Walker and Trivette found themselves working for well-known art thief, Jose Gonzalas. It had been a request of Walker’s friend Jesse, a fellow law enforcement officer in Mexico. Jose Gonzalas was at the top of his most wanted list. There had been a slew of art gallery and museum thefts in Mexico over the past year and Gonzalas was believed to be at the head of it. After obtaining ancient artifacts he would sell them overseas on the black market. Many of Mexico’s prized possessions were slowly disappearing. It was learned from a reliable source that the Spanish jewels traveling exhibit was one of the targets. The collection had been appraised at a few million dollars. The exhibit was not on display in Mexico, but would be making a stop in Houston, which is why Gonzalas was seeking to hire well known, security systems expert Joe Conley. Conley’s reputation for being able to elude the most sophisticated security systems was well known in the criminal world, but very few knew what he looked like, including Gonzalas. Jesse had gotten word that Conley was in FBI custody in the states and that’s when he had this “wild, hair brain scheme” as Walker had called it.
Jesse wanted Walker to impersonate Conley and hire on with Gonzalas as his security expert. Always willing to help a friend and the fact that Houston was Texas jurisdiction, Walker and the Rangers office were eager to comply. Jesse had warned that Walker would have to earn Gonzalas’ trust, which probably would mean doing a few small jobs before the big heist. Walker had figured the whole thing would take about a month, but Jesse had sent him undercover a little over three months prior to the exhibit’s arrival in Houston.
In the three months he had worked for Gonzalas he had gained the trust and had obtain the position of demanding certain things. A few weeks ago he had told Gonzalas that since the jobs were getting increasingly larger and security systems more complicated, he needed to bring in a “right hand man”. Gonzalas offered the pick of any of his men for him to train, but Walker refused saying that he only trusted one man and if he couldn’t use him then he could no longer continue working for Gonzalas. It had been risky making such a demand, but one Walker felt he needed to make. Gonzalas had stalled for a couple of days but finally gave in.
Since he went under cover, his whole life had come to a halt. The only thing he knew now was the layout of the Gonzalas compound and the layout of a couple of museums. The only contact with his world had been the weekly phone call to Trivette, which only lasted just under the minimum time needed to trace a call and now those had ended. Three weeks ago he was able to bring Trivette under cover with him. It was good to have a familiar face there, but they were able to spend little time alone and out of fear of blowing their cover, their conversations revolved solely around their undercover personas. Then there was Alex…he missed her so much. He thought about her constantly, her smile, the smell of her perfume, the way she came to his desk every morning and took a sip of his coffee before returning to her office. He felt an emptiness inside himself without her.
The first time He and Trivette had a minute alone together he wanted to ask about Alex, but instead he asked, “How are things back at the office?” Trivette knew his partner very well and supplied him with the answer he knew he really wanted. “She’s doing ok. It’s been rough on her but she’s hanging in there, and spending a lot of nights at the ranch. She wanted me to give you a kiss, but if it’s alright with you I’m not going to pass it along.”
* * * * *
Alex had been looking forward to tonight. Ever since Walker left, she had been putting in long days and spending her evenings with C.D. and Trivette. She was even a little angry with Walker about three weeks ago when he took Trivette away from her as well. Trivette had been a tremendous source of support for her. He had helped her through some rough times over the past couple of months. C.D. was always there for her, but it wasn’t the same as having Trivette to talk to.
Two weeks ago she received an invitation from her childhood friend, Paul Baxter. Their mother’s had been best friends and they both grew up without a father figure around. They had done everything together, including going to the proms. There was an unspoken understanding that nothing romantic would ever evolve between them. Neither one wanted to risk the friendship. The last time they had seen each other was when they had each left home for college. The two of them kept in touch over the years, through Christmas cards and a phone call on each of their birthdays.
The invitation was addressed to her and Walker. It was for a fund raising event that Paul was hosting in Houston for the grand opening of one of his many museums. She was looking forward to seeing Paul again This also gave her a chance to get away from Dallas and her mind off of missing Walker so much. She knew this was one event Walker wouldn’t mind missing. Museums and fundraisers were not his idea of a good time. He would have had to wear a tux, which was something he didn’t do too often and when he did, he was always fidgeting with the bow tie.
The thought of Walker in a tux made Alex start thinking about the night before he had left for the undercover work. They had planned to go out to dinner at a fancy restaurant, then return to the ranch to spend a quiet evening together. Walker had called to say he was running late and asked if she would meet him at the ranch to save time, instead of him picking her up. She drove out to the ranch and had expected to see Walker in a suit and tie to comply with the restaurant’s dress code policy, but she was shocked to see him answer the door in a tuxedo. He pulled her inside and she saw the house lit in candlelight with the table set for two. “Do you mind if we stay here for dinner? I don’t want to share you with anyone tonight”, he had said. She had been so overwhelmed with his display of romance. After dinner they sat on the porch and starred at the stars awhile. Walker had shed the bow tie right after dinner and got rid of the coat by draping it over her shoulders to keep her warm. The night got cooler and they moved inside to the living room. Walker lit a fire in the fireplace and put on some soft music. Music she didn’t even know he knew about. A light breeze could have knocked her over when he asked her to dance with him. A little stunned, she joined him in the middle of the floor, where he pulled her close. They swayed to the music, her head resting on his shoulder. She slowly unbuttoned his shirt and ran her fingers across his chest. His hand was slowly…”
KNOCK. KNOCK. “Alex, are you ready to go?”
Paul’s knock on the door had interrupted her reminiscing and brought her back to the present. “I’ll be right there Paul.” She took one last look in the mirror before joining him.
* * * * *
Gonzalas was a cautious man. He trained all his men for every mission, but he only used a few of them to actually carry it out. He never told them the specific time or day of the job until one hour prior to the event, and he never sent the same group of men twice. The only constant over the last few months had been Walker and Sarah. Sarah was a respectable arts dealer and Gonzales’s link to the overseas black market.
Tonight’s routine was the same as it had been over the past few months. There was a dinner-dance fundraiser for a new museum opening in Houston. The chosen crew would attend the function in order to get an idea of the layout. Walker and Sarah would pose as a couple. Sarah’s job was to gather all the ‘inside’ information she could about the museum and artifacts. Walker’s job was to analyze the security system and figure out how to bypass it. He never felt comfortable at these things. He had to wear a tux; he had nothing in common with the art world elite that always attended these things, and most of all he didn’t like the way Sarah took the ‘couple’ illusion to an extreme. She was always draping all over him and putting him in situations he felt guilty being in. Like the time they were slow dancing and she pressed her lower body against his, moving to the beat of the music. He had to discreetly pull away from her. Sarah wanted to project the image that she was unavailable and yet still flirt with the museum curator. Her theory was that a man was very vulnerable while a beautiful, unavailable woman was flirting with him. So her plan was to flirt and get the ‘inside’ information. Walker disagreed with her theory, but had gone along with it since it seemed to be working so well. There had been one-glitch two jobs ago when the museum curator was a woman. They had to do without the inside info and rely solely on Walker’s assessment of the security system. Things turned out ok and now here they were, finally, the night of the site survey for the “big” job. The Spanish Jewels would arrive next week and once this job was over, Walker could go home. If things worked out the way they should, Gonzalez would be in prison.
The crew had flown into Houston this afternoon and was staying at a hotel just down the street from the museum. The change of scenery was a welcomed sight for Walker. He was hoping that he and Trivette would finally get some time alone at the hotel, but Gonzalez had arranged for a large suite that all of them were staying in. Walker finished putting on his bow tie, which he really despised. It was like someone was choking him all night. Sarah showed up right on schedule to make sure he was properly dressed. She wanted every last detail to be perfect. After the first job they did, she had sent his tux out to be altered because she said it looked to ‘baggy’ on him. “You look stunning, as always” said Sarah as she gave him the once over.
“Let’s just get this over with. You know this is the part I least enjoy.” Said Walker. Sarah took his arm and they went downstairs where their limousine was waiting.
* * * * *
Trivette had arrived a half-hour before Walker and Sarah. He had gotten a quick idea of the lay out and started studying the museum security staff. Although this was the job they were going to bust Gonzalez on, they still needed to pull it off in order for Gonzalez to be “caught with the goods”. Trivette noticed Walker and Sarah come in and he slowly started to make his way across the lobby to accidentally bump into them. He had seen something that Walker needed to know about, something he wished he could have told Walker before he and Sarah arrived. As Trivette got closer to them, he could tell by the look on Walker’s face that he was too late. Walker already knew. Things just got complicated.
Upon entering the lobby, Walker and Sarah were immediately surrounded by greeters, as they had been at all the previous events. Sarah was well known in the art world and everyone wanted to get his or her hellos in early. Walker took the opportunity to scan the lobby and crowd. Just ahead of them was a doorway into a large exhibit hall, which tonight was serving as the ‘party’ room. He guessed that was the room the jewels would be displayed in next week. He took a step to his right so that he could get a better view into the room. He started scanning again and then suddenly stopped, his heart skips a few beats, and his breath was taken away. Alex. He couldn’t take his eyes off of her; he couldn’t believe she was here. Alex. It took every bit of self-control that he had not to go to her. He was still undercover; he had to keep reminding himself of that. The woman he loved, the one he lived his life for was standing a few feet away and he couldn’t even acknowledge her. She looks so beautiful in that dress I can’t touch her, can’t speak to her, all I can do is look. She’s right over there smiling and laughing with…with…who’s that guy? Oh god, did she give up on me? Get a grip Walker. You know him, he looks familiar. He’s a friend of Alex’s; she has his picture on her mantel. Can’t remember who he his but he’s just a friend. Come on, you know she loves you. Alex. He couldn’t take his eyes off of her, he was paralyzed. Walker was jolted out of his trace when he felt an elbow in his back.
“Oh sorry man. I didn’t mean to almost knock you over.” Said Trivette, pretending to have accidentally bumped into him.
Walker was still in a trance; he just turned and starred at Trivette.
Oh boy. Snap out of it Walker, don’t blow it now. “My friends call me JT. Why don’t you let me get you two a drink. It’s the least I can do for bumping into you.” Said Trivette, trying to bring Walker back.
Trivette’s charade had drawn Sarah’s full attention. “I’d love a martini. Thanks.”
“Sure thing, and I’ll bring you a beer sir.” Or something a lot stronger.
Walker had instinctively put his arm around Sarah when she came over to him, just like he had been trained. Sarah had instructed him right from the very start that he was to put his arm around her whenever she stood next to him. It was all part of her image that she insisted on projecting.
* * * * *
Paul was engaged in a business conversation with another gentleman, so Alex took the opportunity to do some people watching. She smiled and laughed every now and then to give the illusion she was interested in what the gentleman had to say. She was looking out in the lobby when she thought she someone who looked just like Trivette. Knowing that her eyes were just playing tricks, she blinked a few times to clear them up and took another look. Trivette! She had almost yelled out his name, coughing to cover up her near outburst. Remember, he’s undercover. Undercover with…that means… She watched Trivette as he bumped into a man. Walker! The sight of him sent her heart racing. He always looked handsome, but the tuxedo just intensified the effect he had on her. Walker. She wanted so much to run up and throw her arms around him. There was her cowboy, pulling on his bow tie and standing just a few feet away with…with his arm around another woman! He left me for another woman! Calm down Alex…you have to remember he’s undercover. Relax. You know he loves you, you trust him, you trust him with your life. Walker, please look this way…
Alex felt a hand on her shoulder. “Alex, I see Sarah Vixon over there. She’s a well know art dealer. Just her showing up here is a real honor. I’d like to go say hello, would you join me?” asked Paul, totally unaware of Alex’s recent discovery. He had never met Walker, only knew of him from phone conversation with Alex.
“Sure I’d love to.” Replied Alex. She didn’t want to let Walker out of her sight, but knew that in order to protect his cover it was best that she ignored him. As far as she knew, he hadn’t seen her. She felt herself walking, but wasn’t aware of where they were headed she just kept watching Walker. Suddenly she realized they were walking right towards him! Oh no.
* * * * *
Trivette had been at the bar when he saw Alex heading right for Walker. What is she doing. She has to know he’s still undercover. Man this could get ugly. He started to make his way back to them and then stopped when he saw Sarah extend a hand to the gentleman Alex was with. Oh great. Man, Walker is going to be no good tonight. I had better check the whole security thing out myself.
“Sarah Vixon.” Paul said, extending a hand to her. “I’m Paul Baxter, this is my place. Welcome, it’s a pleasure to have you here.”
Paul…Paul Baxter…Alex grew up with him. Walker felt slightly relieved to be able to place the face.
“Thank you. This is Joe Conley.” Said Sarah, introducing Walker.
“Nice to meet you Joe. This is a good friend of mine, Alex Cahill.”
Walker shook hands with Joe and gave Alex a nod, “nice to meet both of you.” He didn’t dare take her hand for fear he wouldn’t be able to let go.
Paul invited Sarah and Walker to join them at their table for dinner. It was a round table that seated eight. Two other couples were already seated, in a boy girl rotation. Walker quickly maneuvered so that he would be seated next to Alex, with Sarah on his other side and Paul on the other side of Alex. Walker and Alex both felt the tension. They wanted to be able to look into each other’s eyes and hold each other tight. The floor length tablecloth allowed for Walker to press his leg against Alex’s all through dinner, without anyone knowing. When his leg first brushed hers, Alex felt a weakness come over her. It had been a long time since she felt his touch. His body tensed when Alex’s hand inadvertently touched his as she reached for the salt. The feel of her soft skin, if only for a second, was enough to send a shot of desire through him. Her touch had been absent far to long.
When dinner was through, everyone sat around the table talking and drinking coffee. Neither Walker nor Alex trusted themselves to engage in conversation with each other. Alex knew that if she looked into his eyes that she would just lose all self-control. He was captivated by her smile and didn’t know how much longer her could push aside his desires. Walker’s knee jerked and struck the table leg as he felt Sarah’s hand on his thigh. He stood, trying to cover up his reaction, and asked if anyone would like something from the bar. I know I need something. He thought to himself.
Paul was standing when Walker returned from the bar. He asked Walker’s permission to dance with Sarah. “It’s ok with me, and may I do the same” Walker replied, gesturing towards Alex. He received a nod of approval and turned to Alex, “Miss Cahill, would you care to dance?”
You know I would Cowboy! “I’d like that.” Alex took Walker’s hand as he led them to the far side of the dance floor. She immediately started to take her usual dancing position, her head resting on his shoulder, with her face nuzzled into his neck. He quickly, but gently, pushed her back. He was still undercover. In this instance, Alex was just a recent acquaintance and they needed to dance at a respectable distance.
“Sorry.” She said softly.
“Don’t be. You know I want to.”
“I’ve missed you.” She said in a soft voice just loud enough for him to hear.
“I’ve missed you too.” He replied in the same soft voice.
They spent the rest of the dance just gazing into each other’s eyes, conveying all their wants and needs. She could see the passion in his, and he the desire in hers. He could feel her hand on his shoulder; she was slowly moving her fingers back and forth. His mind drifted to their dance the night before he left, when she had unbuttoned his shirt and let her fingers wander. She could feel his hand on her back, sliding his thumb up and down. She remembered how he had done that their last night together. Only then, his hand had not stayed on her back and it was more than just his thumb that caressed her. That night they had all night to express their love for each other. Tonight they shared one dance. Circumstances forbid them to show any display of affection, yet they both knew in their hearts how each other felt and could feel it in their limited touch. The music was fading and the dance floor clearing. Neither one wanted it to end, but they released their hold on one another and returned to their table.
When Sarah returned to the table Walker could tell she got the information she needed. “Joe, if you’re ready to go I think we should call it a night.”
NO, I’m not ready to go. “Sure, I’m ready.” He replied, trying his best not to sound devastated at having to leave behind the woman he loved.
Paul thanked Sarah for the dance and gave her a social goodnight kiss on the cheek.
Not passing up the opportunity, Walker did the same to Alex. As he leaned in to kiss her, he whispered in her ear, “I love you.”
The feel of his beard brushing against her face and the touch of his lips sent a tingling sensation through her. She knew it would only be another week or so before she could have her Cowboy back, but tonight had made the need for him even greater. She smiled at him as he turned to leave
I love that smile. He gave her one last look before walking out.
She watched Walker as he made his way through the lobby and out the door. Her eyes met Trivette’s as he was making his exit as well. He gave her a quick nod as he disappeared out the door.
Walker, Texas Ranger’ and all of its characters belong to CBS Inc., Norris Brothers Entertainment and other copyright holders. This piece of fiction and its author have no connection to any copyright holders that may exist. No infringement is intended. This story is strictly for entertainment purposes. It may be distributed and copied freely, in it’s entirety, for personal use only.