by Lynn Bango

"Hey there, Darlin'. Came to spend some time with you today. Cordell said he would be here later."

-- C.D.'s here with me again. Where is here? Why can't I see?-- The antiseptic odors filled Alex's nose. -- A hospital. What happened this time?--

"Mable's watching the bar for me. I don't know why I left HER in charge. I bet you will be out of here and back there in no time. I have a bowl of chili with your name on it waiting for you."

-- He's holding my hand again. He always does. I really want to ask what's going on, but I can't do that either.--

"Excuse me, Sir.... we need to check the patient now."

"Sure thing." turning back to Alex, "I will be back here as soon as they get done with ya'."

-- C.D., don't go. I don't want to be by myself. Not now, not again.--

The nurses turn Alex over roughly to see how her wound is doing. Make sure it wasn't infected or anything. -- Don't they know that hurts. I can still feel. That's the only thing I can do.. the thing I don't want to do.--

Looking back out the door, "You can come in now Mr. Parker."

"Thanks. Is she okay?"

"Ya', she is."

"See, I told you that you'd be fine. Now all you have to do is wait."

-- I don't want to wait. I hate this. C.D.'s been like a father to me. I don't want him to suffer.--

"Hello, C.D. How is she?"

"She's fine, Cordell. Why don't you sit with her for a little while? I'm going to go down and get some coffee. I'll call Mable while I'm at it. I want to make sure she knows that she is only watching the bar for the day."

With a chuckle, "Okay, C.D. Jimmy is down there too."

"See ya' in a bit."

C.D. walked out after that.

"How much has he been saying to you." He walked over and kissed Alex's lips. "Getting me in trouble?"

-- I want to be able to return that kiss. Why me? Why us?--

"I'm going to make a promise to you right now. Don't tell anyone. I bought us two tickets to the opera. It is coming in three months. If things all work out we'll be able to go...."

-- He doesn't deserve this.--

"....... then we can go to Dawson's. Dinner and dancing. I know how much you love dancing. Your face always lights up."

-- What did I do to deserve him? What did we do to deserve this?--

"I do love you, Alex. You have to know that."

-- I do know. This is so painful. For him and for me.. In more ways then one. If I give up and just leave now... he can stop being in.... what am I saying?!--

"Knock, knock. Can I come in?"

Turning around, "Hey, Jimmy."

"Also, I want one of the first dances when we get back to C.D.'s."

-- If I ever dance again.--

"Oh yeah before I forget.... Come on in, Gordon."

"Hey there, Alex. Feeling better? Just so you know... I'm keeping an eye on these two for you."

-- Thank you so much.--

-- Daddy came?--

"Hello, Walker." Gordon saw his daughter then. "Oh, God. Is she okay?"

"She'll be fine. The doctor said that there is a good chance that when she wakes up everything will be able to go back to normal...."

-- If I do.--

"She has to want to live. Alex has everything TO live for."

-- I can't believe Daddy came.--

"Do you mind if I just sit with her for a little while?"

"No problem. Jimmy and I need to get back to the station anyway. We have to get the guy that did this. C.D.'s downstairs still. When you want to leave go get him. I don't really want to leave her alone."

"See you two later."

Before leaving, Walker bent down to Alex again. "I'll see you later. Behave yourself. I bet even when you are like this you can cause trouble." As soon as that was said he left before changing his mind.

-- Hurry back, Walker. I hate when he leaves.--

"Hi ya' there, Beautiful." Gordon gave his daughter a peck on her forehead.

-- I guess he really does care about me.--

"I want you to listen to me Alex. I am so sorry for what I have done to you. Your mother and you... well you never deserved to be hurt like that..."

-- Doesn't he know that everyone makes mistakes? It's in the past.--

".....I wouldn't blame you if you did want to ... well you know, just to hurt me. God knows I would deserve it. I do want to have a chance to make everything up to you, Precious...."

-- He would not deserve that. No one would.--

"Even with that point of view, please don't. If only you knew how many people love and need you. Walker loves you to death. Thanks to him, you are even speaking to me. C.D. is always there for you. You're like a best friend to Jimmy. A sisterly figure. Punishing me by giving up would be so unfair to them."

-- Like it would be any fairer to him. What I wouldn't give right now to be able to tell him so.--

"No matter how much you feel like giving up right now... well, I don't know what I can say to you. The only thing I can think of is how selfish it would be to give up. None of your friends have given up on you. They are all expecting you to live. Don't disappoint them."

-- I don't want to give up. How can I not, though? I can't move at all, I don't even remember too much of what happened. It may be selfish to give up, but how unselfish would it be to do what seems easiest for me?--

"I think I'm going to go now. I promise I'll be back later. C.D. will be up here in a few minutes. Bye, sweetheart. Oh, I do love you, Precious."

-- Why does he always leave. I want him here. When I want him to stay he doesn't.--

Downstairs, Gordon found C.D. in the hospital cafe. "C.D., I think I'm going to go back to Walker's ranch and get changed."

"No problem. Are you doing okay, Gordon?"

"I guess. It's hard. I mean I know I haven't always been there, but she is still my daughter. Also, thank you so much. You've made a better father in the past couple years then I have in her entire life."

"No matter how many things you have done wrong that is just as many has you have done right. Alex still loves you. You are the only father she has ever known. I will call you if there is any change. Go get some rest."

"Okay, okay I'm going. I'll talk to you later."

"Hey there, Darlin'. I just couldn't keep away."

-- Why would you want to stay?--

"Do you know what that cowboy of yours has been doing lately?"

-- Anything to keep his mind off of me.--

"I can't tell you how many busts he has made. Every time there is one he thinks that it isn't enough. All he wants to do is find who did this to you."

-- What will finding him change? That won't help me now.--

"You know something else? When he finds that... that.... well Cordell will hurt him and hurt him good. I'm just afraid he may take it too far. This is killing him not being able to help you. He'd never admit it, but it is."

-- He shouldn't have to hurt anyone. I didn't do anything. Neither of us did. No matter what we try to do something happens.--

"Don't worry about anything, Alex. We are all taking care of everything. Mable has been keeping an eye on your apartment for you. She has been getting your mail for you. It will all be at your apartment on, I believe, the table in your dinning room."

-- Why is everyone trying so hard to take care of things. They don't even know what life will be like for me if I ever get better...IF I get better.--

Just then the phone rang. "Hold on just a second, Alex" C.D. stayed on the phone for a few minutes. "That was Cordell. He said that he may be a little late. He's really sorry. If he can't come back tonight, Cordell said that he'd be here first thing in the morning. You know that he wouldn't miss being with you right now unless it was something important."

-- I want him here. Walker has to choose whether or not to come here or to go after the guy who did this. I want him to just come here and not bother with finding who is responsible.--

"I tell you what... I'm going to be here all tonight. There is no way that I am going to let you go through this alone. Even though Cordell isn't here talking to you, he is still thinking about you."

-- I'm sure he is. He's thinking about whether he should stay with me or just leave me altogether so he doesn't have to worry about this anymore.--

"Also, I guess your Dad called Jimmy's desk at the station. He said he won't be here until tomorrow morning. Gordon must have been tired after his trip."

-- I'm surprised that he came at all.--

Just then a nurse came by the door. "Is everything okay Mr. Parker?"

-- No.--

"Everything is fine, dear. Thank you for checkin' in us."

-- Everything is not fine. He is just telling himself that.--

"No problem. It's great to see you sitting here with Miss Cahill."

"Alex is my family. I love her to death. She has a lot of people waiting for her to get better."

"She will be soon enough."

-- Why does everyone keep saying that?--

"See, darlin', everyone wants you to get better."

-- Don't get your hopes up too high.--

"I'll be right back. I'm just going to go get a drink from down the hall. Then I will call Cordell and your dad to let them know how things are going over here. You know how they worry about us. We can manage though."

C.D. goes to leave just then.

-- I can't take this anymore. This isn't fair to anyone that cares about me. We didn't do anything to deserve this.-- When C.D. was about half way to the door, Alex all of the sudden called out, "C.D." It wasn't much more then a whisper.

-- That was all it took and C.D. came right over to me.--

"I told you everything would be fine. Wait till we tell Cordell, Jimmy, and your Dad. They will be thrilled." He gave her a tender kiss on her cheek and turned to start dialing the phone. A lot of people would want to know that she was okay.