A/N Thank you for stopping by to check my newest Bethyl story. It's a bit of journey so please join us on our way.
Triggers: We all know Daryl was a victim of severe childhood abuse, and as our story begins he is still young and still living with his abuser. I'll avoid graphic descriptions of the abuse.
Trouble in Mind
Trouble had never looked so good, and so attractive and oh so perfect.
If you were a Mama or Daddy you'd want a daughter just like her. She was just about as perfect as a girl gets. She studied hard and she was so bright, one of the top students in her class. And she was such an obedient girl. They'd had their challenges with Shawn and Maggie, but Beth? Beth never gave them a bit of trouble. And she was so sweet and loving; the kind of a person that was slow to anger and quick to forgive.
Thankfully she'd shown no interest in boys at all, and she never listened to that terrible music kids her age seemed to thrive on. The girl hardly even watched television. She was either at school, doing her schoolwork, doing her chores around the farm or she was reading or writing songs and poetry. And she never missed Sunday services or Wednesday night bible study. She was every parent's dream child.
Then school started that fall and the perfect young girl came face to face with Trouble.
He was in her homeroom class of 10th and 11th graders, the very first class of the very first day of her sophomore year of high school. Even though this girl had never stepped off the line, had never caused her parents a bit of anguish, she recognized Trouble when she saw him. And the trouble with this particular Trouble was she found herself so drawn to him. She was the moth to his flame.
He was just so darn appealing in a kind of sulking and almost dangerous way. And even though he seemed quite thin at the same time he was also muscular. A person could notice that right away, even a sweet innocent young girl who wasn't supposed to be noticing such things. But those muscles seemed to show right through his thin t-shirt.
His hair was a little too long and it was a little too messy and he even looked like he could use a shave.
And she thought it was odd because the other thing she'd noticed was he didn't look up much.
He was assigned to the desk next to hers and when he glanced over at her his eyes were hard. It was a look like he'd already lived a 1,000 years and as if in that time most of what he'd seen had been bad. Even at her young age she knew it wasn't right, someone as young as him shouldn't look so hardened.
And she noticed something else as she tried to study him, without being obvious of course, he had what was left of a black eye. And it wasn't just that, she saw the faint yellowed bruising on his cheek and forearms. Right away she figured he was one of those scary and very rough kind of boys, the kind that was always looking for a fight.
Yep, he was Trouble alright.
But Trouble had never looked so good, and so attractive and oh so perfect.
As far as he was concerned the only good thing about school was it got him away from that damn shithole they lived in, which meant away from his stinking rotten bastard of an old man. He knew for at least the seven hours of school and the two and a half hours at work after, he'd be out of that godforsaken place.
Shit here it was the first day of the new school year and he was just now recovering from his last beat down. He figured he'd be due for another sometime real soon. The young man was just biding his time, waiting for the day he'd be big enough and tough enough and strong enough to get even with that asshole. If Merle or the booze didn't kill the old man first.
Damn he wished Merle would get out of the joint, he'd promised when he did he'd move Daryl in with him and Daryl couldn't wait.
He noticed her the minute he walked in the classroom. School might not be as bad as he'd thought it was going to be, not as long as she was around. Man she was just so pretty. Just the type of sweet and innocent looking girl who'd run a 100 miles an hour to get away from a guy like him. She was one of those girls that'd be dating a football player or some honor roll whiz kid, not a loser like him. A guy living in a shithole with no real money and always all banged up looking.
But there was one thing he could do a whole lot better than most, he could be sneaky. He knew how to see things without anyone even knowing he was looking, and looking at her was going to be a real good way to pass the school hours.
All he planned on doing was looking. Oh sure he'd heard the rumors they spread about him, that he had no interest in high school girls because he only liked older experienced women. They talked about him like he was some big player with those women. Contrary to what the other students seemed to think, he didn't know shit about girls young or old, except what Merle told him and Merle was a whole different kind of guy than him. Daryl knew he had no game, shit even if he had a girl he wasn't sure he'd know quite what to do with her. But he could sure look at this particular girl.
So that's just what Trouble and the pretty little farmer's daughter did, they looked at each other. And they tried hard to "accidentally" show up where the other one was. Twice they'd even brushed past each other and felt that brief sensation of contact. They spent the entire first half of the school year just trying to get as many looks at one another as they could, without anyone ever being the wiser.
She'd heard lots of whispered stories about him, his rough look and solitary manner made everyone want to speculate on just what he was all about. Of course most everyone took him for some kind of hell raising redneck ruffian, always looking for trouble and always finding it. And she noticed how even the big tough football players steered clear of him, gave him room. It seemed everyone was a little bit afraid of Trouble.
And her heart wasn't happy at all when she heard talk about him running with older women. Rumor was he didn't have time for high school girls, that he liked woman who'd been around, women who were "experienced." She didn't want to believe those things so she decided they weren't true.
And even though she'd learned he was in 11th grade they shared two 10th grade classes. Apparently he was not on track to graduate, nor did he seem at all concerned about that. She thought it was a shame because he certainly seemed more than smart enough. Maybe it was that he just didn't care. That made her wonder what his folks were like and why they weren't more strict about his studies.
And those things weren't all there was to speculate about, there was also his mode of transportation. It wasn't a normal high school boys' type of vehicle at all. He rode a motorcycle to and from school. Amy's boyfriend said that chopper was probably more than 50 years old, and he also said he'd heard it belonged to Daryl's older brother Merle Dixon, a resident of the Georgia State Pen. She wondered if someday Trouble would join his brother there. She sure hoped not.
She hoped not because in observing him these past many weeks she'd started to feel there was a lot more to Trouble than showed on the surface. It was the little things. Like the day she dropped her ruler and before she could even think about reaching down to get it he'd bent down, picked it up and set it on her desk before quickly looking away. She'd thanked him but he just nodded his head once, not even really looking up.
If they got to a doorway at the same time to enter or leave a class he always stepped aside so she could go first. And a couple of times when the door was closed he'd quickly reached to open it for her. That was how she knew, he may be rough but he was also something those other boys weren't, Trouble was kind of a gentleman.
So those first few months of school she looked at him every chance she got, studied him, wished she could talk to him, thought about him and missed him when she didn't see him, and longed for him in a way she was completely unfamiliar with.
He watched her, kept an eye on her, wished he had the guts to talk to her, wished he had something going for him so maybe he'd be the kind of guy she'd give her time to. And he longed for her in a way he was completely unfamiliar with.
When they returned from Christmas and New Year's break he looked especially rough, like he'd been hit with something more than just a fist. It was healing up but it was there. She hated to see him looking so hurt and she wondered why he felt the need to fight so much. She was almost overcome with the urge to hold him and beg him to stop all of his fighting. And what if he got arrested for that fighting and he ended up in jail? Her mind raced and her heart hurt just thinking about it. She wanted Trouble and she didn't want anything bad to happen to him, ever.
When they got to history class later that day something happened that would change their world forever. The teacher paired all the students up for a project and Beth got paired with Trouble. She wasn't sure whether to be excited and happy or nervous and maybe even a little scared. "What country do you want to pick Tro… I mean Daryl?"
He furrowed his brow and squinted his eyes at her, "What was ya just gonna call me, sumthin' bad? Ya got a problem with me girl?" His voice didn't sound like a boys, he sounded like a man. It was rough but it was also so appealing and it felt like it was making her tingle.
"No not at all, please don't be angry I'm very happy to be partnered with you, honest I am. And I'm Beth, I don't know if you know that. I know your name's Daryl." She worried she was talking too fast and that she sounded nervous, shaky. Because she was.
"I ain't mad at ya I feel kinda bad for ya really, bein' stuck with the likes a me an all. I don't do much schoolwork, shit I don't do any schoolwork." He really did feel sorry for her, she was so sweet and so pretty and her voice had a kind of gentleness to it, and he wasn't going to be any help to her at all.
"I think we'll do just fine together Daryl. What country shall we pick?" She was trying to sound happy about this, encouraging, because he looked nervous as a cat.
"Shit I got no idea, I barely know anythin' about anywhere except for here an the woods, an Atlanta I know how ta get to an from the prison but that's all I know." And he'd shrugged his shoulders and looked back down and she noticed how he nervously chewed on his lower lip.
"Well how about somewhere exotic like um, oh I know how about Argentina?"
"I guess if that's what ya want you're the one who's probably gonna be doin' all the work. I ain't no good at schoolwork. The school's just passin' me along cuz they don't know what the hell else ta do with me, an I'm just here hidin' out is all." Ah shit he wished he hadn't said all that. There was just something about this girl that made him talk, he'd never talked with anyone as much as he had with her these past 10 minutes.
She sensed he'd embarrassed himself and moved on, "Well could you meet me at the library after school today?"
"I thought ya had ta get on the school bus." Ah shit again, now she'd know he'd been watching her.
And she did know now and it made her want to smile, but she was trying real hard to be cool. "Well I could just call my Mama and she could come get me when we're done."
"Well I gotta work after school an I don't get off 'til 6:00 when the shop closes."
"Well you could come out to the farm after work and we can study in Daddy's den, how's that?"
"Ya sure your folks won't mind me comin' round? I ain't exactly the kinda guy most would want around their girl."
"Don't be silly Daryl it'll be fine, for gosh sakes we're working on a project together."
She gave him directions to the farm and it would be hard to say which of them was more nervous, or more excited, or more unsure.
All Beth knew was Trouble was coming to her house and if there was any way she could spend time with him, then that was what she wanted to do.
She called her Mama and asked if she'd come get her and take her to the library after school. "It's a project Mama for my history class, we're studying foreign lands and me and another student are doing a special report on Argentina. If it's okay he's coming over to work on it with me tonight."
Of course Mama wanted to know who he was, know his name and what time he'd be there. She told her Daryl had to work after school and he was coming as soon as he was off, probably around 6:15 to 6:30. Mama just said, "Okay well we'll wait supper for him, he probably won't have time to eat beforehand."
The only reason he was going anywhere to study anything was because she wanted him to. If anyone else would have asked him he would have told them to fuck off. He'd never studied before so why start now? But he'd never tell her that, and besides he'd like to see her somewhere besides school. Because as much as he'd tried to deny it to himself, he liked her a whole lot more than he'd ever planned on.
Now he knew what all the fuss was about with men and women, now he knew what Merle had been telling him.
But it wasn't just a case of wanting her in that way, that physical way, it was her and everything about her. He'd never known anyone like Beth. She seemed so sweet and so kind, and she always gave him a real nice smile. Daryl hadn't known people could even be like that, be so good. She didn't seem to look down on him like he was common trash the way a lot of folks did, he knew they did. Now she'd even invited him to her home. No one had ever invited him to come to their home before.
She probably wouldn't have either if it wasn't for this school project, but any chance he could get to spend time with her he sure wasn't going to question it much or turn it down. Any reason to give her his time was a good enough reason for him.
He worked in a machine shop. Mostly he worked on a drill press threading holes in the plastic parts they fabricated for a manufacturing outfit. He worked every day after school and from seven in the morning to noon on Saturdays. When they didn't have him on the drill press he mostly cleaned up after the other guys. Sometimes he was even on janitor duty, restrooms and all. He did whatever they told him to do because he was happy to have the work, happy someone had given him a chance. The owner had promised him if he worked hard he'd bring him along in the trade, teach him to be a real machine operator. But he'd also told Daryl he should learn all the math he could, he explained to him that real machine operators, the ones who could set up machines and knew how to check parts to see that they met specifications, they used math.
Maybe he'd start taking this school thing just a little bit more seriously, after all he really didn't mind math too much. In fact it was one of the only subjects he cared much for at all. Of course now that he was going to be doing this project with her he supposed he'd up his interest in history too. Maybe she'd think more of him. Probably not, but hell it was worth a try.
When the end of shift buzzer sounded he hurried and washed his hands three times with that Lava soap. They still had a little machine grease on them, it just couldn't be helped.
She'd never noticed how loud that motorcycle was until he pulled up to the farm that first time. It was so quiet out there in the country, nothing to be heard but the lowing of the cows and the occasional dog barking. The rural route had never heard a sound like the noise that chopper made as it came down her road.
Neither Beth nor Daryl missed the looks on her Mama and Daddy's faces when Daddy opened the door and they saw Trouble for the first time.
To her he looked just so darn handsome in those worn Levis and black lace up boots, a tight t-shirt and a black leather jacket. It was making her heart beat faster just to think that he was in her house.
Shit, this place was like something in some damn fairytale world. It was a white house with a big front porch, and when her Mama and Daddy opened the door they looked like a picture postcard of a farmer and his wife. The place was warm and inviting and he was thinking this pretty girl wasn't living the same life he was living at all. He'd known how special she was from that first day, and he'd been watching her now for weeks. This was the kind of idyllic life she deserved. She was just what she seemed to be, sweet, kind and open and he suspected she was every bit as nervous as he was.
He knew he didn't belong here, in a place like this but he was mighty proud she'd asked him to come. And he remembered the things his Mama had taught him back when he was five and six. She'd told him all about having proper manners and how to act. He was hoping he got that part right because this looked like the place to use those manners.
She made the introductions and he shook her Daddy's hand, "Thanks for lettin' me come ta study with Beth."
And he nodded to her Mama, "Thank ya for havin' me ta your home Ma'am." Mama like her daughter was immediately charmed by this rough looking and rough sounding, but obviously shy boy.
Now Daddy was not inclined to these thoughts, he saw this Daryl Dixon fellow for just what he was, Trouble.
Daryl hadn't expected to have dinner with her family and he was in fact hungrier than hell, but still he was embarrassed. He just sat where they told him to sit, which was on the opposite side of the table from Beth, and he waited to be told what to do next.
When they prayed before they ate that really threw him for a loop, he didn't even know people really did that stuff. It sure didn't happen at the Dixons, but then dinner didn't happen at the Dixons. Her Mama dished up the chicken and noodles, and maybe she noticed the way he was looking at those biscuits because she gave him two. Daryl saw the ornery look Mr. Greene gave Mrs. Greene when she only gave him one biscuit. Now he was worried the old man was going to be all pissed off at him over a biscuit.
Not Daddy, not Mama, not Beth, none of them missed the way he ate that food. Mama, being Mama and all, was worried he wasn't getting fed at home, he was pretty thin. Daddy just thought he was ill-mannered and Beth just liked the way he looked no matter what he did.
Daddy excused them from the table and Mama excused Beth from doing the dishes and they went in the den to study. Daddy looked gruff when he said, "Leave the door open."
They sat together at Daddy's desk and she had the books open, "We could go online too I just thought this would be a good starting point."
"Yeah, whatever ya think Beth."
"Well I thought we'd have all the usual stuff in our report, you know the history of the country like who first settled there, the religions, the government, the kinds of foods they eat, the type of art and buildings, but gosh I wish we could think of something special to add because all of that is just the same old boring stuff."
"I guess I could draw pictures of the places an such, I'm pretty good at drawing stuff. I mean if ya wanted that kinda thing." He shrugged his shoulders and seemed embarrassed.
"Oh wow Daryl really? That would be so cool to have hand done illustrations instead of just pictures printed off the internet. I have a beautiful set of color pencils and a drawing pad my auntie gave me. I've never used them because drawing isn't much of a talent for me. You could use those if you wanted. Oh I'm just so excited I can't wait."
Maybe it was because he'd never had anyone get excited about anything he'd ever said or done. Or it could have been the way they were sitting so close together, or it could have been that he was a teenage boy and she was a teenage girl and their hormones were in high gear, and they had some kind of crazy, powerful and undeniable attraction. Whatever it was it caused him to reach a hand over and touch her leg, just above the knee. The second he realized what he'd done he tried hard to move that hand away but it seemed to be frozen there.
They both looked awkwardly at his hand, and try as he might it didn't seem to want to move, and they looked in each others eyes and finally he was able to move that hand away. He whispered, "I'm real sorry girl I shouldn't a done that."
And she whispered back, "I didn't mind." And then she leaned over and quickly kissed his cheek.
That's when they heard Daddy coming down the hall and they straightened right up and stared hard at those library books. "30 minutes more and then you two need to call it a night."
"Okay Daddy." And as soon as Daddy turned and left the room, Daryl leaned in and kissed her cheek.
He thanked her Mama and Daddy again for letting him come by and then Beth walked him out to the motorcycle. Daddy was watching real close so Trouble didn't push it, he just casually let his hand accidentally brush hers as he got on his bike. But the look in his eye? That sweet little farm girl knew what it meant.
The battle began when she walked back in the house. Daddy was on a rampage. "You finish this school project with the Dixon boy and then that's the end of it daughter, he will never be coming here again. In the meantime you are forbidden to see him except here or at school. That's it, do we have an understanding?"
She didn't get a chance to speak because Mama piped up then, "Hershel Greene what in the world has come over you? He seemed like a perfectly nice boy to me." God Bless Mama.
Daddy barked back, "I know his kind, I know the people he comes from. That father of his is a no account drunken bum. Rumor has it he was the reason his wife, that boy's Mama, burnt down the house and killed herself. And that worthless brother of his is only 26 years old and he's already been in prison five years. What kind of boy can he be? Is that really the boy you want keeping company with our daughter?"
Beth hadn't gotten a word in, she just watched in shock as they fought and her little wheels were spinning.
"Hershel how can you judge the boy that way? It's not his fault his Daddy is a terrible man and you certainly can't hold him responsible for his brother's behavior. You know the rumor is his Daddy beats him while no one seems to care, no one even talks about it because no one wants to know the ugly truth. And just look at him he's bruised up and underfed. You should have a better heart. And don't you trust your daughter to make good decisions in her choice of friends? For goodness sake Hershel you can't sit in judgement of a young boy."
"My mind is made up Annette there will be no Dixons around our girl. I should give that history teacher a piece of my mind for ever pairing a girl like Beth with that boy to begin with."
She didn't say anything she just turned and ran up the stairs to her room. She'd had no idea his Mama had died, and what a horrible way to die. And his Daddy sounded so awful, how in the world could he be beating his own son? The news had hit her hard, and now she knew the terrible truth about where those bruises came from. She couldn't bear the thought of him being hurt in that way.
What Daddy didn't know was he'd just unleashed a whole world of new trouble because that sweet little daughter of his, lying upstairs on her bed and crying over the rough boy with the bruised face and the broken family, she wouldn't be denied that boy.
She'd already decided she could very possibly become a girl who loved Trouble.
A/N Thank you for taking the time to read my newest Bethyl story as we follow our couple into adulthood. I'd appreciate it very much if you'd leave a comment / review. Thanks! x gneebee
To see the chapter photo of our young couple please visit my tumblr bethylmethbrick. I'd love it if you followed here, there, well heck both really. This story will be posting on Saturdays. I'd also appreciate you giving my story The Wood Sculptor a try. Thanks again and as always, I love ya large! xo gneebee