It Cuts Both Ways

By Pam Gooderham

            "Jimmy!"   Trivette turned to see Alex Cahill striding towards him. He smiled by way of greeting as she grabbed his arm giving it a warm squeeze. He waited to see what the Texas Ranger's Assistant District Attorney wanted.

            Alex frowned as she looked into his face noticing for the first time the ugly looking cut above his right eye. She made a face remarking, "ouch!" The comment was made as a compassionate gesture and made a change from the sarcastic mocking he had received from some of his fellow Rangers. Good old Alex! Uncharacteristically he refrained from replying. He was tired, sore and with another two hours of work at least to do, felt somewhat spaced-out.  Alex smiled as she spoke, "what's with your partner, then?"

            "I don't understand? What's he done?"

            "Only called to tell me he's taking me out on the town tonight!" Alex's eyes sparkled as she said it making Trivette smile at her obvious pleasure.

            "Well that's great!  I'm surprised he's got the energy, but you have a good time."

            "Why wouldn't he have the energy?"

             He was too obviously evasive, "oh, no reason really, just a hard afternoon."  Trivette looked down the corridor, "look, I gotta go.  Enjoy tonight, Alex."  He had backed away as he started the sentence, turning away as he finished, unable to see Alex had another query.

            "Jimm...," but he had gone. "Oh well," Alex said under her breath, and once again the smile returned as she thought about the evening to come.

            Her doorbell rang.  Alex looked at her watch, 7.30p.m.  At least he was prompt. It had taken three goes to decide what to wear, Alex finally choosing a classic plain black dress with the necklace of turquoise Indian stone he had given her six months ago for her birthday.  It matched the bracelet he given  the year before.  She was pleased with the result and knew he hadn't seen this latest acquisition to her wardrobe.  She had been ready for the last half hour and now her stomach had become filled with butterflies, her nerves keen with anticipation. This is stupid, she thought to herself, how can I be this keyed up after all these years?  Come on Alex, pull yourself together.  Opening the door she greeted him with a winning smile. Wow, he looked great!  Dressed casually but smart in black pants with a black and white cowboy-styled, open-necked shirt,  Walker turned to greet her at the sound of the door opening.  Glancing in her eyes briefly he offered her only the smallest of smiles, and as Alex looked in his face she noticed he too wore the battle scars of the afternoon, with a bruised looking cheek and a slightly swollen right eyebrow.   I wonder why he asked me out tonight if they had had such a hard day?  Maybe he did it on the spur of the moment and now he regrets it because he's tired, she worried.  Walker raised his eyebrows at her. "Oh, sorry, come in, come in!"  Alex closed the door after him and followed him into the living room. 

            He turned back towards her, reaching out for her with his hand to pull her towards him. "Hi." 

            She received the peck on her cheek gracefully and smiled. "Do we need to go out right away?" She raised her eyebrows at him!

            "No."  His voice was very quiet.  Alex thought he had the most wonderful sounding voice in the world.  The quieter it got, somehow the more sexy but vulnerable it made this powerful man. Recovering from her thoughts she tried to pull herself together.

            "Why don't you let me get you a drink?"

            "Aah, I'm driving. I better just have a coffee."

            "Oh. Well, we can go straight out if you like?" She suggested.

            He shook his head, "no, this is nice. A coffee's good."

            She made for the kitchen, "you can sit down y'know."  She caught his half-smile in her direction as she left the room and her heart couldn't help but soar.  What the dickens is wrong with me tonight?  She grew annoyed at herself, clanging the coffee mug down hard by way of snapping herself out of it and at the same time took a deep breath.  Pouring out the coffee she had perked earlier, she took the two mugs to the front room, sitting them down on the side tables.  He hadn't sat down, he was standing by the fireplace staring into the flames absentmindedly.  Walker hardly seemed to notice her come in at first and then acknowledged her by silently turning in her direction.  There seemed to be a serious look about him now.

            In the background Alex's stereo finished it's current CD of classical classics to very softly radiate the sound of John Denver's clear, melodic voice as she recognized one of his greatest hits, Rocky Mountain High. The room was somehow electrified not only by the sound, but enhanced by the subtle lighting and Walker's mood. As she looked in his direction  Alex's heart went out to him, causing her to forget completely about her nerves and to become that of a caring, concerned partner.  She strode up to Walker putting her arms around him tightly. Gratefully he buried his head into her neck and they silently and tightly embraced.  It seemed to Alex he would never let her go and she wouldn't have minded at all, she was more than content, but finally Walker shifted his position, bringing his head round to kiss her on the lips, then to look at her directly.

            "Yknow," he voiced huskily, "there's only you that would have known I needed that," he hesitated slightly smiling at her, "so, how did you know?"

            Alex led him to the settee sitting next to the low arm rest and beckoned for him to sit next to her which he did.  Kicking off her shoes she swung her legs away from him to prop them across the arm rest so she was facing him, parallel to his body, and she put her arms around his neck.  Alex whispered in his ear, "I can read you like a book, Cordell Walker, but it pleases me to be there for you.  You've always been there for me.  Despite what you think, it does cut both ways."

            "Hhmm.  It does?"  He replied non-committally, with a sidewards glance in her direction.

            "Yup.  Sure does." She put on her best cowboy tone, bringing a smile to his face.

            "Hhmm." He said again.

            "Not only that, you are the most softest, most compassionate man I have ever had the good fortune to run into!" Alex raised her eyebrows to emphasize the point.

            Walker did likewise, "really?"

            "Uhuh."

            "Hhmmm."

            Alex leaned over confidentially whispering, "It's OK, your secret's safe.  You won't have to kill me!"

            His eyes softened as he looked at her with a grin wrapping his arms around her tightly, supporting her head as he lowered his lips to hers slowly, just enough for her to protest if she wanted to.  Alex looked into his eyes searching for his intentions, only to close them as their lips met. They kissed slowly, tenderly, and with mutual respect for each other.  She felt melted into his body, and when the kiss finally ended, she looked back to find his eyes were still closed, and he made no attempt to remove his arms as they helped support the back of her head along with his legs. Alex caressed his brow, running her hands down his cheeks and pulling his forehead to hers.  He gave a deep sigh and she felt him drawing her even closer.

            "Walker, what happened this afternoon?"

            He said nothing as if he just wanted the warm touch to continue, but then she felt his heart beat rapidly as he recalled the moment.  She never did find out exactly what had happened, as his full account consisted of  "it was a close call for us both."  He took the deepest intake of air through his lungs as if her understanding, her inside knowledge of his dangerous work in law enforcement, her compassion and love for him were refueling his depleted reserves.  When he opened his eyes again, they had taken on a new sparkle, a new life, a new energy, and a renewed strength. Her reward was the biggest grin. "Alex Cahill.  If you had any idea what you mean to me...."

            Alex's eyes widened. This almost could be the start of a proposal! "Sshh, don't say anything else."  Alex held her fingers to his lips to stop him from saying anything further as he kissed her fingers. It would be so easy to manipulate him when he's like this Alex correctly thought to herself, but I don't want a marriage proposal this way!  It's always different in the cold light of day, and he'd probably never ask then.  She inwardly sighed so he wouldn't detect it, when he suddenly stood up with her in his arms and set her carefully on her feet. 

            "C'mon, best place in town for you!"

            Forcing her best smile Alex readied herself and they went out.

            It continued to be a lovely evening. He was kind, attentive and as charming as he had ever been. As debonair and correct as he ever was on seeing her to her door and safely in, although he had lingered longer than usual.  Alex began to think he may have had a desire to go further than his normal goodnight kiss, but there was no way she was going to suggest that!  The trouble was she was always aware she may be seen as throwing herself at him, but perhaps she was anyway.   There must be some way to get this man out of her heart, to move on, create another road instead of propping up the bar at C.D.'s in the hope he would come in.  Yet, there were many occasions when he seemed as if he did love her. 

Thoughts of the evening scarcely left her mind the next day as work seemed impossible to concentrate on.  His manly smell, his touch, the impression of his lips on hers lingered with a menacing distraction that simply wouldn't go away.  About 11am there was a light knock on her door.  "Come in."

            The head of a young man appeared, "Miss Cahill?"

            "Yes."

            He entered with a basket of red roses. "These are for you," and he set them on the corner of the desk.

            Alex looked at them for a long time before opening the attached card, her fingers fumbling the outer envelope.  Finally she forced herself to take a deep breath and put the letter opener properly into the tiny space, ripping it cleanly open.  She withdrew the card, trying to control her heartbeat at the same time, and read..

            'It seemed to me you needed the cold light of day to clear your thoughts.  Do you still feel you could marry me now?  Love Walker.'

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