DISCLAIMER:  WALKER, TEXAS RANGER is the property of NORRIS BROTHERS ENTERTAINMENT, COLUMBIA PICTURES TELEVISION, THE RUDDY GREIF COMPANY, and CBS PRODUCTIONS.  This is purely recreational fiction.  No profit is intended, or even possible.

Copyright 2000 ©.  Janet E. Stemmer.  Please do not use without permission of author. The author can be contacted at jstemmer@one.net

Yes, even more fluff for your amusement.  This was inspired by the five minutes of Ally McBeal I accidentally witnessed the other night.  I loathe that show and the scene I saw is, unfortunately, burned into my memory forever.  Couple that with the fact that I’m a legal editor, and I think you’ll have a better understanding of this little tale.

I’d rate this a PG-13.  Nothing really overly graphic.  I blush too easily for that.

Old Friends, New Times

October, 2000

Alex looked carefully at her husband of five months.  “You’re sure you want to do this?  They’re a pretty rowdy bunch and I’m sure we’ll be the only couple there.”

Walker gave her his best reassuring smile.  “Alex, relax, your old law school friends are probably just curious about who finally snagged you.  This little reunion is a way to kill two birds with one stone.”  He squeezed her hand. “They get to go down memory lane with you, and they get to check out the new guy, too.  Now, c’mon, before they see us sitting out here.”

The entrance to Frank’s Place was full of tall, arched windows.  Walker’s first impression was that it was a yuppie, upscale version of C.D.’s.  Located in downtown Dallas, near all the big law firms, Frank’s was the after-hours hangout for most of the esquires in town. 

Alex glanced around for her friends.  The place hasn’t changed much, she thought to herself.  As cozy and homelike as C.D.’s was, this place had always seemed too contrived, too fake.  It was a place where the up-and-comers went to schmooze the senior partners, and where the senior partners expected to be worshipped.  Alex knew she could play that game with the best of them, but she had no desire to even try.

Walker spotted the waving hand before Alex did.  Located behind the bar, the group had obviously arrived early enough to claim a long, rectangular table big enough for everybody to sit comfortably.  He tilted his head.  “I take it that’s them?”

Alex nodded and flashed him a grin.  “Here goes nothing.”  Grabbing his hand, she led the way as they threaded through the crowded, tightly- clustered tables.

As they got closer, the dark-haired woman of the group stood and rushed over to hug Alex. “Alex, it’s so good to see you!  It’s been such a long time.”  She looked over at Walker.  “And this handsome man must be your new husband.”

Turning slightly towards Walker, Alex began the introductions.  “Amy, this is indeed my husband,” she paused, “Ranger Cordell Walker.  Walker, this is Amy Haskins, junior partner of Fisk, Lieberman, and Jones.  We helped each other get through law school.” 

Walker nodded slightly and shook the proffered hand.  “Nice to meet you, ma’am.” 

Amy smiled at his old-school southern manners.  “Nice to meet you, too.  C’mon, everybody else is dying to say hello.”

Alex handled the group introductions.  Bob, a sandy-haired man with a former football body going to seed, was one of the top divorce lawyers in town.  Mike, with dark hair and even darker eyes, represented some of the biggest oil companies in the state.  Lauren, too, was an oil attorney, and Walker could tell she used her long, wavy, auburn hair and green eyes to their full advantage on her climb to the top.  Walker was sure he recognized Tim, but he wasn’t sure from where.  The group agreed he was the best litigator of them all, as his new job at a prestigious law firm proved.

Bob seemed to be the ringleader of the group, and after securing a large pitcher of Killians Red, he started peppering Walker with questions about the Texas Rangers. 

Walker found himself relaxing, which surprised him.  Normally, the lovely Mrs. Walker excepted, he barely tolerated lawyers.  Their ability not to care or even to want to know, if their client was actually guilty went against much of what he believed in about justice.  Over the years, he and Alex had had some fairly heated arguments about it.  It was one of the first things they had agreed to disagree on.  He chalked up his current mood to alcohol on an empty stomach and Alex’s happiness at seeing old friends.

Soon, both of them were fielding questions from the group about how they’d met, what it was like to work together, especially when they were on opposite sides of an issue, and what their day-to-day jobs were really like.  Walker had just finished telling them of the Rangers’ latest bust of a horse-smuggling ring when, out of the corner of his eye, he noticed Alex polishing off the last of her beer. Glancing around the table, he saw that everyone’s beer was getting a little low and the pitcher barely held enough for one more glass. 

Walker looked over to Bob.  “I’ll get the next round.  Killian’s again?”

Bob smiled warmly. “Yeah, great idea.  I’d recommend going up to the bar to get it, though.  This place isn’t exactly known for it’s lightning fast service.” 

The Ranger nodded and rose from the table.  He was just about to push through the masses when he felt Alex’s hand on his knee. “Wait,” she said simply, as she moved to get up.  “I’ll go with you.  I need to find the ladies’ room, anyway.”  Walker hesitated, thinking the other women would suddenly volunteer to go with her.  Surprising, they didn’t.  With his hand resting at the small of her back, Walker escorted his bride through the crowd.

The group watched the couple make their way to the side of the long bar.  They saw Alex kiss her husband and then head towards the front of the room.  It wasn’t until Walker had turned his attention to getting the beer that they stopped watching. 

Mike spoke. “So?….”

Bob shook his head. “I give them a year, maybe two—tops.  He’s not even her type.  Looks more like the Marlboro man.  Ranger or no, he’s nothing but a cowboy.  She’s obviously slumming, enjoying a little fun.”

Amy nodded. “Yeah, but can you blame her?  The man is built.  Solid muscle.  Just look at that butt, and those shoulders!”

Lauren, still toying with her bar napkin, smiled grimly.  “Actually, I’m surprised Alex had it in her.  I never would have pegged the Ice Queen as capable of sleeping with an earthy alpha male like that.  Of course, she did have to go and marry him to make it all look legitimate.  Mustn’t let people get the wrong impression.”

Bob laughed. “But once she gets tired of him, I’ll be along to pick up the pieces.  She’s gonna’ need a shoulder to cry on in her hour of need.”

Lauren flashed Bob an inscrutable look.  “Why would you even want the Ice Queen?  You know how prim and proper she is.  And I doubt this little walk on the wild side is going to change her all that much.  She’ll revert back to her righteous ways as soon as it’s over.”

Bob shrugged. “So?  Who cares?  I’m not looking for a soulmate.  She’s an even better piece of arm jewelry now than she was in law school.  Of course, she’ll have to drop that rinky-dink job as an ADA and become a real lawyer, but still…I need her on my arm to help climb the ranks of the cocktail party circuit.”

Mike nudged his friend.  “Hey, I do, too!   Looks like you and I are going to have to have a showdown when the time comes, eh, Bob?”  He rubbed his chin theatrically.  “Trouble is, she’ll probably call you to do her divorce, so you’ll have an unfair advantage.  I gotta’ figure out how to prevent that.”

Amy looked towards the bar.  “Well, while you guys are fighting over her, I’ll be his shoulder, and anything else he needs, to cry on.”  Tearing her eyes from Walker’s backside, she turned to look at Bob and Mike.  “Do you really think it will take two years?  I don’t think I can wait that long.  Wonder if he’d be interested in a little something on the side?”

Tim shook his head. “I doubt it.  I’ve worked with Walker before, kinda’ secondhand.  He busted one of my big clients a year or so back.  I spent weeks trying to get some dirt on him that I could use.  Nothing.  Everybody swore he’s a Boy Scout—loyal, hardworking, and honest to a fault.”  He turned to look directly at Amy.  “And from what I’ve heard, he’s completely devoted to Alex.  Once they officially hooked up, he never looked back.”

Lauren wadded up her napkin and shoved it in her empty glass.  “I’m impressed.  I never figured Alex for the type to keep a man interested very long.  All show and no go, as they say.”  She found herself drawn to the bar.  Alex was back and had her arm around Walker’s waist, her fingers wound through one of his belt loops.  Watching Alex lean close and kiss Walker solidly on the mouth, she added, “she sure is playing the loving, eager newlywed right now, though.” 

Amy looked mildy perturbed.  “Well, maybe no one has used the right kind of bait.  He could be a challenge.  I just have to figure out the best approach to use.”

“Well, don’t come on too strong,” Bob admonished, “or Alex may just decide to fight for him.  And where would that leave me?”

“Or me?” Mike added.

Bob continued as if Mike had never spoken.  “My fear is that she married him because she wants to have kids right away.  Me playing Stepdaddy to that man’s brats just isn’t going to happen,  arm jewelry or no.  If she…”

“Shh,” Amy hissed. “They’re coming back.  Play nice.”

Walker caught a snippet of the conversation as they got closer.  Something about being nice.  Looking at the group, he couldn’t quite put his finger on it, but something had changed. No one was smiling, and they all looked a bit guilty.  Either his “Cherokee,” as Trivette called it, was kicking in, or the beer was wearing off.  Either way, the mellowness from earlier had given way to wariness.   Still, Alex seemed to be enjoying the reunion, so he’d keep his opinions to himself.

“I got us some munchies while we were waiting,” Alex said as she placed two big bowls of sunflower seed pretzels on the table. “Sorry it took so long.  It was so loud and busy up there that we couldn’t get the bartender’s attention.”

As Alex sat, Walker put his arm along the back of her chair.  He didn’t miss the glances going around the table.  Something was definitely up.

Bob could tell Walker was immediately aware of the change in atmosphere. To thwart his suspicion, he pasted on a big smile and went into host mode. “So, who needs a refill?  Alex?  Walker?”

Alex shook her head.  “Not for me, I’m afraid.  I have a deposition at 8:00 tomorrow morning and I need to make sure I’m fully alert.”

Walker also shook his head.  “None for me, either.  I still have to drive us home.”

Taking her cue from Bob, Amy decided to steer the conversation back to its former friendliness.  A Walker with his guard up would not be easy to seduce.  “So, where is home for you two?”

Alex answered. “Springtown.  About half an hour from work.  We have a little ranch out there.  A couple of horses, plenty of room, it’s wonderful.  Actually, Walker’s lived out there ever since I’ve known him.”  She flashed her husband a mischievous grin.  “But I’m starting to add my own touches here and there.  Right, honey?”

Walker grinned back.  “You can say that again.”

Tim saw Mike throw Bob a long-suffering, disgusted look.  Personally, he thought Alex and Walker were cute, in that sweet, annoying way all newlyweds were cute.  Besides, he was fascinated at seeing this side of the legendary Cordell Walker up close.  He hadn’t lied earlier, everyone did consider Walker a Boy Scout, but he was a Boy Scout with a bite.  He could literally make the toughest con cower in fear just by looking at him. To see those same eyes twinkling at his bride, and seeing that silly, happy smile plastered on his face, wasn’t something Tim ever thought he’d witness.  There was no doubt about it.  Texas Ranger Cordell Walker had it bad, real bad, for Alex.

A sobering thought occurred to him. And that’s why he’s let his guard down tonight.  He thinks Alex is among friends.  And the sad part was, they really were all good friends in law school.  Alex had just gravitated towards law enforcement and justice, while the rest of them sold their souls to be big fish in a big pond.  The thought depressed him.  He’d been as idealistic as Alex once.  But she’d had the strength to keep fighting, while he’d taken the easy road to money and prestige.  Alex had never let the cynicism and greed beat her.

Tim glanced around the table.  Only half paying attention, he heard Bob ask Walker about his bullriding.  He was sure the group was filing that information away.  He could almost see the smugness in their eyes saying,  ‘Yes, indeed, Alex found her herself a real dirt-behind-the-ears Texas cowboy.’  What they wouldn’t hear was the pride in Alex’s voice as she talked about how much good Walker’s charity rodeos brought to underprivileged families, or how they sponsored trail rides and day camps out at the ranch for inner city children, handicapped children, children with Down’s Syndrome, children with AIDS.

The group was making all the right gestures and giving all the right responses.  They were well-trained attorneys, after all.  But Tim knew what they were thinking. ‘OK, so he’s a nice, do-gooder cowboy, but he’s still a cowboy, nevertheless.’  Tim sighed inwardly.  Walker could be nominated for sainthood and all they’d care about is that he made less than $40,000 last year.  Reaching for the pitcher, he poured himself another beer.  It was going to be a long night.  It had already been a long night.

*****

Later, Alex sat on the edge of her side of the bed brushing her hair.  She had already changed into her nightgown and now was lost in thought as she waited for Walker to come out of the bathroom to join her.  Movement on the bed brought her out of her reverie and she looked over to see Walker, wearing only the white BVDs he liked to sleep in, leaning against the headboard watching her. 

Continuing to brush her hair, she asked quietly, “so, what did you think of the old gang?”

Walker shrugged. “They seemed OK.  Tim seemed like a nice enough guy.”  In truth, Tim was the only one he could really stand, but he was willing to put up with the rest of them for Alex’s sake.

Alex paused, mid-stroke.  “Tim always was a good guy.  I was a little surprised to hear he works for Sanchez, Hawkins, and Rogers now.  They’re a pretty cutthroat firm.” 

She turned slightly to get a better look at him.  “Still, everyone else seemed a little off, like we had just met for the first time at a cocktail party.” 

Putting her brush down on the bedside table, she scooted over closer to face Walker.  She gave him a knowing look.  “Thank you.”  She smiled at his quizzical squint.  “I know you have a low tolerance for those kind of people.”  She paused.  “They didn’t used to be like that.  I wouldn’t mind seeing Tim again, but I don’t think we need to worry about going to any more reunions any time soon.” 

She leaned closer, capturing his gaze.  Despite seeing the blatant desire in her eyes, Walker still started when he felt the butterfly caresses along his inner thighs.  Alex grinned wickedly.  “It occurs to me that maybe I need to add a few of my touches here in the bedroom, too.  Care to give me a hand, Cowboy?”

Walker didn’t answer, not with words anyway.

***THE END***