Friendly Persuasions
by Sasquaw

            The Ranger is making his way through the crowded airport of L.A. International. He keeps shifting the bag back and forth from one arm to the other, cradling it gently, and moving his 'carry on' luggage gently across the floor with his boot. In his other hand he's carrying a smaller bag, and it too is being 'favored'. The line is moving slowly up to the security checkpoint.
              The man behind the Ranger is impatient and complaining about the time spent in checking the 'carry on' luggage, the woman beside him is equally impatient. They swear underneath their breaths as it is taking forever for the blonde headed woman several paces ahead of them, to get all of her luggage checked. The Ranger is watching the woman, captivated by her striking figure. He's obviously not the only man that is staring at her, as several male passengers begin helping her to get her luggage on the conveyer belt. The woman knows that she is the reason that everyone is getting impatient; she turns to the line behind her.
            "I'm so sorry--I was late getting to the airport and everything---I'm sorry."
            Walker sees the woman's face for the first time and his heart skips a beat, he stares at her unbelievingly. Finally the woman is given the clear signal and she moves on, Walker can't take his eyes off of her. He watches her walk away, and his eyes follow every movement of the beige two-piece suit, as she keeps pushing her blonde hair out of her eyes. He feels someone pushing him and a gruff voice.
            "Hey buddy--want to get your eyeballs back in your head and move up---I'd like to catch my plane sometime in this century."
            Walker mumbles an apology and puts his 'carry' on' on the conveyer belt, and then he hands the first bag to the security guard.
            "Please be careful with that one--it's breakable."
            The lady guard smiles as she watches the bag go through the x-ray machine, "Oh, what a beautiful music box."  

            "It's not a musical box," explains Walker, "it's a carousel--a gift--for my daughter."
            The guard looks at it again, "It's beautiful--from what I can tell."
            Walker smiles, "The box is unopened if you would like to see it."
            The guard takes a quick look, and whispers, "A gift?"
            "Yes ma'am, for my little girl. It's her first birthday tomorrow."
            The guard smiles and puts the box back into the bag and hands it to Walker, "She's a very lucky little girl. Are you going to carry that on with you? Aren't you afraid it will get broken?"
            "No ma'am, I'm more afraid it will get broken if I don't carry it on, it is okay if I carry it, right?"

            "You will probably be asked again to put it through a security check before you board your flight--what about this other bag, are you carrying it on too?"
            Walker nods and puts the smaller bag inside his shirt, "Yes ma'am, and I know I'll have to get it checked again."
            The angry voice is getting louder, "Hey buddy---you want to stop the chitter chatter---and move on?"
            Walker glares back at the man and then to the security guard, "There's one in every crowd."
            The guard nods as Walker throws the 'carry on' bag across his shoulder, and again cradles the gift for his daughter. He makes a quick check to make sure the package inside his shirt is secure, and then heads for the loading area.
            Walker checks the schedule again, hoping that the flight won't be as late as what is being posted. He takes a deep sigh as he sees the sign changed again--a 45-minute delay. The Ranger looks around for the coffee machine and heads for it.
            The coffee is not near as hot as he likes it, but he drinks it down quickly. He looks up to see the blonde headed woman heading for the same machine, and again stares at her. He shakes his head in disbelief as his eyes go up and down the woman's figure. She's beautiful, and the way she carries herself, she must be a model with that gorgeous frame. He sips the last of his coffee as he continues to watch her.
            "Damn it, that was the last of my change," the woman swears and then she starts looking around for a change machine, she sees Walker looking back at her.
            "Excuse me, but would you have change for a dollar?"
            Walker is jolted out of his reverie as he starts stammering, and reaching into his pockets, "Uuuh, yeah----yeah, I think I do," he finds exactly the amount of money that the woman needs, and hands it to her, never taking his eyes off of her.
            She smiles back at him, and his heart is doing flip-flops--"Thank you--here's your dollar."
            Walker waves the dollar, "Not necessary--glad---I could help."
            The woman turns and goes to the machine, she can still feel the man's eyes staring at her. The coffee comes out and she again thanks the Ranger and walks away.
            Walker exhales slowly, and feels a queasiness in the pit of his stomach as he watches her walk away. The woman stops and looks back at him, he can tell that the woman is becoming nervous at the way he keeps staring. He shakes his head, forcing himself to think of other thoughts as he walks to the window and watches the planes depart and land. He feels the package inside his shirt and smiles, then he starts to remember times that weren't so good.
            The Ranger is lost in his thoughts as he keeps watching the blonde, who is now pacing back and forth, talking on her cell phone. She's definitely agitated at the person on the other end. Other voices interrupt the Rangers' thoughts as he sees the same irate passenger that was standing in line behind him, the man is still complaining. The man is arguing with his lady friend as he continues getting closer to the blonde.
            The blonde is now having a difficult time in hearing as she puts her hand up over her right ear in an effort to drown out the man's complaints. Finally she takes the phone from her ear and confronts the man.
            "Would you please keep it down, I'm on the phone."
            The man turns on the woman, "Ex-cuse me, your highness-but the last time I looked, this was a free country and I will talk as loud as I want."
            His lady friend stares back at the blonde and snorts, "That's telling her Lloyd----who does she think she is?"
            "Oh shut up Maude---and go get me some coffee," the man barks.
            The blonde walks as far away from the man that she can get and keep in distance of her loading gate.  She goes back to talking and carrying on her part of the argument with the person on the other end. Walker is watching the irate passenger as he continues to hurl insults towards the blonde. The Ranger's temper is starting to rise as the man again walks towards the blonde.
            The man is pointing his finger at the woman, "All of you damn celebrities are all alike, you think you can have everything your way---well---you're wrong missy."
            The blonde is looking around for security as she sees the bearded cowboy walking towards the man and confronting him. Words are exchanged and the passenger pushes the cowboy.
            Walker backs up and then he puts his hand up, "Back off mister--leave the woman alone."
            The man stares at Walker in his western attire, he does not see the Texas star inside of Walkers' shirt, he puts his hands on his hips and challenges Walker.
            "And, just who the hell are you-some drugstore cowboy? Why don't you mind your own business?"
            Walker meets the man's challenge, "If you continue to bother that woman, you'll find out real quick who I am---I'll kick your butt all over this airport!"
            The man charges at Walker screaming obscenities. The Ranger sidesteps and pushes the man to the floor, causing him to slide across the floor, hitting a trashcan. The man gets up and charges Walker again--Walker clotheslines him with a straight arm, the man goes down hard. Walker stands over the man as security is rushing to them.
            Walker takes out his wallet and shows them his identification and then pulls his jacket open so they see his badge. They pull the man up off the floor, as he is fighting to get away from them. One of the guards walks over to the blonde.
            "No, I don't want to press charges, I just want him to stay as far away from me as possible---and I would like to finish my phone call--if that's okay?"
            The guards talk to the irate passenger and to Walker and then they walk away. The passenger goes to sit down as his lady friend brings him coffee. The blonde goes back to her phone call but she keeps looking back at Walker.
            Walker returns to his seat as the blonde hangs up her connection and walks towards him. He stands up as she extends her hand.
            "Thank you for taking care of that," she smiles and her blue eyes light up her whole face.
            Walker can feel himself getting weak in the knees, his hands are all clammy as all he can do is nod his head and mumble, "You're welcome."
            The blonde is looking at the cowboy as Walker continues to hold her hand, she laughs, "Can I have my hand back now?"
            "What?  Yeah--I'm sorry--," the Ranger jerks his hand back and rubs both of his hands on his jeans in a nervous matter.
            The blonde continues to smile, as she looks the cowboy over, thinking what a marvelous body he has. She looks into his eyes and sees kindness, yet confusion. For someone so rugged looking, his hand was soft, and the trimline beard is very attractive to her. Her blue eyes continue to look into his as she tilts her head and looks up at him, the Ranger is becoming even more nervous.
            "Thank you again," she replies, "not too many people like to get involved in other people's problems."
            Walker tries to speak; he has to clear his throat, "No problem, glad to help."
            The couple continue to stare at each other, Walker blurts it out--"Haven't I met you somewhere before?"
            The woman sighs as she says to herself, ""Here it comes, the old pick  up line."  She smiles softly, "No---we've never met."
            Walker stammers, "I didn't mean that in the way it sounded--I meant---excuse me, but--you remind me of someone."
            The blonde starts to reply, but then the voice over the intercom announces that their flight is loading, she puts her hand up, "I'm sorry, I have to go--that's my flight."
            Walker nods, "Yeah, mine too--are you flying to Dallas?"
            The blonde is walking away as Walker scrambles to retrieve his packages, then hustles to catch up with her. She turns to him.
            "My flight stops in Dallas----and "no" I will not have a drink with you---or anything else that you are considering asking me."
            Walker smiles, "I wasn't asking you to have a drink with me, or anything else-I was just asking you if your flight went to Dallas."
            The woman stops and turns to the cowboy, "Look---I appreciate what you did back there, I really do--but I'm not interested in carrying on this conversation---alright?"
            Walker stops as they approach the loading gate and first class is being loaded first, "Fine--have a nice flight."
            The woman replies, "I plan to, if everyone will just leave me alone."
            Walker watches as the woman walks down the loading gate, the rest of the passengers are starting to load up behind Walker, and gentle shoving is felt. Finally they announce that the rest of the passengers can load and Walker again tries to cradle his packages.
            The Ranger hears the complaining from the passengers behind him as he is trying to keep the biggest bag from being crushed, he holds it outright in front of him.  Moving between the seats is a pain as his 'carry on' keeps getting hung up on the backs of the passenger seats, he curses underneath his breath as he is looking for his seat, it's at the very end of 'coach' seating. As he's getting closer to his seating, he sees the blonde trying to get her small bags into the locker overhead. She finally succeeds and takes her seat near the window; the seat next to her is empty.
            The line behind Walker is getting more impatient as someone shoves him, and the Ranger falls forward, landing halfway in the empty seat. The package he was carrying is sent flying and lands in the lap of the blonde. She looks up at the Ranger and shakes her head, smiling softly.
            "We meet again," she says.
            Walker is scrambling to upright himself and get his legs out of the aisle, and sits down gruffly beside her. "I'm sorry, I hope my package didn't hit you."
            "No, it's fine---are you--sitting in this section?"
            Walker shakes his head, "Are you kidding, I can't afford first class? I was knocked into this seat---mine is up there, in the next aisle ---on the right---coach."
            The woman looks around, "Why is everyone in such a damn rush, their seats are designated, it's not like someone is going to take theirs."
            The Ranger sighs as he reaches for the package, "I'll get to my seat as soon as everyone calms down, hopefully whoever is seated next to you will be late."
            As Walker reaches for his package, music is heard. The woman looks at him and smiles, "Is that coming from your package, what do you have in there?"

            "It's a carousel, would you like to see it?"
            "No, I don't think so, maybe you better find your seat."
            Walker nods, "Yeah, I can see that you're definitely busy and don't want to be bothered."
            The woman is getting agitated, "Look, I'm tired and I just had a big argument with my husband--I don't feel like making small talk---now would you please find your seat---and take it?"
            "Sorry, lady--and I meant it when I said you reminded me of someone---I was not flirting with you--if that's what you think."
            "Don't you think I know a 'pick up 'line when I hear it?  You were obviously trying to come onto me."
            Now Walker is getting angry, "You are one egotistical female---I will find my seat as soon as everyone gets out of my way--will that be soon enough for you?"
            The woman glares back at him, "YES---and the sooner the better."
            Walker is trying to get his packages together and trying to stand up, as other passengers in first class have suddenly decided to start move around, the Ranger swears.
            The woman is doing a slow burn, "Okay---I give up--who is it--that I'm suppose to remind you of?"
            Walker sits back in his seat, and answers softly--"You remind me of my wife."
            The woman smirks, "Oh great--now this is a little different approach--I suppose next you're going to tell me that your wife is deceased---and how you're mourning for her still----and---"
            Walker is fighting to control his temper as he stares into the woman's face--"No---my wife is very much alive--and I happen to be very much in love with her--- now, how does it feel to have egg on your face? Are you so wrapped up in yourself that you can't even accept a compliment?  And, believe me lady, being compared to my wife is a compliment!"
           
The woman's mouth drops open as she starts to steam, Walker is standing up and attempting to get by the passengers in the aisle.
            "Wait a minute," she reaches up and grabs his arm, "please----sit down till you can get back to your seat safely---I'm sorry---I've just been under so much pressure---please accept my apology."
            Walker sits back down and the woman's face softens, her blue eyes look to him in embarrassment.
            "I'm sorry for what I said---without sounding egotistical---I do get a lot of those so called 'lines'---please forgive me for sounding so vain."
            Walker scratches the side of his cheek, and stares deep into her blue eyes. "I really meant it when I said that you remind me of my wife----here---I can prove it."
            The Ranger is again shifting packages around and trying to keep his luggage in between his feet. He starts reaching for his wallet as again he hands the box back to the blonde. "I have her picture---right here---see!”
            The blonde stares at the picture, "Oh my God, it's like looking into a mirror."
            Walker smiles, "See, I told you--it's amazing that two people can looks so much alike--are you sure you don't have a twin sister?"
            The woman laughs, "I'm sure!  Why---is your wife a twin?"
            Walker smiles as he takes the picture back and looks at the blonde in the picture, "No, she's an only child."
            The woman looks at the picture again, "Well---they say everyone in the world has a identical look a like---and I just found mine!" The woman sees the picture of a little girl on the opposite side of the woman's picture, "And this is your little girl?"
            "Oh yes," beams the Ranger, "the apple of my eye---this is my daughter--her name is Angela."
            "May I take a closer look?"
            "Sure, there are other pictures---feel free to look."
            Walker watches the look on the woman's face as she touches the face of Angela and coos--"Look at those eyes---she's just adorable."
            "She has her Mothers' eyes---and they're like yours--- a beautiful azure."
            "How old is she?"
            "She'll be a year old tomorrow, that's why I'm so damn anxious to get home," Walker replies. "Do you have any kids?"
            "I have two little boys---Heeeyyyy, I just thought of something--if I ever have a little girl---she'll look like your Angela---no---wait---that didn't sound right---I meant------"
            Walker grins, "It's okay, I think we've both stumbled over our words a time or two.  You said you were stopping in Dallas---do you work there?"
            The woman looks back to Walker confused, "You really don't know who I am, do you?"
            "No ma'am---are you a model?"
            The woman starts to reply when an all too familiar voice fills the air, "Hey buddy--wanna to get out of my seat?"
            Both Walker and the woman stare up at the irate passenger, the woman groans, "Oh no, please say it isn't so, I'm sitting next to him?"
            "Yeah, well missy I'm not too overly happy about sitting next to you either--hey buddy---move it."
            Walker stands up and gets in the man's face, "I'm not 'your buddy' and if you call me that one more time, I will put my fist to your mouth----you got that?"
            The man swallows hard as he rubs his hand across his neck, reliving the cowboy's arm clotheslining him. His lady friend is staring back at the Ranger, grinning, and popping her chewing gum.
            "Don't let him talk to you like that, Lloyd--it's bad enough we don't even get to sit together--------"
            "Oh shut up, Maude---and find your seat."
            Walker is trying to get out of the man's way as the man is flopping down into the seat next to the blonde. The woman looks up to Walker, her eyes pleading. The Ranger bends down to the man and whispers.
            "And, another thing---leave the lady alone----don't be bothering her, or I will rearrange your face."
            The Ranger turns to the blonde and smiles, "If he gives you any trouble, tell the stewardess to come get me---it was nice talking to you."
            The Ranger goes in search of his seat, and takes his seat by the window and puts his packages in the empty seat beside him. The other passenger on the aisle is an elderly woman; she takes out her knitting and smiles warmly at the Ranger. The Ranger sighs, as soon as the sign says that it's okay to unbuckle seatbelts he pushes his seat back. He then gets the stewardess' attention.
            "Miss, would you please keep an eye on passenger 56 in the first class section, he's got a big mouth and earlier he was harassing the passenger next to him."
            "Yes sir, I will tell the stewardess in that section, would you like some coffee now?"
            "No, thank you---I'm going to try and sleep--thank you."
            The Rangers' dream is uneasy as the voices continue to argue.


                                                 ******************************


            "You are being so stubborn---what would it hurt for me to have some outside interests?"
            "For the last time, Alex---I don't you want you going back and forth to Houston on any damn cases, you need to be home with our daughter."
            "I am home, Walker--I'm home more than you---don't you think I get tired of always being the one that gives in and stays home with Angela?"
            "You're her Mother--you're suppose to be home with her!  I have to work, Alex--my job sometimes take me out of town for several days at a time, I don't have any choice but to be away from her---and you."
            "But, don't you see?  Your job takes you out of town, and you get to see other sights, other people---my job keeps me inside a court room all day and sometimes the highlight of my day is going to a jail cell or being called into the judge's chambers."
            "You chose the job, Alex--I didn't!  If you don't like your job, find another one."
            "I am not throwing my career out the window--I just want to be able to go to other places and get out of this damn town for a day or two, is that so much to ask?"
            "When it means leaving our daughter with a sitter or dumping her into that damn day care all day--then yes--it is too much to consider. Your place is with our daughter, not running back and forth to Houston or any other damn place."
            "Walker, you are being unreasonable-I can take Angela with me-----“
            "The hell you are!!  You're not dragging our daughter all over Texas---she has to stay in that daycare all day now, because you have to be in court all day. You're sure as hell not taking her to another one in a strange place and dumping her."
            "Would you please stop referring that I am 'dumping' her? Walker, that was our agreement when we talked of starting a family, that I would continue my career and the baby would be in daycare, now you're saying that I'm abandoning her?"
            He stops his packing and stares back at his wife, usually she is the one that packs his bags.  "Alex, we have argued over this all we're going to, I'm tired of the arguing---if you want to go down to Houston on these lectures about criminal cases--then you go right ahead--but Angela stays here."
            "And, who is going to watch her?  Are you willing to put off this trip to go after the Hannibal Brothers to stay home and watch her?"
            "You know I can't do that--"
            Alex's bottom lip is trembling, "Oh---of course not---you never give up any of your cases to stay home with her and let me do some outside traveling in my work. I got news for you, Cordell John Walker--you are not the only Ranger in Texas that can go after those murdering scumbags----let someone else take the case---and you stay home and spend time with your daughter."
            Walker slams the bag down into the floor, "It's my job, Alex--and those murdering scumbags killed 2 of our friends, have you forgotten that?"
            "No, I haven't forgotten--I have to see the widows of two of those killed Rangers---they had five kids between them, and did you know that Sadie Carson lost her baby, she miscarried?"
            Walker stares back at her, "Sadie? Little Sadie Carson was pregnant?  She was just a kid herself. When they were here a couple of weeks ago---nothing was said about her being pregnant.”
            Alex takes a deep sign, "Well---she didn't want her father to know, they were going to tell him that night-----and then they got the news that Sam Carson and John Bennett were killed."
            "They weren't killed, Alex, they were massacred--the same way that the Hannibal Brothers killed those two DPS troopers, and tried to rape those female motorists."
            Alex bites her bottom lip, "I know all that, but why do you have to be the one to go after them? Angela will be having her first birthday in less than two weeks--if you miss her special day, I will never forgive you, Walker!  Your daughter is more important than the Hannibal’s or any of your damn cases."
            Walker takes a deep breath, "I am not going to miss Angela's birthday--or our second anniversary--I promise you."
            "How can you promise that, you're going thousands of miles away---up into Montana."
            Walker starts to reply when he hears his daughter whimpering in the nursery, both he and Alex go to console her. Angela is pulling herself up to the side of the baby bed, and reaching out her little arms.
            Walker reaches over and picks her up, kissing the side of her head. "Hey, my little angel, did you have a bad dream--tell daddy about it and I'll chase it away."
            The little girl starts to giggle and slaps at Walker's beard, trying to grab it, Alex smiles as she watches her two favorite people. She walks over to the little dresser drawer and takes out her nightie.
            "Now that she's awake, you can help me give her, her bath."
            Walker bounces the little girl up and down, Angela screams with giggles, "Da da."
            "Okay, my little angel, mommy says it's time to take your bath--let's go get the bath water ready."
            As Walker is filling her little bathtub, Angela starts shaking her head and pointing to the bigger tub and her little water toys. "You want the big tub?" Walker asks.
            Angela starts nodding her head and reaching out for Alex, "Mommy--wa-wa--."
            Alex and Walker exchange glances, "Your daughter is wanting the big tub---and--she wants us in that big tub with her--do you think you could cancel your flight to accommodate her?"
            As Alex takes her daughter, Walker goes to the phone, canceling his flight for a later one. He follows Alex and Angela into the master bathroom.
            "What about Mr. Whale---is he going to be in the tub with us?"
            Alex laughs, "More than likely, you know she likes to ride him and watch the water shoot out of his spout--and honey---don't forget to get Mr. Walrus too."
            The Ranger sighs as he walks back to the nursery and picks up the two mammals in question, "We're going to need a bigger bathtub hon-- with all of these toys----why does she need all of these?"
            Alex is testing the water as Angela is trying to climb into the tub, "You were the one that bought all of them, I seem to recall asking you the same question."
            Walker gently tosses the mammals into the water.  Angela is bouncing up and down and trying to reach for them as the water splashes into her face. The little girl giggles louder as she motions for her daddy to pick her and put her in the tub.

Friendly Persuasions Part 2
 

            Walker lifts his daughter up and gently places her on the back of Mr. Whale and the little girl giggles, her blue eyes sparkle.
            "Dada, dada" she splashes the water up at him.
            The Ranger sighs as he looks around for his wife, "Alex--where are you--our daughter is getting me all wet?

            He hears a voice answer back, "Well----take your clothes off and get in with her---I'll be back in a second---got to get something."
            Walker is trying to get his clothes off and hold Angela upright on the mammal, "Well---hurry up, before she topples headfirst into the water."
            The Ranger finally slips into the tub and scoots back, bringing the mammal closer to him, Angela is kicking the whales' side and the water squirts at Walker. He laughs and splashes the water back at her, causing her to giggle harder.
            "You little varmint, you like getting daddy all wet, don't you?"
            Angela is now reaching for Mr. Walrus and a couple of her other water toys. She picks up a small porpoise and throws it at her daddy, giggling louder. He catches it and commences to tickle her nose with it. Angela is starting to babble in her own little language, and Walker just smiles back at her.
            He reaches out and pushes her damp hair back, reflecting on the day that she was born and the first time he held her. He couldn't stop gushing, as he would look to Alex and then back to the little bundle of pink that he was holding.
            "She's so beautiful, hon---she looks just like you."
            Those words kept coming back to the bearded Ranger as he watched his daughter giggle and ride her water toys, she loves the water and he knows that it will take him and Alex forever to get her out of the big tub. Usually, they try to stay in the tub till she winds down, and gets so sleepy that she almost falls asleep atop one of her toys.
            A cheerful voice is heard, "I'm back, anyone miss me?"
            Walker looks up to see his wife holding a bottle of brandy and two glasses, plus a bottle of juice for Angela. "Hey sweetheart--you getting daddy all wet?"
            The little girls smiles and starts reaching for her juice as Walker pulls her closer to him, so Alex can get into the tub. Alex turns and lays an object on the side of the tub as she smiles back at her husband.
            "I thought you might like one of your cigars with your brandy."
            Walker's brow arches, "What's this? I thought we agreed that I wouldn't smoke around Angela--and definitely not in the house."
            Alex does a slight pout as she hands the cigar and lighter to him, "Soooo---we bend the rules for tonight---enjoy your cigar, honey--I have an ulterior motive."
            "Really?" Smiles the Ranger, "and what might that be?"
            Alex smiles as she pulls Angela back to her on Mr. Whale, the little girl is through with her juice and now splashing Alex.
            "I thought maybe that we could come to a compromise about my trips to Houston---I know it's your last night home for awhile and I don't want you to go off on this trip being upset with me."
            Walker takes a deep sigh as he lights the cigar and exhales away from Alex and the baby. "I'm not upset with you, hon---I just don't want you being away from home and from our daughter."
            Alex bites her bottom lip and replies softly, "But---I have to have my space too, Walker---how many times do you go up into the badlands by yourself and I never say you can't---I would never do that to you! I know how important that is to you for you to have your space---why can't I have mine?"
            "What is this 'space crap'?  Are you saying you want to have time away from Angela and me---for what? Are you unhappy with our marriage---with me?"
            "NO Walker---why do you have to turn everything around and make it sound like that I'm bored----I could ask you the same question when you go up to the badlands---or you having to be the one that goes after these dangerous criminals!  That takes you away from home---from Angela and me-----are you bored with us?"
            "Of course not! You know better than that, I love our life together and I love you and Angela more than life itself.  And, furthermore I have only gone up into the badlands one time since Angela was born, and you insisted that I go---you said I was making you nervous being around the house 24-7."
            "You were making me nervous, honey---you were following me around every moment that you were home-----"
            "I was worried about you, Alex, you said you weren't up to par yet--that your back was hurting---and someone had to help take care of the baby---I'm sorry if I was stepping on your toes."
            Alex sighs as she turns Angela around to face her daddy, she pushes the toy towards him, as the little girl is squealing and kicking the sides of Mr. Whale. Walker catches her and gently turns her back around and pushes her towards Alex as a friendly little game of "push" is developing.
            "I appreciated you helping me, honey--but you were driving me crazy asking me every five minutes if I was okay----I had to get you out of the house so I could get some rest---and I knew you were chomping at the bit to have some time to yourself."
            "And, I haven't been back to the badlands since---have I?"
            "No, you haven't---but this trip up into Montana will be the third time that you've been away from home since Angela was born----you get a break from your mundane job---I don't! I have to have my space too, Walker---before----"
            Walker takes a long draw off the cigar, he squints his eyes and stares back at his wife, "Before what—Alex?"
            Alex's blue eyes look back to her husband, "Before--we end up suffocating each other with our togetherness---look at us--how long have we been arguing about this one subject?"
            "Is that what you think I'm doing---suffocating you?  You just said that you were tired of me being away from home and you and our daughter--and now you're saying that I'm suffocating you?"
            Alex gently pushes Angela back to Walker, she then puts her hand up in defense--"This conversation is going to end just like all of the others--with you getting your way--so I'm not saying anything more."
            Alex starts to rise out of the tub, "When your daughter is through---would you please dry her off and I will get her ready for bed--do you think you can do that?"
            "Alex---come on---don't be this way----"
            “What way, Walker?  I asked you to meet me halfway, and you refuse to do so--it's always got to be your way---I never thought I would ever say that you were chauvinistic--but you are definitely behaving that way now."
            Alex steps out of the tub and grabs her bathrobe, stomping back into the nursery. The Ranger swears to himself as he reaches over and grounds out the cigar. Angela is staring back at him, her blue eyes confused as she watches her mommy leave the bathtub.
            A half hour later and Walker is carrying a half asleep little blonde, blue-eyed girl into the nursery. Alex takes her and lays her down on the bed and applies baby lotion and powder all over her, she looks back to Walker and says nothing. He sighs and walks back to the master bedroom, she can hear him throwing things around and drawers being opened and closed. Alex walks over to the rocking chair and starts rocking Angela and gently brushing her hair. Walker returns and looks to Alex.
            "Aren't you going to feed her before putting her to bed?"
            "Yes, I will feed her---as soon as you tell me what you want for supper and I don't have to play the guessing game about what you want to eat."
            "I thought we were going out to eat? That's what you said earlier, that's why you put Angela down for her nap---now she's falling asleep."
            Alex sighs, "I've changed my mind about going out to eat---I don't think I would be very good company."
            Walker throws his arms up in the air, "I give up!! Do you want me to go get fast food?"
            "No, I don't want you going out to get fast food--on your last night home--I will cook supper--do you want lasagna, or meatloaf?"
            "Whatever you feel like cooking, hon---or I can go get something--I don't mind--if you don't feel like cooking."
            "Walker, come get your daughter---and just give me a few minutes alone—okay?"
            The Ranger quickly walks over to the rocker and takes Angela, "Okay, hon--I'll take her downstairs--we'll go the barn for a few minutes---and talk to Amigo."
            Another half hour passes and Walker and Angela are in the barn and they have discovered that the homeless tabby that they took in the month before has given birth---to 6 kittens!!! Walker is holding one up to his daughter; she's wants to touch it, but keeps bringing her hand back.
            "It's okay, my angel---it's just a baby--he can't hurt you."
            Angela has finally touched the kitten, but the soft fur makes her squeal with laughter, now she wants to touch the others. Walker sits her down gently as Angela begins to reach for the others that are nursing, and the mama looks at her cautiously. Walker reaches over and pets the mama.
            "It's okay, little mama--we're not going to hurt your babies--that's a promise."
            "Oh my goodness--she had her babies!" A voice exclaims.
            Walker turns around to see Alex standing there, she's all dressed up in a strapless sundress, with yellow flowers on the dress and in her hair, she looks up at him.
            "I'm in the mood for going out to eat---if you still want to," she replies softly.
            The Ranger smiles as he looks down to Angela, "What about the rug rat?"
            "She's fine just the way she's dressed, we're waiting on you."
            "I'll be ready in five minutes---be right back," the Ranger turns towards the house, "what are you in the mood for, Mexican or Italian?"
            "It doesn't matter," Alex replies, "just so it's food"!  She sighs and looks down to her daughter who has picked up one of the other kittens and trying to hold it close. Alex looks to her daughter and sighs, "Angela, don't let anyone ever tell you that marriage is 50-50---it doesn't work out that way---and you will find out that the woman is usually the one to give in, especially if she loves her man. It's more like 70-30."
            The Walkers enjoy a pleasant but quiet dinner at Jose's, conversation is strained as they each try to divert their attention to Angela. The little girl is fighting to stay awake as she goes back and forth to each of her parents, wanting to be held.
            "I guess we best call it a night and get the little rug rat home," sighs Walker.
            The drive home is even tenser as idle conversation is going back and forth between Walker and Alex. As Alex gets Angela ready for bed, Walker goes out to close the barn door and leave more instructions for Benji, the hired hand that takes care of the ranch when he has to be away. He walks slowly into the nursery and stands by his daughter's little bed, as Angela's eyes open halfway as her lashes flutter back and forth. Walker smiles and reaches down to kiss her eyelids.
            "You got your Mothers' eyes, my angel---and your eye lashes are like that of a butterfly with its wings fluttering. Butterfly kisses for your daddy and dreams to build on---sleep tight, my angel---daddy loves you."
            The Ranger walks slowly across the hall into the master bedroom, he stops and stares. Alex is standing before him, candles burning in the background. He does a double take as he takes in her beauty, she's wearing a plum colored silk negligee, with slits up the side, revealing her long sexy legs. The Ranger can do nothing but stare as he feels himself getting aroused and the room getting warmer.
            Alex smiles softly as she walks closer to him, "I don't want you leaving, thinking I'm upset with you. Can we stop arguing---for just tonight?"
            Walker's eyes go up and down his wife's body--each time that his eyes feast upon her body, it's always like the first time. Each time that he takes her into his arms and they make love, it's like that first time---on the rafting trip.
            The Ranger swallows, "I don't want to argue with you, hon---I just want you home---is that wrong?"
            Alex  gently touches his lips with her finger, "I don't want to talk about anything else tonight-----we will continue this conversation---when you get home—agreed?"
            Before the Ranger can answer, her lips are upon his, her arms going around his neck. His knees get weak, and his heart pounds faster as he sweeps her up into his arms and carries her their bed. He whispers, "I love you, Alex."


                         *****************************************************


            The Ranger is jolted awake by voices, he looks up to see the blonde headed woman sitting down in the seat next to him, gently picking up his packages, her eyes look back to him.
            "I'm sorry--but do you mind if I join you?"
            Walker uprights his seat and starts rubbing his eyes, "Of course not---are you okay, was that man bothering you?"
            The blonde smiles, "He wasn't bothering me, he just wouldn't shut up, he and his lady friend kept conversing across the aisle. I don't think either of them knows how to talk in a quiet voice."
            The Ranger is still trying to get the sleep out of his eyes, he motions for the stewardess, "I've got to have some coffee, would you like some?"
            "I would rather have hot tea, with just a twist of lemon, no sugar."
            Walker stares back at the woman, she smiles. "You're staring again."
            The stewardess takes their order, and Walker shakes his head. "I know you're not going to believe this, but that's how my wife drinks her tea--a 'twist of lemon--no sugar'."
            The blonde laughs, "Another thing we have in common, tell me--does she let you have your way all the time--or is she hot tempered?"
            The Ranger smiles, as he remembers his dream just moments earlier. "I don't think I'd better comment on that subject."
            The old woman that is sitting to the left of the blonde keeps looking at her curiously, "Have I seen you on TV before?"
            The blonde quickly looks to Walker and winks at the old woman, "I've done a few commercials, that's probably where you've seen me."
            The old woman smiles, and goes back to her knitting. Walker drinks his coffee slowly and then comments. "Are you sure you want to sit in 'coach'--it gets a little crowded back here."
            "Would you rather I leave?"
            "No--no--I don't mean that---it's just that first class is so much more comfortable---so I've been told."
            The woman stirs her tea gently and then sips it, "I'm fine---I haven't always flown first class," she looks to the Ranger and jokes, "I'm not above rubbing elbows with the peons."
            Walker laughs, and then he says slowly--"I'm not usually this open with someone I've just met--especially---a beautiful woman--like yourself."
            "Well, that makes two of us--I usually don't talk to good-looking strangers, as you found out earlier when I accused you of trying to 'pick me up'.  I'm really sorry about that, I hope you understand what I was thinking."
            "I understand, all too well. My wife is constantly getting hit on, and I don't mind admitting--it pisses me off."
            "And, I'm sure that you get hit on by women that you see and meet in your travels--you're a very handsome man---by the way---what did you say your name was?"
            "Cordell Walker----and you are?"
            The woman hesitates, "Why don't you just call me—April?"
            Walker repeats the name, "April?----It fits you, your name is like a spring month."
            "Don't tell me, it's your wife's favorite month."
            "Nooo---May-- is my wife's favorite month, because not only is it our daughter's birthday month, but our wedding anniversary as well."
            "Really?  How many years?"
            Walker beams, "Our daughter was born the day before our first anniversary, she will be one year old tomorrow, and the next day is our second anniversary."
            "Congratulations---"I've been married almost 9 years--my boys are 8 and 5. Are you and your wife planning to have a another baby?"
            "Most definitely, neither of us had siblings and that was the main thing we agreed on, to have more than one! But, right now I'm content in spoiling Angela rotten---- and my wife says I've got a good head start."
            April smiles, "My husband is wanting another baby, but I know that he has an ulterior motive---thinking it will keep me home more."
            "You told that lady that you acted in commercials, I know I've seen you before, but I can't place you--wanna give me a clue?"
            "Do you watch soap operas, Cordell?"
            Walker shakes his head, "Hell no---don't tell me that's what you've acted in---soap operas?"
            April shrugs, "Well, some people would refer to them as soap operas----nighttime---soap opera."
            Walker is totally confused, "There's no way that I could have seen you on a soap opera because I don't watch those stupid shows, but I know I've seen you somewhere before."
            "Maybe you've seen me on the show, MATLOCK?"
            "Matlock? That's my wife's favorite show, yeah I've watched it, I liked it.  But---that show has been off the air for a long time---you were on that show?"
            April smiles, "Yes, several times--just bit parts though--that's where I'm going now--to Atlanta--to film another episode."
            "But---the show is in reruns--and it's still being filmed?"
            "Reunion--It's going to be a reunion, with several old characters coming back to the show with Ben, his daughters, and Conrad--remember him?"
            "Yeah, the private detective," mumbles Walker, "he reminds me of my partner, Trivette--always biting off more than he can chew, ---and he's a vegetarian."
            April smiles, "And, sweet old Ben--I loved working on that show, he always reminded me of my Dad."
            "That's odd, my wife always said the same thing. Her Dad is a lawyer too, and she always said that Ben Matlock was just like him, a cranky old man with a wit second to none and a temper to back it up.  My wife is a lawyer, and a damn good one, I might add."
            "Really?  It's always been a dream of mine to play the part of a lawyer. What do you think, Cordell?  Would I make a convincing lawyer?"
            Walker is speechless as he just stares at the woman, seeing Alex standing in court and arguing her cases. April lowers her head and looks up at him, her blue eyes looking deep into his eyes.
            "Cordell---you're staring----again."
            "Yes," he replies," you would make a very beautiful and convincing lawyer."
            April becomes quiet then she blurts it out, "Why are you men so damn stubborn?"
            The old woman stops her knitting and looks at April again, curiously.
            Walker is taken back at the outburst, "Excuse me---where did that come from?"
            "I'm sorry---I was just thinking of something that my husband said--right before I left home. Ohhh--that man makes me so mad, he's always patronizing me--just for the sake of not arguing with me! Just once, I wish he would tell me flat out that I couldn’t do a certain thing---instead of always agreeing with me. Does your wife do that to you?"
            "Are you serious? Remember, my wife is a lawyer, it's in her blood--to argue and believe me--she---she"
            "She-what?"
            Walker takes a deep sigh, "Before we got married, I seldom ever won an argument with her--but now--she----she sort of---gives in---a little more than--I do."
            April nods her head, "See there--it's true what they say."
            "About what?"
            "About marriages not being 50-50--the woman always gives more than the man--they have to--to make the marriage work."
            "Now, wait a minute," argues Walker, "my wife is not the one to give in first all the time--there's been many times that I have let her have the final say so--- just"
            "Just to keep peace in the family?" Asks April.
            Again Walker is speechless, "No---yes---I mean--sometimes---but there are certain issues that I take a direct stand on and that's having my wife home, and, and ----not running all over the country."
            "But---she has a career too--just like I do, and sometimes my job takes me clear across the states--I don't argue with Paul, when he has to go out of state on his jobs."
            Walker shakes his head, "Wait a minute, I'm confused--you just said you wanted your husband to tell you that you can't do a certain thing, and now you're upset because he is--am I missing something here?"
            "You're just like my husband, you don't understand how important it is that a woman has her space too-----"
            "APRIL, I knew it--you're April Stevens!" The old woman shouts, causing everyone on the plane to jump, including Walker and the woman called April. The old woman stares back, shaking her finger at the blonde, "You hussy---how could you do that to sweet Bobby--and to Pam?"
           
The blonde looks to Walker and sighs, "Oh no, I was hoping she wouldn't recognize me."
            Walker is staring back at April as the stewardess is trying to calm the old lady. The old woman is still shouting insults.
            "You should be ashamed of yourself---Bobby was so sweet---you lured him to your bed--he was still mourning Pam!"
            The stewardess is telling the old woman to be quiet as she keeps looking at April and trying to apologize, while trying to quiet the other passengers. Finally, the old woman is moved to another seat---in April's seat--first class!
            The plane is finally normal again and April is feeling the stares of the other passengers, a few of them are pointing at her and nodding their heads, April groans.
            Walker feels like he's stepped into a hornets' nest as he keeps looking at the blonde, "Wanna tell me what that was all about---uhhh--never mind---sounds personal."
            April orders a nice stiff drink, and drinks it down quickly. "I guess I should explain".
            "Never mind---your personal life is your own---but---how does that woman know about you and this guy---Bobby? And, who is Pam?"
            April starts to laugh as she stares back at the bearded ranger, "You were serious about not watching nighttime soap operas, weren't you?"
            "What are you talking about?"
            April turns in her seat and looks straight into Walker's eyes, "Pam, Bobby, oil?"
            Walkers' brow arches, "I'm sorry--I'm not following any of this--and if you're in a extra marital affair with this guy, Bobby--that's not any of my business-----"
            "One more clue, cowboy--the man everyone loves to hate?--Oil baron from Big "D"?"
            Walker's face goes blank, and April is laughing even harder as several of the passengers shout---J.R. EWING!"
           
Walker exhales as he starts to smile, "Now--I get it--"DALLAS"---you were on that show--I knew I had seen you before."
            Everyone is laughing and clapping as April replies, "Now, I'm confused, you said you never watched nighttime soaps?"
            Walker is shaking his head in embarrassment, "I might have caught it a couple of times--and everyone in the states--in the world---has heard of J.R. Ewing--especially when he got shot."
            April sighs, "Yeah, a lot of people thought I shot him---and hoped I would be sent to prison for what I did to sweet, sweet, Bobby.  I got a lot of hate mail for portraying that character-- I think I was riding high on the list of 10 most hated people in Texas!"
            Walker smiles, "Do you regret playing the part?"
            The woman pouts in a little girl manner, "No---but someday I would like to play the part of a character that people love--not hate.--Maybe the love interest of a leading character?"
            "Anything in the makings?"
            "I'm not sure, I have to return a call to a actor friend of mine, he's wanting to do a series and has asked me to consider it---maybe you'll see me on your TV soon. Come to think of it, you sort of resemble him."
            Walker laughs, "The poor guy! So long as it's not a soap opera-- got my vote."
            The two remain quiet and the blonde reaches for Walker's hand, she sighs softly. "I think when I get to Dallas, I'm going to call my husband and tell him that I'm taking the next flight back to L.A.  I'm starting to see and understand his way of thinking now---thanks to you."
            Walker nods his head in agreement, he squeezes her hand gently--"I think I'm understanding a few things too--how important it is to let something breathe and not smother it. I think deep inside that I was scared that someone would come on to my wife and that she might be persuaded to act on those feelings. I love Alex and I know she loves me--our marriage is too strong for anyone to come between us--our trust in each other is what it's all about."
            "I agree---I miss my husband and my boys--my career is second--I'm not going to accept anymore acting jobs that take me out of L.A."
            The Ranger nods as he sees the "Buckle Seatbelts" light comes on. "Yep, and I'm going to start spending more time at home and let the younger Rangers chase the bad guys.  April, I know you're going to be in a hurry when we land at DFW, but could I ask you just one last favor--would you mind if I introduce you to my wife and daughter?"
            April smiles as she reaches up and kisses the rangers' cheek, "It would be my honor--but right now I got to get back to my seat and get my carry on luggage--I'll see you in the terminal."


                                               *******************************


            Walker is hurrying up the passenger ramp, cradling the packages and looking around for a familiar sight. He sees the blonde headed woman, his heart skips a beat, his hands are all clammy. As he gets closer to her, he gets weak in the knees as the woman bends down to a miniature version of herself. The woman is pointing towards him, and the little girl sees him. She giggles and tries to walk to the bearded man, holding her little arms out.
            The Ranger drops his carry on bag and shifts the packages to his left arm as he scoops the little girl up, kissing her repeatedly The blonde walks up slowly towards them, and Walker reaches out for her and kisses her long and tender.
            "God, how I’ve missed you," he whispers, "I've got so much to say to you---Alex--I've done some serious thinking about your trips to Houston--and hon--if it's what you want--I promise to------"
            Alex is returning his kiss, "Walker---I've been doing some thinking too-----"
            Walker kisses her again and kisses his daughter, "Hon, there's someone I want you to meet," he turns around to look for April.
            "Where is she? She said she would meet me here?"
            "Who?  Honey--who are you looking for?"

Friendly Persuasions – Part 3

            The Ranger is looking around and walking back and forth to the passenger ramp, Alex is watching him curiously.
            "Walker, who are you looking for?  What woman?"
            "Her name is April--that's not her real name--she's an actress--but we met on the plane and we talked, she said she would meet me here."
            Alex is being very uncomfortable as she holds her daughter tighter. "You met some woman---on the plane--and the two of you agreed to meet after the plane landed---Walker--what is going on?"

Walker puts his hands up, "It's not what you're thinking, hon--wait a minute there's the stewardess that was in first class--be right back."
            Alex watches as her husband checks the passenger list, and she has a very uneasy feeling in the pit of her stomach. She watches as her husband walks back to her, shaking his head.
            "Well?  Where is she?"
            Walker looks at his wife confused, "She's not listed on the passenger list---there is no April seated in seat 55--just that clown and his wife."
            "Clown?  Walker, what the heck are you talking about?"
            Walker shakes his head as he takes one last look around, "Never mind--let's go home--and I'll tell you all about it."
            Walker ranch:
            Alex listens to her husband talk about the woman, she stares back at him. "She looks like me?"
            "Yes, she could be your twin, honey--she's identical to you."
            Alex doesn't know what to think. Her thoughts go to the idea of having another woman attract her husband, she's having mixed feelings.
            Walker can see that his wife is becoming uneasy, and he smiles to himself. "Alex, I'm telling you--the woman was gorgeous, she's the most beautiful woman I've ever seen."
            Alex's bottom lip is starting to quiver as she forces herself to listen as her husband describes another woman.
            Walker sighs, "She has these beautiful eyes, that just look right through a man, causing him to go weak in the knees. And, her body---would make a man go insane from wanting to ravish it.  And, those long sexy legs--and those lips---oh man---those luscious lips--to invision those lips and what they could to a man's body-----"
            Alex grabs a pillow from their bed and smacks Walker square in the face with it!
            "Cordell John Walker-- I am not amused with any of this--hearing you describe another woman's anatomy and---and---"
            Walker rushes Alex and scoops her up in his arms, "Honey---I'm describing you---- right down to the cute little mole at the corner of your mouth." He kisses her deeply, as her arms go around his neck, kissing him back.
            She's half crying as she sputters, "Well, what am I suppose to think, you meet this woman on the plane and from what you said, you talked about personal things."
            "Honey--she's a happily married woman and I'm very much in love with my wife who I can't wait to get between the sheets and make mad, passionate love to---Alex--I was attracted to her, because she reminded me of you!! And, yes we talked about some private things, she was having the same problems with her husband---and we both helped each other to understand those problems from an opposite point of view.  And, I meant it hon--I'm going to meet you more than half way on those cases going back and forth to Houston."
            Alex takes her arms from around her husband's neck, "Walker, I have a confession to make---please don't be upset with me."
            "What? Upset? About what?"
            Alex bites her bottom lip, "I went down to Houston, to sit in on the criminal cases presented by Kaufman, Le Clair, and Terrell--I went down against your wishes--Walker--I thought it was what I wanted.  But, I was miserable the whole time I was there."
            Walker backs away from his wife, and asks slowly--"You went down there, even after I forbid it?"
            Alex is now walking in circles, "Yes--I thought you were being unreasonable and I wanted to prove you wrong---but Walker---I'm the one that was wrong."
            Walker shakes his head as he reaches out and pulls his wife to him, "No, hon--you weren't wrong. Don't you see?  You were miserable because you were doing it behind my back----and the next time you go down there will be with my support---all the way."
            Alex is sobbing, "Are you sure? Walker, I told them I wouldn't be back."
            Walker takes his right hand and gently strokes his wife's cheek, "Well---you call them and tell them that you've changed your mind!!  I'm the one that was wrong by not letting you explore other assets in your career. That's one of the things that April and I discussed, and I could see things so much clearer, coming from a complete stranger. Alex--I've been too damn stubborn to see your side---and I promise that I will support whatever decision you make."
            Alex is now confused, "I don't know whether to be grateful to this ‘April’---or to be jealous of her---knowing that you listened to her and not me."
            "Alex, you certainly have no reason to be jealous of April--or any other woman. I love you---only you.  Now, do you think--that---maybe one day out of the month would be enough time away from me?" His brow arches in a question.
            She nods her head and kisses him softly, "Yes----what about this woman? Walker, you said she was an actress, but her name isn't April---who is she?"
            "I'm not sure what her name is---she played on that show, "DALLAS"---I think her character's name was April Stevens--you've watched the show, do you know who I'm talking about?"
            Alex's mouth drops open, "Yes, I know who she is---she's the slut that slept with Bobby!"
            Walker groans, "Oh, for Pete's sake, not him again!"
            Alex grimaces, "Oh, how I hate that woman---how could she have done that to Bobby--- Bobby was like an Icon to that show---he was---so---so-----"
            "SWEET?" asks Walker sarcastically. "From the few times I caught the show I thought he was a real wimp---now I'm convinced he was a blind wimp."
            Alex is fighting the urge to laugh as she sees Walker's jealousy rising, "A blind wimp---why do you say that?"
            "I've seen the actress that portrayed Pam, and in my opinion, the actress who played April had her beat---hands down."
            Alex begins to smile as she walks back into her husband's arms, and begins unbuttoning his jeans, "Well, he sure did look good in those tight fitting jeans---but honey--he has nothing on you."
            Walker is grinning, "So, do you know the name of the actress who portrayed her?"
            "Ooooh yes--I know her name---Sheree J. Wilson!"


(Oh well, another time I've gone off on a tangent--hope I didn't offend any true Pamela                       Ewing fans---SASQUAW--Sept 21st, 2003)