Wow...Sunday's episode was so great! I loved learning more of Daryl's story and of course Norman looked super hot (as usual).
Thank you again to all the people who took the time to review: Leyshla Gisel, punkrockpancake, LittleRin26 and Sparkly Blue Eyes
Reviews are like food for my muse, so please feed it often!
Chapter 4 – Target Practice
Still unable to sleep once she had returned to her jeep, Sarah spent the remainder of the night going over her encounter with Daryl Dixon in the dark wilderness. She completely understood why he had come to investigate the noises she was making, but what she didn't understand was why he seemed so jumpy around her. When she'd casually touched his arm to get his attention, she could almost feel every muscle in his body tense up like he was expecting her to tackle him to the ground. And, his subtle way of checking her out, by flicking his eyes very quickly over her form and then lowering his gaze to the ground, was not lost on her, but it was a bit of a surprise. Most of the men she encountered in her life were not subtle about their admiration of her. Quite to the contrary, they were usually very outspoken and lewd. Take Merle, for example; a classic case of the kind of flirting she was used to. Why should Daryl be any different? He fit the stereotype of a loud mouth redneck, but he was anything but. A redneck, sure, but definitely not a loud mouth, as she could probably count the number of sentences he'd said the entire day on one hand. Yes, Daryl Dixon was shaping up to be quite the mystery man.
She rolled her eyes at herself while running her fingers through her long, wavy hair. It was just like her to start to develop some school girl crush during this shit storm they were all facing. She didn't know a thing about him, but the image of his face squinting at her while she shined the pin light in his eyes kept invading her thoughts. He mostly likely didn't realize it, but she had made her own visual assessment of him, as well. She noticed right away, when they first met on the interstate, that he was ruggedly good looking, even with that seemingly permanent scowl on his face. Not to mention those piercing blue eyes that seemed to stare right through her. And, those chiseled arms of his didn't escape her observation either. How could they? And there was something about the way he walked that had her eyes following him as he sauntered back towards his truck. Yep, he was hot. No doubt about it. And, he was just the type of guy that Sarah had always fallen for, but had desperately tried not to. She sighed as she looked in her rearview mirror, noticing that the sun was starting to rise over the hills in the east. A moment later she saw Shane exit his vehicle, stretching his arms to the sky. "Looks like it's time to gather the troops" she thought to herself before opening the passenger side door of her jeep.
The camp was literally buzzing with activity as each person went about setting up their respective "homes" in the vast area. Sarah was impressed by just how spacious the area was and in the light of day, she could tell that they were isolated enough to have some semblance of safety, at least for a little while. Sarah's favorite part about this particular spot though, was the huge rock quarry that was only about 50 yards away from the main camp site. Not only was it a beautiful scenic spot to relax, but it would provide plenty of essential water. Really, Sarah doubted there could be a more perfect place for their rag tag group of refugees.
Sarah busied herself around camp, introducing herself to each new face she encountered and helping those who actually had camping gear set up a space of their own. It became apparent, though, that most people were ill equipped to battle the elements, having only their vehicles and a few personal possessions. She scratched her itching scalp (she needed to wash her hair, badly) before swooping it up into a low ponytail as she made her way towards the Korean man she'd met earlier that morning named Glenn. When she reached Glenn, he was standing next to the Dale's RV chatting with him and the blond sisters, Andrea and Amy. Dale looked up towards her as she approached and gave her a smile before alerting the others to her presence.
"Good morning, Sarah" Dale said, tipping the rim of his bucket hat towards her. "It is Sarah, right? I'm terrible with names and I've had so many to try to learn this morning."
"You got it" Sarah answered giving him her best smile. Glenn turned to her then, giving a small, nervous smile of his own.
"Glenn?" she asked, pointing her index finger at him.
"Yep" he answered, shifting his eyes from side to side as if deliberately trying not to make eye contact with her.
"I think I recall you saying that you were a pizza delivery guy before the proverbial shit hit the fan. Am I right?"
"Yeah" he said hesitantly, furrowing his brow.
"So, I'm guessing you know the city pretty well then."
He nodded at her in response.
"Well then, how about you and I head into the city on a little supply run. We need to gather more camping supplies like tents, sleeping bags, pots and pans, stuff like that. Not to mention, lots of food." She waved her arm in an arching motion towards the rest of their group that were devoid of supplies.
Glenn opened his mouth to answer, but before he could utter a word Shane was suddenly standing beside him with his hands on his hips and a disapproving look in his eye.
"I don't think that's such a good idea" Shane began. "If anyone goes into the city, it should be someone who knows how to handle a gun; someone with experience in dangerous situations."
Sarah almost laughed before thinking better of it. Shane obviously didn't realize she was more than capable of taking care of herself and had plenty of experience in "dangerous situations", but she wasn't surprised. This wasn't the first time someone had underestimated her based on her appearance.
"In case you forgot" she started, trying to contain the sarcasm in her voice, "I mentioned last night that I'm former military. I spent 6 years in the dessert; 4 in Afghanistan and 2 in Iraq, so I think it's safe to say that I have the kind of experience you're speaking of".
A small crowd had gathered around them while Sarah was speaking and Shane glanced around at the spectators as he ran his hand through his thick chestnut hair and then down to rub at the back of his neck. His face was lightly flushed in embarrassment when he said "I'm sorry, ma'am. I suppose I did forget."
"Ma'am? Sarah is fine" she said before Glenn cautiously raised his hand beside Shane to get their attention.
"I do know the city pretty well and I think we could get in and out pretty quickly with just the two of us" he said shifting his eyes from Sarah to Shane.
"Alright" Sarah said. "Anyone have a map we could borrow?"
An hour later, Sarah and Glenn had their route and plan of action in place as they both studied the worn map that Dale had given them, on the hood of her jeep. Sarah stood up straight placing her hands on her lower back, pushing slightly to work out the kinks. "You know how to shoot a gun, Glenn?" she asked as he did the same.
"Not really" he answered, giving her a small smile before removing his baseball cap and running it across is sweaty forehead. "Actually, no. I've never shot a gun in my life."
"Ok, then first thing's first. I need to give you some basic tips so that you aren't flying by the seat of you pants out there. I can cover you, but you are going to need to be able to defend yourself if and when the time comes."
He gave a nervous laugh that turned into a squeak when Sarah grabbed his arm and began leading him towards the tree line at the edge of camp. "I'm not going to bite, Glenn" she said as she pulled him along.
"What if he wants you to?" Merle bellowed as they passed the area near the Dixon brother's tent causing Glenn's face to flush. Sarah gave Merle a fix gaze as they passed, flipping him the bird. Merle roared with laughter, clapping his hands before pointing his index finger at her indicating he wasn't too offended with her retort. "Anytime, sugar tits!" he hollered after her as they disappeared into the trees.
Daryl watched the exchange between Merle and Sarah with hidden interest as he leaned against a pine tree near his tent, smoking one of his last cigarettes. Merle was one of the most foul mouthed people he'd ever known (besides his own father), especially when it came to flirting with woman, but Sarah didn't seem to bat an eye. On the contrary, she seemed to take it in stride and even seemed to get some kind of entertainment from it. Unlike most other women who would call him a dick and storm away while crying to her friends about how the dirty redneck insulted her.
When Daryl saw Sarah and Glenn disappear into the tree line, he watched as Merle rose from his seat on a nearby stump and starting making his way towards their tent. "I'm gonna get some damn sleep" he said before unzipping the flap and making his way inside. A second later Daryl heard Merle rustling through his bags. "Sleep, my ass" Daryl thought as he watched Merle's shadow take a small baggie and a mirror from his backpack.
"Mom, where are they going?" Daryl heard the young boy named Carl say to his mother.
"I think they are going into the woods so that Sarah can teach Glenn how to use a gun" Lori answered while placing her hand on the top of his head.
"Cool! Can I go and watch?" Carl asked with excitement bubbling in his voice.
"No way" Shane said, as he approached Lori and Carl. Lori shot him a look that seemed to ask if he thought it was a good idea before he continued. "They are having target practice so that Glenn will be able to protect himself while they are in the city. Glenn has never shot a gun and I don't want you running out there spooking him or he's liable to misfire and get someone hurt."
"Fine" Carl said while kicking the dirt at his feet.
"Why don't you go play with Sophia" Lori suggested, pointing over to the young girl as she helped her mother Carol and her father Ed set up their tent and supplies. Carol looked up at the mention of Sophia's name and nodded her head and smiled in agreement while waving Sophia off in Carl's direction.
Everyone started when the first gunshot was fired. "It's just Sarah and Glenn practicing in the woods!" Dale called from the top of the RV, binoculars to his eyes as he surveyed the forest. "Everyone keep calm. I have my eyes open and will let you know if something is coming."
Everyone seemed to relax and began going about their business, but Daryl was on edge. He took another look at his tent and noticed that Merle was lying down on his back, probably knocked out from his high. Satisfied that Merle wasn't going to be a distraction, Daryl grabbed his crossbow and headed off in the direction where Sarah and Glenn disappeared into the woods.
When he reached them, he immediately noticed that Glenn looked like he was about to barf all over his converse shoes as he watched Sarah pop off another shot into the trunk of a nearby tree. Daryl situated himself a few yards away as he observed them.
"You wanna try now?" she asked, turning her upper half around to look at Glenn.
"Sure" Glenn answered. He stepped up to her and held out his shaking hand for the 9mm that Sarah was holding out to him.
"The first thing you always have to remember is that the safety should be on at all times. You only switch it off when you're 100 percent ready to take a shot, understand?" He nodded his head.
"And, don't be so nervous" she said while placing the gun into the palm of his hand. She then moved herself around him so that she was standing directly behind him. "Now, raise the gun to eye level and point it directly at your target. I only want you to hit the tree, that's it."
As he raised the gun Sarah grabbed his forearms from behind steadying his aim as she placed her right foot between his legs, kicking his feet apart. "Your stance needs to be a bit wider. There will always be some kind of kick back, no matter what kind of gun you're using, so you need to make sure you can keep your balance. Keeping your feet in line with your hips is always a good rule of thumb. You also need to keep your back straight", she said while removing one hand from his forearm and pushing it between his shoulders, making him stand up straighter.
"Right" he breathed in answer as she released him and stepped back, giving him adequate space. Daryl narrowed his eyes as he watched Glenn practically bust a nut as the feel of Sarah's body flush against his back.
"Now, take a deep breath and release it when you squeeze the trigger."
Not ready just yet and tying to stall for time to calm himself down a bit, Glenn asked "How can you stand the way Merle talks to you? "
"I was in the military for 10 years, Glenn, and I spent the better part of those years in the dessert completely outnumbered by men. I guess you could say I'm used to it."
"Oh" Glenn answered, looking back at her.
"Now, quit stalling and shoot"
Glenn obeyed and when he let out his breath in a shaky sigh, he pulled the trigger. The shot went wide to the left and missed the tree by what seemed like a mile. Glenn sighed and turned around to face Sarah who had her arms crossed and a sweet smile on her face.
"No one gets it on the first try" she said. "Keep going."
Daryl watched as the Glenn shot off several more rounds before finally hitting his target. The smile that spread across his face was so goofy looking that Daryl could keep his silence no longer.
"You'd be dead ten times over by now" Daryl said as he emerged from the trees making both of them jump in surprise. When they realized it was only him, Glenn signed and ran his free hand over his face in relief.
"You gotta start somewhere" Sarah answered. Her arms were still crossed and she looked a bit annoyed at his presence. Daryl scoffed before stalking over to Glenn and snatching the 9mm from his loose grip. "He hit a tree and now you're ready to throw him into the geek infested streets?"
"The plan is for me to cover him while he gets in and out. I'm only giving him the basics, just in case."
"Whatever" Daryl answered, turning towards the tree and firing off three shots, each one hitting the trunk in the exact same spot. "Have fun out there" he said to Glenn before pushing past him on his way to Sarah who had her hand held out for her gun.
"The fuck was that?" his mind screamed as he pushed his way out of the trees and back into the open ground of camp. "Showing off…you were fucking showing off!"
He stomped his way to his tent and began to unzip it before he remembered that Merle was still in there. Annoyed as all hell, he took a seat on the stump that Merle had occupied earlier and began cleaning his bow. Almost immediately after he sat down, Sarah and Glenn emerged from the trees and made their way past him as they approached Sarah's jeep. Daryl tried not to take notice as Sarah placed her hand on Glenn's shoulder giving him a smile before they gathered their supplies near the jeep and drove away.