She thought about it. She really, really did. She even began to stand up, raising off of the log she'd been sitting on, brushing her hands on the front of her jeans, adjusting her hair a little bit. She cleared her throat once, hoping that her voice wouldn't croak or just end up stuck in her throat. That was not the impression she wanted to leave on the first man she'd seen in ages that was actually attractive.
(It wasn't like the others were ugly, but Glenn was so awkward and Dale was old and Shane was kind of scary if she was being honest.)
He slid out of the front seat of his pickup truck, pulling a crossbow out after him and slinging it over his shoulder with a practiced grace. She had cleared her throat again, just for some extra luck, and parted her lips, one simple word sitting in her mouth.
The instant the other truck door opened, that word had died in her throat. The other man was, quite frankly, terrifying, even from a distance. He was built like a tank, broad shoulders visible underneath the weird vest thing he was wearing. His hair was shorn, showing the bumps of his skull. But the worst part was his eyes, the way they latched on to her almost as soon as both his feet were touching the ground. She'd seen that look before, that hungry, lecherous stare that only meant one thing.
She'd scurried into the RV, not ashamed to admit that the man's gaze had frightened her. She'd forgotten all about talking to the other one.
The first time Daryl felt like he should have said something to Amy, she was picking mushrooms and failing at it. He'd never considered that someone could fail at picking mushrooms before but then again, she looked like a city person. They didn't know how to pick anything but their own goddamn noses.
He'd been heading off into the forest, intending on bringing down some squirrels so that everyone back in the camp would stop bitching about being hungry. He had a feeling that most of them probably wouldn't eat it, too accustomed to their meat coming straight from the store, but at the very least, him and Merle would be able to eat.
Amy had been crouched in the dirt, her jeans smeared with dirt, her pale hands searching through the grass. From where he was standing, Daryl could see no less than six mushrooms, inches away from her searching fingers. He could hear her muttering underneath her breath, obviously frustrated, and he figured that the nice thing would have been to point them out to her.
But that wouldn't have taught her anything, so he just kept walking, letting the moment fall out of his mind.
Amy was amazed at how much she'd learned about the others while sitting around the campfire. She wasn't sure what it is but nearly every night, when they'd all gathered around the low fire to eat, someone ended up saying something about their previous lives, something completely unexpected. She'd managed to keep her mouth shut but most of that was due to the fact that there really wasn't much to tell. She'd lived a rather ordinary life, a rather normal life, before everything was started. There simply wasn't anything she could reveal that would come as a surprise.
She was still surprised, however, that Daryl cracked before she did. The man barely ever talked to any of them, let alone sat with them around the fire, but Merle had been inside their tent all day, his snores reverberating throughout the camp from dusk till dawn. She wasn't going to ask what he'd gotten into but she had a feeling it was something illegal.
"I used to love horror movies." When his voice split the silence, everyone turned at once, already leaning forward to catch the words. For his part, Daryl didn't even look like he was paying attention; his gaze was turned to the fire, the crackling flames reflecting in his blue eyes. "When I was a kid, I just devoured those fucking things. Used to skip school and watch 'em. Always used to think that the people in them were so fuckin' stupid." That certainly elicited a chuckle from the group; there was no denying that they'd all yelled at the screen at least once in their lifetime.
"Funny though. Ain't one of those films like this." With that, he fell silent and no one seemed to know how to respond. It had been the longest string of words Daryl had spoken since he had pulled into camp and they all seemed to be shell shocked; not only had he talked, but he'd actually revealed something about himself, even if it was trivial.
She wanted to say something but really, what was there to say?
She'd known that it was going to happen eventually. Since the first day he'd arrived, she'd known that Merle was going to make a comment sooner or later, that he was going to make a pass at her. She'd prepared herself for that moment in her mind, coming up with all sorts of snappy retorts and monologues that would have went right over his redneck head. She'd thought that she was ready for anything.
"So, how 'bout you and me go off and knock boots?" She certainly hadn't been expecting that, for Merle to just pop up while she was pinning up laundry and basically ask if she was down to fuck. Everything she'd planned had exited her brain at that one moment, leaving her with her mouth gaping open and her mind a complete blank.
"Merle!" Daryl seemed to magically appear out of the forest, sliding out of the trees, brace of squirrels slung over his shoulder. "Get your goddamn ass over here!" For a few moments, Merle seemed like he was going to ignore his younger brother and just keep on staring at Amy, making her feel small and unimportant. Finally, he merely chuckled and headed off to help his brother with the skinning that had to be done. She had tried to finish the laundry but all she could hear was Merle's voice and the squelching of the squirrels as the Dixon's knives tore at them and it was enough to almost make her sick.
It was only afterwards, while she was bringing another basket of dirty laundry down to the quarry, that she realized she probably should have said thank you to Daryl for getting his brother off of her. But that hadn't been what he was doing, was it? He'd just been calling his brother to get him to help. He probably hadn't even noticed that she'd been standing there.
She decided not to bother.
"You gonna miss me, baby bro?"
"Fuck no. Be easier to sleep without your damn ass snoring all the fucking time."
"Do you have to go Andy?"
"I promise I'll come back. And I'll bring you something nice, okay?"
Amy stood at the edge of camp as the group left, watching as they walked in single file down the road, slowly dwindling to dots in the distance. Her stomach was churning, twisting and turning like she had the world's worst case of the butterflies. It wasn't that she didn't trust Andrea; she knew that her sister was going to try as hard as she could to come back. It was that she didn't trust life itself, didn't trust the new world order that existed. Promises didn't mean anything anymore.
She didn't notice Daryl standing near until she turned around and stopped in her tracks. He was leaning against a tree just off the road, staring off into the distance like she had been as well. She couldn't read any emotions in his face, just blank indifference as he blinked slowly. She couldn't help but feel a bit of... well, pity for him. She couldn't imagine not giving a damn about Andrea. Even though her sister hadn't always been there for her, she was still her sister, the only family she had left. Even thinking about losing her made her stomach twist more violently and a tear drip down her face. She sniffed and angrily wiped at it, scratching her skin in the process.
It wasn't until she had started walking again that she realized Daryl had turned to look at her and with his face directly pointing towards her, she realized that she had been completely wrong about the complete indifference. His mouth was set into a hard line but it was his eyes that told the whole story. She felt like she was looking into her own, filled with uncertainty and just plain fear.
She realized that, even though Merle Dixon may have been a racist, misogynist pig, he was still Daryl's brother, the only family he had left. It was the exact same situation she was in but at least she was able to tell her sister that she was going to miss her. Daryl didn't even have that option.
Slowly, the muscles in his neck pressing against the skin, he nodded at her before returning his gaze to the direction of Atlanta. She forced herself to start walking again, trying her hardest not to look back in the direction of the city. For once, she didn't feel the need to say anything to Daryl.
She knew that she didn't have to.