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Daryl wishes he could freeze time and make this moment last, just keep sitting here, watching Beth giggle and smile up at him in between sips from a mason jar she held in her hands. It had been a stupid idea, stealing some of his brother’s moonshine and driving out into the middle of nowhere to celebrate Beth’s almost graduation and him finally getting his own place, but she hadn’t said no. Beth was always surprising him. The blonde was the sweetest thing he had ever seen in his life, a good girl who thought of others and knew how to make anyone feel better, but there was also this fire in her that she only showed to him. It was that fire that had her eyes shining at him and nodding her head when he showed her the stolen booze and suggested trespassing on some random stretch of land that had just looked right. His breathe caught in his chest every time she agreed to do something with him. It baffled him that this amazing woman wanted anything to do with him.

Daryl took a sip out of his own jar and leaned his back against the toolbox in the bed of his old truck. Beth crawled over and snuggled into the crook of his arm and they both looked up at the night sky.

“Isn’t it beautiful,” the young woman asked, staring up at the stars with a sort of wonder that would make anyone who didn’t know Beth think she was drunk already.

He nodded, but he sure wasn’t looking at the same thing. He knew what the night sky looked like, they were far enough away from any city lights that she could probably see the Milky Way. He could see the lights twinkling in her eyes, her hair reflecting the moon’s glow, everything about her was almost other worldly. He put his arm around her, which he had no business doing and he cringed at the thought of what her father would probably do to him if he saw some redneck trash like himself holding his precious baby girl. He didn’t deserve her, didn’t even come close. He couldn’t help himself though, it just felt so good to hold her close that he pushed those thoughts out of his head and thought about something else, how they met.

He put the cigarette to his lips and inhaled, letting the smoke fill his lungs and numb his wired nerves. This whole thing was stupid, he didn’t know why he had agreed to come anyway. Prom wasn’t his thing, people were not his thing, but then again almost everything other than hunting in the woods alone wasn’t his thing. Somehow, his best friend, Rick, and this chick he had been hooking up with had talked him into it. He didn’t really care for her, but she put up with Merle and that was more than most girls were willing to do. However, she apparently didn’t put up with him showing up to prom in his usual attire, torn jeans and a sleeveless shirt, without flowers or anything. She had torn into him and made a whole scene, which ended with dumping him. The whole breakup honestly still confused him because they had never been an official thing to begin with.

It didn’t matter though because the truth was he was happier sitting outside on the tailgate of his truck smoking a cigarette rather than being inside the crowded dance hall with all the fucking idiots he couldn’t stand at school. He didn’t want to go home though. It was the 10th year anniversary of when his ma had went up in flames. Merle was off getting high and their paw was sure to be drunk and in a worse mood than ever. He didn’t want to be here but ultimately, he hadn’t wanted to be alone, so that was how he had gotten talked into coming to this shitty school function. He took another long drag of his cigarette and listened to the muted music thrumming coming through the building walls.

Suddenly, the music became louder and clearer, before a slamming door cut off the party. Daryl’s eyes jumped over to see this beautiful blonde stomping through the parking lot, her cowboy boots sticking out beneath her white, lacy dress. Close on her tail was the quarterback of the football team, Jimmy. Daryl had seen them around school, but hadn’t bothered to try to learn anything about them. Beyond his avoidance of any social interaction, they were both younger than him (he was a junior, Jimmy a sophomore, and the blonde a freshman). “Beth, wait,” called Jimmy, running after the young woman, who didn’t even falter in her steps.

"Beth, just let me explain,” begged the football captain.

              That made Beth stop, but probably not in the way Jimmy wanted. Daryl watched the scene unfold as the small blonde rounded on the taller boy and began giving him a piece of her mind.

“Explain,” she screeched, “what is there to explain? I saw you kissing Eliza and it wasn’t some little tiny kiss either, y’all were full on making out! Do you think I’m stupid?”

Daryl had to hold back the chuckle that threatened to come up out of his throat. It was funny to see the tiny, sweet blonde growling so viciously that even the football captain was taking a few steps back.

Here, take this,” she yelled, yanking a ring off her finger and thrusting it at him, “I know just how much your promises are worth now. It is over Jimmy!”

Having said this and thrust the promise ring into her former boyfriend’s hand, she turned and continued her walk through the parking lot, drawing even closer to where Daryl was sitting, unnoticed.

Beth,” called her loser ex-boyfriend, “just wait, I’m your ride home. I know none of your friends are here, you are going to need a ride back, just get in the car and we can talk.”

“I’m done talking Jimmy,” Beth snapped furiously, “and I would rather walk in the dark than ride with you.”

I can’t just let you walk home in the dark, it isn’t safe,” warned Jimmy, “young girl like you and it is a long walk to your family’s farm.”

She can ride with me,” Daryl found himself saying, somewhat gruffly since the smoke had affected his voice.

Both heads whirled around, startled at finding someone witnessing their argument. Beth blushed and for a moment looked abashed and turned away, looking down at the ground.

“Fucking Dixon,” spat Jimmy, “lurking out here, like a fucking creep listening in on our conversation, this isn’t any of your business. Beth doesn’t want a ride home from some redneck hick like you.”

Daryl could feel the anger building and he started to clench his fists when Beth finally looked up and her eyes met his.  She must have seen something there because the wetness in her eyes dried up and a determined look replaced them.

“Shut up Jimmy,” she said curtly as she walked over to Daryl, “thank you, I would really appreciate a ride home.”

“Beth, he is a Dixon…,” continued Jimmy, running after her and catching her elbow as if he meant to lead her away.

Before he could try to pull her anywhere, Daryl grabbed the younger boy’s wrist and tightened it to a level he could tell was uncomfortable.

“Girl said she didn’t want to go with you so back off,” he said, squeezing tighter at the end of warning.

The football captain seemed to suddenly realize who he was dealing with and let go.

“Fine,” he spat out, “let some dirty Dixon take you home, hopefully y’all won’t get pulled over by the cops on your drive.”

Having said this, the young man turned around and stalked back into the building, Daryl assumed to go find Eliza. Once Jimmy was gone, Daryl realized what he had done. He suddenly wished for the morbid luck of the ground swallowing him up. He didn’t interact with most people, much less pretty, innocent, young, currently emotional girls. He was going to fuck this up so bad. Daryl turned around to see Beth staring at the ground despondently, her eyelashes fluttering delicately, trying to clear the tears in her eyes.

“Ah, so,” he began uncertainly before clearing his throat, feeling much less confident than when he had offered the ride, “door’s unlocked, ya can just hop in.”

“Yeah, okay, thanks again,” nodded Beth, reaching for the handle, but it stuck.

“Are you sure it is unlocked,” she asked, pulling a bit harder.

“Just sticks sometimes,” he answered, coming over and reaching around her, her back almost touching his chest, as he yanked open the door with a sudden metallic pop.

He immediately backed away and got in the driver’s side. Once he was in the truck, he immediately felt self-conscious. Other than Merle and Rick he never really drove anyone around. His truck certainly wasn’t new, but it got him from place A to place B. Daryl inserted the keys and revved the engine, which he prayed would turn over. Luckily it did and the radio came on the only station in the town, causing country music to fill the awkward silence.

“Ain’t much,” he found himself apologizing for some reason, “door rattles while I drive, hope it don’t bother ya too much.”

“It’s got character,” Beth said, looking around and somehow seeing something other than what he saw, “it’s nice.”

Daryl didn’t know how to respond to the compliment so he just put his truck in reverse and then headed for the road.

“Which way,” he murmured, chancing a glance over at his guest.

“Left,” Beth instructed, pointing as if saying it wasn’t enough.

As he drove, a sad country love song came on and he was about to turn it off when Beth started humming next to him, followed by a few sung notes here and there. It was unlike anything else he had ever heard. Daryl had heard people sing, but not like this. It was like the blonde next to him was putting her whole heart and soul into a few little murmured words here and there without even noticing. It was so much a part of what she was that she didn’t even seem to realize she was doing it. He must have been staring because she suddenly caught him and stopped. He immediately looked away, feeling guilty.

“Sorry,” she apologized, “just get carried away sometimes.”

“Ain’t gotta apologize,” he told her, “just gotta sing something happier, that shit is sad as crap.”

Daryl immediately wanted to bite his tongue, he should clean up his language a little bit around her but the curses just fell so naturally from his mouth. As he was still cringing over his crude statement, lithe, pale fingers turned off the radio and suddenly a much happier song was filling the truck.

“There was something about the way those blue lights were shining,” she sang, the melody bouncing all around his little truck and filling it up, “bringing out the freedom in your eyes.”

Daryl honestly didn’t know what the rest of the words were, he was just so amazed by how he had gone from smoking on the tailgate of his truck alone to driving some pretty girl home and she was even singing for him.

“Can we stop here, for just a minute,” asked Beth suddenly, the singing dying away and leaving him aching for more.

Daryl had to focus to realize where they were, he was driving by the town cemetery.

“I mean, we don’t have to,” the blonde suddenly backtracked, “you are already doing so much by giving me a ride home, I don’t mean to make you do more.”

“It’s fine,” he answered shortly, “wasn’t doing anything anyway.”

Daryl guided his truck into the cemetery and parked it in the grass. Beth got out and started walking in a way that told Daryl she had been here a number of times before.

“Ya gonna ax murder me,” he joked, trying to break the atmosphere and get her talking.

“Ha,” she laughed, glancing over at him, “nah, I will let you live since you are my ride home.”

Then, her face went from joking to serious.

“It’s just that today is the anniversary of my mother’s death,” she told him, “I didn’t really want to go to prom, I wasn’t feeling in the mood for dancing and pretending to be happy, but Jimmy had convinced me to go. I should have just stayed at home.”

Suddenly Beth stopped and they were standing in front of a grave marker that read “Annette Greene. Loving wife, mother, and sister.  February 15th 1961- May 10th 2008. No one should have to grow up without a mother. Daryl couldn’t help fidgeting and felt the need to move, so when he spotted some wild flowers, he bent down and picked them to set on top of the gravestone. Beth’s hand suddenly snuck into his. Normally he would have pulled away, but something about the moment made him glad for the touch.

“It was a car accident,” Beth suddenly was saying, “it was just some dumb, stupid accident. She had been driving home from work and suddenly a car coming the opposite way swerved and hit her. Both of them died instantly. They never knew why the other person swerved, but my mom was just suddenly gone overnight, there was no warning or anything.”

Mom’s dead too,” Daryl found himself choking out, “her own damn fault. Fell asleep smoking and whole place went up in flames.”

“Daryl…,” began Beth but then he gave her a look that warned against trying to comfort him or say anything too sweet.

Where is her grave,” she suddenly asked.

Daryl shrugged, he hadn’t been here since he was a little boy, and everything looked so different after all those years. He knew vaguely where it was, but it didn’t matter, his mother wasn’t there. However, Beth was giving him a stubborn look so they searched through the rows until they found the one. Carolyn Dixon. Aug 3rd 1967- May 10th 2001. It was a bit weather-worn, but just how he remembered it.

The blonde picked some flowers, much more carefully than he had and arranged them into a neat little bouquet before setting it on top of the gravestone just like he had. They stood there for a moment before Beth gasped.

“Daryl,” she exclaimed, “you didn’t tell me that your mom passed away today too.”

He shrugged, as if it didn’t matter. However, the blue eyes looking up at him managed to get him talking.

“Don’t like to talk about it much,” he explained, his voice hoarse, “I had been out playing with some of the other boys on my block when a firetruck rolled by. Thinking it was fun to chase it we all ran after the truck, till it stopped at my house. Trailer was almost completely burned down by then. Spent a couple of days living at the police station before my paw finally sobered up enough to come pick me up, Merle showed up a few days later, coming back from God knows where.”

He didn’t know why he was telling her all this, he had never told anyone else about when his ma died. There was something about Beth though that made him feel comfortable, that told him that she wouldn’t make fun of him or think less of him. His vision started to blur and he was just blinking the tears away when suddenly, thin but strong arms were wrapping around him. They stood in the graveyard for what felt like hours but could have been minutes. When his breathing finally calmed, the younger woman unwound herself and stepped away, taking her warmth with her.

“Ahm,” Daryl cleared his throat, already becoming uncomfortable the instant the moment was over, “I’d better get ya home.”

“Okay,” Beth agreed, but then she put one hand on his shoulder and looked into his eyes like she was really seeing him, which unsettled him a bit, “but thank you. This is just what I needed Daryl.”

He nodded and mumbled something about how it was nothing under his breath and they both climbed back into his truck. Beth didn’t sing again, although he wished she would, but she did look happier. Daryl felt better, although he would never admit it.

The blonde directed him through the little town and finally he was pulling in through a gate to the Greene family farm. He couldn’t see much, but he could imagine how amazing the place was in the daylight. The rolling land filled with corn and the forest just on the edge of the property. What was really impressive was the house. It wasn’t expensive or modern and it sure wasn’t new, but it just looked like a home someone would want to live in. It had two stories and a sort of appearance that said back in the day it had been one of the best houses around. It looked like it had been well lived in and loved, like something out of a fairy-tale.

As Daryl pulled up the drive and parked in front of the house, he couldn’t help but feel nervous. He didn’t belong here, on this property, around this family, and most especially with Beth. He had to remind himself that he was just dropping her off, surely her father wouldn’t shoot him for that.

To Daryl’s surprise, Beth didn’t instantly hop out, instead she sat there for a little while, as if thinking what to say. He instantly felt out of his element, not knowing the social graces used in such a situation. However, Beth always seemed to know just how to handle things in a way that made him feel comfortable.

The blonde put her hand on his and smiled at him in a way that made him forget just how he stuck out like a sore thumb at the farm.

“Thank you for everything Daryl,” she told him, as if he had done more than just offered her a ride, “and I’m glad I ended up getting to spend time with you tonight, I enjoyed it much more than I could have ever enjoyed prom. I will see you around school, maybe we can hang out sometime.”

Daryl’s brain was still trying to catch up with the fact that this beautiful girl wanted to actually see him again when her lips touched his cheek, their softness pressing against his scruff in a way that caused all of his thoughts to freeze.

“Goodnight,” she whispered, getting out and shutting the door to his truck, before making her way up the porch.

Before going into her house, the blonde turned around and waved at him. When she opened the door, the porch flooded with light and a woman who Daryl could only assume was her older sister greeted her with a hug. He couldn’t tear his eyes away, seeing what it was like to be welcomed home, to have someone care if you came home or not. When the door shut, he put his car in reverse and headed out, assuming that would be his last interaction with Beth Greene.

Little did he know that Beth would be saying hi to him at school every single day from then on out, with a big smile that somehow seemed to be the brightest when she was looking at him. At first, a number of the other students had been shocked. After all, it was a small town and an even smaller school. Everyone knew Daryl and there wasn’t a person in town who didn’t know about the Dixons. Most students left Daryl alone, they knew he liked his space and no one dared pick on him. Beth couldn’t have been more opposite. She was a straight-A student from a well-known family and was pretty much the town sweetheart. People couldn’t help but do a double-take when they saw the bubbly freshman talking to the older, intimidating junior.

Jimmy was even more surprised than everyone else and despite his cheating ways, was apparently still very jealous over Beth’s sudden interest in another guy. Not that it was like that, not because he wasn’t interested but because Daryl just knew that a girl like her deserved better than a guy like him. He was more than content with their daily greetings and occasionally a longer conversation. It was nice to have someone ask where he had been when he missed class or to worry about him when he came to school looking particularly tired or run down.

However, the person who was surprised the most by the new friendship had been Shawn, Beth’s older brother. Shawn was a senior and Daryl had never really interacted with him before Beth had begun showing an interest in Daryl. Suddenly, anytime Beth came to talk to him, Shawn was hovering nearby, giving him a death glare. However, that ended one day when Jimmy’s jealously caused him to run his mouth about Beth and say some things about how she was a prude that wouldn’t put out. That was a stupid thing to do, especially with both Daryl and Shawn within hearing range. After Jimmy had two black eyes and a joint trip to the principal’s office, Shawn seemed to decide that Daryl was okay in his book.

Sometimes Beth ate lunch with him, sharing whatever heavenly things she had made. Those were the best days. He would sit there scarfing down whatever the blonde put in front of him while she chatted on about her day. It allowed Rick to go talk to other people, since his best friend was much more popular and social than he was. Rick had stuck by Daryl’s side since they had met all those years ago at the police station. His best friend had gone to work with his dad, the sheriff, while Daryl had been kept at the station until his dad could be located and informed of his ma’s death. The two had taken a while to get along, but once they did they had been close ever since. They had become all but brothers in blood since Daryl supported Rick after his dad died from a gunshot in the line of duty.

That hadn’t changed, Daryl still considered Rick his brother. However, as the two had gotten older and started high school, Rick had begun to branch out more, talk to more people and be a part of football and 4-H, things that Daryl didn’t do and had no interest in joining. Recently, Rick had begun dating Lori and Daryl had been feeling a bit left out, though he wouldn’t come out and say it. Now, on days when Rick was off with Lori or the guys from his various clubs, Beth would come and keep Daryl company.

When the end of the school year came, for once Daryl was disappointed. He had gotten used to seeing Beth every day and wasn’t looking forward to waiting three whole months before he saw her again. He was in a horrible mood, glowering out from beneath his hair, which was too long for school dress code, at anyone who was in his vicinity. When the bell finally rang, he sat out at one of the tables, scratching at the wood with his pocket knife, until a cute blonde came running up to join him.

“I’m not a freshman anymore,” she announced with a joy that he couldn’t understand.

“Hmm,” he mumbled, not really looking up.

“What’s gotten into you,” she asked, bumping his shoulder with her own, her ponytail with a braid swinging around in a very distracting way when he shot a quick glance at her.

He shrugged his shoulders, not really wanting to admit just how much his mood had to do with her.

“Don’tknow,” he mumbled the words all together, not meeting her eyes.

How was he supposed to explain what he was feeling? It wasn’t like he deserved any more of her time than what she already gave him. Why in the world would she want to hang out with some low-life redneck in the summer?

“Don’t ‘idon’tknow’,” Beth mumbled, doing a silly impression of how he talked, which no one else could get away with doing, “tell me.”

If it had been anyone else, he would have told them to fuck off, but this was Beth, so he stayed and tried to come up with some words to explain it that didn’t sound like some sappy bullshit out of a damn romance novel. When he couldn’t find the words, he looked up to find the blonde staring at him with those big, blue, innocent eyes of hers. All the words he wanted to say drifted even farther away, all he could think about was what he wanted to do. How he wanted to reach over and grab that distracting little braid of hers and give it a tug. How he wanted to feel her hand in his callused one again. How he wanted press her lips to his and see if they were still as soft as when she had kissed him on the cheek.

“Oh,” Beth suddenly said, staring at him in surprise like she suddenly saw everything going on in his mind, understanding him in a way no one else could.

Nothing had been said, but Daryl felt like he had just laid everything on the table. It terrified him, to let Beth know that she meant this much to him, that he cared this much about not seeing her over the summer. He wanted to get up and walk off, go smoke a cigarette, anything but just have her staring at him. Suddenly, he was second-guessing everything, maybe Beth wouldn’t want to see him more often, maybe she was finally getting tired of hanging out with his ass. Just as he was working himself into a mess mentally, she finally spoke.

“Don’t worry,” she told him with a smile, “I’m not gonna let you off that easy. You are still stuck seeing me over the summer.”

Instantly, the tightness in his chest disappeared. Sure enough, a few days into the summer, Beth invited Daryl over to her house. At first her family was a bit wary, but they soon warmed up to him when he began lending a hand around the farm. He spent more time at the Greene’s house than his own that summer. One day, after many long hours tracking a lost calf, Daryl returned to the farm with the little animal in tow. Beth had been ecstatic since she was very attached to the baby cow and had been sobbing that morning when Shawn had found it to be missing. The blonde had come running out of the barn as he was leading Oreo out of the forest and wrapped him up in a big hug.

“What,” he snorted, “you doubted my tracking abilities.”

“Of course not,” she told him, hugging him tighter, “you are the best tracker in Georgia.”

Having said that, the blonde stood up on her tiptoes and planted a kiss right on his lips. Daryl had been so shocked he almost didn’t respond until Beth was about to pull away. He grabbed her with his free hand and pulled her closer into him, kissing her until they were both breathless.

When school finally started up again, he found himself driving Beth home from school every single day. They never sat down and talked about what was going on between them, never came up with titles, but all the boys at school knew Beth was taken. When the end of the year finally came and prom came around again, Beth and Daryl didn’t go to prom, instead they went out to Daryl’s favorite hunting spot and camped out for the night. Daryl knew Beth’s father probably wouldn’t have approved if they had known, however Beth had told them she would be at a friend’s house. He felt guilty about the lying but they didn’t do anything more than kissing that night. Beth wasn’t ready and he wasn’t going to push her. However, he did enjoy sleeping with her in his arms and waking up with his face buried in her hair.

When Daryl graduated, Beth had boys swarming around her like flies to honey, it irritated the crap out of him, but she never gave them a second glance. Daryl was soon not only taking Beth home but taking her to school. If Beth’s father cared what everyone in town said about letting his sweetheart run around with a Dixon, he never showed it. In fact, sometimes Daryl actually thought the older man might like him. The Greene family judged people for their own actions, not on their family or on what other people gossiped about.

Now, it had been several years since they first met and Daryl couldn’t imagine life without Beth and her family. It was a turn in his life that he had never expected, but somehow just fit perfectly.

“Wanna play a game,” Beth asked suddenly, sitting up and causing the spot she had previously been along his body to feel cold.

Daryl cocked an eyebrow at her but he knew the moment that she asked that he would do whatever she wanted.

“It’s easy, I promise,” she said, giggling and grinning at him in a way that made his stomach flip.

He found himself nodding as he watched her from beneath his shaggy hair.

“It’s called Never Have I Ever,” she explained, acting very serious for something that wasn’t at all important.

That was just how Beth was, she was never half-way into anything, she put her whole soul into everything she did.

“So I say something I have never done and if you have done it, you drink,” the blonde instructed, “and if you haven’t done it, then I drink. Then we switch!”

“I don’t know…,” Daryl began reluctantly.

“It will be fun, I promise,” she said happily.

When he sighed in resignation, his companion took that as a sign to begin.

“Never have I ever shot a crossbow before,” she said, causing him to remember that he needed to teach her.

“Now you drink,” Beth encouraged, causing Daryl to raise his bottle to his lips, “Your turn.”

Daryl stared at Beth, his mind going blank. There was many things he had done that she hadn’t, but none of those were things he wanted to talk or even think about. It took him a while, but finally he found something safe, something boring.

“Never been outta Georgia before,” he said, knowing Beth’s family had traveled to Florida on vacation.

“Really,” she asked, looking surprised, “good one.”

The blonde raised the moonshine to her lips, taking a much bigger swig than was probably necessary. It wouldn’t be long before she was drunk. He can still remember the first time he let her try moonshine, the way she wrinkled up her nose and gagged. It was the cutest thing he had ever seen.

“Never have I ever…,” the blonde began, her fingers thrumming on her thigh, “lived on my own.”

Daryl raised the bottle, tossing the fiery liquid down his throat. Something was telling him not to drink too much, he felt responsible for Beth, especially since she was a minor who shouldn’t even be drinking yet, except she was due to his bad influence.

“Never ridden a horse,” Daryl came up with, knowing how much Beth loved Nervous Nelly.

“Hmmm, I think you should give it a try,” Beth said thoughtfully as she took a sip.

“Nah,” he disagreed, “ain’t much of a horse person.”

“Okay, but you should just think about it,” she pushed, in a way that told him if she tried any harder he would be up on the unpredictable beast.

“Your turn,” he shot back, changing the subject.

Suddenly, the normally talkative Beth was quiet. Her hands gripped her mason jar tighter and he could just make out the slightest blush coloring her cheeks in the moonlight. She looked down at her feet, which was unusual since Beth was far from shy.

“What is it,” he growled, feeling uneasy that Beth wasn’t acting like she normal, “spit it out girl!”

“Never have I ever….,” Beth began, but then she hesitated and looked up staring into Daryl’s eyes.

It was that same stare she had given him when Jimmy tried to talk for her back in the parking lot and then Beth had decided to speak up in her desire to ride with Daryl. It was the look she had given him when he hadn’t been able to find the words to tell her how much he didn’t want to go without seeing her all summer. Beth radiated love and happiness and goodness, but somehow there was something more when she looked at him like she was now.

“Never have I ever,” Beth said quietly, in almost a whisper, but with a confidence that few people knew she had, “been in love before I met you.”

If Daryl’s jaw could have dropped off it would have. There were a million thoughts running through his mind. He didn’t know why this hadn’t occurred to him. It was a natural progression, they had been friends, then more, then dating, and he knew he didn’t want to live without her. He guessed he just never thought that far because he assumed he would never get this far. He had always figured one day Beth would find someone better than him, someone who was actually worthy of her and quit hanging around with a loser like himself. He should have known better than to think that of her. When Beth did anything, she did it with her whole heart.

Right as Daryl was attempting to formulate words, to really do anything than just stare in shock and awe, a siren pierced the formerly quiet forest and red and blue lights lit up the darkness.  

“Shit,” he cussed, looking down at the can in his hand and in Beth’s.

He didn’t honestly care about getting in trouble, it was Beth he was worried about. He knew what her daddy thought about drinking, knew that she was the one who was underage, and knew how clean of a record and reputation she had. However, Beth surprised him like usual. Instead of panicking or crying, the beautiful blonde looked over at him with both eyes glimmering with the lights from the cop car and in that moment she looked so alive and free. Her mouth turned up into a smile and she leaned over to him.

“Never have I ever been arrested before,” she told him, giggling and not worried in the slightest.

“God,” he thought, “if that one changes Hershel will have my hide.”

“We could make a run for it,” she said, a crazy gleam in her eyes and a care-free grin on her face as the car pulled down the same road he had used.

“What good would that do,” Daryl asked, knowing that she was already had a bit too much liquor in her to listen to logic, “they know my truck, know who I am, they would just find us later.”

“It could be fun,” she argued, daring him with those big, bold, blue eyes of hers that made him feel like he could do anything.

He was surprised by how tempted he was to agree with her. Maybe if he was still the person he had been before he met her he would have, but he was different now. He didn’t want to get Beth in even more trouble, he needed to be responsible for her while she was drunk.

The car pulled up alongside them and a policeman and his partner both stepped out of their car.

“What do we have here,” asked one man, who had Officer Walsh printed on his nametag.

“Great,” thought Daryl, “Shane will hear about it this, pretty soon the whole town will know.”

Beth just giggled and toasted to them with her jar of moonshine. Daryl wanted to face palm, no way on earth could he try to pass it off as them just looking at the stars now.

“Hello officers,” the blonde chirped in a super cheery voice, “how is your night going! Would you like some, we have plenty to share!”

“Beth, girl,” Daryl tried to admonish, but there was no real threat or anger behind it.

“Do you have a lighter on you,” the young woman suddenly asked, concerned about Daryl, “my companion is awfully tense, I think a smoke might help him.”

Daryl couldn’t help but laugh at the absurdity of it all. Of course, the officers didn’t appreciate this reaction and quickly had them both out of the bed of the truck and in handcuffs. They did a quick sobriety test on Beth, which of course she didn’t pass, and then tried Daryl, who managed to do well enough. Still, he had been trespassing and giving alcohol to a minor, so they both ended up in the backseat of the cop car while officers were radioing in to their dispatch and doing some paperwork bullshit.

“Hershel is gonna kill me,” Daryl muttered, just imagining the talking to they both were going to get when this beautiful girl’s daddy found out why they were both in jail.

Maggie would probably be flabbergasted, after all, she was the wild one who always got in trouble, not Beth. Shawn would never let Beth forget that she ended up in trouble with the law before him.

“Daryl Dixon,” Beth said, suddenly very formal and serious, causing Daryl to turn to her, “I think you have gone and made me a wild woman.”

“Hmmmf,” Daryl grunted, staring at her joking grin as she held her handcuffed hands out towards him, “ya already were wild girl, just didn’t know it. In fact sometimes I think you might just be crazier than me.”

The peals of laughter brought on by this statement were music to his ears.

“Well, I would have to be a bit wild to fall for you,” she said, staring at him with such an earnest, innocent look in her eyes that Daryl felt the back of his neck blushing.

“I ya know…,” he replied, trying to formulate a response but got tongue tied.

“I know what Mr. Dixon,” Beth asked, one eyebrow raised, a slight smile on her lips.

“I feel the same way, bout you,” he managed to choke out before completely clamming up and turning beet red.

Before he knew it, Beth was leaning across and kissing him and everything in the world was perfect, it was just the two of them. That moment ended when the car door was yanked open.

“Y’all are free to go,” said the officer, chuckling at interrupting their moment, “apparently we have to go handle a more important commotion that also involves a Dixon.”

At that moment, Daryl could have hugged Merle for whatever chaos his brother was surely causing. Daryl stepped out, before helping Beth out. After their handcuffs were taken off and the officers escorted them off the property, he began driving the blonde home. She leaned up against him, all giggles and smiles and Daryl couldn’t help but laughing either. Everything just seemed right in the world when he had Beth beside him.