Maggie's Nightmare: Chapter Thirty-One
I know, I know … it's been way too long since I last posted. I'm very sorry for taking so long with the update.
This time it wasn't writer's block so much, but I've been rather busy with work in addition to some other writing projects that have required my full attention. That being said, I know I left y'all hanging with the "meeting" about to go down, so I know you must all be anxious to see what is going to happen … me too!
As always, thank you to everyone who has continued to read and follow this story ... I really do appreciate it.
And, of course, I would like to send a Special Thank you to racheljewel, I'm Katiee, Alice_Weekes, Paris, and lillierosie2 for commenting on the last chapter - you all seriously rock! I love you all!
Now, finally, back to our story …
The Governor's POV –
It was the day of I'd been waiting for; the day where I'd finally come face to face with Rick, Glenn, Daryl and the rest of those assholes from the prison group. I'd tell em to their faces what I thought about them and where they could stick this damn meeting and "prisoner exchange" – right up their asses! They tried to be slick about it and go behind my back; tellin' the men that they were willing to trade all of the townsfolk of Woodbury for thee Greene sisters. I hadn't expected to have to actually deal with any type of negotiations with them' I had just planned on instigating this war and never having to explain anythin' else to my men about it. But, now the men wanted the people from Woodbury (well, more like the women), and I had to come up with a plan; somethin' that would get my initial plan back on track. I wanted a war. I wanted to kill them all. I just had to figure out a way to make it seem like the prison group was reneging on the deal – not me.
I'd spent a great deal of time thinking about it; thinking about how I'd do it. How could I get them to fuck this whole thing up? Rick was too smart to fall for any of my tricks again; I couldn't come up with anything for him. And, Glenn, well … he was just Glenn. I wasn't gonna ride my entire mission on some pussy Chinese kid; even if he was in love with Maggie. I figured I could get a rise outta him, but I wasn't sure if it'd be enough to make him snap and do what it was that I needed him to do. No, Rick and Glenn were out.
And, then it came to me … I'd go after the weakest emotional link in their group – Daryl.
Daryl was a simple-minded redneck; a man I knew had a temper and not enough self-restraint to keep cool if given the proper "stimuli," if you will. I knew if I brought his little women; his Beth … All I need to do is say the right thing, do the right thing, and I'd set him off. That stupid fucker would go and ruin this whole thing. Give my men a reason to start shootin', a catalyst for a showdown that would hopefully end with all the leaders of their group dead – each one of em with a bullet in their heads from one of my sharpshooters.
Daryl was the key. I just needed to get him to come at me. Make some sort of move of aggression towards me or one of the other men, and that would be it. A hail of bullets would rain down on them from the surrounding houses and kill them all. I just needed to provide him with somethin' that would set him off. And, I knew exactly what would do it.
I knew Lt. James wouldn't go for it, bringin' Beth into all this. He'd been a bit protective of her and I understood that. Didn't want to go treadin' all over his little pussy, but I needed her in this game. I needed her to be at this meetin', so I sent some of my men to pick her up and bring her to the meeting site after Lt. James left his apartment this mornin'. They'd show up on cue and I play my card – Beth was my ace in the hole.
I drove out to the site with Lt. James and a few Humvees full of soldiers followed behind us. I wanted to have a strong presence there and not appear to be coming for a fight. I left the majority of my men back at the fort, with the exception of about a six men, some of my best shooters. I had the men camped out there for the last couple of days; sharp shooters. Two inside the house we were to meet at, two directly across the street, and two in each house on either side of the meeting location. Now, these sharp shooters were instructed to cover me and the Lieutenants just in case the prison group tried anything or had any tricks up their own sleeves. I'd have the cross-hairs fixed on each and everyone of em, so that if anyone tried anything – they'd get taken out. And, I planned to keep the entire meeting out in the open, out on the lawn, where my shooters would never lose sight of me. I certainly couldn't take any chances.
The drive was quiet, Lt. James didn't have much to say. We'd gone over "our plan" already, suppose there wasn't really much else to say. For all he knew, we were just going to work out the terms of the exchange. The how, what, when and where it would all happen. In addition, we were to work out the terms of any truce that was to happen between our two groups.
I'd never submit to any truce, certainly not while Rick, Daryl and Michonne were still alive. And, I'd have to get rid of Glenn too. Maggie would never settle down with me while he was still alive.
Finally, Lt. James spoke up. "So, ya pretty sure all this is gonna work?" James looked over at me, takin' his eyes off the road. "I mean, ya think we're gonna be able to get all those people back?"
I smiled slightly. "Of course, should be a simple enough transaction. Really, this meeting is just a formality. Just wanted to meet face to face and shake someone's hand on it. Make sure they're gonna keep their end of the bargain."
"Uh, huh." Lt. James' eyes darted back to the road. "And, we're just gonna work out the details of the when, where and how, right?"
"Right." I curtly replied; my teeth clenched in the back of my mouth.
I hate answering all these fuckin' questions.
"Routine prisoner exchange. Shouldn't be nothin' to it."
I continued tryin' to convince my second in command, who as of late was becomin' a real pain in my ass. I'd have taken him out already, if I didn't need his military advice and experience so badly. My hands balled into fists and pulled my shoulders back tightly against my seat, and tilted my tense neck to the side; the vertebrae in my neck cracked loudly.
"Tense?" Lt. James asked; stating the obvious.
"Maybe a little. Just ready to end this whole thing. These people have been more than a thorn in my side for almost a year now. Ready for it to be over soon."
A silence fell between us again as we drove along the deserted highways and side roads making our closer and closer to our destination. I tried to breathe deeply and watched as we passed lush over grown fields, tall willowy trees and snaked in and out of abandoned vehicles that occasionally littered the roads. So, many reminders of just how abandoned this entire world was and just how important it was to safeguard everything that we still had. Everything that was still alive and full of hope. Maggie, Evie, the community we'd started at the fort – it was all worth dyin' for. That was somethin' I knew for sure.
As I sat there daydreamin' about my future with Maggie and my little girl, Lt. James said somethin', which I could barely hear – I was in my own little world.
"What was that?"
Lt. James repeated his question. "Why did you lie to me about Maggie?"
I turned my head and faced him; my eye narrowed in distain. "What did you say?"
"Why did ya lie to me about Maggie?"
"I didn't lie." I paused. "I really don't know what you're talkin' about."
"Ya said Maggie seduced ya. Ya said ya slept with her, that she was tryin' to get ya to release her and her husband, Glenn."
The words just fell outta my mouth, unintentionally. "Don't say his fuckin' name around me."
Lt. James' eyes popped open and his mouth fell open.
"Sorry. It's just." He paused. "It's just, well, both he, Maggie and Beth all said." He paused again;
Lt. James' appeared nervous.
"Well, what is it?" My breathing slowed and became heavy with anger. "What'd they say, James? Hmm?"
What the hell was he bringin' this shit up for anyways?
"They all said. Umm, they all said that you." He paused. "That ya raped Maggie. Ya forced her. Ya know, in an attempt to get her to tell ya the location of the prison."
"Hmpf …" I grunted. "Well, they would say that, wouldn't they?"
I thought I'd already explained this. Why did he care anyways? I didn't know why he was bein' so damn nosy this mornin', but I continued.
"Maggie wouldn't want to admit to her husband that she fucked another man. Even if it was to save him and their group, now would she?"
"Suppose not. But, that's not what they said." He paused and quietly continued. "They said ya beat her. Ya raped her. She didn't seduce ya at all."
I got a bit flustered. "And, why are ya askin' anyways, James? What difference does it make?"
"Jus wanna know the truth." I could sense that Lt. James was on to me; the tone in his voice as he continued suggested he just wanted answers. But, I was pretty sure he wasn't gonna like what he heard if I did tell him the entire truth. "I think as your second in command I deserve at least that. No judgments, just wanna know, is all."
No judgments, huh? We'll see …
He had a point. Maybe he wasn't someone who could judge me anyways? It's not like he wasn't partaking in his own little morally questionable activities with the younger Greene sister. I suppose it wouldn't hurt if I told him this one truth. And, what difference would it make now? The wheels were already in motion for my plan, and perhaps he'd do well to remember that this is war. And, in war, certain things happen or need to be done to insure the security of everyone. Sometimes those things aren't the most pleasant, but that still doesn't mean that they don't have to be done. Lt. James may not like it, but it is what I needed to do at the time.
"Listen, James. I …" I wiped the sweat that had started to form on my brow and began to adjust my eye patch, which had begun to irritate the skin on my upper cheek. "I was just protecting my people. Maggie, Glenn, Daryl, Merle, Michonne, Rick and the rest of em – they threatened that security." My voice got louder and louder as I continued. "I only did what any man would do in those circumstances – I did whatever it took to get the job done, godammit!"
I tried to steady my breathin'. Lt. James looked over at me and calmly replied. "So, ya did. Ya raped her?"
I let out a deep exacerbated breath. "Ahh …" And, then looked out the window as I explained what happened at Woodbury. It didn't change anythin' really, Maggie was still mine. She'd had my baby. What difference did it make how she got pregnant?
I started to explain.
"Jesus, James. You can be one stubborn son-of-a-bitch sometimes."
Lt. James smirked and nodded his head. "Just wanna know the truth. Secrets won't help us out here."
"I suppose you're right." I paused. "Well, it's simple really. Merle, Daryl's brother, was a part of our group. Ya see, Rick and his group had handcuffed him to a rooftop in Atlanta. Left him to die up there."
"Yeah, well. Merle was one tough son-of-a-bitch and sawed his own hand off and escaped … made it all the way outta the city with one hand and some kitchen knives to defend himself."
"Yeah. Like I said, he was one tough S.O.B." I paused. "Anyways, he was almost dead when I found him. Almost dead, but still surly as ever. Told me to go fuck myself, when I asked if he needed help." I started to laugh thinkin' bout that day when I found Merle. "I knew right away – he was the type of guy ya want to have around. I brought him back to Woodbury and had him fixed up. Even had one of the townsfolk make him this thing for his arm - a metal contraption with a blade at the end."
"Hmpf! Sounds pretty badass."
"It was! He was …" I paused. I'd liked Merle, I had. It was a shame that he picked the wrong side and I had to kill. A real shame, but I couldn't tolerate a traitor to live. "Well, ole Merle was always goin' on bout his brother and how he wanted to find him. And, how he wanted to find that fucker Rick and the rest of that group. Bring down a world of hurt on em for cuffin' him to the roof like that; leavin' him to die."
"Yes. Well, he ran into Maggie and Glenn while out on a supply run. It was serendipitous, really. The whole thing was completely serendipitous."
"Yeah, ya know. It happened by chance, but in a very fortunate way. The stars aligned somehow and he was able to capture them both. He tried to get them to tell them where he could find his brother, but they both stonewalled him. Since they weren't talkin'; he brought them back to Woodbury. He'd get his revenge and he'd find out about his brother."
"After he brought em back to Woodbury, I tried to reason with them, but they both clammed up. Wouldn't say a word. They wouldn't tell us where they were located and this … this is what really gets me, it really does. They wouldn't tell Merle where his brother, Daryl, was. To be honest, none of this woulda happened if they just told Merle where he could find his damned brother when they were out on the road that day. Merle may have never even brought em back to Woodbury. Who knows?"
"So, after he brought em back to Woodbury, what then?"
"Well, once he brought them to Woodbury, he involved us all. He'd brought strangers, people who were capable of cuffin' a man to the rooftop of a building; leavin' him to die … he'd brought them into our community. Behind our walls. It was our business now, not just his."
I thought for a moment, tryin' to choose my words wisely.
"So, that's when I got involved. I let Merle have at Glenn; let him try to get his brother's location from him. However, I was now more concerned with this violent group that was now on my doorsteps. So, I went to Maggie. I figured I could reason with her."
"Reason with her?"
"Yes, reason with her. All I wanted to know was where Merle's brother was and where her group was – I needed to know just how close this violent group was to Woodbury. I wanted to know how close my enemy was."
"Ahem! Your enemy?"
"Yes. Any group like that, well, who knows what else they could be capable of!" I cleared my throat again and continued. "I just needed the location of the prison and she … she just wouldn't give it up." I paused and couldn't help but laugh as I thought of Maggie's face when I first met her, so full of fury. She was like a caged tiger, just chompin' at the bit to rip my head off. She was so angry; I knew she had a lot of fight in her, and I liked that. I chuckled to myself again before continuing. "Obstinate and defiant, that's what she is, ya know? Even to this day."
I rubbed my chin and smiled as I thought back to our first conversation.
"And?" Lt. James urged me to continue.
I looked over at him and I could see the look of disapproval forming in his face.
"Listen, I'm not a bad man, James. I don't want ya to get the wrong idea."
"Why would I get the wrong idea? What exactly happened?"
I rested my elbow on the armrest of the door. I licked my bottom lip, which was dry from all this talkin'. I began to tap my fingers along the doorframe as I reluctantly continued.
"I told her if she didn't talk - that I'd make her talk." I paused. "And, well, she didn't talk." I laughed. "I mean, I had to do somethin'. I had to protect my group. What I needed to do was let her know that she couldn't remain silent forever. I had to let her know I that meant business." I threw his arms up in defeat and smiled. "I had to let her know that I wasn't playin' games."
Lt. James didn't even look at me. "So, you raped her ..?" He paused. "To let her know that ya meant business?"
I laughed. "James …! I don't think of it like that. Not at all. I mean, she could've stopped me at any time if she'd given me the information on her group, but she didn't. She never gave me the information, so I didn't stop."
"Havin' sex with her against her will is rape, Boss."
"Is that what ya want me to say, James? That I raped her? Fine! I raped her!" I folded my arms over my chest, tired by his line of questioning. "Is that what ya wanted to hear?"
"No, it's not."
"Now, I know how ya feel bout all that kinda stuff, but ya gotta understand, James. It's war. It's a tactic used in war. And, it happens to be very effective."
"But, it wasn't effective, was it? Cause how'd she end up pregnant? If she'd have talked, you woulda stopped?"
"Well, ya got me there, James. She didn't tell me - she didn't stop me." I paused and smiled.
"Interrogation tactic or not, I'm only a man. I could only interrogate her for so long, ya know, before I, umm …" I paused again. "Uh, listen. I did my best. But, before I knew what was what – I'd, uh … finished. I hadn't really meant to do that, but it happened. Wasn't part of the plan, ya know? I didn't think nothin' was gonna, ya know, happen cause of that."
"So, that's really how she ended up pregnant?"
A little smirk crossed my face. I wasn't ashamed of what I'd done. It was what needed to be done.
"Suppose it is."
"Uh, huh. Wow … uh, that's some story."
"I know, I know."
"So, how'd ya get their location?"
"It wasn't until I threatened to cut off Glenn's nose in front of her that she finally talked."
"Yeah … there's always other ways to interrogate, especially, a woman, Boss."
"I know, James. Hindsight is always 20/20. But, at the time, that's what I came up with. Can't go back and change it now. And, I wouldn't even if I could."
The whole thing was in all reality, fate. It was serendipitous. If she'd just told Merle on the road or just given me the information on the prison, I wouldn't … I wouldn't have my beautiful little Evie." I sat up in my seat and looked intensely at Lt. James. "I wouldn't have my little girl. And, I can't say that I would change a thing."
Lt. James seemed deflated. "Yeah. She's beautiful, Boss."
"She is beautiful. And, she's given me even more of reason to fight to keep what we have back at the fort safe, to bring this group down. They are a threat to everythin' I hold dear."
"So, what exactly is the plan here, then? We're bout five minutes away from this negotiation. We're supposed to be brokerin' a deal with these people. An exchange. The sisters for the townsfolk. That's what ya told the men."
"I know, James. I know what I told the men. But, I've gotta keep my little Evie safe. And, her momma too. That's my job now, to keep em both alive."
Lt. James raised his voice; I could hear the frustration growing in him. And, then he slammed his fist into the steering wheel and glared at me for a moment before layin' into me.
"So, what the hell are we doin' here today? There's somethin' else goin' on here, dammit! Care to let me in on the real plan here, Phillip?"
Phillip? He never calls me Phillip. Governor. Boss. But, never Phillip.
I started to sense Lt. James irritation with the change of plans. I knew he'd be opposed to my real plan; he still had some delusions that we were gonna get these people from Woodbury back, give the sisters back and all live happily ever after. That wasn't gonna happen, at least not for the prison group.
I placed a hand on Lt. James' shoulder. "Listen, I know you're upset. I can tell. But, I can't turn her over to them. Not now, not ever."
Although most of Lt. James' face was covered by an overgrown beard, I could see his cheeks and forehead were flushed with blood. He was pissed.
"So, what're ya gonna do then? Just kill em all, or somethin'?"
"Yes, James. Somethin' like that." Lt. James' back tensed; his jaw clenched tightly. "I gotta keep my girls safe, James. I need to do that - as a man, as a father. And, I gotta get those people from Woodbury back to FortBenning. Our men need them, they need hope. They need a reason, and the women and children from Woodbury will give that to them. Don't ya want your men to have a reason to go on fightin' the good fight? Don't ya wanna give em a reason to live?
"Course, I do. But …"
"There's no "buts" - only way to do that – is by killin' off the leaders of this group. Rick. Daryl. Glenn. Michonne. We'll bring their heads to the gates of the prison, and simply ask for them to let us in." I continued to watch James' expression as I continued; his mouth fell open when I mentioned bringin' their heads to the gates. Guess he thought it a little extreme. "And, once their dead, the others at the prison will surrender. Why would they keep fightin' if their leaders and their best fighters are dead?"
Lt. James stared blankly out the window. "I dunno."
"Well, they wouldn't." I paused. "So, that's the plan. I feel its pretty fool proof."
"Ya seem upset."
"Me? Nah, I'm just …" He shook his head; he seemed deep in thought. "Just didn't think today was gonna go down like this, is all."
"I hope you're not sore at me for settin' this up without ya. I didn't need your council on this one. I hope ya understand." James didn't respond. "Ya do understand, don't ya, James?" I calmly added.
"Yes, Boss … I think I finally do."
James was fuming at this point, but he'd get over it. Once they were dead, we'd go to the prison and show em the heads of their fallen leaders. Wouldn't take long before we picked off anyone that tried to take up arms against us, and then we'd take control of the prison. And, with the prison would come all the people. We'd keep the women and children and any men that I deemed fit enough to join our ranks – the rest we'd kill. We had no need for dead weight.
It was a perfect plan. I didn't see how anythin' could go wrong today.
Lt. James was right, it was just another five minutes before we arrived on site. He pulled the Humvee upfront of the meeting location – a beautiful estate that we'd scouted a while back. The Humvee with five of my men pulled up right behind us – Lt. Shumpert in charge of four of our more qualified soldiers: Aaron, Mark, Bobby and Joe Lee. I woulda brought Nick and his brother Mike, but Nick had proved to be a bit of a liability on these types of missions. So, I left those boys back at the base to watch over things along with Lt. Martinez. I had to know things at home were secure, while me and these boys here took care of business.
The soldiers started to pile outta the Humvee and yelled out the window.
"Shumpert! Spread out and take your positions. The prison group'll be here within the hour."
"You got it, Governor."
Shumpert followed my orders and he and his men disappeared into the brush and behind trees near the estate.
I'd had sharpshooters set up camp a couple of days ago, two em set up in the main house just above us – I asked them to station themselves in the attic to get a better line of sight on the meeting. I made sure each of my sharpshooters had a good vantage point within each of the homes, so that they could keep their crosshairs set on every one of the members of the prison that showed up for this little talk.
The sun was rising in the East now; the skies blue and not a cloud in sight. It looked like a good day to end this, a good day for Rick and his group to die.
I opened the door to the Humvee and jumped out. "Mmm …" I stretched my arms up, high over my head and looked around.
Lt. James walked up to me; his AR-15 slung over his shoulder. "What's the plan?"
I looked in the window across the street and could see the edges of a gun barrels pointed down at the lawn.
"Ahh, there they are!" I nodded my head towards the window, gesturin' to my men who'd been stationed across the street. "Everyone's in position, it seems."
"Our best sharp shooters are positioned in the houses around us."
"I know. They were supposed to provide cover in case we needed it."
"Yeah, well now they have another mission."
"And, what's that?"
"They're gonna wait."
"Wait for what?"
"For Rick, or Glenn, or Daryl to … umm …"
"For them to what?" Lt. James added curtly.
"To lose it."
"I've given them orders to start shooting if any of the prison group shows any signs of hostility. If any of em start shootin', or even as much raise a fist to me or any of the other men – they're gonna take em down."
Lt. James' face contorted. "And? Why would ya think any of em would risk somethin' as foolish as that?"
"I've got my reasons."
"Care to share with me?"
"Not yet. You'll see."
"First off, I don't like that I was kept in the dark bout all this."
"I'm sorry for that. Won't happen again."
"And, second … I don't think you're gonna get that response from them – they just want the girls back. They're not lookin' for no war with you. They know what's at stake here."
"And, how do ya know that? Hmm?" I paused and rubbed the back of my neck; it was started to tense. "They'll fight, they will. And, I won't have to do anything. They're gonna do it all for me."
Lt. James was obviously irritated and skeptical of my plan.
"These are hostile kidnappers, James. They may want their women back, but ya have to remember that fact. They're animals."
"Animals, huh?" James exhaled deeply and shook his head; his eyes narrowed. "So, ya think they're really gonna try an attack?"
"I do. I really do." I paused. "And, that's the all the spark I'd need to send this negotiations up in flames. The men won't think twice about me killin' off this group, if they are the aggressors. All they need to do is make one move, one move and they're done."
"I see." Lt. James paused. "And, if they don't."
I laughed. "Oh, they will. Just ya wait and see, they certainly will."
James didn't know I had another plan I'd kept from him. Another plan, he'd certainly not have agreed to. Beth. She was on her way as we stood there. My secret little blond weapon; I knew she'd rile up that stupid hillbilly. No way he wouldn't fall for what I had in store of em.
"Listen, James. Don't ya worry bout all that. Everythin's goin' according to plan."
Lt. James looked confused. "Alright, well …" He shook his head again in disbelief and bit his bottom lip, he was certainly deep in thought. "Well, I'm gonna radio everyone, get a status update."
"You do that, James." I placed my hands on my hips and looked around; breathin' in deeply the sweetly scented mornin' air.
Lt. James walked towards the house and walked in, the radio at his chin. Then, he disappeared behind the door. I calmly walked the lawn in front of the house, studyin' every detail. The un-manicured lawn; long overdue for a mow. The flowerbeds now filled with milk weed and dandelions. The outside of the houses were all still in good shape, but the lawns gave away the awful truth that no living creature had been here in over a year.
This was it though. The lawn. The front of this house would be like the O.K. Corall in the stories from the Old West. A showdown between my men and the prison group – it would all come to an end today, right here in front of this house. That was the plan. Keep em outside, provoke them and never let the meeting even start. We'd never make it to the negotiation table inside. We'd settle it all out in the open, where my soldiers and sharpshooters had the advantage.
"This lawn will be covered in their blood soon,"I thought to myself. A vision that made my heart sing and brought a smile to my face.
It wasn't too long that Lt. James walked back outside and met me back at the Humvee.
I leaned up against the side of the vehicle. "So, everythin' in order?"
Lt. James nodded. "Sure is, Boss. Everyone checked in."
"Good. Don't want any surprises today."
"No, we sure don't."
Not sure bout how much time passed, when I could see a plume of dust rising on the road – several vehicles approached our location.
I shouted out to all of my men. "James! Shumpert! Men … this is it! Be ready, ya know what this meetin' means to all of us. No one do a thing unless they make the first move. Ya hear me?!"
I walked over to the right side of the lawn with Lt. James, we stood there side by side as the small caravan of two SUVs approached. Both drove passed us and made a U-turn, finally parkin' in front of the house next to us. My eyes narrowed as I looked to see how had made the trip to negotiate with us.
Rick rounded the corner first, he had a woman at his side. It wasn't Michonne much to my dismay. Then, I saw Glenn get out of the passenger side of one of the vehicles, Daryl then followed closely behind the rest of the group.
"Looks like the gang's all here!" Rick nodded. "Except we're missin' someone. Michonne." Her name slid off my lips in a hiss.
"I thought it prudent to leave her back at the prison. Didn't want to upset bein' that y'all don't have the best history."
I smiled. "Hmpf! Suppose you're right, Rick." I looked to his side at the pretty brunette, who I recognized as one of my own.
I thought I'd killed her!
"Karen! What a pleasant surprise."
"Really?" The scowl on her face grew. "After ya killed everyone, suppose seein' me here would be a surprise."
"Karen, Karen. No hard feelin's, I hope." I watched as she had her hand on her gun holster, ready to draw. "Ya thinkin' bout drawin' on me, are ya?"
Rick reached down and steadied her hand, pullin' it off her gun. "Karen, no."
Karen reluctantly agreed, crossin' her arms over her chest. The group walked towards us, all four of em lined up across from me and James – the sidewalk leadin' up to the house dividin' us.
"I find it hard to believe ya only brought one man, Governor." Rick commented snidely.
I smiled. "Can't get anythin' passed you, Rick. No. I haven't come alone. I've got soldiers here, but they're just here for protection."
"Sure they are."
"And, you? This is all ya brought?"
"Sure is. It's just a negotiation, right? Don't need to bring an army."
"That's right." I smiled and paused and turned my gaze towards Glenn who I'd noticed was starin' me up and down. "Y'all right there, Glenn?"
"Shut up, ya sick bastard. Let's just get this over with."
"Calm down. Can't go into these talks all riled up. Rick, ya sure your man, Glenn, here is up for all this?"
Rick quickly replied. "He is up to it just fine. Now let's get on with it."
"Ya know, Glenn." I licked my bottom lip. "Maggie had our baby. Didn't know if ya knew that."
His eyes narrowed and he clenched his teeth. "Don't ya talk bout Maggie."
"I just thought you'd like to know how she's doin' is all." I paused. "We had a little girl. Her name's Evie."
The muscles in Glenn's neck tensed; his entire body flexed with anger.
"Shut up!" He hissed.
"She's beautiful. Looks just like her daddy."
Glenn snapped. "That's it!"
This is it! I wouldn't even need Beth after all.
Glenn's arms reached up, as if he was gonna come at me. Unfortunately, Rick has one quick reflex and was able to grab Glenn around the chest and pull him back before he could even take one step forward.
"Ah, ah, ah … Glenn. That's not a good way to start this off. Maybe ya should just sit this out, huh?"
Rick glared at me as he continued to hold Glenn back; then he shouted "Enough!"
He got a better grip on Glenn and squeezed him tighter. "Daryl, can ya help me here?"
Daryl walked up and grabbed one of Glenn's arms and leaned down to say somethin'. Sounded like he was talkin' him down, tellin' him to keep calm – for the girls. Glenn started to calm down and shook off Rick and Daryl's hands; freeing him.
"I'm fine." He glared at me. "I'm fine."
Man, oh man. Daryl had no idea how he'd be eatin' those words here in just a few minutes. This was gonna be fun. I grabbed for my radio and switched to channel 2 and radioed to Lt. Meyers.
"Meyers, ya there?"
"Yeah, we're in position."
"Can ya bring the package to the meeting site now?"
"Sure thing, be there in five."
Lt. James nudged my arm. "Package? What package?"
"Don't worry bout it." I smiled at Daryl. "I think their all gonna be very pleased with what I brought today."
Lt. James turned his back to the prison group and grabbed me by my forearm. "What the hell is goin' on here, Boss? What did ya bring?"
I smiled coyly. "You're bout to find out." I reached over and removed his hand from my arm.
"Patience, James. Patience."
Lt. James whipped back around to face the prison group; he was strugglin' to keep calm. So, I paused and patted him on the shoulder to reassure him.
"Don't ya worry; I got it all under control."
I turned my attention to Glenn, Maggie's husband. The word "husband" made my stomach churn. I stood there starin' at him, and just could not see what the hell she ever saw in him.
"So, Glenn. How've ya been?"
"Shut the fuck up!" Glenn turned away from me; he tried to ignore me.
"Ya know Maggie is truly special. I really do understand what ya find so appealin' about her."
"I said shut up!"
I could see Glenn was tensing up again.
"She's quite the handful though. Got a mouth on her, that one." I paused and he said nothing, so
I continued. "She's given me lip a number of times. Sorry to say I had to … knock a little sense into her."
Glenn whipped around; his hands balled into fists.
"What?" He hissed.
"Just that she's got a mouth on her. There's rules to stayin' in my home. Oh, you do know she's stayin' in my home. With me." I paused and smiled devilishly. "In my bed."
"That's it!" Glenn shouted.
He then started to lunge for me and I thought for sure this was it. My hand went up to signal my men to shoot, when Rick ran over and tackled Glenn to the ground.
"Glenn! Glenn! Stop!"
Rick had put in him some police submission hold. I know it must've pained him to do; I could see it in his face. Rick wanted to let Glenn loose on me, but if we were gonna get through these "negotiations" he'd have to play by my rules.
"Just stop! He's just fuckin' with, Glenn. Stop!"
Eventually, Glenn stopped strugglin'.
"Ya okay there Glenn? Ya look upset? I guess, that was news to you. Sorry, didn't mean to get ya so worked up. Just wanted to be honest. Didn't know if that was gonna affect whether or not ya wanted her back or not. Ya know, bein' that she just gave birth to my baby." I paused and Glenn glared up at me from the ground. "Bein' that she's been sharin' my bed."
Glenn screamed. "She'd never. Not if it was up to her."
"You're right. It did take a bit of …coaxing to get her into bed. But, when she did … Well, I can't tell you how nice it's been to hold her in my arms every night. To wake up next to her."
I licked my bottom lip; my hands went to my hips. "Nice to have a woman's body in my bed again."
"Just shut the fuck up! Your time will come, believe me, it will!"
"Ha! Is that a threat? Ha, that's funny!"
"Funny, huh? I'll show ya funny." Glenn started to struggle to get up again, but Rick managed to hold him on the ground.
"Ahh, let the poor kid up, Rick." I paused and put my hands up as if to surrender. "I'm just jokin' with ya, kid. Just jokin' with ya. Why don't ya get up off the ground already?"
My surprise, my little Beth, should be here any minute. But, damn, I couldn't wait. I'd gotten quite the rise outta that wimpy Chinaman, I wondered how this backwater scum was gonna handle what I had in store for him. I seriously couldn't wait to see the look on that stupid redneck's face.
He was gonna lose his damned mind when he saw Beth.
This is gonna be a lot easier than I thought it was gonna be.
And, just a moment later, I could hear the sound of the Humvee carryin' Beth makin' its way towards us.
"What's this?" Rick asked insistently.
The Humvee pulled into a driveway and backed out, finally pullin' up directly in front of the house near the main walkway. The engine shut off and a silence fell over the entire group as everyone anxiously waited to see who or what I had brought to the meeting.
"Think there's someone ya might wanna see." I radioed Lt. Meyers. "Bring out the package, Meyers."
Lt. James grabbed my forearm. "The hell is goin' on here!"
I smiled. "Just brought somethin' I thought would spark the conversation between or two groups."
"Wha …?" Before James' could finish his thought, Lt. Meyers hopped outta the Humvee and walked around to the other side of the Humvee and opened one of the doors. A flash of blond hair could be seen above the door, as she stepped out and onto the pavement. Lt. James knew exactly what I'd done. I looked over at him, and hell … he looked about as pissed as Glenn and Daryl had been. The veins popped out in his neck, his fists clenched.
"Beth!" James growled lowly. "Ya never said nothin' bout …"
I interrupted him. "Like I said, James. I've got a plan. And, sometimes we gotta do things; things we don't wanna do."
I smiled and winked at him; he obviously wasn't appreciating the steps I'd taken to insure today went down exactly how I wanted it to.
"Meyers, come on out here, why don't ya?" I yelled for Lt. Meyers to bring her around.
Lt. Meyers closed the door and walked around the side of the vehicle. And, there she was … sweet, innocent Beth Greene.
Beth Greene - handcuffed with her arms behind her back. I watched as Meyers dragged her aggressively towards the side of the Humvee by her arms. Beth's feet stumbled a bit beneath her, as he struggled against his strong grip.
She was a sight to be seen. So pathetic, really.
"Ahh, poor thing." I quietly mumbled to myself; however, I was sure my sarcastic comment didn't go unnoticed by Rick and the others.
My eye turned from Beth to Daryl. I watched as Daryl's hands fell off of Glenn's arms; now they hung limply at his sides. He was in shock it seemed, and then finally, like a wounded animal,
Daryl called out to her.
"Beth! Beth!" Daryl started to walk towards her.
Beth started to weep, she sobbed as she called back to him. "Daryl!"
"Stop right there!" I shouted; commandingly. "Rick, get your man here under control."
"What the hell is this?" Rick ran up and grabbed a hold of Daryl.
Rick released the latch on his holster to his gun; he was gettin' ready for the inevitable as he continued.
"What the hell do ya think you're doin'?"
"What?" I shrugged my shoulders. "I brought her here as a sign of good faith."
Meyers stopped short of the sidewalk that would lead her to the walkway to the house; he held a gun up to her temple.
"Beth!" Daryl called out again. "Jesus, Rick. He's got a gun. He's, he's …" Daryl started to become frantic. He started to pace.
I was beaming; overjoyed really. I just needed to add a little more kindling to this fire and Daryl was gonna fuckin' explode.
"Good faith, huh? Why's she got a gun to her head? What's goin' on here?" Rick tried to act calm, but I could tell he wasn't. I could see the panic takin' hold of him.
He was tryin' to keep the situation under control, but he wasn't gonna be able to. Not by a long shot. Daryl was pullin' against him; Glenn joined in tryin' to hold Daryl back.
"Let me go, Rick! Glenn, let me fuckin' go!" Daryl squirmed and fought hard; his hands started swingin' catchin' Glenn in the mouth. To my surprise, Glenn took it like a man. Didn't fall down on the ground, or grab for his face. I could clearly see his mouth was bleedin'.
Glenn spit some blood outta his mouth and then tried to reassure Daryl. "Daryl, calm down. Calm down."
However, I wondered how well he woulda faired had I brought Maggie, brought the baby. How well would Glenn have reacted if the situation was reversed and he was looking at Maggie cuffed over there? Better? Worse? I wonder …
The entire situation was tense, the pressure building about to burst.
Daryl kept screamin' and yellin' and Rick and Glenn were havin' a hell of a time keepin' him at bay.
Rick was already startin' to over think this whole thing; his wheels were spinnin'. It's exactly where I wanted him. Confused. Emotional. Definitely not thinkin' straight. It's exactly where I wanted them.
This is exactly how I saw this whole thing playin' out. These fuckers were about to die and all it was gonna take is one move, one mistake. And, they were moments away from makin' it.
Rick finally was able to get Daryl to calm down a bit.
"Are we negotiating or what? Is that why she's here?" His hand remained close to his hip and gun.
"Wanted to show ya I mean business. Ya know, with the prisoner exchange and all."
"Yeah, prisoner exchange." Rick huffed. "Sure."
Karen chimed in. "Ya know those people aren't prisoners there."
"Ya know what, Karen? Women are better off bein' seen and not heard sometimes, ya know what I mean?"
Karen shook her head and glared at me. "You're one sick son-of-a-bitch. What kinda games are ya playin' here?"
"Like I said, better seen and not heard."
Rick motioned for Karen to stop talkin'. I was glad to see Rick felt the same way that I did.
Lt. James walked up to me; quietly whisperin' in my ear. "Boss, why'd ya bring Beth here? What's goin' on?"
I could see he was distressed, so I figured I'd formally introduce him to the group. I knew Daryl would be particularly interested in finally meeting the man who'd been "takin' care of" his little woman. I'd let everyone get all acquainted and see how that went.
"Daryl?" I called over to him, but he didn't answer. He didn't take his eyes off of Beth. I looked over at Beth and she was just standin' there weepin'. Lt. Meyers had a tight grip on her; holdin' her close to him. I called over to Daryl again and again he didn't respond. Then, I walked closer to him and waved my hands in the air in front of him. "Daryl?"
His eyes shot up; his glare woulda bore holes in my head if they could.
"What?" He was obviously strugglin' to keep calm.
"Ya haven't met … Lt. James, have ya?" Daryl's eyes darted from me to James now; his muscles flexed in his arms as his grip tightened around the neck of his crossbow. He didn't respond, so I asked again. "Well, have ya?"
His jaw clenched and Rick's hand flew to his shoulder to steady him. "Nah."
My eye beamed. "Well, then. Lt. James, this is Daryl. Beth's, umm … what do I call ya, anyways?" Daryl stared back at me angrily; his weight shifted anxiously from one foot to the other. "Beth's boyfriend or whatever."
Lt. James looked at me; his eyes told me to shut the fuck up, but I continued anyways. I felt like havin' a little fun with him.
"Daryl, this is Lt. James. He's been takin' real good care of your Beth here, while she's been stayin' with us. Haven't ya James." I paused for Daryl's reaction; he looked madder than a She's been stayin with him. At his place."
Karen yelled at me. "You're an asshole, Phillip. Shut the fuck up!"
I patted James on the shoulder and he shrugged my hand off.
"It ain't like that, man."
Karen continued. "He's just tryin' to rile ya up, Daryl. Don't listen to him."
I scrunched my face and snarled. "This is men's business, Karen. How bout ya keep your damned mouth shut!"
"Fuck off, Phillip!"
Daryl looked as if he was ready to pounce. Both Glenn and Rick grabbed a hold of his shoulders.
"Not now." Rick whispered into his ear. "Not now."
"Yes, yes." I held my hand up and waved Daryl away. "Not now Daryl!"
If Daryl could've killed me right then and there, I think he would've. The look on his face was priceless – he was in such a state, he was about to lose it.
It was all too much, I couldn't help it; I started to laugh from my belly.
Damn, this is fun!
END OF CHAPTER
So, the day has finally arrived, and the Governor and the prison group are face to face again! The Governor has some tricks up his sleeves, but the prison group may have a few of their own. We will have to wait and see …
QUESTIONS FOR MY READERS:
1. How upset are you that it took me a month to get this chapter up? Its okay, you can be honest ;-)
*so, so sorry*
2. It looks like The Governor's plan is full proof, at least in his eyes. Any predictions for the negotiations? Or, will the Governor get the showdown that he was looking for?
3. Who is more likely to fall for The Governor's scheming … Glenn or Daryl?
So, 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 Thirty-Two started ... So, as soon as this chapter gets 5 reviews - I'll get the next chapter asap!
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 Thirty-Two: The Meeting takes an unexpected turn, and we find out what the prison group as in store that could foil The Governor's plans; however, it may cost the prison group than they had anticipated!
Thanks for staying with the story … talk to y'all soon!