Million Dollar Rose for Bo, ch. 3

by Debbie (Ldydebpv31)

Fandom: Dukes of Hazzard FanFic and Yahoo! Groups: DukesFanFic
Rating: PG-13
Status: NEW
Archive: Please Archive
FEEDBACK: Both Positive and Negative are welcome and appreciated
Series/Sequel: Chapter Three

Disclaimers: This is a complete work of fiction written just for fun. No intended Copyright infringement.

Notes: This is a rather long text and will take several posts to send all of it. I thank any and all who take the time to read my work. To Those who chose to honor me with their comments/critique’s I offer my sincerest gratitude.

Warnings: The Story has some of the usual car chases, fist fights, etc., but there is also a little sexual content and suggestions of sexual violence but not very graphic. You be the Judge.

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CHAPTER THREE

Bo turned back onto the main road. Caitlin watched with anticipation memorizing the route to her new home. Bo turned down a long driveway that was marked by wood fencing on both sides of the soft, grassy road. Caitlin was impressed by the property that Boss had sold her. It was very private and the house seemed to sit well off from the road yet she could see it coming up fast. The house was a two-story bungalow with a large screened-in porch greeting the driveway. It was obvious the house had been in slight neglect, the siding needed painting and the windows in need of a good cleaning. The lawns looked recently mowed and several boxes were stacked up against the outside of the house. Just beyond the house, two buildings waited for her inspection. One was a small one-car garage and the other a large dark brown barn. Caitlin almost clapped her hands in excitement over the barn. She looked at her pendent watch and smiled. She also noticed Bo’s cousin and The General Lee parked near a tree across from her new front door. Luke was sitting on the hood of the General, enjoying the shade of that tree. He jumped off the car as Bo parked nearby.

Luke opened Caitlin’s door for her and was puzzled to find her hair still wet and her clothes completely dry and different than he remembered her wearing. His curiosity increased when Bo stood up and was still soaked from head to toe. He commented, “What in the world happened to you two?”

Bo laughed, “It’s like this. Caiti had this picnic in her trunk and we decided to stop somewhere to eat it.”

Caitlin joined, “Your cousin gave me a tour of Hazzard countryside and showed me this beautiful pond where we stopped to eat. Then it was hot, I…. um…. well, I think you can guess the rest.” She tried to stop giggling and offered, “I’m sorry we are so late, Luke. Did you have to wait long? I’ve still got food in the basket if you’re hungry?”

Luke smiled and laughed at his head’s picture of what they had done together. He had figured that his cousin had found a way of getting himself alone with the beautiful lady. From the way she now looked at Bo, Luke could tell Bo had captured another heart. He replied, “No thank you, Ma’am. I haven’t been waiting long.”

Caitlin leaned against her car and stared at her surroundings. She replied, “Oh please, Luke. Call me Caitlin or Caiti.”

Luke agreed with a smile, “Caiti, what did you want help with?”

Caitlin retrieved her purse from inside her car and showed Bo and Luke a claim ticket. She explained, “First, I have a package that needs to be picked up from the train station. The station will provide you with a hitch and horse trailer to bring me my babies.”

Bo was surprised, “Babies! You have Babies?”

Caitlin laughed, “Yes. I have two beautiful horses waiting to join me here. I can’t wait to see them again.” She pulled out two photographs from her purse and handed one to Bo and one to Luke. She said, “I knew I could send for them when I was told there was a barn on the property and land to ride them on. This is Aidan, named because of his temper. He is as black as midnight and runs with wings of fire on a racetrack. I was training him for The Kentucky Derby two years ago. But….” Her voice faltered for a second as Bo and Luke looked at the picture she held in her hands. She went to the next picture and smiled like a mother showing off her children. She explained, “This is my newest baby. Her name is Alanna Brianna. I couldn’t make up my mind when naming her, so I chose what suited her best. She is both white as snow shining in the sun and as strong and stubborn as she is beautiful. She was a neglected and abused animal when I found her and purchased her four years ago. But now Aidan barely beats her in a race.”

Luke replied, “They are beautiful.”

Caitlin warned, “Well, be very careful. They are both very spoiled and very temperamental, especially Bri.”

Bo promised as he and Luke squeezed through the General’s windows, “We’ll be careful.” Luke started the General’s engine. He was about to switch gears, when Caitlin motioned them to stop. She walked over to Bo’s window and held up the claims ticket. She laughed, “Guys, they will not let you have my horses without this.”

Bo took the ticket, squeezing Caitlin’s hand affectionately, “We’ll be back soon.”

Caitlin smiled, “I’m counting on it.”

The Duke Boys drove off leaving Caitlin to explore her new surroundings. In The General, Bo commented, “She is so incredible. You should have seen what she did to Enos.”

Luke asked, “What happened?”

Bo told Luke the story of their adventure ending, “I don’t really know how, but she was able to cuff Enos to the door of his car. You should have seen him rip his pants off when he tried to pull away. She was great!”

Luke laughed, “You’ve said that.” A few minutes later, Luke pointed, “There’s the station.”

Bo backed into a parking space as Luke looked over the area. Bo took out the photographs that Caitlin had given him and saw several men coaxing the horses from inside a boxcar for animals. He double checked the live horses against the picture and knew instantly that they were the ones they had come for. Bo whistled his admiration. He pointed, “Hey, Luke.”

Luke replied, “I see them! They’re fantastic.”

Bo observed, “She certainly is something. Great taste in cars and Horses. Not afraid to race a car.”

Luke laughed, “Let’s just go get them so that we can get back. You have the ticket?” Bo held it up as they walked to the train.
While The Duke Boys were doing Caitlin’s errand, she had begun unloading her trunk. She picked up two of her suitcases and carried them to the front porch door. She was not pleased with the way Boss’s mover’s had all of her things dumped off. In her mind the image of seeing the copper Cadillac and BMW returned. She hoped she had not made a mistake in sending for her horses. She had wanted so badly to stay in one spot. Refusing to think about that, she entered the porch and began to inspect her new home. She found almost all the furniture had been covered with white sheets. The porch led into the kitchen. She followed the path into the living room where a narrow staircase disappeared to the upper level at the back of the room. She set her suitcases at the bottom of the staircase. It was obvious from the Victorian decor that a woman had lived there before her. Caitlin walked from piece to piece removing the sheets off them. Her favorite was a huge over stuffed chair with an ottoman in front. It was covered in light brown/beige/soft pink pin stripes. It looked big enough for her to curl up with a good book in. She thought about resting there for a few minutes until The Duke Boys returned, but the sound of a car parking in front of her front porch put a halt to those thoughts.

Caitlin went back into the kitchen and looked out the window over the sink. She saw the BMW that had been chasing her earlier parked by her Viper with a man sitting on the hood. Laying her head in frustration against the windowpane, she grumbled, “Here I go again.” Gathering her courage and her temper, she walked forcefully outside. She stopped short of getting too close and demanded, “What are you doing here, Bronco?”

Bronco smiled, “You should stop this game you’ve been playing, Caitlin. Will told you that two years ago!”

Caitlin pointed toward the road, “Just get out of here!”

Bronco informed, “Not until I’ve delivered Will’s message to you.”

Caitlin returned biting her temper back, “There is nothing you have to say that I want to hear! I will have you thrown off if you don’t leave now.” She walked over to the Viper and removed her cell phone.

Bronco scrambled off the BMW’s hood and cornered her by her car. He remained calm, but let her know that he was serious. He tried to be nice, “Listen, Caitlin….”

Caitlin spat, “Miss Rose to you, idiot.”

Bronco grabbed the cell phone from her hand and held it over her head. He spoke into her face, “I am only doing what I am told. Do not fight me, Caitlin. Will wants to meet you here at 7 pm for dinner. He’ll expect you to be waiting for him.”

Caitlin brushed passed Bronco, “Oh, I’ll be waiting! With the cops and the feds and who ever else I can call! You tell him that! You, him, and your friends have chased me all over this country! I would be very glad to turn you in! Now GET OUT!” She got into his face and warned, “Remember, its only a matter of time before the DA in New York gets enough evidence to put you in prison for good!”

Bronco laughed as he pulled her back to him, “Not so fast, Baby. Stop your dreamin’. We’re as clean as a whistle unless you betray us! If that happens, you know what happens to your father! Right!” He made her look at him, holding her chin in his big hands. “But we’re all gonna make the best of it until the heat dies down – understand! So you are gonna be good and you are going to make nice to Will and Me!”

Caitlin understood everything he was saying. It took everything inside her to not show him any weakness. She spat at him, making him release her for a second. She said, “Go to Hell. Are you finished?”

Bronco smiled at her defiance. He said, “I’m finished with my errand for Will. Now I want to deliver my own message.”

Caitlin’s mind flashed with the memory of the last time they were alone together. She backed away warning, “Bronco, you just better stay away! You get….” Bronco grabbed her by the waist and bruised her lips with his own. The trees echoed with her squeal. She shoved him back with all of her strength, curled her hand into a fist, and threw that fist at his mouth as hard as she could. After she caught her balance, she spat back, “I will not let you hurt me again!”

Bronco put his hand to his mouth, feeling the sting of blood on his lips. His eyes blazed with anger as he pulled her back by her arms. His grasp was so tight that Caitlin could feel the blood stop flowing into her arms. They were turning red and then slightly bruising under his firm, rough fingers. He got into her face and threatened, “If you were mine I’d have killed you long ago! But remember, MISS ROSE. Will always gets his way! No one can help you! I will get my revenge on you very soon!”

Caitlin refused to let him see her fear. She returned the fiery challenge, “Just get off my property. Go crawl back into your hole with that snake you serve!”

Bronco pushed her away from him. He sneered at her and tipped his imaginary hat. He promised, “Until we meet again, Miss Rose.”

Caitlin watched him disappear down her driveway, her tears releasing into a river down her cheeks. Her whole body shook with fear and she wiped his kiss from her lips. She went to her trunk and pulled out the bottle of wine that was still in the picnic basket. She went into the kitchen, poured herself a large glass of the bottle, and then ran into the bathroom. Water was heard from the bathroom sink and the sound of sobbing echoed throughout the house.

While Caitlin washed away her troubles, The General Lee rolled to a halt with a horse trailer in tow. The Duke Boys quickly went to the back of the trailer and opened up the doors. Luke suggested, “I’ll get the black one and you get the white.” Luke helped a huge black stallion exit the horse trailer, speaking softly and calmly to get him to cooperate. The stallion was hesitant at first, but was too eager to get onto solid ground to fight back.

Bo reached in for the white Arabian Mare’s halter and tried to get a good hold of it. The mare moved away from him, inching further into the trailer. She shook her head defiantly, nickering her complaints. Bo stepped inside the trailer and pushed the beast until she backed out onto the ground. She stood rigidly and warily of Bo’s every movement, sniffing the air, her eyes wide with fear. Bo tried to calm her, reaching out to pat her neck, but she backed away shaking him away from her. Luke laughed and said, “Well there’s one female you won’t charm today.”

Bo grimaced, “She’s just shy. Bet if I rode her, she’d get to know me.”

Luke warned, “Bo, you can’t do that. You can’t ride her.”

Bo said, “Just to the barn. She looks restless.” He tried to pull himself onto the mare’s bare back. She waited until his footing was off balance and stepped away from him, sending Bo to his face in the dirt. Finally, after several more times, Bo was able to climb to a sitting position on her back. He was about to grab on to her main, when the mare reared up on her back legs bucking Bo to his butt on the ground behind him. The stallion shook his head as if laughing at him and the mare stepped aside, firmly letting Bo that she would not let him ride her again.

Luke tried to hold his own laughter back. He suggested, “See I knew this was a smart filly. Why don’t you go see what Caitlin is doing and let her know we are here? I will handle getting these two into the barn.”

Bo scowled, “No, I’ll help you!” Bo grabbed the stallion’s halter and walked gingerly to the barn.

Luke carefully took hold of the mare’s halter and gently patted her neck until she followed warily beside him into the barn. Inside, Bo and Luke found that several bags of feed and fresh hay had been stored in each of the stalls for the horses. Luke put out a trough of water while Bo took a pitchfork and spread out the hay. Their task complete, they went to find Caitlin.

After knocking and finding no answer, the Duke Boys entered the house and followed the pathway into the living room. They made themselves comfortable, Bo calling out to Caitlin that they were back. A door just beyond the stairway opened and Caitlin came out of the bathroom. Her eyes were puffy and red, and Luke notice two cents of fingerprint bruises on her upper arms. He also noticed that she was on the edge of anger.

Bo too noticed that she had been crying. He hurried over to her and tried to embrace her, asking, “Caitlin, are you OK?”
Caitlin averted her eyes away from his as she lied, “Oh, I’m fine. I just had a bad scare. I thought I saw a rat, mouse, or something in the bathroom. I jumped and hit my arm against the door.” She brushed Bo’s embrace off becoming cold to him once again. She asked, “So did my package make it here in one piece?”

Luke replied, “They are safe and sound in their new home.”

Caitlin was very pleased at that. Riding always had a way of offering an escape and peace with her problems. It had been one of the reasons she had risked the danger of sending for her precious horses. She nodded in pleasure, “Thank you for going for me. Um…Luke, would you please refill my glass. You’ll find what I want in a box in the kitchen.”

Luke went into the kitchen and found a box labeled “perishables”. Inside he found several foodstuffs that needed to be put away and several mason jars filled with a clear liquid. Bo had followed him and he found an empty wine bottle by the sink. He recognized it as the full one that was in the picnic basket earlier. Luke called to Caitlin, “Do you want the stuff in the mason jars?”

Caitlin yelled back, having gone into her bedroom with a suitcase in her hand, “Yep, and you’ll find the glass by the wine bottle on the sink.”

Luke pulled out one of the jars and suddenly knew what he was going to find inside. His nose was instantly attacked as he unscrewed the lid. He shook away the heady feeling as he poured it into the glass that Bo had handed him.

Bo saw Luke’s reaction and asked, “Luke, What’s wrong?”

Luke whispered, “Do you know what this is?”

Bo swallowed, “Shine?”

Luke nodded, “Just like Uncle Jesse and Boss used to make.”

Bo was shocked, “You have to be kidding!”

Luke replied, “I wish I were. Here, see for yourself.”

Bo took the bottle and stuck his finger inside. He licked the tip of his finger and whistled, “You’re wrong, Luke. This stuff is better than Uncle Jesse’s.”

Luke reminded, “You know what this means if we are found here with this stuff. Boss will have our necks for sure.”

Caitlin strode into the kitchen and asked, “So am I gonna get my drink, Luke?”

Luke looked at her for a moment trying to figure out why she had such sharp tone to her voice. Then he remembered the glass in his hand. He half apologized, “Here it is,” as he handed it to her.

Bo asked, “Caiti, where did you get that stuff?”

Caitlin looked at the contents and said, “What? My Whiskey?” She took a large swig of the liquor, closing her eyes as the hot liquid slid gently down her throat. Her head began to feel lighter as the whiskey mixed with the wine she had finished earlier, but her memory of Bronco still hung in her thoughts. She smiled at the Duke Boy’s astonished expressions and said, “I made it.”

Bo almost dropped the jar. He repeated in question, “You made this?”

“At College, My girl friends and I ran our own still in the dorm’s basement. I stole the recipe from my father and my uncle let me have all the parts I would need.” She laughed at the memory of blackmailing her uncle into doing it. She sighed, “Sadly, We got caught after I got mar…I mean before I moved away. This is all that is left.” Before anymore could be said on the subject, Caitlin rinsed her glass out as she asked, “So let’s get to work.” She instructed, “Bo, Please finished unloading my trunk. That food in the basket needs to go in the fridge before it spoils. Luke, please bring in the rest of the boxed from the porch.” Caitlin did not like the look of disapproval on her new friends faces. She also realized that to let Bo get anymore involved with her would be dangerous for him and her. She needed to push her feelings for him away and get him to do the same.

Caitlin returned to the living room and began to busy herself unpacking the boxes that the Duke Boys brought in for her. She tried to stay pretty much to herself, coolly replying to any of Bo’s overtures. Within the next hour, the empty house began to look like a home as more and more of Caitlin’s things appeared on the walls, in the cabinets, on the end tables, and covering the furniture. Luke came into the living room where Caitlin was spreading out a couch cover over an ancient sofa and said, “Caitlin, the kitchen is all together. Do you want to see it?”

Caitlin stood up and smiled, “Sure.” She followed him into the kitchen and found that he had stored everything away, including setting out several small candles in the windowsill above the sink.

Luke asked, “Why do you travel with so much?”

Caitlin laughed, “Actually this is the first time I’ve seen this stuff in almost a year. I needed to settle down with this move. Having some of my things will help me make this a home. I just hope…” Her voice trailed off after she realized she about to confide what was troubling her. She knew that was a bad thing. Luke looked at her expecting her to finish her statement. But they both heard some rustling from the barn. Caitlin said, “Would you excuse me, Luke. I’m dieing to see my babies.” She did not wait for him to answer her. She went out to the porch and asked, “Bo, have you seen a huge box marked ‘RIDING GEAR’?”

Bo was shocked that she had talked to him. He pointed to the far end of the porch and followed her over to the spot. Caitlin found the big box and opened it. Inside were two brightly colored horse blankets, and two leather saddles. Caitlin lifted out the blankets and one saddle and started to walk toward the barn. Bo retrieved the other saddle and followed her. In an effort to make peace with her, Bo asked, “Your horses are great.”

Caitlin replied, “Thank you.” They entered the barn and she set her saddle and one blanket over a wooden railing. She nodded at the other railing as she set the other blanket over it, “You can hang that right here.”

Bo looked at the blonde horse and complained, “The white is a little feisty.”

Caitlin smiled, “Why would you say that?”

Bo recalled, “I tried to make friends with her and then I tried to ride her. She threw me into the dirt twice.”

Caitlin laughed, her imagination completing his explanation, “You mean you tried to get on her back. You are a lucky man to be alive.”

Bo pouted, “You ain’t gotta laugh.”

Caitlin stifled her giggles, “I am sorry, Bo. I thought I warned you about my Bri. I’ll make it up to you, I promise.”

Bo grinned, pulling her into his embrace, “I like that idea.” He tried to kiss her softly like at the pond.

But warning bells went off in Caitlin’s brain as Bo accidentally squeezed the bruises on her arms and her mind flashed with Bronco’s face forcing himself on her. She stepped back and sighed, “Please, Bo, don’t.” She wanted, needed to tell him, but other memories flooded her head and she closed off to them and him. She offered, “Don’t spoil what we’ve started by moving too fast.”

Bo was hurt by her rejection. He did not understand her cooling off. She seemed so open to his advances at the pond. He demanded, “Caitlin, what is wrong with you? You have been so moody since we came back from the station. I thought we were…. I mean you were….”

Caitlin searched Bo’s eyes and saw that he was a true soul, someone she could and should trust — someone she could very well fall in love with if only she was free to do that. How she wished things were different. He just did not understand and she could not explain. She wanted to run, but knew it was better to try to make him understand a little. She hung her head as she said, “Please understand, Bo. I’ve been moving around from place to place for a very long time. I’ve learned not to give my trust very easily to people. I can’t let myself get hurt again.”

Bo saw the fear in her eyes and remembered the tears that were in her eyes when she had come out of the bathroom. He remembered the car following them. He knew she was in some kind of trouble, but that she was unwilling to tell him about it. Now hearing her talk about being hurt again, filled him with a protective feeling for her. He reached out and smoothed her hair, then caressed her cheek saying, “I’d never do anything to hurt you, Caitlin.” He felt her relax and he gathered her into his arms and promised, “I can protect you if you just let me.”

Caitlin knew better and replied, “Just hold me and give me time, Bo. That’s all I can give right now.” She relaxed against him and did not pull away when he caressed her cheeks and then her mouth with his own. Beside them the powder-white horse, which had been suspiciously eyeing Bo, nudged Caitlin and roughly pushed her away from Bo. Caitlin laughed, “I am so sorry, Ma’am.” She looked back at Bo and said, “I think she wants to get to know you. Alanna Brianna, this is Bo a good friend of mine. Bo, this is my Alanna Brianna or Bri for short.”

Brianna whinnied and shook her head as if in protest. Bo complained, “See, she does not like me.”

Caitlin soothed, “She is very stubborn and jealous. She barely tolerates people and likes men even less. I told you her master abused and neglected her.” Caitlin gently stroked the animal’s mane and nuzzled against her neck. She offered, “Don’t worry though, I believe she is beginning to like you.”

Bo asked, “What makes you say that?”

Caitlin laughed, “Because she would have bitten you when we kissed and chased you out of the barn to protect me.”

Bo understood and asked, going over to the other stall, “So what is this one’s name again?”

Caitlin took a handful of oats and brought it over to the big black stallion. She cooed soothingly at him as he took the treat from her. She patted his head, rubbing her cheek against his nose. She replied and stepped back, “This is my Aidan. In Gaelic, it means ‘Little Fiery One’. He’s placed first in almost every race he’s ever run in all over the country. Aidan, Lavabo for Mr. Duke and say hello.”

The horse dipped his head and bent one leg in a bow before Bo. Caitlin immediately rewarded Aidan with another handful of oats. When that was gone, Aidan nudged Caitlin’s legs, sniffing at her pant’s pockets. Caitlin laughed and patted Aidan’s head more. She informed, “I’m sorry, Sweetie, No Sugar today. Next time I promise.”

Bo laughed when the horse nodded in understanding and seemed to hang his head in a pout. Bo wondered, “You taught him all that?”

Caitlin remarked, “The bow, yes. The begging and the pouting, no. He’s just a big spoiled baby.” She looked around at the work that Bo and Luke had done earlier and said, “Wow, thank you for taking care of putting this together. My babies will be very comfortable in here tonight. Now why don’t we find Luke?”

Bo hung his arm comfortable around Caitlin’s shoulder as they walked outside where Luke was waiting by The General. He announced, “Well, all the boxes are inside now and almost everything has been unpacked.”

Caitlin remarked, “Well thank God I had not asked for all of it or we’d be unpacking for days. So how about a drink.”

Luke replied, “I’m sorry, Caiti, but Uncle Jesse just called and needs us to get home.”

Caitlin nodded, “Oh, Thank you for your help. How much do I owe you both for the work?”

Bo smiled, “You don’t owe us anything, Caiti. It was our pleasure.”

Caitlin asked, “I can still count on you both to be here tomorrow?”

Luke jumped into the General’s window and settled into the driver’s seat. Luke started the car as Caitlin walked Bo over to the passenger side. Bo responded, “We’ll be here.”

Caitlin quietly invited, “Ummm…. would you like to have dinner with me tonight, Bo? Say be here about 7?”

Bo jumped into his seat saying, “I won’t be late.”

Caitlin smiled, “I can’t wait. Luke. Thank you.” She watched Luke wave to her as he took off toward the main road. She hoped she had not made a mistake letting these two into her life and Bo into her heart.

At the end of the driveway as Luke was about to enter the main road, the copper Cadillac came speeding past almost knocking The General into a ditch. Bo shouted for Luke to watch out as Luke swerved to miss the ditch. Luke wondered, “Boy that guy was in a hurry? Nearly ran us off the road.”

Bo had seen the driver and recognized him from the BMW earlier. He swore to Luke, “If I ever see that guy again, I’m gonna teach him a thing or two.”

Caitlin ran to the barn immediately after Bo and Luke took off. She did not see them almost hit the copper Cadillac. She had been too excited by the presence of her horses. Inside the barn, she prepared to ride Alanna Brianna, laying a rich dusty rose blanket across the horse’s silky soft white skin. The horse continued to watch Caitlin with anticipation. Caitlin talked to the animal as she cinched up the leather saddle and mounted her. She rode out of the barn as the copper Cadillac ground to a halt next to her Viper. Horse and rider froze. Caitlin was irritated and afraid. Brianna stomped anxiously at the ground and snorted distastefully. Caitlin patted the horse’s neck. She commented, “Shhh… Bri. I don’t like him any better than you do. Hopefully he won’t be staying.” Nudging the horse forward, she whispered, “Just be ready to fly, Girl, just in case.” The horse seemed to understand, nodding at her words.

Caitlin rode up to the car as Bronco stood up and sneered, “Good Afternoon, Miss Rose. Mr. Sharp has come to speak to you, like I said earlier.”

Caitlin tried to look bored as she looked inside the back window of the car where Will watched her from his seat. She asked, “Who let you out of your cage this time? I mean, what do you want?”

Will opened his door and stood, his strong, handsome, and dark features twisting into an ugly arrogant stare. He replied, “I thought Bronco told you I’d be here to pick you up for dinner. We need to make plans to get you home again.”

Caitlin returned tightly, “He was a good boy, Will. He gave me your message. I will tell you what I told him! Go to Hell!”

“Your insolence will have to be dealt with after dinner this evening.”

Caitlin rolled her eyes. She spat, “Get a life, Will. I’m not having dinner with you tonight or any other night!” Bri moved restlessly under Caitlin, causing her to sooth the horse with coo’s and soft pats to the neck.

Will challenged her, “Are you having dinner with that local idiot Bronco saw you with earlier?”

Caitlin’s face revealed the truth as she said bravely, “That’s none of your business.”

Will ran his hand up her leg and said, “Come on, Darlin’. We both know that’s not true. You know it better not be true!” He squeezed her ankle hard in warning.

Caitlin kicked his hand away. She complained, “Just Go! You should be in jail! Look! I have stayed away from New York! I haven’t gone to the cops!”

Will looked at her, his eyes accusing her of lying. He said, “Then why are they hunting for me? Why are my father’s businesses being closed and all his assets being frozen?”

Caitlin turned her eyes away. She knew the answer. Will again grabbed her ankle and warned, “Have you told your boy about Drew? Have you warned him about Nick?” He laughed, “A lot of people seem to be getting hurt because of you, Caitlin. You should smarten up and let me take care of you.”

Caitlin eyes stung with unshed tears from the memories that Will was conjuring up. She needed to get away from him. She saw that look in his eyes again. It was a look she feared the most. She pleaded, “Will, please! Just stop this! I don’t want anyone else hurt. Just let me have some peace here! I promise I will stay here in this little farmhouse. I won’t…”

Will took her hand in his and kissed it tenderly. He said, “You know I can’t do that. We were meant for one another. I need you.”

Caitlin laughed at that. She said, “No, Dear William, my money is what you ‘NEED’. Your Father needs my father’s property, you want my father’s business. Marrying me will give you both!”

Will smiled at her astuteness. He said, “Well, I want something else from you. Something I’ve only had a few tastes of.”

Caitlin brushed his hand away and ordered, “Get away from Me! You’re still as stubborn and stupid as you were when I met you!” Bronco stepped forward to help Will get Caitlin off the horse, but Caitlin ordered, “Get away from me, Bronco, or I’ll tell your boss what happened this afternoon!”

Bronco’s face went white as Will faced him with accusations in his eyes. He looked back at Caitlin, “What are you talking about?”

Caitlin watched Bronco back off and she smiled, her courage returning, “Never mind, Will. I just want the two of you out of here or I’m going to get the cops to arrest you!”

Will’s patience had dwindled and he returned, “I think not, my dear. You are going to get off that animal or I’m going to shoot the mare out from under you!” He pulled his suit coat back showing off his 38 revolver.

Bravely, Caitlin slipped her foot tightly into the stirrups and tightened the reigns around her hands. She subtly moved her body into a racing position until Bronco warned, “I wouldn’t try that if were you!”

Caitlin yelled, taking her strapped foot and kicking the gun away from Bronco, who fell to his face in the dirt, “I will never go with again, Will! Go to Hell!” She laid her heels into the Mare’s flanks and Bri sprang to life racing across the field that surrounded them. Caitlin directed Brianna down the driveway toward the main road.

Bronco retrieved his gun and the two men returned to their car and sped after Caitlin. Will shouted, “Don’t lose her! We have too much at stake!”

Caitlin tried to keep an eye behind her every now and then watching as the Cadillac got closer and closer to her. Her thoughts brought to mind blonde hair and strong blue eyes. As if by magic, she saw The General Lee turning down another road at the end of her property. A fence encircled the area and separated her property from the roadway. Gauging the height quickly, Caitlin prepared Brianna in time to sail cleanly over the fence with inches to spare. She thought hopefully, “That should slow him down.” She heard the sound of splintering wood and looked to see the Cadillac crash through the wooden fence.

In The General, the Duke Boys heard the crash too. Bo turned while Luke looked through the rearview mirror to see Caitlin galloping with the wind toward them and the Cadillac bearing down hard after her. Luke shouted, “That’s Caitlin!”

Bo replied, “I know! I know.” Luke beeped his horn at her as she tried to put The General between her and the Cadillac.
Caitlin stayed in her crouched position, urging Brianna to run. Luke warned, “We gotta do something. She’s in trouble.”

Bo replied, “I see ’em!” Then he shouted, “Luke! Watch Out!” as a car going the opposite direction almost hit them.

Caitlin turned off the road and jumped another fence back into her property. The Cadillac swerved away and broke through that one too. The General followed. Bo commented admiringly, “Did you see that!”

Luke replied, “yeah, but that didn’t stop what’s behind her!”

Luke followed and then sped in front of the Cadillac. He again sounded The General’s horn. Bo leaned out the passenger window to let Caitlin know that they were going to block the other car from getting to her. Caitlin turned and waved a little, letting him know that she understood. Luke got in Bronco’s way; slowing the General down but not letting the Cadillac pass him. Bo watched Caitlin reigning Bri towards the trees. In the Cadillac Bronco volunteered, “Let me take care of them right Now?”

Will refused, “No, I want to do this myself!” He watched the automatic window roll down as he pointed his revolver outside and aimed.

Bo heard the gunfire and knew that the guy in the Cadillac was trying to blow out his tires. Luke looked at Bo worriedly and said, “This is NOT Good!”

Bo assured, “I’m on it.” He reached into the back seat and grabbed a bow and a couple of arrows. He ordered, “Hold it steady, Luke.” Then he hung himself out of the passenger window, ducking as a bullet sailed past his ear, then let off a few arrow shots of his own. Bronco tried to drive around The General, passing them. But Bo aimed another arrow and fired quickly hitting the Cadillac’s front tire dead on. Bronco lost control as the tire exploded into bits. He swerved wrapping the Cadillac around a nearby tree as Rosco turned the corner. Rosco stopped to help the two men who were furious with not being able to continue their chase. They quickly hid their guns and asked Rosco to get them a tow truck. Rosco asked, “So what happened here?”

Will said, “Those boys in that car! Who are they?”

Rosco said, “The Duke Boys? Did they do this?”

Will didn’t want to have to explain why those boys had shot out his tire. He lied, “No, I just admired the car. What can you tell me about the owner of it?” Rosco shook his head and began to give Will all the information he wanted while they waited for the tow truck.

With the Cadillac disposed of; Luke drove after Caitlin to let her know everything was all right. The General came up on the flying horse as Caitlin turned her head around to see what had happened. Bo and Luke watched Caitlin riding away. She was waving at them in thanks and trying to slow Bri down with her legs, slightly pulling on the reigns to let the horse know to come down from the full gallop they were in. Caitlin looked back at the Boys again, but when she turned around, her head crashed into a low hanging tree. For a brief second, Caitlin didn’t understand why the sun had died in her eyes or why her head was splitting open. Then the world began spinning and she knew she about to lose consciousness. Her grip slackened on Bri’s reigns giving the horse the freedom to run again. Caitlin could not stop the lights from going out in her head and she fell forward onto Bri’s neck, legs still holding on to the saddle.

From The General, Bo became frantic, “She really is in trouble now!”

Luke keenly observed, “That horse has been frightened out of her mind and now has no one to calm her down!”

Bo said, “I know!”

Luke informed, “I have another idea. We’ll get ahead of her and…..”

Bo listened, “Great!” Luke finished his next part of the plan and Bo shook his head, “But that beast doesn’t like me!”

Luke reminded, “You’re going to have to make her like you, Bo, if this is going to work!”

The General Lee sped past the lifeless Caitlin. Bo crawled slowly out of the passenger side to the top of the hood. As soon as they were far enough ahead, Luke slowed down and let Bo jump up to a low tree branch. Bo watched until Brianna was just coming past him and then he dropped onto her back behind Caitlin. He lay over the top of Caitlin to get the reigns from her still hands. He picked Caitlin up, gently pulling her against his strong chest, her head falling forward and her arms hanging to her sides. Bo pulled on the reigns and coaxed, “OK, Alanna Brianna, whoa, Girl. Come on.”

Alanna Brianna again felt strong hands guiding her and she slowed to a trot and then stopped. As soon as Bo dismounted and lifted the unconscious Caitlin out of the saddle, Alanna Brianna shook off the sweat she had built up in her mighty body. The horse was breathing heavily and foaming a little at the mouth.

The General came to a screeching halt near the horse and Luke found Bo gently laying his precious burden on the ground. Bo’s worry was evident all over his face as he rubbed Caitlin’s hand and tried to talk to her. Luke came into his sight and he half-ordered, Half-pleaded, “Go call Daisy, Luke. Get her out here as fast as you can. Get our first aid kit!”

Luke returned with the kit and then he and Bo began to clean up the many scratches that Caitlin had on her forehead and hands. Deep red marks dented her hands from where she had been holding the reigns. Her face and neck were drenched with sweat and dirt from the wind and road dust. Bo was frustrating Luke as he complained every time Luke tried to help. He decided to check out the mare and took the canteen of water that they kept in the General for emergencies over to Brianna. Luke felt the sweat soaked mane on the white horse and wet his fingers a little, letting the horse taste them. The mare seemed to accept Luke’s help and Luke held the horse’s head to pour the water into her mouth. Bo’s voice got his attention and he heard, “Luke, she’s waking up.”

Luke returned to Bo’s side as Caitlin tried to open her eyes in the midst of the pain in her head. Her head ached with the memory of what had happened. She was afraid again and she tried to get up, “I’ve got to get out of here! Where is Brianna?”
Bo softly held her to the ground, coaxing, “Stop, Caiti, its ok. Lie still until help comes.”

Caitlin looked at Bo worriedly, “I’ve gotta get out of here! Its too dangerous for us to be here!” She tried to rise again but the pain shot through her like an arrow threatening to send her into blackness again.

Luke argued, “Caitlin, You are not going anywhere. You’ve been hit in the head by a tree branch!”

Caitlin mused, giving in, “That must be why my head hurts so much.”

Bo relaxed when she did. Luke was concerned and asked, “Why are you in danger, Caitlin. Who were those guys?”

Caitlin pretended not hear Luke’s question. She did not want to endanger them anymore than she already had. Will would certainly kill them if they knew too much. She lay against Bo’s shoulder and closed her eyes, pretending to be fainting again. Bo felt her go limp and he squeezed her hand, “Caiti, are you all right?”

Caitlin smiled a small smile. Brianna came to her thoughts again and she asked, “Bri? Is she OK?”

Luke reassured, “Brianna is fine, Caiti. She’s in much better shape than you are at the moment.”

Caitlin reached out for Luke’s hand and pleaded, “Take care of her for me. Make sure she gets back to the barn and gets some water. I just put her through hell.”

Before Luke could answer, Daisy’s jeep was heard coming down the road. She pulled up next to The General. Bo informed,

“Caiti, our cousin Daisy is going to take you to the hospital.”

Daisy wandered quickly over to the little group and stared at the injured woman in Bo’s lap. She asked, “So what’s the big emergency?”

Bo requested, “I need you to take this here new friend to the hospital. Can you, Daisy?”

Daisy read the raw emotions on her cousin’s face. She looked at the girl and asked, “What happened?”

Caitlin tried to smile, “My head got in the way of a tree branch while riding. I’m Caitlin Rose.” Caitlin tried to sit up, but her head refused to stop rocking the world in front of her eyes.

Bo supplied, “Luke and I helped her to move here to Hazzard this morning.”

Daisy replied cheerfully, “Well, get her into Dixie, Bo.”

Bo easily lifted Caitlin and himself from the ground. Caitlin wrapped her arms around Bo’s neck and commented, “I could get used to being treated like this. It makes getting hit on the head almost worth it.” She laughed and winced in pain at the same time, “Well, maybe not every day.”

Luke brought the first aid kit and talked to Daisy for a few seconds, telling her that they needed to take Caitlin’s horse back home and then they would meet her at the hospital. Daisy saw that Bo had made Caitlin as comfortable as possible and then she took off for the hospital.

As soon as they were out of sight, Bo went over to the mare and helped Luke remove the saddle and blanket. Luke offered, “I’ll walk with her back to the barn and meet you there.” Bo agreed and he started up The General Lee and slowly followed Luke and Bri as they walked across the pasture.

Within the hour, Bo and Luke hurried into the Small Emergency Room of Hazzard’s Hospital. They found Daisy in the waiting room reading a magazine on a couch. She greeted them as they came into the room, “Hey, Fellas.”

Bo and Luke returned the greeting with Bo adding, “Have you heard anything?”

Daisy replied, “Not yet. So what is this all about? Who is she?”

Bo eyes reflected the worry he felt. He was agitated and walked around the room over to the door that separated the waiting room from the examining area. Luke sat next to Daisy and explained, “We gave Caitlin directions to town this morning only to find that she was moving here. She asked us to help her move into her new place. But I think our cousin over there has taken a shine to the lady.”

Daisy smiled, “I can see that. So how did she get hurt?”

Luke supplied, “She was being chased by this car on her horse. While we were trying to stop them, she ran into a tree branch and almost fell from the horse. Bo had to jump on the horse to rescue her.”

Daisy commented surprised, “Wow, y’ve all had a long day.”

Bo had listened to Luke’s story and his thoughts drifted to parts of the day that were more pleasant. He smiled and said aloud, “It wasn’t all bad.”

Before Bo had to expound on his comment, Caitlin came through the double doors with a doctor following behind. He handed her a piece of paper as he said, “Miss Rose, don’t forget what we’ve talked about. You’ve got a nasty bump on your forehead and you will feel a little pain tonight. I want you to fill this prescription. You take one tablet three times a day for the next two days and then only if you feel any pain after that. Please come back in if you have any of the symptoms we discussed earlier.”
Caitlin weakly smiled, trying not to make her head throb with pain. Her forehead had a large bandage covering where the tree had left a small gash. Her cheeks revealed the scraps and one bruise under her left eye. She replied, “Thank you, Dr. Crab. I will follow all of your instructions.”

Dr. Crab turned to Bo and Luke and smiled, “Well, Hello Bo, Luke, Daisy. How are y’all doing this afternoon?”

Bo replied, “Fine, Just waiting to find out how Caiti is doing.”

The doctor replied, “She’ll be fine, Bo. If she does what I tell her to.”

Bo promised, gently encircling Caitlin into his strong embrace, “I’ll make sure of it, Doc.”

The Doctor pointed Caitlin in the direction of the hospital’s pharmacy and then he left the group alone. Bo held onto Caitlin’s hand as the group walked towards the pharmacy. Caitlin gave the script to the pharmacist and then turned back to her new friends. She sighed, “I can’t wait to go home.” She saw the questions in Luke’s eyes and the concern in Bo’s. Her own feelings were to confusing to sort out at the moment. But she knew one thing. She needed to call her Uncle and arrange to be moved again. She did not want to hurt Bo, but knew that if she didn’t leave him he would be in a lot of danger. She sought out a nearby chair and left the security of Bo’s arms to sit down. Bo sat near her and reached out for her hand. Not wanting to encourage him, Caitlin pulled away and closed her eyes. A great exhaustion was over taking her body and all she wanted to do was go to sleep.

Luke, however, wanted to know who had been chasing her and why. He was afraid she was in some kind of legal trouble or worse — something that could get him and Bo put back in jail. He knew Bo would not ask her, so he gently asked, “Caitlin, why were you being chased? Who were those guys?”

Bo challenged, “Leave her alone, Luke. Can’t you see she’s hurt!”

Caitlin did not like the tone of voice Bo had with his cousin. She did not want to be the cause of an argument between them. Yet she did not want to have to explain things just yet. Not until she had made plans to move again and knew they would be safe from Will and his men. She reached out for Luke’s hand and said, “Please, Luke. Give me some time to sort this out. I promise I will tell you everything soon.”

Daisy had been watching Caitlin for the last few minutes. She remembered how the woman had laid in her jeep crying silently as the drove to the hospital. Now she had watched Caitlin’s reaction when Luke and Bo almost argued. There was a look of caring and pain. Daisy could see that Caitlin cared for Bo since they had left the doctor. Now she saw that Caitlin was concerned for both her cousins. Whatever trouble this girl was in, Daisy was sure that Caitlin was a good soul. She added for Caitlin’s defense, “Just don’t pay them any attention, Caitlin. Would you like me to take you home?”

Caitlin gave Daisy a grateful look and intuitively knew they were kindred spirits. She responded, “Thank you, but I don’t want to be too much trouble. I know you were on your way to work.”

Daisy brushed the problem away with a wave of her hand, “Don’t worry about that. I’ll just go call The Boar’s Nest and tell ‘me I’ll be in late.” Daisy went over to the pay phone.

Caitlin remembered that she had invited Bo for dinner that evening. She still wanted to see him. She wanted to enjoy his company one last time and give them both a night to remember. She took Bo’s hand and got him to look at her. She said, “Are you still going to come to dinner tonight?”

Bo replied, worriedly, “Won’t you need your rest? The Doctor said you needed to take it easy.”

Caitlin smiled, touched by his concern; “I can manage to hold up a conversation with you, if you can handle a simple dinner made up of what we had for lunch.”

Bo grinned eagerly, “I’ll be there.”

The pharmacist called Caitlin’s name out and she went to retrieve her medicine as Daisy returned. Caitlin came back and the two women walked outside to Daisy’s jeep. On the road, Daisy and Caitlin began to talk and get to know one another. They discovered they each had a passion for chocolate and shopping. As they neared Caitlin’s driveway, Daisy asked, “So why did you come to Hazzard?”

Caitlin smiled at the subtle way Daisy had tried to probe her for information for Luke. She realized that Daisy was trying to protect her family. As they got closer to her farm, Caitlin noticed the BMW pull off the road and follow them. Bronco waved at her as he parked just outside of Caitlin’s driveway and Daisy turned down it towards the house. They passed the first section of broken fence and Caitlin’s anger was sparked.

Daisy asked, “Is that where you hit your head?”

Caitlin replied, “No, but its where the battle of a long war started. Daisy, do you have time to come in for a glass of warm lemonade or something?”

Daisy agreed as she parked outside Caitlin’s front porch. Caitlin led Daisy through the porch to the kitchen. Daisy was amazed at the change in the house since she had last been in it. She said, “What went through here?”

Caitlin asked, “You’ve been here before?”

Daisy said, “Yeah, a long time ago. I remember helping to cover all the furniture when the owner died and the property was taken over by Boss.”

Caitlin said, “Well I have Bo and Luke to thank for helping me get moved in and almost everything put in order.” There were unpacked boxes still on the kitchen sink and table. Caitlin moved a box to the floor and confessed, “I cannot stand an unorganized kitchen. I feel so clumsy.” She opened several cabinets until she found the one that Luke had put away a handful of glasses. Taking two from the cabinet, she filled them with ice from the icebox. Opening the cooler on the table, she pulled out a small container of lemonade and filled each glass with it. Her eyes wandered to look out the window over the kitchen sink. She again saw Bronco sitting in the BMW keeping watch over her. She bit her lip in worry and felt the weight of her problems closing around her again.

Daisy saw the change in Caitlin’s expression and wondered what caused it. She casually looked out the window and saw the BMW. Instead of asking about it outright, Daisy asked, “What made you decide to move to Hazzard?”

Caitlin turned away from the window and handed a glass of lemonade to Daisy. She stared into her own glass as she answered, “A girl I went to college with was from around here. I remembered her talking about how much she missed it and could not wait to finish her degree to come back. She knew about my love of horses and told me it was a great place to ride with lots of open space.” She again cast her eyes out the window and set her glass on the counter. She turned away from Daisy and said,

“That’s not the whole truth, Daisy. I’m in a lot of trouble and Hazzard was supposed to be safe haven away from that trouble.”

Daisy asked, “What kind of trouble?”

Caitlin replied, “I’m sorry. Please just forget it.”

Daisy pursued, “No, Caitlin. I won’t forget it. If something is wrong, you can trust me.”

Caitlin argued, “I don’t want to put you in danger. I don’t know who I can trust anymore.”

Daisy set her glass on the table and pulled Caitlin from the window to sit in a chair by the table. She sat down in the opposite chair. She could see the fear filling Caitlin’s heart. She pushed, “Look, Honey. You look like you could use a friend.”

Caitlin sighed, “I can that. It’s been so long since I’ve seen any of my old friends.” After a few moments of silence, Caitlin began her story; “I have been on the run for almost two years. It started in college. I was living in New York splitting time between school, the city, and our estate in the country. I was training Aidan for his next race. My life was very good. But my father started doing business with a man that we found out later was involved in organzied crime; everything from prostitution to money laundering to gambling to drugs and smuggling. In college, I dated Bronco a few times. Bronco took me to this party where I met Will Sharp, who just happened to be the son of the man that my father was doing business with. Will was no different than his father, including having his own gang to take care of his problems. I didn’t know it until later that Bronco was a member of Will’s gang of thugs and the two of them were best friends. However, Bronco was pissed off when Will asked me out until Will rewarded Bronco for finding him his perfect “Rose” as became Will’s favorite nickname for me. Bronco was also ‘promoted’ to second-in-command much to Will’s former right-hand man, Jack. But that is a whole other story which I will not bore you with the details. I hate the fact that I know so much!

“But Will did ask me for a date after that fateful party and I made the mistake of accepting. He was soon sending Bronco or one of his other ‘buddies’ to escort me to him. I didn’t mind at first. Will can be charming and thoughtful when he wants to be. He presented me with little gifts all the time. But then I noticed that all the other men that I had been dating or interested in had stopped talking to me. If they continued to be even friends with me they were threatened, then some kind of terrible accident would happen to them. I found out that they attacked my very good friend, Nick just for studying for a test with me. When I confronted Will and Bronco about it; Will informed me since I was going to be his wife, I had better get used to the idea of him picking and choosing my friends for me. HE decided that I belonged to him and that I should be at his disposal at a moments notice.

“I tried after that to break it off with him. I stopped answering his phone calls, had my phone numbers changed, and I changed the locks on all my doors. When Bronco came to fetch me , I told him to go to hell. One time I stood up to both Bronco and Jack, smacking Jack for grabbing my arm to force me into the limozine that had been sent to ‘fetch’ me. A week later, I went to a club with a bunch of my friends including Nick. Later that night Nick had escorted me home. I was going to invite Nick up for coffee; but, Bronco was waiting for me. He tossed Nick to a couple of his friends who beat him until he fell unconscience in a pool of his own blood. Bronco made me watch Nick while pawing at me and grabbing at my body. He pushed me around, warning me that Will was angry. I was a bad girl for avoiding him. Jack came in and the next thing I knew I was thrown in a padded van and taken to an empty warehouse. Will had this candle lit dinner table set up with his men standing around in tuxedos. I didn’t know what to do as Will informed me that he wanted to set a wedding date. He slapped me for making him use his father’s connections to take care of my infidelities. Will was crazy and I told him so but that only got me more in trouble. I woke up the next day in the hospital. A note of warning from Will and Will’s father for me to come to my senses. I was so shocked and hurt. I didn’t know what to do.

“When my father came to see me and I told him everything that Will had done, I found out that he already knew. He told me that he had been ‘propositioned’ by Will’s father. The great merger of two powerful families in New York. My father promised that I would not be bothered by Will again, that he would take care of it. I was forced to move my things back into our City apartment, while my apartment was sold off. Then I was sent to the country. Things seemed to cool down, Will seemed to lose interest in me. It was reported in the society pages that he was dating some rich Starlet he met in Europe. My father finished the one business deal he’s been working on with Sharp Enterprises and then cut all ties with William Sharp Sr. Including refusing to sell him 100 acres of property near our home. But none of this seemed to affect me nor would it…or so I thought. So I came back to college.

“To insure my own safety, I became very careful where and with who I went. I refused to go anywhere that Will and his friends were. I started staying pretty much to myself. Then I met Drew. He was a new professor in the English Department and only a few years older than me. He was so intelligent and sensitive, yet he wasn’t lacking in the muscle department either. We shared a love of horseback riding and cooking and music.” Caitlin’s eyes misted as she talked of Drew. She could still see him clearly in her mind, still feel his lips on her skin, and still hear him call her by name. She closed her eyes as she spoke, “I was his Caiti-girl. He began calling me that after he’d heard my father do so. At the time I didn’t think it was so funny. But I grew to love it from him. A little before Christmas we became engaged and started to plan the wedding.” Caitlin stood, wiping away the new tears that flowed down her cheeks.

Caitlin took a long drink of her lemonade wishing she had poured herself something stronger as she stared out at Bronco. Daisy waited patiently for Caitlin to finish. She was able to understand Caitlin now a little better. She was beginning to understand why she was on the run without Caitlin finishing the story. But knowing that Caitlin needed to talk, Daisy encouraged, “Did you get married?”

Caitlin smiled, her face shining with bittersweet joy as she recalled every moment until her wedding day, “Oh yes. It was in all the local papers. A big church wedding with all the trimmings. My mom cried, my dad cried, I cried. We had decided to spend our honeymoon in a cabin in the mountains of Pennsylvania. That way we could be totally alone to fish, to ride horses, to talk.” Caitlin blushed at the thoughts and memories running through her mind. Her memories were mixed with the new ones she had just created with Bo. She remarked off-handedly, “Drew would have liked Bo.” She did not want to relive the rest, but she knew she had to tell all to Daisy before she lost her nerve. She continued, “Will had never been happy that I was dating Drew. He was livid that when we were engaged. But I made myself forget about him. Drew and my father insisted that Will would leave me alone forever once I was married. But my father underestimated Will’s desire to not have me, but my inheritance. My father underestimated Will’s Father’s desire to take away my father’s business so that he could control them and use them to launder his money from his illegal businesses.

“Three days into our honeymoon, Drew and I were enjoying a wonderful dinner and a bottle of wine. We were both dressed in bathrobes and nothing else. Bronco fired several gunshots into the door of the cabin. The door was thrown off its hinges and Will came in. Four of his big goons followed and attacked Drew. They dragged him away from me and out of the cabin towards the woods. I was so scared and screaming for them to stop, trying to follow them. Bronco took pleasure in grabbing me by my hair. Jack followed pushing me at Will. They were calling me a whore and slut. Swearing at me because I had betrayed him and needed to be punished. They took turns treating me like a…well…umm. I was tossed to each one until Will caught me. He hit me so hard, that I fell into the table and cut my arms on the champagne glasses that broke under my weight. The next thing I knew I was being dragged to the bedroom, where…. where…UMmmmm…” Caitlin could not say anymore. Her body was shaking with anger, fear, sadness, and hurt. She was again vividly replaying her nightmare in her mind; smelling their scent on her flesh; feeling their touch on her skin. She wanted to curl up again into a little ball and hide. She tried to calm down, angry that she still let the events of that night shake her like that.

Daisy had been unprepared for what she had just heard. She too was in tears for her new friend. She reached out her arms and held Caitlin until Caitlin’s tears subsided and she was calm enough to talk again. Daisy offered, “You don’t have to say anything more, Caitlin. I can guess what happened.”

Caitlin nodded her head and sniffled a bit. She grabbed a paper towel from the roll sitting on the table, blew her nose, and dried her eyes. She quietly released, “That was not the worst part it. Will had Drew killed and left for dead somewhere in those woods. I don’t know where. The police have never been able to find him. They’ve been searching for a long time, even sending divers into the nearby lake to look.

“While Will was treating me like his favorite prostitute, his buddies were making me a widow. I would not be here if someone in the cabin nearby had not heard my screams and the noise of the guns. They called the local cops. Bronco warned Will about the sirens getting closer. Will made me kiss him and threatened to go after my father and my family if I ever told anyone what happened. Jack had video taped what they were doing to me only…only… He used that tape to make me swear that I would marry him as soon as I returned to New York. I don’t remember anything else. He had beaten me so bad that I went into a coma for two days. I woke up in the hospital barely able to remember my name let a lone what had happened.”

Daisy inquired, concerned, “So why are they free, here?”

Caitlin replied, “I don’t know! I tried to fight back. I ignored Will’s warning and told an FBI friend of my Uncle Charles and my father’s. When they couldn’t find Drew’s body or any other evidence to verify my story, the district attorney decided it was best for me to go into hiding until they found what they needed to put Will and his friends away forever! So I went into the FBI’s witness protection program and disappeared.” Again Caitlin looked with longing at the bottle of whiskey sitting on the counter. She remarked, “You should have seen the papers and the stories about me. They were the ones who tipped Will off that I had left. Some how he keeps finding me and taking me back to New York warning me not to leave again. But my family and the FBI keep helping me escape and hide. The third time I escaped from him. I disappeared in Ireland, staying with family there. But we sent my bags and someone dressed like me to Japan, to Israel. I was allowed time to heal there and to rest and to grieve for Drew. I even shortened my name which is actually Caitlin Rose O’Toole. Instead of staying at our property I stayed as an unregistered guest in a huge castle in a very remote village near where my father’s family is from. That hiding place was the most successful of all of them. Will still doesn’t know exactly where I went. But my father needed me and I came out of hiding to take care of a charity function and business deal for him. I was in Italy for a week when Bronco and Jack showed up at my hotel. They forced me into a large trunk, carried me to Will’s yacht and sailed for New York. That was when I decided it was time to fight back. I pretended to become resigned to Will’s proposal then even liking the idea. I should earn an Academy Award for best performance as a loving girlfriend. I spent the last six months learning about Will’s connections, business interests, copying everything I could get my hands on for the cops…anything that would get them arrested and thrown in jail for good including my own video of Will, Bronco, and Jack confessing to the whole thing. I even re-instigated the rivalry between Will and Bronco over me. But Jack became suspicious and found my video camera hidden in my room. But he never got a chance to tell Will because the new FBI agent…a friend of Uncle Charley’s…found the gun that killed Drew. They traced the last set of fingerprints right to Jack and he was arrested. I figured Will would be tied up getting him out of trouble so that I could disappear. I don’t know how or who told Will I was here. We made sure he would be sent on a wild goose chase through Europe like when I had escpated him before. I knew this place was barely on a map and that I could hide here. Uncle Charley made all the arrangements by telegram and phone calls from his cell. When he told me that Boss ha sold him a very large farm, I knew what I longed for. So against my father’s wishes, I made the mistake of asking for my horses. I thought I’d be safe. I guess I was wrong.” She pounded the table impatiently, “I just wish I could forget my father’s money, what I witnessed!” She looked up at Daisy and said, “I have been running and moving for so long that I don’t even know who I am anymore. I swore that no matter what I would not trust anyone or tell anyone what had happened. Too many people have gotten hurt from trying to help me out. Will can be ruthless and cruel.”

Daisy asked, her intuition telling her the answer, “Why did you want to tell me?”

Caitlin did not answer for a long time. She had so far pushed away the longings in her heart and the stirrings that Bo was causing in it. She finally sighed, “Because I think I’m falling in love again. I’m so scared of that, but I’ve been dying inside and I think my heart has been searching for more.” She looked pleadingly at Daisy and said, “He wants to know why Will is chasing me, Daisy. You know him better than I do. Help me, please.”

Daisy did not know what to tell her new friend. She was concerned for both Caitlin and Bo. She could see her cousin in her mind and instantly knew what was best for him, what he would want. She said, “Caitlin. You have got to tell him.”

Caitlin replied, “But I don’t want to hurt him or see him get hurt. I cannot go through that again! I also know that he is in danger whether he knows why or not. Will and Bronco will not spare him for lack of knowledge.”

Daisy repeated, “Then you need to talk to him. He will understand. He will not leave you.”

Caitlin said, “I will decide by tonight what to do. Bo is supposed to have dinner with me. Hopefully I’ll have enough courage then.” Caitlin looked at her watch and said, “Oh my, Daisy! I’ve made you so late. I hope Boss Hogg doesn’t fire you.”

Daisy smiled, “Me too.”

The Two women rose from the table and Caitlin opened the door for Daisy. Daisy again saw the BMW parked down the road and the man inside. She asked, “Is that Will, Caitlin?”

Caitlin replied, “No, that’s my shadow, Bronco. He follows me everywhere.”

Daisy shivered, “Oh, How creepy.”

Caitlin giggled, “I get the same feeling. I just hope he doesn’t decide to get closer.”

Daisy asked, “Are you gonna be Ok by yourself? Will he bother you?”

Caitlin shrugged, “I’ll be fine, Daisy. He will just watch me for a little while longer and then go report to Will about me.”
The two women hugged and said “Good-bye” before Daisy got into her jeep, drove off waving at Bronco as she sped past him. Caitlin laughed and then disappeared behind the safety of her front door to get ready for her dinner date with Bo.

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