Lessons of the Heart
Summary: Not all moments are happy, even in the Duke house, Bo learns a very serious lesson about being a young man…and being a little boy.
Author's Note: All the Dukes, Daisy, Jesse, Luke and Bo play a part in this tale however Jesse, Lukeand Bo are the focal characters in this story. Be nice it's not the very first story I've written about the Dukes, it's just the first I've ever posted :)
Bo Duke slide into the back door of the Duke Household, where he had grown up his entire life, looking over at his Uncle Jesse who sat in the living room reading his newspaper. Bo took a deep breath trying to figure out the best way to go about this question. He was aware that his Uncle Jesse didn't like his friend Patrick, but Bo liked Pat and this was a football team party…certainly Uncle Jesse would let him attend such a party.
"Hi Bo," greeted Daisy Duke as she stood by the sink cooking dinner for the Duke Clan. Bo smiled softly at his older cousin and headed towards his Uncle.
Daisy sighed and shook her head, she could sense his troubles a mile away. She was only a year and six months older than him, however there was obviously something bothering him. At times she felt like she was many years older than him, Daisy knew that luke also felt like that. There was no question that the youngest Duke had yet to really grow up, he was only fifteen, no one felt he should have grown up yet.
Luke was eighteen however, and had grown rapidly feeling he had to watch over his two younger cousins. Then he had gone away to basic training when he joined the Marines a month after his eighteenth birthday. That had changed him as well, he was no longer the normal young man everyone was used to. The boy who could always be found with his nose in a book and his scrawny legs hanging over the couch; now he was taller, more filled out, stronger and tougher.
He towered over both his cousins, although Daisy had the feeling it wouldn't last long, Bo was only going to be 5'9 for so long before he shot up like a weed, he was reaching the growing age, and Daisy was just waiting for him to shoot up another four or five inches.
"Hey Uncle Jesse," Bo's voice was quiet as though he was afraid to ask his Uncle the following question. Bo had never feared his Uncle Jesse, and he didn't now, however he did fear the answer to the question he was about to ask.
"Bo, how was school?" Jesse asked as he watched his youngest charge pace the living room floor.
"Fine…ah, Uncle Jesse…the gang is havin' a party and I was wonderin' if I could go…please," Bo begged.
Jesse studied his young nephew and smiled, "who's party?"
"Seth's," Bo lied, for the first time in his life. Uncle Jesse had taught his three charges that lying was wrong, yet Bo had just done it, so he could go to the party. He prayed nothing happened.
"From when to when?" Jesse asked again.
"Seven to…ten or eleven."
"All right," Jesse said simply, trusting his youngest nephew, although he had a good idea that his young nephew was telling a lie somewhere in the scenario.
"Really? Great!" Bo said grinning.
"It's a Friday night, I don't see anything wrong with it, although let's not make the late notice a habit," Jesse said grinning.
"Thanks Uncle Jesse."
The phone at the Duke house rang loudly five hours later, waking up the three occupants of the house that were home and present. Jesse had been sitting in the living room waiting for his nephew to arrive home, while Daisy and Luke had gone to their rooms to get some sleep.
"Hello, Duke Farm," answered Jesse.
"Je…Jesse, this is Rosco," came the voice on the other side of the phone. Jesse felt his stomach drop in worry…a police officer was calling him. Luke and Daisy had joined him in the kitchen, "Jesse, I'm sorry to be callin' so late an' all, but…there ain't no easy way to say this, I've got Bo locked up here…"
"What did he do?" Jesse asked rubbing his finger and thumb against his aching temples.
"Jesse…he's drunk…very drunk, I had to arrest him, he…he was causing a large fight…He's not hurt real bad, just the usual bumps and bruises."
"How is he otherwise?"
"He hasn't thrown up yet, but he's looking pretty sick, and he's been crying pretty hard…come get him Jesse, I cain't keep here no longer, no one's pressin' charges on a 'count that the parents don't want to get in trouble."
"We'll be right there," Jesse quickly hung up the phone and looked at his nephew.
"Luke get dressed, we're going into town.."
"Uncle Jesse, I'll go get him…" Luke said, not wanting to make a scene in town.
"All right, but you bring him right home, I'm tempted to take that boy over my knee," Jesse muttered.
Luke sighed, and quickly headed out the door grabbing his keys and a jacket. He couldn't help but think that he was ready to take his youngest cousin over his knee as well.
For Luke it felt like it took far too long to get to the county jail. He finally arrived and headed inside, stepping into the office, Rosco looked all too happy to see the eldest Duke child.
"What happened?" Luke asked as Rosco escorted him down the stairs into the actual cell, where there were two or three jail cells located.
"There was a large fight at the party, and it ain't the first time neither, this Patrick Wilson kid is quite a character. He's already on probation for having illegal substances in the county, I'm 'bout ready to haul his but in for criminal charges, gettin' minors drunk."
"How many people?" asked Luke quietly.
"Six or seven other kids, aside from yer cousin, but it was Bo that started the fight and he was the one I was forced to arrest."
"Great," Luke mumbled.
Luke looked into the cell where his youngest cousin was lying on the cot, groaning as he held his head, he was a pale almost grayish color, his face streaked with tears and eyes bright red. Whether they were red from crying or from the alcohol Luke didn't know and didn't much care at the present time.
"Get up Bo," Luke called, his voice broking no argument and certainly no sympathy.
"Make him go 'way," slurred Bo as he curled tighter in a ball.
"Sorry Bo, but ya gotta face the music," Rosco said opening the jail door.
"Thanks Rosco," moving into the cell Luke grabbed his cousin by the arm, "get up now," his voice sterner than it was a second ago.
Bo groaned as he was lifted from his cot and to his feet, grunting he held his hands between his head and dragged his feet all the way upstairs.
"Luke lemme go," he murmured.
"Stop it!" growled Luke, he angrily swiveled around on the boy and grabbed him by both hands, "you either get in that car now and go face the music with Uncle Jesse or I'll take you over my knee right now," his usual southern accent gone as he yelled at the younger man, "now get in the car," Luke growled in a low voice, he looked at Rosco one last time and dragged his younger cousin off to the car.
Once the two cousins sat in the car, Luke paused and looked over at his cousin, "you lied, you drank and you fought…ain't Uncle Jesse taught ya anything?"
He didn't miss Bo's eyes filing up with tears, it was obvious whatever the boy had done he indeed felt sorry about it, but for once Luke knew sorry wouldn't cut it. He had betrayed their Uncle's trust and he would indeed pay dearly for his dumb move.
Jesse had been a moonshine runner back in his younger days and still occasionally did it now, however he had also taught all three of his charges that alcohol was to be respected, and that they were not to drink any of it until they were eighteen or around the house with Uncle Jesse present at the time.
"I…" Bo didn't have an excuse, he had lied, he had also known there would be alcohol there and he had indeed fought when he knew better than that as well."
"You didn't think but among other things…"
"Luke, I don't feel so good," whispered Bo as the car began to move faster, Luke instantly came to a stop, he opened the door for his cousin, thankful suddenly he hadn't brought the general and sighed when he heard the sound of retching on the other side of the car.
"Oh Bo," Luke came around to Bo's side and gently held his hair back and his head as the younger man threw up everything that had been in his stomach previously. He sighed as the young man began to cry, sobs wracking his body.
Luke looked around, it was considerably dark even for the summer, but Luke suddenly didn't have the heart to rush his baby cousin home to Uncle Jesse. Sitting himself on the ground beside his little cousin he pulled the sobbing boy into his arms.
"I'm here Bo," he whispered as he pressed a kiss to his cousin's forehead.
With a huff of breath he lifted his cousin into his arms and placed him back into the jeep and got in the driver's seat. Pulling Bo closer to him he started the car and drove home with one hand.
"Bo, Bo, kiddo, we're home," Luke whispered as he gently shook his younger cousin's shoulder.
The young teenager looked up at the lit house and his eyes began to pool again, and Luke was fairly sure it had nothing to do with how badly Bo was feeling. He hated what his Uncle might say about what he had done, he knew his Uncle would be furious, Jesse would yell at him, and tell him the one thing none of the Duke Children wanted to hear, 'I'm disappointed in you'.
"Please Luke," Bo whimpered.
"Sorry buddy, I'll hold you before and even afterwards, but you've gotta face the music," Luke hated himself for being so soft, but he remembered being drunk for the first time, and unlike Bo he didn't have someone to help him feel less guilty. Luke wasn't going to sit here and let Bo feel hopeless. Least not right now, not after watching such misery.
Jesse was sitting in the living room waiting for his two nephews to come home, stealing his heart for the lecture he would have to say, for the spanking he would most likely have to give his young nephew.
At last Bo and Luke walked inside, Jesse was surprised to see his youngest walking on hi own accord, albeit wobbly. The boy looked gray and grim like he could or would fall over at any given moment.
"I'll be in our room," Luke said patting Bo's shoulder.
"Come here Beauregard," Jesse rarely used their full names, or even their longer names, but Bo knew by his tone and the name that he was in deep trouble. He bit his lip to keep from crying again, "well son, what do you have to say for yourself?"
"I…sorry doesn't cut it…I lied to ya…I…I'm really sorry Uncle Jesse, and not just cause I feel terrible, but because I know yer gonna say how disappointed you are in me. And 'cause I know how disappointed Luke is in me and Daisy…." He shook his head.
"Ya know what I'm gonna do, don't ya boy."
"Yes sir," whispered Bo.
"Come here then," Bo nodded hesitantly and lay across Jesse's knees. Moments later he had been reduced to a small crying child again, as his Uncle gave him a good ten spankings before finally releasing him, allowing the child to regain some semblance of dignity.
"I love you Bo, and just because I'm disappointed in you doesn't mean I'll stop loving you."
Jesse pulled his youngest charge close for a hug and held the crying child for a moment. He smiled softly when he saw Luke standing there, at 6'1 he seemed to look older and wiser than the youngest child, who was only three years younger than his cousin.
"I'll take him Uncle Jesse," Luke came over and gently lifted the teenager out of his Uncle's arms. Bo instantly latched to his older cousin, crying into his shoulder, his dignity and confidence shattered.
Luke carried the youngest Duke into their room and gently placed Bo down on his bed. He quickly stripped the boy of his shoes, socks, and shirt, then decided Bo would probably be more comfortable in sweat pants than his jeans which reeked of alcohol and vomit.
After getting the younger man changed, Luke quickly changed as well and prepared to get into his own bed.
"Luke," came the quiet whisper.
"Don't leave me," came the small whimper.
Luke sighed and moved over to his cousin's bed, Bo instantly moved over and allowed his cousin to hold him close, "Bo, you and I both know I'm going off to war and probably soon."
"I can't do it without ya," whispered Bo. Luke sighed and gently brushed Bo's bangs from his forehead.
"Yes ya can, and you will."
"You're my best friend…"
"I'll be back Bo, I promise I'll try and get home." Luke sighed for a moment then hugged the boy closer, "yer my best friend too Bo, and the best friend I've ever had."
"I love you," whispered Bo through a hitched sob.
"I love you too buddy," he held his cousin a little closer as they both drifted off into a restless slumber.