Nothing new that hadn't been done a million times before and will be done a million times after. Certain people assigned to certain days, with no exceptions to the rules. Areas were mapped and marked as safe locations that presented no threat to a group, and every outing would go out further than before. Mornings weren't always the worst, but there were certainly those who would prefer to be in bed still.
The morning was calm, a slight chill to the fall atmosphere. Winter would be approaching soon, all the more reason to stay indoors and sleep in. But until then everyone has work to do, has their part to play. There's no time to put anything on hold, life still goes on.
"He's late." Glenn announced, checking his watch again.
No one likes it when others point out the obvious. "We can all see that Glenn." Michonne replied tiredly leaning against the gate with Nate who glanced at his bare wrist.
"Knew I forgot something."
Carol was the first of the group to bring deductive reasoning into the picture. "He looked a little off last night. Maybe he's sick." That possibility didn't seem too farfetched. Daryl had left the group bonfire at Glenn and Maggie's pretty early last night. An hour or so after Beth had gone to bed. She herself had said how she was feeling slightly overwhelmed by the evening and decided to turn in early. With the girl still recovering and taking things slowly no one had any reason to argue.
"We can still run with five people, right?" Rosita looked more than anxious to get started without Dixon. She knelt down next to Delila, scratching behind the dogs pointed ears.
Rick shook his head, looking back out to the bare streets. "Things run smoother with six."
"Three-person groups, one dog each," Nate added, holding Queenie's leash tightly. Both the girls were beyond excited to be outside. "Maybe we should check his place. Maybe he slept in."
"Lucky bastard." Rosita growled wanting nothing more to return to her own warm bed.
"Good morning." A feminine voice sounded. "Sorry, I'm late." The rest of the group shared in Nate's confused expression as to why his wife was out of bed this early. "Forgot this hon." She said, handing Nate his watch. If she wasn't dressed for a run and packing her hunting rifle everyone would have assumed that she was just there to give Nate back his watch. "We all ready?" The dogs were especially happy to see her, not that the group wasn't, just more confused than anything else.
"You aren't slotted for today Sav."
The blonde shrugged her shoulders in response to Rick. "Daryl asked me to cover for him today." Whistling with her fingers made Queenie and Delila halt their rambunctious movements and sit still.
Rick tilted his head curiously. "Did he say why?"
Savanna perked her lips, shaking her head to answer that she had no idea as to why. "Said he had something important to do today." Rick took notice of this slight indication that Mrs. Hale may not be telling the truth. Nate was quick to protest, but Savanna worked faster to cut him off. "I don't mind, really. He'll cover for me next time." Whistling to summon her canine companion, Queenie to her side. The hunting dog panted excitedly. Passing her husband to reach the gate Savanna could feel his firm grasp on her pack resulting in her straining yet walking in place.
"Hold up, Sav." Savanna had been married to Nate long enough to know when his skepticism was showing. Their kids got that irritating quality from him. "What's going on?"
"Listen hon," Nate's heart smiled when hearing his wife's beautiful southern accent emphasize specific words. Sounded much better than those his Boston accent would. "Trust me on this. Just leave the man alone for today."
Rick's persistence didn't let up. "Tell us what he's doing and we will."
Sav's eyes widened comically, looking at Rick then Nate. "Uhhh." She stuttered, completely at a loss for words. Her mind was racing desperately trying to come up with an excuse better than "she didn't know" and yet none came to mind. Honestly, she had been hoping that they would have taken her excuse and dropped the matter quickly after that.
"Daryl knows the rules, Savanna." Rick reminded the group. "No one is excused from runs unless they're sick."
Savanna turned desperate, deciding to pull out all the stops to get the group moving. "He's ill…he severely ill…potentially dying." That last part may have been a bit of a stretch with a hit on added drama. Her bouncing motions as she walked made her circle the group, desperately trying her best to make them turn back, but they kept their pace.
"What do you think he's doing?"
Rick gave a heavy shrug to Glenn's question as the group made their way down the streets. "I dunno, but knowing Daryl, I'm sure it's important."
Heavy breathing filled the room when Daryl forced his hand against the headboard, his fingers trembling against the dark wood. Beth kept her hold on him, cupping his face in her shaking hands.
He couldn't contain his smile when Beth laughed sweetly the way she would when she's unbelievably happy. She looked at him with such a powerful love in her eyes. That look had been something Daryl never believed he'd get to experience. He could only imagine what his brother would have said if he could see him like this. In bed with a skinny blonde who has far more smarts than him. But at the same time, he'd be congratulating his little brother for getting a piece of ass half his age. Those words, the way his brother would have looked at Beth made Daryl shutter which Beth immediately took notice of.
"Hey." She spoke soothingly, pushing him back lightly to make him meet her gaze. "What's wrong?" She worried that he might have been thinking that he was being too aggressive with her, though that was far from the case.
Beth's teeth bit down on her lower lip when Daryl placed a series of kisses on her forehead. "Nothin." His touch made her entire system weak, but safe and happy. Her fingers traced over his jawline; shuttering as he had done only moments ago in response to his touch against her thigh. Her small and fragile body came alive as he began to move against her. Her hands lowered from his face to rest over his shoulders tearing at the damaged skin that canvased it. Daryl's grip was firm on Beth's right wrist which pinned her down, her other arm still secured around his back.
Daryl's tenseness lessened when he released his hold on Beth and began moving his lips down her body. His breath warm against her when his lips met the tender flesh. "Gently." Beth teased, her hands rustled through his hair as he descended across her form until he was out of reach from her grasp and her hands pressed hard against the headboard trying to keep herself from crying out. Daryl explored every perfect curve of the woman he adored. She's intoxicating, hypnotizing. They read one another with their eyes. Everything's so fast-paced, so rushed nowadays, moments like these were beyond precious and even now, months after what had happened at Grady, the two couldn't bear the idea of not being where they are now. There had been events that had terrified Daryl, made him question himself in ways he wasn't supposed to but when he saw Beth something felt different. Falling in love with her, at first, he assumed there must be something wrong with him. How dumb he had been to think that in the beginning when really, he was stunned by her strength and defiance to not put up with his or the world's bullshit.
Beth had only seen one side of Daryl at that time when he and the others had arrived at her family's farmhouse, the silent hunter who at times frightened her. She and her family had been hesitant to trust them when he and the others had arrived, but he had proven himself to be beyond loyal. Her father had even called him a good man.
Beth laughed again when Daryl returned back to eye level with her and pulled her up to sit in his lap. Her legs wrapped around his waist your skin felt cold when not in contact with the warm mattress that she had been laying on. They held one another close, taking them in, taking every part of them in. They moved slowly against each other, taking their time. His hands once again gripping the headboard, his knees quivering under Beth's weight as she held herself to him. The coldness of the wood made her jump when her bare back met it, but the chill faded within seconds.
Her sensual moans filled Daryl's ears when his mouth secured itself around her breast. She held his head to her chest, permitting him to continue his actions, knowing that he would be gentle with her. Daryl is the furthest thing from a rough lover, much to Beth's relief. He's gentle, thoughtful and patient whenever they made love. So much of his life had been rough, the last thing he wanted was to add sex to that list. Beth had been told by Daryl himself about his past sexual experiences. All of whom were drunken and hazy mistakes that his brother had encouraged. He had been ashamed of it, ashamed because she had been the one partner that he had given a damn about and he didn't want her to think that he saw her as an easy score. But she didn't. They know each other, and sex is far more enjoyable when you have it with someone you love…who knew? Beth knows him and Daryl knows her. They had taken time to learn and share and in terms of their sex life both learned what is and isn't off-limits, at least for the time being. What neither was comfortable with yet, both parties were alright with it, no explanations needed.
It's moments like this, moments with each other that they had fought so hard for. Beth has been beyond determined to live a good life. To be alive, to hope, to dream, to feel companionship and love. Daryl had only ever lived for himself, not letting anyone in and at first didn't think much for himself or what he wanted out of his existence; he hadn't been as strong as Beth to question himself until it had almost been too late. In a way, Beth had saved him.
Daryl breathed deeply and heavily. Every part of his body felt weak but in the best way possible. Both of them couldn't help but smile at one another when they returned back to a laying down position, their bodies still intertwined. Beth's arms shifted up and around Daryl's neck where she could feel his pulse pounding. Their eyes met, looking to one another with a strong feeling of trust, happiness, and security. Daryl rested his head comfortably in the crook of her neck where he could feel her own elevated pulse next to his. Beth's fingers brushed through his hair calmly, just listening to him breathe.
Since their arrival in Alexandria Beth had been living with Maggie and Glenn. She never thought she'd ever get a room to herself again. But at times the house felt like a prison and not the kind she and her family had spent those very few weeks in. Ever since her recovery from the wounds she sustained in Grady, Maggie had been watching her sister closely, almost always checking on her even when they would be sitting only a few feet away from one another. Beth had held back her protests on the matter, she understood why Maggie has been keeping her so close by. The sisters were all that remained of their family and the two were determined to stay together. Being safe in Alexandria helped with that plan, but for how much longer would it last? They had only been part of the community for about six months and Beth had learned not to grow too attached to new living arrangements, there were always these feelings that they wouldn't last long.
As for Daryl's living arrangements, Arron and Eric's house had a rather spacious garage in their back yard and they had been more than happy to give it to him. The space was big enough for him to do the work on his bike. There was a work station to repair his bow and bolts, they had managed to fit a bed and dresser off on the opposite side of the work station. Cupboards could store tools, gear, and other supplies. There was even a shower and bathroom along with a kitchenette that separated the workplace from the bedroom. A series of short scaled windows circled the upper walls of the garage. Whoever had previously owned the house must have rented the place out during certain times of the year. The garage was perfect for Daryl. He didn't need much space, but he had been sure he made room for Beth in the closet and drawers. She could always crash with him for a night if Maggie were getting on her nerves.
Propping himself up on his side Daryl gazed down at Beth who had pulled the comforter up and around her chest, feeling the chill of the morning seeping back into her bare skin. The two stayed silent, only staring at one another. Beth shuttered when Daryl's fingers ran against the left side of her head, feeling the scar from the gunshot that had grazed her scalp, it was covered by her hair and wasn't noticeable unless you were looking for it. She nuzzled into his neck when his lips made contact with the scar, much like how she would show the same affection to the ones covering his body. Beth wasn't scared of the scar; she saw it as a medal of honor which was more than Daryl could say about his own.
"It's beautiful," Daryl whispered into her ear. She quivered under his weight when he lifted off her, surprised to hear her giggling. What had he said that was so funny to her?
"S…sorry. I'm not laughin at ya" She grinned behind her hand. "I couldn't hear what you said."
Daryl's face dropped back to her chest, his groans vibrating through her skin making her laugh even more. But his groans were stirred by how stupid and forgetful he had been. Next to a visible scar, Beth had also sustained damage to the hearing in her left ear. The damage hadn't been enough to deafen her, but enough that everything was now slightly muted which made hearing whispers next to impossible. Beth hoped that her laughing told Daryl that she wasn't laughing at him she had just been trying to ease the awkwardness of the situation. They had both been lost in the moment, things tend to slip the mind in these cases.
Wanting him to see that she wasn't hurt by his mistake Beth lifted Daryl's head back up to eye level, her lips meeting his to reassure his guilt. "Beth I-" He started to speak but his girl only shook her head to stop him.
"No apologizing." She spoke firmly on that. "Just let me hold you." Daryl followed her instructions, laying his head back to her chest, letting her fingers rack through his hair. The simple yet soothing motions made his eyes heavy along with the mixture of sexual hormones his body was coming off of.
"Tell me what yer thinkin bout." He spoke softly, breaking the silence. His wanting to know said a lot about how far he's come.
"I had that dream again."
"One about the tall grass?"
"Hmm… Just walkin through miles and miles of it…like there's no end. Sunrise on my skin and then right when I think I'm comin to a clearin, I wake up. But every time I do, I feel happy and safe... like I do right now." Beth had been having this dream ever since her rescue from Grady. Maybe it was a result of her recovery or just simple recurrence, but either way, she felt that it must mean something. What exactly has yet to be determined.
"You think you'll ever reach the clearin?"
Beth's shoulders rose unsure as she began wondering the same thing. She traced her finger over the features of Daryl's rugged face, to her it's one of the most handsome things she's ever seen. "Do you know what I'd like to see in that clearing?"
"What?" He asked sheepishly but also genially curious. His strong arm hooked around her little waist, drawing her close so that his forehead rested to her cheek. His brow narrowed when Beth became quiet, not giving the answer to the question. Propping his body up Daryl repeated his question. "What?" The way she stared at him so slyly like a rabbit evading a wolf. Sitting up to retrieve a cigarette from his bedside table Daryl's fascinated expression didn't simmer when he found a lighter in his pillow. "Tell me." Turning on her side, Daryl shuttered again, this time feeling his girl's fingers against his torso, the light motions setting his senses ablaze. "You gonna tell me or not?"
The unlit cigarette fell from his lips when Beth secured her hands around his neck and brought up her weight to lay on top of him. "Motivate me and I will." She murmured through their kissing, her hands shifting to under and over his shoulder blades. Beth could feel the chill of his skin again. At one point she had believed Daryl to be cold-blooded, mostly due to her impressions of when they had first met, His bitterness toward the world and everyone in it. He had been and, in some ways, still is, but he had shown her subtle signs that he was changing that outlook more and more every day. The pair's hearts jumped into their throats and their bodies flashed when a loud knock came from the garage door. Both of them froze, just staring at the door and waiting for something to happen. Purely out of instinct Beth had covered her chest with her arms. "You aren't expectin people, are you?" Beth asked with a hit of amusement. Daryl groaned; his head rested on her chest again. It was then that Beth caught on to who precisely was knocking at their door this early in the morning. "Told you they would call yer bluff." Her laugh was caught off when Daryl pressed his hand to her mouth.
He laid back down against the mattress, removing Beth's arms from her chest. "Keep quiet. Maybe they'll go away." Beth's eyes lit up. Kissing his rough palm, she guided his strong hand down her neck, sternum then securing it around her tiny breast.
Daryl made ready to speak again but as he had done with her Beth kept him quiet when her lips met his. "We're being quiet, aren't we?" She smirked in that way that made his heart skip a beat.
"Yes, ma'am." Elevating his body slightly to press his mouth against the pale surface where his hand resided. Small whimpers and moans escaped Beth's trembling lips as Daryl worked against her, motivating her, just as she had asked.
The banging on the door came again this time followed by Rick's voice. "Wake up, Daryl. We got work to do."
"Who called the police on us?" Beth glared at the door, ready to tell him off, but Daryl turned her from it.
His voice filled with desire. "Focus on me, girl." He panted, eyes focused only on her, she's all that mattered right now. Pressing his forehead to hers, her thighs resting up against his hips as she moved against him. "So in this dream of yers….are ya naked?" He asked smugly. Breathe heavy and vision blurred, Beth squirmed when Daryl entered her again, pulling closer so they rested chest to chest and cheek to cheek. Her spin shivered when his arm secured around her waist, the other secured around the back of her neck, he could feel the goosebumps covering her.
"Come on Daryl. Don't make me force this door open."
This time Beth really was ready to tell him off, surprisingly Daryl beat her to it. "Go away, Rick!" He had no intention to open that door. Turning his attention back on his girl he blocked out the others as best he could. Only to then cuss loudly upon hearing the banging again.
"Leave us alone, Rick." Beth responded before Daryl. Pinning him against the mattress and securing his arms above his head, and yet the banging continued.
"Don't make this harder on yourselves." Michonne chuckled. Honestly, Daryl wasn't sure who would harp on him the most over this. But with locked glances, the pair knew that they weren't gonna be getting any more quiet time with their friends at their door.
Groaning, Daryl helped ease Beth off of him. "One sec." He whispered, kissing her again then looking to retrieve his pants from the floor where a variety of his and Beth's clothes had been scattered. "Alright, give it a rest." He shouted when the banging sounded once more. He knelt down to undo the lock that heled down the door from the inside, once the padlock had been tossed aside one swift motion was all it took to lift the garage door. Beth couldn't be more grateful that the door was positioned on the other side of the garage, far from the view of the bedroom, she didn't want anyone catching a glimpse of her while she wasn't decent at the moment. "Watcha want?" Daryl finally asked after removing his hands from over his eyes once they adjusted to the sunlight and to work on looping his belt through his dark jeans.
A smile parted Rick's cracked lips when he asked, "Sorry to disturb your personal time, but are you coming or not?"
Daryl shot looks at Michonne, Rosita, Carol, Nate and Glenn who were all giggling like little kids. The bowmen then turned his shifty eyes to Savanna who looked beyond guilty. "I tried to explain to em, but they wouldn't listen." Her tone and face both looking apologetic.
Glenn snickered. "Yeah man, you commin?"
Daryl was sure that he had heard him clearly, yet he asked for clarification to be sure. "What?"
Glenn looked more than happy to repeat himself. "You commin?"
Daryl gave a slight chuckle when he remembered these circumstances mirrored the ones from the prison. The only difference being that he has an actual response to the questions. "Yeah, all last night." That response was enough to send the snicker and giggling into full laughter. "What bout you?"
Glenn's smile dropped, taken aback by his friends' response, one that he hadn't expected to hear, certainly nothing that witty. So, he stayed quiet while the group continued to laugh. Rick met Savanna's gaze. "Oh yeah, something really important." She gave a sarcastic laugh, rolling her eyes, looking disappointed in her failed efforts.
Michonne jabbed Rick's arm, leaning forward. "Morning Beth."
"Morning guys." She laughed from inside the garage, hiding under the covers when Daryl scowled at her.
"How ya feeling?"
Honestly, Beth didn't care that they had been caught, no one would be judging her and her relationship with Daryl is nothing secret. "Very good thanks."
"Yeah, I bet you both are." Glenn muttered under his breath when he looked Daryl up and down, rubbing his arm where Daryl had swatted at him only seconds after his comment.
Arms folded across his bare chest Daryl knew that he wouldn't be getting out of this despite his best efforts. "Give me a minute." He huffed, turning to retrieve the rest of his clothes and gear.
"Alright, alright." Glenn sighed, trying to make everyone regain their composure. "It wasn't that funny."
Savanna patted his sore arm. "Now, now, be a good sport. You got owned, the least you can do it take it like a champ."
Daryl could feel Beth's disappointment radiating off of her. But to his surprise, she didn't appear bitter toward the situation, more understanding than anything else. "I'm sorry." He murmured. He hoped she could tell just how sorry he was for having to leave. But even when she handed him his crossbow which rested near the foot of their bed her bright expression didn't break.
Bringing him into her warm embrace, his clothed body against hers that was now wrapped loosely in their bedsheets. "Hey what did I say?"
The hunter gave a nod, his eyes drifted down to look at Beth's feet. Her tiny toes pocking out from the sheet that covered her body. "No apologies."
Beth nodded her head, her embrace around him tightening one more time. "I'll be here when you get back." The power of those words in his ear flared his entire body with intense need. It made him want to undress and climb back into bed with her all over again, but his sense of responsibility got the better of him, something he never had before and now he's glad he does. He has more purpose than ever before. "They need you, Daryl."
"Yeah, they are pretty useless without me." He teased. She shooed him away to get moving, playfully poking at him. Before Daryl walked out the door, he was content with the last glimpse he got of Beth when she dropped the sheet to search for her clothes. One last look at her perfect form.
Closing the garage door down behind him the group then made their way back to the front gates. No one spoke a word, Daryl didn't need to explain anything to them, he's happy for the first time in a long time, why the hell does that need explaining? But even while they walked Daryl could feel everyone's eyes on him, not judging, more so happy for him that he has what he has with Beth, stuff like that doesn't last long in times like these. Daryl didn't acknowledge Carol when she came up next to him, hoping their eyes would meet.
"What?" He grumbled, growing annoyed with the woman's glances.
Her lips curled, failing to keep her grin back. "Nothing." She spoke almost sounding proud. "Just happy for you."
"Yeah didn't think you'd ever get any action."
Daryl shot Rosita a rather confident look. "I got more than you and this one." He motioned to her then Glenn who was still wrapping his head around the first witty remark.
"Apparently sex turns Daryl into a savage," Nate whispered to Savanna who kissed his cheek goodbye for the time being.
Now she found herself bummed that she wouldn't be joining the group on this very eventful run. But Nate and the others would no doubt provide footnotes upon their return. "Be safe ya'll." She instructed before taking her leave. Savanna's laughter could still be heard long after she had begun her return trip back to her and Nate's house once it was made clear that she wouldn't need to take Daryl's place.
Glenn's headspace was still spiraling out of whack over what had just occurred. "You make jokes now, when did that happen?"
Daryl shot him a reassuring look, patting his back. "Don't feel so bad. I'll give ya some tips." Glenn knew right then and there that his friend wasn't referring to making jokes.