Never say Never
Never say Never: Chapter Three
Hey Y'all ... so, its been a long time coming, but I finally had some time and inspiration to get Chapter Three up.
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I love you all!
I know it has been forever since I posted, so I made sure this was an extra long chapter ... I hope y'all enjoy it ;)
Now back to our story ...
LESSON TWO: Age of consent (cont'd)
Merle smiled at the thought and let go of her, but it took Beth a moment to pull away from him completely; almost like she was in shock or something. Then, she finally realized that he had let go of her; however, there she was … still pressed up against him.
"What the hell am I doin'?" Beth mused to herself.
Beth stumbled backwards a little, her eyes wide staring back at him.
"Ahh … don't go, Beth." Merle laughed. "Ya know I just love gettin' under people's skin …" He paused and looked her up and down. "And, I would love to get underneath your beautiful skin."
"Jesus, Merle." Beth quickly excused herself. "I'll just be on my way then."
"Alright, sweetheart. Until next time …"
Beth quickly walked away, and Merle couldn't help but watch her. Merle thought she might have the finest ass he'd ever seen, and never missed an opportunity to check it out.
"Mmm, hmm. I'd love to get underneath her skin, that's for sure." Merle thought to himself.
LESSON THREE: Stealing & Smokin' ….
Beth had become a bit of light sleeper now that she was Judy's full time caregiver, so when Judy started to coo and whimper; Beth's eyes immediately popped open. She blinked a few times and could see it was still dark out.
"Oh, Judy … I'm here." Beth yawned and then reached over into the makeshift crib that was now a permanent fixture next to her bed. "It's okay … shh …"
"What the hell time is it?" Beth mused aloud to herself. "It's still dark." Beth reached down and picked Judy up and cradled her while she tried to determine what had woken Judy up. "Let me see here …."
Beth checked her diaper and that hadn't been soiled yet, so Beth figured Judy must still be hungry.
Beth quickly found her way over to the box of baby supplies and pulled out a pre-made bottle with formula; all she needed to do was add water and Judy would be all set to go. The formula sloshing back and forth in the bottle echoed through the prison, which at this time of the night, or morning, or whatever ya want to call it … was so silent you could hear a pin drop. As soon as the bottle hit Judy's lips, she suckled away ravenously.
"Geez, Judy … ya must've been starvin'. How'd that happen …?"
Then Beth thought back to somethin' Carol had once told her. She had mentioned to Beth that babies tended to be more hungry and sometimes more fussy when they were growing or goin' through any kinda changes.
Beth smoothed Judy's soft hair back on her head until she had all but finished her bottle. Judy's eyes were half closed, and Beth could tell Judy was about to go back to sleep. She brought Judy to her shoulder and patted her back gently to burp her and then put her back down.
"Come on, sweetheart. Give me a little burp and then we can both go back to sleep …"
Judy fussed a little and then finally let out what Beth initially thought was a burp; however, to
Beth's dismay, it was a whole lot more.
"Oh, no …Judy …!"
Judy had thrown up over Beth's shoulder, her back and the front of her shirt.
"Oh, man …" Beth mumbled to herself. She quickly grabbed a towel and tried to wipe herself and Judy down; making sure to clean them both up as best as she could. Beth was able to finally get Judy back down to sleep after a few more minutes; tucking her in and rolling up some blankets to keep her from falling off the mattress she was using as Judy's makeshift crib.
With Judy asleep … she could address the fowl smelling shirt she was now clothed in.
"Guess this shirt is ruined for now …" Beth whispered to herself, and quickly ripped the shirt up over her head and threw it in the corner pile of dirty clothes.
"Is this all I'm good for?" Beth thought to herself. "Just babies, and diapers, bottles and throw up?"
It's not that Beth didn't love taking care of Judy, because she really did. It was just that it seemed that's all everyone else seemed to think she was good for … and she was really starting to hate that.
She quietly laid down on the mattress beside Judy and stared at the ceiling.
"A glorified babysitter," was the title she felt she held within the group. And albeit was a noble job and a necessity for the group, she still wished she could be helpful in another way … at least some of the time.
As Beth wondered if the group would ever see her as anything more, she realized that she wasn't really tired anymore. Her eyes were wide open; darting around the room. She couldn't even attempt to go back to sleep now.
"That's just great …! She thought to herself. "Now I'm not even tired … better just get up and start my day."
It would be an early day … a really, really early day for Beth today. The sun still hadn't come up, and the prison was quiet; not one soul was up except for her.
Beth exhaled deeply tryin' to decide on what she was gonna do with herself the next hour or so before the sunrise.
"Maybe I'll just head down to the common area, or go outside for a walk and watch the sun come up?" She mused to herself.
Beth reached over and grabbed a clean shirt and thin sweatshirt, zipped it up and headed out and onto the catwalk. She made sure her footsteps were light, so she didn't wake anyone. Beth may not be gettin' a good night's sleep, but that didn't mean she had to go and wake up the whole damn prison.
Beth tiptoed past several cells, until finally arriving at Daryl's doorway. He hadn't bothered to cover up his cell, so Beth could see right in. He was sleeping. Daryl was usually one of the first people to get up around the prison, so she thought he might be awake.
She quietly whispered. "Daryl? You up?"
Nothing. No reply.
"Daryl!" She whispered more insistently this time.
The only sound comin' from Daryl was the sounds of him breathing; he was definitely still asleep. Beth sighed. She had hoped maybe Daryl would at least be up.
"Damn!" She mumbled to herself.
Beth started to walk away, when she caught something out of the corner of her eye – Daryl's crossbow. It was propped up against the wall near the doorway, so close she could literally touch it if she wanted to. Daryl had never really let anyone use his crossbows, so when she'd asked him to train her to use it she was pretty sure he'd never let her use this one … even if he had said yes … which he didn't.
"What's the worst thing that could happen?" Beth thought to herself.
Beth knew she needed some sort of training; some skills to defend herself, and no one was willing to help. Even Carl had received more training to her; a fact that constantly irked her.
"I really want to at least have a chance to learn. No one would even have to know. Maybe I'll just take it for a few minutes outside … see if I'm able to use it …?" Beth thought to herself.
She bit her bottom lip and before she let herself think too much more about it – she grabbed it.
"Jesus, this thing's a lot heavier than it looks!" Beth mumbled as she tried to get a good grasp on the thing.
With Daryl's crossbow and bolts in hand, Beth scurried quietly across the catwalk, down the stairs and outside. Daryl had put up a few targets outside that he used for practice when he had some spare time, so Beth headed straight for them.
"Just a few bolts; just to get a feel for it." She said a loud to herself.
Beth struggled with the crossbow; she hadn't realized how heavy of a weapon it was and she wasn't really sure if she'd be able to reload it. Beth had seen Daryl do it a million times, but now that she had the crossbow in her hands, she wasn't sure if she would be able to do it herself … not without help at least.
Beth made sure to take a solid stance; she tried to remember Daryl's posture whenever he was takin' down walkers. Beth steadied her arms and took aim; concentrating on the center of the target. Then, she did her best "Daryl" impression; mimicking his facial and body gestures, exhaled slowly, before finally letting one of the bolts fly.
The bolt flew out of the crossbow and to Beth's utter and total shock – she hit the target!
"It's not a bull's-eye or anythin', but hittin' the target on your first try has got to be a good sign," she thought to herself.
All of her confidence and excitement over her accomplishment was quickly squashed, when she heard Daryl's angered voice off in the distance.
"The hell ya think you're doin'?"
Beth hesitated to look over at the Daryl as he briskly made his way over to her.
"I said … what the hell do ya think you're doin'?!" Daryl quickly made his way to Beth and snatched his crossbow out of her hands. "Damnit, girl! Ya bout gave me a heart attack!"
Beth finally looked up and could see just how pissed off Daryl was.
"Sorry, Daryl … I was just … just …"
"Just stealin' my crossbow was what you're doin'." Daryl paused and the anger on his face slowly turned to more concern. "Ya know ya coulda hurt yourself? Hurt someone else; usin' this with no one else around?"
Beth hated being scolded but she hated being treated like a little kid even more.
"I wasn't gonna hurt myself, or anyone else for that matter." Beth paused; she was beyond irritated. "Look for yourself. I did just fine. Hit the target and everythin'!"
Beth tried to seem excited; hoping that Daryl would also take some sort of joy or excitement from how well she did.
He didn't …
Beth rolled her eyes when Daryl continued to rattle off a bunch of reasons she shouldn't be "playin'" with his crossbow and how she could have hurt herself.
"Please, Daryl. I'm not a kid! I just wanted to get some practice with some of the weapons."
"So, ya thought you'd act like a grown up … by stealin' from me? Well, that's real mature, Beth."
"Don't be an asshole, Daryl. Even Carl knows how to shoot!"
Daryl pursed his lips; she could tell he was at least considering the fact that she wasn't totally in the wrong.
"Doesn't matter though. Your daddy, Rick, the rest of em … don't want ya messin' with this stuff." Daryl motioned for me to come inside. "Go on now."
Beth sighed. "Fine …! But, I still want to learn. Can you please talk some sense into my daddy and the rest of em? It ain't fair that I can't defend myself and the only job I got around here is babysittin'. What the hell kinda good is babysittin' experience gonna get me if I get into a situation where I'm on my own … and I need to handle somethin' on my own."
Daryl nudged me forward and we began to walk back towards the prison entrance.
"Well, thankfully, for you … ya don't gotta worry bout all that. Ya got us around to protect ya." Beth rolled her eyes, which Daryl caught. "Hey … you're lucky ya didn't hurt anyone with one of these bolts."
Beth gave Daryl and sarcastic smile and laughed. "Well, I guess it's a good thing I grabbed your crossbow instead of takin' Rick's gun out for shootin' practice this mornin'!"
Daryl didn't find it funny.
"Better not do somethin' that foolish. A gun ain't for playin' around with. It's bad enough ya went off and tried the crossbow without anyone around."
Beth looked at the ground; she hated feelin' like Daryl was comin' down on her. All she had wanted to do was try to learn how to fire it … just learn somethin' so she could help defend the group.
Daryl continued. "Now, I don't know what kinda punishment or groundin' your daddy can do to ya here, but go for the crossbow again and I'll paddle yer ass myself."
"I'm serious. Yer lucky I don't paddle ya right now." Daryl paused and grabbed her by the shoulder. "You really pissed me off, girl. Now go on … get back inside before I change my mind."
Beth knew he was half joking, but the fact that he would even think to suggest a spanking as a punishment really pissed her off. It just reinforced her belief that everyone still thought of her as a little kid, which she was quite obviously not!
Beth walked back into the prison with Daryl following closely behind her; following her like a watch dog making sure she didn't get into any more trouble. At least not on his watch … and not with his weapon.
The sun had started to rise, so it wasn't a surprise to Beth when she walked into the prison and saw her daddy, Maggie, Glenn, Rick and Carol all sitting around a table talking.
Before Beth could get out a word, Daryl yelled over to the group.
"Look I found wanderin' outside? Looks like Beth here has herself some sticky fingers. Took my bow while I was sleepin'."
Beth looked over at the group as they stared back at her … mostly with the look of confusion as to why she would take Daryl's bow, but also with irritation. She could tell her daddy knew what was goin' on, and he did not none to pleased with his little girl.
"I … I just took it for a few minutes. I just wanted to practice a little, is all."
Her innocent face and sweet voice didn't stop the 20 minutes of verbal lashings that followed, which consisted mostly of "how could you," or "that was dangerous," or "you should know better."
Blah, blah, blah is all Beth heard as they drabbled on. It was apparent to her no one was going to see it for what it really was, a failed attempt to train herself in the hopes that she could one day be of use to the group in other ways.
After everyone had a word with her, Beth walked back up to her cell and checked on Judy who was still fast asleep. Beth curled up into a ball beside the sleeping baby and couldn't help the tears that found their way to her eyes.
"Why won't they just help me? Can't they see I'm doin' this for them too? So I can help protect our group … our family?"
Beth cried herself back to sleep. It wasn't until three hours later that Judy started to jostle about; sweetly cooing to herself. Beth awoke to the innocent sounds and smiled. She looked at the baby lying beside her whom she loved so much, but she couldn't help but feel disheartened that this was the only thing everyone thought she was any good at.
Beth knew better, but what would it take for the others to see that there was much more to her than this?
For the rest of the morning Beth could feel the eyes of everyone on her; their disapproving glances boring into her. Or, at least that's how she felt. Might not have been the case, but after everyone had laid into her this morning; Beth didn't really have the energy to talk to anyone the rest of the day. So, she spent the rest of the day in her cell except for a few brief moments when she had to go downstairs to get some more formula for Judy and fresh water. The rest of the day it was just her, the baby and the walls of the cell. She read to the baby, played with her and then once the sun had set she put Judy down for the night. Well, Judy would be up in a couple of hours to eat and then a couple of hours after that, but this was "bed time" for all intents and purposes.
Beth read a copy of Catcher in the Rye by the dim light of her lantern in the corner of her cell. Reading the book was among several activities that Beth did to keep her mind busy; she was quite determined to block everyone out everyone today. And, she figured that since she only got one visit today and that was from Carol that everyone was content to have her locked away in her cell today too.
Speaking of Carol's visit … it certainly wasn't just out of the kindness of her own heart either. When Carol had arrived in the doorway of her cell this afternoon, she could see it was written all over Carol's face. Carol didn't look mad and she hadn't come to yell or scream; she looked contemplative.
"Guess Daryl had been real upset that I'd had taken his crossbow?" Beth thought to herself.
Carol then walked into the room and explained how Daryl had basically complained to Carol about it earlier in the day. "I was right … Carol was here on Daryl's behalf. Surprise, surprise, "Beth mused to herself.
Carol sat at the edge of the bed and let her know why Daryl had been so upset, and interestingly enough; it wasn't why everyone else was – Daryl just didn't like that Beth had touched his crossbow. Well, that she "stole" his crossbow without asking. And, if anything had happened, Daryl would have felt responsible. He didn't necessarily see anything wrong with Beth training apparently, and Beth was certainly glad to hear he didn't think that she was unfit for anything but babysitting. Beth realized just how stressed he must've been over her taking the bow, but she still didn't understand why got so mad if he shared the same perspective as her. Why'd he tell her different, when he was leading her back inside to be scolded by the others? Beth would never understand Daryl; he was ... complicated to say the least.
"He's so weird sometimes; I just don't get him sometimes."
"Yeah, well, join the club." Carol laughed. "He's bein' a bit of a baby about it, really. Give it a couple of days. It'll blow over."
"Well, I would hope so …! Do you really think it was that horrible for me to try to learn how to protect myself?" Beth paused for a response. Nothing. So, she continued. "Seriously, Carol. I'm 18 years old and Carl knows more bout killin' walkers and protectin' this group than me! Is that in anyway fair?"
Carol pursed her lips and nodded in agreement. She knew it wasn't fair.
"I know, Beth. But, we need ya hear takin' care of Judy right now. There will be time for all of that."
Beth rolled her eyes. "Do you really believe that, Carol?"
Both women knew that was a bunch of bull. For some reason, training Beth had been an oversight and not high on the list of priorities.
"I think there will be a time when …"
Beth interrupted Carol. "I'm sorry, Carol. I have to stop ya there. I'm not tryin' to be rude, it's just." Beth paused; her voice cracked as she continued. "It's just … y'all might not always be around to protect me." Carol tried to speak, but Beth put her hand up to keep her from interrupting. "No! Please! Everyone's thinkin' it, but no one wants to say it. No one wants to train me for things like this … because if I need it … that means everythin's gone to shit, and there's no one else around to protect me. I'll be alone, and no one wants to even touch that with a ten foot pole."
Carol's jaw dropped to the ground; she knew Beth was right. If Beth needed to learn how to fight and live on her own, that meant that there was no one left … and that was a frightening thought indeed.
"Suppose you're right, Beth." Carol leaned over and kissed Judy as she lay cradled in Beth's arms and walked towards the doorway of Beth's cell. "I'll see if I can talk to them …I'll talk to Daryl ... see if maybe he can give you some real lessons with the bow, okay?"
Carol gave Beth tight lipped smile and walked out.
That conversation from earlier in the day kept running through Beth's head as she tried her best to keep her head in the book. She hoped that Carol might be able to talk some sense into everyone.
Beth leaned over the Judy who was still fast asleep and whispered to her.
"Maybe Carol can help? Maybe she can even be able to get Daryl on board to train me." Beth giggled. "That is, if he can get over the fact that I touched his crossbow?" Beth thought out loud.
In the quiet of the night, a deep raspy voice with a familiar southern drawl came from outside the cell answering the question she'd posed to Judy.
"Well, darlin' I highly doubt it!"
Beth's eyes widened. "Who's there?"
A dark figure emerged into the doorway of her cell.
"Merle, is that you?"
He laughed. "Who the hell else do ya think it is?"
Merle walked into her cell; into the dim light. She could see him more clearly now. He had a dark blue button short sleeved shirt on, unbuttoned of course, with a white "wife-beater" underneath. Beth always thought that was one hell of a name for a shirt; people said it without even thinking about the fact that they were calling they were suggesting that the men who wore them beat their wives in. She could never understand how a shirt could get a nickname like that. But, none-the-less, Merle was proudly wearing his with his dark jeans and work boots.
"Well, ya shouldn't even be in here." Beth scoffed at him. "Really, Merle. It's late and Judy's asleep."
Merle put his arms up in the air as if to surrender; his blade caught the light for a moment and it looked menacing.
"Alright, alright, but … I heard bout the incident from this mornin' with my baby brother. Ya know … Darlena can be a bit of a cry baby, when it comes to his toys. I learned that the hard way long time ago when we was kids. Hell, ya should know better not to touch a man's … weapon without askin'."
Merle's innuendos did not go unnoticed; Beth scrunched her face a little at the sexual overtones to … basically everything he had to say.
"Whatever. I mean … I was just …"
Beth was tired of trying to explain herself. If no one could see she was worth more than what she was doing, who was she to argue?
Merle's sarcastic sharp tongue dulled as he noticed how Beth's eyes seemed to dim; she seemed defeated … and she was much too pretty of a girl to be be takin' no's from all these
"Well, if it makes ya feel any better. I think you're right. I think ya do need to learn a few things.
Actually, I bet ya could learn more than a few things, but … for now learnin' how to fight and feed yourself outside these walls."
Merle paused and crossed his muscular arms over his chest. Beth noticed just how large they were, but didn't want to make a mention of it to Merle, knowing it would egg him on and he's say something she'd regret hearing. So, she kept her mouth shut and just listened as Merle explained just how important those survival skills are now.
"They're doin' ya a real injustice keepin' ya locked away in this cell block takin' care of babies all day every day. I kinda feel bad for ya."
Beth would've normally been offended by a comment like that said in jest, but Merle wasn't joking; he really did feel that way.
"At least someone here gets it! Even if it is … Merle …" Beth thought to herself. "Perhaps there's still hope that the others will come to their senses."
"Well, I appreciate that Merle."
Merle walked over to the chair she was sitting in and grabbed the book out of her hands; he set it down on the table beside her.
"Come on … ya wanna get some air for a minute?"
Beth rolled her eyes.
"Oh, come on. Live a little. Ya been cooped up in here all day."
Beth shook her head.
"No thanks … I probably shouldn't …"
A shit eating grin widened across Merle's face.
"Well, if ya shouldn't … I suppose ya should just do what you're told then."
Merle was baiting her; he knew she'd bite.
"You're right. I have been in here all day. I could use some fresh air."
Beth hopped up; dodged Merle's outstretched hand and walked towards the doorway.
"Just for a little bit though; I gotta keep an eye on Judy here, ya know?"
Merle laughed under his breath.
"Oh, I know, I know … you've got baby duty. That's been well established."
Beth lightly punched Merle in the arm. "Very funny …" And, then made her way down the catwalk, quietly through the common area and towards the prison exit.
"Hey …?" Beth whispered. "Is anyone else out here?"
Merle reached into his shirt pocket and pulled out a smashed pack of Marlboro Reds; gently rapping at the package until a single cigarette fell out. He grabbed a lighter from his jean pocket and lit the tobacco; the fragrant smoke immediately filled the air surrounding them.
Merle turned to Beth.
"Want one …?"
He waited for her response. Beth shook her head no.
"I shouldn't … but, thanks."
"Alright. Suit yourself, sweetheart."
He laughed and took a deep drag; letting the smoke pour out of his mouth. Beth looked on curiously.
"So … what's it like anyways?"
There she was! Merle knew this little rebellious thing wouldn't be able to pass up an opportunity to be push the limits. She was at that age, for sure; he remembered when all he wanted to do was rebel against what he should or shouldn't do. Actually, he supposed he'd never really grown out of that phase.
"It's … shit! I dunno, woman. It's like smokin' a cigarette." He laughed and took another drag.
"Ya can have one if ya wanna find out."
Merle started to walk over to the picnic bench near the main gate and took a seat straddling the bench seating. Beth followed close behind him; she sat down at the edge of the bench trying not to sit too close to the surly man.
"So, what's with takin' baby brother's bow, anyways?"
Beth looked at him and rolled her eyes.
"Not you too …" She paused and crossed her arms over her chest and stared out into the field just outside the prison fencing. "I'm not gonna go into it again. Everyone gave me so much crap bout it today. I'm not in the mood."
"Hey, hey … I was just wonderin' why Daryl's crossbow. Why not Officer Friendly's revolver … or the Nubian queen's sword?"
"Ya mean, Michonne?"
Merle smirked at Beth's correction.
"Yeah … Michonne's sword."
"I dunno. It was just there. He was sleepin' and … I thought I'd get it back before he even woke up. Didn't think he'd notice."
"Mmm, hmm. Well, ya thought wrong." He laughed. "Maybe next time you'll think twice bout grabbin' a Dixon's weapon without askin'." He laughed under his breath as he thought more about it. "Ya know, ya can't touch a man's bow unless you're prepared for the recoil." Beth rolled her eyes as he continued. "You're lucky he didn't bend ya over and give ya a good spankin'." Merle rubbed his chin. That wouldn't have been such a bad idea, he thought to himself. "Shit … that woulda been a sight. Mighta like to have seen that actually."
"Okay, Merle … that's enough! Are ya done?"
"Alright. I'm done."
"Well, anyways. I just wanted to learn somethin' … ya know? How to defend myself. Defend our group. I want to be able to contribute more than just … babysittin'. I dunno …" Beth sighed.
"Think it's stupid?"
"Hell, no! I think ya should be able to fight and shoot anythin' ya can get yer hands on. Only way yer gonna make it in this world now."
Merle looked genuine and Beth really appreciated the fact that Merle saw Beth's perspective. He seemed to be one of the only people at the prison to share her ideas. She thought it was strange that Merle was the only person coming to her defense. It certainly was ironic, she thought.
"Yeah, I just wish they'd see things like you do …"
Beth reached up and covered her mouth; she couldn't believe that she just said that out loud.
"It's alright. Ya don't gotta feel bad for wantin' to protect yourself. Nothin' wrong with that."
Beth bit her bottom lip.
"Yeah. Suppose not."
Merle liked to see this side of her. She was a becoming a bit of a troublemaker, but he figured that it would take that kind of fighting spirit if she was gonna ever make it to her next birthday.
"Ya know? I like this side of you. I think you could be a lot more fun than the rest of these stiffs here."
Beth cocked her head to the side and pursed her lips. She didn't want him to think she was okay with him badmouthing anyone, but she couldn't help the smile that crept up on her face.
They were kind of being stiffs about all this, Beth totally agreed with him.
"Ha, ha, Merle. Very funny."
Merle took another drag and blew out a ring of smoke; another followed right behind it flying through the center of the previous one.
Beth's curiosity finally got the best out of her.
"Wow … how'd ya do that?"
Merle reached for the pack of smokes in his pocket, pulling one from the crumpled packaging.
"Here." Merle stretched out his arm; the cigarette pinched between his fingers. "Go on, now. Take it. I'll show ya."
Beth's eyes widened. She knew she probably shouldn't; her daddy and Maggie would definitely disapprove. "They'd disapprove. They all would," She thought to herself.
"What the hell. I am 18. And, even if there were still laws … I'd be able to smoke now anyways.
" Beth shrugged her shoulders. "Fine. I'll try it, I guess." She took the cigarette from Merle and placed it to her lips. "Well …? It ain't gonna light itself …"
"Alright. Hold yer horses."
Beth waited a moment as Merle shifted in his seat to retrieve his lighter from his pocket; he leaned over to her and lit the tip of the cigarette.
Beth inhaled deeply … maybe a little too deeply. She began to cough. The smoke shot out of her mouth and her nose. It was an amateur move, but Merle didn't laugh and encouraged her to take another drag.
"Go on. Try again. Just don't take such a big drag this time. Just a little til yer lungs get used to it."
Beth took a few more puffs from the cigarette, much smaller than the first. She didn't cough once. And, Beth leaned back on the table with the cigarette dangling from her lips; she felt so grown up. And, a little dangerous, which she liked. Maybe Merle wasn't such a bad guy after all?
"So, what d'ya think so far?"
"I like it." Beth took another drag, this time a deeper one. She attempted to make a ring with the smoke. She was completely unsuccessful. "Damn …!"
Merle tapped her on the shoulder.
"Nah … like this." Merle's lips made an "O" shape and he puffed out several rings of smoke. "Ya gotta make get your lips like this." Merle showed her; Beth immediately copied him. "Then … ya gotta push the smoke out a little at a time … yer tongue in the middle of yer mouth. That's what breaks the smoke into a circle. Like this …" Merle showed her his mouth.
"Oh, okay …"
Beth tried again … and this time she managed a halfway decent ring.
"There ya go! Like a pro!"
Beth smiled sheepishly, looking away. She hadn't wanted Merle to know just how proud she was for this silly accomplishment.
"So, not that you can blow smoke rings … wanna try somethin' else?"
Beth looked over cautiously, trying to access what else Merle was going to suggest. Probably was something inappropriate … as usual.
"Wanna try shotgunnin' it?"
Beth pursed her lips; her eyebrows arched. "Shotgunning … sounds ominous," she thought.
"What's that …?"
Merle took another drag and scooted closer to her on the bench.
"Come here, I'll show ya."
Beth just stared back at him; she was hesitant. But, then she thought about the fact that she was already breaking all "the rules" right now … what's another one?
"Alright. What is it?"
"Slide over to me." Merle patted the metal bench in front of him. "Straddle the bench here and scoot over."
Beth reluctantly swung her leg over the bench and started to scoot towards Merle.
"Closer." Beth scooted close. "Nah … closer …! Ya gotta be real close to do this."
Beth sighed and rolled her eyes and continued to scoot as close to him as possible. Merle moved his legs out; Beth's went on the inside of his; touching his inner thighs now. She scooted as close as humanly possible. They sat facing each other now, maybe a feet between their faces.
"Is this close enough? Or, should I just sit in your lap?"
Merle laughed. He liked her spunk.
"Well, if ya want ya can hop in my lap; I wouldn't mind not one bit."
He licked the corner of his mouth. He was almost salivating, having such a young pretty thing so close to him. "It's been a long ass time since I've gotten any pussy," he thought to himself. But, Merle also knew that was never gonna happen with Beth, so he'd just enjoy the close proximity while he could.
He continued. "Nah … this is close enough. Now … shotgunnin' is when a person blows smoke from their mouth to the other persons."
Beth laughed. "You gotta be kiddin' me? I ain't doin' that!"
"Why …? I'd just blow the smoke in your mouth - that's it." Merle paused, knowing he needed to rile up that rebellious side of her. "What? Are ya a prude or somethin'? Ya scared of ole Merle here?"
Beth glared at Merle.
"I ain't scared … and I'm not a prude."
"Sure ya are …! Just a little scaredy cat."
"Am not! Fine …!" Beth leaned in closer to Merle. "Go ahead then."
Beth opened her mouth a little, letting Merle know she was up for his challenge. Merle gave her a devilish grin. He'd won.
"Alright … open yer mouth."
"It is open."
"Wider. Gotta be able to blow the smoke into yer mouth."
"Okay … how's this?"
Beth opened her mouth wider.
"Perfect. Now … when I blow out, you're gonna need to inhale at the same time. Otherwise, it won't work."
Beth nodded her head.
Merle took a drag from the cigarette and leaned in towards Beth. Then, he blew the smoke out gently into her mouth. Beth inhaled quickly and deeply; breathing in his smoky breath.
Beth blew the smoke and even made a smoky ring.
"Look at that. Like I said …like a pro."
Beth giggled a little. She liked experimenting like this; it was something she never did before, and certainly nothing no one had bothered to even explain with the world the way it was now. She had never smoked; never drank alcohol; never had sex … hell she hadn't even gone to third base yet. Beth was totally inexperienced in life. She liked that she was getting a little bit in … even if it was with Merle Dixon.
Beth was feeling adventurous.
"My turn now."
Merle's eyebrows arched. "Look at little miss innocent," Merle thought to himself.
"You're braver than I thought."
"Well, I'm glad I surprised you … I'm a lot of things, but a coward isn't one of them!"
Merle tossed his cigarette to the ground; he'd smoked it to the filter.
"Damn …! Alright then. Your turn …"
Merle smiled as the young Greene sister inhaled deeply from her cigarette; holding her breath in, she leaned towards him. Merle opened his mouth to receive her smoke. Beth exhaled skillfully into his mouth; trying carefully to get to get it right.
Beth was so preoccupied with getting the smoke in his mouth that Merle was able to lean further into her; placing his mouth almost to hers. She was almost done exhaling, when Merle wrapped his good hand behind her head and pulled her face towards his; placing his lips on top of hers. Beth closed her eyes, while Merle inhaled the last of her smoke; drawing the last bit of breath she had out. Beth couldn't believe that she was letting this happen, but it felt right at the moment, so she let him continue. He exhaled some of the smoke back into her mouth as he continued to kiss her. Merle didn't dare to try and slip her his tongue; knowing that would be too much for her. But, he was enjoying the fact that she hadn't pushed him away yet and even seemed to be kissin' him back.
Beth's eyes popped open once she fully realized what was happening. Beth pulled away from Merle abruptly.
"What the hell am I doin'?" She thought to herself.
"Hey …! What … what was that?"
Merle looked back; he tried to look as innocent as possible. He shrugged his shoulders and smiled.
"What …?" He laughed a little. "Sorry, I couldn't resist …"
Beth leaned back and scooted away. She'd been duped. Beth figured this had probably been his plan the entire time. "Merle is incorrigible!" She thought to herself.
Beth was a little irritated, the proof written all over her face. She took one last drag of her cigarette and threw it on the ground and stomped it out with her boot.
"Well, don't go doin' that again." Beth glared at Merle. "Ya can't go kissin' someone without askin'."
"Didn't seem like ya minded all that much …"
Beth's lips tightened. She could still feel his spit on her mouth; it was cold as the air hit it. Beth still couldn't believe that he kissed her … or that she had kissed him back; even if it was only for a brief moment. What was wrong with her?
"Ya know … you've got some nerve, Merle."
Beth looked away and Merle watched as she licked her bottom lip. He smiled as she tasted him on her lips. Merle knew that she could pretend all she wanted that she wasn't at least amused by the kiss, but he knew better. He'd of gotten a slap to the face if that was the case.
Beth looked back at Merle; she seemed shier now.
"Well, ya best not ever try that again, Merle Dixon!" She paused. "I mean it!"
"I won't, I won't … swear." Merle raised his arms in surrender. I'll be on best behavior … just like you."
"On your best behavior … like me, huh?"
Beth started to giggle; her cheeks began to blush.
"Well, then we're all in trouble now …"
END CHAPTER THREE
So, I had some good responses and some people followed the story. I went ahead and put together Chapter Three and hopefully everyone enjoyed Merle's filthy mouth, him stealin' kisses and Beth's rebellious streak that is going to continue to grow ;) LOL
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
And, iIf you want the story to keep going ... definitely let me know how ya feel and comment, subscribe and vote :))
If Chapter Three also gets a good response (comments and some additional follows), I'll spend some time working on Chapter Four! I promise it won't take as long to get up ;)
Chapter Four Spoiler
Lesson Four: Protecting yourself against the living and the dead … Merle agrees to teach Beth how to shoot and fight Walkers, but he wants to know if she can defend herself against the living. Beth has always been so focused on the dead, but Merle will teach her a hard lesson … she needs to also fear the living and learn how to protect herself from them as well.
I hope to hear from you soon!