Summary: AU. Rick/Beth. Beth Greene just moved to King County to escape Atlanta and she can't stop thinking about the local sheriff deputy, Rick Grimes.
AN: A note on ages. According to my sources (Walking Dead Wiki) TV!Rick is never given an exact age, but comic!Rick is. Comic!Rick is 29 years old in the beginning, and Carl is 7. Thus, Rick is 22 years older than Carl. TV!Carl also has an exact age, 12, at the start of the show, so TV!Rick is possibly 34. The TV show aged not only Carl 5 years, but also Maggie, so this justified me aging Beth 5 years (yeah, yeah. She doesn't exist in the comics. I know). So, in this story the age difference between Rick and Beth is only 13 years.
A second note, this time on OCs. I'm not a fan of original characters (Mary Sues/Gary Stus) so suddenly a lot of people from the Walking Dead now live in King County with the Grimes family. Also, Beth's roommates are the comic's Greene sisters, except I aged them up. A lot. Because this is fanfiction.
Now, enjoy my attempts to flood the community with Rick/Beth!
Warnings: None yet. Stay tuned.
It was Beth's third night as a waitress at the Steak Out Saloon when she first met Rick Grimes.
Beth Greene had thought she would become the next Jewel or Taylor Swift and now she was on the mend after her music career self-destructed in Atlanta. She had left Atlanta for the small town Harrison in King County because her cousin, Lacey, knew how much Beth didn't want to return to her parent's house so she let Beth move in. Lacey fancied herself an artist and her daddy was just as strict and judgmental as Beth's own. Beth had wallowed in her new place for a week straight before her roommate Rachel got Beth an interview at the bar she worked at, Steak Out. Beth had been a cocktail waitress at a few different places in the city for extra cash between the few paying singing gigs she managed to book.
Beth liked the hometown feel of Steak Out, it was modeled after an old saloon and the bar, tables, stools and floor were all a dark wood with quirky old west paraphernalia on the walls but it also had a couple of flat screen TVs showing whatever game was on. It was located a block from the King County Courthouse, so the clientele wasn't too rough and the lunch crowd was usually clerks or lawyers getting a sandwich. Plus they served the best fries Beth had ever tasted. And the owner, Dale Horvath, had agreed to let her sing a couple of nights a week when there wasn't a big game.
Her new life in Harrison was a welcome respite from the craziness of Atlanta and would suit her needs while she tried to figure out what she wanted to do with the rest of her life now that her music career wasn't panning out the way she thought it would.
It was a Tuesday night and there were only a few customers, two full booths and a lone man sitting at the bar. Amy, the pretty blonde bartender who loved good gossip, was chatting with the lone man and waved Beth over after she served a round of burgers to one of the tables. "Rick, this is our new girl, Beth Greene. Beth, this is Rick Grimes, he's one of our regulars."
"Nice to meet you, ma'am," Rick nodded. He wore the uniform of the sheriff's department, his hat was next to him on the bar, and he had some of the bluest eyes Beth had ever seen.
"You too officer," Beth smiled back.
"Please, call me Rick," he smiled.
"Only if you call me Beth. I'm too young to be a ma'am," Beth countered with a friendly smile.
"All right, Miss Beth," he nodded. Beth smiled again, she liked his smile and how courteous he was.
A little while later Beth noticed Rick's food order come up in the window but Amy was flirting with two men at the other end of the bar who came in a few moments ago so Beth delivered his burger and fries. "I have to say, the fries here are the best I've ever had," she commented as she set the basket in front of him.
Rick nodded, "Agreed. So did you just move to town?"
"Yup, from Atlanta."
"Didn't like the city life?"
Beth frowned, "it wasn't for me. But I didn't want to move home, I'm not ready to admit defeat yet to my daddy. He wasn't thrilled when I left the family farm to chase a singing career."
"You sing?" Rick looked impressed.
Beth nodded, "Yup. Dale's going to let me sing a couple nights a week."
"That'll be nice. When do you start?"
"Thursday will be my first night."
"Well, I won't miss it then," Rick gave her another friendly smile.
Beth couldn't help but smile in response. She liked the idea of the handsome officer watching her sing. She did wonder why he was alone though, he was attractive and nice, so why was he alone at a bar on a Tuesday night? Later that night Beth asked Amy, after Rick had left.
Amy had grown up in town and she knew a story about everybody. She was in her mid-twenties and with her pretty looks and warm smile most anyone was willing to spill gossip for her. "Oh poor Rick, he's such a sweetheart, he just went through an ugly, long divorce. And now he's got a son in middle school that he doesn't get to see much anymore. Poor guy. Now all he does is work, work, work. He eats dinner here most nights if he's not working a late shift. He joked once that his wife got King County Café in the divorce."
There was something about Rick that caught Beth's attention. She didn't know if it was his clear blue eyes, his honest smile, or his heartstring tugging past but Beth found herself unable to stop wondering about him. She found herself, oddly, hoping that he would keep his word. She wanted to meet him again. She wanted to know him.
Rick didn't lie, he was again at the bar Thursday night eating dinner again when Beth took the stage with her acoustic guitar. It was hardly a stage, more of a platform, but it had a mike stand and a stool and Beth sang four original songs and four covers while playing the guitar. The songs that she wrote herself were about young love and being heartbreakingly naïve and the covers were singles of popular country divas. The crowd seemed to enjoy it and she got cheers and loud applause when she finished her set.
Rick was sitting next to Dale at the bar as she went over to thank Dale again for letting her sing.
"You've got a real nice voice, Beth," Rick complimented and Beth blushed happily.
"He's right, and the crowd loved you, just like I knew they would." Dale gave her a proud papa bear look, which suited his Santa Claus-like features.
"Thank you again for letting me sing, Dale."
After that Beth saw a lot of Rick, which she didn't mind one bit.
Beth had only had two serious relationships before. Jimmy was her high school sweetheart and a year ahead of her in school, Zach had been her adventurous Atlanta boyfriend and only two years older than her. And then there was her producer in Atlanta, but he shouldn't count. She'd never really been attracted to older men before but there was something that about Rick that sparked something inside of her. She liked it when he smiled, his eyes would crinkle and he'd show off his white teeth and her heart would skip a beat in response. She liked his scruffy beard he was working on growing, apparently his ex-wife never let him grow out his facial hair before so he was going all out now that he was a 'free man'. She liked listening to his voice when he told stories about something ridiculous his son did, apparently if Carl Grimes was left unsupervised for a minute he could get himself into all sorts of trouble.
And then Rick became her hero.
It was a Monday night in late June and the weather was starting to get really hot and humid. Beth had worn a pair of daisy duke jean shorts and a loose, flowy tank top which was more skin than she normally showed at work. Her tips reflected her patrons' appreciation but one, Ed Peletier, got a bit handsy. Ed was on his fourth Jack and coke, he was with a buddy, both had made lewd comments that she ignored but then Ed reached out and grabbed her thigh right below where her shorts ended and she froze. Atlanta came rushing back to her, her producer's smug smile and cigarette smelling breath. But then Ed's hand was forcefully removed for her. She didn't even know Rick was in the bar, he must have just come in. He pulled Ed out of his chair by his shirt collar and had a fierce, angry expression on his face. "What are you doing, Ed?" His voice was calm not belaying the anger on his face.
"C'mon Grimes, I was just jokin' with Beth."
"I didn't think it was funny, and I don't see Beth laughing neither."
"It was just a joke. I won't do it again." Ed was nervous, sweaty and gross.
"I think that's best. Or else I'll take you down to the jail and you can tell your jokes there, you get me?" Rick finally let go of Ed's collar and his hands landed on his hips as he glared at Ed.
Ed nodded, according to Amy's gossip, Ed couldn't get arrested one more time or else he'd be doing 'real' time, so he finished his drink and Amy rushed over to bring his tab. Beth just stared in awe at Rick, her serving tray clutched to her chest like a shield.
Rick placed a hand on her shoulder and led her to the end of the bar where the door to the kitchen was. "You alright?"
Beth nodded, "Yeah, I'm fine, but thank you."
"You sure? You didn't look fine when he touched you," Rick's gaze was serious and studying her intently and Beth felt herself becoming steady and calm under his intense scrutiny.
Beth nodded again, her expression becoming more determined, "I was startled is all." And then Amy was at her side fussing over her and cursing Ed. Rick nodded and backed away to take a seat at the bar and he watched Ed slowly leave.
She told her sister Maggie about her crush one day while they were catching up on the phone. Maggie was living in Macon, 'living in sin' (as her daddy called it) with her boyfriend Glenn. "Have you ever been attracted to an older man? Like, a much older man?" She asked boldly.
"What, like Brad Pitt or Hugh Jackman?"
"No like someone real, someone you know."
"Well there was a professor I had that was pretty cute… what's going on? You like someone?" Maggie's voice was excited. Beth hadn't mentioned any boys since she and Zach broke up, and that was months ago.
"His name is Rick Grimes, he's a deputy sheriff, and he's nice, he likes my singing, he's ruggedly handsome… he's thirty-four."
"Beth! mid-thirties? You're only twenty-one!" Maggie scolded.
"Don't worry, I don't think he likes me, not like that. I think he's just being polite when we flirt."
"Beth, please be careful. Older guys tend to have… certain expectations."
Beth rolled her eyes, "Mags, I think all guys have certain expectations." Beth almost let it slip that she wasn't some doe-eyed virgin, but then Maggie would freak out on her and ask when she lost her virginity and Beth did not want to go into that story. So she told her sister she'd be careful.
Beth mooned over Rick for what seemed like ages not knowing if Rick felt anything for her. He was just so nice; he liked to ask about her songwriting and seemed genuinely interested in what she had to say. He had questioned her about Atlanta a few times, he said he was shocked that Beth hadn't become a star, so Beth did give him an abridged version of her story, "I did actually have a deal with a producer and record company in Atlanta, but they wanted me to be somebody else. I didn't like what they wanted me to be so I left. I wanna sing and be me, not a sluttier version of me."
Rick looked stern for a moment, like he wanted to say something in her defense but shook his head. "Well, their loss then."
Then one night he came in with Shane, his best friend and partner. Beth didn't like Shane much, he was loud and crude and made lecherous jokes at her whenever Rick wasn't within earshot. But then Shane said, after his third beer, "Rick, when you gonna stop moping and tap the pretty blonde?"
Beth was pretty sure she wasn't supposed to hear that, she was behind Shane, out of his eye sight, wiping down a table and she looked up to see Rick immediately blush, something Beth had never seen before. Beth wasn't sure who Shane meant, she and Amy both were blondes but then Rick glanced in her direction and as soon as their eyes connected Beth knew she was the pretty blonde.
It took Beth an hour to find the confidence to approach Rick. Shane was flirting with a redhead a few spots down and Rick was alone. Beth slid into the stool next to Rick, the bar wasn't full and she knew Amy wouldn't care if she sat for a moment, especially if she came away with good gossip.
"Rick… do you want to go out to dinner sometime? With me?" She asked nervously.
Rick nearly choked on his beer. "Beth? Are you serious?"
Beth rolled her eyes, "Of course I'm serious."
Rick looked confused, like he couldn't understand why Beth would want him, which boggled Beth's mind. Who wouldn't want him? "Beth… you know I'm thirty-four," Rick began slowly.
"Yes," Beth nodded.
"And I just went through an ugly divorce."
"And that I have a twelve year old son."
"None of this is news."
"I work 60 hours a week."
"I know, I serve you dinner whenever you aren't working a late shift."
"Okay…that is my best friend." Rick gestured down the bar at Shane, who was taking a body shot off of the drunk redhead's neck.
Beth giggled at Rick's disgusted expression. "Still nothing I didn't already know."
"He's been my best friend since the seventh grade," Shane was now making out with the body shot girl, he came away with the lime in his mouth and when he saw Rick looking his way he gave a thumbs up sign.
"Well, I hate to break it to you, but you haven't scared me off yet." Rick shook his head at her words but he had a small smile on his face. "What about instead of going out for dinner I cook you dinner?" Beth tried again.
"But we'd have to do it at your place, I live with three other girls."
"You can cook?" Rick looked hopeful and Beth knew exactly what to say next.
"Of course I can cook. My momma taught me as soon as I was tall enough to see over the counters. I even know the Greene family secret fried chicken recipe." Beth knew that was the right dish to mention. She didn't know a single man in the state of Georgia that would turn down home cooked fried chicken. Rick's expression let Beth know she'd won.
"Of course. And… green beans?"
"Sounds tasty… Beth I don't know why you would want an old man like me when you could have any boy your own age in here."
Rick's gaze held on to Beth, made her feel like it was just the two of them in the entire bar. Beth held Rick's gaze, trying to convey how serious she was before responding, "Rick I've dated plenty of boys my own age, and that's the problem, boys. I want a man. I want you."
So I have an endgame for this story, but I'm not sure how I'm going to get there... so I hope you all enjoy the ride! Stay tuned for Rick and Beth's first date.