This story came to me after listening to Lorrie Morgan's song, 'Out of Your Shoes tonight'. We all have a thing for Walker, so why couldn't someone, maybe a friend of Alexs', right there in Dallas, have fallen in love with him, too? But out of friendship for Alex, she has never let her feelings show. Let's put ourselves in her shoes just for a little while.

Right Man, Wrong Time
By Vonnie (sissy@svs.net)

"Oh, God, why did I come back?" She sits in her car, watching the man climb from the truck, moving in a way that has always turned her on. When she sees a small sports car pull up behind the truck, the man turns and seeing the driver of the car, his face lights up. (Alex!) Jennifer sees him take her in his arms, give her a tender kiss, then both turn and go inside. (God, why couldn't I be her.)

She drops her head against her hands on the steering wheel, remembering the first time she had ever seen the bearded Ranger. It was five years ago today. Right here, the only difference being, Alex hadn't been here.

Alex was her best friend. They had gone through some difficult times, right out of college, and leaning on each other, both had survived bad marriages, but had thrived as lawyers. Alex had finally become the ADA of Tarrant County and she had joined a prestigious law firm in Ft. Worth, eventually becoming a full partner. Hearing about Alex's crush on a certain cowboy, Jennifer had come to C.D.'s to meet see Alex and meet her cowboy.

When she had entered the Bar and Grill she glanced around but Alex hadn't arrived yet. Moving to the bar, she stumbled over the foot of a man just rising from a table. He had reached out to catch her, and had apologized, "I'm sorry, I wasn't watching." And he had wrapped his arms around her holding her tight. His touch had sent shock waves through her that left her numb.

When he released her, she had moved shakily to a booth, but sat where she could watch him. She couldn't take her eyes off of him. A magnificent specimen of the male species. Tight jeans, that he filled out completely leaving little to her imagination. The shirt did little to hide the muscled chest and stomach. And in the vee of his shirt she could see a glorious mat of soft curling hair. (God, I always did have a thing for hairy men.)

She had sat and watched him for at least thirty minutes, hoping Alex would take her time. She was seriously thinking of making a play for this guy. Only then did she take her eyes from him, as she glanced around the room. (He's the best looking one in here. Seems to be well-liked, everyone speaks to him. She brings her eyes back to the bearded cowboy, only to see him walking toward her. Her heartbeat picked up and she felt the heat rising. "Are you Jennifer?"

After several embarrassing seconds she finally found her voice, "Yes."

"There's a phone call for you." He turned pointing at the bar, "the phones over there."

"Thank you." God, his voice, deep, rugged! Man, I'm sinking deeper and deeper.

The "Hello," comes out squeaky. Whoa, my voice is in worse shape than I am.

"Jennifer? This is Alex. Are you all right? You sound funny."

"No," a cough, "I'm fine. What's up, girl?"

"Jennifer, I hate to do this to you but I'm going to be tied up in court all afternoon. If you'll come by my office, my secretary will give you a key to my place. I should be out of here by four, maybe a little earlier."

"Sure, I can do that. I'd like to freshen up anyway. Permission to make myself at home?"

"Don't be silly. Of course you have permission. I've got to go. I'll be there as soon as I can. Bye."

"Bye, Alex." She turned around looking for her cowboy, but he was gone.

When she had picked up Alex's apartment key at her office, she noticed the Texas Ranger Headquarters door just down the hall. Curious, she had pushed the door open and looked inside. As her eyes surveyed the room, she gulped as she saw her cowboy at a desk in the far corner, talking another man. She backed out and letting the door swing shut, leaned against the wall, trying to calm down her heart. (Someone's trying to tell me something.) Just then the door is pushed open, and only able to get her hand up to block it, the door connects bringing a grunt from her.

"Oops! Oh, you again. I'm sorry." Jennifer looked up to see her cowboy smiling at her. The way he looked at her was sending jolts of fire shooting through her. "Are you hurt?"

"Umm no, I'm alright. I guess I shouldn't stand behind doors, huh?"

He flashed another smile at her, and said, "No, I guess you shouldn't." He tipped his hat and continued on down the hall to the elevator.

At Alex's place she placed her suitcase on the bed, took out her robe and went into the bathroom. She was having a hard time coping with the memory the cowboy had left her with. She could still feel his eyes on her, could still hear his voice. (Damn, I've never had a man affect me like that. What if he's married? Nope, no ring, first thing I noticed.) After she had taken a shower she had lain down on the bed, and fallen asleep. And dreamed of making love to her cowboy.

Jennifer had been pulled from her dream with Alex shaking her. "Come on, Jennifer, get dressed, there's someone I want you to meet. Jennifer had quickly dressed, not taking the time to tell Alex about the guy she had met and lost her heart to.

*****

When they had entered C.D.'s, Jennifer took a deep breath, she felt the heat building in her lower half. Because, there was her cowboy! And he was looking her way, smiling. But something is wrong. He isn't looking at her! He's looking at Alex! Her best friend! (Oh, please don't let it be!) She felt her heart hit bottom. She took a deep, hitching breath and dropped back as Alex moved up to the cowboy, he slipped his arm around her waist, and through the pounding in her head, she could hear Alex as she said, "Jennifer, this is Ranger Cordell Walker."

"Darling, this is Jennifer Coulton, my dearest friend."

"I think Jennifer and I have already met. Twice to be exact." Jennifer stood there wondering how she was going to get through the evening. She listened as Walker explained their meeting, then had watched as the two of them had danced cheek to cheek, had watched the looks of love pass between them, and had even seen a few intimate caresses under the table. (Why couldn't that be me? Why can't I be the one to turn him on?) And her heart had shriveled up little by little as the night wore on. When Alex had asked about her quietness, she gave the excuse of not feeling well, maybe coming down with something. She had given Alex a kiss on the cheek and told the cowboy that she was glad to meet him, but she thought she'd go back to Alex's place, take some aspirin and turn in early. She had insisted that Alex stay and enjoy herself and she would see her later. Alex had given Jennifer her car keys, saying Walker would bring her home.

Jennifer had undressed, pulled on a gown and slipped into bed within minutes of arriving back at Alex's apartment. Then she let go, and cried. Deep racking sobs, until she fell asleep. Then the dream began. Only this time it wasn't her that the cowboy was making love to, it was Alex.

She tossed and turned most of the night, so she had heard when the cowboy delivered Alex back home. She had heard the declarations of love said between them, the kisses, the uneven breathing and then the good nights.

*****

The next morning, as she listened to Alex talk about her Ranger, had heard the deep abiding love for him in her voice. No, he hadn't proposed yet, but she would wait. "Forever if need be, unless," and she had shuddered when she said it, "he declared his love for someone else."

Over the next month, Jennifer had seen Alex fall apart when she had gotten word that Walker was on the way to the hospital. Shot stabbed or for a broken bone. She had watched Alex follow the man to the ends of the earth with nothing more than a warm smile and a tender touch for her concern.

She had held her, crying like her heart was broke, when that singer had shown up and Walker's emotions had been swayed. But then after the singer had gone, Alex had turned right around to forgive and forget, wanting to win Walker back.

Their relationship bloomed not long after that, and she figured it was only a matter of time before Walker proposed to Alex. Then his long ago love interest came to the surface, causing more untold misery for Alex. And she had sat and listened to Alex trying to come to terms with vying with a dead woman for Walker's affections. She had cried and talked many a night over that, but then their relationship seemed to come out all that much stronger.

Jennifer had been at her side all those times but no one was at her side, and she had felt the pain every bit as much as Alex did. She couldn't take it any longer, so she had told Alex she had an offer to join a law firm in New York and was leaving Texas.

She was in loved with the bearded Texas Ranger, but her close ties to Alex prevented her from trying to steal him away from her, besides she knew she didn't have a chance anyway. She knew Walker loved Alex long before he ever said the words. Damn, most of Dallas knew it, everyone except the big man himself.

But now, it seems, he has proposed. When Alex had called and told her about it, she had sounded deliriously happy. She had begged Jennifer to come back for the engagement party. Had wanted her best friend to be a part in her happiness. And reluctantly, Jennifer had agreed to come. Even though she knew she was still in love with him. But, she couldn't disappoint Alex, so she had come. And had vowed she would be happy for her.

She checked her face in the mirror, applied what makeup was needed to hide the tears, and gotten out of her car. She walked across the street, took a deep breath, pasted a smile on her face and pushed the door open.

God, help me make it through this without falling apart.

The End