The Second Edition

By Sissy (sissy@svs.net)

& Chris (ckline-usa@foreverliving.com)

Alex walks up the sidewalk to the HOPE house, climbing the steps slowly as she feels the wear and tear of a long day.  Before she can open the door, it swings out and a small tornado descends upon her, grabbing her around the knees, giggling and crying, “Mommy, Mommy, hurry, come see.”  The child grabs Alex’s hand and tugs, trying to get her to hurry inside.

“I’m coming Jessie! What is it, honey?” Alex smiles at the child’s exuberance and finds it very contagious as her weariness slips away and she quickly follows Jessie inside.  Suddenly Jessie stops, turns to face her mother and places her finger at her lips then tiptoes up to a basket that’s sitting on the couch.

Alex peers over Jessie’s shoulder and sees a sleeping baby, maybe two months old. Alex smiles as she looks down at the tiny bundle.  She reaches out and puts her finger in the baby’s curled fingers, which instantly wrap around hers.

As Alex kneels down at the side of the basket, Jessie moves closer and puts her arm around Alex’s neck, whispering, “Mommy can we get one? Please!”

*****

Alex is sitting on the couch staring into the flames in the fireplace as Walker comes down the stairs after tucking Jessie into bed. “Alex, if we could bottle the energy Jessie has, we’d make a fortune.”

“I know what you mean, darling.” She reaches a hand out for him; he takes it and sits down beside her. “Did she tell you what she saw at the HOPE house today?”

“Um … no, I don’t think so.  She was talking about so much, I’m not sure what she told me.” He leans over and kisses her softly on the lips. “What was it she saw today? Ten to one, she wanted one, didn’t she?”

As she snuggles back into his arms, “Well … yes, she did.  How did you know?”

He kisses the top of her head, “Because Jesse wants anything new she sees.  Now, tell me what she saw that seems to have filled your mind as well.”

She softly murmurs, “A baby.”

“A baby! I didn’t know they had any babies at the HOPE house.” He tightens his arms around her, pulling her closer.

“This one was just temporary, just in the afternoon for the next couple of days. She was beautiful, about 2 months old and so soft.”

“And Jessie said she wanted one?”

“Yes, she ask me if we could get one.”

Walker murmurs into her ear. “Well, maybe its time to think about another one, hon, Jessie’s past two now and the nursery has been empty a long time.”

“Honey, I think it’s a little late to think about it.”

“Why, baby, don’t you want another ba….”  What she said finally sinks in, “Alex …” he turns her around to face him, “Honey, are you telling me…!”

She leans in and kisses him softly, “Yes, darling, our second is already on the way.”

“Honey, that’s great!” He pulls her into a tight hug, then pushes her back and sees the brightness in her eyes, “Alex, I love you so much.” He kisses her again, a tender, lingering, kiss. “How soon before …?”

“About mid-July, darling.” She snuggles back into his arms, “that’ll give us time to get the nursery redecorated.”

They sit, snuggled together staring into the flames, thinking about the new baby on the way. Walker murmurs into her ear, “When should we tell Jessie?”

“Why don’t we wait until I start to show.  As it is, the wait will seem like years to her but I think we should tell her before we tell anyone else, don’t you?”

“I agree.” Walker begins nibbling at her ear that turns to soft kisses, then his hand slips up under her shirt, cupping her breast, massaging it gently. Murmurs softly, “You’ve made me a very happy man, honey.  I sure do love you.” Alex turns in his arms as he lowers his lips to hers in a soft sensuous, lingering kiss.

As Alex feels his desire against her, she brings the kiss to an end and, to his surprise, stands.  She reaches down, takes his hand and murmurs, “Come on, sweetheart, let’s take this upstairs.”

He quickly comes to his feet, smiles softly at her as he touches his lips to hers, then slides his arm around her waist.  He turns the lights out as they leave the living room and start up the stairs.

*****

Walker wakes up with a smile on his face that is still there when he pushes open the door to Ranger Headquarters.  He tries to stop smiling, knowing Trivette is going to badger him to find out why he is so happy, although he has been like this since the day he and Alex were finally married.  Then when Jessie was born, it had just added to his happiness.  He finally gets rid of the smile but he can still feel the happiness in his face whether he smiles or not. It just isn’t going to be contained.

He hangs up his hat and coat and pours a cup of coffee before sitting down at his desk. He picks up the folder lying on the desk in front of him, but his mind is still on the tiny bundle that is on the way. As he stares at the folder, Trivette turns around from his computer.

“Walker, that’s the guy …” He stops as he sees something different about Walker, but not to sure just what it is. When Walker doesn’t look up at him, he knows something is brewing. “Walker, are you all right?” But Walker still doesn’t move. “Walker!

He jumps, “What, Trivette.  You don’t have to yell, I’m right here.” As Walker looks up at him, he sees a shine on his face that he can only remember seeing maybe twice before.

Trivette mumbles, “Well, that’s debatable.”

“What’s that suppose to mean?”

“You’ve got that look on your face again.”

“Trivette, what are you talking about?” Walker is having a hard time keeping the news to himself.  Every bone in his body is alive with the knowledge that another addition to his family is on the way.

“Come on, Walker. I’ve seen that look before.  I just can’t put my finger on when.”

“Trivette, are we going to play 20 questions or are we going to get some work done?”

“Okay, man. Have it your way but it’ll come to me eventually.” He turns back to his computer but keeps one eye on Walker.

“Trivette, I’ve got to see Alex for a minute then we’ll go check out a few places and see if we can find this guy. Okay?”

“Okay, Walker, I’ll be ready.” He replies as he watches his partner walk out the door. ‘Man, something is definitely going on.  I just wish I knew what’.

*****

Walker pushes open the door to the ADA’s outer office, “Is she busy, Amy?”

“No, sir, she’s alone.”

He nods his thanks, taps on the door and pushes it open.

When Alex hears the door open, she looks up to see her husband coming toward her with a huge smile on his face. As he comes around her desk, she stands and when he pulls her into his arms she slides hers around his waist. “Darling, if you keep walking around with that smile on your face, everyone that sees you is going to know our secret.”

“I can’t help it, Alex. I think we need to tell Jessie tonight because I don’t think I’m going to be able to keep this to myself for much longer. Trivette is already suspicious. I just hope he doesn’t figure it out before we tell Jessie.”

She kisses him lightly, “Honey, I think you’re almost as excited about this one as you were when you found out Jessie was on the way.”

He pulls her closer and murmurs, “Well, the first is always a little special, but only because she is the beginning of our family.   All the babies from here on just makes our life richer.”

All the babies? Walker, just how many babies are you planning on?” She leans back and looks at him with wide eyes.

He pulls her back into his arms, chuckles slightly, “As many as the good Lord sees fit to let us have.” Kisses her softly. “Besides, what about your elusive dream?  Weren’t there two boys and two girls?”

“Oh, Walker, that was just fever induced rambling.  You don’t really believe that’s going to come true, do you?”

“Well … if it does, it’s would be just fine with me. How about you?”

“Walker … I … who …?” She stops rambling and just stares into his eyes. “Well, I guess I’d have to agree.  If God sees fit to give us that many babies, who am I to argue with him.”

He pulls her close, and kisses her gently, “Then we tell Jessie tonight?”

She nods as their mouths meet lightly in a soft kiss that leaves them both breathing hard when she slowly pulls away. “Honey, I think you’d better get back to work, for both our sakes?”

“Umm … I think you’re right. Remember where we left off; we’ll pick it up again, tonight, okay.” He touches her lips lightly again, then releases her and starts for the door.

“You can count on it. See you at C.D.’s for lunch?”

“If I can, but don’t wait on me, okay?” He watches her nod her head then he goes out the door.

*****

Walker somehow manages to make it through the rest of the day without saying anything to Trivette or anyone else, for that matter, about the impending arrival, although Trivette keeps after him to explain his easygoing manner even with the bad guys. His partner is in a good mood and nothing that happens seems to dampen it.

When Walker leaves Ranger Headquarters to head home for the evening, Trivette is still scratching his head trying to figure out what could be causing the change in his partner. Trivette follows Walker to the door, staring after him.  He sees Alex come out of her office, take Walker’s hand in hers and head for the elevator.  Just as the elevator door closes, it hits him.  He finally remembers the last time he saw Walker like this. ‘Well, I’ll be.’  He’s filled with joy for them but decides it’s better not to say anything and let Walker be the one to break the news.  He turns and chuckling softly gives a very happy “YES”.  When everyone still in the office turns to look at him, he quickly pulls himself together and goes to his desk, grabs his hat and leaves Ranger Headquarters.

*****

Alex kisses Walker lightly, “Will you pick up Jessie?  I need to stop at the store before I go home.  It’ll give you two more time together.”

“I’d like that.” He starts for his truck, then turns back, “Tonight’s the night, right?”

“Yes, darling. We’ll tell her right after supper, okay?”

He smiles at her then they get into their respective vehicles and go in different directions. As Walker pushes the door open at HOPE house, Jessie is right there waiting for him. He reaches down and picks her up, giving her a hug as she kisses his cheek. “Daddy, can I show you something?”

“You sure can, baby,” he stands her back on the floor, “lead the way.”  She takes his hand and leads him into the living room. When he looks into the basket, at the sleeping baby, the big tough Texas Ranger in him melts into a puddle. Walker kneels down, takes Jessie in his arms, and they both seem to be mesmerized with the small bundle. Walker reaches in with his free hand and gently touches the baby’s cheek, causing her head to turn toward his touch.  He smiles, then picking up Jessie as he stands, starts for the door. Walker lets Josie know that he has Jessie and after telling her good night, he goes to the truck, belts Jessie in and starts the trip home.

The trip to the ranch is quiet until, “Daddy?”

“Yes, honey.”

“Do you like babies?”

“I sure do, honey. Why?”

“Do you think Santa Claus will bring us one if I’m real good?  That’s all I want. Do you think he would, Daddy?”

The question really stuns Walker and it takes him a minute to gather his wits about him to answer her. “Well … I don’t know, baby. I’m not sure bringing babies is in Santa Claus’ power.” He watches her face fall, then, “Honey, why don’t we talk this over with Mommy after supper tonight. Okay?”

Her face brightens at the idea of talking to her mother about babies, cause her mom was as fascinated with the baby as she was. “Okay, Daddy.”

*****

Walker cleans up the kitchen while Alex is giving Jessie her bath and getting her ready for bed. Walking to the door he turns to make sure everything is done then turns out the light and hurries upstairs.

He enters Jessie’s bedroom just as she climbs up into bed. When she sees him, “Daddy!”

“Hi, Princess.” He sits down on the edge of the bed next to Alex sliding his arm around her waist, “All ready to say your prayers?”

Jessie stares at him then says, “Daddy, you forgot.”

“Forgot what, honey?”

“You said we could talk to Mommy tonight.”

“Oh, I did, didn’t I. All right, you ask Mommy what you asked me this afternoon?”

Alex glances from Jessie to Walker, then back to Jessie, waiting for her question.

“Mommy, I want Santa Claus to bring us a baby for Christmas but Daddy said, he … what did you say?” as she looks to Walker for help.

“I said I didn’t think it was in Santa’s power to bring babies.” He looks at Alex and she smiles at him then she leans over and kisses Jessie on the forehead.

“Honey, I don’t think Santa can bring us a baby but what if Mommy and Daddy took care of that wish.  Would that be all right?”

Jessie looks from one to the other in complete bewilderment. “Really? Can you do that?”

“Yes, honey, really, but I’m afraid it wouldn’t get here by Christmas.”

“When, Mommy, when would it get here?”

“Well, probably not till the middle of summer. Do you think you can wait till then for a sister or a brother?”

“This summer? That’s a long time, isn’t it Daddy?”

“Yes, Princess, that’s a long time. Is that all right?”

“Our very own baby?” They watch as her eyes get brighter, “It will live here and everything?”

When they both nod at her, the tornado hits. She comes up out of the bed and begins jumping up and down, laughing and saying over and over, “A baby. A baby, we’re getting a baby!”

It takes Walker and Alex a good hour to calm her down enough to get her back under the covers and even then she is still asking questions as they go to the door and shut the light out. “Shh … Jessie, go to sleep now. We’ll talk more tomorrow. Good night sweetheart.” They close the door and walk away, still hearing her chattering.

*****

They park side by side at the Courthouse parking lot.  Walker joins Alex as she gets out of her car, “Alex, when do we tell C.D. and Trivette?”

“Well, I don’t know. You want to do it now before work?” Alex smiles at him knowing that he is just busting to tell the news.

“Yes, that sounds good. I’ll call Trivette and have him meet us at C.D.’s, okay?”

She barely gets, “Okay,” out before he is dialing his cell phone.

“Trivette, can you meet me at C.D.’s? There’s something I need to tell you before we start work this morning. Okay?” He closes up his cell phone and turns to Alex, “My truck or your car? You drive, my truck is already locked.”

Trivette is looking out the window at C.D.’s when he sees the two of them park in front and as they get out and start toward the door, he quickly moves back to the bar and sits down on a stool just as they push open the door. He is having a hard time containing his smile, knowing why Walker had called this meeting. He feels like patting himself on the back for not saying anything to anyone else, especially C.D.

When Alex and Walker come up to him, C.D. comes up from the back, “Hey, don’t start without me. I’ll bring the coffee.” Bringing 4 mugs, he sets them on the counter, fills each one, then, “Okay, Cordell, what was it you wanted to tell us?”

Walker looks at Alex with a puzzling expression because he can’t remember saying anything to C.D., only to Trivette. 

He shrugs his shoulder, grins, “Trivette, C.D., we wanted to let you know that…”

C.D. and Trivette ask at the same time, “When’s the baby due?” Trivette and C.D. turn to look at each other, neither one knowing that the other knew the good news.

Walker turns to Alex, grins and takes her in his arms, “Well, so much for the surprise.”

“Well, when?”

Alex laughs and says, “July. Boy, you guys are no fun.”

“Well, when you two walk around with the news just aching to bust out, it’s kinda hard not to know.”

“Yeah, Walker, I figured it out right after you left work yesterday. Have you told Jessie, yet? How did she take it?”

“I’m going to let you ask her that question, Trivette.” He turns to Alex, “Come on, hon, let’s go to work.” They start for the door, but Alex turns back, “We’ll be back this evening for dinner and you can ask Jessie your question, then.”

After they go out the door, C.D. looks at Jimmy, and as smiles cover their faces, they do a HI-FIVE and give a loud, “YES.

*****

C.D. is standing behind the bar talking to Jimmy when a little red headed girl comes running into the room shouting, “Grampa, Uncle Jimmy, we’re getting a baby! A brand new baby!”

Jimmy leans over and picks her up, sitting her on his lap, “A new baby? Well, how about that? I can tell that you’re not to happy about it.”

She turns to look up at him, “Yes, I am. Very happy.”

Jimmy gives her a hug, “I know, honey, so am I.”

She turns around looking at C.D., “Grampa, we’re getting our very own baby.”

C.D. leans over and kisses her on the cheek, “That’s great, honey.”  He looks up then to see Walker and Alex approaching the bar.  Looking at Jessie’s smiling face, “You decided which you want, a little girl baby or a little boy baby?”

Jessie is quiet for a minute, then as she look at all the faces standing around her, announces, “I don’t care, just a baby.”

*****

As the months pass and Alex’s shape takes on a new dimension, and Jessie, as well as her father, can’t seem to walk past her without laying a hand on her tummy hoping to feel movement. It had been quite a challenge to explain to Jessie why her mother was carrying the baby inside her and not just going somewhere it get it. Whether she really understood the explanation or not, she readily accepts the fact and makes it top priority every morning, or whenever she got close to Alex, to lay her head against her mother’s stomach, hoping to hear the baby cooing like she had heard the baby at HOPE house.

One evening Walker and Alex are sitting on the edge of Jessie’s bed, answering her never-ending questions concerning the baby, when Alex suddenly gasped, “Ohhh.”

“What is it, hon?”

Alex quickly takes Jessie’s hand and lays it on the side of her stomach and then places Walker’s hand on top of it. Watching their faces as they feel the baby move, brings moisture to her eyes.

Walker leans over and kisses her tenderly, and his eyes moisten, too, as Jessie very softly whispers, “The baby?” and when Alex nods, Jessie’s eyes sparkle with the knowledge that there really is a baby growing inside her Mommy’s tummy.

*****

At the beginning of her ninth month, Alex finally agrees to take a leave of absence from her job although she feels fine and believes that she could continue for at least two more weeks.  Walker, however, insists that she slow down and take it easy the last month.

Jessie is thrilled to have her Mommy at home and knowing it won’t be long before the baby arrives, she is constantly at Alex’s side waiting for something to happen.  After all, she was told the baby would be here in the summer and this was the summer, wasn’t it. The days were hot and the nights stayed warm so Jessie was beside herself wanting something to happen.

As the days pass, Alex is glad she quit working because the heat is really starting to get to her.  The closer she gets to her due date, the more uncomfortable she becomes.  Walker persuades her to stay at the HOPE house while he’s at work but as the due date comes and goes, everyone is on pins and needles.  Every time she stands, they think this is it. Even at home, Walker watches her like a hawk until her nerves are ready to scream.

“Walker, will you stop it?”

“Stop what?”

“Stop looking at me like I’m ready to explode any minute.” Tears fill her eyes as she slowly and with much effort stands, “Walker, take me to town.”

He jumps up, hollers for Jessie, then turns to his wife, “Is it time, honey?”

As he comes up to help her stand, she says angrily, “NO. I just want to get out of here. You’re making me a nervous wreck. Let’s go to C.D.’s.  I need a change of scenery.” When she sees the concern in his eyes, “I’m sorry, darling, but you’re making me crazy!  Sitting there staring at me like that makes me feel like a watched pot.” She puts her hand to his cheek, kisses him softly and whispers, “And you know what they say about a watched pot.”

He smiles, “I’m sorry, sweetheart.  I know you’re as anxious as I am, probably more so.”   As Jessie comes running into the room, “Jessie, let’s go for a ride.  We’ll go see C.D. for a little while then maybe get some ice cream?”

“Oh, boy,” and she runs out the door.  Walker helps Alex into her car (she hasn’t ridden in the Ram for three months) and they take a slow drive into Dallas.

*****

Unable to sit in a booth any longer, Walker guides Alex to a table in the back of the room and helps lower her into a chair. “Oh, that’s fine, honey.” Looking around, she notices that Jimmy is dancing with Josie.  She smiles, knowing that one of these days soon Jimmy would be popping the question. “Look, honey. The love birds are here, again.”

He scans the room and when he spots Trivette and Josie, he smiles, too, “I think we’re going to be going to a wedding before long.”

They sit quietly holding hands and listening to the juke box for the better part of an hour.  Alex starts feeling the discomfort of sitting on a straight back chair and as she turns to tell Walker that she’d like to leave, a loud voice interrupts the friendly atmosphere. She looks over to see a man at the bar, obviously very intoxicated, insisting that C.D. pour him a drink.  When C.D. refuses, stating that he has already had too many and he needs to go on home, the man slams his fist down on the bar and threatens to tear the place apart if C.D. doesn’t give him a drink.

Walker stands and walks up to the man arriving at the same time as Trivette, “Come on, fella, its time to call it a night.” With Trivette on one side and Walker on the other, they quickly escort the man out the front door.  Outside they offer to get him a cab but the man refuses and shaking free of their hands, stumbles away from them, mumbling under his breath.

Coming back inside, Trivette returns to Josie’s arms on the dance floor and Walker rejoins Alex at their table. Before he can sit down, “Honey, I think I’m ready to go; this chair is starting to get to me.” Walker helps her up and with one arm around her and the other around Jessie, they bid C.D., Jimmy and Josie goodnight and walk out the door.

Walker has his arm around Alex’s waist and she is holding Jessie’s hand.  As they step outside, Alex stops and takes a deep breath, “Ahh … fresh air.  It smells like rain, doesn’t it, darling?”

“Hmmm …. Yes, I think you’re right. It’ll be nice, maybe cool things down a little.” As they continue their stroll down the sidewalk toward the car, Walker looks at Alex when he feels her tense up. Out of the corner of his eye he sees a man lunge toward her out of the shadows, his arm raised with a knife in his hand. Alex sees the man at the same time Walker does and pulls Jessie around in front of her as the man swings the knife leaving a slash in her arm.  Walker drops around behind her and grabs the man as he slashes down again, this time at Walker. He blocks the swing with his arm and fires a fist into the guy’s midsection dropping him to the ground.  Walker quickly puts handcuffs on him then rushes over to Alex sitting on the sidewalk, holding Jessie in her arms. He checks Jessie over quickly, “Baby, are you alright?”

“Uh huh but Mommy’s hurt.”

Walker looks at Alex and sees the blood running down her arm. “Alex, what …”

In a tight hushed voice, “Walker … get … Jessie … out of here.” She groans and bends over.

Trivette comes running up, “Walker, someone came in saying you were attacked. Are you all right?”

“Alex, honey, let me help you up.” Walker takes her by the arm but she pulls away.

With clinched teeth, “Get … Jessie … out … of here. My water … just … broke.”

“Oh, God.” He looks for Trivette, grabs him by the arm, “Trivette would you take Jessie back into C.D.’s … and call an ambulance. HURRY!”

It only takes a split second for Trivette to assess the situation, as he sees the puddle forming under Alex, “I’ll take care of Jessie and call the paramedics.” He picks up Jessie in his arms and runs back into C.D.’s.

*****

As Walker kneels down beside her, he sees the slash on her upper arm, pulls his clean handkerchief out of his pocket and ties it around the wound, then puts his arm around her holding her close, bringing her head back against his shoulder. “Hang on, honey, the medics are coming.”

As Alex looks up into his face, he touches his lips to hers softly.   She squeezes her eyes shut and moans, “Our baby is coming, darling. Ahhh … Ahhh …Oh, God … Walker … not here … in the street.” She grips his arm tightly until the pain subsides.  As she relaxes her hand, she feels stickiness and brings her hand up to where she can see it, “Walker, you’re hurt!”  She struggles against him, wanting to see how bad it is.

“Alex, I’m all right, it’s just a scratch.  Please, honey, take it easy.  I’m fine.” He looks up when he hears a siren, “They’re here, baby.  Hang on, we’ll get you to the hospital.” When the medics arrive, they put Alex on a gurney and load her into the ambulance and Walker climbs in to ride with her.

As they shut the doors to the ambulance, Alex insists that they look at Walker before she’ll let them touch her. Finally, one of the paramedics agrees to look at Walker if she’ll let the other one take care of her. When she sees Walker roll up his sleeve for the medic, she lays back on the gurney.  By the time the ambulance stops at the emergency entrance, Walker’s arm is bandaged, Alex’s arm is bandaged, and she’s groaning from the pain of her insides shifting to make a passage for the baby.

*****

After Alex has been prepped, they let Walker back into the room. He moves up to her, takes her hand, leans over and kisses her softly, “This is it, baby.”

“Are you all right? Ahhhh ….” Before he can answer, a contraction starts and she takes his hand in a bone-crushing grip. As it eases, she releases his hand, and lies back against the pillows, eyes closed, trying to relax between contractions.

Walker wipes her face with a cool cloth, then picks up her hand and kisses it, just before she grips it again, so tight that it brings tears to the eyes of the mighty Texas Ranger.

As the pain ebbs, she looks up into Walker’s face, tears in her eyes, “I can’t … do this … Walker … I’m so … tired.”

He pulls her head back onto his shoulder, and wipes the tears from her eyes. “Yes you can, honey. It’s almost over then our baby will be here. And from the way you’ve been squeezing my hand, you’ve got lots of strength left.  If I could trade place with you, baby, I would.”

Her eyes fly open, and she looks up into his face, smiles and says, “Yeah, right.”

“Alex, when the next contraction hits, I want you to push, hard, okay? This baby is on the way. Can you do that for me?”

“I’ll try, doctor, but … ahhh ….. ahhh … ahhh.”

“That’s it, Alex, you’re doing fine. The next one should do it. Walker, wasn’t your first a redhead?”

“Yes, she was.”

“Well, this one isn’t. This one, I think is a blonde.”

“Alex, did you hear that?”

Before she can answer, another contraction grabs her, and with Walker’s encouragement, she pushes hard. As she feels the baby leave her, she lays back against Walker’s shoulder. When she hears the baby cry, she smiles and tries to sit up to see.

“It’s a boy, Alex, a blonde-haired boy.” The doctor places it on her stomach as another contraction hits her, expelling the afterbirth.

“Walker, if you’ll step outside just long enough for us to clean her and the baby up, when you come back in, you can bring your daughter with you.”

Walker leans over and kisses her tenderly and holds her close, “Alex, I love you so much.”

He kisses her again and starts to back away to leave, but she hangs on to his hand, “I love you, too, darling.” Another quick kiss then the nurses usher him out the door.

*****

When Walker enters the waiting room, he sees C.D., Trivette, Josie and Jessie.  When Jessie sees Walker, she rushes up to him grabbing him around the legs and hangs on for dear life. Walker picks her up and sees tears in her eyes. He sits down in a chair holding her close, “Jessie? Honey, why are you crying?”

“I saw Mommy get hurt and you, too.”

He pulls her tight against his chest, stroking her back with his hand.  “Honey, Mommy and I are fine. We got a scratch that’s all.” He holds her close until the crying turns into sniffles then tilts her head up with a hand under her chin, “Would you like to go see the new baby?”

Her eyes light up, “The baby is here? Really?” She turns in his lap, “Grampa, Uncle Jimmy, the baby is here! The baby is here!”

“Honey, that’s great. Cordell, is Alex alright?”

“Yes, C.D., she fine, tired but fine.”

“Well, come on man, what is it, a boy or a girl?”

“It’s a boy, Trivette, a little boy.” He stands with Jessie in his arms, “Come on, baby, let’s go see your baby brother.”

*****

When Walker goes back into the room with Jessie, he sees Alex lying in bed with her eyes closed and the baby in a bassinet at the side of the bed.  He and Jessie move as quietly as possible over to the bassinet, and with looks of awe on their faces, watch the baby sleep. Walker stands Jessie down on the floor and he kneels down beside her. He glances up and sees Alex watching them with tears in her eyes and a smile on her face. 

Walker moves over to sit on the edge of the bed, leans in and kisses her softly. He picks up her hand, murmurs, “How are you feeling, hon?”

“I’m fine. A little tired but I’m fine. How’s your arm? Was it very bad?” She lays her head against his chest.

“Probably not as bad as yours.  It really was just a scratch.” He nuzzles his face into her hair and watches as Jessie very slowly reaches out to softly touch the baby’s arm.

A whisper, “Mommy, he’s so soft.” She turns then and moves up to Walker.  He picks her up and holds her on his lap. “Is he really ours, Mommy?”

Alex touches Jessie’s face, picks up her hand and holds it to her cheek, “Yes, honey, he’s all ours. To love and take care of.”

“What are we going to call him?”

Alex looks up into Walker’s face, and murmurs, “John. John Cordell Walker.  After your grandfather and your daddy.”

Later, after Josie agrees to take Jessie home and stay at the ranch and until Alex is released from the hospital and C.D. and Jimmy have seen the baby and gone home, Walker is finally left alone with Alex and the baby. He sits on the bed with Alex leaning back against his chest, while she nurses their son.  Walker rubs his finger over the baby’s hand letting it softly caress the soft skin. “He’s beautiful, just like his mamma.”

“Walker, I thought I had everything I ever wanted when we were married but then Jessie came along, and I didn’t think life could get any better.  Now with John, my heart feels like it could burst from happiness.”

“I know.  That’s exactly how I feel too.  But remember this is only half.  Didn’t your elusive dream call for two more.” He tightens his arm on her shoulder and when she looks at him he lowers his lips to hers in a soft caressing touch.

Alex giggles, and says, “Honey, it really does look like my elusive dreams are coming true. So far we have one redhead and one blonde. One girl and one boy.” She looks up into his eyes, and with a sparkle in hers, “I just hope you’re in no hurry for the next one, honey.”

“No, honey, no hurry at all.  How should I put it?  Right now, the next one is just a twinkle in my eye.”

“Better make that a very dim twinkle, honey, unless you plan on having the next one.”

The End