By Sissy (email@example.com)
When Walker drives up and stops the Ram in front of the house he sees Alex, dressed in cutoffs, sneakers, and a shirt that is knotted at her waist, washing her car about halfway between the barn and the house. And from all of the mud and water standing, it looks like she has been at it for several hours. He has never seen so much water. He leaves the truck and stands beside it watching her as Trivette pulls up with C.D. in his car.
"Cordell, what's she doing?"
"Shh…she needs this, she's playing." He grins and starts walking toward her.
Walker comes up behind her, very quietly, "Boo." Startled, she turns around quickly, the water hose soaking his shirt. "Alex…"
"Oh, I'm sorry, darling." She begins laughing, as she watches Walker try to pull away the cold, wet shirt that is plastered to his chest.
"Yeah, you look sorry. Quit laughing. That's cold." He looks up into her face as he takes off the wet shirt just in time to see her aim the hose at him again. He tries to dodge it but she is standing too close. He sucks in his breath when the cold water hits his bare chest and the front of his pants. Hearing her hysterical laughter, he turns and starts toward her with a very determined look on his face.
"Walker … stay back … I'll do it again!" She manages to threaten between her fits of laughter. As he nears her she raises the hose again. He takes a quick step forward and grabs the hose out of her hands and throws it way off to the side, out into the tall grass.
He reaches out, and scoops her up in his arms and starts toward a large black mud hole.
"Walker … you wouldn't dare!!" She tightens her arms around his neck.
"Hey, partner, maybe you should…" Trivette quickly walks up next to him.
"Stay out of this, Trivette."
He stops at the edge of the mud hole and swings her out over the center of it and lets go of her.
She lands on her bottom, arms and legs flying outward and mud flying out all around her, hitting Walker and catching Trivette with a few splatters, too. She feels it squishing around her legs, feels it seep through her clothes and begins laughing at the consequences of her actions.
She looks up at Walker, standing in front of her, hands on his hips, laughing. She manages to gets to her feet, the mud clinging and making loud sucking noises. She flings herself at him, clutching his arm, yanking him toward her. She locks her foot behind his calf and he falls toward her, laughing as he falls. Together they go down, Walker on top of her, Alex flat on her back, the mud flying everywhere.
Walker raises himself on his hands, his fingers clenching deep into the mud. He slowly raises one hand above her face, "Walker … don't you dare!" and he gently wipes his hand over her face smearing mud and smiling. She gasps and spits, but then he feels her knees pushing him and he's falling sideways as she rolls against him, knocking him onto his back, her muddy hands sliding over his face, grinding the mud in.
He hears Trivette and C.D. both roaring with laughter and feels the giggles bubbling up from Alex as she looks down at him. He looks at her face, covered with mud, her hair matted flat to her scalp, then smiles, and reaches up to pull her head down and kisses her soundly, murmuring softly, "I love you, mud and all."
"And I you." She relaxes against him and places her lips softly against his. She sits up then and takes his hand and helping each other, they stand, looking like creatures from the Black Lagoon.
He turns and pulls her close, murmuring softly, "Alex, what are you doing out here? You should be inside resting, you've gone through hell these past few days."
"So have you, Walker, but you aren't inside resting. Why is it all right for you to do your own thing to work through it, but I'm suppose to just take it easy and rest?"
He could hear the hysterics rising in her voice. "Honey, please…."
"No … Walker. I … just wanted to do something … ordinary to try and put my world back in perspective." Tears fill her eyes, and big racking sobs force their way out. "And this is all I could think of."
"Washing your car? Playing in the water and mud?" He smiles, looking into her eyes, "I guess that's about as ordinary as you can get." She starts laughing, then she begins hiccuping as she tries to swallow her tears, then he starts laughing, a deep rich sound, filled with relief as he wraps his arms around her, and lifting her slightly, he twirls her around.
"Hey, you two! Heads up!" Trivette aims the water hose on the both of them as they laugh and cry, so very glad to be alive. He knows that this is good for them, this foolishness. It will help to heal the hurt they've gone through, the terror they both felt.
Alex had been in a small grocery store when the tornado hit, bringing the roof down on top of everyone inside. She had lain for hours listening to the screams and seeing half buried bodies so close she could almost touch them. Wondering if Walker, Jimmy and C.D. were all right. She cried but she couldn't move, no pain, except the pain of knowing death was all around her. When she was finally dug out, it was Walker who pulled her free, and after making sure she was all right, he had wrapped his arms around her, as tears of gratitude ran down his face, mingling with hers at knowing that he was safe, too. That time had been a nightmare for them, knowing they had been of the lucky ones to survive, and now trying to get some kind of balance in their lives again. Walker had insisted that she take some time off and she had agreed because her mind still had not let go of what she had been through. But Walker had gone back to work, mostly helping with the rescue teams. He knew she was having a hard time coming to terms with what had happened but he didn't know how to help her.
But now as he held her in his arms he knew that this 'playing' had helped her to find release, and as Trivette washes the mud off of them, he can feel her relaxing against him. He carries her out of the mud puddle, letting the water wash the mud and the fears away, knowing that this was the medicine she needed.
"Are you all right, honey?"
"I think I'm getting there, now." She tilts
her head up and they kiss softly, "But, do you think we could get Jimmy
to shut the water off. I'm getting cold." Whether Jimmy heard her or
just decided they were clean enough, the water is turned off and C.D. comes
up to them with large towels.
"Why don't you two go up on the back porch, shed them wet things and go take a warm shower. Jimmy and I will move the car then I'll whip up some chow for us. How's that sound?"
"That sounds fine, C.D. Come on hon, let's get out of these wet clothes." Wrapped up in towels they make their way to the back door, and leave their wet clothes on the porch before going inside.
"C.D., you reckon I oughta go see if they're all right?"
"Leave them be, Jimmy. They need this time to themselves." His eyes glance up, "I can't imagine the fear that little lady must have felt, being buried alive like that with only the dead around her. She had to have wondered why not her, too." He shakes his head, "And Cordell's fear had to have been almost as bad. Finding her car, and knowing she was buried under that building. Did you see his face, when all they could find were already dead?"
"Yeah, I know. I don't think I've ever seen him so scared before, C.D. When he heard her crying, he almost went crazy before they got her dug out." He shuts his eyes remembering the look on his partner's face when he pulled Alex out of the wreckage. "I don't think I ever saw him cry like that before."
"I think them two must hold a very special place in God's heart, Jimmy."
"You know C.D., I think you're right." Hearing laughter coming from upstairs, both look up with smiles on their faces.