MaryAnne came in for the evening shift at the Boar’s Nest. Folks letting loose, tossing a few cold ones back with friends, co workers and acquaintances after a long work week.
“You want me to stay?” Daney asked.
“We’ll be ok.” The curly haired brunette Coltrane smiled. “Have a good evening.”
“You two,” Daney addressed friend and cousin in one comment. Daisy began to fill MaryAnne in on what tables had orders waiting and which ones didn’t.
Daney grabbed a back pack laying on the little shelf under the register and walked from behind the counter. She saw a familiar face taking a seat. She strolled up to the table. “Fancy meeting a good err bad guy like you in a place like this.”
“I’m a great guy,” Brian grinned and waved a hand to the empty chair across from him.
“That could be our song,” Daney exclaimed quietly and dropped the backpack on the seat instead.
“What?” Brian noticed she looked a little tired.
“I meant it would be nice to dance with someone I’m not related too,” Daney replied.
“That’s what I thought you meant,” Brian said and his chair scooted back, then he stood up. “C’mon…”
MaryAnne and Daisy curiously watched their cousins wandered to the dance area.
The two waitresses turned to Bo and Luke who approached the counter. The cousins sat on bar stools closest to the wall payphone. Just as the boys were served and the tune on the jukebox changed, the Sheriff made his appearance, having snuck through the stock room doors.
MaryAnne teased her cousin when Brian passed by the counter. “If you would’ve been any closer, Rosco could arrest you.”
Brian laughed. “Hey! If you’re not that close, then it ain’t dancing… ain’t that right, boys?” He glanced at the Duke boys.
Bo and Luke agreed. “Yeah!” They glanced toward the entrance. Standing by the Returns and Complaints sign was a tall, blond man dressed in jeans and white shirt. Daney was talking to him.
“Who is that?” MaryAnne’s attention focused on the twosome now walking past the pinball machine.
“One of Haley’s brothers,” Daisy’s hazel eyes squinted for a moment. She couldn’t tell because of the lighting. “Blue eyes, it’s Aaron. Blue green… it’s Joey.”
“How come I ain’t never seen ‘em around here before?” Brian whispered to his older cousin who had been quiet this whole time.
“They live in Charlotte,” Rosco informed his younger cousin. The older Duke female came from around the dark wooden counter to stand next to Bo and Luke. Daney and the blond visitor approached at that moment.
“Hey cousins, you remember Joey?” Daney asked.
“Nice seeing you again,” both Bo and Luke said. Then each shook hands with him. Daisy gave the young man a hug. “What are you doing in town?”
“I stopped at the farm and your uncle told me y’all were here,” Joey replied. He turned his attention to the Sheriff and brunette waitress. “You must be Rosco and MaryAnne. It’s a pleasure to meet y’all.”
“Yeah, how did you know who I was?” MaryAnne’s inquired.
“Daney sent Haley some photographs,” Joey answered.
Rosco cleared his throat. “Daney, you forgot someone?”
“No cousin, she’s saving the best for last,” MaryAnne saw Daney’s cheeks were a nice pink shade. Bo, Luke and Daisy also noticed but said nothing.
“That fella next to the Sheriff is Brian. Haley may have told you about him,” Daney half grinned. “Brian, this is Haley’s brother, Joey.”
“Nice to meet you,” the dark haired Coltrane grinned and slowly extended his right hand out for a more formal greeting.
“Same here,” Joey extended his left hand, they shook.
Brian guessed the young man was nervous. Green blue eyes looked precariously at him. “What made you wanna visit these turkeys?” He teased and jerked a thumb toward Bo and Luke. That sent everyone within hearing distance but the Duke boys into hearty laughter. When that was done, MaryAnne and Daisy served them a round of drinks.
“Anything going on this weekend?” The visitor inquired.
Rosco beat everyone to a response. “Just a race my cousins got snookered into.”
“Along with a few others,” Luke added and took a sip from his beer bottle.
“How did a pretty lady like you manage to get hoodwinked?” Joey stared at the attractive woman behind the bar counter. He understood why Daney never wanted to be away from home.
“It was the annual Ridgerunner Association get together. And we were all having a good time when Jesse and the county commissioner got into a little tiff,” MaryAnne paused and looked toward the Duke cousins to see if any of them wanted to tell the story.
Brian observed each of them nod respectfully before his female cousin spoke again.
“It was just gonna be the fellas when Miss Lulu suggested that Daisy, Daney and I be allowed to join,” MaryAnne smiled.
“We kinda of upped the ante,” Bo said. “If me and Luke win, MaryAnne’ll have to wear a shirt style she isn’t fond of. Brian’ll have to wear plaid,” The blond Duke smirked.
“If MaryAnne wins, the boys’ll have to work as servers at the costume cotillion,” Daisy added.
“Did you shake on it?” Joey was familiar with some of the customs.
“Yep,” MaryAnne glanced to Brian. He had nearly choked on a handful of popcorn when his dark eyes witnessed the Ridgerunner way of handshake.
Brian crossed his arms over his chest and made sure he had the visitor’s attention. “You tell me what you would do seeing two chicks you think you know… spit on their hand, shake and then wipe their palm on their jeans.”
“They knew a little too much about white lightning,” Joey smiled. “It was nice to meet and see ya’ll again but I gotta head out.”
“Take care,” Bo and Luke walked over to the dart board. Rosco headed to Boss’s office.
“I’ll walk with ya… never know who’s lurking around this dump,” Brian spoke casually. Perhaps Joey could provide the answers to a few harmless questions he had. Different experiences shaped a person’s point of view. MaryAnne and Daisy began to serve customers again as the two men walked outside.
* * *
“You do this often?” Brian asked the Duke boys. The cousins sat on a workbench in front of the Hazzard Garage bay doors. He had stopped for gas and figured a little conversation wouldn’t hurt any of them.
“Try too,” Luke smiled and reached a hand into the box of freshly baked donuts from the bakery up the street. The clerk always gave whoever picked them up a wide assortment of powdered, jelly filled and sprinkled.
“Hey Cooter, you order that part?” Bo got another brew from the cooler sitting on a blue oil barrel.
“Should be in no later than Wednesday,” Cooter affirmed. He sat in a beige folding chair against the office door.
“We need that for the race today!” Luke exclaimed.
Brian listened to the mechanic and Dukes argue for a moment. Then his dark eyes focused on people roaming in and out of shops, around the square. His stare finally rested on the gas pumps and vehicle that pulled up on the left side behind the General Lee. Diablo sat on the right side.
“Aaron?” The Duke boys hollered to the grey shirt and black pants attired blond driver and scramped to their feet, along with Cooter.
“Hey fellas, I was just on my way out to the farm when I seen that orange pumpkin y’all claim is a stockcar.” Aaron laughed. He stepped over to the boys and Cooter. “So how has everyone been?” He asked.
“Good- You remember Cooter?” Luke gestured to the town mechanic dressed in a sleeveless beige work shirt and greasy blue jeans.
“Good to see you again,” both Aaron and Cooter said, then shook hands.
“What brought you all the way from Charlotte?” Bo questioned.
“I need to tell Daney something,” Aaron answered.
“Ahem,” Brian cleared his throat loudly. He was curious why he hadn’t been introduced and wasn’t about to let it go unnoticed any longer.
“Sorry Brian,” The older Duke looked at him, then back to the visitor. “Aaron, this is Sheriff Coltrane’s cousin, Brian.”
“I’ve heard nothing but good things about Rosco,” Aaron said. “Haven’t met him, my sister did.”
Brian smiled. “Don’t suppose you’ve heard of me?”
“Haven’t talked to Daney in a long time,” Aaron paused. “There’s an update on a case she and Haley worked on.”
Luke spoke before anyone else could. “Which one?” he said protectively.
“You know that’s an attorney client privilege,” the lawyer replied.
Brian found the tension between the two amusing. “Only if you’re her attorney,” Bo said. He remembered that from a conversation between Daney and Haley. How it would be a conflict of interest for any relative or friend to represent the agency. “And you weren’t.”
Aaron nodded. “Yeah,” he turned toward Luke. “There’s some paperwork involved. You can go out to the farm with me?”
“No one is home,” the older Duke answered. “Me and Bo really need to get the General ready for the race.”
Bo glanced at Cooter. “Isn’t that one junkyard open until one pm?”
“Yeah, it is.” Cooter looked at the city attorney. “You could leave the paperwork here. Daney’ll be dropping off Hunter for the pre race exam.”
He turned and looked at Brian. “Gosh, Brian. I’m sorry to keep you waiting.” Bo walked inside the garage and Luke escorted Aaron over to his vehicle.
“It’s all right,” Brian said.
And that was the scene Rosco saw when he parked his patrol car in front of the police station. An out of town car moving away from the gas pumps, Luke wandering into the garage with papers in one hand. Cooter putting gasoline into a late sixties model Chevy’s tank.
* * *
“Take care, bye.” Daney hung the receiver back in the cradle. She started to turn when two hands gently grabbed her shoulders.
“Who was that?” A male voice questioned huskily.
“How did you get did in here?” Daney returned the inquiry with one of her own.
“I asked you first- the front door wasn’t closed and most of the windows are open, heh.”
A smile came over her face and she turned to him. Green brown eyes stared into the dark ones gazing mischievously. “That was a friend.”
“Oh?” Brian tried not to look interested.
“Yes. Laura,” Daney brought her hands up to rest on the dark haired Coltrane’s broad shoulders. “What are you doing here?”
“I figured y’all would have an advantage, an unfair one I might add.” Brian stated his grievance.
“Yeah, they will.” A gruff voice echoed through the room. Brian and Daney looked over to see Jesse standing in the archway. He reached a hand up to his beard. “You interested in how to beat them at their own game.”
Brian nodded politely. The elderly farmer hadn’t said help, suggestions or advice like most folks would’ve. “Yes, sir.”
Jesse smiled and his eyes shined brightly like the twelve o clock sun rays that were coming in the windows behind him. “That’s a right fine car ya got. He’d probably’ve been a good runner.”
The elderly gentleman paused seeing the twosome grin. Their complete attention was on him, he continued. “Now those boys of mine’ll be out to win from the first moment. The girls’ll try to be a little more conservative, seeing how you still wanna have a vehicle at the end of this. Where your trouble might be is all the short cuts. Stay behind the leader until you got enough to pass for the finish line without anyone else getting that same advantage if possible.”
“Thank ya, Mr. Duke,” Brian smiled shyly.
“You just call me Jesse. I never did cotton to being called mister.”
“Another thing that’ll help is if you work with another driver to keep the other vehicles in back of you. Or if someone don’t mind losing… they could run blocker,” Jesse chuckled.
“I don’t think that’ll be a problem.” Brian winked at Daney. She blushed and turned her attention to the door where Boss Hogg was standing. The portly county commissioner was dressed in a short sleeve thin cotton shirt and lightweight khaki pants. What was left of his hair stuck out under a wide brim straw hat.
“C’mon Jesse,” Boss said.
Jesse shook his head. “Brian, if you wanna learn some road tricks, I’d be glad to show you after me and J.D. get back from checking the race route over,” Jesse smiled. “If you help Daney clean the barn out, I’d be much obliged.”
Actually the boys were supposed to but Bo and Luke had done her chores this morning. She had gone to see a double feature at the Starlite Six and ended up staying the night. The long haired brunette Duke wrinkled her nose. “Why would he want to do that when MaryAnne, Daisy or me can show him?”
“I’ll do it,” Brian stated.
“Alright, see you when we get back.” Jesse grabbed his red cap off the counter and walked over to the door where Boss was waiting impatiently.
“You’re gonna leave him alone here?” Boss asked.
“I trust ‘em,” Jesse glanced to Brian and Daney, then winked. “‘Sides there aren’t anything for him to take.”
“Bye Uncle Jesse, Boss… y’all be careful.” Daney and Brian waved. They stood there quietly until the rumble of Jesse’s truck was heard, tires rolling over the dirt and rock driveway.
“Would you like to change into something of the boys’?” Daney asked.
Brian’s eyes widened and he leaned forward until his nose was touching Daney’s. “You want to see me in plaid?”
“No! I just don’t want to see you ruin your clothes. The barn can be very messy,” Daney replied.
“I’m sure it’ll be alright,” Brian paused and a wolfish grin came over his face. “There are other things to do aren’t there?”
* * *
“This car doesn’t run too bad.” Cooter commented. His blue eyes looking over Hunter’s engine. The dark green early 70s model Plymouth Duster sat in the bay of the Hazzard Garage. Daisy had brought him over after dropping Daney off at the farm and finishing some errands. He was the last vehicle that needed to be inspected to enter the race.
“Not for an A51 package. If he had a 440 instead of that 318, Hunter might put the General to shame.” Luke had a gleam in his crystal blue eyes. The expression in Bo’s dark blue eyes matched. “Why don’t we surprise her?”
“Oh no,” Daisy crossed her arms over her chest. “You fellas just get that thought out of your heads. He’s all original including his paint scheme.”
“It was just an idea.” Luke stated quietly.
“You better get another one.” Daisy recommended.
“Say Cooter, what ya got for Daisy?” Bo asked.
“Let’s go look.” Cooter answered.
The foursome walked to the back. Bo was glad that Luke had been talked out of his idea. The youngest Duke sighed. He wished the General was still original. Every time you modified or changed a part on a vehicle, it either increased or decreased the automobile’s value.
* * *
Daney placed the pitchfork back in its spot amongst the various tools that had been accumulated over the years. Each had a purpose. Some had come in handy when dealing with criminals.
“That didn’t take too long,” Brian commented from the hayloft. His long legs dangled over the top steps. He had come up to latch the hay door.
“It usually doesn’t if you got help, thanks.”
“Nice view up here- you know there are rumors your cousins bring chicks up here.”
“That’s why it’s normally their job to clean this all up,” Daney walked over to the ladder.
“Your uncle don’t get upset with ‘em?” Brian asked curiously. Dark eyes watched the brunette Duke climb the steps carefully.
“No, he’d rather know where to find ‘em in case of emergency,” Daney said.
“Ooo,” Brian felt a hand innocently brush his knee when she sat beside him. “Daisy ever brought a guy out here?”
“Yeah,” Daney admitted reluctantly.
Brian smiled and put an arm around her back protectively so she wouldn’t fall. It was a good nine feet to the dirt floor.
Daney reacted naturally to the parlous touch. She leaned her head back to lay on his left shoulder, her right cheek touching the black shirt’s collar. The material had a deep smoky odor; the skin above was a faint musk scent.
A light and delicate fragrance of wildflowers from the brunette hair hit his nose when Daney moved. It was heavenly compared to the manure that had been shoveled out into the corn field. Brian reached his other arm around her waist to pull her closer. The worst she could do was push him off the edge. He highly doubted that would happen.
The sudden contact of his hand on her hip startled Daney and her knees trembled for a moment. She didn’t want to misconstrue its intent. Hesitantly, she cast a curious glance at him.
Brian studied her expression for a moment and placed a hand on her forehead. His fingers brushed the feathery bangs back, then he leaned his head down until his lips gently pressed against her lips.
Daney raised her arms up and placed her hands on Brian’s cheeks. Her eyes closed as the intoxicating kiss continued, until she pulled away to catch her breath and laid her head in the middle of his chest. She brought her hands down to his shoulders and sighed contently.
It was too quiet for Brian. He began to whistle ‘Don’t Misunderstand Me’ by Rossington Collins Band. He paused in mid song to plant an innocent kiss on the back of her neck, his breath stirring the long brunette hair.
“Uh huh,” Daney murmured a line from the song and rubbed her face into the black shirt and squeezed his shoulders.
Brian stopped whistling as her arms came around his waist in a gentle embrace. The hand that had been wrapped in some of her hair, slid fingertips down her cheek and cupped her chin, then gently stroked her cheek until hazel eyes stared into his eyes.
* * *
On the other side of town, MaryAnne and Rosco were washing Maverick at the Hazzard Car Wash, no not the pond, the real one located south of Skyline Drive and north of the all night deli on Fromage Road. The practice run against Hunter and Dixie had gone extremely well.
The brunette woman was dressed in her favorite t shirt, black capris, and flip flops. “Rosco, are you ok with Brian being in the race?”
“Well of course I am.” The Sheriff was still in his uniform sans the black hat and jacket that were laying on the royal blue Firebird’s backseat. The light blue shirt sleeves and black pant legs were rolled up.
“I was just thinking maybe we should teach ‘em some of the trade.”
“Ooo, that’s a good idea!”
MaryAnne smiled. Her slim left hand placed the rag it was holding on the hood, in order to smooth some stray hairs that escaped the loose ponytail at the nape of her neck. “Then again, he does do better under pressure.”
“Don’t all Coltranes.” A wide grin crossed the Sheriff’s lips. His blue eyes gleamed proudly.
“Do you think he’s happy?”
“I hope so.”
“Yeah – how were things at the station?” MaryAnne changed the subject.
“Dull, dull, dull,” Rosco sighed. “For once, we made ticket quota in one hour.”
“I think he’s ready to go,” MaryAnne patted Maverick’s door. Her slender figure leaned down and the young woman dumped the bucket of water onto the cement. Then she placed the rag from the hood and sponge inside the white plastic container. There was two more hours until race time, which was plenty of time to take a nap and show her cousin, maneuvers and short cuts that the Duke boys might use.
* * *
Boss looked at his pocket watch, and then put it back in his vest pocket. He smiled at Lulu and Jesse. “Those nephews and nieces of yours better get here.”
“The Coltranes ain’t here either,” Jesse checked his own pocket watch. “You just make sure all this is fair and legal, J. D.”
“It will be. I have Rosco staking out the Interchange, Cletus watching 76 south, Enos covering 421 and Clyde from the Impound Lot stationed at the route 7 and 11 marker,” Boss confided.
“I hope nothing goes wrong,” Miss Lulu fretted.
“Shoot fire and a box matches, it’ll be alright. I checked all those cars over myself and made sure the cbs work.” Cooter informed Mrs. Hogg.
Lulu smiled and raised the flag. “Look, here they come now!”
The General Lee, Maverick and a maroon early seventies Plymouth roadrunner and five other vehicles of various hues and manufacturers pulled up to the chalk line in the dirt out front of the livery stable near the Boar’s Nest.
“Alright, we’re gonna start now.” Boss yelled through the megaphone he had been holding. Engines revved, pipes rumbled and drivers tightened their grip on their vehicle’s steering wheel.
Jesse raised the starter’s pistol and fired it in the air, the green flag fell. Diablo and Hunter snuck pass the other entrants.
“Double Damn!” Luke exclaimed and grabbed the cb.
“Where did they come from?” Bo wondered out loud, his foot still on the brake.
“Go or we’re gonna lose ’em before we even get off the line.” Luke urged. The black Chevy and dark green Plymouth were almost out of sight. Daisy in the roadrunner and the royal blue Pontiac with sliver striping and hood bird leaving the other vehicles in a cloud of dust.
MaryAnne chuckled after a glance in the side mirror revealed the General Lee still on the line. Maverick’s speedometer was creeping toward sixty. She estimated the Impala and Duster were traveling at not that much faster than her vehicle. She tightened her grip on the wheel and put the ‘pedal to the metal’.
Hunter, Diablo, the Firebird and unnamed Roadrunner breezed past the Route 7 and 11 checkpoint minutes later. The orange Dodge with 01 on its doors no where in sight when Clyde reported into Boss. The county commissioner was with Jesse and Lulu, the threesome sat in his white caddy.
Cletus barely heard the transmission over his hand held radio when the royal blue Firebird came screaming by, a green Plymouth and black Impala hot on its trail. He flipped the dial to see if any of ‘em was jawing on the net. The maroon Plymouth cruised along just then. He burst out in rowdy laughter hearing…
“Scout, what are you running on?”
“The good stuff, Songbird.”
“Where did you get that?” The voice sounded like Daisy err Bo Peep.
“At the garage,” Scout replied.
“So that’s where you two were when I called the farm!” Songbird exclaimed.
“Maybe,” Blackbird’s reply broadcasted over the airwaves. Hunter maneuvered a sharp curve then Diablo, Maverick and the roadrunner. The General Lee still hadn’t caught up to the leaders when they passed Enos leaning on a patrol car driver door. He radioed in to Mr. Hogg like he was suppose to, and then made another call. “Lost Sheep, what’s wrong with you fellas?”
“Bo though he’d take one of his shortcuts, got sidetracked by Miss Mabel’s RV,” Lost Sheep 1’s tone of voice was more of a snicker than anger. “The other cars got in a wreck.”
“Oh good grief,” Rosco muttered hearing Lost Sheep 2’s mild cursing. That was probably the only thing that would stop the Duke boys from winning a race. He reached down for the cb on the passenger floorboard. He brought the mic to his face and clicked the talk button. “This is Hazzard One calling Scout.”
“Yes, sir?” Daney’s voice came though the box on the dash board as Rosco seen the lead vehicle coming over the hill in his rearview mirror.
“You didn’t play dirty pool by paying Miss Mabel and her girls to distract your cousins?” The Sheriff asked.
“Rosco,” Daisy interrupted.
“Bo Peep…” He warned politely.
“Cousin,” Songbird said. “You know Jesse don’t like ‘em to play dirty pool against each other.”
“Is this a social or a race?” Blackbird interrupted. Hunter, the other Plymouth, Maverick and his cherished Diablo had slowed down after some hazardous curves on 76 south. The General had almost caught up.
“I can arrest y’all for impeding traffic,” Rosco teased his cousins and the Dukes while they drove by him. He guessed about seventy miles an hour. His blue eyes held amusement seeing the Plymouths, Pontiac and Chevy execute prefect bootlegger turns.
“Judas Priest On A Pony,” He hollered as lit firecrackers flew out of the Firebird’s driver side t top, the passenger window of Hunter and the Roadrunner’s driver window.
Bo and Luke were thankful the General Lee was behind the black Impala for once and figured the girls just did that for amusement.
Brian weaved the Chevy in between the two Plymouth muscle cars. He pressed his foot down on the accelerator. The Impala cruised up along the Pontiac. He let off his foot ease off the accelerator long enough to wave at his cousin. Then slammed his foot on the pedal.
Rosco watched Diablo take the lead. The Dodge Charger was just out of sight when he called the results into his little fat buddy.
Daisy waited until they were all passing Cletus on a straight and narrow stretch of 76 north before pushing two lever switches under the steering column. The Roadrunner shot past Hunter, Maverick and Diablo.
Daney’s hands jerked the wheel to avoid the oil slick, her cousin left in hasty departure. When Hunter was safe again, she grabbed the cb mic. “That was a rotten trick, Pretty Maiden.”
“You and MaryAnne said to teach Brian some of the trade.”
The Duke boys let out a collective groan hearing Daisy laugh. Bo checked the instrument panel and pressed his foot until he felt the pedal on the floor. Luke grabbed the cb after checking what the gauges read. “That was considerate of ya, but they should black flag you for using nitrous oxide.”
“You two are just sore because you didn’t think that or the firecrackers,” Daisy threw the cb down. Her hazel eyes focused on the finish line about thirty five hundred feet away.
Daney glanced at the Duster’s gauges to check how much fuel was left. It was fine. She shook her head when black smoke billowed from the Roadrunner’s tailpipe. She reached to close the window, so the odor wouldn’t permeate Hunter’s interior.
MaryAnne winkled her nose as the wind blew the smoke over Maverick’s engine hood but not over the t tops. Her blue eyes focused on the finish line.
Brian glanced in the rearview mirror and caught sight of the General Lee almost on Diablo’s rear bumper. His dark eyes noticed there wasn’t a lot of time to overtake Maverick about two car lengths away or the Plymouths battling it out. Alright, everyone else had used their acquired skills and knowledge. He picked up the cb mic with one hand while his other hand steadied the steering wheel. He grinned. “Hey Daney, what was that song we heard last night on the radio?”
“Slow Ride! Woo!”
The General jerked to a tire spinning, locked up brakes abrupt stop. Maverick, Hunter and Diablo crossed the finish line, the checkered flag fell. The Roadrunner had stalled out about nine yards from the finish line.
Bo and Luke looked at each in shock and then crawled out the orange stockcar’s windows. They stalked toward their cousin. She stood laughing with the Coltranes and Daisy.
“I can’t believe she did that,” Bo grumbled.
“You didn’t have to stop- it was probably just a joke,” Luke insisted. That was what it sounded like to him. He raised a hand and waved to a blonde woman. She stood away from the crowd of folks, who were gathering around MaryAnne, Brian and Daisy. Bo noticed the woman and waved too.
Brian’s eyebrows arched seeing Daney walk toward the woman. He nudged his female cousin. MaryAnne’s attention was on the rest of the Duke family.
Rosco took in the whole scene as he, Cletus and Enos arrived. MaryAnne blushing at the accolades the Duke boys were giving her and Daisy. A proud smile came over his lips. He raised his hands to adjust the black Stetson atop the salt and pepper hair.
Daney took a peek over her shoulder, Bo and Luke’s protests were loud and everyone was listening. She turned around and ran back to the group after a back handed wave for the woman to follow her.
MaryAnne was ready to leave. Bandit and Flash had been left at home for safety purposes. She was glad no one had gotten injured and the Duke boys would be fine when they calmed down. The brunette Coltrane smiled seeing Daney walk up behind one of her cousins. She brought her hands up to cover her expression.
“Daisy, look who’s here.” Daney announced cheerfully to get everyone’s attention. She paused and grinned. “Haley, you remember the Sheriff?”
The blonde woman attired in jeans and short sleeve top nodded. “Nice to see you again, sir.” She smiled and glanced to the young blue eyed woman. “You must be MaryAnne. It’s an honor to meet you.”
MaryAnne extended her hand and they shook. “So what brings you to Hazzard?”
“An update on a case,” Haley glanced at her brunette friend. “You talk to Aaron today?”
“He left some papers at the garage,” Daney then changed the subject and motioned toward a friend. “I’d like you to meet MaryAnne and Rosco’s cousin Brian.”
“Hi,” The blonde woman’s green eyes looked the brunette man dressed in black over. “Joey and Aaron mentioned him.”
“Nothing bad,” Brian glanced at Rosco and MaryAnne.
“What are you doing here, Haley?” Daisy repeated the question MaryAnne had already asked. She didn’t feel they’d been given a complete answer. Her cousins appeared to be thinking the same thing. At least that’s what she gathered from the look on the boys and Daney’s faces.
“It’s also Deference & Reverence Holiday,” Haley replied.
“I thought it was Valentine’s Day,” Bo said.
Luke snapped his fingers. “Oh, yeah.”
Brian looked at the oldest Duke cousin thinking he’d go into more details but none were given. He noticed that most folks had left.
“I brought you a present,” Haley pulled a long white box from the straw bag. It had been sat on the ground.
“Is this what I think it is?” Daney took the box with a smile.
Daisy grabbed the blond Duke’s pocket knife from the pouch on his belt. They had all dressed normal instead of suiting up in racing uniforms. She carefully sliced one side of the silver ribbon. Then she handed the knife back to her cousin. MaryAnne and her lifted the top off.
“Great gobs of geese goo,” Rosco exclaimed. Luke and Brian whistled in agreement.
“I thought roses were for guys to girls?” Bo asked.
“Depends on the color. Red is true love or courage. Pale pink is romance. Dark pink is gratitude or appreciation. Orange is excitement, peach is modesty. Purple is enchantment. Yellow is friendship or joy. White is innocence or reverence.” Daney paused to take a breath. She saw the boys’ arch their eyebrows at the last word. “Respect or admiration. Thank you, Haley.”
“You’re welcome,” Haley replied. “Nice to have that case closed?”
Daney nodded. “Um hum,” the reply was mumbled. “Can you stay awhile, there’s a shindig in a few hours.” MaryAnne said.
“I’d like to but I can’t,” Haley answered.
“Maybe next time,” Rosco feigned a yawn. “It was nice seeing you again.” He motioned for his younger cousins to follow him. So the Dukes could speak more privately if they wanted.
* * *
The civic club had been decorated by professionals. Expensive lantern lighting was strung from the rafters, vases filled with every flower imaginable sat on every table. There was a band and dance area beside them.
One table held the pitchers of lemonade, jugs of tea, kegs of beer, bottles of root beer and cans of pop. There also appeared to be some fixings for mixed drinks. All sorts of vittles.
MaryAnne stood on the balcony looking down at the crowd. She was dressed in a short sleeve white satin blouse, ankle length maroon velvet skirt and flats. Her hands were folded and rested on the railing. She felt something gently press into her back.
“Stick ‘em up!” A voice ordered politely.
“Uh,” MaryAnne raised her arms. “I don’t have my wallet with me. It’s downstairs in the coat room with the hatcheck clerk.”
“That ain’t what I want…” The person answered. “Turn around, please.”
MaryAnne turned slowly. Blue eyes widened and her jaw dropped in surprise. “You!”
A black silk shawl hung over the taller brunette’s shoulders. The rest of her attire was a silk spaghetti strap top, knee length skirt and high heels that were the same color as the wrap. Daney pulled the red bandana down that covered her mouth with one hand. The white box was under her other arm. “Yeah- your cousin made a suggestion.”
“Did not,” Brian stepped out from the shadows wearing a black dress shirt and pants that appeared like they had just been picked up from the cleaners. Shiny black leather boots and belt with silver buckle completed his outfit. He asked while untying the bandana. “It was Rosco.”
MaryAnne smiled. “You two look nice.”
“So do you,” Brian grinned and put the bandana in a pocket.
Daney nodded in agreement. She glanced over to see her cousins coming up the stairs. “Just who I was looking for!”
“Oh uh,” Bo and Luke said. The brunette was dressed in a red western shirt and pale blue jeans. The blond had dark blue jeans, white short sleeve shirt and brown vest.
“Relax, I got these flowers to share.” Daney put the box on the railing and raised the top. “I already gave one to Rosco, Cooter, Enos, Cletus, Jesse and Daisy,” She picked one out. It flew over her left shoulder.
“Thanks cousin,” Luke caught the orange rose.
“MaryAnne, please pick one.” Daney insisted.
“Sure,” The brunette Coltrane woman looked toward her older cousin and the boys for a moment, while slender fingers reached into the box. “That’s the one I was thinking to give you,” Daney smiled. MaryAnne looked to see a white rose in her hands and brought it up to her face, it smelled nice. “Thank you.”
“You’re welcome,” Daney replied.
There were three left… dark pink, red, and white.
The next one was tossed over Daney’s right shoulder. The stem almost tangled in her long hair that was hanging loosely down her back.
“Good thing you got these, I didn’t bring anything for my date.” Bo curled his fingers around the stem of the dark pink flower. “Ouch.” He muttered. The tiny thorns had pricked his skin. He lifted his finger to his mouth. Then the youngest Duke cousin headed for the stairs, Luke was already halfway down.
“You’re welcome,” Daney yelled softly at them.
MaryAnne chuckled. “I’m gonna go get a drink, would you two like anything?”
“I’m alright cousin,” Brian replied.
“Not at the moment- thank you,” Daney answered.
“Ok.” MaryAnne smiled and strolled toward the stairs.
Daney glanced down around the lower level and then up to the skylight in the roof. The stars and moon were stunning, like a wildfire. She shifted her gaze and lifted a hand to wave at Daisy and her companion, the boys over by the windows with their dates. The band was playing a lot of good southern rock tunes mixed with classic country.
Brian had stood quietly behind her with arms folded over his upper torso. “Those just for relatives and law officers?” He whispered.
“Haven’t decided which one to give you,” Daney admitted.
“Let me help,” Brian reached his hands into the box and picked the roses up. “I’ll take them both.” A grin came over his face.
“Allright,” Daney turned to look at him.
Brian brought his hands down to his sides. “Close your eyes, no peeking.”
Daney obliged the request out of curiosity. His arms wrapped around her in a strong embrace, the shawl slipped from her shoulders.
“Happy deference and reverence holiday,” Brian closed his eyes and brushed his lips across the bridge of her nose, then her lips. He was about to let go when Daney brought her arms up, hands came to rest on his cheeks, fingers brushed the bangs off his temple, then she kissed him back. They slow danced to the end of the song that was playing below.
“Happy deference and reverence holiday.” Daney whispered, brought her arms down to her sides and opened her eyes, feeling one of his hands press lightly into her right hand. She smiled shyly. “Thank you.” She clutched the stem, the bandana around it like tissue paper.
“Thank you- we probably should get downstairs before someone comes looking for us.”
“I’m surprised none of ‘em have yet. That box had to have hit someone.”
“Oooo,” Brian took a peek over the railing and shook his head. “It’s in the trashcan.” He slipped his right hand into her left hand and they walked toward the steps.
Daisy smiled seeing her cousin and Brian at the top of the staircase. She glanced over to see Bo and Luke were too busy with their dates to notice. She looked down for a second at the yellow rose she had been given earlier and then up to see which one Daney had. She couldn’t tell, she shrugged and put her arms around her date’s neck. His own arms hooked around her waist.
Daney stopped in the middle of the steps and observed the boys being their usual vigorous selves, Daisy’s date’s hands caressing the small of her back, fingers rubbing the suede belt that matched the jumpsuit style dress that hugged her cousin’s lovely figure and mouth all over Daisy’s neck.
She turned and saw Brian peering at the corner of the room where there wasn’t much lighting. MaryAnne appeared to be dancing or talking closely with a gentleman. Daney reached her hand with the white rose in it up and rubbed his shoulder. Brian squeezed her other hand.
MaryAnne saw them. ‘bout time they got their posteriors down here. She thought to herself and smiled at her admirer. “You really didn’t have to make a special trip to bring these.” She glanced down at the small box of chocolates.
“It was no trouble- thanks for a lovely time.” He paused and cleared his throat. Dark eyes looked respectfully into her blue ones. MaryAnne reached the hand that held the rose up to his shoulder. A shy smile came to his lips as she squeezed his shoulder. He reached a hand up and wrapped it around her hand. Then turned his face and brushed his lips over her fingers. “I gotta get going…”
“Take care,” MaryAnne’s hand slid off his shoulder. “You too,” he spoke in a thick city drawl.
MaryAnne glanced toward her cousins. The gentleman was half way to the door when she looked back to where he had been standing. He peeked over his shoulder to see her wave and then her graceful form walk in the direction of her cousins.
* * *