Hi there! Thanks for checking out my story. This is supposed to be kind in between S3 & S4 - post S3 events but before S4 events. Rated T but a very mild T; some language, sensuality but overall its gonna be pretty clean and mild. This is meant to be very light-hearted.
I do not own The Walking Dead.
I hope you enjoy! :)
Chapter One: This Year
Lemme think…Last time I changed the blocks was on the 17th…Dang, it's been that long?
Beth Greene thought as she stared at the block calendar on the tiny table in her prison cell. There had been a bit of commotion, several walkers getting too close for comfort near the prison fences and they seemed to be piling up day by day. It seemed like there is always a new problem, a new threat to the group's security at the prison, and although Beth was more a "behind-the-scenes" member of the group, mostly seen but hardly heard, it was almost impossible for her not to get distracted. Plus, she was the main caregiver of baby Judith Grimes, which left her plenty busy most of the day.
Beth tried to remember how many days had passed since December 17th, she guessed it was December based on the cold, cool air outside, and the bare pine trees outside.
Ten…Eleven…Twelve…Thirteen….Fourteen…Fourteen? Yeah, fourteen…I guess.
Beth thought as she turned the number blocks to read December 31st. Its been two whole weeks since I last kept up with the date…December 31st. New Year's Eve? Is it really?
There was slight tapping on the steel door frame of the cell. Beth glanced up expecting to see either her father Hershel or her sister Maggie but to her surprise it was neither but Daryl Dixon, the group's hunter and tracker.
"Hey," Daryl's raspy Southern drawl spoke. "Where's Lil-Ass-Kicker?" He asked, referring to baby Judith.
Beth smiled. "Rick came and got her about twenty minutes ago. He doesn't get to spend too much time with her and all, you know, between running things 'round here and everything he does so every night he comes by and takes her back to his and Carl's cell."
Daryl grunted as he nodded with understanding.
"What you up to?" Beth asked.
Daryl gave a shrug of his shoulders. "I'm just wandering 'round. Checkin' in with everybody. There's a lot more people to keep an eye on now that we got the Woodbury folks stayin' with us."
Beth nodded but didn't know what else to say. A moment of awkward silence hung in the air for a moment. Beth normally kept to herself, taking care of the baby and really only talking to her father, sister, and sometimes to Carl and Carol. While she respected the leaders of the group: Rick, Daryl, and Glenn, she rarely had any interaction with any of them, save for Glenn who was Maggie's boyfriend.
She figured this would be where Daryl would mumble a barely audible "Bye" and walk away but he didn't. Instead, he gestured with his chin toward the blocks on her table.
"You been hangin' out with a toddler too long that she's got you playing with blocks, huh, girl?" Daryl asked, amused.
Beth laughed as she fidgeted with the wooden blocks.
"Yeah," She said. "It's actually a calendar. Back when we first came here…One day me and Maggie were snooping around…found what used to be like an office, I guess…And there this was…just sitting there."
"How do you even know what day it is?" Daryl asked.
Beth shrugged. "It's a rough estimate…trust me. Today was the day I've finally had a chance to change it and I guess it's…December 31st. New Year's Eve…I can't believe how fast the days go by."
"Fast?" Daryl snorted. "Ever since this shit storm of the dead walkin' around eatin' the livin' I'd say the days go by slow…painfully slow."
Daryl must have caught Beth's wide eyes blinking and her taken aback reaction because he then shifted nervously from foot to the other, looked down at the floor, and mumbled:
"Sorry about the language…That's just how I talk sometimes."
Another awkward silence followed and only the sounds of the other inhabitants of the prison could be heard. Beth really expected Daryl to leave this time for good but he continued to linger there in her doorway. She wondered why he just didn't come in, everybody else did, especially those from Rick's original group that she had met back at the farm.
Beth was about to ask Daryl if he wanted to sit down on her cot but before she could he commented:
"New Year's Eve, huh? Well, if I woulda known about that I'da brought back some wine or champagne from my last run…It ain't New Year's without a little bubbly in your Dixie cup…" He trailed off and then looked embarrassed again. "Sorry; I forget who I'm talking to sometimes…"
Beth couldn't help but chuckle softly at Daryl's lack of remembering she was only eighteen however it didn't matter anymore if she drank alcohol illegally or not.
"So…um…Daryl," Beth said. "Have you got any New Year's resolutions?"
He cocked his head to one side, raised eyebrow, and stared at her curiously but was unsure how to answer that question.
Beth paused for minute and looked down at the ground. She rubbed her arms with her hands even though she wasn't cold.
"I remember New Year's Eve back at the farm." She whispered. "Mama and Daddy would have their champagne and make a toast. Me, Maggie and Shawn would have red sparkling grape juice…We'd turn on the TV and watch the ball drop in New York City….We'd count down the last ten seconds of the year and then we'd all kiss and celebrate and sing "Auld Lang Syne".
The memories came flooding back to her and Beth felt hot tears brimming on her eyelids as she quietly sang: "Should old acquaintance be forgot/and never brought to mind/Should old acquaintance be forgot/ and auld lang syne…"
"I never really understood that song," Daryl muttered.
Beth quickly wiped her eyes and regained her composure.
"It's about old friends. How we should never forget them."
She met his eyes then and saw there too in his green irises what he must thinking of: old friends and family they had lost.
"I guess…uh…well…I better be goin',…" Daryl said. "'Night, Beth."
"Good-night, Daryl." Beth said. "And Happy New Year's."
"Happy New Year's." Daryl replied and turned to leave the doorway. Beth listened to the sound of his boots scuffing the floor as he walked away but his footsteps stopped abruptly.
"Hey, Beth?" He called out.
"Yeah?" She answered.
"My resolution this year is…not to lose any more people. If I can help it…"