The Triangle
By Sissy and Jennifer

Alex pushes open the door to the popular night spot, sees Walker at the bar talking to Trivette and C.D. and moves up to them, greets everyone and sits down on a bar stool. She joins in the conversation, talking easily, laughing, fitting right in among the men. When two more Rangers join them, they all include her in the conversation as easily as if she had been another Ranger. She knew them all, they all knew her. But she hadn’t dated them all, just Walker. But you’d never know it by the way he acted.

Finally she stands, manages to tell everyone goodnight without breaking up their conversation and moves toward the door. Pushing the door open, she takes one final look back at the bar and sees Walker looking at her, he winks then turns back to the group.

Going to her car, she unlocks the door and slides under the wheel. He has to be the most frustrating man I’ve ever met. Last night on our date you couldn’t have asked for a man to be more attentive. The perfect gentleman! He acted like he was enjoying himself, we danced, we laughed and when he kissed me goodnight I thought he felt the same way I did. But … then last night it was only the two of us at a place where no one knew us. Tonight in the company of his fellow Rangers, in a very public place … I’m just another one of the guys.

She pulls the door shut and starts the engine, and as she pulls away from the curve she glances in her rear view mirror and sees Walker getting into his truck. You go your way, and I’ll go mine, right Walker?

Alex is sitting in her office the next day when there is a light tap on her door. She looks up as the door is pushed open. Walker enters with a big smile on his face, “Amy said you were alone. Have you got a minute?”

“Sure, what can I do for you?” Seeing him always makes her heart beat faster, and her eyes fill with love, but she doubts if he notices.

He moves closer to her desk, inhales deeply and draws in the smells emanating from her. Slight whiffs of perfume but mostly just Alex. Her natural essence is what is turning him on. She has a distinctive smell all her own and he has learned to pick her out of a crowd by it.

“Ah … I was wondering if you would like to have dinner with me tonight?”

She looks at him for a long time, then says, “I can’t tonight Walker. You’re too late. I’ve made other plans just this morning. You … should have asked me last night.”

“Oh … well … you know, with … ah … all…”

“Yes, I know…” her voice lowers, “to many witnesses.”

“Huh … what do you mean?”

“Nothing.”

“Well … ah … how about tomorrow night?” He stands there looking at her wondering who she was going out with, who else was she dating.

“Hmm … yes, I’m free. What time?”

“Huh? … Oh, about 7:30?

The next week proves to be just as frustrating as the week before. Walker acknowledges her with warmth and tenderness when they are together on dates but is completely detached when they are on the job or among a group of their friends. He’s almost like two different men. He acts almost like he is afraid to join his two personalities into one single human being.

Then the unthinkable happens. Dalton Reed returns.

Alex is sitting at the end of the bar talking, as usual, to Walker, Trivette and C.D. when she notices C.D. stiffen and his eyes lock on the person that has just entered his bar. Alex turns and seeing Dalton, she tenses, but then a smile crosses her face at seeing an old friend. Out of the corner of her eye she sees Walker come to an immediate alert. His stance and his eyes lock into the defense mode as if he is getting prepared to do battle.

And indeed upon seeing Dalton Reed, all of Walkers’ senses hone in on the man as he crosses the floor, straight for Alex. Walker glances at Alex and sees the smile on her face, and his heart drops into the pit of his stomach. Damn, has he come back to claim Alex?

“Cahill!” As Dalton stops in front of her, the first thing he does is pick up her left hand and seeing no rings, pulls her off the stool into his arms. He swings her around, saying, “Damn, Cahill, I’ve sure missed you.” Then as he lowers her to the floor, he kisses her, long and leisurely. When they part, Dalton murmurs, “The year is up, Cahill. I’ve kept my promise. Now, will you marry me?”

“This is … such a … s-surprise, Dalton,” She mumbles, stutters, then laughs trying to hide her uneasiness.

He gives another kiss, then with an arm around her waist, moves up to the bar, greeting C.D. and Trivette with smiles but his face sobers when he looks at Walker, offers his hand in greeting, saying, “Walker … you’re looking good.”

Walker’s smile is tight and thin as he shakes Reed’s hand. “You’re looking good too, Dalton.”

C.D. not aware of Dalton’s long ago promise, asks, “Dalton what are you doing back here, didn’t know a rodeo was in town?”

“I’m here to get Cahill to marry me. I told her to give me a year, and I’d be back to get her.” He glances around at the stunned looks on the three faces in front of him, “And since she’s not wearing a ring, I do believe she waited for me.” Then turning he takes Alex in his arms again. “How about it, Cahill, did you wait for me?”

Laughing at his warm antics and caught completely off guard, her mind is racing to come up with an adequate answer. “Ah … no, not … not entirely.”

“Well, now that I’m back maybe we can change that.” Someone puts money in the jukebox and as a slow western ballad begins to play, Dalton swings Alex out onto the floor and pulls her in close, swaying almost in place as the floor begins to fill with other couples.

Sitting at the bar, Walker watches the two of them discreetly, doing his best not to let on he cares. But he did care. His heart is aching, something fierce, and it is all he can do not to grab Dalton Reed and throw him bodily out of the bar. But he’s Alex’s friend, he couldn’t embarrass her like that. Finally, unable to watch them any longer, he spoke softly to C.D. and Trivette, telling them goodnight, and walks unhurriedly out of the bar.

Alex, looking over Dalton’s shoulder, sees Walker leave and her already bruised heart suffers another blow. Walker acts like he could care less. But he was watching us dance, I could tell that much. We have a date tomorrow night, maybe he’ll say something then. Thirty minutes later they leave C.D.’s, then after convincing Dalton that she could drive herself home, and … since she has an early morning court date, she kisses him goodnight at her car.

Walker, parked in the dark alley across the street, watched as Dalton walked Alex to her car, giving her a long kiss before Alex drives away. Alone! He breathes a deep sigh of relief as she leaves Dalton standing at the curb.

Since Alex hadn’t called to cancel their date, he drives to her apartment at the scheduled time, hoping he wouldn’t run into Dalton. Luck is with him. When Alex answers the door, she is alone, “Come on in, Walker, I’ll be ready in just one minute.”

“That’s okay, take your time.” He glances around the room and seeing no sign that Dalton had been there begins to relax.

“Walker, would you come here, and … zip … up … this … dress? I think the zipper is stuck.”

Stepping through the doorway, his breath quickens as he enters the soft subdued lighting of the room, smells the perfume that is Alex’s favorite, then remembering why he is there turns to find her standing in front of the full length mirror.

“What … ah … what did you want?” Being in Alex's bedroom is foreign territory to him. The scent of her own special essence has permeated every nook and cranny, and just inhaling deeply has his pants getting tighter and tighter.

“I … think … the zipper is stuck. Would you … fix it?” She turns and looks in the mirror as he comes up behind her. When his fingers brush over her soft skin as he tries to fix the zipper, it sends a shiver of pleasure rippling through her body. By the time he finally gets the zipper unstuck and pulls it up, his breathing is faster and her body is wound like a spring. He comes up close behind her, his hands on her shoulders, his face close enough that he can feel a few wisps of hair brushing his cheeks, his eyes shut as he drinks in her tantalizing fragrance.

She looks up into the mirror and sees him watching her. Their eyes lock, and for a moment she thinks this just might be the time he shows her how much he cares. As her eyes close at the rush of desire she lets herself melt back against him. His mouth moves softly against the side of her neck as his hands slowly slide down her arms. She whimpers softly at feeling a hard ridge against her bottom, and delicious warmth begins to spread through her body like warm sunshine.

But then the phone rings, destroying the moment. Walker quickly backs away from her, letting his fingers slide away from her as she turns to pick up the phone. As she speaks softly he moves out into the living room, but not before he hears Dalton's name in her whispers.

The rest of the evening is tense but a surprise question from Walker has her not sure how to answer him. “So, are you going to marry Dalton Reed?”

The question came clear out of left field and Alex is scrambling to find an answer on neutral ground. “I … I really haven't thought to much … about it”

“Does that mean it's just wishful thinking on his part?”

“I don't know, I have no idea what he thinks.”

“Well, he had no problem telling everyone what he wanted at C.D.'s the other night?”

“You're right, he wasn't afraid to let everyone know how he felt.”

He's startled by her answer, “What's that suppose to mean?”

“You figure it out.” Walker is stunned into silence at her answer. His mind is spinning trying to understand what had happened and is lost as how to respond. As the silence stretches between them, Alex says, “Walker, I think I'm ready to go home.”

The drive to her apartment is awkward to say the least. He unlocks the door and hands back the key. The kiss between them is quick as their lips barely touch, “Good night, Walker.” She murmurs as she slips inside and shuts the door.

Walker just stands there, staring at the door. He could have sworn that her voice had the sound of sobs in it. He walks away feeling as though the life had been sucked right out of him. He has a feeling that his dates with Alex are over.

The next day, Walker receives a minor gunshot wound when he tries to stop a vehicle hijacking and ends up in the hospital emergency room. When Alex hears about the shooting she leaves immediately for the hospital, running into Dalton on the way out of her office.

“Cahill, where are you going in such a hurry? Your house on fire?”

“No, Walker’s been shot, he’s in the hospital.”

“I’ll take you, come on.”

Alex runs into the hospital with Dalton slowly following, walking into the room just after the doctor leaves. He sees Alex standing at the side of the table that Walker is sitting on.

“Alex, it’s not serious. It’s just a minor scrape.”

“Yes, I can tell that by all the blood on your clothes.” Seeing the blood on Walker when she entered the emergency room scares Alex so bad she has forgotten the incident on their last date.

“Well, you heard the doctor, he said I could go back to work if I wanted.” Walker hears the concern in her voice but attributes it to their long friendship, but he’s deeply touched by her worry.

“And you’re going to, aren’t you?” Out of habit but out of concern too, she flies into him about returning to work so soon.

“I don’t know … it depends.” He glances down and sees her hand on his thigh, and almost without thinking he lays his hand over hers letting their fingers twine together.

Dalton standing by the door sees the exchange between the two and the unconscious act of holding hands and knows that Walker is in love with Alex even if she can’t see it. And he sees the same strong emotions whirling in her, too. And right then, decides if he’s going to stand a chance of getting Alex to marry him he’s going to have to begin pushing her for an answer before Walker gets his nerve up to begin the fight to claim her for his own.

Alex, assured that Walker really wasn’t hurt to badly, removes her hand, almost reluctantly, from under his and mumbling something about seeing him later, moves over to Dalton, who nods his head at Walker before taking Alex’s arm and leaving.

Walker sees very little of Alex after he leaves the hospital and when he does she is either with Dalton, or in between places and although she looks at him like she would like to talk to him, in pausing, seems to think better of it and walks away.

Two days after his stay in the hospital, he’s leaving the courthouse by the back door to the parking lot and runs into Dalton coming in.

They stop and square off at each other like two dogs seizing the other up. Dalton looks at Walker and says in a voice that’s full of confidence, “I’m going to marry her, Walker, so you might as well just save her a lot of heartache and bow out now.”

“Just because you publicized your intentions in a crowded room doesn’t mean it will happen.”

Dalton walks around the Ranger into the courthouse throwing words back at Walker over his shoulder, “We’ll see Walker. We’ll see.”

Both men were in her jumbled thoughts but she could only pick one. The one she wanted, wouldn’t proclaim his love, the other loved her and has asked her to marry him. She knew he loved her, loved her deeply. But would it be fair to accept Dalton’s proposal, knowing how she felt about Walker? She didn’t love Dalton … well, maybe she did … in a way, but it wasn’t the deep all consuming love she felt for Walker. Love that he didn’t return. But, if she hung around waiting for Walker she could be waiting a long time, maybe forever. She’s already put her life on hold for him, just waiting to grab what few crumbs he might toss her way, not dating anyone but him. She had no doubt that Dalton would be a good husband, maybe she should go with Dalton. He loved her, he wanted to marry her.

Alex couldn’t take anymore; she had to get away. She took a weeks leave of absence and took her friend up on the loan of her cabin. It was secluded, lots of privacy, just to think. And it was away from Walker and Dalton Reed.

She had seen the pain in Walker’s eyes when Dalton had shown up, and she knew it worried him that she would take Dalton up on his proposal, but evidently not enough to tell her how he felt. Dalton had been patient with her, but he felt it was time she decided. He had said he would return in a year’s time and he had kept his word. Now the ball was in her court. Did she love him enough to give up her chance with Walker or does she linger on the fringes of Walker’s world waiting for him to make up his mind that he wanted her. If she gives up Dalton for that chance with Walker she could be giving up her dream for a husband and children.

At the end of the week she is no closer to a decision then before she went but she is leaning on accepting Dalton’s proposal. She calls Dalton when she gets back to her apartment, to give him her answer.

When she opens the door to let him in her apartment, “Cahill, where have you been? Why did you just disappear like that?”

“I … had to do some thinking, Dalton. I told you that.” She turns and walks over to the balcony doors, and he follows, sliding his arms around her waist and pulling her back against him.

“Well,” he whispers in her ear. “When are we getting married?” He turns her around to face him. “I love you, Cahill, you won’t be sorry. I’ll be a good husband and father. You’ll see.” Then he kisses her, a long deep passionate kiss.

She feels a stirring in her blood, as she returns his kiss. But it’s not the same as when Walker had kissed her and how her body had instantly gone to full arousal with him. She leans back and looks into Dalton’s eyes and sees the love he feels for her, but would it be fair to him knowing the way she feels about Walker?

From the way he is holding her she can feel his hard arousal against her stomach and knows that he wants to stay, wants to take her to bed. But she can’t, not with Walker swimming around in her head. The decision she had made to accept Dalton’s proposal died on her lips. She just couldn’t do it. She had to see Walker one more time, give him one more chance before she could commit herself to Dalton, and not real sure she would be able to do it then.

She reaches up and pulls Dalton’s head down for another light kiss. “Come back tomorrow morning and I’ll give you my answer then.”

“Cahill … why wait? I love you. I … know you have some feelings for Walker, but I know I can make you forget him. Marry me, sweetheart, I’ll make sure you never regret it.”

“I won’t drag this out, but don’t push me, Dalton. I’ll let you know tomorrow, okay?”

She finally gets him to agree and firmly pushes him toward the door. “Let me stay, tonight, Cahill, I want you. And I know you want me.”

“No, not tonight … please, just go.” She eventually gets him out the door then she turns and collapses on the nearest chair, swallowing hard to keep the tears from coming. She still has to talk to Walker, and she didn’t want to do it with red, swollen eyes. That will come soon enough after she sees Walker.

An hour later, she hears Walker’s familiar light tap sounds on her door. Her body jumps into overdrive and her breathing and her heart begin to race. Taking several deep breaths she opens the door, letting in the man that she loves more than life itself. If only that love was returned…

“Hello, Alex.” When he turns around he sees how uptight she is and he comes to the conclusion that she has chosen to go with Dalton. Chosen to become Dalton’s wife. “You … ah … said you wanted to … talk to me?”

“Yes … you know … that Dalton has asked me to marry him.” She watches his face as she repeats the phrase that she knows he has heard before.

“Yes … I know.” His voice low, hurting, giving away his feelings, but he can’t help it. He loves her but he can’t tell her that. He wants her to be happy and if that means she has found that happiness with Dalton than … so be it.

“Walker,” she chokes back the tears welling up in her throat, but looking at the lost look on his face is more than she can take. She turns her back to him and the tears slowly trickle down her cheeks. “I’m sorry… I wish … I wish I knew how you felt…” she ends in a whisper.

“Alex, I’m … I’m just not the type to announce my feelings to a room full of people, I’m sorry.”

“I … I don’t expect that of you, but how about announcing your feeling to just one person in a room full of people. I know public displays of affection are not your style, but … you’re like two different people around me. When we’re alone you warm and tender, attentive, but at work or at C.D.’s or anywhere around other people you treat me like one of the guys, like you’re ashamed to have people know that we have a personal relationship.

How can he tell her about this feeling he has, that if the world knew how he felt about her, everything would change? The special place that he holds her in his heart is sacred and he doesn’t want to share that with anyone else. It was just as hard on him not to let those feelings for her show, feelings that can be used against him and her, too, for that matter. She’s better off with Dalton (he almost chokes on the idea) at least it would be a safer life. He just can't risk her safety by telling her how he truly feels, committing to a relationship with her.

He moves up behind her and turns her around, sees the tears and with his thumb, brushes them away. “I … care a great deal for you Alex, and … I want to see you happy. If Dalton … if Dalton makes you happy, then I won’t stand in the way.” He leans over then and kisses her with such tenderness, such gentle sweetness, that she feels like her soul as been awakened. Her body responds in its usual way, her blood flows hot, her heart begins to pound, and her insides begin to burn with desire.

But he quickly releases her and steps back, brushes his fingertips across her lips, murmuring softly, “Be happy.”

As he turns and walks toward the door her eyes light up and she smiles slowly and he hears her softly say, “Thank you, Walker.”

The next day is miserable for Walker, when Alex comes in, he sees how bubbly she is, definitely happy with her choice, and his heart feels like someone is cutting it up into little pieces. But he convinces himself that he has done the right thing. Hadn’t he?

That night, he’s sitting in the dark in his living room, unable to pull himself together after seeing Alex all day, wallowing in her happiness with the thought of becoming Mrs. Dalton Reed. He feels like he’s been a damn fool, he should have told her how he felt. But he couldn’t pull her apart like that, if Dalton was the one she wanted, if he could make her happy, then he couldn’t stand in her way.

Hearing a soft knock on the front door, he jumps. He had been so wrapped up in misery he had heard no car.

Walker moves to the door with leaden legs, to find Alex standing there. He moves out on the porch looking around for Dalton, but sees that she’s alone.

“Where’s Dalton? I figured you’d…”

“I haven't seen Dalton today, don't want to.” She walks past him into the house, and into the living room. He follows, not sure of the implications of her words.

“I don’t understand. I thought you and he were…” His heart begins to pound. “Why aren’t you with him?”

“Because I love you and I know you love me.”

He opens his mouth to speak but she silences him by laying her fingers across his lips. “You were going to let me go, even though you love me, you were going to let me go with Dalton if he was my choice for happiness. You letting me go like that, was telling me that my happiness came first with you and that told me more than any thing you could say…” Her voice drops to a soft breathless whisper, “It told me that you love me.” She picks up his hand and places it over her heart, her breath coming in quick heavy gasps, matching the pounding in her heart. “Can you feel that? That’s what … you do to me. That’s the way … it always is when I’m around you. Just being close … to you, hearing your voice … feeling your touch.” She pauses to catch her breath, to still her racing heart. “You’re the only man that can make my body respond this way. You … not Dalton, I want you Walker … I’m in love with you.”

He listens to her bare her feelings for him, looks at the love shining in Alex’s eyes, and his heart soars at what he is hearing. He pulls her roughly against his body, wanting her to feel how much he wants her. His voice husky, broken, “Alex, I’m not sure I understand but I’m glad … so very glad.” He kisses her then and she responds with all the love she feels for him. “God, I thought I’d lost you,” he murmurs. “I guess I’m a slow learner,” he leans back and takes her face between his hand, “but once I learn something … I never forget it.” His mouth descends and he begins brushing light kisses over her face.

Her breath comes out in a soft sigh as she turns her head to follow the teasing, tantalizing lips that refuse to hold still for the kiss she so desperately needs. As his lips finally settle over hers, she can feel her blood thundering through her veins, desire taking over her senses. One look from him and she is instantly wet. Dalton could never awaken these feelings in her. Only this bearded, redheaded cowboy could. Her cowboy!

Walker leaves a line of fiery kisses across Alex’s skin, her jawline, her throat. He nibbles at her delicate earlobe, then traces the outer edge, before his tongue darts inside sending shivers of delight coursing through her.

She murmurs his name on a soft sigh, then brings her arms around his neck. She wants his hands on her, his mouth on hers and his body on hers.

She gives herself up to his kiss, to his hands as he unbuttons her shirt, and unclasps her bra, to his fingers as they graze over her flesh, branding her with fire and his touch. One touch of his fingers and she feels her slacks slithering down her legs to crumple noiselessly on the floor.

His warm hands replace the lace that was supporting her breasts, then he’s easing her down to the floor and onto her back, “Walker?” Alex murmurs, as he covers her with his body.

“Umm?” he whispers, tasting the texture of her shoulder with his mouth and tongue.

“I still … have my … panties on,” she whispers, gasping her pleasure as his lips tastes her skin from her shoulder to the tip of one breast. He slips to the side of her and bends her back over his arm as she arches her breast up for his mouth. He isn't gentle now; his mouth closes hotly over her nipple, suckling at her and making her cry out.

His hand smoothes down over her thighs, her bottom, and then in between her legs. A thin, wordless cry breaks from her lips. His touch intensifies the torrent of sensation inside her; she feels on fire, literally molten with need, and he is wild with that same need. His hard fingers close over her panties, tugging them off; then she feels his hand touching her intimately, stroking and rubbing and probing, doing things to her that pushes her intolerably close to the edge. She cries out again, clutching at him, so empty and aching that she can't stand it any longer. She gasps, then reaches down to capture his hand and presses it tightly against herself.

“Alex,” he chokes out, his voice no longer recognizable. It’s rough, raspy, and as her name leaves his lips, he begins tearing at his clothing. In a fever, he spreads her leg and puts himself between them. For a frozen moment in time she feels the shock of his naked flesh against her and, Walker, feeling her body tense, looks up to sees Alex watching him become a part of her. He feels the shivering, shimmering ripples of pleasure that are consuming her all over again, ecstasy is renewed and redoubled by his slow filling of her body.

He stills, the tightness of her sheathed around him causes his control to waver. So tightly sheathed inside her. He takes several deep breaths, desperately trying to bring his raging hormones back under control.

As they move together, their mouths mimic their lower bodies, his tongue spearing into her mouth, her lips sucking and pulling at his tongue. Their pulses pound in an untamed rhythm, their bodies gliding slickly as they strive together to touch new heights. He takes her with powerful thrusts without restraint. She gives herself fully, gladly, meeting stroke for silken stroke.

He sinks his fingers into the flesh of her buttocks and Alex cries out, shaken by a soft, slow explosion that begins deep inside, and steadily climbs to the surface and when the explosion breaks free it sends shock waves all the way to her soul. The next instant she is rippling with endless surges of satisfaction and pleasure. She tightens around Walker, her whole body beginning to shiver with tiny convulsions of ecstasy. It is unlike anything she has ever known. She hears Walker’s answering shout of release and exultation and then they are locked together in a world of shattering intimacy.

When his senses return to normal, Walker gathers up her clothes, then picks her nude body up into his arms and carries her to his bed.

***

The sun is just barely showing when Alex wakes up, instantly aware of Walker's strong hard body against her own, his strong arm around her shoulders. Turning her arm she glances at her watch, noticing the time. Sighing, she knows she has to leave, needs to go home and get ready for work. Instead she snuggles further into his body, enjoying the closeness, enjoying the feel of his chest hair underneath her palm, between her fingers. Her heart begins to beat a little faster, and a familiar feeling begins to pool low in her belly. Thinking back on the night of lovemaking they had shared, she licks her lips and breathes deeply as she recalls the passion ... the passion he had awakened in her, passion she didn't know she had. Oh she'd had an intense desire for him almost since the moment they'd met, but she never thought making love could be like that. He was so quiet, so closed off and private sometimes that she had no idea he could be such a fantastic lover, that he could arouse her to such a degree that he had, bring out the passionate woman inside of her. The way she loved him and his body with such wild abandon, the way she rode his body and how he had cried out with release. She never knew she had that within her, and she had never made love to a man like that in all her life. No one else had ever evoked such feelings in her.

She'd never had a man make love to her like he did. The sexual highs he'd tenderly brought her to, the sensations she felt when he seemingly devoured her body, loved every inch of her body and the moment when he brought her to her first climactic release of the evening. Her body warmed as she thought how he had brought her to climax after climax, seeing to her pleasure before taking his own, before taking her...merely thinking about it made her wet with desire all over again.

Purring ever so softly she lifts her leg over his thigh, pressing her warm wet center against his leg, her mouth seeking out his nipple. Walker's eyes pop open when he feels her lips surround his nipple, instantly hardening it to a pebble, then is instantly aware of the warm wetness of her arousal pressed against his thigh. His manhood begins to harden when her lips touch his nipple, but the wetness against his leg brings it straight up, hard and throbbing with need. 'God what she does to me!' he thinks to himself as he turns to face her, devouring her lips in a passionate kiss, and settling himself between her thighs. They make love again, evoking the same feelings and intense sensations they had before, ending with the same pounding heartbeats and erratic breathing.

When she finally catches her breath, Alex regretfully gently disengages herself from Walker's arms but she has a trial to conduct and a promise to keep. His eyes never leave her when he lets go of her, following her as she locates her clothes, then as she hurriedly dresses, he tosses the sheet back and stands, moving around the bed to take her into his arms. “You could shower here before you leave, save you time.”

“I know,” she murmurs as she leans against him, “ but I don’t have clean clothes and besides,” she kisses him softly, “I’m afraid if I don’t leave now, I … may not want to.” She lays her head on his chest, inhaling the warm masculine scent of him, “Besides Dalton is coming by this morning and I have to give him my decision. And that won’t be easy.”

Walker rubs his chin over the top of her hair, “No, probably not. He really loves you. In a way I feel sorry for him, but I’m glad its him you’re telling good bye and not me.” He tightens his arms and lowers his lips to hers, drinking in her essence, he can still taste himself on her lips. He loosens his arms and lets her slip away, “I’ll stop in your office when I get free.”

She smiles, nods her head then grabs her purse and after a quick kiss, leaves him standing in the center of the room, as naked as the day he was born, his desire for her showing very plainly.

***

When Alex stops in front of her apartment building, she’s in such a rush that she doesn’t notice Dalton’s truck parked at the curb. The day after she had told him that she was going to Walker’s, he’d decided to try to get her to change her mind, at least go out to dinner with him. He kept missing her with calls and when he went by the courthouse she was already gone, and he had a pretty good idea where she was. And now, seeing her get out of her car, disheveled and wrinkled, he knew his assumption had been correct.

She unlocks her door, pushes it open, and steps inside but before she can close it she is touched from behind and jumps, startled by his presence. “Dalton … you … you’re kinda early, aren’t you?”

“Evidently, not early enough.” Her hair is in need of combing, her makeup is gone, and he can smell the lingering essence of their lovemaking. “I … assume you only gave him one more for the road and you still plan on marrying me or am I the one who gets the boot out the door.”

“That remark is uncalled for Dalton.” She softens her words as she sees the hurt in his eyes. “I’m sorry, Dalton, I really am. I love you … but I’m not in love with you. It never would have worked, I love Walker, I always have. When I came back I had made up my mind to marry you, but after I talked with you I couldn’t go through with it. It wouldn’t be fair to you. You don’t want to marry a woman that’s in love with another man.”

He moves up and takes her in his arms, “I could make you forget him, Cahill.” Then he lowers his head to kiss her, but she turns her head and his lips brush across her cheek instead. He gradually pulls back and drops his arms. “Does the son-of-a-bitch know how lucky he is?”

“He says he does.”

He turns and grabs the doorknob, yanking the door open. “Cahill, what did he do to convince you, that he loves you? What did he do that I didn’t?”

“He … let me go, Dalton.” He looks at her with a puzzled expression. “He told me he wanted me to be happy, and if you were my choice then he wouldn’t stand in my way. He … let me go.”

Not understanding, but knows he has lost, he shakes his head as he eases out the door, pulling it shut silently after him.

***

After checking in at Ranger Headquarters, Walker’s first priority is to go see Alex, but she is already in court and then he is called out on a case until a little after twelve. By the time he returns, she is gone, again. Amy, Alex’s secretary, informs him that Trivette had picked up the ADA and taken her to lunch at C.D.’s.

When he enters C.D.’s he sees Alex sitting at the bar talking with the older Ranger and Trivette. His face lights up as a smile pulls at the corners of his lips, and thinking of the beautiful night he had spent with her, he walks up and sits down beside Alex. Oblivious to all the stares of almost everyone in the place, but most particularly his two best friends he leans over and gives the beautiful blonde a kiss on the cheek. “Hi,” he murmurs softly.

Alex’s face shows the surprise but also the joy at the open display of his affections. Not wanting to focus his attention on the change, she responds lightly with, “Hi, yourself, Cowboy.” In reality she wanted to kiss him till everyone disappeared, and her face tinges to a light shade of rose as the thought enters her mind.

But she refrains from embarrassing him, and the crowd, and sits complacently beside him, enjoying her lunch and the camaraderie of her friends and especially the closeness of her new lover. After lunch he escorts her to her car, opens the door but before she can sit down he pulls her into his arms, and kisses her softly.

“Will I see you tonight?” she murmurs as she looks into his eyes, darkened with passion, and the feel of the hard ridge pressing against her stomach, brings a deep yearning inside of her, and delicious thoughts of the previous night and all the nights yet to come.

“Hmm … would you be interested in going out to dinner … and dancing tonight … maybe at C.D.’s?”

The End