Chapter 1: A letter from the Captain
Okay, once again. I don't own DOH. Captain Hart along with any characters that you do not recognize are my own. Unfortunately, that doesn't include the infamous Duke Boys. This story follows after Words Spoken in Jest and it would help to read it to follow along. Jebb Duke lives in Hazzard now and is married to Bo's long lost sister Kira who he was practically engaged to before learning of the relation. There, long story short. Love the reads, greatly appreciate the reviews.
Please take the time to let me know what you think, good or bad; even if the story is completed by this time. I welcome constructive criticism along with encouragement. R&R, ENJOY!
Luke walked out of the post office with the mail for the farm and headed over to where Bo was waiting in the General Lee. Their orange stock car that they'd built from the engine up and had won nearly every race that they'd ever entered with it. Flipping through the envelopes Luke found one with his name on it.
SGT. LUKAS K. DUKE
176 OLD MILL POND RD
HAZZARD, GEORGIA 55169
Only one person still addressed him as Sergeant. It meant that the letter was from his old Marine friend, Captain Hart. He'd not gotten a letter from Hart in months; something that had him concerned since he and the captain had been keeping in touch by letters for years. Ever since Luke left the Marines the two had exchanged at least one letter a month, sometimes two, faithfully. Luke was one of the captain's few friends stateside; having grown up a Marine Brat being the child of General Hart.
Luke had been surprised by the instant bond that grew upon meeting while Hart was in officer's training when Luke had been drafted and went to Paris Island for Boot Camp. As a rule, enlisted personnel didn't associated with officers, or vice versa, but this was one instance that the rule was broken and the two became instant friends despite the obvious differences in their backgrounds.
Bo glanced over at the mail as he drove and saw the letter that had jumped to the top of the pile. He knew that Luke hadn't heard from the captain since earlier in the year and his cousin had become concerned for his old Marine pal. Bo also knew that his cousin was barely keeping himself from tearing the letter open right there in the General; even though Luke only read his Marine friend's letters alone. He was careful to not bring his life as a Marine home with him. Going so long without hearing from his friend though, Luke had started to act just a bit antsy; various possibilities of why the sudden stop in correspondence going through his head.
"A letter from Joe?" Luke nodded in response to his cousin's question. "Go ahead and read it. It's not like I can read over your shoulder while I'm driving anyway."
Luke studied the letter and glanced back at his cousin before opening the letter and began to read it.
I'm sorry that I haven't been able to write in a while. I'm glad that things have worked out so well for your cousins. Though I couldn't help but laugh at the thought of you babysitting! Some tough Marine you are now; getting worn out by a couple of infants. You've gotten soft by civilian life, Duke. But I guess it was bound to happen eventually. Next thing you know, you'll be predicting the weather by the aches in your bones. Just kidding, Old Man. I suppose I should be calling you Mother Goose instead, now, huh?
Anyway, I suppose I owe you an explanation behind the delay in my response to your last letter. I told you that my unit was stationed at an embassy in the Middle East now. Well, things never are calm there, even when there isn't technically a war going on in the area. That point was proven when the embassy was a victim of a stray mortar shell. And yes, it seems that I've developed your bad habit of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
I was in the embassy and was injured in the process when it was hit. I'm all healed up by the time that you get this letter so don't bother worrying about me. You worry enough about that family of yours, as it is. You don't need to add me to that list. Unfortunately, I'm being discharged due to medical reasons. I caught some shrapnel in the abdomen and my face got some collateral damage; though I suppose that's no real big loss for the world. I had feared that I'd lose my sight in my right eye but everything is healing up well enough now.
I've been a Marine all of my life and I'm not sure what I'll do once I'm back stateside. I suppose I'll think of something though. I'll be getting things in order soon. I'll be in Albany, Georgia until I figure out what to do. Though I'm sure that the general will have an idea or two about what he thinks I should do. Of course since I have none of my own I guess it wouldn't hurt to hear a few of his out.
I'd better head on out. I'll write as soon as I get back stateside. Hope things are well in Hazzard and that it hasn't been living up to its name lately.
Talk to you later, Lukas,
Cpt. J. Hart
Luke finished reading over the letter and stuffed it back into its envelope. He was glad to have heard from his friend but knew that having to get used to civilian life wouldn't be easy for the Marine who has only known the discipline of the Corps. He hoped that his friend would be able to handle the big change in life.
Luke couldn't wait to get out of the Marines and get back to the farm that had been his home all of his life. Hart hasn't ever had a place like the farm to call home. Having spent a lifetime, literally, bouncing from one military base to another. It looked like his friend was about to start a whole new chapter in life.
Over dinner at Jebb's house, the family discussed how the crops were doing, the upcoming races, and of course Bo informed the family that Luke had finally heard from his Marine buddy. Jesse was glad that Luke's friend was alright. He knew that although his oldest hadn't said anything, he'd begun to worry when he'd not gotten a letter in four months.
"Well, since your friend is gonna be around, why don't you invite him out to the farm, Luke. There's always room for an old friend," Jesse said as they all gathered into the living room after the meal was finished and cleaned away.
"Yeh, Luke. It'd be nice to see someone from your time in the Marines that isn't here to tie the rest of us up and kill you."
Kira looked up from nursing one of the babies at Bo's comment. "Say what?"
Bo went on to tell his sister then how one of the men that their cousin had helped to incarcerate while in the Marines escaped with the intent of carrying out a vendetta against the man who had played a large role in his capture. There was one other time when an old pal that had stolen money and hidden it in Hazzard and enlisted Luke's and the family's help in finding it only to turn on them once they'd gotten it.
Kira listened intently at the story along with the others that were pried from her cousin. The telling of the stories piqued Kira's interest, though. Especially the ones that included Luke's friend, Joe Hart. She watched his face carefully as she got him to tell a couple more stories, and since she'd never heard them before, he'd humored her. When Luke helped her take the twins upstairs, she turned to him after both boys were settled into the crib together.
"I think Uncle Jesse's right. You should ask Captain Hart out. Invite her to watch the next race so you can show off for her."
"I don't know, Kira. I-"
Kira laughed when her cousin stopped mid-sentence and looked at her in surprise.
"How did you know that the captain is a woman?"
"Have you forgotten that I used to be one hell of a defense attorney? I learned a long time ago to listen to what's not said on a witness stand right alongside what is said. Luke, I've not been out of the courtroom for so long that I can't still pick up on the cues that you've been giving tonight."
"Like what?" Luke asked defensive since in all of the years since he'd been out of the Marines, none of the others had ever picked up on it. Shoot, if Jesse suspected that he'd been keeping up with a woman by mail for so long, he no doubt would try to turn the relationship into something that it wasn't. And as for Bo, well, he would have had a field day with it.
"Like the whole evening, you never once used a gender biased pronoun when referring to her. You have only referred to her as Jo, the captain, or by Hart. Never once saying he, he'd, he's or his; words like that. So? Spill." Kira put her hands on her hips as staring down her cousin waiting for him to answer her.
"Your kids ain't gonna be able to get away with anything are they?" Luke said in hopes to steer his youngest cousin away from the subject at hand.
"That's the goal. Now, are you gonna fill me in or should I tell Bo what I just learned and let him get it out of you?" Luke sighed knowing that she'd do it, too. He then began to tell about his oldest Marine friend, who just so happened to be a Woman Marine, and about their first encounter.
Luke had been looking forward to his first night away from the base on liberty since arriving on Paris Island after having been drafted. He was invited to a local disco club that was popular with the enlisted men by some of his new buddies that he'd made on base. He supposed that it would have to do and help him push some of the homesickness aside. Though none of his new friends could take the place of his friends and family back in Hazzard. Especially Bo.
He hated to admit it, but he probably missed his baby cousin more than he'd been told that Bo missed him. Ever since he'd come to the base he'd looked at every new situation imagining just how Bo would have handled them. From the drill sergeant getting up into his face, to the twenty mile hikes with full field packs; all of the way to the meaningless assignments that were designed to break the new recruits.
The friends that he'd come to town with said that the club was one of the biggest draws to the Marines in the area. It didn't really play the kind of music that he was used to but he soon began to enjoy his night out.
"Hey, Duke. You claimed that you were a bit of a ladies man in that backwoods hick town of yours. What do you say that you prove it?"
"What 'cha got in mind?" Luke smirked since they'd all been swapping stories of girls back home.
"See that blonde over there? Twenty bucks says that you can't get her to dance with you."
Luke looked over at the bar where some of Women Marines were sitting together. He'd been more than surprised to find an Officer's Training School that trained women right here, alongside the base where the men who were drafted were trained. Not that he was complaining. Luke took in the tall blonde angel as it appeared that she turned down some hapless jerk trying to make a pass at her. Of course he'd done it a bit clumsily.
"Why twenty? She got a boyfriend or something that you don't want me to know about?"
"Nah. She's unattached. I just don't think that you're that good is all."
Luke looked back at the blonde and watched as she and her friends laughed over at the bar. "Deal."
Luke picked his drink up and carried it over to the bar with him.
"Jo, can you believe that guy?"
"I know, that was the lamest pick up line that I've ever heard. I don't think that one would have even worked in high school." Joanna Hart picked up her glass and turned away from the dance floor. "Why did I let you talk me into coming here? This isn't exactly my idea of a relaxing evening."
"Oh, come on. It's fun watching all of the new guys trying to get in good with the general's daughter. Knowing that there'd be no way that they could really stand a chance, what with them being enlisted and all."
"Don't you think that we ought to give them a break? I mean, we are here because we want to be. Most of these boys are here because Uncle Sam told them that they have to be. Plus, many of them might as well be considered dead men walking. They'll be shipped to 'Nam just as soon as they finish up here."
"Give these losers a break? You've got to be joking."
Jo shook her head at her friend since she knew that she got a kick out of leading the men on that all seemed to be from Small Town USA. "It would serve you right if I left and you had to find your own way back. In fact, I'm tempted to walk out the door right now, Steph."
"But you won't," Stephanie giggled. "I think I'll go dance with the blond over there. He's kinda cute."
"You think that all of the men in here are cute." Jo shook her head in exasperation.
"What can I say? We're in the heart of Hunk City. All of these lean bodies, toned from the brutal training. And I plan to enjoy it," She answered with a wink. With that, Stephanie got up and strolled toward the young Marine of her choice.
Her chair didn't stay empty long though. A dark-haired Marine took Steph's place and he signaled the man behind the bar for a refill. Jo mentally prepared herself for yet another lame pick up line but was surprised when it didn't come from the direction that she'd expected it to. Instead, a man that she'd refused to dance with twenty minutes earlier, who'd had about another three beers since she'd refused to dance with him the last time, came up insisting that she change her mind. And he insisted while grabbing her arm, ready to drag her off to the dance floor. That was when the dark-haired Marine stepped in.
"I don't think that she wants to dance. Why don't you go find someone who wouldn't mind hitting the floor with a gorilla?"
Jo looked back at the recruit who didn't seem fazed by the fact that the 'gorilla' in question just so happened to be a corporal and he was only a Boot.
"Stay out of this, Maggot. Nobody asked you."
Jo saw the fire in the recruit's eyes. She'd expected him to jump head first without thinking. Instead he seemed to be calculating the various possibilities that were going through his head.
"Nope, they didn't. But how about I do this instead?" Luke turned to Jo and asked, "Do you want to dance with the corporal?"
Jo glanced up at between both the slightly drunk man and the recruit. "Not particularly."
"See. So I think that you should just back off."
"You gonna stop me?"
Jo looked back at the recruit who looked very much ready to stop his superior by force if need be. Jo decided that he was either extremely brave or a complete idiot. She'd better do something if she didn't want to be the cause of the young man being ripped a new one.
"He doesn't have to stop you, Corporal. I'm sure that my father would be more than just a little bit interested in your behavior tonight. Don't you? Harassing his daughter and then picking a fight with a Boot. That's some example you're setting there. How did a brig rat like you ever reach the rank of corporal anyway? So, will I be making that call to the general or are you going to be smart and walk away now?"
The threat of calling the general must have gotten through the alcohol haze of the corporal since he did indeed walk away, though not before taking a hard look at the Boot who had dared to challenge him. Once he was gone, Jo turned back to the dark-haired man to her right. Taking a good look at him, she supposed that he was attractive. Though she wasn't about to go off the deep end for every tall dark stranger like Stephanie.
"Are you a complete moron? You do realize that you could have gotten into a bit of trouble talking to him like that don't you? Are you in the habit of trying to act the part of a white knight?"
"I was raised that a man ought not harass a woman once she turns you down is all. It seemed like he didn't get taught that same lesson. It's never too late to learn em though. Did I hear you right? Your father is a general?"
Jo had to laugh when she realized that the recruit didn't know who she was. Seeing a group of guys on the other end of the club who seemed a bit too interested in her conversation with the new Marine, she had a feeling that she knew just why he'd come over. He'd just been waiting for an opportunity to talk to her without coming across as acting lame.
"I'm afraid so. Are those fellas over there with you?"
Luke glanced in the direction of the men who had taken it upon themselves to bring him to the club, and bet him that he couldn't get the general's daughter to dance. Looking at them and seeing their expressions told him that they knew just who the blonde angel was, even if he didn't. He felt like such a fool. Taking that bet when he knew that Uncle Jesse and the others could use as much money as he could send back from his pay since he wasn't there to help with the farm. He should have known that for such a high price, there was something more to this woman than just being an attractive blond that was turning away men when he walked in.
"So, you're the cherry that they brought out to play their hazing games, huh?" Jo smirked after Luke nodded.
"How much was the bet for and what was I supposed to not do so that you have to pay up?" Jo asked just a bit curious.
Luke felt like kicking himself for being taken in by the older Marines. They'd known just who they were sending him to make a fool of himself in front of.
"Twenty, twenty bucks said that I couldn't get you out on the dance floor."
Jo cocked a brow. Twenty, huh? Well she was the one who told Stephanie that they ought to give the Boots a break. Looking over at the men in the corner, Jo figured that it would be fun to pull one over on them.
"Well? Aren't you going to ask?"
"Huh? Wait a minute. Just like that?" Luke asked just a bit surprised.
"Well, you did just risk your ass to defend my honor. It seems like a fair price to pay."
Luke grinned and extended his hand to the female Marine and escorted her out to the floor and watched as the men that he'd thought were his buddies jaws all dropped.
"So, are you planning to tell me your name or should I just make one up for you."
Luke put his arms around the young woman, grateful that a slow song had begun to play since he wasn't ready to try some of the dance steps to some of the other songs that had played up until now.
"Duke, ma'am. My name is Lukas Duke. Everyone just calls me Luke."
Jo giggled, "Luke Duke, huh? Who named you, Mother Goose?"
"Trust me, I've heard it all. So, do I get to know your name in return?"
"I'm Joanna Hart. Just call me Jo. Everyone always has."
Luke's eyes lit in recognition before exclaiming, "General Hart is your father?"
"I see that it doesn't take long for his reputation to reach the newbies. Don't worry; at least a full five percent of what you've heard is an exaggeration." Jo smirked as she watched Luke process what he was told.
"Oh, that just makes me feel so much better. So I'll only end up in the brig for what, a month for putting the moves on his daughter?" Luke said causing Jo to give a slight giggle, despite the fact that she hated to giggle in front of men.
"Ah, but you forget already. I was the one to ask you to dance. Remember?"
Jo moved her hand slightly and felt the lean hard muscle beneath it. That kind of muscle wasn't a result of the training that he'd had during the weeks he'd been here. He'd had most of it before becoming a Marine. So maybe he felt a little justified in acting cocky with other men in the room when it came to being able to hold his own in a fight. By the end of the dance, Stephanie was back at the bar waiting for her while teasing some of the men around her. Jo really didn't feel like going back to the bar to where her friend was waiting and got an idea.
"Luke, what would you say if I told you that I knew a way that you can really make those bozos choke on their beer?"
"What'cha got in mind?"
"I was planning on leaving anyway. How about you escort me to my car? Then you could either come back or not and come up with some story about why you didn't. Your choice."
Luke looked back to the corner and felt a smile cross his face before winking at the men sitting at the table before turning back to Jo. "It would be my pleasure, Angel. I was getting bored here anyway."
Jo smirked as Luke extended his arm for her to take it. Glancing over at Stephanie, she knew that she'd assume that she was taking the Marine someplace private. But unlike her, she didn't have khaki fever. But she would admit that there was a bit of an attraction to the tall, dark, muscular Marine.
Too bad he was an enlisted man. The general would never approve of a romantic relationship with anyone less than an officer. Of course he'll be heading out soon. No time to really start much of a relationship anyway.
"So, are you planning on runnin' and telling everyone downstairs about Jo now?" Luke leaned against the door frame as he stared at his cousin.
"Nah. If you don't want no one else to know then I won't say nothin'. But that don't mean that I won't tease you on occasion. Come on, if we don't head on down, someone will be bound to come looking for us."
Kira watched her cousin for the rest of the evening and noticed that he seemed a bit nervous now that his secret was out. Oh yes. She could have some fun with this. Because somehow she doubted that Luke would maintain a long-term, long-distance relationship with just a friend from the Marines who also just so happened to be a woman.