SEQUEL

TO

WHAT LOVE CAN BRING

by Jennifer

 

 

It was early afternoon as Walker steered the Ram toward the ranch. He didn't normally take off work early, but his wife needed him. Oh, she didn't call him to ask him to call home. No, he felt that she needed him and needed time away from it all, so when the opportunity arose, he quickly took advantage of it.

 

Alex was now 9 months pregnant and had only 2 weeks to go until her due date.  She stopped working a week ago and spent her days getting the ranch ready for the baby.  Lately though, she had been rather moody and testy. Walker knew the late stage of the pregnancy was getting to her, so he took her mood swings in stride, and showed her nothing but love, even when her moods took a swing at him. This opportunity to take Alex "away from it all" came up all of a sudden and he was thankful for it. He wasn't sure how much more he could take. 

 

C.D.'s friend, Hank Cotton, owner of Sawtooth Lodge in Sawtooth Park, had called C.D. to tell him that he needed someone to take care of the lodge for a few days while he and his son Bobby went to a Park Rangers conference. The park and the lodge itself were closed for the summer season for the first time ever due to a fire at the park's campground. They would be the only people at the park, and that suited Walker just fine. Alex needed the peace and quiet.

 

Walker parked the Ram and hurried into the house, calling for Alex as he entered. Not hearing her respond, he headed for the back door thinking she was probably out back doing her favorite activity of late…gardening. 

 

Exiting the back door, he called out "Alex, I¼" and stopped when he saw she wasn't in the garden. Looking quickly about he spotted her asleep in the hammock. A smile crossed his face as he walked toward her. He stood next to the hammock, gazing down at her for a few moments, thinking to himself how beautiful she was. She was beautiful to begin with, ‘but even more beautiful while carrying our baby’, he thought. She was wearing only a large shirt that he had bought just for her. She preferred to wear his shirts around the house and when she slept, but with the pregnancy, she had grown too large for his. So, he bought a shirt large enough to fit her through the pregnancy and wore it himself for several days, so that his scent would permeate the fabric.  He thought she looked so peaceful as she slept, lying on her side with her arm cradling her rounded belly, her hair blown over her face by the slight breeze.

 

As he gazed at her he reached out to brush away the hair that had fallen over her face, and the smile on his face was immediately replaced with a look of concern. He took in the puffiness on her face, especially around her eyes, and noticed the ball of tissues held tightly in her hand.  From the look of her face, he knew she had cried quite a bit and hoped to God that it wasn't anything he had done to make her cry.  He softly touched the wetness still lingering on her cheeks, and bent down to tenderly kiss her lips.

 

As his warm lips touched hers, she instinctively deepened the kiss, her eyelids fluttering open.  As her eyes focused in on his ruggedly handsome face a warm smile graced her beautiful face.

 

Tenderly caressing her cheek, Walker softly said, "You've been crying."

 

Immediately Alex's eyes began to water as her emotions got the better of her again.

 

"What's the matter, hon?" Walker softly inquired, his brow furrowing in concern.

 

Tears began to fall down her face as she answered, "I¼I don't know, Walker." He lovingly wiped the tears away with his fingers as she continued, "It’s just that...that…I just want to hold our baby!"

 

His heart went out to her, he knew the long months of the pregnancy were getting to her again. "You will soon, hon. Just two more weeks to go."

 

"Or more. You know what people say about first babies," she muttered as another tear escaped her eyes.

 

He kissed the tear away tenderly, then smiled and said "I have a surprise for you." He knew she liked surprises and hoped it would cheer her up.

 

It worked. Alex's eyes opened a little wider and her lips turned up slightly in a smile and she leaned up a little on her elbow. "What is it?" she whispered with a hint of excitement in her tone.

 

"Well, do you remember C.D.'s friend, Hank Cotton, and his son Bobby?"

 

"Sure I do. They own the lodge at Sawtooth Park." Her eyebrows narrowed, her voice went up a few octaves, "But Walker, if you plan on inviting them to stay here, you're mistaken, because I don't have the time¼" Her words were interrupted by a kiss planted squarely on her lips.

 

He knelt down beside the hammock, "Relax Alex, they aren't coming here. About a month and a half ago several acres of the woods were burned when a careless camper let a campfire get out of control. Along with several acres of woods, two cabins were burned."

 

A look of confusion crossed Alex's face. "I don't get it, Walker. This is supposed to be good news?"

 

"Its okay Alex, not too much burned. However, due to the fire, the park is closed for the season. Since the park is closed, Hank is going to accompany Bobby to the Park Ranger's conference in Denver. So, he called C.D. to see if he would stay at Sawtooth Lodge to keep an eye on the place."

 

"The surprise is C.D. going away? I'm sorry Darling, I still don't¼" she was shushed as Walker placed a finger on her lips.

 

"C.D. felt you could use the time away and offered the lodge to us. We'll be able to spend the rest of the week, and the weekend there…alone. No campers, no felons, no courts, no

arrest warrants…nothing but us and nature." He gazed into her shining eyes and bent to softly kiss her, his hand creeping under her shirt to caress her belly. "The baby isn't due for two more weeks, we'll get your doctor's permission. What do you say, Alex? Want to go?"

 

"There's nothing I'd rather do than spend several days alone with you. You're sure there won't be any felons around?" she teased, given their past history on vacations.

 

"Guaranteed," he smiled. "Lets go inside and call Hank and Dr. McFarlin. He rose from his kneeled position, and taking her hands, helped her out of the hammock. Arm in arm they walked to the house.

 

The next morning found Walker up before the sun. He wanted to get an early start on their vacation. After taking care of the horses, and calling C.D. and Trivette to finalize plans for taking care of the ranch, he placed their bags in the Ram and went to wake Alex. He crept silently into the room, and as he did the day before, kissed her softly to awaken her. "Time to wake up, Alex," he whispered as she opened her eyes. "Sun's up."

 

"But Walker, its so early!" she moaned as she attempted to roll over to her other side.

 

'Uh uh, Alex. Remember…Sawtooth Lodge," he said as he reached out to stop her rolling over.

 

Immediately Alex became more awake and she struggled to sit up, her size hampering her efforts. Grabbing her arms, Walker helped her to sit. "Everything's ready, I'm just waiting on you."

 

"Well, wait no more, Cowboy!" Alex exclaimed as she swung her legs over the side of the bed and scooted to the edge, then standing. "I'll be ready in a jiffy," she called over her shoulder as she made her way to the bathroom, taking off the shirt she wore as she walked away.

 

"I'll make breakfast while you get dressed," he called to her retreating back. He smiled as he caught sight of her nude backside when her shirt floated to the floor.

 

Half an hour later breakfast had been eaten, the dishes washed, and they were on their way to Sawtooth Lodge.

 

As they arrived at the lodge, Hank and Bobby were placing their bags in the park's jeep.

Walker exited the Ram first and went around to help Alex out. He was always there to open doors for her, but since she became pregnant, he was even more attentive to her as she climbed in and out of the Ram. Alex got out with her hands on her back, trying to rub the soreness away.

 

"Back hurting, hon?" Walker asked in a hushed tone.

 

"Yes", then noting the look of concern on Walker's face, "Don't worry Darling, I'll be fine," she whispered back.

 

"Walker! So good to see you again!" Hank exclaimed as he reached Walker and Alex, extending his hand to shake Walker's. "What’s it been, two or three years?"

 

"Too long, Hank," Walker replied as he shook Hank's hand. "Do you remember my wife?" he continued as he placed his arm around Alex's shoulders.

 

"Sure do. Only you weren't 'Mrs. Walker' then. How are you, Alex?"

 

"I'm…okay," Alex replied with a smile, placing her hands on her abdomen. "Just ready for our baby to arrive. I'm looking forward to some peace and quiet."

 

Just then, Bobby walked up. "Not to worry, Mrs. Walker, you'll get plenty of that here. No one around for miles."

 

"Wish I could say I was sorry for the fire, but I'm glad there won't be anyone to bother us." Alex stated, smiling impishly.

 

Bobby smiled and then turned to Hank, "Dad, we need to get going. Denver is a long way

away."  Taking his father by the arm, they waved goodbye and headed for their jeep.

 

Walker and Alex stood arm in arm watching them leave.  As Hank and Bobby drove out of sight, Walker turned to Alex, and kissed her. "Well, hon, we're all alone. What would you like to do first?"

 

"Make lunch," she answered, then seeing his face at her unexpected decision, she laughed. "I'm hungry!" Shaking his head, Walker turned to unload their things from the Ram as Alex went inside to prepare lunch.

 

After lunch, Alex napped for an hour, then feeling refreshed, changed into a short yellow summer dress and slipped sandals on her feet.  Catching a glimpse of herself in the mirror, she grimaced at her size, stuck her tongue out at her reflection, and went in search of her husband…finding him on the back porch.

 

Walker looked up as she came through the back door, letting the screen door slam shut.

"You look nice, hon," he said appreciatively as his gaze wandered from the golden tresses that framed her beautiful face, over the yellow dress, and down her shapely legs. God how he loved it when she wore dresses and skirts that showed off her legs!

 

"Nice, hah!" Alex muttered in reply. "I look like a whale." She walked over to stand at the porch railing.

 

'Uh oh, I smell a mood' he thought to himself, 'better nip this one in the bud.' Getting up, he embraced her from behind, placing his hands on her abdomen. Kissing her neck, he said softly, "You do NOT look like a whale. You look like a beautiful woman about to have a baby…my baby." Turning her around, he kissed her tenderly, then continued, "I thought you were beautiful when I first saw you, standing in front of me in the courtroom …those clear blue eyes staring at me. I thought you were even more beautiful the day I married you."  Pausing to kiss her again, he wiped the tears that escaped, and continued softly, "And now…carrying our baby…I don't think it would be possible for you to be more beautiful than you are now."

 

"I love you!" Alex exclaimed, wrapping her arms around his neck as more tears of happiness fell.

 

Pulling back from her embrace, he placed his hands on both sides of her face, kissing her softly. One hand drifted down to her neck, resting on her shoulder as his thumb softly caressed her face. "How about we take a walk before it gets dark?" Alex merely nodded her acceptance of his idea, his loving words still affecting her emotionally. Walker took her hand as they stepped from the porch, on his face was a smile of triumph…another mood successfully bypassed.

 

After about 45 minutes of walking Alex's back began to hurt. She tried to ignore the dull ache for a while, not wanting Walker to worry, but as the dull ache persisted she finally gave up and reached around herself to rub her own back with the knuckles on her fingers.

 

"You okay, Alex?" Walker questioned, concern beginning to etch on his face.

 

"I'm fine, Darling" she replied in a light tone, "My back is just a little sore, that’s all."

 

He looked at her suspiciously, not sure if he should believe her. She smiled back at him, so he relented. "Ok, if you say so." And they continued walking.

 

However, Alex wasn't fine and the dull ache in her back continued off and on for the next fifteen minutes or so. As they came upon a small lake, Walker coaxed Alex into taking a rest. "Come on, hon. Sit down over here and I'll massage your back for you."

 

Never one to refuse a massage, Alex smiled at Walker and with his help, sat down on the grass.  He sat behind her, pulled her dress out from underneath her, and unbuttoning it down to her waist, slipped it off her shoulders so it pooled at her belly, so he could massage her bare back. His hands deftly worked the fastening on her bra, and he slipped it down her arms and off. She held onto the bra as he began to gently knead her back. As he gently worked the sore muscles in his beautiful wife's back, his mind went back to a time when it was Alex that worked the muscles on his own back. He smiled and chuckled at what almost happened that day.

 

Alex's eyes were closed as she enjoyed his gentleness, and they opened as she heard him chuckle. "What?" she quietly asked, a smile pulling at the corners of her mouth.

 

"I was just remembering that night in the locker room. You remember, hon…that night?"

 

"Oh yeah," she smiled, a slow blush coloring her face. "I remember."

 

Walker had been at the gym working out with Trivette.  Trivette had challenged him to a few rounds in the ring, thinking that his new workout regimen could pump him up enough to finally win a round with his partner. Before that, he and Alex had a quiet dinner, and then afterward she dropped him at the gym while she went shopping for baby clothes. She was to pick him up when she was finished. After two hours of perusing the infant and maternity sections of Dillard's, Alex arrived at the gym to pick up her husband. They had only been apart for two hours, but Alex had missed his presence. Lately her hormones had been getting the better of her, she couldn't seem to get enough of her ruggedly handsome husband, of his muscular body. Not that he minded. No siree, he quite enjoyed her attentions.

 

Alex entered the gym and looked around for Walker. She didn't see him in the ring, or anywhere in the gym itself, the lights were dimmed and it was quiet. She went to the men’s locker room and stood outside for a moment. Quietly, she opened the door and listened, hearing the shower being cut off. Hearing only one set of footsteps, she knew it had to be Walker and that he was alone in the gym. Pushing the door open, she quietly followed the sound of the lone occupant of the room. She found her husband in the last row of lockers, his back to her as he dried himself off. She crept up to him and wrapped her arms around his waist from behind.

 

He wasn't surprised when the pair of arms wrapped around his waist, for he had sensed her approach, and smelled the soft scent of her perfume. He secured the towel around his waist and turned in her arms. Kissing her lightly on the forehead he lightly admonished, "Don't you know, women aren't allowed in here?"

 

"No?" She looked up at him with a demure smile. Her hands dropped from his back to his bottom, squeezing the cheeks. "Want me to leave?”

 

"Well, I didn't say that." Indicating the bench with a nod of his head, "Why don't you sit down while I finish getting dressed?"

 

Alex wasn't quite ready for him to get dressed. She ran her hands back up his body to his muscular shoulders. "Um…why don't you sit down on the bench and I'll massage your shoulders."

 

He knew her intent, he could see it in her eyes, and his heart began to beat faster. His mind thought for a second about the fact that they were in a public place, but never one to refuse a massage, especially one given by his wife, Walker quickly relented. He sat down on the bench, straddling it, the towel opening just a little. Alex kicked off her high-heeled shoes and straddled the bench behind him, standing up as she began the massage. Her hands deftly worked the muscles of his shoulder, the motions swiftly becoming sensuous. 

 

Walker always enjoyed her massages, but this time it was more than his shoulders that enjoyed her ministrations. His body began responding to her nearness when she first embraced him, his heart beat faster when he saw the desire in her eyes, and now that her motions were more sensuous, his growing desire for her was more than apparent. His hardened manhood now peeked through the opening in the towel and the muscles in his face twitched as he fought to maintain control. Normally, he would've taken his wife by now, but they were in a public place, albeit alone.

 

Alex had noticed how the towel opened a little when he sat down, and as she massaged his shoulders, she often peered over his shoulder at his muscular thighs, longing to be massaging them instead. Unbeknownst to Walker, she licked her lips as she saw his desire for her standing straight and proud, no longer covered by the towel. Her hands left his shoulders and drifted down his chest, lingering for a few moments in his chest hair. As her hands drifted further south, her face was so close to his that he could feel her breath on his ear as she whispered huskily, "I see you're enjoying this, Darling."

 

His response choked on his lips when her hand reached down and grasped the hardened steel of his maleness. "Alex!" he finally breathed, his tone a mixture of desire and surprise.

 

Alex ran her hand up and down the length of his desire, then let go and came around, sitting in his lap. Their faces mere inches from each other, she smiled demurely, passion so evident in her eyes. "What?" she asked innocently as her hands caressed the soft hair on his chest.

 

"We're in the locker room, hon."

 

"So" she breathed. "I want you," she ended as she placed her lips over his and began to kiss him with an unrestrained passion. He kissed her back, his arms wrapping around her waist, his hands caressing her back. He wanted her, wanted to make love to her, but they were in the locker room. Anyone could come in, so he kept himself in check.

 

The kiss ended and they stared into each others eyes. It was when Alex softly whispered "Make love to me," that he lost that ounce of self-control he was holding onto. He placed one arm around her legs, the other still around her waist. He stood up a slightly with her in his arms, and then gently lay her down on the bench.

 

He leaned over her and kissed her lips as her hands reached up to remove his towel, his erection now fully revealed to her appreciative eyes. He reached down and running his hand up underneath her skirt, he removed her pantyhose. His hands then reached for her top, and he quickly slipped it over her head. Alex silently thanked herself for donning a front hooking bra that day as Walker reached for the hook, quickly unfastening it.

 

He gazed down at his wife, noting how beautiful she was, how desirable…her legs were bare, her breasts were bare, her bra still dangling from her shoulders. "Please, Walker!" she whispered, unable to wait any longer to feel him completely fill her.

 

In one swift motion he pushed her skirt up to her waist, and easily entered her, she was so moist and ready. Alex's feminine groan of satisfaction filled his ears. He began to thrust slowly as her legs wrapped around his waist. She brought her arms up over her head to grasp the sides of the bench, to keep herself steady as he moved in and out. With one hand on the bench above Alex's head to brace himself,  Walker bent down and took a breast into his mouth, suckling it as the other hand caressed and reshaped her other breast.  She whimpered when he let go of her breast, the whimper stifled when he kissed her soundly. He moved down to take the other breast into his mouth, suckling it as he had done the other, and at the same time quickening the pace. It was Alex's soft sighs of pleasure that now filled his ears.

 

Suddenly the door opened and they both froze. It was Trivette's voice they heard next.

"Walker!"

 

A pause. Walker couldn't hold himself still anymore, his desire for his wife was so great. He continued to thrust, but at a slower pace, gritting his teeth to control himself as his body screamed for the climactic end.

 

"Walker! You in here?"

 

Walker felt Alex's climax begin, felt her muscles begin to contract around his manhood. Immediately he covered her mouth with his own, to stifle her cries of ecstasy.

 

"Damn. Must not be in here." The two lovers heard the door close and the footsteps walk away.

 

Walker gave one last powerful thrust and he came with a passionate masculine moan, spilling his seed within his wife as his hips still moved slowly against her. As he came down from the high of his climax, when he finally stopped thrusting, he looked down at his flushed wife. Her lips were swollen from his kiss, her eyes glazed over with passion, but she held a devilish smile on her lips.

 

"Alex," he whispered, "What got into you? We almost got caught!" He finished with a chuckle, withdrew and pulled her up to a sitting position, hugging her to him, her head on his chest.

 

"I don't know Darling, just…saw your body…and well, I couldn't help myself!"

 

He smiled. "Life with you is always an adventure," he murmured, kissing her tenderly.

 

"Do you remember the look on Trivette's face when we both came out of the gym together." Walker laughed. They had thought he'd left, but instead he had still been there looking around for him.

 

"Yeah. I guess it didn't help matters that I was holding my pantyhose and shoes in my hands as we walked to the car." They both laughed heartily at the recollection of Trivette's reaction. As the memory ended and they were brought back to the present, Walker's hands moved from her back to cup her breasts, feeling their increased weight. This was one of his more favorite aspects of what the pregnancy did to his beautiful wife. He began to kiss her neck, the passion of the memory still with him.

 

Alex turned her head and their lips met in a kiss, the kiss turning from tender to passion filled. Seeking to enact what they had just finished remembering, Alex gently pushed Walker down onto the grass as the kiss wore on. When her lips left his, she moved her hands down his body, unbuttoning his shirt, then the fastening on his jeans. His hardness strained against the denim of his jeans as she ran her hand down its length. She then stood next to him and he sat up, his hands reaching up under her dress to draw her panties down. She knelt back down and drew his jeans and underwear over his hips to his knees, bringing a gasp from him when she bent her head to wrap her lips around the warm pulsing staff that stood at attention.

 

"Alex, please," it was his turn to utter as the passion consumed him.

 

Alex's lips left his manhood and she moved over him, straddling his hips. Slowly she lowered herself onto his erect shaft, biting her lip, her head thrown back. She began to ride as she settled him deep inside her body. His hands drifted from her thighs up to her breasts, to cup them once again. Bringing her head back up she peered into his eyes, and gazes locked, they continued their loving rhythm.

 

Walker moved his hands down and slipped them under her dress to caress her belly. Then as the passion within them climbed to greater heights, he moved his hands to her hips, moving her back and forth, bringing her to an orgasm so intense she cried out his name over and over. His own cry mingled with hers as he erupted into her with such force that his hips came up off the ground.

 

Their mutual climax waned and they coasted back down to earth, Alex moved to his side laying down in his arms, propping her belly against him. When he felt their baby kicking him, he pushed her dress up over her waist, placing his hand against her bare belly. He saw her wince. "You okay, Alex?

 

"Well…my back is hurting again. Guess the…um…activity…didn't help much," she grinned through the wince.

 

Standing up, he pulled his jeans up and helped her off the ground. "Come on, let’s get you back to the lodge.” Looking up, he noticed the dark clouds gathering in the distance, “It looks like its going to rain." He reached out to help button her dress after she put her bra back on. "When we get back, you take a hot shower and then I'll massage your back again."

 

She turned and looked up at him with such a love in her eyes that he felt his heart swell even more with his own love for her. He had been so attentive during her pregnancy, especially the last month, and he always seemed to know what she needed. "I love you Walker," she murmured, as he tucked her under his shoulder, his arms around her shoulders. Arm in arm they walked back to the lodge, Alex frequently rubbing her back.

 

By the time they got back to the lodge, the wind had picked up and the air smelled of rain. As soon as she walked through the door, Alex went upstairs to shower. She stripped off her clothes and after washing her hair, placed her forearms on the tile wall, leaned her against them, bending over a little so that her back was directly under the hot spray, staying like that for some time.

 

While she showered Walker busied himself making them a light dinner, then went to the bedroom, laying pillows and blankets on the floor. As thunder began to roll, and lightning streaked across the sky, he searched for, and found, two flashlights and some candles. Returning to the room, he looked at his watch, wondering what was taking Alex so long. Hearing the water shut off, he picked up her robe and entered the steam filled bathroom. He leaned against the sink, a soft smile on his face, gazing at her nude pregnant body as she dried herself off.

 

"I don't know why you're staring at me," she muttered. "I'm so huge."

 

He pushed away from the sink and began to help her into the robe. "Hon, we've been through this before." He kissed her forehead and placed his hands on either side of her bare belly. "You remember what I said?"

 

She tried to smile. "I remember." Then in a sing-song tone, "I'm not fat, I'm pregnant."  Her eyes began to water. "But I feel so heavy."

 

"Just two more weeks to go, hon…then you'll be able to hold our baby." He closed her robe, tying the sash as he continued. "You're beautiful and I love you¼" he punctuated his words with a quick kiss to her lips, "¼very much." After planting a tender kiss to her lips, he guided her downstairs for dinner.

 

The rain came down heavily as they ate dinner, the thunder and lightening increasing. After dinner was eaten and the dishes washed, Walker took Alex back upstairs for the backrub he had promised.  After getting a fire going in the fireplace, to add a little warmth to the room and to take away the gloom of the thunderstorm, he made sure she was comfortable on the blankets and pillows he had lain out earlier.  He then went to the bathroom to find the baby oil, which he planned to use as he massaged her back.

 

Alex settled back on the pillows and closed her eyes. Within seconds her eyes popped open as she felt a pain hit her abdomen. It wasn't a strong pain, but enough to startle her. She wondered if it was a contraction, one of those "braxton-hicks" things she'd heard about. Her eyes grew wide when suddenly she felt a wetness between her legs.

 

"Oh no…oh God…Walker!" she cried, struggling to sit up.

 

Walker ran back into the room.  He was alarmed to see her struggling to sit up, the look on her face one of pure panic. "Alex!" he cried. He hurried to her side and helped her to sit, asking, "What's the matter?" as his eyes found the wet spot on the blanket. "Your water broke?" he asked with a tinge of nervousness in his voice, as he knelt down beside her. His face and demeanor were calm, but inside he was nervous. He knew this meant the onset of labor, and knew that they were nowhere near a medical facility.

 

"Yes" she moaned, "this isn't supposed to be happening yet!"

 

"Alex" he soothed, "its okay, its only 2 weeks early. The baby will be fine." He was trying to remain calm. “I’m going to go call for an ambulance,” he said, secretly praying they could get one to come out this far, especially on a stormy night like this.  “Stay calm, honey.” He kissed the top of her head then went to the phone. He picked it up and swore under his breath when he heard no dial tone.  Hanging it up, he went into the next room and that phone was out too. “Damn!” he muttered. Taking a deep breath, he went back to their room, moving to Alex’s side, kneeling down next to her.

 

Alex was alarmed that he didn’t seem to be in a rush to leave. She grabbed onto his arms as she struggled to stand up. "We have to get to the hospital, Walker…we have to go!" she added frantically as she continued her struggle to stand.

 

Walker gently peeled her hands from his arms, "Alex, lay back down…we aren't going anywhere," he said calmly.

 

"What do you mean we aren't going anywhere!" she cried as she once again struggled to stand up. "We have to get to the hos¼" she began to moan loudly as a strong contraction gripped her, her hands moving to her belly.

 

"Breathe Alex," Walker instructed calmly, though his heart was beating fast with nervousness and adrenaline. “Breathe!”

 

His words broke through her fear and she slowed her breathing, as Walker's hand caressed her belly.

 

She blew out a breath as the contraction ended. Calmer now, she looked her husband in the eyes. "What did you mean when you said we aren't going anywhere?"

 

"Alex, the phones are out and it’s still coming down heavily out there.”

 

"What are you saying?" she asked with a tone of dread.

 

"I'm saying…we can't leave here right now. We'll have to deliver the baby here," his tone heightened a bit with the nervousness he was feeling.

 

"What?" she asked in disbelief.

 

"I said, we'll have to deliver the baby here. You’re in labor far away from civilization. The phones are dead…” he paused as the lights flickered, “…and we can’t go out in that." He saw the look of worry on her face. He took a deep breath, "Alex, you know I've delivered babies before. Remember Jessica Curtis, I delivered her baby in an abandoned shack after the plane we were in with Charlie Brooks went down because of the bomb planted in it…and Maria and Jose’s baby Christmas before last."

 

Deep inside, Alex knew he was capable of delivering their baby, but the prospect of giving birth outside of a hospital only served to heighten her nervousness over what she would be going through in the next several hours.  She took a deep breath. "Okay Darling," she smiled tremulously, "Are you sure you're up to this?"

 

"Yes…I'm up to this," his mimicking tone belying his own nervousness. Delivering babies was one thing, but it was completely different when it was your own baby. But, he couldn't let Alex know how he felt, he needed to help her through the delivery, help calm her fears. He leaned over her and kissed her tenderly, and found her responding in kind.

 

When the kiss broke off, Walker became all business. "Okay hon, let’s get you up so I can put down a fresh blanket. Then we'll get you all settled for our baby's arrival," he finished as he helped her up, then turned to pick up a clean blanket. 

 

"I need to change," she said, slightly embarrassed at the wet spot on her robe.

 

He turned back around to see her flushed, embarrassed face.  Smiling, he held up his finger in a “wait a minute” gesture, then quickly laid out the clean blanket, plus another for extra cushioning, then after placing the pillows back on the blankets, turned to his wife.  He stood in front of her and untied the belt on her robe.

 

"You don't need to change, Alex," he whispered. He opened her robe and placed his palms on her bare belly. "You're about to give birth, clothes aren't exactly needed," as he slipped the robe from her shoulders.

 

He gazed down at her naked form, from her face, full from the pregnancy, to her breasts, full of mother's milk, to her rounded belly, full of the baby within. He gently cupped her breasts for a moment before taking her hands. He led her to the blankets and eased her down on top of them, laying her back against the pillows. He took a sheet from the bed and covered her nude body with it. After grabbing a few more pillows from the other rooms, he returned and positioned them behind her so that she was able to sit up some. 

 

After he was sure she was comfortable, he sat next to her, placing one arm on the other side of her body, facing her. He looked deep into her blue eyes, then leaned in for a kiss. "I love you," he breathed.

 

"I loveaaaaaahhhhhh!" Alex moaned as another contraction hit. She closed her eyes as the contraction wore on, breathing in and out as she had learned to do in class, Walker's hand caressing her belly through the sheet.

 

"Okay?" he questioned when the contraction ended and she opened her eyes.

 

Alex blew out a breath and smiled, "I'm fine. It wasn't too strong a contraction."  She looked up at her husband and wondered how he could be so calm. They were out in the middle of nowhere and were going to deliver their baby themselves. With no help. Whatsoever.  Just herself and Walker. No doctor. No hospital. Alex's eyes began to water, and her chin trembled. "Oh Walker, I'm so sorry!" she began to cry.

 

"For what?" he questioned, bewildered by her statement.

 

"For this!" she exclaimed tearfully, "For going into labor in the middle of nowhere! For going into labor in the middle of a thunderstorm, and no one around for miles! For¼"

 

"Honey!" he exclaimed. "You have nothing to be sorry for," he whispered lovingly as he bent down and kissed her forehead, then thumbed away her tears.  "You can't help it that our baby chose now to come into this world."

 

He helped her to lie back on the pillows, and knowing what would help her relax, jumped up to retrieve her hairbrush.  Settling himself behind Alex, he pulled her reclined body into his lap and began to brush her hair in long lazy strokes, from root to end, as the storm continued.  Within minutes, Alex groaned and her hand went to her abdomen.

 

"Another contraction, hon?"

 

"Ummmhmmm," Alex moaned. Her eyes closed as the contraction wore on.

 

"Alex¼," Walker softly asked as an idea came to mind.  He felt remembering special times in the past 7 months or so would help take her mind off the pain of the contractions. "...do you remember the night we told C.D. and Trivette that you were going to have our baby?"

 

In spite of the, for now, mild pain, Alex giggled. "Do I!"

 

It was New Years Eve, a special time for Walker and Alex, for they hadn't spent a New Years Eve apart in all the time they had known each other. Even when they weren't officially dating, they still spent the evening with each other.  Alex stood frowning in front of the full length mirror.  She was just over two months pregnant, and though she wasn't showing yet, her body had started to change, and the dress she was going to wear, one that fit snugly to the body, did not fit…it was a tad too tight. Beginning to cry, she kicked off the shoes she wore.

 

Walker heard her soft crying as he finished tying his tie. Stepping the few feet to her closet he peered inside, concern on his face. "Alex?" he questioned, entering the closet and gently turning her around to face him.

 

"I'm not going to the party!" she declared, tears still falling down her face.

 

"Why not? Alex, honey, why are you crying?" He softly asked as he wiped the tears from her face.

 

"Because my stupid dress doesn't fit," she mumbled, reaching behind herself to unzip it.

 

Reaching behind her to brush her hands out of the way, Walker unzipped the dress for her.  "Well," he said as he unzipped. "you know what that means, don't you?"

 

"That I'm getting fat?" she wailed.

 

He slipped the dress from her shoulders, and peeled it off her body, and as it dropped to the floor at her feet, he placed his finger under her chin and brought her face up so that he could look into her eyes. "No. It means that our baby is growing, and I can't think of anything I'd rather do than to watch your body grow some more as our baby grows inside you." He kissed her tenderly before continuing, "And I don't want to hear any of this 'fat' nonsense. You could grow to be as big as this house carrying our baby, and I'll love you all the more."

 

Smiling through her tears, Alex hugged him. "I love you, too!" 

 

Breaking from the embrace, Walker turned her back around to face her clothes. "Now, I seem to remember a beautiful black dress that you looked gorgeous in that would fit you right now. You wore it to the opening of the Art Gallery a few years ago, remember the night Tony Seville came back into your life?" 

 

"Ah yes," she said, grimacing at the memory of Tony Seville being the cause of her being accused of murder and going to prison.  Her eyes quickly scanned the row of dresses, and reaching up she picked it out. Turning back to her husband, she rose up on her toes,  kissed him and then shooed him out of the room.

 

"Go on now, Darling, I have to get dressed or we'll be late!"

 

Giving her another quick kiss and a soft "I love you", he turned and left.

 

Within the hour they walked arm in arm through the door of C.D.'s Bar & Grill.  Walker slipped Alex's coat off her shoulders and hung it up on the stand by the door, then after greeting some friends, led her toward the bar, where Trivette, Josie, and C.D. were engaged in a lively conversation about an encounter C.D. had with a testy Alex.

 

"I tell you Jimmy, that little lady was upset that I didn't have a chocolate éclair on the menu!"

 

"Big Dog, why would Alex expect a chocolate éclair to be on the menu of a bar and grill? Are you sure that’s what she was asking for?"

 

"Do I look like I fell off the turnip truck yesterday?  Alex didn't stutter!”  Arms waving, gesturing wildly, C.D. told his story, “She came in here, sat down right where Josie is sitting right there, and I tell you…she plain as day asked for a chocolate éclair!" C.D. looked at Josie as she began to giggle, then continued, "When I told her 'why honey, you know I don't have one of those', she plumb came unglued! Told me if I didn't have an éclair then she wasn't going to bother eating here! Then got up an stalked right out that there door!"

 

Trivette gaped at C.D., then looked questioningly at Josie as she laughed out loud. He didn't have time to question her, for Walker and Alex were now at their side.

 

 Alex sat down on a bar stool as they said their ‘hello's’. Walker stood on the other side of her, his arm around her shoulders.

 

"Hey pard, 'bout time you got here!" Trivette exclaimed good-naturedly.

 

"It was my fault, Jimmy." Alex explained, "I had trouble finding something to wear that fit." Josie smiled knowingly at her, and because she was in front of Trivette, he was none the wiser that she knew something he didn't.

 

C.D. came out of the backroom. "Oh, Cordell, Jimmy.." C.D. exclaimed, "I reserved your booth for you!" 

 

Alex turned quickly and slid off the stool, the action causing her to feel dizzy.  Walker caught her by the arms as she began to fall backward, steadying her. Looking at her with concern, "Okay?" he asked softly.

 

"Hey Al," Trivette asked, not knowing. "Have a few drinks before coming here?"

 

"No Jimmy" Josie answered for her as she grabbed his arm, pulling him toward the booth. "I'm sure Alex hasn't had anything to drink."

 

"You okay, honey?" C.D. asked, concern on his face as well.

 

The dizziness waning, Alex smiled up at him, "I'm okay, C.D." Then turning toward her husband she saw the look of concern was still on his face. "Really, Darling, I'm fine."

 

"Sure?"

 

She kissed him lightly on the lips. "I'm sure."

 

They made their way to the booth, C.D. behind them.

 

"Okay…you all have been coming here on New Years Eve long enough to know what’s on the menu…so, what will you be having?"

 

"C.D., I wouldn't go a New Years Eve without a bowl of that chili" Walker declared. He turned to Alex, "What about you, hon?" Instead of the smile he was expecting, he was met with a grimace.  Her face was pale. "Alex?" the concern was back.

 

Alex was feeling quite nauseous. She took a deep breath to quell the nausea. "Oh God, please, not chili" she moaned. The mere mention of chili made her sick to her stomach.  Her hand went to her mouth and she closed her eyes.

 

All eyes turn to Alex as C.D. says, "Alex, honey, what’s the matter with the chili?"

 

Alex's hand was still covering her mouth and she was turning green before their eyes. Having had a little experience with this in the last few weeks, Walker quickly slides out of the booth, moving out of her way as she hastily makes her way to the bathroom.

 

"That’s the second time my chili has made her sick!" C.D. exclaims.  "And she didn't even eat any this time!"

 

"It’s not the chili, C.D." Walker laughs at C.D.'s stricken expression. C.D. shakes his head and walks away muttering.

 

"Not the chili?" Trivette looks down at his bowl, then at Josie. "Aren't you gonna go make sure she's okay?" He begins to slide out of the booth.

 

Josie puts her hand on Trivette's thigh, "No Jimmy, she's going to be fine."

 

He looks thoughtfully toward the bathroom. "If you say so." He then shrugs and picks up his spoon, diving into the chili with gusto.

 

Walker is grinning as he gets up and heads toward the bathroom. He waits outside the bathroom for a few moments before Alex comes out.  He takes her into his arms and hugs her for a moment, then holding her at arm’s length, takes in her pale countenance. "Feel okay?" he softly questions.

 

"Yeah, I think so," she replies.

 

"Want to go home?"

 

"No, Darling. I'll be fine." She sees the look of doubt on his face and knows that where her health is concerned, his concern always kicks into high gear.  "Honestly, I feel better already."

 

"Sure?"

 

She smiles at him. "I'm sure." Then taking him by the hand, "I think I'll ask C.D. for a bacon cheeseburger."

 

He kisses her lips. "Go sit down, I'll get it for you."

 

She looks toward Trivette and Josie, seeing that they are still enjoying their chili. She feels her stomach lurch. "Um, I don't think so." She puts her hand to her stomach, "Not until they get rid of the chili".  She nods toward the bar. "Think I'll sit down over there to eat." 

 

Leaning over to kiss her cheek, he whispers "I love you," then guides her toward the bar, and after seating her on a barstool, heads for the kitchen.

 

Soon C.D. comes out of the kitchen with a covered dish, Walker behind him. He places it in front of Alex with flourish as Walker moves to sit beside her. "Your heart's desire, honey." he says with a smile. He uncovers the dish and to Alex's delight, he uncovers not one, but two, chocolate éclairs.

 

"C.D., I love you!" she squeals, rising off the barstool, kissing his cheek.

 

"Doesn't seem like much of a meal to me, but if it makes you happy honey, I'll put them on the menu."

 

Alex is unable to answer, for her mouth is full of chocolate and cream, her eyes sparkling with happiness.

 

After a while Jimmy appeared at Walker's side, plunking two empty bowls of chili onto the counter. "Hey Big Dog, if I knew I was gonna have to clear my own table tonight, I would've gone elsewhere," Trivette yelled toward the other end of the bar where C.D. was serving drinks to a young couple. C.D. scowled at him and turned back toward the couple.

 

Walker grinned at C.D.'s consternation over Trivette's statement, but at Alex's soft moan at his side, his grin faded. "Trivette, take those bowls back to the kitchen before you make Alex sick again!"

 

"How am I making Alex sick?" Trivette looked first at Walker then at Alex's face, turning pale before his eyes.

 

"Oh Jimmy, the smell of the chili is making me sick. Please take the bowls away," she moaned as she clapped her hand over her mouth.

 

"Alright, alright...geez," he muttered as he walked away. He was back in a moment, apologetic. "Sorry, Al. C.D.'s chili tasted fine to me." He looked at her sideways as she grimaced at the mere mention of the unmentionable dish. "You okay Counselor?"

 

"Fine Jimmy, really," she smiled. "Just keep the...stuff...away from me."

 

By now C.D. had joined them. "Stuff...is that what my..."

 

"Don't say it C.D.!" Walker warned chuckling.

 

He shook his head at Alex, she sure was acting weird these days. Eating a lot, getting sick on his chili, which she normally loved, and being quite irritable over seemingly trivial things. He looked at her thoughtfully.

 

Jimmy looked to Walker, then to Alex, and shrugged off his confusion. "Well, since the...stuff...is gone from our table now, why don't you two join us again?"

 

Before Alex could respond, a loud yawn escaped her. Immediately Walker was on the alert. She'd already been sick to her stomach once tonight and was now yawning. He placed a hand on her shoulder and turned her towards him. He peered down into her face, noticing the circles under her eyes that makeup only hid so much of. Though her face had some color back, she was still slightly pale. "You look tired, honey. Come on, I'm taking you home."

 

"Not on your life, Cowboy. Its New Years Eve and I'm not about to break our record of being here together to bring in the New Year."

 

"But, Alex..."

 

"No buts!" she exclaimed, her eyes alight with the fire of rising anger. All three pairs of eyes turned to her. In the blink of an eye, the anger in her eyes was gone, replaced by tears. Her chin began to quiver. "I'm not leaving Walker...not until next year" she finished as a tear rolled down her face.

 

Walker's heart melted. He was concerned about her health and knew that the pregnancy was causing the mood swings, but also knew that a tradition having to do with their relationship was very important to her. A slow song began to play as he checked his watch. 'Not too much longer until the New Year' he thought to himself. "Okay" he whispered, tenderly wiping the tear from her face. "Would you like to dance, beautiful lady?" he whispered, extending his arm to her.

 

Alex smiled, leaned over to kiss him before standing and taking the proffered arm. "I'd love to, handsome man." Arm in arm they moved to the dance floor as C.D. and Trivette stared after them.

 

Trivette looked at C.D., a look of complete confusion on his face, and was met with a smiling C.D. "What is up with Alex tonight? And just what are you smiling at?" Trivette asked, thinking everyone was acting just plain weird that night.

 

"Figures a kid from Balt-I-more wouldn't know much about women, but dang! Jimmy, you are clueless!"

 

Jimmy looked incredulously at C.D., wondering if he really knew what was up with Alex, as Josie appeared at his side. Immediately wrapping his arm around her shoulders, he retorted "I do too know much about women! I knew all about Veronica, and Vanessa, and¼" he stopped, suddenly remembering the woman at his side.  He looked sheepishly down at her.

 

"Relax James," she said softly, then rose up on her toes to kiss his lips tenderly. "You may not know a lot about women in general, but you sure know how to handle them." She kissed him again to seal her words.

 

His tone softened, "I do too…wait," he stopped again, and looked at Josie's face, then at C.D.'s. Both were smiling, as if they knew something he didn't. "What is going on here?" He watched as Josie looked out on the dance floor at Walker and Alex as they danced in each other's arms, cheek to cheek, sharing kisses as they moved gracefully.

 

"It’s about them," Trivette hooted. "You know something about them that you aren't telling me." His eyes narrowed at Josie. "But you told him!" he gestured toward C.D.

 

"Oh for Pete's sake!" C.D. grumbled. "She didn't tell me anything. I figured it out myself," he said proudly.

 

"Figure out what…why Alex is acting so weird lately?" He looked between C.D. and Josie.

 

"Think about it Jimmy," C.D. stated in the tone of a man talking to a child that needed to be taught something. "Alex has been moody, can't stand even the smell of my award winning chili, gets sick, and wants chocolate éclairs for dinner!"

 

"And had a little trouble fitting into the dress she was going to wear tonight," Josie added.

 

"So, Alex gained a little weight from eating junk food and is upset about it." Trivette shrugged, amazed that this was the big deal.

 

"James," Josie sighed, "Alex may gain weight, but it won't be from eating junk food," she said quietly, smiling over at Alex.

 

"Well, there's only one way a woman gains weight without it being something she eats, and that’s…" he stops mid-sentence, a look of shock on his face. The look quickly turns to one of amazement and joy.  "Alex is gonna have a baby?" He saw looks of confirmation on the faces of Josie and C.D. "Alex is gonna have a baby!"

 

Trivette breaks apart from C.D. and Josie, quickly making his way onto the dance floor to his best friends, C.D. and Josie at his heels. "Walker! Alex!," he exclaims as he reaches their side, throwing his arms around them in a group hug.

 

Walker and Alex stopped dancing and hugged him back, trading questioning looks over Trivette's head.

 

"Trivette," Walker asked, "What’s this all about?" Then seeing Josie over his shoulder, "What, did Josie finally agree to dance with you?"

 

"No man," Trivette pulled back and looked at them with a big grin. "You two!" Trivette looked like he was going to burst. "Congratulations!" he exclaimed, kissing Alex's cheek.

 

Walker looked at him suspiciously. Alex narrowed her eyes at him, "Congratulations for what, Jimmy?"

 

"Aw come on, Alex!" he exclaimed. "I figured it out! You're gonna have a baby!" he crowed, beaming from ear to ear. Pleased with himself for figuring it out, he kept saying over and over, "I figured it out! I figured it out!" as he danced a little jig around them, taking a laughing Josie along with him.

 

The clock began to strike midnight as Josie reined Trivette in, moving him into a slow dance. Taking his face in her hands, she peered into his eyes. With her brown eyes looking deep into his own eyes, Trivette forgot all about his best friends, and leaning in, kissed her.

 

C.D. shook his head at the young whippersnappers.  Turning toward Walker, he clapped Walker on the back and kissed Alex's cheek. Words were not needed to express how happy he was. And as he turned to go back to the bar, they saw C.D. wipe the tears from his eyes.

 

The clock still striking midnight, Walker turned to his wife, gathering her tighter in his embrace, "Happy New Year, hon." He kissed her tenderly, stopping long enough to breathe "I love you" before closing the fraction of an inch between them to resume the now passionate kiss.

 

Walker and Alex's laughter filled the air as the memory faded. Bending his head over hers, Walker captured her lips in a sweet kiss as lightening streaked across the sky, his hands twining with hers over her extended belly. He broke off the kiss when his fingers were squeezed as Alex moaned softly.

 

He shifted slightly so that his bent leg still supported Alex's back, and sat at her side. Brushing her hair back behind her ear, he whispered encouraging words in her ear.

 

"Breathe honey," he whispered when he realized she was holding her breath. He gently rubbed her rock hard belly as the contraction pressed on, and brushed his lips against her cheek as it waned. "Okay, hon?"

 

Alex sighed as the contraction ended. "Yeah. It wasn't too bad." She took a deep cleansing breath and leaned against her husband as he again positioned himself behind her.  Reaching to the side, Walker grabbed Alex's hairbrush and began to brush her hair from her scalp to the ends in slow even strokes.  "Mmmmm, that feels good," she said softly as she closed her eyes.

 

"I thought it might help to calm you while you're having contractions."

 

"What?" she questioned teasingly, "You think I'll come unglued on you?"

 

"No, I didn't mean that, but from what I've seen, labor can be pretty difficult and I want to do what I can to take your mind off the pain." He leaned down and kissed her lips softly, then resumed brushing. 

 

They continued in a comfortable silence listening to the thunder and rain for five more minutes when another contraction began to grip Alex.  Noticing the slight intake of breath from her as the contraction began, Walker quickly searched his mind for a memory for them to talk about, to help take her mind off the pain.  He began to chuckle at the memory that popped into his head.

 

"What’s…so funny?" Alex moaned softly.

 

"I was just remembering a side effect of your pregnancy that I have really…enjoyed."

 

"What would that be? The wonderful way my ankles swelled?" She moaned a little louder as the contraction pressed on.

 

Walker began to caress her belly. "Well, lets just say that you became rather…amorous, more so than usual," he whispered in her ear as his hands moved under the sheet to cup her full breasts, turning her moan of pain into a moan of passion as he gently caressed them.

 

"I was not!" she exclaimed indignantly, the contraction waning.

 

"Oh yes you were" he chuckled some more. "Remember that time when you were about three months pregnant, when you shanghaied me at C.D.'s…at your birthday party?"

He paused a moment. "Remember?" he teased.

 

"I remember," she giggled as she began to blush, forgetting about the contraction.

 

It was early February and Alex was three months pregnant. Walker thought long and hard about what to do for her birthday, and settled on giving her a day doing things she liked to do, then a birthday party later that evening at C.D.'s.   After waking her up to make slow and easy love to her that morning, he prepared french toast for breakfast as she showered.  They spent the next several hours shopping for maternity clothes and looking at baby things at a baby store, deciding on what they both liked and disliked, what they felt they needed and didn't need.  Alex was loving this side of her husband. She appreciated the fact that he was so willing to do something he didn't normally enjoy, and she did her best to keep him from getting bored, insisting that they stop in at a sporting goods store so he could shop for something he liked. After lunch at the Café Marina, Walker noticed her trying to stifle a yawn and insisted they go home so she could rest, aware that fatigue was a symptom of pregnancy in the first trimester. She tried to get out of having to go home, giving him her most superlative pout, but this time it didn't work on him. Where her health was concerned, he couldn't be swayed.

 

Returning to the ranch and following her upstairs, he began to help her undress.  Slipping the blouse from her shoulders, he reached around to unhook her bra. As he began to slip the bra off her arms she reached out to unbutton his shirt. "Alex?" he whispered, looking into her eyes, seeing desire.  "You need to rest," he admonished.

 

"I'll rest, but first we make love," she whispered, enthusiastically claiming his lips for an enthusiastic kiss. 

 

The kiss was all the persuasion he needed and they slowly sank to the floor, where they came together in the age-old dance of lovers, spiraling back down to earth after a mutually explosive climax. After making love, Walker slipped from Alex's embrace and carrying her to the bed, covered her with the blanket, whispering "Rest" as he bent to kiss her.  He busied himself with ranch chores while she slept, returning a couple hours later to wake her by tenderly running the petals of a single yellow rose over her beautiful face.  As her eyelids fluttered open he reached for her robe at the end of the bed, holding it open for her. "Come with me," he softly requested. She slipped gracefully out of the bed and put on the robe he held out for her, and taking the rose from him, let him lead her to the front porch.

 

As she stepped across the threshold, Walker steered Alex toward the porch swing.  Her eyes immediately alighted on the Cherokee Indian blanket that lay on the swing.  It was a beautiful white, pale pink, and baby blue blanket made of the softest rabbit fur.  Alex knelt down in front of the swing, laying her face against the soft material, reaching out with her hand to run her fingers lightly over the fine fur. 

 

"Oh Walker, its so beautiful! And so soft!" Alex exclaimed, continuing to run her fingers

over the blanket.

 

"It was my father's blanket when he was a baby," Walker explained softly, a smile on his lips as he watched his wife. "My Grandmother made it." Alex lifted her head from the blanket to look at him with an expression of awe as he continued. "Then it was my baby blanket…and now our baby's blanket."

 

Alex stood, holding the soft blanket in her hands. "Handmade!" She exclaimed. "Oh Darling, its so beautif¼" Her words were cut off when a small beautifully wrapped package fell from the folds of the blanket onto the swing.  She turned to her husband with a wide smile, blue eyes twinkling. "My present?" she asked with excitement.  Walker answered her question and indicated she should open it with a slight lifting of an eyebrow and a nod in the direction of the package. Alex retrieved the package and sat down on the swing, placing the blanket on her lap, Walker joining her, his arm around her shoulder as she opened the package. 

 

Peeling away the wrapping, Alex found a small jewelry box, and held her breath as she opened it.  She gasped as her eyes fell upon the delicate ring inside.  It was an exquisite gold ring with a cameo. Not just any cameo, but one depicting a woman and a baby.  Tears formed in Alex's eyes, and began to fall unchecked down her face as Walker explained the origin of the ring. 

 

"My Mother's mother gave this ring to my mother the day I was born. It had been given to her when my mother was born…handed down through the generations." He paused to tenderly wipe the joyful tears from Alex's face. "Now it’s yours to wear, and one day give to our child.  I was going to wait to give it to you when you have our baby…but I couldn't," he finished impishly with a shy smile, then reached to place the ring on her finger.  It was a perfect fit, as if it was meant to be handed down to her.

 

Alex threw her arms around Walker's neck, hugging him fiercely. "I love it!" she cried, her voice thick with emotion.  Pulling back, she kissed him sweetly, conveying all her thanks with the kiss.

 

The kiss quickly turned from sweetness to passion as hands became wound in each other's hair.  They pulled apart breathlessly, only to come together again in another heated kiss.  Alex's hand unwound itself from Walker's hair, only to travel to the front of his shirt, which she hurriedly tugged from his jeans.  Instead of unbuttoning his shirt, she unbuttoned his jeans, drew the zipper down, reaching inside. Lost in the kiss, Walker didn't realize what she was up to until he felt her touch on his growing manhood.

 

Gasping in surprise, he pulled away from the kiss. "Alex, there's no time for this," he murmured, gently pulling her hand from his member.

 

"What do you mean there's no time?" she questioned breathlessly, putting her hand back where it had been.

 

"Oh God, hon," he breathed, his erection now straining to be free of his shorts. "Dinner¼" he moaned, the sensations taking over. "You need to get ready."

 

"I will," she whispered, wanting to be joined with him. "In a little bit." Moving her hands from his hardening member, she grasped his jeans and pulled them over his hips, taking his shorts at the same time.  

 

Beyond the point of no return, Walker wrapped his arms around Alex’s waist and slid from the swing to the porch floor.  Laying her back gently, he reached between the close press of their bodies, untied the sash on her robe, pushing open the soft material until she was naked beneath him.  Pants around his ankles, he nudged her thighs open with his knee, and settled his throbbing erection at the entrance to heaven.   With both hands on his buttocks, Alex pulled him toward her body, urging him to join with her.  He entered her with a long slow stroke, and she cried out with the pleasure of it as she felt him fill her, inch by throbbing inch.  Walker began a slow and lazy rhythm, Alex meeting him thrust for thrust. She soon quickened the pace, needing that sweet release.  Sensing her need, Walker lightly moved his hand down her belly to tangle in the soft golden hair between her thighs, then below to caress the swollen bud of desire. At the touch of his finger, Alex's soft moans turned to screams. Wrapping her legs around his waist, and arching her back, she reached the pinnacle of their lovemaking, climaxing explosively.  Bending down to take her breast into his mouth, Walker thrust one last time, spilling his hot seed deep within her. 

 

Out of breath, Walker collapsed on top of Alex, his heart racing.  Finally able to move, he raised up to look his beautiful wife in the eyes.  "You are a bad woman, Alexandra!"

 

She giggled. "Why am I a bad woman?"

 

"Out here on the porch," he murmured, shaking his head.

 

"May I remind you, Cordell, that this baby may have been conceived out here on the porch!”

 

Walker smiled sheepishly, "Oh yeah…the weekend after I was in Galveston."

 

She giggled some more.

 

Walker growled deep in his throat, then reluctantly disengaged himself from Alex's body.

Standing, he pulled his pants back up, then reached for her hand to help her off the porch floor.  "You do realize, Mrs. Walker, that because you just couldn't wait until we got back from dinner to make love, we now have to take showers, further delaying dinner."

 

Alex's stomach rumbled in reply.  "Well," she smiled demurely, "We could save time by taking our showers together."

 

"Oh no you don't!  If I know us, it will NOT save time." He reached out to pull her robe closed, tying the sash. "Now scoot!" he ordered good naturedly, pushing her toward the front door.

 

An hour later, Walker and Alex rushed out the door, and thirty minutes after that arrived at C.D.'s, Alex late for her own birthday party.  With the party already under way, Alex and Walker move among the invited guests, mingling and enjoying the food C.D. prepared.  Sometime later Walker begins missing having her by his side. Looking around quickly, he doesn't see her.  He searches the bar, working his way through the dancers and tables.  He passes the bar, heading toward the back of the room. Suddenly a hand reaches out and grabs his arm, roughly yanking him into the backroom.

 

Walker's first instinct was to send his fists flying, but as soon as his mind registered that he was grabbed, a pair of very familiar lips clamped down on his own, and a very familiar tasting tongue pried his own lips open.  He breathed in her feminine scent as he wrapped his arms around his wife, responding to the kiss, moving his lips under hers. 

 

Coming to his senses as he remembered where they were, he ended the kiss, pulling back to hold Alex at arm's length.  He didn't say anything, merely looked at her with a question in his eyes.

 

"Sorry, Darling," she murmured as she brought her hands to the front of Walker's shirt. "I just couldn't wait any longer."

 

When Walker realized she was unbuttoning his shirt, he quickly stilled her hands. "Alex!" he exclaimed. "What's gotten into…”

 

His words were cut off when Alex again claimed his lips enthusiastically, pulling her hands from Walker's grip to return to the buttons on his shirt. He sucked in air when her hands touched bare skin, and he again sought to still her hands. To his chagrin, his body was responding, his manhood growing and hardening as he reached for her hands.  "Alex! Not here!" he hissed as he grabbed one of her wayward hands.  Alex evaded the other hand when she reached below his belt, cupping his growing arousal sensuously, rubbing her body against his. 

 

That did it. "Shit," he moaned as he backed her further into the room, down the row of shelves to the last row, backing her against the wall between the last shelf and the far wall, kissing her the entire way.   Raising her hands above her head, linking his fingers with hers, he pressed her up against the wall with his body, leaving no visible space between their bodies as he kissed her passionately. The kiss broke off and they parted staring into each other’s eyes, breathing heavily.  "Alex¼" Walker breathed.

 

Before he could change his mind, Alex made quick work of his belt buckle and slid his zipper down, reaching inside to free his pulsing erect manhood. “Alex,” he moaned again as he reached for the zipper on her dress. He released the zipper and slid the soft garment from her shoulders, letting the dress float to the floor. Then he just as quickly peeled her pantyhose from her body as she held onto his shoulders. Casting aside the pantyhose, he lowered his pants and underwear, backing her up against the wall again. 

 

With Alex's arms clasped around his neck, he gripped her buttocks in his hands, lifting her so that his rock hard shaft was poised at the entrance of her dripping center.  As she wrapped her legs around his waist, Walker gazed into her deep blue eyes, shaking his head at what they were about to do.

 

Unable to wait any longer, Alex whimpered, "Now Darling!" then thrust forward with her hips, drawing him inside.  Thankful for the loud music coming from the other side of the wall, Walker moaned loudly as his manhood slid easily inside her tight warmth, his moan mingling with Alex's soft sigh.

 

The prospect of getting caught in such a compromising position fueled Walker’s movements as he began to thrust in and out of her body in a frantic pace, their adrenaline flowing with the riskiness of the situation, adding to the sensations coursing through them.  Alex's legs tightened around Walker's waist and she arched her back as her climax began to take root.  Two laughing revelers passed by the storeroom, their close proximity spurring Walker to thrust in an even more frantic pace. In the throes of passion, Walker dipped his head to engulf her milky white breast in his mouth and pulled her hips against his groin, bringing his climax pounding to the surface as Alex's body jerked with the convulsions of her own climax. As she began to cry out, Walker's mouth left her breast and came down on her lips, swallowing her cries of passion as she in turn swallowed his deep moan as he released his hot seed deep within her.

 

Still intimately joined, struggling to regain normal breathing, Walker braced himself with one hand on the wall by her head, the other still clutching her buttocks. He gazed at her flushed face. "You are a bad woman, Alexandra Walker,” he whispered for the second time that day.

 

"Yeah, but you loved every minute of it, Cordell Walker,” she whispered in return.

 

"So, I did." Walker relented, kissing her lips as he released her to stand on her own again. Pulling up his pants, he said in mock admonishment, "But you’re still a bad woman.” He shook his head at her, "What you do to me, Alex!"  

 

Leaning over, he picked her dress up off the floor. "We'd better get dressed and back out there before someone misses us." After helping her slip into her dress, he turned to the buttons on his shirt as she went to retrieve her pantyhose from the floor.  His hands froze on the second button when he heard her soft voice.

 

"Walker, where are my pantyhose?"

 

"Somewhere on the floor, hon."

 

"Thanks. You're a big help," she muttered as she looked around the floor. "I don't see them. I cannot go back out there without them on!" Her voice began to rise with growing panic.

 

"Take it easy, hon. There they are," he said, pointing toward a sack of flour on the floor at the end of the shelf.

 

No sooner were the words out of his mouth when they both heard the distinct voices of C.D. and Trivette at the door of the storeroom.

 

"Jimmy, I swear only you would be unsatisfied with the spread of food I set out!" C.D. grumbled, entering the storeroom, flicking on the light. 

 

Grabbing Alex's body close to his own, Walker retreated into the shadows, their hearts beating wildly.

 

"You call yourself a native Texan, Big Dog, and then hold this here party without properly spiced barbecue on the menu!"

 

"I am a native Texan!" C.D. exclaimed indignantly.

 

Walker looked down at Alex's face and almost laughed out loud at the wide eyes he saw. Big blue pools of fear stared back up at him. Pressing his lips lightly against hers, he continued to hold her in the shadows.

 

"I'll have you know, Jimmy¼" C.D. continued, "¼that I was born and raised in East Texas, not Balt-I-more like some city slicker I know! A city slicker that knows nothing about Texas barbecue!"

 

Alex felt the shaking from Walker as he buried his face in her hair, struggling not to laugh. She turned to stare with fear at the pantyhose lying by the sack of flour as C.D. and Trivette moved closer to them.

 

"Aw come on. Just find the barbecue sauce, will you?"

 

"Only a city slicker from Balt-I-more would put barbecue sauce on barbecue!" he retorted, his face beet red.

 

"Big Dog," Trivette groaned.

 

C.D. grumbled as he turned toward the shelves. "It’s around here somewhere," he mumbled, moving to the second row of shelves.” Oh wait, I know where I put it." Leading the way, C.D. turned into the third row of shelves as Walker held his breath, melting into the shadows even more as he tightened his grip on Alex. Alex turned her head back around, burying her face in Walker's chest, her body rigid as she prayed that they wouldn't be found out.

 

C.D. stopped on the other side of the shelf from them, with Trivette unknowingly standing perilously close to the pantyhose. Walker closed his eyes in silent prayer, holding Alex's now trembling body tightly.

 

"Here it is!" C.D. exclaimed triumphantly as he pulled a jar from the shelf. Throwing the jar in Trivette's direction, he scowled, "Now will you leave me alone?”

 

"Leave you alone?" Jimmy replied. "I was NOT bugging you…you grumpy old man."

 

"What did you call me?” C.D. cried as they turned and made their way out of the storeroom. When their backs were turned, Alex let go of Walker and quickly moved to retrieve her pantyhose.

 

C.D. stopped at the door to the storeroom. "Did you hear a noise, Jimmy?"

 

Trivette turned as Alex froze, eyes wide again. "No."

 

"Oh, thought I heard something."

 

"Probably just the rats, Big Dog."

 

"Rats! I do not have rats!" he exclaimed going after Jimmy as the two exited the storeroom.

 

Alex looked up with relief, finding Walker shaking with restrained laughter.  "You had better not be laughing, Cordell Walker!" Alex hissed, hands on her hips, pantyhose dangling from one hand.

 

Walker and Alex were both laughing as the memory ended. "I don't believe I did that!" Alex giggled, covering her face with her hand.

 

Walker reached to remove the hand from her face, shifting so that he could face her.   "I can…and I didn't mind it…one bit." He leaned forward to plant a kiss on the end of her nose.

 

"I'm sure you didn't," she murmured, still a little embarrassed. "I still can't believe some of the places I…well, you know."

 

"Attacked me?" he supplied for her, grinning.

 

"Mmmhmm," her lips turned up in a smile. "Well there was the storeroom at C.D.'s, the porch..."

 

"The locker room at the gym," Walker added.  "The barn stall next to Ranger, countless times at the lake, the field behind C.D.'s ranch."  He leaned forward again to kiss her. "Yes ma'am, I sure didn't mind your attentions one bit!"

 

Alex giggled again. "There is one place you haven't mentioned yet," she purred, her voice husky.

 

Walker peered at her silently for a few moments, trying to remember.  He began to blush as he remembered. "Ah, yes." He chuckled, his face turning red. "Ranger Headquarters…in the conference room."

 

Walker and Trivette had been working late one night in February, putting the finishing touches on the Hernandez counterfeit money case.  When they pulled into the courthouse parking lot an hour earlier, Walker noticed Alex's car still parked in her spot.  He knew she had to be working on the same case, beginning to put together the prosecution's case against the Hernandez brothers.  After working well into the night, Trivette finally quit. 

 

Throwing his pencil down on his desk, Trivette turned toward Walker, "I don't know about you pard, but I'm beat. I'm going home."

 

"Ok Trivette. I'm gonna stay a little while longer," he responded without even looking up. "I want to finish this paperwork tonight so we can concentrate on the Soriano case tomorrow."

 

"See you tomorrow then," Trivette said as he grabbed his hat and walked toward the door. Walker waved goodbye, his head still buried in paperwork.

 

Exiting Ranger Headquarters, Trivette nearly ran into Alex. Looking into her eyes, he noted they were a deep shade of blue he hadn't seen before.  "Hey there, Al. I don't think your husband is ready to leave yet."

 

"Oh…darn," Alex murmured, peering around the corner at Walker.  Then she smiled demurely, saying softly, almost to herself,  "Well, maybe I can distract him." Looking back up at Trivette, "Uh, good night Jimmy."

 

Trivette snickered, knowing what Alex had in mind. "Good night, Al," he chuckled, moving out the door and heading toward the elevator.

 

Alex walked slowly toward Walker's desk. He heard her approach and smelled her perfume.  Peeling his eyes from his paperwork, he glanced at his wife. “I'll be ready in a little bit, hon.”

 

Moving behind him, Alex wrapped her arms around his neck, running her hands down his chest, her face next to his. "How about right now, Cowboy."  Her voice turned husky. "I want to go home." Her fingers began to unbutton his shirt.

 

"I uh…Alex, I've got…work…to do." By now his shirt was undone and her fingers played through the hair on his chest.

 

"Yes, you do," Alex purred, moving around to sit in his lap. "Right here." Arms wrapped around his neck, she leaned into him and kissed him, the kiss conveying her desire to be with him.

 

"Alex! Not here!" he moaned, his mind warring between wanting to be with her, and the knowledge that they were at Ranger Headquarters…and for Pete’s sake, at his desk!

 

"No one's here…and no one…will be here…until…tomorrow." When her tongue delved into his mouth, he dropped his pen, and wrapping his arms around her, kissed her back, forgetting all about his paperwork, his mind made up.

 

Lips still entwined, Walker rose from his chair, picked up Alex around her waist and walked quickly with her in his arms to the conference room. After locking the door he placed her on the edge of the conference room table. Standing in front of her, he tangled his hands in her hair, tilting her face back and kissing her ravenously.

 

Her fingers moved to his jeans, unfastening them, fingers reaching for the zipper. She lowered it with one hand, while the other reached inside to free his rock hard arousal, bringing a gasp to his lips. "I have the perfect place for this,” she whispered, breaking off the kiss.

 

"You do?" he murmured in reply, reaching for the hem of her skirt. With one arm he grasped her around the waist, then lifting her slightly, he worked her skirt up to her waist with the other hand. Then, hooking his fingers in the waistband of her silk panties, he pulled them down over her hips, setting her bare bottom back down on the table.

 

"Ummmhmmm," she moaned as he lowered his jeans over his hips and moved between her spread thighs. Bracing herself with her hands on the edge of the table, she thrust her hips toward him. "Right here."

 

With a low growl he thrust inside her in one long slow stroke, savoring the tightness warmth inch by warm inch. When he was fully embedded, he again buried his hand in her hair, kissing her as he began to thrust in and out. Alex matched his frantic pace, thrust for thrust as they worked toward the ultimate fulfillment of their desire, the prospect of getting caught making him pump furiously in and out of her luscious body. His other hand reached under her blouse, and under her bra to cup her breast as she reached to wrap one arm around his neck, the other hand still on the edge of the table.

 

Alex began to shudder when her climax hit, and as the incredible sensations gripped her, she cried out, "Walker!”.

 

"Good God Alex!" Walker moaned as he gave one final thrust and stiffened, his climax ripping through him. "Alex," he moaned again as he gathered her spent body in his arms, hearts pounding furiously.

 

Letting go of her, he moved backward so he could pull his pants back up. "One of these days, Alex, we're gonna get caught.  What came over you?”

 

"I think the risk of getting caught is half the excitement." She giggled as she hopped off the table, reaching to retrieve her panties from the floor. Pulling her panties on, she then smoothed her skirt back into place.

 

He reached for her again, and wrapping her in his arms, he kissed her tenderly. "No, just being with you is all the excitement.” He looked down at the table. "You know, hon, it’s going to be hard to concentrate on cases when I hold conferences in here. I won't be able to look at the table without seeing you on top of it…skirt up around your waist…thighs spread open for me…its all your fault you know."

 

"Well then, you'll just have to retaliate by coming down to my office to make love to me on my desk."

 

Once again, he shook his head at her, "You're a bad woman, Alexandra Walker!"

 

The rain was still coming down heavily as the memory ended. Lightning streaked across the sky as Walker leaned into Alex and kissed her.

 

"So did you get distracted much?" Alex asked, looking upward as a huge clap of thunder let loose seemingly over their heads.

 

"I did at first.  Had to hold conferences in a different room to get any serious thinking done." 

 

"Sorry, Darling. Sometimes I just couldn't help myself.”

 

The grin on her face told him she wasn’t really sorry. Not that he minded. "I'm not sorry. I enjoyed every minute of your…um…loving side."  A thought occurred to him, "Did you notice that you had several contractions while we were talking about it?"

 

She smiled widely as the realization dawned on her.  "No, I didn't notice."  She kissed his lips sweetly. "I love you."

 

"I love you too, hon."

 

Her hands flew to her abdomen. "Think of another one quick!" she moaned as another contraction gripped her.

 

Quickly running through the past several months, Walker remembers a time Alex scared the devil out of him.  "Do you remember the time you scared me to death, Alex?"

 

"Scared you?" she questioned with her teeth clamped shut, grimacing with the pain.

 

"Yeah…the car accident," He replied softly.

 

Alex's face went slack at the memory, and forgetting the pain, her hands left her abdomen and went immediately to Walker's face.  With tears in her eyes and a look of worry on her face, "Oh Walker, I thought we were past that."

 

Taking her hands in his, he whispered, "We did, but I can't help but…cringe…when I think of how I could have lost you…you and our baby."

 

As best she could, Alex leaned over and wrapped one arm around his neck, hugging him as tightly as she could.

 

It was a beautiful day in mid-March, after a cold spell, the weather was warmer and spring would be there soon. A four months pregnant Alex was driving home from her monthly checkup with Dr. McFarlin. After stopping at the bakery for a couple chocolate éclairs, she began the trip home.  Unable to wait until she got home to eat one of the delicious pastries, she carefully munched on one as she drove through a residential neighborhood nearby. As she licked her fingers clean she came upon four young children walking home from school. Stopping at the stop sign at the intersection of two streets, Alex watched the children cross the street on her left.  The roar of a car's engine to her right caught her attention.  A black Chevrolet Suburban was weaving in the middle of the road, and speeding right for the children.  Alex honked her horn trying to get the children's attention, not having the time to roll down her window to warn them. The children looked up at her, but instead of continuing to move across the street, they stood where they stopped.  With the truck bearing down on the children, Alex did the only thing she could think of to save the children.  Saying a quick prayer, she floored the accelerator and put herself in the truck's path.

 

The truck struck her car on the passenger side, sending her into a spin. Her car spun twice before hitting the stop sign on the opposite side of the road, the back quarter panel on the driver’s side taking the hit from the sign.  The truck veered off in the other direction after the impact, ending up on its side at the spot Alex had stopped only moments before.

 

Unbeknownst to Alex, an older woman that lived in a house on that corner had come outside to adjust her lawn sprinkler just before Alex accelerated, and saw the entire event.  After running back inside her house to call 911, the woman ran back outside to make sure the children were okay, finding them unharmed, but scared.  She then went to check on Alex. 

 

Alex sat unconscious, her head resting against the now deflated airbag on the steering wheel, a trickle of blood ran down the side of her face, her right arm hanging down by her side.  Knowing she shouldn't try to move Alex, the woman checked to make sure no fluids were draining from the car. Finding no hazards that would harm the pretty woman in the car, the older woman went back toward the children and the growing crowd of spectators to wait for the police and ambulance.

 

When Walker got word of the accident, he was in one of the interrogation rooms talking to a recently found accomplice in the Hernandez case.  The phone call came into Ranger Headquarters and the nurse at the hospital was quickly connected to Trivette. Upon learning of Alex's accident and that she was being taken to St. Mathew's Hospital, Trivette ran to the interrogation room to tell Walker. 

 

A startled Walker turned around when Trivette burst into the room, his heart clenching at the panicked look on his face.  "What?" he asked in a guarded tone.

 

Trivette didn't speak, just motioned for him to come outside the room. Without a backward glance at the accomplice, Walker followed Trivette out of the room.

 

"Will you spill it, Trivette!” Walker commanded in an irritated tone as Trivette closed the interrogation room door. All kind of thoughts as to what could be wrong were running through his mind, none of those thoughts involved his wife, so he was unprepared when he heard the next words to come from Jimmy.

 

"It’s Alex. She's been in an accident." Trivette almost stopped breathing at the sight of Walker's stricken face. "She's¼"

 

"Where is she?” Walker interrupted in a growing panic.

 

"They took her to the Emergency Room at St. Mathews.”  No sooner were the words out of his mouth than Walker turned on his heels and ran for the elevator. 

 

Breaking all speed laws, Walker arrived St. Mathews in record time, and after throwing the Ram into park, he ran at break-neck speed to the Emergency Room and up to the reception desk.

 

"Where's Alex Walker?" he demanded, clearly in a panic.

 

One of the receptionists recognized him and came around the corner. She spoke softly as she led him to a corner of the room. "Ranger Walker, I'm Lauren. I recognized your wife when they brought her in, and I'm the one that called for you.” Seeing the panic rise in the Ranger, she continued, "She's still with the doctor, he'll be out here to talk to you as soon as he's done.”

 

"Can you at least tell me how she is?" he asked as he looked at the Emergency Room doors.

 

"No, I'm sorry.  We've had no word of her condition yet."

 

Without a word, Walker moved closer to the ER doors, staring anxiously at them. As the nurse went back to the Reception desk, Walker began to pace.  Every time the doors opened he would turn and look expectantly at the doors, worry etched on his brow, only to turn back to pacing when the doctor or nurse exiting wasn’t coming out for him. Within half an hour Trivette, Josie, and C.D. arrived, and after finding out from Walker that he didn't yet know how she was doing, and had no idea what had happened in the accident, they sat quietly and watched as Walker paced.

 

C.D. sat down on the couch next to Trivette, who had his arm around Josie's shoulders.  He leaned in close to Trivette and whispered, his voice breaking, "Jimmy, I just don’t know what will happen to Cordell if Alex and the baby don't survive."

 

"He'll die Big Dog, he'll die inside," he whispered back.  Then, taking a deep breath, he squared his shoulders. "But, the good Lord wouldn't do that to him again. He's lost too much in his life, to lose his wife and baby too.  No…Alex is a strong woman, she and the baby will survive." He looked into C.D.'s eyes, "We have to believe that and be strong for Walker."

 

C.D. had tears in his eyes, tears for the suffering man he loved like a son, tears for the woman he loved like the daughter he never had, and tears for the unborn grandchild. "I know Jimmy." Unashamed, he wiped the tears from his eyes and sat up straight. "She'll be fine Jimmy…she'll be fine."

 

A short time later the same older woman that had seen Alex's accident came into the hospital and walked up to the reception desk to inquire about Alex.  Lauren heard her ask the other receptionist about "the blonde woman in the accident", and after confirming they were talking about the same patient, she directed her to Walker.

 

Walking up to the formidable Ranger, the woman laid a hand on Walker's arm, stopping him in his pacing. "Ranger Walker, I¼I saw the accident." Immediately, C.D., Trivette, and Josie rose from their seats and moved to stand behind Walker.

 

Walker turned to look at her. "Mrs¼"

 

"Connie…Connie Allen.  Has there been any word yet?"

 

"No, not yet." Walker shook his head to clear his mind. “Mrs. Allen, you said you saw the accident?"

 

"I'm sorry, Ranger. Yes I did.  I went outside to move my sprinkler when I heard a loud car radio coming down the street…you know how irritating that is.  Anyway, when I looked up I saw this big truck racing down the street toward these little children that were walking home from school and crossing the street."  Walker listened intently to the woman's words. "Your wife was at the corner on the cross street.  She honked her horn, I'm assuming to get the children's attention. But the children just stopped in the middle of the street and stared at the truck racing toward them. Must have been petrified. That’s when she…your wife…drove into the middle of the street and stopped."

 

C.D. muttered an almost inaudible "Oh Good Lord" as Josie gasped and covered her mouth with her hand, grabbing Jimmy's hand with the other. Walker's mouth dropped open and his face visibly blanched. "She put herself in the truck's path?"

 

"Yes, that’s how it appeared," she answered softly. "In an effort to save the children she put herself between them and the truck." She waited a few moments for Walker to digest the information. "The truck hit her car on the driver's side sending her into a spin. She ended up on the other side of the road, hitting a sign¼"

 

"Ranger Walker?"

 

All turned in unison toward the voice and saw a doctor. "How is she?" Walker demanded.

 

"She's going to be okay. She¼"

 

"She's pregnant." Walker interrupted.

 

The doctor held up his hands. "I know…the baby was unharmed. Dr. McFarlin, her obstetrician, has already been in to see her."

 

Walker relaxed a little and tears began to fill his eyes at the good news that his wife and unborn baby were going to be okay. He breathed deeply a few times in an effort to control his emotions. C.D. reached out and held onto his shoulder in silent support.

 

The doctor continued, "She suffered a concussion, a small cut to the head, and a sprained right arm.  Though she's going to be fine, I want to keep her overnight for observation."

 

"Can I go see her now?" Walker asked, very anxious to go see for himself how she was doing.

 

"Yes, of course. You can stay with her as long as you like.  Come with me." He waited a moment for Walker to speak to the others, then led him through the doors toward Alex's room.

 

Walker softly pushed open the door to Alex's room. She lay on the bed, staring out the window, her arm in a sling lying across her belly, as if cradling the child within.  He stood just inside the door watching her, thinking about what she did.  It had scared the hell out of him when Trivette told him she'd been in an accident, he'd raced to the hospital at top speed, his heart pounding with fear the entire way. During the frantic drive to the hospital his thoughts had run the gamut between praying to God not to let her or their baby die, to thinking how he'd kill the bastard that hit her car if he got his hands on him.  Now that he knew what happened, he wouldn't rest until the drunk was behind bars. Because of him, she risked not only her life, but their baby's life as well when she put herself in harm's way, and if their injuries had been worse, or if God forbid they hadn't lived, he would have lost his family once again. He shuddered, his shoulders stiffening against his strongest fear.

 

He shook his head, concentrating on good thoughts, white knuckles gripping his hat.  He was proud of her. His beautiful wife had risked her life, and their baby's life, to save a group of children, doing the only thing she could do to save them. She had done exactly what he would have done. 

 

With that thought, he moves to the bed, sitting down on the edge.  Leaning over with one hand on the other side of her body, he notices the redness in her face, the tears falling silently down her cheeks.  Instantly he is alarmed.  He reaches out with his fingers and wipes the tears away.  "Honey what’s the matter? Are you in pain?"

 

Alex shakes her head as her tears continue to fall, her cries now audible.

 

"Then, why are you crying?" he asks, concern lacing his voice.

 

Alex's chin quivers. "I'm so sorry, Walker!" she cries, looking away.

 

His concern heightened now, Walker reached out and turned her face to look at him.  His heart broke at the pain he saw in her eyes, in her tears. "Sorry for what, hon?" he asked softly as he pulled her into his arms, holding her tight.

 

"Ssssorry…I'm so…sorry for…almost…killing me…and…and…our baby!" she cried, her words punctuated by sobs. "You must be…so angry…at me! Oh God, Walker, I'm so sorry!"

 

Walker was stunned. The last thing he expected was for her to think he would be angry with her.  Pulling her away from him enough so that he could look into her eyes, he held her by her shoulders. "Alex! Honey, I'm not mad at you!"

 

"But I¼"

 

Her words were silenced with a kiss. "No buts." He wiped away the tears that continued to fall. "I'm proud of you for what you did, putting yourself on the line to save those children. Not many people would have done that…but my wife, Alexandra Walker…did. And I couldn't be more proud."

 

Her tears began to abate, her cries turned to sniffles. "You're not mad at me for putting our baby's life at risk?"

 

Gathering her once more into his arms, he spoke softly. "No, hon. I'm not mad. I am angry with the moron that decided to drive after drinking. Because of him, you had to risk yours and our baby's life by putting yourself between him and the children. I almost lost my family again today because of him and for that I'll see that he pays," he says with conviction.

 

It was then that Alex realized how he must have felt when he got the news that she had been in an accident.  Pulling from his embrace, she leaned back to look at him, her hand on the side of his face. "Oh Walker!  You must have been so scared!"

 

"Alex…it scared me…to death," he whispered. "I've lost almost everyone I've ever loved in my life, and…I couldn't bear it if I lost you too.  I prayed to God to spare you and our baby the entire drive over here, and while…pacing in the waiting room."  Walker's heart breaks at the fresh tears falling down Alex's sweet face. "Oh honey, please don't cry," he murmured as he wiped the fresh tears. "One of the happiest moments of my life, other than when you said 'I do' the day I married you, is when the doctor told me you and our baby were fine. So please don't cry."

 

Holding her again, he rocked her back and forth, rubbing her back as he whispered "Shhhh¼", waiting for her to calm. Alex stayed wrapped in Walker's arms, her head on his shoulder, after the tears had subsided. For a while nothing was said, he merely rocked her back and forth, rubbing her back. The nurse interrupted them once to check on Alex, then left them alone once again.

 

As the room began to grow dark, Walker gently disengaged Alex from his arms.  After pushing the hair back from her face, tucking it behind her ears, he smiled tenderly at her. "You need to get your rest. Why don't you lie back and sleep for a while."

 

"Stay with me?"

 

"You know they won't let me stay with you all night, so I'll stay until you fall asleep..." he bent to kiss her lips, "...okay?"

 

"No…but I guess I don't have a choice," she sighed. As she lay back against the pillow, he took her hand in his, holding on to it as her eyes closed. He rubbed the back of her hand with his thumb for several minutes, until he heard her even breathing. He waited for several more minutes, just watching her sleep, before gently laying her hand down and leaving with one last look at his wife.

 

After Walker left, Alex woke and then tossed and turned trying to get back to sleep. She always had trouble sleeping when she didn't have her husband to curl up next to, or hold on to. They had been sharing a bed together for years, so long that she could not get used to sleeping without him. After tossing and turning for a couple hours, she gave up and called the ranch.

 

Unknown to Alex, Walker had also been having trouble getting to sleep, tossing and turning himself.  Still awake, he picked up the phone before the first ring ended, anxious to be receiving a phone call at that late hour. "Hello?"

 

"I want to come home," Alex said, her voice breaking.

 

"Are you okay?" he asked anxiously.

 

"Yes I'm fine...come get me...please, Walker".

 

He could hear the tears in her voice and every fiber of his being wanted to go bring her home. But she needed to stay in the hospital until tomorrow.  "Honey you can't come home, you know that."

 

"Why not...you've left hospitals before."

 

She was right, but this was different. This time it was Alex...Alex and their baby. He would not budge on this. "Alex, you need to stay there...for your sake and for the baby's sake."

 

"I know...it’s just..." the tears started to fall, her hormones and emotions getting to her, "...I can't sleep without you!"

 

He knew how she felt and hearing her words and sensing the tears, his resolve crumbled...but just a little. "Tell you what, hon. I'm going to come in and spend the night with you...okay?"

 

"Hurry" she whispered.

 

"I will...I love you," he whispered in reply before hanging up, and running to the Ram after throwing on his jeans and a shirt, not bothering to tuck it in.

 

He arrived at the hospital in almost record time again. He went in a side door and then up the stairs to the floor Alex was on. After making sure the darkened hallway was empty, he quietly made his way to her room. Opening the door softly, he found her sitting up in bed, anxiously watching the door. He smiled when he saw her face light up at his entrance. "Anyone ever tell you a watched pot never boils?" he teased as he made his way to her side.

 

"Yes...but this time it worked," she murmured as he sat on the edge of the bed and wrapped his arms around her.

 

After a few moments of enjoying each other's embrace, they looked silently into each other's eyes, shifting so that they lay down on the bed, still embraced in each other's arms. Pressing her small rounded belly into Walker's side, Alex sighed contentedly and drifted peacefully off to sleep, with Walker following moments later.

 

Some time later the nurse entered the room to check on Alex, and smiled at the sight before her. She had heard about the close and loving relationship between the Texas Ranger and the Tarrant County ADA and wasn't a bit surprised to see him there, lying in the bed with her. After checking on Alex, she tiptoed silently from the room to check on the other patients. No one would have to know the Ranger was here.

 

As the memory faded, Alex reached up to caress Walker's bearded cheek. "I wish you had told me that night how badly I had scared you," she murmured.

 

"I know, but I didn't want to put any more stress on you..." he reached out to rub her extended belly, "...or our daughter."

 

"Daughter? How can you be so sure there isn't a son in there?" she giggled.

 

"Call it Cherokee intuition."

 

"Hmmm...I guess we'll see later." Looking up at him again, she sighed. "Well, I'm glad you finally told me." She paused for a moment, "I know it scared the hell out of you almost losing a family again, and for that I am so sor..."

 

Her words were interrupted by his kiss. "I told you before, you have nothing to be sorry for. It wasn't your fault what happened...besides, I was proud of you for what you did." He bent to kiss her deeply, letting her know that the feelings of fear that he had cried after leaving her that first night in the hospital, were no longer with him. 

 

"Okay."  She gazed into his eyes, a twinkle in her own.  "Kiss me again," she whispered softly.  Slowly he closed the distance between them, his lips descending to hers.  Their lips met with a light brush, then a little more pressure, then a little more before Walker parted his lips, his tongue caressing her lips, prying them gently open to caress her tongue.   Tongues dueled and lips melded as the kiss found a life of its own, ending only to resume again and again.  They finally parted, panting, lips swollen, foreheads together.  

 

The spell was broken when Walker began to laugh. 

 

"What’s so funny?" Alex questioned, pulling back to look at him.

 

"The kiss reminded me of that time I agreed to go on that fishing trip with C.D. and Trivette, and let you cook for it."  He ran his fingers over her lips, snickering again. "All it took was a kiss from you and that was all she wrote!"

 

Alex giggled, "I do kind of have that affect on you, don't I?"

 

"You always have, hon." He sealed his words with a kiss, and was startled when she cried out as his lips touched hers.  

 

Alex's hands flew to her belly as the contraction gripped her.  "Oh God…Walker…it’s really starting…to hurt."  He reached out to rub her belly.  "NO!" she exclaimed, her voice raised. "My back…rub my back!"

 

Walker quickly moved behind her and began to knead her back as he prodded her to talk about cooking for his fishing trip.  He began to snicker again, "Do you remember that stuff you made for our fishing trip lunch?"

 

Despite the pain, a smile lifted the corner of her mouth, a smile that spread into a giggle, the pain forgotten momentarily.  "Oh yeah…I don't think I'll ever live that down!"

 

It was mid-April and Alex was a full 5 months pregnant.  She was in her second trimester, her belly more rounded, and her energy level at a high.  She had been in court most of the day, finally getting out shortly after 5:30.  She exited the courtroom, finding Walker waiting on the bench outside.

 

"Good thing you came out when you did, Alex." Walker said as he got up. He took her briefcase. "Because I was ready to go in there and tell Judge Winters to call a recess or else." He slid his arm around her waist as he guided her toward her office.

 

"You'd threaten a judge?!" she teased, knowing full well he wouldn't have done so.

 

"Ordinarily no…but you need your rest and it was getting late.  If she hadn't called a recess I might have had to have her disbarred."

 

"Well, lucky for her the case finally went to the jury!" They arrived at her office, Walker pushed the door open and stepped back so she could enter.  "Besides,¼" she said as he followed her into her inner office, "¼I don't need rest. I'm not tired."

 

He laid her briefcase on her desk as she sat in her chair. "You may not be tired, but you've been up since early this morning, and in court all day long, and I say you need rest."

 

"I'm not tired…but I am hungry. Lets go eat!"

 

Walker eyed her, then leaning over her desk peered intently at her face, looking for signs of wear.  Seeing nothing but a smile, he straightened up. "Okay. C.D.'s?"

 

"Of course!" Standing, she grabbed her purse, then his arm as they made their way out of the office.

 

An hour later they were sitting at the bar at C.D.'s, Trivette next to them, finishing their dinner.  C.D. came out of the kitchen with a napkin covered plate.  Sitting it down on the bar in front of Alex, he lift the napkin from the plate with a flourish. "For you, honey!"

 

"C.D.!" Alex exclaimed. "Éclairs!"  Lifting up from her stool she grabbed C.D.'s face between her hands and kissed him, causing him to blush at the unexpected gesture.

 

As Alex excitedly dove into the chocolate éclairs, C.D. turned to Walker. "Cordell, look what I got in the mail today!"  He moved to reach behind the storeroom door, bringing out a fancy fishing rod and a box. "Isn't it a beaut?!" he exclaimed, handing the rod to Walker.

 

Walker and Trivette both let out a whistle as they inspected the rod. "Wow…yes it is C.D.  Titanium!" Walker exclaimed, looking at C.D., "Where'd you get it?

 

Trivette chimed in, "What’s in that box?"

 

"Hank sent it to me, said if I was ever gonna catch more fish than you, bigger fish, I'd need that baby...and these!" With a huge smile, he brought a small TV looking thing out of the box.  "A fish finder, Cordell…Jimmy!" he exclaimed. "This little baby will show me where the fish are!"  He reached back into the box and brought out a plastic worm, a bright yellow plastic worm.  "This my friends, is a dancing worm."

 

"A dancing worm, C.D.?" Walker repeated sarcastically as Trivette ooohd and aahhhd over the fish finder.

 

"Yes! It acts like a real worm…supposed to work really well." 

 

"He's right, partner. These things work wonders." Trivette confirmed.

 

With the fish finder on top of the bar, titanium rod and dancing worm in his hands, C.D. boasted, "With these things, I will surely win the next time we go fishing, Cordell!  You will eat my dust!"

 

"C.D.…every good fisherman knows that it takes skill, not gadgets" Walker said, shaking his head.

 

"Care to put money where your mouth is?"

 

"You're a  goner Walker, if Big Dog brings this stuff." Trivette laughed.

 

"Name the time and place, and I'll be there."

 

"Saturday, Lake Ebby, 6:00 am," C.D. dared him.

 

"Can't" Walker stated.

 

"Afraid?" C.D. sneered.

 

"No I'm not afraid!" Walker declared. "I'm not leaving Alex by herself."

 

"Why not?" Alex asked incredulously, her last bite of chocolate éclair poised in front of her mouth.

 

"Yeah, why not?" C.D. echoed.

 

"C.D.! She's pregnant, I can't very well leave her by herself for the weekend."

 

"Yes you can!" Alex cried, licking the chocolate of the last eclair from her fingers. He opened his mouth to protest but her glare closed it. "Walker! I'm not an invalid...I'm pregnant!"

 

"But you could..."

 

"No buts! This baby isn't due for 4 more months..." her face softened at his look of concern, "...honey I'll be fine." She leaned over to press a kiss to his lips. " If it will make you feel better, I'll have Josie stay out at the ranch with me."

 

"Yes, that’s a good idea!" Trivette offered. "I'll talk to her tonight. What do you say, Walker?"

 

Alex could still see the look of doubt on his face. Smiling sweetly at him, she leaned over again, bracing herself with a hand on his thigh, and kissed him, moving her lips over his sensually, then separating his lips with her tongue, drawing his tongue in. As always happens when kissed by his wife, Walker kissed her back with the same amount of passion, momentarily forgetting that there were others in the room.

 

The kiss broke off when Trivette moaned, "Geez you two! Get a room!"

 

Walker blushed with embarrassment as he looked into the twinkling blue eyes of his wife. "Okay...as usual you win...I'll go…BUT…only for the day, not the weekend."

 

"Great!" C.D. shouted.

 

"Its all set then Walker. This Saturday, Lake Ebby!" Trivette clapped him on the back.

 

"Be prepared to take a beating Cordell!" C.D. crowed, taking his gear back to the storeroom.

 

"You are incorrigible, Alex" Walker murmured as he shook his finger at her.

 

"Well, you wouldn't want me any other way...would you?" Alex murmured, a teasing smile on her lips.

 

A smile lifted the corners of his mouth. "No, I guess I wouldn't." Taking her hand in his, he pressed a light kiss to the end of her nose.

 

"Why don't you guys let me make the food for your trip?" Alex asked, turning around on her barstool, putting her back to the bar, her hand on Walker's thigh.

 

"That’s okay, hon. C.D. will take care of that," Walker answered, covering her hand with his own.

 

C.D. was returning from the storeroom, "C.D. will take care of what?"

 

"The food" Trivette replied, picking up some peanuts from the bowl on the counter.

 

"Come on you guys, I can do that too. Its just a bunch of sandwiches." Alex smiled her best smile.

 

"That’s okay with me." C.D. said as he looked at Walker. "Give me more time to try out my new gadgets before the trip!"

 

"Great! I'll cook a quiche..."

 

"Quiche!" All three men shouted with disdain.

 

"Just kidding!" Alex laughed. "Gotcha!"

 

Friday night found Alex preparing the picnic basket for the next day's fishing trip.

Shooing Walker out of the kitchen, she sent him to go clean out his truck and finish getting ready. She turned on the radio to a country station, then got what she needed from the refrigerator and pantry as she hummed along with the music.

 

Laying out the bread on the counter, she began to spread mayonnaise and mustard on some of the slices of bread.  After laying bologna on the bread, she reached for the cheese, remembering she had left it in the refrigerator.  Opening the refrigerator door, she spied the jar of olives on the middle shelf and got an idea.  Taking the jar, she opened it, popping one in her mouth, then taking several from the jar, sliced them and placed them on top of the bologna.  Licking her lips, she placed the other half of the sandwich bread onto the olives and placed the bologna and olive sandwiches in zip lock bags.   Placing those sandwiches in the refrigerator, she turned to make more sandwiches.

 

Her stomach started to growl, so she fixed herself a sandwich at the same time. Reaching for the jar of peanut butter, she spread some on a slice of bread.  Thinking the men would appreciate peanut butter she spread some on several more slices of bread.  Reaching for the jelly, it suddenly struck her that peanut butter and jelly just wouldn't stifle her craving.  Opening the refrigerator once again, she stood looking at what was inside.  Her face lit up when her eyes alighted on the leftover tuna fish.  Licking her lips once again, she spread some tuna fish on top of the peanut butter.  After completing her sandwich she took a bite, then another, and another.  Proclaiming it delicious, she then spread the rest of the tuna fish on the other peanut butter laden slices of bread. 

 

Finishing those sandwiches, she then set about making more sandwiches.  Knowing Jimmy liked pimento cheese, she lathered a few more slices of bread with the cheese.  As she licked some of the cheese from her fingers, she decided she wanted a pimento cheese sandwich herself, she was still a little hungry.  After making the sandwich, she took a bite.  Thinking it tasted too bland, she went to the refrigerator to look for something to spruce it up.  She stood there for a few moments before her mouth began to water at the sight of the pineapple jelly.  Taking the jar, she spread some on her sandwich, then taking a bite, proclaimed it delicious too.  Knowing the men would like it as well, she spread the jelly on top of the pimento cheese and placed those sandwiches in zip lock bags, and put them with the other sandwiches in the refrigerator. 

 

After placing plastic ware, paper plates, and napkins in the picnic basket, she thought the men would like something more than sandwiches to eat.  Looking at the array of food on the counter she picked up the open jar of olives, then looking at the jar of pineapple jelly, got an idea.  Taking the lettuce from the produce drawer in the refrigerator she cut some up, placing the lettuce in a plastic bowl.  Then, slicing some olives, she added them to the lettuce.  Then, smiling at her brilliant idea, she opened the pantry and retrieved the can of crushed pineapple.  Mixing them in with the lettuce and olives, she proclaimed it almost complete.  Knowing it needed a dressing of some kind, Alex again went to the refrigerator to find some dressing.  The bottles of ranch and balsamic vinaigrette didn't strike her fancy, so she looked around for a substitute.  She smiled victoriously as she grabbed the jar of pickles.  Draining some of the pickle juice from the jar, she added some salt and pepper and a couple more spices, then added it to the lettuce. 

 

After placing the salad in the refrigerator, she stood in front of it, the door open, looking at her handiwork.  "They are going to love it!  Wish I was going," she finished, closing the door.  She turned around and ran smack into the hard wall of Walker's chest.

 

"We're gonna love it, huh?" he said as he took her into his arms.

 

"Yes you are!" she replied as she wrapped her arms around his neck, leaning in for a kiss.

 

"Ready for bed?" he ground his arousal against her belly and ran his hands up underneath her shirt, letting her know that it wasn't really sleep he had in mind.

 

"Mmmmmhmmmm" she moaned, kissing him with more passion. 

 

Wrapping his arms around her waist, he picked her up, turning toward the stairs as she wrapped her legs around his waist. 

 

It was just before 1:00 pm the next afternoon when C.D. grumbled that he was hungry.  While Jimmy set aside the fishing poles and C.D. got them each a cold beer, Walker brought out the picnic basket, lovingly prepared by Alex.  Trivette and C.D. watched expectantly, stomachs growling, as Walker lift out the plastic ware and napkins.  Unable to wait any longer, C.D. reached in and brought out a sandwich.  Opening up the baggie, he took out the sandwich and hurriedly took a bite.  

 

He spit the food out almost immediately, causing Walker and Trivette to jump back. "What the hell!" C.D. exclaimed. "This tastes like…peanut butter and…and…and I don't know what!"  He peeled the pieces of bread apart and said with disgust, "tuna fish!"

 

"Tuna fish?" Walker questioned, unsure he had heard right.

 

"This is a peanut butter and tuna fish sandwich!" C.D. shouted, again with a good amount of disgust.

 

"Let me see that!" Trivette said as he took the sandwich from him.  Looking at it incredulously, he threw it down and picked up the next two sandwiches, both peanut butter and tuna fish.

 

"This can't be happening¼" Walker muttered as he picked up a sandwich himself.  Looking into the baggie, Walker looked relieved, "Its okay, this one isn't peanut butter. Looks like your favorite, Trivette…pimento cheese."

 

Hungry, and relieved as well that they wouldn't be forced to eat peanut butter and tuna fish, Trivette grabbed the baggie from Walker's hand. "Its mine!" he shouted, before taking a bite.  Almost as soon as he had taken a bite, he spit it back out. "Oh…oh¼" he shouted, "This is terrible!" his face screwed up into a scowl as he pulled apart the pieces of bread. Holding it out so the others could see, "This may be pimento cheese, but there's also pineapple jelly on it!"

 

C.D. looked incredulously at Walker, "What’s Alex trying to do? Kill us?"

 

"This must be a joke, you guys. There's got to be some real sandwiches in there." He piled through a couple more pimento cheese and jelly sandwiches before bringing up a new one.  Opening the baggie with trepidation, he pulled apart the pieces of bread.  Looking at C.D. and Trivette in disbelief, he held out the sandwich, "Its bologna and olives…she put olives on the bologna."

 

"What did you do to that girl to piss her off enough to do this to us, Walker?" Trivette asked, throwing his arms up in the air.

 

"Nothing…I didn't do anything to make her mad!"  Walker exclaimed. "You guys saw her when we left…she was happy!"

 

C.D.'s face was red with anger, thinking Walker had done something to Alex to make her mad.  His mouth was open to rebuke Walker, but Trivette spoke up first. "He's right Big Dog, Alex was happy.  You know, this sounds like one of those weird things that pregnant women do…you know, eat weird things."

 

Walker closed his eyes, realization sinking in.  "I should've known better," he sighed, his words bringing C.D.'s and Trivette's attention to him. 

 

"What?" they asked simultaneously.

 

"Alex.  Lately she's been eating…well, just really weird combinations. The other day I caught her dipping a pickle in caramel."

 

Trivette moved closer to Walker. "So what you're saying is, you knew Alex has a weird appetite, and you LET her make our lunch?!!"

 

Walker looked helpless.  C.D. took pity on him.  Putting his arm around Walker's shoulders, he led him away from Trivette. "You leave him alone, Jimmy.  This is a new thing for him, Cordell's not used to dealing with the whims of a pregnant woman."

 

Trivette stared at C.D.'s and Walker's retreating backs, "Hey! I'm still hungry!"

 

C.D. turned his head, "Brush the olives off the bologna, son!" He turned back to Walker,

"Cordell, how about I cook for you the next few months, until Alex has the baby¼" he laughs as he continues, "¼so you don't die of a stomach ache or something¼"

 

When the memory faded, Alex was covering her face with her hands in embarrassment. "Oh Walker, please tell me C.D. didn't offer to cook for you!"

 

"Sorry, hon…he did." Walker said with a smile.

 

"Oh God¼" Alex moaned, putting her hands down, her face pink from blushing, "I'll never live this down."

 

"Sure you will.  They don't tease you as much as they used to."   Noticing the darkness outside, he glanced at his watch.  He was surprised that it was after midnight. The rain continued to come down in buckets, the thunder and lightening still overhead.  Reliving memories of the past nine months was helping to not only take Alex's mind off the pain, but also to pass the time until their baby was born.  In the time that it took for them to relive her weird eating habits, she had had three contractions, contractions that were steadily increasing in their intensity

 

Leaning down, he kissed her lips softly.  "I love you, you know."

 

Alex smiled, her eyes twinkling, at the unexpected declaration. "I know," she said softly, "I love you too, Darling." 

 

Spying the forgotten hairbrush on the blankets, Walker picked it up and began to draw it slowly through her soft blonde tresses, from the root to the ends.  The slow even strokes felt so good to Alex that a pleasurable contented sigh escaped her lips, her eyes closing as she enjoyed the feeling of her husband brushing her hair.

 

Walker had been brushing her hair for only a couple minutes before a contraction hit, Alex's hands flew to her belly as she winced and moaned with the pain.  Walker continued to brush her hair, "Breathe, honey" he coached. "Breathe through it." 

 

At Walker's gentle reminder to breathe, Alex began to breathe in short breaths, diverting her thoughts away from the pain to the feel of the gentle strokes of the hairbrush. 

 

Walker's mind raced, trying to think of something to bring up, to ease her pain. "Names!" he said.  "Alex, do you remember the picnic we took the afternoon we talked about names?" He waited until she nodded, gritting her teeth against the pain. "You were wearing that short dress¼." Walker's mind began to wander, thinking about the dress and the picnic that afternoon.

 

"Oh yeah." Alex moaned, "As I…remember…this time…it was you…that…couldn't… keep your hands off…me." She blew out a long breath.

 

It was a warm Sunday afternoon in May. Alex was six months pregnant now, and with the weather as warm as it was, she was finally able to wear some of the outfits she had bought when Walker took her shopping for her birthday.  She and Walker had planned an afternoon picnic underneath some shade trees near the house.  Being pregnant, Walker wouldn't let her ride a horse, so they couldn't go too far.  Alex wore her favorite dress, a light blue cotton sleeveless sundress, the hem reaching mid thigh.  It was light, airy, and very comfortable.  With ankle socks and keds, she looked every bit the beautiful radiant pregnant woman she was. 

 

Shortly after noon, they set out the back door, hand in hand, Walker carrying the picnic basket, Alex the blanket.   They walked the short distance to the grove of trees, then after spreading the blanket, they sat down to eat their lunch of chicken salad for Alex and fried chicken for Walker. 

 

"Oh darn," Alex muttered, "I forgot the peanut butter and tuna fish sandwich I made for you."

 

"Oh hon…darn." Walker commiserated, a look of mock disappointment on his face. "I was really looking forward to that sandwich."

 

"Yeah right!" Alex dissolved into giggles.

 

They continued to eat while talking about the latest cases and Alex's last doctor's visit.  After lunch was finished and everything put back into the picnic basket, Walker sat up against the tree trunk, indicating for Alex to sit between his legs.  She settled back against the hard wall of his muscular chest, laying her head back on his shoulder. Walker's arms came around her to rest on her extended belly. Her hand rest on his muscular thighs, idly caressing his denim clad legs.

 

Alex sighed as Walker's large hand caressed her belly through the soft cotton of her dress, and smiled when he bunched up the front of her dress in his hands, bringing the hem up over her belly so that he could lay his warm hands on her bare abdomen. "You know, Walker, we haven't discussed names for our baby yet," she said as she placed her small hands over his.

 

"Hmmm, names. Well, since we're having a daughter, we only need to come up with girls names."

 

Alex giggled. "You don't know if we're having a girl!"

 

"Yes I do...I told you...its Cherokee."

 

"Okay Mr. Cherokee Smarty Pants, lets talk girls names."

 

Both fell silent for a few minutes as they thought to themselves. It was Walker that finally broke the silence with a name.

 

"Alexandra." he stated, matter of factly.

 

'Yes?"

 

"You like it?"

 

"Like what?" she asked, turning her head to look at him.

 

"Giving our daughter your name...Alexandra."

 

"Walker!" Alex turned back around.

 

"What? What’s the matter with Alexandra?" He caressed her belly in a spot where the baby was kicking. Leaning down, he kissed her cheek. "I happen to think it’s a beautiful name. A beautiful name for a beautiful woman, and a beautiful baby."

 

"We can't give the baby my name. How about Elizabeth, after your mother?"

 

Walker was silent for a moment, thinking about his mother.  Taking Alex's hand in his, he kissed her fingers as he whispered, "I love you very much you know." Leaning down he softly kissed her lips. Then, looking wistfully in the distance, he spoke softly, "Years ago, when my mother and father crossed the river, I was taken to an orphanage until my father's family could be contacted.  I didn't want to be there, and because I was half Indian, the other children…didn't like me…so I was very lonely.  One day when I was sitting outside, by myself, an older woman that worked in the cafeteria came and sat down beside me.  She didn't say anything at first, just picked up my hand and held it. She began to tell me a story about a farmer that lived on a small ranch in Texas.

 

His hands continued to caress her belly, concentrating on those areas where his baby kicked, as he told the story, "The farmer and his wife never had enough money, and pretty soon had to start selling off their livestock because they couldn't afford to feed them.  The farmer's wife always insisted that they keep the orphaned colt that they had rescued from a well, and this colt grew up to be a beautiful stallion…large and powerful. They used him to plow the fields, but he wasn't very good at it, and kept tripping, sliding. The farmer pleaded with his wife to trade the horse for a mule, but she believed the colt was special and would one day prove its worth. 

 

A soft breeze moved the hair framing Alex's face, and Walker tenderly reached out to tuck it behind her ear as he continued, "One day the farmer slipped in his field and hurt himself badly.  He managed to climb on the back of the stallion, but he was bleeding so badly he feared they would never make it to the doctor in time. Well, he was surprised when the stallion leaped up and raced across the field like the wind.  The stallion was surefooted and confident, running with ease.  He got the farmer to the doctor and saved his life. And do you know what?" He looked down at Alex as he finished, "The farmer entered the stallion in several races after that, and the purses he won made the couple comfortable for life."

 

Alex turned her head to look at her husband. Softly she murmured, "The moral of this story is…even if you do not know what your potential is, it is still there, waiting to be discovered."

 

Touched that she understood, he leaned down and kissed her tenderly again. When the kiss ended, he spoke softly, "I never forgot her and what that story taught me." He looked into Alex's eyes, "Her name was Jessica."

 

Alex wrapped her arm around Walker's neck, bringing his face down to hers for a sweet kiss, tongues mingling, lips melding.  The kiss ended, and breathing deeply to control her growing desire, Alex murmured, "Lets name our daughter Jessica."

 

"Jessica Alexandra" he whispered as he lowered his lips to hers once again. Lips meeting to once again mingle in a familiar passion, a passion so strong that it never fails to overwhelm them. As the passion consumes them, Walker shifts so that he is no longer up against the tree, and then gently lays Alex back onto the blanket. 

 

Stretching out beside her, he slips his large calloused hands underneath her dress, caressing the warm bare skin of her belly, then further up her body. His hands reach up, cupping her lace covered breasts, teasing the nipples through the lace until the hardened peaks strain against the material of her bra.

 

With a moan Alex arches her back, pushing her breast more firmly into his hand.  With a low moan of his own, Walker pushes her dress up and over her breasts, reaching around her to unhook the bra, not bothering to slip the dress off of her before his warm hand closes over her bare breast, gently kneading as his tongue reaches out to flick the nipple once…twice…a third time as she writhed in passion, crying out for him to join with her.

 

Sitting up, he pulls her up with him, reaching to slip her dress over her head. He then pulls the dangling bra off her arms as she reaches out to unbutton his shirt, her fingers fumbling with the buttons. Finally getting a few unbuttoned, Alex caressed the bare skin she found with her hands, then her mouth, as she pushes the shirt over his head and off his body, not bothering with the other buttons. 

 

Breaking off the kiss, Alex slowly ran her tongue over his jaw line, down his neck, and after pressing a wet kiss to the hollow of his throat, she continued down his body. As Walker moaned softly, the hot trail of molten fire moved down his chest, circling first one nipple, then the other, leaving two hardened peaks in its blazing path, before moving oh so slowly down the line of soft hair to the waistband of his pants. After making quick work of the belt and button, Alex lowered the zipper slowly, shifting as she freed his thick hard manhood and pushed his pants down with his briefs.  She bent her head toward his navel, her blonde hair fanning out over his pulsing manhood, a sensation so erotic that he had to grasp fists full of blanket to keep from taking her right then and there.  He sucked in his next breath when the hot moisture of her tongue dipped into the small indentation of his navel, sucking in more air as the hot wet trail continued further south, skirting around his erect manhood, her hair now tickling his inner thigh.  He trembled when the wetness of her tongue touched the soft sac under his shaft, the glorious sensations assailing his senses overwhelming him, and with her hand trading places with her tongue, cupping him, he cried out when the warm silkiness of her lips closed over the tip of his engorged manhood.

 

“Oh God!”  he moaned, crying out again as she took him in deeper. “Alex, please!”  he pleaded, gently tugging on her hair.

 

Her breasts brushed his manhood as she slithered up his body causing Walker to tighten his muscles as the need for release began to overpower him. In one swift movement, he grasped Alex around the waist, turning them so that she lay under him, her thighs instinctively spreading apart. Moving his hands to grip her buttocks, he entered her with a strong powerful stroke, filling her completely as he moaned loudly.  He withdrew almost completely before thrusting back home to the sound of her pleasurable sigh, and moving at a quicker pace, he dipped his head to kiss her with a passion that made her toes curl.

 

Leaving her kiss swollen lips, he lowered his head to lave her breasts with his hot tongue, flicking the nipples then taking them between his teeth, pulling gently as she whimpered.

 

The loving assault on her breasts and on her quivering center quickly brought on her orgasm. Wrapping her legs around his waist, her fingers in his hair, she arched her back, crying out at the exquisite ecstasy of her climax as he continued to pump his hips in strong strokes.  The feel of her feminine pulses around his shaft almost brought him to completion, but wanting to draw it out a little more, he slowed the pace of his thrusts until her cries stopped. 

 

Her lips sought out his again as she regained her senses, kissing him with all the love she felt for him, still feeling the tingling of her orgasm.  Never leaving her body, Walker sat up, pulling her up with him, and shifted her so that she straddled his hips, her legs behind him, her rounded belly between them.  Gently grasping her face in his hands, he kissed her with a growing passion as she began to move her hips over his manhood.  Alex whimpered as she leaned back, bracing herself with her hands behind her on Walkers thighs, thrusting in perfect timing back against Walkers thrusts.  She cried out as another climax began to take root. Walker grabbed her hips in his hands, pulling her hips forward, thrusting deeper once, then twice as he climaxed forcefully, calling out her name. Feeling his hot seed spilling forth deep within her body brought on her own intense climax.

 

Foreheads together, they panted, struggling to maintain normal breathing. Leaning back, he gazed at her through satiated glazed eyes as she straightened up…her mussed hair falling around her shoulders and in her face, her soft skin pink from the passion, her breasts red from his attentions, her lips swollen. God how he loved her like this!  Taking her in his arms, he withdrew, then lay back, tucking her spoon fashion into his chest.  With her head on his arm, his other arm around her belly, gently caressing, they fell into a contented sleep, napping under the tree as the slight breeze caressed their naked bodies.

 

A soft smile, instead of a grimace, graced Alex’s face as the memory ended, despite being in the throes of another contraction.  Reliving making love to the man she loved with all her heart never failed to calm her, she often found herself thinking of her husband when the stresses of life threatened to consume her.

 

When the contraction ended, Walker put down the hairbrush and moved so that he was sitting beside Alex, but leaving his bent leg behind her for added support.   Pulling the sheet down to expose her abdomen, and consequently her breasts, he leaned down to place a kiss to her bare stomach.  "Jessica Alexandra," he whispered.   Then leaning toward Alex he brushed his lips against hers, kissing her tenderly.

 

"Jessica Alexandra may very well turn out to be Cordell John Jr.," Alex murmured when the kiss ended.             

 

"Nope...I'm telling you hon, its gonna be Jessie," he smiled, his palm lying protectively on her belly.

 

"Jessie, huh?" Alex smiled back. "You've already got her nickname picked out."

 

Walker shrugged impishly.  He looked around the room, and as his eyes moved over the bed, he remembered an evening he had previously spent in that very room. He turned back to her, his eyes shining, "Remember that time we were here before...with C.D. and Trivette?"  At her nod, he continued, moving his hand slowly from her belly to gently cup a full breast, "Remember that first night here, after 'snipe' hunting with Trivette..." His hand began to caress her breast, his voice lowering, "...after everyone went to bed..."

 

"...when you came into my room?" Alex finished for him, her voice almost a whisper as Walker continued to light the flame of desire with his caress.  "How could I forget? " Her voice turned husky, "You made love to me for hours that night."

 

He leaned down to brush her lips with his, murmuring, "And then you made love to me the next morning before going to meet Bobby."

 

Alex grinned, beginning to blush. "I'm glad no one saw you leave my room that morning."

 

"Well...I think C.D. saw me."  Walker almost laughed when Alex's eyes got wide. "I never told you this, because I wasn't sure...but when I left your room, I turned around and saw C.D. coming out of his room."

 

"Oh no…how do you know if he saw you?"

 

"Because as I passed him in the hall, he grinned at me...like a Cheshire cat, but he said absolutely nothing."

 

Alex began to giggle, causing Walker to look at her with a raised eyebrow. "He knew, oh Darling...he knew!"

 

"What makes you say that?" Walker asked, a smile twitching at the corners of his lips.

 

"Because later that evening, in the midst of all that was happening, when things had gotten quiet, C.D. said to me…'you and Cordell make me very happy'.  I never knew what he meant...until now!" 

 

By now, Walker was laughing along with her giggling.  "So he's known about us since that far back," he shook his head, having been wrong all this time.  He was startled out of his reverie by Alex's loud moan, another contraction gripping her.

 

Her hands flew to her abdomen as she breathed in and out, Walker taking her hand in his. The grimace on his face matched hers as she squeezed his hand, trying to endure the pain.  Thinking quickly, Walker bent down and kissed her hard and deep, effectively taking her mind off the pain...the grip on his hand loosening. 

 

The kiss ended with the contraction.  Alex smiled up at her husband, "You have got to be the best darned labor coach!"

 

"My pleasure, ma'am," he grinned.  Picking up the hairbrush again, Walker resumed brushing her hair as they waited for the next contraction.  They didn't have to wait long...because three minutes later...

 

"Oh God...Walker!" Alex moaned as another contraction began, more intense than the last one.  Her breaths came in short pants, whimpers escaping as the pain mounted. 

 

Taking her hand, Walker quickly brought up a memory from a couple months before.  He blurted out, "How about that time I had to go buy maternity panties for you?"

 

Despite the pain, Alex actually began to laugh.

 

It was a warm day in June and Alex was now seven months pregnant. Not having any appointments that afternoon, and nothing pressing in court matters, Alex decided to leave work early to do some grocery shopping before going home for the evening.  Dropping her pen on her desk and closing the file she was working on, she got up and grabbed her purse and briefcase, heading to Ranger Headquarters.  

 

Breezing through the door to Texas Rangers Company B, she strode to Walker's desk after greeting Trivette with a cheery "Hi Jimmy!”.  Seeing Walker was on the phone, she came around to his side and sat on the edge of his desk, patiently waiting for him to conclude the call.   As she sat on the end of his desk, Walker looked up, giving her a smile of 'hello' and with her back to the room, no one saw her purse her lips and blow a kiss in reply.

 

Alex winced and rubbed her belly when the baby kicked her bladder, making a mental note to use the ladies restroom before heading to her car.  Walker noticed the wince as he reached to hang up the phone. 

 

"Baby kicking?" he asked with a smile.

 

"Yes...and not in a comfortable place."

 

"How're you feeling?" he questioned as he stood up, giving her a peck on the cheek,  stepping back to check her over.

 

"Walker, I'm fine." She wasn't going to tell him about feeling faint earlier, knowing what his reaction would be. If he knew, she'd be tied to the ranch, not being able to go anywhere. Seeing his raised eyebrow, "Really…I'm fine."  Getting up off his desk, "I'm going to leave now and do some grocery shopping before heading home." 

 

"Okay," Walker responded, eyeing her, making sure she was okay.  "But I'm still going to walk you to your car."  With an arm around her waist, he guided her toward the door. "Be back in a few, Trivette."

 

A short time later, Alex guided a shopping cart through the produce aisle, picking the best fruits and vegetables, being careful to not pick spoiled or rotten produce.  Passing a huge box full of watermelon, her mouth began to water.  Feeling an intense desire to eat watermelon, Alex bent over the box, searching for the right one. 

 

She was startled when a man came up beside her. "Here, ma'am, let me get that for you."  Turning around, Alex smiled at the grocery store clerk that was already reaching into the box, lifting the huge watermelon out.

 

"Thank you," she said, brushing a lock of wayward hair behind her ear.

 

"You're quite welcome," he replied, placing the watermelon in the cart. Smiling at her, he turned back to the produce he was spraying down with water.

 

Several minutes later, Alex was perusing the items in the baking aisle, getting what she needed to make Walker his favorite dessert.  Pushing the cart toward the bags of chocolate chips, she begins to feel hot, overheated. Stopping the cart, she starts to fan herself with her hand. That not working, she picks up a small bag of chopped pecans sitting near the chocolate chips, and fans herself with that.  Beads of sweat begin to form on her brow and feeling lightheaded, Alex dropped the bag of chopped pecans and placed her head in her hands, breathing deeply as she leaned over the cart. "God, please don't let me faint," she whispered to herself.

 

"Excuse me, are you okay?" Lifting her head, Alex came face to face with a very pretty woman and her equally pretty daughter.

 

"Yes, I'm..." Alex began to respond, then her head began to swim, "…no…I think I'm going to…” Looking around wildly as the world began to swim around her, she grabbed onto a nearby shelf, trying to steady herself.

 

"Here," the pretty woman said, "...let me help you." Grasping Alex's arms, she helped her lower herself to the floor. Once Alex was settled on the floor, her head back in her hands, breathing deeply, she turned to her daughter. Speaking urgently, "Melina, go find the manager and bring him here." Grabbing a six-pack of bottled water from her cart, the woman broke one of the six out of the packaging and turned back to Alex. She spoke softly, "Here, why don't you drink this water."

 

Alex looked up and took the water gratefully. Opening the lid, she drank down one-third of the liquid, wiping the perspiration from her forehead.  Looking up, Alex apologized, "I'm sorry, I don't mean to be such trouble."

 

"No need to be sorry, its no trouble at all…I'm a nurse." She paused for a moment, "By the way, my name's Alejandra."

 

Alex smiled warmly, feeling better now, the dizziness gone. "My name's Alexandra."

 

"Well, what a nice coincidence!" Alejandra exclaimed. "We have the same name, almost!"

 

Just then Melina returned with the manager. Seeing the manager, Alex began to feel mortified, causing this much trouble. She began to rise from the floor, Alejandra reaching out to help her. Turning to the manager, she filled him in on what happened, "I'm Alejandra and I'm a nurse. This is Alexandra, she came close to fainting and needs to sit down for a little while."

 

Seeing Alex's pregnant condition and hearing that she almost fainted, the manager spun into action. Moving to her side, he took her arm to help her, "Lets get you to the back room...."

 

"Oh no, I need to finish shopping and go ho…"

 

"She's right. You should rest for a little bit, Mrs…"

 

"Walker" Alex supplied, giving in and, grabbing her purse, allowing herself to be led away.

 

Alejandra and her daughter Melina followed Alex and the grocery store manager to the back room, where he led her to a desk, sitting her down in the chair. Alejandra picked up Alex's arm and looking at her watch, began to check her pulse. "Let me call someone to come get you."

 

Alex winced, knowing how Walker would react if he knew of her dizzy spell. "That’s okay, I can drive myself home."

 

Satisfied that her heart rate was fine, "Mrs. Walker, you need to see your doctor, and you should let someone else take you home. You've come close to fainting and it could happen again." Taking her hand gently, she spoke softly, "The next time it could happen when you're behind the wheel, then you'll jeopardize not only your life, but that of your baby's." Seeing Alex's face soften, she continues, reaching into her own purse for her cell phone, "Shall I call your husband?"

 

Alex sighed, "Yes. 555-7486."

 

Alex smiled as she saw Alejandra's eyes widen when her husband obviously answered the phone, then closed her eyes as she listened to her end of the conversation.

 

"Ranger Walker?" Alejandra's eyes grew wide and she stared down at Alex when she realized whom her husband was. "My name is Alejandra and I'm calling from the Albertsons off I35 and the Dallas North Tollway, I'm here with your wife, Alexandra...no sir, she's fine now...yes I'm sure, but she had a dizzy spell...yes I'm a nurse and I'm sure she's okay now but...okay Ranger Walker, I'll let her know." Alex opened her eyes as she clicked off her phone, "He's on his way," she smiled.

 

Alex smiled wryly in return, beginning to dread facing her husband.

 

The manager spoke up, "Should I call an ambulance?"

 

Both looked to Alex. "No! Please don't, I'll be fine."

 

"Promise me you'll see a doctor after leaving here," Alejandra requested.

 

"Okay...I promise."

 

Leaning against the desk, Alejandra said, "I had no idea you were Alex Cahill-Walker, Ranger Walker's wife!"

 

Alex smiled, "You've heard of him, I take it."

 

"Oh yes. I read about your wedding at Mr. Cuban's house in the society pages of the Dallas Morning News."

 

Melina spoke up then, "The picture of you and Ranger Walker was absolutely beautiful, I loved your dress."

 

"Thank you."

 

"I'm sorry Mrs. Walker, with all that happened I forgot to introduce my daughter. This is Melina."

 

"Nice to meet you, Melina. Bet I've livened up an otherwise monotonous trip to the grocery store for you. " Then back to Alejandra, "Don't let me keep you, you don't need to stay."

 

"We don't need to...but we are," she replied.

 

In a matter of minutes, Walker was striding quickly through the back room doors, having broken all speed laws in his quest to get there as soon as he could. Spotting Alex sitting in the chair, he picked up his pace and a look of relief washed over him as he knelt down in front of her. She could see the anxious concern in his eyes as he whispered, "Alex..."

 

Despite herself, tears came to her eyes, "I'm sorry, Walker," she whispered back.

 

He reached up to tenderly wipe the tears that escaped, then turned to the pretty woman standing nearby. "You must be Alejandra?" he questioned, standing.

 

"Yes, I am," she said, shaking Walker's hand. "I came upon your wife when she was feeling dizzy. I had her sit on the ground and drink some water, then with the manager's help, we took her back here to rest. I checked her pulse and she seems to be doing fine, but she should see her obstetrician."

 

"I agree," he answered, looking pointedly at his wife. "Thank you for looking after her." Walker shook her hand again.

 

"You're very welcome, Ranger Walker. It was a pleasure." Looking at Alex, "It was nice meeting you Mrs. Walker," Alejandra said. Then taking her daughter's hand, they turned to leave.

 

"Come on, hon, lets get you to the doctor," he said in a tone that brooked no argument as he helped her up from the chair. Knowing better than to argue, Alex stood, then leaned forward into her husband's embrace as his arms slipped around her, holding her tight to himself for a few moments before leading her out of the store.

 

An hour later, Walker stood next to Alex as she sat on the examining table in Dr. McFarlin's office.  He had just finished examining her and was making notes in his chart. "Mrs. Walker," he began, in an admonishing tone, "I don't think I need to tell you how serious it is that you take better care of yourself, quit trying to do so much."

 

"I've been telling her that for weeks, Dr McFarlin," Walker stated, telling on Alex, much to her chagrin.  He grinned at the look on her face, one that clearly said 'Traitor!', and continued, "She's been working long days on court cases, refusing to take a lighter load, and she's been putting in more time at the HOPE House."

 

"With the exception of feeling lightheaded from time to time, I'm fine! I don't put in too much..."

"Alex, you weren't just 'lightheaded'...you almost fainted back there in the grocery store," Walker chided.

"Walker...”

"Very well, Mrs. Walker," the doctor interrupted, looking over the rim of his bifocals at her, a stern look on his face, "I am now putting you on two weeks of bed rest." He almost laughed when Alex's mouth dropped open in surprise. "And when the two weeks are over, you can go back to work...but part time ONLY. " He stared harder at her, "If I hear about you working more than 20 hours a week between the DA's office and the Hope House, I will be calling the District Attorney." 

Alex's mouth dropped open further, then snapped shut. "Okay," she mumbled weakly as Walker's arm came around her shoulders.

"Ranger Walker, you will see to it that she obeys me?"

"Of course, you can count on it." He looked down at Alex and could see the windmills of her mind spinning, no doubt thinking about all the cases she would have to hand over to someone else to handle, and smiled. To lighten her darkening mood,  "You know, that will mean I'll be spending less time at work if I have to stay home to take care of you...and make sure you don't escape."

Alex's eyes brightened up, a smile spread across her face. The thought of two weeks at home, spending more time with her husband was definitely sounding good! 

After the doctor took his leave, Alex dressed, and after Walker arranged for Trivette to pick up her car and drive it back to the ranch, they were on their way home. 

 

The next morning, Walker left for work a little later in the morning than usual, after making sure Alex was comfortably ensconced in their bed with plenty of magazines, a good book, and some romance movies on videotape. He arranged for C.D. to bring her lunch so getting out of bed except to pop in another videotape or to use the bathroom would not be necessary.  C.D. then made it a habit to stay and eat lunch with her to visit for a little while and to make sure she napped. 

It was a week into her bed rest when things hit a snafu.  Early on Saturday morning, Alex had just finished her morning shower with her husband's help...if it could be called 'help'.  She sighed as she opened a dresser drawer and sifted through her panties, trying to find a pair that would fit her at this size.  After pilfering through the drawer twice, she came up empty handed and sighed again, looking down at her protruding belly. “Well, guess I can’t put it off any longer.”

 

“Put what off any longer?” Walker questioned as he stepped out of the bathroom, buttoning his shirt, his eyes raking over her nude body.

 

“I have to go shopping,” Alex stated matter-of-factly, hands on her hips.

 

“You’re not going shopping. What you have to do is get in that bed,” he replied pointing at their bed.

 

“Walker…”

 

“Don’t ‘Walker’ me,” he chided, grabbing the large t-shirt of his she wore from the foot of the bed. “Whatever it is you need,” he said softly as he walked toward her, bunching the hem of the shirt in his hands, “I can go get for you.”

 

“But honey, what I need is…”

 

Kissing her nose, he slipped the shirt over her head, then reached down to palm her belly. “No buts, I’ll go shopping for you today after I take care of the horses. Now, come on, to bed with you.”

 

Alex began to protest, then smiled as she thought of Walker buying maternity panties. ‘This could be very interesting’ she thought to herself, almost laughing out loud at the mental picture.

 

Walker noticed the smile on her face as he led her to the bed. “Good, I see you agree with me now.” He fluffed up the pillows behind her, popped a video in the vcr, and handed her the magazine from the nightstand. Seeing that she looked comfortably settled, “Ok. Now what was it you needed from the store?”

 

“Um…well, what I need is…” she hesitated.

 

“What?  A book? Something from the grocery store?”

 

“No…” she murmured, looking up at him. “What I need is…maternity panties.”

 

Walker’s mouth fell open. Of all the things in the world he thought she might need maternity panties was not one of them. “Panties…you need panties!” he stated, not believing what he’d gotten himself into.

 

“Not just panties, Walker. Maternity panties.”

 

“Can’t that wait, hon? I mean…what’s the matter with the panties you have on now?”

 

Tears began to well up in her eyes. “I’m not wearing any panties right now if you’ll remember!” she cried. “Because mine are too small…I…I’ve gotten too big!”

 

Tears now fell unchecked down her face, and Walker immediately felt bad. He did remember that she had been nude when he slipped the t-shirt over her head, and she had been standing at her dresser, the top drawer open, when he heard her mention that she couldn’t put it off any longer.  Sitting down on the edge of the bed, he took her into his arms. “Don’t cry hon,” he soothed, rubbing her back. “I’m sorry. I’ll go get you the  panties,” he cringed inwardly. Thankfully she couldn’t see his face, couldn’t see the grimace as he thought of what he was about to do.  Settling her back against the pillows again, he stood up. “Is there…anything else…you need at the store?” he asked, hesitantly, dreading an affirmative answer.

 

“Well I was also going to buy nursing pads…but that can wait,” she ended giggling through her tears at the look of dismay, then utter relief, on Walker’s face.

 

Bending down to kiss her, he then turned to go, stopping at the doorway.  “Alex… um…where do I buy the panties?”

 

Alex laughed out loud. “The department store, honey.”

 

With a sheepish grin, Walker turned to go.  After taking care of the chores, every last one of them, he decided he couldn’t put off the trip to the store any longer. Reluctantly, he washed up, then headed out…taking the long way to the mall. Parking the Ram, he sighed heavily, then got out and walked slowly to the door.  On his regrettably not long enough walk to the front door he prayed that no one would find out what he was about to do, most of all Trivette. He’d die if Trivette ever knew he was buying panties for Alex…he’d never live it down. Trivette would hang it over his head the rest of his life. ‘I know what he’d say’, he thought to himself, ‘he’d say…oh Mighty Texas Ranger Man buying panties for his wife!’

 

Reaching the door, he grabbed the door handle and paused. A young woman exited the store through the door next to him and gave him a strange look as he stood there with his hand on the door handle. Beginning to redden, he took a deep breath and slowly opened the door.  He stepped inside and stopped, paralyzed. He looked furtively around, as if checking the place for gun toting bad guys, and satisfied there was no one there that he knew, he walked around the store until he found the section labeled “Maternity”.  Looking around again to be sure he knows no one there, he tentatively stepped out of the aisle and stepped among the racks of clothes.  Looking around frantically, wanting to spend as little time as possible on this mission, he quickly spied the shelves with the undergarments.  With his head down, he made his way quickly to the shelves and grabbed the first package he could reach. Quickly grabbing several more packages he turned to head for the cash register, glancing down at the packages in his hand as he turned. The first thing he saw when he looked down was a size staring back at him, big as day. ‘Oh God,’ he thought, ‘how am I supposed to know what size she is!’ Turning back to the shelves he put the packages back and stood there, unsure of what to do.  He looked at the picture of the pregnant woman on the package and thought ‘that’s about her size’, but then, the pictures on all the packages were of the same woman! ‘Dang, can’t go by that as a guide!’  He stood there for several moments picking up one package and putting it down, followed by another package, trying to decide which size to buy for her.

 

He nearly jumped a mile when a soft voice behind him said, “Ranger Walker?”

 

Whirling around, Walker came face to face with…’God of all people…the Captain’s wife!’ Walker immediately turned three shades of red, and looked down at his hand, groaning inwardly that he was caught with a package of maternity panties in his hand. There would be no escaping this. It was over. He’d be the laughing stock of Company B by this evening.

 

“What are you doing here?” she questioned.

 

“Oh…I…uh…I…well you see, Alex…she…” he stammered, turning an even deeper shade of red. “She’s on bed rest…and needed…uh…” he looked down at the package still in his hand.

 

Emma Briscoe took pity on the man. She knew exactly what he was there for, knew that if Alex wasn’t on bed rest, she’d be here herself, and thought what a saint Walker was for coming to the mall to buy his wife maternity panties.  Reaching out a hand to touch the Ranger’s arm, she softly said, “That’s okay, Ranger. No need to explain. I can see you’re having trouble deciding. I’d be glad to help you.” She didn’t bother to ask him if he needed help, it was plainly obvious he did.

 

A look of relief washed over Walker’s face. “Uh yeah…I don’t know what…uh, which one…um…her size…” he scratched his head.

 

“Well, she’s a thin woman…too thin if you ask me!” Emma stated.

 

“Yeah, she’s about…” Putting the package down on the shelf, Walker held out his hands before him, as if grasping her waist. He knew exactly how thin she was and how far apart his hands were when he held her around the waist, “…this thin. Well, before she became

…pregnant.”

 

Emma considered the size for a moment, then turned to the shelves, running her hand lightly along the rows of packages. “There, this size should do.” Picking up several packages, she handed them all to Walker. 

 

Walker was still slightly red in the face. “Thank you, Mrs. Price…I um…I really appreciate it.”

 

“Emma. And you’re quite welcome Walker,” she smiled.

 

“Emma.”  Anxious to get out of there, Walker turned to leave.

 

“Oh, Walker?” Emma called out. He turned around, beginning to redden again. “Don’t worry…I won’t say anything,” she smiled knowingly, knowing he was afraid someone would find out what he was doing. “Not even to Harland.”

 

Walker smiled, thankful he could keep his secret from Trivette and the others. Now if only he could get out of the store without being seen by anyone else!

 

Alex was still laughing when the memory ended.  Which was a good thing, because during the course of the memory, she had several strong contractions.  During each contraction, Walker was there, rubbing the soreness in her back and lovingly caressing her belly during the short intervals between contractions. “I’ll never forget the look on your face when you got home,” she giggled. “You looked like you had been to hell and back!”

 

“Yes, well, that’s what I felt like. Thank God no one else saw me.” He grinned at her. “Though I think you took an evil delight in making me go to the store to buy panties.”

 

“Well I have to admit…when you offered to go shopping for me, I got a mental picture of you buying them…and had to take you up on the offer,” she replied, grinning back at him, then dissolving into giggles again.

 

His eyes narrowed at her.  “Aha! I knew you took particular delight in my discomfort!”

 

“Seriously, honey,” she said softly, her hand reaching out to caress his beard, giggling stopped. “I can’t tell you how much I appreciated what you did for me.”

 

He smiled tenderly, eyebrow raised suggestively, “Maybe so, but you sure showed me how much you appreciated it that evening.”

 

“You liked that, huh?”

 

“Oh yeah,” he bent to touch his lips to hers, “Very much so,” he breathed, applying more pressure to her lips.  The palm that still caressed her belly felt it harden as a contraction began, and he immediately deepened the kiss, thrusting his tongue into her mouth to tangle with hers.  His passionate exploration of the sweetness of her mouth erased all from her mind but the pleasure coursing through her at the sweet invasion of his tongue and the passion behind his kiss. Involuntarily her arms wound themselves around his neck as the kiss, and the contraction, continued, and when the kiss ended, she was breathless, her breathing deep. 

 

“God Walker…” she hesitated, breathing heavily, unable to put what she felt into words. Finally she just murmured, “I love you so much.”

 

Walker smiled and reached out to caress her cheek. “And I…love you very much.” His gaze lowered and the heat in him rose when he noticed the sheet had fallen, exposing her breasts to his gaze again.  As if on its own accord, his hand reached out to gently cup a breast. A grin touched the corner of his lips, “Do you remember the day last month, when we had that horrible heat wave, when I came home and found you in that t-shirt… completely soaked?”

 

“Do I! I thought the heat was going to kill me!”

 

It was July and the Metroplex had been in the midst of a heat wave. Temperatures hadn’t been below 100 degrees Fahrenheit for twelve days, and it didn’t look like the end was in sight. Alex was now eight months pregnant, and completely miserable. To make matters worse…much worse…the air conditioning at the ranch had quit working one Tuesday morning.  Neither Alex nor Walker knew about it as they had both been at work.  Alex was now working a lighter schedule on the doctor’s orders, and put in a maximum of five hours a day. That day she left work promptly at 1:00 pm, and after eating lunch with Walker, headed home for a nap.  She left the air-conditioned comfort of her car and opened the front door, only to be assaulted by a wave of heat. Groaning, Alex dropped her briefcase on the floor, kicking off her shoes as she walked toward the thermostat. Not finding anything wrong, other than the fact that it wasn’t working, she picked up the phone and called Walker.  After informing him the air conditioning wasn’t working, he called the repairman, who promptly informed him they were very busy, but would do their best to get out to the ranch tomorrow. 

 

Sighing, he picked up the phone and called Alex to let her know the repairman would not be out until tomorrow. “Why don’t you come back into town, stay here or go to the HOPE House, or to C.D.’s until evening when it’ll cool off some.”

 

Grasping the ends of her blouse, she fanned the ends of it to draw cool air onto her belly, contemplating the offer for a moment. “No, I’ll be okay. I’ll try taking a nap in the hammock under the shade of the trees.”

 

“You sure, hon?”

 

“Yeah, I’m sure.”

 

“Well how about I bring dinner home, so you don’t need to turn on the stove to cook anything.”

 

Alex’s eyes lit up. “Bring me a reuben sandwich from C.D.’s,” she requested, wiping the perspiration from her forehead. “Lots of sauerkraut.”

 

Walker chuckled, “Ok, I’ll give C.D. a call.

 

“Don’t forget the éclairs!” she hurriedly added before he could hang up.

 

“Don’t worry, hon. I don’t think C.D. would forget that,” he laughed. Then lowering his voice and turning his chair toward the wall, “I love you.”

 

Despite the discomfort, Alex smiled. It was so rare he spoke those words to her when he was at work. “I love you too, Darling,” she murmured, her voice choking with the emotion welling up in her. Hanging up the phone, she took a deep breath to control the tears that wanted to fall, chiding herself for getting worked up over Walker telling her he loved her. After throwing open all the windows, she headed upstairs, unbuttoning her blouse as she went and once in her bedroom, quickly stripped out of her suit, down to her panties, slipping into the large t-shirt. 

 

Grabbing a pillow off the bed, she poured herself a glass of ice water, then went outside to the hammock, hung between two trees that provided some shade from the hot sun. Gulping down half the glass, she then lay down in the hammock, shifting until she could find a comfortable position.  Within minutes she was sweating and uncomfortable. Even in the shade.  With a sigh of exasperation she rose awkwardly from the hammock, hampered by her size, and drinking down the rest of the water in the glass, went back inside for more, and a trip to the bathroom.  After refilling her glass and drinking it down, then filling it again, she grabbed a towel and soaked it with cold water.  Going back to the hammock, she lay down again and wiped her face, arms, and neck with it.  Momentarily cool, she closed her eyes.

 

After half an hour, Alex was still awake and the towel was almost dry again.  Groaning, she got back up, intending to go back inside to wet the towel again. Going up the back porch steps, she spied the water sprinkler in a corner.  “Aha!” she exclaimed, picking it up.  Going back down the steps, she attached the sprinkler to the water hose and set it sufficiently back from the hammock. Turning on the water, she adjusted the sprinkler’s position a little more, so that a fine spray fell over the hammock.  Settling back down in a comfortable position, she sighed as the fine mist cooled her off. Within minutes she was asleep…and completely soaked.

 

And that is exactly how Walker found her a couple hours later.  Remembering she said she would take a nap in the hammock, in the shade of the trees, he headed straight for the backyard, instead of going inside a house he knew for sure was like a sauna. Rounding the back corner of the house, he stopped dead in his tracks at the sight before him. There lay his sleeping wife, in the hammock, soaking wet from the sprinkler.  Her wet hair fanned out under her head, the white shirt she wore was now transparent, leaving absolutely nothing to the imagination.  With his eyes still on the beautiful sight, he moved to the spigot, turning off the sprinkler, then moved closer to his wife’s side. He stood there, staring down at the vision before him…his manhood instantly hardening with desire as his eyes raked over her pink tipped breasts, over her rounded belly to the now protruding belly button…and lower to the nest of dark blonde curls between her thighs, clearly visible beneath the wet transparent shirt and equally transparent white panties. Breathing heavily, his manhood straining against his jeans, pulsing to be free of its confines, he reached out and lightly caressed the tender flesh on the inside of her thighs, his fingers moving toward the leg band of her panties.

 

Alex stirred as she felt the touch on the inside of her thighs, her eyes popping open with a gasp when his finger gently delved underneath the leg band, softly caressing the sensitive folds guarding the sweet treasure within. Walker moaned softly at the heat and moisture he found there, realizing what his touch did to her even when she’s asleep.  Of their own accord, Alex’s thighs fell open, giving him easier access, her gasp turning to a soft whimper of arousal.  She cried out when his fingers entered her tight warmth, seeking her treasure, and whimpered again when the same fingers left her body.

 

Bending down, Walker kissed her soundly, then stood back up and quickly removed his clothes. Alex watched with glazed eyes as Walker yanked off his boots and quickly shucked his shirt and finally his jeans, his erect shaft springing forth from its confines. Alex licked her lips at the sight of his muscular tanned body, his hard pulsing manhood standing at attention. Slowly, Walker unbuttoned her wet shirt, one button at a time, savoring the view of her luscious beautiful body through the transparent shirt…a sight he knew would be forever engrained in his mind.

 

Freeing the shirt from her body, he ran his hands lightly over her flushed face, down her neck and over her shoulders to her breasts, cold from the wetness of the shirt. Cupping their fullness in his hands, he gently kneaded them, teasing the nipples to tight erectness, until her breasts were warm once again. Reluctantly releasing her breasts, his hands drift downward, over her damp abdomen, lingering as he feels the baby kick against his palms. When the baby cradled within calms, he cups her mound, his fingers combing through the soft hair there. She gasps as once again, his fingers enter her tight warmth, and moans as he slowly thrusts his fingers in and out, her hips writhing in rhythm with the welcome invasion of his fingers. His thumb finds her pulsing bud of arousal and rubs it, quickly bringing her to a shattering climax, her body arching up off the hammock, crying out in ecstasy as his fingers continue to thrust in and out until her climax wanes.

 

Joining her on the hammock, Walker lies down on his back. Alex straddles his hips, poising herself above his erection. Eyes closed, biting her lower lip, she slowly lowers herself, taking him in, inch by glorious inch. A low growl rises up from Walker as she lowers herself, and he has to keep his hands tightly clamped to her thighs to keep from grasping her hips and forcefully pushing her the rest of the way down onto his shaft. The low growl erupts into a scream of passion as she finally settles herself onto him fully and grinds her hips. Gripping her hips in his large calloused hands, he moves her back and forth over his arching hips, the sway of the hammock adding to the sensations running rampant through their heated bodies. Her head falls back as she picks up the pace, his hands moving from her hips to her thighs, one hand seeking and finding the swollen bud. She was very wet now, and her rhythm had become faster. Her hands were braced on the sides of his chest.  Her eyes were closed. Her hips rocked. A breathless sob broke from her lips, and with a convulsive shudder she went down into the swirling depths of her climax, her entire body given over to the pleasure racking it, her cries of passion drowning out the song of the birds in the trees.  The rhythmic tightening of her inner muscles on him brought his climax pounding to the surface, his orgasm bursting from him in a powerful stream as he convulsed beneath her.  Hearts pounding, bodies exhausted and utterly sated, Alex lies down beside him, laying her head in the crook of his shoulder.

 

For the next several minutes they regain normal breathing as the hammock continues to sway.  One hand tenderly caresses her belly as his other hand combs through her by now dry hair.  He breaks the silence, “I have to tell you, hon…that was some sight to come home to…you lying in the hammock, having your own wet t-shirt contest.”

 

Alex laughs. “That was not my intention. It was too hot and I couldn’t sleep. The only way to stay cool was to keep the sprinkler on me.” She pauses, lifting up to kiss him. “I could arrange to greet you that way on a regular basis,” she purrs.

 

“Hmmm, too good a proposal to say ‘no’ to.”  Their lips come together in an all-encompassing kiss.

 

Beginning to perspire again, Alex breaks off the kiss. “I’m hot Darling.”

 

“Yes, you certainly are,” he murmurs in reply, then laughs at the look on her face. “I’m sorry, I know what you meant. How about we stay in town tonight at a hotel.”

 

A look of relief crosses her features. “Oh good! I don’t think I could stand to spend another minute in the house until the air conditioning is fixed!”

 

“It’s settled then. You go pack what we need for work tomorrow while I call to make us a reservation.”

 

Relieved to not have to spend the night in the hot house, Alex immediately left the comfort of his arms, Walker helping her as she maneuvered herself out of the hammock. He lay back down, his arms folded underneath his head, gazing adoringly at her nude body as she walked toward the back porch.

 

As the memory ended, Walker gazed into Alex’s eyes, smiling at the delicious memory of their romp in the hammock that steamy hot day. Bending down, he kissed her. The minute his lips touched hers, Alex was lost in the kiss, so lost was she that she barely felt the intense contraction that gripped her seconds after the kiss began.

 

The kiss continued even after the contraction waned, and wasn’t interrupted until a particularly loud clap of thunder broke.  Walker was breathing heavily when the kiss ended.  Alex’s eyes drifted downward, biting her lower lip at the sight of his erection, straining against his jeans.  “Sorry, Darling.”

 

Taking a deep breath, he lowered his hand to adjust himself, making himself more comfortable. “I’m not. I can deal with it.”

 

“Six weeks is a long time to ‘deal with it’,” she murmured.

 

He gulped. “Yeah…I guess it is.” He blew out a long breath. “Six weeks…”

 

“Don’t worry,” she whispered huskily, reaching out to cup his arousal. “I’ll help you through it.”

 

Bending down, he kissed her again while removing her hand from his groin. He wasn’t sure he could take more of that, knowing she couldn’t ‘help’ him at the moment. “Something tells me, hon, that we won’t quite make it six weeks.”

 

“No I’m sure we won’t,” Alex giggled. Her giggle turned into a scream as another intense contraction gripped her. 

 

“Breathe, Alex. Just like they taught you.”

 

Grabbing his hand, Alex gripped it tightly as she breathed through the contraction.  Grimacing at her very tight grip on his hand, he rubbed her lower back with his free hand.  When the contraction ended, perspiration dotted her temples, the hair around her face was damp, and she breathed like she was out of breath.

 

Picking up the brush, Walker brushed the hair back from her face. “They’re coming about two minutes apart, won’t be too long now.”

 

Breathing deeply, “Couldn’t come…soon…enough, I’m…tired of this.”

 

“You’re doing fine, hon,” he assured her as he continued to run the brush slowly through her hair, from root to end, the slow tender strokes calming her. With the gap between the thunder and lightening, Walker figured the storm was beginning to move on, though it continued to rain heavily. When the contraction ends, he gets up to get the things he knows he’ll need, rushing since he knows the time is near. He comes back into the room and drops everything next to Alex.

 

“How many contractions did you have while I was gone?” he asks, breathless from his run through the lodge to find what he needed. He sits down next to her again.

 

“Three,” then, “Oh God!” she moaned, gripping her belly. “Oh Walker, it hurts!” she moaned. Grabbing his hand again, she squeezed tightly.

 

Quickly searching his memory to help take her mind off the pain, he blurted out, “Remember how testy you were this week, when you thought I was leaving you for those two ladies?”

 

Alex squeezed his hand even tighter. “Ouch!” he yelled.

 

It was the first week of August and Alex was now 9 months pregnant.  On doctor’s orders, she had already quit working, spending her days getting the nursery ready, and cleaning the house…nesting.  She had had an appointment with Dr. McFarlin that morning. Walker took her to the appointment, and dropped her back at the house afterward, telling her he’d be home by 6:30.  After taking her afternoon nap, Alex set about making a special dinner for Walker. There was no special occasion she just wanted to do it, to thank him for being so wonderful to her during the past several months.  Dinner was ready to be served by 6:30.  Seven o’clock came and went, Seven thirty came and went, and still no sign of Walker. By 8:00, a fuming Alex had given up.  Serving up a plate for herself, she sat down at the candlelit table and ate, tears running down her face.  

 

Leaving her dish on the table, the meal half eaten, she went upstairs, took her shower and went to bed, crying herself to sleep.  At 10:15 Walker pulls the Ram into the long driveway, happy to see a light still on downstairs. Opening the front door, he steps inside and drops his keys and cowboy hat on the table by the door, and seeing the soft light from the dining room, heads in that direction, a smile on his face. The smile is gone when he stands in the dining room doorway, seeing the plate on the table, the food half eaten, the candles burnt down to stubs, and no sign of his wife.  As he turns to head for the stairs it occurs to him that he’d told her he would be home at 6:30 and he inwardly groans, knowing she was going to be mad at him for being late and not calling to let her know, but this time it couldn’t be helped.

 

Reaching their bedroom, he moves to the bed and gazes down at her…blowing out a long breath at the sight of her puffy eyes, the ball of tissues in her hand. She’s restless, tossing twice as he watches her. He bends over, taking off his boots, then sits down beside her, bracing himself with an arm on either side of her body. Bending down, he kisses her softly. As she always does, she opens up to his kiss, kissing him back with fervor…but that is only fleeting as she remembers the dinner she had prepared. Eyelids fluttering open, she breaks off the kiss and sits up. Wiping the sleep from her eyes and running a hand through her hair, she tries to move over, away from him, but his arm on the other side of her body stops her. His muscles flex, holding her in place.

 

“Alex, I’m sorry,” he whispers.

 

Alex says nothing, doesn’t even look at him. She turns her head as tears start to fall. Walker reaches out and turns her face so that she has no choice but to look at him, and though her face is turned to him, her eyes are cast downward. Wiping the tears from her eyes, he whispers again, “Honey, I’m so sorry.”

 

Tears in her eyes, she looks at him plaintively, “Why didn’t you call me? You could have called to tell me you were going to be late!”

 

“I couldn’t call you, hon. I…there was no way for me to get away to a phone.” He didn’t want to tell her he had been caught in a bank shootout with Trivette, it would only serve to upset her. At this stage in her pregnancy, hormones had heightened her emotions lately, and she didn’t need a volatile situation like this wearing on her nerves.

 

“It’s me isn’t it?” She stared at him hard. “You’re tired of me.” 

 

He looked confused. “No hon, I’m not…”

 

“Yes you are!” she interrupted, tears continuing to fall. “I’m so big…and ugly…that you can’t…stand to be with me anymore!”

 

He felt helpless, didn’t know what to say. He looked upward toward the heavens, as if asking the Lord to help him here.  “You are not big, you’re carrying our baby…” she started to speak and he held a finger to her lips. “…and you are certainly not ugly. In fact…” he kissed her lips, “…I think you get more beautiful each and every day.” He places his hands on her belly as he continues, “I love what being pregnant has done to you.” He twirls a lock of her blonde tresses between two fingers, “Your soft beautiful hair is even more fuller…” his hand moves down to her breasts, “…your breasts are bigger…” his thumb absently circles the nipple, her breathing is becoming ragged, deeper. His hand moves to her belly, “And this is my favorite part of you. I told the night I found out you were pregnant that I wanted to watch your body grow as our baby grew inside you…and I have loved every minute of watching you grow. I didn’t think it possible for you to get any more beautiful than you already were, but the most beautiful sight to me, is the sight of your body…” he begins unbuttoning her nightgown, “…your beautiful…naked…body…” he parts the material, baring her body for his viewing pleasure, “… with our baby nestled safely inside.” His palms are flat on either side of her belly as he bends to place a kiss on her abdomen. He looks up into her eyes, seeing fresh tears falling.

 

“Oh Walker, I love you,” she whispers, wiping the tears from her face. “I’m sorry,  I was so…” her words were cut off by Walker’s lips. Not wanting to hear any apologies, for he understood where her moods were coming from, he cut them off as he usually did, with a kiss. The kiss grew in intensity as his hands caressed her body, and soon he was naked and lying beside her. They made love until they were both sated and exhausted, Walker sleeping soundly until the alarm rang promptly at 6am, Alex sleeping soundly in between trips to the bathroom.

 

The next morning, C.D. takes an early trip out to the ranch, intent on bringing Alex back to his bar for lunch. He thought she needed some time away. She’d been cooped up too long.  He knocked on the front door and entered. Standing in the foyer he called out for her, “Alex?”

 

“In here, C.D.,” she called from the kitchen.

 

C.D. stood stock-still, apoplectic, when he saw what she was doing. Alex was down on her hands and knees, scrubbing the kitchen floor.  “What in Sam Hill are you doing, honey?”

 

Alex looked up at him like he’d suddenly gone stupid, “Scrubbing the floor, C.D.”

 

“Get up off that floor! You have no business doing that in your condition.” He moved to her side, and taking her arm, pulled her up.

 

“C.D.! I need to get the house cleaned before the baby comes!” she said indignantly, scrub brush still in her hand.

 

“Oh no you don’t little lady!” He took the scrub brush in her hands and placed it on the counter.  “I’ll get you someone out here to clean for you. Now go on upstairs and change, I’m taking you back to my place for lunch.”  She stood there staring at him, not daring to contradict him. “Go on now, honey…move!” He pushed her gently toward the stairs, mumbling as she went, “I swear these kids are gonna give this old man a heart attack one day…down on her knees scrubbing the floor…lost her mind…gonna drop that baby any day now and she does this…”

 

Walker and Trivette were already at C.D.’s, waiting for C.D. to arrive with Alex. They were watching the television above the bar and eating the peanuts, drinking coffee. A patron had already turned the channel to a talk show featuring the Sports Illustrated swimsuit models, who were decked out in their swimsuits. Since the man was avidly watching the bathing suit clad women, Trivette felt obligated to watch, instead of turning the channel. That would have been rude. 

 

A particularly beautiful model in a skimpy bikini modeled her bathing suit, bringing a low whistle from Trivette.  “Walker, man, would you look at that.”

 

Looking up, Walker sees the model, smiles slightly,  then looks back down at his coffee cup, then at his watch, wondering what is keeping C.D. and Alex.

 

Seeing the cursory look at the television, Trivette pulls a long face. “Walker! Did you not see her? She was a total babe!  The show is full of them!”

 

“You mean those women?” he said, nodding toward the television.  At Trivette’s nod of disbelief, “Yeah I saw them. What about it?” he asked, clearly confused as to what Trivette wanted him to see.  Trivette pointed toward the television, the look on his face clearly said ‘duh!’  Walker looked at the television again, and watched for a few moments, finally saying “Ok, Trivette…they are attractive…”

 

“Yeah!” Trivette exclaimed, interrupting him, pumping his arm with a “woo hoo!”

 

“…but…”

 

Trivette stopped mid ‘woo hoo’, the long face back.

 

“None of them…can hold a candle to Alex,” Walker smiled broadly.

 

“Aw Walker, geez,” he made a gagging noise, “I knew that, but you did admit that they’re attractive too. You did…I heard you! You are human after all!”

 

“Okay Trivette, I did…they are very pretty women,” he agreed.

 

“Nice bodies too, man,” Trivette commented.

 

Alex is in a good mood as they arrive at the bar and grill, having been regaled on the way by C.D.’s jokes. She breezes into the bar, dressed in a pair of comfortable maternity overalls and a pink t-shirt, hair up, and walks toward them just in time to hear Walker say ‘…they are very pretty women’ and Trivette’s response about the models’ bodies.

 

Walker smelled her perfume as she approached and with a smile, turned around in his seat…his smile replaced by a look of surprise at the look of intense anger on Alex’s face. She looked mad enough to spit nails. Her lips were set in a thin line, her hands on her hips. “Hon, what…”

 

“Oh, so they’re beautiful and I’m a big ugly whale, huh?” she seethed through her teeth.

 

C.D. took his cue and turned directly toward the kitchen.  He was getting the heck out of Dodge.

 

Walker closed his eyes, realizing she’d heard his comment about the models. He glanced at Trivette for help, but Trivette had turned his head, he wasn’t getting involved in this. “Thanks, partner,” he muttered under his breath. He turned back to Alex, hearing Trivette snicker, “Honey that’s not what I said.”

 

“Yes you did! You said they were ‘very pretty’!” She turned to Jimmy. “Isn’t that what he said, Jimmy?”

 

Trivette turned around, his hands up in surrender. “Hey Alex, he…”

 

“Oh shut up, Jimmy!” she glared at him. “I heard you say those women had nice bodies!  I suppose you think I’m a big ugly whale too!”

 

Jimmy was dumbfounded, speechless, his mouth hung open. Walker sighed, “Alex, you didn’t hear the whole conversation.”  He reached for her hand, but she moved back so he couldn’t reach her.

 

“I’m glad I didn’t! Then I wouldn’t have had to hear you two continue to talk about how beautiful and…and…and not pregnant those women are!”

 

“Counselor,” Jimmy drawled. “You of all people should know that a man is INNOCENT until proven guilty, and as a witness to his alleged misdeed, I must inform you that what you didn’t hear was what the defendant…” he pointed to Walker, “… said BEFORE you got here.” He paused for effect, then softening his tone, placed his hands on her shoulders, “He said that none of those women…could hold a candle…to you.”

 

Alex’s eyes began to water, her chin quivered and her lips trembled.  “I’m not a big ugly whale…I’m a wretch!” she cried, tears now falling down her cheeks, her face in her hands.

 

Walker rose from the barstool and gently pried his wife’s hands from her face, enveloping her in his arms. “Shhhh honey, you’re not a wretch, you just misunderstood, that’s all.” He paused, then using his finger, brought her chin up so that she could see his face. “I love you, you know.”  Bending his head, he kissed her tenderly, bringing a soft whimper from her.

 

Having been his old curious self, C.D. had stuck his head around the kitchen door and had witnessed the entire exchange…from a safe distance.  He smiled, knowing all was right with his ‘children’ again.  Feeling that his duty was done, Trivette grabbed his cowboy hat from the bar, and waving to C.D., tiptoed to the door.

 

Walker and Alex then went to their booth and had leisurely lunch. Walker ordered a reuben sandwich and chips, while Alex ordered a roast beef sandwich, french fries, and two chocolate éclairs. He should have gone back to Ranger Headquarters with Trivette, but he knew his partner would understand if he took a long lunch today.  After eating half of her sandwich, and some of the french fries, and downing an entire glass of lemonade, Alex excused herself to use the ladies’ room. 

 

As Alex entered the ladies’ room, two beautiful young women strolled through the door. They were laden down with bags, cameras around their necks.  Making their way to the bar, they dropped their bags down by two barstools, then climbed up, laying their cameras on the bar. Intrigued at the ladies, C.D. told Maria he would get their order.  Walking toward them he noticed the taller of the two had glorious long curly hair and pretty green eyes. The shorter one had shorter hair and a most engaging smile to go with her soft brown eyes.

 

Putting on his best charming smile, C.D. drawled in his trademark Texas accent, “Hello, what can I get you two beautiful ladies?”

 

“How about a Shiner Bock?” the taller one replied.

 

“I think I’d rather have a glass of red wine,” the shorter one replied.

 

“Anything to eat? I make the best chili this side of the Mississippi River!”

 

“Mmmmmm, a big bowl of that Texas chili would be wonderful, don’t you think so Tess?” the taller one asked of her friend.  At her nod, she turned back to C.D. “Two bowls of chili with lots of onions and cheese please, Mr…?”

 

“Parker, C.D. Parker at your service,” C.D. said, extending his hand to shake theirs.

 

“I’m Liliana Bordoni and this is Maria Teresa Caligaris,” the taller one said, hooking a thumb toward her friend.

 

“Pleased to meet you Mr. Parker,” Maria Teresa said demurely, shaking his hand.

 

C.D. was entranced by her soft sultry voice. “Uh…um…nice to meet you too. And call me C.D.”  He smiled at her.

 

“C.D. then,” she smiled back at him.

 

“You two ladies don’t sound like you’re from around here.”

 

Liliana spoke up, “We’re not. We’re from Argentina.”

 

“Argentina!” C.D. was floored. He’d never had someone from so far away in his establishment. He turned toward the booth in the back. “Cordell, come meet these ladies from Argentina!”

 

“We’re in town sightseeing. We’re visiting the stockyards and downtown Fort Worth today, and thought we’d stop in for lunch and some drinks.”

 

Coming up behind the two Argentine ladies, Walker looks to C.D., “Did you say Argentina?”

 

Both women turned around on their barstools, in unison, to face Walker. Smiling broadly, C.D. announced, “This here is Liliana, and this is Maria Teresa.” He said their names with flourish, the Spanish accenting in their names rolling off his tongue. He was in his prime.

 

Liliana extended her hand to shake Walker’s, “I’m from Mar del Plata, it’s on the east coast of Argentina, and Teresa here…” Walker turned to shake her hand, “…is from Clorinda, in the northern part of the country.”

 

“What brings you two ladies to Texas?”

 

“Lili here is a huge Chuck Norris fan and we heard he lives around here.” She smiles toward Lili. “We hope to be able to find him, meet him.”

 

Walker laughs. “Well good luck! I hear he’s so busy his fans rarely see him.”  He feels sorry for them when he sees their disappointed faces. “But, he’s got a studio over in Farmer’s Branch…try driving around there, you may run into him.”

 

C.D. excuses himself to get their order as Walker talks to the women. Alex leaves the bathroom and returns to the table. Seeing Walker is gone, she looks around, seeing him at the bar…laughing and smiling with two beautiful…and thin… women. Looking down at herself, she sees her enlarged belly, but not her own feet. Jealousy and anger being to boil in her again, much to her consternation, but she can’t help herself. She ambles slowly up to the bar, anger growing as she makes her way when she hears the laughter from them.

 

As he senses whenever she is near, he turns to her before she makes it to his side. “Hi hon, come meet C.D.’s new friends.”  Sliding an arm around her shoulders, he turns to the women, “Ladies, this is my wife, Alex. Alex this is Maria Teresa and Liliana, they’re both from Argentina.”

 

Maria Teresa’s soft husky Spanish accented voice raises the hair on the back of Alex’s neck, “It’s a pleasure to meet you Mrs. Walker,” she says smiling, extending her hand.

 

Alex, thinking these women are fawning all over her devilishly handsome husband, forces a smile onto her face, and shakes her hand. “Likewise,” is all she says, then shakes Liliana’s hand.

 

Liliana speaks up, “When is your baby due?”

 

Alex sighs tiredly, “Two weeks.” She turns to Walker, “I’m ready to go home.”

 

He looks back toward their table. “Are you sure, you haven’t finished your lunch.”

 

“Take me home,” she says, staring him in the eye.

 

He looks back to the table again, surprised she would leave the chocolate éclairs uneaten. “Okay,” he says warily, afraid she’s in another mood.

 

Alex turns and starts for the door, Walker says goodbye to Maria Teresa and Liliana, wishing them luck on their quest to find Chuck Norris, then follows Alex.  When she gets to the door, she suddenly turns and runs back to the table, grabbing the two éclairs up in a napkin and walking back as she takes a bite out of one.  Walker smiles at his wife, she sure was one beautiful woman, even when she was in a mood.

 

The ride back to the ranch was quiet as Alex stewed about the Argentine women.  Leaving her at the house to return to work, Walker promises to be home early and tells her he’ll take her out to dinner to The Palm, her favorite restaurant, wanting to pacify her.  Alex forgets about the two women for the time being, and smiling, eyes dancing, kisses her husband goodbye, telling him she’ll be ready when he gets home. She stands on the porch, waving as he backs his truck down the long driveway, and when he is out of sight, turns to go finish cleaning the kitchen.

 

Anxiously anticipating dinner out with her husband, Alex showers, dries and brushes her hair until it shines, applies the normal amount of makeup, dabs herself with Walker’s favorite perfume and is dressed in a light airy pink maternity dress ready to go by 5:00. She sits on the porch swing with a glass of lemonade to wait for him. An hour and a half later she’s still there, only now she’s fuming. Seems like lately he’s found more time for others than for her. She can’t really blame him, she wouldn’t want to be seen with some tired big ugly pregnant woman either.  “But darn it” she says out loud, “I’m his wife!”. Picking up the cordless phone, she calls Ranger Headquarters, asking if Walker is there.

 

“No Mrs. Walker, Ranger Walker is in court helping out two Argentine women being brought up on stalking charges,” the voice on the other end of the phone tells her.

 

Alex is dumbfounded. She speaks slowly, anger mounting, “Would those two women be named Liliana and Maria…Maria…”

 

“Maria Teresa, and yes ma’am they are.”

 

“Fine. You can tell Ranger Walker when he gets back that he can just stay there with those women tonight!” she informs him, hanging up, not waiting for any kind of a response from the poor soul that has to give the Ranger that message.

 

Alex is waffling between outright anger and self-pity, tears running down her cheek as she angrily swipes at them. She paces the porch for a while, then sits down, arms folded across her belly, all the while thinking about those two Argentine women who obviously have their sights set on her husband, and the husband that seems to have forgotten her yet again! Finally she decides she’s not going to let him ruin her dinner at The Palm, and goes inside to grab her purse. She comes back outside, keys in hand, and unlocks the door to her Sebring, then attempts to sit down inside. It has been a few weeks since she’s driven her car, and much to her dismay she can’t fit behind the steering wheel. In her present state of mind, it doesn’t register that all she has to do is push the seat back. Instead she gets even more angry and screaming, gets out of the vehicle and starts walking down the long driveway, determined to eat dinner at The Palm. If she had to walk, then by God, she’d walk there!  At the end of her driveway she starts down the country road toward town.

 

After about half a mile her feet start to hurt and she takes off her shoes, carrying then in her hand. Self pity has started in again and she cries as she walks down the road. She doesn’t get very far when she sees Walker’s truck coming her way. Determined, she keeps her eye on the road in front of her and continues walking. The truck screeches to a halt in front of her and Walker barrels out of the drivers side, flabbergasted to find her walking down the road. “What in the name of God are you doing?” he asks incredulously.

 

She doesn’t answer, just keeps on walking, right past him.

 

He watches her walk past him, knowing she was angry that he was late…again. “Alex.”

He goes after her, “Alex I’m sorry I’m late,” he says as he catches up to her, grabbing her arm to keep her from going further.

 

Wrenching her arm from his grip, she continues to walk away from him. “You can go on back to town and stay with Liliana and Maria Teresa!” the tears continue to fall.

 

He groans, knowing it’s not just that he’s late, it’s that he was with the two Argentine ladies. He remembered the frosty reception Alex gave them earlier in the day. He sighs, thinking ‘here we go again’. “Alex, they needed my help, I couldn’t just let them sit in jail on trumped up charges.”

 

“You said you’d be home early to take me to dinner, but instead you conveniently found something to do with those women…and I know you did it because you can’t stand to be seen with me!”

 

“Alex, that’s not true…”

 

“Yes it is. Why couldn’t Jimmy go help them?”

 

“Well…” he hesitated, “…they asked for me.”

 

“See! I knew it! They were after you!” She began to cry again.

 

“Alex, honey…listen to yourself.  They’re foreigners, so of course they called the only law enforcement officer they knew,” he pleaded with her, wanting her to understand.

 

“Yeah…well…” she was at a loss. She knew she was being irrational, but lately she couldn’t help herself. One minute she was angry as a hornet, the next she was crying like a baby, and then happy as a lark.  “…I know…but…but its all besides the point!” She turned around and continued on her way, hating the way she was acting.

 

“Alex! Where do you think you’re going?” he calls after her.

 

“The Palm!” she shouts angrily, angry with herself, continuing to stalk down the road.

 

“Honey, the reservation isn’t until 8:30!”

 

She stops in her tracks and quickly turns around, throwing her hands up, indignant. “Why didn’t you tell me?”

 

Walker can’t help but laugh at the vision before him.  There stands his nine months pregnant wife, barefoot in the middle of the country road, arms outstretched, shoes in one hand, purse in the other, dress fluttering in the slight breeze.  Laughing was probably the wrong thing to do, for she burst into tears, dropping her shoes and purse onto the ground as she covered her face with her hands, but at least she was no longer angry.  He was at her side in no time, pulling her into his arms. He held her for several minutes as she cried, swaying slowly from side to side, rubbing her back, combing his fingers softly through her hair, and whispering “shhhh…”

 

When her cries subsided, he kissed the top of her head, murmuring, “Come on, hon, let’s get home. We’ve still got time to freshen up before going to the restaurant.” 

 

“Okay,” she sniffed, wiping the remainder of her tears away.  Walker bent to pick up her shoes and purse, and with an arm around her waist, walked her back to his truck. 

 

When they reached the truck, a thought occurred to Alex as he opened the passenger side door for her. “Walker?”

 

“Hmmm.”

 

“Why did you say you would be home early if the reservation wasn’t until 8:30?” she asked, looking up at him.

 

He grinned impishly at her, leaned in close to her ear and murmured, “Well…

I was going to come home and make love to you before we went to dinner.” 

 

His warm breath stirred the wisps of hair near her ear and the hair on the back of her neck stood up as his words aroused her. She leaned back slightly, her lips infinitesimally close to his, whispering, “Think we’ll still have time for that?”

 

“We’ll make the time,” he whispered back before his lips touched hers in a sweet and tender kiss.

 

As the memory ends, Alex has her hand over her flushed face, flushed from embarrassment. “I can’t believe I was so rude to those women, and that I’ve been acting so ugly lately.”  She looked into her husband’s eyes, “Why do you put up with me?”

 

“It’s simple Alex,” he states. “I love you, that’s why.” 

 

Grabbing his shirt, she pulls his face down for a kiss, and just as he starts to get into it, Alex startles him by letting out a loud moan, almost a scream. She leans back against the pillows as her hands fly to her belly, still moaning.

 

“Breathe, honey,” Walker instructs her. “Breathe through it.”

 

Alex pants as she learned in class, looking into his eyes to help take her mind off the pain.  For the next twenty minutes, Walker does everything he can think of to take her mind off the painful contractions…kissing her, brushing her hair, rubbing her back, and massaging her feet. Soon it seems like the contractions aren’t stopping, when one ends, another starts…and Alex is at the end of her rope.  Her hair is damp from sweating and she is breathing heavily, exhausted. 

 

The contractions now have her shaking, the muscles in her body involuntarily pushing. “Oh God, Walker…” she pants, “I need…ohhhhhhh…to push.”  She slaps the floor a few times, crying out as the pain intensifies.

 

He moves to her feet. “Bend your legs, hon,” he says softly.  As she bends her legs, Walker gently separates them and lifts the sheet, pushing it back so that only a small portion of it lies over her knees. He reaches out to gently touch her, seeing the baby’s head. “I see the head, Alex. Go ahead and push!” He’s excited now, but a little nervous too, his adrenaline really flowing now.

 

“Thank you thank you thank you!” she cries out and beings to bear down, pushing with all her might.

 

Walker counts as the contraction wears on and Alex pushes, “One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten!”  Alex takes a deep breath and pushes some more, Walker counting her through again.

 

“When the contraction starts again, push some more honey.”

 

Almost immediately, she begins pushing again, with Walker counting to ten again.  She takes a deep breath and begins again. Walker continues, “One, two, three, four, five, six, keep pushing Alex!”

 

“I can’t! I’m too tired!”

 

“Yes you can, now push!”  She pushes again and he makes it all the way to ten. “Come on, Alex. Do it again, the head is almost out,” he encourages her.

 

Moaning loudly she begins again, and again he counts her through it. He gets to four when she screams at the pain. “Don’t scream!” he tells her.

 

She looks at him like she’s going to kill him. “Don’t tell me not to scream! You get over here and do this!”

 

“Honey when you scream you stop pushing. The head is coming out…honey please push!”

 

Buoyed with the knowledge that the head is coming out, Alex pushes with gusto. “The head’s out Alex. Red hair! Red hair!” he shouts with glee.  Then, “Keep pushing!”

 

Alex moans, “I can’t…I can’t do this anymore. I don’t want to do this anymore.”

 

His heart is hammering against his chest with anticipation, his adrenaline in high gear. “Yes you can hon! It’s almost over, just one more good push and you’ll be able to hold our baby.” 

 

That’s all she needed to hear. With a rush of energy, Alex leaned forward and pushed with everything she had left in her. 

 

“Here she comes,” Walker says excitedly, his hands ready to catch his daughter.

 

“He,” she moans between her teeth, slapping the floor again as she grapples with the pain. She cries out as she feels the baby leave her body and tears fall down her face as she looks down between her legs.

 

Walker catches the baby as it leaves Alex’s body and tears in his eyes, looks to Alex. “It’s a girl!” he exclaims, holding the crying baby up so she can see.

 

Alex watches as he gently lays her down on a towel, wiping the fluid from her body. Using shoelaces, he ties two around the umbilical cord, then dips scissors in alcohol, and hands shaking, cuts the cord. Leaning over Alex’s body, he places the baby on her stomach, lowering the sheet so the baby feels her warm bare skin.

 

Tears still in her eyes, Alex immediately enfolds her daughter in her arms, and the baby immediately stops crying, eyes closed she snuggles up to the warm bare skin of her mother. She checks to make sure she has all her fingers and toes, running her hands over her soft skin. Walker moves to her side. “Isn’t she beautiful, Walker?”

 

He wipes a tear from her face, and with tears in his own eyes, “Yes she is…as beautiful as her mother.”

 

“Jessica Alexandra,” Alex whispers as they gaze at their angel. “I should have known not to doubt that Cherokee intuition of yours.”

 

Walker leans in and kisses Alex tenderly, conveying his deep love for her in that kiss, then moves to kiss his daughter’s head.  He retrieves a soft towel and taking Jessica from Alex, wraps her in it, then hands her back.  Alex leans back against the pillows, resting as Walker takes care of the afterbirth and cleans up.

 

After preparing a makeshift crib for Jessica and the bed for Alex, he takes the baby from Alex’s arms and places her in the ‘crib’, then helps Alex up off the floor and into the bathroom. She is sore from the birth, and her steps are tentative, and though trying not to complain after the wondrous experience of bringing her daughter into the world, she can’t help the soft groans as he helps her walk to the bathroom, where he gently helps her to shower and wash her hair. 

 

After she is feeling refreshed, though still tender, he helps her into the only maternity nightgown she brought, then helps her climb into the bed, fluffing the pillows behind her so she can recline comfortably.  Satisfied that she’s comfortable and not in any pain, he picks Jessica up and sits down on the bed next to Alex.  He holds his daughter in his arms, his heart bursting with love for the beautiful tiny person he holds. He leans close to Alex and tenderly kisses her, tears coming to his eyes again. “I love you so much,” he whispers.

 

When Jessica beings crying softly, Walker hands her to Alex, then he lowers the strap on Alex’s nightgown, baring her breast. She brings the baby’s tiny mouth up to her breast, pressing her nipple against her. Instinctively the baby latches on and begins sucking. For a while, the only sound that could be heard was the soft sucking sounds made by Jessica as she took her nourishment from Alex.

 

Tears fall from Alex’s blue eyes as she is overcome with emotion of all that has happened.  She is a mother! Finally, after eight years, she has what she has always dreamed about, marriage to the only man she’s ever really loved, and a beautiful baby from that love.

 

Walker gazes in awe at the sight before him…his beautiful wife breastfeeding his beautiful baby daughter. He feels euphoric, like nothing in the world could make him as happy as he is at that very moment.  After finally admitting his love for Alex and marrying her, he didn’t think life could get any better, but tonight, or rather, this morning, he is hit with a feeling he hasn’t felt in years…not since Lucas…the profound and unconditional love for a child. 

 

Their reverie is broken when a loud bang is heard downstairs, the sound of the front door being slammed open. The loud bang is followed by the sound of Trivette yelling, “Walker!”

 

Walker and Alex turn to each other in unison, shock clearly written on their faces. “Trivette?” Walker states incredulously.

 

“Walker! Alex!” they hear C.D. call from downstairs too.

 

“C.D.?” Alex is incredulous as well. “What are they doing here?”

 

“I don’t know,” Walker mutters as he gets out bed and heads downstairs to see what’s going on.

 

He heads down the stairs, seeing Trivette and C.D. standing inside the doorway.  “Why are you guys here, did something happen?” he asks when he reaches the bottom of the steps.

 

“No man,” Trivette says as he moves to the couch, plopping down on it. “Big Dog here was worried about you and Alex, with the storm and all.”

 

C.D. scowls at Trivette, “Was not,” he states indignantly as he sits down in a chair.

 

Walker still stands at the bottom of the stairs, stunned that they are actually there. He realizes they have no idea Alex just gave birth to their baby. He bites his tongue to keep from laughing out loud at the absurdity of the situation. He moves to stand in front of them.

 

C.D. continues, “ We heard…”

 

“He heard!” Trivette declares, interrupting C.D.

 

“You hush your mouth,” he glares at Trivette, then he turns to Walker, continuing, “We heard there was a bad storm coming your way, with the possibility of tornadoes. We called you, but the phone was dead. Just wanted to make sure you guys were okay.”

 

As if on cue, Jessica picks that very moment to let her presence be known, and cries. Her cries clearly heard downstairs.  In unison, Trivette and C.D.’s heads jerk toward the stairs, their mouths hanging open. Unable to help himself, Walker laughs out loud. The look on their faces was comical.

 

“What in the hell is that?” a shocked Trivette asks.

 

“What is what?” Walker decides to play dumb, draw it out.

 

“Don’t you play with me! What in the Sam Hill is that crying?” C.D. exclaims.

 

“Ohhhhhh,” Walker says as if he just now understands what they’re asking. “You mean the baby?”

 

“Hell yes, the baby!” Trivette declares. “Who else is here?”

 

“Its just me, Alex, and Jessica,” Walker is laughing, this is too good.

 

C.D. glares at Walker, knowing he’s keeping something from them. “Cordell!”

 

“Okay, okay,” he stops laughing.  “Alex went into labor last night. The baby was born less than an hour ago.” He’s grinning, from ear to ear, the very proud Papa.

 

“Oh my God!” both exclaim in unison, jumping up from their seats.

 

“You…delivered the baby?” Trivette asks. Walker nods his yes. “Is Alex okay?”

 

“Yes she’s okay. Now that the storm has passed, I’m going to drive her to the nearest hospital as soon as she’s rested.”

 

C.D. claps Walker on the shoulder and hugs him. “I’m mighty proud of you son. You’ve made this old man very happy.”  He takes the handkerchief out of his pocket and blows his nose, overcome with emotion.

 

Trivette shakes his hand and hugs him as well, then excitedly asks if they can see the baby.  After making sure Alex was finished breast feeding and up to visitors, Walker brings them into their room, where Trivette and C.D. exclaim how she’s as beautiful as Alex, how tiny she is, and they hold her as if she were a fragile piece of glass.  When Alex yawns, they excuse themselves so she can rest. 

 

“Be down there in a little bit,” Walker tells them as they leave the room. He turns to put Jessica in the ‘crib’, but Alex stops him.

 

“No Darling, I want to hold her.”

 

“You sure, hon. You need to rest.”

 

“I’m sure,” she assures him as she reaches out her arms. He hands the baby to her, then fixes the pillows so she can lay down. Alex gingerly turns slightly on her side, cradling a sleeping Jessica in her arms, laying back against the pillows.  She yawns once more and closes her eyes, and is asleep within seconds.

 

Walker stands there for several moments, just watching them sleep.  They are so beautiful, so peaceful. Mother and daughter.  His two beautiful ladies.  He knew then and there he’d never tire of looking at them.

 

THE END