."
They stand there for a long minute, holding each other.
"Daddy, wanna’ know a secret?” "What secret, Angel?”
Angel-- she wouldn't let anyone but her Daddy call her that. To everyone else it was Angela only, not even her Mother called her Angel. Angela continues to hold on to him, "It's about Dylan.”
Walker tenses up, and she can feel him doing so. “What about him?” "I think he's a creep.” "What---I thought you had a crush on him?” "Oh Daddy---that was a long time ago--now there's someone else!” Again he tenses up as he forces himself to ask who this new boy is. “So, who is this new young Greek God?” He teases.
"I don't want to tell you just yet---because I haven't asked him yet to be my escort.” Walker looks down at her and smiles, "and like, he would refuse you! What boy would refuse you? Is he from Mars or something?” "Oh Daddy, you're just biased!” "Yep---sure am where my favorite daughter is concerned!” " Oh, Daddy! I'm your only daughter!” He kisses her forehead, "And, the only daughter that I want!” They turn around and start walking to the ranch house. "But, what if Mom has a girl this time?” "I'll send her back! Besides the sonogram said another boy!” Angela groans in mock disgust, "Oh just great, now I'll have four useless little brothers!”
*****The Night of the Sweet 16 Party*****
Alex is busy trying to help Angela with her gown. She’d decided on lavender, with lavender/peach flowers at the one side of her long flowing hair. Alex helps her brush her hair one last time before they start downstairs. Her brothers are looking on, as Alex asks, "Wwwell, what do you think, guys?”
They all stand there gaping. The twins have just turned 13. "You look beautiful Angela," says the first one. "Thank you Cord," she answers softly, then she looks at Cooper. Alex gives him a prod. "Say something, tell your sister that she looks nice.” He looks back at his Mom, and says with a grin, "Angela always looks beautiful---for a sister!” Alex shakes her head, warningly, "Coop…”
"It's o.k. Mom. I told you that you and Daddy should have stopped having kids after I was born. After all, you can't improve on perfection!" She playfully sticks her tongue out at Coop, he just smiles and gives it right back to her.
Little Ray tugs on his sister’s gown, "you pwtty sissy.” She reaches down and kisses him on his pert little nose. "Thank you, Ray. No wonder you’re my favorite brother!”
She turns to her Mom, "I guess I'm ready.” She hesitates slight, “Has my date arrived yet?” Cord nods. "Yep, he got here about 20 minutes ago, and boy is he nervous!” "Why shouldn't he be? Dad is probably giving him the total third degree!”
Alex sighs, "O.K., boys, you can go down stairs and wait. We'll be down shortly.”
Walker is pacing the floor, looking at his watch, looking up the stairs. He hasn't been this nervous since his and Alex's wedding. He looks towards his friend, as always cool as a cucumber.
"Would you relax, Walk-man? Be like me---Cool.”
"Yeah, Trivette. Just you wait till your daughter turns 16 and going on her first date and all. Then we'll see how cool you are.”
Walker looks over at Trivette's son, J.W. If anyone was more nervous than Walker, it was J.W. Walker smiled as the boy kept tugging at the tie of his tuxedo, and rubbing the tops of his shoes on the back of his pants. The corsage he held kept going from one hand to the other. Trivette walks over to him, and puts his arms around him. "Calm down, the worst is over, you got past the old man's rapid fire interrogation and got his approval.”
J.W. swallows and looks at Walker. Walker stares back at him, trying to make him nervous--- and it's working.
The twins come sliding down the banister, "She's coming!” Little Ray runs over to his Daddy and Walker puts both his hands on his shoulders as everyone's eyes look towards the stairs.
Alex comes down in her pale blue maternity dress, and walks over beside her
husband. He puts his arm around her waist and kisses her cheek. "You look so incredibly beautiful," he whispers.
Alex pulls on young Cordell's shirt. "Where's the camcorder?” He holds it up. "Right here, Mom. Relax! I'll make sure we get plenty of good pics!”
The moment has arrived and Angela descends down the stairs. You could hear a pin drop and then the oohs and aahs begin. Alex breaks out in tears as she grabs hold of her husband’s tuxedo.
Trivette nudges his son forward to present the corsage.
J.W. walks up slowly to her and helps her to pin it on, then he reaches out
to kiss her on the cheek, but first he takes a quick glance at Walker and then steps back, with no kiss given. Trivette walks up and does kiss her. "You're a knockout, Angela.”
"Thank you, Uncle Jimmy.”
Angela looks to her Daddy, and slowly walks up to him. He can only stare. "Do you like my dress, Daddy?” Walker nods his head slowly, "I love your dress, Angel. It's beautiful, but you’re the one making it beautiful!"
Alex watches them as the two look into each other’s eyes. "Your Father and I bought you this, Angela." She hands her daughter a heart-shaped necklace with "Sweet 16" engraved on it and a small diamond in the middle of the heart. She breaks out in a smile as big as Texas as she grabs both her parents, thanking them over and over.
"Hey guys, don't mean to break this up, but we need to get going!" Trivette exclaims. They all walk slowly towards the door, and Angela stops, "You all go ahead. I need to talk to my Dad.”
Walker stands there looking at her, "Dad? What, not Daddy anymore?” She smiles at him as she sees the tears coming into his eyes. "Oh Daddy," and then she runs into his arms. "You'll always be Daddy, but I'm a young woman now and I thought it would sound more grown up if I called you Dad.” He dabs his eyes. "Yeah, I guess you want to sound grown up and all. I guess that's o.k." She looks lovingly at him and gives him her incredible smile. "May I ask you a question, Daddy?” "Sure baby, anything.” "At the dance tonight, would you dance the first dance with me?” Walker reaches out and takes her in his arms, "I've
got the rest of my life to dance with you. Tonight you dance with your young man, ‘cause I have a feeling he's going to be coming around a lot!” "And you don't mind?” "No Angel--I don't mind. I don't mind at all!”
Walker and Alex didn't get to stay for the whole dance
as they ended up rushing Alex to the hospital and, exactly 16 years to the
day, another little girl is placed in Walker's arms. He gushes as he holds
her, "Thank you, Lord, for my second little princess!" and Cherokee Rose is now Daddy's little girl----too.
All the usual legal disclaimers.