This one goes out to my wonderful strong beautiful friend SOA Loving Mom who is always supportive and willing to listen to my complaints/problems/bad attitude! In 'Nothing at All' and 'Stay' she's had Merle complain about having a full time woman and this story is a reaction to that. This story contains ROUGH SEX. If you don't like the thought of Merle being rough with Beth, DON'T READ. Beth helps Merle learn that his priorities have changed in the ZA world, and Merle teaches Beth that there is a fine line between pleasure and pain.

Full Time Woman

Daryl had heard Merle say it a couple times lately. "Havin' a full time woman sucks." It had been about six months since Merle started courting Beth and four months since their relationship had become physical. Though she hadn't moved her stuff from the cell next to her daddy's she spent almost all of her time up in Merle's cell. Daryl had also noticed that Merle always referred to it as 'my cell' instead of 'ours'. Though Merle had vowed to Beth and her daddy that he and Beth were committed it made Daryl wonder. "Ya havin' second thoughts about Beth?" Daryl asked one day. Merle had glanced at him and said, "Nah. Just tired a her bein' up in my face alla time. Makin' decisions about my life and shit." Daryl couldn't help but laugh. It had taken him a long time and endless patience from Carol to settle into a relationship and he knew that Merle's head was a lot harder than his. Merle's mouth was also a lot bigger than his.

"Aint yer life no more brother," said Daryl. "It's the first thing you hand them when you say 'I love you'. And if yer stupid ass hasn't learnt it yet, ya best say them three words every day if ya want her ta keep warmin yer bed." Merle snorted and replied. "Yeah, but ya got Mouse, at least she's got some damned sense." There was some truth to that. Carol was older and had been married once before so she knew exactly what she appreciated about Daryl and when to give him space. Beth was an inexperienced woman in her first serious relationship and her trying to guide Merle with not much more than love was like the blind leading the blind sometimes. Daryl looked at the ground. "She's a good woman and she loves ya man," he said as he kicked at a tree root. Merle nodded silently and they moved towards the snares he had set the night before.

The breakup started the night that Merle forgot Beth's birthday. Beth had awoken that morning to find him hard and ready and she enthusiastically responded to his ministrations before he left to hunt. She hopped down the stairs, glowing, and had gotten kisses from her daddy and Maggie and Judith had even been super happy and went down right on time for her nap that day. Beth looked forward to dinner when her little group would be altogether. She sat next to Merle and looked around the table at her family, smiling and joking. When dinner was done Carol excused herself then retrieved several bags of cookies purloined on a recent run and put them down in the middle of the table, announcing 'Happy Birthday Sweetie' and kissing Beth on the cheek.

Beth beamed and looked around the table. Hershel and Maggie had pulled out small gifts and put them on the table. Merle on the other hand looked like the proverbial deer in the headlights. She had said something last week about her birthday but he had lost track and frankly forgot about it. She smiled up at him and he muttered, "Got yers upstairs little girl." When they got ready to bed down for the night she had sat on the bunk, waiting expectantly. He told her that her present was in his pants and she had jumped up to search his pockets only to find nothing. When he announced that her present was what was actually IN his pants her face had fallen and she struggled to smile. He had taken her well, even ate her pussy an extra long time, but when they were done she had turned over and he heard her sniffling. He fell asleep feeling like shit and when he woke up the next morning she was dressing to go downstairs. He saw tears on her cheeks and tried to get her to come over to him. She had looked at him with a trembling chin and said, "You couldn't even pick flowers Merle?" then she wiped off her cheeks and went downstairs. The rest of the morning he got the silent treatment and by the time he finally got all the Woodbury assholes organized and ready to work for the day he was in a fine temper.

After a silent treatment lunch he got the group out mending fence. The younger guys took a break to watch Karen climb the steps to the tower off to their left. After a few moments she appeared at the top and briefly combed her fingers through her long brown hair, letting the breeze blow it back for her so she could fasten it into a pony tail. "I'd like a taste of that," leered one of the guys. "Dude, she's too old for you," said another. "Aint like we gotta lot of choices," said the randy twentysomething. "And she's got a few miles on her, probably knows how to keep a man interested." Another guy spoke up, "Yeah, you mean she could suck a tennis ball through a garden hose." "Works for me!" was the cocky reply.

"Put yer dicks back in your pants and fix the fuckin' fence. Aint no peep show," barked Merle. There was grumbling from the fence line and someone muttered, "Says the douche with the tightest piece of ass in the compound." Merle dropped his wirecutters and stalked over to the young men. His voice was deceptively quiet when he asked, "The fuck did you just say?" The men milled nervously and the offender said, "Easy for you to say, you've already got a woman." Merle gathered up his saliva and spat to the side. "Careful what ya wish for boys, havin' a full time woman sucks. Best just ta sow them oats and move on ta another field." The young men started laughing uproariously and Merle frowned, then he turned around to find Beth standing behind him with a glass of iced tea. Her face was white and she was struggling to disguise the pain searing through her.

"Hey there sugar," reacted Merle with a laugh. "Just jokin' around with the guys." Beth nodded faintly with her eyes full of tears. All the mens' eyes were on her and her humiliation and pain channeled into cold anger. "I can see that Merle," she said with her voice trembling. "But I guess you have a point. If you're not happy in a relationship then you should really be a free man. So good news, now you are. The bright side is that it frees me up for dating." Merle looked at her, shocked as she approached the tallest, most muscular of the young men from Woodbury. "I thought you might be thirsty, Brian," she said with a brief smile. Brian looked her up and down with an appreciative smile and raised the glass to her. His eyes fell to her ass when she turned to walk away from him.

"Fuck!" shouted Merle who realized he had to fix this. "Beth!" Beth did not break her stride as she blindly walked to the prison. When he caught up to her he heard her tortured breathing and saw the tears running down her face but she refused to talk to him even when he parked himself in front of her. When Rick appeared in the prison yard she threw herself into his arms crying and Rick automatically put his hand on her head and pulled her to his chest. He looked questioningly over her head at Merle who had a flurry of emotions playing across his face. Daryl sauntered out of the prison picking his teeth with a toothpick and when he saw the scene he smirked, "How'd ya fuck that up Merle?!" Merle roared in frustration and proceeded to beat the shit out of a nearby broken down vehicle while Rick led Beth in to her daddy.


If Merle though that having a full time woman sucked, he was soon to learn that losing his full time woman was hell on earth. He had no allies within Rick's group and the Woodbury guys howled with laughter behind his back. Beth was pale and listless until he tried to talk to her then her face would flush and fury would blaze in her eyes. Not that he got to talk to her much, the others effectively blocked that whenever they could. The first few days he told himself that it was for the best and that he didn't need a steady woman in his life. He hunted as much as he could and volunteered to clean another section of the tombs.

The hard manual labor took its toll and as Merle lay in bed one night he was bothered by a nagging crick in his neck. He tried to stretch it but just couldn't get it. He thought about the neck rubs that Beth loved giving him at night. In fact now that he thought about it he hadn't had a crick in his neck since they started dating. He tried to push it from his mind but the memory of her wrapping her arms around his shoulders and giggling into the back of his neck after she rubbed him popped up unbidden. He growled and turned over to escape the memory, burying the side of his face of his pillow that smelled like sweat and stale cigarettes. When she had been there his pillow had always smelled fresh like her hair. "Fuckin' go ta sleep ya pussy," he rumbled to himself. He tried to think about all the gold star pieces of ass he'd had in his day but his mind kept reverting to the night Beth had shyly given herself to him. Dixons don't feel lonely was his last thought as he dropped off to sleep.

He tried to talk to her the next morning but Daryl cock blocked him saying they needed to meet with Rick about artillery. As they left the kitchen he saw Brian striding confidently towards Beth, shirtless, his pants low slung against his boxers, accentuating his defined stomach. He saw Beth give Brian a weak smile when he approached. Good, fuck 'em. They deserve each other. I don't need a fuckin' woman to run my shit he thought. "Yer own goddamned fault moron," said Daryl who had stopped when he noticed that Merle was standing with his fist curled and his shoulders bunched looking at Beth talking to Brian. Merle's face was murderous when he turned around and Daryl snorted at him. "She aint good enough fer you? Plenty a guys gonna line up fer that."

The next few days were like open season on Beth. She received countless bunches of flowers from her admirers and had lots of offers to help her with dishes after dinner. She tried to smile and be polite, but she turned down offers for post-dinner walks in the yard and dates in the tombs. She prayed with her family at night and tried to be quiet when she sobbed into her pillow. Maggie slept with her a couple of nights to hold her hand and Beth cried to her, "Why doesn't he want me? What did I do wrong?" Maggie hugged her tightly and said loud enough for the block to hear, "You did nothing wrong, hear? Aint nothin in him that's capable of love Beth. He just wanted one thing and just because he got it doesn't mean you have to stick around." Beth shook her head and cried harder. She didn't know if she would survive this especially since she knew he'd been trying to talk to her but kept getting turned away. She missed him so much. She looked dully at the purple packet of birth control pills that she took every morning and wondered why she was even bothering. She never wanted anyone again.


Merle was out hunting with Daryl and the silence was oppressive. As the sun neared 9 AM Merle veered to a different direction. Daryl questioned him with a look and Merle confessed, "I miss her. Ya happy?" They made their way to a field of daisies and black-eyed Susans which in Merle's mind were a world of difference from the dandelions and clover that the Woodbury pussies were giving her. He used his bayonet to cut a swath of each while Daryl looked on. "Bout time ya got some sense," reprimanded Daryl as he tied them together with some stems. Merle shoved them in the back of his pants for their trip back to the prison.

At lunch Beth handed out plates of food and watched the door. Merle and Daryl hadn't been back yet and she worried if they were OK. Truth be told she just wanted to see Merle. When he entered he caught her expression of relief and made his way to her, the flowers still in the back of his pants. His eyes held hers as he strode across the room and she felt fear clench her throat. She couldn't stand for her heart to be broken further but when he stopped in front of her he pulled the large bouquet out. She bit her lip and swallowed, looking up at him and he felt the pain of missing her heavy in his stomach.

Merle didn't notice that Brian had sidled up to Beth at that same moment, romance on his mind. Beth's eyes darted between the two of them and Brian spoke, "Hey Beth, are we still on to hang clothes this afternoon? I've got a little somethin special for us to share that I kept from Woodbury." Beth looked at Brian's Bieber hair and his Bieber abs and opened her mouth to speak when Merle answered, "She's busy. Go on boy, I think I hear yer ma callin' ya for yer nap." Brian laughed and replied, "Good one old timer. Sure you won't need a nap after lunch?" Merle's eyes narrowed and at the next table Daryl's eyes widened. He needed to get over there before Merle wiped the floor with the kid.

Merle smiled. "Seems we're at an impasse son. See this here's my woman and she aint doin' shit with you." Brian flexed his pecs unconsciously. He had been on the football team and had worked out with weights and he looked it. This old man was going down. Brian cocked his head and rubbed his nose with his thumb. "Funny, I see it different Merle. I was there when she dumped your ass and put herself on the market. It's a matter of free trade now." Beth's eyes bounced back and forth and she heard Daryl approaching, she knew danger was near. "Merle please don't," she whispered.

Merle replied graciously, "One way to settle this then, man to man, outside." Brian tilted his chin towards Merle's bayonet. "Without weapons," he qualified and Merle smiled wider. "Of course," he purred as if he were presenting him with a fine bottle of wine at a top restaurant. Merle was gesturing towards the door when Daryl arrived. "Leave the kid alone Merle," said Daryl, getting between him and Brian. Brian boasted, "I aint worried about him. I'll be back in a few minutes Beth." Daryl turned and put his finger in Brian's face. "Best go back to ya cell block now boy." Brian ignored him and glared at Merle over Daryl's head. Beth watched with her hands over her mouth as the three went into the prison yard and curious onlookers followed in their path.


Brian started with a jab to the face that split Merle's lower lip. Merle wiped his lip and looked at the blood, smiling a little more. Spurred by a surge of adrenaline, Brian peppered Merle with hits to the face and stomach. It didn't dawn on him that Merle wasn't fighting back. Get it all outta ya son, thought Merle delightedly. This was going to be more fun than he thought. Brian's blows began to stray as he tired, breathing heavily. Merle was ducking most of them and the others glanced off of him. Brian's arms dropped and he smiled in triumph when he looked at Merle's bloody face.

"Ready?" rasped Merle and Brian's head cocked quizzically. Merle started with Brian's midsection and worked his way systematically to his face. He heard Beth screaming for him to stop but he was having way too much fun teaching this pup a lesson and his martial arts training was coming back to him. After he broke the kids nose and knocked out his front teeth with a back fist he leg swept him to the ground and stood with his booted foot on the kid's knee. Merle was panting and sweat was dripping off of him, he was high on adrenaline and he felt great. "How bad ya wanna walk?" he asked conversationally. "Cause it's only take me about three seconds to break yer knee ya little fuck." Brian rolled on the asphalt spitting blood and crying. "I give up," he choked. Merle backed up, his eyes half-lidded but not leaving Brian until he examined the back of his left hand. "Here's one a ya teeth," Merle said, pulling it out of his hand with his own teeth and spitting it onto Brian's prostrate form.

To the victor go the spoils thought Merle. He wiped the blood off of his lip with his hand and strode toward a fuming Beth. "No," said Beth as he got close. She was furious that the men had behaved this way and doubly furious at Merle for treating her like property that he could just throw away and pick back up whenever he wanted. Merle didn't reply or break his stride and Beth backed up. "Stop," she said. "I'm not rewarding you for this behavior. Merle!" she said tensely then turned around and ran into the prison. Merle mounted the stairs and bounced the door off of the wall as he followed her. Hershel looked at Maggie in alarm and Daryl said, "He aint gonna hurt her." Carol looked at Daryl expectantly. "You should check on them," she said. Daryl looked at her like she was out of her mind. "Ain't gonna listen ta them make up. Hafta hear that shit most nights as it is," he humphed and he strode off to the tower. Carol turned to the group and smiled uncertainly. "Rick," she asked. "Would you mind letting the Greene's know when they should come back in?" Rick scratched his head and looked at the ground. "I guess," he said reluctantly, but he took his time re-entering the prison.

Beth turned around in the kitchen, Merle was still following her with a predatory expression. Blood was smeared across his lower lip. "Merle, stop it!" she ordered. "You don't get to choose, it's my choice Merle!" She decided to stand firm, her hands on her hips. "You're the one that didn't want a steady woman, now you've got what you want and I'm not going to be your hoochy mama! Leave me….," her last sentence was punctuated by a shriek as Merle picked her up bodily and proceeded towards the stairs to their cell. "Yer mine," he growled as she kicked and punched him. "You don't WANT me, remember?" she screamed through her teeth.

Merle didn't answer as he let her drop to her feet in their cell. He locked the door then turned so she could se that he put the key in his front pocket. "Ya wanna get out?" he asked. "Come get it." Beth looked at him in disbelief. "I'll do no such thing," sitting on the bunk with her arms crossed and her head turned away from him. He pulled off his wife beater and took off his shoes and socks and she saw his erection out of the corner of her eye. She felt her traitorous lungs start to pant and cursed herself for missing him so much.

"Ya put him against me and I won," rasped Merle, his chest heaving with the effort of lifting her up the stairs and the adrenaline from the fight. "Now the stag gets the doe." Beth's jaw dropped then her eyes narrowed. "I'm not your entertainment Merle. Go find someone else for a cheap…fff.." she paused, not able to say it and finished indignantly, "…intercourse!" Merle's icy blue eyes bored into her as he bent down and grabbed her upper arm, pulling her up to face him. "Yer mine until my heart stops beatin', " he seethed and pushed her against the bunk, covering her mouth with his and kissing her unrelentingly until she gasped for air. "And I'm gonna fuck ya until ya scream my name," he finished, wrapping his right arm around her and undoing her pants with his left.

Beth began to cry and he covered her mouth with his insistently and when they broke she cried, "Then why would you say that you hate being with me?" She sobbed against his mouth when he kissed her again, almost suffocating her. When he broke away they were both gasping for air. "Cause I aint no good at this shit. Aint no good fer you. But I aint lettin' you go. I caint." Her fingers were twisted in his hair pulling his head towards her and he kissed her gently, rubbing his mouth back and forth against hers. "This what ya want?" he murmured against her lips. His hand pulled her pony tail out and he caressed her hair. He kissed her like she was made of glass and he was afraid to break her. Every bit of this was new to him. She whimpered and relaxed against him under the spell of his kiss. He slowly tapered off the kiss. "I love ya and it scares the shit out of me," he said gruffly against her forehead. "Whaddya want, rings? I'll get 'em tomorrow."

Beth pulled away from him, her head spinning. "I want you to be nice to me," she whispered. Merle swallowed. That's one thing he really didn't know how to do. She saw in his eyes that he was at a loss and she rose up slightly to kiss him then pulled him into a hug, burying her head in his neck. His head tilted down to her and he said hoarsely, "Ain't never learned how." She nodded her head slightly and put one hand on his face and the other on the back of his neck, pulling him down again and this time they didn't break. She could show him with time.

Her hands went to his belt and freed him of his pants and he tugged impatiently at her shirt that she unbuttoned. His hand was under the cups of her bra and she reached back to release it. Suddenly he couldn't wait to taste her, no one had ever tasted like her. As his mouth engulfed her breast he released a pent up groan. Fuck, honey and peaches. She closed her eyes and arched back as he feasted, sighing at his gentleness then yelping in surprise when he roughly sucked her nipples into points, the pain and pleasure of it soaking her panties.

He felt her yield and he struggled to remain gentle, but everything within him was demanding he take her. "Sit up there," he ordered, lifting her to the top bunk. He pulled her legs apart and scooted her ass to the edge of the mattress, her legs draped over his shoulders. Her scent was in his nostrils and there was no stopping now. Her hair streamed between her breasts and around her back and as he looked at her his heart tugged. "Spread yerself for me," he rasped, his voice dangerously low.

He'd never asked her to do this and the dirtiness of it sent a thrill up her spine. She moved her hand to her mouth to lick the tips of her fingers, fixing a wide eyed blue gaze on his, then trailed her gentle fingers down an uplifted nipple, across her navel and through her blond curls to her slit. Merle watched her intently thinking if he had a heart attack now he'd die the happiest man in the world.

She hitched slightly to open her legs further and used her forefinger and middle finger to spread her lips apart slowly, revealing her glistening inner folds and tight opening and she unconsciously began to rub her swollen clit with her eyes closed. Merle's mouth slackened, momentarily lost in sensory overload then he swiftly moved to engulf her with his mouth. He pushed her fingers out of the way and kissed her pussy with an open mouth, his tongue darting in and out of her making her jump and tremble. He snorted through his nose in desire and kissed her pussy open mouthed, rubbing his head back and forth and finishing by closing his lips around her clit gently sucking as she squirmed and panted.

Without breaking from her he wrapped his right arm around her waist and slowly inserted a finger and Beth moaned tremulously, feeling the spasm of pleasure all the way to her toes. She leaned back on her elbows and pinched her nipples with both hands, she knew it wouldn't be long for her release. He was teasing her clit with her tongue and moving his finger against her deepest parts when she clenched and the air rushed out of her lungs. …"Ooh," moaned Beth. "OHHHHHH!. Oh God, Oh God!" Her hips heaved and she saw fireworks exploding against her closed eyelids. "YES, OH YES," she screamed as it crashed all around her, her legs shaking uncontrollably and the warm gush of fluid splashed her thighs and Merle's face. He slowly lapped at her and chewed on the insides of her thighs as she recovered.

Merle wiped his face against the upper mattress and pulled her down. When her feet touched the floor she put her arms around his neck and sagged against him limply. "Who you belong to?" he asked. She smiled at him sleepily, "You. Forever," she answered. He kissed her deeply, forcing her to taste herself on his tongue. "Yaint done," he rasped and she felt him throbbing against her stomach. Beth slowly kissed and caressed her way down the front of his chest to his stomach and finally to splay her fingers into his dark pubic hair. She buried her nose into it and reveled in his smell then pulled back and pressed against his inner thigh to move his legs farther apart. With one hand on his shaft she ducked her head between and reached up to gently suck one testicle then the other. Merle sighed and his shaft jumped in her hand. "Fuck yes," he muttered. Little girl learns fast.

She flicked her tongue across his balls one last time and traced it along the base of his shaft to the bobbing head. She sat back on the lower bunk and looked up at him with the widest most innocent eyes she could manage, her hand still on his stiffened shaft, and opened her mouth just enough to take the tip of his cock into her warm mouth. Merle was staring down at her and exhaled explosively through his teeth and she opened her mouth enough for him to see her tongue as she accepted more of him, never breaking eye contact.

Her looking at him with those large little girl eyes as she carefully swallowed his cock had him a hairs breadth from exploding in her mouth. Merle closed his eyes and leaned his forehead against the cool metal of the bunk. She was stroking his balls with one hand and slowly mouth-fucking him. He winced and groaned as she intentionally sucked the tip of him hard then flicked her tongue across the underside of the tip. He knew he wasn't going to be able to hold on when her fingers crept that spot behind his balls that lit him up like a Christmas tree. He growled a string of profane words and pulled out of her mouth, his cock now purple and pointing to the sky. "Turn over," he panted.

Her perfect heart shape ass was presented to him and he took a few seconds to sink his teeth into the side of her waist and then into one soft ass cheek. Mine, he thought as he bit harder and she squeaked in pain. He was gripped in a sudden madness to have her. He pulled her hips into him as he sunk into her and she yelped when he met the top of her so suddenly. He pushed her away and pulled her into him again as he thrust and a strangled moan escaped her. He clenched his teeth and the corners of his mouth turned down as he consumed her, pulling her sharply back into him while strengthening his thrusts and preventing her from lessening the impact by kneeing her legs apart. "Merle, it hurts," she protested as her traitorous hips rose to meet his thrusts. He was bigger than she could ever remember and rougher, she felt like she was being mounted by a horse. His fingers sank into her hip and she could feel her inner thighs beginning to bruise and her breasts bouncing with the impacts.

His flesh was slapping into hers and she felt like she could hardly stand another second of helpless domination. One of her hands inched back to slap at him and he intercepted her, wrapping his arm around her wrist. She growled but he didn't break his rhythm. "Ya gonna look at him again?" he growled, spittle spraying her back. "I gotta beat his ass again? Huh?" he demanded. "NO, I hate you," she spat in anger, "Stop it!" He gave a short laugh. "I said y'aint done yet. Play with yerself." Her exhalations exploded out of her in anger.

He released her hand but instead of hitting him like she planned her hand went to her clit, and she found herself rubbing as roughly as he thrusted. She gritted her teeth in pain and began to acknowledge a vibration starting deep in side her core. She heard low piteous moaning and realized it was her own voice begging for it harder. What's happening to my body? she thought. Merle was groaning loudly with the effort of keeping his pace without cumming and she felt his sweat dripping on her. Her upper body moved down of its own accord closer to the bed and she felt her feet sliding on the floor as they spread even wider. He was hammering her and hurting her and she was begging him not to stop as her legs shook and wetness rolled down her legs.

Merle used his remaining strength to pull her hips sharply into his thrusts, nearly lifting her feet off the floor. "Gonna cum inside ya. Fuckin' take it", he ordered as he began to shudder. Beth felt his body curve around hers like a stallion covering a mare and she exploded, writhing and crying out to never stop, her hips moving up and down moving the head of his cock against that deepest spot for indescribable pain and pleasure. When she stopped moaning and he fell out of her she realized he was supporting her with his arm under her hips and she moved forward to collapse limply into bed. Merle watched her ass as she moved forward, his seed spilling out of her and her clit still twitching and he collapsed next to her, dead to the world.


Carol tiptoed up after dinner to see if Merle and Beth were in his cell. They were sleeping unclothed and crammed into the bunk together, and before she could avert her eyes Carol noted that the Dixon pride was displayed for all to see. She went back downstairs and assured everyone that they were fine. She migrated over to Daryl and he said churlishly, "I would woke 'em both up." Carol turned red and said, "Not sure I would have felt comfortable with that….but now I do know where the Dixon family resemblance comes in." Daryl looked at her incredulously and she giggled, "Beth and I are lucky ladies!"


When Beth awoke it was pitch black in the prison. It took her a couple minutes for her eyes to adjust and for her to realize that they'd missed dinner. Then she remembered how they'd gotten here and she registered Merle's bulk behind her, still relaxed in sleep. She shifted slightly and realized that she needed to use the bathroom. She felt crampy and sore and when she lightly climbed over Merle she felt a burning ache between her legs. As she slipped her clothes on he stirred and wiped his face with his hand. "Ya goin' to the bathroom?" he rumbled. "I'll take ya."

She washed her face and brushed her hair, inspecting herself in the mirror. Well that's why my butt hurts, she thought ruefully as she looked at the bruised bite mark on her ass cheek. She had another reminder of Merle when she jumped at the burning pain in her privates upon urination. She thought of the pounding he had given her, shaking her head at the response of her body to his roughness. Guess that explains the cramps, she thought.

She stood guard while Merle took his turn in the bathroom then they walked back to the cellblock. Merle was watching her closely and noticed that she was walking a little stiffly so he ducked and swept her up, carrying her to the stairs "Why are you carrying me?" she whispered and he answered, "Cause I wanna carry my girl." She smiled and pressed into his neck on the way to his cell. He put her down gently and handed her one of his clean T-shirts to sleep in. He'd wear it tomorrow so he could smell her during the day. While she changed he snapped the sheets, straightened them up and remade the bed then fluffed the pillow. She looked at him in surprise and he said, "I want it nice for ya."

She crawled in under the sheet and he folded himself in next to her then pulled her to his chest. She was suddenly overcome with the emotions of the day and pressed her face into him to try to squash them. "You OK?" he asked and she shook her head. He pulled her on top of him and wrapped his arms around her, letting her cry it out. She was pretty sure that he hated this part of a relationship and it made her cry harder because she needed it, needed him to be close and comforting. "I know you hate this," she choked miserably. His hand rubbed up and down her back, tracing the bumps of her vertebrae. "I don't hate it," he said. "Jest don't wanna see ya cry is all." She was warm under his hands and he rubbed his bristly face along the side of her smooth face. I missed her like hell and there aint two ways about it. Days of hidin this shit are over. He swallowed, "Don't wanna go through missin' ya again."

Beth cried a little hard her and tightened her arms around his neck. "Ya mad at me?" he asked. She paused then nodded her head, her face still hidden, and he laughed. "Cause I was a dick to ya or because I broke that kid's face?" he asked and Beth giggled a little. "Both," she said. "When you hurt me it hurts a lot worse than when other people do it." He ground his teeth for a few minutes and held her. He had hurt her emotionally and physically and it ate at him. It was as hard for him to succumb to emotion as it was for her to stifle it but he knew he had to start doing it to make this precious thing work. He stroked her cheek until she turned her face towards him. "I aint gonna be perfect," he said in a gravelly voice. "But from now on I'm gonna make sure you know I love ya. Every day. Aint gonna lose you again." She sniffled and tucked her nose into his neck nodding.

They fell into a comfortable silence, their fingers intertwining and nuzzled each other tenderly then Beth suddenly giggled. "You did pretty much break his face," she said and Merle laughed, a real laugh from his belly. "Guess I finally figured out what was worth fightin' for," he said.

I live for reviews so please comment. I hope to get SOA Loving Mom the smut chapters she's been patiently awaiting for Nothing at All and Stay…..then I look forward to helping her judge her new Caryl contest!