·        This little story was inspired by a posting on the Delphi board.  All credit to WTRangerette for the hilarious visual of Walker making a scene at Alex's expense.

Walker, Texas Ranger

"Pay back"

By:  Clarise (rose_usss7@hotmail.com)

            Texas Ranger Cordell Walker burst through the doors of C.D.'s Bar and Grill and made a bee line for the coffee pot that had it's permanent home behind and a little to the left of C.D.'s long mahogany bar.  After pouring himself a cup and noisily returning the pot back to its spot, he trudged heavily to his favorite corner booth and slid into his seat.  Throwing his black Stetson into the opposite seat and banging his holstered gun onto the table he heaved a frustrated sigh.  He took a slow sip from his coffee mug and closed his eyes. "That woman!" he thought to himself.

            C.D. Parker, a retired Captain of the Texas Rangers and Walker's former partner and now owner of the establishment that Walker had just entered had seen the whole mini-drama unfold.  He weighed whether or not he should go over to his friend and ask what the problem was.  Walker usually wasn't given to such dramatics.  In fact C.D. only knew him to get so upset when it had something to do with a certain blond Assistant District Attorney.  "Oh Lordy Alex, what have you done now?"  was C.D.'s silent query. 

A sudden screeching of chairs against hardwood floor turned his attention from Walker for a second.  Two women tourists had risen from their table in a hurry and clutching their respective handbags made a hasty exit nervously chattering to each other and glancing furtively at the upset Texas Ranger. 

"Well, that's just great.  Now he's scaring away my customers," thought C.D. somewhat irritated by the defection of the two ladies.  Being a firm believer in the benefits of getting things off one's chest, C.D. made the decision to saunter over to Walker's booth and get the low down.

            "Hey, there Cordell.  That sure was some entrance you just made.  Something bothering you?" boomed C.D. as he approached Walker.

            "She did it to me again, C.D.!" groaned Walker.  "Hell, you know no one could love that woman more than I do but I swear if she embarrasses me again like she did today…"

            "I thought you were supposed to be testifying in court today on the Phillips bust?" C.D. questioned congratulating himself at being right as to the source of Walker's current state of mind.

            "That's what I was doing.  I mean look at me.  I did what she wanted.  I even wore a tie for God's sakes.  Boots all shined, matching socks, clean white shirt…" Walker trailed off as he took another sip of coffee.

            "Dadgumit, Cordell!  What happened?"

            Shifting uncomfortably at the memory of his recent courtroom appearance, Walker debated uncertainly over how to explain Alex's latest affront.  "Alex went out of her way to embarrass me, C.D.  Whatever happened to her vaunted professionalism?  We're engaged now.  What am I going to have to endure once we are married?"

            "Cordell.  I ain't no closer to knowing what you are bellyaching about.  How's a person suppose to help if'in he don't know what's going on."

            "She took off my hat for me," blurted Walker clearly embarrassed all over again at the thought.

            "What?  Have you lost the good sense God gave you?  Cordell.  What are you talking about?"  C.D. was desperate to understand.  All this over … what?

            "She took off my hat!" repeated Walker shocked that C.D. did not appreciate the seriousness of the offense.  "Alex calls me up to testify.  Okay so I had my mind on something else so I kind of just forgot to remove my hat as I got up.  But, I would have remembered when I got up to the stand!  As I walk by Alex's table she half way blocks my way and says "could I take your hat for you Ranger Walker?" and then reaches up to take it off my head!"

            "Cordell.  Something don't sound right," complained C.D..  "Are you sure you are giving me the whole story? Who was the presiding judge?"  

            "Carstairs," was Walker's pained response.

            "Nora Carstairs?  Well, there you go, Cordell.  You remember her.  She's that stickler for good manners in her courtroom.  Alex was just worried that Carstairs would cause a scene over your hat.  Alex was just trying to spare you any embarrassment son."

            "You're probably right C.D. but hell, people laughed!  And Alex didn't understand when I tried to talk to her about it afterward.  If I could just do something that would show her how I felt today…"

            Just at that moment Alex Cahill breezed into C.D.'s.  Spying her fiancée and C.D. she headed towards them.  "Hi guys.  What's up?"

            Walker gave C.D. a warning look as he answered Alex. "Not much, Alex."

            C.D. hesitated, thought the better of it and said, "What can I get you honey?"

            "I'll have what Walker's having. Coffee isn't it?"

            "That's right, Alex.  Coming right up"

            Alex slid in beside Walker and gave him a kiss on the cheek.  "I want to thank you for doing so well on the stand today, Walker.  I think we have this case in the bag.  I was a little nervous there in the beginning.  I thought Carstairs was going to come unglued when it looked like you weren't going to take off your hat…but when you got up on that stand and gave clear, professional, and detailed answers to my questions… I don't think anyone could come away with any verdict but guilty.  What do you think?"

            Walker could tell that Alex was in what he called "The Zone".  She did not really want an answer to her question.  She was just verbalizing her thought processes.  He put his arm around her shoulders and gave her a short squeeze of reassurance.  The hat fiasco as he now thought of it would just have to wait.  Alex just did not see and, as he was unwilling to ruin the rest of the day trying to make her understand, Walker let the matter fade from his memory…

*** or so he thought ***

            That weekend presented Cordell Walker with the perfect opportunity for demonstrating to Alex how the 'hat fiasco' had made him feel in terms that she could relate to.

            Walker awoke to the smell of fresh brewed coffee that was wafting in from his kitchen downstairs.  Slipping on a pair of well worn, fit like a second skin, jeans the Ranger made his way downstairs.  His bare feet made a soft padding noise on the stairs.  He hoped he would be able to surprise whomever it was in his kitchen at this hour.

            "Hey lady," cooed Walker softly as he slid in behind his fiancée who was at the stove cooking.  It looked like scrambled eggs as he leaned over her shoulder for a better look.  "What? Do you live here or something," laughed Walker as he kissed Alex's exposed neck lovingly.  She had her hair pulled back neatly with two sea-shell combs giving Walker all the access he needed.

            "I'm over here often enough, aren't I Cowboy?" laughed Alex in agreement as she reveled in the sensation of Walker's bare chest against her back.  Turning in his arms she allowed herself to be drawn into an earth-shatteringly sweet kiss. 

            "Mmm, what a way to greet the morning," murmured Walker contentedly against Alex's soft lips.  He leaned back from the embrace and eyed Alex speculatively. "You know Alex I've got no problem with you moving in any…"

            Touching a finger to Walkers lips Alex interrupted, "I'd love to continue this conversation but I've got a lot of things to do today.  I just wanted to remind you that you agreed to allow my abused women's group to meet here today since St. Stephen's could not accommodate us."

            Walker had forgotten but he did not let Alex know that.  "No problem, Alex.  I do need to get some work done around the ranch after me and Trivette get done with our surveillance assignment.  But, I promise I won't get in your way.  Hey, it smells like something is burning."

            "The eggs!" cried Alex mournfully as she spun out of their embrace.  She glared at the ruined meal as if they had intentionally burned themselves.  She turned off the stove with a frustrated snap of the wrist.

            "Don't worry about it Alex," soothed Walker as he drew her back into a comforting embrace from behind.  "Besides I didn't fall in love with you because of your cooking," explained Walker suggestively as he bent to nuzzle Alex's ear.

            "Oh you!" was all Alex could get out before Walker had turned her around and captured her lips once again.

***

            "Hey, partner snap out of it will ya," complained Texas Ranger James Trivette loudly. He was upset that his partner had gone for the majority of their two hour surveillance stint without putting much more than two words together.  All he'd gotten was some yeahs and a few grunts of acknowledgement out of Walker since relieving Harris and Jackson.  If this kept up he would go insane with boredom.  Trivette tried again to engage his partner in conversation.

            "Come on Walker.  I know you've got something cookin' in that noggin of yours.  You've been wearing, what I can only describe as an evil grin, for a while now.  Come on man, let me in on it!" wailed Trivette as Walker continued to ignore him.

            Finally, stroking his sandy red beard for affect, Walker slowly turned toward Trivette and smiled.  "You really want to know Trivette," he asked mischievously.

            "You know I do Walker!" Trivette practically shouted.  "Ooh this is going to be good I just know it."  Trivette rubbed his hands together in glee.  Finally something to break the monotony of their assignment.

            "Alright.  Here it is," began Walker slowly.  "I told you about the 'hat fiasco' with Alex right?"

            "Yeah," replied Trivette hesitantly nodding his agreement.  He thought Walker had been crazy to react the way he did but he guessed he could look the other way if it meant some conversation out of Walker.

            "Okay. I think I've got just the thing to show Alex how the 'hat fiasco' made me feel.  You know she's got her abused women's group out at the ranch this afternoon… "  As Walker continued Trivette's eyes got rounder and a wide grin appeared on his face.

            "Oh man you've got to let me be there.   I could bring a camera to capture the moment or something," offered Trivette excitedly after Walker finished filling him in on his plan.

            "Trivette!" warned Walker.  "I don't want this to turn into some kind of circus. I just want to get my point across."

            "Okay, okay, no camera.  But, you have to let me be there.  Come on you owe me."

            "Owe you?  Owe you for what?" questioned Walker good- naturedly.

            "Hey, man.  We've been sitting here close to two hours watching for Stephensen to appear at the warehouse and I've had nothing but grunts out of you.  You have to make it up to me for making this the most boring, uncomfortable stake out we've ever been on," Trivette finished hopefully.

            "Alright, alright, Trivette.  I don't have time to argue with you," laughed Walker. "Here come Purvis and Hendricks to relieve us.  If Alex asks why you're there I'll just say you've agreed to help me with all I've got to do around the ranch."

            "Yes!" was all Trivette said in response clearly delighted that his afternoon was not going to be as boring as his morning had been.  Picking up the radio Trivette asked dispatch to patch him through to Purvis's and Hendrick's car.

            "Purvis here.  Go ahead"

            "We're outta here Purvis.  No activity to report.  Hope you guys have more luck than we did," responded Trivette as Walker guided the Ram from its hiding place to allow Purvis and Hendrick's to move their car in.

***back at the ranch***

            "That was Joyce," explained Alex to the group as she replace the receiver in its cradle.  "She'll be a few minutes late."  Alex returned to her seat around Walker's kitchen table. "Connie, please continue."

            As Connie Furnell began to speak again Alex marveled at how far Connie had come since the group's encounter with her abusive husband Brad at a retreat she had held some years ago.  Connie was now one of Alex's best counselor's.  Her specialty was convincing women of the need to take part in the abused women's group as a first step towards freedom from the abuse.  She was currently filling the group in on a potential new group member who had contacted her.

            "Like I said we used to be friends.  When she saw me the other day and found out that I had divorced Brad and gotten my life back she asked me how I did it.  I've told her about the group and she's interested but she's also real scared.  I was thinking maybe a little one on one with me first then I could bring her to a meeting.  What do you all think?"

            "That sounds fine to me," responded Alex. "Remind her about the HOPE Center if she needs a place to stay on short notice and you may give her my number if she needs any legal advice or if she just wants to talk."

            There were generally nods of agreement around the table and other telephone numbers were offered.  "Hey, Alex," called Angie, a diminutive black lady who had been with the group since day one.  "Please tell your fiancée thanks from all of us for allowing us to use his ranch for the meeting today.  It is so beautiful here."

            "Yes, it is," responded Alex in full agreement.  And I certainly will tell him, although he should be in soon.  I heard his truck a while back.  He said he had some work to do around the ranch."   Just then the sound of a hammer could be heard through the screen door. "Speak of the devil," laughed Alex.  "Maybe we should close the kitchen door against the racket."

            "No way, Alex.  It's way too hot." Jenny Mason, a petite blond spoke for the group.

"The screen door let's in just enough breeze to cool this room off," agreed Mary Hamilton, a fairly new group member.

"Alright," agreed Alex.  "Well let's continue with the meeting.  Does anyone have anything they want to share?  How about you Mary?" prompted Alex.

****

            "Geez, Walker.  I didn't think you were actually going to put me to work, complained Trivette.  He had relieved himself of his shirt and was pounding away at a nail."

            "I told you I had to work up a sweat to make this look good," answered Walker laughing.  Walker had also taken off his white cotton shirt and replaced it with a Levi's work shirt that he had grabbed from the back of his truck.  The sleeves were torn from the shoulder and had produced a white fringe of frayed threads. "And I really do have to get these stalls fixed.  As you can see they are falling apart."

            For the next hour the pair of Rangers worked hard.  Working together they soon had all the stalls mended and had refilled all the hay troughs with hay.  Trivette drew the line at mucking out the stalls so Walker let him go through the tack room and put aside any tack that looked like it needed repair.  Walker would get to it later.  When Walker was finished he gave himself a once over.  "Hey, Trivette," he called.  "Do I look the part?"

            Trivette looked up from his seat on a bench in the tack room.  Grinning widely he said, "I think you're ready for prime time partner.  Hey, put those work gloves back on.  That'll complete the picture.  So you going to do it now?"

            Nodding in the affirmative, Walker made his way to the entrance to the barn.

            "Wait a minute, man.  I've got to get me a good spot.  Give me time to circle around to the kitchen window.  I saw them all sitting there when we drove up," explained Trivette excitedly.

            "You've got two minutes, Trivette."

            Trivette slipped out ahead of Walker and made his way behind the back of the barn so that his approach would not be in the line of sight of anyone in the kitchen.  Walker waited the agreed upon two minutes and then, chuckling to himself, exited the barn and headed towards his house.

            "I think we've had a productive meeting today.  Although I'd like to see several of you participate more I believe everyone is making splendid progress.  Any comments?" asked Alex winding up the meeting.

            Before anyone could answer there came a creak from the kitchen's screen door as someone opened it and made to enter the kitchen.  All eyes were riveted on Walker as he stepped inside and stood for a minute adjusting his eyes to the light in the room.  Alex's mouth fell open at the spectacle of her husband to be standing before them like some red-haired "Marlboro Man" albeit not as neat.  Everything seemed to progress in slow motion for her as she noted his gritty appearance and the amount of skin and muscle he was showing off!  Walker pulled a red bandana from his back pocket and mopped at his neck.  Moving to the refrigerator he opened it and selected a cold Michelob from its interior.  Bringing the bottle up Walker made a show of pressing it to his forehead and sighing contentedly.  "Ahhhhh, that sure feels good.  Hot day isn't it ladies?" commented Walker as he closed the refrigerator and shuffled past the awe struck group and into his living room.

            Nothing was said for a moment until Mary piped up, "Hubba , hubba.  Alex call him back here will ya?"  At that the group dissolved into a fit of giggles and wolf whistles and crude comments. 

            Alex felt the red of embarrassment creep up her face.  This was not the image she wanted people to have of her fiancée.  "Excuse me a moment, won't you?" asked Alex hurriedly as she rose.

            "Sure, Alex.  Just as long as you bring that hunk of a man back here with you," hooted Angie, which set the rest of the group into another round of hysterics.

            "Walker!" hissed Alex when she got into the living room. "What has gotten into you?"

            "Hold up there Alex," laughed Walker fending off a half hearted punch thrown by his, clearly upset, fiancée.  "I want you to stop for a moment.  I want you to take stock of yourself.  How do you feel right at this moment?"

            "Walker, I don't have time for games."

            "Alex, I'm serious.  I'm trying to make a point here," insisted Walker.

            Alex saw that Walker was sincere so she did what he had asked.

            "Okay," continued Walker when he saw that Alex was ready.  "You know how you feel right now? 

            "Yes," was Alex's simple reply.

"That's how I felt when you took off my hat for me in court this week," explained Walker triumphantly.

When Alex did not say anything to his revelation Walker got a little worried.  Had he gone too far?  Had C.D. and Trivette been right?  Had he overreacted to the 'hat fiasco'?

            "Alex?  Do you understand what I was trying to tell you?

            "Oh, you," laughed Alex.  "Of course I understand.  But, next time just try talking to me.  I think I'm going to have to fight all those women in the kitchen for you after your little stunt.  I have to admit though there is something to be said for this macho grunge look you've got going here."

            Just then there was a loud thud and a muffled groan from outside the kitchen.  "OOOH, ladies here's another one out here.  Come and see.  Hey, handsome come on inside.  We won't bite"

            Alex looked at Walker questioningly.  Walker looked skyward and groaned, "Trivette!"