This is the last chapter of my first story with Fan Fiction. I would like to thank everyone for their kind comments, reviews and suggestions. I enjoyed writing this very much, as I enjoy the chance to read some of the stories on here as well. There is a lot of talent on this site.
I did not receive any compensation, nor do I own any rights to The Dukes of Hazzard or its characters.
The next morning arrived very quickly for Bo, who had barely moved even a muscle in his sleep the night before. He approached the breakfast table still yawning and stretching as he greeted the rest of his family. "Wow", he announced, "I slept like a log last night. It was almost as if I were struck with a tranquilizer dart."
Daisy never looked up from scrambling the eggs in the frying pan as she answered "Must've been that great back massage you got from me last night. I told you it would help you to relax and get a good night's sleep."
Bo shot a look over at Luke, who was sitting at the table, patiently waiting for his breakfast.
"Yeah, it must've been."
Daisy's eggs were finally finished as she brought them to the table to join the french toast, bacon and coffee. Her arm found Bo's shoulders as she wrapped it around him, giving him a good morning squeeze. "I'm glad to see you're feeling better today." She said as she non chaulantly ran her hand over his forehead, just double checking to be sure her boy was truly okay. She then brought her hand to his lower lip, running her finger gently over it. "Lemme see how the cut looks today." Bo obliged her once again, his eyes darting ever so briefly over in Luke's direction again, as Luke tried to stifle his chuckle as he sipped his coffee. Once she was satisfied, she patted him on the shoulder and made her way around the table, serving everyone a helping of eggs.
Jesse watched her for a moment from over the top of his morning paper. "Daisy, sweetheart, sit down and eat your breakfast before it gets cold. Them boys can serve themselves their own dishes. You don't need to be coddling them like that."
Daisy gave a faint smile. "I know, Uncle Jesse. I'm just so glad that things finally seem a little back to normal around here, that's all." She finished serving the last spoonful of eggs and found her place at the table.
Jesse gave her a wink and turned the page of his paper. "Speaking of which.. Luke, have you received any word as to when and where the Core will need you next?"
"No, not yet. But I expect it'll be any time now. I actually thought I might've heard something by now."
Bo gave a nervous look in Luke's direction as he poured his milk. "Is there any chance you won't be called over to Vietnam?" His eyes held the slightest hint of fear, although he was making a conscious effort to hide it.
"I'm not sure, Bo. I guess it's always a possibility. The fighting over there is starting to slow down, and they've actually been pulling some of the troops back a little. I'm still going with the idea that they will send me abroad. That way if they don't, I'm only gonna be pleasantly surprised, and not disappointed."
Bo nodded. "Yeah, that's kinda what I've been thinking, too."
The table got quiet for a few minutes as everyone refocused on their breakfast, although the topic of conversation had curbed their appetites a bit. They were just finishing up and scraping their plates, when engines could be heard in their driveway. Luke, who was sitting closest to the door, got up to see who would be paying them a visit so early in the day. His received his answer, and nervously turned to Jesse.
"You and Bo've got some company, I reckon."
Jesse got up in time to see Jack Thornton and Caleb in the first car, and Fred Waterhouse and Arnie in the second car that had just pulled in. Bo was looking over Jesse's shoulder, and didn't seem too happy as he watched the four emerging from their vehicles.
"Great. Now what the heck do you suppose they want?" He shoved his hands in his pockets and started to pace and fidget a little, showing sure signs of nervousness.
"Bo, just simmer down and come out with me to greet them. Whatever it is, we're gonna let them have their say and be done with it. I'm sure it'll be okay."
Jesse led the way down the stairs of the porch with Bo a step or two behind him. Luke and Daisy stepped outside the screen door, but held back and waited on the porch to watch from there.
Mr. Thornton held his hand out to Jesse, followed by Mr. Waterhouse. Jesse shook both gentlemen's hands and he wished them a good morning. Both Caleb and Arnie looked about as defeated as Bo looked nervous, with their eyes downcast and feet kicking at little pebbles in the gravel. Bo at least stood tall, making eye contact with both men as they said their 'good mornings' to him, followed with a greeting to them as well. Jesse had taught him good manners and respect while being addressed by an adult and it was serving him well now.
It was Jack Thornton who started the conversation. "Bo, my son and I just wanted to stop by here this morning to let you how sorry he is to have caused you so much trouble lately in school. It's my understanding that Caleb has been giving you a very hard time, and I'm here this morning to assure you that this will not happen again. In return I'm asking you to let this be water under the bridge, so to speak, and put all the fighting and conflicts with Caleb behind you. Does that sound okay to you?"
Bo raised his eyebrows. This was not the conversation he had been expecting. In fact, the only thing he had expected out of this visit was more trouble. Before he had a chance to respond, Jack had taken his son by the arm and pulled Caleb in front of him, facing Bo. "Got something to say, boy?" Jack prompted Caleb.
Caleb looked up from the ground for just a moment, then offered his hand out to Bo. Meekly, Caleb managed to utter a fair excuse for an apology. "I'm sorry for all the trouble. Can we call a truce?"
Bo studied Caleb's hand for a moment. He stood there frozen for an extra few seconds as he recalled his time in Leighton's office, the shower room, being practically dragged down the halls to once again face his principal. The memories were still very fresh, and it was hard to swallow everything that had happened and forgive and forget when it was still a little sore to sit down. However, a not so gentle nudge from behind him and the warning look in Jesse's eyes convinced him otherwise. Bo accepted the handshake. "Yeah, we can call a truce. I'd be glad to have this whole thing over and done with."
"I'm glad to hear it." Jack Thornton replied. He again shook Jesse's hand, bid them a good day and led his son back to their car.
It was at this point that Fred Waterhouse stepped forward. "Well, I'm glad that the fighting will be over with in school, but I do have a bone to pick with you, Jesse, about the broken nose I had to pay for. From what I hear, Bo punched my boy in the face, and all Arnie was trying to do was push past Bo to try to get away from him. I've also spoken to Mr. Leighton about that incident, and it was told to me that Bo was at fault in that fight, and I don't think it's right that I should have to pay for the medical bills." He reached in his jacket pocket and pulled out some papers to show to Jesse. "I had to pay almost four hundred dollars in doctor bills that day, and I think it's only right that you take care of the financing on that, seeing how Arnie wasn't doing anything to Bo at the time."
Bo felt like someone had hit him in the chest with a wrecking ball. Somehow, he knew something like this was going to happen. His breathing started getting a little labored as he looked helplessly from Mr. Waterhouse to his uncle. Jesse squinted at Fred for a moment and then took the paperwork from him.
"Well, I don't know how much at fault Bo was in that fight. The way I heard it, Bo was just trying to get to his class and your boy approached him, causing him some grief and wouldn't let him pass. Bo did admit to me that he did throw the first actual punch, but he said that it was only 'cause he kept getting shoved backwards by your son and Caleb. While we're on that subject, Bo took a beatin' himself, yesterday, but it so happens that he didn't get any broken bones from it, and last I checked, two against one ain't a fair fight to begin with."
"I understand that, but that was Caleb that threw them punches, not Arnie."
"Yes, it was Caleb, but Arnie was holdin' a good sized wrench on Bo, so's he couldn't fight back without getting hit with it….at least, that's how I heard it from Principal Leighton yesterday."
Fred turned to his son. "Is that so?" The look on Arnie's face answered his question for him. "How come this is the first I'm hearing that part of the story?" In frustration, Fred cuffed his son in the back of the head. "Get yourself back in the car, boy. We've got ourselves some real straight talking to do when we get home." As Arnie dragged his feet back to the truck, Fred once again turned to Jesse. "I apologize to you, Jesse. It seems I didn't have the entire story after all. I guess I was wrong to bring up the medical bill to you. It's just that we didn't really have the extra money to begin with, but that's not your problem."
Jesse thought about it and then made a suggestion. "I will tell you what we can do. Seeing how Bo was the one who broke Arnie's nose, and how Arnie didn't actually cause Bo any harm that day, I'll rent out Bo to you for one day to do some chores at your farm. It won't add up to the whole cost of the doctor's bill, but it sounds fair to me. What do you say to that?"
Fred nodded. "That should work. I've got some fences that need mending, some stalls that need to be mucked and some wood that needs stacking. My back ain't what it used to be, and I've had to hire out sometimes for the bigger chores. If your boy can handle them types of chores then it would save me from hiring and we've got ourselves a deal."
Jesse nodded in return, "My boy can handle that just fine. I'll send him over next weekend for you, bright and early next Saturday morning."
Bo's shoulders slumped and he winced at the sound of that idea. Jesse noticed the look on Bo's face and decided to respond. "That is, unless you've got a problem with that, Bo."
Bo placed his hands on his hips for just a moment and then almost immediately thought better of it and dropped his arms to his side. "No sir, I don't have any problem with that."
"Good then, it's all settled. I'll also make sure that Arnie has no other plans, and he can show Bo where all the work is that needs to be done and help him out with the chores." Holding his hand out to Jesse, "I'm glad we were able to talk this over. I also appreciate your cooperation with everything. You're a good man, Jesse, and you're doing a good job with these kids."
Luke and Daisy joined Bo and Jesse in the driveway as they watched the second vehicle drive away. Luke slung his arm over Bo's shoulder. "Eight hours of hard labor? Boy, that type of work is right up your alley!" He couldn't help but laugh at Bo just a bit.
"I wouldn't be laughing too much, Luke. While Bo's over there, guess who'll be here picking up the slack for his absence." Uncle Jesse stated as he smiled knowingly in Luke's direction.
Luke wasn't going to give up on his ribbing with Bo just yet. "Yeah, well, you still got off lucky, Bo. Why, if you were in the Marine's, you would be digging ditches in clay and rock for 12 hours straight, only to turn around and fill them back in again. You'd be happy as heck to be able to just stack some wood. You're still getting off easy, if you ask me."
Bo turned around to Luke, this time without the anger, and looked him in the eyes. "Yeah, well, once again, I ain't asking you. And I told you once already, but let me remind you…I ain't in the Marines, and you ain't my drill sergeant!"
"You're dang lucky about that, too, little cousin."
Bo propped himself up on his tiptoes to look over Luke's head a little bit. "Looks like I ain't gonna be the 'little' one much longer. I've already caught up with you." A big smile flowed over Bo's face at the idea of having some height advantage over Luke.
Luke balked at the idea. "No way! You're done growing, so don't even get that idea in your head."
Jesse shook his head and joined in the conversation. "I wouldn't be too sure about that, Luke. The boy's grown 4 inches this past year alone. I think he's still got a few inches to go 'til he's done." Daisy smiled and nodded in agreement. "Uh huh, I agree with Uncle Jesse. Bo's gonna go right by you, Luke."
Luke adamantly shook his head. "I can tell you right now, there's no way he's gonna grow anymore. It just ain't gonna happen."
Bo tilted his head. "And how can you be so sure about that?"
"It's just the way things happen. The sun can't shine at night, man can't walk on water, and there just ain't no way the good Lord is gonna let Bo Duke be taller than me."
Balladeer: And we all know how that one turned out.