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A path we choose

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Who knew the descent to eight o’clock could be so traumatic?

Beth Greene didn’t, that’s for damn sure. It’s nearly six and by eight she’s expected at a party. Not just a party but a Halloween party, a dress up one and if all that wasn’t enough to have her pulling her hair out, it’s the first party she would have attended since she moved back home to Georgia. She’s been away for a couple of years for college at the University of Southern California, and then travel but now a new graduate, she’s back in her small, familiar home town. Smack bang in the middle of the holidays too. Old friends have been reaching out, each wanting something or other from her: a coffee, a dance, a lunch date. In so far she’s managed to ignore them all.

It’s not that she’s being spiteful or that she’s a loner. She’s actually a very active person, a social butterfly her Mama calls her but since coming back from college she feels like a new woman. All her life she’s been good. She was raised on a farm, a simple life and in turn she became a simple girl. If anything, she became good by default, by sheer necessity. There was no reason to sneak out and party because she truly enjoyed spending time with her parents. There was no need to drink because she had seen the troubles it caused her parents marriage when her Daddy hit the bottle.

There was no need to shop on weekends because she would only ruin nice clothes in the mucky stables anyway or catch them on branches when she was flying through trees on her horse. There was no need for money or nice clothes or parties. It’s not like she couldn’t ask her parents for it if she really wanted. If anything, she could ask her parents for whatever she felt like asking for because she so rarely asked for anything in her life. She was a happy child, a happy teen and just happy. Her older sister Maggie and the oldest of three, was the troubled child, the one who came home at three am, the one her parents screamed at and grounded and punished.

Maggie’s a full grown woman now with a husband and child, but she wasn’t at one point. She was the devil child according to her Mama and Beth never wanted to have her parents worry for her the way they did her sister. She never wanted to see the disappointment her Daddy speared her older sister with either. Beth’s sure to this day she would break under a look like that from her Father but not Maggie. She’s the toughest woman Beth’s ever met and she was the one who convinced Beth to go to college. Reminiscing, Beth crosses the street towards the shopping centre, the cool air teasing at her jumper.

Seeing young girls milling around in their friendship groups makes her smile. Remembering what it’s like to be that young, where her life was going at that age. She remembers it wasn’t something she was considering: going away to college. She thought about taking classes at a community college instead so she could still live at home, still see her friends, help out on the farm. Surprisingly, her parents insisted. There was no fear for her the way there was for Maggie, and her middle child brother Shawn who had inherent wild streaks her parents couldn’t force out of them with groundings or manual labour.

The thing is, Beth truly found herself in college. She found that wild streak buried so deep inside her. A love for beer pong and shots, a hit or two of weed if she was brave enough. Never hard drugs, they weren’t her bag. She was down for a good time not a hospital visit. Steadily she got braver, bolder and more adventurous. When college was over she packed up her things and went travelling. It was something she had always wanted to do but never thought she would, and never in the manner that she did it in. Hostels full of wild students and hippies around a fire. Hitch hiking with dodgy strangers and rough women. Some nights spent on beaches where she passed out drunk.

Some nights spent with boys and men alike who showed her a good time and how to pleasure her body in ways she had never been brave enough to try before. All that fun, all that adventure, swallowing up five amazing years of her life. Five years that she started as an eighteen year old farm girl and emerged from as a twenty three year old woman. Now she’s back home. Back walking downtown, back in her child hood house with her walls covered in bands she used to listen to, diaries she used to fill and CD’s that accompany the posters plastering her walls and door. Being home is good, it is, but being home as another person is nerve wracking like her skin is pulled on too tight.

The only invite of the many that she’s responded to is Rick and Lori’s. Rick and Lori are family friends on her Mama’s side and when she was seventeen they used to let her babysit for them. They’re an attractive couple living in an attractive home and the sort of neighbourhood that says I made it. Real wood and nice cars, kids on bikes and open front doors in the summer heat because it’s the kind of neighbourhood that doesn’t get burgled, not to mention Rick’s a cop. They’re lovely but Beth is more excited to see their kids. When she was seventeen nearly seven years ago, their oldest boy Carl was twelve and their only daughter Judith a new born. 

She stopped babysitting them when she went away to college so the last time she saw them Carl was thirteen and Judith one. Being nearly seven years from that point Beth is more than a little excited to see a nineteen year old Carl who is home from college himself and a seven year old Judith. Passing by a little mobile shop, she looks amongst the gadgets, debating buying one and if it’s worth the money, her blue eyes tracking the shelves. When she was travelling she didn’t take a phone with her. Went old school in terms of using pay phones and a camera.

All her friends who she was travelling with at the time had phones but she never checked in with anyone, never used any social media. She fell off the map and it was amazing. Did something to her soul that was peaceful and healing. In the exploration of herself she found a way of life she wanted to live. She wanted to watch the sun rise, she wanted to walk bare foot among the flowers, to be free and open. It’s a little depressing being back in society, trying to integrate into it again. The smell of pollution and rubbish bags, not the salt of the sea or the crisp air high on a mountain.

The sounds of angry car horns blaring and shouting voices, not birds and animals calling her awake. It’s not all bad though and she had to come back sometime, put the bachelor in music composition she worked so hard for to use. A job is a pressing concern for Monday. Right now she’s enjoying a Saturday of shopping and iced coffee in a busy mall on a cool October day. A bunch of key notes are pounding inside her head, leaving her clenching her Starbucks with the need to find something to write them down before she loses the rhythm. She forces herself to focus so she can get the things she needs and get out of here.

Problem is, shopping is still not something she’s big on, regardless of how much she’s changed since high school. Even still, spending money is fun and fortunately for Beth, she has a lot to spend. Not needing anything most of the time led to her putting money away. Birthday, Easter, Christmas; babysitting. Her parents are religious and therefore they’re more about sharing love and laughter than presents, but as the youngest child and the only one left at one point, Beth knows she was a little bit spoilt. On her eighteenth birthday they presented her with a bank account they opened when she was born.

It was after her decision to go to college and she cried her eyes out when she calculated that the sums would be enough to pay all her living expenses and have some left after. Her actual college tuition was covered by a scholarship from her hard earned straight A grades so even after travelling, she’s now got a net of security until she finds a job. She’s lucky, she knows she is. Most of her friends are paying off their education, working three jobs and struggling. It makes her feel almost guilty suddenly to be stood enjoying herself, eyes flicking from which shop to enter and instead to the frazzled girls behind the counters. Beth’s always been like this. Her Mama calls her emphatic because she feels the world’s emotions.

A blessing and a curse, Bethy.

Shaking the unexpected guilt away, she bins her now finished coffee, suddenly remembering the time. The worst part is she still needs to get home and get ready, not to mention get to Rick and Lori’s on time. Fashionably late maybe? Except she’s always punctual and it’ll grind on her nerves being late. Damn. She hasn’t found the corset she’s been looking for all day. Her plans tonight were to go as an angel but with one half of her costume still eluding her, she’s wondering if her time keeping will survive a costume change. Probably not. So what does she do? Lifting her eyes, she finds her answer.

Ann Summers. She flushes just looking at the store front. She’s gotten bolder, yeah, but only bold enough to browse online on her old, battered laptop. She thinks about turning away, that she’s not brave enough, especially alone, when she sees it. The corset she wants is right there, to the left of the open door. It shows a lot more skin than the one she was originally after and has a lot more sex appeal but of course that’s because it’s lingerie. Oh God, what is she thinking? She can’t go to Rick and Lori’s in that, in front of nineteen year old Carl, the boy she used to babysit! But she really is running out of time.

A glance at the clock in the mall tells her she’s got an hour and forty five minutes. In that strip of time she needs to get home, shower, get dressed and drive over to Rick and Lori’s house. Biting on her lip, she weighs her situation against her morals and promptly chucks her morals out the window. The heat in her cheeks is embarrassing in and on itself as she enters the store, leaving her in a vicious cycle of a hot face. The A/C is on full blast though, which feels amazing on her skin despite the cool winds outside the mall. The short days of October is turning her skin back to its usual pale complexion, though some of her golden tan is hanging on.

When she caught her reflection in the mirror earlier, she noticed how shockingly blonde she had gone while travelling. Just a month prior and the blue of her eyes looked grown, like she had seen things, experienced things. It’s a nice change since she’s always looked several years younger than her real age so she’s a little sad to watch it fade. The moment she’s in the store she grabs the corset and hurries for the counter. She refuses to look at the price tag. Having and spending money doesn’t mean she’s got over her squeamishness towards expensive items. That simple farm girl held on somewhere. Even in her haste to make it to the counter, her eye is caught by a pretty baby blue lace set.

Chewing on her lip, she looks around conspicuously like someone is going to condemn her on the spot for just looking. Other shoppers are looking at far racier things though and this emboldens her to stroke her fingers over the lace edges. I want it, Beth thinks immediately. Refusing to make eye contact with anyone, she rifles through until she finds her size and then turns to ring up her purchases until she’s side tracked. Again. Lube. Different flavours, textures. She’s used lube with guys but never herself and she wonders if it would be better, if her fingers would glide just right.

The thoughts forming in her mind make her flush deeper and she’s painfully aware of time ticking away. Snatching one blindly, she hurtles for the counter and smacks straight into an oncoming chest made up of brick and mortar by the feel of it. Her items go flying and she stumbles, caught only by the large hand catching hers and tugging her. The hold on her hand is painfully tight to ensure she doesn’t fall on her ass and stretches the joints of all her fingers but when she looks up to apologise in a frenzy of embarrassment, she freezes, forgetting about the pain in her hand as it grows numb.

“Beth?” The guy asks curiously.

“Daryl,” she breathes in answer.

Chapter Text

Daryl Dixon.

The man she spent the better part of her teenage years fantasising about, both between the sheets and out of them. Sometimes she would imagine what it would be like to get down and dirty with him and sometimes she would imagine what it was like to just be around him, just hanging out. He’s Rick’s long-time friend and that’s the only reason she met the guy. He was around their house a lot when they were heading out and she was babysitting. Man, he’s still as gorgeous as ever. Daryl’s not one of those drop dead stunning hunks who are perfect and clean cut, who makes women want to fall over themselves getting his picture. Even still, there’s something about him that makes her look twice, that makes her stop.

Beth’s always preferred men who draw her eyes back, men who intrigue her and leave her wanting more, compared to someone who steals her attention for a mere moment. She’s always been drawn to the unknown and she’s more than a little superstitious for it. Daryl is one big unknown full of layers and hidden depths she would love to have the pleasure of exploring. He’s still dark haired and bulky, though he has more corded muscle now. Also, his hair is longer, brushing his chin and there’s threads of grey in his beard. God, it really has been seven years hasn’t it? She almost forgot about the subject of her high school erotic dreams. 

“Hey, d’you drop summat?” Daryl’s voice pops her straight out of her haze, his blue eyes dim in the store.

Beth’s cheeks flame immediately as she looks to the floor and finds her items. Considering she got lube, a pantie set and a corset, she must look like she’s set out for some big date where she plans to end it real damn lucky.

“Er, ye- no. No, I was just… pickin’ those up for a friend!” Beth stammers. “Anyway, Daryl, hey! How have you been? It’s been what? Seven years?” She asks quickly as she bends down and scrabbles for her things.

Daryl watches her with an amused half smile, eyes zeroing in on the lube she tucks against her chest. “Yeah, somethin’ like that. Ain’t seen you since you were a kid, Greene. How you been?”

“I wasn’t a kid,” she says a little too vehemently. “I was seventeen.”

“An’ I was thirty five,” Daryl answers with a tilt of his mouth.

Beth winces internally. “Yeah, I guess you were.”

The longer she looks at him: at his strong cheekbones and firm jaw, the more she remembers how obsessed she used to be with the guy. To run into him now, at nearly twenty four brings back all the fantasies she’s ever had of him and produces whole new ones her seventeen year old self could never have managed. Except in her day dreams she never anticipated the awkward tension of their age difference coming up or the fact that she would be holding lube in her hands. Jesus, why do things like this always happen to her? The silence stretches and she clears her throat, glancing down at the fluffy handcuffs in Daryl’s clasped fist.

She ignores the fact that the light dusting of hair on the back of his hand makes her forehead grow damp. “What you got there?” She indicates the handcuffs with a smile. “I never had you down for a fifty shades kinda guy.”

“You’d be surprised,” he quips.

Beth catches her lower lip between her teeth at the flare of heat in belly. Jesus Christ.

He chuckles at her face. “Naw, these are for tonight. Rick an’ Lori are havin’ this Halloween party an’ they put me up t' findin’ the prize for best dressed.”

The grip on her items tightens as she swallows. “Oh, I guess I’ll see you there then.”

Daryl’s brow raises. “They invite you? Didn’t mention it.”

“Why would they?” She asks in a breathless rush.

Has he been keeping tabs on her? No, that’s ridiculous. But still…

Daryl shrugs. “No reason. Hey, I gotta get movin’. See you there?”

Beth nods a little numbly. “Yeah, see you there.”

He hesitates before he bends and presses a kiss to her cheek. “Nice to see you, Greene. You look good.” 

When he rushes out the store she turns to the counter in a daze, floating on cloud nine.


Floating on cloud nine she is not when she only just manages to make it home by seven thirty. Everything’s a panicked, dazed rush as she jots down her musical musings in an illegible scrawl, showers and gets dressed, before destroying her room with glitter. Putting on the corset was equal parts pleasing and terrifying. Like squeezing herself into a size zero and Beth’s not got much meat on her anyway. The pleasure she got out of it was finally seeing it all in place, accentuating a cleavage she doesn’t really have for one and making her feel a lot closer to her age than her face portrays her to be.

Knowing Daryl’s going to be at the party makes her feel like she’s being provocative, as if she’s decided to show all her skin just for him. It’s far too late for a costume change though, she has absolutely nothing else despite devoting a rushed five minutes to sourcing something. It’s not like she attended many Halloween parties while travelling and her still unpacked suitcase bursts open with shorts and tanks. When she hurries down the stairs she flies past her Mama who raises her eyebrow at Beth’s clothing but says nothing about it. It makes Beth feel a little better that she doesn’t look too outrageous that her Mother has to step in.

The same can’t be said for her Daddy though. “Bethy, are you going to wear a jacket with that?”

In the hallway mirror she quickly takes herself in. White corset moulding to her golden skin and she has to admit the contrasting colours are stunning. Her blonde hair is teased high and falls in curls that she hopes gives her the angelic look she’s going for. Silver glitter paints her lips, collar bones and the dip between her peeking cleavage. White jeans stick to her thighs and she doesn’t check out her ass in them because her Father’s watching, but she did earlier and she knows its firm and round despite her donut addiction, probably because of it, come to think of it.

“Should I?” She asks her Daddy as she begins to re-think her appearance even though she knows it will ruin the whole outfit.

Her Daddy: Hershel Greene is a fine man and she trusts his opinion maybe more than her own Mother’s. His lips open to say something but her Mama interrupts by laying a soft hand on her Daddy’s shoulder. “No honey, you look lovely. Go, have fun. Be careful.”

Beth smiles giddily. "Thanks, Mama an' thanks for lettin' me loan the car," she says as she quickly takes the keys off the rack on the wall. Just before she bounds out of the door, small clutch in hand, she throws over her shoulder, "goodnight!"

Slowed a little by her heels, she manages a slippery run out to the car. Once she’s in she checks her make-up in the rear view mirror one last time before she turns the key and pulls out of the drive.

“Here goes nothin’,” she mutters to herself.

Chapter Text

When Beth pulls into Rick and Lori’s packed street, she has to spare a smile for the décor. She loves Halloween and always marvels at exquisitely designed pumpkins, and the effort people go to with reels of cotton to create faux spider webs. Reaching into the back seat, she grabs the plastic bag she’s kept back there for this very reason. When she gets out the car the night is heavy with the scent of mouth-watering candy apples and the sound of giggling children, leaving her feeling like she’s stepped straight into a fairy tale. Pulling the plastic open, she reaches in for the lace wings and slips them over her shoulders, completing her angel costume. With the plastic disposed of and the car locked behind her, she takes in the scenery.

The stars are twinkling and so are the fairy lights wrapped around the porch deck. Beth gives them another smile as she heads up to the open door, glancing inside at the milling people and bowls of over flowing candy on the sideboard. The air is cold and gives her goose bumps but the amount of bodies inside blanket her with a warmth that heats her instantly.

She’s not more than halfway into the house, gawking at the updated picture frames and glowing lanterns when Carl finds her. “Beth!”

Glancing away from a photograph of a smiling brunette girl that she’s sure is Judith, she finds a towering hunk of muscle and a toothy grin complete with floppy brown hair and his Daddy’s blue eyes. “Oh my God, Carl?

"Hey! Look at you!” She leans in for a hug as he pulls her in and she’s enveloped in such a masculine smell she’s grinning when they pull away. “You look amazin’,” Carl compliments and Beth flushes.

It only just now dawns on her that Carl turned nineteen two months ago and she’s due to turn twenty four in less than three weeks. There’s only a five year age gap, one Carl seems to have accepted as he pins her with keen, interested eyes. She laughs nervously, suddenly conscious of all her bare skin. Damn this corset. Pulling out of his embrace, she cringes a little. Carl is as much like a brother to her as Shawn is, two people she has very great bonds with. She’s always been easier around the guys because a simple life leads to lack of lady etiquette and she’s not exactly the salad and wine kind of girl. To have Carl, the kid she got excited over comic books with hitting on her is a little disturbing.

“You too,” she answers quickly. “But I still see the gawky little kid in there Carl Grimes.”

Carl winces and Beth glances away, her eyes finding Lori. “Oh, look! S’your Mama, let’s say hi!”

Reluctantly, he lets her drag him by the arm to the circle of Lori and her friends. When Beth gets closer she sees a little girl at Lori's side and she breaks into a toothy grin. “Is that little Judy!?”

Lori looks up and beams with lips thinner than Beth remembers. “Beth! You made it!”

“’Course I did!” Beth answers enthusiastically, releasing Carl to hug his Mama. “Lori, you look amazin’!”

“Oh please,” Lori snorts, eyes rimmed with black charcoal playful as she flicks at her hair. “This grey is not part of the costume, honey.”

Beth laughs and glances down at Judith who is pretty in pink, her little eyelids painted a sparkly purple, clearly dressed as a fairy judging by her light up wand and wings. In stark contrast to Lori, who’s dressed as a witch and has the fake mole to sell it.

“Hello, beautiful. Look how big you got!”

Judith giggles nervously, clenching the puffy skirt of her dress. “Hello.”

Lori smiles at her daughter’s timid response. “She doesn’t remember you very well.”

“Aw, that’s okay, you were jus’ a baby when I looked after you,” Beth smiles as she bends at the knees to cluck her under her chin. Judith grins in response. “But now you’re a little beauty, ain’t you?”

“Is that little Miss Beth Greene?” A voice hoots and she stands to look over at Rick approaching her.

“Rick!” She laughs as he drags her into a hug and puts her down with a spinning head. “You’re getting old!” She exclaims as she takes in the grey slowly swallowing his brown hair and beard.

Rick laughs and nudges into her. “Hey, I ain’t retirin’ yet. Can still ‘rrest you.”

“Yes, Sir!” She teases with a salute. “What’re you even dressed as?”

Rick raises an eyebrow and gestures to his police uniform. “A rookie!”

Beth snorts. “That was bad, Grimes. Real bad.”

Carl and Lori chuckle in exact reflection of each other, proving where Carl seems to have got his dirty laugh from. They both accept when Rick offers the beers he's holding.

“Hey now,” Beth interjects, faux indignant. “I believe you’re servin’ a minor alcohol, Mr Grimes and neglectin’ the adults in this situation too.”

Rick laughs, clinking his bottle with Lori. “Don’t tell him, but it’s so he feels tough.”

“Dad!” Carl splutters, nearly choking on his beer.

Lori takes a swig of her own beer before she points it at Beth. “You’re a little hottie, no wonder my boy’s been crabbin’ after you.”

“Mom!” Carl shouts again, face going red at the same time Beth mutters, “oh, come off it,” smothering an embarrassed smile.

“Why’d I even bother comin’ home when you guys keep pickin’ on me?” Carl mutters, throwing daggers at his parents.

“C'mon, Son,” Rick laughs as Lori throws Beth a pointed look, wrapping his arm over Carl’s shoulder. “Your Mother's about to embarrass the crap outta you. Why don’t you go pump Judy fulla candy?”

Judith squeals and takes Carl’s hand. “I wanna candy apple!”

Carl sighs good naturedly, throwing Beth an apologetic look as if he’s ditching her before he leaves with Judith.

Beth looks back at Lori after watching them leave. “Still as mean as I remember.”

Lori snorts, nudging her in the ribs. “I do like makin' Carl flustered but, truly, you look great, Beth. Travellin’ did you a world of good, huh?” She smiles.

Beth nods, a little dazed as she remembers the quiet mornings, the beautiful sights. “Yeah, it really did.”

The group gets a little quiet and Beth looks up at the new member. Daryl has joined them and a smirk of amusement settles on her face when she sees he’s dressed as a demon. Red pants with a fake tail mould his thick thighs and a tank covered in fake blood stretches over his biceps, so thin it teases at a tattoo on his peck. A headband of horns are nestled in his wild hair and his hand is wrapped around a beer bottle. Beth’s eyes catch with his and she feels the connection of his blue pools like a spark through the bloodstream.

She barely manages to nod her head to the beer as she asks, “Where can I get one’a those? These terrible hosts have been neglectin’ me.”

Daryl smiles with sparkling blue eyes that take her breath away, especially when those eyes roam over her corset and tight jeans. Beth swallows nervously, her palms growing damper the longer he so obviously checks her out.

After a moment, he tips his head to the kitchen and when his eyes catch hers she feels them cut straight through her. “Follow me.”

She catches Lori’s amused glance at Rick before she turns to follow him, her eyes locked onto the sway of his fake tail and the ripple of muscles in his back. When they reach the kitchen he doesn’t go for the cans on the side but pushes through the mass of bodies to the refrigerator, pulling out a bottle the same as his.

Beth smiles in thanks as he cracks it and passes it over. “S’colder,” Daryl explains.

She laughs and takes a sip, sighing in satisfaction at the smooth, cool liquid in the mass body heat of the room. “Thank you.”

He dips his head, eyes sparkling even more under the kitchen lights and maybe with a little bit of alcoholic influence too. “No problem.” After his own swig he nods his head back where they came. “Crushed the boy’s heart out there.”

Beth laughs in disbelief, nearly spilling her beer down herself. “You heard that? I didn’t see you hangin’ ‘round.”

“I’m good at stayin’ hidden,” he smirks.

As Beth observes him, nestled into the corner between the fridge and the wall, she’s inclined to agree with him. The fridge is still positioned in the far side of the kitchen alcove all these years later, separated by the breakfast bar and it feels like just the two of them here. The back door is open behind her but even the chatter is slightly muted.

"So you were spyin’ on me?” She teases with her lips at the neck of the bottle.

Daryl shrugs good naturedly. “Jus’ checkin’ out your costume.” When she raises her brow he laughs. “Y’know, for the competition. Gotta pick a winner.”

“I see,” Beth says mock seriously with a stern face. “Strictly business.”

“Well,” Daryl murmurs before he takes a swig. “Might’a been a littl’ personal.”

Her skin flares hot and suddenly she remembers how much of it is bare and on display. She raises the beer bottle to her lips again, hiding a smile. “An’ how’d your girlfriend feel ‘bout that?”

“Don’t have one,” he answers with bright, enigmatic eyes.

“Ah, shame.”

Yeah, right.

“Yeah, you look real torn up ‘bout it,” he answers with a half smile.

The excitement that Daryl Dixon is flirting with her makes her feel a little more drunk than just her three prior swigs of beer could handle. In her wildest dreams she never thought he would take a second look at her. Well, quite honestly he did a lot more than that in her wildest dreams… Beth rubs her lips together nervously, sprinkling glitter over herself and it leads her to notice it on the lip of her beer bottle. An image flashes through her mind of glitter in a sticky ring around the base of Daryl’s cock. It develops like a film reel, flashes of tantalising picture that leaves the back of her neck damp.

Her down on her knees. His hand in her hair. Pulling. Thrusting. Coming. She coughs out of nowhere, her throat closing as she chokes on air. Daryl pushes off from the wall as if to help her but she gulps down a quarter of beer and rides through it. Wow, real sexy Beth. When her throat stops spasming, she pulls the bottle away from her slick mouth to smile shakily.

“You good?” Daryl smiles softly although his eyes are laughing.

Beth does laugh, mostly in embarrassment as she coughs once more for good measure. “Yeah, sorry, real gross.”

“Ain’t nothin’ grosser than Rick an’ Lori neckin’ on each other when they’re drunk. Horny fuckers.”

Beth barks a surprised laugh as she follows his gaze through to the open arch way where the couple are kissing heatedly. Not two seconds later they break apart, Lori giggling as Rick grabs her hand and drags her away.

Beth shudders a little. “Least they’re gettin’ some, right?”

“You ain’t gettin’ none?” Daryl breathes in her ear.

A gasp catches in her throat. He must have silently eased up behind her and now she can feel all his hulking muscle against her back. His hot breath keeps ghosting her neck, her nipples tightening painfully and rapidly under her corset.

She clears her throat. “S’none of your business, I don’t think.”

Daryl breathes softly before he pulls away. “M’jus messin’, didn’t mean to upset you, Greene.”

When she glances over her shoulder at him he’s got a playful expression but bright eyes and they tell her he doesn’t want to come on aggressively. Though she feels a pull to him that makes her want to stand and flirt with him all night.

Music starts up behind her and she licks her lips at the tangy, lust filled air. “Come dance with me.”

Chapter Text

The music that was playing before was a sound track of squeaking floorboards and howling ghouls. Now as kids start to head upstairs, the lights get dimmer and the music more suggestive. Lori and Rick are still missing and Beth shares a smile with Daryl as she drags him in to the living room. He grins back at her, his eyes wicked in the darkness and teeth obscenely white. Beth’s heart is rabbiting out of her chest as she contemplates her next move. She knew she wanted to be pressed against him and she took charge on that action but now she’s floundering a little.

Daryl takes up the dropped baton of her confidence and guides her, his large hands swallowing her hips as he turns her so that her back is to his chest. Beth’s eyes flicker around wildly, wondering if anyone feels that they’re doing something wrong, him being so much older than her. There are no questioning glances their way though and she settles into his body, folds into all his hard edges, his hand tucking her costume wings to the side so they don’t poke him in the face. His chest is broad and spans the width of her shoulders, swallowing her up so tightly into him she shudders. The song is one she doesn’t know but has a sexy edge to it.

Couples all around her are swaying their hips and grinding their asses, hair and inhibitions loose now that all their kids are out of their sight. She dismisses distant and loose thoughts when Daryl’s fingers drag her hips back into his. Beth’s breath catches in her throat and she raises her arm to loop around his neck, her eager fingers burying in his wild hair.

Daryl hums and it vibrates against her cheek. “You’re a tease, Greene.”

“Oh?” She smiles into the darkness as she swirls her hips. “Why’s that?”

That same giddy, almost hysteric excitement bubbles in her stomach again that this is Daryl. When does someones crush ever just bloom into their life? When does anyone get that kind of exhilarating feeling of butterflies in their stomach? Knowing that the person who they devoted hours of thought to is actually interested? It’s maddening and intoxicating, floating her in a haze of flirtatious happiness.

“Y’know,” he rumbles against her throat where his prickly mouth brushes her skin.

“‘Fraid I don’t,” she teases. “You’re gonna have to enlighten me.”

He releases a rich, throaty chuckle that feels like warm oil trickling all over her shoulder and she rolls her hips into her full body shudder. Daryl’s laugh becomes a groan as her ass connects with his groin and the whole atmosphere changes. With the dizzying excitement comes the sharp tang of lust, blossoming on her skin and on his breath, tickling her ear and stirring her hair. Her nipples tighten under the corset and Daryl’s rough hands drag over her fabric covered belly, his fingers teasing at the hooks that just barely contain her.

Beth’s breathing picks up and Daryl’s does too, bursting hot and fast against her throat when he whispers, “Cause’a that.

Her teeth sink down into her bottom lip and her eyes flutter, unable to bear catching anyone’s gaze and have them knowing what’s happening between her legs right now. No man has ever plucked so harshly at the strings of lust in her pussy and Daryl’s just playing them like a fucking guitar. The room is so hot her hair is sticking to her skin and on her next hip roll she sucks in a shaking breath. Daryl’s fingers are digging into her hip, slipping into the tiny gap between her corset and jeans. Where her flesh meets his she’s unbearably sensitive and she just wants to roll on her back like a dog and let him stoke his hand all down her skin.

She still hasn’t worked out anything to say and instead she turns her head into his shoulder, trapping his face against her throat. The scent of him is dizzyingly erotic, something completely new she’s never found before. Outdoors and leather, smoke and furs. He’s like the comfort of a cabin in the soft lull of the woods. All she wants to do as she greedily inhales his scent is curl up under heavy blankets naked and frolic on butter soft sheets. Her mind is still spinning with fantasies and they’re more than heightened when Daryl’s lips part to breathe through her hair. The wet moisture of his mouth is the most erotic thing she’s ever experienced.

Daryl’s hands grow tighter and when he thrusts against her ass the moan she’s been holding bursts forth, riding past her lips like a freight train. He growls and tears his body away from hers. Before Beth can even gasp in surprise, he takes her hand and begins to drag her away. “Come with me.” 

“Hey! Where you off to?” Rick asks as he comes swanning back in with Lori.

Beth’s already hot face flushes deeper and she squeezes Daryl’s hand. “Jus’ outside for some air.”

“That’s gonna have to wait ‘cause we gotta give best dressed out. Daryl, you pick someone?” Lori asks with keen eyes on their clasped hands.

Beth smiles softly and slowly releases Daryl’s hand. Looks like they’re not making it outside or wherever the hell they were heading. Jesus, she’s acting like a horny teenager again.

“Right,” Daryl laughs, his cheeks hot like hers but voice firm like he’s brushing it off. “Lemme erm,” he clears his hoarse throat and then continues, “grab our beers. Left ‘em in the kitchen.”

He hurries past and Rick follows, leaving Beth with Lori’s knowing eyes. “You an’ Daryl…”

“No!” She says quickly.

Lori’s smile stretches, her hands raising in mock surrender. “Hey ain’t none’a my business what you guys get up to.”

Beth shuffles nervously on her feet. “Really?”

The other woman laughs and pulls her in with her arm around Beth’s shoulders. “Let me guess, you’re thinkin’ you shouldn’t hook up with a guy twice your age?”

A nervous flush swallows her whole. “We weren’t gonna-” At Lori’s raised eyebrow Beth rolls her eyes. “Okay, maybe a little.”

The smile on the older woman’s face twitches into a smirk. “You always did have a thing for him.”

Horror grips her so deftly she sways on her feet. “I was that obvious?”

Lori’s smile becomes a full on laugh and suddenly Rick and Daryl are back. “What’s so funny?” Rick asks.

Daryl offers her back her discarded beer and she takes it quickly, gulping it down as Lori answers, “Beth thought she wasn’t obvious.”

Rick snorts and Daryl frowns. “M’I missin’ summat?”

“Nothin’!” Beth splutters past her beer. “Go! Announce the winner!”

When he’s been successfully shoved away despite his suspicious glance back at her, one where their eyes connect and that heat sets her on fire again, she glares at Rick and Lori. “We’ll talk later you pair.”

“Yes Ma’am,” Rick snickers around a gulp of beer.

Beth smacks him but she barely hears him because she’s too enraptured by Daryl’s promising smirk and then his tight ass walking away from her.

Chapter Text

As Daryl presses through the mass of bodies to the front of the living room, Rick hits the lights so that they all flick on. The voices quiet and Daryl smiles almost apologetically. “Hey y’all, jus’ wanted t’ call out winna of th’ bes’ dressed competition.” 

There’s excited murmurs and swapped guesses as to who’s going to win but Beth is too lost in Daryl’s appearance to really listen to it. He’s gorgeous, putting it simply. Rough around the edges and all sorts of mysterious that makes her hot around the collar. Such powerful blue eyes, even from how far back she’s stood. Considering the years he’s got on her, his body is deliciously in shape. Broad chest and shoulders, large hands and thick thighs. He makes her think of all kinds of dirty, naughty things that she wouldn’t dare try with someone a little bit slimmer, a little bit shorter. He just has this air of a man who knows what he’s doing, who knows how a woman wants it.

That appeals to Beth and she’s not too certain why. She’s never had a particular type when it comes to men. She’s always been more mindful of souls, of personality and who she connects with. It worked very well for her on her travels, coming across people of different backgrounds, shapes and sizes. Now she’s been plopped back into the middle of civilisation and her usual small town setting, it feels like she should have a type. She doesn’t but whatever it is she finds attractive, Daryl Dixon is ticking all the boxes. The chemistry with him is… wow, something unreal, something she’s never experienced before.

Than in itself is intoxicating. She’s always looking for an adventure, an experience; a story to tell. Daryl looks at her with a twitching beard threaded with grey and eyes the colour of her favourite pond back on the farm, and she’s promised an experience she’ll never forget. A standing moment in time crafted just for her.

Lost in his eyes, it’s a while before she realises the whole room is looking at her. She flushes under their scrutiny, wondering if they heard her thoughts when Lori nudges her and she stumbles forward. “Tha’s you, Beth.” 

“Huh?” She asks in a daze, stepping even further forward until Daryl can take her hand.

“Congratulations, you want your prize now?” Daryl grins before he swigs his beer.

There’s a light smattering of applause for her as Daryl turns to the drawer behind him at her nod. When he turns back to face her, he passes along the handcuffs she saw him with earlier today in the mall.

Flushing at the memory, she laughs nervously at him and then the others in the room. “Thanks, but I think there’s better costumes in here than me,” she mumbles.

Rick steps forward with a smirk. “You’re right, Beth. I mean, Daryl is rockin’ that tail an’ since he’s the other half to your costume, it should be a joint present.”

Not understanding where this is going, she mutters, “joint present?”

Rick takes the open handcuff and flicks it on her wrist. She gasps, not having enough time to pull away before he takes Daryl’s free hand and clicks both sides into place. 

“Rick Grimes, you lemme outta these things right now!” She demands when she realises how squashed together her and Daryl are. 

Rick laughs and raises his hands in mock surrender. “No can do. Daryl’s got the keys.”

When Daryl laughs at this Beth turns the full force of her glare on him. “You in on this then?”

“Naw,” he replies with another swig of his beer. “But I can’t complain’ ‘bout gettin’ closer to you, Greene,” he finishes in a whisper she’s sure only she can hear.

The comment reminds her of not ten minutes ago when they were dancing, her ass pressed into his rising cock and all the heart pounding excitement that flooded her system. That same excitement lifts her chest with the breath that escapes her and she doesn’t miss Daryl’s smirk, even if he does try to hide it behind the lip of his bottle.

“Our winners everybody!” Lori suddenly calls, wrapping her arm around Beth’s shoulders and presenting them as a pair.

Beth laughs, lifting hers and Daryl’s joined wrists and the hand holding her beer, just for the sake of it. There’s some cat calls and she flushes even more, the heat riding up the back of her neck. Turning to Daryl, she cocks her head to the kitchen, “wanna get some air?”

“Sure,” he responds and good naturedly follows after her as she begins to pick her way out of the living room and through to the kitchen.

From the kitchen they exit into the garden which is empty now because of the prize reveal. They struggle to manoeuvre themselves through the one open door and Beth has to step down first for Daryl to follow.

He laughs when she huffs and she narrows her eyes at him again.  “Y’know, you don’t need handcuffs to get me close to you,” she whispers, on the edge of flirtation.

Daryl’s eyes are bright and playful as he flicks a little piece on the side of his handcuff and it pops open. “Oh no?”

Beth gapes and looks down at the handcuff now dangling off her wrist. “Doesn’t even have keys. M’gonna kill Rick,” she mutters as she takes the cuff off and stuffs them in her clutch.

Snorting, Daryl reaches into his back pocket as he puts his empty beer bottle down on the edge of the table. She follows suit, laying her clutch down next to it. “You smoke?”

She shakes her head before she finishes off her own beer, watching curiously as he produces a pack of cigarettes. When he flips the top there’s a lighter nestled in there with three loose white sticks of death, one of which he plucks with his thumb and finger. In the light she can make out how clean his fingernails are.

It prompts her to ask, “So, what’d you do? Work wise?”

He flicks her an amused glance as he slides the cigarette between his lightly parted lips and puts the pack on the table. “What’d you think I do?”

Beth shrugs, watching as he cups the side with one hand and uses the other to light the end of the stick. It glows cherry red when he glances up at her. “No idea. S’why I asked.”

“Well, what’d you do?” He rumbles on a cloud of smoke.

“I don’t,” she answers automatically. “I mean, I don’t do anythin’ right now. Y’know I just got back into town.” 

“Are you lookin’ for somethin’?” His voice seems genuinely interested and it ropes her into continuing to speak.

“Yeah, I mean, I got a bachelor in music, so I wanna put that to use." She smiles loosely at him when he whistles under his breath, a little sense of pride bubbling in her as she begins tearing at the sticker on her bottle. “I wanna write scores but just lookin’ for somethin' to fill out my resume for now. Anyway, I told you mine.” She looks at him pointedly.

He dips his chin in acknowledgement. “M'jus workin' construction. Long hours. Cold as fuck or hot as fuck, early mornin's, s'jus work. Pays the bills."

Beth nods, still peeling her bottle label at the corners. “I'm still kinda settlin’ in again, hopefully get used to everyday life while I look for a job. I really liked travellin, miss it a bit.”

“Travellin’ liked you,” Daryl comments after a drag on his rapidly shrinking cigarette.

Beth tips her brow and smiles in confusion. “What’s that mean?”

“You’re kinda a whole new person. Girl I knew was quiet, shy. Woman I met today is shoppin’ in Ann Summers an’ rockin’ up with sinful skin in a damn corset.”

Beth is speechless, her sticky lips peeling apart as her fingers still against the glass bottle in her hand. Daryl stares at her hard, cigarette clenched between his teeth as his eyes roam her heaving chest.

Goose bumps pebble on her arms and she finally manages to whisper, “that why you’re interested in me now. Not before?”

He frowns and asks, “What’d you mean?”

She laughs lightly. “You knew I had a crush on you, right? Rick an’ Lori told you?” She gathered they had, if she was obvious as they accused.

He takes a drag on his cigarette and then clutches it between his fingers again, his eyes pinned to hers and carrying a sparkling edge of interest. “They ain’t never told me nothin’.”

Beth blushes with startled embarrassment. “Oh.”

After a pause he laughs and she goes back to picking the sticky residue of her beer bottle label, littering bits on the garden floor. “You had a crush on me?”

Sighing, she places the bottle down and slides one hand into her hair nervously. “Well, yeah. You were just…”

At her floundering Daryl takes a hearty drag. “What?”

“I dunno,” she breathes in a rush as her mind spins. “This big, strong man an’ I used to see you playin’ with Judith an’ rough housin’ with Carl an’ I just thought…” she pauses, pulling on the hair at the nape of her neck, beneath her curls. “I just thought you were the whole package.”

Daryl finishes the cigarette and drops it into his beer bottle where it sizzles. “An’ now what?” He asks, his eyes hot and keen in the dark. “You still think I’m the whole package?”

He advances on her and she angles herself backwards, knocking into the side of the house, breathless from the brick wall and him coming closer. “I-I dunno, I’ve barely seen you ‘nough yet to k-”

Beth falters at the way he bends his neck to her, his breath on her lips and face so close, excitement pounding through her and her legs weak with want. His whole body is curved into hers, legs pressed together and hips too. She’s shorter than him, head coming to his collar bones and it sends a thrill through her. Maybe tall guys are her type or maybe everything about Daryl Dixon is her type. From his piercing eyes to his bulging bicep as he stretches a hand above her head on the wall, her eyes focused on his mouth.

“How’re you feelin’ right now, Greene? Here, with me?” He asks with a voice full of grit and dark, hot need.

Beth swallows shakily, a heartbeat between her thighs. “You make me feel hot. Bothered. Needy.” The minute she speaks she blushes and just because she realises it in that second she adds, “You make me feel bold.”

The smile that graces his mouth is beautiful and takes her breath away, as does said mouth pressing against hers. His breath is a butterfly soft whisper against her lips, “you make me feel bold too, Greene.”

Chapter Text

When Daryl’s mouth presses to hers its hot and hard, lips scalding. Beth moans instantly, all his heat enveloping her body, protecting her from the soft winds at the front, and her wings scantily protecting her at the back. His hand reaches up to cup her jaw, his fingers so wide on her skin she feels like he could just wrap her up and put her in his pocket. His other hand is on her hip, digging into the space between her corset and jeans so he can touch her bare waist, burning her there too. They pull away for air and Beth takes the moment to press her fingers into his bottom lip, lean up and lick into his mouth because the taste of him is a whirlwind.

He groans and reaches down to squeeze her ass cheeks, dragging her up so their hips bump and grind, his hardness pressing into her. “This okay?”

Beth chokes against his mouth, nodding and delirious at the thought of him being so excited by her. Her tongue digs in to his mouth again and slides against his as she rolls her hips hard and slow. He mumbles something against her cheek but she can’t hear anything except white noise when his mouth finds her pulse. Lips peeled back, his teeth rake against her throat, tearing into her thundering pulse and then soothing it with his tongue. He stays there for a moment, moaning lowly every time the shock wave of her pulse booms against his taste buds. She wriggles desperately, her skin burning white hot and itching with desire, her jeans damp with sweat and need. Hands on his shoulders, they tug and twist at his wife beater, moving down and around to push it up his stomach.

Now she can touch his bare skin and ride them up to his pecks, digging her nails in like talons and scratching deep. Daryl groans again and bends his neck to find the tops of her breasts, driving her head back with the width of his own. He presses big, wet kisses to her flesh and then sucks it up into blissful bites with an edge of pain. Beth’s fingernails run back up to, and hook into his shoulders, her head lolling as her fake lashes flicker, turning the stars on and off. They’re flush against each other, bones aching with the strain. With all their excited kisses, she’s strained herself forward, but now he slams her back into the brick wall again, forcing the air from her lungs violently.

“God,” he spits against her skin, his mouth trailing up to her shoulder to bite and suckle. “God, you taste so fuckin’ good.”

Light blooms like popped paint balloons against the backs of her eyelids, sapphire and sharp. Her head thumps back against the wall, rocking with the music that flares back to roaring life in the living room. Conversation and light washes over her as people move into the kitchen, and she whimpers when her brain makes her pay attention.

“Daryl, people are comin’,” she mumbles with a thick tongue.

“I want you to come,” he growls back, directly in her ear. “In my mouth.”

Jesus,” she hisses brokenly, her cunt throbbing as much as her head.

His hands squeeze in the boned edge of her corset, pulling violently so her body jerks against the bricks. “Can I take this off?”

“Here?” She squeaks, glancing wildly around the dark garden. “We’re in public.”

“I know. Shit, sorry,” he pulls back and glances at her, his eyes wild and shrunken.

Desire throbs through every single part of her, heart rabbiting wildly. She’s officially lost to it because she whispers, “take it off.”

He stares for a moment, licking his lips as he seizes the material again. When the clasps don’t give he takes either side or the fabric and yanks. It splits and tears, the metal clasps screaming in protest and breaking, pinging against the concrete like gun shots.

“Daryl!” Beth gasps with eyes wide in shock, trailing the torn fabric and her newly bared skin. “I only just brought it...” she mutters without any real heat, her back protected from the cold house bricks by her costume wings.

He presses his face against her throat eagerly, nuzzling like he can’t get enough of her. “You got good taste. Can’t wait to see the rest of your collection.”

“Ain’t got a collection,” she breathes, angling her head so he can press his lips harder. Thinking of the one new piece she brought today, she then realises she should have answered with, who says you get to see my collection?

“We’ll fix that. Go shoppin’,” he mutters as he bends to her bare breasts and takes a nipple in his mouth.

Beth can’t even cry out the pleasure is so stark and the thought of Daryl picking out pantie sets with her, going into the changing rooms to try them on, sneaking into the same cubicle, letting him see… it has her biting her bottom lip and squeezing her eyes shut.

“Fuck!”

A rough hand reaches upwards, chasing her collar bones, riding her throat and then finding her mouth, cutting off her ragged panting as it gets louder. His mouth leaves the bud he was sucking, stinging and swollen in the cool night air. It’s still damp with Daryl’s saliva and there’s a trail from one breast to the other. Leaving one bud and eagerly descending upon the second one, he sucks greedily there too, teeth nipping and tugging until her hips jerk sharply into his. He groans, the vibration threading through her veins before he straightens up and tugs at the waist band of her jeans. The rough, tattered knuckles of his hand brush against her bare belly and she shudders.

Daryl notices and smiles crookedly, trailing them further down to the top of her mound, nuzzling her jeans open. “Can I?”

She pants into the palm of his hand, her eyes drooped with lust as she churns her hips for his touch, answering with her body. Her panties are thin and soaked, moulding to her with stickiness and something flickers in his gaze when he finds them.

“That all for me?” He whispers with a voice of sin.

Beth’s eyelashes flutter as she nods weakly, her body surrendered to him completely as he continues to nuzzle. His knuckles press into her clit and her knees jerk, a whimper escaping between the gaps in his fingers.

Daryl groans softly and pushes aside her slick panties to find her soaked slit. “Tell me what you like,” he whispers with heat. “Teach me how to touch you.”

Beth’s so astounded for a second all she can do is look at him. A feverish brightness sparks in his pupils as they blow wide open like two drops of spilt ink on white parchment. Splotches of colour like the ones in her face and splashed across her chest fill into his cheekbones, seizing the half mad look and bringing it to life.

When he moves his hand from her mouth, resting it on her jaw, she takes the opportunity to try and speak, but doesn’t do it very well. “I-I,” she stutters for a moment. “I like, er-"

“S’okay, girl, you can ask. You can always ask.”

Beth flushes, keening desperately when his fingers unfurl in the tight confides of her panties. There’s no space for them and the rough pads of his fingers dig into her clit. Her knees are shaking uncontrollably now, no longer periodic spasms but full out shudders. Changing his angle, he slants down and his fingers glide in her wetness deliciously slow, pressing right to the bottom where she’s leaking juices.

“This what you want, huh?” He murmurs to help her out probably, his eyes focused and his hand intent.

Nodding desperately, she can’t believe she’s doing this with Daryl Dixon, against the side of Rick and Lori's house. Jesus. “Right there. Please.

Beth rolls her hips to make room and spreads her legs as much as she can with his knees pressing into them. Just with that small adjustment Daryl’s fingers catch and she screeches so loud he quickly puts his hand back on her mouth, cutting her air completely as his last two fingers smother her nose.

“M’not hurtin’ y’, am I?” His voice ghosts on the wind and she shakes her head quickly, eyes wide and body pulsing.

He smiles as he parts her damp walls like a hot knife through butter and she melts just as easily, her eyes rolling in her skull as he stretches her deliciously with his thick fingers. He falls into her with a groan, his cock rock hard where it presses into her thigh. Beth searches blindly and finds it, palming him light and slow like how he’s stretching her.

Rolling his hips into her touch, his breathing is ragged and ruined in her ear. “Jesus. ‘Magine if’tha was my cock inside you.”

Her cunt clamps down on his next thrust and he laughs deep and low, her hand slack with delirium now. Daryl’s fingers press deeper and then faster, retreating and thrusting, driving into her with a single minded purpose. Beth trembles and sobs, her walls pulling in tighter and tighter, her stomach a nest of snakes and sweat swelling upon her skin. The band snaps and she lets out a string of mumbled words, feverish with her orgasm as it swells and breaks, gushing hot over Daryl’s fingers and soaking her panties further still. She falls slack upon the wall and is more than grateful when Daryl catches her with his hands on her hips, her corset falling with a thump to the floor and baring her upper half completely.

In the light from the kitchen window, where music and voices are still spilling out, she can see glitter smeared across his lips and she laughs. He laughs back at her even if he doesn’t know the joke, swept up in the high they’ve created as much as her. Taking a deep breath, Beth reaches up and wipes it away with her thumb.

He lets her clean him up before he pulls away and picks up her fallen corset, reaching to take her hand at the same time. “Come on.”

“I can’t go anywhere, Daryl, I’m topless,” she whispers with more calm than being topless should have any right to have.

“I got my jacket. Just hold that ‘gainst your chest and stay behind me,” he instructs as he pops open the back gate and disappears into the darkness.

Beth does as she’s told but dashes back to grab her clutch before following him. By the time she meets him in the corpse of trees lining Rick and Lori’s drive, Daryl’s already got his jacket. It’s supple leather and too big for her but it’s warm when she takes her wings off her shoulders and puts it on over her jeans, zips it up and folds it over herself.

Daryl takes the corset and the wings from her clasp, throwing both items into the open car door. When he shuts it, locks it and turns back to Beth with a wolfish grin, he sees her raised eyebrow. “I wanna memento. I didn’ ask, but... d’you wanna come back to mine?”

She laughs and lets him take her hand. “Think that’s pretty obvious. Lead the way Mr Dixon.”

“Okay,” he rumbles quietly. “Had a drink so we’re walkin’. Ain’t far though.”

Nodding, she presses herself closer to his side. “Best get started then.”

Chapter Text

The walk back to Daryl’s place is silent but perfumed with sex and want. The tension is so breathless that Beth’s fingers keep clenching around his. Innocent as it is, when he squeezes back it burns in her belly like he’s licked a line straight through her slit. She wants him. She’s always wanted him, from an innocent crush to adult need and desire. She can’t lie and pretend she’s thought after him consistently, mooned after him so to speak, but he’s popped up in her thoughts now and then, at one point or another. Now it’s actually happening and she feels like she’s walked into a dream.

Into a fantasy she's made up for herself, stumbling after him in only his jacket and her jeans, all her bare skin covered beneath. The fabric smells like Daryl and it’s so big the collar curves across her cheekbones, her nose buried in the smell of him. Something that speaks of woods in the quiet of dusk and leather cracked from years of wear and tear. It smells heady and intoxicating like everything about him wrapped around her shoulders. They arrive upon his house in a sudden motion that leaves her head rocking. She can scarcely remember the walk here, just the excitement and the hand squeezes.

It’s a modest little grove full of trees and thick bushes, the night air alive with the ding dong of trick or treaters ringing on stranger’s door bells for candy. Beth hopes no one will come calling because she plans to be too indisposed to get the door and Daryl really doesn’t look like the kind of guy who stocks candy. He pats his pant pockets for his keys, releasing her hand in the process but his empty pockets thud dully. She panics for a moment but then he reaches over to her and pats at his jacket pocket. She blushes when his hand brushes against the underside of her breast. He glances up at her with a small smile that tells her he knows exactly what he’s doing.

She cocks her brow at him as he finds his keys and turns to the door. The sound of his key sliding into the lock is like a gunshot through the air. It sends her heart racing and her blood pumps hot and fast around her body. The door creaks open at his soft push and it's dark inside but he steps in first and flicks the light. It smells completely like Daryl the minute she crosses the threshold. Like trees and grass and sun. Outdoors. Freedom. Together they make their way inside and Beth shuts the door so she can follow him. The door opens straight into the living room with the stairs curling off to the right hand side. Her eyes glance there and then up into the mysterious, hidden upstairs.

Daryl drops his keys in the bowl on the coffee table and then takes a step into the open plan kitchen. “You wanna beer?”

“Nah, thanks,” she declines politely, sliding off her heels and bending to arrange them neatly, throwing her clutch beside them.

She smiles as she turns back to him and finds him watching her with heated eyes. Allowing it a little longer, she takes her time looking around. There’s no pictures in here of him and family. No faces or memories like her parents’ house have. There’s some artistic pieces, things she didn’t expect from him and yet don’t surprise her. The walls are bare and beige all around apart from the one wall covered in his choice art. She would love to get her hands on these walls and her paints. Painting has always been a hobby of hers and she can think of a thousand things to paint on these blank canvases, things she thinks Daryl might even like.

When she’s done with her inspection, trailing her hand over the black leather L suite, she turns back to face him. He’s still watching her, leaning against the breakfast bar and sipping on his beer. Beth approaches him silently, watching his pupils shrink with each step that carries her nearer. Standing right before him, she leans in as if she means to kiss him. Daryl’s eyes fall to her glittering lips hungrily. Successfully distracted, Beth steals his beer right out of his hand and takes a gulp while he gapes at her.

Pulling her lips away, she hands it back and hops onto the counter above him with a grin. “Thanks.”

“Minx,” he growls under his breath with simmering heat, pointedly placing his beer bottle on the counter at her hip.

Beth’s heart flutters, the grin sticking to her face as he stands and slides between her legs, his palms running up from her knees to her thighs. She bites her lip as her skin tingles with a breath taking rush, her hands reaching out to touch his firm chest and rub his thick biceps. Daryl growls and loops his arm around her waist, dragging her across the counter. Jeans squeaking with a sound of protest, she laughs with arousal and happiness, her fingers clutching at his elbows and her thumbs smoothing over the pulse point in the crook. He smiles at her crookedly before he takes her mouth. She moans into the kiss, her hands riding his chest again to grip one shoulder and his hair.

His own hands make themselves busy, one sliding up under his jacket hanging off her frame and the other one curving around her thigh, bringing it up around his waist. Beth grinds against him breathlessly, his tongue tangling with hers. Between her legs is a riot of sparks, excitement plucking like guitar strings through her veins. If she listens hard enough she can hear a beat in it, a unique rhythm created by what he does to her body. Music is her life and she hears it in everything she does, feels and sees it deep in her heart. The chorus of their song builds in her gut and flows between her legs like a hand sliding against piano keys.

Each one plucking at her arousal and driving her from one key note to the next. It’s the high note she wants to hear, the crescendo she wants to feel in her bloodstream. She growls with frustration, that one note eluding her and her body reaching for it. Her fingernails dig into the back of Daryl’s neck and drive his head down to her throat. He attacks the skin there, rocking her head back so hard her eyes fly closed as a cry escapes her throat. Everywhere his mouth touches leaves tingles, goose bumps awakening all down her left side where his lips are. His teeth follow his tongue and he teases at a bite, lightly testing the strength of her skin before it splits.

Her eyes are rolling in her head but she still fumbles for the zipper of his jacket that she’s wearing. Daryl’s house is boiling hot and with the addition of his hands and mouth all over her, the whole network of her skin is burning. When she locates the tiny piece of metal she yanks it with all the force she can, riding the metal teeth all the way down. The two pieces of leather fall apart and land with a slap on the counter. The thing was so big on her it just slides right off, pooling at her wrists. Daryl pulls back to look, his eyes so wild they’re almost frightening in their intensity.

She's never been looked at like this, never been wanted like this and it’s nearly overwhelming, that and how much older he is than her. Except none of that matters when he dives towards her collar bones, ravishing them with kisses as he trails further down. Her spine bows under his attack and she’s helpless but to fall back with it onto her elbows when he takes her nipple in his mouth. Head flopping back, she groans to the ceiling, grateful for even the small protection his jacket provides to her elbows, wiggling it off her wrists.

He pulls away only for a moment to glance up at her. “This turn you on?”

Beth nods vigorously, too embarrassed to make the words. God, yes. An’ I love that you keep asking me what I like.  Her thighs are still riding high on his hips and his cock is rock hard between her legs. She rolls her hips against him desperately, riding with the pleasure he’s evoking with his mouth. When he’s soaked one nipple and left it swollen, he moves right on to the other one. Beth presses into this one, filling his mouth with her small breast. The heat encasing all her sensitive flesh makes her breath hitch. He growls against her skin and thrusts between her legs, leaving her spinning with the stars on the back of her eyelids. God he really wants her. It’s such an intoxicating feeling, just as good or if not better than an orgasm because it doesn't end.

“Daryl,” she whispers, just for something to express the sensations in her body.

He releases her nipple with a wet pop and lays his cheek against her sternum, cupping her breast. “Mmm. I like that you got sensitive ones.”

She laughs softly. “Ain’t never been sensitive before. Think s'that beard you got.”

He rubs at it absently with his free hand before he turns mischievous eyes up at her. “Wonder where else's gonna be sensitive ‘en.”

“Daryl...” She mumbles warningly.

Beth,” he mocks playfully back at her as his prickly jaw begins to drag down her ribs.

The laugh that bursts out of her at his playfulness distracts her for the moment but it isn’t long before his prickles runs over her soft belly. Her breath hitches in her throat, her head rocking on her neck to watch as his hand trails down her hip at the same time, stroking along her waist line. She twitches as all his touches border on ticklish, her mouth dry as a bone. Excitement steals her voice and she can only watch as adrenaline shoots through her veins. His thumb finds her jean button and pops it like it’s nothing, like it’s not the only sound ringing in her ears now.

When he folds the denim back she sucks in a breath harshly between her teeth, so glad she wore a nice pair of panties out tonight. He finds those panties when he hooks his thumb past them and tugs at the front. His strength alone tears them down her thighs lightning fast until they and her jeans catch under her ass cheeks. Beth jolts at the motion before she cants her hips up to the ceiling and helps him clear them down her legs. At her ankles he pulls at them once more, leaving her without a stitch of clothing on. The thought of it makes her shiver even though she’s far from cold.

Especially when he stands up and looks at her. Really looks at her. Eyes hungry and cock a hard tent in his jeans. His chest is heaving like he’s barely containing his need and her eyes devour it all, taking in his chest and shoulders, his muscles, God those muscles. He takes a stand between her legs, between her naked legs and looks at her pussy dripping on his counter. Then he licks his lips. Her clit is pounding and she melts when he does that; every second longer that he looks, her lungs heave. Just when Beth feels like she couldn’t take another second of silence, he grips her thighs.

All the air seizes in her throat and she couldn’t talk if she wanted to. That seems to be okay with Daryl though, he seems to like to be quiet, to just listen to her bodies’ natural reactions unless he’s explicitly asking what she likes. She's sure he can hear the pounding of her heart in the silence, because she certainly can. Bending slowly, eyes on hers, he presses his bearded mouth to her inner thighs. She moans softly, eyes fluttering. His lips draw nearer and nearer to where she’s throbbing, ghosting over her skin in exquisite torture. Eyes opening, she manages to watch his lips press to the tamed line of curls leading to her pussy lips. She bites down on her bottom lip, whimpering as he luxuriates in her pubic hair.

Pressing hot, opened mouthed kisses, he works his way all the way down the patch of her groomed hair until he reaches bare skin, the tender beginning of her lower lips. Her chest is heaving as he looks up at her and then it seizes when he licks a soft, slow line straight through her cunt. Her head rings after she smashes it back against the counter, her elbows giving out from under her; her back meeting the inner lining of Daryl's jacket sprawled against the counter. Thighs trembling, he does it again. Even half dazed the need to watch him eat her gives her enough energy to sit up. Just in time for his tongue to spear through her swollen pussy lips and lap at her clit. A moan courses through her mouth and into the air, everything in her body thrumming with electricity.

“Where’d you want my mouth?” He mumbles, voice nearly lost between her thighs.

Everywhere,” she gasps. “Jesus, Daryl.”

“Here?” He whispers, tongue tracing her clit, causing her legs to shudder. “Here?” He asks again, moving down to her leaking hole.

Her voice strangles in her throat. Words come out broken and destroyed. “Yes. There.

Indulging her, he digs his tongue down into her cunt, lapping at her quivering walls and driving her need higher. She grips his hair, restraining the need to fuck his face, not yet loose enough to be so brazen but getting there fast. His thick, powerful arms wrap around her thighs, encouraging her to smother him. Beth sobs deliriously, words an illegible garble. Daryl rockets upwards with the sound of her next high pitched whine, her hands slipping from his hair and knocking the horned headband off his head.

His own hands flatten on her twitching belly, taking his cock from the tight prison of his jeans with his other hand. “Can I...”

Yes,” she hisses, gripping at his forearms. “Please.”

He groans under his breath as he uses the hand not pressing down on her hips to dig in his back pocket. He comes back with his wallet and then he flips that open and chucks it on the counter so it lands by her hip.

“Condom in there,” he grunts. “Pu’it on f’ me, girl.” His voice is so thick with want she can’t think straight.

Lighter fluid pours all down her skin and ignites with his words, roaring through her pussy lips until they swell in near agony. Worse still is when he reaches behind himself and tugs his tank top up over his head, leaving his chest bare to her eyes. She simply stares for a moment, taking in his small nipples, tattoos on his chest, his stomach. Daryl lets her take her fill, looking back at her with the same hungry awe she feels in her own gaze. His rough fingers sweep up her jumping belly, his fingertips dancing down her hip bone until she jerks. Whimpering, she scrabbles for his wallet and the condom in there. Bringing it to her mouth, Beth rips the foil open to retrieve it and then looks up at him.

Daryl’s pupils are near black with his lust for her and when she glances back to his cock, that’s dark too. Thick and dark, mushroom head weeping. Her throat closes as she rolls the condom down his length, using her fist to fit it snugly around the base of him, covering him to the root. The breath in the back of his throat rattles and his fingers clench into the soft skin of her belly. A moan gathers in her throat, holding there as he nestles back between her legs. It releases in a soft string of sound, notes that don’t quite make a song yet as he begins to caress his latex covered cock between her snug lips, brushing her clit softly.

“Y’like that, girl? You like my cock here?” He gasps, sweat pouring down his forehead.

Gasping, cheeks, chest and throat full of fire, she can only part her lips and try to make words happen. Finally, she just nods, not a clue how to talk the way he does, to tell him how good it feels, how bad she wants it. Riding the head of his cock back down her soaked slit makes her jump and excitement steals her breath when he notches into her opening. Keeping his eyes locked on hers, he begins to push past her scolding inner walls. She's so wet it’s smooth entry and her eyes roll as her nipples tighten, goose bumps flowing over her skin again.

Daryl groans and presses down into her hips with his hand, his other one holding her thigh and squeezing as he spreads her legs wider to accommodate him. He halts half way there, sweat on his brow and upper lip. With the way she’s reclining on her elbows, the angle isn’t quite right and he has to wait for her lie all the way down to try again. When she’s lay flat on the counter, his jacket sparing her the icy cold, he starts pushing again and then he’s there. Buried so deep she can’t catch her breath.  For a moment he stills and she lets her eyes flutter open to meet his.

He smiles at her, all dopey and sweaty and she smiles giddily back, embodied by him. “Feels so good,” she manages to whisper, surprising herself and rolling her hips.

Moaning softly in agreement, he rolls his back with her and they find a rhythm just like that, flowing apart and crashing back into each other. She takes a moment to just stare at him, absorbing his huge frame, his thick arms, his rippling stomach. Dark shaggy hair, electric blue eyes. He’s so handsome, rugged too which adds to his appeal. Like he just walked off the bad side of the tracks. Distracting her, his pubic bone presses neatly into her clit with every thrust and her moans get higher and higher, her hips faster. Daryl's thrusts speed up too, his moans louder, tightening her nipples to painful points.

It feels so good but she needs something else and she shoves all the way back up to face him, looping her arms around his neck. His hand on her belly slides to her hip, his eyes wide as he stares at her, taken off guard. She wants to say something but the angle is different like this, tighter and every time he plunges in and out it’s like her cunt pops it’s clutching him so deep. There’s no words she could even begin to say past this kind of heady pleasure.

Daryl squeezes her tight and breathes heavy in her ear, “shit, can feel all'a you like this.”

Beth knows exactly what he means. She can feel every ridge and vein, every rib of the condom, his hot heat behind the latex. How thick and swollen he is, especially at the base. She buries her head in his shoulder, wraps her arms around his neck and holds on as he fucks her, his hands sliding beneath her ass and lifting her off the counter. He screws her just like that, balancing all her body in his arms, hovering a mere centimetre off the surface. The skin of his knuckles keep crashing into it and every time they do he thrusts that little bit harder. Her moans stop coming one after the other and just become this never ending loop of sound.

Daryl,” she groans breathlessly. “M'gonna... God!”

“C'mon, ‘f me. C'mon, girl,” he hisses, hips crazed as they crash into hers, executing sheer pressure onto her pubic bone until she can’t even see straight.

Tensing and tightening, her breath seizing, she finds her high note locked in her womb before it blows free and flies out of her throat, shattering the sound around them. Daryl becomes frenzied, new sounds she hasn’t heard from him emerging from the depths of his lungs as he pounds her. Her pussy throbs around his cock, begging him to let go. Just when she’s returning to her sanity, he loses his. His hands squeeze her ass cheeks so hard it aches and he drives up into her on his toes, making something burst deep in her cunt and causes tears to spring to her eyes.

The only sound she can make is a sob but she’s not hurt in any manner of the word, just experiencing an orgasm in a way she never has before. When he comes she knows about it, the latex condom swelling and filling, pressing into her sensitive inner walls as they give one final, desperate shudder. They still together, breathing hard and fast, leaving her reeling in the knowledge that, that was the best sex she’s ever had. She’s still trembling when he slowly pulls out of her, letting his soft cock lay against her inner thigh, his arms wrapped around her in a hug.

Beth hugs him back, her head lying on his chest and her arms wrapped up around his ribs, stroking his shoulders. “That was amazin'.” She manages to whisper, her cheeks scorching hot.

Daryl hums in agreement, his hands stroking down her spine as she leans back to shakily wipe the sweat on her brow. “C'men take a bath with me.”

A smile curves over her cheeks, skin sticky and hot. “Okay.”

Chapter Text

“C’mon, I want it,” Beth pants desperately, her grip on Daryl’s cock her aid to rub the tip of him against her clit.

Daryl’s head rolls against the edge of the tub, his face sweaty and flushed. “Jesus, Beth, I told y’ the condoms are under the fuckin’ sink an' in the top drawer by my damn bed.”

“So get one,” she teases.

He levels her with a dead pan expression. “You get one.”

Biting down on her lip, she glides his cock to her entrance and begins to push until Daryl’s hands on her waist squeeze. “Beth. We ain’t even talked ‘bout tests or no-”

“I got my mine, y' want me to...” Beth falters here, wishing she were ballsy enough to say hop off your dick, but she chickens out and only adds, “hop off, drive home an’ get ‘em?” Rather sarcastically.

Daryl groans again, a frantic look in his eye like he’s actually considering it. “Mine’s in there,” he pants.

Beth shrugs casually. “Okay, hold on…” she pretends to get up and laughs as he yanks her back down, splashing water and bubbles all over the floor.

“No,” he growls, squeezing her slick flesh. “Don’t go.”

“Do’y want me to stop?” She whispers as she takes his cock and brings it back to her grasping walls, pushes a little harder than she did last time.

God, please say he doesn’t want her to stop.

“Yeah...” Daryl groans, eyes flicking to the bedroom like he’s thinking about dashing for that condom, and then her stomach seizes as the tip of his cock pops through the tight walls of her cunt. “God, no! No, please, Beth, no,” Daryl pants, his neck craned back as sweat drips down his chest.

The muggy air slicks her body as much as the water as it crashes around her thighs, her hair stuck to her back and her breaths shallow. When she rolls her hips it’s with all her inner core strength, all her lust and desire, her need and it swallows Daryl’s dick deep inside her trembling walls. This amazing man has strolled back into her life and awoken someone inside Beth didn’t even know she had. Sure, she’s still not really great at verbally expressing what she wants, but actions are always better than words, right? The hidden woman he’s invoking seems to have the confidence to perch in Daryl’s lap and control him with her cunt.

Seems to be someone who has the ability to keep eye contact with him even though she’s a mess. Someone entirely new and powerful, someone who wants him so badly she’s willing to snatch him up with her hands and hang on tight. Whoever she is, Beth likes her and she channels her when she slows right down, her nails digging into Daryl’s rippling stomach. His hot hands drip water on her thighs as he grips them, his bitten fingernails gouging at her skin. With his neck strained back and face red, Beth finds there’s no air to breath. There’s also no room to move and the containment sends her dizzy.

The feeling of his long, hard length massaging her so deep is stunning but it’s missing something and she can’t find it. Frustration wells up in her stomach and she tries not to overthink. It’s always been a problem of Beth’s, worrying that she’s taking too long to come. With Daryl it hasn’t presented itself until now and she doesn’t want it to ruin this. Breathing deeply, she reaches between her own legs and lightly rubs at her clit, speeding up her hips a tiny notch. Daryl’s iris flare and tremble, sucking her deeper into his gaze until she’s completely lost in him. Even still she’s losing the flickers of heat and she growls, leaving her clit to tug the soaked ends of her own hair.  

Daryl sits up in the bath, jostling her and the water so that it sloshes against the sides. “Wha’s wrong?”

She shakes her head, not wanting to spoil this but he raises his eye brow at her and she rolls her shoulders instead, a blush blooming into her face. “I’ve never done it, in the bath or shower. I don’t think m’doin’ it right.”

“Girl,” he whispers softly as he rolls his hips once more. “You’re killin’ me.”

“S’that bad?” She whispers back, hooking her arms around his neck.

Taking her mouth in a soft kiss, he shakes his head before he pulls away, his thumb brushing away a wet lock of hair. “Nah. Jus’ gotta keep talkin’ to me. S’how it works, how it feels so good.”

Beth bites her lip, not really sure what to say to him. She’s had fun lovers in the past but they’ve all been kind of… average… selfish. Beth’s always been quite a realistic person and in her sex life she’s never had high expectations. In her defence, it was no use pondering on a hunky man from one of her romance novels, when she had never met anyone like that. The gorgeous sex Gods were for the pages and the realistic, normal college jocks were for real life. Sometimes Beth wouldn’t even talk to them, just fumble around in the dark, yank down each other’s necessary items of clothing and then he would push it in. It’s all been very lack lustre in contrast to Daryl.

She wonders if it’s his age, if he’s had his time of being a fumbling boy in the dark. If he’s outgrown that. It’s something new for her, something exciting but new all the same and she has to take a moment to understand how she will approach it. The thought of communicating during sex is a little frightening, to speak honestly about what she wants. On the other hand it’s very liberating. To express where to touch her, where to move away from. To know that she has that voice, that power; that opportunity to explore her sexuality. Licking her lips, she finally checks back into reality. Smiling devilishly, she pushes up from Daryl’s lap, his cock sliding out of her depths.

Blue eyes watch her curiously as she hops out of the bath and faces him, crooking her finger. A giggle slips past her lips as he pushes up with his palms to stand to his full height. He’s so goddamn handsome and she knows this is the part she’s meant to run, to start the game but she can’t resist staying to watch. The overhead lights are stark and brash but even still his muscles beneath them are a work of art. To think she can have those arms wrapped around her if she just asks makes her a little weak in the knees. His hard cock stands proud against his belly as he steps out of the tub, water dripping down his gleaming body.

Wet, shaggy hair hangs in his face and it lends to the mysterious shadow he looks like. Laughing again, she hurries away while still facing him, blindly reaching out her hands to catch herself as she stumbles back. He’s smiling at her, his eyes keen and thighs powerful. The floor is carpeted and yet his large footsteps are still loud, heavy. Hands fumbling in his top drawer while she watches him, she quickly snags a condom, relived it’s the right drawer. Daryl advances suddenly and Beth squeaks, stumbling once more, unable to tear her eyes away from him, and finds herself against a chair she assumes was hastily stuffed in the corner of his room.

He raises his brow in challenge and she raises hers back, lifting her ass so it’s seated on the arm, her wet skin dampening it. He strides forward eagerly, bubbles sliding down his wet limbs and snatches her up. A breathless gasp worms past her lips before he captures them. Fingers twining in his hair, she uses her other hand to hold the condom as she bites on his lower lip, sucking it heatedly into her mouth.

Daryl growls against her lips and takes a hold of her waist. “Turn f’ me.”

Breath stuttering in her chest, she first hands him the condom before she turns in a circle, allowing Daryl to help arrange her limbs. There’s a moment where the foil tears and where he pants shallowly. She glances over her shoulder to see him fisting the base of his cock so the latex fits properly before he lifts his head once more. Turning her head back forward, her belly jumps with excitement when his hand takes her thigh and lifts it onto the arm chair, spreading her aching cunt with a resonating sticky sound. Flushing deeply, her nipples tighten painfully hard as he takes her left arm and bands it around her back until she can grab her right hip.

With his two hands wrapped around her forearm like this she’s completely exposed. What doesn’t help is when her eyes rise up she realises she’s in front of Daryl’s standing mirror. Her whole body flushes hot and she jerks when his cock head kisses her clit.

Their eyes meet in the mirror. “Y’don't know how fuckin’ good you look,” he rasps, hands sliding from her arm down to her hips and ass.

Unable to respond, she continues to watch in the mirror as his dark head nestles into Beth’s throat, lips kissing and sucking at her pulse. Her eyelashes flutter as she rolls her hips back, her pussy begging for him back inside, burning deeply. Daryl bites into her shoulder gently, enough to cause a flood of goose bumps down her arms. His thumb sweeps over them where he’s moved his one hand to hold her arm pulled behind her back. The other slides appreciatively over her right ass cheek as he hums pleasantly. Shoulder burning with the position, Beth tries to lean into it rather than away from it to be more comfortable.

“Y’okay?” He whispers into the crook of her shoulder.

She nods quickly, panting with need. “More than okay. Please, Daryl, I…” I want it, she wants to beg but her throat closes and all she can manage is another strangled, “please.”

Groaning throatily, his cock travels her slit, teasing at her dripping entrance. Whimpers drip from her lips unchecked, her heart racing in her throat until he finally begins to push. The head of him spreads her walls and they flower for him, taking him in desperately. His breathing spikes higher in her ear the further he thrusts. Where he’s gripping her forearm behind her back his nails are digging in, his weight pressing into her ass and forcing more pressure on her knee. Pushing her hips back, Beth swallows every inch he has to give, heart beating behind her eyelids and in her throat. The mirror is still before them, painting an erotic image but she has to close her eyes.

It’s too much all at once. Being this naked and new to a situation, having sex with Daryl, and learning herself in the process. This position, the control he has over her body. It’s terrifying and for a dizzying moment she’s lost. Until he withdraws and thrusts back in, his hips meeting her ass cheeks perfectly. Then she doesn’t care how lost she is because she’s burning. Sweat stings her eyes and trickles down her body, their flesh meeting slow and deep. This position is so baring it allows the head of his cock to meet that soft spongey bit no other man has every found before. Beth’s breathing struggles and she chokes on air, scrabbling at the back of the sofa.

Daryl’s hand not handing her forearm grips at her waist now, pulling her in tight and deep. Even when he withdraws from inside he’s still right there. Still sharing her oxygen, her skin, and the same particles of the air. Primarily she keeps her eyes closed but when she does flicker them open the sight destroys her. Naked and bare, watching herself be fucked by this stunning hulk of a man is too much to comprehend. The way her ass fits snugly into the cradle of his hips has her orgasm winding inside her gut and kicking her in the ribs, stealing her breath. Everything between her legs tightens, sucking Daryl in deeper.

He howls brokenly into her ear, his hips speeding just a touch more, beginning to lose his careful rhythm. Beth balances her one free hand on the other arm but mostly trusts Daryl to take her weight, tearing at her lower lip with her teeth, her natural instinct to keep quiet. Daryl doesn’t want quiet though. He reaches his hand on her hip to her lips and gently frees her bottom one, forcing her eyes open once more so that they can connect with his in the mirror. Her mouth falls open and she can’t help the moan that comes out, something broken and unravelled. When his eyes roll in his head and his hand slips from her mouth, down to her throat to lightly squeeze, Beth loses it.

Seizing up with the incredible sweep of pleasure over her body, she bows her head and screams, Daryl’s lips kissing down her spine. The tremors wrack her body for endless seconds after that and she shudders every time he shallowly withdraws and pushes back. The pounding, fluttering, soaked mess that is her cunt sucks greedily at Daryl where he shallowly thrusts and he crows into her ear again, his hands releasing both her throat and arm to squeeze her breasts. He curls around her, keeping her from flopping over the chair and thrusts deep, forcing the air from her lungs, an intense heat in her cunt where his cum spills into the condom.

For a moment he pants against her back, belly hitting her spine with his breath and mouth pressed sloppily to her cheek. Kissing her softly, he then pulls back and out of her sore pussy. Tiredly, Beth turns to face him and watches with drooping eyes as he heads back into the bathroom to discard of the condom. Heading over to his bed, her eyes itch and burn as she crawls beneath the sheets. Maybe she should be questioning if she has an invitation to stay but when he offered her a bath she doesn’t think he had any plans for her to leave. When Daryl returns he smiles softly and crawls into the bed with her.

“Was so good, girl,” he whispers softly as he wraps himself around her.

Beth smiles, her body buzzing pleasantly. “Thank you. S’been nice seein’ you, spendin’ time with you.”

“Fuckin’ me?” He teases as he cups her breast.

Laughing with flush cheeks, she tips her head back to meet his eyes. Say it, she begs herself. “An’ fuckin’ you.” She agrees, cheeks flaming hotter. “Ten outta ten,” she adds just because her stomach is squirming in disbelief that she managed to get the words out.

Daryl scoffs, reaching over her to flick off the lamp so that they’re plunged into darkness. “Now I feel bad.”

Frowning, she leans on his chest in the darkness. “Why?”

“’Cause I only gave you an’ eight,” he teases.

Faking a gasp of outrage, she grabs her pillow and whacks him in the head. “An’ eight!? What’d I gotta do for a ten?”

He grins, something she sees even in the dark. “Mornin’ sex.”

Ridiculously, she blushes even more, this one travelling to her chest. “Fine. We’ll do a recount in the mornin’.” God, who even is she?

“Oh yeah, Greene,” he agrees as he curls her into his chest. “We’ll do a recount alrite."

Chapter Text

Weak sunlight filters through the barely shut curtains, pushing between Beth’s lashes and into her retinas. She winces, the base of her skull throbbing from the little alcohol she drank last night. Man, she’s such a lightweight. Rolling her head over on the pillow, she finds Daryl’s sleeping face beside her and freezes. Oh right. Hottest sex of her life with her teenage infatuation. Just another day at the office. God, what was she thinking? He must think she’s such a whore, the way she acted last night. Grinding on him, making out with him against Rick and Lori’s house, sneaking off to be fucked stupid.

The first day they saw each other in seven years and the first thing she does is fuck him. She cringes, ashamed with herself in a way she never has been after a one night stand before. It was different when she was travelling. Those were guys she was never going to see again, people she didn’t really care to remember, just caught up in the moment. Taking in his slack face, she breathes deeply and tries to calm down, organise herself. Time to make a plan. Start from the top and work her way down the check list. First of all, slide as gently and quietly as she can out of bed. Second, tip toe her way to his dresser, slide a drawer open and steal a t-shirt, quietly close it.

Third, hold her breath tight as Daryl rolls over in bed, mumbling incoherently. Next, let out a breath of relief when she manages to shimmy through the crack of his door without a sound. Heart beating fast, she hurries into the kitchen on quiet feet, and locates the clothes she left behind last night. Tugging her jeans back on, and then the stolen t-shirt, she looks wistfully at Daryl’s jacket still on the counter where it fell from her body. For just a moment, she has a flash of last night, a splash of heat exploding in her gut, the echo of his sweaty skin slapping against hers. Swallowing, she decides stealing his t-shirt is bad enough and hurries over to her heels and clutch.

With her clutch tucked under her armpit, she’s just slipping on her second shoe when a creak of the floorboards makes her heart pound. Movement sounds and she hurries to unlock the floor door, easing it open quickly and throwing herself through it when he calls, “Beth?”

She doesn’t look back as she shuts it and hurries out of the grove in her ridiculous assemble, dreading what a mess her face and hair must look like, imagining Daryl watching from the window. The walk back to Rick and Lori’s is longer in the daylight and her feet are killing by the time she gets there. It’s early on a Sunday morning so she doubts anyone is awake, which makes her feel marginally better. The car she borrowed off her parents is parked on the curb and she opens her clutch for the keys. Her nerves are still on edge after running out on Daryl, her mind still in planning mode and trying not to think about it until she has the privacy to do so.

When the door’s unlocked, she throws herself in, chucking the clutch on the seat beside her. Toeing off her heels, she massages the aching balls of her feet  with a muted groan before she flips down the visor. God, she’s a state. Glitter is literally everywhere, decorating all her skin and parts of her hair. Her fake lashes are gone, probably lost on Daryl’s pillow. Not to mention the corset and costume wings in his car. She grimaces to herself. She does not want to analyse how she feels about Daryl’s bed and car already having pieces of her in it. Clearing her throat, she turns the key in the engine and pulls away, hoping the car doesn’t wake anyone in the house.

She rolls down the windows and breathes in the crisp air. First day of November. Nearly her birthday, and Thanksgiving, Christmas; New Year. She loves summer most of all but she appreciates this time of year too. Especially because it’s her first year back at home in so long. Letting herself disappear into reality, she makes the drive home without turning on the radio and enjoys the early morning quiet. For a moment she just wants a bit of normality because that space that occupies Daryl Dixon is a walking fantasy. He is a walking fantasy. When she pulls up on the farm, her parents are predictably already awake, getting ready for church, Beth imagines.

She doesn’t want to explain herself, and she certainly doesn’t want to be convinced to go to church, so she leaves her heels and clutch in the car until later. Climbing the tree by her window, she giggles to herself when she experiences a hit of teenage nostalgia. When she’s in, she eases open her bedroom door and heads for the bathroom, seeking that desperate thread of normality and trying not to think about the beautiful man she snuck out on.


 

After a day spent showering, composing music on her laptop, job hunting and dinner with her parents, Beth is wiped. She turns in when they do and sleeps deep, not thinking about it when she slides Daryl's t-shirt back on.

When she wakes in the morning, the landline is ringing and she answers it to a shriek of glee. “Bethhhhhh!”

Pulling the phone away from her ear, she laughs, recognising that voice anywhere. “Hey, Jax.”

“Hey yourself, stranger! I can’t believe you’re home! An’ you haven’t called me. Your childhood best friend. Childhood, Beth! Does that mean nothin’ to you?” Jax faux sobs on the other end.

Twirling the phone cord around her finger, Beth snorts, rubbing the sleep from her eyes. “Everythin’ just kinda happened at once…” she drifts off, breath stolen by Daryl’s eyes in her mind. “An’ I lost track of time. You forgive me though, right?”

Jax sighs dramatically and Beth can just see her blowing a bouncy, chocolate brown curl away from her face. “Fine, fine. You’re off the hook… if you come an’ meet me an’ the guys for coffee down town. We’re playin' hooky.”

Oh boy. The invitations she was ignoring. It’s not that she hasn’t missed everyone or doesn’t want to see them, but she’s just afraid that they won’t be the same people she remembers. She certainly doesn’t feel like the same girl that they do. Beth continues to hesitate, breathing down the other end.

“C’mon Beth, I ain’t askin’ you to volunteer in The Hunger Games. We used to hang out all the time!”

“I know, I know,” she answers quickly, feeling guilty. “Fine, I’ll be there. What time?”

“Yes! The guys are gonna be so pumped!” She shrieks in her usual enthusiastic manner. “Twelve good for you?”

“Twelve’s perfect,” she answers, glancing at the clock hanging on the wall. “I’ll see you there.”

After getting ready, she hitches a ride into town with her parents, begging off visits with family friends. The coffee shop isn’t far from where her parents drop her, so it’s no more than five minutes later that she’s pulling open the cafe door. Strong coffee and hot muffins greet her, her chest instantly warm and soothed by her old hangout. She spent so much time in here writing music before she went away. So much time studying, practising tests, goofing off with her friends. She also had one date here before, a boy who was staying with his grandparents for the summer.

He was her summer fling, her first kiss. So important to her at one stage in her life that she’s surprised to find she can’t recall his name now. Funny, how times change. The first person she spots of her old gang is Jax, wearing a big smile and holding an even bigger cup of coffee. She doesn’t look a bit different. Her hair is no longer shocking pick at the ends and her eyeliner is neater now, but she’s just Jax. Beth smiles big and genuine, allowing her old time friend to hurry forward and hug her fiercely.

“Woah, don’t burn me!” Beth laughs teasingly. They pull away and she looks at the rest of the old gang at the table, grinning wide. “Look at you scrappy kids.”

“Hey, you still look like the youngest!” Jax’s younger brother, Jimmy hollers loudly. His eyes are still young and blue, even if his jaw is squarer than she remembers.

“S’that little Jimmy I spy? What happened to your round cheeks!?” She exclaims as they hug.

Someone tugs her shoulder and turns her to receive another hug. “His balls dropped, finally,” Lauren smirks, a lip ring she didn’t used to have glinting in the soft, café lights. Beth squeals as they hug before Lauren pulls back dramatically, her long lashes sweeping her cheeks. “Okay, okay, let go before I voodoo your ass.”

“She still scares the fuck outta me,” Wyatt snarks from the table, green eyes bright and dyed red hair even brighter as he waves up at her.

Beth waves back at him. Wyatt’s not and has never been a hugger, and he also has a phobia of germs to boot. “Somethings never change ‘round here.”

They smirk at each other and then she glances around at the group. “You guys, I can’t believe we’re all back together! Everyone looks so old!”

A mangled chorus of indignant hey’s rise in the space around her and she laughs heartedly, taking in Wyatt’s sharp jaw, Jax’s grey eyes that Beth has always been jealous of, Jimmy’s scar on his brow, and Lauren’s snarky, pointed face. It feels exactly the same and it feels good, just what she needs right now after her night with Daryl, her peak into someone a lot more exciting than who she is.

They chat, catch up, drink coffee and let the hours slip away.


When she arrives home, she feels more stable in her stomach than she did yesterday morning, like she’s reconnected with a piece of her she’s been trying to push away for so long. She felt so different when she come home, as if she couldn’t be the Beth everyone in town knew and the Beth she is now. Except she can because that’s part of growing up. People change. Apparently they also have sex with men they have intense physical, raw attraction too as well. She groans as she scrubs her face, finally trying to explore what happened the other night and what it means.

Does it mean she’s a whore? Does it mean she’s a bold woman taking what she wants? What does Daryl think about her? It’s not like she can ask him. She doesn’t have a phone nor his number. She’s sure he could get her parents landline if he really tried, but he hasn’t. Does that not speak volumes? Then who is she anyway, to judge? She ran out on him. Let him fuck the life out of her and then just skipped out. If the roles were reversed, she’d be pissed. Groaning again, she potters around the kitchen idly tidying up and thinking about what she should do.

Should she try and talk to him? Leave him alone? It’s not like she can avoid him forever, not if she intends to stay here; move into town, which she does. Travelling was amazing and it won’t be her last time seeing the world, but she wants to lay her roots here, where she was raised. The phone rings, distracting her and for a wild moment when she picks it up, she thinks its Daryl.

It takes her a while to realise its Lori’s voice coming over the line. “Oh, hey, Lori.”

There’s a pause and then, “you sound disappointed.”

“Hmm? Oh, no, no. I just got in is all.”

“Oh right. Well, m’glad you’re alive at least.”

“Huh?” Beth frowns unseen, the kitchen counter becoming blurry in her vision.

“Well,” Lori answers, a little smugness in her words. “You did disappear on me the other night. Funny, Daryl seemed to go missin’ ‘bout same time as you.”

Beth flushes, glad they’re not face to face. God, she completely forgot they skipped out on the end of the party. “Lori, m’so sorry I didn’t even think to let you kn-”

“Save it,” Lori interjects without heat. “Saw you guys walkin’ down the drive. Hand in hand.”

Clearing her throat, Beth quickly steers the conversation. “So you wanna talk?”

Laughing, the other woman allows her change in subject. “Alright, Greene, have it your way. Anyway, m’sorry to ask, an’ I know you ain’t a kid who needs a few dollars anymore… but my babysitter is sick, Rick’s got poker night an’ Carl’s stayin’ at a friend’s place. Thing is, I was gonna hang out with some girlfriends…” She clears her throat. “If you don’t want to s’okay.”

Immediately she wants to ask if she’ll run into Daryl there but she already knows she will. Poker night has been Rick and Daryl’s thing for years, the reason she met Daryl in the first place. She doesn’t mind babysitting, it’s always good to earn money whether she has savings or not but whether she’s ready to face Daryl yet is another matter.

Finally, she pinches her eyes closed and nods even though Lori can’t see her. “Yeah, sure. I’ll be there.”

“Beth, thank you,” Lori lets out a rushed breath. “Honestly, I’ve been goin’ crazy in this house an’ I really needed it.”

“S’fine, really. Be there in an hour?”

“Perfect.”

When they hang up, she hurries upstairs to freshen up and search for her mama to ask if she can borrow the car again.

Chapter Text

Beth tries not to think about seeing Daryl on the drive over, but when she pulls up to Rick and Lori’s house, dusk settling across the world, he’s at the bottom of the porch steps, smoking a cigarette. Lori steps out on to the porch just as Beth exits her car.

“Daryl,” she breathes when he glances up at her through the fringes of his dark hair.

“I’ll leave you two alone, come find me in a little while, Beth.” Lori smiles softly before heading back inside, the screen door shutting harshly behind her.

“Hey,” Beth whispers nervously after nodding to Lori, tucking her loose hair behind her ear just for something to do.

“Hey,” Daryl answers back just as softly, hands stuffed into his jean pockets. “So, y' did the sneak off in the mornin’ trick, huh? Didn’t see it comin’.”

Beth winces. “Daryl…”

“Why’d you run off like that? I hurt y’? Scare you? I know I can get a little on t’ rough side, s’why I needed you to talk to me,” he mutters after he pulls another drag out of his cigarette.

She shakes her head quickly, watching the cherry on the end glow. “Wasn’t nothin’ you did… s’just… me, I suppose.”

“Y’regret it?” He asks seriously, intensely, holding her eyes with his.

Does she? She looks right back at him, cheeks burning as she shrugs. “I don’t think so?”

“So what’s up? Talk t' me,” he says quietly, no force, no pressure, smoke blowing through his mouth and nostrils.

Clearing her throat, she finally snaps her gaze away from his to watch it blow away into the air. “You’re not like other guys.”

“An’ that’s bad?” He asks genuinely, wrapping his lips around the filter once more.

Beth shakes her head again, frustrated with herself for not quite understanding how she feels, tugging at the sleeves of her shirt with nervous fingers. “I guess I don’t want you thinkin’ I’m like that. That I just sleep ‘round an’... an’ stuff. I… I just had a really big crush on you for the longes’ time an’ then you were there an’ I-”

“Hey,” he cuts her off soothingly, his cigarette butt gone and his hands wrapped around her upper arms softly. “I don’t think that. Wouldn’. Up to you who y’ give y’ body to. S’that all that’s botherin’ you?”

Glancing up at him, she tries to find that less shy version of herself that she seems to be around him. “You ask me what I liked… when we, erm… you asked me, an’ you listened an’ you used a condom without question. The guys I’ve been with before, they weren’t like that. It was different. Good, surprising,” she hurries to say so as not to be offending. “Just different.”

He nods and she really feels like he’s listening to her, communicating with her because he wants to make her comfortable. “S’only what you deserve, Greene. What everyone deserves. Your body, your rules, your consent. S’all yours. If y’didn’t want it, I wouldn’ go any further. You said it hurt, it wasn’t gettin’ you off, whatever, an’ I’d stop.”

Something giddy and fluttery, something powerful squirms in her stomach. Smiling, she glances away before she looks back at his serious blue eyes. “So what’s that mean for you? How’d you feel ‘bout what happened?”

A small smirk flickers on his lips. “I had fun, mostly ‘cause you seemed like y’did. S’where I get my rocks off. An’ I don’t regret it, don’t expect nothin’ from it. You want it t' be one time, tha’s your call an’ I cain’t do shit ‘bout it. You wanna see me ‘gain, I can handle that too.”

“Oh you can handle it, huh?” She teases, feeling so much better for expressing herself and knowing where he stands, how he feels.

He steps closer, leaning into her a little. “I could handle you ‘gain.” He leans down even further and lets a groan unwind into her ear. “You smell so fuckin’ good, y’know that? Still haven’t changed my sheets.”

Beth’s stomach jumps as she finally comes to the realisation that she didn’t sleep with some random, horny boy. Daryl’s a man who respects her, who wants her to communicate her feelings, her wants, and her needs. It’s such unknown territory for her but she wants to explore it. She reaches up and hugs him, and without hesitation he hugs her back.

Lips at his ear, she whispers, “I wore your t-shirt to bed last night.”

A hum moves through her chest where they’re pressed together. He nuzzles his face into her throat, whispering back to her. “Nothin’ underneath?”

“Nothin’.”

“Fuck that gets me hard.” She gasps and he pulls away with a smirk before he frowns. “Back up, y' stole my t-shirt?” Beth laughs and knows it’s rhetorical when he continues speaking. “Me an’ Rick’ve gotta get goin’. But here.” He fishes into his coat pocket and pulls out some paper. Glancing at it, she sees it’s a group of digits. “My number. ‘Case you wanna call. See me sometime.”

Glancing back up at him, she smiles and takes it. “I haven’t got a phone yet an’ I’m hopin’ to be busy with interviews for a while but I’ll call you. Soon.”

“Good,” he smiles, clucking her under the chin. “Good luck, Greene. See you ‘round.”

“See you ‘round,” she repeats, watching him turn and head towards his car as she tucks the paper in her back pocket, smiling that he just had it ready and waiting in his jacket.

Rick leaves the house next, mock saluting her until she sticks her tongue out at him. He returns it, a flash of his tongue and then a smile before he climbs into the passenger seat of Daryl’s truck. She watches right until they peel out of the driveway, Daryl’s eyes holding hers in the rear-view mirror until they disappear down the road, and then she finally heads inside.

Beth finds Lori in the kitchen washing up, humming under her breath and clears her throat to alert the other woman to her presence. “Oh!” Lori laughs, a light flush on her cheeks. “Hey, Beth. Thanks for comin’ over.”

Smiling, she leans her hip against the breakfast bar. “No problem. Sorry I cut you off out there, was rude of me.”

“Nah,” Lori dismisses, rinsing out a cracked mug that Beth recognises as Rick’s favourite one, still standing all this time later. “You an’ Daryl looked like you needed to chat.” She throws a look to Beth over her shoulder. “Wanna talk ‘bout it?”

Shrugging, she forces the flush out of her face. “Don’t know if there’s much to talk ‘bout.”

“Oh, casual, huh?” Lori asks with a teasing smile.

Laughing, Beth rolls her eyes. “That obvious?”

“That you an’ Daryl can’t keep your hands off each other? Yeah, pretty much.” Lori responds as she turns to face Beth, bracing her back against the sink while she dries her hands. “Again, wanna talk ‘bout it?” Blowing out a breath, she nods and Lori smiles. “Sit down, you wanna drink?”

Taking a seat, Beth shakes her head and politely declines. “Thanks, though.” Waiting for Lori to sit across from her, Beth blows out another deep breath. “So, um, we all knew I liked Daryl, years ago.” Lori looks at her patiently, nodding along. “An’ at the party we just had all this…” She faults here, trying to find an appropriate word.

“Chemistry?” Lori supplies gently.

Grateful, Beth smiles. “Yeah, all this chemistry an’ I went back to his…” She blushes now, her stomach squirming. “Don’t you need to get ready?”

Raising an eyebrow, Lori looks at the clock on the kitchen wall and back to Beth. “I have time, an’ don’t change the subject. You look a little lost, hon an’ I wanna help. I love you an’ Daryl both.”

Smiling, Beth takes Lori’s offered hand and squeezes. “Thank you. I just can’t really explain what’s happenin’ ‘cause I don’t know either. The… sex,” she pushes out quickly, staring at their hands. “Was amazin’, really amazin’, an’ he was so attentive. Askin’ me what I liked, what to do to make me comfy. It’s kinda thrown me. I don’t know how to tread a path like that.”

Lori nods, not even ribbing Beth for the sex comments or remarking how weird it is listening to Daryl’s sex life, her long-time friend. “I know what you mean. Before Rick, I didn’t even know you could have fun in bed. All the guys I’d been with were young, immature an’ jus’ wanted to see my tits. ‘Scuse my language.”

Beth releases their clasped hands to wave that comment off, letting Lori continue. “Rick, he wanted me to have fun too an’ suddenly I had this voice, y’know? You hear so much ‘bout consent an’ stuff, but I can’t think of one guy who asked me this okay?”

Nodding, she feels some of the tension drain out of her to talk about this. “That’s exactly how I felt. It scared me, ‘cause I don’t know if I’m bold ‘nough to say them things. I’m a little braver with Daryl, braver than I’ve ever been.” Her mind flashes to their public, hot and heavy make out against the back of this very house and she flushes. “An’ then on top of all that I don’t even know what this is. A benefits thing? Hangin’ out? Dating? I dunno.”

“So ask him,” Lori encourages, sounding like Daryl. “He’s a little rough ‘round the edges, m’the first to admit. The ‘mount of times that man’s crashed on my couch over the years,” she stops to roll her eyes. “But underneath all that is a boy that wants to be loved. His story ain’t mine to tell, but there’s stuff in Daryl’s past that leaves an imprint. He’s not the guy even you remember, Beth. He’s gettin’ older an’ he’s tryin’ to let go.”

Beth hesitates with this new information, scanning Lori’s face. “Do you think I should even be doin’ this? He’s twice my age. What’re my parents gonna think? This town?”

Lori scoffs, glancing out the windows of the kitchen as if seeing the town in its full capacity. “Small towns, small minds,” she quotes Rick’s favourite saying from the amount of times Beth’s heard it over the year she babysat. “You do what makes you happy, an’ don’t worry ‘bout the definition right now. You’ve got adventure in you, Beth. You went to college, saw the world, you can handle a small town romance an’ some good sex.”

“Lori!” She gasps and then laughs when the other woman does. “Thanks though, seriously. I saw old friends yesterday but I just didn’t think they’d get it.”

Smiling, Lori pulls her chair out and stands. “Anytime, Beth. You should talk to your friends though, they love you an’ you only just got ‘em back. As fun an’ excitin’ as this thing with Daryl is, don’t isolate them. S’easy to do when you’re wrapped up in a whirlwind of a man.”

Beth nods and before she can speak again, Judith shouts, “mommmmmyyyy, there’s a spider in my room!”

They share a laugh and Lori shouts back, “comin’, sweetheart!” Turning to Beth, she shrugs in a ‘what are you gonna do?’ gesture. “Best get ready anyhow. Thanks again for comin’ over, Beth. I’ll get Judy to bed ‘fore I go, but do’y mind gettin’ her fed?”

“No problem!” She answers enthusiastically. “Why don’t you start gettin’ ready an’ I’ll go deal with that spider? Then I can ask Judith what she wants to eat an’ get to know her again.”

Lori throws her an amused smile as they walk out of the kitchen. “You’re on, but be warned: she’s fussy.”

“Mom!” Judith shouts again. “S’goin’ under my bed!”

“I’m comin’ to rescue you, Judith!” Beth cries dramatically, jumping the stairs two at a time while Lori’s laughter follows behind.

Chapter Text

Where October dragged for Beth, November flies by before her eyes. The days disappearing between her fingertips as she’s swept up in job interviews, job applications and music composition. Interview questions, music notes, song lyrics and always Daryl get mixed up in her head until one day she looks up and it’s November 18th.

“Happy birthday!” Jax shouts down the phone.

Beth winces as she pulls the receiver away from her face and then cautiously brings it back to her ear. “Jax, it’s eight am.”

“So? Don’t you people rise at the crack of dawn?” Jax asks, in-between ordering a latte, an unknown barista Beth can just about hear responding.

“Not since I got home, gimme a break,” Beth mutters as she rubs her eyes, glancing at her mama with a smile, cooking pancakes at the stove. “Thanks for callin’ though.”

“Well it’s the first time I could in years! I can’t believe you didn’t take a phone with you on your trip. Wait,” she gasps in horror. “Do you even have a phone now?” Jax’s voice is swept away by the wind and Beth has to strain to understand everything she’s saying.

“No an’ where even are you this early?”

“Uh, downtown. It’s Wednesday, some of us small folk work this early.” A car honks and Jax shouts at someone before coming back to the phone. “Speakin’ of, any job huntin’ goin’ well?”

Beth blows out a frustrated breath. “No call backs yet, which would be okay if I wasn’t already lowerin’ my expectations. There’s this recordin’ studio I interviewed at last week, an’ I really wanna hear back from ‘em. The pay’s good an’…” She trails off, lowering her voice and tucking in closer to the phone. “I saw a really great apartment ten blocks away from there.”

“You’re apartment huntin’?” Jax asks in surprise. “Fed up of your parents already?”

“Well…” Beth hesitates, watching as her mama plates up the pancakes. “Would be nice. I got ‘nough cash for a deposit, just don’t wanna make a move ‘til I’ve secured a job, y’know?”

“Yeah, I get ya,” she answers breathlessly. “Damn, it’s cold. Hey, sorry to ditch but I gotta get in ‘fore I’m late. Let’s go out this weekend? Go shoppin’, get you a phone an’ drive out to a decent bar.”

Chewing her lip, Beth thinks about it and doesn’t think about Daryl’s husky voice telling her he'll take her shopping. “Shoppin’ I’ll go for, I do need a phone…” She also refuses to think about Daryl’s number on her bedside table. Refuses. “The bar we’ll talk ‘bout on Saturday. That studio said they’d let me know by Friday an’ I might have ‘cause to celebrate.”

“Awesome,” Jax pants enthusiastically. “I’ll get Lauren on board.”

“Lauren hates shoppin’,” Beth points out, something she knows hasn’t changed all this time later. “Call Wyatt ‘nstead. Gay best friend benefits, right?”

“Oh I’ve missed you,” Jax breathes dramatically. “Okay, really gotta run. Happy birthday, Beth. I’ll call you Friday!”

“Bye, Jax,” Beth smiles, hanging up the phone.

Finally free, her mama has free reign to smother her with kisses and hugs, leaving her with that peaceful feeling only mothers bring. Her daddy enters after with fresh eggs and pulls her into another hug. They share pancakes and OJ, Beth managing to eat only one before the phone rings again.

There’s no use sending one of her parents to get it, she knows it’ll be Maggie since she promised she’d call last night. Rushing over, she grabs the receiver and brings it to her ear, immediately regretting it when Maggie shouts, “happy birthday, Bethy!”

Sighing good naturedly, Beth knows this is going to be a repeated thing for the rest of the day and decides to get on board with it.

When she hangs up with Maggie an hour later, she finishes her cold pancakes and dresses, planning to spend the day with her family. Her and her parents drive over to Maggie and her husband, Glenn’s, not twenty minutes from their farm. At Maggie’s they fuss over Beth’s nephew, Hershel Jr, and Maggie gets out her wedding album, as she's prone do to at any given opportunity.

“Oh come on,” Glenn faux whines. “We were there, we’ve seen the pictures a million times.”

Maggie rolls her green eyes and let’s her cheeks lift in a smile soon after. “I like ‘em, so be quiet.”

Glenn purses his lips, dark eyes narrowed. “Speakin' of quiet, Hershel is suspiciously so.”

“I got ‘im,” Beth pipes up, extracting herself from the couch to hunt down her nephew.

She finds him in his playroom, clumsily moving about toy trains. Folding herself onto the floor, she smoothes out her dress. “Hey, bud.”

Baby Herschel looks up with his daddy’s eyes and his mama’s mouth. “Bewthy. Wanna play wiv me?”

“Absolutely, kiddo,” she answers with a smile. “Wanna race?”

“Yeah!” The cutie answers with a grin, showing his small teeth.

Beth smiles, leaning over to stroke his full head of dark hair. Taking a moment to reflect, she thinks about how much can happen in one year, how at the moment it feels like it’ll never end and yet it always does. Just her last birthday she was on a party boat in Ibiza, but she still loves this quieter birthday as much as that one. She takes a moment just to feel blessed by her memories, her experiences before she leans over and plays race cars with her nephew. Hours later, her and her parents leave with left over lasagne, heading home to call it a night. She stays up for most of it, sketching the farm as she gazes out her bedroom window.

She always draws or paints if she’s stuck on a song, which she currently is. She has the beginnings of it, a few notes to play with but the middle is alluding her. This behaviour carries onto the next day, where she sleeps until a ridiculous time in the afternoon and then spends the evening, through to the night painting her bedroom walls white. She just wants a large canvass to work with, and it seems like the perfect opportunity. What she didn’t plan for was waiting for it to dry, meaning she can’t draw or paint on it for hours. She hits the hay around five in the morning, still covered with paint.

When the next morning arrives, Friday, Beth is awoken by a sharp trilling of the phone downstairs. She groans, feeling like she's been sleeping for five minutes. Her room stinks of paint, making her regret not cracking her windows open wider during the night. Peeling her sticky eyelids apart, she rolls out of bed, stomach cramping and the phone still ringing through the house. Her parents must be out by the barn if they haven’t grabbed it yet. The bright light punching her in the eyes tells her it’s at least after eight.

Tripping down the stairs, she catches her hand on the wall before she trips and rips the phone out of the cradle. “Jax, if you ask me if we’re goin’ out tonight I will strangle you.”

There’s a prolonged silence and then an amused voice filters over the receiver. “Whoever Jax is, I hope your unrestrained violence doesn’t extend to your new boss.”

Beth flushes all over, pinpointing the voice. “Michonne…?” She falters, her barely functioning brain horrifyingly blank as she tries to dredge up Michonne’s surname. Then it latches onto something else. “New boss?”

That same warm amusement colours Michonne’s voice, and Beth can picture her dark eyes shining with mirth. “That would be me. I would have kept my professional tone with you but I think we’re past that. How’s Monday sound to you?”

She flounders, trying to wake up and snap to alertness. “S-sorry, you caught me unaware. Monday’s perfect. Thank you so much.”

Now that’s she’s fully processing, it hits her square in her chest. She got the job.

“You’re welcome,” Michonne answers, sounding distracted as someone shouts her on the other end. “Sorry, Ms Greene, I’ll have to cut this short.”

“Beth,” she interjects. “Ms Greene makes me sound old.”

Michonne snorts a little and Beth smiles. She liked the woman when she met her during her interview, but she’s warming to her by the second. “Beth, speak soon.”

“Thank you again.”

They disconnect and Beth hurries to dial Jax’s number, the one she hasn’t changed since she first got it. Her best friend answers on the sixth ring. “Beth I’m at wo-”

“I got the job, an’ we’re goin’ out.”

Jax squeals down the line. “Meet me downtown at five an’ we’ll head to my place. Oh God, I’ve gotta call the guys!”

Beth laughs, excitement whipping through her. All her uncertainties seem to be falling into place and she’s happy to let them. “You go. I’ve got some stuff to do my end too.”

Finishing off their conversation and hanging up the phone, Beth hurries back up the stairs and then stops in her doorway, eyes drawn by Daryl’s scrawled number on the crumpled paper. Swallowing softly, she hurries past it for her clothes, taking them with her to the bathroom. She’s a little dismayed to find her time of the month has snuck upon her, but determined not to let it sour her good mood. After a shower and teeth brushing, she dresses and pins her wet hair up. Doesn’t doubt herself when she snatches Daryl’s number off the bedside table. Stuffing it into her back pocket, she hurries down the stairs.

At the bottom, she pulls her converse on and snaps up one of her jackets. Back to the kitchen she flies, pleased to find the car keys. Her parents must have walked to wherever they are. She snags them and trips her way out of the house. She’s unbelievably giddy, dizzy with all her new possibilities. She’s doing it. She’s stepping on the ladder of her career, bringing in money, shaping her future. Travelling was the highlight of her existence, college the close second but she’s ready for an adventure in her little home town, ready to lay roots and really kick start her life. She’s surprised to find her parents on the porch, sharing tea but she supposes they wouldn’t have heard the phone.

A fond smile steals across her lips. Watching her parents together has been the best part of Beth’s upbringing. The pure, strong love they have for each other. Quietly defiant and completely full of bliss. She wants that for herself someday, wants to feel safe and offer safety in measure. There’s never been anyone in her life that she’s wanted to give that to before. Never anybody she got too attached too. Daryl is something else. The crush she’s had on him since her impressionable teenage years is still there, raging stronger with their interactions, in the presence of him.

He’s something powerful and potent, something heady she wants to keep finding herself around. He’s handsome, of course and the lust is strong with them, the attraction undeniably. That’s what scares her. Can she ever find someone she really wants to keep around forever, if they begin with sex? Lust that keeps them bed bound and then the horrible realisation that there’s nothing else behind it? She would like to think Daryl is different, that he makes her laugh, that he leaves her intrigued but every interaction with them has been laden with attraction. Like every conversation was just a step to the end goal.

She doesn’t want to feel those fears, not when he’s been so sweet with her, telling her it’s up to her what happens, and where they go. He’s given her all the power, free reigns to dictate so why isn’t that enough for her? Truthfully, she’s just terrified by the potent chemistry they have, a minefield of feeling she doesn’t know how to navigate.

“Good mornin’, darlin’,” her mama speaks, startling her.

Beth smiles with distraction, hurrying down the porch steps and stroking her mother’s cardigan covered shoulder. “Mornin’, Mama. Daddy.”

He tips his chin, a smile warm on his lips. “You look happy, doodlebug,” he inflicts her childhood name upon her but she finds she doesn’t mind today.

“I am, Daddy. I got the job.” A wild, toothy smile spreads across her face.

The same smile decorates her fathers. “I knew you could do it, sweetheart.”

“Oh, we’re so proud of you,” her mama coos, standing to hug her daughter.

In her mother’s embrace, Beth lets her eyes close for a moment, inhales her mama’s scent. There’s nothing quite like a hug from her mama. They pull away and Beth shakes the keys. “Can I steal the car? I wanted to head downtown. Jax wants to celebrate tonight.”

“You really should invest in your own, Bethy,” her father answers not unkindly as he stands from the porch with his mug.

“I know, I will when I cash some pay checks.” She answers as she hurries to hug her father.

They de-tangle and he looks at her with a raised brow. “Do you have no savings left?”

“Of course,” she flushes ridicously, hesitating now as she debates mentioning her plans for it. “I- I’m gonna talk to you guys when I get a chance.” It feels like a big deal, talking about moving out, different from going off to college and travelling the world, more permanent and she only just got them back. “Tomorrow, okay?”

Her mama strokes her cheek. “Okay, sweetheart. You have a good day an’ be safe.”

“I will,” Beth promises as she heads to the car.

Twenty minutes, and an extra five dedicated to parking later, she’s pulling into the same shopping mall where she bumped into Daryl those short weeks ago, even though it feels like months. The first thing she does is head to the phone shop. The sales assistant helps her pick something simple out, she’s not too fussed by mobiles. The moment she’s purchased and set it up, she programs Daryl’s number in. Jax’s goes next and then her parents’ home phone from memory. Three contacts. She shoots a text to Jax to let her know this is her new number, and then she hovers over Daryl’s name, wondering if she should do the same.

Clearing her throat, she detours into a Starbucks and orders a latte, takes a seat in the quiet café, still staring at his number. The background music is a song she recognises, makes her flush as she keeps looking at Daryl’s programmed name. No need to imagine, because I know it’s true. They say all good boys go to heaven, but bad boys bring heaven to you. It’s automatic, it’s just what they do. Dear God, the irony. Still staring at his name, licks of flames dance up her rib cage as she remembers him inside her, fucking her, squeezing her. His lips, his fingers, his words. His need. Painted all over his face.

Swallowing, she finally presses call.

Chapter Text

“Yeah?”

The sound of Daryl’s voice on the other end is like a hit to Beth's lungs. Air struggles through her lips as she stares at her coffee cup. How does his voice sound like pure sex? Gravely and low, husky. How pathetic is she? He literally said one word.

“Daryl,” she greets back, trying to alleviate the dryness of her throat by clearing it alone, her coffee too hot to drink yet. “It’s Beth.”

“Beth.” The way he shapes her name is something she hasn’t heard someone do in all her years of living.

Her phone vibrates against her ear, startling her. Must be Jax responding to her text. “Hey,” she mummers softly, her heart fluttering in her chest. “I er, got a phone,” she provides pointlessly.

“An’ you finally called me,” he answers just as softly, a hint of amusement there like he’s smiling. “Been danglin' on a hook over here.”

She finds herself smiling back, fiddling with the sleeve on her coffee cup. “So soon wasn’t soon ‘nough for you, huh?”

“Was jus' hopin' there was gonna be a soon. Thought you might not call.” There’s something there she hasn’t heard before – vulnerability.

Swallowing, she avoids eye contact with the barista at the till, glancing down at her table. “Well, I guess I jus’ wanted y'to have my number.” She provides lamely, not knowing how to respond to him.

“Coulda text me,” he supplies, not rude but prodding, letting her avoid what he said, and searching for a reason behind her calling.

I wanted to hear your voice, is a stupid, irrational thing to be thinking so she doesn’t say it. “I...” She falters. God, why is she so bad at this?

“Go out with me,” Daryl suddenly shoots off, his voice quick and unsure.

Beth blinks into space. “Like... Like a date?”

“D'you wanna date?”

Her heart bangs against her chest, fingers shaking so bad she doesn’t attempt to raise her cup, even though she thinks her coffee would have cooled somewhat by now. “Would... Would you be okay with us goin’ slow?”

There’s a pause on the other end and she tenses, wondering if it’s a deal breaker. “Was it when I grabbed y' throat? I knew I-"

“Daryl,” she interjects, mortified that she’s made him feel this way. “Don’t do that. I just wanna know there’s somethin' real there. Cause’a how this started.” She says pointedly, once again glancing at the brunette barista who seems a little too interested in her conversation.

Daryl blows out a breath. “We can go slow as y' want, long as y' always promise me you’ll say somethin’. Say somethin’ if I hurt you, or upset you, or you wanna say no.”

Beth frowns at the almost violent way he asks it of her, like it’s truly, soul deep important to him. She wonders if he’s always been like that, or if something changed him. “I promise.”

There’s another release of breath, a relieved one. “Look. I gotta go, m'sorry, still at work.”

A pang of disappointment twinges in her stomach. “Oh, yeah, no course. Sorry, I didn’t think.” She wants to tell him she got her own job today, and that she's recently celebrated her birthday, but she doesn’t want to keep him. “Text me when you can?”

“You got it, Greene. Gotta plan that date.”

An aching smile sticks to her face. “Lookin' forward to it. Bye, Daryl.”

“Bye, Beth.”

The line disconnects and she pulls the phone from her face, blowing out a breath. There’s a text from Jax there.

J: Lunch is at 12. You in town now?

B: Yeah, Starbucks by the Yankee store. Meet me here?

J: Order me a mocha, I’m on my way.

Beth doesn’t text back, returning instead to the counter to order Jax’s drink. By the time she’s finished her own, and ordered another one, Jax's is cool enough for her to drink when she steps into the cafe shortly after. They share a hug, Jax's skin cold against hers, smelling like fresh air.

They pull apart and take their seats, Beth letting Jax sip her coffee before she says, “d’you ring the guys?”

Jax nods, hugging her coffee cup. “Yep. They’re all broke. S'just us, if I’m not too borin' for you.” She teases.

Beth rolls her eyes, blowing on her new, hot drink. “Just like old times then.”

“I’ll toast to that.” Jax grins, lifting her cup. Beth rolls her eyes once more and they tap coffee cups. “So, new job? The one you wanted?”

Beth nods, that same excitement thrumming through her. “Which means I can get serious ‘bout movin' out.”

“What'd your folks think ‘bout that?” Jax asks, blowing at the hole in her coffee cup lid before taking an experimental sip.

“Told ‘em I wanna talk tomorrow. Once I do, I’m gonna call for a viewin’. Hope it’s still there.” Beth bites on her bottom lip, watching her friend unwind her scarf.

“Should be fine. You’ll be further from me though.” Jax pouts her cherry red, bottom lip.

“You got a place?” Beth asks. She can’t believe she didn’t think to ask before.

Jax rolls her eyes. “Nah. I’m still with Mama an' Jimmy. Can’t afford it.” Beth raises her brow and when she doesn’t speak, Jax finally laughs, lightly nudging her across the table. “Why do I know you’re picturin’ teenage us makin' plans to live together?”

“Wouldn’t it be awesome, though?” Beth encourages, excited by this new idea and holding onto it. “The place I’m lookin' at has two rooms. I was gonna have a studio but it’s a bedroom. We could split the rent.”

Jax's eyes spark with interest. “Are you serious? Beth, like serious? ‘Cause I really am goin' crazy round my mama an' Jimmy.”

“So serious!” Beth exclaims. “Oh, Jax, c'mon, remember those plans we had!”

Jax grins against her coffee lid, leaving a red smudge of lipstick. “You’d paint your masterpieces on the wall. I’d cook. There’d be a piano.”

Beth’s grin stretches as she imagines it. “The minute I saw the bathroom walls, I knew exactly what I'd paint. A mermaid. ‘Member my art project? That, bu’ better! Bigger rocks, brighter hair!” Beth gushes.

Jax’s smile softens. “I loved that piece. I still have a poloriod of it.”

“That’s great! I let the school have my original copy. I could use it to work from.”

Jax gives her dubious but keen eyes of slitted grey. “I dunno. S'a risk. What if we fight?”

“Why would we?” Beth asks, leaning forward in her chair. “We both work. I’m plannin' to travel some more, some time in the next year. We both love pets. I can’t cook, you can. You hate decoratin', I got it. C'mon, Jax, this could be awesome. I could handle the rent on my own but your input would be huge, an' you get out of your mama’s house.”

Beth drinks her coffee while Jax debates before she shakes her head. “I must be crazy. Show me the veiwin'.’

Squealing, Beth hurriedly puts her coffee cup down and retrieves her phone from the table. Bringing up the page she has memorised, she passes the phone over to Jax for her perusal. Her friend takes the object, manicured nails curling around the screen.

After a moment of her scrolling and swiping, she looks up with a grin. “Do you think they’ll have a viewing this afternoon?”

Beth bites her lip, hesitating now where excitement was before. “I kinda wanted to tell my parents that I was thinkin' ‘bout movin' before I did any viewin’s.”

Jax blows out a breath, though her hair is up today so it doesn’t ruffle her usual wayward curls. “It's just a veiwin’, Beth. We're not makin’ any decisions. We gotta talk ‘bout house rules, a deposit, all kinds of stuff.”

“I dunno...”

“Beth!” Jax laughs with exasperation. “You convinced me to move in with you! Don’t backtrack on me now. I’ll beg off work an' we'll go see it.”

She shakes her head slowly, a smile growing. “You always talk me into stuff! Lemme call ‘em, see if they’ve got a cancellation.”

“Yes! You do that, an' I’m gonna run to the bathroom.”

It turns out they do have a cancellation, for the next twenty minutes, so when Jax gets back, they hurry off. The apartment is a fifteen minute walk away, which they make while chatting about Jax's current job, and Beth's old one.

When they arrive, the find the woman showing them around is a tiny, blonde lady with a wholesome smile. “Good afternoon, ladies. My name is Leila, an' I'll be showin’ ya'll ‘round today. Shall we?” She indicates the doors.

Beth takes an excited step towards the dark, heavy double front doors of the apartment building and smiles at Jax, and Leila. They enter into a hallway, where they discover there’s a total of six apartments in the whole building. The apartment they’re viewing is on the top floor, the fifth one.

The front door opens into an airy, empty living space, a set of balcony doors the first thing Beth spots. Breathless, she swings the oak doors open onto a stunning garden view.

"Wow." She turns back and addresses the room after drinking it in.

Leila smiles. “Do y'like it? It’s the best part if you ask me.”

“It’s gorgeous! Jax, come look.”

Jax wonders over, eyes calculating. The kitchen is open plan, very small compared to the living space, and her best friend seems to be sizing it up. “Not very big over there, huh?”

"There's facilities downstairs to deal with laundry,” Leila supplies smoothly.

Smirking, Beth bounces her brow at Jax, who raises hers right back. She's good, they communicate silently. Upon further inspection, they find a slim bathroom, decorated in black and white fashion.

Beth trails her fingers over the blank walls. “Can we paint?”

“Oh yes, an' we’re pet friendly too.” Leila supplies, clutching a briefcase close to her stocking clad legs.

From the bathroom they explore the two bedrooms, both large spaces suitable for the two women to be equally happy. The cupboards are clean, the windowsill unmarked. Jax makes a show of pushing doors back and forth to see how much they squeak, and tapping glass panes in the window.

She lets her friend get on with it, occasionally conversing with Leila before Jax finally gives in with her inspection.

Glancing at Beth, she shrugs indifferently but she can tell Jax is excited. “Let’s talk fees.”

 

Chapter Text

When they’re done with the viewing, it’s nearly two in the afternoon, so Beth and Jax head back into town to start shopping. Beth treats herself further while they’re looking around town, snagging herself several nice new pairs of jeans. Jax purchases some make up and when they’re both done, they make their way to Beth’s borrowed car. The rest of the afternoon dwindles away and Beth finds herself smiling so much her face hurts. Jax has always been a best friend that, no matter how much time has passed, they could pick their friendship up right where they left it.

She’s annoyed at herself for alienating Jax when she first got home, worried she was too different to slide back into their easy way. If today has taught her anything though, it’s that they’re still the same best friends from childhood, the same goofy kids at heart. They return to Jax’s, where her mama is on a night shift at the hospital and Jimmy is out with friends. Music playing, pre-drinks flowing, laughter spiralling, they spend the evening talking and getting ready. Just after eight o’clock, Beth checks in with her mama and confirms she can keep the car until tomorrow afternoon, and then wishes her parents goodnight.

Slightly tipsy, her and Jax link arms and walk to the local pub, which Beth is pleased to find has been refurbished over the years. It’s still a little tacky, but there’s small, round tables and high stools.

“Cocktails?” Jax beams with slightly glassy eyes as they take their seat.

“Oh, hell yeah!” Beth hoots, realising she may be a little bit more intoxicated than she originally thought.

Giggling, her friend totters off in thigh high heels, he short dress catching the wandering eye of every male she passes. Beth shakes her head to herself, glancing down with slightly blurred eyes to her phone, where she shoots off a misspelled text to Daryl.

B: Kindas drunk. Whatt you doingh handsome?

Even intoxicated, she realises she’s more than likely going to regret that in the morning. If she’s totally honest with herself, it’s a lot easier to type things than say them to his face, and the alcohol can be blamed at some point too.

D: be careful, beth call me if you need me

D: have a good night

Beth frowns at her phone. Well if that’s not a dismissal, she doesn’t know what is. Her mind tries to wrack itself to what it is she’s done wrong but then Jax is back with cocktails and an entourage of eyes.

“You are so pullin’ tonight,” Beth tells her friend as she takes her cocktail, sipping at the flavour of Jax’s choosing. “Oooh, nice. Vodka?”

“Oh, yes my friend,” Jax beams, her dark painted lips stretching wide. She proffers her glass. “To movin’ in together!”

They clink glasses and then Beth doesn’t really know where the night goes after that. They drink and dance, Jax flirts with a different guy every five minutes and they slip out occasionally so Jax can smoke. Then the whole thing repeats. Drink, dance, smoke. Drink, dance, and smoke until suddenly its closing time and people are clearing out, looking for the next party. Beth and Jax stumble out, Beth’s heels swinging by her fingers after coming off her feet twenty minutes ago. The cold air makes her foggy head a little clearer but she still stumbles to the rink of cabs with Jax.

“Hey! Gorgeous girl, where you goin’!?”

Beth and Jax glance back to see the favourite of Jax’s flirts for the night, a handsome guy who looks about their age with a square jaw. “You talkin’ to me?” Jax giggles, clutching his arm as he approaches.

Rolling her eyes, Beth flags a car down as the two of them chat. One finally pulls up but when she opens the car door, her friend is pressing keys into her fist. “Y’mind f’I go back with Sam?”

“Who’s Sam?” Beth asks and then flirty boy raises his hand with a stupid grin. “Oh.” She blinks, sobering up a little more. “Sure, y’re a grown girl. You go on.”

Jax teeters on her heels, wicked thick winged eyeliner smudged a little with sweat. “I owe y’ one, Bethy!”

Still holding the cab door open, she nods at it. “Y’ guys get in, I’ll get the next one.”

“Y’friend’s a class girl!” Sam says, gleefully throwing himself in the back.

Jax smiles sloppily, giving Beth a big hug before she gets in the back. They have a quick conversation about Beth’s welfare waiting on her own but then finally the cab is pulling off and Beth is left on the corner. Clutch and heels in hand, she takes her phone from her pocket, her addled mind telling her to call Daryl. She’s been to his place, she could just turn up there but it’s late and it’s rude. Still, she doesn’t want to go back to Jax’s empty place and she would rather stay close than go home, otherwise she’ll be back at Jax’s tomorrow getting the car and her stuff. While she debates, she wanders down the street, aimlessly walking to keep warm, hovering over the call button.

Finally, she presses it and when the line picks up the first thing she blurts out is, “why s’you so mean t’ me earlier?”

“Beth? S’… three am.” Daryl’s husky, sleep ruined voice shoots across the space between them, zinging down the phone line and directly into Beth’s ear.

“I know.” She slurs a little. “Soz.”

“Mean t’you?” He offers when she doesn’t continue speaking.

“Yeah,” she pouts, even though he can’t see her. “You was jus’ like be careful, have a nice time.”

“What an’ y’ wanted me to text y’all night? Badger you? Ain’t the kinda guy I am, girl.”

Opening her mouth, trying to process, she realises she has no argument. What’s her problem? He wishes her a good night and safety, and she wants him to hound her on text instead? Be interested in her all the time? She knows if he had text her saying that he was out, she would have done the same. Well, she would have wanted to do that but in other instances she’s always text her boyfriend, always had them texting her, like they couldn’t be trusted to be out alone. She must be truly wrecked if she’s picking a fight over nothing, with a guy she only agreed to date today. God, she’s such an embarrassing kid compared to him.

Beth pauses on the street and looks up at the moon, listening to Daryl’s silence. “M’sorry. I’ve had a drink an’ I think m’bein’ a dick.”

Daryl laughs with clear alertness, like he sat up in bed. “Where r’you girl? You home safe, now?”

“Erm,” she hesitates, looking around the dark streets. “I just got outta the bar with Jax an’ she ditched. I’m kinda… stranded?” She poses it as a question, because if she really had to, she could get home or go to Jax’s, but she’s still a little drunk and she wants to see him.

He huffs a groan, springs squeaking behind him as if he’s started to climb out of his bed. “Where are y’?”

“Downtown by…” She glances around again. “The library,” she finally supplies as she takes a casual seat on the curb.

“Gimme ten. Stay put.”

“Yes, Sir,” she giggles and hears his amused, if not exasperated laugh on the other side.

“Stay put, Greene. B’ there soon.”

“See you soon!”

Pulling her phone from her ear, she grouses to herself at the time before looking around abandoned downtown. It’s so late it’s like a ghost town, nothing but a still wind and silence. She tries not to freak herself out but her eyes are continuously drawn by the empty buildings and ominous shadows. The moon is full and glowing though, breaking through the dense clouds that try to obscure it. Beth smiles to herself. No matter how many times she’s tried to take that moon to her sketch pad, or a blank canvas, she’s never been able to truly capture its beauty. A rustle by her feet startles her, and she looks down to find a black cat with jade green eyes.

“Hello pretty girl,” she whispers, so as not to disturb the atmosphere, hesitantly bending at the knees; dropping both her heels and clutch to reach out her fingers.

The cat presses its small, black nose to Beth’s fingers, sniffing curiously before rubbing its head against the side of her hand. Smiling wider, Beth bends all the way down until she’s on her haunches, stroking her fingers through the purring cats fur.

“I think you’re a girl, right? You look too pretty to be a boy lil’ miss.” The cat glances up at her, eyes split wide and so, so green. “I’m gonna paint your eyes when I getta chance. They’re so damn pretty.”

The cat meows and it convinces Beth to sit on her ass on the curb, encouraging the little kitty to climb into her lap for fuss. When Daryl pulls up, that’s how he finds her, though the cat shoots away when his engine dies.

“Hey! We we’re becomin’ friends an’ y’ just skipped out on me!? Hussy!”

“Greene?” Daryl calls through his lowered window.

Beth glances at him with wide eyes, her sobering brain telling her she might just look a little bit nuts. “Yeah?”

He shakes his head and laughs under his breath, like he can’t quite understand her. “Get in the cab an’ leave y’ friends out there.”

She pouts as she grabs her stuff, rounds the hood and clumsily pulls open the passenger door, hauling herself in. “Clearly we’re not friends.”

Daryl snorts and she crosses her arms over her chest after dropping her things between them on the seat. “Stop pickin’ on me,” she whines.

“Wow, y’really r’ pissed.” He laughs as he takes the wheel again.

Looking across the cab, Beth lightly punches his arm. “Shull’up. I go'lla job t'day!”

His shakes his head at her erratic behaviour, glancing in his mirrors before pulling out into the road. “Looks like I need t’get you tucked up in bed.”

Rolling her head against the seat behind her, she smiles. “Your bed, right?”

“Yeah, Greene,” Daryl hums, his hand reaching across the seat for her own. “My bed.”

Chapter Text

It takes two seconds. Two seconds between Daryl unlocking the door, them stepping inside and sharing one, hot look. Then they’re kissing. Hot, heavy kissing full of bravado she wouldn’t have sober. Fingers in hair and body pressed flush against his, hips rocking. They trip their way to the same kitchen counter he fucked her on. The same counter of which he deposits her on after picking her up.

Moaning softly, Beth pulls away from Daryl’s lips with a staggering chest, enraptured by his swollen lips. “Wait, wait, wait!” She presses her fingers against Daryl’s questing mouth, blocking his kisses.

He pulls back, looking embarrassed. “Shit, y’said you wanna go slow an’ I ain’t listenin'. An’ y’ had a drink an’ I’m pawin’ at y li-"

“What?” She cuts of his rambling with a frown, until she remembers she did ask if they can go slow. Cheeks heating as she dismisses what a hussy she is around him, she clarifies. “I’m... erm, I know I said that, but I wanna, I mean, even if...” She flounders, feeling like a moron. “I’m actually... on.

Daryl looks confused for a moment before realisation dawns. Beth tenses as she prepares for him to pull away, for the awkward silence but he surprises her, as he always does. “Shit, an' I was squeezin’ all your waist an' stuff. Didn’t hurt you did I?”

“Oh,” Beth murmurs, trying to process his reaction. “No, not at all. I just, y'know, can’t.” He nods like he’s already brushed it off, which she tries not to take offense to but she's a little emotional. “Wow, don’t fight too hard.”

Rolling his eyes, he strokes her hip with his thumb. “You’re probably crampin' to fuck an’ havin’ my dick in you ain’t gonna make you feel better.”

Blushing, she glances away when she replies, “why you so calm? Guys usually freak out over this stuff.”

Beth looks back in time to watch him roll a shoulder, reaching up to play with the ends of her hair. She pretends like that doesn’t give her shivers. “Been ‘round Lori for years. Kinda desensitized now.”

Laughing, she presses her hands to his belly softly. “She's scary at the best of times.”

Daryl fakes a shudder. “Tell me ‘bout it.”

A silence settles for a moment and despite knowing she can’t do anything to fix it, need thrums through her whole body. She squirms in frustration, her hands eagerly dragging down Daryl’s body until she reaches his belt buckle. He looks down at her with eyes of renewed shrunken desire but twitches his hips back with a shake of his head.

So he’s trying to tease her, huh? Quickly, she yanks on his fly, rapidly tugging down his jeans and underwear at the same time. His cock springs free, thick and semi-hard. Beth marvels in his girth for a moment, throat swollen closed at the reminder that it’s been inside her.

Just before she can reach it, he beats her hand away and tucks himself back into his jeans. “Girl, I cain’t. Y’re pissed as hell.”

Please,” she whines, scrabbling for him.

Daryl shakes his head, blocking her advances. “Girl, m’serious. I said no. Liste’ when you say no, liste’ when I do.”

She swallows and nods. He’s right. If she said no, she would be pissed if he kept trying and she should pay him the same respect. She’s sober enough to know that.

"Sorry,” she whispers with hot cheeks. “M’sorry, Daryl, I wouldn’t force y’.”

He strokes her cheek; presses a kiss to her forehead. “C’mon, wanna get to bed?”

Nodding, she sways a little, ready to hop off the counter but her head rocks before her body and quite suddenly she’s throwing up. All over Daryl. Her sobering brain is dying in embarrassment, but her queasy belly is chucking up more and more. Daryl, to his credit just rubs her back soothingly, helping her bring it up, even though it’s all over him and his floor.

When she’s finally done, shaking with streaming eyes, she glances up at him and finds his patient face. “Y’good?”

“I’m so sorry,” she moans in mortification.

He shakes his head. “C’mon, girl, let’s get y’up the stairs.”

After that, she kind of just lets him help out her slouching body. Beth would have thought throwing up would make her feel less drunk, but if anything she feels more dizzy and out of control. She’s barely an aid in helping wash her face, letting Daryl take a warm face towel to her grubby skin, wiping the sick and the make-up.

Her jeans come off when her eyes are drooping and before she knows it, she’s laying down as he tucks her in and falling asleep. At some point she feels Daryl get into bed, smelling like clean soap, his chest bare. He curls around her and she slips back into warm, safe unconscious.


“Oh my sweet Lord, my head,” Beth groans.

Eyes blinking open, she takes stock of her surroundings. Daryl’s bed. Again. Although she definitely has no plans to sneak out this time. Turning her head to look at her bed companion, she finds Daryl’s slack mouth and twitching eyelids. His yummy bare chest. She stares for a blessed moment.

Until he grumbles in his sleep, pawing at his pillow half conscious with thick, bunching biceps. Beth holds her breath as she lifts the blanket ever so slowly and begins to slip her bare legs out of the bed.

“Sneakin’ out on me ‘gain?” Daryl’s rough, hoarse voice asks.

Oh sweet Jesus. Beth jumps out of her skin and grabs a pillow as his eyes start opening. “Don’t look at me! You’ve never seen me in the mornin’, an’ I have sick breath!”

She nearly tumbles the rest of the way out of the bed, bringing up the pillow so it blocks her face as Daryl laughs from the other side of the mattress. “Beth, c’mon, sure my breath ain’t too good right now neither.”

“I mean it, Mr! Close your eyes!” She shouts as she stumbles around the bed frame, hurrying for the door. “Lemme assess the damage then you can see me ‘gain.”

Daryl snorts. “Yeah but y’ goin’ in-“

“Two seconds!” She cuts over him as she successfully slips out of the door.

When it’s shut, she tips her head against it for a moment and cradles the pillow with a sigh. Oh, it’s all coming back to her now. How embarrassing. Cringing, she realises in that horrifying instant she just exited into the hall when the bathroom is Daryl’s on suite. To get there she has to go through his room.

Lifting the pillow, she hurries back in and answers, “yeah, yeah,” just as he finishes with “-t’ wrong direction.”

Peeking at him over the pillow, she huffs at how gorgeous he looks when he’s just woken up too. “Now that’s what I mean, that’s jus’ rude,” she mutters as she grabs the knob of the door. “Oh, shit, I need my clutch.”

Still hiding, she turns to go back the way she came but then Daryl grunts and she peaks to see him roll out of bed. “I got it.”

“Thanks,” Beth smiles with flush cheeks, still using the pillow as a screen between them so he can only see her eyes.

Letting herself admire him for a brief moment, she finds herself salivating at his rippling muscles. God, what a man. When he slips out of the bedroom door, she slips in the bathroom one. Hurrying to the mirror, Beth inspects the damage. Foundation is non-existent, mascara smudged into panda eyes and remnants of dried drool.

Oh, please say he didn’t get a good look at her. She sets to work on washing her face but then decides she needs a whole shower to fix herself into something half decent. Turning it on, she first quickly uses the toilet before flushing and stripping.

The door knocks and then Daryl’s voice follows. “Got y' purse.”

Cracking the door open, she hides behind it and blindly sticks her hand out. “Thanks, Daryl.”

Snorting, he presses it into her grasp. “Lemme know f' need anythin’ else.”

“Maybe a t-shirt?” Beth asks the crack in the door.

“This stealin' habit's gettin’ serious, Greene.”

Laughing, Beth pulls her hand back as she begins to shut the door again. “Get used to it.” Kinda plannin' to stick around, she adds to herself silently.

With the door shut and her clutch on the side, she finally turns to the bathtub and steps into the embrace of hot, streaming water. Grabbing shampoo, she first scrubs it through her greasy hair after a night of sweaty dancing. After, she uses Daryl's body wash for a good, thorough clean up, and then climbs out; turning the shower back off. From the rack, she grabs two towels, using one to wrap around herselfl and taking another for her hair.

Stepping towards the mirror, she catches a whiff of herself and has to share a private smile with her own reflection. She smells exactly like him. With her second towel in hand, she takes to drying her hair and then pops her clutch to seek a tampon. Blushing ridiculously, as if Daryl knows what she's doing, she quickly finishes up and then looks in the mirror again.

After a long, hard look, she decides to call this one a bust. She looks horrendous. Sweet mother of mercy, why? With no toothbrush available, she does a horrific finger scrub with toothpaste and swills her mouth out. Grimacing at her mirror image, Beth decides no more can be done about it and throws her hair towel in the hamper, leaving her wet hair to air dry. Well, there's nothing else she can use to procrastinate.

Cautiously, she turns the lock on the bathroom door, cracking it open an inch. Daryl is still in bed, lounging against the headboard with a cigarette. Beth watches him for a moment, wondering at how much and how little she knows of him.

When he glances up at her, the corner of his mouth tips. “So, not sneakin' out, huh?"

Rolling her eyes, Beth approaches the bundle of clothing on the bottom of the bed. “Y' never gonna let that one go, huh?”

“Natta chance,” he remarks smugly, flicking the ash of his cigarette into the ashtray on his bedside table.

She flicks her eyes up at him as she finds his boxers and picks them up. “For me?”

“Thought you’d want summat fresh, ain’t gotta wear ‘em. Kinda hot f' you do though.” He grins.

Beth grins back at him. He’s so infectious. She thinks she might be dangerously obsessed with him as it is. She can’t handle the blinding smiles in bed with him half naked on top of that. She turns her back as she drops her towel.

He had began to tut when she turned but it whistles out into a curse when the towel falls. “Dammit, Beth.”

 

Chapter Text

Smirking, a hot flush burns through her chest. It's almost pride at her own daring. The things he does to her. The confidence he brings her. Infectious, she confirms to herself as she slides his boxers up her legs and settles them on her hips. She's never worn boxers before, let alone ones that belong to someone she’s sleeping with. It's thrilling for a reason she can’t explain.

So is Daryl’s voice. “Turn ‘round. Gimme a break.”

Heart rabbiting in her throat, she’s positive she hasn’t got the balls but somehow, some way, her feet twist on the spot until she’s facing him. His boxers, bare chest and face, wet hair, breasts on display. She's never felt so exposed.

“Beth,” he grinds out and she really, really wishes she could climb in his lap and ride him.

A hot fire stings her cheeks, her voice squeaky when she forms words. “Why y'lookin' at me like that?”

“’Cause y'want me too, an’ that’s hot as fuck,” he answers boldly, his hot eyes setting her alight.

“Yeah?” She asks shakily, sure the flush is burning her torso like wild fire. “What d’I want you t' do now?”

Smirking, Daryl rolls his shoulders. “Summat you ain't ready for.”

Beth cocks her brow, her intrigue nearly enough to make her forget she's topless. Nearly. “Oh, yeah? Care to share?”

Looking sinful, his eyes flare when he whispers, “fuck you. Right now.”

“Right now?” She puzzles. Why wouldn't she be ready for that? He waits and it clicks. The heat that sweeps her is ridiculous. “Despite...?”

Another smirk. “Like I said. Y'ain't ready f' that.”

Would she ever be ready to fuck him on her period? She can barely express herself as it is. If she ever will be, it’s a long way away. Shaking her head, she reaches for his t-shirt and slips it on.

One of the things Beth really likes about Daryl, is his ability to steer her when she flounders. “C'mere,” he whispers now.

The other thing, is the way he looks at her. The things he makes her feel. He's so imposing, so mature, so much more that it's awe inspiring. He makes her want to be amazing, to be the best she can be just to impress him. How dangerous is that? She thinks as she approaches him. Is she obsessed? Infatuated? Or just half in love with him already?

Daryl hums under his breath as she reaches his side of the bed, his rough palms dancing up her thighs until she tingles all over. Reaching out to his shoulders, she grips them as a pleasant sound rides out of her mouth. How can one touch feel so good? His hands curl around her thighs, gently tugging and Beth follows. Soon, she finds herself straddling him, her cheeks hot and belly squirming.

He looks up at her, hands still on her thighs and eyes a little dazed. “Y'look way too good in my shirt. M'burnin' all your clothes.”

Beth laughs, trying to distract herself from his hard cock pressing into her thigh. “First you wanna take me shoppin', then you wanna destroy everythin’. Make up your mind,” she teases.

Daryl's hands run over her ass cheeks and her breath clutches in her throat. “I'd take naked over ‘em both.” Here, he flips the t-shirt up at the back and squeezes her boxer clad ass cheeks. “So sexy.” He growls into her throat.

Hot tingles blast her skin, sweeping through her veins in a dizzying rush. Screw her periods timing to the pits of hell. She wants him back inside her so bad she's breathless with it, nipples tight and chest straining.

“Daryl,” Beth whines softly, pressing her face to his hair, his lips still working her throat.

“Smell so fuckin’ good,” is all he grumbles back, teeth biting ever so softly. She whimpers and he does it again, her hips rocking a little. Daryl hisses sharply. “Y'like that?”

Pulling his head away, hands still on her ass, he takes her lips. Beth moans into the kiss, hands reaching to frame his face. As her skin comes into contact with his, he groans and reclines back against the headboard. She slides in his lap, his cock clipping her clit through her borrowed boxers. A gasp slips down Daryl's throat and he growls, detaching their lips.

“Y'trust me?” He asks raggedly, staring into her eyes.

Beth nods, her stomach a mess of knots. He smiles soothingly and reaches for the front of the boxers she's wearing.

She tenses. “Daryl! I'm still-”

He holds her eyes again. “Trust me.”

Swallowing, she nods again and he pulls the fabric down until she's half exposed. The blush on her face is painfully hot but she can't look away from his eyes. Not until his other hand moves, rustling between them. She glances down and feels her heart give way. His cock is free now, thick and long. Taking a hold of himself, Beth watches as he guides the head of his cock to where she's exposed, nestling the tip of his shaft against her clit.

The world swims a little, the pre-cum on his tip smearing against her clit until she has to squeeze her eyes closed. Sweet Jesus. Her fingernails squeeze his shoulders, her breathing wild and shaky.

“Beth? You okay? You want me t' stop?” He asks, his face so close when she opens her eyes.

She shakes her head, swallowing again. “I-" Come on, Beth. “I... like it. Really like it.”

“That's my girl,” he whispers back. “Watch us. Watch how good we look.”

Beth can only whimper as she looks down, the boxers tangled but quite clearly seeing her pussy lips spreading over the tip of his cock. His one hand is wrapped around the base while the other pushes down all the fabric in his way. Just the sight makes her feel cross eyed, but when he jerks his cock against her clit she trembles from head to toe.

“Oh shit,” she spits, not sure who she surprises more with the exclamation.

Apparently, it’s Daryl because his head jerks up and his eyes burn into her skull. “This's all I need t' do to make you react like that? Motherfuck, Beth.”

Panting, she tips her forehead against his, her face burning with desire and a smudge of embarrassment. In her head she’s chanting all sorts of things. Please, more, faster, but all she manages for real is broken whimpers as Daryl’s cock head massages her clit. With her hands on his shoulders, she can slightly twitch her hips.

Any time she does though, she knocks their positioning and Daryl has to replace himself against her clit, so she remains still. Absorbing the pulses in her cunt, Daryl’s pre-cum making the roll of his cock head so much more delicious. Her breath blasts against his forehead, and she finds herself kissing his hair line, cupping his head to her chest.

Daryl’s own hot breath blows through the t-shirt of his she’s wearing, twisting her nipples into tight points that push out of the fabric. Groaning from his own view, Daryl’s hands tighten on Beth’s hips, using her still body to rock against her clit. Biting her lower lip, she lets her eyes flutter closed as her legs tighten with each shock of pleasure.

“Oh God, m’gonna… Daryl.” Her mouth runs away with her, her whole body tense and desperate for release.

“C’mon girl,” Daryl grunts, his breath erratic and heart banging against hers.

Her spine curves further into itself as the orgasm weighs down on her, heavy and insistent, driven higher by the sounds Daryl is making. “There.

As the word spits between her teeth, her orgasm tightens her body to extreme points of paralysis until she’s ramrod straight, crying out from the ripples in her cunt.

“Fuck me.” Beth’s eyes flutter open to Daryl’s face as he speaks, still shuddering with aftershocks. “Fuck me,” he repeats, his eyes wild with desire.

A flush is burning through her but she’s too loose now to hold back. She takes his dick in hand, jerking as his cock head comes away from her sensitive clit. “Looks like someone didn’t finish.”

He cocks his brow at her, head rolling on his shoulders. Beth smiles, leaning forward to kiss him as she works her wrist on his straining cock. He always makes her feel good, and she wants to do the same for him. It’s not much longer until he’s jerking his hips up to meet her hand, their mouths detaching so he can tip his head back and groan.

Looking down, she flushes hot from head to toe when she finds his straining dick. Red and swollen, desperate for release just like she was. Her hand cups his face, her thumb stroking his cheek as she goes in for another kiss. His mouth opens for her immediately, their tongues dancing and his moans sliding down her throat.

Against her lips, he grunts, “Beth! Girl, m’gon- ah, fuck.”

Squeezing his shaft and using her thumb against his wet cock head, Beth looks down in time to see creamy white cum oozing in jerking spurts against Daryl’s stomach. She’s breathless as she watches, pumping at his dick just to watch it jerk and spasm as his orgasm pours out of him.

When his hand reaches for her wrist, his chest shuddering, Beth finally stops. Glancing up with a blazing face, she smiles a little self-consciously.

Daryl shakes his head weakly. “Don’t do that.”

“Do what?” She whispers quietly as she lays against his chest, not caring for his cum covered stomach.

Angling his head down to look at her, he reaches up with a shaking hand and strokes her hair from her burning cheeks. “Get embarrassed. Clam up. Tha’ was fuckin’ hot, Beth.”

Grinning, she nods her head, allowing herself this. “Really, really hot.”

Laughing softly, they cuddle for a little while, even closing their eyes to the point of nearly falling asleep. Beth is certainly on the ledge of unconsciousness when Daryl groans and stretches, lifting her where she’s sprawled over him.

Groaning herself, she cracks an eye open at him. “Mm, why you movin’?”

“C’mon, we’re gonna get some food.” He smiles crookedly, dancing his fingers down her arm.

“Breakfast?” She asks more enthusiastically, lifting her head to look up at him. “I ain’t much of a cook but I make mean French toast.”

Daryl grins, his eyes slightly blinded by the fringe of his hair. Beth resists the urge to swipe it away as she listens to his reply. “Yeah? I’d like me somma that, or we can go get summat in town?”

“In town?” She hesitates. This would be her first public outing with him. Acting like a couple... “Daryl?” She probes, her face already burning. Just ask him, Lori encourages in her memories.

He frames her cheek with his large palm. “Wha's wrong? You er... don't wanna be seen wit’ me? ‘Cause,” he pauses to roll his shoulder. “Cause I'm older?”

Her throat aches a little at the vulnerability painting his face. It's not too often she sees this side of him. “Not at all. I can see who I want, Daryl. Which is what I was askin’...” She trails off, still struggling.

Continuing to frown, he doesn't seem to be getting it. Until finally, his brow clears and a smile curls towards a smirk. “Y'askin’ me out?”

Beth lightly taps his shoulder in outrage, her laugh saving her nerves. “I just wanna know what this is, y'know?”

A rumble vibrates in his chest as he wraps his arms around her and pulls her to his chest in a hug. “This’s whatever y'want ‘tbe.”

She squeezes her eyes closed. Is he going to make her ask or does he genuinely just want it to be her choice? Her stomach chooses that moment to rumble, flushing her cheeks and severing the moment. Daryl laughs as she sits back up. “C'mon, breakfas' an' then we'll swing by that naughty little shop an' add t' your collection.”

“Collection?” Beth murmurs in confusion until she remembers his heated words about buying more for her lingerie collection against Rick and Lori’s house. “Oh. Right. That collection.”

His smirk is wicked and he takes the moment to press a quick, hard kiss to her mouth. Pulling away to answer, “that collection.”

Chapter Text

After both of them getting dressed properly, Beth back into her jeans and heels, with a grey shirt Daryl borrows her, they set off. Walking down the street towards Jax’s apartment, Beth’s grinning from Daryl’s hand entwined with hers, and also blushing from the panties she was wearing last night being stuffed in her clutch. She sees them in there again when she retrieves Jax’s key as they arrive upon her best friends mama’s house. Turns out she didn’t need it because after she unlocks the door and leads Daryl into the kitchen, Jax is stood with wild bed hair, smeared mascara, and eating toast in a t-shirt and thong.

“Jax!” Beth cries, reaching on her tip toes to cover Daryl’s eyes with a hasty slapped palm over them.

He snorts a laugh, turning right around so he can no longer see her semi- naked best friend, which Beth finds maddeningly endearing as she drops her hand back to her side.

Stealing her attention, Jax squeaks in surprise, dropping her toast on the counter; leaving a smear of butter behind. “Shit, Beth! Y’damn near gave me a heart attack!”

Beth flares her eyes at Jax and jerks her head at Daryl. “We kinda have company. This’s gonna have to be a rule when we move into ‘gether, y’know.”

“You’re movin’ out?” Daryl asks, turning his head just enough to look at her on his right.

“Tell you later,” Beth answers, reaching her hand to turn his cheek away again. “Jax, cover up!”

“Okay, okay,” her best friend huffs, edging out of the kitchen towards her bedroom. Just before she turns the corner, she turns her head back to Beth and mouths: Who’s the guy?

Tell you later, Beth repeats back silently. It only strikes her in that moment that she hasn’t told Jax about Daryl at all. She slightly can’t believe she hasn’t, since he’s been on her brain so much lately. It seems inevitable that she would have mentioned him at some point. He’s all she thinks about.

Turning back to said man, she grimaces. “Sorry, I thought she would'a still been with the guy from last night.”

He shrugs his shoulders, tucking his hands into his back jean pockets. “S’fine. So, y’re movin’ out?”

She really wants to wrap her arms around him in a hug, but that seems way too clingy, so she folds them over her chest instead, tucking her clutch under her arm. “Me an’ Jax saw this place together yesterday. S’close to my new job.”

A strange smile curls over Daryl’s mouth and she’s surprised after a moment to find that it’s pride. “Was waitin’ for y’ to sober up ‘fore I congratulated y’.”

Smiling herself, she shrugs her shoulders good-naturedly. “Feels good. I start Monday. So I should really try an’ find some clothes while we’re in town,” she says the last part more to herself.

Daryl cocks his brow, reaching out to pull her into a hug, as if he read her mind. Holding her clutch in hand, she hugs him back, her chin tipped against his chest. “Y’ sayin’ you’re gonna model me summa them straight skirts?”

Straight skirts? She puzzles to herself. After a moment, she proffers the correct clothing. “Y’mean ‘pencil’ skirts?”  

“Fuck ‘f I know,” he scoffs in a low grumble, raising goose bumps on her arms around his back “All I know’s they’re tight an’ your ass is gonna make me hard s’a rock.”

Flushing, Beth opens her mouth to reply but Jax’s voice enters the room shortly after the woman, interrupting whatever she was going to say in response to that. “Did y’ only have this one bag of stuff, Beth?”

Pulling away from Daryl’s warmth, she turns to her friend who enters appropriately dressed, fresh faced and proffering Beth’s overnight bag. “Yeah, jus’ the one. Thanks Jax.”

There’s a beat of silence where Jax flares her eyes at her and then Beth gasps. “Oh, right! Jax, this is my…” Beth falters, her hands indicting Daryl and quickly supplies with hot cheeks, “Daryl. This is Daryl. An’ Daryl, this is my friend, Jax.” She finishes, pointing at her friend. 

“Best friend,” Jax corrects with an eye roll as she offers her hand to Daryl.

“Nice t’ meet you,” Daryl answers politely as they shake hands.

“You too,” Jax replies pleasantly, and Beth doesn’t miss her friends flickering eye of approval as they release hands. “Beth’s told me all ‘bout you.”

Beth flares her eyes at the same time as Daryl asks, “has she now?”

With introductions done, hands shook and wanting to change the subject, Beth turns to her friend. Opening her bag, she throws her clutch inside and roots through the contents for some different shoes. “Sorry to barge in on you. Thought you’d be with Sam. I take it your brotha’s not here, walkin’ ‘round like that.”

“Was that his name?” Jax asks with a laugh as she heads back to her dropped toast. “Jimmy won’t turn up for hours yet an’ Mama’s due back ‘round twelve, so.” She shrugs, continuing to stuff her face.

Shaking her head as she retrieves her converses, Beth looks up at Daryl. “I promise she’s not a hussy.”

Daryl snorts as Jax shouts, “hey!” Through a mouthful of toast. “Pot, kettle. Y’jus’ come through my door in last night’s jeans an’ lover boy’s shirt. What happened t’yours?”

“She’s quick,” Daryl teases Beth before turning to Jax. “She puked down it. An’ me.”

“Oh, niceee,” Jax drawls, hip cocked casually against the counter. “Real classy, my girl.”

“Shut up,” Beth answers them both, her cheeks burning.

Fuck, she totally forgot she threw up everywhere. How fucking embarrassing, sweet Jesus. They begin to chatter between the three of them while Beth bends her head to change shoes and zips her bag back up. All the time avoiding who Daryl actually is, since Beth doesn’t quite know herself yet. With her car keys in hand, they say their goodbyes at Jax’s front door, Beth leaning in to kiss her friend on the cheek.

Jax takes the opportunity to whisper, “you still gotta give me the deets! Ring me later, missus.”

“I will,” Beth laughs, pulling away to meet Daryl on the sidewalk.

Jax waves them off when Beth unlocks her parent’s car and they both climb in, after Beth throws her bag in the back seat. Then  she rounds the car to climb into the driver side, and just as they’re pulling away, she has a weird thrill in her stomach seeing Daryl in the passenger seat. She’s not sure why, it’s just there.

Distracting the thought, eyes on the road, she asks, “still hungry?” Trying to mentally map the nearest café.

“Starvin’,” Daryl answers and when she spares a moment to look at him, at his burning eyes and smirking mouth, languish body in the other seat, she knows he isn’t just talking about food.

Flushing again, she turns her eyes back to the road and keeps her mind focused on driving them safely. Twenty minutes later, they park the car and make their way into town from the parking lot. As they slowly enter into the bustle of the back alleys leading into central town, Beth spies a clinic tucked into a tiny street corner.

Slowing to a halt, Daryl takes her cue and comes to a stop too, looking over at her with a raised brow. “Y’ good?”

Chewing on her lip, Beth nods, still looking at the clinics bubble shaped blue logo. “Y’think I should grab a leaflet or summat?” Not having to look at him helps her get the words out, but she’s still blushing bright red. “Y’know, ‘cause…”

“’Cause?” Daryl prompts when she falls silent.

Beth turns her head to look at him, shrugging her shoulder self-consciously. “We’re goin’ slow, right? I know this mornin’…” she flushes harder here, and then startles at Daryl’s laugh. “Wha’s so funny?”

A smirk curls on Daryl’s mouth. “You’re a hell cat in bed, but y’ blush like y’re not. S’cute.”

“Should I be offended?” She teases, forcing away her twitching smile.

Daryl reaches up to stroke her cheek as he crowds closer to her. The street is quite deserted but her heart still races being so public with him. “Y’should realise m’kinda…” he stops to stare into her eyes, licking his bottom lip in almost a nervous gesture. “Drunk ‘round you. All the time.”

She’s not quite sure what to say, so she stretches up on her tiptoes and kisses him. They kiss for a beautifully long while, her mind lost to him. His taste, his scent, his warmth, the way he makes her feel. After what feels like hours they pull away, their lips swollen and their breaths panting together between them.

“F’y wanna go inside, I’ll come wit’ y’,” he rumbles beneath his breath, tongue once more flipping out to lick his bottom lip.

Desire curls into a torturous rope of fire in her stomach every time she witnesses him do that. Ignoring the urge to fling herself at him again, she forces her eyes to wrench away from his with a quick nod.  “Let’s go in.”

Daryl nods too, and so they walk hand in hand into the clinic. Honestly, she expected him to shy away from something like this. Protecting herself from pregnancy during sex, being responsible for it. But she should have known, of course. She doesn’t know a lot about him just yet, but she certainly got the memo when it comes to the things he cares about. A shared responsibility in sex being one of them. Whether that’s communication, pregnancy prevention, STD tests, or all three. He’s made it very clear that he knows what he wants, he knows who he is, and he knows how to live his life comfortably, extending that to his sex life. She respects that about him.

She also respects that he respects her enough to lay out the law, to walk hand in hand into the clinic, browse leaflets with her. She’s even bolstered enough by his involvement to make an appointment for the coming Tuesday evening.

“Y’want me t’ come with?” He asks her quietly as they leave the clinic, still hand in hand.

A pleased feeling settles in her chest at his offer. “Would you? S’only the consultation but.” She shrugs. “Y’can.”

He rolls his chin into his shoulder. “’Course. F’y want me there.”

“I do.” Beth grins, squeezing his hand. “Come on, let’s eat so we can shop.”

Licking his lips pointedly, he squeezes her hand back. “Y’mean let’s do brunch so we can move on t’ dessert.”

Laughing, she nods with an aching grin. “Exactly.”