That’s All I Need

(a crazy cowboy)

By Sissy & Jennifer

Laying Walker’s hand down on the bed, Alex stands, leans over to kiss him on the forehead then moves to the window. She’s not really seeing the expanse of sky, or the twinkling of the stars. Her mind is on Walker and how they came to be at this time in their lives. 

***

She received a call around midnight stating that her husband had been brought into the Methodist hospital emergency room. After waking Angela to watch the other kids, she makes a wild drive into Dallas, calling Trivette on her cell phone to have him meet her there.

A cruising patrol car had found Walker lying in an alley. No bullet wounds but he had severe bruising to his body from a brutal beating, a large bump on the back of his head and his clothes were in tatters. The doctor had assured her that none of his injuries was life threatening but as of yet he still hadn’t regained consciousness.

***

Alex hears a slight rustling and turns to see Walker moving restlessly under the sheet. Then he stops and is quiet. She moves over next to the bed, and with his stirring sees that the sheet has slipped down from his chest.  She moves it down a little farther, then raises the hem of his hospital gown, and winces as she sees the dark bruising on his chest area, then, her gaze moving down, she discovers that his whole body, that she can see, is mottled in patches of dark blue, black and purple, and his genitals are swollen from the bruising as well.

“Oh, God, Walker,” she cries softly, “You must have been in excruciating pain,” tears begin to flood her eyes at the very thought of her husband’s agony. Her heart feels his pain as she covers him tenderly and sits down. She takes his hand in hers again wanting him to feel contact with her. When she gets a slight squeeze from his fingers, she looks up to his face but his eyes are still shut. His facial expression hasn’t changed.

She holds his hand, staring into his bruised and battered face. She sighs, a tear falling down her cheek, “Oh, Walker, I love you so much.”

At the soft cry of her vow of love, he seems to ‘waken’ and senses that Alex is there with him, feels her touch, and hears her voice. "Alex, I love you, too,” he answers back, even though he can't speak, can’t be heard, still can't move.  He realizes he's felt this way before, so long ago after he went over a bridge in a car. He knew now that he was in a coma, and though he was aware of things going on around him, and could hear all that was said, he couldn't move and couldn't communicate.   . 

“Are we ever going to get beyond you ... or me ... getting ourselves into trouble ... will our lives ever be normal?” A tear slips down her cheek.

“Alex ... Alex … I … I love you. I’m sorry … I’m so sorry.” He desperately wants to speak to her, wants let her know that he’s sorry for putting her through this, yet another time.

She brings his hand to rest against her cheek, and her eyes glaze over with memories, memories of their almost twenty-two years together, first as friends and fifteen as husband and wife. Twenty-two glorious years! Even with all the hard times that they’ve had to endure, she would do them all over again, if she had him by her side … even the most miserable heart-rending events. Because those dark days were brightened by the love they shared and the children they had produced, even the baby they had lost.

She turns her head and looks lovingly down at her husband, and softly murmurs, “Oh, Walker, my life would have been so meaningless without you. I thank the Lord that I met you those many, many years ago. I wouldn’t trade any demanding minute of it. I love you dearly and I’d do it all again. Every beautiful, and not so beautiful, minute of it. I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.”

“You make … my life, complete … honey, I wouldn’t change … one memory.”

She smiles then as the memory of her first hug from Walker fills her mind. They were in the courthouse and she had just finished putting away a young girl’s rapist when she and the girl had met Walker coming down the courthouse’s main stairs. Walker had given the girl a hug, and she had said, “I could use one of those.” Her smile widens as she remembers how willingly he had hugged her, saying after they separated, “I could get use to that.” She remembers oh so well the words she had slung back over her shoulder at him, “That’s all I need … a crazy cowboy”.  She feels a tear gathering in the corner of her eye, and leaning down she brushes her lips across his and whispers, “I really do need you, you crazy cowboy, so don’t you leave me, we still have a lot of memories to make.”  Then she lays her head beside his on the pillow, being careful not to cause him any discomfort.

“I’m … right here, Alex. Not … going anywhere.” He hears her murmurs, but he can’t seem to make his body respond. “God, what’s wrong with me.  Alex … I love you.”

Although he is full of pain medication, she knew it could not take away all of the intense pain he must be feeling, it is probably just enough to let him rest quietly.

She settles back down in the chair, with his hand still nestled in hers, her thumb caressing it softly. Brushing across his wedding ring, she notices that his hands don’t show any bruising, she knew that he had been strung up by the deep purple lacerations around his wrists. When that thought comes to mind she gently pulls the sheet down and looks at the same bruising around his ankles.

“Oh, my God, Walker, you were shackled!” She brings the sheet back up over him and sits down, stunned by the discovery. “Who did this to you? Why?” she cries out in anguish.

Just then she hears a light tap, turns and sees Trivette pushing the door open. “Alex, can I talk to you for a minute?”

“Yes … yes, come in Jimmy.”

Jimmy comes close to the bed, and reaches out a hand to lightly touch his partner and friend on the leg. His voice low, subdued, he says, “How’s he doing?”

“About the same,” then slowly lifting Walker’s arm, “Look at this Jimmy. He has the same marks around his ankles.”

“Yeah, the doctors, told me. They figure he was spread-eagled and systematically beaten.” His hand rests on Alex’s shoulder. “What I can’t figure out is how they ever managed to catch him. You know Walker, can’t anyone sneak up on him.”

“What … what case was he working on, Jimmy? All he told me when he called, was that he was suppose to meet a man at nine and would be home after he talked to him.”

“That’s right, but the guy he was meeting lives at 1036 Meridian Street. That’s no where near where he was found.”

“Jimmy, I thought this job now, as Captain, would keep him off the streets. Why now, why this one?”

“I knew he had the meeting but I understood it to be at Winslow’s house. And he went because Winslow wouldn’t talk to anyone but Walker. Something to do with an old case that Walker had years ago.”

“Winslow … Dennis Winslow?” Alex cries, as she comes to her feet.

“Yes … do you know him?”

“Oh, God, Jimmy, Winslow had a daughter that had a … a thing for Walker, a femme fatale so to speak. But that was … Oh, God, that was almost 20 years ago.”

“What happened to her, Alex?”

“She was put into an asylum for the criminally insane.” Her eyes widen and panic fills her voice, “Jimmy … could she be out?  Could she have done this? She always swore that if she couldn’t have Walker … no one would!”

Jimmy pulls Alex in close for a warm embrace, “I don’t know Alex, but I’ll go check it out right now.” He steps back, gives her a kiss on the cheek and turns towards the door, pauses and looks back at Alex. “Oh … Erica went out to the ranch to stay with the kids.”

“I appreciate that, Jimmy, but what about your two…?”

“They went with her, no problem. I’ll call you as soon as I know something. You’ll call me when Walker wakes up?”

“Yes, yes, I will.”

As Jimmy goes out and shuts the door, she turns back to sit in the chair.  The swelling on his face seems to be going down, but the bruising is becoming more pronounced with colors changing to deeper hues. She closes her eyes and lays her head on the edge of the bed, and tears begin to slowly creep from beneath her lashes.

Trying to take her mind away from the picture of someone beating him so severely, she forces herself to think of better times with her husband. Whispery soft, she begins speaking of the times that mean so much to her.  “Darling, do you remember … our first kiss? … At C.D.’s … that fateful New Year’s Eve … I remember, Alex … we were barely speaking to each other, and when we did … well it’s a wonder we ever became friends.” She blinks away the tears, and then lifts her head to gaze into Walker’s face. “That kiss … completely changed the way I thought of you.”  Touching his cheek gently with her fingertips, “You went from an arrogant, stubborn and mule-headed cowboy to a competent, tenacious and … and a very generous and wonderful man…not to mention a great kisser,” she giggles as she leans over and touches her lips lightly to his. “And I started falling in love with you that night.”

“Oh, God, Alex … I know, I … think that’s when I started to fall in love with you, too.”

“Do you remember what you said to me that night you went after that Bodine character? You said you wished you could find the words that said how much you cared for me, meant more to you than I’d ever know. That told me then that you were in love with me. I was, honey, but I …I couldn’t find the right words… No matter how you tried to deny it … I knew it.”

Brushing her fingers over his lips, “You had such a hard time saying those three little words … but I could feel them, and I could hear them, every time you touched me or looked at me.”

I felt the same from you…”

She crosses her arms on the side of the bed, and lays her head on them, her eyes still on Walker’s face. “When we first made love, on that whitewater trip, you were everything and more than I had ever dreamed of.” Her eyes close as the memory of that time brings a light flush to her face, and a warmth to her body, because no matter how many years pass she remembers it as if it was only yesterday. “You were so warm, and gentle with me, and…” her lips turn up in a smile, “… so very big.” Smiling, she lifts her head then, “You were so afraid we wouldn’t fit together, but we did, and it was so … glorious,” she ends with a sigh and a dreamy look in her eyes. “I had never known that making love could be like that.” Taking his hand, she kisses his fingers, “and it has only gotten better since then.”

“I … remember … how beautiful you were, and … how beautiful it felt … to be inside you. That night … made me realize … just how much … I loved you.”

Her mind wanders some more, and she begins to giggle. “I’ve never told you this, but remember that time I was held captive in that so-called religious compound? One night I dreamed that … you rescued me in that room, declared your love, took me into your arms and kissed me. I was so disappointed when I woke only to realize it was just a dream.” Holding his hand to her cheek, “When you did find me, I had to kiss you, I wanted to see if it would be the same as the dream.”

“Was it …Alex?”

“It was better … beyond my imagination, it was so much better. I knew then that I would never be happy with anyone else, it had to be you and only you.”

“I’ve always thought … of you …as mine, it just … took me awhile to do … something about it.”

Alex sighs deeply, straightens up in the chair, then stands and walks over to the window. She can see the sky starting to lighten in the east, and knows that it will be morning before too much longer.

She needs to call home and let the kids know about their father. Getting her cell phone from her purse, she moves back to the window, watching as cars and people begin to fill the streets and sidewalks, to go on with their normal ever day lives.

She dials and Angela immediately answers the phone. “Mom? How’s Dad? Is he all right? When can you bring him home?”

“Honey, your Dad’s going to be all right. He’s … he’s still unconscious … but … but the doctors all say he’ll be all right.” When Alex feels the tears filling her eyes, and her chin begins to tremble, she lets her hand with the phone drop to her side, not wanting Angela to hear the despair in her voice. She takes several deep breaths, and then puts the phone to her ear again.

“Mom? Are you still there? Mom … answer me, you’re scaring me!”

“Yes, I’m … I’m here, honey. Shh … calm down now, Angela. You know your Dad, as soon as he wakes up he’ll want to go home.”

She hears Angela take several deep breathes, and when she speaks again, her voice is softer, calmer, “Mom, how … how badly is he hurt?”

Alex is quiet, trying to determine how much she should tell Angela. “He’s going to be sore for awhile, honey.”

“Mom, please … I’m not a baby, how badly is he hurt?” 

Alex tries to keep her voice devoid of how she really feels, not wanting to scare her any more than she already is.  “He’s been … beaten pretty badly, honey. It might be awhile before he can come home.” Hearing the twins in the background, “How … how are the other kids? Have you told them about … about their father?”

“Yes, Aunt Erica is here with Jamie and Kevin. They’re in the kitchen, having breakfast.”

“That’s …good. I hear Nicholas and Lucas, are they…?”

“Mom … he wasn’t … shot?”

“No … honey, just bruised … real bad. And he has a bump on the back of his head, that’s probably why he’s in a coma.” Just then the door is pushed open and the doctor walks in, going straight to Walker’s bedside.

“Angela, the doctor just came in, I’ll call you back.” Alex hangs up the phone and moves up to stand by the doctor.  “How much longer before he wakes up?”

The doctor ignores her and continues with the examination of his patient. Finally he turns and says, “He’s getting lighter, but I can’t give you a definite time. This kind of thing just doesn’t work that way. He could wake up in thirty minutes … an hour or it might be next month.  We just don’t know.” The doctor pats Alex on the arm and turns to leave the room.

“Doctor,” he stops and looks back at her, “what did you mean ‘he’s getting lighter’.”

“He’s not as deep in the coma, he can probably hear you when you talk to him.” He sees the anguish in her eyes, “Mrs. Walker, he could wake up in the next few minutes, he looks good for it, but … it wouldn’t hurt to say a prayer.”

As the door swings shut behind the doctor, Alex slumps down in the chair beside the bed, tears ready to flood her eyes. Then realizing that Walker can possibly hear her, she makes herself breathe deeply and swallows back the sobs and dries the tears in her eyes with the back of her hand.

“Can you … can you really hear me, darling? I’ve been babbling on and on,” she pauses, taking another deep breath, “hoping something that I say will make you wake up. It seems like … like you’ve been asleep a long time. Do you remember the promise you made to the kids before you left for work this … yesterday morning? About taking a week off and all of us going to the reservation for a week?  They are so looking forward to going.”

She brushes her hand over his, straightening out his fingers, then lays her head down, her cheek resting on his hand. “Do you remember our trip to Utah? Where I cajoled you into taking me with you? I thought we could have a little vacation after you looked at that plane.” She closes her eyes, as that long ago trip becomes more vivid in her memory. “We did enjoy it, didn’t we? The dancing, showing off my new dress for you.” She opens her eyes and gazes into his face, a grin forming. “I bought that especially for you, you know. I know, you don’t know how hard it was to keep my hands off of you. I love dancing with you. You said I had every man in that place looking at me but I only wanted you to look at me.  I wanted you … to want me.” She giggles, “It worked, didn’t it? After the dance … I didn’t think we were going to make it back to the cabin.” I wanted you so bad, I almost took you on the dance floor. She smiles and brushes her cheek back and forth in the palm of his hand. “That is another night I will never forget, honey,” she whispers as she turns her head just enough to place a kiss on his hand. I remember every night I’ve spent with you.

Alex stands and stretches, letting the warm feeling of the memories flow through her. But as the memory fades another takes it’s place. She walks around the bed to the opposite side, letting the images sharpen in her mind. She reaches down and picks up his right hand, and caressing the fingers, she murmurs, “Peter ‘Patches’, and smiles. “You were so jealous of him, but you kept denying it. I saw the way you would look at him, when he asked me to join him for coffee. Was I that obvious?  I thought it was cute. Remember what Jimmy said when we came out of the building arguing?  He said we were acting like an old married couple. I remember … I couldn’t stand the idea of you seeing that man. We may have been arguing like an old married couple but we couldn’t make up like one. I was very jealous … until you came into my arms at the hospital … instead of into Peter’s.  He was just an acquaintance, darling. I’m not sure I could even classify him as a friend. I know … but I considered you mine even back then. It tore me up to even think of you in another man’s arms. It’s always been you Walker, from the very beginning.

Speaking of jealousy, I think the one person I was really jealous of … was out of reach.  Ellen. And it was stupid, but to think you almost married someone else, to think of you in love with someone else … it really overwhelmed me. I didn’t know how to fight … a ghost. I guess I should have told you about her, but it was a painful time in my life and I had it buried so deep … When you put your arm around me at the cemetery and we had that talk,  … it banished all the helplessness I was feeling. You helped me to put those memories in their proper place honey, my love for you … is so much stronger … so much deeper … if anything were to happen to you I think I’d shrivel up and die.

Alex sighs, “And then there were the others that came between us.  Like, oh...what’s her name? Mer … Merilee.”  Dalton Reed.  Alex turns her head sharply to look at Walker, thinking she'd heard him utter Dalton Reed's name. But knowing it’s impossible she just shakes her head and murmurs, “Dalton Reed...I haven't thought about him in years...not since he left town after that rodeo.”  That’s because you loved me, not him.  That’s the same reason why I haven't thought of Merilee, since she left town.  Then there was that Tara. Who? But I think it was mostly wishful thinking on her part. She just seemed to be there by your side every time I saw you. I know who you mean, but … I just can’t picture what she looked like. But one night I really watched the two of you together and realized it was all in my mind. I … guess I was resentful that she was spending so much time with you.” I’m glad, I like you that way.

Alex looks down at her husband lying so still, but his face, on closer examination, seems to be more … relaxed. Maybe he really is listening to her. “You almost look like your sleeping, honey. If it weren’t for the bruises I could believe it.” A smile curves her lips, “I always like to watch you sleep, but those times were few and far between.” She lightly traces her fingers over his bearded cheek and across his swollen lips. “You would always wake up and see me watching you … and we’d end up making love.” She swallows hard, trying to keep the tears at bay, not wanting to upset him … and she knew he would be if he thought she was crying. Then suddenly a picture appears of both of them, crying, holding on to each other, when they’d lost their baby. She can’t keep the tears away now; the pain is still there after all these years. She moves away to the window with her back to the bed, trying to pull herself together.

“Alex … are you crying? Baby, don’t cry, I’m going to be all right. This is only … a temporary setback.” He listens as the sobs grow softer and he remembers only one other time when he had heard her cry like that.  That had been when they had lost the baby. “That hurt never goes away, does it, honey? It just means we haven’t forgotten sweetheart.”

She finally manages to still the sobs and turns to get a tissue from the box on the stand beside the bed. Wiping her eyes she sits down again in the chair. Taking a deep breath, she looks up into the face of the man she loves.  Her voice a soft whisper, “This seems a little like deju vu, darling. Remember when you were in that coma after going over the bridge in that car? I remember you talking to me then, too. I was so afraid to leave you, afraid if I left you … that you would … you would…” Don’t honey, I made it then, I’ll make it now, too.  But you heard me talking to you, didn’t you, when I said, ‘You know what I wish we were doing, right now? You and I running wild on the beaches of Tahiti.  Promises, promises. I never asked, but I always wondered how much you heard of what I said. I heard it all, honey. I heard it all.

Alex stands and moves to the window again, adjusting the blinds so the rising sun wouldn’t shine in his eyes but still fill the room. She turns, facing the bed, and murmurs softly as she walks slowly forward, “We were destined for each other, you know that don’t you? From the very first, we were meant to spend our lives together.  I think I knew that before you, but I know you felt it even if you didn’t acknowledge it.” She smiles as she picks up his hand, “You had a way of letting your feelings show, even when you weren’t prepared to speak them. They way you looked at me, and the words you spoke, just before you left to go after Bodine. The way you would seek me out when you came into C.D.’s, the way your eyes lit up when you saw me, we seem to be drawn to each other. But your eyes, your voice could turn me into putty, from clear across a room. Don’t you know you did the same to me, why do you think I took to wearing loose pants? You never were a smooth talker but your eyes and your actions could speak volumes. It was so hard for you to let your feelings show. I thought if I didn’t tell you how much you meant to me, I wouldn’t lose you. But little by little you started opening up. Because no matter what I did, I just fell more and more in love with you  … if I lost you without you knowing … how I felt…. You let us all know how much you loved us, me, C.D. and Jimmy.”

“What about Jimmy?”

Alex looks up at the sound and sees Jimmy standing in the door. “Oh! Ah … I was just reminiscing. The doctor said that he could probably hear us talk to him … so I’ve been saying whatever came into my mind.”

Jimmy moves up to her side, “What brought me to your mind?”

“I was just thinking how he finally got to where he could let his friends know how he felt. It was so hard for him to open up, even to his friends.”

“I know, but when you came into his life, he began to soften.” He smiles at her and gives her a quick hug. “When we first became partners, I don’t think he liked me very much.”

“I don’t think like or dislike had anything to do with it Jimmy, he just didn’t want a partner, he was a loner.”

“Man, was he ever.”

“But your diligence and skills won him over, and you two became a team in law enforcement to be reckoned with.” It wouldn’t have been that way without you as my partner, Trivette.

His grin widens, “Yeah, we were, weren’t we? He taught me to rely on my instincts and … I think  I started picking up his Cherokee intuition, too.” Jimmy stares down at the man who became his best friend as well as his partner. “Alex, you remember that time I took a bullet in the chest when we were looking for that cop killer?”

“I’ll never forget that, Jimmy, you scared us all.” Yes, he did. He scared the hell out of me!

“When I woke up in the hospital, I saw you and C.D. sleeping in the chair. I knew you had been there all night, and that in itself, wasn’t unusual; I knew you guys would be there. We’ll always be there for you, Trivette And it didn’t surprise me when Walker came in, I knew he cared but he had never shown it until that day. He … took my hand in a firm grip, and said, ‘Welcome back, partner’ but the look in his eyes … said it all.” You’re the best partner, Jimmy, you’re like brother to me … the brother I never had.

“He loves you Jimmy, like a brother. We both do.” She slides her arm around his waist, and both were quiet for a short time. Then as their minds return to the present, “Jimmy, what have you found out about Winslow’s daughter?”

“You were right, Alex, she is free. She snuck out of the institution some way but so far we have no idea how she got to Walker.” He reaches out and touches Walker’s leg, “Man, if you could only talk.” I couldn’t help you, Trivette; the last thing I remember is Dennis Winslow inviting me into his house.

“What about Dennis Winslow, what does he say about any of this?”

“I went to see him right after Walker was found but Winslow wasn’t there. We’ve got a stakeout on his house but, so far, he or his daughter is a no show.” He reaches out and touches Walker’s leg, “Hang in there, pard, we’ll find out what went down, you just concentrate on getting well.” He leans over and kisses Alex on the cheek, “You hang in there, too, counselor,” then releases her as he starts for the door. At the door he turns to look at her, “You’ll call me if there’s any…?”

“Yes, I will, and if you find out anything…?”

“I’ll call.”

As the door swings shut after Jimmy, she sits down on the edge of the bed and begins caressing Walker’s hand again as she gazes at his face, the face of the man that has become a constant in her life, just like her love for him has become an eternal flame in her heart. Without one the other will flicker and die. Bringing her eyes down to the hand she is caressing, her mind begins to wander again. “One of the things that stick out in my mind, darling, is not those three little words you used to find so hard to say, but the way you showed me how you felt.  You may have found it hard to say 'I love you'... but you let me know in so many ways that you did. By the way you spoke to me before you went after Bodine; I would have kissed you then if Uncle Ray hadn't walked in, the talk we had in that plane before we went down in Lake Ebby, I really meant to have that talk with you, but I didn't want you to think I had been scared into it, A smile curves her lips, her voice grows soft, “...the way you made love to me on that whitewater trip, a night that I will never ever forget.  She chuckles at her next thought, “...and even when you yelled at me when you rescued me at that compound, I knew then just how much you really cared about me. Then there was that time I lay in that hospital bed in a coma after being shot at Kim's wedding.  I never told you this Darling, but I heard you when you pleaded with me not to leave you. That's what made me fight harder to live, I just couldn't leave you...leave your love.  I was so afraid I was going to lose you…I have never been so scared in all my life, more scared than when my parents were killed, and even more scared than when Ellen died…Suddenly, a long forgotten thought comes to mind, “Do you remember when you and Jimmy and C.D. went on that fishing trip to the bayou?  Jimmy told me you kept having flashbacks and in one of your dreams you were calling my name. So I know that even then I had made a definite chink in your armor. Honey, you made more than a chink, you were firmly imbedded in my heart, but I was so afraid to say anything…Jimmy told me later, that he knew you were in love with me, he said, 'everyone could see it but you'. He was wrong, honey, I knew… 

When Jimmy and I were in that tank of water, I was afraid I'd never see you again, to tell you how much I loved you. I thought I was too late, I thank God every day that I wasn't. You've really come a long way in letting people into your heart. I was afraid of showing how much you all meant to me…I was afraid that you would be taken from me or be used to get to me.  And now with your own children…you've never hesitated to let them know you love them. They are the product of our love.

She brushes her fingertips down his cheek, and yawning, drops down in the chair next to the bed, realizing that the past six hours have taken their toll on her. She runs her fingers through her hair, then down her face. The heart-stopping phone call, seeing Walker's beaten body, and the fear that he may be permanently impaired, has left her emotionally shaken. As tears again begin to fill her eyes, she drops her head down on the side of the bed, weeping silently. Honey, don't …please … you know I can't stand to see you cry.  She lays her hand in his, wanting to stay in contact with him.

Finally, spent and exhausted, the tears dry and she closes her eyes, but unable to sleep, she stands and stretches, bending her back and rubbing it.  She sits down on the side of the bed again, murmuring, “What I would do for one of your backrubs right now.  What I would do to not be in this hospital and instead be at home in our bed, giving you a backrub. I think we need a vacation when you get out of here.”  Thinking about what she'd just said brings laughter to her lips, “We sure have great luck on vacations, don't we, Darling?  We seem to meet trouble each time we get away...the whitewater rafting trip That was all your doing, Alex ... not mine. The mountains ... sure started out wonderful ... but then, WHAM ... bad guys right around the corner, or should I say, on the cliff right above our heads. Yeah ... it sure did start out nice, that black dress is engrained in my memory forever, just like that sequined dress you wore to that Crime Prevention fund raiser with Colonel Mendoza years ago ...  and God Alex, that red dress you wore to Congressman Leo Cabe's dinner party when Trivette and I were guarding him. "There was the so called vacation we were going to have at Golden Wells, Yeah but it was nice having you as my wife that weekend...you don't know this hon, but that was when I began seriously thinking of making that final commitment in our relationship .... But it was fun pretending to be your wife even if for only a weekend.”  She sighs, “And I should have known we wouldn't have a completely goon-free honeymoon either. It may have started out that way, but the two weeks we spent in Paris were very special ... especially the first two days when we didn't leave the room once.  But that was one of the best two weeks of my life, starting out with the first two ... deliciously sensual days we spent in our room.” She grins at that thought. “Its a wonder we ever left the room to take that walk, didn't seem like we could get enough of each other those two weeks...” she looks down at him, her voice growing softer, huskier, “...and even now, 15 years later it seems like we still can't get enough of each other.” What can I say, Alex...all you have to do is smile and I get hard. I get this overwhelming urge to make love to you when you pout, when you cry, and when you're angry it's all I can do to keep my hands off of you.

The nurse interrupts her musings when she comes in to check Walker's vital signs.  She takes the opportunity to use the restroom, and when she returns the nurse is gone.  She takes her place at his side as image after image flashes through her mind like a slide show, but one stands out from all the others, the one of him lying in a hospital bed much like he is now. She couldn't leave him then either. She murmurs softly, “For someone that doesn't like hospitals, you sure spend a lot of time here.” You've spent almost as much time here as I have. But I think I can claim as much time as you.”  She lets her mind wander back through the years, trying to think of a happy time to reminisce with him. But there were so many happy times, their wedding, the birth of their four children, and of course the exquisite times that they've made love. But the many times they had almost lost each other when their enemies tried to do one or the both of them harm, creeps into her memories, too. 

Her voice soft, whispery, “We’ve really had some scares in our lives haven’t we, honey? More then our share, I think. But it has brought us closer together. For two such different personalities we blend pretty well together, don’t we. Like a hand in a glove, baby. We have four beautiful babies and memories that will last a lifetime. And we’ll make more memories with the ‘babies’, honey, we’re not done by a long shot.  But for being so different we also have a lot in common; our love of horses, our desire to help the underprivileged, our fight against drugs and abuse.” She raises her head and smiles at him, “Even going so far at times to risk our lives to accomplish some of those ends. Like … bull riding?  Why I ever let you talk me in to letting you ride ‘Widow Maker’ I’ll never know.” Her fingers tighten around his hand, “I still get a chill whenever I remember that bull falling back on you in the chute. Well, it scared me a little, too. And when you went on to ride that bull, I could have strangled you.” I had to do it, honey, I couldn’t let those kids down.  A lot was hanging on me riding that bull.  Sometimes, Cordell, you carry your obligation to helping others just a little to far. I know, but you love me anyway … don’t you. She sighs, “But I love you anyway, Darling...” She chuckles softly, “...and I think the knowledge that I'll still love you anyway is why you go against my wishes in times like that.”

“But … being angry, wasn’t one-sided.  I can remember a few times when you’ve been upset with me too. The time that comes to mind is when that guy that almost killed the brother of that dancer. I hated having you mad at me, but there was nothing I could do about that guy, the FBI was running the show. I was trying to keep you from losing your job. And you came real close that time, cowboy.” I guess I did kinda lose control on that one, didn’t I, but I just couldn’t let it go. To see him free after what he had done… And then there was that time I went to that cult compound without telling you. I … wasn’t really upset, more scared than angry because you were missing and I had no idea where you'd gone. You sure surprised me when you started yelling at me, but when you're voice became softer, I knew then that you were more scared than angry. I … guess I should have told someone where I was going." Her voice grows soft, her tone wistful, “But I’ll never forget that kiss….” It … came as a surprise, but it was a very nice surprise.

And there were the jams I manage to get into all by myself that scared you as well.  But you were always there to save me and I never doubted that you would. Like when Caleb Hooks stuck me and Jimmy in that tank and filled it with water. I didn't know he was trying to drown you, and when I saw Jimmy banging on that small window, my heart stopped...but when I finally got in there and you weren't breathing, I could have died.  Or that time I was in jail, I was never so scared in all my life. Oh honey, I was as scared as you, but you didn't get yourself into that one, that moronic DA did...and I let him know just how I felt about that. And the Chairman! I was so stupid to have left without the bodyguards. It scared the hell out of me to know you were in his clutches, all I could think about was getting to you before he took away my reason for living ... and when I saw you tied to that chair ... the bomb in front of you...

But honey, the time we made love after that bomb blew, thinking about it all these years later ... still makes my heart flutter.  Mine too, hon. You surprised the heck out of me when you started tearing my clothes off, but as usual I couldn't say no when you came to me for loving ... and even though we came close to getting caught, that has to be one of the most exhilarating times we've made love. When we made love after Lucas passed away, it was so touching, so intimate, so ... beautiful ... beautiful.  That night meant so much to me, Alex, the way you held me, the way you made love to me, and how you let me make love to you again and again underneath the stars.  That night you came to me at Sawtooth Lodge, Jimmy in the next room...I thought for sure he'd heard you scream when you ... came.  And I thought for sure everyone had heard you moaning and the sound you made when you came. Then there was that time you, me, C.D., and Charlie Brooks took those kids camping.” Alex begins to giggle, “Do you think anyone knew what we were doing in the van before you left?” If C.D. and Trivette knew, they sure didn't let on that they did. She sighs a sensuous sigh, “Darling each time we make love is wonderful and special, and each time I think it couldn't get any more better ... but it does.  Starting with that night on the river through to the intense lovemaking we shared before you left for work yesterday morning ... I better stop, because all this talk is making me want you all over again.” You too, honey?

Alex glances out the window, at the sun filtering in through the slats of the blinds then looks at the clock on the wall, suddenly noticing the time, panicking when she realizes how long he has been in the coma. “Honey, I think it’s high time you woke up.  You’ve been asleep for almost 12 hours … I can’t … I need you to wake up, honey,” tears begin to fill her eyes again, as fear of just how much damage was done to him begins to fill her thoughts.  She stands and leans over him, trying to will his eyes to open, “Please honey, please wake up,” she pleads, then lowers her head to kiss him softly, but just before her lips touch his, a teardrop slides down her cheek to caress his lips. The soft touch of the salty tear jolts his senses, and as her lips touch his, his body begins to respond to his thoughts, and his mouth moves ever so slightly beneath hers.

At first the movement doesn’t register but when it does she lifts her head in surprise.  His eyes are closed but then slowly his lashes lift and she sees his beautiful eyes looking back at her. She trembles with relief and smiles as she realizes he is awake. HE’S AWAKE           ! “Oh, Walker … thank God.”  She lowers her head to rest next to his, tears soaking into the pillow, as joy and happiness fills her. “I love you … I love you so much.”

His voice weak, rough from being dry, “Al-Alex … I’m … alright … don’t…”

She sits up, her smile lighting up her face through the tears, her hands fluttering over him, wanting so desperately to take him into her arms. “I … I want to hold you but I’m afraid I’ll hurt you.”

“W-water … please…”

“Oh, God, yes, I’m sorry, honey,” she quickly turns and gets the glass of water, and holds the straw to his lips.  He sips slowly for several seconds, then pushes the straw from his mouth with his tongue and shuts his eyes as the effort becomes too much for him.

When he opens his eyes again, he sees Alex staring at him, worry etched in her face. She stands, “Let me get the doctor,” and lets go of his hand to grab for the emergency cord, but he catches her fingers as they slide through his hand.

“No,” his voice a rough whisper, “not yet.”

“But, Walker …” she sees the soft pleading in his eyes, and turns back to sit on the bed beside him. “All right … if you’ll promise to lie still.”

He just smiles his acquiescence to her condition and moves his lips to softly say, “I love you.”

She leans over and touches her lips lightly to his, “Oh, Walker, you had me so scared … you sure you don’t want me to call the doctor?  You must be in a lot of pain.”

“No,” he says quietly, not wanting to breathe to deeply, “I’m fine … if I don’t move. Just … stay here and keep talking to me.”

Her eyes glisten with the wetness of tears, “Have you really been listening to me? I’ve just been rattling about anything and everything.” She reaches up and brushes her fingertips lightly down his cheeks, her voice soft, “I just wanted you to wake up.” She lays her head next to his, “Walker, what happened, do you remember anything?”

“Bits and pieces … but nothing … that will help. Just remember seeing Wilson when he opened the door … I mostly … just remember you talking to me.”

“I was just talking, hoping something would trigger a response from you. I don’t care what it was but maybe you can tell me what I said that brought you up out of the coma?”

“I don’t know … of any one thing, I felt … something wet on my lips … then you were kissing me, and … I felt myself responding.”

Watching as he talks to her, she notices that his eyes are drooping, and not wanting him to go back to sleep, maybe going back into the coma, she finds the call button and presses it, wanting a doctor to look at him while he’s still awake.

“Walker, are you getting sleepy?” Panic begins to grab her, “Honey, please …don’t…”

Just then the doctor pushes open the door and quickly walks up to the bed. “Well, so you finally decided to wake up, huh?” he asks as he begins to examine Walker’s eyes and checking his vital signs.

Alex is quiet as she hovers next to the doctor, waiting for hopeful words about her husband’s condition.  When the doctor stands back from the bed, Alex sees Walker’s eyes close again. “Please, Walker don’t…”

“It’s all right Mrs. Walker, he’s just sleeping. This is a restful sleep. He’ll be sleeping a lot for a while, that’s what he needs more than anything right now.” He starts for the door but stops and turns back to her, “You need to go home and get some rest, too. He’ll be fine with time, but I don’t want you getting sick from exhaustion.”

“I can’t … I can’t go home … not yet. I’ll be quiet but … please let me stay with him.”

With her sky blue eyes pleading with him there is no way the doctor can deny her wishes. “I guess it can’t hurt, I’ll have a cot brought in so that you can get some rest.”

“Thank you, doctor.” He leaves the room and she turns back to sit in the chair, and taking a deep breath, she leans back and relaxes for the first time since she was called some twelve hours ago. Before she gives in to sleep, she gets her phone and calls home.

“Hello.”

“Nicholas?

“Mom…”

“Yes … your dad has come out of the coma. He’s sleeping now, resting … No, it will be a while before he can come home … I’m going to stay for a while longer, but I’ll be home sometime today to shower and change clothes … Okay, hon, tell the others for me, will you?   I will. Have Angela call me when she comes inside will you? Bye for now, honey.”

Saying goodbye to her son, she dials again, this time for Jimmy, but getting no answer; she leaves a message for him and hits the off button.  As her eyelids start to droop she stands, not wanting to fall asleep until she hears from Jimmy. Pacing around the small room, she finds herself drawn back to the bed and Walker. Silently, she watches the slow rise and fall of his chest as he sleeps and thanks God, that, again, her husband has come back to her.

Without thinking she picks up Walker’s hand, softly stoking her thumb over his fingers, her eyes caressing his face, his eyes, his mouth, his hair, ever nuance about him. A strong desire to pull him into her arms, wanting to wrap herself around him is overwhelming, wanting to shield him from any more harm.

Suddenly the door swings open and Trivette comes striding in, “We got them Alex. But we may never know what happened unless Walker remembers.”

“You got Winslow and his daughter?”

“Yes, Winslow is not coherent and the girl … is dead.”

“Dead? What happened?”

“Well, we aren’t real sure. But we think Winslow had second thoughts about the kidnapping or maybe he was afraid she’d kill Walker and tried to talk her into letting him go.  She wouldn’t listen so he locked her into a small room at this warehouse. Evidently he got Walker out of the building, left him in the alley, and went back to get his daughter. Not sure what happened then, but we found her at the warehouse, dead from a blow to the head, and her father…”

“What did he say … did he say why … how did they get him to the warehouse, Jimmy?”

“Alex … we found him at his house and got enough from him to find the warehouse, but then… I think he … his mind has closed down. Killing his daughter was too much for him. He’s almost catatonic.”

“You found the warehouse where they held Walker?”

“Yes … we found … where they had him shackled.” He lowers his eyes, looks up into her face, then away.

“Jimmy? What ... what is it?” she asks, worry in her tone and on her face. She knows he knows something else, but doesn't want to tell her.

He looks back at her, into her eyes and touches her arm, “We found a ball bat laying on the floor.”

Alex stifles a cry as her knees buckle, Jimmy quickly catches her and lowers her to the chair. “I'm sorry, Alex, I shouldn't have told you.”

“No, I’m … glad that you did.” She looks up into Walker’s face. “He must have been in excruciating pain.”

Jimmy’s voice a soft whisper, “I can’t even imagine how bad it was for him. When he wakes up…”

“He is awake, Jimmy, he woke up just a few minutes ago, he’s just sleeping now. But he told me he doesn’t remember anything after Mr. Wilson opened the door to him.”

“He may remember … in time.”

“I hope not Jimmy, I hope he forgets it completely.”

Jimmy looks down into her face and can see the line of exhaustion beginning to show, “Alex, why don’t you go on home, touch base with the kids and get some rest. I can stay with him until you come back.”

She smiles up at him and shakes her head, “No, I’ll stay for a while longer. I’ll go home later, but only to shower and change clothes. They’re … bringing a cot in for me.”

“Alex, you’re exhausted, you need…”

“Jimmy, you know I can’t leave him, when I leave to go home, he’s going with me.” Seeing the worry in his eyes, “I’m all right Jimmy, really, I … wouldn’t sleep if I went home anyway.” She turns back to take Walker’s hand in hers, and just barely whispers a goodbye to Jimmy as he leaves the room. 

Settling back into the chair, she dozes off, and wakes an hour later, when she feels a light squeezing of her hand.  When she opens her eyes she sees Walker looking at her with a smile on his face.

At the sight of his smile, Alex loses her composure entirely, and breaks down into grateful tears as the realization that her husband is going to be all right.

“Alex … please, don’t…”

“I can’t … help it,” she sniffs, grabbing for a tissue, “besides, I think I’ve earned the right to cry.”

“I guess you have. I just wish I could take you into my arms.”

As the tears slow, she replies, “So do I,” and gives him one of her beautiful grins, as she brings his hand to her lips, “but I’ll settle for a kiss, right now.”

“I think … I can handle that.”

Taking care, not to touch him anywhere else, she lowers her lips to lightly brush across his. Not once but several times, each time lingering a little longer. Letting him be the one to take as much as he wants.

The remainder of the day, he sleeps more than he is awake, and just before dark, Alex tells him she’s going home to check on the kids and clean up and will return to stay the night with him.

“You don’t need to come back till morning, honey, I’ll probably sleep most of the night anyway.”

“No, honey, I’m staying. When I go home … you’re coming with me.” She kisses him lightly and stays until he falls asleep then informing the nurse that she would be back shortly, she leaves for home.

After telling the children of their fathers condition and calming their fears, she showers and changes clothes, gets clothes for Walker, and after thanking Erica for watching her children, goes back to the hospital to be with her husband.

He’s still asleep when she returns and noticing that a cot had been placed in the room, she gives Walker a goodnight kiss, and pulling the cot next to his bed, she lays down and in minutes is sound asleep.

The sun is filtering into the room, when Walker wakes. Not seeing Alex in the chair, his eyes scan the room and he finds her asleep in the cot next to him. He smiles and his heart warms at her devotion to stay with him, as he knew she would. She’s always stayed at his side when he spent time in the hospital. No matter how minor the injury. 

Thinking about his injuries, he begins to move his arms wanting to know the extent of the damage done to him. He grimaces but continues to flex his arms, they hurt but the pain is tolerable. He lifts the sheet and slowly pulls up the hospital gown to look at the rest of his body, the first thing he sees is his swollen member, and suddenly a picture of a woman wielding a bat, swinging at his groin area, flashes in his memory, his knees involuntarily draw up, to protect. He drops the sheet and breaks out in a cold sweat. The image is gone as quickly as it came. A tight knot forms in his gut and questions begin to take shape in his mind. ‘Am I permanently damaged, will I ever be able to make love to Alex again? The thought of never being able to bring pleasure to his wife again has a devastating affect on his sense of masculinity.

His head falls back onto the pillow, and he squeezes his eyes shut, as the cold realization as the possible full extent of his injuries hits him. What if he didn't fully heal from his injuries and he wasn't able to continue as a Texas Ranger. What if the damage done to his arms affected his aim, or the damage to his legs affected his ability to perform the martial arts.  And ... worst of all, he'd rather be dead than to never be able to make love to his wife again.

His hands grasps the sheet, balling it into his fist, as anger begins to fill him at what has been down, not only to him but to his wife as well, for she will suffer also.

His eyes fly open when he feels a soft touch to his fisted hand, and sees his beautiful wife looking at him with eyes that are misty, understanding his very thoughts. He releases the sheet and takes her hand in his and pulls her down onto his chest.

“Walker…”

He ignores her plea and continues to crush her to his chest. The only pain he feels is the terrible knowing of the damage to his manhood.

Alex, having seen his examination under the sheets, understands the rampant emotions running through his mind.  She feels his anger and anger fills her as well of what this insane woman has done to her husband.

As his arms begin to loosen around her, she lifts her head and kisses him softly on the lips, and murmurs, “This must be hurting you.”

He opens his eyes and looks up in to her blue ones, his reply raspy, “No, I need to feel you close to me. I can tolerate the hurt if you’re in my arms.”

“It will be all right honey, it will, and … even if…”

“NO!” his voice hard, “there can’t be an even if, Alex.” He presses her head back down to his chest,” his voice almost inaudible, “there can’t be.”

Hearing the swish of the door opening, he releases the hold on his wife, and as she straightens up, he sees the doctor coming toward his bed.

“Well, you must be feeling a lot better. But I think you might be rushing things, your muscles need time to heal. You need to give them that time if you want them to heal properly. Now, do you have any questions?” The doctor notes the hardness and anger in his patient’s eyes, but decides to let him bring up what is bothering him.

“I … I’d like to know … how much damage … has been done to … my … my…” He pauses, uncomfortable discussing his sex life with the doctor, with anyone.  He takes a deep breath, “Will I ever be able to ... to make love to my wife again?”

“Your genitals were only bruised. There's no permanent damage that we can see. You can’t jump to conclusions that they will be permanently impaired. They could very well be like the rest of your body, just needing time to heal.”

Walker is quiet, thoughtful, hoping against hope that the doctor is right. So deep in thought he doesn’t realize that the doctor has left, and vaguely recalls that Alex has left the room also, saying she will be right back.

He looks toward the door, waiting for her return, and thinks about some of the memories she had talked about while he was in a coma and realizes that there is more to his love for Alex than making love. A lot more. A grin spreads across his face at the image of Alex, with fire in her eyes, when she faced him on the witness stand so many years ago. He remembers the admiration he felt for her when he watched her in the courtroom, the way she questioned witnesses, the devotion she had to see that the criminal element met with the punishment they deserved. The way she even stood up to him, and his unorthodox ways. But he always knew she loved him no matter what, unconditionally. And the love and admiration he feels for her today is stronger than ever.

He shuts his eyes and lays his head back against the pillow, and with a soft sigh, he lets his mind fill with thoughts of Alex and his life with her. The many clashes of their personalities along with the softer side of their life, like making love, working together for charity, making love, the birth of their four children, and … making love. 

He frowns, knowing that making love is a very large part of their relationship, the one thing that takes them away from the outside world. His body grows restless under the sheet, his thoughts of how sensual his wife is, how she comes alive in his arms and the sweet sounds she makes when he is pleasuring her. Tears begin to trickle from beneath his lashes as he wonders if he will ever hear her soft moans and whimpers again when he fills her with his flesh, with his love.

A soft touch to his arm and his eyes snap open. Alex, just inches away, is looking down into his face, worry filling her eyes. “Darling, are you all right?” she murmurs softly, “Do you want me to get the doctor?”

“No … no doctor, I just want you.” He reaches up and circles her neck with his arms, pulling her down onto his chest.  As he holds her tightly against him, his body relaxes, his fears seem to calm, and with Alex at his side, he can endure anything.

***

The next morning when the doctor makes his rounds, he helps Walker sit up in bed. By the middle of the afternoon, Walker is wanting to get out of bed. Fearful that he may be rushing things Alex pages the doctor.

Walker is sitting on the edge of the bed, wearing nothing but the hospital gown, when the doctor comes through the door.  Staring in wonder at the man in bed, he sees the determination in Walker’s face, “So … you want to get out of bed, huh?”

“Yeah, I’m going stir crazy just lying here. The sooner I’m walking the sooner I can go home, right?”

The doctor chuckles softly and says, “I see you’ve got it all figured out. Well, let me tell you, most men beaten as badly as you were would still be groaning flat on their back. Getting up this early just goes to show how well conditioned your body is.” He moves up to stand beside Walker and takes him by the arm. “Let me see you stand.”

Bracing his hands on the edge of the bed, Walker slides off to stand on the floor. His knees buckle and Alex comes immediately to his side to give him support. He takes a deep breath and straightens his legs, letting them adjust to his weight. “I’m all right now … I can … I can stand alone.”

Alex moves back but only a step, ready to grab him if need be. The doctor does the same. Walker grimaces slightly as his muscles stretch to bear his weight. He looks at Alex and sees the same grimace on her face as if she feels his pain. He flashes her a quick smile and a wink and takes his first step then another and another until he has walked around the bed, where he immediately sits back down on the edge of the bed, a light sheen of sweat on his face.

He looks up into Alex’s face, and says, “Let me rest a minute then I’ll take another walk.”

The doctor lets out a guffaw and says, “Well, Walker, I can see that you’re determined so I don’t think I can stop you. But I want you to promise me that you’ll go slow … you know … short walks, rest … short walks, rest … until you work out the trauma that’s been done to your body.”

“I’ll be right here to make sure he doesn’t overdo it, doctor.” Alex says as she moves to stand beside her husband. She smiles at Walker and touches her lips lightly to his, then turns to face the doctor with a look that says she means business.

The next morning when the doctor makes his rounds he sees Walker, with Alex at his side, walking down the hall. Slow, but he is definitely walking. He has traded the standard hospital gown for a pair of scrub pants, his feet shuffling as they make their way back to the room.

The doctor follows them into the room and watches as Walker sits down on the bed, surprised that he is moving better than he had anticipated. Standing at the foot of the bed he speaks quietly to Walker, including Alex in his assessment of Walker’s condition. “Walker, I’ve of the notion that you’ll do just as well at home as here, so … I’m going to release you … on one condition.”

Walker raises his eyes to look at the doctor, at Alex then back at the doctor. “Only … one condition?”

“Well … actually there are two. One … get your body back in shape before you take on the world again. And two … I want to see you if any unusual symptoms appear.”

Walker chuckles, and says, “Well, I think I can handle that. I plan on taking some time off and I guarantee if anything … unusual shows up, I’ll be sure to let you know.”

***

The drive to the ranch is quiet, Alex glancing over at her husband, not really sure he should be going home, but knowing he wouldn’t stay in the hospital any longer. She also knows that he is still apprehensive about whether he could still make love to her.  He has given her no indication that he has felt a rising desire for her.  The thought that he might possibly never be able to make passionate love to her again sends tremors of sadness throughout her body, because she knows that although he may not be able to respond to her, her body will still be capable of feeling desire for him.

When she pulls into the lane she sees their children standing on the porch, waiting for their father to return.  They had felt his loss as much as Alex had, he was a very ‘hands on’ father, and they enjoyed his role in their life.

The four children rush up to the car as he steps out, moving gingerly, bracing himself for the headlong rush of his kids. But instead of rushing into his arms, they stop several feet away, remembering what their mother had said of his injuries. Seeing the looks on their faces, he smiles and gestures them to come closer and as they move tentatively into the circle of his arms he sighs deeply and brings them in close to his chest.

Over the next several days, Walker gradually increases his exercises as the bruising to his body heals and the discoloration fades away. But still, he makes no move to be intimate with his wife, other than chaste kisses and light hugs. Alex does her best not to let her emotions and the desire for her husband show, but with him knowing her body better than she does, her efforts are futile.

He smiles at her and she wants him, the slightest touch and her body begins to prepare for his lovemaking. There is no way she can do otherwise. She loves him and she wants him.

Since coming home from the hospital, the subject of his possible impotence has not been mentioned. But after almost a week Alex makes up her mind to confront him with that possibility and maybe a little seduction on her part to see if she can force the issue.

So that night after dinner and the kids are in bed, Alex guides Walker up the stairs to their bedroom. She lets Walker take his shower first then she quickly takes hers, coming into the bedroom the way she always did until his return from the hospital.  Naked. But Walker is not in the bed; he is not even in the room. She quickly grabs her robe and slipping it on begins searching the house for him. Hearing the slight squeak of the swing, she pauses at the front door, takes a deep breath to calm herself then pushes it open and steps outside.

She swallows hard and murmurs softly, “Hi Honey. Not … sleepy?”

He turns to look at her, smiles and says, “No … not really. Been thinking a lot about…”

“About … what honey?” she prompts when he grows quiet.

“Some of the things you said to me when I was in the coma and some things since I’ve come home.”  He takes her hand and pulls her down to sit next to him, wrapping his arm around her shoulders.

“What was it I said…that you were thinking about?” Alex asks softly as she adjusts her robe around her legs.

“Well…like the first time we met, in that courtroom.” He smiles as he remembers, “There you stood in front of me, blue eyes flashing, getting angrier by the second when you couldn’t refute the fact that it was only me that brought in the seven criminals.”


Alex gives a wry smile as a slight blush infuses her face. “I soon learned not to question your ability to bring in the crooks.”

His fingers rise to brush against her cheek, as if to wipe away the slight blush.  “That you did, but you still laid into me three days later…well, we laid into each other.”

“Ah yes,” Alex giggles as she vividly remembers their first kiss. “New Years Eve at C.D.’s, when we bumped into each other and…”

“And you laid into me…”

“And you kissed me.”

Walker’s lips pucker at the memory, his tongue snaking out to lick his lips. “Do you know why I kissed you that night?”  At her questioning look he continues, “There I was, New Years Eve, the clock struck midnight and everyone around was happily ringing in the New Year.  Everyone but me.  I had this beautiful woman chewing me out.  All I could see was her lips, her luscious lips, lips that needed to be kissed.” He pauses and looks down at her, “Do you know what they say about New Years Eve and what you’ll be doing the rest of that new year?”

Alex was speechless listening to his recount of that first kiss, her heart beating wildly at the thought that that night he was concentrating on her lips, wanting to kiss her.  All she could manage to his question was a whispered, “No.”

“They say that whatever you’re doing right as the clock strikes midnight on New Years Eve, that’s what you’ll be doing that whole new year.” He pauses for a moment to let his words sink in. “Well, I surely didn’t want this beautiful woman chewing me out the whole of the new year. No sir, I thought to myself I’d rather be kissing that beautiful woman the whole year … and those lips were begging to be kissed.”  He looked down into her watery eyes and whispered, “So, I kissed you.”

“Oh, Walker,” she murmurs, touching her lips lightly to his. “You never told me that.”

He grins, shrugging his shoulders. “We didn’t really come together after that. I guess I kinda scared you, huh?” 

Alex blushes again. “You did scare me, sort of. I didn’t know what to make of that kiss, Cowboy.”

“It wasn’t too long after that kiss that you called me ‘Cowboy’ for the first time.  Remember that, honey?”

“Mmmhmm,” she murmured. “You hugged me and said you could get used to it.”

“And you said all you needed was ‘a crazy cowboy’.  Well, apparently you did need a ‘crazy cowboy’ because you sure stuck with me all these years, through the good times and bad.”

“And I wouldn’t trade a minute of it, honey,” she murmured, smiling beautifully.  “There was just something about you…I don’t know what it is…”

“Well, there was definitely something about you.  Hugging you that day in the courthouse felt so ... right. After having kissed you that New Years Eve, and hugging you that day … you were engrained in my heart forever.”  He suddenly remembers what she said about a dream she’d had. “Speaking of not telling…you never told me about that dream you had about us when you were held hostage by that cult out in Decatur.”

“Oh … you heard that, huh?”

“I told you, Alex. I heard everything.  But don’t try to get away from the subject.  You never told me you dreamed that I’d rescued you and kissed you.”

“What a kiss,” Alex murmurs as she remembers that dream. “When you did rescue me and let me have it for not telling you where I was going, I had to kiss you…to see if it would be as good as in my dream.”

“Yes and if I remember correctly from what you said while I was out cold…it was every bit as good.”

“Yes it was,” she sighs. “Even better. What I didn’t say while you were sleeping was that the dream kiss made me…whimper.”

“Well as I remember it, when we kissed for real afterward…you whimpered more than once.”

“See, I told you the real kiss was even better than the dream kiss. I told you I knew then that there would never be anyone else for me.”

He wraps his arms around her tighter and whispers, “And since I couldn’t speak, you didn’t hear me respond to that.  You didn’t hear me say that I’ve always thought of you as mine…from the very beginning.”

“I always knew how you felt, honey.  Sometimes the knowledge got clouded with things that happened, people that happened, but I always knew.” Alex burrows her head into Walker’s chest, her fingers lazily fingering the soft hair there.  “Remember that time I was shot at Kim’s wedding?”  She feels a shudder pass through his body and turns her head to place a kiss on his chest.  “That time it was me in the coma, and I heard what you said to me … you said…”

“Alex, don’t leave me…” he supplies for her, his voice soft, breaking.

“Yes,” she says softly. “Your plea for me not to leave you gave me the will I needed to live.  I had a feeling that you were going to ask me to marry you … but I didn’t know for sure.  Didn’t know for sure if you were ready for such a commitment … but when you pleaded with me not to leave you … I couldn’t die … I couldn’t leave you … leave your love.” 

A tear falls from her eye onto his chest.  Feeling the wetness, Walker reaches out to wipe her tears. “I heard you tell me that it made you fight harder to live, and I’m so glad you did … because I could never live without you, Alex.  You, almost dying, scared the hell out of me, scared me more than my parent’s being killed in front of me … scared me more than even Ellen being killed.”

Alex lifts her head from his chest, looks into his eyes, surprised. “It scared you that bad?  You were just a boy when you saw your parent’s killed … and then Ellen…”

He cups her face in his hands, “Almost losing you brought me to my knees.  For the first time in my life, I didn’t want to live … didn’t want to go on.  You are my life … my reason for living … without you, I wouldn’t be complete … you know that.”

Again she touches her lips to his in a light kiss. “I do know honey … and I feel the same way, always have… that’s why it scared me to no end every time you were hurt, or were in danger … like when that crazed professional killer was after you when Colonel Mendoza was in town.”

A grin spreads across his face, and his eyes sparkle.  Alex is mildly irritated that he’d think being in danger was funny.  “Walker being in danger isn’t something to smile about.”

“No, it most certainly isn’t … but the sight of you in that sequined dress sure is.” 

A grin spreads across Alex’s face now.  “You liked it, huh?”

“Uh huh! Showed you that night how much I liked that dress, didn’t I?”

“Why, yes, you did,” she murmurs huskily, pressing her lips to his.

“Now, that red dress you wore to Congressman Cabe’s dinner party so many years ago … whew, what a sight to behold you were!”

She giggled at his and Jimmy’s reactions to the dress. “You didn’t show me how much you liked the dress that night.”

“I sure wish I could have … you’re breasts were nearly popping out of that dress and I so badly wanted to cup them in my hands, caress them … run my thumbs across your nipples…”

Alex’s breathing stopped, her heart pounded madly.  Her insides began to melt, a warm wetness started in her groin. Sighing deeply, she lays her head back down on his chest. “I was wishing you had…”

Walker blows out a breath, his own heart beating wildly. “You know hon, I didn’t get to tell you this, but when you were talking to me … back there when I was in that coma … about our weekend at Golden Wells … it was then that I began to think about asking you to marry me.”

Once again, Alex’s head rises off his chest. “You did?”

“Mmmmhmmm.  When we got back, I started making the plans to propose.  I bought your ring shortly thereafter.”

“I had no idea … although I was hoping that weekend would have some affect on you.”

“Oh it did … it definitely did.  I liked having people refer to you as my wife … I liked calling you ‘my wife’, having you in my bed every night and every morning. I decided then that I wanted to have you in my bed permanently, not just every so often.” He grins again, “It had as big an effect on me as when each of our children were born.”

Alex smiles at the thought of each of her children being born. “First there was Angela…and what a trying event that was. They certainly didn’t teach that in Lamaze class.”

Walker sighs heavily. “I so wanted to be with you when our first baby was born … but all the stress of what was happening caused you to…”

“Shhh, honey,” Alex whispers, placing her fingers on his lips. “Don’t dwell on what you couldn’t prevent.  You may not have been there when she came into this world … heck, neither was I since they put me under … but you’ve been there for her ever since.”

“Yeah, you’re right hon.” He smiles thinking of the day they brought their first baby home. “Bringing her home the first time … all our friends there to welcome her home…”

“It sure was special,” Alex sighs, remembering that day as if it had happened only yesterday. Then her recollections switch to the twins. “Although we never needed to use what we learned in the Lamaze classes when Angela was born, we sure did use it when Nicholas and Lucas were born. You sure were there when they came into the world!”

Walker smiles at the memory of the birth of his sons.  “You woke me up in the middle of the night, after I’d spent almost 36 hours in a stakeout.”

“I almost couldn’t wake you up! If you’ll remember, we had to pour ice cold water on you to wake you up.”

Walker is now laughing. “I haven’t forgotten that wake up call! First, I have ice cold water thrown in my face, I sit right up in bed only to find you, suitcase in one hand, other hand on your hips, a most indignant look on your face, and Trivette standing there beside you holding the empty glass.” He continues to laugh, “I think he took a perverse delight in throwing that water on me.”

“All I can say, honey, is that it was all his idea,” she giggles in reply. “Eight and a half hours of labor and our sweet Nicholas was born…”

“…and then Lucas a couple minutes later … and I saw it all happen.” He grins, “And I got to cut the cords, and then place them, one by one onto your belly.”

Alex smiles, tears coming to her eyes as she remembers their birth.  It may have been the most painful thing she’d had to endure, but it was all worth it.  She remembers the joyful tears she and Walker shared as they held onto their newborn sons.  Then her face crumples at the memory of her next baby … the baby they’d lost, and tears slide down her face.

As if he can read her thoughts, Walker reaches out and tenderly wipes her tears. “I know what you’re thinking about hon, you’re thinking about Elizabeth.”

Alex doesn’t answer; she just nods her head.

“I heard you crying over losing her while I was in the coma. I wanted to hold you then, like I’m holding you now.”

She sniffs, and then uses the sleeve of her robe to wipe her nose. “I’m okay … its just that remembering always makes me…”

“I know hon … I know,” he murmurs, rubbing her back and kissing her forehead. “The Lord may have taken Elizabeth from us, but he blessed us with Hannah two years later.”

Alex smiles through her tears. “Yes, He did.” And despite her tears, she begins to laugh. “We didn’t make it to the hospital that time!”

“You know, Alex…I’m glad we didn’t make it to the hospital.  If we had, I never would have been able to deliver Hannah myself.”

“You’d delivered babies before, honey … but this one had you in a tizzy, at least at first.  I’ll never forget the sight of you standing there in the barn, looking at me, then at the heavens, then at your watch, then back to me…and then you running into the house to boil water!” She’s laughing now at the memory.

“Okay … okay … I was just caught off guard.  You only said you were having backaches, you never said you were having contractions! And then you came to me while I was mucking out the barn stalls to tell me this baby was being born, right now!”  He begins to laugh himself.  “The first thought that ran through my head when you told me that, was that there must have been no room at the Inn.”

Alex was now holding her stomach, laughing hard. “Please honey, stop or I’ll wet my pants!”

Walker’s laughter begins to subside.  His voice grows husky, “Speaking of wet pants…or um … wet panties … I’ll never forget the feeling the first time I felt … how wet with arousal you became … over me.”  His hands drifts down to her legs and slips underneath the robe, to caress the bare skin of her thighs, hips, and buttocks. 

Alex shivers with his touch to her heated bare skin. “That was the night we first made love, on that whitewater rafting trip.  Our lovemaking was … so beautiful. The love we shared that evening, pleasuring each other, it was all I’d ever dreamed of. I’ll never forget that night.”

“I’ll never forget it either, hon.” His breath fans the hair covering her forehead as he continues in a soft voice, “Its impossible to remember each and every time we’ve made love in the past 20 some years, but forever engrained in my memory and in my heart is the way you come alive in my arms … when we make love.  The way your breasts … swell, the soft sounds you make, the way you begin to quiver when your climax begins, the special way you make love to me, and heaven help me, the way you ride me with a … a wild abandon … when you’re on top.”

“Oh honey, what about the way you come alive in my arms?  When I first met you, you were such a … a closed off person, a ‘hard nut to crack’, but when we make love,” her breath catches as her stomach flutters with that sensual feeling she knows so well, “…you become a different person.  That night on the river, you weren’t the hard, steely Texas Ranger, you were the affectionate, loving Cordell Walker … the cowboy I fell head over heels in love with.  You were so gentle that evening, so giving and so sensual … and when you climaxed that night…I thought everyone with us on that trip heard you.”

His heart is pounding now and he has to stop and take a deep breath to quell his runaway emotions. “I love how you’re never afraid to try new things with me.  You are an amazing woman Alexandra Walker, a man couldn’t ask for a better wife and lover. You’re so much more than I’d ever dreamed of having…” He stops for a moment when something she said strikes him.  “You’d dreamed of making love with me, before that night on the river?”

This time, Alex blushes furiously.  “Guilty as charged, Darling,” she murmurs. “I began dreaming about you after you kissed me that New Years Eve.”

“When you talked about that night on the river while I was in the coma, I heard you say you never knew lovemaking could be like that.” He dips his head and kisses her forehead. “I can’t believe no one else ever made love to you like that … though really I’m glad no one did, I wouldn’t want any competition.” His voice grows softer, “You are so beautiful, so sexy…a body made for loving.”

Alex is on fire from being so close to him, from hearing his words, her body already wet with wanting him. She looks at his face, hoping to see the same desire in his eyes, any kind of a response to the memories that they have brought up from deep in their minds. They had talked of their first meeting, their first kiss, the first time they made love, the sensual feel of coming alive in each other’s arms, the birth of their four children, the agony of the death of one baby and the rigors of just plain surviving. He had shared with her his deepest thoughts, told her things from his past that she didn’t know and she has never felt closer to him than she does now.

He turns her to face him, her body warm, quivering with need. His eyes lock with hers, his fingers caress her cheek, his voice soft as his lips brush hers. “Alex … I can’t…”

She slips her arms around his neck and presses his head against her breast, “Walker, it’s … it’s all right, it doesn’t matter … as long as were together that’s all that counts.”

He pushes himself away from her, his face unreadable. “Are you telling me that it would … be all right if we never made … love again?”

“Walker, I love you … of course, I’ll miss what … what … we share…”

“Alex … shut up,” he murmurs, as he takes her hand in his and places it on the front of his jeans. “Honey,” his mouth brushing across hers lightly, “I intend to make love to you as long as I can take a breath.”

As she feels the well-defined bulge fill her hand, tears fill her eyes, and she falls against her husband, weak with relief at the knowledge that their lovemaking would continue.

"When," she breathes, "when … did you know … for sure."

"The feeling has been teasing me for the last couple of days, but tonight while waiting for you to come out of the shower, I … knew that I … wanted … needed you."

Placing a thumb under her chin, he lifts her head, and kisses her with tenderness as he slowly pushes her robe from her shoulders, letting it fall to the floor.

“Walker…” she exclaims hoarsely, “I want you…”

He draws back; his eyes caress her bare breasts, the nipples hardening to peaks before his eyes. “Yes, I know.” The tender half smile playing on his lips promises even greater delights as his hand moves down her body to slip between her thighs to cover her hot, pulsing feminine mound. She cries aloud, and then cries again at the luscious slide of his thumb against the moist aching focus of sensation.

He can feel the triangle of blond curls between her thighs soaked in her own juices. “You’re already so wet for me,” he says in a husky murmur. “Maybe we should see if we can make you more wet.”  Alex whimpers at his declared challenge.

Slipping his arms under her legs, he picks up her nude body and walks down the porch steps, turning toward the swing and patio furniture at the side of the house. He stops and gently lays her down in the lush green grass near the patio furniture. Easing himself between her parted, shivering thighs, he bends down to take her. Excitement pierces Alex like a lightening bolt as she realizes his delicious intent.

Holding her hips with his strong hands, Walker brushes a probing kiss against her feminine cleft. Alex gives a strangled moan at the intimate caress. “Ohhhh.”

“Yes, let me hear you…” He chuckles softly in the quiet certainty of his power, and bends to her again.

A delicious shock flares through her body as he explores the yielding, warm folds of flesh with his erotic mouth. Shuddering uncontrollably, she gives herself over to his lavish sensuality.

Her head falls back in surrender as he savors her with his caressing lips and tongue. When she arches against him, he clasps her buttocks, giving her no opportunity to evade him. With exquisite skill he laps at her slowly, thoroughly, his hot rasping tongue stroking her in heated pulses, delighting the quivering, throbbing bud that is the center of her pleasure.

Her hands move to his hair, desperately clutching. His mouth with its lazy suckling is driving her wild. “God … Walker … please…”

“Oh, yes,” he murmurs against her hot flesh. “I want to please you … in every possible way.”

He holds her to him more firmly, and presses against her, his tongue delving inside her swollen cleft, sweetly ravishing.

Fire leaps from his mouth into her flesh, dragging a wrenching shudder from her. Her whole body is a hot screaming mass of desire. She writhes beneath him, whimpering mindlessly, until finally a shriek tears from her.

She climaxes again and again, as wild rippling, seemingly never-ending series of spasms rakes through her. Mercilessly he draws every last drop of excruciating pleasure from her quivering flesh, until she falls back, limp and helpless with exhaustion.

Satisfied, he stretches out beside her. After a long moment, he presses a kiss against her temple. “You can’t fall asleep just yet,” he murmurs warmly against her ear.

“I am not about to fall asleep,” she whispers, in a voice still husky with passion. “I’m simply being patient, waiting for you to undress. You have way to many clothes on.”

His smile is sensual; it makes her heart turn over. “Your wish is my command, honey.”

He reaches for the button on his jeans but Alex pushes his hand away. It is her turn to torment him.

Kneeling over him, she lowers the zipper with excruciating slowness, drawing out the moment. Then as she begins to push his jeans down he raises his hips to aid in their removal. When he is nude, she sits back on her heels, marveling at his hard muscled body. His skin is golden in the moonlight, except for the paler flesh of his groin and upper thighs. He is a brazen, naked male, all corded muscle and lithe strength. And he is magnificently aroused.

“Now what do you mean to do with me?” he murmurs, half teasing.

She returns his own taunting smile and, holding his gaze, she reaches for him, her hands cupping his hard pulsing arousal.

His groan is soft and erotic in the quiet of the night. When he tries to pull her down to him, she releases him abruptly and presses her palms against his powerful chest. She intends to be the seducer this time. “No, Walker. You aren’t to touch me. You aren’t to even move.”

Reluctantly he obeys, holding his arms by his side.

Alex leans over him, feeling the strength of his muscles beneath her hands, his hot skin against her palms.

“You think you can make me burn?” he asks, his tone challenging.

“I know I can,” she replies, feeling very, very powerful, “I’ll be gentle, I know you must still hurt.”  She bends to taste him, running her tongue over his silky, granite hard flesh.

He arches against her mouth, as if in pain. “Alex…”

“Am I hurting you?” At his lazy nod, she whispers, “Be still, then.”

She kneels there on the ground in the warm summer night, attending to him, arousing him the way he had her. It is exciting, exhilarating. She’s totally in control this time, driving Walker slowly mad with desire. In only a few moments, his breathing becomes erratic. She feels his hand clutch in her hair as he strives to remain still.

“Enough,” he finally mutters. “Have mercy. I surrender.”

He catches her shoulders and draws her down to lie full length upon him. Her breasts lightly caress his chest as she stares down into his pleasure-hazed eyes.

Alex doesn’t protest as he lifts her up to settle her astride him. It is what she wants, too. She draws a sharp breath as he lowers her onto his thick shaft, his slow, filling length impaling her, then sighs when she feels the heat of him inside her.

“Do you know how badly I want you?” his voice a hoarse rasp as he holds her hips to draw her even closer, to push himself even deeper. “ I want to bury myself completely inside you.”

Alex arches her back, totally aroused. He is huge and hard and hot and filling her to bursting. Helplessly, she begins to move, no longer maintaining the slightest measure of control. She rides him wildly, gasping, quaking against him, while her hips undulate in mindless rhythm.

As her aching moans fill the air, though, his rough excitement grows to match her own frenzy. He arches up, driving into her. Alex erupts, crying out with abandon as he forces jolt after tormenting jolt from her.

Her explosive heat shatters the last of his control. He whispers her name, fierce and low, and then lets himself go, his body contracting in a wrenching, tearing release. When it is over, Walker sags weakly back, while Alex collapses upon him, totally drained.

***

After several long minutes, Alex lifts her head feebly from his chest, brushes her lips across his, then murmurs, “You haven’t lost a thing, honey, not a thing. You’re better than ever.”

He moans against her lips and rolls to his side, taking her with him, holding her tightly against him in the cool green grass. “Honey,” he whispers, “we should get inside, before the kids find us out here in our … all-together.”

Alex begins to giggle, “That would be hard to explain, wouldn’t it?”

“Indeed it would.” He begins to nuzzle her neck, “besides we can finish this … upstairs.”

Walker finds his jeans in the grass where Alex had tossed them and pulls them up over his still hard erection. Wrapping his arms around his beautiful and still naked wife, he kisses her tenderly, then picks her up off the ground, carrying her up to the porch where her robe still lies. He helps her slip the robe on, then, taking her hand, they make their way into the house. Between kisses and light touches they climb the stairs to their bedroom.

Walker leans over and kisses Alex on the neck at the same time he turns the lock on the bedroom door. Alex whimpers as his tongue licks down her neck and she turns in his arms catching his lips with hers in a deep penetrating kiss. He moans softly and picks her up in his arms, moving swiftly toward the bed.

The both fall onto the bed in a tangle of arms and legs. Alex murmurs against his chest, “I … was right…”

“Right…” he breathes, as he begins to move down her body, “about what?”

“I really did … need a crazy cowboy,” her voice barely audible as his tongue begins to do crazy things to her body.

“You think so, huh,” he says, as he wraps his tongue around the hard protruding nipple, sucking it into his mouth.

"Ah ... yes ... you've made my ... life so much ... ri ... oh God ... richer.” Her hands frame his head holding him close to her breast.

He moves to the other breast, his hand caressing slowly down over her belly to the soft curls at the apex of her thighs.

“No … you’ve made my life richer…”

She gasps and arches her back as he caresses the silken vee at the juncture of her thighs, trails soft, warm kisses over her rib cage, her stomach, the tingling flesh beneath her breast then nibbles his way down over her soft belly, “Tell me what you want, Alex,” he murmurs as his finger part the soft flesh and pushes inside her.

She doesn’t have the breath to answer him; her body is doing that without words. Her hips begin to move in rhythm to the delicious torment of his fingers, and her hands clutch desperately in the thickness of his hair.

He mouths her gently, touching her with his tongue just enough to tease. “Alex,” he rumbles, his lips moist against her sweet nubbin of pleasure. “Tell me,” he whispers, as his tongue flicks out to stab at the hard flesh of ecstasy.

“I—I want you to f-fill me…”

He parts her thighs and buries his face deeper between them.

Her fingers tear into his hair, and soft mewling sounds escape her as she twists violently, then begins to move subtly against him, rising, falling. She whispers to him, but he shows no mercy as he caresses and teases the bud of her greatest desire. A light touch, a deep touch, a slide, a caress … time is endless; her motion is beautiful. She cries out and he feels the flood of sweet nectar from her body, then he rises high above her. He meets her eyes and kisses her slowly and completely. He rises again, closes his mouth around a hardened nipple and with a swift thrust of his hips he plunges deep inside her, filling her, possessing her and yet at the very same moment, surrendering. As he penetrates her body with his own, thrusting deeply, he finds himself enclosed tightly, tightly sheathed. And then he begins to move, and time and space and night suddenly know no boundaries. They move as one person, both gasping words that make no sense.

Finally Walker lifts Alex’s hips, so that his shaft strokes to the very core of her womanhood as it enters and withdraws, enters and withdraws. And then she cries out, shuddering, as the crescendo of their loving convulses her, he cries out in his echoing groan of total release.

Bodies drenched in sweat, lie tangled in the sheets. Legs slowly stir as they begin to regain their senses. Alex whispers softly against Walker’s chest, “My crazy cowboy, I can’t imagine my life without you.”

Walker tightens his arms around her and breathes into her hair, “Or mine without you.”

The End