Chapter Seventeen

Dear Diary,

I know it's been a while since I wrote to you, and I know I really need to pay more attention to you, but life has been so crazy lately! It's a good crazy though! I don't even know where to start, so I guess I'll give you two words. Well, a name perhaps.

Daryl Dixon.

And what about this Daryl Dixon, you ask? How do I explain this man to you? Let me see if I can think of how. Let's start off with how his eyes, two stormy blue pools that I just can't pull my gaze away. He has rough and calloused hands that can feel so gentle on my bare skin, or can be rough and manhandle me when I need it.

He makes me feel like a twelve year old with her first crush all over again, like the way I felt with Jimmy when we sat next to each other in school. Here I was with train tracks on crooked teeth and long boring hair I never did a thing with. Now the metal has been taken out of my mouth, and I learned how to french braid since sixth grade, and it's been more than just a silly little crush with Daryl.

It's been real!

It's all actually happening and I feel like my head is spinning and my feet can't touch the ground. I've never experienced love before, a romantic love that I, so I don't know if this is it or not. I'd ask Maggie, but she ain't too happy with me and Daryl so I don't know if she'd be nice about it or not.

This summer is almost to it's end, in two weeks I start college at the community college here and that means I'll see Daryl less, but hopefully we can make up for lost time over the weekend. He's started to act a bit strange since that night in the barn, but I think it has something to do with the harvest season starting to wrap up. Daddy's got help coming in tomorrow, Otis and Jimmy, to help Daryl and daddy round up the cows that are going to the slaughterhouse soon. Poor things. I'm glad I'm not gonna be there for that one.

Anyways, I best be going to bed, Maggie and I have an early day at the Farmer's Market tomorrow, so let's hope we do some good business!


Beth sighed and closed her diary, setting her pen on her bedside table and sliding the book between her two mattresses. She laid down and sighed after turning her lamp off and stared up at the ceiling. She watched the shadows dance across her room as the branches from the tree outside her window swayed in the cool night breeze. She sighed in defeat and sat up, crawling across her bed to the window that looked out across the farm. Daryl's lights were still on, and she saw the faint orange glow of a cigarette end from the front steps. She rolled her eyes with a small grin before seeing a second glow. She sat up on her knees, pulling the curtain back some more and straining her eyes to see.

"Who...?" she whispered before the light of a cell phone being opened illuminated the second face, "Oh. Well, hello Merle." she murmured and moved back to her pillows. She grabbed her phone and went to her pictures, scrolling through a couple pictures of Daryl she had managed to sneak of him and smiled, laughing softly and setting it back on her bedside table.

"Daryl, you're up early this mornin'." Hershel said as he walked towards him in the barn, a younger boy following behind him.

"Couldn't sleep. I woke up when Beth and Maggie left for the Farmer's Market." he answered as he eyed the younger boy, who looked about Beth's age, as he walked up to one of the horses and started petting it, "They should be back soon, right?"

"Should be, it usually closes at around noon, but the girls never stay the whole time, only for the early morning rush." Hershel said and turned to look at the boy, "Daryl, this is Jimmy. He's helped me the past three years when it's time to separate and load the cattle for slaughter. Otis'll be out here tomorrow, but today, I'm gonna need you both to get up on the horses and help me get which cattle we're takin' into the other pasture."

"Yes, Mr. Greene." Jimmy said and tipped his cowboy hat, Daryl rolling his eyes and walking over to the horse's stall he usually used. After saddling the large black horse and led it out of the stall and waited on Jimmy to meet him outside. He pulled himself up into the saddle and pulled his water bottle out of his vest pocket, taking a long sip of the lukewarm water as Jimmy finally made his way out of the barn.

"How long ya been workin' here?" Jimmy asked as they made their way on horseback to the pasture where Hershel was waiting by the gate.

"Couple months now." Daryl mumbled and Jimmy nodded.

"You good friends with Beth and Maggie?"

"Maggie ain't too fond of me, but Beth and I get along pretty good."

"Oh, that's good. I heard how you got hired. That was one lucky decision Hershel made. Usually he don't let men with bad reputations around his girls." Jimmy said as they kept heading towards the pasture.

"That so?" Daryl asked, his grip tightening on the reigns as he resisted the urge to spook Jimmy's horse and send him flying into the dirt.

"Yeah, that's so. Maggie, usually she can hold her own, but sweet Beth, well, she looks so innocent I'm sure someone a lil' rough around the edges isn't too welcome around her. Hershel is very protective of his girls. I half expected him to be sittin' on the front porch in the rockin' chair with a shotgun in his lap when I brought Beth home from prom. You ever been to a high school prom?"

"Nah." Daryl answered, reaching up and chewing on the pad of his thumb. He swore he could hear the sly smirk pass over Jimmy's mouth.

"Ain't missin' much. Just stupid high school dances people go to to try and slip booze in the punch and get themselves lucky at the end of the night though. Too bad Beth had a curfew that night. She was beautiful, like a lil' fairy." Jimmy said and glanced over at Daryl. Nothing. Not a single response or facial expression but when he saw his eyes as he looked at him quickly, they were dark and cold.

"You men ready?" Hershel asked as they finally arrived at the pasture.

"Ready." Daryl answered before Jimmy could and led his horse through the gate.

"Hyah! Hyah!" the two sisters heard as they stepped out of the car, looking towards the pasture and smiling when they saw the three men on horseback herding the cattle. Beth walked to the back of the car and opened the trunk, grabbing one of two boxes left and walking towards the porch.

"Have you seen Jimmy since graduation?" Maggie asked as she followed her up the steps, seeing Beth shake her head, "I thought you two were datin'."

"We went to prom together, that was it." Beth answered as they hauled the boxes into the kitchen and set them on the island.

"But you were so in love with that boy a few years ago." Maggie teased with a wide smile and heard Beth laugh softly.

"That was middle school, Mags." Beth said as she pulled out jars of her mama's homemade jams and jellies, finding one they'd use for dinner that night and putting the rest back for the next farmer's market. Maggie dug out a bundle of collard greens and took them to the sink. She stuck the rest of her box full of fruits and vegetables to the side and grabbed a set of kitchen shears out of the drawer.

"There was somethin' about Jimmy I didn't like." Maggie said as she cut out the stems of the collards, rinsing the leaves and patting them out dry one by one, "He just seemed so possessive of you."

"He was just a bit jealous." Beth said as she rummaged through the fridge until she found what she was looking for, tossing the pack of thick sliced bacon onto the island and grabbing a cutting board and knife.

"Jealous was an understatement, sweetie. But who knows, people can change." Maggie said and gathered up the leaves as she heard one of the metals pots hit the stove top and the knob click into place for the burner.

"I'm not making it a habit to hang out with him. He sent me a message on Facebook asking about my class list for school, and lucky me we have two classes together." Beth said and Maggie laughed softly, hearing the knife work against the cutting board. Shortly after the sound of sizzling meat and the pleasant smell of cooking bacon greeted her nose as she used the scissors to cut up the greens.

"I've got the collards if you'll start on the cornbread. The beans should be close to done." Maggie said and nodded towards the crock pot on the counter.

"Smells wonderful in here, girls!" Hershel called from the front door, Maggie and Beth smiling at each other.

"Good! It's almost done!" Maggie called as Beth grabbed potholders and pulled the large cast iron skillet out of the oven, "Holy hell your cornbread smells so good."

"Set an extra spot at the table tonight, Jimmy's gonna be joinin' us." Hershel said from the doorway and looked over at Maggie, "and watch your tongue."

"Yes, daddy." Maggie said with a giggle as she walked past him, kissing him on the cheek as she made her way to the dining room.

"How'd it go at the market today, Bethy?" Hershel asked as he walked over to her and pat her back, Beth smiling up at him.

"It went good, we sold almost everythin'." We got some fruits and veggies left over, not much though."

"We'll send it home with Jimmy, I'm sure his mama will appreciate it."

"I'm keepin' the strawberries though." Beth said with a grin and Hershel chuckled, nodding and taking the heavy crock pot to the dining room. She turned the skillet upside down on the freshly washed cutting board and smiled when she lifted it, seeing her perfectly browned cornbread loaf on the board.

"Smells good." Daryl said as he walked into the kitchen and sat down on one of the stools.

"I guess I should have made two since we have company." she said and Daryl only grunted in response, "What?"


"You're not a fan, are ya?" she asked with a smile and he only shrugged, "He's not that bad once you get to know him." He watched as she cut the cornbread, cutting a small piece and sliding it across the island to him on a paper towel. His taste buds and growling stomach thanked her as he put it in his mouth.

"Tastes as good as it looks." he said as he stood, brushing the crumbs off of his shirt.

"Let's eat." she said with a smile and a wink.

Daryl sat on his front porch in the shadows, cleaning out the underside of his fingernails with his pocket knife when he heard the front door open to the Greene house. Jimmy walked out with his box of produce Hershel was sending with him, and Beth was behind him with some sort of container in her hands. He stopped, setting the knife aside as he watched them walk to Jimmy's truck.

"It was good seein' ya again, Beth. Ain't seen ya since graduation." Jimmy said as he opened his door after setting the box in the truck bed, "You look just as pretty as you did that day."

"Thank you." Daryl heard her mutter, her voice barely audible.

"What do you say I take you out to dinner sometime soon?" he asked, leaning against the hood of the truck. Daryl felt his eyes narrow into a cold glare before he even realized it.

"I'm not...I don't think that's a good idea." Beth said and moved around him, setting the container down on his seat.

"C'mon, Beth. I know things with us ended kinda rough, but, we can start all over again. Make things right this time."

"Jimmy, that's just not a good idea." she said and stepped away from his truck. Daryl chewed on the pad of his thumb, watching them from the shadows of his porch and messing with his lighter in his free hand. Jimmy hung his head, and Daryl could hear his sigh of defeat as he stood straight and walked up to her.

"Alright, I understand. Can I at least sit with ya when class starts?"

"We'll see." she answered and Daryl watched as he placed his hands on her shoulders, bringing his head down and kissing her cheek. He stopped his body from moving to his feet and walking over their to stomp his ass into the gravel, but a smile pulled at the corners of his mouth as he watched her wipe her cheek off when Jimmy turned to get into his truck.

"Make sure you get that food to your mama when you get home, and tell her I said hi."

"Will do. Hey, Beth?"


"Do me a favor? Be careful around Daryl."

"Why do you say that?" Daryl moved to his feet, leaning against the house as he crossed his arms. What he wouldn't give to have his crossbow right now. He could send a bolt flying right into the seat of his truck through his open window, a fair warning for the poor bastard.

"I just don't think he's as good of a guy as you think he is. Just be careful, okay?"

"Goodnight, Jimmy." she said and turned away from him. Daryl waited until the truck left, and the lights in the front of the house went out before he placed a cigarette between his lips and lit it, feeling the welcoming burn in his throat and lungs.

"Little bastard." he muttered and exhaled the smoke, watching it disappear in the cool night air.

A/N: Thank you to everyone on here and on Tumblr who have given me nothing but wonderful support through what my family is going through right now. It makes me so happy to come on here after every update and read your comments and reviews, and I just want to thank each and every one of you who take the time to read, and those who add a review. Thank you for the recommendations, and the follows and favorites. You all are nothing short of amazing. I'm sorry this update took a while, but I hope it was a decent update. Now to go snag a quick bite to eat and hit the sack. I'm dead tired. Goodnight all, and let me know what you think!