Disclaimer: I don't own anything recognizable from the Dukes of Hazzard. Just Jim Bob Hamilton.
Reason: mild violence
Summary: Jim Bob's leaving Hazzard this morning, but Bo doesn't want her to go...
Author's Note: And so here it is: the end of the "Just a Country Gal" series! AH! Sorry that this isn't a totally happy ending... But I find those to be rather lacking.
Just in case you guys didn't catch it, the reference to John Schnedier's musical career in the second story was when Jim Bob was listing the songs she'd heard to Bo, including "It's Now Or Never". "It's Now or Never" was John Schneider's first hit, in '79, I think it was. It was on the Top Ten charts for quite a while...
Anyway, on to the story, thanks in advance to reviewers, and it's been fun.
Just a Rambling Country Gal
(Sequel to "Just a Spitfire Country Gal" and "Just a Singing Country Gal")
A sharp jab to the ribs first roused Bo to consciousness, and he reflexively swatted in retaliation. Whoever poked him, he missed with his counterstrike. "What?" he groaned with a sore throat.
"Were you out having fun without me last night?" a familiar voice asked. "C'mon, Bo. You know that ain't right."
"Luke?" Bo asked, his eyes fluttering open.
"Who else would it be?" Luke replied. "I just got home this morning, and come back to find you knocked out on the couch, snoring like a hog."
As Bo opened his eyes and saw his cousin's familiar face, he became aware of just what time it must be… "Oh… My throat hurts!" he groused, sitting up on the couch. Last night he'd been so tired coming in with Jim Bob at two-o'clock that he'd just collapsed…
"Why?" Luke asked as Bo stood up.
"I was singing all night last night," he said quietly.
"You were what?"
"Karaoke night at the Boar's Nest."
"You were singing karaoke by yourself, without me there to watch?" Luke joked. "Oh, I'll never forgive you, Bo."
"Not by myself…" Bo was already moving towards his bedroom, where Jamie should be asleep. He peeked around the door, but didn't see the feisty blonde he'd become so fond of over the past couple of days.
"Not alone? Who else was in on this?"
Ignoring Luke, Bo called out, "Uncle Jesse!"
The old man peeked his head in the door from his room, where he was most likely getting ready for church this morning. "Yes, Bo?"
"Where's Jim Bob?" Bo asked.
"Daisy had to go in to work early this morning—something 'bout re-arranging tables—and Jim Bob went with her," Uncle Jesse replied. "That girl is odd. Daisy told me 'bout you guys getting in at two this morning, and Jim Bob was still up before six!"
Smiling, Bo nodded. She was odd… Still wearing his smile, he hurried into his room, searching for her things. He could have some fun with her stuff… Immediately, he realized that they weren't there. Her satchel was missing, as was the assortment of things she'd laid on the dresser. Hopeful that she had simply moved it, he darted towards the bed. It wasn't underneath as he'd expected.
That's when he noticed the note laying on his pillow.
Across the front of the folded paper was written "Beaureguard" in a choppy, hard-pressed script. Just like Jamie to be hard on the pen, just as she was on Bo…
Quickly, he grabbed and opened it, eyes darting across the few lines of written words.
Bo, since you're reading this now, you're probably wondering where the heck I'm at, and just what I'm doing. My guess is that even as you read this, I'm on my way. Off to Conyers, to the family I was supposed to be visiting days ago. If I'm not, you're probably not going to see me before I am.
So, let me cut to the chase. I'm just passing through Hazzard, and most likely, I'm not coming back. I guess you get what that means. If not, get a brain.
Don't expect love, 'cause right now, I ain't got it to give.
Bo felt as if someone had smacked him full on in the chest. Jamie was leaving?
Oh, he knew somewhere deep down that she couldn't stick around, but after the attachment he'd formed to her, he was hoping against reason that she would. Maybe she could've just stuck around a few days more…
Had she already left?
Panic struck Bo. Could she have already left without saying goodbye?
Still clutching the letter, he pushed past Luke and ran straight out the front door. He was in the General in the blink of an eye, with Luke trailing behind him curiously.
"Bo, where're you going? Who's Jim Bob? What aren't you telling me?" Trying to keep up, Luke slid across the hood and then into the passenger seat. "What have you been doing while I was in Capitol City!"
Finally noticing his cousin's questions, Bo started giving answers. "I'm going to find Jim Bob, who is this crazy little blonde I met a few days ago. She broke down out on her way from a place near Vidalia to see family in Conyers, and had to stick around a few days. She's a feisty little lady that does not like to be messed with… I found that out the hard way. And she's the one that was singing with me last night."
"A woman's named Jim Bob?"
"Yeah… Her name's really Jamie Roberta, but she doesn't like to be called that."
"So she's called Jim Bob?"
"Yes, and if you call her Jamie, she's likely to hit you."
"I have a bruise that says so," Bo said, gently indicating the now fading bump on his jaw.
"Wimp," Luke accused.
"Let her fight you and we'll just see who's the wimp."
"I couldn't get into a fight with a lady," Luke said. "It just wouldn't be right."
"Call her Jamie and you'll have no choice."
"Why in the world were you hanging around with this girl?"
Bo smiled. "She's addictive."
Looking bewildered, the older Duke cousin frowned.
Bo was through explaining Jamie, now he was out to find her before she left town.
An hour and so many inquiries later, Bo and Luke knew nothing more about Jamie's whereabouts than they had before. Daisy had said she'd dropped Jamie off at the supermarket just before going into work at eight. They couldn't find anyone in the store that could tell them how long Jamie had been gone, or if she'd even been there at all. Daisy had confirmed Bo's fear that her satchel full of possessions had been hanging on her shoulder too.
The last person to ask was Cooter, whom Bo strongly suspected would simply verify that Jamie had left hours earlier.
The door to the garage was open as the Duke boys walked up, Bo's shoulders already slumping.
"Hey, Cooter!" called Luke. "Bo's got something to ask you."
The ragged mechanic appeared from around the edge of a car, wiping his hands on an already filthy towel. After ineffectively attempting to clean his grease-smudged hands, he readjusted his cap on greasy hair, asking, "What is it, Bo?"
"Um, well, you remember that hot-tempered blonde I brought in the other day?" he asked. "Did she already come by and take her truck out? Has she left yet?"
Cooter blew out a breath and somewhat reluctantly stepped back, gesturing behind him. In the back of the garage, a pair of jeans was now evident sliding out from under the farthest car.
After the ragged, torn and stained jeans out slid a torso, grease and dirt-smudged as the jeans. Then Jamie's delicate face and long tail of strawberry blonde curls did, and she turned a reluctant glance at Bo. "Hello there."
"Jim Bob…" he breathed, relief flooding through him.
"That's my name," she said as she stood and made her way towards them.
"What're you doing here?" Bo asked her.
"After I finish fixing the fuel lines on that there car," she indicated the one she'd just slid out from under, "I'm going to be quickly installing the carburetor and cleaning the fuel pump on Red, and then I'm outta here."
Bo hid all pain from his face even as Luke cleared his throat. "Oh!" Bo said, remembering that the two hadn't met. "Jim Bob, this is my cousin Luke. And, Luke, meet Jim Bob Hamilton."
Jamie gave a light smile and an acknowledging nod.
She was wearing a plain white undershirt, which we already know was streaked with grease, leaving shoulders bare and showing a great figure with the shirt's tight cling. Her jeans were also tight, showing that her great shape extended to her legs.
Luke's eyes took all of that in during the introduction, and just as Bo's had when he first met Jamie, his smooth instincts leapt forward. He gave her a signature, heartbreaking smile just as Bo had. "What is a pretty little lady like you doing in a garage like Cooter's? Trying to fix cars too!"
Jamie returned Luke's smile, but Bo caught serious sarcasm in it. "Hitting you for being a jackass," she answered even as she slapped Luke, hard.
The blow came far too fast for Luke to stop it, and he was reeling back before he could duck or block.
"Since this is what I do for a living back home, I think I'm entitled to do it wherever I please," Jamie said, looking at Luke with obvious distaste in her eyes. "I'm more than willing to bet I can reassemble a four-barrel Holley twice as fast as you, and if you would get that sexist thought of 'no women in the garage' outta your head, you might get to see that."
"Ow," Luke muttered when he regained his balance, holding a hand to the side of his face. He threw a glance at Jamie. "Not a nice little lady, are you?"
Coolly raising a brow, Jamie replied, "I am when you don't insult me."
Bo tried not to laugh at the interchange.
"And as fun as this little introduction's been, I'm going to get back to fixing this car, so I can fix my own and get outta here." Without further words, Jamie turned on her heel and went to the back of the garage to the same green car she'd been under before.
Bo followed, leaving Cooter to poke fun at Luke, who was still holding a hand over his face. Hopefully he could get in a conversation with Jamie without her completely ignoring him.
By the time he was to the car, she was already underneath, and he just leaned up against it. His mind raced with things to say, but none of them seemed to fit well enough.
He was so engrossed with his mental argument that he almost missed the fact that Jamie was now done, and she slid out from underneath. He continued searching for the perfect words as Jamie grabbed a set of tools and moved to the other corner of the garage where an old Ford pickup, painted red, sat with its hood wide open.
Finally as she began her work, he found the courage and followed her, trying to start a conversation.
"So, you're leaving as soon as you're done with this?" he asked casually.
"Yep," Jamie replied, half-distracted by her work under the hood. "I actually planned to get outta here much earlier."
"What stopped you?"
"Cooter didn't have the parts in, and I was working on some of the other cars in here. Figured I could repay him some with labor. He got my carburetor and such in about a half-hour ago, and I got it half-price."
"It wasn't me that stopped you?" he asked, with hope beginning to rise in him.
"No, it wasn't you."
His hopes were dashed. "What's got you so eager to get outta here?"
Dark brown eyes glanced over a bare shoulder at him. "I'm gonna give you the obvious first: I've got relatives to go see who are probably dying to see me. And then, to be perfectly honest, there's another reason." She paused, building Bo's anticipation. "Honestly, the other reason is you scare me, Bo." Underneath the hood, her tinkering became much faster and rushed as she flooded with emotion. "I can't stick around and get involved with you. But the thing that scares me about it is that I want to. In the face of all of that, and knowing I can't, I think it's best I get outta here as soon as possible."
As much as he would like not to, he had to admit it made some sense. He'd often run from problems, but now he couldn't let her go… "But you can't go today," he protested, grasping at straws. "It's the Sabbath. Don't you know? You can't travel on Sunday morning!"
Jamie threw him an incredulous "I-can't-believe-how-low-you're-going" look. Then she chuckled at him. "As much as I think the Good Lord would have me in church this morning, and as much as I'd like to be there, I'm pretty dang sure that ain't what you have planned."
At this, Bo had to grin. No, that's not really what he had in mind…
Jamie withdrew from under the hood, seemingly finished, to stare Bo straight in the eye. "So you see the predicament, right?"
"I see it, and I understand it even, but that doesn't mean I accept it."
Looking at Bo as though she hated him for not accepting, Jamie shook her head. "You have to, since that's the way it goes, and it ain't changing. You knew when you first met me—Lord curse that awful 'charm' of yours that first encounter—that I was just passing through, not sticking around. And still you managed to get all entangled to the point where you're trying to bribe and force me to stay."
Starting to open his mouth, Bo's reply was stopped by Jamie's words.
"Bo, I can't stay! I'm just drifting, passing through, rambling. I couldn't stick around to have a relationship with you even if I wanted to." She pushed the hood down and started walking around to the truck's door, with Bo following, on the verge of tears. "I'm just like a ton of other country folk… I'm just a rambling country gal. I've had sweethearts in more cities than you've ever visited, granted you're cuter than about two thirds of them…"
The little jest of humor did almost nothing to comfort Bo.
Ignoring Bo's obvious hurt, Jamie climbed into her precious "Ol' Red", rolling down the window to finish her conversation.
"Bo, really, I'm a little sorry it had to turn out this way, and I'm definitely sorry for hurting you, but I've got to go." She cranked the truck, making the engine start its quiet roar.
Stumbling over his words, all Bo could get out was, "Oh, bye, Jim Bob."
"Bye, Beaureguard," she replied. "It was fun while it lasted."
The last thing Bo heard from Jim Bob Hamilton as she pulled out of the garage was her quiet humming of the Waylon Jennings song "I'm a Rambling Man." And the last think he saw of her was the tailgate of her truck, painted with the Confederate flag.
Unbidden, the chorus of the song sprang to his head.
You better move away, you're standing too close to the flame.
Once I mess with your mind, your little heart won't be the same.
Well, I'm a rambling man; don't mess around with any ol' rambling man.
Jamie had left her print on Hazzard, and definitely one on Bo's heart that he wasn't sure would heal soon. Sighing, he felt as though he'd been robbed by wrong circumstances. He stood at the edge of Cooter's garage, watching the tailgate of her truck as long as he could, until it turned around a corner and raced out of town, probably never to return.
With another, deeply heartfelt sigh, he turned and walked over to Luke and Cooter, trying unsuccessfully to put the blonde girl out of his thoughts.
Jamie glanced over into her rearview mirror as long as she could at Bo's face, encircled by that fluffy blonde hair… A face she'd come to be so very fond of over the past few days. He just stood there, longingly watching her truck go as she drove out of town.
She couldn't stand the pain in her heart as she rounded a corner and could no longer see his face. Sighing, she tried to console herself with the facts.
And now she only wished she was as nonchalant about this whole ordeal as she'd led Bo to believe.
C'mon, girl, pull yourself together, she told herself silently. You are what you told Bo you were this weekend: a spitfire, singing, rambling country gal. Act like it! You're too strong to be like this.
Breathing deeply, she pushed Bo Duke out of her head and slammed down on the accelerator, racing out of Hazzard as was fit.