A Debt Repaid, ch. 8

by: Marty Chrisman

After supper, Luke asked Shelby if she wanted to take a walk. She hesitated for a moment, and then agreed. As they left the house, Bo looked at Daisy and grinned. “I think Luke’s might be getting sweet on her.” He said

“I hope he is.” Daisy said, glancing out the window and watching the two of them walking towards a trail beside the barn that led into the woods that bordered the rear of the Duke property. “Luke deserves to be happy again.”

“And that little lady might just be what he needs to get all better.”

Luke and Shelby walked along the trail in silence for awhile, and then Luke said

“You thinking about Cory?”

“You doing your mind reading bit again?” Shelby asked him with a laugh “I thought that was my specialty.”

“It’s not hard to figure out. I know you have to be worried about him.”

“I am but he’s the one who got himself in this whole mess now he’s the one who’s gonna have to deal with it.”

“Yeah, and he ended up dragging you into it too.” Luke reminded her

“He never meant to do that. Cory just doesn’t think sometimes before he does things.”

“Sounds like Bo. He’s always getting us in trouble and I have to figure out a way to get us out.”

“Yeah, he seems just as headstrong as Cory.”

“Yeah, he can be as stubborn as a Missouri Mule. Goes with being a Duke I guess.”

“Well, us Lynns can be pretty stubborn too.”

“You know, there’s nothing you could have done to stop him. He made his own choices when it came to the drugs.”

“I know…but I still should have known that something was wrong. He’s my brother…”

“And you wanna protect him.” Luke said, finishing her thought for her “But there’s only so much you can do.”

“You do the same thing with Bo, don’t ya?”

“Yeah, I do…” Luke admitted “Bo and I have always been close. More like brothers then cousins. Since I was the oldest, I always had to be the one watching out for him and Daisy both.”

“Same here with Cory. I can remember my daddy telling me…now you’re older he is…. he don’t know no better…it’s up to you to keep an eye on him…”

“Yeah…I heard that too…” Luke said with a laugh.

“Sucks sometimes being the oldest, doesn’t it?” Shelby said with a grin

“Yeah…especially when you wanna go on a date and have to take your fourteen year old cousin along.” Luke said dryly

“I never had to do that.” Shelby said giggling

“Makes for an interesting time…”

“I bet….make it hard to do any serious making out.”

“I think that’s why Jesse made me take him along half the time…” Luke suddenly realized that he was having a good time. Shelby was easy talk to and yet didn’t mind when Luke kept quiet. And they seemed to have a lot in common.

They followed the trail into the woods until they came to the stream that ran through the Duke land. Luke sat down on the ground with his legs stretched out in front of him. Shelby sat down beside him, tucking one leg under the other one and leaning back on her hands. They sat there in silence watching the sun set. Shelby leaned closer to Luke and leaned her head against his shoulder as she watched the colors slowly fade from the sky as twilight fell.

It had been a very long time since Luke had felt this strong of a reaction to another woman besides Kelly. Since her death Luke had flirted with the girls at the Boar’s nest, danced with a few of them, and stole a few kisses. But that was all farther he had gone with any of them. This was different somehow and his body insisted on pointing out that fact in no uncertain terms.

“Can I ask you something?” He said quietly, staring out at the horizon and avoiding her eyes.

“You can ask,” Shelby told him “But that don’t mean I’ll give you the answer you want.”

Luke smiled thinly. She was the only other woman besides Kelly who could say something that made him wonder if she really could read his mind. “That day at the hospital when you told me that you didn’t think it was a good idea if we saw each other again when I got out…..did you say that because of what was going on with Cory?”

“That was part of it.” Shelby said uneasily, straightening up and moving away from his side.

“What was the other part?” Luke asked, turning his head to look at her.

Shelby turned to look at him with those green eyes that seemed to pull him in against his will “You’re a dangerous man, Luke Duke” she said quietly, her voice so soft that he could barely hear her “You’re the kind of man that women fall in love with.”

“And that’s a bad thing?” Luke asked her with a crooked smile

“It can be…..because that’s when somebody always ends up getting hurt.”

“I’d never hurt you…” Luke whispered. Unable to resist the temptation any longer, he slipped his arms around her waist and pulled her close, tilting his head to kiss her lips. She didn’t resist, instead she leaned closer and opened her mouth to accept his kiss. Luke lay back on the ground, pulling her down beside him.

He began kissing her more passionately with a hunger he had been denying for too long. Shelby wrapped her arms around his neck and returned his kisses with a fiery passion of her own. Shelby could feel the strength and the hardness of his body as he pinned her to the ground beneath his weight. She felt herself responding to his kisses and the touch of his hands. It had been a long time for her too since she had felt this way about someone.

She moaned softly as his hands began to roam freely, touching her gently through the thin material of her tank top and running one hand up and down her bare thigh. Although she wanted him and wanted him badly, she knew that he wasn’t ready to take their relationship to the next level yet and neither was she. Reluctantly, she broke their kiss. “We’d better get back.” She whispered softly, looking deeply into his eyes and hoping that he understood.

Luke smiled softly, letting her know that he did understand and that it was okay. He was willing to wait and let her decide when the time was right for her. They kissed for a few more minutes before Luke finally stood up and reached out his hand to help her to her feet. Silently, they walked back to the farm, both lost in their own thoughts. They knew that the next time, it wouldn’t be as easy to stop for either one of them.

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