Daryl was busy working on his motorcycle in Aaron's garage when he felt a presence come through the door. They didn't make it known they were standing there so he continued to ignore them as he tightened some bolts.
He could see out of the corner of his eye that Aaron was the one standing in the garage, hands in his pockets and looking around at all the decor. He learned from the past few months of being here that Aaron had a certain way about him. He was generally very direct with Daryl, as they were, what he considered friends, but there were times where he was afraid to speak and seemed to tip toe around a subject. Generally those conversations turned into Daryl getting angry or frustrated. He had a feeling, he was in for one of those conversations.
Finally having enough of the silence, Daryl threw down the wrench and turned around.
"Say what you gotta say man," he grunted. Aaron seemed surprised at the small outburst but knew he was caught.
"I just wanted to invite you over for dinner tonight. Eric is making his famous spaghetti." Daryl grabbed the wrench off the floor and went back to his bike.
"That's fine. Don't know why you're making such a big deal out of it." He was getting in between some crossbars when Aaron told him what he was hiding.
"We invited Beth too." The minute her name was mentioned, his finger slipped and he banged it across one of the metal pieces. Silently cursing himself, he brought the hurt finger to his mouth. He got up off the floor and turned back to Aaron.
"Why'd you invite Beth?"
"Cause frankly, Eric and I are tired of seeing you two pussy foot around each other. Stop pretending that nothing is going on between you two."
"Ain't nuthin between us," Daryl bit back.
"Pretty sure the entire town knows you two are head over heels for each other." Daryl looked down at the ground as Aaron told him what he already knew. Ever since she came up to the gates of Alexandria, and they reunited in front of everyone, they were the focus of town gossip. They both pretended not to hear it, but it was really hard not to talk about it.
The minute he saw her, he had dropped his crossbow on the ground in pure shock. She was dead, or at least he thought she was since they left her at Grady. He never forgave himself for leaving her body in that car trunk while they were being surrounded by a herd of walkers. He begged Rick to go back, to give her a proper funeral but it was never meant to be. They needed to get out of there and find somewhere safe for everyone.
Their eyes locked from the small distance between them at the front gates and she ignored every single person around her and zoned in on him. She ran the few yards towards him and hugged him so tight. Once he felt her body collide with his own, felt how real she was, he grabbed her with equal force and refused to let her go. He barely remembered what was said between them but every ounce of sadness that he felt before that moment, was replaced with pure joy and happiness.
He cupped her face and could touch the scar on her cheek with his thumb. Her hands gripped his arms as they studied each others faces, feeling the pull towards each other that was felt all the way back at the funeral home. If it hadn't have been for Maggie grabbing her sister, he could only imagine that he would have kissed her. He knew he wanted to, and ever since then, he's wanted to. They had moments to talk but never enough privacy to say what they really wanted to.
She'd been back for a month and that entire time was trying to rebuild what they had. They were close and bonded, going outside the walls to hunt together. But there was the small part in him that knew something was missing. They had an unfinished conversation and until they finished it, neither knew where they stood.
Outside the walls were not the place, as they needed to stay on guard. With the constant threat of the Wolves group, they were focused on getting food and coming back inside the safety of the walls. Inside, there was always someone wanting their attention and their hushed conversations were usually within a short distance of other members of their group.
He was shuffling his feet in the garage as he came to terms with Aaron's invitation. He had already agreed to stay and he wasn't going to go back on his word. He was just worried that the two of them were going to put him and Beth in a situation that even they weren't sure about.
"She's gonna be here in half an hour so I suggest going upstairs and taking a shower. Eric left some clothes for you to wear too," Aaron said, but turned quickly and left the garage before Daryl could say no. He sighed and put his tools away properly and did as he was told. Aaron and Eric has been nothing but kind to him since he had arrived and they were just as nice to Beth.
He trudged up the stairs to the room that he called his own if he ever stayed there. Sometimes, he just needed the quiet, or he needed to leave early on a scouting mission with Aaron and minded the people in his own house. He slipped into the bathroom to see a shirt and jeans, folded nicely on the sink. There was even a brand new pair of boxers and a clean pair of socks. Leave it to Eric to think of every detail.
As he showered, he made sure to give his hair some extra attention. Getting all the grease and debris from it. They made sure to put a nice smelling body wash in here so he used that as well. He had made it a more regular occurrence to shower since Beth had come back. She always smelled like fresh cookies from the oven and her hair smelled like peaches, not that he smelled her hair that often. Usually when she would give him a hug or a kiss on the cheek, but that didn't happen too often.
Drying himself off, and getting dressed in the clothes provided for him, he looked at himself in the mirror of the bedroom. Although the shirt was brand new and still had it's sleeves intact, and the jeans had not a single hole or smudge on them, he still felt like himself. He rolled up the sleeves of the button up past his elbows and slipped his angel wing vest on. He towel dried his hair and let it fall whichever way.
As he exited the bedroom, he could hear her laugh from the kitchen and he started to feel those small butterflies in his stomach that he always got around her. It took all his courage to walk down the stairs, his boots clunking on each step, alerting them to his presence. Beth turned as she saw him enter the kitchen and she smiled brightly up at him.
Whether she knew or not that he was going to be there, was not the point, but that she looked absolutely beautiful in her summer dress and white cardigan. Her hair was hanging down, with a few pieces pulled back. He could see the scars on her face, having faded over time. The bullet wound on her forehead was covered by some hairs that she let fall around her face, but he could still make it out. She was not embarrassed by them but had confided in him that she felt people treated her differently. He still remembered the blush on both their faces when he responded to her that she was still the prettiest girl around.
"Oh good, food is almost ready so take a seat you two." Eric said, breaking their moment. He noticed that Aaron was already seated and Eric was bringing over the pot of food and sitting beside him. Daryl could see through their plan. He bet Beth could too but neither said a word. They've eaten dinner beside each other before, so this would be no different.
Dinner was filled in with light conversation. They spoke about Eric's new job as a librarian for the community. Since he was no longer travelling with Aaron, and he had such a love of books, it seemed only right. Beth talked about working in the school with the smaller children in the morning, and then she took care of Judith in the afternoons till Rick or Carl came home. She went hunting with Daryl some mornings to hunt fresh meat but she did enjoy her time with the children.
Daryl drank the wine and ate his food but couldn't help looking at Beth. When she caught him, she would blush or let out a little giggle and went back to talking to the other two. He was drawn to her and loved how enthusiastic she got when she talked about their hunts. She mentioned it was her favourite time, spending with him outside the walls and he felt enthralled by that confession. He enjoyed the time just as much as her.
When the food was done, and the plates were cleared, it seemed Eric had other plans, based on the mischievous look on his face.
"Beth, you were saying that you've never seen Alien, but I managed to find a copy from the library. What do you say we watch a movie?" He asked, with a wag of his eyebrows.
"I dunno, I hate scary movies."
"Well since Aaron will be protecting me, I'm pretty sure we can count on Daryl to hold your hand through the scary parts." Before either one had a chance to say anything, Aaron was already making his way to the couch.
"I got it all setup already. You two can take the loveseat since it's the perfect view of the tv." Daryl was gonna kill Aaron at some point during their next outing. This was blatantly obvious as a setup for him and Beth and he could only hope that she didn't think he had anything to do with this.
She seemed to be okay with everything as she made her way to the couch, sitting on one cushion and waiting for him to join her. He downed the rest of his drink and got up to sit beside her. He sat right on the end, making himself comfortable in the corner. There was some space between them still but she stayed where she was in the middle. Once the movie was turned on, she sat back in the couch more and watched the opening scenes.
Eric had gotten up from his spot beside Aaron and made some popcorn for each couple. He brought the bowl and set it up between them. He gave Daryl a wink and curled back up to Aaron. Daryl glanced over to Beth to watch her as she watched the movie. She made a move to grab some popcorn and he left her at that. A few minutes later, his own hand went for the bowl and brushed up against her as she grabbed some for herself. They looked to each other quickly and both looked away as the creep of heat climbed up his neck and he could feel his face getting red.
She got up to use the bathroom a short time later and the minute she left the room, he could feel someone staring at him. He looked over to see Aaron and Eric giving him an evil glare, almost demanding he do something. He didn't quite get it until he looked down at the popcorn between them. He moved the popcorn so it took up where she was sitting, and putting some space for her to sit closer to him. He turned back towards the other two and they gave him a thumbs up. He felt more calm and relaxed and he put his arm on the back of the couch, when Beth came back.
She looked down at where the popcorn had been moved and seemed to understand what he was doing as she sat down right beside him. There was still some space between them but their legs were practically touching and his arms was right behind her head. He could easily put it around her shoulder and bring her closer but he wasn't brave enough for that.
They were getting to the scarier parts of the movie and he could feel how tense Beth was getting. When something scared her, she grabbed at his leg and squeezed, almost jumping out of her seat. With every jump, she moved closer and closer to him, till they were sitting right beside and her legs were squished beside his. He stopped paying attention to the movie long before as he was trying to gain courage and just put his arm around her. He could face a herd of walkers with a crossbow and a knife but little Beth Greene made him quake in his boots. Towards the end of the movie, when an alien came out of nowhere, she cowered into him and by reflex his arm came around her shoulder. He could feel her visibly relax and some of his own tension seemed to melt away at the warmth of her pressed against him. Her arm came around his stomach and she snuggled closer, almost like she was waiting for him to make a move. He sighed, wondering why it took him so long.
They only got to stay like that for a little while longer and the movie ended. He immediately moved his arm and she uncurled herself as Aaron and Eric gave each other knowing glances. They all got up and stretched and Aaron gave out a pretty lame yawn.
"Pretty late, we should head to bed. Daryl, why don't you walk Beth back home since it's dark out already?" Aaron suggested. He swallowed hard and nodded his head. They gave their thanks and headed out the door for the short walk back to their home.
They stayed quiet for the entire trip and only when they got to the porch did Beth pull on his arm, holding him back from walking up the steps.
"I need to make a confession," she said softly, not quite ready to meet his eyes. He grunted, letting her know he was listening. "I asked Aaron and Eric to do this tonight," she admitted, biting her lip and looking into his eyes finally. He was slightly taken back that she asked them to do that.
"I was afraid to ask you out and frankly I'm a little confused how to date at the end of the world so I got them to set this up in hopes that maybe -" Before she could finish that sentence, he had grabbed her by the back of her head and kissed her hard on the mouth. She was quick to respond and threaded her own fingers into his hair and by the back of his neck.
They kissed each other with every ounce of feeling that they held for one another, holding on tight. Her tongue pressed against his bottom lip as he opened his mouth to kiss her deeper. Only when they needed air, did they break apart, but their foreheads remained touching, their hands holding their place on each other.
"I should have asked. Kinda a chicken shit when it comes to you." She blushed and pecked his lips. His brow furrowed in contemplation but he figured he needed to be honest here too.
"It was you Beth. You changed my mind." She smiled and kissed him again as he responded, this time more slowly and enjoying this quiet moment between them.
"So does this mean we can have another date night?" Beth finally asked. He smirked and kissed her one last time.
"What are you doing tomorrow night?"