There's something about a deserted department store that's just kind of creepy and depressing – starting, Andrea thinks, with the mannequins.
They don't smell like the dead, of course, and they don't shuffle or moan or reach for her with decaying hands. Nonetheless, she startles at every still-clothed figure that gets caught in her peripheral vision, swallowing Daryl's name as she realizes it's not a walker, not a threat, not a target to take down.
Her itchy trigger finger of before would've blown its molded plastic head clean off.
The store they're in is familiar, in the way that all department stores are inherently familiar. Back in the real world, seemingly a whole lifetime ago, Andrea had spent a lot of time in just such a store, shopping on lunch breaks and days off, buying clothes to wear to court or on a date.
Wandering around a department store was relaxing and comfortable and fun, back then. Now, in this place, it serves as a kind of reminder; she imagines a sign on the entrance, saying in bold print, 'this is how things used to be, in case you'd forgotten.'
Her clothes feel even grungier than usual as she wanders through the women's section, the only sounds she hears her footsteps thudding on worn carpeting and the wheels of a rolling suitcase behind her and, somewhere on the other side of the store, Daryl muttering to himself.
They're on a supply run mission, looking to scavenge the department store for any useful clothing they can find and bring back. As it turns out, even the Grimes and Peletier Launderette of Perpetual Sorrow can't effectively remove all traces of mud and blood and guts from fabric, and the group had become badly in need of new wardrobes.
She and Daryl had split up as soon as they'd found the luggage section, Andrea calling after him to please get a few things with sleeves, for God's sake. The cold weather's coming, and what will he do then? He'd grumbled a response, and it took everything in her to not trail after him like she was the host of What Not to Wear and he was a disobedient makeover recipient.
She'd never been a fashionista, not really, but she'd always tried to make herself look good. Even now, she tries to keep her appearance as neat as she can, though, even if it's only tying her hair up halfway rather than into a messy ponytail on top of her head. So it might be stupid, she knows, but as she flips quickly through the racks, she makes an effort to pay attention to cut and color, picking clothes that will fit the ladies in her group in more ways than just size.
She's searching through a clearance rack near the dressing rooms when she spots the dress, hiding amongst ugly shirts that no one had apparently wanted, looking like it was most likely placed there by someone waiting for a big sale to hit.
It's short. It's sparkly. It's just the right shade of midnight blue to complement her eyes. And it's the prettiest damn thing she's seen in a long, long time.
Andrea glances around, looking for her supply run companion, before turning back to the dress. She hooks a finger into the armhole and fishes out the tag. It had been a pricey little number, once upon a time, and as luck would have it, it's just her size.
She feels it tug at her, practically calling her name, begging her to try it on.
Oh, what the hell, she thinks. What could it hurt?
She shoves the pile of clothes she'd accumulated on her arm into the duffel bag slung over her shoulder, shrugs it off onto the rolling suitcase, and steps over to the three large mirrors positioned just outside the dressing rooms. After another quick glance to make sure Daryl isn't around, she strips quickly, shedding her sweater and t-shirt, boots and jeans and socks, until she's down to the one bra she has left (she makes a mental note to hit the lingerie department next) and a pair of panties.
Andrea grins widely when she slips the dress off the hanger, feeling sort of rebellious and even just a little bit like her old self. She unzips the back and steps into the dress, yanking it up until she can pull the straps over her shoulders. The tag scratches at her skin, so she yanks it off and tosses it to the ground with only a brief stab of guilt.
It's a gorgeous dress, and it fits her just right – or it will if she can get the zipper up, she thinks. She contorts herself, twisting and pulling awkwardly, until she feels it slide into place. There's still something wrong, though, and she reaches back to unhook her crappy old bra, slipping it off and onto the pile of clothes she doesn't intend to put on again.
Turning back to the mirror, she sighs. The dress is perfect, and it looks incredible on her, and holy crap, she hasn't felt good about herself in this way in forever.
It's been so long, but she falls back into the same old moves – turning left, turning right, looking over her shoulder, checking out her ass. She puts her hands on her hips and cocks a leg to the side, looking like a model at the end of the runway.
She's biting her bottom lip, wondering if there's any possible way she can get away with bringing the dress back to camp, when she hears a wolf whistle from behind her.
Andrea whips around to see Daryl staring at her, the beginning of a smirk on his lips. She straightens up, suddenly mortified, and she's not quite sure if it's because he caught her being so girly, or if it's the way his eyes are starting to wander over her body.
Actually, she decides, she doesn't really mind the roaming eyes.
"It was right there," she blurts out, her face feeling a bit warm.
He nods. "Uh huh."
"It was just… I had to."
She shakes her head. "You wouldn't understand." He's still staring at her, and she still likes it, so she shimmies a bit, little beads and sequins swishing with the movement. "You like?"
Daryl blinks, realizing he's been caught. He clears his throat and finds his shoes suddenly fascinating. "The fashion show over now? We should start heading back soon."
Feeling bold, she steps closer to him. "Fine." She turns her back to him and looks over her shoulder. "Unzip me? I can't reach."
"Uh." He nods quickly. "Sure."
His hands shake a bit when he reaches for her, one hand holding the fabric steady while the other tugs at the zipper. His fingertips brush the back of her neck when he moves her hair out of the way, and she shivers under his touch.
He keeps going, lightly touching the bumps along her spine. When the zipper reaches the bottom, just a few inches above her ass, his hands linger for a few moments before quickly stepping away from her.
She turns to face him again, her eyes meeting his, and before she can talk herself out of it, she sidles up closer. "You didn't answer me, you know." She's practically purring, but she can't convince herself that trying to seduce him is a bad idea in this moment. "Do you like the dress?"
Daryl rakes his eyes down her figure. "You planning on killing walkers in that thing?"
"Maybe," she shrugs.
"Nowhere to put your gun," he mumbles.
She grins. "I'd try keeping it in my bra, but I'm not wearing one."
He blows out a breath, and his face gets pink. "Oh."
"Yeah." She puts her feet between his and leans into his body, forcing him to look her in the eyes. "We have to stop in the lingerie section before we leave."
He nods, struggling to keep his eyes on hers. His hands clench and unclench at his sides, and she knows he's itching either to touch her or to bolt.
She hooks her fingers into his belt loops and smiles up at him. "I mean, we're not in a massive hurry or anything, right?"
With a slight tug, she presses their hips together and leans up kiss him. He groans, low in his throat, and kisses her back, his mouth opening against hers. His hands settle on her hips, keeping her close as he walks forward until her back hits the mirror.
He pulls away and stares down at her. "You're playing a dangerous game, girl," he growls. His eyes burn into her, trying to read her motives, and she feels herself go a little weak at the knees. "This really something you want to be starting?"
His hips push against hers and Andrea can feel him against her middle, hard and pressing beneath the roughness of his jeans. She gasps. "Yes," she says.
She shrugs, pushing up against him. "I'm feeling pretty good about myself. I think I'm a little drunk on this dress."
"It's a great fucking dress," he agrees, rubbing her hips through the fabric.
She hitches a leg around his hip and grinds against him, making him moan. "Knew you liked it," she says, and drags her teeth along his throat.
He yanks the front of the dress down, exposing her breasts, and he dips his head to take one into his mouth. His tongue is rough against her skin, and she sighs, squirming against him. Her hands move down to fumble with his belt and zipper.
One of his hands slides up her thigh, past the short hemline of the dress, and he twists her underwear around his fingers, pulling until a loud tearing sound is heard.
"Hey!" she cries, feeling the ruined panties slide down her leg. She frowns and kicks them away. "Seriously? Come on."
Daryl puts his hands on her waist and lifts her, stepping between her legs. "What? We're making a stop anyway, right?"
"Yeah, yeah," she breathes.
There's a brief, fleeting moment where she wonders what would happen if she approached Lori and Carol, ripped panties in hand, looking for the sewing kit.
It's an amusing thought, and she almost wants to laugh and tell him about it, but then he's there, thrusting into her with his face buried in her neck, and all she's thinking of is the man moving between her legs and the cold mirror at her back and the way she can't see those creepy mannequins with her eyes shut so tight.