R is for Real
So, here we go again, guys! This one starts out fairly light-hearted; they're still in their 'honeymoon' phase! Just need to point out, this fic is rated a bit higher than the last one, for obvious reasons ;)
Hope you enjoy it!
It started out amusing. At first.
But as time went on and the interruptions kept coming untimely and often, their shoebox living situation and the lack of privacy quickly began to grate.
Daryl would barely touch her when they were in the presence of the group, a gentle brush of the hand when he thought no one was looking or touch on the arm to guide her someplace or other was all that was granted. So, their time alone was precious.
And, apparently, now a rarity.
It was strange because it had never bothered Beth before. It wasn't even something she had thought about; the way everyone lived in one another's pockets, barely having any time to themselves. The prison helped; they had their own space when they were there but, even then, she didn't remember it bothering her so much before they had found it. Last winter, when they were running and living out of their cars and moving from house to house, never settling for more than a week, she'd never really given it a thought.
All that mattered was surviving.
She supposed she should be grateful they had found this place, the Church, and that they had managed to settle and set up house for a while in someplace that they'd been able to keep safe for more than just a couple of weeks.
But she wasn't. She was frustrated.
She hadn't had any proper time alone with Daryl in almost five days, and she could tell the sudden absence of time together was bothering him too. It was ironic, actually, that they had seemingly spent endless amount of time together before finally figuring everything out between them and now, two weeks later, they suddenly couldn't find privacy enough to be alone for even two minutes.
The overnight run had started it off; two days apart, which she had told herself was fine. Things would just carry on as normal, as they had done before; he'd have to head on out every now and again and she had her own things to take care of too, like looking after Judith and taking care of the things at the Church. She did that anyway, even when he was with her.
Their first separation was fine; she missed him, being with him, and that embarrassed her a little because, really, it wasn't all that long a time that they were separated. Perhaps it was the added worry of the world they were living in now, that she knew there was a chance he wasn't safe. But, mostly, it was what happened next that bothered her, figuring that, after two days apart, the least they deserved was half an hour or so just to be alone and enjoy one another's company for a while.
Unfortunately, that wasn't how it had turned out.
It was Rick's first time out since the accident, almost two weeks before, and Daryl had been quietly keen to go with him, so the two of them, along with Michonne, had headed out on the Monday morning and returned late on the Tuesday afternoon; pulling up outside the front of the Church while Beth, along with Judith, Carl, Carol and Glenn were scattered around at various points around the porch area all of them joining and congregating with the returning group members at the car.
Beth had smiled at Daryl shyly, which he responded to with a slight nod, his hand brushing her arm subtly as she stepped up next to him, neither of them really listening while Rick relayed the details of the run to those who had come to greet them. Beth and Daryl had exchanged subtle glances and shy smiles with one another as the exchange went on and, when Rick reached out to take Judith from her arms, drawing her attention from Daryl, she caught Michonne watching the two of them with a barely concealed grin that made her blush and lower her eyes.
She had ducked out of the conversation first, after Daryl announced that he planned to work on finishing up the perch he had been working on prior to heading out on the run, and she had headed on around to the of the Church where the various planks of wood she knew he would working with were situated.
Only a few of minutes later, he had walked around the same corner, not seeing her, and walked on by towards the planks, starting to reach down for them when she spoke up.
He looked at her sharply over his shoulder, stopping in his movements. He took in the sight of her standing there, leaning back against the building, one knee bent with her foot rested against the wall. After a second, he gave her a slight grin, straightening up when she raised an eyebrow at him, giving him an impish smile in return.
The two of them looked at one another for a moment before his grin widened and he stepped towards her, walking up and stopping just a few inches in front of her. He looked down at her, biting his lip, and she looked up at him, innocently, with a coy smile, before she reached up, sliding a hand around the back of his neck and drawing him down to her, kissing him softly.
Daryl's hands came up to her waist, gripping her sides tightly, his kiss firmer than hers, as she slid her other arm up and around his neck. She pushed herself onto her tiptoes while he pressed her up against the wall, pressing in closer, his lips hungry against hers, like they had been the time they had shared their first in that closet.
It was wonderful. And thrilling.
Because, only a few moments into the kiss, Glenn stepped around the corner of the Church, scuffling to a halt when he caught sight of them, making Daryl startle and quickly step back, leaving her bereft of his weight against her.
Rick had been embarrassed by the interruption he had made on them the week before, most everyone else who had stumbled in upon them since had been too. Glenn, however, seemed to feel none of that embarrassment. He only chucked and shook his head, offering a not really believable; "Sorry, guys."
Rather than leaving, as the two of them so desperately wished, he went on to say he'd just come to help with moving the planks of wood and headed over to them, piling a few on top of one another as Beth and Daryl watched. He turned and looked at Daryl with a grin; "I mean, unless you're busy now?"
Beth saw Daryl tense for a second, before he glanced in her direction, his look both apologetic and disappointed, before he reached out to squeeze her arm, affectionately, and made his way over to where Glenn stood, who by then was carrying on with arranging the planks.
Beth had only lingered a few seconds longer before exchanging a disappointed smile with Daryl, making a silent promise with him to catch up later, before she had turned and headed back into the Church.
Later, however, didn't come to pass as Judith struggled to settle that night due to cutting more teeth and, rather than being comforted by her father, she had been adamant that she only wanted Beth, which kept her busy well into the night, long after Daryl had gone to sleep.
The next day, Daryl and Glenn had carried on working on the perch, while Beth had spent most of the day cooking, cleaning and napping, having been up all night with the baby. And later on, while it was Daryl's night off watch, the two of them had, eventually, ended up spending their time with the rest of the group in the Sanctuary, after attempts to be alone failed.
Their first attempt to make use of the office revealed that Glenn and Maggie had already had the same idea and had claimed the room as their own for the night. The two of them were not nearly as embarrassed at being caught in their compromising position as she and Daryl felt whenever everyone else interrupted them.
So, they had retreated into the kitchen for a short while, the only room that no one occupied at the time.
Daryl closed the door behind him, while Beth hiked herself up so that she was sitting on the edge of the counter; "Never really thought about it much before, how there's always someone everywhere."
Daryl gave her a humourless smile, walking past her and pulling open the door to the cupboard; "Hardly any food left already. Gonna have t' go for another run soon."
Beth had rolled her eyes, reaching over and grasping him by the collar; "Just back and already talking about leaving again?"
Daryl turned to her with a small smile and shrugged, allowing her to tug him to her and press her lips to his in a brief, sweet kiss, before she let him go.
"How's little Ass Kicker doin'?"
"Fine. Rick managed to get her down tonight."
Daryl nodded; "Good."
She gave him a small grin; "Good?"
Beth's grin turned to a smile, widening more when his own lips turned up, and she shimmied over on the counter until she was in front of him, before she reached over, grasping him by the lapels of his jacket, and pulled him closer. She tugged him so that he stood between her legs and slid her hands up his chest, around his neck, and drew him down for a kiss.
They got a little further that time, kissing leisurely for a few minutes, his hands having time to reach up and touch her cheek, slide back into her hair, back down to her shoulders, fingertips trailing softly down her neck as they moved.
She could feel herself becoming hotter as they carried on, as she bravely hooked her legs around the back of his, pressing him in close against her, and she sighed against his lips as she felt that newly-familiar yearning grip her, fluttering away in her belly, her heartbeat increasing as she felt Daryl's fingers trail down her back and tentatively press her in closer.
It was a strange juxtaposition with him; the way he would hold back, rarely initiating any of this, any of their intimate moments, compared to the passion with which he participated when she started them off. His hands would vary between gripping and tentatively caressing, his lips sometimes hesitant, careful, and at others times hungry and desperate.
This time, it was the later; completely lost in a haze of passionate kisses and embraces and it only made it that much more embarrassing when the door suddenly burst open and Carol and Bob strolled into the room.
They hadn't had a chance to pull away that time. Beth's legs were still hooked firmly around Daryl's, meaning that, even though he jerked away, he was still very much caught up in her embrace when Carol and Bob halted in their movements, taking in what they had interrupted.
While they were more sheepish than Glenn had been, apologising at the intrusion, they were evidently both very amused; Carol, being friendly enough with Daryl, to give him a little wink as she stepped by them to go to one of the cupboards as Beth and he awkwardly and embarrassedly disentangled themselves from one another.
After that, they had given up and headed back to the Sanctuary to join the rest of them.
And on the fourth day, there was rain. Freezing cold sleet which meant, even though they both were relatively free for the day, they were forced to remain indoors with everyone else.
By this point, frustration did not even come close to describing what Beth was feeling about the whole thing. And, by just after lunch time, she had had enough, grasping Daryl by the hand while they stood in the office, listening to something that Bob was saying to the group of people sitting in there, and tugging him out of the room, into the hallway, and out of the side door, into the rain.
It was colder than she had expected.
"What are ya doin'?"
Beth shrugged, shaking her head with a smile, as the rain plastered strands of their hair to their faces, before standing on her tiptoes to kiss him. She felt him chuckle against her lips, reaching up to hold her face in his hands.
Beth had figured it was a sure thing; who else would be wandering around in this ice cold rain, after all.
But she was wrong, because only seconds later, Beth had drawn back with a shiver and a giggle; "It's so cold!" And then, turning to the side, saw Michonne standing at the corner of the Church, who, being on watch, had come to investigate the sound of the door slamming. She gave Daryl a wide grin, quirking her eyebrows at him, and Beth had felt Daryl exhale in exasperation. And, very soon afterwards, the two of them had headed back inside. Party because the plan had failed and partly because it was absolutely freezing outside.
And that was only the interruptions they had faced over the past few days. There had been others the week before, back when this was all even newer than it still was now, back when it was only embarrassing to be caught by everyone, not particularly frustrating yet.
But, it was more than just irritation at the interruptions to their physical encounters; after all, at least they had managed to have some of those. Instead, she was more frustrated by the fact they she and Daryl hadn't really talked at all for five days, at least not the way they did when it was just the two of them.
So, on day five, while Daryl had finished off working on the perch, Beth had spent most of the day taking care of Judith while, at the same time, trying to come up to a solution to the shoebox-conundrum they had found themselves in.
Daryl smiled to himself as he glanced down at Beth where she lay on the porch, head resting in his lap, face illuminated by the lone candle next to them as she read through one of the books he had brought her back from the run he had gone on some days before, glad to finally have some peace to just enjoy her company.
The interruptions and teasing glances from the rest of the group were becoming tiresome and, while Beth seemed to be unaffected, their brazen delight at his discomfort irritated him. Though he was grateful that, while they found it acceptable to give teasing winks and smirks, they hadn't yet came right out and made any remarks about it.
This was private. And, other than his brief conversation with Maggie two weeks before, he had no intention of speaking about it with anyone. It was none of their business.
He reached up, resting his hand lightly on her forehead, gently sweeping away the wisps of hair that lay there with his thumb, making her tilt her head back and smile up at him. He gave her a small smile in return, before leaning his head back against the wall, looking out over the field.
"Didn't think we'd ever get any peace," she remarked, as she turned her eyes back to the book she was holding.
Daryl felt a smile tug at his lips, his thumb gently caressing her forehead again; "That right."
"You don't think it is?"
Daryl shrugged, not offering a verbal response, though his answer was a resounding yes and 'annoying' didn't quite convey his exact feelings over the whole thing.
The two of them were quiet for a moment, the only sound filling the air the soft scratching of Beth turning the page of her book. After a while, she spoke again; "Perch done?"
"Mhm. Finished up earlier."
"Thought it was supposed to be for watch?" she remarked, implying that shouldn't he be up there rather than down here with her, if that's what the purpose of the new structure was.
"s' raining. Isn't sheltered up there."
Another silence descended over them.
Beth turned another page; "You should box it up."
"What d'ya mean?"
She shrugged, eyes still focused on the page in front of her; "Put up barriers. Make a roof for shelter."
Daryl considered the suggestion for a second before his brow furrowed, as he starting to suspect what she was saying; "Y' mean, so folk can't see in?"
She was silent at first and Daryl thought he saw a smile tug at her lips.
"Only practical. Not just walkers we're looking out for, right? People can be threats too."
Daryl felt a smile tugging at his lips and he looked down at her, lowering one of his legs so that her position shifted and she leaned her head back to look up at him and he could now see the small grin on her face clearly. She quirked an eyebrow, her grin becoming an impish smile, and Daryl released an amused breath, shaking his head and leaning his head back against the wall, as his eyes went back to scanning the field, this time seeking and landing on the tree some distance away, where the perch was situated.
He didn't answer and she didn't push the issue further, turning her attention back to the book in her hand. The two of them sat there for a while, the silence comfortable and broken only by the sound of pages turning every now and again. Daryl could feel himself drifting off, contented and relaxed for the first time in days, his eyelids becoming heavy, when Beth spoke up again.
"You wanna train tomorrow? It's been a while."
"Gotta make a run."
She leaned her head back, looking up at him with a questioning frown.
He glanced down at her and shrugged; "Gonna need more timbers."
Beth held his eyes, still looking confused for a second, before dawning understanding spread over her expression. She tilted her head to the side, questioningly, and then a slow smile spread across her features.
He nodded, his own lips quirking, as he leaned his head back against the wall.
"Won't take long."