Daryl Dixon was irritated, and that wasn't good for anybody. He usually kept to himself and was, for the most part, quiet and easy to live with. He didn't bother anyone who didn't bother him. How difficult was that? So when he was grumpy and snapped at anyone who spoke to him, everyone was on edge. He knew he was being grouchy, but he just couldn't seem to help it. The damn girl was acting really strange around him and he couldn't for his life figure out why. He had never done anything to make Beth think he would hurt her, or he didn't think he had. Sure, he was pretty rough around the edges and everyone had seen him lose his temper from time to time, but he had never been a man to hurt women or children and he sure wasn't about to start now. He could understand if she had seen him blow his top over something recently, but that was just it, he hadn't had a reason to work up a good temper in quite some time. Things at the prison might not be ideal, but as the winter set in there were fewer walkers than before and the people from Woodbury were finally settling in and pulling their own weight. Sure was nice to have those young men to help with the labor, made things easier on him, Rick, and Glen.
That must be it. The young men from Woodbury.
He had noticed a couple of them trying to work up excuses to talk to Beth and spend time with her. He hadn't figured it was any of his business. But now that he thought about it, that was when she had started spending more time hanging closer to him. She wasn't too obvious about it, just seemed to be behind him a lot whenever he turned around, coming up with reasons to talk to him that kept him closer to her, especially when they were outside or on guard watch. Except whenever he turned around too quickly or even just accidentally brushed her arm when he passed by her, she jumped and jerked away like he had burned her. Or like someone had hit her.
Like someone had hurt her.
Daryl's blood began to boil as he realized what he had been too stupid to see.
She was sticking close to him for protection.
If one of them had hurt her….or even tried….
He would make whoever it was so sorry they would wish they had never made it out of that hellhole of a town with the Governor.
She was at the long end of the cellblock taking out supplies to help Carol start dinner for everyone when she felt the atmosphere of the place change. Suddenly everyone was frozen. Looking up quickly, nerves on high alert, she realized there was no real danger. Not walker kind of danger, anyway. Daryl had stormed into the other end of the room and the look on his face was pure fury. Everyone was quiet, conversations halted in mid-sentence, as he strode into the room, eyes scanning over the crowd.
Oh my he was breathtaking.
Where the HELL had that come from?
She didn't know what he was upset about but the sight of him worked into such a state was enough to make her catch her breath. She had always felt safe around Daryl; he had more than proven that he was capable of keeping himself and the group safe from danger. But lately, for some reason she had not yet figured out, he made her nervous. Whenever he got close to her she got an uneasy kind of quiver deep in her stomach and felt like she was ready to crawl out of her skin. He had never frightened her and she knew rationally that he would protect her and the rest of the family with his life, but she couldn't seem to control the jumpiness she felt when he was near.
And he was coming closer. He was headed straight for her. She felt her heart speed up and it was suddenly hard to breathe. She felt the blood draining from her face.
"Need to talk to you, little one" he snapped as soon as he was close enough for her to hear him without having to raise his voice. Carol rose up from behind the counter and started to say something when Rick stepped up behind Daryl and beat her to it.
"Whatever you need to talk about can wait until you calm down, Daryl". The even, low tone of Rick's voice was almost as frightening as Daryl's anger.
"This ain't about you, Rick, and I don't need to calm down, I need Beth here to explain something to me." The words were almost a snarl. He clearly did not welcome Rick's interference.
Explain? Her? What could she possibly have to explain to Daryl Dixon?
Rick dropped his voice and leaned in a little closer to Daryl, noticing that everyone was listening in and trying to keep the conversation as private as possible. She admired his courage; she would certainly have never gotten that close to an angry Daryl.
"Can't you see you've got her scared half to death, Daryl? You come storming in here with that crossbow on your back and murder in your eyes and everyone is holding their breath. Look at her! She's white as a sheet! Now CALM DOWN."