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Picking Up the Pieces


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"I ain't taking sides either Daisy girl...i'm just saying I can see where Bo's coming from but I do admit that he let his own fears from what happened the last time he got shot get in the way...I guess with good reason but...it prejudiced him a lot from the moment Cassie returned..."

Walking a little further, heading for the tranquil hospital gardens, he shook his head softly with another heavy sigh.

"I don't know....what happens next is down to the boys mainly...there aint nothing we can really do."

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"You're right Uncle Jesse," Daisy sighed. All she could do was pull Jesse's arm closer and take that comfort to get her through. It was true that no longer was whatever happened between Bo and Luke up to anyone besides themselves.

Luke had finished his first beer and ordered another one. Ted looked at him shaking his head, "You said one or two Ted, and I'm taking the limit."

After pouring Luke his second glass, Ted took a rag and cleaned out a wet glass. He almost felt sorry for Luke, but his job was to serve drinks not offer emotions.

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Eventually though, he stopped what he was doing and leant on the bar.

"You know it dont help Luke...you can run away from whatever problems you got...use whatever you like to try and escape it but eventually you'll have to face it all over again...instead of doing this...why not go talk to someone who you can just rant and rave to..."

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Luke had been in the middle of another long drink from his glass. Peering over the top, he sat the beer down. What Ted had offered as advice made sense, but if the man only knew.

"I appreciate that Ted, but I just ain't got nobody to let me rant and rave right now."

He nodded in appreciation and went to pick up his glass again.

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"Seems like you got friends enough...ol' Cooter was in here the other day askin' me if I'd seen ya recently...if I'd heard any news on how Bo was...he seems pretty concerned about ya and if I remember rightly, you two has been friends since you was knee high to grasshoppers..."

Ted countered back gently, wiping the bar down but saying knowledgably.

"Whoever you talk to...even if you just go to the church and talk yer fears to god or the preacher...its better than trying to make friends with drink...drink ain't ever gonna be a friend Luke."

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Luke nodded keeping his hand clenched around the glass, "That's kind of ya Ted. I just ain't got no fears anymore. Everything I ever feared has already happened to me."

Still he offered the bartender a smile, "I guess I could try ol' Cooter, but for right now I just want to enjoy my beer."

Once again, Luke took a drink of his beer. Somehow he had perfected the preservation of the beer in the glass while drinking his content. A glass for Luke could last a while, if he'd let it.

"Do you know what I decided today?" The question caught Ted off guard a little, but questions like that weren't unusual coming from the other side of the bar.

"I decided that love ain't worth it. I ain't seein' Cassie anymore not that I'd been seeing her since she got back. She wasn't here too long before everything went all to hell anyways."

His head dropped a little, as his eyes floated to his half empty glass. "Biggest decision I ever had to make in my life."

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Ted sighed a little, shaking his head.

"Are you sure its the right one...I mean I know that things with Cassie are hard and...heck maybe its not the best pairing anyway. But you can't give up on love completly...when you find it...properly and truly find it...its the best feeling in the world. Everyone has disasterous relationships, its normal...but you cant just give up just because something didn't work out..."

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Looking up at Ted, Luke simple nodded, "It's decision I've made. Now, I ain't sayin' that I won't still see a woman, but love just ain't in the cards for me. It doesn't have anything to do with Cassie, Ted."

He paused long enough to take another drink from his glass. It was as if he needed the beer to say what he had to say next to Ted.

"It's just nothing's gonna be alright with my family, if I continue to stay close to her. Even now, I just tell her hello and goodbye at the hospital."

As soon as he said that he fell quiet, he just remembered that he hadn't told her goodbye. That was the one thing that he promised her and he didn't do it.

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"Between you and me, Ted, we can't just be friends. There's too much history, too much love. We'll be in love until it kills us both."

Luke shrugged one shoulder and chugged the rest of his beer. The simple action of sitting his glass down seemed to be the most important thing to him that moment. Luke's face retained a look that seem satisfied, and Ted seemed surprised.

"I don't have that way with words. Cassie wrote that in a letter she mailed me a year ago."

He paused.

"Family's a funny thing. I don't want to impress 'em." Luke let his head move from side to side very slowly. "I'll be her friend for Bo's sake. I figure she'll get out of this town anyway. She's got too much talent to stay here. She'll make it one day."

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Ted nodded a little, taking his glass to be washed but still talking with him as he went around his daily job.

"Well...why don't you help her get started then if you say she's back on course as she should be. You have connections within that area...you know a Miss Candy Dix...Waylon Jennings has said he'd help you out...i've been here a long time, seen the kind of people you have connections with...prove to your family and Bo that she can be trusted, get her back with better social circles...then see what happens from there."

He was just throwing ideas from the top of his head, having seen before what had happened to Luke with drink and the amounts he could have when he was upset. He had heard about the troubles the family were encountering and like everyone else in Hazzard - he wanted to help any way he could.

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Seeming to take in all of Ted's advice, Luke kept nodding slowly. The act of being Cassie's friend was something that he was willing to do, but he knew for both of their sake's that they had to keep distance between them. He figured she'd be the one to do that, if she was able to beat the system in a lawful manner.

"I could do that. I'll let her think of it as repayment for taking the bullet for me." He smiled softly to himself.

The dim lights of the bar took a toll on Luke's eyes and he stifled a yawn. Many times he'd stumbled out of the building half tired, half drunk. Sometimes that was just the ugly truth that accompanied the humanity of everyone.

"Thanks Ted. Have a good one."

Without warning, Luke got up and headed for the door. He was heading back to the hospital.

Upon entering the parking lot, the roar of the General Lee did not disturb anyone. He's arrived back at a place that he'd just rose hell trying to get out of. He figured that it was time to do a little more talking. It was time for everyone to do a little more talking.

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Jesse and Daisy had made their way out the hospital and were sitting quietly in the peaceful gardens, just watching everyone else going about their lives. The occasional ambulance sometimes broke the peace but it soon was restored again and he and Daisy could listen to the birds singing their carefree tune once more. It was nice in the midst of chaos to find a time to just sit, relax and be at peace with the world...

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