Black Stallion: Hopeful Chapter 20 Race day arrives. Rosewood's box has their family, Hopeful's, and Violence keeping a watchful eye on the crowd. Track officials have put extra patrols on the stables.

Down at the stables, Alec and Ali are almost in a fist fight about who is going to race Black Bear in the first race. Alec is in his silks and mounts up before Ali has a chance. Ali call a parting warning to him, "I won't defend you when Alex finds out."

"I can handle it!" he calls back smiling. Ali shakes his head. He knows Alex well enough. Alec doesn't have a prayer against Alex's anger.

The horses are parading up to the gate. Alec has her binoculars set on the line up. She groans a prayer, "Oh God, please no."

Trisha is holding Beth on her hip. Alex sinks in to the seat next to Ralph. Tissa asks, "What is it Alex? Did you see something?"

Alex sees a reporter talking to Anthony. Alex tells her father and Tissa, "It's Alec. He's really going to do it."

The reporter lifts his head, "Alec is going to race again?"

Anthony laughs, "Yeah, right!"

Alex cringes and leans in, "Papa, trust me. It's him." He father shakes his head. She tips her head sideways reminding him how she followed Hopeful's silks more than Rosewood's, "Papa, I know that physique in those silks, and it isn't Ali."

Tissa blushes at what Alex is saying. The reporter laughs. Anthony turns to concern for his son-in-law. Alex turns back to watch the line up. Everyone takes a closer look at Hopeful's silks to see who the jockey really is. The reporter looks around. With everyone's distraction on binoculars the doorway is clear because they are all leaning towards the track. He snatches Beth from Tissa and dashes for out the door.

Tissa screams, "HEY!" Everyone turns to see the reporter disappear down the hall with screaming Beth. Conner, Anthony and Violence run out the door. Tissa grabs Ralph tightly. Conner and Anthony follow the kidnapper. Violence finds security.

Alex rushes out the door. She can see the path his is taking. She knows the reporters are parked out front and has a prime exit. Conner and Anthony's cars are in the back. They will not be fast enough. Fast enough?

She dashes to the announcer's booth. She forces her way in and grabs the microphone from the confused announcer. She tells him, "Turn it on now!" She opens the window and silences the crowd with Alec's whistle call.

Down at the track the parade stops. The Black horse with the black & white silks upon it's back turns away from the line up to face the booth. She tries to keep her voice calm as she calls, "He has Beth, north entrance!"

Alec doesn't wait for her to explain. You can see him line up Black Bear for the main path through the spectators. He backs her up enough to make that leap. Alex returns to the microphone, "Spectators! Clear the main entrance!" Several look up and see the large black horse picking up speed like it's going to barrel through the railing. Instead she takes a flying leap over the rail and straight up the main path. Hot on her tail are Rosewood and Violence's team. Spectators still coming in, are startled to see the race horses coming out. Anthony and Conner point to the dark haired man running with a red hair little girl towards a black convertible Bentley headed East. Alec knows: the train station. They pour on the determination. Anthony's heart swells with pride as he steps clear to allow these mighty teams go rescue his blood. This is how the industry began!

Word comes to the back stables quickly what is going on. Ali mounts Beanie. James takes Rosemont and Violence's groom grabs his second horse. No one waits for permission. They tear out the back parking lot, round the corner and meet up with the main team coming from the front gate.

This reporter has no idea what he is up against. It has now become a steeple chase through the streets of New York headed for the train station. One Bentley with precious cargo darting in and out of traffic with six to angry men on flying steeds. Alec ducks his head down and nudges her faster saying his prayers. They come right between the cars and hope no one opens their doors. Then they are dodging on coming traffic. Up on to the sidewalks to steer around traffic halted at the intersections by NYPD mounted police. They had gotten word from dispatch but still couldn't believe their eyes when they saw race horses coming down the streets of New York. Their mounts call encouragingly to the racing steeds.

Pedestrians back against the building to keep from being trampled! They even leap over a couple cars stopped in the middle of the road to let them pass. Violence's accidentally knocks over the pretzel stand. They managed to miss going down the subway stairs, barely.

The Bentley pulls down a clear street. Oh, not a good choice if he thought he would get away. The horses pour on their speed. This is what they were born to do. Their riders know this is a race for life and death. They had to win this race! James couldn't help but smile. So the knight in shining armor days are not over. Alec and James are side by side. The ride of a grandfather or the ride of a father will win this race.

Alec and Ali are finally close enough to touch the car. The others come up right behind and beside the car. Alec slips his feet out of the stirrups and nods to Ali. Ali nods in return and Alec takes the leap into the Bentley.

Beth is still crying. Her eyes are so wet that she doesn't recognize her father. He tears of his helmet and grabs her tightly to his chest. Now she knows, she clings to his neck, "Dada!" The reporter has one hand on the steering wheel and with the other tries to reach Beth. Beth wraps her legs around her father's torso and clings to him tightly.

Ali calls, "Give her to me!" Alec smiles, she isn't going to let go. Ali smiles back. Ali reaches down for the steering wheel holding on like an Arab rider he once knew with only his legs tightly around the neck of his horse. Rosemont strikes her front feet onto the trunk of the Bentley. The reporter tries to gun it. Alec sees Bear is still right there staying with the car. Alec reaches over wrapping his hands onto the mane, "Hold tight sweetheart," he tells his daughter and makes the leap. Ali lets go as soon as he sees Alec and Beth are safe. Hopeful's team backs off. The reporter smiles, thinking he has made it clear. The other teams take their turn. They surround the car. Up ahead is a squad of mounted and vehicle NYPD all with their guns drawn. There is no escape. He stops the car and turns to leap out the back.

The jockeys all lean over with their crops ready. He looks at the size of those arms holding the whips. He looks at the determination on their face. He stands a better chance with the police. He raises his hands in surrender. The jockeys only back off when they are sure he is safely secured by the police.

Alec has Beth sitting front of him with his arm tightly around her waist. She is toying with Bear's mane. His breathing is slowly coming down to a decent speed. Bear utters Black's shrill cry. Beanie answers on the other side. The other horses join the triumphant cry. The reporter's ears are ringing from the noise.

Alec steps closer to the reporter as he is put into the police car. He leans down with definite anger, "We trusted you, Matson! Why?"

"Winner takes all. I'm tired of betting. I'm tired of writing about the winners. I want to own the winners. Always have."

Before Alec's temper can take over take his self control, Beth pats his hand, "Dada, Mama? Ralph? Bear, go!"

Alec looks down at his daughter and strokes the top of her head. She looks up at her daddy with her mother's eyes. Then he turns to James, "Love is more powerful than greed, any day." James smiles. Beth pats his hand again. Alec turns to the police officers, "You really are the finest."

Alec rears Bear and she pivots on her back feet to return back to his family. The sergeant of the mounted unit smiles at the race horses, "I wouldn't mind having a few of those for Central Park patrols." The jockeys all smile knowing about the recent motorcycle heist through Central Park. But Alec ponders that thought carefully.

"Aleeec, Alex is going to be mad at you," Ali warns him.

Alec kisses his daughter's nose, "Some how, I don't think so." The jockeys all laugh knowing the rumors of Alec's retirement.

The sergeant joins the laugh, "Do you think you need a police escort with your precious cargo?"

Ali smiles, "He's going to need police protection when his wife finds him in those silks."

Alec leans over with a wicked glint, "Wanna bet?" Everyone laughs heartily and then all canter back to the race track with the mounted police leading the charge.

~~Race track security is waiting for them when they return through the front gate, up the main entrance and through the parted rail. The owners are all down at the field at the winner's circle commiserating. Cheers come up from the crowd. James leans over with his best British accent, "Like the warriors returning from a successful battle." Alec can't help but laugh. The owner's crowd separates letting Alex meet up with Alec. Alec lowers their daughter to her mother's waiting arms. She clasps her daughter lightly. The sobs of joy come to her. Alec swings his leg over and hops down right beside them. Ali leans over an takes Bear's reins. Tissa hands Alec Ralph. Alec hold him just as tight. Alex lifts her head to check her daughter over. Beth seems none the worse for wear. She chatted about her ride with Dada through the streets. Alec slips an arm around his wife's waist pulling them together. He smiles at her, "We need to talk."

This time she laughs through her tears of joy, "Not right now." He joins her laughter and kisses her sweetly.

The flash bulbs go off: Ramsey's Last Race

The headlines shout the next day. It shows the photo of the Ramsey's kiss with their twins clasped between them. The article went on to tell the tale of the Hopeful Farms, Rosewood Estate and Violence Team charging through the streets of New York city after an extorting reporter kidnapped Ramsey's daughter from her grandfather's Rosewood box seats. He had been a trusted sports reporter for over 30 years. He had tried extorting horses from various racing teams. But these three refused to cave. He clearing made the mistake of messing with The Black's owners.

The article concluded with Alec announcing his retirement from being a jockey. He would leave that to Ali and turn to training, fatherhood and business owner.

The first race had been canceled. The winnings had been donated to the NYPD mounted police department.

Rosewood won the second race and Violence the third. Everyone was a winner this day.

Black Stallion: Hopeful: Chapter 21 Alec finally arrives home. He has checked on the horses at the stable. He's taken a long talk with Black. When he comes back from Black's stall, he sees his parents car in front of the house. There is another car he doesn't recognize. He carefully mounts the steps. He enters the house and finds them all gathered around the kitchen table.

There is Alex, his parents, Anthony, Ali, and now he recognizes the car, the attorney. Bill stands up and embraces his son, "Hello Alec." Alec returns the embrace and then sinks into the chair at the head of the table.

Alex reaches over and holds his hand, "We need to talk." Alec nods his head. The attorney slides the paper in front of Alex. She signs it:

Secretary, Alexzina K. Ramsey. Belle signs her part relinquishing her position. Belle slides it to Bill. Bill signs off as president of Hopeful Farms, "It's about time." He slides the paper to the attorney. The attorney looks it over and slides it to Alec. He hands him the pen.

Alec looks at the paper closely. It's the articles of Hopeful's Incorporation. The change of officers. Bill and Belle have signed off. Alex has already signed on. Henry's shares have been put back into the corporation. It's time for Alec to take control of Hopeful. The official end of his jockey days. Never under the wire again. He looks over at Ali, the thrill of the crowd for him now. He gets to fly and race. Alec looks around at each person at the table. He knows what it means for each of them for him to sign this document. What have they all given to him during his racing days.

Alex stands up to solve a conflict with the twins in the next room. She stretches the kinks in her back. It causes her belly to project forward. There is now a question. Alec sets the pen down, "Alex?" he touches her belly. He can feel a kick.

She hands him the pen, "Sign it," she smiles at him and walks away. She takes the children by the hand and leads tem to the kitchen. Each grandparent takes a child. She puts a plate of cookies on the table. Each child gets one.

The attorney leans forward, "Mr. Ramsey, you don't have to sign this if-"

"I was just thinking, that's all," Alec cuts him off.

Alex waves a cookie at him, "What do want to do with Hopeful? Where do you want to take it without having to ask for permission?" Alec takes the cookie.

Beth squeals seeing Black outside, "Dada, we go fast!"

Ralph pounds on the table, "Black, Black, Black!"

Bill reaches over and squeezes his son's hand, "Black will be your horse again."

Alec looks down at the document again. There is the line: President

Alexander William Ramsey he places on the line. He quickly hands the paper to the attorney. "Are you sure?" he asks.

Alec hands him the pen, "I'm ready to be the head of Hopeful Farms." Then he turns to Alex, "And you?"

"I know you want to go to California and have already looked into it. Go. I'll be fine. You'll be back before this baby is due."

Then drumming his fingers on the table he looks at his parents and then focuses back on Alex, "When were you going to tell me?"

She picks up a cookie and smirks right back at him, "I kept telling you we had to talk.". He had to laugh. This wasn't what needed to be discussed for a year. All he can do is shake his head. He asked for it, he got it.

Belle and Alex prepare a wonderful celebration lunch for the whole farm. The hands and attorney, neighbors, the vet and his daughter Victoria were all welcomed. Ali was grabbing his belly as he leaned over to Alec, "Oh, Aleec, I think I can make weight today." Bill even had to laugh at that.

The next afternoon, the older Ramsey's head back to Florida. Bill clasps his son's shoulder, "So Mr. President, what is your first plan of action?" Alec smiles as he tells him. Bill agrees.

A few weeks later, Hopeful's van pulls up to the New York Police Department's stables. The head groom comes out quiet surprised, "Mr. Alec Ramsey?" Alec smiles and shakes his hand grateful. "What brings you here?"

Beth, holding her daddy's hand, excitedly tells him, "Dada's horses go real fast!"

The groom kneels down and smiles, "Oh yes they do! I have seen your Daddy win quiet a few races." The sergeant comes out leading one of his saddled horses. He greets Alec and his family warmly.

"So you have come to join us now that you aren't racing?"

Alec laughs, "Are you kidding! You could get killed being a police officer." The sergeant laughs. Alec had seen the sergeant as a spectator several times at the races.

Beth pipes up again, "Dada has horses for you!"

The sergeant looks closely at Alec. Alec smiles and nods, "You said you could use some Arabians for Central Park." The sergeant is stunned. Alec leads them to the back of the van. The groom helps him drop the ramp while the sergeant holds Beth's excited hand. The ramp lowers. The groom and sergeant gasp. Alec strokes the nearest black horse, "Two from Hopeful, one from Rosewood and one from Violence." Alec almost chokes on his words as her releases the tie, "They are still young. Not even two yet, so you should be able to teach them well. They may not be as fast as Black, Rosemont or Comet, but New York's finest… well… thank you."

Alec touches his daughters red curls. The sergeant sees the decision was not made frivolously. He knows very well the value of these horses. But looking a the smile on Beth's face, they know she is more valuable than a stable full of all three teams horses.

The groom is just as choked up, "I promise you, Beth, Dada's horses will be loved and cared for as much as you are." Then he looks up at the sergeant, "Lets get them settled in."

They take them to the paddock where they can mingle with the other horses. Alec hands the papers to the sergeant , "When it is time to retire them, contact us please." The sergeant smiles, "Absolutely."

Alec and Ali do go to California. Some wins, some losses but no injuries. It's a success. They are gone for a few months but always making phone calls back home. Alex always reassuring him that she is fine.

Everyone is excited when Ali and Alec make it back home. Alec is grateful to have Alex, round as she was, back in his arms. Ali hurries off to see Victoria. The Ramsey's have a good family time.

That night they both lay down gripping their backs and groaning. Then they turn to each other and laugh.

"Long drive?" she asks.

"Heavy kid?" he returns the smirk. She strokes his prickly cheek, he strokes her bulging belly.

"I think it's another horse, stud."

"Or two?" he smiles. She groans at his response. He starts to laugh until his back cringes. She smiles until she is kicked. They look at each other concerned.

"Do you want me to rub your back," they ask each other at the same time. And the fall into a fit of giggles. Soon they pass out from exhaustion.

~~The next morning he wakes up to the happy sounds of the kids giggling from their room. He puts on his robe and scoops them up with kisses. He takes them down for breakfast. Oh they make a terrible mess. He knows Alex is going to be mad. He does his best to clean up and then gets the kids into the bath. After he gets them redressed and settle with their books, he goes to check on Alex.

She's still tucked under the blankets. He strokes her face, "Hey darling, now that I am back, how can I help?"

She smiles and closes her eyes again, "Sleep."

He smiles, "Yes darling. Ali, Victoria and I will take the kids to the pond. That should give you a quiet house."

She reaches for his hand, "I love you so much, Alec." He kisses her forehead and walks out closing the door. She looks awful, but hopefully some much needed rest will help. He hopes.

Victoria helps him pack lunches while Ali takes the kids to get the horses saddled. Victoria puts the saddle bags on Hope. Ali takes Beth with him on Black Sheep. Alec, of course, puts Ralph with him on his faithful Black. They head down the trail.

They get about half way down when he thinks he hears the whistle. Black even stops. They listen, but don't hear it again. Alec tries to turn him back to the trail. Black won't move. Black starts to get restless. Victoria turns back. Alec hands her Ralph, "Black's upset. I'm going back for a moment."

"Should we go with you?" Ali asks.

Alec shakes his head, "It's probably nothing. Just keep the children with you. I'll meet you at the pond after I check on Alex. That should satisfy him." Ali nods.

Black doesn't walk back, he leaps to a canter immediately. Ali knows something is up, but follows Alec's orders.

Alec's arms are yanked. It's been a long time since Black has acted this way. Before he can blink they are back at the entrance to the trail. They break the tree line. He can see the driver's door open on the sedan. He doesn't have to tell Black. Black won't stop until he is beside the car. Alec leaps before Black stops, "Alex!"

She is in the driver's seat slumped over. "Alex!" he cries trying to pull her up.

"I'm sorry Alec. I just thought…."

"It's okay darling, I'm here now. Lets go.," he cringes and scoots her over. Black just watches them leave. He tries to stay focused, but his fear is getting the best of him. She lays her head down, "I'm so sorry Alec…. I'm so sorry…." she drifts

"Shhh, darling. It's okay. Everything is alright," he tries to reassure them both. His fingers have turned white on the steering wheel as he pushes the sedan to it's limits. Alex is silent. Alec pushes harder as he says his prayers.

He barrels into the emergency entrance. He scoops limp Alex into his arms and rushes into the building. A nurse scurries to his side bringing a gurney.

Alec carefully lays her down, running beside them as they rush her to a room, "She's 36 weeks. Her last pregnancy was high risk about 3 years ago. Please…" he chokes on his words.

Alex smiles reaching for his scruffy cheek, "Do you know how handsome you are?" Alec can only smile with tears brimming and her hand goes limp. Alec is left standing alone and the doctor orders him out of the room and they begin to help Alex. The doors close on him. He looks at his hands, Alex's blood. He drops to the floor.

Chapter 22 "Alec… Alec…," his head is fuzzy and banging as he hears his name again. "Come on Alec." Carefully he opens his eyes. He's looking into the face of his friend, Deputy Mike Miles. "Hey there, pretty boy." Mike smiles.

Alec puts a hand to his head and looks at his surroundings. He's sitting in a hospital lounge. Mike is sitting beside him and hands him a cup of water, "Here, take this. " Alec does as he is ordered.

"Alex?" he asks Mike. Mike looks down at his hands.

"I got a hold of one of your hands. After I got word of your sedan barreling down the road like a bat out of hell headed here and found out, I called Hopeful. They were concerned to find Black, saddled with you no where around. I told them you and Alex were here."

"Mike, what about Alex?" Alec tries again.

"She's still in surgery," Mike says softly. Alec looks down at his hands. "I got your hands cleaned up for you."

"Thanks," he says quietly. He turns his hands over. He straightens out his wedding ring. The A&R cries out to him. He tries to smile at Mike.

The doctor comes into the lounge. Alec can't stand. The doctor motions to him to stay seated, "Are you alright, Mr. Ramsey?"

Alec nods and chokes on his words, "Alex, my wife…"

"We had to do an emergency c-section. Your son is fine. A big one. Almost nine pounds." Mike puts a hand on Alec's. "She lost a lot of blood. We had to perform an emergency hysterectomy. She is stable, but we want to keep and eye on her."

Alec drops his head in relief. He puts a hand to his mouth to keep his sob of relief from escaping.

"When you are ready a nurse will take you to see your son in the nursery."

Mike finishes, "When can he see Alex?"

The doctor smiles, "Give us about an hour. Plenty of time to get his birth certificate finished." The doctor gets paged and has to leave.

Mike gives Alec a moment to get composed. Then he stands up, "Ready to meet your new son?" Alec looks up to Mike and nods.

Mike takes him to the nursery and helps him find the bassinet labeled Ramsey. The nurse sees them and waves them to the door. Alec is shown a chair. He sinks down slowly. His son is slipped in to his arms. So small.

Mike smiles, "Hey, he looks like Henry!"

Alec gives his son his finger to hold, "Henry Alecx".

Mike laughs, "Is that with an x or a c?"

Alec smiles, "Both." Mike roars with laughter.

~~It's a while before he is finally lead to Alex's side. He holds her hand. It's a bit before she opens her eyes. She sees him.

He smiles at her, "Do you know how beautiful you are?" She smiles.

"What happened?" she finally asks.

"The good news is a nine pound boy. Is Henry alright?"

She squeezes his hand, "I love it." Then she sighs, "And the bad news?"

"Hysterectomy?" he asks her.

She squeezes his hand again, "Okay. I was afraid it was caner." He just nods. "When can I go home?" Alec can only shrug.

It was a few days before she came home. Just enough time to get the room set up for Henry. Victoria stays to help her. But Alex is a tough cookie and heals quickly. Beth and Ralph are delighted with their new brother.

~~The years go by. The red hair begins to thin. The collar bone begins to detect weather changes before the weatherman can. The jet black hair begins to gray.

The dreaded day comes. Alec find Black asleep under his favorite tree. But he never awakens. Alec buries him by himself. Satan about a month later. They lay side by side near the pond. Alec handles it better than Alex expected. It was a fact of life, but still a blow to the heart. But he also reminds Alex he has her and the kids.

Still the races go on. The wins the losses. Ali and Victoria become part of the family with a family of their own.

Beth becomes a rider. Ralph prefers to be a trainer and business manager of the farm. Henry goes to sports medicine. He becomes Hopeful's new veterinarian.

The love grows deeper each year. Hopeful becomes a proud contender and breeder. Well respected by others and the media.

They know Black's lineage is protected by the Ramsey family. Henry Dailey and Alec's dream for Hopeful has won. Henry's desire for Alec's happiness has succeeded.

Elizabeth Rosenbalm's dreams fro her daughter have come true. Even Anthony is pleased. Success has many definitions. Happiness is all Alex and Alec wanted.