“STORM CLOUDS GATHERING...”

by Terry/ “Irish” 

Irish2@erols.com

“It is too important, Walker!  Don’t you DARE walk away from me!”  Alex’s eyes filled with unshed tears as she watched her handsome cowboy (and husband of less than a month) stalk toward the barn.  “We need to talk about this.”  Alex’s pleading voice faded on a wind gust.   Walker threw back over his shoulder, “Not right now, we don’t!” His response was gruff and irate.  The  next sound to reach Walker’s ears was the front porch screen door being slammed on its hinges.  He winced . . .

Half an hour earlier . . .

Alex bounced excitedly into the living room.  “Walker, come and help me unload the wallpaper and carpet samples from my car, please?” He put aside the Saturday paper he was reading and got up to follow Alex out.  It took several trips, but he finally put the last armload of samples down on the dining room table and turned to his beaming wife.  “What’s all this for honey?”  He asked, uncertainly.  Alex eyed him and gave him her best “innocent batting of the eyelashes.” “Weelllll. . . I thought I’d do some redecorating around here, darling.” Remember, before the wedding, you said I could?”  Walker looked straight into his wife’s gorgeous crystal blue eyes and said, suspiciously, “Just HOW MUCH redecorating are you talking about Alex?”  “Ohhh, not that much, really, Walker, just the bedrooms (“for now,” she thought to herself).”

Walker was quiet.  Very quiet.  Then softly he asked, “Do you include Lucas’ room among the bedrooms?”  Alex looked at him disconcertedly.  “Well, yes, I do.  “We can’t just leave it the way it is, Walker.  “Right now it’s just “sitting” there and we really do need a room for both of us to use as an office/computer room.  It will be easy to make it into a very comfortable den/office combination . . . ”  “NO!” exploded Walker, before Alex could continue on.  “I won’t have his room turned into a bloody computer room, or some place to watch the stupid T.V!  And I can’t believe you’d go ahead with these kinds of plans without even talking to me about it!” Alex was absolutely shocked.  He’d never yelled at her like this before.  “Walker,” she said, her voice shaking from being so upset. “First of all, don’t you yell at me and secondly, it’s time to face the fact that you cannot keep that room as an empty, dusty monument to Lucas.” He wouldn’t have wanted you to do that.”  “What do you know what he would have wanted, Alex?”  Even as he gave utterance to the words, Walker deeply, desperately regretted them, but what’s said is said and cannot easily be withdrawn.  The look of hurt and pain on Alex’s face tore at Walker and made him uncertain what to do.  He didn’t have any problems fighting with “bad guys,” but fighting with a beloved wife was an area in which he was utterly lost.  Embarrassed, confused and angry, Walker turned away and headed for the front door.

“You wait just a darn minute, Cordell Walker!” Alex exclaimed, furiously, after she finally found her voice.  “You come right back here and talk to me about this!”  “Oh, just never mind, Alex!  He tossed his answer back at her as he went out onto the front porch. “It’s not important . . .  Do whatever you want with the room.  I don’t care.”  He started down the porch stairs and toward the barn. 

“It is too important, Walker!  Don’t you DARE walk away from me!”. . .

Once in the barn Walker dealt with his feelings by strenuously cleaning the horses’ stalls and grooming Angel and Ranger.  The physical exercise calmed him down, made it easier for him to think things through and usually it helped him come to a decision on how to deal with problems that cropped up.  Usually, but not now.  He knew he had been wrong to yell at Alex like he did, but he was still very upset that she had not spoken to him first about what she had planned to do.  He also felt horrible because he could tell from the tone of her voice as he left the house that she was on the verge of tears and was probably up in their bedroom, crying.  (He was correct in his assumption).

Eventually, he put away the grooming brushes, leaned against the stall door and let Angel nuzzle against the side of his ear.  He sighed.  “Well girl, your lady and I aren’t very happy with each other right this moment.  I’m not sure how it got out of hand so fast, but I suppose hiding out here isn’t going to fix anything anytime soon.” Giving Angel a last pat on her velvety muzzle, he turned to leave the barn.

 Starting toward the ranch house, he saw Alex walking down the porch steps.  She turned toward the barn and saw him.  After hesitating a moment, she firmly strode toward him.  Walker, too, restarted his steps.  As they came closer, Walker could see that Alex had been crying, heavily.  He felt a wave of regret, knowing he caused it.  They faced each other from a foot or so away.  “Alex, I...” “Walker, I...”  They both swallowed hard, but Walker recovered his voice first.  “I’m sorry.  I’m so sorry, sweetheart. I never meant...”  Alex laid her hand, refrainingly, on her husband’s arm. “Sshh...  No, honey, I’m the one who should be sorry.  It’s my fault.  I didn’t ask you about how you felt or what you wanted.  I didn’t stop to consider whether or not you were really ready for Lucas’ room to be changed.”  Tears began streaming down Alex’s cheeks and she hugged herself with her arms folded across each other.  Her picture of misery completely dissipated any lingering anger on Walker’s part.  “Oh, Alex,” he murmured  and gathered her to him.  He wrapped his arms around her and she pillowed her head against his shoulder.  “It’s just as much my fault,” he said.  “I jumped on you instead of listening to what you were saying.  And yelling sure isn’t designed to help out a disagreement any,” he stated, ruefully.  And somewhat shamefacedly he also conceded, “I guess neither is walking away.  And you’re absolutely right, it is time for Lucas’ room to be lived in again.” Walker continued to comfort Alex, rubbing her back until she’d stopped crying  and was giving just a little hiccup and sniffle here and there.  Finally, wiping her eyes with the handkerchief Walker proffered, she took a deep breath and offered a compromise. “Walker, I promise I won’t just surprise you with changes about things that are really important to you.  I’ll ask you about it, and we’ll talk about it first, Ok?”  Walker gave a little smile, mostly from the corner of his mouth, “Ok, honey, and  I promise I’ll try to listen first, before getting upset.  And NO yelling.  Ok?”  “Um hmm, cowboy, Ok, and I’ll...” The rest of what Alex meant to say was muffled in the sweet kiss her husband claimed for himself.  Breaking off for a moment, his eyes sparkling mischievously, he smiled and noted, “Alex, it’s another first for us!”  “What?” Alex replied, confused.  “What do you mean darling?” Grinning broadly now, Walker bent his head down and whispered in Alex’s ear, “We just had our first “married” argument.  Now, want to hear how I intend to make up with you . . .?”

THE END...

(With thanks to my husband, Dan, for suggesting the title.  I had tentatively entitled it simply “Argument,” but he suggested the phrase I half-jestingly use with him to indicate that an argument may be raising its head-- “storm clouds are gathering...”)

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