UNFINISHED BUSINESS, AN INTERLUDE

by Beth Copeland a.k.a. betcop  rlcbac@sgi.net

 

(Author’s note: I’ve been inspired these many months by all of the great stories from our many talented authors and decided to try my hand.  Now that I have actually seen, in order, all of the episodes up to this one, I realized that this was a crucial turning point for W & A in their developing relationship, a milestone, so to speak.  My focus for this story was Alex’s motivation for storming into Walker’s house and confronting him.  Enjoy!  I did!  )

 

 

Alex Cahill pushed open the door to her office and sighed wearily.  She glanced at the clock - 8:30PM.  She rolled her eyes and dumped the armload of files she was carrying onto the desk.  Her briefcase was dropped beside the files and Alex eased into her chair and closed her eyes.

“Just once I’d like a slow Friday!” she thought to herself.

She opened her eyes again and was startled to see the wall clock read 9:15PM. Alex sat up in her chair and shook her head - she’d never make it to C.D.’s in time.

“This is crazy!  I’m going home!”

 

As Alex unlocked the door to her apartment, she could hear the phone ringing.  She dropped her case and kicked the door shut.

“All right!  I’m coming!” she grabbed the phone, noticing there were five messages as she did.

“Hello?  Hi, Jimmy, what’s up?”  Alex felt the familiar knot form in her stomach as she recognized the worry in Trivette’s voice.  Her clock chimed the hour - 10PM.

“Alex, is Walker with you?”  Jimmy sounded hopeful.

“No, I just came in.  The deposition took longer that I expected.  Did you try C.D.’s?”

“Yeah, he’s not there.  Hey, I just pulled in your lot, be right up.“ The phone went dead in Alex’s hand.  She didn’t like how this sounded.  Where was Walker…

A quick knock at the door shook her from her thoughts.  She let Jimmy into the apartment and rounded on him before he could speak.  “Jimmy, what’s wrong?  Why are you looking for Walker?”

“We tracked down Bodine.  Turns out he’s Evie’s new flame.”  Alex gasped.

“Walker & I went to investigate the address I’d turned up.  Man, the guy’s obsessed with Walker!  You should have seen the clippings and pics we found at his place.  Bodine knew we’d figured him out.”

Jimmy turned and paced the room as he spoke, clearly agitated.

“He called Walker.  He’s got Evie stashed someplace and wants Walker to meet him at midnight.  So he can prove who’s the better Ranger is, he said.”

Alex’s eyes widened and her heart sunk.  She knew what that meant.  After the day she’d had, this was just too much. Her eyes narrowed at Jimmy.

“So I suppose Walker’s out there now?  Planning to beat the tar out of this Bodine character?”  Alex’s voice rose with each word and she was trembling.

Jimmy glanced sideways at Alex and continued, “Yeah, I suppose he is.  I’d hoped he’d stopped here first, but…” His voice trailed off as he noticed the messages on the answering machine.

Alex followed his glance and punched the play back.  Four hang-ups and a terse message from Walker  “Sorry Alex, can’t make it tonight.  I’ll call you.”

Alex could feel her blood pressure go up.  “Fine!  That helps!” she muttered.  Then a thought hit her.  She whirled on Trivette so fast he actually jumped.

“The ranch!  That’s where he is!  When is Walker supposed to meet this guy?”  Alex had so many thoughts and feelings whirling in her head, fighting to be let out, she was thinking out loud.

Jimmy shook his head. “I tried there. Nobody home.  Midnight, but I don’t know where.”

Anger finally won out and Alex was livid.  “Who does he think he is?  Leaving his partner out and not taking backup…” she stormed off to her bedroom and Jimmy winced at the sound of drawers and doors being slammed.  And he thought HE was upset?

As Alex banged through her dresser, she was seething.  “What the heck does he think he’s doing, going out there to meet a psycho by himself??”

“Alex, I’m heading back to the office to wait.  Are you coming with me?”

“No,” she answered shortly, appearing in the doorway with a pair of boots in her hands. “I’m going to the ranch, and pound some sense into a certain macho Ranger!!”

Trivette took one look at her face and was very glad Walker would be dealing with her wrath.  “Actually,” he thought, “I feel kinda sorry for him!”

“Call me, Counselor.”  Jimmy flashed a quick grin at Alex and ducked out the door.  He popped his head back in to add, “Good luck.”  And he was gone.

Alex looked at her watch - 10:30PM.  She’d better hustle or she’d never make it in time.  Grabbing her purse and a sweater, Alex slammed the door and strode down the hall.  Her mind was in a whirl.  Unbidden, images of Walker rose up in her mind, images of him hurt, bleeding from wounds inflicted by a madman bent on revenge.

Now that she was alone, fear began to replace some of the anger.  As she started her car and pulled out into traffic, Alex knew that Walker was reacting as a Ranger first.  She shuddered at the thought of sweet, shy Evie at the mercy of a maniac.  Walker would kick his butt or die trying!

Die trying…!  The words echoed back through her mind.  Suddenly, Alex realized that it was a very real possibility and the pain cut deep into her very soul.  She knew the risks of being a Texas Ranger all too well.  But Walker…dead?

This was too much for her mind to handle and her blue eyes welled with tears.  She wiped at her eyes with one hand and quickly pulled onto the highway ramp.  The clock on the dash read 10:40PM.

Why didn’t Walker tell Trivette where he was going?  At least Jimmy could have been nearby!  But, no, Walker went off by himself.  It was just like him to keep this to himself!  Heaven forbid that someone helps Walker.  Pride!  Stubborn pride!!  This Bodine character was after Walker, so Walker was going take him - alone!  Alex’s anger was mounting again.

 

 

BANG!  The office door hit the wall as Jimmy flung it open.  He stopped in his tracks and examined it with dismay.  At least Company B headquarters was deserted at this hour and no one witnessed his outburst.  Jimmy released the door and it swung shut with a soft click.

At his desk, Trivette switched on the lamp and called the switchboard.

“Evening, Louise, this is Trivette, ‘ he paused while she greeted him, “Would you mind keeping my line free?  If Walker calls in, patch him through.  Thanks, you too.”  Jimmy replaced the handset and, lacing his fingers behind his head, leaned back in his chair to wait.

 

 

“For a Texas Ranger, the man is crazy! “ Alex muttered to herself as she maneuvered her car through traffic.  “I can’t believe he’s doing this alone!!”

She tugged the steering wheel to the right, exiting the highway faster than she intended.  The tires squealed in protest.  Alex eased off the accelerator, uttering a muffled curse toward men in general and a certain cowboy in particular.  She glanced at the clock.  11:05PM.  She’d barely have time to GET there, never mind trying to talk some sense into him.

Why should she care if Walker wants to get himself killed?  HE obviously wasn’t concerned about his own safety!!  So why was she rushing headlong through the darkness to reason with Cordell Walker, Mr. Stubborn?  Chances were good, REALLY good, that it would all end in an argument and he would leave and get killed anyway…

“Men!!”  The ADA pushed the accelerator down again and the car sped on through the night.

BBRRRIINNGG!!  Jimmy swung at his phone, almost knocking it off the desk.  In the dim light, he recovered it on the second ring.  “Walker??”  Then, “No! Louise, keep everybody off the line!’

Trivette banged the receiver back into its cradle and checked his watch… 11:10PM…too soon to hear anything yet.  In the quiet room, he glanced over to Evie’s desk and offered a silent prayer for her.  As his gaze traveled across the room, it stopped at his partner’s desk.

“Damn!  Walker, I hate it when you leave me out!  Man, I should be watching your back.  This Bodine is a nut case!”  The young Ranger picked up a stack of files, selected one and began to read.

“Maybe Alex will have some luck…”

 

“Two more miles,” Alex thought to herself as she bounced down the dusty road as fast as she dared.  Her mind was working overtime now.  The anger was still there, but it was quickly becoming overrun with fear and…something…Alex couldn’t quite name it, but it was there none the less.

“Men!  Think they are so tough…” She was surprised to find tears in her eyes at this thought and angrily scrubbed the back of her hand across her face. This just wouldn’t do.

The clock on the dash glowed 11:10PM as Alex whipped her car around into the long driveway to Walker’s ranch.  She skidded to a halt in front of the house two minutes later.

 

Trivette sighed and dropped the file he was attempting to read onto the desk.  He stood and stretched, relaxing out the tense knot that had formed between his shoulder blades.  His gaze once again slid across his partner’s desk.  Cordell Walker.  The man was a legend in his time.

“And I’m learning how lucky I am to be his partner…” Jimmy realized that no amount of stretching would ease the knot in his gut.  He peered at his watch.  11:20PM.  Walker would be leaving the ranch in five minutes.

“Wonder if Alex made it out there in time?”  He wondered to himself, then grinned.  The look on the Counselor’s face had been precious when Trivette told her what was going down.  He was VERY glad her anger wasn’t at him, that’s for sure!  If anybody could make a dent in Walker’s determination, Alex was the one.

 

Alex grabbed her purse and marched up the walk, pulling her sweater around her.  Not bothering to knock, she strode through the front door and into the living room.  Walker looked up from the small handgun he was loading to acknowledge her presence, but he was totally unprepared for the tirade that followed.

“Trivette told me what you’re planning to do.  You cannot go after him alone!”  Alex stood, glaring at him as Walker concentrated on his preparations.

“I have no choice,” was the irritated reply.

Alex’s eyes widened incredulously, her voice went up a notch as she spoke, ”What is it with you macho Texas Rangers?  Why do you have to turn everything into a life or death struggle?”

“Bodine started it, not me,” Walker stated flatly as he turned and strode across the room, laying his pistol on the mantel.

“SO WHAT??  It doesn’t mean you have to finish it on his terms!”  Following Walker across the room, Alex continued in a harsh tone,  “Bodine is obsessed with you and he is NOT going to play by the rules!”

Walker turned sharply to her, a Cherokee amulet in his hand.  His voice was tight and impatient.  “He wants to prove, man to man, that he’s better than me, and that’s his big mistake.”  Walker slipped the amulet over his head, tucking it into his black turtleneck shirt.  His eyes challenged her to continue.

“But how do you know?”  Alex’s voice was soft and trembled slightly. Her face was anguished as she searched his for reassurance.  Her blue eyes misted over, then suddenly flashed.

“You’re going to get yourself killed because of your stupid, foolish pride!”  Walker caught the fear in her voice, even as he glimpsed the unshed tears in her bright eyes.

“If I backed down every time a guy like Bodine entered my life, how would I live with myself?”  His voice became softer as he realized she was terrified for him.

Alex gazed at Walker, shaking her head helplessly.  Walker sighed and tried again.

“Look.  You’ve got to understand…every time I put on this badge, I’ve got to believe I’m making a difference.  Who I am…what I am - a Ranger - is part of me…the best part of me.”

Walker moved closer, taking her hands in his.  “Look…it’s the only part that makes sense to me.  Can you understand that?”

Alex was torn and anguished still, her tone high and tremulous.  “Yes, I know…but I just wish…” Walker hushed her, touching her lips gently with his fingers.

“Shhh…I wish,” he sighed and his voice lowered to a whisper meant only for her ears. “I wish I knew how to express myself better, to tell you…how much you mean to me.”

Alex’s eyes were huge, brimming with tears.  They widened as Walker completed his thought aloud.

“How special you are to me.  Probably more that you’ll ever know…” His voice caught slightly and Alex smiled through the tears that threatened to flood.  Their eyes met and Walker leaned in to kiss her full soft lips…

“Washo!  It is time.”  Uncle Ray strode through the door, shattering the spell.

Walker and Alex pulled back, their eyes never looking away from each other.  Alex’s blue eyes shimmered with tears and the fear was back in her face.  Walker gazed deeply into her eyes, gave her a hint of a smile, as if to say “It’s all right,” then turned away swiftly to pick up his gun.  He walked between them and was gone, even as Uncle Ray and Alex turned to watch him.

Ray stepped over to Alex and placed a comforting arm around her shoulders.  “Don’t you worry none, Alex.  Washo is in good hands with the spirits.”

Alex looked up to Uncle Ray and in a small shaky voice told him, “I couldn’t bear to lose him!”

“I know, “ he said simply, drawing her in and comforting her.

 

Trivette glanced anxiously at the wall clock - 12:20AM.  Damn!  Walker should have called by now!  He resumed pacing in front of his desk

At 12:23AM, he reached for the phone.  Maybe Alex knew something…he jumped as the phone rang under his hand.

“Walker, is that you?”  Trivette’s anxious face relaxed as he recognized his partner’s voice, “Where in the heck are you!  OK, I’ll send a unit out.  That’s 3922 Main Street - got it.  How’s Evie?  Great!  Glad to hear it.”

Jimmy paused, a rush of emotion surfacing.  He was surprised by its intensity.  “Oh, and Walker?  If you ever go off like that that without me, your very own partner, I’ll…” he stumbled over the right words, “I’ll…hog-tie you!”  Walker’s rich laugh was heard as Trivette replaced the receiver.  He immediately picked it up again, calling for the back-up unit, then dialing the ranch, where he knew Uncle Ray and Alex were waiting for the outcome.

 

Through the open screen door, Alex heard the faint jingle of the phone and Uncle Ray’s voice.  She knew it was about Walker and felt cold inside.  Why did she let him go?  Why wouldn’t he listen?  Why…?

Alex drew the blanket closer around her shoulders.  Behind her came the sound of soft steps and the creak of the screen door being pushed open.  It was Uncle Ray to tell her Walker was hurt or, worse, he was dead…Her eyes closed in a silent appeal to God.

“Alex?  That was Trivette.” Ray’s voice was soft and soothing, “Alex, child, Washo is fine.  It is over and the girl is safe.”  Alex’s blue eyes snapped open in relief and she smiled.

Ray’s tone changed slightly, infused with amusement.  “The spirits were true on this night, were they not?”

Alex felt as if she had been holding her breath, drowning.  Now, she could breathe again.

“Yes, Uncle Ray, they were,” was the reply.

“Goodnight, Alex.”  Uncle Ray slipped into the house as silently as he had appeared, leaving a steaming mug of tea on the table beside the swing where Alex was curled up in a blanket.

She smiled to her self and picked up the mug, savoring the rich flavor.  She glanced at her watch - 12:35AM.

 

As Walker pulled up to the house, the headlights picked out a blanketed figure on the porch swing.  Alex’s car was parked where she’d left it.  Walker smiled to himself.  There would be some explaining to do, but it would be worth it.

The expression on Alex’s face when he shared his heart had stayed with him all night.  It was there as he fought against, and finally defeated, Bodine.  It was still there when he had deposited an exhausted Evie on her parent’s doorstep and into their comforting arms.  And it was with him now as he contemplated Alex’s sleeping form on the swing.

Walker couldn’t remember Alex ever being so riled up over his actions!  Well, at least since the New Year’s Eve party!  He chuckled to himself as he jumped down from the cab of his truck and closed the door quietly.  Her ferocity had been taken him by surprise and he had almost been undone by the tears in her eyes and the fear in her voice.  The fear had been genuine and, deep down, it had warmed his heart.

He slowly climbed the porch steps, stopping at the top to gaze at Alex’s face, relaxed and hauntingly beautiful by the light of the waning moon.  He could get used to this.  As Walker gently seated himself next to her, Alex stirred and a smile flitted across her face as she settled against his shoulder.

Walker glanced down at the blonde head tucked against his neck.  His arm went around her protectively and he settled back, looking east to where the sky was lightening.

 

Alex dreamt Walker was there, safe and sound, holding her gently.  As she woke slowly from a deep sleep, she realized it hadn’t been a dream - Walker was there, his strong arms holding her as she slept.

As she sat against him, enjoying the warmth and security, she finally recognized the ‘something’ that had been the driving force behind her angry, emotional outburst from the night before.  It had been creeping up on her for a long time, and, for almost as long, she had been denying it.  After last night, she knew there would be no denying the fact that she had fallen hopelessly in love with this crazy, mule-headed, half- Cherokee cowboy.

And, if Alex was reading Cordell Walker correctly, the feeling was really close to mutual.  The thought brought a warm flush to her cheeks and tears to her eyes.

She felt Walker stirring behind her and quickly rubbed her eyes and yawned, stretching contentedly. The sky was still dark, but the dawn was lightening the eastern sky.

“Penny for your thoughts,” Walker’s soft voice made her shiver in the pre-dawn chill, even though she was cozy warm.

“I’m glad it turned out OK for you, and for Evie, poor girl.  I was worried about you,” Alex turned and looked at Walker.

“We all were, “ she added quickly, her cheeks flushing again.

He smiled at her and Alex could have sworn the earth moved at that moment.  She was shaken by the expression on Walker’s face.

“I know,” was all he said as he gently kissed her, “I know…”

 

 

The End (or just the beginning…?)

 

Author's note: 'Walker Texas Ranger' and it's characters belong to CBS Inc., Norris Brothers Entertainment and maybe other copyright holders. This story and the author is in no way connected to those copyright holders and intends no infringement on their copyrights. The story is only meant as an entertaining tribute to a great show and it's cast and crew.  This story may be distributed and copied freely, in its entirety, for personal use.

All original author and copyright information must remain intact.

Any sales or other uses of this document are expressly forbidden, without the specific consent of the author(s).