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Sunday, June 23rd 

 

It’s not like Beth invites Daryl Dixon into her home with the intention of seducing him. That part kind of just…happens. Right now, she’s only thinking of paying him back for all the times he’s driven her home from Rick’s.

“You wanna come inside for a minute?”

Daryl stomps on the brakes a little too hard when he throws his truck into park, and Beth has to brace her hands on the dash to prevent her forehead from bouncing off the windshield. Gravity and her seatbelt snap her harshly back into place, and she’s still wheezing a little when she turns to Daryl and says, “Or…not?”

Daryl goes all beady eyed. “Why you offerin’?”

Beth unbuckles her seatbelt and pulls her backpack into her lap, but otherwise makes no move to get out of the truck cab. “Why d’you gotta make it sound like I got an ulterior motive or somethin’?”

“Folks usually do.”

Beth hugs her backpack against her stomach. “I just wanted to pay you back for all the times you’ve driven me home from Mr. Grimes’s, is all. You never let me give you gas money, so…”

Daryl looks out the windshield, worrying the steering wheel with his hands, and Beth watches the play of his thick knuckles beneath his sun browned skin. “M’doin’ it as a favor to Rick,” he mumbles. “He’s the one should be thankin’ me. Not you.”

Oh. Well. That kind of hurts, even though it shouldn’t. Rick and Daryl are best friends. Beth’s just Rick’s babysitter, and Daryl probably thinks of her as a benign nuisance at best if he thinks of her at all.  

Beth interlocks her fingers and rests her hands on her thighs, thumbs chafing at her knuckles. Maybe she’s a pain in Daryl’s ass, but she’s already put herself out there, so she might as well see this through.

“We, um. We don’t keep any beer in the house, on account of…anyways. But we got Coke. And, um. And coffee. The good kind, not that instant stuff.”

She must look as downtrodden as she feels—must look pathetic enough to move even Daryl, because he sighs a year’s worth of sighs and says, grudgingly, “A’right.”

Beth goggles at him. Did she hear him right? “Alright?” she parrots.

“Don’t make me repeat myself,” Daryl grouches, shutting off his truck’s idling engine and yanking the keys out of the ignition. He shoves the driver’s side door open and climbs out of the cab.

Beth scrambles to get out too before Daryl can change his mind, trotting to catch up with his longer strides. Riding something that’s not unlike a victory high, she wraps her hand firmly around his and pretends to ignore the sharp look he gives her. The day started out temperate enough for her to get away with wearing a sundress, but now it’s starting to feel more like early spring than early summer, and Daryl’s hand is warm. Besides, if she doesn’t hold onto him, he might turn around and book it.

But he hasn’t shaken her off yet. That has to mean something.

They climb onto the porch together, and, wondering just what the hell she’s doing, Beth lets go of Daryl’s hand to fish her housekey out of her bag. She plugs it into the lock with a satisfying rasp of serrated metal, then holds the door open and gestures for Daryl to go in first, ’cause he’s her guest and she’s got to mind her manners.

Daryl’s footsteps slow, then stop. He peers down the hallway, then squints at Beth over his shoulder. “Ain’t your daddy home?”

Beth flicks the light switch on, and Daryl blinks rapidly, pupils shrinking as his eyes adjust to the sudden flare of buttery yellow light.

“Uh, no,” Beth says a little belatedly. “He’s at an AMVA convention in Savannah.”

Daryl turns around to face Beth properly, hands shoved wrist-deep in the pockets of his worn jeans. “…Your sister?”

He sounds a little bit like he’s grasping at straws.  

“Sleeping over at her boyfriend’s.”

It’s just him and her. She might’ve forgotten to mention that.  

Daryl’s mouth twists like he bit into something sour. “An’ you're the damn fool who invited a strange man into your empty fuckin’ house when your daddy’s outta town. Christ, girl. You wanna wind up on Dateline or somethin’?”

“You ain’t a stranger.”

Daryl grumbles something unintelligible but rude under his breath.

“And I’m not afraid of you, Daryl.”

Wait. Did she just call him by his first name? Is she allowed to do that? He’s twice her age, so probably not, but she is an adult now. A young adult, but still. And anyway, it was only a slipup. Maybe he’ll blow it off.

He does. Scowling down at the scuffed toes of his boots, he mumbles, “Still think you’re off your damn rocker.”

Beth bites down on the inside of her cheek. “Maybe so, but I come bearing caffeine.” Sliding her backpack off her shoulders and letting its straps dangle loosely from her fingertips, she breezes past Daryl and heads down the hallway. “C’mon, Mr. Dixon. Kitchen’s this way.”

She doesn’t hear him follow her, even though he’s a big guy in heavy boots, but she’s used to Daryl’s silent tread. Even when he’s not out in the woods, he walks like he is. And when she checks over her shoulder, he’s there, glancing warily at the family photos lining the hallway like he expects them to explode in his face.

Facing front again, Beth swings into the kitchen and snaps the overhead lights on as she goes. She drops her backpack off on the kitchen table, then goes over to the fridge and tugs it open, shivering when the cold air drifts across her collarbones and licks down her bare legs.

She looks across the kitchen to Daryl; he’s loitering in the open archway, and Beth would venture to categorize the look on his face as hunted.

One eyebrow slanting up, Beth says, “You wanna sit?”

Looking distinctly put out, Daryl slinks into the room, then yanks a chair back from the table and throws himself into the seat with a theatrical sort of grouchiness.

Sticking her head inside the fridge so Daryl can’t see her roll her eyes, Beth says, “You never told me if you wanted coffee or soda.”

“…Soda.”

Right. Because coffee takes time to percolate, and Daryl probably wants to get this over with as quickly as possible. You know, like ripping off a bandaid. Or getting a booster shot.

Or getting stabbed in the neck.

Forehead scrunching into a frown, Beth pulls two cans of Coke out of the fridge, hip checks the door shut, and goes to sit down across from Daryl. She slides him his Coke and keeps the other for herself, popping the tab but not yet taking a drink.

Daryl pops his can’s tab and twists it clear off, dropping it on the table with a metallic little rattle before bringing the drink to his lips and taking a series of long gulps. Beth watches the pull of muscles in his throat in a kind of daze, then glances away when he finishes draining his drink. He crushes the can in his fist, the tendons in his arm popping, and wipes the back of his other hand across his mouth.

Scooting back his chair, he mumbles, “Thanks for the drink.”

Beth fiddles with her can’s tab. “That eager to get away from me, huh?”  

The chair’s caps squeal on the tile, and Beth winces.

Whoops.

Guess she said that out loud.

“What you say to me?”

Fingers stilling on the soda can, Beth looks at Daryl from under her lashes. He’s got his brow lowered, bangs falling into and obscuring his eyes. Not for the first time, she thinks that there’s an almost feline quality to his face—it’s in the shape of his jaw, the slant of his sharp cheekbones. The glitter of his white teeth.

Daryl’s no spoiled housecat, though.

More like a hungry mountain lion.

And she’s about to stick her hand in this mountain lion’s mouth.

Her heart’s lodged in her throat, but the set of her chin is defiant when she repeats, loud and clear, “I said that you’re in a real hurry to hightail it outta here. You think I got cooties or somethin’?”

She can’t see Daryl’s eyes, no, but the set of his jaw does not project amusement. “Think you best watch your mouth.”

Beth’s temper flares, and then the mouth Daryl told her to watch mutinies from her brain, and it makes her say, “Or what? You gonna shut it for me?”

Oh.

Shit.

It’s like a pin hitting the floor in a quiet room. What she just said. What she just implied.

MAYDAY, MAYDAY. ABORT, ABORT, ABORT.

Except.

Of all the ways she expected Daryl to react—and, in the handful of seconds that span the silence between her words and his response, Beth manages to dream up about a thousand different scenarios—the way he does react is the one way she didn’t account for.

Because Daryl cringes, shrinking into his chair like Beth just reached across the table and slapped him, and—what? What just happened? What did she do to make him look like that?

In the next second, she finds out. “The fuck, girl? You think I’m gonna hit you or somethin’?”

Oh, no. No, God, that’s not what she meant at all. Beth shakes her head so fast she gets a little dizzy, and, desperate to wipe that look off of Daryl’s face, she blurts, “No, I didn’t—I didn’t mean it in that way. I’m so sorry. God.”

Daryl straightens up a little. Squints at her. “The hell kinda way you mean, then?”  

Oh, Jesus. Of all the times for him to want to keep a conversation going. Beth sinks down in her chair until her eyes are nearly parallel with the tabletop. Mumbles, “I…”

“Fuck, girl, just spit it out.”

His voice has dropped to a lower register, and it’s making Beth’s scalp tingle. He must be using some form of hypnotism on her, too, because, cheeks flushed with utter mortification, Beth mumbles, totally and completely against her will, “…In the sexy kinda way.”

Dead. Fucking. Silence.

Beth shuts her eyes and prays to God to strike her down where she sits.

“…Christ. You are fuckin’ nuts.”

Beth’s eyes fly open, and she’s so incensed she briefly forgets to be humiliated. She wants to tell Daryl to mind his manners in front of a goddamn lady, but.

But.

Daryl’s blushing. His skin’s browner than hers, so the color doesn’t show up as clearly as it would on her, and his bangs obscure a good quarter of his face, but there’s definitely a red tinge to his cheeks. Beth watches, rapt, as that red grows darker beneath her undivided attention, crawling down his throat and flooding the tips of his ears.

Oh my God, Beth thinks giddily. It’s juvenile, but it’s apt. Just. Oh. My. God.

Her palms have broken out in a clammy sweat, but her chest is warming up with something like courage, so she says, as bold as she can, “What? I can’t be attracted to you?”

There. She said it. The thing about shutting her up in a sexy way, that could be construed as a joke, but this. There’s no misinterpreting this. It’s out in the open. Ball’s in his court.

If Daryl gets any redder, Beth’s gonna start worrying about is blood pressure. Glaring nastily at her from under his bangs, he snaps, “No, you fuckin’ can’t.”

Huh. Well. That’s not a rejection, exactly.

Beth sits up in her chair. “Why not?”

Why not—Christ. Fuckin’ Christ.” Daryl actually covers his face with his hands, fingers tunneling through his hair. “Why the hell you think, girl, Jesus.”

And Beth, God help her, refuses to let it go. She’s poking the mountain lion with a freaking cattle prod, now, but she just can’t leave well enough alone. Not when she swears she’s on the precipice of getting what she wants. Of getting who she wants.

“What, is it ’cause I’m younger’n you? ’Cause I’m eighteen, y’know. That’s legal for just about everythin’ besides alcohol. Or is it ’cause of Rick? ’Cause he ain’t my dad, and he doesn’t get a say in who I sleep with.”

Daryl’s hands drop from his face and thump down on the tabletop. The look he’s giving Beth is half angry, half…half something that makes her stomach flip. “Yeah, well, I get a goddamn say in who I fuck, an’ I ain’t fuckin’ you.”

He’s definitely rejecting her now, but to hear him talk about fucking her at all, even if it’s just to tell her that it won’t ever happen, it—

It makes her stomach clench hard enough to hurt. Makes her skin buzz. Gets an ache starting up at the very center of her.

“Do you not want me?”

Daryl’s hands spasm against the tabletop. “Girl—”

“’Cause if that’s it, I’ll leave you be. But if all that’s stoppin’ you is my—my age, or Rick, then you’re a damn idiot.”

Daryl’s eyes thin into dangerous little slits. “Might’a dropped outta high school, girl, but I ain’t no fuckin’ idiot.”  

“Then stop actin’ like one.”  

Daryl’s upper lip curls around a snarl.

But he doesn’t say anything else.

He doesn’t say that he doesn’t want her.

And the way he’s looking at her, it’s—

He’s looked at her like this before, but gentler. Not quite as intense, not quite as heated. Just these little glances that Beth always pretended not to notice, just like he pretended not to notice the way her eyes would linger on the play of his muscles beneath his skin or the shape of his narrow mouth caught in one of his rare smiles.

Beth’s tired of stealing glances and going no further than that. She’s sick half to death of it.

Feeling a bit like the star of a cheap porno (Barely Legal Babysitter Seduces Gruff Older Man?), Beth braces her hands on the table, pushes to her feet, and circles around to Daryl. His chair is positioned far enough back from the table that she doesn’t have to do much maneuvering in order to straddle his thighs.

His thighs, not his lap, but Daryl still expels a punch of air when she settles her weight against him, and Beth doubts he exhaled like that because he thinks she’s too heavy.

Her skirt rucked up when she sat on his legs and got all tangled between them, so Beth fists her hands in the rayon folds and tugs it up her thighs until it’s bunched around her hips. Until, if he looked, he could see the white crotch of her panties.

Yeah, she’s wearing white cotton underpants. No, she wouldn’t’ve worn them if she’d known ahead of time that she’d end up here. But, Jesus, how could she have possibly accounted for this?

She looks shyly up at Daryl—yeah, who’d have figured that she’d still be feeling shy after she flashed him?—but he isn’t looking back at her, or at least, he’s not looking at her face. His eyes touch her throat, then the outlines of her breasts, and then, finally, that white triangle of sticky cotton.

He curls his big hands around her hips, fingers resting lightly on her ass. Beth scoots forward until her thighs split wide around his waist, muscles burning like she’s already taken him inside of her.

The fingers on her ass dig in and flex. “Girl—”

Beth kisses him.

Tries to, anyway.

Kind of sorta miscalculates the angle and winds up knocking their noses together.

Motherfucker.”

Beth rears back at the hot burst of pain, and Daryl does, too, letting go of her ass to grope at his nose, feeling around for breakage. Eyes watering, Beth copies him, wondering fatalistically if her one shot at a night with Daryl will end with the both of them in the ER.

Her nose is throbbing a little, but the cartilage doesn’t feel bent out of shape, so maybe not.

Daryl lets go of his nose, but he doesn’t shove Beth off of him like she half expected him to. Instead, he cups her face, rough fingertips skimming gently along her cheekbones. The touch feels good, soothing, and her eyelids flutter like she’s a cat getting its spine stroked.

“Lemme see.” He tilts her head back and twists it from side to side, squinting at her face from up close and checking for himself that her nose isn’t busted.

Cheeks going hot—well, hotter—Beth says as lightly as she can, “Did I pass muster, Mr. Dixon?”

Daryl rolls his eyes. “You’ll live,” he pronounces, but he doesn’t let her go even after he’s given her a clean bill of health.

And now he’s looking at her mouth, eyes gone all hooded, and, hell. Maybe second time’s the charm. 

With a renewed shot of daring coursing like adrenaline through her veins, Beth plasters her chest flush against his and twines her arms around his shoulders, fingers skimming through the shaggy hair at the nape of his neck. The hands that were on her face trail down her throat, making her skin shudder on her bones, and then his arms are looping around her middle, locking them together. She can feel his muscles flex against her as he drags her in, all that contained strength shooting straight to her cunt like the shivering start of an orgasm, and she makes an involuntary noise as she leans in to kiss him again.

This time, she gets the angle right.

Right from the start, there’s an undercurrent of hunger to his kiss that she never felt from any of her high school boyfriends, like he doesn’t just want this but needs it. And maybe it oughta scare her a little, that hunger, but it doesn’t, even if what she’s feeling is a close cousin to fear, stomach tipping over on itself like she’s been strapped to a runaway tilt-a-whirl.

Daryl’s hands slide back down to her ass and stay there, hugging her to his hips, digging into the muscle with his thumbs and making her legs jerk reflexively. 

Not a tilt-a-whirl. Much, much better than a tilt-a-whirl.

Their lips cling and stick, tacky from the soda Daryl drank, tacky like the crotch of Beth’s panties where the cotton drags across her swelling pussy lips. He works his tongue into her mouth, and it tastes sweet; and when Beth sucks on that tongue like she’s sucking a lollipop, Daryl hums low and happy in his throat like she’s the sweet one, like she’s spoon feeding him sugar. She squeezes in closer when she hears that noise, when she feels it buzz against her lips and rumble through her chest cavity, and she skates her fingers down his ribcage with half a mind to unbuckle his belt and get her hand around his dick, because hell if she’s gonna take this slow. Slow’s for people who haven’t been waiting forever.

But then Daryl huffs and twitches, and Beth pulls out of the kiss, lower lip sticking between both of his for a second before snapping free.

Beth licks her swollen lips, breaking the thin strand of saliva that was trailing from her mouth to his. Cautiously, she says, “Daryl, are you…are you ticklish?”

The look on Daryl’s face goes from rapt to ornery in one second flat. “No,” he says unconvincingly.

If he were Jimmy or Zach, Beth would tease him a little—tickle him on purpose just to make him squirm, maybe. But he’s not Jimmy or Zach, and she doesn’t want to push her luck. It’s already taken her much further than she ever expected it would, and she’s not about to test its limits.

So she hooks her arms around Daryl’s neck again, well out of the Danger Zone, and says, “Alright.”

Daryl’s expression just gets ornerier, like he can tell she’s humoring him.

Beth rolls her eyes for possibly the tenth time tonight. “I said, alright—”

He kisses her first this time, and she should be miffed that he’s only doing it to shut her up, but, well. Her suggestion that he do exactly that was what started this.  

Or maybe it wasn’t. Maybe it started the first time he drove her home from Rick’s. Maybe this’s been in the making since she first watched the flex of his big hands on his truck’s steering wheel and wondered how they’d feel flexing around her hips.

Good, it turns out. They feel real good.

He lets go of her ass only to tangle his fingers in her dress’s straps and her bra’s straps, easing them down her shoulders and leaving them to dangle against her upper arms. Those fingers dip down the back of her dress and trace the knobs in her spine, thumbs circling around to the front to tuck themselves into the cups of her bra. She arches into him when his thumbs scrape her nipples, calluses chafing at her skin like sandpaper. He shoves his hips up into hers, inseam digging into her swelling clit, and she can feel the outline of his dick against the seam of her cunt. Just that, just the suggestion of where they’re going with this is enough to make her toes curl.

And then the room tilts on its axis.

Daryl tucks his arms under her butt and heaves himself to his feet without warning, and Beth yelps. She clings like a monkey or maybe a boa constrictor, arms and legs wrapped bruise-tight around his torso, and even as she fears the potential fall, she gets a giddy rush in her tummy like it’s full of carbonated soda bubbles. He’s got enough upper body strength that he could probably fuck her standing up if he wanted—he wouldn’t even have to brace her against a wall, could just lift her up and down on his dick without breaking much of a sweat.

Oh, Jesus. They’ve gotta try that next time, because there will be a next time if Beth has anything to say about it. And, as it happens, she’s got a lot to say on the subject.

Daryl taps her on the hip. “Get down.”  

The bubbles in Beth’s stomach go flat like week-old soda. He’s had enough of her, hasn’t he? He’s turned off by her clumsy adolescent groping, and he’s gonna leave and find somebody else, somebody who knows what they’re doing—

Daryl quells Beth’s anxieties with a rough kiss to the cheek, beard scratching up her skin. “G’on, girl.”

Oh. Okay. He still wants her. It’s fine. They’re fine.

Beth’s legs feel like they’ve been filled with jelly, but she manages to untangle them from around Daryl’s waist, and he does the rest of the work, supporting her weight as he eases her onto her own two feet. As soon as her wedged heels clack against the tile, though, he’s spinning her around to face the table, pressing an open palm to her lower back and urging her to lean over a little, so she does, hands braced on the varnished top, hips jutting out, ass bumping Daryl’s thighs.

She blinks down at her untouched can of soda, at the disk of crushed aluminum that used to be Daryl’s can of soda. At her blue backpack with the half-open zipper. The lights seem abruptly too bright, bringing everything she looks at into harsh relief.

And then she hears it, although she doesn’t understand what she’s hearing, at first, until suddenly she does. Daryl’s sucking on his fingers.

Daryl’s wetting his fingers.

It’s a good thing Beth braced herself on the table, because if she hadn’t, she’d probably be flat on the floor right about now. Which wouldn’t, necessarily, be a bad thing.

The sound of wet suction cuts off, then, and Daryl presses in close, tucking his chin into the crook of Beth’s shoulder, one hand bunching in her skirt and rucking it up around her belly while the other just delves into her underwear.

And Beth almost swallows her tongue.  

His slick fingers feel startlingly cool against her warm cunt, and when she jolts like she’s been shocked, Daryl shushes her like he’s soothing a spooked horse. Rubs his hard dick against her ass. Frames her clit with two thick fingers.

“Y’good?” he asks her, and she nods because she can’t remember how to speak. Keeps nodding like a goddamn bobblehead until he nudges his cheek against hers to coax her still.

Is she good? It’s possible that she’s literally never been better.

Daryl’s hand curves deeper into her underwear, thick wrist stretching out the waistband, the friction of his calluses on her oversensitive skin eased by the moisture on his fingers and moisture trickling out of her cunt. She feels dizzy, shivers racing up and down her thighs and abdomen, and when Daryl works her pussy lips apart with his ring and index fingers and slides his middle finger right down the center of her, her head spins, and her cunt clenches like a closed fist. Clenches so hard she thinks she’s gonna come.

She doesn’t. But she’s getting there. She’s getting there so fast she can hardly even believe it herself.

Daryl holds her open and rubs fiercely at her clit, and Beth tucks in her chin to watch him, to watch his big hand tent her cotton panties. She wishes she could see more, wishes she could see her wet pussy lips hugging his fingers, but it’s more than enough to feel it. To feel him dip a finger into the hollow of her cunt, gathering up moisture, and pull back out again to circle her tingling clit. To hear it, to hear the obscenely wet squelch of what he’s doing to her. It’s enough for him to grind his fingers against her as a shuddering heat builds in her thighs, in her belly, as the tension in her cunt coils tighter and tighter like a rubber band twisted too tight around her wrist.

“C’mon, girl,” he rasps, panting in her ear like he’s been running a race, and, oh, God, she clenches up even harder just from hearing him talk to her like that while they’re doing this. His beard scrapes her neck; his lips track spit all across the crook of her shoulder. “C’mon—”

She circles her hips, chasing the building pressure, and the rubber band snaps. Breaks. It breaks in fucking half, and her cunt gives one long, hard, rippling clench, and then it’s throbbing rapid fire like a heart having a coronary, and her actual heart stills in her chest for a breathless second before starting up again at a gallop.

She’s coming. She’s coming bent over the kitchen table, dripping all over Daryl’s fingers, and then he’s giving her cunt a parting squeeze before yanking his hand out of her underwear to wrestle with his belt buckle. She can hear the metallic clink over the buzzing in her ears, and it takes her a second to realize what that means.  

Wait. Wait, wait, wait.

She turns around on legs that feel like melted rubber, butt bumping against the hard edge of the table. Her cunt’s fluttering with aftershocks, and it feels weird to be asking this while that’s still happening, but she says, this close to breathless, “You don’t wanna do it in my bed?”

Daryl freezes. His belt’s hanging open, each end like a pair of leather tongues trailing down his strong thighs, and his fingers—his fingers that are wet and shiny and sticky from her—are pinched around his zipper. He’s wrestled it halfway open, that zipper, so Beth can see his plaid boxers. Can see the outline of his hard dick, curving a little to one side.

She wraps her hand around his wrist, and he hisses when her knuckles graze his dick. She brings his hand to her mouth, the hand that strummed her like a guitar, and she licks her own come off his fingers.

Daryl makes a noise like he’s dying and leans into her, dick catching against her hip, and Beth smiles at him like they’re sharing a secret.

Guess they kind of are.

“C’mon,” she says, cupping his hand against her burning cheek. Who is she and what has she done with the real Beth Greene? “I got a real comfy mattress.”  

His silence is heavy and not at all encouraging, and Beth wilts with premature disappointment. He won’t want to, she realizes. She’s making this too personal for him, too intimate. He’s gonna turn tail and run.

He doesn’t, though. He doesn’t run.

He stoops a little, wraps his arms around her hips, and boosts her into his arms again, fingers tracking her own spit all over the skirt of her dress. Beth clings to his bulky shoulders, a smile biting at her lips, and buries her face in his overheated neck, hanging on tight as he carries her out of the kitchen and up the stairs.

He stops on the landing. Asks, “Which way’s your room?” His voice is even gruffer than usual with frustrated arousal, skating like a fingernail down her spine, and her thumb trembles a little as she hooks it over her shoulder. She left her door open, she’s pretty sure.

She did. He drops her onto her bed, and she lets out a whuff when she bounces on the mattress, but she doesn’t stay put. No, she scrambles back to her feet, takes two handfuls of Daryl’s leather vest, and urges him around and down until he’s the one perched on the side of her bed. And he stays there, blinking up at her through his shaggy bangs, hands flexing against his thighs.

He’s waiting. Waiting for her.

Okay. Okay. She can do this. She can.

It’s getting dark outside, and the hazy gray twilight filtering in through the gauzy curtains makes Beth feel a little bold. Her flaws are softened in the half dark of her bedroom, freckles bleached away, scars erased.

So she crosses her arms over her chest, grips her dress’s spaghetti straps and eases them the rest of the way down. Shoves her dress down her hips, down her legs, and steps out of the pool of fabric it forms around her ankles. Not looking Daryl in the face, she unhooks her bra with trembling fingers and drops that, too.

As a kind of afterthought, she works her hair loose from its ponytail and combs it out around her shoulders, twisting the tie around her wrist for safekeeping. And then.

And then she’s standing in front of Daryl in nothing but her damp panties and wedged sandals, gooseflesh prickling at her breasts and belly, nipples drawn up achingly tight.

Right. Sandals. She should probably take those off, too, so she bends to do that, to work the tiny gold buckles loose with clumsy fingers, but then Daryl reaches out and wraps a hand around her forearm, stopping her.

He gives her a gentle tug. “Siddown.”  

Nodding a little frantically, Beth turns to sit beside him on the bed, but now he’s getting up.

Getting up only to crouch by her feet and unbuckle her sandals' straps for her, and his touch is too economical to be sexy, but Beth’s mouth still goes dry at the picture he makes. At the sight of him kneeling at her feet, thick fingers wrapped around her narrow ankles. Goes even dryer when his chapped lips brush her knee and linger there.

He eases her feet out of her shoes, and she pulls her ankles out of his grasp to scoot up the bed. Holds out a hand when he doesn’t seem inclined to do anything other than stare at her.

Abruptly, she wishes she’d turned the light on. Wishes she could see more of his face than the outline of his jaw and the glitter of his narrow eyes.

She curls her fingers, beckoning. “C’mon.”

It’s like her voice broke him out of a trance. He gets up, planting one knee on the mattress, and Beth says, a little sharply, “Daryl Dixon, I know you ain’t about to track mud all over my bed.”

Daryl freezes, then falls back into a crouch to wrestle off his boots, cussing under his breath when the laces get all tangled around his fingers. Beth bites back a smile, relieved that she’s not the only one who’s clumsy with anticipation.  

Daryl kicks off his boots, and they land on the floor with a pair of successive thuds. He takes another second to skim off his leather vest like a snake shedding its old skin, to peel off his socks and push his jeans down his legs. And then he’s climbing into bed beside Beth, mattress dipping beneath his weight.

Thank God she moved her stuffed animals off her bed and into her cedar chest a couple of years ago. Otherwise, Daryl probably would’ve taken one look at Bangles the Teddy Bear’s blank glass eyes, turned on his heel, and walked right out.

Beth swallows back a burst of hysterical laughter and lies back against her pillows, feet planted in the mattress and legs crooked open. Daryl kneels in front of her and hooks his fingers in her panties, skims them down her legs, lifts each of her feet in turn to untangle them from around her ankles. He drops them off to one side, and Beth turns her head to blink at the crumpled heap of musky-smelling cotton.

Her heartbeat throbs in her ears, in her wrists, in her cunt. This is it. They’re doing this. They’re really doing it.

Daryl palms her knees, and she drags her eyes away from her shed panties and points them at his face, or what she can see of it. He pulls her legs farther apart until they’re splayed open in an obscenely wide V, and Beth clenches her hands against her bedspread before deliberately relaxing them, not wanting Daryl to think she’s nervous, even though she is. Hell, nervous is probably too weak a descriptor. Try on the precipice of a panic attack.

Daryl’s not paying attention to her hands, anyway. No, his eyes are fixed firmly on the space between her legs.

Beth can imagine how she must look to him—red pussy lips all fanned out and shining wetly in the weak gray light, clit coming up fat and hard and pulsing. She’s never given much thought to how she looks down there, but only because she never had any reason to.

Not until now.

But he then lets go of one of her knees to touch her, lightly, to skim his fingertips up and down her wet slit, and Beth twitches. Shallow little aftershocks are still fluttering deep in her cunt, and she hopes that he won’t try to make her come again just yet. She doesn’t know if she can come again. She’s too sensitive, feeling more than anything like a stripped, exposed nerve.  

But he doesn’t try to make her come. He stops fingering her after a couple of seconds and strips out of his boxers, giving Beth her first proper look at his dick, bobbing thick and heavy between his legs. It’s wet, almost as wet as her pussy, flushed dark as a plum, and Beth’s toes curl to see it, digging into the mattress like fishhooks.

He’s gonna fuck her with it. Oh, God, he’s gonna.

Her eyes track his movements as he leans over the side of the bed and yanks his wallet out of his pants, digging out a condom and tearing the foil packet open. He rolls it over his dick, latex stretching taut around his shaft, but he doesn’t take hold of himself and push inside of her. He just. Kneels there, fingers flexing around empty air.

He’s nervous, too. She’s making him nervous, and that revelation gives her the shot of courage she needs to skim a hand between her breasts, over her belly and lower still until her pubic hair’s scratching at her wrist. She hooks two fingers in her cunt and holds herself open for him. Lets him see how wet he’s made her.

“C’mon,” she says, reaching out with her other hand to take hold of his dick, to feel it jerk against her fingers. He’s so warm, warm and heavy and throbbing like a bruise. “C’mon, Daryl. C’mere.”

Daryl’s mouth drops open, breath catching in his throat, and then he’s stretching out on top of her, blanketing her with his bulk. His knuckles bump hers when he works a hand between them to grip himself around the base, and his other hand wraps around the back of her thigh and pushes it up, stretching out her pussy, making room for his dick.

He tucks his open mouth against her ear. “Y’want this?”

Beth presses her sweaty forehead against his shoulder, takes a deep breath, and nods.

His fingers flex around her thigh. “You want me to fuck you?”

God, more than anything. Her answer punches out of her, more an involuntary exhalation of air than an actual word. “Yeah.”  

He doesn’t ask her if she’s done this before, which is good. If she told him that she hasn’t, he might stop, and if he stops, she might actually die.

His cockhead slips over her clit, and her abdominal muscles jump at the shock of feeling. He notches himself against her open cunt, and then his hips flex between her thighs, and he’s. He’s sinking inside of her. Oh, fuck, he’s in her.

Her legs jerk, and she kind of wants to just drop her head back against the pillows and lie there, but she doesn’t. She tucks in her chin and braces herself on her elbows and watches him push into her. Watches her red pussy stretch around his thick dick like a bruised, open mouth. Watches him work her open until watching and feeling at the same time gets her so hot that she feels fit to combust, and she finally does let herself go limp, throat catching around a whine.

It isn’t like the horror stories; nothing tears, nothing hurts like she’s dying, but there is a stretch, a stretch that burns a little, a stretch that makes her belly tremble and her fingers claw into his shoulders through his damp shirt.

Her cunt burns a little, sure, but it’s still wet enough from her orgasm that he can slide all the way in without having to stop and let her adjust, and that’s good. That means she doesn’t have to wait any longer for him to fuck her. Beth kisses his throat and squeezes his hips with her thighs, squeezes his dick with her cunt. He curses, low and filthy, belly trembling where it’s pressed flush against hers.   

And then he pulls out a couple inches, braces his knees against the mattress, and fucks back in hard. Beth cries out, head slamming back against the pillow even as her hips ride up to meet him. Oh, fuck. Fuck.

He doesn’t start off slow, and why should he? He probably thinks that she’s done this before, with the way she came on to him. His rhythm feels uneven at first, stuttering, jolting Beth farther and farther up the bed until she has to let him go and brace her hands against the headboard, before settling into a steady pistoning she can feel in her damn teeth. And she loves everything about it, God, she does, loves it so much she hikes up her legs and hooks them around his hips, heels digging into his ass to spur him on, catching kisses off his slack lips whenever his chin brushes hers.

She lets go of the headboard to tangle her fingers in her bedspread instead, clutching it when Daryl eases himself up on his elbows to watch her. She turns her face into the pillow, not wanting him to see how stupid she must look right now; not wanting him to see the way her mouth twists when his hard, steady thrusts roll her hips against the bed. Only then the look on her face becomes a nonissue, because he’s pulling out of her with a wet pop and flipping her over onto all fours. He drapes himself over her back, weight bearing her down onto her elbows, and fucks back into her.

She yelps—shrieks. And he must like the way that sounds, because he makes her do it again, cock hitting her deep, fingers biting bruises into her hips. He tucks his face into the crook of her neck, rough tongue licking the salt off her skin, and shoves his hand between her legs, tracing the shape of her stretched pussy lips and fingering at her clit. And she thought she couldn’t come again, but she is, she is coming, coming all over him, cunt flexing around his dick in slow, deep pulls.

His rhythm goes all uneven again, then, hips jacking down into hers. His dick jerks inside of her, but she can hardly tell his orgasm apart from the aftershocks that're rippling through her cunt, Jesus.

Her heartbeat slows. Her body slumps. Eventually, Daryl’s weight forces her flat, and they ooze into a tangle of limbs all spread out across the mattress, Beth huffing at how heavy he is.

Her face is smushed against the crook of her elbow, so her voice comes out slurred and muffled when she says, voice a wrecked rasp, “Never did ask. How wassat Coke?”

Daryl doesn’t answer her, but his lips curve against the nape of her neck.