Destiny or Choice?

By Katie 59

Chapter One

Alex sat in her office still steaming over the fact that Walker had just brought Merilee into her office with him while he raked her over the coals for not being able to do what Walker had wanted her to do in regards to keeping Merilee safe from her ex-husband Waylon. Alex didn't know at that moment what upset her more, the fact that Walker had jumped all over her or the fact that Merilee had practically announced to Alex that she had slept with Walker at his ranch.

Walker and Merilee who had returned to Ranger headquarters were sitting at Walker's desk and were looking over at Trivette who was researching Merilee's ex-husband on his computer when Merilee asked Walker "Do you think that Miss Cahill will actually do what you want her to do this time? I mean if she had bothered to do what you asked her to do I wouldn't have to worry myself sick about Waylon coming after me again. How could she promise you that she would help us then not bother to so much as lift her little finger to get a P.F.A. against him? But she is a blonde after all. What else should I have expected?" Trivette glanced up from his computer to see what Walker's reaction would be to Merilee putting Alex down like that and was somewhat surprised when Walker answered her "Merilee I will make sure that Miss Cahill sees to it that the legal paperwork that you want done is finished by the time I leave here tonight. I will make sure that you're protected from him if it's the last thing that I do. You have my word on that."

Merilee got up from the corner of Walker's desk where she had been sitting and kissed him soundly on the mouth then said "I have to go to the little girl’s room. Why don't you go and see to it that Cahill has started the paperwork on that P.F.A.?  Hopefully by the time you get back from her office you'll be ready to go to your ranch with me. I can't wait to set the night on fire again, you know just like we did last night.” Walker just sat there and watched as Merilee strolled out of Ranger headquarters.

Trivette had to clear his throat several times before Walker realized that Trivette was trying to get his attention. Walker looked at his partner and asked him “What do you want Trivette?" Trivette answered “For starters I want you to start thinking with your head and not something else."

“What is that supposed to mean?" An irate Walker snapped at Trivette who replied "You know exactly what I meant by you thinking with something other than your head. Look Walker I know that you're having an affair with Miss Summers but is that any reason to start treating Alex like something the cat dragged in? Man you have to know that Alex cares for you and I thought that you felt the same way about her but since you're sleeping with that redhead I guess that Alex doesn't mean anything to you. Because if there was even one ounce of feeling in you for Alex you would not have taken Merilee to Alex's office so that Merilee could rub the fact that she is sleeping with you in Alex's face. When did you become someone who lets a woman use sex to get what she wants from you? You wouldn't even think about letting Alex try that one with you. Not that she would because she has far more scruples than that, unlike someone else that I might mention."

“If Alex were all that interested in me she wouldn't have taken up with that rodeo rider, now would she have Trivette? As for the way Merilee was talking about Alex she does have a point. Alex has been able to get a P.F.A. whenever she needs one for a woman that she knows. Merilee should have been no different. Merilee needs my protection from her ex-husband Waylon and that's exactly what I'm seeing that she gets.” Walker rebutted but Trivette said "Now that's a new one.  Calling having sex protecting someone. Maybe I should try that line myself. I wonder how far I'll get with it?  Probably not even to first base."

An angry Walker got up from his desk and left Ranger headquarters without another word. Trivette returned his attention to his computer as he muttered to himself 'My partner is behaving like a love sick fool who's ignoring the gem in front of him for a shiny trinket. If he's really lucky someday Alex will forgive Walker for flaunting Merilee in front of her face like that. But I wouldn't blame her if she didn't.'

Alex looked up from her desk when Walker entered her private office and stated "Ranger Cordell Walker I have just gotten Judge Melone to agree to issue a P.F.A. for Miss Summers' ex-husband Waylon. He is to stay away from her at all times and she is not to have any contact with him either. Anything concerning their daughter is to be done through the social worker that the divorce court assigned to them. All I have to do is to write it up and take it to his private chambers where Melone will sign it. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm busy."

Walker instead of being thankful said “Why didn't you just do the job right the first time? You do know that Merilee has been worried sick that he's going to hurt her, don't you?" Alex responded “For your information Ranger Walker, Judge Melone is the fifth judge that I've had to try and talk into issuing a P.F.A. against Waylon. The other four judges all cited previous P.F.A.'s that Miss Summers had gotten against her ex-husband only to drop them when they've gotten back together. On several occasions they even appeared in front of the different judges together to ask that the current P.F.A. be dropped. The last time they did that the judge stated for the record that he thought it was a waste of any judge's time to issue a P.F.A. for Miss Summers because she would drop it just as soon as she got over being mad at Waylon. Perhaps Ranger Walker the next time you go all out for a woman that you're protecting you ought to think with your head. I never took you for a man who would let a woman who was well endowed sway him with her assets, as it were. "

“That’s quite enough Miss Cahill. You do remember that rodeo rider, who was a witness for you, don't you? What's your excuse for seeing him during the trial? Don't question my private life because I don't question you about yours. You also have an ex-husband, one that you don't talk about. Don't you? Wasn't he good enough for you once you became a lawyer? “Walker informed Alex who snapped back “For not talking about my private life I think that you just did. As for that rodeo rider, he and I are a thing of the past. There is a big difference between what we did and what you're doing with Miss Summers and that's the fact that you're sleeping with her while you're assigned to protect her. Any relationship that I did or didn't have with Dalton occurred after the trial was over with, not during it. As to my ex-husband I do believe that I told you once that the marriage almost killed me. That's why I don't believe anyone should get a P.F.A. then drop it because their doing so make judges reluctant to issue them for the abused women who really need the P.F.A.'s. Think about that Ranger Walker, why don't you? As for Miss Summers, when I have the P.F.A. I'll bring it to Ranger headquarters. Now please leave. “Walker left and after collecting herself Alex also left to get the P.F.A. from Judge Melone.

Walker was sitting at his desk at Ranger headquarters with Merilee leaning over his desk in such a way that her chest was in Walker's face when Alex entered it. Alex walked over to Walker and stated "Ranger Walker, here is the P.F.A. that you requested for Miss Summers. Please impress upon her that she is not to change her mind in a day or two and drop it like she has several times before. “Walker took the paper while Merilee said “About time Cahill." Alex ignored her and left Ranger headquarters. Trivette who was still there got up from his desk saying “Unlike some people I believe in thanking someone when they've worked late to help me."

Trivette caught up to Alex in the hallway but before he could say anything Alex told him “Please don't Jimmy." Trivette nodded okay then said "Okay but if you ever need someone to talk to or go shopping with I'm here for you." Alex kissed him on the cheek then teased “I just might take you up on that offer to go shopping together."

Chapter Two

Stanley Whitman glanced at a newspaper as he was waiting for the older rich woman Beatrice K. Saffron that he was currently involved with to send her chauffer on his way. Spotting a picture of a woman that he once knew displayed at a newsstand Stanley bought a newspaper and shoved it inside of his brief case as Beatrice came over to him. Having spotted Stanley shove the newspaper into his briefcase Beatrice told him as she held out her hand “What's so important in that paper you just bought?" Removing the paper from his briefcase Stanley replied " Nothing much, I just wanted some reading material in case I needed it later."

Unfolding the newspaper Beatrice responded “I'll bet. Is your latest mark in here?"  In an effort to change the subject Stanley pulled Beatrice close as he told her “The only person I'm interested in is you." Pulling herself away Beatrice said “No, the only thing you're interested in is how much money you can get out of me and we both know it. I'll bet that your parents conned people for a living too. Just save us both the trouble of acting out this little charade and admit that you always were and always will be nothing more than a grifter."

Getting mad Stanley informed her “I was not born a con man and my parents were very respectable members of the community. After I became an adult I kept to the ethical codes they had instilled in me, at least I did until my marriage broke up. If you don't believe me go and have Torrelson investigate me further. You'll see that I'm telling you the truth."

Beatrice answered “I will first thing in the morning but tonight you are going to earn your keep and you'd better do a very good of job of it, understand?" Stanley said “I understand, now can I please have my newspaper back? “Instead of handing it back Beatrice started reading over the front page, after a minute she stopped and said “That bitch."

“What's the matter?" Stanley asked her and Beatrice pointed out Alex's picture to him as she replied “This is the bitch who put my Mortimer behind bars for that silly little misunderstanding concerning his clients’ funds. I mean it's not like Mortimer was actually going to keep all of that money. He just needed to borrow some of it for a while then he would have returned it with no harm being done. But instead of being decent about it that woman saw to it that Mortimer was sent to jail where he's still at. Stanley I'll make a deal with you. That deal is that you seduce Cahill into doing something that will end up with her being sent to jail for as long as Mortimer has to serve. I don't care how you do it, I just want it done. Do that for me by this time next month and I'll give you a million dollars in a secret off shore bank account. And yes before you ask you don't have to have sex with me anymore, that is after tonight. Is it a deal?"

“It's a deal." Stanley replied while thinking to himself that maybe just maybe this was his last chance to get back to where he had been between college and law school. Hours later Stanley pleaded “Please Beatrice stop, it hurts." Beatrice said as she yet again scratched his chest with her nails deep enough to draw blood. “You also cry like a little baby when I do that to you, Mortimer was at least man enough not to cry when I did that to him."

“I'm not him. And can we change the subject to that Cahill? I was thinking that the thing I should have her to is to be caught covering up evidence of a crime. Now listen before you say anything, if she's caught red-handed in the obstruction of justice she will be sent to jail for a very long time. I'll get her to sleep with me first then once I have her hooked it should be a piece of cake to charm her into destroying evidence for a friend of mine. Now this friend of mine would be glad to help me out for the right price. Game?" Stanley said to Beatrice who told him “Prove that you're able to seduce her then and only then will I give your friend a price that you name, within reason. Now go and call down to the front desk and tell them to send Eddie up. Also tell them that I want his brother Freddie too and while they're at it some things to spice up the evening then clean yourself up and leave. You were terrible tonight but I'll let it pass because you're getting Cahill for me. After you're cleaned up take yourself and get lost until I contact you again." Stanley hastened to obey her because he felt that he had just been given a get out of jail card. As he was leaving the hotel suite bedroom Beatrice informed him “Stanley I'll hold off on investigating you for the time being but if you let me down in this matter Eddie and Freddie will pay you a visit."

“I won't let you down." Stanley vowed then made his escape as Eddie and Freddie came into the bedroom with several bags containing things that Stanley had no desire to know about. It was at that moment Stanley decided that he was never going to let Beatrice know that he and Alex Cahill had once been married.

Alex opened the door to her condo to find Trivette standing there so she asked him “What brings you by Jimmy?" Entering the condo Trivette answered “I just wanted to come by and see if you were okay. Alex I want you to know that I'll be here for you in any manner that you want me to be. I can be your friend or I can be..."

Alex interrupted him by saying “Jimmy before you go any further I think that you should know that I will never have any feelings for you that are anything other than that of a friend or a brother. I was an only child and right now I could really use a brother to talk to." Trivette who realized that Alex needed to talk about what had happened at Rangers headquarters answered “Okay little sister, what do you want to talk about? Would it be that foolish partner of mine?"

Alex shook her head yes as a few tears slipped from her eyes. Trivette led her to the couch as he told her “I'm sorry Alex about what happened earlier. But I think what's really bothering you is that you have feelings for my partner. Do you?" Alex replied “I just can't help it, there's something about Walker that makes me think that he's the one for me. I thought that he felt the same way about me and for whatever reason couldn't admit it. But now that he's sleeping with her I'm beginning to wonder about that."

They spent the next several hours talking about Walker and how he had managed to hurt Alex so badly by taking up with Merilee. By the time they were done talking Trivette realized that the feelings he had for Alex were indeed brotherly and not sexual. After seeing a still upset Alex to her bedroom Trivette then made up the couch and went to sleep on it. The next morning as they were eating breakfast Alex said to him “Thanks for being there for me last night Jimmy. Also you don't have to go shopping with me; I know that you were just offering to be nice." Trivette answered “Alex I was serious about going shopping with you. I need a woman who's a friend that can help me by telling me what to buy some of my dates."  “I was planning on going shopping on Saturday. Want to come?" Alex asked Trivette who agreed that would be good.

Chapter Three

Walker continued to protect Merilee at his ranch but she got more than a little bit upset when he told her that until the thing with Waylon was settled for once and for all that they were not be sharing a bed. Merilee in an effort to get Walker to change his mind tried to get him to drink some beer while she was singing at C.D.'s but Walker refused stating that he needed to have a clear mind in order to protect her. Merilee nodded okay because she knew that she had no real choice in the matter but she did vow to herself that she was going to get Walker back in bed with her no matter what she had to do to make that happen. Waylon knowing that Walker was around Merilee at all times kept his distance for the next several days.

While waiting for Trivette to show up so that they could go shopping Alex answered her ringing phone and was stunned to find out that her ex-husband Stanley Whitman was the person calling her. He said to her “Now Alexandra before you hang up on me please let me explain the reason that I'm calling. Can you at least do that for old times’ sake?"

            “Make it quick, I have to go somewhere." Alex replied not at all happy that Stanley had called her out of the blue. “Listen I know that we parted on very bad terms and that most of it was my fault but I really do need to talk with you about what happened to us. After we talk you never have to see me again or talk to me again if you don't want to but I'm hoping that our talk will make you understand that I'm a different man now. That I regret what happened between us more than I regret anything else in my life and I have a lot of things to regret. Alex I'd like us to meet as soon as possible. So can you possibly meet me for lunch today? That way you can get our meeting over and done with."

“No, I can't. As a matter of fact I don't think that we should meet to discuss our very short lived marriage. The past is over and done with as far as I'm concerned. I have no desire what so ever to think about it, let alone talk about it." Alex replied so Stanley said “Alex please I'm begging you. I need you to meet with me just one time. Please say yes. My therapist said that I wouldn't be able to move forward with my life until I dealt with our marriage and how it ended and the terrible things I did to you then. I wish the past was over and done with too but for me it's not. I'd like to be able to lay it rest. So can you please at least think about meeting with me someday?"

Still not sure that it was a good idea to meet with her ex-husband Alex never the less told him “I don't have court on Tuesday afternoon; you can meet me at three at the deli that just around the corner from the courthouse." Stanley thanked Alex and she ended the phone conversation.

            As they were shopping Trivette picked up on the fact that Alex was in a pensive mood and asked her “So little sister what's bothering you? Is it still that partner of mine?" Alex replied “No, it's not Walker. I'm just wondering if I just made a huge mistake in agreeing to meet with someone from my past."

  “Were you serious about him? How did it end?" Trivette questioned Alex who told him “Yes it was a serious relationship and it ended very badly. However we're here to shop and that's exactly what we're going to do. Now Jimmy before you say anything I need to think this thing through before I discuss it with anyone, okay?"

  “Okay but if he ends up hurting you again he's going to hear about it from me." Trivette vowed right before he saw a pretty woman heading into a clothing shop. Seeing that Trivette's attention had turned to the pretty lady Alex teasingly told him “Yes Jimmy, we can go shop in that store."

            After Merilee had finished singing she and Walker returned to the ranch house where Merilee said to him “Cordell I'm afraid to sleep down here by myself. Can I sleep upstairs with you? “Walker answered “I have one of the upstairs guest bedrooms already made up for you. Why don't you go ahead up to it and get settled in? It's the first room on the left." Merilee went upstairs to the bedroom where she took out her most see through negligee and put it on. She then went into Walker's bedroom and got into his bed. When Walker came into his bedroom he asked her "Merilee did I did I not tell you that I needed to be clearheaded when I'm protecting you?" Getting out of the bed Merilee sauntered over to Walker while she said “I know that you said that but we're here alone and we both want each other. What's the harm in us being together? If you're worried about your captain finding out that you slept with me during your assignment, don't be. I have no intention of telling anyone what we do when we're alone here. I'd like to repeat setting the world on fire with you."

Walker stepped back from her opened his bedroom and told her “Merilee whether or not we want each other doesn't matter right now. What matters is that I need to protect you from Waylon and I can't have you or anyone else distracting me from doing my job. Now will you please return to your room?" Merilee answered “Okay Cordell but if you change your mind I'll be right across the hall from you and since the night is so hot I won't be wearing a thing to sleep in."

Walker watched Merilee as she slowly strolled across the hallway and into the guest bedroom. After taking a deep breath Walker closed his bedroom door while thinking that just maybe he should take Merilee up on her very obvious offer for sex. Then he thought about the fact that Merilee had a young daughter who was currently living with her parents in Ohio so he vowed that there was no way he would let his mind get taken off his assignment of protecting Merilee from Waylon. He couldn't be the one who let a child lose a parent like he had lost his. Walker went and took a long somewhat cold shower.

Chapter Four

            Alex sat down at the table across from her ex-husband and told him “I think that it was a mistake for me to meet you here but I promised you that I would so here I am." Stanley didn't reply to that instead he motioned for the waitress to come to their table. After the waitress left the table with their orders Alex looked at Stanley and told him “Start talking, I want this over and done with."

Stanley said “First of all Alex, more than anything I want to tell you how sorry that I am that I threw away your love for me. I have no real excuse for my behavior at the time other than I was trying to finally be the kind of man that my father had wanted me to be for so long. All my life it seemed that I was always letting him down. Let me explain what I mean by that, my mother was a stay at home mother and my father decided everything and I mean everything. She never so much as said a word that would contradict him. Alex you see in my family I was the younger of two boys and my older brother was quite the jock. He lettered in basketball, baseball and football. When it became apparent that I would never be the sports star that my brother was my father then started telling me that it was my mother's fault because she hadn't raised me to be manly enough. My mother never ever said a word when he would berate her for my lack of athletic ability, instead she would start doing her needlepoint. One night after hearing for the millionth time how it was all my mother's fault I'm sorry to say that I berated her for my not being able to compete in sports. Alex I did that hoping that for once she would stand up to my father and tell me that wasn't so but she...My mother agreed that it was her fault."

Alex broke in “And what does that have to do with the fact that you tried to make me take care of you, whether or not I wanted to? Not once but twice? And I do believe the first time when I refused you started calling me ice princess. You decided that I had to do something that I didn't want to do and you tried to force me to do it anyhow which ended up gagging me which then caused me to throw up. The second time when you tried again I told you no at least twice but still you tried to get me to do it and when I refused for the third time you became violent. For God's sake you started choking me that night and if I hadn't nailed you where you live you might very well have killed me then. What's your explanation for that? Wrong is wrong and no matter how you were raised you should have known not to do that to me."

“I know and that's my deepest regret. Alex all I can tell you is that when my father had our father and son talk with me he let me know in no uncertain terms that if I were to ever get married that my wife was expected to take care of any needs that I might have in the bedroom. That at first she might protest that she wasn't that kind of woman but if I stood firm as the head of the household she would then give in, as she was expected to do. Or as he put it, a modest wife knows that she was expected to protest at first but as an obedient housewife she was to do it. I questioned him about that and my father then told me that I was to act like a man at all times and that included in the bedroom. The man was the boss in the marriage and that's all there was to it. Now shortly before we were married my brother's wife left him and filed for a divorce. After that happened my father turned his back on my older brother because he wasn't man enough to keep his wife in line. Before then my brother was everything to my father, or at least I thought he was. I know different now but I didn't then. When I showed my father a picture of you he told me that for the first time in his life he was proud of me. Then he told me that I was to make sure to keep you in line because he didn't want another wimp for a son. I answered that I would make him very proud of me and that you would never leave me because you loved me so much. Alex I am so sorry that I listened to my father and hurt you the way that I did. It was wrong of me to treat you that way but at the time I really didn't know how to treat a woman right. All I had to go by was my parent's relationship. You were so in love with me when we got married but within three months I had driven you away with my very bad behavior. I'm sorry for that but most of all I'm sorry that I lost the one woman that I have ever truly loved, you. Alex I am in love with you now just as much as I was the day we were married and while I know that you don't love me now I hope that time has mellowed your feelings towards me. Have they?"

“Stanley when we got married I thought that I was in love with you but I have since realized that I never did love you. At the time all I wanted was for someone to care a little bit about me and there you were telling me how much you cared about me so I agreed to marry you. It was a mistake on my part in more ways than one. Let's both just say that we made a major mistake when we got married and leave it at that? I have no desire to rehash that time in my life and I think that it's best if you move on from it yourself. It's over and done with." Alex replied as the waitress brought their iced teas to the table. Stanley nodded okay and changed the subject by asking Alex what she was now doing and Alex told him that she was now an A.D.A. Then she asked Stanley what he had been up to since law school and he told Alex that he had been up to a lot of things and was just now ready to settle down with a new direction in his life and god willing a decent woman that he now knew how to treat right unlike he how had treated her, Alex.

Near the end of their meal Alex was startled by Merilee calling out as she approached their table “There you are Cahill, Cordell and I have been looking all over for you. How dare you leave your office without letting anyone know where you're at? Next time you'd better be in your office when I need you."

            Stanley stood up to say “Miss I don't know who you are but you owe Miss Cahill an apology." By then Walker had arrived at the table and he said to Stanley “Why don't you mind your own business?"

            “This is my wife that the two of you are treating so badly. So it's my business." Stanley told Walker who looked at Alex in shock. Alex then introduced everyone " Stanley, this is Texas Ranger Cordell Walker and a singer that he's currently protecting Merilee Summers. Walker, this is Stanley Whitman, my ex-husband. Now what is Miss Summer’s latest crisis?" Stanley shook Walker's hand as he told him “I guess that was a Freudian slip on my part because Alex was the best thing that ever happened to me and I wish that we were still married. She was the one and only for me. Maybe we can get back to where we were before I messed everything up. At least I hope so. Alex it was great seeing you again. I'm really looking forward to our next date, as it were." Stanley then took his leave as Merilee again began to rake Alex over the coals. Alex having had enough bluntly told her “Look Miss Summers if you have a real problem tell me what it is so that I can help Ranger Walker with it, otherwise shut up."

Walker then said “It's Waylon; he called her after she was done singing at C.D.'s." Alex questioned “Did you call him first Miss Summers? “When Merilee didn't answer her Alex stated “Okay Miss Summers let me explain it to you yet again. You are not to call Waylon for anything and you know that. One of these days you're going to call him then reject him and that may just be enough to drive him off of the deep end. You can't keep going back and forth. At least think of your daughter while you're calling a man who has vowed more than once that if he couldn't have you nobody could. Men like that can be very dangerous when they finally realize the woman really doesn't want them. Some of them sad to say do end up killing the woman." Alex turned her attention to Walker and told him “Meet me in my office tomorrow at four; we need to go over your testimony in the Clellan case." Alex then walked away from them. Merilee immediately started to trash Alex but Walker firmly said “That’s enough."

Chapter Five

            After they discussed Walker's testimony in the Clellan case Walker asked Alex “Why are you seeing your ex-husband? Didn't you tell me once that the marriage almost killed you?"

“I'm am not seeing Stanley or anyone else for that matter. As for what happened during our very brief marriage we've mutually decided that we both made a mistake in getting married in the first place. Any other questions whose answers don't concern you?" Alex responded causing Walker to tell her “Alex I'm just trying to make sure that a very good friend of mine is okay, that's all."

            “What friend are you talking about? The questions you just asked me concerned my marriage and as far as I can tell we're the only two people sitting in my office right now." Alex said to Walker.

            “Alex you're the good friend that I'm talking about and I'm worried that you may be getting yourself in over your head with him. There's something about your ex-husband that rubs me the wrong way. “Walker told Alex who then said "Thank you for your concern about me Walker but you can rest assured that I am not going to allow Stanley to ever be a part of my life again. I made a mistake when I was young and I paid for it. Believe me I learned my lesson when it comes to Stanley Whitman. I have no intention of ever seeing him again. I met him for a meal so that we could discuss our past and lay it to rest. Now at the risk of damaging our friendship I think that I should warn you as a friend that Miss Summers has her sights set on you."

            Walker asked her “For what?" Alex answered him by saying “As a replacement for her ex-husband Waylon. If you don't watch it she'll have herself and her daughter living with you at your ranch before you know what hit you."

Walker got a little mad about what Alex had told him and snapped “Maybe you're the one who wants to replace your ex-husband with me. Why don't you just admit that you're jealous of Merilee?" Alex stared into Walker's eyes as she replied “Yes Walker, I am jealous of Merilee because I was foolish enough to think that maybe in the future you would think of me as the woman you would like to build a future with. But since you've been sleeping with her I guess that you never were interested in a future with me. And just so you know Cordell John Walker, I would never have to resort to using my ex-husband to get a man. I have far too much self-respect to do something like that. If I ever get married again he will be as much in love with me as I'll be with him. Now friend I think you should leave before we both get really mad at each other. “Walker got up and left Alex's office.

Waylon stepped up his stalking of Merilee which led to her spending more nights at Walker's ranch. Walker was finding it harder to resist sleeping with her. One night as Walker and Merilee were relaxing in the living room uncle Ray entered the room causing Merilee to ask “Walker why did that man just walk into this house like he owns it?"

Walker answered her “He does. Merilee this is my Uncle Ray. Uncle Ray this is Miss Summers." Ray said “Nice to meet you Miss Summers. Washoe may I talk with you in the barn? “Walker got up to leave the room as Merilee questioned “Who's Washoe? And Walker why do you call him Uncle Ray? Is it an honorary thing or something like that?"

“I call Washoe by his tribal name. And yes he is my nephew, my younger brother John was Washoe’s father. After he and Washoe’s mother were murdered Washoe came to the reservation to live with me. As you can tell I'm Native-American as it my nephew here. Cherokee to be specific. “Ray answered then went outside to the barn followed by Walker. Once inside the barn Ray said to his nephew “Now Washoe I don't mind you sowing your wild oats but I caution you to realize that in doing so you might drive away Miss Cahill."

“Uncle Ray how many times do I have to tell you that Alex and are friends, nothing more? And what's your objection to my seeing Merilee? I thought you wanted grandchildren and soon. “Walker asked of his uncle. Going over to a filly's stall Ray replied “Yes Washoe I want grandchildren but Miss Summers is not the type of woman that you should present a female horse to. Miss Cahill is and deep inside of you, you already know that. “Walker answered “That’s my choice to make Uncle Ray."

“It may be your choice to make but White Eagle has said that Miss Cahill is your destiny. That even you in time will accept your destiny, when it comes to love. Remember that nephew of mine."

Walker returned to the living room where Merilee suggested “It's getting late, how about we get some sleep? Or we can stay up half the night having sex again. What do you say? “Walker took Merilee's hands and held them while he looked into her eyes. After a minute he told her " Merilee maybe someday but not right now. I need to see that you are safe from Waylon first." Merilee nodded okay and headed for the guest bedroom she was staying in. Walker locked up for the night and then went to his bedroom.

            Waylon who finally realized that Merilee wanted nothing to do with him went off the deep end and crashed his car while being chased by Walker which resulted in his death. Alex in the meantime was doing her best to avoid Stanley but he was making that difficult to do and kept insisting that he needed to talk to her one last time. One night Stanley showed up at Alex's apartment and hoping that he would leave her alone after they had their talk Alex let him in.

After taking a seat Stanley told Alex everything about what he had been doing since law school. Then he told her about Beatrice K. Saffron's plans to make Alex pay for her having sent Beatrice's husband Mortimer to prison. After he was done Alex sat there not saying anything so Stanley said “Alex please say something, anything."

Still somewhat shocked by what he had just told her Alex questioned him “What do you want me to say to you?"

“Tell me that I did the right thing by telling you about Beatrice. Tell me that after you've had time to think everything through that you'll be open to us getting to know each other again." Stanley implored Alex who backed away from him as she said “You did the right thing by telling me Stanley but before this gets out of hand, I do not want to get to know you again."

Stanley got agitated and jumped up from the couch as he protested “Alex you don't understand. I told you about Beatrice because I needed to make a clean break from my past in order to become the kind of man that can keep a woman like you." Knowing that she had to be very careful in how she answered Stanley Alex said “Stanley, I'm sorry if you thought we had a future together because that was never my intention. Listen I am glad that you told me about Mrs. Saffron but you should have told me about her for your sake, not mine. You needed to make a clean break with your past; all of it and that includes me. That's the only way you can move forward with your life."

            Now getting mad Stanley questioned her “What is that supposed to mean? I give everything up for you and you tell me that I shouldn't have done it for you. That I should have done it for myself? That I should move forward with my life and I do believe that you're trying to suggest that you're not going to be a part of it. What is the matter with you? I just gave you another chance and you won't take it, what are you thinking? Don't you understand that by meeting with me and leading me on you agreed that you wanted to get back together with me? How can you stand there and deny that? I took you for my wife, until death do we part and that's all there is to it." Alex calmly replied even though she was now afraid of him “I think you should leave now."

Stanley shook his head as he told her “Not until you agree to resume our relationship that it's our destiny to get back together. Alex I love you still and I know that I can make you love me like you used to do." Alex backed up towards the stand holding her cordless phone and picked it up as she replied " Stanley I think that I told you that I wasn't in love with you when we got married, that was wrong of me and I'm sorry about that. As for me loving you in the future, that's not going to happen, ever. I've made a choice and that is that we are not getting back together. Now please leave Stanley."

“Why can't admit that you want to get back together with me? Is there another man?" A little sadly Alex answered “Yes there is and no I won't tell you his name. Will you please just leave? Or do I have to call the cops to make you leave?" After nodding yes that he would leave Stanley turned to leave Alex's apartment as she turned her back on him to replace the cordless phone on its holder.

Chapter Six

            Walker and Merilee returned to his ranch house after the memorial service for Waylon. After they were seated on the couch Merilee surprised Walker by asking him “Cordell can you help me with turning the guest bedroom into a girl's bedroom?" Not quite getting what Merilee was saying Walker questioned her “What guest bedroom? And for who?"

            Merilee leaned into Walker and kissed him soundly before answering “The guest bedroom upstairs that I've been sleeping in silly. Once I move into the master bedroom with you I'll have my parents bring my daughter to come live here with us. So of course that room has to be redecorated for a young lady. I'm meaning the motif if you can call it that is more suitable for a very young boy. Unless you want to redo the other guest bedroom and leave that room as it is in case we have a son someday."

Walker hurriedly got up from the couch while saying “Merilee I never ever said anything about us getting married." Merilee also got up from the couch as she told him “I didn't say anything about us getting married either but since we're going to be living together I think that you and my daughter should get to know each other and the best way to do that is to have her live here with us. So when shall I call my parents and have them bring her here?"

“Merilee, slow down. We both need to take this thing one step at a time. I think that it's best if your daughter remains with your parents in Ohio. You are going to resume your tour, aren't you? “Walker asked Merilee who started to answer when the doorbell rang. As Walker went to answer it she said “Saved by the bell, for now. We'll finish this talk later. “Walker opened the door to find his ranch foreman Cal there. Cal explained that there was a problem that he needed Walker's help with. Walker said that Cal should wait in the barn for him. After Cal left the front porch Walker returned to the living room where he told Merilee that he had to help Cal with something and that she should go to her hotel. After Merilee agreed to show herself out Walker left his house.

As Merilee was leaving the phone rang so she answered it. Alex in a very weak voice asked “Walker are you there?" Merilee snarled “He’s in the shower. Now while I have you on the line I think that I'd better tell you that I'm moving in here with Cordell and that my daughter will be joining us. He's mine now. “In an even weaker voice Alex pleaded “Please tell Walker that I need his help." Merilee calmly hung up then turned the ringer off on the phone.

            A few hours later Walker returned to his house and was surprised to find Merilee still there asleep on the couch. Kneeling besides the couch Walker lightly shook her shoulder until she woke up. After she was awake Merilee stretched her arms in such a way that Walker was able to see that she wasn't wearing a bra under her blouse. Merilee then told him “Look Cordell I figured out that you're not ready for us to live together quite yet but we still can have sex can't we? “Walker gave up resisting Merilee's charms and pulled her to him. Merilee slipped Walker's shirt off as he removed her blouse. As they were lying back on the couch together there was a loud knock at the door followed by someone repeatedly pressing the doorbell. Before Walker could get up from the couch he heard C.D. call out “Cordell are you here? I've been trying to get in touch with you for the last couple of hours."

C.D. entered the living room to see the state both Walker and Merilee were in. C.D. then said “Well I guess this explains why you didn't answer the phone when Alex called you a couple of hours ago. Now Cordell I know that you and Miss Summers are seeing each other but that's still no reason for you to ignore a phone call from Alex."

            A puzzled Walker asked "C.D., what are you talking about?" C.D. answered his former partner “Cordell when Jimmy found Alex in her apartment she was calling your name and when he punched in redial your number came up. Would it have killed you to answer a call for help from Alex?"

Getting concerned Walker asked as he put his shirt back on “What's the matter with Alex?" C.D. answered “She’s in the hospital, apparently someone beat her up. Let me use your phone to call Jimmy at the hospital and tell him that you aren't going to be coming to the hospital for Alex. Then I'll head there myself. I thought that Alex was still your friend and that you would care about her but I guess that I was wrong."

            Merilee suggested as she tried to grab the phone first “Why don't you just go to the hospital now that you know Cordell won't be going there? We have some unfinished business."

 C.D. thinking that Merilee was trying too hard to get him to leave grabbed the phone and turned it so that he could see the on-off switch for the ringer. C.D. turned it back on then said “Why didn't you just tell me that you had turned your ringer off so that you could be with Miss Summers without being interrupted? Never mind Cordell, I'll show myself out." C.D. left Walker's house. Walker turned to Merilee who asked him “Now where were we?"

Walker replied “Nowhere. Please leave Merilee." Merilee said "Come on Cordell I know that it was wrong of me to turn your ringer off but how was I to know that Miss Cahill would be calling here faking having been beaten up. When she called I could tell that she was faking being in pain and I wasn't about to let her get away with trying to come between us. Now let me try again, where were we?"

Walker answered as he took Merilee by the arm “You're leaving and I'm going to the hospital to see if Alex is going to be okay. Alex would not fake something like that. “Walker then took Merilee outside and locked the door. Merilee made another attempt “Look Cordell why don't you go see Miss Cahill and you'll see that I'm right about her faking everything. After you do that you can come to my hotel room and we'll pick up where we left off. I want you and I know that you want me.” Walker ignored her as he headed for his truck. Merilee yelled at him “You must know that she's just claiming to have been beaten up so that you'll go running to her rescue, don't you? “Walker just got into his truck and drove off. Merilee got into her car and decided that she was going to follow Walker to the hospital so that she could be there when Walker realized that Cahill was making a fool out of him.

Chapter Seven

Walker went to where Trivette and C.D. were standing outside a hospital room; he asked them “Has anybody been arrested yet?" Trivette answered " Not yet but there's a warrant out for Alex's ex-husband Stanley Whitman. When I got to Alex's place so that we could go to the mall together her front for was ajar so I went in. Once inside her apartment I found Alex lying on the floor with blood coming from her mouth and there were bruises all over her face. Not to mention what looks to be hand prints on her throat. Walker man she was half out of it but she was saying that you were coming because she had called you. I picked up the phone and hit redial and your number rang. Walker if you knew that Alex called you after having been beaten up how could you have not done anything to help her? Is Merilee so good in bed that you would ignore a plea for help from a friend to have sex with her? I thought you were a better man than that."

            “Trivette how do you know that Alex was beaten up by her ex-husband?  “Walker asked in order to get the focus on Alex and off of his love life. Trivette replied “As they were loading Alex into the ambulance she came to and they asked her what happened and Alex told them that her ex-husband beat her up when she told him that she wasn't interested in him."

            Just then Merilee caught up to Walker and stated “Good you're all here. Now C.D. and Trivette I know that you both care for Miss Cahill and that's why you've gone along with her little scheme but I'm here to tell you that once Cordell and I go into her room he'll see her for what she is. A woman so desperate to entrap a man that isn't even hers that she would go to all the trouble of faking having been beaten up by an ex-husband. What I can't understand is how the two of you could have agreed to help her. When you both know how Cordell feels about abusive ex-husbands. What were the two of you thinking to go along with that sick scheme?"

Trivette started to answer when C.D. told him "Don't bother Jimmy, if Cordell won't see what's really happening here neither one of us is going to be able to convince him otherwise. Cordell you go into Alex's room and see the truth for yourself. The nurse said that she could have visitors after Alex was settled into her bed." After the nurse left Alex's room she told them "Miss Cahill can have visitors for the next ten minutes, after that you have to leave so that she can get her rest. “Walker went into the hospital room followed by Merilee who seeing that Walker was looking at Alex with a very regretful look on his face said “Cordell it's just a few minor bruises. So maybe he hit her a couple of times, so what? She probably led him on then turned him down. I saw the way she was looking at her ex-husband the day Waylon started to stalk me again. She was flirting with him and we both know that."

            In a pain filled voice Alex said “Please leave my room and take her with you. “Walker neared the bed as he asked her “Alex are you going to be okay?"

“I will be in time. Walker I didn't mean to interrupt you making plans with Miss Summers to move her and her daughter in with you. I called you first because you've always been there for me and I hadn't realized that things had changed. Please just leave." Alex replied then turned her head away from him. Now realizing that Merilee had told Alex that they were going to be living together Walker went to the door and motioned for Trivette to enter the room. Once he did so Walker asked him “Trivette, would you mind seeing Miss Summers to her car?" Trivette looked at Merilee who said “Okay I'll go but just so you know Cahill this isn't the end of this. Cordell and I are a couple now and I don't take too kindly to anyone trying to take my man away from me." Merilee then left the room. After she was gone Walker closed the door and pulled up a chair besides Alex's bed. Walker sat down on the chair and picked up Alex's hand as he asked her “Alex what happened?"

Alex replied “Walker I want you to be happy so please go and be with Miss Summers. C.D. and Jimmy are here for me. You don't need to stay here with me.” Walker shook his head no then told her “Alex you need to tell me what happened to you."

“Please not tonight. If you really want to talk tomorrow we can but right now would you let C.D. in here so that he can visit with me? I'm really tired but I'd like to see him and Jimmy before I get some rest." Alex replied in a very weary voice so Walker went to the door and told C.D. that Alex wanted to see him. C.D. entered the room as Walker went out to the hallway. After seeing Merilee to her car Trivette returned to the floor where Alex's room was. Walker told him “C.D. is visiting with Alex; she'd like to see you too."

"Okay but after I visit with Alex I'm going to get started on catching Stanley Whitman because there's no way that I'm going to let him get away with beating up a friend of mine." Trivette informed Walker who vowed “You and me both Trivette." Trivette nodded okay and went to visit with Alex.

Chapter Eight

When Trivette and C.D. came back into the hallway Trivette said “I'd guess we better send a notice out to hospitals and doctors to be on the lookout for a man with a black eye and a stab wound in a very sensitive place. C.D. why don't you head back to your bar? Walker and I can go to Ranger headquarters and get started on finding Whitmore." C.D. agreed to go back to his bar.

At Ranger headquarters Trivette said as he prepared to get an A.P.V. issued on Stanley Whitman “Walker, Alex told me that she did manage to fight back a little and was able to get him with a right hook right in his left eye so he should have a black eye. Also she said that when he got her down on the floor and wrapped his hands around her throat to strangle her that she was able to grab her letter opener from a stand and stabbed him with it. Alex said that she was aiming for his upper thigh but she thinks she got him more in the middle, if you know what I mean."

“What else did Alex tell you Trivette? Walker asked his partner “That Stanley showed up at her place to talk to her and that she let him in because she was hoping that after they talked he would leave her alone. Alex said that after she turned him down Stanley agreed to leave when she threatened to call the cops. As she was replacing her cordless phone on its base her back was to Whitman and that was when he attacked her. Alex also said that she was sorry that she had called you and disrupted your evening with Merilee and that all she wanted was for you to be happy and if your choice for happiness was with Merilee she was glad that you had found someone to share your life with. Alex then told C.D. and me that she was really tired so we left. Walker are you going to have Merilee move in with you? Because if you are she's going to have to realize that she can't do what she did this evening ever again. When someone calls you for you for help Merilee needs to let you know that they called."

“Trivette just sent that A.P.V. on Whitman. “Walker told Trivette who did exactly that then he got on his computer and did some more research on Stanley Whitman. Walker went to his desk and no sooner had he sat down than the phone rang, it was Merilee. “Cordell, I'm at my hotel waiting for you to get here so that we can have sex. How soon will you be here?" “I'll call you after we get Whitman. “Walker answered then hung up the phone.

After a few hours when no leads had turned up Walker and Trivette both left Ranger headquarters. Walker slipped into Alex's hospital room. When the nurse on duty tried to make him leave Walker flashed his badge and she backed off. The next morning when Alex woke up Walker was there and she stated “Walker I know that you are now with Merilee and I'm happy for you, really I am. Your friendship means so much to me and I hope that we'll still be friends."

“Always Alex. “Walker vowed then changed the subject by asking “Alex are you up to telling me what happened?" Alex replied “Yes I am. After I let Stanley in he told me about his involvement with Beatrice K. Saffron and that he was trying to set me up for her, I got a conviction on her husband Mortimer for stealing his client's money. Anyhow Stanley said that he had told me everything because he wanted a clean break from his past so that we could get back together. I told him that I was glad that he had told me everything but he needed a clean break from his past for his sake not mine. I also told him that we would not be getting back together and that when we had gotten married I hadn't loved him. Walker you have to understand I was so lonely back then I agreed to marry Stanley because I needed someone, anyone to care about me. I said that I was sorry about marrying him when I wasn't in love with him, that is was wrong for me to have done that. Stanley said that he took me as his wife for life and that's all there was to it but I told him that I made a choice and that choice was that we weren't getting back together. He didn't take too kindly to me turning him down. I was getting scared by his behavior so I picked up my cordless phone and told him that if he didn't leave I would have the cops make him leave. After he agreed to leave I made the mistake of turning my back on him and he attacked me. After I punched him in the eye Stanley kicked me in the stomach and I fell to the floor. He jumped on top of me and said that he was going to enjoy watching as I took my last breath. Then he wrapped his hands around my throat. I managed to grab my letter opener off of a stand to stab him in the leg with it hoping that he would let me go. Well I missed his leg and got him between his legs. Walker I called you because I've always known that I could rely on you to be there for me. I know that since you and Merilee are now a couple that I'll have to call Jimmy or C.D. instead. Also I'll make arrangements to have my horse taken elsewhere so that I don't upset Miss Summers by coming to your ranch to ride her."

Walker told her “Alex, I will always be there for you. Call me whenever you need me, I'll do my best to help you. As for you taking your horse somewhere else there's no need for that. Merilee is not going to be living at my ranch. I was protecting her, that's all."

Alex said “Walker if you have feelings for her I will not come between the two of you. You deserve to have someone who will always be there for you. “Walker replied “Merilee will be going back on tour and her daughter will stay with her parents in Ohio. I already have someone who's there for me and that's you."

 “Well friend of mine would you happen to know of a female karate instructor? I think that I need to learn some self-defense and soon." Changing the subject Alex asked Walker who answered “Yes I do but if you want I can teach you some basic things." Alex agreed to that. A short time later Trivette came into the room and said “Stanley Whitman has been found, right in this hospital as a matter of fact. Someone worked him over pretty good from what the doctor told me. So where were you last night Walker?"

            “Here Trivette, if you don't believe me go ask the nurse who tried to throw me out. “Walker answered his partner who then said “Hey Walker I only asked because you and I both know that the police are going to want to know where you were last night."

“Well just tell them that Walker spent last night at the bedside of a good friend." Alex suggested but Trivette responded “Oh I believe him but I'm still going to ask the night duty nurse anyhow. I mean if she's pretty then maybe I can talk her into a date or something like that."

“You men are all alike and that goes for you too Walker." Alex stated but Walker not understanding what Alex was implying asked “What is that supposed to mean?" A smiling Trivette said “I'll fill you in on that one at Ranger headquarters which is where we should be getting to. See you later Alex." That afternoon Alex was released from the hospital and taken home by C.D. who told her that he had left some home cooked food in the fridge for her. Alex thanked him and he left her apartment. Alex sat down on the couch mulling over the fact that she had done the right thing when she had divorced Stanley Whitman all those years ago because it had led her to becoming an A.D.A. and more important he had led her to meeting C.D., Jimmy and one Cordell Walker, a man she cared very deeply about.