Sins Of The Mother

By Sissy (with the help of Jen & Kay)

 

Alex slowly rises up from the depths of sleep, feeling warm, and content, as she lies snuggled in the arms of the man she loves. Her mind dwells on the passionate loving she had received last night, at the hands … and tongue … and body, of the man beside her. She slides her leg up over his thigh, letting her fingers curl in the hair on his chest. Then suddenly a face flashes in her memory, the face of her father … and his death. Feeling tears building, she clamps her eyelids tight to keep the tears from spilling. But a few squeeze through to fall on her husbands chest and she feels his arm tighten around her as his lips brush over her hair. Even though it has been over a month since the death of her father, she still feels the emptiness left by his passing.

"Honey, are you all right?" The soft huskiness of his voice soothes her and she lifts her head.

"Yes," she murmurs, "I … just had a flashback. But … I’m fine."

"Don’t try to hold it in honey, it’s bound to get to you, loosing the last of your family."

Alex rises up on her elbow and brushes his lips with hers, "But I have you and Angela, honey. You two are my family."

He sees the sheen of moisture still in her eyes, "You know what I mean." Using his thumb he brushes the tears from her cheeks, and as her face scrunches up, he pulls her in tight as the racking sobs tear through her body. He holds her until the weeping is reduced to sniffles, then he reaches for a tissue from the box on his nightstand and hands it to her, letting her dry her eyes and blow her nose.

"Okay, now?"

"Yes, thank you."

"For what?" he asks as he slips his thumb under chin and raises her head to meet his eyes.

"For always being there for me, always knowing what to say and … knowing just when to hold me."

"I love you," he murmurs. She smiles at his answer, knowing that the three little words say it all.

***

Three days later, Alex returns home from work and puts eight week old Angela down in the cradle in the living room. She drops the mail on the table by the front door as she hangs her purse over the stair case post then begins thumbing through the letters, muttering, "Electric bill, gas bill, file 13, file 13 … hmm … what’s this?"

The letter’s addressed to Alexandra Cahill Walker. She starts to rip it open when she hears a soft cry from her daughter and drops it back on the table.

Moving up to the cradle, she leans over, and runs her finger down Angela’s cheek. The baby turns her head into the touch, her mouth searching and sucking noisily in anticipation.

"Oh, honey, are you hungry?" Alex stands then, sheds her jacket and unbuttons her blouse. As she releases the catch on the front of her bra, she picks up Angela and moves to the couch, settling the baby to her breast, guiding her lips to the nipple.

As Angela sucks deeply, Alex gasps at the strong suction then settles down to enjoy the time with her daughter.

 

Thirty minutes later, when Walker comes in he sees the mail and starts thumbing through the letters as he hangs his hat on the rack, then seeing Alex in the living room sitting on the couch, with their baby in her arms, he drops the letters back down on the table and walks in and sits down beside her, enjoying the site of his baby at her mother’s breast.

Leaning over he gives Alex a quick kiss, then running his finger down Angela’s cheek, says, "How’s my little angel?" He leans over and gives her a kiss on her forehead then brushes his lips across the soft swell of Alex’s breast.

He slides his arm around Alex’s shoulder and asks, "How was your first day back?"

"Tiring. And I missed being with Angela." She smiles up into Walker’s face, "I only made three trips over to the HOPE center to check on her. I thought that was real good of me."

"Why, didn’t you think Josie could take care of her?"

"I know she can, but, ...I...I..." She begins fingering the hem of her open blouse with her free hand, "I just had to...well I had to check ... I needed to see Angela … does that make me bad?"

He leans over and touches his lips to hers, "No, I figured you’d go over about every hour then end up bringing her to your office."

Alex jabs her elbow into his stomach, "Oh, you. I’m not that bad." Her face takes on a pensive look, "Although … I never thought about keeping her at the office."

"Alex…"

"Hmm … I just may do that when I don’t have to be in court." She turns to look in his eyes. "What do you think?"

He chuckles softly, "It wouldn’t surprise me one bit."

***

After dinner is over they take Angela up for her bath and tuck her into her crib for the night or until such time that hunger wakes her, bringing Mommy in to give her sustenance. Walker lingers at the crib as Alex returns downstairs.

When Walker comes down he finds Alex in the kitchen, just finishing up. He walks up behind her and slides his arms around her waist, pulling her back against him. "Come on, let’s go sit out on the porch for a little while before we go up to bed."

He slides his arm around her waist and walks with her out of the kitchen picking up the mail as he passes the table and begins shifting through it. "Honey, what’s this letter?" he asks as he holds it up for her to see.

She glances at it and says, "I don’t know, haven’t had a chance to open it yet."

"Have you noticed who it’s addressed to?" He says stopping at the front door.

"Yeah, Alexandra Cahill Walker," she says as she pushes open the door.

Moving out behind her, he says, "Alex, look at it again."

She sits down in the swing and taking the envelope from him, and she reads the name, "Alexandra Cah … Clayton? … Walker."

She looks at the letter and a shiver ripples through her. She glances up to see Walker watching her; she shakes her head and slips her finger under the flap and tears it open as her husband sits down beside her.

It’s not a letter it’s an invitation to a family reunion of The Claytons in San Marcos, a town not to far from San Antonio.

Walker reading it with her, asks, "Who are the Claytons, honey?"

"I-I’m not sure. I don’t think … it can’t be…"

"What, honey?"

"Clayton … I think I heard my mother say that name when I was a little girl. When I ask my mother who the Clayton’s were, my father got real angry, and told me never to say that name again." Alex is quiet, remembering the scene in her mind again after all these years. "Mother was crying and he put his arm around her and took her into the bedroom." She turns to look at Walker, "I had forgotten all about it … till now."

His eyes search her face, and he realizes that she is thinking the same thing he is. "Clayton … do you think … they’re your mothers relatives?"

"I don’t know and I really don’t care. Because I have no intention of going to their … their reunion."

Walker slips his arm around Alex’s shoulders, feeling the tension. "Honey, maybe you should go and see…."

"No! Now … please, lets talk about something else."

He pulls her into his side, and just holds her close. Little by little her body begins to relax and with a sigh, she snuggles closer. "I’m sorry … I snapped at you. I’m just not sure I want to open that … door."

Tightening his arms around her, he says, "Whatever you want, honey."

***

For the next week, Alex has these questions bouncing around in her head; could it be possible that her mother still has living relatives? If so, why haven’t she heard from them before now?

What had they done that her mother wanted nothing to do with them? Or was it the other way around? Did she have the right to deny Angela the knowledge of this part of her family? The more she thinks about it the less sure she becomes of what to do. And it is starting to tell on her.

Walker notices her restlessness but keeps from saying anything to her, not wanting to influence her one way or the other. The only time he sees her relaxed is when she is breast-feeding Angela, or when he has made love with her far into the night. Then, when she is exhausted she sleeps the dreamless sleep of a baby.

The date of the reunion looms closer and the questions keep bombarding her senses but she is still undecided about what to do. That is, until one Sunday afternoon, she is filling in the spaces in Angela’s baby book, and when she comes to the pages for the grandparent’s names, she fills in her parents name and when she sees the great grandparents blocks, she hesitates. Then taking a deep breath, she relaxes and smiles, the decision has been made. She sends a letter accepting the invitation to the reunion.

***

The drive to San Antonio is quiet and just a little apprehensive of what they will find. Walker keeps glancing at Alex, and although she looks calm on the outside he knows she is wound tight at the possible meeting of her mother’s relatives.

Remembering back to the night when Alex had informed him of her decision, and how she had looked at him, wanting his approval and encouragement. He had wrapped her in his arms and told her he would stand behind her 100%. But he had also warned her that it could all be a mistake. There could be no connection at all between Alex’s mother and the Claytons.

Halfway to San Antonio, Angela begins making a fuss. She is either hungry or wet, or maybe both. "Honey, you need to find a place to stop, I need to take care of Angela," Alex murmurs as she looks into the back seat at their offspring.

"Okay, there’s a rest stop just a little ways up the road, will that be all right?"

"That’s fine with me, lets just hope it is with Angela." Alex smiles knowing that Angela’s patience when she is hungry is almost non-existent.

True to form, by the time Walker pulls off the road, Angela is in full voice letting her parents know that she is hungry and wants something done about it.

Alex moves into the back seat and draping a cover over her and the baby proceeds to nurse Angela. After changing her diaper she puts her to the other breast until Angela falls asleep.

When she steps out of the car, she finds Walker leaning against the rear of the car, starring off into the distance.

She moves up to stand at his side and slips an arm around his waist. "You look like you’re deep in thought. Anything wrong?"

He slides his arm around her shoulders and pulls her close. "No, not really. Just wondering if we’re doing the right thing."

She moves back to look into his face, "Walker, you were the one who told me I should check it out. Why have you changed your mind?"

Pulling her back into the circle of his arms he says, "I just don’t want to see you get hurt, that’s all."

"Honey, I’m well aware of the ghosts we could shake out of the closets, that is … providing they are relatives of Mothers. This could be just an assumption on my part. But … I have to find out, I don’t want to ever regret not finding out one way or the other."

Tilting her head up, he brushes his lips across hers, "Okay, I can understand that, but I’m warning you, at the first sign of … of nastiness, we’re leaving."

Alex begins to giggle, "Nastiness? Now that’s a new one." She reaches up and returns his kiss with one of her own. "But I agree, at the first hint of … nastiness, we’ll leave."

He turns her around and guides her back to the car, "Yeah, and don’t you forget it."

***

With the directions that were included in the same envelope as the invitation they have no trouble finding the Clayton ranch. When Walker drives under the arched entryway, he is impressed by the magnificence of the huge house that is sprawled out some 300 yards in front of them.

"God, Walker, this place is quite a spread. I wonder how big it is? Wonder how many ‘Claytons’ there are?"

"Well, we’ll soon find out."

Alex looks toward the beautiful two-story domicile, looking for all the world like a southern plantation mansion, with tall columns across the front. As their car nears the front of the house, her senses begin a warring battle of conflicting emotions. On one hand, she wants these to be her mother’s people and on the other, the fear of what secrets will be uncovered has her wondering if she shouldn’t just turn around and leave.

Walker stops the car and moves around to open the passenger door and as Alex steps out, he takes her hand. Both stare up in awe at the magnificent house. Walker opens the back door and removes his sleeping daughter from her car seat and hands her to Alex. He starts up the steps but stops when he realizes she isn’t moving. He steps back to her side, "Are you all right?"

"Yes … I am. Let’s go." And with confidence in her steps she moves up on the porch and waits as Walker raps the knocker sharply on the door. Within minutes it is opened by, they guess, the butler.

"Mr. and Mrs. Walker? Please come in. Missus Clayton has been expecting you." He turns and opens the door for them to enter. His face looses its wooden expression when he sees the babe in the woman’s arms and a slight smile touches his lips. It’s been a long time since a baby has graced this ole house.

Alex and Walker step inside looking around at the elegant surroundings. "This way, please." He leads them into a room furnished with simple, but comfortable furniture. As she looks around the room she turns and comes face to face with an older woman sitting in a wheelchair. The butler announces, "Mr. and Mrs. Walker … Mrs. Clayton"

Her eyes widen and mist up as she realizes that this woman is her grandmother and that she was named after her. Looking into the eyes of a woman that could be an older version of her. A striking woman, even though she must be in her eighties.

Walker is stunned by the resemblance of this woman to Alex. This could be Alex in the distant future. He moves up behind her, his arms reinforcing her grip on Angela.

"Please, won’t you be seated?"

They sit down on the couch and Walker gently takes Angela from her mother’s arms. Alex tightens her arms around the baby when she feels her slipping away, but relaxes when she realizes that Walker is taking her.

"I know you must have a lot of questions, but just seeing you here has answered all of mine." She watches the couple sitting across from her, trying to read their reaction at seeing her.

Just then the butler enters the room carrying a tray with a silver coffee pot and china cups and saucers. "Coffee, Madam?"

"Yes, Frank, set it on the table here." The butler sets the tray down, starts to lift the coffee pot to pour, "No, that’s fine." Then looking up in to his face, "Would you please bring the ‘books’ we were looking at earlier?"

"Yes, Madam," he says and leaves the room.

The old woman looks at Alex and softly murmurs, "Would you … pour for me, please, Alexandra?"

Startled out of her near trance, "Oh, of course." Alex slides to the edge of the couch and with a slight shake to her hand fills the three cups. She hands one cup and saucer to the old woman and then one to Walker, which he immediately set back down on the table. At the look on Alex’s face, he grins and picks up the cup with out the saucer, and she realizes that he couldn’t balance the cup and saucer while holding Angela in his other arm.

"I know you are wondering why after all this time I’ve invited you here. And I’ll be glad to answer your questions as well as beg for your forgiveness for the mistakes made by this family so many years ago."

Knowing the answer to the question even before she asks, but feels the importance of asking anyway, Alex looks into the eyes of the woman across from her and says, "How do I know that you really are my mothers … family?"

Just then Frank enters the room carrying two large books, photo albums, and sets them on the table. "Anything else, Madam?"

"No, Frank. That’s all for now."

"Yes, madam." He turns and leaves the room.

The old woman gestures toward the aged books and says, "Maybe these will answer your question."

Pushing her wheel chair close, she leans over to pick up one of the albums, but the weight of the large book is too much and she gasps as it starts to slip from her fragile fingers.

Alex quickly catches the book and lays it across her lap. As she opens the first page the old woman watches Alex’s expression change at the first picture in the book. It is definitely a younger version of the woman in the wheelchair. She is standing to the side of a handsome man, looking up into his face and they both look extremely happy. "That is … was James, your grandfather. He’s gone now," her voice wistful as many memories assail her, "he died some 30 years ago."

Alex strains to make out what is written below the picture, mouthing the words, ‘James and Alexandra’. Startled she looks up into her grandmother’s eyes.

"Yes, you were named after me." Her rheumy eyes misting up, "an honor I don’t deserve."

"My mother must have loved you very much."

"I wish I deserved it but…"

Just then Angela begins whimpering and in turning her head her lips come in contact with her father’s jacket and she immediately begins the sucking motion.

"I can see that your baby is hungry so, lets postpone this until after you two have rested and that darling baby has been fed."

As if he had been listening at the door, Frank enters the room almost immediately. "He will show you to your room. I-I hope you will stay for a couple of days and maybe we can straighten this all out, and … get to know each other."

"Yes … I-I would like that."

They start out of the room when Alex stops, "Our luggage…"

Frank turns to face them and says, "If you’ll give me your keys I’ll bring it up after I show you to your room."

Walker hands over his car keys and they follow him up the winding staircase and down the hall with numerous doors leading from it. He opens the last one on the right and ushers them in. "I’ll be right back with your luggage."

Walker hands Angela over to Alex and follows Frank back down the stairs. Left alone with Angela, she holds her tight in her arms and moves over to the window. Watching as Walker and the butler gather up the luggage and disappear back into the house. After the luggage has been brought up and set on the floor Frank leaves them alone.

Walker moves up behind Alex at the window and slides his arms around her waist. "Is everything all right, honey?"

"Oh, Walker, she is my grandmother. She really is." She turns in his arms, and with Angela between them, she snuggles her head into his neck. "Why … why now? What happened between her and my mother?"

Walker brushes his lips across the top of her head, and murmurs softly, "I don’t know hon, but I’ve got a feeling we’ll know before we leave."

Just then there’s a light tap on the door, and Walker releases Alex to answer it. When he returns he is holding the two large albums that had been brought into the sitting room downstairs. "Frank said you might want to look through these after you’ve rested. Oh, and dinner is at seven."

By now, Angela is upset at not being fed and is screaming bloody murder. Alex looks around as her fingers move to the front of her blouse, and spotting a rocking chair, she moves over to sit down. Angela’s frustration is mounting as her lips keep making contact with her mother’s fingers, sucking at the touch then crying out when the attempt fails. As the blouse is pushed aside and Alex’s breast is bared, Angela’s little mouth latches onto the protruding nipple, and sucks vigorously, drawing it deep into her mouth.

She looks down at Angela as she nurses, watching the soft blue eyes of her baby searching her face. She caresses her soft cheek and Angela fingers wrap around one of hers.

Walker sits on the edge of the bed enjoying the sight before him. He still hasn’t gotten tired of watching, what is to him, a picture of love. Alex looks up catching his eye and smiles, contentment filling her as she relaxes with her baby in her arms and her husband’s eyes on her, shining with his love.

When Angela has nursed her fill, Alex changes her diaper then tucks her into the crib that has been provided for her use. She leans over and kisses her softly on the cheek then turns toward her husband, who is sitting on the bed thumbing through the photo albums.

"Alex, look at this!"

She sits down beside him and leans over to see the picture of two babies held in her grandfather’s arms that he is indicating. "They’re … twins! Daddy always said twins ran in the family, but I always thought he meant his side of the family." She leans over to peer closely at the faded inscription beneath the picture. "Walker, it says … it says this is Amanda and Amelia! One … one of those babies is … is my mother!" In a whispery soft voice, "Mother … was a twin."

They continue to turn the pages, enthralled as the twins began to age, to toddlers, then school age. Alex is thoroughly fascinated as she watches her mother ‘grow up’ right before her eyes. They find pictures of Amanda and Amelia as babies, and toddlers in clothes of the 1940’s, and pictures of them in cap and gown, arms around each other, smiling, eyes alight with happiness and the anticipation of a beautiful future ahead of them.

Alex’s eyes are bright with delight, until suddenly pictures of the twins just … stop. Flipping through the rest of the book they don’t find any more pictures of the girls.

"They’ve … they’ve stopped?" She turns looking for the other Album, "Get the other book…"

Walker picks up the second album and begins looking through it. "Alex, here’s a picture of your aunt, but … not your mother."

"Walker, the year between these two pictures … that was during the time Mother married my father." She turns to look at her husband, "What did marrying my father have to do with all of this?"

Placing the book on the bed beside himself, he pulls Alex into his arms, "I don’t know, hon. I think that is one of the questions we need to ask." He holds her in his embrace as they both try to absorb what the pictures had told them … or didn’t tell them.

"It’s evident that Mother ... did something they didn’t approve of and she left, or … they disowned her and threw her out."

"The pictures seem to go that way, but we won’t know for sure until we can ask your grandmother."

"Walker, with the hard times Mother had after my father left, they never tried to help her." Her voice is getting an edge of rage in it, "and when she died, they didn’t even come to her funeral. How can anyone abandon their child like that? It is unthinkable. I could never do that to Angela no matter what she had done."

"I know, hon, I know." He lies back on the bed, pulling her with him. She snuggles closer in his arms, as his hands begin rubbing up and down her back, and as the gentle stroking relax her knotted muscles she closes her eyes and soon drifts off into a light sleep.

Walker holds her in his arms and feels the beginnings of rage, himself. How could they have tossed their child out like dirty dishwater just because she fell in love with a man they didn’t approve of? How could they stand by and watch a young girl struggle to survive while her mother lingered in severe depression? He didn’t know about Alex but he is having a hard time even thinking about forgiving them.

He tightens his arms around his wife and holds her against his heart, vowing they’ll never hurt her again.

She wakes to Walker’s lips against hers, whispering softly, "Honey, it’s almost time to go down for dinner. You’ll want to freshen up, won’t you?"

She brings her arms up and stretches, then circles his neck, bringing his lips harder against hers. He moans softly as he finds entrance to her mouth, letting his tongue caress hers before reluctantly pulling back. "Alex, we don’t have time for this now. Do we?" He brushes another kiss across her lips, then slides his mouth down her neck, nibbling and tasting.

"No," she whimpers, "I … guess not." She loosens her arms around his neck and meets his eyes as he lifts himself off of her. "But … there will be later."

With a hoarse raspy whisper, "There will definitely be a later." He pushes back and takes her hands, pulling her up as he stands. She gives him a quick kiss as a reminder of what she expects later and disappears into the bathroom.

Seven o’clock finds the three of them winding their way down the stairs, Angela asleep in Alex’s arms. Frank is waiting at the bottom and directs them to the dining room. As they near the door, they hear the muted voices of her grandmother plus one other person and Alex feels her heart begin to pound at the prospect of meeting her mother’s relatives. Relatives that had wanted nothing to do with her or her mother. She pushes down the anger and puts a soft smile on her lips as they walk into the dining room.

Walker feels the same anger but he doesn’t even try to hide it as they face the grandmother and probably the aunt.

"I’m glad you joined us. This is … Amelia, your aunt. Please … sit down." Her grandmother nods toward the empty chairs to her right. Walker pulls the chair back for her to sit down before seating himself.

"Frank?" the old woman gestures and the butler brings up a cradle, positioning it next to Alex’s chair.

As Alex turns to put Angela in it, she hears a soft, "May I … see her, please?"

Alex brings Angela up and lays her into the old woman’s frail arms. "No, I just wanted…" she starts to protest, but as her arms fill with the soft bundle, "Oh, my…" Her eyes glisten as they fasten on the cherub face staring up at her. Her voice a whisper, "She is so beautiful." Several minutes pass before she lifts her head, and begins to push the baby back towards Alex. "Thank you so much."

After putting Angela in the cradle, she turns around in her chair and faces the woman across the table from her who looks like an older picture of her mother. The sister. Her aunt.

Alex stares, deliberately, until the woman drops her eyes, then Alex turns to look at her grandmother.

Her grandmother’s voice is thin, fragile, "I hope your room is comfortable."

"Yes, it’s fine. Thank you for thinking of a crib for Angela."

The old woman nods, and then says, "Frank, you can start serving, now." She looks at Alex and Walker, "I thought we would eat first then move into the other room to talk."

The meal is delicious and beautifully prepared but no one seems to be hungry except Walker. The conversation borders on the idle chitchat as everyone skirts around the more obvious topic on everyone’s mind. After accepting the fact that no one is eating, Mrs. Clayton suggests they withdraw to the parlor where they can get comfortable … and talk.

***

The Walker’s are led into the sitting room preceded by the butler with the cradle. Frank then leaves to see to Mrs. Clayton and her aunt Amelia.

After placing Angela in the swinging bed, Alex takes a seat in a winged high-backed chair and Walker stands at the side, wanting to be close if she should need him.

As they wait for her grandmother Alex feels the jitters starting and reaches up to take Walker’s hand in her own.

"Are you all right?" She nods and he continues, "Getting nervous?"

"Yes," she takes a deep breath, "I wonder what is taking so long?"

As if hearing her remark, Frank enters the room. "I’m sorry, but Mrs. Clayton is not feeling well and has asked me to beg your forgiveness."

Alex stands, her nervousness gone. "I hope it’s nothing serious, did you call a doctor?"

"Ms Amelia is looking after her. She will be better tomorrow. She will talk with you then."

"Is she ill … often?"

Frank looks into her eyes and says, "She is 89." Then turns and leaves the room.

"Well … I don’t guess we’ll get any answers tonight so maybe…" Just then the restless stirrings of the baby draws their attention and they move over to Angela who is waking and wanting to be feed.

Alex scoops her up in her arms, and they make their way up the stairs to their bedroom.

Alex carries the fussy baby into the room and goes straight to the rocking chair, looking at Walker as she sits down, "Honey, why don’t you go ahead and shower while I feed Angela." She settles into a familiar routine with Angela as Walker slips off his jacket tossing it onto the foot of the bed. Leaning her head back on the rocking chair and closing her eyes, she sighs deeply.

Walker’s hands are reaching for the buttons on his shirt as he hears her sigh. "Are you all right?" he questions, turning to face her.

Alex slowly opens her eyes as she speaks, "I guess. I wanted so much to talk with her tonight … so we could go home tomorrow." Her eyes are wide open as Walker begins to remove his shirt and all thoughts of the fruitless evening are shoved to the deepest recesses of her mind as she brazenly stares at him when his muscular chest is bared. When his hand reaches for his belt, then the button on his pants her heart begins to beat faster and her breathing quickens considerably.

He knows she is watching him and his body hardens immediately at the mere thought of her eyes on him. He sits down on the bed to take off his boots and socks, doing it slowly like a strip tease, before standing and sliding the zipper down on his pants, taking great care as he pulls it past the long, hard ridge in his briefs. As the zipper clears the protuberance he breathes out a deep sigh and lets the trousers drop to the floor.

He glances at Alex out of the corner of his eye, seeing her mouth open and her tongue move slowly across her lips. Moaning softly, his eyes never leaving Alex’s face, he hooks his thumbs in the waistband of his briefs and slowly begins to slide them over his hips and down his legs letting them slip to the floor. Her eyes follow the decent only until the briefs clear his magnificently aroused manhood, and there her gaze stays until he backs into the bathroom and shuts the door.

"Wooeee," she breathes, and then, looking down into Angela’s blue eyes, she murmurs softly, "Your daddy is one helluva man." She picks up the baby’s hand, bringing it to her mouth, nuzzling the fingers against her lips.

When Angela falls asleep, Alex tucks her into the crib and then undresses in preparation for her shower. Slipping on a robe she moves to the balcony doors. Turning the handle she steps outside into the warm night air. She looks up into the beautiful sky, the twinkling stars, then out over the vast acreage, with the well-kept buildings and the horses grazing in the distance pasture, and she feels an ache deep inside and a sweet desire to go home. She thinks about the people that live in this house, these strangers that have missed so much, by actions taken so long ago and she feels a sadness come over her. She cannot understand how people can push someone out of their lives; just shut the door on them, especially someone that they profess to love dearly.

She suddenly feels her husband’s arms around her, pulling her back against him. She turns her head for his kiss and melts against his hardness. His thumb brushes away the tears that she hadn’t known were falling, tears for what might have been.

"We’ll leave first thing in the morning, honey," he whispers against her ear.

She turns swiftly, facing him, "No! I want to stay."

"I can see what this is doing to you … I won’t have them tear you apart like this, Alex. They aren’t worth it."

"It’s not over them, honey, it’s what they’ve lost by what they did." She lays her head against his chest. "They can’t hurt me anymore. As long as I have you and Angela, nothing can hurt me."

"I’ll make sure of it," he murmurs as she curls her hands around his shoulders, savoring the feel of him, as his mouth finds hers in a sweet probing kiss. When her lips part his tongue darts inside stroking sensually over hers tasting her sweetness.

Feeling her full breasts pressed against his bare chest, he quickly unties the sash and pushes the soft terrycloth aside exposing her breasts to his devouring eyes. He brings his hands up to cup them, caressing them with exquisite care, knowing of their tenderness from nursing, then teasing the nipples to a sensitivity that is nearly unbearable.

He pulls his mouth from hers and lowers his lips to brush across her cheek, then nibbling down her neck and across her shoulders, sending shivers through her body to the deepest regions of her soul.

She smells the lingering aroma of his shower soap, the scent of the shampoo and the masculine odor of his body all blended together, intoxicating her senses, she moves her hands over his chest, then down and finding only a towel wrapped around his torso, which her fingers quickly pull away, leaving his body bare to her caresses.

Alex takes him in her hand, stroking lightly, his whimpers of desire urging her on. Suddenly he wraps his arms around her so tightly she can hardly breathe, and lifts her off her feet, his mouth grinding down on hers. Eyes closed, she grabs at his shoulders. Sinking her nails into his sweat slick skin. Heat quickly forms where their naked bodies touch.

Gripping her hips, he lifts her higher. Instinctively she locks her legs around his waist to steady herself. Fiercely he takes one nipple into his mouth, his tongue darting out to circle it with heat before drawing it inside. Alex gives a breathless cry, her blood boiling with excitement.

Then he slowly begins to lower her onto his turgid shaft. It brushes against her soft flesh and she moans, her eyes flying open. Her gaze locks with his.

"Look at us," he says hoarsely, "watch it go in."

Quivering with almost painful desire, she does. The bulbous head bobs with straining eagerness, dark red in color. The thick shaft is laced with raised bluish veins. He lowers her a bit more, and the head pushes into her soft opening. It is a sensation she has felt numerous times since they’d become lovers, but it is still jolting. Inch by inch she sinks downward, his shaft spearing upward into her, stretching her soft sheath to its limit. He feels huge inside her, nudging against the mouth of her womb. Watching his flesh disappear inside her, feeling it as it happens, hurtles her into climax. He holds her while she convulses, her hips rocking against him.

"Again," she whispers. "I want to feel it again."

He grips her buttocks and begins working her up and down, his powerful body braced to support them. The sensation is almost more than he can bear, and he grinds his teeth, his head falling back. Each time her weight comes forward, enveloping his straining flesh in heat and softness, his entire body shakes with pleasure. Alex clings to him, and starts to groan as each thrust heightens the exquisite agony. "Please," she cries, her voice barely audible above a whisper. "Please."

"Not yet, honey," he pants. "Not yet. It’s too good."

Her body feels like it’s on fire, she fights him, trying to get control so she can grasp the culmination that hovers just out of reach, but she is helpless against the iron strength of that muscled body.

She kisses him wildly, grinding her entire body against his, refusing to quit.

His fingers dig into the cleft of her bottom, and he curses as he feels his climax swiftly rising. He moves her on him in several quick, hard thrusts and she cries out, going over the edge and then the delicious spasms ripple through her, over her, and around her. Her trembling inner muscles grab at him and he throws back his head with a deep-throated growl, shuddering, his seed spewing out of him.

His legs are shaking. It takes all of his concentration to keep them from collapsing beneath him. Alex is limp in his arms, her head lying against his shoulder, her legs still wrapped around his waist.

"Maybe … maybe we should take this … this inside." Alex pants against his neck.

He doesn’t move, and she is content to stay there.

"I can’t move," he finally mutters against her sweat soaked skin. "If I do, I’ll fall."

She barely stifles a giggle.

"Think it’s funny, do you?" He begins lazily caressing her bottom.

"As long as I land on top."

"Mmmm." The deep purr is the only sound he makes for a few minutes, other than that of his breathing as it slowly calms.

Then: "If I manage to stay on my feet, can you unlock your ankles?"

"Maybe."

"What are the odds?"

"Fifty-fifty."

"Meaning either you can or you can’t."

"Right."

"If you can’t, we’ll probably have to go for another round."

And he probably could, too, but Alex doesn’t think she’s up to it. She can’t remember ever feeling more replete in her life. All she wants to do now is curl up against him in bed and take a long nap. Regretfully, she unlocks her legs and lets them slide down his hips, disengaging their bodies at the same time.

Carefully he sets her on her feet, holding her until he is certain her legs will hold her. She sways against him for a moment; then he helps her back into the bedroom. He still feels slightly dazed in the aftermath of passion so intense he can barely believe what has just happened. He had thought after the first month of their marriage that their lovemaking would become passé. But if anything it had become more intense, more invigorating, and each time incredibly better than the last time.

Slipping her robe off and laying it on the foot of the bed, he settles her into bed and covers her. She reaches for his hand, "Where are you going?"

"Let me shut the balcony door and I’ll be right back." It doesn’t take long to get the door and a quick detour to check on his darling daughter, to give her a soft kiss on her forehead, and then he’s sliding into bed and pulling her back against him. Laying his arm under her breasts, he sighs contentedly and shuts his eyes.

***

Alex moans softly as she rises from sleep, her body tingling from the soft touches and caresses of Walker’s hands as they move over her full breasts, his fingers tugging gently on her nipples, nipples that Angela would be needing soon.

He knows she’s awake by her labored breathing and lifts himself up on his elbow and lowering his head he brushes his lips across hers as he lightly touches her with his fingers, opening her legs wider. He brings his head down and begins kissing her stomach.

"Walker," the word a whisper. Not sure she is pleading with him to stop or maybe to wait, knowing that if Angela wakes in the middle of … but desire already has her body on fire. She wantonly spreads her legs so he can rest is head between them and taste, and suck, and lick and … oh, God … oh, God …

Delving deeper, harder, he spins her breathlessly into a sweet mindlessness. She writhes against him until the tension uncoils; the burning heat finally exploding. She bucks her hips, wild now for what only Walker can give her, his tongue a wicked sword as it stabs repeatedly into her dewy center. She cries out, arching her neck, her shoulders lifting off the bed as she flies into the turbulent eye of a storm, hurtling toward a wild, shattering release. She dissolves in a fireball as his mouth covers hers as she cries out his name in ecstasy.

When she regains her wits she finds him poised over her, his face showing his need and driving hunger. Her fingers wrap around his wrists pulling him against her. "Inside me, Walker, please."

"Alex," he whispers as he slips his hands beneath her buttocks and positions her against his hot smooth tip.

"Put me inside you," he groans.

Her hand fastens around his staff bringing him to her entrance. She hears his breath rasp against her ear as he eases into her moist sheath, stretching her, filling her with his heat and strength, until he is buried so deep she feels as if he pierced her soul.

Gazing deeply into her eyes, he raises himself upon his arms and thrusts. In and out, increasing his tempo until they are both gasping and breathless.

"Walker!" she’s trembling, consumed by heat, her body racked by torturous waves of desire. Her fingers twine in his hair, pulling his head up, guiding his lips to hers. His kiss is everything she needs, but it isn’t enough.

She clutches at his back and wraps her legs around his wildly undulating hips. She sucks in a breath and draws him deeper. He pumps harder, faster, each thrust taking her higher and higher, until she is nearly incoherent with exquisite pleasure.

He dips his head, his mouth catching her cries of delight she doesn’t even realize she’s making. Sensations are mounting, piling one on top of the other as she strains toward a peak that dangles temptingly within reach. Then sensations burst through her, over her, inside her, in a shattering crescendo of rapturous ecstasy.

On a final, desperate thrust, he lets himself go, spewing his seed deep within her as spasms after wondrous spasms shake him and through clenched teeth he cries out her name as he collapses against her.

"I love you, Walker!" she whispers as she folds her arms around him, bringing his quivering body tightly against hers.

As they lie there in the tangled sheets, the only sound in the room is their labored breathing and the faint whimpering of a baby beginning to stir.

"Ahhh," she whispers in his ear, "thank God, she waited … I don’t think I could have stopped."

"I … told her last night to sleep in this morning."

Alex giggles and kisses him, "You did, did you?"

He slips off, rolling to her side, "Yes, last night. She listens good, doesn’t she?"

As the whimpers turn into soft cries, Alex rolls out of bed and grabs her robe, knowing that in the next minutes Angela will be screaming the walls down.

***

After feeding and changing Angela, they carry her downstairs to look for some breakfast. In the dinning room they find it empty but warming pans are filled with eggs, bacon, sausage and pancakes. Putting the baby in the cradle, they get their breakfast, buffet style. They are almost finished when Frank enters the room and explains that the Missus Clayton never comes down till almost noon, at that time she will talk with them.

"If you wish to go outside and wander around, please feel free to do so." They watch the butler leave the room and Walker picks up Angela and taking Alex’s hand moves to the patio doors. Leaving the house behind and anyone who might be listening, Walker says, "Do you get the feeling that we are getting the run around?"

"You feel that too, huh?"

"Yes, the bout of indigestion or whatever, was a little to convenient last night, don’t you think?"

"Well, she is old so I guess she could have gotten sick but with the delay this morning, I’m beginning to think they are putting us off."

"What do you want to do?"

"Hmm … lets wait till after lunch then … if they put us off again we’ll just go on back home, how’s that?"

"Great … I’m ready to go home anyway, all this … money is getting to me. I feel like I should be in a tux when I walk through the house, instead I’m wearing my jeans and looking like the hired help."

Alex giggles, "Well, honey, you can ‘help me’ all you want." She leans in and kisses him lightly on the lips and they continue with their walk.

At lunch no one comes into the dining room except the Walker’s. They take their time eating and then Walker pushes his chair back and says, "Come on, let’s get out of here."

Alex gets Angela from the cradle and they start to leave the room when she sees her grandmother and aunt with their heads together in what looks like the den.

She turns to Walker and says, "Come on," and with determined steps moves into the room and stops in front of her grandmother.

"Alexandra," she looks from her granddaughter to the man at her side and continues, "is … something wrong?"

"Yes, something is wrong. Why have you very pointedly ignored us? Last night, this morning, and just now at lunch. If you don’t want to talk to us … that’s fine, we won’t bother you any longer." She turns to Walker, "Come on, let’s go."

But before she can take a step she hears a soft, "Please … don’t go."

With Walker’s arm around her waist, she turns to face her grandmother.

"I apologize for putting you off, but you can’t imagine how hard it is for me after all these years to finally try to right the wrong that occurred here so many years ago."

Alex sits down heavily in the chair vacated by her aunt. Walker, taking Angela from his wife’s arms sits down beside her. "It isn’t going to get any easier by putting it off."

"I don’t really know how to start…"

"Did it start with my mother marrying my father?"

"Yes, I’m sorry to say," getting a painful look from Alex, she continues, "Let me tell you something of Gordon Cahill’s background. It won’t excuse what happened but it might give some insight to my husband’s decision.

"Gordon’s parents spoke very little English, but … I suppose they did their best to raise their twin sons. I believe the other boy’s name was Garrett. Your father had nothing when he started going with Amanda. We tried to put a stop to it but she was so determined." She pauses as she thinks back to that time and the turmoil that arose in the family because one headstrong girl defied her father. "Then Amanda came and told us she was pregnant … that she was going to marry Gordon and James …James said if she married Gordon Cahill she would be forever banished from this family." Tears begin to shine in her eyes, but she brushes them away, "It broke my heart to have my girls separated like that. And I tried to tell James it wasn’t right, but … he was my husband and I felt obligated to follow his wishes. I did manage to keep track of them. And when their baby … you … were born I went to the hospital to see you." Her eyes are bright, "you were such a beautiful baby … but I left without Amanda knowing I had been there." She lowers her head and is quiet for several minutes, Alex thinking she had fallen asleep.

Finally, she lifts her head, "I will say Gordon was determined to be a success, I don’t know if it was to prove to us or his family that he could succeed, because I found out that Gordon’s parents were against this marriage, too. Shortly after their marriage, Garrett was killed in the Korean War, and not long after that his parents were killed in an automobile accident."

"I didn’t know anything about his parents, but I knew Dad had a twin that had died in the war, and that makes it even harder to understand. How can you turn away from the only son you have left because of a difference of opinion?"

"Shortly after you were born your family left San Antonio and I lost track of you for several years. Then I saw Gordon’s name in the paper concerning a very highly publicized trial that he had won. Gordon had finally achieved what he had set out to do, to become a noted attorney. The paper didn’t mention his family but I think you must have been in your teens."

"Yes, I remember that trial. It was the final straw that split my family apart. He was drinking pretty heavily and he just … walked out." She looks up at her husband with tears in her eyes, "It was the day … I turned 16, he walked out the door and said he was leaving. The last thing he said was ‘have a good life’." Alex slowly pulls herself together, "Mother did her best to take care of me, working at two jobs. When I went to college, I was working two jobs, too, because she couldn’t help, she was barely managing to keep body and soul together." Alex turns to look at her Grandmother, her voice choking, "Where were you when I was struggling to put myself through law school? Where were you when Mother died? Not one of you came to her funeral!" Her voice lowers, "I’m not sure I can ever forgive you for that."

For the first time, her aunt Amelia speaks up, "We did try to help, I went to see my sister, your mother, not once but several times and she wouldn’t even talk to me. Wouldn’t even open the door."

Alex looks up at her aunt with astonishment on her face. "I didn’t know … she never said…"

Her voice softens, "Amanda was a proud woman. She had made her bed and come hell or high water she’d be damned before she would take help from any of us. If my father had been alive and had gone to her, then she might have relented because he was the one that had thrown her out." Amelia, standing behind her mother, had tears running down her face. "How did you think I felt when my own father said she was no longer a part of this family? I … I felt like half of me had died." She looks straight at Alex, saying, "Amanda was the strong one, not me. I could never openly defy my father. I married the man he approved of, had the right number of children and never once mentioned Amanda’s name again within his hearing. When he died I did everything possible to bring Amanda home. But it … it was too late."

"Her funeral…"

"We didn’t know she had died until a week after the funeral and we had no idea how to get in touch with you. For all we knew, you felt the same way she did."

Alex is quiet, not sure what to say or do. She glances up at Walker, who is watching her grandmother and aunt closely. "Why did you send her the reunion notice, why did you wait to get in touch with her after all this time? Surely you read about her in the paper, she’s a top-notch attorney, her name has been in the paper several times. She was shot and almost died, didn’t you care enough to even make a cheap phone call?"

Alex is stunned at Walker’s accusations, "Honey, please, don’t…"

"I’m sorry Alex, but it just doesn’t make sense…."

"At one time we tried to find out where you were through Gordon. He told us in no uncertain terms that we were to stay completely away from you, to stay out of your life."

Alex murmurs, "And when you found out that he had died, you figured you would try again."

"Yes." Her voice tired and shaky, "I’m an old woman Alexandra, I don’t have that much time left, and I wanted to try one more time to right the wrong that had split this family apart. I loved James with all my heart, but I could never condone what he had done to Amanda and it put a riff between us … he was a proud man, he couldn’t admit that he had made a grievous mistake."

Suddenly her grandmother slumps forward, and Alex jumps to her feet, moving over to kneel in front of her, "Are you all right? What is it?"

Mrs. Clayton shudders and slowly straightens up in the chair, "I’m … fine. Just … a little indigestion, I think."

"Are you sure, maybe we ought to call a doctor."

Mrs. Clayton touches Alex’s arm, protesting, "No, I’ll be fine. Just need to lie down for a little while."

Alex stands as Amelia begins to push the wheelchair out of the room, then her aunt turns and says, "Will you be here for dinner?"

Alex glances up and seeing Walker nod slightly, turns to her aunt and says, "Yes, we’ll be here till tomorrow morning … then we have to leave for Dallas."

"Good, the rest of the family will be here this evening … I think you should meet them." With that she turns and leaves the room pushing the wheelchair in front of her.

***

Relaxing in their room, playing with Angela, they hear the doorbell ring several times, and Alex glances at Walker, "Wonder how many more ‘relatives’ there are?"

He just lifts his eyebrow at her and shrugs his shoulders. "I guess we’ll see very soon. Are you about ready to go down? Is Angela ready?"

"Yes, we’re both ready, I guess. I’m not relishing this meeting of my ‘relatives’ at least not in a large group."

Walker pulls his wife into a warm hug and says, "I’ll be right beside you honey, we’ll face them together."

Alex scoops up Angela, cradling the baby in her arms and leads the way out the door with Walker close by. As they descend the winding stairs, the chatter suddenly ceases. Walker places his hand at her elbow for encouragement and they move into the room.

"Alexandra, bring your husband and baby over here and sit by me." Her grandmother beckons her to the couch beside her wheelchair. "Please."

Alex nods and with Walker at her side, they move through the gathering of people and sit down on the couch.

"Amelia, would you make the introductions?"

Alex places a stiff smile on her lips as each person in the room is introduced and the faces all begin to run together. There is Amelia’s husband, a portly bald man that looks as if he never smiled, and her three children, Louise and her husband, Wendell; James and his wife, Alice; and Joseph with his wife, Nancy, plus several children ranging from 4 to 16 years of age.

They all put on a good show, chatting amicably, asking questions about Alex’s work and of course, about the Texas Rangers. For all intent and purpose, Alex and Walker have been accepted into the Clayton family.

Alex begins to relax and enjoy this new side of her family and the evening passes with, she thinks, warm feelings all around. The evening comes to an end when the younger children, including Angela, begin to get restless and whinny. The Walker’s bide everyone goodnight and taking their whimpering infant, make their way up stairs.

After taking care of Angela, they shower and slip into bed, Walker gathering Alex into his arms. Speaking softly, Alex says, "It wasn’t too bad, although every once in a while I felt a hint of hostility from Amelia’s children. But that might have just been me."

Nuzzling her ear, Walker murmurs, "Well, it must have been two of us because I felt it, too."

"Sorta like they were trying to keep it hidden, maybe from Grandmother and Amelia."

His hand begins caressing her breasts, first one then the other, rubbing her nipple between his thumb and finger, feeling them harden into hard little buds. Alex moans softly, ever mindful of the baby sleeping not 10 feet away. "Yes, I … felt the same thing, too," she murmurs, as her hands begin to search through the thick mat of hair on his chest, and finding the pebble hard nipples, she rubs them with the heel of her hand, then stroking downward to find his ever hardening arousal.

Feeling his fingers comb through the wedge of curls at the juncture of her thighs, then slip between her legs, finding the entrance to her feminine secrets, she cries out softly, "Walker, I need you … please."

And in the quiet of the room the breathing becomes heavier and quiet moans and soft whimpers fill the room as Walker does as she asks.

***

The next morning after showering, they quickly pack and sitting their luggage by the door, go downstairs for breakfast. As they move into the dining room they are met by all of Amelia’s children and grandchildren.

The hostile looks are not concealed this morning, as they are greeted with glares of almost pure hatred.

Alex glances at each and every one of them, "Is something wrong?"

Amelia’s oldest, Louise, self-appointed speaker opens with, "They aren’t here now, so you can stop the pretense."

"Pretense? I don’t know what you’re talking about."

"We all know the only reason you came was to get HER money. Well, it won’t work so why don’t you all just go back where you came from?"

Alex stands a little straighter, and with a look that has made many criminals cringe beneath her gaze, says, "Oh, we’re leaving all right. But not before I answer your accusation. I didn’t come here for her money! I have no desire to be an heiress, if it makes people behave like you. I came because I wanted to know my mother’s family and to find out why she never told me about them."

"It was her choice, no one made her leave. She picked a poor slob over this family, a nothing, a no-good immigrant’s son. Who will never be able to match the class of the Claytons."

"That’s where you’re wrong. My father has more class in his little finger than this whole family has. You know nothing of fighting for what you believe in, you’re all nothing but a bunch of rich snobs."

"Who are you to judge us? Why you’re nothing but a paid civil servant, married to a … a Texas Ranger, a servant of the people."

"Well, I know one thing. I know this ‘Texas Ranger’ loves me for my self and not my money." She shifts her eyes across the other siblings, "Can any of you swear to that?"

Louise looks away and the others shift their eyes nervously, looking sideways at their spouses.

"Come on Walker, let’s go home."

They turn toward the door and stop; Amelia is standing behind her mother in the wheelchair.

Alex kneels down in front of the wheelchair, "I’m sorry Grandmother, I didn’t mean…"

"No, don’t apologize. What you said needed to be spoken a long time ago. We are nothing but a group of rich snobs," she reaches out with a frail shaky hand and touches Alex’s cheek. "I am so glad you were the strong one, and had the courage to come see me."

"Thank you, I’m … glad I came, too. You’re quite a formidable lady." Alex stands, "But we really do need to go."

"I hope you’ll keep in touch."

"I will." Alex leans over and places a kiss on her grandmother’s cheek, finding it damp with tears. She then turns and gives her aunt a quick embrace before moving out of the room.

As Walker starts to follow his wife he feels a slight touch to his arm. Looking down, he finds the old woman’s hand on his arm. "You take good care of those two girls." The smile she flashes at him warms his heart.

"They are my high priority in life." Walker brushes her cheek with his fingers and then follows Alex.

 

***

In Dallas, Walker is back to catching the bad guys and Alex is in court prosecuting them. Life is back to normal for the Walkers, as normal as it can be. Alex is experiencing a new found happiness at having discovered that her mother had left family; a family she never knew existed until 2 months ago. Letters have been exchanged and the telephone bill has grown with the calls to San Marcos and three months later the Walker’s are invited to the Clayton Ranch again. Alex did some sweet-talking and finally Walker agreed to go.

This trip to San Marcos is altogether different then the first, as the unknown factor has been eliminated. Alex is growing very fond of her grandmother and although her aunt stays in the background, she feels a fondness for her as well. On that visit Alex could see that her grandmother health was rapidly deteriorating and it pains her to know that she wouldn’t be with them much longer.

Arriving home after the visit, Walker can see the pain written on her face. The hour is late when they return and he takes Angela from Alex’s arms, "Let me take care of Angela. You go ahead and get ready for bed, you look tired."

Thirty minutes later, Walker slips under the covers and snuggles up next to his wife. He know she isn’t asleep, her body is to tense. "You’re worried about your grandmother aren’t you?"

She turns over in his arms, facing him, burying her face into his neck. "Oh, Walker, her health is failing so fast. I’m going to lose her and I’ve only just found her," she cries, tears beginning to fill her eyes.

"Honey," he says softly, "At least you’ve been able to spend time with her. You’ve gotten to know her. Maybe we can go back down there again, soon." His hand strokes up and down her back.

"I’ve really enjoyed having a grandmother. I just wish Angela were old enough to remember her, too."

"Grandparents are a wonderful part to a family and can add a whole new dimension to our lives, but it doesn’t mean our lives are lacking just because we don’t have them."

"Oh, I know," her sobs turning to sniffles. "But to just find her and then have her snatched away…"

"A few months ago you didn’t even have this much, honey. I know you will remember her, hopefully without the anger of what they did to your mother."

"I think that will always be in the back of my mind whenever I think of the Claytons, but at least I now know what happened."

"Yes, that mystery has been cleared, so how about thinking about getting some sleep. We go back to the grind tomorrow, and I know the trial coming up will need your full attention. But for now," he tilts her head up and kisses her softly on her mouth, "how about a little attention for your husband."

Her mouth moves against his, as her hands, that have be lying idle between their bodies begins to comb through the soft hair on his chest then slide down over his stomach to the nest of curls around his engorged manhood. "Oh, are you feeling neglected?"

"Not anymore," he groans as her hand wraps around him. "Not anymore."

***

It is only a month later that Alex’s grandmother passes away in her sleep. They make the sadden journey to San Marcos, to attend her funeral. It is Walker that notices the hostile looks from the cousins, and although Amelia is as courteous as always she sees the looks too, but says nothing.

Walker tightens his arm around Alex, hating that she has to put up with their resentment at a time like this, although he isn’t sure she is even aware of Amelia’s offspring.

One month later they find out that the reading of Alexandra Clayton will, had stirred up a hornet’s nest among the cousins. Since Alex had not been mentioned by name in the will, she was not notified of the reading. But her grandmother had left a large sum of money to the HOPE Center and an equally large sum to the pet project of Walker’s, KDOOA.

Alex and Walker are flabbergasted, never expecting this as Alex had told her grandmother during their last visit that she didn’t want any of her money that she was happy with what she had, a loving husband, a beautiful daughter and a career that kept her focused. She was content.

After a day of telephone calls from her disgruntled cousins and then being notified by their lawyer that the Will would be contested, the Walker’s enter their house, turn and shut the door, locking out the angry voices that they have heard all day.

With a silent understanding between them, discussion of the will is tabled. Walker changes and goes out to the barn to take care of the horses, while Alex puts a load of clothes in the washer, and then takes time to play with Angela. After Walker comes in and showers, he takes on the task of feeding Angela while Alex starts their dinner.

Later, after Angela is tucked into bed and the kitchen is put back in order, they make their way up the stairs to their bedroom. A place, that is their sanctuary, where they can reconnect and shut out the world.

Alex, in her robe, is sitting at her dressing table brushing out her hair when Walker comes out of the bathroom, a towel wrapped around his waist. He stands, watching her, his body doing what it always does when he looks at her. It gets hard.

He moves up behind her and takes the brush from her fingers and takes long sweeping strokes down through her tresses. This is something he started soon after they married and will continue doing as long as he’s able.

Alex had seen him come out of the bathroom and when he moved up behind her she notices the ‘tenting’ of the towel and smiles, delighted in the fact that she has this affect on him. As he brings the brush down through her hair, she tilts her head back and shuts her eyes, enjoying the soothing sensation.

A small cry from the nursery turns their heads, "I’ll get her, don’t go away." He leans over and touches his lips lightly to her forehead before leaving the room to check on their daughter.

Alex finishes the brushing, spreads a moisturizing cream over her face and arms, then standing she moves silently out of the room and down the hall to peek into the nursery. Seeing Walker sitting in the rocker, with Angela on his shoulder, she smiles at him, he winks at her and she returns to their bedroom.

Slipping the robe off her shoulders, she drops it on the foot of the bed and slides her naked body in between the cool crisp sheets. It is several minutes later, the room goes dark and the bed sags under the weight of her husband. She kisses his neck as he pulls her close and begins the nightly ritual of stroking her back, seeking out the knots of tension and slowly massaging them away.

"I figured they’d have you tied in knots, is that better?" he murmurs in her ear.

A soft purr answers him, "Oh, yes. I’ve decided I’m not going to worry about it any more, from now on it’s their problem, not mine." Her body melts against him, as his fingers do their magic.

"Good." Tilting her head up he begins kissing her, softly at first, just light teasing touches, as he stirs the embers of the fire that never totally dies within them.

Alex, wanting more of his kiss, wanting to taste him, moans softly, her tongue probing at his mouth, and finally sensing her need, Walker opens his mouth to her, letting their tongues dance together, to taste, to explore, until they are straining against each other wanting more. She places her hand against his chest, letting her fingers curl in the thick matt of hair as she feels desire build rapidly within her.

He releases her mouth only to capture it again and again, his fingers move into her hair, tilting her head to meet his demand, as he probes, tasting with his tongue with an intimacy that makes her body feel like it has become a wall of flame. His hand moves over her body, pulling her closer. A whimper escapes her as his lips travel to her throat, to the lobe of her ear, to her forehead, then back to her throat, nibbling, licking, and sending spikes of desire throughout her body. His hand palms the fullness of her breast, teasing her nipple with his tongue. She whimpers and arches against him when he sucks a nipple into the wet heat of his mouth, at the same time his fingers slip between her legs, probing, opening her, and slipping one then two fingers deep inside her moist passage.

Her body begins writhing at his caress, her hips undulating with the movement of his fingers. She cries out, "Walker … please…" wanting him inside her, to fill her. "Please…"

"Oh, God…" She cries as he moves down between her legs. Her weighted eyelids make him look like a dark angel between her legs. He teases her with his mouth until she feels as though she is splitting apart somewhere in the deepest part of her, until she is wet and wanting him more that she can ever remember. Then suddenly his tongue spears deep into her and Alex is lost. She begins to scream … and as she slips over the edge, he moves up to cover her mouth with his.

As her body begins to calm, he tightens his arms around her and rolls, bringing her up on top of him. As her senses return she feels his hardness between their heated bodies and sits up. Without further urging, she straddles him, lifting herself above his rigid shaft and impales herself on his erection with a blissful sigh. Walker lets his head fall back, savoring the tight feel of her. She’s sleek and wet and pulsing around him. Deliberately, he raises his hips and thrusts deeper into her slick hot passage, eliciting a whimper of pleasure from her. He begins moving faster, deeper, filling her to bursting, his breathing thick and heavy.

He keeps running his hands over her breasts and belly, and then turning suddenly he brings her beneath him again, his hard body pressing her into the mattress. He slips his hands underneath her buttocks, holding her against the force of his thrusts as he loses control and thunders against her. He feels the tiny convulsions begin deep inside her and gradually build until her whole body is shaking as spasms of ecstasy careen through her. The climax rises within him, unbearably, his body constricts with the need, with the desire, with the pleasure, and then explodes. Shudder after shudder goes through him and he thrusts and thrusts until he empties within her. He hears her cry out and can feel her silken muscles pulsating around him, milking him, her body stiffens, her hips pressing against his, and then her body slowly relaxes, becoming soft and pliant beneath him.

As his breathing slowly calms, he tightens his arms around her, and stays within her, just holding her against him.

As her senses begin to return, she stirs against him, willing her weak muscles to move. She brings her arms up to circle his back and turns to kiss him lightly on his bearded cheek. Murmuring softly, "Walker … as long as I have you and Angela, I don’t need them or anyone else. I love you."

Equally as soft, he says, "I’m never going to leave you, honey, although … Angela may … one of these days … in twenty years … or so."

She doesn’t speak, but he hears her soft contented sounds, and sighs, moves her hair beneath his nose and falls into a gentle sleep.

The End