Merry Christmas! Or maybe Merry one-hour-and-twenty-minutes-after Christmas! Double update, and THE END! Sequel? Dunno. Let me think about it...
Warning: Bo may seem a teensy bit Out Of Character (or OOC for you who speaka-de-lingo) but remember, in Henri-Mae's memories, he's just a teenager, and if you've seen the first season of the Dukes of Hazzard, Bo wasn't always a sweetie. Sometimes he could be a rather annoying and rather spiteful, if adorable, little cuss. :)
One did not go from being insanely in love and wanting to marry someone to suddenly wanting to date other people. That was why she hadn't really taken him seriously when Bo suggested it. In fact, Henri-Mae had been too stumped to be angry.
Wasn't this the guy who curled around her in that camping tent, through a chilly late spring evening, and talked about getting married? She had been the voice of reason in that conversation, thinking it was only afterglow going to Bo's head. It had gone away, until one afternoon toward the beginning of summer, when school was winding down and there was more free time, lunches seemed longer, and the shade was more precious.
Stretched out on a tattered old picnic blanket that Henri-Mae kept stored in her locker, Bo lay on his side with Henri-Mae sitting beside him, but mostly leaning over him as they kissed. Occasionally they were joined by Tonya, who was never bothered by the semi-public displays of affection. Shelly and Lula Marie were much more "grossed out," although Lula Marie claimed in private moments that it just didn't feel right, being around two people who were playing "tonsil hockey."
Bo had his hand wrapped around the back of her head, ran his fingers up and down the side of her neck, occasionally threading them through her hair, then pushing it out of the way to have access to her skin. It was hard sometimes, not getting carried away, but Bo seemed to relish the tension between them, and she quite enjoyed the prospect of getting caught at any moment, doing something extremely improper.
"So did you think about what I said?" he asked her, pulling away only the slightest bit.
"What you said about what?" she asked, feeling drowsy. Memory failed her.
He looked at her, quite seriously. The smile never faded from his lips – she often chastised him for continuously wearing that "silly grin" – but it took on a much more somber air. "About marrying me. Did you think about it?"
"Did I think about marrying you?" Her brain went back to that night, going on three weeks now. "Bo, I didn't think you were serious."
He frowned, only slightly. "Why not?"
"Well, because!" she spluttered. Then she giggled, softening the harshness of her reaction, leaning in to brush her lips against his. He accepted but didn't move to return it. His eyes watched her, still quite sober. "Come on, Bo…we'd just had sex," she added, in an undertone.
"That's not what I'd call it." That look on his face was driving her crazy.
"What would you call it, then?"
"Making love," he said, straight-faced.
She cocked her head to one side, considering. "Do you love me?"
He let out his breath between those pink, pouty lips. "Didn't I say that?"
"We both said a lot of things," she teased, rolling her eyes. But when the rest of his smile faded, she brought herself down to earth. "Bo, I don't know what it's like to be in love, but if I ever was, I'm absolutely sure it would be with you."
He arched an eyebrow. "I'm not sure if that's exactly a declaration."
"I love you, you stupid little country boy," she said, slinging both arms around his neck. "There, I said it, happy?"
"I'd be happier if you said you'd marry me."
She shook her head. "You're crazy. First of all, we're seventeen. High school is almost over, you've got a football scholarship, God-knows what I'm going to have to do after high school as my dad demands that I either go to college or get a job…we're not ready for marriage! You really want to tie yourself down to me?"
He looked down at his hand, which played absently with a hayseed stem he'd been chewing. "Can't imagine anyone like you ever coming along."
She ran her fingers through his hair, pushing it away from his ear. She leaned down very close, her lips just brushing it. "Tell you what…ask me again, a year after we graduate. If we're still together, the answer is yes."
He perked up a bit, smiling up at her. That had pretty much ended the conversation. But it was getting around the school quite quickly about Bo's scholarship, and even though the season was long over, it seemed that he was still quite the hero, bringing glory to the small high school of Hazzard and all it's surrounding counties.
The girls started to creep out of the woodwork. Junior cheerleaders who realized this would be their last shot at the running back star of Hazzard High began to be more open about how cute he was, how funny he was, how smart he was. Soon it came down to them not being able to walk down the hallway together without three or four girls practically shoving her out of the way to get closer to Bo.
Worst of it was, Bo was a bit star-struck by the attention. Sure, it had been heavy before, but now it was intense. He was being given a hero's farewell. It all came down on him at once, and right after the senior prom, a week before graduation, he told Henri-Mae that since they were both getting ready to go off to college (although she hadn't declared anything yet for certain) that they should start to think about seeing other people.
"Just to make sure," he assured her. "That you and I are meant for each other."
She'd laughed him off, thinking he was teasing her. But when he told her that one of his friends (and the quarterback of the team to boot) was having a big graduation party on the upcoming Saturday one week before graduation, and that he didn't want to drag her along, as she hated his jock friends and would most likely be bored…
It didn't sit right with her at all.
She spent the night pacing her bedroom, thinking of Bo at that party without her. She thought of him laughing and joking and being so happy with his idiot jock friends. He had more in common with the boys in the shop department, but they didn't gain the glory of a running back who had done more to lead the team to victory that final year than even the quarterback. She thought of him with all those girls there, the cheerleaders and the bimbos (in her mind they were not separate), and how he was alone, his arm empty, her place vacant and being temporarily filled by girl after girl after girl…
Convincing herself it was just to surprise him, that he'd be happy to see her, she told her dad she was going out for a walk, and made her way, on foot, to the party. The house was pretty much in shambles and reeked of beer, but the party was still going strong, boys bumping each other drunkenly in the yard, the old keg being rolled away and the new one being rolled out.
She went into the house and asked the most sober-looking person she could find if he knew where Bo was.
"Think I saw him…headin' toward the barn," came the reply, punctuated by a hiccup, like some kind of cartoon.
"The barn?" Henri-Mae echoed.
"Yeah, with…can't 'member…cheerleader…blond hair, think it was Cindy…or Suzie…can't tell them apart—"
She was amazed at her own speed down to the barn. No, it wasn't true. She was going to go into the barn and find it empty except for bales of hay and horses attempting to sleep but instead rather grumpy at being kept awake by the noise.
She saw them in the hay, half-naked, the girl giggling and moaning, Bo on top of her grunting like a pig. She hated him at that moment. She hated him with everything she could imagine. The world turned red and hazy, and she was suddenly on them, yanking them apart with a nearly superhuman strength, and her fist went right into the girl's face, simply because she had knocked Bo so hard from his position that he was sprawled on the floor and currently out of reach.
Having satisfactorily bloodied her knuckles, Henri-Mae stood in stock-still astonishment for a moment, and then glanced at Bo. He was staring up at her in a mixture of terror, horror, and shame, and it was a sight she just couldn't bear. She spun on her heel and headed out of the barn.
"I'm so sorry!" Bo was practically crawling after her on his knees, the girl Henri-Mae had punched curled into a fetal position on the ground, currently ignored in spite of the blood pouring from her nose. "God help me, Henri-Mae, I'm so sorry!"
She felt his fingers catch around her wrist and yanked, knocking him to the ground again, but his grip was firm and he nearly dragged her down with him. She yanked harder, willing to rip off her clothes if that was what it took to get him to let go of her.
"I'll never forgive you for this, Bo Duke," she spat at him, letting it fly right onto his face. She barely managed to keep her fist from connecting with one of those pleading eyes. "Not as long as I live! I'll rot in hell before I ever spare you so much as a kind word again!"
With a final, vicious tug, she felt the sleeve of her shirt give, and she stormed off into the night, one arm bare to the cool summer winds.
She had burned that shirt. She didn't even remember what it looked like. In less-sane moments, when she let herself feel the stings of self-pity on levels that would have sent most psychiatrists into spasms, she wondered whatever happened to the sleeve of that shirt. If she would recognize it if she saw it. If it had been picked up and thrown in the trash, or if by some crazy notion Bo had kept it.
Henri-Mae straightened herself from where she was leaning over the sink in Boss Hogg's own private bathroom. She'd stepped in here to change into her new deputy clothes. She wasn't sure how she looked. She felt oddly comfortable, and that was the most discomfiting thing of all.
With a sigh, she pulled the hat over her head. Her long hair was bound in a thick bun at the base of her neck, and it looked darker under the wide brim. The shining silvery band that ran around the top came over in a small X just over her eyes, and on her, the look worked. With a smirk, she pulled herself together, assured herself that she just had to sit back and enjoy the ride to come, and headed out the door.
A fewdayshad passed since he'd gone chasing after Henri-Mae in Capitol City, and over that time everything seemed to have blown over. Sure, he still got some side-glances now and again, but Bo Duke had been raised to keep his head high no matter what, and he didn't let it get to him.
This was the first Saturday he'd been in the Boar's Nest, and he was rather enjoying it. Although Boss Hogg was entirely too visible for his tastes. Especially when he went to the bar and rang the bell, demanding everyone's attention.
"Ladies and gentlemen!" he said in his thick, syrupy accent. "I hope you're all enjoying yourselves this evening! I'm glad y'all are here, as I have a very special announcement. As of this very evening, we have a brand new deputy on our own Hazzard police force!"
There was a surprised murmur. Bo suddenly found it difficult to swallow. Luke and Jesse exchanged glances, and Daisy was watching him cautiously from her stand behind the bar.
"I'd like you all to welcome our new Deputy Locke!"
She stepped out of the office, and she was quite an impressive sight. The blue of the shirt brought out her eyes, there was a shine to her new badge that seemed to match her smile, and instead of the traditional skirt that lady deputies were supposed to be wearing, she was wearing her black leather pants complete with motorcycle boots.
As she approached, Boss Hogg's smile faded a bit. "What are you wearing? What about the skirt?" he asked.
"How in the heck can I work in a skirt, Boss?" she teased, coming up to him. "You don't expect me to break up bar-brawls and wind up showing off my panties, to do you?" She shot a glance up at Rosco and winked at him, effectively tinting the Sheriff's cheeks pink.
"Well," the lanky man stuttered, "I don't think…uh…well, that is…uh…"
"Rosco," Hogg barked. "Shut up."
"I didn't say anything," the Sheriff muttered.
"And if I wear these pants, I can use my bike for patrols and you don't have to buy me a new police car," she pointed out.
Boss immediately brightened. Any chance to save a buck with that man. "That is true. Although you're going to have to get over to Cooter's and get the department logo painted on the side, as every official vehicle has to have the seal of approval!"
"Will you reimburse me for that?"
"Are you kiddin' me?" Rosco cried. "The Boss has never reimbursed anybody in his life and he ain't about to start now!"
"Rosco, shut up!" Hogg said, more forcefully. "Tell you what," he added, his tone more sweet as he turned it to Henri-Mae, "I can give you an advance on your paycheck to go pay for it. How'd that be?"
Henri-Mae chuckled and shook her head. "Just swear me in, Boss," she said. "I'm anxious to write my first ticket."
Rosco gave one his man-giggles. "Girl after my own heart," he clucked. "I think this is gonna work out just fine."
Bo stared down into his beer. Just fine, indeed.