A/N: Here it is...the final chapter. As usual, I don't own the Dukes, Rosco, Enos, Boss Hogg, or Doc Appleby. Thanks for sticking with me while I wrote this. Enjoy!
Previously: Bo chuckled. "Pretty much." They watched as Joe and Hank were put into the back of the patrols in handcuffs. "Just another day in Hazzard."
"Thanks again, Doc," Jesse called to Doc Appleby as he left the Duke farm. The doc had been waiting when Bo, Luke, and Emily came back to the farm. Bo was the most serious of the bunch, requiring 5 stitches to patch up his gunshot wound. Emily, after some arguing, was given a sling and strict instructions not to lasso anybody for the next six weeks. Jesse had been given an ice pack for the lump on his head, and Daisy and Luke had been instructed to give them a hot meal and rest for the evening.
"So what's goin' to happen now?" Daisy inquired as she bustled about the kitchen while the others sat in the living room.
Luke frowned slightly. "Well, it sounds like Joe and Hank are wanted in other counties. State police hauled 'em off already." He didn't mention that Hank had pointed the finger at Boss, claiming he was the one who hired them; he didn't figure Emily needed to hear that right then. "Rosco an' Enos already got our side of it, an' I don't think they'll need anythin' else. Daisy, do I have time to get chores done before supper?"
"Sure do, sugar."
He rose from his chair. "I'll be back in a while. Emily, do I have to worry about that horse of yours tryin' to take a chunk of my hide?"
Emily laughed from her place on the couch beside Bo. "Naw, he's calmed down now. He'll be gentle as a lamb."
Bo chuckled as Luke left the room. "Desperado was a completely different horse back there," he said.
"What d' ya mean, Bo?" Jesse asked from his easy chair.
"Ya should have seen him, Uncle Jesse. It was like he was possessed or somethin'."
Emily smiled wryly. "That's 'bout what he was like when I bought him." She leaned carefully against Bo, mindful of her sore shoulder against his chest. "I reckoned that fire could come in handy, long as I could get him to trust me."
"Is that one of the extras ya taught him?" Bo wondered.
"Yeah, along with unlatchin' gates, pickin' things up, an' a few other things. Dez is as good as a guard dog," Emily replied. She closed her eyes, completely drained. The events of the day had finally caught up with her. They had followed Rosco and Enos back to the police station, where she had given her statement to the sheriff before convincing Luke to take them to the farm. Settling her head against Bo's right shoulder, she sighed softly.
Bo settled his arm around her and rested his head against hers. He didn't have the heart to tell her that Hank had pointed the finger at Boss Hogg, stating that he had hired the two. Hogg, of course, denied everything, and with no evidence against him, the Dukes boys knew that he would get away with it. He would tell her eventually, but for now it was something she didn't need to know. "Whatcha thinkin'?" he said softly.
Emily shrugged carefully. "I'm glad that ya found me in that shed. I'm glad that Dez is a smart critter. I'm really glad the day's over. And I'm glad we're none the worse for wear." The smell of biscuits and gravy drifted in from the kitchen, making Emily's stomach rumble audibly. She smiled ruefully, remembering how long it had been since she'd eaten.
Jesse chuckled as Bo's stomach loudly echoed Emily's. "Sounds like ya both are ready for a good meal," he said as he pulled himself out of his recliner and headed for the kitchen.
Bo nudged Emily aside gently so he could get to his feet. Offering his good hand, he pulled her up as well. "Ya goin' to check Desperado after supper?" he asked.
She nodded. "Not that I don' trust Luke, ya know," she said, shooting a smile towards the eldest Duke cousin as he walked through the door. "I owe him thanks."
The smell of Daisy's supper finally lured them to the table, where the group ate, talked, and tried to put the events of the day behind them. Once everyone had their fill, Daisy shooed Jesse back to his recliner with a fresh ice pack while Luke got started on the dishes. Emily excused herself to the barn, and Bo nibbled on the one remaining biscuit, watching his cousins clean up the kitchen. Getting up, he wandered out onto the porch and glanced up at the sky. Evening stars were beginning to come out, giving Bo an idea.
Emily leaned against Desperado, absently stroking his neck. He craned his head around, gently lipping her shirt sleeve. She had groomed him, first with a curry comb to loosen the dried sweat and dirt, then with a dandy brush to get the grime off his coat. Using an old comb she combed the tangles and burrs out of his mane and tail, and as a finish touch she rubbed him down with an old cloth she kept for just such purposes. Emily's sore shoulder had made it slow going, but she was determined to give Desperado her best version of luxuriant grooming for a job well done. "It's a good thing I've been ordered to rest, Dez. You deserve a break."
"He's earned it," Bo said as he approached the stall door. Desperado nickered and tossed his head, making the two laugh.
"You're goin' to give him a big head, Bo," Emily chuckled as she gave the stallion a final pat before leaving him to his hay.
Bo grinned as Emily secured the latch on the stall door. "Still holdin' up okay?" he asked, walking her toward the barn entrance.
Emily flipped off the light. "Yeah, but I don' know if I'll be sleepin' much tonight."
"Well then, c'mon. I figured we could do somethin' to relax tonight," Bo said, leading her to the yard behind the farmhouse, where he had laid out a large blanket. Settling down on the soft fabric, he patted the spot beside him. "Daisy said the stars might be shootin' tonight. I reckon we can watch 'em here 'til dawn." As he stretched out on the blanket, Emily carefully eased down beside him and nestled against his side. Together they watched the sky, the silence stretching comfortably between them.
Finally Bo spoke up. "Were ya plannin' on stickin' around Hazzard?"
Emily thought for a moment. "I don' have anywhere else I need to be," she finally said. "Mama had saved the money Boss Hogg had given her years ago and put it in a bank. There's plenty to buy enough land for me an' Dez to survive on." More and more stars twinkled in the night sky. "Reckon I oughta start lookin' for a good piece of land soon," she finished.
"How 'bout we get healed up first, then we'll look?" Bo suggested.
"Yeah, we." Bo shifted so he could watch Emily's face. "I want to marry ya. I reckon we can buy some land, an' Luke an' I can build a house an' a barn. When that's done, we can get married an' move in. I can work odd jobs here an' there to support us, and work on gettin' our own farm goin'."
Emily's face remained unreadable. "Ya think it's goin' a little too fast, cowboy?" She caught the disappointment on Bo's face and continued. "I'm not sayin' no. How 'bout this: I buy the land, an' you, Luke, an' I build the house an' barn. I can move in, make it a home. We can keep getting' to know each other, an' talk more 'bout gettin' married." She leaned over and kissed him gently. "Bo, I'm not sayin' no. I'm sayin' someday. Deal?"
Bo smiled. "Deal." He deepened the kiss as stars started shooting through the dark sky.