She’s been coming into the bar where he hangs out for the past two months. He knows who she is the first time she walks in. Everyone in town knows Hershel Greene's daughters. Maggie is the wild one, loud, sometimes obnoxious, but really just a girl who likes to have a little fun. She’s currently laughing at something the Asian guy standing next to her is saying (clearly he’s smitten with her, his face is pink and he seems nervous as hell and Daryl knows for a fact he hasn’t ordered one drink yet.)
Then there’s Beth.
The younger Greene sister is nothing like her older sister. She’s sweet and kind and doesn’t spend every weekend in this hell hole like her older sister although he’s glad that she has been here a lot recently, which in turn is why he’s been coming back every weekend too. He’d be fine staying home or anywhere else besides this bar. But she’s here, so he’s here too. She usually doesn’t drink much, maybe a shot of whiskey of all things. And sometimes she sings if there’s karaoke going on. He likes it when she sings. She has a nice voice and it makes him feel good.
But what he likes best is when she catches his eye from across the room and smiles real big as she walks over to where he’s sitting at the bar in his usual spot. Then she climbs onto the bar stool next to him and talks to him like he’s someone worth talking to and he can’t for the life of him figure out why someone like her would even talk to him.
The first time she came into the bar he noticed her. Hell, she turned every guy’s head in there. All that blonde hair catching the light and making it dance, how could he not notice her. She ain’t a regular, that’s for sure. Then he sees who she’s with, Maggie Greene, and he couldn’t believe that gorgeous blonde was little Beth Greene all grown up. He’d been living here for about 10 years and Maggie Greene had been raising one kind of hell or another for just as long, but her little sister, she was a good girl. He’d see occasionally in town with her daddy. Merle (god bless his dirty redneck heart) had had plenty to say about the older Greene sister over the years and most of it had been inappropriate. So when Maggie came into the bar with Beth, Merle was all over it, draggin' Daryl over to say hello.
“Hey there Ms. Maggie Greene how ya been? And who’s this little beauty?” Merle waggled his eyebrows at the girls and Daryl wanted to laugh at how ridiculous his older brother looked. But he didn’t crack a smile. He just kept sneaking looks at Beth, blown away by how much she’s changed.
“Stay the fuck away from my sister Merle Dixon!” Maggie growled at the man, but there was a twinkle in her eye. She tolerates Merle, put him in his place when she was only sixteen with a knee to his precious balls. Since that night they’ve had a mutual respect for one another and a banter that goes back and forth as they try to outdo each other with filthy words and alcohol consumption. Merle raised his hands in mock surrender.
“Whoa! I’m jus’ comin’ over ta introduce myself, it’s the mannerly thing ta do.”
“Like you got manners!” Maggie laughs.
“I certainly do! So?” Merle waited for Maggie and she sighed dramatically and turned to Beth.
“Fine. Merle this is my little sister Beth. Beth this is the old fart I warned you about, Merle Dixon and his bro-” But Merle interrupted Maggie’s introduction and smiled at Beth, nudging Daryl forward.
“This here’s my little brother Daryl. Ya don’t gotta stay away from him.” He winked at Beth and ducked when Daryl tried to hit him. Daryl can feel the heat on his cheeks and he’d like to turn around and run but Beth Greene held out her hand and smiled.
“Hi Daryl, Merle.” She seemed a little unsure and before Merle can embarrass him anymore Daryl took her hand.
“Hey, nice ta meet ya, Beth.” He gave her a little smile and let go of her soft hand and grabbed Merle by his heavily tattooed bicep. “Come on brother, les’ go, leave these nice girls alone.”
“Ha! Maggie Greene and nice ain’t make a bit a sense!” Merle called over his shoulder.
“Fuck off Merle!” Daryl watched as Maggie and Beth headed for the booths, far away from the bar where he planned to park his brother’s smart ass. Just as he turned away he heard her voice,
“Nice to meet you, Daryl!” He glanced back and Beth Greene, little Beth Greene smiled at him.
“Hey! How ‘bout me?” Merle yelled.
“Git yerself a beer an shut up.” Daryl slapped a twenty on the bar.
“Damn little brother that’s mighty generous of ya!” Redirecting Merle was simple. Buy him a beer.
Daryl took one last look at the sisters as they slid into the booth. Beth Greene used to be all long legs and braids, now she’s tight jeans, curls, and cowboy boots- and she smiled at him and he never wished so hard in all his life that he was someone else, someone better, someone more deserving of that beautiful smile.
Almost every weekend now except for that first night he met her, Beth Greene has ended up on the bar stool next to him. It’s become her spot. Over the course of those weeks, he’s found out that she recently turned twenty-one and that Maggie has made it her personal mission to make sure Beth has a social life whether she wants one or not.
“Why doncha jus’ tell her no?” he’d asked.
“Have you met my sister?” Beth had said shaking her pretty blonde head.
They’ve spent seventeen nights, not that he’s keeping count, sitting here on these bar stools, talking and laughing and watching the crowd. Tonight feels different though. Not in a bad way, just different. He keeps looking over at her and twice he’s caught her looking back.
“Ya wanna get outta here?” He just says it, what he’s been wanting to say since last weekend. She whips her head around, curls bouncing catching the light like they did that first night.
“What?” Her eyes are wide. ‘Shit’ he shoulda known, shoulda figured.
“Nothin’, I mean I jus’ thought. Aw fuck it, Ima go piss.” He pushes away from the bar angry at himself for thinking what he was thinking and angry that he’s even angry. Fuck Merle for teasing him about his crush on that ‘hot little number’ as he likes to call Beth. And fuck Maggie for always referring to them as that ‘couple at the bar’. Even Rick, his buddy had commented with a sly smile that he’d hang out at the pool table, didn’t want to interrupt their ‘date night’. Fuck them all for getting his hopes up that she could even be the slightest bit interested in him as more than someone to pass the time with at the bar. He isn’t doing this shit. He heads for the bathrooms, his stomach in knots.
“Daryl?” There’s her voice, bringing him back. Before he can even turn around and look at her he feels her hand in his and she’s tugging on his arm, pulling him in the other direction, towards the door. “I thought you’d never ask.” She says it softly, but he can hear her and she’s smiling like someone just gave her the one thing she wanted most in the world.
Beth didn’t know Daryl Dixon before the night she met him in the bar. She’d heard his name in connection with Merle’s on the occasion that Maggie divulged the exciting details of her life, a life Beth enjoyed hearing about but wasn’t too keen on living herself. Maggie never took no for an answer though, which is why she’s now standing in the parking lot of the only bar in town next to Daryl Dixon’s pick up watching the man in question chew on his thumbnail.
“Ya sure, I mean ya don’ gotta go anywhere... Ya, don’ know nothin’ ‘bout me.” He looks so unsure of himself and she can tell he’s really nervous and something else she can’t quite figure out. She wonders what he sees when he looks at her.
Last week when they were out shopping Maggie told her that Daryl didn’t really hang out at the bar all that much. Not like he had been lately. He wasn’t ever at any of the parties she’d gone to, although Merle was always there. ‘Looks like y’all got something else in common besides them bar stools!’ Maggie had winked and left Beth blushing in the produce aisle.
“Daryl, do you come to the bar every weekend?” There’s something she’s been thinking about since her conversation with Maggie.
“Nah. Ain’t really my thing. ‘S Merle’s.” At least he’s looking at her now. He has the most intense blue eyes and when he looks at her she feels like she’s the only thing that exists.
“It’s not really my thing either.” She drags the toe of her cowboy boot through the dirt making dust dance in the air.
“Girl whada ya gettin’ at?” He’s got this way of growling and to most people, it might sound menacing, but she finds it extremely sexy.
“Daryl, do you even know why I’m in that bar every weekend on that stool next to you?” She steps over the line she made in the dirt and puts the toe of that cowboy boot between his well-worn work boots. And she swears she can hear him swallow.
“Cause ya got an annoyin’ sister?” He’s serious. He’s really serious and she throws her head back and laughs.
“Ya laughing at me now? Fuck Beth..” He’s exasperated, he’s had enough she can tell. She reaches out for his hands tucked in his pockets and laces their fingers together.
“I’m there cause you’re there Daryl. I don’t care much for the bar, but I wanna be with you.” Maybe the universe is trying to give her a helping hand because it’s quiet and the only sound is the soft chirp of crickets in the grass along the edge of the highway. Even the music and laughter from the bar has disappeared.
“Ya do?” It can’t be possible to whisper and growl at the same time, but he’s doing it. She steps in closer to him and lets his hands go so she can rest hers on his chest, feel his heartbeat and she nods. When his hands settle on her hips she shivers.
“Ask me again Daryl.”
“Wha’?” She can feel the pressure of his palms holding her closer.
“Ask me again, “ she whispers.
He leans down until his forehead is resting against hers and even the crickets are quiet now, waiting for him to respond.
“Ya wanna get outta here?” She feels like she’s floating and his eyes are locked on hers and she knows it's impossible but she swears she can see the stars in his. Pushing herself up on her toes she brushes her lips softly against his.
“I thought you’d never ask.”