A note from the author, the second author: The first story you'll find together in this document is titled "Retrospective". It was written by Pam Gooderham and sent out by Patty to the fan fic mailing list way back last August I think. It's a lovely piece...but didn't EXACTLY have the ending I wanted.

Not too long ago, for some reason, the story popped into the front of my mind and I decided it was high time to give "Retrospective" the ending I'd been looking for. I began it just as an exercise for myself, then decided to tell Pam what I was up to. She approved and on I went. Once it was finished, I asked for permission to share it with the list, and again, she kindly agreed. Because her story was sent so long ago, I opted to attach it to mine...for mine makes little sense without the history her story puts behind it. So, here it is--"Retrospective"--and my follow-up--"For All Time"--I hope you enjoy them both!†† WAMsLite@aol.com

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Retrospective

By Pam Gooderham

To this day Alex had no idea what preempted that split second decision which had so radically changed her life.

Everything was the way it had always been, her work, the battered womanís group, her family and friends, and of course, her relationship with Cordell Walker. Maybe that WAS the reason? The fact it was the same?

She had felt fine, not depressed, nor unhappy as such, but as she picked up her purse and snatched up her keys on her way to meet Walker at C.D.'s, she'd stopped abruptly. Her hand on the door handle, it seemed as if she were almost frozen in time before she slowly changed her mind, and replacing her keys and purse on the elegant dresser by the door, Alex's pensive mood continued with a chance glance at her reflection in the mirror.

She scrutinized the person staring back at her.† Her outline.† Her hair. Her face. Her skin.

What quality COULD she be missing that stopped her relationship with Walker from going further, she wondered?

She must be pretty, too many men had commented! She wasn't the smartest woman on the planet, but then again she wasn't the dumbest either. She didn't hate anyone, helped as many people as she could and had a compassionate nature. Walker liked those qualities. What could be missing to stalemate their relationship? How many more years would she need to prop up the bar at C.D.'s, hoping, like a schoolgirl with a crush, for him to walk in?

Inexplicably, she felt foolish. Had others seen her in the same light? Had she been so transparent all these years?

So she had not gone out that evening.

He'd rung out of concern, but she hadn't answered; she'd listened to his message as he spoke, but this time saw it for what it was, a concerned message from one friend to another. That, she conceded, was probably THE deciding moment.

With renewed determination to move her life forward Alex had sent out resumes, been taken-a-back at the response, and the number of job offers she received, and decided, after lengthy research, on a DA's position in Richmond, Virginia.

The subsequent shock waves of her resignation had taken her by surprise. She'd told C.D., Trivette and Walker first of course. They had seemed almost betrayed she had taken it so far without telling them, but they had rallied as they always do. Wished her well and happiness. Walker was as ever, except she did know him too well and she knew he was hurt, but despite her efforts to explain he had shut himself away, as usual.

The final good byes had been agonizing. Worse than she could ever have imagined, even though she had tried to toughen herself up for it. It had been an ordeal beyond her imagination to tear herself away from the man she loved so dearly.†

As her resolve crumbled on the ride to the airport and he had consoled her, she wished from the depth of her soul that he would ask her to stay. The warmth of his body, the strength in his arms, the feel of his beard on her cheek, and ...that last final kiss. She would, at that particular moment in time, have settled for less. An occasional friendship, anything, but to be separated from him.

Perhaps that had been the lowest of all the moments, even the harsh realities that now followed, they couldn't top that. At the end of the day he'd let her go, but she knew his philosophy. Let go and if it was meant to be yours, it'll come back to you.

So she had tried to give it a fair chance, believing absence would make the situation clearer for both of them, while everyday gleefully rehearsing her triumphant return as she opened the door to C.D.ís and walked into that beloved bar to greet them all again. And him.

Now only four months later, Alex fingered the elegant white envelope she'd received a week ago that had caused so much pain and retrospection. She'd read it a million times, knew the wording exactly, but damn it, her fingers couldn't help but yet again slide out the ornate card in the hope of changing fate.

It is with the greatest of pleasure

you are invited to attend the wedding ceremony

Of

Merilee Summers

To

Cordell Walker

Alex replaced the card before she read more and gently propped it to one side. Sitting back in her office chair she fought off yet another tear.

An abrupt knock on the door brought her out of her reverie and she put on a winning smile.

"Come in."

"Excuse me, Alex."

"Yes, Bob?"

"Er. A few of us are leaving now and we wondered if you'd like to join us for a drink."

She smiled at him through the mist in her eyes. Poor man. He was trying so hard. He wasn't bad looking, but, well, it wasn't his fault she was still stuck on a great guy with a red beard.

"Oh Bob. Thank you, but you know, I need a night with my feet up. Thanks for the offer all the same. You have a great weekend."

She saw his shoulders sag slightly and the smile forced back on his face. "You too Alex. Goodnight."

The door closing, Alex stole another glance at the invitation and felt glad she'd already sent a wedding present. Alex smiled. The minute she saw the vase she knew he'd love it. She had intended to take it back with her on her planned visit next month, but in the light of these new developments, had it carefully wrapped and special shipped. She imagined him opening it, his face when he saw it. There's no question he'd like it.

She had only been in Richmond a few weeks when a chance look in the newspaper saw an advertisement for an Authentic Indian Pow Wow, and she had bought it from a representative of the Cherokee Nation.

It was odd. She had to go to that Indian gathering; in fact it was almost desperation to get close to the ancestry that Walker loved so much. All the time she was there she willed the spirits to tell him that she had made a mistake and was looking for a way back. For weeks afterwards she expected him to burst through the door in his inimitable fashion and demand she be his!

Opening her drawer Alex removed a small card from the envelope and deleted appropriately.

"I regret I am unable to attend," she muttered the wording to herself as she completed and signed it, placed it inside the large wedding congratulations card, and sealed them together.

It'll probably be a relief for everyone to know I won't be there, Alex reasoned. One deft throw to her out tray and that was that.

Alex picked up her briefcase, stuffed in the files she'd need to go through this weekend and switched off her table light.

She tried hard to avoid the obvious thoughts that annoyingly refused to leave her mind, and, after wrestling to put on her coat, she opened the door to go home. Light from the corridor streamed through, and Alex looked again at her image reflected in the large window.

What WAS that quality you lacked,

Lost

Absent

Or withheld.

What WAS that spark omit,

Void

Excluded

Or foregone.

What WAS that missing link?

Stopped two hearts ...beat as one....

Walker Texas Ranger and itís characters belong to CBS Inc., Top Kick

Productions and maybe other copyright holders. This story and the author is in no way connected to those copyright holders and intends no infringement on their copyrights. The story is only meant as an entertaining tribute to a great show and itís actors. This story is part of a mailing ring and† may be distributed and copied freely, in its entirety, for personal use. All original author and copyright information must remain intact. Any sales or other uses of this document are expressly forbidden, without the specific consent of the author(s).

======================

For All Time

(a continuation of the story "Retrospective" by Pam Gooderham)

by: WAMsLite@aol.com

††††††††††† Alex tossed and turned, trying almost desperately to let sleep reclaim her. Finally, surrendering, she twisted and looked at the clock on her beside table. Five a.m., way too early, she thought, pulling the covers back over her head in a vain attempt to block out the early morning sun. Why today of all days? Silly question, she knew exactly why she was awake this morning. Much as the blonde would have preferred to spend the day in the oblivion of sleep, it seemed fate had other plans for her.

††††††††††† Walker's wedding day. Not that it should make any difference to her. She wasn't the woman who would be sharing it with him. It wouldn't be her eyes he gazed into and repeated the words of commitment and forever. It wouldn't be her finger he slipped a simple gold band upon as a symbol of his love.

††††††††††† After all the years and all the tears, it had never been her. He'd proved that so easily. First by letting her go. Then by not asking her to come back. And finally, after less than four months, by announcing to the world his intention to marry another.

††††††††††† She knew now with certainty that Alex Cahill had never been any of the things forever meant to him, and it seared to her very soul. Because for her, there would never be another but Cordell Walker.

††††††††††† She'd worked hard at building her new life in Richmond, especially in the month since the invitation to the wedding had arrived. Settling in to her new job and slowly making new friends. An occasional phone call back to Dallas kept her in touch with C.D. or Jimmy, just enough to know all was well. That he was well. And happy.

††††††††††† Neither of her dear friends had pressed when she'd said she wouldn't be able to make it back to Dallas for Walker and Marileeís wedding, accepting without comment her excuses about a heavy workload and the continuing organization involved with her new position. All three knew it was more than that. For so long everyone had thought it would be Alex that the red-bearded Ranger finally invited into his solitary home - and his solitary heart.

††††††††††† But that hadn't been reality. Reality was that Merilee Summers had come back into his life, and with none of the hesitation he'd used with Alex, Walker had soon made room for her in his heart. The lovely blonde was happy for him, truly and deeply, but how could she return to Dallas? Listen to the music of joy on his wedding day when her own shattered heart played a death knell?

††††††††††† Up until the last week she'd been congratulating herself on dealing with it so well. Then, out of the blue, feelings of Walker had swept over her like a flood's raging torrent. It was almost as if he were there. Sometimes Alex was sure if she turned around, she'd see him just behind her. More than once in the last few days she'd forcibly stopped herself from suddenly turning in traffic and returning a route she'd just traveled because she'd imagined having seen the familiar silver-blue Ram somewhere behind her. His memory haunted her. And she knew it wasn't healthy. I have to let this go. I have to find a way to let him go.

††††††††††† Alex checked the beside clock again. Five thirty. In less than nine hours her dreams would die forever, at the moment the rest of Walker's life began. The life he chose to share with Merilee. She closed her eyes almost painfully, trying to force away the memories. And the questions.

††††††††††† What was missing in you, Alex? she asked herself for the hundred-millionth time. What didn't you have that he needed? There were no answers. Would never be any answers. Defeated, Alex covered her face with her hands. Damn you, Walker. Why couldn't you love me? And how am I ever going to make you go away?

††††††††††† With a deep sigh Alex rose from the bed at last. No, fate wouldn't be so kind as to allow her to pass this day blissfully unaware. It would force her to live every moment.

††††††††††† Originally she'd intended to carry on as she always did. Work and home late in the evening to prepare for the next day's work. Usually losing herself in the job gave her peace. But as the wedding day had drifted closer and closer, her focus had begun to evaporate. The strain of trying to forget the date only making it loom larger in her mind.

††††††††††† Two days before, after rushing out of the grocery store because she thought she'd seen a dark hatted Ranger passing by the window, Alex had admitted to herself that she would have to deal with the demons alone. And made the final decision to spend the day trying to place her past in perspective. Trying to find a safe place to store the dreams of what might have been so she could move into the future that would be.

††††††††††† She'd rescheduled appointments, made sure that all the cases and bases were well covered, and taken the day for herself. At least this way if I want to sit in a corner and cry, no one will be there to see, she thought sadly. But it was only last night she'd settled† on a plan. Hiking on the mountain trails in the area outside Richmond would give her a day of solitude, to work things out without distractions.

††††††††††† It wasn't yet six-thirty when the blonde woman grabbed her gear and the supplies she'd prepared and headed out the door.

††††††††††† He was stalking her, and he knew it. For days now he'd stayed just out of her line of sight, but followed the blonde's every move. He didn't want to, but couldn't seem to help himself. Obsession. The word echoed in the dark corners of his mind. Am I obsessed with Alex?

††††††††††† It had begun to override every other consideration, until he'd come to this. Following, watching, feasting on the sight of her in an attempt to save his starving soul. It can't go on. I have to stop. I have to leave her alone. He was about to drive away at last, until Alex stepped out the front door of her apartment building. With a sigh of resignation, he was behind her again. Perhaps this time he'd find the courage to approach, to speak to her, to make her understand.

††††††††††† Alex walked for hours. Away from the easier, more well traveled trails frequented by tourists and what some called 'Sunday strollers'. She wanted to be alone, and headed almost instinctively onto the more isolated and rugged stretches. Stopping occasionally to rest for a moment, or to simply enjoy a particularly lovely view, but some inner part of herself kept urging her forward and farther away from any chance encounters with other climbers. It was past noon before beautiful DA found a spot that satisfied her need for isolation and she settled down at last.

††††††††††† She should have been hungry, yet found no desire to open her pack and remove the sandwich and fruit she'd placed there. Instead she sat on a flat rock warmed by the sun, staring out over the landscape displayed before her. Some time passed before Alex even realized she'd instinctively turned to face the west.

††††††††††† Staying behind her wasn't hard. She was paying attention to her path, but didn't seem concerned with any others that might be around. Silently he followed as the blonde woman worked her way higher up the trail and farther from the places where casual climbers stayed. Though not as well used as the lower and gentler paths, the route she followed was well marked and he had no difficulty staying far enough back so that she remained unaware of his presence. Twice he nearly turned back. She wants to be alone, I should leave her in peace. But each time he found himself instead continuing behind her.

††††††††††† Alex was just in his view when he saw her veer off the path and stare off into the distance. Then she sat down on a large flat rock nearby and sat quietly, continuing to study the view. Cautiously, knowing that now that she wasn't moving any stray sounds he might make would be detectable, he worked closer, staying behind cover of trees and brush. Just a little closer, he thought. I won't disturb her, just be a little closer.

††††††††††† Finally he stopped. He'd found a spot where he could study her profile as she gazed over the landscape before her. His mind whirled. Alex. If only I could talk to you. If only I could find the words to make you understand. He reached a hand out, as if he could caress her cheek from the distance between them. Unconsciously he took a step forward, closer to her, and a twig snapped beneath the errant foot. Startled out of his thoughts, he ducked quickly back behind a large tree.

††††††††††† Alex spun, jolted out of her reverie, the snapping branch echoing loudly in her mind. She peered into the trees and brush in the direction the sound had come from. "Who's there?" she called. When she got no response a terrified lump rose into her throat. Another hiker would simply identify himself and move on, the silence was ominous. "I said, who's there?" she pressed, struggling to keep the fear from her voice. "Come out, right now. We're not that far from the main trails, if I scream others will hear! Now, who's there!"

††††††††††† Knowing that there was no way he could leave without being seen, he stepped from behind the sheltering tree. "It's me, Alex."

††††††††††† The lovely blonde's eyes flew open wide as she covered her mouth with her hand and scrambled from the rock, backing away. "What are you doing here?" Alex questioned quickly, shock evident on her face. "And how did you find me?"

††††††††††† Face reddening, he scuffed at the leaves by his feet, "I followed you this morning. I'm sorry, Alex. I didn't mean to disturb you. I just wanted to see you."

††††††††††† "But...what are you doing here, Walker?" she questioned again more gently. "You're supposed to be in Dallas! It's your wedding day!"

††††††††††† The red-bearded Ranger gazed fully into her startling blue eyes. "There's not going to be any wedding, Alex. I ended it almost a week ago."

††††††††††† "Oh, Walker, I'm so sorry. That must have been very painful for both of you." the blonde sighed sadly, as she turned for a moment to gaze off over the trees. Then she looked at him once more, questioning almost sharply, "You followed me this morning?"

††††††††††† The Ranger took a single step closer, gauging her reaction, "Yeah. I've been here for a few days now. I left Dallas right after I stopped the wedding. I planned to go to the badlands, to clear my head. I wound up here."

††††††††††† Alex's eyes were troubled, "You've been here several days? Why didn't you call me before?"

††††††††††† He scuffed at the leaves with his boot again, "I wanted to Alex. But I didn't know what to say on the phone. And I was afraid you wouldn't even talk to me. I needed to see you, but wasn't sure you'd let me after all I've done." The red-bearded Ranger took another step closer, carefully, "I have something I needed to give you, Alex."

††††††††††† When she didn't answer, he slowly walked up til he was standing directly in front of the beautiful woman. Reaching into his jeans pocket, he pulled something out and pressed it gently into her hand.

††††††††††† Looking down, Alex saw she was now holding his badge. "Your Ranger star? I don't understand, Walker."

††††††††††† He gazed deeply into her eyes, "I can't wear it anymore, Alex. It lost it's meaning for me when you left." Hesitantly, he reached out and took one of her hands, then pulled her into a tight embrace. "I'm sorry, Alex," he whispered huskily, "I just can't make it without you."

††††††††††† Engulfed in his strong arms, Alex sighed, wishing they could simply undo the past months and begin again. But she knew it wasn't possible. The damage had been done. She drew back slightly and looked softly at his face, before hugging him again, "I'm sorry, too, Walker."

††††††††††† He saw the farewell in her face, knew the meaning behind the words. Had even expected them to come. The hurt ran too deep to simply smooth away with a hug and an apology. But I can't lose her again, his heart protested. I've got to find a way. The decision was made in that instant.

††††††††††† Alex wasn't aware of one of his arms leaving her shoulders until she felt the hard steel pressed to her ribcage. Her eyes flew open, but before she could speak the gunshot rang out. Pain and shock knifed through her as she stared at him in utter confusion. "Wal....Walker?"

††††††††††† The lovely blonde's knees buckled, and the Ranger gently slid to the ground, still holding her comfortingly. Setting his gun on the rock beside them, he cradled her tenderly as she began to tremble, unasked questions looming large in her eyes. "I'm sorry, Alex. I can't lose you again," he tried to explain as she began to gasp softly for air, feeling her life ebb away.

††††††††††† Reaching into his shirt pocket, Walker pulled out a pair of gold wedding bands. One he slid on his own finger, then he took her left hand and slipped the second on her ring finger. "With this ring, I thee wed," he whispered, bending to seal the vow with a kiss. An instant later, Alex was still.

††††††††††† Tears streamed freely down his face. He caressed her cheek, smoothing the signs of pain from her expression as he eased her eyes shut for the last time. "We'll never be apart again, Alex, I promise. I'll always be with you." He reached for the gun beside him once more, conscious now of the shouting voices approaching.

††††††††††† A second shot rang out just moments before three men burst into the clearing to find a red bearded man still cradling a beautiful blonde woman in his arms, the front of his shirt crimson from the blood of the bullet to his own heart. In the leaves by the couple's side they found his gun, and the star shaped badge that had slipped from her lifeless fingers.

††††††††††† Six weeks later, Trivette stood beside a park warden studying the clearing where the lives of his two best friends had ended in tragedy. He didn't have to be told where it had happened. There'd been pictures in the paper. And a dark brownish stain on the rock his partner had leaned against as he held Alex testified to the lifeblood shed there.

††††††††††† A single tear slipped down his cheek. "I let them both down," he whispered. "I should have thought to look here in Richmond. I should have known Walker would come to Alex. After we found Marileeís body, and with him gone, we just assumed he'd headed for the badlands."

††††††††††† The fair haired park guide placed a comforting hand on the young Ranger's shoulder. "You can't hold yourself to blame, Ranger Trivette. No one can know when something like this will happen, no one can stop it. It just happens sometimes."

††††††††††† The black Ranger took off his white Stetson, wiping the tear from his face as he did so. "I should have warned Alex. I should have told her what had happened. I thought not telling her was kinder, not letting her know that Walker had lost it and killed Merilee. But if I had...If I had she might have stood a chance. If she'd been prepared. She could have kept him from breaking completely. Alex could have done it. Walker could never say no to Alex."

††††††††††† Trivette turned to look once more at the boulder that had supported his friend at the last. The stain on the stone was compelling, he couldn't seem to take his eyes from it. Was it just his imagination? Or did the dark patch truly take the shape of a heart?

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Okay! Okay! Don't shoot me! You have to admit it's the Ultimate WAM don't you? I mean really? WAM--BLAM!!! hahahhahah

But in all honesty, this is not the story I intended to write. When it was begun, and when I first spoke to Pam about it, it was to be a 'fix it' - I wanted the ending that Retrospective should have had, but didn't! Halfway through it, I was overtaken by a truly evil impulse and just had to write a story guaranteed to make Pam yell as loud as I did when I first read hers, and realized that not only had she separated Walker and Alex, but had engaged him to - of all people - Merilee Summers (affectionately referred to by at least one, who's name I'll omit, as 'that guttersnipe'! HaHaHaHa)

Now when I yelled, Pam admitted she'd written her story for just that reason. Because she's the consummate WAM fan, she thought it would be fun to see the reaction if she broke her favorite couple in two. Now, I ask you, given that her story was a practical joke - could I ignore the voice in the back of my head that said she needed a dose of her own medicine? :-) I didn't think so!

For those of you who are completely devastated by this terrible turn of events, rest assured it's just in fun! write me at WAMsLite@aol.com and I'll send you a copy of the story I intended to write when this began!

Walker Texas Ranger and itís characters belong to CBS Inc., Top Kick

Productions and maybe other copyright holders. This story and the author is in no way connected to those copyright holders and intends no infringement on their copyrights. The story is only meant as an entertaining tribute to a great show and itís actors. This story is part of a mailing ring and† may be distributed and copied freely, in its entirety, for personal use. All original author and copyright information must remain intact. Any sales or other uses of this document are expressly forbidden, without the specific consent of the author(s).