Almost all of the Green family was asleep. The sun was barely coming up, the sky a tinged pink, and only the sound of Hershel's snoring and the roosters crowing could be heard. Beth sat on the wrap around porch, her knees tucked up to her chin, biting her nails and looking at the wedding invitation in her hand.
Since she had moved back to her family's farm 2 months ago, crying and explaining to her parents that she would need to stay with them for a while, she hadn't really had time to think about what attending this wedding would mean. When she had first received this invitation, she thought she would burst with happiness when she saw her and Zack's names together at the top, being invited as a couple, to the wedding of their friends Sasha and Bob. She just felt a pang of sadness when she thought about it now. She had thought that maybe, one day, it would be her and Zack inviting Sasha and Bob to their wedding. But that was before. Before he had come home smelling of someone else's perfume. Before he was working late every night. Before Beth had heard him telling the girl on the phone that he would be coming to see her later but he had to go out for Beth's birthday first and he couldn't not go or he would be out of an apartment. Before Beth had caught him, when she had gone to surprise him at lunch, fucking his secretary over his desk. Now she just looked at the invitation and tried to think of a way out of this. Sasha was one of her best friends, she couldn't very well not go to her wedding. But Sasha had called her last night to tell her that Zack had told them that he would still be attending the wedding and that he would be bringing his secretary as a plus one. Sasha said that she had tried to explain to him that he couldn't bring the secretary (Beth often wondered how much work that woman could have actually done as a secretary when it was evident she spent a lot of times fucking other people's boyfriends) because of seating arrangements but Zack had said that she could just have Beth's place. Which is why Sasha called her last night, afraid that Beth wasn't going to be attending the wedding. Beth felt an anger come over her that she had never felt before. Zack had used her, lied to her, cheated on her and now he wanted to replace her with some bimbo of a secretary, Andrea her brain sneered, and take this Andrea to Beth's best friend's wedding. I don't fucking think so, Beth thought. He had probably already moved Andrea into their apartment, after Beth had decided she couldn't stand to be in Atlanta when he was still there. And that was why, without even thinking about the words before they came out of her mouth, Beth had told Sasha that of course she would still be coming and, actually, she was bringing a date too. Sasha had gotten very excited, asking all sorts of questions about Beth's new guy, questions that Beth carefully avoided since the guy was actually imaginary, before telling Beth that she was sure she could move some people around and call the caterers about the extra guests. So now, on top of trying to mend her broken, betrayed heart, Beth had to find herself a date to take to a wedding in 2 weeks time...
Even though Hershel and Annette Greene were normally up early to see to things on the farm, but this morning they were surprised to wake to find Beth sitting on the front porch, rocking in the chair and sipping sweet tea. Hershel and Annette exchanged a sad glance before getting on with their tasks for the day. When they had finished and come back inside the house, Beth had gone up to her room and was lying on her stomach on her bed, writing frantically in her diary. Hershel stood in the doorway of his youngest daughter's room and knocked lightly on the open door. Beth turned her head towards him and smiled as he entered and sat on the edge of her bed next to Beth. She shifted on the bed so that she was sitting up facing her father, closing the diary as she did so. Hershel took Beth's hand in both of his and glanced down at the now closed book and the invitation resting next to it.
"Bethy, I need to go pick Maggie and Glenn up from town, do you want to come with me?" Hershel asked his daughter.
"No thank you, Daddy." Beth shook her head, a little confused. "Why aren't they driving straight here?"
"The car broke down on the way back from the airport and they had to call a tow truck to take it to the garage in town. I'm gonna go and get them and someone from the garage is gonna drop the car back here when it's finished."
Beth nodded that she understood and her father left to pick up his eldest daughter and her husband.
Beth spent the time while her father was gone, helping her mother prepare for tea. Annette was happy to have her daughter back home, although it wasn't under the circumstances that she had hoped for. She felt guilty that her and her husband had always liked Zack and thought that maybe he and Beth would one day get married and decide to move to Senoia to start a family. Annette had been sad to see her daughter go when she had decided to stay in Atlanta when she finished college but Beth had wanted to stay with Zack and her other friends from college who lived in Atlanta. Although, they still saw Beth, they didn't see as much of her as they would like. Annette heard the sound of her husband truck pulling up outside and saw Beth's face light up. They grinned at each other and stepped out to the porch to see Maggie running up the steps. She grabbed her sister in a tight hug, Glenn was hanging back a bit but looked equally as pleased to see his sister-in-law.
"Bethy! I've missed you so much!" Maggie hugged her younger sister tighter and Beth laughed. "If I'd have known that your shithead – Sorry, Daddy! - boyfriend was gunna run off with his secretary then I definitely wouldn't have gone on a 3 month trip around Europe!"
"Hey, how were you supposed to know?" Beth asked laughing, even though thinking about Zack and Andrea still made her heart hurt, "Even I didn't know!"
Maggie pulled back from her sister long enough to let Glenn hug her hello before taking hold of Beth again and steering her in the house.
"Glenn, honey, can you grab the bags, me and Beth have some sisterly bonding to do!" Maggie called over her shoulder while dragging Beth up the stairs.
Once Beth had explained exactly what had happened with Zack – minus the tears this time, she had promised herself she wouldn't cry over him anymore – she started to tell her sister about the conversation with Sasha about her "new guy". Maggie's eyes lit up as she told Beth that she knew loads of guys, Glenn's friends, that she could set Beth up with for the wedding. But after consulting with Glenn, most of the guys that Maggie had in mind actually already had girlfriends. One of them, it turned out, had a wife, causing Maggie to bitch about how her and Glenn hadn't been invited to the wedding.
"What about Carl?" Glenn asked.
Carl had been Beth's friend since high school and had always been there when Beth needed him to be. He and Zack had never really got on much and Zack had always said that Carl had a crush on Beth, which Beth knew was completely ridiculous. Carl had actually been the first person she had though of asking and, had he been single, she would have begged him to pretend to be her date.
"Nope, he and Lizzie just got engaged!" Beth huffed, "Plain selfish, is what that is."
Maggie and Glenn laughed at this and the trio began their planning again.
The sound of Maggie and Glenn's car outside made the three get up and look out of Beth's bedroom window. The guys from the garage had obviously patched up the Rhee's car in record timing. Beth watched as someone got out of the driver's side, an old man with a fishing hat and overalls on.
"I've got it! Ask him!" Maggie gasped, obviously proud of herself.
"Dale?!" Beth sputtered, "He's old enough to be my granddaddy!"
"Not him!" Maggie laughed and shook her head, "Him!"
Beth looked to wear her sister was pointing. She hadn't even noticed anyone getting out of the passenger side of the car. His hair was long and hanging in his face but Beth could see the muscles in his arms bunch perfectly as he closed the door to the car, thanks the sleeveless shirt. She only knew one guy who wore shirts like that.
"Is that-" Beth began.
"Yep." Maggie looked at her sister with a smug grin, "Daryl Dixon. There's ya new date."