Families Stick Together, pt. 9

by: Essy Jane

At the Duke farm, Beverly and Cooter were over. They had news that would even have the family in knots. Now there are a lot of interesting things about Nancy’s dad…but this was gonna hit her fast. “Nancy, your mom and I decided that all this fighting wasn’t doing us any good. So…” Cooter began.

“So honey, Cooter and I decided that it was about time that I got married again,” Beverly added. Nancy looked at the two in bewilderment.

“How can a couple fall in love so fast? I mean one minute you and Dad was fighting like cats and dogs. Now both of you are madly in love? This doesn’t make sense,” Nancy-Lou replied,

“Well, you know what? Sometimes love doesn’t make sense. I love your father…I suppose I always have. I will not be subjected to living common law. We need to be married like good folks do. I want you to be my matron of honour.”

“Mom…I don’t know what to say.”

“I hope you’ll say yes.” That’s about the time Luke walked out. He was slow of course and had problems moving but he was walking all the same.

“Cooter’s settling down, now that’s just funny,” Luke said. His legs began to wobble a bit as he grabbed hold of the wall. Cooter went over towards Luke and helped him sit down. He was a bit pale and had problems moving around still but he would be as good as new in a few more weeks.

“Better late then never as I always say,” Cooter answered.

“When have you ever said that? Last I heard your favourite phrase was, a souped up car is better than a Neon.”

“I hate those stupid little cars…and I will have you know that they’re ugly.”

“Cooter…”

“Lemme finish, Luke. Now, those dang cars have no power in them. They’re small and have no leg room. Now how do you expect a man to change in the car?”

“Maybe he could change before he leaves like any normal person.” Cooter looked at him with that growling look. Now let me tell you folks, Cooter can get angry even though he learned to control some of it. “I was only kidding.”

“Back to the stupid car, that is ugly. I tell you, I taught Jesse well in that aspect. Why can’t they make cars like they used to? A Neon is better left at the dump. Ugly little things with no power.” Uh huh, now you see where Jesse gets it. Appreciation for cars is big in Hazzard. They don’t go for the cheapest all the time you know.

“Of course they are…why wouldn’t they be ugly? Now, you want to get married to Beverly.”

“That’s right, the sooner the better. I need to marry that girl.” Beverly blushed and smiled at Cooter. She wanted to come close to him when Luke interrupted. He was good at that lately, interrupting people I mean.

“Why did you decide to do that? Was it love or strictly loneliness?”

“Oh it was love…I can’t remember when I felt this good. Beverly, you are the most amazing woman I have ever met.” She looked at Cooter with her deep eyes and smiled at him. It was truly love and Luke could see it.

“Now Cooter, don’t get all lovey dovey on us.”

“Come on Luke, you’re like that with Maria.” Luke smiled softly. He loved his wife more than anything and to be with her was better than life itself. They had a bond between them…it was better than most. Luke could see that same bond between the two love crazed adults.

“I love my wife more than anything in the world. Maria is like magic all over again. Every time I see her face it is like I know what life is all about. She’s wonderful. I wish I knew what happened to her. I called about four times over there and I couldn’t get through.”

“Luke, don’t worry too much…I am sure they’re just fine.” Luke felt guilty about everything that had happened. His wife was too wonderful to have anything happen. With those people on the loose who knew what was going on. Maria could be in trouble…she could be hurt or worse. Luke stood up and struggled to get towards the phone. He dialled all the numbers to reach his New York home. He prayed that Maria would just pick up the phone.

“If you wish to reach Maria, just leave a detailed message. If you’re trying to find Luke, trying calling his number at the police station. If you’re a friend you will know what that number is. If you’re trying to reach Tony he’ll get back to you as soon as possible. If you’re trying to get to Jose go to Georgia. Thank you,” Maria’s voice said. Luke leaned against the wall. He hadn’t waited for the answering machine…he never usually did. Now he knew that Maria had changed it. There was the clue…Georgia. Was that where they were taking the family?

“Luke, what’s wrong?” Bo asked.

“I think I smell a rat and it’s located in Hazzard. If I am right, Jose is in big trouble. He’s next on the list of people to be got. Where did the boys say they was goin’?” Luke answered.

“Looking for clues like they usually do when something’s gone wrong; why do you ask cousin?”

“Well I think our boys are in grave danger…they are looking for something and they’re gonna find it in Hazzard. They ain’t coming after me and I know it…they’re after my family.”

“Are you sure?”

“This time I am sure…they might be walking into something they can’t handle. Police officers ain’t stupid. They are smart and crafty. They’ll do anything to get their man.” Luke thought about what he just said and looked at Bo. “Well maybe not the ones in Hazzard.” Bo and Luke laughed a little. But soon Luke’s face returned to that serious look.

Meanwhile at the coffin factory, the men had left and sure enough there were only two. Jesse could still have a hard time getting Maria and Tony out but he would try. Jose prayed that his cousin wouldn’t get killed. “We just have to wait for the right moment…then we can strike. I personally want to get my hands on those radios,” Jesse whispered to Jose.

“Well get down there and good luck,” Jose replied. Jesse climbed the rope slowly hoping that the noise level would be minimal. He had a plan formed as he grabbed an old pizza box and a trash can lid. He had to have a hat though…just in case. They did know him. He snuck back to the camouflaged General Lee and got out a New York Yankees baseball cap. He put it on his head tucking in the blonde hair. He smoothed his hair out with a little bit of spit.

Jesse pulled out a coat from the back of the General. “I didn’t know that was there,” Jesse mumbled to himself. He put on the coat and zipped it up. Jesse picked out the sun glasses in the pocket. Now he was ready. Jesse did sort of a limp as he went towards the door. He knocked on it softly. As no one answered, Jesse knocked a little bit harder. “Pizza’s here,” Jesse said in a raspy voice. You could hear the footsteps get closer and closer to the door. The door creaked open slowly and lightning struck. Nothing could be seen on the man’s face but his blue-green ice eyes and a shadow where his nose should have been.

“I didn’t order any pizza,’ Aaron growled.

“Well what’s your name sir?”

“None of your business sir, all you have to know is that I didn’t order any pizza!” Aaron put his radio down on the small desk beside the door.

“Well all I know is that I have a pizza delivery at this address. Now I didn’t come all the way out there to hear no. My men make the best pizzas.” As Jesse continued to talk, Noel came towards the door with a sour look on her face. Both looked like they were ready to kill Jesse. “Well am I going to get the money from you okay?”

“How much do I owe you?”

“Well I figure you owe me twenty bucks.”

“Twenty clams? I don’t think so!”

“Well I am charging that much for you making me wait so long.”

“A medium Pizza is $6.00 tops.”

“Okay I will charge $10.00 but that’s the least.”

“You’re cheating us.” Jose crept down the stairs and stood behind the two. Jesse cradled the box and slowly opened it. He grabbed onto the rim of the trashcan lid and smashed it into Aaron’s head. He fell to the ground sharply.

Noel wasn’t impressed. She went after Jesse not noticing Jose right behind her. Jesse moved away from the door but knew that he wouldn’t get far. Jose suddenly elbowed her in the back and Jesse hit her on the head with the lid of the trash can. “Took you long enough,” Jesse grumped.

“Well how was I supposed to know you would go on and on about a pizza without stopping? You just kept going and going,” Jose replied. Jose took a screw driver off the desk and began undoing screws while Jesse tied up the two ex-cops. Slowly but surely, the locks were removed from one and soon the other. They opened the doors and saw the two with their heads bobbed down sleeping. Jose and Jesse worked fast to untie their family. Both Tony and Maria fell right into their arms. They had to get out before those people woke up. Tony started to wake up as Jose carried him on his back.

“Jose?” Tony questioned.

“Stay still kid, I am gonna get you out of here do you understand me? I will not let them do what they want to do to this family. It will be over my dead body. You can relax, I am getting you to a safe place,” Jose replied.

“Jose, they’re after you too.”

“I know little brother, I know.” Maria was tired and didn’t wake up. Jesse knew that they had to get them some food and fast. Both were a bit thinner than the last family picture that Jose got. They rushed them to the General and kept the headlights off for a while. They had to get out of there without being noticed. Jesse took a short cut and turned the lights back on.

Maria began to wake up a little as they went down the bumpy road. She rolled onto Tony who seemed more tired now than when Jose was carrying him. They headed off to the house for a long route back.

As they finally approached the Duke farm, they saw Luke whittling something in the small rocker. He was worried and when Luke Duke was worried he didn’t sleep. Sound familiar?

When Luke saw the General he popped out of the chair and walked towards it shakily. “Where have you boys been?” Luke snapped. Jesse looked at Jose and Jose looked at Luke.

“Well…we’ve been getting into trouble,” Jesse smartly remarked. He got out of the General and pulled the seat down. “Come on Maria, you have to co-operate with me a little here.”

“Maria? My wife Maria…you found my wife?”

“Luke…they found us,” Maria mumbled tiredly. She began to move towards Jesse and smiled up at him. He grasped her limp tired body. Maria smiled at her husband and reached in for a kiss. As they released from that kiss, Luke was in tears and I don’t mean tears of sadness I mean tears of great happiness. “I have missed you my darling…more than the light itself.”

Jose reached in and helped his brother out. “You’re still as strong as you used to be Jose my brother,” Tony told him. They looked at each other and laughed. Since Jose came to Hazzard, the two had been talking more on the phone and were as good of friends as any friends could be. Moments together were easily put together with the Spanish Duke Brothers. “Where are you gonna put me for the night?”

“In the spare bedroom of course, a comfortable room that I would love to be in. Bo made it bigger. Well I would love to spend time with you but I share a room with Jesse…unless Jesse doesn’t mind going in there for one night,” Jose said.

“No, I understand how you want to have your brother with you. Just like I would like to have you with me normally in an odd place; there’s no problem with it,” Jesse answered. Jose couldn’t believe he said yes. If it was for anyone else, Jesse would tell them to take a hike. Now with Jose it was different. They had gotten so close that it was remarkable. Jesse and Jose were brothers now…maybe not by blood but defiantly in spirit.

“Jesse…you’re the best.”

“I know I am the best now will you just get to bed? Your brother ain’t seen you in weeks and I am sure you have a lot to talk about.”

“Okay…thank you.”

“You’re welcome.” They all headed into the house for a night of sleep. What were they going to do? Only time could tell. All the Dukes knew was that something had to be done fast. Otherwise they would loose.

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