The Nightmare                                       

By Chris (ckline-usa@foreverliving.com)

 &Sissy (sissy@svs.net)

As Alex stood staring out the window, she could hardly contain her excitement.  Her dream was finally coming true.  It was her wedding day; the one-day she had been dreaming about for the past eight years. ‘I’m marrying the man I love more than life. Cordell John Walker will soon be my husband; the father of my children.’

The gentle sounds of organ music could be heard just outside the door.  In a little more than an hour, she would be Mrs. Cordell Walker!  She thought back over the past eight years and everything that had happened to bring them to this day or try to prevent it!  Their first meeting in the courtroom was anything but cordial.  He had made her so angry that day but he did make up for it several days later with his New Year’s eve kiss, what a surprise!   She’d never forget when he helped her with a young rape victim.  She hugged Walker and thanked him and as she was walking away he told her he could get used to that.  She smiled when she thought of her response:  “That’s all I need is a crazy cowboy!”  Who would ever have guessed that she’d end up marrying that crazy cowboy! 

She thought of all the times when he had come to her rescue.  When he rescued her from the Cult sanctuary, she’d never seen him so angry.  His anger was curbed pretty quickly, though, when she’d kissed him. She smiled as she thought about it.  He was almost as shocked then as she had been on New Year’s.  Then there was the time she was tied to a chair with a bomb around her neck.  She really thought they were both going to die that day.  Of course the terrible ordeals with LaRue haunted her for a long time.  She didn’t know how she would have gotten over it without his support.  Then there was their trip to the Utah Mountains in search of the Swan Song.  Walker tried to talk her out of going but she was stubborn, as usual.  It was a good thing, too, after he was attacked by that grizzly and then they encountered the pilot of the plane who had been living wild for nearly 8 years.  She remembered how Walker and her father both came to her rescue when she was framed for murder.  If she never saw the inside of a jail cell again, it would be too soon.  He and Jimmy really saved the day when she and C.D. were buried alive in a school bus with about 15 children during a terrible storm. 

He’d given her quite a few scares over the years, too.  Like the time he rescued the little girl from a car after an accident only to end up in a coma after the car fell off the bridge with Walker in it.  And the time he went off to fight Bodine alone.  She was so angry with him that night.  She had tried desperately to convince him not to go and then yelled at him about his stupid, foolish pride.  He had seen her fear and tried to explain why he had to go.  That was also the first time he had told her that he cared about her.  The thought of that night warmed her heart even now.

We’ve shared a few sorrows, too.  When her horse, Amber was killed, Walker was so caring and supportive.  Then he had bought Cookie for her but tried to convince her that he had bought the horse for his ranch and she wasn’t working out.  It was such a sweet gesture.  None of us will ever forget Lucas.  He became special to all of us, especially Walker.  She really saw a different side of Walker during those weeks with Lucas.  His love of children was obvious and she had thought about what a good father he would make some day.  Lucas fought a brave battle and they were all devastated when he passed away.  She realized that that was the closest she had ever seen Walker to breaking down. 

The best memories were of their special moments together.  Like the time she kidnapped him and took him rafting.  The trip nearly ended in disaster, but their first night out there had been magical.  Then there was the time they spent at that hotel with the “rich and famous”.  They had played a married couple and it had been wonderful.  Of course, her greatest memory was his proposal at the hospital after she’d been shot at Phil and Kim’s wedding.  He’d been so quiet, almost shy.  She knew that he hadn’t slept in days.  I will never forget the look in his eyes when he had proposed.

Of course, their adventures didn’t end there.  There was her ordeal with the Trammel brothers during their trip to Utah with Jimmy, Trent and Carlos and their most recent run-in with Caleb Hooks.  She had never been so cold.  She thought for sure that she and Jimmy weren’t going to make it out.  She had even said goodbye to Walker and told him that she loved him.

A knock on the door snaps Alex out of her daydream. She opens the door to let Josie in. “Come on lady, it’s time to get you dressed. Can’t have the groom waiting too long now, can we?”

Even as Josie enters the room, Alex is still reminiscing in her mind.  ‘I’ll always have those memories. Good and bad.  But the memory of this day will make all the others dim in significance.’  She raises her eyes skyward, “God, please don’t let anything stop us now!”

“Hey, Alex, you okay?  You seem kind of out of it.”

“Huh, oh, Josie, I’m fine.  Just thinking about the past. You know, Josie, sometimes it’s still hard for me to believe that Walker and I have finally made it to this day.”

“Hey, girl, the past is past; today’s about the future.  Yours and Walkers, FINALLY!!!”

“You’re right, let’s get to it.”

Josie helps Alex step into her gown, then pulls it up and starts buttoning up the back.  As Alex gazes into the full-length mirror, she smiles at what she sees.  She had spent months looking for the perfect dress-one that would knock Walker off his feet when he saw her.  She had finally found it at a little bridal shop in Fort Worth when she had gone there for a deposition on a case.  She couldn’t wait to see his reaction when she walked down the aisle!

“Alex, I think you’re ready. I’ll get C.D. and we’ll meet you right outside the door, okay?” Josie heads out the door in search of C.D.

A few minutes later, Alex opens the door and joins C.D. in the hall, “Oh, honey, you sure do look pretty.”

“Thank you, C.D., I’m a little nervous, though.” She whispers, as they head for the sanctuary to start the trip down the aisle.

“Nothin’ to be nervous about, darlin’.  You know you two are meant for each other.”

“Yeah, C.D., I know.  I just don’t want anything to go wrong today.  How’s Walker holding up?”

“Well, you know Cordell.  Not much in the talking department!  He’s sure gonna flip when he sees you, though!”

As they approach the entrance of the sanctuary, Alex looks up to see Walker waiting for her at the altar.  Her face lights up with the most beautiful smile. Looking to the left, suddenly the smile disappears and is replaced with a look of bewilderment as she sees Dalton standing in the front pew.  She turns her head and sees her ex-husband directly across the aisle from Dalton. As she continues down the aisle, she sees Aimee, Walker's first love, then Merilee Summers. ‘God, what is going on’.  Her look of bewilderment turns to pure terror when she sees Vince Pike, Max Kale, Carl Storm and Caleb Hooks standing on both sides of the aisle.  She closes her eyes and shakes her head hoping that this is all a bad dream.  When she opens her eyes, she sees Victor LaRue leering at her from the front row.  She’s ready to turn and run but knows that Walker is here and won’t let anything bad happen.  She looks toward the altar and Walker, only to see him holding Ellen in his arms.  She can stand it no longer.  She releases C.D.’s arm and runs up the aisle, screaming, “No, No, he’s mine. You can’t have him. He’s mine now. You can’t have him.”

Alex jerks upright in bed, screaming, “He’s mine, he’s mine.” Her eyes snap open, she looks around and realizes it was all a dream. She’s drenched in sweat and tears are streaming from her eyes.

Earlier that evening:

Walker was sitting on the steps of the porch drinking a cup of coffee and thinking about Alex.  He was worried about her.  She hadn’t seemed herself lately but each time he questioned her, she avoided the issue, saying that her caseload was very heavy and she was feeling a little run down.  He had let it go, not wanting to push her too much.  He hoped that eventually she would want to talk.  They hadn’t seen much of each other over the past week.  Alex had been busy in court and Walker and Trivette had been on a stakeout most of the week trying to nail some new drug dealers who had just rolled into Dallas.  When Friday finally arrived, Walker had suggested that Alex come out to the ranch for the weekend and they could spend some time together and relax.  She had arrived around 7:00 that evening just as Walker was getting ready to put the steaks on the grill.  During dinner, Walker had noticed that Alex seemed extremely tired.  In fact, she seemed to be struggling just to keep her eyes open to finish dinner.  As soon as they were done with dinner, Walker had insisted that she lie down on the couch and rest while he cleaned up the dishes.  He was surprised when she didn’t argue with him.  It was now nearly 9:00.

*****

Hearing Alex scream, Walker bursts through the front door and rushes to her side.  Sitting on the edge of the couch, he takes her in his arms and pulls her close against his chest.  She puts her arms around his neck and hangs on for dear life. “Alex, it’s all right, it’s all right, you were just dreaming, baby.  It was just a dream.”  He whispers soothingly to her as he strokes her hair.

When she finally calms down, she pulls back, looks at Walker and whispers, “It wasn’t a dream, it was my worst nightmare.”

Still holding her close, “Do you want to tell me about it?”

Suddenly embarrassed, Alex drops her head unwilling to meet his eyes.  “No, it’s silly.  I’ll be fine.”

Placing his hand under her chin and raising her head to look at him, “Alex, if something’s bothering you, it might help to talk about it.  How long has this been going on?”

Still reluctant to meet his gaze, “What do you mean, how long, it was just a dream.”

“Alex, look at me.”  She lifts her head and meets his eyes. “Something has been bothering you lately.  You haven’t been yourself and I’m guessing that you haven’t been sleeping much.  You barely made it through dinner tonight.  I’m also guessing that it has nothing to do with your caseload.  Alex, I love you and if something’s bothering you, I want to help.  Please talk to me.  Now, how long has this been going on?”

Alex takes a deep breath. Seeing the concern in Walker’s eyes, she very quietly she answers him. “A few weeks, I guess, maybe a month.”

“Just about the time we set a wedding date?”

“Yes.”

“Do the dreams have something to do with the wedding?  Are you having second thoughts?”

Alex is shocked!  She immediately hugs him tightly. “No, No, not a all.  Yes, the dreams do have something to do with the wedding but I’m not having second thoughts.  She pulls back taking his face in her hands and looking directly into his eyes.  “Cordell Walker, you are the most important thing in my life and I can’t wait to be your wife.  I could never have second thoughts about us.”

Relieved, but still concerned, Walker smiles at Alex.  “So tell me what this dream is all about.”

Releasing his face and looking toward the floor, “Actually, it’s quite silly.  You’re probably going to think I’m ridiculous for even letting it get to me.”

Bringing her head up again to meet his eyes, “Alex, it’s not silly if it’s bothering you and I could never think you were ridiculous.  Talk to me.”

“It started shortly after we set the date.  At first, it was just every few days or so and after I woke up, it usually only took me a few minutes to get back to sleep.  Lately, though, the dreams have been much more disturbing and I’ve been having them virtually every time I close my eyes.  I can’t seem to get back to sleep after I wake up so I haven’t had a whole lot of sleep in the last few weeks.  It always starts out wonderful.  It’s our wedding day and everything is fine until I start to walk down the aisle.  I see everyone from our past, Dalton Reed, my ex-husband, Aimee, Merilee, Vince Pike, Max Kale, Carl Storm, Caleb Hooks and Victor LaRue all among the guests!  That’s bad enough but the worst part is that every time I look toward the altar, I see you with Ellen in your arms and it tears my heart out.  I go running down the aisle screaming at her.  You probably think I am such a fool to let this bother me.”

The tears begin to flow and there’s nothing Alex can do to stop them.  Walker gathers her up in his arms and tries to calm her, gently rocking her back and forth and speaking softly to her.  He is shocked by her revelation.  He had thought that they had successfully exorcised Alex’s jealousy about his relationship with Ellen but obviously he was wrong.  He wondered how long this had been eating at her.  His heart broke for her.  He loved her so much; there was nothing that he wouldn’t do for her.  He knew what she needed to get over this, it was just a matter of whether or not he could convince her to go through with it.

As her tears slowed, Walker continued to hold her close.  “Alex, I could never think you were a fool.  I must say that I am a little surprised.  I thought that you and I had worked through this that evening after Pike had been recaptured.  I wish you had come to me and let me know it was still bothering you.  We could have talked and maybe prevented this.”

“Walker, I didn’t even know it was still bothering me.  After our talk, everything was great and I never even gave it a second thought.  I was secure in our relationship and I knew you loved me.  Even after we became engaged, I didn’t think about it.  It was only after I started to plan the wedding that it seemed to resurface.  I feel so ridiculous being jealous of a ghost.”

“Alex, I think I may know a way to help you work through this.  Would you consider taking the day off on Monday and going to the reservation with me this weekend to talk to White Eagle?”

“Oh, Walker, I don’t know.  I don’t want to bother White Eagle with something so petty.  Besides, I’m not part of the tribe.  I wouldn’t feel right about it.  I’m sure everything will be fine.  I just need to get some down time, preferably with my favorite cowboy.” 

“Alex, if this has been going on for nearly a month, I really don’t think a couple of days of down time is going to fix everything.  You even said yourself that the dreams are getting more frequent and they are obviously causing you enough anxiety that you’re not getting any sleep.  The wedding’s only a few weeks away.  If this keeps up, you’re going to be a wreck by that time.  You’re not part of the tribe yet but you will be once we’re married.  Besides, White Eagle thinks the world of you, you know that.  I know he would want to help you.  We could leave early tomorrow morning and come back Monday afternoon.”  Seeing the hesitation on her face, he gives her his best puppy dog eyes and says, “Please.”

Knowing that Walker is right about the fact that if she doesn’t start getting some sleep, she will be a basket case by the time their wedding day arrives and seeing the worried look in his eyes, Alex finally relents.  “Okay, maybe you’re right.  I didn’t have anything critical planned for Monday.  I guess I can call and leave a message for Jessica that I won’t be in on Monday and ask her to reschedule the few appointments that I have.”

“Great!  I’ll call Trivette right now and let him know that I won’t be in on Monday.”

“Walker, don’t tell Jimmy what this is all about.  I really feel silly about this and the fewer people that know about it, the better.”

“There’s nothing to feel silly about and I am sure that Trivette would understand but if you don’t want me to tell him, I won’t.”  Kissing her gently, he gets up from the couch and heads to the phone.

Jimmy answers on the second ring.  “Hello.” 

“Trivette, it’s me.”

“Hey, Walker, what’s up?”

“Listen, I’m going to take the day off on Monday.  Alex and I are going to head to the reservation for a few days.”

“Sure, no problem.  Everything okay?”

“Yeah, everything’s fine.  Alex and I just need a couple of days away.”

“Okay, pard.  Is there someplace I can reach you if I need you?”

“Yeah, I’ll check in with Sam when we get there so if you need us, just give him a call.  He’ll know where we are going to be.  Oh, and can you call C.D. and let him know?  I know he’ll worry if he doesn’t see us tomorrow night and I don’t want to bug him tonight.”

“Can do.  You’re sure everything’s okay?”

“Yeah, we’re fine.  We’ll see you on Tuesday.”

“Okay, have a safe trip.”

“Thanks.”

Walker hangs up the phone and looks back to Alex on the couch.  “Okay, your turn.”

She calls her office and leaves her secretary a message asking Jessica to reschedule her appointments on Monday and letting her know that if she needs to reach them, she should get in touch with Ranger Trivette.

“Do you have enough clothes here to pack or do we need to take a drive back to your apartment?”

“No, I’m sure I have enough here.  I’ve been slowly moving my more casual clothes here so that I don’t have so much to do after the wedding.”

“Okay, then, why don’t you get packed and I’ll start rounding up what we need.  I’d like to get an early start.”

“Okay, it shouldn’t take me long and then I’ll give you a hand.”

The next couple of hours are spent packing and getting ready for their early morning trip.  By midnight, everything is ready.  Walker checks Alex’s room but finds it empty.  He notices that the front door is open and looking out, sees Alex curled up on the porch swing staring at the stars.  He can see how tired she is.  He quietly steps on to the porch and joins her on the swing.  She smiles at him and snuggles under his outstretched arm.  “We’ve got a early morning tomorrow, you really should try to get some sleep.”  The mere mention of sleep causes Alex’s body to tense.

“I know…it’s just…”

“I know.  Would you feel better if I slept downstairs on the couch?  That way, I’d be close by if you needed me.”

“Would you mind?”

“I wouldn’t have asked if I minded.  Come on, we both need to get some sleep.  We’ve got a long drive tomorrow.”

Leaving Alex at the guestroom with a soft kiss and a wish for pleasant dreams, Walker goes to his room, changes into a pair of light workout pants, grabs a pillow and blanket and heads back to the living room.  Noticing that the light is still on in Alex’s room, he quietly opens the door of the guestroom to check on her.  He finds her sound asleep with a book still in her hands.  Quietly, so as not to disturb her, he enters the room, removes the book from her hands and covers her with the comforter.  Switching off the light as he leaves, he heads to the living room for some much needed sleep.

Walker is only asleep an hour before be hears Alex’s screams.  “NO! NO!”  He races to her side and tries to calm her.

“Alex, Alex, it’s okay.  I’m here.”

“Walker, I can’t take this anymore.  I don’t know what’s wrong with me.  Every time I close my eyes I see her with you.”

“Shhhh.  Come on, now.  I’m here and I’m not going anywhere.  I love you, Alex.  You’ll see, we’ll work through this together.  It’s going to be okay.”

He tries to ease her back to the pillow but she resists, not wanting to let him go.  “Alex, relax.  I promise, I won’t leave.  Just lie back and rest.”

Finally releasing her death grip around his neck, she lies back on the pillows but maintains a hold on his arms.  “Relax.  I’m right here.”

Standing up but making sure to keep a hand on Alex, Walker moves to the other side of the bed and climbs under the covers beside her.  Gathering her close to his side, “Come here, Alex.”

She immediately snuggles as close to Walker as she can get, resting her head in the crook of his neck.  As he gently rubs her back and soothes her with gentle words, she finally begins to relax in his arms. “That’s it, relax.  I’ll stay right here.  You try to get some sleep.”

Pulling back and looking lovingly into his eyes, she softly whispers “Thank you.”

“Shhh.  Go to sleep.  We have a long day ahead of us.”

He continues to rub her back and soon he hears her breathing slow and take on the steady pattern of sleep.  It is only then that he himself relaxes and drifts off to sleep.

Walker wakes with the sunrise to find Alex still sleeping peacefully in his arms.  She had not been bothered by nightmares as long as he held her.  Smiling down at her, he thinks ‘I can’t wait to wake up like this every morning.’

Alex begins to stir and he leans down and softly brushes her lips with his.  “Hey, sleepy head, we better get up if we’re going to get to the reservation by noon.”

She slowly opens her eyes and finds herself staring straight into Walker’s.  “Mmmm…hi!  This is nice!”

Kissing her again, he replies, “Yes, it is.  I think I could get used to waking up with you in my arms.”

“Mmmm…just a few more weeks.”

“Why don’t you head for the shower and I’ll fix us some breakfast, then grab a quick shower when we’re done.”

“Okay.”

By 7:00 a.m., Walker and Alex are on the road headed for the reservation.  The day is pleasant and they spend the time laughing, joking and in comfortable moments of silence.  Alex dozes off and on during the trip, waking several times with a start.  Each time, Walker is there, holding her hand and calming her fears.  She’s glad he convinced her to do this.  The nightmares haven’t subsided and it’s really beginning to worry her.

They arrive at the reservation just after 12:00 noon and head directly to the Sheriff’s office to see Sam Coyote.  Upon hearing a truck engine, Sam emerges from his office and is pleasantly surprised to find Walker and Alex just stepping out of the truck.

“Walker, Alex, what in the world are you two doing here?”

“Hi, Sam!”

“Hey, Sam.  What?  I can’t just drop in for a visit now and then.”

“Of course you can, you just don’t do it very often!”

“I know, I know.  Alex and I needed a few days of relaxation so we thought we’d come here.  No better place for peace and quiet.”

“You got that right.  What are your plans?”

“Well, if it’s all right with you, I’d like to leave my truck and the horse trailer at your place.  We’re going to take Amigo and Angel and head out into the prairie for some fishing and camping.”

“You’re always welcome, you know that.  Feel free to make yourselves at home.  You know where the key is.  Are you planning to take off this afternoon or wait until tomorrow?”

“No, I think we’ll get moving this afternoon.  We only have today and tomorrow.  We’ll need to head back to Dallas on Monday.  Oh, by the way, I told Trivette that if he needed us to get in touch with you and you’d know how to find us.”

“Sure, no problem.  Just let me know where you’re headed.”

While Walker and Sam chatted, Alex wandered over to the general store to get some drinks.  Walker took the opportunity to fill Sam in on why they were here and exactly where they were planning to ride so that he would know where to find them if necessary.  He told Sam how Alex was anxious about anyone knowing the reason for their visit and Sam assured him that his secret was safe and she would be none the wiser.

When Alex returned, Walker and Sam were just finishing up.  “You ready to go, lady?”

“Sure.  Here, I brought you a lemonade.”

“Thanks.”

“Hey, Sam, thanks again for letting us use your place.  We’ll probably be back late afternoon tomorrow and then head out on Monday.”

“Great.  I’ll even make dinner tomorrow night!  I know what you normally eat when you go camping, Walker so I’m sure Alex will be thankful for real food by tomorrow.”

Alex giggles and says, “You’re right about that Sam.”

“Okay, you two.  I get the hint.  Thanks again, Sam.  We’ll see you tomorrow.”

They hop back in the truck and head for Sam’s house.  Once there, they load up the horses and drop their extra gear in Sam’s guestroom.  By 1:30 p.m., they are on their way to find White Eagle.  Sam had told Walker where White Eagle had been spending most of his time lately, so it didn’t take long for Walker to pick up the old shaman’s trail.  By 3:00 p.m. they had arrived at White Eagle’s camp.  Alex was amazed at how quickly Walker had picked up and followed White Eagle’s trail.  His knowledge of tracking and the outdoors always amazed her.

As they approached the campsite, White Eagle emerged from his tee pee.  “Washo, Alex, I’ve been expecting you.  It is good to see you.”

Alex was shocked. “You have!? But, how did you know we were coming?”

“The spirits, my child.”

Walker smiled. “Hello, White Eagle.  It is good to see you too.  Since you were expecting us, I assume you also know why we are here.”

“Of course, Washo.  Come, relax.  You have traveled far today.”

Walker and Alex dismount and unload their supplies.  Walker then takes the horses to the nearby stream to let them get a drink and graze.  Returning to the camp, he finds that Alex is just about finished setting up their tent and White Eagle is starting a fire.

Approaching Alex from behind, she jumps when he places his hand on her shoulder.  “Hey, it’s just me.  Come on, let’s take a walk down by the stream.”

“Okay.”

They leave the camp hand in hand and walk down toward where Walker left the horses.  Walker can feel the tension in Alex.  Finally, he stops, turns to look at her and taking both of her hands in his, says “Sweetheart, you have got to relax.  Your wound so tight, I’m afraid you going to cut off the circulation in my hand.  There’s nothing to be nervous about.  White Eagle wants to help and so do I.”  He pulls her toward him and hugs her.

She places her arms around his waist and melts into his body.  She feels so safe and secure when she is with him.  “I’m sorry, Walker.  I just can’t stop thinking about these nightmares and the more I think about them, the tenser I get.”

“Come on.  I want to show you something.”  He releases her and takes her hand again leading her down the riverbank.  After a short distance, they come to a large group of rocks and an incredibly beautiful waterfall.  Walker and Alex climb up to the top and are rewarded with the most spectacular view of the falls and the surrounding area.  Walker takes a deep, cleansing breath of fresh air.

“Walker, this is beautiful.”

“I know.  It’s one of my favorite places to come when I need to relax.”

Sitting down on the rocks, he reaches for Alex’s hand and guides her to sit between his legs, her back to his chest.  “Now, close your eyes and take a deep breath.”  As she does this, Walker begins to massage the tight knots in her shoulders and neck.  His hands feel wonderful and within minutes, Alex feels herself begin to relax.  As he works, he speaks to her softly, instructing her to breathe and clear her mind.  After about 15 minutes of this, Alex feels like a new woman.  She is calm and relaxed and very content.  Walker pulls her back to lay against his chest, wrapping his arms around her waist.  They sit enjoying the scenery and each other’s company, neither feeling a need to speak.

“We’d better think about heading back.  The sun will be setting soon and we still need to catch something for dinner.”

Reaching her hand up to caress his soft beard and looking him in the eyes, “Thank you again.  You always seem to know just what I need.  This has been wonderful.  I feel so much better.”

Smiling down at her, “I’m glad.  Come on.  White Eagle will be wondering where we’ve run off to.”

They return to the camp to find White Eagle sitting by the fire meditating.  As they approach, he opens his eyes.  “Did you have a pleasant walk?”

Alex replies, “Yes, it was wonderful.  Washo took me to his favorite place for relaxation and I must say it was just what I needed.”

“Ahh, yes, the falls by the riverbank.  Washo spent much time there as a boy.  Whenever he was troubled, I knew where to look for him.”

“Alex, why don’t you stay here and talk to White Eagle while I go and find us something for dinner?”

White Eagle nods at Walker, acknowledging Walker’s request for White Eagle’s help with Alex’s nightmares.  “You go, we will prepare for your return.”

Walker feels Alex’s grip on his hand tighten slightly.  He squeezes back, leans toward her and whispers “Trust me.  Everything’s going to be fine.”  He then kisses her on the cheek and heads out of the camp to hunt for their evening meal.

While Walker is gone, White Eagle questions Alex about her nightmares.  Alex tells White Eagle about the nightmares and about her jealousy of Ellen and Walker and what they once had together.  White Eagle explains that dreams are sometimes a window to the future but often are merely manifestations of our own fears that we have tried to bury deep within our minds.  We may not consciously think of these fears but they reveal themselves subconsciously through dreams.  White Eagle helps Alex realize that her fear that something terrible will happen at their wedding is probably at the root of her nightmares.  It has taken them so long to get to this point and she wants so much for their wedding to be perfect.  When Alex questions White Eagle about her vision of Ellen in Walker’s arms at the altar, he tells her that sometimes what the eyes see is not what is truly there.  He tells her what Walker has told her before that although Ellen’s death affected him deeply, he has dealt with those feelings and moved forward.  White Eagle assures Alex that Washo’s heart beats only for her and that the spirits have blessed their union.

Just before sunset, Walker returns to the camp with dinner in hand and finds Alex and White Eagle sitting side by side.  White Eagle is teaching Alex the finer points of cooking over an open fire.  Alex seems relaxed and at ease.  As Walker arrives in camp, Alex comes to greet him with a warm hug.  Looking over her shoulder at White Eagle, the old shaman gives him a slight nod, indicating that he and Alex have talked and everything is going well.  Walker returns her hug, kisses her on the cheek and then begins to help White Eagle prepare their evening meal.

After dinner they sit around the fire and chat.  White Eagle tells Alex stories of Walker’s childhood, much to Walker’s dismay in some cases.  They laugh and talk well into the night.  Walker sees Alex stifling a yawn.  “You look pretty beat, why don’t you get some sleep.”

“No, I’m fine, really.”

White Eagle speaks, “Alex, there is nothing to fear.  Should the dream recur, simply remember what we talked about earlier.  Things are not always as they seem and I shall be there to guide you.”

“I’ll try.  Well, goodnight.”  She gives Walker a kiss on the cheek and disappears into the tent.

A short time later, Walker is staring into the fire when he hears Alex’s restless movement within the tent.  He is about to go to her when White Eagle stops him.

“Washo, she must see this through on her own.  I shall help to guide her.”  With this statement, Walker sits down again and watches as White Eagle begins to chant, placing himself in a trance.

*****

“Alex, I think you’re ready. I’ll get C.D. and we’ll meet you right outside the door, okay?” Josie heads out the door in search of C.D.

A few minutes later, Alex opens the door and joins C.D. in the hall, “Oh, honey, you sure do look pretty.”

“Thank you, C.D., I’m a little nervous, though.” She whispers, as they head for the sanctuary to start the trip down the aisle.

“Nothin’ to be nervous about, darlin’.  You know you two are meant for each other.”

“Yeah, C.D., I know.  I just don’t want anything to go wrong today.  How’s Walker holding up?”

“Well, you know Cordell.  Not much in the talking department!  He’s sure gonna flip when he sees you, though!”

As they approach the entryway of the sanctuary and begin walking down the aisle, Alex looks from side to side seeing all of people from hers and Walker’s past.  She becomes nervous and looks to Walker for help.  She is crushed to see him standing at the altar with Ellen in his arms.  Just as she is about to run toward them, she hears the voice of White Eagle.

“Alex, remember what we talked about.  One’s eyes do not always see clearly.  Do not run.  Breathe deeply and listen carefully.”

As Alex listens, she is amazed by what she hears.  “Well, Cord, I guess it’s finally time for me to move on.  I don’t have to worry about you anymore.  I must say I was beginning to have my doubts.  I’m so happy that you have finally found someone to share your life with.  You and Alex are meant for each other; I’m glad you finally came to your senses.  Be happy, my love.”  With this, Ellen kisses Walker gently on the cheek and walks toward Alex.  “Take care of him, Alex.”

With tears streaming down her cheeks, “I will.” is all she can manage to say.

Ellen replies “I know you will.  He’s lucky to have found you.” and continues to walk toward the back of the church.

Alex watches her leave and when she turns back toward the altar, she sees Walker waiting for her with the brightest smile Alex has ever seen.

*****

Alex wakes the next morning feeling rested and happier than she has felt in weeks.  Emerging from the tent, she finds White Eagle preparing breakfast but Walker is nowhere to be seen.  Stretching, she smiles at White Eagle, “Good Morning, White Eagle.”

“Good Morning, Alex.  Did you sleep well?”

“I did, thanks to you.  How can I ever thank you for helping me.”

“You helped yourself.  I merely provided needed guidance.”

Approaching him and sitting next to him, Alex gives White Eagle a warm hug.  “Well, thank you for your guidance.  I know now why Washo always seeks you out when he is troubled.”

Hugging her back, “You’re welcome, my child.”

“By the way, where is Washo?”

Smiling, White Eagle replies, “He is at the river, hopefully catching our breakfast.”

“Well, maybe I’ll just take a walk down there and see how he’s doing.”

As Alex approaches the riverbank, she sees Walker standing at the edge, fishing rod in hand.  She approaches as quietly as possible, trying to remember everything that Walker has taught her.

As Walker casts out his fishing line, he smiles, thinking to himself  ‘She’s getting better but she still needs some practice.’

When she is just about to him, he drops his rod and spins around grabbing her by the waist.  She screams “Walker!” as he pulls her into his arm.

“You’re getting better but I’m afraid you still need some practice.”

“Oh, you.”  She slaps his chest playfully.

Reaching up and placing his hand gently on the side of her cheek, he looks lovingly into her eyes. “You look beautiful.  Did you sleep well?”

She stares back at him with a huge smile.  “Yes, I did, thanks to White Eagle.  I feel like a new woman.”

“I’m glad.”

Leaning forward, Alex captures his lips in a passionate kiss that nearly takes his breath away.

“What was that for?”

“For bringing me here and always taking such good care of me.  I love you so much.”

Happy to have Alex back again, he replies “My pleasure and I love you too!”

*****

Three Weeks Later

Alex stands staring out the large picture window in her living room thinking about Walker and what a wonderful day they are going to have.  It’s their wedding day!  In a few hours, she will be Mrs. Cordell Walker.  Thanks to White Eagle’s teachings, she is relaxed and confident that this day will be perfect, just as she has always imagined.

THE END