The First Date

By Sissy (sissy@svs.net)

& Chris (ckline-usa@foreverliving.com)

When he walks into C.D.’s, he finds himself automatically looking to see if she is there. If she is, his weariness would disappear and his heart would beat a little faster and he’d make every effort to get as close to her as possible without being too obvious. If she isn’t, like tonight, he feels the disappointment, and finds himself constantly looking toward the door hoping she will come in.

His feelings for her had come upon him so gradually that she had him hook, line, and sinker before he knew what hit him. He isn’t sure he can go through this again, but he knows it is too late now. At first, he had tried to deny the feelings existed, but all he had to do was hear her name and his heart rate accelerated.  If she looked at him with her sky blue eyes and smiled, he was lost. The few times that he was alone with her, he felt like a teenager. Like that night they both got wet in a fountain when they had gone to meet a man about some mustangs. He had gotten so flustered when he saw her beautiful bare legs, he almost made a fool of himself, but managed to leave before he did..

She was so beautiful and she seemed to like him. She always came up to him when she came into C.D.’s.  That was another thing. How could this beautiful, intelligent, soft-spoken lady want anything to do with a rough, sometimes loud, cowboy that was an unorthodox diehard Texas Ranger?

Walker sat in the booth, watching the door, with all of these thoughts running through his mind. Wanting to do something about how he felt, but afraid to take the chance. What if she said no? What if she laughed at him. He didn’t think she would, that wasn’t her style. When they were together, she seemed to be attracted to him, but maybe she was only interested in being friends. Maybe it would be a mistake to take their friendship to the next level. He wouldn’t want to jeopardize their friendship. It was too important to him.

When Alex comes in the door, she heads for the bar. About halfway to the bar, she sees Walker in the booth. She changes direction in mid stride and goes directly up to him.  “Hi, cowboy.” She smiles, “This seat taken?”

 “Ah…No…” She slides in beside him, looking into his eyes.  He starts to ask her if she wants coffee or something else, but just then C.D. and Trivette come over and they slide in across from them and C.D. does the asking. The conversations stays light, with talk of Alex’s court case, Trivette telling about the high speed chase he and Walker had been in and C.D. telling about the new juke box he is getting.

C.D. finally gets up saying he had better go tend bar, and Trivette leaves saying he is calling it a night. That leaves Walker alone, sitting beside Alex. Both become quiet, unsure of what to say, then both start to talk at the same time. They laugh and Walker says,  “Please, you go first.”

“I was just going to say I’d better be going too. It really is getting late.”

“Well, okay…Alex?…Ah…”

“Yes?” He’s been awfully quiet this evening like he has something on his mind.

“I…ah…I’ll walk you to your car.”

She looks at him with a quizzical expression, “Okay.” She slides out of the booth, with him right behind her.  He places a hand on the small of her back and they walk out the door.

As they come up to her car, “Thank you. Will you be at C.D.’s tomorrow night? Being Saturday, he’ll have a band.”

“Yeah, I’ll be there.”

“Well…goodnight, then. I…guess I’ll see you tomorrow.” She turned to get in the car but felt his hand on her arm, and turned back to face him.

“Alex…ah…Would you…ah…I’d like…ah…Would you care to have dinner with me tomorrow evening?” He finally blurts out.

A tender smile and a soft reply, “Walker, I’d love, too.”

“Well, great! I’ll…ah…I’ll pick you up about 7:00?”

“I’ll be ready.” Alex leans in and kisses him softly on the cheek, turns and gets into her car.

He stands back and watches her drive away. His heart beating hard, and a warm smile on his face, he turns and walks, on air, to the Ram.

*****

Walker is waiting for Trivette at the gym Saturday morning to give him another workout on the mat. He has already gone through his karate exercise routine and worked out on the bench for an hour before Trivette finally shows up.

“Hey, Walker, how long have you been here? You’ve already worked up a good sweat.” ‘Man, if he’s tired, maybe I can finally get him to tap out.’ “I’ll get changed, and be right back.” He disappears into the locker room and returns in a few minutes, ready for his workout.

Two hours later; Trivette taps out, AGAIN, and Walker rolls off of him, laughing, “Well, Trivette, are you finally ready to call it quits.”

Looking at Walker, sitting cross-legged on the mat, looking like he could go another two hours, Trivette shakes his head, “Man, I don’t know how you do it. Must be something in the water you drink.”

“No, Trivette, it’s just a dedication to a rigorous routine of exercise. Whenever you want to start one, let me know, and I’ll map one out for you.”

“Well, Walker, one of these days I just might take you up on that offer, but right now, all I want is a hot shower!”  He wearily pulls himself up and starts toward the showers in the locker room with Walker following. “How about we go to C.D.’s for lunch after we clean up. My treat.”

“You’re on, Trivette.”

*****

Alex is sitting at the bar helping C.D. choose songs to put on the juke box, when, upon hearing voices in argument coming through the door, they turn to see Walker and Trivette playfully jabbing at each other.

“Hey, you two, what’s going on?”

“Well, Big Dog, Walker here is trying to tell me that it has taken him years to accomplish everything that he knows about martial arts.”

“I imagine that’s right, Jimmy. Why?”

“Man, I don’t think I could wait that long to learn something. I’d want to do it now.”

“Trivette, I could teach you a few basic moves that would come in handy in our line of work but it takes years to master the art. I’m still learning new things. It’s an ongoing thing, one that you have to practice every day.”  Walker turns to see Alex watching him very intently, with a beautiful smile on her face. He immediately feels a warm glow spreading through his body. No one, not even Ellen, has ever had this kind of an effect on him.  Just being near her made him lose his train of thought. He smiles then quickly turns to sit on a stool on the other side of Trivette, hoping that his face doesn’t show his reaction to Alex’s smile.

She sees the slight tinge appear on Walker’s cheeks, ‘he’s shy, he’s really shy’. Alex turns back to face C.D., realizing that Walker is hoping that she won’t say anything about their date for this evening.

As usual, Walker and Alex end up sitting together at the bar after C.D. gets busy setting everything up for the entertainment that he has arranged for the evening and Trivette leaves with a pretty girl that had come in looking for directions.

“I take it Jimmy didn’t do too well during your workout, this morning?”

“Trivette always sets his sights too high. I can’t seem make him understand that he needs to prepare his body in advance to be able to do a workout like that.”

Alex looks at him with an impish grin, “Maybe I should learn a few self-defense moves, what do you think?”

Walker stares at her for several heartbeats, “I think every woman should know self-defense.” Placing his hand over hers as it rests on the bar. “And I would be glad to teach you.”

At his touch, she sees the tender look on his face and her impish grin fades and is replaced by one of longing. She’s never had a touch to affect her this way. Before she can say anything C.D. walks back in talking to one of the waitresses, and Walker quickly removes his hand.  They can’t, however, seem to take their eyes from each other.

C.D. calls to Alex, “Alex, what do you think of this? Do you think it looks all right this way?”

“It looks fine C.D.” But her eyes never leave Walker’s. She finally pulls away, but her eyes remain locked on Walker’s, “Well…I’ve got to go.” Lowering her voice to a murmur that only Walker hears, “Gotta get ready for a special night.” She moves over to C.D. and kisses him on the cheek, “I’ll see you tonight, C.D.” She glances back at Walker one more time before she goes out the door.

C.D. stares after her, his hand touching his cheek where she kissed him. “Well, I wonder what that was for?”  

Walker moves over to the window and watches her as she gets in her car and drives away.

“Cordell, are you leaving, too?”

“Yeah, C.D., I have some chores to take care of at the ranch, I’ll see you tonight.” The warm feeling is still with him as he walks out the door.

*****

Walker spends the afternoon taking care of chores in the barn--mucking out the stalls, brushing the horses, then taking Amigo for a ride out to his favorite spot by the lake, Uncle Rays cabin. Letting Amigo graze, he sits down on a large rock and, as he stares out over the lake, the image of Alexandra Cahill takes over his mind. Now that he has made the move, he can think of nothing else. He’s hoping that he hasn’t misread the message that her eyes seemed to be sending to him at C.D.’s.  When he looked into her eyes, he felt like he could drown in them and, even now, if he closes his eyes he can still see them. He shakes his head from side to side, “Lord, what is that woman doing to me!”  He stands and scratching his head, smiles to himself, “Well whatever it is, it’s already done.” He moves over to Amigo, mounts and heads back to the ranch.

*****

After Alex left C.D.’s, she went home and puttered around the house, picking up several items and moving them around, only to end up putting them back in their original spot. She makes a cup of tea and carries it to the balcony, sitting down in the glider and thinking about the cowboy that has finally asked her out to dinner. She had been afraid it would never happen, but it hadn’t stopped her from hoping. She smiles as she remembers the way their eyes had locked as if in a spell. The look she saw in his eyes was so tender and soft. A look that she hopes she isn’t misreading. She had a feeling that this cowboy didn’t let his emotions come to the surface very often. Her heart kinda did a flip-flop, knowing that, just briefly, he had let her see this side of him. Noticing that the sun is sinking in the west, she glances at her watch, jumps up, “My God, I’ve been sitting out here all afternoon daydreaming. I’d better start getting ready for my special evening with Walker.” She giggles like a schoolgirl on her first date and moves inside to begin getting ready.

*****

By 6:45 p.m., Walker is parked in front of Alex’s apartment.  Not wanting to take any chances, he had left the ranch early to make sure that no matter what happened, he wouldn’t be late. At 6:55 p.m., he went to her door and rang the bell. As he waited, his nervousness was very apparent.  He pulled on his sleeves, ran his finger around his shirt collar, fidgeted with his tie and shifted his weight from one foot to the other.

When Alex opens the door, he just stands there, amazed at the beautiful woman standing before him. She’s wearing a sleeveless dress of black velvet. It is simple, yet elegant and beautifully complimented her slender figure. The dress is short, ending about mid thigh. And is worn with black hose and black high-heeled sandals. Her hair is swept up in a French Knot with small tendrils hanging loosely around her face. “WOW, you look gorgeous!”

“Why, thank you, Walker. You look pretty handsome, yourself.” He is wearing black slacks, a white shirt with a bolo tie and a black sport coat. She stands aside to let him enter, “Come in, I’ll be ready in just a minute. There’s coffee in the kitchen, if you want some.” She disappears back into the bedroom.

He goes to the kitchen, finds the coffee and pours him a cup, then moves to stand by the balcony doors, starring out over Dallas. The view is fantastic.

He turns as he hears her enter the room. All he can do is stare at the vision in front of him. When she moves toward him it shakes him from his trance, “Oh…uh…Are you ready?”

“Yes, I’m ready,” She takes his arm as he turns towards the door.

*****

When they leave the apartment building, Alex looks around for the Ram, but doesn’t see it. “Walker, where’s your truck?””

“I…kinda borrowed a car, figured it would be nicer. My truck was kinda dirty.” He stops beside a black Mustang, opens the door and helps her in, then quickly walks around to the other side and gets in.

As he pulls away from the curb, “Where are we going, Walker, anyplace special.”

“I thought we’d go to the Cattleman’s in Ft. Worth if that’s okay?”

“That sounds just fine. It’s a nice place. I’ve been there a few times. The food is good, too. Have you ever been there?”

“I think I’ve been there a couple of times a few years ago. I kinda liked it.” The rest of the drive is in silence. His mind goes blank. He can’t think of anything to talk about. He keeps sneaking looks at her to see if she is upset or just plain bored. ‘God, how could I have thought I had anything in common with this beautiful, intelligent lady.’

When he parks at the Cattleman’s, he gets out and goes around to open the door for Alex, offers his arm as she gets out of the car. He hears a murmured “Thank you” and he escorts her inside.

After being seated at a table, they place their order and thirty minutes later, after a silent meal, over coffee, he looks up into Alex’s face when he feels her hand cover his.

“Walker, is there something wrong?  You’ve been so quiet all evening.  Have I done something to upset you?” She looks into his eyes wondering what has happened to turn this evening upside down. After all this time, she’s finally with the man that has filled her mind for so long and she’s determined not to let it end like this.

As he looks into her face, he sees her eyes sparkling with unshed tears, and his heart nearly breaks.  “I’m sorry, Alex. Maybe this was a mistake. I’m just an uneducated cowboy. Maybe it was a mistake to think that we could be more than just friends.” He looks down at the table and when she takes her hand off of his, his heart drops to his stomach.

In a soft, low voice, “Walker…please…look at me.” When he raises his eyes to meet hers, “I don’t want this to be a mistake. I’ve waited a long time for you to ask me out, to show you that I do care about you and hoping that maybe in time you could care for me, too. Who you are, the way you live your life is what has drawn me to you.  You’re not ‘just a cowboy’, you’re a remarkable man with more honor and integrity than any other man I know. I hope you don’t think that I’m the kind of woman who would base my decision on whether to have a relationship with a man on ancestry.”

“You’re beautiful.”

She smiles, softly whispers, “Walker?”

When she smiles at him it gives him renewed hope, “Are we having a relationship?” He covers her hands with his.

“Maybe not yet, but we could sure work on it, if you want.”

“I want.” The air surrounding them suddenly takes on a different feel. The conversation flows easier, they become more relaxed, more like the two people that were drawn to each other in the beginning.

*****

The ride back to Dallas and to C.D.’s is the complete opposite of the ride to FT. Worth. They chat easily and even the silence is comfortable. By the time they arrived at C.D.’s at 9:00 p.m. the relationship has progressed nicely.

Finding the street full Walker pulls around in back, and as he shuts the engine off, he turns to Alex, “Are you ready? Our going in together is really going to turn some heads. Especially C.D.’s and Trivette’s.”

“I feel honored to be seen with Cordell Walker. This is something I’ve wanted for a long time.”

Walker gets out, hurries around and opens the door for Alex, takes her hand as she gets out. He shuts the door and they walk into C.D.’s with his arm around her waist.

The place is really in full swing, and they find it hard to move let alone find a place to sit. “Alex, would you like to dance?  I’m not much good at it, but I think that’s the only place open right now.” She nods and they move out onto the floor. He takes her in his arms and pulls her close. With her cheek touching his they begin moving to a soft country ballad.

Pulling back slightly and looking into his eyes and smiling, “I thought you said you weren’t good at this. You seem to be doing just fine.”

Smiling back at her, “Maybe it’s the company.” He feels her shift closer and he tightens his hold slightly, surprised at how natural it feels to have Alex in his arms.

Standing behind the bar, C.D. looks up gazing out over the crowd, smiling about how successful the night is going. When a couple of dancers turn and he sees Walker and Alex dancing his mouth gapes open, “Well, I’ll be…!” He moves down the bar to where Trivette is standing, “Jimmy, looky there. Am I seeing things or is that Cordell and Alex, dancing! Together!”

Trivette finally locates them, turns back to look at C.D., “Wow, when did all this happen? At noon, today, he acted like he hardly knew her.”

“I know, Jimmy…Boy, something musta changed in the last few hours or I’ve been awfully blind.”

“You and me both and I work side by side with him everyday!”

“Jimmy, I think this is great. Cordell’s been alone for a long time. He really needs someone and I think Alex would be perfect. He’s had some pretty rough times in his life. He certainly deserves some happiness.”

As they move around the floor, they are getting curious stares from all around, but they’re in a world of their own and when Alex happens to open her eyes, “Oh, oh. I think we’ve been spotted by C.D. and Jimmy.”

“Oh, God! Now we’re in for it. Be prepared, Alex, you know C.D. He can be pretty direct.” Just then the slow ballad ends and a faster song begins.  They turn and with Walker’s arm around her waist they weave their way toward the bar where C.D. and Trivette are standing.

C.D. and Trivette watch as their friends work their way through the crowd toward the bar. “Now, Jimmy, I don’t think we should make a big deal out of this. You know Cordell. If we make a fuss, he’s liable to crawl back in that shell of his and never come out.”

“You’re right, C.D.”

“Cordell, Alex. We didn’t even see you come in. How long have you been here?”

“We just got here, C.D. The dance floor seemed to be the only open place in here. You’ve got quite a crowd tonight.”

“Well, Alex, you know how it is when you have the most popular bar in Dallas.”

Walker rolls his eyes and looks at his mentor with a sly grin on his face, “And the most modest bar owner in Dallas!”

The comment brings laughter from Trivette and a few regulars at the bar. C.D. just snorts at the wise crack and turns back to tending bar.

Alex, Walker and Trivette spend the next couple of hours laughing and talking, with C.D. joining in whenever he can and Alex and Walker break away for a dance every now and then. As the evening wears on, Walker keeps waiting for the ribbing to begin about he and Alex being together this evening, but it never comes. Both Trivette and C.D. act as if it is perfectly natural for he and Alex to be together.

It’s nearly closing time before the crowd thins. Trivette meets a young lady at the bar and offers her a ride home, leaving Alex and Walker alone again. The band announces it’s last song and Alex and Walker join the remaining patrons on the dance floor.

As the song comes to an end, Walker pulls back and looks at Alex, “Guess we should probably head out?”

“Yes. It is getting late.”

They exit the dance floor, stop by the bar and say goodbye to C.D., then head out the door. The short drive to Alex’s apartment is in a comfortable silence with Walker holding Alex’s hand, absently caressing the back of it with his thumb.

When they arrive at Alex’s door, Walker takes her key, unlocks the door, pushes it open but does not enter. Looking back at her, he hands her the keys. “Do you want to come in? I could fix us some coffee.”

“It’s pretty late. I should probably go.”

He sees a flash of disappointment in her eyes, “I guess you’re right. Walker, I had a wonderful time tonight. Thank you. I hope we can do this again, soon.”

“I had a great time, too. I’m sorry things started out a little rough.” Placing his hand gently on her cheek, “I’d definitely like to do this again.” He hesitates slightly, then lowers his head to gently kiss her lips. The instant his lips touch hers, her heart skips a beat and a warm feeling comes over her body. He breaks away and looks deep into her eyes. When he sees that the passion in her eyes equals his, he takes her in his arms, lowers his head once again and claims her lips in a sweet, mind-numbing kiss.  She responds immediately, wrapping her arms around his neck and melting into his embrace. When he finally breaks free, both are breathless. Smiling at her, “I think I’d better go.”

She returns his smile and nods, “Goodnight, Walker.”

“Goodnight Alex.”

She slips in the door and closes it gently behind her, leaning heavily against it as she tries to control her breathing and steady her legs. A slow smile appears on her lips as she thinks, ‘Well, Walker, looks like we’re headed for a relationship after all!’

In the hallway, Walker is leaning against the wall next to Alex’s door trying to recover physically from the effects of her kiss. Forcing himself to move, he starts walking down the hallway toward the elevator. He feels alive again for the first time in a long time and, although the prospect of a relationship still frightens him, he is sure that Alexandra Cahill is the woman he is destined to be with.

THE END