Lover's Moments

By: Lelani

Part 1 Guessing Games

Ref: Season 4 In between 'Swan Song' through 'Cyclone'

C.D. stood behind the bar with Jimmy seated on a stool in front of him. They were at the end of the bar where it turns the corner so that they could both watch the couple seated in the back booth without having to turn their heads. "I don't get it C.D., they look the same to me." "Jimmy, are you blind son? Look at 'em. There's somethin', I don't know what, but they're different." Jimmy looked at the man seated next to the woman in the booth. He had his arm around her shoulder and she leaned into his side as she sipped her lemonade. They both looked happy and content, but he'd seen them like this many times before. The two couldn't seem to keep their hands off of each other. Their touches were subtle though. They held hands, his arm went around her shoulder, she rested her palm on his chest, he kissed her on the cheek, or gave her a bear hug. Jimmy had watched these two dance back and forth between being friends and 'a couple' for years, they looked the same to him. "Look there Jimmy! Did you see that?" "You're right Big Dog, he kissed her! On the lips! In public! That's never happened before. He only kisses her on the cheek. Well, I'm sure they've done more than that in private, but never in public, unless of course it's New Year's Eve." "But the question remains son, how much more have they done?" "C.D., I don't think we should speculate on that. That's their private business." "Private? There's nothing private about it. They're family, we're supposed to poke our noses into their 'private' business." "C.D., please tell me that you don't have this morbid fascination with my love life." "What love life? That string of pretty fillies you parade in here? That's not a love life, that's a young man sowing wild oats." "C.D.! I am not 'sowing wild oats'! So you do wonder about my dates and how long they last." "Jimmy, whatever you do in your private life is your concern, I'm talking about Alex and Walker." "But you just said..." "Hush, here they come. Howdy Cordell, Alex." "Hi C.D., Jimmy," Alex responded. Walker just nodded his head at the two men. "Can I get you anything?" C.D. asked. "No, we're heading out. Alex is tired after this week working on the Fishman case. Did you have to do such a good job bringing that bunch in while I was in Utah?" he asked his young partner. "Hey, you told me to stay and work on the case. Can I help it that my brilliant detective work paid off?" "Well you certainly have kept me busy this week. This is the first night I've left the office before eight!" "Sorry counselor, I didn't know the DA was going to dump that in your lap right when you got back." "I guess he figured I owed him since my two or three days off turned into a whole week." "Yeah, but you helped solve an eight year old bank robbery and several unsolved missing persons cases." "Yeah, but since that all happened in Utah, he probably doesn't think it counts." "How are you doin' Cordell? Them bear scratches healing up all right?" "Yeah, the doctor says I can go back to work on Monday." "What've you two got planned for the weekend?" C.D. beamed as Alex's cheeks reddened. "I'm just hoping for a quiet weekend after the week I've had," she said. "Yeah, I don't have any big plans, just finish healing and maybe get some chores done around the ranch." "Want some help?" Jimmy offered. "No, you enjoy your weekend, you've never been fond of shoveling horse manure." "You got that right. Well I guess we'll see you two when we see you," C.D. ended the exchange. Walker escorted the beautiful blond on out of the Bar and Grill as the two men at the bar watched. "You see Jimmy? She blushed when I asked what they had planned. I think they... you know..." "Nah, Walker would have told me." "Jimmy, Walker wouldn't tell you if a twister blew his house away." Jimmy had to admit that C.D. was right. No one was as closed mouthed about his private life as Cordell Walker. "Well, maybe I can get it out of Alex." "You want to cross examine Tarrant County's best prosecutor? Have you lost your mind Jimmy?" "Well then, what do you suggest?" "We'll just have to wait and see. There'll be a sign, we'll know eventually." "And just when will that be, when they have their firstborn?" "Now don't go gettin' a smart mouth! Those two aren't as good at keepin' secrets as they like to think." "They sure manage to keep us guessing!"

"Those two worry me," Walker said as he got into the Ram next to Alex. "Who do you mean, Curious George and Curioser George?" Alex asked. Walker smiled at her names for C.D. and Jimmy. "They're determined to know all the details of our romance." "Is that what we have going here, a romance?" "It's not my fault that I haven't seen you all week counselor." "I know, this case has been so time consuming. With you still so sore though, maybe it was for the best that we stayed apart all week." "Honey, being away from you can't ever be a good thing." "I just meant that since we couldn't..." "I know what you meant. Do you think that's the only reason I want to be with you?" "No, I just meant that it would be hard to be together and be limited to... snuggling." "I don't remember you complaining last weekend when you stayed at the ranch and played nursemaid." "I didn't complain, but you sure did." "That's just because I felt so weak and helpless. It wasn't fair to you." "Walker, you are so thickheaded sometimes." "What's that supposed to mean?" "Don't you know how much I enjoyed just being with you last weekend? Sitting and talking for hours, snuggling by the fire, just kissing and touching and feeling..." "Feeling what Alex?" "Never mind, I'm just glad you're feeling better." "Alex?" "What?" "I know that we've known each other a long time, but you know some of the things you told me in the hotel in Utah?" Alex blushed remembering some of the confessions she had made while in bed with Walker. "Yeah." "Alex, there's some things in my life that you don't know about. Things that are important and that I need to share with you, but until we have that talk... I just want you to know that you are the most important person in my life. You make me so very happy and any time I get to spend with you, no matter what we're doing..." Walker looked over to see Alex looking at him in the dim light in the truck cab. "I like being with you," he finished his declaration simply, not yet ready to put into words how much she had come to mean to his life. Alex lacked confidence in bed, but out of it, she oozed confidence. She knew what Walker was trying to say and she was able to read between the lines and knew what he left unsaid. She lay her hand on his thigh and stroked slowly upwards, smiling at his sudden intake of breath, "I like being with you too cowboy. Now, can't this Ram go any faster?" Walker grinned and pressed down on the accelerator.



C.D. and Jimmy continued being curious, but all Walker or Alex would admit to was that they were officially dating. Each remained busy at work and continued to see each other evenings. At work they remained professional, but their closeness outside of work was undisputed. It was rare to see one without the other. Since they had been dating before their trip to Utah, there shouldn't have been any difference after it, but there clearly was. C.D. and Jimmy had long conversations on the subject and one night they got the nerve to go sit with Alex and Walker at their booth and ask. Alex elbowed Walker as she saw the two approaching. "Mind some company?" C.D. asked as he slid into the booth beside Jimmy. "Actually, I was enjoying the company I had," Walker griped good-naturedly. "Well now you got more to enjoy," C.D. joshed back. "You two are up to something. What is it?" Alex cut right to the chase. "We was wonderin'... Well see, Jimmy and I was just..." "What Big Dog is trying to say is..." Walker gave Alex's hand a squeeze under the table. "Actually, C.D., Jimmy, Alex and I were going to tell you something and we just haven't had the chance. Alex, do you want to tell them or should I?" Alex not knowing exactly where Walker was going with this, but willing to play along said, "oh Walker, you tell them. You're so much better at this sort of thing." Now Jimmy and C.D. got concerned, Walker was never better than Alex was when it came to talking. Walker took in a big breath of air and sighed. "We signed the two of you up to be volunteers for 'Kids in Government Day?" "What?" "You know Jimmy, when the kids come to shadow adults in government positions," Alex reminded him. 'Yeah, I know, but what does that have to do with you two?" "Well, I signed us up to be shadowed by two boys who want to know what it's like to be a Texas Ranger and Alex volunteered to have a couple of kids shadow her to see what an Assistant DA does." "I still don't know what that has to do with me," C.D. said. "C.D., you're so good with kids, we thought maybe you could kind of be the guide. The kids are going to be bussed to and from the school to the Justice Building and we thought that if you drove the bus, you could kind of set the tone for the day." "I could do that," he agreed. "What about you Trivette? Do you mind being a role model to a ten year old?" Walker asked. "Of course not, I'd be happy to." "Good, that's settled. Alex, I better get you home, don't you have court tomorrow?" "I sure do, we'd better head out." They slid out of the booth and stood next to each other. "Now you two wait just one cotton pickin' minute." "What C.D.?" "Are you two a couple or what?" "A couple of what?" "Not of what! Or what!" Alex looked at C.D. and then at Jimmy and she just couldn't help herself, she laughed and said, "we're a couple all right. Isn't that right darling?" Walker looked at her and seeing the smile on her face, his breath caught as it often did. "Mmm hmm," he answered and leaned in to kiss her soft lips. "I knew it!" Jimmy shouted with glee. Walker broke off the kiss and looked at the two men. "You two need to get a hobby," he said and then escorted Alex out.

The 'Kids in Government Day' was extremely successful and was a great photo op for the mayor. After all the interviews and pictures, Alex and the kids headed out to board the bus back to the school where the fourth and fifth graders would be met by their parents. Jimmy got on board to say goodbye to the kids while Alex stopped to remind Walker of their date. "It turned out great didn't it?" "It turned out fantastic," he said as he turned to her and held both of her upper arms. "Don't forget our date tonight." "I won't, seven o'clock Dawson's right?" "Right," she concurred as he drew her toward him and she tilted her head up. The kiss was brief, but all the kids in the bus were watching and with Jimmy and C.D. leading, they all began to chant, "Miss Cahill has a boyfriend, Miss Cahill has a boyfriend." Jimmy came off the bus and Walker grabbed his arm and playfully punched him. Walker was able to walk away, but Alex was forced to board the bus as the kids and C.D. continued to chant.

The bus was ambushed and loaded into a semi. They were taken to a warehouse and C.D. remained unconscious from a gun butt to the head. When the leader of the group who kidnapped them removed his mask and allowed her and the children to see his face, Alex's heart sank as she realized that they were not going to be left alive. They were forced to make a videotape to be delivered with the ransom demand and Alex used the storm to give Walker a clue to their whereabouts. The lightening and thunder were coming right together and Alex said to Walker on the tape, "I'm sorry darling. I know we had a dinner date in about fifty minutes, but I promise I'll make it up to you when I see you again." They were then loaded back on the bus, which was driven out to a field and buried in a deep hole. The bus was covered and when the man who had given them the inside information realized that the leader was not going to put the oxygen tanks into the bus to keep them alive until the ransom was paid and they could be found, he protested. All he got for his efforts was a bullet in his gut. Alex's message gave Walker a clue that the storm was right over head when the tape was made and since Alex gave him a time reference, they were able to find the warehouse. Searching the vicinity of the warehouse and finding the body of the inside man, they knew they were in the right place.

It was left to Alex to comfort the frightened children as they waited in the buried bus for rescue. When C.D. finally regained consciousness, she was relieved, but the front window broke from all of the weight of the mud and the bus began to fill with mud and rainwater. It was C.D. who heard the sounds of Walker and Trivette digging them out. He also heard the sounds of a tornado heading in their direction. Walker and Trivette began pulling the kids out the back window and instructed them to hide in a drainage ditch. They got everyone out except C.D. and Walker told Alex to go with Trivette and the kids while he got C.D. out. C.D. tried to squeeze through the small opening and said, "boy this thing's tighter than a tick's ear," but with Walker's help they made it to the drainage ditch just as the twister hit. After the storm passed, they came out to stand and look at the blue sky and rainbow it left behind. All the kids stayed close to Alex who had been the person to see them through the entire ordeal. Walker stood behind her and put his hand on her shoulder to let her know that he was there with her.

Emergency vehicles arrived and transported all the children and C.D. to the emergency room. Alex insisted on riding with Walker and Jimmy and they helped to sort everyone out and reunite them with their frantic parents. None of the children were injured. Johnny was treated for his asthma and then all were released. C.D. was diagnosed with a concussion and released into Jimmy's care. Alex had been shoved once in the chest and backhanded once across the face, but she declined to be examined. Walker watched as each of the ten children took turns hugging Alex and thanking her for helping them to not be scared. 'She is going to be a great mother,' he thought to himself and then added, 'and a great wife.' He quickly refocused his thoughts on the situation at hand. An officer drove Trivette's car over to the hospital and Trivette drove C.D. home, promising to stay with him overnight and check on him periodically to make sure he was all right. Walker loaded the muddy and wet ADA into his truck and headed toward the ranch. Alex was so tired, she didn't even realize where they were headed until she sat up and looked out the window a few miles from the ranch. "Walker, why are we going to the ranch?" "Because, you need to be looked after tonight." "But I don't have anything to change into and I don't ever plan on wearing this suit again." Walker looked over at her and agreed that her suit was not going to be salvageable. "We'll find something for you to wear. Maybe you should bring some things out to the ranch and leave them there so that when you stay, you'll have something to change into." Alex sat there stunned. She didn't know how many more shocks her system could take in twenty-four hours. Walker was actually talking about her moving some of her things into the ranch, his territory! "Are you sure?" she questioned amazed. Walker looked over at her and grinned. "Well, personally I wouldn't mind if you ran around with nothing on, but just in case someone stops by..." Alex was too tired for this discussion, but she planned to pursue it later!

Walker escorted Alex up the steps to the porch, but she balked at going in. "I am not going to track all of this mud into your house Walker." "Alex, it's just mud, it'll clean." "No, it's peeling off in clumps and look at you, you're no better. If it wasn't so cold, I would suggest hosing off out here." "All right Alex, let's go around to the back and we can strip off in the laundry room." Alex followed him around to the back of the house and waited as he opened the back door. She stepped into the laundry room and peeled her jacket off dropping it onto the floor. Next, she stepped out of her shoes and began undoing her pants. She looked up and saw Walker peeling his shirt off and suddenly she realized the intimacy of their actions. It was one thing to be in the throes of passion and to undress each other between passionate kisses and caresses. This was different and somehow it seemed much more personal. Alex flashed back to her brief marriage and remembered how she always dressed and undressed in the bathroom. She quickly scanned her memory and realized that not one of her relationships had ever reached a point where she felt comfortable dressing and undressing in front of the man she was with. It was one thing to put on a sexy negligee and engage in a seduction, but to just take off clothes because they were dirty... "Honey, don't fall asleep standing up." Walker's voice broke through Alex's musings and her startled eyes looked up at him. "Do you want me to help you?" he asked kindly. Alex registered the fact that he stood there nude with absolutely no embarrassment. She glanced down and saw that he wasn't aroused and realized that she really had never seen him without the benefit of clothing unless he was at least partially aroused. "Alex?" Walker again brought her back to the present. "I'm sorry Walker, no I can finish." "I'll go up and run you a warm bath, come up when you're done," he said. As he turned to head through the kitchen to the stairs, Alex resumed her task of undressing.

Alex just couldn't do it; she couldn't walk through the house with nothing on. She looked around the laundry room and found a towel in the dryer. She wrapped it around herself and headed upstairs to the master bath. When she stepped in, Walker had drawn a bathtub full of water and bubbles. "Come on and get in the shower first to get most of the mud off and then I'll let you soak while I fix us something to eat," Walker said. Alex allowed him to guide her to the shower where he tugged off her towel and helped her in. Standing under the spray of warm water, Alex felt Walker's hands begin to massage her body with a natural sea sponge filled with liquid soap. She stood there mesmerized by the sensation of a man taking care of her. He wasn't coming on to her; he was simply washing her. Alex again looked down and saw that even in this intimate setting, Walker remained unaffected. His almost clinical detachment had her wondering if she should feel insulted! After washing her body, Walker shampooed her hair and then turned off the spray. He had not touched her intimately and she wondered if that was by design. Walker guided her over to the tub and helped her balance as she stepped into it. "Don't fall asleep, I'll be back to check on you," he said and left. Alex was puzzled and not quite sure how to take this treatment from Walker. Had the passion died so quickly?

Walker left the bathroom and headed into the master bedroom where he dried off and pulled on briefs and sweatpants. He then headed downstairs where he stopped off in the laundry room. He picked up Alex's discarded underwear and decided that they were salvageable. He tossed them in the washer with some of his clothes, nothing that was muddy, and started the machine. Not that he had a lot of experience washing silky undergarments, but he decided that he wasn't going to damage them with one washing. He headed back into the kitchen and rummaged through the cupboard and refrigerator. He came up with some frozen vegetable soup C.D. had made and stocked his freezer with. He put it into the microwave to thaw and headed back up to check on Alex. He found one of his long denim shirts that he sometimes wore around the ranch. It had been worn and washed many times and was very soft. He knocked briefly on the door and entered the bathroom. Alex was sitting with her head resting on a folded towel, the bruise on her cheek beginning to show itself. Alex had opened her eyes at his entrance and she watched as he placed a stool next to the tub and set the shirt and a towel on it. Then he sat on the edge of the tub. "How did you get this?" he asked as he lightly caressed her discolored jaw and cheek. Alex shrugged, "I was stupid and I jumped at the gunman who was in the bus with us when they drove it down into that hole." "He hit you?" "Yeah, he said he'd been wanting to for a long time. I guess I had made him mad, but I don't know what I did." "Maybe he couldn't stand to see a woman who would stand up to men toting guns and pushing children around." "Maybe." "Alex?" "Yeah." "What you said on that tape... it made the difference. It gave us a place to start looking. You saved your life and C.D.'s and the lives of all ten children." "You had something to do with that too. You figured it out and found us." "I just wanted you to know how proud I am of you. You really do stay cool in a crisis and it's because of your cool head that my worst fears weren't realized." Alex's eyebrows wrinkled in puzzlement, "what do you mean?" "When I saw that tape... My whole world stopped revolving. It was all I could do to continue to function. If I lost you..." Finally, Alex realized why tonight had not moved Walker sexually. The closeness, the caring, it was beyond the physical. Walker had thought that he may never see her again and it had frightened him. The fact that he was sharing those feelings with her moved her more than she could have ever told him. "Walker, I knew that you would find us. I knew it. Even the kids knew it. You should have heard the boys who had shadowed you say, 'Ranger Walker will find us.' There was such confidence and hero worship in their voices and I felt the exact same way." "I wish I had shared that confidence." He leaned over and placed soft gentle kisses along the bruise. "You are the most amazing woman I have ever known. You're so strong and independent and smart and yet you're soft and beautiful and compassionate and so very sexy." Alex blushed as he listed her attributes. "Finish up and come downstairs to eat, I'll have it on the table in ten minutes." Walker stood and left the bathroom and Alex sat there with her fingers touching the tender area on her face he had just kissed. All her experience of him had never prepared her for this level of tenderness. She couldn't even tell anyone, who would believe her?

Alex entered the kitchen to the smell of the reheated homemade soup. Walker had buttered bread slices to dip into it and there was sliced cantaloupe to round out the meal. Walker had poured them each a glass of milk. They ate their meal in companionable silence as Alex struggled to stay awake. Before they headed upstairs, Walker asked her if her bra and underwear could go in the dryer or if he should hang them up. She asked him to hang them up and he took care of the laundry as she headed back upstairs to brush her teeth with the toothbrush he had given her after their return from Utah thinking, 'he's laundering my intimate apparel!' Yet another shock to her overloaded system. She reentered the bedroom at the same time he came in. He moved over to the bed and pulled the covers down and helped her in. "I'll be right back," he said as he headed into the bathroom. He soon joined her and brought her close against him to snuggle tight in his arms, her head lying on his shoulder. "Alex?" "Mmm hmm." "I meant what I said about bringing some of your clothes here. Your under things should be dry by morning and I'll give you some sweats of mine to wear home tomorrow, but I really think it would make sense if you had stuff here." "Okay." "Okay?" "Mmm hmm," she said as she rubbed her forehead into his shoulder and drifted off to sleep.

Alex was awoken the next morning by softly probing fingers unbuttoning the shirt she wore. "Morning," she mumbled as she climbed out of the deep sleep she had been in. "Hi, I don't know if you want to try to go into work today?" "Yes, I have things I really need to do." "Well, it's Friday, so how about if I take you to your apartment to change and then I'll drive you in. When you're done, you can go home and pack some things to bring here and I'll pick you up later and drive you out here for the weekend." "When you say pack some things..." "I mean some clothes and stuff that you can keep here so if we stay here one week night you could go straight to work from here. That way, we'll have more time to stay in bed before we have to get going in the morning." By this time Walker had unbuttoned all of the buttons that had been closing the shirt and he was pulling the sides apart exposing her body to his gaze. "I'll have to get duplicates of makeup and... stuff." "Get whatever woman stuff you require. I'll make as much room as you need." "You don't mind woman's things mixed with your masculine paraphernalia?" "Uh, uh," he denied as he reached down and sucked a nipple into his mouth. "I like everything about you; your smile, your laugh, your gasp," this was said as he nipped her swollen nipple with his teeth and then soothed the tender bite with his raspy tongue. "I like your smell, your lotion, your lipstick, your breasts, your shampoo, your lips, your hairspray..." Each item listed was punctuated by a nibble, a kiss, a caress. Walker kissed her collarbone and Alex moaned slightly. Walker instantly recognized the difference between pleasure and pain and lifted his head to examine the area he had inadvertently hurt. He saw the bruise that he hadn't noticed earlier. "What's this?" "When the guy hit C.D. with the butt of the gun, I stood up to defend him and the guy straight armed me in the chest to force me back into the seat." "I want you to point the bastard out, I will make sure he gets paid back in kind." "No, I'd rather you just kissed it and made it better." "Actually Alex, you didn't let the doctor examine you yesterday and I think I should do a thorough check to make sure there are no other injuries." "There aren't... how thorough?" "Lay back and I'll show you." A half-hour later, every inch of Alex had been checked with eyes, hands and lips. Walker gently entered her and began to thrust himself into her slowly, building up to a release that left them both wishing it wasn't a workday and they could just lie for hours in each other's arms.

Alex wore her dry under things from the day before with the shirt she had slept in and drawstring sweatpants of Walker's. They were clearly too big, but she managed to keep them up as she tried to sneak into her apartment without being seen by any neighbors. Walker dropped her off while he swung over to C.D.'s to check on him. He had been informed by Trivette that C.D. had insisted on opening the Bar and Grill despite the throbbing headache he still suffered from. Walker stopped in to tell his mentor that he was lucky he had such a hard head and to grab two cups of coffee to go. "How's Alex?" C.D. asked. "She says she's fine, she's at least as stubborn as you are. I told her I'd give her a lift into work since her car is still there." Walker didn't say anything about where he or Alex had spent the night. Let them draw their own conclusions. The way it looked, he had dropped her at her apartment the night before and gone on home to spend the night at his ranch alone. He wasn't about to enlighten his curious friends. "I'd better go, Alex said that she had an appointment this morning she couldn't miss." "You make sure she doesn't overdo things Cordell, that lady is tough, but she had a hell of a day yesterday." "I know it, I'll tell her what you said and why don't you follow your own advice?" With that, Walker told Jimmy he'd see him at work and headed over to Alex's.

Walker called Alex a little after five and asked if she was ready for him to pick her up for the weekend. She had left work a little early after wrapping up the open case files on her desk. Alex had stopped off at the mall and done some shopping and then headed home to pack. She had spent most of the afternoon debating on what and how much to take out to the ranch. She finally settled on one work outfit, two jean outfits and one dress in case they went out. She also brought along the bare necessities in the way of toiletries and had purchased duplicates of the make up she wore and hair and skin care products she used. Her purchases at the mall included some new intimate apparel and she had replaced the suit ruined by the mud. Alex packed a bag that she used for long out of town weekend trips. She also had her suit for work and her dress in a plastic garment bag and when Walker arrived to pick her up, she looked as if she was headed off for the weekend. "Is that all you're bringing?" Walker asked eyeing the small duffel bag, the makeup bag and garment bag. "Yeah, I think I have everything I need." He shrugged and said, "all right, let's go."

Walker drove out to the grocery store near his house and they shopped together for the weekend selecting items for dishes they wanted to make as well as staples. Alex walked around the store feeling as if she had entered some type of fantasy world. Anyone seeing them would have thought they were a married couple buying the weeks groceries. When Walker asked her if she preferred Mayonnaise or Miracle Whip, she pinched herself to see if she was dreaming. After loading the groceries in the Ram, they headed on to the ranch where they unloaded and put away their purchases. Walker had brought Alex's bags in and set them near the steps, but hadn't taken them on upstairs. After getting a chicken, broccoli and pasta with white cheese sauce casserole baking in the oven, Alex turned to take her bags upstairs. She found Walker up in the master bedroom making space for her things. "Walker, I can just store this stuff in the spare room," Alex offered. Walker frowned at her and said, "I emptied the top two drawers of the chest of drawers and there's plenty of space in the closet to hang things. I thought you could put your make up stuff on the top of the chest of drawers, at least for now. I have a shaving mirror you can use; I don't need it. I also emptied a drawer in the bathroom cabinet for your things. I don't mind making more room if you need it." "No, I'm sure it will be more than enough, thank you." Walker looked at Alex and saw that she held herself stiffly and seemed nervous. He walked over to her and pulled her into his arms and just held her against his chest for a moment. "Alex, what's wrong? Is it something I said? What?" Alex took a deep cleansing breath and said, "I just want to be sure that this is what you want. This is a big step Walker. Are you sure you want me to move some of my things in here?" Walker placed his hand under her chin and tilted her face up to look into her eyes. "Remember the weekend we spent here when we got back from Utah?" "Yes, of course I do." "That weekend, this house felt like a home to me for the first time in all the years I've lived here. I don't think I even realized it at the time, but it felt... complete. Like the house was saying, 'finally'!" Alex looked up at Walker and just stood there in silent amazement. "The following week, you left to go back to work and I walked around looking at all the emptiness. I want you here. I want you to feel comfortable here. I know that we have a long way to go in our relationship, but I want you to know that I'm committed to letting these feelings you've made me feel take me wherever they're going to." "What feelings exactly?" "Alex... that's for another discussion." Alex smiled at him and knew that she had pushed him as far as he was ready to go. What he had said sunk in and suddenly a huge smile engulfed her face and the light in her eyes dazzled him. "Thank you Walker, I do feel comfortable here. This house makes me feel as if... as if I've come home." Alex blushed at how revealing her statement was, but Walker seemed happy that she felt that way and not threatened by her statement. That night, Alex claimed two drawers in Walker's bedroom, but she had claimed his heart long before.


Part 2 Family Holidays

Ref: Season 4 'Lucky' through 'A Ranger's Christmas'

If a stranger looked at the foursome, no one would guess that they were a family. The redheaded cowboy, the athletic looking black man, the rotund senior citizen and the willowy blond lady made up an odd looking family. Despite their looks and backgrounds, they had formed a close knit family unit. Each was essentially an orphan with no other family. Walker had no living relatives, Trivette had one estranged brother, C.D. had some distant cousins, but no close family and Alex had a father she was only just beginning to have a long distance relationship with. These four orphans had bonded together and formed their own family. They cared about each other, fought with each other, supported each other and gave each other a hard time each and every day. With all they had gone through, they were confident that their family could withstand anything, even if two of their members were altering their relationship and falling in love. Truth be told, the two, Walker and Alex, had been in love for some time and it was almost easier now that they acknowledged the fact that they had feelings for each other. Fears of destroying their family if their relationship didn't work had been overcome by their inability to deny their feelings any longer.

C.D. was very civic minded and he was organizing a Thanksgiving barbecue for the homeless. Trivette gave him a hard time about having barbecue and chili for Thanksgiving, but C.D. defended his 'Texas style' Thanksgiving. Of course Alex, Walker and Jimmy leant their friend a hand and pitched in to help with the event. Walker and Trivette worked the case when the Father who ran the shelter was attacked. The only witness, Soldier and his dog Lucky were at the barbecue as was Father Dennis after he was released from the hospital. Alex shared the news that all involved in the attack were in custody and when Soldier and the family Walker helped to reunite him with arrived, there was a real celebration and thanksgiving. Walker looked at Soldier with his daughter, his son-in-law and his granddaughter and reflected on how important family was. He reached for Alex and drew her into his side. Alex as always was sensitive to his moods and she looked at him as he hugged her close and wrapped her arm around him and said, "Happy Thanksgiving." Walker looked at her and said, "Happy Thanksgiving" and then kissed her and told her 'thank you' with his eyes.

It was a long day and after everything was cleaned up and put away, C.D., Trivette, Alex and Walker sat in C.D.'s living room exhausted. C.D. had his feet up in the lounge chair, Trivette was sprawled on the loveseat and Walker and Alex half-sat and half-lay together on the couch. They all discussed the day and what a success it had been. They had fed more than a hundred people and C.D. talked about how much he enjoyed the feeling he got when he gave something back. Everyone agreed with him, but Jimmy chimed in, "I'd be more thankful if Walker and I had tomorrow off." "Yeah, we better get going," Walker agreed. It took a great deal of coaxing, but he managed to get Alex up off of the couch and they all headed out.

Walker drove Alex to her apartment and walked her up. "Are you coming in?" she asked. "I'd better not. I wouldn't be able to leave if I did and I do have to work tomorrow. I don't have some cushy lawyer job that gets the day off because the courts are closed." "What day off? I brought home eight hours worth of files to read." "Can I pick you up tomorrow and take you out to dinner and then to the ranch for the weekend?" "Depends, out to dinner where?" "Dawson's?" "You're on." Walker grinned at her and then leaned in to kiss her. "Know what I'm thankful for?" he asked her just inches from her lips. "What?" "You." "What about me?" "Fishing again counselor?" "Well I've got my hook baited, just haven't cast my line yet." Walker chuckled at her and said, "I'm thankful that you're in my life. That we're finally..." "Lovers?" "Yeah," he breathed on a sigh as he covered her lips and told her with his kiss what he couldn't yet put into words. He finally stepped back, gave her his long slow wink and turned to walk down the hall. 'Damn that man can kiss,' Alex thought as she turned into her apartment.


It was the day before Christmas Eve and C.D. was hosting the Christmas party for the Children's Home. The orphaned children were regaled by Walker's Hays Cooper story about finding the Stanton baby and returning him to his parents. The party was a great deal of fun and it was a way for the four single adults to add the joy of children to their holiday. Christmas Eve was spent at Mark and Shelley's annual Christmas Eve party. Alex wore a deep green velvet dress that hugged her body like a glove. Walker's black pants and turtleneck showed off his coloring and they were a stunning couple. They ate and visited with friends and colleagues until midnight when Shelley sang Silent Night with Mark accompanying her on the guitar. Soon after, Walker drove Alex back to the ranch and they made love until the dawn began to brighten the horizon.

Alex was preparing the annual Christmas dinner that the four friends shared each year. It was exciting feeling like the hostess in Walker's home. She had shopped and decorated and planned and prepared for weeks in advance. She had the Turkey in the oven and all the trimmings simmering, baking or cooling when C.D. arrived with Jimmy. It was only moments before C.D. was in the kitchen tasting and adjusting everything. Walker looked at Alex to make sure that she wasn't upset by C.D.'s meddling, but she was smiling in bemused tolerance. The Christmas music on the stereo, the candlelight, good food, decorations and family, Walker stepped back and realized that this was the first real Christmas his home had ever seen. They had all gotten together for Christmas dinner at his house for the past several years, but it was more special this year. He looked over at Alex as she sat next to him at the table and he knew why.

Walker and Jimmy were assigned kitchen clean up as Alex took C.D. into the living room and they sat and relaxed after the meal. Alex nearly had to sit on C.D. to get him to stay out of the kitchen. "What was that? Sounded like they broke somethin' in there," he complained. "So what if they did? They know where the broom and dust pan are." "Alex, how can you just sit there and know those two are in there messin' everything up?" Alex rolled her eyes, "C.D., they are two capable Texas Rangers. Surely they can clean a kitchen." "Alex honey, I guarantee you that there will be nothin' clean about that kitchen." "Well, I'll worry about it tomorrow." "Tomorrow? Are you planning on being here tomorrow?" C.D. had found the perfect opportunity to meddle and find out if Alex planned to stay the night. Still after all this time, he and Jimmy did not have proof positive that this relationship had gone beyond platonic. "Of course C.D., we all are. Don't you remember? Walker asked us to come out to the ranch to give pony rides to the kids from the Children's Home." C.D. couldn't believe how smoothly Alex got out of that one. She was either as innocent as she looked or a great actress. Of course, being a lawyer, she had to be good at hiding her true feelings. Walker had stated that, as a boy, he always found the day after Christmas to be such a letdown. He thought that it must be even more so for the kids at the home, so he planned a special day for them. Two vans of kids were expected at two the next day. After the kids got to ride the horses in the corral, he had planned a campfire where he was going to let them roast their own hot dogs and marshmallows. He intended to tell them the story of a child who was born to an Indian father and a white mother. When the boy's parents were killed, he went to live in a Children's Home until his uncle was contacted and sent for him. The boy was raised on the reservation, but had difficulty settling in to this new life. Walker's own story was one that would give hope to some lonely children.

Walker's 'Day After Christmas Pony Ride Day' was a huge success. Twenty children ranging in age from six to twelve all participated and had a wonderful time. As they sat around the campfire, the youngest child, Kara, crawled into Alex's lap. Walker told the story of his youth and when he got to the part of losing his parents, he looked out to see the pain he had felt reflected in the eyes of twenty children who had suffered similar fates. He then looked at the woman who cradled the young girl in her arms as if she did so everyday and decided that he was reliving his past as he got a glimpse of his future. The children waited patiently for Walker to continue his story and when he was done telling it, they all had questions about life on a reservation. This led to stories of Native American children and legends that Uncle Ray and White Eagle had told Walker. The children were tired, but happy as they boarded the vans to head back to the Home. The holidays are a time for family and C.D., Jimmy, Walker and Alex had spent them together.


New Year's Eve belonged to Walker and Alex. It was their night. Many of the significant milestones in their relationship had occurred on this magical night of 'in betweens'. It wasn't the old and it wasn't the new, it was in between the two and that is where their relationship always seemed to be on this night, in between. The first New Year's Eve was spent as antagonists and then they shared their first kiss and suddenly there was a spark that was ignited. The next year, they were friends who flirted with the possibility of more. The third year, they shared a special bond that made them family. The fourth year, they had been lovers once and after misunderstandings, they were back to being friends rebuilding trust. This year, they were lovers who kept their relationship private. They allowed people to know they were a couple, but they had not grown confident enough in these tentative stages of a new relationship to announce to the world or even to each other that they were in love.

Walker had asked Alex out for the evening and they had dressed up and had an elegant dinner at an overpriced restaurant, but then they headed to C.D.'s to ring in the New Year with their friends and family. The evening was pleasant as they caught up on the lives of people they didn't often have the chance to see socially. There were a good many men who would have liked to ask Alex to dance, she was stunningly beautiful in a gold sequined dress that shimmered each time she move her body. Not one was brave enough to ask though. Walker kept her pinned tightly to his side all evening. He didn't say, 'hands off, she's mine', he didn't have to, his body language shouted the message loud and clear. There were a good many women who looked at Walker in his black slacks and his black sweater that had threads of deep purple, navy blue, forest green and deep red, woven through it that Alex had given him for Christmas. The sweater hugged his chest and made many women lick their lips just fantasizing about his toned muscular body. They all looked at Alex with envy and many wished they could trade places with her. Walker was in a great mood and he laughed and joked and many there wondered where the sullen 'lone wolf Ranger' they had known for years had disappeared to. Alex herself shone as brightly as her dress as she talked and laughed with her many friends.

Just before midnight, C.D. walked up to Alex and kissed her cheek and said, "Happy New Year honey. It does my heart proud to see you and Cordell together." He wiped a tear from his eye and walked away to finish passing out the champagne. Jimmy approached them and he shook Walker's hand and kissed Alex's cheek and said, "Don't forget that "L" word I told you about partner." He looked Walker in the eye and headed back to find his date for the countdown to the hour. Walker pulled Alex close into him and looked into her eyes, "Happy New Year beautiful lady." "Happy New Year darling," she responded. The cheer went out as twelve o'clock struck and Walker leaned in and kissed Alex. The kiss went on for several minutes, as the world around them dissolved and it became just the two of them. They were at another 'in between,' but this time, the next step was to a closer more loving relationship and they were both ready. They had worked together and become allies in their cases. They had begun a friendship that had strengthened to the point where they would each do anything for the other. They had formed a family with Trivette and C.D. and the bond got stronger. They had become lovers and shared the intimacy of joining their bodies. Now, they were joining their hearts in the beginning of ever after. They weren't engaged, they weren't married, but they were in love. It would be some time before they said the words, but the feelings were there and they were both able to read them in each other's eyes.

"Know what I think?" Walker asked Alex as he drew back to look at her flushed face and sparkling eyes. "What?" she breathed as she noted that his color had risen along with another part of his anatomy that was all male. "I think that this is the best New Year's we've ever had together. Know why?" "Why?" "Because we're going to start it together, at the ranch, in bed, in each others arms, all night long." "All night?" "Yeah baby, all night. Let's go." "What about...?" "They'll all take care of themselves. Are you with me?" "Always." Walker grinned at her and slowly lowered his eyelid in a languid wink that belied the urgency of the hand that tugged at hers. They escaped unnoticed through all the cheers and slaps on the back. Slipping out the front door, Walker dragged her along at a rapid pace not taking into account her high heels. They reached the Ram and Walker lifted her up into the passenger seat and closed the door. Alex barely registered the slam as she found Walker already seated at her side. Walker started the truck and Alex slid into the middle of the seat and put on the lap belt there. Alex lay her head on Walker's shoulder and her hand on his thigh. As soon as he was out of the downtown traffic, Walker lay his hand on top of hers and squeezed her fingers, stilling her hand from its restless wanderings. "Lady, let me get us home in one piece and I promise you I'll reward you for your patience." "Well, hurry!" Alex said not even registering the contradiction of her response.

The Ram was parked a little lopsided in the driveway closer to the house than usual. Inside, there was a trail of clothing from the front door, up the stairs to the master bedroom. Alex's beautiful dress was draped haphazardly on the bottom banister of the stairwell. Walker's hand knit sweater lay on the third step. The end of the trail revealed Alex's silky underwear hanging from the doorknob of the bedroom. Soft sighs and low moans broke the silence of the night as the two lovers joined together time and again in passionate, loving unions.

Alex lay spent next to Walker on the bed. She had lost count of the many times he had brought her to ecstasy that night. She didn't think that there was one millimeter of her skin that hadn't been kissed and caressed. She had done her share of exploring too. The cold light of day would reveal nail marks down Walker's back, a bruise from the nip she had given his shoulder and several smears of lipstick on his entire body. "Know what I want to do?" Walker asked her. Alex moaned, "not again! Walker, honestly, I can't move. I may not be able to walk for a week and I ache all over." He lay next to her chuckling at her complaints. "I was going to suggest a champagne toast. We sort of left C.D.'s before we got to the champagne." "Darling, I'm drunk on you tonight, I don't need any champagne." "It's tradition Alex. You're the one who's always after me about tradition. Remember all the things you insisted on for Christmas?" "That was Christmas." "A tradition is a tradition and we need to sip champagne on New Year's." "I'm not moving Walker. There's nothing you can do to make me move from this spot." "Alex, you should know better by now than to challenge me. But don't worry, I'm not asking you to move, I'll get the champagne."

Alex lay there slowly stretching each of her limbs testing which was the sorest. They had been in positions that she didn't know her body could get into. Walker seemed so withdrawn and controlled in public, but in private, more specifically, in bed, he was extremely adventurous and demonstrative. She had a feeling that fifty years hence he would still be able to surprise and arouse her. As she lay there lost in her musings, Walker returned with a chilled bottle of champagne. Alex shifted her head off the pillow to look at him. "Where's the glasses?" "Who needs glasses? Champagne tastes best when sipped from your lovers skin." Alex's eyes widened, "and how would you know that?" "I read it somewhere," Walker told her. "Uh huh. You are not pouring that on me Walker." "What about in you?" he suggested. Alex's eyes couldn't have gotten any wider. "Cordell Walker, don't you even dare!" Walker held the bottle over Alex's stomach and pulled back the sheet. Straddling her, he pulled the cork from the bottle and it made a loud 'pop' as champagne spilled down the sides of the bottle. "Walker! That's cold!" Walker only laughed as he leaned down and lapped the chilled bubbling liquid from her stomach. He did a very thorough job of it; even licking up the drops that had pooled in her navel. Walker then took a swig from the bottle and drank it down. Holding the bottle over her face, he slowly dribbled a few drops onto her mouth. Alex's tongue swept out to lick them up. "Hey, that was mine," Walker complained. Alex grinned at him. Walker then poured a few more drops and she again quickly licked them up. This game went on for several more minutes as each time Walker would lean over to clean up the spilled drops, Alex's tongue would snake out and beat him to it. "All right Alex, you asked for it." Walker shifted down the bed and pulled her legs apart propping her knees up on either side of him. "Walker, don't!" "You asked for it lady," he said as he poured a few drops onto the swollen flesh between her legs. The cold bubbles tickled and made her gasp. His tongue licking them up made her gasp even more. Tilting her hips up, Walker was able to pour more of the cold sparkling liquid onto her until he finally poured it onto her entrance. "Walker, stop!" she screamed and then moaned again as he cleaned the area with his tongue. Finally, he lifted her hips up onto his thighs and used his fingers to open her pulsing entrance. Slowly he poured the liquid into her and Alex bit her lip as she tried to remain still while he licked and suck up the champagne from the depths of her. "Mmm best champagne I've ever had, I'll have to get this vintage again," Walker claimed as he repeated the action time and again.

The bottle was more than half-empty when Alex had stood all the torment she could. "Give me that," she demanded as she rolled herself away from him and sat up. She took the still chilled bottle and brought it to her lips where she drank several swallows. "My turn," she claimed as she pushed him onto his back on the bed with his feet toward the headboard. Alex dribbled the liquid onto Walker's chest and licked up each drop as it rolled off. She cleaned his male nipples and nibbled on his skin. "Mmm this does taste good," she agreed as she moved down to his stomach. Walker withstood several more dousings of the chilled liquid. He was fully aroused and the tip of his arousal lay nearly to his navel. Alex poured some of the liquid on the tip of him, but licked up only what spilled down onto his clenched abdomen. She poured some more and continued to tease him, licking everywhere, except where he most craved the touch of her tongue, that pink moist amazing tongue. He flashed back to the day he met her and sitting in that witness box he had glimpsed her tongue. He'd spent many a sleepless nights dreaming exactly of this. Only in his dreams, she hadn't tormented him! "Alex, damn you! Stop teasing or I promise you you'll pay for it." "Oh how the mighty have fallen. You started this game cowboy." Alex continued her teasing for several more minutes until Walker placed his hand at the back of her head and guided her warm mouth to him. Alex laughed a deep seductive chuckle as she finally closed over him with her mouth and sucked the bubbling liquid off of him. Next, she poured the champagne along the length of him and lapped that up as well. After she had thoroughly coated all of his length and removed the liquid many times over, Walker used his powerful arms to lift her up and onto him. He surged up into her burying himself all the way into the warm moist center of her being. They established a rhythm and soon they both were focused only on that rhythm and the sensations it wrought. They had both reached fulfillment many times over that night and this final joining was long and leisurely as the sensations grew, building one on top of the other instead of exploding as they had at the beginning of the night. Alex threw back her head and sighed as the waves of sensations overtook her body. Just as she was gripped by spasms, Walker surged deeply into her one last time and released himself into her depths.

Alex stayed in the same position as she slowly returned to earth and found that she still held the champagne bottle in her hand. She giggled as she looked at it and said, "I'm glad neither one of us has to drive home." She smiled at Walker and tilted the bottle up, drinking several swallows down. "Hey, don't finish it off, I'm thirsty too." Walker sat up, pushing her back onto his lap and took the bottle from her. He finished the remaining champagne and then looked at the empty bottle. "Hmm it seems a shame to finish it, it's brought so much pleasure. You know..." He looked at the narrowed end of the bottle and then at Alex. Alex grabbed the bottle and raced out of the room with it, tossing it into the recycling bin downstairs. When she returned to the bedroom, Walker had stripped the damp sheets and was making the bed with fresh ones. He laughed at her when she walked back in. "I wasn't really going to you know," he denied. "After all the things you did do tonight, I don't trust you not to try," she stated. "I thought you couldn't move," Walker challenged. "Oh shut up. I'm going to take a shower and I don't want company!" She flounced into the bathroom and turned on the water drowning out Walker's laughter.

After her shower, Alex pulled on one of Walker's soft denim shirts. She had her own negligees, but when she felt spent and wanted comfort, there was nothing like one of his shirts to bring it to her. She dried her hair as Walker took his shower and then, pulling on a pair of briefs, he came back over to her and stroked her hair. "Tonight was just a sample of the delights this year is going to hold for us Alex." "Is that a threat?" "No, it's a promise." He reached for her brush and brushed her hair out around her shoulders. "Come on, let's get some sleep," he suggested. "That's the best suggestion you've had all night." "Alex..." he warned. Alex just smiled and walked over to the bed where she crawled into the crisp fresh sheets and waited for him to settle next to her. She cuddled up against him and lay her head on his shoulder. The sun was just beginning to rise as they fell into a deep exhausted sleep. Neither woke until nearly noon that day.


Part 3 Walker's Past

Ref: Season 4 'Mayday' through 'Days Past'

Their relationship continued at roughly the same pace for the next two months. They were together, but no declarations or commitments were made and their relationship was very private. Walker never stayed at Alex's apartment and it was a rare occasion when Alex stayed at the ranch any time other than the weekend. When Walker was flying in the small plane that was forced to crash land due to sabotage engineered to kill the prisoner, Charlie Brooks, whom he was escorting, Alex was forced to live through the fear of never seeing him again. She realized that no one would really know just how much she loved him if he didn't come back. Of course, Walker did come back to her. Other than an adventure in the woods that included delivering a baby, he walked away from the incident no worse for wear. In March, 'the gang' had another community service project they were involved in. They were taking a group of troubled teens and preteens to the lake to camp for a week and hopefully to have a positive impact on their lives. Alex and Walker went to the junior high school to meet the campers a few days before the trip and when they were introduced, Lisa, one of the kids said, "oh great, we get to spend a whole week with Ranger Ken and Barbie." Alex and Walker laughed off the remark and attributed it to the rudeness of youth. They were used to sarcastic teens and didn't let the names bother them-or so they thought. After meeting the kids they would be driving to Ranger Teen Camp, Alex, Walker and Jimmy headed over to C.D.'s. Walker asked 'Barbie' if she'd like to dance. Alex looked at him with eyebrows raised and for the first time in Walker's memory said, "no." Walker was surprised at her response and as they were sitting alone in their special booth, he pursued the topic. "What's wrong? You always say I never ask you to dance and then when I do, you say 'no'?" "I'm just not in the mood." "Alex, there's more to it than that, I know you pretty well by now and something's upset you. Is it me? Did I do something?" "Walker, just drop it. I don't want to get into it." "So there is something." Walker thought for awhile and couldn't come up with anything. "Do you want to go to the Teen Camp? You don't have to you know." "Of course I want to go, I go every year." "That doesn't obligate you. Just because I'm going doesn't mean you have to." "Is that what you think? You think I plan my life according to what you're doing and where you'll be?" Walker was stunned, Alex was really upset about something and he was completely at a loss as to what it was. "Yes, I do think that. I plan my life according to what you're doing and where you'll be." "Walker that is so not true. You do what you want, when you want and if I'm around, well... that's fine." "Alex, don't you dare suggest that I don't take you into consideration when I make plans. I can count two weekends we've spent apart since the New Year." "Three." "Fine, three weekends. Still, we're together as much as we can be. We see each other at work everyday, we eat lunch together two or three times a week. We both have commitments, what with your Women's Group and my Kick Drugs kids, but we go out at least once a week. I had forgotten the third weekend, that was the weekend you went on your Women's retreat with your support group." "Yeah, you must have really missed me, you already forgot about it." "Alex, I asked you to dance. What made you mad?" "You didn't ask me to dance, you asked 'Barbie' to dance." "So what? I was just repeating what that girl said today. Barbie is known for being extremely beautiful, I didn't think it was an insult." "Barbie was plastic. Is that how you see me? Just a face and a body?" "That's ridiculous! You know damn well..." "Don't swear at me Walker." Walker's response was preempted by the arrival of his partner to tell him that they had a call they had to respond to. "We'll finish this later," he warned her as he left with Trivette.

The call that Walker and Trivette responded to was a kidnapping and it was two days before the body of the wife of one of Dallas' most influential business men was found floating in a lake. The rangers had been part of an intensive search and Trivette was the one responsible for finding the evidence that led them to the kidnappers turned murderers. Walker participated in the bust that had been quite physical. He dragged his tired and aching body home that night and called Alex. "Hi honey, how are you?" "Fine. I heard about the bust. Sounds like it got pretty scary there for awhile." "Yes, it was not one of the easier ones. Those guys knew that they faced the death penalty for what they did to that poor woman. They didn't give up easily." "So are you all right?" "I'm fine, just tired." "We're supposed to drive the kids up to the lake tomorrow. Do you want to back out?" "No, I'll be there." "Okay, but I can drive if you want to rest." "I just need a good night's sleep. I thought maybe I could get the horses fed, pick up the van and stay at your place tonight. That way I could get a little more sleep in the morning before we need to pick up Charlie and the kids." "What about your morning ranch chores?" "I've got it covered. My neighbor is going to feed while I'm gone and I might as well have him start in the morning. So can I come spend the night?" "I guess." "Don't sound so enthused." "I'm sorry, I just don't really know how to respond. You've never wanted to stay here before." "That's not true. I've wanted to stay there many times. It's just not usually convenient for me to and it's more private to have you stay here." "Right and you'll be in the van, not in the Ram so no one could see your truck parked outside of my apartment overnight." "Alex, it sounds like you're still upset with me about something. I'm not sure if I should come and try to resolve it when I'm so dead tired, but I don't want to spend a week at the camp with you being hostile toward me. Can we try to talk it out this evening?" "Yeah, whatever, come on over." Walker was not thrilled by Alex's less than enthusiastic response, but he wanted to resolve the conflict.

Alex had managed to put together a fairly simple dinner by the time Walker arrived at her apartment. He didn't offer to kiss her when he arrived despite the fact that they hadn't seen each other in two days. They sat down and ate the meal and kept the talk on neutral ground. Walker filled Alex in on the case he had just finished working on. Luckily, he had been part of a task force and wrapping up the paperwork did not fall on he and Trivette. Alex told him a little about what she had been doing since she last saw him. Taking the time off for the Teen Camp meant that she had had some late nights of her own getting cases wrapped up. After they finished their meal and cleaned up, they moved to the living room and sat down to talk. "Can you try to tell me what has been bothering you lately? I really want to work this out," Walker began. Alex sighed and tried to put her feelings into words. "I guess I just feel that this relationship has become one-sided. I think when you called me Barbie, it just kind of sparked some old memories." "What old memories." "In high school, I was a pretty unhappy person. My mother had changed since my father left and of course my father had completely gone out of my life except for the monthly support checks. I tried to compensate by being really bubbly and friendly at school. I guess with my being tall and thin and blond along with the... I guess looking back now it must have seemed like I was manic the way I always acted happy and enthusiastic about everything. I was trying to mask what was happening in my home life. Anyway, I earned the nickname 'Barbie.' It really wasn't a big deal, I had enough self-confidence not to care a great deal and when Lisa called me that, it didn't bother me at all. But when you called me that, it just made me feel like you only see the surface of who I am. It's like our relationship, it's only on the surface." "Alex, I don't get it. I don't know how you can say that. We've known each other for five years now. You were my best friend long before we added the romance. I know you as well as I know anyone and you certainly know me better than any living soul. Alex, there are things that you don't know about me and after all this time, I'm sure there are things that I don't know about you, but I know who you are. I know how passionate you are about the things you believe in. I know how much you would do for a friend. Hell, I know how much you would do for a stranger. I know that you are intelligent and kind and that you wake up slowly in the mornings. I know that you get grumpy when you don't get enough sleep and that you hate okra. I know that you prefer to use blue ink and that you cry during sad movies. You really think I don't know you? The deep down you?" "No, I know you know me. I... I don't know how to explain it. Tell me why you've never stayed at my apartment overnight since we became lovers." "I just don't want to announce the fact that we are lovers. I like to keep my private life private. I don't care if the world knows how I feel about you; I just don't want anyone to ever turn what we have into something sordid. What we have, what we share is precious to me. I don't want anyone to ever tarnish it. Can you understand that?" "Yeah, I guess I sometimes feel that you're ashamed of it. That admitting that you care about me somehow makes you weak." "I'm sorry if I gave you that impression. I do care about you. You are the most important person in my life and you have used a wrecking ball to knock down all the walls I put up to shut you out and I can't thank you enough. If I ever again put up walls, please promise me you'll knock them down. I don't want anything to separate us." Alex smiled deep into Walker's eyes; she had misread the situation. He wasn't trying to hide their relationship for his sake; he was discreet for her sake. They did work together and it would cause a great deal of gossip if their relationship was made public. She could handle it, but it would put a strain on the relationship that was still in its beginning stages. "I will knock down anything you resurrect to keep me out, but I want you to promise me something." "What?" "Tell me why you do things once in awhile so I won't get the wrong idea." "Deal." Walker gathered her into his arms and pulled her tight against his chest to give her the kiss he hadn't given her when he arrived. They had two full days to make up for and it was a long kiss. Walker didn't get the good night's sleep he needed that night, but he didn't complain.

Walker was a little grumpy in the morning; Alex wasn't the only one who got that way from lack of sleep. Charlie Brooks was serving some of his community service time by coming on the trip and Walker had to put up with his griping. Then the kids let their displeasure about the trip be known. Then they had a flat tire. Then some small minded backwoods hicks tried to prevent the kids from eating in a diner. Then they got to camp to find C.D. and Trivette painting each other instead of the outhouses. Then the governor called and wanted Walker to handle a case for him personally, which meant he had to leave almost before he arrived at the campsite. All in all, Walker felt that life was conspiring to put him in a bad mood. After all the adventures at the camp, Alex came home exhausted and to top everything off, she was on her period and Walker had to deal with her temporary crankiness and hands off policy. Walker decided that life was conspiring to keep him in a chronic bad mood.



In early April, Walker suggested a camping trip since he hadn't been able to enjoy the last one. Alex got excited about the idea until they were sitting at C.D.'s at the bar and Walker invited Trivette and C.D. along and changed it into a fishing trip. Determined not to be deterred, Alex didn't say anything and decided to be happy that they were at least getting away for awhile. C.D.'s friend, Jeb Murphy, owned a small cabin on Lake Reed and he gave them permission to use it for their trip. They left on a Wednesday and were due back Sunday. The drive was uneventful and the weather was beautiful spring weather. When they arrived at the cabin, Alex remained quiet and let the men sort out the sleeping arrangements while she brought in the groceries and began organizing the kitchen. There were two downstairs bedrooms and a loft upstairs. One downstairs room had twin beds; the other had a double bed. The loft also had a double bed. After much discussion, it was decided that C.D. would take the downstairs room with the double bed, Walker and Trivette would take the twin beds and Alex would get the loft. Walker didn't mind the single bed, but sharing a room would mean that sneaking out in the middle of the night was out. It finally occurred to him that perhaps he shouldn't have invited C.D. and Trivette along. He was just talking about the trip with them and it seemed like the thing to do. Then of course when C.D. offered to contact Mr. Murphy about the cabin, his original idea about a tent and sleeping bags in a remote area sort of disappeared.

The group enjoyed a roasted chicken dinner that night that Alex prepared. C.D. had been given the night off in the kitchen and Alex was determined to expand her menu options. She had been experimenting with a variety of dishes and once they passed the 'Walker test' she was willing to share them with others. After a game of Scrabble, the weary travelers turned in for the night. Walker lay in the bed downstairs listening to Trivette mumble in his sleep, hearing C.D. snoring through the wall and missing Alex's soft body pressed against his. Alex lay upstairs cursing Walker for his generous spirit.

The next morning found the four on the bank of the lake with fishing poles in hand. They had debated the best type of bait to use and Alex sat in amused tolerance as C.D. and Jimmy gave each other a hard time. After catching four good-sized fish, Alex called it quits and headed inside. Walker soon followed and he filleted the fish she had caught along with his own. He left the filets in the refrigerator for C.D. to decide how to cook and he and Alex decided to go for a hike. Just as they were about to leave, Jimmy sauntered in and invited himself along. That evening, they enjoyed the crispy fish filets that C.D. had lightly battered and fried. The men joked that it was lucky they had Alex along as the three of them combined had only managed to catch five fish to her four. C.D. tried to get her to tell him what she used as bait, but she informed him that it was a Cahill family secret and refused to tell him. They all turned in after C.D. beat Jimmy at chess.

Walker knew that C.D. and Jimmy were watching he and Alex closely to see if they could determine exactly where their relationship stood. He kissed Alex in front of them, but he never alluded to sleeping with her. The two men seemed to have a fascination with their love affair and he wasn't willing to feed their curiosity. The second night was as torturous as the first and Walker was really beginning to regret inviting his friends along on what could have been a very romantic vacation. The second day went about the same as the first. They fished in the morning and hiked in the afternoon. Jimmy didn't accompany Alex and Walker on their second hike, but it was Friday and there were other campers arriving in the area so there wasn't any privacy. Walker was amazed at how uncaring Alex seemed that they couldn't be alone together. In fact, he was getting a little frustrated at her lack of cooperation to sneak moments alone to relieve the ache that was building up in him from being so near her and barely being able to touch her. That night, it was Walker's turn to play C.D. at chess and he won the game. Alex sat on the couch reading a torrid romance novel and Trivette found a jazz special on television that he wanted to watch.

Saturday dawned and was their last full day at the cabin. Again they began the day fishing and C.D. decided that he wanted to go out on the boat that his friend kept on the bank under a tarp. He decided that he needed to get off the bank to get to deeper water for the bait he was using to work. The foursome was a tight fit in the boat, but they managed to get out further on the lake and they stayed out till noon fishing. Again, Alex caught more fish than any of the rest of them. C.D. kept trying to figure out what she was using as bait, but it was a pasty looking substance and she wouldn't tell him what it consisted of. They had caught their limit though and so they headed back into shore. Walker wanted to go for another hike that afternoon, but Alex decided that she would rather lay out on the riverbank and get some sun. She wore a modest bikini, but Walker's already aroused state was not helped by seeing that much more of her flesh that he couldn't touch. Every time Walker looked at Alex with passion filled eyes, she seemed completely oblivious. In reality, she ached for him. She was intentionally torturing him for inviting along their two chaperones. She had intended for this to be a very romantic, passion filled trip and she wanted him to suffer. She just did it subtly and silently. After she decided that she had gotten enough sun, Alex walked back to the cabin where Walker sat alone on the porch. Her hair was wet from the refreshing dip she had taken and seeing him, she decided to rub salt into the wound. "Oh that water felt good, cold though." She unwrapped the towel from her body and reached up to rub her wet hair. The action caused her to slightly arch her back and let Walker get a good look at the reaction her breasts had had to the cold water. Walker's eyes were riveted to her protruding nipples that pressed against the bikini top. Acting as if she was unaware of her audience, Alex finished rubbing her hair and brought the towel down the front of her body. She slowly caressed her chest and abdomen and finally bent down turning her backside toward him to rub the towel sensuously down each leg. It took everything in her to keep from laughing at the look on Walker's face when she stood up and faced him. He wanted her and he wanted her now! Just as she thought his control was about to snap, C.D. sauntered out and said, "how was the water honey?" "Oh, it was cold, but refreshing," Alex answered as she casually rewrapped the towel around herself. "I'm going to head in and take a shower, I'll see you two in a bit. Don't forget it's my turn to play with you tonight Walker." "What?" came his startled response. "Chess, you're the current champion and I get to try to dethrone you." She headed on into the cabin gloating.

Alex easily won the game that night. They were usually well matched and it was a toss up as to which way the game would go, but Walker didn't seem to be able to concentrate on his game that night. Alex had trouble keeping her triumphant grin to herself. Much later, Alex was still awake and she looked at the clock to see that it was two in the morning. She had made Walker uncomfortable, but her seduction had resulted in her being just as frustrated. She quietly got out of bed and slipped on a robe and padded outside. The air was very cool and she shivered slightly. Since a cold shower would have woken the others, this was the next best thing. "Having trouble sleeping?" a voice asked from the shadows of the porch. Alex jumped and let out a startled yelp until she realized that the disembodied voice belonged to Walker. "Yeah, a little," she admitted. "Serves you right," he said as he walked over to her. "What's that supposed to mean?" "Alex, don't act innocent with me, you've been playing with me this entire trip. Brushing up against me to reach for the pepper, bending over to pick up the napkin you dropped so that your shirt gave me a view of your cleavage, wearing your wet bikini and toweling off in front of me, you are the most tempting woman..." He grabbed her closely against him and the rest of his statement was lost in the deeply demanding kiss he gave her. Alex was weak at the knees by the time the kiss ended due to the need for oxygen. She clung weakly to Walker as she gasped for breath. Walker held her tightly against him and left her in no doubt as to his state of arousal. "There is no way I could quietly make love to you after you have spent the last four days winding me up. But be warned, when I get you back to the ranch tomorrow night..." he left the threat hanging in the air as he released her and jogged off toward the woods. Alex stood there with her fingers pressed to her swollen lips and moaned. Now she had done it and she knew she was going to pay for her sins. Not only was she going to have to survive the burning need he had awoken in her for another day, but when they finally came together, she knew that he would make her beg and plead for release. He was very good at self-control and when he lost it, she always ended up sore the next day. She grinned to herself; she couldn't wait!


C.D.'s chauvinism had once again reared its ugly head when the loss of a former partner of his in a gun battle caused a new ranger to be added and that ranger was a woman. Alex was tolerant of C.D. in most of his outdated opinions, but when it came to women and their ability to perform jobs as well as men... well, he earned himself a piece of her mind. After profuse apologies, C.D. was forgiven and the family was once again happy with each other.

Alex wanted to get Walker to take her on a trip with just the two of them. She knew that he had learned his lesson on their last trip and frankly she had learned one as well. It would be some time before she teased him to that extent again. She still flushed when she thought back to the night they had shared after returning from their 'family' fishing trip. Soon after their return, Walker had to go undercover into a high school to try and track down the source of a combination of speed and anabolic steroids that had caused fatalities in more than one high school aged user. Alex enjoyed seeing another side of Walker and wondered what life would be like if he did teach instead of continue on as a ranger. Walker had a natural gift for developing a rapport with troubled kids. He managed to develop trust and then to encourage them to put their energy into positive activities. He introduced his students to karate and helped them to develop self-esteem. Alex decided that she wouldn't want to change anything about Walker, well... except maybe for his inability to express his feelings to her. She loved that he was a ranger and his Kick Drugs program gave him the chance to impact the lives of many young people.

Alex still wanted to take that vacation and she thought she had picked the perfect long weekend. Now all she had to do was convince Walker. They sat in their booth at C.D.'s and talked in lowered voices. Walker had his arm around her and she was sitting against him. They held hands on top of the table and her thumb rubbed over his fingers while his other hand caressed her arm. He and Trivette had made a major heroine bust and as soon as they wrapped up the case, he would be able to take the days off she was asking him to. Now she just had to convince him, but she had her tactics planned out. "Walker, I'm just asking that you take a Monday off. We can leave work a little early Friday, drive up to the spot I've got picked out and have three glorious days to ourselves. Just you and me, all alone." "Alex, I don't know." "What's not to know? It's not as if you don't have the time and surely the state of Texas can spare you for one three day weekend." "Very funny. I'm not saying that I can't miss one day of work, I'm just not sure that this is a good time to be gone." "Why ever not?" "Alex..." "Hey Walker, we made the ten o'clock news man." "That's great Trivette," Walker answered Trivette's interruption and then turned back to his conversation with Alex. "What were we talking about?" Alex rolled her eyes knowing that his question was just a stall. "We were talking about going away for the weekend, but you were being evasive." "I wasn't being evasive. I was just trying to figure out if I can take the time off or not." "Take the time off," Alex repeated as Walker nodded. "Three days of fishing... hiking... moonlight walks," she said in a seductive voice into his ear. "It does sound tempting," he said as he swallowed to gain control of his rising desire. "Perhaps a massage," she continued her seductive persuasion. "Massage?" he questioned in a hoarse whisper. "Or two," she offered looking up at him from under her eyelashes. "Really?" he whispered. "Hmm." Walker looked into her eyes and knew he was lost, the woman could get him to do just about anything. "Maybe I could take the time off," Walker decided with a nod of his head. Alex turned her face toward him smiling. Walker turned his head toward her, her lips so very close. He leaned his head ever so slightly forward to claim those tempting lips just as C.D. called him. "Cordell! Oh Cordell, you better get over here and see this." Walker pulled back and sighed. "Well, we better go see what it's all about," Walker said. Alex sighed and smiled a little chagrined. C.D. had the worst timing! She slid out of the booth and walked over to the bar with Walker carrying his drink in his right hand and putting his left arm around her. He pulled her tight against him with a squeeze. "What? Commercial C.D.?" he asked sharing a smile with Alex. "Uh uh, you'll see." Walker and Alex turned their attention to the TV mounted above the bar. The news continued with a shot of a prisoner leaving the prison. The announcer said, "...notorious racketeer Vince Pike was granted an early release from state prison." Walker dropped his arm from Alex's shoulder and stood up straight as he continued to watch the broadcast. The glass he held in his hand shattered from the strength of his grip. Alex jumped and exclaimed, "god!" as she grabbed a towel from the bar and began to wipe the glass shards from his bleeding hand. "Hey are you all right?" Trivette asked. "Look Cordell, I'm...I'm sorry," C.D. began. Walker didn't hear either of them as he stalked out of the bar. "Cordell, you need to talk to me... I mean you need anything, just let me know," C.D. shouted after him. Alex walked to the window and watched him pace at his truck. She considered following him, but decided against it. Something in his body language told her that he was best left alone, for now.

Alex went back to the bar where Jimmy and C.D. stood. "What was that about?" Jimmy asked. "Vince Pike," C.D. answered. "What does Vince Pike have to do with Walker?" Alex questioned. "He killed the woman that Cordell was in love with ten years ago. Cordell was going to marry her," C.D. answered. "Walker was going to get married?" Alex asked amazed. This was something she had never heard about in all the time she had known him. "Yeah," C.D. confirmed. "She was a real fine lady too and they were very happy together until Vince Pike murdered her." Alex and Jimmy got comfortable for C.D. to tell them the story. They knew it would be a late night. C.D. filled them in on how Walker had met Ellen Garrett at a law enforcement seminar. She was a law professor and they met and fell in love. After about a year together, Walker was planning to ask her to marry him. They were at Lake Santos when he tried to propose, but she preempted him and accepted before he could get the words out. Just as they were about to seal their engagement with a kiss, Walker was shot in the back. Ellen was shot as well and Walker tried to return fire, but was shot again twice more. Ellen died before help arrived and Walker went on a rampage to find her killers as soon as he was released from the hospital. Even after Pike was arrested, Walker couldn't tame the demons that haunted him. He went after criminals without care for his own well being until the department made him take a leave of absence. He went to White Eagle who helped him to overcome his loss. White Eagle told him that he would always have a special place in his heart to hold the one he lost. He returned to work and slowly rebuilt his life. After the story was told, Alex said, "that explains a lot of things to me C.D." "You think he needs somebody with him?" Jimmy asked. He didn't understand why Alex hadn't gone off to find him by now. But C.D. said that he needed to be alone and Jimmy had to believe that C.D. and Alex knew what was best.

Alex decided to give Walker some space. She knew that he would be looking into the activities of Vince Pike and she also knew that he wouldn't be able to rest until the man was back behind bars. Alex pulled the case file and read all the related documentation. She wanted to be able to help Walker in any way she could. She saw Walker in the halls at work, but except for a brief nod of greeting, he hadn't responded to her hello. Jimmy filled her in on his intense manhunt and when Pike's second in command was killed, Walker turned up the heat of the investigation. Pike's response was to put a hit on C.D. Three of his thugs beat C.D. badly and he ended up in the hospital. Alex and Jimmy arrived in time to save the poor nurse from C.D.'s insistence that he be allowed to leave. Walker came in and C.D. told him that it was one of Pike's men who led the assault. Walker stormed out of the room and Alex rushed to catch him. "Walker, wait," she said as she caught him in the hospital corridor. "I think I've known you long enough to understand you. Now don't go doing something you're gonna regret. You are not Vince Pike and no matter what happens, you cannot let him turn you into the same thing that he is." Walker looked at her and knew what she was trying to say, but he didn't want to hear it. He gave her the briefest of nods and continued on.

Walker confronted Pike, but he didn't do anything that he would regret. Alex's words had made an impression on him. The next night, he sat with her in their booth. C.D. had joined them, bruises and all and Trivette was there as well. Walker was worried that Pike would go after his family and they were all there with him. Jimmy tried to convince him that they could take care of themselves and Alex wordlessly showed her support by rubbing her knuckles up and down his arm. Walker was just so afraid that Pike would come after the people he loved.

The next day, Walker went to Ellen's grave. It had been many years since he had visited it and he needed to think about all that he had lost and try to put the past into perspective. Alex had found out from dispatch where he was and she decided to go to him. He had once asked her to knock down any walls he put up to keep her out and she was going to take him at his word. She walked up and stood quietly beside him until he acknowledged her. "Alex, what are you doing here?" "C.D. told me about you and Ellen and I thought it might help if we could talk about it." Walker immediately shut her out. He wasn't willing to share this with her. "There's nothing to talk about," he told her. Alex took a breath and tried again. "You told me once, life is a series of choices that we make that lead us to our destiny and each one of us controls our own fate. Ellen made her choice Walker, not you." Walker stood staring at the tombstone, not acknowledging Alex's words. He wouldn't tell her how he was feeling, so she decided to tell him how she was feeling. "There's a part of me that's... jealous... of a ghost... of what she had with you... and how you still feel about her. It's really beautiful." Alex could think of nothing else to say and so, very near to tears, she turned to leave. As she walked away, her cell phone rang. With a deep sigh to stay her tears, she answered the phone. After a moment, she returned to the graveside, "Walker, it's Jimmy. He has to talk to you," she said in an apologetic tone as she handed him the phone. Walker spoke with Jimmy and told him to wait to meet with the supposed informant until he could get there. Walker feared that it was a trap. He turned off the phone and handed it to Alex. "I've got to go." "Be careful," she told him. He began to turn away and then paused and turned back to her. He knew how hard it must have been for her to come to the graveside and bare her soul to him. He admired her courage and he knew that she did only what he had asked her to, tore down the walls he had begun to build around himself. It was only right that he should do what she had asked and tell her what he felt. "Alex, thanks." Alex smiled, "for what?" "For being there." He watched as Alex's face lit up and she smiled. It had only been a few words, but it had made all the difference. Walker turned and rushed off to meet Trivette. Alex turned to look at the grave and took a deep breath of relief; she had done the right thing. She stayed at the grave for awhile and decided to talk to the woman Walker had loved. "Ellen, you don't know me. Until recently, I didn't know about you. I know that you loved Walker and I just wanted you to know that I love him too and I'll make sure he has a happy life. At least, I'll do everything in my power to make it so." Having tried to give a woman she didn't know, but felt a kinship for, the type of reassurance she would have wanted had their roles been reversed, she turned to leave.

Walker had been right and Trivette had been set up. Walker got there in time to see his partner flying through the air after a truck had struck him. He got him to the hospital and then waited for word on his condition. He was badly bruised and had a broken leg, but he would recover. Just as he left the hospital room, a nurse informed him that Alex wanted him to meet her at Lake Santos. Alex said that C.D. told her about Ellen, he must have told her that Lake Santos was where she was killed. It was just like Alex to try to make him face his demons. When he arrived at the lake, his mind replayed that awful day. When he saw Alex approaching and she said, "why did you want to meet all the way out here?" he knew that they had been set up. Walker ran at Alex and tackled her, pushing her down behind a fishing boat. He returned fire and the three gunmen were all brought down. They now had an informant and enough evidence against him to convince him to testify against Pike.

This time, Walker invited Alex to Ellen's grave. He wanted to leave the lace doily he had kept from her apartment and the rose he had pressed and kept in a bible at her grave. These were the last symbols of a love that had been taken from him. It was time now to let it go and to go forward to the love he shared with Alex. He needed to let her know that he was hers; that there was no one past, present or future who could come between them. Alex stood back as he said his final good-byes and then she approached to ask, "could we finish that talk we started about love and ghosts and jealousy?" Walker looked up at her and said, "sure," as he pulled her into his side for a hug. She laughed slightly as he told her with his actions that he was ready to move on and to work on his relationship with her. They walked out of the cemetery together ready to face the future-together.


Just after leaving the cemetery, Walker got a call from dispatch informing him that he was needed at the scene of a crime. Trivette had yet to be released from the hospital and they needed a senior ranger at the scene of a drug bust that was related to the heroine bust he and Trivette had been involved in a week prior. Walker took Alex with him to the scene and she stayed in the background out of the way of all the mayhem. She wanted to talk to Walker, but the sick feeling she had felt all week, sort of a panicked desperation, was gone. By taking her with him to say his final goodbye to Ellen, he had told her without words that he wanted her in his life. It was several hours before the crime scene was wrapped up and Alex had realized that it was going to be a long day for Walker, so she had hitched a ride back with a squad car to the Justice Building.

It was late, nearly ten o'clock when her office phone rang. "Alex?" "Yeah, hi Walker." "Honey, I've been trying to find you. I thought you would be home by now." "Well, I decided to stay and wrap some things up. If I can get this stuff done, I can take a long weekend." "Really, want some company?" "Actually I had thought about inviting someone along. Do you think C.D. might want to come." Walker caught the dig, but played along. "Actually, he said that he was going to be playing nursemaid this weekend to Trivette. They said Trivette could go home tomorrow if he has someone to stay with him." "Yeah, I know. I was at the hospital and had dinner with Jimmy." "I know, he told me, that's why I thought I would find you either at your place or mine." "I've been here in my office ever since I left the hospital. I figured you would stop by when you got done with the case you were working on." "I never even thought to look in your office. Listen, I need to go in to work tomorrow for a couple hours just to wrap up this latest bust. Most of the paperwork will fall on someone else, but I need to put together the connections between this bust and the one Trivette and I made last week so that the DA's office can charge everyone with as many charges as possible." "Thanks honey, you know that means more work for me." "Nope, I talked to the DA and he's handing the case over to Phil." "What? But that's my..." "Alex, now don't be selfish. Just because you do such a good job prosecuting drug dealers, doesn't mean you have to prosecute all of them." "I know, but that new DA, Mark 'I hate women' Clark, is going to love giving this case to a man to prosecute." Walker laughed into Alex's ear before answering. "Honey, I don't think he hates women, I think he's afraid of you. You're certainly a better prosecutor than he is and he's well aware of it." "Thanks for the vote of confidence, but I have to work under the toad." "Baby, the only man you will ever be under is me and that's only when you want it that way. You know that I'm more than happy to have you on top." "Stop with the sexual innuendo cowboy, I'm still in the office." "Okay, back to why I called. I wondered if you could leave work early tomorrow and we could take that trip you promised me. If you could get Monday off, we'd still have time for 'a massage or two'. What do you say? Can you arrange for the place you had in mind or should I arrange something?" "I think I can make arrangements." "What should I pack?" "Just your toothbrush and massage oil." "Alex..." It was her turn to laugh in his ear. "Bring all the supplies you would take to camp on a river. There will be hiking, fishing, moonlight and massages as promised." "So I'll need a tent and all the gear. Okay, I'll load the Ram tonight and after we manage to get done tomorrow, I'll follow you to your place to collect your stuff and then we'll be off." "Sounds good. I'm going to miss you until then though." "Get home and pack and get plenty of rest. You're going to need it." "Really? Is that a promise or a threat?" "It's a promise Alex. Don't forget to pack your pills, I guarantee we will be giving Mother Nature all sorts of opportunities to throw us a curve. Oh, that reminds me, where exactly are you in your cycle? Is this a safe weekend?" "By safe I take it you mean am I going to be grumpy. The answer is 'no'. You can plan on my full cooperation." "Good, I want you in the best of moods when we have our talk." "So you haven't forgotten about that?" "Jealousy, ghosts No, I haven't forgotten. I'll see you tomorrow... Alex?" "Yeah?" "There's nothing for you to be jealous of. Sleep well." "Thank you Walker, I will." "Goodnight." "Goodnight." "Alex?" "Yeah?" "Hang up the phone." "Okay." Walker waited until he heard the click of the disconnection and then he went to get his camping gear out.

At eleven the next day, Walker strode into Alex's office and couldn't contain his grin when she looked up and beamed at him. "I take it you're ready cowboy?" "I sure am. How about you?" "I have to make one final phone call and then I'm all yours." "Good, that's just the way I like it." Alex laughed at him and called the DA, Mark Clark. "Mark, this is Alex. I'm heading out for that long weekend I had to postpone and I will see you on Tuesday." Alex stuck her tongue out at the receiver as he questioned her. "Yes, all the information is in the file including the deposition. I highlighted all the key points for you to go over. The trial is still over a week away, so if you want me to follow up on something, I'll have time after I return." Alex looked up and crossed her eyes at Walker as Mark finished questioning her. "I'll take care of it on Tuesday, have a nice weekend." With that, she hung up the phone. "Maybe you're right Walker. Maybe he's just Mark 'I hate Cahill' Clark. He sure doesn't try to hide his hostility toward me." "Alex, you have the Mayor eating out of your hand and he backed you the last time you and Clark disagreed on something. Of course Clark is going to give you a hard time." "The Mayor backed me because I was right." "That didn't make Clark feel better did it? Anyway, let's forget about the current toad in your life and focus on 'the prince'." "I take it you're referring to yourself?" Walker waggled his eyebrows at her, "of course milady." Alex laughed; this was a side to Walker that was rarely seen. It was a playful side that Ellen had enjoyed, but after losing her, Walker lost his ability to just be spontaneously silly. As he got more and more comfortable in his relationship with Alex, it was a trait that he felt safe sharing with her. "Come on Alex, let's get out of Dallas." "I'm right behind you cowboy." "I'd rather you were in front, I enjoy the view." "Well, I'm enjoying the view I have right now." Their playful banter continued as they headed down to the parking garage where Alex got into her car to head home with Walker tailing her.

It didn't take Alex long to change into her 'play clothes.' Walker loaded the things she had packed and set by the door while she changed. He didn't dare come in, he knew they would get a very late start if he did. Besides, they really needed to talk and clear the air before making love. He hoped it wasn't a real long talk.

The drive to the spot Alex had reserved for them took nearly two hours to get to. They were in a state park, but they had a secluded camping site and it was doubtful that they would see another soul. The river was too calm and narrow at the point they were at to attract rafters. Walker set up the two-man tent while Alex set up the campfire area. By mutual consent, they held off on their serious relationship talk until they were able to look into each other's eyes and express how they felt without distraction. Alex heated a chicken and lentil stew that she had made and kept frozen for the camping trip.

They sat on logs around the fire ring and ate the filling meal. "Are you ready for that talk now?" Walker asked. Alex was surprised that he was the one to broach the subject. She knew that talking and verbalizing his feelings was not something he looked forward to. "I'm ready if you are." "I guess I should start by telling you about Ellen." "I'd like to hear about her." "She was an amazing lady. She taught at the law school and when I met her, I just felt an instant bond with her. She was innocent and idealistic. She liked to laugh and she loved life. Ellen was always on some crusade or other. I used to tease her about her efforts to save the world." Walker stopped and looked at Alex. "I've never stopped and compared you, I guess I've always seen you as such an individual, but there are some characteristics that you both share. Like you, Ellen was devoted to making the world a better place. She lacked your hard won confidence. Her life had been pretty easy. She came from a happy supportive home and she was smart, beautiful and friendly. Things just sort of fell into Ellen's lap. She would never be able to relate to the struggle you've had to get where you are today. Things came easily to Ellen and even our relationship was easy. I met her, we dated, we fell in love and I asked her to marry me. Maybe that's why it was such a shock when she was shot and killed. I felt so much guilt. It was her relationship with me that put her in jeopardy. There was nothing in her life that would have put her in the line of fire except her relationship with me." Walker stopped as he processed what he had said. "Walker, it must have been worth the risk to her to be with you. I can't believe that she didn't know that your job put you in danger." "Yes, but Alex, there's knowing something philosophically and then there is having the reality slap you in the face. You've been in jeopardy before and you have a clear understanding of what that means. Ellen didn't have that." "She sounds like a wonderful person and it sounds as if she was good for you." "She was and if our lives had gone along smoothly, then we probably would have been very happy together. Looking back though, I don't know what would have happened if things had gotten rough. I don't know if I can make this make sense. You hope for the best and deal with it if the best doesn't happen. With Ellen, she expected the best and she had always gotten it. I don't mean that she was rich and spoiled, but she just never had anything she really wanted taken from her. If she had been on the rafting trip or in the mountains when the bear attacked me, I don't know that she could have dealt with that. Alex, I don't know what our future holds, but I do know that no matter what life throws at us, you can handle it. You've proven your mettle. Does that make sense?" "I don't know if many women would be flattered by it, but I know what you're trying to say and I know how much you value strength and independence." "Not to mention stubbornness, you have a lot of that too." He looked at her and smiled. "Alex, I loved Ellen and she loved me, but I don't know if it was a fair weather love. I don't know if it could have withstood the tests life gives people or even the test of time. I do know that about you. I know that no matter what life brings us, we'll survive it...together." There were tears standing in Alex's eyes. "We'll do better than survive Walker, we'll triumph."

Walker looked at the amazing woman before him and knew that there was one more thing he had to say. "The last time I told a woman I loved her, she was shot and killed. It scares me to death to put myself on the line like that, but it scares me more to put you on the line. Loving me is a dangerous thing and if it were anyone but you I wouldn't be willing to take that risk. You know and understand the risk and if you are willing to take it, then I will take it with you." Now the tears escaped Alex's eyes. "If I didn't have you in my life, I wouldn't have a life," she told him simply. "You are an amazing woman Alex. To be able to get through all the walls I put up to keep you out and then to force me to acknowledge the fact that I was merely existing and that I was wasting my life fighting against your allure. I love you. I might not be able to tell you as often as you would like to hear it, but that's they way I feel. There are no more ghosts and nothing to warrant jealousy. I will always hold the memory of Ellen in a special place in my heart, but the rest of it belongs to you." Alex fell into Walker's arms saying, "I love you" over and over again. He held her close and let the storm of happy tears pass. "Ever done any night fishing?" he asked her as she quieted. She nodded her head yes. "Let's drop a line in and try our luck," he suggested.

Walker knew that the emotional turmoil that they had both been through had left them both drained. He didn't want their relationship to ever be just about the physical, there was so much more he wanted to share with this woman, so he stepped back and cooled things off for a bit to let them both find their center. Talking with Alex and opening himself up to the extent that he had had taken its toll. He was emotionally drained and the simple act of baiting a hook and casting a fishing line helped to bring him back from that exhausted state. The moon rose in the sky as they sat together on some rocks on the bank and just enjoyed 'together.' They rarely spoke, an occasional hushed murmur, a laugh punctuated the silence once in awhile. They had a few nibbles, but no bites and Alex suddenly stood and began stripping off her clothes. She tugged off her shoes and socks and lay them on the rocks, stripped off her jeans and shirt and finally her bra and panties joined the pile. She walked cautiously into the water and gasped as the cool water contrasted with the warm night air on her skin. Walker sat in silent amazement at the natural beauty and grace of the woman he now admitted he loved. Alex splashed and laughed and frolicked in the water until he tugged his own clothes off and joined her. They played dunking and splashing games for awhile until the occasional brushes of their nude bodies built their desire to a frantic point. Walker pulled her to a spot in the water that was waste high for him and wrapped her into his arms. Alex's legs instinctively curled around his waste and they stood locked in the embrace kissing each other over and over. Walker put his hands on Alex's waist and lifted her settling her back down against him as he impaled her. Alex balanced herself by placing both of her hands on his shoulders and she eased him completely into her moist core. "Lay back Alex, relax on the water," Walker urged her. Slowly releasing her grip on him, she allowed her upper body to float on the water. Her arms extended to keep herself level, her only connection to him was at the juncture of her thighs as even her legs unwrapped themselves from around him allowing him control to set the pace. Walker looked down at the glistening white of her skin, the rounded globes of her breasts and the golden silk of her hair fanned out in the water. The moon made her glow as if she were covered in phosphorescent light. Grasping her hips firmly, he pulled her hard against him and then pushed her gently away as her body lay on the water completely at his mercy. Walker established a rhythm that allowed her body to float buoyant on the water as he stroked into her building the passion to a fever pitch. He watched as Alex's body arched up and shuddered as she was overcome by the orgasm that shook her to the core. Walker let out a rumbling moan as he plunged himself into her warmth and released his own orgasm into her. Then he pulled her upper body back up against him and just held her tightly to him until they both relaxed from the passionate joining.

"Well, we've had fishing and moonlight, how about we 'hike' back up to the tent and I'll give you that massage?" Alex suggested. "I'm all yours lady," he answered. "Good, that's just the way I like it." Pulling herself off of him, she steadied herself against him until her feet found the riverbed and her legs were once again under her. She then grasped his hand and led him to the tent and had him lay on his stomach on top of the double sleeping bag. Alex pulled out the massage lotion she had brought just for this occasion and began to smooth it over his shoulders, back, buttocks, thighs and on down his legs to his feet. She went back to his shoulders and spread the lotion down each of his arms using the pads of her thumbs to massage it into the palms of his hands and pulling on each finger individually until he was covered completely with the soothing smell and feel of the lotion. Alex straddled Walker's back and sat on his bare buttocks and stretched herself forward over his body. Starting at his shoulders, she kneaded and soothed the bunched muscles. She ran her fingers up his neck running her thumbs on each side of his vertebrae up to the base of his skull and back again. Alex had learned that Walker liked her to use a firm pressure that dug into his muscles and released the knots she found there. She had watched a tape and asked the masseuse at the gym where he often worked out for some pointers. Using all the strength in her arms, she worked her way down his back working on each side of his spine and then hitting the pressure points all the way up his spine. Sweat dripped from her forehead and landed in salty wetness onto his lotion soaked skin. Alex shifted down so that she straddled his thighs and went to work on his tight rounded buttocks. She used all of her strength to knead deep into the tissue and enjoyed soothing the pain away after she had caused it. Down each leg she went and then she massaged his feet in a similar fashion to what she had done to his hands. "Turn over Walker," she instructed him and beginning with his feet, she began the journey back up his body. She bypassed his genitals as she concentrated on his legs and hips. Her eyes enjoyed the view as she stretched up and over him to reach his stomach where she used circular motions up to his chest. Stretching her arms up, she leaned forward and her breasts brushed against his arousal as she smoothed up and down his torso. "Alex..." he moaned as his arms came up to grasp her. "No Walker, lay back and enjoy, no touching," she informed him. Walker moaned his frustration, but followed her commands. Alex slid up his body so that she sat straddling his abdomen. Her hands squeezed and soothed his arms to his shoulders and then she turned her attention to his pectoral muscles up his neck to his face. After massaging his jaw, facial muscles and forehead, she leaned forward to massage his scalp. Despite the tactile pleasure, Walker couldn't help but open his eyes to watch the undulations of her breasts that hung mere inches from his face. It was all he could do not to reach up and pull a nipple into his mouth. Just as his control was at breaking point, she shifted back down. She continued down until she again straddled his thighs. "Watch," she instructed as her hands wrapped around his thick shaft. She used the same type of motion she had used on the rest of him as she gently squeezed and soothed up and down the length of him and the silken sack below. "Alex!" he shouted as she continued the delicious torment. "Don't touch me Walker, just watch," she firmly commanded. She bent her head down over him with her eyes lifted up to watch his face as she opened her mouth and slid him slowly into her. She swallowed him as far down into her throat as she could take him and then her need for air brought her back up allowing him to slide from her mouth. Still holding him with both of her hands, she licked the sensitive spot under the tip and then on down the shaft around and back up again. Again taking him into her mouth, she used both of her hands to massage the lower half of his length while her mouth and tongue pleasured the upper half. Walker reached down and tried to pull her up and off of him, but she resisted, bringing him to the point of release and beyond. Alex then rolled off of him and climbed up his body to lay on the sleeping bag next to him, but not touching him. "We'll save massage number two for tomorrow," she promised. "I don't think I'll be able to survive it," he exclaimed. Alex chuckled, a deep seductive woman chuckle and reached down to cover them both with the blanket folded at the end of the sleeping bag. She spread it over them and lay stretched against the length of Walker as sleep claimed them both.

Walker was the first to wake the next morning and he lay still watching her sleep until the need to relieve himself forced him to exit the tent. He swam and fished in the nude as he waited for Alex to wake. She finally sauntered past him sitting on the bank with his fishing pole. She was as nude as he as she dove into the refreshing water. "Alex, you'll scare the fish," he jokingly complained. She ignored his protest and continued to swim and bathe in the chilly water. Walker watched her for a time and then took his morning catch and cleaned and cooked them. When Alex finally emerged, her breakfast was waiting. Walker didn't speak, but merely handed her the cup of coffee and waited until she was ready for morning conversation. The only thing Alex would willingly wake up ready for was sex. He had learned over the months of her spending weekends with him that she enjoyed quiet mornings and to be left alone until after her first cup of coffee. The exception to that rule was when he woke her to make love to her. As long as it didn't require conversation, she was always willing. Walker sat and grinned as she ate her breakfast completely nude without any self-consciousness. "What happened to the woman who wouldn't walk around the house without at least a towel on?" he questioned her. Alex cocked an eyebrow at him. "We are in nature and this is the way god intended." "How do you know?" "I'm on good terms with him," she answered saucily. "Are you complaining?" she questioned. "Not as long as you're willing to appease the cravings you're causing." Alex looked to see that her nudeness had indeed had its desired effect on Walker. "No, I don't think I'm in the mood. After breakfast I was planning on going for a nature walk to explore the area." "Honey there's only one area I want to explore and it's covered with blond curls." Alex blushed at his rejoinder, but didn't contradict his statement. Walker stood up and carried her back into the tent where he completed his mission of exploration.

Two hours later, they were both wearing clothes and had hiked into the dense foliage surrounding their campsite. They enjoyed the sights and sounds of nature, but when they found a sunny hillside, they weren't able to resist temptation and gave into their need for one another. Lying stretched out together in the soft grass; Alex lay across Walker's chest and rested her chin on her hand looking into his eyes. "Walker, can I ask you something?" "Sure honey, what is it?" "Did Ellen call you Cord?" "Yeah, she did. Why do you ask?" "I was just remembering back to when we first started being friends and I called you that once. You very politely asked me not to. I wondered if it was because of her." "Yeah, she was the only one who ever called me that on a regular basis. I just preferred to be called by my last name or Washo or even Cordell after I lost her. I guess it's sort of my tribute to her. Does it bother you to call me Walker?" "No, I like it actually." "I like it when you call me cowboy or darling or honey or anything else you come up with. I especially like it when you call my name out just as you climax." "Did she do that?" "Alex..." "Sorry." "No, it's okay, but if I tell you about my past lovers, you have to tell me about yours." "There haven't been any. Compared to you, no man has ever come close to being my lover." "Why thank you ma'am. Does that mean no one has been able to make you cry out and then clench your body so tightly around a man that he fears you'll never allow him to leave your body?" "Is that what you fear?" "No, I would be perfectly happy to remained joined with you for all time. It could get hard to be a ranger though." Alex reached out and tugged at his chest hair sharply. "Ouch! Woman, you're playing with fire again. Back to Ellen, if you must know, she was a very silent lover. She never made any noise, which is odd considering how she never shut up the rest of the time. That lady could talk a blue streak." "I like that you feel comfortable telling me about her. I wish you had told me about her earlier." "I just wasn't ready to let her go. Remember I told you that I would tell you how I felt about you after I had discussed something with you?" "Yes." "I wanted to tell you about Ellen and put her memory in the past before I committed my heart to you." "And now you feel that she is in the past?" "Uh huh, you are my present and my future Alexandra Cahill." "Walker?" "Yes." "If we don't move, my backside is going to get sunburned." Walker chucked, "you should have had me rub sunscreen on it earlier." "Yeah, silly me, I didn't think of it." They stood up and dressed and headed back to camp.

That night, Alex gave Walker his second massage. He wasn't able to lie still throughout though and when she straddled his abdomen to stretch over him and massage his scalp, he gave in to the temptation to suckle the nipple nearest his mouth and then he switched to suckle its twin. He then lifted her up and onto him and plunged into her, rolling her beneath him as he thrust deeply into her to release the sexual tension her massage had created. He curled her into him in spoon fashion to sleep after they both had found release, but sometime in the night, he woke and lifted her top leg to slide into her from behind. His unexpected penetration woke her from a deep sensual sleep and she had already fallen into the rhythm he had established before she was fully awake. The next day consisted of more fishing, more hiking, more lovemaking and more swimming. The different activities were not always mutually exclusive. Sunday night, Walker gave Alex a sensual massage and he brought her to one of the most intense orgasms he had yet caused her to have. She lay with tears streaming from her eyes as he wrapped her into his warm embrace and soothed her. "Thank you for loving me," she whispered against his neck. "Thank you for loving me back," he answered into her hair. By the time they headed back to Dallas, they were friends and lovers who were committed to making a lasting relationship.



Part 4 From Independence to Interdependence

Ref: Season 4 'Trial of LaRue' through 'Sons of Thunder'

Alex was notified of the date of LaRue's competency hearing. It was a Wednesday night and she worked late, had dinner with Walker at C.D.'s and headed home alone by ten. She told Walker that she had gotten word of the hearing date, but she acted nonchalant about it. Walker was concerned, but she brushed it off as if it was simply one more piece of news in the case that was taking months to bring to trial with all of the antics he managed to pull. That night, Alex dreamt about the time he had kidnapped her and tore her jacket off in an attempt to rape her. Suddenly the scene showed her spread eagle on the bed at Walker's, only in her dream she was nude and LaRue loomed over her about to violate her body. She screamed for Walker, but as she turned her head to the side, she saw him hanging on the wall as if on a crucifix and there were scorpions crawling in and out of his mouth. Alex woke herself screaming and fighting off the bedclothes. She reached for the phone and pushed the preprogrammed number. "Hello," Walker's voice never sounded groggy, even at two in the morning. "Wa...Walker," she managed to get out. "I'm on my way Alex. You're safe. Turn on the light and fix some tea, I'll be right there." He'd been half expecting the call. He knew that she still occasionally suffered from these nightmares and he had feared that today's news would cause her to have another one.

When Walker knocked on the door, it wasn't the cool confident ADA who greeted him. The ruffled looking woman was vulnerable and she flung herself into his arms. Walker wrapped his left arm around her and lifted her bodily as he stepped into the room and closed the door behind him. He then bent down and scooped her up into his arms and carried her over to the sofa where he sat with her on his lap and spoke to her in a calm reasonable tone until the shivering and shaking stopped. "Oh god Walker, it was awful. I can't believe that after all this time, he still haunts me." "Tell me about it." "I don't want to." "Tell me Alex." Alex haltingly described the images she had seen in her tormented dream. When she finished, Walker set her down on the sofa and walked into her kitchen to finish making the tea she had begun. He brought her a steaming cup and held it to her lips as she tentatively sipped the warm liquid. "Alex, he didn't win. He didn't rape you, he didn't kill me, he is in jail." "But they've let him out before." "Victor LaRue is never going to hurt you again. I'd kill him if he so much as laid a finger on you. You're safe Alex." "I know that in the daytime, but at night when I'm all alone, the nightmares take over." "Well, I can't do anything about nighttime coming, but I can do something about the alone part. Why don't you come stay at the ranch until we work through this? That way if you have one of these dreams, you can just roll over and I'll be there." "No, I appreciate the offer, but I have to get over this myself." "Why, when you've got me?" "Walker, you know I can't rely on you to solve this for me." "Alex, you don't have to be independent all the time, that's what being in love means, relying on each other." Alex smiled at him. "I do rely on you, but I can't stop fighting my own battles. It means a lot to me. You understand don't you?" "Yes, I understand. So do you want me to leave?" "No! Please stay tonight." "You got it counselor." "Uh uh, when I'm wearing a nightgown, I'm just Alex." "Okay 'just Alex,' what if I help you take the nightgown off?" "Then you can call me darling." "I like that... darling." Walker brought her to a gentle climax and held her tight in his arms throughout the night. Alex didn't have anymore nightmares.

The next day, they both had work, but as soon as he could get her out of her office, Walker insisted that Alex come to the ranch. They saddled the horses and rode for miles. Alex galloped with her hair streaming behind her for some time before she reined her horse in and walked her. "Ready to talk?" Walker asked her. "I guess. I don't really know what to say. I guess that what happened took away my independence and my confidence and I still haven't got it all back." "Is that why you're so determined to go through this alone?" "Maybe, I don't really know. Victor LaRue made me so afraid. The first time, I was afraid of being raped and killed, but the second time, I was more afraid that he would kill you. I was so helpless chained to that bed and I couldn't fight him. I couldn't fight hard enough." "But you did fight Alex. He didn't rape you that first time because you fought him. I don't mean physically, he could have overpowered you, but you beat him with your mind. You hid the cell phone, you prevented him from finding it and you gave me a way to find you. If it wasn't for you, all of the people he kidnapped that day would have died, including you." "But the second time, I lay there and watched him kick you while you lay there unconscious." "Alex, what were you supposed to do? I don't know exactly what you said, but I know some time passed and you must have stalled and given me time to regain consciousness. If I hadn't, we would both be dead now. We were a team and our side won." It helped to talk it out with Walker, but Alex needed to see it finished once and for all.

Alex needed closure and she thought that if she watched Victor LaRue found competent to stand trial for his crimes, she would be a step closer to it. The sanity hearing was scheduled just after a pretrial she had before the same judge, so she had decided to stay and watch the proceedings. Jimmy was concerned about her state of mind, but she said that she was all right and encouraged him to go on and check on Walker who was out of town tracking down the Babbich boys. When the judge found LaRue competent to stand trial, he ducked under the table and the bailiff went in after him despite Alex's warning. The sound of a gunshot stunned everyone in the room, but was then followed by a second as the other bailiff was shot. LaRue then proceeded to kill his defense attorney and the psychiatrist who testified for the state. He hit Alex in the jaw with the butt of the gun and later killed the judge. Trivette and C.D. led the negotiations and finally got LaRue to allow Trivette back into the courtroom and all of the male hostages released. The tense negotiations fell apart as LaRue made it clear that he expected to die and merely wanted to seek revenge against the two people who had beaten him at his own game not once, but twice, Alex and Walker. When asked what it was he wanted to do before he was killed, he said, "I'm going to make passionate love to Alexandra while her boyfriend Ranger Walker watches. Then I'm going to kill them both. After that, who cares what happens." The suspect Alex was there to prosecute challenged LaRue and was killed. LaRue became more and more incoherent as he waited for Walker, who was out of communications range, to show up. He continued to taunt and torment Jimmy and Alex, but he was especially cruel to Alex, playing sick psychological games with her and using the other hostages to force her to comply. He finally gave up on Walker showing up and forced Alex to her knees and pointed the gun at Jimmy's head to make her comply to his command to unbutton her blouse. As she undid the third button, Walker burst into the courtroom and LaRue shot at him. Walker returned fire and the second bullet silenced LaRue for good. Walker rushed to Alex and lifted her off of the floor and into his arms for a tight embrace.

Alex was in shock and her emotions shut down after the ordeal. She went to her office to make her statement, checked on Jimmy at the hospital and then went home which is where Walker finally found her. She was in the shower when he arrived and he tried to get her to eat when she came out. She went through the motions of eating, but consumed next to nothing. He went over to a cabinet where she kept a few bottles of wine and a decanter of brandy. He poured her some brandy and insisted that she drink it. He had made a fire and she sat on the floor in front of it with her knees drawn up to her chest under her sweatshirt and her arms wrapped around them. "Alex, honey, please talk to me," he implored her. She sat there so still, not responding to his words. He reached out his hand to stroke her drying hair and she flinched away from him. Walker dropped his hand. "Alex, I read your statement and I saw the tape. I know what happened, but I don't know how to help. Please Alex, let me in." Alex sat staring into the fire and finally responded. "I want to be alone. Just go home Walker." "I'm sorry Alex, but I'm not leaving. It was only a couple of weeks ago when you had that horrible nightmare about LaRue, remember?" He paused to see if there would be a response, he saw a tightening of her mouth, but nothing more. "We worked through it together. We talked about it and you haven't had a nightmare since have you?" He knew she hadn't, she had promised to tell him if she had and he knew she would keep her promise. "I am so sorry I wasn't there today. I would do anything to keep you from being hurt. I can't tell you how much it hurts me to see you like this, to know what you've been put through by that evil..." "I really want to be alone. I'm tired and I'm going to bed. Please just go." Walker looked at her and knew that he wasn't going to get through. Whatever walls she had erected to protect herself from feeling all the emotions that were boiling under the surface, they would stay in place tonight. "I'm not going to leave you alone. I'll sleep out here on the couch, but I'm not leaving." She hadn't even argued. She hadn't offered to get him a blanket and pillow, which was so uncharacteristic, southern hospitality was second nature to her. She just stood, walked out of the room to her bedroom and closed the door. He went in to check on her several times throughout the night, but she lay there not acknowledging his presence. She didn't sleep, he knew by her stillness that she was awake, but he let her be and returned to the couch each time.

C.D. decided that Alex and Jimmy both needed to heal from their courtroom ordeal. He arranged to take the group out to the lake where they would stay at the lodge where they conducted Ranger Teen Camp and Alex's Women's Support Group Retreats. Once there, no one was able to break through the shell Alex had built around herself. She was not sleeping and she used physical exertion from kayaking to try and tire her body and numb her mind. Each time she dozed, visions of Victor LaRue invaded her dreams. In her nightmares, he always won. He did the horrible things he had only threatened in real life. That night at two in the morning, Alex began screaming as she endured a horrible nightmare. Walker heard her screams as did C.D. and Jimmy, but when they heard them grow louder as Walker opened the door and let himself into her room, they both decided not to interfere. Walker watched her thrash in the bed, trying to escape her attacker. "Alex, Alex honey, wake up. It's just a dream." Walker tried to wake her without touching her. Finally he reached out and shook her awake. She sat up swinging and accidentally caught him square in the eye. He caught her arms and pinned them to her sides as he held her to his chest and spoke softly to her. Alex came out of the dream and slowly realized where she was and who was holding her. As that realization set in, she stiffened in Walker's arms and pulled away from him. "I'm fine now, I'm sorry I woke you up." "Alex, talk to me. Tell me about the nightmare, maybe it will help." "I don't want to talk, please let me go." Walker watched as she scooted away from him to the other side of the bed. "I'm here when you're ready," was all he said as he left the room. Walker had a black eye the next day for his efforts.

C.D. finally managed to talk to Alex that evening as she sat on the bank of the lake. "Mighty fine night, isn't it honey?" Alex glanced up and nodded in agreement before returning her gaze to the water. "I hate seeing you all tore up like this. I wish I could just make it all better." "No one can do that C.D. I'm just going to have to get through it. I'm tough though, I'll be fine." "You sure will, but not at the rate you're goin'. How long are you goin' to make Cordell suffer? He got there as soon as he could you know. When he came in and heard what was going on, he ran right through the Captain and the swat team and burst in there like a madman." No one had told Alex this, but she could imagine it. "I don't blame him. At least my mind doesn't. I can't explain it. All my emotions are locked up so tight. It's like I'm afraid to feel anything C.D." "What would happen if you let your guard down?" "I don't know, but I'm afraid that I'll break into a hundred pieces." "So what if you do? Cordell and Jimmy and I will help you put them back together. We're all here for you honey. Jimmy's so tore up about what he feels he allowed to happen to you, he's being eaten' up inside." This made Alex look up, "why would Jimmy think he allowed something to happen?" "He left you alone in that courtroom. He thinks that if he'd been there, well none of this would have happened." "If he'd been there from the beginning, he probably would have been killed. With his arm in a sling, chances are LaRue would have gotten off the first shot." "Maybe. That doesn't make him feel any better. And Cordell feels guilty too." "Why C.D.? He wasn't even there and when he did get there, he shot LaRue." "Didn't he promise you that LaRue would never bother you again after that time out at the ranch?" "Yeah, but C.D., I don't hold him responsible for what happened, it wasn't his fault." "Then whose fault was it?" "I don't think anyone's to blame. Except of course for Victor LaRue. It's not about blaming someone." "Then what is it?" "C.D. I couldn't fight him. There I was on my own turf and I still couldn't beat him. The courtroom is the one place I am always in control. You and Jimmy and Walker, you fight on the streets. You use your bodies or weapons to fight, but my weapon is my brain. I've argued cases no one thought I could win, but I did win. This time, nothing I said mattered. Every time I made a stand against him, he used the threat of injuring someone else to get me to comply." "He wasn't playin' by the same rules honey." "I know that C.D. I can argue the point with myself 'til I'm blue in the face, but I can't accept what happened." "Alex, have you cried once since then?" Alex looked up and shook her head. "You know what I admire about you the most?" She again shook her head. "Well the lord knows you are one beautiful lady. You're funny and as smart as a whip. I don't know many women or men for that matter, who can hold their own against Cordell Walker, but you do honey, time and again. You're generous to a fault, kind and compassionate and you have strength of character." "You make me sound like a saint C.D." "No darlin', you've got your faults. You have a temper and your bite is near as bad as your bark. You're also a perfectionist and you don't tolerate less than perfection from others. You're headstrong and proud and I've heard you referred to as stubborn, even muleheaded once or twice and you don't like to admit that you have a weak side. We all do honey. But what I admire the most about you is that you can hold your own in a man's world and still be so very feminine. You cry at them sappy commercials, you appreciate pretty things and you know how to get others to open up and share their feelings with you. Look at Cordell. You've made that man tell you more about himself than all the women he's known his whole life put together. It's okay to cry about what happened. I recommend it." Alex scooted over to C.D. and leaned against him. He put his arm around her and she just sat there for a long time.

That night Alex had another nightmare, but when Walker came in to comfort her, she allowed him to. She fell against him and sobbed out all of the fear and pain. He held her against his chest and stroked her hair, whispering words of comfort. He told her that it was all right, that it was over and that he was going to help her get through it. He told her how much she meant to him and how good it was to hold her again. As the crying slowed and then stopped, he climbed into the bed next to her and pulled her fully into his arms. She fell asleep like that, feeling safe and loved for the first time in days.

The next morning, Walker slipped out of the room quietly before the others woke up. He and Alex continued to keep the status of their relationship private. He had simply held her as she slept, but he didn't want any raised eyebrows from the other two if they saw them walk out of the bedroom together. He sat on the porch drinking coffee when Alex joined him. She had showered and she looked more rested and relaxed than she had in days. He held out the coffee cup to her and she swallowed some down before returning it to him. "Walker, I wanted to apologize to you, I know I've treated you abominably." "It's okay honey, I think. I'm not exactly sure what that word means." This earned a slight smile from her, the first one in days. "I really don't blame you for what happened. I can't explain it, I just feel ashamed that LaRue got the best of me again." Walker flashed back on the vision of Alex on her knees, her blouse partially undone and felt the anger fill him again. "Dammit Alex, he didn't win. He did everything he could to try to humiliate you, but he's the one in the morgue and you're going to be in that courtroom again putting some other slimeball in jail where he belongs." "But I didn't win, you shot him, 'Cordell Walker to the rescue'. While Alex Cahill, damsel in distress, waits for her protector to ride in and sweep her up on his white steed." "My 'steed' is black and that's the biggest load of bull manure I have ever heard." "Is it? Let's see. LaRue kidnaps me with several others and who beats him to a pulp and stops the car crusher saving my life as well as the other hostages? Then LaRue gets out of prison on a technicality and stalks me, finally chaining me to a bed. I lay there helpless while he surprises you from behind and knocks you unconscious and then hits and kicks you and drags you off. Even after you had been stung repeatedly by scorpions, you still managed to come in and prevent him from raping me and again beat him to a pulp and put him back in jail where he belonged. Then, finally, he's in a courtroom where I have the upper hand and what happens? He shoots both bailiffs, shoots the psychiatrist, shoots his attorney, shoots the judge and proceeds to take me and everyone else in the courtroom hostage. There I am on my knees in front of all those people undoing my blouse when who bursts in and finally shoots LaRue, once again rescuing me?" "Pride goeth before a fall Alex." "Shut up Walker." Alex stormed off leaving Walker to sip his coffee and ponder the realization that Alex didn't blame him for letting LaRue torment her, she blamed him for rescuing her. He shook his head trying to digest this latest information.

Walker sought out the advice of his mentor. "What is it with women C.D.? They get mad if you don't do everything in your power to protect them and they get even madder if you do protect them." "Cordell, you know what a headstrong woman Alex is. She has fought for everything she has. You told me that her father was a drunk who left her and her mother to fend for themselves. Alex put herself through college and law school. Her mother died when Alex needed the moral support most and she only just made things up with her father. Think about how hard it must have been to work as hard as she did to educate herself, knowing her father was making more money than he could spend in a lifetime. After all that, she became a damn good lawyer. She moved up fast and became one of the most notable ADA's in Tarrant County. Now you wonder why she doesn't like to feel that she needs a man to protect her?" "C.D., what happened was just one of those things. You can't win a mind game with a madman. The only way to silence LaRue was to put an end to his existence. It just happens that I'm a good shot. It's what I do. I'm not going to apologize for it." "Alex doesn't want you to. She just wants to feel independent and capable and she doesn't feel that right now. She's stubborn. In some ways, she's even more stubborn than you and I thought you took the cake."

The next two days were spent fishing and hiking. Alex steered clear of Walker and he allowed her the time to work through her feelings. Walker finally decided to confront Alex as she came in from kayaking. He reached out from the boat dock and pulled the kayak alongside. He steadied the boat and offered his hand to Alex as she began to climb out. "I can do it," she said ignoring his hand. "Dammit Alex, no one's saying you can't. Can't a guy offer a friend a hand?" "Is that what you are Walker, my friend?" "Among other things, yes." Alex harrumphed and pointedly pulled herself out of the boat and started to walk away from Walker. He grabbed her and forced her around to face him. "Don't walk away, we need to get this settled," he said in a tone that brooked no argument. "There's nothing to settle. You run hot and cold and I'm tired of trying to guess which way you'll be from one minute to the next," Alex challenged. "Liar. You know how I feel about you, this isn't about our relationship, this is about you having a chip on your shoulder because you had to lean on me. Big tough Alex Cahill needed a friend. Now there's a terrible crime." "Don't mock me. If you want to see someone who can't let another person help him, go look in a mirror." "You're right, I was like that. Then I met C.D. and then you and finally Trivette. Tell me that I haven't let each of you help me at some time." Alex stopped; he had her there. As stubborn and independent as he was, he had begun to rely on each of them. "Alex, I wouldn't ask you to ride a bull or go hand to hand with a suspect. And I wouldn't be able to argue a case in court or be able to say the things that someone who has just been raped or beaten needs to hear. You do things I can't and I love you for it, I don't hold it against you. Why in the world are you holding it against me that I shot LaRue?" Alex's face crumpled into tears. Walker reached for her and this time she didn't resist as he pulled her close. He stroked her hair and whispered words of love and comfort into her ear as she sobbed. "I'm sorry Walker, I was just so scared. He said such awful things and I couldn't fight him. I wanted to so badly, but I just couldn't." She continued to sob into him while he cradled her against him. As the storm of tears past, he handed her a handkerchief and she wiped her face and blew her nose. "I must look a mess," she said embarrassed. Walker cupped her face in his hands and made her look up at him. "You're beautiful," he said as he leaned down to kiss her. The kiss became long and passionate. That night, Walker crept quietly into her room and spent the night making love to her without a sound, except for the thud as he fell out of the narrow bed. Alex held the pillow over her face to stifle the laughter that she couldn't contain. By morning, they were once again secure in their love for each other.


Susan Lee invited Alex, Walker, Jimmy and C.D. to a lecture her father was giving on 'The Heart of the Dragon.' Professor Lee was a guest lecturer at the University and he specialized in Chinese antiquities and mythology. Alex was enthused about the lecture, Walker was intrigued due to his time in the Orient and Jimmy was as always, willing to try anything. C.D. begged off as he was in preparation for the chili cook-off and he wanted to tweak his recipe just a tad. Walker rolled his eyes when he made his excuse; he had lived through countless 'tweakings' of C.D.'s recipe and had the holes in his stomach to prove it-or so he claimed. The lecture was interesting, but Jimmy of course scoffed at the 'magical powers' the statue was purported to posses. Jimmy never learned; time and again he allowed his skepticism to show and ended up eating his words.

After the lecture, they all headed to C.D.'s to sample the latest alteration of the chili recipe. "Taste's the same to me Big Dog," Jimmy declared. "Good thing I don't hold much value in your opinion on chili son. What do you think Alex?" Alex was the chili connoisseur. She always gave him valuable feedback and she never ceased to amaze him when she always said that it wasn't hot enough. "I don't know C.D., it's got a smoky flavor." "That's right! I hickory smoked the meat! Darlin' your tongue is amazing!" "She does have a talented tongue," said Walker as he nudged Alex's knee with his own under the table to get her attention and his eyes flashed at her. Alex's cheeks turned rosy and C.D. said, "is it too hot?" Alex kicked Walker back and replied to C.D., "no, it's not too hot, I just got a chili seed." "What? I strained those, I'm sure I got all of 'em!" "Don't worry C.D., it was no big deal." C.D. rambled on about the 'imaginary' chili seed that Alex had made up to excuse her blush. Walker was laughing at her and she was biding her time until she could retaliate against his teasing. "C.D., forget the seed," Alex finally interrupted his tirade. "The problem is the smoky flavor, I think it detracts from the spice blend you have going here. I would skip that next time." "All right darlin' if you say so. Cordell, what do you think?" Walker looked at Alex and said, "well, my tongue can't compare to Alex's, but I agree with her. I liked the last version better." "Dr. Lee, Susan, do you have any comments?" Susan had set this meeting up. She knew her father was a chili expert himself and the conversation continued with Dr. Lee admitting that Susan had told him that C.D.'s chili was among the best in the world. Susan was partial to her father's recipe. Dr. Lee wanted to try C.D.'s original recipe as everyone who had taste tested this latest version agreed the other was better. Walker suggested that Dr. Lee enter the chili cook-off with his Shanghai Surprise. C.D. was happy for the competition; he always won anyway. The chili discussion was cut short when Trivette got a call on his cell phone that required he and Walker to leave.

Walker gave Alex a call when he got home late that night. "Hi honey, just wanted to tell you goodnight." "How did the bust go?" "It's long and complicated, I'll tell you about it in the morning at work." "Okay. Walker?" "Yeah." "I will retaliate for the tongue remark." "I know. I can hardly wait." "Think you're smart don't you? Just wait Walker, there will be a price to pay." "I just spoke the truth, you do have an amazingly talented tongue." "Know where I wish it was right now?" Walker's voice got low and intimate, "where?" "Mmmm, I think I'd like to have it in your ear. Then, I'd like to suck on your earlobe and lick that place just under it, you know the one... and then..." "Alex, are we having phone sex?" "That's the only kind you're getting after tonight." "Well then, continue!"

Alex had trouble meeting Walker's eyes the next morning. She had never said the things she said to him on the phone the night before. In the end, he had tried to get her to allow him to drive over and finish in person what she had started over the phone. She declined telling him to take a cold shower, as she was not going to appease any ache he might suffer due to her seduction on the phone. The bustle of work caught them both up and they had to meet with the everyone involved to discuss the case of the rival Chinese gang war that was erupting between the Tongs. At the end of the briefing, everyone stood to leave the conference room and Alex shuffled her papers together and stood as Walker came up behind her and pressed the full length of his body against her on the pretence of helping her. When he was sure that everyone was out of hearing range, he whispered into her ear, "I'm going to get you for last night. I got absolutely no sleep and I'm still aching." Alex flushed and her breath came in shallow pants. "I'll have to discuss that with you later Ranger, I need to get these indictments taken care of." Walker stepped back before their audience got suspicious, but he'd gotten his point across.

By the end of the day, Alex felt awful. Her throat and ears hurt, she was flushed and feverish and she just wanted to go home, drink some tea and go to bed. Walker entered her office and said, "Hi honey, feel like dinner out?" "No," she croaked. Walker looked at her in concern and walked around her desk to press his cool palm on her warm forehead. "You've got a fever, come on I'll take you home." Alex didn't even waste her energy arguing as Walker escorted her out to his truck and drove her to her apartment. Alex was treated to the nurturing side of Walker as he had her change into pajamas while he ran out to the deli down the block and bought Alex some chicken soup. She had pulled on one of his shirts that she had confiscated to sleep in when he was out of town and she was missing him. He smiled at her sitting on the couch with a blanket on and a box of tissues at hand. He brought the soup over to her and sat on the edge of the couch as she sipped the broth. "Want me to get you anything? Cough drops, aspirin, cold medicine...?" "No thanks, I have all that stuff if I need it." "You should take something for the fever and get to bed." "Yeah, I will in a bit." Alex turned on the television and flipped through looking for something to catch her eye. She stopped on the news and Walker sat at the end of the couch watching it with her. Fifteen minutes later, she was sound asleep and Walker looked at her with so much tenderness in his eyes, she would have been startled if she had seen it. He went into her bedroom and pulled down the sheets. Then he returned to the living room, scooped her up into his arms and carried her into the bedroom where he slid her between the cool sheets. He tucked her in and then got a pitcher of ice water, a glass, Kleenex and aspirin and put them all by her bed. He kissed her forehead and then cleaned up the front room and quietly let himself out.

The next day, Walker wasn't surprised to see Alex at work, but he wasn't happy about it. She had called a taxi to drive her in, as she was afraid he would refuse. "Alex, shouldn't you be at home?" "I've got things to do, it just isn't a good time to be sick," she croaked. "If you're not careful counselor, you'll lose what's left of your voice and then where will you be?" "I'm not worried, I have this terrific fella who takes great care of me." "That's just because he loves you." Alex's expression registered shock. Walker had only told her that a couple of times, but to say it at work! She walked over to him and lay her hand on his forehead. "Just checking for fever," she explained. He brought her hand down to his lips and kissed the palm, gave her one of his 'heart somersaulting' winks and turned to exit her office. "The wink, that's what it means! It's his way of saying 'I love you' without using words." Alex whispered this revelation to herself as she processed the times he had told her he loved her and she hadn't even known it. She had a bad cold, but nothing could get her down, she was floating on clouds all day. Well, until her witness recanted and she had to release the suspects. She went in search of Walker, but found Jimmy and told him.

The Tong war was thankfully brief and everyone had gathered at C.D.'s to celebrate Dr. Lee's victory in the chili cook-off. Alex sat on a stool with Walker's arm around her shoulders. Everyone had a good laugh as Dr. Lee gave C.D. his secret chili recipe written in Chinese. After laughing at the joke played on C.D., Walker began coughing. Immediately, Alex put her hand to his forehead and felt for fever, noticing the flush to his cheeks. "Looks like I gave you my cold," she commiserated. "Yeah and you didn't even use your tongue." Alex flashed her eyes at Walker and said, "come on. I'll forgive you this time because it's obviously the fever talking. I'll take you home." She was true to her word and she insisted on driving the Ram out to the ranch. She spent the rest of the weekend playing nurse and keeping Walker from doing too much. Of course, he insisted that she take frequent naps as she was only just recovering herself. This led to much more than napping, but it didn't seem to set anyone's recovery rate back.

Walker lay in bed Sunday evening as Alex carried in dinner on a tray. "Honey, I could have come down for dinner." "No, you've expended enough energy for one day." "Hmm, but not for one night. It's lucky you brought more clothes to the ranch, with all the chores you've been doing, I think you've had to change four or five times this weekend." Alex had expanded her space to include four of the six in the chest of drawers. "I've enjoyed it. You make a pretty good patient as long as your nurse is willing to give you sponge baths." Walker grinned at her remembering the cool bath he had taken and eventually convinced her to share. He was overwhelmed with love for this bright delightful woman and he winked at her. "I love you too," she responded surprising him. So she had figured out his code, well that was good, it would make communication at work easier. He grinned at her and patted the space beside him as he started in on his supper.


Walker and Alex began to expand their social life as a couple. They had established that they were together with their close friends and even started touching each other openly at work. Alex sat in Walker's chair, he sat on the arm and put his arm around her shoulder, they arranged to get together after work in front of coworkers. Little discreet moments that confirmed everyone's suspicions that they were in love. It was an established fact that the 'lone wolf Ranger' had found a mate in the brainy blond ADA and he was alone no more. No one knew details, as they were private and discreet about the relationship. Alex wasn't one for 'gossiping with the girls.' Most of the women at work were friendly, but few were friends. No matter how much progress women made toward being accepted in what was formerly a 'man's world', there were many women who harbored jealousy and resentment to those who succeeded. Alex Cahill had long shapely legs, a small waist, firm high breasts, a beautiful face with gorgeous blue eyes and was topped with silky soft naturally blond hair. She had a quick wit, a great sense of humor; she was always smiling when she wasn't prosecuting a case, and she was highly intelligent and amazingly proficient at her job. She was kind and compassionate, civic minded, involved in many charities and warm-hearted. From the outside looking in, Alex Cahill had it all and now she had managed to snag the most sought after bachelor ever on record at the Justice Building. It took a very secure woman to be Alex's true friend. Although many claimed the relationship, few actually gave her the loyalty and consideration of a true friend.

It wasn't only women who were intimidated by her; men often were as well. She didn't mind when the man in question was a defense attorney she was facing off with in court, but when her own boss was intimidated, it caused problems for her at work. DA Mark Clark had come on board with a high opinion of himself and a cocky attitude. Alex hadn't intentionally generated conflict, but when he became high handed in a case she had nursed along for months before he came on board and tried to change her tactics and strategies midstream, she had balked. The Mayor had stepped in as it was a very political case and it was Clark who had gone to him, not Alex. The Mayor had backed Alex's decision and Clark was determined to show the sexy ADA up. All of the conflict at work had Alex in need of some R&R to help relieve the stress and tension.

The annual softball game with the two pastors, Thunder Malloy and Roscoe Jones, as captains was just the ticket. Alex and C.D. played on Thunder's team and Walker and Trivette played on Roscoe's team. Walker knew the Malloy's from when their oldest son, Trent, had enrolled in a karate class that Walker taught to kids in trouble. It was a precursor to his Kick Drugs charity that he established when he saw the positive effect the discipline the martial arts taught the kids. Alex had been welcomed into the friendly group and proved that she was a great asset to any softball team. They played that weekend and laughed and teased each other. When Thunder Malloy grabbed his chest and collapsed dying almost instantly from a massive heart attack, it was a shock to everyone.

Thunder's eldest son, Trent, returned home from the army to help care for his family and Alex and Walker helped as much as they could as well.

When police officers began to be murdered, it was clear that a serial murderer was targeting specific officers for a reason no one could determine. Walker and Trivette worked the case trying to determine the connection between the officers. Alex used all of her resources to assist in putting the pieces of the case together. Trent's childhood friend, Carlos Sandoval, was also assigned the case. He was an officer with the Dallas Police Department. When Trivette was shot and critically injured, Alex and C.D. stayed by his bedside taking shifts so that one of them was there around the clock. Walker and Carlos managed to trap the killer on a catwalk and he plunged to his death. Walker returned to Trivette's hospital room to find that he had regained consciousness. Trivette pointed over to the side of the room where Alex had fallen asleep leaning against C.D. C.D. had also given in to fatigue. Alex was working during the day while C.D. stayed at the hospital and then when she arrived, he went to the Bar and Grill. They both had only had a few hours sleep in the last several days. Walker told Trivette to rest and get better and then he went over and gently shook Alex awake. She stood up bleary eyed and exhausted blinking to bring Walker into focus. "Jimmy, you're awake," she exclaimed when she looked over at him. "Hmm? What? Who's that?" C.D. mumbled as he woke. Alex had an apologetic expression on her face when she looked at him. "I'm sorry C.D., I didn't mean to wake you, but Jimmy is conscious." "Jimmy, how are you son?" "I could be better, but I'm breathing. That's good right?" "Darn good, we were... well we were worried about you son." "Thanks C.D., but I think I'm gonna be just fine. Why don't you all go home and get some rest?" Walker tugged Alex behind him, "I think that's a good idea, we'll stop by in the morning." Alex leaned over to kiss Jimmy on the cheek and followed Walker out. C.D. took a bit more convincing, but he finally agreed to head home as well.

Jimmy slowly healed and by the time Trent Malloy was ready to open his Karate school, Jimmy was able to help with the refurbishing of the old warehouse building Trent had rented. Walker was in one of his playful moods as he enjoyed seeing his young friend realize a dream he had had for a long time. Walker took a fingertip of paint and smeared it on Alex's cheek and then ran out of range. When he wasn't looking, she snapped a towel on his denim-covered backside. The day was fun and ended with the unveiling of the school logo and name, Thunder Karate School, named for Trent's father.

After they were finished, they still had Saturday evening and Sunday to spend together. Walker and Alex had come over to the school in the Ram and headed back to the ranch together. They were tired, but happy and reminisced about the day together. They took turns showering and changing and when Alex headed back downstairs, Walker had lit the barbecue grill and was grilling steaks. Alex checked on him and then went in to chop a salad and boil some fresh late summer corn. They ate outside on the porch as the sun set and enjoyed the show nature put on as well as each other's company. "It's times like these when I realize how very lucky I am," Walker stated. Alex looked up from her half-eaten meal and smiled into his eyes. "I spend a lot of time pinching myself lately," she confessed. "Well stop, that can't be good for you." Alex gave him a lopsided grin with raised eyebrows. "I'm really glad that Trent has found a way to stay near his family. I know that they really need him right now." "Not to mention the fact that he is going to combine two of his favorite things, karate and his Protection Agency. I know he enjoys helping people and this will give him a way to do that." Alex agreed with Walker by nodding and then looked out at the sky showing off its many hues. "Oh Walker, look at the sky, it's just beautiful." Walker was looking at Alex instead; enjoying the changing light as it played over her skin and the happy expression that graced her face. "I'd rather look at you, Mother Nature has nothing to compare to your beauty." Alex looked at him startled. "You know cowboy, just when I least expect it, you go and get all romantic on me." "You want romance lady, just wait for dessert." "Really? What's for dessert?" "Me," came the simple answer. Alex flushed, but didn't complain.



Part 5 Alex's Past

Ref: Season 4 'Texas v. Cahill'

The Lane Tillman case had become almost a personal crusade for Alex. She so wanted to nail the creep, but working as co-prosecutor with her boss DA Mark Clark was not her idea of a good time. Alex's opinion of Mark had not improved in the months she had worked for him. She felt that his political aspirations impeded his ability to do his job effectively. He was always looking at the political advantages to trying cases and he assigned his best and brightest to the cases he wanted to win for political reasons rather than based on ability and the merit of the case. There had been more than one occasion when Alex had brought him a case she felt she could win even if it wasn't a guaranteed victory and he had insisted she plea bargain because he feared a poor outcome that he felt would reflect badly on him. Now he had decided to team up with her for the first time on this Tillman case. Alex wasn't able to work in the manner she was used to, as she always had to defer to him. She didn't mind working with a partner, but she felt that they did not work well together. It wasn't that he was a bad attorney, he simply had a different method and she wasn't terribly surprised when the jury deadlocked. Alex decided that she would refile charges the next day and Mark said that they would discuss it in the morning. When the TV cameras were shoved in her face and the question bluntly asked if they would pursue the case, Alex answered that they would. Mark wasn't happy about losing the case and didn't want more focus on it. He didn't like egg on his face, especially when television cameras were around.

After returning to her office, Alex was sitting at her desk doing paperwork when Mark burst in and threw the Tillman file on her desk and told her it was all hers. He also threatened that he would ruin her career if she didn't bring back a conviction. His exact words were, "Alex, I-I don't care how good you are, if you ever jam me up in public like that again, I-I promise you, you're going to spend the rest of your career on hooker duty down in night court." They both knew it was an empty threat. The District Attorney in Dallas was a powerful position to hold, but he was the new kid on the block and Alex had already proven herself. The City Counsel, the Mayor and even the Governor knew Alex and her reputation. Alex was mad and she wasn't about to back down.

That night, Walker picked her up to go to an Art Gallery for an opening of a new artist who had generated a great deal of buzz. Alex had twisted Walker's arm to get him to take her and now her enthusiasm for the evening had worn off. Walker knew that she wasn't very happy, but he thought it was because she hadn't won the Tillman case. Alex didn't enlighten him and by the time she had a half glass of champagne and a good dose of Walker at his most charming, she was beginning to enjoy herself. Walker was called away to a phone call and Alex was approached by Tony Seville. Tony had defended Tillman and he was an ex-lover of Alex's. She didn't want him near her and told him to go away. He insisted that he needed to see her and leaned in to kiss her cheek and whisper into her ear that he would see her later. The enjoyment had gone out of the evening for Alex and she asked Walker to take her home. When they arrived at her apartment, he suggested that he stay the night, but Alex hadn't gotten to the point in their relationship where she felt comfortable sharing her bad moods with Walker. She knew that she wouldn't be the greatest company and instead of telling him what was bothering her, she made an excuse that she was tired from the trial. Walker was disappointed, but he understood and gave her a sweet goodnight kiss. Alex nearly changed her mind by the time it ended, but he just gave her the wink and brushed her cheek with the back of his hand before leaving.

It was barely ten minutes later when there was a knock at the door. Alex smiled to herself thinking that Walker must have decided to try and persuade her to reconsider. He had an amazing sexual appetite and he seemed to be trying to make up for lost time with her. She was stunned to open the door and see Tony Seville standing there. She told him to leave, but he swore he had new information on Lane Tillman that she needed and she agreed to let him in.

The next morning, Alex's alarm woke her up and she felt very disoriented and then felt something metal lying next to her on the bed. She lifted the sheet and her eyes grew wide as she saw the gun lying next to her. She looked over to her left and screamed when she saw Tony lying there in his own blood... dead. She jumped out of bed and looked down at herself realizing that she was still wearing the slip from the night before. Looking around, she didn't see anything unusual in her apartment, but somewhere in the back of her mind the fact that she had been laying on the right side of the bed and Tony on the left registered. Alex preferred to sleep on the left and from past experience, she knew that Tony preferred the right. Too many other things raced through her mind for this fact to come to the fore. Alex called 911 to report the murder. She then called Walker and pulled on a wrap to cover her state of dress. Alex sat on the couch in a numb state until the police arrived. Walker wasn't far behind and he rushed right over to Alex. She told him the bare facts and then he went to investigate the scene of the crime, which was her bedroom. After looking around, he went back to Alex and had her tell him everything in detail. When Detective Jackson asked her to accompany him downtown for questioning, Walker immediately rushed to defend Alex. Alex agreed with the detective, it was better to do things by the book, so she went to change. While she was gathering clothes to change into, she gathered her cordless phone and when she went into the bathroom to change, she called her father.

At the Justice Building, DA Mark Clark questioned Alex himself. He made her go over the story for hours and she became tired of his questions. "Mark, it's me Alex. You know me better than this," Alex stated. "Which is exactly why I-I can't show you any favoritism. Look Alex, I don't think you did this, but I-I'm going to have to go after you as if I do. That way when this thing is over it-it is going to be over, there's gonna be no clouds hanging over your head. Okay?" "Okay." They again went over the story. Gordon Cahill came in and advised Alex not to answer any more questions. He challenged DA Clark to let her leave or to charge her. Gordon didn't know the history between Alex and Clark and he didn't know that Clark was too cocky to turn down a challenge. Clark ordered Alex arrested and charged with the murder of Lane Tillman. Even Alex was in shock at the DA's decision.

Walking down the prison corridor on her way to her cell, Alex held herself stiffly, determined not to flinch at the catcalls the prisoners made to her. Many of these women were here as a direct result of her prosecutorial abilities and they saw their chance for revenge. Alex was initially given a cell alone, but was later given a cellmate after the warden checked to ensure there was no connection between Alex and her cellmate Alfre. Alfre initially tried to intimidate Alex, but when Alex didn't back down, they formed a truce.

Walker went to Alex's apartment to spend more time at the crime scene. He knew that something hadn't been right when he was there earlier and he needed to figure out what it was. He lifted the sheet in his hand and that's when it hit him. Alex slept on the left side of the bed and that's where Tony Seville's body had been found. He and Alex had discussed which side of the bed they preferred and Alex admitted that she had never been able to sleep on the right. Luckily, Walker had no problem switching over to the right and they had been able to sleep comfortably together on those occasions when they shared a bed, usually his. All of this ran through Walker's mind until he heard a noise and turned to find Gordon Cahill behind him. He wasn't surprised to see Gordon there, but he was surprised at how quickly he'd arrived.

When Gordon filled Walker in and told him that DA Clark had had Alex arrested, Walker saw red. He left Gordon and went straight to the DA's office. He didn't knock as he burst through the doors. "What the hell are you playing at Clark?" he began without greeting. "Good to see you too, Walker." "You know that Alex didn't commit that murder, why the hell did you have her arrested?" "I-I have a dead body in her bed, she knew the victim and admits inviting him into her apartment, the gun has her fingerprints, how much more do I need?" "The truth! Alex did not kill Tony Seville and I'm going to find the evidence to clear her and when I do..." "Is that a threat Walker?" "No, but this is. If anything happens to Alex in there... I'll see to it that you are held responsible. Do you think you can guarantee that she'll be safe in a prison full of people she put away?" "The warden is aware of the special circumstances." "She better not be harmed Clark or you'll wish you had used your head to make that call instead of your..." "I-I suggest you leave my office. Now Ranger!" Walker stomped out and headed back down to Ranger Headquarters to meet with Gordon and await the lab results. After Trivette informed him that Alex had been drugged, he went down to the jail to see her.

Walker stood in the interrogation room at the jail and watched as Alex was brought in. His nod to the guard had the woman stepping back out. Walker was not a stranger to the prison and most of the people there were unwilling to cross him. After the door closed, he held out his arms to Alex. She stood looking at him for a long moment. She had all of her shields up and it was hard to relax her guard even with him. Walker waited patiently as her posture crumbled and she fell into his arms sobbing. "Walker, I'm so afraid," she managed to say as he stroked her hair. "I know Alex, I know." "Did you find anything to clear me?" "Well, so far all we have is the blood test results that say that you were drugged. Your dad thinks that the DA will say that you drugged yourself." "This is outrageous!" Now Alex was angry and the tears were gone. She was back to fighting and she was not going to allow any weakness to show through again. "Alex, we're not only fighting the frame, we're fighting Clark. He has it in for you. I'm sorry that I haven't been more supportive of you. I didn't realize just how much you intimidated him. Tell me why you were in a bad mood last night when I picked you up." Alex was surprised, but realized that she shouldn't be. Walker was very sensitive to her moods and the fact that she tried to mask how she was feeling when he picked her up didn't mean that he wouldn't see through her act. She filled him in on the run in between her and Mark and the threats he made about her career. "Well, your arraignment is in an hour. I'll be there. Let's hope the judge will listen to your father's arguments and release you from here. Clark should be agreeable, I had a talk with him earlier." "What did you do?" "Let's just say that he knows that I will hold him responsible if something happens to you." "Oh Walker, you didn't threaten him did you?" "Not in so many words." "Walker, he won't back down. If he thinks his masculinity has been challenged, he'll fight against my release all the way." "Alex, it can't be that bad." "Walker, have you ever noticed that he has a slight stutter when he's emotional?" "Now that you mention it," he answered thoughtfully. "I did some research on him when he came off so strong back when he first came on board. He had a severe speech impediment as a child and was taunted and tormented mercilessly by the other kids. He overcame his disability, but now he overcompensates. I'm not a psychiatrist, but after working with him these last months, I think he'll do everything in his power to keep me here until the trial." "I'll let Gordon know not to challenge him directly unless it's absolutely necessary and I'll lay off as well. I'm sorry Alex, the last thing I wanted to do was make things worse for you." "I know Walker." He held her hands and looked deeply into her eyes, but they kept their distance. She needed to be strong and stand on her own. Leaning on him just wasn't possible, not locked in a women's prison.

Mark Clark did exactly as Alex predicted and fought hard to have her bail denied. Gordon pleaded her case eloquently, but the judge ruled that she be kept in prison despite the danger to her well being. As Alex was led out of the courtroom, she paused to look back at Walker. He nodded slightly in encouragement and then after looking at Jimmy, she wiped all vulnerability from her expression and walked out.

Gordon and Trivette sat at the table with Alex in the interrogation room planning their strategy. Walker stood behind her, unconsciously guarding her back. Gordon said that the DA would have trouble proving motive for the murder, Alex knew it was time to tell her secret. Walker stood straighter and looked questioningly at Gordon when she said, "maybe not." Alex went on to tell them that she had been involved with Tony soon after she graduated from law school. Gordon felt remorse when she said that she was struggling and barely making ends meet and that Tony seemed like a prince charming. When Tony began using drugs and hit Alex, she ran into her room and locked the door and called 911. It established a motive for the crime.

Gordon, C.D., Trivette and Walker got together and discussed the case that evening at C.D.'s Bar and Grill. They decided that Tillman had framed Alex to prevent a retrial of his case. Walker went to the DA and presented the theory that Lane Tillman was framing Alex and why. His tone and mannerism were deliberately non-confrontational. He asked the DA for more time to prove his theory. Clark was thrown by Walker's calm demeanor and decided to grant Walker a week to prove his theory.

Alex was finishing in the showers when three women came in and began beating her. Alex fought back, but was no match for them until Alfre entered and came to her defense. The two of them managed to knock the three women down and get themselves out of the vulnerable place. When Gordon came to the jail and saw the bruises on Alex's face the next day; his heart broke. He had her moved to isolation until the pretrial the following day. Walker was furious when he heard the news, but he used all of his skills in self-discipline to remain focused on proving Alex's innocence.

During the pretrial, DA Clark presented his case and then raked Alex over the coals about her relationship with Tony and the 911 call she had made when she stated, "he hit me, he's gonna kill me". Alex remained strong and determined, she knew better than to let Clark rattle her. As she left the witness stand, Alex wondered where Walker and Trivette were, but had faith that they were working hard to find evidence to free her. When Walker burst into the courtroom waving the videotape of Tony's murder, Alex felt hopeful for the first time in over a week.

Gordon convinced the judge to view the tape in court despite Clark's protest. Alex looked at Walker and he winked and grinned at her. The tape showed Alex unconscious and Tony admitting his duplicity in setting her up for a scandalous photo. It then showed Tillman shooting Alex, wiping the prints off the gun and placing it into Alex's limp hand. Tillman aimed the gun at Tony and fired again, leaving Alex's prints on the gun and powder residue on her hand. He then placed the gun in the bed next to Alex and he and his henchmen left. The judge dismissed the case and Alex went straight into Gordon's arms.

DA Clark stood there watching as a courtroom full of supporters congratulated Alex. He walked toward the front of the courtroom and with one last glance, he exited through the judges chambers to avoid the reporters waiting to tear him to pieces. Alex went through the gamut of reporters. These were people who knew her from countless previous encounters and the majority were very happy to see her cleared. She went with her father to Tillman's estate to watch him arrested. She was determined that everything go right, as she wanted Tillman to receive the maximum penalty allowable by law, the death penalty. He had committed a preplanned murder of his own lawyer and framed her for it to prevent charges being refiled against him. She heard an abbreviated version of her father and Walker's run in with Tillman in the hall at the Justice Building and grinned at the thought of her father punching him. She wished she could show Tillman her right hook as well.

Later at C.D.'s they all celebrated, but there was a reserve between Walker and Alex. They hadn't even hugged in the courtroom as so many people had fought to get near her. Alex went home to her apartment with her father that night. He had replaced her bed, knowing she would never again sleep in the one Tony had been killed in. When she woke that night from a nightmare, she reached for the phone to call Walker, but stilled her hand over the receiver. She had no right to call him. They needed to talk out the events of the last week and then she would see where she stood with him. She knew that she had damaged her relationship with him by not being open with him. It was ironic; usually he was the one who held things back from her. Ellen was a case in point. Still, she decided to fix herself some tea and read for awhile to get herself back to sleep. She was quiet not to wake Gordon who was in the guestroom.

Alex received a phone call from the mayor the next morning asking her to meet him in his office at ten. Alex dressed in a black suit and set her father up with the file on Alfre's case while she went to her meeting. Mayor Donaldson was in his office when his secretary escorted Alex in. "Alex, it's good to see you," he greeted her with a kiss on the cheek. "I'm really glad all this ugliness is behind you, but I have a feeling you will need to take some time before it can truly be put to rest." "Yes, I have some thinking to do," Alex remained noncommittal as to what that would entail. "Alex, I hope you understand the position I was in. I wanted to ring that DA's neck when I heard he had you arrested, but I couldn't use my political office to impede justice." "I realize that you were not in the best of positions," again Alex remained noncommittal. "Well, now that you have been completely exonerated by that tape, stroke of luck that. To think that Seville set up the camera that recorded his own murder, well I'm sure glad that Walker uncovered it." "Yes," Alex agreed. "Alex, I want you to know that I would understand if you felt reluctant to go back to work. Obviously it would be a hostile environment working with a man who tried to have you convicted of murder. Some might say that he was only doing his job, but you and I know better than that." Alex just raised her eyebrows and waited for him to continue. "I met with Clark earlier this morning and I gave him one week to clear out. Of course, I arranged for an attractive offer from the university as a guest lecturer until he can decide what he wants to do with himself. As far as I'm concerned, his career in Dallas and specifically his political aspirations are over." Alex nodded, but continued to remain silent. "I will make sure that you are fully reinstated with back pay owed you during this unpleasantness. I also would like for you to take another week off with full pay, a very minor compensation for all of this. When you return, Deputy DA Andrews will be acting DA until Clark is permanently replaced. You have a great career and despite all of this, I think you can go as far as you like. I hope that you will consider returning to work and helping to put the case against Tillman together. Of course, I won't have you prosecute it, as that would be improper, but I assure you that you will have my full support in whatever plans you make for your future. I just hope that it will be with the DA's office." Alex looked at the man and realized that there wasn't any more she could ask. It wasn't in his power to rewind the last ten days and make things happen differently. Then she realized that there was something she could ask for. "I will accept your offer and I will take that week off. I'd like ADA Phil Holland to be assigned to the Tillman case. He and I have worked well together in the past and I think he'll do a fine job prosecuting it." "Done." "Also, I'd like Rangers Trivette and Walker to be given the next week off as well. They are both the reason I am sitting here in your office and not in a jail cell. I think they deserve some R&R." "Done. Anything else?" "There is a woman in the prison whose case I'm asking my father to look into. I think her defense was inadequate and I would like you to make sure that she gets the appeal my father will file on her behalf." "I can't guarantee that it will be successful, but I'll see to it that it at least gets heard." "Thank you." "No, thank you and please believe that I wanted to see this case end exactly as it has." "I believe you. Now, I better go collect my father and I have someone to visit over at the jail." Alex shook the mayor's hand and left feeling a bit better than she had when she walked in.

Alex collected Gordon and they met with Alfre. She managed to avoid seeing Clark and she spoke with Phil Holland by phone to fill him in on the Tillman case. He was a young attorney and a little green, but with her coaching him from the sidelines, she felt confident that he could handle it and it would certainly further his career. The case was a slam-dunk anyway, they had so much incriminating evidence between the tape and Tony's sister's testimony, she felt safe handing it over to a colleague. She spent the next four days with Gordon as he filed an appeal for Alfre and then after spending time together with Alex, he left to head back to New York. He would return when Alfre's appeal was heard, but there was nothing more he could do until then and he had a practice to get back to.

C.D. had told Alex that he was going fishing with Walker and Trivette, but Alex had no word from Walker himself. The men were gone for five days, so Alex had a day with no one to talk to and she used the time to reflect on what had happened to her. She also did some rearranging of her apartment and painted her room, giving it a different look. It was either that or move again and she was determined that she wouldn't move unless she found a place she really wanted to move to or Walker invited her to the ranch on a more permanent basis. Since she hadn't spoken to him since Tillman's arrest, she didn't think that would happen anytime soon.

The day after Alex painted her room; she was hanging pictures on the wall when the phone rang. She climbed down from the step stool and answered, "Alex Cahill." "Hi, it's me." "Hi Walker, how was the fishing trip?" "It was good. Imagine my surprise when Trivette and I were both given a week off with pay suddenly out of the blue. I wonder what good deed I did to deserve that." "I don't know. Rescue any damsels in distress lately?" "I just did my job, nothing extraordinary." "I guess that depends on which side of the prison bars you're on." "Maybe. As for the fishing trip, I nearly had to put Jimmy and C.D. out of my misery. It's amazing the fish were biting at all the way the two of them carried on nonstop." "So you did catch some fish?" "One or two. I was calling to ask if you'd like to come for dinner." "Tonight?" "If you're free." "I'm free. What time should I get there?" "How about six?" "That's fine. I'll see you then." "Alex?" "Yeah?" "Be ready to talk." "Okay." They hung up and Alex went back to her remodeling project thinking about the evening ahead and deciding what to wear.

Alex wore a pair of jeans and a soft yellow cashmere short sleeved sweater. It was not only flattering, but it was comforting to wear something that was so soft to the touch. She knew that the evening would be difficult and a lot was riding on how receptive Walker was to her apology. She did owe him an apology and was well aware of it. She was always hounding him about opening up to her, but if truth be told, she knew far more about his life before they met than he knew about hers. Of course, C.D. and Uncle Ray had filled in some of the blanks, but Walker had as well.

Walker was sitting on the front porch when Alex pulled up. He was fairly certain that she would be on time and she was. He had two glasses of lemonade made and when she approached him, he offered her one. "Hi," he greeted her. "Hi," she responded taking the offered glass and leaning back against the porch rail facing him and the swing he sat on. They both sipped their drinks in silence. "Dinner will be in about an hour, I hope that's all right." "Sounds good," Alex said although there were so many knots in her stomach that dinner was not something she even wanted to consider. "How have you been the last few days? Did you get to spend time with your father?" "Yeah, it was good to have alone time with him. He filed an appeal for Alfre, the woman I told you about." "I remember." "We went for walks and ate out and he helped me put some things in order at my apartment. I painted my room yesterday and I made some other changes." "So you've decided to stay there?" "At least for now. If I find something I like better, I'll move. I just feel like I need to face the demons there. Running away from them isn't going to help." "Nightmares?" Walker knew Alex and one of the things she tended to do was to dream about things that had happened to her. She suffered from bad nightmares after each incident with LaRue and he was pretty certain she would suffer from some nightmares after all the things she had been through recently. "I've had some, but I've been able to deal with them." "Really? You look tired to me." Alex shrugged, "interrupted sleep is not something I do well with. I guess I should think about that if the time ever comes that I decide to have children." "Alex, it's not even a question as to whether or not you will have children. You were made to be a mother." "Weren't all women?" "No, I think that some women were made to be mothers and some were not. Just like some men were made to be fathers and some were not." "You'd make a great father." "Maybe someday." "How did we get off on this subject?" "Maybe as a means of avoiding what we really need to talk about?" "Tony." "Tony and a few other things, like why you weren't open with me about your feelings the night of the art gallery opening and why you didn't tell me what happened when I took that phone call." Alex took in a deep breath and released it; this wasn't going to be easy.

Alex contemplated where to start, she had played this over in her mind a hundred times, but it didn't make it any easier. "The men in my life, by Alex Cahill," she began. She looked up at Walker and he was sitting there waiting patiently for her to say her piece. "You know about my father. He left when I was sixteen and things were difficult for a long time. My mother really never recovered after he left and I tried to be cheerful and fun at school, but it was all very surface. I dated casually, but never had a real boyfriend. Then I went to college and my first priority was school, although I began to date more. I got involved with a guy, Jerry Riggins. He was on the football team and a member of a fraternity. He eventually talked me into sleeping with him and it was a pretty miserable experience. I was looking for love and I wasn't very smart about it. I thought that it was time to lose my virginity, so I slept with 'a hunk.' I didn't know that being good looking and having lots of girlfriends didn't necessarily mean he knew how to please them. He wasn't considerate of the fact that it was my first time and the experience was enough to make me decide to concentrate on my studies. My best friend, Kelly and I were roommates. She is the person who helped me through a lot of what I was dealing with at the time. I had never had a sister and Kelly was the closest I ever came to having one. Then she started changing and I couldn't figure out what was going on. She was dating a man off campus and he was hitting her. I don't know why she put up with it. I know that she had had a difficult childhood and she didn't have much self-esteem, but I thought that she shared everything with me. Then the bastard she was dating killed her. I was the key witness, substantiating the fact that they were dating and that I had seen evidence of abuse prior to her murder. He was convicted of aggravated manslaughter, but my best friend was dead. I didn't date for the rest of my college years. I didn't want anything to do with men. " Alex stopped and again looked up to see Walker watching and listening. There was no judgment on his face and he just waited for her to continue.

"You know about Julian. Of course when I knew him, he wasn't a Senator and he wasn't married. I didn't know that he was going to turn out to be a toad, although looking back there were definitely signs. I guess I was a challenge as pretty much any girl he looked at fell for him immediately. I was in law school and determined to do well. Julian spent weeks getting me to finally except a dinner date with him. It was several more weeks before he talked me into bed. About two weeks later, I had my first orgasm. It wasn't earth shattering or anything, but I realized that sex could be enjoyable. When Julian left, I thought that I was in love with him, but I got over him rather quickly, so apparently it was just infatuation and hero worship." Alex again paused; this was very difficult. She didn't know if Walker really wanted a rundown of all the men she had slept with, but it explained a great deal about her and she wanted him to understand just how important her relationship with him was to her. So she forged on.

"I didn't date anyone for some time after that and then I met someone from an affluent family, Scott Jameson. I was really struggling financially, school was very demanding and then my mother died. I was devastated. The woman who had always been so strong and loving had succumbed to depression and I didn't understand that it was a mental health issue. If it had happened today, I would know how to get help for her, but at the time, I had no idea. Then she died suddenly from a congenital heart defect and my entire life came apart at the seams. The only thing stable was my law school and my relationship with Scott. I thought that maybe I could share my life with him and that together we could face things that I was having trouble facing alone. It was the biggest mistake I have made in my life. I wasn't in love with him and I had never slept with him. His family was very controlling and he was a momma's boy. She ran his life and he let her. I was acceptable in looks and pedigree only because my father was a successful lawyer. They didn't even care that I was estranged from him as long as they could say, 'she's the daughter of Gordon Cahill, you've heard of him, he's the defense attorney who represented Lyle Hawkins in that murder trial. How he got that man off is beyond me.' And off they'd go talking about the case and how Hawkins was clearly guilty of murdering his wife and kids, but his money and my father had managed to get him acquitted." Alex shuddered at the memory of her former mother-in-law. She was the ultimate in gossipmongers. Nothing mattered to her except who you were and how much was in your bank account. Scott had never had the backbone to stand up to the woman and Alex had tolerated her for a very brief time.

"Scott and I got married at the courthouse. I think it was the one time he did something without his mother's approval. His family didn't know about the marriage until Scott took me to meet them after the honeymoon. By that time, I already knew the marriage was a mistake. We honeymooned in Houston. We only had a weekend, but it was the longest of my life. He was... We were... There was no spark, nothing. There was no sexual attraction. I didn't know what to do. We returned from the honeymoon and I threw myself back into my studies. Each weekend we would have to go to his parents home and that was the only place we shared a bed. After the honeymoon, there were only a few more attempts to make the marriage a real one. He was unable to move me in the least. He wasn't cruel, but with each unsuccessful attempt, he became more frustrated and he took it out on me." "Are you saying he was impotent?" Walker asked unclear as to what she was telling him. "Not entirely, he managed to... perform, but it wasn't a pleasant experience for either of us. When he managed to finish, he would roll off of me and that would be it for weeks. I learned to cry very quietly and as he became more verbally abusive, I became more miserable. The noose tightened around my neck until I was no longer able to breathe. After one particularly unpleasant weekend at his parents, I couldn't take it anymore. Apparently, what Scott lacked in sexual appetite, his father more than made up for. He made a pass at me and I told Scott. Of course, Scott blamed me and brought his mother into the whole thing. That was it, I was done. I filed for a divorce that Monday citing irreconcilable differences and moved out. I took nothing with me that I hadn't brought to the marriage. I wanted no tokens to remember it by. In the months we lived together, I only dressed and undressed in the bathroom. There was no... I was never comfortable. I don't know how to describe it, but the experience was enough to make me decide that I wasn't built for love and marriage and sex."

It had been more than the hour that Walker had said it would take for dinner. Telling him this was not easy. She was baring her soul to him and he wasn't making it harder, but he certainly wasn't making it easier either. She couldn't really blame him. Who wanted to hear about their lovers past affairs? It was really important to her though that he understood how Tony had managed to put her under his spell to the point that when things turned ugly, she just couldn't tell anyone. "It's getting chilly out here, let's go in," Walker suggested. Alex nodded her agreement and followed him into the house. "Are you hungry?" he asked. "Not really," she answered. Walker gave a brief nod and went to turn the oven off. He was baking the fish wrapped in aluminum foil with herbs and vegetables. It would be fine to sit in the oven awhile longer as long as it stayed wrapped so that the moisture didn't escape. He refilled their glasses and they went into the living room. Walker just turned on a couple of lamps. He could tell that it was difficult for Alex to share the things she was sharing and the dim light made it easier.

After settling into the couch, Alex resumed her story. "I finished law school and graduated at the top of my class. I took my maiden name back and my divorce was final before graduation, so I decided to just close that chapter of my life completely. I really thought that I was finished with men and then along came Tony. I was really struggling to make ends meet and he took me to all sorts of nice places. He seemed to know that I wasn't ready for a serious romance and he kept things light and was very patient with me. One night, he took me out and after several glasses of wine to celebrate my first victory in court, he seduced me. I was surprised to find that I could still respond to a man. There weren't fireworks and the earth didn't move, but it was pleasant and he held me afterward. We became more serious and he often stayed over. I thought that I had finally found a man with whom I could have a relationship and I even began thinking about a future together. Gradually, Tony began to change. We had been dating for about eight months and sleeping together for four or five of them. I noticed little changes. He wasn't sleeping as well. We made love less frequently and when we did it was rushed and frantic. His appetite was down and his moods fluctuated. I know it sounds naive, but I thought it was just pressure from work. He was on a big case and... You'd think that with my past and my father's drinking, I would have known what was happening. I was very sheltered from my father's problems. I know that I have only told you about my mother and how she was after my father left. Before that though, she was a very strong person. She was independent and beautiful and proud. She laughed a lot and she was completely in love with my father. I had a wonderful childhood until my teen years." "You're father told me that you are very much like your mother," Walker interrupted. Alex shrugged, "maybe the way he remembered her, before the drinking and the fights and the depression. I hope I'm like my mother was when I was a child. I admired her and I wanted to grow up to be just like her. I wanted a man like my father too. I guess I saw something in Tony that reminded me of my father. What I didn't know was that Tony had started using drugs and he was as dependent on them as my father was on alcohol. I was just beginning to realize what was going on the night Tony hit me. He was at my apartment when I got home and he yelled at me for being late and called me names and then he slapped me until I was able to break away and run into the bedroom. I locked the door and called 911."

"I felt like such a failure. Each and every time I had a relationship with a man, it ended with me realizing that I had made a mistake. I doubted my ability to judge a man's character. From that time on, I dated only casually, men who were safe and who didn't demand too much. As soon as a man wanted to move the relationship into the bedroom, I ended it. I made a decision to concentrate on my career to the exclusion of all else. It worked, I was offered the job as Tarrant County ADA and then my whole world turned upside down again. A cocky muleheaded Texas Ranger made my blood boil and my insides melt. I recognized the danger signals instantly. I knew that you had what it would take to melt the ice I had encased myself in. I was right too. You kissed me that New Year's Eve and my heart has belonged to you ever since."
"There was still Dalton Reed." "Yes, there was Dalton. After you and I decided to just be friends, I was relieved. I thought, maybe I could handle all of this after all. I got to spend time with you, but it was safe. You weren't any more anxious to begin a relationship than I was. I met Dalton and I thought he was attractive. We dated, but that's as far as it went and then he left town. I thought it was over. Then you and I had that disagreement and suddenly there was Dalton, back in town and ready to continue his pursuit. I finally gave in. You have to understand Walker, I found him attractive, but safe. He had a lot of the characteristics you had, he was stubborn and rugged and earthy. He was honest and he made me fall in love with him. It wasn't the forever after, leap off a cliff and free fall type of love I felt for you, but it was a safe comfortable kind of love. I couldn't give him what he wanted though. He wanted me to give up my career and go with him. I didn't love him enough to do that so he left. You know the rest. You know that I spent that night with him after I thought you had rejected me. That first night you and I spent together left me completely vulnerable. I was in love with you and then we made love and I found out that I not only enjoyed sex, I loved it! It was the most amazing experience of my life. You made sure that I was satisfied, over and over again. No man had ever made me feel that my enjoyment was the most important thing. I had never felt such intense feelings and you made me feel them again and again. I was completely blown away by that night." "So was I," Walker admitted. "Were you?" "Yes Alex, I was. I had enjoyed sex with other women, but I never felt so moved by sharing myself with a woman. I had never felt absolutely certain that I had found the woman with whom I was meant to fit together. That night on the river changed my life." "And then you came home and got the news about Uncle Ray and I thought you had rejected me." "Because I didn't tell you what was going on." "I guess we're both guilty of not being good at sharing ourselves. Walker, I'm so sorry. I had been slapped down so many times. When I thought you were rejecting me, it was more than I could take. I turned to Dalton because I knew he wanted me and I needed to feel that. I knew immediately that it was a mistake and it took me months to regain your trust. Then I jeopardized it again with Tony. Did you think that I had willingly gone to bed with him?" "No. Alex, we've shared too much. I trust you implicitly. I knew that you were keeping something from me when we got home from the gallery. I asked you to let me stay hoping you would tell me what it was, but you said 'no' and I had to respect that." "I was a little scared when Tony approached me at the gallery. He grabbed my arms and leaned in and whispered in my ear that he would see me later and then he kissed my cheek. All those feelings of fear came rushing back and I just needed to get out of there and then I wanted to be alone to try and process what had happened. When Tony knocked on the door, I thought it was you. I was completely stupid to let him in. I have nothing to excuse what happened. I'm so sorry." "When I went into your bedroom that morning after you had called me, I knew that something was wrong. I didn't know what it was, but I went back later and realized that Tony was on the left side of the bed, your side." "Yeah, I noticed that too. Scott always made me sleep on the right side and I hated it. When we were at our own apartment, I slept in the guestroom and it wasn't a problem, but when we were at his parents, I never got any sleep." "That's why you need to sleep on the left side." "Yes," she answered. "Well just as I figured it out, your father walked in. I didn't think I should tell him to build his case around the fact that I knew you preferred to sleep on the left side of the bed." Alex smiled for the first time since she arrived at Walker's ranch. "I can just see you on the stand. 'Your honor I know Alex is innocent, she made me start sleeping on the right side of the bed because she prefers the left.' That would have been great on the six o'clock news." Walker laughed, "I could have told them other things you like in bed as well." "That's okay, I don't plan to ever have this conversation with anyone again in my life. You know it all now Walker, every failed relationship. You know why I have so many hang ups and why I have trouble expressing myself physically, although I think I'm getting better at that." "If you get any better, I'm going to lose the ability to walk." Alex smiled and then grew serious. "Does that mean that you haven't given up on me? That you're willing to give me another chance?" "Alex, I love you. You get as many chances as you need. I don't ask that you be perfect any more than you ask that of me. I just want you to know that I want to share everything with you. Everything means your problems and fears and insecurities as well as your strengths and victories. You are a very strong woman, but I want you to be able to be weak if you need to be. I want you to be able to lean on me." "That's asking a lot. I have struggled all my life to be strong. My mother was one of the strongest women I know and she still succumbed to depression." "Alex, your mother had a mental illness, that doesn't mean she was weak." "I know that Walker, but it's still hard to accept that. I need to make my own way and to stand on my own feet." "And where does that leave me? How can I ever lean on you if you won't lean on me?" "Walker, you just saved my life again. How am I ever going to make us even if I keep leaning on you." "Alex, you saved my life. I was existing when I met you. The joy of living had gone out of my life and you brought it back. Uncle Ray knew it and that's why he kept pushing us together. Your spirit brought sunshine back into my life. There's more than one way to save a life Alex," Walker told her. "I promise that I will try to be more open and to share myself with you," Alex vowed. "I also promise to knock you upside the head if you stop sharing yourself with me," she added. Walker smiled not doubting her for a moment. He may be the martial arts expert, but she wasn't intimidated by him. Maybe because she knew that he would rather die than to ever hurt her. At least he hoped she knew it.

"Come here Alex," he said with an appeal in his eyes that belied the commanding words. Alex slid across the couch and into his arms. Walker gathered close in his arms and held her against his chest. His hand stroked the soft cashmere sweater as he soothed the expanse of her back. They sat that way for several moments, just being together when they were interrupted by the rumble of Alex's stomach. They both laughed and the seriousness of the evening dissolved into a pleasant evening spent with the one they loved. "You promised to feed me cowboy." "You're right, let's go," he pushed her away from him and stood and then reached for her hand to pull her up beside him. "You set the table and I'll finish dinner." The fish was actually still quite good. It had stayed warm in the oven and they both enjoyed the meal.

That night, Walker led Alex upstairs to the bedroom and he took her into his arms to show her that she was made for love and sex. Sometime in the future, he planned to show her that she was also made for marriage.


Part 6 Unplanned Parenthood

Ref: Season 5 'Lucas' through 'Forgotten People'

Walker strode past Alex's secretary and directly into her office. She was seated at her desk with books open and arranged all around her as she researched precedents for the case she was preparing. She looked up surprised at the abrupt entrance and then smiled when she saw who it was. The smile barely had time to register on her face though as she processed his expression and realized that something was wrong, terribly wrong. Her tough Texas Ranger was fighting back tears. Alex wordlessly stood and rounded her desk to gather him into her embrace. Walker sank against her and clung to her as if his life depended on it. Alex soothed her hand over his back and absorbed the shutters that racked his body as he gallantly tried to steady his breathing. When he had finally quieted some, she pulled back to look into his face and she gently kissed the tears from his cheeks. They had fallen down his face without the sobs that usually accompanied tears, but they were just as poignant.

She gave him a few minutes to gather himself and handed him the ice water she had been drinking earlier. He sipped it to soothe the ache in his throat and then she whispered, "Tell me." "Alex, I don't know if I can. I don't know if I can describe the horror of the scene. Hell, I don't know if anyone should know what I saw." "Tell me," she said again and waited. "Trivette and I were part of a team trying to bust Rafer Cob." "The drug dealer?" "Yeah. He must have been tipped or he has the damnedest luck because he managed to get away. It was what he left behind..." "Tell me, Walker." "I opened this closet and inside, oh god Alex. Inside there was a little boy, maybe seven. The stench was so bad I was barely able to stand it. But the sight, it was all I could do not to gag. This little boy was surrounded by old dirty dishes, his own waste, rats and cockroaches. It was the most appalling; disgusting thing I have ever seen and in the midst of all this filth were two big beautiful eyes staring at me with absolute terror. I tried to reassure him and I scooped him up to get him out of there. Trivette saw it too and I don't know that either of us will ever manage to get that sight out of our minds."

"Where is the little boy now?" Alex's question refocused Walker's mind off the scene of that closet and on to the child's plight. "We took him to the hospital. He wouldn't let anyone touch him except me. I guess since I had been the one to take him out of that closet he trusts me, at least a little. I don't know that he could ever truly trust anyone after what was done to him. I managed to get him to let me undress him and bathe him. He wouldn't let the nurses touch him, but he allowed me to get most of the filth off." "So he was conscious and aware of what was happening to him?" "Yes, if anything I think he was too aware. His eyes have the wisdom of White Eagle in them. He has the body of a seven-year-old, but his eyes are that of an adult. He was painfully thin and there were sores on his skin. After I got him clean, I helped him dress in a hospital gown and the nurse gave him something to drink. She told me that there was a sedative in it as they needed to run tests and they didn't want to traumatize him any further. I stayed with him until he drifted off and then I came here, to you." "I'm glad you did. What's next?" "They said that he would sleep until morning and that they wouldn't have the test results all back until then anyway." "Come on, let's get out of here." "Can you leave? Alex, I know that you're preparing a case for court." "Walker, there is not one thing in this entire world more important to me than you. The case can wait or someone else can do it. Let's go." Walker looked at her with gratitude. He really needed to be with her right now. The depravity of the scene he had witnessed had brought up emotions he wasn't even aware existed. "I need to file a report. Can you be ready in about an hour?" he asked her. "Whenever you're ready, just buzz me and we'll go." Walker nodded once to her and then headed back out of the door. Alex's secretary wondered what had occurred in the office. She had never seen such a look on a man's face. Whatever had transpired, he looked sad and tired, but he no longer had the single-minded intensity that he strode past her desk with. The intercom buzzed and Alex asked her to come in.

"Hi partner," Trivette greeted Walker's return to headquarters. "Hi, how are you doing Trivette?" "Man Walker, I don't know that I want to go to sleep tonight. I have a feeling those images are going to haunt me for a very long time." "I know what you mean partner. Let's get this report done and get out of here. We deserve to take the rest of the day off." "I'm with you," Jimmy responded more shocked by Walker's suggestion of leaving early than he would ever admit. The two men worked together relaying the details about the case. Trivette's fingers typed the information into the computer as Walker dictated facts. An hour after Walker had left Alex's office, he sat at his desk to buzz her and they arranged to meet in the parking garage at the Ram. Neither of them wanted to feed the gossip mill by being seen leaving work early together. Alex had used the time to wrap up the critical things she needed to do and to give her law clerk and secretary assignments. Things would be ready for her so that she could jump right back into the case when she returned in the morning.

At the Ram, Walker waited for Alex to buckle up and then asked her if she needed to stop at her apartment before heading to the ranch. "No, I have everything I need at the ranch. Walker?" "Yeah honey." "Can we stop by the hospital just to check on him?" Walker's lips pulled up into a smile. He knew what she was doing. He needed to go back to check on him and she was acting as if they were going for her sake rather than his. It was no wonder he loved this woman. She read his mind and knew his needs almost before he did. He looked at her as they stopped at a traffic light and thanked her with his eyes. She smiled back and reached out to squeeze his thigh. She was with him, no matter what.

They were guided to the pediatric ward at the hospital where they were told the small boy would be back from x-ray soon. They waited a half-hour before he was back in a room and they could see him. The doctor gave them a brief update. "There don't appear to be any fractured bones, although there are signs that he has had broken bones in the past. He also suffers from calcium deficiency so his bones are not as strong as we'd like to see. He is dehydrated; he is running a fever and the CBC came back showing anemia and indications of a systemic infection. I won't know specifics until morning. He's asleep and he should stay that way until tomorrow. We have him on IV's to replenish his fluids and electrolytes and also to give him nutrients and antibiotics. At this point, we are just giving him supportive treatment until we know something more definitive." "Thanks doctor, we won't stay long, we just wanted to peek in on him." She nodded at the couple and moved on to continue her rounds.

Alex and Walker entered the room and Alex's eyes filled with tears as she took in the tiny body in the bed. He stole her heart immediately and Alex gripped Walker's arm tightly as the images he had described to her filled her mind. The tears spilled and when she looked up, she saw that Walker also had tears in his eyes. Alex reached out and smoothed the dark blond hair back from the high forehead. She gently stroked the cheeks that were lightly dusted with freckles and reached down to pick up the tiny hand. Holding it carefully so as not to jostle the IV, she watched as Walker's large hand covered hers and wondered again at the gentle giant's tenderness. The three hands joined could not have been more different. One was tiny and frail, another soft with long tapered fingers and manicured nails, the third larger and heavier, rough and callused. The three stayed that way for some time until Walker gently tugged Alex's hand away and led her out of the room. They left the boy to sleep and hoped that his dreams were not tortured. They had been in fact, but the soothing touch of the woman and the protective strength of the man had soothed his nightmares and he slipped into a deep restful sleep devoid of dreams.

Walker pulled into the ranch and he went into the barn to saddle the horses while Alex slipped into the house to change and fix something for them to eat and drink. He checked on Lady who was ready to deliver her foal any day and he had just finished saddling Ranger and Cookie when Alex reemerged. She smiled as she sauntered over to him in her snug jeans and tucked in denim shirt. She had her boots and hat on and she was ready to ride. Walker tied the food pack onto the back of his saddle and the thermos onto the back of hers. They walked their horses for awhile to warm them up and then the two took off at a gallop. They ran for miles, the wind causing their eyes to tear and Alex's hair to stream behind her despite the hat. Alex was forward in the saddle urging Cookie on, keeping up with Walker and Ranger. Alex loved speed and she was a daring rider. Walker glanced back once or twice to check on her, but focused mostly on outrunning the horrible images that chased him.

When they finally pulled up, they were deep into the vast land that stretched out behind the ranches including Walker's. This was land that would not support crops and was grazed only during certain months when it produced enough scrub grass to make it worth while to use. They turned the horses and headed back the way they had come at a slow easy lope. When they reached the border of Walker's property, they were still some distance from the ranch house. The slowed to a walk and went to a favorite picnic spot that bordered the river that fed the lake on his property. They dismounted and loosened the cinches allowing the horses to graze and drink from the river. Alex spread out the blanket that Walker had attached to the saddle and then she offered him the thermos lid filled with ice cold lemonade. After he had quenched his thirst, she quenched her own and they fell into a heap onto the blanket to catch their breath and absorb the beauty and peace nature offered. "Maybe when the little boy is better, you can bring him here and show him this place," Alex spoke for the first time in more than an hour. "I'd like to. He should know that the world is made up of more than the ugliness he's been shown." "How can a small boy whose name I don't even know steal my heart?" Alex asked rhetorically. Walker reached for her and pulled her into his side, settling her head on his chest where he had easy access to her hair once he removed the hat. His fingers combed through her windswept tresses as he agreed that the small child had captured his heart as well.

The two lovers lay quietly together until each gave into the peace of their surroundings and drifted off to sleep. Walker dreamt of the closet and the vermin that had shared the space with the boy. He woke startled and his body was ramrod straight. Alex was there; her eyes open with concern. Without a word, he pulled her up to him and buried his face in her soft sweet smelling hair. He pulled back and began kissing her deeply, passionately. He needed to erase the images and he was desperate to lose himself in her to block them from his mind. His fingers unbuttoned her shirt and peeled it off of her shoulders, nearly ripping it in his haste. He didn't bother with the clasp as he pulled her bra up above her breasts freeing them so that his mouth could latch on and nurse on the ripe nipples. As his mouth busied itself with her breasts, his hands reached for her waist and unfastened her jeans peeling them away from her hips. He rolled her under himself and undid his fly pulling himself free of restraint. There was no tenderness as he surged up and plunged himself deeply into her. She gasped at the suddenness of his invasion, but she relaxed her muscles and allowed him to plunder her depths as his thrusts into her pushed them both over the edge and had them fighting for breath. Walker shuddered as he spilled himself deep into her moist cavern and he collapsed onto her- spent.

It was several moments before either had breath to speak. "Oh god Alex, I'm..." Alex covered his mouth with her own and stopped his apology mid-sentence. "Walker, if you utter one word of apology, I swear you'll regret it." "But Alex, I used your body without thought to you or..." "Shut up Walker, I mean it!" He stopped talking and looked at her shamefaced only to see her grin at him. "I'm not saying that I want it to always be that way, but in case you were too wrapped up in your own release to notice, I was right there with you." That stopped him and he rewound the last several minutes in his mind. Thinking back, he realized that she had indeed followed him over when he pumped his seed into her. He took a deep cleansing breath and said, "still, that's not the way I want to show you my love." "But that's not what this was about is it? Today was about need, pure and raw and out there for the world to see. You needed me. You needed to lose yourself in me and to forget the demons that haunted you. I'm glad you needed me and I'm glad that you came to me... and in me." Walker smiled at that last tag, but reached down and adjusted himself, zipping his fly. He used gentle fingers to unclasp her bra and he gently kissed the marks he had made on her tender breasts before replacing the bra and fastening it. He slowly redressed her and then stood up pulling her up with him.

They walked together to the river's edge. "I can't change what that little boy has endured, but Alex, I want to be a part of his life. I want to make sure that nothing like that happens to him again. Is that all right with you?" Alex was thrown momentarily by the question. He was asking her permission to bring the little boy into his life... their life. She smiled as she said, "it's not just all right, I can't think of anything I would like more." He looked at her and simply said, "thank you." She nodded and tugged at his hand leading him back to the blanket. "I don't know about you cowboy, but I'm hungry." Thinking about it, Walker realized that he was too. He hadn't eaten since breakfast and it was late afternoon. They returned to the blanket and ate the sandwiches and fruit in companionable silence. The frenzy was gone and replaced with a peace that Walker knew was in large part due to Alex's presence.

They gathered up their mess and the horses. After securing the leftovers to the saddles and tightening the cinches, they headed back to the ranch house at a leisurely pace. It was getting dark and they still had a forty-minute ride ahead when Walker looked over to Alex and asked if she was up to a canter back to the barn. "No!" she adamantly refused. Walker was taken back by her vehemence and then she sheepishly explained. "I'm uh... I'm a little... sore," she said haltingly. She hated to admit that he had bruised the tender flesh between her legs with his rough entry. She was barely able to accommodate him at the best of times and without proper preparation, she was left sore and inflamed. Walker cursed himself realizing what she meant. Being well endowed was great in theory, but when it caused discomfort to the woman you wanted to make love to, it became more of a hindrance as opposed to a bragging right. Not that he had spent much time bragging, still he remembered other teenage boys comparing themselves and he had yet to sleep with a woman who didn't exclaim that he was larger than any they had seen. His cheeks were red though as these thoughts fought with those of his insensitive taking of Alex there by the river. They walked slowly back to the barn and dismounted- Alex more carefully than usual.

Walker tended the horses while she headed to the house to soak in the tub. He came in as she lay in the bubbles and was carrying a jar in his hand. Alex looked at him puzzled, but he said, "when you get out, I'll put some of this on you, it's something Uncle Ray left me." "Is it safe to use where I need it?" Walker smiled slightly, "yes, it's a great remedy for saddle sores and other chafing." Alex blushed slightly, but was willing to try anything. "Just leave it on the counter and I'll use it." "No, I'll apply it for you." Alex realized that there would be no arguing the point, so she remained silent and finished her bath as he stripped and stepped into the shower.

Alex was in the bedroom combing out her hair when Walker entered with a towel around his waste. "Lay on the bed with your bottom at the edge," he instructed her. She did as he asked, but she was shy and embarrassed. Walker knelt at the end of the bed and lifted her legs, placing one on each of his shoulders. He gasped as he saw the swollen redness his rough handling had caused. He gently reached down with his mouth and kissed and soothed the damaged flesh. It wasn't long before Alex was moaning with pleasure as his tongue soothed her. He brought her to a quick climax, her flesh ultra sensitized. Afterward, he reached two fingers into the jar and then smoothed the cream onto her and into her. The cooling feeling brought instant relief and Alex sighed as he applied the homemade remedy bringing her to yet another orgasm. He then gave her one of his long t-shirts to wear and told her that it was best if she went without panties. He slid her back up the bed and placed a pillow under each of her knees spreading her private parts to his gaze. "Is this necessary or are you just enjoying yourself?" she asked. Walker grinned wickedly at her. "Take a nap and I'll call you when dinner's ready." He left the room with Alex still wondering about the answer to her question.

Walker was loving and attentive the rest of the night and they slept together without his suffering anymore nightmares. He drove her into work the next day and he stopped by the office to check in and to let Trivette know he was headed to the hospital. Walker was able to get the young boy to eat his breakfast and tell him that his name was Lucas. He made it a regular habit to visit Lucas and in the afternoons, he brought Alex with him to get to know the young boy. Finding out that Lucas had AIDS and not much time left to live made Walker even more determined that he would have a good life, at least what was left of it. Walker was forced to place Lucas in the children's home, but when he went to visit, he saw that he was being ostracized by the other children who had discovered he had AIDS and he took him home to the ranch.

Alex had been working on the case that had finally gone to trial and her life was not her own. She spent as much time as possible with Lucas and Walker, but she wasn't there the day he made the decision to take him home with him permanently. He called her that night to confess to her what he had done, hoping she would understand and knowing that she would. "Alex? It's me." "Hi cowboy, it sure is good to hear your voice, I miss you." "I'm glad, I miss you too. I have something to tell you." "You have Lucas there." "How did you know?" "I didn't, I was just guessing, but it was only a matter of time." Walker grinned at her perceptiveness. "Have I told you lately that I love you?" "No, but then you haven't seen me except for a brief wave in the corridor for days." "Well, I do love you and I wish I could tell you that more often. I don't know why those words are so hard for me to say. For some reason, it's just easier on the phone." "I love you too. How's Lucas settling in?" "He seems to be doing okay. He loves the ranch and the horses. I was thinking of getting him a horse of his own." "What are you going to do about work?" "I took off the rest of this week and then I hope to impose on you and C.D. and Jimmy." Alex smiled knowing that all those mentioned would gladly help Walker if asked. "How is your trial going? Any end in sight?" "Actually, I think tomorrow should do it." "Good, I was going to ask you something." "Shoot." "Alex, never say that to a Texas Ranger." He smiled as her laughter filled his ear. He loved that they could joke and tease and still be serious when necessary. "I know that Lucas is missing his mother. I was hoping that you'd be willing to be... what's the word? A surrogate?" "You want me to act like his mother?" "Well no, but I thought that he'd respond to the female touch. I know I do," he couldn't help but add. "What do you have in mind?" she asked. "I thought maybe you could move into the ranch temporarily and give Lucas a sense of family." "Do you mean that you want me to sleep in your room?" "Alex, if you're in this house, you'd better be in my room, my bed for that matter. I'll seek you out wherever you are anyway." "What about Lucas?" "He has his own bed." "Walker...." "Alex, he's used to his mother living with Cobb, I don't think we're going to shock him. I just think that he could use some TLC and I happen to know that you're very good at that. In fact, I could stand some too." "Oh really?" "Really." "Okay cowboy, you're on. I'll try to come out tomorrow evening." "Thanks, I owe you one." "I'll take it in trade." "Oh, what do you want?" "Stud services." "Alex!" She laughed at having shocked him and hung up enjoying the wicked thrill that pulsed through her.

The next evening, Alex arrived at the ranch with an overnight bag with more clothes and other necessities. She entered the front door without knocking and surprised Lucas who had his back to her using the downstairs guest bathroom. He was embarrassed, but she acted as if she hadn't noticed to try and spare his feelings. She just headed on upstairs and found Walker in the master bathroom in virtually the same position Lucas had been in. "What is it with men and bathroom doors?" she greeted him. Walker was less embarrassed as he jiggled the last drops, zipped his fly and reached forward to flush. He washed his hands and then walked out into the bedroom to greet her properly. "Sorry honey, I didn't know when to expect you." He pulled her to him and kissed her and then stepped back to survey the bag she carried. "I think it's time to just conceded the entire chest of drawers to you," he said as he turned to empty the last two bottom drawers. Alex flushed a little, but she felt a thrill of excitement rush through her as well. "Walker, I can understand you not closing the door off your own bedroom in your own home, but Lucas was using the downstairs guest bathroom and it opens up right into the hall. It's hard to miss. I think you might need to have a little chat with him." "It's not that easy. He refuses to allow any doors to be closed. His bedroom door is always open and he won't close the bathroom door either. I know that it's going to be a problem with you here, but I think its based on a fear of being locked in and I can't ask him to just overcome that." "Of course not! Oh god Walker, I didn't even think. I personally don't care, but I think he was embarrassed when I walked in. Let me think about it and I'll come up with something." "Okay, here's the drawer space, it's all yours." Walker stepped back and grinned at her. She looked at him and realized that he liked the fact that she was settling in more and more into his home. She just shook her head at him and unpacked. "I dropped off some groceries in the kitchen, they need to be put away," she said when she finished. They walked downstairs hand in hand.

Lucas was in the living room playing with a toy ranch set that Grandpa C.D. had bought him. There was a barn and corrals and horses. It came with a miniature tractor and hay wagon and Lucas had it spread over a good portion of the floor. "Hi Lucas, what do you have there?" Alex asked. He enthusiastically told her about his toy and told her the names of all the toy horses. She recognized that each had been named for Walker's horses. She spent some time with Lucas and then went into the kitchen to cook something for dinner. Walker had put away the groceries by the time she got there and she asked what Lucas liked to eat. "Well, his favorite is hamburgers, but I haven't found much he won't eat," Walker answered. "How about I fry up some chicken and make mashed potatoes and gravy?" "Mmm sounds good to me. Will you make green beans to go with it?" Alex smiled, Walker loved green beans and he enjoyed mixing them with mashed potatoes for some reason. "Okay Walker, I'll make you green beans on one condition." "What?" "Come over here and kiss me." "Aw... do I have to?" Alex raised her eyebrows at him and put her hand on her hip. "You have definitely been spending time with a seven year old," she said. Walker grinned and came over and closed his eyes and leaned forward with his lips puckered as if he could kiss the 'yucky girl' and get it over with if he kept his eyes closed. Alex laughed, but leaned forward and kissed him on the lips. "Yuck, girl cooties," he complained wiping his mouth with the back of his hand. Alex picked the wooden spoon up off the counter and waved it at him; "out of my kitchen!" she yelled pretending to chase him. Walker bolted.

Lucas watched in awe as Walker reached for more chicken. "Walker, you gonna eat more?" he asked clearly amazed. "Lucas, let me let you in on a secret. If you want to make a woman happy-and believe me, men always want to keep their women happy, it makes life much easier- you have to pretend to really love their cooking. That's why men get fat after they get married, they keep trying to keep their wives happy." "Walker, don't fill his head with such nonsense," Alex scolded. "Are you gonna get married?" Lucas asked as he looked between Walker and Alex. Alex couldn't help herself; she burst out laughing. "Serves you right," she said to Walker as she waited to see how he would get out of this one. "Well Lucas, maybe someday. Right now though, I'm just trying her out. You know, making sure she can cook and clean and stuff like that like a good wife should." "Cordell Walker! You better take that back or there will be no dessert for you tonight!" "What's for dessert?" Walker questioned to decide if it was worth taking back his comment. "Well, not what was originally planned," Alex said meaningfully. Walker decided he better make amends or it was going to be a very lonely night on the couch for him. "I'm teasing Lucas. Alex and I are getting to know each other and we'll decide sometime in the future if we want to be married." "I wish you would get married, then..." "Then what Lucas?" Walker asked. Lucas slid out from the chair and went to Walker to whisper in his ear. Alex couldn't hear what was said, but was startled to see the tears spring into Walker's eyes. He reached down and lifted Lucas into his lap. "I bet she would be that now. Should we ask her?" "You ask her," Lucas said shyly. "Alex, Lucas would like to know if you would be willing to be his Aunt Alex?" Alex couldn't answer with the lump that formed in her throat. All she could do was nod as the tears spilled onto her cheeks. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to make you cry, you don't have to if you don't want to," Lucas said contrite. "Lucas, women cry when they're happy. Alex is crying because she's very happy that you want her to be your aunt. Isn't that right Alex?" "Yes, that's right, Lucas. I'd like that very much." "So what do we have to do to make this official?" Walker asked. "Well, I think we have to say something like 'I take you to be my awfully nephew." Walker and Alex fell into a fit of laughter. "Where did you learn that Lucas?" Walker asked as he wiped the tears of laughter from his eyes. "I saw it on TV." "Figures," Alex remarked. "Lucas, I take you to be my lawfully wonderful nephew." "Alex, I take you to be my awfully pretty aunt." "Now I think you have to kiss her," Walker said wrinkling his face as if this was the yucky part. Lucas wrinkled his face too, but hopped down from Walker's lap and walked over to kiss Alex's cheek. She returned the favor and he wiped away the 'girl cooties.'

At bedtime, Lucas went into the bedroom to change and Alex made herself scarce to give him privacy. After he was tucked up in bed, Alex told him a story. Lucas had been living on Walker's stories about Uncle Ray and the reservation. He listened to Alex's story about a young prince who was taken away from the king and queen and lost. The king and queen searched the entire countryside looking for their young prince. When they found him, he was living in a stable taking care of the animals. Alex embellished the story and told of the prince's adventures after he got away from the people who had taken him. After he was reunited with his parents, they allowed him to bring the animals home with him and he lived happily ever after and was known throughout the kingdom as the prince who loved animals, especially horses. "Were there any Indians?" Lucas wanted to know. "Not in the kingdom, but there were some who lived in the next valley over and he visited them." "Oh, that's good," Lucas said with a yawn and snuggled under the covers. Alex sat and waited until his breathing was even before soothing his hair and kissing his forehead.

The next day, Alex left the ranch on a secret mission. When she arrived back, she headed up to the office where there was an old sewing machine that had belonged to Uncle Ray. He had used it to mend clothes as he thought it wasteful to throw them away. He had failed in teaching his nephew the trade, but Alex was glad Walker had kept the machine for sentimental reasons. She worked diligently for an hour and then returned downstairs with material, a hammer and nails. When Lucas and Walker returned from their ride, there was a half curtain hung at the guest bathroom doorway. It was tacked to the doorframe on one side and a hook was mounted on the other so that it was a simple procedure to unloop the curtain from the hook to enter and loop it back to provide privacy. The loop was located about shoulder height to Lucas so he could still see over the curtain when he was standing. Alex had used material that was covered with cowboy boots and cowboy hats. Walker looked at her creation and Lucas ran on in to try it out. Truthfully, he just needed to use the facilities. Walker stepped behind Alex and pulled her back into him. "You are an amazing woman and I am so incredibly lucky to have you in my life," he declared. He then turned her in his arms and pulled her into him to kiss her thoroughly. Lucas came out in time to witness the kiss. "Yuck Walker, you're gonna get 'girl cooties.'" "Did you wash your hands?" Walker asked without looking at him. Lucas headed back into the bathroom and Alex grinned at him. "Being an aunt sure has some great perks," she said and leaned into him for another kiss.

Alex and Walker and Lucas enjoyed the weekend and the togetherness. All was well except for Lucas' nightmares. One night, Walker heard him screaming and he left the bed to go down and soothe him. He cradled Lucas against his chest, but even though the shaking and sobs stopped, Lucas could not relax and go back to sleep. Walker carried Lucas upstairs and tucked him into the bed between himself and Alex. Luckily, Alex had a nightgown on and since she hadn't woken up, he left her to sleep as he stroked Lucas' hair feeling him slowly relax. The next morning, Walker woke first to find Lucas curled against Alex, his arm flung around her neck and his head tucked into her shoulder. Walker sat very still taking in the beautiful sight and tucking the picture away into his heart for all time.

Monday morning, C.D. arrived to stay with Lucas while Alex and Walker both headed in to work. Being the ever-curious creature that he was, he asked Lucas about his 'Aunt Alex.' "So Lucas, how do you like Alex staying here with you and Walker?" "Oh she's great, she makes the best chocolate chip cookies ever." "She does, does she?" "Yeah and she tells me stories and plays games with me and all sorts of stuff. Course, she's a girl so she likes to kiss boys." "Kisses you does she?" "Sometimes, but she kisses Walker more." "Well, I guess he likes it okay." "I guess, he says she tastes like ice cream sundaes." C.D. chuckled, "does she sleep down here with you?" "No, she sleeps in the bed with Walker. They let me get in bed with them one time when I had a nightmare. She's all soft and snuggly like my mom." "I bet she is," C.D. agreed. "She smells nice too," Lucas added. C.D. had his answer, after all this time. 'Out of the mouth of babes,' he thought to himself. He couldn't wait to see Jimmy to tell him his newly discovered information.

Lucas had enjoyed all sorts of new experiences. He helped Walker when Lady foaled and Walker had given him his own horse, Little Ranger. Grandpa C.D. had taught him fun games and Jimmy had shown him how to play computer games on his computer at Ranger Headquarters. If only he had his mother with him, Lucas was pretty sure he would be completely happy. He and Walker went on rides together and he helped Walker with the chores. He wasn't aware of the search Walker was conducting for his mother and Rafer Cobb, but Lucas believed that Walker would one day find his mother.

Alex smiled as Lucas and Walker entered the house together and hung their matching hats on the hat rack near the door. She knew that Lucas wasn't fond of kisses, but she also knew that part of it was an act. She greeted him with a hug and a kiss on his cheek. Lucas grimaced as he wiped away her 'girl cooties' and said, "oh yuck." Walker chimed in, "I know exactly how you feel." Alex laughed and raised her eyebrows at him, "yeah right." He hadn't complained in bed the night before and she had done much more than kiss his cheek! The phone rang and it was Trivette saying that he had a line on Rafer Cobb. Walker left Lucas with Alex and headed out. He called Alex several hours later and told her that Cobb had again eluded them, but that he was at the hospital with Lucas' mother and it didn't look good.

Ellen Simms was an IV drug user and she was in the final stages of AIDS. She had inadvertently given her son the disease at birth, but she herself was losing the battle to it. Lucas arrived in time to say goodbye to his mother. His heartbroken sobs tore at everyone's hearts. Walker held him tightly to his chest in an effort to comfort him. Alex held him in her lap all the way back to the ranch and sat with him until he fell into an exhausted sleep. From that night on, Lucas had progressively worse nightmares each night. Walker finally decided to take Lucas to the reservation to help him face the demons that plagued his dreams.

White Eagle was instrumental in helping Lucas face and defeat Rafer Cobb in his nightmares. Walker also told Lucas that he had AIDS and that he was dying. It was a difficult week, but Lucas had found peace and he returned to the ranch determined to live life to the fullest.

Alex apologized when Walker brought Lucas home and she bent to kiss him and then stood up, belatedly remembering that he hadn't wanted her to kiss him when he had left. Somehow, the joke had turned serious and Alex thought that it was probably a sense of loyalty to his mother that kept him from enjoying her hugs and kisses. But Lucas surprised her and said, "it's okay Aunt Alex, I'm a man now." "Thank you," she said as she kissed the cheek he turned towards her. Lucas again broke Alex's heart when she told him that his birthday was coming up and she asked if he wanted a birthday party. He said that he'd never had a birthday party before and she vowed that he was "going to have one this year. One heck of a birthday party." "Okay Aunt Alex, if you say so," he agreed. Alex hugged him to her, "I say so, I really say so."

It was Lucas' idea to go public with his AIDS status and to visit local schools to educate the kids about AIDS. Walker was supposed to perform hours of public relations at elementary schools as part of his job with the Texas Rangers. He usually satisfied this requirement with his Kick Drugs program, but Captain Price agreed to give him the time to take Lucas around to local schools to share his story. His birthday dawned bright and beautiful. The local rancher's kids arrived to enjoy the games and refreshments the gang had arranged for Lucas' party. Lucas got a new saddle from Walker, a computer from Trivette, a bridle with an engraved nameplate from Alex and the children's series of Hays Cooper stories from C.D. The day was perfect and everyone enjoyed themselves.

Rafer Cobb tried to get the passkey Ellen had hidden behind the picture of her that Lucas carried with him always. Lucas called out for Walker and Cobb was finally arrested. It fell to Alex to prosecute him. She prepared Lucas to testify against him and he did a wonderful job. That night, Alex went to the ranch with Lucas and Walker, but she didn't stay. She had to be in court early the next morning, so she had coffee with Walker and then headed home. Lucas' 'tickle in his throat' progressed to a respiratory infection that his body couldn't fight. After insisting on saying goodbye to Little Ranger, he allowed Walker to take him back to the hospital for the last time. Lucas slipped into a coma and as soon as Alex got a conviction against Cobb, she rushed to the hospital to be with Walker. They stood on either side of Lucas' bed holding his little hands as he slipped away. Alex stroked the hair off his forehead and bent to kiss him for the last time. Tears streamed down her face and she walked around the bed and into Walker's arms. They held each other and cried as the nurses turned off the monitors and covered Lucas with the sheet. Walker led Alex out to the Ram and they drove home in silence. Alex called C.D. and Jimmy and told them and then she and Walker went up to bed to lay in the dark sharing the pain and grief they felt at losing the little boy who had stolen their hearts without any effort at all.

Walker insisted that Lucas be buried on the ranch in his favorite spot and he gave a touching eulogy. In a few short months, Lucas had become such an integral part of their lives that they both felt lost without him. It was a slow process to heal the pain of loss and Alex stayed close to Walker's side so that whenever he reached out to her, she was there for him. It happened at odd moments. Lady's foal ran across the pasture and nudged his mother's udder to start to nurse and Walker's hand would reach out to grab for Alex's. Alex found one of the plastic horses that had gotten kicked under the couch and as she held it up, Walker reached for her and they both cried fresh tears. Alex took down her makeshift bathroom door curtain and folded it into a carved wooden box White Eagle had made. The box held other special momentos of Lucas. She included the plastic horse, cowboy boots and hat along with a few other items and she placed the box on the shelf in the living room. Next to the box, she placed a picture of Lucas standing between herself and Walker with Little Ranger behind them. The tribute to Lucas was a permanent fixture of the house and each would find themselves pulling the box down and going through its items to revisit memories of the special young boy.



Jimmy becomes suspicious when he visits an old friend at a nursing home, Quiet Rest and his friend tries to tell him that there is something wrong at the home. He isn't able to give Jimmy details though as he suffers from Alzheimer's and his memory is patchy at best. Jimmy decides that Josh is simply lost in a fantasy world of his own making until he gets word that Josh is dead. Further investigation reveals that there is an abnormally high death rate at the home. Jimmy gets C.D. to jump on the bandwagon and even Walker agrees that it sounds fishy. Now the hard part, the three men have to convince Alex. Alex is always the most difficult to convince because, as the ADA, she has to be. Cost plays a factor, as does the allotment of other resources. She can't just authorize an investigation because her friends are suspicious. Then again, these friends have pretty good noses for sniffing out corruption.

Walker and Jimmy present the idea that C.D. go into the home as a patient. He will play Walker's grumpy old father-in-law. Of course, they have to convince C.D. that he can 'act' old, but C.D. is excited about the idea of going into deep cover. Alex has one question, "who would play the daughter of this grumpy old man?" "Guess who?" Walker challenged her with a gleam in his eye. Alex laughed already knowing the answer. "I'm game," she said. "But there is one thing," Walker told her. "What's that?" she asked. "You've got to go in pregnant." "Pregnant?!" she exclaimed. Walker chuckled at the moment and the look on her face. C.D. and Jimmy enjoyed seeing Alex at a lost for words as well. It didn't last long though, as she demanded the details. Walker told her that they were going to go in as a couple expecting their first child. Her father was living with them and he was becoming more unpredictable with the progression of his Alzheimer's and so they had decided to place him in a home where he could receive 'proper care.' The foursome sat in the booth and ironed out the details.

It took nearly a week to establish the details of the cover. First they made inquiries to the home and filled out and returned the admittance packet they had been sent along with phony doctor's notes from a friend of theirs who worked in the records department of the courthouse but who had always dreamed of being a doctor. He actually took authentic medical records and 'doctored' them so that it would appear that C.D. was the patient.

For her part, Alex went shopping. The police department loaned her a 'pregnant suit.' It strapped over her shoulders and hung down in front making her look at least eight months pregnant. She put the suit on and borrowed a maternity dress from a coworker so that she could buy something suitable from a store without having to explain her 'pregnancy.' Alex drove to a mall she never went to and headed straight for the maternity store. She didn't want to be recognized by someone she knew, so she took extra precautions. Alex enjoyed the charade as she shopped for something to wear to the rest home. She selected several outfits and finally decided on a pretty skirt that had a floral pattern on it and a peach maternity top that blended with the skirt and made her skin glow. It was a good color on her and with the help of cosmetics, she thought she would be able to make herself look like a healthy happy expectant mother. Alex couldn't resist strolling through the mall in her new look. She was beginning to enjoy the role a little 'too much.'

That night, Walker took her out to dinner and presented her with the final piece of her costume. He opened a jewelry box and showed her the 'borrowed' engagement and wedding rings. There was even a matching ring for him. They were playing the part of an upper middle class couple and he himself planned to wear a suit and tie. Walker took the rings and slipped them onto her ring finger. He wanted to make the moment light and funny, but he just couldn't. His hand shook slightly and he broke out into a sweat. Alex tried to be solemn, but she had the opposite reaction to Walker's; she broke out laughing. She had tears streaming from her eyes she was laughing so hard. "What's so funny," Walker asked a little irritated. "You darling," she laughed again although she was clearly trying to get herself under control. "What did I do?" Walker asked getting more irritated. "You just looked as if you were handcuffing yourself to a speeding train when you put the rings on me. You looked terrified!" she continued to laugh and used her napkin to wipe the tears that flowed down her cheeks. "That's a pretty good analogy, marrying you would be like handcuffing myself to a speeding train!" Walker stated defensively. Alex started to laugh all over again. By this time, Walker was getting pretty hot under the collar. "Are you ready to leave?" he asked in an angry tone. Alex fought hard with herself and finally managed to get her giggles under control. "I'm sorry, please don't be mad at me. Please?" she begged him with her eyes. Walker gave her a stern look and even managed to hold it for all of five seconds. 'Damn her, she does it every time,' he thought to himself. Looking into those huge blue eyes that sparkled from her recent tears made his heart feel as if it was being squeezed in a vice and his stomach floated much higher in his body cavity than it was intended to. He shook his head at her, "Alexandra Cahill... you are the most aggravating, annoying, breathtakingly beautiful woman I have ever known and one of these days I'm going to learn how to stay mad at you," he finally finished his attempted tirade. As usual, it ended with him letting her know that she had won again.

Alex took pity on the man. After all, she had won; she could afford to be generous. "I'm sorry darling, I really am. It's just that I never thought I would have a real family and the more time I spend with you, the more family I get." Walker looked at her in puzzlement. "Not too long ago, you asked me to be a surrogate mother to Lucas." She watched as the mention of his name brought pain to Walker's eyes. She wasn't going to stop talking about Lucas though just because it was painful. If she let him, Walker would bury his feelings deep and not share them with her. She wasn't going to let him. "Then Lucas asked me to be his aunt," she smiled at the memory. "Now, I get to pretend to be C.D.'s daughter giving me two fathers where before I didn't have any." Walker smiled at her knowing that she had felt like an orphan until she had patched up things with Gordon. "Not only that, but I get to pretend that you're my husband and we are expecting our first baby." Neither spoke aloud what they were thinking, but they both hoped that someday this would be a reality and not just a cover. "If Jimmy wasn't black, I bet you'd have me playing his sister." Walker grinned at her, "we could say that you have different mothers." Alex smacked his arm for the suggestion. "Let's dance," he offered as he wanted desperately to hold her in his arms and they couldn't leave before their check arrived. Where was that waiter anyway? Taking her into his arms, he pulled her close and left her in no doubt as to how much the evening and the conversation had affected him. Walker held Alex and gently guided her around the dance floor. The restaurant he had chosen was new to them and he hadn't recognized anyone when they walked in. He lifted her chin up from his chest and looked into her eyes and then lowered his head for a kiss. Alex expected a brief touch from his lips, but Walker surprised her when he continued and deepened the kiss. He shocked her when his tongue probed her lips and demanded entrance. They were in public! Walker was never this demonstrative in public. When he finally released her mouth, Alex stood staring at him in stunned silence. "What was that for?" she asked breathlessly. "Can't a guy kiss his wife?" Walker asked her with a teasing tone that bordered on gloating. He enjoyed shocking her and he decided that he was going to have to do it more often. She deserved it the way she always tormented him.

As much as he wanted to stay the night at her place, Walker knew that he had to get to the ranch to tend the horses. He trailed a finger down her cheek and kissed her temple as he slid out from beneath the covers. Reaching for his clothes, he dressed silently and let himself out of her apartment without waking her. When she awoke the next morning, she reached across the bed for him and found only empty space. She woke up and the first thing she saw were the rings he had placed on her fingers the night before. She smiled a dreamy smile and then stretched and looked at the clock. It was later than she realized and she needed to spend extra time dressing to be ready to go to the nursing home. Alex flung the covers back and padded to the bathroom to shower. On her mirror above the sink, there was a message written in very familiar handwriting in her favorite shade of lipstick. It read, 'Good morning sleepyhead. Make sure you and Junior are ready by 9:00. I love you." It was signed, with a simple W. Alex wondered if she should share with Walker that her lipstick cost twenty dollars a tube. She decided against it. What was her favorite lipstick compared to a love note from Walker? She'd buy a truckload if he'd leave her messages like that more often. Alex walked back out to the bedroom and found her camera and snapped a shot of the message. She'd probably never tell him she had done it, but she wanted a keepsake.

At 9:00 sharp, her doorbell rang and Alex looked at herself one last time in the full-length mirror. She decided she'd do. She had butterflies in her stomach at the thought of carrying out the charade, but she really did look pregnant. She opened her door to find Walker standing there and she was taken back by his expression. She reached out to steady him as he stared at her and swayed slightly. "Walker, are you all right?" she asked in concern. Walker cleared his throat and regained his composure; "I'm fine. We'd better get going if you're ready, C.D.'s waiting in the car." Alex nodded and turned to get her purse. When she turned back, Walker stood in the same spot as before staring at her. "You're absolutely beautiful," he whispered in awe. "Thank you, I feel a little awkward. It's not easy maneuvering this belly," she laughed softly and walked toward him. Walker reached his hand out and touched the padded suit. It felt very realistic and it was all he could do to step back and let her through the door. His system had sustained a severe shock and he was going to have to pull himself together. He would just let C.D. drive, but that wouldn't really go with the cover they had established.

At the car, they were using C.D.'s SUV, Alex greeted C.D. "You look pretty as a peach," C.D. told her with a tear in his eye. "I feel as round as a peach," Alex chuckled patting her padded belly. Walker helped her into the front seat, which she found to be slightly challenging. Luckily, her practice in the suit paid off, as she had known in advance that a regular seatbelt didn't work. She had purchased a special extension that was made for pregnant mothers. Walker had installed it per her instructions and he reached across her to buckle her in. Pulling back, he gave her a quick kiss on the lips right in front of C.D. C.D. was enjoying the show and chortled from his backseat vantage point. Walker shook his head at his former partner and rounded the car to get into the driver's seat.

The tour of the facility was brief as Alex pleaded fatigue. They were being given the 'look how wonderful this place is' tour and neither one of them bought it for an instance. They entered Dr. Monroe's office to finalize C.D.'s placement into the home. Walker held Alex's elbow and assisted her as she eased her extra bulk into the chair provided. When Doctor Monroe asked if they were expecting a boy or a girl, Alex answered 'girl' at the same time as Walker said 'boy.' They looked at each other and Alex quickly covered the slip. "I mean we didn't find out, we wanted it to be a surprise. Paul here wants a boy and I want a girl." "Well, how far along are you?" Dr. Monroe asked. Alex looked over at Walker who had taken the seat next to her. He wasn't about to say anything more. He let her take over the 'baby talk.' "Eight months," she answered. They continued the conversation about why they had decided to admit her father to the home. As they stood to leave, Walker assisted her to stand. Alex held her hand on the side of her enlarged abdomen and said, "he's kicking." Walker looked at her surprised and then exasperated. Alex was really getting into the part. As he escorted her out of the office, he said, "he's kicking sheesh," as he rolled his eyes at her. Alex laughed silently.

Once in 'Mr. Carlton's' room, Alex and Walker unpacked C.D.'s belongings and got him settled. Walker placed a picture of Alex with her beloved Golden Retriever 'Nugget' on the nightstand. She had had the dog for only a brief time. Alex had rescued him and given him a home before moving to Dallas. He had died of cancer and she had missed him terribly, keeping his picture on her mantle at home. The picture was a close up of Alex hugging the dog and was perfect for the cover, as no location could be determined from the photo. C.D. was wheeled in and definitely enjoying the role. He called Walker's character, Paul Hayes, a snake in the grass. The three friends joked and teased each other in private, but then turned to the seriousness of the assignment. After giving C.D. a cell phone and a Bible with a hidden transceiver, Alex and Walker said their good-byes and headed out. Alex had trouble hugging C.D., as her belly was now even larger than his.

Walker suggested they stop for lunch before heading home and he took her to a Greek restaurant. They enjoyed their salads with olives and Feta cheese and indulged in some Baklava for desert. Walker remained attentive to Alex and continued his role as loving husband and expectant father. "Would you really prefer a boy?" Alex asked suddenly. "What?" "If we were expecting a child, would you prefer a boy?" "No, I think I'd want a girl first. Actually, I think I'd want three girls in a row." "Three girls! Why?" "'Cuz then we'd have a reason to keep trying for the boy." "Walker, you think I'd be willing to go through four pregnancies to give you a son?" "That's just to start. After we did have a boy, we'd have to give him a brother. It wouldn't be fair to have only one boy with three girls." "What if the fifth child was a girl?" "Then we'd have to go for a sixth," he said matter of factly. "Just how many kids do you plan on having?" "Well, I really liked that book 'Cheaper by the Dozen.' I guess a dozen would do." "Are you insane? You really think I would conceive of having twelve children?" Walker couldn't maintain a straight face any longer. He laughed loud and long at the look on Alex's face. He had succeeded in tormenting her and he enjoyed the triumph. "You rat," she said to him. After he managed to control his laughter, he said, "Alex, I really wouldn't care if we had boys or girls. I wouldn't care if we had two or twelve. Whatever God grants us would be fine with me. As long as the girls looked as beautiful as you that is." "Nice save," she told him as she allowed him to kiss her pouting lips. Walker was thinking of how much fun they'd have trying to conceive twelve children, but he decided not to share this with Alex.

C.D. continued to gather information from inside the nursing home and even found an ally. Her name was Maisie and she was there to uncover the suspicious death of her friend. Maisie was acting as if she too suffered from dementia and she proved a great distraction for C.D. to be able to steal the keys to the drug cabinet. They needed to get a vial of the experimental drug that had been found in Josh. The FDA had banned the drug, as its side effects were deadly. In the meantime, Alex managed to get the families of five of the nine suspected victims to allow their bodies exhumed. She planned to get court orders to have the others exhumed. She also got search warrants ready and when Walker called to say that they needed to get C.D. out of there, she promised to start waking up judges. The Calvary arrived just in time as C.D. and Maisie had been discovered and their lives were in jeopardy.

The celebration at C.D.'s included Maisie whose favorite saying was 'stop dancing and to dust I shall return, post haste.' Alex and Walker enjoyed watching C.D. with Maisie. It was clear to all that these two were falling in love. C.D. had guided Jimmy, Walker and Alex throughout their relationship ups and downs, but to see their dear friend find a love late in life made them all very happy. Alex insisted that Walker dance with her and he didn't have much choice with Maisie there urging him to comply. He gave in good naturedly, but whispered in Alex's ear, "did you return that costume you borrowed?" Alex knew that he meant the pregnancy suit and said, "no, not yet, why?" "Oh, I was just thinking, maybe we could use it tonight." "You're joking right?" "No Alex, I'm serious, that outfit really turned me on." "I think there are names for men with fetishes like yours." "Fetishes!" "Yeah, that's what it's called when a man gets turned on by pregnant women." "I don't get turned on by pregnant women as a rule, I just get turned on by you, pregnant or not. I just thought maybe we could experiment." He waggled his eyebrows at her to let her know that he was teasing and that he wouldn't ask her to do anything that made her uncomfortable. She wasn't as nice though. "Walker, did you return those wedding rings?" she countered. "Not yet, why?" "I was just thinking, maybe we could do a whole married fantasy thing tonight." This time it was Walker's turn to sweat. "I think they have names for women like you," he said referring to her remarks about him. "Oh?" "Yeah, I think they call them 'nags'." Alex deliberately stepped on his foot with her heal. "Ow," watch it woman." "I'm thinking that you're the one who better watch himself," she answered. Walker pulled her in tight for a hug and lifted her from the ground, twirled her and set her back down. "Let's go see what all we can find to do with our new playthings before we have to return them." "I swear Walker, if I'd known you were going to get this turned on by the sight of me pregnant, I would have worn a pillow a long time ago." "Just so long as you don't get carried away and forget to take your pills," he told her and laughed. They headed out to enjoy a night of creative passion.


Part 7 Separation Anxiety

Ref: Season 5 Mr. Justice through Saving Grace

Alex was developing a great deal of political clout. Some people thought that she would one day be the DA or run for another office. People in Tarrant County politics took notice and expected more from this woman who had brains, savvy and looks. She was comfortable in front of a news camera and she could remain poised even when asked the tough questions. The one time she had had a serious run in with someone, the former DA Mark Clark, he had lost and left his position. People in power noticed and continued to watch this woman who had great political potential and they wondered where it would take her. For her part, Alex hadn't decided where her future lay. She had a love for the law and enjoyed putting criminals behind bars. There was more though and she knew it. She simply didn't know yet where to direct her energies. When Walker came to her with the idea of Camp Justice, she agreed, with a little coaxing, to present his idea to Senator Hutchinson, Commissioner Simpson and Deputy Commissioner Dobbs. Walker knew that once Alex bought into the idea, she would become passionate about it. Alex wasn't one to do things by half measures.

Walker wanted to open a rehabilitation camp for young prisoners that would be run like a boot camp. He wanted to teach these men self worth and discipline. He knew that once they were in the system, the chances of them becoming repeat offenders increased. If he could get to them and put them on the right path before they went to Huntsville, well at least he could give them one more chance. Alex was all for the camp once he outlined it for her. Walker had also brought Trivette on board. C.D. was another story. Alex campaigned for a trial run of the camp. Senator Hutchinson overruled Commissioner Simpson and agreed to a six-week trial run to be overseen by Deputy Commissioner Dobbs. She told Walker, "you have quite a champion in Assistant District Attorney Cahill." Walker looked at his ladylove and gave her an abbreviated version of his 'I love you' wink. It was later that night that he expanded on the coded message. Walker took Alex out to dinner to celebrate and they basked in their victory.

Reality hit Alex the night before Walker was to leave. "I can't believe you talked me into arguing for you to be away with no contact for six weeks. What was I thinking?" Walker smiled at her and pulled her toward him on the swing of his porch. They had enjoyed a pleasant evening meal and then gone to sit and watch the sunset from the porch. "I know, it's going to be hard on me too, but just think how much fun we'll have making up for lost time when I get back." "Six weeks! How am I supposed to go six weeks without you?" "I'm planning to take a lot of cold showers." "I'm planning to buy a bunch of batteries," Alex countered. "Alexandra Cahill, I'm shocked! What happened to the woman who questioned if she was built for sex? Where did all those insecurities go?" Alex laughed enjoying the teasing and having fun being a little shocking and daring in her conversation with Walker. She had never been in a relationship where talking about sex was so comfortable and... stimulating. "Do you really think I could spend all those nights in bed with you and remain insecure? I promise you Walker, you have convinced me of my desirability and of my sensuality." "I'll say, you are insatiable woman." "Complaining cowboy?" "Not one bit." Walker looked up to see that the sun had set without notice from either of them. "I need to get an early night. Care to join me?" "Just try and stop me cowboy." "No way, not me." The two headed up to the bedroom to make a night to remember for the next six weeks.

Alex pined for Walker even more than she had expected. He had called her once, but there was no privacy on his end so the call was very stilted and only made her feel lonelier. Alex visited C.D. often and argued with him about the possibilities of the program being successful. She also watched the evening news desperate for glimpses of Walker in the reports from the camp. Walker was also having a difficult time and he was surprised at how difficult it was to be away from Alex. He had thought that he would be so busy and so physically tired that he would fall into bed at night and sleep till morning. Night after night he tossed and turned missing the silky softness of Alex's skin next to his. His moods were not the best and since he was trying very hard not to take it out on the prisoners whose trust he was trying to earn, he took it out on Trivette.

One night, Trivette confronted him and said that he was worse than his roommate at football camp who had been away from his bride for the first time. "Jeez Walker, you're worse than a lovesick puppy. I think I'm going to have to tell Alex just what a miserable slob you are when you're separated from her." "Trivette, I can still whip you and if you dare breathe a word to Alex or C.D. for that matter, I will be only too happy to prove it." Trivette laughed at him and decided to play his trump card. Trivette had brought a small sample vial of the perfume Alex wore. Late that night, when he was certain Walker was asleep, he poured the perfume into Walker's duffel bag and the final drop onto his pillow. Returning to his own bunk, he waited with a grin on his face.

Walker was normally a very quiet sleeper and Trivette watched as he began tossing and turning in the bed. Soon he was mumbling in his sleep and then Trivette distinctly heard the name 'Alex.' C.D. had filled Jimmy in on what Lucas had said confirming their suspicions that Alex and Walker were indeed lovers. As far as Trivette was concerned, this was proof positive. Walker suddenly bolted upright in bed and Jimmy feigned sleep. Walker lifted the sheet and looked down and moaned and then quietly eased out of the bed to the showers. Jimmy was forced to hold the pillow over his head to stifle his fit of laughter. For all the times Walker had gotten Jimmy, this was the ultimate in payback. For days the scent lingered, but it had been such a small amount that Walker thought his mind was playing tricks on him and never realized what Jimmy had done, lucky for Jimmy.

Alex's first glimpse of Walker was as he jogged back to camp with his military style group of convicts obeying commands and keeping in step. He had convinced Dobbs of the viability of the program to the point where Dobbs was willing to take on the day to day running of the camp. It wasn't a hundred percent successful, not all the men passed, but there was a group of men who had passed with the possibility of a future, something they had previously lacked. Walker had been in the woods, hiked, jogged, slept and had not showered. He was dirty and sweaty and frankly, he was ripe. Alex didn't care. All she saw was bulging muscles that had the sheen of sweat, a black T-shirt and baseball cap that set off his red hair and beard and sparkling gray blue eyes that she adored. She grabbed him and hugged him to her tightly. The cloud of perfume hit Walker like a two by four. Alex wore a subtle scent and she applied it sparingly, but Walker's olfactory scent kicked into overdrive and he was hard and ready instantly. He even managed to shock Alex at his body's response to her. She stepped back with a flush to her cheeks and tried to remain professional throughout the rest of the afternoon that included time in front of the news camera alongside Walker.

Walker showered and changed and told Trivette to ride back with someone else. He took Alex by the arm and marched her over to his Ram as soon as it was possible to escape. They drove down the two-lane road that led to the secluded camp for about fifteen minutes until Walker found a place that he could go off-roading. He took the Ram between a break in the foliage and went far enough into the woods that they couldn't be seen from the road. Then he turned off the ignition and reached for Alex pulling her hungrily into him. His mouth sought hers and he kissed her over and over again, tasting her and drinking in her sweetness. His hand went to her shoulders and he slipped her jacket off. Next, he unbuttoned her blouse and peeled it off. He couldn't even wait to remove her bra as his mouth closed over the silky material while he fumbled with the back. "The clasp is in the front," Alex panted as Walker's inability to find the clasp in the back only heightened their torment. If Walker had been able to feel one more emotion, he would have felt embarrassment, but instead he was overwhelmed with desire and love and there was no room for another single emotion.

After ridding Alex of the top half of her clothing, he moved to her waistband. He was chagrined that she had worn slacks, a skirt would have been so much quicker. It didn't slow him down much though. He undid the button and zipper and pulled her slacks and panties down to her knees. Alex kicked her shoes and the pants the rest of the way off. Alex hadn't been sitting idle during this. She had pulled Walker's shirt up over his head and spent time refamiliarizing herself with the taste and feel of his chest. As soon as she kicked her shoes and pants off, she turned to help Walker with his only to find that she was too late. Walker had slid his pants off and exposed the full erection that had been causing him so much discomfort ever since he had hugged her. While Walker peeled his shoes and socks off, he slid the seat as far back as it would go. Then he tilted the steering wheel up and slid over to the middle of the seat. Alex didn't wait for an invitation as she straddled his lap and slid fully onto him. Walker thrust up to bury himself, but Alex pulled back a bit, "wait, I need you to go slow. It's been awhile." "Alex," he moaned, "please don't ask me to go slow, I can't." Alex held his shoulders to steady herself and eased down onto his length. "Just give me a minute to adjust," she pleaded. Walker couldn't answer as his mouth was filled with her breast. Alex felt her muscles relax to accept Walker at his most aroused. She slowly eased herself back up his length and back down again to more fully coat him with her lubricating fluids. "Now," she cried and arched her back pushing her pelvis to grind against his. Walker's hands each grabbed a buttock and pulled and pushed her on and off of him in a franticly paced coupling. He barely managed a few deep thrusts before he exploded into her. "Oh god Alex!" he shouted as his body shuddered with release. Alex hadn't yet reached her own climax and she pushed him as deeply into her as possible as he tried to catch his second wind. "I'm sorry darling, I couldn't wait." "Stop wasting your breath on apologies and get busy," she ordered. Walker did as she ordered and reached his hand down to find the swollen mate to his erection. He gently rubbed the engorged flesh with his fingers and Alex moaned as she clenched around his still swollen member that pulsed back to life within her. Walker also stimulated her aching nipples with his mouth as she rocked herself against his hand. All of this was too much for Walker as he was quickly ready again and he resumed his former position with his hands at her buttocks pumping her up and down onto him. A nearby deer stopped and listened after hearing a scream that startled it. It wasn't a scream of terror it heard, but the cry of a woman who had reached a sexual pinnacle unable to stifle the pleasure she felt. After Alex reached her climax, Walker continued to thrust up into her until he found himself spilling once again into her.

Alex fell forward, her forehead resting on Walker's shoulder as sweat slicked both of their bodies. They sat there panting, waiting until their hearts slowed to a normal rhythm. Walker ran his hands up and down her back, feeling each ridge of her spine as her supple body arched into him. They remained joined, temporarily spent, but knowing they had only just begun. "Alex, we have a problem," Walker said. "I don't think there are any problems, all is right with my world," she answered dreamily. Walker chuckled into her ear and reached up into her hair to pull her head back. "I meant that we can't leave here." "Okay, still not seeing the problem." "Alex, we left the camp rather hastily and in front of everyone else. It probably isn't safe to go back to the road for at least two more hours. We have to be sure everyone has already left to head back to Dallas before we dare head home." "Still not seeing the problem," she said as she dipped her head back down to his shoulder. "Two hours, Alex." "Mmm hmm," she murmured beginning to nibble on his collarbone and lick the salty sweat she found there. "Oh what the hell," Walker said as he again pulled her head away from his shoulder and began to tease her lips with his tongue.

"Walker?" Alex said. "Yeah," he answered between kisses. "I have a cramp in my calf muscle." They had each come twice more and they still remained in the same position with Alex straddling Walker, sitting on her knees. He had not left her body the entire time and after all the calisthenics they had indulged in, her body was crying out for a different type of release. Walker eased her up and off of him and set her in the seat beside him. He then opened the driver's side door and stepped out onto the leaf-covered ground. Walker reached into the back and pulled out his sleeping bag. He opened it and spread it in the bed of the truck. He then went around to Alex's side and lifted her out and up over the side of the truck down onto the sleeping bag. Joining her in the bed of his Ram, he said, "which leg?" "The right," she answered and grimaced in pain as he grasped her foot and flexed it. After stretching the offending limb, he moved up her leg massaging the tightened muscle. "That's better, thank you." "No problem," he said as he stretched out beside her. "I've got a cramp too," he said. "Oh, where?" she asked. Walker grinned wickedly and reached his hand down to his groin where he held the offending 'limb' up to show her. "Wow, that particular muscle seems to be getting tight a lot today. I better massage it for you," she offered. Alex took him into both of her hands and began the 'massage.' Leaning forward, she pulled him into her mouth and used the vacuum seal she had formed to provide suction until he was ready to explode again. Walker pulled her off of him and rolled her under him. Alex spread her legs to receive him and this time there was no hesitation on her body's part to accept him. The joining was slower and gentler, but no less satisfying. Curling her by his side, they both fell into a deep sleep.

The first drops of rain woke them and they had to jump up and dive into the cab of the truck before the deluge completely soaked them. Mother Nature had decided to give the woods a second night of rain. Normally, Walker would have noticed the signs, but he had been somewhat distracted. They laughed at themselves as they pulled on clothes for the drive home. "I told you there wasn't a problem waiting two hours," Alex said. In fact, it had been five. Walker had some difficulty returning to the road in the dark and the heavy downpour, but they managed to arrive at the ranch. As they pulled into the driveway, Alex said, "you know Walker, I'm getting more and more fond of this truck." "Beats a convertible any day," he agreed and they laughed as they piled out and into the ranch house.


Alfre Grimes, Alex's former cellmate, had won her appeal with Gordon Cahill representing her. All charges were dropped and she was a free woman. She got a job as a union carpenter and once again found herself in hot water. Knowing that substandard materials and practices were being used, she tried to stand up to the foreman at the building site. When a coworker nearly died in a trap set for her, Alfre went to Alex for help. Alex's role as ADA was blurred in her efforts to help Alfre, but she was determined to do whatever she could to see Alfre succeed in her stance against injustice. Walker and Trivette played big roles when things turned ugly and Alfre's family was threatened. After gathering enough evidence to charge those responsible with their crimes, Alex was able to present a solid case in court. Walker used his connections to secure Alfre a job as a building inspector, one who couldn't be bought. Alex enjoyed practicing a slightly different side of the law. She was helping a victim stand up for what was right. Alex remembered her days with legal aid and for the first time since moving on in her career, she realized that she missed the feeling it gave her to help the victims of crimes in ways other than prosecuting the offenders. Alex tucked away the experience, but it had planted a seed.

Soldier had returned to Dallas and volunteered his time at the Children's Home. He was back on his feet and he wanted to give back to people who had not found their way home as he had. His work at the Children's Home gave him a sense of purpose and also introduced him to the Home's Administrator to whom he had taken a more than platonic interest. Soldier tracked down Alex at the Justice Building. Walker was out on an assignment, but Soldier told Alex of a special day that had been designed to try and let some of the older children at the home meet prospective parents. Alex volunteered herself and Walker to help in any way they were able. They were scheduled to provide lemonade and iced tea to the participants. Both Alex and Walker were looking forward to the day. It would take up their Saturday, so they decided to have an early dinner at C.D.'s on Friday and then head home to the ranch for some quality 'together time.'

C.D. challenged Walker to a game of darts, which Walker easily won. C.D. then asked Alex to play him as he felt that it was his only chance of winning a game. He had lost every time he played Cordell and he wasn't sure why he continued to torture himself. "No way, not me," came Alex's response to his request. "Why not Alex? It's just a friendly game." "C.D., I'll play you at chess or horseshoes or even backgammon, but I will not play you at darts." "But why honey?" "Because C.D., I can't hit the side of a barn. I don't know what it is about the game, but I can't play. I'll just put holes all over your wall." C.D. chided her for awhile, but finally gave up good-naturedly.

After C.D. left to see to his customers, Walker looked at Alex. "I've never seen you play darts," he said speculatively. "And you won't," she answered. "Come on Alex, it's not that hard, I'll teach you." "Oh great, just what I wanted," she remarked sarcastically. "Alex, get up here and I will show you how this is done, now watch." Alex watched as Walker tossed the dart and it flew straight into the bulls eye. "Very nice, Walker. Now, let me see you do it again." Walker aimed and another found its mark. "Now you, Alex." "No, I think I need to see it again, just to get the technique down." Walker looked at her with suspicion. He decided that she was playing him and doing a very good job. "Get up here Alex." Alex sighed deeply and stood up next to Walker. He handed her the dart and she said, "I don't know why I have to do this. I have never aspired to being a darts player." "Alex, it's a great game for hand-eye coordination. Anyone who wants to shoot a gun should be able to throw a dart." "Walker?" "Yeah," he answered waiting for her next stall. "Have you ever noticed that I don't like shooting guns?" That stopped Walker and he just stood staring at her as if she had sprouted an extra head. "Alex, how many hours have I spent teaching you about gun safety?" "Darling, more than I can count." "You're saying that you don't want to learn?" "I'm saying that I am willing to learn because there may come a time when I need to know, but I don't like shooting guns." "I know you don't like hunting, but what about target practice?" "Yuck." "Yuck? That's all you can say is yuck? Alex!" "Now Walker, don't get offended. I didn't get upset when you declined to learn photography. Remember when I asked you to enroll in that class with me?" "Alex, that's completely different. Photography! It's not like I'm going to save someone's life with a camera." "No, but not everything is about saving a life. Photography is a great way to express oneself artistically. Considering I can't draw or paint, I thought it would be nice to try my hand at photography and you know what? I'm good at it and I enjoy it." "Great Alex, I'm glad that you like it, but why do I have to learn about it?" "Well, obviously you don't, since you didn't take the class. I just thought it would be nice to be able to have a conversation with you about it. If you knew the basics, then I could share some of the things I was doing."

"Alex, I just have one question." "Yes Walker." "Do you want to learn to throw darts or not?" Alex looked at his face. She had actually managed to hurt his feelings. It certainly wasn't her intention, but he had to know that not everything he did was going to interest her. She did want to know how to fire a gun in case, God forbid, a time should arise when she needed to, but she didn't consider darts a survival skill. Still, Walker was all but pouting and she was going to have to work hard to put him back into a good mood. Jeez and all of this over a stupid game of darts! "Yes Walker, I'd like you to show me how to throw a dart properly," she finally answered.

Twenty minutes later, Walker was nearly wishing she had declined. She was right, she couldn't hit the side of a barn. He'd have to think twice next time before handing her a loaded gun when he took her target shooting. "Come on Alex, you're not concentrating. You've got to see this with your minds eye," he said in exasperation as she hit the corner of the backboard. "See it with my mind's eye." "Right." "Now I know what Jimmy feels like all the time." Walker sighed, "it's really quite simple. Let me show you." "Okay." "All right, all you have to do is visualize the target. Visualizing the dart going from here to the bulls eye. If you keep that visualization in your mind, you don't even have to look. Watch, I'll close my eyes and do it, watch." Walker closed his eyes and sent the dart straight into the bulls eye. Alex stood there with her mouth open in shock. "See?" Walker pulled the dart out of the board and strutted back to Alex. "Now, you do it. Visualize. Visualizing the dart going from here to the bulls eye. Focusing on that bulls eye, seeing it go into the bulls eye. Now visualize." Alex tried to focus, but she couldn't help the stray thought, 'the things I do for love.' Aloud she murmured, "visualizing," as she lined up the dart, closed and then reopened her eyes, closed them again and let it fly. The dart flew right into Walker's head. Well, actually it flew into a picture of Walker along with herself, Trivette and C.D. sitting at the bar. It was one she had taken using the timer as an assignment for her photography class. She thought it had turned out quite well. C.D. thought so too and mounted it on the wall. Now, Walker's face had a dart hole in it. Walker strode over to the picture and pulled the dart out. Alex tried not to laugh, but there was no way to prevent the giggles that escaped. Walker gave her a stern look, "what were you visualizing?" As he approached her, he couldn't keep the smile off of his face either. "All right now, concentrate, concentrate." "Okay." "Visualize." Alex began to laugh again and hit him in the chest. "Okay, you're making me laugh." "Focus." "I can't focus with you..." Walker's deeper tones mixed with hers as they both laughed. "Shh shh," she shushed him as she hit him again. "Now look at that little red dot down there," he said. Alex wiped the smile from her face and put on her game face. "Okay." "Now see the dart going right into that dot." Alex aimed and let the dart fly through the air, landing exactly where it had the last time. Alex's mouth gaped in surprise. Walker glared at her suspiciously. "You're doing that on purpose, that's the same spot." Alex tried to deny her intent, but she was laughing again. "Now, I'll remedy that," Walker decided as he removed the photograph from the wall. "Now, again," he told her as he handed her the dart. "You're relentless." "That's right." "You are." "I'm not giving up until you hit that bulls eye." Alex put her game face back on and threw the dart again. Her mouth gaped in amazement when the dart landed in the bulls eye. "See? See how easy that is? Nothing to it," Walker claimed. Alex wrapped herself into his arms and he gave her a bear hug. "Now, let's try that again." "Walker?" "Yeah, honey." "If I throw that dart again, it will be at you." Walker looked at her face and realized that he had pushed as far as he was going to be able to for the day. "And put the photograph back on the wall," she said as she turned to go finish her drink before they left.

It was only a few weeks later when Alex had reason to be grateful that she had learned to handle guns. She was having one of her Battered Women's Support Groups in the basement of a Catholic Church. Alex was slightly frustrated at the difficulty she was having in finding neutral meeting places. She wished that there was a place that she could feel comfortable with, knowing that it wasn't inconveniencing anyone that she held her group there. The nuns at the church were very nice and supportive, but she knew that it took away from their normal tasks to accommodate them.

They had a new member join the group, a woman who had called the hotline while Alex was manning it. Alex had invited her to the group and was very glad when she came. It took some coaxing, but she finally shared some of her ordeal. The women in the group came from all walks of life and each had a tragic story to share. These women were fighters and they were survivors. Some had put up with abuse from their spouses for years, but they had all taken the step to free themselves of the fear and pain inflicted by the men in their lives. Alex generally facilitated a group, got it established and then chose one or two women to continue leading the group. As they became stronger and more independent, Alex backed out and began a new group. She was always available to come back to help reorganize if things began to fall apart, but by starting several of these groups, she was able to reach out and affect change in more women's lives. Leaving the abusive men was only the first step and these women needed years, perhaps a lifetime of support by other's who had endured similar traumas. This group was fairly new and Alex had already identified two potential leaders, but they weren't ready to have her back out of her leadership role just yet.

Trivette and Walker were brought in to track down escaped convicts. Their leader went by the name, Preacher. As luck would have it, Preacher had been raised at the orphanage located at the church where Alex and her group were meeting. The prisoners burst in and took over. Alex recognized Preacher right away and knew that she had to be strong to keep the women in her group safe. She and the women were taken back down into the basement while Preacher kept the Mother Superior and Sister Mary Grace with him as hostages.

One of the convicts had taken an interest in Alex. Walker, hot on the trail of the escapees, looked into the basement window and saw the man touching Alex sensuously with the tip of a lethal looking knife. Walker saw anger and determination on Alex's face as she sat perfectly still while the man tormented her. Walker pointed his gun, ready to shoot the man through the window if he harmed Alex. Another man came into the basement and called the knife-wielding guy away, so Walker was able to relax slightly. He called Trivette for back up and then found a way into the basement. Alex kept the youngest of the escapees talking when she saw Walker sneak in behind him. Walker quickly disarmed him and gave Alex the gun. Alex herded three men out in front of her carrying the high powered rifle as if she knew what she was doing, she did. The men decided not to challenge her as they exited the church to the swat team waiting outside. Alex went to Jimmy and filled him in and then replaced the safety on the gun and laid it down. Walker managed to get into the sanctuary through a trap door and rescue the nuns.

That night, Walker sat on Alex's sofa holding her to his chest as they reflected on the day's events. "I guess I owe you another one," Alex said. "Why's that?" "Well, once again you rescued me." "Not intentionally." Alex chuckled, "okay, so you accidentally rescued me, it still had the same result." "I don't know Alex. When I looked into that basement window and saw that guy with the knife, you looked anything but afraid." "Well, I must be a good actress, because I was afraid." "I'm sure you were, who wouldn't be? But you didn't let him know that. And those three men went like lambs to slaughter with you toting that big gun. You looked like a real pro hefting that thing." "Okay Walker, you don't have to rub it in. I said that I was glad you've taught me how to handle guns." "Yeah right, now if I could just get you to play darts." "I know another game that requires accuracy and precision, not to mention good aim." "Really? What game is that?" "Come into the bedroom cowboy and I'll show you. Just remember to visualize and focus. See it with your minds eye," Alex laughed seductively as she began walking toward the bedroom undressing on the way. Walker's eyebrows shot up under the fringe of hair on his forehead, but he did as he was told. Far be it for him to turn down an invitation into Alex's bedroom!


Part 8 Not So Undercover Couple

Ref: Season 5 Money Talks

C.D. was hired to act as Security Chief for two weeks at a resort for the extremely wealthy called Golden Wells. He was filling in for a friend of his who would take the job when he retired from the Rangers in two weeks. C.D. was looking forward to rubbing shoulders with the rich and famous. He was also looking forward to a new challenge. He loved his Bar and Grill, but things sometimes ran too smoothly and he needed some excitement. He didn't expect anything major to happen while he was there, but the thrill of always being on alert was stimulating in itself.

Two days after C.D. left, Walker phoned Alex and arranged to meet her at the Marina Cafe for lunch. He walked right into a jewelry store heist and managed to take out both suspects. When Alex arrived, he was wrapping up the paperwork. She greeted him with, "don't you ever stop working?" "I just stopped, let's eat," he suggested as he put his arm around her and led her to the Cafe. They sat at the table and the waitress handed them their menus. "Maybe one of these days we'll get through lunch without you arresting someone." "Maybe," he answered as her cell phone rang. "Don't you ever stop working?" he echoed her earlier question. She answered the phone and then handed it to him, "it's for you." She looked triumphant as she watched him put the phone to his ear.

Commissioner Johnson was calling to relay a message from the Governor. Ten of the richest men in America and their families were planning to be at Golden Wells for a party and Walker was asked to take a security team down there. Alex only heard Walker say, "Golden Wells" and her curiosity was piqued. He explained the situation and said, "the Governor wants me to go out there and keep an eye on things, discreetly." "Discreetly?" He nodded his head yes. Alex got a gleam in her eye. "Well, you can't go there by yourself, that would be completely suspicious. You need to take your wife." "That's not a bad idea," he agreed as he looked up at the pretty waitress who had been giving him an inviting look since they had arrived, behind Alex's back of course. He said, "I wonder who I should take," as he turned his head to watch the waitress sashay past. Alex got a chagrined look and slapped his hands that were sitting on the table curled around her cell phone. "Very funny, give me that phone." The rest of the meal was spent with her plotting and planning for a vacation, paid for by the state, at Golden Wells.

Walker spoke to C.D. to fill him in on the situation. He then spoke to Trivette who would go in as a businessman looking to meet some prospective partners. Trivette entered phony ID's for himself and the 'married' couple. While Trivette and Walker researched the people involved and established their cover; Alex rearranged her court schedule and went shopping. She spent more than she normally would, but she was playing the part of a wealthy woman. She decided that since she was planning to keep the dresses and accessories she purchased, she would pay for some of them herself. She went to one of her favorite dress shops and purchased shorter, tighter and more revealing clothing than she was able to wear in her day to day life, but she had a certain Texas Ranger in mind when she made her selections.

After she finished her shopping spree, she walked into Ranger Headquarters to find Walker propped on the edge of Jimmy's desk. She took one look at the jeans, boots and hat and decided to make him her next project. "Walker, you'll need to expand your wardrobe for this part." "I've got some suits I can wear." Jimmy chimed in; "hey man, no offense, but I've seen your idea of a suit. You're supposed to be playing a wealthy businessman. If you want to show off your 'trophy wife' you'll have to dress for it." "Trophy wife!" Alex exclaimed rather peeved. "Yeah, you know, a beautiful blond lady who looks great until she opens her mouth. You can pull it off Alex." "Jimmy, that is the biggest load of horse manure..." "He has a point Alex. You certainly don't look like an intelligent woman." "What? You..." "I'm not saying that you're not intelligent, I'm just saying that looking at you, most people would assume all your assets are in your looks." "That is such a chauvinistic thing to say. You two men are going to eat your words." "Well Alex, the commissioner did say that ten of the richest men in America would be there with their families, he didn't say ten of the richest women." "Are you saying that women can't be successful in business and amass fortunes of their own?" "Of course not Alex, we're just saying that those who do, don't look like you." Alex was sputtering she was so mad. "One of these days, you two are going to realize that you can't judge a book by its cover. There are plenty of women who are beautiful and intelligent. That's like saying that Jimmy is a 'dumb jock' or that you Walker are a 'redneck cowboy.' You're perpetuating stereotypes and..." "Let's go shopping," Walker said. "What?" "Shopping. You're right, I need to get some new clothes, so let's go shopping." "All right, I need to check in with my secretary. I'll meet you by the elevator in ten minutes." Walker looked at Trivette and rolled his eyes as Alex rushed away. "Women," he said. "You know it partner."

Walker suffered in silence as Alex made him try on a rack full of clothes. It wasn't his nature to be so compliant, but he knew that he was treading very close to the edge with Alex and if he weren't careful, she would push him over. He liked to tease and torment her, but when Jimmy teamed up with him, they had a habit of going overboard. Alex was generally good-natured, but when she got her dander up, watch out! He was glad his distraction ploy worked. Conceding to allow Alex to choose items for him to wear was a small penance. She had done a great job dressing Joey Prado when he went in undercover as a drug dealer, so he just put himself into her hands and let her pick and choose. He balked at one or two suits that were just too 'sissy' looking in his opinion, but when he saw the smile in her eyes, he realized that she was playing her own cruel game.

After shopping for a new wardrobe, they went to select a car to drive. Here the two definitely butted heads. "Walker, we are not getting an expensive looking truck." "Well Alex, the little sports cars you like are not my style." "Yeah, but I've decided to elaborate on our cover." "Oh?" "Yeah, I decided that I'm the one with the money and business savvy and you are my 'trophy husband.' So... we buy the car I like and I like the little red sports car." "No way Alex, I am not driving a red car." "Why not?" Walker posed and said in his most effeminate voice, "it clashes with my hair." Alex lost it. She laughed so hard that she nearly wet herself. In the end though, they left with a red convertible. Walker continued to gripe on the way out, "a convertible. Do you have any idea what you can't do in a convertible?" "Oh honey, when there's a will, there's a way," and she ran her hand up his thigh to cup his crotch. Walker slapped her hand away and conceded defeat, again.

The last stop was at the jewelers at the marina. After apprehending the two suspects in the holdup the day before, the owner had told Walker that he could get him a great deal on anything he wanted for his beautiful blond lady. Walker thought that it was a great opportunity to get an idea of what Alex liked in the way of rings. He knew that it was only a matter of time before he asked her to marry him and he might as well start preparing. He had informed the jeweler that they would only be 'borrowing' the wedding bands, but he also told him that he wanted Alex to choose her own engagement ring without knowing it. The jeweler was quite the romantic and more than willing to play along. They walked in and Alex immediately showed great interest in the wide selection. Walker feigned disinterest and sat in a chair with a bored expression. "Walker, look! Don't you think this is just stunning?" "Yeah sure Alex, it's nice." "Nice! Walker, it's just beautiful." "Uh huh." Alex frowned at him and moved on to the next case. No matter how many rings she looked at, she kept going back to a diamond solitaire with a plain gold ban. "This ring is simply beautiful," she said. "Would you like to try it on?" the jeweler asked. "Okay," Alex breathed. The jeweler decided that the woman had marvelous taste. The ring was elegant in its simplicity. It was a very high quality diamond and it didn't need a fancy setting or diamond chips to accent it, it stood alone. It was also the perfect ring for her long slender fingers. If he had custom designed the perfect ring for her; it would have been this same ring. "Walker, what do you think?" Alex turned to him displaying her hand. "It's all right I guess. Don't you think you should get something fancier? I mean you are supposed to be rich. Even as a trophy husband I would want my wife to have nice jewelry." Walker felt a pang as he saw the look of disappointment cloud her beautiful blue eyes. "Yeah, I guess you're right." "If it's something more elaborate you're looking for, what about this set?" the jeweler suggested as he brought out a white gold set that had several smaller diamonds encircling the large one. It was a pretty ring and looked nice on Alex's hand, but she was disappointed in Walker's lack of enthusiasm. While Alex put the rings she had finally agreed to on her ring finger, Walker gave a brief nod to the jeweler. The man acknowledged the subtle gesture and the diamond solitaire was removed from the display case and put into a safe in the back and marked 'reserved.'

"Well Alex, it's nearly dinnertime, do you want to stop by the cafe and get something to eat before heading home? I need to stop at Headquarters, but I can drop you at your apartment after dinner." "No, I'm good. I'll just fix something at home," she moped. "Alex, what's wrong? I thought you were looking forward to this trip." "I was," she said. "And now?" Alex looked up at him. "Sometimes Walker, you can be such a toad." "Me? I thought I was Prince Charming." "There is nothing 'charming' about you this evening." "Hmmm... I think you're just worn out from all this shopping and getting your own way." "Getting my own way!" "Yes Alex, we got the clothes you wanted, I let you shop for me and we even got the red sports car you picked out." "We didn't get the ring I wanted." "We can go back and get the ring if you want. I don't care about the ring, I just thought it was a little plain for the role we're playing." "But it was so beautiful." "Whatever, I certainly am not going to argue with you about a ring that we're borrowing to play a part. If you want to go back..." "No, this one is fine." Walker shrugged, "then what's the problem?" "Walker, if I have to tell you, then it's not worth talking about." "Great, more lawyer talk, more female lawyer talk," Walker grumbled. Alex flashed her eyes at him. At least now she was mad and not hurt.

He hated to see the hurt in her eyes and was tempted to tell her the truth, that he wanted to get that special ring for her so that he could ask her to marry him. It would spoil the surprise though, since he hadn't decided when or how he was going to ask her. All he knew was that he was in love with her and he wanted to spend the rest of his life with her. Maybe he could use the time at Golden Wells as a 'trial run.' It had definite possibilities. Walker returned to the jewelry store and purchased the ring Alex had fallen in love with. He didn't know when he'd get the nerve up to ask her, but he wanted to be prepared. He also spied a diamond tennis bracelet that he decided to buy her. He was hoping it could be used to help her get over being mad at him. He'd keep it for just the right moment.

The next day, Walker and Alex pulled up to Golden Wells in the infamous red sports car. They were both 'in character' and Walker had to admit that Alex looked both sexy and smart. She was the perfect foil in this setting; she was classy and elegant and she looked as if she was born to inhabit such places. She'd done a good job dressing him for the part as well and he had to admit that when he looked in the mirror, he liked what he saw. They checked in and went to their room. It would be too suspicious to check in with C.D. immediately, so instead, they took the offered tour of the facilities to see what all was available and to get the lay of the land. The tennis courts, golf course, pool, stables, sauna and gym were all on the tour along with the restaurants, lake and gardens. Another couple struck up a friendly conversation with them and Walker stood by quietly admiring his 'wife.'

The two couples parted and Walker continued in an introspective mood. "You're being awfully quiet, even for you," Alex commented. "Hmmm... I was just thinking." "About what?" "About you actually." "And that put the frown on your face?" Walker looked up and focused on her face and smiled apologetically. "I was just thinking how well you fit in here. You belong in this world Alex. Look at you, you're beautiful and poised. You're able to carry on intelligent conversations about all sorts of topics. You can meet a stranger and have a conversation. You just fit here." "And you don't?" "No, I don't fit in this environment. I can play at it for a short period of time, but it's not me." "And you think that the person who puts on pretty dresses and false smiles is me?" "It's not an insult Alex, but yes I do think that the side of you you're showing the world right now is an integral part of you. If your father had made different choices in his life, you would have probably been raised in the midst of this." "But I wasn't Walker. I went through school the hard way. I paid for my education and earned everything I have through sheer hard work. I don't belong here any more than you do. I look around me and I see people who care only about themselves. Their concerns revolve around how something is going to effect them. Do you really think I could be happy in this environment as more than an infrequent visitor? I bet if we went to the stables and leased some horses, they wouldn't let me groom and tack my own horse. That would be improper, but you know what? I like to groom and tack my own horse. I care about the fact that there are people who sit out just off this property begging for food. I don't care because I think they detract from the setting, I care because I believe that not one single person should go to bed hungry in a country as rich in natural resources as America. You know what Walker?" "What?" "You did it again, now I'm mad. I don't know what it is about you lately, but you seem to take pleasure in making me mad. I'm going to go to the spa and have a massage and a sauna." "Alex, I can give you a massage." "Why would I want a massage from a rugged cowboy when I can get one from a Swedish trained masseuse?" Alex turned and stormed away.

'Hurricane Alex strikes again,' Walker thought. It was his own insecurities that were causing him to act the way he was acting and he was going to have to get over it. How did you tell a woman that you wanted to marry her and have her live on your ranch when you knew she deserved better? Walker didn't have the answer, so he went into the gym to beat it out of the punching bag.

Alex returned to the suite she was sharing with Walker. She looked around at the luxury and felt incredibly lonely, Walker wasn't there. Then she went into the bathroom and found a message scrawled across the mirror in his handwriting and her lipstick. 'One of these days,' Alex thought, 'I'm going to tell him how expensive lipstick is and how hard it is to clean off of glass.' Of course she never would, it was worth the thrill of seeing the words that reflected his feelings. The message read, 'Please forgive me for being a toad, I'll pick you up for dinner at 7.' There was no greeting or signature, but since they were undercover, it was probably a precaution. Alex smiled as she cleaned the mirror and debated on what to wear.

Walker had returned to the room after his workout and he dressed for dinner and then went in search of C.D. He found him down near the tennis courts and managed to have a 'casual' conversation with him. He filled C.D. in on what they knew and had C.D. fill him in on his own investigation. After exchanging information with C.D., Walker decided to make amends to Alex. He went to the florist shop and purchased a bouquet of springtime flowers. His next stop was the kitchen where he asked for aluminum foil and cardboard. He said that he was preparing a romantic gesture for his wife and no one asked any questions, they were used to the eccentricities of the very rich.

At 7:15 (he knew Alex would be running late) he knocked on the door to their suite. Alex opened the door and her eyes opened wide and her jaw dropped open. Walker stood in the doorway dressed in one of the beautiful suits she had helped him purchase. In his hands, he held a jewelers box and a bouquet of flowers and on his head, he wore a crown fashioned from cardboard and aluminum foil. "I know I've been a toad and I was hoping that the beautiful princess would kiss me and help turn me into a prince," he said. Alex shook her head to clear her vision. She was certain that she was dreaming. Walker just stood there waiting expectantly. Finally, Alex stepped forward and placed a kiss on his waiting lips. When she stepped back, he smiled at her, "did it work?" "Uh huh," she answered with her head nodding up and down. "These are for you," he said extending the flowers. "Thank you, they're beautiful, I'll just put them in a vase." Alex stepped back into the room to find a vase and Walker followed her in and closed the door behind him.

When she came back to him, he held out the jewelry box opened to display the bracelet. "This is for you too," he said solemnly. "Walker, it's beautiful," she breathed. "You shouldn't have," she protested as he lifted it from its case and lay it on her wrist. After fastening it, he stepped back and looked at her. "I should have. I don't give you nearly enough gifts to show you how much I care." Alex's eyes glistened with unshed tears. "You don't have to give me gifts, Walker." "Oh okay, I kept the receipt, I can take it back." "Not on your life cowboy. Oh Walker, just when I think I should strangle you and put you out of my misery, you go and do something completely unexpected." "Who wants to be predictable?" Walker smiled at Alex and watched as a tear spilled over her lower lid and trailed down her cheek. "No tears, Alex." "I'm sorry, these are happy tears." "Women," Walker muttered, but pulled her to his broad chest and bent his head to kiss her.

After several moments, Alex pulled back and whispered against his mouth, "go easy on the lipstick, I seem to be running low." Walker chuckled and kissed her again. "You getting hungry?" "Oh yeah," she murmured, clearly not meaning for food. "Behave Alex, I made reservations for us at 7:30. I didn't get all dressed up just to undress again." "Darn," she said. Walker smiled, "I think I will leave this here though. I wouldn't want the other men to get jealous," he said as he plucked the crown off his head and laid it on the coffee table. "Okay, but don't lose it, I have some ideas for it for after dinner." Walker raised his eyebrows at her, but didn't ask for details. He was afraid he wouldn't get any supper if he did. He was right. When they returned that evening, Alex had an entire 'King' and 'Lady in Waiting' fantasy all prepared. Being a royal had its compensations.

The next morning, Walker and Alex strolled through the lobby hand in hand. She was smiling and his lips twitched up every once in awhile as if he couldn't contain his happiness either. They were back to being very content with each other. They weren't just content; they were sated. They had spent the night making love and sharing pleasure until they both had fallen into an exhausted sleep. They were madly passionately in love with each other and all was right in their world. 'Time to be on red alert,' thought Alex. Aloud she said, "well, we're at that point again Walker." "What point's that?" "Like the first day on the river or the first day on the mountain. When life couldn't get any better. Where we couldn't get any better." "Oh yeah, I remember. The calm before the storm." "Exactly." Walker pulled Alex in close against him as a limo pulled up to deposit 'Mr. Vanderbeck.' Jimmy stepped out and played the part of the nouveau riche, who just had to flaunt his money to 'the help,' which included C.D. 'Barker.' Alex and Walker laughed as they watched Jimmy get C.D.'s goat while C.D. was unable to retaliate.

Later that evening, 'Mr. Vanderbeck' approached 'Mr. and Mrs. Brenner' in the lounge to show them a 'prospectus.' Jimmy sat with Walker and Alex and opened the file acting as if he were a businessman with a business proposition while he filled them in on his latest research that had uncovered the true identity of C.D.'s second in command. He saw some people who were truly rich and soon excused himself to go rub elbows with them. Walker and Alex just laughed at their easily impressed friend.

After dinner, Walker took Alex for a walk on the lakeshore. The evening was cool and he gave her his jacket to wear and kept her close to his side as they strolled together. When they returned to the resort, it was fairly late and most people had retired for the night. "I'm not tired yet, how about a game of pool?" Alex suggested. "You shoot pool? Is it anything like the way you play darts?" "Very funny cowboy. I'll tell you what. If you win, I'll let you have me right there in the billiards room." "And if you win?" "I'll insist." Walker laughed at Alex and readily agreed. He figured it was a win/win situation, either way he was about to have a new and interesting sensual experience.

An hour later, Walker, who was stripes, had only one ball to go. Alex had missed her last shot, but she had managed to block Walker's ball with the eight ball. They were playing best two out of three and they had each won one game. Walker called the shot and then leaned over the table to make it. Alex nonchalantly leaned forward over the other side of the table exposing her cleavage to him. Walker's focus was momentarily distracted as he looked up to see what was casting the shadow on the table. The only light on in the room was the one directly over the table. As he looked up, Alex placed an ice cube from the tall lemonade she had been drinking down between her breasts. Walker flubbed the shot and sunk the eight ball automatically losing the game. "That was dirty pool Alex," Walker protested. "Yeah, you're right. I tell you what, I will clear the table in one shot and if I do, I win. If not, you win." Walker considered her suggestion. There was one solid and one stripe on the table. Calculating the angles, he decided it was a good bet. "All right," he said. "First though," she told him, "I need to get comfortable."

Alex stepped back from the table out of the pool of light. She reached up under the short skirt of her skintight dress and hooked her thumbs into the waistband of her hose and panties. She slowly eased them down. Walker could see the movement, but didn't know what all she was removing. She had stepped out of her high heels long ago, so the table reached just below her hips. After 'getting comfortable,' Alex walked around the table and surveyed the different angles. She lined herself up right in front of Walker and leaned over the table drawing her skirt up. Walker had been leaning on his cue stick, but stood at attention when he got an eyeful. Alex continued to line up the shot and was just about to take it when Walker stepped up behind her and placed his hands on each of her softly rounded cheeks. He had unzipped his slacks and pulled himself out in anticipation. Guiding himself with one hand and stroking her with the other, he sunk himself into her. Alex's hands went out to brace herself on the table as he pounded himself into her from behind. Her teasing over the last hour had stripped away everything except the primal need to mate.

After reaching completion, Walker stepped back and lifted Alex, turned her to sit on the polished wooden edge of the pool table and stepped between her legs. He took another ice cube from the lemonade and trailed it over her collarbone and down into the crevice between her breasts. Alex threw her head back and allowed him to smooth the ice over her skin until it had melted and she had heated up. Alex's hand reached down his back as far as she could and pulled him into the table and into her. Again, they quickly climaxed and then slowly resurfaced from their sensual haze enough to realize their vulnerable position. There was absolutely nothing to prevent someone from walking in at any moment. They sat there in the darkened room spotlighted by the light over the table. "Well," Walker said, "I guess I won." "We both won darling. Let's head upstairs before anyone decides to come in here." Walker agreed and stepped back to refasten his clothes. Alex reached under the table and slipped her shoes on and then snagged the toe of her pantyhose to pull them out from under the tale and bundled them into Walker's jacket. She inadvertently left behind her panties that had slipped out from the top of her hose and remained under the table. A stray article of clothing was the last thing on their minds as they headed upstairs.

The next morning, C.D. was doing his rounds when he stopped in the billiards room. The cleaning crew was hard at work and a young Hispanic man was showing a maid something he had pulled from under the table. "What's that you've got there Juan?" "A fine pair of ladies underwear, Senor C.D." C.D. looked at the lacy undergarment Juan held up and then he looked at the maid, Connie. "Now how in the blazes did those end up there?" C.D. asked. "Well senor, Connie had to polish the wood of the table extra hard today. Someone left something behind besides this glass of lemonade." C.D. stood and stared at the wooden edge of the table and the panties still in Juan's hand. "Well I'll be. I never knew people that would... And here where anyone could walk in! These people must have more money than sense! Juan, you best throw those away. As pretty as they are, I don't expect anyone'll be looking for them in lost and found." C.D. shook his head and left, still muttering about the strange behavior of rich people.

The next day, C.D.'s second in command, Grady, told him of a break-in in a utility shed. When C.D. went to investigate, he was hit over the head. Walker had overheard the conversation and followed C.D. and managed to take out the hit man before he could shoot the unconscious C.D. C.D. came to and was able to get himself back to the resort. He took some aspirin and put an icepack to his head. Alex discreetly inquired about him, but was told that he was off duty for the afternoon. She managed to get into his room without anyone seeing her to make sure that he was okay. C.D. assured her that he was fine, but was going to stay in the rest of the evening. Jimmy said that he would check on him periodically throughout the night to make sure he hadn't suffered a concussion.

Alex and Walker went for another walk by the lake that night. This time, Alex suggested they check out the atrium. It was a glassed in enclosure that was located in the middle of the gardens. The temperature was kept warmer than the outside air and there was more humidity in there. The greenhouse effect allowed more tropical plants to be grown; it also provided a comfortable temperature for lovers on a cool evening. There was a bench in the middle that was covered with moss. It wasn't long before Walker and Alex were again experimenting with new places and new positions. The thrill of knowing they could be discovered at anytime heightened the experience. After hearing footsteps, the two lovers were crouched behind the water fountain trying to stifle their giggles. The footsteps receded and they quickly began to pull on their clothing. "Alex, I think we have a problem." "I can't imagine what it could be." "No, I mean, what's wrong with us?" "From my vantage point, there's absolutely nothing wrong with you," she said as she admired his bulging triceps while he replaced his shirt. "Alex," he warned, "don't start. Why do you think we feel the need to make love in all these places? We have a perfectly good bed upstairs." "Walker, let me ask you something." "Yeah?" "Do you still see me as 'belonging' here amongst these people?" Walker looked at the sexual image Alex made. She had moss in her hair, her outfit was rumpled and dirty and there was a smudge on her cheek. She had never looked more desirable. "The only place you belong lady is under me, on top of me, or around me." Alex nodded and smiled, "you've got your answer Walker."

The sounds of more footsteps sent them scurrying back to their room, but Walker thought about what she had said later. He decided that Alex had intentionally shown him a side to her that he knew for a fact only existed for him and with him. She had told him that she had never been comfortable with sex. By sharing her sexual fantasies and trying new and inventive things, she had shown him just how comfortable she was with him and how much she trusted him. There were a great many reasons they belonged together, but their sexual compatibility was definitely one of the more satisfying ones.

C.D. had a bump on his head, but he continued with his duties. During his routine survey of the grounds early the next morning, he found himself in the garden area. One of the gardeners was holding something up and laughing. "What's that you've got there son?" C.D. questioned. "Well sir, it's a lady's bra." C.D.'s eyes shot up as he entered the atrium and saw the navy blue satin object. "Well I'll be. Here in the dirt?" He walked closer and inspected the area. There were definite 'imprints' in the soil around the bench and it looked as if someone had done more than sit on it. The moss had been crushed in an unusual pattern. "These confounded rich people! Seems to me, they want to get caught. There's glass clear round this thing." C.D. reached for the garment that had first drawn his attention. "I'd like to see someone come lookin' for this!" Shaking his head, he tossed the offending garment into the waste bin and walked out of the atrium to continue his survey of the grounds.

Later, C.D. went down to the lake to check in with Walker. Walker sat on the shore of the lake with his back against a tree and C.D. stood behind him out of site of onlookers. "Did you find anything C.D.?" "Well now, I tried to get into Bracken's office, but he was there. I'll try again later. I think he is probably in on this. I can't say for sure though. Ever since we found that body in the woods, Grady's been actin' real jumpy." "You be careful. Trivette is out on the golf course keeping an eye on the main target of whatever they have planned. You find anything else suspicious?" "Well, not suspicious, but you wouldn't believe what these people here get up to." "What do you mean?" "Cordell, you wouldn't believe me if I told you." "Try me." "Well, yesterday, the cleaners found a pair of ladies underwear in the billiards room and there was some stains on the pool table if you know what I mean. Then today, the gardeners found a woman's bra in the atrium. Now unless someone is staying here without a room, you'd think they'd use their own bed!" Walker was eternally grateful that C.D. was standing behind him and unable to see his red face. "You know what they say C.D., different strokes for different folks." "Cordell, anyone could have walked in at anytime. You think they like puttin' on a show for others? I think the smell of money has addled their brains." "Well, I don't think it has anything to do with the case, so I wouldn't worry about it." "I just can't figure folks out. I better head back to the main lobby. I'll let you know if I see anything else. Oh, where's Alex now?" "She's getting her nails done and a facial or something. Since tonight's the big party, she wanted to get that stuff done early. I hope Trivette manages to get us an invitation, otherwise we'll just have to crash." "That Alex, now there's a lady. I bet you wouldn't find her in some atrium." C.D. stomped off clearly upset with the shenanigans of the 'rich' people.

Alex returned to the room pampered and relaxed, but hungry. She dressed as Walker filled her in on the latest in the investigation. After he gave her the highlights, he said, "Alex, it seems you've lost some articles of clothing since we've been here." "Really? I hadn't noticed." "Yeah, C.D. told me that they found some ladies panties in the billiards room yesterday and today they found a bra in the atrium." "No! Oh my gosh, Walker. That was my favorite bra! I forgot I'd worn one, we were in such a hurry to dress." "Alex! Don't you care that people know what we did and where?" "As long as they don't know who, I don't care." Walker stood there in amazement. "C.D. thinks some rich people should learn to use their own bed." Alex laughed, "actually Walker, did you notice that waterfall at the end of the pool?" "Alex, no!" "Oh come on Walker. If we wait until late enough and sneak in from that end, no one will see us. Once we're behind the water, it'll drowned out any sounds we might make." "Alex, no. It's not going to happen. If you want to make love, we can stay in here and use the furniture that was provided." "Come on Walker, I was thinking..." "Alex..." he warned.

Alex and Walker went down to eat brunch on the terrace. Alex fed Walker a bite of her food and he kissed her fingers and they laughed at the shared intimacy. C.D. approached them and stood looking out away from them so that an onlooker would not realize they were conversing. He told them that Bracken had hired Grady, but he hadn't been promoted even for the two weeks until C.D.'s friend could start. Walker speculated that that was because the stockholder's would ask for a more in depth background check, which Grady couldn't have passed. Walker warned C.D. to stay on alert. "Dadgummit, I thought I was going to get a vacation out of this," C.D. griped. "You and me both," Alex agreed. Walker wanted to be certain to fill Trivette on the latest information. "Speak of the devil," Alex said as Trivette and the multimillionaire he was supposed to be protecting were towed in. Trivette had driven the golf cart straight into the pond. C.D., Alex and Walker all enjoyed a good chuckle at their friend's expense.

Alex and Walker returned to their suite to await C.D. and Trivette's arrival. They were hoping to have a planning session to be prepared for the party scheduled that evening. Walker was fairly certain that any threat to the safety of the extremely wealthy CEO's and their families would most likely occur then. Not willing to start something they may not be able to finish, Walker and Alex played a game of chess. When the knock came, Walker strode over to open the door to the suite. Trivette entered in his business attire, complete with briefcase. C.D. soon followed, making sure he wasn't seen. "I can't believe you two," Trivette stated when he saw the chess game. "How can you come to a beautiful resort like this and stay sitting in your room playing chess? Can't you think of anything better to do? Actually, it doesn't surprise me that Walker would choose to play chess, but Alex, I expected more creativity than that from you." Neither Alex nor Walker responded to the comments. Giving Trivette a rundown of their creative activities was simply not something either of them would ever do.

The four friends planned and plotted. C.D. of course would supervise the security arrangements while the party was being set up. Trivette would arrive early and stay near the guest of honor. Walker and Alex would attend to provide added back up. The two men left as discreetly as they had arrived and Walker and Alex now had the afternoon to themselves.

Alex convinced Walker to go down to the room where the party would be taking place later that evening to 'check out' the scene. They heard someone coming and he tugged her into a closet where the stereo and lighting systems were kept. While they waited for the chance to escape, one thing led to another and her skirt was soon up around her waist and his pants were down around his ankles. Lifting her and setting her onto a speaker, Walker pulled her hips into him and completed what could only be termed 'a quickie in the closet.' At least that's what Alex called it as she laughed into his shoulder. Walker shushed her as she continued to giggle. "I'm sorry," she managed through her fit of laughter, "it's just that I was thinking what everyone at Ranger Headquarters would think if they knew how far you've come from 'the lone wolf Ranger' everyone called you when I first met you." Even Walker couldn't keep the grin from his face. "I guess you have had a profound effect on me." Alex fell into another fit of laughter. "I don't think you can call this profound. Look at us!" "Who can see in this dark closet?" He had a point. All she could do was feel where he was; it was pitch black inside. "We better get out of here before we get caught. There is no way I'm going to try to explain this." Walker stepped back from her and pulled his pants back up and then helped her down off the speaker. She made sure that she had all of her undergarments after this particular encounter and she smoothed her skirt down with her hand. She didn't hear the diamond tennis bracelet as it fell from her wrist onto the ground. It had snagged on Walker's shirt during their passionate embrace and the clasp had come undone. Walker listened carefully at the door and then slowly opened it. They snuck out of the closet and headed back upstairs to repair any signs of their latest encounter.

It was Juan who found the bracelet when he opened the door to the closet to pull out the microphone and other equipment required for the evening. "Senor C.D., I think we have found a new place our daring lovers have been," he said. C.D. stomped over to see what Juan had found. In his hand lay the bracelet. "I think someone may come forward to claim this," Juan said as he held the sparkling diamond bracelet between his thumb and index finger. C.D. decided that he had seen it all. He recognized that bracelet; Alex had shown it to him when she had stopped in to check on him after he was hit over the head. She was amazed that Walker had made the romantic gesture, but he wasn't as surprised. This however, did surprise him. Actually, it shocked him. He shook his head and looked into the closet.

At first he thought maybe Cordell and Alex had hidden in there to escape being detected. If they had, they had clearly used the opportunity. It was evident to the seasoned investigator that the room had been used as more than a hiding place. Images of pool tables, atriums and women's under things flashed into his head. Surely not! C.D. took the bracelet from Juan and said, "I'll put this in the safe until someone asks about it." "Senor, I believe I have seen this bracelet before. I think that very pretty lady with the man with, how do you say? Oh yes, a beard, she was wearing it. Do you think..?" "I'm sure not." "Si Senor, she is one classy lady, surely she..." "Juan, there's a whole slew of people comin' to this shindig tonight and we best get ready." "Shindig?" "Party, my man, party." "Oh, si Senor C.D." Juan got busy and if he thought more about the pretty lady, he kept it to himself.

The room was filling up with guests and Walker and Alex had not yet arrived. C.D. wondered if they were 'delayed' in some cleaning closet somewhere. C.D. called Walker to ask what was keeping him. "Alex, who else?" came Walker's exasperated reply. Trivette took the phone from C.D. and was talking to Walker when the phone went dead. After spending much more time than usual on her appearance, Alex felt ready to show Walker the results. She exited the bedroom from which he had been banned to avoid further distractions and said 'TA DA' with a flourish. Walker didn't even look at her as he said, "stay here" and rushed from the suite.

Of course, Alex didn't stay put. As Walker took out Grady's assault team, Alex headed to the above ground employees parking lot. She had planned to take C.D.'s SUV that was easily accessible from her position, but when she saw the man in military dress with the mean looking machine gun guarding the front entrance and driveway, she changed her mind. Why get C.D.'s car full of bullet holes? The keys for Grady's car were hanging right next to C.D.'s as their cars were parked side by side. She grabbed them and stayed low until she got into the dark green SUV and started it. She raced away with bullets being sprayed after her. She crashed through the guard gate and headed out to find help.

Walker managed to get down to the room where the party was being held and his surprise invasion gave C.D. and Trivette the opportunity to attack the men who had held the people at the party hostage, forcing them to wire money into an account. Grady, seeing that all was going wrong, grabbed young Kelly Sanderson and escaped to the underground garage with Walker close behind. Walker subdued Grady and was informing Bracken that he too was under arrest when Alex arrived with the sheriff.

Alex headed to Walker and after getting a chance to look at her in her red dress, he said, 'wow! You look gorgeous!" "You finally noticed," she answered as he pulled her to him and kissed her. She continued to look gorgeous as all the people who had been held hostage were checked to make sure they were all right. Police reports were filed and people retired one by one to their rooms. Walker felt that they could finally go to their room when C.D. approached them. "Alex honey, is this your bracelet?" he asked as he extended his hand to show her the diamond tennis bracelet. "Oh yes! Thank you C.D.!" Walker looked at her puzzled. "You lost it?" "Yes, it must have fallen off, look the clasp is bent." Trivette was standing close enough to hear the exchange. "Where'd you find it C.D.?" "Actually, Juan found it here in this room." Walker let out the breath he'd been holding. He decided it must have fallen off Alex's wrist after the events in the closet. "But you weren't even in here," Trivette said puzzled. "I was actually, early today. Walker and I wanted to check out the room." C.D. wasn't known for being discreet, but this was one occasion when he thought it best. "Well, good job everyone. Let's all go get some well deserved rest," Walker said ending the speculation about the bracelet. "I'm with you Cordell," C.D. answered.

Alex and Walker returned to their room and Alex looked at Walker's expression. "What are you thinking?" she asked. "You know that song, Lady in Red?" "Yeah." "I keep hearing it in my mind. You are so beautiful." Alex smiled and turned her back to him. "Undo my zipper?" Walker slid the zipper smoothly down the length of her back and pushed the top of the dress forward. Alex let it fall from her shoulders and caught it at her waist. "You know, it's not only a red dress, but it's also a convertible." Walker laughed, "now this is the kind of red convertible I like." Alex stepped out of the dress and stood before him in a red satin and lace one piece undergarment that left little to the imagination. Walker reached for her and pulled her into his arms. "Aren't you afraid it will clash with your hair?" she asked teasingly. "You look absolutely delicious in red. I'm going to enjoy every bite of my dessert tonight." He reached his lips to capture hers and nibbled on them and then he nibbled on her shoulders as his hands stroked her through the lacey garment. "If we left this somewhere, we'd really make C.D. wonder about the 'shenanigans' of the rich people." "Walker, he knows what happened in the closet." "No, he said they found the bracelet in the room, it must have fallen off after we came out." "Walker, the guy, Juan, saw me when you stopped to say goodnight to the sheriff. He asked me if I had gotten my bracelet back. He said that he found it in the closet and gave it to C.D. Walker, I know he knew." "No," Walker groaned. "I'm afraid so." "Do you think they know it was us in the billiards room and in the atrium?" "I'm sure they suspect." "You don't think C.D. will tell Trivette his suspicions do you?" "Walker, when have you ever known C.D. to keep a secret?" "Trivette is going to be insufferable." "And that's something new?" "Alex, this time, he really has something on me." "Maybe, but he did take a multimillionaire for a swim in the pond. I don't think he'll dare use it against you. Anyway, if he gives you a hard time, I know some things about his last relationship that you can mention." "Like what?" "I'm sworn to secrecy, unless blackmail becomes necessary." Walker was still worried, but Alex knew how to get his mind back onto other things.

It was nearly dawn when Alex stirred against Walker as she rested from their last joining. "Walker?" "Hmmm...." "This bed isn't bad, we should have put it to use more often." "Are you trying to kill me woman?" "No, I meant we could have just stayed in our room and avoided the complications." "Are you sorry we didn't?" "Not for one minute. In fact, I still want to try out that waterfall." "On one condition." "What?" "You don't bring anything with you that might get left behind." "Okay," Alex chuckled. They pulled on their swimsuits and went down to the pool. No one was there; everyone was sleeping in after the events of the night before. The two lovers slipped behind the cascading water and Alex knelt in front of Walker and slid his trunks down to his ankles. "Are you sure about this Alex? It's nearly daylight." Alex didn't bother to answer verbally, but she did use her mouth to effectively silence his last minute protests.

The valet had brought the red convertible to the front in preparation for their departure. Walking hand in hand from the lobby, Walker and Alex were tired, but very happy. Alex had proven to Walker that she cared more about him than about society and her image and money. He'd actually known that all along, but it was nice to be reassured in so many ways, in so many places. Alex was also reassured of Walker's love for her. She had been concerned that he was afraid to show his affection for her in public, but he'd been more than public throughout this entire trip. If he thought she was going to allow him to regress, he was sorely mistaken! She still hadn't had the vacation she had wanted though. She turned to face Walker when they reached the car. "So tell me darling, are we ever going to take a vacation without you arresting someone?" "Well, we can work on it," he answered as he pulled her into him. Alex wrapped her arms around his neck and they kissed, several times right there in front of everybody. Alex wasn't sure if her heart was thumping from the effects of the kiss or the shock at how openly affectionate he was being.

Trivette came out talking to his stockbroker on the phone. He tried to convince Walker to invest in Macrosystems since he was certain the CEO was going to take his advice and be out in public more. Walker declined; he had just put his money into another investment, his relationship with Alex. Jimmy overheard the CEO tell his wife he was never going out in public again after the events at Golden Wells. Jimmy couldn't get his stockbroker back on the line fast enough as Alex and Walker laughed at his antics. C.D. was staying on to complete his two weeks as Security Chief and Alex and Walker headed back to Dallas, back to their everyday lives. There was a shift in their relationship though. They both knew that they would be more trusting of the commitment each had to the relationship. They would also never look at a pool table the same again.

They were on the open road, the air whipping against them. Alex's hand strayed over to caress Walker's thigh. "Walker?" "Hmmm..." "Don't you think that turnoff up ahead would make a great place to test your theory?" "What theory is that Alex?" "That certain things can't be accomplished in little red convertible sports cars?" "Alex?" "Uh huh." "Are we going to be trying new places on a regular basis?" "Sounds good to me." "Yeah, me too," Walker agreed as he slowed to take the turn off.


Part 9 Friendly Alliances

Ref: Season 5 In Gods Hands through Warriors

Friends had always been very important to both Walker and Alex. In fact, their friendship was still the most important part of their relationship. They were now lovers, but first and foremost, they were friends. It was the basis of their relationship. James Trivette and C.D. Parker were also friends who were considered close enough to be family. When Jimmy fired a gun at a suspect in a dark alley and a young boy was critically wounded, the friends all banded together to give him their support. He was so eaten up with guilt and remorse that he tried to pull away from them. They weren’t about to let him.

Alex and C.D. made trips to his apartment and tried everything to get him to let them in. When their efforts were unsuccessful, they sent in the big guns—Walker. Walker didn’t huff and puff and blow the house in, but Jimmy knew his door would suffer the consequences if he didn’t open it willingly. Walker made him drink his Cherokee Indian concoction called ‘purge.’ There was a reason why it was called that. It purged the system of everything consumed, which in Trivette’s case was an excessive amount of alcohol. Walker forced Trivette back on his feet again and together they found Trivette’s missing bullet. It was in a wall, not in the little boy who lay in the hospital. The boy survived his ordeal and so did Jimmy, thanks to his friends.

Carlos Sandoval was a newer friend, but he was becoming an important one along with Trent Malloy. Carlos went undercover to bust a drug lord who was responsible for the death of his brother. When things fell apart, Alex was there with warrants and Walker and Trivette were there to rescue him. Carlos had been beaten and had jumped from a second story window and landed on a car. His friend Trent spent many hours helping him to rehabilitate himself. Each trial brought the friends closer together.

There were good times too. Trent’s karate school students were competing in a tournament. Tommy, Trent’s high school aged brother, was the best hope for a first place win. Alex wondered if Walker was aware of how ‘touchy feely’ he was when he was watching a competition. He got so excited that his hand sought hers out and squeezed until she wondered if the blood still circulated through it. His hand left hers only to find it’s way to her thigh where he ran it up from her knee to the point of near indecency. Alex enjoyed seeing her friends compete, but it wasn’t the karate meet that had gotten her so excited. When they went to congratulate Tommy on his win, Walker kept her hand curled into his, pressing it against his thigh occasionally as if to increase the contact between them. Since their time at Golden Wells, Walker seemed to have relaxed and accepted that other people knew they were a couple.

Alex had an ADA from Houston come to assist her in preparing for a case that had moved to her jurisdiction from Houston. The case had been granted a change of venue at the prosecution’s request to prevent the defense attorney from claiming that the jury in Houston was too familiar with the case from local media reports about it. Todd Clemens was a man on the fast track. He was determined to make DA and then to run for higher political office. He wasn’t a bad person, but he had a goal and a one-track mind. One look at Alex and that one-track mindset was derailed. He flirted casually with her and although she didn’t encourage him, she didn’t seem to take offense, so he continued.

What Todd Clemens didn’t know was that she was under strict orders to ‘make nice’ and to ensure a win in the case they were working on together. Her boss wasn’t about to suggest any impropriety, he was too afraid of Alex, let alone Walker, for that. He just asked her to put up with his flirtations, as long as they didn’t get out of hand, to keep the man focused on winning the case. It was just bad luck that Walker was out of town on a case for two weeks. Alex and Todd were either in her office or in court together for nearly every waking hour. If he had seen her with Walker, even just once, he would have known she was taken, but he hadn’t and he didn’t.

Walker returned just as the trial was heating up and he respected the fact that Alex wasn’t available to him. Alex dragged herself into her apartment after ten the night of Walker’s return and knew right away that someone was in her apartment. Every sense in her body told her who her late night caller was; it was Walker. She felt the tiny hairs that covered her body rise and there was an immediate wetness that only he could cause. Alex went into the bedroom and found him lying nude on top of the covers. Either he had heard her approach or just being in her bed had affected him, but her eyes told her that his body had responded to her as hers had responded to him. No word was spoken as Walker lay with his head propped on one hand watching her undress. She shed her clothing and crawled onto the bed and into his waiting arms. Their joining was fast and furious; they had two weeks to make up for. The only sounds were gasps and moans until they both were sated. Conversation would have to wait as Alex fell asleep almost as soon as the contractions that gripped her body had ceased.

Over a rushed breakfast, Alex gave Walker a brief rundown of the case she was on and he shared what his last two weeks had been like. Alex hadn’t done more than mention Todd Clemens and she rushed out of her apartment thinking nothing of the omission. Back in her office, she and Todd got down to business. As the case had grown more intense, there was no flirting or bantering. Todd was as determined to win the case as Alex was. Alex didn’t see Walker for two more days, as he was busy following up a lead in a new case that kept him on all night stakeouts. The day the jury came back with a guilty verdict, Alex moved through the media frenzy outside of the courtroom allowing Todd to answer their questions. One reporter asked her, “now that this trial is over, do you have any plans?” “Just to get reacquainted with my bed and a certain Ranger.” It wasn’t until it was out of her mouth that Alex realized what she had said and the conclusions that would be drawn. She meant that she was tired and also that she missed Walker. Her fatigued brain and independent tongue had resulted in a media faux pas. Deciding that it wasn’t worth her effort to try and explain, she continued on, slightly red faced.

Todd and Alex were on the elevator together heading down to the floor that housed both hers and Walker’s offices. Todd was burning to ask her what her remark had meant; the chuckles from the various media persons made him aware that it wasn’t just an insider’s joke. There were too many other people in the elevator to ask Alex to explain, so he waited until they were in her office. “Alex, what were you referring to when you said that about the Ranger?” “I actually didn’t mean it the way it sounded, but I’m looking forward to seeing Walker.” “Who’s Walker?” “Texas Ranger Cordell Walker, he’s the man I’m involved with.” “Then why haven’t I heard about him?” “Well, he’s been out of town most of the time you’ve been here. That and the fact that this case has consumed my life, I guess it just never came up.” “Don’t you think you should have told me that you were involved with someone?” “Why?” “Well, you did allow me to flirt with you and to think that you were available.” “Todd, I’m not used to discussing my personal life with my business colleagues. In case it wasn’t apparent to you, I never responded to any of your flirting.” “I don’t see a ring, it must not be that serious.” “Oh, it’s serious. Walker is the man I am going to spend the rest of my life with. We may not have made it official, but it’s forever.” “Well, I’m afraid that I don’t accept that. No ring, no commitment.” “That’s absurd...”

A knock on Alex’s door interrupted her response. “Come in,” she called out. The door opened and Walker stepped in beaming at her. “I just heard, congratulations honey!” he said as he swept her into his arms, lifting her off the floor and into a passionate embrace. Todd stood so that the door blocked him from Walker’s view. Walker was so focused on Alex, he didn’t even notice that they had an audience. “When can you get away from here? God Alex, I’ve missed you. Let’s just lock the door and make love on your desk. Remember the last time?” Alex’s face was completely red. Walker assumed that she was remembering the last time, which had been the first time they had ‘christened’ her desk. They had been more adventurous in their love making recently, but until one night, a month earlier, they had refrained from bringing their sex life to work.

Alex had worked late and Walker had spent the previous four nights on a stakeout. He came into her office on his way to the stakeout stopping by to encourage her to go home. Alex had looked up and their eyes had locked. Walker locked the door behind him. Alex closed the open file and stood. Both of them struggled for air, as the room suddenly seemed devoid of oxygen. Alex rounded the desk and Walker pulled her into him and began to kiss her as if there was no tomorrow. Deep wet passionate kisses that ended only to begin again. His hands stroked her through her clothing until that wasn’t enough. Alex’s nails raked down his back as he finally freed her breasts and bent forward to suckle each in turn. Her hands fumbled at his waist until his belt and fly were undone. She stroked his ever-increasing length as he reached up under her skirt and helped her shed her pantyhose and briefs.

Walker’s large hands spanned her small waist as he lifted her and set her onto the edge of the desk, her skirt bunched around her waist. Straddling him, she put her hands into the waist of his jeans and slid them down his tight muscled buttocks. Her exploring hands pulled his jeans down over his hips, freeing him from their cumbersome hold. Both of Walker’s hands gripped her buttocks as he lifted her off the desk and onto him. Once he was fully sheathed in her warm moist core, he set her back onto the edge of the desk and began to pump in and out of her at a frenzied pace. The desk was too low and he had to bend his knees slightly causing them to bang against the desk.

The knock on the door went unnoticed by them both until it finally penetrated Walker’s brain. He stopped his thrusts much to Alex’s dismay and that’s when she heard the knock. “Yes,” she called out in a high breathless voice. “Alex?” the door knobbed jiggled. “Alex, have you seen Walker?” Busted. They both knew it. “I’ll be there in five minutes Trivette,” Walker called back. He looked at Alex’s raised eyebrow, “make it ten.” Trivette had walked away, but the two on the desk knew that they hadn’t heard the last of it.

Pulling himself out of Alex, Walker lifted her off the desk and turned her facing away from him. He placed his hands at her hips as she bent to brace her arms on the desk. Lifting her up and onto his pulsing shaft, he settled her down until her toes were touching the ground and then he resumed the rhythm previously established. Walker’s knees no longer bumped the desk, but the sound of flesh meeting flesh resounded in the quiet office. Just as Walker reached his orgasm, Alex was riding high on hers and lost her balance, lurching forward and grasping the desk to steady herself. Walker slipped out from her and his first stream of ejaculate coated the top of her desk. He sheathed himself into her once again and finished pumping the remaining fluid into her receptive body.

Once finished, they both straightened up. Walker pulled her back against him, resting his slowly softening erection against the crease of her buttocks. He looked over her shoulder and in the pool of light from the desk lamp, the only light in the room, he surveyed the mess he’d made. “How important was that file, Alex?” Alex got the giggles; she just couldn’t help it. “It’s the case I’ve been spending so much time on. You know the pervert who kept flashing the mayor, and various council members and who masturbated for the police chief and his wife?” “I guess it’s a perverse sort of justice,” Walker decided. Alex laughed again, her bottom rubbing against his groin. “Alex, don’t laugh or I’ll never get out of here,” Walker admonished her as he sprang to life once again. “I was just thinking that I would need to get a new file folder at the very least. I can’t imagine trying to explain what got ‘spilled’ on this one.” Walker chuckled and then moaned as he realized the time. “I’ve got to go,” he stated as he stepped back and began to pull his clothes back on. He had to use caution to tuck himself back in and zip up.

Alex watched fascinated, as the bulge remained evident along the left side of his jeans. She reached her hand out to stoke it, but Walker caught her hand in his, “don’t you dare. Don’t start what I don’t have the time to finish.” She looked up and they both had passion blazing in their eyes. “Alex, dammit, cover yourself!” Alex looked down at the blouse that hung open revealing her taught nipples. She pulled her bra cups together and fastened them and then buttoned up her blouse tucking it into the waistband of her skirt. Kneeling on the floor, she found her hose and pulled her briefs from them and slipped them on. She rolled her stockings up and decided to slip them into her purse. Then she slipped on her shoes. “Are you sure you got everything Alex? You didn’t leave behind any evidence this time did you?” Alex looked pointedly at the thick white line that covered her desk and file. “I’m not the one leaving evidence,” she said. Walker blushed, much to her delight. “Right, sorry, I’ll get something to clean it up.” “No, go meet Trivette, I’ll clean up.” “Trivette, oh God this is going to be a long night.” Alex had laughed as Walker left to endure a night of ribbing from his partner.

Walker’s fond memories of the night were not being shared by Alex. She was too stunned and embarrassed to say anything, but Todd Clemens had just heard Walker state that they had engaged in sex in her office. If the ground had opened to swallow her, she would have just gone thankfully. Here was a guy who was playing the wounded suitor and Walker not only comes in and grabs and kisses her, he... Oh God, how was she ever going to get out of this one? “Walker, I’d like you to meet ADA Todd Clemens. Todd, this is Cordell Walker, my fiancée.” Walker was surprised to realize that they weren’t alone, but to have Alex introduce him as her fiancée really shocked him. “Clemens,” he said regaining as much composure as he was able under the circumstance. “I wasn’t aware anyone was here with Alex. Sorry to interrupt, it’s just that I haven’t seen, my fiancée, in some time now.” Alex didn’t miss the emphasis Walker placed on the endearment.

Walker took one look at the sad puppy dog eyes and realized that Clemens had fallen in love with Alex. She’d done it again, captured a man’s heart without trying. His bright beautiful Alex, she couldn’t help it. She was one of those women men fell in love with. There were women who only engendered lust, not Alex. When men fell for her, it was usually heart, body and soul. He should know; he’d been hers from the first day in that witness box when he first looked into those sky blue eyes. “You should get her a ring Walker, let people know that she’s taken.” “Workin’ on it,” was all Walker would say. He drew Alex closer to him and looked pointedly at Clemens. He might feel sorry for the guy, but this was an awkward situation and the only thing that would help it was Clemens’ exit. The man took the hint and said, “it’s been nice working with you Alex. I wish you both a lifetime of happiness.” With that, he walked out of her office, closing the door behind him.

Walker looked at Alex, “fiancée?” “He’s headed back to Houston, he’s not about to tell anyone. I just wanted to make it clear that I was committed to you. Especially after you had just announced that we’d... you know.” “You could warn a guy you know, this is so sudden.” “Oh stop Walker. If you weren’t ‘slower ‘n pond scum’ I would be wearing a ring.” “Slower than pond scum? Who do you spend your time with when I’m not around? Never mind, I can guess, C.D. right?” “Don’t go trying to change the subject. When are you going to get serious Walker?” “I’m still trying you out. Want to come to the ranch and cook for me this weekend? I’ve got piles of laundry that need to be done too.” “I’m getting my briefcase and heading home,” Alex stated, exasperated. “Does that mean no sex on the desk?” “Not for you cowboy.”

Walker had passed his latest stakeout assignment on to a pair of rookie Rangers and he had the weekend off. He followed Alex out of the justice building and they walked right into Dan Stevens, the gossip columnist for the Dallas Tribune. “Alex Cahill, did I hear right? You told reporters that you were heading home to bed with Ranger Walker here? Any announcement forthcoming? Do tell.” “Bed? Who bothers with beds?” Alex said flippantly and walked away. “I wouldn’t print that if I were you,” Walker told the irritating man. “Is that a threat Ranger? Would you defend your lady love’s honor and beat me up?” “Heck no, Stevens, I just won’t intervene when she takes you out. The last thing you want is to make Alex Cahill mad at you, trust me, I know.” With that, Walker headed after Alex planning to spend the weekend making amends.

Trivette had been a rookie when C.D. had first conspired to partner him with Walker. As C.D. had hoped, Walker had been a good role model to Trivette and he in turn had drug Walker kicking and screaming into the twenty first century. Walker still resisted all things computer and Jimmy had maintained his boyish charm, but both had benefited from the partnership. Now Walker found that somewhere along the way, Jimmy had become an equal. They each had their own strengths and weaknesses, but while Walker remained the senior partner, Trivette was now a seasoned Ranger. Just as the relationship between the two partners became a true partnership, along came Carlos Sandoval and Trent Malloy seeking a mentor. They both had talents and skills that needed molding and maturing and both looked to Walker for guidance.

After a particularly grueling workout in the gym, Trent and Walker sat catching their breaths and talking. Walker questioned Trent about what was bothering him. Trent finally admitted to feeling a little overwhelmed by the number of people who needed his help. He asked Walker, “how do you ever take time off?” Whenever Walker’s ego threatened to expand beyond its normal bounds due to his young proteges coming to him for sage advice, he could count on others in his life to put him back in place. C.D. was great for this, but the greatest leveler of all happened to walk in just at that moment. As Walker began to answer, “well I tell you what...” Alex walked in and said, “boy are you asking the wrong guy.” Walker looked offended, “oh and what’s that supposed to mean?” Alex just looked at him with that look that made him face reality, “oh please,” she said. Walker couldn’t argue the point with her, she was right and he knew it. When it came to taking time off, he was the worst person to ask. He avoided vacation and personal days like the plague. Trent laughed at the exchange between the two lovers. He enjoyed watching Alex get the better of Walker, she was one of the few people he knew who could.

Trent went to Alex for help with a case he was working on. Maria Mendoza was married to a drug dealer who enjoyed hitting her. Trent asked Alex if he could give Maria her number in case she ever decided that she had had enough. Trent had begun to have romantic feelings for Maria and as much as he wanted to rescue her, Alex reminded him that Maria needed to take the first step. Maria did call Alex and agreed to meet her out front of her husband’s estate. Walker and Trent took care of the guards who tried to force Maria back into the house.

Alex took Maria’s deposition against her husband Rudy Mendoza. There was enough in her statement to arrest him to get search warrants to raid several of his warehouses to gather more evidence. Maria had kept a journal that detailed Rudy’s operation. Alex was exhausted and looking at Maria, she guessed that she was as well. Alex suggested they leave, but Walker was concerned. He knew that Rudy would be looking for Maria to silence her. Alex pleaded fatigue and said that she was taking Maria back to her place while Carlos, Trivette, Trent and Walker planned their next move against Mendoza. She promised Walker that she would call as soon as she got home and Trent offered to walk them to Alex’s car. Just after Trent bid them good night, a car stopped Alex from driving out of the garage. She grabbed her cell phone and tried to call Walker only to have it ripped from her hand. Their attackers drove them to one of Mendoza’s warehouses.

Back at headquarters, Walker was getting concerned. He called Alex’s apartment and then her cell phone number. He was going to put an APB out on her and her car when Trivette suggested using the on board anti-theft tracking system Walker had insisted Alex install in her car to track them.

Mendoza’s right hand man, Leon, took a liking to Alex and earned himself a knee in his groin. It took everything Alex could muster not to show how much she had injured her knee with the move. The stinging blow to her face when he retaliated was almost a welcome diversion. Rudy told Maria that he would cut her friend if she didn’t tell him everything she had told the police. Alex looked at the knife and wondered what Maria would do. She wanted to tell her to be strong and stand up to her husband, but here was a victim of abuse and Alex knew that she would most likely give in to his demands. Alex could have hugged her when Maria spit in Rudy’s face. Despite her pride in Maria’s bravery, she couldn’t keep her glance from going to the knife held in Rudy’s hand.

A sound in the back of the warehouse heralded the arrival of Walker, Trivette and backup. Trent went one on one with Rudy, while Walker finished off what Alex had started and knocked Leon unconscious. Maria helped Alex hop out of the back room and Walker came rushing over as the police arrested Rudy and his henchmen. He saw that she wasn’t putting any weight on her left leg and he wrapped his arms around her waist to support her and asked, “are you all right?” Alex just nodded yes as Walker kissed her cheek. Alex tried to take a step, but the pain in her knee was excruciating and she collapsed against Walker with a cry of pain. He helped her to sit in a chair and asked what hurt. She said, “my knee,” and then clenched her teeth as she tried not to cry with the pain. Maria explained, “Alex kneed Leon in the groin, it was great.” Walker looked at Alex’s face. It was very pale except for the red welt on her right jaw. “Was that before or after he hit you?” “He hit her after she kneed him,” Maria supplied. Walker frowned and tried to examine Alex’s knee, but the pants she wore prevented him from doing so. He took his knife and beginning at the hem, cut her pants up to above her knee. “Walker!” Alex protested in vain. It was too late, by the time she saw the knife and registered his intent; her beautiful Ralph Lauren slacks were nothing more than rags.

Walker gently probed Alex’s swollen knee and decided that she needed medical attention. “I’m taking you in to Urgent Care,” he told her. “Can’t I just go home and put ice on it?” “No,” came his terse response. Alex decided not to waste her breath arguing. When it came to her health and well being, he always won their arguments. Walker handed Maria his set of keys to Alex’s car and apartment. “Just in case you can’t find Alex’s,” he explained. “I’ll take her to get checked and then I’ll probably just take her on out to the ranch. She’s not going to be able to walk on this for a few days at least. Why don’t you just stay at Alex’s until you get everything settled? You can use her car; she’s not going to be able to drive it. We’ll be in touch tomorrow.” Alex sat there fuming. As soon as the opportunity presented itself, she was going to tell Walker just what she thought of him organizing her life for her. She would just tell him now, but she didn’t want Maria to think she minded her using her apartment and car. “Make yourself at home Maria. You were really great tonight the way you stood up to Rudy.” Maria gave her a swift hug and then Trivette, Carlos and Trent joined them to get updated on what had happened.

Walker scooped Alex up into his arms and carried her toward the Ram. “I’m taking Alex in to get her knee examined. Maria will fill you all in. I’ll call you tomorrow Trivette, but I probably won’t be in.” “You’re going to take a day off?” Trivette asked in a theatrically stunned voice. “Watch it Trivette or I’ll call the Captain and tell him to assign you to that stakeout Morales and Hopkins are on.” “My lips are sealed partner. Alex, you call if you need anything, including rescuing from Walker’s brand of nursing.” She gave a wan smile in response. She was biting her lip trying not to cry out in pain and if anything; she had grown even paler. Walker turned and strode to the Ram, settling her inside as carefully as possible.

Walker carried her into Urgent Care and they sat in chairs with an ice pack on her knee for two full hours before she was called back. They offered her a wheelchair, but Walker declined and again carried her back to the exam room. The doctor came in and after a quick look ordered x-rays and an injection of pain medication. Walker held her as she rolled her hip to allow the nurse to administer the injection in her buttock. She didn’t even feel the shot, but the pain from all the jostling forced the tears to slip silently down her cheeks. Walker sat on the exam table with her cradled against him until they were ready for her in x-ray. He walked her there and set her on the x-ray table and then had to leave the room as they positioned her leg and took two views of her knee. When the technician finished, he told her to stay put while they checked to make sure the x-rays had turned out. Ten minutes later, the technician returned to tell her to go back to the exam room and wait for the doctor.

Walker again carried her back down the hall to the exam room. The doctor strode in twenty minutes later to tell her that she had a sprained knee and that she would need to stay off of it for at least a week to ten days. “I can give you a pair of crutches or you can just let him carry you around until then.” “Crutches please,” she responded. Walker grinned at her and the doctor prescribed painkillers and anti-inflammatory medication. He gave her a pair of crutches and a wrap to keep her knee immobilized. “Ice it, keep it elevated, stay off of it and go see your own doctor in a week.” With that, the doctor released her into Walker’s care.

It was nearly dawn when they arrived at the ranch. It had been a long and exhausting night and Alex was asleep leaning against the window of the Ram. Walker shifted her so that she wasn’t leaning against the door and then got out and went around to her side of the truck. He gently lifted her into his arms and grabbed the bag that contained her prescriptions he’d had filled at the all night pharmacy. He carried her up the stairs and fumbled with the bag and keys as he tried to open the door. He swore softly as the bag dropped to the porch, but managed to get the door open.

Leaving his keys in the door and the door open, he carried his precious burden upstairs to the master bedroom. Walker gently laid her on the end of the bed and turned to the tall chest of drawers where she kept her clothing. He opened the drawer that she kept her nightwear in and looked at all the sexy lacy nightwear she had in there. ‘This is gonna be tough,’ he thought to himself. He considered just putting her into one of his oversized T-shirts, but quickly nixed that idea. There was something about seeing her in his clothes that made him want to instantly remove them. Of course, if he was honest with himself, regardless of what she wore, he spent a great deal of time wanting to remove it. It had been that way for years, long before he’d had the right to those fantasies, but he wasn’t about to admit that to Alex.

As the thoughts ran through his tired brain cells, he managed to undress her and slip a gown over her head. He lifted her to place her into the bed, but all the motion had caused her to wake despite the effects of the pain medication. “Don’t go giving away my car keys and my apartment without asking me,” she told him belligerently. “Okay honey,” he said trying to soothe her. He stood there with her in his arms as she rubbed her tired head against his chest. “Stop carrying me everywhere,” she mumbled. “Yes dear,” he agreed as he walked her to the head of the bed. “No, don’t want to go to bed,” she sounded like a petulant child, but he decided that she could be forgiven under the circumstances. “Alex, you need to rest,” he told her in a calm soothing voice. “No, ...bathroom.” He didn’t catch the whole phrase as her words were slurred and she mumbled, but he got the gist of what she was trying to say.

He headed into the bathroom with her. Now here was a dilemma. He didn’t know how much help she needed and he was afraid that if he helped her too much, he would embarrass her. He used a loud commanding voice. “Alex, wake up.” Her eyes popped open. “I’m going to stand you up so that I can help get your panties down so you can use the restroom.” He stood her gently on the ground and in her groggy state, she automatically put weight on her bad leg. She cried out in pain and grabbed to steady herself, using him for balance. The unfortunate move had brought her more fully awake and she blinked as she looked around. Walker didn’t wait for pleasantries as he yanked her underwear down and pushed her back onto the toilet seat. She was nearly in a seated position when he realized he’d left the seat up. Pulling her back into his arms, he lowered the seat and then again lowered her onto it. He was glad that she was too out of it to notice the mistake. It was a running battle between them whenever she stayed over. Living as a bachelor, he wasn’t in the habit of putting the seat down. Alex didn’t like to turn on lights when she had to get up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom. More than once she’d come back to bed ‘madder ‘n a wet hen’ as C.D. would say. She told him that she’d nearly fallen in and had threatened unspeakable acts that would cause him to need to sit down when he used it.

Walker pulled his mind back to the task at hand. He was so tired that his mind was wandering and he wasn’t getting anywhere fast. He had intended to leave to give Alex privacy. It always amazed him at how modest she was about certain things. She’d become more comfortable with nudity, but she still wouldn’t use the toilet with him in the room. She always told him that she had a ‘shy bladder’ and that she couldn’t. After all the different intimate acts they’d shared, he couldn’t understand it. He realized that his mind had again wandered and Alex’s hand was reaching for toilet paper. He pulled some off and handed it to her. She looked at it and reached for more. He didn’t see the need, but he wasn’t about to question her. There were things about women that men just weren’t supposed to know. At least he now knew why he ran out of toilet paper so fast since she’d begun to spend more time at the ranch.

Alex lifted her arms and he reached down and grasped her around the waist to stand her up again. He was always amazed at how his hands nearly spanned her waist. He pulled up her underwear and then reached behind her to flush. Scooping her up into his arms again, he started back to the bedroom. “Gotta wash my hands,” she said. “Alex honey, it won’t matter just this once.” “No, gotta wash.” Walker rolled his eyes up into his head and headed back toward the sink. He turned the water on and stood her in front of the sink. Alex washed and dried her hands on autopilot. She then sagged back against him and he scooped her up one more time and headed to the bedroom. 'I’m gonna need a chiropractor at this rate,’ he decided.

Walker got her to the bed, pulled the covers back and slid her in. He went into the spare room and took pillows off the bed and then returned to prop her injured leg up. He noticed that Alex had drifted back to sleep and was glad. She needed to sleep and with any luck, she would continue the argument she seemed to be having with him in her dream and have it resolved by the time she woke up. He chuckled as he went downstairs to lock up. Her independent self was fighting with the part of her that he knew just wanted to let him take care of everything. He’d angered her making decisions about the car and letting Maria stay at her place. He knew that she didn’t mind Maria using her car and apartment, she just didn’t like him arranging her life without her input and consent. Well, she was just going to have to get used to it, because he was planning to continue, at least as much as she would allow him to. Walker shook his head at himself, being a male chauvinist was a thing of the past. Alex might allow him to share her life, if he was lucky, but she wasn’t going to let him take it over. After putting Alex’s medicine in the kitchen and grabbing an ice pack, he headed back upstairs.

Walker unwrapped Alex’s knee and then took a thin towel and placed it over it and covered that with the ice pack. He kissed her forehead and pulled off his own clothes, down to his briefs and crawled into bed beside her. She instinctively tried to shift to rest against him, but cried out in pain and he soothed her again and shifted his own body around hers. His arm lay across her stomach, effectively pinning her to the bed and he joined her in slumber.

The next day, the two awoke after noon and Alex was in desperate need of another trip to the restroom. She said as much to Walker and he got up and came around the bed to lift her up. “Wait, where are my crutches?” she asked. “I left them in the truck last night. I’ll get them in a bit.” He took her into the bathroom and gently balanced her on her one good leg and reached to pull her panties back down again. “Wait, Walker...” He ignored her protests and helped her to sit. “Hurry up Alex, I need it after you.” “Walker...” she said urgently. “What?” “Can I have some privacy?” “Huh? You didn’t seem bothered by me being in here last night,” he told her. He wasn’t as clueless as he was playing, but he enjoyed seeing her flustered. “I was drugged— out!” He turned to hide his smile from her and headed out. When he returned, she had managed to hop to the sink and was using the counter to hold herself up as she washed her hands. He propped the crutches against the counter next to her and turned to relieve himself. “What is it with men? Why do they think nothing of...” “Alex, don’t start. I will run you a bath and then after you finish, I’ll wrap your leg again.” He flushed, went to the tub to run the water and helped her balance as she undressed.

He lifted her into the bubbles and then stepped into the shower. He finished, dressed, went downstairs and fed the horses and then fixed breakfast. Laying the tray next to the bed, he strode back into the bathroom. “Well it’s about time, I was beginning to prune up.” Walker just shook his head at her and pulled the hand held showerhead to her. He wet her hair, applied shampoo and lathered. She closed her eyes and luxuriated in the feel of his fingers massaging her head. Too soon, he rinsed the shampoo from her hair and helped her stand to lift her out of the tub. After pulling on her most modest gown, Alex sat propped up in bed with the breakfast tray across her lap. She looked up at him; “you made me breakfast in bed.” “Yeah, don’t get used to it.” She smiled at him and ate with gusto. “Here’s your medicine, it says to take with food and after the way you just ate, I’d say now’s a good time.” This earned Walker a glare, but within an hour of taking the medicine, she was back asleep.

After two days, Alex was proficient enough on the crutches to return to work. Walker had stayed with her both days and he couldn’t help but point out the fact to Alex that he had taken time off to be with her. He also made sure that she knew that she hadn’t been a very cooperative patient. Alex called his bluff though when she told him that she would return to her apartment so as not to be a bother. He fell into her trap and apologized and asked her to come out to the ranch where he could keep an eye on her. It wasn’t until he’d said all that that he looked into her face and saw the look she was giving him. “You won again didn’t you? You acted like a spoiled brat for two days while I waited on you hand and foot and I ended up apologizing. One of these days Alex...” Alex laughed at him.

When Alex went to her doctor the following week, she said that Alex could begin to put weight on the leg as long as she continued to use the crutches for support and she prescribed exercises to stretch and strengthen the damaged muscles. As always, Walker was more than diligent in helping her to exercise. Alex lay on the mat in the basement gym of his home as he bent and straightened her leg over and over. As she got stronger, he added ankle weights and made her ride the stationary bicycle.

After nearly three weeks, Alex was fully healed and Walker took her back down into the gym once again. “Now what, Walker?” she moaned. “Now I want to show you how to do that move without spraining your knee.” Alex grinned, “let me show you what I did, so you can tell me what I did wrong.” It wasn’t until he was standing in front of her, waiting for her to knee him that he realized he’d been set up again. “Alex... one of these days...” “Keep dreamin’ Cowboy.” He finally resorted to kissing her. It was the only effective means of getting her to shut up that he’d found.

Their friend Susan Lee was the next of their friends to need assistance. Susan was involved in genetics research that was sought after by people who wanted to use her breakthroughs to create people with superior healing abilities and strength. Susan began to date a coworker, Keith Portman, not knowing that he was working for the people trying to steal her research. Davey, Susan’s son, dreamt that his mother was in danger and returned to Texas. Susan and Davey were both kidnapped and Walker was forced to face one of the research ‘guinea pigs,’ who had been given superhuman strength, in hand to hand combat. Ultimately, Walker was the victor, but to look at him, no one would know that.

Alex and Walker remained seated at the table when C.D. called everyone over to taste Davey’s chili recipe that he had dubbed, Dalai Lama Lava. Alex shared a smile with Walker at their friend’s silliness, but when she looked at Walker’s face, she couldn’t help the rush of love and concern that flooded her. “Honey, you look awful,” she told him inspecting the cuts and bruises on his face. “Well, I got whipped on pretty good,” he admitted. “Does it hurt?” she asked concerned. “Mmm... a little bit, especially right here,” he told her pointing to the split bruised area under his right eye. “Can I kiss it and make it feel better?” she asked with a sympathetic purse to her lips. He turned the right side of his face toward her and she leaned in holding his chin in her hand and gently touched the bruise with her lips. “It hurts a little here too,” he told her pointing to the bruise under his left eye. “Oh, there too?” she cooed in sympathy. He gave her a sad faced little boy look and nodded in confirmation. “Okay,” she whispered as she steadied his face with her fingertips under his chin and leaned in to kiss this ‘boo boo’. Now he had really gotten into the game and he gave her another sad look and tapped the swelling on his lower lip. She smiled and raised her eyebrow, but leaned in again. This time, she clasped his chin to tilt his face for a full kiss. Regardless of how much his lips hurt, he managed to open them and meet her halfway. Her muffled chuckle turned into a moan as they kissed for some time until she pulled back slightly to whisper against his mouth. “Anywhere else?” “Yeah, but the other places are covered up.” “Maybe I should take you home and kiss them all better?” “Yeah,” he murmured against her mouth before claiming her lips in another long kiss.

“Cordell, Alex, aren’t you too going to have any of this here chili?” C.D. shouted from across the room. He and God had conspired to bring the two together, now if he could just get them to come up for air. He grinned to himself and thought, ‘it does this ol’ heart good to see those two so much in love they can’t hide it from anyone, let alone each other. Now Lord, we just got to get them to make it legal. Can’t have them carryin’ on like a couple cats in heat.’ “Oh Cordell! Alex!” he raised the volume of his voice. “Huh? What C.D.?” Walker asked still looking deeply into Alex’s beautiful eyes. “Are you gonna taste some of this Dalai Lama Lava?” “C.D., Walker isn’t feeling very well. I think I should get him home so he can rest. That guy really caused some damage,” Alex said without breaking eye contact with Walker. “You okay, Walkman?” “I will be Trivette, I just need to get some rest so I can heal.”

Young Davey walked over and looked at Walker with the gaze of an old man. Despite his childish features, it wasn’t hard for Walker to believe that he was a reincarnated Tibetan Monk. Davey lay his hand on Walker’s arm and merely stood there looking at him. Walker didn’t know if it was his imagination or not, but he suddenly felt less sore and more energetic. “Walker, will you take me for a ride on your horse again before I leave?” “I’d like that Davey. Why don’t I call your mom in a day or two and you all can come out to the ranch. We’ll take the horses up to the lake and have a picnic.” “Really?” Then again, there were times when Davey acted his age. Walker smiled at the enthusiastic boy, “really.” After making his promise to Davey and saying goodbye to Master Rin, Susan, Trivette and C.D., Walker and Alex walked out to the Ram. Walker wasn’t walking as stiffly as before and he insisted on driving. “Walker?” “What Alex?” “Can we go to my place?” “Sure, why?” “It’s closer.” “Oh, okay.” Walker wasn’t about to argue with her logic.

After reaching her apartment, Alex stopped Walker and slipped his black leather jacket from his shoulders and hung it on the coat rack. She led Walker into her bedroom and proceeded to unbutton his shirt. She gasped as she saw the angry looking welts and bruises that covered his ribcage and abdomen. With his shirt open, she ran her fingertips lightly down his torso and then she leaned forward and kissed every mark and discoloration with feather light kisses. She stood back up and placed her hands on his shoulders and pushed his shirt down until she was able to tug the sleeves off his wrists. The shirt dropped to the floor as she walked around behind him touching all the places that showed injury, first with her fingers and then with her lips. “Is that it? Did I get them all?” she asked smiling up at him from under her lashes. “No, there’s more,” he said gruffly. “More?” “Uh huh.”

Alex walked back around to face him and he reached his hand up toward her. “Uh uh,” she admonished as she gently replaced his hand at his side. “My turn to play doctor. You just sit back and take your medicine.” Alex reached for his belt and undid the buckle. She unbuttoned his jeans and carefully slid the zipper down. She didn’t want to cause any more damage and the bulge to the left of his jeans was leaving little room for the zipper to slide smoothly down. Hooking her hands into his waistband, she eased them over his hips and slid them down his legs until she was kneeling at his feet. Walker sat on the edge of the bed as she lifted each foot in turn and pulled his boots off, followed by his socks and lastly his jeans. He sat there in nothing but briefs, his body a mosaic of blues, blacks, purples and greens. Since she was there, Alex decided to start from his feet and work her way up. There were a few scrapes and bruises on his shins, his left knee was purple and there was a line of bruises across his thighs where he’d been struck by a board. Alex’s touch was gentle and soothing, at least to the wounds. Walker’s heartbeat was not soothed at all and there was an ache that was pounding in his groin.

Without speaking, Alex took Walker’s hand and urged him to stand. She turned him and did an inspection of the backs of his legs. There was another line of bruises where he had crashed into the edge of a table. After a full inspection, she again circled to face him. “Did I get them all?” “Uh uh.” he said in a hoarse grunt. Alex’s lips curled up in a devilish grin; “it seems my work isn’t done.” She looped her thumbs into the waistband of his briefs and stretched them gently over his erection and down. She again bent to her knees as she slid them down his legs, but instead of having him sit, she first inspected his backside and found a large round bruise from a doorknob. She brushed it with her fingers and then her lips before gently easing him back to sit him on the edge of the bed. As she lifted first one foot and then the other, it dawned on her that she remained fully clothed, down to her shoes, while Walker was now without a stitch on. It made her feel decadent to be the one in control and she smiled again.

Walker was watching the emotions play across her face and he almost got nervous at the devilish grin that came to her lips. He wanted to ask what was going through her mind, but was afraid to. Alex had finally revealed the only place on Walker’s body that had not been injured in the combat. She decided that it deserved extra special treatment. It was also nice to know that she didn’t have to be as careful as she had with the rest of him. In recent months, Alex had allowed her hair to grow longer than she had worn it in years. She took a lock of the silky hair and used the end as if it were a brush and ‘dusted’ the length of Walker’s erection. She then leaned forward and wrapped the lock of hair around the shaft and stroked its silkiness with her fingers. “You give new meaning to the phrase, ‘touched by an angel,’ he told her with a groan. A smile played on Alex’s lips, but she wasn’t done with him yet. She unwrapped the hair and then used her fingers to play up and down his length as if he were a flute and she a flautist. It took all of Walker’s control to sit quietly through her ministrations. Wrapping her fingers around his thickness, she leaned forward and placed a soft moist kiss to his tip. She opened her mouth to scrape him gently with her teeth and then all subtlety vanished as she opened her mouth wide to receive him and sank down onto him inching him slowly into her throat. Walker’s upper body sank back onto the bed and his hands gripped the comforter as she swallowed him deep into her throat and repeatedly bobbed up and down taking him to a new level of intensity when he finally reached orgasm.

Walker had never felt so completely relaxed. He’d studied meditation and yoga, he’d spent hours in a sweat lodge, chanted till he was hoarse, never had he been so completely and utterly at peace. His whole body was relaxed, each muscle fiber at rest. His mind drifted in a cloud, floating above his body. His heart beat a strong steady rhythm and it spelled out his love for Alex. Alex stood and lifted his legs, swinging him around so that he lay fully on the bed. She covered him with a blanket and kissed his brow as his eyes closed into a deep dreamless sleep. When Walker woke twenty hours later, he was nearly healed. Whether it was Davey’s touch or Alex’s that had healed him was anybody’s guess, but Walker voted for Alex’s.

Walker looked around Alex’s bedroom and listened, all was quiet. He got up to go into the bathroom and after a long hot shower; he emerged feeling less groggy. He inspected his fading bruises in the full-length mirror in Alex’s bedroom and then he looked around for something to wear. He found the clothes he had arrived in freshly laundered and folded, lying on top on Alex’s dresser. Walker dressed and meandered out into the living room. Silence reigned, so he wandered into the kitchen. On the refrigerator door was a note, ‘help yourself, I won’t be gone long.’ He opened the door and pulled out bacon and eggs. He set them on the counter and went to the coffee maker. Alex had left it ready; all he had to do was switch it on. The coffee perked while he fried up the bacon and eggs and made some toast. He ate in solitude and by the time he was on his second cup of coffee, he began to feel more like himself. He moved into the living room and sat on the couch to wait for Alex. He didn’t have to wait long, the door opened and in walked Alex in jeans and T-shirt. He smiled as he saw her and she returned the smile. “So sleeping beauty has awoken. I thought I was going to have to kiss you awake.” Walker lay his head on the back of the couch and feigned sleep. Alex chuckled, but accepted the offer. She straddled his thighs and took his jaw into her hand to tilt his face to her. She had just touched her lips to his when he grabbed her waist and pulled her in close, drinking from her sweet lips.

Walker inhaled deeply and said, “you smell of horses and hay.” “Yeah, I just got back from the ranch. The animals are all tended to and the chores are done.” “You didn’t have to do that.” “Yes I did if I wanted you to stay here and relax with me. I knew that you’d rush right out to take care of things if I didn’t have it already done.” “Think you’re smart, huh?” “No Walker, I know I’m smart.” They grinned at each other and Alex said, “I see you’ve already showered and eaten, anything you’d like to do?” “Hmmm, I think I could probably think of something if I put my mind to it.” He smiled at her and reached a finger up to stroke down her cheek. “In fact, if I remember correctly, I didn’t get a chance to even touch you before I fell asleep.” “You were in need of that sleep and I could wait. Now that you’re rested though, I’m more than happy to let you touch.” “It isn’t just the touching, I love to look at you too and I didn’t get to see any skin the last time.” “Hmmm, you’re right, I guess I should remedy that.” She climbed off of his lap and proceeded to do a slow and sensuous striptease for him. Walker watched passively for as long as he could and then he stood up, scooped her into his arms and carried her into the bedroom for the ‘touching’ part.

That afternoon, Walker called Susan and arranged a picnic for the following day. C.D. and Trivette came along with Davey and Susan. Alex prepared sandwiches and fruit along with chocolate chip cookies, a weakness of Walker’s that Davey shared. Alex gave a wistful smile as she was packing the cookies; Lucas had loved her chocolate chip cookies as well. Walker saddled Little Ranger for Davey and he too felt the familiar pang that he felt whenever he thought of Lucas.

The group headed out on horseback and had a leisurely ride to the lake. They played Frisbee and explored until hunger made them raid the picnic basket. After eating, Walker took Davey down to the lake to fish. Alex went investigating an hour later and stopped when she saw the two seated on the bank just talking and enjoying the camaraderie. ‘He’s going to make such a great father. I hope that someday I can give him a son that he can share all of this with.’ She touched her abdomen, imagining Walker’s child growing inside of her. ‘Of course, he’ll be great with a daughter too. I’ll have to work on giving him at least one of each.’ With a smile to herself, she turned to head back to the others snoozing on the picnic blankets.

That evening, they rode back to the ranch and Walker had Davey and Trivette help him with the horses and the barn chores while Susan, Alex and C.D. went in to fix supper for them all. C.D. took on the role of head chef and Alex set out the dishes so that Susan could set the table while Alex prepared the rolls. Since half of those eating were vegetarians, C.D. had prepared a lentil soup at home and left it simmering on Walker’s stove while they went for their ride. Now he taste tested it and added spices until he was satisfied with the end result. The guys came in and washed up and everyone sat at the table to eat.

After a companionable meal, the group went into the living room to enjoy each other’s company. The evening wrapped up and everyone started to head home. C.D. offered to help with the kitchen, but Alex told him that she had it covered. He paused as he got into his SUV and looked back at the couple standing in the doorway with their arms around each other waving goodbye. As he got in behind the steering wheel, he looked over at Jimmy who sat beside him and asked, “when is Cordell gonna get off his rear and ask that little lady to marry him?” “You know Walker C.D., he does things in his own time. Nothing you or I say will hurry him along. When he’s ready he’ll ask her.” Davey piped up from the back seat, “he’s ready to ask her now, he is waiting for the right moment. It will be soon.” After making this solemn statement, he reverted to being the child he was and giggled about the fish he had caught with Walker. They had let the fish go, but Davey had enjoyed holding the slimy feeling creature in his hands as it wriggled. C.D. and Jimmy looked at each other and shook their heads. With Davey, it was almost as if two individuals inhabited the same body; one a wizened old man and the other a young curious child.

Part 10 Talking about marriage...

Ref: Season 5 ‘Angel’ through ‘The Soul of Winter’

Alex was working on a case with Carlos Sandoval, Phil’s fiancée DPD Detective Kim Rivers and her partner Ron Parnell. The case had been frustrating and complex as they tried to piece together a Pyramid Scam that had bilked elderly immigrants out of their life savings. This particular scam was being lead by the foreman at a factory that employed many Hispanic workers. The man, Juan Gonzales, used his position to get the aging family members of many of the employees involved, using his position of power to engender trust and then fleecing his hapless victims. Ron’s mother was from El Salvador and he went in undercover as he spoke Spanish. Carlos had also gone in undercover and between the two men, they had gathered a great deal of information, but little hard evidence. That was where Kim came in. Not only was she a detective, she was a beautiful blond with amazing violet blue eyes and a great figure, just Juan’s type. She had begun a flirtation with the man and even though her skin crawled each time he touched her, she had managed to keep that to herself as she worked her way into his life and gained access to his private desk.

Kim wasn’t about to sleep with the man, no one wanted the evidence that badly and it was a known fact that Kim could handle herself. She had spent some time in the gym with Walker and her ‘street smarts’ had been supplemented with some skilled martial arts moves. It was Alex’s job to sift through the evidence gathered and to advise the three detectives on the best way to proceed. They walked a very fine line and didn’t want the case to be thrown out on a technicality.

Alex liked Kim and she had known her for years, since back when she worked with her on the Carl Storm case. Of course, that’s when Phil had met Kim and they had nurtured their relationship for almost as long as Alex and Walker had. Comments were occasionally made about Phil not being quite as slow as Walker as they had the wedding date set and Walker had yet to propose. It irked Alex every once in awhile, but she believed that her patience would ultimately be rewarded. Not that that stopped her from needling Walker every once in awhile.

Kim was given the pleasure of taking Juan Gonzales into custody when the case finally cracked wide open. Walker and Trivette had participated in the bust, but they both stepped back to allow Kim the pleasure of slapping the cuffs on the dirt bag. They all celebrated at C.D.’s that night and the large group that sat at two tables pushed together included, Walker, Alex, Trivette, Carlos, Trent, Ron, Phil and Kim. It wasn’t until a DPD Sargent stopped by the table and commented on the male/female ratio that Kim and Alex realized they were the only women present. They were both used to being surrounded by males in their jobs and having even one more woman there was unusual. C.D. kept the chili and beer flowing and the group laughed and relaxed together. Most of the other patrons were fellow law enforcement officers and they stopped by to congratulate the undercover team on a job well done. The case had touched many as they too had gullible parents and grandparents who could just as easily been swindled.

C.D. came over with another pitcher of beer and began toasting the victorious team. He then toasted Phil and Kim on their upcoming nuptials, which started questions about the details. “If I could, I would elope,” Kim said. “Really, I would love a beautiful outdoors wedding with lots of flowers...” Alex dreamed aloud. “You listenin’ to that Cordell?” C.D. bellowed. “Yeah, I was just thinking, Phil how about a swap? I’m all for the eloping thing, I mean if you have to get married, you might as well do it out of town with as few people around as possible.” He suddenly yelped and lurched forward to grab his shin as Alex’s pointed shoe tip found its mark. “What’d ya do that for?” he complained, rubbing the offending limb.

“So Kim, have you picked out your bridesmaid dresses yet? What are your colors?” Alex turned to Kim pointedly ignoring Walker. “Well, that’s a bit of a dilemma. Phil’s cousin Ashley is going to be a bridesmaid, but I don’t know who I will get to be my maid of honor. I don’t really have any close female friends. I wanted to ask Ron, but Phil’s dad nixed the idea. I thought it was supposed to be your best friend, can I help it if my best friend is a guy?” That brought chuckles of mirth from around the table and Ron took a great deal of ribbing about how good he would look in a bridesmaid dress. After the laughter died down, Phil said, “we compromised and Ron is going to be my best man. All the other details haven’t been ironed out yet, but my father has hired a ‘wedding coordinator’ so I imagine, we won’t be making very many more decisions on our own.” “And you’re okay with that?” Trivette asked. He had sat quietly most of the night. He had just lost his first love. Angel had turned out to be an assassin who was murdered after reentering his life and he wasn’t over the loss. “As long as I get to choose the bride, I don’t care about the rest,” Phil stated. Kim smiled, “and we also want C.D.’s chili served!” Everyone laughed as C.D. puffed up with pride and the focus was taken off of Kim. Alex registered the ploy and decided to talk to her about it later. She was beginning to think of Kim as a younger sister. She clearly needed some womanly advice and Alex was determined to take her under her wing.

Alex was the first to call it a night as she had Juan Gonzales’ preliminary hearing the next morning. Walker stood up to walk out with her and limped the whole way. “Oh stop, I didn’t kick you that hard.” “Alex, I guarantee I will have a bruise by morning.” “Well, you deserved it. Offering to trade me for Kim and then saying you’d rather elope if you had to get married. No one’s twisting your arm Cowboy.” “Well the topic sure comes up a lot lately.” “We were talking about Kim and Phil’s wedding. Of course the topic came up, but no one said that you had to marry me.” “I have considered asking you to marry me, but with your violent temper, there’s no telling how many bruises I’d be sporting. It would be hard to explain to the guys at work.” “Ha ha very funny. I’ll see you at work tomorrow.” “What? No goodbye kiss?” “For you? Not likely.” “Alex, don’t get mad, I was just teasing. You know how I feel about you.” “Do I?” This time it was Walker’s turn to get irritated. He grabbed Alex’s upper arms and turned her to face him. “Look me in the eye and ask that,” he challenged her. “It’s hard sometimes Walker to always...” “Always what?” “You almost never tell me.” “What?” “That you love me.” “Where did you ever get the idea that I love you?” “From you! You said you did and you're always doing nice things for me and rescuing me and when we make love...” “So, I do all those things and you’re complaining that you don’t know how I feel?” “Walker, you should know by now not to get into a war of words with an ADA. I know that you love me, but how many other people do? Remember that ADA from Houston? Todd Clemens? He didn’t know that there was someone in my life that I love. How could he?” “Alex, the minute he saw us together, he knew we were in love. People know we’re in love the moment they see us together.” “What about when I’m not with you? Not to brag or anything, but do you know how many men hit on me in a day?” “And you think a ring will solve that? Some men just can’t help themselves. They see a beautiful woman and they instantly have to make a pass, ring or no ring.” “Walker, I’m going home. I have a trial to prepare for and wasting my breath arguing with you isn’t going to help me prepare for it.” Walker debated pressing her for a kiss, but he saw the flash in her eyes and decided to leave it alone. He already had one sore shin.

The atmosphere was decidedly chilly whenever Walker and Alex were in the same room for the rest of the week. For the first time in months, she didn’t stay out at the ranch for the weekend. Walker tried to talk to her at work and ask about the weekend, but he kept missing her and then her secretary told him she had left for the day on Friday afternoon. Saturday, he drove to her apartment to try and work things out, but she wasn’t there. Alex had taken her thought about helping Kim to heart and they had a shopping date.

In her efforts to find out just what Kim had accomplished, she discovered that she didn’t even have a wedding dress picked out. Alex knew of a wonderful place and took Kim there Saturday morning. After ten different dresses were tried on and discarded, Alex found one that she thought would be perfect. Kim wasn’t used to dressing up and the satin and lace on the gowns made her uneasy, but even she had to agree that the gown was stunning and perfect for her. Next, she had to be measured for the alterations and it was time for lunch before they finished.

“What about bridesmaids dresses?” Alex asked before Kim had a chance to chew her first bite. “I still haven’t asked anyone to be my maid of honor.” “I thought you had someone in mind?” “Yeah, I just haven’t gotten my nerve up yet.” “Kim, I would never believe you didn’t have enough nerve to do something once you set your mind to it.” “I just have never really had ‘girlfriends’ you know? Being a cop, you just kind of end up with all guys for friends. The only women I know are in the same boat I’m in or are married to a cop and they all think I’m nuts.” Alex chuckled sympathetically, “it’s hard to be a successful woman in a traditionally male role, believe me, I know.” “But you manage to stay so feminine. I mean, look at buying that dress. I was ready to bag the whole lot and wear jeans.” “You’re not that bad. You didn’t have a mother or sister to teach you?” “My mother left us when I was six. After my dad died a year later, I was put in an orphanage and a few foster homes, but I can’t say that I ever had a mother figure in my life.” “Well, how about a big sis?” “I never had one of those either.” “No, I was offering. Whatever you need, especially when it comes to shopping, I’m your woman.” Kim smiled a genuine smile at Alex. “Thank you,” she said. “No problem. Now, we need to find shoes and you have to pick out a color for your bridesmaids at least, the flowers and everything will depend on it. Now I was thinking, since it’s a spring wedding, why not go with a spring color, something found in nature, like a light green?” Kim groaned; her day had just begun with Alex at the helm.

Since Walker and for that matter, all men were on Alex’s black list, she decided to make it an ‘all girl’ weekend. She had met a young black woman who was even nicer than she was pretty. Her name was Josie and she managed a shelter for abused women. Josie had helped Alex get a woman from one of her support groups into the shelter with her children when the woman’s husband beat not only his wife, but their seven year old son was hit as well. In their efforts to help the family in crisis, Josie and Alex had become fast friends. Alex was treating Josie to lunch out as a thank you for all her help. “It’s just so frustrating. The women we help often go back to their husbands because they don’t know how else to survive. Many of them have never worked outside of the home because their husbands wouldn’t allow it. They have no job skills and no job placement. How are they supposed to support themselves and their children? It’s a vicious cycle and sometimes I just feel so powerless. All we offer them is shelter and counseling, but that doesn’t put clothes on their backs or teach them to live independently,” Josie vented her frustrations to Alex. “All we can do is continue to help in any way we can and when we see the opportunity to change the system, we have to make the most of it,” Alex said trying to comfort herself as well as her new friend.

It was dusk when Alex pulled into her parking space at the townhouse she had recently purchased. There were some who thought her insane to invest in a home when things looked so promising for her and Walker, but after their discussion on Friday night, Alex felt more assured that she had made the right decision. It made no sense for her to pay out so much in taxes. She had no children and so buying a home was the only way she could invest her money and reduce her annual tax. Alex was thinking all of this as she headed up the stairs to her second floor unit. She nearly bumped into the figure lounging in front of her door. “I knew if I staked out your place long enough you’d have to return,” Walker said. Alex just raised her eyebrows at him and opened the door. “Am I allowed in?” he asked as she entered her home. “Of course,” she answered and continued on allowing him to enter and close the door while she set her belongings down.

“Alex, we need to talk. This rift between us is making me miserable. Can we please work things out?” Alex sighed and nodded. She wasn’t exactly ready to meet him halfway, but she’d hear him out. Walker headed to her living room and sat down on the couch leaving room next to him. Alex followed him in and seeing where he sat, she chose the lounge chair over the couch. Just having him in her apartment was making her head spin. There was no way she could sit on the couch next to him and remain logical. Every cell in her body craved his touch and it took all of her restraint not to throw herself into his arms. ‘I am mad at him. I am mad at him,’ she began chanting a mantra in her head. ‘Why was I mad at him?’ she asked herself after getting a whiff of his outdoor fresh scent.

All the while Alex did battle with herself in her head, Walker was going over again what he would say to her. “Alex, you know I love you.” “Huh?” Alex was brought back to the present when he spoke. Walker frowned at her inattentiveness. “I said, you know that I love you.” “Yes Walker, I know that.” “And your feelings for me?” “I love you too,” she answered his prompt honestly. “So the problem isn’t how we feel about each other, it’s that you want to get married and I’m not quite ready yet.” “I didn’t say I wanted to get married. I just want to be able to claim you. What do I say to people? This is my... lover?” “Who cares what other people think? This is about us.” “If you believe that, then you’re deluding yourself. As much as you’d like to ostracize yourself from the world, there are other people out there. It’s one of the fundamental differences between us. I like to socialize, to meet new people and to have a lot of friends. You on the other hand just want a few close knit friends and you’re happiest when there are no people around and it’s just you and your horse.” “That’s not true, I’m happiest when it’s just you and me. Look Alex, I just have a few more things to work out in my own head before I commit the rest of my life to you. I need you to be patient for just awhile longer.” “Okay Walker, I’ll be patient, but I think we shouldn’t make love until you get things sorted out in your head.” “That’s what you think huh?” “Yeah, you know the saying, why buy the cow when the milk is free?” Walker nodded his head. “Alex?” “What?” “How long do you think either of us could go without making love?” “I could go for quite some time. It’s not the only thing in life.” “Yeah, I guess you’re right. Okay, we’ll play by your rules. No making love.”

Walker stood as if to leave and Alex was extremely conflicted. She wanted him to argue with her and sweep her up in his arms and make passionate love to her. She didn’t want him to just agree to her ultimatum! “How about one last kiss?” Walker asked. “Just one?” Alex whispered. Walker reached for her and pulled her into his arms, letting her feel the hard length of his body pressed snuggly against hers. He leaned in and gently teased her lips. When he pulled back, Alex’s eyes were closed and her mouth was open gasping for air. “I’m going to miss you Alex.” “Yeah,” she whispered as she leaned into him for another kiss. This time, he took advantage of her parted lips and slipped his tongue in between them and slowly stroked into her mouth. His hand dropped down to the small of her back and he drew tiny circles just in the right spot where he knew it drove her wild. He used just the right amount of pressure and his fingers touched her with practiced confidence. It brought the desired result as she pressed herself even tighter into his frame. “I should go,” he offered. “Yeah,” she said as she wrapped her arms around his neck. Walker kissed her cheek and trailed down to her neck where he gently licked the pulse point that flickered there. “Alex, do you want me to go?” he asked again, his hands reaching up as he stepped back slightly to make space between their bodies to enable him to cup her breasts. “Oh what the hell, make love to me Cowboy,” Alex capitulated as they both knew she would. Walker gave a victorious grin as he reached down and scooped her up to take her into her bedroom and prove once again how much he loved her.

The next week, all was right in Alex and Walker’s world, but things got rocky in Kim’s. She had planned to ask the dispatcher, Beth Leavens, to be her maid of honor. She had known Beth for some time and Beth had made friendly overtures towards her in the past. Kim knew that they weren’t bosom buddies, but they had gone out with their respective dates together on more than one occasion. Beth had always gotten along well with Phil and so Kim decided that she was her best bet for a bridesmaid. Kim got her nerve up on Wednesday and decided to approach Beth in the break room where she often went to have her coffee break. Beth was in there when Kim entered, but she was in conversation with the only other person in there, a secretary from the office. Just as Kim approached the pair who were deep in conversation and unaware of her presence, she heard her name mentioned. The secretary, Suzanne Kane, said, “I can’t believe Kim Rivers is marrying Phil Holland. I know they’ve been together for a long time, I just never thought they’d actually make it official.” “Oh please,” Beth answered, “she has got that guy completely by the balls.” “Beth!” Suzanne giggled, “do tell.” “Well, Kim is one of those poor orphan girls who knows a good catch when she sees one. Phil Holland’s daddy has got more money than sense and if Kim plays her cards right, she could end up with quite a chunk of it. I can’t believe Neil Holland has approved of a marriage between his son and that money grabber. Of course Phil is a wimp. I made a play for him once, but I couldn’t get past the fact that he’s such a spineless wimp. No amount of money can make up for that.” “A wimp? Phil Holland? Beth, he’s one of the best prosecuting attorney’s in the DA’s office. I mean, he can’t compare to Alex Cahill, but then who can? Her record puts everyone to shame.” “Suzanne, you are so gullible. Phil Holland might be good at his job, but he let his daddy run his life until he met Kim and now he lets her do it. Mark my words, she’ll quit the force within a year and become a lady of leisure, while Phil continues to work in the DA’s office for appearances sake while daddy shovels money their way. I mean, it’s not like Phil needs to work. And as for Alex Cahill, don’t mention the name! That ice queen gives me chills! What a hot blooded man like Ranger Walker sees in that anemic scarecrow is beyond me.” “I think she’s beautiful,” Suzanne opined. “Sure, to look at, but if you touch her, you get frostbite. Why do you think Walker hasn’t asked her to marry him? He’s afraid he’d be put in deep freeze.” “Oh Beth, you are so bad. Tell me more.”

Kim had heard enough. She was hurt by what had been said about her, but when the topic had turned to Phil and then Alex, she had gotten furious. These were two of the best people she had ever known in her life. Kim decided that she needed to say something. It may not have been the wisest thing, but she was not the type to suffer silently. “Excuse me ladies,” she began as the two women sitting with their backs to her jumped. “Actually, you don’t really qualify for that title, but what I’d like to call you requires using language that I try to avoid. You can talk as much trash about me as you like, but don’t you ever say one word about Phil or Alex. Phil is not a ‘wimp’ as you say, he’s kind and considerate, but don’t mistake good manners for a lack of backbone. As for Alex, she has more compassion in her little finger than either of you has in your entire bodies. Ice princess, when she and Walker are together, people have stand back to avoid getting burned. They are passionately in love, just like Phil and I are. By the way, if you’re looking for invitations to our wedding, don’t bother.” With that, Kim whirled around and stormed out before she really lost it and said things she would later regret.

Kim was so angry she wanted to do some damage to something, but she was expected in a briefing room for a meeting with the Captain, so she didn’t have time to go to the gym or for a run. Instead, she ducked into a maintenance closet and started tossing things and kicking the poor defenseless mop bucket. Alex was walking down the hall when she heard the unusual sounds coming from the maintenance closet. As she approached the door to listen and determine if it was safe to enter, the noises stopped. Alex pressed her ear to the door and listened. That’s when she heard the sounds of someone crying. She hesitated only a moment before opening the door and peering in. She was absolutely shocked to see who was in the closet crying. She had seen Kim in many emotional states before, but she had never seen her even close to tears.

“Kim?” Alex asked tentatively not wanting to intrude on a private moment, but wanting to give her friend support. “Kim, are you okay? Is there anything I can do?” Kim immediately wiped her eyes and looked at Alex shaking her head. “I’m okay, I was just so mad. I never cry unless I get really mad and then I just need to let the emotions out. Usually I just go running or punch a bag or something, but there wasn’t time.” Alex decided that since Kim hadn’t thrown anything at her or asked her to leave, that it was safe to enter all the way. She came into the closet, flipped on the overhead light and closed the door. “What made you so mad?” Kim took a deep breath and let it out as a huge sigh before answering. “I overheard some people gossiping and I was one of the topics under discussion. Then they tore Phil and his dad apart and then...” she paused for a moment before continuing. “They said some pretty harsh things about a friend of mine.” Kim wouldn’t look at her and Alex figured it out. “About me huh?” Kim nodded; her gaze still down. “Let’s see, if they were talking about you, it must be the rumor that Phil is marrying you because you’re pregnant.” “What? No! Someone actually said that?” “Sure, if it wasn’t that one, how about the one where you’re marrying Phil for his family money.” “Yeah, that’s what they said.” “Hmm and Phil, he’s blinded by your looks and can’t see you for the gold digger you really are.” “They said he was a wimp.” Alex actually laughed at this; “they obviously haven’t been on the witness stand and had him tear into them. Now, as for me, let’s see... There are so many. I’m having an affair with the mayor, the governor, the DA, or one of a dozen other government officials.” Kim shook her head. “No? Hmm how about the one where I’m having an affair with Trivette?” Kim looked shocked, but shook her head no. “C.D.?” Kim laughed at this one. “Kim, trust me, I’ve heard most if not all of them. It doesn’t bother me anymore.” “Doesn’t it? I mean just to know that someone is taking the time to spread viscous rumors or to say things just for spite. They called you an ice princess.” This time, Alex laughed. “There was a time when that nickname would have hurt me. Since knowing Walker and I’m talking in the biblical sense here, it doesn’t bother me at all.”

Kim was surprised that Alex was freely admitting a physical relationship with Walker. From her observations, they were both very closed mouth about their relationship. “But doesn’t it bother you that people say things that are so untrue?” “I don’t know Kim. It doesn’t make me feel good, but I don’t let it get to me. I mean, I know that I’m not an ice princess. If someone has nothing better to do with their time than spread viscous rumors, I guess they’re the ones I feel the sorriest for. I mean they clearly need to bring someone else down to make them feel better about themselves. Chances are, the woman in question, I assume based on what you said that it was a woman, probably hasn’t found Mr. Wonderful and is jealous that you and I have.” “She did say that she had made a play for Phil and she commented on how hot Walker is.” “Now that I would have to agree with. So, she probably had to tear us all apart because we found our one true love and she’s still looking. If she’s as mean spirited as she sounds, she probably won’t find anyone nice to share her life with and she will remain miserable.” “I just can’t believe I was going to ask her to be my maid of honor.” Now Alex was beginning to understand. “She’s the one you were talking about?” “Yeah, I thought she was my friend. We weren’t close or anything, but she’d always been nice to my face and we had done some things together.” “It’s that whole thing we talked about before. It’s really hard to be successful in a job that is traditionally held my men. Trust me, I know how difficult it can be. Almost all of my close friends are men, at least of the people I know from work. I’ve met some really wonderful women who do a terrific job, but they feel intimidated by me because I work in the DA’s office. I think that people who have confidence in themselves generally don’t have a problem with me and over time, I’ve made some female friends... like you.”

Kim smiled and said; “boy am I dumb. Here I am looking all over for someone to be my maid of honor and I don’t ask the most logical person you. Alex, would you be my maid of honor?” “I’d love to Kim and maybe someday I’ll be able to drag Walker down the aisle and be the bride myself.” Kim laughed at the image that flashed through her mind of Alex dragging Walker down the aisle by the ear. She could picture it clearly for some reason. She knew that the vision wouldn’t work with any other woman. Only Alex could get away with it. Alex cocked an eyebrow at her, but she just laughed and shook her head. Alex opened her arms and Kim stepped into them for a hug. The two women embraced and a lifetime friendship was begun.

Dave Nichols, the janitor, opened the closet to get some supplies. He was rather surprised to see the two women in the closet hugging each other. “Hi Dave, sorry about the mess,” Kim apologized as she looked at the rolls of toilet paper, the bottles of cleaning solution and various brushes strewn around the closet. “We’ll clean up the mess,” Alex offered. “No, it’s okay. That’s what I get paid for; to clean up messes.” The two women smiled and headed on out into the hall. Dave scratched his head and muttered, “I wonder when those two will be coming out of the closet?” Then he laughed at his own joke and began to straighten up the mess.

An hour later, Alex was heading down the same hall when she bumped into Walker. Walker grabbed her arm, looked around furtively and pulled her into the same maintenance closet. He didn’t bother with the light as he pulled her in tight to his chest and began kissing her. When he finally released her long enough that she could get enough breath to speak, she said, “coming into this closet is becoming a habit.” “What are you talking about? I’ve never been in this closet before.” “Not, for you, for me. I was in here just an hour ago.” “Oh? And just who were you in here with?” he asked her. Alex couldn’t see his face as they hadn’t bothered with the light, but she heard the bite to the question in his voice. She chuckled and kissed him before answering. “Don’t get jealous, I was just in here with Kim.” “Kim Rivers? What were you and Kim doing in a closet together?” “Girl talk.” “In a closet?” “Yeah, apparently some women were gossiping and said some things about Kim and Phil and you and I were thrown in too.” “Who were you sleeping with this time?” “Well, from what Kim said, you’re hot and I’m an ice princess.” “Oh baby, if that’s the case, I better get to work and melt the ice.” He pulled her in tighter and kissed her, his tongue invading the warm recesses of her mouth. “Hmm... you don’t feel like ice to me,” he decided.

Alex was breathing hard and feeling unbalanced. The dark closet wasn’t helping any. “Walker, I have to get going to take a deposition.” He held her close for a minute, stroking her back in a calming fashion. His efforts were useless. Whenever he was near, her response was anything but cold. Just then, the door to the closet opened and the light was switched on. Walker and Alex jumped back from each other like they had been scalded. Dave Nichols stood in the door looking at Alex, then Walker and back again. “Make up your mind,” he mumbled to Alex before pivoting on his heel and walking away. Alex pulled the door closed and burst into laughter. She took several minutes to get herself under control and then explained to Walker that the last time Dave had walked in, he’d found her hugging Kim. “The guy must think I am one confused woman.” “Well, you keep me pretty confused.” She laughed, gave him a quick kiss and then headed out to get to the deposition she was already late for. Alex paused at the closet door later that afternoon and tried the handle; it was locked.

“What smells so good?” Walker asked as he entered the kitchen to see Alex standing at the oven with her back to him. She jumped slightly at his unexpected entrance and the towel she was using to protect herself from the hot dish slipped causing her to burn her thumb. Her reflexive action was to drop the hot dish where it landed on the floor breaking and spilling its bubbling contents. Walker’s response was rapid as he pulled her to the sink and turned on the cold water and held her hand under it. Once the water was flowing over her burned thumb, he went to the refrigerator and pulled out a few ice cubes that he wrapped in the dishtowel he took from the drawer. He headed back to where Alex was standing and pulled her hand free of the water to inspect it. “You’re starting to blister, put the ice on it,” he told her as tears streamed silently down her cheeks.

Walker surveyed the mess on the floor and then looked up at Alex’s tearstained face. “I’m sorry honey, I didn’t mean to startle you,” he apologized. Alex’s tears of pain continued, but she shrugged. “It wasn’t your fault, it was just dumb luck, poor timing, something.” “Still, I hate that you’re hurt. Let me take another look at it,” he said as he removed the towel to see that although the skin had blistered, it was a small area and would undoubtedly heal without too much problem. “I think it’s gonna be fine, but I know that burns are painful.” “You can say that again,” she agreed. “I’ll get something to clean up this mess,” he offered. “Be careful, it’s still hot,” she warned. “I know, I’ll be careful. Why don’t you go sit down and keep the ice on your thumb.” Alex nodded in agreement and headed over to sit at the dining room table. Walker scooped the mess into the dustpan and into the garbage. After the bulk of it was cleaned up, he got out the mop and cleaned the kitchen floor thoroughly, checking for glass slivers from the baking dish.

Alex watched Walker as he cleaned up the mess and lamented the loss of the vegetable lasagna she had been baking. “That was for the church fellowship, now we don’t have anything to bring,” she said mournfully. Walker looked at the heaped pile on top of the trash as he tied the bag to take on out. “What exactly was it?” he questioned. “Vegetable lasagna, Jimmy gave me the recipe.” “Oh, well now I don’t feel so bad,” he said with a straight face. “Come again?” she questioned while suspecting that he was teasing her. “Well, if that’s what you were going to feed those poor unsuspecting people at the church homecoming fellowship, I may have actually done a good deed by making you drop it in the floor.” “Cordell Walker, when we get to the church, you better pray for forgiveness and hope that God is more forgiving than I am,” she threatened him. “I’ll ask Roscoe to say an extra prayer for me. I heard that the sermon was going to be on turning the other cheek.” “That might work with God, but it doesn’t work with Cahill’s.” Walker chuckled, “I guess I’m in the dog house again.” “Absolutely,” she concurred.

Walker approached the table and stood behind her to untie the apron she wore over her church clothes. “I’m sure there will be more than enough food to go around, but we can stop and get something if you want. If we leave now, we should still be able to get there on time.” “It’s not the same. It’s a homecoming, everyone is supposed to bring a homemade dish.” “Alex, we aren’t even members of the church. We were invited by Trent and his family as guests. I’m sure that they don’t expect us to bring a homemade dish. Anyway, if anyone asks, I’ll say that it smelled so good I ate it before we got there.” “Oh and add lying to your list of sins. I don’t know Walker, I think we may have to stay late with all the praying for forgiveness that you’re going to be doing.” Walker grinned at her as he got the first aid kit out and sprayed her thumb with burn spray and then covered it with a loose bandage.

“Come on, we better go,” he said as he pulled her up from the chair and against him. Alex looked up into his eyes and saw the love he had for her there. His eyes twinkled at her with humor and there was the slightest lift to his lips. She gathered together all of her armor and resisted his charm. “You’re not still mad at me are you?” he asked as his hand lightly stroked down her back to that little spot in her lower back that was so sensitive to his touch. “Walker...” she warned. “Hmm?” was his only response as his hand trailed back up so lightly that it sent shivers through her and caused her to arch into him. His hand returned to her lower back as his lips broke out into the smile that had been hovering. He knew she was losing the battle with herself. “Forgive me?” he whispered against her slightly parted lips. “No...” she whispered back unconvincingly. “No?” he queried as his lips touched hers with a feather like caress. "Uh uh,” she confirmed as she drank in his breath. His fingers made small circles on her lower back and her abdomen pressed in against him. He trailed tiny butterfly kisses from the corner of her mouth to her earlobe.

Alex stood with her eyes closed concentrating on the sensations he was arousing and on trying to breathe. “If you’re trying to seduce me, it’s not working,” she claimed in a whisper that even she didn’t believe. “Really? It feels like it’s working,” he whispered back as he released her earlobe and trailed kisses up to her forehead and down the bridge of her nose. “Walker...” she tried again in frustration. “Hmm?” he murmured as he now reached her chin and traced it down to her neck. “Don’t, we’ll be late,” she tried to resist one last time. Walker stepped back and the spell was suddenly broken. “Right, we should get going.” Alex stood in a stunned stupor. Her mouth gaped like a fish and her eyes widened as she looked at him. He was so calm and collected. He lifted her hand in his and drew it to his mouth. He kissed the back of her hand and each finger, lightly brushing her bandaged thumb. He nearly had her fooled until she saw the slight tremor in his hand. She smiled to herself, knowing what stopping his seductive game was costing him.

“Do we still have time to stop and get something to take to church with us?” she asked already knowing the answer. “No, but C.D. always brings enough for an army and he’s coming too,” Walker claimed as he stepped further away from her and from temptation. “He’d have to with Jimmy, Trent and Carlos all expected to be there. Those three can put away enough food to feed a small village.” Walker recognized Alex’s ploy to make him laugh dispelling the remainder of volatile emotions that circled them whenever they were within touching distance. “Let’s go,” he concluded as he led her out to the truck. “Why don’t we take my car? I mean, I’m dressed for church for heaven’s sake.” “Funny Alex,” he said rolling his eyes. Alex had to stop and think about what she’d said. “No pun intended,” she denied with a grin. “We could take your car, but we’re really late and mine is the only vehicle that will get us there on time.” “Walker, I own a sports car. It can go as fast as your Ram.” “Maybe, on a good day, but it can’t go where my Ram can.” “I’m afraid to ask,” she said as she pulled herself up into the seat of the Ram while he handed her the seatbelt and closed the door.

Alex had trouble with the catch, hampered as she was by her bandaged thumb, so Walker slid it into the lock for her. He tightened it snuggly against her body and started the vehicle. “Walker, you made the belt so tight, it’s wrinkling my outfit.” “Leave it Alex,” he warned and took off with a cloud of dust left to settle itself behind him. Alex looked at him suspiciously, but when he turned off the main road and onto a cow path, she didn’t have time to complain as she hung on for dear life.

Walker used his four-wheel drive as he climbed hills and raced across the countryside. He didn’t look at her for which she was grateful, his eyes stayed glued to the landscape. Twenty minutes later, Walker’s unmarked trail joined with a small country lane and two minutes after that, they were pulling into the church parking lot. Walker sedately pulled the Ram in to park it and turned off the engine. “Three minutes to spare,” he announced as he turned to look at Alex. “Great, now if I only had a change of clothes.” “Why do you need a change of clothes? You look fine,” he demurred. “Maybe, but I wet myself back there when you jumped that creek bed.” This time, Walker couldn’t contain his laughter as he looked at Alex’s pale complexion. “Well, you didn’t want to be late,” he reminded her. “No, but I also didn’t ask to be ‘shaken not stirred.’” Walker was still grinning as he escorted Alex into the church, wobbly legs and all. For all her complaining, he knew that she was daring and adventurous and that she had enjoyed the wild ride as much as he had.

They enjoyed the sermon until tragedy struck and a young member returning from delivering food baskets to the poor was shot and killed on the front steps. Walker sent Alex home in Trivette’s car while he stayed and helped with the investigation. Late that night, Trivette rode back with him to the ranch to retrieve his car. Walker saw the light on and invited his partner and friend in, knowing Alex was still up. This hate crime had strongly affected Trivette. He knew that racism existed, but he had gotten to a point where it wasn’t thrown into his face on a daily basis. Even living in the south as he did, he felt that the majority of his colleagues accepted him as an equal. To suddenly have something as ugly as discrimination taken to its extreme thrown back into his face bothered the optimistic Ranger.

Walker opened the front door hoping that Alex would be expecting Trivette and that she was still appropriately dressed. He needn’t have worried. She was sitting on the sofa with her legs curled under her listening to music on the C.D. player and dozing. She threw back the blanket she was covered with and stretched. She was wearing a comfortable sweat suit and had obviously read Walker’s mind about inviting Trivette in. “Hi Walker, Jimmy, I have dinner ready.” “Is that what smells so good?” Walker asked with a wink. “Yeah, it’s staying warm in the oven, but I’ll let you take it out.” She had duplicated her efforts from the morning’s fiasco and had made another dish of vegetable lasagna. Despite Walker’s complaints, he found that he enjoyed it.

The three friends talked and shared their disbelief and grief over the tragedy that had occurred that morning. Walker sat back and observed as Alex worked her magic. He didn’t know how she did it. She always seemed to know just the right thing to say. She was strongly against any type of discrimination and she was able to make Jimmy see that the few fanatics that lived in America and promoted hatred were the true minority. “It may take all kinds, but hate groups we can do without,” she said. Jimmy smiled at her and Walker was glad to see the smile back on his face. It had been missing since that morning. “You know Alex, I think that you’re more tolerant of others than even our half Cherokee friend here,” he said with a grin. “What’s that supposed to mean?” Walker asked offended. “Well, Alex is willing to make vegetarian dishes and support my life choices, while you ride me about it all the time.” “Oh please Trivette, you live in Texas and you don’t want to eat beef. It goes against everything Texas stands for. Anyway, I just like to ‘rib’ you.” “Oh Walker, that was bad, that was really bad,” Trivette complained. He left the ranch in a much better frame of mind, but still determined to put an end to this particular hate group.

Their investigation led them to Stan Gorman. He had a web site that preached his hateful doctrine. Walker wanted to get a warrant to search Stan Gorman’s warehouse. He knew that they didn’t have much in the way of concrete evidence, he also knew an ADA who was capable of knocking down walls. He approached Alex who was sitting at a desk with books and files covering it. He knelt down next to her and asked if she could get a warrant to search Gorman’s headquarters for a murder weapon. "I'll try. I'm gonna have to do one big selling job on the judge." Walker knew Alex’s weak spots and he took his hand to run it down her spine to the special place he’d found long ago while dancing with her in the Utah mountains. It was a sensitive spot in the small of her back and he drew tiny circles causing her to arch her back. He then added his secret weapon when he gave her his best smile. "If anyone can do it, you can,” he chided her. “Don't even start that with me!" Alex responded with a smile while slapping his hand away. Walker chuckled as he went off to continue the investigation confident, that Alex would be successful.

The Rangers managed to find Gorman’s arsenal, but they didn’t find Gorman. He had decided to attack the fundraiser organized to gather funds to rebuild a church that was burned by Gorman’s group. Luckily, Walker, Trivette and Carlos arrived in time to join Trent in a hand to hand battle to put a stop to their reign of terror. Walker and Trent threw in a few well placed kicks and even Alex got into the fray when she used her infamous right hook to take out one of the men. Several of the church members knelt to pray at the cross that had been set on fire. The wind suddenly picked up extinguishing the flames. Jimmy’s statement that only ‘this’ particular hate group was out of business struck deep into the core of everyone. There were many more.

Lover’s Moments Part 11


It was late Saturday afternoon and Alex drove her Sebring into the driveway of Walker’s ranch. Her foot pressed down on the accelerator and she had to consciously ease off the gas and slow down. She shook her head and smiled to herself. This was definitely some type of illness. How was it that after all the times she had driven up this same driveway, her stomach could still knot up in anticipation? Well, if they ever discovered the cure for what ailed her, she would refuse treatment. Feeling the butterflies flutter in her stomach, her heart race, her breathing become shallow, all combined to give her a heady feeling that drugs could never duplicate. She was coming home. This may not be her house and she may not have claim over this property, but the man who resided here was hers. He was her home. When she was in his arms, she was where she belonged and all was right with her world.

Alex wasn’t sure what had started all this introspection, but then admitted that maybe she did know. She’d spent the day with Kim helping her make final decisions about the wedding. Kim may have a wedding coordinator, but Kim had soon found herself needing Alex’s moral support to stand up for what she wanted. It wasn’t that Kim normally had trouble advocating for herself, but when it came to types of flowers and music, she was out of her depth. She was a decisive person and knew what she liked, but she also felt that she lacked the cultured tastes that her fiancée was used to. Phil had been born with a silver spoon in his mouth while Kim had been born with the taste of dust in hers. When she’d asked Alex to be her Maid of Honor at her wedding, neither woman realized how much Kim was going to end up relying on Alex. Alex had been born into an upper middle class family. Despite the fact that her father had abandoned the family when she was sixteen and her fortunes changed dramatically, she had been taught at an early age which fork to use and which wine to choose.

Alex didn’t mind helping Kim out with what would be one of the most memorable days of her life, but it cut into her time with Walker. They usually spent the weekends together unless they were working and since both were off this weekend, it was particularly hard to pick out tablecloths for the reception tables knowing that Walker was all alone wasting all of his energy on mundane ranch chores when he could be making passionate love to her.

Alex pulled up in a cloud of dust, her foot had gotten heavy again as she’d pictured his muscles rippling and glistening with sweat as he used the pitch fork. She hopped out of the car and raced straight for the barn. Chances were that’s where she’d find him. She entered stealthily, but a thorough search revealed no sign of him. Fresh straw was spread and a new delivery of alfalfa hay was neatly stacked at the end of the barn. Empty feedbags were in the dumpster and the cans were filled to capacity. She checked to see if his saddle was in its resting place on the saddletree and it was, so he wasn’t out riding. She turned and headed out to the back corral and counted horses. All were accounted for and no Walker. She headed back toward the house and noted that the lawn was freshly mowed. She circled to the back to check the hen house, garage and laundry room. Her brow wrinkled in consternation, a beautiful Saturday and Walker wasn’t anywhere outside. This bore investigating.

Alex turned to the front porch and knocked lightly as she let herself in. She called out to announce herself, but there was no answering call. She headed into the kitchen and noted that he’d made something for dinner that was roasting in the oven. It smelled delicious whatever it was. The dishes were washed and the floor had been freshly mopped, but was already dry. She headed back into the entryway and then the den. Everything was neat and clean. She inhaled the scent of furniture polish and noted that everything shined.

Heading upstairs, Alex began to grin, deciding that he had probably gotten all his chores done and was waiting for her in the bedroom. He had one chore that still needed tending to, she decided as she began unbuttoning her blouse. She entered the room and was struck by its emptiness. She looked at the bed and noted that it was made and upon closer inspection saw that the sheets were clean and crisp, he’d obviously changed them. She headed to the bathroom and tapped lightly on the door before pushing it open. Again, everything was fresh and clean. The chrome fixtures gleamed and there was the smell of cleaner still in the air.

Alex continued her search and continued to find evidence that Walker had had a very productive day. In fact, she couldn’t imagine how he’d managed to get so much accomplished. Usually, she spent a couple of hours doing light housework on Saturday morning while he did the barn chores. After checking each of the upstairs rooms, she headed back downstairs. She stopped to think. The Ram was parked out front, the horses were all accounted for, and he was nowhere upstairs. The gym! She headed over to the basement door and down the stairs to the workout room Walker maintained down there. It was clear before she reached the bottom step that he wasn’t there. Now she was beginning to worry. She sat on the step to think. She’d checked every room in the house… except one.

There was a small room located behind the den that she hadn’t even known existed until she’d been cleaning house one weekend and stumbled across it. When she’d asked Walker about it, he said that it was his ‘remembrance room.’ The room contained Walker’s past. Walker kept photo albums, videotapes and other mementos from times past that were private and personal in the tiny room. It was in this room that he kept his medals from his time in the Marines, his trophies from his martial arts competitions, plaques, certificates, all the things that had contributed to making Walker the man he was today was kept in that room. It was his space, his sanctum sanctorum.

Alex had never ventured into that space other than to see it from the doorway. There was a large worn reclining chair where Walker sat when he was pensive or upset about something. There was a television and VCR where he watched his own ‘home movies.’ Trivette had taken family photos to a place that put them on video. It had been a project he had teamed up with Uncle Ray to accomplish before Uncle Ray had crossed the river.  Now that Walker’s Uncle was gone, that tape had become priceless. The room had a comfortable lived in quality to it. Uncle Ray had created this place for Walker to sit and ponder his life, where he’d come from and where he was going.

The desk was cluttered with books and papers, including pages that contained the deed to the land that Walker’s ranch sat on. The land had been in the Firewalker family for generations. It was former tribal land that his Grandfather who had for a brief time been a surveyor for the railroad had managed to keep in his name and had passed down to his sons. As the last in the Firewalker line, he’d inherited both his father’s portion and his uncle’s. Alex had wanted to get into the room and snoop, but would never do so without Walker’s permission. She’d also wanted to redecorate it, hang the plaques and awards, line the books up on a bookshelf, set the trophies out on display and get rid of that shabby moth eaten recliner. She hadn’t even suggested it though. Walker loved her, but if it came down to her or the recliner, she wasn’t willing to see who’d win.

The room was affectionately referred to as Walker’s ‘office’. Alex didn’t often find him in there, but she remembered him retreating to it when he’d lost his Uncle and also the time the man who’d killed his parents had resurfaced. Thinking back, she also remembered that he spent time there when they’d lost Lucas and the time Ellen’s killer had been released from prison. When Walker couldn’t leave on one of his trips to the badlands or journey to the reservation for advice from White Eagle, he headed into his ‘office.’ Now the question was, if Walker was in there, should she disturb him?

Taking a deep breath, Alex tapped lightly on the door and gently pushed it open with her fingertips. She’d been right; he was there. She stood in the doorway drinking in the sight of him. He must have finished his chores and showered before going into the room. He was wearing a pair of workout pants and a muscleman shirt. ‘And he has the muscles for it,’ thought Alex as she licked her lips. His arms were at rest, but the strength in them was apparent as she surveyed the bulges and ripples. His feet were bare and it took everything in her not to go tickle them. She looked at his face and watched a smile playing on his lips. ‘Was he thinking of her?’ She crept in slowly, careful not to disturb his Saturday afternoon nap. As she got closer to the chair, she saw an open photo album on his lap. She leaned forward to see what the pictures were of and let out a stifled gasp as she saw Ellen’s face beaming back at her from the open page. The noise startled Walker and he opened his eyes to look into the hurt filled blue eyes of the last woman in the world he would ever want to hurt. “Alex…” he said to her retreating back.

Walker put his hand up to his forehead and covered his eyes with a groan. Whatever she’d seen, she’d obviously misunderstood. How was he supposed to explain that he’d been saying his final goodbye to a dream that had faded? Once upon a time, he’d asked Ellen to marry him. Her death had prevented that from ever happening, but now, years later, he was ready to ask another woman to share his life with him. He’d spent the day doing all the chores that needed to be done getting ready for a special evening. He’d fixed the dinner and had pulled out the ring he had bought with Alex’s unwitting help. Something was nagging at him though and he hadn’t known what it was. Finally, he went into the room that he’d found helped him to sort out his emotions. Looking around at all the clutter, he’d seen the photo album that contained pictures of his time with Ellen. That’s when it hit him. He needed to say a final goodbye, to get her blessing to alter the dream to include Alex instead of Ellen.

Walker sighed deeply. All had gone well. He’d looked at the pictures and then fallen asleep. While he slept, Ellen had visited him in his dreams. She’d told him that she was in a beautiful place where she felt no resentment or jealousy. She told him that she wanted him to move on and make a life with Alex. She’d even scolded him for waiting so long and grieving instead of grabbing life with both hands. She left him standing in a field of wildflowers and walked off into the horizon disappearing into the vast panorama. After she was gone, a feeling of peace had wrapped itself around him followed by a feeling of joy as Alex walked through the flowers and into his embrace. It was time, it was right. He would ask Alex to share her life with him because he loved her and she loved him. He hadn’t known that he was smiling, but when he opened his eyes and sensed her there, he thought he was still dreaming until he’d seen the hurt in her eyes and followed her gaze down to the book in his lap. She’d misunderstood and now she was hurt. He wasn’t sure how to explain this to her, but somehow he had to make her understand.

It took Walker a minute to wake up fully and another couple of minutes to process what had happened. By the time he got up and followed after Alex, she was out the door and in her car racing away from the ranch. She was acting on pure emotion, her thought process on hold. All she knew was that Walker had been looking at pictures of Ellen — had fallen asleep and was dreaming with a smile on his face. Everything in her wanted to flee. When it came to deciding between fight or flight, there was no contest, it was flight. She raced down the driveway with tears streaming from her eyes. She didn’t have a predetermined destination; she just needed to be away from the man who had caused her so much pain. She didn’t think for one moment that it had been intentional, but now she knew why he hadn’t taken that step and asked her to marry him. He was in love with a memory. She thought that they had dealt with his feelings for Ellen. She thought that they were resolved and that he had finally put her to rest. She had thought wrong — obviously. Alex raced down the road until she came to the highway and she hopped onto it driving away far beyond the posted speed limit. It was over an hour later that she realized that she was far from home and in unfamiliar territory. She eased off the accelerator and began looking at signs and off ramps. She pulled off the freeway and headed toward a motel sign. The flashing vacancy light told her that there was room available and she drove into the parking lot and stopped the car. She had a small overnight bag with her of things she had been taking to Walker’s ranch. She went into the office and got a room for the night. It was past dinnertime, but she had no desire to eat.

She took out the small bag and headed into the ground floor room. Opening the door, she let herself into a room that was a carbon copy of rooms all across the country. She left the drapes pulled and dropped her bag on the chair near the door before undressing and stretching out across the double bed in her bra and panties. The only nightwear she had in the bag was an old shirt of Walker’s that she was returning. She didn’t think it would bring her comfort tonight. Alex lay on the bed and all of the pain she had been trying to escape caught up with her. She sobbed out all of her hurt into the pillow. Finally, the exhaustion caught up with her and she fell into a troubled sleep.

Walker had gotten to the door in time to see her Sebring turn left out of the driveway. He grabbed his keys and a pair of shoes, remembered at the last moment to turn off the oven and jumped into the Ram to follow her. He assumed that she was heading for her apartment and he was planning to confront her there. When she jumped onto the freeway, he wasn’t sure what her destination was. She was driving faster than he’d ever known her to and he wasn’t surprised to find a Highway Patrol cruiser on her tail. He radioed dispatch and managed to get patched through directly to the officer. He told him that he was a Texas Ranger in pursuit of the Sebring and that he would appreciate it if he would drop back and not interfere. The officer wanted to assist in the pursuit, but Walker told him that he had no intention of apprehending the driver, but was merely following hoping for a lead in a case he’d been working on for months. He finally managed to get the officer to back off and after twenty minutes, he’d seen the cruiser pull off. Walker cringed at using his position for personal gain, but the fact is he’d invested more time in his relationship with Alex than he had ever spent on a case. He was planning to follow her hoping for a lead. A lead that would take him to wherever she was going.

He saw her pull off the freeway rather abruptly and hoped that she hadn’t spotted him. He didn’t think she had, she was focused on where she was going and not on what was behind her. He was two lanes over and unable to get off the freeway at the same exit. He went to the next exit and backtracked looking for her car. After circling the area twice, he spotted her vehicle parked at a motel. Walker parked the Ram on the other side of the motel and went into the office. He showed his badge and asked the desk clerk what room he’d given to the distraught blond woman. The desk clerk was a young high school kid eager to please the Texas Ranger. He gave him the room number and even gave him a spare key. Walker told the boy that she wasn’t a criminal, but rather a witness who had been running in fear. The boy thought it was all a great adventure and Walker wondered at his newfound skill of telling falsehoods.

Walker approached room 137 and listened at the door. He didn’t hear any sound and so he quietly let himself into the room. Alex had removed the bedspread and was stretched out across the bed lying on her stomach. Her face was buried in a pillow and she’d obviously cried herself to sleep. He debated on what to do next, but finally, he stepped out of his shoes and carefully climbed onto the bed next to her. He curved his body alongside hers and gathered her into his embrace without waking her. Alex’s unconscious form sought out the comfort he offered and soon her face was burrowed into his neck. His hand reached up to stroke her hair and back and he murmured soothing words into her shell shaped ear. He told her that he loved her and that everything was going to be fine. He promised her a forever together and apologized for hurting her. Whatever part of Alex’s brain that was still working, absorbed his words and her body responded by clinging even tighter to him.

Walker dozed with Alex cradled into his body. Despite his attempt to comfort her, his body was responding to the fact that he had her in his arms for the first time that week. With the wedding the next weekend, she’d been obligated every evening helping Kim in one way or another. He’d missed her terribly and it was apparent in the reaction his wayward body had to her. He woke to find her draped across his chest and he watched her breathe, her soft breath tickling the coarse hairs on his chest. His fingers began to trace the muscles in her arms and shoulder blades. She sighed and shifted away from him onto her back. Walker looked at her breasts encased in the lacy bra that barred his view. His finger trailed down to the edges of the bra and traced lightly along its rim. Growing bolder, he trailed his finger up toward the nipple of her right breast that peaked in anticipation of his touch. He then traced over to her left breast and followed a similar pattern. Looking at the tips of her breasts made him ache to taste them. He leaned over her and kissed the satin encased globes and pulled one tip and then the other into his mouth, soaking through the material to dampen the sensitive flesh beneath. The clasp was in front dead center of her breasts. He popped it open and smoothed the cups back allowing him to see the effects his touch had on her. He gently blew the tips of her breasts dry, causing them to swell even more. Walker lifted his head to gaze at Alex and he noted that her lips were parted and she moaned softly in her sleep. He watched her face as his hand trailed down her abdomen and dipped into her navel. He watched the flush rise in her cheeks as he traveled further down to the elastic edge of her panties. His finger darted below the barrier and swirled into the silky hair he found there, curling it around his finger and gently tugging it back off.

Shifting completely away from her, Walker moved to the end of the bed where he grasped her buttocks in his hands and lifted her off the bed just enough to drag the last barrier down and off her body. He gently spread her thighs and parted her so that he had full access to the cleft between them. Gently, he blew on the sensitive flesh and then breathing in the scent of aroused woman — his woman — he touched the most sensitive bud of flesh her body possessed. Alex continued her erotic dream as he suckled the heart of her passion into his mouth. He licked the swelling bud with his rough tongue as he watched her body lubricate itself in response to him. Walker stood and stripped off his own clothes before positioning himself to slide into the moist warmth of her. With his first thrust, Alex’s eyes popped open and her dream still clouding her reality, she beckoned him deeper into her. Walker obliged her as he slid in and out of her building up into a crescendo of sensations. Her body contracted itself around him in waves of ecstasy as he poured himself into her. With one final long moan of completion, he collapsed onto her, rolling her to rest splayed across him.

It was minutes more before Alex returned to her surroundings. She was in a motel room… slowly the events leading up to her being there penetrated her satiated being. Walker knew the instant that it all flooded back into mind as she pulled away from him. He tightened his embrace and refused to let her go. “Walker… let me go,” she demanded, beginning to struggle against the iron hold he had on her. “Never,” he replied. “Walker, I want out of this bed. You tricked me. You took advantage of the fact that I was asleep and vulnerable.” “All’s fair in love and war Alex.” “Well if this is war, then watch out for the retaliation.” “This isn’t war, this is love and I’m hoping you’ll reciprocate.” “I’m not going to compete with a ghost any longer. I’m done. I’ve had it.” “You’ve never competed with a ghost, Alex. I love you. I love your feistiness and your… ouch!” he exclaimed as she bit his chest trying to break free. “Well… maybe not your feistiness. You bit me woman! Have you had all of your shots?” “This isn’t funny Walker! You can’t break my heart and then make love to me as if…” “As if what? As if you’re the only woman in the world for me? As if I love for now and always?” “You don’t love me! You love her!” “Hogwash!” “Hogwash? That’s all you have to say? I find you dreaming about her and smiling and… Hogwash?!” “I was dreaming about you, you beautiful idiot! I fell asleep thinking about how the chapter in my life entitled Ellen was over and I was ready to read the chapter entitled Alex!” “I’m not a book! What are you talking about?” “I’m talking about the fact that I planned a very special night with you. I wanted to ask you something. I finally felt ready, but something was nagging at me and I picked up that photo album and realized what it was. I needed Ellen’s blessing to move on with my life. And you know what? She gave it to me. She wants me to be happy with you. I know that you don’t believe in the power of dreams the way that I do, but I really feel that she wants me to move on with my life. She even suggested that I’d waited longer than I should have.” “Smart woman,” Alex grumbled. Walker laughed at her, a deep rumbling laugh that caused her to shake as she was pressed so tightly against him.

As his laughter subsided, he loosened his grip on her enough that she could lean back and look into his eyes. “What were you going to ask me?” “Uh uh, there is no way I’m going to ask you anything in this cheesy motel room with your eyes all puffy from crying. You blew it woman. You ran out without giving me a chance to defend myself. Now you’re going to have to suffer a little while longer until I can arrange the perfect moment — again!” Alex was thwarted, but that didn’t stop her from trying — again. The night became a battle of wills, but it was an enjoyable battle. The battlefield was a bed and they’d always known what to do in one of those.

Early the next morning, Walker woke Alex with tender kisses along her jaw line. When she continued to feign sleep, he dipped his tongue into her ear causing her to shriek and jump away from him. He laughed at her again. “That’ll learn ya woman. When your man wants your attention, you need to jump to.” Alex tried to raise her eyebrows and give him her best ‘as if’ look, but her face broke into a glorious smile. “I don’t jump for anyone darling.” He snaked his hand out and pinched her backside causing her to jump again. “No? That’s twice in a matter of moments.” “This is war!” she declared and the fight that ensued was one of the more pleasurable ones either of them had engaged in.

After several ‘battles,’ they decided to call it a draw and they got up and dressed. “I’m starved,” Alex commented. “Well the dinner I slaved away on for you last night is ruined. I guess we can stop somewhere on the way home and get some breakfast. Your treat.” “My treat? How come I have to treat?” “Because I ran out of the house so fast, I forgot my wallet.” “Looks like you go hungry then, doesn’t it?” “I promise you, I won’t go hungry.” The look in his eyes took her breath away as he undressed her with them. “All right, I’ll spot you a few dollars for breakfast, but you still owe me that dinner.” “You’ll have to earn it. You made me waste a great meal and a great deal of effort all because you were too chicken to stick around and let me explain.” “I’m not chicken!” “Yes you are. Of course there’s not a soul who’d believe me if I told them that Alexandra Cahill ran from a fight, but I know it’s true and so do you.” “The stakes were high,” she defended herself. “All the more reason to stay and fight.” He was right. As much as she hated to admit it, he was right. “I will next time,” she vowed. “You better, Alexandra. I’m not hitching my wagon to a ’fraidy cat.” “Hitching your wagon? Where do you come up with these sayings?” “C.D.,” he answered simply. “It figures,” she said with a roll of her eyes. “Are you ready to go back and face whatever comes?” he asked her in all seriousness. “As long as we face things together, I’m ready,” she asserted. “We’ll only be together if we both decide to be. I’m with you, how about you?” “I’m with you through thick and thin,” she stated. “No more running?” “Only towards you darling.” “That’s just the way I like it,” he told her as he gathered her into a hug. Walker wanted to ask her to marry him, but he wasn’t going to do it in the current surroundings. Maybe he could surprise her at Kim and Phil’s wedding. He’d seen the Holland estate. He’d get her alone in the garden after the ceremony and present her with the ring. He smiled into her hair as he decided on his alternate plan. It had the added bonus of making her squirm just a little. Yeah, the more he thought about it, the more he liked it. His stomach rumbled and he was drawn back to the present. “Let’s eat woman.” “Stop calling me that,” she complained. “Why? You are a woman aren’t you? My woman.” The last tagged on words made her shut her mouth. She was his woman. She could live with that.



Alex was busy the next week helping Kim with various last minute decisions. She took Tuesday off from work to catch up on a few personal things and also to meet with Kim and the caterers one last time. She’d met the wedding coordinator, Cory Mims, and she understood why Kim wanted her there. He was not only pompous, but he steam rollered over people. She helped Kim insist that Mims meet with C.D. to taste his chili. Kim was determined to honor her promise to C.D. and to feature it as one of the dishes at her wedding alongside the pâté de fois gras and the sturgeon caviar. Kim and Alex arranged to meet Walker, Jimmy and Phil at C.D.’s for lunch and Mims was to join them. Walker hadn’t seen Alex since the weekend and he grabbed her hand after a brief hello to everyone and led her over to a booth. They sat and held hands and gazed into each other’s eyes drinking in the site of each other’s faces. Kim sat at the bar talking with C.D. when Phil walked in to join his fiancée.  Alex and Walker commented on how good the two young lovers looked together. Alex said, “Oh, I hope I don’t start crying at the wedding. It’s awful to have the maid of honor with mascara streaking down her face.” “That’s something I could never figure out. Why do people cry at weddings?” Walker asked puzzled. “The joy, the promise, the commitment. You never cried at a wedding?” Alex asked incredulously. “No, not that I can recall. I’ve sweated a little bit though,” Walker admitted. “Just the very subject does that to you,” Alex told him with a playful slap to his hand.

It was a rushed and hectic week. In addition to preparing for the wedding, Kim and her partner Ron were working with Trivette and Walker to take down a car theft ring. Alex and Phil were supporting them with subpoenas and search warrants. After a successful raid on a chop shop, Kim and Alex went for the final fitting on Kim’s dress. Alex wasn’t sure what was wrong until Kim confessed that Phil had reservations about her remaining a cop after they were married. She asked Alex why she and Walker had never tied the knot. Alex got a secretive smile on her face as she thought about the events in the motel room the previous weekend. She was certain that he had been planning to ask her to marry him until her rapid departure from the ranch. She realized Kim was waiting for a response and she said, “That’s a hard question to answer.”

Kim was mildly injured during an arrest and Phil’s patience with her chosen career became even more stretched. He worried about her and like the spouse of any law enforcement officer, knew that there would be days and nights when he would fear for her safety. The closer the wedding became, the more heightened his fears became. Kim confided in Walker with a little urging and he agreed that it was only natural for Phil to be worried about her. Kim then asked him if that was why he hadn’t asked Alex to marry him. Walker smiled and thought of the way she stormed out of the ranch the previous weekend. He wasn’t about to tell Kim about that. He merely answered with “that’s a tough question to answer.” Kim wondered if he and Alex had rehearsed their responses to the question.

The wedding rehearsal was a quiet casual affair and was going off without a hitch until Trivette arrived with breaking news on the case they were working on. Alex was standing up with Kim as she would during the ceremony exchanging meaningful looks with Walker who sat beside C.D. laughing at the message flashing in neon lights from her eyes. C.D. too was about as subtle as a bull in a china shop. His fondest dream was to see Alex and Walker married and any prodding he could give them in the right direction, well, he was going to give it even if he did use a high voltage cattle prod. Walker was giving away the bride and Ron was best man. They were standing up in front of the reverend in the places they would stand in during the wedding. As the Reverend went over the vows, Alex made eye contact with Walker and the love in her eyes brought out so much joy in him that he just couldn’t contain the grin that welled up from deep within him. He gave her his secret wink, the one that said, ‘I love you’ without the need for words. They were all wrapped up in the moment when Trivette broke into the proceedings and informed them that the wiretap had indicated their suspects were about to flee. Kim turned and apologized to Phil as she followed Walker, Trivette and Ron out to take down the bad guys. Phil was unhappy and asked Alex if he would ever get used to having Kim rush off at inopportune moments. Alex had a great deal of experience and had accepted this aspect of Walker’s life. She told him that he would get used to it, but he would never like it. The two headed back to the office to get the indictments ready and to wait for word on how the bust went down.

Back at the office, Alex received word that there was one officer down at the scene. She wasn’t able to find out who it was and both she and Phil sighed a huge sigh of relief as Walker and Kim entered the room followed by Trivette. Kim’s partner Ron was shot during the bust, but he would be okay. Trivette looked at the two couples who were clearly in love and summed up, “Now this is a great day. Ron beats the odds. The Lake brothers are behind bars. We got a great wedding tomorrow. Doesn’t get any better than this huh?” The others in the room couldn’t deny that they were happy at the outcome of the events. Phil had lived through a scare and his love for Kim was stronger and more determined than ever. Alex smiled at Walker as he pressed her tighter against him absorbing the love that seeped from her pores. Trivette was alone, but seeing the love that was radiating from both couples in Alex’s office gave him hope that one day he too would find the right woman to share his life with.



Saturday, the wedding day, dawned bright and clear. Kim had stayed the night at the Holland estate and was woken in the morning by a servant bringing her coffee in her room. She walked out onto the balcony of her room that overlooked the gardens where her wedding was to take place. A smile hovered around her lips as the crisp morning air brought her fully awake. She was about to get married. After today, she would be part of a family. As an orphan, finding someone to love and to commit her life to was a lifelong dream come true. One day, after she and Phil had spent a few years establishing their relationship, they would have children. She laid her hand on her abdomen and the smile on her face grew larger. Most people who knew her would have been surprised at her thoughts. The tough Dallas Police Detective was dreaming of marriage and family. Well, regardless of what anyone else thought, she was a woman first and she was ready to show that side of herself to the world. Her new friendship with Alex had given her courage. If Alex could be as tough as nails and still be so feminine, then so could she. She realized that the reason she didn’t have many women friends was more her fault than the fault of other women. She had shut herself off from her more feminine side and she was only beginning to discover that her softer side was not necessarily her weaker side. She’d definitely benefited from having Alex as a friend and she was glad that she was her maid of honor. With one last look at the peaceful gardens, she turned and headed into the house. Cory Mims was due in an hour and then there would be no more peace this day.

Miles away, Alex stirred to the smell of coffee. It wasn’t a servant who brought her coffee to her; it was a redheaded man with a beard and a certain twinkle in his eye that foretold of another late start. “Don’t get any ideas Walker. I have to shower and change and get to the hairdresser by 9:30,” she said as she sipped the warm liquid. Walker laughed a soft seductive male laugh. “That’s why I woke you up early. It’s only 6:30, we have plenty of time.” “You woke me up at 6:30 on a Saturday? Are you crazy?” She set her mug on the nightstand and flopped back down on her pillow and grabbed his to put it firmly over her face. Walker chuckled at her and put his hands up to the edge of the sheet drawing it down her nude body. With her hands clamping the pillow over her head, he was free to explore the rest of her body. He bent down and paid homage to her breasts, cupping them in his hands and kissing the ripening tips. He drew one and then the other into his mouth establishing a sucking motion that tested her endurance. He then began a journey down her body, pausing at her navel. Repositioning himself onto the end of the bed, he spread her thighs to expose her female flesh to his seeking mouth. Alex writhed and moaned into the pillow until she just couldn’t bear it any longer. Tossing the pillow aside, she demanded, “Kiss me!” She felt his smile as his face rested on her sensitized and moistened flesh. He kissed a path up her body between her breasts and up her long slender neck to her chin. He paused and positioned himself to slide into her as he covered her lips with his. She tasted herself mixed with the taste of him and his morning coffee. They moved in rhythm with each other until each found that pinnacle of ecstasy.

After their passionate joining, she lay on the bed dozing in satiated bliss as he lay next to her softly tangling her hair through his fingers. He played with the silky strands that she had allowed to grow long and was planning to cut that day. He pulled a handful up to his face inhaling its fragrance and stroking its silkiness across his lips. He smiled as he watched her facial expressions change and shift in the light sleep she had succumbed to. Today was the day he was going to ask her to be his wife. His grin broadened as he imagined her reaction. He had no doubts that she would say yes. She’d hinted broadly in the past and he knew that she was just waiting for him to be ready to commit to her. The basis of their love was a deep friendship that allowed them to know each other more intimately than if they had just been lovers. He had the ring already slipped into the pocket of the tuxedo he was to wear for the ceremony. With Ron still recovering from being shot the day before, his role in the wedding had changed. He would now act as Phil’s best man and C.D. would give the bride away.

He looked up at the clock anxious for the day to begin, anxious for the rest of his life to begin. He realized that it was time for Alex to get up, so he leaned forward and kissed her shoulder. His soft caress was all that was needed for her eyes to pop open and for her azure blue eyes to look up into his own gray blue eyes. They shared a smile and a chaste good morning kiss before she sat up and looked at the clock. She got out of bed and padded to the bathroom without a word. Walker lay on the bed watching her graceful body move through the room. She had lost all inhibitions with him and thought nothing of walking around his house without any clothing. Gone, but not forgotten, were the days of her shyness and modesty. He lay there daydreaming of what life would be like married to her and enjoying this closeness every day of the week instead of only on weekends. He decided he could definitely get used to it.

Alex showered and dressed in comfortable clothes. She had appointments to get her hair cut permed and set. She was getting her nails done, getting a facial and even planned to allow the makeup artist to apply her makeup for the wedding. Then she would go to the Holland Estate where she would don her bridesmaid gown and help Kim with any last minute jitters. Alex was grateful that Kim had accepted her input into the color and design of the bridesmaid’s gowns. Both she and Phil’s cousin, who was Kim’s other bridesmaid, were blonds and had long lean frames. The gowns were beautiful. The silver green color toned with the peach silk flowers she would wear in her hair, the purple spray attached to the headband of Phil’s cousin and the bouquets of purple lilacs, peach and white roses they would both carry.  She headed downstairs to find that Walker had fixed her breakfast. They ate a filling meal knowing the rest of the day would be hectic. Alex gathered up the things she needed and got ready to leave. “Don’t forget your cumberbun. I know that you don’t like to put it on until the last minute, but don’t leave it behind,” she reminded him. “I won’t. I’ll see you there and I promise that I’ll be wearing the whole monkey suit. I’ll have to get Trivette to tie my bow tie though since you won’t be around.” She smiled at him and leaned in for a final kiss. “I love you. I’ll see you there.” “I’ll carry an extra handkerchief for you,” he promised. “You’re so sweet,” she told him leaning in for still another kiss. “Don’t you ever say that within hearing of anyone we know.” “Never! As far as the rest of the world knows, you’re Mr. Tough Guy. It’s our secret that you have a marshmallow heart.” “It better be,” he growled at her before smiling and kissing her — again.

The two went about their days preparing for the union of two of their friends and daydreaming about a union of their own. It wasn’t until just before the ceremony that they saw each other again. Alex had her hair piled in curls up on her head. The soft ringlets that framed her face only accented her beauty. The peach flowers in her hair brought out the peach hue of her skin. Walker saw her standing near the wedding gazebo with her bouquet in her arms. A man he didn’t know was talking to her. He watched for a minute as the man was clearly interested and making a play for her. Alex never even gave the guy eye contact. Her eyes scanned the crowd of people until he stepped from behind the pillar he was standing behind and she spotted him. Her entire face lit up when her eyes locked on his and the man faded away into the crowd realizing that he was wasting both his breath and his time. Walker approached her reaching his hand out to encircle her waist and pull her into him. Her arm reached out for him and encircled his waist as well. “You look beautiful,” he said in an awed tone. “Why thank you. You look pretty handsome yourself.” “Thank you. Alex umm… after the wedding there’s something I’d like to ask you.” “What?” “I said, after the wedding.” He reached in to kiss her and then stepped back to take his place having to physically restrain his hand from searching for the engagement ring he had hidden in his pocket just as Phil had searched himself for Kim’s wedding ring. Alex stood there with a knowing smile sure that she was about to be proposed to. Her face glowed with such happiness, onlookers weren’t sure who was more radiant, the bride or the maid of honor who kept making meaningful eye contact with the best man throughout the ceremony.

It was Trivette who first felt the prickling on the back of his neck. His partner, known for his Cherokee intuition, was too focused on his ladylove to pay much attention to his surroundings. Trivette burst the happy glow he was surrounded in when he quietly approached Walker and told him that there were some suspicious things going on. Walker told him to keep his eyes open, but he too was on alert. He spotted a man running crouched across the lawn and then he didn’t so much see as he felt the threat when the rocket launcher was aimed and fired at the gazebo. His first instinct was to protect Alex and he shouted at her to get down as he lunged to knock down the reverend as the gazebo exploded in flames. Pandemonium broke loose as people ran screaming. Gunfire exploded around them and eventually hand to hand combat ensued. The targets included Phil and Kim. Kim took on the woman in the band of outlaws as they wrestled and slugged it out. Kim finally won the upper hand as she knocked the woman unconscious for “ruining my wedding.” Her dress muddy and torn, she headed to find Phil. Alex had managed to stay out of danger and herded an elderly women and her niece out of harms way on the other side of the garden. Walker, Trivette and C.D. all joined in the fray until the ‘band members’ who were toting automatic weapons were all dead or in custody.

Surveying the area, it appeared that there were only minor injuries among the guests and wedding party, but Walker’s eyes swept the area seeking out Alex. He released his pent up breath when he spotted her on the other side of the garden placating some frightened wedding guests. She too spotted him and they began walking toward each other, both fighting the urge to race into the other’s arms. “You okay Alex?” he asked as they neared each other unaware of any further danger. “Yes. Now what is it that you wanted to ask me?” she said slightly out of breath, smiling at him in anticipation. He looked at her and decided then and there to go ahead and ask it. He’d been waiting for the perfect moment, but maybe that wasn’t what was important. It was more important to belong to each other. She’d been right all along. They needed to be able to claim each other openly and publicly. He took a breath in to begin his long postponed question when a shot rang out. Walker immediately dropped down into a crouched position, his arm out toward Alex to urge her down as well. His gaze swept the area to try and identify where the shooter was hidden and then he sensed something and swung his head back to Alex. His warning had been too late. The bullet had found its mark. The searing pain as it tore through her back was unbearable, but the shock that it was happening almost made it seem as if she was outside of her own body watching it happen to someone else. “Walker…” she said in fear and shock as her eyes darted back and forth bewildered. She reached her hand toward him and then collapsed down onto her knees. “Alex! Alex!” he said repeatedly as he reached for her falling body. She fell into his arms and was unconscious before she could feel them around her. He cradled her in his arms as he crouched on the ground and it wasn’t until he pulled his hand away and saw it covered in her blood that the reality hit him. Alex had been shot!

Rescue vehicles had already been dispatched to the scene and Trivette raced up to Walker to see what was going on. “She’s been shot!” Walker shouted at him. “The gunfire came from behind that hedge!” he informed Trivette as he pulled out the two handkerchiefs he had in his pocket and applied pressure to the wound. Trivette paused to shout at C.D. “C.D. get the paramedics over here! Alex has been shot!” C.D. rushed to greet the arriving ambulance while Trivette raced to the hedge line to look for the shooter. Behind where the shooter had positioned himself, the property opened into a forested area. He’d planned his getaway well. Trivette could find no sign of him. Knowing that the area was secure, he raced back over to Walker. The paramedics beat him there by seconds and began frantically working to stabilize Alex.

The bullet had penetrated the chest cavity, so they inserted a tracheal tube to establish an airway and then began squeezing the bag to breathe for her artificially. Trivette watched and mentally went over his own first aid training. ‘ABC airway, breathing, circulation’ he chanted to himself. The first two were covered, on to circulation. She had a pulse, but she was losing a great deal of blood. They established an IV into both arms and began pumping fluid into her as fast as they could. They needed to give her volume to keep her system working. They then strapped her to a backboard and lifted her onto a gurney. Trivette watched as they loaded her into the ambulance and Walker hopped on with her. Trivette then turned to find C.D. standing next to him. “The police are searching for the shooter and they have the others in custody. Lucky there were so many police and Rangers here today. Let’s go son. We’re needed more at the hospital than we are here.” Trivette nodded his head in agreement and the two men jumped into Jimmy’s black Mustang and raced to the hospital.

The ride in the ambulance seemed to take forever as the paramedics gave Alex drugs to keep her body from going into shock and shutting down vital systems. Walker’s hands and clothes were covered in her blood and more continued to seep through the bandages. Looking at her pale face, he had a mantra going over and over in his head. ‘Please God don’t take her from me. She’s my life. I need her. Please God don’t take her from me.’ They pulled into the ambulance bay and Alex was rushed into the ER where doctors were ready to receive her having been apprised of her condition by the paramedics. Walker knew her blood type and they had bags hanging ready. They disconnected one of the IV’s and hooked up the blood.

A surgeon examined her and decided that after x-rays and getting more volume into her circulatory system, she needed immediate surgery. Walker claimed next of kin status and said that he was her fiancée.  Gordon was out of the country, touring in Europe and he didn’t know how long it would take to reach him. Besides, he felt that he was more Alex’s family than anyone on earth, including her father. He signed the necessary release forms and was guided into the waiting room on the surgical floor. C.D. and Trivette met him there moments later. C.D. insisted that he go into the restroom and wash up. He stood at the white porcelain sink and watched the red fluid drain down as it rinsed off of his hands. ‘Blood. Alex’s blood. So much blood. How can she survive losing so much blood? Please God don’t take her from me. She’s my life. I need her. Please God…’ C.D. turned off the taps and handed Walker a paper towel that he used mechanically to dry his hands.

As they waited for word on Alex’s condition, Trivette got a phone call informing him that the mastermind behind the attack on the wedding and more specifically on Alex was Karl Storm. Alex had put Storm in prison for hijacking five years before with the help of Kim and Phil. As Trivette relayed the information to Walker, he managed to come out of his catatonic state long enough to give Trivette his attention and process what he said. So the attack had been aimed toward Alex rather than him. So now if Alex died he wouldn’t need to carry that burden of guilt around. Somehow it didn’t matter. If Alex died, everything in him would die with her. She was his life and he needed her.

They waited three hours in the waiting room before the surgeon came out to tell them Alex’s status. She was alive, but the bullet had narrowly missed her spinal cord. It penetrated her back and shattered two ribs, tore through her flesh causing internal hemorrhaging and lodged in her chest cavity puncturing her left lung. The surgeons had gone in and retrieved the bullet. They repaired blood vessels and soft tissue. They cleaned up the bone chips and sewed her up leaving a Penrose tube drain so that the continued drainage would not collect and place pressure on her lung that they had reinflated. They were giving her blood transfusions, medication to keep her blood pressure up, antibiotics, anti-inflammatory medication, and pain medication. Everything they were doing now was merely supportive treatment and only time would tell if she would pull through or not. The report wasn’t optimistic, but Walker clung to the words ‘she’s alive.’ The doctor allowed them to go into the ICU to see her briefly. Trivette and C.D. told her comatose form that they were there for her and then exited. Walker merely stood there watching the respirator breathe for her. He had fallen into his catatonic state again and leaving wasn’t even an option for him.

At some point during the night, a nurse had guided him into a chair that had been brought in. Walker sat there thinking about that day. He pulled the ring out of the inside breast pocket of the tuxedo and held it in his hands. He alternated between staring at the monitors and staring at the diamond solitaire. He thought of the day and how it was supposed to end with him slipping the ring on her finger and taking her home to make love to her throughout the night. Had he missed his chance to ask her to marry him? The night passed with a constant stream of doctors and nurses checking monitors, bandages, IV’s and everything else related to keeping Alex alive. Walker continued his vigil remembering happy times. He thought of times when she’d smiled at him and changed his whole mood. He thought of times she’d kissed him and taken his breath away. He thought of times she’d been there for him when things had gotten rough. He’d lived this nightmare before with Ellen and he just couldn’t do it again.  ‘Please God don’t take her from me. She’s my life. I need her. Please God don’t take her from me.’ Over and over again he said that same chant in his mind and in his heart. He prayed to God that she would recover. He was afraid to look away from her, afraid to blink. What if he never got the chance to ask her? What if he never got to call her his wife? That was a dark tunnel that he just couldn’t go down, so instead he remembered the sound of her laughter, the smell of her skin when it was heated from passion, the touch of her mouth as it caressed him, the warmth of her slender hand as it nestled in his larger one. His long vigil lasted through the night until C.D. came the next day and insisted that he go home to rest. C.D. reminded him that he had a job. He had to catch Karl Storm. He had to make sure the man not only paid for what he had done to Alex, but also that he was never in a position to hurt her ever again.

Walker was at home in his shower replaying the scene of her being shot, the fear on her face and the blood on his hands. Suddenly, he realized that if Storm hated Alex to the extent that he would risk everything to kill her the day after his release from prison, then he may well try to finish the job. He called C.D. at ICU and asked how Alex was. There was no change. He asked C.D. to keep a close eye on her and not let anyone near her except the hospital staff. C.D. picked up on the inference right away. Walker was afraid Storm would try to finish the job.

Walker’s days fell into a pattern. He busted every gunrunner in Dallas searching for a lead to Storm. He worked long hard hours and then he headed over to the hospital to continue his bedside vigil. Alex wasn’t improving, but she wasn’t getting worse. That is until Trivette got a call from C.D. saying that Alex was in crisis. The bleeding had begun again and they had had to take her back to surgery. A new drain had been put in and she was once again back in ICU when Trivette and Walker arrived. C.D. was nearly beside himself with worry and Walker went to Alex to plead with her directly. He leaned in close to her face and whispered to her, “Alex, don’t leave me,” the raw need in his words brought tears to C.D.’s and Jimmy’s eyes. Walker rested his face against Alex’s trying to somehow give her his strength, trying somehow to convey to her the will to live. He stayed through the night until she once again rallied and was holding her own. The bag of blood was replaced with lactated ringers and her body was again trying to heal itself.

Walker returned to his mission to find Storm. He searched every warehouse, banged down doors, twisted arms, whatever he could think to do to find the man who had hurt his Alex. Each night he sat next to her bed holding her hand and telling her how much he needed her and how much he loved her. One day, the doctor removed the breathing tube and Walker stood there holding his own breath waiting to see if Alex would continue breathing without the aid of the machines. Her mouth opened gasping for air and then her body remembered the routine of breathing air in and out. She was placed on oxygen and she continued to heal. Tests showed that she had regained feeling in her lower extremities. She flinched when pressure was applied to her toes. She was gradually becoming ‘lighter’. Although she was still in a coma, she occasionally opened her eyes and when Walker squeezed her hand, she sometimes, squeezed back lightly. With the medical staff’s encouragement, the three men took turns telling her stories and just talking to her. C.D. regaled her with tall tells about his glory days. Trivette updated her on the case and on how hard Walker was trying to get Karl Storm. Walker alternated between telling her how much he loved her and telling her stories of his childhood and Indian legends that he had been told by Uncle Ray and White Eagle.

The pressure was mounting and Karl Storm tried again to kill Alex. He sent a team of mercenaries to kill her after calling in a bomb threat. C.D. phoned Walker to let him know that the hospital was being evacuated. Alex was off of oxygen by this time and she was transferred to a gurney and wheeled out to the parking lot. C.D. stood guard over her after having her placed between the protection of two parked cars. His instincts proved correct as gunfire erupted and he was forced to return fire guarding his precious charge. Walker and Trivette arrived and joined into the gun battle. At one point, one of the marksmen had C.D. in his line of sight. He aimed his gun and just prior to squeezing the trigger, Walker knocked him off balance with a flying leap from the side.  Hand to hand combat enabled Walker to let the hired gun know just what he thought of anyone who was determined to hurt his Alex. He pummeled the guy into hamburger meat and would have continued his assault if he hadn’t felt the physical need to get back to Alex. One of the assailants had managed to get close to Alex and when Trivette shot him, he fell into the gurney knocking it over and spilling Alex onto the asphalt.

Walker raced over to Alex and was afraid to move her. The doctor ran over and checked her and had Walker help him to lift her back onto the gurney and she was wheeled to the Annex to be checked out there. Once there, the doctor decided to remove the remaining Penrose drain. Her IV’s had been ripped out when the gurney was pushed over. He debated replacing them, but decided against it when he saw how ‘light’ she was. The stimulation of being taken out into the sunshine, the sound of the gunfire and then being dumped out of the gurney were waking her up. She flinched when he snipped the two stitches that held the tube in place and pulled it out. He rebandaged her bullet wound and also bandaged her hand where the IV’s had been. Then he had her placed back in ICU once the all clear was given to return to the hospital’s main building. He no longer felt that she was in need of intensive care, but he wanted her closely monitored as she was waking up more and more. He did want her back on oxygen and in the aftermath of the evacuation, was having difficulty finding the equipment he wanted. So instead of hooking up a separate oxygen tank, he taped the ventilator tube to her mouth and turned it on to blow air that contained a higher percentage of oxygen directly into her mouth. The treatment worked and she continued to wake up until she opened her eyes fully and looked around her at her surroundings. She spied C.D. just leaving the room to tell the nursing staff that she was looking more awake and she called his name. The tube was in her way, but since it wasn’t down her throat, she was able to speak. The sound was muffled, but C.D. heard it and exclaimed at finding her looking at him aware that he was there. He ran to get the medical staff.

Walker and Trivette’s hard work finally paid off and they managed to foil Storm’s gun shipment and to trap him in a back room. A fight ensued that ended with Storm falling on his own knife and ending his life. Walker stood there glad that the man was dead. He would never again threaten Alex. Trivette’s phone rang and he handed it to Walker so that C.D. could tell him that Alex was awake. Walker raced to wrap up the bust and get to the hospital. Meanwhile, Alex managed to talk the nurse into helping her to wash her up, comb out her hair and apply a little makeup. She even coaxed her into going down to the gift shop and purchasing a peach nightgown for her. The doctor insisted she remain on the pulse ox monitor and also on the heart monitor, but she was unencumbered by any other wires and machinery.

Alex was sitting up in the bed talking to C.D. when Trivette and Walker entered the room. Trivette gave her a small pot of violets and she in turn gave him a kiss on the cheek. He then backed up so that Walker could get to her. Walker approached and lifted her hand into his stroking his thumb over it as he had for more nights than he cared to remember, as she lay there unconscious. “Hi,” he said simply. “Hi,” she responded in kind. C.D. dragged Jimmy out of the room so that they could have some privacy. “I missed you,” Walker said almost in a whisper. “I’m glad,” she answered with a smile. Walker perched himself on the edge of her bed and asked, “Alex, do you remember the wedding?” She looked puzzled and answered, “yeah,” with a nod of her head. “Do you remember that there was something I wanted to ask you after the wedding?” “Yes, I remember,” she confirmed. “What I wanted to ask you was…” Walker began as he started to slip the diamond solitaire mounted on a gold band that he’d been carrying since the wedding onto her ring finger. “Will you marry me?” Her eyes round as saucers and spilling over with tears, she gave a cross between a cry and a laugh and reached her arms up and around his shoulders. The movement was slow and caused her pain, but she pulled him into her and hugged him as she finally managed to respond in a whisper, “yes, yes.” The two continued the embrace grateful to finally be able to hold each other.

Many moments in time had culminated into this one moment. They were in love and they were engaged. They would be husband and wife. They had each made a promise to the other---forever after. Slowly, Alex sat back up and he captured her lips in a kiss that sealed their promise. They were bound together and from this moment forward they would be a couple. The kiss was long and laced with passion, but Alex was weak and sore. He soon was forced to lower her back against the pillow, but they stayed there just gazing into each other’s eyes. Walker told her, “I wanted to find the perfect moment to ask you, the perfect setting. I finally decided that if you and I were together, any place and any time was the perfect moment.” “I love Cordell Walker and I am going to love you forever. I can’t wait to be your wife. When do you want to set the date?” Walker chuckled at her. “I’m yours to do with as you please woman.” Then he grew more serious, “just don’t ever leave me.” “Darling, you couldn’t get rid of me if you tried. I’m stuck to you like bees on honey.” “You really have to spend less time with C.D. You’re picking up his sayings.” She grinned back at him and they stayed quiet enjoying the moment and each other until they were interrupted by three visitors.

Walker had had difficulty reaching Gordon Cahill to inform him of his daughter’s shooting, but when Gordon finally did get word, he hopped the first flight back. He made such a ruckus at the nurse’s station that C.D. and Jimmy went to go investigate. They ushered him to Alex’s room understanding his concern and trying to reassure him that she was indeed recovering. Walker and Alex turned their heads to see the three men crowding the doorway. Gordon marched in and began making promises of private nurses and private rooms and ordering everyone around. Walker finally took him in hand and said, “If you want to make any decisions, you’ll have to consult me. I’m the next of kin.” “Son, no offense, but as her father, I qualify for next of kin.” “Well, as her fiancée, I think I’m entitled to the honor.” “Fiancée? Since when?” “Since about five minutes ago.” Alex was exhausted and could do nothing more than smile and raise her hand slightly to let all three of her curious visitors get a look at the ring. “Well, I’ll be tarred and feathered!” C.D. claimed. “That’s some ring partner, I didn’t know you had it in you,” Trivette chipped in. “Alex picked out the ring.” Walker informed him. “When was this?” “Oh months ago. Remember when we went to the Golden Wells resort?” “Sure.” “Well she picked it out then only she didn’t know it.” Alex remembered that day and her frustration with Walker. She had been so hurt thinking he didn’t care and he’d been playing her all along. She now had one more reason to get better quickly; she owed him.

The visitors were all so excited that they didn’t catch on to the fact that Alex really wasn’t up to the prolonged visit. The nursing staff was aware though and they came in and shooed everyone out. Everyone that is except for Walker who was allowed five more minutes to say good night to his fiancée. He sat back on the edge of her bed and stroked her hair back from her forehead. He held her hand in his and spoke softly to her. “Go to sleep Alex. I’ll be here in the morning and we’ll get started on your recovery. Once you’re up and healthy again, you can start pestering me about setting a date.”  She smiled back at him. “I can’t believe that you actually finally asked me to marry you. I was beginning to think that I would have to take drastic measures.” “Getting shot wasn’t drastic?” “I had nothing to do with that. Oh, I forgot to ask. How are Kim and Phil?” “Kim called from Tahiti. They did elope with the blessings of Phil’s father. They’re happy and anxious to hear that you’re back up on your feet.” “I’ll be up in no time, you just watch,” she said with a huge yawn. “Honey, watching you is one of my favorite pastimes. Now close your eyes and go to sleep. You need to get well soon because I want you sleeping in my arms, not in this hospital bed.” “I want that too. I love you,” she murmured as she drifted off to sleep. “I love you more,” he stated as he leaned forward to kiss her forehead. He sat there awhile longer thanking God for answering prayers. Alex was his fiancée. He gulped at the enormity of it all. ‘I hope she doesn’t want too big of a wedding,’ he thought to himself. ‘I wonder how soon she’s going to want to get married.” He sat there beginning to panic slightly and then he looked at the face of the woman he loved and he relaxed. ‘She’s patient, she’ll wait for me,’ he decided.