Maggie's Nightmare: Chapter Twenty-Three
As always, thank you to everyone who has continued to read and follow this story ... I really do appreciate it.
Of course, I would like to send a Special Thank you to TheUndeadDixon, EG458561, Char_Gray, alice_weekes, dixiewolf, Pepper90 and Candyl for commenting on the last chapter - you all seriously rock! I love you all!
Now, back to our story ...
The Governor's POV –
I was finishin' up breakfast when there was a knock at the door.
Ah, James …
I walked over and opened the door to find James standin' there; sweat drippin' down his brow; his face flushed from overexertion.
"James. How can I help ya this mornin'?" James looked a bit on edge; he seemed excitable.
"No. I mean …yes! Well … somethin's happened! I got over here as quickly as I could."
He had my attention now.
"Ya see … we got a message from the group at the prison." James looked into the apartment, and seemed to be tryin' to calm his breathing. "I'd like to have a word with ya if I could."
I looked over at the bedroom door; it was still closed since I'd let Maggie sleep in today. I'd slept like a baby last night, but I was pretty sure she didn't fall asleep until I got out of bed this mornin'.
"Sure … Let's take a walk and you can fill me in." I grabbed my gun off the dining room table and put it in its holster. "Come on, she's sleepin' … we had a late night."
His eye brows furrowed and his jaw clenched. I could tell he was upset and my comment hadn't helped things. James was pretty straight edge, I'm sure he had some sort of opinion about me takin' our hostage to bed.
James may not like it, but he was gonna get a surprise of his own today …
I made sure to lock my little Maggie away in her cage, and headed downstairs with James.
"So, tell me everything …"
"Well, first I should tell ya … the prison group actually made contact with us last night." James paused, waiting for my response; nervously picking at the skin around his finger nails.
I glared back at him, unable to keep my irritation from bubbling to the surface.
"May I ask you a question, James?"
"Why was it that I wasn't notified first thing when the group made contact? Who made that call?"
James rubbed the back of his head as he carefully chose his words.
"For two reasons …"
"Go ahead, I'm listening …"
"First, everyone here on base was under orders that you were not to be disturbed last night. And, two … the initial radio transmission came in as a non-emergency distress call from the guards posted at area six, along the west entrance. I responded only to find our men had been restrained and the prison group was waiting for me."
My eyebrow arched with curiosity. "Waiting for you?"
"Yes, they had specifically asked that the men radio for their 2nd in command."
I could feel the anger inside me growing. Just knowing they had been this close made my blood boil; however, the face that they'd asked for my 2nd led me to believe that this was a calculated move on their part. They hadn't asked for me.
Well, that is an interesting piece of information … I see Rick has a few tricks up his sleeves.
My eye narrowed with intensity and James continued.
"Ya see, Rick and his group were able to get the drop on the guards, tied em up, and had the men radio in the distress call. I showed up and Rick took me aside and gave me a message to give to you."
"And, what message would that be?" I hissed.
Lt. James looked back at me with nervous anticipation; he pursed his lips and with absolute authority in his voice he continued.
"They've proposed an exchange." He paused and I let the left side of my mouth curl into a half smile; feigning satisfaction at the news. "Looks like we're gonna get those folks from Woodbury back … just like ya said we would … thought you'd be happy to hear that. You're plan has worked."
I nodded my head.
"Yes, it looks like it has …"
However, this information did not please me as much as I thought it would. For the moment, I had been happy enough in knowing that I had taken Maggie and Beth and I really had no plans on returning them to their group. In fact, I never had any plans of letting any members of the prison group live.
This message … this "exchange" that Rick proposed had created a little bit of a problem for me.
I needed to know if any of the other men knew that the prison group made contact.
"Do any of the other men know? About the proposed exchange?"
James tilted his head; my question had obviously peaked his interest.
"The guards on duty knew, since they were there and overheard everythin'. By this mornin', it's all anyone's talkin' bout." James smiled and chuckled a little.
"I see …" I paused. "And, when did they want to do this exchange."
"Well, they had initially wanted to meet today, which I of course told them that was not a possibility. One of the men seemed pretty pissed off when Rick and I agreed to one week."
"Did he look like a typical Georgia redneck?"
"Yeah, actually. Do you know him?"
"Maybe … go on … continue."
"I told em we'd meet at noon; one week from today."
James had gone into negotiations with the prison group and arranged a meeting without discussing it with me. I was initially angered by his assumption that this would ever bode well with me.
My head dipped low, and I seethed under my breath.
"Did ya now?"
"Yes … figured you would be fine with that. Soon enough but we'll still have time to get the men organized."
Who the hell does he think he is?
He may be my 2nd … but …
I took a few deep breaths before responding.
"I suppose." I paused. My eyebrows furrowed questioningly. "Ya think we can be ready by then?"
I knew James had been an Army Ranger. If anyone knew how to manage a mission, it was him.
"I do. I figured one week would give ya time to select the location and we could assess the location so we could have the tactical advantage of the meeting spot." He paused and exhaled deeply. "Gave em a CB radio to communicate with em. Figured that would easiest for now."
He'd been successful with his plan to extract Maggie … perhaps he could be trusted with this.
He is my 2nd in command and in any other circumstances this would have definitely been an acceptable action. James didn't have a manipulative bone in his body and that was part of the reason I'd made him my 2nd. He would never guess what diabolical things I'd done or had been planning. I decided to give him a slight pass on this one …
I could already tell that bein' with my Maggie had softened me a bit.
"Mmm, hmmm …." I rubbed my chin. "Okay …"
James could obviously tell I was deep in thought.
"We've all been waitin' for this for a while now, Boss. Looks like we're gonna be able to avoid more bloodshed and get those innocent folk out alive. Ya gotta feel pretty good about that."
"Yes, everything's goin' according to plan …"
In my head, I knew that it was not exactly to plan. In fact, I had wanted to draw Rick, Michonne, Daryl and the rest of them into a fire fight. Kill 'em all …!
I realized James was just starin' at me. He seemed confused by my lack of enthusiasm.
I let a smile cross my face from ear to ear; I responded to James in my most charmin' voice.
"I couldn't be happy those poor souls from Woodbury will have this nightmare end …"
He seemed pleased with my reply.
"Great. Did you have a location in mind? I was thinkin' La Grange … the manor. We've already cleared the area, and it's been quiet every time we've been back." He paused. "What d'ya think, Boss?"
"I've always liked La Grange."
And, the manor had special memories for me now. It's where I got my beautiful Maggie back. It would be appropriate for the meeting to take place there …
"So, the manor in La Grange. You're sure?"
"Yes. Schedule it with them. Noon one week from today at the manor in La Grange."
I looked over at James. He was so quiet and eager. I really liked that about him. He never really questioned me, but I could always count on him to make good calls. He always had everyone's "best interest" at heart … even mine.
"He's a good man, but a fool!" I often thought to myself.
"Suppose you and I should drive on out to La Grange, and scout the area and map out the plan for the meeting and potential exchange."
I just nodded my head my head in agreement.
I had a lot on my mind right now, and I'd deal with the details of the negotiations with the prison group tomorrow.
I would have to think carefully about what my next move would be …this little message of Rick's did complicate things a bit for me …
With this message, my soldiers would be expecting a meeting, negotiations and an exchange of prisoners. The two girls for the entire Woodbury group. At this point, I didn't want to give up Maggie … or Beth and I certainly didn't want back any of those useless townsfolk from Woodbury.
I figured I'd go though with the meeting as planned, but I'd need to figure out a way to get the prison group back on my own turf; back operating under my rules of the game.
James started to get up and I quickly asked him to sit back down.
"I have something else I'd like to discuss with you."
"What's that, Boss?"
"Well, you've been a loyal 2nd … I wouldn't have such a well trained and capable army under my command right now without you."
"Thank you, Sir."
"And, we've got a lot of work to do in the next week."
James exhaled deeply; the reality of the danger and obstacles that were no doubt ahead of
were painted all over his face. He rubbed the stubble on his chin in deep thought.
"That is true, Governor. Ain't gonna be easy. Never is."
"That is true; this won't be easy. But, nothin' we do here is." I paused and looked off into the distance; noticing the men lining up for mornin' drills. "You know … everything we do here is with one goal in mind … What is that goal Lt. James?"
James chirped in obediently like the dedicated soldier he was. He quickly recited the oath that I had written for all of the men inducted into our "military service."
"To survive. To fight for survival of each other and for humankind. To rebuild civilization and to preserve life. To protect The Commonwealth and to put its interests above my own. And, to always obey the laws and commands set forth in the oath set above; for in them lies salvation for all humanity."
"Yes, James. To survive. To rebuild. There cannot be a higher goal these days, don't you agree?"
"I certainly do, Boss."
"Civilization as we knew it ended and without us and our efforts here … humans … we may become extinct." I nodded reassuringly. "Correct?"
"Yes, I do believe that to be true. It's a sad reality, but it is the truth."
I could see the sorrow develop behind his eyes. It told of the horrors and grief he'd experienced since the world turned upside down; the loss that every single one of us felt so deeply. I hoped my gift would give him reason again to have hope for his own future; life beyond his own.
"Yes, well that bein' said … I wanted to … give ya somethin' … special … for all your hard work."
He laughed a little. "Oh yeah?"
"Yes. I'd like to give ya a reward for all your hard work and dedication to getting Fort Benning on line, training the men, and putting together this rescue mission. You're an invaluable asset to The Commonwealth here."
He looked intrigued by my proposition, but he wasn't the type of guy to accept gifts, gratitude or compliments easily.
But, I thought I had somethin' I thought for sure he would like …
"Well, I wanna give ya one of the women that we bring back here. Maggie's sister, Beth."
His eyes widened; his jaw dropped open. For such a surly looking man, he looked like he'd just seen a ghost.
I couldn't help but make light of his naivety.
"What's the matter, James? Looks like the cat's got your tongue."
"Well, it's just ... umm... well I couldn't do that …"
"You could and you will - You deserve it."
"I don't know what you mean by all that. Ya wanna … give me someone?"
He shook his head no; obviously he was beginning to become upset at the idea.
"Governor, with all due respect … I can't take a woman. Not like that. Not as a gift. It ain't right."
I abruptly continued.
"I'll say it again ... you can and you will ...!"
I could see the frustration start to form on James' face. He was tryin' to make sense of what I was sayin'.
"I can't!" He paused. "I mean … ya know I don't approve of the men forcin' themselves on
women out beyond these gates. Why would ya think I'd be okay with it within these walls?"
"I know, I know …"
James could be a really goody-goody sometimes!
He continued on. "We shouldn't be promoting that type of behavior if we want to rebuild a civilized society."
"Ya know, James … we talked bout this before … In this new world, there's a new order to things. Especially, when it comes to these men fightin' for their lives … they need to have a reason to fight … hope for the future. Hope in the future means women. And, ya know that!"
Why does he always have to fight me on this?
"I know that … but that doesn't mean we get to just start clubbin' women on their heads and draggin' em in here by their hair."
"I'm afraid that is exactly what it means, James." I paused. "Look around you … only the strongest will survive all of this, and those are the men who will get … the chance … to have women, to have chance to have life beyond their own."
"And, the women …?"
"Again, survival of the fittest. And, only the women we choose to protect, feed and procreate with will survive here. That's just how this is all gonna go from here on out. You've always known it was going to be like this."
"I didn't think it would be so …"
I interrupted him.
"Listen … gender equality was an invention of the 20th century. With the world forced back to a hunter-gatherer type of society, the rules have changed. Women's roles have changed. Men who cannot protect their women will lose them. Men who cannot fight to protect their families will lose them. And, women … whether they would like to admit it or not … are in a very different world now. One where men make the rules; one where they are subject to us. Our strength … their physical weakness … they are no match for us."
I'd given him my best speech. My best attempt to help him understand the new world order and who was really in charge now … and that would be men.
"Nature had just re-set herself." I'd figured.
"Just because the world has changed doesn't mean I'm bout to go and start to act like caveman … and I don't think it's the way to …"
I interrupted again.
"I'm sorry ya feel that way, James."
"Well, I'm just glad ya understand."
I could tell … James was tryin' to make light of the conversation at this point, but I turned the conversation back to the main topic – his gift.
I sat back against the bench and lazily draped my leg over the other. I crossed my arms over my chest and looked out.
"Ya see, James … the other men … with them their DNA dies. However, that will not be the case for men like me, you … and the other strongest and fittest in our group." I paused to assess James. His blank stare led me to believe that he was completely shocked, or perhaps he was at least be tryin' to hear me out and to see things my way. "Now Maggie's sister, Beth … she's a real beauty, is she not?"
"She is a pretty girl … and she should be with someone that she wants …"
He just wasn't gettin' this, so I figured I'd have to be more than blunt now.
"There's two options here James … Beth can go home with you … or I can give her to the men as an amusement. Somethin' to keep their minds occupied until we're able to get more women here. Do understand what I'm sayin'?"
James looked back at me in horror; his eyes wide with intensity.
"Do you understand, James?"
His jaw clenched and then his eyes narrowed.
Looks like we understand each other now ...
He just nodded. "I think I do …"
"Beth has to be someone's … come on, James! You know that!" I paused and laughed under my breath.
James had to be out of his fuckin' mind to think Beth was gonna be able to make it in this place without bein' somebody's girl.
I tried to reassure him that this was the right thing to do.
"And, Maggie already said she would prefer it to be you. She doesn't want her sister to be passed around." I paused and looked intently back at James. "Do you?"
"No, I certainly am not okay with the idea of the gang rape of some innocent girl. Not while I'm here …"
"Good, then it's settled!" I smiled and rubbed my hands together for warmth, then clasped them together in my lap. "You'll take Beth ...!"
"But, Boss. I'm not comfortable with this ..."
"Would ya rather she be given to the men?"
"No, of course not."
"Then, she's yours!"
He seemed to really hopin' I was playin' some sort of trick on him. I could see the disbelief in his eyes; he didn't want to think this was true … that this was really gonna happen.
"Ya know ... I'd think you'd be a little more grateful."
His brow furrowed; his face scrunched in disgust. "Grateful?"
"Yes! Here I've given you the only other women here; she's all yours to do with as you please. And, not even one thank you …"
"Well, I'm not gonna rape this poor girl."
James wasn't amused by my lightheartedness about the situation.
"Do whatever ya want with your … gift, James. Whatever ya want."
"I feel like I need to repeat myself. I don't think you fully appreciate what I am tryin' to say …"
I couldn't hold it in any longer; I burst out into an all out laughin' fit. I could barely get the words out.
"I do, I do … I really do …"
For the first time in the months of knowing him; I saw James lash out in anger.
"What the hell is wrong with ya?! This ain't no laughin' matter!"
However angry though, James was a soldier and knew his place. He remained seated in throughout his tirade and never once unraveled. I listened to him for a few more minutes. I had known he might not receive his gift well, but it had to be done. What he didn't really understand was that giving Beth to him, was really a gesture to both her and Maggie. Otherwise, the men wouldn't have been able to tolerate her bein' her without some sort of satisfaction. However, if Beth was James' girl … no one would ever dispute that or challenge him. And, if they did … he'd break their neck.
I was savin' her …
James was savin' her …
And, James would thank me for it later on when he had a proper wife in the end of it all. He was a good guy and he deserved it after everything he'd done here.
My fit of laughter finally started to calm down and I reminded him of the simple fact that he'd be doin' Beth a favor by takin' her as his own. James finally came to his senses and begrudgingly agreed to the arrangement.
"I'll take her in. But, I'm not okay with forcin' this girl to do anythin'."
I smiled slyly.
"Well, that's your business now. She's yours … so you can figure out how ya want to handle her once she's under your roof."
James looked at me intensely. His disapproval and disgust was more than apparent.
"I guess I don't really have a choice, do I?"
"No. Not really, James."
I patted James on the shoulder.
"Come on. That's enough for now. I'm gonna head over to speak with Dr. Montgomery about Beth's condition and see when she'll be ready for release into your custody. Care to join me?"
Lt. James nodded his head yes.
"I'll come with ya, but I ain't gonna bother her just yet with all this. Alright with you if we just stick to talkin' to Doc Montgomery?"
The edges of my mouth curled. "Of course! Beth is yours … so we can handle this transfer however you would like to."
Every time I said things like "she's yours" or "your gift" I could see the emotions surge through James' body. His shoulders tenses, his eyes narrowed or glazed over, his face contorted. I have to admit, I had a bit of fun with him that day teasin' him bout his new gal.
I don't know why, but his discomfort with the situation I found truly hilarious.
After a long conversation with Dr. Montgomery, we got the excellent news that Beth was doing well enough to go home with Lt James as soon as tomorrow. James didn't seem as excited as I was, but I figured Maggie would be pleased to hear it.
"I'm gonna speak with Martinez, Meyers and the other Lieutenants and get them up to speed about the meeting next week."
I pulled James aside, just out of Dr. Montgomery's ear shot.
"I can count on you to get them on the same page, and then you and I will drive out tomorrow morning to scout the manor at La Grange. Map out our plans. When we get back we'll figure out about how many men we want to send ahead of us for the meeting."
James only nodded and quietly replied.
Why was he bein' such a little bitch? I'd have to get this sorted out soon with him. I knew he was a sensitive guy but this was gettin' on my last nerve.
I really couldn't understand why he was complaining about gettin' a beautiful woman in his bed. I thought he might come around though, once he got her under his roof and in his bed.
He is a man, isn't he?
James had needs just like the rest of us ... I give him til the end of the week before that righteous liberal feminist shit goes out the window and he's drillin' her harder than a Pumpjack oil rig ...
I nodded to James letting him know he could leave.
"You're excused then."
James' head hung low as he quietly left Dr. Montgomery's office. And, as soon as James was gone I continued my conversation with Dr. Montgomery. I wanted to be well informed when it came to my Maggie's darlin' little sister.
"As soon as she is released into Lt. James' custody ... I want to be notified immediately. Understood?"
Dr. Montgomery nodded his head.
"Of course, Governor. You'll be the first to know." He paused and looked at her chart again. "It'll be sometime tomorrow for sure. Most likely afternoon or evening though."
"Excellent. I'll expect to hear from you then."
I couldn't wait to tell Maggie about Beth, but I figured I'd wait until Beth was officially released to update my little caged bird.
END CHAPTER TWENTY-THREE
So, it looks like the Governor has a little hiccup in his plan!
Although Glenn and Daryl killed the men they found, looks like Rick was able to get the message about the "prisoner exchange" out to the soldiers of Fort Benning. Looks like the prison group and The Governor have some planning to do for that meeting to discuss the terms of the exchange ...
A QUESTION for my readers:
What did you think about The Governor's generous gift? I'd love to hear your thoughts about how the Governor views women in the apocalypse ...
Also, I have a poll for y'all ;)
We now know that Lt. James will be given Beth as a gift for his loyal service.
What do you think The Governor's influence will have on Lt. James? And, What do you think Lt. James is capable of?
1. Lt James is a sweetheart. It doesn't matter what The Governor does or says, he's not gonna touch Beth ... he would never do something to hurt her.
2. Lt. James will be pressured by The Governor to make things official with Beth and consummate their relationship. In order to keep her safe, The Governor will pressure him to do some things he never wanted to do.
3. Initially, Lt. James doesn't plan on even touching Beth ... however, once she is under his roof, things may change; he might buy into The Governor's ideology of survival of the fittest and take the beautiful young Beth and toy with the idea of "unwrapping his gift."
4. The Governor doesn't need to prod Lt. James. He's a nice guy, but he is a man. Now that a beautiful woman is his property, he will find it hard not to taste the forbidden fruit.
What do you think of Lt. James? And, what will be his actions/reactions as the Governor increases pressure on him and tests his loyalty to beliefs of The Commonwealth?
As for this newest chapter, let me know what you think; like it, love it, hate it ... let me know your thoughts. If you've got a moment, please leave me a note or comment on your way out ... I'd love to hear from you all :-D
** Also, I have Chapter 24 started ... So, as soon as this chapter gets 6 reviews - I'll get it posted within 24 hours!
To all of you that consistently review … I just want to thank you for your continued support and thoughtful comments.
Author's Note: This review challenge is really more of inspiration for me; every time I see a new one comment - it really does make me smile every time I see a new review and let's me know that you guys are all enjoying the story as much as I enjoy writing it :-D
Here's a Teaser Chapter TWENTY-FOUR: The Governor and Lt. James return from their trip to La Grange ... getting ready for the "Meeting" with the prison group. Shortly after their return, Lt. James shows up on The Governor's doorstep with some news about several dead soldiers being found outside the walls of Fort Benning ... all mutilated with their ears cut off! The Governor is enraged by this news and takes out his anger on Maggie. Meanwhile, Beth is released into the custody of Lt. James and he takes her "home" to his apartment …