Smothered

By: Sheila

Rothfam92@yucca.net                                 

Alex starred out the window longingly; it seemed the rain would never quit.  She really couldn’t complain. Another month or so and they would be begging for a drop of moisture to fill the air.  She was just feeling so cooped up.  A nice long walk was what she really needed, or a peaceful horseback ride.

 On top of feeling cooped up she couldn’t help but feel a little smothered too.  Ever since Walker had rescued her and Trivette from the tank of water Walker hardly let her out of his sight. She was staying at the ranch almost regularly now. Never had Walker paid this much attention to her, not even after she had been shot in the back by Storm.  When she was at work, she couldn’t even turn around without running into him.  Alex wasn’t sure how he was managing to get his work done when he seemed to be coddling her twenty-four hours a day.  Alex never thought she would see the day when she wished Walker would just leave her alone for a few hours.  Alex curled up on the couch. Even today, Walker had made sure C.D. came out to the ranch to keep her company while he and Trivette went on a stakeout.

“What’s the matter darlin?” Asked C.D. “You look like you’ve got the weight of the world on your shoulders.” 

Alex turned, looking up at C.D. as he walked in the room. Alex sighed heavily, “Nothing C.D., why does anything have to be wrong? Can’t I just lay here on the couch.”  Alex winced as the words came out. She hadn’t meant for them to sound harsh. 

C.D. took the chair opposite the couch and chuckled.  “Well now, seems to me you got a bee in your bonnet honey.  And if you ask me …it’s about damn time!” 

Alex sat up, “I’m sorry C.D., it’s not you. I just…. I…. Oh I don’t know. Never mind.”

 C.D. sipped at his cup of tea. “You don’t have to tell me what it is darlin, I already know. And it’s not a what it’s a who.  That man’s been watching over you like a wolf in the hen house lately.  Now don’t get me wrong, you gave us all a scare what with everything that happened. And Alex, I love you as if you were my own daughter. But I just don’t see any point in me babysitting you.” 

Alex smiled at C.D.; he really was just like a father, even better. He always knew what was bothering her.  "What do you suggest I do C.D.?  I’ve tried dropping hints that he’s driving me and everyone else crazy.  I’ve even tried to sneak out just to go to work.  Whenever he gets home, he waits on me hand and foot.  He’s been treating me like a porcelain doll.  I understand that he got scared when I almost drowned. It scared me too, but we have to move on.”  Alex’s voice started to rise as she began to vent her anger. She stood up and began pacing the room. 

C.D. sat back to get comfortable, a smile on his face. This is the Alex he knew…. she just needed a jump-start to get herself going where Cordell was concerned. 

“Do you know the other morning when we were leaving for work he made me wait under the porch so he could pull the truck in as close as possible so I wouldn’t get wet in the rain!  Does he think I’m going to melt!  He builds a fire every night; completely clueless to the fact that it’s mid May, he says he doesn’t want me to get a chill…. Oh yeah, and another thing, I’M SLEEPING DOWN STAIRS! I don’t know what….” 

C.D. coughed, trying to get Alex’s chain of thought disrupted. 

Alex turned around. Remembering that this was C.D., she was talking to.  Her cheeks turned a deep red, revealing her embarrassment.  "What am I supposed to do C.D.? I can’t take much more of being treated like a child.” 

C.D. sat his cup down and stood up.  “Alex honey, you need to tell him everything you just told me…. And then some I’m sure.  Be straight with him honey. He just needs a kick in the pants is all.” C.D. walked to door as he talked. “I’m gonna just scoot on outta here for now.  I don't think you need me lollygagging around when he shows up.”  C.D. gave Alex a hug. 

“Thanks C.D., I guess I needed a little kick in the pants too huh?”

“No problem darlin, just as long as you two get it straightened out.” C.D. shut the door and walked down the few steps muttering to himself, “I don’t know what those two would do without me…”

“Come on Trivette, hurry up. Alex will be expecting me home soon.”  Trivette choked on the sip of coffee he had taken.  Man he wished Walker would get back to him old self. More and more often Walker was shocking Trivette.  Trivette could never have imagined Walker being the mother hen type but that’s sure enough what he was. He had even called for back up to take over the stake out they were supposed to be on. “Alright man, let me just file these papers away and then we can go. You're still gonna drop me by C.D.’s right?” 

Walker shifted back and forth impatiently on his feet.  “If you don’t hurry up I’m not taking you anywhere, now let’s go.”

Walker pulled into the parking lot of C.D.’s to let Trivette out. “Hey isn’t that C.D.’s jeep, I wonder what he’s doing here.” Walker said as they pulled into an empty parking stall. 

Trivette laughed as he got out.  “Ya know, he does own the place Walker.” 

Walker gave Trivette a wry grin,  “I’m perfectly well aware of that Trivette.  C.D. was supposed to be keeping Alex company until I got home.  Maybe she came with him.” Walker said as they headed for the door.

Trivette walked in first, spying C.D. on the far end of the bar he walked up to the older man. “Watch out Big Dog, he’s a little testy tonight.” 

C.D. turned seeing Walker coming in behind Jimmy. 

Walker strode up to the bar, glancing around to see where Alex was. “Hey C.D., where’s Alex?” 

C.D. glanced up, “Huh, oh Alex, she’s back at the ranch. “ 

Walker stared at C.D. an incredulous look on his face.  “C.D., I asked you to stay with her. I don’t like the idea of her being alone.” 

“Walker, let me tell you something, that little girl is getting a little tired of being babysat all the time…” 

“C.D. what are you talking about? I just think she would like to have some company.  Never mind, I’ll see you guys later.”

C.D. and Trivette stared at Walkers backside as he stomped out of the bar.  Trivette let a long breath he hadn’t realized he had been holding.  C.D. looked up at him,  “Don’t you worry none Jimmy. I have a feeling that after tonight things’ll start getting back to normal.”

Walker pulled the Ram up into the driveway surveying the house.  Everything looked normal. He just hoped Alex was ok.  He couldn’t believe C.D. had let him down like that.  All he asked was for him to keep Alex company and make sure she had everything she needed.  He took the stairs two at a time up to the door.  The house was dark as Walker walked in; he could see a faint glow coming from the dinning room.

  “Alex, honey. It’s me.”  Walker looked around and could tell the house had been cleaned. He could also smell a delicious aroma in the air. What in the world was going on he thought to himself.

Alex straightened herself up in the chair at the dinning room table, giving Walker her best smile as he entered the dinning room.  She could tell by the look on his face that he was shocked. "Good evening darling.” Alex whispered as Walker came into the room. She stood up and walked over to him.

Walker welcomed her embrace. As he pulled back, he said, “What’s going on. I told you I could throw a dinner together for us when I got home. And Alex, you shouldn’t have been doing any housework.  I can pick things up after you go to bed at night. I just want you to be resting. The doctor said you needed to rest.”

 Alex stiffened in his arms. This is what she got for giving him one more chance.  She took a step back and glared at him; her eyes as cold as ice.  Walker sensed the change immediately.  “Fine Walker, if that’s how it’s going to be…fine! Enjoy your dinner!”  Alex stormed out of the room.

The slam of the guest bedroom door made Walker jump. He let a long breath of air, oh man he thought; what now!

Alex pulled her suitcase from the closet; she tossed it on the bed and began pulling clothes from out of the dresser drawer. This was it; she just couldn’t take it anymore. How long did he expect them to go on like this? Her thoughts were interrupted as Walker opened the bedroom door. The look on his face was one of disbelief.

 He stepped forward in front of her, blocking her from putting anything else into the suitcase.  “Alex, what in the world is going on? What are you doing?  I’m sorry if I seemed ungrateful….I just don’t want you to overdue anything.” 

The clothes in Alex’s hand dropped to the floor. She put her hands on her hips and faced him squarely. “Overdue anything….how in the world is that even possible Walker?  I can hardly go to the bathroom by myself without you trying to be by my side.  Listen Walker; I know that what happened a month ago really scared you. It scared me too. But….I can’t go on like this. I think the best thing for me to do is to go back to my apartment and just let you think things through.”

 Alex could see the flash of pain cross his face….it was as if he really had no idea how he was smothering her.  Walker tried to control his breathing. This just wasn’t possible, twice in one year, he had almost lost her, but by the grace of God, she had been spared.  And now she was just ready to walk out the door, obviously because of something he had done. This just wasn’t possible. Walker looked at Alex, trying to find the words to make her stay.

  “Alex, I’m sorry. I don’t know what I’ve done, but I promise if you just give me another chance I’ll make it up to you.” He took a step closer, trailing her cheek with a finger.  “Please Alex, don’t leave. Talk to me; tell me what I’ve done wrong.  I’ve been trying so hard to keep you safe.  It’s been such a hard year for us. All I want to do Alex is take care of you.  I know I don’t say it aloud very often, but Alex, you’re my life.  I love you so much.” 

Alex’s resolve weakened, just that fact that he was willing to touch her again made her heart leap for joy. She reached up and pressed the palm of his hand to her cheek, gently pressing a kiss into the center. “Walker, I don’t want to leave….but I can’t handle you treating me this way. I know you’re just trying to protect me but Walker, I need more than just you’re protection. I need you! I need the man I love. The one who isn’t afraid to get carried away and take me in his arms.  I’m not going to break Walker.” 

Alex took a step back out of Walkers arms, looking up into his eyes hoping that her message was getting across.  “I appreciate everything you’ve been doing for me this past month Walker, but we can’t live in fear. Fear is in the past, the only thing I look for in the future is happiness.”

 Walker took a breath and sat down on the bed.  He looked down at his hands, unsure of what to say.  “I’m sorry Alex.  I didn’t realize I was treating you that way.  I just have to keep you safe.”  He looked up into her eyes then. “Alex, when I had to give you CPR, all I could think about was that I was going to lose you. All the fear and anger from when you were shot came flooding back.  I can’t imagine my life without you in it Alex.  I would do anything in this world to keep you safe.  If I could, I would just put you away in a safe little room somewhere, where no one could ever hurt you again.” 

Alex sighed, taking a step closer to Walker; brushing a lock of hair back.  “But don’t you see Walker, if you keep me put away in safe little room somewhere I can’t live either.  You are the reason that I can go on after something bad happens.  I have to have the real you to be happy. Not just the man that wants to keep me safe.”  Alex threw her arms in the air, motioning around the room. “Do you think this room keeps me happy?  Walker I need your touch to comfort me.  You’re arms around me keep me safer then any other place ever could.”

 Alex took another step forward, looking down into the eyes of the man she loved.  Lightly, she caressed his face with her hand. Resting both arms on the top of his shoulders, “I need you Walker.  You….not you’re protection.  Just you!” 

Walker slipped his arms around her waist, pulling her tightly against him, burying his face in her stomach.  Alex’s arms encircled him as well.  They held each other for some time.  Both reveling in the feeling of being back in the others arms. 

Walker pulled away a little finally, looking up into the soft blue eyes of the woman he loved.  He pulled her down onto his lap and with one hand gently brought her lips to his for a long deep passionate kiss.

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