Hit the Road
Clementine hurried alongside Lee as he stalked over to the RV in silence. "Where are we going?" She asked. Saying nothing, Lee pulled open the door of the vehicle and climbed inside. Clementine followed without question, still curious about Lee's unspoken plan.
Once they were both inside, Lilly reached over and shut the door behind them. "Let's go." She said in a low, determined voice.
Lee nodded, then turned back to Clem. "I need you to sit down, sweet pea. We're gonna be moving." He gestured to the seats behind the driving area.
Clementine reluctantly took a seat at the one of the tables. "What are we doing?" She persisted, a frown painting her innocent face.
Lee knelt down to her level. "Don't worry, I'll explain it all once we get going."
Lilly sat down in the driver's seat, while Lee took up post in the passenger side. "He left the keys in the ignition." Lilly whispered, her tone one of crazed excitement. "They're right here."
Lee couldn't help feeling excited as well. He and Kenny had never gotten along to begin with, and they both knew Lilly was as good as dead if she stuck around. This could be a whole new opportunity for the two of them.
And of course, for Clementine as well.
The RV growled to life as Lilly turned the key. Outside, Kenny and the others began to take notice. Lilly and Lee exchanged glances, Lilly's eyes glittering with mischief.
"Floor it." Lee uttered.
Needing no permission, Lilly punched the gas. The RV lurched into motion, tires screeching as they kicked up dirt and mud at the other survivors. From out of the dust emerged Kenny, chasing futilely after them as they sped off down the open road.
Clementine watched out the back window as Kenny grew smaller and fainter in the distance. Up front, she heard Lee and Lilly speaking in hushed tones, the air thrumming with renewed enthusiasm.
She wondered why Kenny had been running after them – had they forgotten something? What were they even doing in the first place? And hadn't Lilly been handcuffed just a little while before? The questions irritated her as she tried to stay quiet and just trust Lee. He hadn't wronged her yet – he wouldn't start now, right?
Trees flashed by the windows as Lilly kept her boot stomped on the gas pedal. "So...what's the plan?" Lee asked, after a long silence had wedged itself between them.
Lilly kept her eyes on the road as she swerved to avoid a Walker. "I think we should try my old Base. There have to be some supplies still there. It's not too far from here, and I know the place inside and out."
"You think there'll still be stuff there? I'd guess military bases would be one of the first places getting looted and cleaned out."
Lilly's cautious brown eyes drifted over to him for just a moment. "I was part of the personnel. I know where everything is kept. How to get into anything there."
Lee paused. "Any chance there might be a plane there, or something? That'd be a great way to escape this hellhole. And unless those fuckers learn how to fly, we'd be safe from Walkers too."
Lilly sighed. "Great plan – but unless you know how to fly a plane, we're grounded."
"Wait, you don't know how to fly one?" Lee responded with raised eyebrows.
"...No. I don't."
"How can you be in the Air Force and not...I mean, I just assumed that..." He trailed off, not wanting to offend her.
Lilly's bony shoulders sagged as she rested her free hand on her forehead. "I was just a secretary." She mumbled, too faintly for Lee to hear.
"What was that?" He asked, leaning a little closer to her.
"I said I was just a secretary." She practically shouted, startling Lee back into his seat. "I filed fucking paperwork."
Shocked at the revelation, Lee stifled a laugh. "What." Lilly spat, her voice dripping with venom.
"Nothing, nothing." He smiled at her, trying to make her feel less defensive. "You just don't seem like the type."
"And you don't seem like a convicted felon. Guess we're all hiding something, huh?"
Lee was at once both stung and impressed by her lightning-fast comeback. A strange combination, but then, Lilly Caul was a strange woman. So it was fitting.
Along a smooth patch of road, Clementine appeared between the two of them. She demanded to know where they were going and why. Lee contemplated lying to her, but he knew she was a highly perceptive girl and probably had a few ideas in mind already. So he chose to be honest with her.
"We're looking for a way out of Georgia, at least for a while. Away from all the Walkers and bandits. And away from the people who were holding us back."
Clementine's eyes widened. "But what about Duck and Ben? They're my friends!"
"I'm sorry, sweet pea, but we just can't take a chance bringing them all with us. We're safer in a small group."
"Will we ever see them again?" Her voice cracked while she tried not to sound sad.
Lee hesitated. Noting his indecision, Lilly stepped in. "We might." She cooed in an uncharacteristically gentle tone. "Try not to be too upset about it, okay sweetie? We're here for you now."
Clementine's bottom lip quivered. "But I don't want to leave them...can't we go back? At least for Duck?"
"I'm sorry, Clementine, but we just can't." Lilly kept her tone soft but absolute. "We might meet up with them again, once this Walker mess is over with."
Gentleness was a trait Lee had seldom seen in the woman. When she spoke to Clementine, her voice was tender, motherly. He found himself intrigued by it.
"I don't want to go without them..." Clem whimpered, aware at that point that nothing she could say would change the plan.
Lilly exhaled in frustration, her maternal spark obviously snuffed out. Lee also hung back, not sure how to console the poor girl. As much as he tried to be, he wasn't a parent and neither was Lilly. They didn't know how to properly comfort her.
Eventually she disappeared back into the living area. The two adults continued to formulate a rough plan – essentially, use Lilly's knowledge of Robins Air Force Base to loot it for whatever's left, stop by the Motor Inn (which was on the way) to see if anything could be salvaged, and then press onward out of Georgia. It was dangerous for sure, but they were confident they could handle it. After all, they were two broken souls, with nothing left to keep them going save for each other and Clementine. Desperation was a powerful weapon, and they had it in spades.
As they pressed on, Lee found himself watching the woman beside him. Blood still smattered her boots from the earlier confrontation with Ben and Doug. As Lee lingered on that memory, he realized that, despite how he felt toward Lilly at the time it happened, in reality he was not all that different from her. They were both murderers. The only difference was that his homicide had been one of sheer passion and rage, while Lilly's was rooted in her belief that Ben was sabotaging their group. She acted out of responsibility (albeit a paranoid version of such); he acted out of pride and anger.
Her crime was nothing compared to his.
An abandoned car on the side of the road caught Lilly's attention. It still had all its external parts attached and didn't look stripped in the least. "That car might have supplies inside." She remarked as she pulled over beside it. "Want to help me check it out? We need to move fast."
"Of course." Lee reached for the pistol tucked into the back of his pants, and then remembered that Lilly had no weapon. "What do you have to protect yourself with?"
She glanced around for something to wield. Finding nothing out in the open, she reached over and pulled open the glove compartment. To the surprise of both of them, a small handgun was sitting inside. "Must've been Katjaa's." She mused as she checked the bullets. "It's fully loaded, too. This is perfect."
As she fiddled with the gun, Lee noticed her wrists were ringed with deep red marks. From the handcuffs, he realized. "How did you manage to get yourself free back there?" He asked, still staring at the scarlet abrasions that marred her white skin.
Lilly paused, noticing his gaze on her scrapes. "I'm pretty experienced with handcuffs." She replied simply, her tone purposely neutral. Lee lifted his eyes to study her face, trying to gauge if she was joking or serious. She stared him down, her dark eyes revealing nothing.
"...Uh, okay." He waved a hand dismissively. "Forget I asked."
She combed her fingers through her tousled hair, striding past him with a quiet confidence. "Come on, let's go." He followed dumbly, still unsure what to make of her comment.
Lilly Caul was a strange woman indeed.