It's been hours since this morning, but he still insists on having it hot, and that I have to get it for him. He says that if he's going to teach me the things he knows about hunting, then I have to pay my dues, or as he says, "earn my education." But the man can get his own hot damn plate if he wants to eat! Or eat with the rest of us during breakfast time, at least. It's not like he isn't welcome to.
I open the door to the RV, walking out with the plate I took from the dish holder that resided in the RV's sink. Stepping out of the RV, I start to walk over to the fire pit with a fire still burning in it. The fire was small and dying. It was mostly ashes and burning embers left but there were a few pieces of charcoaled wood that weren't completely burned through yet. The chairs were still set up around the fire, as if there were people still sitting around the pit. Taking the squirrel leftovers that Carol had given me while we were in the RV, I placed them over the fire to heat them up. I took a seat in one of the chairs in the circle surrounding the pit.
I looked around the camp at the people busying themselves with chores and other duties. An older dark skinned woman with short dark hair that was beginning to gray was hanging a pair of seemingly wet jeans on a makeshift clothesline with other articles of clothing. Not far behind her, another woman and child were fixing the setup of a tent. I heard a loud sniff and craned my neck to face the direction of the sound. Sitting against a tree, a little ways away from another fire pit, was Jim, a man whose face I couldn't place, and Carl sat peeling away at something from a sack. They just sat there talking. I swear I even saw Carl smile at something the Jim said. I turned my head back to the squirrels roasting away over the feeble flames. They looked pretty much all the way cooked through, if not slightly burned a little. I guess I left them on a little longer than I anticipated. I sat forward in the chair and gathered the squirrel from the fire pit and put them onto the plate that sat on my lap.
I held the plate in one hand and placed the other on the arm of the chair, about to push myself up. Before I was about to push myself out of the chair, I heard the dry grass crunch under heavy feet. Looking behind me I saw Shane walking over. Fuck. I thought he was off getting water from down by the quarry! As he reached the edge of the chair, I was up and started walking back to the Dixon tent. I didn't get very far before Shane lightly grabbed the upper part of my arm, dragging me back towards him a little. My head snapped back to face him. I ripped my arm away from his grip and my eyes narrowed just the slightest bit.
"Can we tal-"
"Leave me alone Shane." I said turning to head off again.
He grabbed my arm again and forced me to face him.
"No. We're talkin'. Now." He said pulling me over to his tent.
He unzipped the flap and lightly pushed me inside. After I was fully in the tent. I sat up on my knees just in time to see Shane maneuver his way in and then zipped the tent flap fully.
"What the hell Shane!" I yelled dropping the plate of squirrel.
Shane dropped to his knees then gripped my face into his hands. He forced his lips onto mine. I pulled away immediately.
"Why the fuck do you think I'm mad at you!? You did the same fucking thing yesterday!"
"Well what do you want me to do!?" He said angrily back.
"You don't have to be touching me ALL the time! Jesus! "
"So what then!"
"I don't know, sit with me, talk with me, something! Christ! There's other things besides sex, Shane."
He was silent after that. Just sat there and looked at me. His hand lifted to the side of my face, pushing a stray strand of hair out of my face. We sat there for a few seconds in the silence, him just looking at me.
"We can do that. Why didn't you say anything?" He said calmly.
"I couldn't really get a word out with all the touching." I said with a laughy voice.
He smiled and chuckled a bit.
"So we okay now, Liv?" He asked, his eyes were hopeful.
He smiled at me, causing me to give a smile right back. Shane's eyes glanced down to the ground next to me and the look in his eyes went from happiness to confusion.
"What were you doin' with that?" He asked nodding his head towards the plate of squirrel.
I glanced at it and then back to him.
"Oh I was bringing it to Daryl. He didn't have breakfast this morning, he told me to get it for him."
"Why couldn't he just get it himself?" Shane asked a little angrily.
"He said that if he's gonna teach me about hunting, then I have to 'earn my education' so he made me get him food, but it's not a big deal, he was just joking." I said nonchalantly, starting to unzip the tent flap getting ready to leave. After the flap was unzipped enough, I grabbed the plate and went outside.
Shane's jaw became hard and his lips were pressed into a straight line, then his face grew angry.
"What do you mean, teaching you about hunting!?"
I turned around to see him walking out of the tent after me.
"I asked him if he could teach me to hunt."
"Well that's not gonna happen, Liv!" he yelled at me, his face getting closer to mine.
"Me hunting? What's the big deal?" I asked my voice raising.
"You getting hurt! That's the big deal!"
"I won't get hurt Shane I'll be fine."
He put his hand in his hair and then looked away real quick, he was growing frustrated, I could read it on his face. He turned his head back to me.
"I know you, you're definitely bound to get hurt! And Daryl Dixon!? What were you thinking'? The man's nothin' but trouble!"
I grew angry at that. That's just like him to assume! Never once have I ever seen him even have a conversation with Daryl, let alone talk with him! This was so irritating, his one track mind, I hate it!
"You don't even know him! Who are you to judge!?" I yelled poking his chest.
"And what do you know about him, huh!? He's a racist redneck hick who wouldn't pay anyone any regard! He's shady! I don't want you near him!"
"I don't care what you want!" I yelled starting to turn away.
Shane grabbed my wrist tightly.
"I'm not done talking to you!"
I looked down at my wrist and then up to Shane.
"Shane let go of me."
He didn't let go. His grip got tighter.
"Shane! Let go! You're hurting me!"
His grip tightened even more and I felt as if my hand would pop right off because of how tight he held me. I couldn't feel it anymore, it was num, but a stinging sensation was still able to be felt.
"Shane! Fucking let me go!"
"There a problem here?" I heard a voice ask from behind me.
I turned my head around to look. I saw Daryl walking over to me and Shane from behind a tent.
I just looked at Daryl, not saying anything. Daryl looked at me and then Shane. I saw his eyes dart down to Shane's tight hold on my wrist. Those eyes narrowed and suspicion clouded them. His eyes went back up to Shane's. I looked down at my wrist and tugged a little. Shane didn't let go though. Daryl seemed to notice that and took a few steps forward. Shane dropped my wrist immediately.
"There's no problem. Is there Liv?" Shane asked looking down at me.
I looked up at him with a surprised look. My eyes narrowed with disgust and I turned around to leave.
I heard footsteps start to walk behind me. I turned around thinking it was Shane following me. But it wasn't Shane, it was Daryl.
"Mind explainin' to me what that was back there?"
"It was nothing." I said turning around to walk back to Daryl's tent.
"Can we just get back to the hunting thing, please?" I asked as Daryl caught up to me.
He didn't answer, just kept walking. But at least he didn't bring up the incident with Shane again, which I was grateful for. When we reached the tent, we sat down and Daryl started to eat the squirrel that I brought him. I sat and watched him eat it and then around at all the tools that Daryl had laid out on the ground. His crossbow directly in front of him, typically, with all of the bolts laying in a bundle next to it. There were a few different kinds of knives laying on a piece of cloth. There was also a little handgun lying on the ground next to his thigh. Everything was laid out in front of him and I. He was actually going to teach me. I looked back at the knives. There were at least four of em' laying on the ground. Why so many?
"Why's there so many different knives? Can't you just use one?"
He looked up from eating and then at the knives.
"Different knives do different things." he said before sinking his teeth into the squirrel once more.
"Well yeah, but what's the difference really? You kill something and then skin it right?"
He sighed and set the plate down and lifting one of the knives from its holster. He took off the leather cover from the knife. It was thin and short with a jagged blade that merged into a smooth, sharp edge.
"This one cuts threw muscle and sinew."
"Ok, but what's the jagged part used for?" I asked lightly touching the tip of the knife.
Daryl pulled the knife back away from my hand.
"Watch it girlie! Don't need ya' bleedin' all over my stuff."
I pulled my hand back to my side quickly.
"That parts used if the flesh is tough and ya' can't cut through it. This.."
His pointer finger barely touching the blade, he dragged it across the jagged edge.
"Makes it easy to cut."
I smiled a little at him.
"So you're allowed to touch it but when it comes to me it's all 'don't bleed on my stuff." I chuckled a bit using a deep 'man' voice, trying to imitate Daryl.
Daryl looked surprised for a minute and then one corner of his mouth turned up a bit into a smile. It was hardly noticeable, hardly enough that if I wasn't looking for a smile on him, I wouldn't of caught it. But I did. But as soon as that smile came, it disappeared just as fast. He sat up and made his muscles tighten like he'd be tense or angry, but it was obvious he wasn't.
"I don't sound like that!" he said sounding offended.
"I don't know, I think I nailed it." I said laughing.
"Not even close girl." he said looking flustered.
"I think I sound more like you than you do!" I said jokingly
He gave me a weird look.
"How could you sound more like me than me?" he asked.
"I don't know, I just do."
"I don't know, I just do." Daryl said in a very high pitched voice before taking another bite of the squirrel.
I looked at him. He swallowed what he bit off and then looked at me. We stared at each other for a couple seconds before I burst out laughing. He continued to just look at me, but that smile of his returned to his face. He looked nice when he smiled.
"What was that!?" I said continuing to laugh.
"That…" he poked my chest.
"Was you." he continued saying.
"Now I do not sound like that!" I said still laughing.
"You sure? Cuz' that's how ya'll sound to me." He said jokingly.
"That was way to pitchy to be my voice!" I said getting a little defensive.
"Maybe you're just nasally." he said chuckling.
"I am not!" I said in a really high pitched voice that I get when I get self conscious.
We both laughed at that.
"Ok maybe I can be." I said.
We continued to just sit there and laugh for a few minutes. After all the laughter was beginning to die down, it was replaced with a comfortable silence. Like before, I just watched him finish up the squirrel and set the plate down on the ground next to him.
"I can bring that back if you want?" I said offering to take the plate back to the RV.
He looked up at me, and his face looked a little surprised at my offer. He usually did things all by himself, maybe he was taken back that someone was offering to do something for him.
"Do you want me to? It's no big deal." I said to emphasize my offer.
He looked even more surprised. What was the big deal? I was just offering to take a plate back. He just looked at my face, still holding that shocked look. His blue-green eyes wide and hazy and his thin pink lips slightly open. He looked as if he was thinking about something and wasn't even with me anymore, well not mentally at least. He closed his mouth and his eyes seemed to clear and focus again. He snapped back to reality and focused on me again. His eyes looked to the plate that was across from both of us and off to the side. He then looked at my face as if searching for something, like as if my offer had been a joke, that I was messing with him. He still seemed alert but calmed just a bit when he couldn't find anything from looking at me, besides confusion at his hesitation.
"If ya'll want to." he said as if testing me. Waiting to see if I'd actually do it.
What is with him right now?
I picked myself up from the ground and dusted off the dirt from my shorts and then took a step towards the plate and bent down to get it. Once it was in my hand I started to head off towards the RV. I could feel Daryl watching me until I turned a corner so he couldn't see me anymore. I went into the RV, washed the plate and placed it back in the dish holder where I originally got it from. Stepping out of the RV, I saw everyone still at work, except Carl. He was sitting and talking with Shane. After what happened earlier today, I'm a little apprehensive to go near Shane and I don't want him near Carl till things with him and I are resolved. I walked over to them and Carl looked up at me. He smiled.
"Hey Liv." Carl greeted happily.
I looked over at Shane and he just gave me a blank look. I narrowed my eyes the slightest and kept my eyes on Shane, even as I answered Carl.
"Hey bud. What are you doin'?"
Shane's eyes looked deeper than usual, I could see all sorts of emotions behind his eyes and I saw that look in them. The same look he had in the woods the other day, the same look I didn't quite understand. But that look, it was just the slightest, like he was questioning something. I tore my eyes away from him and turned to Carl.
"Me and Shane were talking about going down to the quarry to go fishing!" he said sounding excited.
Carl liked being around Shane and I didn't want to get in the way of him being happy or for him to be put in the middle of this quarrel, but when it comes down to it, I'm Carl's sister and Shane is just a friend who my father used to work with. And the man that I've been sleeping with. Fuck!
I don't want Carl around him anymore.
I turned my head to look at Carl now.
"No." I said simply.
Carl looked taken aback by what I said.
"Why?" he asked.
"Because I said so, that's why. I don't want you going anywhere without me."
"But I'll be with Shane."
"I don't care. You don't leave camp or go any place without me. Now go on with Carol and Sophia, I'd like to say something to Shane."
Carl sighed and got up from where he sat and trudged over to Sophia and Carol. Once I saw him far enough away I turned to Shane and gave him a very angry look. I was furious at him. He was obviously still angry, but a little confused.
"What's the problem now, Li-"
"Stay away Shane." I warned him, cutting him off.
"What are you talking about?" He questioned me with an angry voice.
"You don't go near Carl or me anymore." I warned him again talking a little slower.
"You've lost you're right when you put your hands on me, so don't you ever come near us again! Got it?"
I didn't wait for him to give me an answer, I walked right off and over to where Carol was with the kids.
"Carol do you mind watching Carl, please. There's something that I have to finish doing." I asked.
"Yeah, sure." she said while folding a piece of clothing.
"Thank you." I said turning around to head back to Daryl.
Shane was no longer where he was once sitting. He was probably off fuming and pouting somewhere. I looked back in the direction of Daryl's tent and saw him walking over towards me. I continued walking to him.
"Hey I was just coming back." I said once we were a few feet apart.
"You were takin' a little longer than I thought ya' would. Came lookin' for ya'." he said.
"Well let's get back to this lesson shall we?"
"Course." he simply said walking back to his tent.
Once we were there, he bent down to pick up his crossbow and arrows and two knives. He slid one knife into a holster he had hooked to his belt and then stood upright. He placed the bolts in the holder that was on the bow and slung the bow over his right shoulder. He looked like he was going off on another hunt. He slipped the other knife into a holster and had his hand out to give it to me. I took it and held it tightly. What were we doing?
"What are we doing?" I asked.
"Ain't no better way of learnin' than getting' out there and doin' it yourself." Daryl said.
"Wait!? We're going on a hunting trip?" I asked excitedly
"Yup." he said starting to walk back to the main part of camp
"How long is it going to be? You're always on long trips when you go."
"We'll be back tomorrow."
"Ya' heard me right."
"Well give me a second, I have to get someone to watch Carl."
"Tell 'the Law' to watch him." he said giving Shane a nickname by using his old job title as a cop.
"Oh please!" I said a little angry at the mention of Shane.
We were in the main part of camp and I saw Carl still with Carol. I walked over to them.
"Carol, hey, I'm going with Daryl tonight and I need someone to watch Carl while I'm gone. Could you watch him please?"
She turned to me smiling. I felt bad, she always watches him when I can't and I feel like I'm a burden on her. That and I just told Carl not to go anywhere without me, what example am I setting if I'm never around?
"I don't mind."
"Thank you Carol, so much, I owe you big time."
"Do you mind if I ask Dale to watch him if I have to do something?"
"That's perfectly fine. Thank you again, me and Daryl will be back tomorrow. Bye."
I left waving to her as I walked back over to Daryl.
"Do we just go, or do we tell someone?" I asked him.
He didn't answer me, just started walking off into the forest.
"I guess we just go." I said to myself taking off after him.
Carol knows where we're going. We'll be fine, no one will worry that I'm gone.
The bolt zipped through the air and then 'clunked' to the bark on the tree trunk. There was a squirrel caught around it, dead from the impact. Daryl walked over and pulled the bolt from the tree then the squirrel from the bolt. He strung the squirrel onto the string with another squirrel on it. We've officially been out here for six and a half hours. It seemed around maybe one-ish when we left camp, so it was just barely beginning to get dark. This hunting trip made me realize that I can't hunt for shit, but I'm gonna keep trying. And Daryl has been surprisingly patient with me. I've never seen him like that, he always seems like he's gonna blow his top when he's around people. When I don't get something, he shows me and then wants me to try. Of course being me I don't get anything he's trying to teach me, but he'll keep going through everything until I get it. For as long as we've been out here, I've been watching Daryl. He's seems to be in his element out here, like hunting is what he was born to do.
"Come on, Girlie Rose. Lots a' ground to cover." he said using his new nickname for me.
He started calling me that a little after we started hunting. We were asking each other questions about the other. He asked my middle name and I told him it was Rose. Since then, he mixed Rose with Girlie and started calling me that.
I was brought from my thoughts and ran over to him. As soon as I reached him, he lightly thumped the side of my head.
"What was that for, Daryl?" I asked rubbing my head.
"We're not in camp 'nymore. Geeks could be all over the place for all we know. Ya'll gotta be quiet out here." he whispered to me.
"Oh." I whispered back feeling like an idiot.
Of course I had to be quiet. Finding Walkers out here didn't even happen to cross my mind. He's right. Out here we're like sitting ducks. I have to be more careful.
I followed him as we traveled deeper into the woods. I tried to stay as quiet as I could, but I kept tripping over air and stepping on sticks and dry leaves and things. I'm surprised Daryl hasn't kicked my ass yet.
We walked for a little while longer, catching more squirrels along the way. We had about maybe eight squirrels slung over Daryl's shoulder now. Nothing slung over mine. I attempted to try and kill numerous amounts of squirrels, Daryl thought if I tried killing smaller things first then it would be easier to hunt things like deer. Ya' know, do the harder things first then the easy stuff will seem super easy kinda' thing.
The light of day was definitely gone now as we continued to walk for what seemed to be like three hours, when all of sudden Daryl stopped and lifted his bow. It was night now, what could he possibly see?
I narrowed my eyes to try and see what Daryl lifted his bow at, but I couldn't see anything. I glanced over at Daryl. He stood perfectly still. If I didn't know better, I would've thought he was just a random statue someone put in the woods. Looking back in the direction that the bow faced, I tried to look harder. I was focusing really hard on trying to figure out what he was staring at. It scared me half to death when I felt Daryl's bolt slice through the air and land in the trunk of a tree.
"Dammit!" He let out an agitated whisper.
The thing that he tried to shoot must've heard the arrow get lodged in trunk. I heard it run off farther into the forest. Daryl cursed again and then slung his crossbow over his shoulder.
"Come on. I ain't gon' lose that deer!" Daryl whisper-yelled.
Daryl and I started to quickly and quietly as we could, travel through the forest after the deer.
"That was a deer? How could you have seen that?"
He didn't answer me, just kept making his way through the brush. I followed him. Daryl was easily maneuvering himself over fallen branches and all the growing foliage, while still managing to be quiet. Me, I wasn't quite as graceful, falling and tripping over everything that Daryl was able to get around, that and I was horribly loud. I'm surprised Daryl didn't just shoot me and drag me home for dinner instead of the deer, if I kept making noise like I was, he probably would. Making our way over the forest floor we surprisingly kept up with the quickly moving doe. Suddenly Daryl stopped his feet and stood in place. He lifted his bow and aimed it again. I stopped abruptly after him and almost ran into his back, almost. He let the bolt fly and I heard the dull thump of it as it hit something. Along with the 'thump' though, was a squelchy noise. Looking around Daryl's broad shoulders, I saw he had hit the deer and she had fallen. The bolt lay lodged in her shoulder. I smiled at this, we finally caught the son of a bitch! I looked up at Daryl's face, but he didn't mirror my smile, but kept his determined face locked on the deer. He loaded another bolt into his bow and took small, quiet steps over to the animal. I didn't move as Daryl stalked over to the deer. When he reached the deer, he lightly kicked its side with his foot. It didn't move. He lowered his bow and bent down to the side of it. The doe suddenly burst up and darted away from Daryl, knocking him over in the process.
"Damn deer!" Daryl yelled.
Daryl lifted his bow and shot at the deer again, the bolt lodging right below the other. Daryl lifted himself up and ran after it again, not caring if he made noise this time. I sprinted after him. I really wish I ran more…
We were following this galloping asshole for what seemed like forever. I wanted to jump at it and end its life already! I was so over this and really just wanted to get back to camp.
Daryl had lodged another arrow in the doe as the sun began to rise. This time the bolt hit the neck, it had to be a kill shot. The deer trudged on though, slower than the last time, but she kept moving. She was slowly dying and we knew it. Daryl looked around at the environment surrounding us and smiled a little, like he knew something.
"Com'on, we're close to camp. Maybe ten, fifteen minutes 'fore we get there, but" he trailed off as he silently followed the deer still. She was still going along.
"She's headed in that direction?" I asked.
Daryl looked back at me over his shoulder before turning to face forward again.
"Gotta' turn er' a bit, but yeah, she's headed that way." he said simply with his southern drawl.
We kept following her, going to her sides sometimes to steer her into the direction of camp. It'd be easier this way instead of carrying her all the way to camp. She had to way 100 pounds, easy, and with the possibility of Walkers roaming around out here, we could get ourselves in some deep shit! But Daryl knew what he was doing and I trusted his decisions when it came to these kind of things, because frankly, I was completely clueless.
The sun had risen higher in the sky, but wasn't directly at the point where we could say it was noon. If I had to guess the time, I'd say it was maybe ten-thirty, nearing eleven in the morning.
I kept my gaze on the slowing doe. She had lost a lot of her speed on the journey back to camp. I took one look away from her though to glance over at Daryl, who stood off to my right a ways. He stood low with his shoulders locked and his body tense, ready to run after the prey at any given moment. I took this time to notice that his shirt didn't have sleeves, it probably did once, but not now. The top of his shirt was fitted tightly against his shoulder. I could see his muscles tense as he moved slowly. Why was I even looking at his shirt and how it fit on him?
My eyes left his form and back to the deer. I had other things, better things to focus on right now!
My eyes shifted back to him. I felt my eyes roam from his shoulders down the rest of his body.
Maybe not better things.
I heard the quick rustle of leaves and my eyes flashed back to the deer, except, the deer was no longer there. She must have sprinted off with the last bit of her energy. Daryl grunted and took off after her, but at a slower pace than before. Maybe he figured the deer wouldn't last much longer, so there's no need to hurry. I followed after him. The ground grew a little slanted as we progressed further on. In some places it was normal, and then it became steeper as we went. I was losing my breath climbing up he land, plus from all the running before. I was slowing down a bit. Daryl kept climbing up further with what seemed like no problem, moving further ahead of me. I stopped for a moment and slunched over and grabbed onto my calves. I had to catch my breath, before I lost it completely. I heard Daryl's feet crunching the leaves on the ground as he continued. I don't think he noticed that I had stopped, he was too focused on getting that deer. I couldn't blame him though, we've been tracking that fucker all night! I'd be pretty pissed if we didn't get that deer. I let him just move on as I caught my breath, I'd catch up. Plus we couldn't be that far away from camp.
I stood upright again and continued walking after Daryl. As I continued in his direction, I heard noises. Kinda' like people were hitting something, or beating against something. But along with those noises I heard growling and grunting and moaning. I grew nervous and my heart began to pound faster. I froze in place and jusst heard the moaning for minute. It had been so long since the last time I had heard that, and it frightened me to no end. I had to do something though, Daryl was up there! He could've gotten hurt! I quickly pushed away my fears and sprinted into Daryl's direction. The moaning and grunting stopped so I did too. I moved so that I stood behind a tree, only looking slightly around the side of it. I saw Daryl bending down to get something, probably a bolt from his bow.
I saw Shane there too, standing with another man in a long white tee shirt. He looked familiar. He looked like my dad. My heart started racing again. It was racing with a hope that maybe, just maybe it was him, but that hope was a false one. My dad was dead, he died a long time ago, and it was stupid to think that this man could possibly be him.
Shane and this man looked at each other then stalked off in the way the Daryl had went.
I walked out from behind the tree and followed them. Daryl and I must have been a lot closer than we had anticipated.
I walked up where Shane and the other men were and saw the rotting corpse, except it didn't move like I expected it to. This one was truly dead. The head was no longer connected to the rest of its body, and there was a hole right between the eyes. Daryl finished it off alright, that's why he bent down, to get the bolt from the Geek's head. I looked up from the corpse and continued walking back into camp. I suddenly heard yelling and ran to see what was going on. I became worried again. What the hell was happening!? I ran around the corner to see the man in the long tee shirt and Shane holding Daryl in a choke hold. My morry left me and was quickly replaced with boiling anger. I could feel my face grow warmer, I know that I was getting red. My shoulders locked and my muscles tensed. My hands balled up into fists and tightened, my nails breaking my skin and leaving marks. I felt my body push itself forward over to the two and my mouth opened, words flying ou before I could stop myself.
"Get off of him!" I yelled as I gripped Shane by the collar of his shirt pulling him away from Daryl. I successfully pulled him away and he landed on the ground with a thud.
"You better back away too assho-"
I looked back at the other man, prepared to do the same thing, but as I looked at the man I stopped midsentence and just stared at him. His blue eyes shined with familiarity and longing and relief flashed over those crystal blue eyes of his. Those eyes turned to glass and we just looked at each other. I was overwhelmed with all these emotions I didn't know what to do, or what to believe. Up until now,I believed this man to be dead.