Chapter 1

11 pm

Parties aren't exactly her cup of tea. Hell, parties aren't her cup of anything.

Not to mention that she feels like a complete loser standing in the corner of the crowded room with a full beer in her hand.

'If Maggie could see me now,' Beth thinks to herself. She imagines that Maggie would laugh at her uncomfortable stance before taking Beth into her arms and guiding her from the building.

Now not only is Beth regretting coming to the party in the first place, but she regrets not asking Maggie to come with her.

It's weird being here. She knows a few people, kids from her hometown, but they all seem to whisp past her as if she isn't there. Only one person stopped to say something to her and it was to ask her to move over so they could sit on the couch.

Now she has positioned herself in the smallest space in the room hoping to be as far from everyone else as she could get. She simply watched everything around her. All of the people talking and laughing and dancing with each other. Their hands clasping red solo cups and cans of beer. Beth swallows a nervous lump in her throat and shakes her head.

She wanted this. Really, she wanted to dress up and bring herself to a party. In fact, Maggie has been encouraging her to do this exact thing for weeks since she moved out of her house. And now that she is here she can't seem to get herself to enjoy it.

Someone seems to catch her eye from across the room. A taller looking boy with greesy hair comes up to her. In his hand he is holding a Bud Light, a snarky looking smirk is growing on his face as he comes closer to her.

He isn't unattractive really. He has dark shaggy hair and wide green eyes but he smells like pizza and beer when he gets too close to her. And he is standing really close to her, crowding her space, making her feel sick. His arm is raised up above her shoulder as, caging her into the corner of the living room.

"What's a cute little thing like you doin' all by yourself?" He drawls out. His hand leaves the wall and finds its way to an uncomfortable spot on her upper thigh.

Beth has never been good at letting guys down. When Jimmy had asked her to go on a date with him in freshman year she was too afraid to say no. They ended up dating for three years before Beth got the courage to break it off.

So, no. She has no real idea how to make this stop.

"It's just a bit loud is all," she says gently putting on her best fake smile. The one that Maggie always says makes her look like she is going to bite someone's head off. It obviously doesn't affect this guy that way, because he takes it as an invitation to lean in more and run his fingers over the sensitive underside of her thigh.

"Why don't we get out of here then, huh?" He asks breathing too much on her cheek. His breath is filling her nose and suddenly she is surrounded by stacks of stale beer and expired pizza boxes. She can feel the bile rising up in her throat from the scent of it.

"I need to pee," she blurts out before ducking under his arm and bee-lining it to the staircase.

The house is crowded and over flowing downstairs and she has to push her way through the crowd to make it to the staircase. As she rushes up the stairs to the empty second floor she lets out a loud sigh of relief. Somehow the party hasn't found it's way up from the ground floor, not that she can complain about that. The space is welcomed.

'Maybe if I had just said I wasn't interested he would have stopped,' Beth thinks to herself. It is only a half truth. Most drunk boys have no idea what the word no means.

Beth shuffles around the hallway before finding a bathroom. She slinks inside and closes the door behind her. She grips the sides of the vanity and leans over the sink. Her reflection catches her eyes and she scowls.

Her hair is straightened and flattened against her head, unnatural looking on her round face. She has always seen Maggie straighten her hair. Her older sister has a way of looking good no matter what she does to herself. Beth continues to frown at her dead looking hair. She wonders why she even bothered to doll herself up for this? Why she even bothered to come here?

She turns on the cold faucet and let's the water pool in her hands. In one sweep she is pouring the water across her scalp, her hair automatically waving underneath it.

She closes her eyes as the cool liquid drips down her forehead. She continues to wet her hair until it is soaked straight through. The curl begins to come back almost immediately. She opens her eyes and stares at herself.

The makeup she has on it dripping down her face in small tears. She grabs a towel off of the side of the sink and wets it before rubbing it over her face in slow circles. All of the makeup comes off in layers. When her face is pale and pink and naked once again she finally feels whole.

She pushes back off of the sink and sighs. She might as well just leave. It isn't worth it really. All of this anxiety over a stupid party that she doesn't even want to be at? And for what? She wants to prove a point, maybe to herself. Maybe to her sister.

Beth makes the ultimate decision to leave. To turn her back to the party raging downstairs, to sneak past the creep with the greesy hair and to just get the fuck out.

The door squeaks as she pushes it open and with one slow movement she shuts it.

She steps down the hallway a few feet before she hears voices behind a closed door. The sound attracts her towards it. Curiosity gets the better of her. Yeah, Maggie has always told her that curiosity killed the cat, but Beth never listened. She was always curious about everything. When she was small she accidentally sliced her finger open on a butcher knife because she was curious as to how sharp they were. The answer was very sharp.

Beth leans next to the door and peaks through the slight opening. Her eyes wander across the shadows as they move in the darkness. The voices beyond the door are low and gruff and she can't seem to make out what they are saying.

One second she is outside of the door and the next she is pulling in. The door slams shut behind her and a warm hand holds a tight grip on the extra material from her jacket.

A light switch is flicked and Beth meets the eyes of two older men and one boy, around her age, who looks like he just got hit by a freight train.

"Well well," one of the older men says as he steps forward. He has hard crystal blue eyes and a set jaw line. His face is turned and curled into an amused grin, "Lookie here. A curious little cat, aren't ya?"

The sound of his voice sends shivers down Beth's spine. She steps back instinctually, the hand on her jacket immediately releasing her as she moves against it.

She looks over her shoulder to the man behind her. He has his hand half raised from when he had just released her.

He is handsome. Like very, very handsome and maybe that isn't the right thing to think when you are standing in the same room as a group of scary drug dealers. But she can't help herself.

He is very attractive. And it makes her heart jump as he watches her through his long hair with sullen blue eyes.

Beth looks back over to the man that has been advancing on her.

"What do you want little kitty?" He asks. He reaches a hand out and Beth steps back once again, so he can't reach her.

The man laughs darkly, "What? Ole' Merle ain't gonna bite ya, sweets."

Beth hears the man behind her let out a loud sigh. "Leave her 'lone, Merle. Girl obviously doesn't know what's goin' on," his voice is soft yet deep. It fills the space around Beth and consumes her. Almost like it is wrapping her in a warm blanket on a cold night.

Merle huffs out a laugh. "Nah she don't know does she?" He asks with amusement before laughing again.

"You lost, Tinkerbell? Looks like you just got out of the shower, huh? Next time you let ole' Merle join you?" He barks out a laugh again and then turns to the younger boy on the couch.

The kid is bleeding all over the place. His nose is crooked in the wrong direction and it looks very broken. His eyes are wide with fear as he looks up to Merle. Beth wishes she could run to him and help him. Give the poor boy some sort of comfort, but her feet are glued to the spot.

"Now you gonna give us the money you owe us or what? See my shit ain't cheap, little guy," Merle says darkly as he eyes the boy.

The kid flinches and shakes his head, "No no. I didn't take any of it! It was all Mikey I swear!" He puts his hands up in front of him in defense, "I don't do coke man!"

Merle hm's and Then turns to Beth.

"You believe this kid, sweetie?" He asks pointing over to the boy, "Now you best answer me honestly."

Beth stares at the boy on the couch. He is shaking from fear. His eyes wide and scared. Something in them screams innocence. He's pleading with her, begging her with his wide brown eyes to help him. Maybe she's gone crazy. What else would explain her behavior. She shakes her head vigorously at Merle.

"He doesn't know anything," she concludes, "Look at him. He's confused and scared. He's probably never seen coke in person before."

The kid nods in agreement before letting out a long breath, "Please, man. I swear I don't know anything. I can show you who Mikey is right now!"

Merle ignores the boys pleas and continues to stare at Beth. His dark eyes are beginning to eat her alive. She steps back and comes into contact with the crossed arms of the man behind her. He doesn't shuffle or move away. He simply lets her press her back into him as if he is giving her some sort of strength.

"Alright," Merle says finally. He looks to the boy, "Why don't we take a walk and find this Mikey, huh? We can all have a nice chat. C'mon Rufus." The third man in the room nods. He has tattoos on his face and his arms. Beth can't help but think that he is one scary looking man. He grabs the boy by the arm and lifts him from the couch.

She feels warm hands cupping her upper arms. Gently the man behind her pulls her to the side so that Merle and his minuteman Rufus can leave the room. The skinny boy smiles at Beth helplessly 'Thank you', he mouths to her. She nods wordlessly and watches as he is dragged from the room and down into the party below.

The door shuts behind them leaving Beth and the handsome stranger alone. The only sound being the humming of the party raging below them.

"Sorry," says the gruff voice behind her. He releases her arms and steps back. Beth feels the skin under her jacket, where he had touched her, suddenly go cold.

She turns around and looks at him. His hair is falling over his eyes in stray pieces. She wishes she could to step forward and run her fingers through it. Push those locks aside so she could see his bright eyes clearly. Is it normal to feel this attracted to a stranger? Not to mention a stranger that just assisted in the senseless beating of an innocent kid.

Beth pushes her inner voice aside and whispers, "It's okay."

They don't speak for a moment. They simply stare at each other in the silence. Blue on blue.

"You can go now... " he states low and rough, "back to the party I mean."

Beth tilts her head to the side. Maybe it's the lack of interest in being here or maybe it's the way his eyes consume her and set fire in her veins that makes her shrug and say, "Not much of a party anyway."

His eyes hold hers again for a quiet moment. Beth doesn't remember the last time she felt so alive. Like she has seen the whole world in black and white until the moment that she looked into his eyes. Now everything is bright and full of life, devouring her in color.

"Wanna get out of here?" He asks softly. He shuffles from one foot to the other nervously. As if he is afraid she'll say no. Or maybe he is surprised that he even asked.

Beth finds herself nodding before she can even think about it. Was she that girl that left parties with strange men? Is that who the new Beth Greene is?

But something in her tells her that he isn't just some strange man. He's something more. Being with him is familiar. Like she has found home through his eyes and his soft voice.

The guy nods back and then turns towards the door.

"Daryl Dixon," he says with his head over his shoulder facing her.

"Beth Greene," she replies her lips turning up in a smile.

They leave the dark room and then sneak downstairs and through the party. The whole time Beth is holding onto the edge of his leather vest like a life line. As if she is afraid she'll drown in the crowd of people and lose him forever if she lets go. Maybe she will. Maybe this world of drugs and alcohol will consume her if he leaves her behind.

Only when the front door to the house closes behind them does Beth feels like she can breathe again.

Daryl leads her to the edge of the driveway. He gestures towards a black motorcycle and Beth's eyes widen in understanding. Not only is she sneaking out with a drug dealing stranger but she is now sneaking out with a drug dealing stranger who rides a motorcycle.

She shakes her head in disbelief. When did she become such a rebel?

Her eyes wander back to the house at the top of the driveway. There is no way she would rather step back into that damn party than be here with this man on his black motorcycle.

Screw this place, she thinks to herself, screw these people.

She raises one hand and flips it off. Sending her silent fuck you to all of the teenage assholes in this town.

She looks to Daryl expectantly and he rolls his eyes before lifting his own hand in the same salute, flipping off the party house full of all of the people they mutually hate. Full of things that Beth doesn't want to be a part of.

Beth smiles wide at him and he rolls his eyes again but there is a distinct tug of his lips that Beth doesn't miss. "You comin'?" He asks gesturing towards his bike.

Beth smiles wider and nods hoping on behind him.

As she wraps her arms around Daryl's chest she feels a spark ignite in her. She lets her hands coil around the opening of his flannel shirt, her fingers skimming the skin beneath it.

Warm. Soft. Wonderful. Alive.

The engine roars to life and Beth can't help but let out a squeal as the car takes off down the road.

She doesn't know where they are going. Hell, she doesn't even know what she's doing right now.

But a small voice in her head is telling her that she won't regret a second of it.

11:35 pm.

Beth sits on the ledge of a bridge facing the road.

Her companion, Daryl Dixon, the attractive drug dealer, is standing beside his bike. A cigarette in one hand and his phone in the other pressed up to his ear.

"Merle, I told you I ain't about goin' to deals with you." Pause. "Man you got Rufus you're fine." Pause. "Aw shut up it ain't like that."

He spares a glance over to Beth who simply smiles at him.

"Whatever man I'm not helpin' you run around and sell drugs to hippie rich kids." Pause. "Yeah okay good luck."

He pulls his phone away and flips it shut with a whack.

"My brother's an idiot," he says. He turns and faces over the edge of the bridge.

Beth admires him as he looks out onto the black sky. His face is serene yet there is a tightness to his forehead that Beth assumes is from thought. His eyes search over the water for a moment before returning to her.

"So Mr. Dixon," Beth says with a smile.

Daryl rolls his eyes, "Ain't no Mr. Dixon."

"Okay, Daryl," she teases, "Why did you ask me to leave with you?"

Daryl shrugs and then leans back against the ledge beside her. His feet crossing at the ankle.

"Don't," she says then repeats his shrug, "Why'd you ask me to leave with you?"

He looks at her for a moment and Beth sees his lips twitch in a smile.

"Cause looked like neither of us wanted to be there," he grunts out.

Beth smiles wide at that.

"Was a shitty party," she says with amusement.

Daryl examine her with a thoughtful look before asking, "Why'd you go in the first place then? Didn't even stop to say goodbye to anyone."

Now it's Beth's turn to shrug and Daryl's turn to mimic her.

She laughs at his light teasing and then nudges his leg with her foot.

"Maybe because I wanted to go to a party. Get wasted," she knows she says the last part like a scared teenager. Innocent and light. She has never even taken a sip of alcohol before.

Daryl snorts, it almost sounds like a laugh, Beth thinks that's a step, and then he says, "yeah try again."

Beth looks up to the sky and taps her chin in mock thought. She knows exactly why she went to that party. And she suspects that Daryl knows why as well. She's just not sure she can say it without sounding like a fool. Like a lost kid who doesn't know what to do with herself anymore.

"Maybe I went to pick up a hot stranger," she concludes looking at Daryl with a sly grin. A real smile breaks across his face, but only for a split second, and Beth feels her whole body warm from it.

"You pickin' me up, huh?" He asks. He lifts his cigarette to his mouth and takes a slow drag.

Beth looks him up and down and says, "Sorry Mr. Dixon. You aren't my type."

The small smile on her lips and the flush of her cheeks says otherwise. She hopes Daryl can see that. Hopes he can tell that she is only teasing him.

Daryl seems to pick that up and he nudges her with his elbow playfully. An action that Beth didn't think a man like Daryl Dixon could ever make.

Beth looks down to her hands in her lap. The several layers of beaded bracelets in her wrist catch her eyes. She runs her fingers around one of them and twirls a bead between her forefinger and thumb.

"Maybe," she says softly, "You know maybe I was meant to go to that party so I could meet you, Daryl Dixon."

She resists looking up to him for a moment. When the silence becomes too much she decides that she has to.

Beth's eyes lift up towards Daryl. He is staring at her. An unreadable expression in his eyes. Beth watches him for a moment. Simply staring at him. Taking him all in. Her heart fluttering violently against her chest.

Daryl shifts and stands from the ledge. "You hungry?" He asks looking over to Beth expectantly. She nods and steps off of the ledge.

"C'mon," he says letting his arm lift to guide her back towards the bike, "I know a place."

I wrote this all at once but it was so long that I had to split it into multiple chapters. Let's see where the night takes these cuties.

Let me know what you think!