Seekers 6 The Ride
It's been almost a year since the raid on the Walker ranch, and all of their lives have changed.
The visits to the doctors and psychiatrist have all passed with none of the Walker children having any regrets for what they had to do in order to save their own lives and the family.
Young Ray's nightmares have stopped and now he's more secure in not only himself, but a better understanding of how it is when you fight for what is yours and your faith.
Angela and Matt lived several months together, but they soon parted ways when Matt was not willing to commit. They see each other from time to time when Matt is working at his 'Pops' gas station. The old man can see that there is still something in the way his son looks at "Angie'. He had never seen his son so happy as when Angie was living with him in the back room.
Walker is in his office, but still prefers to be out in the field and will use every excuse to be there--the latest being the murder of a prostitute by the name of Brandy.
Ranger Walker is going over the files on Brandy for the 'up tenth time', as his wife walks slowly in.
"Hi honey----got a minute?
Walker takes a deep sigh and heads for his coffee machine.
"Sure, because I'm sure not making any headway on Brandy's murder!
"Walker, why don't you let someone else take this case, you're too close to the victim?
Walker shakes his head, "I can't Alex---I owe Brandy to solve this case myself----she was a good friend to me---for both of us!
Alex picks her words cautiously.
"Yes, she was---but she knew the dangers of her profession. You and Jimmy tried to talk her off the streets--she wouldn't listen!
Walker's temper is rising, "She didn't deserve to lose her life---not this way!
Alex thoughts go back to Brandy and the many times that she was in Alex's courtroom on various charges. The most vivid memories was the time Angela was swept away by a tornado, truckers were killed trying to protect her, as Walker and another bystander was shielding the infant twins. Brandy and another prostitute arrived at the Walker ranch to do whatever they could on the home front to help in the search for the Walker child. The other women shunned them, but Alex could see that the women were sincere in wanting to help and soon they were helping to take care of the twins.
She could still see her face and hear Brandy's voice as she explained how Walker always looked out for her when she was on the streets. When Angela was born, Walker beamed as he showed the pics of his daughter to Brandy and Celeste!
"Your husband never looked down on us, even when he was arresting us. He always made sure that we were treated right, just like our other friends."
Alex smiles as she goes behind her husband's chair and begins massaging his shoulders.
"She had a good heart, I talked to her also about getting off the streets--both her and Celeste. My words fell on deaf ears, even after Celeste was killed a couple of years later!
Walker shakes his head, "Brandy was slaughtered, like an animal----no one deserves to die that way!
"I know honey, I saw the pictures--it was horrible! How could anyone have that kind of rage for another human life? I've asked myself that each time I have to go down to the morgue---someone had so much hate for her------to---to -to almost behead her!
The ranger takes a deep sigh.
"It's been months and no new leads, just that one witness who said he saw a tall, slender, figure bending over her, and then the figure was lost in the night!"
"What about the other street walkers, surely someone saw, or heard something?
Walker crushes a pen in his fist, "when I find the son a bitch that did this, I won't be in any hurry to arrest him, or get him to a hospital---if--if he's still alive!
"Walker, you have to take some time away from this, it's driving you crazy. What about that Church ride, you promised all of the boys that you would go with them? It would be the prefect diversion for you to get away and clear your head, the boys are all excited about it! They will be crushed if you decide not to go with them, especially Ray!
"I know, I've never seen the boys so excited and I know that you won't let Ray go unless I go."
"I know that the twins would watch him, but Brother Bob said the rules were an adult had to accompany anyone under 18!
"The twins are 19, Alex---they're considered adults, and very responsible!
"Maybe Cordell, but you know that if there are any girls around, Cooper is not going to be keeping an eye on his baby brother and besides I will feel safer if you go. But at the first encounter of any protesting mobs---then all of you are coming home!
Walker nods his head, "it is history in the making, nothing like this has ever happened. Imagine, on horseback all the way to Washington DC, but what changed your mind, you weren't too keen on this in the beginning?
Alex smiles and goes into his arms.
"Because I remember last year and that ride to Oklahoma City to take a replica of The Ten Commencements to Mayor Fallen, and how upset that you couldn't take the time off to go. I'm not 'gung ho' about it because of all of the dangers--- but, you need a diversion, and the boys are going to be so disappointed if they can't go!!
"Yeah, you're right---I am excited about it! That pastor in Wichita Falls is not afraid of anything, and I'll be proud to take this Revival Ride to the capitol with him and all of the other riders that will be picked up along the way! I talked to him that one time when we went up there to find out more information on it, he's really serious about it---and the world does need Revival!
The Hope Center:
Angela is taking her lunch break with Matt. Their separation has been very painful for the both of them.
"Angie, I wish you would reconsider, we can work through all of these obstacles---I know we can!
Angela flips her long auburn hair back over her shoulders, smiling faintly.
"I can't keep living in sin, Matt."
"It never bothered you before, you knew it was a 'so called sin' the first night we slept together and if I remember right--you made the first move!
"Yes, I did and I'm not sorry for that--but I don't want to keep living with you without-----marriage!
Matt shakes his head back and for and begins pacing. He's tall and lanky, long braided hair, the goatee curls back under his chin. The leather vest he wears bears the name of Boss Hogs.
"What happened to the girl I met last year, that girl was so independent, saying she didn't want to be tied down? Now all you have talked about is getting married and having a family. I can't think of marriage and all of the baggage that comes with it--like kids-----"
"Baggage? Is that how you think of me---baggage?
"No baby----that's not what I meant! I mean that I can't afford marriage, hell-----it's taking all I make on the racing circuit to pay alimony for my daughter! Not to mention, trying to pay off those damn taxes that Pop keeps forgetting to pay. I keep running down to the tax office to get postponements---- but crap---they're not going to wait much longer!
Angela stares back at Matt--"What do you mean that Pop is not paying the back taxes? I saw you give him the money and I dropped him off at the tax office on my way to work!
Matt sneers, "well somewhere along the way, he must have forgotten what he was supposed to do, because the taxes did not get paid and we got another 'overdue' letter!
"I'm so sorry Matt. You know that your Pop's memory is getting worse, I offered to go into the tax office with him, but I was running late!
"It's not your place to 'coddle' him, Angie. I know his memory is getting worse, but do you realize how long it takes to see a doctor in that damn vet hospital? I've addressed the envelopes for him and put the checks in--all he has to do is drop them in the mail at the due time.
Angela takes a deep sigh "I'm sure he is trying, I will check on him the next time it's due and I will personally make sure they get their money. You can't afford to lose that gas station, Matt---it's yours and your Pop's home!
"That's what I'm trying to explain to you about why I can't commit-----to marriage. I got too many irons in the fire now, I want to be able to take care of you, give you the kind of home that you're used to having----I can't think about bringing another child into this world----not right now!
Angela lowers her head and whispers, "and I will not have a child out of wedlock, and even though we both use protection---accidents happen!
"You've changed---so much Angie---I can't believe you would use an excuse like 'we're living in sin'---God will punish us---etc., etc.--- why are you saying these things?
Angela rises from her chair and walks up to Matt, getting in his face.
"Excuse me, but I seem to recall a little episode of some men trying to overtake my home and hurt my family--- kidnapped my brother and beat him repeatedly-----and oh yeah----I seem to recall that I killed a man---I took a life---and you're asking---what's wrong with me, why am I talking this way? My life was changed that day, and oh forgive me for wanting some comfort----and---to be in your arms when my ------life was falling apart----maybe I am sorry for making the first move---but I have changed and committing another sin to cover up for another?------I don't know----I never want to see you again!!!
---just go away!"
Angela begins to cry and Matt reaches out for her, she pushes him away and runs back inside the Hope Center.
University of Texas:
The twins have packed their bags for the trip home after getting all of their assignments for the next month. One of their professors approaches them.
"Got everything you need?
"Yes sir, just turned in our test grades for the next semester and we can do some of our assignments along the ride!
The old man laughs, "Thank God for modern technology, huh?
I admire what the two of you are doing, but have you given any concerns to all of that rioting and protesting that will be along the way? "
Cooper nods his head, "yes sir we have---we have weapons to protect ourselves, but this is supposed to be a ride for peace. But, I'm sure that there will be some trouble along the way but we won't be the only riders 'packing heat'!
"I remember that ride that pastor and some other riders took to Oklahoma City, that was peaceful, but guys this is supposed to be a 40 day ride! South Carolina is getting the butt of civil unrest, will you be going though there?
"No sir, professor--that's a little too far to the south east! We haven't got the exact route yet, but our Dad says we will probably be going across Tennessee and up towards Virginia, taking back roads all the way. If we do have to cross any major highways, the police and highway patrol will be our escort!"
"What about the horses, where will you sleep?
Cooper laughs, "with the horses, won't be the first time!
Cordell lays his hand on the professors' shoulder.
"Don't worry professor, everything has been charted out, just like the Oklahoma ride. Pastor Riggs says that the last time people were stopping all along their ride, bringing them food, and praying with them. At night some churches let them stay there, local ranchers would bring them and the horses in to be taken care of, medical help---if needed! And, don't worry about the weather, they rode in the rain last year!
The professor takes a deep sigh, his voice breaking.
"I'm hearing that the Billy Graham people are going right into the streets, trying to talk to the people directly. Is that what you will be doing in D.C.?
"It's a 40 day 'fasting' period for revival across the country, God has got to be brought back into the country and into us--or there won't be any America! It's like a 'STAND', a stand for GOD. I don't know what will happen in D.C---I don't even know if the pastor will be allowed to speak---but pastor Riggs is not backing down, and he says we will be there on election day! We, all Americans, have to stand up for our salvation--cause he says that neither Trump or Hilliary will save America without God!
"I've never been on a horse in my life, but if I could ride one---I would be there right along with you boys and your Father!
Cooper gives the professor a 'high five'!
"Don't forget our little baby brother, he's making the ride too!
Walker is giving orders to the Rangers investigating Brandys murder.
"You have to start by re-questioning that witness, there has to be something we have missed. The local police have brought more 'possible witnesses in to be interrogated'---somebody had to have seen more than they are saying."
A young ranger shifts back and forth, and slowly raises his hand like that of a small child asking permission to go to the bathroom.
"Excuse me, Captain Walker---but why so much attention to this one case, the victim was a 'street walker?
The room becomes as quiet as a tomb as everyone looks to Walker.
Walker sizes up the young man, early 20's, been on the force for less than a year.
"And, by that question--do you think her life is less valuable than any other victim?"
"No sir, it's just that,---- why are we spending so much time on this one person, shouldn't this be the job of the police?
All of the rangers are watching Walker grit his teeth, the veins across his forehead beginning to swell, his fists clenching. The ranger begins to answer when a loud booming voice blasts the silence of the room.
"Walker---in my office now!
"I'm busy---can't it wait?
"I said in my office now, I won't tell you again!
The room breathes a sigh of relief as Walker huffs out behind his commander.
The commander slams his office door behind him and begins shouting at Walker.
"What the hell were you going to do, hit that young ranger?
"No, I was only going to explain-------"
"With what, your fist?
Walker stops and looks down at his right fist, the redness still showing from the tensed nerves. He wasn't aware that he had been clenching his fist so tightly. He shakes his head and paces.
"Walker, you have got to get yourself together, the death of that prostitute is taking a toll. Are you sure---that this----isn't personal?
"What the hell is that supposed to mean?
"Just what I asked, is it personal---did you know this "Brandy"---were you involved with her---is this why you're so angry?
The ranger stares back at his commander.
"For the last time that I will answer this question---NO---I was not involved with her, she was a friend!! As many times that I have worked the 'red light district', is it so farfetched that I could be friends with them? Brandy was different, she pretended to be tough on the streets, but I knew that there was something good about her. Trivette and I tried many times to try and get her and others another job---she had kids to support---she was doing the best she could do!
The commander waves the air, and motions for Walker to be seated.
"O.k, o.k. I'm trying to understand that---but Walker---you are letting emotions get in the way and I'm not the only one that has noticed this, you're not behaving in a professional way!
Walker nods his head.
"I'm sorry, but Brandy's murder has affected both Alex and me. We will never forget when Angela was swept away by that twister---we thought she was dead. There were so many people that came to the ranch to help Alex with the twins while I was out searching for my daughter----or her body---among them was Brandy and Celeste---another person of so called 'ill repute'! Our own neighbors looked down on them---but they stayed night and day to help Alex with our baby boys. They never asked for nothing, they just wanted to help!!
"I understand how you feel, but I can't help but think that there is something else about this case that you're not telling me. I know you Walker, I know when you get something into your gut ---you don't let go. Am I wrong in what I'm thinking?
Walker rises from his chair and heads to his boss' coffee pot, pouring the last of it into a coffee mug.
"Something is bothering me, Brandy wasn't just murdered--she was butchered and the person that did this knew that well enough to know how much time it would take for him or her to do the job!'
The commander stares back at Walker.
"What makes you think a woman might be involved in this?
"Because this work was done by someone out of jealousy, if it was a 'john' -why wasn't she sexually assaulted?
"Well, I got to admit this has been one of the most goriest of killings that I have seen since Viet Nam! The person or animal that did this, slit the woman's stomach open---why?
"When I catch the maniac, I will find out--- and by the way 'don't compare this 'poor example of a human being' to an animal! Animals don't kill for the fun of it, they kill for food or protection of their own- this maniac killed for the joy of it!!!
The commander walks over to pour himself a cup of coffee then notices the empty pot.
"Damn it Walker, you drink more coffee than I do--- I thought Alex made you cut back?
"She tried, didn't work! Are you through lecturing me?
"For the time being!
Walker hands the empty mug to his boss.
"Good, because I'm out of here! Have you got my replacement yet for the time I'll be gone?
The commander grins, "Oh yeah---and he's just as stubborn as you are, and I know he's going to give me a migraine just like you do---now get of here!
Alex is giving young Ray last instructions on the ride and he's already balking and saying he's going to ride all the way.
"Oh, 'no' you are not! We've been over this, you will not ride any further than their first lay-over, then you will call me and Angela, and we will bring the trailer to pick you up, is that understood, young man?
"Why can't I ride all of the way to DC---the twins and Daddy are, why can't I ride with them?
Alex is trying to control her anger, she counts to ten.
"Because I said you wasn't and if you keep arguing with me, you won't go--period---am I making myself clear?
Walker and the twins come in on the conversation and Ray turns to Walker.
"Please Daddy, why can't I ride----"
"Your Mother says 'no'-that's why---you're not use to riding that far by horseback---''
"I rode on the trail rides, didn't I?
Cooper smirks, "those were just maybe 50 miles round trip--- your butt was sore even then, stop complaining 'squirt' or Mom will be the one taking you to the wood shed!
Ray stomps away---"then I'm not going!
Alex hollers back at her baby son.
"Great--I didn't want you to go in the first place!
Cordell slap his twin on the shoulder.
"Come on bro'---now we got to take Buttercup out of the trailer and she's at the very front---thanks to you, I told you to load her last!
As the twins go back out to the horse trailer Walkers tries to change his wife's mind.
"Hon, we're going about this the wrong way, just let him ride until he gets too sore to continue. We did promise him that he could go if all of his school work was up to date, and he has worked day and night to do that. And the twins will help him to keep all of his assignments up and the principal agreed that the assignments could be faxed in!"
"I don't know honey, I've got such a lump in my stomach---I'm going to be worried about you and the twins enough---Ray is just a baby!
"Stop calling me a baby, I'm ten years old now!
Walker turns to his young son, who is standing half way back in the kitchen.
"Then stop acting like one!!
Ray walks slowly back into the front room.
"I'm sorry--but I don't get to do the grown up things like the twins get to do---and you're always saying that I should do better in History well this is history, why can't I be a part of it too?
Walker and Alex look to each other.
"Alright---you can ride for as long as you can and you don't get sick---or anything. You will mind your Father and the twins---you will stay by them at all times---do you hear me, Ray Gordon Walker?
"Yes mama, I promise----so---can I go?
The twins walk back in as their Mother replies in a very soft tone 'yes!
Cooper slaps his knee with his Stetson in anger!
"Oh great, now we have to load Buttercup back up--come on Cordell!!
Walker stops them.
"No, Buttercup is too nervous---load up Cesar, he's got a smoother gait!"
"But Dad, we didn't check his shoes!
Walker glares back at Cordell, "Well why are you standing here, check his shoes----get him ready, we're burning daylight!!
A lone figure watches through binoculars as the Walker family is going back and forth from the barn to the long horse trailer that holds six with tack gear. The figure hears a car coming down the long gravel road and has to back further into the mesquite trees.
The driver retreats from the car and the figure curses, even more.
"Hey Dad, look who's here" shouts one of the twins.
Alex and Angela are bringing out the coffee and food, they look to the car and smile.
"It's Uncle Jimmy!
The hugs and handshakes go all around as Walker looks to his good friend.
"Thought you were back east, did you come back to see us off?
The man smiles, showing his pearly whites.
"Yes and no---I'm your replacement while you go off on this glory ride to the capitol. When you leaving?
"We were just about to pull out, we meet up with the rest of the riders in Texarkana!
"Wow, wish I could come with you, I learned my way around DC quite well, I could really be of help---but the commander gave me strict rules that I was not to be talked into going with you guys. Man, is he grouchy---what did you do this time, Walker?"
Walker relays the argument that he and the commander had about Brandy.
"Yeah, I heard about her death and how she died. I will take care of the investigation Walker, stop worrying.
Walker eyes his friend suspiciously.
"You came all the way back from Washington DC---are you on some kind of leave of absence from the bureau?
Trivette grins wide, "No, I'm a Ranger again---and your new/old partner!!!
Everyone is slapping the ranger on his shoulder Alex and Angela are hugging him!
"Did you get fired from the FBI, Uncle Jimmy?
Everyone laughs as Trivette picks up Ray, and grunts.
"Damn it Ray, you're getting heavy---and 'no' I did not get fired---I wanted to come back to Texas. I wanted to be back here for JW---he's entered into another drug rehab---and I have to be here for him!"
They continue to talk and then finally start saying goodbye.
Cordell says softly, "I think we need to all give thanks for Uncle Jimmy being back with us and we need to pray for a safe journey for us and all the rest of the riders!
The figure watches as they all stand in a ring holding hands and praying
"Yeah, you're all going to be doing a lot praying, but it won't do any good!
Alex watches her dear friend as he walks around the place that used to be home for him and Erica, and where JW was born. He looks out at the covered swimming pool and looks back to Alex.
"Man, I remember so many cookouts around that pool. Angela and JW were running and jumping into the deep end and I thought you and Walker were going to have heart attacks!
"Yes, I remember. Both Angela and JW learned to swim like a fish---those were fun times!
Trivette smiles, "yeah, and there were sad times too. When Erica and I would argue, JW would slip out of his bedroom window and go up to his 'favorite god parents' house. And, one of you would call and say that he would be spending the night---the little stinker!
"I know you don't like talking about it, but where is Erica now?
Trivette shakes his head, "In Canada---with her third 'love of her life and significant other'---last I heard she was working for some Gay movement. It doesn't matter, I'm over her Alex---I've been seeing someone and it's rather serious! I want you and Walker to meet her when she gets into Dallas next month, she's a journalist and will be coming to Dallas for a job interview!"
"That's great, Jimmy--do I hear wedding bells?
Trivette laughs, "Welllll-----maybe?
They walk around the house and Alex whispers softly.
"And, this house would make a nice little place to call home,-hint, hint!
"Yeah, it would and I'm seriously thinking about moving back in, but I got to check with JW first. This new drug rehab is down near Corpus Christ, I think it's endorsed by "Dr. Phil?
"I think I have heard about several rehabs down that way, can't recall the names though. So----how does talking to JW take priority?
Trivette sighs, "I'm doing this all for my son, Alex. Coming back to Texas, taking a cut in pay to get my ranger job back, I've got to know if I have a chance at making up for all the times I wasn't here for him! Being with the bureau sent me out of the country for sometimes months, and I couldn't keep in touch with him. I saw what the bureau was doing to my brother Simon, and how it was affecting his kids--but he didn't seem to care. I don't want to be that kind of a Father!
"Jimmy, you tried many times to get JW straight. He would go into one rehab after another, you can't keep blaming yourself for the drug problems that JW has!
"What about you and Walker and Cooper's drinking problems? He seems to be alright now, that's because you and Walker never gave up on him!
"We were lucky, but Cooper agreed to meet us halfway!
"That's because he had both parents to guide him---I think a lot of JW's problems started when his Mother walked out on him, and then got worse when I sent him back to Baltimore to live with my side of the family---mainly Simon's family! His boy got JW into trouble all of the time and then the drugs, meth and God knows what all!! But, I'm to blame also---I should have kept him here, he was happy living here close to you guys-------and Angela!
Alex becomes silent.
"What??? I know she's living with that Matt guy! Alex---JW has always been in love with your daughter---you know that!
"Yes, Walker and I have known that but, JW was constantly sleeping with other girls when Angela had warned him that she wouldn't put up with that. She told him very plainly to go his own way and ----she would go hers!
Trivette smirks, "Yeah, she went her own way, alright. Sure didn't stop her from sleeping with someone, so how does that make her different from what JW was doing?
Alex bites her bottom lip and puts her hand up.
"I am not going to stand here and defend my daughter's choices, she's an adult and it's not anyone else's business besides her Father's and mine on what she has done. And, while we're on this subject---JW has 'virtually' stalked my daughter, and bad mouthed Matt on several occasions. And, another thing Angela has had to defend herself against his foul mouth, do you want to continue with this conversation?
Trivette's brow arches in disbelief.
"What do you mean she had to defend herself?
"They got into an argument and he was very vile towards her, she warned him to back off, he wouldn't---so she kicked him---where the sun doesn't shine!
"I was never aware of any of this, he never told me anything about it!! Are you sure she didn't provoke him, she does have the Walker/Cahill temper?
Alex stares back at her dear friend.
"My daughter doesn't lie, and besides there were witnesses to what went down!
Trivette begins to pace.
"I'm sorry sweetheart, forgive me for even bringing all of this up---I'm just so flustered and disappointed in everything---myself, JW, Erica----please-- I'm so sorry for saying the things I just said!
Alex nods her head and smiles softly as she embraces Trivette.
"I will forgive you if you will come to supper!
Trivette grimaces, "Red meat, no tofu?
"That's up to you, Angela and I are picking up CD and we're taking him to Golden Corral, you know how he loves to eat there. I think he's wanting the 'rib eye'---so what do you say, they have tofu there?
Trivette smiles, "Good ole Big Dog, I haven't even got to see him yet, how's he doing?
They walk arm in arm towards the front door.
"He's doing great, we finally talked him into staying in his old room at the ranch while Walker and the boys are gone, he's agreed---so---let's go pick him up at the 'home'!!
"He's still staying there?
"Yep, Walker and I have begged him to stay at the ranch---but he's got his poker buddies, and they go fishing, telling about the one that got away!!
"I'm dying to hear some of the 'fish tales'---man ---CD can really tell them tales!
Alex has just returned from court when Amy, her secretary motions for her to pick up her phone. By the smile on Amy's face, she knows the call is from her husband or one of the boys.
"Hi honey, where are you now?
"We're heading into El Dorado, Arkansas. We'll be stopping there and the pastor will be preaching again, come daybreak-it's another 25-30 miles and another stop!"
Alex grimaces, "you weren't kidding when you said this would be a very long and tedious ride! How are the boys, is Ray complaining yet?
"Not yet, he's doing great---helping the other riders bed their horses down as we all have been doing. There was a little girl that rode about 10 miles on a Shetland pony, complete with a helmet. Her Daddy rode alongside her, holding the rein because some of the truckers have been blowing their horns, as other drivers. But, everything has gone smooth---except for one ---or I should say---'a big thing, rather a nuisance to be exact!"
"Honey, what in the world are you talking about?
The voice hesitates and then Alex hears a disgusting sigh.
"You're never going to believe who has joined this ride!
"Well she's not exactly riding, she's with other women that are bringing things to their husbands, like food, medical supplies, etc., etc.!
"Walker, are you going to tell me, or do I have to guess?
"You would never guess-----Sasquaw!
Alex repeats the name several times, and then her mouth drops.
"Sasquaw, that lady that has been trying to do a life story on our family, especially your life---that one?
"Hon, may I never be so lucky to have another Sasquaw in my life that is 'a pain in the butt'---Yes---she's the one!"
"How in the world did she get involved in this, is she doing a story?
"No hon---she goes to the church that started this----she said she has been going to "Texoma Cowboy Church' for about seven years!"
Alex starts to laugh uncontrollably and Amy is staring at her.
"Walker, that woman has radar out on you. She is bound to track you down no matter where you are, is she trying to interview you again?
"No, so far she has stayed away from that---I think she and the ladies will be going back tomorrow---thank God!
"Well, just stay away from her and maybe she won't pester you! Other than that surprise, are you having a good time? How is your knee?
"It's fine hon---yes, I'm enjoying myself--mighty pretty country , the pine trees are beautiful down this way! Is Angela alright?
"She's fine and I'm fine---in case you were wondering" she teases.
"That's the worst part about this trip is being away from you---hope you're keeping my side of the bed warm!
Alex purrs, "oh, you got it, cowboy---and when you get home---the bed will be even hotter!
"Better believe it. I got to go now hon, we'll soon be bedding down in one of the churches---some of the riders, including our boys, are sleeping under the stars. I'll call you again in a day or so or one of the boys will---so for now I love you!
"I love you too, cowboy--give my love to the boys, sleep tight and don't let the bed bugs----or Sasquaw---bite you!"