Thanks for the replies. I'm still undecided about parts of the next few chapters, but this one is ready.
"Daisy?" Coy knocked on her door. "Come on, girl. The chores ain't gonna do themselves."
Opening her eyes, Daisy vaguely remembered Jesse knocking on her door, but she had no idea how long ago. "Okay. I'll be out in a minute." She rolled over and stretched. A sharp pain ran across her back so quickly that she almost cried out. It was an instant reminder of the night she'd had. Finally she turned and looked at the clock. She'd been in bed for two and a half hours.
Jesse knew something was wrong before Daisy even appeared. She never had to be called more then once, and most of the time she was already stirring when Jesse knocked. When he'd asked Coy to knock on her door the second time, he wondered if he should have asked Coy to see if she was okay, not just go get her. One look at her and Jesse was sure that was exactly what he should have done. She looked exhausted and was moving very slowly to sit next to him at the table.
From where he was standing against the counter, Vance handed her a cup of coffee and the sugar bowl. Only Jesse noticed her almost annoyed glance at him before she thanked him. Before he could say anything, Coy came out of the bedroom and walked behind Daisy, patting her back as he did. "Let's get going."
Instantly, she arched her back and grit her teeth. "Dammit, Coy." After a second she realized what she'd said and lowered her head. "I'm sorry, Uncle Jesse."
"Start by telling me what's wrong with your back." His voice was soft, but left no room for argument.
"There was a big fight last night. I got knocked into the bar."
"Are you okay?" Coy's and Vance's voices overlapped.
"I'm sore. Probably got a bruise."
"I'm sorry. I didn't know." Coy's voice was soft.
"I'm sorry I snapped at you. There was no way for you to know." Daisy sighed and looked at Jesse. "Cooter and I were cleanin' up till about 3. I'm more tired then anything else right now."
"Cooter took care of it?" Jesse was concerned.
"No. I had to call Roscoe. Cooter heard about it and showed up later."
"You're sure you're alright?" Reaching for her hand, Jesse wasn't sure. "And I wanna know who hurt ya."
"I'm okay. It was an accident. Somebody hit somebody and they fell into me. Jerry got hit. I'm not even sure who did it. He was headed for Tri-County with a broken nose last I saw him." The last thing she needed was Jesse riled up at Ernie or Potter. Closing her eyes, Daisy leaned her head in her hand on the table.
"We'll split your share, Daisy. You get some rest." Vance looked at Coy, who nodded, and they went outside.
Jesse watched Daisy almost fall asleep sitting next to him. "Okay, the chores are taken care of, let's take care of you."
"Uncle Jesse, I'm-"
"I heard ya. 'I'm okay, Uncle Jesse.' That's your favorite answer when I ask what's botherin' ya. Now go lay down. I'll make a poultice for yer back."
Despite the pain, she jumped up. "That's okay. Really. I remember when you made it for Luke's eye. I swear I could smell it for a week."
He laughed. "Yeah, that one did smell worse then a polecat. I won't make it as strong this time." Walking past her to the cabinet, he winked at her. "We don't want the house to smell for a month, now do we?"
"Hello?" Bo answered the phone in the hotel room and grinned when he heard Cooter's voice. "Hey, Buddy! What's up that ol' Coot would spend a dime to talk about?" He waved to Luke, who had just come in the door. He stopped smiling when he heard Cooter's reply. "What's up with Daisy?"
"She'd flat skin me alive if she knew I was tellin' ya, but she's really missing her favorite cousins." Cooter told Bo all about the night before.
"Okay, baby. Out with it." Jesse laid the rags across the deep bruises on her back and stroked her hair like he had when she was a child.
"I'm fine. Just sore is all." If the smell hadn't been so bad, Daisy could have gone back to sleep.
"Are you sure that this is all from someone fallin' into ya?" There was a thick line of painful looking dark bruises across her shoulder blades.
"You just stay down today, give this stuff a chance to work. Ya workin' tonight?"
"I guess I'll check with the boys and Cooter and make sure one of 'em is there."
"You don't need to, Uncle Jesse."
"Yes, I do. Otherwise I'll worry until I drive up there myself by 10." He sighed. "When you first started there I worried every night that some drunk would do somethin' to ya."
Daisy laughed. "Between Bo, Luke, Cooter, and Enos none of 'em ever got the chance."
"I'm fine. Please don't worry."
"I always worry. Ya never gave me any cause to worry about trouble, but that don't mean that I wasn't worried about ya all the same." He smiled and picked up the rags and the jar. "You get some sleep and when ya wake up I'll fix ya something to eat."
She was almost asleep before he closed her door behind him.
"Cooters" Cooter answered the phone at the garage and smiled when he heard Luke at the other end.
"Hey. We just called to let you know the tickets and passes are going out overnight in a couple of days. We sent them to the garage, so you can give them to her."
"Let me tell you, buddyro, you're going to make one pretty cousin very happy. How's about I bring her up Friday? Give you some more time with her." His voice actually dropped to a whisper. "She really needs to spend some time with you guys." He thought about it for a moment. "You might want to give Jesse a call. Give him a head's up on what's going on."
Luke agreed to do that, hung up the phone and turned to Bo. "You're right. Daisy must be in a bad way if Cooter is this worried about her."
"So what do we do about it?"
"Well I'd say you tear yourself away from that busy social schedule you got and we both clear the weekend to spend with her. Find out what's going on in her life that she's got Cooter so worried."
"You think it could just be that she misses us?" Bo's mind went to what he would feel like if he'd been left behind and Luke had left Hazzard with Daisy instead of him. "We talked to Uncle Jesse, but we never asked Daisy how she felt about us leavin' her like we did."
"Well, how many times did she tell us to go for it and how happy she was for us." Luke looked at Bo. "Which is exactly what Daisy would say, no matter how she felt. But, Bo, what could we have done? It's not like we could have turned this down."
"I know, cuz. I just wish she would have said something. We've talked to her a dozen times and she just says everything is fine." He sighed. "Or that one of us would have realized it. What do we do now?"
"We spend the weekend with her, call her more often and check up on her- without letting HER know we're checking up on her. We're in Talladega about 10 weeks after Atlanta. See if Cooter or Jesse will bring her over again if she wants to come."
You know the drill- let me know how I'm doing so far.