One Friend

By: Kara

Ponygirl67@aol.com

††††††††††† Walker glanced worriedly at his watch for the third time in ten minutes, then dropped his head into his hands, trying to rub away the dull ache between his eyes. A week of long, boring stake out had taken its toll mentally and physically and he could feel the exhaustion seeping into every cell of his body. He winced slightly and grimaced at the pain as he accidentally made contact with the darkening purple bruise around his right eye. At least the meth dealers they were waiting on had finally shown up and, after a pretty rough struggle, they had made the bust on one of the largest meth operations in the Metroplex.

††††††††††† In the midst of the struggle, though, the one guy had caught him off guard and nailed him pretty hard with a kick to the head. Walker gingerly touched his eye again. He was going to end up with a shiner for sure. As if that wasnít enough, then there had been the hours of endless paperwork to do afterwards. He would kill for a long, hot shower and a comfortable bed. He wearily closed his eyes for a moment and flexed his shoulders, trying to ease the ache in his muscles.†

††††††††††† It wasnít like Alex to be late like this. After all, she was the one whoíd called him wanting to meet at C.D.ís for dinner. Oh well,† maybe she just got hung up in court or something. He would wait another five minutes. If she didnít show up by then he would just have to catch up with her later. Surely she would understand after the week heíd had. Trivette had already gone home and was probably sound asleep by now, racked out in those satin sheets he liked so much.

††††††††††† He jumped slightly and turned as the touch of a familiar hand on his shoulder broke his reverie. "Hey Cowboy! Sorry Iím late. Got hung up in a deposition......WALKER, what happened to you?!" He saw the startled worry leap into her eyes as she caught sight of his face.

††††††††††† "Iím OK.....Just didnít duck quick enough." he grinned wryly, reaching to rub the back of his neck with a callused hand. She bent down and placed a soft kiss on his cheek as she slid into the booth next to him.

††††††††††† "You sure? No offense....but you donít look too good." She smiled slightly as she caressed his arm.

††††††††††† "Alex, I SAID Iím fine! OK?!"

††††††††††† "In a good mood too I see!" she teased. Her delicate mouth twisted in a wry grin, then just as quickly brightened to the beautiful smile he loved.† "I just wanted to see what you thought about the bridesmaids dresses and the flowers so I can get everything ordered in plenty of time. Kim and Josie are meeting me after work tomorrow to go to the seamstress and get measured. I brought a couple of color choices and several flower choices, but wanted to see what you thought about them. Would you rather have white roses or red for the bouquets?"† She murmured, chewing on the end of her pen in deep concentration as she studied the papers in her hand. Walker offered no response. She glanced up from her list, catching the distant look in his eyes.

††††††††††† "Walker! Are you even listening?" she asked, exasperation in her tone.

††††††††††† "Sure...Thatíll be fine. Whatever suits you is fine by me."

††††††††††† "I was asking for your opinion! Just like Iíve been trying to do for the last month!† This is your wedding too, you know! I canít even get you to act like youíre interested† in helping plan this wedding, much less actually participate in the planning!" her voice rose in impatient frustration, her temper flaring.

††††††††††† "Look. Whatever you decide is fine by me! Just tell me what to wear and when to be there and Iíll do it. OK?" he snapped, shaking his head in annoyance. "It doesnít make any difference to me what color the bridesmaidís dresses are! I donít care one way or the other. Make Ďem† hot pink if that suits you."

††††††††††† "Well, since you donít seem to care one way or the other about this wedding.....maybe we should just forget the whole thing!" Alex jumped to her feet, tension and anger in every line, and furiously shoved the papers back into her briefcase. After waiting for him all week, worried sick over not hearing from him, not knowing he was alright, and now that he was finally back and she was certain he was safe this was what she got..... Her temper, already on a short fuse from the long week of worry about him and stress from the heavy caseload at the office, got the better of her.

††††††††††† "Alex....you know I......"

††††††††††† She silenced him with a frosty glare, blue eyes flashing like shards of ice.

"When....and IF you decide youíre interested in getting married.....let me know! Meanwhile, I have plenty of other things to take care of!" She slammed the briefcase shut, the sound of the clicking latch unusually loud in the suddenly silent bar. With a final withering look at him, her delicate face rigid with anger, she whirled around and stalked out the door past the now silent other patrons without a backward glance.

††††††††††† Walker came to his feet. "Alex!......" The door of the bar slammed closed as several other customers looked around, curiosity on their faces. He sank back into the booth, his head dropping into his hands again, rubbing the bridge of his nose in frustration. The uncomfortable feeling that he had just stuck both feet in his mouth clear to the knees hit him like a sucker punch to the gut. Just great! After the hellacious week heíd already had.....now he had to go and tick Alex off on top of everything. He breathed a deep sigh, debating whether to go after her and try to make up, or just go home, shower, go to bed and let her cool off for awhile. He hadnít seen her this mad in a long time.

††††††††††† "Dadgum it Cordell! Whatíd you do to her? She stomped outta here like she was madderín a wet hen!" Walker looked up as C.D. came over from the bar, wiping his hands on a bar towel. He just shook his head and sighed, leaning back against the booth partition.

††††††††††† "I donít know C.D.... Iím pretty much whipped after the McGowan stakeout and bust. You know what itís like being out there for a week at a time. Cramped in the truck for hours on end, the endless waiting, the boredom, no shower for days. I was ready to just head back to the ranch, clean up a little, and try to sleep for a few hours. Then Alex called and wanted me to meet her here for dinner since we havenít seen each other all week. The minute she got here she started in about the wedding plans again and I just told her whatever she wanted was fine by me. I donít care what color the bridesmaids dresses are as long as sheís happy with them. Then she got all ticked off and went stomping out of here." He shook his head again, trying to ignore the throbbing ache between his eyes. "What is it with women that every wedding detail has to be a big deal? Iíd be happy if we just went to the Justice of the Peace and got married. But Alex wanted a big wedding with all the trimmings, so I agreed."

††††††††††† "Cordell.....have I ever told you that you donít know split peas from coffee about women?" C.D. snorted,† shaking his head in disgust.

††††††††††† "Somehow that sounds familiar. And Iím sure if you didnít before, youíre going to now." Walker rolled his eyes toward the ceiling in resignation and braced himself for the lecture he knew was coming, well meaning though it might be.

††††††††††† "Well, itís true son......You may be the best lawman in Texas, or anywhere else, but what you know about women would fit in a thimble! That poor girl has waited on you for damn near seven years, mooning around over you when she thought you werenít lookiní......hoping youíd finally come around and realize how much she cares about you and how much you care about her. Sheís stuck by you through thick and thin, puttiní up with your mule headed stubbornness when most women would have walked out the door a long time ago. That there is one fine woman and if you had a lick of sense youíd thank the good Lord every day and twice on Sunday that she loves you like she does. A woman like that only comes along once in a manís life, Cordell.....and sometimes not at all." C.D. slid into the booth seat across from Walker, wiping at the table thoughtfully with the bar rag as he gathered his thoughts.

††††††††††† "Cordell.....I donít say these things often, but you know youíre the closest thing to a son Iíve got. Matter of fact, I couldnít think more of you if you were† my son. Iíve seen you through a lot of sufferiní and hard times over the years...... And good times too, donít get me wrong. But Iíve never seen you happier or more content than you have been since you and Alex got together. She loves you an awful lot, Cordell. And you love her, too.....All a man has to do is look in your eyes when sheís around.† A love like that is a rare and special thing, son.† Donít let some silly spat come between you two."

††††††††††† "But C.D......."

††††††††††† "Cordell, Iím an old man. But a long, long time ago I met a woman a whole lot like Alex. Strong, smart, independent, beautiful........ a woman to ride the river with. But I let her go over a foolish argument. I was just too damned stubborn and muleheaded to admit I was wrong and try to make it up to her. She ended up married to a real nice fella from Gainesville...." he wiped the table absentmindedly, lost in the memory of that long ago love. After several moments, he raised his gaze to meet Walkerís.

"I† know you love her and want to marry her, but she needs to know that too. Women are different. They want to hear the words and know how you feel about them......Want to know you still care about Ďem....want you to take part in the planniní and all. Hell......Alex has been in here Ďbout every day since youíve been on that stakeout. Worryiní about you.....frettiní over whether you were all right or not when you were late calliní in. She was all excited about the weddiní plans and showiní you the bridesmaids dresses and flowers and all. Then you finally show up, lookiní like something the cat drug in, and tell her you donít give a damn." he snorted in disgust.

††††††††††† "O.K., O.K.......I get the point C.D! I was trying to decide whether to see her tonight or let her cool off first anyway...." Walker grinned sheepishly. "I guess itís best not to let her sit and stew about it, huh?"

††††††††††† "Nope. A friend of mine once told me never to let the sun set on an argument without settling it. Sounds like pretty good advice if you ask me!"

††††††††††† Walker reached for his hat, easing his stiff and aching body up out of the booth. "I just hope sheís in a forgiving mood. Iím about whipped!" He pushed his hat down on his head and started for the door, then suddenly stopped and turned. "Oh,.....thanks C.D.!"

††††††††††† "Any time, any time!......Now you get on out of here and go make things up with Alex!"

***********************

††††††††††† Walker eased the RAM into the parking space at Alexís apartment complex and cut the engine, leaning his head back against the seat with a groan. He couldnít remember being this tired and sore in a long time. Hopefully, Alex would forgive him quickly, theyíd be back on good terms again, and he could head home to the ranch to collapse for a while. Oh well, better get to it....

††††††††††† Alex jumped at the sudden loud knock at her apartment door, then glanced at the clock on the end table. Seven oíclock. It had to be Walker. She certainly wasnít expecting anyone else tonight. She hastily reached for a tissue, dabbing at her eyes and wiping her nose. She was NOT going to let him know sheíd been crying. The knock came again, more insistent this time.

††††††††††† "Alex!........ Alex, címon! I know youíre home. I saw your car in the lot."

††††††††††† "Go away! I not in the mood to talk right now!" she shouted at the door.

††††††††††† "Alex....Come on! Let me in. I need to talk to you...tonight.."

††††††††††† "I said, I donít want to talk about it!"

††††††††††† "Come on Alex! I just want to talk to you. Open the door......please?" his voice held a pleading note this time.

††††††††††† Resigned, she rose from the couch and moved to answer the door. Passing the mirror over the mantel, she glanced at her reflection and wiped again at her streaking mascara and tear swollen eyes. There was no way she was going to be able to pretend she hadnít been crying, so might as well get it over with. She looked through the peephole, seeing Walker on the other side. His black eye looked even worse than it had at C.D.ís and the hard lines of exhaustion etched his face.

††††††††††† She opened the door and stood there silently, her expression impassive, not inviting him in, but not telling him to leave either. Walker felt his gut wrench at the stony look on her face and the obvious evidence of her tears. He hated the thought that he was the reason for those tears. No matter how tough he might be, he could never stand to see Alex cry and know that he was the cause.

††††††††††† "Can I come in?" he gestured toward the interior of the apartment.

††††††††††† Alex shrugged, reaching up to push away the golden strands of hair that fell across her forehead. "I guess so. If you want to." She stepped back, allowing him entrance but avoiding contact as he stepped into the apartment and closed the door behind him. He removed his hat and held it nervously in his hands as he turned to face her, his eyes searching hers.

††††††††††† "Alex, I ...... Well, I....." He raked his fingers through his hair in frustration, the lean, hard muscles of his jaw tightening beneath the red gold of his beard. The angry, hurt shadows visible in the blue depths of her eyes felt like they were ripping his gut to shreds. She remained silent, the tension in the air between them almost palpable, waiting for him to make the first move. Then, seemingly of its own accord, his hand reached up to gently stroke her face, his thumb trailing whisper soft across her cheek, her skin like rich satin beneath the roughness of his callused male hand.

††††††††††† "Iím sorry." he whispered softly, the blue grey of his eyes seeking hers, hoping to see some sign of forgiveness there. "I didnít mean to put you off about the wedding. And I donít want you to think that I donít care." he stepped closer, his gaze never leaving hers, watching the emotions flickering in their depths like a window into her soul. "Alex..... I love you. More than anyone or anything in the world. I want you to be my wife.....and that hasnít changed. Iíve just been tired and stressed out lately and Iím sorry if I took it out on you. OK?" His fingers continued their soft, seductive caress against her cheek as he waited with bated breath for her answer, hoping against hope that he had finally managed to find the right words. She looked up at him, the crystalline blue of her eyes bright with barely held emotion and unshed tears, then dropped her head.

††††††††††† "I guess I did† kind of overreact a little bit. But you just made me so mad! It just seemed like every time I tried to talk to you about the wedding...."

††††††††††† "Shhhhh....." he tipped her face up gently to meet his and silenced her words with a soft, achingly sweet kiss, his lips caressing lightly across hers as his hand brushed away the single tear making its way down her cheek. His hands slid down across her shoulders to wrap around her slender waist as he pulled her to him in a relieved embrace,† trailing soft butterfly kisses across her face and stroking her back lovingly as he brought her close.

††††††††††† "Forgive me?" the words were whispered tenderly against the silken gold of her hair. She nodded silently, dropping her head to rest against the warm, solid muscle of his shoulder. She felt her anger begin to ebb as he held her securely against him, strong, sinewy arms wrapped around her, at once both hard and infinitely gentle. Her eyes drifted closed as she heard the low growl of his voice against the shell of her ear, murmuring soft love words as his fingers threaded through her hair. He closed his eyes and breathed a deep sigh as relief washed through him. "I promise Iíll try to do better about helping out with the wedding. OK?" He felt her slight nod against his hollow of his shoulder as her arms slipped around his middle, pressing the smooth, feminine length of her body against his.

††††††††††† They stood there that way for long moments, simply enjoying being together again after the long week apart, both wanting and needing the physical contact. Alex felt the tension begin to ease away as she relaxed in his embrace, closing her eyes and nuzzling gently against the muscled column of his neck, breathing deeply of the scent that was uniquely Cordell Walker. A masculine blend of aftershave, leather, golden tanned skin,† and warm, muscular man. The familiar feel of his arms around her was oddly soothing, easing her anger, hurt and frustration and leaving her feeling warm and mellow. Nowhere else but here in his arms did she feel so secure, so content.

††††††††††† Walker felt himself drifting, eyes closed, as he lost himself in the feel of the beautiful woman he held close. He was still exhausted, but felt better than he had in a week. Her soft, warm breath on his neck, the gentle, sensual caress of her lips against his skin brought home how much he had missed her...missed this... this past week. He thought about how many nights he had lain there, stiff, tired, and bored with the endless wait. How many times during those long hours his thoughts had drifted to being with Alex, holding her in his arms, feeling the erotically seductive press of her warm, hungry lips against his.....

††††††††††† "Walker?" he was startled out of his daze by the sound of her voice.

††††††††††† "Huh? What?" he drew back to look at her, confusion clouding his face.

††††††††††† "I just asked if you wanted a cup of coffee? As much as Iím enjoying this, you look like youíre about to fall asleep on your feet at any minute." she reached up to touch his cheek with a teasing smile.

††††††††††† "Oh, yeah......That sounds great." he shook his head slightly to clear the cobwebs and released her, admiring the soft melding of faded, butter soft denim against her derriere as she headed into the kitchen to get the coffee. He walked over and sank his weary frame into the cool leather of the couch with a low groan. It felt so good to ease his head back and close his eyes and just let his mind drift for the moment. He heard Alex rattling cups and coffee pot in the kitchen, then the soft tread of her footsteps across the plush carpet. He opened his eyes halfway as he felt the cushion give slightly under her weight and gratefully took the steaming mug she offered him, nodding his thanks with a quick smile. They sipped their coffee in companionable silence for several minutes, simply enjoying the peacefulness of a quiet moment together.

††††††††††† "I saw you made the McGowan bust. Looks like you guys did a pretty thorough job on everything this time, too. How bad was it?" her gaze traveled once again to his bruised cheek and swollen, blackened eye, her expression filled with empathy.

††††††††††† "Pretty bad.....When they finally did show up there was a whole crew of them. A pretty tough bunch too. Some of the usual thugs, but several mercenary types too. We finally got them cleaned out though." he took another sip of the steaming brew, savoring the bitter liquid for a brief moment before swallowing. As he looked up, he caught her watching him, the tenderness and love in her eyes nearly stealing his breath.

††††††††††† "Youíre face looks awful, honey. Are you sure youíre OK?" her voice was soft, her eyes filled with concern.

††††††††††† "Itís just a couple of scrapes and bruises and a black eye. Iíve had a lot worse and lived through it."

††††††††††† Alex slid closer to him on the couch, setting her cup on the coffee table and leaning to rest her head against his shoulder. "I missed you this week, you know." she murmured silkily, her voice low and filled with longing.

††††††††††† He lifted his arm and wrapped it around her shoulders, pulling her into the hollow of his shoulder and brushing a tender kiss against the tawny silk of her hair, watching the play of waning evening light through the window against the golden strands.

††††††††††† †"I missed you too. Thatís the longest stakeout weíd been on in a while. Iíd forgotten how much longer it seems when Iím away from you."

††††††††††† She cuddled closer against him, pulling her bare feet up onto the cool leather of† the couch and rubbing her cheek against the warm, solid wall of his chest. Her hand splayed across† golden skin covering† rippling muscles, her fingers stroking a slow, sensuous pattern in the open vee of his shirt. His heart beat a strong, steady rhythm beneath her touch. He shifted slightly beside her, rolling his shoulders again as if trying to ease the stiffness.

††††††††††† She placed a soft kiss against the corner of his mouth, then smiled up at him invitingly. "How about a massage, Cowboy? You look like you could use one."

††††††††††† "Hmmm....You donít have to ask me twice. I think every muscle in my body aches after sitting around all week waiting on those guys to show up. Besides....you have great hands...." he lifted her hands to his lips with a flirtatious grin, the kissed each fingertip, gently teasing each with his tongue, then turned his face into her palm, allowing her fingers to caress his beard as he placed a last, sensual kiss into her palm. He could feel the slow tremor of arousal licking low in his belly as her fingers skimmed down his neck and across the exposed skin of his chest.

††††††††††† "Why donít you come on in and lay down on the bed. Itíll be easier for me and you can stretch out better than here on the couch." she leaned forward and planted a quick kiss on his forehead as she rose from the couch, offering him her hand.

††††††††††† "Is this still a backrub offer.......or a proposition?" Walker chuckled, taking the proffered hand and getting to his feet.

††††††††††† "Behave yourself, Cowboy. I promised you a massage, and I keep my word!" her expression was chastising, but he could see the mischief dancing in her eyes.

††††††††††† "The proposition didnít sound too bad either....." his voice was soft and deliberately suggestive.

††††††††††† "Walker!...." she took his hand and, laughing, led him toward the master bedroom. As they entered the open doorway, she reached to flip on the light, then walked over and turned on the small clock/radio on the night stand. A slow, country ballad wafted through the air as Walker released the buttons of his maroon shirt, letting the soft chambray slide down over his shoulders and fall on the chair behind him. He settled himself in the chair, lifting a booted foot and offering it to her with a mischievous grin.

††††††††††† "Does this include taking my boots off too?" His chuckle was low and teasing as he nodded toward his raised foot.

††††††††††† "Welllll.....being the nice person that I am.....I suppppooosssee...." she drew out the word as she reached to take hold of his boot, feeling the warmth of his foot through the well worn, doe soft leather. It slipped off easily, followed quickly by its mate.

††††††††††† "Thanks......."† Walker pushed himself up from the chair and moved to the bed, taking his watch off and laying it on the night stand beside the clock. He lowered his aching body face down on the bright, southwest style spread that covered the queen size bed, the soft, cool fabric of the fluffy down comforter warming quickly beneath his skin. He felt the mattress sink beneath Alexís slight weight, then the slide of her slender legs across his thighs as she moved to straddle him, no more than a feathers weight as she settled herself across his denim clad buttocks.

††††††††††† He groaned softly as a sensual rush of pleasure washed through him and moved to turn beneath her. Cool, gentle hands stilled him, keeping him from turning as they began to slowly knead the hard, knotted, aching muscles in his shoulders. A low moan of pleasure came unbidden to his lips and he gave himself over to the pleasurable sensation of her fingers and hands against his flesh, allowing both body and mind to relax beneath her ministrations. Surely he must have died and gone to heaven....

††††††††††† Alex sat straddled across his muscular haunches, leaning forward slightly to work at the knots of tension in the long, muscular expanse of his back and shoulders. Sinewy muscle rippled beneath sun bronzed skin as he moved slightly to place his hands above his head. She moved her hands first to his neck, kneading deeply and firmly against hard, corded muscle there until she felt it begin to relax and give beneath her touch. Her hands continued downward over his shoulders, pressing firmly, palms first, then knuckles, and finally fingers as the kinks and knots released. She concentrated, working steadily, firmly over each muscle, then slipping slowly to the next with a gentle caress as she moved her way down his body, savoring the heat of his skin beneath her touch, the feel of his masculine body beneath hers.

††††††††††† She lost track of time as she continued her slow, steady progress, reaching to stroke down his spine with her fingertips as she worked the knots from his lower back. As her hands continued their ministrations, she felt his slow relaxation beneath her, his breathing slowing and deepening, the tension and strain easing from his body until he lay quietly beneath her.

††††††††††† "Howís that?" she leaned forward to whisper softly in his ear, brushing a gentle kiss against the nape of his neck. Her only answer was the deep, steady rhythm of his breathing, the slow, even rhythm of his heartbeat beneath her hand, the song playing softly on the radio. Her delicate mouth lifted in a tender smile as she looked down at him. She should have known heíd fall asleep as tired as he looked when he got here.

††††††††††† She eased from her position astride him, settling onto the bed next his sleeping form and propped herself on one elbow to watch him as he slept. She reached to gently touch his blackened eye, wincing slightly in sympathy for him as he groaned faintly in his sleep. Her gaze wandered over him, Caribbean blue eyes awash with love and tenderness for this rugged cowboy of hers.

††††††††††† She smiled dreamily as she reached to brush an unruly lock of red-gold hair from his brow, running it between her fingers, reveling in the texture, the silky contrast to the coarser hair of his beard. She allowed her fingers to slide through it again and again, loving the opportunity to simply touch him like this, to be able to caress him, pet him if she chose to do so. She leaned to brush a gentle kiss across his brow. His face lay relaxed in repose, the hard lines of exhaustion easing as he slept peacefully. She traced his features tenderly, caressing the hard planes of his jaw beneath his beard, feeling the steady thud of the pulse in his neck as her touch wandered downward.

††††††††††† Her mouth curved in a soft smile as the slow acoustic strains of an old Dan Seals song drifted from the radio beside the bed. She hadnít heard it in forever but, as she listened to the low mellow rhythm of the guitar, the soft words of the song, it hit her suddenly how much this song reminded her of her and Walker. She closed her eyes, her fingers still toying gently with his hair and quietly sang along.

††††††††††† I always thought you were the best

††††††††††† I guess I always will

††††††††††† I always felt that we were blessed

††††††††††† And I feel that way still

††††††††††† Sometimes we took the hard road

††††††††††† But we always saw it through

††††††††††† If I had only one friend left

††††††††††† Iíd want it to be you

††††††††††† Sometimes the world was on our side

††††††††††† Sometimes it wasnít fair

††††††††††† Sometimes it gave a helping hand

††††††††††† Sometimes we didnít care

††††††††††† ĎCause when we were together

††††††††††† We made the dream come true

††††††††††† If I had only one friend left

††††††††††† Iíd want it to be you

††††††††††† Someone who understands me

††††††††††† And knows me inside out

††††††††††† And helps keep me together

††††††††††† Who believes without a doubt

††††††††††† That I could move a mountain

††††††††††† With someone to tell it to

††††††††††† If I had only one friend left

††††††††††† Iíd want it to be you

The soft notes of the fiddle mingled with the guitar as the smooth baritone of the singerís voice lifted with hers in the final chorus.

††††††††††† ĎCause when we were together

††††††††††† We made the dream come true

††††††††††† If I had only one friend left

††††††††††† Iíd want it to be you

††††††††††† Someone who understands me

††††††††††† And knows me inside out

††††††††††† And helps keep me together

††††††††††† Who believes without a doubt

††††††††††† That I could move a mountain

††††††††††† With someone to tell it to

††††††††††† If I had only one friend left

††††††††††† Iíd want it to be you

††††††††††† As the last soft notes of the song faded, she eased up quietly and reached to retrieve the thick, warm Navajo patterned blanket from the chest at the foot of the bed. Slowly, so as not to wake him, she gently placed the cover over him, pulling it up around his shoulders, then sliding her hands once more over the length of his back. As she reached across him to silence the radio, he shifted in his sleep, twisting himself to lay on his side and slipping one hand under the fluffy down pillow beneath his head.

††††††††††† Unable to bring herself to leave him, she lifted the blanket and slid under it turning her back to him and snuggling up against him spoon fashion. He moved again, his free arm shifting to wrap loosely around her rib cage beneath her breasts, pulling her closer against the solid wall of his chest. Then he was still again, his breathing once more deep and steady, the slow cadence of his heartbeat against her back melding with hers. She covered the hand around her waist with hers, linking her fingers with his and closed her eyes, content to sleep held close in the arms of her cowboy. A slow, sleepy smile spread across her lips as she thought about waking up beside him in the morning. Lifting his hand to her lips for one last tender kiss, her fingers still entwined in his, she wrapped his arm around her securely and allowed peaceful, dreamless sleep to overtake her.

* ďOne FriendĒ written and performed by Dan Seals. From the CD ďDan Seals: In A Quiet RoomĒ, 1995 Intersound, Inc.

ďWalker, Texas RangerĒ and all of itís characters belong to CBS Inc., Norris Brothers Entertainment and other copyright holders. This piece of fiction and itsí author have no connection to any copyright holders that may exist. No infringement is intended. The story is strictly for entertainment. This story may be distributed and copied freely, in itsí entirety, for personal use.†