I didn’t plan on writing a sequel to “ONE DANCE”, but after I received a few emails encouraging me to do so, I thought I would give it a try. You can still follow the story line even if you haven’t read “ONE DANCE”.

Thank you to Chris (ckline-usa@foreverliving.com) for proof reading this for me.

The Return Home

Sequel to “One Dance”

Rodeojunky@yahoo.com

URGENT stamped on the envelope sitting in the “in” box caught Jesse’s eye. As he read the contents, he fell back in his chair; mouth wide open and started massaging his temples.  JOE CONLEY RELEASED FROM FBI CUSTODY was the message that had caused a sudden increase in Jesse’s stress level. Conley was a criminal well known for eluding sophisticated security systems.  Jesse was part of the Mexican law enforcement and normally was not concerned with FBI affairs in the U.S.  However, since he had convinced his good friend and Texas Ranger, Cordell Walker, to go undercover impersonating Joe Conley, this affair became his top priority.

In an effort to help his friend Jesse nab art thief Jose Gonzales, Walker had gone undercover as Gonzales’s security systems advisor. He had been under cover a little over 3 months and had brought Trivette in with him a few weeks ago.  Since Trivette’s induction to the Gonzales compound, Jesse had lost his only means of contact with Walker. The two Rangers made periodic check-ins when they could, the last one being yesterday morning.  Jesse did not expect to hear from them for at least a couple of days and certainly not before Conley would get to Gonzales. Jesse picked up the phone and started dialing.

*          *            *            *            *

Although Trivette was undercover as Walker’s right hand man, the two of them had little contact with each other at the Gonzales compound.  They always seemed to be in the company of the rest of Gonzales’s hired crew, so their conversations revolved around their undercover personas. Walker was known as Joe Conley and Trivette was JT.  They were all a bit edgy tonight. Gonzales had assembled his men tonight to reveal the day and time of their heist of the Spanish jewels from a museum in Houston. Once the announcement was made, the compound would go into a lock down state until the operation. No one would be allowed in or out. This is what Walker and Trivette had been waiting for. They would pass on the information to Jesse, who would gather his men and coordinate with the Texas Rangers to bust Gonzales with the stolen jewels.

Trivette had positioned himself in the open doorway leading to the patio. Once the crucial information was disclosed he had plans to sneak out and make contact with Jesse.  Gonzales never really paid much attention to Trivette; he considered him Walker’s problem since Walker was the one who had insisted on having Trivette join the team.  Walker took a seat in the corner opposite Trivette. He would cause a distraction if anything threatened Trivette’s departure. While Walker waited patiently for Gonzales’s arrival, he thought about Alex. It had been over three months since he had been with her. He didn’t really consider their brief encounter at the museum fundraiser as time spent together. Due to Walker’s situation, they had to remain distant so as not to blow his cover. They shared one dance that night and it was one of the memories Walker held onto to keep him going.  He could almost smell her perfume as his mind drifted to the many nights he had spent holding her close, snuggling on the porch swing.  He was looking forward to getting back to spending the nights looking at the stars. He often sat on the porch of the Gonzales fortress, but it certainly was nothing like the experience of stargazing at his ranch.

Walker heard the door open and in walked Gonzales with Sarah Vixon. Sarah had been his ‘partner’ when scouting out the security of the museum. She and Walker posed as a couple as they had done on many other smaller jobs.  Sarah was a well-known arts dealer as well as Gonzales’s link to the black market. Walker admired her negotiating skills and her discrete way of finagling information out of people, but unfortunately they were always illegal and he would take her down with Gonzales. From their positions, neither Walker nor Trivette could see that Gonzales was holding a gun to Sarah’s back. 

“It seems we have a blabber mouth among us. The famous Texas Rangers have gotten word that there might be an attempt to steal the Spanish jewels,” announced Gonzales. Trivette and Walker exchanged glances and both prepared themselves for a fight.

“Isn’t there always a threat that valuable things might be stolen?” Asked one of the other men. “It doesn’t mean that one of us talked”.

“Don’t worry amigo.” Gonzales said, his voice growing louder. “I’m not pointing fingers, I KNOW who the informant is!”

The informant, not informants.  That means he only knows one of us is a fraud, thought Walker. He watched Gonzales closely to see which one of them he was going to go for. He also saw Trivette slowly inching his way out onto the patio.

Gonzales pushed Sarah ahead of him and brought his arm straight out with the gun pointed at her forehead. The action had taken Walker by surprise and he jumped to his feet yelling, “don’t shoot!”  The unintentional distraction gave Trivette the chance he needed to slip out.

“Do we have a problem senor Conley?” asked Gonzales a bit disgusted at Walker’s interference. He nodded to two men who each grabbed Walker by an arm.

Quickly collecting his thoughts and trying to think of something intelligent to say so as not to blow his own cover, Walker tried to stall, “If she is your informant, than we can use her to our advantage.” He said.

“Mr. Conley, you were hired to take down security systems, not to interfere with the planning of the operation or with my business. Miss Vixon here has violated a trust and she will pay for that with her life.”

“We can have her call in a phony date and time to the Rangers. They’ll be expecting us on one day, but instead we’ll show up early. We’ll make a clean get away and use Sarah as a hostage just in case things don’t go well.” Said Walker desperately trying to keep the situation under control.

“Hmm…you have a point there. However, I think it is you that should make that call Ranger Cordell Walker.” Gonzales said as he swung the gun to face Walker.  The two men tighten their grip on him as well.

“See, I told you he was a Ranger.” Said Sarah.

“Yes, your information was correct.” Gonzales noticed the puzzled look on Walker’s face and went on to explain. “Sarah had a phone call from Joe Conley who said an FBI contact of his recommended her as a job source. The contact had heard she was part of a jewel heist operation. Joe thought he might be able to hire out his skills. She did some research and when she brought your real identity to my attention, I didn’t want to believe that one of your kind could have infiltrated by organization so I came up with this little escapade. I figured if you were the real Joe Conley then you would have had no problem with me taking her out. You’re not Conley, you’re a Texas Ranger that can not stand by and let an innocent woman be killed just to protect your cover.”

*          *            *            *            *

Trivette had made it to the hayloft in the barn where he had stashed a cell phone. He had kept the battery with him though, just in case someone found the phone they wouldn’t have be able to “redial” and get Ranger headquarters or Jesse. Jesse was whom he was calling now. Even though Gonzales thought Sarah was the informant, things were going to get ugly. He knew Walker would not allow Gonzales to kill her and sooner or later their cover was going to get blown. He was hoping for later, unaware of the events taking place in the house.

“This is Jesse.” Said the voice at the other end of the phone.

“Jesse, this is Trivette. Listen man we got trouble…”

“Trivette!” Jesse interrupted excitedly. “Listen to ME. We are on our way to the Gonzales compound right now.  We need to get you two out of there. Your cover is in danger of being blown.” The two men exchanged information. When Trivette hung up the phone he sat in loft to think about his next move, until he heard a gunshot come from within the house. Walker.

*          *            *            *            *

Sarah felt betrayed by Walker and took advantage of the fact he had two men restraining him. She slapped him across the face. “I liked you. I trusted you. Hell, I even think I was falling in love with you!”

“Sorry.” Said Walker as he shrugged his shoulders and gave her that oh well look.

“You should just shoot him right now.” Sarah told Gonzales.

“No, I need him to make that phone call.” Then as if it the thought just occurred to him, Gonzales quickly looked around the room. “Where the hell is the other one? Find that JT and kill him. I only need one Ranger.” He said to the other men in the room.

Seeing Gonzales momentarily distracted was all Walker needed. He used the grip of the two men for support and lifted both feet off the ground, kicking the gun with one foot and Gonzales’s chest with the other. As his feet came down, he drove the heels of his boots onto the toes of the two men. Their grips relaxed and that’s all Walker needed to free himself from their hold. He made a dash for the patio door and dove for cover as he saw Sarah pick up the gun. A shot was fired. Walker lost control of his landing and slammed onto the concrete patio. He rolled a couple of times and then took off running. He made like he was headed for the main gate and then circled back around the house to head for the woods. There was a sharp pain in his left side and he knew that if the bullet hadn’t done any damage to his ribs, the concrete had. He found a hiding place that would give him a few minutes to catch his breath, but he knew he had to keep moving.  Walker took off his shirt and tied it around himself, placing the knot on top of the bullet wound to apply pressure.

Trivette had started making his way towards the house after he heard the shot, but took a detour when he saw the men running out the patio doors and scattering in all the directions. “Find them both and shoot to kill” he heard Gonzales order his men. Trivette surveyed the area and knew his partner would head for the woods, so that’s where he headed. The quickest way to get there was by crossing the patio. Trivette waited until most of the men had concentrated their efforts away from the house and then he made his move. Dodging between bushes he reached the patio undetected and ran at full speed across to the other side. Upon reaching the far side of the patio he almost ran right into the back of one of Gonzales’s men. With the element of surprise, Trivette was able to easily take out the man. He dragged the man’s unconscious body around the corner of the house and then paused to catch his breath.  He had seen blood on the patio and hoped that it wasn’t Walker’s, but had a gut feeling that it was. He felt a greater urgency to find Walker and continued making his way towards the woods.

Walker had progressed farther into the woods but his pace was rapidly slowing. The pain was getting too intense for him to ignore and he had a shortness of breath. He found another clump of brush to kneel down behind while he tightened the shirt and rested. After a few minutes he put all his energy into standing back up, but just as he was about to do so he heard a twigs snapping near by. Whoever was out there was taking their time and ‘trying’ to be quiet. He figured the man had spotted him running through the woods and was hunting for his hiding place. Walker quietly made his way behind a tree and used it for support while he prepared to surprise the hunter. He waited silently until he heard breathing coming from the opposite side of the tree. Walker reached around the tree, put the man in a headlock and pulled him to the ground, groaning at the pain pulsating throughout his own body. Upon impact with the ground, Walker immediately released his hold. “Trivette!” Walker said in a hoarse whisper. “Are you ok?”

“I’m fine. What about you? I saw blood on the…” Trivette couldn’t see much in the moonlight, but saw enough to know that Walker was bleeding and using the shirt as a bandage. “…how bad is it?” he whispered.

“The bullet just grazed me.” Was all Walker said before they heard the sound of helicopters approaching.

“Calvary is here!” announced Trivette.

Within minutes the compound was swarming with cop cars and the two police helicopters. The search for Walker and Trivette came to a halt as all efforts were concentrating on stopping the incoming law enforcement agencies. A lot of gunfire was exchanged and some loss of lives, but in the end Jesse and company took control. They arrested Gonzales and sent Walker to the hospital.

*          *            *            *            *

Walker’s bullet wound was stitched up and his ribs wrapped. Now he sat in the passenger seat of his own truck, cringing at the shot of pain that ran through his body every time Trivette hit a bump. “I would have taken the doctor’s advice and flown back to Dallas if I knew you were going to take target practice with the potholes,” said Walker.

“Sorry man, I’m trying my best to avoid them. Look at the bright side, 10 more miles and we’ll be across the border and back to paved roads.” Trivette said with a grin on his face.

Walker shook his head and went back to staring out the window and thinking about Alex.

“She’s going to be mad.”

“Who?” asked Walker

“Who? Alex, that’s who.”

“Why is she going to be mad?”

“Look at you man. You got a bullet hole in your side, which is all taped up because of the two broken ribs. You got a bruise on your face where Sarah smacked you and you’re riding in a truck all the way back to Dallas, against doctor’s orders. You didn’t tell her you were shot and you wouldn’t let me call her. You should have spent the night in the hospital.”

“So what makes you think she’ll be mad?” Walker asked innocently.

“Didn’t she tell you to be careful?”

“That’s exactly why I didn’t call her.”

“Well don’t you think she might notice?” asked Trivette in an agitated tone.

Walker chuckled and shook his head. He enjoyed getting Trivette all worked up. What Trivette didn’t know was that Walker had Jesse call Alex to let her know they were coming home and to tell her that he had “a few bruises, but nothing that won’t heal.” Walker knew Jesse could down play the injuries, unlike Trivette who usually took Alex’s side when it came to stuff like that.

*          *            *            *            *

“Trivette, if you don’t mind, could you take me straight to the ranch. You can take my truck home tonight and come back for lunch tomorrow. We’ll go pick up your car then.”

“Sure no problem, Walker.” Trivette knew that either the pain was getting to Walker or he was desperate to see Alex. It wasn’t often that Walker let him drive the truck. He was only driving it now because he had taken Walker’s keys out of his personal belongings envelope at the hospital, then threatened to buy two airline tickets and leave the truck in Mexico if Walker didn’t let him drive back. Trivette was betting on the pain, otherwise Walker would have called Alex to make sure she was going to be at the ranch and not at her apartment.  For that matter, it was Friday night and she could be down at C.D.’s.

About an hour later Trivette pulled the truck into the ranch. Both of them noticed Alex’s car in the driveway. Walker felt a warm feeling consume his body. Even though the pain was becoming a bit much, it all seemed to subside at the thought of being with Alex again after three long months away from each other. They got out of the truck as they saw Alex come running out the door. Walker braced himself against the truck fully expecting Alex to engulf him in a big hug. He clamped his jaw tight and prepared for the pressure to his ribs as she approached him.

Alex stopped inches from Walker and took a hold of his right hand. “Is it ok to hug you? Jesse said that you had bruised your left side when you fell on the patio.”

Trivette gave Walker a puzzled looked. Walker just shrugged his shoulders at Trivette’s questioning look. Then he told Alex, “You can hug my right” and gave her a big smile. 

Alex gently put her arms around Walker’s neck, gave him a kiss and squeezed his right side. Walker winced as Alex squeezed. Trivette knew that Walker wasn’t going to be able to hide his injuries much longer and decided it was time for him to get out of there. “Hey, I’m not injured. Can I get one of those before I go?”

“You bet you can Trivette,” said Alex as she gave him a big hug. “Aren’t you going to stay for dinner?”

“OH NO”. I don’t want to be here when you find out about his injuries. “I mean thanks, but no thanks. I got some things to do. Besides, you two have some catching up to do. I’ll be back tomorrow with Walker’s truck.” With that, Trivette got in the Ram and started home.

Walker took Alex’s hand and led her to the porch swing, making sure she sat on his right side. He put his arm around her and she snuggled up to him, pulling her feet up onto the swing and resting her head on his shoulder.

“Jesse told me that they had to get you guys out because your cover was in danger of being blown. He said they were still able to arrest Gonzales though.”

“Yeah, with the testimony from Trivette and I, they’ll have enough evidence and charges to put him away for awhile,” said Walker.

“Do you want to tell me the rest of it?” asked Alex as she gently traced the bruise on Walker’s cheek.

“The rest? Sounds like Jesse told you most of it. He came in with the cavalry and I’m home now.”

“Cordell Walker, don’t think you can hide something from me. I want to know the rest about you!”

Walker gave her his best innocent, “nothing is wrong” look.

“Look, if there weren’t more than just a few bruises, you would have called me yourself or at least would have let Trivette call. But Jesse called me and he has the same bad habit as you do about down playing injuries and leaving out details. Now you either tell me the rest or I’m going to tickle it out of you and I know you don’t want me to do that!”

“OK, OK. You got me.” Under normal circumstances, Walker would have let Alex try to tickle information out of him, but he knew this time that would be more painful than fun. “Things are a bit fuzzy though, I might need some encouragement to help me remember.” He said as he leaned in for a kiss. The kiss was as much a long desired need, as it was a ploy for Walker to distract Alex and get her mind off of his injuries. The feel of her lips and the smell of her perfume were things he often dreamt about while at the Gonzales compound. He deepened the kiss as he thought about the long nights he had spent without her. He pulled her close to him, and with his lips still touching hers he whispered, “I missed you so much.”

Walker’s “ploy” had worked and Alex was no longer interested in finding out about injuries. She didn’t realize just how much she missed being in his arms until now. She didn’t ever want to let go of him. “Walker?”

“hmm?”

She unbuttoned the top button of his shirt and started playing with his chest hair before she continued. “I think you’re going to have to apprehend your suspects a little quicker next time because I don’t think I could take another three months without you.”

“Don’t worry, I don’t plan on spending that much time away from you again,” he said, fully enjoying the feel of her close to him and her fingers twirling his chest hair. He pulled her in for another kiss. Alex went from playing with the hair to running her hand across Walker’s chest, until she felt the bandage.

Alex immediately pulled away from him. “WALKER!” She gently unbuttoned the rest of his shirt and slowly opened it up.  She saw the tape for his ribs. “Broken ribs?” Walker gave her a slight nod. Then she noticed the other bandage. “YOU WERE SHOT!”

“Alex, I’m ok. I even went to the hospital of my own free will. They put a few stitches in, slapped on a bandage and that’s it. I’m ok, really.”

“You call that being careful? Then you didn’t tell me. Walker, what am I going to do with you?”

Walker pulled Alex back to him. “I can think of a something.” He whispered as he began to kiss her neck.

Alex wasn’t sure whether to be upset with him or give in to her desires. “Walker, I don’t think we can do that, given your present condition.”

“What do you say we go inside and see if we can’t work something out?”

Alex gave him one of her mischievous smiles. “Why don’t you light a fire in the fireplace and I’ll get us some wine. Then we can discuss our strategy.”

I love that smile. Walker thought to himself as he followed Alex into the house. He locked the door behind him, knowing that they were in for the night.

THE END

** This is the part where your imagination takes over **

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