Chapter 1 A Radio
Darryl Dixion snarled as he listened to the women inside the farm house giggling. It was only a damn radio and batteries; he couldn't understand what the big deal was. He had gone into town with Glenn for a supply run and he sort of remembered Carol saying something about wishing they had music to work too. But he hadn't figured they would make such a fuss. He ran his hand over his scruff hair, grabbed his bow, and was just ready to head toward the woods when she heard her calling after him. "Darryl wait, please." He turned as she hurried across the yard. He hated the fact that since Sophia had died Carol had such a pull over him. She stood staring at him for a few minutes and then she quickly hugged him. He loved the how warm she felt and the smell of fresh soap filled his nose. He pulled away, "What was that for?" She smiled, "Thank you for the radio." She turned and headed back to the house calling over her shoulder, "Don't forget to make it for dinner tonight."
Damn woman was always worried about what he was doing or where he was going. He kicked at the dirt as he disappeared in to the woods to hunt. When he was alone in the woods he felt alive, here with her he just felt confused.
Carol stood at the screen door and watched him disappear, a small smile played on her lips. He was such a mystery. In the short six months they had been trapped in this hell together, he had shown her more tenderness than Ed had in thirteen years of marriage. But who was she kidding, with beautiful women like Maggie and Andrea around why would someone like Darryl Dixion even give her a glance. She sighed and went back to her work in the kitchen. They were making venison that Darryl had caught. She smiled at the thought of him out there yet again providing for their camp. He didn't give himself enough credit, but she did, she knew how hard he worked for the camp. She laughed as she peeled potatoes; Lori and Maggie were half dancing around the kitchen. Tonight would be a good night. They didn't have a lot of those, so they would all enjoy their night.
Herschel came in right before dinner with Rick. With winter coming they had been scouting out more secure places to hold up in for the winter. Herschel was afraid if they didn't find somewhere with better protection they could be sitting ducks when the snow hit.
By the time the sun was setting the ladies had set the tables in the dining room. Carl was buzzing around some chocolate brownies; Carol cut him a small piece and giggled as he scurried away. Darryl had been standing on the porch he smiled in spite of himself at her face when she gave the boy the brownie. He had cleaned up a bit before he came in. Carol noticed right away that he had cleaned himself up; he looked so handsome standing there. He nodded at her and sat down next to Dale.
She sat at the other table with Lori and Maggie the three talking at great length about what they needed for the upcoming cold weather. They knew they would have to be very smart about their food and they needed to restock their medical supplies.
Darryl picked at his plate, he was eating it, but he liked his meals better when she sat with him. He was pissed that she made him feel that way; he was getting ready to get up and leave when he felt her hand on his shoulder. She was standing there with a large brownie on a plate. "Here let me take your dishes, hope you like the brownies, I made them this afternoon." He just nodded as she set down the plate. He watched her make her way into the kitchen. Dale elbowed him, "Nice of her to bring that for you, if you notice I had to get my own. Makes you wonder who is going to end up with such a good woman."
He looked at Dale, he wasn't sure what Dale was trying to say, but he was hoping the old man didn't have her in mind for him. If Carol was going to be with anyone it should be him not Dale.
Carol was sitting on the edge of her bed in the RV. She hated nighttime; she saw Sophia's face every time she closed her eyes. She could hear the others by the campfire talking and laughing. She would try to sleep, she heard the RV door open, and she was surprised by the sound of his heavy boots as they moved along the floor. She wiped her tears quickly.
When he rounded the corner to the back sleeping area, his throat grew tight. He knew she had been crying again. She hid it from the others. He leaned back against the other bunk. "You ok? I noticed you weren't outside with the others." She nodded and stared at her feet. "Yeah, just tired need to sleep." He knew that Rick and Lori talking about the baby had upset her; they wanted to name it Sophia if it was a girl.
"Lay down." She looked at him. "I haven't been sleeping either, maybe if we lay together?" Once he said it he couldn't believe it came out of his mouth. She sat in shock, but then she moved herself up against the wall. He kicked his boots off and moved on the bed trying to keep his distance. He figured it might help her sleep, but the truth was them talking about the baby had upset him too. They couldn't just replace Sophia. He lay close to her but tried not to touch her. He let his hand hover just above her bare arm, but he thought better of touching her. They both needed comfort not anything else.
She had finally fallen asleep; she loved having him lying next to her. When she woke in the morning his head was buried into her back and both of his arms were wrapped around her. She just leaned back into him and sighed. She heard Glenn come busting into the RV, "Darryl, Darryl, Rick needs us at the house." Darryl stirred, "Keep it down she is finally sleeping, she hasn't slept enough lately."
Darryl pulled his boots on and sighed as he watched Glenn retreat from the RV. He had slept so sound next to her and now he had to go see what Sheriff Prick wanted. He turned and watched her cuddle up in the morning sun; before he could stop himself he bent down and softly kissed her cheek. He then made his way out the door and toward whatever holy shit was going on now.
She listened to him leave. Her cheek still burned from his kiss. Once she was outside making breakfast Dale smiled slyly at her, "I hate to ask, but what is going on with you and Darryl?" She blushed; she could feel her cheeks grow hot. "We are just leaning on each other." She tried to be busy but Dale wasn't going away that easily, "Carol, it's ok for you to have love, in fact, we need all the good we can get."
Darryl sat looking at Herschel; he had remembered a small elementary school with a large courtyard on the other side of town. It was close enough to the old chain stores for scavenging but yet far enough away from most largely populated areas they felt it might be the best place to hold up for the winter. Darryl was surprised they had asked him to this meeting. Rick looked at Darryl, "Would you be willing to take a group to the school to check it out?" Darryl nodded, "Sure when do you want me to go?"
She didn't see him all day, she figured he was off doing stuff for Rick and with all the laundry and cooking she made herself busy. That afternoon she went down by the old barn and sat next to Sophia's grave. It was peaceful here and she always felt better when she visited, she knew she would never have another baby and the idea of leaving her there weighed heavy on her soul. She wiped the tears from her cheeks and headed back toward the camp.
Darryl and Shane encountered only two walkers at the old school. Herschel had been right there was lots of room and there was plenty of fuel for the genators. They could definitely turn the little school into a make shift community thru the cold months. The school was in the shape of a big square with a perfect courtyard in the center for the chickens and the cow. On the trip back Shane had stopped in town to pick up a few things for the women. Darryl saw the little angel statue and quickly carried it to the truck. Shane looked at him, Darryl didn't give a shit what he thought, "It's for Sophia." Shane just nodded and continued grabbing items from the list. Once Darryl had helped Shane unload and they had given Rick the report on the school he headed to the old barn and placed the little concrete angel statue on top of her grave.
He was half way to his tent when he thought about the fact he hadn't talked to Carol all day. He went to the water pump and cleaned himself up a little. His next stop was his tent for some fresh clothes. He knew he was just stupid as shit Darryl, fooling himself that any woman especially one like Carol would even want him in bed with her, but he slept better next to her. He nodded at Dale who just smiled as he watched him go in the RV.
Carol knew when they got back but she saw how intense he was and figured he might just need a little space, so that is what she gave him. She had slipped into a pair of sleeper boxers and a black tank top, when she was married to Ed he would have never let her wear such a thing, but she thought they were cute. She went as far as asking Lori if she looked stupid in them before she headed to bed. Lori had laughed at her and told her she looked great. Now laying there by herself she felt stupid, she was old and used up, Darryl felt pity for her nothing else. She was about ready to bury her head into her pillow when she heard Dale say good night to someone. She heard him enter seconds later and her heart skipped a beat.
When he saw her lying there, he smiled; the little boxers were very form fitting on her ass. He had never really noticed before what a nice ass she did have. He sat on the bunk across from her and took off his boots. He was exhausted and couldn't wait to get some sleep. When he edged into the bed with her he was shocked when she rolled into him and nestled herself into his chest. "Good night Darryl." His voice had a weird catch she had never heard before, "Good night". He was trying to force himself to sleep but her breasts were pressing into his chest and it was all he could do to hide his hard on. She adjusted her leg and brushed it, he turned his back to her so fast he almost fell out of the bed. She just wrapped her arms around his chest and softly kissed his neck good night. Darryl Dixion knew he was in serious trouble.
Three days later Carol stood in the school house that would be their winter home. The rest of the group were picking rooms. Carol had drifted to the brightly decoratored kindergarten room. She laughed at the pictures that hung on the walls. She didn't hear Darryl behind her. She jumped and grabbed her chest laughing, "Sorry you scared me, I didn't see you there." He smiled, "Do you like this room?" She nodded, "Yeah, I like that it has carpet, when you get up on cold mornings the carpet will come in handy." He nodded, "Ok, this room is yours then." She wanted to ask him if he was going to be sharing it with her but she just couldn't. "My room is across the hall if you need me. Nice thing about this place is most of the rooms still have the old wood burning stoves. Dale and Glenn have been working on getting them ready for winter." She felt her heart flutter a little at the thought of him being so near.
Over the next few weeks they had begun painting and winterizing the old school house. They made sure all the windows were boarded up and covered with heavy cloth. Darryl had found two nice beds in town and put them in their rooms. He even went to great pains to find bedding set that he had seen her look at on one of the scavenging missions. They would work all day sometimes at the farm packing up and sometimes at the school. He had been gone most of the day hunting, he approached the farm house with several rabbits and squirrels on his back. Lori came busting out of the door, "Darryl have you seen Carol?" He hadn't seen her since that morning, "No, why would she be hunting with me?" Rick came around the side of the house a few seconds later, "No one at camp has seen her, where the hell did she go?" Darryl dumped his kill on the steps and grabbed Lori's arm, "What the hell is going on? Where is Carol?" Lori looked at him her eyes were filling with tears, "Shane went on the warpath while you were gone. Saying that we were taking too much stuff to the school. He started throwing Sophia's stuff away. Carol was crushed, she took off into the woods and now we can't find her." Anger ripped thru Darryl, Shane had been pushing him for months, "That Stupid Son of a Bitch!" He grabbed his bow and headed toward camp. Rick grabbed him, "After we find her you can kill him, let's find Carol first."
Carol had been destroyed when Shane threw her little girl's things away. She had headed out of camp and gotten herself lost and now she was sitting by a creek thinking that this must be how Sophia felt when she was all alone out in the wilderness. She cried, how could this be her life anymore. The only bright spot was Darryl. She heard noises coming behind her; she made her way up to a large tree and hoped she would hide herself if it was a walker. She heard his voice, "CAROL…..CAROL." She felt relief right away, "Darryl I am here." He ran down the path with Rick hot on his heels. She was crying when he grabbed a hold of her. He ran his hands over her making sure she wasn't hurt. "Are you hurt? Are you ok?" She sobbed, "Yes, I am fine; I just got pissed at Shane and got lost. I am sorry I made you worry." He drew her into him and hugged her for what seemed like forever.
They made their way back to camp. Shane made his way to Carol hoping to apologize for being such an ass. "Listen, please forgive….". Before he could say anything Darryl was on top of him punching him and kicking him. Carol screamed, "Darryl, no." It took Rick, Glenn, and T-Dog to pull them apart. "God Damn you people. Stay the fuck away from me." He storms off toward his tent. Carol heads to the RV not sure what to do next.
Dale pops his head in, "Why don't you go check on him?" She looks at him, "I don't know what I am thinking, why would he want to be with me? I know as soon as we find some nice young girl, he will forget all about little old used up me." Dale sighs, "That is Ed talking, not you. You know you are worth more than that. And furthermore so does Darryl. You bring out of him something that no one probably has. I have watched the two of you. I think you have to take happiness where you can get it. Well good night, glad you are safe."
As Dale walks out the door he finds Darryl standing there. "Go talk to her son, you two need each other." Darryl shakes his head. He goes to the back of the RV. He sits on the bunk across from her, "Why the hell did you take off today? I was coming right back and you know I would have taken care of Shane." She shakes her head, "I don't know, it was stupid. I just get so tired." He nods his head, "You know out of the two of us, I am not good enough for you. There isn't anything old or used up about you. I am just some piece of trash that can hunt and track animals. And why do you think I won't want you." She just stares at him. He moves to the bunk next to her. "It's late and I am tired." She nods as they lay down together. He moves in close to snuggle, she quivers as his arm finds her waist, his mouth gently kisses her neck, "I don't know what I would do if you weren't here." She smiles as he hugs her deeper they quietly drift off to sleep.
She wakes up a few hours later; Darryl is gone from the bed. She sits up, the sun isn't up yet, she wonders where he is when the RV door swings open. He wonders back to the bed. "What are you doing?" She shakes her head relieved to see him there. "I woke up and you were gone." He sneers, "Damn woman I had to take a piss, now lay down you need to rest." He sighs as he gets back into the bed. She laughs a little to herself as he pulls her to him. "Why are you laughing at me? I will go back to my damn tent woman." She grabs a hold of him tighter, "Sorry I was just thinking I was happy when I am with you." She couldn't see it but he was smiling as she drifted off to sleep.