Hello everyone! This is my second Bethyl fic, I just adore them as a couple. This is a VERY AU fix from the Walking Dead, but it will have the same characters, and the somewhat same personalities. I just wanted to come up with something different than the same zombie killing stories! But anyways, please favorite, review, and follow. I would love to hear everyone's feedback :) Happy reading!
The car sputtered and Beth's tired eyes went wide. Not only was she unbelievably lost in the middle of the night, but her vehicle was not offering any sort of condolence.
She glared at her failed GPS and rolled her eyes at the lack of sensical directions it was producing. She shouldn't have even been out that night. She had been coerced by her graduate school advisor to go to a party full of attendees that Beth would have typically avoided like the plague in her spare time. Instead she was forced to be among them on a Saturday night, shoulder to shoulder with all of their "pleasant" veneers and tales of their self-important accomplishments and theories. Beth felt like a bull in a China shop. One who could destroy their facade of a good time at any moment.
Connections, that's what Dr. Grimes had encouraged her to make that night. "There are going to be some of the most important minds of modern psychology at that party tonight. Someone might want to take you on for an internship, or perhaps be your mentor." Beth had smiled in agreement and hidden her true reaction, knowing that she did need to establish herself in academia if she wanted to further her own formulations and research.
The whole way to the party, which was located in a massive and over-the-top cabin that was nestled into the wilderness of upstate, Beth had an eery and nervous feeling in her stomach. Not only was she discouraged by the fact that her GPS said it would take her an hour and a half to get there, but she was dreading the character that she would have to take on to impress these people. Beth liked parties, she enjoyed having a good time- but stuffy, arrogant, scotch drinkers were not her preferred brand of company.
She had somehow made it through. Thankfully Dr. Grimes was there to escort Beth through the motions and the greetings, offering her a glass of coke in lieu of the harsh liquors that were present.
After awkward goodbyes and the exchange of a few email addresses with the lesser of the evils there, Beth made her way back into the cool night and toward her car. The area was shrouded in darkness and Beth realized that her stomach still felt odd. She figured that she would feel copious amounts of relief as soon as she stepped out of the front door, but instead all she experienced was the strange and nagging feeling that had been present through the whole night.
She shivered and shook her head, unlocking her car and swiftly climbing in, ready to be back to her apartment. When she started her car it protested a bit. But she wasn't too worried, her car was often a rebel without a cause and very rarely actually delivered on its threats. Switching on her navigation system that had not yet begun to act up, she backed out of the long and gravelly driveway, beginning her escape.
And that is what led Beth to this point. After more than a few wrong turns and shady roads traveled, Beth had turned off her GPS and chucked it into the back seat. She was pretty sure that she could find her way home; she could follow the north star or some shit.
That school of thought seemed to be working until her car began to fail on her, too. She could feel it rutting and jerking, and she knew that she had to get to some sort of civilization before it gave out. If she had known that the earlier protest of her car was a warning, she would have heeded it. That way she wouldn't be where she was; lost and alone in the dark.
She grabbed her phone so she could call her sister, Maggie, and give her a heads up that she might need to come and rescue Beth.
"Oh, great," Beth sighed loudly as she realized that she literally had no bars of service. She quickly checked the backseat for serial killers, feeling like it was too good of a setup for one to resist.
She bit her lip determinedly and began a mantra of encouragement in her head. "Don't die, don't die, don't die." It was meant to be about her car, but Beth knew that it had pertinence to herself as well.
Her SUV jerked uncouthly and Beth hissed and grimaced. If she could just make it a little farther- maybe there would be a service station. She glanced at her clock and the dreaded feeling in her stomach increased. It was past eleven at night, the odds of anything being open at this time were not promising.
Just when she was contemplating the idea of having to sleep in her dead car on the side of the road, there was light! Beth's eyes widened in relief as she spotted what looked like a gas station and possibly a repair shop ahead. Even if they weren't open, at least she would be in a lit parking lot for the night and she could get her car fixed in the morning. The car barely made it into the lot before it let out a pitiful groan and shut off.
Beth gave the dashboard an apologetic pat and scoured the area with her eyes. It was indeed both a gas station and car repair shop. Although she still felt uneasy, she knew that it was a truly lucky happenstance that she had ended up there. She checked to make sure all of her doors and windows were secure, looked at her phone and despairingly saw that it was still serviceless, and then leaned her seat back with a sigh. She finagled her long legs into the most comfortable position she could find and forced her eyes closed. If she could just sleep, the night would be over faster.
A knock and a voice were what roused Beth from her half-asleep state. She blearily glanced at her watch and saw that it was nearly three in the morning. She yawned freely and looked over at her window, doing a double take when she realized that there was a man standing outside of it.
"Oh God." Beth whispered and clutched her startled heart. She squinted her eyes and hoped that the man would go away.
"The hell ya doin' here?" the stranger pressed in a muffled voice.
Beth gulped and opened one eye before sitting her seat back up. "My car broke down, I was just waiting it out until morning when the shop would be open." Beth refused to truly look at the man for fear that he would resemble Freddy Kreuger, and she had to sort of shout through the window to make herself heard. But there was no way that she was going to roll down her window, the ever present feeling inside of her told her not to.
"How did ya find this place?" the man replied in an accusatory voice.
Beth scrunched her eyebrows and looked down at her lap. "I happened upon it. I was lost."
"Ya sure that's how it went?" The stranger's voice was inherently untrusting.
Beth scoffed. "Of course I'm sure! You think I like sleeping in parking lots in the middle of nowhere?" Beth bit back, completely baffled by the man's unwarranted paranoia.
The guy was quiet for a moment and Beth had to check in her peripheral vision to see that he was still there. "We ain't open on Sundays. Tomorrows a Sunday," he finally spoke in a curt reply.
Beth's mouth dropped open in alarm. What the hell was she going to do? She made herself look at the man. If she was going to try to convince him to make a concession, she at least owed him eye contact.
Beth turned her head and was genuinely surprised by what her eyes found. There, standing outside of Beth's window with his arms folded across his chest, was a guy a lot older than her 18 years of age. He was wearing a ripped flannel shirt with a black vest over it, and shaggy, greasy, dark brown hair that almost touched his shoulders. He had olive skin and full lips. His eyes were deep blue and searching, an edge was obvious in his hardened expression. He was definitely rough...but oddly attractive. She realized that there was a massive bruise surrounding the stranger's right eye. It looked fresh, like it had just happened earlier that night.
The man seemed to notice Beth's awareness of his injury because he turned his head slightly so Beth couldn't look at it. Beth swallowed thickly and started to get up the courage to talk, when the man tensed his right hand on his flanneled forearm and Beth saw that his knuckles looked abused. As if he had also inflicted some damage that night. Yeah, Beth definitely wasn't getting out of her car.
The man licked his lips and an unearned glare was directed at Beth. "Look, I don' really know what ta do with ya. This is really inconvenient."
Beth cleared her throat in sudden anger. "You think this isn't inconvenient for me? Look, I'm stranded and I just need a place to sleep for the night. If your shop is closed tomorrow, I'll call a tow truck in the morning." With her closing statement Beth remembered that her phone wasn't working. But whatever, she would deal with that in the light of day when there wasn't some asshole chilling outside of her car.
Knuckles tightened on flannel again and the man ducked and shook his head before looking around. "My bastard ol' man owns this shop an' he insists on it bein' closed on Sundays. He ain't here this weekend, though- so maybe I can look at yer car in the mornin'. I ain't promisin' anythin'. I like ta sleep in and I can't really be bothered to git up when I don't feel like it."
Beth didn't want to cling onto any sort of rescue; this guy wasn't exactly a beacon of hope. But still, it was a better offer than nothing. And so Beth replied with a small and testing smile, "Thanks."
The guy shrugged but looked a little caught off guard by Beth's friendly gesture. "Whatever. I'm goin' ta sleep," he said and then started to walk toward the shop.
Beth raised an eyebrow and found herself opening her door before she could think twice about it. "Hey, wait!" Beth called, standing up and leaning her arm on the top of her door.
The stranger whipped around and looked at Beth oddly. "What?"
"What's your name?" Beth asked dumbly, wishing she had a better question to back up her dramatic exit from the car.
Blue eyes narrowed. "Why does it matter?"
Beth bit her lip. "Maybe I'd feel better about sleeping in a desolate parking lot if I knew the person who owned it by name," she answered, mostly truthfully.
A pink tongue darted out, licking their lips quickly. "It really don' matter. I probably aint goin' ta see ya again."
Beth couldn't help but roll her eyes. She somehow didn't feel threatened by this guy despite his rough appearance. The feeling of unease in her stomach had simply turned to intrigue. She was fascinated by this man, this admittedly attractive man who obviously had some serious trust issues...possibly daddy issues, Beth couldn't be sure just yet. From a psychological standpoint, Beth was enthralled. Her friends always hated it when she would analyze them so she often held back. But hell, this dude wasn't her friend.
"It's just a name. A word that we have assigned a personal meaning to. Like here, I'm Beth. See? That was really easy," Beth smirked slightly, feeling her confidence growing.
"I don' care," the man shrugged and turned back toward the shop.
"Do you live in the repair shop?" Beth tried instead.
"Yeah, I sleep in a fuckin' car pit," sarcasm dripped from the words that were flung over the guy's shoulder.
Beth huffed and actually shut her car door so that she could follow after. She didn't know why she was doing it, it was probably the worst idea she'd had since she thought that it would be cool to collect Furbies back when she was seven. "Is there an apartment on the second floor or something?" Beth asked as she looked around, spotting a really nice SUV that was now residing in the parking lot as well, assuming it belonged to the stranger. "That's a nice car!" Beth pronounced.
"What the fuck? Seriously, why are ya followin'me?"
"Why are you so paranoid?" Beth shot back, not particularly having a response to the man's pondering.
"I don' even know ya. I don' have ta answer your shit questions," the man absolutely scowled.
"Fine, then just answer one. What is your name?" Beth was walking a thin line, she could feel it. Yet, she still wasn't scared.
Beth watched as the man's chest heaved a little in exasperation. "You're really annoyin'."
Beth just shrugged. "I can be. Typically only when people are ignoring my questions though."
A large sigh was followed by a reluctant reply, "If it'll get ya off my fuckin' back, my name is-"
Voices cut off his thought. A couple of persons chattering and approaching. The unease was back in Beth's stomach.
"Shit," the stranger grumbled.
"Who is it?" Beth wrapped her arms around herself.
"You should..." The man glanced at Beth's car and then to the direction that the voices were coming from. "Go inside," he motioned with his head toward the shop door.
"Into your place?" Beth asked in surprise. "I can just get back in my car."
"Get in the fucking shop." The intense look in the man's eye told Beth that she needed to listen. She might have ignored all of the warning signs that she was given that night regarding her car and the party that she attended, but she wasn't going to make that mistake again.
Beth nodded and then slipped into the door that she was directed to. It was mostly dark in the shop and it smelled strongly of oil, but the street lamp outside and the moonlight created a little bit of sight and comfort.
Beth slumped down onto a rugged couch that had obviously seen much better days and glanced out the slightly open window behind it. She could see the man perfectly. Beth watched the reluctant stranger lean against one of the gas pumps near Beth's car and put his hands in his pockets. Beth could only see his profile, but there was an obvious look of trepidation adorning his features, and his stance told that he was deliberately trying to look casual and unassuming.
Beth cocked her head to the side and tried to size up what was going on. She had a bad habit of compiling a list when she first met people. Her impression of them, their characteristics, their possible insecurities. She never shared her list with the person who inspired it, that would be a dick move. She kept her opinions in her head, and only consulted the list when she needed to answer a puzzling question regarding that person.
As she began to make note of the man's mannerisms and reactions to Beth, she ended up just getting lost in the thought of that bruise. What had he done to deserve that? Was he in danger? Was he, much like Beth's car, just a rebel without a cause? Beth was actually very pleased that no one could hear her internal approximations and dialogue; they were quite embarrassing, really.
Her musings were interrupted by someone calling out. Beth's eyes snapped up and fell into focus back on the man, who was now joined by two other guys. She slunk down into the couch a bit more but kept her eyes trained on the sight and her ears open to the conversation that steeped through the cracked window.
"Dixon, man." A tall blonde guy patted the man on the back. Dixon? Beth raised an eyebrow, torn between amusement and captivation.
"Hey, what are ya guys doin' here? It's fuckin' late," Dixon, apparently, replied.
"We heard you made out pretty well tonight, man. Sorry we couldn't be there. Although I can see that asshole got a piece of you, too," the other guy, a stalky brunette, said with a chuckle.
Dixon touched his bruised face and glanced back nervously at the window where Beth was spying. Beth immediately ducked down and smacked her head on the windowsill in the process. "Oww," she groaned, louder than intended. She slapped a hand over her mouth and remained ducked down. This Dixon guy may have thrown her a loop and let her hide out, but Beth still didn't know his intentions, or what the other guys were capable of. They looked like a rough crowd and Beth had essentially no strength to speak of. If she got in a fight, her ass would be kicked. It was inevitable.
She remained hidden but pressed her ear against the cool wall and as close to the window as she could, hoping to be able to hear what was going on so she could determine if she needed to get to safer ground. She could hear them, a little muffled but clear enough.
"Whose car is that?" one of them asked.
"Uh. It's abandoned. I dunno, it was here when I got here," Dixon said quickly.
"Looks like a piece of shit." Laughter rang out and Beth glared into the darkness of the shop.
"Yeah well, I'm gonna sleep. I'm pretty exhausted after tonight." Beth heard Dixon let out a large and fake yawn.
"You don't want to drink a bit? We should fucking celebrate, man," the blonde, Beth was pretty sure, replied.
"Why do you keep looking at your place?" Beth froze at that question.
"I ain't, I just want to hit the sack. I'm so fuckin' beat," Dixon forced a laugh.
It was silent for a moment and then a chorus of "oohs" sounded. "You've got a hot little slut in there, don't you? That's who that car belongs to?"
Beth couldn't resist popping up a little bit to gauge Dixon's reaction. When she peeked over the ledge of the window, she saw the abused hand running over his hair, obviously deflecting and still trying to remain casual.
To Beth's surprise he answered with, "Yeah and she ain't gonna wait all night. Fuck off, guys."
"Okay, fine," the brunette said and punched Dixon lightly in the arm. "Don't let her keep you up all night, man. Monday night is gonna come around sooner than you think. You need your rest."
Beth scrunched her eyebrows in confusion. Who the hell were these guys and what was going down on Monday night?
"One time with me and she'll be fuckin' exhausted, it ain't a problem," Dixon smirked but his stature was rigid.
Beth rolled her eyes. Even though the guy was clearly lying, Beth greatly disliked arrogance in all the forms that it came in. Hence why she had disliked the party that evening so much. Arrogance abound.
Beth watched as they bid their farewells with cliched fist bumps and manly nods of their heads. When Dixon turned back toward the shop, Beth slumped down again, facing forward and calmly crossing her legs, acting like she had been sitting there like that the whole time. Beth could pretend, too.
The front door squeaked open and Beth looked down at her nails, feeling a little nervous again. A light flipped on and Beth squinted into it, her eyes not nearly adjusted. "Is um...everything okay?" Beth ventured.
"Did ya hear any of that?" was the reply.
"A little," Beth confessed. "I heard them call you Dixon. Kind of a strange name."
"That ain't my real name."
Beth looked up and ignored how nice the man looked in the amber lights. "Why'd they call you that then?"
"None of your fuckin' business," he growled back.
"Okaaaay, I'm just gonna go back to my car now," Beth sighed and stood up, gripping her jacket and pulling it more snugly around herself.
"That's a stupid idea. Those guys could be lurkin', stay here."
Beth stopped and looked at the redneck man with skepticism. "You don't want me here. You won't even tell me your name, so why would I stay?"
"Again with the fuckin' name. Just drop it."
Beth shook her head and walked toward the door. "Good night, whoever you are."
"Seriously, stop." The man walked over and placed himself in front of the door.
"You're blocking me? Move," Beth huffed.
"I'm tellin' ya not to go out there. I don' fuckin' want ya here anymore than ya want ta be here, but I unfortunately cannot block my conscience enough to let ya venture out!"
Beth stared at his deep eyes and at the purpling bruise around one of them. "What happened to your eye?" She blurted out.
"I tripped." Eyes were downcast.
"Into someone's fist?" Beth smirked slightly.
The man just glared and strode off toward a set of stairs. "Do what ya want, then. I'm goin' to bed."
"I'll stay..." Beth stopped him, "if you tell me your name."
"I just told ya that I don' care if ya go!"
"Fine." Beth shrugged and opened the door, starting to walk out to her car.
"Wait," the voice was softer this time, "my name is Daryl."
Beth turned. "All of that ordeal was made over such a little name?"
"Yours ain't much more impressive!" Daryl argued.
"Yeah, but I told you straight off the bat," Beth returned.
"I just...don' like my name very much," Daryl breathed out.
"Would you prefer if I called you Dixon, then?" Beth raised an eyebrow and mentally assumed that perhaps Daryl was named after his father that he didn't seem to be too fond off. Beth had a knack for guessing the root of a person's problems.
Daryl looked at her for a moment, contemplation clear in his eyes. "Ya can call me Daryl, I guess. Ain't like I'm goin' to see ya after tomorrow, anyway."
"Exactly. Alright then, good night Daryl. Thanks for letting me crash." Bet shut and locked the door and then flopped down onto the couch.
"Yeah. I'll uh, see ya in the mornin'. Maybe." Daryl nodded awkwardly and gave Beth another thoughtful look before he ascended the stairs.
Beth laid back and let her gangly legs hang over the armrest of the couch. She slept uneasily that night, dreams of violent fights and bruised perfection consumed her mind.