This is our endeavor to picture Walker's growing family. It has been a labor of love. Please enjoy and let us know if you think there should be other.

The first in the Saga of the Walkers begins with: Jessica Alexandra Walker in

On My Way
By Sissy (sissy@svs.net)
Jennifer G.

Jessie stands patiently in line as it moves slowly across the stage, her eyes drifting out over the people in the auditorium. When she sees her family, she feels a knot of nostalgia lodging in her throat. It doesn’t seem that long ago that she was just starting first grade.

She chokes back the tears rising in her eyes as she looks out at her father. Thinking back to when she passed the mumps on to him and how he had assured her, in his gentle way, that it wasn’t her fault, just a quirk of fate, but it had kept him from being with her mom at the hospital when Jimmy was born. Oh, God, Daddy, I love you. She remembers when the dream to become a Texas Ranger like her dad had filled all her thoughts (and still does) and the many questions she had asked him. He hadn’t really encouraged her but he hadn’t discouraged her either. He answered her questions with complete honesty.

Her eyes go all misty looking at him, sees her mother touch his face with her hand, him taking it in his and kissing the palm. Jessie moves forward with the line, her eyes shifting to Alex. She is the greatest mother any girl could ever have. So beautiful, so smart. One real classy lady and always there when you needed her. I love you so much, Mom! It thrilled her when people would say she looked like her mother. But there were subtle differences belying that fact. Where Alex is slender, Jessie boasts a fuller figure and is definitely more of a tomboy. The many mother and daughter talks they had had, especially the one they’d had when her feelings for Wade were starting to overwhelm her, wanting him so bad she couldn’t sleep at night. And sometimes she still has trouble sleeping at night because of wanting him. But they had decided to wait, and she knows the time is near to when they will marry.

When it comes her time to cross the stage to get her diploma, she’s hoping her nervousness won’t show, hoping the tears of happiness won’t start, at least until after she has that roll of paper in her hand and is walking off the stage.

She can see her family watching her, her mom and dad, her brothers and sister. And Wade, Wade MacPhearson, the man she is in love with. Wade is standing next to her father, a little taller, but his body is not quite as muscled as her dad’s, at least not yet. She can see the brightness in his eyes, knowing they were tears of happiness for her. She can’t remember a time when he wasn't there. Seems like she’s known him forever.

Since her last name begins with a W she is the last in the line to receive her diploma and return to take her place with her classmates. Then the speaker releases the college graduates with the words, “May your lives be full and happy.” Then the whole group erupts. The mortarboard hats rise into the air as one, and the exuberance is met with the new graduates exchanging hugs and then the frenzy grows when the families converge and join in the celebration.

Jessie feels herself being passed from one set of arms to another by her classmates, until a strong set of arms pull her tight against a hard chest, enveloping her in a loving embrace. She looks up into dark brown eyes, steeped in love, and raises her face for Wade’s kiss. Her senses are swamped twofold, with desire for the man she loves and happiness for what she has accomplished.

They part and their eyes meet as they share the moment, then they turn to seek her parents. With his arm around her waist he guides her through the crowd to where he’d left her family.

When she spots her family all grouped together watching for her, she takes off running, giving each one of her siblings a kiss and hug before turning to her dad and mom. Tears fill her eyes, as she wraps her arms around them both, bringing them in close for kisses.

Jessie steps back, tears unabashedly flowing down her cheeks, and with twinkling eyes and a large smile on her face, she exclaims, “I did it, Mom, Dad. I did it.”

“We never doubted that you would. We’re very proud of you, honey.” Alex blinks the tears back as she pulls her daughter in for another quick hug. She glances at Walker, and sees the same tears of pride shining in his eyes. Leaning into him she touches her lips softly, lightly and quickly to his, bringing his eyes to hers.

He smiles and draws his wife and daughter back into his arms. “Shouldn’t we be getting back to the ranch, it’s probably already overrun by all kinds of people by now, waiting to see the celebrity of the family.”

“Oh … Dad.” Jessie turns to smile at her brother, “It will be your turn next, John.” She stands on tiptoes, as she leans against him to kiss him on the cheek. “Did you and Wade get my dorm room cleaned out?”

“Yep, we even commandeered Jimmy and Chrissy to help. Wade’s truck looks like a moving van.”

“Then I owe you.” She turns to Jimmy who has been quietly listening, “Jimmy, would you help me with another favor and drive my car home? I know you hate to drive that little thing, but…”

She got no further, because Jimmy had pulled her into a bear hug. “Oh, thank you, Jessie, I was hoping you’d ask me.” Taking the keys that his sister hands him, he turns to his other sister, “Chrissy, want to ride with me?”

Watching her two younger siblings take off, she turns back to her parents, “Let me get one of those flat hats and I’m ready. I’ll … ride with Wade if that’s all right.”

“That’s fine. We’ll go ahead and let everyone know that you’re on the way.” Another quick hug, then her family begins to weave their way out of the auditorium to find their car.

She turns to face Wade, moves into his arms, and lifts her face for another quick kiss. “Come on, let’s get your hat and get out of here. I’ve got some good news to tell you.”

That stops her in her tracks, “What?” But Wade is walking away. She runs to catch up with him, grabbing at his sleeve, “Come on, Wade. Tell me!”

He pulls her up into his arms, laughing, “Not now, Jess … I’ll tell you after we get out of here.”

One look into his eyes, and she realizes there will be no changing his mind. She turns and picks up the first mortar board hat she finds, takes the gown off, draping it over her arm, then takes his hand and giving him a soft smile, murmurs, “Let’s go.”

Wade just barely gets off the campus and onto the highway to Dallas, when Jessie starts in on him again. “Okay, so … tell me.”

“Well, you know I’ve been working with Dr. Kendall since I got out of school don’t you?”

“Yes, I know. He’s nice … I like him. Never will forget how he took care of Chance when he got that cut in his chest.”

“He’s retiring! And as of 10:00 yesterday morning his practice belongs to me.”

Jessie’s mouth drops open. Then a large smile spreads across her face and she throws her arms around his neck, kissing him enthusiastically.

“Jessie!” he shouts as he loses use of his arms and sight of the road.

She quickly sits back and murmurs, “Sorry, guess I got a little carried away.” He quickly gets control then turns and smiles at her and the excitement begins to bubble up again. “Oh … I’m so happy for you. With the acreage you’ll be able to move your horses with you. Your own home and business in one fell swoop. This is something you’ve always wanted. Your dream has come true.”

“Well, not entirely.”

She sees the softening of his eyes and hears the tenderness in his voice and knows to what he is referring. She reaches out to touch his arm, “I know,” she murmurs, “Just a little while longer.”

He looks deep into her smoky blue eyes, sees the same want that he knows is in his. Then remembers the vow he had made to himself when he fell in love with her, that he would never ask her to choose between him or her career and never ask her to compromise her beliefs. He smiles then as his voice lightens, “Well, are you going to help me move in? Dr. Kendall said he would be out by next week.”

“I’d love to, you know that.” The talk between them stays centered on his moving and her volunteering to work with him, at least until she leaves for the academy.

When Jessie sees the driveway to the Walker Ranch looming ahead, she places her hand on his arm, “Wade … stop.”

Without asking any questions, he pulls over to the side of the road. “What is it, honey?”

She turns around in the seat until she is laying across his chest, her arms around his neck, “I just want to have you to myself for a few minutes, I really haven’t gotten a decent kiss out of you since … well, it’s been quite a while.” She teasingly touches her lips lightly to his, once, twice but on the third try, his hand moves up behind her head keeping her firmly against his mouth. She moans softly when his tongue makes a dip into her mouth, sliding along the length of hers, tasting her sweetness before leaving. Feeling her nipples harden, thrusting against his chest, he moves his hand up under her shirt, kneading the soft mounds, his thumb brushing over her already hard nipple, wanting so much to take it into his mouth, he cries out, “God, Jess.” His lips moving against her neck, leaving small bites with his teeth.

A breathless murmur, “I know … when you do that it … sets me on fire,” pressing her breast deeper into his caress. She arches her neck giving him free rein with his kisses and wanting … so much more.

“I feel the same fire,” taking her hand and placing it on the hard bulge in his pants. “And I want to put out that fire… want to be inside you….”

“Oh, God, Wade … don’t. We promised...” She gently pushes away, lays her head against his chest and takes a deep trembling breath. “Just a few … few more months.” It’s a promise that has been so hard to keep, a promise to each other, to wait until their wedding night. The fires of their love have been smoldering for years, and they’re becoming harder and harder to control. She raises her head and kisses him lightly then settles back in the seat beside him, “ We’d better go. They’ll worry.” Wade takes a ragged breath and starts the truck.

When they arrive at the ranch, the reception is already in full swing. Her mother is the first person she sees when she comes in the front door, “Jessie, I was just about to send a posse out to look for you and Wade. Come on, everyone is waiting for you.”

Alex looks at her daughter’s flushed face, then raises the back of her hand to Jessie’s cheek. “Are you feeling alright, honey? Your face looks feverish.”

“Ah … I’m fine, Mom, just … still excited, I think.”

Alex accepts that explanation until she looks up at Wade and sees the same coloring in his cheeks. She has seen that same look in the mirror many times, knowing exactly what has caused it. Tears well up in her eyes as she finally realizes that her little girl is a woman now, ready to experience all that life had to offer, and ready to meet it head on. An arm around her waist pulls her into a circle of warmth, knowing instantly that Walker is at her side.

He turns her face, sees the glistening of tears and says in a low murmur, “She’s growing up, honey, there is no way to stop it.”

She smiles at his quick perception of her thoughts. “She is, and that’s the way it should be, but it still surprises me that it’s happened so fast. It seems only yesterday that she was just a little girl. Deliriously happy about everything that happened around her.” A tear falls down her cheek, but Walker brushes it away with his thumb as he tightens his hold on her.

“She’s still like that, hon, ready to taste all that life has to offer.” He tilts her head up and sees her eyes on Jessie and Wade, and he tightens his arm slightly, “And we have to accept the fact that her world will include a young man, and hopefully, a family in the future.”

“Oh, I know, and I’m really excited for her. For all the beautiful experiences that lie ahead of her. Life is just beginning for her.” She squeezes his hand and follows him as they move up behind Jessie and Wade.

People move in and out of the ranch house the better part of the afternoon, and Jessie is beginning to feel like her smile is pasted on her face. Finding a seat between Wade and John she sinks gratefully down on the chair, letting a soft sigh escape from her lips. Wade takes her hand and holds it in his, just to feel her warmth, her touch. She squeezes it and looks up into his soft brown eyes, wishing they were alone.

Chrissy brings her back to the present, waving an envelope at her. “Sis, found this on the table by the door. More congratulations, I’m sure.”

“Probably.” She takes the letter in her hand, idly turning it around in her fingers, “Chrissy, does it look like it’s starting to thin out yet?”

“Not that I can tell. I’ll be glad when everyone leaves, I promised Chance a good run this afternoon. Maybe if it isn’t to late we could all go for a ride.” She frowns and her body stiffens, “Oops, I see Jason. I’m outta here.” Only the words linger in the air because Chrissy has disappeared.

“Hey, there’s Mom and Dad, come on Jessie.” Wade reaches for her hand and pulls her up.

“Oh, John, would you put this with the rest of the cards for me. Please.” She turns and hands him the envelope that Chrissy had given her.

“Sure, go ahead.”

“Thanks.” She winks at him then follows Wade to where he is standing by his parents.

***

After the last of the guests have gone, Jessie walks into the living room where her parents and Wade are seated and gratefully sits down on the couch beside her dad, “I know this sounds horrible but I’m glad this is over.” She looks up to see her mother eyeing her, “Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoyed seeing everyone and this was very nice,” she smiles at her mom, “but this just isn’t my cup of tea. I don’t like big crowds.”

Alex looks sideways at Walker, “Well, I guess you come by it honestly.”

A look of surprise spreads across Jessie’s face. “What, you don’t like crowds either?”

“Not me, Jessie, your father.”

Jessie turns her eyes toward Walker. “Really? You sure go to a lot of big gatherings not to like them. I’ve never heard you complain.”

“It goes with the territory.” Walker flashes a look at his wife and winks.

“Well, I just don’t see much sense in being paraded in front of a lot of people that I hardly know because I just happened to graduate from college. It’s no big deal anymore.”

“Well, I think it is a big deal.” She stands and pulls Jessie up and into her arms. “And I’m glad you humored me, today.” She kisses her on the cheek then gives a hug and quickly leaves the room.

Walker sees the tears coming and gets up. “I’m proud of you, too, Jessie.” He sees the questioning look in his daughter’s eyes. “You know your mom, she cries when she’s happy.” After giving Jessie a kiss he leaves the room to look for his wife.

Jessie looks over at Wade, smiles, and then gets up off the couch and moves over to sit down on his lap, her arms circling his neck. “You gonna stick around for awhile?”

“For awhile.” Glancing around to what seems to be an empty house, he leans toward her and touches her lips softly with his.

“Mmm … I like that. Got any … more?”

“As many as you want, sweetheart,” he murmurs softly as he covers her mouth with his. At the hot touch of his tongue she trembles and makes a sound deep in her throat. Her arms tighten around his neck and she opens her mouth further, wanting more of him. Desire builds, and forgetting where they are, Wade’s hand moves to cup her breast, gently caressing through the soft fabric on her shirt. Feeling his hand on her breast, she presses against him, moving her tongue over his. She feels the beginning of a hard ridge beneath her at the same time she feels wetness in her panties and then … a loud “ahem” startles them out of the sexual haze. Wade quickly removes his hand as she jumps from his lap, straightening her shirt. Knowing her face is scarlet she turns to face whoever has come in the door. Her eyes widen with relief at seeing that it’s Jimmy and not one of her parents. Wade thanks God that Jessie had been turned with her back to the doorway so that Jimmy didn’t see where his hand had been.

“Sorry, but I thought you’d want to know that Mom and Dad are coming in.” Then as if testifying to that fact, the screen door slams.

“Thanks Jimmy, I … owe you.”

“Maybe, but your face looks…” His grin spreads even wider.

“I … I need to go change clothes, I’ll be right back.”

She darts out to the kitchen, and when hearing her parents in the living room, makes a dash for the stairs and up to her room, which she will be sharing with Chrissy until she leaves for the academy. She watches Chrissy enter the bathroom with her robe, then gathers up hers and stands in the doorway to ensure her place in line in case one of the boys comes up.

She leans back against the door, thinking of what her parents would have said if they’d noticed her flushed face. Probably nothing, but just their knowing would leave her tongue tied. She is still leaning against the door when Alex comes up the stairs and sees her. “Mom!” Knowing that her face still shows the recent signs of making out, she blushes even more.

“Hi, honey. I didn’t want you to think I was upset with you, just wanted to let you know I understand.”

“I know, Mom, it’s all right.”

Alex sees Jessie’s posture stiffen as her eyes sweep over her daughter’s face, the flushed cheeks, her slightly swollen lips, and her breathing which hasn’t entirely returned to normal yet, then without thinking, she looks past Jessie into the bedroom.

Realizing what her mom thinks, “Wade’s … he’s not in there. We didn’t … I mean we…”

Touching Jessie’s lips with her fingers, Alex smiles, “No explanation required, honey. I’ve been in your place a time or two so I understand. Besides, you’re a grown woman, you don’t have to answer to anyone but yourself.” Alex leans in to kiss her daughter on the cheek then turns to leave.

“Mom?” At Jessie’s soft whisper Alex turns around. “It means a lot to me what you think. We haven’t … I mean we … ah … but don’t be surprised if you get a wedding announcement … very soon.”

Alex moves close to Jessie and pulls her into a warm embrace. “It wouldn’t surprise me at all. You’ve known Wade all of your life and have probably been in love with him half of that. But I am surprised that you’ve waited this long. You have more control than I ever did.” She releases Jessie and more under her breath than aloud, says, “but maybe you took after your father that way, too.” She kisses Jessie than asks, “Why are you standing out here?”

Recovering from what she has just heard her mother say, “Ah …I’m waiting on Chrissy, I want to take a quick shower, Wade wants to take me out to dinner. To kinda celebrate.”

“Well, why don’t you use the one in our room.” Alex turns and taking one last glance at Jessie, starts down the stairs. “I’ll see you before you leave.”

Jessie stares after her mother, and realized that they have just had another mother and daughter talk. Hugging her robe against her breasts, she moves into her parent’s bedroom, shuts the door, then tossing her robe on their bed, goes into the bathroom.

Jessie opens the bathroom door and takes a step into the bedroom to get her robe. At that instant the door swings open from the hall, and Wade steps into the room then freezes. Neither one can move. His eyes sweep down her still glistening nude body, devouring her luscious curves, her beautiful long legs then slowly makes the trip back up, pausing at the triangle of dark auburn hair at the apex of those long legs, and then again on her round, firm breasts. Wade’s eyes darkened and with the blood roaring in his ears, he fumbles for the doorknob, then inhaling a shaky breath, murmurs, “Sorry, I’ll … I’ll get it later.” It takes all of his will power to back out of the room and shut the door.

Jessie lets out the breath she hadn’t known she’d been holding and on weak knees, stumbles to the bed to get her robe, quickly pulling it on then making a beeline for her bedroom.

Shutting the door, she turns, her hand over her heart, feeling it pound like a trip hammer, and sits down on the bed waiting for it stop its frantic racing. As her breathing slowly returns to normal she sees the stack of letters on the corner of the dresser and picks them up, glancing over them. She smiles as she recognizes the names of families that she and her family had known for years. Then the envelope she remembers as the one that Chrissy had given her down stairs catches her eye. Remembering it because of the way it just had her name scrawled across the top corner, in a small tight squiggle.

Slipping her finger under the flap she pulls it open. For some reason the letter she had received before graduation, comes to mind. Shrugging off the chill that she feels at the memory, she slowly pulls out the single sheet. Dropping the envelope, she holds the thin sheet in both hands, then, as a sense of something evil washes over her, she unfolds it.

A gasp as she reads the single line, Just because school is out, doesn’t mean I’ve forgotten about you! Quickly shoving the paper back into the envelope, then taking a deep breath, she stands and shoves it into her drawer underneath her sweaters with the other one. Slamming the drawer closed she moves to the window, staring out over the yard. Sees Chrissy and Jimmy heading for the barn. Probably going riding. Then John comes out the front door and gets in his car and leaves. Probably going to see Melissa. He will marry her some day, Mom’s prediction. It will be a while, since he wants to follow in Mom’s footsteps. He has a lot of schooling to go with just finishing his first year of college. Then she sees Wade going to his car, reaches in for something, which he slips into his pocket. When he turns, he glances up at her, smiles and moves out of her site. With the site of Wade warming her, the memory of the letter fades to nothing and the night ahead fills her senses.

Quickly scanning the clothes in her closet, Jessie pulls out one of her favorites, a simple lavender summer dress that her mother had given to her for her birthday last year, remarking how the color complemented her complexion and brought out the color in her eyes. After donning the dress she admires her reflection in the mirror. The hem comes to about an inch above her knees, and the shoes she puts on make her long legs look even longer. She smiles, thinking this is probably the reason Wade loved the dress so much. 'Well...more the way it hugs my body I'll bet' Jessie thinks to herself with a smile, before turning to pick up her purse, and giving herself one last overall look. Satisfied, she takes a deep breath, puts on her best smile and she goes out the door.

As she slowly starts down the steps she remembers the scene in the bedroom. Talk about dumb, I couldn’t even move. She smiles, but neither could he. Wonder if he liked what he saw. Her eyes close, wish I’d walked in on him instead. Feeling the heat rise in her face, Better not go there. Then as she continues on down the steps, her eyes light up as she sees Wade waiting for her at the bottom.

Jessie blushes slightly knowing that Wade has seen her naked but the love in his eyes, sets her mind at ease. She kisses him lightly on the lips then turns into the living room to say goodnight to her folks. After a quick kiss and hug, “I probably won’t be out to late, Wade has to be up early tomorrow to start his new business.”

“That’s right. Well, Wade, you’ll have your hands full taking over Kendall’s practice. But if anyone can do it, you can.”

“Thanks Mrs. W. I hope so.”

“Wade, aren’t you ever going to start calling me Alex?”

“Probably not. But after we’re married, I might start calling you Mom, that is … if it’s all right with you.”

“That will definitely be alright.” Alex smiles, stands on her tiptoes and plants a kiss on Wade’s cheek.

Walker takes his hand in a firm grip, “Wade if there is anything I can do to help, let me know.”

“I will, sir, you can count on it.”

“Goodnight, Mom, Dad, see you tomorrow.” And as they make their exit out the door and off the porch, a smile lights up Jessie’s eyes as she hears her father say, “Reckon he’ll call me Dad, too.”

“Wouldn’t be surprised honey, wouldn’t be surprised. After all, we’ll be gaining a son, won’t we?”

They go to a small place that has good food and dancing. Halfway through dinner, a dinner spent gazing into each other’s eyes, Wade suddenly grabs Jessie’s left hand, and raising it to his lips, softly kisses her fingers. His voice thick with emotion, “I can’t wait much longer to have you in my life completely Jess. Marry me … soon?”

Jessie’s face lights up, her smile beautiful, and tears in her eyes. “Oh Wade, of course I’ll marry you! Tomorrow wouldn’t be soon enough!”

He reaches into his jacket pocket and slips a diamond ring on her finger, saying softly, “Well, we can’t get married tomorrow, but how about as soon as you leave the police academy?”

Wade reaches over to wipe away a tear, sealing their engagement with a tender kiss. With the prospect of their wedding being within a close realm of possibility they wanted to tell their parents immediately, and skipping the dancing, head immediately to tell their respective families.

When Wade brings Jessie home after informing his parents of the news, they find the house dark but see Walker and Alex sitting in the swing.

“You’re back early. Nothing’s wrong, I hope,” Alex says, watching them climb the steps.

“No, Mom, everything is right. You remember what I told you this morning, about not being surprised?”

Alex thinks for a split second then jumps up and envelopes Jessie in a hug. “Really, oh, Jessie, I am so happy.”

Walker stands up next to Alex, “Someone want to tell me why my wife is suddenly so happy?”

“Wade and I are officially announcing our engagement, Dad. With the wedding to follow real soon after my graduation at the police academy.”

“But … Jessie, you haven’t received a date yet for the academy, how can we start to plan your wedding?”

“Well, can’t we work around the date for now? I’m sure I’ll receive word soon. And if I don’t…” she smiles up at Wade, “well, the wedding will go on anyway.”

***

The next week is busy with Wade and Jessie’s wedding plans formalized, but getting Wade moved into his new house and business takes priority, at least during the day, for his patients can’t wait.

Jessie helps Wade set up house keeping in his new home. Unpacking his personal things proved to be the most difficult. She sits on the bed watching as he put his underwear in one drawer and socks in another, leaving each one half empty. “Why did you do it that way?”

“Well, I wanted to leave room for your things...” His voice thickens, and he feels the heat rising in his body, among other things. The thought of her bras and panties in the same drawer as his briefs has his mind and body fantasizing and it’s turning his blood to liquid fire. He turns slightly and sees her eyes looking into the drawer, and knows she's feeling the same thing. He turns toward her and she stands moving toward him...

“Hey, Wade! Where do you want this stuff?”

“Ah ... I'll be ... right there, Jimmy.” He smiles softly then takes her hand, pulling her with him as he leaves the room

The process of moving becomes a full family affair as Walker and Wade's father help move Wade’s horses and their gear to their new home. Wade insists that Jessie be involved with every phase of the move, as this will be her home too, in the not too distant future. He enlists her help to shop for linens and groceries that he will need and Alex convinces Jessie not to go overboard shopping for household stuff because when they get married they will get every thing they will need plus some they won't. Jessie and Chrissy give the house a thorough cleaning with the help of Alex and Wade’s mother.

During that week she receives a letter announcing for her to appear at the police academy, on June 4th, which lasts for 12 weeks. The letter also informs her that she is, as of May 20 of this year, a member of the Dallas Police Department, contingent upon her graduation from the academy, reporting for official duty exactly one week after completion of her training at the academy. She is also to report within three days to receive authorization to order her uniforms so as to have them before she leaves for the academy. Jessie's excitement is felt in both households, the MacPhearson's as well as the Walker's. Alex is full of trepidation but knows this has been Jessie’s dream since she was ten years old. Walker is proud that Jessie is following in his footsteps but is also worried because he knows the danger she will face everyday. Wade's parents love Jessie like she is one of their own, but are unsettled about her choice of careers. Wade and Jessie are the only ones who seem to be totally and completely exuberant with the news. And that might be because now they can publicly announce their engagement and make more definite plans for their wedding.

The only thing that is unsettling about the week is that Jessie has received more letters until she is getting them every other day. Each one being a little worse then the one before. All about how he loves her and wants her as his own. What he will do to make her happy. Some of his suggestions are sexually explicit and very crude. The last one, received just today, had starting calling her a snob, telling her she thought she was to good for him, warning her to be prepared because she was definitely going to be his, no matter what. The letters all come to the ranch along with the rest of the mail. She files them all away in the back of her drawer.

The night before Jessie leaves for the Police Academy, she and Wade are snuggled together in the swing. Wade is sitting with his back against the arm of the swing with one leg along the seat of the swing and one on the floor. Jessie is sitting between his legs, her back against his chest with his arms around her middle just below her breasts. Her head is nestled alongside of his, her eyes shut, savoring this quite time with him. The past few weeks have been hectic, with Wade moving and the demands of an already established veterinary business to keep up. He had finally found a helper, so she felt better about leaving him but only on that one point. Being away from him for 12 weeks is going to be pure hell. Being able to come home on weekends will help in keeping her sanity. It can’t be any worse than being in college. The only happy side to this is the knowledge that the planning of their wedding will go into full gear with the marriage ceremony just one week after her graduation.

“I’ll take you up in the morning.”

“No. You have a full day tomorrow. I’ll be all right.”

“Jess … I…”

She turns to face him, “Honey, I want to drive so I’ll have my car with me. I can drive home just as soon as they turn us loose Friday night, then we’ll have the whole weekend together.”

“I can take you and come get you, too.”

“But if you get tied up I’d have to wait, this way I can be with you sooner.” She sees him ready to argue more but she closes him down with her fingertips to his lips, “Honey, are we about to have our first argument?”

“We’ve had lots of arguments.” He states defensively.

“Name one!” She demands, but her tone is light.

He stares at her for several long minutes before letting a smile spread across his face. “I can’t.”

“See, they must not have amounted to much since you can’t remember them.” She kisses him then murmurs softly, “This one doesn’t amount to much either, right?”

He tightens his arms around her, “I guess I was getting kinda pushy, huh.” A soft kiss and, “Sorry, if you want to drive up, I’ll let you.”

“You’ll … let … me!” With those words a tickling match is started with Wade ending up crying uncle, because he had found out a long time ago that Jessie could outlast him in a bout of tickling. Panting and laughing, almost in tears, “I don’t want you here at day break either to see me off.”

“Why not?”

“Because I’ll cry and my mascara will run and I’ll look hideous by the time I get to the academy, that’s why.”

“That means I have to say goodbye to you tonight, doesn’t it.” Jessie nods, not wanting to trust her voice. He pushes her up and stands, “Come on, walk me to my truck.” He slides his arm around her waist, holding her as tight as he can and still walk. Stopping beside the door, he turns her to face him. Her arms coil around his neck as his lips lower to hers in a sweet tender kiss that he slowly deepens. Her lips part, inviting him in, and she feels her stomach coil tightly in response as his tongue seeks the velvet warmth inside her mouth. She moans into his mouth as he rubs his tongue over and around, sensuously caressing hers.

Her body melts into his, as one kiss becomes two, then three, it was as if he couldn’t get enough. His hand slides up her shirt to the soft flesh underneath. She gasps and presses against him, and a breathless whisper, “Wade…”

“I know … I’ve … got to go.” But he can’t seem to make his body obey his mind. His hands slide down to her bottom, tugging her up against him, letting her feel what she does to him.

Jessie moans softly, her hips shift against him, trying to ease the throbbing deep down inside her.

It finally gets through his senses that they are only tormenting each other and he slowly pulls away, tucking her head under his chin. His voice soft, hushed, “Jess, I don’t ever want to find out what my life would be like without you. I love you with all my heart. I want you to have my babies, I want to grow old with you and sitting on the porch in rocking chairs playing with our grandchildren. But if for some reason we aren’t blessed with children, I can live with that as long as I have you. Children are just the icing on the cake.”

He tilts her head up, finds her eyes full of tears, and she knows right then, that she loves him more than life. At last, she knows she’s found a love every bit as deep as what her parents have. She has found her soulmate.

Wade steps back from her, kisses her softly one more time, “Now, go to bed. Get ready for the academy, because in 13 weeks you’ll be mine.” He turns her around and gently gives her a shove toward the house. About halfway she turns and watches him as he gets in his truck and drives away.

She doesn’t remember walking the rest of the way to the house or up the steps, or how she ended up on the swing in her mother’s arms. But Alex is there, holding Jessie and letting her cry. “Oh, Mom, I love him so much.”

“I know honey, I know.”

Jessie raises her head, looking into her mom’s face, “You do … don’t you?” She lowers her head back down on her mom’s shoulder, murmuring softly, “Does it always hurt like this?”

Alex’s soft whisper, “No, sometimes it hurts worse. But there are times when the pain is like a sweet ecstasy. And those are the times you will remember, the times you will live for. A marriage is not all smiles and laughter. There will be tears and heartache as well, it’s a part of life. Just love and trust each other, and the other with take care of itself.”

After what seems like hours her mother, gently shakes her, “You need to get to bed, get some rest. I have a feeling that tomorrow will be a day you won’t soon forget.”

“Thanks, Mom. I don’t know what I’d do with out you.”

“That’s what I’m here for.” Guiding her gently towards the door, “Have you two decided where you are going for your honeymoon?”

“No, not really. Wade isn’t able to get away but for a couple of days and that’s probably all I’ll get since I’ll be starting with the DPD right away.”

“Why don’t you go to our Little Eden, the cabin up in the badlands? I think you’ll love that place. The only thing is, you won’t want to come home.”

“I remember that place, from our trip. Why do you call it Little Eden?”

Alex smiles dreamily for several seconds, “Oh … you’ll find out when you get there.”

Then the two women enter the house go to their separate rooms, Jessie to dream about her man, and Alex to curl up next to hers.

Walker feels Alex get out of bed and a minute later leave the room, but he doesn’t follow. He is tempted, but he feels it has something to do with Jessie. She’s always had the sixth sense in regard to the children, maybe that’s what made her such a great mother.

She’d been gone a long time when he scoots up in the bed, brings his pillow up against the headboard and leans back against it, wondering if he should look for her. He shoves the sheet off his legs and reaches for his baggy training pants. Just then the door silently swings open.

As Alex drops her robe and slips into bed, and he slides down beside her, pulling her nude body into his arms, “Honey, what’s wrong?”

“Nothing really. Jessie is learning that love doesn’t always run smooth. I just held her hand and … we talked it out. I think she’ll be alright now.”

He murmurs softly in her ear as he begins to slowly caress her. “No, love is not an easy road, we found that out didn’t we?”

Turning into him, her body waking to his touches, “Yes, we did. But I’d do it all over again as long as you’re with me.”

***

Friday night when Jessie gets home from her first week at the academy, she looks like she has been rode hard and put away wet.

Alex sees the exhaustion in her daughter’s eyes and wraps her arms around her, pulling her weary body into a warm embrace. “Baby, are you alright? You look…”

“I know … half dead, and right now that’s the way I feel.” Jessie turns to wrap her arms around her dad, “Why didn’t you tell me it was going to be like this?”

Walker takes her into his arms, nestling her head into his neck, swaying with her gently. “Would it have made any difference? Would you have changed your mind about going?”

She raises her head, meeting him eye to eye. “NO! But I might have been better prepared.”

He chuckles, “Come on, your mom has dinner waiting.”

He releases her and she turns to face Alex. “Could I take a quick shower first? I must smell as gamy as a bag of dirty gym socks.”

Alex nods, Walker laughs and gives a loving pat on her bottom, “Sure, go ahead.”

After dining, Alex turns down Jessie’s offer to help clean up, “Go out on the porch, and wait for Wade. There’s a nice breeze.”

Her mother was right, there is a breeze, she would have loved to have had this breeze going through all those calisthenics in 90-degree heat. The days at the academy are a far cry from college, and definitely more challenging. The past week was wicked on her body and her brain, but she’s looking forward to the next week. She is thankful that her dad insisted that each of his children take martial arts. The first belt he insisted, the winning of the other belts was their choice. And all of them had gone on to win the black belt. And Jimmy is still going, insisting that he is going to open his own school of martial arts training.

A soft warm touch to her lips wakes her. She blinks her eyes, bringing Wade into focus, then smiles and lifts her arms up around his neck, pulling him down for a kiss. A kiss telling him how much she misses him. He picks her up, then sits down with her in his lap. For a long time he just holds her in his arms, moving the swing in a slow swaying motion, content to just have her in his arms.

A soft murmur against his neck, “Do you want to go into town, take in a movie?”

“No, I just want to sit here and hold you.”

He holds her until he feels her body relax in sleep and then holds her some more. And he’s still holding her when the lights in the house start winking out. He hears the screen door open and soft steps on the porch, and looks up to see his future father-in-law standing at the railing. He hears the deep voice softened with love, “Pretty done in, huh?”

“Yes sir, she is. But she’ll never stop.”

“No, she’s a pretty determined lady. Knows what she wants and goes all out for it.”

“I’ve found that out, sir. That’s one of the many things about her I love.”

Walker stands quietly, thinking about this young man that is going to take his daughter away from him. He smiles, then reaches over and touches Jessie’s leg, “Goodnight, baby.” He turns towards the door and says “Goodnight Wade,” and lets the door close softly.

A few minutes later, Wade gently shakes her, and whispers her name, over and over until she begins to stir. “Come on, Jessie, you need to go on up to bed.” When he’s sure she’s awake, “I’ve got to go to the Wiggins farm in the morning, then the rest of the day is free. I’ll come by and we’ll make some plans or we can work on the wedding plans.”

“Hmm … okay. I’m sorry I fell asleep. I’ll do better tomorrow.”

He gets her to stand up then opens the door, then after kissing her, “Go to bed, Jessie, I’ll see you tomorrow.” He turns and walks down the steps.

“Good night, Wade,” she mutters through a wide yawn.

End part I

On My Way part II
By Sissy
& Jennifer

Jessie is up early the next morning with the sun just barely showing, due to the stringent hours she had to follow at the academy being burned into her brain. She showers slips on a pair of cutoffs and a t-shirt, then seeing the pile of mail on her dresser, begins thumbing through it.

She smiles, seeing that most of it is from her friends from college wishing her happiness in her marriage. She knew it would be announced in the paper but didn’t know when.

Her smile disappears as she recognizes the writing on at least three of them. Angry, she tears open the envelope and quickly scans his latest threat. She covers her mouth to keep from crying out, then opens the other two. Oh, God, not Wade. I … I’ve got to call him, make sure he’s alright. She picks up the phone and panicky dials into Wade’s new home. He’s not there. Where is he … I remember …he said something last night … what did he say? He had to be at … where, Oh, God, I can’t remember. She begins pacing, her finger tapping on her temple, Where did he say he was going …the Wiggins farm. She races downstairs to the den to get the phone book. Finds the number but it just rings and rings and rings. They’re probably out in the barn. She remembers that he had gotten a cell phone, and called his mother for the number. When she finally gets Wade on the phone, she hesitates wanting to calm down, not wanting to tell him over the phone, but has to make sure he’s all right.

“Hi, Wade? Ah … I wanted to apologize for last night and to tell you I love you.”

She knows she sounds funny but can’t help it. She answers his questions quickly, maybe too quickly, then, “Wade, will you do me a favor and come straight to my house when you leave there” … “What?” “No, not … really, would you just do it for me? Please?” … “Thank you, honey, I’ll see you about 12:00?” Putting the phone down she turns to go back to her room and runs right into her dad. “Dad! You scared me.”

“I’m sorry Jessie. But can you tell me what that was all about? You look like you’re seen a ghost, you’re as white as a sheet.”

Her strong resolve gives then and she throws herself into her dad’s arms, clinging to his neck the same way she had done when she had been a toddler, seeking refuge from pain.

“Oh, Daddy, I tried, I really tried to take care of this, but now he’s going after Wade.”

The words muffled against his shirt, he backs up with her to the couch, then pulls her down beside him. Her arms leave his neck but her head is still hidden in his chest. Tilting her head up, “Now, tell me what this is all about. Who’s after Wade and for what?”

The letter still crumpled in her fist, she holds it out for Walker to take. Spreading out the single sheet, he scans it quickly then looks up into Jessie’s eyes. “It says here that you weren’t taking him seriously. Does that mean there’s been more letters?”

She nods and wipes the tears from her eyes. “Yes, I kept them in case he went ballistic. The three letters that came this week are really crazy. He … he must have seen our engagement in the paper. That’s probably what set him off.”

“How long has this been going on?” He stands, begins pacing around the room, stopping in front of his daughter, waiting for her answer.

“I … got the first one a week before graduation, and they’ve come pretty steady after that.” She stands then, “but they’ve all been just words, no threats, just sicko words from a dumb jock who, out of the blue, decides he wants me for his wife.” The anger rises in her voice, “Well, I’ve got news for that wacko, my life is already planned and he sure isn’t included.” Then the steam seems to go out of her and she sinks back down on the couch. “But … now he’s brought Wade into this. I’ll … quit the academy,” tears fill her eyes, but a strong resolve fills her voice, “and find this nut and crack him wide open.”

Walker takes her by the shoulders, and lifts her from the couch. “No, you won’t quit the academy. Do you hear me? You can’t let him decide what you do and not do.”

“But, Dad...”

“Is Wade coming over here today?”

“Yes, about noon.”

“Good, between the two of us we’ll work out something.” He turns on Jessie, his voice rough, hard, “Why didn’t you come to me when this first started. Good Lord, girl, you ought to know this kind of thing never goes away. How could you have let it drag on like this?”

“I didn’t let it drag on Dad, I took the first few letters and had them checked for fingerprints, finding nothing they told me there was nothing they could do. I have no idea who could be behind this. I’ve never encouraged or flirted with any man.” Her voice chokes and tears come to her eyes, “I love Wade. There is no one else for me.”

“Jessie, you don’t have to flirt to draw a man like this. He just picks you out, whether you want him or not. You have no say in the matter.” He sits down beside her. “If I had a dollar for every time some wacko took a shine to your mother, I’d be a rich man.” His mind thinks back to the worst of them all, Victor LaRue, and his jaw hardens, his lips thin into a hard line. He remembered how frantic he had been as they searched for Alex and remembered his words to LaRue the first time Alex encountered him...’Touch her again and I’ll rip your heart out!’ He knew he’d have no second thoughts about ripping the heart out of whoever was threatening his daughter if he so much as touched her ... or her fiancé. Looking into his daughter’s scared eyes, his stance and his voice soften. “There was nothing your mother did to encourage it, just as there was nothing you did to encourage this one.” But it bothered him that she didn’t come to him when she received the first letter...she had always come to him before. Taking her hand in his, “I just can’t understand why you didn’t come to me.”

She stands, takes a step away, then with a strong determination in her voice, “Please Dad, how would it look if I came running to you every time I ran into a problem.” Her voice softens as she continues, “If I want to be a Texas Ranger I have to be able to think for my self. I don’t want to make my way on your shirttails. I want, no, I need to make it on my own abilities. I don’t want to ever be accused of accepting special favors just because I’m the daughter of Cordell Walker. I’ve got to climb up the hard way like every one else.” She sees the glistening in his eyes, and kneels down on the floor in front of him. “Can you understand now, why I waited?”

Filled with pride for this beautiful child of his, this willful, stubborn child that seems to have become a woman overnight, he pulls her against his chest, and with his voice choked with emotion, “Yes, I can understand.” Finally, he pushes her back, wipes the tears from her eyes, as she wipes them from his. This woman in front of him, who has this obsession of becoming a Texas Ranger, has shown him that she would forego that dream to protect the man she loves.

“You won’t have to quit the academy. We’ll work out something when Wade gets here.” Walker looks up and sees Alex standing in the doorway, evidently she had heard it all. “Jessie, why don’t you go upstairs and get those letters maybe if we put our heads together we can come up with something to work on.” She nods then stands and starts out of the room. Stopping when she sees her mom, the corners of mouth tilts up slightly as she reaches out to touch Alex on the arm then continues on out of the room.

When she hears Jessie on the stairs, Alex moves quickly across the room into Walker’s arms. “It’s starting all over again isn’t it. Someone’s after Jessie just like LaRue came after me.” She breathes deep, trying to keep the tears at bay, then looks with a fierce intensity into Walker’s eyes. “I don’t want Jessie to go through the terror that I went through.”

Walker pulls back, abruptly, “Do you think I do?” He stares at her with lightening flashing in his eyes, then seeing her stricken look, he brings her back into his arms, burying his face in her hair. “I’m sorry, Alex.”

“No, I’m the one, who should be sorry, I know that you’ll do everything possible to see that neither Jessie nor Wade is hurt.” She places a light kiss on his lips, “Walker, this feels like Déjà vu, only I’m seeing it happen to Jessie.”

“Don’t Alex, he’s dead…”

“Who’s dead?” Picking up on the last words she hears her dad say as Jessie walks into the room, carrying a shoebox full of letters.

“Ah … that’s not important. Bring that box, here.” He looks at Alex, “Want to help?”
“Sure, just tell me what to look for.”

“Anything and every thing. We’ve got to find a clue, hint, a mistake, something that tells us who he is, or where he lives”

“Ah … Dad … some of those letters are pretty crude, and um …explicit…”

“Jessie, I doubt if there is anything in these letters, that I haven’t heard before.”

Jessie’s answer is a small smile, then watches as Alex picks up an envelope. When Walker takes one she pulls her eyes from her mother and takes one out of the box, too. The three sit quietly for almost an hour, poring over the letters, then suddenly Alex sucks in her breath, mutters “Oh … my … god!” her hand covering her mouth, her eyes showing the sickness in the words she had just read.

“I tried to warn you Mom. This guy is really sick.” Alex turns her pale face to look at Jessie then Walker.

“Hon, why don’t you let us finish. We could use some fresh coffee.” He glances at his watch, “Wade should be here any moment. Might want to make up some sandwiches, too.”

Jessie stands, “I’ll help you Mom.”

Alex stands also, “No! No, you stay here and help your Dad. I’ll make … I’ll make lunch.”

Walker picks up the letter that Alex had dropped and Jessie could see the rage behind his eyes. “Dad?” Jessie asks softly.

“Are there any more like this,” his voice tight with anger.

“Yes, here’s one and there’s one more. Oh, here it is.” Walker takes the two letters and shoves them in his pocket.

“Dad, what are you doing…”

He doesn’t look at her, as he answers, “You don’t want Wade to see these do you?”

She doesn’t want him to see any of them, but definitely not those. Her face blanches, and she whispers, “No … no I don’t.”

A knock on the door, and Jessie stands, “I’ll tell Wade.” Then she moves across the room to open the door for her fiancé.

Walker can’t hear all of it, but a loud “What” echoes around the room and then a lot of “Jess, I won’t let you, “ and “You can’t do that!” and “What makes you think…” Then he hears softer words spoken by Wade, “Jess, I love you. If that bozo comes near you, I’ll rip his heart out and feed it to him.”

Then comes Jessie’s calming tone trying to soothe Wade’s anger. It’s quiet for a few minutes just before they appear at the doorway of the den.

“Come on in, Wade. We need to figure out a way to ensure your safety, so Jessie won’t worry herself to death at the academy.”

“Academy?” he tightens his arm around her, “Jess, I don’t want you out of my sight. I want you with me at all times.”

“Actually, Wade, the safest place for Jessie is at the Academy. He won’t be able to penetrate the walls there. He’d be a damn fool to even try.” Not wanting to say it but knows he must, “This psycho will concentrate on getting rid of you.”

“Wade…”

“It’s alright Jessie, I’ll call Trivette and get him to help with this.” Wade are you going to be working this weekend?”

“Well, I don’t have any appointments but I’ll be on call, why?”

“I want you to stay here until we catch this guy. We’ll work something out if you get any calls.”

Jessie grabs Wade’s arm, “Oh, yes, this would be the best place for you.”

“Jess, I … don’t much like the idea of … hiding. That’s a cowards way.”

Jessie wraps her arms around Wade’s waist, her eyes meeting his. “Wade, you’re not a coward. No one can call you a coward for taking precautions.” She kisses him softly, “Please.”

Walker glances at Alex with a raise eyebrow, as if to say, ‘wonder where she got that from!’

Alex returns his glance and a tender smile, as if to say, ‘it works doesn’t it?”

Wade looks over her head to Walker, who just grins, shakes his head and turns away.

“Okay, Jess, if it’ll mean you’ll rest easier at the academy. I guess you got a new boarder, Ranger Walker.”

***

When Jessie comes home the next weekend, she looks just as exhausted as she had after the first. Wade meets her on the porch and she almost falls into his arms. Bundled up tight against him, her eyes closed, she murmurs, “Think I’ll stay right here all weekend.” Moving nothing but her head, she opens her mouth to accept his kiss. “Hmmm … you taste so good. Have I told you I love you?”

His husky whisper penetrates her fatigue, “A time or two, I think. But you can say it all you want.” He tilts her head up for another kiss, his lips settling contentedly over hers. He feels his body responding by just being close to her. He starts to shift her more intimately against him when the squeak of the screen door alerts him that they have company. He lifts his head stumbling over the intimate picture he knows they must portray to his future in-laws, he stutters as he tries to explain. “Ah … I think she’s plum tuckered out.” He tries to shift Jessie around, but she continues to cling to him. “Jessie? Your folks are here.”

She lifts her eyelids drowsily, sees her parents, smiles and murmurs, “Well, I made it for another week. Only ten more to go.” Then the disturbing thought of the stalker filtrates her tired mind. She straightens up abruptly, pulling away from Wade’s arms and looks hopefully at her father. “Did you catch him? Do you know who he is?”

Alex comes up to her and slips her arms around her shoulders, “Come on, Jessie, why don’t you go upstairs and take a shower first, then we’ll talk.”

“No, Mom, I want to know what…”

“Jessie you’re tired, a quick shower will wake you up. When you come down, we’ll talk about what we’ve found out.”

She looks at her mom then her dad then up into Wade’s eyes. He nods, then with her mother’s arms around her waist, she allows herself to be guided in the house to the stairs, where Alex releases her, watching as her daughter makes her way up the steps on leaden feet.

Fifteen minutes later Jessie returns, walking into the living room where everyone is gathered. Even her brothers and sister. Looking at everyone with a puzzled look she sits down on the floor in front of Wade and looks up at her dad. “Why are they here?”

“I think they ought to be aware of what’s going on, Jessie. Your Mom and I’ve told them most of what’s going on. They can be extra eyes.”

Her eyes sweep across her siblings seeing worry in their faces. Pulling her eyes back to Walker, takes Wade’s hand in hers, “Well, don’t keep me in suspense, Dad, tell me.”

“Well, Jessie, we did find out who it is. Do you know a Peter Donnelley?”

“Peter? Yes, I know of him. He was in several of my classes at college. Are you sure?

“Yes, we’re sure. Why?”

“Because, he was like a recluse. A loner, and very, very shy. If you looked or said anything to him, he’d blush, duck his head, mumble something to you and scurry away. He doesn’t strike me as the kind that would do this sort of thing. The one time I said anything to him, I think I scared him so bad, I thought he was going to wet his pants.”

“You’ve talked to him? What did you say?”

“Yes, Wade, I did, and to the best of my recollection it was something like ah … ‘Nice day, isn’t it?’ But that’s all. He didn’t even answer me as I recall. Just turned around and scurried away like I had a fatal disease or something.”

“Evidently that was all it took for him to set his sights on you.”

Jessie’s eyes light up, a large smile spreads across her face, “You’ve caught him, then. Our worries are over, right?”

Seeing the somber look on her dad’s face than on Wade’s, “Come on, what’s wrong.”

Wade tightens his hand around hers, “Honey, they couldn’t find him. It’s like he’s disappeared off the face of the earth.”

“What…”

Walker sees the fear return to her face, “We found where he was staying, set up surveillance, but he’s never come back. We went to his work place and he hadn’t shown up there in over a week.”

“Well … how do you know you got the right guy? Maybe this Peter isn’t the one that’s responsible.” Jessie lashes out, reaching for straws. Trying to quell the growing dread that rising inside of her. “Maybe … maybe he knows the police are looking for him and he’s decided I wasn’t worth it after all.” She says this with a small smile, but she didn’t believe it for a second.

Wade takes his hand, places it under her chin, turning her head to face him. “It was the right guy, Jess. I was with your father when he went to the apartment. He had … there were pictures of you all over the place. He had taken pictures of you at college, in Dallas and … right here at the ranch.”

Here eyes widen in disbelief. “Here … he’s been here? How could he…”

“He was here at your graduation reception, Jessie.” The pain in her dad’s eyes shook her more that the realization that her stalker had been in her house.

The suspense surrounding the Walker household has everyone on pins and needles. A week passes and still there is no sign of Peter Donnelley and the letters have stopped and, against Walker and Jessie’s protest Wade moves back home.

Jessie settles in at the academy, finally getting acclimated to the rigorous schedule. She is more ready to get involved with the plans of her wedding and also spending time at Ranger Headquarters sending faxes out to other law agencies around Texas, also in Oklahoma, Louisiana, New Mexico, and Arkansas.

Jessie stays around Ranger Headquarters most of the afternoon waiting on the law agencies to return her questionnaires. But her expectations drop as each one is received, then when the last one comes over the machine, all saying the same thing, ‘will put it out over the radio for all to be on the lookout for’. She sighs deeply and dejectedly walks out of the room where her father had spent almost half of his life.

The next five weeks are full and chaotic with the wedding plans in the final stages and Jessie’s graduation from the academy. Two weeks before graduation Jessie has two letters waiting on her when she gets home. Worried, she drives to Wade’s small ranch where he conduct his veterinary business, and as she parks in the driveway she hears music coming from the barn, knowing he’s tending to the horses for the night. She moves quietly towards the barn, wanting to surprise him. But her plans are thwarted by the down to business yapping of a blue merle fur ball that’s almost as wide as he is tall, coming at her at full bore, until he stumbles and flips end over end landing at her feel.

She kneels down, delighted by the thorough washing down she gets from the quick tongue causing her to forget her worries as the boundless energy of the Australian Shepherd puppy assaults her with his eagerness to climb into her lap, knocking her back on her rump. She’s laughing so hard she doesn’t see Wade come out of the barn. He pauses at the sight, loving the joyous laughter coming from her, lighting a fire inside him. He reaches down and gently picks up the wriggling furry bundle.

“I see you’ve met the new member of the ranch. Jessie … this is Babe. She’s just a baby so you’ll have to excuse her rambunctious behavior.”

Jessie gets to her feet and takes the face of the puppy in her hand, kissing him soundly on the top of his nose. “Oh, Wade, he’s precious. When did you get him.” She continues running her fingers through the pups soft fur.

“One of my constituents decided I needed a good watch dog, so Babe has joined our family.” He laughs as the puppy licks his chin. “You do like dogs, don’t you? You don’t mind us having a dog do you?”

“Of course I like dogs. And this is good. He will definitely let you know if you have prowlers.” Her face sobers and she meets his eyes, “The letters have started again, Wade.” She throws her arms around Wade’s neck and buries her face against his chest. “Wade, please don’t take any chances. I don’t want anything to happen to you.”

He feels the fear in her voice, and lowering the puppy to the ground, he wraps her up tight inside the circle of his arms.

The ceremony is at 1:00 Friday, Aug. 31st, and her wedding is 11:00 just eight days away on Saturday morning, Sept. 8th.

This graduation is somewhat different than the one from college. All the graduates fully dressed in uniform march on stage and take seats situated across the back. The commander of the academy makes a short speech, introduces a retired Texas Ranger of prominence who also makes a speech about the importance of upholding the law and trusting in the scales of justice.

Then each graduate files across the stage, receives his diploma and returns to his seat where they all sit through another short speech giving recognition to the top graduates. Jessica Alexandra Walker missed being called for her outstanding achievements in the class, by one. They only gave awards to the top three; she was fourth out of a class of 121. When the class is dismissed Jessica hurries off the stage to join her family. Seeing the tears flowing freely down her father’s face she throws herself into his arms, knowing she has crossed the greatest hurdle of her life so far. She has finished her first leg on her journey to become a Texas Ranger.

The weekend following her graduation consists of rushing here and there to ensure everything will go as planned. Making sure the flowers will arrive on time and the caterer’s have the menu down pat. When Jessie wakes up Monday morning to find Chrissy lying on her stomach, hands under her chin staring at her older sister. Jessie sits up in bed, “What?”

Chrissy rolls over on her back, stares at the ceiling, “Oh, just thinking.”

“About what?”

“About … you.”

Jessie grins, having an idea where she is going. “What … about me.”

“Just thinking about how little I’ll see of you. First it was college, now … you’re marrying Wade.”

That was definitely not what she expected her sister to say. They’ve always had a special kinship but Chrissy has always been closer to Jimmy and he to her. It was almost like they had a link tying them together. Maybe that was because they were so close in age. But hearing a sense of longing in Chrissy’s voice saddens her. She jumps out of bed and hops in beside her sister, both lying on their backs looking at the same nothing on the ceiling.

“I’m not going to be that far away. Just a whoop and holler down the road. You can always ride Chance over for a visit. Or is Chance getting to old for that.” Jessie teases, trying to bring her sister out of her melancholy mood.

That brings Chrissy up on her knees, “Them’s fightin’ words, Sis, put up or take them back.”

“Yeah?” Jessie comes up on her knees staring eye to eye with Chrissy.

“Yeah!”

“And if I don’t?”

Chrissy glares at her sibling, a smile tickles at the corners of her mouth, “We’ll just have to … duke it out … with pillows.” Jessie sees it coming but Chrissy still gets the first strike in. The two were giggling and slinging pillows right and left until they’re strength is gone and they collapse together in the middle of the bed, giggling like they’ve gone crazy.

Jessie finally sits up, “Hey, why don’t we saddle up and go for a ride to the lake, just the two of us, no one else. Want to do that. We’ll make this sisters day.”

“Okay, you’re on.” Chrissy jumps up, grabs her robe off the floor and heads for the bathroom. “I get the shower first.”

Jessie makes a quick dash at the door just to make her think it was a contest, then lies back down on the bed, thinking of the young lady Chrissy was quickly growing into. It won’t be long and she’ll be dating. Now there’s the one that gonna look like Mom. Pale blonde hair and the most striking blue eyes. She may look like Mom but that’s where the similarities end. Chrissy is very outspoken. Says what she thinks and doesn’t stop to think of the consequences. Any man that gets her will never be bored with life that’s for sure.

Jessie is drawn from her reverie with Chrissy entering the room, announcing, “It’s all yours. I’ll get dressed then alert Mom of our plans, okay?” As Jessie starts out of the room, “Hey, how about bringing some sandwiches for a noon picnic, okay?”

“Sure, I’ll hurry and be down to help you in a few minutes.”

When Jessie comes downstairs Chrissy and her mom are busy making sandwiches. “Anything I can do to help.”

“Yeah, eat your breakfast so we can go.”

“Yes, sir, sister dear, I’ll just do that.”

“Go where?” Jimmy pipes in as he comes in the back door.

“We’re going to take a ride up to the lake.”

“Oh, well, maybe I’ll go with you.”

Alex sees the spark in Chrissy’s eyes dim slightly as she opens her mouth to invite him.

“Ah … you can’t Jimmy. I … ah … want you to wash my car this morning, can you do that for me?”

“Sure … no problem. You girls will just have to do without my grand company this morning.”

“Yeah, I guess so.” Chrissy says, trying not to sound too cheerful. She winks at her mom and grabs the sack of sandwiches and signaling to Jessie, start out the back door for the barn.
The ride to the lake is not quiet, but filled with giggles, outright hilarious laughter and a lot of plain girl talk. They are enjoying the day, the ride and being together, just the two of them. The last quarter mile to the lake ended with a race. Chrissy took off, and dared Jessie to catch her. Chrissy won but not by much. When they arrive, the first twenty minuses is spent caring for the horses, and then Jessie gets another look at Chrissy’s spontaneous personality.

“Chrissy, what are you doing?”

Looking up from the ground where she is sitting, pulling off her boots. “I’m hot, let’s go swimming.”

“But … but I didn’t bring a suit!”

“I didn’t either. We can skinny dip. No one is around. Come on, last one in, is a toad.”

Jessie shrugs her shoulders, thinks, ‘why not’ and drops to the ground, pulling at her boots in a delicious rush. Both girls hit the water at the same time.

After several laps, the return to the small beach, and collapse down on the small patch of sand, lying on their backs, letting the sun dry them. “You got pretty boobs, Jessie.”

“Chrissy!” Jessie exclaims as she bolts to a sitting position.

“Well, you do. Do you think I’ll ever look like that?”

After the first initial shock fades, Jessie realizes this is nothing but girl talk and lies back down. “Probably, you’ve already got a good start.”

“Really?” Chrissy pushes both of her breasts together and giggles. “I guess you’re right. Not bad for a fourteen year old, huh?” Which brings more giggles from Jessie.

“I’m almost afraid to ask you, but … do you have anymore … questions that maybe I can help you with?”

“Yeah, one. But you’ll probably kill me when you hear it.”

“Probably … but ask it anyway.” She takes deep breath, “I can take it.”

“Well,” Chrissy rises up on her elbow to look at Jessie. “When you get back from your honeymoon, will you tell me what it’s like when Wade … you know … when you’re in bed?”

“Christina Elizabeth Walker!” Jessie comes up on her knees, feeling her body turning scarlet from the top of her head to the bottoms of her feet. The question, then the thought, sends a rush of desire spearing through her, pooling in her lower belly. Jessie panics when she feels a slight wetness between her legs. She jumps up and races into the water. Swimming lap after lap, trying to cool off the heat that suddenly consumed her body and to wash away the telltale sign. Which, if Chrissy had noticed she would definitely ask questions. Questions that she couldn’t answer.

She jerks around and begins treading water, when she realizes that Chrissy is right behind her.

Chrissy stops and treads water in front of her. “I’m sorry. I embarrassed you, didn’t I?”

Jessie doesn’t answer just stares at her.

“Will you tell me?”

“No! … I don’t know Chrissy. That’s personal and private. I don’t know that I could talk to you about something like that. Maybe after you start dating, we could have … another girl talk along those lines.” Jessie’s startled when Chrissy turns and swims quickly away from her, to the beach, and begins to dress.

As she comes up on shore Jessie begins to slowly put her clothes on. “What is it Chrissy? What set you off when I mentioned dating?” Her sister ignores her, continuing to dress in a jerky rush. “Chris, answer me.”

Dressed, Chrissy turns to face her sister, “I don’t think I’ll ever date, ever get married.”

“Why not?”

“I don’t … have any feelings toward … boys … yet.”

“How do you know. Has a boy tried to…”

“No!” a quick reply. “but … Josh has kissed me.” Seeing the surprised look on her sibling’s face, “on my birthday, every year since I was seven. And I don’t feel anything … but … silly.”

“Well, I should hope not, you’re only fourteen. I think I was almost sixteen before I started to get tingles from being close to Wade. We never kissed until my sixteenth birthday, he took me out, that was our first date.” A soft haze falls over Jessie’s face, just remembering the sheer potency of that first kiss. She drops to the ground fumbling on her boots to hide her flushed face.

Chrissy kneels down beside her. “What does it feel like? I mean …how do you know you’re in love?”

When Chrissy’s thoughts keep running in the same vein, maybe thinking another year and she’ll be dating. Jessie finally understands why her sister is so curious.

Jessie leans over and pulls Chrissy into her arms, “Oh, honey, it’s a wonderful, and sometimes scary feeling. But you feel like you can’t live without him. He pops into your head at odd times during the day, you dream about him at night, and you feel like you’re in heaven when he kisses you.”

Chrissy turns so her back is against Jessie’s chest, her voice so low Jessie can barely make out her words. “Are you … still a … virgin?”

Knowing where all the questions are coming from now, Jessie doesn’t hesitate to answer. “Yes, I am. Wade and I decided a long time ago that we wanted to wait until our wedding night.”

Her voice still subdued, “Mom didn’t.”

“Mom was married before.”

“I know, but she didn’t wait till she married daddy, I can count. Unless you were two months early…”

Jessie knew that she was conceived before her parents married but she knew she was conceived in love and that’s all that mattered to her. “Mom and Dad were very much in love ... besides, Mom and Dad were adults already when they fell in love … sometimes it … just happens.”

“But you and Wade haven’t…”

“No, and it hasn’t been easy. But we had a made a promise to each other and we were determined to keep it.” Silence falls between them, each with her own thoughts, “Chrissy, don’t ever let a boy push you into having sex with words of ‘if you love me, you would’. That can go the other way, too, with ‘if you loved me you wouldn’t push me’. If he really loves you, he’ll wait till you’re ready. And above all, don’t do it, just because every one else is. I don’t think you will, but the pressures can be pretty strong when you get into high school.” She tightens her arms around Chrissy, “I know, I was there.”

“Thanks, Jessie. I know you think my questions are kinda dumb but … well … you know.”

Jessie, choked up with emotion, “Yeah, I know.” Then swallowing hard, “Come on let’s eat and get back before Mom calls out the cavalry.”

The mood lightens and stays that way all the way back to the house. After they unsaddle and rub and brush down the horses, they go to the house to help out with the many chores that still need to be down before the wedding.

Later, Alex goes looking for Jessie, finding her in the girls bedroom packing some of her things in a box.

“Hi Mom. Need me to do something else?”

“No, was just wondering if you and Chrissy had a good morning.”

Jessie turns around and gazes intently at her mother, “Yes, I … I think it was a very good morning.”

“You sound like you aren’t sure.”

“I think Chrissy needed to talk. I … just wasn’t prepared for … her bluntness.”

“Oh, yes. I’ve had occasion a time or two to feel that bluntness.”

“Jessie’s eyes widen, “She didn’t … wouldn’t…”

“Wouldn’t … what?”

“Well, Chrissy … asked me some very … pointed, no … downright embarrassing questions, that’s all. But I’m sure she wouldn’t ask you questions like that.” Her voice lowers, “Would she?”

“I don’t know what kind of questions she asked you and I won’t tell you the ones she’s asked me, but yes, her outspoken personality definitely keeps you on guard.”

“You know, Mom … in another year or two she’ll start dating. I think she’s just curious about what it’s all about and maybe a little scared.”

“I think that’s what it is, too. So many of her friends are already dating, and I think she feels there is something wrong with her that she has no desire to date yet.”

“Yes, she more or less told me this morning that she thought there was something wrong with her that she didn’t … feel anything toward boys. Even Josh, who is the only boy that I know of who’s kissed her.”

“Oh, I didn’t know that.”

“Mom, you’ve known about the birthday kisses haven’t you?”

“Ah … yes, I guess I wasn’t counting them.” Alex smiles, “Mark my words, Jessie, that’s the man that Chrissy will marry in the future.”

Jessie laughs, and gives her mom a hug, “Mom, you’re a romantic, you know that.” Alex returns the hug, then stands but before she can leave the room, “Mom, I know you didn’t have to foretell whom I’ll marry, but since you’ve predicted Chrissy’s mate, who do you think John will marry and Jimmy.”

Alex sees the laughter in her daughters eyes, but promptly replies, “John, I see married to Melissa Grant. But Jimmy, I’ll wait a while before I make that prediction.”

Jessie begins laughing just as Chrissy comes in the door. “What’s going on? What’s so funny anyway?”

Alex wraps her arms around Chrissy’s waist and turns her around, “Nothing, nothing at all. Come on, you can help me downstairs while Jessie does her packing.”

***

On the Friday morning before her wedding Jessie wakes up with a hunch gnawing at her insides. She showers and quickly dresses and tells her dad she’s going down to Ranger Headquarters. Once there, she calls the dean at her college, informing him of her problem and requests that Peter Donnelley’s personnel records be faxed to Ranger Headquarters in Dallas.
Walker moves up behind her as the machine starts spitting out the requested report and reads along with her. “Oh, hi, Dad. Not a whole lot here.” Jessie murmurs.

“Nope, sure isn’t. But you might want to fax the sheriff of his home town and see if by some chance he’s been there.”

“Good idea.”

Jessie hangs around Ranger Headquarters chatting amicably with the other Rangers there, some of which she has known for years. Had grown up around them. The all congratulated her on her graduation from the academy and asked when she would start with Dallas Police Department.

She smiles broadly and says, “Right after I get back from my honeymoon.” After which congratulations come her way again. Although most of the Rangers had been invited anyway, Jessie reminded them she expected to see them all there.

When the fax came in from Donnelley’s hometown, she scans it quickly then runs to find her father, finally locating him in the cafeteria with Trivette having coffee. She slides in across from him and hands him the paper.

“This says he was there until yesterday. His mother has no idea where he was going.”

“I know.”

Trivette reaches out and his hand on top of Jessie’s. “You know he could be coming back here, don’t you?”

“Yes,” she looks at her dad, “but don’t ask me to postpone my wedding, I won’t do it.”

“No, we’ll just tighten the strings around the area and beef up security. Trivette make sure everyone has pictures of Donnelley and see if the APB is still in effect.”

***

“Only twelve more hours, honey, and it will be too late to back out, your bachelor days are numbered.” She turns around in his arms, setting the swing to swaying gently, as she turns her face up for his kiss.

He brushes his lips across hers, “Well, this is a big commitment, for both of us, one that will last forever. Are you really ready, Jessie?”

Jessie sighs and her face scrunches up, as if deep in thought. Wade’s heart constricts at the indecision he sees on her face. “I don’t know…” she murmurs, “I’m only 22, my career is just beginning … maybe we should wait a few years…” She looks up into his eyes, seeing panic and worry in his features. “Gotcha!” she exclaims giggling.

Wade’s eyes widen in disbelief. He’d been had. “Jessica Alexandra Walker!”

Before he can say another word, Jessie has his face framed between her hands, “I love you Wade, with all my heart. And I’m more than ready.” His mouth comes down on hers in a sweet, gentle kiss.

A violent shaking of the swing almost dumps the two of them on the porch. Jessie scrambles up to her feet, immediately, looking for the cause. She reaches down to help Wade to stand when she sees a shadow coming up over the end railing of the porch.

Wade sees it, too, and getting to his feet he pushes Jessie behind him, but she moves around to stand at his side. “Who are you, what do you want?” Wade questions calmly, not wanting to further upset this person.

The voice shrieks at him, “Her! I want her! She’s mine. It’s me she loves. And you’re dead if you get in the way.”

With that, it dawns on Jessie that this is Peter Donnelley, the man that’s been sending her those letters. “Its him, Wade! Its Peter Donnelley!”

Come on, Jessica, you’re coming with me!” Peter yells, reaching out to grab her hand, but Jessie pulls it back and sends a swift kick out and hits his gun hand, sending the weapon out into the grass. As the stalker looks after his lost gun, Jessie lets loose another kick to the side of his head knocking him out in to the grass. Wade comes to his senses and jumps down into the yard and falls on Donnelley, pinning him to the ground.

When Walker comes charging out of the house like a raging bull, ready to do battle, he stops, stunned when he sees Wade sitting on Donnelley and Jessie tying him up with rope she’d gotten from Wade’s truck.

Wade looks up into Walker’s face at the surprised look and grinning broadly, says, “This is a one helluva daughter you have!”

Alex comes out on the porch in her robe and stands beside her husband, with the rest of the children crowding around her, “Walker, what’s all the screeching about? Who is that man?”

Walker, finally finding his voice, says, “That, honey, I think is our stalker. Would you go in and call the Dallas Police and have them send someone out to pick him up.”

As Alex goes inside to phone, Wade grabs Jessie around the waist and swings her around, “Baby, you were great.” Then pulling her up against him, “I knew you carried a Black Belt in karate but I guess I never realized how effective it could really be. Maybe you could teach me some of that stuff.” He turns around and with his arm around Jessie, walks up to stand before his future father-in-law. “Sir, are the others that proficient in the martial arts?”

Walker grins, his face showing his pride, he turns and looks at his sons and other daughter, “Yes, some are even better.”

Jessie adds, “Yeah, like Jimmy, he’s gone farther than any of us and still going.”

“I guess it would be a handy thing to know.” He turns to look at Jessie, “Now we can go on our honeymoon and not have to worry about this crazy kook coming after us. He tightens his arms, and momentarily forgets about his audience and murmurs softly, as he stares intently at his bride to be. “I would get very upset if anyone bother us on our honeymoon,” Hearing the screen door slam, he jumps, and with Jessie still in his arms, he turns his back to the porch, trying to hide the blush he knows is covering his face.

It’s almost 1:00pm, the police are gone, statements taken from Jessie and Wade, Alex has shooed her children back to bed, and is finally getting Walker back inside, too. Jessie watches her mom and dad go inside, the lights go out and she turns to Wade. “You better be going to, honey. I know neither one of us will get much sleep but we need to try, anyway.”

He takes her into his arms, gives her a long lingering kiss, and murmurs, “Soon, very soon, we won’t have to go to separate homes, we’ll go to ours.” Another long passionate kiss then he steps back, “Until tomorrow, sweetheart.” A quick kiss to the tip of her nose then he turns to get in his truck.

Jessie stands watching after him, until his truck disappears from sight, then with a very ecstatic grin, run into the house and upstairs. With Chrissy already asleep, Jessie tries to contain her emotional high long enough to disrobe and climb into bed. She lies there a long time, contemplating her future but finally her body takes over, and she falls asleep with dreams of the future dancing through her head.

Here is the final chapter. Enjoy

On My Way
By Sissy & Jennifer

The day of the wedding dawns bright, sunny, and warm. Jessica wakes early, unable to sleep with the butterflies in her stomach. She lies quietly in the bed, not wanting to disturb Chrissy, staring at the ceiling. ‘Just a few short hours…I’ll be Jessica Alexandra MacPhearson!’ she thinks to herself. Turning over, she opens her nightstand drawer and takes out a pen and paper. Laying the paper on her pillow, she dreamily writes her soon-to-be name over and over. Then looking at the paper she snickers softly, ‘God I’m acting like a love sick teenager’. Smiling at the knowledge that she is love sick, for her husband-to-be, she puts the paper and pen back, then throwing off the covers, heads to the bathroom for a shower.

A short time later Alex finds her on the front porch, slowly rocking in the swing, staring off into the distance, a smile on her face…thinking. All she can think about is that finally, after all the years of keeping their emotions for each other held at bay, they will finally be able to succumb to the desire that has sometimes threatened to overwhelm them. As hard as it has been lately to control those strong feelings, she is almost frightened of the explosion that is bound to come. She startles when Alex sits next to her. “You look like you’re a million miles away, honey.”

“Just thinking about today, Mom,” she says wistfully. “In a few hours, my life is going to change.” Her face lights up and her eyes sparkle, “Oh Mom, I’m so looking forward to being Mrs. MacPhearson!” Alex smiles at her daughter. “I've loved him for so long and now it's finally coming true!” Realizing to what she is referring to, brings a soft blush to her cheeks. Needing advice, she looks into her mother’s eyes, “I…how do I…I mean we’ve never…Wade hasn’t ever…”, then in a rush of words, flinging herself into her mothers arms “…oh Mom I’m so scared!”

Alex smiled knowingly as she wraps her arms around her daughter, pressing her head to her breast. “Honey, what you’re feeling is absolutely normal.”

In a muffled voice, “Really?”

“Yes, really,” Alex murmurs in reply. “But honey there’s nothing to be afraid of. Making love to the man you love can be a very beautiful experience.” Her body warms as she thinks of the passion that she and Walker create when they make love.

In a soft voice, Jessie is hesitant, “Wade and I have never made love … so … it’s … I know … its going to hurt.”

Alex combs her fingers lightly through Jessie’s hair, soothing her. “It will, but only for a moment, and then … and then you will forget all about the pain as the passion takes hold of you.”

Jessie’s heart beats faster with anticipation, and pressed to her mother’s breast, Alex can feel it. “Passion,” Jessie whispers, “we definitely have that.” Brave enough now to look into her mother’s eyes, Jessie pulls back, and with a tremulous smile, “How do you … I mean, how will I know what … to do … when we’re making love? I…”

Alex interrupts her with a finger to her lips, speaking softly. “Shhhhh … Honey, when the time comes … you’ll know what to do, it will come naturally to you … the passion, Jessie, will wipe out all your fears and…” her voice softens almost to a whisper as she thinks of when she and Walker made love, “…leave you trembling with wanting more.” She goes quiet thinking of the passionate love she and Walker have shared and still make, and after all these years is still as strong as ever.

Jessie leans forward, wrapping her arms around Alex’s neck. “Thank you Mom…I love you so much.”

Alex hugs her tightly, tears in her eyes, “I love you too, honey.”

“I guess … I’d better start getting ready.” With a kiss to her mother’s cheek, Jessie gets up and runs into the house to get ready to meet her future head on.

***

Within a half-hour people start arriving to help prepare for the wedding … caterers, florist, and wedding consultants. A nervous Jessie retreats to her parent’s bathroom for a relaxing bath, using her mother’s lavender scented bubble bath. By the time she comes out, Wade and his family have arrived with his best friend, and he, John, and Jimmy are using the guest bedroom downstairs to get into their tuxedos. Jessie’s friends and Chrissy are in their bedroom getting dressed. When Jessie steps out of the bathroom, she takes a deep breath as she sees her mother laying out the dress she will wear, on the bed … the dress Alex wore 22 years before when she married Walker. It had already been altered to fit her more, fuller figure.

Still clad in a towel, Jessie slowly walks to her mother, wrapping her arms around her for a hug. “It’s so beautiful,” she breathes.

“And you’ll look beautiful in it.”

“I hope I’ll look as beautiful as you did when you married Daddy,” she states as she looks toward the wedding photo of her parents that still sits on Alex’s dresser.

Unwrapping her arms from around Jessie, Alex plants a kiss to her forehead. “Come on, let’s get you dressed!”

Just before 11:00 Walker is standing at the bottom of the stairs, waiting for his wife and daughter to descend. The guests are already seated near the flower garden, and Wade is waiting at the trellis with Jimmy, John, and James Jr., and Chrissy, Kelli, and Jessie’s friend are waiting on the front porch. He hears a door close and looks up expectantly, then watches as his beautiful wife comes down, tears evident in her eyes. She reaches the bottom and Walker gently folds his arms around her, giving her a quick hug and kiss before she turns to head outside, to her seat in the front row. He watches as she leaves through the front door, then snaps his head back to the stairs when he hears Jessie’s soft footsteps. He sucks in his breath at the vision before him … his beautiful daughter in the dress his wife wore so many years ago. It takes him back 22 years to his own wedding day and the memory of how special that day was for him. If Jessie had been born with blonde hair, he would’ve sworn he was looking at the same woman.

He watches with a tremulous smile as Jessica comes toward him, and a tear escapes at the knowledge that she’s no longer his little girl, but a grown woman embarking on her own life. She’ll no longer live under his roof, and it fills him with a little sadness. No more nights of coming home to a hug and kiss from her, no more…

His thoughts are interrupted by Jessie’s soft voice, “I’ll always be your little girl, Daddy.” She kisses his cheek and hugs him tightly.

Walker clears his throat to rid himself of the giant lump forming there, then murmurs, “I love you, honey,” before taking her arm.

Jessie figured she’d be nervous as she walked down the aisle, because of all the people that would be watching her. But as she stands at the back of the rows of white chairs, it is not the people that she sees, its Wade. He is standing next to the trellis, beside John. With Jimmy and James Jr. next to him. She smiles as she detects the slightest of winks from Wade, and their eyes lock as she begins to walk, her eyes never leaving his until she is at the front, and the minister is asking who gives her to be married.

Wade is looking out over their friends and family gathered to see him marry the woman he loves more than life itself. His attention is diverted when John ever so slightly nudges him, indicating with a nod of his head to the back of the rows of chairs. His breathing is suspended as his eyes alight on the vision standing back there with his future father-in-law. She is absolutely breathtaking, and he can’t take his eyes off her. The thin strapped dress her mother wore years before accentuated her figure, and with her hair up, and hidden beneath the veil, she looked like an angel. His angel. The angel he’s known for as long as he can remember, and has known he would marry since he was 6 years old and sitting behind her in 1st grade. His heart is pounding in his chest as she begins walking toward him.

Alex turns, with tears in her eyes, to watch as her husband escorts her beautiful, eldest daughter up the aisle. She can see Walker struggling to keep his own emotions in check as he slowly escorts Jessie, can see the set of his jaw, his eyes pointed straight ahead … and sees the slight tremble in the hand that lays gently on her arm linked with his. But his voice is clear and strong when he announces to the minister and their family and friends that it is he and Alex that give this young woman to this man to be married. With that announced he makes his way to Alex’s side, and clasps her hand tightly in his.

Together, Walker and Alex draw strength from each other as the minister performs the marriage ceremony for Jessica and Wade. For a while their hands are tightly clasped, then as Jessie and Wade recite their vows to each other, Walker senses the tears sliding silently down Alex’s face before he sees them, and places his arm around her waist for support. Her arm immediately slides around his waist, their other hands still clasped. When the minister pronounces them man and wife, Walker takes a deep breath to quell the emotions threatening to break free and Alex leans over to kiss his cheek tenderly, whispering “I love you,” quietly in his ear.

Jessie and Wade are able to maintain their composure during the ceremony, so anxious are they to finally be married. But his heart again pounds in his chest when the minister tells him he can kiss his bride. With trembling hands, he lifts her veil, and smiles at the tears he finds in her eyes. Jessie is trembling as his lips touch hers, his arms coming around her to bring her close, as she lifts one hand to rest on his chest while the other circles his neck. It is all they can do to break the kiss off, each not wanting it to end, but knowing they must before their friends and family begin to blush.

Alex wipes the tears from her eyes and smiles as Wade and Jessie turn to face everyone, the minister announcing Mr. And Mrs. Wade MacPhearson, and she wraps her arms tightly around her daughter as she and Wade come to thank them. Walker shakes Wade’s hand and hugs him too, before turning to his beautiful daughter and enveloping her in his arms. He blinks back tears as he hears her soft voice, “I love you, Daddy,” before she turns back to Wade. Turning to Alex, he again wraps his arm around her as together they watch Jessie walk back down the aisle with her new husband.

Within half an hour, the reception is in full swing. None too soon, Jessie stands on the front porch with single women around her, each vying for the bridal bouquet. Before turning around, Jessie seeks out one person, gauging where she is behind her … and throws the bouquet right into Chrissy’s arms. Turning back around, she winks at her as Wade guides her to a chair. Her heart is pounding as Wade reaches under her dress and slowly runs his hand up her leg, up her thigh, to the sound of catcalls from the eligible men standing below. His fingers find the garter, and with a wink, he slides it down her leg. With a quick kiss to her lips, he turns to fling the garter, with John catching it with a whoop and a holler.

By 2:00, Jessie and Wade are changed and ready to embark on their honeymoon. As promised to them, Jimmy, John, and James Jr. didn’t decorate Wade’s truck with anything that couldn’t be cleaned or taken off the truck when they leave it to ride the horses to the cabin. They say their good-byes to Wade’s parents, and to Walker and Alex inside the house. Walker hugs Wade, telling him he has no doubt he’ll take good care of Jessie, and Alex has to fight tears as she hugs Jessie goodbye. She holds onto her for maybe longer than usual, but she can’t help herself. Her little girl has grown up and is leaving her house. The thought that they will be living nearby eases her heart, and knowing the joy they’d share at her and Walker’s “Little Eden” brings a smile to her lips. Releasing Jessie, Walker and Alex stand at the door, arm in arm, and watch as they run through the rain of birdseed toward the truck.

With Wade unable to get away for more than just a few days and Jessie beginning work with the DPD almost immediately, they decided to take her mom’s suggestion and spend the weekend at the cabin in the badlands. The cabin she had first seen when her parents had taken her and John on the trip to the badlands several years ago. Wade hasn’t seen it yet, but she knows without a doubt it will be the perfect place to spend the three days of their honeymoon. Leaving right after the wedding, they’ll have the rest of Saturday, all of Sunday and Monday and return to the ranch on Tuesday. With the detailed map her dad had drawn, she had no doubt about finding it. They would haul the horses as far as possible then ride the rest of the way.

***

The ride to the cabin is leisurely and quiet, except for a quick voicing of how beautiful the view is, or seeing a deer emerging from the trees and pointing without breaking the silence of the moment.

The closer they get to the cabin, the faster the horses seem to move. They looked into each other’s eyes, both simmering with desire, eager with anticipation, but still a little apprehensive.

They dismount then he takes her hand and pulls her into his arms, kissing her softly before they turn to take the steps into the cabin. Wade pushes the door open and then stops, turns to Jessie and in one swift motion, scoops her up into his arms, carrying her over the threshold into the large single room, kicking the door shut behind him. He looks into her eyes, feels her tremble, and huskily murmurs, “Scared?”

A soft whisper, “A little.”

“Me, too.” He kisses her, then releases her legs letting her slide down over his body, letting her feel his need for her. “Jessie, we’ll learn together. Remember, this is my first time, too.”

She smiles hesitantly, then feeling a shiver flow through him, she stands on her toes, and reaches up to touch her lips to his. A breathless caress against his lips, “I love you so much.”

He tightens his arms around her, bringing her even closer, his mouth against her ear, “Oh, Jessie, I love you and I want you so much … I’m afraid … I’m afraid I’ll hurt you.”

“No,” her heartbeat rapidly accelerates, her breathing quickens as her body tightens against him, “no, you won’t hurt me.”

Then his hands begin to move over her, hesitant at first, then after hearing her soft moans, with more deliberate touches. When his fingers fumble at the buttons on her shirt, she giggles nervously and begins to work on the front of his shirt. He slides her shirt off her shoulders, she pulls his from his pants, he trembles at the site before him, as she rubs her hands over his lightly furred chest. His hands grope at the fastening of her bra, unable to figure out the mechanics of it. She feels his frustration and quickly releases the clasp. As it falls away from her breasts, he slides the straps off her shoulders, and as it slips to the floor his eyes focus on the soft mounds of flesh before him.

Jessie feels the blush in her face and instinctively brings her arms up to cover herself. But when she sees the love and adoration in his eyes, she slowly lowers them, leaving her body open to his dark heated gaze.

As her arms drop he slowly moves his eyes up to hers and watches the smoky blue in them turn dark with desire, he covers her lips in a leisurely kiss, letting their tongues meet in play. His taste fills her mouth, and with a sigh of pleasure, Jessie puts both hands on his shoulders. Slowly almost reverently he raises his hand to touch her. Gently at first then with a groan, he lifts and reshapes her, his thumb carelessly brushing across the nipple.

She feels a shaft of lightening slice through her at his touch, and melts against him, her head falling against his chest. As he continues to caress and tease, she feels a fire beginning to burn in her most feminine region. When he lowers his head and touches his tongue to her nipple it sends sparks of heat racing along her nerves. Her body; arching against his, she cries out his name, “Wade,” breathless, “please … oh, God.”

He had always felt a strong desire for her, but not like this, he feels like his blood has turned to fire. His mouth grinds against hers, his lips hot, firm. With impatience he begins moving his hand down her body, over her jeans, his hand cupping her, squeezing, then quickly moving back up to pull at the button of her jeans, unzipping them, his hand sliding down inside and cupping her again over her panties. As his fingers slide between her legs, she feels a sudden gush of wetness and tightens her thighs around his hand.

“Jesus, Jessie,” his voice raspy. “I want you … I want to be inside you.”

She mumbles a shaky, “Yes.” And begins pulling at his belt buckle. Her hands, clumsy at doing the task backward, is unable to slide the button through the hole, she locates the zipper and pulls it down. As she feels her jeans and panties slide down her legs, she steps out of them, kicking them to the side. Then his hand is softly caressing the softness of her belly, then down to twine through the curly patch of hair concealing her sweet essence. As his fingers probe she feels another gush of wetness and then his finger is sliding up inside her. His touch intensifies the surge of pleasure inside her. She feels like her body is on fire, she begins to clutch at him, wanting … what … she isn’t sure. “Wade,” her voice trembling, “I can’t…” then her legs buckle.

He quickly picks her up and carries her to the bed. Peeling back the bedspread, he lays her on the cool sheets, then stands, shrugs off his shirt and undoes the button on his jeans, pushing them along with his briefs to the floor.

She watches with adoration at the sight of his bare chest, the muscled ridges of his stomach, but when the blunt hard length of his magnificent arousal comes into view, her eyes widen, she stares, swallows hard, unprepared for the huge size of him. “You’re … you’re so … big!” she murmurs with a shaky breath.

“I … do you … think I’m too big?” His voice edged with trepidation.

Sensing his anxiety, her eyes move up to his. Her hand reaches up to him, she huskily murmurs, “I hope not.”

He takes her hand and lays down beside her, his mouth closing over hers, his tongue delving deep, tasting, caressing, as his hand slides between her thighs, his finger, moistened in her own juices, slips easily into her. She moans and rolls her hips against his hand as a second finger joins the first, stretching her gently. When his thumb encounters a small protuberance, Jessie cries out and Wade feels a tightening around his fingers. Locating the small nub, he gently touches it again, with the same reaction.

Her cries of passion are more than he can take, and in a fever tearing at him, he spreads her legs and moves between them, “I … I can’t wait, Jess.”

She begins arching her hips up unable to control the desire that is engulfing her. When he pushes into her, her body stiffens at the invasion, he stops, not wanting to hurt her. “No, Wade, don’t … stop … please … don’t stop.” Crying out and twisting wildly beneath him, she arches up against him bringing him deeper. Not able to hold back any longer he thrusts heavily into her. She cries out as he breaks through her resistance. Her body clenches, then relaxes as it slowly adjusts to his size and then he begins to move inside her. He covers her mouth and her breathing stops, taken by wildfire. The erotic sensations, momentarily abated, return with a vengeance as she rises to meet him. The rhythm that has been second nature through hundreds of centuries is easily found as their bodies work together to achieve the highest goal since the beginning of man.

It didn’t take long, this first time, the pressure and the aching need building inside her, its more than Jessie can stand. She feels like she is going to shatter into a thousand tiny pieces.
“Wade … stop,” she moans, tearing her mouth from his. “I can’t … I can’t…”

His teeth clench together and a growl rises from his throat, “I … can’t stop. I can’t…”

Then suddenly Jessie does shatter, her body heaving in his arms. She cries out as an explosion of the most pleasurable sensation shoots through her carrying her into the outer reaches of heaven. As her body stiffens from the onslaught of her emotions, Wade tightens his hold on her, and feels his own shattering release as she tightens around him, and drives into her once more sending him careening down the same path as Jessie. He jerks over her then holds her hard against him, pouring himself into her again and again until he stiffens and collapses over her, his body melting into hers. Jessie goes limp beneath him, and Wade lets his head sag down on her, resting it in the curve of her neck and shoulder, her sweet female scent rising to his nostrils as he gulps in air.

It seems an eternity before his senses return and he can move, then it is to feel Jessie’s arms clamped around him as if never to let him go. His head buried in the wild mass of hair at her neck, he mumbles softly, “God, Jess, I’m … sorry. I didn’t know…”

Her voice barely audible, “Me … me either. It was … I didn’t know it would…”

“I know.”

Her fingers unclasp and her hands begin to stroke down over his back, to his bottom, giving a soft squeeze before moving back up. Her breath soft, “It was so beautiful…” She turns her head and kisses his cheek. “Will it always be like this?”

He sighs, knowing he had made it good for her, too, this first time for them both. He raises up on his elbow then and looks down into her eyes. Seeing the lazy glow of requited passion, he smiles, and murmurs softly, “I don’t know, want to see?”

She lifts her head to touch her lips to his, then feeling him starting to harden inside of her, “Wade?”

“I … want you again, Jess … but we’ll take it slower this time.” Lowering his head into her neck, he begins to kiss and nibble his way over her throat, to her jaw and then across her shoulders. He slides his hand down between their sweat-slicked bodies, his fingers seeking.

A sharp gasp, “Wade, what … are you doing?” Her hips arch up against him wanting more of the sensations that have started to build inside her, again.

“Looking … for something.” He fingers pressing close to where they are joined.

A weak murmur escapes her lips, “What?”

“This!” he says, as his finger moves across the tight, still swollen bud that seems to bring her so much pleasure. When she jerks beneath him, he rubs his finger back and forth across it slowly, bringing soft cries of pleasure from deep within her as her body arches up as the sweet sensations pierce through her. Feeling the tremors moving through her, he begins to thrust deeply into her. This time isn’t any slower but it is every bit as good.

Wade slowly untangles his long hard body from her soft curves, and pulls her into his side and with a kiss to her forehead, he follows her into dreamland.

Wade wakes with the evening sun slanting across the bed in the one-room cabin and to soft fingers moving over his chest. When her fingers graze across one of his nipples, it instantly transformed into a hard pebble. Hearing a rumble deep in his throat, she knows that he’s enjoying it as much as she did, and she seeks out the other nipple and takes it into her mouth turning it into a tiny tight bud. Hearing his small cries of pleasure fills her with joy and she returns to the other to afford it with the same pleasure. Remembering everything that he had done to give her pleasure, she begins to apply the same techniques to his hard body. Kissing him with wild abandon, she begins to caress him as deliciously as he had her, her hands move tirelessly over him, his chest, his back, his stomach down his sides, down his thighs to his knees then back up, skirting around his hard arousal. Her lips move softly over his body, like a soft breeze, a warm sunshine. With her head resting on his stomach, she remembers the strong sensations she had felt when he touched her femininity, and she reaches out her hand to touch him lightly with her fingertip. He jerks and she quickly brings her hand back and turns to look at him, finding his eyes, dark and heavy lidded, watching her. He then picks up her hand and gently wraps her fingers around him. Seeing his eyes close in ecstasy from her touch, she turns her head back and begins to gently stroke him.

Wades feels his resolve giving way under her soft caresses and tangles his fingers in her dark red mane, gently easing her back up along his side. Jessie’s body receives as much pleasure as his had under her adventuresome touches. Her body feels super sensitive, every nerve is sizzling, her skin hot. When she feels Wade’s lips on her breast her back arches, pushing more of it into his mouth, her cries keening with the deliciousness of the gentle sucking action of his mouth. She has never felt so alive in her life. And she never wanted it to end.

There was pleasure in learning what she likes, and Wade felt pure male pride in the moment when she cried his name and arched off the bed. He feels intoxicated with his manliness at being able to bring her so much ecstasy. As his lips and fingers graze over her soft skin, where he was hesitant at first with some of his caresses, he now feels confident in reading her body at what pleases her and what doesn’t.

Sliding down over her, he kisses his way down her belly, pausing to touch the slight indention of her navel with his tongue before moving on. He makes his way down her legs to her feet, running his tongue in between and around her toes before starting on the return trip. When he begins to kiss his way up, his hand slips between her legs, and she opens up for him instantly, then he begins nipping lightly at the inside of her thighs

Her breath quickens as she feels his breath blow over her sensitive flesh, she groans softly as he moves away. When he gives her the most intimate of kisses, she convulses violently as spasms of delicious sensations course through her in rippling waves.

Wade waits till the convulsions start to smooth out, then he moves up and pushes into her, feeling her inner muscles ebb and flow around him as he sinks into her warm, hot depth. He holds himself still, as the most exquisite sensation flows through him, feelings he never knew even existed. Still riding on her high, he begins to plunge into her, deeper with each thrust. Her body, leaving one high, begins a climb for another. Wanting him deeper, she wraps her legs around his hips, and moving as one, they climb together until they both explode simultaneously in a million brilliant pieces.

They make love and doze all through the evening into the hours of morning. After each beautiful joining and completion, they believed that it has to be the last. But with a touch, a kiss or a whisper they feel the same stirrings rumbling deep within them again, and again, until finally in the first rays of the sun, they fall into an exhausted sleep tangled in each others arms.

Jessie wakes, stretches to the warm sunshine washing over her body, and opens her eyes to see Wade looking down at her. She smiles than realizing that she is completely nude, reaches out to grasp at the sheet, trying to pull it up to cover herself.

But, Wade, just as naked as she is, sits down on the edge of the bed and pulls the sheet from her hands. “Don’t, Jess, I want to see you. You are so beautiful to me.” He lowers the sheet to pool at the bottom of her fee, then lets his eyes, and his hand, slowly roam back up her nude body … up the inside of her long shapely legs to the apex of her thighs, his eyes lingering on the nest of dark curls. She sucks in air as he lightly tangles his fingers in the soft downy hair. She begins to breathe again as his fingers and eyes mover up over her navel, his finger dipping inside the small indentation before moving slowly up her stomach to her breasts. Pausing, he cups each breast in his hands, feeling its weight, feeling its softness and fullness. “So beautiful,” he breathes. His eyes rise to meet hers, and he sees the passion in them, the look of utter and profound love. Bending, he kisses her tenderly and sweetly

Letting her eyes move swiftly down his body, she notices his arousal and smiles. But, he pulls back then and takes her hand, bringing her up out of bed. She doesn’t make a sound but he feel her muscles tighten and he knows enough to realize that her body would be still and sore after their full night of loving. He guides her over to a large oval galvanized tub, filled with steaming hot water. “I have to take care of the horses, that we left saddled all night. Why don’t you soak some of the soreness out while I’m gone?”

“I believe that’s called teasing, Wade. You teased me,” she murmurs, wanting to make love again, her body still tingling from his intense gazing.

He takes a deep breath, to quell his erection. “There … there will be plenty of time for that later. Right now, I think you need this,” he nods in the direction of the oval tub.

Knowing he’s right, knowing that he is giving her a much needed respite, albeit a short one, after their very vigorous night of lovemaking, she nods and he pulls her up against him for a kiss, then steps back quickly, turning her in the direction of the tub.

She gently sinks down into the warm soothing water, letting her body become adjusted to the heat. Heat that was needed to soak the soreness from her thighs and to relax muscles that hadn’t ever been used, not even at the academy. She watches Wade slip on a pair of shorts and is surprised when he goes outside wearing nothing else. Well, why not, there’s no one else for miles around, I may get brave enough to try it, too.

She scoots down in the tub as much as possible, folding up the towel to use as a pillow on the edge of the tub. When the water starts getting cold, she stands up and dries off, noticing that a lot of the soreness has abated.

Wrapping the towel around her and tucking it in at the side she opens the door to see what’s taking Wade so long. She sees the horses hobbled and munching on grass at the side of the cabin but she doesn’t see Wade anywhere. Stepping further out into the yard, she hears splashing and looks to her right. There is Wade, in a pond below a beautiful waterfall. She stands quietly watching as he leaves the water, he pauses momentarily to shake his head free of the water then resumes his walk toward the cabin.

Wade looks around the area, thinking this is the perfect place for a honeymoon, and mentally reminds himself to thank his mother-in-law for the suggestion. His eyes glance back toward the cabin and that’s when he sees Jessie, with just a towel wrapped around him. The sight does strange things to his body, bringing his manhood that’s been nestled in the dark patch of curls at junction of his thighs, to a slow arousal.

Jessie smiles when she sees her husband coming toward her, and as her eyes survey his beautiful body, she sees the beginnings of his arousal, and knows that he has seen her. Eyes completely riveted to his manhood, she finds herself moving toward him. “Come on, Jess, go swimming with me.”

She stops, hesitates for a few short minutes, then strips the towel away and runs for him. He takes her hand and they both run back into the brisk refreshing cool water. They play in the water until Jessie hears a low rumble coming from Wade’s stomach. “I think we should find something to tame that savage beast…”

Wade’s eyes takes on a sinister look, and Jessie giggles, “I mean your stomach.”

“I know what you mean,” He says, pulling her down to lie beside him. They lie on their backs, with Jessie nestled close. “This is a beautiful place, wife of mine. I’m glad you’re mother mentioned it”

“Hmmm … so am I.”

“What did your mother call this place?”

“Little Eden.”

“I wonder why?”

“Why do you think?” Seeing the puzzled look, “what did Adam and Eve wear in Eden?” His eyes take on a shine as the meaning finally gets through.

He grins and holds her tight, “Good name for this place. It feels like heaven though.”

“Hmm … It makes me feel … I don’t know … privileged I guess, to be enjoying this place. A place that my Mom and Dad shared not very long ago. She turns over, half on top of Wade, looking into his eyes. “We’ll have to see about sending our daughter here when she gets married.”

He holds her face between his hands, bringing her down to meet his lips. After a thorough, deep, sensuous kiss, he mumbles softly, “I like the idea of a little girl that looks like you.” He pushes her back, trying to get up, “Let’s go to the cabin and work some more on making that daughter.”

“No. Let’s stay here. Make love to me here, in the sunshine, on the grass, just like Adam and Eve did.” She throws her leg over him, moving her body on top of his.

And then with a slow gentle smile, she bends down and kisses him, softly at first, and then as his arms go around her, she holds his face tightly between her hands, she deepens the kiss, easing her tongue into his mouth, probing deeply, filling his mouth with her taste. Her insides are trembling but oh what a beautiful feeling. “You are so beautiful,” she says softly, kissing his neck, his ear, then his shoulders as she runs her hands down over his ribs, past his hips, feeling the warmth of his skin, responding to it. Liking the touch of his hard body beneath her soft one. She begins to feel an urgency building in her loins as his mouth presses harder on hers and his hand slips between them to find her breast.

A bright wonderful sense of joy fills his chest as he gives himself over to her soft caresses. This is the woman he loves. Fire begins shooting through him as she settles her body to fit into the right spots. He draws his knee up shifting her body slightly bringing her more intimately against his throbbing desire. He moans when she rolls her hips over him. “Jess, God, girl do you know what you’re doing to me?”

Her voice just a breeze, “I just hope I’m doing it right.” He searches for and finds her mouth and the kiss he gives her is hard and deep and hungry. His big hands smooth over her back and hips until she’s molded to him like melted wax.

It seems like her bones are dissolving but she wants him inside her. “Wade,” she cries tremulously unsure of what to do next. She starts to rise off of him, but he takes her by the hips, lifting her above him then slowly eases her down letting him fill her slowly, giving her body time to adjust to his size.

She holds on to his arms, as she sinks down over him, her head falling back as intense pleasure begins to fill her. She hears his raspy voice, “Ride Jessie…” and her hips begin to rise and lower over him, still bracing herself on his arms, his hands clasping tightly to her hips to steady her as the pace increases. She begins a wailing cry, “Oh, God, Oh, God, Oh, God, Wade…” her voice climbing as spasms of her climax spirals through her, causing her body to rock fiercely against him as another gives birth deep within her.

As her body starts melting into the sensations flowing through her, Wade pulls her down on to his chest, his arms wrapping tightly around her. Then feeling the glorious sheathing action of her gripping and releasing, to grip and release again, he rams into her again and again, until he jerks violently, and stiffens pouring his seed deep within her. Moaning softly, he joins her in the leap off the world.

Jessie’s senses slowly return, but she doesn’t want to move. Enjoying the hard body beneath her, this husband of hers. Husband. Husband, liking the way it rolls off her tongue, she repeats it silently, not wanting to disturb this gorgeous hunk of man of hers. Feeling his legs stretching, she lifts her head to look into his soulful puppy dog eyes. “Hi.”

“Hi.” He lifts his head and brushes his lips across her nose, “Jess that was … quite an explosion.”

“I think it was fantastic and very, very beautiful.” She touches her lips to his then lies her head down on his chest.

His voice soft, whispery, “Jess, I was a little scared ... that we ... that I would be ... too big for you, but … I think … we’re a perfect match. “Did you … have any … doubts, Jessie?”

“Only one, and it’s already been resolved.”

“What was it?”

"I was just afraid you wouldn't want me ... as much as I want you," she whispers as she bends down for a kiss.

“No way, baby, no way.” As he moves against her she realizes that he is still embedded within her and can feel him growing. He tightens his arms around her and rolls, putting her beneath him. They make slow sweet sensuous love until they reach completion one more time.

They sleep, swim, and then make love in the sun again. They return to the cabin and make a meal together then take it outside with a blanket to picnic by the pond. After taking another swim in the pond, they decide to explore the waterfall. Moving through the mist, feeling the cool spray over their naked flesh, they find a small room behind the cascading water. Letting their eyes adjust to the darkness they see a tattered old fur lying on the stone floor. Jessie sits down on the edge, letting her hands brush over it, when a feeling sweeps through her, bringing tears to her eyes. She looks up to Wade, and reaches for his hand. “My … my parents … laid here … I can feel their … their essence.” Her husband kneels down and takes her in his arms, “They made love here Wade, years ago, possibly before I was born.”

“Maybe that’s why your Mom sent us here, to fill us with the spirit of their love. They have a strong, deep love that has lasted through the years, love that survived every hardship that was thrown at them. Maybe she thought we had a love like that.”

Jessie turns her face into Wade’s chest, “Maybe Mom and Dad knows our love is forever, like theirs.” She lifts her face up to him and his mouth takes hers, devouring hers as they slowly stretch out on the ageless bed of fur.

***

The rest of the weekend seems to fly by as their time is spent making love. They manage to do some exploring around the near area, and locate a blackberry patch where they pick and eat the berries on the spot. Their hands and face smeared with the stain and juices of the luscious fruit, then returning to the pond to wash each other and ending up making love again.

The morning of their departure, they lay nestled in each other’s arms, savoring this final morning together before returning to the outside world. But they know they can face whatever life throws at them as long as they face it together.

“Wade?”

“Hmmm?”

“What were you doing in Mom and Dad’s bedroom, you know … the time you caught me in the buff?”

“Your dad sent me to get their wedding picture off the dresser so I could see what your dress would look like.”

“What did you say to him when you didn’t bring it to him?”

“Oh, I brought it to him. When I saw you come flying out of that room like your tail was on fire, I went back and got it.”

“What did you think … when you saw me … like that?”

“I thought … you were the most beautiful creature … this side of heaven. And I was a quivering mass of Jell-O by the time I came to my senses and backed out of that room.”

“After I’d gone to my room, I was wishing the scenario had been reversed and I’d seen you instead.”

He moves his lips close to her ear and murmurs, “I’m glad you didn’t, you might have been so shocked you’d probably have backed out of the marriage.”

She turns her head to look at him, “I think you’re beautiful.”

He pulls her head back onto his shoulder. “Maybe now, but admit it Jess, the first time you saw me you were a little afraid, right?”

“Well, maybe a little. But after that first time.” She begins to reach below the sheets for him, but he grabs her hand just as her fingers curl around him. Her lips begin to kiss his chest, a whisper, “I want you.”

“Oh, God, Jess.” He holds her hand still, but her fingers flex against him and he groans as his hips involuntarily, begin to thrust into her hand. “Baby,” he breathes into her hair, “we have a long ride home,” he finally pulls her hand free, “you’ll be in misery if you don’t try to soak some of the soreness out before we leave.”

She lies still against him for a moment, then continues with her seduction of his body, “I will in a few minutes, but first … I’ve got a problem … that needs fixing.” Her mouth kissing and nibbling down over his chest. “Remember that … wild ride … by the pond…”

His senses are to far gone to answer her, her lips turning his mind to mush as she moves them lightly over his skin. Pausing to nibble on his nipples until they become hard pebbles, then tossing the sheet off of him before searing a path down his belly. She hesitates when her glazed eyes fasten on his enormous erection. She feels his hands in her hair gently pushing her head down, she stiffens and he releases her. Then suddenly he feels her hot tongue touch the tip of him and his body arches violently off the bed. He knows an explosion is imminent and he pulls her up his body and rolls her onto her back. He mouth covers her in wild kisses, his tongue delving deep as if he can’t get enough of her. Then he quickly moves down between her leg and slides his hands under her hips, lifting her up.

She opens her eyes and watches as he lowers his face into her. When she feels the touch of his tongue on her passion sensitive flesh, she screams. Then as his tongue spears into her, she bucks wildly in his hands. He lowers her and slides into her hot, passion filled body. Feeling the tightness close around him, he immediately thrusts deep and fast. It is only a matter of seconds before he feels her body stiffen as an orgasm explodes through her and feeling a like explosion, he empties deep into her, then they both collapse into a tangled mass of quivering bodies.

***

An hour on the trail and Jessie is finding that the hour she had spent soaking in the tub of hot water was apparently of little good. Sitting astride a horse that seems to know they are going home is making it impossible to keep the agony from her features or her tongue. After many variations of trying to sit on the horse, who, thankfully, is very patient with her gyrations in the saddle, she finds that sitting sidesaddle is the best way to ride giving her the least amount of pain. It takes them almost three hours to reach the truck because of stopping so many times to ease her torment. Feeling on the irritable side, and seeing a grin on Wade’s face, “Are you laughing at me?” Turning his back to her, he shakes his head no. “You are, too. Ha … let’s see if you are still laughing when you have to stay away from me for a couple of weeks.” Her husband turns then and when she sees the look of contrition on his face, she relents slightly. “Well, at least until I can stand straight without flinching.”

Wade pulls her into his arms, “I’m sorry, I should have taken it easier on you.”

She reaches up and kisses him softly, “Can’t remember me fighting you off though, so it isn’t totally your fault … I’ll be alright after we get home and I can get a nice hot bath.” She kisses him again, “I hope … this isn’t a permanent condition.” Wade does laugh then and scoops her up into his arms and carries her to the truck to rest while he loads the horses and their gear.

It is late afternoon by the time Wade pulls into their driveway, with Jessie curled up on the seat with her head lying on his leg, sound asleep. When he pulls the rig around to the barn, he sees Walker’s truck parked by the barn. He had promised to tend to Wade’s livestock while they were gone.

Wade stops the truck by the front of the barn, then looking at his sleeping wife, his heart fills with immense joy of finally bringing his wife home. His life is complete now. She belongs to him as he belongs to her. He had achieved his ultimate goal, to make Jessie his wife. He leans over and kisses her softly, “

Jessie, we’re home.” She stirs slightly, “Jess … come on, honey, wake up. We’re home.” Her body slowly comes awake, and as she stretches her legs out she grimaces from the pain of overworked muscles. Peeking through slits in her eyelids the sees the big brown eyes of her husband. “We’re home?” At his nod, she circles his neck with her arms, pulling his head down for a kiss.

“Why don’t you go on in and get that hot bath that you want so bad, and I’ll take care of the horses.” He gets out of the truck as she sits up.

Seeing her dad’s truck, she groans, “Oh, Wade, I don’t need him seeing me walking like this. What will he think?”

“Go on in, I’ll try to keep him in the barn until you get to the house.” She waits till Wade is in the barn, then she makes a run for the back door, in a stiff shuffling gait. She quickly steps inside the house and shuts the door. Looking through the window, she sees her Dad and Wade leave the barn. Then with a deep sigh and a face distorted with pain she turns and takes a step … right into her mother.

“Mom!”

When Alex sees her daughter she pulls her into a warm embrace. Hearing a small gasp, she lets go and steps back, seeing a flicker of pain in her oldest child’s eyes before Jessie can hide it “What in the world…?”

“Mom, I’m all right, I’m … I’m just…” she turn her back and makes her way to the bedroom.

Alex stares after her daughter dumbfounded by the way she is moving. “Jessie, if I didn’t know any better, I’d say you been thrown off a horse.” Jessie turns and gives her an ‘if you only knew’ look and starts stripping as soon as she passes through the bedroom doors. Alex follows her and shakes her head as Jessie sits down on the bed to pull her boots off. Seeing the misery on her daughters face she reaches down and helps to pull the boots off. And knowing that a hot bath is in order she goes into the bathroom to fill the tub.

As Alex sits on the edge of the tub, it suddenly dawns on her what Jessie’s problem is. She leaves the bathroom and breezes through the bedroom, “I’ll be right back.”
Jessie gives her a puzzled look, shrugs and stripping off her undies, and with a deep sigh, slips into the soothing effects of the hot water. She’s just starting to doze off when her mother enters the bathroom, coming over to sit on the edge of the tub.

“Jessie when you get out of the tub, dry off and rub this where ever you hurt. It will … help.” She hands the jar of salve to a stunned Jessie and stands to go.

“Mom … how … what…”

“Honey, if you intend to survive the first day on the job, you’d better use it. It will definitely ease the aches.”

“What … what is it?”

“It’s … it doesn’t matter, just take my word honey, it works.” She leans over and gives Jessie a kiss on the top of her head. “Your Dad is ready, I think I should go.”

“Mom?”

“It’s all right, baby. Just … use the salve, okay?” Then Jessie is alone. After bathing, she sits on the edge of the tub to apply the salve to where she is sore the most and feels an instant relief. Sighing, she reaches for the bath towel with a huge “M” in the corner, a wedding gift from a friend.

Wade comes in while she is drying off and helps her to spread the salve over her aching muscles. Then he picks her up and lays her down in bed and quickly strips out of his own clothes and takes a quick shower. Returning to the bed, he pulls the covers up over the both of them, bringing her into his arms and kissing her softly. Jessie sighs deeply and whispers softly, “Finally … together in our own home.” It felt so right to her, being there, in his arms, in their home. “I love you so much, Wade.”

“I love you, too, Jess.”

***

The next morning Wade is in the kitchen making coffee when Jessie comes out of the bedroom, dressed in full uniform for her new job. He goes still, his heart leaps into his mouth, and he whispers, “Jessie.”

“How do I look, honey?”

“Like the prettiest patrolman on the Dallas Police Department.” He collects her up against him, and kisses her soundly. “Baby, all I ask is that you come home every night in one piece.”

***

Jessie finds a place to park and gets out of her car and walks up the steps but stops for a moment, to glance up at the sign across the front of the building. DALLAS POLICE DEPARTMENT. She feels a tightening in her chest, takes a deep breath and for some reason looks back out to the street where she sees her father standing by his truck. He nods at her and she waves back and pulls open the door.

With a shine in her eyes she walks through the door, murmuring softly, “I’m on my way.”

The End