A/N: This story begins after the Reunion! movie ended...For anyone who hasn't seen the movie, has forgotten it or needs a quick refresher, I have provided a short synopsis at the end of this chapter.
Secrets, Bittersweet Memories, and Dolly Parton Goodbyes
Enos has returned to Los Angeles and Daisy has returned to Duke University.
PART ONE: Once in a Blue Moon
Saturday, May 17, 1997 – Los Angeles, CA
The sun was disappearing below the horizon and the lights of Los Angeles, spread out below Griffith Observatory like a giant, endless runway, were just beginning to twinkle. A few bats darted in the periwinkle twilight and, just to the west, the Hollywood sign stood over the city like an invitation.
Behind the observatory, within the scrub brush of the hill and the forested areas beyond, the usually peaceful and quiet Griffith Park at dusk had been shattered by police sirens called to the scene where the body of a young girl had been discovered. Her battered and partially dismembered body had been found just below Griffith Observatory by park rangers. The Southern edge of the park had effectively been cordoned off including all trails and ingress/egress roads in the search areas.
Detectives Inez De Pina and Enos Strate, showed their IDs to the officer at the parking lot barricade and parked close to the trailhead. The only public access to the observatory at the top of the hill was the one leading into the main parking lot.
Lt. McCaffery, lead Homicide detective, was waiting for them when they signed in and made their way to the taped off area just outside the core crime scene. Cadaver dogs were being deployed, to search the outlying areas in every direction beyond the main perimeter for missing body parts. Markers had already been placed and a pre-searched and documented pathway to the tent had been established with metal stakes and police tape.
"We secured the observatory for about half an hour until forensics determined the victim was killed somewhere else and dumped here," McCaffery said. "ME's still making her preliminary evaluation but she estimates the girl's body was deposited here no less than four hours ago."
"How old was she, Lieutenant?" Enos asked.
"Maria estimates between twelve and fifteen." McCaffery shook his head. "No ID on or around the body. Unies are getting a list of visitors and have canvased the passengers of vehicles exiting the observatory parking lot. Greer and Torres are up there now," he pointed up to the observatory buildings with his pen, "getting the information on visitors waiting to see the," he looked at his notes, "the 8:45 show in the planetarium. The observatory admin liaison," he looked at his notes again, "Gordon Prescott, asked that we not interrupt the schedule or alarm visitors any more than is necessary. So, we barricaded the road from the entrance to where the exit meets the main park road. Traffic's been rerouted and they'll close the observatory lot at 10."
McCaffery lead the way into the tent.
Close proximity to victims' bodies was nothing new to Enos; he had seen his share growing up and in his ten years as a police officer and five months as a detective with the LAPD. But children who died by violence? That was the worst of the worst of the calls. He felt the sick rise to his throat and barely managed to force it back down. At least while he was taking notes he could concentrate on something other than the anger.
De Pina asked the medical examiner if she had any preliminary cause of death yet.
"Nothing visible. I'll know more when I get her back to the shop."
McCaffery turned the scene over to De Pina, asking for a report by 7:00 am, informing her he had to go to the scene of a drive-by.
"Maria?" Inez asked, after the lieutenant had left.
"Got it. I'll get you as much as I know before then, just be prepared to paste it in at the last minute."
"Thanks, you can send it to E," Inez turned toward Enos.
"E," De Pina beckoned. Then when she didn't receive a response, she called louder. "E!"
"Sorry, I was gettin' some thoughts down while they were still in my head."
She eyed him for a second, understanding that some of the thoughts in his head had nothing to do with making observations about the victim or the crime scene.
"Why don't you go up to the observatory and see if Torres and Greer have found anyone who saw anything."
"Sure thing," he answered flatly, stuffing his notebook and pen in the pocket of his suit jacket.
De Pina watched him as he ascended the hill, then shook her head and groaned loud enough for Maria Flores to notice. It was a good thing there were two thousand miles between her and that Duke woman.
After inquiries of the staff and maintenance crew turned up nothing substantive at the observatory, Enos asked Greer to get hold of De Pina, shaking his head at himself for being so absent minded as to leave his radio in the car.
"Inez," he said when De Pina answered.
"I'm here. You find anything?"
"Nothin' so far. I'm releasin' Torres and Greer. You gonna' be much longer?" Enos Strate's Blue Ridge Mountain accent, the thickness of which could be turned on or off at will, came and went with his mood, or necessity, or how much sleep he had lost. The dial was set on the thick side tonight.
"Looks like we'll be here awhile…why?" She knew that E was well aware of how long it was going to take before they could wrap up at the scene. Another indication that his head wasn't really in the game.
"Nothin'. Just want to look around is all, see if I can turn anything up here?"
De Pina said, "Take your time E, this poor girl's not going anywhere anytime soon."
It was 9:55 pm when Enos decided he was not going to find anything more, at least not tonight. After speaking with the technical staff, he sat through the last part of the planetarium show without conscious awareness of the content; only that it had managed to carry him out of himself for some twenty odd minutes with the intention of speaking with the narrator. Why he thought the woman might have anything to contribute he would not have been able to explain to De Pina, or anyone else for that matter. He was going through the motions. Work and routine were the only things keeping him from falling into the pit.
Three weeks had gone by since he and Daisy almost tied the knot. After all the long years, all the long, lonely years, they had nearly made it, and she had left him at the altar in front of the whole of Hazzard County.
Even after all that, he had told her he would be waiting when she grew up.
That had been when he was still riding on the ever present, addictive hope that someday she would grow up. That was only when he was in her presence, when she was flesh and blood standing near to him. By the time he finished his report at the Hazzard County Sheriff's office that Saturday, any hope he had left had given up the ghost.
He went back to the motel, packed, headed for Atlanta, dropped off the rental car and took the first plane he could book back to L.A. When the plane landed at LAX, he relied on the little bit of self-respect he had left and forced himself to walk out of the terminal, get into the first cab he could hail and go back onto the streets of Los Angeles. He knew if he had stayed or if had gone back it would be the end of him.
Now, he felt like that exploding star that had been projected onto the domed ceiling, collapsing in on itself until it became a black nothingness that sucked the life out of everything that came close to it.
He only snapped back to awareness of where he was and what he was supposed to be doing when the narrator tapped him on the shoulder.
"Detective, I'm sorry, but if there's nothing else we can do to help you tonight, maintenance wants to lock up and I need to go home."
Flustered and suddenly reverting to clumsy Hazzard deputy mode, he asked her no questions, thanked her, apologizing profusely for keeping her so late, and left the observatory as fast as he could without falling over his own feet.
Synopsis of Dukes of Hazzard: Reunion!
After being an LAPD officer in Los Angeles for the last ten years, Enos Strate returns to Hazzard during the reunion that is being held near the end of April, 1997.
Cooter Davenport is a Congressman, Boss Hogg has died and left his dubiously earned 'empire' to Rosco P. Coltrane (now Boss Rosco), Luke Duke is a smoke jumper for the US Forest Service, Bo Duke is a driver on the Nascar circuit. Uncle Jesse is still holding down the fort at the farm, and Daisy Duke is completing her graduate studies, going for a PhD in Ecology, at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina.
After summoning up the courage to ask Daisy out on a date, Enos boldly kisses her before they leave for the Boar's Nest, something that takes Daisy completely by surprise and Enos says he has been planning to do that for years, ever since she kissed him goodbye when he left for Los Angeles [the first time in 1981]..."it was worth the wait...almost."
At the Hazzard Swamp, touted as the place Hazzard folks "have used for serious courtin,'" Enos confesses that the only reason he came back to Hazzard was that, after "ten years of gang wars, shoot-outs, and a tour on the SWAT team," he has finally gotten up the courage to ask her to marry him, presenting her with a diamond ring. She accepts, although it is only after she drops the engagement ring in the grass while noticing a new species of fern.
After Daisy is kidnapped by the bad guys Mama Jo Maxx and her gang, Bo, Luke and Enos have to find her in time for the wedding that is to be held at the end of the race in front of all of Hazzard County. They outsmart the bad guys, of course, win the race and now it's time to have the wedding. Daisy is in her wedding dress, the bridesmaids, with Bertha Jo Barlow as her maid of honor. [It should be noted that the back story is about Bertha Jo and Bubba who are not only competitors in the Hazzard Strong 'Person' Contest, are in love.] The cake is delivered and Rosco begins the ceremony when a band tour bus pulls up and who should get out of it but Daisy's ex-husband, L.D.
Well, she is so overwhelmed by him showing up that she faints. When she comes to, she realizes she's not ready to get married again. Enos seems to understand, saying that she threw an apple peeling over her shoulder when he first arrived in Hazzard, landing at his feet, and it formed an 'S' for Enos Strate and that they are destined to be together. He says he will just have to wait for Daisy to grow up.
So, instead of Enos and Daisy getting married that day, Bertha Jo and Bubba are married – cake, wedding arch, bridesmaids, end everything that had been prepared for Enos and Daisy's wedding.