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The Road

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Hello Bethylers! This is my first fan-fix post on this site, I'm coming from fan, and I've got another work on there under the username "alwaysmonchele" if your interested! I hope to eventually get that one up here as well! I'm also working on another fic, but is you enjoy this, let me know! Love you all! xo, Stephanie TUMBLR : BethylLivesOn ENJOY!

She was sure the wailing screams could be heard from miles away.

This high a volume, it was surely loud enough to wake the dead – and no doubt wake the living, and she was so positive she would have cops tailing her within minutes.

This happened every now and then – her trying to drive the tears out of him and put him to sleep, but it never ceased to work, and her efforts continuously went failed. She was at breaking point, and her mind was running a million miles a minute, and she was so close to exploding. To just giving up. To stopping the car, leaving the keys in the ignition, and walking away.

She didn’t know everything. People told her that she did – that she would be fine, and she would be great, and she would be perfect – and how wrong they all had been. She was so far from fine – so far from great – and so fucking far from perfect. Sure, she loved him – and she wanted to be good for him, but she couldn’t help the overwhelming urges to just give up – to leave this mess – and just let someone else care for him the way she couldn’t.

It was a foggy night at around eleven pm, and driving was all she seemed to know how to do at this point in time. The cries had started about thirty five minutes ago, and that’s when she took him and started driving – and she wasn’t sure where, but somewhere else…somewhere away from home, and away from everything and everyone that knew her.

The fog was thick and murky, and her headlights were no where near as bright as they needed to be – her car in desperate need of an inspection – but when the fuck could she possibly have the time to do that on top of everything else she had to do.

Work was the first time that notched her belt, five days a week nine to four – giving her plenty of time to focus on her other priorities. He came next, always on her shoulder, either crying or spitting up – rarely asleep – and sometimes she would beg – someone, anyone to help her. To please, help her.

It had been an accident – the baby. She and Zach were always careful – always smart – and the one night she decided to forgive herself and have one extra drink – she forgot. The thought slipped her mind and she forgot. A forgotten pill was the little mistake that caused the big one.

Beth had always been a good girl – her daddy taught her that way, and she knew that life was precious – that there was always a reason to smile – and though there was, she hadn’t seemed to smile once in the last year and almost a half of her life.

That being said, her daddy had been upset with her – but more upset at him for walking away. For backing down as a man – and leaving his priorities and responsibilities at her damn feet. Her daddy was always quick to hand her money, and though she didn’t need to ask, he knew she needed it – and he loved her little boy more than he cared to admit – and he wanted him taken care of.

She made good money with work, but there were so many days that she had to call out that they had started to be unforgiving as far as paid sick days. Teaching small children as a job was always something that she loved to do, but since having one of her own – she found it incredibly hard to juggle both.

Her child should be her number one, but making money was at the top of her list. Maybe that’s because he is her number one and she wants to be able to provide for him – but she isn’t sure, and it scared her so much that she hates to think about – to dwell on it – and so she doesn’t.

She loves feeling his lips against her skin, the warmth on her chest, and she loves hearing him breathe on her shoulder when he finally sleeps, and she knows she would die for him – of course she would – but she sometimes feels like she would be okay with that – and that’s terrifying to her.

She never thought about children – never really wondered whether she wanted to have them. Sure, she had gone through school and been able to have the whole college experience, and she got to have her fair share of boyfriends – but she never got married and moved into a pretty house with a white fence – and that was what Beth Greene always wanted.

Instead, she went to school, graduated college, and found herself a cute boy who she gave herself to – and he knocked her up and gave her a little boy and then he left them with nothing and no one – alone with absolute zilch.

She hated him for it – for so long, and every time her baby would cry – she would cry with him – maybe because she missed him, but mainly because she didn’t want this, didn’t want this alone – by herself. She cried angry tears more often than not, and she would curse him daily – and she didn’t hate herself for that.

She bought herself a small yellow house out in a field, and she picked out a nice car that her daddy bought for her – telling her it was what he wanted, and she nodded – thanking him for everything he’d ever done for her.

Some would say she was spoiled – but she didn’t think so. She thought she was blessed with loving parents who wanted the best for her and wanted to help her take care of her child. Her daddy was a man of God, and he would never let his youngest daughter struggle to fend for herself and a baby.

Aside from the miracle of her parents being okay with a baby out of wedlock, Beth didn’t care to believe in miracles. She knew the reality of the world, and though faith had always been a part of her life – she didn’t seem to carry it as strongly with her today as she would have liked – or her daddy would have liked. She always assumed the worst, and was always cautious of situations and of people she didn’t know.

Maybe that’s why tonight when it’s eleven in the evening and she’s driving in the fog without her brights, she nearly runs him down with her car.

She approaches him too fast, and she barely has enough time to react to the white wings she suddenly sees in front of her as she jerks the car to a halt, and suddenly she realizes that she doesn’t hear the wailing anymore. It’s quiet until the breaks halt her to a stop, her body jerking harshly forward with the movement of the vehicle, and her eyes instantly look back to make sure the baby’s okay.

He’s soundly asleep in the car seat, and she sighs with relief when she notes his closed eyelids. Her head jerks back to the windshield and she sees him now – in front of her, facing her, his hair shaggy and long – in his eyes – and she isn’t even sure that he can see. Her eyes still on his for a moment before her shaking hand goes instinctively to the lock, pressing down and hearing the harsh click echo all around her.

He’s still watching her, his head now cocked a little bit to the left, and he’s holding a bag in his hand – low and almost against the ground, and she notes that his vest is leather and it’s dark and she realizes that he’s all dark. He’s clad in almost all black and the only thing that may not be is his face – still a shade of deep – probably tanned from the sun.

She isn’t sure if she’s thinking when she lowers her window and sticks her head out, asking him if he’s all right.

He’s in the middle of the road at night in the fog, and she hopes he knows that he’s impossible to see in this weather. Her mind instantly goes to her son, and she realizes what she’s done now – she’s put not only herself, but her baby in danger. She doesn’t know this man, or what he’s done – and hell – he could be a murderer, and she could have just signed both of their death sentences.

She’s still looking at him when she sees him nod slowly, remembering that he’s obviously telling her that he’s okay – answering her question.

Not sure of anything in that moment, she keeps her head perched outside of the window when she sees him begin to step backwards. He doesn’t turn around yet, and she decides it’s okay to bring her head back into her car, and it’s then that he turns around and continues to walk in the direction he’d been heading.

She mentally laughs at the fact that she nearly hit him moments ago because he was in her way in the middle of her lane on the road, and now – after nearly ending his life, he continues to block her way – still in the middle of the pavement making it impossible to do the legal thing and continue in the right lane.

She keeps her foot on the brake, taking a quick glance back at her baby, relieved when he’s still asleep. Her eyes fix on his small chest, taking the rise and fall movements into her head, relieved that he’s breathing. She did that often – almost every time she looked at him.

Her mind is racing, and though she didn’t get too good of a look at the man, she knew that she had this impending feeling in the pit of her gut that almost reminded her of butterflies – the twisting of nerves on the first date, and she can’t imagine why in the world she is feeling this way towards a complete and utter stranger.

Her best guess was that he was an escaped convict, and he had killed his whole family – and now he was blocking her way so that he could trap her from getting away because he knew she was too nice of a person to just simply drive around him. He probably had been following her for weeks, knew everything about her – and that she was an easy target.

Then, she snapped out of her mindset when she remembered that she had to be an adult and make a conscious decision to be smart about this, and remember that she had her child in the backseat – and if anything happened to him because of her oblivion or bad judgment, no one would forgive her – not even herself.

She doesn’t even realize her foot is off of the brake when she pulls up next to him, unable to remember even turning the wheel to avoid him as she pulls to a stop beside him. She sees him glance at her, stopping in his tracks, and she doesn’t roll the window down. She’s not sure if that was her intention, or if it was just to drive around him to protect her baby and do the right thing – but her memory seemed to be completely faded in the intention area.

Her eyes are connected with his – she thinks, from what she can see through the window as his hair blocks his sight, and she doesn’t even know if he can see her – if he can tell she’s even a she.

Her mind is drifting to her daddy, and in her mind he’s quietly telling her that she knows – she knows what to do. She can almost feel the breath in her ear as she hears it, because her daddy is so kind – and he would always do the good Christian thing. She knows for a fact that he would stop the car and offer him a ride – and though she was raised the same way, the world has made her a different person, and other people she’s encountered have made her almost afraid of regular people.

She was taught that every man was good, that every person had a heart, and that even if one had done something bad, there was always room for redemption.

He’s looking at her, a loomy glare with hair covering most of his face from her, and then her foot releases the brake and she switches to the gas, looking in front of her again, driving away.

It’s only inches that she gets before she again hits the brake, and this time, she puts the car into park, releasing her foot off the pedal. Her hand goes to her buckle, and she releases the lock, pushing her way to the door handle and getting onto her feet on the rough gravel. Her arms instinctively go across her chest, and she looks at him once again, and he’s staring back at her, and maybe she’s being crazy – but hell if he wasn’t coming across a little crazy himself.

The car door remained open with the keys in the ignition and the faint beeping was thumping in her ear as she realizes that it’s probably louder inside the car than it is out there, and she shuts the door relieving the sound as she opens her mouth to speak.

“I’ve got a baby.” She says, and her head tilts to the car, signaling that he’s in there – maybe a way to say “If you’re thinking of killing me, don’t.”

He doesn’t say anything to her, and he starts walking in her direction, and her arms tense around her and she realizes that he’s deviating away from her, walking around her instead of toward her – and her mouth opens again.

“Where’re you headed?” She asks small and quiet, and the second he stops her heart skips a beat.

He turns on his heel and she heard the crunching rocks underneath his shoes as he turns to her and he’s only feet away from her – almost two heads taller than she is, and he’s staring at her so intently that she can see a crease in his forehead where his hair is parted, and her eyes train on it.

“Don’t matter.” He says gruffly, and he doesn’t turn around this time.

“It does matter.” She tells him, looking back at him, this time tilting her head to the side almost in sympathy – because maybe he thinks it really doesn’t matter where he’s going, but to her, it does – because she would rather not hear about him being hit and dumped on the side of the road after she failed to question him about where he was going.

“Why you pesterin’ me, girl?” He asks her, and she’s a little intimidated by his tone, the rough in his voice that it makes her shoulders shake a bit, and she hopes he doesn’t notice.

She can see that his head too tilts to the side. “Where are you headed?” He asks with a slight sneer, his chin jetting in her direction – probing.

“I don’t really think it matters where I’m headed.” She replies, and there’s the irony – because why the hell does it matter where she’s going? She wasn’t even sure of where she was headed when she got into the car an hour ago, and she was sure no one else really gave a damn about it.

Maybe that’s where she’s condemning. Him telling her that it didn’t matter where he was going confused her, and it almost annoyed her – and she realized that her response to the same question was his same answer. Her eyes fell to the ground, and she could feel his eyes trained on her.

“Get back to it then.” He says, and she’s afraid that he’s getting ready to walk away.

Maybe he was like her – lonely and abandoned, and these days were so long that driving to nowhere was her way out, and maybe that was their similarity.

Her feet start to move toward him and he’s still facing her – not having turned around after essentially telling her to get lost.

She’s feebly aware of the sound beneath her feet as she stops in front of him – clearly seeing him now in front of her as she looks up at him, and she’s aware that he’s older than she is – maybe significantly so, and she doesn’t know him, but in some way she feels like she does, and that it’s okay – that this is okay, what she’s doing.

“Get in the car.” He tells her, his stare dark and breeding, and she doesn’t move. Instead, her hand goes to his arm and she touches it – aware that she is so conscious of what she’s doing, and she’s okay with it – with touching this stranger because she doesn’t want him to leave – doesn’t want to leave him, and she isn’t sure why.

His arm almost instantly jerks away from her, and now he’s the one looking at her like he’s afraid because had the situation been opposite, he was sure she would be running away, screaming rape.

His eyes are hard and menacing, staring at her like she’s mad because Christ, she is.

“Come with me.” She simply says, like she’s so sure of what she’s doing, and her arms are still across her chest and he tries to look for a ring, but he doesn’t see one, and he’s sure she’s gotta have someone. Somebody who taught her some sense to not pull her car to the side of road and pick up wanderers.

He almost wants to laugh, but he doesn’t, and his mouth is set in a straight, hard line, and suddenly he’s moving toward her, nodding his head. She gestures to the car, and she’s opening her door as she watches him round the front and now he’s across from her and he hasn’t opened the door yet, and she’s still watching him – almost as if he’s giving her this second to recollect her offer and tell him to get lost and drive away as fast as she can.

At least, that’s what she should do.

She doesn’t though, and he opens the door, ducking his head into the space – somewhere he hadn’t been in so long. Not that he’d ever been in one this nice or this new before – most of the cars he’s ever been in were old and barely running. He notes that the seats are leather, and he’s almost thankful because he isn’t sure if he’s got dirt on him – most likely does, and fabric would soak that shit right up.

His eyes snap to her as she gets in beside him, her head towards the windshield away from him as she snaps her buckle on and starts the car, and he hears the engine roar to life and he almost revels in it because he hasn’t heard that sound in so long, and it’s so satisfying – so welcoming and so safe.

He doesn’t realize he’s speaking when he tells her she needs to use her fog lights, using his finger that he realizes is extremely dirty to show her the location of the button, and when it lights up the road, he sees her sigh with relief, looking to him with a bright smile on her face, and he’s looking at her wondering what the fuck is even happening right now.

“Thank you! Oh – thank you…I – I didn’t think this car didn’t even had them…I…” She’s stuttering, and he might not even be listening, but he hears her as he watches her, her blonde hair swaying in the movements she’s making, and its beautiful – and he almost wants to touch it, but he doesn’t because even though she may be nuts, this is a car and it’s not the warm Atlanta air, and for that, he’s thankful and he doesn’t want to leave.

She begins to drive, and he thinks about asking her where she’s going, but he doesn’t, because he thinks that he doesn’t even want to know. Getting somewhere – anywhere other than by foot was okay with him.

“Wha’s your name?” He asks gruffly, and she’s not looking at him when she tells him its Beth.

She can hear him murmur beside her, and she keeps driving until she gets back to the street that takes her home, and she keeps going.

Home was the only place she could think of to go – because it was well beyond closing time for pretty much everywhere, and she wasn’t sure if she even thought about asking him where he lived because shouldn’t he be there?

Beth. He thinks it fits her – maybe a nickname for Elizabeth, and he almost smiles at the name because it’s pretty and it sounds good and innocent, and so far – that’s the way she had come across to him.

He looks over at her, and he almost hopes that she can feel his stare because he wants her to look back at him – feel the pull he’s extending to her.

Suddenly he realizes he forgot what she had told him earlier when he hears the whines from behind him, and he sees her instantly tense beside him, glancing into her rearview, and she reaches a hand behind her to soothe the baby he guesses, and it clearly doesn’t work when the whimpers turn into wailing cries, and she sighs in frustration next to him and he just watches her as defeat seems to overcome her.

“I drive to put him to sleep.” She says softly, him barely able to hear it over the screams, and he just looks at her as she tells him this, and he realizes that he feels bad for her. By the looks of it, she can’t be older than twenty-five, and he hadn’t seen the baby – but hearing it told him that it had to be pretty young.

When she tells him why she’s out here at the same time he is, he can sense the strain in her voice, and her chest heaves just the right amount of times to tell him that she’s defeated and she’s sad, and she’s beaten down.

Her hand comes to rest on the console, wiping her brow quickly with her shoulder as she tries to relax.

His hand goes on top of hers, resting on the hard rubber, and he isn’t sure that he’s conscious of what he’s doing, but he’s still watching her, and her eyes snap to his at the contact, and he tries to find something in her – something to accept that he’s telling her that it’s okay.

Vaguely conscious, his hand moves to loom over hers and his fingers wrap around her hand, her small one fitting perfectly in his larger one as he squeezes gently, and he hopes that she isn’t afraid, or disgusted, but that she accepts that he feels for her – that he sympathizes with her. He ain’t never had any babies before, but he wasn’t stupid and he knew that they were a handful, and by the sounds of it – this one unquestionably was.

He wonders how she got him – how he even belongs to her – and why the hell she was drivin’ with him alone at this hour, telling a homeless man that it was okay for him to get into her car with her baby in the back seat. It isn’t his place to worry, and he knows that – but he can’t help the feeling that pulls in his gut – anger, jealousy – maybe even envy.

Her hand moving underneath his snaps him out of his thoughts, and he looks up to see that he’s in a driveway, and there’s a house in front of him – and it hits him in the face that she’s taken him to her home – and what the fuck.

Her hand yanks out from his quickly as she rushes out of the car and he watches her from his seat as she opens the back door and pulls the baby out, his cries quieting slightly as she does so, and he almost smiles because she looks good – this stranger.

He realizes he’s staring when she tells him to come on, and he’s getting out behind her, following her onto her porch, and he almost wants to tell her no – that he doesn’t want to – and that it was nice knowing her, but he ought to be going – but he doesn’t, and he isn’t sure why.

The baby is over her shoulder, and his cheek is resting there and he can’t see his face, but only the top of his head, and his small hand that hangs off the side of her arm, and he almost wants to reach out and touch it – but he doesn’t because that’s a line that he knows might get him killed, and he doesn’t cross it.

He notices the light that’s above them is flickering, and he looks up at it to see that it’s about to go out – and she’s livin’ out in the middle of no where, and a house without a porch light is an easy target, and he doesn’t want her or her kid in danger.

He think’s that maybe he can fix it with the things he learned when he actually belonged somewhere, and he realizes that he’s thinking about fixing her porch light when she’s a stranger who picked him up on the side of the road, and that he knows absolutely nothing about her.

She gets the door unlocked, and the baby isn’t crying anymore when they get inside, and she doesn’t tell him where she’s going when she starts to walk away, and she disappears behind a corner, and he stands in her doorway unsure of what to do – because she didn’t tell him to come, and he thinks that if he follows her she may be afraid, but if he doesn’t she may think he’s up to no good, and that’s the last thing he wants.

His feet carry him in the same direction she went in, and he can hear the small words of something he cant make out, and he stops at the small room as she’s leaning over a white crib, and he can hear her more clearly now – softly singing something he’s never heard, and he watches her stroke the few hairs he’s got, and his fists are beside his head and he’s asleep, and he almost smiles.

He never felt any sort of way about babies – and hell – he had never really even been around any, and this was the closest he’s ever gotten to this small of a kid.

She stops, and closes the light beside her, and it’s when she starts to turn around that he looks up at her. She jumps slightly when she catches his eye, and her hand goes to her chest as she sighs and smiles warmly up at him. He doesn’t return the smile, and he just watches as she walks towards him, turning back around when she’s beside him.

They’re both looking to the baby, and he can hear her breathing next to him, and he hasn’t felt someone next to him in so long – and he wants to bathe in the feeling of warmth, and the smell of her shampoo – and it’s so much for him to take in at one time.

“He never sleeps – I cry with him most of the time because I can’t get him to stop.” She says quietly, giggling slightly, unamused. He looks at her and his head is tilted down because she’s considerably smaller than he is, and she’s leaning against the doorframe, tired. She looks exhausted, and he almost wants to pick her up and put her to bed, because she pretty much just told him she hasn’t slept in lord only knows how long.

Her hair is long and in her face, and its when her hand comes up to brush it out of her face that he grabs it in his own, and pushes her gently up against the doorframe, eyes going to her lips before dipping his head down and kissing her hard. His body presses firmly against her own, and he can feel her chest against his, rising hard with the contact. His hand squeezes hers tightly as he pushes it up beside her head, his other hand going to cup her face.

She makes a small sound, and it makes him jump back, hands flying off of her – like he had been burned, and he looks at her and almost asks himself if he really just did that.

Her eyes are wide and staring, and her lips are crimson and pouty – and all he can do is watch her as she watches him, questioning as to what the hell that was, even though she knows damn well what that was.

Maybe being on the road too long made him like the uninhabited – fierce and stray. He wants to hit himself for doing that, but instead he just looks at her lips and his hands go back to her face, and he kisses her again, this time pulling her into the hallway with him, her back still pressed against the wall. His lips move feverously against hers, and she’s kissing him back with just as much need as he’s giving to her, and her hands grab onto his forearms as they hold her cheeks.

He could only imagine what he smelled like, and he was aware that he hadn’t had a shower in three days, his hair was dirty, and his arms were brown – caked with mud and dirt from his time outside.

His tongue traces her bottom lip, and she grants him access to her mouth, and he twists his tongue into her mouth, deepening the kiss further as his body presses harder into hers. Her movements are quick and almost pleading, and he wants nothing more than to give her everything he has.

He realizes he’s moving and she’s pushing him away, bringing him with her as she walks down the hall.

She walks into what he assumes is her bedroom, and she shuts the door behind her, looking up at him, and he can’t help but kiss her again.

His hands are now on her hips, and he walks her up until the large wooden dresser, and her hips dig into the hard surface, his body pinning her there, and she’s okay with it – painful as it may be, all the could focus on was him. It’s then that she remembers she never got his name – and in that moment, she was opening her body up to a complete stranger of whom she didn’t even know the name of.

He’s calmed her nerves - frayed from hours of exhaustion and stress and just life - but the gasped breaths he stole between kisses fed oxygen to her body. Kissing her seemed to be like that. It seemed to be like he was taking the life out of her, and he needed to feed it back to her.

He had read somewhere once that good people were like candles - they burnt themselves up to give other people light - and he knew the same could definitely be said for Beth.

This girl he had just only met, and had brought him into her home.

It made him almost sad to see the twenty something year old like that - agitated and stressed because of something unkind dealt to her by life that he didn’t know - so he tried his best to breathe fire back into her, to keep her flame burning so that she wouldn't fade away.

He seemed to know it was working when she kissed him back like he was the air she so desperately needed. Like he was what she desired for so long, and had no idea where to look for it.

That seemed be exactly and perfectly right.

Searching for something in a place that you never imagined would be it. Have asked anyone, they never would have told her that she would find it on a long stretch of road at eleven at night in thick fog. That the man she had almost hit with her car was who and what she had been searching for.

She seemed to like it best this way, liked his large calloused hands on her face, and he could only tell because her face pushed hard into his hands whenever he touched her there, and when his hand moved to one of her well-muscled thighs, carefully slipping between her long pale legs, tangling them together and giving him something to rub against, she moaned softly, and it surprises her because she hasn’t even heard a sound like that in what felt like centuries.

He was realizing that he liked doing everything he could to make her feel good, because then maybe he could begin to fill the hollow in her heart with love and fire. To give her everything he had to give because he knew even in the short time of knowing nothing about her – that she needed it a hell of a lot more than he did.

For the first time in his life, he had found somebody who needed more than he needed – who required love and empathy, and though that was something he always thought he needed to seek out for himself – he was giving it instead of taking it.

He could tell just by looking at her that she was broken – that someone had torn her down, and her telling him that she cried when her baby cried told him exactly that. That boy was her world and she answered to him because she had no one else to help her do the job.

He knew that she felt something when she moaned softly again into his mouth as his hips bucked up into the soft skin of her abdomen, and he notices that her shirt had ridden up just enough to show him the pale skin that lied beneath.

He almost jumped when he felt her push back, her skin causing friction onto his groin, and he couldn’t help but grow hard under his jeans, and the more she rubbed, the harder it was to keep them on. It was almost painful to watch her do this to him, and all he wanted to do was ravish her in that moment, but he refrained and let her lead the way – to show him her limits and her boundaries.

He liked the little choked-off gasps she released into the cool air of the unfamiliar room as the two of them kissed deeply, her mouth letting out soft mewls and sounds that were foreign to him. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d kissed a woman – let alone felt the desire to.

Out of everything he had going on in his life, sex and women were the last on his list, and he couldn’t think back to a time recently where he even thought about it.

When he let his teeth lightly scrape the soft skin beneath her lip as he bit and nibbled there, the soft contented sighs leaving her mouth sounded like flames, like a confirmation that trying to fix him wasn't a lost cause after all - no matter what the older man may have thought.

He was seeing that he loved her touching any part of him that came in contact with her and it made his skin burn, and he would gladly take that fire over anything else because it was unflawed.

He began to dislike breaking their kisses but knew it was necessary if he wanted to remove her shirt so that he could sleepily resume sucking and kissing her delicate collarbone, and he may have been growing increasingly turned on though he fought to ignore it because this was about her. He wanted to give her everything, anything she wanted or asked for, and he didn’t want to take because she had already given him so many things, and he only wanted to worship her.

She suddenly stops him and asks him if she can turn the lights down, and he confusedly nods to her easily, watching her slowly dim the lights, and she comes back to him motioning for him to take her shirt off, and he cautiously does – fingers slightly shaky as he pulls it over her skin and off her body, tossing it onto the nearby chair.
He didn't mind the lighting - if it made her feel comfortable, he knew he would do anything - but he felt her tense beneath his fingers when he reached out to touch the straps on her bra.

He looked to her, and her eyes were almost pleading, but he knew she was tense and maybe a little nervous – hell he was nervous too, but this girl was an angel, and he was afraid that touching her too hard would make her disappear, and he would plead for that never to happen.

"Please," she whined, trying in vain to bring his hands away from her breasts, and though she wanted it – she was nervous.

“Beautiful" He softly murmurs and he isn’t sure if he realizes that he says it, because he doesn’t think he’s ever said that to anyone before, and he waited until the distress in her soft blue eyes had softened before he gently pushed his hands around her back, unhooking the metal with a snap.
His thin lips were soft as he kissed her ear gently.

His lips trailed lower when she seemed to relax, and she gently eased her hands to his pants, unzipping them, and pushing then down his legs. His lips hooked on the skin on her neck, and he refrained from sucking because he didn’t know if she wanted a reminder of him – though that’s all he wanted of her. He never wanted to forget her – he wanted her permanently stained in his skin forever because he assumed this was a one time thing, and that scared the shit out of him.

Because of how important she already was.

He found that she liked him tracing his calloused fingertips down her chest, liked the little hisses of air that escaped him like coils of smoke when she rolled his lip between hers. His fingers brushed her nipples, hard against him and he flicked them gently, looking at her to make sure she was still okay, and she was.

He nearly choked when she slipped her hand into the opening of his boxers, and when he pulsed against her palm, she smiled slightly as she stretched her neck up to catch his lips in a soft kiss. His hand held her neck, thin and delicate.

His head starts to spin when she starts to focus on the head of his cock then, rubbing her small thumb gently over the slit and she relishes in the broken little whines that escape him, his mouth agape, keeping his eyes on hers as he continues to touch her breast, now rubbing and gently squeezing and tugging – earning louder moans this time.

"God, you're so beautiful," He murmurs, kissing the corner of her mouth gently as the she gasps in a breath, her pupils blown as she clutches at him like the pleasure coursing through her was making her head spin. "So gorgeous, flower. So pretty for me."

His skin was starting to feel overheated and she could feel his pulse thundering against her lips when he kissed his pulse point right below his jaw.

The older man's breath caught in his throat then and it turned her on more than she would ever care to admit, and although the point of this definitely wasn't for his benefit, it was proving to be a damn good bonus.

Beth sucked at his wrist when she remembered that she knew it was a sensitive spot for both of the men she’d been with and, when his hips started to buck up gently into the her hand, she noted that he too had the same weak spot.

She dug her nails into his broad shoulders, moving the vest off of him, letting it fall to the floor with a heavy thud, and her hands quickly made work to start unbuttoning his cut off button down.

His hips still thrusted clumsily against her bare thigh, letting out choked-sounding moans whenever her hand tightened in just the right way. While her hands fumble with buttons, his find her bottom and lift her up easily onto the dresser surface, and her leg goes instinctively around his waist, the heel of her foot hooking in to the waistband of his boxers.

He starts grinding himself against her center, and he can feel her warm through her panties, and it nearly sends him over the edge and all he wants to do is rip them from her and bury himself deep inside of her, but he refrains and instead waits until she gets his shirt off, and then he hooks his fingers into her panties and pulls them down gently but forcefully, keeping her eyes locked on his all the while.

"Please" she softly pleads and the fire was smoldering in his dark eyes as his breath escaped him in a sob, and he instantly knew she was burning brightly again now - he could see it - so he didn't have to hold back anymore.

"I've got you" He softly promises but his voice was rough with lust and need, and his thrusts become clumsier as her hands fall to his hips, tugging his own boxers down his legs, his member freed, and he watches as she looks at it and back to his lips, her own hips pressing to his to grind down against his thigh.

His hand stills on her bottom, and he kisses her again, this time sloppier and wanting – her hands coming up to grip his shoulders, almost pulling herself onto him, and he realizes that he’s almost at her entrance, and he breaks away slowly, motioning to where they’re about to connect, and she slowly nods.

“It’s okay.” She says easily, and he looks at her before pulling her leg higher on his back, the angle opening and fiery as he slowly and swiftly enters her body, his cock almost throbbing when he does it – her walls clenching around him, almost painfully – and he’s afraid he’s hurting her, so he stills there, and just watches her as she bites her lip and hangs her head, her fingers clenching slightly on his skin.

Her eyes meet his again, and she opens her mouth to tell him it’s okay, but all she can manage is a soft moan that escapes her lips, and she just pulls him all the way in with her heel against him, and her back arches pressing her chest hard into his as she wraps her arms tightly around his shoulders, his mouth coming up to his neck below his ear, and he can feel her hot breath on his skin and it’s a little shaky, but his is too and that’s okay.

He presses open mouthed kisses to her shoulder as he fills her completely, his cock hard and throbbing inside her heat, her body tight around him and he’s relishing this moment – afraid he’ll forget it or it won’t be real, and he’ll wake up alone again, and so he pulls her face forcefully from his neck, and he looks at her with a hand on her jaw, calloused thumb grazing her cheek and he starts to move within her, sliding in and out of her warm heat, and her mouth just opens in desire and she isn’t forming words, but begging all the same.

Their lips are close, but not touching as he’s fucking her, and she’s moving her hips to meet his thrusts, eyes searching his face – everywhere and she can’t get enough of him – can’t see enough, and can’t feel enough and she just wants everything he has to give to her, and never in her life has she ever felt such strong need. Never felt such strong need to hold on to something so tightly because losing it was the worst possibility.

He continues to move in and out of her body while holding her face next to his, and his nose is in her hair, breathing in everything good. He moves one hand to her leg, holding it in place, pressing it slightly open – giving him more accessibility and it makes her groan out because it’s so much tighter, and he can move easier.
She’s completely open for him, and he’s taken this opportunity to fill her with everything.


His own father never thought he could.

Not that he disagreed – but being told every day by his own blood that he would never amount to anything – that he was a mistake, and that he would be alone forever did something to him. Scared him in a way that no other person could.

He dropped out of high school at the age of fifteen, ran off at sixteen, came home at seventeen, and almost died at eighteen.

Of course – following Merle was probably the cause of the route his life train had taken, but he knew that ultimately – he was this way because of himself, Hell, if he wanted to go to school and become a CEO of a company, he coulda – but he didn’t because he made that choice.

He could never change – no matter how hard he tried, or how bad he wanted to – he never could. He was born to a son of a bitch, and that was just who he became. Followin’ Merle around like a lost puppy – just saying ‘yes’ to everything he told him to do – landin’ him in jail several times, getting him arrested more than that.

His eyes still burned whenever he thought about the fire – the one that killed the only person he could almost depend on – the only person who he thought could actually love him. Taking her up in flames and just erasing her, and it was seared into his mind.

He was ten when it happened, and his old man was nothing after that. Weak he was before – nothing he was after. Merle felt it just as hard as he did – even if he would never admit it, and he got into some hardcore shit after. Drugs and jail were most of everything Merle knew – and sooner rather than later, Daryl did too.

There was a time he’d nearly killed a guy – a dealer that his brother knew – a skimpy white kid who had a kid he couldn’t support, and he almost blew his brains out after he started taking shit about shit he didn’t even know shit about.

He can’t remember what stopped him – but something did, and he avoided going to jail for the rest of his life for killing some piece of shit just like his old man. He didn’t see that guy again after that, and he thinks that if he did – he night just have finished the job.

Not because he needed to, but because what else did he have to do? No job, no family, nothing. He thought jail would be all right…better than being out there alone for months at a time. Though this hadn’t always been his life, it had never been better than this, and how could anything ever be better? If it hadn’t happened by now – damn well wasn’t never going to. So he thought.

Overdose killed his brother almost two years ago from his counting, and that day was when he was alone. That day marked the wreck he’d been dealing with – and he became almost invisible.


She sat across from him in his dirty black shirt, ripped and worn, and she wore it so well – made it look so clean and so pretty, and he sat across from her at her kitchen table with no shirt, his tattoos staring her in the face, and he watched her long hair fall into her face every time she bowed her head a bit, and finally when she looked at him, it fell apart from her face – giving him the beautiful view he so quickly came to like.

“I thought about leaving him.” She told him slowly, her eyes glued to his, never breaking away. “I wanted to just run away – because its so hard on my own – I don’t have someone here helping me…and I – I just wanted out. Just for a second.” Her voice was quiet, but he heard her, and he watched her eyes well up with tears and when one tear fell from the pool fiercely down her cheek like it was on fire – he knew. He knew she needed him just as much as he needed her.

“Don’t make ya’ bad.” He told her, his head cocked to the side a bit as he looked to her, her sadness seeping into him and it almost hurt him to see her hurt, and he felt so angry for whoever left her like this – who ever the fuck was dumb enough to leave their girl and baby to find someone like him.
She looked at him and smiled a small smile, her hand coming to brush through her hair, and she just nodded and looked to her knee that was perched on the wooden chair.

“It does though.” She tells him, a thankful smile aimed his way – and she means it. She’s thankful that he tries to make her feel okay – tries to let her know that maybe that wasn’t as bad as it sounded – but it was. It was bad to want to leave your baby alone…to want to walk away from him and give up on him.

She then tells him about how she was in labor with him for 43 hours and how she didn’t ever think she was going to actually have him. He didn’t smile or laugh – just looked at her as if she was insane – which maybe she was…but the way he glared at her made her insides burn and tingle in both good and bad ways.

He sits across from her at the table, a cup of tea in front of her and nothing in front of him – her mind racing a million miles a minute trying to process what was happening and what had happened tonight. Why this stranger was in her home – why she had just given herself so freely to him and let him make love to her without even thinking rationally about it.

She didn’t think about anyone but herself in that moment, and that wasn’t something she remembered doing too often. She couldn’t even remember the last time she bought herself something new from the clothing store in town, and it almost felt nice to be able to not think about anyone but her for just a moment. But this had gone way past just a moment.

This had become something that she had done – something permanent that had happened that neither of them could ever take back. He saw parts of her that only one other man had, and she didn’t even know his name.

She didn’t even know his name.

Here was this man – clearly older than her, and homeless from her intuition, and he was in her home with her infant down the hall. He could have been an escaped prisoner for all she knew, and he could kill both her and her baby, and she would be dead for nothing. For making some stupid stop on the long stretch of road out of town, and that would be it.

But for some strange reason that she couldn’t quite identify, she was calm. She knew he was okay – not bad, and she almost trusted him.

“What’s his name?” He asks her softly, his head still tilted to the side – and it almost makes her knees weak.

She looked at him now, really looked into his eyes, and she wondered whether or not she should answer. For the first time that night, she questioned her actions – because giving herself to him was one thing – that was her own mistake that she could hold herself accountable for. He could have her – kill her – fuck her – whatever he wanted with her. But him – her baby – her small, innocent, precious little boy was another thing.

Never had she had to guard him from something that could potentially harm him aside from obvious things – and a car seat seemed to take care of that. So here she was – faced with a question so simple yet so daunting – and again, she hadn’t even gotten his name yet, and he was asking about her child.

When she didn’t answer for a long enough period of time, he just mumbled and hung his head – obvious rejection filling his veins. It almost hurt – for her to seem afraid for a moment, and how could he be so stupid to ask her something so personal? He didn’t even know her, and he was intruding on her life, and what right did he have knowing her kids name?

“It’s Henry.” She tells him, and he smiles a little at that, because such an old name given to such a young thing was almost ironic and comical to him – a name that had pride – something he hadn’t ever known his life.

“S’a nice name. Mine’s Daryl.” He tells her, his head picked up now and cautiously tilted and looking at her again, and she smiles brightly at him, nodding lightly toward him.

“That’s a nice name.” She says with a smile, and he smiles back – for the first time he really smiles – because she’s mocking him, he knows – but she’s so beautiful doing it that he can’t even fault her for it.

“He’s got my last name.” She suddenly says, breaking the moment as her smile falls from her face, and his brow furrows as she continues.

“I’m almost ashamed of it…the fact that he has to have my last name because his dad ain’t around. He’s goin’a grow up with his mommas last name because he doesn’t have a dad who gave him his.” Her eyes are wet, and she’s just looking at him – pleading almost, at what she doesn’t know… but she looks at him and she’s okay – she’s comfortable, and she feels want.

She wants him – in every way she knows how, and she’s a little surprised by it, but almost not, because it’s been so long that she’s been with or even near a man, and this one is just special to her – makes a fire burn in her gut, and makes her crave something more than she’s ever had before.

“He’d be proud to have his mommas name.” He tells her, and he’s being honest because its true – he of anyone knows best that it’s worse havin’ a name of a man who doesn’t give two shits about his kid – let alone love him. He didn’t need to be some asshole’s label – he deserved to be just hers. She loved him – that much he knew, and any boy who had the pleasure of havin’ her name outta be thankful.

Her head shakes softly. “I don’t want that for him. I want him to have a daddy – to have a man in his life that loves him and wants to give him the world because it can be such a beautiful place with the right people.” She pauses, and almost laughs before be realizes that her smile is only a sad one.

“Zach is such a piece of shit. Such a loser – no good for anything. He just left…didn’t care one bit about Henry. Not about me either.” She tells him, and he listens like his life depends on it. The vile words slipping from her mouth almost make him flinch, because Beth is Beth, and maybe he likes it.
He watches her hands comb through her scalp gently, combing her golden blonde hair back from her face, her knee bronze and pretty against her chest as she looks at him almost to make sure he’s still there. He is.

“I’ll never tell him about Zach. He’ll never know that life – that rejection. I won’t let it touch him. I’d die before I ever let someone hurt my baby.” She says, and maybe she’s warning him – he can’t tell.

He wants to question why she would think what she told him before made her bad, because he can so clearly see how much she loves her boy – and thinking that she doesn’t know that almost hurts him a little. She shouldn’t have to question her love for him when it’s so clear to a complete stranger.

He looks at her and doesn’t say anything, his eyes searching hers, and suddenly he’s up from his seat at the table.

Without thinking, he rounds it until he’s facing her and pulls her up from her seat, moving it out of the way before lifting her gently onto the table top, her legs open around him, and her eyes locked on his. He pushes her down onto the table, wooden and a little cold. The dim light showed her parts of his face that she hadn’t gotten to touch before, and she took this opportunity to right that mistake.

She lays on the flat and hard table, her nipples now peeking through his shirt, and she feels her core dampening as his groin leans into her harder with each movement he makes. His face approaches hers, a bulge quickly forming in his pants.

He leans down and starts to unbutton his shirt that’s on her, and each one that pops, he kisses gently and open mouthed until he gets to her belly, licking it all around and sucking at various spots. It isn’t until he looks that he can see the faint marks on her skin that are raised a pale pink and jagged, and he almost wants to touch them, but he doesn’t because he knows what they are.

She gasps with pleasure and her hands go to grab at his head to pull him closer. He continues to lick and suck at her torso, occasionally drifting down to her still clothed center to blow warm air onto her. He grips her underwear with his teeth and pulls them down in one swift move.

He drops them onto the kitchen floor and noses the soft hair there. Her breathing was deep and throaty as she moaned softly at his caressing. Burying his face in her wet mound, he reaches up to cup and squeeze her breast with a warm, gentle hand.

His tongue makes work around her lips, licking and sucking gently at her skin and her legs are squeezing so tightly he’s sure there’s probably blood being cut off, but that’s okay. His tongue finds her opening, and he teases her for a moment before driving it into her, feeling the inside of her against his mouth, and he’s not sure he’s ever been this aroused.

Her hand tangles in his hair, and his lips leave her core as his lips trail back up her body until they latch at her neck as she makes work of pushing his pants down his legs, haring the satisfying thud onto the ground.

He kisses her gently, one hand cupping her face, and the other hand to hitch her leg over his waist. His hand wanders the skin there, over and under her muscled leg, soft under his touch.

“Daryl.” She whimpers, and it almost scares him because it had been so long since he’d heard someone call him by his name, but she’s tugging gently at the ends of his hair as the he begins to grind his hips down into hers and he forgets about it.

“What girl?” He whispers harshly, peppering kisses down her throat. Beth wraps both of her legs around his thick waist, keeping their chests flush and their aligned hips grinding together.

“Get inside me, please.” She bravely begs, finding herself whining as he pulls away.
Her eyes are on his, and she can’t really believe that she’s being this brave – but she is and she’s a little proud of herself because she’s okay around him – safe.

“Whatever you want, Beth.” He tells her as he pulls his boxers off for the second time that night while Beth watches him, her legs tightening around him – anxious and needing.

She pulls him down by his shoulders, keeping their lips pressed together as he inserts a finger inside her. 
It doesn’t take long before he’s three fingers deep, pumping the digits in and out of her body.

Her mouth releases sounds that she’s never heard before, sand he’s reveling in it as he curls his fingers up inside her, hitting that spot that makes her clench tight and cry loud, begging him.

“Daryl please, I’m ready.” She whispers, her hand going to his and pulling his fingers out of herself, looking at him – telling him how badly she needed him, and she whined a little at the empty feeling, waiting as he prepared his cock and lined himself up.

“I think I love you.” She whispers, pecking his lips softly, an arm on his shoulder and she’s not fully sure if she’s aware of what she’s just told him.

Expecting him to distance himself, he doesn’t flinch before telling her that he knows – cause he does.

“I know.” He gruffly tells her, looking at her with the same uncertainty and sureness as she does, because did he really just hear that right? And with that, he pushes himself inside of her, slow and careful to give her time to adjust.

Once she opens her eyes again and looks at him to tell him she’s okay, he’s already started moving in slow thrusts. 
Her legs are once again wrapped around his waist, falling before as she lazily tried to keep her composure as he filled her, trying to keep their bodies as close as physically possible.
Their lips are attached, slowly kissing and swirling their tongues together, and her belly twinges and pangs and she needs him – wants him – and she already has him.

She knew in that moment that there was no way that she would just let him go – say good-bye to him and have him go back to his life after this was over. She didn’t want him to leave – didn’t want to say goodbye – maybe ever.

He softly moaned at the feeling of her soft and velvety walls around his cock, breath quickening at the intense feeling. His swollen lips trailed down her delicate neck, sucking and nipping at the spot that seemingly made her go weak.

She whimpers, able to tell that there would be a deep purple mark there in the morning.
 He kept his thrusts slow and deep – hard at the same time, wanting her to feel every inch of him. He wanted to give her everything – every part of him that he could give already belonged to her.

When her breath began to shallow, Daryl could tell that she was nearing the spot he wanted her to reach.

Suddenly he readjusts his hips, hitting that bundle of nerves that had her screaming, clutching at his skin anywhere she could. Her nails leave trails behind on his dark skin, jagged and rough. Smirking, his finger went to her lips – shushing her. He hadn’t even been there a day, and he was trying to quiet her for the baby down the hall.

He speeds up his thrusts enough to pound into that one spot, setting her bones on fire with the intense pleasure he was feeding her.
 Without warning, her body comes and she’s almost convulsing – twitching and squirming, covering his cock with herself – mixing with his own pre-cum, and she’s grabbing for him, and watching her writhe and moan underneath him almost sent him straight over the edge. Watching her, he couldn’t help but follow inside her soon after, the sight of her hitting her own orgasm too much.

Coming down from the highest high he’d ever remembered reaching, he slowly pulls out of her, pecking her lips once before breathing hard and lifting himself off of her. 

Her hands reach out to grab his arms, and he looks at her almost in question, and she knows he can’t stay like this – but she wants him to. Maybe needs him to. She’s almost afraid of him if he doesn’t. Afraid that he’ll leave – and she’ll be alone again.
So he looks at her, and quietly asks her if she meant it.

Had she meant it? What she told him in a moment of pleasure – in a moment of probable irrational thoughts? Though that’s exactly what that was, she knew she had. She had meant it. In that moment, Beth was sure that she may just be in love with this man.

“I did.” Her hands cup his arms, the tight muscles against her palms, and he watches her say it and he almost wants to breathe a sigh of relief. What was happening? How could he possibly rationally feel this way towards this woman? How could she feel this way towards him – a homeless man she’d picked up on the side of the road who had had sex with her twice already tonight? A man who shouldn’t possibly be trusted.

But here he was – him trusting her and telling her he felt that same way.

“Maybe I love you, too.” He tells her, his face close enough to hers that she can feel his heat on her. She smiles up at him almost warily, and her hand moves to his face and suddenly her throat his tight and she wants to cry – maybe out of happiness, but maybe out of relief that she had finally found him.

He slowly pulls himself off of her, sitting in the chair behind him, and she sits up on the table, looking at him – still naked, and breathing heavily. He leans back in the chair, still naked himself, and they sit like that for what feels like an eternity before he watches her get off the table and put his shirt back on, and he watches her bend over in front of him, her heart shaped ass perfect in every way, and he wants to walk up behind her and grab that perfect ass and explore her all over again.

She turns back to him, and he stands up in front of her, bending to get his own pants. He pulls them on, and when they’re both dressed enough, she takes his hand and kisses him gently, and it’s the first time in a long time that he feels like he’s home.


“I was makin’ my way to Tampa when I heard. M’brother was dead…and I had nothin’ left. The whole reason I was goin’ was caus’a him. I just kept goin’ anyway. I always depended on Merle – he always had a place to go…not like me. So I just – wandered ‘round.” He tells her how he got on that road that night – and she realizes for the first time that night that he truly is homeless - that he doesn’t have a place to live, and it’s also the first time that she realizes that he’s completely by himself.

He’s got no one…like her, except at least she’s got Maggie and her Mama and Daddy – Henry too.

“I’m sorry.” She tells him, and he looks up at her, and his brow furrows in confusion.

“Ain’t nothin’ to be sorry for. Merle was fucked up…didn’t deserve shit.” She looks back at him with the same confusion, because how could he say that? How bad could his brother have been to make him say such a thing when he should have been mourning him? Sure, she got the whole ‘my brother’s a dick’ thing, but he was serious and she knew that.

A shrill cry interrupts their conversation, and she looks at him quickly before getting up slowly, and she feels his stare on her, and she looks back at him. They say nothing, and she leaves the room and goes to her crying son, and he soon follows her silently.

He waits outside the room she’s in, and he can hear her cooing to him, and he peers in to see him draped over her shoulder again, his mouth searching her neck – seeking comfort, and he finds it when he stills in her arms. He watches the baby and never has he been this close to one before. To see a small person so dependent on his mother – how beautiful it is to see in front of him.

He never thought about having children – was pretty set on never even wanting any. Not that he’d ever been in a relationship that called for one. The thought of being responsible for another person was just not something he wanted out of his life. He didn’t want anything and sure as hell not anyone to be dependent on him.

Henry squirmed in Beth’s arms, and his small fists hit against her skin, and for a second, he thought about going to her and taking him from her – to let him beat on him, relieving her for just a small moment. But he doesn’t, and instead, he watches her struggle with him for a few moments before he realizes that the baby had stopped crying, and that he was staring directly at him.

His eyes were wide and curious – glassy and red from wailing, and Beth looks over to him from over her shoulder, and she smiles at him, though he isn’t giving any sort of expression on his face. She starts to bounce him gently, and his eyes don’t leave Daryl’s, and they’re both watching each other, and Daryl thinks that this kid might be more social than he is.

He shakes his head to rid the thought, and looks at Beth. She smiles warmly at him, and walks towards him, and for a second he’s almost afraid – backing up slightly, timid, but he sees her smile and he’s okay – his feet planted in the carpet of her hallway, and once she’s in front of him, Henry is crooned in her neck, looking at him with his thumb in his mouth, and he watches him suck on it. Drool is spilling from his mouth as he watches him, his eyes searching his face as if he’s trying to get to know him, and he almost wants to run – because he isn’t sure he wants anyone to know him.

But then he remembers that he’s here. That he’s in Beth’s house, and she’s in front of him with her baby in her arm, and as he looks at him he mentally remembers that he’s had sex with his mother twice already, and he at least owes him the glances he’s allowing. He knows the boy will never remember him, and he’s thankful for that, because he’s sure that if that boy knew him and what he’s done, the boundaries he’s crossed, that baby would kill him – even by those damn glances that were slowly tearing down the walls around his heart.

Watching this little person who looks so much like Beth, he’s dazed and a little bit amazed – because she made that – he belongs to her, and though he’s just met her – he feels like he’s known her his whole life, and he’s looking at her child in wonder. He never gave children much thought – really thought about how they came to be or how people were really made.

Sure – he knew how he was made, and the thought almost makes him want to punch through her pretty tan wall, but he doesn’t, and instead he just watches her hold her baby – so natural, and so pretty. Such a pretty sight to see a woman holding her child – something he never took the time to really watch. But here he was – doin’ a buncha shit he ain’t never thought about doin’ before.

He wonders what she looked like when she carried him – how she held him when he came from her, and he’s almost envious. Envious of the fact that that baby isn’t his – that he doesn’t get to have the privilege to be with them – to take care of them, and it infuriates him even more when he remembers that the one person who did have that honor just up and left them.

It’s only her voice calling his name when he realizes that the baby is asleep in her arms, and his face is buried in her neck, and she tell him she’ll be right back. He takes that as a suggestion to wait for her, so he does – right outside, and she comes back minutes later, shutting the door behind her quietly before looking up at him. She’s still in his shirt, and he looks at every inch of her before finding her eyes again.

“Don’t go.” She says, and looks up at him innocently, almost pleading, and her arms go around his, pulling them gently towards her. He watches her, and he knows he doesn’t want to leave.

“Got no where to go, darling.” He tells her, and he looks down at her, her blonde hair everywhere, and he runs his hand through it, eventually cupping the side of her face as she leans into his palm gently closing her eyes – enjoying the warmth of his skin against hers, and she looks up at him again and she shakes her head just a little.

“I didn’t mean tonight. I don’t want you leavin’…at all. Stay with us.” His heart skips a beat he thinks, and he just looks at her – giving her a minute to think about what she’s just said because there’s no way that could have been a rational statement.

When he doesn’t answer her, she speaks again, this time a hand on his face, bringing his eyes down to hers – telling him this is real, and she’s serious.

“Please, don’t go. I’m startin’ to think we both need you.” We need you. As in her and the baby. Hell – he hadn’t even held it and she’s askin’ him to be there. He quickly thinks about shooing her away and walkin’ out the door, but he doesn’t, and a smile tugs at the corner of his mouth.

We need you.

Need you.

They needed him.

“Okay.” He tells her simply, before picking her up and going back to the bedroom.



Beth is asleep in bed next to him – having just fallen asleep after the third time sleeping together that day. He carefully watched her as she slept, afraid that by even by breathing too hard, she would wake up and change her mind. Tell him to leave, and that this whole thing was one big mistake.

Watching her chest rise and fall with each breath she took fascinated him, and he scanned her thin eyelids and long lashes to her small and petite nose to her beautiful and talented lips, and down to her collarbones which were slightly tanned, and so prominent – sexy and beautiful.

He wanted to reach out and touch them, but he refrained the second he heard soft fussy sounds coming from his right, and he almost jumped over to see the noise, and he looked back at her instantly, afraid that he had ruined this moment. Thankful that he hadn’t, he breathed a sigh of relief and looked back over to the side table to what he thought was a walkie-talkie that was flashing bright green lights back and forth. He registered that it was the cries of Henry coming through the monitor, and for a second, he almost called her name.

Because her son was crying and he obviously needed his momma. He didn’t do that though, and instead pushed the ‘power’ button on the left of the talkie and carefully pushed the covers from his body. His chest was bare, and he decided that his boxers were enough as he took one look back at her before leaving the room, closing the door behind him, careful not to let the bolt click.

His cries were heard easier now, wailing screams almost sounding painful and piercing through his eardrums. Stepping into the softly carpeted room, he could see the baby flailing his arms around, desperate for someone. His feet carried him to the crib and he looked over, and as he watched the infant cry, he felt like crying himself.

Because a baby needs to cry to tell someone that they’re needed. Crying and screaming was their only form of speech. Henry had no choice but to cry.

Daryl though, he had a choice. Endless nights of crying tears that he was ashamed of were instantly pictures in his mind. Crying because no one was there for him. Crying because no one understood what he needed – because he wouldn’t tell anyone – couldn’t even. Being so misunderstood for so long and finding crying being the only way to communicate. And though he never let anyone see, it was his own way of telling himself that he needed something – that he wasn’t okay.

So watching a baby cry in front of him, in need of someone to care for him was suddenly comforting to him. Because he wasn’t the only one in the world who couldn’t express himself through words. They had something in common – he and Henry.

Bracing a hand on the hard wooden handle of the crib wall, he reached both arms in and slipped his fingers gently under Henry’s small arms, lifting him out – the cries instantly changing in tone as he was lifted into his arms. He held the baby out for a second, crying and looking at him – his arms flexed straight out holding him and just looking at him for a moment because, was he really going to do this? Hold him?

Never in his life had a held a baby. Never even touched one. He thought that holding or touching a woman was odd. So small and so delicate under his touch. But Henry was different. He was the smallest that a person could get, and having such a petite thing in his hands was almost terrifying.

As he watched him, his brow furrowed a little, confused as to what this kid must have thought. This complete stranger suddenly skin to skin with him, and having his momma give someone attention that wasn’t him. Without thinking, he brought the baby down onto his chest, fitting into the crook of his arm. He stood there a moment, the weight in his arms different and so foreign. He looked at him, both of them curious and then he made his way to the rocking chair in the corner next to the crib, and sat down, the boys cries silencing.

He’s almost happy – because he thinks that means he didn’t really need anything except for attention, and thank god for that – because he would have had no damn clue as to what to do if he had actually needed something.

He knew he probably wanted Beth a whole lot more than he would want this stranger who smelled like dirt and oil, but there he was – content in his arms, looking up at him with big and curious eyes like he wanted to know him. Like he was okay with this. He knows that Henry didn’t know a daddy, and maybe he’s sad for him – but maybe he thinks that he’s better off, because that’s all he knows.

He thinks about Beth for a second, and he almost regrets going into this room because he is still a stranger and he doesn’t know if she would want him holding her child, but he knows it’s too late.

Watching his eyes almost calmed him – because this little thing in his arms was new and he had nothing to be sorry for – never did nothing in his life that made him bad – and maybe he could make him a better man. Rub off on him even.

He noticed the kicking against his forearm, and he looked to it as Henry’s legs wiggled around against his skin, kicking and retracting. He seemed – happy. Like he was havin’ fun doin’ it, and maybe he was.

The smile that found his lips also found his eyes, and he began to laugh at the boy. Laughing at his legs and then looking back to his face and silently laughing down at him, deep blue eyes staring back at him amused and happy.

It’s then that he realizes that the smile has made tears fall down his face, and he can’t wipe them away – and maybe he doesn’t want to because that makes him human and like any other man. A man holding a baby when he was crying. Maybe he liked this – liked having Henry in his arms.

And as he watched the baby, he wondered how his daddy hadn’t wanted him. How any man could walk away from a little boy like Henry.

“I’m sorry, boy. Sorry your daddy messed up. But you’re lucky you got your momma. She loves you a lot.” He tells him as he looks back up at him – and he doesn’t realize he’s bouncing him in his arms until he sees small eyes start to flutter, tired. Though he’s never held a baby before, it felt almost natural and so good and made him forget every bad thing he’d ever done in his life.

Henry yawns, and Daryl thinks it might be the most amazing thing he’s ever seen – and just after the baby is asleep in his arms, limp and small, his small face rested against his ribcage, and he can feel the warmth of his small cheek against his skin.

Not once has he slept tonight, and rocking back and forth in the chair is making his mind fuzzy, but his fixed stare on Henry is keeping him awake. He hopes Beth is still asleep, and he wonders how he’s supposed to get back to her – because he hadn’t thought this far ahead. He’s got a sleeping baby in his arms and he’s afraid to move because if Henry wakes up, he’ll be caught – and he’s afraid. Afraid of rejection and afraid of her kicking him right back to the curb where she had found him.

But she wouldn’t do that because she’s Beth, and her decisions almost never involved hurting people.

So when she wakes up and the bed is empty next to her, the bed moves with the force of her body jerking up, looking around the dark room and not seeing anything as she calls out his name, met with no response. It’s then that she realizes that her door is shut, and in that moment a thousand thoughts run through her mind. Ones she isn’t even conscious of.

Throwing the covers from her body, her feet meet the floor and she shakes her robe on, padding across the room, her vision blurry, dizzy from quick movement after sleep. The only thing she hears is the quiet, and she’s afraid of the quiet because it’s unfamiliar. She notices that his pants are still on the ground, the leather vest next to them, and though she breathes a sigh of relief, her heart is still thumping hard in her chest.

Moving to open the door, she does a silent prayer, almost afraid that she’ll find something horrible – what she’s been afraid of this entire night because she’d already given herself to Daryl, and she’d already fallen too deep, and the fear of that being ripped from her was too much to even consider.

As the door opens, she instantly walks into the hallway and can see the light coming from the nursery, and her brows furrow in confusion. She knows she shut the light, and she knows that by this time, Henry would be screaming for her – probably even before this, and he isn’t. It’s just silent.

But she knows him, doesn’t she? He’d told her that he thought he loved her – so he couldn’t have been lying, right?

Her head turns into the direction of the kitchen and finds it dark – her hopes of him being there slim. So her feet drag her to Henry’s room, and she stands at the door a little afraid – of something she dare not even speak of.

Pushing the door open, her chest falls heavily as she sees them. Him sitting in the rocking chair in the corner with her baby asleep in his arms. She knows he’s asleep, and she stands there almost confused – and a little nervous – because he’s got her son. He’s holding what’s hers, and she can’t take him from him being invisible. She realizes in this moment that she’s completely under his control – and that she has no power over this situation in the slightest. So she stands there, watching them, and she watches his chest fall with his breaths. His arm is wrapped around Henry, her baby content and quiet in Daryl’s arms.

She’s a little shocked that she’s just standing there – watching them. It should scare the shit out of her, because she didn’t tell him it way okay – but in the same breath, it was. Because she’d already let him into her home – her bed – her body – and she asked him to stay with them because she knew that both herself and Henry needed him. They needed him because he understood. He didn’t have any baggage, and he was alone – and while she knew that he needed her, she also knew that she might have just needed him that much more.

Daryl didn’t have reservations or judgments against her, and it was nice for a man to just be with her. Though she knew that he was older than she was – maybe significantly so – and she really should ask him about that, but later, she also knows that he’s gone through his life already – made his own mistakes, and even though she’s lived her life also, she hasn’t made all of the mistakes she knows she has to make.

Sure – she’d had a baby too young and never got married – and that was a mistake in itself – but that was only one. Maybe her other mistake was picking him up on that road – and she didn’t know yet if it had been or not. Sure, she’d gone through her share of mistakes when she was in school – plenty of drunk nights and words that hadn’t taken much thought – but the real mistakes – the hard ones – she still had to conquer those, and maybe he was meant to be by her side for them. To guide her and give her his support and his love.

To maybe tell her when she was being a bitch, or when she’d overcooked the chicken – or when she didn’t discipline her son enough. As her mind runs through these thoughts, she realizes that she almost requires his help for all of them. Because he needs to let her know when she’s a little too over the top, and tell her to lower the oven temperature next time, and to let her son know she’s the boss.

Sure, she could do all of these things herself – but she wants him there. She wants him to be the one to right her wrongs and hold her hand.

Hold his hand. God – she’d given absolutely no thought to this. A complete and utter stranger that she had taken into her home had become her man in a matter of hours. She realizes that if they’re serious about this, that it isn’t only just the three of them in the world – and that she’s still got a family who wants to know about her life – her mother currently setting her up on blind dates every other weekend.
Daryl had barely been comfortable around her – let alone her parents. How in the hell was she supposed to explain this to her daddy and her mama and to Maggie…oh god, Maggie.

She could just see her head shaking in front of her, the disapproval so apparent in her face as she grilled her from across the living room. Telling her how irresponsible she was and how naive she truly had been. Then again – did she care? Beth knew that she was fully capable of making her own decisions and standing up for what she wanted – because hell, she was a mother – and hell if that didn’t make her the strongest bitch in the world.

She had a power that Maggie didn’t, and she was so damn proud of that. That was such an accomplishment for her – because sure, Maggie had a sweet boyfriend and a good paying job because she majored in finance in college – but Beth had dealt with an egotistical asshole who left her when she was pregnant with his child, and she had brought him into this world all on her own, and she had cared for him and loved him by herself because she was his momma. She breastfed him and nurtured him with clogged ducts and blistered nipples – and she did it because she was strong.

Beth grew up on approval. She was raised by a man of God, and she went to Church every Sunday in a white dress because that was she was supposed to do, and she smiled even when she was sad because that was people expected her to do. She learned to knit and to cook, and eventually how to hold a nice boys hand and smile with him like she was happy.

Somewhere down the road, maybe after realizing that her whole life had maybe been a whole damn lie, she started not to care what people thought – or how she appeared to anyone – not even her sister. Because Maggie was always the good girl. She never wanted to upset their daddy, and though she’d had Beth cover for her on the nights she would sneak out if their second story bedroom window, Maggie always seemed to present this entitlement – like she was a saint, and ‘Look what Beth did this time, Daddy!’

Beth knew how much fun it would have been for her sister to get to tell their father that his youngest daughter had gotten herself knocked up without bein’ married – if Beth hadn’t beat her to it. She doesn’t think she’s ever been in love – because how can you be in love with a boy who’s fifteen and you’ve been arranged to before you even born? Or how could you be in love with someone who didn’t give a damn about you even when his child was inside of you? Maybe she envies Maggie a little bit – because she knows that she and Glenn are in love – but she also knows that she’s in love with her son, and she’s met this man who’s making her think that maybe she’s known what love felt like this entire time.

So it’s then that she realizes exactly how she’s supposed to explain this to her daddy and her mama and to Maggie. She realizes that she doesn’t care what they have to say or what they think of her – because hell if she hadn’t already screwed up – and she’d been down the road of regret and shamefulness and feeling their disappointment in her – and she was sick of that. She was a strong willed and minded woman and she was more than capable of making her own damn decisions in her life because that was exactly what it was – her damn life.

Grunting sounds bring her out of her thoughts, and she feels her feet again. She looks over to them again, and Daryl is awake and he’s looking at her, still clutching onto Henry, and his lips are parted as if he’s about to speak, but before he gets a chance, she’s walking over to him and she’s sitting gently on his lap.

Her arm carefully goes around his neck and rests on his shoulder, and her legs are draped over his that are planted on the ground. She doesn’t look up at him, and instead she brushes her the small tuft of blonde hair on her baby’s head as he sleeps, and she can’t really believe that he’s still asleep – because he’s never this good with her. She realizes right in that moment that she knows exactly why she picked him up on that road.

Why she made the unconscious decision to invite him into her car, and take him home with her. Why she had let him kiss her and why she’s taken it to the next level and let him into her body not only once, but three times – and why she was okay with him getting up from bed to care for her own child.

She had nothing left to lose.

She’d basically been banished from living in her own hometown because her family was ashamed of her, and she’d lost her boyfriend because he was an idiot who didn’t understand responsibilities, and she didn’t have any friends because how could she have any? She’d hit the rock of rock bottom, and he was her light at the end of the tunnel.

“He was cryin’ and I didn’ want him to wake you.” Daryl tells her simply, his hand now rested on her thigh. His voice is almost hushed, but she knows she hears it and she only nods because it’s okay, and she trusts him – and she doesn’t need an explanation.


“I’m just not ready…not yet. I don’t want to share you yet. Because then it isn’t only us anymore. It’s everyone else in this world and their opinions and their thoughts and I don’t want that – not yet. Don’t make me, Daryl…please, not yet.” She’s in the bathroom smoothing some kind of cream on her legs when he asks her when she’s goin’a bring him around her family. He’d mustered up enough courage to do it because he didn’t want to – and if it were up to him – he’d never meet them because he was fine with it just bein’ them, but he knew Beth well enough to know that she’s die before she let that happen. He’s a little bit shocked by her reaction, and maybe even hurt – but he isn’t totally sure right now because he knows her, and he thinks he loves her.

She’s told him hundreds of times by now about how she feels, and he knows it without her havin’ to tell him, but it’s nice to hear it anyway – and because he wants her happy, he thinks that maybe bringing it up that he should meet her parents might strike the right cord in her, but it seems like he’s just struck the wrong one and perhaps just turned the entire thing out of tune.

She’s asked him how old he was just the other night, and he was honest when he told her he was a year past forty two, and she just nods – because shit, what was she expecting?

She looks up at him and tells him that she’s not a year over twenty five, and he stares down at her because he’s figured that – and didn’t she figure him out by now? Really though – they’d been at this for almost a month and the age was apparent from the very beginning, and he didn’t bring it up because there wasn’t no way she didn’t know – but maybe she really didn’t, and now she did. What she chose to do with that was up to her – and that scared the shit outta him.

Because she could tell him she didn’t like it and he would have to leave, and he would be without her and without Henry – and he wouldn’t have them anymore and he’d be alone again – and maybe that was where he needed to be – because how could he possible fit here? How could this keep going the way it was and be okay?

He knew he wouldn’t even fight her on it. Because he was borrowing all of this – she owned everything, and it was just a matter of time before his lease was up. He couldn’t even imagine how it would feel to walk out the front door with nothing and no one and have to revert back to a life that came so easily to him before, but now seemed like a distant memory that he could barely recognize. He thinks maybe it would just be easier to leave on his own – to slip out in the middle of the night and have her wake up and have to figure it out because it really was simple and it didn’t take rocket science, and he thinks she would be okay.

He doesn’t do that though. Maybe because he’s afraid to – but he knows that it’s just because he doesn’t want to.

“You think it’s just goi’na be the three of us forever, darlin’?” He asks her as he leans on the doorframe of her bathroom as she stares at him through the mirror, and he notices that her eyes are on his even though he’s got no shirt on.

“We gonna have to go outside sometime.” He says, his hand jerking up a little harder than he intended to, and she only continues to watch him.

His eyes are staring at hers and his heart is beating fast and he’s almost pleading with his glare – because he needs a response from her.

“It’d be nice.” She says simply, and his shoulder softens against the hard wood behind him, and he just looks at her but his eyes soften and he moves forward to wrap his arms around her waist.

She’s tense under his hands, and he still watches her through the mirror and she hasn’t moved – still got the white jar in her left hand and she’s just watching him. Like he’s done something bad to her and he’s in trouble – but he hasn’t and he shouldn’t be.

“Are you afraid?” he asks her quietly, because maybe he’s being insensitive and she’s just nervous, but her silence tells him otherwise. She isn’t afraid – she’s ashamed.

His hands jerk harshly from her waist and he hasn’t backed up, but she misses his skin against her back already – but she won’t tell him. She flinches at the sudden movement, and she can tell he’d upset – angry.

“Jesus, girl! That’s it, ain’t it! Your embarrassed a’me!” He’s released her and she’s free handed now, looking at him, and he laughs at her completely unamused and she doesn’t say anything. His chest starts to shake with laughter that he knows is lying, and he can’t help but stare at her with anger and hatred and frustration.

Her eyes grow cold and she realizes that his mind is in a completely different place than hers, and quickly she understands that this is bad. That this can completely tear them up if it goes any further. She’s almost mad at him for accusing her of such a thing, and as much as she wants to collide her palm with her cheek, she refrains. Her teeth clench instead and he can see the hurt in her face, but he doesn’t move and instead waits for her to respond.

“That ain’t it and you know it. Don’t go there, Daryl.” She tells him unapologetically and almost warning him and he laughs again cynically and pushes back off of the wall, his face next to her ear as their eyes meet once again through that damn mirror.

“If you wanna fight girl, I’ll fight – but you ain’t gonna like it.” His voice is harsh and she can tell that he’s serious because he doesn’t get angry – not that she’s ever seen anyway because where in the few words that he speaks a day would he find the time to spit fire?

Her eyes glare at his and she’s not sure that he’s ever looked this deep into her eyes before and she almost wants to look away because it’s kind of like staring into the sun – burning and bright – blinding afterwards, but she doesn’t because she isn’t weak and she isn’t afraid of him, and she wants him to know that she’s serious.

Her knuckles grow white against the counter in front of her and she’s gripping it so tightly to keep herself calm – because she wants to explode. To release all of her anger out on him for accusing her of that when he knows so damn well that it ain’t even close to being about that.

“Show me what you’ve got then, Dixon.” She says simply, and he can sense her small sneer at the end of her sentence as her nose curls a bit – that bile climbing in his throat.

“I ain’t doin’ this today, girl!” Her body jerks slightly as his fist slams against the counter, his fist next to hers, and he turns away from her heading into the bedroom, and she follows him with her arms crossed – each step bringing her closer to his back when she finally reaches him and her fingers pry his shoulder backwards near her and he turns quick around to face her, and his face is almost calm – and she’s confused.

“Didn’ you hear me, Beth? I ain’t doin’ this. Go on – ” His hand flies into the air and motions behind her, ushering her. “Go be with that family of yours! The ones who you swear you cain’t even stand! You just been fillin’ my head with lies? Why am I even here? Y’just get lonely and figure picking some scum up off the road for a nice ride was the way to go?” He’s the one seething at this point, his teeth gritting.

Her eyes are blown wide, pupils dilated, and her nostrils flare wide with anger and she wants to scream at him.

“Screw you. You know exactly why I did what I did, and don’t you dare use that against me! Don’t push me away because your scared…I’m fuckin’ scared too! You don’t think I’m afraid?! But don’t try and make me feel like shit because you wanna be in the same boat, Daryl.” She tells him before throwing the towel she doesn’t even realize that she’s holding down onto the floor with a thud before knocking past him and out the back door.

He stands there, and he’s too afraid to go after her because he doesn’t want this to go any further, and he knows that he’s upset her – but maybe he’s hurt too.

He finds her forty minutes later sitting on one of the porch chairs out back, her legs perched on the balcony railing. Her head is tilted back and he wonders if maybe she’s asleep – but he has no clue because he’s left her alone and he doesn’t know if she’s been awake or not.

He watches her through the screen door for another few moments before pushing it open, and she doesn’t move – but he realizes that she’s in fact awake – looking out into the yard, trees swaying in the wind, and her legs are bare and he notes that she must be cold, because it’s the fall time and it’s nearing the end of the day.

He’s looking at her like he’s waiting for her to look up at him, but she doesn’t, so he takes the opportunity to sit on the steps in front of her – facing his back to her, his vest cladding his body – something that was so foreign and so familiar at the same time.

He watches where she’s been watching – the brown maple tree about a yard away from where they sat – leaves blowing gently in the wind. Whenever they’d been back there, they’d both concentrated on that tree because it was amongst so many green colored trees, and that one was the only one that was different, and it was something to look at that wasn’t just the same.

He thinks he was wrong – because he shouldn’t have accused her of shit she never even said, and he knows that Beth ain’t like that – but what if maybe she was?

“Henry’s asleep.” His voice is quiet but he knows that she hears it, and maybe she even nods, but he doesn’t know.

Not even a second after that comes from his mouth is she talking.

“How dare you accuse me of shit like that? I’ve about had it with the accusations and the opinions and the assumptions and the advice. I make my own damn decisions because I wanna make them. I do things because I choose to. Don’t ever patronize me for that. I’ve done a damn good job on my own. Just me! Not any of them, Daryl – only me.” She’s turned towards him now, and he watches her.

He realizes that this isn’t at all about him. Or about bein’ afraid of what they might think’a him. He realizes that she likes it this way. That she’s used to bein’ alone and doin’ things by herself without anyone else’s two sense.

She’s looking back out into the yard now, probably because he hasn’t responded to her yet and she probably thinks that he’s ignoring her but he isn’t, because he gets it now.

“It’ll never be about you.” She says quietly, and he doesn’t even have to look at her to see the tears in her eyes, but he slowly does before standing up and kneeling in front of her, her eyes now on his.

“M’sorry, baby.” He tells her before taking her hand in his and pressing a small kiss to the top of it, and he wants her to know that it’s real and he is sorry, because he jumped to a conclusion. Hell, he should know this shit by now. Cause no way would he ever wanna bring her around his folks if he had the chance, and he just figured that hers were different, but maybe they aren’t, and he doesn’t know that.

He’d wait forever – because it’s Beth, and he knows that he’d do any damn thing she said and that she would always be the one who he’d listen to, because he almost needed that – guidance.

Sure, he could take charge’a things and set some ground rules, but he knows that Beth had the final say and that anything she said went – even if he happened to not agree with it.

“One day, Daryl. I promise.” She tells him, taking his hand and pulling it into her lap.


“Daddy, this is Daryl.” She says simply, Henry on her hip and Daryl’s hand in hers. He’s wearing his leather vest and she’s so glad because that’s him. That’s the man she chose to be with and she wants him to comfortable bein’ himself. Not to pretend for anybody, because she’s let him know that no matter what – she ain’t never changin’ her mind.

“Well, it’s nice to meet you, Daryl.” Her daddy extends his hand and shakes Daryl’s and tells him that he’s glad he was able to make it. “Please, come in the two of’ya, dinner’s just about ready.” Her daddy says, his arm extended – inviting and she can’t help but smile and bounce her son on her hip because she can finally breathe. Her daddy ain’t mad – angry – upset, or disappointed.

She’d do it all. Everything. On her own.

She would do it because she had to – because she didn’t need anything, or anyone.

Except she did. She needed him – this man that she had grown to love with her entire heart, and she didn’t know how to say how she felt because every time she tried, those three words were always said too much, and they weren’t enough. Not for him. Not for the way she felt about him.

Needing and wanting him was like needing and wanting life – air – beautiful things that only happened in fairytales. Even saying his name out loud sent a spark through her that made her electrify and almost jump with excitement, because for the first time in her life she found it – that thing that she dreamed about as a child. That love that made butterflies fill your belly, and your teeth grind with nerves.

Everything about him was golden to her.

“Bethy?” Her sister is suddenly seemingly shouting at her, and she realizes that she doesn’t even know how she got from the doorway to the kitchen, and she meets Maggie’s excited eyes, and her own eyes light up just the same.

“Were you even listenin’?” Her sister asks her brightly, and Maggie’s eyes are wider than saucers and she only smiles in return, because no – she wasn’t, and she’s totally okay with that because all that she cares about is that her family is happy and Daryl is happy, and that’s all that she could have ever asked for.

“Daryl said the market in town’s got blueberries! We outa make those blueberry scones that you love so much…next week maybe?” She asks her and Beth smiles over at Daryl and nods but not at her sister, because she’s never been so proud of anyone in her life.

He smirks back at her and follows her daddy into the kitchen, taking Henry from her hip, and she just watches as he kisses his forehead gently before swinging him on his shoulder, his hand coming up to rest on the small of his back.

Until she couldn’t see them anymore, she watched and smiled and the entire time her sister stared at her, and touched Beth’s arm.

Beth finally looks to Maggie, and there’s still a bright smile on her face and she can’t – won’t wipe it off, because why would she? She is happier than she’s ever been in her life and she wants everyone to know it.

“Oh my god, Bethy…you love him!” Maggie shrieks and who knows how loud it is – and maybe he heard it but maybe he didn’t, but maybe she doesn’t care because she knows he knows and she also knows that she herself knows that as well. She’s known since that first night she’d known him that she loved that man. More than she could even comprehend.

“Yeah, I guess I do, Mags.” She states simply, still smiling at her sister, and the arm that’s around hers clenches tightly and Maggie giggles in happiness and she’s so shocked that this is going so well, and she realizes that not only is she able to see that it’s because Daryl is good, but because everyone else can see that too.


As a child, he was a burden. Someone who was so frowned upon and so abused. As a teenager, he was misguided and lost. Someone who was confused and laughed at. As a young man he was hopeful…a hint of light in his life when he found his first girlfriend. Someone who thought they were in love, and who wanted to be. As a boy he was disappointed and tired. Someone who was spit on and looked past. Now, today, he was a man, but he was someone who was wanted and needed and he was happy.

Happy and he might have even smiled.

He thinks that the decision to listen for once instead of telling may have just saved his life that night.

He isn’t quite sure that he would have still been here if it weren’t for Beth, and through he ain’t never thanked her – he hoped that she knew that she was the best damn thing to ever happen to him. Stumbling upon a young woman with a baby who didn’t belong to anybody wasn’t something you found everyday, and somehow – he was the one to find it in all of its rarity.

Neither of them are sure when he started calling Henry his own, but Beth smiled each and every time. Every word of encouragement to walk, and every time he told her that he’d get up for him – even when he’d soiled his new pair of pajamas. Initiative wasn’t really a word in her vocabulary.

Henry was hers, and she was the only person to care for him, so when he needed something, she’d do it because she didn’t have any other choice. But here was this man who was older than her and knew more than she did even though he’d never had a kid of his own – and he was taking the initiative at four in the morning to wind up the mobile again.

She doesn’t think she’s quite used to it – to any of it. Her brow quirks when he tells her that he’ll run for milk while she finishes the rice, and she wants to shake her head when he unloads the heavier grocery bag out of her trunk while she watches. He doesn’t really pick up on it – maybe because he’s used to it, or maybe because he doesn’t care – or maybe even because he wants her to know that it’s normal. That everything didn’t require her own hand, and that he was there because of them.

She gets nervous when she sets dinner on the table, because she doesn’t know him all that well and what he likes and what he doesn’t, but he’s never told her – and now that she thinks of it, she hasn’t ever asked – and maybe she should. He’s never turned up his nose at any of her meals, and she’s grateful because she’s not too used to rejection, and something as simple as a disliked can of green beans might just bring her to tears.

It still surprises her when she’s doing the dishes and she hears the bathtub turn on down the hall, but she smiles and keeps cleaning.

He tells her on a Wednesday that he’s applied for a job at the mechanic shop in town, and she’s a little shocked for a moment before she realizes what he’s saying, and she smiles and tells him that she’s happy for him and that she just knows that he’ll get it. He smirks and tells her that he hopes so.

He gets the job and he starts going to work at nine in the morning and coming home at five in the evening, and she’s always got dinner on the table with his favorite lemonade beside his plate, and he kisses her each time and tells her he loves her and asks her how her day was before taking Henry from her arms and asking him the same question.

She doesn’t know where the time goes when he’s down on one knee at her parents’ dining room table with a ring in his hand and a smile on his face. She stops breathing and before she knows it she’s crying and telling him that ‘yes of course I’ll marry you!’ and he’s holding her so tight that she can hardly breathe.

Her dress is long and it settles neatly on the clean cut grass while violins play and she walks down a white isle on her daddy’s farm, her arm in his. She cries before she even makes it to Daryl, and he smiles at her and she instantly smiles back, taking his hand in hers as he takes her in front of him, his hands in hers.

Flowers are in her hair, and petals are all around her and it’s everything that she had ever wanted – here – with the man she dreamed of spending forever with. She looks down to Henry standing to her left, a toothless smile on his face as he tries to contain his giggles – because his mommy told him that he shouldn’t laugh at a wedding, and he’s really trying. Daryl pulls out a small piece of paper that looks like he’s had it his entire life, and she realizes it’s his vows.

He starts by telling people it’s goin’a take a while, and he goes on to tell the story of how they met.

“Beth – I think you saved my life.” He starts, and her breath hitches and tears are instantly welling in her eyes because she knew this would happen, but she’s a little bit caught off guard, because as well as she knows Daryl, she’s never known him to talk. But talk he does – a lot. He goes on about how he was walking alone, and then there she was.

“Said you had a baby. Sounded to me like you were tryin’ to tell me to get lost. Instead, you invite me into your car with your boy and you bring me home. To a small house with a broken porch light, and I think that’s when I knew. This girl with a baby and a broken porch light was what I’d been lookin’ for. You gave me a story – a girl – a boy – a life. You’ve given me everythin’, Beth.” Her hand is a vice grip in his, and she’s crying and she can’t stop.

Her own vows are surprisingly shorter than his, but she’d said everything she’d wanted to say never the less.

They’re introduced as husband and wife, and he takes her jaw in his hands and kisses her. He kisses his wife, and he’s never been happier in his life than he is right now, because he’s got a wife and he’s got a boy – two things that he’d never knew he’d need so much.

They end up going home at seven in the morning the following day after the reception, and her parents keep Henry.

This is new – this feeling in her belly. These butterflies that she realizes are because he’s not just Daryl anymore – he’s her husband, and he’s married to her and she belongs to him – and she can’t tell if she wants to vomit from excitement or from sheer terror.

She starts kissing him as soon as the door is shut, and he’s already got her against him, his hands making work of the zipper on the back of her dress, and he gets it down until she can slip it off – and she does, lettring it fall to the floor. He takes her onto his hips, his hands on her ass, and brings her into their bedroom.

They’re both naked soon after.

Beth trembled slightly in Daryl’s arms as they stood together, chest to chest, naked in front of her husband for the first time. She could feel his warm breath on her back and his heartbeat against her breast. She leaned her head back and met his eyes; the typical blue was filled with what she could imagine was fear, and she felt something soften within her.

“I love you, Daryl” she said, cupping his face in her hand. She tilted her head to the side, her bright curls spilling down her shoulder, and he closed his eyes. “Look at me,” She says.

His eyes open, and a small smile came upon his lips. “I am.” He tells her, his eyes hard on hers.

“Really look at me.” She says, taking a step back. His eyes remained on hers, and he swallowed hard. “Daryl,” she says again, her voice hardly more than a breath, and he closes his eyes, his fists tightening at his sides.

His eyes brush over her collar bone and fanned over her chest, taking in the smooth, lightly tanned skin. It swept down the flat space between her breasts, moved quickly between the hardened, dark rose buds topping her breasts as if he didn’t know where to focus. He seems to steel himself again, and then his eyes are following the muscled curves of her arms down to her belly button, passing her soft stomach and the hard hipbones beneath it. His eyes follow the jut of her hip, the dent in her thigh and down to the circle of her calf. His gaze made its way back up her other thigh, moving inside this time, and he imagined his fingers tracing the route instead, moving higher and higher as if guided by the faint white lines and cellulite marking her inner thighs.

She knows he’s reached her center when he bites down hard on his bottom lip. Only then did she admit to her interest in his nakedness and she stops sneaking peaks at his erection and stared directly at it, watching as it twitched beneath her gaze.

“You’re so fuckin' beautiful,” He tells her, and she revels in it, because she doesn’t think that he’s ever told her that before – the three long years that they’ve been together. Now it was her time to be shy, and she could feel her knees weaken at the heat of his gaze, and then he was crossing the distance between her and yanking her into his arms. They tumbled callously onto the smooth sheets of the bed, and his hand comes up to her face to swept her hair away from her face. He pulls her hand to his mouth and kissed the ring on her finger, and her mouth stretched into a bright grin.

“So” he says, crawling between her legs and kissing her neck, her chin, her jawline, making her squirm, “how does it feel to be a wife?” He asks her, a smirk on his face, his eyes devilish and shy at the same time.

“How does it feel to be a husband?” She asks him back, a smirk on her lips. He answers by dragging a finger through her wetness, a moan escaping her lips easily.

“Pretty damn good.” He says, his haughtiness fading as he captured her lips with hers. The kiss was soft, teasing, and she bucked upward and into his slow moving fingers.

“We’ve had enough foreplay.” He says, and she can feel her face flush as she thought of how he’d brought her to orgasm with his mouth for the just the day before. She’d returned from the pre-bridal ceremony and he had pounced, his tongue between her legs before she’d managed to remove any clothing at all. The sight of him tangled in her thighs, sucking on her clit, had been enough to make her come, and now even the memory was enough to make her wetter than she could ever remember.

She laid on her back, pulling him on top of her and bit down hard on his bottom lip. He kissed her harder, his teeth gnashing into hers and his breath hot in her mouth. He reached down, grasping the base of his cock, and then he was coating himself in her juices. Painfully slowly, he drags the head of himself through her wetness, and her body writhes against him, the slow tickle enough to set her entire body on fire. Without warning, she wrapped her hand around his and pushed the head of him inside of her. Daryl’s eyes widen and his hands come to rest on either side of her head, his breath escaping in pants.

“You’re sure?” He quickly asked, the question hardly understandable.

“I’m sure. You?” She asked, staring up into the hooded eyes of her husband.

“Absolutely.” He tells her without thinking. His hips rock forward his cock burying deep inside of her.

She gasps sharply, flexing her ass and pushing herself upward, and he falls forward, groaning into her neck. One hand left the bed and he drags his fingernails up her side, coming up to cup her breast. Beth rocks her hips against him, and he ground into her, his cock going deep and higher into her than she even realizes he can go, their kisses turning into violent gasps for air. She could feel him, scraping her insides and tugging at her skin. He could feel nothing but her hot, plush insides around him.

His hips push roughly forward, and her breathing becomes more frantic.

“Oh my god, Daryl.” She grunts, breath fast and words quick “there, there, that spot.” She moans, her head pushing deep into the pillow behind her as he hits a place inside her that she isn’t even sure he’s ever reached before.

“Here?” He teases, angling his hips again and pushing into her.

“Yes.” She nearly screeches, her fingernails gripping his back. He could feel electricity pulse through him at the sudden pain, and then he was thrusting into her and not holding back. Beth panted and moaned and breathed his name fast, rocking upward and forward and trying to keep pace. His thrusts grew faster, more frantic, and then he noticed her trying to wedge her hand between them. He rolled them over, and when he saw her rubbing tight circles on her clit, her hair spilling all around her naked body and her eyes locked on his, he exploded, his come filling her.

Beth screeched at the feel of him pulsing inside of her, her circles losing all rhythm and her nail flicking her clit with every pass.

He dug his nails into her hips, thrusting upward one last time, and then she came hard and fast, her vision blurring and her hearing fading.

She knew nothing more than the feeling of reaching her high and his chest beneath hers as she collapsed on top of him, and when she came down she rolled her hips off of his.

He only stared at her, the amazing woman beside him, and kissed her lips again gently this time.

She rolled her body closer to him, wedging her leg between his, and they fell both fell asleep with both rings on their fingers.


Henry Dixon was in the seventh week of kindergarten when his friend, Benjamin told him he thought that his daddy was cool.

The little boys’ eyes lit up at that, and he nodded his head and told him that his daddy was cool – that he was awesome – he rode bikes, fixed cars, and he even took him with him sometimes when he went hunting.

Benjamin nodded in agreement at how cool that was, and Henry went home that night, and he was so excited to tell his mommy that his friend thought daddy was cool.

Daryl was out on the back porch, the kitchen window open slightly – their conversation audible to him. His head lifted hearing Henry’s story, and for a second – he didn’t react. Didn’t know if what he heard was real – or if he was just dreamin’. It was when he heard the door fly open behind him that he realized it was real – and a small but darting Henry came lunging at him.

“Daddy, guess what!” He shouted, gripping his shoulder tightly – his head at eye level as he sat on the step. He looked at Henry, and couldn’t help but smile at him – seeing the wide grin he was sporting, and he dropped his bow, and wrapped am arm around his son, pulling him into his lap.

“What’s up, pork chop?” He asked him, looking down at him as Henry looked up at him with excited eyes glistening back at him.

“Benjamin said he thinks you’re cool!” He tells him, his small laugh echoing into his ears and he can’t help but laugh back at him because it’s such an innocent, high pitched, good laugh, and he adulates it, pulling his son onto his lap.

He knows that it shouldn’t affect his as much as it does – because Henry is his son – in every way that matters, and though he refers to him as ‘daddy’, other people do too, and that makes his heart jump.

He and Beth didn’t really discuss kids – Henry being their main priority though the years. He’d just turned five, and when he started kindergarten, Daryl could see his wife clearer now. Her baby was in school now – he didn’t need her for every hour of the day, and she was just alone now – for those seven hours – it was just her.

He imagined that she missed havin’ a baby around, and hell – he did too. He’d raised Henry – taught him to walk, and his first word was ‘dada’, and every moment that he got to share with his son was a treasure in his book.

He knew that havin’ a kid that was biologically his would be neat – and he realizes that he really likes the idea, but he’s a little nervous to ask Beth how she feels, because usually it’s the wife who wants to have a baby – but here he was.

Beth makes lamb chops for dinner, and they eat dinner together like they do every night, but tonight – he’s looking at her a little differently, because there thoughts haven’t ever transpired in his mind until tonight, and as her hair sways as she looks from her plate to him, something is different.

Her plate is still full when his is empty, and he waits to see her eyes meet her smile, and when they don’t his jaw clenches. His hands tense at his sides, and he wonders how he hasn’t noticed this before. Somethin’ was up – wrong, and she hadn’t told him anything of it.

“Come on bud, you look tired…lets get you to bed.” Daryl suddenly tells his son, and though he’s reluctant and tells him that he isn’t tired, his wife agrees – telling their son that he needs to get some sleep. He knows that on any other night, she would have giggled and told him to stop bein’ such a nag, and give it ten more minutes.

Once he’s tucked in, Daryl kisses Henry’s forehead before heading back downstairs to find Beth still sitting at her seat, her food cold in front of her.

“Baby? You okay?” Hearing Daryl’s voice, she jumped, her eyes looking up to her husband. He cautiously walked into the room as he saw her stare past her. She hadn’t blinked for a little bit and he was getting worried. Something was extremely fuckin’ off.

“Is somethin’ wrong?” His feet brought him to her side, his hand touching her arm lightly and in that instant she crumbled.

She had maintained her calm exterior since she had gotten…that…call in the middle of the day, but now in the comfort of her own home with her husband, her walls finally came down. He was there in an instant with his arms wrapped tightly around her as he lifted her into his arms, holding her against his chest, his hand tangled in her blonde hair as he told her that it was okay. She gripped the back of his shirt tightly, her nails surely digging holes.

“Hey, hey…It’s okay baby, it’s okay. Talk to me.” She was now dead weight in his arms as she tiredly slumped down.

He lifts her head gently from his chest and brings her eyes to look at him, and she does – her eyes red and he realizes that she’s extremely stressed, her breath coming in deep pants. Her eyes lock on his, and she’s searching them – for what he isn’t sure, but he’s trying to find out.

“I’m pregnant, Daryl…the doctor called this morning. Said my pill was ineffective and that it was some screw up on their part.” She tells him this with her teeth chattering, and he was not expecting that.

“With a baby?” He asks dumbly, and her brow lifts, looking at him oddly.

“Yeah – I …” She starts, but he pulls her face in and his lips crash onto hers hard and his tongue is in her mouth, teeth clashing.

He holds her face up while he looks at her. “It’s about fuckin’ time, girl.” He tells her, smirking.


Beth wakes up when she’s two weeks away from being nine months pregnant to the feel of muscled abs pressing against her back as a warm calloused hand slides over her rounded belly. She smiles and places her hand over his before rolling over with some effort to face her husband. He’s smirking at her, and she knows why – and it’s been so long, but it’s so hard, and she really does miss it. He kisses her, and she can feel his arousal pressing against the underside of her belly, and despite being extremely pregnant and extremely exhausted, she has no intention of denying him.

Her breath harshly escapes her as his hand slides lower, his freehand pulling her knee to his hip giving him better access. She shudders as his hand works her and his lips suck at her shoulder, at her breast - and he's everywhere, all around her, inside her, and it's what she wants, what she needs.

And he works her with his fingers until she’s so close when he pulls back, leaving her whimpering in desperation at the loss and the need of him.

His mouth finds the corner of her mouth, and his voice is barely there when he tells her, "It's alright baby, it's alright, I’ve got you" and he's helping her to roll over, strong hands easing her body, heavy with his child, so he can slide into her from behind.

He kisses her shoulder and whispers dirty and sweet words in her ear, and she gasps at a particularly strong kick and he's rubbing her belly soothing the baby inside her and she feels him grow harder against her hip. She reaches behind, gently tugging and stroking his swollen and thick cock.

He lets out a keening moan and she can feel him helplessly rutting against her hand. She wants him inside her so badly that her lips scream "Daryl!", letting him go and he grabs her left leg harshly, drawing it over his own as he slides wholly inside her in one quick movement before stilling inside, worried he may have hurt her in his desperation.

And she's clawing at his arm, draped protectively over her belly and begging him to move.

“Damn it, Daryl, just move, oh god, please!" And she’s pushing back against him and she's so full with him.

He sets a slow and steady pace as he rubs at the nub of one her hardened nipples and she arches back into him letting out a hiss as he gently squeezes the tender flesh feeling warm wet droplets of what he recently finds out is her milk, run down his hand. He presses his face into her hair as her changing position sends sparks through him with each thrust. He can smell her, not just the clean fruity scent of her shampoo, but also the scent that he knows is her.

Her hand releases his arm and he follows it down, batting it away so that his own fingers slip into her wetness, meeting his cock ever few strokes, and she gets so wet, his fingers easily going to flick and glide over her clit. She’s breathing his name and shuddering and clenching around him and they're both so close.

And she's close and she can’t think and she's moaning his name and she almost feels like she’s drowning. Every one of his solid thrusts hit that spot, and each moan that gets louder, his mouth comes to quiet her.

Nerve endings are clenching as she fists the sheets and claws at his thigh as he rides her through her orgasm finding his own as his thrusts become more erratic and less careful.

She feels his hot cum fill her and he collapses against her warm back, pulling her closer and wrapping her firmly in his arms, and he stays inside her.

She wakes up at sunrise unsure as to whether or not it's due to a full bladder, an active child she feels rolling within her, or to Daryl’s quiet groaning as he sleepily grinds his hard member against her hip.


“Daryl, it’s time.” She tells him, shaking his shoulder with his back turned to her, and he groans loudly, sleep talking, and she rolls her eyes.

She pulls him over, his back lying on the mattress and his eyes open and fixate on her, and he’s just staring at her before his pupils dilate and he’s up in an instant, asking her if she’s in pain.

When she tells him that ‘fuck yes, I am’, he’s already in the car.

The entire drive to the hospital was a mess. A complete mess – a crying Henry in the back seat, obviously nervous and afraid for his Mama, constantly askin’ her if she was okay and why she was cryin’ and yellin’.

“It’s alright Henny, Mama’s just uncomfortable.” Daryl tells their son, and as he looks back at him in the rearview mirror clutching an old matted teddy bear to his chest, tears streaked down his small face, his heart breaks. It breaks for his kid, for his wife, and for this new baby for havin’ to be the face of this torture.

Inside, he knows that Beth would kick him if she could hear his thoughts, but as he looks over to her groaning and twisting in pain as she clutches one hand onto his on the console and the other on her belly, he can’t help it.

He can’t say that he isn’t nervous – hell, this is his first kid – his first time seein’ his kid coming into the world. He never knew a pregnant woman before, and sure – Beth was the most beautiful pregnant woman he’d ever seen, but it didn’t make up for the guilt that he felt in that moment. He’d already apologized to her countless times – her instantly telling him to “shut up”, glaring at him in a way that made him want to stitch his lips closed permanently.

He’d already made a call to her daddy, and he’d told him that he’d meet them there to take Henry off of their hands to give them the privacy they needed in the tender moments he knew that they would eventually get to.

He couldn’t help but think about it – when this was all over and they finally had their baby in their arms – seeing what they would finally look like after all of these months growing inside his wife.

She’d prepared for this day – all of the rough months of pregnancy came down to this. Starting from a thought of a maybe to a fucking human being. To a kid – their kid.

Once they take her to her hospital room, the entire vibe is different.

It’s quiet, and their aren’t screams or cries or shouting – it’s peaceful, and for that he’s grateful.

She’s asleep – which he didn’t expect – he knows now they this whole thing is a lot different that what he expected – in a good way.

He remembers the night many years ago when she told him that she had taken 43 hours to have Henry, and ever since she told him she was pregnant, he was preparing for that same thing. He felt sorry for that.

But here they were – her asleep after getting an epidural and dilated to seven centimeters – which she told him was good.

The doctor had told her to get as much rest as she possibly could, and she was nervous about not being able to – but once she asked him to hold her hand and lay his head beside hers, she was out.

But as quickly as peace had come, peace had gone, because then she was awake and her legs were wide, his hand on her knee – telling her that she was okay and that she could do it.

She pushed so many times that he’d lost count, and he didn’t think that she’d ever looked more beautiful than she did in those moments. Her hair was a mess – tears were flowing down her cheeks, and each time she pushed and screamed, she would smile a little when she was done, her head falling onto the pillow each time and looking back to him, shooting him those pearly whites and giving him a nod – as he gripped her knee tighter.

He didn’t realize that he’d been smiling until he felt the tug on his cheeks – the muscles telling him that he’d been involuntarily showing happiness.

He’d made the mistake of looking down at the place that she was being torn apart, and though it was fucking terrifying, he couldn’t look away. Not when he didn’t see anything but her familiar sex, and not when he could see their blonde baby’s head coming from her.

He doesn’t think he’s blinked, and his head jerks so fast that his neck snaps when she calls his name, giving him eclectic eyes when they meet, and he just apologizes to her quickly, before looking back down again. He knows she’s either annoyed or over it – because she sigh he hears can be taken as either. But he can’t tear his eyes away as she pushes more and their baby moves out of her body and into the nurses hand, and he watches her turn it and he can see its’ face, and he’s just paralyzed.

Quickly, he looks at Beth, and she’s laid back on the pillows, her chest heaving – sheened with sweat, but she still looks at him and she tells him that she loves him.

He almost chokes after he tells her that he “fucking loves her”, but she laughs and squeezes his hand as she pushes again.

Clara Rose Dixon is born on May 12th, 2020 at eight in the morning on the dot. She weighs seven pounds and three ounces, and has blonde hair, and she’s perfect. She doesn’t cry at the top of her lungs when she’s born, and though it scares the shit out of him – Beth smiles so bright and told him that they’re in for an easy ride.

He looked at her and quirked a brow – because what? They had just had a baby girl who wasn’t even voicing herself when it was kind of okay to – and he knew then and there that they were in for more than just a ride.

He could see it the second he looked at her as the nurse held her up in the air over them, that she was goin’a be one hell’ova sass, and that everyone around her would have to bow to her just to get a word outta her. God was he screwed. He thought havin’ a girl like Beth would be a little hell bent – but seein’ that this girl was him – well - well.

Beth was a super-human, he was sure. The shit she’d gone through over the past thirteen hours was more than he could handle in twenty minutes, and he couldn’t believe she’d done it without complainin’ once.

She barely even made noise during that time, and he needed her to – to let him know that she was still there, but she just told him that she needed to keep herself calm, because though she’d been quiet, she made sure he knew that a person was ripping through her body.

She did her job though – she had made it known that his child was killing her, and that she would never be having sex with him again, and she seemed serious – because she was calm and collected, eyes were flat and lips were a line. He hoped she wasn’t.

When she’s holding their daughter at four in the afternoon when he wakes up from a nap in the leather chair beside her bed, he’s in a trance. It was always something he loved seeing – Beth with a baby – but this was their baby – his baby – and not that Henry wasn’t his – because he was, and he would go to hell before he let anyone tell him otherwise, but this baby that they made together was somethin’ special…somethin’ he never dreamed about doin’. He knows that she’s born to be a mother, and he knows that he ain’t born to be a father, but somehow – he’s taken the job so easily and he’d loved it so much that somehow he’d wound up at it a second time.

The baby is sleeping, he’s sure – because Beth’s finger is smoothing the small tuft of hair on her head, and he knows for sure that if she was awake, she’d more than likely be eating – because they’d come to find that she didn’t cry – blessing them with that, but that she had a hearty appetite, and Beth had told him that ‘you win some and you lose some’. He didn’t respond because he hasn’t heard of that before, and he realizes that it makes sense. Because he’d lost his brother – lost everything that made him himself and gave him a reason to stick around – do something, and then there she was.

Somehow, everything in his life made sense. For the first time in his life, he was so happy that he was okay with shouting it from the rooftops. Before, he’d be shamed for even actin’ like he was happy. He’s got this girl that’s the prettiest and most amazing thing he’d ever known, and she’d shared her life with him – giving the gift of being able to take her and her son into his lift as his own, and today, she’s given him another baby to call his own.

He’d thought a hundred times of ways to thank her, and if he’s honest, no words can express the words that he wants to say to her. He settles for telling her that he loves her, and without knowing, his eyes are reddening, and they’re wet, and Beth’s hand comes to his face, and she tells him that she loves him too.

He’d won her – won the greatest thing in the world.


Henry loves being a big brother.

He’s always askin’ his mom to help give Clara a bath, and she’s hesistant, so Daryl always makes sure he’s right there beside him, sometimes holding his hands in his while he pours the water over her skin.

Beth shoots him small smiles no matter what she’s doing, and he’s always quick to give her a wink right back.

He’d never need anyone besides her and their kids. The life that they’d unconventionally come into was the best thing to happen to either of them. He told her one night how much he loved bein’ a dad, and she’s happy that he tells her – because she says that she feels the same way, and that she’d never want anything more than this.

He gets promoted in the fall of the following year, and when Clara is almost two, they decide to move.

It’s a little hard for Beth, but she doesn’t show it – because maybe its ridiculous. To be so attached to something like a house, but this house is where her life was. Where she’d found her husband, and where she’d raised her kids – where he’d taught their babies to walk – and it was harder than she thought it would be.

He tells her that this house will always be theirs, and that those memories aren’t going anywhere – and she knows that. She also knows that they’ll just make new memories, and as much as she’d grown attached to that house – they’ve outgrown it, and if they had any intentions of expanding, they needed a new one.

Tears spring into her eyes as they drive away for what she knows really is the last time, and even though she’s excited, she can’t help it. Her hand is gripping his tight, because she’s really trying not to lose it – especially with the kids in the back seat.

She thinks about the night that she’d met him – brought him home – slept with him – seen him. She’s looking at him now, his hair long and shaggy, his chin covered in hairs that have turned into gray, and she smiles. She’s got this man and these kids and a house is only a house. A family makes it a home, and as long as she had them – she’d make a home anywhere.


Sadly, the end.