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TRADITIONS

By NSSNTRVLR

December 29, 2001

It was early to be awake, even for him, but his mind was running at full speed and he knew there was no way he’s be able to drift off again.

Opening her eyes she yawned and asked, “Can’t sleep?”

“Sorry hon, I didn’t mean to wake you up.”

Snuggling in closer she said, “I know, but since you did, tell me what’s on your mind.”

“It’s hard to explain; I guess the easiest way to put it would be to say that it’s almost New Years Eve and last year there was so much going on I didn’t even think about it, but this year…I have absolutely no idea what we’re supposed to do.”

“You too? I’ve had those same thoughts; we always celebrated at CD’s…”

“With Trivette.”

“So any ideas?”

He lazily stroked up and down her back as he said, “Actually just before you woke up I was wondering how you’d feel about taking a road trip.”

“That depends on where you want to go?”

“Well…I could hook up the trailer and load the horses while you pack and get Angela ready to go.”

Giving him a delighted smile she said, “Sounds like a plan to me; let me take a shower first so I can wake up enough to function.”

“Coffee?”

“No way; I plan to sleep all the way to the reservation.”

They both laughed and climbed out of bed to start getting ready.

He stopped once for breakfast and again to put gas in the truck; by the time he pulled up to Sam’s office he was exhausted; he got out of the truck and stretched before entering.

Stepping out from the back Sam said, “Washo, welcome.”

“Sorry I didn’t call in advance but we only decided to come early this morning.”

“No problem; you are welcome to stay at my place.”

“I have Alex and Angela with me.”

“Still not a problem as the house is empty right now.”

Laughing out loud Walker said, “You moved in with Shana already?”

“Husbands and wives generally live together.”

Pulling his friend into a bear hug he said, “Good for you Sam; I’ll have to congratulate Shana when I see her.”

“How about over dinner tonight?”

Alex heard the question when she came in with Angela and said, “Dinner at your place sounds great.” She saw the amused look the two men exchanged and asked, “What did I miss?”

Taking Angela from her Sam replied, “Just the fact that I no longer live in my old house as I’m a newlywed.” He laughed at the look of shock on her face before saying, “Washo did not know either so do not give him a hard time.”

They all looked up as another woman entered the room; she went straight to Walker and hugged him as she said, “Thank you.” Releasing him she joined Sam and looked at the baby he was holding. “She’s beautiful.”

Noticing the confused look on his wife’s face Walker said, “Sorry hon, this is Dr. Shana Iron Shirt, Sam’s wife. Shana this is Alex and the little angel is our daughter Angela.”

The women shook hands and Sam said, “I told them they could stay at my place and invited them for dinner tonight.”

Giving him a mock glare she responded, “You’re supposed to ask me first.” Turning her back on the men she winked at Alex asking, “Would you like to ride with me to see if the house is habitable?”

“Probably a good idea; I know how messy bachelors can be; it takes a lot of effort to train them too.”

“Hey, I wasn’t that bad.”

“Oh come on…how many times did I spend part of our weekends together cleaning up after you?” Seeing the guilty look in his eyes she said, “Exactly.”

“But you love me anyway.”

“No argument from me; do you want me to take Angela now or leave her with you?”

“Leave her; I may swing by Billy’s for a minute after I’m done here.”

“Okay.”

When the women arrived at Sam’s they opened the windows to air the place out and Shana found linens to make the bed; the house was actually pretty clean and sitting down Shana asked, “I know this is none of my business, but how did you get Walker to agree to having a baby?”

“It was never an issue; we both love kids and once we were married we let nature take its course; I had complications from the birth otherwise we would definitely have more.”

“I wish I could get it through Sam’s thick skull that he’s not too old to be a father; he looked so good holding your daughter, he would make a wonderful Dad.”

“Well…I’ll get him to hold her as much as possible while we’re here; maybe the parental instincts will kick in.”

Back at the office Walker looked at Sam asking, “Are you and Shana planning to have kids?”

With a snort of laughter Sam replied, “I’m too old for babies.”

“Yeah right, you’re a few months younger than I am.”

“Would you have another one?”

Looking around to make sure the coast was clear he responded, “Don’t say anything, but White Eagle and I have both had visions about that…Alex and I will have a son in a few years and I can’t wait.” Knowing he had given his friend much to think about he said, “I better get moving; I do want to say hello to Billy, then I need to head for your place and get the horses unloaded.”

“Dinner at 7?”

“Sounds good.” He claimed his daughter and after buckling her in he headed for his blood brother’s house; the door swung open as he pulled in and they met with hands extended before a brotherly hug.

“Greetings Washo, it’s good to see you.”

Turning back to the truck Walker got Angela out and handed her to a delighted Billy.

Holding her away from him for a minute he said, “She looks more like Alex every time I see her; where is your wife anyway?”

“She and Shana went to check out Sam’s house; we’re going to stay there for a few days.”

“Tommy will be here tomorrow; perhaps we can all get together while you are here.”

“How is your son doing?”

“Very well, he is on the Dean’s list and has a girlfriend whose spirit reminds me a lot of your Alex.”

“I’m very happy that he has his act together now.”

“You and I both.” Reluctantly he handed Angela back as he said, “You should probably go and get settled in; I’m sure your horses are ready to get out of the trailer and stretch their legs.”

They made plans for the next afternoon and Walker arrived at Sam’s a few minutes later; Alex took care of getting Angela inside while he unloaded the horses and turned them into the corral before going inside.

Looking up from the couch she asked, “What time is dinner?”

“At 7:00.”

“Why don’t you take a nap; I can tell you’re running on fumes.”

“Soon as the truck is unloaded I may take you up on that idea.”

It wasn’t long before she stood over him as he restlessly tossed and turned in the bed, unable to fall into the deep sleep his body needed; she checked to make sure Angela was asleep then crawled in bed with her husband and smiled as he pulled her close and immediately stilled.

When he woke up later he wasn’t surprised to find Alex sleeping beside him; he glanced at his watch and silently cursed as he discovered it was time for them to get up. “Hon, we need to get moving or we’re going to miss dinner.”

“I’m sorry; I didn’t mean to fall asleep.”

Dinner was enjoyable as the men told stories about their misadventures growing up and Alex looked at Walker saying, “I’m amazed that Uncle Ray and White Eagle didn’t leave permanent marks on your backside.”

“It wasn’t for lack of trying.”

Once they got back he fed the horses before going inside; he went inside and followed the sound of laughter to the bathroom where he found Alex giving their daughter a bath; he watched in amusement as Angela splashed water everywhere.

Glancing up at him she asked, “Are you sure she doesn’t have some mermaid blood? I swear she’d stay in the water all the time if I let her.”

Her words made him laugh and he responded, “Not that I’m aware of.”

After some particularly vigorous splashing Alex said, “I think she’s trying to bathe me.” Her words were meant to make him laugh and when he didn’t she raised her head to look at him and realized he was staring at her with an intense look of desire; it was only then that she realized her t-shirt was plastered to her and with a devilish grin she pulled it up over her head and tossed it at him.

He caught it and said, “You are a wicked woman Mrs. Walker.”

“So what are you going to do about it?”

Grabbing a towel he said, “I’m going to take Angela and get her settled down for the night, then I’m going to come back and finish the job she started…so you may as well finish undressing.”

She loved the effect she had on him and standing up she handed him the baby as she reached for the button on her jeans saying, “Hurry back.”

December 30, 2001

After saddling the horses he went back inside and stood over the bed as he gazed lovingly down at his sleeping wife; leaning over he kissed her a few times until she finally opened her eyes. “Time to get up.”

“Walker, it’s not even light outside yet.”

“I know, the horses are already saddled and I’m going to get Angela ready; we’re going to one of my favorite spots to watch the sun come up…hopefully we have company but if you decide to be lazy…”

With a huff of annoyance she said, “Okay, I’ll get up, but you owe me.”

Later he had his back against a tree and Alex rested between his legs with her head back against his chest while Angela slept peacefully on the blanket beside them; they stayed that way even after the sun was up until he kissed the top of her head before saying, “I want to show you something.”

“What?”

Standing up he pulled her to her feet and walked to the opposite side of the tree where he pointed out something carved into the bark.

Tracing it with her fingers she said, “CW + AC 1993” Her eyes flew up to meet his as she said, “We weren’t even a couple then.”

“Truthfully I never expected us to be, but I knew I loved you anyway.”

“I loved you as well, but we were both running scared at the time.”

“Somehow everything worked out though.”

“Yes it did.” She looped her arms around his neck, tangled her fingers in his hair and pressed her lips to his. “I love you.”

“I love you too.”

As her fingers trailed down his chest she asked, “How safe are we out here?”

Regretfully he answered, “Not safe enough for what you have in mind.”

“Well darn.”

Stealing one more kiss he said, “I think I could be persuaded to head back to bed, assuming you’re ready to go.”

“Lead the way.”

Their plans were put on hold when they got back to Sam’s place and discovered White Eagle on the porch. “Greetings Washo; the spirits told me you were here.”

“Hello, White Eagle.”

He stepped forward as soon as Walker’s feet hit the ground and removed Angela from the cradleboard; after a couple of minutes of holding her he said, “This little one is sure of what she wants; I see that she has already claimed her mate.”

Walker laughed at the look on Alex’s face as he replied, “Yes she has.”

“Speaking of her mate…when he and his brother are older you must bring them here with you.”

“I’ll do that.”

Stepping forward Alex said, “If you two want to talk I’ll take Angela inside and get her breakfast.”

“Thanks hon; we won’t be long.”

When she had disappeared into the house White Eagle said, “You have not told her about the son in your future.”

“No.”

“Is that wise?”

“I think it is best she not know…at least until the time is much closer.”

“The decision is yours to make Washo; I should go.”

“Will I see you again on this trip?”

“I am needed elsewhere.”

Nodding his head Walker busied himself taking care of the horses and when he finished he found himself alone.

Alex looked up when he walked in and asked, “Is he staying for breakfast?”

“He’s already gone.”

“In that case…bed or breakfast?”

“Depends on which you are hungrier for.”

Standing up she said, “Let me make sure Angela is asleep and I’m all yours; the food can wait.”

They finally stumbled out of bed in time for lunch and he took care of Angela while Alex fixed them something to eat; when they were finished he asked, “Are you coming with Billy and me later?”

“Shana invited me to visit her at the clinic; if you don’t mind I’ll take Angela over there and let you have some boys only time.”

“Fine with me; I’m glad the two of you hit it off.”

Billy rode up on his horse and taking one look at Ranger he said, “You have grown soft Washo, you have forgotten the way we rode as children.”

When her husband immediately removed the saddle she laughed saying, “Just remember I’ll be at the clinic; if you come in there injured from falling off…”

He stopped her by giving her a kiss before swinging up on Ranger’s back. “If I fall it will because Billy pushed me.”

The two men raced through the woods with reckless abandon before they finally slowed down to give the horses a break; they rode side by side and Walker couldn’t help noticing the sideways looks he kept getting.

“Something on your mind Billy?”

“Family life agrees with you; your whole spirit shines with happiness.”

“I believe it; I mean I was happy when it was just Alex and I, but when Angela was born…I still have a hard time believing I’m a father and when my son is born I know it will get even better.”

“Alex is pregnant?”

“No…I was told by the spirits that it will be a few years from now, but I’m already excited.”

“How does Alex feel?”

“I haven’t told her, she’ll want to know every detail and while the visions give me a general time frame…”

“I understand.”

“What about you…have you ever thought about getting married again?”

“No, I lost my wife early and no other has made me feel the same way.”

They rode in silence for a while before Billy asked, “What are your plans for tomorrow night? He didn’t miss the sudden tension and he added, “You need to face it.”

“I’m not sure I can.”

“Washo…you know what our people believe.”

“Looks like I better get to bed early I’ve got a long drive tomorrow; hopefully I will get to see Tommy another time.”

When Alex returned later she was surprised to find him back already and asked, “Everything okay?”

“We’re going home tomorrow, Angus and Betty are going to watch Angela, you and I are going out for New Years Eve.”

Totally bemused she asked, “Where?”

“Marta’s.”

Every muscle in her body stiffened up as she let out a horrified, “No please, anywhere but there Walker.”

Taking her in his arms he said, “We have to do this honey; neither of us is going to heal completely until we face it.”

“But it’s not the same anymore, it’s not C.D.’s…he won’t be there.”

“Maybe not in the physical sense, but his spirit will be.”

December 31, 2001

Alex stared at her reflection in the mirror and wondered yet again how she was going to get through this night; she knew with the utmost certainty that her husband was dreading it as well but he was adamant.

Standing in the doorway he said, “You look beautiful Mrs. Walker.”

Turning she took in the sight of him wearing a suit and tie and said, “You look pretty good yourself Mr. Walker.”

Holding out his hand he said, “We need to go.”

She was totally unprepared to see Jimmy and Erica when they arrived and after giving them a both a hug she asked, “How did Walker talk you into this?”

With a shrug Jimmy replied, “He called, told me what he was planning to do and more or less ordered me to find a way to be here.”

“Where are the boys?”

“With Fred and Josie.”

They stood outside the door for several minutes as people went in and finally Josie said, “Okay, we’re either going in or going home.”

Taking a deep breath Walker took Alex’s hand saying, “Let’s do this.”

Feeling how badly his hand was shaking she squeezed and forced herself to move forward, walking inside her eyes automatically went to the bar even though she knew C.D. would not be there.

A delighted cry got the attention of all of them as Marta ran up to Walker, Jimmy and Alex giving them all tight hugs as she said, “I was so happy when Walker called to say you were coming; I reserved your favorite booth.”

Realizing her friends were still a little overwhelmed Erica said, “You must be Marta, I’m Erica, Jimmy is my husband.”

“Si, I heard he was married and the two of you have twin boys, maybe you will bring them by sometime, I would love to meet them.”

As the hours passed they all began to relax and managed to dance to some of the slow songs; Erica gave Jimmy permission to find a partner to dance to some of the faster songs and while he resisted at first Alex finally grabbed his hand and pulled him onto the dance floor.

Erica laughed at the two of them and risked a glance at Walker as she asked, “I assume you don’t mind?”

“Better him than me; I have enough trouble remembering the steps for the easy ones.”

When midnight came Walker and Alex kissed as did Jimmy and Erica.

They danced one more song before Walker said, “Be right back.” He went to Marta and took the box she handed him then walked back over saying, “Okay, we have a stop to make before we head home.” Looking at Jimmy he said, “I’ll drive and then bring you guys back here.”

“Where are we going?”

“You’ll see.”

Alex was just as mystified as Jimmy until they arrived at the cemetery; taking a deep breath she followed the others to C.D.’s grave and watched as her husband opened the box he’d gotten at Marta’s to pull out five glasses and a bottle of champagne; he filled the glasses and handed them out before placing the last one on top of C.D.’s headstone.

Lifting his glass Walker said, “Your parties were better old friend.”

They drank their champagne, turned to walk away and smiled as a shooting star streaked across the sky; had they bothered to turn around they all would have seen the way the moonlight reflected on the empty glass.