“Hidden Beauty”
By: Airswoopes


As the prison gates open a man is released.

“Be good Johnny. I don’t want to see you back here again.” the guard states sternly.

“It’ll only a matter of time!” replies Johnny. Johnny is a big man and by the look of his appearance he works out. After a few good-byes  Johnny walks toward a car waiting for his release. He enters the car and drives away from prison.

It is early in Dallas as the sun rises. A newspaper lands side-up on Alex’s apartment entrance. Hearing the paper hit the door she goes to retrieve it. As she opens the door and looks at the cover page of the paper she gets a concerned look on her face. The picture on the paper is a picture of Johnny Ricketts, the man who was released earlier.

“Oh, my god. It can’t be!” Alex continues to get ready for work. She leaves her apartment still carrying the newspaper.

As Alex enters her office she see a beautiful arrangement of flowers on her desk. “Oh, Walker! You are such a romantic at heart.” she thinks to herself. She pulls the card out of the middle of the arrangement. As she opens it she can see the red roses as the border of the card. She reads the card and gets a worried look on her face. The card reads:

Dear Alex,
I am out! I can’t wait to see  you again and talk about old times. We have so much to catch up on.
Johnny R.

Alex immediately drops the card in fear. She walks out the door to her secretary’s desk with the newspaper in her hand. “Who brought those flowers in?” asked Alex.

“I’m not for sure. He didn’t tell me his name.” Jamie replied.

“Do you remember what he looked like?" questioned Alex.

“Yes.” Alex hands her the newspaper. As Jamie looks at the picture she concludes that the man that brought the flowers in was the man in the picture.

“Is this the man?” Alex asked knowing it was by the look on Jamie’s face.

“Why yes. Yes it is. Is something wrong?”

 "No, nothing is wrong. I was just curious. Thanks, Jamie.” With that Alex went back into her office.

She picks up the phone and dials a number that she knows by heart. It was Walker’s desk. She looks at the flower once again as the phone rang at Walker’s desk
“Hello. This is Walker.”
Hearing his voice brought great comfort to Alex. “Walker, it is me, Alex. Could you please come up to my office.”
“Sure. I’ll be right there!” Walker was a man that didn’t ask questions. He would wait until he found out what was going on before asking the questions. Walker hanged up the phone and quickly exited the Ranger office. As he left he picked up his gun and hat that rested on the rack by the door.
Walker started the walk to Alex’s office. One that he follows quite frequently. As he enters the room he sees Alex pacing around the room, but when the door opens she stops to see who has entered. Walker next notices the flowers on Alex’s desk which brings some jealousy to him.
“Those are beautiful flowers. Who brought them?”
Alex looks at the flowers then at Walker. He can sense the fear in her voice as she answers, “That’s part of the problem. Have you seen today’s paper?”
“No not yet, why?” As Walker says this he realizes that he would probably soon be coming in contact with who ever sent the flowers.
“Johnny Rickets was released from prison yesterday.” She hands him the paper and he begins to read the article. “He is the one that sent the flowers.” She stands beside him watching him as he reads the article.
“It’s all legal. He served his time.” Seeing the concern on Alex’s face he quickly asks, “Who is he?”
“I know he served his time, but that doesn’t make me feel any safer. He was put in jail for beating my roommate Maggie to death in college.” Walker had heard details about this event, but never the full story. He could see in Alex’s eyes her fear so he wraps his arms around her and whispers into her, “Do you feel safer now?”
Turning around and facing him Alex replies yes with a kiss.
“I know it might be difficult for you Alex, but I have only heard bits and pieces to this event. Could you fill me in on it?” Alex tells Walker everything, about Maggie her friend, the night of the beating, and the trial.
“When I testified against him at the trial he had the strangest look on his face. He watched me every time I moved and when I was sitting on the stand. It was like he knew he was going to be found guilty. Then this letter I got today. It’s like he just couldn’t let me know he was out fast enough. Walker, I’m scared he might try to run into me somewhere.”
“Alex, he would be stupid to try to meet you somewhere. He just got out of jail, he’s going to want to enjoy it.” replies Walker.
“He enjoys hitting people!” she shouts at Walker. Realizing that she just yelled at him she moves to the window to glance out at the metroplex. Sensing the fear once again in Alex’s attitude, Walker decides to get protection for her.
“I’ll make you a deal. I can’t stay tonight because of the stakeout, but I’ll stay tomorrow with you, if you want. If he tries to see you, tell me. I’ll get a restraining order for you. Then, if he runs into you we can arrest him.” He walks over to Alex and puts his arms around her in a comforting way.
“I’m scared, Walker.”
“I won’t let anything happen to you.”
“I know you won’t.” and with that she turns around and kisses him again.
“Thank you for everything.”
“Anytime. I’ll see you later and remember that you can always call me.” Walker replies as he gets ready to leave her office.
“I’ll remember, Cowboy. Be careful at the stakeout tonight and hurry back.”
“Ain’t I always careful?”
“Oh yeah, I forgot. You better get going.”
“What would I ever do without you?”
“You wouldn’t be late. Now go.”
“Bye Alex, I love you.
“I love you, too.”
Walker finally leaves and Alex goes to her desk and has a seat. She looks the flowers. She thought talking to Walker would of helped to calm her nerves, but it didn’t. She picked up the phone and dials Trivette.
“This is Ranger Trivette.”
“Jimmy, its Alex. Would you do me a favor?” Alex asked knowing Trivette would.
“Sure, what is it?”
"I need the files on a man named John Ricketts and could you get them without letting Walker know?” She didn’t want Walker to learn of her going behind his back to try to figure out a case. How many times had he warned her to let him to the digging up?
“I can do that. Why do you want it?” Trivette questioned.
“It’s just something for myself. When can you have it done?” With Trivette’s computer the files would not take long to acquire.
"It’ll be on your desk before Walker and I leave for the stakeout tonight.”
“That’s great. Thanks Jimmy.”
“Sure thing. Oh here comes Walker. Bye.”
“Bye, Jimmy and thanks again.” With that they both hung up the phone just as Walker walked in the Ranger’s office. He had seen Trivette on the phone as soon as he came in.
“Who was that?” Walker asked.
“Oh. It was nobody.”
“You sure?” Walker won’t give up easily.
"Yeah.” and with that the conversation ended.

That afternoon Walker went on his usual drive in the Ram so Trivette stayed behind to find the files for Alex. When he had gotten all he could on Ricketts he went to Alex’s office to give the reports to her.
“Here they are.” Jimmy said as he came into the room and laid the stack on her desk.
“Thank you, Jimmy. Be careful tonight.” and with that Jimmy left the office to join Walker for the evening’s stakeout.

“Let’s see if there’s something I can nail you with to put you back where you belonging.” Alex flips through the reports and as she starts to read the statements of the trial the words turn into flashbacks. When the dreams stops, Alex looks up at the clock. 9:15p.m. “Oh. It’s getting late. I better take this home.” She picks up the files and leaves.

When she gets home, she lays the stack of papers on the table and goes to take a shower. When she comes out, she sees the files all spread out and sitting at the table is Johnny with a few papers in hand.
“Would you like an interview?” Ricketts asks.
Unable to move Alex just replies, “Leave now or I’ll call the cops.”
“Do you always call the cops?” Ricketts questioned with a grin on his face. After that comment Alex remembers that it was her that called the cops the night of the beating.
Johnny starts to get up and moves toward her. Alex runs into here room and locks the door behind her. She picks up the phone and dials Walker’s truck. “Please be there, Walker.” she whispers to herself. Ricketts is beating on the door and Alex can tell it is going to give in soon because with every hit it bends.
Walker answers the phone with a “Hello, this is..,” but before he can say his name the person on the other end is talking.
“Walker! Help! He’s here!” The words come out all at the same time. Walker didn’t understand what was said, but he could tell it was Alex.
“Alex slow down. What’s wrong. Is it Ricketts?” Right as Walker finishes his question, Ricketts finally broke throw the door and Walker can her Alex screaming on the other end. Walker listens careful on the phone and he knows it is Ricketts who is there because he can hear Alex scream his name. Johnny grabs Alex from behind and inserts a needle into her arm that contains a drug which will soon up Alex asleep.
“Alex? Alex? Alex?” After a few moments with no answer, Walker gets a worried look on his face and starts the truck. “Sorry, Trivette we have to leave. It’s Alex something has happened.”
“No problem partner. We’ll get these guys another time.” Trivette understood that Alex was the most important thing to Walker and over time even Trivette had found it his duty to protect her from danger.
“I knew you would understand.” Walker moved the Ram out of the cover and speed off to Alex’s apartment, hoping he wasn’t too late.

Walker arrives at Alex’s apartment to find the disorganized piles of paper and a syringe. He picks it up and smells it. “She’s been drugged. I should of stayed tonight!” Walker says this loud as if he is yelling at himself.
Jimmy turns around when he hears that comment. “Why were you going to spend the night,” Jimmy asks as he looks at the papers and for the first time realizes that they were the same ones he gave Alex earlier in the evening.
“Johnny Ricketts is the man that beat Alex’s roommate in college. He was released yesterday and she was concerned that he might come for her. It looks like she was right.”
He turns to Jimmy and with a face of concern states, “We have to find her!”
“We will. Don’t worry.” was all Jimmy could say and with that they continued to search the room for clues or any leads.

As Alex awakes from the drug she notices a blurred figure sitting next to her! “Walker?”
“Yes, it’s me honey.” The figure comes and stands over her. Alex reaches to search the figures face for a beard, but she can’t move her hands because they are strapped down. She suddenly realizes that the man over her is Ricketts. “What do you want?” she asks.
“To find pleasure in beating you like I did when I beat Maggie.” and with that he throw several blows to Alex’s head knocking her unconscious.

After Walker, Jimmy, and all of the Dallas PD searches the room they find nothing. Even Jimmy’s computer comes up empty.
“This never would of happened if I would of stayed.”
“You can’t blame yourself partner.” Jimmy said trying to take Walker’s guilty away.
“I shouldn’t, but I am.”
“Don’t worry we’ll find her. Just give us some time.”
“Give us time we don’t have.” Walker said bluntly. Jimmy sensed Walker’s determination in both his voice and his eyes.

Alex wakes with pain throughout her body, but her head hurts the most. A woman is cleaning the blood from Alex’s face. “Who are you?’ Alex asks softly.
“My name is Nicole. I’m ... I’m an old friend of Johnny’s. He told me to clean you up while he was gone.”
“He’s gone?”
“Yeah, he went to town for a minute.” replies Nicole.
Seeing the friendliness in Nicole’s eyes and the bruises on her face, Alex asks to be released from the straps holding her down. “I don’t know, he would be real upset.” states Nicole.
“I can get us help. Please, Nicole.”
“All right” and with that Nicole starts to undo the straps and helps Alex up off the bed. Alex is very unstable as she stands up so Nicole helps her down the stairs. Alex spots the phone across the room. She picks it up and dials Walker.

Walker picks up his phone only after the first ring.” Walker.”
“Walker, help me” was all Alex could say.
“Alex where are you?’
“I don’t know. Wait,” spotting the address on an envelope near the phone she reads it to him.
“OK, Alex I got it. I’ll be there in thirty minutes.”
Alex softly says, “Just hurry, Walker.” As she hangs up the phone she senses Ricketts behind her.

“You should of stayed put.” Dragging Alex screaming up the stairs he locks the door behind them. “I better get this over with before that Ranger shows.” Ricketts hits her several times from her head to her midsection back up to her head again. Blood starts pouring from Alex’s nose and mouth. Alex tries to defend herself, but it was no use Ricketts was just too powerful. The next series of punches knocks Alex out, but Ricketts continues the assault. He finally stops and throw Alex’s lifeless body onto the bed. “Time to deal with Nicole.”

Walker had told Alex thirty minutes, but knowing that her life depended on him getting there soon he made it in fifteen. Jimmy and him ran toward the house, hearing screams of a woman. As they entered the house, they saw Ricketts beating Nicole. “Freeze!” was the warning both Rangers shouted.
“Just in time to join the fun Ranger.” Ricketts said jokingly.
“I don’t find fun in hitting women, but I would have fun beating you up.” Walker said as he briefly searched the room for Alex.
“Me?” Ricketts said thinking that his larger body would easily defeat Walker.
“Yeah, try to beat someone your own size.” With that Ricketts and Walker moved to the middle of the living room. Jimmy runs to help Nicole with blood on her face and seeing the misplacement in her eyes carries her safely to the truck. Jimmy calls an ambulance and starts to clean her wounds knowing Walker could handle himself.

Jimmy was right, within minutes Ricketts was lying on the ground. Walker picked him up and handcuffs him to a post outside on the railing of the porch. Walker ran to Nicole. “Where is Alex?’’ he asked.
“She’s upstairs. She’s real bad.” Nicole stated.

Walker dashes back into the house and up the stairs. When he reaches the top of the stairs he finds a room with a locked door. Sensing Alex’s present, he kicks open the door. He sees the blood on the floor and follows it to Alex’s body laying on the bed where Ricketts had thrown her. “Oh my god!” Checking for a pulse he realizes that Alex was still alive. “Alex.”

Hearing her name being called she tries to open her eyes, but it is no use. She mumbles softly, “Please, don’t hurt me. Don’t hit me again, please.”
“Alex it’s OK. It’s me, Walker. You’re safe, now.” He touches her face gently, but she still thinks that Ricketts is near so she turns her head away from his touch. This hurts Walker to see her in such fear to a man’s touch. “Let’s get you out of here.” Walker says as he picks Alex up. She gives out a cry of pain, but Walker continues to carry her down the stairs and outside to where Jimmy waits with Nicole. Walker gently places her on the ground. Jimmy comes over to Walker.
“Oh my god.”
“Jimmy, where is the ambulance.” Walker asks impatiently.
“It should be here soon.” he answered.
“I am going to ride with her to the hospital. Drive the Ram there and call C.D.” Walker said. For the first time Walker notices Nicole. “Are you OK?”
“Yeah, what about her?” Walker doesn’t reply. He just continues to hold Alex in his arms until the ambulance comes and takes them to the hospital.

“How bad is it, Cordell?” asked C.D. who had just arrived.
“I don‘t know, but she looked real bad. I’m guessing re-constructive surgery to fix some broke facial bones.” stated Walker just as a doctor entered the room. The doctor had came for the surgery room to inform the Rangers of her updated condition. “Can I see her?” asked Walker.
“Yes, but she is still out of it.” The doctor led Walker to the room were Alex was recovering from the surgery to repair the broken bones. Walker couldn’t help, but notice her face. It was covered with gauze and the skin that peeked through was black and blue. He stayed by her side just holding her hand and saying prayers above for her recovery.

The next day Alex woke for the first time in her room. It is hard for her to see due to the extensive amount of swelling around her eyes, but she can feel someone holding her hand. Without even looking, she knows it is Walker. “Walker.”
“Alex, it’s OK. I’m here.” Walker said trying to comfort her.
Feeling the pain in her face she asks Walker, “What’s wrong with my face? How bad is it and tell me the truth, Cordell Walker.” Knowing he couldn’t lie to Alex he told her about the surgery. “Hand me a mirror please.”
“Alex, I don’t think that that is a good idea.” She declines Walker’s suggestion and points to a small mirror on a table in the corner. Walker gets it for her and watches as her face turns to disgust.
“How can you still look at me?” asked Alex.
“Alex, I love you. Your face is just one part of you besides it will look better after the swelling goes down and the bruises disappear.” Walker informed her.

Silence sweep over the room before Alex beings to talk again. “Where is Nicole?” she questions.
“She’s OK and she has already agreed to testify against Ricketts.” Walker told her knowing that thanks to Nicole, Alex was alive.
“That’s great.” replied Alex.
Another silence fell and Walker broke it this time by saying, “Alex, I’m sorry. I should of stayed with you instead of going on that stakeout.”
“Walker, it was part of your job. You had to do it.” she told him.
“Alex, you mean more to me then that job does. I should of been there for you.” he said feeling guilty for what had happened to Alex.
“You can be here for me now.” Alex said with a smile on her face for the first since she woke up. Walker looks into her eyes and sees again the beauty inside of her that he fell in love with .
“I love you, Alex!” as he kissed her.
“I love you, too, Walker!” She glances over to the table near the window and sees an arrangement with a dozen read roses and one yellow rose in he middle. “Walker, are those from you?”

He nods yes. “You are too good to be true.”
Jokingly Walker says, "pinch me. You’re not dreaming.”
This makes Alex laugh, but she soon stops due to the pain. “What does the yellow rose stand for?” she asked knowing that everything Walker did was a symbol of something.
“It’s you. It symbolizes how you stood out, caught my attention, and then stole my heart with your beauty. You are my yellow rose of Texas, Alex.” With that they started into a passionate kiss.

The End

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