"The Birth"

 

A Sequel to "Rain Kissed Fantasy's"

By:

Dakota

dakota@lindbergcomputer.com

 

 

Walker rolled over expecting to snuggle up to Alex's warm and tempting body, but instead all he found was her side of the bed; empty. Sitting up he groggily looked around the bedroom that was being kissed by the first rays of the rising sun, finding that it was also empty. Flinging the covers back, Walker swung his legs out of the bed as he stretched and flexed his chest and shoulder muscles; running his fingers through his disheveled hair. Grabbing the discarded Levi's that lay beside the bed, he quickly pulled them on; leaving them undone at the waist as he made his way out into the hallway, where the sounds of soft music immediately caught his attention.

 

Walker quietly padded the few remaining steps to the open door of the bedroom that was beside his and Alex's. Peeking around the corner of the door he saw Alex standing by the new crib, that he and Trivette had just put together the day before. He watched as she ran her hand lovingly across the comforter that had little teddy bears all over it as she hummed along to the lullaby that the matching mobile played. Smiling to himself, he watched as she picked up a soft Cherokee baby blanket. She raised the colorful, hand woven blanket to her face, smelling it and rubbing it across her cheek before she moved it to lay against her breast. She then moved to look out the window at the rising sun.

 

Walker enjoyed the sight of the suns rays encasing his beautiful wife. They settled around her, like a lovers arms; embracing her and wrapping her in a cocoon of warmth and love, as they gently kissed her cheeks. 

 

Moving silently to stand behind her, Walker eased his arms around her very pregnant waist, as he kissed her neck whispering 'morning sweetheart'  in her ear.

 

"Good morning cowboy," Alex whispered as she let her body lean back into his strong embrace.

 

"You're up early. Is anything wrong?" Walker asked.

 

Alex took a deep breath before answering, "No...there's nothing wrong Walker. I just couldn't sleep and I didn't want to disturb you, so I decided I would come in here and put some more of the baby's things away."

 

Walker knew she wasn't being totally honest with him. He had caught a glimpse of tears on her face and he could hear her emotions coming to the surface in her voice.

 

"Why the tears then?" Walker asked as he gently turned her around to face him.

 

Shrugging her shoulder's she answered, "I don't know. I was just standing here looking around at all the beautiful baby things and I guess my stupid hormones kicked in again." Alex looked up at Walker as fresh tears welled up in her blue eyes. "What's wrong with me Walker? Am I ever going to be back to normal and not start to cry about every little thing?" 

 

Walker gathered her into his arms as she continued to speak in a shaky voice, "I am so tired of having an achy back and swollen ankles. I'm tired of being huge. I shouldn't even be having this baby. You know that don't you. I don't know the first thing about taking care of a baby, especially a newborn. I'm an Assistant DA for petes sake. I don't know how to be a mother. What if something goes wrong? What if the baby gets sick and I don't know what to do? What if I somehow hurt the baby because of not knowing what to do. What if..." Alex couldn't continue as she covered her face with her hands and began to sob uncontrollably.

 

Walker effortlessly picked her up, moving to the large wooden rocker in the corner of the room. He sat down placing her on his lap. Alex immediately buried her head in his naked chest as her sobs grew in intensity.

 

Not knowing what else to do at the moment, Walker began to run his hands firmly up and down her back; massaging it, as he listened to the muffled sounds of her crying. He knew she was very uncomfortable all the time right now and he also knew that some of her crying was indeed coming from the hormones that had enjoyed playing games with her emotions for the past eight and a half months. But most of this emotional roller coaster was coming from being so uncertain about everything involving the rapidly approaching birth. Alex was just scared and unsure...but then again...so was he.

 

"Alex...please don't cry. Talk to me. We can work this out together."

 

"Walker, I am so scared about all of this. What if I'm not a good mother?" She mumbled as she tried to get her tears under control.

 

Placing his hand under her quivering chin, Walker pulled her head up so he could look into her tear stained eyes. "Alex, you will be a wonderful mother."

 

"How do you know that Walker? How can you be so sure of that when I'm so unsure?" she replied, taking a deep breath while she wiped angrily at the tears that continued to flow down her cheeks.

 

"Because I know YOU. I know what kind of a person you are." Walker brushed the hair away from her eyes as he continued, "You, Alexandra Cahill-Walker, are the most loving and caring woman I have ever known in my life and I have no doubt in my mind that you will be the most loving and caring mother I have ever known. Our baby is the luckiest baby in the world...You're it's mother. You're just anxious about the baby coming. That's what's really wrong."

 

"Are you sure that's all it is?" Alex asked, finally getting her emotions and tears under control.

 

"Of course I'm sure. It's just uncharted territory for you...for both of us. I'm scared too Alex. I have never been a father before. I don't know anymore about being a father than you do about being a mother. We just have to look at this as the new and exciting experience that it is and take it one step at a time. We have each other, and soon we are going to have a beautiful new baby. We also have our love for each other. That love created this precious new life, and that love will guide us through anything that the future holds for us, just like it always has in the past."

 

"You're right Walker. I guess I was just letting my imagination get out of control. And you're also right about our baby being lucky...but it's because you're it's father."

 

They cuddled as Walker rocked them slowly, slipping his hand under Alex's night gown to lay it on her swollen stomach. As soon as his hand touched the smooth, taunt skin found there, the baby kicked several times.

 

Alex smiled as she leaned in and quickly kissed her husbands waiting lips, the last of her tears gone. "I think your 'son' agrees with everything you said." she teased, knowing what his response would be.


         Walker chuckled as he answered, "Of course my 'daughter' agrees with me." 

 

When Alex had gone to have her sonogram done, they had both decided that they didn't want to know the sex of the baby, they wanted to wait and be surprised. It hadn't been a problem because the baby decided on its own that it wasn't going to let them find out, as it laid the entire time the sonogram was being done; making sure to block their view. Their minds both wandered back to that memorable day.

 

********

 

Alex lay on the examining table as the technician applied a warm jelly substance to her abdomen. Walker watched with growing excitement as he held Alex's hand. They both held their breath in anticipation of seeing their child for the first time. As soon as the technician placed the transducer in the middle of her stomach, the baby's strong and steady heartbeat could be heard through out the room. Walker and Alex looked at each other, broad smiles on both of their faces as they squeezed each others hands.

 

They had heard the baby's heart beat before, but it had always been through a stethoscope during Alex's checkups at Dr. Sheridan’s office. But this time it was different. It was so much louder and clearer; making it seem more real somehow.

 

The technician began to move her hand slowly across Alex's stomach capturing the first image of their child. She directed their attention to the monitor she had just turned towards them. "The baby's turned sideways but the image is perfect. Here's your very first picture of your baby Mr. and Mrs. Walker. What do you think?"

 

'Oh my God'  they both exclaimed at the exact same time. There it was. Their baby! They watched as the baby wiggled and squirmed before beginning to kick and punch furiously at the wall of Alex's uterus.

 

The technician laughed saying, "I think the baby is upset we disturbed it's sleep."

 

Walker leaned down kissing Alex on the lips as he whispered, "I love you so much." Alex felt tears come to her eyes as she watched her husbands face as he turned his attention back to the monitor screen. Alex had never seen him more excited than he was at this moment. The love she felt for him and their baby was overwhelming.

 

Alex turned her attention back to the monitor as Walker asked the technician what was making the baby jump so suddenly. As Alex looked closer at the screen she replied, "Walker the baby has the hiccups."

 

"Really?" Walker moved closer to the monitor, tenderly touching the image of their baby, as the baby hiccupped again. "Wow...It does have the hiccups, doesn't it?" He chuckled as the technician nodded her head in confirmation.

 

They continued to watch with their undivided attention, as the baby kicked less and less. Finally stretching one last time, the baby curled up into a tight little ball. The last thing they saw as the sonogram ended was the baby lifting it's thumb to it's mouth, sucking vigorously on it; as it slowly drifted off to sleep.

 

********

 

As they now snuggled closer enjoying the strong, steady movements of their unborn child, they began to have the same playful argument they had been having since the first time they felt their child move. Alex always insisted that it was definitely going to be a boy, saying 'no little girl could kick the way this baby does' and that 'he was going to grow up and be just like his daddy.'' On the other hand Walker always stated, in no uncertain terms and with no doubt in his mind what so ever, that the baby was going to be 'a pretty little girl,' and would 'look just like her mama.'

 

As they continued their banter back and forth about whether or not the baby would be a boy or a girl, Alex let her hands begin to wander and caress the soft hair on Walker's chest as she nibbled his ear lobs and rained soft little kisses up and down his neck. She could hear his quick in takes of breath as he closed his eyes and she knew he was thoroughly enjoying the sensations that she was creating. Alex smiled knowing she should have never started tempting him because all to soon C.D. and Jimmy would be pounding at their front door. She moved to end her little game of seduction but Walker shifted slightly, gently pulling her lips to his for a slow, lingering kiss.

 

When Walker released her lips and began to nuzzle her neck, Alex breathlessly asked, "Did you forget that C.D. and Jimmy were coming first thing this morning to help you finish whatever it is you have been working so secretively on out in the barn?"

 

"Just what do you know about my secret out in the barn?" Walker asked as he tickled her sides.

 

"Ahh...nothing...I just overheard C.D. say that it should be finished today." Alex wiggled, trying to get up off of Walker's lap and away from his teasing fingertips.

 

"Well you better not know anything. I want it to be a surprise." Walker said pulling her back into his arms, a look of desire now crossing his rugged features. "And no, I didn't forget they were coming out early. But I would bet Trivette isn't even out of bed yet and C.D. will wait if we don't answer the door right away. Besides, it is only 6:30 in the morning. They aren't supposed to be here until 9 for breakfast." Walker grinned as he unbuttoned her nightgown to cup her now exposed breast.

 

Alex squirmed, slapping his hand as she replied, "Oh no you don't Cowboy. We don't have time for that. We have to get our showers, get dressed and have breakfast started before they get here. Besides, Josie is coming out too. She is going to help me finish putting the baby things away, then we are going to make sure all the arrangements are taken care of for C.D.'s surprise birthday party tomorrow afternoon. I said STOP IT!" Alex slapped at his hand once again, as she giggled, finally succeeding in getting up from his lap.

 

"You spoil all my fun. Besides...you started it." Walker said as he playfully smacked her gently on the behind.

 

"I did not." Alex moved to put the baby blanket back on the side of the crib. Suddenly she grabbed her side. "Oh."

 

Walker was immediately by her side.

 

"Alex...what's wrong?"

 

"It's nothing. It was just a twinge. It's gone now." Alex replied, rubbing where the pain had been.

 

"Are you sure? Should I call the doctor. Maybe you should go back to bed and keep off your feet?"

 

Alex smiled lovingly at her husband. She could see the concern in his eyes. She placed her hand on his cheek, stroking his beard. "Walker, I'm fine. It was just a little pain. It caught me by surprise that's all. Didn't you just finish telling me not to worry so much?"

 

"Yeah I guess so. You sure you're all right?"

 

"Yes, I'm sure."  Alex kissed him tenderly. "Now..." She gave him another quick kiss, "I am going to take my shower."

 

"All right. I guess I'll call Trivette and make sure he is outta bed." Walker snickered, as evil grin spread across his face. "You are so mean to him." Alex said over her shoulder as she laughed and headed out the door towards the bathroom.

 

Walker knew Trivette enjoyed sleeping in on his days off, so much so that when he didn't get to do it; almost always because it was Walker that was the one waking him up, he would grumble and complain very loudly about it to anyone that would listen. Walker laughed again as he thought to himself of what his partner and best friends' reaction would be if he only knew that his complaining was exactly why Walker enjoyed taking the opportunity to wake him early whenever he could.

 

Walker went back to their bedroom and dialed Trivette's number. It rang four times before it was finally answered. The sleepy 'hello'  took him by surprise. It definitely wasn't his partner's voice. In fact it sounded a lot like...Walker snapped out of his shock as a firmer 'Hello' came from the other end of the phone.

 

"Hello. Is Trivette there?"

 

"Um...yeah...he's in the shower I think. Can I take a message?" Walker heard the yawn at the other end of the phone; knowing that the person on the other end wasn't quit awake yet.

 

"No. No message. I'll talk to him later. Thanks."

 

Walker stood looking at the phone in his hand. 'It's about time partner'  he thought to himself. Smiling and shaking his head in amusement, he hung the phone up and headed towards the bathroom to join Alex in the shower.

 

********

 

Alex leaned against the shower wall, letting the pulsating shower spray beat against her aching back. Her back had bothered her off and on during her whole pregnancy because of being shot two years ago at Kim and Phil's wedding, but during the past two weeks the ache had grown to be a constant nagging throb. When she had gone for her checkup four days ago she mentioned it to her doctor. Dr. Sheridan had assured her that it was normal because of her medical history and the 25 extra pounds she was carrying and that once the baby was born the aching would probably disappear once again. This morning though the ache was more uncomfortable than it had ever been.

 

Sighing as the warm water helped to relieve some of the stiffness and pain in her back, Alex reached for the shampoo and began washing her hair, totally unaware that Walker had silently slipped into the shower with her.

 

Walker looked at his wife with tremendous love shining in his eyes. She was so beautiful. Her pregnancy had only enhanced her beauty in Walker's eyes. He let his eyes roam over her, taking in every detail of her body as she began to rinse her hair. Her face was that of an angels. Her breasts were firm and full of sweet mothers' milk. Her stomach, was rounded and stretched taunt to accommodate their growing child within. She glowed with happiness and love. Walker was still amazed that he could love anyone as much as he loved Alex, but everyday his love for her grew even more. And now, they were going to have a child. Walker smiled as he thought, 'The only way life can get any better than it is right now, will be when we are holding our child in our arms.'

 

As Alex finished with her hair she turned to find Walker leaning against the opposite wall of the shower watching her, his wonderful smile greeting her.

 

"Well hello. When did you sneak in here?" she asked stepping into his outstretched arms.

 

"Not soon enough apparently, it looks like I missed my chance to help you wash." He laughed as his hands immediately began to caress and tempt her wet body.

 

"Sorry, but you did miss your chance. I'm done." Alex slapped playfully at his wandering hands. "Besides, when we shower together, we end up being in here forever and we usually don't get any showering done."

 

"But it's fun, isn't it?"

 

"Yes it's fun." Alex replied as she moved away, placing her hands on the small of her back. Walker noticed the look of pain that momentarily crossed her features.

 

"Is your back bothering you again?" Walker asked not even waiting for a reply, as he moved behind her and began a slow massage; knowing exactly where the discomfort was the worst.

 

Alex leaned against the wall of the shower letting Walker's hands and the heat of the shower's water combine to work their wonderful magic on her back. A sigh of relief escaped from her lips. As Walker continued to work his way up and down her back with firm motions, Alex let her mind wander back to another time they were in the shower together. It was the night that they had spent making fantasy's come true. The night they made love in the rain and had ended up covered in mud. That night was a night they would both remember forever.

 

********

 

Alex squealed with delight as she ran up the stairs with Walker hot on her heals. She managed to reach the top of the landing before he caught her and scooped her up into his arms before tossing her gently over his shoulder. They both laughed with abandon, as Walker spun around in a circle several times before proceeding on down the hallway and into the bathroom. Slowly letting her slid down the length of his body, Walker finally set her back onto her feet. Giving her one of his sexy little winks, he moved to turn the shower on, making sure to take the time to adjust the water to just the right temperature. 

 

Alex had moved to stand behind him as he prepared their shower. She placed her hands low on his muddy back and began to massage it upwards, leaving a pattern of her handprints behind. When she reached his shoulders, she leaned in and wrapped her arms around his chest, while she pressed her own breasts tightly against his back. Using only the very tips of her fingers, Alex began tracing little patterns on his muscular chest making sure to touch his nipples with her nails as often as possible. At every sensuous touch, the muscles of Walker's chest would tense and ripple, causing Alex to giggle softly.

 

Growling in a low throaty voice at her playful antics, Walker spun around pulling her once again into his waiting arms, capturing her luscious lips with his own. Kissing her until she was completely breathless, Walker then gently peeled her wet negligee off of her body, tossing it across the room.

 

Alex looked deeply into her husbands grey blue eyes. They danced with desire as her hands began to make their way down his chest and stomach. Stopping momentarily to circle his navel with her finger tips, Alex then finished her journey by tracing the fine line of red hair from his belly button down to the waist band of his jeans. Once there, she slowly began to unbutton them. When the last button was undone, she moved her hands to his hips as she began the wonderful task of slipping his jeans off of his butt, down his tight muscular thighs, before pushing them the rest of the way to the floor.

 

Walker stepped out of his jeans, kicking them to land beside Alex's negligee. Stepping into the shower, he offered her his hand, as she followed him, closing the door behind them.

 

They had spent well over an hour in the steamy shower that night. They had laughed hysterically as Walker had turned the shower head to the wall, as they took turns drawing pictures and love messages on the others body, using the mud as their paint. When they had finally grown tired of being artists, they then turned their attention to the task of getting rid of all the mud that was now smeared on every inch of their bodies.

 

They bathed each other lovingly; kissing each area as soon as the mud and soap was removed from it. As the last trace of mud ran down the drain and their passion demanded to be addressed, Walker picked Alex up to carry her still dripping body to their bedroom where they climbed once again to the peak of ecstasy before floating softly back to earth to fall asleep wrapped in each other's loving arms.

 

********

 

"Alex? Are you all right?"

 

"Hmm?" Alex turned to look at Walker.

 

"I said are you all right? You looked like you were a million miles away. I almost thought you had fallen asleep."

 

"I'm sorry. Your back rub felt so good I guess I was just blocking everything else out because I was enjoying it so much." She smiled at him reassuringly, as she caressed the side of his face.

 

Walker placed his hand on top of hers drawing it to his lips, kissing the palm of it. He could tell that she was indeed more relaxed than she had been. As they smiled at each other, Walker reached for the soap and wash rag offering it to her.

 

"Care to help me with my shower?" he asked as he stepped forward with a gleam in his eyes.

 

"Well I would, but there are two very good reasons why I can't. Number one I really need to get out of here and get dressed. I need to get breakfast going." Alex replied, laughing when Walker tried and failed to give her a sad puppy dog look. "Oh my poor Cowboy," Alex giggled as she moved towards him, "tell you what...I'll trade you a kiss for a rain check on helping you with your shower...how about that?"

 

Walker pretended to think about her proposition for a moment before he responded, "Somehow that doesn't seem like a fair trade to me."

 

"Walker!  Well if that's how you feel about my kisses you can do without them and my rain check." Alex huffed, moving to the shower door, trying to keep the smile hidden on her face from Walker's view.

 

Walker stopped her, turning her around to face him. "Oh no you don't. I at least want the kiss." he whispered as he slowly lowered his full lips to hers and kissed her soundly.

 

As the kiss ended, Alex moved once again to the shower door; opening it and grabbing the fluffy towel that hung on the wall outside.

 

"Alex...what was your second reason for not helping me?" Walker asked out of curiosity, as he moved under the spray of the shower and began rubbing the soapy rag across his chest.

 

As Alex stepped out of the shower, she wrapped the towel around herself before she turned to answer him. "Well, my second reason was I knew we were almost out of hot water." She smiled as she closed the shower door just as the hot water, did indeed run out. Walker's loud exclamation of "DAMN"  when the cold water dosed his body, mixed with Alex's laughter as she left the room heading towards their bedroom.

 

********

 

By the time Walker had finished his "cold"  shower and dressed, Alex had breakfast well underway. She had the table set and the coffee ready to be poured. Sausage was sizzling in the frying pan and she was putting the first of the waffle batter into the waffle iron when Walker entered the kitchen. As he moved to pour them both a cup of the hot coffee, they heard the front door open and C.D. bellowing 'Hello' loudly.

 

"We're in the kitchen C.D." Alex called over her shoulder as she began taking the sausage out of the frying pan and placing the links on a platter.

 

"Mornin' you two. Cordell...how about giving me a hand with these here groceries." C.D. said as he walked into the kitchen. Walker moved to take the two bags out of his arms. "Now be careful with those there bags, I have containers in there that I don't want the lids coming off of."

 

"What's in here C.D.? These bags weigh a ton." Walker asked sitting the bags on the counter.

"Now don't you worry about it. I got some special fixins in there for our lunch. Besides...most of that there stuff goes in the freezer for when Alex has this baby. How you feeling Hon?" C.D. moved to Alex's side. At Alex's reply of 'I'm fine C.D.,'  he gave her a fatherly peck on the cheek before continuing on, "We all know you can't cook Cordell; nothin' I would eat anyway and Alex here isn't gonna feel like doin' no cooking for awhile after having the baby. She is gonna need to keep her strength up caring for a newborn and all and I aim to see that she has something decent to eat."

 

Walker shook his head as he replied teasingly, "C.D., I won't be surprised if you don't move in here with us after the baby is born. We'll have to put a bed in the baby's room just for you." Walker winked at Alex as she tried to keep herself from laughing.

 

"Now you just hush your mouth Cordell. This here baby is my grandbaby and I aim to be around to help out as much as I can." C.D. mumbled something about 'if I was younger'' and 'I'd be knocking you down a peg or two,'' under his breath as he took over making the waffles, shooing Alex over to the table to sit down.

 

Easing herself into a chair, Alex accepted her cup of coffee from Walker as he stood behind her with his hand on her shoulder. Leaning her head back to look up at him she whispered, "You just love to get him all riled up don't you?"

 

Walker leaned over brushing her lips with his. "If I didn't get him riled up he would think I was mad at him." Walker chuckled in reply, just as Trivette and Josie walked in, hand in hand.

 

"Morning everyone. Look who I found on my way out here. Do you think I should keep her?" Josie blushed at Jimmy's statement as Walker chuckled softly.

 

"Well, it's about time you got here Jimmy, these waffles and sausage were fixin to get cold. Everyone grab a chair. Let's eat." C.D. spoke as he carried the plate full of waffles, placing them in the middle of the table, beside the sausage. 

Everyone seated themselves as they began to pass the food around the table. When their plates were fixed and everyone had started to eat, C.D. spoke to Jimmy. "What the devil took you so long getting out here son? Did someone sneak in, in the middle of the night and tie you to that bed of yours. I swear for a young pup you sure have a hard time getting up in the morning."

 

Walker began to laugh, almost choking on the bite of sausage he had just placed in his mouth, as Trivette and Josie both looked at each other, embarrassed smiles on their faces as they then looked at Walker. They now knew for sure that Walker had been the one that had called this morning waking Josie up.

 

"Cordell, just what is so dang gum funny?"

 

"Nothing C.D." Walker coughed again as Alex patted him on his back, looking at him with questions in her eyes. Before she could ask what was going on, Jimmy stood asking for everyone's attention. When all eyes were turned to him, he looked at Josie before speaking nervously, "Well...I...I mean...Josie and I want...Oh man."

 

"Jimmy would you say whatever you are gonna say and get it over with. OUR  breakfast is getting cold." C.D. grumbled as he rubbed his hand across his mouth to hide the smile on his face; he had a pretty good idea of what it was that Jimmy was going to say.

 

"All right Big Dog...give me a chance will ya. Geez." Jimmy took a deep breath as he pulled Josie up to stand beside him, putting his arm around her waist as he continued, "Well what we wanted to tell you all is...I...I asked Josie to marry me last night...and she said yes."

 

None of them were really all that surprised by Jimmy and Josie's little announcement, they had all been expecting it. Since Josie had come to work for Alex running HOPE, she and Jimmy had hit it off. They had started seeing each other almost immediately, much to everyone's delight.

 

The next few minutes were spent giving congratulations to the newly engaged couple. After all the hand shaking, hugs and kisses where handed out, C.D. raised his glass of juice in a toast. "You all know that I feel like you are my kids; Alex being like the daughter I always wanted and Cordell and Jimmy here are like sons to me. And soon, we're gonna have a new baby to add to our family also. But now we have the pleasure of another member to add to our little family. We have Josie and we welcome her with open arms. You have made this old man very happy...My children are all happy and healthy and I thank you all for that. So Jimmy and Josie, may you always be as happy as your are right now. CHEERS!" They all touched juice glasses to finish the toast.

 

Managing to somehow finish their breakfast, during all the talk of Jimmy and Josie's engagement, they finally left the table and went their separate ways. Walker and Trivette left heading to the barn to get the horses taken care of, before getting to work on Walker's secret project. C.D. volunteered to do the dishes and clean the kitchen sending Alex and Josie to finish getting the nursery cleaned up and ready for the baby.

 

As Alex and Josie made their way up the steps, Alex suddenly stopped grabbing her back. Josie placed a steadying arm around her asking if she should go get Walker. Alex shook her head no as she continued slowly on up the stairs and into the nursery. Sitting down on the rocking chair Alex drew in a ragged breath as she leaned forward, massaging her back till the pain passed. Josie knelt down besides her as she asked, "Alex are you all right? Are you having contractions?"

 

"I don't know. I'm not really sure, but I think I might be. I'm fine now though."

 

"I'm going to get the guys." Josie responded as she stood, turning to leave the room.

 

"No Josie, wait." Josie turned to look at her dear friend. She and Alex had grown so close since Alex had started HOPE house almost two years ago. They were really more than just friends or associates, they had grown as close as sisters; a fact that made both of them very happy.

 

Alex extended her hand to her friend, "Please?"

 

Josie moved back to Alex's side as she sat down on the floor. "But Alex, if you are having contractions, shouldn't we at least tell Walker?"

 

"I don't even know for sure if these are contractions yet; the pain was in my back. But I do know that I don't want any of them to know until I'm sure of what the pain is. You know how they all are Josie...they would drive me crazy asking me every five seconds if I was all right or not. We would never get anything done. Besides...the pain is gone now...it could have just been because of my back anyway."

 

Josie thought about Alex's reason for not wanting to say anything, and she was right; it could just be her back acting up from being injured before and the guys would all definitely hover over her.

 

"I guess your right. But how are you going to know for sure if they are contractions or not?"

 

Alex laughed as she answered, "I don't know...I've never been through this before and besides this is only the third time that it has been like the pain I just had. I think I will just wait and see how soon the next one comes, and I'll go from there. Come on...let's get started in here or we are never going to get this room done."

 

Alex and Josie spent the next few hours laughing and talking as they folded baby clothes and arranging the numerous baby items that Alex had received from the huge baby shower that all of her and Walker's associates and friends, along with the woman of HOPE had surprised her with.

 

When the last of the baby clothes were put away and the room was finally arranged the way Alex wanted it, they stepped back to survey their handy work.

 

They both agreed that the room was perfect. Walker had pulled his mother's wooden rocker out of the attic, painting it white to match the two dressers, changing table and the crib that they had picked out together. Not knowing if the baby was a boy or girl, Alex had decided on simple pastel yellow curtains for the windows. A huge dream catcher that Sam Coyote had made for them, hung on the wall above the crib. There was also the six, three and four foot tall stuffed animals that Jimmy had bought, sitting in various spots through out the room.

 

Tired from all their effort from spending all morning in the baby's room, Alex and Josie made their way downstairs in answer to C.D.'s call that lunch was ready. As they reached the bottom of the stairs, Walker and Jimmy came through the front door.

 

"You two are just in time. C.D. just yelled that the meal was ready." Josie said moving to Jimmy's side, kissing him on the cheek.

 

"People in the next county could hear Big Dog's yell." Jimmy laughed. "Let's eat I'm starved." Jimmy finished, putting his arm around Josie, as they moved down the hall to the kitchen.

 

Walker looked at Alex as she leaned against the banister of the stairs, smiling at him. He moved to take her hand saying, "You look tired Alex. Are you over doing it?"

 

"No...I am not overdoing it...at least not anymore. You're right though, I am tired. But, you will be happy to know that the baby's room is totally finished. Now all we need is for this baby to be born." Alex patted her stomach, as it rolled with the movements of their child. Walker placed his hand beside hers, as he gave her a peck on the cheek.

 

"SHE  is really active today." Walker chuckled.

 

"Yes, HE certainly is." Alex replied with a playful jab to his ribs. "He's been having a grand time kicking my bladder and ribs all morning. Speaking of which...You go on into lunch...I'll join you all in a few minutes", she said with a smile as she turned to head back up the stairs to the bathroom for what seemed like the hundredth time today. As Alex reached the bathroom door, a pain hit her, taking her breath away. She practiced breathing threw it like they had learned to do in Lamaze class; for she now knew she was indeed in the first stages of labor.  As the pain passed, she felt a warm wetness begin to seep out of her.

 

********

 

Walker met Alex just as she was coming out of their bedroom. "We wondered what was taking you so long. Is everything all right?" Walker asked, looking at her with concern.

 

"Everything's fine."

 

Walker could tell that something was different about her. As he looked at her closer he noticed that she was in a different outfit. "Why did you change clothes?" Walker replied.

 

Alex smiled as she moved into his arms for a hug. As she snuggled tightly to his chest she whispered excitedly, "Walker, I changed clothes because my water is starting to seep. I am now officially in the first stages of labor."

 

"YOU ARE?"  Walker stepped back, his heart beating a hundred miles an hour as he looked deeply into her sparkling blue eyes.

 

Alex nodded her head yes.

 

Walker moved immediately into the bedroom, picking up the phone. "I'll call the doctor, and then we'll get you to the hospital..."

 

"Walker wait." Alex laughed as she followed him into the bedroom. "I already called the doctor. I said I was in the BEGINNING  stages of labor. We could have a very long wait until it is time to go to the hospital."

 

"Alex, if your water has broke..."

 

"Walker...My water is seeping, it hasn't broke yet. My contractions aren't even regular yet."

 

"You're having contractions?" Walker grabbed for the phone again.

 

"Walker would you calm down and listen to me." Alex sat down on the edge of the bed, patting it for Walker to sit down beside her. When he had, she continued,  "I called the doctor already. I explained to them that apparently I have been having contractions on and off all morning long. I also told them about the seepage. We have to wait to go to the hospital. If we went right now they would just send me home again. They assured me that it is the beginning of labor and that we were to wait until the contractions are regular and a whole lot closer together."

 

"If you were having contractions all morning, why didn't you tell me?" Walker asked, feeling a little upset that Alex would keep all this from him.

 

"Oh Walker," Alex placed her hands lovingly on his face. "I wasn't keeping anything from you. You know I wouldn't do that. I didn't know I was having contractions. I thought it was just a backache, because of the pains being all in my back. I wanted to be sure before I said anything and when I had the last one, I was finally sure. I changed, called the doctor and was coming to tell you."

 

"Are you sure you're all right?"

 

"Yes Walker. I'm fine. Honest. I am really hungry though."

 

"You're always hungry." Walker teased, as he rose to his feet offering his hand to help her up.

 

"OH you...I can't help it. It's your sons fault." Alex replied, as she and Walker moved out into the hallway, making their way down the stairs.

 

"When are we going to let them in on what's going on?" Walker asked quietly, when they reached the kitchen; pausing together to watch their dearest friends unnoticed for a moment. Just as Alex was about to reply, C.D. caught site of them beckoning to them to join them. Alex looked up at Walker and shrugged as they moved to sit down at the table before them.

 

********

 

With what was left of their food put away and the last of the dishes having been done; Alex, Josie and C.D. moved towards the living room. Walker stopped them in the entry way, telling Alex it was time for her surprise. Trying to peek around him, Alex laughed when he covered her eyes saying, "Oh no you don't. NO peeking" as he guided her into the living room. Stopping in the middle of the room, Walker positioned her just so before he removed his hand from her eyes.

 

The 'Ohhhhh'  that escaped Alex's lips brought a huge smile to the red bearded man's face.

 

With her hand against her mouth, and tears in her eyes, Alex moved towards the most beautiful cradle she had ever seen. Dropping to her knees beside the cradle she ran her hand across the newly refinished brown wood, touching all the intricate and detailed carvings that she found there. Raising her tear filled eyes to her husband she asked in a shaky voice, "Walker where did you ever get this? It is so beautiful."

 

Hunkering down beside her, he replied, "Look over here Alex...it will explain everything." Pointing to a spot on the end of the cradle, Alex read out loud with teary eyes...

 

March 10

Cordell John "Firewalker" Walker

 

"Walker...This was your cradle?"

 

Walker nodded, as he wiped tears off of her cheek lovingly. "When Uncle Ray crossed the river and I was cleaning his house out for the new owners, I came across this up in the attic. I didn't even know it was mine until I looked closer and found the engraving on it. I brought it home with me that night and put it up in the loft of the barn, hoping that one day we would have a child of our own that would use it. The day you told me you were pregnant I started working on it every chance I got. If it wouldn't have been for Trivette here though," Walker nodded in his partner's direction with a smile, "I would have never had it refinished in time. Josie made the soft new mattress for the bottom of it and C.D. went out and bought the quilt for it."

 

The room was silent as Alex absorbed everything that Walker had just told her. The tears flowed freely from her eyes, as she looked around the room at the four beaming faces she found smiling back at her. Emotions swept over her like waves on a beach. No one person could ever feel more loved or could be any happier than she was right now. Reaching for Walker's hand, she slowly stood. As she wrapped her arms around him, she drew his lips to hers, murmuring 'I love you...thank you' against them as she gently kissed him. Stepping away from him, she moved around the room hugging and kissing everyone, making a special point of telling them all just how very much she loved each and everyone of them and how much she loved their surprise gifts. By the time she made her way back to Walker's side, everyone was a little misty eyed.

 

C.D. cleared his throat, as he took his handkerchief out of his back pocket swiping at his eyes with it before he spoke. "Well now Alex...what we now need to do is decide where are we gonna put this here cradle at? I don't think you want it left in the middle of the room, now do you? Are we going have to lug it upstairs or leave it down here?"

 

"I think we'll leave it down here." Alex replied, as she also dried her tears; trying to get her emotions in check. "Let's move it towards the fire place. We just have to make sure it's not too close."

 

"Good idea Hon." C.D. moved to pick up the one end of the cradle. Realizing that the cradle was a lot heavier than he expected, he cast a glance over his shoulder at Walker and Jimmy. "Well come on you two...don't just stand there...get over here and help me with this...Alex wants this by the fireplace."

 

With a salute and a 'YES SIR BIG DOG SIR'  Jimmy moved to help C.D. Walker wrapped his arms around Alex as he spoke, "Well you know, there would be an even better place we could put that cradle Alex."

 

Alex tilted her head back to look at him, as he squeezed her gently. When their eyes met, he winked at her slyly. Alex knew right then someone was in for some of Walker's playful razzing.

 

"Where would you put the cradle Walker?" she asked trying to suppress a giggle.

 

"In the kitchen."

 

"The kitchen?"

 

"Yeah the kitchen. We already know that C.D. is moving in when the baby is born, so if we put the cradle in the kitchen, the baby can watch as C.D. cooks all our meals for us. God knows he has been stocking our freezer and cupboards with enough food the last few days."

 

"You hush your mouth Cordell, or I might just have to come over there and hush it for you." C.D. took a step forward, rolling up his sleeves. "I told you before, I ain't too old to whoop your butt..."  Jimmy threw his head back with laughter at the expression on C.D.'s face.

 

Walker grinned evilly as he continued, "But then again C.D., if Trivette keeps buying all those stuffed animals, you and the baby will both have to sleep in the kitchen...there won't be any room for either of you in her bedroom."

 

"Now you just wait a minute Walker. What's wrong with those stuffed animals?" Trivette said.

 

"Nothing other than they are HUGE  Trivette. Couldn't you find smaller ones? The baby is gonna have to be sixteen before she will even be able to pick them up to play with them."

 

Trivette looked at C.D. "Come on Big Dog...Let's get him." Together C.D. and Jimmy both moved towards Walker as he coward behind Alex using her as a shield, laughing loudly at his two best friends.

 

Josie stood off to the side taking everything in as she turned to Alex and asked over the threesomes laughter, "Why are they ALWAYS  like this when they're together?"

 

Alex nodded her head answering "I haven't figured that out yet. I guess..." just as a contraction started to twist at her insides.

 

Josie noticed the change in Alex's features. "Alex? What is it? Are you all right?"

 

The laughter that had just filled the room stopped immediately as everyone's attention was directed towards Alex. Everyone was by her side in a blink of an eye.

 

Walker grasped her arm, seating her in the nearest chair to them. "Breath threw it Alex...nice slow breaths...that's it," he coached; rubbing his hand up and down her back, in a soothing motion.

 

After a minute or so Alex said, "It's starting to let up now."

 

"When it's over take the deep cleansing breath, just like we learned."  Walker stated.  

 

Alex followed his instructions. "OK...it's over. They're getting stronger Walker."

 

All at once, C.D. and Jimmy were blasting questions at her, in their excitement.  "Are you all right? Are you in labor? Isn't it too early for the baby to be coming? Should we call the doctor? Should we get you to the hospital?"

 

Alex smiled, happily at Walker as they waited for the questions to end. When they did, she answered them with reassurance in her voice.

 

"I'm fine. Yes, it was a contraction. Yes, I am in labor. No, I don't need to go to the hospital yet. And yes, I have already talked to the doctor."

 

"Why didn't you tell us you were in labor darlin'...we are the baby's grandpa and uncle you know." C.D. asked, the hurt in his voice very evident.

 

"C.D., I would never hold back on you guys," Alex replied patting his hand, "and we would never forget how important you ALL are going to be to this baby. I wasn't sure about anything until just before I ate lunch. We just hadn't had a chance to tell you yet. And remember...you and Jimmy where the first ones we told about the baby."

 

C.D. laughed. "You know, it seems like just yesterday that we found out you were expecting darlin'. That's a day this old man will never forget. One of the happiest days of my life, so it was." Jimmy clapped C.D. on the back as he responded, "I know what you mean Big Dog. That is a day I sure will never forget."

 

*********

 

Alex and Walker walked into C.D.'s with two gifts under their arms. They looked around and found that the bar was totally empty for this time of day, except for the two men they were looking for at the bar. Their smiles were brighter than the sun that was shining so strongly outside, as they moved towards the end of the bar to where C.D. and Jimmy were playing checkers.

 

Glancing at each other with excitement dancing in their eyes, Alex said, "Hi guys, whose winning" as she sat on the stool beside Jimmy, looking over his shoulder at the checker board.

 

"Jimmy here is so far. I think I taught him to dang well, but I'll get him in a couple of more moves, don't you worry Hun. Where did you two disappear to all morning and half of the afternoon?" C.D. asked, not looking up as he made his move.

 

"Well, we had some very enjoyable shopping we had to do." Walker smiled, as he placed his arm around Alex's neck, kissing the top of her head.

 

C.D. and Jimmy both looked up at Walker's unexpected comment. "YOU  went shopping," they said simultaneously. They both knew how much Walker hated the word shopping, let along actually doing it and for him to say that it was enjoyable was beyond belief. Jimmy continued, "I don't believe it. We have to mark this day on the calendar as a day to remember. My partner, Cordell Walker, enjoyed going shopping. OK Alex, you have to tell us the real story. What did he do that was so bad that he needed to suck up to you and willingly went shopping with you? Or did you have to drag him kicking and screaming all the way?"

 

"He didn't do anything Jimmy, and I didn't have to drag him either. Actually it was Walker's idea to go shopping." Alex laughed at the shock on both of their faces.

 

"OH MY DEAR LORD...I don't believe I am hearing this. Cordell WANTED  to go shopping." C.D. shook his head in disbelief. "I know what this is all about...you two know that I had you put in my will and you are trying to give me a heart attack and get rid of me, so you can collect your inheritance and this is the way that you knew you could do it. Yes sir...that's what this is all about. Yep...I feel the heart attack comin' on now."

 

Walker and Alex roared with laughter, at C.D.'s antics of having a heart attack, as he staggered around behind the bar, waving his arms in the air while clutching at his chest, yelling 'HERE COMES THE BIG ONE.' Jimmy had to join in on his mentors little charade by rushing back and pretending to give him CPR and mouth to mouth in a comical fashion.

 

"OK you two. Me going shopping voluntarily is NOT that funny." Walker scolded trying to keep a straight face.

 

Alex was laughing so hard she was holding her sides in pain. Glancing over her shoulder at her husband she couldn't help herself when she replied, "Yes Walker...You going shopping IS that funny. You have to see your face like we do when the word shopping is mentioned around you. You look like a deer that is caught in front of the headlights of a car...trapped with no where to run and hide."

 

"I do not."

 

"OH YES YOU DO!"  The threesome replied, as they all; including Walker, went into another fit of laughter.

 

When they finally managed to get themselves somewhat under control, C.D.; still chuckling asked, "Just what was it that made you two go shopping together anyway?"

 

"We went shopping for something special for you and Trivette. But, the way you two are acting, I don't think I want to give these to you." Walker said, as he picked up the two packages. "Come on Alex, let's take these back to the store." Alex rose from the stool as Walker guided her towards the door.

 

"Come on Walker we were just funnin' with you. Alex, make him give those to us. I wanna see what they are."

 

"Yeah Cordell. We were just razzing you. Can't you take a joke?"

 

Walker and Alex both turned, looking at their friends before they laughed, 'GOTCHA!'  C.D. and Jimmy then began to act like two little kids, rubbing their hands together, chomping at the bit to open their surprise gifts. "Well Alex...what do you say? Should we give them their gifts?"

 

"I guess we have to. We certainly can't use them, that's for sure. And I don't think the store will give us our money back on them." Alex smiled.

 

Moving back to the bar, Walker handed a box to each of them. Putting his arm around Alex's waist, they waited for their happy little surprise to be revealed. They watched as they both shook their packages, trying to figure out what was in them, before they hurriedly began to rip the paper off; throwing it on the counter top. C.D. and Jimmy both looked questionably at Walker and Alex as they proceeded to open the boxes that were revealed to them.

 

Walker hugged Alex to his side. C.D. and Jimmy looked up at each other in total shock; their gifts held tightly in their hands. As they turned simultaneously towards the happy couple, Alex and Walker both nodded their heads as they smiled their biggest and brightest smiles. Alex spoke as tears began to well up in her eyes, "Yes...Walker and I found out we are going to have a baby, and we wanted you two to be the first ones to know. We spent the afternoon trying to figure out how to tell you about the baby in a very special way, and this is what we came up with. But more importantly...we wanted you both to know that in Walker's heart and mine, that you C.D.; well you have always been like a father to both of us," Alex paused as emotion swept over her and her tears began to fall, "and you will always be known lovingly as 'GRANDPA C.D.' to our baby and that you Jimmy," Alex turned towards him as she continued, "will always be affectionately know as 'UNCLE JIMMY' because you are so much like a brother to both of us. Walker and I just wanted you both to know...that we love you each very, very much...and this baby," Alex patted her still flat stomach, "is going to love you both as much as we do."

 

The air hung silent in the bar as C.D. and Jimmy took in the happy and unexpected news. Walker beamed as he looked at his two dearest friends and then at the woman whom he loved more than life itself. He truly was a very lucky man to have these three remarkable people in his life. Not being able to stand his friends silence any longer, Walker began to tease the two men that were still standing with their mouths hanging wide open, "We definitely have to mark this day on the calendar now Alex. Today is not only the day we found out you were pregnant, it was also the day that these two were shocked into complete and total silence. I kinda like it, we're going to have to surprise them more often."

 

Alex didn't have a chance to respond because C.D. and Jimmy finally managed to break out of their trance, as they began to whoop, holler and dance around with their happiness and excitement. They made their way over to where the new parents-to-be stood, congratulating them both. C.D. and Jimmy both kissed and hugged Alex, before turning to congratulate Walker, with manly pats to his back and by shaking his hand vigorously. The four of them embraced each other in a wonderful group hug. They hadn't noticed the group of Rangers that had just walked in for an early supper of C.D.'s famous chili. As the group of men made their presence know by teasingly owing and awing over the display before them, C.D. announced loudly "NOW YOU ALL HUSH YOUR MOUTHS...Cordell and Alex here are gonna have a baby!"'

 

The room once again held many more congratulations from the new arrivals, as Walker and Alex made their way to the corner booth. Walker helped Alex into the booth, before scooting in beside her. Jimmy and C.D. moved to get their gifts they had left laying on the bar. Holding onto the gifts proudly, they excused themselves to go put them on 'For the whole dang world to see'' C.D. had said over his shoulder. "DRINKS ARE ON THE HOUSE FELLAS,"  he yelled as they headed into the back room to change.

 

Alex leaned her head on Walker's strong shoulder, as he wrapped his arm around her. She sighed with contentment and happiness.

 

"Are you tired?" Walker whispered, as Alex snuggled even closer.

 

"A little. It has been a very long day, but it sure turned out to be a happy one didn't it?"

 

"Yeah it did. I can remember only one other day that was as happy for all of us."

 

"Oh...and just what day was that Cowboy?" Alex asked, looking up into his soft gray-blue eyes.

 

"Our wedding day," he replied as he lowered his lips to hers.

 

 "You are so romantic Cordell Walker," Alex sighed as his lips claimed hers in a passionate kiss.

 

"Hey you two. Cut that out and tell Jimmy and me here what you think of our new shirts?"

 

Walker and Alex looked up, a shocked expression on their faces. There stood C.D. and Jimmy grinning from ear to ear wearing the t-shirts that they had made especially for them. The only thing was...Jimmy was wearing the one that said GRANDPA C.D. while C.D. was wearing the one that said UNCLE JIMMY.

 

"GOTCHA."  they replied as the whole bar burst out laughing.

 

********

 

"Well, it looks like this baby is going to be making its appearance any time now, so I think we ought to all head on out of here so Alex can get some rest. Cordell, you make sure you call us as soon as you two head to the hospital, no matter what time it is. I wanna be there when my grandbaby is born."

 

"I will C.D., don't worry."

 

C.D. leaned over kissing Alex on the cheek. "Get some rest Hun. You are almost to the home stretch."

 

"I know C.D., I will."

 

Walker walked them all to the door, assuring them all once again that he would call as soon as anything happened.

 

Alex smiled tiredly as Walker walked back into the living room, kneeling beside her chair. "You look tired. Why don't you go upstairs and lay down for awhile?"

 

"That sounds like a wonderful idea. Care to join me?" Alex asked, as she caressed his beard.

 

"Now how could I refuse an offer like that. Come on." Walker stood offering his hand to her.

 

When they reached their bedroom, Walker went to pull the shades down as Alex slipped out of her clothes, putting on a nightgown, so she would be more comfortable. Laying down on the bed together in a spoon fashion, another contraction started. Walker wrapped his arms around Alex massaging her stomach as she controlled her breathing all the way through it. When the pain ended, and Alex finally relaxed and began to drift off to sleep, Walker glanced at the clock beside the bed, making a mental note of the time. It had been 30 minutes since the last contraction. Resting his head beside hers, he inhaled deeply, taking in the smell of her hair and the scent of her perfume, as he rejoiced in the fact that soon their baby would be born. Walker closed his eyes as he snuggled closer to Alex's already sleeping form, deciding that he too should try to get some rest. His last thought before he drifted off to sleep was of the day Alex told him she was expecting. It seemed like it was only yesterday...

 

********

 

Laying on a blanket, wrapped in each others arms, Walker and Alex gazed silently at the star filled sky above them. The moon was full and caressed their bodies with it's bright, heavenly light. A gentle breeze blew across their naked bodies, cooling them in the aftermath of their love making. A whippoorwill called softly to it's mate somewhere in the woods beside them. 

 

Alex leaned up on her elbow as she gazed into her husbands rugged face. She traced the outline of his full lips, as he playfully nipped at her finger tips.

 

"Walker."

 

"Hmm."

 

"Tonight has been perfect hasn't it?" she asked, trying to get her thoughts in order before she continued. She had waited for the right moment to tell Walker her wonderful secret, and now that the moment was at hand, she wasn't quit sure how to proceed.

 

"Yes, it has been. First you surprise me by giving me three perfect roses at the end of a very hectic day at work. We come home and have a romantic, moonlight picnic. We made love under the stars. Yeah, I would definitely say that tonight was perfect. Life doesn't get any better than this." 

 

"Do you remember the night we made love in the rain, Walker?"

 

Walker chuckled. "Now how could I forget that night?"

 

"What would you say...if I told you...I've had a secret that I have been keeping from you since that night?"

 

"A secret?"

 

Alex nodded.

 

Walker thought about it for a split second before he replied, "Well...I would say you probably had a good reason for not telling me."

 

"I did...I had to wait until I was sure that my feeling about that night was true."

 

Walker sat up, sitting cross legged as he studied Alex's features. Her hair glistened in the moonlight. She had a soft smile on her lips. She was so beautiful. His heart beat increased, as he drank in her beauty.

 

"Did your feeling come true?" Walker asked, more than a little confused by the conversation they were having.

 

"Yes." Alex sat up so she was sitting, facing him.

 

"Are you going to tell me what it is?"

 

Alex took a deep, calming breath before asking, "Did you notice anything about the roses I gave you today Walker?"

 

"There were three of them."

 

"Anything else?"

 

Walker pictured the roses in his mind. "Well, there were two big ones; a red and yellow one and a smaller one that was white; the kind you call baby roses. Alex, what in the world do the roses have to do with your..." Walker stopped. His heart started beating wildly with excitement as he realized what Alex's secret was. "Alex...are you trying to tell me you're pregnant?"

 

Alex nodded, tears of happiness, glistening in her eyes.

 

"We're going to have a baby?" Walker leaned towards her, cupping her face in the palms of his hands.

 

Alex nodded again as she whispered, "Yes Walker...you're going to be a daddy."

 

Walker took a deep breath, slowly exhaling threw his lips. Tears of happiness shone proudly in his eyes. He didn't try to hide them, as he gazed at the amazing woman before him. She loved him with every fiber of her being; just as he loved her. She knew him better than he even knew himself. She had brought meaning to his life, along with all the joys and excitement of her unconditional love. She never held anything back when it came to their love. And she now was presenting him the greatest gift he could ever receive...the amazing gift of a child. A child that was conceived because of their wondrous love for each other.

 

As a lone tear made it's way down Walker's face, his lips descended towards hers. Softly he whispered, 'Thank you Alex...I love you!'  There was so much more he wanted to say, but somehow mere words didn't seem enough. Capturing Alex's lips with his own, Walker let his kiss speak for him.

 

As their kiss deepened, they wrapped their arms around each other. Moving as if their were not only of one mind but of one body as well, they laid back upon the blanket, touching and caressing each other as they moved. Slowly and reluctantly, Walker left Alex's lips behind as he began to kiss his way down her naked torso. When he finally reached her firm, flat stomach, he stopped; laying his head gently upon it. Closing his eyes, he prayed to God; the great spirit above, thanking him for this precious gift, that he had deemed he and Alex so worthy of receiving. Finishing his silent pray of heartfelt thanks, Walker raised his head and eyes skyward for a brief moment before returning his lips to kiss the satiny skin of the body that would house, protect and nurture his child, while it grew strong and healthy until the day of its birth and beyond.

 

********

 

Alex awoke as the contraction worsened. This one was painful enough that she could not continue to doze through it. Not wanting to awaken Walker, Alex concentrated on her controlled breathing as she timed the pain. The contractions were definitely getting closer together and a lot more uncomfortable. Taking a cleansing breath as the contraction ended, Alex turned her attention to the man that was sleeping so soundly behind her. His head was laying beside hers on the pillow they shared; his warm breath tickling her neck when he exhaled. She could feel the rhythmic rise and fall of his chest against her back. His thighs were nestled firmly against the back of her legs. His strong left arm was wrapped protectively around her mid section, and even in his deep state of slumber, his hand would caress her taunt stomach muscles in a comforting fashion. Closing her eyes, Alex thanked God once again for the man that was beside her. His love had enriched her life; giving it meaning and purpose. Whispering amen after her prayer, and as their baby kicked strongly inside her; she drifted back to sleep.

 

The next time Alex awoke, Walker was kneeling beside the bed, smiling at her as she opened her eyes. "Hi beautiful." Walker kissed her gently before laying his head beside hers on the pillow.

 

"Hi yourself handsome." Alex yawned, stretching. "What time is it?"

 

"Seven thirty. I fixed us a light supper. Are you hungry?"

 

"Yeah I am, but I don't think I should eat anything. Walker, my contractions are getting closer together."

 

"I know. They are exactly twenty minutes apart. I got up a couple of hours ago and could tell when you were having one, so I started timing them while you were sleeping."

 

"How could you tell I was having contractions? I only remember having one strong enough that it woke me up."

 

"I could tell. When you had a contraction, you would grab your stomach and make a face like this." Walker replied, contorting his face to make her laugh.

 

"I do not." she giggled.

 

"Yeah, you're right. I guess it was more like this." Walker laughed as he exaggerated the contortion of his face, and grabbed at his stomach in a very animated way.

 

Alex burst out laughing at Walker's antics. Holding onto her sides, Alex said, "Stop it Walker...I have to go to the bathroom really bad as it is, and all this laughing doesn't help anything."

 

Sitting up, Alex moved to the edge of the bed, just as a new contraction started. The moan that escaped her lips had Walker immediately by her side, as he held her hands; talking her through the pain. When the contraction began to loose it's momentum Alex moaned, "Oh no," as her water broke with a gush. Her face showed the fact that she was more than a little embarrassed by the mess that was now surrounding her.

 

Kissing her pouting lips, Walker spoke softly to her, "It's all right Alex. Come on, I'll get you something clean to put on and help you to the bathroom. You can get cleaned up and I'll call the doctor to tell her that your water broke. Then I'll take care of cleaning up in here."

 

"Walker, I am so sorry..."

 

"Sorry for what." Walker put his arms around her, kissing her forehead as she leaned against him. "All this means Alex, is we are a little bit closer to being able to hold our baby in our arms. Come on." Walker pulled her to her feet, and helped her to the bathroom. "Are you going to be OK in here by yourself?"

 

"Yes, I think so. I can call you if I need you." she replied, as he turned to get a towel and moved towards the door. "Walker?"

 

Walker turned back towards her before replying, "Yeah."

 

"I love you."

 

"I love you too sweetheart." Walker winked as he turned back, heading towards the bedroom.

 

********

 

Alex walked slowly into the kitchen, where Walker was putting two steaming bowls of chicken broth on the table. As she made her way to the table she asked, "Did you call the doctor?"

 

"Yeah. I told them your water has broken and that the contractions are about 20 minutes apart. They said to wait till they were at least 10 minutes apart or under before heading in to the hospital."

 

"Well that shouldn't be much longer." Alex replied as she grabbed her back as another contraction started. "What time is it?" she asked as she began her breathing exercises.

 

"It's 8:15. When was your last contraction Alex?"

 

"Thirteen minutes ago."

 

"Are you OK?" Walker asked, kissing her cheek, as he waited for her to reply.

 

"I am now, the pain is letting up. Phew...they are really starting to get uncomfortable." Alex took her cleansing breath. "I could use something to drink."

 

"How about some ice chips? They said you shouldn't eat or drink anything when the contractions are this close together."

 

"That would be wonderful." Alex smiled.

 

Walker moved to retrieve a glass of ice, as Alex squirmed around on the chair trying to find a comfortable position. "Walker let's go out to the porch swing. I can't get comfortable on these chairs."

 

"You head on out and I will be right there."

 

********

 

Alex was just reaching the porch swing when Walker came out the front door. He waited until she was comfortable before he handed her the glass, settling himself beside her as he chuckled.

 

"What?"

 

"I was just remembering the night you tortured me with ice."

 

"Tortured you. As I recall cowboy, you didn't complain in the least little bit."

 

"I never said I complained...just that it was torture." Walker grinned.

 

"Well my torture worked. We conceived this little miracle that night." Alex moved so that she could rest her legs upon Walker's thighs.

 

"We sure did." Walker began to massage Alex's bare feet. Her soft 'mmm'  let him know that she appreciated his gesture as he slowly made his way up to her bare calves. Just as his hands had worked their way to her thighs, the contraction started. Looking at his watch, he said, "9 minutes since the last one Alex. As soon as this contraction is over we are headed to the hospital."

 

********

 

It was 10:00 PM by the time Alex and Walker arrived at Memorial hospital. Alex had insisted that she had to change before they left and that Walker had to call C.D., Jimmy and Josie. Her contractions were now coming every five minutes and were steadily becoming more painful. As they stepped through the doors, they saw that their three friends were already there anxiously waiting for them.

 

"Cordell, what in tarnation took you so dang long getting here? You called us at 8:30. We have been here over an hour. Alex honey, are you all right?"

 

"I'm fine C.D. It's all my fault it took us so long to get here. I'm not moving real quick right now...Oh...Walker...here comes another one." Jimmy hurried down the hall to find a nurse as Walker moved to stand in front of Alex, handing her bag to C.D. Alex placed her hands on his shoulders, leaning her head against his chest as he talked her through the contraction. By the time it had ended Jimmy had returned with a nurse and a wheel chair.

 

C.D. and Walker helped Alex into the wheel chair, as Walker told the nurse who they were and how far apart the contractions where. The five of them then followed the nurse to the admitting desk. "Ranger Walker...we'll need you to fill out these forms, while we take your wife to her room. When we have her settled in, someone will come out and get you. After the doctor has had a chance to check things out and talk to you and your wife, then yours friends will be more than welcome to join you both back in the room."

 

"Thank you nurse." Walker replied. Leaning over, taking her hands in his, he kissed Alex gently. "I'll see you in a little bit."

 

"Walker...you will hurry won't you?" Alex whispered nervously, she didn't like the thought of Walker not being with her, even if it was only for a short time.

 

Walker kissed her again; knowing she was really scared. Trying to calm her fears he replied, "Don't worry sweetheart...as soon as I'm done with this paper work, and the nurse comes and gets me, I will be right by your side. I promise. I'm not going anywhere."

 

"OK." she nodded, holding onto his hand as he kissed her once more. The nurse turned the wheelchair around, before moving it through two big doors that closed automatically behind them. Right before the doors closed completely Alex looked over her shoulder at him to mouth the words...I love you.

 

Walker stood there watching even after Alex was completely out of his line of sight, lost in the whirlwind of thoughts that were running through his mind. Walker could not remember ever being as scared as he was right this minute. C.D. patted him on the back, as he said, "She's gonna be OK Cordell. That little gal is one tough lady. Everything will be fine. You'll see. Come on you need to get this paper work done and outta the way."

 

Taking a deep breath to calm himself, Walker nodded, as he turned to look at the three people smiling broadly back at him. A smile creased his ruggedly handsome face, as he spoke from his heart, "I want to thank you all for being here. It means the world to Alex and I both."

 

"Now where else would we be partner." Jimmy replied, pulling Josie even closer to his side.  "That's our niece or nephew that is going to be born soon, besides...when Josie and I have our children, you and Alex can return the favor."

 

"We'd be proud to Trivette." Walker grasped the younger mans hand firmly in a hand shake, of not only friendship, but a handshake between two brothers. Trivette knew how hard it was for Walker to voice his thoughts and emotions; the hand shake that he had just given him meant more than any words ever would.

 

"Well if we don't get this dang paper work finished that grandbaby of mine is going to be born before it's daddy even gets back there. Come on Cordell, Alex is waiting on you." C.D. grabbed Walker's arm pulling him over to the desk where the nurse had the papers waiting.

 

********

 

Walker stood beside the doors that Alex had disappeared behind. Once again he checked his watch. Another five long minutes had passed, making it almost 45 minutes since he had been by Alex's side. ‘What in the world could be taking them so long? Why hasn't someone come to get me?'  Becoming more than a little frustrated with waiting, Walker walked to the window again to look, unseeingly out at the moonlight sky. 'Is there something wrong? Are Alex and the baby OK?'  Checking his watch again, he moved back to stand beside the doors.

 

Jimmy nudged C.D., who sat beside him. Speaking low, he said, "I've never seen Walker like this before Big Dog. It's kinda funny. You know, that's at least the tenth time he has checked that watch of his in the last 2 minutes. And I have lost count of how many times he has walked to the window and back. He is really nervous." 

 

C.D. chuckled before replying, "I know what you mean son. Cordell there is a man used to being in control of any situation that is thrown his way. Well the good Lord has done thrown him a situation that he don't know quite how to handle. His wife is somewhere back there in labor with their first born child. He's in a situation that he has no control over right now and it's not sitting real well with him. Yes sir, this is a whole new ball game for that man."

 

Jimmy agreed as Josie returned with coffee for each of them. She handed C.D. and Jimmy theirs; sitting hers on a small table, before moving to offer one to Walker. She moved to his side, gently touching his shoulder to get his attention. "Walker, would you like a cup of coffee?"

 

So lost in his thoughts, Walker hadn't heard Josie approach him and jumped at her touch, almost knocking the coffee out of her hands.

 

"What? Oh Josie. I'm sorry. What did you say?"                                  

 

"I asked if you wanted some coffee." Josie smiled.

 

"Thanks." Walker replied, accepting the offered cup.

 

Just then the doors opened and the nurse that had been with Alex reappeared. "Ranger Walker...would you follow me please."

 

Much to the amusement of C.D. and Jimmy, Walker stood as if his feet were cemented to the spot he was in. Josie smiled as she took the cup of coffee out of his hands, saying "Go on Walker...Alex is waiting for you."

 

"Hugh...oh...oh yeah." he replied; taking a deep, slow breath before following behind the nurse. As the doors closed behind him, Walker was oblivious to the sound of Trivette and C.D.'s laughter as he moved down the hall, towards Alex's room.

 

As Walker and the nurse reached Alex's room, the nurse turned to him saying, "Doctor Sheridan will be in to talk to you and your wife in a few minutes. When she is done let me know and I'll go out and get your friends for you."

 

"Thank you nurse." Walker replied, moving immediately to Alex's bedside, as the nurse turned and left the room. "How are you doing sweetheart?" he asked as he kissed her.

 

Alex smiled, relief evident on her face as she replied, "Much better now that you are here with me."

 

Walker looked at the monitors that sat on the other side of the bed, worry creasing his brow as he moved to look down into her face. "Alex. What are these for? Is everything all right?"

 

"Yes Walker. Everything's fine. These are just to keep a check on what is going on. See this one..." Alex pointed to the one closest to the bed, "monitors my contractions. It shows how many I am having, when they start, how hard they are and how long they are lasting. That one over there keeps a check on the baby's heart rate during the contractions; to make sure that it doesn't drop too low and that the baby isn't in distress or anything."

 

"They can tell all that with these?" Walker asked as he watched the monitors fascinated. As Alex shifted her position slightly, the one monitors needle began to twitch. "Is that the beginning of a contraction Alex?"

 

"Yes it is." Alex said as she began to concentrate on her breathing as she too watched the monitor.

 

When the needle had once again leveled out, Walker turned saying, "Why didn't that one get as high as the last one?"

 

"Because it wasn't as bad as the last one was." Alex laughed as Dr. Sheridan walked through the door.

 

"Well hello Alex...Cordell. How are we doing in here?" She asked as she shook Walker's hand and moved to stand beside the monitors.

 

"Fine I think." Alex replied with a smile.

 

"I wasn't expecting to see you two here for another three weeks or so. I guess you decided to pay me a little surprise visit." She patted Alex’s leg as she continued, "Let me just take a look and see how things are going down here."

 

Dr. Sheridan raised the sheets to one side as Alex positioned herself to be examined. Walker held Alex's hand as he watched her face as the doctor examined her. "Well Alex...you are dilated 5 centimeters and are almost 80% effaced." Replacing the covers and moving to the monitor, she then checked on the length and strength of the contractions. "Your last couple of contraction's haven't been very strong have they?" 

 

"No they haven't. Is that something to worry about?" Alex asked, as a contraction started.

 

Dr. Sheridan watched the monitor until the contraction was over before replying, "No, it's nothing to worry about. They will do that sometimes, slacking off in intensity and then picking up again. Just like this one did. Your contractions are very regular; almost three minutes apart and are lasting a good 30-40 seconds and the baby is tolerating the stress of the contractions very well. It definitely looks like this baby has decided it's not going to wait until your due date to be born. You have awhile to go yet, but I would say by tomorrow morning this baby will be laying in your arms."

 

Walker and Alex looked at each other smiling, as the doctor continued. "The nurses will be in to check on you regularly and they will keep me informed on how things are moving along. So until then, I want you both to relax as much as you can and save your energy for the delivery. If the pain becomes too much for you Alex, don't hesitate to ask for something. I know you are dead set on doing this completely without anything for the pain, but you are allowed to change your mind and most woman do when it comes down to the really intense contractions. If you need anything at all, just ask one of the nurses. Do either of you have any questions?"

 

When the couple had agreed they had no questions, Dr. Sheridan took her leave. As the door closed behind her, Walker sat on the edge of the bed. Leaning down he gave Alex a passionate and lingering kiss. As his lips left hers she sighed asking, "My oh my...what was that for?"

 

Walker whispered simply, "For loving me."

 

"Ahh...you are so sweet." Alex murmured as she drew his lips to hers once again.

 

********

 

C.D., Josie and Jimmy walked down the hallway to Alex's room. Josie carried the beautiful planter of flowers that she and Jimmy had bought for Alex at the gift shop, as C.D. carried Alex's suitcase. Jimmy was just putting the newly charged battery into a small hand held video camera that had a little pink and blue bow on it. As they reached the room number the nurse had told them, C.D. reached up knocking on the door. At the sound of Alex's 'Come in'  C.D. pushed the door open grinning from ear to ear, as he entered followed by Jimmy and Josie.

 

"Well they finally told us it was OK to come on back. How you doing honey?" C.D. asked as he placed his hand on top of Alex's giving it a squeeze.

 

"I'm fine C.D."

 

Josie moved to place the flowers on the night stand beside the bed as Jimmy started recording everyone in the room. Alex smiled as the wonderful scent of the flowers began to spread through out the room. Reaching for the card and reading it she thanked Josie and Jimmy for them as she handed the card to Walker for him to read. Noticing that Jimmy had a video camera Alex said, "Jimmy when did you buy that?"

 

"I didn't...C.D. did. I was just the one that got volunteered to video tape with it." Jimmy laughed as he zoomed in on C.D.'s face as he began to speak.

 

"Well I wanted to get you and Cordell something special and with Josie and Jimmy's help, we came up with this. With all of our busy schedules, we figured none of us would want to miss a minute of this baby growing up. And it is really easy to work too, you just keep the battery charged, pop in a video tape and hit that little red button...it even records the sound."

 

"Thank you so much C.D. That will be a handy thing to have around." Alex replied, kissing him on the cheek, as Walker shook his hand with gratitude. 

 

"Now we want to know what the doctor had to say. Is this baby coming soon or not?" C.D. asked.

 

"The doctor said the baby is definitely on it's way. In fact, she said that if everything keeps going the way it is, that the baby should be here by morning...just in time for somebody's birthday." Alex smiled as Jimmy focused the camera on C.D.'s face, capturing his expression.

 

"Oh my lord...I totally forgot tomorrow was my birthday. Imagine that...my grandbaby is gonna be born on my birthday." Everyone laughed as C.D. puffed up his chest in pride and began to strut around the room.

 

"OH NO. You do know, we are never going to be able to live with him after this don't you Alex? His head is going to swell so big it won't fit through any doorway that has ever been made." Jimmy said.

 

"You just hush your mouth Jimmy Trivette...you're just jealous...that's what it is...pure JEALOUSY!"  C.D. replied puffing his chest up even more, as he continued to strut around the room.

 

Walker chuckled at his two dearest friends, as the line of the one monitor began to climb, catching his eye. Turning to Alex he saw the small grimace of pain as she began doing her controlled breathing. Slowly he rubbed her rock hard abdomen as the contraction continued.

 

C.D. and Jimmy had stopped laughing as soon as they realized that Alex was having a contraction. They watched with awe how gentle and supportive Walker was with Alex. They both held their breaths as Alex continued to breath through the contraction.

 

Walker watched the monitor as the line started to decrease again. "Alex...take your slow cleansing breath. That's it."

 

"Walker...I think you need to tell those two to breath...they are starting to turn blue." she giggled, pointing to C.D. and Jimmy. The room filled with laughter as the five of them settled down, talking and making plans, as they anxiously awaited the arrival of the newest member of their family.

 

********

 

Walker kissed Alex’s cheek as his gently continued to massage her back, as she lay curled up on her side. She closed her eyes wearily in exhaustion; praying to grab a few stolen moments of pain free relaxation before the next contraction would rack her body once again. Walker checked the clock on the wall. It was 4:30 am. The contractions had been coming two to three minutes apart for the past three hours and had been steadily increasing in their intensity; and they were really beginning to take their toll on her. She was putting up a good front for the others; smiling and reassuring them that she was OK, but she wasn't fooling him one bit. He could feel the intensity of her pain as she gripped his hand during a contraction. He could hear her inner moans of pain, even though she tried her best to bury them deep inside herself. Even now, he could see the flashes of pain crease her beautiful face. She was exhausted and he felt so damn helpless about it. He couldn't do anything to ease her pain and it tore at his very soul. He said a silent prayer that it wouldn't be much longer before the baby was born. The last time the nurse had come in and checked Alex, she had been dilated 7 centimeters and was 80% effaced. It was a slow process, but the nurse assured them that everything was moving along perfectly.

 

As Alex sighed in her restless slumber, Walker looked over at C.D. who was dozing in the chair by the window, snoring contentedly. Trivette and Josie had gone out to get some fresh air about 20 minutes ago, leaving C.D. with him and Alex. They had all tried to talk C.D. into going home for a few hours so he could get some real sleep, but he had been very verbal about staying and sticking it out until his 'Grandbaby'  was born. He was like that. He was such a kind and loving man. He was always there for you when you needed him; lending his support. He was always there to take you under his wing and share his wisdom with you. Walker smiled as he thought how lucky he and Alex were to have this man in their lives and how proud he was that their baby was going to have C.D. Parker as it's grandpa.

 

Alex jumped as another contraction began, waking her with a start. Walker immediately returned his attention to her as he began to softly talk her through it, reminding her to do her breathing. He gently helped her roll over onto her back. Looking at the monitor, he saw that the contraction was already worse than any of the other ones before it. It would peak...level out...drop slightly...and peak again. Alex was beginning to shake with the intensity of the pain, as she moaned loudly; no longer able to hide it. Beads of sweat glistened on her brow almost immediately. Walker kept watching the monitor for evidence that the contraction was ending. After a full minute and the contraction was still not letting up, Walker began to really get worried, as he heard the door open. Looking up and seeing that it was Jimmy and Josie, he commanded, "Trivette...there's something wrong...get the nurse...HURRY!"

 

Within seconds, the room was a flurry of activity. As soon as two nurses entered, one of them ushered everyone out of the room except Walker; as the other one checked the monitors and hurriedly examined Alex. Walker could tell something was wrong, as one of the nurses rushed out of the room. Fear; greater than anything he had ever experienced, gripped his insides, as Alex screamed in agony; tears streaming down her face, as she clutched her stomach. He tried to soothe her the best he could, as the nurse began to explain what was happening.

 

"Ranger Walker...we need to get your wife up on her hands and knees...the contraction isn't letting up like it should...it is putting a tremendous amount of pressure on the baby...the pressure is putting the baby into a dangerous amount of distress...it's heart rate is way to low...we need to hurry."

 

Walker moved like lightening to help the nurse position Alex as she had described. Once they had her positioned, they continued to hold her in place because she was shaking so violently. What seemed like an eternity; but was actually only moments later, the pain began to decrease as the contraction started to subside. Walker breathed a huge sigh of relief when the nurse; after checking Alex and the monitor, told them the danger had passed. The baby had recovered and had a normal heart rate once again.

 

Alex sobbed; still hysterical with fear as another contraction grabbed at her. The second nurse had returned, stating the Doctor was already at the hospital for another delivery and was on her way as they spoke. Walker continued to coach Alex with her breathing; as his and the two nurses eyes were riveted to the monitor. Thankfully this time the contraction was a normal one. Walker whispered to Alex, trying to calm her down, as she continued to sob uncontrollably. "It's all right sweetheart. The baby's fine now. Everything is going to be OK."

 

********

 

Dr. Sheridan arrived just as Walker and the two nurses were helping a distraught Alex to lay back down on the bed. Alex held onto Walker's hand like it was her life line. As the head nurse filled her in on what had transpired, Dr. Sheridan checked the strips of the contractions before moving to examine Alex once again. When she was through with the examination she moved to Alex's side, placing a hand on her forearm in comfort. In a reassuring voice she spoke. "You just had quite a scare, but everything is all right now. Your body basically got stuck in that contraction and didn't know how to release from it and that in turn was putting pressure on the baby. That's why the baby's heart rate dropped so low. Once your body released from the contraction, the baby's heart rate immediately returned to normal; which was an excellent sign, it means the baby is perfectly fine. It's not real common that this happens with a contraction, but it does happen on occasion. We just chalk it up to one of life's little unexpected surprises; one we all could do without mind you." Dr. Sheridan smiled as she continued to calm Alex's fears. "Your contractions since then have been normal ones...so normal in fact that it is time to move you to the delivery room. You are fully dilated and 100% effaced...the baby is already crowning. After a few good hard pushes, you are going to be holding your beautiful new baby in your arms. And believe me, after what you have just been through...this part is going to be a piece of cake...I promise. I'll stop and talk to your family and the nurse will come and get you and take you to the delivery room. I'll see you both in a few minutes. Relax...everything is going to be just fine." Alex managed a weak smile in reply to the doctors words, as Walker thanked her before she turned and left the room.

 

Walker turned back to Alex as he looked into her tear filled eyes. "Oh Walker...I was so scared." Walker lovingly gathered her up into his arms. She wrapped her arms around his neck, clinging to him tightly. "I was scared too Alex...I was scared too." Walker whispered; as he tried to get his own emotions under control. They remained locked in each others loving embrace; gathering strength from each other and calming each other, until the nurse arrived.

 

As the nurse guided the gurney into the room, another contraction hit Alex full force. Walker coached her through it, before he picked her up; laying her carefully on the gurney for the short trip down the hall to the delivery room.

 

********

 

It had been fifteen minutes since they had entered the delivery room. Alex's contractions were coming one right on top of the other now and she had felt the first urge to push a few minutes ago. Now as each contraction began, Walker supported her in a semi-sitting position as she would bare down; placing her chin against her chest. Walker then would begin a slow count to ten. When ten was reached, he'd remind her to take a quick breath before she continued to push to the end of the contraction. As each of the contractions ended, Walker would lean her back and wipe the sweat from her brow. Over and over they repeated their actions, until they finally heard the magic words from Dr. Sheridan, "I can just see the top of the baby's head Alex. This next push I want you to push harder than you have ever have before. OK...this is it. Now...PUSH!"

 

As Alex bared down as hard as she could, she could feel the baby begin to slowly make it's journey downward. Moans of pain escaped from her taunt lips, tearing at Walker's heart and soul; as he willed his strength to her. He whispered words of encouragement into her ear, as he watched a small head emerge from his wife. He could feel the tears welling in his eyes as Alex pushed again and their child made it's entrance into the world; screaming at the top of it's lungs.

 

"Congratulations you two...It's a boy." Dr. Sheridan said smiling up at them both.

 

Walker leaned down kissing Alex lovingly. "We have a son." he murmured, his tears of joy falling unashamedly and mixing with Alex's. "I love you."

 

"I love you too." Alex replied as together they held each other, returning their undivided attention back to their newborn son.

 

They watched as the doctor suctioned the baby's mouth and nose, and the nurse wiped him off a little bit, before placing him on Alex's bare stomach where she could hold him. They did all the things that new parents do, by counting his fingers and toes, making sure that everything was were it should be. They smiled broadly as he waved his arms and legs in the air, almost as if he was enjoying all the attention he was receiving. They both continued to touch and caress him in awe. It was a moment in time that would be etched in Alex and Walker's memory for all eternity.

 

"Would you like to cut the cord Cordell?" Dr. Sheridan asked.

 

Walker looked at Alex for approval, before he nodded yes in response.

 

They watched as the doctor positioned two clamps on the umbilical cord explaining to Walker where to cut it. Then she handed a pair of surgical scissors to him. Walker accepted them with trembling hands. Placing the scissors where she had shown him, Walker hesitated. "This isn't going to hurt him is it?" Walker asked worriedly. Dr. Sheridan grinned, assuring him that the baby wouldn't feel a thing. Looking up into Alex's radiant face, he took a deep breath. As he then looked into his son's big blue eyes, he slowly exhaled and cut the cord.

 

As soon as the afterbirth had been delivered, the nurse picked the baby up carrying him over to where Dr.  Sheridan now stood waiting to check him out thoroughly before he would then be handed back to the nurses to be weighed, measured and cleaned up.

 

Walker had been watching what was occurring with the baby when Alex suddenly moaned in pain, drawing everyone's attention immediately back to her. Walker questioned her with his eyes, as she grabbed his hands; leaning forward and began straining to bare down again. The "OH MY" that escaped Dr.  Sheridan as she ran back to Alex's side, sent chills of fear coursing up and down Walker's spin.

 

"What's wrong?" Walker exclaimed as he supported Alex's body; as it began to tremble with her efforts.

 

"It seems we have another one of life's unexpected little surprises...and here it comes. Look." Dr.  Sheridan replied, directing his attention to what was happening once again.

 

"Unexpected surprises? What in the world was she talking about?"  Walker's mind was a jumble of unanswered questions, as he followed the doctors instructions and glanced between Alex's thighs. It took Walker several moments to clear his thoughts before he finally realized what he was witnessing for the second time today. There before his unbelieving eyes, another tiny little head covered with hair had just emerged; followed quickly by the rest of its body. The baby's soft cry announced her arrival through out the room.

 

"It's a girl." Dr.  Sheridan said as she held the baby up for Alex and Walker to see.

 

Alex lay back as total exhaustion and relief washed over her body. Her and Walker's tears flowed freely once again, as the shock of what had just occurred wore off being replaced by the joyous excitement of not just having a son...but a daughter also.

 

Walker once again softly claimed Alex's lips with his own. As they moved to wipe away each others tears of happiness, Walker whispered, "You have given me the most precious gift in the whole world...not just once...but twice in one day. Thank you."

 

Alex smiled radiantly at her husband. "You are very welcome Cowboy." All the pain was washed away and long forgotten as Alex watched the nurses tending to her babies. "Oh Walker...I just can't believe we have a son and a daughter." She said excitedly as she drew Walker's lips to hers. As they kissed tenderly and held each other, they listened to the wonderful sound of their children's healthy cries as the nurses cleaned them up. It was the most beautiful sound that either of them had ever heard.

 

********

 

Jimmy and Josie were cuddled on the sofa in the waiting room, watching as C.D. paced back and forth in front of them; mumbling under his breath. He had been doing this since the nurse had ushered them all out of Alex's room so hurriedly almost an hour and a half ago. His constant movements had only stopped once and that had been when Alex's doctor came out to say they were taking Alex into the delivery room and that both she and the baby were fine. Not being able to stand it any longer, Jimmy spoke up, "Big Dog...you are gonna wear a hole in that floor...and besides you are making me crazy with all that pacing. The doctor said everything was all right with Alex and the baby...PLEASE sit down."

 

C.D. stopped long enough to reply, "You just hush your mouth...I will not sit down. Not until I know that Alex and my Grandbaby are all right. And if someone don't show up pretty DANG GUM soon...I am going right into that delivery room and find out what is going on myself. Ain't nobody gonna stop me either...no sir...it will take an army...if they think they are gonna stop C.D. Parker..." C.D. huffed and continued ranting and raving until a nurse entered stating, "Mrs. Walker is back in her room if you all would like to see her now."

 

Josie laughed as Jimmy grabbed the video camera and he and C.D. both took off like a shot down the hallway. Thanking the nurse as she moved past her, she hurried to catch up with the two men in front of her.

 

********

 

"Here they come." Walker said grinning as the nurse exited the room and he hurried back to the bed, settling himself down beside Alex who was holding their newborn son.

 

"They are going to be so surprised." Alex giggled as the expected knock came on the door.

 

"Come in." they both replied in unison.

 

C.D. was the first one through the door, making a bee line straight to Alex and Walker's side. "Are you OK honey?" he asked kissing her on the cheek.

 

"I'm fine C.D...we all are." Alex smiled.

 

As Jimmy positioned himself to capture the proceedings with the video camera, C.D. asked, "And just who do we have here?" Gently he touched a tiny little hand that was waving around in the air.

 

"Everyone...Walker and I would like you all to meet our son. He weighs 6 pounds 3 ounces, is 19 inches long and is named after his Father and his Uncle Jimmy...Cordell James Walker...I think we will call him C.J. for short." Alex replied as she moved the blanket back so the threesome could greet the new arrival.

 

"I got me a Grandson." C.D. exclaimed, pride evident in his voice.

 

"Oh Alex...he's beautiful." Josie cried as she kissed Alex and Walker both.

 

"Hey Partner...A son...All right man...and you named him after me. Wow...I'm honored." Jimmy said as he clapped Walker on the back, shaking his hand enthusiastically. "You did real good work counselor," he whispered kissing Alex on the cheek.

 

Walker watched as Trivette, Josie and C.D. continued to ow and aw over the baby. Moving to the door unnoticed, he gently lifted his tiny daughter from the nurses arms; nodding his silent thanks to her. Moving back towards the bed, he caught Alex's eye and winked just as Jimmy started to speak.

 

"C.D., Josie...move over there closer to Alex and the baby. Let's get this moment captured on tape. Hey Walker..." Trivette turned to find where Walker had gone when he noticed the little bundle Walker was holding. As his mouth dropped open he looked into his best friends eyes. He had only ever seen Walker look this proud and happy one other time and that was when Alex had said "I DO" on their wedding day. Not a word was spoken between the two of them as Trivette smiled broadly. He instinctively turned back towards the bed, positioning the camera just right. 'I HAVE got to get C.D. and Josie's reaction to this little surprise!'  he thought to himself as he said out loud, "Walker move over there beside C.D...we want the whole Walker family in this shot."

 

Walker moved to C.D.'s side just as Trivette had instructed. Josie noticed the baby immediately; clasping her hand over her mouth in surprise. C.D. glanced at his former partner, dropping his eyes to the bundle that Walker was holding. Quickly he looked at Alex; to see that she was indeed still holding a baby, before moving his eyes back to Walker's arms. The look on his face was one of total confusion; being replaced by one of shock.

 

"TWO babies Cordell?" he gasped.

 

Walker nodded as he spoke, pulling the blanket back away from the little head that was full of reddish brown hair, "Two babies as in twins C.D...We'd like you all to meet our daughter."

 

"Oh my dear Lord...twins..." C.D. said as he sat on the foot of Alex's bed, wiping his brow.

 

The room erupted in all the excitement of the revelation. There were more hugs, kisses and congratulations to both of the new parents.

 

"Alex I can't believe you were carrying twins? You weren't that big. What a surprise." Josie said excitedly.

 

"Yeah Alex...why didn't you guys tell us you were having twins?" Jimmy responded.

 

"Because we didn't know...Honest. They were as much a surprise to us as they were to you all...even my doctor was shocked." Alex laughed as she continued, " Dr.  Sheridan said that this little one, was small enough; being only 4 pounds 12 ounces and just barely 18 inches long, was hidden behind her brother the entire pregnancy. He blocked her from everyone's view. He did such a good job of it that even her heart beat was hidden from detection." 

 

"What's my granddaughter's name?" C.D. asked as he gently held her tiny hand in his.

 

"Shelby Elizabeth Walker.  Elizabeth after my mother." Walker replied huskily.

 

C.D. sat straight and proud as he smiled. Wiping his eyes, he sniffed and responded, "Alex...you and Cordell sure have made this old man mighty proud today...mighty proud."

 

Walker placed his arm around C.D.'s shoulder as Alex asked, "Well Grandpa...would you like to hold your grandchildren?"

 

C.D. nodded his head excitedly, as Walker placed Shelby safely into the older mans waiting arms. The baby girl sighed contentedly as she closed her eyes in slumber. "She is so tiny." he exclaimed.

 

Alex handed C.J. to Walker and watched as he placed him alongside his sister. Everyone could see the pride shining in C.D.'s eyes as he looked at the two babies sleeping peacefully in his arms. "It just don't get any better than this, does it Cordell?" C.D. said softly as a tear ran down his cheek.

 

Walker sat on the bed beside Alex, drawing her close to his side. He watched as C.D. whispered to his new grandchildren. He smiled as Trivette hugged his fiancée tightly, telling her that he loved her. He looked deeply into his wife's sparkling blue eyes, as she mouthed "I LOVE YOU"  to him. As he kissed Alex, Walker's heart swelled with pride and happiness at the realization that his family was now complete. In a throaty voice he replied, "You're right C.D...

 

“Life doesn't get any better than this!”

 

********