AN: Okay this time I really am done this one. Thank you guys for reading. Everyone have a great day.

Chapter 16

"He was friendly," Carol commented as they pulled back onto the road at a much slower pace. "Though I don't think he was too impressed when you called him a Mountie and asked where his red suit was," she giggled. At that point Daryl was damn lucky that the officer was in a good mood and likely used to dealing with American tourists.

After making them sweat it out for a while the officer came back and told Daryl he would let him off with a warning. Carol made the mistake of wondering out loud what else could possibly go wrong, just minutes before the Jeep started to shake and Daryl had to pull over yet again.

"Fuck," she heard him yell in frustration. It was loud and she heard it clearly from inside the vehicle. Daryl came to her window and Carol put the glass down. "Any chance you know how to change a tire on a Jeep?" he asked.

"Of course I know how to change a tire," she scoffed. "Why don't you?"

Daryl shrugged, "never needed to learn before, just called AAA. If it was a bike - no problem, but I ain't never changed one on a vehicle..." He stared at her, "well, what are you waiting for?"

Carol glared at him, "I said I know how to change it, but knowing and doing are two completely different things."

"Well, how about I do the doing and you just tell me what you know," Daryl suggested, pulling open her car door.

"This is not going to go well at all," Carol muttered under her breath, thinking back to the tent construction with a smile. If that was an indication of his handyman skills, they were in trouble. "Okay, so first thing we need is a jack," she said, climbing out of the Jeep.

"Oh… a jack… yeah…" Daryl gave her a sheepish grin. "I guess we're not doing anything because I don't have one."

"Oh. My. God." Carol said, staring at him in disbelief. "You had to at least know we needed a jack." The buzz she had from the wine was fading quickly.

"I hadn't really thought that far ahead…

"Or at all," she interrupted.

"No need to get all Crankypants," Daryl grumbled.

"It's cold and it's getting dark and the massive swarm of bugs will be starting their hunt for my blood any second and I was kinda buzzed and…" she pouted. "Worst of all I'm incredibly horny."

"Well fuck, I could just lift the damn Jeep like Superman," Daryl snorted. "Because I'm every bit as horny as you are." He reached out and slid a hand around her body, cupping her ass. "Or we could just get that part out of the way right now?" Carol had to admit that she liked this extra flirty side of him and really hoped he would end up a mixture of this and the old shy Daryl sometimes too.

Carol was seriously considering it when a set of headlights appeared. "I fucking hope this guy has a jack," she said, waving her arms for the car to stop. As the vehicle approached she realized it was a cop car and out hopped the very same officer that had pulled Daryl over a few minutes ago.

"Good thing I got you to slow down or you might have rolled her when that tire blew," he joked. "Need a hand?"

The officer had obviously changed a tire or two in his life. He had the spare on in no time and the flat tire attached to the back of the Jeep so Daryl could have it repaired at home. It was almost dark and the only flashlight they had were cell phone lights to canoe back to the island. But they managed and were soon pulling up the canoe on shore at their campsite.

"People are so nice here," Daryl commented as they headed for the tent. "We should move to Canada. I like it."

Carol snorted. "People are nice at home too, but we just happen to have a much bigger population, more room for assholes in the mix."

"You wouldn't consider moving here?" he asked.

He actually sounded serious so Carol gave him a serious answer. "I would consider buying a cottage and visiting often, but move here? It's lovely, but our friends and family are back in Georgia... I couldn't be this far away from them."

"Okay," Daryl replied, ducking into the tent.

Carol followed him, "Just okay? What does okay mean?"

"Okay, we'll buy a cottage," he said, grinning at her.

Carol just shook her head. She knew neither one of them could afford a cottage in another country but she continued on with the fantasy. "Just promise me you won't buy one on an island okay?"

"Deal." Daryl reached for her. "Now, didn't you mention something about being horny?" he asked, pulling off her shirt. It was the only reminder she needed to get right back to the state of arousal she'd been in after leaving the restaurant. "You realize this will be our first time as a couple, right?"

Carol hadn't really thought of it that way and wondered if it would feel any different, especially if he let down his guard and was just the sweet man she have loved for a long time. "You're right, my expectations are so much higher, can you live up to them?" she teased.

It was dark, but she knew he was blushing and it made her so happy. "I have a trick or two up my sleeve," he said finally, in a sweet low voice, not the same cocky voice he'd used before. Daryl gently grazed her nipples with his fingertips, watching them grow stiff and hard. Then right away he played the trump card when he put a finger under her chin and lifted it, "I love you Carol."

She was sure her heart was going to explode into a million pieces. Until he said those words to her she hadn't known how much she needed to hear them. "I love you too," she whispered. It was an odd moment because their relationship had been built on fun, flirty interaction. Of course they had extremely emotional conversations about their past, but that was early on and it was about the past, not the future. They rarely got serious or deep anymore though. But this was both as serious and deep as two people could get. Their first declaration of love. It was one thing to think it to yourself and quite another to express it to the object of your affection. Daryl loved her and Carol loved him back.

She found out right away that this time would be different. There was something softer in his touch, more delicate. When he laid her on the mattress Daryl touched her like she was the most special thing in the universe, like he wanted to learn every curve of her body and commit it to memory. Yet there were also moments she caught his hand trembling and it made her heart pound even harder. She almost didn't notice that he hadn't put on a condom because she was so lost in the emotion, but when he spread her legs and went to enter her Carol stopped him, "Aren't you forgetting something?"

"Nope," Daryl replied, moving to penetrate.

"Seriously Daryl, just get one, quick," Carol encouraged him.

"We don't need it," he persisted. Carol went to speak but he interrupted. "I've had a vasectomy."

"What?" Carol squeaked, sitting up in shock.

Daryl looked embarrassed and he shrugged. "Promise you won't laugh okay?"

Carol gave him a strange look but agreed, "I promise." She felt goosebumps on her body as he spoke.

He took a deep breath and rubbed her leg, "I knew I was going to tell you how I felt at some point on this trip. I wanted our first time after I told you to be special, different… ya know? I mean, I know we did it without protection in the lake, but I pulled out so it's not really the same. This time we can be completely together, nothing between us.."

Carol stared at him in disbelief. "That is either the stupidest or the most romantic thing I have ever heard," she breathed.

"It's likely both," Daryl said, with a chuckle.

"But Daryl, why? Why did you do it?" He hadn't explained what she was really curious about - only why he hadn't told her before.

"My dad," he said softly. "I did it in my 20s. I didn't want there to be any chance I could have a kid and do what my dad did to me." Carol was pretty sure her heart broke in half hearing his admission. She felt tears sting her eyes and she couldn't stop them from rolling down her cheeks. "Don't cry," Daryl said. "I did it. It's over and I'm okay with it. I promise. Unless you aren't…" he looked panicked.

"No, no, it's not about me… I just…" she reached out and touched his face. "I know you… you would never do anything like that."

"I know that now," he replied, brushing away more of her tears. "Me and Denise worked through it. It's okay - I swear."

"You don't care that you'll never have kids?" she whispered, thinking of Sophia and how empty her life would have been if her baby had never been born. Carol knew that not all people wanted children but once you had one it was just so hard to understand.

"I know I ain't really her daddy, but in all the time I've known you I've always kinda thought of Sophia as…" his voice trailed off when Carol gasped. "I'm sorry, that was outta line - I shouldn't have…"

"No, stop," Carol interrupted him. "You have no idea how happy I am to hear you say that," she gushed, tears spilling again but for a totally different reason. "She's always looked up to you. You're the closest thing to a father she's had for years… or for her whole life really," she admitted. Daryl had been the man in Sophia's life for years and Carol had always thought their relationship was beautiful. She'd even caught herself wondering sometimes what it would have been like if Sophia really was Daryl's.

"You think she'd gonna be okay with this?" Daryl asked, his voice filled with uncertainty.

Carol smiled, thinking back to a conversation she'd had with Sophia many months ago where she was sad about Carl having a perfect family when it was just the two of them. Daryl had even come up in the conversation but Carol shut that idea down - never expecting it could possibly happen. "Oh she's gonna be ecstatic," Carol assured him. "Trust me."

When they touched each other again the conversation ended and they picked up where they had left off. The second he was inside her Carol forgot about everything but how amazing it felt and how much she loved him. Their lovemaking was different - very different. It was special and perfect and beyond anything she could have imagined. She loved the way he trembled when he touched her sometimes, either he was nervous or just so filled with emotion he couldn't control the shake - but it was sexy, so beautiful and innocent. Any time their eyes met she could see his were just as filled with love as hers were and she wondered how she couldn't have seen that before? He pleased her in every way with absolutely nothing between them - completely united. It was nothing short of perfection.

It was certainly a trip she was never going to forget. She'd had the best sex of her life, met an adorable Newfie, hustled a hustler at pool, and fell in love with her best friend. As they lay in each other's arms afterwards Carol felt safe and happy. How could she want anything more than that?

Just as she was about to fall asleep something caught her attention and her eyes flew open. Before she could say a word Daryl was already climbing out of bed and reaching for a flashlight. "Yeah, yeah, I'll find the cricket, relax."

She took a deep breath and smiled, he knew her so well. "I love you Pookie," she sighed, staring at his bare ass as he crawled around trying to kill a bug so she could sleep. This is true love, she thought, suppressing a giggle when Daryl started swearing profusely at the cricket.

When he finally climbed back into bed with her and heard the mosquito buzzing Daryl gave her a look. "You're on your own. Honeymoon's over."

Carol laughed and started her last mosquito hunt of the trip, finally splatting the bug in the middle of his forehead. "Night Muffin," she said, lying back down beside him.

"Night Skunk Whisperer," he retorted. They both burst into a fit of laughter. When they calmed down Daryl wrapped her in his arms and Carol fell asleep with a smile on her face.

The End - Thanks for reading :)