Hi ladies and gentleman! Sorry the hiatus! I wasn't sure how to put my thoughts into words and I'm not sure about this chapter so feedback would be greatly appreciated! Thank you to DarylDixon'sLover, KaneCenaZombie12, sweetkiwi604, jeanf and Dawn Racer for your reviews on the last chapter and all of the new story favoritors/followers!
Chapter: I Will Follow You into the Dark
I finally felt safe, mentally, physically, emotionally.
"Goodnight darlin'" his voiced hummed. And with that I drifted off fast, the rise and fall of his chest was rhythmic and peaceful, like a lullaby so sweetly singing me to sleep.
Didn't realize I'd dozed off until the sunlight pierced my eyes. Wasn't sure of where I was at and first my instinct was to grab my bow and survey the area but then I felt the heaviness cross my chest and when I looked down I saw her dark brown wavy hair. I took a deep breath inhaling the faint vanilla scent she gave off and remembered that we were safe, inside the confines of the funeral home. I looked down at her gripping my chest with one hand, don' think I'd ever seen someone more beautiful. It's the first time since the prison that she looked at ease.
The sound of someone clearing their throat brought me back to reality. I suppressed the need to just jump up swingin' and grab the bow when I looked and saw Beth, wide eyed and grinning. She was extra chipper this morning, guess she slept well.
"So, did you sleep well Mr. Dixon?" she asked fervently moving her eyes back and forth to myself and then to Dani who was still fast asleep on my chest. I could tell she was bein' a smart ass.
"Jus' fine" I snorted "Why don' you go set the food our fer some breakfast". I waved her away with my hand "I'll meet ya in there". I looked down, admiring Dani once more before I slowly slid myself out from under her. She must a been real tired because she didn't even stir.
I opened the kitchen door to see Beth laying out of spread of peanut butter, jelly, diet coke and pigs feet. She was rummaging through cabinets collecting plates and utensils. I grabbed one of the bottles, twisted off the cap and drank a mouthful.
"Do you love her?" Beth said casually as her back was turned to me.
She caught me so off guard I damn choked on my drink. "Scuse me?" I said as I took the back of my hand and wiped the cola off of my chin.
"I know how people act when they're in love, new love at least, yanno like with Glenn and Maggie" her voice trailed off. "I see the way you act around her, you don't like being close to people but… things with her are different. It's just easy to see that you care about her, a lot." She smiled at me but we both jumped and instinctly changed the subject when Dani creaked through the kitchen door. "Morning Dani" Beth said with a smile. "Would you like a spoon?"
She trailed past me, looking back and smiled in my direction while effortlessly grabbing the spoon out of Beth's hand and plopping it into the jar of grape jelly. We all made our way to a seat and were ready to feast when the cans previously hung by the posts on the porch began to rattle. The girls tensed up and I could see how fast their level of anxiety had risen in just a few seconds.
"Stay" I pointed to both of them, eagerly grabbed the crossbow from where it lay by the loveseat and ran to the front door. I peered through the nailed slats of wood covering the window. If it was a walker it wasn't standing. Cautiously I opened the door. "S' just a damn dog!" I yelled back at them. Poor mutt had a missin' an eye. Looks like it happened before, it's the first dog I've seen alive since this all started. I tried to put a hand out, offering for it to come inside but it was too skittish and ran away.
"Well where'd it go?" Dani's voice came in from behind me.
"Thought I told ya to stay?" I was slightly irritated, couldn't she follow directions?
Beth was peeking out from where Dani stood. "But Daryl, you said there was a dog." We hadn't seen a dog in ages, one a man's most loyal companions. Used to have a dog growin' up, one of the few decent things about my childhood that I chose to remember. I ushered them back to the kitchen. "Maybe he'll come back later".
"Imma take Beth out, let er practice some more. Maybe we can catch something fer dinner" his mopped head of hair and grizzly face peered in through the archway to the loveseat in which I was perched with a book I'd found, more like a text book as it described the process of embalming… not a very joyful read.
"Mkay, be safe" I gave him a smile. I wasn't worried, Daryl knew how to take care of himself and Beth would be safe with him. He gave me a curt nod and I heard his footsteps lead towards the door. Before I knew it Beth's arms were around me in a tight embrace.
"We will be back soon" she beamed at me. Even though the circumstances in which we were in were horrible, I was so grateful to have Beth. We'd grown close and I'd come to think of her as a little sister… she somewhat filled the void of Lori even though now the roles were switched. Maybe I did the same for her in the sense of Maggie.
"I know you will be" smiling in an equally pleasing grin "Don't let Daryl be rude to you, kick his ass if you have to" giving her a wink. She laughed, waved and I heard her footsteps lead out the door just like Daryl's had.
Ahh, finally some alone time where I didn't have to be looking over my shoulder ever second, I walked over to the front door making sure it was tightly shut. I slept pretty well last night, but I wanted to see what magic the bed had upstairs. Beth looked radiant this morning and it had peaked my interest. I tip toed up the steps and entered the room. Beth had made the bed and it looked untouched, the white comforter lying thick on the mattress. It resembled a cloud, white and fluffy. I pulled off my boots; it was wonderful to have my feet be free and not constricted within my boots. Stretching myself across the covers it wasn't long before they engulfed me and I dozed off.
Wasn't sure how long I had been out but I felt his eyes on me. Stirring from my sleep he was rested on the edge of the bed near my feet. My thoughts returned to the previous night, how bad I wanted his touch and without much thought or realization I found myself sitting up and grabbing at his arm. I tugged at him.
"Dani what are ya doin'?" the rasp of his voice sending chills down my back.
"Please… just come here" I hoped to not sound as desperate as I was feeling.
I brought him on top of me. He was awkward as he countlessly tried to reposition himself, not knowing where to put what. His left forearm rested beside my head and his legs straddled mine. His face was exceptionally close and his bot breath hit me hard with each exhale. He was nervous and I was more than likely too close for comfort, but he let me lead. I could see his cheeks redden.
"Dani I don't know… I mean I've never exactly…" voice raspy and every bit unsure. I placed a finger over his mouth and whispered to him that it was ok. My finger turned into a hand as I dragged it across his cheek, the stubble pricking my palm and then latching it around the back of his neck. I pulled him down lightly but feverishly met my lips to his. He was hesitant at first but after my persistence, met my lips with equal haste. I tousled one hand in his hair and tugged at it pleased when a grunt from within him aroused. However, he was not close enough for my liking due to his still straddled, uptight position above me. Bringing my free hand to the small of his back I gently rested there. A few moments later the hand that had been tousled in his brown locks met his upper back and I tugged him close to me. With his hips crashing against me like waves across a shore a moan escaped my mouth, the heaviness of his body hitting me in all of the right ways. He breathlessly unlatched his lips from mine but without a pause began to press them against the skin of my cheek. Cautiously I felt the prick of his stubble against my neck but it then was replaced with hot lips lightly sucking. I couldn't stop the moan from escaping. "Dani" his voiced purred but it sounded farther away than the crook of my neck. "Dani" it was terser this time.
"Daryl" I breathed.
"Dani!" and with a shake my eyes opened. I was confused. Daryl was perched on the edge of the bed by my feet looking just as confused as I was but his cheeks were flushed.
Shit. I cursed to myself. It was a dream…
I looked down at my clothes, they were drenched. My skin was dewy; bringing the back of my hand up to wipe the sweat away from my brow I was soon afraid that my moaning was not within the realm of my dream by connecting the dots to Daryl's flushed cheeks.
"Didn' mean to wake you but, I uh… I mean… Beth and I got a rabbit n' a squirrel" he got up nervously and walked to the door. "Come down when yer ready".
Way to go Dani, I thought to myself.
Night had descended upon us. We had a feast laid out, I was able to find some spices hidden in the cabinet and they had been perfect for the rabbit and squirrel and surprisingly, dipping your meat in peanut butter and jelly was mouth-wateringly tasty. Daryl had already downed two pigs feet and I had to stop myself from gagging, I don't think I could stomach them even if I had to. Things were cozy, bright conversation filled the air. Beth had her paper and pen out; she decided to write the keepers of the house a thank you letter when they decided to come back. She was dedicated, eyes full of words that her pen scribbled onto the paper. We were all grateful for temporary shelter; it had been more than needed.
"What else should I put in the letter?" Beth's voice cheerful and soft, she met our eyes asking for ideas.
Daryl took a spoonful of jelly into his mouth and seemed to think about the question for a moment. "Yanno, maybe you don't have to write that" he said as he pointed the spoon down at the piece of paper. My head crooked toward him, where was he going with this? He started again "Maybe we could stay here fer awhile, wait till they get back". He paused and I felt his free hand hovered over mine for a moment but then grab it under the table. "We'll make it work, they might be bat shit crazy, but maybe it could work". I gave his hand a tight squeeze and for the first time for as long as I'd known him, he had hope in his eyes and it was entrancing.
"So you do think there are good people still" Beth grinned at him sweetly. "What changed yer mind?"
He slid his hand out of mine, grabbing the jar of jelly of scraping some onto his spoon. He hunched his shoulders and mumbled something along of the lines of "you know".
"C'mon Daryl, what changed your mind?" she persisted to ask, but all she got was another hard to unscramble mumble of words.
"Daryl" softly my words came out as I grabbed his elbow lightly, pulling it towards me so his hooded eyes would meet mine. "What changed your mind?" They stared at me without disturbance, it's like he was not only looking at me but reliving every moment between us; every conversation, every touch, every breath, every stolen glance. My heart began to beat violently. He wasn't saying a word yet he was saying everything. And it was not at all what I was expecting.
"Oh" faintly exited my mouth.
"Clink" all of our heads turned towards the doorway and like; that the moment was gone.
"Imma give the dog one more chance" standing up he untwisted the jar of pig's feet, delving his hand inside, pulling out one and casually walking out of the kitchen.
It went silent for a moment until both of our names echoed through the corridors of the house. Beth impulsively grabbed Daryl's bow and we ran to the front door. When we rounded the corner Daryl had his back up again the door while three walker arms stretched themselves inside our safe haven. Beth threw him the crossbow and I ran to the door, shoving my back against it as well trying to see if it were at all possible to help him close it shut. I pushed so hard but there had to be at least ten, maybe more of them out there and they knew there was fresh meat inside, they weren't giving up. My heart sank into my stomach; I didn't know what we were going to do.
"Dani, you gotta take Beth n'get out of here!" He screamed at me over the moans and growls.
"Daryl. I'm not leaving you." Sternly I growled as my fiery eyes met his.
"I'll meet you outside but you need ta go" I froze, heart racing I glanced my eyes from Beth to Daryl. "GO!"
"I" I choked.
"GO, NOW!" his last final shout stabbed the air.
I left my stance at the door and forcefully grabbed Beth's hand dragging her along with me through the maze of the house. Without stopping through the twist and turns, she managed to grab her backpack and I pushed her ahead of me. I could hear the growls grow loud and then faint; having no idea what Daryl's plan was to fight them off.
Down the porch steps we ran. A walker in front of me met the blade of my knife as I pierced it through the side of its skull splashing me with dark, lifeless blood in the process. With no time to stop and pull the knife out and my adrenalin high, I powerfully whipped the knife out just as easily as it had glided in. Out of breath, I stopped resting my back against a grand oak tree and expecting to hear the padding of Beth's feet stop a few steps after my own. Looking up she was not there. Just beyond the tree I could hear the voices of men and a struggling female, knife drawn I peered from the protection of the tree. There were three of them. They looked to be in their late 40's early 50's, rough demeanor but slightly overweight. My eyes then set on Beth, one of the men had her arms pinned behind her as she kicked and bucked to break free. My hand covered my mouth as it felt like someone had punched me in the gut.
"Let go of me asshole!" Beth shrieked as she continued fighting. I slid the knife into its sheath and tucked it into a tear on the inside of the vest I had on. Slowly I walked out from behind the tree with my arms raised above me in surrender, cautiously and gradually fearing that any sudden movements would mean Beth's fate.
"Please. Whatever you do, take me and not her" pleading as I made my way over to the group of men.
"Well what do we have here" man number one purred. "Not one ripe peach, but two. Must be our lucky day boys!" licking his lips as he turned back to the other men. He placed his pointer finger and thumb on my chin, squeezing and pulling it up in his direction. "I reckon' we'll just be takin' both of ya" and before the words slid off his tongue the last free man had me in a tight grip.
What was I going to do? I sure as hell wasn't going to let them take Beth by herself; I'd rather be there, watch out for her and try to protect the best I could. And who knew what Daryl's fate was… I like to think he made it out. He's a tough son of a bitch but there were a lot of walkers…
They led us to the back of an old, blue Lincoln. I didn't fight; there was no point in to tire myself out when I might need my energy for later. I climbed in first and then Beth beside me and man number 3 in after her. Her blue eyes cut mine as a trail of tears slipped down her cheek.
"I'm not going to let anything happen to you, understand" my words low so the mysterious men wouldn't hear. We peeled out of the dirt road drive but not before I heard the familiar voice that instilled the smallest amount of hope yet the largest amount of pain. I turned to gaze back through the darkness, hearing his voice call our names in an effort to try and catch up to us.
Goodbye for now Daryl Dixon, come find me… don't give up on me…