Family Affair

By sissy (sissy@svs.net)

 & Chris (ckline-usa@foreverliving.com)

“Mom, I’m home!”

“I’m in here, Jessie.”

The little redheaded, hazel-eyed girl runs into the kitchen with the exuberance of a typical six-year-old.

Alex sits down at the table as Jessie comes running up to her, throwing her arms around her mother’s neck.

Alex returns the hug and kisses her on the cheek.

“Where’s Daddy?”

“He isn’t home yet, honey. How was school today?”

“Fine. I got an “A” on my writing and reading.  We didn’t do math today.”

Jessie stands back and gently pats her mom’s stomach. “Has he been a good baby today?”

“Pretty good, although he has been kicking quite a bit today.”

Jessie leans down and kisses Alex’s belly saying, “You’d better be good in there, or I’ll tell Daddy.”

“You’ll tell Daddy, what?” Walker comes through the door and scoops Jessie up into his arms for a hug and a kiss.

He leans over, still holding Jessie, and kisses Alex tenderly on the lips. “Hi” he says softly.

“Hi yourself, Cowboy.”

“Now, Jessie, what were going to tell me?” He asks as he sits down in a chair by the table and places Jessie on his lap.

“I told the baby if he didn’t stop kicking Mommy, I was going to tell you.”

Walker looks at Alex who nods and smiles in agreement.

“Well, honey, all that kicking just means that he’s getting anxious to join the rest of us.”

“How soon, Daddy? Tomorrow?”

Walker laughs, “No, I’m afraid it’s not going to be that soon, although your mom probably wouldn’t mind. You’ll probably have to wait about thirty more days. Tell you what--go get a calendar and we’ll mark today and the day when the baby is due and every day you cross one day off. That way you’ll be able to tell when the baby gets close.”

Jessie runs off in search of a calendar leaving Alex and Walker alone.

He moves over and kneels on the floor by Alex, pulling her close to his chest. “Has the baby really been that bad?”

Giggling, she pulls back slightly and kisses him deeply.

“Whoa, lady, we have small fry present.”

“I like kissing you, besides this baby is not any different than the others.” Kissing him again.

“That reminds me, where is John?”

“He’s taking a nap in his room-should be up soon. You want to go check on him for me?”

“Sure, be right back.” Kisses her again and goes in search of his son.

As he looks in the bedroom, he sees the blond boy lying on his stomach crossways on the bed. He walks in and sits down on the edge of the bed. The motion wakes the boy.

He rolls over, sees Walker, “Daddy!” he yells and jumps into his arms. Laughing Walker and his son enjoy a gentle tussling on the bed.

Jessie runs in and yells, “Me, too, Daddy. Me, too.” jumping right in the middle of the fracas. For the next thirty minutes, Walker has his hands full playing with his kids.

“Hey, can I get in on this too?” Alex asks laughingly as she enters the room. “I kinda figured this had happened.”

Walker picks up both kids, one in each arm, and stands up laughing. “Okay, okay. That’s it for now.” Setting them down on the floor, he continues, “It’s time you got washed up for dinner.”

“Come on, John, let’s go.”

“Yeah, John, show Daddy how big you are.”

“He’s not as big as me, Daddy, he’s only three, I’m six.”

“That’s right, you’re the big sister. Now, why don’t you take little brother and go get washed up? Maybe after dinner we’ll take a ride.”

“Yippee. C’mon John.” They dash for the bathroom and Walker collapses exhausted on the bed.

“What’s the matter, Cowboy, getting outta shape?”

Smiling up at her, Walker replies “I guess so.  I’ll have to spend some more time in the gym if I’m going to keep up with those two, not to mention a third!”

Alex offers her hand to help her husband up off the bed.  Grabbing it and gently pulling her onto the bed with him, he kisses her passionately.

“Don’t get started, you! You’ll have to save it till later.  Dinner’s almost ready and I’m sure the kids are just about done washing up.”

“Party pooper!”

Rising from the bed arm in arm, they head toward the bathroom to check on the children.

                                                **************************************

As they move gently on the porch swing, Alex leans back into Walker’s arms, murmuring contentedly, “The kids are asleep and all is quiet in the Walker house. We’ve been married almost eight years, and have two great kids with one almost here. It can’t get any better than this, darling.”

“Alex, you really are amazing, you know that?” Turns her face towards him and kisses her softly. “And I love you more every day. Do you realize how many kids we’d have if I had proposed sooner?”

Alex laughs, “And we’d love everyone one of them. Come on; let’s go to bed. It’s been a long day.”

                                                **************************************

“Mrs. Walker? Can you come to school and pick up Jessie? I’m not sure, but I think she has the mumps. It’s been going around the school a lot lately.”

“I’ll be right there.”  Turns to Josie who is visiting her today. “Josie, I have to pick up Jessie at school. Would you mind staying and watching John till I get back? Oh, by the way, have you had the mumps?”

Josie laughs and says, “Yes, I have.  Do they think Jessie has them? What about you and Walker?”

“Well, it’s been going around school. I had them when I was a kid, but I’m not sure about Walker.”

                                                **************************************

3 weeks later

“Walker, come on, its time to get up. You don’t want to be late for your meeting with Jimmy, do you?”

“One more minute, Alex.”

“Boy, this is a switch. That used to be my line.”

Alex leaves the bedroom to make sure Jessie is up and getting dressed for school. When she returns to the bedroom, Walker is finally getting dressed, his hair still wet from the shower. He turns toward Alex and pulls her into his arms, “Come here, woman.”

Giggling, she snuggles close as he kisses her.

“Darling, don’t you ever get tired of kissing a fat, pregnant woman?”

“Nope, not this one. Besides, it’s lots of fun making you a fat, pregnant woman.”

“Don’t you say the nicest things.” She kisses him, then pulls back looking at him closer.

“Walker, do you feel alright?”

“Sure, I feel a little sluggish, but, yeah, I’m fine. Why?”

She puts her hands on each side of his face, moving them down his neck.

“OH, OH!”

“Oh, Oh What, WHAT?”

“Walker, you’re not going to work today. You’re going right back to bed.”

“No way, woman. I’ve got to go to work. I’ve got to meet Trivette in an hour.”

“Not today, honey.”

“And why not, Alex.”

“Because, my Cowboy, you have the MUMPS!”

MUMPS??  Alex, what are you talking about?  You can’t be serious?”

 “I’m very serious. Now get your clothes off and get back in bed.” She starts unbuttoning his shirt; he pushes her hands away and begins buttoning it again.  She picks up his boots and puts them in the closet; he takes them back out.

Almost in tears, she says, “Walker, you’ve got to go to bed. Don’t you know what mumps can do to a man?”

“Alex, how can you be sure it’s mumps?” As he takes her in his arms he can tell by the tone of her voice that she is worried.

“Because Jessie just had them three weeks ago, remember? Honey, I’ll make a deal with you. You get undressed and back into bed and I’ll call Dr. Wilson and have him come and check you out. If he says it’s not the mumps, then you can go to work. But mumps can be very serious for an adult male. They can also be pretty painful.” She comes up to him, kisses him softly and smiles slyly, “I may want another baby one of these days so please take care of yourself. Mumps can go down on a man. After you get in bed, check and see if you have any swelling in your….”

“I know, Alex, I’ll look. How long, if this is the mumps, do they last?”

“The swelling usually only lasts 2 or 3 days but you should stay quiet and in bed for at least a week. That means, if we’re lucky, you’ll be up by the time the baby arrives.”

“Oh, God, Alex, that’s right. You’re only about a week away, aren’t you? Boy, I sure pick a fine time to come down sick.”

“It’s not your fault, Jessie brought them home, but that’s not her fault either. Evidently the vaccination didn’t take with her. We’ll just have to make do.” She puts her arms around him and pulls him as close as possible. “If this is the mumps, you’re going to feel pretty miserable for the next few days. So please, honey, do this for me. Bed and Quiet?”

“Okay, Alex, I guess there’s no sense taking any chances. I may want to make you a fat, pregnant woman again one of these days.” Kisses her softly and holds her tight.

“You get in bed; I’ll check on the kids real quick and then call Dr. Wilson. You’d better call Jimmy and let him know.”

“God, Trivette’s never gonna let me live this down,” he groans as he starts undressing.

He finally takes his clothes off, except his underwear, and sits on the edge of the bed, but even they feel uncomfortable, so he takes them off, too.

He slides in between the sheets and scoots back till his back is against the headboard.

‘Alex said to check to see if I’m swollen.’ He takes the sheet in his hands, almost afraid to look. But reluctantly he raises the sheet.

‘Damn, I think she’s right.’ A frown crosses his face. ‘This shouldn’t happen to a man. Any man.’

As Alex walks back into the room, he drops the sheet.

“Well?”

“I guess you’re right, Alex. Sorry I was such a pain.”

“I’m sorry I was right.  The Doctor will be here shortly to explain it all to you. Are you swollen very much? Can I take a look?”

“Alex, right now, I don’t need that kind of stimulation.”

“I wasn’t going to touch, just look.” She says with a mischievous smile.

“Coming from you Alex, a look is all it takes” He says softly as he pats the bed for her to sit beside him. “ Has Jessie left for school, yet?”

“No, she wants to come in and kiss you goodbye and to tell you she’s sorry.”

“Sorry? What did she do?”

“She thinks she gave you the mumps and she feels pretty bad.”

“Oh, God! Poor kid. Bring her in so I can explain that this isn’t her fault.”

Alex leaves the room and in a few minutes’ returns with a very sad little girl, chewing on her lower lip, her eyes full of unshed tears. Jessie walks very slowly until she looks up and she sees her Daddy holding his arms out to her. She breaks into a run and leaps into his arms sobbing for all she’s worth saying, “I’m sorry, Daddy, I’m sorry.”

He pulls her close, tucking her head under his chin, “Jessie, Jessie, honey, it’s alright, baby. This isn’t your fault. Don’t cry, baby, please? You know Daddy doesn’t like to see his girls cry.”

As the sobbing slowly quiets, she pulls her head back to look into his eyes. “You don’t have girls, Daddy, just one girl and one boy.”

“Well, your Mommy is my girl, too.”

Jessie looks at her Mother with a puzzled expression that quickly changes to a beautiful smile. “We’re Daddy’s girls, Mommy!”

“Yes, honey, we sure are.” Alex comes up to stand beside the bed with her hand on Jessie’s shoulder.

Jessie looks back at her Daddy, “Are you sure I didn’t give you the mumps, Daddy?”

“Yes, sweetheart, I’m sure. That shot that they gave you a long time ago, wasn’t any good, that’s how come you got them and how I got them, too. Okay?”

“Okay, Daddy,” She reaches up and kisses Walker on the cheek and turns to Alex who leans over to get a kiss, too.

“C’mon, Jessie, the bus will be here in a minute, hurry now.” As Alex walks Jessie to the door, Jessie turns and says, “Bye, Daddy.”

“Bye, baby. Enjoy school.”

After Jessie leaves Walker ponders the age old wisdom of children. It’s a shame all problems can’t be solved as easily.

“Well, I’ve put it off long enough. I’d better call Trivette. I think I’d rather be shot.” He picks up the phone on the nightstand and dials Trivette’s number.

“Trivette.”

“Trivette?  Walker, I’m not going to be in today or all week for that matter.”

“What’s wrong, Walker? Alex going to the hospital?”

“No, I’m sick, probably be in bed all week according to the doctor.”

“God, Walker, what in the world is wrong?”

“Well, Trivette,” Oh, God. “I’ve got the mumps.”

“What? What did you say, Walker? I didn’t hear you.”

“I said, I’ve got the mumps.”

“Walker, you chewin’ on something, man. I still didn’t hear you.”

“I said I’ve got the mumps.”

THE MUMPS?  Walker, are you kidding me?” Trivette looks around the room and notices everyone looking at him.

“You don’t have to shout it out, Trivette.”

“The mumps. Oh, God, Walker. I mean, I’m sorry. But the mumps?” Hehehehe,hohoho, whew. I’m sorry pard, but isn’t that kinda rough on a man? I mean on…..you know?”

“I know, Trivette. I know. Look I’ve got my hands full what with Alex almost due and me down with this “mumps”. So cut me a little slack, okay?”

“Sorry, Walker, I forgot about Alex being close and I know mumps are nothing to laugh about. But I just can’t picture you with MUMPS. Hehehe.  Hey, I know Josie will be glad to help Alex out anyway she can, till you’re back on your feet.  Our baby isn’t due for six months yet so we’ll both be glad to help out. Have you told C.D., yet?”

“No, I haven’t. You tell him, I don’t think I can take any more ribbing. Okay? And I’ll have Alex give Josie a call, too. I know this is a bad time leaving you to handle that gang of car thieves we’ve been after, but maybe the Captain will assign someone to help you till I get back.”

“Yeah, I’ll talk to him. I gotta go Walker, here comes Randy, looks like he’s got some good news for a change.”

“Trivette?”

“Yeah, Walker?”

“Watch yourself out there, okay?”

“I’ll do that, Walker. Josie and I’ll be out later. Bye.”

*****

“Was that Jimmy on the phone?” Alex asks as she sees Walker hangs up the phone.

“Yeah, I called him.”

“Well, what did he say?”

“About what I expected.”

“Honey, you feel like breakfast?”

“Alex, why don’t I move downstairs? You don’t need to be climbing those stairs all day looking after me.”

“That would probably be easier but lets wait till the Dr. gets here.  Oh, John would like to see you, are you up to it?”

“Hon, I’m always up to seeing my kids. I’ll have a talk with him, though, and explain why we won’t be rough housing for the next week or so.”

“Here, you’d better put these on, there loose, so they shouldn’t bother you.” Alex hands him a pair of his lightweight workout pant. “You’ll have to have something on when they move you downstairs.”

********

From the way the little blond boy entered the room, he had already been told that his daddy was sick. He walked up to the bed and Walker smiled at him and patted the bed for him to climb up.

“Daddy, are you real sick?”

“Well, John, I can’t do any wrestling for awhile, but I could probably read you a story once in awhile, okay?”

“Okay. ……..Are you gonna be sick a long time?”

“I hope not, John. But it will probably seem like a long time. Uncle Jimmy and Aunt Josie will be coming by this evening.  Maybe, if you ask him real nice, Uncle Jimmy will wrestle with you a little since Daddy can’t.”

“Oh, boy, Uncle Jimmy’s coming over!  I gotta go tell Mommy.” He jumps down and runs out of the room.  Seconds later, he pokes his head back around the corner, “See you later, Daddy. Bye.” And he was gone.

Walker laughs then leans back into the pillows and closes his eyes.  He’s set the minds of both his kids at ease, which always sets his mind at ease as well.  In a matter of minutes, he is fast asleep.

*****

Walker slowly wakes to a gentle kiss on his lips and a whispered “Honey.” He opens his eyes to see Alex and Doctor Wilson standing at the bedside.

“Well, Walker, you really did it this time, huh?”

“I guess I have, Doc. I think we could have saved you a trip. From the way I feel, I’m finally willing to concede that it’s the mumps.” As he sits up and slides back against the headboard.

“Sure looks that way. Let me take your temperature.”  He places a thermometer in Walker’s mouth then places his hands on each side of Walker’s face, feels down the sides of his throat, nods and looks at Alex. “He definitely has a fever; I can feel the warmth.”

“I know, I felt it when I kissed him.”

“100.1 degrees, Walker. Not too high, but high enough. I’ll give you something to help bring that down but I want you to stay in bed, light meals, lots of liquids, and absolutely no exercise. Total bed rest, bathroom privileges only.  Of course, when this really sets in, you’re not going to feel much like doing anything, anyway.”

“Doc, I need to move downstairs so Alex isn’t climbing these stairs so much.”

“That’s probably a good idea, but I want you to get help getting down there, okay?”

“Trivette’s coming by this evening; I’ll get him to help me, okay?”

“That will be fine. Here, take two of these right now and two every four hours, as needed, for the fever.”  Turning to Alex, “Now, young lady, I’d like to check you over before I leave. Getting pretty close aren’t you?”

Alex nods, “My due date is next Wednesday.”

“Come over here and sit down on the bed, Alex.” The Doctor checks her over thoroughly and then listens to the baby’s heart. He sees Walker watching intently and hands him the stethoscope to listen, too. As he listens to his baby’s heartbeat, a tender smile comes on his face and he looks over at Alex and kisses her softly.

“When do you see your OB again, Alex?”

“Tomorrow, why?”

“I’d like you to have someone come and stay with you until the baby comes. I’d say you are very close.  Now Walker, if she should go into labor, it is very important that you stay in bed.  Do you understand?”

“But, doc!”

“No buts, Walker. You could cause more harm than good if you tried to help her.  I want your word that you’ll stay in bed.”

“Alright, Doc, I give you my word.”

Giving Walker a very determined look, Alex says, “Don’t worry, he’ll stay there; I’ll make sure of it.”

*****

When Jimmy and Josie arrive around mid-afternoon, the first thing on the agenda is getting Walker moved downstairs to the guest bedroom.  As Trivette enters Walker’s bedroom, he sees Walker sound asleep. He turns to look at Alex who had followed him upstairs.

“He’s been sleeping all day. Guess that tells you something, huh.”

“Do you think we ought to wake him, Alex?”

“I am awake Trivette. You make enough noise to wake the dead and right now, I feel like I’m pretty close.”

Alex sits beside him on the bed and kisses him softly on the cheek, “Darling, it just feels that way; believe me, you’re a long way from being dead.”

“Trivette, did you call C.D.? I figured he’d be out here to heckle me, too.”

“Oh, I’m sorry, darling, C.D. did call but things have been so hectic, I forgot to tell you.   He said to tell you that you wouldn’t be seeing his face around this place until the threat of mumps has completely disappeared.  Apparently, he’s never had them either.  So I guess we won’t be seeing him much before next weekend.”

“Well, at least I’m not the only one who’s never had them.  And he’s right; don’t let him anywhere near me. At C.D.’s age, it would be doubly hard on him. It’s hard enough on me.”

Not used to hearing his partner admit he’s beaten, Trivette says, “Why, Walker, are you admitting that something has finally gotten the better of you? You really are sick.”

“Watch it, Trivette.  I won’t be sick forever and you know what they say about payback!”

“Okay, okay.  Now, you about ready to make the trip downstairs man?  I think Alex has the bed all set up.  Alex, why don’t you tell George to come on in, it’ll take both of us to get him down there.”

“I just need you to lean on Trivette, I can walk. We don’t need George; he’s just here to help with the livestock until I get back on my feet, not to be my nursemaid.”

“C’mon, grouch, you’re not walking. So just settle down and relax. George, you get on that side and with me here, between the two of us, we’ll get him down those stairs.”

“Trivette, I told you I could walk, now cut this out!”

“Walker, stop arguing unless you think you can take on George and me at the same time?”

Walker looks up at George, who must weight at least 220, starts to stand up and immediately falls back on the bed. “God, I’m as weak as a kitten.”

“Let’s go George, while he’s pondering the situation.” The two men hoist Walker up, George wrapping his arms around Walker’s chest from behind and Trivette taking his legs.  Within ten minutes, Walker is tucked in the guest room bed.

“See, Walker, nothing to it when you know what you’re doing.” Trivette smiles at him and turns to George, “Thanks, man. Couldn’t have done it without you.  Walker, you can go back to sleep now, I’ve got some serious wrestling to do. Catch you later.” With a wave, Trivette disappears out the door.

Alex sits down beside Walker on the bed, leans over and kisses him softly. “I think it’s about time for another dose of medicine. You feel awfully warm.”   She gets up to get water for him and watches him swallow the pills. “Feeling pretty rotten, aren’t you?”

“Well, I’ve felt a lot better.  I take it John has already asked Trivette to play. Don’t let Trivette get to rough with him. God, I hate this.”

“I know you do, darling, but it’ll be over before you know it. Then you’ll have your hands full with a third one.”

“How are you feeling Alex? The doctor seemed to think you were pretty close to delivery. Have you found someone to stay here with you until then? What a time for me to get sick.”

“Honey, everything’s fine. Jimmy and Josie have both agreed to stay here until you get back on your feet or the baby comes, whichever happens first. I thought they could use our room and I’ll stay in here with you, if that’s alright?”

“Whatever is easier for you, hon. Boy, this sure puts a load on you, and you don’t need that now.  God, I hate this.”

“Walker, there’s nothing we can do about it so why don’t you just relax for a little while.  I’m sure the kids will be in to see you soon and I’m going to go and get dinner started. I love you.” She kisses him deeply, slowly rises and leaves Walker to reflect on his fate.

*****

Soft groans and Alex sitting up in bed awaken Walker. “Alex, are you alright?”

“Mmmmph, oh, God!  Walker, I don’t think the baby is going to wait till next week. Aaaaaahhhh….. I think it’s coming tonight. You better call Jimmy.”

“Alex……”

“Please, darling, now………oooooo.aaaaaahhhh.”

Trivette!  Trivette!

Before he can yell again, Jimmy and Josie come rushing through the door. “What, Walker, oh my God! It’s the baby, isn’t it? Oh my God! Josie get the car started, I’ll bring Alex. Walker, you stay put. I’ll take Alex to the hospital and Josie will stay here to take care of Jessie and John.” He goes over to Alex, takes a blanket from the chair and wraps her in it, scoops her up in his arms and is headed out the door before Walker can protest.

“I love you, darling. Aaaaahhh.”

“Oh, God, take care of her Trivette. Alex, I love you.”

“You know I will, Walker.”

*****

At the hospital, Alex is admitted immediately, and wheeled directly into the delivery room. The doctor is waiting for her. “I want Jimmy in here. Please. Aaaaahhhh.  Oh, Please Doctor.”

A few minutes later, Jimmy comes through the door in a hospital gown and mask. He stands beside Alex and, taking her hand in his, says “Just like in Lamaze class, right?” He’s sweating profusely and talking to himself. “Man, I can do this, I can do this.  This is great practice for when Josie has ours. Oh, God. Oh, God.” He starts shaking like a leaf. “I can do this, I can.”

Alex tries to comfort him.  “You’ll do fine, Jimmy, just relax. ….aaaaahhhh.”

 “Oh, man, Walker? I can do this.  Oh boy.  Alex look, I’ve got my cell phone. I’ve called Josie and she’s with Walker, he’s on the other end. So you talk to him just like he was here. Okay? Maybe he won’t worry quite so much if he hears you. Okay?”

“Okay. AaaaahhhhHHH”

“Walker, talk to her man, she’s listening.”

“Honey, just like the last ones, breathe with it Alex. I’m right here. You can do it, baby.”

“Oh, darling, we’re doing fine, ohhhaaaaahhh.”

“That’s right Mrs. Walker, you’re doing fine. This one is in a hurry.  Looks like we have another redhead. Push with it, you’re doing fine.”

“Alex, I love you.  Did I hear the Doctor right, another redhead? Oh, God, I wish I was there.  C’mon Alex, I know you can do it.”

“Darling, I love…. you, too. Mmmmphhh.  Tell the kids…… another redhead. Aaaaaahhhh”

“That’s it, one more push, and we’ll have a new baby with us.  Here we go……..You’ve got another boy, Walker, congratulations.”

As the doctor places their new son on his mother’s chest, an exhausted Alex whispers, “Darling, it’s a boy, I love you.”

“Alex, are you all right? Trivette, is she all right? Somebody talk to me, dammit.”

“She’s fine, Walker, just has her hands full right now.  Hear him crying; he’s got a healthy set of lungs, man.”

Talking the phone from Trivette, “Walker, this is Dr. Morrison. Everything’s fine.  We’re going to get them cleaned up and into a room. We’ll set the phones up where you can talk some more, but right now, let’s hang up so that we can get mom and baby settled, Okay?”

“Okay. Dr. Morrison, are you sure she’s okay?”

“She’s fine, Walker, just mighty tired. She’ll talk to you later, okay?”

“Sure.” Walker hands the phone back to Josie, leaning back in bed with a million-dollar smile on his face.  “She’s fine, Josie. We have another son. A redhead, too. How about that? You reckon that means the fourth one will be a blond?  Man, I’m beat.  I’ll bet Alex is too. God, I love that woman.” Closing his eyes, he is soon sound asleep, still wearing his million dollar smile.

*****

Riiiinnnnggg, “Hello?”

“Josie?”

“Alex! How are you, hon? How’s that new baby?”

“He’s fine Josie. I’m a little tired, but I’m fine, too. Is Walker still awake?”

“No, Alex, right after he hung up earlier, he got this huge smile on his face, said, ‘God, I love that woman’ and fell sound asleep. Do you want me to wake him?”

“Maybe you better, Josie, it’s probably past time for his medication.  It’s for the fever. That might be why he’s sleeping so much. I’ll talk to him after he takes it.”

“Walker, Walker? Wake up. You need to take your medicine and Alex wants to talk to you.”

Walker’s mind slowly comes awake.  He feels hot, sore and disconnected. He practically has to will his eyes to open and when he finally manages to open them, he sees Josie standing beside his bed holding a glass of water.  He finally sits up and leans back against the headboard, “What, Josie?”

“I said you need to take your medicine.” He takes the pills and the water, emptying the glass completely.

“Alex wants to talk to you if you feel up to it.” She passes him the phone.

“Alex?”

“Hi, sweetheart, how are you feeling.  You sound pretty bad. I just wanted to tell you I love you and wish you sweet dreams.”

“Alex, is everything okay? You? The baby?”

“We’re both fine. I’ve got an exact copy of you lying here in my arms. If he had a red beard, he could be a miniature you.” Alex giggles at this thought. “I miss you, honey.”

“I miss you, too. Alex, I’m sorry I couldn’t be there for you.  I always promised myself that I would be there when my kids were born. 

“Darling, please don’t beat yourself up over this.  You were there when Jessie and John were born.  I know you wanted to be here and I wanted you to be here but it just wasn’t possible this time.  Hey, you know we still need to name this little guy.”

“I’ve been thinking about that.  How about James, since it was his Uncle Jimmy who helped deliver him?”

“Oh, Walker, that’s a wonderful idea!  I’m sure Jimmy will be thrilled.”

“When do you think you’ll be coming home?”

“According to the doctor, I-I mean we-could be coming home as early as Friday.”

“Is it going to be okay to bring the baby back here with me still sick with the mumps?”

“That’s why the doctor decided to keep us a few days.  He figures by Friday you’ll probably be over the worst of it, and the extra couple of days will give the baby time to pick up some immunity from my milk.  Do you realize that this is will be the longest we’ve been separated since we got married?  I love you, darling. I should let you rest, you sound exhausted.”

“Alex, I miss you, too. I like the way you wake me up. By the way, how did Jimmy do?”

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen him so flustered, but once we got underway, he did just fine. I may have broken some bones in his hand, from the way he was acting. No, really, he did great. He got some great practice for when Josie delivers.”

“Yeah, nothing like first hand experience.”

“Get some rest, darling, and I’ll talk to you tomorrow.  You will call C.D., won’t you?”

“Of course.  I think I’ll wait until later this morning, though.”  You get some rest too and take good care of our little boy.  I love you, Alex.”

“I love you, too, Walker.”

The next morning, Josie brings both Jessie and John into Walker’s room so that he can tell them about their new baby brother.  Jessie seems a little disappointed at the idea of another brother but is soon all smiles again when Walker reminds her that she and Mommy are still “Daddy’s girls” and that she will always be the big sister.  John is happy to now be the big brother and wants to know when he can wrestle with his new brother. 

The next few days pass by quickly and as Walker begins to feel better and regain his strength it becomes harder and harder for Trivette and Josie to keep him in bed.  He and Alex talk to each other several times a day and both are anxious to see each other and get their life back to normal.  Dr. Wilson comes to see Walker on Thursday and noting his agitation at still being confined to bed, gives him the okay to start moving around but warns him against overdoing it.

“Now, Walker, I’m allowing you to move around but you’ve been in bed for nearly a week and it’s going to take a few days to get your strength back.  If you push yourself too hard, you’re going to find yourself right back in that bed.  I want you to take it slow and easy and I absolutely don’t want you back at work for at least another week.  Understood?”

“Don’t worry, Doc.  Believe me, the thought of being laid up again is more than enough motivation not to overdo it.  Besides, I planned to take a week off after Alex had the baby anyway so they’re not expecting me back at the office.  George is still here to help with the animals and I know that Trivette and Josie will be stopping by to make sure we’re doing okay.”

“All right, then.  I’ll see you in my office next Friday for a final checkup and release to go back to work.  If you have any problems, you let me know and take good care of Alex and that new little son of yours.  When are they due home?”

“Thanks, doc.  Alex and Jimmy are coming home tomorrow, FINALLY!  I gotta tell you, this has been real torture not being able to see them.”

“Well, take care and I’ll see you next week.”

“Okay, doc.  Thanks again.”

That evening, as Walker, Trivette and Josie relax in the living room after having gotten the kids to bed, Walker leans back in his chair and briefly closes his eyes.

“How ya, feeling, pard?”

“A little tired, but otherwise, I’m fine.  I just can’t wait to see Alex and little Jimmy tomorrow.”

“Yeah, I know Alex is pretty anxious to introduce you to your son.”

Sitting up and looking at both Trivette and Josie, Walker continues, “Hey, guys, I don’t know how Alex and I can ever thank you both for everything you’ve done for us over this last week.  I can’t imagine what we would have done when Alex went into labor if you guys weren’t here.  You’re the best friends, no the best family, anyone could ever ask for and I wanted you both to know that we love you.”

Both Trivette and Josie are a little taken aback by Walker’s words, knowing that it is not his nature to express his feelings to others.  They have both seen a change in him over the years since he and Alex have been married but his expression of emotions was still rather rare.

“Hey, pard, you know that we’d do anything for you guys.  Besides, helping out around here and having the kids around just gives us practice for what’s to come.”  He reaches over and gently rubs Josie’s belly.

“Well, you know that we’ll be there for you whenever you need us.  All you have to do is yell.  You guys are going to make great parents.  I see how great you are with our kids.”

Josie replies, “Thanks, Walker, that really means a lot to us.”

“Well, tomorrow is a big day and I’m kinda beat so I’m going to head to bed.”

“Hey, you want your room back?  We can move down here.”

“No, I’m fine where I’m at.  Hey, would it be too much to ask you guys to hang here for the weekend?  I just need a couple more days to get back up to speed.”

“No problem, man.  We’d be happy to stay.”

“Thanks.  Well, goodnight, I’ll see you both in the morning.”

Both reply, “Night, Walker.”

“Hey, Trivette, how about a light workout in the morning?”

“Walker, are you sure you’re up to that so soon?”

“I won’t do anything real strenuous, just some stretching and some light weights.  I promise I won’t overdo it.  What ya say?”

“Okay, I’ll see you in the morning.”

******

The following morning, Walker is up with the sun and feeling great.  Trivette finds him deep in thought on the front porch.

“Hey, you’re up early.  Must be feeling better.”

“Yeah, I am but I think part of it is that I’m just so excited to see Alex and little Jimmy.”

“Well, you still want to get in a light workout before we head to the hospital?”

“Sure, let’s go.”

They spend the next hour in Walker’s gym joking and working out.  Walker keeps to his word and doesn’t push it too hard, opting instead to coach Trivette on some of his martial arts lessons. 

Heading back to the house to shower and get ready to go to the hospital, they notice C.D.’s car approaching.  They wait for C.D. by the porch.

“Mornin’ fellas.  How ya feelin, Cordell?”

“I’m doing great, C.D., but what are you doing here.  I thought you said you weren’t coming round until you were sure all traces of mumps were gone.”

“Yeah, I talked to Doc Wilson this morning and he told me that he had given you the all clear and that Alex and the baby were coming home today so I thought I’d drop by.”

“I’m glad you did, C.D.  We’ve missed having you around.  The kids especially have missed their “Grampa C.D.”

“Well, I sure have missed them too.  Where are they?”

“I was just on my way to wake Jessie for school and John should be up shortly.”

As Walker and Trivette get showered and dressed, C.D. helps Josie get Jessie ready for school and keep John out of trouble.

Walker calls the hospital and Alex lets him know that she and the baby will be ready to leave by 11:00 a.m.  He can tell from her voice that she has had her fill of the hospital and was anxious to get back home to the ranch.  Trivette and Josie had taken Jessie and John to see Alex one evening but other than that she hadn’t seen Walker or the kids in nearly a week.

Trivette headed to the office and C.D. agreed to stay with Josie and John while Walker went to pick up Alex and Jimmy.  Arriving at the hospital, Walker found himself somewhat nervous but he didn’t know why.  He stopped by the nurse’s station and completed all the necessary paperwork to get Alex and the baby discharged.  While there, Dr. Morrison happened by.

“Well, Walker, it’s good to see you!  You’re looking well.  Alex tells me you had quite a bout with the mumps.”

“Hi, doc.  Yeah, it’s been a rough week, but I’m feeling much better and can’t wait to see Alex and my son.”

“Well, I just left them both.  They’re waiting for you in Alex’s room-Room 212.  They’re both doing well.  As much as Alex hates to admit it, I think these extra couple of days in the hospital did her a world of good.  I need to finish my rounds.  You take good care of those two.  I told Alex I want to see her and the baby for a check up next week.”

“Okay, doc.  Thanks for everything.  I’ll be off work for another week so I’ll make sure she takes care of herself.”

Walking purposely toward Alex’s room, he hesitates and takes a deep breath before entering.  Quietly opening the door, the sight before him warms his heart like nothing else could.  There, sitting up in bed is his beautiful wife with their new son sleeping contentedly in her arms.  She glances up when she hears the door open and rewards him with the biggest smile.  Extending her hand toward him, he slowly walks toward her never taking his eyes from hers.  As he reaches her side, he takes her hand is his and with his other hand, gently cups her face, leaning forward to softly kiss her lips.  “Hi.”

“Hi, cowboy.  You look much better.”

Sitting next to her on the bed and glancing down at the sleeping baby, he smiles at her, “Who’s your friend?”

Alex giggles and proceeds to introduce Walker to his son.  Gently taking his son in his arms, Walker is overwhelmed with emotion as a single tear escapes his eye.  Looking back at Alex, he says “he’s beautiful and so are you.  I’ve missed you.”

Touching the side of his face and gently wiping away the tear, she says, “I’ve missed you, too.”

“You two about ready to get out of this place?”

“Oh, we’re more than ready!”

Walker and Alex arrive home with Jimmy to find Josie, C.D. and John waiting anxiously on the porch.  At the first sight of Alex, John bolts off the porch and runs toward her “Mommy, Mommy, Mommy!”

Alex is barely out of the car before he reaches her.  She kneels down and gathers her son in her arms, “Hi, baby!”  Squeezing him tightly in her arms, “Ohhhh, I’ve missed you soooo much.”

“I missed you too, Mommy.  Where’s my brother?”

Laughing, Alex takes John’s hand and leads him around to the other side of the car where Walker has just taken Jimmy from his car seat.  Lifting John into her arms, she introduces him to his new baby brother.

“He’s really little.  When can I wrestle with him?”

Walker chuckles and says, “I’m sorry, big guy, but I’m afraid it’s going to be a long time before you and your brother can wrestle.”

“That’s okay, Daddy.  You’ll still wrestle with me, won’t you.”

“You bet I will!”

Placing John back on the ground, Alex says, “How about if we get inside and let baby Jimmy take a nap while we have some lunch?”

“Okay.”  John takes off running toward the house.

Walker, Alex and Jimmy are greeted warmly by C.D. and Josie and after only a few minutes, he’s settled in his cradle in the guest room and the group is enjoying the lunch that C.D. prepared.

Alex, Walker and John all take a nap after lunch only to be awakened by Jessie returning from school and anxious to see her new little brother.  She bounds into the guestroom and pounces on the bed.  “Hi, Mommy!”  She throws herself into Alex’s waiting arms and receives a huge hug.

“Hi, honey!  How are you?  I’ve missed you.”

“I’m fine.  I missed you, too.  Did you bring the baby home?”

Grabbing his daughter and giving her a hug, Walker responds, “We sure did.  Do you want to see him?”

“Yeah!  Can I hold him?”

Glancing at Alex who nods her head, Walker says, “Well, okay but you need to be real careful, okay?  I’ll tell you what, why don’t you go out in the living room and sit on the couch and I’ll bring Jimmy out to you.”

“Okay.”  Bounding off the bed, she heads out of the room and into the living room.  “I’m ready, Daddy!”

“Okay, baby, I’ll be right there.”

Rolling over and taking Alex in his arms, he kisses her deeply.  “Well, so much for peace and quiet!”

The remainder of the day is spent with the children and Josie and C.D.  Trivette arrives just after six and they all enjoy a wonderful dinner prepared by C.D. as a welcome home for Alex.

Sensing Walker and Alex’s need for some time alone, C.D., Trivette and Josie make themselves scarce shortly after dinner.  Walker finds Alex standing over Jimmy’s cradle watching him sleep.  He approaches her, takes her hand and leads her out the door to the porch swing.  He sits down and cradles Alex in his arms with her legs extended the length of the swing.  She places her head on his shoulder and they spend the next hour just swinging together silently enjoying being back in each other’s arms.

Looking into Walker’s eyes, Alex says, “It’s so peaceful right now.  How long do you think it will last?”

Smiling down at his beautiful wife, Walker replies “Not long enough, I’m sure.”

As if on cue, baby Jimmy’s cries are heard throughout the house.  Alex sighs, “Well, looks like things are back to normal in the Walker house.”

THE END

“Walker, Texas Ranger” and all of it’s characters belong to CBS Inc., Norris Brothers Entertainment and other copyright holders. This piece of fiction and its’ author have no connection to any copyright holders that may exist. No infringement is intended. The story is strictly for entertainment. This story may be distributed and copied freely, in its’ entirety, for personal use.