The Cherokee ‘Thing’

                                                                                                By Sissy (sissy@svs.net)

                                                                                                & Chris (ckline-usa@foreverliving.com)

 

 

Walker leans over and kisses his beautiful wife of three years, “Mmmm…good morning darling.”

 

“Hi, sleepyhead.” He murmurs as he looks into her eyes. “I’ve got to go. You still going to meet me at C.D.’s for lunch?”

 

“I sure am.  Besides, I don’t think Cindy will let me forget. It isn’t too often that she gets to have lunch with her Daddy and at C.D.’s, no less.”

 

“I’m looking forward to it, too. I’ll be there as close to 12:30 as I can. Okay?” He leans down and kisses her again, then forces himself to pull back. “If I don’t get out of here, Logan’s going to be calling to find out where I am and I don’t think I’d want to tell him.” Gives her one more gentle kiss, moves away from the bed, turns and goes out the door quickly before he changes his mind.

 

Leaving the bedroom, he takes a peek into the nursery and sees his daughter asleep on her stomach with her knees pulled up under her. He moves up to the crib, lays his hand on her back, gently rubbing, then leans over and kisses her softly on the top of her head. A smile flickers across her face and her eyes twitch, then she’s still again. He smiles and walks out of the door, out of the house.

 

As he drives into Dallas, he realizes he is still smiling. He has been like this ever since they were married and his heart became fuller when his daughter was born only 10 months after the wedding. He took a lot of ribbing from his fellow Rangers but he didn’t care. He can’t ever remember being as happy and contented as he is now. He has always loved children but he never thought one could fill his heart like Cindy has.

 

*****

 

He really has to do some fancy maneuvering to get back to Dallas by 12:30, but he makes it with a few minutes to spare. There is no way he would disappoint his daughter if it were in his power.

 

When he walks into C.D.’s, he doesn’t get more than three steps in when he feels these tiny arms grab him around the legs. He reaches down and picks her up, “Hi, baby. How’s my princess?”

Kisses her on the cheek as she puts her arms around his neck and squeezes as hard as a two-year-old possibly can.

 

He moves across the room to where his wife is talking to C.D., “Hi, honey.” Kisses her softly on the lips and slides his arm around her waist. His face beaming with pride as he holds his two favorite girls.

 

Just then a loud voice causes them to turn to see an old man charging through the door, face red with anger, screaming, “You took my kid, Walker, now I’m taking yours!”  He raises a gun pointing it at Cindy.

 

Just before he fires, she screams, “No!” then turns and wraps her arms around Walker, shielding him and Cindy from the gunman.

 

When the gun is fired, several Rangers that had just entered, grab the gunman and wrestled him to the floor. They handcuff him and take him out of the bar.

 

When Ellen collapses against him, he wraps his arm around her to keep her from falling.  Without his even realizing it, C.D. has taken Cindy out of his arms as he slides to the floor holding onto Ellen, “Oh, God, no…please…no…no.” He holds her tightly to his chest, rocking her in his arms, tears flowing down his cheeks onto her hair.

 

*****

 

Four years later:

 

At C.D.’s, Cindy is sitting in a booth coloring in a book, when suddenly a strange feeling comes over her.  She looks up just as a beautiful blonde lady walks up to the counter and sits on a barstool. Cindy watches the lady for a few minutes then slides out of the booth and walks over to the counter and climbs up on a barstool next to her.

 

“Hi, I’m Cindy.”

 

Alex turns to see a pretty little girl with auburn hair, “Hello, Cindy, my name is Alex.”

 

“You’re new here, aren’t you?” Cindy asks just as C.D. walks up.

 

“Now, Cindy, don’t be bothering the lady.”

 

“That’s all right, C.D. She isn’t bothering me.” Turning to face Cindy, “That’s right, I am.  I just moved to Dallas not very long ago. I’m the new Assistant District Attorney.”

 

“Okay, young lady, back to your book.” C.D. and Alex smile at Cindy as she gets down and after several glances back at Alex, she sits down in the booth but doesn’t color, just watches Alex.

 

“I’m sorry about that, Alex.  Cindy’s never done anything like that before.”

 

“No problem. She’s a very pretty little girl. Your granddaughter?”

 

“Yeah, you could say that.”

 

After Alex leaves, C.D. goes over and sits down in the booth across from Cindy. “Honey, what ever were you thinking going up to a stranger like that.”

 

“She’s nice. I like her.”

 

“She is a nice lady but you shouldn’t just go up to strangers like that. Okay?”

 

“Okay, Grampa C.D., but she’s going to be my new mom.”

 

C.D.’s mouth gapes open and he just stares at her. Before he can say anything, Cindy jumps up and runs across the room throwing herself into her daddy’s arms. “Daddy!”

 

“Hi, sweetheart.  You haven’t been giving C.D. any problems, have you?” Kisses her softly on the cheek then walks to where C.D. is still sitting with his mouth hanging open. “C.D., are you all right?”

 

“Huh…Oh, yeah, the little lady just threw me a curve, that’s all.” Stands up and turns to face Walker, “You guys want your lunch, now?”

 

“How about it Cindy, you ready to eat?”

 

“I’m ready, Daddy.”

 

*****

 

Walker, having just been sworn in as a witness, sits down in the chair and turns to look at the new ADA standing at the table going through some papers. When she turns and walks toward him, a strange feeling comes over him as he stares at this beautiful woman.

 

“Ranger Walker, are you all right?”

 

He blinks his eyes quickly, “Ah…yes, I’m sorry. What did you say?”

 

“I asked you to give your name, your position with the Texas Rangers and a brief story on the capture of these men.”

 

*****

 

After leaving the courtroom, Walker goes to C.D.’s where James Trivette, his new partner, is sitting at the bar with a glass of milk and a plate of Oreo cookies in front of him.

 

“Hey, Cordell, how did it go in court?”

 

“Just fine, C.D. No problems.” Sitting down on a barstool next to Trivette, “Have you two met the new ADA, yet?”

 

“I’ve only seen her in passing. Real pretty lady, I must say. Easy to look at.”

 

“Yeah, Trivette, very easy to look at. How about you C.D., have you met her?”

 

“She’s been in here several times. Real nice gal. Cindy’s met her, too.”

 

“My Cindy?”

 

“Yeah, Cordell, your Cindy. She didn’t mention it to you?”

 

“No, she didn’t. Wonder why? When was this?”

 

“Oh, let me see. On Saturday, I think. Alex came in just before you picked up Cindy.”

 

“Alex, huh. Is that her name?”

 

“Yeah, Alexandra Cahill. Told me I could call her Alex, though.” Smiles big, and juts his chest out letting them know that he is ahead of them on this.

 

Walker smiles at him, then with a somber expression, “I wonder why Cindy never mentioned it to me?”

 

“Careful, boys, here she comes.”

 

Walker and Trivette, together, “Who?”

 

“Alex.” C.D. whispers. She comes up to the bar and sits on the third stool down from Walker.

 

C.D. moves down to stand in front of her, “Alex, how you doing?”

 

“I’m fine C.D. Could I get some coffee?”

 

“You sure can.” As he places a cup of coffee in front of her, “Uh, Alex, I’d like to introduce you to a couple of friends of mine.” Gestures toward Walker and Trivette.

 

“I’ve already met Ranger Walker. In court this morning. It’s nice to meet you…again.” She puts her hand out and when he takes it, a feeling of warmth spreads throughout her body.  Glancing up into his eyes, she sees tenderness and perhaps maybe something more than friendship.

 

“Same here. Ah…you’re pretty good at your job. You have a way of getting to the truth.” As their hands touch, it feels like a heat wave running through him.

 

“Thank you.”

 

“And this here fella is Ranger James Trivette.  He’s Cordell’s new partner. Still a little green around the gills.”

 

“Nice to meet you. And I’m not as green as he thinks I am.” He shakes her hand then moves back to sit down.

 

“You look very capable of taking care of yourself, Ranger Trivette.”

 

“Why, thank you, Alex. May I call you Alex?”

 

“Please do. I wish you would all call me Alex. I hope we can become good friends.”

 

Murmuring as he turns away, “I know a little girl that hopes that, too.”

 

The four of them converse easily for the better part of an hour then Walker glances at the clock behind the bar, “Well, I hate to leave good company, but I’ve got to run. See you tomorrow, C.D. See you Monday, Trivette.” Turns to face Alex, “It was nice to meet you, Alex.” He stares at her just a little longer than he should then quickly turns and heads for the door.

 

“You give the little lady a hug and kiss for me, will you Cordell?”

 

“Yeah, same here, Walker.”

 

“Will do, C.D., Trivette” Just before he shuts the door.

 

The glow on Alex’s face quickly disappears.  When she hears the words ‘the little lady’ she thinks that Walker has a wife waiting for him at home. For some strange reason, she felt all tingly when he was close. She first noticed it in the courtroom when she was close to him and then felt it again here, but if he’s married...

 

*****

 

The next few weeks prove to be very bewildering to Walker. When he met Alex at C.D.’s, he got the impression that she wanted to be friends.  But whenever he tries to get closer, she gives him a look that says ‘that’s close enough’ and backs away. Whenever he sees her in the hall at the courthouse, he moves toward her to speak but when she sees him coming, she turns around and goes in the opposite direction.  After several of these rebuffs, he quits trying.

 

Walker is in a bad mood when he walks into C.D.’s. He’d gotten into a fight with Billy Carson and three of his friends when he tried to arrest them for attempted robbery of a grocery store. By the time he had them handcuffed and in the back of his truck, he had a large bruise on his cheek, a split lip, his shirt was torn and he was limping from being bitten on the leg.

 

“Good Lord, Cordell, what in the world happened to you? You look like you been in a cattle stampede.”

 

“I feel like it, too, C.D. You got an ice pack handy?”

 

“Sure do, be right back.” Disappears into the back and returns in a few minutes with an ice pack, which Walker takes and puts against the bruise on his cheek.

 

C.D.’s expression changes to one of concern, “What is Cindy gonna do when she sees you Walker?”

 

“It will probably scare her to death, C.D. Can I take a shower and clean up some before I go home?” Out of the corner of his eye, he sees Alex sitting just two stools away.

 

“You sure can. I think you have a shirt and some pants in the closet, too.” He watches as Walker goes through the curtain to the back room then turns to see Alex watching him, too.

 

When Alex first saw Walker enter, she had gotten up to leave, but when she noticed how banged up he was, she couldn’t bring herself to go. After he disappeared behind the curtain, she turned to see C.D. watching her and felt the color rising in her cheeks.

 

“He’ll be all right, Alex. He gets banged up pretty good sometimes but he always comes out as good as new.”

 

“Oh…I guess he would…in his line of work. Doesn’t he need to see a doctor?”

 

“Nah, Cordell, doesn’t take too much to doctors and hospitals. He’s spent more time in ‘em than he cares to remember. You just about have to hog tie him to keep him in one.”

 

She moves over to sit in a booth and watches the curtains for him to come out.  She’s so deep in thought, though, that she doesn’t notice when he reappears until she hears, “Well, Cordell, you do look a lot better. I guess that little lady won’t be too shook up now. You still planning on coming by tomorrow after church?”

 

“We’ll be here C.D., as always.” As he turns to leave, he sees Alex watching him but when she catches his eye, she looks away.  Shrugging his shoulders, he continues on out the door.

 

She puts her elbows on the table and lays her head in her hands, ‘Why do I have to be attracted to a married man?’  She slowly slides out of the booth and goes out the door, ‘might as well go home and cry in my beer.’

 

When Alex gets up Sunday morning, after having a restless night, she has made up her mind to go to C.D.’s for lunch, knowing the real reason is to see Walker’s wife. Once she knows in her heart that Walker’s happy, maybe she can start dating other men and get on with her life.

 

Alex walks into C.D.’s just a little after 11:00, waves at C.D. and finds an empty booth in the corner.

 

“Hello, Alex, what will it be today? Got a real good special, fried chicken, dressing, biscuits, gravy, the whole works?”

 

“Then that’s what I’ll have, C.D. Just don’t make the portions too large, I’m really not a big eater.”

 

“You got it lady.” He turns and goes out back to the kitchen.

 

Alex is about halfway through her meal when she sees Walker come in holding the hand of the little girl she had met here almost a week ago. ‘That was his little girl! I should have known, she looks a lot like him.’ She watches as the little girl runs up to C.D., “Grampa” who then scoops her up into his arms as she kisses him on the cheek and gives him a hug. 

 

Alex keeps watching the door waiting for his wife to enter and when she doesn’t thinks, ‘maybe she’s out of town for some reason’ but continues to watch as Walker and his daughter take a seat at a table close to the bar.

 

Walker is sitting with his back to her so he hasn’t noticed that she is there. She knows that he must be wondering why she is avoiding him, but she realizes that just talking to him could be a problem with her. With the lunch crowd filling up the tables, she manages to stay unnoticed until Walker and Cindy finish their meal and leave.

 

Alex finally stands to leave, walks up to the bar to pay her bill, when C.D. comes over to her, “Alex, you should have come up and sat with Cordell and Cindy. You made quite an impression on Cindy last Saturday when you were in here.”

 

“I didn’t want to impose on their time together. Is his wife out of town, is that why she didn’t come with them?”

 

C.D.’s face takes on a sorrowful look, “His wife!  She died about four years ago, Alex. As a matter of fact, it happened right here. Cordell was standing right over there, holding Cindy in one arm and the other around Ellen, when this old man came in threatening to shoot Cordell’s child.  Ellen turned and put herself in front of that bullet to save Cindy.  Lord, that was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to see. If it hadn’t been for Cindy, I don’t think Cordell would have survived.”

 

“Oh, God, how awful. That’s must have been terrible for him.” Tears glisten in her eyes as she turns back to look at C.D. “And I’ve been treating him like a leper.”

 

“What do you mean, Alex?”

 

“I’ve been avoiding him because all this time I thought he was married!”

 

“Well, honey, you didn’t know. But, what made you think he was married?…Oh, you mean, Cindy?”

 

“No, this is the first time that I’ve seen them together. But when you said ‘give the little lady a kiss and a hug’, I just assumed you meant his wife. No wonder he always looked confused when I turned away from him.”

 

“Well, now, that can easily be remedied, don’t you think?” C.D. grins at her with a sparkle in his eye.

 

“Please C.D., don’t say anything to him. I feel bad enough as it is.” Alex pleads with him, taking his hand in hers.

 

“Oh, I won’t have to say anything. You just come in sometime when Cindy’s here and we’ll let that little lady take care of it for you.” He smiles and takes her in his arms. “I always wondered why you left every time he came in here. You kinda like him, huh?”

 

She pulls back, looks up at him through tears, and nods her head slightly, “Yeah…kinda.”

 

*****

 

Alex made it a point to go into C.D.’s as often as possible in hopes of seeing Walker, and trying to right the wrong that she did. But Walker has been rebuffed too many times to take any more chances so he keeps his distance.

 

Early one Saturday morning, Alex comes into C.D.’s dressed in jeans, a scoop neck top, tucked in, and boots, hair in a ponytail, looking for all the world like a country girl and not a lawyer. She really isn’t expecting to see Walker, but she and C.D. have become very good friends, and he has invited her to have breakfast with him.

 

The place is empty when she comes in, “C.D.? Hello?”

 

C.D. comes out of the kitchen, “Good morning, Alex. Right on time. Have a seat in that booth over there, and I’ll bring our breakfast right out.” He ducks back through the door, returning almost immediately with a tray containing two plates, brimming with eggs, sausage, toast, and two cups of coffee.

 

“Oh, C.D., this looks great. And I’m famished.” They eat in silence for the most part with just a little light conversation until Alex pushes her plate back and picks up her coffee cup.

 

“Not having to much luck with Cordell, are you, honey?”

 

She takes a sip of coffee, shakes her head, “No, not really. But I can’t blame him after the way I treated him.”

 

“Give him time, Alex, he’ll come around.” Looks up to see several people coming through the door, “Oops, guess it’s time to get back to work. You stay as long as you want, hon, don’t be in any hurry to leave. Who knows, he might show up.”

 

Alex is just starting on her second cup of coffee, having decided to leave after it’s gone, when she hears, “Grampa!” She looks up to see Cindy running towards C.D., and Walker walking in the door right behind her.

 

“Hello, pumkin,” Picks her up for a hug, “I haven’t see you in a coon’s age. You two wanting breakfast or did you just come in to see me?”

 

“Both, Grampa.” Cindy gives him kiss on the cheek then he stands her back on the floor.

 

“Well, Cordell, what’s it gonna be?”

 

“You know what Cindy wants, and I think I’ll have pancakes this morning with sausage on the side. Let’s sit at this table, Cindy.” He turns around, but she has disappeared. Looking around the room for her, he sees her standing by a booth talking to a blond lady. Walker does a double take, not believing his eyes.

 

When C.D. puts her back on the floor, Cindy catches sight of Alex in a booth, starts walking slowly toward her and when Alex smiles at her, she picks up her pace. “Hi, did you come in for breakfast, too?”

 

“Yes, I did. I had breakfast with C.D. earlier. Do you always come in here on Saturday mornings for breakfast?”

 

“Most of the time, but not always. Daddy usually goes to the gym on Saturday morning, then we come in here to eat before we go home.”

 

“I bet that’s fun, huh, watching your daddy at the gym?”

 

“Yeah. When I get older he’s going to teach me karate, too.”

 

“Is that one of your favorite things to do? Karate?”

 

“Well, I like it a lot but my favorite thing is riding horses. I love being around horses.”

 

“Oh! Actually I like horses a lot, too.  I have a little pinto that I call Amber. She’s like a best friend to me.”

 

“Really! Would you take me to see her sometime?”

 

“I’d be glad to, honey, but you’d have to check with your daddy, first, okay?” Cindy turns to look for her daddy and bumps into him as he is walking up to the booth.

 

“Whoa, baby. Take it easy. You shouldn’t be bothering the lady, Cindy.” He looks at Alex, and just about melts as he sees the softness in her sky blue eyes when she smiles up at him.

 

“She isn’t bothering me. Really.”

 

“Daddy, Ms. Alex has a horse and she said I could go see it sometime if it was all right with you. Please, Daddy, can I?”

 

“Well….” He looks into Cindy’s eyes, knowing there is no way, he can tell her no. “Maybe we could talk about it over at breakfast.” Turning to look at Alex, “Would you care to join us?”

 

“I’ve already had breakfast with C.D.” Sees the smile leave his face, “But, I’ll join you for coffee, if that’s all right?” The smile returns to his face brighter than ever.

 

The conversation would have been strained between them if it hadn’t of been for Cindy and her never-ending questions. With the joy of having Alex at their table, she was on the way to having her wish come true. When she looks at C.D. he winks at her. She places a finger over one eye to make a wink back, pleased with their little secret.

 

*****

 

The relationship between Walker and Alex progresses rapidly with a few subtle pushes from Cindy.

 

One night, almost a year later, Walker has his arms around Alex, swaying gently in the swing on the front porch of the ranch house, “Alex, can I ask you a question?”

 

“Sure, honey, ask away.”

 

In a soft-spoken voice, “When we first met, can you tell me why you kept avoiding me?”

 

Alex sits up and turns to face him. “It was my defense.”

 

“Your defense? Against what?” He looks at her completely baffled.

 

“Against falling in love with you.” She smiles as she sees the bewildered look on his face.

 

“I…don’t understand. Why didn’t you want to …”

 

“Shh…let me see if I can explain this where it makes sense.” Leans in and kisses him softly, “Do you remember when we first met in the courtroom?”  He nods slowly. “Well, I think I felt it then that you were going to become someone special in my life. And again at C.D.’s?” He nods again. “When you shook my hand, I was sure of it. I felt…something.”

 

“I did, too, Alex, but…”

 

“Please, let me finish. When you left, C.D. said something about giving the ‘little lady’ a hug and a kiss from him. I thought he was talking about your wife.”

 

“My wife was….” Stops him with a finger on his lips.

 

Softly whispers, “I know. But I didn’t know it then. I thought I was falling in love with a married man.  And to keep that from happening, I started avoiding you. But it didn’t help, the more I avoided you, the more I wanted to see you.” Looks deep into his eyes. “Am I making any sense?”

 

“Yes, Alex, I understand. That’s why I kept getting mixed signals, I guess.” Pulls her back into his arms and kisses her deeply. “When did you find out about Ellen?”

 

“One Sunday afternoon.  I was at C.D.’s when you came in with Cindy. After you left I asked him why your wife didn’t come in with you. That’s when he told me about Ellen. That must have been awful for you.”

 

“It almost killed me. If it hadn’t been for Cindy, I don’t know what would have happened to me.” He pulls Alex close to his chest, holding her tight.

 

“She thinks the world of you.” Alex murmurs into his chest.

 

“She’s my life.” He pushes Alex back slightly, to look into her eyes, “But I think I’ve found someone else I’d like to share that life with, if she’ll have me.”

 

“Oh, Walker…yes…yes…yes.” She puts her arms around his neck and pulls his lips down to touch hers into a long tender kiss. When she pulls back, he sees the glistening of tears in her eyes. She whispers, “I love you so much.” Putting his mouth to hers again, he probes her lips with his tongue, gaining entrance, then softly caressing hers, as he moves his hand to her breast, desire building in them both.

 

When a slight noise pulls them apart, they hear a whispered, “Yes!” and light footsteps moving away from the window behind them.

 

They look into each others eyes, smile, then Walker pulls her back close and as she lays her head against his chest, “I take it we have Cindy’s approval.”

 

He tightens his arms around her slightly, and murmurs into her hair. “I think so.”

 

*****

 

Cindy is sitting at the table in the kitchen with her dad, Alex, C.D. and Jimmy, discussing plans for the wedding.

 

Alex takes C.D.’s hand in hers, “Would you do me the honor of walking me down the aisle, C.D.?”

 

“I would love to, honey. And it would be my honor to give you away.”

 

“No, I don’t want Grampa C.D. to give you away. I want you to stay here.” Alex turns to see panic in Cindy’s eyes.

 

“Oh, Honey,” Alex pulls Cindy into her arms, “It’s a custom at weddings for someone to give the bride, me, into the care of the groom, your father. Its just part of the wedding ceremony, Cindy.”

 

“Oh, then can I give Daddy away to you?” Cindy’s eyes light up with the idea, as she turns to look at Alex.

 

Everyone laughs and looks at Cindy.  Suddenly the laughter quiets, and they begin looking at each other, as what she has said may be a possibility. Cindy looks from one to the other, wondering what she has said that is so funny then as the laughter fades, she’s puzzled by the way they are all looking at each other.

 

“Hon, you don’t suppose….” Alex begins, then pauses.

 

“Do you think we could….” Walker adds.

 

C.D. looks at Jimmy, and together they say, “Why not?”

 

C.D. smiles at Cindy, “Come on, you guys, if we put our heads together, there ought to be some way we can work it in.

 

*****

 

The wedding ceremony is held at a small church with just the closest friends of the bride and groom.  When the organ begins playing the Wedding march, Alex, wearing a beautiful white gown, is escorted down the aisle on C.D.’s arm, with Cindy leading the procession. As they approach the altar, C.D. lays Alex’s hand into Walker’s, then steps back.

 

“Who is it that brings this woman to this man?”

 

C.D.’s says, “I do.”

 

“And who offers this man to this woman?”

 

Cindy moves up by her father, and in a proud voice, “I do.” As she places her hands on their clasped hands, smiles up at them both and steps back to stand by C.D.

 

After the vows are said and rings are exchanged, the two newlyweds kiss, then turn to face the congregation. After many pictures are taken, the entire ensemble moves to the basement where the reception is held.

 

There are many congratulations all around, after which Walker with his arm around Alex, takes her to the dance floor for their first dance as man and wife. As they waltz around the room, they hear Cindy saying to C.D., “I told you, Grampa.”

 

*****

 

One day, not long after they return from their honeymoon, Alex, Walker, C.D., Trivette and Cindy are sitting around a table at C.D.’s bar and grill.

 

Walker looks at C.D. and asks, “At the reception I heard Cindy tell you, ‘I told you, Grampa.’ What did she mean?”

 

C.D. is puzzled for a minute, then as he remembers, he turns to Alex,  “Do you remember the first time you met Cindy?”

 

“I sure do. I thought she was a very pretty girl.” Alex puts her arm around Cindy and pulls her close.

 

“After you left that day, I explained to her that she shouldn’t just walk up to strangers like that. She said, and these are her exact words, “Okay, Grampa C.D., but she’s going to be my new mom.”

 

Walker, Alex, and Trivette all stare at Cindy. Walker picks her up and places her on his lap, “How did you know that, Princess?”

 

“I don’t know, Daddy, I just felt it.”

 

Trivette slaps himself on the forehead and exclaims, “Oh, no. Not another Walker with the Cherokee Thing.”

 

The End